Three sermons concerning the sacred Trinity by John Wallis.
Wallis, John, 1616-1703.
Page  [unnumbered]Page  29

A Second SERMON Concerning the TRINITY: TO THE UNIVERSITY of Oxford. April 26. 1691.


JOH. xvij. 3.

〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the onely true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

IT is now a great many years since, in this Place (if not to this Auditory) I did dis∣course of these Words. I shall repeat very little of that Discourse: But think fit to add somewhat to what was then said.

Page  30Our Saviour, in the three Chapters next foregoing (the 14th, 15th, and 16th. Cha∣pters of S. John's Gospel) had made a large Discourse to his Disciples (after his Institution of the Lord's Supper) the night before he was to Die; which (in this 17th. Chapter) he clo∣seth with a Prayer, to his Father, in their be∣half.

Wherein having made mention of Eternal Life (ver. 2.) which he was to give, to as ma∣ny as the Father had given him, (that is, to as many as should ffectually Believe in him;) he subjoins this E••phonema, And This is Life E∣ternal, That they might know Thee, the only True God; and, whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ.

In which words, we have Two things pro∣posed to us: The Christian's Happiness; And, The Mans wereby it is to be attained.

I. The Cristian's Happiness, is called Life, as to its Exc•••ency: and Eternal, as to its Durati∣on. Wich is Begun here, in the Kingdom of Gra••: and is to be Perfected, and for ever Coninued, in that of Glory.

II. The Means to attain it, is the Knowledge of God and Christ.

Where, by Knowledge, I do not understand a meer Notional or Speculative Knowledge; Page  31 (For such I presume the Devils may have in as large a proportion as any of us, and yet ne∣ver attain Eternal Life:) But an Active, Practical Knowledge: Such a Knowledge as is attend∣ed with Faith and with Practice suitable there∣unto. As in that of Isa. 53.11. By his Know∣ledge, (that is, by the Knowledge of Him) shall my righteous Servant justifie many: That is, by Faith in him, attended with a suitable Practice to it.

The Object of this Knowledge is declared to be twofold. 1. The Knowledge of God; and 2. The Knowledge of Christ. To know Thee the onely True God; that's one part: And (whom thou hast sent) Jesus Christ; that's the other.

And each of these contains several Particu∣lars.

The former of them contains at least these Three. 1. That there is a God. 2. That there is but One (True) God. 3. That the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is this Onely True God. He is that God, besides which God, there is no other True God. And, though Jesus Christ be God also; yet not another God, but the same True God. For He and the Father are One. Joh. 10.30.

In the latter of them (the Knowledge of Christ) are Three things also. 1. His Divi∣nity.Page  32 2. His Humanity. And 3. His Media∣tory Office. Which are here briefly insinua∣ted; and are elsewhere more fully expressed.

1. His Divinity, in that he is the Son of the Father, who is the Onely True God: Not by Creation, as Adam and the Angels are called the Sons of God: nor by Adoption, as are the Righteous, who truly believe in Christ: But by Generation, as the Onely Begotten of the Father, (Joh. 1.14.) and therefore of the same Nature with the Father.

2. His Humanity; implyed in these words, Whom Thou hast sent. That is, So sent as to be made of a Woman: so sent as to be made Flesh. Gal. 4.4. Joh. 1.14.

3. His Mediatory Office: implyed in the Ti∣tle Christ, added to the Name Jesus, (And, whom Thou hast sent, Jesus Christ.) He was so sent, as to be the Christ, the Messias. So sent, as that the World through him might be Saved: So, as that whosoever Believes in him should not Perish, but have Everlasting Life. Joh. 3.16, 17.

Of all which Points I did then Discourse more largely; and therefore do now but name them.

But I did then further observe, from the Order of the Words, (to obviate a Cavil of Page  33 the Socinians,) that the Word Onely (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) is here Restrictive, not of (the Subject) Thee; but of (the Predicate) the True God. Of which I in∣tend (with God's Assistance, and your Pati∣ence) to speak further at this time.

Objection I.

The first and great Objection of the Socini∣ans, from this place, against the Divinity of Christ, and the Doctrine of the Trinity, is this If the Father be the onely true God; then the Son, or Holy-Ghost, is not God, or not the True God; but the Father onely.

To which I shall give Three things in Answer.

1. This Argument is a plain Fallacy; which they put upon us, by a willful perverting the Order of the Words. For it is not said Thee Onely to be the True God, (as if not the Son al∣so, or the Holy-Ghost, were the True God, but the Father onely:) But, to Know Thee (not Thee onely, or Onely Thee,) to be the Onely true God. Nor is it so in our Englis Translation onely; but in the Original Greek: 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. It is not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Where the Article 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 coming after 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and before 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, doth deter∣mine Page  34 the Restrictive 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, not to be applied to the Subject〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but to the Predicate,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Just as, in our English, the Article The, coming between Thee and Onely, doth con∣fine the word Onely, not to Thee (that went before,) but to True God, which follows. To know Thee (not onely Thee,) the onely true God. That is, to know Thee to be that God, beside which God, there is no other true God. Which we readily Acknowledge, and Profess.

And then the Socinians Argument will ap∣pear just in this Form: The God of Abraham is the Onely true God; And therefore not the God of Isaac, nor the God of Jacob. Yes, say I; the God of Isaac is the same God with the God of Abraham; And therefore the True God as he is. And the God of Jacob, likewise.

And this one Answer doth fully satisfy the Objection, and there needs no more. Yet I shall add Two other things (though they might here be spared) because they may be of use elsewhere.

2. I say further: If it had been said (as it is not) Thee Onely; yet even this would not exclude any who is the same with Him. And therefore, not the Son, nor the Holy-Ghost; since they are One and the same God with Him. (I Page  35 and the Father are One, Joh. 10.30. These Three are One, 1 Joh. 5.7.)

To which purpose, consider we what we have Jer. 16.14, 15. and again Jer. 23.7, 8. Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth that brought up the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The Lord liveth that brought up the Children of Israel from the land of the North, or out of the North Country. Now we are told by God himself, Exod. 20.2, 3. I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, — Thou shalt have no other God but ME. Shall we therefore argue thus; The God who brought Israel out of Egypt, is the onely true God; and we must have no other God but HIM. Therefore, not him who brought Israel out of the North-Country? Yes, say I, Him also. For the God who brought them out of the North-Country, is the same God, with him who brought them out of Egypt, (not another God, though designed by another Chara∣cter,) and therefore, in having Him, we have not another God. So here; To Know thee onely (if it had been so said, as it is not;) it had implied no more but thus, Not any who is not the same God with Thee. To Know Thee Onely (and not any other, who is not the same God with Page  36 Thee) to be the true God. Which therefore would not exclude the Son nor Holy Ghost, who are the same God with the Father. But of this Answer, there is no need in this place, be∣cause it is not said Thee Onely, or onely Thee.

3. I say further; If it had been said (as it is not) Thee Onely, (as the Socinians would have it to be understood;) I would then say, This were an Essential Predication, rather than a Personal. That is, That the Predicate True God, is affirmed of him in regard of his Es∣sence, rather than of his Personality. As belong∣ing to the Essence, which is common to the Three Persons, not as peculiar to the Person of the Father. Like as if it were said, David the King of Israel, or David the Father of Solomon, is a Reasonable Creature, or endued with Reason; this being endued with Reason, doth not belong to him as King of Israel, nor as Father of Solomon; but, as he is a Man (though denominated by these Relations,) and is equivalent to this, The Man (who is Father of Solomon, and King of Israel) is endued with Reason. So if it be said, that David King of Israel, and He onely, was Father of Solomon: it is not intended, that he was so as King of Israel (much less, in that capacity Onely,) but rather, as the Man who Page  37begot him; though designed by that Chara∣cter. So here; God the Creator is the Onely True God: and God the Redeemer likewise; (Thus saith the Lord thy Redeémer the Holy One of Israel, the Lord of Hosts, I am the First and I am the Last, and beside ME there is no God, Isa. 41.14. Isa. 44.6. applyed to Christ, Rev. 1.8, 17. Rev. 22.13, 16.) Shall we therefore argue, That God the Redeémer is the Onely True God, and beside Him there is no God, therefore not God the Creator? No, we must not so ar∣gue. For it is not as Redeemer, or as Creator, that he is the Onely True God, but as God. (It may be praedicatio〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.) For he was the Onely True God from all Eternity; but it was in Time that he made the World, and was the Redeemer of Mankind.

And this both the Arian, and the Socinian, must needs acknowledge as to the place be∣fore us. For when Christ saith, To know Thee (Father) the Onely True God; it cannot (accord∣ing to their Principles) be said of him as Fa∣ther of our Lord Jesus Christ, but as God. For if Christ be onely a Titular God, or a Creature-God, (as they would have it,) there was a time, or moment, when he was not, (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,) and therefore, when God was not his Fa∣ther.Page  38 But he was the Onely True God from all Eternity; and therefore must be here so called, not as Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but as God. Not according to his Personality, but ac∣cording to his Essence; which, we say, is com∣mon to the Three Persons: Who are the same God, though under different Denominations.

But these two latter Answers, (though they be True and Solid,) are not necessary to this place; because it is not said Thee Onely. Yet I here name them, because they may be of use to answer some like Objection raised from some other place.

The full import of the words, is this, That the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is that God, beside which God, there is no other True God. Or, There is no other True God, beside that God, which is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And this we do fully agree with, when we say, That the Son and the Holy-Ghost, are not another God, but the same True God with the Father.

Objection II.

It may perhaps be next Objected, That though this place do not Deny the Son and Holy Ghost to be the True God, (meaning thereby, the same God with the Father:) Yet neither doth it Prove them so to be.

Page  39I answer. 'Tis true: This place alone, (without the concurrence of others) doth not Prove the Trinity. (And it is much if it should, where there are but Two mentioned.) Nor is it brought by us to that purpose. We only Answer the Objections brought against it by others, from this place: And leave the Proof of it to be fetched from other places in con∣currence with this.

I have observed elsewhere (Lett. 3.) that if we should read it thus, To know Thee to be the Onely True God; and him also whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ, (as implying him also to be the same True God:) Or thus, To know Thee, and (whom thou hast sent) Jesus Christ, the Only True God: The words will well bear it, without any force put upon them.

Nor is this only a new Notion of my own. For I (since) find, that S. Austin had said the same long ago, in his Epist. 174. (speaking to Pascentius, an Arian, concerning this place) De Patre tantummodo vos vultis intelligi, quod ait, Ut cognoscant Te unum verum Deum, &, quem misi∣sti Jesum Christum; Ubi nos subaudimus, etiam Je∣sum Christum verum Deum: Ut haec sit sententia, Te, &, quem misisti, Jesum Christum, cognoscant unum verum Deum. Ne illa consequatur absurditas, Page  40 ut, si propterea non est verus Deus Jesus Christus, quia dictum est Patri, Te unum verum Deum: prop∣terea non sit Dominus Pater, quia dictum est de Christo, Unus Dominus. Where he takes the meaning to be this, To know Thee, and, whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ, the Onely True God; which he backs with this Argument; Because if we should here on this account exclude the Son from being the True God; we might, for the same reason, exclude the Father from be∣ing the Lord, because it is said (1 Cor. 8.6.) One Lord, Jesus Christ.

Yet even this, though it might prove it, as to the Son, it would not hence conclude it, as to the Holy-Ghost. But the concurrence of other places, will prove it more clearly as to both. I shall shew it of each.

As to the Son, we have it clearly affirmed, by the same S. John, (who best understood the import of his own words) that he is also the True God; (so that it was not intended here to ex∣clude him.) 1 Joh. 5.20. We are in him that is True, even in his Son Jesus Christ: This is the True God▪ (And therefore not onely the Father.) And he had before told us (from Christ's own words) Joh. 10.30. I and my Father are One.

Nor is it here meant of one in Testimony, as Page  41 the Socinians would have it understood else∣where, (there being in the Context here no mention of Testimony at all:) But it must be meant of One God. And this is manifest from the Inference which the Jews made from it. For they did thereupon take up stones to stone him, as for (what they call) Blasphemy: Because thou (say they) being a Man, makest thy self God, ver. 31, 32, 33. For which Inference there had been no Pretence, if by One, they had not understood One God.

And the High Priest in like manner, Matth. 26.63, 64, 65. I adjure thee (saith he) by the Living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God; To which when Christ had answered, Thou hast said, (dicis quod res est,) He rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken Blasphemy, What further need have we of witnesses? For to say that he was the Christ, the Son of God; or (as it is in Mark 14.61.) The Christ, the Son of the Blessed; was understood by them to be the same, as to call himself Go. Which had been Blasphemy, had it not been True.

And what is said of Christ, Joh. 10.30. I and the Father are One; is said of all Three, by the same St. John, (Joh. 5.7) The Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; thse Three are One.

Page  42

Objection III.

It is Objected, that these words, last cited, are said to have been wanting in some Transla∣tions, or some ancient Copies.

Answ. Be it so. And so are some whole E∣pistles wanting in some Translations. And considerable parts of some other Chapters. But we are not therefore to cast them away as not Genuine. The IId. and IIId. Epistles of St. John, and that of Jude, are said to have been wanting in the Syriack and Arabick Translations: And the Story of the Woman taken in Adultery, Joh. 8. wanting in the Gothick Gospels: And part of the last Chapter of St. Mark's Gospel, is said to be wanting in some Books: And the Doxo∣logy in the close of the Lord's Prayer: And the like in divers others. But we must not thence conclude them not to be Genuine, and put them out of our Bibles, because they have chanced to be omitted in some Books.

And it is so far from being strange, that such Omissions should sometimes happen; that it is very strange (if there were not a great Providence of God to preserve the Scri∣ptures pure and entire) that there should be no more such mistakes than what are found. For Page  43 (before the convenience of Printing was found out) when Copies were to be singly transcri∣bed one from another, and even those but in a few hands: 'Twas very possible, (and hard∣ly avoidable,) even for a diligent Transcriber, sometime to skip a line. Especially, (which is the case here) when some of the same words do again recur after a line or two; Men are very subject, both in Writing and Printing, (as those well know who are versed in either,) to leap from one word, to the same recurring soon after. Nor is such Omission (when it happens) readily discerned, if (as here) the sense be not manifestly disturbed by it.

Now when such variety of Copies happens (that words be found in some, which are wanting in others,) this must either happen by a Casual mis-take, (without any design of Fraud:) or by a willful Falsification; as to serve a particular turn; (which I take to be the case of the Papists, Indices Expurgatorii.)

And, as to the words in question; If the difference of Copies happened at first by a Casual mistake, (as I am apt to think,) 'tis very easy for a Transcriber (unawares) to leave out a Line which was in his Copy (especially where such omission doth not ma∣nifestly Page  44 disturb the sense;) but not to put in a line which was not there. And, in such case, the Fuller Copy is likelyest to be True, and the Omission to be a Fault. Which happen∣ing (as it seems it did) some hundreds of years ago, in some one Copy; it might easily pass (unobserved) into many others transcribed thence (and so to others derived from those Transcripts.) But an Insertion (of what was not in their Copy) must needs be willful, and not casual.

On the other side; If this variety of Co∣pies were at first from a willful Falsification; It is much more likely to be a willful Omission of the Arians, in some of their Copies, (which might be done silently, and unobserved;) than by a willful Insertion of the Orthodox.

For the Insertion of such a clause, if wholly New, and which had never before been Heard of; would have been presently dete∣cted by the Arians, as soon as ever it should be urged against them.

Nor was any advantage to be made of it by the Orthodox, since the Divinity of Christ (which was the Point then in question) might be as strongly urged from that in St. John's Gospel, I and the Father are One, as from this Page  45 in his Epistle, These Three are One. And there∣fore it is not likely that the Orthodox should willfully make any such Falsification, from whence they could promise themselves no ad∣vantage. Nor do I find, it was ever charged upon them by the ancient Arians in those days: though Athanasius and others urged it against them. And in very ancient Copies, in which it had been left out, it is found supplied in the Margin, as having been faultily omitted.

And it is the more likely to be Genuine, be∣cause in this clause (The Father, the Word, and the Holy-Ghost) the second Person is called sun∣pliciter, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Word; which is St. John's Language, both here, and in his Gospel, Joh. 1. And is (I think) peculiar to him; and not so used by any other of the Holy Writers of the New Testament.

I do not deny but that this second Person may be called the Word of God, in Heb. 11.3. By Faith we understand that the Worlds were framed by the Word of God. And 2 Pet. 3.5, 7. By the Word of God were the Heavens of old, and the Earth, &c. and by the same Word they are kept in store. As he is by the same St. John, Rev. 19.13. His name is called, the Word of God. But to call him the Word absolutely (without other addition) I Page  46 think is peculiar to St. John. And therefore much more likely in this place, to have pro∣ceeded from the same Pen, and not to have been inserted by an Interpolater some hun∣dreds of years after. And that clause These Three are One, in the Epistle, agreeing so well with I and the Father are one in the Gospel, is a further confirmation of their being both from the same Pen.

Add to this, That the Antithesis which we find in the 7th and 8th Verses, is so very Na∣tural; that it is a great Presumption to be Ge∣nuine. There are Three that bear record in Hea∣ven, The Father, the Word, and the Holy-Ghost, and these Three are One: And there are Three that bear witness in Earth, The Spirit, and the Water, and the Blood, and these Three agree in One. Which as it stands, is very Natural; but the latter clause would seem lame without the former: and the words in Earth wholly redundant in the latter, if not by Antithesis to answer to the words in Heaven, in the former Verse.

And that it was anciently so read, appears from St. Cyprian, by whom it is twice cited (in his Book De Unitate Ecclesiae, and in his Epistle ad Jubaianum) before the Arian Controversy was on foot.

Page  47In the former place, (arguing for the Church's Unity, not to be broken by Schisms) he speaks thus. Dicit Dominus, Ego & Pater unum sumus. Et iterum de Patre & Filio & Spiritu Sancto, scri∣ptum est, Et hi tres unum sunt. Et quisquam credit hanc Unitatem de divina firmitate venientem, sacra∣mentis coelestibus cohaerentem, scindi in Ecclesia posse? That is, Our Lord saith, I and the Father are One: And again, of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, It is Written, These Three are One. And who can believe, that this Unity of the Church, proceeding from this Firm Union in God, and united by the Heavenly Sacraments, can be se∣parated in the Church? Where he argues for the Unity of the Church (not to be divided by Schism) by two Arguments from this place. One from the firm Unity of God; noted in ver. 7. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are One; from whom this Church proceeds, (de divina firmi∣tate venientem.) The other, from their being United by the same Sacraments (sacramentis coe∣lestibus cohaerentem) which relates to ver. 8. The Spirit, the Water, and the Bloud agree in One. Which double Argument, from the two Verses, shew that, then, they were both read.

And, as to the former of them (which is that in question) He cites it again, in his Page  48Epistola ad Jubaianum; where, disputing against Baptsm by Hereticks, he thus argues; Si bapti∣zari quis apud Haereticos potuit; utique & remis∣sam peccatorum consequi potuit. Si peccatorum remis∣sam consecutus est; & sanctificaus est, & templum Dei factus est. Quaero, Cujus Dei? Si Creatoris; non potuit, qui in eum non credidit. Si Christi; nec hujus potuit fieri templum, qui negat Deum Christum. Si Spiritus Sancti; [cum tres Unum sint,] quo∣modo Spiritus Sanctus placatus esse ei potest, qui aut Patris aut Fiii inimicus est? That is; If by Hereticks one could be baptized; then he might obtain remission of sins: If he obtain remission of sins, then is he sanctified, and become the Temple of God. I ask then, of What God? Of the Creator? that he cannot be, who did not in Him believe. Of Christ? Neither can he be His Temple, who denies Christ to be God. Of the Holy Ghost? No. Fo, seeing these Three are One, How can the Holy Ghost be at Peace with him who is at Enmity with either the Father or the Son?

'Tis manifest therefore that, These Three are One, was thus read in Cyprian's time; as being by him twice cited, before the Arian Contro∣versie was on foot.

And (before him) it is cited by Tertullian, in Page  49 his Book adversus Praxeam, cap. 25. Connexus Patris in Filio, & Filii in Paracleto, tres efficit co∣haerentes, alterum ex altero: qui Tres Unum sunt, (non Unus:) quomodo dictum est, Ego & Pater Unum sumus; ad Substantiae Unitatem, non ad Numeri Singularitatem. Where he doth not only cite the place, but doth likewise Pa∣rallel and Compare, These Three are One, (in this place) with I and the Father are One, (in the other place) as being of a like import. That is, The Connexion of the Father with the Son, and of the Son with the Paraclete or Holy Ghost, makes these coherent one with the other: Which Three are ONE, (Unum not Unus, One Thing, not One Person;) like as it is said, I and the Father are One, (one Thing) as to the Unity of Substance, though not as to Sin∣gularity of Number. They are One Being, One Substance, though otherwise they may be Three.

'Tis therefore no New Interpolation; but was anciently so read by Cyprian and Tertullian (the two most ancient of the Latin Fathers) long before the Arian Controversie was on foot. And hath been urged by others after∣ward, against the Arians.

Nor is there any prejudice (that I know of) against its being so read as now we read Page  50 it, save that some of the Fathers (it is said) have omitted to Urge it against the Arians, when there hath been occasion of so doing.

But this (beside that it is onely a Negative Argument, and I know not how well ground∣ed) might very well happen, if it chanced to be wanting in that particular Copy which such Father used. (For we are not to suppose they had then such plenty of Bibles as are now in our hands; but some one Manuscript Copy was to serve many.) And because that in St. John's Gospel, I and the Father are One, did fit their purpose as well, or rather better, than this in his Epistle, These Three are One. For the Con∣troversie, then on foot, was not so much that of the Trinity, as that of the Divinity of Christ.

To return, therefore, to the place which is before us; From what hath been said, it is manifest enough, that St. John, in calling the Father, the Onely True God, did not intend to exclude the Son, from being the same True God; whom himself doth elsewhere call the True God also, 1 Joh. 5.20.

No more (I say) than what is said, by name, of God the Redeemer (Isa. 44.6, 8.) is to be thought exclusive of God the Creator, or God the Father; Thus saith the Lord, the REDEEM∣ER, Page  51 the Lord of Hosts, I am the first, and I am the last, and beside ME there is no God. Which is applied to Christ in particular, Rev. 22.1, 16. But is not exclusive of the Father; be∣cause God the Creator (or God the Father) is the same God with God the Redeemer, and there∣fore not another God beside him. And therefore both of them (or rather, the same God under both Considerations) indifferently called (especi∣ally in the Old Testament) God indefinitely, the Lord of Hosts, the Holy One of Israel.

Nor is that which is said of Christ, 1 Tim. 6.14, 15, 16. Our Lord Jesus Christ, who Onely hath Immortality, intended to exclude the Fa∣ther; as if the Father were not also Immortal, or were not (what is there said of Christ) the blessed and onely Potentate, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. But only, that our Lord Jesus Christ, is that God, which (God) is the blessed and onely Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, and who only hath Immortality.

And (as was before noted by S. Austin.) The Father is not excluded from being Lord, not∣withstanding that of 1 Cor. 8.6. To us there is but One God, the Father; and One Lord Jesus Christ: or that of Eph. 4.5, 6. One Lord, one Faith, One Baptism, one God and Father of all. For Page  52 the Father, and the Son, are the same God, the same Lord. The same of whom it is said, Isa. 45.5. I am the Lord and there is none else, there is no God beside me. And again, ver. 6. I am the Lord and there is none else. Where note, that the Word Father, in that phrase, God and Father of All, is different from the sense of it, in the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: that relating to the common Nature; this to the Person.

And as in these places, what is sad of the Son, (that he onely hath Immortality, that he is the onely Potentate, that he is the One Lord, that be∣side him, the Redeemer, there is no God,) are not to be understood exclusive of the Father; so what is here said of the Father, (that he is the Onely True God) is not to be understood exclu∣sive of the Son; who is not another, but the same True God.

I thought here to have inserted (as in a pro∣per place) a Discourse of some other Points relating to the Trinity; which I find it neces∣sary here to omit (or to defer it to some other occasion) that I be not prevented by the time in what I have to say further.

That there is a God the Creator, a God the Redeemer, and a God the Sanctifier; and that these are the same God; I think cannot reason∣ably be Denied. I shall shew it of each.

Page  53As to God the Creator, we are told, Gen. 1.1. In the beginning God Created the Heaven and the Earth. (And, to the same purpose, in many other places.) And, I think, there is none doubts, but that this Creator, is the True God, the Supreme God. And in Jer. 10.11. God doth by this Character distinguish himself from all other (pretended) Gods, The Gods that have not made the Heavens and the Earth, they shall pe∣rish from the Earth, and from under these Heavens.

As to God the Redeemer; I know that my Re∣deemer liveth, saith Job, Ch. 19.25. By which Redeemer doubtless he meant the Living God, a God who did then Live; a God who was, then, in Being, and not (as the Socinians would have us think) who was not to Be, till Two Thousand years after. And Isa. 44.6. Thus saith the Lord the Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts, I am the first and I am the last, and beside Me there is no God. Which Redeeme, must needs be the same God, with God the Creator, the Lord of Hosts.

As to God the Sanctifier; Purge me with hys∣sop (saith David) and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow: Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me, (Psal. 51.7, 10.) Which certainly are works of Sanctification; and the God, to whom DavidPage  54 prayed, is doubtless the Living God, a God then in Being. And when God promiseth o Israel, I will give them a hear to kow me; and they shall return unto me with their whole heart, Jer. 24.7. I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever; I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me, Jer. 32.39, 40. I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will take away the heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh, Ezek. 11.19. and 36.26. I will put my Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, Jer. 31.33. The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayst live, Deut. 30.6. All these are sanctifying works; and that God who doth them, is God the San∣ctifier And it is the same God, who doth thus Sanctifie, that is the Creator and the Redeemer.

Now this God the Creator, God the Redeem∣er, and God the Sanctifier, I take to be the same with what we otherwise call, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. And our Church doth so expound it in her Cate∣chism; First, I learn to believe in God the Father, who hath Made me and all the World: Secondly, In God the Son, who hath Redeemed me and all Man∣kind: Page  55 Thirdly, In God the Holy Ghost, who San∣ctifieth me and all the Elect people of God. And it is no more absurd or inconsistent, to say, that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy-Ghost, are the same God; than to say, that God the Creator, God the Redeemer, and God the Sancti∣fier, are the same God.

As they stand related to us, they are cal∣led God the Creator, God the Redeemer, and God the Sanctifier. As to the different Oeco∣nomy, amongst themselves, one is called the Father, who is said to Beget; another the Son, who is said to be Begotten; a third, the Holy-Ghost, who is said to Proceed or Come forth; But are all the same God.

Objection IV.

But then here I meet with another Obje∣ction, on which the Socinians lay great weight. If God the Creator, God the Redeemer, and God the Sanctifier, or God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy-Ghost, be the same God, they can∣not then be Three Persons: And if they be Three Persons, they must be Three Gods. For like as Three Persons, amongst Men, doth signifie Three Men; so Three Persons, who are God, must be Three Gods. Contrary to the First Commandment, which allows us to have but One God.

Page  56To which I answer; First, This is only to cavil at a Word, when they have nothing of moment against the Thing. So that if in••ead of saying hese Three Persons are One God, we say, These Three are One God, or give them ano∣ther Name instead of Persons, or say these Three Somewhats, without giving them a Name, this Objection is at an end.

2. I say further; 'Tis very true, that, in our English Tongue, by another Person, we some∣times understand another Man, (because that other Person is, very often, another Man also.) But it is not always so; nor is that the proper Signification of the Word; but an Abusive sense put upon it.

And the reason of using the word Person in this abusive or improper sense; is, for want of an English word to answer the Latin word Homo, or the Greek〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which might in∣differently relate to both Sexes.

For the word Man doth properly relate to the Male, and Woman to the Female. And if the word Man be sometimes so used as to imply the Woman also; it is (by a Synecdoche) putting the Name of One Sex, to signifie Both. And 'tis for want of such a Word (which might in∣differently relate to both Sexes) that we some∣time Page  57 make use of Person in a borrowed sense, rather than to use a Circumlocution of Man and Woman, by naming both Sexes.

And if we should use such Circumlocution of Man and Woman; yet even this would not reach the whole Species. For we do not use to call them Man and Woman, till they be of a considerable Age; before which time they are called Children; and therefore to compre∣hend the whole Species, we say, Man, Woman, and Child.

We do indeed, sometimes, to that purpose, make use of the word Mankind, (adding the word kind to that of Man, to Ampliate the Signifi∣cation of it.) But this relates only to Genus Humanum in a Collective sense; not to Homines taken Distributively. For we do not say a Man∣kind, two Mankinds, &c, as we say Homo, Ho∣mines.

We are fain, therefore, for want of a pro∣per English word, to make use of Person in a borrowed sense to answer the Latin Homo.

But the Ancient Fathers, who first applied the word Persona to the Sacred Trinity, did not speak English. And therefore we cannot, from the present use of the word Person in our Lan∣guage, conclude in what sense they used the word Persona.

Page  583. Again; the Schoolmen in later Ages, have yet put another sense on the word Perso∣na, peculiar to themselves; extending it in∣differently to Men and Angels; (for want of a proper word of that Extent;) so as to signifie (with them) what they call Suppositum Ratio∣nale, or what we call a Reasonable Creature. (And, in imitation of them, some others have since so used it.) But this is a New sense, of later Ages, since the time of those Fathers, (nor do the Schoolmen, in this sense, without a Meta∣phor, apply it to the Sacred Trinity.) We can∣not therefore conclude from hence, What was the Fathers sense of it.

4. To find out therefore the true sense of te word Person as applied to the Trinity; we are not so much to consider, what now-a-days the word doth sometime signifie with us in En∣glish; nor what sense the Schoolmen have put upon it since the time of those Fathers: As, what was the true sense of the word Persona, at or before their times, in approved Latin Authours. Which is quite another thing from either of these senses.

For what in English we sometimes mean by Three Persons (taken indifferently for Men, Wo∣men, and Children,) the Latins would not have Page  59 called tres Personas, but tres Homines: Though, if considered in such Relations, as Father, Mother, and Child, they might so be called tres Personae.

Nor do I find that in approved Latin Au∣thours, the word Persona was wont to be attri∣buted by them (as by the Schoolmen it hath since been) to Angels; nor to their Genii, or Heathen Gods.

But, 5. It did signifie the State, Quality, or Condition of a Man, as he stands Related to other Men. (And so I find the Latin word Persona Englished in our Dictionaries.) Suppose, as a King, a Subject, a Father, a Son, a Neigh∣bour, a Publick or Private Person, a Person of Honour, and the like. And so, as the Condition varied, the Person varied also, though the same Man remained. As if an ordinary Person, be first made a Knight, and then a Lord; the Per∣son or Condition is varied, but he is still the same Man that he was before. And he that is this Year, a Lord Mayor, may be, next Year, but an Alderman, or not so much.

Hence are those Latin Phrases, frequent in approved Authours; Personam imponere (to put a Man into an Office, or confer a Dignity upon him;) Induere personam (to take upon him the Office;) Sustinere personam (to Bear an Office, Page  60 or Execute an Office;) Deponere personam (to Resign the Office, or lay it down;) so, Agere personam (to Act a Person,) and many the like.

So that there is nothing of Contradiction, no∣thing of Inconsistence, nothing Absurd or Strange in it, for the same Man to sustain divers Persons, (either successively, or at the same Time;) or divers Persons to meet in the same Man; accord∣ing to the true and proper Notion of the word Person. A Man may, at the same time, sustain the Person of a King, and of a Father, if in∣vested with Regal and Paternal Authority; (and these Authorities may be Subordinate one to another;) and he may accordingly Act sometime as a King, and sometime as a Fa∣ther. Thus Tully, (who well understood the Propriety of Latin words) Sustineo Unus tres Personas; meam, Adversarii, Judicis, (I being One and the same Man, sustain Three Persons; That of my Own, that of my Adversary, and that of the Judge.) And David was, at the same time, Son of Jesse, Father of Solomon, and King of Israel.

And this takes away the very Foundation of their Objection; Which proceeds upon this Mistake, as if Three Persons (in a proper sense) must needs imply Three Men.

Page  616. Now if Three Persons (in the proper sense of the word Person) may be One Man; what hinders but that Three Divine Persons (in a sense Metaphorical) may be One God? What hinders but that the same God, considered as the Maker and Sovereign of all the World, may be God the Creator, or God the Father; and the same God considered, as to his special Care of Mankind, as the Ruthour of our Redempti∣on, be God the Redeemer, or God the Son; and the same God, as working effectually on the Hearts of his Elect, be God the Sanctifier, or God the Holy-Ghost?

And what hinders but that the same God, di∣stinguished according to these three Considerati∣ons, may fitly be said to be Three Persons? Or (if the word Person do not please) Three Some∣whats that are but One God?

And this seems to me a Full and Clear So∣lution of that Objection, which they would have to be thought Insuperable.

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.

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.