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the spring, and yet all these are but one and the same water; so here God the Father is the fountain of the Deity; the Son, as the spring that boils up out of the fountain ; and the Holy Ghost, that flows from both, and yet all three are but one and the same God. The same may also be explained by another familiar instance; the sun, you know, begets beams, and from the sun, and beams together proceed both light and heat; so God the Father begets the Son, and from the Father and Son together proceeds the Spirit of knowledge and grace: but as the sun is not before the beams, nor the beams before the light and heat, but altogether; so neither is the Father before the Son, nor Father or Son before the Holy Ghost, but only in order and relation to one another; in which only respect, the Father is the first person in the Trinity.
Secondly, the Son is the second person, who is called the Son, yea, and the only begotten Son of God, because he was begotten of the Father, not as others are by spiritual regeneration, but by eternal generation, as none but himself is, for the opening whereof, we must know, that God that made all things fruitful, is not himself sterile or barren; but be that hath given power to animals to generate and produce others in their own nature, is himself much more able to produce one, not only like himself, but of the self-same nature with himself, as he did in begetting his Son, by communicating his own unbegotten essence and nature to him. For the person of the Son was most certainly begotten of the Father, or otherwise he would not be his Son; but his essence was unbegotten, otherwise he would not be God, and therefore the highest apprehensions that we can frame of this great mystery, the eternal generation of the Son of God, is only by conceiving the person of the Father to have communicated his divine essence to the person of the Son. And so of himself begetting his other self the Son, by communicating his own eternal and unbegotten essence to him. I say, by communicating of his essence, not of his person to him, for then they would be both the same person, as now they are of the same essence: the essence of the Father did not beget the Son by communicating his person to him, but the person of the Father begat the Son by communicating his essence to him; so that the person of the Son is begotten, not communicated, but the essence of the Son is communicated, not begotten.
This notion of the Father's begetting the Son by communicating his essence to him I ground upon the Son's own words, who certainly best knew how himself was begotten: 'For, as the Father,' saith he, ‘hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.' To have life in himself, is an essential property of the divine nature, and therefore wheresoever that is given or communicated, the nature itself must needs be given and communicated too.
Now here we see how God the Father communicated this his essential property, and so his essence to the Son; and, by consequence, though he be a distinct person from him, yet he hath the same unbegotten essence with him; and therefore, as the Father hath life in himself, so hath the Son life in himself; and so all other essential properties of the divine nature, only with this personal
1 John, v. 26.
distinction, that the Father hath this life in bimself not from the Son, but from himself; whereas the Son hath it, not from himself, but from the Father: or, the Father is God himself, not of the Son; the Son is the same God, but from the Father, not from himself; and, therefore, not the Father, but the Son is rightly called by the council of Nice, “God of Gods, light of lights, yea, very God of
Thirdly, Having thus spoken of the two first persons in the sacred Trinity, we come now to the last, the Holy Ghost. The last, I say, not in nature or time, but only in order; for, as to their nature, one is not better or more God than another ; neither, as to time, is one before another; none of them being measured by time, but all and every one of them eternity itself. But though not in nature or time, yet in order, one must needs be before another: for the Father is of himself, receiving his essence neither from the Son, nor from the Spirit, and therefore is, in order, before both; the Son received his essence from the Father, not from the Spirit, and therefore, in order, is before the Spirit, as well as after the Father ; but the Spirit receiving his essence both from the Father and the Son, must needs, in order, be after both.
I confess the Spirit is nowhere in Scripture said to proceed from the Son, and therefore the inserting of this into the Nicene creed, was the occasion of that schism betwixt the western and eastern churches, which hath now continued for many ages; in which I think both parties are blameworthy; the western churches for inserting this clause following into the Nicene creed, without the consent of a general council; and the eastern for denying so plain a truth as this is : for though the Spirit be not said to proceed from the Son, yet he is called the “Spirit of the Son,'' which questionless he would never have been, did he not proceed from the Son as well as from the Father. And verily, the Father communicating his own individual essence and so whatsoever he is (his paternal relation excepted) to the Son, could not but communicate this to him also, even to have the Spirit proceeding from him as it doth from himself. So that as whatsoever the Father hath originally in himself, that hath the Son by communication from the Father: so hath the Son this, the Spirit's proceeding from him by communication from the Father, as the Father hath it in himself: and the Spirit thus proceeding both from the Father and the Son, hence it is that he is placed after both, not only in the words before us, but also in 1 John, v. 7, and so elsewhere.
From what I have hitherto discoursed concerning the great mystery, the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity, I shall gather some few inferences, and so conclude.
1. Is the Son God? yea, the same God with the Father. Hence I observe, what a strange mystery the work of man's redemption is, that God himself should become man. And he that was begotten of his Father, without a mother, from eternity, should be born of his mother, without a father, in time; that he that was perfect God, like unto the Father, in every thing, his personal properties only excepted, should also be perfect man, like unto us in all things, our personal infirmities only excepted;
Gal. iv. 6; Rom. viii. 9.
that he that made the world should be himself made in it; that eternity should stoop to time, glory be wrapt in misery, and the Sun of righteousness hid under a clod of earth; that innocence should be betrayed, justice condemned, and life itself should die, and all to redeem man from death to life. Oh wonder of wonders! how justly may we say with the apostle, “Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness.''
2. Is the Spirit also God ? Hence I observe, that it is God alone that can make us holy; for seeing the Scripture all along ascribes our sanctification unto the Spirit of God, and yet the Spirit of God is himself really and truly God, it necessarily followeth, that the special concurrence and influence of almighty God himself is necessary to the making us really and truly holy.
3. Are all three persons in the Trinity one and the same God ? Hence I infer, they are to have one and the same honour conferred upon them, and one and the same worship performed unto them. Or, as our Saviour himself saith, · That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.”? And, ‘ye believe in God, believe also in
And, as we pray to the Father, so should we pray to the Son too, as the apostles did, and St. Stephen, and St. Paul to all three. 4
4. Is baptism to be administered in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ? Hence I observe how necessary it is to believe in these three persons, in order to our being real and true Christians; for we being made Christians in
11 Tim. iii. 16. 2 John, v. 23. 3 Ibid, xiv. 1.
4 Luke, xvii. 5; Acts, vii. 59; 2 Cor. xiii. 14.