« السابقةمتابعة »
be much better if it were otherwise employed. You remember that I shall speak plainly, as I wish others to do. But let the persons of men, whatever, be their opinions, be free from every opprobrious epithet. I address myself as "to men of understanding, judge ye what I say."
In the three Lectures which have already been delivered, we have endeavoured to establish that grand fundamental truth of Christianity, the existence of one uncaused, all-creating Mind, I have assigned our reasons for disbelieving the existence of an omnipotent, infinitely malicious, being opposed to God. And I have considered the arguments adduced, collectively, as teaching a trinity of persons in the unity of the Godhead, with the best explanations which have been attempted of this mystery. We are next to proceed to the separate consideration, of the persons composing the Trinity. It might have been expected that the second person, God the Son, should have preceded an inquiry into the third, God the Holy Ghost. But as most of the succeeding Lectures will have a reference to the di
vine mission of Jesus, I thought it better, that our attention should be first directed to the inquiry, of which I gave notice at our last meeting, namely, the Personality of the Holy Ghost, and its distinction from God the Father.
The question, I hope, will be clearly understood; Is the Holy Ghost something distinct from the energy of God the Father,—and is it a person?
It would have been well that the word Ghost had not been used, because it is purely English. It is the term Spirit every where, without exception, used in the original. However I have no further objection to the word Ghost, only that it is often accompanied by very strange and absurd ideas, and has a tendency to create confusion upon the subject. It will next, perhaps, be asserted, that we do not believe in the Holy Spirit, to which Jesus and his apostles so frequently laid claim. Is it necessary solemnly to assure you that we do believe it, and that it is precisely for this reason that we cannot consider it as a person, or being distinct from God the Father. What then do you
understand and mean by it?' I answer, That it was the energy, the power, the spirit of God imparted to Jesus Christ and his apostles, manifested by their performance of miracles.-A divine energy, infused into man, was the cause, divine operations, namely, a controul of the laws of nature, the effect*.-Carry this idea with you throughout, and, I am much mistaken if, every passage, in which the
I am happy to find that this definition of the Holy Spirit, so fully accords with one recently given by a respectable clergyman of this place, who distinctly calls it, a "Divine energy or operation."-The Divine Person and Character of Jesus Christ defended. By the Rev. J. Clowes, M. A., Rector of Saint John's, Manchester; and late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
As this Essay has been published since the Second Number of these Lectures was sent to the press, which contains explanations of the Trinity, the introduction of this worthy and aged clergyman's opinion of the subject, into this note will at least be excused.
"I shall begin with what you call the doctrine of the Tripersonality, or Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, on which occasion, I must first caution you against confounding the terms, Tripersonality and Trinity, as if they meant one and the same thing. For Tripersonality is a term involving in it the idea of three distinct persons in the Godhead, whereas Trinity is a
Is not this exactly the statement of the Athanasian Creed, and of the Litany?
words are introduced, may not be satisfac
Will it now be asked,
If, then, it be
the divine energy, why is it not to be wor
term involving in it no such idea; but only the idea of three distinct principles or characters. Now if to the term person, when · applied to the Deity, be annexed the same idea, as when applied to man, I contend, that the doctrine of three persons, or of a trinity of persons in the Unity of the Godhead, has no ground whatever to stand upon in the sacred scriptures, at the same time that it is utterly repugnant to the common sense and reason of mankind, and besides, has a dangerous tendency to introduce into the minds of men, a dreadful confusion and perplexity of idea respecting the proper object of their worship and adoration!! Nor do I stand single in this opinion, since it is 'well known, that the primitive churches, from the time of the "apostles down to the Council of Nice, during the three first cen ́tùries, never maintained the doctrine of the Trinity under any such idea of tripersonality, and that some of the Greek fathers were offended at the Latin churches for adopting it."
The worthy Rector afterwards alludes to the explanations of those who understand "the word persons in a more lax sense, as signifying only different characters or modes of existence and operation in One God, in relation to his creatures, and not as three distinct and separate substances." He then adds, “To this idea, then, of the word person, I am willing to subscribe, and would accordingly maintain, that the whole of the Divine Trinity, called Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is to be found in the glorified or divine humanity of the Lord God and Saviour *Jesus Christ, the Father being his hidden unmanifested essence, the Son, his visible or manifested existence, and the Holy Ghost, his divine energy or operation"! P. 59-62.
shipped?" I ask in return, Why do you not worship the providence, the wisdom, the holiness of God?' In no other instance do you worship the attribute, or quality, but the being in whom it resides. And in every other case, you would say it would be absurd so to do.
In the consideration of this subject, we have but one common ground, viz. the Scriptures interpreted, by common sense and reason, and by a comparison of one passage with others, in which the same, or similar, terms are introduced. If you tell me that discard human reason as having nothing to do with it, it is evident that we have no common principle, upon which to proceed. You adduce a passage and tell me- Here it is',-I acknowledge—it is there; and I believe it too. But I do not understand it exactly in your way. Let us coolly consider what it means.' If, in reply, you tell me,- No,-my way is right, and your's is wrong: it is so, because it is so; carnal reason is not to be consulted,'-it is evident that our discuss·ion must terminate.
But much as you may abuse reason, I