Three sermons concerning the sacred Trinity by John Wallis.
Wallis, John, 1616-1703.

Objection V.

It may perhaps be Objected further, Why must we needs make use of the word Person; and call them Three Persons, if Three Some∣whats will serve as well?

Page  62I answer, First, We have no such need of the word Person, but that we can spare it. Hypostasis will serve our turn as well. And if they think the Latin word Persona, be not a good Translation of the Greek Hypostasis; Let them retain the Greek word. (We mean the same by both.) And then perhaps they will find themselves at a loss, to fasten some of their Objections upon the word Hypostasis, which they would fasten upon Persona.

2. But, Secondly, If the Thing be thus far agreed, That these Three Somewhats (thus con∣sidered) may be One God: I see not why they should contend with us about the Name Person. For this is only to quarrel about a Word, or Name, when the Notion is agreed.

3. If it were admitted (which I see no rea∣son for) that the word Person doth not fitly express that Notion which it is intended to de∣sign; the most that can be inferred from it, is but, That we have not given it so fit a Name: And, to cavil at that, when the Notion in∣tended by it is understood; were just as if one should argue, There never was such a Man, as whom they called Pope Pius; because the Man, who was so called, was not a Pious Man.

Page  634. But I see not why the word Person should not be thought a very fit word for this purpose.

For Two of these Three are represented to us in Scripture under the Names of Father and Son; and this Son as Begotten of the Father; (and therefore these Names are not to be quar∣relled with:) But all this in a Metaphorical sense; (For no Man can suppose, that this Fa∣ther doth so Beget this Son, as these words do properly signifie amongst Men).

Now the Relations of Father and Son, in a proper sense, are such as are properly denoted by the word Persona, in its proper Accepta∣tion.

And consequently the Father and Son, in a Metaphorical sense, may (by a Continuation of the same Metaphor) be fitly called Persons, in that Metaphorical sense. And in what sense they be Father and Son, in a like sense they be Persons, according to the Propriety of the Latin word Persona. For such Relatives the Latins called Personas.

And if the Father and Son may fitly be so called; no doubt but the Holy Ghost may be so called also, as One Proceeding or Coming forth (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) from them. As in Joh. 14.26. Page  64The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, he will teach you all things. And Joh. 15.26. The Comforter, whom I will send you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testifie of Me. Where it is manifest, that, in what sense the Father and Son are to be repu∣ted Persons; the Comforter or Holy Ghost, is, in the same sense, so to be reputed.

So that (I think) I have clearly Vindicated, not only the Notion, That these Three Some∣whats may be One God; But the Name also, That these Somewhats, may fitly be called Persons.