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One more passage and we have done. "All manner of sin and blasphemy," said the Saviour, "shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” Sin against God may be forgiven, but not against the Spirit. But if this Spirit is skill and ability in men, "the extraordinary gift or power” bestowed on Christ and the apostles, what then gave such a sacredness to them? Were they more holy than God? Did their gifts and powers render them superior to God? Or did He feel more indignant with those that spoke against them, than with the bold blasphemers of Himself? But here our learned commentator will tell us, that the Holy Ghost does not mean the apostles' gifts or ability, but the power of God. Strange! What a vague thing this Spirit is! It is ever eluding our grasp, like some ignis fatuus. We can never be sure that we have his meaning. This moment it is power in the apostles, the next it is power in God. But let it be so.
What does the Saviour mean? Can it be, that he means to say a man may blaspheme God Himself— with one breath speak against his whole Being and attributes, and yet may be forgiven, but that if he speaks specially against His power, there is no forgiveness for such blasphemy? Why should he be more tenacious and jealous of his power than of other of his perfections? And why so indignant when that is singly spoken against, but ready to forgive though it be blasphcmed along with others? Is there not something monstrously absurd in the adopt a hasty and ill-grounded opinion concerning things which did not fall within the compass of their knowledge.--Priestley's His. early Opinions, vol. iv. pp. 4, 5.
The epistle to the Hebrews is said to contain "some far-fetched analogies and inaccurate reasonings.- Improved version of the New Testament, p. 531.
We are very free to say, that our views of the nature of the sacred writings, and of the use we are to make of them differ from those of our orthodox brethren. -- Unitarian Miscellany, Sept. 1821, p. 8.
Mat. xii. 31.
idea? Would we not be disposed to laugh at that man as a very idiot (we speak with reverence) who should say you shall not speak against my power-you may blaspheme me, speak against my whole character and my power too, as much as you please, along with my other virtues and faculties, and I will forgive you, but if you say a word against my power alone, it shall never be forgiven? Oh, exclaims our commentator, you are greatly mistaken. By the Spirit of God, is not meant the power of God merely, but God Himself. It is a mere Hebraism, as when we are Tequired not to "grieve the Spirit of God,” it is God Himself that is meant. We object to this evasion here. The supposition is that the Spirit of God is different from God, not God Himself.
We have already disposed of the explanation attempted in the supposition that God and the Spirit are identical. But let us see whether either supposition will help him. The Spirit is God Himself. Then the text asserts palpable falsehood. All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men; but the blasphemy of God shall not. Is not blasphemy one sort of sin? Indeed such an explanation is no better than saying it shall, and it shall not, The Spirit and God then are not identical. But it is alleged the Spirit is different from God, as a man's spirit may be said to be different from himself, as it is said of the children of Isreal when they excited the anger of Moses, that *they provoked his spirit," a a very common mode of speech. Are we then to understand by the Spirit of God Ilis irascibility and temper?. The thought is too shocking. What then? Will our paraphrast say what? We cannot. But was not the Spirit of Moses, Moses himself in a state of excitement! Or if you prefer it, his meek spirit, was it not Moses the meck-Moses manifesting meekness, or acting meekly? What then should we think of such a declaration? They did not provoke Moses, but they provoked his spirit; or this other, you may provoke Moses, but you must not provoke his spirit. Every one sees the absolute absurdity of such nonsense. And yet it is precisely the Unitarian comment, stripped of all its learned and subtle disguise, on the unpardonable sin. You may blaspheme God and be forgiven, but if you blaspheme his Spirit you cannot, that is, (we shudder as we pen the thought) you may blaspheme God with impunity, provided He is not in a state of excitement-His Spirit is not roused, but if that should be the case, there is no hope, no forgiveness for you. Oh, where will this wild and reckless expositor of scripture lead us? He is not satisfied with one absurdity after another, but attacks the very character of God, and represents him as an irascible Being, merciful when not excited, but when excited of most implacable spirit! If we have compelled him to speak plainly what he means by the Spirit of God, and he has become alarmed, retreating into his accustomed and cherished vagueness and obscurity of speech, we can only say, that whatever he here means by the Spirit of God, whether gifts or means, intellectual and moral improvement, it must be identical with God Ilimself, or he attaches greater sacredness to that which is not God, than he does to Him. And if by the Spirit of God he means the one personal God, he admits the personality of the Spirit, but he does it by making the Saviour speak both falsehood and contradiction.
1 Psalin, cri. 33.
We have gone thus at length into the examination of the Unitarian notions about the Spirit, that our readers may see how utterly vague and incomprehensible, and subversive of the authority and obvious meaning of the scriptures, are their views who deny His personality. They have no rallying point, no landing spot, but are driven into the utmost wildness of conjecture, and become the mere sport of their unbridled imaginations that moment they reject the plain doctrine of the Spirit's being a distinct personal subsistence of the one Divine Nature. We have felt the more solicitous on this subject, because it forms the very basis of all future discussions. Disprove his personality, and our whole work is founded in falsehood and elaborated in folly. But we have thrown ourselves into the impregnable fortress of divine truth, and we fear not the assaults of scepticism and error. We are fixed on the eternal rock, and can thence hurl back on our assailants, the envenomed darts of their hatred against the truth. Not one inch will we concede. Every charge of inconsistency, absurdity and contradiction, which they make against us, recoils with tenfold force against themselves.
THE PERSONALITY OF THE SPIRIT.
The more general modes of evading the proof of the Deity of the Holy
Spirit-His proper Deity asserted--The general character of proof to be adduced—Same mode of argument in reference to the divinity of Jesus Christ-An admission-Proofs, I.–Certain works are attributed to the Holy Spirit, which none other than God can perform-1. Creation2. The giving of Life-3. Inspiration—4. The resurrection of the dead body and its reanimation-5. The working of miracles—6. The power of speaking in an unknown tongue and of delivering predictions—7. Regeneration—II. The very honor due to God ascribed to the Spirit-1. Iris titles: the God of Israel: Jehovah: the Lord of hosts, &c. &c.: the Most High-2. His worship-3. Rights of sovereignty—III. The attributes of Deity are ascribed to Him, viz., Ubiquity, Omniscience, Omnipotence- IV. The style in which He is spoken of in the sacred scripturesUnitarian and infidel charges against the doctrine-Thomas Jefferson's sentiments—Texts that involve allusions and references to three distinct agencies_The objection of mystery out of place—The charge of arithmetical contradiction false-Atheistical tendency of infidelity and Unitarianism—The scriptures our only security, and that as they are legitimately interpreted by plain common sense.
The eternal Deity of the Holy Spirit can be much more forcibly and conclusively argued, after the proofs which, in the preceding chapters, have been adduced of His personality. For, that He is frequently, both called God, and spoken of as intimately associated with God-on a perfect equality with that great Being denominated in the scriptures the Father-every one who reads his bible attentively must clearly perceive. The modes of evading the proof of His Deity, are in general two, and may be distinguished by the epithets high and low, as they were