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Latin word, “spiro,” to breathe; but ghost is too confined in its signification. Is it then antecedently probable that God, in his Word, would have made use of this indefinite term to denote a separate and personal being ? Does is not appear, on the contrary, far more reasonable, that, in the meaning and expressive language of Scripture, “ his holy spirit,” was intended to convey the idea of his own divine life and energy operating on, and influencing the mind of man? . In conformity with this view, we find that our Lord promises to his disciples Comforter,—even the Spirit of Truth,” to abide with them for ever. This Holy Spirit should guide them into all truth, and shew them things to come; but not of itself should it speak, but whatsoever it should receive from the Father and the Son. And why? Evidently because proceeding forth from the Almighty God, and having no independent existence, it could shew nothing but the things of God. And to make it more plain that it was he himself who was coming to them in spirit, our Saviour adds to this his promise, “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come unto you.”
But were there no other argument in favour of this, there are many passages, which, if there be any meaning in language, are so wholly irreconcilable with the popular doctrine of the distinct personality of the Holy Spirit, that they must alone be more than sufficient to disprove it, to any man who will use his reason on the subject. We will mention only a few for the sake of brevity. “The Holy Spirit was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” To say nothing of the perfect no-meaning which the expression, “ a person given,” must convey to the mind, since the word “given” is an acknowledged interpolation, how can the tri-personalist account for there being no Holy Spirit till after our Lord's glorification? What then becomes of the eternal trinity of persons ? Must it not be plain, that “ the Holy Spirit which was not yet," is the full and perfect life-giving energy for the redemption of mankind, which proceeds from the entire union of the divine with the human nature in heaven, ---for this was our Lord's glorification ? So he himself declares, “ It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send him unto you.” (It may be here remarked, that though the frequent use of the word “sending,” in reference to the Son and the Spirit, appears to favour the idea of a tripersonal God, as it seems to imply a separate identity in the sender and the sent,—this cannot be brought forward in legitimate argument, inasmuch, as it is impossible to predicate motion or progression of an Infinite and Omnipresent Deity; and it must be used, with the like
expressions of " coming” and “ descending,” and the still more materials terms of “wrath and anger,” “hands and feet," and other“ parts and passions,” when spoken of the Almighty, in accommodation to our weak and finite powers and faculties.
And when these are gone, there is little indeed for the advocates of this doctrine to rest on!)
Again, one of the last acts of our Lord before bis Ascension, “ And He breathed on his disciples and said : Receive ye the Holy Spirit,” is altogether inconsistent with the supposition of this spirit's having a separate personality; yet how beautiful and expressive an act for imparting to them His own Divine Spirit and Power before He left them. So in desiring them to wait in Jerusalem for the fuller manifestation of the Holy Spirit, He says, “ Tarry, till ye be endued with Power from on High;" plainly indicating the nature of the spirit they were to receive, and that it could have no personal existence. And, accordingly, on the day of Pentecost, when it was fully revealed, we find, not a divine person come to comfort and instruct them, but the divine influence and power imparted from God, working in, and by them, most astonishing effects in the natural world, and among
And, lastly, though our Saviour himself expressly enjoined his apostles,-“Go ye into all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” we see that in every
instance where this sacred rite is mentioned, they baptized their converts solely into the name of Jesus. Will they tell us that in the person of Jesus Christ were comprehended the three Persons of the Trinity ? Surely they will not offer such a gross insult to our common sense! For, even if it be admitted possible that three persons may make up one Godhead, it would be the very extreme of unmeaning absurdity to affirm, that three persons can be one person! Did then the apostles neglect their Master's last positive injunction ? No! they could not ! And the only alternative is, that in the person of our Saviour Christ“ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” In him are comprehended the three essentials of the Divine Trinity,—the inmost Divinity, the Divine Humanity, or manifestation to angels and men, and the operative life and energy thence proceeding,—answering to the soul, the body, and the active spirit in man; for He is declared, by more than human authority, to be “God manifest in the flesh,”“the only wise God, our Saviour.”
To him, then, “ let every knee be bowed,” as the only God of heaven and earth, who in his infinite love for man has created and sustained all things living; and by “ taking our nature upon him,"
has brought himself nearer to his fallen creatures, after they had de.. parted from him, and has thus saved and redeemed us from the power of sin and of Satan. Then may we expect, when this acknowledgment becomes general in the world, that blessed consummation of all prophecy, when “there shall be but one fold under one Shepherd;" for “in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name One.”
THE BISHOP OF CHESTER-HON. AND REV. A. P.
It is not our intention to make any remark upon the following extracts, further than that they will be found to be highly important, and deeply interesting to every member of the New Church.
The first extract is taken from a recent Charge by the Bishop of Chester, advocating the doctrine of Justification by faith alone.
The second extract is taken from a Letter to the Bishop of Chester, by Mr. Percival, in refutation of his lordship.
The third extract is taken from the last number of the British Critic.
The first extract from the Charge of the Bishop of Chester, is as follows :
“ And here it is impossible not to, remark upon the subtle wiles of that adversary, against whom the Church of Christ is set up, and whose power it is destined to overthrow. His activity is in exact proportion to the activity which is used against him; his vigilance never fails to seize the opportunities which the weakness of man too frequently supplies. No sooner is good seed sown in the field, than tares are found springing. up amidst the wheat. Such has been the case throughout the whole history of the Church; and it has been signally and unexpectedly exemplified in the present day, by the favour shewn to notions which might seem inconsistent with the advancement of reason, [and] by the revival of errors which might have been supposed to be buried for ever.
“ To enter upon this subject generally or fully, would be quite incompatible with the limits of a Charge; and to treat it cursorily, would not be respectful to my brethren. I shall confine myself to a brief review of two points, in which the interests committed to us are specially concerned.
"1. The principle by which, in all ages and countries, the power of Satan has been most successfully assailed, and the human heart most strongly actuated, is that of simple reliance on Christ Jesus : simple acceptance of the truth, that He is made unto us of God, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.' Accordingly, this doctrine, that, lying under God's wrath and condemna. tion, we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ: this plain and simple truth has uniformly been assailed by every instrument which the enemy could bring to bear against it. From the time when certain men went down from Jerusalem, and troubled the Church at Antioch (Acts chap. 15, verses 1--25); from the time when Paul had to grieve over the disciples in Galatia, that they were removed from the grace of Christ into another Gospel (Gal. chap. 1, ver. 6); which was not another,' for it was no gospel at all; from the earliest days until now, this has been the point of attack, because on this all depends. We are still experiencing the same, and from the same cause. Through the merciful providence of God, the true principles of the Gospel were prevailing through the length and breadth of the land, and effects were following which they alone are capable of producing. Meanwhile the enemy is on the watch; knows well where his danger lies ; and contrives to cast reproach upon the doctrine which is the hinge of Christian truth and Christian practice; to confound things which ought to be kept distinct, things inherent in man with things extraneous to man, individual duties with vicarious merits; and so to reduce religion to that doubt and uncertainty which never has led, and never will lead to a consistent course of action. It is notorious that this attempt, frequently made, and too often successful, has been renewed in the present day.... They have now risen up....part of [whose] system [it is] to involve the article of justification in obscurity; what has been done for us, and what is to be wrought in us, are confused together; and, practically, man is induced to look to himself, and not to his Redeemer, for acceptance with God.
“In all this there is nothing that was unforseen. The Apostle has plainly warned us to “beware of philosophy and vain deceit,' lest they turn us aside from the simplicity of the Gospel; that very simplicity, which fits it for the reception and benefit of all, but of which some men profess to be afraid, lest mercy should be too free, and the way of return to God too open. It is, in truth, the offence of the cross renewed under a fresh disguise; the objection which corrupt nature has always opposed, under various forms, to the apostolical doctrine, ‘By grace are ye saved, through faith ; not of works, that any man should boast.' The Scriptural Truth is as clear as it is simple. “When all were dead, Christ died for all;' so that . he that hath the Son bath life, and he that hath not the Son, hath not life.' By one way alone can man possess the Son; that is, by believing in Him; and therefore, faith alone can justify; faith alone can appropriate to us that remedy which God has appointed for the healing of our plague: faith alone can give us an interest in that sacrifice, which God has accepted as the satisfaction for sin. Thus ‘being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ.?” Pp. 19–23.
On this subject Mr. Percival makes the following remarks :
“From these it appears that your lordship thinks yourself at liberty and under obligation to proclaim to your diocese, and to the English Church, that all teaching, on the subject of justification, different from the clear and simple view of the 'scriptural truth,' which you have been pleased to place before us, is to be ascribed to the agency of Satan. All who teach otherwise than your lordship on this point, are, according to this statement, agents of Satan,” and instruments of 'the enemy' of mankind.” P. 10.
“From your lordship’s language we should conclude, that the view of the doctrine of justification by faith which your lordship has promulgated, must be more clearly and plainly revealed in Holy Scripture than almost any other doctrine; otherwise, your lordship, who has declared your belief that Scripture intended to sanction actual schisms “on matters concerning which Scripture does not carry determinate conviction to every honest mind,' would never have uttered against those who differ from you on the point of justification, denunciations so fearfully painful as those to which I have called your
atten. tion ! and, indeed, your lordship expresses yourself to this effect, as follows:
"The Scriptural truth is as clear as it is simple. “When all were dead, Christ died for all;' so that he that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son, bath not life.' By one way alone can man possess the Son ; that is, by believing in him; and therefore, faith alone can justify; faith alone can appropriate to us that remedy, which God has appointed for the healing of our plague; faith alone can give us an interest in that sacrifice, which God has accepted as the satisfaction for sin. " Thus, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ.'
“ 1. In the first place, I would entreat your lordship to explain how, if the doctrine of justification be so very simple and so very clear, as you have here stated it to be, it has come to pass that for so many