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persons, but the benefits conferred by them in baptism on those who believe,-namely, that our eternal salvation is owing to the Fa:her, our redemption to the Son, and our sanctification to the Spirit. The power of the Father is inherent in hiinself, that of the
, Son and the Spirit is received from the Father ; for it has been already proved on the authority of the Son, that the Son does every thing in the name of the Father, and the Spirit every thing in the name of the Father and the Son; and a confirmation of the same truth may be derived from the words immediately preceding the verse under discussion ; v. 18. all power is given unto me....go ye therefore.... baptizing in the name,' &c. and still more plainly by 1 Cor. vi. 11. but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.' Here the same three are mentioned as in baptism, “the Son,' the Spirit,' aud • our God ;' it follows therefore, that the Father alone is our God, of whom are both the Son and the Spirit.
But invocation is made to the Spirit. 2 Cor. xiii. 14. “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with
all.' This, however, is not so much an invocation as a benediction, in which the Spirit is not addressed as a person, but sought as a gift from him who alone is there called God, namely, the Father, from whom Christ himself directs us to seek the communication of the Spirit. Luke xi. 13. If the Spirit were ever to be invoked personally, it would be then especially, when we pray for him ; yet we are commanded not to ask him of himself, but only of
the Father. Why do we not call upon the Spirit himself, if he be God, to give himself to us? He who is sought from the Father, and given by him, not by himself, can neither be God, nor an object of invocation. The same form of benediction occurs Gen. xlviii. 15, 16. the God before whom my
fathers did walk....the angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads :' and Rev. i. 4. 'grace be unto you, and peace from him which is....and from the seven spirits.' It is clear that in this passage the seven spirits, of whom more will be said hereafter, are not meant to be invoked. Besides that in this benediction the order or dignity of the things signified should be considered, rather than that of the persons ; for it is by the Son that we come to the Father, from whom finally the Holy Spirit is sent. So 1 Cor. xii. 4–6. there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit: and there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord : and there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. Here the three are again mentioned in an inverse order; but it is one God which worketh all in all, even in the Son and the Spirit, as we are taught throughout the whole of Scripture.
Hence it appears that what is said Matt. xii. 31. 32, has no reference to the personality of the Holy Spirit. For if to sin against the Holy Spirit were worse than to sin against the Father and Son, and if that alone were an unpardonable sin, the Spirit truly would be greater than the Father and the Son. The words must therefore apply to that illumination, which, as it is highest in degree, so it is last in order of time, whereby the Father enlightens us through the Spirit,
and which if any one resist, no method of salvation remains open to him.
to him. I am inclined to believe, however, that it is the Father himself who is here called the Holy Spirit, by whose Spirit, v. 28, or finger, Luke xi. 20. Christ professed to cast out devils ; when therefore the Pharisees accused him falsely of acting in concert with Beelzebub, they are declared to sin unpardonably, because they said of him who had the Spirit of his Father, he hath an unclean spirit,' Mark ii. 30. Besides, it was to the Pharisees that he spoke thus, who acknowledged no other Spirit than the Father himself. If this be the true interpretation of the passage, which will not be doubted by any one who examines the whole context from v. 24 to v. 32. that dreaded sin against the Holy Spirit will be in reality a sin against the Father, who is the Spirit of holiness ; of which he would be guilty, who should affirm that the Spirit of the Father which was working in Christ was the prince of the devils, or an unclean spirit ;-as Mark clearly shows in the passage quoted above.
But the Spirit bestows grace and blessing upon the churches in conjunction with the Father and the Son; Rev. i. 4, 5.“
be unto you and peace from him which is....and from the seven spirits which are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ.' It is clear, however, that the Holy Spirit is not here meant to be implied ; the number of the spirits is inconsistent with such a supposition, as well as the place which they are said to occupy, standing like angels before the throne. See also iv. 5. and v 6. where the same spirits are called • seven lamps of fire burning before the throne,' and the seven horns' and • seven eyes of the Lamb. Those who reduce these spirits to one Holy Spirit, and consider them as synonymous with his sevenfold grace, (an opinion which is deservedly refuted by Beza, *) ought to beware, lest, by attributing to mere virtues the properties of persons, they furnish arguments to those commentators who interpret the Holy Spirit as nothing more than the virtue and power of the Father.t This may suffice to convince us, that in this kind of threefold enumerations the sacred writers have no view whatever to the doctrine of three divine
persons, or to the equality or order of those persons ;-not even in that verse which has been mentioned above, and on which commentators in general lay so much stress, 1 John v. 7. there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one,' where there is in reality
* Dei majestati adjungit suos stipatores, non tamen quasi illos ulla in parte Deo exæquet, vel cum Christo conferat, sicut etiam Paulus testes una citat Deum, Christum, et angelos, 1 Tim. v. 21. Nam quod septem hos spiritus nonnulli pro Spiritu Sancto acceperunt, cujus septiformis, ut loquuntur, sit gratia, manifeste refelli potest vel ex eo quod scribitur infra v. 5, 6. At ne quis hoc loco offendatur, quasi ad istos spiritus aliquid transferatur quod ad Deitatem tantum pertineat, vel quasi Christus istis spiritibus subjiciatur, considerentur divina elogia quæ paulo post tribuuntur Christo Unius enim Dei est, et quidem qui homo sit factus, sanguine suo abluere mundi peccata ; neque usquam angelis gloria et robur æternum tribuitur, sed hoc ipsum est quod angeli Dei acclamant. Christus ergo ut Deus hic describitur ; septem autem isti spiritus ut ministri ante thronum collocantur; ergo etiam coram Christo, ut qui Deo Patri assideat. Denique ut nemo de hoc possit ambigere, iidem isti septem Spiritus iofra v. 5, 6. Agni cornua et oculi, id est, ministri, dicuntur.' Beza ad Apoc. i. 4.
† According to the doctrine of the Socinians. Respondemus Spiritum Sanctum quidem per se, et, ut in scholis loquuntur, abstracte sumptum, qualitatem re vera esse, non substantiam.' Crellius, in answer to the question an Spiritus Sanctus substantia quædam sit, an vero mera tantum qualitas a Deo profecta.'
nothing which implies either divinity or unity of es
As to divinity, God is not the only one who is said to bear record in heaven ; 1 Tim. v. 21. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels,'-—where it might have been expected that the Holy Spirit would have been named in the third place, if such ternary forms of expression really contained the meaning which is commonly ascribed to them. What kind of unity is intended, is sufficiently plain from the next verse, in which the spirit, the water, and the blood' are mentioned, which are to bear record to one,' or to that one thing.' Beza himself, who is generally a staunch defender of the Trinity, understands the phrase unum sunt to mean, agree in one. *
What it is that they testify, appears in the fifth and sixth verses-namely, that he that overcometh the world is he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God, even Jesus Christ,' that is, the anointed ; therefore he is not one with, nor equal to, him that anointed him. Thus the very record that they bear is inconsistent with the essential unity of the witnesses, which is attempted to be deduced from the passage.
For the Word is both the Son and Christ, that is, as has been said, the anointed ; and as he is the image, as it were, by which we see God, so is he the word by which we hear him. But if such be his nature, he cannot be essentially one with God, whom no one can see or hear. The same has been already proved, by other arguments, with regard to the Spirit ; it follows, therefore, that these three are not one in essence. I say notbing of the suspicion of spuriousness attached to the pas