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All these titles, attributes, and works are attributed to God, but in these scriptures they are attributed to the Holy Ghost; therefore, as affirmed in this article of our Confession, he must be equal in being with the Father and the Son." The Nicene Creed says, "I believe in the Holy Ghost; the Lord, the Giver of life; who proceedeth from the Father and the Son." The Westminster Confession, Section 3, says, "In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity."
(4.) Honors. The honors ascribed to the Holy Ghost prove not only his personality, but his real deity. He is associated with the Father and the Son in the baptismal formula recorded in Matthew 28:19: "Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." He is also associated with the Father and the Son in the apostolic benediction recorded in II. Corinthians 13: 14: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all." Dr. Hodge says: "The Spirit is by, acts for, and reveals, both the Father and the Son. The persons are as eternal as the essence; they are one God, being identical in essence and divine perfections."
WORK PERFORMED BY THE HOLY GHOST.
In this article, we say that "he convinces the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; that he comforts the faithful, and guides them into all truth." In the economy of grace, the Holy Ghost is the executive officer. Whatever is agreed upon in the Trinity is executed by the Holy Ghost. "He reveals both the Father and the Son." He is the active agent in justification, regeneration, adoption, and sanctification. Nothing can be done in the way of saving souls except by the Holy Ghost. Preaching the Word, praying, and singing, unless the Spirit aids, will avail nothing. It is he, and he only, that "convinces the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." Instrumentalities may be used, but the Holy Ghost alone is the active agent. Our Lord said, "He shall not speak of himself. . . He shall
glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you" (John 16: 13, 14).
In the work of regeneration, by which man's moral nature is renewed; in adoption, in which the regenerated are adopted into Christ's spiritual family; in the work of sanctification, by the application of the blood of Christ, the Holy Ghost is the active agent. It is the Spirit that "beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:16). The Spirit comforts by bringing love, joy, peace, and assurance to the heart. No one need to be in doubt concerning his or her acceptance with God. In II. Corinthians 1:22 and 5: 5 the apostle says that the "earnest" of the Spirit is given, which means assurance. "The Influence of the Holy Spirit," says Dr. Jenkyn, "descending on the moral soil, produces blessings in variety conviction, illumination in the ignorant, holiness in the defiled, strength in the feeble, and comfort in the distressed."
It should be constantly kept in mind that all worship, whether in secret, in the family, or the public assembly, that is not under the direction and control of the Spirit, is not acceptable to God. Jesus said to the woman of Samaria, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). In I. Corinthians 14: 15 Paul says, "I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also." In Ephesians 5: 18, 19 and Colossians 3:10 the same doctrine is taught. Dr. Clarke says, "A man worships God in spirit when, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, he brings all his affections, appetites, and desires to the throne of God." Rev. R. Watson says, "I know of no pleasures so rich, none so pure, none so hallowing in their influences and constant in their supply, as those which result from the true and spiritual worship of God."
THE CONFESSION OF FAITH
OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
WE believe that the Holy Bible, Old and New Testaments, is the word of God; that it reveals the only true way to our salvation; that every true Christian is bound to acknowledge and receive it by the help of the Spirit of God as the only rule and guide in faith and practice.
THIS article contains two cardinal propositions: first, that the Holy Bible is the word of God; second, that it contains the only true way of salvation.
Extended arguments in proof of the authenticity and inspiration of the Holy Scriptures cannot, and should not, be given in a work of this kind. That belongs rather to what is known as apologetic theology. A brief comment upon a creed or confession of faith should be kept within the realm of what is called practical theology, in which the precepts of religion and the motives which should guide us are more particularly developed.
THE BIBLE THE WORD OF GOD.
The Holy Bible is the word of God. This is affirmed in this article of the Confession. A firm belief in the authenticity and inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, is the foundation of the whole superstructure of Christianity. If the Bible is what it claims to be, then Christianity is true; if it is not, then it is not only a deception, but the greatest fraud ever imposed upon mankind. Dr. Boyle says, "I can scarcely think any pains misspent that bring me solid evidence of the truth that the Scripture is the word of God, which is, indeed, the great fundamental." Without any other argument, the majesty, holiness, and pure morality of the Bible ought to convince every candid and thoughtful
mind that its origin is divine. Do the Scriptures read like the production of evil, designing men? Did bad men ever write such a book? "I am of the opinion," says Sir William Jones, "that the Bible contains more true sensibility, more exquisite beauty, more pure morality, more important history, and finer strains of poetry and eloquence than can be collected from all other books, in whatever age or language they may have been written." "We account," says Sir Isaac Newton, "the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy." Is it reasonable to believe that such a book was written by bad men ? If the Bible is not the word of God, then it must have been written by the worst of men; for the writers, whoever they were, claim that it is a revelation from God to man. The internal evidences of the truth of the Bible are such as ought to convince every one that it is not, and cannot be, the production of wicked, designing men.
At the very threshold of this investigation we are met with two questions: first, Is God able to give such a revelation to man? second, Is such a revelation necessary? By revelation we mean a supernatural communication of God to man of truths not taught in nature."
As to the first of these questions, it is enough to say, that all who believe in the existence of God at all must allow that he is able to reveal his will to man in whatever way it may please him. He who created the heaven and earth is certainly capable of speaking to the children of men in any way his wisdom might dictate. This is so reasonable that it needs only to be named. The question is not as to how he did it, but Was he able to do it?
Was such a revelation necessary? It ought to be a sufficient answer to this question to note the condition of the nations of the earth, in all the ages, which have been without such a revelation. Men who have been educated in the light and influence of Christianity may boast of the strength and power of human reason. But the proper way to look at this matter is to consider what has been accomplished in matters of religion in those nations where they had no such revelation. History records the fact that in all such nations the wisest and best men
were all in doubt concerning the true principles of morality, the immortality of the soul, and a future state. Human reason has its realm, beyond which it cannot go. There are momentous questions in relation to mankind which it never has answered, and never can answer, satisfactorily if left to itself.
Without a revelation, other than what is revealed in nature, man is left in mid-ocean without chart or compass. No one, however wise in other matters, can give any satisfactory information concerning either the origin or future destiny of mankind. All is wrapt in mystery. Can we afford to go through life all uncertain as to what may be in the future? The old philosophers expressed the hope that something remained for man after this life, but their very last utterances were shaded by that cheerless word, if. Natural religion may show us our misery, but it offers no remedy. The Bible alone lifts the dark clouds and gives a reasonable account of the origin of man, and declares his future destiny. It also gives an account of the origin of moral evil and the remedy for that evil. It teaches us what is our duty toward God, ourselves, and our fellow-beings. Natural religion leaves us in utter darkness on all the vital questions. There are aspirations within us that human reason can neither account for nor satisfy. There is a constant longing for something better -something that abides. Whence these aspirations? If man is altogether mortal, and if there is nothing beyond this world, nature, or the gods, or both have treated us cruelly in planting such aspirations and longings within, only to be crushed forever by death. Revealed religion places our feet upon solid rock, washes away our sins, and anchors our hope in heaven. How precious, then, this revelation from God to a lost and guilty world! How necessary to us amid the darkness and gloom of this world, and to conduct us in safety to the fruition of an endless and better world.
Christianity has a theory and philosophy of its own. It also has an experience which no other system has or can have. No one, however illiterate he may be, needs to be in doubt concerning the truth of Christianity. He