Joseph and Benjamin: A Series of Letters on
The Controversy Between Jews and Christians:
Comprising the Most Important Doctrines Of the Christian Religion

Joseph Samuel C. F. Frey
1841

"The faith of a true Christian is the same as that of Moses and the Prophets."

 

Part 8. Importance of the Divinity of Christ

 

Letter 1. Consequences If He Is Not God

My Dear Benjamin,

I have endeavored, in several preceding letters, to prove the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ; and cannot but hope that the variety of proofs produced will remove all doubts from your mind. For, however great and sincere your profession may be, that Jesus is the Christ, that is, the promised Messiah, and even the most exalted creature, yet, unless you believe him to be Jehovah, equal with the Father, you still labor under a most fatal error, fraught with the most dangerous consequences. I know there are not a few who consider this subject a matter of no importance; but I consider the divinity of Christ a scripture truth as much as the divinity of the Father, as has been fully shown, and the one is no more a "metaphysical speculation" than the other. Besides, it is exceedingly improper and absurd to call the principles pure speculations, which are of so great importance for the regulating our worship, that we can neither omit to worship Christ, if they are true, without the greatest impiety, nor perform it, if they are false, without being guilty of idolatry.

Let me therefore invite your most serious and patient attention, whilst I shall point out the important consequences that must inevitably follow, on the one hand, if Christ be not truly God, and on the other hand, if he be truly God.

First, If Christ be not truly God, then it follows,

1. That he was not the promised Messiah, but a deceiver and a blasphemer. We have formerly proved, both from the Scriptures and from the writings of our most ancient Rabbins, that the Messiah was expected to be truly God; therefore, if Christ be not truly God and equal with the Father, he does not answer the character of the Messiah, and consequently was a deceiver; for he repeatedly declared that he was the Christ, the Messiah, of whom it was written in the law, in the prophets, and in the book of Psalms. Further, he would have been guilty of blasphemy, as well as of deception; for he not only claimed to be the Christ, but repeatedly declared that he was equal with God.

Let me call your attention to the following passage: "Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work: therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he had not only broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth; and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man; but hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father which hath sent him" (John 5:17-23). Now these words contain our Lord's vindication of his own conduct when accused by our people of having violated the Sabbath, because he had performed a miraculous cure on that day. His vindication, however, was so little to their satisfaction, that they accused him still further, of making himself equal with God. Our Savior then goes on to explain, but without making the least concession of his simple humanity. He claims God for his own proper Father—assumes a right of operating on the Sabbath—a power of imitating God in his works of providence—of quickening whomsoever he will—the privilege and power of judging the world, and of being honored like as his heavenly Father is honored. That these are the pretensions of Jesus, is evident from the whole context; and that they are inconsistent with every idea we can entertain of mere created excellence, must be evident to the judgment of every impartial inquirer into the truth as it is in Jesus. He is either the true, proper, natural Son of God; or it is impossible to vindicate him from the most insolent and consummate imposture. There is no medium, (I speak it with reverence,) he must either be the real and genuine Son of God, or a most daring blasphemer.

2. On another occasion, recorded John 10:23-39, Christ was again charged with blasphemy in making himself equal with God. To justify his claim, he quotes the Old Testament to illustrate his meaning; but, so far from being satisfied, they were proceeding to seize him, when he escaped out of their hands. Now, if he had been a mere man, according to his external appearance, he had nothing to do but to tell them so, and all would have been easy. But as he used such expressions as led them to think that he pretended to be equal with God, he either was so in reality, or, to say the least, he dealt very disingenuously with them. He was to blame; they were to be pitied.

3. From Matthew 26:63-66, it is very evident that Christ was charged of being guilty of blasphemy, for making himself equal with God, for saying he was the Son of the most Blessed: and for this, and this only, did they think themselves justified in condemning him to death. The Jews certainly understood that our Lord meant to assert that he is equal with God. They either were right in their conclusion or not. If the former, then Christ is equal with God, as we believe him to be; if the latter be the case, viz. that they were mistaken, then it certainly would have been the duty of Christ to rectify their mistake. He doubtless knew in what sense he used the appellation which he assumed, and by his acquiescence admitted the truth of their allegation. If they had misunderstood his pretensions, he had many opportunities of undeceiving them, both to prevent his death and the propagation of an error which his acquiescence and their charge did not fail to establish. Yet, instead of correcting their opinions, he confirmed the charge by repeating his assertion, and submitting to the sentence which the Levitical law passed on him for calling himself the Son of God. Therefore if we admit, in any degree, the truth of the Christian revelation, and believe that Christ came into the world to bear witness unto the truth, we must believe him to have been what he professed himself to be, viz. the Son of God in the literal sense of the sentences which his living witnesses imputed to them, i. e. God—equal with God—and one with God.

4. Besides, I have already shown, in the preceding letter, that Christ both required and received divine worship; and in the first and second chapters of the Revelation of St. John, Christ assumes to himself the divine criteria of eternity, immutability, omniscience, omnipotence, and absolute control of the universe—killing arid making alive at his pleasure. Such language ill becomes a mere creature, and is nothing less than blasphemy; and equally unbecoming would be the language with which he closes the sacred volume of divine revelation, chapter 22:12, 13, 16, compared with Numbers 24:17, Malachi 4:2.

5. If Jesus Christ was not God, and consequently was guilty of blasphemy, then the Jews, in putting him to death, only executed that punishment which God himself had commanded them: for the law expressly required that a blasphemer should be put to death (Lev 24:15,16). Hence, when Pilate declared that he could find no fault in Jesus worthy of death, the high priest said, "We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God" (John 19:7). The accusation, then, was blasphemy, for calling himself the Son of God in the strictest sense of the word. Pilate, therefore, when he heard that Jesus was the Son of God, was the more afraid, and asked "Whence art thou?" that is, art thou indeed a divine person? of what deity hast thou descended? for Pilate could not have had a reference to his natural descent or native place, for he was well acquainted with both. Now if Jesus was condemned and put to death according to God's law, the inspired apostle would not have charged the Jews with having crucified the Lord of glory, and with having done it with wicked hands. Nor could they have blamed them for not believing in a deceiver and a blasphemer. And surely a holy, just, and righteous God would never have poured out his wrath upon them to the uttermost, which we are assured he has done (1 Thess 2:16). Besides, I have shown already in a former letter, (Part Four, Letter 9, Section 8) that the unparalleled sufferings of our nation, since the death of Christ to the present day, could be accounted for upon no other principle except their rejection of Jesus of Nazareth, the true Messiah.

6. If Christ was not truly God, then it follows he was not the promised Messiah, and consequently the ceremonial law is not abrogated, and no atonement is made for sin. The Mosaic dispensation was to continue until the coming of the Messiah, who was to give a new law, as is acknowledged by our Rabbins. The types were to continue until the coming of the anti-type. The shadows were to remain until the coming of the substance. Sacrifices, which were the very soul of the Mosaic ceremonies, were not to cease until after the death of the Messiah: but sacrifices have ceased; the veil of the temple is rent from the top to the bottom, to show that the way unto the most holy place is opened for all, and the distinction between the carnal priests, Levites, Israelites, Gentiles, and women, is for ever done away, ''for in Christ Jesus there is no difference" (Rom 10:12; Gal 3:28).

Further, if Christ was not God, then he could not make an atonement for sin. Says Dr. Owen,

"There are two things concerning the Messiah, which are the pillars and foundation of the Church. The one is his divine nature; and the other, his work of mediation in the atonement for sin, which he was to make by his sufferings, or the sacrifice of himself."
Now, if the foundation is removed, the pillars must fall. The blood of a mere human creature could no more atone for the sins of men than the blood of bulls and goats. Says the pious Dr. Hawker,
"The divinity of Jesus Christ I conceive to be the chief corner-stone in the edifice of Christianity. Remove this from the building, and the whole fabric immediately totters. The foundation is shaken to the very centre. There appears at once an evident disproportion between the end and the means, the importance of the object proposed, and the person by whom it was accomplished."(1)
But instead of enlarging on this subject, I will refer my dear Benjamin to what I have said on the priestly office of the Messiah, and simply observe, that if Jesus Christ is not as truly God as he is man, then the law of God is not yet magnified and made honorable; divine justice is not satisfied; and God cannot be a just God, and yet the justifier of them that believe in Christ;—then the Gospel is a deception, our preaching is vain, our hope is vain, and we are yet in our sins; yea, we are of all men the most miserable. And remember, my dear Benjamin, that if we go about to establish our own righteousness, as our people attempted to do, then, like them, we shall surely stumble and fall; for by the deeds of the law no flesh living can be justified.

7. I still remember a sermon preached in London in 1802, at the Missionary meeting, by the late Dr. John Mason, in which he said,

"The doctrine of our Lord's divinity is not, as a fact, more interesting to our faith, than, as a principle, it is essential to our hope. If he were not 'the true God,' he would not be 'eternal life.' When, pressed down by guilt and languishing for happiness, I look around for a deliverer, such as my conscience and my heart and the word of God assure me I need, insult not my agony by directing me to a creature—to a man—a mere man like myself! a creature—a man! My Redeemer owns my person. My immortal spirit is his property. When I come to die, I must commit it into his hands. My soul, my infinitely precious soul committed to a mere man! become the property of a mere man! I would not thus intrust my body to the highest angel who burns in the temple above. It is only the 'Father of spirits' that can have property in spirits, and be their refuge in the hour of transition from the present to the approaching world. In short, my brethren, the divinity of Jesus is, in the system of grace, the sun, to which all its parts are subordinate, and all their stations refer—which binds them in sacred concord, and imparts to them their radiance, and life, and vigor. Take from it this central luminary, and the glory is departed—its holy harmonies are broken—the elements rush to chaos—the light of salvation is extinguished for ever!"
8. If Christ be not the true and living God, then again it follows that many of the most learned Christians in former ages, as well as at the present day, are guilty of idolatry for believing the divinity of Christ. Dr. Crotius says,
"There were always very many amongst the worshipers of Christ who were men of good judgment and of no small learning; such as (not to mention Jews) Sergius, the president of Cyprus, Dionysius the Areopagite, Origen, Tertullian, Clemens Alexandrinus, Justin, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Athenagoras, and others."(2)

"Socinus himself acknowledges, that from the infancy of the church there had been very many pious learned men, martyrs too, who had embraced this grievous error; viz. that Jesus Christ is that one God who created all things, or certainly begotten of his proper substance."(3)

Ignatius, bishop of Antioch at the close of the first century, suffered martyrdom. He begins one of his epistles in the following manner:
"I glorify Jesus Christ our God, who has given unto you this wisdom."(4)
Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, who suffered in the year one hundred and sixty-seven, joins God the Father and the Son together in his prayers for grace and benediction upon man:
"the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Christ himself, the eternal High Priest, the Son of God, build you up in faith and truth—and to all them that are under heaven, that shall believe in Jesus Christ our Lord, and in his Father, who raised him from the dead."(5)
And when he was brought to the stake, he concluded his last prayer with this doxology to the blessed Trinity:
"I bless thee, I praise thee, I glorify thee for all things, together with the eternal and heavenly Jesus Christ, thy beloved Son, with whom, unto thee and the Holy Spirit, be glory both now and for ever, world without end."(6)
Justin Martyr, who lived about the middle of the second century, declared to the Pagans, that the object of divine worship was the whole Trinity,
"We worship and we admire the God of righteousness, and his Son, and the Holy Spirit of prophecy."
Yet a little after he tells the emperor,
"We hold it unlawful to worship any but God alone."(7)
Origen, who lived in the former part of the third century, says,
"We worship and we adore no creature but the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."(8)
Now could such men as these be mistaken in the capital article of the Christian religion and object of divine worship? Impossible. If they had considered Jesus as any thing less than the true God, how would they have answered the heathens, when charged that they worshiped a man that had been crucified? They did not deny that fact, and yet declared that they worshiped God alone. By this practice, therefore, they showed their belief of Christ's true divinity. They worshiped him only upon the ground that he is one with God the Father and the Holy Spirit; and had they done it upon any other supposition, they would have been guilty of idolatry by their own confession.

9. If these wise and pious men had been idolaters, because they believed Christ to be the true and living God, and therefore worshiped him as such, then they were led into this fatal error by simply believing the scripture account of Christ; but who can believe that the Scriptures, both the Old and the New Testament, whose chief end is to deliver men from idolatry, and to bring them back to the knowledge, service, and enjoyment of Jehovah—a revelation which was propagated by men the most exemplary for piety and uprightness, and which has produced effects the most blessed and glorious, should lead men into such fatal and abominable errors? Whilst the volume of nature, ransacked by the most energetic powers of reason, cannot afford the least information relative to the character of the Messiah, the sacred Scriptures describe him in the clearest and fullest manner possible, as the true and living God. We have already seen that they attribute to him all the divine criteria; and I will, in my next letter, select but a few plain scriptures on the, subject. Farewell.

 

Letter 2. The Subject Continued

Beloved Benjamin,

I will now invite your attention to a few select scriptures, to show to what fatal errors they lead, if Christ be not God.

1. Our blessed Lord, in his solemn prayer just before his death, says, "Now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was" (John 17:5). Says Dr. Harwood,

"Were there no intimation in the whole New Testament of the pre-existence of Christ, this single passage would irrefragably demonstrate and establish it. Our Savior here, in a solemn act of devotion, declares to the Almighty that he had glory with him before the world was; and fervently supplicates that he would be graciously pleased to reinstate him in his former felicity. The language is plain and clear. Every word has great moment and emphasis. Upon this single text I lay my finger. Here I rest my system."(9)
2. The next passage is that in 2 Corinthians 8:9, "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be made rich." Now, my dear Benjamin, if Christ was not the true and living God, but a mere creature, with what propriety can this be said of our Lord? When and where was our Savior rich in this world? His whole history contradicts this assertion. On the contrary, he was so poor that he was obliged to work a miracle to satisfy the demands of some tax-gatherers. He lived solely on the benevolence of his friends: he had no place where to lay his head. But upon the hypothesis that our Lord enjoyed the most exalted station before his incarnation, every thing is consistent and natural. In his pre-existent state, he was rich in glory, honor, and happiness, with a greatness and benevolence of soul that can never be sufficiently exalted. He abdicated all this and became poor, that we, through his poverty, might become rich. The apostle's argument, to excite the liberality and benevolence of the Corinthians, from this stupendous act and instance of our Lord's condescension and benevolence, upon this scheme only, is cogent and apposite, and very elegant and persuasive. Says Dr. Hawker,
''This passage is, in my opinion no inconsiderable argument to prove that the earliest Christians, and in the days of the apostles themselves, were not unbelievers in our Lord's divinity, but orthodox in the great article of our faith; for the apostle writes to the Corinthians with all the confidence of one who was mentioning, not a novel thing, but a truth long-since received and acknowledged. For had this point been at all questionable, or not fully credited, he surely would not have said 'ye know' what they absolutely did not know, had never heard of before, or perhaps denied. A presumptive evidence at least is this, that the Corinthians were believers in this important doctrine. It is impossible to reconcile the apostle's expression in this passage, even with common, sense, upon any other terms than the supposition that he was writing to a body of men who were believers in the divinity of Christ."(10)
3. Further: the apostle, in writing to the Galatians, begins his epistle thus: "Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead." Now, if Paul did receive his apostleship neither of man, nor by man, but by Jesus Christ, then Jesus Christ must be superior to man and equal with the Father.

4. Again, in chapter 4:4, 5, he says, "When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Now this language is perfectly proper on the supposition of Christ's pre-existence, but very improper on the contrary supposition; for how could a mere man be otherwise made than of a woman, and under the law?

5. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, chapter 3:19, the apostle speaks of the love of Christ, which passes knowledge; but where was the extraordinary love of Christ, if he existed not before he was born of the virgin, and had no nature higher than mere humanity? To talk of this love as surpassing knowledge, is to burlesque it—seeing many of our fellow-mortals have displayed equal affection with motives infinitely inferior.

6. Permit me, my dear Benjamin, to call your attention to another scripture testimony in favor of the true divinity of my dear Lord and Savior. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil 2:5-11). In the introduction to this celebrated text the apostle is exhorting to unity and brotherly love, with various other Christian graces, among the most conspicuous of which are humility and self-denial. And in order to prevail with the people to whom he wrote more effectually, he sets before them the example of Jesus; showing them how great he was originally; how low he condescended for the salvation of mankind; and what were the happy consequences respecting himself. So that Jesus Christ is evidently spoken of, in these words, as existing in three very different conditions—before his incarnation, in his state of humiliation, and his state of exaltation. And these three conditions of our blessed Redeemer are essentially necessary to the apostle's argument. Take away any one of them, and the propriety of the example is destroyed, and the force of the argument utterly enervated. If we take away his natural and original dignity, then there was no humiliation in becoming man, nor was there any propriety in God's bestowing upon him a reward so infinitely superior to every thing he could have deserved. But if he was by nature the Son of God, if he was originally in the form of God, and then humbled himself to the lowest pitch of poverty and distress to work out salvation for the sons of men, then there was the strictest propriety and decorum in exalting him to the head of the universe.

7. Says Dr. Price,

"I have often considered carefully the interpretation which the Socinians give of these words, and the more I have considered it, the more confirmed I have been in thinking it forced and unnatural. Indeed, the turn and structure of this passage are such, that I find it impossible not to believe that the humiliation of Christ, which St. Paul had in view, was not the exchanging of one condition on earth for another, but his exchanging of the glory he had with God before the world was, for the condition of a man, and leaving of that glory, to encounter the difficulties of human life, and to suffer and to die on the cross. This was, in truth, an event worthy to be held forth to the admiration of Christians. But if the apostle means only that Christ, though exalted above others by working miracles, yet consented to suffer and die as other men; if, I say, St. Paul means only this, the whole passage is made cold and trifling; no more being said of Christ than might have been said of St. Paul himself, or any other of the apostles."(11)
8. Another author says,
"I have taken the pains to examine nearly all the fathers of the three first centuries who referred to this text; and now I declare, upon the whole, I have not the smallest doubt remaining upon my mind that it is justly translated in our English Bible."(12)
Says Dr. Doddridge,
"I believe this scripture may be left to speak for itself. The being, of whom all these things are predicated, must be divine. To suppose otherwise, is to throw an impenetrable cloud over all language, and to render the Bible the most dangerous book in the world. How any serious and honest mind can be satisfied with the Socinian interpretation, is hard to conceive."
9. The last passage to which I would invite the attention of my dear Benjamin, is that in the Epistle to the Hebrews; an epistle originally addressed to our beloved people. The pious and learned. Dr. Simpson says,
"There is no part of the writings of this apostle which speaks more excellent things of our Savior than the first chapter of his most learned Epistle to the Hebrews. The whole is an admirable piece of reasoning, and eloquent at the same time in a very high degree. I verily believe there is not in the world a piece of writing; equally elegant and argumentative, equally persuasive and conclusive."(13)
Dr. Buchanan told me, many years since, that, whilst traveling in India, he heard of a learned Jew who had commenced writing a refutation of this epistle, but, before he had proceeded far in his work, he dropped his pen and exclaimed, "The Benjamite is too strong for me," and embraced the Christian religion. To return to our subject.

The passage to which I refer is chapter the first, 1-3, "God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who, being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." Upon these words Dr. Whitby remarks,

"I believe it is as impossible to understand how a man should have this empire over all things in heaven and in earth, and over death itself, and yet be a mere man, as it is to understand any mystery in the sacred Trinity."
Now, my dear Benjamin, from the account which is here given of the Son of the Highest, we may well say that human language wants terms to convey ideas of a more exalted kind. What could have been said to elevate his character that is not said? We can know of nothing higher, nothing greater, nothing better, nothing more sublime than this description. Every thing is said that implies equality. He is the Son of God; the heir of all things; the constitutor of all ages; the brightness of his Father's glory; the express image of his person; the sustainer of the universe. From all these considerations united, it is very evident we cannot think of our blessed Savior too highly, love him too intensely, or expect too much from his fullness.

From what has been observed in the whole of this paragraph, am I not justified, my dear Benjamin, in drawing the conclusion that if Jesus Christ be not essentially God, then the Bible is either unintelligible, even in its plainest expressions, or it contains the most inconsistent scheme that was ever invented. If our Savior be not, in the highest sense, God, those writings must lead us into the most filial errors; for no words can be plainer, as has been shown, and there are many others which affirm him to be so. Besides, it was foretold, that in the days of Messiah idolatry was to be abolished. "The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of man shall be made low; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day; and the idols he shall utterly abolish; in that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats" (Isa 2:17,18,20). Idolatry is the reverse and direct opposite to Christianity, or the day of Christ. To destroy this was the great end of Christ's coming into the world (1 John 3:8); and the design of Paul's commission to the Gentiles (Acts 26:17,18). But unless Christ were God, the true, living, and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, his religion would be so far from destroying idolatry, that it would only be a more refined and dangerous species of it.

10. My conclusion on this subject is corroborated by many of the most pious and learned writers. I will select but one from the pen of Dr. Macknight.

"I would observe here, once for all, that if the Socinian explication of the texts which attribute unto Jesus the names, perfections, and actions of the true God is admitted, it will be very difficult to clear the evangelists and apostles from the imputation of having laid in men's way a violent temptation to idolatry. For it is well known that as in all ages men have been exceeding prone to worship false gods, so it was the prevailing vice of the world when the New Testament was written, that the grossest corruption of the morals of mankind had ever flowed from this poisonous spring (Pro 1:14); and that to destroy idolatry, and to bring mankind to the worship of the true God, was the great end proposed by God in all the revelations he made of himself to men. This being the case, is it to be imagined that either Christ himself, who brought the last and the best revelation of the divine will, or his apostles, who committed that revelation to writing, would, on any occasion, have used such expressions as in their plain and obvious meaning could not fail to lead, at least the bulk of mankind, to think that the names, perfections, and actions of the true God were ascribed to a creature, and that the worship due to the true God was due to him (Heb 1:6), while in reality they mean no more than that he was miraculously formed, was commissioned, to deliver a new religion to the world, was endowed with power of miracles, and in consideration of his exemplary death, was raised from the grave and had divine honors conferred upon him? Instead of reforming the world, this was to have laid in their way such a temptation to idolatry as they could not well resist. Nor has the effect been any other than was to be expected, for the generality of Christians, moved by these expressions, have all along considered Christ as God, and honored him accordingly."(14)
Having now pointed out a few of the awful and pernicious consequences which must inevitably follow if Christ be not the true and living God, I will, in my next letter, mention a few of the happy results if Christ be truly God. Farewell.

 

Letter 3. Consequences If Christ Be God

My Dear Benjamin,

Agreeably to my promise, I will now proceed to show,

Secondly, the happy consequences if Christ be truly God.

1. We see then that God is love. The incarnation, obedience, sufferings, and death of Christ are, every where in the sacred Scripture, mentioned as the highest manifestation of God's love, and of the compassion of the Savior to man. When our blessed Savior, in his conversation with Nicodemus, had mentioned the fact that the Son of man should die, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life, he exclaims: "For God so loved the world," &c. (John 3:14-16). Here is a sic without a sicut, i. e. a love without a parallel, a love that surpasses all understanding. What an astonishing act of love was this, for the Father to give the delight, the darling of his soul out of his very bosom for poor and miserable sinners! All tongues must needs pause and falter that attempt the expression of his grace. Who would deliver a child, the child of his delight, an only child, to death, for the greatest inheritance in the world? what tender parent can endure the parting with such a child? When Hagar was taking her last leave (as she thought) of her Ishmael, "And she went and sat down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow-shot, for she said, Let me not see the death of the child; and she sat over against him and lifted up her voice and wept" (Gen 21:16). O! it was painful to part. How heart-piercing was the language of David, even for a rebellious son: "And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept, and as he wept, thus he said: O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom, would God I had died for thee! O Absalom my son ! my son!" (2 Sam 18:33). What a rent has the death of some children made in the heart of some parents, which will never be closed up in this world! Yet surely did ever any child lie so close to any parent's heart as Christ did to his Father's, and yet he willingly parts with him and delivers him up to death, a cursed death for sinners, yea, even the chief of sinners. Millions of angels were, nothing compared with the Son of God. The nearer the relation was between God and Christ, the greater was his love shown to us. Christ, God's own Son, his first born, his only begotten Son, the Son of his love, who lay in his bosom, and had been his delight from everlasting—for him to be sent to recover and save man, vile, sinful, and undone man—the Son to be employed for the servant, the slave, the enemy! O, my dear Benjamin, how astonishingly great is the love of God! Jehovah himself declared that it was the highest manifestation of Abraham's love to him when, upon his command, he was willing to offer up his only son Isaac; but O how infinitely short did that come of his own love, in sending his only begotten Son to suffer and to die to save guilty men. Well might the apostle say, "Hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die; but God commendeth his love towards us, in that, when we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom 5:5-8). Again says the same apostle, praying for the Ephesians that they might "be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge" (Eph 3:18,19). How expressive the language of the apostle John: "God is love. In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:8-10). Now consider, my dear Benjamin, that upon the hypothesis that Christ was mere man, all these Scriptures lose all their force and significance. For what is there so remarkably endearing in the consideration that God gave up a man like ourselves to extreme sufferings and disgrace, when he had already acted in a similar manner in every instance where virtuous characters had fallen into the hands of unreasonable and wicked men? Or what was there so condescending in the conduct of Jesus, when he knew the infinite reward that was set before him? But if Jesus was the real and proper Son of God, then the love of God in not sparing him, and the condescension of Christ in leaving the infinite beatitude of heaven, taking upon him human nature, and dying to redeem the apostate sons of Adam, are conspicuous; and the declarations of Jesus and his apostles are inexpressibly proper, tender, and pathetic.

2. Further; let it be noticed, that if Christ be not truly God in the highest and strictest sense, then the argument urged by our Savior and his apostles will be inconclusive and vain; and God, by thus giving and sending his Son, showed more love to Christ than to the world: for the opponents of the divinity of Christ tell us

"that he who is but a creature, is, after a short obedience and suffering upon earth, made a god, receives divine honors, not only from men but from the angels and archangels, and has universal empire and dominion over all other creatures."
For the same reason, if Christ be but a creature, his own love to mankind, in coming into the world, and doing and suffering what he did, (which is so highly magnified in Scripture,) does not appear to be very extraordinary, because he himself was the greatest gainer imaginable. But upon the supposition that Christ is truly God, his love to mankind was indeed transcending, amazing, and surpassing knowledge; which leads me to notice,

3. That if Christ be truly God, then his example of love and obedience to his Father, and love and compassion to man, is indeed unparalleled.

The Scriptures speak frequently in terms of high commendation on this subject; and even those who deny his real divinity and his atoning sacrifice, speak in exalted terms of his example. But, if he was not truly God before his incarnation; if he was not rich before he became poor; if he had no glory with the Father before he became a man of suffering; if he was not equal with God before he became a servant and was made in the likeness of men; I ask, with reverence indeed, wherein did his example exceed the examples of that cloud of witnesses presented to our view in the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 11? But on this particular I shall not enlarge, and I refer you, my dear Benjamin, to what I have said in a former letter (Part Four, Letter 15, Section 2). I proceed to observe,

4. That if Christ be truly God, then sin appears indeed in its most odious manner.

One of the most common and most successful devices of Satan to lead men into sin and misery, is to hide the evil of sin from their eyes. Hence he persuaded our first parents that they should not die, even if they should break God's law, and he succeeded; and every sin committed, is committed upon the same principle, viz. although I do wrong, yet I shall escape punishment. But God, who has no pleasure in the death of the sinner, says, "O do not this abominable thing that I hate" (Jer 44:4). He has indeed manifested his hatred of sin, and determination to punish it, by awful judgments inflicted on individuals, families, and nations. Myriads of angels have been cast out of heaven, our first parents banished from Paradise, a world destroyed by the flood, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah consumed by fire from heaven, Pharaoh and his host drowned in the Red Sea, the holy city of Jerusalem and our beautiful temple laid in ruins, and our whole nation scattered among all people under heaven, &c. &c. But O, my dear Benjamin, what is all this, yea, and even the torments of hell, when compared with the manifestation of God's wrath and indignation against sin, when he sent his own Son into the world, who knew no sin, to be made a sacrifice for sin? (2 Cor 5:21). In the former we may see much of the evil of sin, but not so much as we see in the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus Christ; here is the clearest and most awful discovery and fullest representation of it—for the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, to become a son of man, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; to be smitten and stricken; to tread the wine-press of the wrath of God; to be obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; to cry out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And all this to atone for sin. This is indeed a manifestation of its infinite evil which the world never saw before, and never will see again. The numberless sacrifices which were slain to atone for sin, taught something of its evil nature and consequences: but the blood of Christ, shed for the remission of sins, speaks much louder. What the apostle said of the love of God, we may apply with equal propriety to his holiness and the evil of sin. Now we know that God is holy, and sin an abomination, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:9,10).

5. If Christ be truly God, then we also see the propriety of honoring him as we do the Father. We ought to love him supremely, believe in him cordially, and obey him unreservedly; the dignity of his person calls for the highest esteem, reverence and veneration which angels or men can possibly give unto him. Besides, it is the absolute will of the Father that all men should honor the Son even as they honor him (John 5:23). For, having the same essence and nature with the Father, the Father will have him receive the same honor which he himself receives; and whoever denies it to the Son, reflects dishonor on the Father, who will not suffer any thing derogatory to the glory of his Son.

There is a story related of Bishop Amphilochius, who, to convince the emperor of the importance of honoring the Son as we honor the Father, one day coming into the presence of the emperor and of his son Arcadius, (who now ruled jointly with his father,) made his humble obeisance to the emperor himself, but slightly noticed his son. The emperor was greatly offended, and sharply reproved the bishop for his neglect of his son. The bishop, instead of making an apology, justified his conduct by saying he considered it indeed his duty to pay the greatest respect to the emperor, but did not think it either necessary or proper to pay the same homage to his son. The emperor became the more enraged, and ordered him to be driven from his presence. Whilst they were laying hands on the bishop, he turned to the emperor and said, O Emperor, thou being but a man, canst not bear the contempt or disparagement of thy son, how canst thou think the great God can bear the contempt of his Son which men cast upon him? The emperor was much affected at this, begged the bishop's pardon, and commended his ingenuity.(15)

6. Jesus Christ requires supreme love (Matt 10:37,38), and the apostle says, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema, Maranatha" (1 Cor 16:22). A believing, experimental knowledge of the unparalleled love of Christ compels to supreme love. Hence, says one apostle, "the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again" (2 Cor 5:14,15). And another apostle says, "We love him because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). There is an invincible force in love itself, "for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave: many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it; if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would be utterly contemned" (Song 8:6,7).

7. Love is of a nature so powerful that we can no more resist it and break the force of it, than we can resist death or fire. Nothing but the thing loved can quench or satisfy it. So vehement a love is there kindled in the heart of believers towards Christ, it makes so strong and mighty impressions on the heart, that they cannot endure any separation from him. No opposition can extinguish it, no other satisfaction can bribe it and entice it away from Christ.

As death conquers all, kings and peasants, high and low, rich and poor, bond and free, young and old, weak or strong, there is no disputing of his authority or counteracting of his power; for all ranks and degrees of men must, whether they will or not, be subject to him, the king of terrors; so the believer's love to Christ overcomes all things, and surmounts all difficulties which oppose his enjoyment of him. He can part with all, and bear all, or any thing, for the sake of Christ; father, mother, wife and children, houses and land, a good name, credit and reputation, are nothing to the believer, in comparison with Christ; and he cheerfully quits them when they stand in competition with him. "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Phil 3:8,9).

8. Further: as we are to honor and love Christ because he is the true God, so also we are commanded to believe in him, "Ye believe in God, believe also in me" (John 14:1). One great design of divine revelation is to exhibit Christ as the object of faith. That the promised Messiah was the object of faith and foundation of hope to the saints under the Old Testament, from the righteous Abel down to Zechariah, who was slain between the temple and the altar, we are assured by the apostle in his Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 11. And for the same end and purpose the New Testament was written. Let me recommend to your attention, my dear Benjamin, the following passages: "These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, ye might have life through his name" (John 20:31). "Whosoever denies the Son, the same has not the Father; but he that acknowledges the Son, hath the Father also—whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God—who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 2:23, 4:15, 5:5).

Again, I would observe that Jesus Christ also requires universal and unreserved obedience, and makes it a characteristic mark of his disciples. He not only requires that they shall be baptized in his name, as well as in the name of the Father and of the Holy Ghost, but also that they shall observe all things be has commanded (Matt 28:19,20). Again he says, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you" (John 15:14). And when the voice from heaven, in the presence of Moses and Elijah, proclaimed Jesus to be the Son of God, Matthew 17:5, which was doubtless in allusion to Deuteronomy 18:19, that Jesus Christ was the prophet therein promised, whom men were to obey on peril of being cut off, and all the calamities which have come upon our dear people since the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, have been on account of not obeying him, as has been fully proved in a former letter (Part Four, Letter 9, Section 8).

9. If Jesus Christ be the true and living God, then what shall we say concerning them who deny his real divinity, and refuse to honor him with the same honor they profess to give unto the Father? My dear Benjamin, I tremble when I think on their awful condition, and almost hesitate to write my thoughts on the subject, lest I should be considered uncharitable or intolerant. God forbid! for I myself have been a blasphemer; but God has had mercy upon me, called me by his grace, and revealed his Son in me; and I pray, my dear Benjamin, that all who refuse to honor Jesus may obtain like mercy. Nor would I say or do any thing that should have even the appearance of preventing any one from thinking or speaking on any religious subject more than any other. But remember, my dear Benjamin, that our thoughts and words must be guided by the unerring word of God. And as it would be false charity not to tell a man that he is off of the right road, merely to prevent him from some momentary unpleasant feelings by discovering to him his mistake, how much worse and more blamable would be my conduct, were I to deceive you, or any person else, by saying "it is of no importance whether we believe Jesus is the true God or not; it will only be an error of the mind, and if we are but sincere in what we believe, that is all which God requires of us"; when I know that the sacred Scriptures teach otherwise, as appears from the following passages: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36). Again, "If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24). "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which he has testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not God, has made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God" (1 John 5:9-13).

10. I am aware, my dear Benjamin, that there are those who, whilst they deny that Jesus is equal with God, yet say "Christ ought to be honored and worshiped more or less, for some reason or other." But all this is unscriptural, irrational and fatal. Says Dr. Trapp,

"According to the doctrine of the Socinians our blessed Savior is naturally a mere man, but by the will of the Father advanced to the dignity of a God; and being so advanced, he is truly and properly God. Now I desire to be informed how this notion differs from that of the ancient heathen concerning their deifying their heroes and turning men into gods? It is just the same notion, and is clothed with the same absurdity and impiety. To suppose such a fictitious God is gross polytheism, and to worship such an one is gross idolatry."
Again he says:
"If the Son and the Holy Ghost be God, ought they not to be honored, adored, prayed to, and glorified as such? And if they be not God, ought they to be honored, adored, and prayed to, and glorified as such? If they be not God, we who call ourselves orthodox are idolaters; if they be God, those whom we call heretics upon this article are blasphemers."(16)
Says the learned Dr. Stillingfleet,
"Socinus was a strenuous advocate for the worship of Christ, for he says that to deny invocation to him is not a simple error or mere mistake, but a most pernicious error, an error that leads to Judaism, and is in effect the denying of Christ, and tends to epicurism and atheism."
Smalcius says,
"There are no Christians which refuse to give divine worship to Christ."(17)
Says the pious Mr. Simpson,
"The foreign Socinians deny any to be Christians who refuse divine adoration and invocation to Christ; hence they have excluded all our English Unitarians (as the Socinians here call themselves) from being Christians, who deny this to Christ."(18)
Says Mr. Trapp,
"These are the men who ridicule orthodoxy on the one hand, and heresy on the other, as absurd and ridiculous notions, and are for having all persons think freely for themselves. God forbid that any body should be denied that liberty, but nobody that thinks truly for himself will think as they do. These are the men who are so accurate in their thoughts and writings, so careful to avoid contradiction, and so very forward to charge them upon others; as if all the regular arguing, all the clear and distinct ideas in the world belong to them, Whereas, in fact, there never was upon the face of the earth a more senseless and self-contradicting scheme than theirs—nothing more irrational and absurd, as well as impious and profane."(19)
Says Dr. Young,
"The Socinians have been very unfortunate in the execution of their main design, for they have not purged mystery out of the Scriptures, they have only changed its place—they have taken mystery out of the doctrines of the sacred Scripture where it was venerable and worthy the majesty of God, and have placed it in the phrase of the Scripture, where it is opprobrious and repugnant to God's sincerity."(20)
Now, my dear Benjamin, I will close this paragraph by recommending to you most affectionately the advice of the Psalmist, "Be wise now therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth: serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling: kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little: blessed are all they who put their trust in him" (Psa 2:10-12).

11. If Christ be the Son of God, how great the encouragement for poor sinners to put their trust in him for pardon, peace, acceptance, and eternal salvation! We may be sure that there is an infinite value, worth, and efficacy in Christ's obedience and suffering; that he was able to accomplish the work which the Father had given him to do, and is now able to save to the very uttermost all that come unto God by him. What can be too hard for the power of the Son of God to effect, or too high for his obedience and sufferings to merit? Had Christ been only the Son of man, then indeed faith could not have borne up with such confidence; but he being the Son of God also, and having the nature, essence, and attributes of God, faith may triumph as to the efficacy and meritoriousness of his work. It was the blood of God that was shed as the price of our redemption (Acts 20:28).

What a fullness of grace, merit, and efficacy must there be in the sacrifice of Him in whom "dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily"? (Col 2:9). "For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more should the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God" (Heb 9:13,14). "Seeing then we have a great High Priest that has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession; for we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb 4:14-16).

12. If Christ be the true and living God, O how happy and blessed are true believers. What can there be too great for God to do, or too good to give, after having given his own Son to die for them? "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Rom 8:32),—all things for time and eternity; "for godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come" (1 Tim 4:8),—all things for body and soul; "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt 6:33),—all things that are for our real advantage; "for all things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's" (1 Cor 3:21-23). O believer, raise your expectation ever so high, and it will not be a castle built in the air. Your faith rests upon a sure and solid foundation. What greater security could God himself have given than the gift of his own Son? This is a sure pledge of great love; and what will not love, great love, such love ("for God so loved the world," John 3:16) do for those whom he loves? With the apostle, ye may be confident of this very thing, "that he who has begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:6); and with the same apostle you may say triumphantly, "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" &c. &c. (Rom 8:33-39).

13. Lastly. If Jesus Christ is the true and living God, then the friends of Zion may take courage in God their Savior. Whoever meets with disappointment, the cause of Christ must increase, extend, and triumph. Glorious things are spoken of Zion, the city of our God. The conversion of the Gentiles which are afar off, and of our dear people scattered every where, is foretold by the mouth of all the holy prophets. These promises are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus; the signs of the times, too, are most pleasing and encouraging; never was there such a variety of religious and benevolent institutions of different names and denominations, and yet all united under the banner of King Jesus, all aiming at the extension of his kingdom, which is an everlasting kingdom. True, Satan seems to be more active, his emissaries more numerous, bold and persevering than formerly; yet even this is a good sign. When the people of God were inactive in the cause of Christ, and quietly left the Gentiles and the Jews in the power of Satan, (the "god of this world, who blinds the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them," 2 Corinthians 4:4), his goods were at peace, he was comparatively inactive; but, now they are disturbed, and in danger of being taken from him, he is enraged, sounds the alarm, fills up his ranks with new recruits from all classes of men, and defies the armies of the living God, saying, "I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them" (Exo 15:9). ''But who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain; and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof, with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace, unto it" (Zech 4:7). "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against Jehovah, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, Jehovah shall have them in derision: then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion" (Psa 2:1-6). "The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool" (Psa 110:1). "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever" (Psa 45:6).

"It is the throne of God. He who sitteth on it is the Omnipotent; universal being is in his hand. Revolution, force, fear, as applied to his kingdom, are words without meaning. Rise up in rebellion, if thou hast courage. Associate with thee the whole mass of infernal power; begin with the ruin of whatever is fair and good in the little globe; pass from hence to blot the sun from out of his place, and roll the volume of desolation through the starry world,—what hast thou done unto him? It is the puny menace of a worm against him whose frown is perdition."(21)
14. Antichrist may fall, superstitious observances may cease, religious institutions may be tumbled into ruins, empires and kingdoms may be overturned, princes and governors may be deposed, the wise men of the world may take part with the enemies of truth, error and delusion may run like wild-fire among the thickest ranks of the people, unbelievers may rage, and minute philosophers imagine a vain thing—but the Bible shall rise out of its present obscurity, and being stripped of all human appendages, shall be universally had in honor. The method of redeeming a lost race, therein revealed, shall be generally seen and embraced; the enemies of evangelical religion shall be confounded world without end. Jesus shall reign triumphant over all opposition, in his glorious human body, at the right hand of the majesty on high, till all the ends of the earth have seen his great salvation, and every opposing power is brought into complete subjection. "Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only does wondrous things; and blessed be his glorious name for ever; and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen" (Psa 72:18,19). "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen" (Jude 24,25).

 

Letter 4. Deity of the Holy Spirit

Dear Benjamin,

Having proved, I hope to your satisfaction, the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, I will now also briefly show the divinity of the Holy Ghost. But let it be observed, that although we have not so great a variety of proofs of the divinity of the Holy Spirit as we have of the blessed Jesus, yet those which we have are as satisfactory as those of the Father and of the Son. This will evidently appear if we consider,

First, that all the divine criteria are ascribed to the Holy Spirit as well as to the Father and to the Son, and therefore he must be truly God.

1. The names peculiar to Deity. The Holy Spirit is called God in the strict sense of the word. The Psalmist informs us that our fathers "provoked the Most High in the wilderness, and tempted God in their heart" (Psa 78:17,18). The Prophet Isaiah applies this to the Holy Spirit, chapter 63:10, and so did the apostle, saying, "Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost says, To day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness, when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years" (Heb 3:7-9). Hence it is evident that the Holy Spirit is God the Most High.

2. Further: the Holy Spirit is called by the incommunicable name of Jehovah, and therefore must be truly God. Moses informs us that it was Jehovah alone that did lead the children of Israel, "and there was no strange god with him" (Deut 32:12); which work the Prophet Isaiah applies to the Holy Ghost (Isa 63:11,12). He therefore is Jehovah, the true and eternal God. Jehovah, whom Isaiah saw sitting upon the throne, high and lifted up, and whose train filled the temple, and whom the seraphim adored, saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory" (Isa 6:3), is Jehovah the Spirit, according to the testimony of St. Paul, who, preaching at Rome to the mixed, multitude of Jews, some of whom believed and some believed not, says, "Well spake the Holy Ghost by Isaiah the prophet unto our fathers, saying, Go unto this people and say. Hearing ye shall hear, and not understand, and seeing ye shall see and not perceive," &c. (Acts 28:25,26). Seeing then that these are the very words which Jehovah spake by Isaiah, and yet these words spake the Holy Ghost, says St. Paul, the Holy Ghost therefore must be Jehovah.

It is no solid objection to say that the Evangelist John calls this a vision of the glory of Christ; so it was; but this only proves that the glory of Jesus, and the glory of the Holy Ghost as Jehovah, are one and the same. Hence the works of creation, the resurrection of Christ, &c. &c. which are the works of Jehovah, and not the works of any particular person in the blessed Trinity as belonging to the economy of redemption, are ascribed alike to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Hence it has been observed by the judicious Mr. Nelson, that

"the glory which appeared to Isaiah, is the glory of the Father, Revelation 4:8; and of the Son, John 12:41; and of the Holy Ghost, Acts 28:26. Now since three persons are manifested in one glory, and the manifestations are designed to bring us into the knowledge of the things manifested; it is a great probability that the one glory teaches us the unity, or identity of nature, of the persons manifested in it."(22)
3. The incommunicable attributes of God are attributed to the Holy Spirit, and therefore he is truly God.

a. Eternity and unchangeableness. Jesus Christ is said "to have offered himself unto God, through the Eternal Spirit" (Heb 9:14). The Holy Spirit created the world, as will be shown hereafter, and therefore must have existed before any thing was made. I have already shown that the Holy Spirit is called by the incommunicable name Jehovah; and as that word signifies self-existent, eternal, and unchangeable, therefore the Holy Spirit must be the same as the Father and the Son, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; he that was, and is, and is to come, the Lord God Almighty. Says one of the fathers,

"The Holy Spirit always was, is, and always will be: he had no beginning, nor shall have any end, but is always joined with the Father and the Son."(23)
4. b. Omnipresence, which is an essential attribute of God, is also ascribed to the Holy Spirit. "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there; if I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me" (Psa 139:7-10). Now here, as the Jehovah to whom the Psalmist addresses himself is acknowledged to be every where present and immense; so also, and in a sense as unlimited, is his Spirit and his presence; for that presence from whom none can go, as well as that presence from whom none can flee; they from whom neither heaven, nor hell, nor the uttermost part of the sea can hide; they from whom no place in the universe can exclude, must surely be present in all places alike; and consequently the Son and the Holy Ghost must be as strictly omnipresent as the Father. Says Mr. Wheatly,
"By the word presence in this passage I understand the divine word or person of the Son, whom God calls his presence, and promises to Moses, upon his earnest intercession, to send before him, to lead the people, and to give them rest; and whom accordingly Isaiah calls the Angel of his presence, who was afflicted in their affliction and saved them; who in his love and his pity redeemed them, and bare them, and carried them all the days of old (Isa 63:9). Agreeable with this are the words of Moses, Because the Lord loved thy Father, therefore he chose their seed after him, and brought thee out in his sight, (or rather by his presence, as the word Bephanav, signifies,) with his mighty power, out of Egypt. This is that presence or face of the Lord before whom John the Baptist was to go and prepare his way; and who, as it appears from the prophet Malachi, was himself no less than Jehovah."(24)
How consoling, my dear Benjamin, is the truth to the believer in Christ, that he can never be cast out from the presence, grace, or protection of the Holy Ghost. Wherever his lot is cast, in the darkest dungeon or in a cave, in the uttermost ends of the earth, far distant from all fellow Christians, yet the Holy Spirit, who is every where present, is with him, to lead and teach, to support and comfort him, and bring him through into the presence of God the Father; for by this immense omnipresent Spirit, both those that are nigh, and those that are afar off, have access to the Father (Eph 2:16).

5. c. Omniscience is an attribute peculiar to the true God, and is ascribed to the Holy Spirit; therefore the Holy Spirit is the true God. He not only knoweth the hearts of men, but also the secrets of Jehovah (1 Cor 2:10,11). Nothing in the Father, however profound, or however sublime, surpasses the knowledge of his Holy Spirit. He is inwardly conscious of the things of God, as the spirit of man is of the things of man; for, in knowing the mind of the Father who creates, he must know the things comprehended in him, viz. the nature, and powers, and operations of all things; for the knowledge of God is equal to his power, and nothing was made which he does not comprehend. If then the secrets of the creature and the depth of God are searched and understood, and the things past and the things to come known and foretold by the Spirit of God; (for the economy of providence relating to man, to the end of the world, and contained in the writings of both Testaments, was revealed to the prophets by the Holy Spirit;) it will then follow that the Holy Ghost knoweth all things, is every where present, and is true God—for the knowledge of all things is a Scripture argument of the truth of the Godhead of the subject knowing. When our blessed Lord and Savior promised his disciples that he would send another Comforter, even the Holy Ghost, he describes one part of his office to be "to show them things to come" (John 16:13). Now this is a power which he himself declares that none can exert but he alone who is truly God; for when he challengeth the idols to plead their cause, and to give convincing proof of their divinity, "Produce your cause, saith the Lord, bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob: let them bring them forth and show us what shall happen; let them show the former things what they be, that we may consider them and know the latter end of them; or declare us things to come; show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know ye are gods" (Isa 41:21-23). Hence the Lord Jesus Christ himself appeals to his foretelling of future events, as one test of his own divinity. "I tell you," says he, (i. e. that Judas should betray him;) "before it come, that when it come to pass, ye may believe that I am" (John 13:19); i. e. I am the true God, which knows all things before they happen, even those which none but the true God can foresee. The amazing gift of prophecy, declaring the end from the beginning, and foretelling particular events long beforehand as exactly as they came to pass, with the particular circumstances of them, was from the Holy Spirit, and plainly shows his infinite knowledge. "He that teaches man knowledge, shall not he know?" (Psa 94:10). Of all kinds of knowledge, prescience, or knowledge of things to come, seems to be the hardest; of all the acts of prescience, the foreknowledge of things which depend upon the wills of free agents seems to be the most difficult. But is any thing too hard for the Spirit to do, or too difficult for him to know? A remarkable instance of the prescience or foreknowledge of the Holy Spirit we have recorded in that history, where we find a prophet uttering these words: "O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord, Behold, a child shall be born in the house of David, Josiah by name, and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee; and men's bones shall burn upon thee" (1 Kings 13:2). This prophecy was delivered some hundreds of years before its accomplishment: the certain birth and name of the prince, of what family he should be, and some remarkable things he should do, are foretold as exactly as if they had then been done; and yet these events seemed to be very contingent and uncertain; there were ten or eleven kings in David's line after the prophet and before Josiah; and what might happen among them, the birth of this prince and his name, his destroying of the altar and burning of the priests' bones thereupon, seemed to depend upon the voluntary acts of men; but God the Spirit, as well as the Father, understands the thoughts afar off, and foresees the end from the beginning: a knowledge too great for any creature, and peculiar to the only true God.

6. d. Omnipotence, or almighty power, is also the peculiar attribute of Jehovah, and is ascribed to the Holy Ghost. This is evident from the works which are ascribed to him, as will be shown hereafter. I shall sum up what has been said in a few words. He who is omnipresent, omnipotent, eternal, unchangeable, infinitely, sovereignly gracious, and omniscient, is no creature, but is true and real God, of the same nature and perfections with the Father and the Son.

7. From the attributes of God, ascribed to the Holy Spirit, I proceed to notice,

The works which he performs.

Creation, which is the exclusive work of God, is ascribed to the Holy Spirit, and therefore he is truly God (Psa 33:6, 104:30; Job 26:13, 33:4). The Prophet Isaiah describes the almighty power and exalted majesty of the Holy Ghost as Creator, in the following passage: ''Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out the heavens with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor, hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and showed to him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing; and Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt-offering. All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity" (Isa 40:12-17). Now let it be observed, my dear Benjamin, that these things are ascribed to the Holy Spirit, not in exclusion of the Father and the Son, but in conjunction with them: for the three in heaven are one, one in essence, and one in operation. There is a joint concurrence of all the three persons in the Godhead in the works of nature and Providence, as Christ says: "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work; and whatsoever the Father doeth, the Son doeth likewise" (John 5:17,19). The same may be said of the Spirit, who, with the Father and the Son, is the Creator and Maker of all things. The glorious luminaries that adorn the heavens are the product of the Holy Spirit's almighty creating power, and with the same power all the decays of nature are repaired, and the face of the earth is renewed, as it were, by a continual new creation, performed by the Spirit who at first moved upon the face of the waters, and gave being, order, and beauty to the several creatures formed out of the first confused chaos. The Holy Spirit, being one in nature with the Father and the Son, is also one with them in power and operation; and as creation is the work of the Father and of the Son, so it is equally the work of the Holy Spirit. This accounts for the plural form of expressions made use of in respect to the works of creation. "In the beginning God," according to the Hebrew, Gods, "created the heavens and the earth." "Let us make man." "Remember thy Creators in the days of thy youth." "Let Israel rejoice in his Makers." "Where is God my Makers?" "The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under the heavens. He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion," says the prophet Jeremiah. This is the work of the great God, and of none else; and being the work of the Holy Spirit, as is proved, it follows that he is the great God, otherwise he must be of the number of those gods who shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens, which it were blasphemy once to imagine.

8. b. Besides the creation of the world, it is to be noticed that the formation of the human nature of Christ is the peculiar work of the Holy Ghost. Luke 1:35, "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." By the Holy Ghost, we are to understand a Person; and by the Highest, the same Person.(25) He might well be called the Highest, as performing a work peculiar to the Most High God. The word overshadowing, it has been justly observed, may allude to the work of the Holy Ghost in the first creation, when he moved Merachepheth, i. e. brooded upon the water; or gave prolific virtue to them,as fowls do to their eggs, by sitting upon them.(26) The Holy Spirit, by a secret almighty power, formed Christ's body, animated it with a living soul: the same as is said of the first Adam, "And God breathed into Adam the breath of life, and he became a living soul" (Gen 2:7). Thus, then, we see that the Holy Ghost is the Highest, the Creator, and Maker of man, and particularly of Christ's human nature, and therefore true and real God.

From the consideration of the creation of the universe, I proceed to notice the New Creation as the peculiar work of the Holy Spirit, which proves him to be truly God. The remainder of the subject will be considered in the next letter. Farewell.

 

Letter 5. Continuation of the Subject

My Dear Benjamin,

I will now invite your attention to another work of the Holy Spirit, which proves his true divinity, viz.

1. The wonderful work of regeneration, which is ascribed to him. Believers are said to be born of the Spirit, quickened and renewed by the Holy Ghost. This is a new creation, and requires the same almighty power to effect as the first creation did. "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works" (Eph 2:10). "It is God that works in us, to will and to do" (Phil 2:13). The same almighty power is put forth in working faith, as was exerted upon Christ, in raising him from the dead. The Holy Ghost, therefore, has manifested his eternal power and godhead, working faith and holiness in the hearts of sinners.

The new creation seems to be a work of greater difficulty and power than the old. As in the old creation there was nothing to work upon, so there was nothing to oppose: but in the new creation there are strong holds to be pulled down, high thoughts to be brought low, blindness, enmity and obstinacy to be subdued, as well as divine powers and principles to be infused! Hence the regenerate are said to be "born, not of flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13). It requires the efficiency and power of God to make a man a new creature, to cause "old things to pass away, and all things to become new" (2 Cor 5:17).

The progressive work of sanctification, or the renewing of the soul day by day, is the work of God; hence the Apostle Paul said, "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly" (1 Thess 5:23). But as it is well known that sanctification is an eminent work of the Holy Spirit, God chose men to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit; and he actually doth his work; for the Scripture says, You are sanctified by the Spirit of our God, and transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord, or by the Lord the Spirit (2 Cor 3:18).

2. To raise the dead requires the same almighty power as at first created man. Hence it is ascribed to God. "Why should it be thought an incredible thing with you, that God should raise the dead?" (Acts 26:8).

It might indeed be thought incredible, that any creature should do it: but cannot the same almighty power that formed the body out of the dust at first, and breathed into it the breath of life, raise it out of the dust a second lime, and re-infuse the same vital spirit? But the resurrection of Christ, as well as of Christians, is expressly ascribed to the Holy Spirit in these words of the Apostle Paul: "If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you; he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Rom 8:11). The same almighty power was put forth upon the body of Christ in his resurrection, as was exerted in his conception and formation in the womb of the virgin (1 Peter 3:18).

Christ's resurrection is ascribed to the Father, and to Christ himself; but this does not exclude the agency and concurrence of the Holy Spirit therein; and from this work of his we may well conclude that he is true and real God. The apostles, indeed, healed the sick and raised the dead; but they did it not by their own power or holiness, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, which was poured out abundantly upon them. A mighty power, or an exceeding greatness of power, was exerted upon Christ in raising him from the dead, even the almighty power of God; the Holy Spirit raised him from the dead as we have seen, therefore he is God Almighty.

3. There are a great many other works of the Spirit which might be insisted on, and from which his deity might be proved, but I shall close this part of the subject with the words of an ancient father—says he,

"Christ is born, the Spirit is his forerunner; Christ is baptized, he bears his testimony; Christ is tempted, he leads him away; Christ works miracles, he is with him; Christ ascends, he succeeds; what is so great and divine that he cannot do? What is so divine a name, except that of unbegotten and begotten, that he may not be called by it? He is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Mind of Christ, the Spirit of the Lord, and himself Lord, the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of liberty, the Spirit of wisdom and prudence, of counsel and strength, of knowledge, piety, and the fear of the Lord: as the efficient cause of all these, he fills all things with his essence, contains all things, fills the world, and is greater than the world, greater in power and energy than the world can comprehend: he is goodness, righteousness and truth by nature, not by gift; he sanctifies, is not sanctified; he measures, but is not measured; he gives, but does not receive; he fills, but is not filled; he contains, but is not contained; he knows and teaches all things; blows where he will; is angered, tempted; is the Spirit of light and life, who builds temples and dwells in them as God; he does all things that God himself does; he appeared as cloven tongues of fire, he distributes his gifts, made apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers; he is almighty, all-seeing, penetrating into all spirits at the same moment of time, though far dispersed from each other; which plainly shows that he is limited to no place."
Therefore he is the true God.

4. Divine worship is another of the divine criteria and is ascribed to the Holy Spirit, and proves him to be truly God.

He is said to dwell in the saints as his temple, which implies his dignity and greatness, and to be obeyed and worshiped.

He, as God, sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God, for he receives the adoration and worship of the saints. He dwells in this temple, not as a priest or servant, but as God, as it is written, "The Lord is in his holy temple" (Psa 11:4).

That the seraphims and cherubims, those glorious creatures with six wings, the highest created spirits of heaven, ascribe the same homage to the Holy Spirit as they do to the Father and the Son, I have shown before from the testimony of the apostles (Acts 28:25-27).

An oath has always been esteemed an act of religious worship; it being a solemn appeal to God, as the searcher of hearts, a witness of the truth, or an avenger of the falsehood of what we testify. And yet St. Paul appeals, by an oath, both to the Son and the Holy Ghost. "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost" (Rom 9:1). Now, here he makes as solemn an acknowledgment of the divinity of the Son and the Holy Ghost, and their privacy to his conscience, as he does of the Father's in those other appeals, where he says, God is my witness, or God is my record; or I call God for a record upon my soul; or the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for ever, knoweth that I lie not; or, before God, I lie not. All of them expressions of the same import, and therefore, when compared the one with the other, they show that the apostle revered each of the divine persons alike, and believed them to be all of the same knowledge and might.

5. Baptism is an institution of the Lord Jesus Christ, in which he commands that all nations be baptized, not in the name of the Father only, but in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. As the Son and the Holy Ghost, therefore, are placed in the same rank with the Father himself, they must consequently be deemed of the same nature and dignity, and as much divine as the Father is: for God and creatures can never be made the joint object of religion; not a single instance in all Scripture can be produced, where any creature is joined with God in an act of worship; much less in so solemn a rite as baptism, wherein we dedicate and devote ourselves to the worship of the persons in whose name we are baptized.

I would have my dear Benjamin to notice particularly, that if the Holy Spirit were a property only, could a property be thus joined with the Father and the Son? They are not properties, they are persons certainly. If the Son and the Spirit were creatures, could they be joined with the Father in this solemn act of baptism? Baptism is the consecration of him who is baptized to the service, of whom? of God and two creatures? No, surely; but of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. And whether St. John has said it or not, if there be any meaning in words, these three are one, they are the one object of our faith and our love, of our prayers and our praises. And while this form continues to be used in the church, the doctrine of the Trinity cannot perish from it.

In Paul's valedictory blessing to the Corinthians we have a solemn prayer addressed to the blessed Trinity: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen" (2 Cor 13:14). This is not a more direct prayer to God for his love, and to Christ for his grace, than it is to the holy and sanctifying Spirit for a communion of his divine gifts.

Thus, my dear Benjamin, I have endeavored to prove that all the divine criteria are ascribed to the Holy Spirit, as well as to the Father and the Son. I will now,

6. Secondly, mention some passages of Scripture which also prove the divinity of the Holy Ghost.

In the first and second epistles to the Corinthians the apostle says that believers are the temple of God, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy" (1 Cor 3:16,17). Now he who dwells in the saints, as in his temple, is the living God, "Ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them" (2 Cor 6:16). The Holy Ghost dwells in the saints as in his temple, "Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost" (1 Cor 6:19). Therefore the Holy Ghost is the living God. None but God dwells in his saints as in his temple, but the Holy Spirit of God dwells in his saints as his temple, therefore he is God.

Says Theophylact,

"If we are the temple of God because the Spirit of God dwells in us, then the Spirit is God."
Says Bishop Pearson,
"We know no other reason why we are the temple of God, when the Spirit of God dwells in us, but only because the Spirit of God is God."
Again,
"I understand no other way by which we can be said to be the temple of God, but by the inhabitation, of God, as it is written, ye are the temple,"(27) &c.
Says Ambrose,
"How impudently do you deny the deity of the Holy Ghost, when you read that the Spirit is a temple; for it is written, ye are the temple; but the Spirit has a temple when he dwells in you."(28)
Says Calvin,
"In this place we have a clear testimony, asserting the divinity of the Holy Ghost; for if he were a creature or a gift only, he would not have made them the temple of God, by dwelling in them."(29)
Ananias was struck dead for lying (Acts 5:3-5). Lying to the Holy Ghost is lying to God, because the Holy Ghost is God. The offence was a tempting, or an endeavor to deceive the Holy Ghost, a trial of skill whether he knew and would punish the fraud. The great Dr. Owen observes,
''The Holy Ghost is expressly called God; and having the name of God properly and directly given to him, with respect to spiritual things, or things peculiar to God, he must have the nature of God. Ananias is said, to lie to the Holy Ghost; this is repeated and interpreted, 'Thou hast not lied to men, but unto God'; the declaration of the person intended by the Holy Ghost is added for the aggravation of the sin; for he is God, the same person, the same object of the sin of Ananias, is expressed in both places; and therefore the Holy Ghost is God."
7. The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is an unpardonable sin; "Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven, unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men" (Matt 12:31). Therefore the Holy Ghost must be God, for sin against a creature, cannot have such heinous aggravation.

8. Further, the inspiration of the Scriptures is ascribed to God. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim 3:16). "God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets" (Heb 1:1); but this is the work of the Holy Spirit, "For the prophecy came not in old times by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21); therefore the Holy Spirit is God.

To what has been said, it may not be improper, my dear Benjamin, to add,

9. Thirdly, a few testimonies from our ancient Rabbins, who considered the Ruach Hackodesh, i. e. the Holy Spirit, as truly God.

Because Jehovah has said by the prophet, that his "hand laid the foundation of the earth, and his right hand spread the heavens" (Isa 48:13). Our Rabbins say that these two hands refer to the second Sephirah, called Chochma, i. e. wisdom, and to the third, called Binah, i. e. understanding, and that these two Sephireth made the world.(30) They acknowledge that the Spirit which moved on the face of the abyss was not a created mind, but the divine Spirit, the same that David speaks of.(31)

They consider the Binah a distinct person, and call him the Mouth of God; because he inspired the prophets to make known the will of God, agreeable to Isaiah 48:16, "The Lord God and his Spirit hath sent me"; and that the angels were created by him.(32)

The author of Zohar, and also the author of Sepher Habbachir, say that the third Sephira, Binah, proceeds from the first by the second.(33)

The name Jehovah is ascribed both to the second and the third Sephirah.(34)

They consider the two cherubims over the ark each distinct from the other, and both distinct from the ark, and yet all three united as a similitude of the three distinct persons united in the one Jehovah.(35)

And now, my dear Benjamin, having proved the divinity of the Holy Spirit from the divine criteria ascribed to him, from several passages of Scripture, and from the testimony of our ancient Rabbins, I will close this subject with the following observation:

10. We see that the Holy Ghost is called Jehovah in the Old Testament, and often God and Lord in the New Testament. The Most High God, whom the Israelites provoked in the wilderness, is, by Isaiah and Paul, declared to be the Holy Ghost. The Lord Jehovah, who alone led the people, was the Holy Ghost, as Isaiah explains it. The King, Jehovah of hosts, who sent the Prophet Isaiah to the people, was the Holy Ghost. It was Jehovah who promised to write his laws in the people's hearts: but, according to the apostle, it was the Holy Ghost who said, I will write my laws in their hearts. The Holy Ghost is also that person who is the highest, and manifested an almighty, creating power in forming Christ's human nature. The Holy Ghost is that God, of whom believers are born; that God to whom Ananias lied; that God, whose temple believers are; that God, who works faith in the heart; that God, by whose inspiration the Scriptures were given; he is that God in whose power the believer's faith stands; that God who sets officers in the church; that God who works in Christians to will and to do; that God who works all in all, in the diversity of gifts bestowed on men; he is the God of patience and consolation; that God who deals to every man the measure of faith; that God who writes his laws in the heart; he is that God of whom is all our sufficiency, and who made the apostles able ministers of the New Testament; that God who comforted the apostles, and enabled them to comfort others. The Holy Ghost is that Lord who gives liberty, and changes men into the image of Christ; he is that Lord who directs our hearts into the love of God, and the patient waiting for Christ; he is that Lord who makes us to increase and abound in love one toward another. Now, my dear Benjamin, if this is the Scripture doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit, which I verily believe it is, we may then safely conclude that he, as well as the Father and the Son, is the true and real God; those high titles before mentioned being applied to him in as full and unlimited a sense as to either of the other persons in the Godhead; for it cannot be showed that any one of these names or titles of God was ever given in such a manner, and with such circumstances, to any being below the true and living God.

To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, three in one,
Be honor, praise and glory given,
By all on earth, and all in heaven.
Farewell.

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