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that the circumstances under which the disputed expression circumstances which can properly belong to real existence occnrs are such as to make a recourse to allegory probable; alone; whereby virtue is described as a celestial nymph, and and secondly, that the expression itself has those usual marks justice equipped with her balance, her fillet, and her sword. by which, in every rational composition, such figures of But for these distinctive marks of allegory, we may in the speech are distinguishable.

present instance inquire in vain. There is nothing either triThe motives are four, and four only, which can induce a Aing or impossible in the literal sense of our Saviour's.exreasonable inan to depart from that general propriety of lan-pression, and it is difficult, therefore, to show, on what pringuage, to violate which, without sufficient reason, is a trans- ciples of criticism or common sense the apostles could gression at once against good sense and natural feeling; and have understood their Master any otherwise than literthese motives are as follow:

ally. Firsi, if he desires to perplex the judgment and to tax the But, further, the personification of an abstract quality, ingenuity of his readers or auditors : Secondly, if a future (since it is in this manner that our learned antagonists event is to be dimly shadowed, which it would be inconve- desire to understand the term of Holy Ghost or Spirit of nient to express beforehand with too much precision : Third- God,) is only then either proper or intelligible, when the ly, if a disagreeable truth is to be cloaked under a less offen- name assigned to the imaginary person is the known and consive form : and, Fourthly, if an apt illastration of the subject stituted representative of the species which we desire to comimplied is afforded by the outward circumstances of the fable, prise; as justice is the abstract term for a succession of just or allegory, or metaphor.

actions; temperance and mercy for repeated conquests over The first of these motives is that harmless love of supe- our animal inclinations and continual gentle affections; and riority, which, from the time of Sampson downwards, has virtue, in general, for that habit or disposition of mind which vented itself in hard questions and enigmas, but which, produces all the several actions of justice, temperance, and however harmless, the gravity of our Saviour's character, no mercy. less than the peculiar solemnity of his discourse and the When, therefore, we speak of virtue as a celestial nymph, mournful occasion on which it was delivered, must effectually and when we dress out justice in that garb which she wore prevent us from expecting to find in his gracious promise of in the ancient pantheon, our hearers are well aware that neia Comforter.

ther corporeal beauty nor material weapons can, any otherOf the remaining three, the first had been answered on wise than figuratively, be possessed by either the one or the former occasions by the several figures under which our other. Lord described, beforehand, his death and its painful circum- But if an abstract idea be personified under any other name stances; the second by those various comparisons of the than that which conventionally and usually represents it; if vineyard, the fig-tree, the entrusted talents, which he em- I speak of the awful beauty of Aretė, or menace my audiployed to reprove his countrymen for their impenitence and tors with the sword of Themis, it is impossible that those, spiritual pride: and, of the last, an instance may be found in who are not apprised that Arete and Themis imply in Greek his manner of instituting the Eucharist, where, by bestowing what virtue and justice do in our own language, shonld underon the bread and wine the name of his body and blood, he stand by my expressions any other than real individuals, of exemplified in them his own approaching sufferings. whom the one is literally stately and fair, and the other so

Bat, in the promise now under consideration, if it be still armed as I described her. No one, therefore, in his right regarded as allegorical, not one of all those ends is answered, mind, if he did not really desire to deceive, would make use for which only we can suppose that allegory would be em- of similar expressions, or employ a name to represent an abployed by the wise and holy Jesus. There was no necessity stract idea, of which that name was not the proper representfor concealing, nor did, in fact, our Lord conceal from his ative. But no series of actions, no moral or physical quality disciples the nature of the comfort which they were to receive; can be instanced which the Holy Ghost can be said to repreno reproof was softened, no aptness of illustration obtained sent. He may be the giver of virtue, but he is not virtue by attributing such celestial favours to the distribution of an itself; he may dispense either wisdom, or goodness, or imaginary agent, and we must, therefore, continue slow to power, but however he may, in himself, be strong, or good, or believe that the agent introduced is imaginary.

wise, his name is not synonymous with any one of these With still more reason, however, we may require our several accidents or habits. If the term of Holy Spirit do learned antagonists to point out to our attention in the tenour not represent a person, it will be difficult to say of what idea of our Saviour's discourse some one or mcre of those charac- it is the proper or natural sign, and it is most natural thereters and notices, the want of which must render any figura- fore, and most reasonable to suppose, that a person was tive expression whatever, (I will not say enigmatical, for to thereby intended. enigmas themselves these principles apply,) but altogether But this probability is still further increased, if the effects fallacious or unmeaning,

described be attributed to an agent, which, according to the They are notices like these, indeed, which, however con- preconceived opinion of my hearers, and in the conventional veyed, afford, in fact, the only difference between fiction and meaning of the word, is a real existence or intelligence, and falsehood; between a parable and a lie; between the forged competent, without any figure at all, to produce the phenoadventures of an imposter and the imaginary incidents of a mena ascribed to it. romance; between an incorrect and unnatural description of Had Socrates, when speaking of that invisible monitor by objects and events, and the elegant illustration of those whose dictates he professed to be guided, described it under events and objects by the use of metaphor or allegory. the name of his prudence, his foresight, or his conscience;

I do not mean that it is always necessary that the author (though he still might have imputed to it the actions of a or orator should introduce his illustrations with a definite preceptor of a friend ;) it would have then been clearly underpreface that he is about to speak in parables; that he should stood that his language was metaphorical, and that by the prefix to his flowers of lauguage the formal title of enigma imaginary personage of prudence, conscience, or foresight, he or metaphor; or guard us, with the fantastic caution of the meant only to express a natural process of his intellectual facEnthusiast of Geneva, against believing that fishes can ulties. speak, or that the trees of the wood can assemble to elect But, when Socrates declared himself to have received adtheir monarch. The same notice is more elegantly, and as vice and intelligence from a friendly demon, his countrymen effectnally given, first, when the circumstance related would must have understood, (and he, doubtless, intended that they be trifling or out of place in our present discourse, unless it should so understand him,) that he was attended by one of had some deeper meaning than our outward words imply, those beings superior to man, whom, under the name of Deand, secondly, when the assertion, if literally understood, mon, they were accustomed from their infancy to fear, to prowould be in itself absurd or impossible.

pitiate, to adore. By the first of these marks, when our Lord had shadowed In like manner, if we had read in the book of kings, that out to his countrymen their own impenitence and final ruin, the disobedient prophet was overtaken, in his return from the Jews were able to perceive that the tale of the fig-tree Bethel to Jerusalem, by destruction sent from God, we might, was spoken against themselves. By the guidance of the certainly, have understood the words send and overtake to be second, we readily understand that, when Christ gave the poetical ornaments only, and have interpreted the story by the name of his own blood to that fluid which the apostles well simple circumstance that the prophet had died on his journey. knew to be ordinary wine, he could only mean that his blood But when we are told by the sacred historian that a lion was should in like manner be poured out or spilt. And it is on sent to destroy him, that would be a strange hypothesis inthe same identical principle of the impossibility of a literal deed which should maintain, that the whole is an allegorical meaning, that we understand and employ the figure of per- description of an apoplexy or a stroke of the sun, and that the sonification, whereby abstract qualities are represented under animal called a lion was entirely unconcerned in the slaughterBut, in the present instance, and with those Jews and Jew-/such outward marks of his favour, that ye shall have little ish Greeks to whom the gospel was first delivered, the name reason to regret my departure from the world. Ye are heirs of Spirit, it is acknowledged by all, was no less appropiate to to my miraculous powers, and shall, with a commission dea particular class of animals than with us the names of lion, or rived from me, and in a field of utility far more extensive than man, or eagle. It meant, we know, like the demon of the that in which I have laboured, succeed me as teachers of Greeks, a race of sentient and intelligent beings, and, though righteousness." This he might have told them on Socinian it included in its wildest range the whole sweep of immortal principles, but how different are such expressions from those and immaterial existence from the Almighty to the human of the Father shall send you another comforter,”—“the soul, it was most generally used to designate the inhabitants Spirit of Truth, who is with you, and shall be in you." "If of the invisible world.

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I go not away, the comforter will not come; but if I depart, It is little to our present purpose to inquire how far the I will send him unto you." above application of the word tonn (of which the Hellenis. It has been objected, however, that the Holy Ghost, or tic arma is a translation) was an essential or primitive fea- Spirit of God, was understood by the Jews themselves in a ture of the Jewish theology; whether its meaning were orig- different sense from that which they applied to the term of inally confined to breath, or air

, or acuteness of intellect; or Spirit in general; that it was a customary and conventional whether, as is surely more probable, the suspicion of invisible figure to express a particular operation of God's grace, and was coeval with the knowledge of visible existence, and the was strictly synonymous, in the usage of the ancient synamost subtile substance which was obnoxious to sense, was gogue, with the modern term of inspiration. And, in aid naturally employed to designate that still purer mode of being of this opinion, two passages have been frequently cited : which was only perceptible by their fears. But, whether the the one of St. Jerome, where, after accusing Lactantius of doctrine of Spirits were primitive or no, or whatever degree of denying the personality of the Holy Ghost, he calls such deantiquity we assign to its prevalence; whether it went up nial a Jewish heresy; the other of Maimonides, who defines with Moses from Egypt, or passed with Ezra from Babylon; that Spirit by which the prophets spake, to be "an intellectin the time of Christ we know the name was used to express ual power communicated to them by God." a real or fancied personage, of power and knowledge excell- But that these passages are sufficient for the purpose of our ing those of man; of wisdom more refined as being unshack- antagonists, the following reasons may induce us to do more led by sensual imperfections; of strength not less to be dread-than doubt. ed because the arin which smote was unseen.

The meaning of Jerome was possibly no other than, under It was the denial of such a race which divided the Saddu- the name of a Jewish error, to stigmatize the peculiar doccees from the great majority of their countrymen; it was to trine of a single sect, and to tax his antagonist with Saddutheir agency that the Jews were accustomed to ascribe every cism. And it may be also worthy of notice, that, if Jerome phenomenon of nature, and every accident which befel the had no better foundation for his charge against the Jews than body or the mind, and our Saviour himself, when he returned he had for that which he has broughi against Lactantius, the from the dead, was apprehended to belong to their number. synagogue of his time was, in this instance, but a very little

But, to such a being, all the actions which Christ ascribed way removed from the kingdom of God. Lactantius, though to his promised Comforter were strictly and peculiarly appro- that particular work be lost to which his accuser chiefly repriate. The guardianship of a Spirit was perfectly intelligible fers, has left enough behind him to evince the grossness of to those who believed in tutelary Genii: that a person of this the calumny; and, though he ascribe, in common, as may be kind might dwell with them and be in them was the universal hereafter shown, with many others of undoubted orthodoxy, faith or superstition of the East; and to the actual illapses or the name of Spirit both to God in general, and, more parinhabitation of such good or evil intelligences, the ravings of ticularly, to the Son of God in his pre-existent majesty; he madness, and the lofty strains of prophecy, were imputed by distinguishes, nevertheless, in his description of the Saviour's the common voice of antiquity. The byll was supposed, at baptism, the Spirit, peculiarly so called, both from the Father the time of inspiration, to labour with a present Deity. It and the Son. Nor have any of the ancient Christians more was not the Damsel of Philippi, but the Pythonic demon happily illustrated the difference between the accidents of within her, who recognized in Paul and his companions the material existence, and the eternal and intelligent emanations servants of the Most High God; and when the fiend was of an eternal intelligence, than this pious and eloquent chamcast out, or the Divinity had retired, the power of the pro-pion of the faith, whom, on the accusation of one whose phetess was gone.

warmth too often rendered him unjust and uncharitable, the It was not then, by any communicated energy, but by their orthodox have, without inquiry, been ready to fling into the actual presence and prompting, that the beings of the invisible hands of a party at least sufficiently anxious to obtain any world were supposed to give to man either supernatural illustrious accession to their number. knowledge or supernatural power. Had our Saviour men- If we should concede, however, to the assertion of Jerome aced his disciples with a visitation of the evil spirit, we are and the similar testimony of Epiphanius, that the majority sure that they would have understood him literally; the spi- of the Jewish nati did really, in their time, deny the Perrits of fear, of infirmity, of dumbness, were all, in the mytho-sonality of the Holy Ghost,- yet will not the prevalence of logy of the Rabbins, supposed to be real personages; nor has such an opinion in the fourth century after Christ, be regardany adequate reason as yet been assigned, why their notioned as a sufficient evidence of the original doctrines of the of the spirit of truth should vary from this general analogy: synagogue. Those doctrines may be naturally supposed, in

It is said that the Messiah conformed his expressions to the the course of twelve generations of mutual bitterness, to have usual language of the time, without heeding whether the receded considerably from the ancient confession in every notions which that language implied were, in themselves, point which favoured or resembled the tenets of their Chrisphilosophical or accurate ? That, as he was content to as- tian rivals. And the more recent, and therefore less forcible cribe, in contradiction to the truth, and in compliance with authority of Maimonides is liable to the further objection, popular superstition, corporeal disease to an incorporeal that this ingenious writer has evinced himself in several inagent; he was content, in like manner, to express supernatu- stances disposed to depart from the usual tenor of Rabbinical ral gifts under the name of a visiting or protecting spirit ? orthodoxy." Disgusted with the legends of his countrymen, The first of these suppositions, if it be not altogether blas- and anxious to obviate the discredit which their dreaming phemous, is, at best, of a questionable character; nor will commentators had thrown even on the Law of Moses itsell, those, who believe the Lord Jesus to have been, himself, all the system which he has embodied in the More Nerochim, wisdom and truth, be inclined to allow, that, under any cir- is, throughout, a sort of freethinking Judaism, as much at cumstances whatever, he would have lent his sanction to a variance with the general confession of those whose cause false notion of the manner in which his Father governs the he pleads, as the works of Crellius and Socinus with the preworld. But the conduct ascribed to him in the second part of vailing tenets of Christendom. this hypothesis is more, far more, than a simple acquiescence And that, in fact, no small number at least of the more in error. The wisest and best of men may suffer, under par- learned Jews, even so late as the fourth century after Christ, ticular circumstances, a mistaken opinion to pass unexplained; acknowledged the Spirit of God as a distinct and intelligent but that man is neither wise nor good who, in making a being, is shown by the positive assertion of Eusebius, (who promise, unnecessarily employs such terms as are likely to quotes the Hebrew doctors as assigning him a local habitadeceive his hearers. Jesus might, surely, have engaged to tion in the region of the air;) by the fact which will be here endue his disciples with supernatural power or celestial after more minutely proved, that the Christians of the circumknowledge, without the introduction of any fabulous ma- cision, however in other respects heretical, in the Personality chinery. “My Father," he might have said, “when I am of the Holy Ghost agreed with the Gentile Churches; and taken away, will bestow on you such internal comfort and above all, by very numerous passages in the Rabbinical works themselves, which speak of him in terms altogether portion, if it shall appear on inquiry, (as it will, I apprehend, inapplicable to a virtue or abstraction only. By these wri- appear to all who inquire with sufficient candour and diliters the Holy Ghost is expressly opposed to him, whom we gence,) that, of those believers for whose use, in every age know the Jews regarded as a person, the spirit or power of of the world, the promise of our Lord was, apparently, inevil; he is said to dwell in the hearts of men as another and tended, the great majority have, in every age, adhered to the a better soul; he is called a Holy Guest who honours the literal interpretation. Sabbath with his presence; we find him described in their If of a numerous assembly, the major part misconceive usual jargon as the Spirit of the Window whereby God's the purport of an oration, the mistake will be, in common glory is revealed, and the Spirit by whom the dead are raised. life, attributed to a wilful or involuntary defect of clearness

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And, as it cannot be said that our souls are enlightened in the orator; he will be supposed to have purposely conand our bodies raised by the same or a similar operation; as cealed his meaning from the passions and prejudices of the the acts described are distinct, the Spirit by which they are vulgar, or to have failed from natural infirmity in producing effected must, plainly, be an Agent, not a process; a Dispen- that effect on their understandings which was the ostensible ser of various graces, not any single grace personified. object of his endeavours.

It is needless, therefore, to refer to the fuxi or vàs of Philo, But neither mysticism nor weakness can, without the and the Binah of the Cabbalists, to ascertain the ancient wildest impiety, be imputed by any Christian sect to our creed. It is true, indeed, that these Hebrew testimonies fall common Master. He came to give light to mankind, and he very short of that standard of knowledge which the Christian would employ, we may be sure, in that glorious mission, the Church has attained ; and that the rank of the Holy Spirit, means which were best adapted to his end. The manner, and his union with the Deity, were imperfectly, if at all, then, in which the majority of the Christian church have, comprehended, by the Jews of any sect or era. But, neither in every age, agreed to understand any expression of their can this admission be allowed to militate against the truth or Lord, (though this agreement will be no absolute proof that importance of this article of the Catholic faith, without aban-their interpretation is true,) yet will it certainly go a considdoning at the same time the resurrection of the dead, and all erable way to persuade a candid man that it is so. those other features of our religion, which it was a part, at And the presumption of its truth will be stronger still, if least, of the Messiah's office, to reveal, or assert, or ex- we find that, in this majority of believers, those ages are plain.

included which come nearest to the time of the apostles,The illumination, in fact, of the moral creation of God, and that in antiquity, no less than universality, it has the during the course of his dealings with mankind, has, like the advantage over the opposite opinion. advances of the physical day, been gradually and slowly pro- For, though nothing, doubtless, of divine authority, (and gressive. The darkness of ignorance has been dispelled by no authority can be absolutely conclusive which is not dia process almost similar to that which chases every morning vine,) be ascribed to those remoter periods : yet, as every the darkness of night from a part of the creation; and the stream, in proportion to its length, is exposed to adulteration; leading truths which almighty wisdom has thought fit to re- and as every machine gathers rust by the very act of continveal to mankind have been enveloped, at first, amid the uance; so is it reasonable to compare, as far as possible, our clouds of type and mystery ; in promises which might sharpen own opinions with the opinions of those ages, when the very the attention of the soul, and in shadows which might soften youth of Christianity exempted her from some of those corto her eyes the too sudden glare of wonder and miracle. ruptions which are the attendant curse on time. But, in the

At first, with the first men and early Patriarchs, we are weight of antiquity, no less than of numbers, the orthodox introduced to the thin dawn and twilight of Revelation; the lay claim to victory. covenant taught by the mystery of the serpent's head, and by To such a claim, however, two leading objections have the institution of bloody sacrifices. Then came the dawn of been made: the first, that the ancient Christian writers were day, but faint and cloudy still with ceremonies and allegory, incompetent judges of scripture; the second, that those wriand Christ appeared afar off, and reflected from the face of ters to whom we appeal were the favourers of a small, though Moses. Still it grew lighter and more light as, to successive learned party, who were themselves the corruptors of that generations, successive Prophets announced, with increased faith which was primitive, and, till their success, universal ; precision, the approach of the destined Messiah ; till, bear- and who brought from Alexandria, among other Platonic abing in himself the full brightness of the Godhead bodily, surdities, the doctrine for which I now contend. with healing on his wings, the sun of righteousness arose ! These objections are neither of them new, and each has

True it is, that of the glorious prospect which the Chris-been already answered. So old they are, indeed, and have tian day-spring opened to mankind, the component features been so often refuted, that the time might seem but wasted were not new, though a new splendour encircled them; the which is spent in their discussion, were it not needful, that roses of Sharon and the trees of Paradise were not then so long as they are urged they should not be urged unnofirst planted, though their beauties were then first discerni- ticed ; Jest the pertinacity of our antagonists should assume ble; and the mountain of God's help had stood for ages, the garb of victory, and they should pretend, at length, to though its form was indistinct before.

the triumphant possession of that field on which a superior When the secret of a knot is unravelled in our presence, arm has long since laid them breathless. we wonder that what is now so plain should have so long The accuracy or intelligence of the ancient fathers as interescaped discovery; and thus, we are told, did the hearts of preters of Scripture, I am little concerned to vindicate. As the disciples burn within them, when they found that all the divines they were little better, and as critics, too often conmysteries of the new covenant had been originally contained siderably worse, than many among the moderns, who must w the old, in those ceremonies which had occupied their never hope to be referred to in the schisms of contending hourly attention, those prophecies which had been read to nations. But it is not as expounders of the gospel, but as them every Sabbath day.

historians of public opinion, that the theological writers of But, till the knot is untied, its artifice is still an enigma ; former ages are chiefly entitled to our respectful notice. till the problem is solved, its component parts appear irrecon- Were their original observations less valuable than they are, cilable: the mystery of the triune Godhead, though it be (and it is vain to deny, to many at least, among their number, implied, is not expressly revealed in the scriptures of the the praise of natural acuteness, of extensive learning, and informer covenant; nor can we expect from those Jews who so defatigable diligence,) yet, as contemporary witnesses to the erroneously estimated the character of their Messiah, any ancient faith of the churches of Christ, the dates at which accurate idea of the yet more mysterious Comforter. It is they flourished must always give importance to their decisenough for the purpose of our present argument to have ion; as in a question of prescription we are accustomed to shown that, among the countrymen of Christ, the Holy refer to the evidence of the oldest neighbour, though that Ghost was not considered as a merely abstract notion; that neighbour have no other quality but age, which can induce us the spirit, which God caused to dwell with his saints, was to pay a deference to his opinions. believed, like other spirits, to be a real and sentient exist- It is proved, then, in answer to the first objection, that, to ence; and that no reason, therefore, remains, which could in- our present purpose, the early Christian writers are not induce the disciples to understand their Master's simple lan- competent authority ; since they are not adduced to decide guage in a figurative or parabolical meaning. It is almost whether the doctrine under examination be absolutely true or needless to add that it is, therefore, highly improbable, that false, but only whether it was really the prevalent opinion in such a meaning was intended by one whose object was, not those ages with which they were best acquainted. to perplex and deceive, but to confirm, to enlighten, to con- To the second objection, which refers the introduction of sole.

those opinions which we call orthodox to the commencement And this probability will be augmented in a tenfold pro- of the second century from Christ, and to the labours of Jus

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But, in the present instance, and with those Jews and Jew- such outward marks of his favour, that ye shall have little ish Greeks to whom the gospel was first delivered, the name reason to regret my departure from the world. Ye are heirs of Spirit, it is acknowledged by all, was no less appropiate to to my miraculous powers, and shall, with a commission dea particular class of animals than with us the names of lion, or rived from me, and in a field of utility far more extensive than man, or eagle. It meant, we know, like the demon of the that in which I have laboured, succeed me as teachers of Greeks, a race of sentient and intelligent beings, and, though righteousness." This he might have told them on Socinian it included in its wildest range the whole sweep of immortal principles, but how different are such expressions from those and immaterial existence from the Almighty to the human of the Father shall send you another comforter,”—“ the soul, it was most generally used to designate the inhabitants Spirit of Truth, who is with you, and shall be in you." "If of the invisible world.

I go not away, the comforter will not come; but if I depart, It is little to our present purpose to inquire how far the I will send him unto you." above application of the word in (of which the Hellenis- It has been objected, however, that the Holy Ghost, or tic wrapa is a translation) was an essential or primitive fea- Spirit of God, was understood by the Jews themselves in a ture of the Jewish theology; whether its meaning were orig- different sense from that which they applied to the term of inally confined to breath, or air, or acuteness of intellect; or Spirit in general; that it was a customary and conventional whether, as is surely more probable, the suspicion of invisible figure to express a particular operation of God's grace, and was coeval with the knowledge of 'visible existence, and the was strictly synonymous, in the usage of the ancient syna. most subtile substance which was obnoxious to sense, was gogue, with the modern term of inspiration. And, in aid naturally employed to designate that still purer mode of being of this opinion, two passages have been frequently cited : which was only perceptible by their fears. But, whether the the one of St. Jerome, where, after accusing Lactantius of doctrine of Spirits were primitive or no, or whatever degree of denying the personality of the Holy Ghost, he calls such deantiquity we assign to its prevalence; whether it went up nial a Jewish heresy; the other of Maimonides, who defines with Moses from Egypt, or passed with Ezra from Babylon; that Spirit by which the prophets spake, to be an intellectin the time of Christ we know the name was used to express ual power communicated to them by God." a real or fancied personage, of power and knowledge excell. But that these passages are sufficient for the purpose of our ing those of man; of wisdom more refined as being

unshack- antagonists, the following reasons may induce us to do more led by sensual imperfections; of strength not less to be dread-than doubt. ed because the arm which smote was unseen.

The meaning of Jerome was possibly no other than, under It was the denial of such a race which divided the Saddu- the name of a Jewish error, to stigmatize the peculiar doccees from the great majority of their country men; it was to trine of a single sect, and to tax his antagonist with Saddutheir agency that the Jews were accustomed to ascribe every cism. And it may be also worthy of notice, that, if Jerome phenomenon of nature, and every accident which befel the had no better foundation for his charge against the Jews than body or the mind, and our Saviour himself, when he returned he had for that which he has brought against Lactantius, the from the dead, was apprehended to belong to their number. synagogue of his time was, in this instance, but a very little

But, to such a being, all the actions which Christ ascribed way removed from the kingdom of God. Lactantius, though to his promised Comforter were strictly and peculiarly appro- that particular work be lost to which his accuser chiefly re. priate. The guardianship of a Spirit was perfectly intelligible fers, has left enough behind him to evince the grossness of to those who believed in tutelary Genii : that a person of this the calumny; and, though he ascribe, in common, as may be kind might dwell with them and be in them was the universal hereafter shown, with many others of undoubted orthodoxy, faith or superstition of the East; and to the actual illapses or the name of Spirit both to God in general, and, more parinhabitation of such good or evil intelligences, the ravings of ticularly, to the Son of God in his pre-existent majesty; he madness, and the lofty strains of prophecy, were imputed by distinguishes, nevertheless, in his description of the Saviour's the common voice of antiquity. The Sibyll was supposed, at baptism, the Spirit, peculiarly so called, both from the Father the time of inspiration, to labour with a present Deity. It and the Son. Nor have any of the ancient Christians more was not the Damsel of Philippi, but the Pythonic demon happily illustrated the difference between the accidents of within her, who recognized in Paul and his companions the material existence, and the eternal and intelligent emanations servants of the Most High God; and when the fiend was of an eternal intelligence, than this pious and eloquent chamcast out, or the Divinity had retired, the power of the pro- pion of the faith, whom, on the accusation of one whose phetess was gone.

warmth too often rendered him unjust and uncharitable, the It was not then, by any communicated energy, but by their orthodox have, without inquiry, been ready to Aling into the actual presence and prompting, that the beings of the invisible hands of a party at least sufficiently anxious to obtain any world were supposed to give to man either supernatural illustrious accession to their number. knowledge or supernatural power. Had our Saviour men- If we should concede, however, to the assertion of Jerome aced his disciples with a visitation of the evil spirit, we are and the similar testimony of Epiphanius, that the majority sure that they would have understood him literally; the spi- of the Jewish nation did really, in their time, deny the Perrits of fear, of infirmity, of dumbness, were all, in the mytho-sonality of the Holy Ghost,-yet will not the prevalence of logy of the Rabbins, supposed to be real personages; nor has such an opinion in the fourth century after Christ, be regardany adequate reason as yet been assigned, why their notioned as a sufficient evidence of the original doctrines of the of the spirit of truth should vary from this general analogy. synagogue. Those doctrines may be naturally supposed, in

It is said that the Messiah conformed his expressions to the the course of twelve generations of mutual bitterness, to have usual language of the time, without heeding whether the receded considerably from the ancient confession in every notions which that language implied were, in themselves, point which favoured or resembled the tenets of their Chrisphilosophical or accurate ? That, as he was content to as- tian rivals. And the more recent, and therefore less forcible cribe, in contradiction to the truth, and in compliance with authority of Maimonides is liable to the further objection, popular superstition, corporeal disease to an incorporeal that this ingenious writer has evinced himself in several inagent; he was content, in like manner, to express supernatu- stances disposed to depart from the usual tenor of Rabbinical ral gifts under the name of a visiting or protecting spirit ? Jorthodoxy. Disgusted with the legends of his countrymen, The first of these suppositions, if it be not altogether blas- and anxious to obviate the discredit which their dreaming phemous, is, at best, of a questionable character; nor will commentators had thrown even on the Law of Moses itsell, those, who believe the Lord Jesus to have been, himself, all the system which he has embodied in the More Nevochim, wisdom and truth, be inclined to allow, that, under any cir- is, throughout, a sort of freethinking Judaism, as much at cumstances whatever, he would have lent his sanction to a variance with the general confession of those whose cause false notion of the manner in which his Father governs the he pleads, as the works of Crellius and Socinus with the preworld. But the conduct ascribed to him in the second part of vailing tenets of Christendom. this hypothesis is more, far more, than a simple acquiescence And that, in fact, no small number at least of the more in error. The wisest and best of men may suffer, under par- learned Jews, even so late as the fourth century after Christ, ticular circumstances, a mistaken opinion to pass unexplained; acknowledged the Spirit of God as a distinct and intelligent but that man is neither wise nor good who, in making a being, is shown by the positive assertion of Eusebius, (who promise, unnecessarily employs such terms as are likely to quotes the Hebrew doctors as assigning him a local habitadeceive his hearers. "Jesus might, surely, have engaged to tion in the region of the air;) by the fact which will be hereendue his disciples with supernatural power or celestial after more minutely proved, that the Christians of the circumknowledge, without the introduction of any fabulous ma- cision, however in other respects heretical, in the Personality chinery. “My Father," he might have said, " when I am of the Holy Ghost agreed with the Gentile Churches; and taken away, will bestow on you such internal comfort and above all, by very numerous passages in the Rabbinical works themselves, which speak of him in terms altogether portion, if it shall appear on inquiry, (as it will, I apprehend, inapplicable to a virtue or abstraction only. By these wri- appear to all who inquire with sufficient candour and diliters the Holy Ghost is expressly opposed to him, whom wegence,) that, of those believers for whose use, in every age know the Jews regarded as a person, the spirit or power of of the world, the promise of our Lord was, apparently, inevil; he is said to dwell in the hearts of men as another and tended, the great majority have, in every age, adhered to the a better soul; he is called a Holy Guest who honours the literal interpretation. Sabbath with his presence; we find him described in their If of a numerous assembly, the major part misconceive usual jargon as the Spirit of the Window whereby God's the purport of an oration, the mistake will be, in common glory is revealed, and the Spirit by whom the dead are raised. life, attributed to a wilful or involuntary defect of clearness

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And, as it cannot be said that our souls are enlightened in the orator; he will be supposed to have purposely conand our bodies raised by the same or a similar operation; as cealed his meaning from the passions and prejudices of the the acts described are distinct, the Spirit by which they are vulgar, or to have failed from natural infirmity in producing effected must, plainly, be an Agent, not a process; a Dispen- that effect on their understandings which was the ostensible ser of various graces, not any single grace personified. object of his endeavours.

It is needless, therefore, to refer to the fuxo or vàs of Philo, But neither mysticism nor weakness can, without the and the Binah of the Cabbalists, to ascertain the ancient wildest impiety, be imputed by any Christian sect to our creed. It is true, indeed, that these Hebrew testimonies fall common Master. He came to give light to mankind, and he very short of that standard of knowledge which the Christian would employ, we may be sure, in that glorious

mission, the Church has attained; and that the rank of the Holy Spirit, means which were best adapted to his end. The manner, and his union with the Deity, were imperfectly, if at all, then, in which the majority of the Christian church have, comprehended, by the Jews of any sect or era. But, neither in every age, agreed to understand any expression of their can this admission be allowed to militate against the truth or Lord, (though this agreement will be no absolute proof that importance of this article of the Catholic faith, without aban- their interpretation is true,) yet will it certainly go a considdoning at the same time the resurrection of the dead, and all erable way to persuade a candid man that it is so. those other features of our religion, which it was a part, at And the presumption of its truth will be stronger still, if least, of the Messiah's office, to reveal, or assert, or ex- we find that, in this majority of believers, those ages are plain.

included which come nearest to the time of the apostles, The illumination, in fact, of the moral creation of God, and that in antiquity, no less than universality, it has the during the course of his dealings with rankind, has, like the advantage over the opposite opinion. advances of the physical day, been gradually and slowly pro- For, though nothing, doubtless, of divine authority, (and gressive. The darkness of ignorance has been dispelled by no authority can be absolutely conclusive which is not dia process almost similar to that which chases every morning vine,) be ascribed to those remoter periods : yet, as every the darkness of night from a part of the creation; and the stream, in proportion to its length, is exposed to adulteration; leading truths which almighty wisdom has thought fit to re- and as every machine gathers rust by the very act of continveal to mankind have been enveloped, at first, amid the uance; so is it reasonable to compare, as far as possible, our clouds of type and mystery ; in promises which might sharpen own opinions with the opinions of those ages, when the very the attention of the soul, and in shadows which might soften youth of Christianity exempted her from some of those corto her eyes the too sudden glare of wonder and miracle. ruptions which are the attendant curse on time. But, in the

At first, with the first men and early Patriarchs, we are weight of antiquity, no less than of numbers, the orthodox introduced to the thin dawn and twilight of Revelation; the lay claim to victory. covenant taught by the mystery of the serpent's head, and by). To such a claim, however, two leading objections have the institution of bloody sacrifices. Then came the dawn of been made: the first, that the ancient Christian writers were day, but faint and cloudy still with ceremonies and allegory, incompetent judges of scripture; the second, that those wriand Christ appeared afar off, and reflected from the face of ters to whom we appeal were the favourers of a small, though Moses. Still it grew lighter and more light as, to successive learned party, who were themselves the corruptors of that generations, successive Prophets announced, with increased faith which was primitive, and, till their success, universal ; precision, the approach of the destined Messiah ; till, bear- and who brought from Alexandria, among other Platonic abing in himself the full brightness of the Godhead bodily, surdities, the doctrine for which I now contend. with healing on his wings, the sun of righteousness arose ! These objections are neither of them new, and each has

True it is, that of the glorious prospect which the Chris-been already answered. So old they are, indeed, and have tian day-spring opened to mankind, the component features been so often refuted, that the time might seem but wasted were not new, thongh a new splendour encircled them; the which is spent in their discussion, were it not needful, that roses of Sharon and the trees of Paradise were not then so long as they are urged they should not be urged unnofirst planted, though their beauties were then first discerni- ticed ; Jest the pertinacity of our antagonists should assume ble; and the mountain of God's help had stood for ages, the garb of victory, and they should pretend, at length, to though its form was indistinct before.

the triumphant possession of that field on which a superior When the secret of a knot is unravelled in our presence, arm has long since laid them breathless. we wonder that what is now so plain should have so long. The accuracy or intelligence of the ancient fathers as interescaped discovery; and thus, we are told, did the hearts of preters of Scripture, I am little concerned to vindicate. As the disciples burn within them, when they found that all the divines they were little better, and as critics, too often conmysteries of the new covenant had been originally contained siderably worse, than many among the moderns, who must in the old, in those ceremonies which had occupied their never hope to be referred to in the schisms of contending hourly attention, those prophecies which had been read to nations. But it is not as expounders of the gospel, but as them every Sabbath day.

historians of public opinion, that the theological writers of But, till the knot is untied, its artifice is still an enigma; former ages are chiefly entitled to our respectful notice. till the problem is solved, its component parts appear irrecon- Were their original observations less valuable than they are, cilable: the mystery of the triune Godhead, though it be (and it is vain to deny, to many at least, among their number, implied, is not expressly revealed in the scriptures of the the praise of natural acuteness, of extensive learning, and informer covenant; nor can we expect from those Jews who so defatigable diligence,) yet, as contemporary witnesses to the erroneously estimated the character of their Messiah, any ancient faith of the churches of Christ, the dates at which accurate idea of the yet more mysterious Comforter. It is they flourished must always give importance to their decisenough for the purpose of our present argument to have ion; as in a question of prescription we are accustomed to shown that, among the countrymen of Christ

, the Holy refer to the evidence of the oldest neighbour, though that Ghost was not considered as a merely abstract notion; that neighbour have no other quality but age, which can induce us the spirit, which God caused to dwell with his saints, was to pay a deference to his opinions. believed, like other spirits, to be a real and sentient exist. It is proved, then, in answer to the first objection, that, to ence; and that no reason, therefore, remains, which could in- our present purpose, the early Christian writers are not induce the disciples to understand their Master's simple lan- competent authority; since they are not adduced to decide guage in a figurative or parabolical meaning. It is almost whether the doctrine under examination be absolutely true or needless to adă that it is, therefore, highly improbable, that false, but only whether it was really the prevalent opinion in such a meaning was intended by one whose object was, not those ages with which they were best acquainted. to perplex and deceive, but to confirm, to enlighten, to con- To the second objection, which refers the introduction of sole.

those opinions which we call orthodox to the commencement And this probability will be augmented in a tenfold pro- of the second century from Christ, and to the labours of Jus

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