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persons, equal to each other in power and glory, and each of them a selfexistent God.

Our opinion as to the value of STUART's services, and their tendency to promote Unitarian views of God, is confirmed by the following remarks of a celebrated divine:

There are some who think that the Sonship of the Redeemer consists in an union of the second person of the Trinity, or the Word, with the human nature; and that he became the Son of God by becoming man; and therefore, before the incarnation, there was no Son of God, though there were a Trinity of persons in the Godhead. This opinion seems to be rather gaining ground and spreading of late. ... It is worthy of consideration, whether this doctrine of the Filiation of Jesus Christ does not tend to reject the doctrine of the Trinity, as it has been held by those who have been called the Orthodox in the Christian church, and leads to what is called Sabellianism, which considers the Deity as but one person, and to be three only out of respect to the different manner or kind of his operations. This notion of the Sonship of Christ leads to suppose, that the Deity is the Father of the Mediator, without distinction of persons; and that by “ Father," so often mentioned in the New Testament, and generally in relation to the Son, is commonly, if not always, meant Deity, without distinction of persons. If this be so, it tends to exclude all distinction of persons in God, and to mạke the personality of the Redeemer to consist wholly in the human nature; and, finally, to make his union with Deity no more, but the same which Arians and Socinians admit, viz., the same which takes place between God and good men in general, but in a higher and peculiar degree. ... They who do not believe the eternal Sonship of Jesus Christ, because it is mysterious and incomprehensible (and to some it appears to be full of contradiction), will, if they be consistent with themselves, for the same reason reject the doctrine of a Trinity of persons in one God. - DR. SAMUEL HOPKINS : System of Doctrines, chap. 10; in Works, vol. i. pp. 299, 306, 308.


The whole nature is in each hypostasis, and each has something peculiar to himself. The Father is entirely in the Son, and the Son entirely in the Father. . . . When we speak simply of the Son without reference to the Father, we truly and properly assert him to be selfexistent, and therefore call him the sole first cause; but, when we treat of the relation between him and the Father, we justly represent him as originating from the Father. ...... We say that the Deity is absolutely self-existent: whence we confess also, that the Son, as God, independently of the consideration of person, is selfexistent; but, as the Son, we say that he is of the Father. Thus his essence is unoriginated; but the origin of his person is God himself. – JOHN CALVIN : Institutes, book i. chap. xiii. 19, 25.

That is to say, the Son is both an originated or dependent and a selfexistent being. The Son and (according to the same reasoning) the Spirit derived each his personality from the Father; but this personality contains within itself, besides that "something” which is peculiar" to it, all that constitutes Deity; for “the whole nature is in each hypostasis,” or person. But the nature or essence of Deity is unoriginated: it is self-existent. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are therefore, in one sense, three supreme, self-existent Gods; for each hypostasis is in possession of the

whole" divine nature: but, in another sense, they are one of them, the first, an infinite and absolute being; the others, finite and dependent; for the latter received from the former each his " peculiar something," but not the former from the latter.

I cannot but conclude, that the divine personality, not only of the Father, but of the Son and Spirit, is as much independent and underived as the divine essence. - DR. THOMAS RIDGLEY: Body of Divinity, vol. i. p. 263.

If the Scriptures do reveal the fact, that there are three persons in the Godhead; that there is a distinction which affords grounds for the respective appellations of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; which lays the foundation for the application of the personal pronouns, I, Thou, He ; -which renders it proper to speak of " sending” and “ being sent; to speak of Christ as "being with God,” “ being in his bosom," and of other things of the like nature in the like way, and yet to hold that the divine nature equally belongs to each, then it is, like every other fact revealed, to be received simply on the credit of divine revelation. ... Instructed as I have been in respect to the nature of true Godhead, it is impossible for me to predicate this quality of any being who is neither self-existent nor independent. These are the ultimate, highest, plainest, and most certain of all the discretive attributes of Godhead, i.e. attributes which separate the Divine Being from all other possible beings. If the Son possess not these attributes, then he can be only a God of secondary rank. MOSES STUART: Letters to Channing; in Miscellanies, pp. 23, 30.


According to these representations, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three distinct persons; one of the persons

the Son has the nature of true Godhead, that is, he is a self-existent and independent being; but each of the persons possesses the same divine nature; and, therefore, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are three self-existent and independent beings or Gods. Such seems to be the just and necessary inference arising from the statements made by STUART in the most popular of his works. We do not, however, mean to conceal the fact, that, while admitting the word

" to designate“ a real distinction in the Godhead,” this learned theologian denies that it describes “independent, conscious beings, possessing separate and equal essences and perfections” (p. 21); and that he even concedes the Unitarian principle, that there is in God “only one intelligent agent” (p. 42). But we cannot help thinking, that his own language, as quoted from pp. 23 and 30, leads to tritheistic results as certainly as that employed by many other Trinitarians, against whose theories he reasons with so much force. At such inconsistencies and contradictions, we, however, utter no surprise; for we feel none. They abound perhaps in the works of all who have written at any length in favor of the dogma of a Triune God; and it is natural that they should, when speculations are entered into, respecting the divine essence, far removed from the sublimely simple teachings of that Book, which, through its various contents of Gospel and Epistle, pronounces eternal life to consist, not in an acquaintance with the metaphysical jargon either of eternal emanations or of self-existent persons, but in a practical knowledge of the ONLY TRUE GOD, THE FATHER; and of HIS GREAT MESSENGER AND REPRESENTATIVE, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.


From such an opinion as this [the opinion of the younger TRELCATIUS, that the Son of God is autotheos, God of himself, or in his own right] necessarily follows the two mutually conflicting errors, Tritheism and Sabellianism; that is, (1.) It would ensue, as a necessary consequence from these premises, that there are three Gods, who have together and collaterally the divine essence. ... Yet the proceeding of the origin of one person from another is the only foundation that has ever been used for defending the Unity of the divine essence in the Trinity of persons. (2.) It would likewise follow, as another consequence, that the Son would himself be the Father, because he would differ from the Father in nothing but in regard to name, which was the opinion of Sabellius. For— since it is peculiar to the Father to derive his Deity from himself, or (to speak more correctly) to derive it from no one — if, in the sense of being “ God of himself,” the Son be called autotheos, it follows that he is the Father. ARMINIUS, in Dr. Bangs's Life of Arminius, pp. 231-2.

That the Holy Spirit is not from himself, as the Father is, is plain; for, that being supposed, there would be more first principles than one, and consequently more Gods than one; which is contrary to the whole tenor of Scripture. DR. ISAAC BARROW: The Christian Faith Explained, Sermon 34; in Works, vol. ii. p. 554.

In his " Exposition of the Creed" (Works, vol. ii. p. 635), Dr. BARROW, with the same consistency of sentiment, says of our Saviour, that he hath not the divine essence of himself, but by communication from the Father. This great man evidently regarded the doctrine which Professor STUART, long after his time, professed, as leading to the conclusion that there are more Supreme Gods than one. We cannot help thinking that he is right; unless the absurdity of the inference points to a more sublime, a more simple, a more rational, and a more scriptural doctrine, – that, to the total exclusion of all Gods, whether derived or underived, THERE IS BUT ONE GOD, THE FATHER.



[1] A 6


is an indivisible, intelligent, incommunicable being or subsistence, who is not sustained or does not subsist in or by another.

MELANCTHON. [2] The word “person” signifies a being in itself; that which understands, and acts with intelligence. MORUS.

The following are these definitions in the original: [1] "Persona est substantia individua, intelligens, incommunicabilis, non sustenta in alia natura." [2] “ Persona significat ens per se, quod intelligit, et cum intellectu agit.” They are taken from Professor STUART, who repeatedly quotes them with disapprobation.

We affirm the Holy Spirit to be a person. By a person we understand a singular, subsistent, intellectual being; or, as Boethius defines it, an individual substance of a rational nature. DR. ISAAC BARROW: The Christian Faith Explained ; in Works, vol. ii. p.

546. Because some philosophers have asserted, though erroneously, both the whole world's eternity, and its being a necessary emanation also from the Deity, and consequently that it is undestroyable, therefore further add, that these second and third hypostases or persons of the Holy Trinity are not only therefore uncreated, because they were both eternal and necessary emanations, and likewise are unannihilable ; but also because they are universal, each of them

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comprehending the whole world, and all created things under it : which universality of theirs is the same thing with infinity; whereas all other beings, besides this Holy Trinity, are particular and finite. Now, we say, that no intellectual being, which is not only eternal and necessarily existent, or undestroyable, but also universal or infinite, can be a creature. These three hypostases, or persons, are truly and really one God; not only because they have all essentially one and the same will,... but also because they are physically (if we may so speak) one also, and have a mutual nepixúpnois and évútapšis, inexistence and permeation of one another. — DR. RALPH CUDWORTH: Intellectual System of the Universe, vol. i. pp. 736-7.

That the three divine persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are three infinite minds, really distinct from each other; that the Father is not the Son, nor the Holy Ghost either the Father or the Son,is so very plain in Scripture, that I shall not spend time to prove it, especially since it is supposed in this controversy. . . It is plain the persons are perfectly distinct, for they are three distinct and infinite minds, and therefore three distinct persons; for a person is an intelligent being; and to say. they are three divine persons, and not three distinct infinite minds, is both heresy and nonsense. The Scripture, I'm sure, represents Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as three intelligent beings, not as three powers or faculties of the same being, which is downright Sabellianism; for faculties are not persons, no more than memory, will, and understanding are three persons in one man ...

... It would be very strange that we should own three persons, 'each of which persons is truly and properly God, and not own three infinite minds, as if any thing could be a God but an infinite mind. An infinite being signifies a being absolutely perfect, or which has all possible perfections. ..... I plainly assert, that, as the Father is an eternal and infinite mind, so the Son is an eternal and infinite mind, distinct from the Father; and the Holy Ghost is an eternal and infinite mind, distinct both from Father and Son. .... The distinction of persons cannot be more truly and aptly represented than by the distinction between three men; for Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are as really distinct persons as Peter, James, and John. .... Three minds and spirits, which have no other difference, are yet distinguished by self-consciousness, and are three distinct spirits. ... I grant that they (the three persons) are three holy spirits. As there is but one God, so he is a holy being and a pure mind and spirit, as spirit is opposed to matter; and thus all three divine persons are holy

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