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Wendelin's "Christian Theology": Doctrine of the Trinity, Part 1



THESIS I: Hitherto concerning the nature and properties of God: a consideration of the divine Persons follows: For in the one and altogether simple nature of God are distinct Persons, which have that immense and altogether singular nature in common.

EXPLANATION: I. Because the nature or essence of God is one, perfectly simple, and altogether singular, God is said and believed to be one.

That God is One, not many, is evident from express testimonies of Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:4, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Jehovah. Isaiah 44:6, I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God. Ephesians 4:5, God is one.

The Unity of God is also proven from the properties of God.

(1.) From infinity. There can only be one infinite: But God is infinite.

(2.) From the consummate perfection of God: There can only be one consummately and absolutely perfect: Therefore, if there be many Gods, not one is consummately perfect.

(3.) From omnipotence: If one is able to do all things, what is the need of many Gods?

(4.) * From consummate sufficiency: which is not applicable to many distinct in nature.

(5.) From the dependence of all on the first one.

Hence Tertullian: Christian truth distinctly pronounces, that, if God is not one, then He is not.[1] This same unity was acknowledged by the Wise Men of the Gentiles, Orpheus,[2]Sophocles,[3]Pythagoras,[4]Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca,[5] and others, deriding the πολυθεότητα/polytheism of the rabble.

Therefore, when, besides the one GOD of Israel, mention is also made of other Gods in the Scripture: either they are understood as fictitious Gods: of which sort were those of the Gentiles: or as Gods improperly so called; of which sort are the highest magistrates, who bear the office of God in the world; Psalm 82:6, I said, ye are Gods.

An exception is to be taken.

To God in Scripture are attributed names signifying plurality: among which is אֱלֹהִים/Elohim, the singular of which is אֱלוֹהַּ/Eloah, God.

Therefore, God is not one.

The rationale of the consequence: because the agreement of the plural names with things argues a plurality of things.

Response: The consequence is able to be conceded in a sound sense. For God is not one in every respect, but only with respect to nature, or essence: but with respect to Persons He is triune. And the plural name אֱלֹהִים/Elohim signifies this plurality. The name יְהוָה/Jehovah, expressing essence, is found in Scripture only in the singular number.

II. Nevertheless, in the one and altogether simple nature of God are several distinct persons, to whom the immense and singular nature of the one God is common: which thence is proven: inasmuch as Scripture, although it teaches that there is only one God, nevertheless names several distinct persons, to whom it attributes the divine nature and its properties. Whence we gather: Unity is applicable to God, with respect to nature; plurality, with respect to persons. Hence the word, God, in Scripture is sometimes taken οὐσιωδῶς/ essentially, that is, it signifies the οὐσίαν or nature of God, sometimes ὑπόστατικῶς/hypostatically, that is, it signifies a certain person of the Deity.


THESIS II: A divine Person is wont to be described as an incommunicable subsistence of the divine essence.

EXPLANATION: Person is wont elsewhere to be defined in general: A subsisting Individual, living, intelligent, incommunicable, not sustained by another, nor part of another.

The Genus of the definition is Individual, which is a singular thing: Therefore, by its Genus person is distinguished from universal natures, which we call genera and species, which are not persons.

The specific difference of the definition distinguishes person from other individuals, with six limitations: For a person is an individual.

(1.) Subsisting: Therefore, a person is not this or that accidental property: because an accidental property does not subsist, but inheres in another.

(2.) Living: Therefore, a person is not this or that inanimate individual: this or that stone, statue, etc.

(3.) Intelligent: Therefore, a person is not this or that brute.

(4.) Incommunicable: Therefore, person is not essence, which is communicable to many.

(5.) Not sustained by another: Therefor, the human nature of Christ is not a person, which is sustained by the person of τοῦ Λόγου, the Logos.

(6.) Not a part of another: Therefore, a rational soul, which is part of man, is not a person.

II. But in particular a divine person is defined as an incommunicable subsistence of the divine essence: Whence it is evident that there is a difference between the divine essence and a divine person:

(1.) In that the divine essence is common to the several persons of the Deity: but Person is not communicable one to another. Whence the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father, the Holy Spirit is not the Son nor the Father.

(2.) In that the divine essence is one: with respect to which there is one God: the Persons of the Deity are several.

* There are yet other differences: For essence is absolute; person, relative: Person has origin in the Son and the Holy Spirit; Essence does not. Person generates and is generated; essence neither generates nor is generated.

III. Among the divine persons there is communion and distinction. There is Communion: 1. through ὁμοουσίαν/homoousia, wherein the individuals have the numerically same substance. 2. Through ἰσότητα/ equality, whereby the individuals are equal among themselves, in essential properties, the act of subsistence, works, dignity, and honor. 3. Through περιχώρησιν/perichoresis, whereby the individuals are in each other, none without the other: because the essence of all is one and indivisible, John 10:38; 14:10, 11.

There is Distinction: 1. In Origin: because the Father is of Himself, the Son from the Father, the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son. 2. In order: for the Father is the first person of the Deity, the Son the second, the Holy Spirit the third. 3. In the mode of operation: inasmuch as the Father works of Himself, the Son from the Father, the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son.

Note: 1. That the Greeks constantly referred to person by the term ὑπόστασιν/hypostasis: Whence in the Symbol Athanasius confesses three ὑποστάσεις/hypostases, one of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit. The Latin Doctors of the Church made more cautious use of the language of hypostasis in the place of Person: Whence they preferred to speak of three Persons, rather than three hypostases: because they believed that essence was also signified by ὑποστάσει/hypostasis. But that quarrel is presently asleep in the Church, and person and ὑπόστασις/hypostasis are held by all as synonyms in this article and head of the faith.

2. A divine person is not only a τρόπος ὑπάρξεως, mode of subsistence: but it is the essence with a mode of subsistence: Whence the persons do indeed really differ from each other, yet they do not really differ from the essence. We speak in this place of person, as Scripture is wont to speak of it, as often as it makes mention of any divine person: nowhere does it describe for us any Person of the Deity by a bare ὑπάρξεως τρόπον, or mode of subsistence: In the Scriptures a divine Person is God: whence GOD’S names, works, attributes, and honor are most truly and properly attributed to the individual Persons: whether they could be suitably attributed to a bare ὑπάρξεως τρόπῳ, or mode of subsistence, let the pious mind consider. Others say, that person, when GOD is treated, is considered abstractly or concretely. In the abstract it is taken for personality and incommunicability: in the concrete, for nature, the subsistence of which is incommunicable: in which place they nevertheless warn that it is safer to take the divine person in the concrete, than in the abstract: of which the formal is the τρόπος ὑπάρξεως, mode of subsistence; the material, the divine nature.

Some Theologians teach, that the divine persons, considered separately and one-by-one, differ from the divine essence in reason: But taken together, they differ in absolutely no way from the divine essence, but are the very divine essence considered absolutely. Thus, among others, Graver[6] several times in his explanationibus Confessionis Augustanæ, article I, page 168, and elsewhere: whether it is stated with sufficient caution, let the learned consider. Certainly the divine persons, taken at the same time, do not cease to be three: But the essence, absolutely considered, is not triune. The Persons, taken together, do not cease to be persons: But essence, as it differs from person, so also from the persons. The Persons, taken together, do notwithstanding differ from each other: But the essence, taken absolutely, does not differ from itself. The Persons, now taken together, are related individuals: the Essence, absolutely considered, is not a related individual. And so I would prefer to say that the three persons, taken together, are one God, yet not considered absolutely, but with their distinct personal relations: see Exercitationem 5.


THESIS III: There are three Persons of the Deity, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit: which three are one God.

EXPLANATION: I. There are three, to whom in Scripture is attributed the name of God, the properties of God, and the works of God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit: And so they have one common and altogether singular Deity, or divine nature: For God is not, unless He is altogether singularly one. Nevertheless, since those three are distinguished in number, order, mode of acting, proper names, and persons properties: it follows, that in the one Deity are three distince persons; and so GOD is one with respect to nature or essence, and triune with respect to persons.

The principal and fundamental distinction of the divine persons is from their intrinsic relations, which are called personal and relative properties: of which sort are to beget, to be begotten, and to proceed: concerning which there are the most subtle and intricate disputations of the Scholastics, among the Papists, which disputations it does not belong to our purpose to pursue in this place: for the material far exceeds the capacity of beginners.

Relations in God are ad extra, toward the outside, and ad intra, toward the inside.

The relations ad extra are those whereby God is related to creatures: of which sort is the relation of creator, governor, redeemer. The Scholastics teach that these are real on the part of the creature, but they are only of reason on the part of God.

The relations ad intra are those whereby the divine persons are related to one another: and they are either common to the individual persons, like identity, resemblance, equality: or proper to the individuals, like to beget or paternity, to be begotten or filiation, to be spirated or to proceed.

Yet, common to the Father and the Son is active spiration.

Concerning the proper personal relations:

It is asked, (1.) Whether they are real?

Response: Most uphold the affirmative for this reason:

That whereby the divine persons are really distinguished is real.

But the persons are really distinguished by the proper personal relations: the Father from the Son, the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son.

Therefore, the proper personal relations are real.

The Major is proven: Because a real distinction is not able to be made by entities of reason.

An exception is taken:

A real relation supposes two extremes really distinct, between which it comes, as are related and correlated what things also distinct without relation.

But paternity and filiation do not suppose two extremes really distinct.

Therefore, they are not real relations.

The Minor is proven: Because the Father and the Son are distinguished only by those relations: Whence they do not suppose the Father and the Son as really distinct, but, if one might be allowed to speak so, they alone make it so.

Response: The Major is conceded only concerning created relations, which are accidental, and presuppose subjects in which they inhere: but divine relations are not accidental.

It is asked, (2.) Whether they are really distinguished from each other?

Response: The affirmative is defended:

(1.) Because they really distinguish the divine persons.

(2.) Because they are really set one over against another: But a real setting of one over against another presupposes a real distinction.

It is objected:

What things are the same with a third, they are the same with each other.

But divine relations are really the same with the divine essence.

Therefore, they are really the same with each other.

The Major is the foundation of the Syllogism, which they call expository.[7]

Response: The Major is conceded only in this sense: What things are the same with a singular, incommunicable third are the same with each other: But the divine essence is communicable to the three persons.

It is asked, (3.) How they are distinguished from the divine essence?

Response: At this point the opinions of the Scholastics are diverse: to some it is satisfying that they are distinguished in reason alone; but to others, formally according to the nature of the thing: Those more recent, with the matter accurately weighed, thus pronounce:

(1.) They are not really distinguished.

Rationale: because otherwise in God there would be a real composition of relations and essence.

(2.) They are not distinguished formally from the nature of the thing.

The reasons are: 1. Because otherwise each person would be compounded from two things formally distinct among themselves from the nature of the thing.

2. Because there would be something formally in God, that is not formally God.

(3.) They are formally distinguished, not indeed in act, from the nature of the thing, but virtually and eminently, and so in reason ratiocinated

The reasons are: 1. Because essence is formally communicable, but relation incommunicable.

2. Because essence is absolute, but relation respective. But it implies a contradiction, that the numerically same formal reason is at the same time to one thing and not to another.

3. Because the numerically same formal reason is not able to be a principle of agreement and of distinction. But essence is a principle of agreement; relation, of distinction. But this is enough concerning these things.

II. That there are three persons of the Deity, it is evident from express testimonies of Scripture.

Psalm 33:6, by the Word of Jehovah were the heavens made, and by the Spirit of His mouth all the hosts of them.[8] Here three are named: (1.) the Word of Jehovah, which is the Son of God, whom Scripture calls the Λόγον/Word, John 1:1: (2.) Jehovah, God the Father: (3.) the Spirit of Jehovah, who is the Holy Spirit. Matthew 3:16, 17, in the Baptism of Christ, three persons of the Deity are found: (1.) the Father speaking from heaven, this is my beloved Son; (2.) the Son standing in the Jordan, who is baptized by John; (3.) the Holy Spirit, who appears in the form of a dove. Hence Athanasius exhorts those doubting of the Trinity of divine persons to go to Jordan: Go, and thou wilt see.

Beautiful are the words of Augustine: The Father is heard in a voice: the Son is manifested in man: the Holy Spirit is discerned in a dove:[9] which another elegantly expressed: The Father in a voice, the Son in a body, the Spirit in a bird.

Matthew 28:19, the Apostles are commanded to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 2 Corinthians 13:14, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost. 1 John 5:7, there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one: this is the one God. John 15:26, when that Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father (that Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father), He shall testify of me.

It is to be observed, that a Trinity of divine persons is not immediately proven, when a plurality of them is proven: and so a Trinity in particular is not proven by testimonies wherein a plurality indefinitely is proven: against some Stentors,[10] who reproach us with Judaism, when, to prove the Most Holy Trinity, we do not adduce testimonies that indicate a plurality, and do not construct the Most Holy Trinity from the term אֱלֹהִים/Elohim.[11]

Chemnitz[12] rightly advises here: Testimonies are not so much to be numbered as weighed: neither ought it to be asked how great the number of opinions patched together in some way is, but how suitably and perspicuously they teach and confirm this article of the Trinity.[13] Τὸ ἀσθενὲς τῆς ἀποδείξεως ἐλάττωσις ἀληθείας, the weakness of the demonstrations is a diminishment of the truth.

In other respects we do not deny that the plurality of divine persons is solidly proven from passage in Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:7. These and similar testimonies of Scripture for asserting a plurality, and a Trinity of Persons in particular, vindicated from the corruptions of the Socinians, see, among others, in Zanchi’s in his de Tribus Elohim, Jacob Martini[14] in his de Tribus Elohim, Maccovius in his volume of Thesium, part I, disputation 32, and many others.

The demonstration of the Most Holy Trinity sought from reason, and also common among the Fathers, we do not highly regard: because this mystery is abstruse, and to reason, apart from divine revelation, altogether unknown. The passages that are wont to be produced out of Trismegistus are of doubtful character, and, beyond all doubt, were drawn from the doctrine of the Church: as also those that are found in the Sibylline Songs:[15] in which you may also see the miracles of Christ expressly portrayed. We send the Lutherans harassing Keckermann[16] on this point to Balduin,[17]Collegio Theologico, de articulis Smalcaldicis, disputation 3, § 13-15.

III. The Trinity of Persons in the one essence of God is denied by heretics, the Arians, the Samosatenians,[18] the Sabellians,[19] the Photinians, and others. Among their other arguments are these:

(1.) If the Father is true God, the Son is true God, and the Holy Spirit is true God, there will be three distinct Gods.

But the consequent is false! Therefore, also the antecedent.

Response: I deny the consequence of the hypothetical proposition: the reason for the denial is, that Deity is one in number, wherein the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. These three, therefore, are only one God.

They insist:

If Peter, James, and John, who have a common human nature, are three men:

Then the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who have a common divine nature, will be three Gods.

Response: I deny the consequence of the hypothetical proposition: because of the dissimilarity of the examples. For Peter, James, and John have a common human nature, the same, not in number, but in species. But the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have a common divine nature, the same, not in species, but in number.

(2.) What essence belongs entirely to one does not belong entirely to another:

But the divine essence belongs entirely to the Father.

Therefore, it does not belong entirely to the Son, not entirely to the Holy Spirit: and so the Son is not God, and the Holy Spirit is not God.

Response: The Major is not true, except concerning a finite essence: But the essence of God is infinite.

(3.) Those that are three in number are not one God in number:

But the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three in number:

Therefore, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not one God in number.

Response: I introduce a distinction into the Major: Those that are three in number, that is, as Gods, are not the one God: But the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three in number, but not as Gods, but as persons of the one Deity, or divine nature.

The heretical Socinians ask: Why do we not rather establish three natures or essences, and one person in those three essences: since thus a plurality of God appears likewise appears to be avoided?

Response: We do not therefore establish three divine essence; because the Scripture proclaims only one God: which unity is not able to consist with a Trinity of essences: For He is and is called God by essence. On the other hand, a plurality of persons does not imply a plurality of God, becaue the formal of a person is not Deity, but the peculiar τρόπος ὑπάρξεως, mode of subsistence.

(4.) What is really the same with the divine essence is the same also with the Son.

But the Father is really the same with the divine essence.

Therefore, the Father is also really the same with the Son: and by consequence the Father and the Son are not distinct persons: since distinct persons really differ from each other.

Response: The Conclusion rightly understood is not opposed by us: The Father is really the same with the Son, that is, with respect to essence, which, being the numerically same essence, He has in common with the Son. The Consequence, which is elicited from the conclusion thus understood, does not follow: because identity of essence and nature does not immediately imply identity of person. To this pertains the canon, which the Heretics are wont to allege: what things are the same in a third, are the same with each other. Whence they subsume: The Father and the Son are the same in a third, namely, in the divine essence. Therefore, they are the same with each other: and by consequence the Father and the Son are one person.

Response: The Conclusion does not contradict us in a simple way: for the Father and the Son are the same in a certain manner: the consequence, which is assumed, does not follow: because the Father and the Son are able to be the same and are the same, although they are not one person: They are the same οὐσιωδῶς/essentially, but not ὑπόστατικῶς/hypostatically/personally. A distinction is wont to be introduced into the Canon in this way: What things are the same in a third incommunicable thing, etc. But the Father and the Son are the same in a third communicable thing, namely, essence or nature, but not in an incommunicable, namely, Person.

(5.) If there are three divine persons, it follows that there are three infinites:

But the consequence is false: Therefore, also the antecedent.

The rationale of the hypothetical proposition is: because a divine person is infinite.

Response: I deny the hypothetical proposition: the Proof is inconsequent: For, as a Trinity of persons does not imply a Trinity of Gods, because the three persons have the numerically same Deity; so the same Trinity does not imply a Trinity of infinites, because the three persons have the numerically same infinite, and hence are one infinite God.

(6.) In the Father is the whole Deity:

Therefore, the whole is not in the Son and in the Holy Spirit; and hence the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not three persons, partakers of the same divine essence.

Response: I deny the Consequence: the reason for the denial is: that Deity or the divine essence is infinite, which without regard to its multiplication or division is actually in three numerically distinct.

(7.) One is the God and Father of all, Ephesians 4:6.

Therefore, the Father alone is God; hence there are not three persons of the Deity.

Response: The Consequence is denied: Because in the antecedent the unity of the divine essence is proclaimed by Paul, which does not remove the plurality of persons: and in the cited words of Paul Father is taken, not ὑπόστατικῶς/hypostatically for the person of the Father, but οὐσιωδῶς/ essentially for the creator of all: so that the sense might be: God is one, who is the Father of all creatures: which is able to be said of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

(8.) To us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, 1 Corinthians 8:6. Therefore, the Father alone is God, not the Son, nor the Holy Spirit, neither of whom are the Father.

Response: The consequence is denied; especially if it were conceded, that in this place the Father is taken for the person of the Father, and that the one Father is called God: Because the exclusive added to the divine person does not exclude from the essential predicate other divine persons, but other and false Gods of the Gentiles, of which Paul also speaks in verse 5.

(9.) The Father and the Son are one, John 10:30.

Therefore, the Father and the Son are one person: and hence there are not three persons of the Deity.

Response: The Consequence is denied: The Father and the Son are one with respect to essence, not with respect to Person.

(10.) One that is different from the Father is not God.

But the Son and the Holy Spirit are God.

Therefore, the Son and the Holy Spirit are not different from the Father: and by consequence, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one person.

The Major is proven out of Isaiah 44:6, I am the Lord, and there is no other.

Response: A distinction is to be introduced into the Major: One that is different from the Father οὐσιωδῶς/essentially is not God. But one that is different from the Father only ὑπόστατικῶς/hypostatically is able to be God: because a diversity of persons or hypostases does not imply diversity of essences. Therefore, the consequence, which is elicited from the principal conclusion, is inconsequent. In the passage of Isaiah alleged is understood another οὐσιωδῶς/essentially, not ὑπόστατικῶς/hypostatically. And thus we concede that the Son and the Holy Spirit are not different from the Father, that is, another God.

(11.) In whom there are three persons, in Him there are three substances.

But in God there are not three substances:

Therefore, not three persons.

The Major is proven: Because, with Boethius as an authority, is an individual substance of a rational nature.

The Minor is proven: Because three distinct substances imply three distinct essences.

Response: The term, substance is ambiguous: and it is principally taken in three ways: 1. For essence, which by the Greeks is called οὐσία/ousia. 2. For that which underlies accidental properties. 3. For that which subsists and exists of itself, nor is in another as in a subject, as is the case with an accidental property.

In the first and second significations the Major is not universally true: For not every person is formally an essence, or subject and prop for accidental properties: divine person are excepted; which, even if they do not really differ from the divine essence, are nevertheless formally distinguished from it: because the essence is one, but Persons three: essence is communicable, Person incommunicable. The proof of the Major does not make for the matter: because Boethius takes substance in the third signification.

In the third signification the Minor is false: The proof is not universally true: for, even if diverse ὑφιστάμενα/subsistences in creatures imply diverse individual essences, divine ὑφιστάμενα/subsistences do not likewise imply them: the reason is, that essence in creatures is finite; but in the divine, infinite.

(12.) In what is only essence and relation, in that there is not one generating and one generated.

But in God is only essence and relation.

Therefore, in God there is not one generating and one generated: and by consequence, there are not multiple persons.

The Major is proven: Because neither an essence nor a relation generate or is generated.

Response: The Minor is denied. In God is not only essence and relation, but also person, which includes essence and relation, and which generates and is generated.

(13.) The divine essence is the Father and the Son.

The divine essence is the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, the Holy Spirit is the Father and the Son: and by consequence, the Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son are not distinct persons.

Response: The heretics hold this syllogism as expository, and contend that in its form nothing is able to be desired: They establish the axiom, What things are the some in a third, are the same with each other, as the foundation of the consequence.

But the more acute Logicians deny that this Syllogism is expository: Because in an expository syllogism the middle term has to be singular and incommunicable: But here the middle term, the divine essence, although it is singular, is not incommunicable.

Therefore, we deny the consequence of the Syllogism, erring in its form: For it is consists of pure particulars and four terms.

The Major is not true, except in this sense: Particular ones, who are the divine essence, the Father and Son are. Hence it is to be assumed: A particular one, who is the divine essence, the Holy Spirit is. If the Major be universal: Whoever is the divine essence, He is the Father and the Son: it is false.

There are four terms, because of the ambiguity of the middle term: In the major the divine essence is understood with the relations of to beget and to be begotten: In the minor the same is understood with the relation of to proceed or to be spirated.

(14.) Person is a primary and individual substance: Therefore, it is not able to be multiplied, unless the individual substance be multiplied: and so, with the substance remaining numerically singular, persons are not able to be multiplied.

Response: The consequence is denied: Because the relation of person and of individual substance is plainly not equal: although individual substance is not simply incompatible with multiplication: when, what is joined as a consequence, is inconsequent. Persons are multiplied through the formal, namely, τρόπος ὑπάρξεως, mode of subsistence; which is manifold: Nature, which is also itself an individual substance, is not multiplied: because its formal is not manifold.

(15.) If a nature numerically one is common to multiple persons, certainly it will belong to multiple subjects: But the consequence is false.

Therefore, the antecedent is also.

The Minor is proven: Because primary substance is not in a subject.

Response: The hypothetical proposition is denied: If are understood subjects of inhesion: just as accidental properties are to to be in subjects. The nature, divine and individual, is in the persons, but not as in subjects of inhesion, but as a communicable individual not of communication. Nor is a species in the individual as a subject of inhesion. Thus the Father is said to be in the Son, and the Son in the Fathers, Persons in the Deity, and Deity in the Persons: without any accidental inhesion.

(16.) With this essence demonstrated numerically, person is demonstrated: Therefore, this essence is the same in number as the person.

Response: The consequence is denied: if essence be understood formally to be the same as person: or person formally to be the same as essence: although each be an individual substance.

(17.) One in number excludes the plural in number: Therefore, one nature in number also excludes person plural in number.

Response: The Antecedent is not true in a simple way, unless it be taken in this sense, one in number is not plural in number in the same respect. But, that one in number is able to be plural in number in diverse respects, is truly said. The numerically one in nature is numerically plural in persons.

(18.) Individuality is predicated of one alone: Therefore, also the individual divine nature will be predicated of one person alone, not of several.

Response: The Antecedent is true only of an incommunicable individual thing. But the divine nature is an individual communicable to multiple incommunicables, namely, persons.

(19.) It is not possible that this man, Socrates, is another distinct from Socrates. Therefore, it is not possible that an essence one in number belong to multiple persons.

Response: The Consequence is denied: which, moving from an individual finite nature to an infinite is null: the former is incommunicable: that the latter is communicable to distinct individuals, not of natures, but of Persons, the Scripture testifies.

(20.) An individual subsistence is the same as an individual essence:

Therefore, as the individual divine essence is only one, so also the divine subsistence: The Antecedent is proven, because subsistence is a primary Substance, of which sort is an individual essence.

Response: If an individual subsistence be the same as a person, the antecedent is denied concerning absolute identity. For there is an evident distinction between a divine person and the divine essence: whence person is triune: essence, one: to others subsistence is a mode of essence and primary substance, not essence and substance itself.

IV. The Tritheists, among whom are Valentinus Gentilis[20]and the Transylvanian Ministers,[21] granting a Trinity of divine persons, also infer a Trinity of essences; and so they establish three Gods, whence they are called Tritheists.

Scripture overthrows this Heresy, when it commends to us only one God: Let the testimonies and reasons that we produced above be considered. We shall now examining the Sophistries of the heretics.

(1.) The Father of Christ is the true and one God.

Therefore, the three persons of the Deity are not one God.

Response: The Consequence is denied: because there are four terms in the syllogism. In the Major, one God is taken ὑπόστατικῶς/hypostatically, as a divine person, which is the first in order. In the conclusion, it is taken οὐσιωδῶς/essentially. But if it is here taken ὑπόστατικῶς/hypostatically also, the sense of the conclusion will be: The three persons of the Deity are not one person of the Deith: which we ourselves also assert.

(2.) If a certain one is the one God, who is three persons, He will be either the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit.

But neither the Father, nor the Son, nor the Holy Spirit is that God.

Therefore, no one is the one God, who is three persons: and so one Deity or essence does not belong to three persons: but essences are to be multiplied according to the number of persons.

The Major is proven: Because besides the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, there is no God.

The Minor is proven: If one of the persons is that God, who is three persons, then one person would be three persons: which is absurd.

Response: I introduce a distinction into the hypothetical proposition: If a certain one is the one God (taken ὑπόστατικῶς/hypostatically), who is three persons: certainly He will be either the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit: for no other divine hypostasis is granted. Taken in this sense, the conclusion does not stand in contradiction to us: For we confess that there is no God, that is, no divine person, that is three persons. At the same time, we truly and pious believe that the one God, taken οὐσιωδῶς/essentially, is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, through distinct personal relations, or τρόπους ὑπάρξεως, modes of subsistence. Which consequence, justly understood from the principal conclusion, is inconsequent.

(3.) The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one and another.

But the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are God.

Therefore, God is one and another: and so there are three Gods.

Response: The Conclusion, if rightly understood, does not stand in contradiction to us: For God is one and another with respect to ὑποστάσεις/ hypostases/persons, not with respect to essence: But, if the major be spoken concerning one and another thing, with respect to essence, it will be false: The principal consequence of the conclusion is inconsequent: Or, it is not demonstrated from the conclusion.

(4.) The Father is unbegotten; the Son is begotten.

Therefore, they are not one God.

The rationale of the consequence: that the same one is not at the same time begotten and unbegotten.

Response: The Consequence is denied: If in the consequence one God is taken οὐσιωδῶς/essentially: The rationale of the consequence is null. One and the same in one and the same respect is not at the same time begotten and unbegotten: yet He is able to be so in diverse respects: God is unbegotten with respect to the person of the Father; the same is begotten with respect to the person of the Son.

(5.) Those that differ as begotten and unbegotten differ substantially.

But the Father and Son differ as begotten and unbegotten.

Therefore, they differ substantially: and, by consequence, essentially.

The Major is proven: Because begotten and unbegotten are not accidental properties in God.

Response: The principal conclusion does not stand in contradiction to us, if substantially be the same as personally: for person is also called substance, even indeed relative in divine things. The Consequence that is annexed is inconsequent. Let the response to reason 11 of the Explanation above be considered.

(6.) What doctrine involves contradictory things is absurd.

But the doctrine of three persons in one essence involves contradictory things.

Therefore, it is absurd.

The Minor is proven: Because it follows from this, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three things: because three persons are established: and that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not three things: because they are established as only one essence.

Response: I deny the Minor: The proof is inconsequent: because without contradiction the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three, and not three, but in diverse respects: They are three things with respect to opposed relations: They are not three according to essence: They are three persons, not three essences.

[1]Against Marcion, Book I, Chapter III. [2] The Orphic hymns are traditionally ascribed to Orpheus, the mythical bard and prophet of Thrace, but they were likely composed by a multiplicity of authors, possibly as late as the early centuries of the Christian Era. [3] Sophocles (c. 495-406) was a Greek playwright. Of his one hundred and twenty-three plays, only seven tragedies survive. [4] Pythagoras (582-507 BC) was a Greek philosopher and mathematician. [5] Lucius Annæus Seneca (c. 4 BC-65 AD) was a Roman philosopher and dramatist. [6] Albert Graver (1575-1617) was a German Lutheran theologian and churchman. He was staunchly committed to the Formula of Concord, both defending it, and polemically assailing antagonists, especially the Reformed. Graver was called the clypeus et gladius Lutheranismi. [7] A Syllogism is Expository or Singular, when its middle term is singular. [8] Hebrew: בִּדְבַ֣ר יְ֭הוָה שָׁמַ֣יִם נַעֲשׂ֑וּ וּבְר֥וּחַ פִּ֜֗יו כָּל־צְבָאָֽם׃ [9]On the Gospel of John, tractate 6. [10] In Greek mythology, Stentor was one of the Greek heroes, famous as a herald for the strength of his voice. [11]אֱלֹהִים/Elohim is formally plural. [12] Martin Chemnitz (1522-1586) studied under Luther and Melanchthon, and rose to become a theologian and churchman of some prominence. [13]Loci Communes, De Deo in Specie, chapter II. [14] Jacob Martini (1570-1649) was a German Lutheran theologian and philosopher. Firmly committed to Lutheran orthodoxy, he was a fierce opponent of Socinianism. Martini served as Professor of Logic and Metaphysics (1602-1623), and then as Professor of Theology (1623-1649), at Wittenberg. [15] The Sibylline Oracles claim to be the work of ten pre-Christian Sibyls, prophesying of the coming of Christ and the spread of Christianity. They appear to have been the work of multiple authors of differing dates, and modified later by Jewish and Christian scribes. [16]Bartholomäus Keckermann (c. 1572-1608) was a German Reformed Theologian and educator. He served as Professor of Hebrew at Heidelberg (1600-1602), and as Rector of the Gymnasium of Danzig (1602-1608). [17] Friedrich Balduin (1575-1627) was a German Lutheran theologian and pastor, serving as Professor of Theology at Wittenberg (1607-1627). [18] Paul of Samosata served as Bishop of Antioch from 260 to 268. Paul was a Monarchian, teaching that Jesus was born a mere man, but infused with the Divine Logos. He was also accused of corruption in the discharge of his ecclesiastical office. [19] Sabellius (flourished 215) taught that God was a single person, who manifested Himself in three modes (Father, Son, and Spirit) successively. Both Tertullian and Hippolytus of Rome vigorously opposed Sebellius’ anti-Trinitarian Modalism. [20]Valentinus Gentilis, an Italian from Campania, was executed at Bern in the year 1566 for heresy, asserting three eternal Spirits, distinct in degree and number [21]Ferenc Dávid (c. 1520-1579) of Transylvania, was originally trained for the Roman Catholic Priesthood, but embraced the Reformation, first the Lutheran and then the Reformed. He came to question the Doctrine of the Trinity, and founded a Unitarian church in Transylvania.

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