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about the coming of a person? On the contrary, hear what Peter says, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel ; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh : and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; and on my servants, and on my handmaidens, I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy," Acts ii. 16, 17, 18. Again, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore, , being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear,' 32, 33. Will it be argued that God the Holy Ghost did not himself personally come into the disciples, but poured his gifts and influence into them? see whether this theory is consistent with the facts. Did Peter say,
“ This hath God the Holy Ghost sent?" No, but “ Jesus, raised up by God, and exalted to His right hand, having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, hath shed forth that which ye now see and hear.” Further, was it to the Holy Spirit that the assembled Christians offered up their gratitude and praise ? No, Peter said, “Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” And when awakened consciences asked, “What shall we do," the answer was, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit :” and there
was much gladness of heart, and praising of God, and the disciples continued daily with one accord in the temple. Here, indeed, is something strange and unaccountable upon the orthodox hypothesis. The Holy Spirit is said to be a personal God, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son, and yet Jesus says-not, I will pray God the Holy Spirit to come to you—but, “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter.” And after the day of Pentecost, instead of the Holy Spirit being represented as having come personally, it is said to have been shed by Christ, who had received the promise of the Father, to whom is given the glory. Thus the prayer that the third person of the Trinity should come, is made by the second to the first; and for the coming of the third person, acknowledgment is made to the second as the instrument of the first, and there is no prayer or acknowledgment at all to the third person himself.
Against the doctrine of the personality of the Spirit it has been objected that the Spirit is said to be "poured out” and “shed," that holy men are described as filled with it, and that it is spoken of as
given without measure," all which language is unsuitable to the idea of a person. In answer to this Mr. Bickersteth says, that “in such instances the operations, gifts, influences of the Spirit are denoted, and not the Spirit himself;" but it is to be observed, that here we have an instance in which the promise was expressly that the Comforter should come, the Holy Spirit in its most personified form, and yet at its actual advent we find the terms poured out, shed, and baptized, and in John's account of the appearance of our Lord to his disciples after the resurrection, we have these remarkable words, “ Jesus said to them again, Peace be unto you; as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you; and when he had said this he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit,” John xx. 21, 22. .
THE RELIGIOUS WORSHIP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Mr. Bickersteth goes on to maintain that the Spirit of God is revealed in Scripture as the object of religious worship “in parity with the Father and the Son.” The first proof is this ; the prophecies of Isaiah were the voice of Jehovah; St. Paul says, “Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet;" therefore the Holy Ghost is Jehovah. Supposing the Son also to be Jehovah, Mr. Bickersteth says,
Hence, the significance of the exclamation, Holy, holy, holy, Lord of Hosts! Therefore the angels of light worship the Spirit with the Father and the Son." There is, however, another interpretation ; Jehovah spake by the prophet through the Holy Ghost, and “Holy, holy, holy
Holy, holy, holy” means holy in the highest degree. In Hebrew one way of expressing the superlative is by repetition, and in every language I suppose ardour of feeling is conveyed by this means. When our Lord wept over Jerusalem he said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem.” When David mourned for Absalom he cried, “Oh, my son Absalom, my son, my son!” Threefold exclamations and expressions are by no means uncommon in the Sacred Writings: "O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of Jehovah,"
Jer. xxii. 29. “Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants of the earth,” Rev. viii. 13. “I will overturn, overturn, overturn,” Ezek. xxi. 27.
2. In the prophet Ezekiel we read, that in the valley of dry bones a voice was heard saying, “ Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God, come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live,” Ezek. xxxvii. 9. Here Mr. Bickersteth says, “To my own mind the proclamation to the wind is typical of prayer to the Spirit for his energizing power in quickening dead souls to the life of God.” But why not typical of God's sending His Spirit to quicken dead souls ? “I will put my spirit in you." Christ's own words are, “ If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit” (Matthew has “good things”) “ to them that ask Him?” (St. Luke xi. 13.) It is right, however, to add, that Mr. Bickersteth mentions the above argument “in passing, without laying stress on it.”
The third argument is the baptismal commission, for baptism being the stipulation of a good conscience toward God, it is a kind of worship, and inasmuch as the believer was to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Spirit would partake of the worship. But Christian baptism is an outward symbol of admission into the Church of Christ, and not an act of worship at all. Some persons were baptized into Moses, 1 Cor. x. 2; of others the question was asked, “Into what were ye baptized ? And they said into John's baptism.” Again we read “ As many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death,” Rom. vi. 3, 4.
Another proof adduced is that because in Hebrews iii. 7, 8, it is written, "Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, to-day if ye will hear his voice harden not your hearts as in the provocation;" and because, elsewhere, God's Holy Spirit is said to be vexed and resisted, therefore, the worship in Ps. xcv. is addressed to the Holy Ghost; “O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” But I cannot doubt that the phrase "the Holy Ghost saith," means that the Psalmist was inspired by God, and that the clause, “They vexed His Holy Spirit,"is equivalent to "they vexed Him, the all-holy.” Were not this the true signification, the expression would surely be, not His Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit, His implying that the Spirit belonged to some one.
The next argument is that Christ said, “Pray ye the Lord of the harvest," Matt. ix. 38. And in Acts xiii. 2, we read that the Holy Ghost said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” Therefore, the Holy Ghost is the Lord of the harvest, to whom prayer is to be made. But I think the natural interpretation is that God is the Lord of the harvest, and that He sets apart His chosen ministers by filling them with the Holy Spirit.
Again, in two benedictions, 1 Thess. iii. 13, and 2 Thess. ii. 13, the three titles, the Lord, God, and Christ, are mentioned, and it is assumed that Lord must mean the Holy Spirit. Were it so, I should