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named, He who was, and is, and is to come, and the seven spirits, which are before His throne, and Jesus Christ, the faithful witness. Here Mr. Bickersteth maintains that the seven spirits are the Holy Spirit, and that as they are mentioned separately from the Father they must form a distinct being. Looking, however, at the context, a simple interpretation appears to me far more suitable than the complicated and elaborate one suggested: the seven spirits are the angels or messengers of the seven churches of Asia, and as such endowed with God's Spirit; and they are mentioned in the benediction because it is hoped that through them the divine
will come. similar reason reference is made to Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-begotten of the dead, the Prince of the kings of the earth, i. e., the head of God's kingdom.
And now let us turn to the opposite view of this subject, viz. that the term Holy Spirit is often equivalent to the Father Himself. First, if the Holy Spirit were a distinct personal God, should we not find the title “ God the Spirit,” instead of the one with which we are so familiar, the Spirit of God? Nowhere in the Old or New Testament does the phrase "God the Holy Spirit” occur, though it has been found necessary for the expression of Trinitarian opinion. The phrase “Spirit of God” is used interchangeably with “Holy Spirit;" e.g., at the baptism of Christ, Matthew says, “The Spirit of God descended ;” Mark, “The Spirit ;” and Luke, “The Holy Spirit.”
2. The Spirit of God is likened to the spirit of man, which we do not regard as a second person in the man himself. “What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him ? even so the things of God knoweth no man, (ouders, no one), but the Spirit of God," 1 Cor. ii. 11. As the phrase, “the spirit of a man,” is used for the man himself, so in a large number of instances the phrase “Spirit of God” is evidently used for God Himself. Compare the following ;
I am glad of the coming Who hath directed the of Stephanas, and Fortunatus, Spirit of the Lord, or being and Achaicus : for that which His counsellor bath ght was lacking on your part they him?- Isaiah, xl. 13.0 have supplied. For they have Thou that art named the refreshed my spirit and yours. house of Jacob, is the Spirit 1 Cor. xvi. 17, 18. Brethren of the Lord straitened ? are the grace of our Lord Jesus these His doings ?—Micah. Christ be with your spirit. ii. 7. Gal. vi. 18.
In Isaiah lix. I, the same idea is conveyed by the words “ The Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save.”
Accordingly, while in 1 Cor. vi. 19, we read, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you ?” we read in the 3rd chap. of the same epistle, 16th ver., “ Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” If in Isaiah lxiii. 10, it is written, “They rebelled and vexed His Holy Spirit," the Psalmist says (Psalm lxxviii. 56), “They tempted and provoked the most high God.”
The most important feature of Hebrew poetry is called parallelism, by which a period is divided into “ members which as it were balance each other by thought corresponding to thought in repetition, in amplification, in reply, or in contrast.”* This is a not unfrequent cause of the use of the word Spirit and other words instead of God Himself, especially where the second clause of a parallelism is a repetition of the sense of the first; e.g., " By the word of the Lord were the Heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth,” Psalm xxxiii. 6. This corresponds to the sublime declaration, “He spake and it was done, He commanded and it stood fast,” Psalm xxxiii. 9. Sometimes it is said God works by His power, His understanding, etc. For the sake of variety in expression, “Thy Spirit” is employed instead of “ Thee” in the Book of Common Prayer.
“ The Lord be with you. Answer: And with thy spirit."
So the Psalmist sings, “Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from Thy presence ?" Psalm cxxxix. 7.
3. In the Gospel of St. Matthew the very same thing is attributed to the Father, which is ascribed by St. Luke to the Holy Ghost. But when they deliver you
And when they bring you up, take no thought how or unto the synagogues, and what ye shall speak: for it unto Magistrates and powers, shall be given you in that take ye no thought how or same hour what shall what thing ye shall answer, speak. For it is not ye that or what ye shall say: for the
speak, but the Spirit of your Holy Ghost shall teach you Father which speaketh in you. in the same hour what ye --Matt. x. 19, 20.
ought to say.-- Luke xii. 11,
12. 4. St. Matthew uses the expression, “The Spirit of God,” in a connexion in which St. Luke has “Finger of God.”
But if I cast out devils by But if I with the finger of the Spirit of God, then the God cast out devils, no doubt kingdom of God is come unto the kingdom of God is come you.—Matt. xii. 28.
upon you.-Luke xi. 20. In like manner while the law received by Moses on Sinai is declared to be written by the “Finger of God,” the apostle Paul in borrowing the image to apply it to Christians, says, “ Written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart,” 2 Cor. iii. 3.
5. The evangelist Luke has the following twofold mode of expressing the same event.
And, behold, I send the And, being assembled topromise of my Father upon gether with them, you : but tarry ye in the city manded them that they should of Jerusalem, until ye be en- not depart from Jerusalem, dued with power from on high. but wait for the promise of -Luke xxiv. 49.
the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.-Acts i.
4, 5. 6. In both the following instances the reference is to miracles, yet in one the Holy Spirit is referred to
as the source, and in the other they are described as the works of the Father.
And we are His witnesses The works that I do in of these things; and so is also my Father's name, they bear the Holy Spirit, whom God witness of me.-John x. 25. hath given to them that obey Him.-Acts v. 32.
7. Is the Spirit Sanctifier and the Spirit of truth, and does it Guide us into all truth? Hear the words of Jesus, "Holy Father .... sanctify them through Thy truth; as Thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world, and for their sakes I sanctify myself that they also might be sanctified through the truth,” John xvii. 17-19.
8. Is it by the Spirit that we are led to Christ? “No man can come unto me, except the Father who hath sent me draw him," John vi. 44. And again,
No man can come unto me except it were given him of my Father," John vi. 65.
PROPERTIES AND ACTIONS ASCRIBED TO THE SPIRIT.
Mr. Bickersteth next maintains that such properties and actions are ascribed to the Spirit as prove independent and intelligent personality. In giving evidence in favor of this view, he has, in the fulness of his own faith, made statements which may perhaps mislead the reader. In pp. 98, 99, we are told “He, the Holy Spirit, creates and gives life, He strives with the ungodly, He, etc., etc.” Now the original Greek word for Spirit is neuter, and is associated with a neuter pronoun, when that part of speech is necessary, excepting where a new name of another gender is