« AnteriorContinuar »
Father ;' which single expression is too slender a foundation for the full establishment of so great a mystery, especially as these words relate rather to the mission than to the nature of the Spirit ; in which sense the Son also is often said & £20ɛīv, which in my opinion may be translated either to go forth or to proceed from the Father, without making any difference in the meaning, Nay, we are even said
to live by every word (ěxnogevouévą) that proceedeth,' or “goeth forth from the mouth of God,' Matt. iv. 4. Since therefore the Spirit is neither said to be generated nor created, nor is any other mode of existence specifically attributed to it in Scripture, we must be content to leave undetermined a point on which the sacred writers have preserved so uniform a silence.
The name of Spirit is also frequently applied to God and angels, and to the human mind.* When the phrase, the Spirit of God, or the Holy Spirit, occurs in the Old Testament, it is to be variously interpreted ; sometimes it signifies God the Father himself,-as Gen. vi. 3. my Spirit shall not alway strive with man ;' sometimes the power and virtue of the Father, and particularly that divine breath or influence by which every thing is created and nourished. In this sense many both of the ancient and modern interpreters understand the passage in Gen. i. 2. 'the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.* Here, however, it appears to be used with reference to the Son, through whom the Father is so often said to have created all things. Job xxvi. 13. "by his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens.' xxvii. 3. the Spirit of God is in my nostrils.' xxxiii. 4. “the Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.' Psal. civ. 30. thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created,' cxxxix. 7. "whither shall I go then from thy Spirit ? Ezek. xxxvii. 14. •I shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live.' See also many other similar passages.
* Sciunt, qui in Hebræis literis versati sunt, quam late pateat Spiritus nomen. Origine sua ventum significat; ob cujus subtilitatem, quæ visum fugit, ad alia transfertur; primum ad substantias; nam Deus, angeli boni malique, deinde ipse hominis animus eo vocabulo nuncupatur.' Grotius ad Luc. ix. 55. See also Glocester Ridley's First Sermon on the Divinity and Personality of the Holy Ghost, where he cautions against those grosser errors which arise from a confusion of kind.
Sometimes it means an angel. Isai. xlviii. 16. • the Lord Jehovah and his Spirit hath sent me.' Ezek. ii. 12. • then the Spirit took me up.’t See also v. 14, 24, &c.
Sometimes it means Christ, who, according to the common opinion was sent by the Father to lead the Israelites into the land of Canaan. Isai. Ixiï. 10, 11.
they rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit..... where is he that put his Holy Spirit within them ?'—that is, the angel to whom he transferred his own name, namely, Christ whom they tempted,' Numb. xxi. 5, &c. compared with 1 Cor. x. 9. .
* Milton seems to allude to the Rabbinical interpretation of this passage, which, following the opinion of some of the Fathers, explains the Spirit of God to mean tou dúvapeur die lustixày, or ring inspyríey Swixào, the creative or vivifying power. It seems extraordinary that Patrick should have chosen to adopt a mode of explanation nearly similar, and not less objectionable. This therefore we are to understand to be here meant; the infinite wisdom and power of God, which made a vehement commotion and mighty fermentation (by raising perhaps a great wind) upon the face of the waters.' So too Grotius.
† The Spanish Jesuit Sanctius, and Pradus (In Ezechielem Explanationes, &c. Romæ 1596.) understand this passage in the sepse attributed to it by Milton.
Sometimes it means that impulse or voice of God by which the prophets were inspired. Nehem. ix. 30.
thou testifiedst against them by thy Spirit in thy prophets.'
Sometimes it means that light of truth, whether ordinary or extraordinary, wherewith God enlightens and leads his people. Numb. xiv. 24. my servant Caleb, because he had another Spirit within him'Nehem. ix. 20. thou gavest also thy good Spirit to instruct them.' Psal. li. 11, 12. 6 take not thy Holy Spirit from me.....renew a right Spirit within me.' cxliii. 10. thy Spirit is good ; lead me into the land of uprightness. Undoubtedly neither David, nor any other Hebrew, under the old covenant, believed in the personality of that good and Holy Spirit, unless perhaps as an angel.*
More particularly, it implies that light which was shed on Christ himself. Isai. xi. 2. 'the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah.' xlii. 1. I have put my Spirit upon him,' compared with Acts x. 38. • how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.
It is also used to signify the spiritual gifts conferred by God on individuals, and the act of gift itself. Gen. xli. 38. ' a man in whom the Spirit of God is.' Numb. xi. 17, 25, 26, 29. I will take of the Spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them.' 2 Kings ii. 9. I pray thee, let a double portion of thy Spirit be upon me.' v. 15. 'the Spirit of Elijah doth rest upon Elisha.'
* See an elaborate refutation of the opinion that this doctrine was unknown before the Christian Revelation, in Ridley's Second Sermon on the Holy Ghost.
Nothing can be more certain, than that all these passages, and many others of a similar kind in the Old Testament, were understood of the virtue and power of God the Father, inasmuch as the Holy Spirit was not yet given, nor believed in, even by those who prophesied that it should be poured forth in the latter times.
So likewise under the Gospel, what is called the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of God, sometimes means the Father himself. Matt. i. 18, 20. that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.' Luke i. 35.
the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.'
Again, it sometimes means the virtue and power of the Father. Matt. xii. 28. compared with Luke xi. 20. "I cast out devils by the Spirit or · finger of God.' Rom. i. 4. declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.' For thus the Scripture teaches throughout, that Christ was raised by the power of the Father, and thereby declared to be the Son of God. See particularly Acts xiii. 32, 33. quoted in the beginning of the last chapter. But the phrase according to the Spirit' (secundum Spiritum) seems to have the same signification as Eph. iv. 24. · which after God (secundum Deum) is created in righteousness and true holiness ;' and 1 Pet. iv. 6. • that they might live according to God (secundum Deum) in the Spirit.' Isai. xlii. 1. compared
with Heb. ix. 14. • I have put my Spirit upon him ....... who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God.' Luke iv. 1. • Jesus, being full of the Holy Ghost,' and v. 18. compared with Isai. lxi. 1. 'the Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor ; he hath sent me,' &c. Acts x. 38. • God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.' i. 2. after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen. It is more probable that these phrases are to be understood of the power of the Father, than of the Holy Spirit itself; for how could it be necessary that Christ should be filled with the Holy Spirit, of whom he had himself said, John xvi. 15. he shall take of mine ? For the same reason I am inclined to believe that the Spirit descended upon Christ at his baptism, not so much in his own name, as in virtue of a mission from the Father, and as a symbol and minister of the divine power. For what could the Spirit confer on Christ, from whom he was himself to be sent, and to receive all things ? Was his purpose to bear witness to Christ? But as yet he was himself not so much as known. Was it meant that the Spirit should be then manifested for the first time to the church ? But at the time of his appearance nothing was said of him or of his office ; nor did that voice from heaven bear any testimony to the Spirit, but only to the Son. The descent therefore, and appearance of the Holy Spirit in the likeness of a dove, seems to have been nothing more than a representation of the ineffable affection of the Father for the Son, communicated by the Holy