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ON THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
SIR,-In your number for June, are some passages respecting the Personality of the Holy Spirit, among which the baptismal command (Matt. xxviii. 19.) occupies a prominent place.
It may assist the friend of your correspondent H. F. in forming a right conclusion, to observe that the literal rendering of the original would be," Go ye, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them INTO the NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." There is an ambiguity in the expression in the name, which is thus avoided. For instance, coming in one's own name, may denote acting by one's own power, or on one's own authority; but baptising into a name, or unto a name, has a direct personal signification. And such, I believe, is the term employed whenever baptism is spoken of.
Some valuable remarks on this subject are to be found in Dr. Pye Smith's Scripture Testimony to the Messiah, a work which I mention with the greater pleasure, as it affords me an opportunity of acknowledging a Dissenter for a brother, and for an useful servant of the Lord Jesus. From the third volume of that elaborate work, I select the following passages, which will probably be new to your correspondent's friend.
An unknown, but early Christian writer, whose Exposition of Faith occurs among the works of Justin Martyn, says, 'Since in the doctrine of baptism, the one name has been unitedly delivered to us, of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; what reasoning can set aside the existence of the Son and the Spirit in the divine and blessed essence??,
Limborch, a cautious writer, who lived in declining times, when he might easily have availed him
self of equivocal language, expresses himself decidedly on this point. The divine majesty and glory are attributed to the Holy Spirit; since we are commanded to be baptised into his name, equally with that of the Father and the Son.'
Morus, a late admired divine of Germany, says, 'That the Spirit is put in the same degree of dig nity as the Father and the Son; so that he is entitled to religious honour, and upon the same
ground of certain evidence follows from the institution of baptism, in which we are dedicated to the name of the Holy Spirit, as an object of worship and confession. So that the very first entrance into the Christian religion shews, that the Holy Spirit is not a created being, but is God, equal with the Father and the Son.?
I have transcribed this passage gladly, because as the Germans have gone near to annihilating everything that is supernatural, and really precious in the gospel; the testimony of a German writer will, of course, carry peculiar weight. But even Semler, who contributed so eminently to introduce the withering sentiments of Neology, is obliged to acknow ledge this doctrine. These are his words, It is certain that the expression, to be baptised into any one, or into the name of any one, always refers to a personal exist
Wherefore, since all Christians, after having been taught the doctrine delivered by Christ, concerning God the Father, himself as the Messiah, and the Holy Spirit, are commanded by Christ to be baptised into the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; it follows, if we submit to the authority of Scripture, that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are persons, or agents nume rically distinct 'red boz or
For my own part, I am willing to take my stand upon this exposition of Dr. Semler, dangerous as I conceive his writings in general to be. The concessions of an innovator may always be regarded as the strongest arguments; and when a man who is given to change, leaves one of the old paths untouched, it is clear that he felt he could not meddle with it justly.
The chief difficulty of the doctrine, appears to me to be this. The Father and the Son have been beheld, the one in the works of creation, and the other in his abode upon earth; but the Spirit cannot be seen in any sense of the word. He can only be experienced in his transforming, regenerating, and encouraging operations; and even pronouncing upon these, we are liable to err, through sanguineness and precipitancy. Let us however cultivate the fruits of the Spirit, and this endeavour, if sincere and persevering, will lead us upward to the Spirit himself, as a river is traced to its source. An earnest desire to produce these fruits, will soon realize the Spirit, and his invisible agency to our hearts. If any man will do the will of God, he shall know concerning the doctrine. When we apply ourselves to perform the works of the Spirit, we shall find, that
the agency of a greater power is necessary, and this want is pre
THY WILL BE DONE.
cisely supplied by the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
Some writers talk of an energy of the deity, but what do they mean by that term? I can form no idea of an energy of the Deity › apart from the Deity himself... What is goodness, but the action of one that is good! What is kindness but the action of one that is kind? What is an energy of the Deity but the Deity himself acting, and in this case, acting upon the souls of men? If the energy be not Deity, then it is distinct from Deity, that is to say, a separated portion of Deity, and consequently another divine person. So that the use of the word energy brings us to the very point from which we set out,
I hope these few lines of reason- ↑ ing may be of use to your cor, respondent's friend. Allow me, ♬ however, to observe, that the occupying the mind with such doubts and inquiries has a fatal effect upon vital religion, A man is thus beguiled out of the sure and . practical path of holiness, to follow the phantoms of philosophical investigation; and this is usually a forerunner of a declining state, and of a long period of darkness and trial. Whatever takes off our heart from the pursuit of sanctification, will turn out in the end unprofitable in itself, and probably a choice delusion of the
J. T. M..
Cause me to feel how frail the stay,
That I may such submission haye,
DIVINE grace,' says the amiable and pious Leighton, even in the heart of
invincibeak and sinful man, is an'
invincible thing. Drown it in the waters of adversity, it rises more beautiful, as not being drowned indeed, but only washed; throw it into the furnace of fiery trials, it comes out purer, and loses nothing but the dross which our corrupt nature mixes with it." It is good for me that I have been afflicted," ," was the d declaration of the man after God's own heart and the believer of every age and condition will bear testimony to the truth of his words. For the Christian graces and virtues, which a state of ease and security too often render torpid and inactive, are called forth by affliction, and brought into lively exercisewhile the waywardness of the will and infirmities of the temper, which caused little disturbance, and were overlooked in the time of health
and prosperity, occasion bitter regret in the retirement of a sickchamber or in straitened circumstances, and, through grace, are controlled and corrected.
"Ye have heard of the patience of Job." Had he not been tried with severe afflictions we should have been unacquainted with the distinguishing virtue of this holy patriarch, and have lost the benefit of his example. By means of affliction the Christian is brought to the knowledge of himself.
tion, which causes the natural man to chafe and be furious" as a wild bull in a net"-under the influence of divine grace" worketh patience" in the believer," and patience" produces experience." He was conscious before in a certain degree of his unworthiness: but no so clear are his views of the int finite purity, majesty, and good
ness of God," that the strongest terms will scarcely express the opinion which he has of his own demerits.
"Behold, I am vile”
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." He perhaps said before that he was weak-but now he feels himself to be so; his earthly props are knocked from under him, and he finds that divine grace alone supports him, and keeps him from falling. It is now more than ever the thorough conviction of his heart, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength."-By means of affliction the Christian becomes more intimately acquainted with his God. How little do the most sedulous attentions of earthly friends avail in times of sorrow, need, or sickness! too often must it be said of the kindest and the best, "miserable comforters are ye all." Ye are all physicians of no value." But when the Christian pours out his complaint before the Lord, and shows him his trouble, he will soon be able to say in the words of the prophet, "Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not." "The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness; and he will enjoy such discoveries of the divine goodness
mercy as far to exceed his largest conceptions. "Blessed be God," says the apostle, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that loveable to comfort them we may which are in any trouble, by the A comfort where with we ourselves
are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." And such will be the testimony of believers unto the end of the world. The spiritually-minded Halyburton said,
I could not but commend the Lord to you, having found so much of his goodness; I never found so much when I was in health and prosperity, as I find now in sickness and languishing. I find he makes all to be good to his people; sickness, or health, or diseases, or whatever they be, all is good.' And Ebenezer Erskine, during his last illness, declared,
I have always found my times of severe affliction my best times. I have known more of God since I came to this bed, than through all my life.' Holy Job, after having suffered awhile, until his fretfulness and impatience, his low thoughts of God, and his high thoughts of himself, were purged away, came forth, as he had said, "like gold." And even in his temporal affairs, the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning. "But should the believer be kept in the furnace of affliction all his life long; let him not faint nor be weary in his mind." By prayer and watchfulness let him wait still upon his God. In the patient continuance of well-doing, let him " press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.' However numerous and severe his trials may be, let him not say, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Let him not be afraid, for he shall never perish, but shall
eventually come forth as gold." An unskilful beholder, (these also are the words of Leighton) may think it strange to see gold thrown into the fire, and left there for a time, but he that puts it there, would be loth to lose it; his purpose is to make some costly piece of work of it. Every believer gives himself to Christ, and he undertakes to present them all blameless to the Father; not one of them shall be lost, nor one drachm of their faith; they shall be found, and their faith shall be found when he appears. That faith which is here in the furnace, shall be then made up into a crown of pure gold. It shall be found unto praise, and honour, and glory." Yes! if he manfully bear the cross, he shall wear the crown. If in faith and patience, he truly serve the captain of his salvation, (who was himself made perfect through sufferings) during the few days of this uncersain life; he shall finally join the blessed in heaven who stand "before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands; he shall be numbered with the saints in glory everlasting, concerning whom it is said, "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
B. C. S.
TO-DAY I have been among the saints of God, have shared their devotions, and listened to the messages of divine grace, as set forth in a preached gospel. I have thus sought from my heavenly Father increase of spiritual strength, to walk in the way of life, as also addition to my knowledge of truth life-giving in Christ. But what truth has so touched my heart, so moved my will as to give clear promise of a consequent modification in my habits of feeling and of action? Or, if no truths have thus seized upon my soul, what gain has accrued from all that has reached my outward ears? Is there any such magic in truth that vibrations of the air caused by its utterance, though unheeded by the human spirit, should exert a sanctifying influence? Can it make one more holy, who is not induced by it to resolve upon more holy action, or led to forsake some accustomed sin? Can it show its life-giving power except by first informing the understanding, and then determining the will to some specific resolution?
I have listened to a discourse in which the preacher set forth the grounds of the certainty that Christ's kingdom will be finally triumphant. A natural reflection is, how great the honour of belonging to his church here upon earth, and how desirable to put forth our best energies for the promotion of a cause that will finally invest all its adherents with the highest glories attainable by the intelligent creature. I have before enlisted myself as a soldier of the cross, have become a sworn partizan of the Lord Jesus Christ, but still have not made the strenuous efforts that such a cause and such a leader justly demand. How can I hesitate to devote myself anew to the service of God in the gospel of
his Son? But what shall I attempt in pursuance of this resolution? This will I do I will attempt to persuade any reader of this article who is not consecrated to this same high work, to join a most unworthy follower of the Lamb in the determination to live henceforth only for the kingdom of Christ. My arguments shall be these:
First. God our Maker, God our Preserver, God our constant Benefactor, demands this of every human being, and beyond all question, is right in such a demand. If he be right in this requirement, it must be wrong in us to refuse obedience, and this wrong must be great in proportion to the importance of the thing demanded, and to the dignity of him who makes the demand. No apology for refusal can possibly be offered while right is right, nor wrong continues wrong and surely neither the writer or reader will be willing to take a step so immensely important, as this refusal must be, without good reasons.
Secondly. No object is by any means comparable in importance with this which now claims our attention. Now, as we are so constituted, that we must live for some object, the only question is, which of all that come before us, is most worthy our regard? If the reader could be supposed hesitating as to this point, it might be worth while to remark how easily such a question is decided in practice: for apart from the consideration that God would only demand what is most important, the presumption is, that the grand objects of his own administration are more important even to man, if permitted to share in them, than any lower object can be. But if this presumption be thought insufficient to warrant a decided course in practice, no plan of conduct can be adopted