top of page

De Moor V:23: The Truth of the Spirit's Person Defended, Part 4

Faustus Socinus

They Object, 2. Passages in which Sending, Giving, Sharing are attributed to the Spirit, John 14:16; Acts 2:17; 1 John 4:13; etc.: see this Objection also in Catechesi Racoviana, chapter VI, question 12, page 213, “That the Holy Spirit is not a Person in the Deity, you are able to learn from this, first, that those things that are attributed to the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures do not agree with any manner of Person: namely, that He is given; that He is given from Him, and that either according to measure or without any measure; that He is poured out, and is poured out from Him; and that men drink of Him; that He is increased; that He is given twofold, is distributed into parts, is removed, and is removed by Him…and similar things are found in the Scriptures, Acts 5:32; 1 John 4:13; Ephesians 4:7; John 3:34; Acts 2:17, 33; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 5:18; 2 Kings 2:9.”

Responses: α. Hardly anything is here produced as asserted of the Holy Spirit, that is not also related in a similar manner concerning God the Son, without the loss or diminishment of His Personality. If the Spirit is frequently said to be sent, Galatians 4:6; etc.; the same is asserted of the Son, Galatians 4:4; John 17:3; etc. If the Spirit is said to be given, John 14:16; etc.; the Person of the Son is no less contemplated as the gift of God, Isaiah 9:6; John 3:16; 4:10. Indeed, a divine Person is not able to be sent by command, because He acknowledges no superior; but He is able to be sent by consent from another Person, which, although of the same dignity, is prior in order, in which sense the Son and the Holy Spirit are sent; which does not imply a diversity of Essence, but only of Function economically and voluntarily undertaken: compare the observation of JOHN GUYSE, Theologian of London,[1] mentioned in LAMPE’S Dissertationum philologico-theologicarum, volume II, Disputation VII, chapter VIII, de Spiritu Sancto, § 57 E. It is no hindrance, that one should be both the gift and the giver of himself: The Son of God, given to us, at the same time gives Himself for us and to us, for the nourishment of spiritual and eternal life, John 6:51.

β. If certain things concerning the Holy Spirit are encountered that appear to agree less with a Person; it is to be considered that the Gifts of the Spirit are best denominated from their Author by a Metonymy of the cause in the place of the effect. For example, when we read of the Distribution or Partitions of the Spirit, Πνεύματος Ἁγίου μερισμοῖς, Hebrews 2:4, which are ascribed under God, the Spirit Himself is not excluded, through whom God distributes these, His gifts, with the Person of the Spirit remaining undivided, spiritual, and altogether simple. Thus to the Gifts of the Spirit, which proceed from Him as Author, it is able to be referred, when the Spirit is said to be poured out upon anyone, when one is said to be filled, to be baptized, to be anointed, with the Spirit, Acts 2:4, 17; Matthew 3:11; Acts 10:38. Again, this not altogether dissimilar are affirmed concerning the Son of God, a true Person, when He is said to be put on, to be received, to be eaten, by us, Romans 13:14; Galatians 3:27; John 1:12; Colossians 2:6; John 6:50, 51, 53, 57.

Johannes Hoornbeeck

γ. However, I do not wish to dispute whether the Spirit, with respect to His Gifts only, or with respect to His Person also, ought to be said to be sent to the elect, and to be given to them; as, with His highest Deity not hindering, it is able to be done by consent, as it has been said. The latter is affirmed by the Fathers, the Scholastics, and a number of the Romanists, cited by PETAVIUS, Dogmatibus theologicis, tome 2, book VIII, chapters III-VII; À LAPIDE,[2]on 2 Peter 1:4, page 341; just as HOORNBEECK also makes mention of some of these, Theologia practica, book VI, chapter II, page 573. TIRINUS[3] writes on Joel 2:28, “Moreover, not only the gifts of the Holy Spirit, or enlargements of the gifts, but also the Holy Spirit Himself is pour out upon the souls of the just, in such a way that He fills, possesses, and sanctifies it with Himself, as it is evident from the Scriptures everywhere, as Cornelius à Lapide says, and Leonardus Lessius,[4] among others, teaches at length, de Attributis divinis, chapter II, de Justificatione.” To those affirming are also added LUTHER, on Psalm 51; GERHARD, Locis Communis, tome I, loco de Spiritu Sancto, chapter IV, § 39, page 143-145. On the other hand, HOORNBEECK, in the passage cited, denies that the very Person of the Holy Spirit is given to the soul. So that I might indicate what the matter is, the question appears to be rather logomachic than real. I willingly acknowledge that there is no personal, hypostatic Union granted here, which sort obtains between the Son of God and the human nature assumed by Him. On the other hand, the expressions of Sacred Scripture something more significant and emphatic than that we might say the mere Gifts of the Spirit are bestowed upon the faithful, when we read that the Spirit is given to them and received by them. For, a. it is the Spirit that is given to the Children of God, and is sent to them; He is said to regenerate, to teach, to guide them, to grant faith to them, concerning Christ, concerning the truth, and to testify with their spirits, to console them: all which, as they are actions of supposita, are to be ascribed, not to the Gifts of the Spirit, but to the very Person of the Spirit, who works these and similar things, and bestows them as His Gifts, in the hearts of the elect, 1 Corinthians 12:11. b. The Holy Spirit is said εἶναι ἐν αὐτοῖς, to be in them, μένειν μετ᾽ αὐτῶν and παρ᾽ αὐτοῖς, to abide with them, John 14:16, 17;[5]οἰκεῖν ἐν αὐτοῖς, to dwell in them, Romans 8:11;[6] 1 Corinthians 3:16;[7] just as formerly God, being present in His Sanctuary in a special manner, was said to dwell there, Exodus 29:45; Psalm 76:2; 80:1: τὸ τῆς δόξης καὶ τὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ Πνεῦμα ἐφ᾽ αὐτοὺς ἀναπαύεσθαι, the Spirit of glory and of God to rest upon them, 1 Peter 4:14: and believers themselves and their τὸ σῶμα, body, are said to be the ναὸς Θεοῦ, temple of God, ναὸς τοῦ ἐν αὐτοῖς Ἁγίου Πνεύματός, the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in them, 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19. If I consider all these things more attentively, I think that, in the case of the Gift of the Spirit communicated to believers, the Person of the Spirit is not to be torn from His Gifts, but the one is to be conjoined with the other, as these two are mentioned together in Acts 10:44, 45. Thus the Spirit will be able truly to be called the Gift and the Giver of His Gifts at the same time. In which thing we maintain no other thing than that the Spirit, who, as True God according to Essence, is omnipresent, is present in a special manner with elect believers, while by His most special Grace He manifests Himself as working effectually among them; and that unto this end alone does He deem believers worthy a special manner of His Personal presence, that He might enrigh and bless them with His gifts and graces. Those things that I have thus asserted, not only concerning the Holy Spirit’s Work in the faithful, but also concerning His true and gracious, and truly μυστηριώδει/mysterious, Presence in them, SALDENUS[8] confirms and illustrates in an excellent manner, Otiis Theologicis, book IV, Exercitation VII, § 4-6, etc: compare also LAMPE, Dissertationum philologico-theologicarum, volume II, Disputation III, chapter I, § 13-15, pages 108, 109.

δ. The Socinians themselves in their Catechesi Racoviana, chapter VI, question 12, pages 213, 214, affirm that the Holy Spirit is not outside the nature of God, but in God Himself, inasmuch as He is in God by nature. Therefore, if the Spirit, or that which is in the nature of God, with the immutable and indivisible Essence of God intact, and with the Personality of God intact, is able to be sent, to be distributed, to be removed, to be given in a greater or lesser measure; why not also with the Holy Spirit’s substantial Essence and Personality intact? compare ARNOLDI, refutatione Catecheseos Racovianæ, on the question cited, § VIII-XIII, pages 456-458.

On the Objections against the Personality of the Holy Spirit, LAMPE responds at length, Dissertationum philologico-theologicarum, volume II, Disputation IV, chapter III, § 14-33, pages 136-150. In comparatively few words, SPANHEIM cuts the nerve of the Objections moved here, Decadum Theologicarum V, § 10, number 7, opera, tome 3, column 1225. On this entire § 23, read thoroughly MARESIUS’ Disputationem theologicam de Personalitate adeoque Divinitate Spiritus Sancti, in Sylloge Disputationum, part I, pages 364-392.

[1] John Guyse (1680-1761) was an English Independent minister. He wrote The Holy Spirit a divine Person, or, the doctrine of the Godhead represented, as evident and important. [2] Cornelius à Lapide (1567-1637) was a Flemish Jesuit scholar. His talents were employed in the professorship of Hebrew at Louvain, then at Rome. Although his commentaries (covering the entire Roman Catholic canon, excepting only Job and the Psalms) develop the four-fold sense of Scripture, he emphasizes the literal. His knowledge of Hebrew, Greek, and the commentators that preceded him is noteworthy. [3] James Tirinus (1580-1636) was a Flemish Jesuit priest. His abilities as a commentator are displayed in his Commentaria in Sacram Scripturam. [4] Leonardus Lessius (1554-1623) was a French Jesuit Theologian. He studied under Suarez and Bellarmine, and later served as Professor of Theology at the University of Leuven. In the theological debate over Baianism, he adopted Molina’s doctrine of Middle Knowledge. [5] John 14:16, 17: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you (μένῃ μεθ᾽ ὑμῶν) for ever; 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 (ὅτι παρ᾽ ὑμῖν μένει, καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν ἔσται).” [6] Romans 8:11: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you (οἰκεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν), he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you (διὰ τοῦ ἐνοικοῦντος αὐτοῦ Πνεύματος ἐν ὑμῖν).” [7] 1 Corinthians 3:16: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you (οἰκεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν)?” [8] Guilielmus Saldenus (1627-1694) was a Dutch Reformed pastor and theologian, and supporter of the Nadere Reformatie.

bottom of page