Skeletons of a Course of
By Charles G. Finney
Personality And Divinity Of The Holy Spirit.
First. What is not intended by the Divinity of the Holy Spirit.
1. By the Divinity of the Holy Spirit is not intended, that he is a mere attribute of God.
2. Nor by his Divinity is it intended that he is a mere Divine operation or influence.
Second. By the Divinity of the Holy Spirit, is intended that he is truly and properly God.
I. The names of God are ascribed to him:
2 Corinthians 3:17. "Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty."
1 Corinthians 2:16. "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." Compared with --
Isaiah 40:13. "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counselor hath taught him?"
Acts 5:3,4. "But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thy heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? While it remained was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thy heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God."
Acts 4:24 26. "They lifted up their voice to God, with one accord, and said Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; who, by the mouth of thy servant David, hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord, and against his Christ." Compared with --
Acts 1:16. "Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus."
Acts 28:25. 'And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, 'Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias [Isaiah] the prophet unto our fathers,' etc. Compared with --
Isaiah 6:8. 'I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?'
Hebrews 3:7 9. 'Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, 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.' Compared with --
Psalms 95:7. 'For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day, if ye will hear his voice,' etc.
Hebrews 10:15,16. 'Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us; for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my LAWS into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.' Compared with --
Jeremiah 31:33,34. 'But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.'
II. The attributes of God are ascribed to him.
1. Eternity. Hebrews 9:14. 'How much more shall 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!'
2. Omnipresence. Psalms 139:7. 'Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?'
3. Omniscience. 1 Corinthians 2:10,11. 'For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.'
4. Power. Romans 15:13,19. 'Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.' 'By the power of the Spirit of God.'
5. The possession of Divine Attributes is implied in the works ascribed to him, as we shall presently see.
III. To these passages I will add several other proofs of his Divinity.
1. He is joined with the Father and the Son in the ordinance of baptism.
2. Also in the Apostolic Benediction.
3. Blaspheming against him is represented as an unpardonable sin.
4. If the Holy Spirit is not God, the Church are deceived.
5. If not, the Bible is exactly calculated to deceive mankind.
6. If not, it is God's own fault that we are deceived, as the Bible is written in such a manner, that no rational rules of interpretation can bring us to any other conclusions than that the Holy Spirit is truly God. Therefore,
7. If the Holy Spirit is not truly God, we have no means of being undeceived.
8. Suppose you substitute power, for the Holy Ghost, in Baptism and in the Apostolic Benediction, and read--'I baptize you in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Power;' and, 'May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, with the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Power, be with you.'
Third. The Personality of the Holy Spirit.
By the Personality of the Holy Spirit, it is intended:
1. That he is a moral agent.
2. That as an agent he is distinct from the Father and the Son, though not separate in the substratum of his existence.
3. That he is in such a sense a distinct person as to render the application of the personal pronouns I, thou, he, to him strictly proper.
Fourth. Prove that the Holy Ghost is a Divine Person.
I. The attributes of a personal agent are ascribed to the Holy Spirit.
1. Knowledge. 1 Corinthians 2:10,11. 'God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.' And --
Isaiah 11:2. 'And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord.'
2. Wisdom Isaiah 11:2; (as quoted above.) Acts 6:3. 'Wherefore, brethren, look ye out seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.' And --
Ephesians 1:17. 'That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of Wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.'
3. Power. Romans 15:13,19. 'Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.' 'Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God.'
4. Goodness. Psalms 143:10. 'Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God; thy Spirit is GOOD.' And --
Nehemiah 9:20. 'Thou gavest also thy GOOD Spirit to instruct them.'
5. Holiness, often.
II. The works of a personal agent are ascribed to him.
1. Creation. Job 33:4. 'The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.' And --
Psalms 104:30. 'Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created.'
2. He is said to search. l Corinthians 2:10,11: (as cited above.)
3. To strive. Genesis 6:3. 'My Spirit shall not always strive with man.'
4. To be sent forth. Galatians 4:6. 'And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father.' And --
John 15:26. 'But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.'
5. To move. Genesis 1:2. 'And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.'
6. To know. l Corinthians 2:10,11: (as above cited.)
7. To speak. John 16:13. 'Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come.' And --
Acts 10:19. 'While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said
unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.' And --
Acts 11:12. 'And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting.' And --
1 Timothy 4:1. 'Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.' And --
Revelation 14:13. 'And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead, which die in the Lord from henceforth, Yea,' saith the Spirit, 'that they rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.'
8. To guide. John 16:13. (Quoted above.)
9. To lead. Romans 8:14. 'For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.' And --
Galatians 5:18. 'But if ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.'
10. To help. Romans 8:26. 'For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.'
11. To testify. Romans 8:16. 'The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.' And --
John 15:26. 'The Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.'
12. To reveal. Ephesians 3:5. 'Now revealed unto his holy Apostles and prophets by the Spirit.'
13. To prophesy. John 16:13. 1 Timothy 4:1. (Both quoted above.)
14. To intercede. Romans 8:26. (Quoted above.)
15. To give gifts. 1 Corinthians 12:4,8 11. 'Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.' 'For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another, the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another, faith by the same Spirit; to another the gift of healing by the same Spirit; to another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, discerning of spirits; to another, divers kinds of tongues; to another, the interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh that one and the self same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.'
16. To work miracles. Romans 15:19. 'Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.'
17. To sanctify. 1 Corinthians 6:ll. 'And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.' And --
2 Thessalonians 2:13. 'But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit.' And --
1 Peter 1:2. 'Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.'
18. To quicken or give life. John 6:63. 'It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.' And --
1 Peter 3:18. 'For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.'
19. To send teachers to the Church. Acts 13:2,4. 'As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the world whereunto I have called them.' 'So they being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia.' And --
Acts 20:28. 'Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God.'
20. Teachers are said to receive their knowledge from the Holy Spirit. Luke 2:26. 'And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the LORD'S CHRIST'. And --
John 16:13. 'When he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.' 'He will show you things to come.' And --
John 14:26. 'But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.'
21. He is said to speak by them. Mark 13:11. 'When they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate; but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye; for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.' And --
2 Peter 1:21. 'The prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.'
22. He is said to dwell in his people. John 14:17. 'Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.' And --
Romans 8:11. '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.' And --
1 Corinthians 6:19. 'What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? And --
1 Corinthians 3:16. 'Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?'
23. He raises the dead. 1 Peter 3:18. 'Being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.'
24. He reproves or convinces of sin. John 16:7,8. 'It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.'
25. He is represented as having the will and feelings of a personal agent. Romans 8:27. 'He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints, according to the will of God.'
26. He is pleased. Acts 15:28. 'For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.'
27. To be grieved. Ephesians 4:30. 'Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.'
28. To be vexed. Isaiah 63:10. 'They rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit; therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.'
29. To be resisted. Acts 7:51. 'Ye stiff necked! and uncircumcised in heart and ears! ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye.'
30. To be blasphemed. Matthew 12:31. 'All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men."
To suppose the Holy Spirit to be the attribute of power would make nonsense of the Bible. Acts 10:38. 'God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.' If the Holy Ghost is the attribute of power, this passage means that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the holy power and with power.
Romans 15:13. 'Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost!' That is--through the power of the holy power. And--Verse 19. 'By the power of the Spirit of God.' By the power of the power of God. And --
1 Corinthians 2:4. 'My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.' That is--In demonstration of the power and of power. Who can believe that the Bible utters such nonsense as this would be, if the Holy Spirit is but the attribute of power.
Objection. To all the passages that establish the personality of the Holy Spirit, it is objected, that in the Book of Proverbs, Wisdom is personified and spoken of as a personal agent, and it may be, that all these passages are nothing more than a personification of the attribute of power.
Ans. Personification is admissible in poetic language; but not in prose, and the plain language of narrative. The book of Proverbs is written in poetic language; but these attributes, words, works, feelings, and ways, are ascribed to the Holy Spirit in plain prose and in the simple language of narrative, and in such connections as to forbid the idea of his being an attribute personified.
1. It is unnecessary to attempt the proof of the Divinity of the Father, as this is not questioned.
2. The denial of the Divinity of the Son, and of the Divinity and personality of the Holy Spirit, is necessary, to get rid of the doctrine of the Trinity.
3. Although the doctrine of the Trinity is in different ways taught in the Bible; yet the most satisfactory method is by establishing the personality and Divinity of the three persons, especially of the Son and Holy Spirit; as neither the personality or Divinity of the Father is questioned.
4. The appeal of the Unitarians to the Bible is absurd, inasmuch as their business with the Bible upon this point, is to explain it away.
5. The same rules of interpretation, that would expunge the doctrine of the personality and Divinity of the Holy Spirit from the Bible, would do the same with the personality and Divinity of the Father and of the Son.