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deity of our Saviour. The scheme of denial, however, has in this case been materially different from that in the other. In that, deity was the object denied ; in this, personality. On all hands it is agreed, that the Holy Ghost is acknowledged by Trinitarians to be a divine person; but by Unitarians only a divine attribute, asserted sometimes to be the wisdom, but usually the power of God. The chief subject of debate, therefore, between us and the Unitarians, that is, those with whom we have the chief concern, viz. the Arians and Socinians, is whether the Holy Ghost be a person, or an attribute. In support of the Trinitarian doctrine concerning this subject, I observe,
- 1. The supposition that the Spirit of God is an attribute, renders the language of the Scriptures unintelligible and unmeaning.
I have had occasion to take some potice of this fact formerly; it will be proper, however, to bring it up to view at this time. For example, then, it is said in Acts x. 38, God anointed Jesus with the Holy Ghost, and with power.' This passage, read according to its real meaning as interpreted by the Unitarians, would stand thus : 'God anointed Jesus with the holy power of God, and with power.' Rom. xv. 13, Now the God of peace fill you with all joy and peace, in believing; that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost :' that is, that ye may abound in hope through the power of the holy power of God! Verse 19, “ Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God;' that is, mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the power of God! I Cor. ü. 4, . In demonstration of the Spirit and of power :' that is, in demonstration of power, and of power!
I will not intrude upon your patience by repeating similar passages any farther, as these are abundantly sufficient for my purpose. It cannot be necessary to bring proofs that the infinitely wise God can never have directed his own word to be written in this manner. No sober man ever wrote in this manner. Nay, it may be confidently asserted, that such a mode of writing was never adopted by any man of any character whatever,
2. This scheme renders our Saviour's account of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost unmeaning and incredīble.
This account is given us in various places ; particularly Matthew xi. 31, · All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men ; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.' Concerning this I observe,
(1.) That blasphemy cannot be directed against an attribute. Evil speaking, or speaking in a manner derogatory to character, can be directed only against a percipient being ; because such a being only is capable of perceiving, or being in any way affected by the evil intended. When mankind speak evil against the word, sabbaths, ordinances, works, names, or titles of God, the evil is nothing, except as it is directed against God himself; because he alone, and not the things immediately blasphemed, can perceive or be affected with the evil which is spoken. In this manner all men have understood the subject.
It cannot be therefore that the Unitarians, when they read this passage, suppose the blasphemy in question to be directed against the power of God. They undoubtedly consider it as
. directed against God himself, through the medium of this attribute. I observe, therefore,
(2.) It is inconceivable that blasphemy against God, universally and in all other forms should be forgiven, while the blasphemy against his power can never be forgiven.
In the attribute of power there is plainly nothing which is peculiarly sacred. It is shared alike by good and evil beings; and does not contribute at all to distinguish their character, as moral beings, or to render them either good or evil. It is in no sense the foundation, nor an ingredient, of worth or moral excellence. It is not, and cannot be, the object of love, nor praise. It is therefore incredible, and certainly inexplicable, that all manner of blasphemy' against the whole character of God, particularly against his moral character, should be forgiven ; and yet that blasphemy against this single natural attribute should never be forgiven. So far as the human understanding can discern, blasphemy against the holiness, faithfulness, truth, goodness, and mercy of God would be more expressive of malignant opposition, and of guilt in the blasphemer, than blasphemy merely against his power. St. John has declared, that God is love.' That is, love is the essence,
sum, and glory of his moral character, and of himself. Blasphemy against this perfection, we should I think irresistibly conclude to be more heinous than against any other attribute. But according to this scheme, blasphemy against the power of God, a natural attribute, is so much more heinous than that which is directed against all the other divine attributes, nay, than that which is directed against God himself, and his whole character, including this very attribute of power, together with all others, as to be absolutely unpardonable ; while all other blasphemy can and will be forgiven. This, to say
, the least, is incredible.
If the Holy Ghost be a divine person, it would seem probable that, if any sin is incapable of being forgiven, blasphemy against the Holy Ghost would be that sin. The Holy Ghost is God employed in his most benevolent and wonderful work, that of restoring holiness to the soul of man ; in his most glorious character, that of the sanctifier ; in a work, demanding the supreme gratitude of mankind; in a character, demanding their supreme reverence and love.
3. That the Holy Ghost is not an attribute, is evident from Acts v. 3. • But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thy heart, to lie unto the Holy Ghost ?'
A lie is a wilful deception, and can be told only to intelligent beings ; because such beings only can perceive the meaning of the declaration with which the liar intends to deceive; or, in other words, because such beings only can receive the lie at his mouth. A child perfectly knows that he cannot lie to a tree or an ox, because they must be unconscious of what
But an attribute is as unconscious as a tree, or an ox; and although God perceives all things, yet his power perceives nothing. A lie therefore cannot, in the physical sense of possibility, be told to the power of God.
4. All the attributes and actions of a person are ascribed to the Holy Spirit.
These are so numerous, and the varieties in which they are mentioned are so numerous also, that I shall only specify them in the most summary manner.
The Spirit of God is said to strive. My Spirit shall not always strive with man,' Gen. vi. 3. To be sent forth. Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, and they
• are created,' Psalm civ. 30. “God hath sent forth his Spirit
of bis Son,' Gal. iv. 6. The Comforter, whom I will send unto you from the Father,' John xv. 26. To move.
The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters,' Gen. i. 2.
To know. . The Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the Spirit of a man which is within him? Even so the things of God knoweth no one, but the Spirit of God, 1 Cor ü. 10, 11.
Here let me ask, whether any man can conceive, that knowledge, one essential attribute of God, can with any meaning be said to be an attribute of power, which is another? Or whether power can, in any words that have meaning, be said to know any thing? The Spirit of God is said to speak.
• He shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak, John xvi. 13. • Then the Spirit said to Peter,' Acts x. 19. • The Spirit said to Philip,' Acts viii. 20. • Let him that hath an ear bear what the Spirit saith unto the churches,' Rev. ii. 7. • The Spirit and the bride say come,' Rev. xxii. 17.
To guide. · He will guide you into all the truth,' John xvi. 13.
To lead. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,' Rom. viii. 14.
To help. The Spirit helpeth our infirmities,' Rom. vii. 26.
• But when the Comforter is come, even the Spirit of truth, he shall testify of me,' John xv. 26.
To reveal. · As it is now revealed unto his holy prophets and apostles by the Spirit,' Eph. iii 5. But the Comforter shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you,' John xiv. 26.
To search. The Spirit searcheth all things,' 1 Cor. ii. 10.
• hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit,' Rom. viii. 27.
To prophecy. He shall show you things to come,' John xvi. 13. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith,' 1 Tim. iv. 1.
To intercede. • The spirit maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered,' Rom. viii. 26.
To give gifts. • For to one is given by his Spirit the word
of wisdom; to another, the word of knowiedge; to anotber, faith ; to another, the gifts of healing; to another, the working of miracles,' &c. 1 Cor. xii. 8-10.
To work in the soul of man. • All these worketh one and the same Spirit, dividing to every man as he will,' 1 Cor. xü. 11.
To work miracles. Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God,' Rom. xv. 19.
To sanctify. Ye are sanctified by the Spirit of our God, 1 Cor. vi. 11.
To quicken, or give life. It is the Spirit that quickeneth, John vi. 63. Put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit,' This is spoken of Christ, 1 Pet. ii. 18.
To be pleased. • It seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us,' Acts xv. 28.
To be vered. They rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit,' Is. lxiii. 10.
To be provoked, to be resisted, and to be grieved.
That all these things should be said of an attribute, particularly of the attribute of power, will I believe be acknowledged to be incredible. That they should be dictated by God himself, and be the common language in which this attribute, or any attribute, is described in his word, is I think impossible. The language of the Scriptures is in all other cases, except those in which it involves the deity of the Son and the Spirit, the language of common sense, the plain, artless language of nature. Why should it not be so here? Why should these two cases be, uniformly and solely, exceptions to that law by which all the remaining language of Scripture is governed? Why should the scriptural writers, whenever these subjects come before them, and then only, desert their native style, that which alone they use on all other occasions, and adopt one totally new and singular? Why should this be done by any writer? Such a case it is presumed cannot be found in the world, except in these two instances. Why should it be found in so many of these writers? Why should it be found in
every scriptural writer.? Why, above all, should it be found in the language of Christ himself? Still more: whence could these writers be induced to depart from their customary style whenever they had occasion to speak of these two subjects, and adopt such language as renders their real meaning ob