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De Moor V:23: The Truth of the Spirit's Person Defended, Part 2

δ. By Personal Works, which are everywhere attributed to the Spirit; for example, to testify concerning Christ,[1] to teach the Apostles,[2] to reveal future things,[3] to separate and call Apostles and Pastors to the ministry with a distinct commission,[4] to regenerate the elect,[5] to dwell in believers,[6] to pray for them,[7] to comfort them, to seal them,[8] etc.; ἐνεργεῖν, to work, operations quite various and also unusual, and to confer His gifts upon men of diverse sorts, 1 Corinthians 12:4, 7-11, where several gifts of the Spirit are enumerated, and the Spirit is expressly distinguished from His gifts as the active principium of the same.

It ought not to be Excepted, 1. That what belongs to Persons is often attributed to things, and yet for that reason the things are not regarded as Persons; for example, it is attributed to the Law that it speaks, Romans 3:19; to charity, that it believes and hopes all things, 1 Corinthians 13:7; to the blood of Abel, that it cries, Genesis 4:10: as one is able to see this Exception set forth in the Catachesi Racoviana, chapter VI, de munere Christi Prophetico, which is de Promisso Spiritus Sancti, question XIII, pages 215, 216, “But how are the passages of Scripture to be taken, in which the actions of persons, proper and having regard to God Himself, are attributed to the Holy Spirit? In this manner, that repeatedly in Scripture what belongs to persons is attributed to things, yet those things are not then regarded as persons: as in the case of sin, inasmuch as it deceives, and kills: and the Law, inasmuch as it speaks: and Scripture, in as much as it foresees and foretells: and charity, inasmuch as it is longsuffering, benign, does not envy, etc.: and, finally, spirit, that is, wind, inasmuch as it blows where it will, and you hear its voice, but do not know whence it comes and wither it goes; Romans 7; 2; 3:19; Galatians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; John 3:8. But, since the Holy Spirit is the power of God, hence it happens that those things that belong to God are attributed to the Holy Spirit, and under the name of the Holy Spirit God Himself is often understood, since God exerts His power through His Spirit.” But We Respond, a. that in the passages cited what things belong to the principal acting cause are attributed to the means by a manifest metonymy of adjunct; since the Law does not properly speak, but rather the Lawgiver in the Law or through the Law. Charity believes and hopes, that is, a man imbued with charity. But blood cries, not effectively, but objectively. But the many Operations attributed to the Spirit thus lead us to represent to ourselves the Spirit as a true Person; so that, unless the Spirit be such, the Scripture would have to be said to have willed to lead us manifestly into error, which is absurd. b. In the passages cited, to the Law, charity, etc., is attributed only a bare accidental property of a person, like speaking, believing, etc.; but to those things the definition of Person does not agree, inasmuch as it is an individual, intelligent Subsistence, incommunicable, not sustained by another: one may affirm the contrary concerning the Holy Spirit.

Neither, 2. does the Exception have any more success, that the Scripture thus speaks of the Holy Spirit through Personification: for, a. Personification is that by which to corporeal things or substances, destitute of intelligence, are attributed those things that belong to persons properly so called; as when meadows are said or commanded to laugh, blood to cry, stones and logs to speak, rivers to clap their hands, trees to converse among themselves, heaven and earth to hear: but, that the subject of the Personification is a mere quality, will not be easily proven from the Scriptures. b. No other example of so many diverse and perpetually recurring Personifications in one subject will be able to be set forth: and, if the Scripture had thus spoken figuratively in one place, it would have explained itself by a proper locution in another place: but now it is wont constantly to speak of the Spirit in the same manner, as of a true Person. c. But if one should maintain that all the thing that are mentioned concerning the Operations of the Spirit as concering a true Person refer to a mere fiction of a Perons; by the same audacity he will be able to turn the whole Evangelical History concerning Christ, the incarnate Son of God, jejune Allegories, as if it were merely speech concerning the Essential Wisdom of God through Personification: compare ARNOLDI, refutatione Catecheseos Racovianæ, on the place cited above, § I-III, pages 460, 461; BECMANN, Exercitationibus Theologicis XI, pages 151-154.

ε. By Emblems, under which He appeared, both of the Dove, Matthew 3:16; compare the things said on § 17, and the things to be said on Chapter XXI, § 8: and of Fiery Tongues, Acts 2:3. For, although the Dove and the fiery Tongues themselves be not Persons, yet Theologians observe that it belongs to a Person and intelligent suppositum, not to a mere power, attribute, or accidental property, to assume a corporeal form or visible appearance of this sort, and to exhibit Himself as present in, with, and under it: and they judge that it is not said except with absurdity, that the righteousness or mercy of God, or any other attribute, exhibited itself through a visible form. They argue in this way:

What appears in an assumed appearance is not a mere Power:

The Holy Spirit appears in an assumed appearance:

Therefore, He is not a mere Power. Or in this manner:

What appears in an assumed appearance is a ὑφιστάμενον/ suppositum:

The Holy Spirit appears in an assumed appearance:

Therefore, He is a ὑφιστάμενον/suppositum.

They again confirm the Major Proposition of these Syllogisms from this, 1. that to Assume an external and conspious appearance, and to appear in it, is to act: and, 2. that Action is of supposita.

And, as in the history of the baptism of Christ the Spirit is expressly related to have descended under the form of a Dove; so in Acts 2 the emblem of the Fiery Tongues is restrained to the gifts of the Spirit; while in addition to the gifts of the Spirit there is also to be consideration in that place of the Author of those gifts, who in verse 4 is express indicated and distinguished from His gifts: compare BECMANN’S Exercitationes Theologicas XI, pages 146-148; MACCOVIUS’ Metaphysica, book II, chapter I, page 188, 189; LAMPE’S Dissertationum philologico-theologicarum, volume II, Disputation IX, chapter X, de Spiritu Sancto, § 32-36, pages 347-351.

[1] See John 15:26. [2] See John 16:13. [3] See 1 Timothy 4:1. [4] See Acts 13:2. [5] See John 3:3-8. [6] See 1 Corinthians 3:16. [7] See Romans 8:26. [8] See Ephesians 1:13; 4:30.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Oct 13, 2021
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