BLTC Press Titles


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The Bhagavad Gita

Anonymous


The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde


Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)


The Diplomatic Background of the War

Charles Seymour


Dogmatic Theology: The church and the sacramental system

by Francis Joseph Hall

Excerpt:

I. Previous to the Incarnation

§ i. In a previous volume the doctrine of the Person of the Holy Spirit has been set forth in relation to the more comprehensive doctrine of the Trinity.1 It has there been shown that the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity, proceeding eternally from (fee) the Father through (Si&, per) the Son, coessential (oaioowtios), coeternal and coequal with both. By reason of His procession, He is third in the trinitarian order of Persons; but by reason of His coessentiality, He shares in the circumcession or the eternal existence of the divine Persons in each other. He is speculatively described as the bond of love between the Father and the Son, and in Him the Trinity is completed, so to speak; for He proceeds from the other divine Persons, and in Him the divine processions have their term. On this account, and because He is the Illuminator, by whose assistance we attain to truth and grace in Christ, a special sanctity is ascribed to Him; and to blaspheme Him is the gravest of all sins against God.

1 In The Trinity: Historical data, pp. 25-26, 47-48, 88-96; biblical, pp. 120-121, 130-134; theological detail, pp. 148-150, 217, 221-222, 230-237, 258-259, 262-263, 271-276. On the Holy Spirit and His work, see among earlier treatises, St. Athanasius, Epp. ad Serapion; St. Basil magn., de Spiritu Sancto; St. Didymus, Alex., de Spiritu Sancto; St. Thomas, Summa Theol., I. xxxvi-xliii et passim: Later treatises, H. B. Swete, The Holy Spirit in the N. Test., and The Holy Spirit in the Ancient Church; E. W. Winstanley, The Spirit in the New Test,; W. H. Hutchings, Person and Work of the Holy Ghost; A. C. Downer, Mission and Ministration of the Holy Spirit; E. B. Pusey, On the Clause "And the Son"; Wilhelm and Scannell, Manual of Cath. Theol., §§ 94-98, et passim; Ad Tanquerey, Synopsis Theol. Dogm., de Deo Trino; Jos. Pohle, The Divine Trinity, pp. 96-112, 168-191; J. B. Franzelin, De Deo Trino, Th. xxv-xxvii, xxxii-xli, xlvi-xlviii. Cf. Cath. Encyc. and Die. of Christ. Biog., s. vo. "Holy Ghost"; Hastings, Die. of Bib. and Die. of Christ, s.vv. "Holy Spirit."

In refs. to these works, the author's name only will ordinarily be given.

We cannot now give a more detailed theological exposition of the mysteries of His Person, but must pass on and consider His work. Yet a few remarks concerning the manner of the revelation of the Spirit as recorded in Scripture will afford a helpful introduction to our subject.

The Holy Spirit was not known by Old Testament writers as a distinct Person in the Godhead; nor was it safe that an explicit revelation of His Person should be given before the primary truth of divine unity had become firmly and permanently established among the chosen people.1 Moreover, the doctrine of the Spirit is part of the doctrine of the Trinity, and is dependent for our correct apprehension of it upon knowledge of the Father, from whom He proceeds as ultimate source, and of the Son, through whom He proceeds from the Father. Accordingly no clear description of the Spirit as a divine Person was given until the distinct selfmanifestation in flesh of the Son had taken place.

1 St. Gregory Naz., Theol. Orai., V. xxv.

Yet Old Testament writers were inspired to prepare the way for this revelation. They developed an impersonal terminology and description of the Spirit's work, which only needed the further revelations contained in the New Testament to acquire higher and more determinate meaning, and to be understood as divine foreshadowings of the later trinitarian doctrine. Proof of this is found in the fact that Old Testament references to the Spirit and His work retain their truth and value when regarded from the standpoint of New Testament teaching as to His Person. What was said of the Spirit before He was known to be a distinct Person continues to be true and important as applied to the third Person of the Trinity and to His special work in this world.


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