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PROVING THE PERSONALITY AND DEITY OF THE HOLY GHOST Have considered the respective characters, proper Deity, and distinct Personality of the Father and the Son; and I am now to treat of the Holy Ghost. I shall in my entrance on this work just observe, that the words Ghost and Spirit, are of the same signification; one and the same word in the Greek language is translated by them both. This I observe, for the fake of some poor, weak, ignorant persons, who take them to be different; and foolishly talk of an eternal created Spirit, which is a contradiction in terms, as diviner from the Holy Ghost. The Word Spirit, is variously used; sometimes it signifies the wind, as in John 3:8. where the Holy Spirit is compared to it, because of their agreement in name; and because of some analogy between that and the divine operations of the Spirit. Sometimes by it is meant the breath, as in James 1:26. And it is easy to observe, that the Holy Spirit is called the breath of the Lord ( Psalm 33:6. Job 33:3.), and the breath of the Almighty. Now, as generation expresses the Son’s distinct mode of subsisting in the divine essence, so spiration may also express the Spirit’s distinct mode of subsisting therein; and perhaps, is the true reason of his bearing this name. The soul of man is a spirit: “There is a spirit in man”; and that is his soul, which the Lord has formed in him; and therefore he is called the Father of Spirits. But the soul of man, even when renewed and sanctified, is never called the Holy Spirit, as some have vainly imagined, who are no friends to the proper Deity of the blessed Spirit. Angels are called by the fame name; God makes his angels spirits, and by him they are lent forth as ministering spirits: But of this kind of spirits is not the Holy Ghost. The phrase is never used for the whole company and multitude of holy angels, as some have insinuated. A single instance of this use of it cannot be produced; no one proof of it can be given. God, as essentially considered, is said to be a Spirit, i.e. a spiritual Substance; which may be said of all the three Persons, Father, Son, and Spirit; but the third person is only called the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, in distinction from the Father and Son, whom I shall endeavor to prove to be a person, a distinct Person, and a divine person.
First, I shall endeavor to prove him to be a Person, which will be easily done, by observing, 1. That personal subsistence is ascribed to him. As the Father hath life in himself, and the Son hath life in himself, so has the Holy Ghost life in himself He is the author of natural life: “The breath or Spirit of the Almighty, says Elihu, hath given me life.” ( Job 33:4) And he is the author of all spiritual life: It is he who implants the principle of life, and maintains and preserves it unto eternal life. All which he could not be, and do, unless he had life in himself. And if he has life in himself, he must be a person that subsists of himself. 2. Personal characters and actions are ascribed unto him. He is represented as a person, when he is laid to convince of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; to comfort the hearts of God’s people; withers their adoption to them; teach them all things; guide them into all truth; assist them in, their prayers; make intercession for them, according to the will of God; and seal them up unto the day of redemption. And also, when he is laid to furnish men with gifts for the work of the ministry, and calls and appoints them thereunto. Now all there things worketh one and the self-same Spirit: All which he could not do; nor would he be called, as he is, the Spirit of faith, holiness, adoption, wisdom and revelation; the anointing which teacheth all things; with many other names and characters of the fame import, was he not a person. 3. Personal properties, such as understanding and will, are ascribed to him.
He is an intelligent agent; he knows the things of God, even the deep things of God, which do not lie within the reach of the understanding of creatures, without a divine revelation. “For the Spirit searcheth all things yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, fare the Spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” And as he is an intelligent, so he is willing agent: As he knows all things, so he does all things according to his will and pleasure: “All there worketh one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally he will”. ( 2 Corinthians 2:10,11.) 4. Personal affections are ascribed to him; such As the Father loves the elect, as love, grief, etc. and has shown it in the choice of them to salvation; and the Son loves them, and has shown it in the redemption of them from sin and misery: So the Spirit loves them, and shows it in the sanctification of them, and in the application of all grace unto them. Hence we read of the love of the Spirit, Romans 15:30. The Spirit may be grieved by the sins and unbecoming conversation of the saints, Ephesians 4:30. Yea, he may be rebelled against, and vexed, as he was by the Israelites, Isaiah 63:10. All which could not be laid of him, was he not a Person. Yea, he is said to be tied unto, Acts 5:3. to be blasphemed, and have sin, and that unpardonable, committed against him, Matthew 12:32, 33. which could never be, was he not a person, and a divine person too. But, Secondly, I am to prove him to be a distinct Person, both from the Father and the Son; and this may be collected, 1. From his procession from them both. That he proceeds from the Father is certain, and therefore must be distinct from him: “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”, says Christ ( John 15:25). It was once a warm controversy between the Greek and Latin churches, whether the Spirit proceedeth from the Son as well as from the Father: It seems he should, since he is called “the of the Son”, ( Galatians 4:6.) as well as of the Father; and therefore must be distinct from him whole Spirit he is. 2. This may be concluded from his mission from them both. The Father is said to send him; “the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will fend in my name, says Christ ( John 14:26), he shall teach you all things:” And of himself he says, “If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” Now as he must be a person, and not a mere power, attribute, or quality, or he could not be sent; so he must be a distinct person from the Father and the Son, by whom he is sent. 3. He is said to be another Comforter. “I will pray the Father says Christ, and he shall give you another Comforter;” ( John 14:16.), i.e. another distinct from my Father and me. The Father of Christ is one Comforter; he is” the God of comfort ( 2 Corinthians 1:3,4.), who comforteth us in all our tribulation:” And Jesus Christ is also a Comforter; Menachem, a Comforter f167 , was one of the names of the Messiah and well known among the Jews. Hence old Simeon ( Luke 2:25) is said to wait for the consolation of Israel, i.e. the Messiah; whom the Jews expected as a Comforter. Now the Holy Ghost is another Comforter, distinct from them both; from the Son who prays, and from the Father, who is prayed unto. 4. The distinct personality of the. Spirit, may be argued from his distinct appearances; as at the baptism of Christ, when he descended as a dove, and lighted upon him; and is manifestly distinguished from the Father, who spake by a voice from heaven; and from the Son, who was baptized in Jordan: And also on the day of Pentecost ( Acts 2:3,4), when “there appeared unto them, i.e. the apostles, cloven tongues, like as of fire; and it, i.e. the Holy Ghost, in this form, sat on each of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” Now this was neither the Father nor the Son, but the Holy Ghost, as distinct from them both; for Christ “being by the right hand of God, exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, shed forth this,” which was then seen and heard. 5. He is represented as a distinct person in the form of baptism; which is performed “in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” ( John 5:7) Now was he a mere power, quality, or attribute, and not a distinct divine person, he. would never be put upon an equal foot with the Father and the Son. He is mentioned as distinct from the Father and the Word, in the record which the Three are said to bear in heaven ( Matthew 28:19); if he is not a distinct person from them, there cannot be three that bear record, trei~v oJi marturou~ntev , three Testifiers, as they are laid to be.
But I proceed, Thirdly, To prove the Holy Ghost to be a divine Person; or in other words, to be truly and properly God. The Deity of the Holy Ghost was denied by the Macedonians of old, and by the Socinians of late; and generally by all such who oppose the proper divinity of the Son. That the Holy Ghost is truly and properly God may be concluded, 1. From the divine names which are given unto him. He is called Jehovah, which is incommunicable to any creature, and peculiar to the Most High.
He whom the Israelites tempted in the wilderness, vexed and rebelled against ( Exodus 17:7) was Jehovah; and yet: it is certain ( Isaiah 63:10. Hebrews 3:7,8,9,10.), that this was the Holy Ghost; and therefore he must be Jehovah; and if so, then he must be the Most High God. It was Jehovah Luke 1:68,70 , the Lord God of Israel, that spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began.
Now it is evident that it was the Holy Ghost, which spake not only by the mouth ( Acts 1:16) of David, but by the mouth of all the prophets ( Peter 1:21) : For “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost:” It follows then, that he must be Jehovah, the Lord God of Israel.
The Lord, the Adonai, who said ( Isaiah 6:8,9, 2 Thessalonians 3:5) to Isaiah: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us ?” And he who bid him say, “Go and tell this people, etc.” is by the apostle Paul ( Acts 28:25,26), said to be the Holy Ghost. The Greek word Ku>riov , which answers to Jehovah and Adonai, is used of the Holy Ghost in the New Testament: He is that Spirit which is the Lord: He is called the Lord the Spirit: And is that Lord ( 2 Thessalonians 3:5) who is desired to direct the hearts of the saints into the love of God and patient waiting for Christ; where he is manifestly distinguished from God the Father, into whose love, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, into a patient waiting for whom, he is entreated to direct the saints. Yea, he is called God in scripture; when Ananias is said to lie to the Holy Ghost, ( Acts 5:3,4) he is said to lie not unto men, but unto God. If lying to the Holy Ghost is lying to God f172 it follows, that the Holy Ghost must be God. The saints are called the temple of God; the reason is, because the Spirit of God dwells in them ( 1 Corinthians 3:16. and 6:19, 20); and because their bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost, they are exhorted to glorify God in their bodies. Now if the Holy Ghost is not God, nor designed as such in those passages, there is no force nor strength in the apostle’s reasoning, Moreover, when the apostle ( 1 Corinthians 12:4,5, 6,) ( John 7:39. Acts 19:2.) is speaking of the diversities of gifts, administrations and operations, he says, it is the same Spirit, the same Lord, the same God, which worketh all in all: Where it is plain he is only speaking of the Holy Ghost, to whom he gives those divine names, of Spirit, Lord, and God. 2. The proper Deity of the Spirit may be collected from the divine perfections which he is possessed of; such as eternity, omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence. Eternity is ascribed to him; he is called f173 the Eternal Spirit. He was concerned in the creation of all things, and therefore must be before any creature existed, before the world began, and so from eternity. As God never was without his Son, so he never was without his Spirit. As for those scriptures ( John 7:39, Acts 19:2) which say the Holy Ghost was not yet, and that there were some who had not heard that there was any Holy Ghost; these are to be understood of the wonderful effusion of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost, which was to be after Christ’s glorification; and of which dispensation the disciples at Ephesus had not yet heard. Immensity is attributed to him: Whither shall I go from thy Spirit ( <19D907> Psalm 139:7)? says the Psalmist, and whither shall I flee from thy presence?” Was he not every where, he might be shunned and avoided; and if he is every where, he must be God. The saints are his temples in which he dwells; and he dwells in them all, in all times and places, which he could not do, was he not immense and omnipresent. Omniscience is a divine perfection which belongs to him: He knows all things, even the deep things of God; his thoughts, purposes, and counsels; which he could not, was he not omniscient. Nor could he teach the saints all things, or guide them into all truth; nor make intercession for them, according to the will of God; much less foretell things to come, as he did under the Old Testament: For the Spirit of Christ, in the prophets, “terrified before hand ( 1 Peter 1:11) the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.” Christ promised the Spirit to his disciples ( John 16:12), as he who should show them things to come, which he accordingly did. He witnessed to the apostle Paul ( Acts 20:23), that bonds and afflictions should abide him in every city; and foretold by Agabus ( Acts 11:28), that there would be a great dearth throughout the world; which came to pals in the days of Claudius Caesar.
Omnipotence is another divine perfection which properly belongs to him.
He is the power of the Highest, and the finger of God. He worketh all firings according to his will. His concern in creation; the formation of Christ’s human nature in the womb of the virgin; the many signs, wonders and gifts of the Holy Ghost, loudly proclaim him to be the omnipotent God. Now if those perfections are attributed to him, which are peculiar to Deity, it follows, that he must be God. But, 3. This may be further proved from the divine works which he has performed, or which he is or has been concerned in. Creation is a work of divine power, in which the Spirit, with the Father and Son, was jointly concerned; as “by ( Psalm 33:6) the word of the Lord the heavens were made,” so “by the breath or Spirit of his mouth, all the host of them.” The Lord, “by his Spirit garnished the heavens.” ( Job 33:4) It was ( Genesis 1:2) the Spirit of the Lord that moved upon the face of the waters, and brought the rude indigested chaos into a beautiful form and order. And says Elihu, “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” ( Job 33:4) The scripture which “is given by inspiration of God,” ( 2 Timothy 3:16) and is a work purely divine, is wholly of the Spirit’s inditing: “Holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” ( 2 Peter 1:21) It was the Spirit of God who formed the human nature of Christ in the womb of the virgin; a thing marvelous and surprising; and filled it with a plenitude of gifts and graces. All the miracles which Christ wrought, he wrought by the Holy Ghost ( Matthew 12:28 Romans 15:19.) ; and all the mighty signs and wonders which were done by the apostles, were by the power of the Spirit of God. The work of regeneration and conversion, a work wherein the exceeding greatness of God’s power is displayed, is ascribed to him; and therefore ( 1 Peter 1:2. Titus 3:5. ) called the sanctification of the Spirit, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. It is he who qualifies men for the work of the ministry ( 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. Acts 13:2. and 8:29. and 16:6, 7. and 20:28.), calls them to it, directs their labors, and appoints them pastors and overseers in the several churches. He not only dwells in the fouls, but in the mortal bodies ( Romans 8:11. ) of the saints; and by him will they be quickened and railed at the last day: All which sufficiently prove him to be truly and properly God. 4. This truth will receive more weight, if we consider the divine worship which is due to him, and as such, is given him. He is not only the Spirit of grace and supplication to the saints, who helps them under their infirmities, and makes intercession for them, according to the will of God; but he is also prayed unto ( 2 Thessalonians 3:5. Revelation 1:4. ). Grace and peace are wished for from him as from the other two persons. Swearing ( Romans 9:1), which is a solemn act of religious worship, is by him; and baptism is administered in his name; which would not be, was he not a divine person, truly and properly God. To conclude, I hope I have proved what I undertook, That there is but one God; that there is a plurality in the Godhead; that there are three divine Persons in it; that the Father is God, the Son God, and the Holy Spirit God; that there are distinct in Personality, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. I shall close all with the following doxology: To the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, three Persons, but one God, be all honour, glory, and praise, now and for evermore. Amen.