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and degree, that the Father is the Fountain of the Deity, yet we pronounce it a detestable figment that the essence belongs exclusively to the Father, as though he were the author of the Deity of the Son; because, on this supposition, either the essence would be divided, or Christ would be only a titular and imaginary God. If they admit that the Son is God, but inferior to the Father, then in him the essence must be begotten and created, which in the Father is unbegotten and uncreated. JOHN CALVIN: Institutes of the Christian Religion,
book i. chap. xiii. 23, 24.
If we are not to condemn and damn the ancients for embracing an opinion which supposes three distinct substances, and, by consequence, three Gods, though this name be given the Father in a more exalted sense, and hereby the unity of the Supreme Being secured, — neither ought we to condemn the present Christian world for owning only one individual substance in the persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.... If it is thought hard to accuse the ancients as being Tritheists, neither ought we to term the present Christians, Sabellians or Socinians. LE CLERC Abstract of Dr. Clarke's Polemical Writings, p. 127.
In this paragraph, LE CLERC is speaking of the opinions that were held by those called orthodox who lived at or near the time of the assembling of the Nicene Council.
We find that all the fathers before, at, and after the Council of Nice, who harmonize with the sentiments there avowed, do with one consent declare the Father only to be avτódeos, or self-existent God. The Greek ones speak of the Father as the cause of the being of the Son: the ancient Latin theologians name the Father auctor, radix, fons, caput [author, root, fountain, head], in respect to the Son. The Greek fathers again ascribe to him vπερоxηv [pre-eminence]: they speak of him as μείζων [superior], but of the Son as δεύτερος θεός [an inferior God]. The Father they style" without beginning;" and they speak of the Son as springing from him. It lies, moreover, on the very face of the Nicene Creed, that it acknowledges the Father only as the Movàs of the Godhead: “We believe in ONE GOD, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of the Father," &c. Jesus Christ, as here presented to us, is not the one God, but the one Lord who was begotten of the substance of the one God or the Father, &c. The Father, then, as presented in this creed,
is not merely a distinct person, i.e. not merely one of the three persons, and on an equality with the other two; but he is the original, independent, self-existent Movàs or Unity, who constitutes the Fons et Principium of all true Godhead. Abridged from MOSES STUART, in Biblical Repository for April, 1835; vol. v. pp. 282–3.
§ 5. THE ATHANASIAN TRINITY; OR, THE TRINITY OF CO-EQUAL PERSONS.
Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith; which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost; the Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate; the Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible; the Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet there are not three eternals, but one eternal: as also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated; but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty; and yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God; and yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord; and yet not three Lords, but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every person by himself to be God and Lord; so are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say there be three Gods or three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made nor created nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore or after other, none is greater or less than another; but the
whole three persons are co-eternal together, and co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity. Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right faith is, that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man: God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man, of the substance of his mother, born in the world: perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting; equal to the Father as touching his Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching his manhood. Who although he be God and man, yet he is not two, but one Christ; one, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the manhood into God; one altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven; he sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty; from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming, all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works; and they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved. THE ATHANASIAN CREED (są called).
This creed, which is generally acknowledged not to have been written by Athanasius, we have quoted from the "Book of Common Prayer,” as used by the Church of England. According to Professor STUART (Miscellanies, p. 70)," it was received in France about A.D. 850; in Spain and Germany, about 1030. In some parts of Italy it was current about 960; at Rome it was admitted in 1014."
The "Athanasian Creed" is obviously more antagonistic to Unitarianism than those formed at the Councils of Nice and Constantinople; for it exhibits in a very prominent manner the co-equality of three persons in the Godhead. But, as the unhallowed temerity and uncharitable zeal of its author led him to enter ground on which the sacred writers never dared to tread, and to explain, with minute particularity, mysteries quite unknown to prophet or apostle, he naturally lays down propositions which are repugnant to each other, and ascribes to the divine persons modes of existence which evidently imply the inferiority of the Son and the Spirit to the Father. The consequences resulting from the adverse properties of equality and dependence will be exhibited in several of the following extracts.
 It must be considered as a serious defect in a creed, if, excluding subordination, without mentioning any particular form, it gives no hint of any other form in which it admits it. The only minus admitted by the Athanasian Creed is the inferiority of Christ's humanity to the Divinity generally; but both Scripture and the Nicene Creed teach a subordination of the Son to the Father, independent of the incarnation of the Son. Now, this is not inserted; and therefore the denial in the assertion, "None is greater or less than another," is universal, and a plain contradiction of Christ speaking of himself as the co-eternal Son, "My Father is greater than I."-- Of the unauthorized creed of the fierce individual, whom from ignorance of his real name we may call Pseudo-Athanasius, I agree with many learned and orthodox fathers of the English church in wishing that we were well rid.”  The Athanasian Creed is, in my judgment, heretical in the omission or implicit denial of the Filial subordination in the Godhead, which is the doctrine of the Nicene Creed, and for which Bull and Waterland have so fervently and triumphantly contended; and by not holding to which, Sherlock staggered to and fro between Tritheism and Sabellianism, — S. T. COLERIDGE.
The first of these quotations is taken from COLERIDGE'S Literary Remains" (Works, vol. v. pp. 385, 536); the second, from his "Table Talk” (Works, vol. vi. p. 290). If we do not misapprehend the writer, the Athanasian Creed is heretical because it labors to establish the perfect equality of the persons in the Godhead, and thus favors the doctrine of three Gods. The quotations that follow are of a different character, and look at this creed from another point of view.
Let us examine the fundamental points in the representations of the Athanasian Symbol. The Father and the Son are said to be distinguished by the fact that the Father is eternally unbegotten; the Son is from all eternity begotten, but never begets. Now, one may represent eternal generation to be as remote as possible from all temporary and organic generation, yet there remains one idea, after all, which never can be removed from this view of the subject; and this is, that the relation of dependence is of necessity conveyed by such modes of expression. Now, if the Father has from eternity exerted his power to beget the Son, and the Son has never exerted a power to beget any person of the Godhead (which of itself seems to make a great dissimilarity between the first and second persons of the
Godhead); and, moreover, if there is no relation of dependence between the Son and another person of the Godhead, which can serve as an equivalent for the relation of dependence that exists between the Father and Son, then does it seem plainly to follow, that the power of the Father is greater than that of the Son, and the glory which the Father has in respect to the Son must be greater than the glory which the Son has in respect to the Father. The same must be true also in respect to the Spirit; and this, whether we assume, with the Greek church, that he proceeds from the Father only; or, with the Latin one, that he proceeds both from the Father and the Son. In the last case, the Son is supposed to have only one incapacity, compared with the Father [viz., that of not begetting]; in the former [i.e. where the Spirit is said to proceed from the Father only], he has a double incapacity [viz., that of not begetting, and that of not causing the procession of the Spirit], in case nothing proceeds from him, and he begets nothing. At all events, the Spirit must be supposed to have this twofold incapacity [for he neither begets, nor causes procession]; and he is moreover in a relation of dependence; for the proceeding from, or the being breathed forth, necessarily implies a relation of dependence, as well as the being begotten. It is, moreover, a dependence different from that which belongs to the first and second persons of the Godhead; although no one, indeed, can tell what it is in itself, or how it differs from the being begotten. SCHLEIERMACHER, as translated by Stuart, in Biblical Repository. for April, 1835; vol. v. pp. 270-1.
Many have supposed, that the Son, the second person in the Trinity, is, in some mysterious manner, begotten of the Father; and the Holy Ghost, the third person in the Trinity, is, in the same mysterious manner, eternally proceeding from the Father and Son both. ... But
to suppose that the Son, with respect to his divine nature, was begotten of the Father, and that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the concurrence of the Father and Son, is to suppose that a Trinity of persons is not founded in the divine nature, but merely in the divine will. For, on this supposition, if the Father had not pleased to beget the Son, and the Father and Son had not pleased to produce the Holy Ghost, there could have been no Trinity of persons in the Godhead. Besides, this opinion sets the Son as far below the Father as a creature is below the Creator, and sets the Holy Ghost as far below the Son as he is below the Father, or rather it makes the Holy Ghost a creature of a creature! There are no ideas which we can affix to