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true! “That there was nothing too great to be thus made known to them, even the deep counsels of the Almighty."
This “ assestion" is not St. Paul's, but Mr. G.'s. St. Paul asserts that “the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God:” and Mr. G., to get red of this troublesome “ assertion," substitutes one of his own which is not true. Infinite things are “ too great” to be made fully known to finite minds. “ The love of Christ,” with the good leave of the Socinians, “ passeth knowledge;" even the knowledge of those who are strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man," Eph. iii, 10, 19. “And then," Mr. G. adds, “as if for fear he should not be un. derstood, the apostle explains what he meant by the Spirit of God, by saying, it was exactly the same in God, as the spirit of a man is in a human being.” That is, if Mr. G. please, as there is an intelligent spirit in man which knows the things of a man; so the Spirit of God is an intelligent spirit which knoweth the things of God. Q. E. D. Thus has Mr. G. led us, undesignedly and unexpectedly, to the very conclusion which we wished. Fas est, et ab hoste doceri.
2. The Holy Spirit is a voluntary agent: he has a will. “ It seemed good to the Holy Ghost, say the apostles, “and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things,” &c., Acts xv, 28. Again : “ He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spi. rit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to (the will of) God,” Rom. viii, 27. But Mr. G. is disposed to controvert the meaning of this last passage, and to deny that it is of the Spirit of God the apostle is speak. ing. We will examine his paraphrase. “Our spiritual de sires," says he, “ come in aid of our bodily weakness.” So our “not knowing what we should pray for as we ought," is a bodily weakness, and not a mental - infirmity." All the absurdity of this comment is only that of substituting body for spirit; an easy thing with one who knows no differ. ence! We proceed : :-- For we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but our inward spiritual desires intercede for us, though we cannot express them in appro. priate language.” So, after all, this “ bodily weakness" is only the want of grammatical knowledge! Our poor weak bodies are not masters of rhetoric: we cannot ex.
press ourselves properly! Nay, that is not the entire sum of our bodily weakness. Our bodies “know not what we should pray for as we ought.” They are ignorant bodies! Hence “our inward spiritual desires intercede for us.” Our spirit takes pity on the weakness of our body; and since the latter cannot know, desire, and ask, as the So. cinians think it ought, the former undertakes its cause, and performs these necessary duties much to the advantage of its dull companion. “ And then,” says Mr. G., “ He that searcheth the heart knoweth the desires of our spirit, that, agreeably to the will of God, it pleadeth in behalf of the holy." (Vol. i, p. 122.) That is, we do not know what we ought to ask, but our spirit, which, though it was but this moment our very selves, is now another thing, knows all about it, hits upon “the will of God” exactly; and by its “ desires,” the only language it can on such an occasion use, pleads successfully the cause of the holy; that is, of our holy body!
The palpable contradictions and gross absurdities of this comment sufficiently separate it from the text. This is another glaring instance of the arbitrary and irrational manner in which Socinians explain the Scriptures. If, after this strong opiate, we can recover the use of our reason, let us examine the text itself.
“ We know not what we should pray for as we ought.” It is but just now we have seen that the spirit of man is that in man which knoweth the things of a man. But this spirit in man knoweth not, of itself, what we ought to pray for. If it knew independently what to pray for as we ought, its own unaided desires would be according to the will of God. This ignorance is, therefore, our infirmity. But “the Spirit helpeth our infirmities.” If the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, and our infirmities are those of ignorance, which is an infirmity of our spirit; it cannot be our own spirit that helpeth itself. The apostle's words are not πνευμα ημων, our spirit; but το πνευμα, the Spirit. The question then is, What spirit is that by which we are thus assisted ? (1.) We know of no spirit by which we can be thus "helped," but the Spirit of Him “ that searcheth the hearts," who alone can perfectly know what we want, and what we may have, and who can “make intercession for the saints according to the will of
God.” (2.) To suppose any other spirit which maketh intercession for the saints, is to vindicate the idolatries against which we have all protested. (3.) The apostle is speaking of those who have the first fruits of the Spirit, (viz., of the Spirit of God,) and who groan within them. selves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of their body.” (4.) This is what the apostles teach as be. ing at once the privilege and the duty of all Christians "praying in the Holy Ghost," Jude 20.
St. Paul, speaking of the “diversity of spiritual gifts," says, “ All these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will,” 1 Cor. xii, 11. To evade the force of this clear and positive declaration, Mr. G. compares it with the following passage: “Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.'
“ Here,” says he, “ sin is a person, and the personal pronoun whom applied to it. And not only has it will, but also keeps servants and pays wages. (Vol. i, p. 130.) Who does not see that, at this rate, the proper personality of God and man may easily be disproved? Sin, we know, is only an abstract quality. When, therefore, it is personified, we know that a figure is used, because properties and actions are ascribed to it which do not belong to it. that volition is improperly ascribed to the Spirit of God on the same ground, it is therefore necessary, first, to prove that the Holy Spirit also is a mere abstract quality, and that there is a glaring absurdity in ascribing to it volition. But this Mr. G. has not even attempted to prove. And no wonder: for to attempt to prove that volition is improperly attributed to a spirit, is equivalent to an attempt to prove that volition is improperly attributed to man, to angels, and to God.
To what has been advanced in proof of the personality of the Holy Spirit, it is unnecessary to subjoin those proofs, the validity of which must depend on that of those which precede. The Scriptures attribute to the Holy Spirit the personal affections of grief and vexation; the personal faculties of hearing and speech,--and the personal offices of a teacher, a guide, a monitor, a witness, an ambassa. dor, and a comforter. In attempting to set aside these
scriptural proofs of the doctrine in question, Mr. G., on one occasion, shows that similar affections are attributed to other beings which are really persons; and thus, while he denies that those affections prove that distinct personality which we have not yet examined, he grants that personality for which we now contend. (Vol. i, p. 130.) Thus, of one class of those proofs, he has left us the entire possession. To the rest he answers by showing that the personal facul. ties and offices of which we speak are often attributed to other beings, and even to things inanimate. (Vol. i, pp. 127, 128, 131.) His argument is not drawn out at length, lest it should break. The drift of it we suppose to be this : the personal faculties and offices are, by a figure, attributed to beings which manifestly have no personality, and there. fore they are figuratively attributed to the Spirit of God. But here, again, his proof is at once confused and defec. tive. Sense and speech are properly ascribed only to animated bodies. To inanimate bodies, or to incorporeal spirits, they can only be ascribed by a figure. Again : to inanimate matter, or irrational animals, because of their want of reason, which is necessary to the proper perform. ance of the functions of a moral teacher, a spiritual guide, &c., those offices can only be ascribed figuratively. But to spirits, which are naturally endowed with intellect and volition, whether those spirits be corporeal or incorporeal, such functions are ascribed with the utmost propriety ; be. cause they, and only they, are capable of the performance of them. Mr. G. cannot, therefore, fairly take from us the proof arising from hence, without proving that the Holy Spirit is not a spirit, and that he is incapable of understanding and will. Nor can we, on the other hand, support those proofs against his objections, without a reference to the spirituality of the Spirit of God, and to that Spirit's understanding and will. On the latter, therefore, the personality of the Holy Spirit does and must depend. But when that spirituality is once proved, our possession of all the proofs arising from the personal offices ascribed by the sacred writers to the Holy Spirit is confirmed.
It is now time to pay some attention to the objections which Mr. G. has raised to this doctrine.
1. “The neuter pronoun, it, is in no other instance, in the Scriptures, ever applied to a person."
Gender is only properly attributed to animal bodies; but God is of no gender, and therefore the sacred writers were left at liberty to speak grammatically, and to put their articles and pronouns in the same gender with the nouns with which they should agree. Το θειον, the word used in Acts xvii, 29, and translated the godhead, is neuter, and has a neuter article. The word Tvevua is of the neuter gender, and therefore requires that the article which is prefixed to it, and the pronoun to which it is the antecedent, should be put in the neuter gender. Had the evangelists and apostles written in Latin they would have used the masculine noun, spiritus, and, according to the above rule of grammar, their pronouns had then been put in the masculine gender. But when a word is used which is not of the neuter gender, the masculine article and the masculine pronoun are used with it. O rapakantos, he, the Comforter, is in the masculine gender. In this case, therefore, our Lord uses the masculine pronoun :“ If I go, I will send avtov, him ;"_"and when ekelvos, he, is come,” John xvi, 7, 8. But this is not all. Even when the noun avevua is used, and the construction of the sentence is such that the rules of grammar do not require the pronoun to be put in the neuter gender, it is put in the masculine. Thus: “ But when EKELVOS, he, TO Tvevua, the Spirit is come,” John xvi, 13. Again : EKELVOS, “ He shall glorify me,” John xvi, 14. Here again Mr. G. has led us to a strong argument in favour of the personality of the Holy Spirit; for what reason can be assigned for the use of masculine pronouns which have a neuter antecedent, or precede a neuter noun, but the proper personality of the Spirit ? When, on the other hand, Jesus Christ, who is unquestionably a person, is spoken of, either the masculine or the neuter article is used, as the noun may require. O dE kuploç TO Tvevja, says St. Paul : « The Lord is the Spirit.” Here, that the articles may each agree with the noun to which it is prefixed, both the masculine and neuter articles are used. If what Mr. G. says be true, he will now 6 start with astonishment” to find that both the Lord and the Spirit are at once masculine and neuter; and that, according to his mode of reasoning, they both are at once persons and “ things, without life or sense!”