Chapter III

CHAPTER III.

NICENE TRINITARIANISM.

§ 1. Preliminary Statements.

We pass now to the examination of that more completely scientific statement of the doctrine of the trinity which was the consequence of the Arian controversy, and was fixed in a creed-form in the Nicene Symbol.

Origen, we have seen, rejected the doctrine of identity of essence between the Father and Son (6fioovaiov), and took the ground that the Son is of another essence, or nature, than the Father.1 In his scheme, "eternal generation" is the communication of a secondary substance. The Son, consequently, does not participate in the Father's primary essence. The nature of the second Person is not identical or equal with that of the first. It is another nature, and inferior to that of the Father, the avro&to;, though highly exalted above the nature of creatures. Upon this notion of a secondary essence, Arius, a man of less devout spirit and less profundity than Origen, seized, and, contending with logical truth that there can be no third species of essence midway between that of God and that of the creature, deduced the doctrine that the Son is not divine in any sense, but is strictly a creature, though the very highest and first of all.1

'DeOratione, c. 15: Kot oialav a-tos with the Father, "enim

Koa (caS' vnoKilpf vov, io-riv 6 vlot ire aporrhoca dpoovatos videtur, id

por roi> rrarpos.—In the Apologia est unius substantiae cum illo

Pamphili pro Origine (origenis corpore ex quo est vel aporrhoea

Opera, I. 76V, Ed. Bas. 1571), the vel vapor." Origen himself (De

term niimwmos is accepted, but Prino. I. c. ii. Ed. Bas. 1571. I.

illustrated by the "vapour" or 671) employs the same terms

"effluence" that radiates from "vapor" and "aporrhoea" in

any substance. The Son it opool- illustrating the relation of the Son to the Father. Such phrase- and that ?» K6tf, Srt oJ<t ?». ology would place Origen in the These were phrases that were in class of Nominal Trinitarians, who continual use during the whole made the Son an effluence, and controversy, as the exact connot a hypostasis. traries of the orthodox •yiWo-is «

The opposition to Arianism began at Alexandria, from Arius's own bishop Alexander. This theologian contended for the true and proper deity of the Son, at the same time maintaining the doctrine of eternal Sonship, or generation. He agreed with Origen in respect to the latter point, but differed from him, by asserting that eternal generation is a communication, not of a secondary essence, but of the identical and primary substance of the Father,

1 Arius held that the Son of Ttjs oia-ias. God was a Kti<t\ux <£ < v< ovrav^

and that, consequently, there must be a perfect equality between the first and second hypostatical distinctions. Furthermore, as Arius had advanced the doctrine, never advanced it should be observed by Origen, that the Son has only a temporal nature and existence, though running back indeed ages upon ages into the past eternity, Alexander insisted very fully upon the eternity of the Logos. The Son as Logos, he says, must be eternal, otherwise the Father must originally have been ahoyog,—a being without reason. This is a form of argument which we find often employed in the controversy.

The views of Arius were condemned by the Synod of Alexandria in 321; but so many difficult questions were involved in the whole subject, that it was impossible for a provincial synod to answer them all, or still more to construct a creed that should secure the confidence of the universal Church, and be generally authoritative. This led to the summoning of an oecumenical council at Nice, in 325 ; composed of upwards of three hundred bishops.

§ 2. Problem before the Nicene Council.

The problem to be solved by the Nicene council was to exhibit the doctrine of the trinity in its completeness; to bring into the creed statement the total data of Scripture upon both the side of unity and trinity. Heresy had arisen, partly, from incomplete exegesis. Monarchianism, or Patripassianism, had seized only upon that class of texts which teach the unity of God, and neglected that other class which imply His real and not modal trinality. This led to an assertion of the consubstantiality of the Son, at the expense of his distinct personality. Or-> igenism and Arianism, at the other extreme, following the same one-sided exegesis, had asserted the distinct personality of the Son, at the expense of his unity of essence, and equal deity with the Father. It now remained for the catholic scientific mind, to employ an all-comprehending exegesis of the Biblical data, and assert both consubstantiality and hypostatical distinction; both unity and trinity.

In doing this, the Nicene Council made use of conceptions and terms that had been employed by both of those forms of error, against which it was their object to guard. Sabellianism had employed the term 6fioovaiog, to denote the conception of consubstantiality. The Monarchians were strong in their assertion that God is one Essence or Being. On the side of the Divine Unity, they were scriptural and orthodox. The Nicene trinitarians recognized this fact, and hence adopted their terra. Athanasius insisted as earnestly as ever Sabellius did, that there is but one Essence in the Godhead; that there is but one Divine Substance, or Nature, or Being. Hence the Nicene Council adopted that very term ofioovaiog, which the orthodox mind one hundred years before, in the controversy with Paul of Samosata and the Anti-trinitarianism he repre8ented, had rejected as a distinctively heretical term. The persistence with which Athanasius sought to establish the doctrine that the Son is of the very same substance with the Father, evinces the depth and subtlety of that remarkable mind, which exerted so great an influence upon the scientific construction of the Trinitarian creed of the church.1 Two creeds, one by Eusebius of Nicomedia, and another by Eusebius of Caesarea, were introduced, which conceded everything except the single position that the Son is of the very same and identical substance with the Father. The position of Eusebius of Caesarea was, that the Son is of "similar" essence (ofioiovaiog) with the Father; he is "God of God, Light of Light, and begotten of God the Father before all worlds." 2 But the essence of the human soul is "like" that of the Deity, and, consequently, there was nothing in the term 6/xotouaiog that would imply that the essence of the Son differs in kind and grade from that of any finite spirit made after the likeness of Deity. The time had now come, when silence on the highly metaphysical but vitally fundamental point of the substance of the second Person in the trinity could not be allowed. It was now necessary to employ a technical term that could not by any possibility be explained or tortured into an Arian signification. The term ajuoovaiog could not by any ingenuity be made to teach anything but that the essence of the Son is one and identical with that of the Father; and this placed him in the same grade of uncreated being with the Father, and made him avro&tog}

1 Upon the logical inconceiv- creatura non est: si autem creaableness of a nature midway be- tura non est, ejusdem cum Patre tween the uncreated and the creat- substantiae est. Omni» enim «/feed, which was the vice of Ori- stantia quae Dcus non est, ereatvra genism, see Guericee's Church est; et quae creatura non est, History, pp. 818 aud 824 (Notes). Bern est." Athanasius argued, that because * Eusebius employs the followthere is no middle essence, the ing phraseology regarding the Son must be God absolute; and Son, in his Demonstratio EvantheEunomians, or extreme Arians, gelica (IV. ii.): "This offspring, argued that because there is no He [the Father] first produced middle essence, the Son must be from Himself, as a foundation of man merely, and simply. Au- those things which should follow, Qustine (De Trinitate, I. vi.) also the perfect handi-icork (Jijmoi'py^argues the same point with Athan- /mi) of the Perfect, and the wise asius, in the following terse style: structure (ap^irfirr6wj/tn) of the "Unde li<]uido apparet ipsum Wise." This phraseology looks factum non esse per quern facta in the direction of the doctrine sunt omnia. Et si factus non est, that the Son is a KTicrpa,—only of

the highest order of creatures, fabricated as an instrument to the creation of the lower creatures. In his Demonstrate Evangelica (TV. i.). Eusebius denies that any being whatever is "from nothing." "God," he says, "proposed his own will ond power, as a sort of matter and svbstunce of the production and constitution of the universe, so that it is not reasonable to say that anything is 'out of nothing.' For what is from nothing cannot be at all. How, indeed, can nothing bo to anything a cause of being? But all that is takes its being from One who only is, and was, and who olso said, 'I am that I am.'"

Again, Eusebius (Eccl. Theol. I. is.), speaking of the Son, remarks: "lie who was from nothing would not truly be Son of God, as neither is any other of things generate."—This reasoning, to say the least, certainly does not tend to discriminate the substance of the Son from that of the creation, or to demonstrate that his essence is one and identical with that of the Father

1 "Unable to resist the clear testimonies of the Scriptures, Arius confessed Christ to be God, and the Son of God; and, as though this were all that was necessary, he pretended to agree with the church at largo. But at the same

The two Eusebiuses, and many of the Oriental bishops, were Origenistic in their views upon this part of the doctrine. With some of this party, which was considerably numerous, and, as it afterward appeared, able to re-open the subject, and involve the church in another controversy, the difficulty was a speculative one, certainly to some extent. They were afraid of Sabellianism,1 and supposed that by affirming a unity and sameness of essence between the Father and the Son, they necessarily denied the distinction of persons between them. This portion, consisting of the more devout minds, who practically held very exalted views of the Person of Christ, were the true representatives of Origen in this council. Others probably held low and latitudinarian views, and in reality desired that the council should dissolve without a distinct condemnation of Arianism. These inid-way statements were rejected by the council, and it was laid down as the scriptural doctrine to be universally received, that " the Son is begotten out of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God (&tov dXrj&ivbv [6 &tog of Origen] ), begotten not created (ytwrj&tvTa ov noirj&tvra), consubstantial with the Father (opoovaiov ra ,-rarpi)." 1 This last important clause was added to the preceding statement that the Son is "God of God, begotten and not created," in order so to define the idea of eternal generation as to preclude the possibility of mistaking

time he continued to maintain that Christ was created, and had a beginning like other creatures. To draw the versatile subtlety of this man from its concealment, the ancient Fathers proceeded farther, and declared Christ to be the eternal Son of the Father, and eonsubstantial with the Father. Here impiety openly discovered itself, when the Arians began inveterately to hate and execrate the name o^otwior. But, if in the first instance, they had sincerely and cordially confessed Christ to be God, they would not have denied him to be cunsubstantial with the Father." CalVin: Institutes, I. xiii. 4. "The Arians, those eminent masters of pretence and dissimulation, did not reject any one form of speech, which the Catholics had adopted and used, either out of Scripture or from tradition, with the sole exception of the word opooiaios; as being a word of which the precision and exactness precluded all attempt at equivocation. When they were asked, whether they acknowledged that the Son was begotten of the Father Himself? they used to assent, understanding, as is plain, the Son to be of God in such sense as all creatures are of God, that is, have the beginning of their existence

from him. When the Catholics enquired of them, whether they confessed that the Son of God was God, they forthwith answered, 'Most certainly.' Nay more, they used of their own accord openly to declare that the Son of God is true God. But in what sense? Forsooth being made true God, He is true God; that is, He is true God who Whs truly made God. Lastly, when they were charged by the Catholics with asserting that the Son of God is a creature, they would repel the charge, not without some indignation, with the secret reservation of its being in this sense, that the Son of God is not such a creature as all other creatures are,—they being created by God mediately through the Son, not immediately as the Son himself. The word opaovmos, " of one substance," was the only expression which they could not in any way reconcile with their heresy." Bull: Def. Fid. Nic. II. i. 12,18. The Arians at Antioch (A. D. 849) altered the Gloria Patri, substituting prepositions for the conjunction; so that instead of glorifying the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit, they glorified the Father hy the Son, in the Spirit. Throdoret: Eccl. Hist. II. xxiv.

1 It is with reference to this class of Semi-Arians, who finally passed over to Nicenism, that Athanabius (De Synodis, J 41) makes the remark: npos Sf Tooj arroif^ofiivovs To piv SWa rravra ri>v iv Niicciia ypa<pivra>v, nfp\ ii povnu To opoovo'lnv afXptfiaWotrras, Xprj pfj as irpos tjfipovs ftia*cfio"3m • Kai yap icai irttis oiij( u>s Tt/jov 'AptiopaviTas, ovd Ojs pa\opivovs Trpos Tovs narfpas fVi<rru/if3a, dXX' i>s dtot\(pai irpos d&t\(povs 5ia\f-ydjif9a, Tt/v avTrjv piv rjpAv didvotav f^Girar,

7Tfpi 5< TO OVO}Ul flni'nv itOTafavTat,

Athan.isius does not seem to have put much confidence in the sincerity of Eusebius in subscribing the Nicene symbol, notwithstanding that he opposed the Arians so decidedly. In his Nicaenae fidei Defensio, Chap. II. § 3, he remarks: "And what is strange indeed, Eusebius of Caesarea in Palestine, who had denied the day before, but afterwards subscribed, sent to his church a letter, saying that this was the

church's faith, and the tradition of the Fathers; and made a pubHe profession that they were before in error, and were rashly contending against the truth. But though he was ashamed at that time to adopt these phrases, and excused himself to the church in his own way, yet he certainly means to imply all this in his letter, by his not denying the 6poovawv\ and the t'K rjjs livn-ias. And in this way, he got into a difficulty; for while lie was excusing himself, he went on to attack the Arians, as stating that 'the Son was not before his (temporal) generation."1 In § 4, Chap. II. of Nic. Def. (comp. also § 5), Athanasius says: "And supposing, even after subscription, the Eusebians did change again, and return like dogs to their vomit, do not the present gainsayers [the followers of Acacius, who had been a pupil of Eusebius] deserve still greater detestation?" Acacius's formula was o/toior, simply. 1 Uio-Tiiopfv ... tis iva Kipiov the notion of a secondary divinity.

"iijo-ocv Xpurriv, Tbv vlov Too StoC, 2. Those are anathematized who

ytvirfsivra « roC narpos povoytvij, assert that the Son did not exist

rour/oTiK Tk Ttjs ovo-las Tov rrarpor, before his generation; becanse

Stok fV Sfou, <pd>r Ik (parol, 3fo* this implies that his generation

dXrjStvw fK 3fov dXij9iraC, ytvvtf is in time, and that "there was a

SfVra oi noirfzivra, 6poovawv To when, when he was not." 8. The

irarp\ • ... Tous &i Xtyovras on %v term vnoo-rdo-ts is employed as

irori on Ovk !jv, Kal np\v -yfwjSijvai synonymous with oWia.—show

Ovk %v, Km on f'f Ovk ivrav iyivtro, ing that at this time these two

17 i( iripat vrroarao-fas fj ovaias technical terms were not yet, as

(pio-Kovrns tlvai, tj Ktiotov, rpfirrov they afterwards were, strictly ap

!j <iXXiurov rbvv'ov rov SfoC, nraSf- propriated, the one to the pereo

par!(fi!jKa3o\iKritKiiXrjo-!a.—Three nal distinction, and the other to

particulars are noteworthy in this the one Natnre. This led to some

statement. 1. The son is denom- misapprehension, particularly in

inated 3f!>v A X rj 31 v <\ v (equivalent the Oriental Church, to Origen'a 6 Stoi), to preclude

it, either for the creation of a substance confessedly temporal and finite, or the communication of a secondary substance midway between the finite and infinite. This clause contained the metaphysical kernel of the dogma, and was the crucial test of trinitarian orthodoxy and heterodoxy.

§ 3. Nicene doctrine of Eternal Generation.

The Nicene Symbol, while adopting from Monarchianism a conception and a term that had been vehemently opposed by Origen, at the same time adopted with Origen the idea of eternal generation. This idea, suggested by the Biblical terms "Son," "Only Begotten," and "First Begotten," all of which the Nicene theologians maintained to be literal and not metaphorical terms, and descriptive of the eternal and metaphysical relations of the second Person, they technically distinguished from that of creation, by the clause: "begotten not created? In conducting the discussion of the doctrine of the trinity upon the side of the personal distinctions, it was necessary for the Nicene theologians to correct two errors that were current among their opponents. In the first place, the Essence of the Godhead was confounded with a personal distinction in that Essence. For those who were involved in this confusion of ideas, the "generation" of a Person would be the same as the generation of the Essence; and the "procession" of a Person would be the same as

the procession of the Essence. And this would result in the destruction of the Divine Unity, and the multiplication of deities. The second error consisted in supposing that generation is the same as creation from nothing. For those who took this view, the "generation" of a Person would be the same as the origination of a creature; and since the definition of the term "procession" was inevitably determined by that of "generation," the "procession" of a Person would also be the same as making a creature de nihilo. And this would result in the degradation of the Son and Spirit to the rank of creatures. The Nicene trinitarians directed the best energies of their vigorous and metaphysical intellects to a correction of these two errors. They carefully discriminate the Divine Essence from a Divine Person. They are not the same. They are two distinct conceptions; to one of which unity relates, and to the other trinality. This being so, unity of Essence could be combined with the generation of a Person, or with the procession of a Person, without any self-contradiction. Athanasius and his co-adjutors did not pretend to explain either the eternal generation, or the eternal procession. They supposed that in these ineffable and immanent activities in the Godhead lies the heart of the trinitarian mystery. At the same time, however, they laid down certain positions for the purpose of precluding the false inferences which the Arians were drawing from the doctrine of eternal generation; and these positions give some clue to the idea itself, as it lay in the Nicene mind.1

The Nicene theologians distinguish eternal generation from creation, by the following particulars: 1. Eternal generation is an offspring out of the eternal essence of God; creation is an origination of a new essence from nothing. 2. Eternal generation is the communication of an eternal essence; creation is the origination of a temporal essence.

3. That which is eternally generated is of one essence with the generator; but that which is created is of another essence from that of the creator. The substance of God the Son is one and identical with that of God the Father; but the substance of a creature is diverse from that of the creator. The Father and Son are one Nature, and one Being; God and the world are two Natures, and two Beings.

4. Eternal generation is necessary, but creation is optional. The filiation of the second Person in the trinity is grounded in the nature of deity; but the origination of the world depends entirely upon arbitrary will. It is as necessary that there should be Father and Son in the Godhead, as that the Godhead should be eternal, or self-existent; but there is no such necessity for creation.2 5. Eternal generation is an immanent perpetual activity in an ever-existing essence; creation is an instantaneous act, and supposes no elements of the creature in existence.1

1 Respecting generation and another by voluntary production, creation, compare Wateih.and's that it cannot by necessary emFirst Defence, Queries XIII-XV. anation, I think not so." How«:

*" I think it demonstrable, that 1.155 (New York Ed.). "The be

one Infinite con never be from ing of God is a kind of law to his working; for that perfection which God is, giveth perfection to that he doth. Those natural, necessary, and internal operations of God, the generation of the Son, the proceeding of the Spirit, are without the compass of my present intent; whioh is to touch only such operations as have their beginning and being by a voluntary purpose, wherewith God hath eternally decreed when and how they should be." Hooeer: Ecclesiastical Polity, Book I. ch.

By these characteristics the eternal generation of the Son was differentiated from creation de nihilo, and raised entirely above the sphere of material and created existence. The idea of time is excluded, for it is an activity immanent and perpetual in the Divine Essence, and is therefore as strictly eternal as any activity of the Godhead. The idea of contingency is excluded, because the generation of the Son does not depend upon the optional will of either the first or the third Persons, but is a necessary act underlying a necessary relationship. Eternal generation, therefore, according to the Nicene theologians, is the communication of the one eternal essence of deity by the first Person to the second Person, in a manner ineffable, mysterious, and abstracted from all earthly and human peculiarities. And the peculiarity in the manner in which the communication takes place, in the instance of the second Person, constitutes "filiation;" and in the instance of the third Person constitutes "procession."1

1 At this point, we may also specify the difference between the Nicene " eternal generation," and the Oriental "emanation." 1. That which is eternally generated is infinite, and not finite; it is a

divine and eternal Person, who is not the world, or any portion of it. In the Oriental schemes, emanation is a mode of accounting for the origin of the Finite. But in the Nicene trinitarianism, eternal generation still leaves the Finite to be originated. The begetting of the Son is the generation of an Infinite Person, who afterwards creates the finite universe de nihih. 2. Eternal generation has for its result a subeutence, or personal hypostasis, totally distinct from the world; but emanation, in relation to the deity, yields only an impersonal, or at most a personified, energy or effluence, which is one of the powers or principles of nature,— a mere anima mundi.

In the Nicene trinitarianism, the terms Father and Son are held as correlates; so that one has no meaning except in reference to the other, and the one hypostasis has no existence without the other. The Father is not, as in Origen's scheme, a Monad existing anterior in the order of nature to the Son, but is simply one member of the trinity. Though his relation to the Son implies an inequality in respect to the order and relative position of the hypostases, it implies no inequality in respect to their constituent substance or nature. The characteristic of Sonship is second to that of Paternity; but so far as concerns the essence of Father and Son, both alike, and in precisely the same degree, participate in the eternal and uncreated substance of the Godhead. An entire and perfect co-equality in respect to the constitutional being of both is affirmed. The Son does not belong to a grade of being inferior to that of the Father, for the Origenistic distinction of &tog and 6 irtog is not allowed, but he is of the very same identical species: "very God of very God." But when we dismiss the conception of constituent essence, and take up that of hypostatical character, and mutual relationship, Athanasius and the Nicene trinitarians contend that subordination may be affirmed, without infringing upon the absolute deity of the Son. The filial peculiarity and relation is second and subordinate to the paternal, though the filial essentiality is equal and identical with the paternal.1 As in the human sphere, father and son belong to the same grade of being, and so far as their constitutional nature is concerned, neither is superior to the other, both being alike and equally human beings, yet the latter is second in dignity to the former, so far as personal attitude and relationship are concerned; so in the sphere of the divine and uncreated, God the Father and God the Son are on the same common level of eternal and necessary existence, both alike being of one and the same essence or substance, while yet the latter stands second in the order, and relationships, of the three personal distinctions.1

1 Pearson, who thoroughly understood the Nicene trinitarianism, and has stated it with great accuracy and acumen, remarks (Apostles' Creed, Art. II.) that, "the communication of the divine essence by the Father was the true and proper generation by which he hath begotten the Son." This communication of essence, however, he proceeds to say, is free from the imperfections and limitations of the finite. In human generation, though the son is begotten in the same nature with the father, yet the father necessarily precedes the son in time; but the Divine generation is not in time, and there is no temporal precedence. Human generation is corporeal, and by decission of substance; but Divine generation is incorporeal and by a total and plenary communication of the entire essence.

Pearson answers the objection, that if generation is the commu

nication of essence, then the Holy Spirit is generated, and is consequently a Son, equally with the Son, by reference to the difference in the mode in which Eve and Seth were respectively produced from Adam. "Evo was produced out of Adnm, and in the same nature with him, and yet was not bom of him, nor was she truly the daughter of Adam; whereas Seth proceeding from the same person in the similitude of the same nature, was truly and properly the son of Adam. And this difference was not in the nature produced, but in the manner of production. . . . The Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Father in the same nature with him, the Word proceedeth from the same Person in the same similitude of nature also; but the Word proceeding is the Son, the Holy Ghost is not, because the first procession is by the way of generation, the other is not."

'" When we speak simply of the Son, without reference to the Father, we truly and properly assert him to be self-existent, and therefore call him the sole first cause; but when we distinctly treat of the relation between him and the Father, we justly represent him as originating from the Father." Calvin: Institutes, I. xiii. 19.

In endeavouring to establish the consistency of the doctrine of eternal generation with the doctrine of the true deity of the Son, Athanasius relies much upon the phrases, ix rijg ovaiag, and 6fiooavoig, as explanatory of the difference between generation and creation. "Let it be repeated," he says, "that a created thing is external to the nature of the being who creates; but a generation is the proper offspring of the nature.1 The Son, not being a creation from nothing, but proper to the Father's substance, always is. For since the Father always is, whatever is proper to His substance must always be; and this is his Word and his Wisdom. And that creatures should not be in existence, does not disparage the Creator,—for He has the power of framing them out of nothing when he wills,—but for the Son not to be ever with the Father is a disparagement of the perfection of his substance." 2 In such statements as these, which, in these Discourses against the Arians, are repeated and enforced in a great variety of ways, and with great earnestness, Athanasius argues that as it is the very definition of the eternal Son to be connatural with the eternal Father, so is it the very definition of a creature to be from nothing, «| ovx ovrav; and that while it was not necessary from the very nature of the Godhead, that there should be eternally a Creator, and eternally a creation, it was necessary, from the very nature of the Godhead, that there should be eternally a Father, and eternally a Son.

1" Your new reply to this query is that the word God when applied to the Father, denotes Him who alone has all perfections in and of Himself, original, underived, &c, but when applied to the Son, it denotes one who has not his perfections of Himself, but derived, and so the word God is used in different senses, svpreme and subordinate. You might as well say

that the word man, when applied1 to Adam denotes the person of Adam who was unbegotten; but when applied to Seth it denotesthe person of Seth who was begotten; and therefore the word man does not signify the same thing, or carry the same idea in both cases, but is used in different senses. What I assert is, that the word God signifies or denotes absolute perfection, whether applied to Father or Son; and is therefore applied in the same sense to both. He that is possessed of all perfection (whether originally or derivatively [i. e., whether unbegotten or begotten]) is God." Waterland: Second Defence, Query III.

* " It were madness to say, that co-essential or consubstantial with a house is co-essential or consub- his father." Atiianasius: Ep. stantial with the builder, or a ship ad Serapion. with the shipwright; but it is 'Athanabius: Contra Ariaproper to say, that every son is nos, I. viii.

Hence the Nicene theologians harmonized the doctrine of eternal generation with that of unity of essence, by teaching the necessity of this generation. The Arians insisted that the generation of the Son must be dependent upon the arbitrary choice of the Father,—that it was optional with the first Person in the Godhead, whether the second Person should be, or not be. To this Athanasius replies, that because the being of the Son is in and of the eternal substance of the Deity, it cannot be a contingent being. Whatever necessity of existence attaches to the substance of the Godhead, attaches equally to the hypostatical distinctions in it, because these distinctions are in and of this substance. When, therefore, the Arians asserted that the Son is a pure product of the Father's will, and was consequently a creature, the Nicene trinitarian affirmed that the generation of the Son was as independent of an arbitrary volition of the Father, as is the existence of any one of the divine attributes, or even the divine existence itself. Athanasius, in his third Discourse against the Arians, argues as follows: "When the Arians themselves say that God is good and merciful, does this attribute attach to Him by optional will, or by nature? if by optional will, we must infer that He began to be good, and that his not being good is possible: for to counsel and choose implies an inclination two ways. But if it be too extravagant to maintain that God is good and merciful by optional will, then what the Arians have said themselves [in regard to the Nicene doctrine of eternal generation] must be retorted upon them [in regard to the attribute of divine goodness and mercy]: 'Therefore by external necessity, and not voluntarily, God is good,' and: 'Who is it that imposes this necessity upon Him?' But if it be extravagant to speak of compulsory necessity in the case of God, and therefore it is by nature that He is good, much more is He Father of the Son by nature and not by optional will. Moreover let the Arians answer us this: The Father himself, does He exist, first having counselled, and then being pleased to come into being? For they must know that their objections reach even to the existence of the Father himself. If, then, they shall say that the Father exists from optional will, what then was He before he counselled and willed, or what gained He after such counselling and option? But if such a question be extravagant, and absurd, in reference to the Father, will it not also be against reason to have parallel thoughts concerning God the Word, and to make pretences of optional will and pleasure in respect to his generation? For, as it is enough only to hear God's name, for us to know and understand that He is that He is [i. e., that His existence is necessary], so, in like manner, it is enough only to hear the name of the Word, to know and understand that He who is God not by optional will, has His proper Word, not by optional will, but by nature." In another place, Athanasius employs the following phraseology to teach a necessity of existence in the Son, that is equal to that of the Father: " The Son is the Father's All; and nothing was in the Father before the Word."1

1 Athanasius: Contra Arianos, m. xxx. 6. 12.—The Nicene trinitarians did not hold that the generation of the Son is against the will of the Father. It was only when their opponents separated the will from the nature of God, that they denied that generation is by will. If the will be regarded as one with the nature, they granted that the generation of the Son, like any immanent activity in the Godhead, is according to will, and is not compulsory. It is in this sense, that those passages in Justin Martyr (ante, p. 271), and the earlier trinitarians, are to be taken, which speak of the generation of the Son, ano rov

irarpos Suramin, Kh'i f}ov\jj airrov

(Dial. cont.Tryph. 858. D.). Some of the Post-Nicene writers make the distinction of a concurrent and a fore-going will,—3«X>j(rir

avvhpojios and Zi]<Tts irporjyovfiti>T)

(Oyril. Trin. ii p. 66, Par. Ed.),— and say that the generation is by the former, and not the latter. Cyril also remarks that, " the Father wills his own subsistence, 3fXrjrijt eVrt; and yet he is not what he is, by any volition antecedent to his existence, fV /SouXqo-fur Tuksi." (Thcs. p. 66.) Athanasius does not

make this distinction between a concurrent and an antecedent will, but says that the Son is generated by natnre, and " nature transcends will and necessity also;" and that, "concerning His proper Word, begotten from Him by nature, God did not counsel beforehand; for in Him, the Father makes other things whatever he counsels." Cont. Arianos, III. 61. Augustine (Trin. xv. 20) speaks of the Son, as "voluntas de voluntate."

Waterland, in reference to the internal acts of generation and procession distinguishes between will, and arbitrary will, and says that Dr. Clark's distinction between will of approbation and will of choice, is the same thing. (2d Defence, Qu. VIII. p. 814).

"Upon this ground or principle, of God having an arbitrary contingent free will to all things, did some of the Arian party endeavor to overthrow the divinity of the Son or Word. Because God must needs beget him unwillingly, unless he begot him by an arbitrary contingent free will, which would make him have a precarious existence, and to be destroyable at pleasure, and consequently to be a creature. But foecundity of the Father, and his

In this way, the Nicene symbol sought to guard the doctrine of eternal generation, against those conceptions of creation, and contingent existence, which, we have seen, were latent in the scheme of Origen, and were developed in the scheme of Arius. When the ideas of consubstantiality and immanent necessity are combined with the idea of eternal generation, they so regulate and control it, as to preclude a degradation of the second Person in the trinity, either to the level of a secondary divinity, or of a creature. If, instead of holding that the Father communicates a secondary essence to the Son, Origen had maintained that the second Person participates in the absolute essence of the Godhead, just as fully as the first Person does, it would have been impossible for Arius to have derived the doctrine of a created Son of God from his scheme. For the absolute divine essence is confessedly uncreated, and eternal; and any personal hypostasis that possesses it as the constituent substance of his own being is by this very fact, real deity, and "very God." It was because they so perceived, and so thought, that the Nicene theologians retained in the catholic creed of the Church that doctrine of eternal generation which was so prominent in the defective scheme of Origen, and which in later times, in some individual instances, has been misunderstood, and construed after the Origenistic, as distinguished from the Athanasian manner.

Athanasius and the other catholio overflowing perfection (which is

fathers in opposition hereunto, no necessity imposed upon him,

maintain that God the Father nor yet a blind and stupid nature,

begot a Son not by arbitrary free as that of fire burning or the snn

will, but by way of natural ema- shining), this divine apaugasma,

nation, incorporeal, and yet not or outshining splendour of God

therefore unwillingly, nor yet the Father, hath no precarious,

without will neither, but his will but a necessary existence, and is

and nature here concurring and undestroyable." Cudworth: On

being the same; it being both a Free Will, pp. 50, 51. London,

natural will and a willing nature. 1888. Compare Billroth: Re

So that the Son begotten thus ligionsphilosophie, § 80. from eternity, by tho essential

With respect to the explanation of the term "generation," suggested by the Biblical word "Son," and employed to denote the relation existing between the second and the first hypostasis in the trinity, the Nicene theologians are not full in their statements, and did not pretend to be. A complete definition of the term would, in their judgment, involve an explanation of the mystery of the trinity. They held that an exhaustive comprehension of the mode in which the Person subsists in the Essence is possible only to the Infinite Mind. The Trinal Unity is self-contemplative, and self-comprehending. Only God can comprehend the Godhead. Athanasius, in his Epistle to the Monks, written about 358, thus expresses himself respecting the mysteriousness of the trinity. "The more I desired to write, and endeavoured to force myself to understand the divinity of the "Word, so much the more did the knowledge thereof withdraw itself from me; and in proportion as I thought that I apprehended it, I found myself to fail of doing so. Moreover, I was unable to express in writing, even what I seemed to myself to understand; and that which I wrote was unequal to the imperfect shadow of the truth which existed in my conceptions. Considering, therefore, how it is written in the book of Ecclesiastes: 'I said, I will be wise, but it was far from me; that which is far off, and exceeding deep, who shall find it out?' and what is said in the Psalms: 'The knowledge of Thee is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it,' I frequently designed to stop, and to cease writing: believe me, I did. But lest I should be found to disappoint you, or by my silence to lead into impiety those who have made inquiry of you, and are given to disputation, I constrained myself to write briefly, what I have now sent to your piety. For although a perfect apprehension of the truth is at present far removed from us, by reason of the infirmity of the flesh; yet it is possible, as the Preacher himself has said, to perceive the madness of the impious, and having found it, to say that it is 'more bitter than death' (Eccles. vii. 26). Wherefore, for this reason, as perceiving this, and able to find it out, I have written, knowing that to the faithful, tlie detection of error is a sufficient information wherein truth consists? The Patristic statements, consequently, respecting the meaning of the term "generation" are generally negative. Says Cyril, "How the Father begat the Son, we profess not to tell; only we insist upon its not being in this manner, or that."1 Says Augustine, "If asked to define the trinity, we can only say, it is not this or that."2 Says John of Damascus, "All we can know about the divine nature is, that it is not to be known."3

Yet the Nicene trinitarians did make some approximations to a positive statement, of which the two following particulars embrace the substance.

1. In the first place, they held that the term "Son" is employed in Scripture, to denote the deity of the second Person. The Logos is eternally, really, and naturally the Son of God, and not metaphorically or adoptively. For the term "Father," they argued, denotes the eternal and real, and not the temporal and metaphorical character of the first Person,—a position conceded by their opponents. But the term "Son" is correlative to the term "Father," and hence must have the same literal force. If the godhood of the first hypostasis is not invalidated by his being truly and properly the Father, neither is the godhood of the second hypostasis vitiated by his being truly and properly the Son. Furthermore, the Scripture texts which are relied upon to establish the divinity of the first and second Persons in the Godhead employ the terms Father and Son, by which to designate them. But if these terms denote only temporal and finite relationships, it is impossible to harmonize the subject with the predicates,—to justify the attribution of omnipotence, omnipresence, and infinity to a Person whose very name signifies limitation and finiteness. "Unto the Son, He saith, thy throne O God is forever and ever" (Heb. i. 8). Here the second Person in the trinity is denominated "Son," and as 80 denominated is addressed as Deity. This could not have been, they argued, unless Sonship in the Godhead is eternal. To a merely temporal hypostasis, it could not have been said: "Thy throne O God is forever and ever." Again, baptism was to be administered in the name of the "Son ;" but this would have been impious, had filiation in the Godhead denoted only a finite and created relationship. The candidate would, in this case, have been baptized into a name that designated nothing eternal or divine; and, furthermore, a merely finite and temporal hypostasis would thereby have been associated, in a solemn sacramental act, in the eternal trinity. In the controversy respecting the validity of heretical baptism, the Church came to the decision that baptism in the name of Christ is not valid. It must be administered according to the Scriptural formula, in the name of the Eternal Three. But if baptism in the name of the God-man, solely, is not justifiable; still less would it be proper to baptise in the name of the "Son," if that term denoted a merely temporal and transitory distinction and relationship.

1 Oyrillub Hierosol.: Cats- positio Fidei, I. iv.—Compare

chcses, XI. ii. upon the general subject of eter

'Augustinus: Enuar. in Ps. nal generation, Pearson: On tho

xxvi. 8. Creed, Article II. pp. 208 sq. (Ed.

* Johannes Damascenes: Ex- Dobson).

Hence, the Nicene trinitarians regarded Paterternity and Filiation as immanent and necessary relationships in the Godhead, and the ineffable divine archetypes of all that corresponds to these relationships in the sphere of created existence. SonBhip, in its abstract and generic definition, is participation in a common nature or essence. The manner in which this participation is brought about in the Godhead is spiritual, and in accordance with the transcendence of the Deity; while in the sphere of the creature it is material, and mediated by sex.1 But in both spheres alike, Sonship implies sameness of nature. The eternal Son is consubstantial with the eternal Father; and the human son is consubstantial with the human father. For this reason, the Nicene trinitarians represent Sonship in the Godhead as the absolute Sonship, of which all created and finite sonship is only a faint and imperfect pattern; even as the finite individuality is only a faint and imperfect pattern of the Divine personality, and as human justice, mercy, and love, are merely shadows of the absolute justice, mercy, and love of God. Athanasius interprets the text: "I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named'" (Eph. iii. 14, 15), as teaching that God the Father of the Son is the only absolute Father, in the same manner that he is the only absolute Good, and that all created paternity is only a shadow of the divine and uncreated. "It belongs," he says, "to the Godhead alone, that the Father is Father absolutely and in the highest sense (xvQtae); and the Son is Son absolutely and in the highest sense (xygicog); for in them, and in them only, does it hold, that the Father is ever Father, and the Son is ever Son."1 The eternity of the Divine Fatherhood and the eternity of the Divine Sonship, constitutes an absoluteness and perfection in the relationship such as cannot be found in the sphere of the creature. Paternity and filiation belong to the deity of necessity. God is not God without them. But in the sphere of the creature, paternity and filiation are only temporal and contingent. There is no such relation in the angelic world, and man may not be a father and yet be human, as was Adam at the moment of his creation. The following train of reasoning, employed by Athanasius in his "Defence of the Nicene Faith," throws light upon the doctrine of the natural and eternal Sonship of the second Person, as held and maintained against the Arians, who denied it. There are two senses, in which the Scripture employs the word son. The first is found in passages like Deuteronomy, xiii. 18, and John, i. 12: "When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God . .. ye shall he children of the Lord your God." "As, many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God." The other sense is that in which Isaac is the son of Abraham. If, now, the Son of God is a son only in the first sense, as the Arians assert, then he does not differ in his nature and grade of being from any creature, and could not be denominated the Only-Begotten. To the Arian answer, that the Son is called the Only-Begotten because he was brought into existence by God alone, while all other things were created by God through the Son, Athanasius replies that this certainly could not be because God had exhausted himself in creating the Son, and needed rest, and so devolved the creation of all other things upon him. But perhaps it was because all other creatures could not endure to be produced by the unapproachable and transcendent deity,—a reason assigned first by Asterius, and afterwards adopted by Arius. But if created things cannot be created directly by the deity, and must come into existence through a middle Being, then the Son (since he is a creature) would need a mediator to his creation. And this medium would also require a medium, and so on ad infinitum; and thus there could be no creation at all. The Son of God, is, therefore, so called, in

1 This, however, is not abso- Adam without the instrumentali

lutely necessary even in the hu- ty of sex. Onr Lord partook of

man sphere. Eve was made to human nature fully and complete

participate in the substance of ly, yet not by ordinary generation. 1 Athanasius: Contra Arianos, who alone is trne (Rom. iii. 4)

I. zziii, xxi. Jerome remarks, imparts the name of truth; Bo,

"As He who alone is good (Luke too, the only Father, in that He

zviii. 19) makes men good, and is the creator of all, and the cause

who alone is immortal (1 Tim. of substance to all, gives to the

vi. 16) bestows immortality, and rest to be called Father."

the sense in which Isaac was the son of Abraham,— by nature and participation in the same substance. "What is naturally begotten from any one, and does not accrue to him from without, that, in the nature of things, is a son.'1'' But the generation of the Eternal Son differs from a human generation, in the following particulars. The offspring of men are portions of their progenitors; since their bodies are not uncompounded, but transitive. But God is without parts, and is Father of the Son without partition or passion. Again, men lose substance in generation, and gain substance again from the accession of food; and thus become the parents of many children. But God, being without parts, neither loses nor gains substance; and thus he is the Father of one Only-Begotten Son. "Let every corporeal thought be banished upon this subject, and, transcending every imagination of sense, let us, with the pure understanding and mind alone, apprehend the Son's genuine relation towards the Father, and the Word's individuality (idicorrjra) in reference to God, and the unvarying likeness of the radiance to the light. For, as the words 'Offspring' and 'Son' bear, and are meant to bear, no human sense, but one suitable to God, in like manner when we hear the phrase, 'one in substance,' let us not fall upon human senses, and imagine partitions and divisions of the Godhead; but as having our thoughts directed to things immaterial, let us preserve undivided the oneness of nature, and the identity of light. For this is the individuality, or hypostatical character, of the Son in relation to the Father; and in this is shown that God is truly the Father of the Word. Here, again, the illustration of light and its radiance is in point. Who will presume to say that the radiance is unlike, and foreign to, the sun? Rather, who thus considering the radiance relatively to the sun, and the identity of the light both in the sun and the sunbeam, would not say with confidence: 'Truly the light and the radiance are one, and the radiance is in the sun, so that whoever sees this sees the sun also?' But what should such a oneness and personal peculiarity (idicjTijg) be called but 'Offspring,' 'one in substance '? And what should we fittingly consider God's Offspring, but the Divine Word, and Wisdom?"1

Similar arguments and illustrations are also set forth by Athanasius, in his singularly logical and powerful "Orations against the Arians." "We must not understand," he says, "those words, 'I am in the Father, and the Father in me,' as if the Father and the Son were two distinct essences or natures, blended or inlaid into one another; as if they had that property which philosophers call penetration of parts: that is to say, as if they were a vessel, supposed to be capable of being doubly filled at once; as if the Father occupied the same quantity or region of space with the Son, and the Son the same as the Father. The Father's personality is infinitely perfect and complete; and the Son's personality is the plenitude of his Father's substance. The Son has not his Sonship deiived or communicated to him by any sort of intervention, or mediation. No; it is of the Son's very nature, of the Father's substance, and immediate from the Father. .... There is an entire propriety and community of nature between the Son and the Father, in like manner as there is between brightness and light, between the stream and the fountain; and, consequently, he that sees the Son, sees in him the Father, and cannot but know that the Son is in the substance of the Father, as having his subsistence {v7toaTaaig) communicated to him out of that substance {pvaia); and, again, that the Father is in the Son, as communicating his substance to the Son, as the nature of the solar substance is in the rays, the intellectual faculty in the rational soul, and the very substance of the fountain in the waters of the river The Son cannot be otherwise than begotten of the Father, and consequently, cannot be the Father; yet as being begotten of the Father, he cannot but be God; and as being God, he cannot but be one in essence with the Father: and therefore he and the Father are One,—one in propriety and community of nature, and one in unity of Godhead. Thus brightness is light; the splendour or radiance of the sun is coeval with the body of the

1 Athanasius: Defensio Fidei Nicaenae, IIL vi, vii, viii, x, xi, xxiv.

sun. It is of its very substance. It is not a secondary flame kindled or borrowed from it, but it is the very offspring and issue of the sun's body. The sunbeams cannot be separated from that great fund of light. No man in his senses can suppose them subsisting, after their communication with the planet is cut off. And yet the sun and the brightness that flows from it are not one and the same thing. They are at once united, and yet individual, in the substance of that total light and heat which cherishes the world, and paints the face of nature. And this is an imperfect emblem of the all-glorious divinity of the Son of God, which is essentially one with that of his Father. They are one numerical substance. They are one God, and there are no other Gods besides that one. And both being one in essence and divinity, it follows that whatever can be affirmed of the Father may as truly and properly be affirmed of the Son, except only the relation of

Paternity That the Son is co-eternal with the

Father is evinced by the very nature of the relation of sonship. For no one is father of a son, nor can in a physical sense be called so, until he has a son. The relationship of artist or workman does not necessarily imply a co-existence of mechanical works or productions with their maker; and therefore it does not follow that God could not be a Creator, before the existence of his creatures. But he could not be a Father before he had a Son of his very substance; and therefore his Paternity must have been co-eternal with his Godhood"1 From such reasonings as these, it is evident that the Nicene trinitarians regarded "generation" and "procession" as necessary and immanent activities in the Eternal Essence, and held that the Godhead cannot be conceived of without them, any more than without the activities of reason and will. Cyril of Alexandria, in answer to the inquiry whether the Son existed before his generation, says: "The generation of the Son did not precede his existence, but he always existed, and that by generation."2

1 Athanasiub: Contra Arianos, III. i, iii, iv, vi.

'Cyrillus Alexandrijtus: Thesaurus, V. p. 85.—We here throw into a note, some of the historical statements of Waterlakd, and Bull, respecting the Nicene doctrine of eternal generation.—According to Waterland (Second Defence, Qn. VTCI.), there was some querying after the Nicene Council among orthodox Fathers, whether the idea of generation conld apply to the eternal and immanent relation of the Son to the Father. "Whether," says Waterland, "the Logos might be rightly said to be begotten in respect of the state which was antecedent to the irpofXfvo-it .was the point in question. Athanasius argued strenuously for it, upon this principle, that whatever is of another, and referred to that other, as his Head (as the Logos, considered as such, plainly

was), may and ought to be styled Son, and Begotten. Besides, the Arians had objected that there would be two nnbegotten Persons, if the Logos always existed, and yet not in the capacity of Son. These considerations, besides the testimonies of elder Fathers who had admitted eternal generation, weighed with the generality of the Catholics; and so eternal generation came to be the more prevailing langnage, and has prevailed ever since." Waterland remarks, that those of this class who doubted respecting the eternal generation did not doubt concerning the eternal existence of the second Person. The only orthodox Fathers, however, whom he cites as doubtful are Hilary, "though he seems to have changed his language and sentiments too, afterward," Zeno Veron. (apnd Bull, p. 200), Phaebadius (Contra Arianos), and Ambrose. These Fathers, he thinks, would confine the term generation, to the oeconamical mission and manifestation of the Son in Creation and Redemption,—the npoiX<vent spoken of in the extract from Waterland above.

2. In the second place, the Nicene trinitarians rigorously confined the ideas of "Sonship" and "generation" to the hypostatical character. It is not the essence of Deity that is generated, but a distinction in that essence. And, in like manner, the term "procession," applied to the Holy Spirit, pertains exclusively to the third hypostasis, and has no application to the substance of the Godhead. The term "begotten," in the Nicene trinitarianism, is descriptive only of that which is peculiar to the second Person, and confined to him. The Son is generated with respect only to his Sonship, or, so to speak, his individuality (JdiaTtjg), but is not generated with respect to his essence or nature. The term "generation," being thus rigorously confined to the hypostaUcal character, as distinguished from the unity and community of essence, denotes only a relationship between the first and second Persons.1 It, consequently, no more implies a subordination with respect to the essence of the second Person, than it does with respect to the essence of the fii-st. For if the Son is the generated, the Father is the generator.1 The idea of " generation," consequently, has an application to the first Person as much as to the second; and if there is nothing in the fact of being a Father that infringes upon the essential deity of the first Person in the trinity, then there is nothing in the fact of being a Son, that infringes upon the essential deity of the second Person. Hence Athanasius represents filiation in the Son as the necessary and eternal antithesis to paternity in the Father, and argues that the passivity, or the being a Son, on the part of the second hypostasis, no more infringes upon his participation in the essence of the Godhead, than the activity, or the being a Father, on the part of the first hypostasis, infringes upon his participation in the same essence of the Deity. The Father and Son are of one and the same uncreated and infinite essence, even as the human father and son are of one and the same created and finite essence. The participation in the same identical nature or essence, or, in the Nicene phrase, the consubstantiality (pftoovOiov), places the first and second persons in the Godhead in the same class or grade of being. Both are equally divine, because they share equally in the substance of deity; as, in the sphere of the finite, both father and son are equally human, because participating equally in the substance of humanity. The category of substance determines the grade of being. That which is of a divine substance is divine; and that which is of a human substance is human. And the mere relationship in each case, —the mere being a father, and the mere being a son,—does not in the least affect the grade or species of being to which each belongs. The human son is as truly a man as is the human father; and the Divine Son is as truly God as is the Divine Father. "We men," says Athanasius, "consisting of a body and a soul, are all /itag cpvatag xal ovatug, of one nature or essence; but we are many persons." Again, when his Anomoean opponent compares the Father, Son, and Spirit, to a bishop, presbyter, and deacon, Athanasius directs his attention to the fact that these latter have all the same nature, being each of them man.1

Waterland (First Defence, Qn. VIII.) finds three generations, in all, spoken of in the patristic writings. The fir»t and most proper filiation and generation is the Son's eternally existing in and of the Father; the Eternal Logos of the Eternal Mind. In respect to this, chiefly, he is the OnlyBegotten, and a distinct Person from the Father. His other generations were rather condescensions, first to creatures in general, and next to men in particular. His second generation was his condescension, manifestation, coming forth (wpofXiuo-ir), as it were, from the Father (though never separated or divided from him), to create the worlds; and in this respect properly he may be thought

tO be rrpuTUTOKOC 7r>'i<TT]t (criVfur,

first born of every creature, or before all creatures [The preposition in composition here governing the genitive]. His third generation or filiation was when he condescended to be born of a virgin, and to become man.

Bull's theses are as follows: 1. That decree of the Nicene

Council, in which it is decided that the Son of God is efdv « efov, was approved by those catholic doctors who wrote previously to the synod, as well as by those who wrote after it. For they all with one breath taught, that the Divine nature and perfections belong to the Father and Son, not collaterally, or co-ordinately, but subordinately; that is to say, that the Son has the same Divine nature in common with the Father, but communicated by the Father; so that the Father alone has this Divine nature from himself, or from no other, but the Son has it from the Father; and hence the Father is the fountain, origin, and principle (principium) of the divinity which is in the Son. 2. The catholic doctors, both before and after the Nicene conncil, unanimously affirm that God the Father is greater than God the Son even in regard to divinity; that is to say, not in respect to nature, or any essential perfection that is in the Father and not in the Son, but in respect to dignity only, or origin,—since the Son is from the Father, and not the Father from the Son. [Bull means, as is evident from his reasoning throughout his work, that the Person of God the Father is greater than the Person of God the Son. Fatherhood is primal,

and Sonship secondary, ex vi terminoruin. The personal peculiarity of the human father is superior to the personal peculiarity of the human son, though one is as truly human as the other.] 8. The ancient fathers regarded the doctrine of the subordination of the Son to the Father, as to his origin and principle, to be very useful and necessary; because, in this mode, the divinity of the Son can be affirmed, and yet the unity of God, and the Divine monarchy, be kept intact. For though there are two, viz., the Father and the Son, to whom the Divine name and nature are common, yet inasmuch as the former is the princi

ple (principium) of the after, from whom he is propagated (and that, too, by an interior and not exterior production), it is evident that God can properly be denom inated one and only. And the same reasoning, these fathers believed to apply equally to the divinity of the Holy Spirit.

1" The truth is, the word God denotes all perfection, and the word Father denotes a relation of order, and a particular manner of existing.'" Waterlajtd: Seoond Defenoe, Query U.—The hypostatical character is incommunicable to the other Persons. The Father cannot possess the filial characteristic of the Son; the pa

temal relation cannot belong to the Son; and neither paternity nor filiation can attach to the Holy Spirit. "The Persons of the trinity," says Hooeer (Eccles. Polity, V. lvi.), "are not three particular substances to whom one general nature is common, but three that subsist by one substance, which itself is particular: yet they all three have it, and their several ways of having it are that which moketh their personal i^ distinction." The Father possesses the Divine Essence by paternity, the Son by filiation, the Spirit by procession. The doctrine of the trinity is not that of one Nature and three Persons, but of one Nature in three Persons.

'Hence the Father was often denominated God Unbegotten, and the Son God Begotten. The term aytinjros, though etymologically a good one to apply to the first Person, in the sense of "ingenerate," was, however, not so applied by the catholic Fathers, because it was first applied to him by the Arian party in the sense of "uncreated." Athanasius himself accepts it in this sense, and consequently argues that the Son is not yotjrdr; because yfinjTor would mean "cre

ated," if dyfwp-or means "uncreated." The Vatican manuscript, edited byMai, reads pov<rytvrjs 3fos in John i. 18,—a proof that this manuscript is of very early date; certainly before the Eutychian controversy, which rendered the orthodox shy of a phraseology that was quite current in the earlier ages. In the Apostolical Constitutions, III. 17, we find the following: rrarrjp, 6 t'iri navrav Sfor - Xpurros 6 povoyfvrjs 3for, 6 ayanrfrbs vios, etc. The PeshitO

version renders the verse John i. 18, " the only God," showing that tdn was in the Greek manuscript from which this very early Syriao translation was made, and that povoytvrjs was imperfectly translated, or else that another word stood in its place- In the early trinitarian literature, the terms "Unbegotten" and "Begotten" merely denote a peculiar modus existendi in one and the same Eternal Essence. In the first Person, the divine Nature exists as "ingenerate;" in the second as "generate." The phrase "the Unbegotten God" expresses no more than the phrase "God the Father;" and the phrase "the Begotten God" no more than "God the Son."

In this way, the term "generation" was employed to discriminate the hypostatical character from the essential nature, in the triune Godhead, and in all use of the term, or criticism upon it, it should carefully be remembered that it is limited, in the Nicene trinitarianism, to the personal subsistence, and has no legitimate application to the eternal essence.2 The trinity is not generated. The essence or substance of deity is not generated. The first and third hypostases are not generated. But the second hypostasis is generated, and is alone. The same, mutatis mutandis, is true of the term "procession." And with reference to the first hypostasis or Person, the agency on his part denoted by the term "beget," the correlate to "only-begotten," is hypostatical agency solely. It sustains no relation to the trinity as a whole. For God the Father does not generate the trinity. He is not the Father of the triune Godhead, or of the Divine Essence. Neither is he the Father of the third Person. He is only the Father of the Son.1 So that the term "generate," or " beget,"—which is the necessary antithesis to the term "only-begotten," so often applied in the Scriptures to the second Person,—merely denotes the individuality of the first Person, or that which is peculiar to him, and confined to him, as the first in the series of three. Thus, from first to last, in the Nicene construction of the doctrine of the trinity, the terms "beget," "begotten," and "proceed," are confined to the hypostatical distinctions, and have no legitimate, or technical meaning when applied to the trinity as a whole, or, in other words, to the Essence in distinction from the hypostasis.1

1 Hows: View of the late Con- scnce. A human person is an siderations, &c.—It should be individualized portion of humanadded to this illustration of Atha- ity.

nasius, that the whole Nature or 'Ambrose preached a sermon

Essence is in the divine Person; upon the Incarnation before the

but the human person is only a emperor Gratian. The emperor

part of the common human na- "proposed to him an objection,

tore. Generation in the Godhead npon which the Arians greatly

admits no abscission or division depended; namely, that the Son

of snbstance; but generation in being begotten could not be of

the inatanrfi of the creature im- the same nature with m- Father

plies separation or division of es- who is unbegotten. He therefore added the answer to this objec- cause it is the same divine nature

tion, which chiefly consists in which is common to, and pos

showing that the distinction be- sessed by all three. Hence it

tween begotten and unbegotten re- would follow, that if the divine

lates not to their nature, but to nature of the Son was begotten,

their personality." Fleury: Eccl. so would the divine nature of tho

Hist B. xviii. Father and of the Holy Ghost

1" Non .... trinitatem natam be likewise. The divine essence

de virgine Maria, ct sub Pontio neither begets nor is begotten. It

Pilato crncifixam et sepultam, is a divine person in the essence

tertio die resurrexisse, et coelum that begets, and a divine person

ascendisse, sed tantummodo Fil- is that essenoe that is begotten.

ium. Nee trinitatem de- Essenoe does not beget essence,

scendisso- in specie columbae su- but person begets person; other

per Jesum baptizatum." Auqus- wise there would be more than

Tinus: De Trinitate, I. iv.—" The one essence; whereas, though

divine nature of the Son is no there are more persons than one,

more begotten than the divine yet there is no more than one

nature of the Father and of the essence." Gill: Doctrine of the

Holy Oho«t; the reason is, be- Trinity, ch. vii.

'We condense the following statement of the relations of the Person to the Essence from TwesTen'b Dogmatik (§ 42). The entire section is a fine specimen of analysis. "Since God is pure act and life (actus purissimus); since by virtue of his absolute Belf-subsistence, and spontaneity, nothing dead, nothing given independent of his own act, nothing externally necessary, is in Him, those relations whereby the Divine Persons are distinguished from each other must rest upon the Divine activity,—viz: upon the two absolutely immanent actions, generation, and procession. These actions are 'opera ad intra,' because they have nothing but God himself for an Object; and are 'actus personales,' since, not the Divine Essence, in so far as it is common to the three Persons, but only in Bo far as it subsists in each of the hypostatical determinations (Bestimmungen), must be i-nnci.io»«a ~> Uicu ouiiject or

principle. Henoe, it follows that these 'actus personales' are not to be considered as the common action of all three Persons, but as the activities of definite individual Persons,—e. g.: of the Father, or Son, or both united, as in the procession of the Spirit.

But if the Father is unbegotten, does it not follow that He alone is the absolute Being of Beings? No, for there is no inequality of Essence; since this is in all three Persons equally and alike. The inequality can only refer to subsistence; and moreover, not to the notion of necessity of subsistence, but to the notion of order of subsistence, by virtue of which the Father is first, the Son second, and the Spirit is third. The inequality does not relate to time, for the three are equally eternal; nor to nature, for this is the same in all the Persons, since the Essence is identical in all: but to the relations of Paternity and Filiation, Mission and Prooession, upon which rela- sistence of the Essence in the Son,

Perhaps the relationship of the Person to the Essence, in the Nicene scheme, has not been expressed more succinctly than by Hooker, in a sentence which condenses the whole reasoning of the Nicene controversy. "The substance of God, with this property, to be of none, doth make the person of the Father; the very self-same substance, with this property, to be of the Father, maketh the person of the Son; the same substance, having added to it the property of proceeding from the other two, maketh the person of the Holy Ghost. So that in every person, there is implied both the substance of God, which is one, and also that property which causeth the same person really and truly to differ from the other two. .. . Each person hath his own subsistence (vnoaraaig) which no other person hath, although there be others besides that are of the same substance (pvaia). As no man but Peter can be the person which Peter is, yet Paul hath the selfsame nature which Peter hath. Again, angels have every one of them the nature of pure and invisible spirits, but every angel is not that angel which appeared in a dream to Joseph."1

tions the distinction of Persons and that the personality of the

rests. In this sense, the Athana- Spirit is grounded in the Father

sian symbol can assert, that, 'in and Son.

trinitate nihil prius aut posterius But does it not follow from

(scil. tempore), nihil majus ant mi- this that the Father alone is abso

nus (scil. natura), sed tota tres per- lute T No, for absoluteness is an

sonas coaeternas sibi ot coequales indispensable mark of the Divine

(scil. propter opoovaiAnqra rat rav- Essence, and this belongs equally

T&rrjTa rijr ovalas),' and yet oon- and necessarily to all. There is

cede an inequality, if by it is meant but one Essence, subsisting under

that tha Fftt.bpr i» constituted the a threefold rponos vndp£«»s." ground or principle of the sub

The nearest approximation to a metaphysical definition of the ideas of eternal generation, and procession, by the Nicene theologians, is found in the idea of "intercommunion," and "inter-agency." A common word employed by them, as a suggestive rather than exhaustive term, is ntqix<>iQr)avz (circulatio2). Starting from the Scriptural idea and term of the "living" God, the trinitarian thinker endeavored to convey to the mind of the Arian the truth, that the one Essence is all in each of the Persons, so that the three Persons constitute but one Essence or Being, by representing this threefoldness as an immanent circulation (ntgi%aQrjai(£) in the Divine Nature,—an unceasing and eternal movement in the Godhead, whereby each Person co-inheres in the others, and the others in each,—so that the Essence is equally the substance of all, while yet each Person preserves and maintains his own distinctive hypostatical character. The Father begets, but is not begotten. The Son begets not, but is begotten. The Spirit neither begets nor is begotten, but proceeds. Such is the phraseology employed to hint at, rather than explain, the mystery of the eternal interaction, and intercommunion, which was conceived to be going on in a Being whom the Nicene theologian was fond of contemplating under the idea of a living Unity, rather than under the notion of a lifeless Unit.1 He employed this term ntQi^d^aig, to intimate that the Arian notion of singleness doea not come np to the Scriptural idea of the Divine fullness and infinitude of being. God, he claimed, is a plural Unit. He is not "one" in the same sense in which an in-, dividual of a species in material nature is "one." The Deity is not a member of a species, and the term "individual" is inapplicable to him. And yet the Arian objections to the doctrine of the triunity of God proceeded upon the assumption that strict individuality, or singleness, is attributable to the Godhead, and consequently that the same modes of reasoning that apply to the finite, with its species, and individuals, apply equally to the Infinite. It was to correct this erroneous and shallow conception of that Eternal One who belongs to no species, but whose infinite plenitude of being sets him above finite modes of existence, that the Nicene theologians, when they were tempted as they sometimes were by the arithmetical rather than philosophical objections of the Arian to venture upon some positive statements and definitions, employed a term that hinted at the eternal and unchanging circumincession and intercommunion of the three Persons in the Godhead, whereby the Essence is all in each, and each is in the Essence; whereby the One is Three, and the Three are One.

'hooekr: Eccl. Pol. V. li. The term "property" in this extract must be taken in its etymological signification. Ilooker means to denote by it, the individual peculiarity (i5iti)Ti7t), and not that the hypostasis is the attribute of the Essence. The following extract from Alouin (Quaestiones De Trinitate, in Augustini Opera, "VTII. 478, Ed. Migne), throws light upon the distinction between the Person and the Nature. "If we may say that there are three persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, why may we not say there are three Gods, three Omnipotents, three Eternals, and three Infinites? Because the terms God, Omnipotent, Eternal, and Infinite, are names relating to the substance (substantialia nomina); hence they cannot be employed in the plural number, but only in the singular. Every term that denotes the substance or essence of God must always be used in the singular number. Hut the terms Father, Son, and Spirit are

relative names, and therefore are rightly called three persons. What is meant by a relative name? Relative names refer one thing to another thing; as 'master' refers to 'slave,' and 'slave' to 'master;' 'father' refers to 'son' and 'son' to ' father.' When I speak of a 'father,' I imply a 'son;' for there cannot be a father unless there be a son in relation to whom he is a father."—Alcuin notices the following difference between the first and second persons as related to each other, and the third person as related to the first and second: "We may say, 'Father of the Son,' and 'Son of the Father.' We may say, 'Spirit of. the Father,' but not 'Father of the Spirit,'—for this would imply two Fathers. We may say, 'Spirit of the Son,' but not 'Son of the Spirit,'—for this would imply two Sons."

* Sherloce (Vindication of the Trinity) translates it by circuminetision. Guuwuuth (Intel. Syst. I. 737, Andover Ed.) employs the term. "These three hypostases, the Father in me; and the Father

or persons, are truly and really that dwelleth in me, he doeth the

one God. Not only because they works.'" For a full discussion

have all essentially one and the of the conception, see Athana

eame will (according to Origen, eins's third Discourse against the

Cont. Oels. lib. viii. p. 886).... Arians.

but also because they are physi- 'The distinction between a unit

rally (if we may so speak) one and a unity is real and valid,

also; and have a mutual rrtpixia- The former denotes mere single

p7ifrts> and tin'>Trnf>%< t, inbeing and nose, and more properly pertains

permeation of one another,—ao- to an impersonal thing, than to a

cording to that of our Saviour personal being. Belf-consoious

Ohrist: 'I am in the Father, and ness supposes interior distinctions in the self-conscious essence. 1), "Singularitatem hanc dioo, There is a plenitude of existence quod Graece povonjs dicitur; sinin self-consciousness that is not gularitas ad personam pertinet, exhausted by the notion of mere unitas ad natnram." Gtoworth singleness, such as is attributable (Intellect. Syst. II. 446, Tegg's to a stone, or stick, or any pure Ed.) marks this distinction, by unit in material nature. It is the phrases "general essence," noteworthy that the denomina- and "singular essence,"—the fortions of the opposing parties sng- mer of which is an essence that gest this distinction. The Unita- includes "subsistences," and the rian holds to the Arian unit; the latter is a distinct and single Trinitarian believes in the trinal "subsistence." unity. Says Ambrose (De fide, v.

But such endeavors to explain the incomprehensible mystery of the trinity were not carried any further than to this point and degree. The catholic mind followed out its thoughts in this direction just far enough to show, that the truth, though transcending reason, did not contradict reason,—in other words that the charge of palpable absurdity and self-contradiction, so often advanced by the Arian, could not be made good respecting one of the plainest doctrines of revelation, and most fundamental truths of Christianity; but that even before the bar of metaphysical reason something valid might be said in favour of it. But when this had been done, the mind of an Athanasius was disposed to stop, and allow speculation to pass over into worship.

The last and most comprehensive results of the controversy and investigation were embodied in a creed, which by its negative clauses denied, rejected, and in some instances anathematized, the false statements of the doctrine, because these were hnmvn to be unscriptural and untrue, and by its positive clauses endeavoured, though inadequately, to convey some distinct apprehension of the abysmal truth. The so-called Symbolum Quicumque, falsely ascribed to Athanasius, and which probably originated in the school of Augustine, affords a fine specimen of this sort of dialectic statement.1 It runs as follows: "1. Whoever would be saved, must first of all take care that he hold the catholic faith. 2. Which, except a man preserve whole and inviolate, he shall without doubt perish eternally. 3. But this is the catholic faith, that we worship one God in trinity, and trinity in unity. 4. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. 5. For the person of the Father is one; of the Son, another; of the Holy Spirit, another. 6. But the divinity (divinitas) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is one, the glory equal, the majesty equal. 7. Such as is (qualis) the Father, such also is the Son, and such the Holy Spirit. 8. The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, the Holy Spirit is uncreated. 9. The Father is infinite, the Son infinite, the Holy Spirit infinite. 10. The Father is eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. 11. And yet, there are not three eternal Beings (aeterni), but one eternal Being.1 12. As also there are not three uncreated Beings (increati), nor three infinite Beings (infiniti), but one uncreated and one infinite Being. 13. In like manner, the Father is omnipotent, the Son omnipotent, and the Holy Spirit omnipotent. 14. And yet, there are not three omnipotent Beings, but

1 At this point, we throw into a note Augustine's explanation of certain difficult texts that were often quoted by the Arians, as casting light upon the general doctrine, and as specimens of the best patristic exegesis.—Augustine refers the words: "My Father is greater than I" to the human nature of Christ; and remarks that Christ in his estate of humiliation was inferior not only to the Father, but to Himself also. He might have said: "The Eternal Word is greater than I." For illustration he refers to Philippians ii. 6, 7, where Christ is represented as having the "form of God," and the "form of a servant." When in the form of a servant, and having respect to that, he could say that "the Father is greater than I," because this was merely saying that the "form of a servant" is inferior to the "form of God." The text 1 Cor. xv. .28, Augustine refers to the Mediatorial character of Christ. When he has completed the work of recovering the elect, and bringing them into the beatific vision of God, he ceases to be Mediator any longer. Hence, says Augustine, we must not regard Christ as giving up the kingdom "to God and the Father," in such a sense as to take away

the kingdom from God the Son. For the Father and Son, in respect to their nature and eternal relationship, are one. The text Mark xiii. 82, Augustine (as did Irenaeus before him) explains to mean, that the disclosure of the day and hour of judgment is the prerogative of the triune God, and is not a part of the Mediator's official work. "A man," says Augustine, "is said not to 'know' a thing, when he keeps others in ignorance by not revealing it. Thus God said to Abraham: 'Now I know that thou fearest God' (Gen. xxii. 12). God, in the strict sense, 'knew' that Abraham feared him before he tried him; but God did not know it in the sense of making Abraham know it, or of telling Abraham that it was a fact, until after the temptation." In like manner, Christ as the Eternal Word knew the day and the hour of judgment; but in his Mediatorial capacity he was not authorized to announce it, and as Mediator tells his disciples that he knows nothing about it, because it is a matter belonging to the eternal councils of the triune Godhead,—which in the order of nature are anterior to the council of redemption. "Christ," says

Augustine, "was not authorized not because it is really so, but

at this time to give information because it is hidden from the

to his disciples respecting the day sight of men." Augusttous: Op

of judgment, and this is called ig- era VIII. 829-80, 857, (Ed.

norance upon his part; just as a Migne).
ditch is sometimes called 'blind,' 'See note ante, p. 347.

one omnipotent Being. 15. Thns the Father is God, the Son, God, and the Holy Spirit, God. 16. And yet, there are not three Gods (dii), but one God only. 17. The Father is Lord, the Son, Lord, and the Holy Spirit, Lord. 18. And yet, there are not three Lords (domini), but one Lord only. 19. For as we are compelled by christian truth to confess each person distinctively to be both God and Lord, we are prohibited by the catholic religion to say that there are three Gods, or three Lords. 20. The Father is made by none, nor created, nor begotten. 21. The Son is from the Father alone, not made, not created, but begotten. 22. The Holy Spirit is not created by the Father and Son, nor begotten, but proceeds. 23. Therefore, there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits. 24. And in this trinity there is nothing prior or posteriorr nothing greater or lesser, but all three persons are coeternal, and coequal to themselves. 25. So that through all (omnia), as was said above, both unity in trinity, and trinity in unity, is to be adored. 26. Whoever therefore would be saved, let him thus think concerning the trinity."

By this continual laying down of positions, and equally continual retraction of them, up to a certain point, in order to prevent their being pushed too> far, the theological mind endeavored to keep clear of the two principal deviations from the exact truth, —Sabellianism and Arianism,—not denying the unity while asserting the trinity, nor denying the trinity while asserting the unity. It is the opinion of Hagenbach, that so far as the first two hypostases are concerned, the doctrine of the trinity has not received any clearer or fuller scientific statement than that which is contained in the Nicene Syvibol, and the kindred Symbolum Quicumque, and he seems to intimate that it is impossible for anything more to be said in the way of dialectic and scientific statement, than is enunciated in these creeds. It appears to be his opinion, that the principal if not all the fundamental errors to which the human mind is liable in the construction of the doctrine of the trinity are specified, rejected, and condemned, in the negative side of the symbol; while, so far as concerns the positive definition and enunciation, the human mind has here gone as far in this direction as is possible for it. "Against this bulwark of the faith," he says, "all further attempts of the human understanding to reconcile the opposing antitheses in the statement of the doctrine, and to afford a full direct intuition that shall clear up all the mystery of the subject, must dash and break themselves, as do the waves of the sea against the inexorable cliffs and rocks."1

1 Hagenrach: Dogmengeschichte, § 97. 8d Auflage.

§ 4. Nicene Doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

The Nicene Symbol is remarkably reticent respecting the third Person in the trinity. It contains but a single clause respecting Him, in these words: "And we believe in the Holy Spirit." But so little was the theological mind occupied with the discrimination and definition of this hypostasis, that after this brief statement respecting the Holy Spirit, it immediately recurs again to the second Person, and affirms, that "those who say that there was once a time when the Son of God was not, or that before he was begotten, he was not in being,1 or that he became existent out of nonentity, or that he is of another substance or essence [than that of Deity], or that he is created, or mutable, or changeable: all such, the catholic and apostolic Church anathematizes."

The controversy had been so deep and earnest, respecting the true nature and position of the Son that, although the views of Arius were as erroneous in respect to the Holy Spirit as in respect to the Logos, the Nicene theologians passed by his heresy on this point, without noticing it in their systematic symbol. Two reasons seems to have operated with them. First, they were not willing, unless compelled to do so, to embarrass the already highly abstract and metaphysical discussion of the doctrine of the trinity with further matter and questions, at this time, preferring to leave the unsettled points for a future discussion, after the present subject had been fully disposed of. Secondly, it is possible that that considerably large body of Semi-Arian theologians, to whom we have alluded, would have hesitated to extend the doctrine of consubstantiality to the Holy Spirit. Hence the leading Nicene theologians, knowing that the doctrine of the equal deity of the second hypostasis would logically lead to the equal deity of the third, could afford to postpone the discussion of this part of the subject. The personality and hypostatical character of the Son had been brought to view, and insisted upon, in the Origenistic scheme, and in all the earlier Trinitarianism, while that of the Holy Ghost had been left comparatively without examination, or specification. The consequence was, that at the time of the Nicene Council the opinions of many theologians were vague and idefinite with respect to the third Person in the trinity.

1 The Arians meant by this to said that ho was not before his

assert, that the Son was not be- eternal generation would have

fore his temporal generation,— been like saying that God did

which was all the generation not exist before his eternal exist

they would concede. To have once.

The mind of the leading catholic theologians, however, was fully made up, even at this period. AtJianamus distinctly affirms the hypostatical character, and proper deity of the third Person.1 His four Epistles to Serapion, bishop of Thmuis, were written to prove the consubstantiality of the Holy Spirit. In the fourth Epistle, he endeavours to show, in opposition to those who held that the Holy Spirit is a creature (xriapa), that Arianism is not fully renounced, unless the fact is explicitly acknowledged that there is nothing in the Triad foreign to the essence of God,—no substance from without mingled in, that is not in harmony with the pure essence of Deity, and consubstantial with it. He refers to passages of Scripture, and also draws an argument from the Christian experience. "How can that," he says, "which is sanctified by nothing other than itself, and which is itself the source of all sanctification for all rational creatures, be of the same species of being and kind of essence, with that which is sanctified by another than itself?" In and by the Holy Spirit the creature obtains communion with God, and participation in a divine life; but this could not be the case if the Holy Spirit were himself a creature. So certainly as man through him becomes a partaker of the divine (&t<ntoiti), so certainly must He himself be one with the divine Essence.

1 The close of Athanasius's De- ship, with his co-existent Son and

fence of the Nicene Symbol is as Word, together with the All-Holy

follows: "To God and the Father and Life-giving Spirit, now and

is due glory, honour, and wor- unto endless ages of ages. Amen."

Basil the Great (f 379) wrote a tract upon the divinity of the Holy Spirit, in which he denominates the Spirit, God, and refers to passages of Scripture in support of his view, and particularly to the baptismal formula, in which the Spirit forms the third in the series, with the Father and Son. His brother Gregory of Nyssa (f 394 ?), in the second chapter of his larger Catechism, employs the comparison suggested and warranted by the etymology of the word Spirit, and which had been much enlarged upon by earlier writers, particularly Lactantius,—the comparison of the Spirit to the breath. Unlike Lactantius, this writer, though not inclined to a strict and high trinitarianism, does not identify the Word and the Spirit, but marks the hypostatical distinction between them. Gregory Nazianzen (f 390), also, agrees in opinion and in statement with Basil, and Gregory of Nyssa.

A portion of the Semi-Arians, however, in the further discussion of the general doctrine, would concede only a relative divinity to the Son (adopting the doctrine of resemblance or kindredness of essence, 6fioiovaiov), and denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit, in any and every sense. The leading bishop in this party was Macedonius, and hence the name of Macedonians was given to it. Of this man, Sozomenl remarks, that he "taught that the Son is God,—in every respect, and according to essence, like the Father; and that the Holy Spirit is not a sharer in these prerogatives, but a minister and servant." Theodoret ■ states that Macedonius expressly denominated the Spirit a creature. Some of the objections which the Macedonians made to the doctrine of the deity and hypostatical character of the Holy Spirit were of a frivolous, as well as blasphemous nature. The following is a specimen of their argumentation. "The Holy Ghost is either begotten or unbegotten; if he is unbegotten, there are two unoriginated beings (di/o ra avaQ^a), namely, the Father and the Spirit; if he is begotten, he must be either from the Father, or the Son; if he is from the Father, then there are two Sons in the Triad, and consequently brothers,—when the question arises, whether one is older than the other, or whether they are twins; but if on the other hand the Spirit is begotten from the Son, then there is a grandson of God."1 Such objections as these betray a confusion of generation with creation, and show, also, that the mind of the objector is moving in the low range of finite existence, and is unable to rise to the transcendence of the Deity. Such a mind associates temporal attributes, and material qualities, with all the terms that are applied to the Godhead; and should it carry its mode of conception into all the discussions that relate to the Divine Nature, it could not stop short of an anthropomorphism that would be no higher than the grossest polytheism.

1 Sozomrnub: Eccles. Hisf. IV. cedonius " taught that the Son of

zxvii. God is not of the same substance

* Treodorrt: Eccles. Hist. II. as the Father, but that he resem

vi. Theodoret remarks that Ma- blos Him in every particular."

These Macedonian views, and similar ones, led to the calling of a second Council at Constantinople, in 381, which, under the guidance and influence principally of Gregory Nazianzen, made more precise statements respecting the Holy Spirit. The term bfioovaiov did not appear, however, in the creed drawn up at this time, though the Holy Spirit is represented as proceeding from the Father, and being equal in honour and power to both the Father and the Son. The phraseology of the clause relating to the third Person runs thus: "And [we believe] in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Life-Giving, who proceeds from the Father-, who is to be worshipped and glorified with the Father and the Son, and who spake through the prophets."

1 Gregorius Naz.: Oratio xxxi. 7. Compare Athanunn: Ad Serapion, I. xv.

It was owing to this failure to expressly assert the consubstantiality of the Spirit with the Father and the Son, by the use of the technical term opoovaiov, that the Constantinopolitan Symbol was not satisfactory to all parties. The position of the Holy Spirit in the trinity generally had indeed been established by it. He was acknowledged to be one of the Eternal Three, co-equal in power and glory; but his special relation to the Father and Son was left indefinite. While the creed asserted that the Spirit proceeds from the Father, it did not indeed expressly deny that He proceeds from the Son; and yet the omission of the Son seemed to look in this direction. The arguments for and against the procession of the third Person from the first and second were the following. On the one hand, the assertion that the Spirit proceeds from the Father only, and not from the Son, looked like an essential inferiority of the Son to the Father; while on the other hand the assertion that He proceeds from the Father and the Son seemed to place the Spirit in a more dependent attitude,—his hypostatical existence issuing from two hypostases instead of one. The endeavour to vindicate the deity of the Son, by asserting the procession of the Holy Spirit from Him as well as the Father, looked like infringement upon that of the Holy Spirit; and conversely the endeavour to give to the Spirit a greater independence, by disconnecting his procession from the second Person, endangered the dignity and deity of the Son. The Greek theologians, Athanasius, Basil, and Gregory Nyssa, asserted procession from the Father, without, however, opposing the doctrine of procession from the Son. Epiphanius, on the contrary, derived the Spirit from Father and Son, with whom Marcellus of Ancyra agreed, though holding to a Sabellian trinity.

The Western theologians, and among them Augustine, held the doctrine of procession from Father and Son, and this statement established itself so firmly and generally in the West, that at the third Synod of Toledo, in 589, the clause^io^w^ was added to the Constantinopolitan Symbol. This formed one of the dogmatic grounds for the division between the Western and Eastern Churches,—the former of which to this day asserts, and the latter denies, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son. § 5. Terminology of the Nicene Trinitarianism.

The deity of the Son and Spirit having thns been enunciated in a creed form, the discussions among trinitarian theologians after the Councils of Nice and Constantinople had reference to the specific relations of the three Persons to each other, and especially to fixing the terminology of the subject. Certain terms had been employed during this controversy of two hundred years' duration, which it was important to define, and thereby establish their technicality, and scientific authority. The success and enduring influence of any systematic construction of truth, be it secular or sacred, depends as much upon an exact terminology, as upon close and deep thinking itself. Indeed, unless the results to which the human mind arrives are plainly stated, and firmly fixed in an exact phraseology, its thinking is to very little purpose in the end. "Terms," says Whewell, "record discoveries."1 There may be the most thorough analysis, and the most comprehensive and combining synthesis; the truth in its deepest and most scientific form may be reached by the individual mind; and yet the public mind and after ages be none the wiser for it. That which was seen it may be with crystal clearness, and in bold outline, in the consciousness of an individual thinker, may fail to become the property and possession of mankind at large, because it is not transferred from the individual to the general mind, by means of a precise phraseology, and a rigorous terminology. Nothing is in its own nature more fugacious and shifting than thought; and particularly thought upon the mysteries of Christianity. A conception that is plain and accurate in the understanding of the first man becomes obscure and false in that of the second, because it was not grasped, and firmly held, in the form and proportions with which it first came up, and then handed over to other minds, a fixed and scientific quantity.

'whewell: History of Indue- und bleibt doch eine bestimmte

tive Sciences (Introduction). "Die Terminologie." Sohelunq: Ideal

Zierde,—und das Sussere Merk- ismusderWissenchaftslehre(Phil.

nial,—einer endlich auf sichera Schriften, 205). Grund erbauten Wissenschaft, ist

The following terms compose the scientific nomenclature employed in defining and fixing the oecumenical statement of the Doctrine of the Trinity:

1. 'Ovaia, with its equivalent cpvaig; to which the Latin correspondents are substantia, essentia, natura, and in some connections res; and the corresponding English terms, essence, substance, nature, and being. 2. 'Ynoaraaig, with its equivalents To vnoxtlfitvov, and Tiqogcoxov; to which correspond the Latin hypostasis, substantia, aspectus, and persona, and the English hypostasis and person. 3. The term idicjrrjg was employed to designate the individual peculiarity of the hypostasis,—the hypostatical character by which each divine Person is differentiated from the others. 4. rivvrjaig, generatio, generation, as has been sufficiently explained, designates the eternal and immanent activity by which the first Person communicates the divine essence to the second. 5. 'Exxootvaig with its equivalent txntpifjig; to which correspond the Latin processio and missio, and the English procession and mission.

'Ovaia, or Essence, denotes that which is common to Father, Son, and Spirit. It denominates the substance, or constitutional being, of the Deity, which is possessed alike, and equally, by each of the personal distinctions. The Essence is in its own nature one and indivisible, and hence the statement in the creed respecting it affirms simple unity, and warns against separation and division. The terms "generation" and " procession" do not apply to it.

'Ynoaraaig, or Hypostasis, is a term that was more subtile in its meaning, and use, than ovaia. It denotes, not that which is common to the Three in One, but, that which is distinctive of and peculiar to them. The personal characteristic of the Hypostasis, or "subsistence" in the Essence, was denoted by the Greek word idia>rrjg, and if we use our English word "individuality" somewhat loosely, it will convey the idea sought to be attached to the Person in distinction from the Essence.

Inasmuch as the meaning of the term Person was more difficult to reach and state, than the meaning of the term Essence, more imperfection and indefiniteness appear in the terminology employed. The three-foldness is more difficult to grasp than the unity. The human mind quite readily apprehends the notion of substance, and of attributes. These two conceptions apply to all forms of created being, and are familiar to the reflection of the human understanding,—though when examined they baffle a perfectly metaphysical com-' prehension. But the doctrine of a "subsistence" in the substance of the Godhead brings to view a species of existence that is so anomalous, and unique, that the human mind derives little or no aid from those analogies which assist it in all other cases. The hypostasis is a real subsistence,—a solid essential form of existence, and not a mere emanation, or energy, or manifestation,—but it is intermediate between substance and attributes. It is not identical with the substance, for there are not three substances. It is not identical with attributes, for the three Persons each and equally possess all the divine attributes. "We know," says Howe, "that the hypostatical distinction cannot be less than is sufficient to sustain distinct predicates or attributions, nor can it be so great as to intrench upon the unity of the Godhead."1 Hence the mind is called upon to grasp the notion of a species of existence that is totally sui generis, and not capable of illustration by any of the ordinary comparisons and analogies.2

1 Howe: I. 187. (N. York Ed.) sonal material creation; but that •This remark is certainly true the sphere of sdfconscivu* exist- . within the sphere of the imper- ence may perhaps furnish an ana

The consequence of this was, that the term vnoaruaig was sometimes attended with ambiguity, though the meaning attached to the idea was uni

logical illustration seems to be less and less doubted, as metaphysical psychology advances. Some of the Fathers, as Augustine for example, found a trinity in the human spirit. As a tentative effort in this direction, we subjoin the following positions in proof that the necessary conditions of self-consciousness in the finite spirit furnish an analogue to the doctrine of the trinity, and go to prove that trinity in unity is necessary to self-consciousness in the Godhead.

God is not "one" like a stone or tree, or any single thing in nature. He is "one " like a person. It may be presumed, therefore, that the same conditions which we find to exist in the instance of human personality, will be found in the instance of the Divine self-consciousness, only freed from the limitations of the finite. What, then, are these conditions?

In order to self-consciousness in man, the unity, viz.: the human spirit, must first become distinguished, but not divided, into two distinctions; one of which is the contemplating subject, and the other the contemplated object. The / must behold itself as an objective thing. In this first step in the process of becoming selfconscious, the finite spirit sets

itself off over against itself, in order that it may see itself. That one essence, which, before this step, was an unreflecting and therefore unconscious unit, now becomes two definitudes, distinctions, hypostases, supposita. There is now a subject-ego, and an object-ego. There is a real distinction, but no division in the original being,—in the primitive unity.

But this is not the end of the process. We have not yet reached full self-consciousness. In order to the complete self-conscious intuition, the finite spirit must, yet further, perceive that this subject-ego and object-ego, this contemplant and contemplated, arrived at in the first step of the process, are one and the same essence or being. This second act of perception completes the circle of self-consciousness. For if the human spirit stopped with the first act of merely distinguishing, and never took the second step of reuniting; if the mind never became aware that the object contemplated in the first stage of the process is no other, as to essence, than the subject contemplating; it would not have «e?f-knowledge at all. It would not perceive that it had been contemplating self. Stopping with the first act of dis

form. The distinction between ovaia and vnoaruatg, though made in fact, was not always made in form, by the first trinitarians. Some little time was required to set off each term to its own idea. Thus, the Nicene Symbol itself anathematizes those that teach that the Son ist£ irtoag vnoardatcog r\ ova tag. Athanasius employs the two terms as equivalents. "As to those who receive all else that was defined at Nice, but doubt about consubstantiality only, we must not feel as towards enemies .... for in confessing that the Son is from the substance of the Father, and not of other subsistence (ix rrjg ovaia; Tov narqbg tivai, xcel fir) t§ trtoag v noar da tag Tov vi'ov), they are not far from receiving the phrase 6fioovatov also." Again, he remarks: "Hypostasis (vnoaraaig) is substance (tW/'a), and means nothing else than simple being."1 But Athanasius continually denies that there are three ovaiai, so that his use of vnoaraaig must be determined in each instance from the connection in which he employs it. His object in asserting that "hypostasis is substance" "was to deny that the personal distinction in the Godhead is merely an energy or effluence, such as the Nominal Trinitarians maintained it to be.2

tingnishing, the object-ego would not differ, for the subject-ego, from any other object,—a tree or a stone e. g.; and the knowledge which the mind would have of itself as an object would not differ from that which it has of objects in nature, or of the not me, generally. It would not be self'consciousness, consequently, any more than the consciousness of any other thing is self-consciousness. The essence of the object must be seen to be the essence of the subject, or else »«£/"-knowledge is both incomplete and impossible. There is then a third definitude, distinction, hypostasis, suppositum, in the one original unity of the human spirit, which, in a second act of perception, beholds the identity of the first and second determinations or distinctions —the essential oneness of the subject-ego and object-ego. There is now full self-consciousness. In and by the two acts of perception, and the three resulting distinctions, the human spirit has made itself its own object, and has perceived that it has done so. There is real triplicity in the unity. For the subject-ego, as such, is not the object-ego, as such; and the third distinction, which reunites these two in the perception of their identity of

essence and being, is, as such, neither the subject-ego nor the object-ego, yet is consubstantial with them both.

If it be asked, why a fourth factor is not needed to perceive the unity of essence between the third, and the first two distinctions, the answer is: that the third distinction has not, like the first one, posited an object, but has only perceived an act. It has simply witnessed and noticed that the first distinction has made the second distinction an object of contemplation. Hence there is no second object that requires to be reunited in the unity of essence.

These, then, are the necessary philosophical conditions of personality in the finite spirit. If a single one is lacking the circle is broken, and there is no self-consciousness. From what limitations, now, must they be freed, in order that they may be transferred to the Infinite Spirit? The answer is: from the two limitations of time and degree.

In the instance of the finite spirit, these acts of perception, which have been described, occur seriatim, and the unity comes to self-consciousness only gradually, and intermittently. Man is not self-conscious at every instant. He becomes so by voluntary reflection; and the clearness and depth of his self-intuition is a thing of degrees. No man has ever yet attained to an absolutely perfect self-consciousness, as the baffled striving of the philosopher evinces. But the Divine Essence is not included in such a process of gradually becoming self-conscious, instead of eternally being so. God is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. The great vice of the modern pantheistic speculation consists in transferring the doctrine of gradual self-evolution from the sphere of the finite to that of the Infinite ; from the creature to the Creator. God, as the schoolmen define him, is '-'actus purissimus sine ulla potentialitate." There never is nor can be anything potential and undeveloped in the Divine Essence. Hence, the above-mentioned conditions of self-consciousness must, in the instance of the Deity, be freed from the limitations of time and degree. That self-consciousness which in man is the result of a deliberate effort, and

which continues only during the time of voluntary self-reflection, is ever present and ever existent in God. From eternity to eternity, the subject-ego (The Father) is perpetually beholding itself as the object-ego (The Son), and the third distinction (The Holy Spirit) is nnintermittently perceiving the essential unity and identity of the subject-ego and object-ego (Father and Son). Furthermore, the selfknowledge, in this instance, is an infinite, and fixed quantity. From the fathomless depths of the Divine Nature, there comes up at no moment during the eternal years of God, a yet profounder knowledge, a yet fuller self-intuition, than has before been gained; but this Divine self-consciousness is the same exhaustive self-contemplation from everlasting to everlasting. The eternity and immanency of these activities in the Divine Essence are expressed in theological phraseology by the Nicene doctrine of the eternal begetting of the Father, the eternal generation of the Son, and the eternal procession of the Spirit.

1 Athanasius: De Synodis, xli; Ad Afros, iv.

* Bull and Petavius differ with regard to tlie question whether the Nicene Council made a technical distinction between the two terms. Bull (Fid. Nic. II. ix. 11) contends that two different things were intended by the council to be designated by the terms oWm and inrdo-Tao-is, and that they desired to condemn two classes of errorists,—those, namely, who denied that the Son is from the Father's substance (oWfa), but conceded that he was from the Father's hypostasis (fm-oo-rao-it); and those who denied that he was from either the Father's substance, or the Father's hypostasis. The latter class

were the Arians, and the former were the Semi-Arians. The SemiArians, in Bull's opinion, would ooncede that the Son was begotten of the Father's hypostasis in a peculiar manner denoted by the term op o i ouo-i'or, and was not created from nothing like ordinary creatures; but would not concede that he was begotten of the same substance with the Father, or apply to him the term opoovatos. The Arians, on the other hand, would deny both that the Son was begotten of the Father's substance, and the Father's hypostasis, and assert that he was created de nihilo. Petavius (De Trinitate, IV.) regards the word vrsoarao-tr, in the nomenclature of the

Although the Latin trinitarians discriminated Person from Essence with full as much clearness as the Greek Nicene Fathers, yet there was some confusion of terms among them, owing to the poverty of the Latin language. One and the same word, substantia, was often employed in the Latin trinitarianism, to denote both the essentiality, and the personality. Had the term essentia been used from the very first, and invariably, to translate ovaia, and substantia to denote vnoaraatg, the confusion would have been avoided. But the term substantia, in the Latin, was so commonly exchangeable, and entirely synonymous with essentia, (as the term substance, in English, is with essence,) that no term was left to denote that peculiar mode of existence which is intermediate between essence and attributes, unless these two synonymes should be distinguished from each other, and one rigorously confined to one conception, and the other to the other.1

This however was not done at first, and the consequence was, that other terms came to be employed, occasionally, to hint at and suggest the meaning of the hypostatical distinction. Such a term is ngoaanov. This corresponds to the Latin persona, from which the English "person" is derived. This term, it is obvious to remark, though the more common one in English, and perhaps in Protestant trinitarianism generally, is not so well adapted to express the conception intended, as the Greek vTtoaraaig. It has a Sabellian leaning, because it does not with sufficient plainness indicate the subsistence in the Essence. The Father Son and Spirit are more than mere aspects or appearances of the Essence. The Latin persona was the mask worn by the actor in the play, and was representative of his particular character for the particular time. Now, although those who employed these terms undoubtedly gave them as full and solid a meaning as they could, and were undoubtedly true trinitarians, yet the representation of the eternal and necessary hypostatical distinctions in the Godhead, by terms derived from transitory scenical exhibitions, was not the best for purposes of science, even though the poverty of human language should justify their employment for popular and illustrative statements.1 That the distinction between Essence and Hypostasis became a fixed one, and thus came down in the trinitarian nomenclature of the Modern Church, was owing, in a great measure, to the Western theologians Augustine and Hilary, whose treatises upon the doctrine of the trinity were the principal text-books for the Schoolmen in their speculations.

Nioene council, as only another 'The following extract from

term for ovo-la, and contends that Axsei.m illustrates the later use

the two terms were not set off, of substantia and essentia. "Quod

each to its appropriate idea, until enim dixi snmmam trinitatem

the council of Alexandria, in 862. posse dici tres substantias, Graecos

"Vox hypostasis, non modo ante secutus sum, qui confitentur tres

Nicaenum concilium, sed ne ab substantias in una essentia, eadem

ipsis quidem Niciionis Patribus fide, qua nos tres personas in una

alitor fere acoepta sit, quam pro substantia. Nam hoc significant

ovaia, et substantia, rarissime in Deo per substantiam quod nos

vero pro persona, et proprietate rer personam." Anselmub: Mo

tuupiTiKi], ac numerum faciente." nologium (Praefatio). (De Trinitate, L iii, 8).

1 In the Semi-Arian contro- irpoaama, while the "New Ni

verey, which sprung up between cenes," who were the most accu

the Nicene and Oonstantinopoli- rate, contended for three xmoara

tan Councils, the " Old Nicenes" aas. would only acknowledge three

'ExnoQtvaa; and txntfiipig were terms employed to denote the hypostatical character and relationship of the Holy Spirit. They were derived from John xv. 15, and kindred passages. "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send (ntfixf/oa) unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth (o ixnogtvtTut) from the Father, he shall testify of me." The attempt to define the term "procession" was even less frequent than to define the term "generation." The same predicates, however, were applied to both. It was an eternal procession, out of the essence. It was a necessary procession grounded in the absolute nature of the Deity, and not dependent upon arbitrary and optional will.

§ 6. Critical Estimate of the Nicene Controversy.

We have now traced the history of this great doctrine of revelation through the period of its theoretic construction, and establishment. We have seen the theological mind, partly from its own impulse, and partly from the necessities of its position, first, collate from the -written word the various and scattered data there given, then combine them into a general statement as in the Apostles' Creed, and then expand them into a more special form of doctrine, as in the Nicene and Athanasian Symbols. Collation, combination, and expansion are the parts of the scientific process. This process went on slowly, but continuously, for a period of five centuries,—as long a time as was required for pagan Rome to conquer and subjugate the Italian tribes, and lay the foundations of a nationality that was to last a millennium in its own particular form, and another millennium in mixture with still other nationalities,—as long a time as was required for the thorough mixing and fusion of British, Saxon, and Norman elements into that modern national character which in the Englishman and Anglo-American is, perhaps, destined to mould and rule the future more than even Rome has the past. These historic parallels are interesting and illustrative. Though the processes are totally unlike,—though the one is metaphysical, and relates to the mysterious nature and essence of the Ancient of Days, before whom all the nations and all the centuries of time are as nothing and vanity, while the other is political, and relates to the rise and formation of merely secular sovereignties, exceedingly impressive to the natural mind and dazzling to the carnal eye, constituting the very splendor and glory of secular history, yet, in comparison with the eternal years of God, passing away like a morning vapor,—though these processes are in their own nature so different, the mind is aided in forming a just estimate of the slowness and grandeur of their movement, by the comparison of one with the other. The theological controversies that resulted in forming and fixing the theoretic belief of Christendom in the Triune God appear unprofitable and valueless to the merely secular mind,—to the mind that is absorbed in the finite, and making no comparisons between time and eternity. The sneer that this whole contest of five centuries was merely about a single letter, merely whether the term should be 6/noovaiov or ofioiovaiov, expresses the feeling of many a mind, for which, notwithstanding all its culture in other directions, the invisible is less august than the visible, and the temporal more impressive than the eternal.1

But he who feels a proper practical and philosophic interest in the paramount questions and problems of Christianity, and in their bearing upon the destiny of man as immortal and everlasting, will always look upon these centuries of intense metaphysical abstraction, and profound moral earnestness, with more veneration than upon any section of merely pagan and secular history, however striking or imposing. These bloodless metaphysical victories secured to the Church Universal a correct faith, and obtained for her all those benefits that flow perennially from the possession of the real and exact truth,—from the revealed idea and definition of the Triune God.

1 The value of a letter in an al- the calculus, is not greater than gebraic problem, or a formula of in this trinitarian technical term.