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.