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tiles ignorantly worshipped, the scriptures declare to us ; but in such terms as the pride of human reason quarrels with, and such as faith only will embrace as correct. “ For there are three who bear record in Heaven, - the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one”.
I design, in the first place, to make some · remarks on the particulars contained in this text of holy writ.
In the second place, I shall endeavour to confirin and illustrate the doctrine taught us in it, by the concurrent testimony of the in- ; spired writers in the old testament.
I shall conclude my discourse with proofs : and illustrations from the new testament.
1st. We have to investigate the contents of our text.
But it will be proper to obviate an objec- : tion frequently raised against this scripture. : It is said, by some, to be an interpolation. That is, they contend for its having been, at some period or other, superadded to the written word by a trinitarian hand. But though tbis has often been asserted, for want of a more plausible objection, it has, never been proved, and never will. We' are therefore bound to receive it as a component part of the sacred volume. It seems indeed impossible for an addition of such importance to have been made to the oracles : of God without detection at the moment. ; Besides, the objection is not peculiar tỏ this' . · very 'offensive passage. The opposers of the doctrine inculcated in it, level the same shaft at other passages, particularly at those in the first chapters of Matthew and Luke, which preserve the account of the incarnation of the Son of God. In fact, the deistical part of the world, if they are compelled by the irresistible force of overwhelming evidence to admit the scriptures to be a Re· velation from God, instantly takerefuge from
all its mysterious tenets in the convenient 'excuse, that the scriptures are corrupted,
and no longer exist in their original purity. · But still we have no proof, nay quite the reverse. And to talk about the corruption of revelation, as the adversaries of its peculiar sentiments are fond of doing, is either virtually denying it to be a revelation at all, or else passing a severe reflection on its author. · When the Creator determined on investing this globe with light as with a garment, he called a suitable laminary into existence to be the ruler of our day. And does not the sun continue to this instant to run its destined race and cheer us by its beams? But did God also design to impart the light of truth to the minds of his children? And for this purpose has he given us his word ? And is this word proposed to us as a lamp to our path to guide our feet into the way of life and peace? Has God said to Zion by the prophet Isaiah, “ All thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the
peace of thy children”, -and has he by the same prophet admonished those children to take heed “To the law and to the testimony, for if they speak not according to this word, there is no light in them”? Then surely the eye of the Lord is ever watchful of his word, and his arm protects it. And men might as easily demonstrate that the light of day is corrupted at its source, and that the sun is now no longer what God made it, -as prove the truth of God to be turned into a lie by the adulteration of that scripture, the whole of which was given by the inspiration of God, and its every part written by holy men of God as they were severally moved by the Holy Ghost.*
1. But we will proceed to the contents of the text, and show that its every particular is confirmed by other passages in the scriptures; and this will be its best defence. The text speaks of three personal Agents; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. I call them persons, because of the titles given them, and the sundry offices and operations assigned them.
That the Father is a person, no one will question. That the Word, who is likewise called the Son, and the Lord Jesus Christ, is a person, is equally obvious. But the personality of the Holy Spirit is not so readily conceded. It is objected, that the very title of “ the Spirit”, is itself a sufficient refutation
*2 Timothy, iii. 14--17. 2 Peter, i. 19—21.
of the notion of his distinct personality. Nor do I wonder at the stand made here; because if this ground of objection fails, it is vain to look out for any other, since the Spirit is represented through all the scriptures as a personal agent. But this objection is really groundless. For the title of the Spirit, ima gined to militate against the point in question, is truly a direct proof of it. Every spirit is a person; I mean every reasonable intelligent spirit. Now the Holy Ghost is called the spirit of wisdom and knowledge; both as possessing those attributes in himself, and as communicating them in a supernatural degree and manner to the human nature of Christ.* He is also the instructor of the mystical bodý of Christ, or the Church. Thus on the day of Pentecost, “ they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”+ Therefore the Spirit is a person. But it has been further objected, that the word in the Greek being of the neuter gender, of itself shows the Spirit to be im-personal. This too is a mistake ; for the whole argument rests upon the nature of the subject, and not at all upon what gender its name may be of. Thus the definition of a person, by one of the soundest Philosophers that ever enlightened à dark age, the celebrated Locke, is this; "a person is, à thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider *Isaiah xi. 1.-3.
+ Acts ii. 4.
itself as itself, the same thinking thing in different times and places”. Hence personality is not strictly applicable to the beast, which is said to have no understanding. It is not possessed of a thinking intelligent spirit. But to man personality is applied with propriety ; not as relating to his body, but to his spirit or soul, whieh is endowed with mental powers. His personality is independant on his animal frame; it centers entirely in that thinking thing within him, which is of an im material nature, and therefore naturally indestructible and immortal. Accordingly Paul, in his rapture to the third heavens, speaks of himself as himself, whether in the body or whether out of the body. He likewise declares it to be the desire of himself and other persons, to be absent from the body, in order that they might be present with the Lord. The thief also was to go, in his own proper person, to Paradise, in company with the Lord, although his body was destined to see corruption in the grave. Thus angels are persons, although they have no corporeal frames. “ He maketh his angels spirits”; and since they are not mere material ones, but of an intellectual nature, they are all possessed of distinct personality. It is then obvious, that as the Holy Spirit is distinguished, both in this text and in others, from the Father, and from the Son or Word, he must be endowed with a distinct personality. “Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost;” said Stephen