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144 The Father, the Son, and the Spirit, [Ess. VII. This description is indeed applicable to the passages already cited from the Gospel of John, in relation to the personality of the Holy Ghost: vide xiv, 26; xv, 26; xvi, 7, 8. To these passages, however, others of a similar import must be now added.
“Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come,” said the Son of God to his immediate followers," he will guide you into all truth : for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoevor he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine : therefore said I, that he shall take of mine and shew it unto you:” John xvi, 13, 14. If, then, I am asked, Who is to guide the people of God into all truth? I answer, on the authority of this luminous declaration, The Spirit of Truth. If I am asked again, Whose wisdom and grace does the Spirit of Truth administer ? it is on the same authority that I reply, The wisdom and grace of the Son of God. And if, lastly, the inquiry be addressed to me, On what principle can we say that it is the wisdom and grace of the Son which the Spirit administers? this enquiry also is fully met by the information contained in our text--namely, that all wisdom and grace are from the Father, and that whatsoever the Father hath is the Son's. From whom, then, does the Christian derive the strength of his spiritual life, and the hope of his soul's salvation? From the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And to whom does he owe the tribute of gratitude and praise, and the return of a faithful and unhesitating obedience? To the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Such was the doctrine inculcated by the apostle Paul, on more than one occasion. " There is one body, and ONE SPIRIT," said he to the Ephesians,
Ess. vii.] the Common Sources of Salvation, and the 145 “even as ye are called in one hope of your callingONE LORD, one faith, one baptism-ONE GOD AND Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all :" Eph. iv, 4, 6. To the Corinthians he addressed himself in very similar terms: “Now, there are diversities of gifts, but the same SPIRIT; and there are differences of administrations, but the same LORD; and there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all :" 1 Cor. xii, 4-6. Again, “The grace of the LORD Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen:” 2 Cor. xiii, 14. Here we may observe, that the name God is appropriated to the Father, as is the title Lord to the Son; but the various passages previously cited afford abundant proof that the Spirit and the Son are no more excluded from the Godhead of the Father than the Father is excluded from the Lordship of the Son, or from the administrative authority of the Spirit; and from these explicit declarations it is evident that, in the covenant of light and life which God condescends to make with his fallen creatures, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, display a perfect harmony and unity of operation.
Of this harmony and unity of operation, in instituting and conducting the scheme of the Gospel, a very striking indication is afforded us in the narratives given, by the evangelists Matthew and Luke, of one of the most interesting circumstances which distinguished the life of Jesus. When Jesus, in order "to fulfil all righteousness," submitted himself to the baptism of John, we read that “the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him; and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased :" Luke iii, 21, 22; comp. Matt. iii, 15-17.
146 Common Objects of Faith and Allegiance. [Ess. vii.
And now it only remains for us to advert to that memorable injunction respecting evangelizing and baptizing the nations, which appears to have formed the conclusion of our Lord's last conversation with his disciples on earth: “Go ye therefore and teach (or make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in (or unto) the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost : teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world :" Matt. xxviii, 19, 20. On this passage it is necessary to observe that, to baptize in the name of a person, is to baptize by the authority of that person ; but that, to baptize unto the name of a person, (and the preposition here used signifies not in, but unto) is to baptize unto the faith and service of which such person is the object. Now, in whatever manner we may here interpret the participle baptizing-whether we understand it as denoting merely the sign of conversion, or the act of converting itself-there is one point of the doctrine contained in this passage which does not appear liable to any reasonable doubt or dispute; namely, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, being the common-sources of the Christian's hope and salvation, are also the common objects of his faith and spiritual allegiance. The converts who were about to be made, through the ministry of the apostles, among all nations, were to be turned away from dumb idols unto the living God. No longer were they to place their dependence on devils, or on the mere creatures of human imagination: they were henceforth to serve, honour, worship, and obey, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Clear, however, as this general doctrine appears to be, the consideration of this branch of our subject cannot be safely quitted without the addition of some furEss. vir.] Their Order and Distinct Offices. 147 ther observations. When we assert, on the authority of Scripture, that the Father the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are the common objects of the Christian's allegiance-when we recognize the principle promulgated by our Saviour himself, that all men are called upon to “honour the Son, even as they honour the Father," John v, 23: and when, from other inspired declarations, we conclude that this principle is to be yet farther extended, and that all men are called upon also to honour the Holy Spirit, even as they honour the Father and the Son—we are always to remember that the equality of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is an equality in point of nature; for in their nature, they are God, and God is one. In order to obtain a just and comprehensive view of the whole subject, (as far as it is revealed to us) it is necessary also to advert to the order of that relation in which they are ever represented as standing one towards another. The Father is the first : the Son is the second: the Holy Spirit is the third. The Son is subordinate to the Father, because he is of the Father—the only-begotten Son of God. The Holy Spirit is subordinate to the Father and the Son, because he is the Father's and the Son's : see Matt. iii, 16: Rom. viii, 9. The Father sends the Son, The Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit: John
Again-while, we gratefully confess that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are the common sources of our hope and salvation, we are never to forget the distinct offices which they are respectively described as bearing, in the glorious economy of the divine dispensations. With the Father rests the unsearchable design-the hidden and eternal purpose-out of which arises the whole course of circumstances and events, and more especialy the scheme of Christianity, and the salvation of man : see John ïïi, 16: Eph. i, 1-10, &c.
148 Their Order and Distinct Offices. [Ess. VI. From him are all things, and of all things his glory is the ultimate result. His will is law. His love is the fountain of grace and immortality. The Son is the Way, by whom are all things, and "we by him." He is the image of the invisible God, in whom the Father is made manifest. He propitiates, he advocates, he reigns over the heritage of God: he conducts the whole system appointed for our recovery and salvation. The Holy Spirit is the operative Power, through whom the Father and the Son carry on their work of mercy, and exercise their dominion over the souls of men. It is he who enlightens, converts, renews, consoles, and purifies, the heirs of salvation. The Father is, in the deepest and most comprehensive sense of the expressions, the Creator-the Son, the Redeemerthe Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier. The Father originates, the Son mediates, the Holy Spirit consummates.
In order to complete our views of the scriptural evidences which bear upon the present subject, I have now to observe, that, although this three-fold distinction in the divine nature is the most clearly revealed to us in the New Testament, yet there are also various passages in the sacred writings of the ancient Hebrews, which appear to indicate a plurality in the one God.
It is a circumstance which cannot, I would submit, be satisfactorily explained on any merely grammatical principle, that Jehovah is sometimes described in the Old Testament, as the “living ones," 1 and the "holy ones:"? see Jer. xxiii, 36: Prov. ix, 10; xxx, 3: comp. Ecc. xii, 1, &c. Hebrew text.
The Father is the Creator of the universe. He made all things by his Son : nor are we to forget, that when the “ earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters:" Gen. i, 2.