What The Bible Says Of The Holy Ghost

The third paragraph of this Creed is a summary of the teaching of the

Bible concerning Him whom we often call the third Person of the

Godhead--whom Jesus described as the Comforter (S. John xiv.-xvi.). He

there promised to His disciples the presence with them of One, who

should be closer to them than He had Himself been, xvi. 7: xiv. 16, 17:

who should unite them more closely to Himself, xiv. 18, 23: who should

teach them, and help them to remember His words, xiv. 26: who should

testify of Him, xv. 26: and guide them into all truth, xvi. 13: when

they should be accused and persecuted, the Holy Ghost would guide their

speech, S. Matth. x. 19, 20: S. Mark xiii. 11: S. Luke xii. 11, 12:

xxi. 14, 15.

Consistently with these promises we find all good impulses, thoughts,

and actions, in man, ascribed to the Holy Ghost--Comfort, Acts ix. 31:

Joy, Rom. xiv. 17: Baptism, S. Matth. iii. 11: 1 Cor. xii. 13:

Fellowship, Phil. ii. 1: Power, Acts i. 8: Sanctification, Rom. xv. 16:

Teaching, 1 Cor. ii. 13: xii. 3: Resolution, S. Luke iv. 1: Acts xv.

28: Vocation, xiii. 2, 4: xx. 28: He is ranked with the Father and the

Son, S. Matth. xxviii. 19: Eph. iv. 4-6: 2 Cor. xiii. 14.

His Presence is imparted through the Laying on of Hands, Acts viii. 15,

17: xix. 6: ix. 17: and before it, x. 44, in the exceptional case of

Cornelius. Thus, individually we are temples of the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor.

vi. 19.

But further, the Holy Ghost unites us in one Body--the Church, Eph. iv.

2-4: wherein the work of each is allotted by Him who in 1 Cor. xii. 28

is called God, and in vv. 4-11 is called the Spirit, and in v. 3,

the Holy Ghost. By virtue of this, the Church is Holy, 1 Cor. iii. 16,

17, even though individual members are unworthy. And this Church was

to be One for all the world, Acts i. 8, S. Matth. xxviii. 19, 20: 1

Cor. i. 2: Eph. i. 22, 23: iii. 9, 10: S. John xvii. 20, 21. Thus it

is the Holy Catholick Church. Catholick=Universal, for-the-whole.

Also the Holy Catholick Church is the Society of Saints, the Communion

or Fellowship of Saints. S. Paul writing to the Corinthians (1 Cor. i.

2) addresses them as the Church, called to be Saints, and (after

referring to the distribution of various duties amongst the members by

the Holy Spirit) he says (xii. 25-27) that there should be no schism in

the body, but all the members should care for one another, suffer with

one another, and rejoice with one another: indeed his argument is that

the Church is a body, and that this sharing of joy and sorrow is an

existing fact. So in 2 Cor. i. his whole argument turns upon this

thought of a society, wherein the comfort of one is the comforting of

the rest, and the prayers of the rest a help to the one, the gift

bestowed upon one, a cause of the others' thankfulness; and all

stablished together by God. In Heb. xii. 22 mount Zion is taken as the

symbol of Christ's Church; and the readers are addressed as members

thereof, together with the spirits of just men made perfect, who are

enrolled in heaven as the general assembly and church of the firstborn.

Thus the {113} Church, or Society of Saints includes the imperfect, and

those who are made perfect; those who are alive there, and those who

are alive here. The condition of membership is briefly described in

Acts ii. 38, 42 Repentant, Baptized, having the Gift of the Holy Ghost,

Apostolic Doctrine and Fellowship, Communicant, Stedfast in Prayers.

Since then, Repentance and Baptism, Acts ii. 38: iii. 19 "for the

Remission of sins," "that our sins may be blotted out," are thus

associated with the gift of the Holy Ghost--see also S. John xx. 22,

23--this second great privilege of Christians is stated in the Creed;

we believe in the Forgiveness of Sins. It is preached unto us through

Christ, Acts xiii. 38: it is granted to us for His Name's sake, 1 S.

John ii. 12: the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins, S.

Mark ii. 10: it is especially associated with the Presence of Christ in

the assembly of the Church, S. Matth. xviii. 17-20: 1 Cor. v. 4: S.

John xx. 22, 23. The union of the Faithful with Him in whom they have

Faith brings, through Jesus, Rom. iii. 25, remission of their sins,

through the forbearance of God.

The third great privilege, which comes to members of Christ through the

Holy Ghost, is the Resurrection of the Body, a most prominent doctrine

of the Gospel: as in the case of other articles of the Creeds, so here,

we only give representative verses. Acts xvii. 18 S. Paul is stated to

have been misunderstood, because he preached at Athens Jesus and the

Resurrection, and in vv. 31, 32 it is shown that he preached the

Resurrection of men to be judged. So those who {114} knew Jesus best

(S. John xi. 1-3) believed, as of course, in the Resurrection of all

men vv. 23, 24: in S. John v. 25-29 the Lord states the doctrine: 1

Cor. xv. shows how S. Paul taught it, and, vv. 37, 38, declares that

the body of the Resurrection will be a nobler and higher body, as the

plant is nobler and higher than the seed--see Phil. iii. 21: 1 Cor. xv.

43, 48, 49. Further, it is likened to the gift of Life in Baptism,

Rom. vi. 3-5, which is the work of the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor. xii. 13:

hence it is expressly stated to be His work, Rom. viii. 10, 11. The

fourth great privilege is Life everlasting. S. John i. 12 to those who

received Jesus, He gave power to become the sons of God, even to them

that believe on His Name: S. John xvii. 2, 3 and this is life eternal:

S. John v. 24 which begins here on earth: but, S. Mark x. 30, is, in a

higher sense, the promise of the world to come, where, Rev. xxi. 4, 1

Cor. xv. 26, 54, there shall be no more death.

In connection with this Creed we should read the Nicene Creed, the

first Four Commandments, Articles I. to V., XI. and XV., Gloria in

excelsis in the Communion Service, and the Proper Prefaces in the Holy

Communion for Christmas, Easter, Ascensiontide and Whitsuntide. Also,

note that Gloria Patri, and The grace of our Lord, are founded upon

the Faith which is expressed in the Creed: and that the Collects not

unfrequently have endings similarly founded.

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