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

Objection VI.

I shall name but one Objection more, which when I have satisfied, I shall conclude for this time.

That 6th. Objection (and 'tis but a weak one) is this. The Trinitarians do not all agree, but differ among themselves, in expressing their Notions in this Matter.

Very well. And do not the Antitrinitarians differ much more? Doth not the Arian and the Socinian differ as much from one another, as ei∣ther of them do from us; (and declare that they so do?) And do not the Arians among them∣selves, Page  65 and the Socinians amongst themselves, differ more than do the Trinitarians? Certain∣ly they do.

It must be confessed, that different Men, as well in the same as in different Ages, have very differently expressed themselves, accor∣ding to their different Sentiments of Perso∣nality; and of the particular Distinctions of the three Persons among themselves.

But so it is in all the most obvious things in the world. As, in Time, Place, Space, Motion, and the like. We are all apt to think, that we all know well enough, what we mean by those Words, till we be asked. But if we be put to it, to express our selves concerning any of them, What it is, whether a Thing, or Nothing, or not a Thing, or somewhat of a Thing, and what that some∣what is; it would be long enough before we should all agree to express our selves just in the same manner; and, so clearly, as that no man who hath a mind to cavil, could find occasion so to do. I might say the like of Heat and Cold; of Light, Sight, and Colour; of Smells, and Tsts, and the different Sorts of them.

Page  66Can we never be sid to agree in this, That the Fire doth Burn and Consume the Woo; till we be all agreed what is the Figure of those Fiery Atoms (and what their Motion, and from what Impulse) which enter the Pores of he Wood, and separate its parts, and convert some of them to Smoak, some to Flame, and ••me to Ashes; and which to which; and in what man∣ner all this is done?

What a folly then is it to require that, in the things of God, we should all so a∣gree as to express our thoughts just in the same manner; as is not possible to do in the most obvious things we meet with?

And, in such a case as wherein to express our Notions, we have no Words but Fi∣gurative, it is not to be thought strange, that one man should make use of one Meta∣phor, and another of another, according as their several Fansies serve.

But thus far, I think, the Orthodox are all agreed; That between these Three, which the Scripture calls The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, or the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, there is a Dstinction, greater than that of (what we call) the Divine Attributes; but not so as to be Three Gods. And this Di∣stinction, Page  67 they have thought fit to denote by the Word Hypostasis, or Person.

They are also all agreed; that one of these Persons (namely the Son or the Word) was Incarnate, or Made Flesh, and did take to him∣self our Humane Nature.

But as to the particular Modes, or Manner How; either how these two Natures are United, or how these three Persons are Distinguished each from other: we may be content to be Ig∣norant, farther than God hath been pleased to Reveal to us.

We know that our Immortal Soul is join∣ed with an Humane Body, so as to make One Man (without ceasing, that to be a Spi∣rit, and this to be a Body:) But 'tis hard for us to say How. And accordingly we say, that the Man Christ Jesus, (without cea∣sing to be Man,) and God manifested in the Flesh, (without ceasing to be God,) are One Christ: But what kind of Union this is, which we call Hypostatical, we do not through∣ly understand. We know also that the Fa∣ther is said to Beget, the Son to be Begotten, the Holy Ghost to Proceed: But neither do we fully understand the import of these Words; nor is it needful that we should. Page  68 But, so far as was said before, we do all agree; and we may safely rest there.

Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; three Persons, but One God; be Honour, and Glory, and Praise, now and for ever.
The End of the Second Sermon.