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The conclusion of our catechists is a long harangue, wherein they labour to insinuate the prejudicialness of our doctrine to the true knowledge of Christ and the obtaining of salvation by him, with the certain foundation that is laid in theirs for the participation of all the benefits of the gospel. The only medium they fix upon for to gain both these ends by is this, that we deny Christ to be a true man, which they assert. That the first of these is notoriously false is known to all other men, and is acknowledged in their own consciences; of the truth of the latter elsewhere. He that had a perfect human nature, soul and body, with all the natural and essential properties of them both, he who was born so, lived so, died so, rose again
, So, was and is a perfect man; so that all the benefits that we do or may receive from Jesus Christ as a perfect man, like unto us in all things, sin only excepted, there is a way open for in this our confession of him. In the meantime, the great foundation of our faith, hope, and expectation, lies in this, that “he is the Son of the living God;" and so that “God redeemed his church with his own blood,” he who was of the fathers “ according to the flesh being God over all, blessed for ever:” which if he had not been, he could not have performed the work which for us he had to do. It is true, perhaps, as a mere man he might do all that our catechists acknowledge him to have done, and accomplish all that they expect from him; but for us, who flee to him as one that suffered for our sins, and made satisfaction to the justice of God for them, who wrought out a righteousness that is reckoned to all that believe, that quickens us when we are dead, and sends the Holy Ghost to dwell and abide in us, and is himself present with us, etc., it is impossible we should ever have the least consolation in our fleeing for refuge to him unless we had this grounded persuasion concerning his eternal power and Godhead. We cannot think he was made the Son of God and a God upon
the account of what he did for us; but that being God, and the Son of God, herein was his love made manifest, that he was “made flesh," "took upon him the form of a servant," and became therein for us “ obedient unto death, the death of the cross.” Many, indeed, and inexpressible, are the encouragements unto faith and consolation in believing that we do receive from Christ's being made like to us, a perfect man, wherein he underwent what we were obnoxious unto, and whereby he knows how to be compassionate unto us; but that any sweetness can be hence derived unto any who do refuse to own the fountain whence all the streams of love and mercy that run in the human nature of Christ do flow, that we deny. Yea, that our adversaries in this business have any foundation for faith, love, or hope, or can have any acceptance with God or with Jesus Christ, but rather that they are cursed, on the one hand for robbing him of the glory of his deity, and on the other for putting their confidence
in a man, we duly demonstrate from innumerable testimonies of Scripture. And for these men, the truth is, as they lay out the choicest of all their endeavours to prove him not to be God by nature, and so not at all (for a made god, a second-rank god, a deified man, is no God, the Lord our God being one, and the conceit of it brings in the polytheism of the heathen amongst the professors of the name of Christ), so they also deny him to be true man now he is in heaven, or to retain the nature of a man;
instead of a Christ that was God from eternity, made a man in one person unto eternity, they believe in a Christ who was a man, and is made a god, who never had the nature of God, and had then the nature of man, but hath lost it. This, Mr B., after his masters, instructs his disciples in, in bis Lesser Catechism, chap. X., namely, that although Christ rose with his fleshly body, wherein he was crucified, yet now he hath a spiritual body, not in its qualities, but substance,-a body that hath neither flesh nor bones. What he hath done with his other body, where he laid it aside, or how he disposeth of it, he doth not declare.
Of the Holy Ghost, his deity, graces, and operations,
MR BIDDLE'S FIFTH CHAPTER EXAMINED.
Ques. How many Holy Spirits of Christians are there?
Q. Had Jesus Christ always the power to send the Holy Ghost, or did he ob.. tain it at a certain time?
A. Acts. ii. 32, 33; John vii. 39.
A. I Cor. xii. 13; Rom. viii. 16, 26, 27, v. 6; Col. i. 8; Eph. i. 17; Rom. xv. 13, xiv. 17; Acts ix. 31; Eph. ïï. 16.
Q. What are the special benefits accruing to the apostles by the Holy Ghost ? what saith Christ to them hereof?
A. John xv. 26, xvi. 13.
Q. Should the Holy Ghost lead them into all truth, as speaking of himself, and imparting of his own fulness? what suith Christ concerning him?
A. John xvi. 13, 14.
Q. Do men receive the Holy Ghost while they are of the world and in their natural condition, to the end that they may become the children of God, may receive the word, may believe, may repent, may obey Christ; or after they are become the children of God, have received the word, do believe, do repent, do obey Christ 9
A. John xiv. 16, 17; 1 Cor. ii. 14; Gal. iv. 6; Acts viii. 14-16; John vii. 38, 39 ; Acts xix. 1, 2; Eph. i. 13; Gal. iii. 14; Acts xv. 7, 8, ii. 38, v. 32.
The fifth chapter of our catechist is concerning the Holy Ghost, for reducing of whom into the order and rank of creatures Mr Biddle hath formerly taken great pains;" following therein the Macedonians of old, and leaving his new masters the Socinians, who deny him his personality, and leave him to be only the efficacy or energy of the power of God. The design is the same in both; the means used to bring it about differ. The Socinians, not able to answer the testimonies proving him to be God, to be no creature, do therefore deny his personality.' Mr B., being not able to stand before the clear evidence of his personality, denies his deity. What he hath done in this chapter I shall consider; what he hath elsewhere done hath already met with a detection from another hand.
"Q. How many Holy Spirits of Christians are there?-A. 'One Spirit,' Eph. iv. 4."
I must take leave to put one question to Mr B., that we may the better know the mind and meaning of his; and that is, what he means by the “Holy Spirits of Christians?” If he intend that Spirit which they worship, invocate, believe, and are baptized into his name, who quickens and sanctifies them, and from whom they have their supplies of grace, it is true there is but one only Spirit of Christians, as is evident, Eph. iv. 4; and this Spirit is “God, blessed for ever;" nor can any be called that one Spirit of Christians but he that is so. But if by the “Holy Spirits of Christians” he intend
. created spiritual beings, sent out from God for the good of Christians, of those that believe, there are then an innumerable company of holy spirits of believers ; for all the angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation,” Heb. i. 14. So that by this one testimony, that there is but one Holy Spirit of Christians, that Holy Spirit is exempted from the number of all created spirits, and reckoned as the object of their worship with the "one God” and “one Lord," Eph. iv. 4–6; when yet they worship the Lord their God alone, and him only do they serve, Matt. iv. 10.
His second question is, “Wherein consists the prerogative of that Holy Spirit above other spirits?—A. 1 Cor. ii. 10, 11."
See his confession in his Epistle to his book against the Deity of Christ. 2 Cloppenburgius Vindiciæ pro Deitate S. s. adversus Pneumatomach. Bedellum Anglum.
The prerogative of that Holy Spirit of whom we speak is that of God above his creatures,—the prerogative of an infinite, eternal, selfsubsisting being. Yea, and that this is indeed his prerogative we need not seek for proof beyond that testimony here produced by Mr B. (though to another purpose) in answer to his question. He that “searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God,” is God. To “search all things" is the same with knowing all things; so the apostle interprets it in the next verse, “The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." To know all things is to be omniscient; but be that is omniscient is God. His angels he charged with folly. Omniscience is an essential attribute of God; and therefore Socinus, in his disputation with Franken, durst not allow Christ to be omniscient, lest he should also grant him to be infinite in essence. Again, he that searches or knows rà Báon Tol Oscũ, the “deep things of
τα του Θεού, God,” is God. None can know the deep things of an infinite wisdom and understanding but he that is infinite. All creatures are excluded from an acquaintance with the deep things of God, but only as he voluntarily revealeth them: Rom. xi. 34, “Who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?'' that is, no creature hath so been. Θεόν ουδείς εώρακε πώποτε, John i 18. Now the Spirit doth not know the deep things of God by his voluntary revelation of them; for as the spirit of a man knows the things of a man, so doth the Spirit of God know the things of God. This is not because they are revealed to the spirit of a man, but because that is the principle of operation in a man, and is conscious to all its own actions and affairs. And so it is with the Spirit of God: being God, and having the same understanding, and will, and power, with God the Father and Son, as the spirit of a man knows the things of a man, so doth he the things of God. Thus in the beginning of this, as in the close of the last chapter, Mr B. hath provided sufficiently for his own conviction and scattering of all his paralogisms and sophistical insinuations, running through them both.
The design of this present chapter being to pursue what Mr B. hath some years since publicly undertaken, namely, to disprove the deity of the Holy Ghost, -his aim here being to divert the thoughts of his catechumens from an apprehension thereof, by his proposal and answer of such questions as serve to his design, pretending to deliver the doctrine concerning the Holy Ghost from the Scripture, and not once producing any of those texts which are most usually insisted on for the confirmation of his deity (with what Christian candour and ingenuity is easily discovered),I shall briefly, from the Scripture, in the first place establish the truth concerning the eternal deity of the person of the Holy Ghost, and then consider bis questions in their order, so far as shall be judged meet or necessary.
1 De Adoratione Jesu Christi disputatio, pp. 18, 19.
I shall not go forth unto any long discourse on this subject: some plain testimonies of Scripture will evince the truth we contend for, being the heads of as many arguments, if any one shall be pleased to make use of them in that way.
First, then, the Spirit created, formed, and adorned this world, and is therefore God: “He that made all things is God,” Heb. iii. 4. “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the Spirit of his mouth,” Ps xxxiii. 6. “By his Spirit
“ hath he garnished the heavens,” Job xxvi. 13. “The Spirit of God
” hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life,” chap. xxxiii. 4; Ps. civ. 30. He that makes the heavens and garnisheth them, he that maketh man and giveth him life, is God. So in the beginning nomo, motabat se, moved himself, as a dove warming its young, as he afterward appeared in the form of a dove. And hence that which is ascribed unto God absolutely in one place is in another ascribed to the Spirit absolutely: as, Exod. iv. 15, Num. xi. 8, what it is affirmed that God doth, will do, or did, is affirmed of the Spirit, Acts i. 16, xxviii. 25: so Num. xiv. 22, Deut. vi. 16, what is said of God is affirmed of the Spirit, Isa. lxiii. 10, Acts vii. 51: so also Deut. xxxii. 12, compared with Isa, Ixiii. 14. Innumerable other instances of the same kind might be added.
Secondly, He regenerates us. Except we be born of water and of the Spirit, we cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” John iii. 5; 2 Thess. ii. 13; 1 Pet. i. 2. He also “searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God,” as was before observed, 1 Cor. ii. 10, 11. From him is our illumination, Eph. i. 17, 18; 2 Cor. iii. 18. John xiv. 26, “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, he shall teach you all things." Chap. xvi. 13, “The Spirit of truth will guide you into all truth.” “The Holy Ghost shall teach you,” Luke xii. 12. And he foretelleth “ things to come,” John xvi. 13, 1 Tim. iv. 1; wbich is a property of God, whereby he will be known from all false gods, Isa. xli. 22, 23, etc. And he is in some of these places expressly called God, as also 1 Cor. xii. 5, 6, compared with verse 11; and he is immense, who dwells in all believers.
Thirdly, He dwelleth in us, as God in a temple, Rom. viii. 9, 1 Cor. iii. 16; thereby sanctifying us, chap. vi. 11; comforting us, John xvi. 7; and helping our infirmities, Rom. viii. 26; mortifying our sins, chap. viii. 13; creating in us Christian graces, Gal. v. 22, 23; yea, he is the author of all grace, as is evident in that promise made of his presence with the Messiah, Isa. xi. 2. I say, with the Messiah, for of him only are those words to be understood; to which purpose I cannot but add the words of an old friar, to the shame of some amongst us who should know more, or be more Christian in their expositions of Scripture. Saith he, speaking of this place, “ Note that in innumerable places of the Talmud this is expounded of the Messiah, and never of