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but one in another. The three Persons in the Godnead do not constitute one Person, neither does the one God constitute three Gods: but the three Persons exist in one God, and the one God subsists in three Persons. God is really, as well as nominally, three in Person; but not in any such sense as to be inconsistent with His being one in essence. (c)
Q. 6. May not the Trinity in the Godhead be illustrated by man, considering him, as some have considered him, a tripartite being, composed of body the earthy part, the soul the animal or sensitive part, and the spirit the rational or immortal part?
A. Certainly not; for these three parts, supposed to be possessed by man, make but one person, and this one person can speak of himself only in the first person, unless by a figure of speech.
Q. 7. May this doctrine be explained by considering God as one Person, acting in three different characters, as Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier?
A. This theory cannot be admitted; for then the distinction in the Divine essence would be merely nominal, and not real. God could not then speak of Himself by the three personal pronouns. But we find the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, speaking of each other as distinct Persons, and considering
his Spirit he garnished the heavens.-Job xxxiii. 4. The Spirit of God hath made me.-Elsewhere the Holy Ghost is called the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge, the Spirit of promise, the Spir it of power, the Spirit of holiness, and the Holy Spirit.2 Cor. xiii. 14. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.-Rev. i. 4, 5. John to the seven churches which are in Asia; Grace be unto you, and peace from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful Witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.
(c) John v. 7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.-2 Cor. 13, 14. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
each other as distinct agents, having power to understand, to will, and to act. (d)
Q. 8. Are the three Persons in the Godhead separate, as well as distinct?
A. They are not. Things which are distinct are not always separate. This is the case with the soul and body of man, while he is alive in this world. This is the case with the faculties of the mind. They are distinct, but not separate. So it is in regard to the Persons in the Godhead.
Q. 9. Are the three Persons in the Godhead equal by nature?
A. They are the same in essence, and equal in every Divine perfection. (e)
Q. 10. Is there a subordination among the Persons in the Trinity?
A. There is. The Scriptures represent the Holy Ghost as subordinate to the Father and the Son, and the Son as subordinate to the Father. But this is only a subordination of office, in reference to the different parts they take in the work of man's redemption. In their official capacity, the Son is obedient to the Father, and the Holy Ghost is obedient to the Father and the Son. This gives rise to all that is said in the Scriptures of the Holy Ghost, and much that is said of the Son, as unequal to the Father. (f)
(d) 1 Pet. i. 2. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.
(e) 1 John v. 7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.-Philip. ii. 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.
John xiv. 26. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.-John xv. 16. But when the Comforter is come, wnom i win sena unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.-1 John iv. 9. in this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him.
Q. 11. Is the Son, the second Person in the Trinity, human as well as Divine ?
A. He is. He possesses a true human body and soul, as well as a Divine nature. In Him, as a complex Person, the Divine and human natures are united—so united, that they cannot be divided, so as to make entirely distinct separate agents; and yet the Godhead and manhood are not one Person by the conversion, or the intermixture of the two natures. The union of the Divinity and humanity of Christ is such, that each nature retains its properties entire, and yet both together constitute the Person of Christ. As we speak of man, sometimes in relation to his soul, and sometimes in relation to his body, and sometimes in relation to both as united, so the Scriptures speak of Christ's Divinity and humanity, and of both as united; and they sometimes attribute to the one what belongs to the other. The Person of Christ is truly God and truly man. When in the Scriptures He is called by Divine appellatives, it is in reference to His Divinity; and when he is called by human appellatives, it is in reference to His humanity. If Christ does not possess two natures, the human and Divine, the Bible is inexplicable, and leads into the most awful and dangerous errors. (g)
(g) John i. 1, 14. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.-Phil. ii. 6, 7. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man-Col. ii. 9. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.-Matt. i. 23. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which, being interpreted, is, God with us.-1 Tim. iii. 16. And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.-John x. 33. The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
Q. 12. How does it appear that Christ was really and properly man?
A. From the following considerations: 1. He was born of a woman; 2. He had a human body and soul, and was like other men, sin only excepted; 3. He was made under the law, moral and ceremonial, and perfectly obeyed it; 4. He increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man; 5. He hungered, thirsted, ate, drank, and conversed like other men; 6. He was subject to pain, weariness, and mortality, and finally died; and 7. He is many times expressly called man and the Son of man, by the divine writers. (h)
Q. 13. Will Christ continue to be God and man in one Person forever?
(h) Gal. iv. 4. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law. -Heb. vi. 26. For such a high priest became us who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.-Phil. ii. 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.-Luke ii. 52. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man, Matt. iv. 2. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterwards an hungered.-John xix. 28. After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.-Mark ii. 16. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?-John iv. 7. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.-Luke xxiv. 32. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures-John iv, 6. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus, therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.-Mark xv. 37. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.-1 Tim. ii. 5. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.-John iii. 13. And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
A. He will. His manhood, however, will be in its glorified state. (i)
Q. 14. Is the doctrine of the Trinity to be viewed, in some respects, as inexplicable and incomprehensible?
A. It is to be regarded as profoundly mysterious and above reason; but not contrary to reason, or absurd, nor more mysterious or above reason than the very being, nature, and perfections of God. These are all inexplicable and incomprehensible by finite minds. It is not to be expected that the mode of the Divine existence should be level to the comprehension of finite capacities. (j)
Q. 15. Wherein does the mystery in reference to the Trinity exist?
A. It does not exist in the fact, that there are three Divine Persons in the Godhead, for this is plainly revealed; but in the manner in which the three Divine Persons subsist in the Divine essence, or in the Godhead.
Q. 16. Is the mysteriousness of the triune existence of God a reason for rejecting the doctrine?
A. It is not. If we may not believe any thing respecting God which we cannot comprehend, we may not believe His existence, or His perfections, or His works, or His ways; for they are all incomprehensible by us. It becomes us, short-sighted, fallible creatures, immersed in the darkness of the fall, to bow to the instructions of Heaven. If we do not, we must abide the doom of unbelievers.
(i) Philip. iii. 20, 21. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
(j) 1 Tim. iii. 16. And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.-Job xi. 17. Canst thou by searching find out. God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?