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both as meaning one and the same thing, would be to throw contempt upon the Word of God.
The personality of the Spirit rejected, in what light shall we interpret the sin of BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE Holy Ghost? Matt. xii. 31, 32. “Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Reserving our views of the precise nature of the sin here spoken of, we at the present confine our remarks to the evidence the passages afford to the doctrine of the personality of the Spirit. Here is an action spoken of as against, and terminating in, a person. It certainly cannot be interpreted, with any correct knowledge of the Word of God, as a sin against a distinct attribute, for the reason assigned, that, “all manner of sin and blasphemy against God shall be forgiven unto men, but blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” The inference, plain and logical, is that, the Holy Ghost is not an attribute, or an emanation, but a distinct person. “It is therefore incredible, and certainly inexplicable,”
are the words of a distinguished writer, “that all manner of blasphemy against the whole character of God, particularly against his moral character, should be forgiven; and yet that, blasphemy against a single natural attribute should never be forgiven.” And what shall be thought of a doctrine that, teaches that blasphemy committed against the divine attribute of power, is more heinous and unpardonable, than blasphemy committed against God himself? And yet, to this awful conclusion, does the denial of the personality of the Holy Spirit lead us.
The Spirit is spoken of as a SERVANT. John xv. 26, 27. “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me.” xvi. 7. “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; it is expedient for me that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” What language can more clearly and forcibly convey to the mind the idea of personality than this ? Surely, Christ did not speak allegorically here. His language cannot, on any just principles, be figuratively interpreted. If He spake figuratively when alluding to the Holy Spirit, we are compelled for the same reasons, and in the same way,
to interpret his words when referring to himself. But, who will believe that, when speaking of himself, He spake of a figurative being? No one surely. But He spake of the Comforter as a person,
“ when He”- let the reader mark the frequent and peculiar use of the masculine personal pronoun: “When He, the Spirit of Truth, is
.“ The Comforter, the Holy Ghost, which the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things:”—“He shall testify of me.” Who does not see, unless he willingly closes his mind to the truth, that, to suppose the Lord Jesus speaking thus gravely of a mere figurative personage, is awful trifling with the Word of God. If distinct
person is not spoken of in these passages, language has lost its power to describe what a person really is, or to convey to us an intelligent idea of his existence. But, our Lord was speaking of an exchange of persons. It was a divine and intelligent person that, was to depart, and it was a divine and intelligent person that, was to supersede Him in the church, abiding with it for ever.
And, what shall be said of the ordinance of baptism being administered into his name, in union with the Father and the Son? Matt. xxviii. 19. “Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost.” Is an attribute or a distinct intelligent person spoken of here, as associated in this divine ordinance, with the Father and the Son? Mark the emphatic expression-"In the name of the Holy Ghost." In the name of an attribute? of a principle? of a quality? What vain tautology, then, would this be, -the first example of unmeaning and unnecessary repetition found in the Word of God. We have already shewn that, when God the Father is spoken of, all the divine attributes are included—for what are the attributes of God, but God himself? To baptize then, first, in the name of the Father and then in the name of one of his attributes, is an interpretation which the weakest judgment must reject.
For a further illustration of our argument, let us refer to the description given of Satan in contradistinction to the Holy Spirit, by our Lord. Matt. xii. 26–28. “And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” Satan is here spoken of as a person by whose influence they blasphemously affirmed, Christ performed
his miracles. In contradistinction to this, the Holy Spirit is spoken of as a person, by whose power Christ actually did cast out devils. We have no authority to interpret his meaning, when speaking of Satan, as literal, and when speaking of the Spirit, as figurative. We think it as clear, as it is possible for language to make it, that the personality of the Spirit, is equally affirmed as the personality of Satan.
We pass now to a consideration of a few of the attributes, personal acts, and properties ascribed to the Holy Spirit.
Is speaking a personal action? Then it is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. Mark xiii. 11. “Whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak but the Holy Ghost." Again,--Acts xiii. 2. “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Paul for the work whereunto I have called them.” Acts xxi. 11. “And when he was come unto us he took Paul's girdle and bound his own hands and feet and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, so shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.” 1 Tim. iv. 1. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith.” Rev. ii. 7. “He that hath an ear let him