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by the Rev. H. C. G. Moule, M.A., Principal of Ridley Hall, and formerly Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Author of "Veni Creator: Thoughts on the Holy Spirit of Promise," etc.
Revised edition [[third edition, Feb., 1890]]
London: Hodder and Stoughton
27, Paternoster Row.


The Doctrine of God (continued).

The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

I. The Personallty of the Holy Spirit.

II. The Work of the Holy Spirit.

III. History of the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

(1) We have already (p. 22) touched on the revelation of a Third Person within the Divine Being, a Third Agent in the divine action on and in creation in general, and man in particular. This Third Person appears under several designations: "the Spirit," "the Spirit of God," "the Spirit of Christ," "the Spirit of the Son of God," "the Holy Spirit," or, in older English, "the Holy Ghost," "the Paraclete," [1] paraklêtos, Advocate, i.e. the invoked Helper of the soul.

This holy Power plainly belongs to the divine sphere. Thus, the Spirit "searches the depths of God" (1 Cor. ii. 10): wholly comprehends God, an impossibility but to infinite Mind (cp. Matt. xi. 27); "dwells in" the saint as in "a temple" (1 Cor. vi. 19), a phrase pointing direct to Godhead, in view <119/120> of the jealous Theism of Scripture. The Spirit is such that "blasphemy," railing, against the Spirit is irremissible sin (Matt. xii. 31, 32); a statement which clearly points towards the supreme order of being. The Spirit was at one time (p. 148) taken to be a created Personality. But this view is so palpably discrepant with Scripture that it has long been practically obsolete. The only controversy now is about, not the order, but the mode, of the Spiritís being. Is the Spirit a divine Faculty, or Mode of action, in brief, a divine thing,-or a divine Person? For the former view there is much colour. Pneuma is neuter, and means "Breath," and so cannot of itself indicate personality. And the analogy of the human spirit suggests rather an element, condition, or phase in the divine Personality than a constituent Personality within Godhead. And in studying the Scripture view of the Spiritís Work it is often hard to draw a line between Operant and Operation, Giver and Gift. May not this difficulty lie in the facts? May not "the Spirit" be but a phrase, or symbol, for God spiritually working and giving?

But against all this appear some great phenomena of Scripture.

The scriptural doctrine of the Spirit is best studied from the centre outwards, or, to put it otherwise, from the development to the embryo. That centre, that development, is found in our Lordís Paschal discourse, Joh. xiv.-xvi. There He, at a crisis of infinite solemnity, speaks emphatically of the Spirit as a Person. In the Greek this emphasis is even stronger than in the English; the masculine pronouns hos, ekeinos, autos and noun paraklêtos, are freely used, though the noun pneuma is neuter. (See esp. xiv. 16, 17, xv. 26, <120/121> xvi.7, 8.) Fully to appreciate this central testimony, the whole discourse must be read. [2]

In connexion, we next take the large group of passages which attribute consciousness and personal action to the Spirit. First among them stands the warning already referred to, Matt. xii. 31, 32. Then, throughout the Acts, the Spirit appears as personal; see v. 3, 9, vii. 51, viii. 29, 39, x. 19, xiii, 2, 4, xv. 28, xvi. 6, xx. 23, 28, xxi. 11, xxviii. 25. In the Epistles and Revelation a similar chain of statements and allusions occurs: see Rom. viii. 14, 16, 26, 27, xv. 30 ; 1 Cor. ii. 10, iii. 16, vi. 19, xii. 11; Eph. iv. 30; 1 Tim. iv. 1; Heb. iii. 7, ix. 8, x. 15; Jas iv. 5 (?); 2 Pet. i. 21; Rev. i. 4, ii. 7, 11, 17, 29; iii. 6, 13, 22, xiv. 13, xxii. 17.

The above are a few out of a multitude of mentions of the Spirit; they are those only in which the wording points more or less distinctly to personality and its action. They are enough to show the deep harmony between the Paschal discourse and the teaching of the Apostles; and meanwhile there is nothing in the mass of remaining mentions to negative the idea of personality.

Here again, as with the Godhead of the Son, the "Unitarianism" of Scripture (p. 20) secures the fullness of its Trinitarianism. Jealous for the glory of the One God, Scripture would not even seem to indicate to us the personality of the Spirit, the Spirit presented as knowing and doing divine things, if the Spirit were not both a Person, and of the Eternal Being. <121/122>

As we go back from the New Testament to the Old Testament we find, undoubtedly, a much less explicit revelation. "The Spirit of God," or "of the Lord," (ruah YHWH, ruah elôhim) appears very frequently, from Genesis to the later Prophets; acting in Creation (Gen. i. 2; Job xxvi. 13; cp. Psal. civ. 30); and in particular in the gift of personal human life (Job xxvii. 3; cp. Gen. ii. 7); giving men special force (Judg. iii. 10) and skill (Exod. xxxi. 3) for the purposes of the kingdom of God; "poured out" for manís enlightenment and sanctification (Prov. i. 23),and remaining with them for such ends (Psal. li.11; Isai. lxiii. 11); and, particularly, giving supernatural insight and foresight, and true utterance of it (2 Sam. xxiii. 2; 1 Chron. xxviii. 12; 2 Chron. xv. 1; etc.). But it is hard to say that any of these passages reveals of itself, and apart from the New Testament, the Personality of the Spirit. Not that therefore this truth was unknown to the ancient Church. That Church had a living line of prophetical teachers during the whole formation of the Old Testament, which thus was less exclusively the channel (though always the test) of Revelation then than the completed Scripture is for the universal Church now. Certainly the belief in the Spiritís Personality seems to be assumed by the Lord and the Apostles. As we have seen, they treat the Personality as a fact, but they never give it as a new truth.

But, returning, and viewing the whole revelation from its centre, we find in these Old Testament passages precious contributions to the doctrine of the Spirit, bearing, however, rather on the work than on the Person.

Under the head of the divine Personality of the <122/123> Paraclete falls the enquiry into His designation as The Spirit.

Why should the Third Person be specially "The Spirit," when, altogether, "God is Spirit" (Joh. iv. 24)? The answer is to be humbly sought both in the inner relations of the Persons and in Their outgoing redeeming work. "The Spirit," "the Breath," is the fit designation of the Third Person if, in the ineffable intercourse of Godhead, He is the eternal Nexus of the Father, and the Son, the eternal Resultant and Vehicle, if we may venture on such words, of Their infinite mutual Love in its yearning and breathing. [3] Again, He is fitly designated "the Spirit," "the Breath," if in Redemption His work is to apply subjectively the holy objectivity of the Fatherís Will and Love and the Sonís Work and Life; penetrating with awakening whispers and new-creating afflatus into the subjects of the work of grace, and becoming their "breath of (new) life." We recall in this connexion His revealed work in the material creation. The Old Testament, in deep and suggestive intimations, shows us the Spirit as the immediate Cause of material things, as e.g. Psal. civ. 30. [4] His intimate impalpable Presence and Virtue finds here also its verbal counterpart in the word "Breath," "Spirit." And we may observe further that in Nature, as in Grace, it is the Son, <123/124> the Word, who is, through the Spirit, the immediate divine secret of Life.

As we pass from this enquiry about the Holy Spiritís Personality, let us reflect on the sacred practical moment of the subject. A clear view of His Personality will indefinitely deepen, solemnize, and soften, all our belief and all our action in regard of the work of grace. A mysterious and living glory is thrown upon the revelation and experience of the New Birth and Life, upon Regeneration, Sanctification, Union with Christ, when the soul remembers that indeed a Person is the Influence at work, that its Life is the Life Giver, its Comfort the Comforter; no impersonal force, itself incapable of loving and being loved, but One who is Himself archetypal Kindness and Tenderness.

The Procession of the Holy Spirit is a phrase sadly associated with theological strife (see below, p. 149). Let us view it here, if possible, in a different light. It has to do with revelations of the mysterious inner blessedness of the "Blissful God" (1 Tim. i. 11).

(a) The word Procession has its origin, for this subject, in Joh. xv. 26, "the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father" (ho para tou patros ekporeuetai). The precise Greek verb is not employed of either the Generation or the Mission of the Son; and it, and its Latin equivalent, have been adopted to denote the eternal Origination of the Spirit from the Fount of Godhead, the Father (above, p. 23). That Origination must be eternal, supernatural, necessary, or there would have been, at some time a great change developed within God. It must on the other hand be Origination; the Spirit, as a Person, is not His own Cause, or He <124/125> would be an independent God. As regards mode, the Procession is wholly inscrutable. Only, it is not Filiation. But every word touched in such an enquiry is a divine secret.

(b) The Procession is from the Father and the Son. The history of this doctrine comes below (p. 149); let us here look at the truth in itself.

What this says is, in effect, that while the Father is the eternal Origin of the Spirit, the Son is concurrently His eternal Origin; Deity is in the Spirit, eternally, because of the Son as well as because of the Father. The Scripture evidence for this is briefly as follows. The Spirit is repeatedly called "the Spirit of Christ," "the Spirit of the Son" (e.g. Rom. viii. 9; Gal. iv. 6; 1 Pet. i. 11), just is He is called "the Spirit of God," "the Spirit of the Father." And the work of the Spirit is subordinate (in a reverent sense of that word) to that of Christ; He "testifies of Christ," "glorifies Christ" (below, p. 132). Now the "economical" relations and works of the Blessed Persons appear to rest upon their "immanent" relations (above, pp. 24, 25). Thus, He who is "sent by" Christ (Joh. xv. 26), and is "the Spirit of Christ" (1 Pet. i. 11, etc.), in the work of Redemption, is to be believed to be ineffably connected with the Eternal Son, in the inner relations of Godhead, in some way akin to emission. Not, again, that the Son is an Origin independent of the Father. All that He is in the Godhead, He is "of the Father," and of Him alone. But inter alia He is, of the Father, this-the concurrent Origin of the Blessed and Eternal Spirit. Does not the view (see above, p. 123) of the Spirit as the eternal Nexus between the Father and the Son, the Effect and Channel of Their inner Love, <125/126> combine these revealed mysteries into one deep harmony?

And does not the work of the Spirit for us, in connexion with the work of Christ, gain indefinitely in our view as we contemplate the dual Procession? He who testifies of Christ, and glorifies Him, and imparts Him, does this not only as His holy Messenger and Co-operator, but as the Stream of love and life from Him the Fountain. Strong is the concord of such co-operation.

(2) We proceed to the Work of the Holy Spirit; and first to His work in material Nature. We have already seen (p. 123) indications of His work in the creation of the world, and in its renewal and sustentation-a work as divine as the initial act, for the momentary permanence of things rests ultimately only on the will of God (Rev. iv. 11). We reverently infer from Scripture that the immediate divine cause of things is the Spirit (e.g. Gen. i. 2), while yet "all things came to be through the Son" (Joh. i. 3), and "hold together in the Son" (Col. i. 17). It is remarkable that things material (Job xxvi. 13), as well as conscious existences, should thus be seen to have "the Spirit" for their immediate true cause.

As regards His work in Mankind at large, the Spirit appears as manís Maker, in a special sense (Job xxxiii. 4). In Job xxvii. 3, the Spiritís sustaining power in man is vividly expressed: "the Spirit of God is in my nostrils;" and cp. Gen.ii. 7. But His revealed work for man goes mainly towards the moral and spiritual (Gen. vi. 3; whatever be the translation of the verb), and the supernatural in knowledge and action.

The Scripture indications, however, of His work <126/127> outside the region of revelation and covenant are very sparing. Moses indeed freely quotes a Pharaoh speaking of "the Spirit of God" (Gen. xli. 38). But such words from such a speaker are quite exceptional, whatever their value. Gen. vi. 3 possibly indicates that a certain original universality of His work on men ceased afterwards in the order of dispensations. Yet no positive revelation forbids the thought that the Spirit has somehow dealt, and deals, with every human spirit, morally and spiritually, besides His work as Creator and Sustainer.

As the Messianic Age approaches, the prophecies indicate a coming universal "effusion" of the Spirit (upon all flesh; Joel ii. 28). The universality seems to refer to an extension to all races and ranks of men. The New Testament (Acts ii. 16-21) finds this fulfilled at Pentecost, when representatives of the race received the Gospel, and the universal believing Church definitely began to be, under the power of the Spirit. True, that beginning has a future in which "all the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord" (Psal. xxii. 27). Limits upon the work of grace at one period are no proof that it will be always limited. But the passages here in question indicate not so much a work in every individual, certainly not an "effusion upon" every individual, as a world-wide extension of the Spiritís full action upon individuals, resulting in union with Christ in His Church universal.

So of the great passage, Joh. xvi. 8-11. The Spirit when He "comes," "will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment," in connexion with Jesus Christ. We must not <127/128> here infer a new and developed action of the Spirit, in the Christian Age, upon every human conscience, for the work spoken of is connected with knowledge of Christ, and belief or unbelief in Him; things practically limited within the range of the work of the Church. "The world" here means man rather than men, the race in the mass; man, irrespective of individual time, place, and character.

It is not ours to prescribe how and where the Holy Spirit shall or shall nor work upon men. Ours is to "gather up the fragments" of things revealed. Among these fragments is not found such a universality of the Spiritís higher work as to indicate, as a revealed truth, that grace, in a special sense of the word, is universal.

Does the Holy Spirit do a work of conviction and conversion, in the Intermediate State? Many conjecture this, or affirm it. Who would not humbly welcome any real relief under the awful mysteries of the future of the impenitent? But Christian enquirers must beware of alleged relieving discoveries which are not in true proportion with the great outlines of the Gospel. Such a discovery we believe this to be. Its one apparently definite suggestion is 1 Pet. iii. 19, 20 (with possibly, iv. 6). That passage, on which we have already spoken (p. 94), warns us by its very isolation not to build on it any large inference not amply supported by Scripture. But the inference demanded is not only large but vast, practically modifying the whole aspect of the warnings of Scripture. Such a line of exegesis is an inversion of true principles. Never, for a moment, must we exaggerate the threatenings of the Word, of God. In this as in all things we must be jealous of divine <128/129> proportion. We must cherish the profoundest confidence in the equity, pity, and love of God. But on the other hand, and this in the direction where fallen man needs most to watch himself, we must cherish a sense of the awfulness of Sin, wherever it is, and of the dread sanctities of the Law, written or unwritten (Rom. ii. 14, 15, iii. 19). Above all, let the student cherish this sense, in humble and prayerful study of the Scripture, with regard to himself.

In studying, the Spiritís work in the Church, we assume some results approached in more detail below (pp. 202, etc.). We assume a distinction between the conception of the visible Church and that of the invisible; the Church from the viewpoint of registration and organization, a body ascertainable by man, and the Church from the view-point of true life in Christ, of genuine faith and love, a body ascertainable (as to its limits) only by God. [5]

As regards the Visible Church, the registered and ordered Christian community, the work of the Spirit is deeply connected with the use within it of the Holy Scriptures and of the Christian Ministry. As we shall explain below (pp. 202, etc.), there does not seem to be evidence, either in revelation or experience, for holding that initiation into the visible Community secures ipso facto the regenerating presence and power of the Spirit in the individual. But as regards the community it is certain that the power of the Spirit works normally within the Church Visible as it does not without; acting along the lines of the Word read and preached, the Sacraments duly ministered, <129/130> discipline maintained, and, more generally, conscience quickened and informed by the diffused presence of Christian ideas, whether or not the individual has the New Life. Meanwhile it is to be remembered earnestly that this His action, inestimable in its own sphere, is not His highest and deepest; is not different in kind from action which He continually exercises outside the Church Visible, excepting the particular benefits of Sacraments.

As regards the Invisible Church, the Community in which every member is in Godís view true, and whose total is the true "mystical Body of Christ, the blessed Company of all faithful people," we can speak much more definitely of the Spiritís work. Here again we must anticipate much that will be explained below.

The Work of the Spirit in the Individual first claims attention. The individual believer as one of the fallen race, invariably begins fallen; alienated from God; spiritually "dead." See further, p. 182. This is as true within as without visible Christendom. (See this implied Rom. viii. 1-11; and cp. 1 Joh. ii. l9.) Accordingly, in order to the gift of new life, wherever it is given the Spirit works; the man is "born of the Spirit" (Joh. iii. 8). The normal order of the life-giving process is Conviction, Faith, Union.

(1) Conviction, of sin, righteousness, and judgment, is the first work of the Spirit, for Christ, upon "the world" (Joh. xvi. 8, 9); and all men begin as members of "the world." [6] When conscience sees not only in general the fact of personal moral <130/131> disorder and the certainty of retribution, which things can be seen without grace, [7] but also the relation of sin to the holiness of God, and the relation of condemnation to His infinitely sacred justice; when in fact it sees sin in the light of God and Christ, in some true measure; this is (Joh. xvi. 8, 9) the Spiritís personal and special work. The signs of that work may vary indefinitely with the character, age, training, of the man. And the conviction in question may occur not always at the same point of the process. And it is a consciousness certainly intended not to be once felt and over, but to underlie all after experiences. But the words of Joh. xvi. 8, 9 indicate that in the order of the divine thought it comes first.

In passing, let us point out the extreme importance of the doctrine of the Spiritís convictions. Shallowness, and passingness, of religious experience are often due to inadequate attention to this side of truth, and to a consequent weakness of hold on the revealed facts of acceptance and life. It is the parable of the Sower realized. The crop "dureth for a while" (Matt. xiii. 20, 21) because the stratum of rock (petra) beneath the thin soil has not been broken; there is no "contrition," no bruising.

(2) Conviction of sin does not itself secure the manís part in salvation. Conceivably it may be deeply felt and yet leave him devoid of "life eternal." Scripture indeed indicates, in our view, that where it does fully take place it is, as a fact, followed by <131/132> the new life. To be really "awake" is an idea always associated with the new "life" (e.g. Eph. v. 14). But it is not identical with new life, and conceivably might come and go without it, but for the mercy of the Worker. Accordingly, the work must proceed, and proceeds, to the point of Union with Christ "who is our Life" (Col. iii. 4; 1 Joh. v. 11, 12). The convinced man "sees the Son, and believes on Him" (Joh. vi. 40). He "hears the voice of the Son of God" (Joh. v. 25). He confides himself, convinced of sin, righteousness, and judgment, to a discovered Redeemer and Lord, capable of meeting his great need (e.g. Matt. xi. 28; Joh. iii. 36, vi. 37, ix. 35, 38, xx. 31; 2 Tim. i. 12). Now it is revealed to us as a divine fact that the man so doing enters indeed into a position of forgiveness, and more than forgiveness-acceptance with God. (e.g. Rom. iv. 23, 25, v. 1). But the deepest of all truths about the fact of "coming to Christ," the truth which carries all others with it is that the man is united to Christ, as to the Head of a spiritual organism, as to which He stands in a connexion altogether unique. The contact of faith is perfectly simple in itself; it is no less and no more than the personal confidence of the awakened soul, on the ground of divine truth and promise. But it carries with it profound and incalculable results, because of the Object which it touches, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, Second Man, Mediator and Surety of the New Covenant (above, p. 102). The man, awakened by the Spirit, and confiding in the Son, not only approaches Christ; he is joined to Him, one Spirit (1 Cor. vi. 17), he is "in Him" (1 Joh. v. 20, etc.; cp. Joh. vi. 37; 1 Cor. i. 30), partaker of His life (2 Cor. iv. 10, 11; cp. Joh. xiv. <132/133> 19) in a sense illustrated in Scripture by the union of limb with Head, branch with Vine, etc. (Eph. iv. 15, 16; Joh. xv. 1-5). He is not only forgiven, but spiritually new-created (2 Cor. v. 17).

This mysterious but most real contact is the basis of all the menís spiritual gains and possessions. One with Christ, he possesses, and is enjoined to use, all that Christ has for His true member. The acceptance of the Head, the Second Adam, in His perfect merits, is for the member. (See further, p. 189.) The virtues of the glorified manhood of the Head, the Second Adam, are for the member; he has "put on the New Man" (Eph. iv. 24, with Gal. iii. 27). The simple but magnetic contact of faith is the way to all this range and depth of result; or more truly still, is the reception of it. (See further, p. 182.)

But now all this is the work of the Holy Spirit, and from more than one point of view. First, He is the direct Author of faith; He is "the Spirit of faith" (2 Cor. iv. 13). That the man sees Christ and acts upon the sight, is due to the Spiritís skill and power (Eph. ii. 8; Phil. i. 29; 2 Pet. i. 2). Nor is this all. The Spirit acts in all this not merely as an Instructor, external to his pupil, or an artificer, external to his work. True to his divine Name, He penetrates the manís being as the vehicle of the New Birth, the breath of the New Life (John iii. 8; Gal. v. 25, etc.). He enters into a deep, tender harmony with the human spirit (e.g. Rom. viii. 26, 27), not creating it, for it is already there (p. 163), but recreating it into restored unison with Himself; not abolishing, or absorbing, but possessing. Thus the man becomes "spiritual" (1 Cor. ii. 14, 15). And again, the Spirit does all this to the member while being also the Spirit who <133/134> abides in supreme fulness in the Head. He is thus bond of divine strength and tenderness between member and Head.

For we have to carry into all thoughts of the relation between the Spirit and the Christian, the mysterious relation between the Spirit and Christ. We have seen above (p. 124) how the Procession from the Son throws a secret glory over the inner relations of the Eternal Persons, and over the work of the Spirit as the Witness of and Worker for Christ in the Gospel Age. To this must now be added the truth that all through the historical process of Incarnation and Redemption the Spirit has intense relations with the Incarnate Son. He is the immediate Agent in the holy Conception (Luke i. 35). He "descends." in ineffable speciality, upon the Son at Baptism (Matt. iii. 16, etc.), so that He goes to Temptation (Matt. iv. 1), and Ministry (Luke iv. 14, 18), " in the power of the Spirit." The Spirit secures for the Son of Man that He shall "speak the words of God" (Joh. iii. 34). It is "by means of the eternal Spirit" that the Lord "offers Himself without spot to God" (Heb. ix. 14). He is profoundly concerned in the Resurrection (Rom. viii. 11). After Resurrection, it is "by the Holy Spirit" that the Lord "gives commands to the Apostles" (Acts i. 2). And when the glorified Christ speaks to the Churches, as the Slain One risen, His voice is also the voice of the Spirit (Rev. ii. and iii.).

Thus the Regenerator of the Christian is He who was Agent in the Generation of Christ; the Strengthener of the Christian for spiritual conflict, service, sacrifice and witness, is He who did this work supremely in the Second Adam Himself, <134/135> and that in quite the same reality, and with the same necessity, as in our case. For the passages just recited, amongst others, indicate that the Human Nature of our Lord was produced, and maintained, in its absolute and indefectible moral and spiritual perfection, not by His own action as God, but by that of the Spirit as God. Not after the manner of Fatherhood, but yet with true causation, the Spirit wrought the Manhood of the Incarnate. [8]

These considerations, taken along with the truths that the true Christian is "born of the Spirit" and "has life, having the Son" (1 Joh. v. 12), lead us to the conclusion that the believerís union with his Head is altogether by the Holy Spirit. It is not material, or quasi-material, or materially infused. It is spiritual, while perfectly real and unfigurative. The details are, at most, very partially revealed, and are quite beyond our independent speculation. But the general inference is that the life of the Second Adam is in the new man, because by the Spiritís grace he believes, and because the Spirit of Grace is at once in the Head and in the member. The man has the new nature, the re-created nature, now, and will enjoy its results through his whole being hereafter, "because (Rom. viii. 11) of the Spirit that dwelleth in him" (see further below, p. 251).

As we leave the inexhaustible topic of the Spiritís work in regard of our Union with Christ, we <135/136> observe that one result of the Scripture testimony is that while the Blessed Spirit is to zôopoion "the Giver of Life," in respect of His immediate impartation of Life eternal to the man, He is not Himself the Life. In the last analysis, this Life is the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the incarnate, sacrificed, and glorified Head of His true Church (Eph. i. 20-23) and of every true member (1 Cor. vi. 17, xi. 3). The Spirit is the eternal and divine personal Vehicle; Jesus Christ, "who is our Life" (Col. iii. 4), is the Thing conveyed, given, united to the regenerate man. The eternal Life is not only from Christ; not only even in Christ; it is Christ. On the other hand the impartation of Christ is such as to leave absolutely intact the reality and freedom of the personality of the Christian. The personality of the member is not absorbed into, but annexed to, and adjusted under, that of the Head.

Thus, from different points of view, the believer "lives by the Spirit" (Gal. v. 25), and "lives by faith in the Son of God," who "lives in him" (Gal. ii. 20). The Spirit "dwells in Him" (1 Cor. iii. 16), and "Christ dwells in his heart, by faith" (Eph. iii. 16, 17; cp. Rom. viii. 9-11). The Spirit "sanctifies" him (1 Pet. i. 2); and Christ "is made unto him sanctification" (1 Cor. i. 30). To borrow an imperfect analogy from physical science, Christ is in the Sun of the soul, the Spirit is as the luminiferous Ether by whose vibration we have the Sunís light and heat.

(3) In the study of the life-giving work of the Spirit, as He unites the man to Jesus Christ, we must not forget His concurrent and related work of illumination and witness. The connexion is deep and necessary. Putting aside (see further below, p. 181) <136/137> the abnormal case, for in the light of Scripture it is abnormal, of human life closed in infancy, we see in our enquiry thus far that the Spiritís decisive life-giving takes effect in the man in and through his coming to believe, to commit himself to Jesus Christ. The Spirit is distinctively "the Spirit of faith" (2 Cor. iv. 13). And He produces faith, of the unifying sort, that is the manís entrustment of himself in spiritual reality to the Saviour of sinners, by "revealing the Son in him" (Gal. i. 16); by bringing the man to "see the Son and believe on Him" (Joh. vi. 40). Under this head falls accordingly all we read of the Spiritís "testifying of Christ," "glorifying Christ," by "taking of Christís things and showing them" (Joh. xv. 26, xvi. 14); bringing man to "say that Jesus is Lord" (1 Cor. xii. 3); "opening the heart to attend to "the things of Christ" (Acts xvi. 14). [9]

(4) In connexion with the whole subject, let us remark on the revealed freedom and sovereignty of the Spiritís work. "The wind bloweth where it listeth" (Joh. iii. 8). "The Spirit divideth to every man severally as He will" (1 Cor. xii. 11). This indeed is a general characteristic, in Scripture, of divine action in the things of grace (see e.g. Joh. v. 21; Jas i. 18), whether or no the Holy Spirit is in immediate view. But here, as elsewhere, it needs special and reverent remembrance. In particular, it reminds us here of what we shall see more in detail below (p. 252), the impossibility of restricting, even normally, much less universally, the Spiritís action, in the vital union of the man to Christ, to a <137/138> sacramental ordinance, or to any ordinance at all. Such ordinances have a most sacred work to do; but not to be the normal vehicles of the Spiritís vital operation. For, as we are seeing, a characteristic of that operation is its incalculable freedom; and the practical limitation of that operation, in a normal way, to a system (though divinely instituted) of external ordinance, capable of being worked and registered as to its material side by human agents, is a contradiction to that characteristic. Deus non alligatur sacramentis is a dictum which, in the light of Scripture, is not a concession in detail but a leading and ruling principle. Perfectly true it is that, in the deepest analysis, the free will of God has a sovereign place in all facts. But this leaves where it was the assertion in Scripture of a special phase of freedom in the Spiritís life-giving work. That work, to be characteristically free, must be, not capricious or arbitrary, which nothing divine can be, but incalculable as regards conditions and tests capable of reduction to, or correspondence to, a system of material operations falling within manís power. In the nature of things, a register of baptisms cannot with certainty tabulate a series of sovereignly wrought new births.

All the while the sovereignty of the Spiritís operation, whatever mysteries may surround it, is a sovereignty of perfect wisdom working with the tenderness of eternal love.

And throughout the whole life of faith, as at its beginning in the new birth, He maintains the soul in faith by keeping and developing in its view the glorious Object of faith and by inwardly drawing its confidence in that divinely reasonable direction. (For faith in Christ is indeed on the one hand a <138/139> supernatural grace, because the fallen heart, apart from grace, shrinks from self-entrustment to the Holy One. But on the other hand, viewed as the action of the soul, it is the most reasonable and natural movement and direction of personal trust that can be named.)

The Spiritís manner of action and influence as Guide and Friend, in this blessed life, must, of course, be beyond our analysis in countless details. Only some salient facts about it are given in Scripture. Among them we gather that the Spirit exercises a most real, while mysterious, personal influence on the subjects of His work (Rom. viii. 14); that He gives them intuitions, not to be explained by natural emotion or imagination, into eternal realities (1 Cor. ii. 9, 10); that He directs the judgment in things spiritual so that the believer, as such, has an instinct for the true and against the false in such things (1 Joh. ii. 27). "He witnesses with" the believerís human "spirit, that we are the children of God" (Rom. viii. 16); that is, He meets their filial faith and love with the supernatural assurance of divine paternal faithfulness and tenderness.

As "the Spirit of Christ in the Prophets" (1 Pet. i. 11), the Third Person is the true Author of the Scriptures. See especially Acts i. 16, xxviii. 25; Heb. iii. 7, x. 15, and cp. ix. 8. See also 2 Pet. i. 21, and cp. 2 Tim. iii. 16. It is interesting and important to observe the great prominence of this truth in the belief of the primitive Church. Thus Clement of Rome (cent. i.) quotes Isai. liii. in full (Ep. ad. Cor., c. xvi.) as "spoken by the Holy Spirit about" Christ, and bids Christians study the Scriptures as "the true, the (Scriptures) of the <139/140> Holy Spirit" (c. xlv.). And by the way he speaks of St. Paul, as of the Old Testament prophets, as "writing by inspiration" (pneumatikôs c. xlvii.). Justin (cent. ii.) uses the strongest language about the function of the Spirit in the production of Hebrew prophecy. The prophetsí part was to yield themselves to His operation, in purity, that the divine power, descending from heaven, might "deal with just men as the plectrum deals with harp or lyre" (Cohortatio, c. viii.). Theophilus of Antioch (cent. ii.) calls the Scripture-writers "vehicles of the Holy Spirit Ö so that in things to come the fulfilment will be as they say" (ad Autolycum, ii. 9). Irenæus (cent. ii.) calls them men accustomed to carry (portare) Godís Spirit (Adv. Hæreses, v. 14). Tertullian (cent. ii.-iii.) speaks of them as "inundated with the Holy Spirit" (Apologeticum, c. xviii.); and of their writings as the "writings (litteræ) of God." Cyprian (cent. iii.) speaks repeatedly of the Holy Spirit as speaking in Law and Gospel. Clement of Alexandria (cent. iii.) speaks of those who "reject the Scriptures, that is, the Holy Spirit" (Stromata, vii. 16, 98). Origen (cent. iii.) gives it as a point in the teaching of the universal Church, that "the Scriptures were written by the Spirit of God." [10]

The catena might be indefinitely extended and enriched. See above, p. 7.

The submissive recognition of the Holy Spiritís authorship of the Scriptures leaves quite free our conceptions of the consciousness of Inspiration in the <140/141> inspired writers. [11] But it fixes for us the all-important fact that the "divine Scriptures" (to use a favourite patristic term), whatever the external circumstances of their production, are His Word, and carry His authority. It leaves us free to trace to the full each writerís individuality. But it sees in these individualities the intention of the Inspirer, who divinely molded the instrument for His infallible use; that instrument being not the voice only, or the pen, but the whole personality, and its adjustment in time and place. We are amply free to see the genuine human character of a Moses, or a Jeremiah, or a Paul in their inspired writings. But surely we are not free to believe that a fabricated writing under their names, used with a view to false prestige, could, by moral possibility, be one of the "writings of God."

We proceed to the Spiritís work for the community of the true Church. Thus far we have studied His action for the individual, in new birth and new life. This is the just and scriptural order of thought from manís point of view. From the point of view of the plan of God the true Church precedes the true believer; the holy Organism is in its measure the "final cause" for which the personal regeneration takes place. But in the history of the individual, and of the Church, personal regeneration brings the man into the true spiritual Organism, and contributes to the realization of its idea. The man is not in the true Church, and so of course does not contribute to it, till he is personally regenerated.

But on the other band this regeneration is <141/142> always related to the Organism of the regenerate company. Accordingly the Spiritís work appears prominently in Scripture as in and for the whole Body. See e.g. 1 Cor. xii. 4-13; Eph. iv. 3, 4; and perhaps 1 Cor. vi. 19. And cp. 2 Cor. xiii. 14; Phil. ii. 1; "the communion of the Holy Spirit." The truth of such Scriptures is that the divine Worker, residing at once in the Head and the members of the mystical Body, works always in each member with regard to all, and with supreme and all-including regard to the Head. To this end He directs His working always, alike in its multiplicity of mode, and in its unity of character. Meanwhile, in His infinite thought and skill the true interests of the member never suffer for those of the Body, nor those of the Body for those of the member. He maintains each individual in a union with the Head as direct, as vivifying, and as sanctifying, as if the one member were all. He maintains the Body in its union with an adjustment as delicate and perfect as if there were no complexity in the Body. [12]

On some special points.

(1) "Spiritual gifts" (charismata). In the New Testament Church we find the manifestation, in Christians, of supernatural powers in the material sphere; "tongues," "gifts of hearing," besides prediction and specially illuminated instruction. These "gifts" are always attributed to the Holy Spirit as the immediate Giver (see 1 Cor. xii. etc.). Were they a grant to the Church for its initial work only, or so as to be always present at the call of faith? The answer is not easy. And it is not ours to be decisive where Scripture is reticent. <142/143> But on the whole Scripture points to a cessation of charismata (as distinguished from charis in its larger and deeper sense) in the normal life of the Church. In the Acts, while the exercise of the charismata was distributed widely, though not universally (1 Cor. xii. 28-30), the power thus exercised was very rarely given (see Acts x. 44-6, for the one clear exception) without a human medium, and this medium was the imposition of the hands of an Apostle (see Acts viii, 14-15). At least, no clear contrary case occurs. With this fact compare the intimation (1 Cor. xiii. 8) of a certain transiency in these manifestations, in contrast to the permanency of "grace."

(2) On the meaning of Grace (charis). This all important word presents a large field for Scriptural study. We can only summarize results.

The word habitually implies the gratuitous freeness of the gift, or act, denoted. Thus it means sometimes the free pardon and acceptance of the sinner, under the Gospel covenant, in contrast to an acceptance earned (Rom. xi. 6; Eph. ii. 8, 9, etc.). Or, again, unbought divine kindness in general (2 Cor. viii. 9). But it often specially denotes a gift and blessing working in the soul and will (e.g. 2 Cor. viii. 7). Here the characteristic of gratuitousness is still as present as ever, but the action is different. What is saving grace, thus present in the Christian? The answer lies not in any analysis of the word, nor in any explicit Scripture, for there is none, but in the harmony of revealed truths. "Grace" manifested, for example, in regenerate love, or patience, is a distributed and specialized phase of the central gift, "eternal life." And what is that life? Nothing less than the possession (expressed <143/144> Joh. xvii. 3 as the "knowledge") of God in Christ; the "having the Son of God" (1 Joh. v. 12). It is participation of the divine Nature (2 Pet. i. 4), which is holiness and love. [13]

Grace, in its highest sense, is nothing less than "God working in us, to will and to do, for His good pleasureís sake" (Phil. ii. 13). It is not a separate or separable entity, projected, as it were, from God into man. It is God Himself, "in-working" in special ways for special ends; above all, for His glory in the salvation of His Church from condemnation and from sin, and in its conformation to the likeness of His Son. In the light of our view of the Spiritís work, grace may thus be described as the freely given presence of the Holy Spirit in the man, applying Christ to him, and manifesting Christ in and through him.

(3) The work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament saints. What is the essential difference between the work of the Spirit in believing individuals before and after the First Advent? Like many other Scripture problems, this is far easier to state than to answer.

The indications are somewhat thus:

The Spirit was not only with, but in, the true believers of the old time. The New Testament believer has "the same Spirit of faith as they" (2 Cor. iv. 13). The New Testament writers quote them as illustrious examples of faith, without any suggestion that their faith was inferior in kind. The terms used in the Old Testament, especially in <144/145> the Psalms, about spiritual life, are highly evangelical (e.g. Psal. li. 10-12, xci. 1, 9; Isai. lxiii. 11): indeed, the Christian believer everywhere finds in the language of the elder saints the expression of his own deepest experiences. And the effect of Old Testament faith was essentially the same as that of faith now; the God-given reliance carried with it spiritual union with God, the God of Covenant and of the great Promise, the God of the coming Christ. Thus the blessed Spiritís work was, in kind, always the same in the saints. The "old fathers" were, as truly as we are, united by Him to Him in whom is Life; to Christ who is our Life. They were, as truly as we are, made by Him partakers of the divine Nature; regenerated to be true followers of God (see e.g. Isai. lxiii. 16, lxvi. 8; and cp. p. 240, below). There was thus a sense in which the Spirit, long before the effusion of Pentecost, had "come," and was doing His sacred work in the world; convincing, transforming, giving life.

On the other hand it is equally plain from the New Testament that the "coming" of the Spirit, on the glorification of Christ, was in a sense new; a "new departure," if the phrase may be reverently used. Perhaps the reconciliation of these phenomena lies in a very simple statement. The newness of the presence and the work was not of kind but of degree. The Spirit, having now to deal with men in connexion with the historically manifested, perfected, and glorified Son of God, was (if we may venture to put it so) able now to deal in a vastly developed manner with men; in fuller and more intense convictions; in a larger impartation to faith of the glories and virtues of its Object, and, to the renewed will, of its Example; in a far brighter <145/146> illumination of the regenerate mind as to the full purposes of Redemption. It is remarkable that the great work of the Spirit at Pentecost was to enable the saints for a totally new energy, of testimony to Christ; a fact which leaves it abundantly credible that His visitation was new rather in degree than in kind. Meantime, so profound is the development in degree that in effect it is, in many respects, a quite new manifestation. See the language of Joh. vii. 39, and cp. Joh. xiv. 17. [14]

This question is an example of many others in Scripture, where the dealings of God with man in time are in view, and particularly where the difference between the circumstances before and after the Incarnation is in view. We have to remember on the one hand the equal relation to God always of all times; on the other hand the mystery of His dealing with men after the conditions of successive time. From the first point of view the Incarnate Head is and was ever present to be the life of His members. From the second point of view the fulness of the promise waited for "the fulness of the times."



History of the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

Our Lord, in the baptismal formula, had associated the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son, under the One Name. And we have seen above how decisive was Christís testimony (Joh. xiv.-xvi.) to the truth that the Spirit is not only principle but Person. Just outside the Canon, <146/147> Clement of Rome (Ep. ad Cor., c. 58 [15]) recognizes both the power and personality of the Spirit in the words, "God liveth, and the Lord Jesus Christ liveth, and the Holy Spirit." Ignatius (Magn. c. 13) speaks of Christians as "in the Son and the Father, and in the Spirit." A curious testimony to the early belief in His Personality is given by the appearance of a "Holy Spirit" in the Gnostic systems. Their theory is indeed wholly distorted from the Scripture view, but yet their "Holy Spirit" is as personal as their "Christ." Meanwhile the language of some of the early Church teachers is undoubtedly sometimes wavering, sometimes plainly unscriptural. The Shepherd of Hermas identifies the Spirit with the pre-existent Son (Simil., 5, 9); so does the primitive homily called the Second Epistle of Clement of Rome (c. 14). Justin Martyr speaks varyingly on the point (see Apolog. I., c.33). And, on the other hand, the works scripturally assigned to the Spirit are by some assigned to the Eternal Word,-a fact capable, however, of scriptural explanation.

A little later, in Irenæus, Tertullian, and Origen, clearer views are more prominent. The relation of the Spirit to the Father and the Son, not only in work but in being, in "immanence" (p. 24), is discerned and stated. Before all creation (constitutio) the Spirit (identified with the Wisdom of Prov. viii.) was, like the Son, with the Father (Iren., iv. 34, 3). He is one of the two "Hands" of the Father (iv. præf.). He is eternal. He is the communicatio Christi. He is the great Teacher of the Church, through prophets and apostles, and her abiding Enlightener. Tertullianís teaching is closely akin to this. He discerns and teaches the Personality, and the divine Essence, of the Spirit. He is the first who distinctly calls the Spirit "God." On the other hand, he emphasizes His subordination to and derivation from the Son "as fruit from branch, stream from river" (adv. Prax., 2, 8). Tertullian <147/148> is one of the first writers to use the word Trinitas. [16] Origen does not definitely call the Spirit "God," but clearly holds His Deity, and His distinct "hypostasis," which with Origen means, usually, "person" (Biggís Bampton Lectures, pp. 163, 172). He uses the word Triad (Trinity). The Spirit is, through the Son, of the Father, who is "Fountain of Deity." As to His work, Origen taught that its speciality was confined within the circle of believers; He works life in them that believe. All men have being from the Father, and "reason" from the Word; but not all share in the Spirit. Meanwhile, however inconsistently, he speaks of the Spirit as "coming into being" (egeneto) by the Son; and even as a Creature. But He is before time.

The Arians regarded the Spirit as a quasi-divine Person, but lower than, and created by, the Son.

At Nicæa (325) the controversy scarcely touched the doctrine of the Spirit. Later (360 and onwards), Athanasius took the question up earnestly, and discerned and stated the full Scripture truth of His Person, as distinct, and as uncreated; fully and eternally within the blessed Trinity, "which is all One God." He is less distinct on the doctrine of the Spiritís Work. The semi-Arians, or Macedonians, confessing the Deity of Christ, denied that of the Spirit. For some time, it is evident, popular religious opinion hesitated and wavered over a full confession. Very much by the labours of Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil, and Gregory of Nyssa (late cent. iv.), the view which alone harmonizes all the facts of Scripture won its way to full prevalence; the Spirit, with the Father and the Son, is a not separated but distinct Bearer, Subject, of the divine Essence; one with the Two in nature, and in operation; so that the divine <148/149> action is of the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit. The differentia of the Spirit is His eternal and mysterious (not Generation, but) Procession, Forthcoming.

The Dual Procession. Was the eternal Forthcoming from the Son as well as from the Father? The teaching of St. Augustine made the affirmative view prevalent in the West; for he insisted to the utmost on the eternal inner unities of the Holy Trinity. In particular, he brought out the thought that the Spirit is the eternal Bond and Vehicle of the mutual Love of the Father and the Son (de Trin., vi. 20: above, p. 123). In the East, without at first any formal denial, the tendency was to a negative; though Athanasius approaches very near to the Dual Procession. The Spirit, in his teaching, is by (dia tou) the Son, but His "Cause" is the Father only. In the next century this view was largely repudiated in the East, in favour of a wholly single Procession. The question did not come up at Chalcedon (451).

In cent. v., in Spain, heretical attacks led to a special emphasis on the belief, long current in the West, of the Forthcoming from Both; and cent. vi. (589) saw the words "and from the Son" inserted in the Spanish version of the "Nicene" Creed, apparently without any intention of innovation. Not till more than a century later was the divergence of East and West a subject of Church debate. It was discussed at a council at Gentilly in 767. Just later, Charlemagne advocated with great energy the Dual doctrine, and sought, but in vain, to secure the Popeís consent to the insertion of the words "and from the Son" into the Roman Creed. The issue of the doctrinal struggle was the Great Schism of cent. xi., in which East and West excommunicated each other.

The last effort for reconciliation was made at the Council of Florence (1439), when the Greek Empire was tottering to its fall. An unreal compromise was the only result. As lately as 1863 a Greek encyclical denounced as heretical the doctrine of the words "and from the Son." <149/150>

Of modern views of the doctrine of the Person of the Spirit we notice only one, widely prevalent in Germany, and within the vast sphere of German theological influence. It is that which scarcely, if at all, recognizes the Personality of the Blessed Spirit; but takes "the Spirit to be rather the God-taught Geist of the Christian community-a mysterious "Christian consciousness;" to be described from another side as the manifestation of God in the Church, God acting in the Church, the Union of God with the Church. The view is essentially Sabellian. It needs little but a careful comparison with Scripture to bring out its discrepancy with apostolic views.

It is observable that a lax view of the authority of the Holy Scriptures ordinarily accompanied this doctrine. The "Christian consciousness" is the judge and touchstone of Scripture. And another characteristic is an inadequate conviction of sin as transgression of the Law. [17]

To trace fully the history of the doctrine of the Holy Spiritís Work is quite beyond our limits. On the whole, in the patristic period, the doctrine of His new-creating work, in regeneration and sanctification, is less fully dealt with in the Eastern than in the Western theology. The Montanist movement (cent. ii.), joined by Tertullian, in which a revival of the gift of prophecy was asserted, did not at first, perhaps, connect itself doctrinally with the Holy Spirit, but more generally with "the Lord God Almighty." But inevitably it drew both its followers and opponents to a deeper reflection on the promises of Joh. xiv.-xvi., and so was overruled to bring home anew to the Church the abiding and most real personal action of the Spirit, as (in Tertullianís phrase) the true Vicarius Christi (see Smithís Dict. Christian Biography and Doctrines, iii., p. 116). St. Augustine, next after St. Paul, is the chief expositor of this truth, of which he had learnt much in his own experience. His great successor <150/151> was St. Bernard (cent. xii.), who wrote on Grace and Free Will, on Augustineís lines, and with deep personal realization. The Mystic theology of the middle ages, as of later times, was greatly occupied with the doctrine of the Holy Ghost, as the means of the soulís fellowship with God in Christ. At and after the period of the Reformation, a great revival and development of the doctrine of the Spirit came in; bringing, alas, tares with its wheat, and an inevitable sequel of controversy, above all on the relations between the Holy Spirit and the human will in the work of salvation (p. 174. And see Smeaton as quoted just above).

At the present moment the minds of innumerable Christians are powerfully directed towards the truth of the Holy Spiritís Personality, Power, and living Presence with the believing soul and the true Church. Not only in the important way of doctrinal accuracy, but in that, yet more important, of living realization, it is owned more and more that the Eternal Paraclete is the supreme need of the soul, and of the Church, as regards saving faith in Christ, entirety of obedience to Him, and powerful witness for Him. This is a happy and holy omen. All Church history bears witness to the fact that with the greater or less recognition of His reality and glory, and of our need of Him, flows or ebbs the life and witness of the Body and Bride of Christ. <151>


[1] The word "Comforter," Confortator, "Strengthener," is not the strict equivalent of paraklêtos. But it is a true though not full paraphrase.

[2] The question whether our Lord used Aramaic or Greek may seem to be material. But it is not so for those who see in Scripture as it stands the authenticated Word of God. For them, the discourses as we have them are, so to speak, revised by the true Author.

[3] See Augustine, On the Trinity, vi. 20.

[4] Such phrases, to the believer in the divine character of Scripture, are far more than "poetical." They are poetical, in a high degree, but they are also, and mainly, revelations of the inner ways of Godís working, of the supernatural and divine everywhere at the basis of the natural. This applies also to the many Old Testament passages where "the Spirit of God" is said to work in matters of courage, artistic skill, and the like.

[5] Cp. Hooker, Eccl. Polity, iii. 1, quoted p. 202.

[6] So the English Church testifies, in the Baptismal Service.

[7] Not that the Holy Spirit may not normally act in and with all workings of conscience. But this may be fully true without a presence and working of the kind commonly called in Scripture "grace."

[8] This is a truth quite separable in thought from the other divine truths, that the Manhood was, in eternal purpose and historic fact, never for a moment dissociated from, personally independent of, the Godhead of the Son, and that the Person in which it inhered was never for a moment other than the Person of the Divine Son. The Son assumed it; the Spirit caused it. See Owen, Concerning the Holy Spirit, bk ii., ch. iii.

[9] Here, and in Gal. i. 15 quoted above, the Spirit is not explicitly mentioned. But the analogy of Scripture is altogether in favour of a reference to Him.

[10] See Westcott, Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, Appendix ix. B. See also Goode, as referred to p. 7, above. On the general subject cp. Smeaton, Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, pp. 136, etc.

[11] And observe that e.g. 2 Tim. iii 16 calls the writing, not the writer, inspired. See Waller, Authoritative Inspiration, p.89, and generally.

[12] See the second Collect for Good Friday.

[13] Cp. 2 Pet. i. 5-7 (in the Greek, or Revised Version) for a suggestion that the whole chain of Christian "graces" is in effect the distributed manifestation of the possession of this "divine Nature."

[14] In this last passage, however, "He shall be in you" does not logically imply that in no degree was the spirit "in them" as yet.

[15] See Lightfoot, Clem. of Rome, Appendix Volume, p. 284, for the recently recovered text of this chapter.

[16] Bishop Kaye, Tertullian, p. 561 (ed. 1829), says: "The occasional ambiguity of his language respecting the Holy Ghost is in part to be traced to the variety of senses in which the word Spiritus is usedÖ. The Son is frequently called [by Tertullian] the Spirit of God." This remark is of wide application.

[17] Cp. generally Smeaton, Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, Div. iii., pp. 358-364.


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