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into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" This must be spoken of two persons not only 18. not co-essential, but not co-equal. Now if the Son be laying down a doctrine respecting the unity of the divine essence in two persons of the Trinity, how is it that he does not rather attribute the same unity of essence to the three persons? to Why does he divide the indivisible Trinity? For there cannot be unity without totality. Therefore, on the authority of the opinions holden by my opponents themselves, the Son 1- and the Father without the Spirit are not one in essence. How then are they one? It is the province of Christ alone to acquaint us with this, and accordingly he does acquaint us + with it. In the first place, they are one, inasmuch as they speak and act with unanimity; and so he explains himself in the same chapter, after the Jews had misunderstood his sayting: x. 38. "believe the works; that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him.” xiv. 10. "believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." Here he evidently distinguishes the Father from himself in his whole capacity, but asserts at the same time that the Father remains in him; which does not denote unity of essence, but only intimacy of communion. Secondly, he declares himself to be one with the Father in the same manner as we are one with him,—that is, not in essence, but in love, in communion, in agreement, in charity, in spirit, in glory. John xiv. 20, 21. "at that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in me, and I in you: he that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father." xvii. 21. "that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us." v. 23. "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me." v. 22. "the glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one." When the Son has shewn in so many modes how he and the Father are one, why should I set them all aside? why should I, on the strength of my own reasoning, though in opposition to reason itself, devise another mode, which makes
them one in essence; or why, if already devised by some other person, adopt it, in preference to Christ's own mode? If it be proposed on the single authority of the Church, the true doctrine of the orthodox Church herself teaches me otherwise; inasmuch as it instructs me to listen to the words of Christ before all other.6
The other passage, and which according to the general opinion affords the clearest foundation for the received doctrine of the essential unity of the three persons, is 1 John v. 7. "there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.' But not to mention that this verse is wanting in the Syriac? and the other two Oriental versions, the Arabic and the Ethiopic, as well as in the greater part of the ancient Greek manuscripts, and that in those manuscripts which actually contain many various readings occur, it no more necessarily proves those to be essentially one, who are said to be one in heaven, than it proves those to be essentially one, who are said in the following verse to be one on earth. And not only Erasmus, but even Beza, however unwillingly, acknowledged (as may be seen in their own writings) that if John be really the
6 The best of those that then wrote (in the first ages of Christianity) disclaim that any man should repose on them, and send all to the Scriptures.' Of Reformation in England, Prose Works, I. 375.
7 This is true of the manuscripts of the old Syriac version, but the printed editions of the Syriac as well as of the Armenian versions contain the disputed clause. See Bishop Marsh's Letters to Archdeacon Travis Preface, Notes, 8, 9, 10, 11. Mill. Adnotat. ad locum, in the volume of tracts published by Bishop Burgess, p. 43; Wetsten, ibid. p. 79; Bengelius, ibid. p. 144; Selden, ibid. p. 206; Buddæus, ibid. p. 225; and especially Schmidius, ibid. p. 243. With respect to the Greek manuscripts Milton expresses himself cautiously. Griesbach has shewn that the clause is found in only one Greek manuscript, and that a manuscript of the fifteenth or sixteenth century. For an elaborate account of the arguments for and against its authenticity, see Horne's Introduction, &c. Part II. Chap. iv. Sect. 5. § 6. where references are given to the principal authorities. See also Hey's Lectures, Book IV. Appendix; where a list, though not a very perfect one, is given of the chief opposers and defenders of the genuineness of the text.
8 Annon illico poterunt tergiversari, de consensu dictum esse, non de eadem essentia? Nihil autem æque confirmat auctoritatem testimonii ut consensus. Itaque consentiunt in terra Spiritus, aqua et sanguis. An hæc tria sunt unum, sicut Pater, Filius et Spiritus Sanctus unum sunt? Nerio dicit, opinor, sed testimonii consensu sunt unum; ita Pater, Verbum
author of the verse, he is only speaking here, as in the last quoted passage, of an unity of agreement and testimony. Besides, who are the three who are said to bear witness? That they are three Gods, will not be admitted; therefore neither is it the one God, but one record or one testimony of three witnesses, which is implied. But he who is not coessential with God the Father, cannot be co-equal with the Father. This text, however, will be discussed more at large in the following chapter.
But, it is objected, although Scripture does not say in express words that the Father and Son are one in essence, yet reason proves the truth of the doctrine from the texts quoted above, as well as from other passages of Scripture.
In the first place, granting, (which I am far from doing,) that this is the case, yet on a subject so sublime, and so far above our reason, where the very elements and first postulates, as it were, of our faith are concerned, belief must be founded, not on mere reason, but on the word of God exclusively, where the language of the revelation is most clear and particular. Reason itself, however, protests strongly against the doctrine in question; for how can reason establish (as it must in the present case) a position contrary to reason? Undoubtedly the product of reason must be something consistent with reason, not a notion as absurd as it is removed from all human comprehension. Hence we conclude, that this opinion. is agreeable neither to Scripture nor reason. The other alter
native therefore must be adopted, namely, that if God be one God, and that one God be the Father, and if notwithstanding the Son be also called God, the Son must have received the name and nature of Deity from God the Father, in conformity with his decree and will, after the manner stated before. This doctrine is not disproved by reason, and Scripture teaches it in innumerable passages.
But those who insist that the Son is one God with the Father, consider their point as susceptible of ample proof,
et Spiritus Sanctus sunt unum.' Erasmi Responsio ad Notationes novas Ed. Leid. Tom. IX. p. 278. Edit. Lug. Bat. 1703. Et hi tres unum sunt: id est, ita prorsus consentiunt ac si unus testis essent; uti re vera unum sunt si ovoíav spectes; sed de illa (ut mihi quidem videtur) non agitur hoc in loco.' Beza in loc.
even without the two texts already examined,' (on which indeed some admit that no reliance is to be placed) if it can be demonstrated from a sufficient number of Scripture testimonies that the name, attributes, and works of God, as well as divine honours, are habitually ascribed to the Son. To proceed therefore in the same line of argument, I do not ask them to believe that the Father alone and none else is God, unless I shall have proved, first, that in every passage each of the particulars abovementioned is attributed in express terms only to one God the Father, as well by the Son himself as by his apostles. Secondly, that wherever they are attributed to the Son, it is in such a manner that they are easily understood to be attributable in their original and proper sense to the Father alone; and that the Son acknowledges himself to possess whatever share of Deity is assigned to him by virtue of the peculiar gift and kindness of the Father; as the apostles also testify. And lastly, that the Son himself and his apostles acknowledge throughout the whole of their discourses and writings, that the Father is greater than the Son in all things.
I am aware of the answer which will be here made by those who, while they believe in the unity of God, yet maintain that the Father alone is not God. I shall therefore meet their objection in the outset, lest they should raise a difficulty and outcry at each individual passage. They twice beg the question, or rather require us to make two gratuitous concessions. In the first place, they insist, that wherever the name of God is attributed to the Father alone, it should be understood οὐσιωδῶς, not ὑποστατικᾶς, that is to say, that the name of the Father, who is unity, should be understood to signify the three persons, or the whole essence of the Trinity, not the single person of the Father. This is on many accounts a ridiculous distinction, and invented solely for the purpose of supporting their peculiar opinion; although in reality, instead of supporting it, it will be found to be dependent on it, and therefore if the opinion itself be invalidated, for which purpose a simple denial is sufficient, the futile distinction falls to the ground at the same time. For the fact is, not merely that the distinction is a futile one, but that it is no distinction at
9 So Hammond and Gerhard: Si hoc genuinum sit, prorsus evertitur illorum (sc. Arianorum) hæresis; si vero supposititium sit, doctrina triuitatis ex aliis scripturæ locis luculentur probatur'
all; it is a mere verbal quibble, founded on the use of synonymous words, and cunningly dressed up in terms borrowed from the Greek to dazzle the eyes of novices. For since essence and hypostasis mean the same thing, as has been shown in the second chapter,' it follows that there can be no real difference of meaning between the adverbs essentially and substantially, which are derived from them. If then the name of God be attributed to the Father alone essentially, it must also be attributed to the Father alone substantially; since one substantial essence means nothing else than one hypostasis, and vice versa. I would therefore ask my adversaries, whether they hold the Father to be an abstract ens or not? Questionless they will reply, the primary ens of all. I answer, therefore, that as he has one hypostasis, so must he have one essence proper to himself, incommunicable in the highest degree, and participated by no one, that is, by no person besides, for he cannot have his own proper hypostasis, without having his own proper essence. For it is impossible for any ens to retain its own essence in common with any other thing whatever, since by this essence it is what it is, and is numerically distinguished from all others. If therefore the Son, who has his own proper hypostasis, have not also his own proper essence, but the essence of the Father, he becomes on their hypothesis either no ens at all, or the same ens with the Father; which strikes at the very foundation of the Christian religion. The answer which is commonly made, is ridiculous—namely, that although one finite essence can pertain to one person only, one infinite essence may pertain to a plurality of persons; whereas in reality the infinitude of the essence affords an additional reason why it can pertain to only one person. All acknowledge that both the essence and the person of the Father are infinite; therefore the essence of the Father cannot be communicated to another person, for otherwise there might be two, or any imaginable number of infinite persons.
The second postulate is, that wherever the Son attributes Deity to the Father alone, and as to one greater than himself, he must be understood to speak in his human character, or as mediator. Wherever the context and the fact itself require
1 See p. 21.
2 The form, by which the thing is what it is, is oft so slender and undistinguishable,' &c. &c.-Tetrachordon. Prose Works, III. 342.