This week, some brief answers to earlier criticisms about the Holy Ghost; next week the fuller rebuttals.
1 One must now answer the arguments previously given, those in which the conclusion seemed to be that the Holy Spirit is a creature, and not God.
2 First, indeed, this appears to be especially proper to friendship: really to converse with the friend. Now, the conversation of man with God is by contemplation of Him, just as the Apostle used to say: “Our conversation is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20). Since, therefore, the Holy Spirit makes us lovers of God, we are in consequence established by the Holy Spirit as contemplators of God. Hence, the Apostle says: “But we all beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).
3 It is also a property of friendship that one take delight in a friend’s presence, rejoice in his words and deeds, and find in him security against all anxieties; and so it is especially in our sorrows that we hasten to our friends for consolation. Since, then, the Holy Spirit constitutes us God’s friends, and makes Him dwell in us, and us dwell in Him (as was shown), it follows that through the Holy Spirit we have joy in God and security against all the world’s adversities and assaults.
And so we read in the Psalmist: “Restore unto me the joy of your salvation and strengthen me with your lordly Spirit” (Ps. 50:14); and in Romans (14:17): “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but justice, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit”; and in Acts (9:31): “The church had peace and was edified, walking in the fear of the Lord, and was filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.” For this reason, too, our Lord calls the Holy Spirit the Paraclete, that is, Comforter, in John (14:26): “But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit,” and so forth.
4 Similarly, too, it is proper to friendship to consent to a friend in what he wills. Of course, the will of God is set forth for us by His precepts. Therefore, it belongs to the love by which we love God that we fulfill His commandments, as the Word in John (14:15) says: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Hence, since we are established as God’s lovers by the Holy Spirit, by Him, too, we are in a way driven to fulfill the precepts of God, as the Apostle’s word goes: “Whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).
5 For all that, one must bear in mind that the sons of God are driven not as slaves, but as free men. For, since he is free who is for his own sake, we do that freely which we do of our very selves. But this is what we do of our will, but what we do against our will we do not freely but as slaves: be the violence absolute, as when the whole principle is extrinsic, with the sufferer contributing nothing—for instance, a man is pushed into motion, or be the violence mixed with the voluntary—for instance, when one wishes to do or to suffer what is less contrary to his will to avoid what is more contrary to it.
But the Holy Spirit so inclines us to act that He makes us act voluntarily, in that He makes us lovers of God. Therefore, the sons of God are impelled by the Holy Spirit freely out of love, not slavishly out of fear. Hence, the Apostle says: “You have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear, but the Spirit of adoption of sons” (Rom. 8:15).
6 The will, of course, is ordered to that which is truly good. But if, by reason of passion or of bad habit or disposition, a man be turned away from that which is truly good, he acts slavishly, in that he is diverted by some extraneous thing, if consideration be given the will’s natural order itself.
But if one considers the act of the will as inclined to an apparent good, one acts freely when he follows passion or a corrupt habit he acts slavishly, of course, if while his will remains such he, for fear of a law to the contrary, refrains from that which he wills. Therefore, since the Holy Spirit inclines the will by love toward the true good, to which the will is naturally ordered, He removes both that servitude in which the slave of passion infected by sin acts against the order of the will, and that servitude in which, against the movement of his will, a man acts according to the law; its slave, so to say, not its friend. This is why the Apostle says: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17); and: “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Gal. 5: 18).
7 Hence it is that the Holy Spirit is said to mortify the deeds of the flesh, inasmuch as a passion of the flesh does not turn us away from the true good, and to this the Holy Spirit orders us by love; hence, we read in Romans (8:13): “If by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.”