Monday, 7 March 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 13.

REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada


Q. Which is the eighth article ?

A. I believe in the Holy Ghost.

Q. What do you profess in this article ?

A. As the former articles contained, what we are to believe, concerning the two first persons of the blessed Trinity, this regards the third person, which in sum is, that the Holy Ghost is consubstantial to the Father and the Son, and therefore true God; that he proceeds from them both, and is equal in all things to them: this is proved first from the Creed itself, where the form of belief is expressed in the same way, I believe in the Holy Ghost, as well as in the Father, and in the Son. Secondly, from St. Peter's words to Ananias ; Acts v. 3, 4. " Why did Satan tempt thy heart to lie to the Holy Ghost ? Thou hast not lied unto men but unto God." Here you see the Holy Ghost is called God. Thirdly, from St. John, in his first epistle, chapter v. verse 7, where he says, " there are three that bear testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one." Fourthly, from the form of baptism, where the Holy Ghost is equally mentioned with the Father and the Son, which ought not to be, if he was not God. Again, from St. Paul, 2 Cor. xiii. 13. Where he thus concludes his epistle; " The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communication of the Holy Ghost, be with you all." From hence we prove the Holy Ghost to have the same divine nature with the Father and the Son ; as also to be a different person from them both: so that we ought to glorify, and worship him equally with the Father and the Son, as the last end and object of all our affections. Hence, the Macedonian heresy condemned by the church, which denied the divinity of the Holy Ghost. Anno. 381.

Q. The Scriptures, it is true, tell us that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father, but makes no mention of his proceeding from the Son.

A. Though one is not so expressly mentioned in the Scriptures, as the other, yet it is sufficiently asserted ; particularly where Christ says, in the 15th chapter of St. John, verse 26; "The paraclete whom I shall send from the Father;" chapter xxvi. "He shall receive of mine."

Q. What is the proper signification of the word Ghost?

A. In our ancient language it is the same as Spirit.

Q. What names are commonly given to the Holy Ghost in the Scriptures ?

A. He is called the paraclete, that is, the Comforter, the Advocate, the Finger of God, Goodness, the Gift, etc. Which appellations, signify the offices, and effects that are ascribed to him.

Q. What are the gifts proceeding from the Holy Ghost?

A. These seven, enumerated in the eleventh chapter of the prophet Isaiah; verse 2. First, wisdom, which teaches us to direct our lives and actions to God's honor, and the salvation of our souls. Second, understanding, which makes our faith lively, enabling us to penetrate the highest mysteries. Third, counsel, which discovers the snares of the devil. Fourth,, fortitude, which overcomes the difficulty of temptations, and enables us to undergo all dangers for God's* sake. Fifth, knowledge, by which we know, and understand the will of God. Sixth, piety, by which we are zealous in doing his will. Seventh, the fear of God, which curbs us from sin, and makes us obedient to his law.

Q. Which do you call the fruits of the Holy Ghost?

A. St. Paul reckons these twelve. First, charity, which fills us with the love of God and our neighbor. Second, joy, which enables us to serve God with cheerfulness. Third, peace, which keeps us unmoved in our minds, amidst the storms and tempests of the world. Fourth, patience, which enables us to suffer all adversities for the love of God. Fifth, longanimity, which is an untired confidence of mind, in expecting the good things of the life to come. Sixth, goodness, which makes us hurt no man, and do good to all. Seventh, benignity, which causes a certain sweetness in our conversation and manners, so as to profit and advance others in virtue thereby. Eighth, mildness, which allays in us all the motions of passion and anger. Ninth, fidelity, which makes us punctual observers of our covenants and promises. Tenth, modesty, which observes a fitting mean in all our outward actions. Eleventh, continency, which makes us not only temperate in meat and drink, but in all other sensible delights. Twelfth, chastity, which keeps a pure soul in a pure body.

Q. In what manner is the Holy Ghost given ?

A. Two ways, visibly and invisibly. He was both ways given to the apostles; invisibly, when, after the resurrection, Christ breathed upon them and said, receive ye the Holy Ghost; Jo. xx. 22. Visibly, ten days after his ascension, when he sent them to preach, and the Holy Ghost appeared over them in fiery tongues. A^ in, he is given invisibly in man's justification, when grace is bestowed; and in the sacrament of confirmation.

Q. Under what appearances has the Holy Ghost shown himself to mankind?

A. Chiefly two, in the shape of a dove, when our Saviour was baptized, by St. John the Baptist; and in fiery tongues, at his descending on the apostles at Pentecost.

Q. What was meant by his appearing under these representations?

A. By the dove, was signified innocence, and purity. The fiery tongues had several significations ; the tongues imported the gift of languages; the fire signified zeal; and they appeared split, that they might represent the variety of gifts that were bestowed, viz.: Working miracles, prophesying, etc,

Q. Did these visible marks always attend the giving of the Holy Ghost ?

A. In the first age, and during the apostles' time, they continued, as requisite to the first establishment of the gospel, but ceased by degrees.

Q. You say the Holy Ghost appeared in the figure of a dove; and, I suppose this is the reason why he is still represented by pictures and images under that form. Can a pure spirit and immortal being, be truly expressed by such like representations ?

A. You judge right, as to the ground and rise of that custom, but seem not to understand the true meaning of it. We pretend not to express the true likeness of a spirit much less of an infinite spiritual substance. The design is only to assist the memory, preserve the remembrance of the mystery, and receive instruction, from what is signified by such outward tokens.

Q. If this be all you mean, I see no reason why the Father and the Son, and even the whole Trinity, may not either separately, or conjunctively, be represented in the same manner, either by painting or carving; though, indeed, the custom is more authorized, by representing the second person under the figure of a man, because he took human flesh upon him; whereas the other persons did not ?

A. You still talk coherently, there being as much for the one as for the other; neither is the circumstance you mention of the second person, only, being united to a human body, any objection against representing the other persons by visible tokens. For as we do not pretend to express Christ's divinity by pictures, or images, but only his body ; so neither do we intend to represent the divinity of the other persons, by any figure or image, but only the outward shape of the thing, under which they made their appearance.

Q. This argument may hold good as to the persons separately considered. The first person may be represented as an old man, as he appeared to Daniel: the second, as a man whose nature he assumed; and the Holy Ghost as a dove, for the same reason. But you pretend besides to make pictures and images representing the Trinity, which was never represented by an outward appearance.

A. This difficulty is easily removed, by the same rule. And in the first place, it is far from truth that we have no representation of the Trinity: it is frequently represented both by facts and words in the holy Scriptures: I shall only mention the three men who appeared to Abraham, whom he addressed as if they were but one; and these words in the first epistle of St. John, chapter v. verse 7. " These three are one." Is not this a sufficient ground to form an image, representing one and three ? What are words, but images representing to the ear, what pictures do to the eye; and if it be lawful to make use of words, to signify the mystery of the Trinity, why may not a picture be drawn to the same purpose? Words and pictures can neither express the nature of the thing, but still they are serviceable to put us in mind, and keep up the memory of the mystery.