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THE Orthodox Evangeliſt.

OR A TREATISE Wherein many Great EVANGELICAL TRUTHS (Not a few whereof are much oppoſed and Eclipſed in this perillous hour of the Paſſion of the Goſpel) Are briefly Diſcuſſed, cleared, and con­firmed: As a further help, for the Begeting, and Eſtabliſhing of the Faith which is in Jeſus.

As alſo the State of the Bleſſed, Where; Of the condition of their SOULS from the inſtant of their Diſſolution: and of their Perſons after their Reſurrection.

By JOHN NORTON, Teacher of the Church at Ipſwich in New England.

For I determined not to know any thing amongst you, ſave Jeſus Christ, and him crucified,1 Cor. 2.2.
Moreover, I will endeavour, that you may be able after my deceaſe, to have theſe things always in remembrance. 2 Pet. 1.15.

LONDON, Printed by John Macock, for Henry Cripps, and Lodowick Lloyd, and are to be ſold at their ſhop in Popes head Alley neer Lombard ſtreet. 1654.

Norton's Orthodox Evangeliſt.

〈1 page duplicate〉

To the Church, and Inhabitants, of Ipſwich in New-England. Grace and Peace in our Emanuel.

Worſhipful, Reverend, and dearly beloved in our Lord and Saviour;

PAuls deſire to make known nothing but Chriſt unto the Corinths, his Travail until Chriſt was formed in the Galatians, with other like ſpeech­es, of him that breathed nothing but Chriſt: What were they elſe, but the effects of that Savior-like diſpoſition, wherewith the Lord Jeſus ſtill inſpires the Inſtrumental Saviours of Mount Sion? 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

This Miniſterial Spirit reſted not only upon that great Doctor of the Gentiles; but alſo reſts, and acts in its meaſure, in all the Miniſters of the Go­ſpel, for the calling, and compleating of the Elect, until we all come to be a perfect man. So as there is not to be found a more vigorous effuſion of the Bowels of Jeſus; in any of the hearts of the chil­dren of men, then is in the ſouls of the Miniſtry: no bowels either of civil, or natural relations ex­ceed theirs: the love of them is wonderful, ſur­paſſing the love of Ionathan, that paſſed the love of women. By the unboſoming hereof as with a key, the Apoſtle in his Epiſtle, opens the heart of the Reader; whilſt the Coloſsians behold the ſpi­rit of the writer:Col. 2.2. I would to God ye knew what great conflict I have for you.

Hence (I hope) in its meaſure is this preſent labor for the truths ſake, for your ſake, for the ſake of any, that in the Lord ſhall accept thereof, and for conſcience ſake.

To this end was I born, and for this cauſe came I into the world, to bear witneſs unto the truth. So our Lord Jeſus, notwithſtanding the Truth was that which the Jews then maligned, and Pilate de­rided, ſee the Spirit of Chriſt an Hypocrite, and a Moraliſt, the difference between piety, Maligni­ty, and neutrality concerning the truth.

Nothing is more contended for, nothing more contended againſt, then the truth. The Goſpel truth as it is moſt dear to God, ſo is it moſt op­pugned by Satan. As the Attribute of the Holy One is the Spirit of truth: So the wicked one, is called a lyar from the beginning. Concerning it, are the greateſt thoughts of heart, the moſt intenſe endeavors of Tongues, Pens, and Swords: It being much more beloved of its followers then Life: and more hated of its oppoſers then death.

Truth is the excellency of things, where truth is there may be a bad action, but where truth is not, there cannot be a good action. Paul ſuppoſeth a man may give his Body to be burned in a good cauſe, and it profit him nothing. 'Tis not the ſuffering and the cauſe alone; both ſuffering, cauſe and Spirit, muſt concur to make a Martyr. In a bad cauſe it holds univerſally, Who hath required theſe things at your hand?

Mans interpretation of the Scripture, is not Gods mind, but mans miſtake. To confeſs and ſuffer in teſtimony to an error, is to be a falſe-witneſs, not truths witneſs: Pleaders for error, not Pillars of the truth. To add to the profeſſion of error, ſuffering for it, is to add ſin unto ſin: The latter error, worſe then the firſt: Such ſufferers are ſo far ſelfe-vaſſals, not Chriſts Martyrs. Such ſuffer­ings, unto ſpoyling of goods, bonds, exile, the wilderneſs, or whatſoever, are worſe then loſt: a dead birth after ſore travel, is a double wo: Such tears muſt be wept for again: this ungodly ſorrow, is not to be undone without godly ſorrow. We may build, and work; but if it be Wood, Hay, Stubble, we ſhall ſuffer loſs; our work muſt be burnt, though our ſelves be ſaved, yet as by fire.

The Scripture mentions, Little children, Chil­dren, young-men, men, Fathers, and a perfect man in Chriſt: as concerning your ſelves, unto whom the dreadful bond of office hath endebted me, the weakeſt of many, to make known unto you, the truth of the Goſpel: what hath my ſoul longed, or labored for more, after your birth in Chriſt, then that you ſhould be, not only Babes, but men: both ſound, and ſtrong in the faith: Sincere, and diſtinct: that Chriſt might not only be formed, but perfected. That you might not onely have a ſaving, but a ſatisfactory know­ledg of him, in whom you beleeve? The end of the Goſpel is to be known, the duty and diſpoſi­tion of the Beleever, is to know.

Even Fundamental Truths which have been the ſame in all generations, have been, and ſhall be tranſmitted more clear from age to age in the times of Reformation: until that which is perfect is come, and that which is imperfect be done away:Vid. Grey­naei praefat locis com. Zeged. prae­fix. pag. 5. The truth held forth is the ſame; though with more of Chriſt, and leſs of man. Such addition, is no in­novation, but an illuſtration, not new light, but new ſight. The looking glaſs ſlurred and clear­ed more or leſs, is the ſame glaſs. Columbus did not make a New World, when he made a new diſ­covery of the old World.

Truth wants ſo much of its glory, as it is unſeen. The underſtanding wants ſo much of its perfection, as it is ſhort in ſeeing thereof. The Members of the New man, have their joynts: joynts not fully ſet are painful, and leſs uſeful. All unbeleif is preſumption, not faith: which hinders nouriſh­ment, and genders humor.

Grace, Glory, and Glorification, hold pro­portion with the truth. Though knowledg may be without grace, yet there can be no grace with­out knowledg. According to the meaſure of our approach, to an exact, total, and Adequate Uni­on, of the underſtanding with the truth of the Goſpel: So is the glory of the truth beleeved, and the Communion of the Soul beleeving.

Men need ſtrong meat, at well as Babes need Milk; though he who is but a Babe, hath not the knowledg of a man, yet he that is a Babe labours after the knowledg of a man. Babes reſt not in being Babes. I have endeavored to ſay ſome­thing that might entertain the ſtronger, yet ſo as (I hope) I have ſcarce ſaid any thing, that weaker ca­pacities. may not with due attention attain unto. Solid meat that is beſt prepared, is not digeſted without: yet is digeſted with time, and the labor of nature. The Seed which the husbandman ſow­eth with pains, the Earth receiveth not without pa­tience. 'Tis the Prerogative of God, 'tis not in the power of man to communicate underſtanding without ſtudy, and diligence: Though it be in Gods power to give, yet according to his ordina­ry Diſpenſation, he doth not give knowledg unto man, without labor and prayer; but he giveth un­to his a ſpirit, by meditating day and night, to ſearch into the deep things of God: Who refuſeth ripe fruit becauſe it groweth higher then can be had without climbing; or the treaſures hid in the Earth becauſe they cannot be had without digging?

And who knoweth but that theſe poor ſheets may find a place with ſome others, eſpecially in the houſes and hearts of them, of whoſe houſe I am: out of whoſe heart, they cannot be, whilſt I am. That I may not be, as one altogether dead to thoſe, whom I ſhould have been glad to have lived and dyed with; yea whom I ſhould have been glad to have lived and dyed for. My abſence from them, hath named this Wilderneſs, Gerſom: their acceptance hereof, ſhall ſo far name it Ephra­im: It is with God that knoweth the heart of exiles to comfort exiles.

'Tis not with me, as with Hortenſius, who though he was weak in writing, yet was he able to ſpeak; Nor as with Albericus, who though weak in ſpeech, was able in writing; but being contious of my infirmity in both, I have added the latter, to ſupply in ſome meaſure (if God ſo pleaſe) the defect of the former.

Sometimes Pauls writing is more weighty then his ſpeech, and ſome of Chriſts words after his death, were more effectual then in his Life. Hence I have deſired to ſow Seed, both by Pen and Tongue; preſent, and abſent; Alive and dead: Not knowing whether ſhal proſper moſt, either this, or that, or whether they both ſhould be alike good. Good Books help both the underſtanding, and memory. They are both Teachers, and Regiſters, like ſteeled looking-glaſſes; that do not only re­flect, but continue reflecting the Image to the be­holder:Segnius irri­tant animes, demiſſa per auros Quam quae ſunt oculis Subjecta ſi­delibus The ſpeaker haſteth on, and cannot wait the leaſure of the hearer; but the writer is always at hand, attending the capacity of the Reader. What is ſayd of the poor, with a little alteration, may be applyed to written Treatiſes; Books you have always with you, you may receive good from them when you will.

Solomon admoniſheth not to write ſuperfluouſly; Paul encourageth to write profitably. Eccle. 12.12 2 Tim. 4.13.'Tis with books as with meats; he that refuſeth eating as the cure of an unwholeſome, or unreaſonable diet, acts the part of a murtherer, not of a Phyſitian. He is not a man, that diſtinguiſheth not be­tween good and bad. He is not a wiſe man that diſcerneth not between exceſs, and nothing. The Pen-men of corrupt Books muſt hold up their hands as highly guilty of the evil of the times: and ſuperfluous Books, do but add to the heap of va­nity, and vexation of ſpirit. Theſe loſe precious hours, thoſe loſe more precious ſouls. By way of Apologie for this Treatiſe, I ſhall only ſay the wiſe mans admonition, I have been conſcionably awful of, and have aimed at Edification.

The uſe of Books, is to communicate pertinent truth; the excellency of Books, is to do it Subſtan­tially, clearly, briefly. Abuſe takes not away their uſe; nay ſuch books, are the cure of evil books. The opening of Titus lips, is the means to ſtop de­ceivers mouths: the light of the book of the Go­ſpel, conſumes the Magicians books to aſhes:Tit. 1.11. Acts. 19.19. one pin, muſt be forced out by another.

After forgiveneſs begged in the Blood of Jeſus, for what is mine herein; Pardon I crave of all, pardon and acceptance as I hope for from ſome, ſo eſpecially from your ſelves, to whom as I could bequeath no greater legacy; ſo then from whom, whence could I encourage my ſelf with better ex­pectation; for YOU are OUR glory and joy: for­get not the emphaſis in the word OUR: Miniſters (compared with other Chriſtians) have little to joy in, in this world. 'Tis not with the Miniſters of the preſent, as with the Miniſters of late times; nor with exiles, as with the reſt: nor with your exiles, as with ſome others: Let this our (or if you pleaſe your) condition (for therein you have been both partakers with us, and ſupporters of us) be your provocation. A receiving encouragement whereof is the conſtant remembrance that you are our companions in this Patmos, wherein many of you were before divers of us. You know the hearts of ſtrangers, for ye are ſtrangers.

The Lord who in rich grace hath not only Sanctified the tongue of the Preacher, but alſo the pen of the Scribe unto the edification of his; So bleſs all our labours, that both Speaker and Hear­er, Writer and Reader, may rejoyce together in that day, that they have not run in vain. This is the prayer of

Your Servant for Jeſus ſake, JOHN NORTON.

To the Judicious Chriſtian Reader.

THe Penning and Reading of godly Books, is a ſingular improvement of the Communi­on of Saints: as whereby we enjoy ſweet and gracious conference with the Saints, though unknown to us, though abſent in place, & diſtant in time (yea many ages before us) and ſo partake in the Commu­nion of their moſt precious Gifts, as if they were preſent with us, or as if we had been of long acquainted with them, which maketh me ſometimes to wiſh, that though I cannot nor dare not ſay, that Spiritual Gifts are bu­ried, when they are only diſpenced in a Pulpit (for in a Pulpit they are ſet upon a Candleſtick, and give light to all that are in the Houſe of this or that particular Church:) yet where God giveth an eminent meaſure of light, fit to ſhine forth to a Nation, or to a world of Churches: That ſuch Gifts might not be confined to a Pulpit; but as cluſters of ripe Grapes paſsing under the preſs, are fit to be tranſported to all Nations; So ſuch Gifts and Labors paſsing under the Preſs, may be fitly Communicated to all Churches. It is indeed a true word which the word of truth hath ſpoken (Eccleſ. 12.12.) Of making many books there is no end, and much reading is a wearineſs to the fleſh. But yet, ſome books there be, of which I may ſay, as Ferne­lius, and other Phyſicians ſpeak of their Pills; There are Pillulae ſine quibus, that is, ſine quibus eſſe no­lo; ſo there be ſome libelli ſine quibus, ſome books ſine quibus eſſe nolo. And this is one of them, without which I would neither be my ſelf, nor wiſh thee to be. Though moſt books be accommodated to Popular capa­city (and they do moſt good extenſively:) yet there had need to be ſome, which ſpeak accurately, that they who apply their Sermons and writings to Popular capa­city, may ſtill keep within the compaſs of exact Truth: and they do moſt good intenſively. The Holyhoſt by Paul giveth the People of God an holy warning, See that ye walk circumſpectly; or (as the word is) ex­actly, Epheſ. 5.15. Now if the Rule of a Chriſtian life be, walk exactly, Surely the Rule of a Scribe taught to the Kingdom of God, and gifted for it, is, write exactly.

There be ſome of good judgment, who interpret the four Creatures (in Revel. 4.7. ) to hold forth the four ſorts of Officers in the Church: The Lyon (for his Courage and Power) the Ruling Elder: The Ox (for his patience and labor in treading out the Corn) the Paſtor: The Man (for his Prudence in ordering the humane outward affairs of the Church) the Deacon: The Eagle (for his ſoaring aloft, and quick in ſight in­to remote, and hidden things) the Teacher. How well therefore doth it become this our Reverend Bro­ther, the Teacher of an intelligent people (the Church at Ipſwich) to lanch forth into the deep, (as Chriſt biddeth his Diſciples, Luk. 5.4.) To ſpie out and diſ­cover the ſecret and abſtruſe myſteries of the Kingdom of God?

Moreover that which adorneth the exactneſs of the matter of this diſcourſe, is, Pithy Brevity, compact­ing as many things as words together; that as it was the conſtant deſire and affectation, and expreſsion of Dr Preſton, to live long in a little time; So it ap­peareth to be the ſerious care and endeavour of this our beloved Brother, to ſpeak much in few words. The Schoolmen (though they be none of the ſoundeſt Divines) yet of late years, have crept (for a time) into more cre­dit amongſt Schools, then the moſt judicious and Or­thodox of our beſt new writers (Luther, Calvin, Mar­tyr, Bucer, and the rest:) and their books were much more vendible, and at a far greater price: But what or wherein lay their preheminence? Not in the light of Divine Grace (whereof moſt of them were wholly deſti­tute) nor in their skill in Tongues and Polite Lite­ratur, (wherein they were Barbarians:) nor in their deeper inſight into the holy Scriptures (in which they were far leſs converſant, then in Peter Lumbard, and Ariſtotle:) but in their rational diſputes, with di­ſtinct Solidity and Succinct brevity. But in the mean time they corrupted the whole body of Divinity, with many curious and unprofitable queſtions, with many Philoſophical (falſly ſo called) and vain Notions, and with many ſubtil devices, to uphold the Church of Rome, in their then prevailing Antichriſtian Apoſta­cy. What was unſound and corrupt in the Schoolmen, our Brother (by the guidance of Chriſt) hath faithfully and Religiouſly avoyded: what was commendable and deſireable, he hath (through grace) not ſo much imi­tated as exceeded: Opening the principal heads of Di­vinity, with more then rational evidence, even with Scripture light: and all with ſuch diſtinct Solidity, as may both clear the underſtanding, and ſatisfie the Judgment, yea and by grace eſtabliſh the faith of the diligent Reader: and that with ſuch Succinct Brevity, as avoydeth at once both Perplexity, and obſcurity to­gether. Amongſt other diſputes which have much exerciſed the Schoolmen of old, and ſtill do buſie the Dominicans and Jeſuites, concerning the concurſe of Grace, and Free-will therein, the Lord hath led this our Brother with a ſtrong hand to ſearch out, and de­clare, the abſtruſe myſteries thereof, with ſuch holy Dexterity, as that if the diſſenting parties were as willing to hearken to the Oracles of God ſpeaking in the Scriptures, and opened in this book, as the Romaniſts have often appealed to the Pope (and all in vain) for the compounding of this Controverſie, The Doctrines of Grace would be much more clearly delivered and ge­nerally accepted, with more peace and truth, not only amongſt them, but amongſt Proteſtants alſo; yea and even ſuch Proteſtants as excell in holineſs and know­ledg, and yet ſeem (and but ſeem) to vary (though Logically, yet not Theologically) in ſome doctrines of Grace, may (through grace) either judg and ſpeak all one thing, or at leaſt condeſcend: placide ferre con­traſentientes, mildely to bear with difference of judg­ment in ſuch a caſe.

And as for ſuch Proteſtants as follow Bellarmine and Fevardentius in extenuating the bitterneſs of the Soul-ſufferings of Chriſt from any ſenſe of ſpiritual Deſer­tions (as if ſuch pangs were incompatible to his pure and innocent Nature and Life) I truſt the Lord will give them to diſcern by another book of this Author (treating purpoſely of that Argument) the more bitter the cup was which he drank up for us, the deeper was the guilt of our ſin, and the greater was the meaſure of his Love towards us. And unleſs the whole guilt of our ſins be imputed to him, and his perfect obedience to the Law be imputed to us, we ſhall fall ſhort, both of the matter and form of our juſtification.

Now the God of all Grace, and Peace, and Truth, bleſs theſe gracious Endevors of his Servant to the free paſ­ſage of his Truth and Peace in the hearts and Judgments of his Churches and People through our Lord Jeſus.


CHAP. I. Of the Divine Eſſence.

THough nothing is more manifeſtly known, then that God is; yet no­thing is more difficultly known, then what God is.

Philoſophy is here dumb, or worſe. Simonides being asked what God was,Cicero de na­tura deor. lib. 1. asketh a days time to an­ſwer the queſtion: At that days end he asketh two, at the end of theſe two he asketh four; and ſo often doubling the time, being asked the reaſon thereof, Becauſe (ſaith he) the longer I ſtudy, the difficulter I find the queſtion.

We in this life only ſee his back-parts, Exod. 33.23. viz. what he hath revealed of himſelf in his Word and Works, according to our manner and meaſure.

So much we ſee of him that we may live, more we cannot ſee of him and live: To ſee him as he is, is reſerved to glory.

God in his Word revealeth himſelf to be Iehovah Elohim, i. e. one God ſubſiſting in three Perſons. Though Eſſence and Subſiſtence, that is, the divine Nature, and the Trinity of Perſons in that Nature, are the ſame thing, they being diſtinguiſhed not as a Being and a Being, but as the manner of a Being or thing is diſtinguiſhed from the Being or thing2 it ſelf: yet for the help of our apprehenſion, God being pleaſed ſo far to condeſcend to our capacity (as delighting to be underſtood by us) we firſt conſider of the Eſſence, then of the Subſiſtence.

The Eſſence of God abſolutely conſidered, is that one pure and meer act, by which God is God. Becauſe through weakneſs of our underſtanding we cannot apprehend it in any meaſure by one act, it hath pleaſed God to give unto himſelf many Names and Attributes, by the help of which we may the better conceive thereof.

The Hebrew Names more eſpecially tending to this pur­poſe, are obſerved by Authors to be about ten in number.

1. Iehovah, Exod. 6.3. ſignifying Gods Being of himſelf, and alſo his giving Being to all creatures, and to his Word both Promiſes and Threatenings.

2. Iah, Pſal. 68.4. ſignifying that God is an abſolute Be­ing of himſelf, and gives Being to all creatures.

3. Ehjeh aſher Ehjeh, Exod. 3.14. I am that I am, or I will be that I will be; It ſignifieth Gods eternal and unchange­able Being in himſelf, and that he is now and will be for ever that which he was before to Abraham, Iſaac, and Iacob: To this Name Chriſt alludeth, Iohn 8.58. Before Abraham was, I am.

4. El, Iſai. 9.6. ſignifying that God hath all Power in himſelf, and giveth to all creatures the power which they have.

5. Eloah, Pſal. 18.32. of the ſame ſignification.

6. Elohim, Gen. 1.26. ſignifying that he is the Object of divine Worſhip, he that alone hath power to make happy and miſerable: it is a word of the plural number, aptly pointing us unto a plurality in the divine Eſſence; and ſo may note the myſtery of the Trinity, or three Perſons of the divine Eſſence.

7. Adonai, Pſal. 2.4. Lord; it is alſo of the plural num­ber, and ſignifieth the abſolute Lordſhip of God, alſo that God ſuſtaineth and upholdeth all things, and ſo holdeth forth the proof of his Providence.

8. Shaddai, Gen. 17.1. ſignifying the Alſufficiency of God,3 or that God is he who is alſufficient, wanting nothing, and able to provide for all.

9. Iehovah Tſebaoth, Lord of Hoaſts; who (as is well ob­ſerved) hath two general Troops, as his Horſe and Foot, the upper and the lower Troop, or the creatures above and beneath, already preſt and ordered, waiting for the word, to do him ſervice.

10. Ghnel-jon, Pſal. 9.2. tranſlated the moſt High, ſig­nifying that God in his Being and Glory is far above all creatures.

The firſt three come from Being:Paſor in voce〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. The ſecond three from Power: The third three from Government: The laſt is from Eminence.

In the New Teſtament two Names are more eſpecially obſervable.

Theos, Mat. 4.7. God, ſignifying a Being that is to be fear­ed of all, which diſpoſeth of all things, and beholdeth all things.

Kurios, Col. 4.1. Lord or Maſter, ſignifying that God is the only Lord, and hath abſolute power over all creatures.

The divine Attributes are certain eſſential Properties, which God is pleaſed in Scripture to aſcribe or attribute un­to himſelf; they are alſo called the Perfections of God, or divine Predications, or Titles.

They are not diſtinguiſhed from the Eſſence really, but notionally; that is, they are not diſtinguiſhed at all in God, but only to us-ward, according to our manner of con­ceiving.

All the Attributes in God are one and the ſame Perfecti­on. It is better ſaid of God that he is his Attributes, then that he hath Attributes: The Attributes are not diſtinguiſh­ed in God, but in our manner of underſtanding,Est inade­quatus con­ceptus ſed non falſus. See Weemſe Of the Image of God in man, cap. 13. who being unable to comprehend that meer act at once, do conceive thereof after the manner of many acts. The Sun when it is perpendicular, had it an eye would behold all that at once, which we, by reaſon of the inadequateneſs and unpropor­tionableneſs of our ſight, are neceſſitated to view by parts. In God all things are one and the ſame, according to the4 Nature of God; though out of God many, and divers, ac­cording to their own proper and created nature. The ſame heat in the Sun produceth divers effects, according to the various diſpoſition of the objects: Hardneſs in Clay, ſoft­neſs in Wax: Life in Inſects and Plants, &c. The ſame lines are one in the Center, but diſtinguiſhed and multiplyed in the Circumference. Water that is the ſame in the Sea, out of the Sea is variouſly and diverſly qualified, ſweet, bitter, Sulphureous, &c. The matter in the Liver is the ſame, but the four humors of Blood, Choller, Melancholy, and Flegm, that proceed from thence, are very divers: The Soul which is one and the ſame produceth very differing effects, as ap­pears in the operations of the underſtanding, will, and af­fections. The ſum is: The Attributes, as was ſaid before, are not diſtinguiſhed in God, that is, from the divine Eſſence, or one from another really, but only notionally, or virtually in our conception, and in their objects, in reſpect of the va­rious effects thereupon: For every and all the Attributes are the divine Eſſence it ſelf; according to that received Propoſition,Fenner The­ol. lib. 1. c. 3. Alſted. Theol. ſect. 3. loc. 2. Zanch. de Nat. Dei. lib. 2. cap. 5. qu. 2. Whatſoever is in God, is God: And this is the reaſon why ſome well deſcribe the Attributes from the Eſ­ſence of God: which manner of deſcription, beſides many uſeful notions clearly intimated thereby, doth in the de­ſcribing of the Relative Attributes, principle and fortifie the underſtanding againſt that perilous Tenet of Arminianiſm, concerning the Decree paſſing upon good or bad foreſeen, with the evil conſequences following thereupon.

The divine Attributes, though they can neither exactly be numbered or diſtributed, yet for our better underſtanding we may conſider of them as

  • Negative.
  • Relative.
  • Poſitive.

Negative Attributes are ſuch as remove from God all im­perfection:Negative Attributes. by theſe we help our underſtanding in our me­ditation of God, by way of Negation. The more principal of them are in number five, viz. Simplicity, Eternity, Immenſity, Immutability, Infiniteneſs: to which, or ſome of which, any other of like nature may conveniently be referred.

5Simplicity is God, one meer and perfect act without all compoſition. God calleth his Name, I am, Exod. 3.14. that is, meer Eſſence, wherein is nothing paſt, nor to come. Be­cauſe ſpirits are immixt in reſpect of bodies, to ſhew that he is not compounded, he ſaith he is a Spirit, Iohn. 4.24. When we ſay that God is a meer and perfect Act, the meaning is, that God is a Cauſe without any Cauſe, a Being that is not from any Being; not compounded of an Act, by which he is; and Poſſibility, by which he might not have been, or may not be: of whom it never could nor can be ſaid, that any thing was to be in him, which was not; or cannot be, that is.

That God is a pure and ſimple Act without all compoſi­tion, is evident, Becauſe of his Perfection; all compoſition ſuppoſeth imperfection, becauſe he is the firſt Being. Were there any compoſition in God, it would follow there were firſt and ſecond in God: Something in God that were not firſt, or that there were more firſt Beings.

Becauſe God is a Being of abſolute neceſſity:Deus eſt ens neceſſe eſſe. Smiſing de Deo uno. tr. 2. diſp. 2. n. 49. Compoſition implyeth either that there muſt be more Beings of abſolute neceſſity, or that there is ſomething in God that may not be. Compoſition ſuppoſeth Succeſſion, i. e. ſomething paſt or to come in God; contrary to his Name, I am. Nay it ſup­poſeth that not-being is not repugnant to the Nature of God: Where there is Compoſition, there may be Diſſolu­tion; Diſſolution is the way to not-being. It much helps us in the contemplation of the Simplicity of God, to look upon it as oppoſed to Compoſition, all the ways whereof the Learned have referred to theſe ſeven Heads.

Compoſition is either of
  • 1. Parts, which are bounded by quantity; as a body having one part upon another.
  • 2. Matter and Form; as a man of body and ſoul: theſe two compoſitions are only found in corporeal things.
  • 3. General and ſpecial Nature: as every ſpecies, whoſe common nature is to be found, in ſome other thing, where the ſpecial nature is not; as a living creature and a man.
  • 4.
    Dicimus de­um eſſe bo­num justum, veracem〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, crea­turam,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Alsted. Metap. Part. 1. cap. 23.
    A Subject and an Accident; as every created ſub­ſtance: There are no accidents in God, he is wiſe, holy, juſt, eſſentially: there is not a ſubſtance and a quality in him. When God is ſaid only to have Im­mortality, 1 Tim. 6.16. it is to be underſtood by way of Eminency; he ſo hath it as none hath beſides him, he hath it originally, not derivatively and by participation.
  • 5. An Act and a Poſſibility, objective, that is to be, if the thing looked at, as yet is not, in being; or paſſive, that is not to be (though that not-being never ſhall be) if the thing be looked at, as in actual being: this compoſition holds concerning Angels.
  • 6. A Perſon and Nature; as Chriſt, compounded of the divine Perſon, and humane nature; which yet is not properly compoſition of parts, but of number.
  • 7. Being and Individuation; that is, that by which we have ſuch a particular Being, as humanity and Peter.

Obj. Where there is a Plurality, there is not Simplicity: But in the divine Nature there is a Plurality: therefore.

Anſ. The Objection holds, where there is a plurality of Eſſences, Beings, or things, but not where there is only a plurality of Subſiſtences. In the divine Nature, though there be a Trinity, therefore a plurality of Subſiſtences or Perſons, yet there is but one Eſſence: In the Trinity there is diſtinc­tion, but not compoſition.

Obj. 2. The Attribute of Simplicity concludes that all the Attributes are God himſelf, and conſequently that there is no inequality amongſt them: yet we read, that his tender7 mercies are over all his works; ſo, as it may ſeem, Mercy ex­ceeds the other Attributes.

Anſ. The meaning is, that his mercy is over, that is, upon all his works; not that Gods Mercy exceeds all his other Attributes, as if one Attribute were greater then another: for all the Attributes of God are equal, not one higher or greater then another, becauſe they are all God himſelf.

From the Simplicity of God it followeth:

  • 1. That whatſoever is in God, is God.
  • 2. Whatſoever God willeth he willed from Eternity, and always willeth.
  • 3. Whatſoever God willeth he willeth ſimply, abſolute­ly and independently.
  • 4. God is Juſtice, Wiſdom, Love, &c. eſſentially: although he be ſaid to have them eminently, yet he hath them not derivatively.

Eternity is God without beginning, without end, and without all manner of ſucceſſion; there is nothing paſt, nor to come.

It was well ſaid of him, who unto the queſtion,Quid autem ſit aeternitas, quaerat ali­quis? Hîc ſi reſpondeam per verbum modestiae neſ­cio recta in­genia per ſe intelligent, a byſſum eſſe. What was Eternity? anſwered by that word of modeſty, I know not: It is the meaſure (without meaſure) of the duration of God, according to our apprehenſion. Three things are requiſite thereunto, viz. to be without Beginning, without End, and without all Change: An unalterable and independing Du­ration: It is all at once, where there is nothing paſt, nor to come; A remaining NOW.

Duration is either increated, viz. Eternity, proper to God; or created, viz. Eviternity, the duration of the bleſſed in Glory: or Time, which is the duration of the corruptible creature. Eternity is a Duration, conſiſting of an eternal NOW; without beginning, and without ending; there is nothing paſt, nor to come. Eviternity is a Duration, having a continuing NOW, with a beginning, but without ending. The duration of Angels and of the Bleſſed, in reſpect of their perſons and ſubſtances, admit of no inſtant, concerning which it can be ſaid, that it is paſt: but in regard of their operations and other accidents, their duration admits of ſuc­ceſſion. 8Time is a ſucceſſive Duration, having a beginning and ending, without any remaining NOW.

Immenſity is God preſent every where, neither included in,Deus eſt ſphaera, cujus centrum eſt ubique, cir­cumferentia nuſquam. Enter proe­ſenter Deusic &biquepotenter. nor excluded from any place or thing, Pſal. 139.7. Iſai. 60.1. God is a Sphere, whoſe Center is every where, the Circumference no where. God is no where, and God is eve­ry where: he is no where, in that he is not contained any where; he is every where, in that he containeth all: Hence God, in reſpect of his Omnipreſence, is compared to an in­finite Point. God is in every place by his Eſſence, as the univerſal Cauſe of the Being and operation of all things; by his Preſence, beholding all things; and by his Power, up­holding all things.

Beſides that Omnipreſence of God, whereby he is always preſent with all creatures, there are certain peculiar ways of his preſence with divers creatures. In Chriſt he dwelleth bodily, that is, perſonally, Col. 2.9. and filleth the Manhood with the Spirit out of meaſure, Iohn 3.34. In the Saints he dwelleth as in his Temple by the preſence of his in­dwelling Spirit, the effect of his ſpecial grace, 1 Cor. 3.16. He is ſaid to dwell in Heaven, becauſe it is the place where­in he is pleaſed to manifeſt his glory immediately, and in moſt excellent manner unto the bleſſed. God is ſaid to come to us, and depart from us, not in reſpect of his univerſal Pre­ſence, or change of place; but in reſpect of the degrees of his in-dwelling Spirit, aſſiſting grace, and other ſpecial ef­fects of his favour towards his people: The ſame alſo holds true, in reſpect of the common effects of the Spirit, in regard of others.

Bodies are in places circumſcriptively, bounded by their dimenſions, without penitration. Angels are in places defi­nitively; that is, though they are not bounded by dimen­ſions of height, bredth and depth, as bodies; yet they are not in two places at once; whileſt they are in this place, they are not in another. God is in every place always.

Immutability is God without any alteration in reſpect of Being, Will, or any Accidents, Pſal. 102.27, 28. Mal. 3.6. Jam. 1.17. With whom is no variableneſs, nor ſhadow of turning.

9Obj. God might have willed, or not willed the being of the creature, elſe he were not free. He that may both will and not will, is mutable. The ſum is, the liberty and im­mutability of God, ſeem not to conſiſt together.

Anſ. That immutability and liberty conſiſt together,Vide Smiſin. Tr. 2. diſp. 3. qu. 1. num. 23. is evident from the nature of God, who willeth his own being freely. If he were ſubject to co-action and mutability, he were not God. If by reaſon of our weakneſs we are leſs able ſo diſtinctly to diſcern the liberty of God, as concerning the creature in the act of God willing; yet it is clearly to be ſeen in the object willed, viz. the creature: becauſe nothing is more manifeſt then that there is no neceſſary connexion between the being of God, and the being thereof. God had been the ſame, perfect and bleſſed for ever, though the creature had never been.

Obj. 2. Gods will in his decree, and his will in the com­mand, are often contrary one unto another, therefore he is not immutable.

Anſ. No ſuch thing. The Decree determineth what ſhall be, the Command ſheweth what ought to be. Gods willing the futurition of the betraying of Chriſt by Judas, and yet willing it to be Judas his duty not to betray Chriſt, have not the leaſt appearance of two wills in God.

Obj. 3. God ſometime promiſeth, and performeth not: threatneth, and executeth not: therefore he may ſeem not to be immutable.

Anſ. Such promiſes and threatnings are to be underſtood conditionally, not abſolutely. See Jer. 18.7.10.

Obj. 4. God in Scripture is often ſaid to repent, he that repents is not immutable.

Anſ. Such ſpeeches though ſpoken after the manner of men for the help of our underſtanding: yet, are to be un­derſtood as becometh the nature of God. God is therefore ſaid to repent, becauſe he doth as men do when they repent, that is, he changeth his deeds: yet without any change of his will. Nay, thoſe changes of his deeds are the executions of his unchangeable will.

Infiniteneſs is God of univerſal, unlimited, and incompre­henſible10 perfection, Job 11.8, 9. 1 Tim. 6.16. His under­ſtanding is infinite, Pſal. 147.5. What is there ſaid of one attribute, is true of all. God receiveth not his being of any, but hath it of himſelf: yea, he is his own being, therefore illimited; for there is none to limit him. God willeth him­ſelf freely, yet neceſſarily; that which acts neceſſarily, acts with all its might. God therefore having all perfection in his own power, cannot deny any to himſelf.

All things are contained in God: that which is increated, eſſentially; that which is created, to be created, or poſſible to be created, eminently; God is all. He is of every name, yet above all name.

The more principal Relative Attributes are in number,Relative Attributes. ſeven. 1. Creation. 2. Providence. 3. Lordſhip. 4. Benig­nity. 5. Mercy. 6. Redemption. 7. Juſtice. To which, or ſome of which, the reſt of like nature may conveniently be referred.

Though the terms Creator, Governor, Redeemer, and Lord, do more clearly hold forth the relation between God and the creature: yet (after others) the fore-named terms are here made uſe of: both as ſufficiently containing the re­lation, and better conducing to teach the Doctrine in­tended.

A new Relative Attribute or Praedication doth not al­wayes preſuppoſe a change in that thing unto which that new relation is given, though it alwayes preſuppoſeth a change in that whereunto ſuch relation doth really belong: for example ſake, Peter may ſit at the right hand of John, with­out any change in Peter, the change being only in John, who placeth himſelf at Peters left hand. The Princes are ſaid to ſtand on the right hand of the wall, Neh. 12.31. without any change in the wall, the change was only in them ſo placing themſelves. So God who was not a Creator from eternity, is a Creator in time: yet this new appellation puts no change in God, but only in the creature. The ſecond Perſon who was not incarnate from eternity, becometh incarnate in the fulneſs of time, yet without any change: the change was, and is only in the humane nature aſſumed, not in the divine11 nature aſſuming. In theſe Relative Attributes, (the Creator being above the order of the creature) the extreams not being alike: the relation is not alike. The relation on Gods part is only a relation of Reaſon: that is, ſuch a reſpect of the Creator to the creature, as is without any change in him: but on the creatures part, it is a real relation: that is, ſuch a relation as inferreth a change in it.

Relative Attributes adde a new predication, or title to, but cauſe no real mutation, or change in God: as concern­ing the creature they both add a new predication to it, and cauſe a real mutation in it.

In all Relative Attributes, there are conſiderable (but eſpecially in Creation, Providence, and Redemption) an eternal immanent act, whereby God willeth ſuch a thing to be; and a tranſient temporal act, whereby he worketh the thing according to his will.

Creation (whence God hath the Title of a Creator) is a tranſient act, whereby God according to his will, created all things of nothing very good.

Providence (whence God hath the Title of Governour) conſiſts in thoſe acts whether permanent or tranſient, where­by according to his will, he preſerveth and governeth all things with the circumſtances thereof, unto their ſeveral ends, for his own glory, and the good of the elect.

Lordſhip is Gods having abſolute right and power to, and over all his creatures, and diſpoſing thereof according to his will, 1 Sam. 3.18. 1 Tim. 6.13. Matth. 20.15. Dan. 4.25.

Abſolute Soveraignty is due unto God by four Titles: Of Creation, Rom. 9.20. Of Conſervation, Heb. 1.3. To give the creature to continue in being, is more then meerly to give it being: as the ſhadow dependeth upon the body, ſo the creature dependeth upon the Creator. Of Redemption, 1 Cor. 6.20. this exceeds both the former. Of the laſt end, Prov. 16.4. The end of the creature is the manifeſtation of the glory of the Creator.

Lordſhip is in God after the moſt eminent manner: he hath Subjects of himſelf, Authority of himſelf, Legiſlative12 Power of himſelf. He appoints the rule with recompence to the obedient, and puniſhment to the diſobedient accord­ing to his meer good pleaſure. He is his own rule, his will is the moſt abſolute reaſon. He giveth no account of his mat­ters, Job 33.13. Every creature dependeth eſſentially and univerſally upon the Creator: that is, the creature cannot be, but it muſt be at the diſpoſing of God. We do not ac­knowledge our ſelves to be creatures, nor God to be Lord, if his pleaſure be not acknowledged to be a ſufficient and ſa­tisfactory reaſon, of whatſoever he doth.

The Lordſhip of God is of himſelf, not by occupation, as a Title of Property, ariſing from a thing found with­out an owner; nor by Donation, Succeſſion, Purchaſe, or Conqueſt, as created Lordſhips are. All created Juriſdiction deſcendeth from this abſolute Lordſhip of God. The Juriſ­diction that Chriſt as man received from God is univerſal over all the creatures reſpectively, Matth. 28.18. The Juriſ­diction of other men is limited according to the ſeveral ob­jects thereof: whether Eccleſiaſtical, where their Authori­ty and Office is immediately received from Chriſt though the deſignation of ſuch perſons to ſuch offices be by the call of men. Or civil, whether natural, as parent, and child: Or voluntary, as Magiſtrate, and Subject.

4. Benignity is God willing freely to communicate his grace and goodneſs unto his creatures proportionably to their ſeveral capacities, Exod. 33.19. Matth. 5.45. Pſal. 33.5.

Goodneſs according to ſome, admits of a three-fold Con­ſideration: Of Nature, which is called perfection. Of Man­ners, called holineſs. Of Beneficence, id eſt, a diſpoſition to do good to others;〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. this is properly called Benignity: Thou art good, and doeſt good, Pſal. 119.68. Goodneſs is either eſ­ſential, or by participation. God is eſſentially good: he is good of himſelf, he is goodneſs it ſelf: the creature is good by participation, i. e. by a goodneſs received of God. The Sun, if compared with other creatures, you may ſay (in that reſpect) it hath light of it ſelf, but the Moon and Stars are light by participation: that is, they receive their light from13 the Sun. God is a full Fountain, or rather a Fountain which is fulneſs it ſelf; willing to communicate, as the Sun ſends forth its light, a fountain its ſtreams, and the prolifical virtue in plants, inclineth them to fruitfulneſs; as the ſeminal vir­tue in living creatures, diſpoſeth them to generation: the peculiar affection in parents towards their children, renders them propenſe to do them good: and the ſoul full of matter (like wine which hath no vent) propends to pour out it ſelf; ſo is the Lord affected to do good according as he hath willed concerning the creature.

The goodneſs communicated from God unto the crea­ture, is either ſpecial, beſtowed upon Angels and men: Or common, beſtowed upon the reſt of the Creation: The Earth is full of the goodneſs of the Lord, Pſal. 33.5. The im­preſſion of his Image is upon the reaſonable, the impreſ­ſion of his Footſteps, is upon the unreaſonable crea­ture.

God, who is the increated good, communicateth himſelf without diviſion, effuſion, or multiplication of himſelf: all that he communicates, notwithſtanding, he remaineth infi­nite and the ſame. God were God bleſſed for ever though he had never willed of his goodneſs unto any, but if he were not a God of Benignity, he were not our God.

Goodneſs ſo deſcends and cometh from God unto the creature, as that it ſtops not there, but aſcends and returns again unto God: either by way of manifeſting of his glory as a meer ſubject, and repreſentative glaſs of his goodneſs, in the unreaſonable creature: or, by way of giving glory to him, not only as a meer ſubject whereon his goodneſs is le­gibly engraven, but alſo as a ſubject yeilding obedience to the command in the reaſonable and ſanctified creature. Amor eſt,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Circulus per­petuus eſt in amore.Hence love is ſaid to be both extatical, that is, carrying the lover as it were out of himſelf unto the loved; as it is with the ſoul removed out of the body in a Trance: and circular, the beginning and end of which Circle is God, that Alpha, and Omega: from whom, and to whom are all things. Unto that infinite and increated Sea, whence all created rivers of goodneſs come, thither they return again.

14Mercy is, God willing, to ſuccour the creature in mi­ſery.

Mercy in God is either eſſential: namely that which is in him by neceſſity of nature, and had been in him though he had never willed the manifeſtation thereof by ſhewing mercy to any; this is Gods ſufficiency to ſhew mercy. Or, Rela­tive, namely, that which is in him with reſpect to the crea­ture, and is his will to manifeſt mercy to whom he pleaſeth; Exod. 33.19. Rom. 9.18.

Mercy is increated, viz. the Attribute of God: or crea­ted, viz. a tranſient act of God in time, or the effects of ſuch tranſient acts: ſo Vocation is ſaid to be an act of mercy, Rom. 11.30, 32. 1 Pet. 2.10.

Remiſſion of ſin, Luke 1.78. Mat. 18.33. Salvation, Jude 21. Increated mercy is Gods will to ſhew mercy. Cre­ated mercy is Gods actual ſhewing mercy according to his will.

The Effects of Mercy, are either ſpecial: proper to the Elect, as flowing from ſpecial grace, Rom. 9.23. The Elect are called (and by effectual calling ſo made) veſſels of mercy. Or common, extended to thoſe who are not elected, Luke 6.35, 36. Ʋnto the beaſts of the field, Pſal. 104.27. Yea, over all his works, Pſal. 145.9.

Redemption is that whereby God gave his Son; and Jeſus Chriſt God-man gave himſelf, and accordingly in due time became a Ranſom for the Elect: whence it cometh to paſs, That Juſtice is no hinderance to the application of Mercy, John 3.16. Gal. 2.20. Rom. 3.26.

Creation, Providence, and Redemption, conſidered as they are in God, i. e. as immanent acts, belong unto Gods ſufficiency, and may be placed amongſt his Attributes; but if they be looked at as tranſient acts, i. e. as acts paſſing, and done in time; ſo they belong unto Gods Efficiency, and are placed amongſt the works of God.

Though God by his abſolute Power might have ſaved man without Redemption wrought by Chriſt: yet having conſtituted that Rule of relative Juſtice, In the day that thou eateſt thereof, thou ſhalt ſurely dye, Gen. 2.17. He could not15 in reſpect of his Power now limited to proceed by this rule, ſo that man having ſinned, man muſt dye, and ſatisfie the Law that man may live. Juſtice requireth the Surety ſhould dye, that the Debtor may live: That he might be juſt, and the juſtifier of him which believeth in Jeſus, Rom. 3.26.

Juſtice is, God willing, to render unto the reaſonable crea­ture what is due thereunto according to his word: whether by way of grace, or puniſhment, Deut. 32.4. Dan. 9.16. 1 John 1.9. Pſal. 62.11, 12.

Juſtice in God is either eſſential of the abſolute nature of God; whence it is, that God can do no wrong. To be in God eſſentially, is to be in God by neceſſity of nature: that is, it is of the neceſſary Being of God, ſo as if God is, that is, and if that were not, God were not. Or Relative: viz. The Juſtice of God in reſpect of the creature; that is, in God neceſſarily. This is in him freely, and is nothing elſe but Gods conſtant will to give unto the creature what is its due. The Will of God is the Rule of Juſtice. That which Gods Law is unto man, that is Gods Will unto him­ſelf. Juſtice conſiſting in rendering to every one their due; and Gods Will being the Rule of Juſtice; it followeth, that and only that to be due unto man, which God hath willed concerning him. The Moral Law it ſelf, the Rule of Manners, the Recompence contained in the Promiſe in caſe of obedi­ence, the Puniſhment contained in the Curſe in caſe of diſ­obedience: are all the effects of Gods free pleaſure.

It being a truth, That Gods Will is the Rule of Juſtice between him and the creature: and conſequently, That the deſert and puniſhment of ſin determined by him is there­fore juſt, becauſe he hath ſo determined. It followeth, that in caſe God had appointed a greater puniſhment, it had been juſt the damned ſhould have ſuffered more: And in caſe he had appointed a leſſer puniſhment, it had been juſt they ſhould have ſuffered leſs.

Though the Rule of relative Juſtice be a free conſtitution, yet God having conſtituted this rule, hath freely obliged himſelf to the obſervation thereof; and can now no more fail to execute juſtice according to this rule, then he can be unjuſt.

16Poſitive Attributes,Poſitive At­tributes. are ſuch which ſo aſcribe ſome per­fection to God: as not inferring any reſpect unto the crea­tures exiſting, or in preſent being; by theſe, our under­ſtanding is helped in our meditation of God, by way of emi­nency; The more principal of them, are in number Six: 1. Holineſs. 2. Wiſdom. 3. Will. 4. Liberty. 5. Omnipo­tency. 6. Perfection. To which, or ſome of which, the reſt of like nature may conveniently be referred.

Holineſs is God, conformable to himſelf, 1 Sam. 2.2. Hab. 1.13. As created holineſs (which ſome call moral goodneſs or perfection of manners) is the conformity of the reaſonable creature to the Rule; ſo (God being his own Rule, and the Fountain of all created perfection) we may conceive of increated holineſs, as of Gods Conformity unto him­ſelf.

God is holy eſſentially, and ſo is none but he, 1 Sam. 2. There is none holy as the Lord, the creature is holy only by participation. He is the Authour of all created holineſs; both of the Moral Law, which is the rule of holineſs; and of the infuſed grace of holineſs, whence the reaſonable crea­ture is made conformable to that rule, and of all other holineſs whatſoever: therefore juſtly called, the Holy One of Iſrael, Iſai. 41.20. Wiſdom is, God underſtanding all things in­telligible by his Eſſence, 1 Tim. 1.17. Acts 15.18. 1 John 3.20.

God comprehending his own Eſſence, ſeeth all things; becauſe all Poſſibilities, Futuritions, and Beings; that is, all things that might have been, ſhall be, or actually be, are eminently contained in the Divine Eſſence. Whence, by the way it may appear, That the Divine Eſſence as willing the futurition of things, is that increated Idea of all things: which God comprehending, underſtandeth the creature bet­ter in himſelf, then it is to be underſtood in it ſelf. God ſee­ing himſelf, ſeeth all things, without exemption of any; al­wayes, without intermiſſion; perfectly, without defect: at once, without ſucceſſion. He is all eye, yet without an eye: all memory, yet without a memory.

God underſtandeth all things by his Eſſence, Angels are17 thought to underſtand by an infuſed habit of the ſpecies, or images of things concreated with their nature. Men un­derſtand by the Species, or Images of things abſtracted, and received from their objects.

Men underſtand by way of ſyllogiſtical diſcourſe, viz. by reaſoning; that is, by deducing and gathering concluſions from principles by ſeveral acts of their underſtanding: and by compounding and dividing: that is, by laying the ſubject and predicate together, or by taking them aſunder: and thereby collecting what may be ſaid, or not ſaid truly concerning ſuch a ſub-ject.

Thoſe truths which men by reaſon of the weakneſs of their underſtanding, apprehend not without diſcourſe,Tho. Part. 1. qu. 58. Art. 3. & 4. Polan. Syn­tag. l. 5. c. 11. and by compounding and dividing: Angels by reaſon of the quickneſs and ſtrength of their underſtanding, apprehend readily, and as it were at firſt ſight. Whence albeit they underſtand ſyllogiſtical diſcourſe, compoſition, and diviſion, yet (at leaſt compared with men) they may be ſaid not to underſtand by diſcourſe, nor by compoſition and diviſion, but intuitively; and as it were at firſt ſight.

The Will of God, is God by one ſimple act, abſolutely willing, the being of whatſoever he pleaſeth.

That Diſtinction of the Abſolute and Conditional Will, as alſo that of the Antecedent, and Conſequent Will of God, are both unſound. God willeth it to be a truth, That whe­ſoever believeth ſhall be ſaved: he likewiſe willeth it to be the duty of Judas to believe: Hence followeth (in caſe) A Will of Approbation concerning things in their own nature poſ­ſible, which yet never ſhall be: as namely, the acceptation of the obedience of the Reprobates; but it doth not follow that God hath conditionally willed the acceptation of the obedience of the Reprobates. God decreeth the coexiſtence of two extreams conditionally cohering, as the faith and ſalvation of Judas, the ſight of ſuch miracles and repentance in the Tyrians: the Being of which Extreams themſelves he hath not decreed. Though the things willed be conditioned, yet the Volition or Willing of God concerning thoſe things is abſolute.

18The Authours and Approvers of the ſecond Diſtinction, underſtand by the Antecedent Will of God,Johan. Da­maſcen. De Orthod. Fide. lib. 2. cap. 29. his Will con­cerning the creature looking at it as in it ſelf, without any conſideration of after-circumſtances: ſo they ſay God will­eth all men, even the Reprobate to be ſaved: this they call his firſt Will, and it is, ſay they, uncertain. By the Conſe­quent Will of God, they underſtand his Will concerning the creature looked at, not only as in it ſelf, but together with after-adjuncts and circumſtances, as ſin, &c. This they call his ſecond Will, and it is, ſay they, certain. As a Judge looking upon ſuch a perſon as in himſelf, accounteth it beſt that he ſhould live; but looking upon him in ſecond re­ſpects, as a Murtherer, &c. he accounts it beſt that he ſhould dye.

The vanity of both theſe Diſtinctions appeareth, in that they are repugnant to the ſimplicity, perfection, and inde­pendance of the firſt cauſe. The Will of God in the Decree, and the revealing of part thereof in the Command, do not infer divers wills in God: The Command ſheweth what is the duty of man, the Decree contains Gods purpoſe con­cerning our doing, or not doing our duty: To will ſuch a thing ought to be, and not to will that it ſhall be; yea to will the not being thereof, are not oppoſite, but both may, and do proceed from the ſame will.

Liberty is,Scot. lib. 1. diſt. 39. Libera ter­minatio divi­nae volunta­tis in creatu­rum petuit adeſſe vel abeſſe ſine ulla mutabi­litate ſubje­ctiva in Deo. Smiſin. Tr. 2. diſp. 3. qu. 1. num. 23. God willing himſelf freely and neceſſarily, but what ever is beſides himſelf not neceſſarily, but freely: that is, not of any neceſſity of nature, but of his meer good pleaſure, Pſal. 115.3. Iſai. 49.3. Dan. 4.5.

Though nothing be more manifeſt then that God willeth freely, and not neceſſarily, whatſoever is beſides himſelf: yet the manner of his willing thereof, exceedeth our capa­cities.

Created Acts of Liberty being limited, and bounded by their objects, cannot tend unto divers objects, with­out tending to divers acts: but increated Liberty being in­finite, is illimited by its objects; and tends unto divers ob­jects by one and the ſame act.

Increated Liberty, is not to be looked at, as conſiſting in19 an indifferency to divers acts of willing, or nilling: For that would argue imperfection in God: but it is clearly ſeen in reſpect of its divers created objects, which as they have their being from Gods good pleaſure; ſo, had he ſo plea­ſed, they had never been: but continued for ever in their nothing; himſelf notwithſtanding eternal, all bleſſed, and all glorious.

Omnipotency is God able to do whatſoever his wiſdom doth conceive, Gen. 18.14. Matth. 19.26. Iſai. 46.10.

All Contradictions, Impoſſibilities, and Repugnancies un­to the revealed Will of God, are excluded in this Propoſiti­on: God is Omnipotent, or God can do all things. That, things which imply a contradiction: as namely, for the ſame thing to be, and not to be; and impoſſibilities, as name­ly, for a man not to be a reaſonable creature, and the like: fall not under the compaſs of Omnipotency, is not from any defect (it is indeed from the perfection) of power in God; but from the impoſſibility of the things: ſo that concerning matters of this nature, it is more convenient to ſay,Ʋnde conve­nientius dr: Ea non poſſunt fieri, quam quod Deus ea non poſſit facere. Tho. Part. qu. 25. art. 3. that they cannot be, which ſheweth their non-poſſibility to be, then that God cannot do them; which ſeemeth to touch upon Omnipotency. So likewiſe that God cannot ſin, lye, or de­ny himſelf, is not from defect, but from the Eminency of his Power, and Abſolute Perfection, whence he is uncapable of being touched with any imperfection.

Obj. God cannot deſtroy Sodom, until Lot be gone out of it, Gen. 19.22. Like ſpeeches whereunto are uſed elſe­where, it ſeems therefore God is not Omnipotent.

Anſ. The Power of God is either abſolute, and unlimited; by it he is able to do all things that are poſſible, though he never do them: or ordinate, and limited by his Decree, and revealed Will: according to which God having freely bound­ed himſelf, changeth not, being immutable. Theſe words, and the like ſpoken elſewhere, are to be underſtood of his limited, not of his unlimited power. Though God be Om­nipotent, yet he is not Omnivolent; that is, though God can do whatſoever he pleaſeth, yet God is not pleaſed to do whatſoever he can.

20Perfection is God all-ſufficient, and all-excellent: not ha­ving need of any thing, giving ſufficience unto, and having in him the perfection of all things, Gen. 17.1, 2. Exod. 6.3. This Attribute renders God as that infinite Sea of all hap­pineſs,

Perfection is increated Glory: that is, all the Attributes in one word; as Happineſs is the Sum of Mans good, ſo Glory is the Sum of all Gods Attributes. The Perfection of God is Eſſential, Independent, Unlimited, without in­creaſe, or decreaſe: As the Power of ſubordinate cauſes is contained in the firſt cauſe virtually: and as the Authority of Under-Officers is in the Prince after a more excellent man­ner; ſo the virtue of all ſecond cauſes is contained in the firſt cauſe eminently.

The word Eminently taken in its ſtrict and proper ſence, ſeemeth to intend the effect to be in the cauſe, not only in a more excellent manner then in it ſelf, but alſo in a ſuper­created manner. Things are in God agreeable to the Nature of God: in themſelves according to their proper natures.

Eminential Continency, and Virtual Continency, (that is, for one thing to be contained in another eminently, as the Excellency of the creature is in the Creator: Or Virtually, as all things ſaleable are in money, Eccleſ. 10.9. ) are not the ſame: the firſt is proper to the Creator, the ſecond is found in the creature.

The Eſſential Perfection of God, is Increated Glory, Eter­nal, alwayes the ſame; from which nothing can be taken, to which nothing can be added. The acknowledgement of the manifeſted Perfections of God, is Glorification: viz. The Act of the creature done in time, admitting more or leſs ac­cording as God is known, or acknowledged.


CHAP. II. Of the Trinity.

FOr our better proceeding in ſearching into this Myſtery of Myſteries,

  • 1. The Clearneſs of the Truth from Scriptures.
  • 2. What a Perſon is.
  • 3. What it is that conſtitutes a Perſon.
  • 4. What a Perſonal Act is, the attending where­unto helps much to clear both the Nature of a Perſon, and the Trinity of Perſons.
  • 5. The Names, or Appellations, aſcribed to the ſeveral Perſons in the Scripture.
  • 6. The Diſtinction between a Perſon, & the Eſſence.
  • 7. The Diſtinction between a Perſon, and a Perſon.
  • 8. What terms we are to avoid in ſpeaking of the Trinity.
  • 9. Satisfaction to ſome few Objections.
  • 10. The Uſefulneſs of this Doctrine.

Amongſt the Multitude of Scriptures,The Clear­neſs of this Truth from the Scrip­tures. holding forth the Doctrine of the Trinity of Perſons in the Divine Eſſence: Let it at preſent ſuffice to tranſcribe theſe. And God ſaid, Let us make man in our image, after our likeneſs, Gen. 1.26. And the Lord God ſaid, Behold the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil, Gen. 3.22. Go to, Let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not underſtand one anothers ſpeech, Gen. 11.7. But none ſaith, Where is God my Makers? (ſo is the Hebrew) who giveth Songs in the night? Job 35.10. And one cried unto another; and ſaid, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hoſts, the whole Earth is full of his Glory, Iſai. 6.3. And the Heavens were opened unto him, and he ſaw the Spirit of God deſcending like a Dove, and lighting upon him; and lo a voyce from Heaven, ſaying, This is my Beloved Son,22 in whom I am well pleaſed, Matth. 3.16, 17. Go therefore, and teach all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghoſt, Matth. 28.19. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will ſend unto you from the Fa­ther, He ſhall teſtifie of me, John 15.26. The Grace of the Lord Jeſus Chriſt, and the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Ghoſt, be with you all, Amen. 2 Cor. 13.13. For there are three that bare record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and theſe three are one, 1 John 5.7.

A Perſon (viz. an Increated Perſon) is the Divine Eſſence ſubſiſting in a Relative Property. What a Per­ſon is.

The Eſſence with its Subſiſtence, not the Eſſence a­lone, not the Subſiſtence alone,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Subſiſtentia. but both the Eſſence and the Subſiſtence, conſtitute a Perſon; this the Greek word holds forth, Heb. 1.3. which is tranſlated a Perſon.

Subſiſtence adds unto ſubſtances, the independing manner of their exiſting. In reaſonable Nature it giveth Created, in the Divine Nature it is Increated Perſonality.

Subſiſtence (conſidered in its abſtract notion, as diſtinct from Eſſence) the manner of the Eſſence, the manner of the Exiſtence, (for Eſſence, or Being, and Exiſting in God, are all one,) A Relative Property, an incommunicable proper­ty, are Synonima's, i. e. they are divers terms and expreſſi­ons ſignifying the ſame thing: they give perſonality, and diſtinguiſh one perſon from another.

The Subſiſtences in the Divine Nature, are relative, and individuating: that is, they are relative properties.

They are Relative,Hae voces a­deò propriè relatione ſo­nant, ut ne­mo intelli­gens relatione ineſſe divinis (ſi ratione uti volet) negaturus ſit. Jun. loc. com. l. 2. c. 19. as appears by their Names, viz. Father, Son, and Holy Ghoſt: and by the order of their Original im­plyed in thoſe Names.

They are individuating: that is, diſtinguiſhing, and in­communicable, in that they are the Subſiſtences of an abſo­lutely perfect-intellectual-living nature.

Theſe Individuating Subſiſtences, are by Divines generally called Perſons, not only from juſt conſequence deduced from other Scriptures; but expreſly, according to our laſt and beſt Tranſlation of the Text fore-quoted, Heb. 1.3. by a ſimili­tude taken from a Created Perſon: the Reaſon whereof will23 appear by conſidering the nature thereof,Perſona eſt rational is Naturae ſub­ſtantia indi­vidua. Boe­tius. Perſona oſt intellectualis Naturae, in­communica­bilis Exiſten­tia. Richar­dus. Victorinus ex Smiſingo. de Trin. to. 2. diſp. 2. qu. 5. num. 108. Ʋrſin. Ex­plic. Care. part. 2. qu. 25 as we have it de­ſcribed diverſly. By ſome, that it is an individual Subſtance of a reaſonable Nature. By others, that it is an incommuni­cable Exiſtence of an intellectual Nature. By later Writers, that it is an individual, or ſingular Being, ſubſiſting, living, underſtanding, incommunicable; not ſuſtained of another, not a part of another. The Sum is, that the term Perſon, ſig­nifying that which is moſt perfect in the whole reaſonable Nature, whether Angels, or men; it is aptly uſed to expreſs the Subſiſtences of the Divine Nature, which is of abſolute perfection: which aptneſs of a created, to expreſs an incre­ated perſon, notwithſtanding: Obſerve yet theſe differen­ces between them: Every created perſon hath a diſtinct eſ­ſence from another. Two created perſons, whether Angels, or men; have two diſtinct, particular, and individual Eſſen­ces, or Natures, though they have the ſame general Eſſence: But all the increated perſons have the ſame Eſſence, John 10.30. One created perſon hath not his in-being in another, but one increated perſon is in another, John 14.10. One created perſon proceeds from another in time: but amongſt the increated perſons, though there be an Eternal Order of their Original one from another, yet there is no priority of Time, Duration, or Nature; the one being God, the other a creature: we muſt always remember that in applying the term Perſon by way of ſimilitude unto God, we remove from him all imperfection.

In that the Subſiſtences in the Divine Nature are Relative, Hence it follows, that innaſcibility, that is, not to be begot­ten, or not to be of another, which is a Property of the Fa­ther, doth not conſtitute a perſon, and ſo of any other pro­perties that are not relative. In that the Subſiſtences in the Divine Nature are individuating; hence it follows that the active Spiration, or Breathing of the Holy Ghoſt, by the Father, and the Son; though it be Relative, (for breathing and breathed are Relates) yet it doth not conſtitute a perſon, becauſe it is not proper to either perſon, but common to both: 'Tis a Relation, but not a Relative Property.

24For the clearer underſtanding of the Nature of a Perſon; as alſo that there are three, and but three Perſons: the Conſi­deration of a Perſonal Act is of much uſe.

The Acts,What a Per­ſonal Ast is: the attend­ing Whereun­to helps much to clear both the Nature of a Perſon, and the Tri­nity of Per­ſons. Modi ſub­ſiſtendi pro­veniunt ex actibus divi­nae Eſſentiae immanenti­bus. Keck. The. l. 1. c. 3. or Works of God, are of three ſorts: Eſſential, whoſe Principle is the Divine Eſſence, ſubſiſting in three Relative Properties, of Father, Son, and Holy Ghoſt: its object the creature. Perſonal, whoſe both Principle, and Object, or Term, is one, or more of the three Perſons. Or mixt, the Principle whereof is the Divine Eſſence; the Ob­ject or Term, one of the Perſons; ſuch is the Incarnation, having the Eſſence for its Principle, the ſecond Perſon for its term.

A Perſonal Act is the Divine Eſſence, (or God) working eternally, and neceſſarily upon it ſelf. The firſt way of the Divine Eſſence acting upon it ſelf, produceth the firſt Perſon. The ſecond way of its acting upon it ſelf, produceth the ſe­cond Perſon. The third way of its acting or working upon it ſelf, produceth the third Perſon. Hence godly and judi­cious Divines, obſerving the diſtinction of the Perſons in the Divine Nature, to ariſe from immanent acts therein: and that God, being a perfect Act, muſt neceſſarily both underſtand, and will; and conſequently (there being no Act without an Object, nor any neceſſary Object from Eternity but himſelf) that he muſt needs be both Act and Object;Crdo ejus à quo alius per intellectum. Ordo ejus qui ab alio per intellectum. Ordo ejus qui ab alio per voluntatem. Smiſing. deeo trino & uno. Jun. loc. com. l. 2. c. 28. and that the Divine Nature acting firſtly in a way of underſtanding upon it ſeif, doth beget: Whence is the Name of the Father; and that acting upon it ſelf by a reflex act of the underſtanding; this Reflexion is a Con­ception and Generation of it ſelf, which is the manner of the Subſiſtence of the Son, and that both as underſtand­ing, and underſtood of it ſelf, it is willed of it ſelf, in moſt perfect, moſt deſired, and moſt ſpiritual manner: which is the manner of the Proceeding of the Holy Ghoſt.

I ſay, hence godly and judicious Divines have conceived

  • The Firſt Perſon, as of God underſtanding himſelf.
  • The Second Perſon, as of God underſtood of himſelf.
  • The Third Perſon, as of God beloved of himſelf.

25As God for the helping of us to underſtand his Eſſence,Ames. Med. lib. 1. cap. 5. Daven. in Col. 1.15. Kecker. Th. lib. 1. cap. 3. The Names and Appel­lations aſ­cribed to the ſeveral Per­ſons in the Scripture. is pleaſed to take unto himſelf, certain Names and Attributes: by the help of which we may the better underſtand his Eſ­ſence; ſo is he pleaſed to take unto himſelf certain names and appellations, to help us to the better underſtanding of his Subſiſtence: yet in the uſe of theſe names and Appella­tions, we muſt be always mindfull of the Attributes of-ſim­plicity, and perfection; whence we may ſo make uſe of ſuch Appellations, as that we remove from God all compo­ſition and imperfection.

The firſt Perſon is called the Father, 1. Becauſe he is the firſt in the order of the Original of the Perſons. 2. Becauſe he is of none, though not without the Son. 3. Becauſe un­derſtanding himſelf from Eternity, he doth thereby as it were form and bring forth in himſelf, a moſt perfect Image of himſelf: the contemplation of him according to this Eternal Act, helps us to conceive of his Eternal Beget­ting.

The ſecond Perſon is called the Son. The Generation, or the manner, and order, how the Son is of the Father, is taught by theſe expreſſions. 1. He is called the Word, Ioh. 1.1.14. 1 Ioh. 5.7. The Word is either inward or out­ward: Inward, viz. the cogitation which is as it were the ſpeech of the mind, within it ſelf, and to it ſelf; eſpecially in the reflex acts of the underſtanding. Outward, viz. the expreſſion, which is the perceiveable Image of our cogita­tion; ſo the Son is ſaid to be the inward Word of the Fa­ther, i. e. the Knowledg of himſelf, and the outward Word of the Father, becauſe he makes known the Counſel of God unto the World: The Image of the Inviſible God, Col. 1.15.〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 that is, he is the perfect, and Eſſential Image of the Father; for God here is taken perſonally, not eſſentially. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉ſplen­dorē emitto.The Brightneſs of his Glory, Heb. 1.3. The Perſon of the Father is ſet forth by a Metaphor, taken from the glorious Light; the Perſon of the Son, by the ſplendor, refulgence, and brightneſs of that Light: The Character of his Perſon in the ſame verſe (for ſo indeed is the Word,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. it is not the ſame Word with that which is turned Image, Col. 1,) that26 is a perſon that exactly expreſſeth the Perſon of the Father, as the impreſſion that is upon the wax exactly expreſſeth the print ingraven upon the ſeal.

The third Perſon is called the Holy Ghoſt or Holy Spirit, 1 Ioh. 5.7. and is from the Father, and the Son, as from God wholly willing, and acquieſcing in himſelf; hence he is called the Spirit, that is, breathed, taken paſſively, and Emphatically; and is as it were God beloved of himſelf: he is alſo ſayd to Proceed, Ioh. 15.26.

A Perſon is diſtinguiſhed from the Eſſence, not as a thing from a thing;The diſtinc­tion between a perſon and the Eſſence. Vid Keck. log. l. 1. ſec. 2. cap. 5. but as the manner of a Being, or a re­lation, is diſtinguiſhed from the being, or thing it ſelf; for the better underſtanding whereof, conſider that things may be diſtinguiſhed really, rationally or modally. Really, ſo one thing in actual being is diſtinguiſhed from another thing in actual being in reſpect of their Eſſences; ſo one apple differeth from another, and whiteneſs in the wall, from whiteneſs in the ſnow. Rationally, ſuch is the diſtinction between the right hand and the left hand of the Pillar: this hath no foundation in the things themſelves, but depends only upon our Conception. Modally, when the diſtincti­on is not between the things, and things; but between things, and the manner or reſpect of the Being of thoſe things: this diſtinction, is more then meerly Rational, hav­ing its being in the things themſelves, not in our thoughts; yet leſs then that which is properly real, not putting an Eſſential difference, ſuch as is between things, and things; only diſtinguiſhing the manner of the thing, from the thing it ſelf: ſee it exemplified in ſome inſtances, as in a Perſon and his relations: A quality and its degrees, viz. Faith ſtronger, and weaker: Heat greater, or leſſer: Quantity, and its degrees: Peter a man and a child. A ſubject and its adjuncts, as the hand open and ſhut. A thing, and the or­der of that thing. A relation is not the perſon, nor our meer imagination, but an actual modification of the per­ſon: Iſaac is a ſon in reſpect of Abraham, a father in re­ſpect of Iacob, theſe relations in him are not his perſon it ſelf, nor our meer conceptions; but the actual manner,27 or reſpects of the being of his Perſon. Degrees are diſtin­guiſhed from the qualities more then in our meer conceit, having an actual exiſtence in the thing; whether we think of them or not; yet not Eſſentially, as divers things, for the degree is not a quality; but it is a manner of the quali­ty, and ſo of the reſt of the inſtances reſpectively. It re­mains then a manifeſt truth that there is an actual diſtinction (the uſe whereof is great for the help of our underſtanding between the Eſſence and the Perſons,Doctiſſimi­quiqueThee­logi recenti­ores perſonas ſacro ſancte Trinitatis vccant cum Juſtino Martyr et Damaſcene〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Keck. Theol. l. 1. cap. 4. Vid. lc­cum. as alſo between a perſon and a perſon in the Trinity; and therefore the more diligently to be attended to) which is more then Rational, yet not Real, as the manner of the thing is diſtinguiſhed from the thing, the thing it ſelf remaining the ſame; which diſtinction is called modal, ſuch is the diſtinction of a per­ſon from the Eſſence according to the general Doctrine of Divines.

When we ſometimes read in Authors, that a perſon is diſtinguiſhed really from the eſſence, we are to underſtand [Really] not ſtrictly, and properly; but in a large ſence; namely as oppoſed to a diſtinction of Reaſon, and it is as much as if they ſhould ſay, the diſtinction between a per­ſon and the Eſſence is founded in the Divine nature, and not in our reaſon, or conception; having its true exiſtence, whether we think of it, or not.

A Perſon is diſtinguiſhed from a Perſon,The diſtinc­tion between a perſon and a perſon. as a relation and manner of a being, or thing, is diſtinguiſhed from a rela­tion, or manner of a being, or thing; or otherwiſe, they are diſtinguiſhed by the order of their original, their per­ſonal properties, and the manner of their working upon the Creature.

It being but now ſufficiently ſhewn what the manner of a Being or thing is, and how it is diſtinguiſhed from the thing, it is not hard to conceive (eſpecially in the matter before us, where the manner of a thing is a relation) how the man­ner of a thing is diſtinguiſhed from the manner of a thing. From the proceſſions, and relations ariſing out of that in­finit Sea of being, viz. the divine nature, Ioh. 8.42. &. 15.26. appeareth the order of the Original of the perſons. 28The order of Original in the divine nature,Ordo naturae locum non habet in per­ſonis quia earum una et indiviſa eſt naturae eſt. lib. 1. diſt. 9. S. 4. Inter perſo­nas divin. non eſt pro­prie ordo na­tura ſed ori­ginis tantum. Smiſing. de Deo trino et uno diſp. 3. q. 1. Num. 33. is that whereby one perſon is of another: The Father is the firſt, The Son is the ſecond, The Holy Ghoſt the third perſon; but we may not ſay, the Holy Ghoſt is the firſt, and the Father is the third perſon. The Father is he, who is not without another: and from whom is another, viz. the Son. The Son is he, who is of another, viz. the Father, and from whom with the Father is another, viz. the Holy Ghoſt.

The Holy Ghoſt is he, who is from others, viz. the Fa­ther and the Son, and from whom is not another. In the divine nature there is an order of original, or priority of order, without priority of duration, dignity, cauſality, or nature properly.

A perſonal or incommunicable property, is that which is proper to one perſon: the perſonal property of the Fa­ther is to Beget, Pſal. 2.7. the perſonal property of the Son, is to be Begotten, Ioh. 1.14.18. the perſonal proper­ty of the Holy Ghoſt is to proceed from the Father and the Son, Ioh. 14.26. & 15.26.

The manner of the workings of the three Perſons upon the creature, is anſwerable to the manner of their ſubſiſt­ence in the divine Nature. The Father worketh of him­ſelf, the Son worketh from the Father, Ioh. 5.19.30. and 8.28. The Holy Ghoſt worketh from the Father and the Son, Ioh. 16, 13. Hence though all the Works of God con­cerning the Creature, are wrought joyntly, by all the three Perſons: yet is the work principally aſcribed unto that per­ſon, whoſe manner of ſubſiſtence doth moſt eminently ap­pear therein. Beginning works, as Creation, are aſcribed principally unto the firſt Perſon; the carrying works on to perfection, as Redemption, unto the ſecond Perſon: The perfecting of them, as the application of Redemption, unto the third Perſon.

That ſpeech of Hierome,What Terms we are to avoyd in speaking of the Trinity. Hereſies ſpring from inordinate expreſſions, is eſpecially to be attended to in this ſubject; in ſpeaking whereof, if we ſee not cauſe to hearken to their advice, who commend a preſcribed form; yet that we may keep far from the Hereſies of Arrius, who taught a Trinity29 of Eſſences anſwerable to the Trinity of Perſons, and of Sabellius, who acknowledged but one perſon according to the unity of Eſſence, and from all other errors, concern­ing this great point of Religion; we muſt not uſe promiſ­cuouſly any words of Identity, i. e. ſameneſs, or diverſity; but in our ſpeech thereof we muſt carefully abſtain from

Terms of
  • 1. Diverſity and Difference. Which take away the Unity of the Eſſence.
  • 2. Seperation and Diviſion. Which take away the Simplicity of the Eſſence.
  • 3. Diſparity. Which take away the Equality of the perſons.
  • 4. Diſcrepance. Which take away the Similitude of the divine na­ture or the perſons.
  • 5. Singularity. Which take away the Commonneſs of the divine nature to the perſons.
  • 6. Unity, if we may ſo ſpeak. Which take away the Number of the perſons.
  • 7. Confuſion. Which take away the Order of the perſons.
  • 8. Solitarineſs. Which take away the Communion of the Per­ſons.

Obj. 1. There are four relations in the divine Nature, viz.Satisfaction to ſome Ob­jections. to beget; proper to the Father: To be begotten, proper to Son: to breath forth, common to Father and Son; and to proceed, proper to the Holy Ghoſt, therefore there are four perſons.

Anſ. 'Tis not a relation; but a relative property, that conſtitutes a perſon. A perſon is an Intellectual, Individu­al, and ſingular ſubſtance; therefore, neceſſarily infers property, and incommunicableneſs: But breathing forth, though it be a relation in reſpect of the perſon breathed forth: yet it is not proper to any perſon, but common both to Father and Son.

Obj. 2. There are more properties then three in the di­vine nature (becauſe the number of the properties is accord­ing to the number of the perſonal notions) therefore there are more then three perſons.

Anſ. A relative property, conſtituteth a perſon; not ſo, a relation without a property, nor a property without a relation.

The Perſonal Notions,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 are in number generally accounted30 five,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Jun. ſum. loc. com. l. 2. c. 20. (though ſome mention divers more.) 1. Paternity, or Fatherhood. 2. Filiation, or Sonſhip. 3. Proceeding, or be­ing breathed. 4. Innaſcibility, or not begotten. 5. Spiration, or breathing, common to Father, Son, and Holy Ghoſt. They are called notions, becauſe they notifie, or make known the diſtinc­tion of the Perſons, and the Order of their Original one from another. The three firſt were uſed againſt the followers of Sahellius, who denyed the diſtinction of the Perſons. The o­ther two were uſed by Auguſtine, againſt ſome who acknow­ledged the diſtinction of the Perſons, but denyed the Or­der of their Original one from another. The laſt hath been of much uſe againſt the Greeks, who acknowledged the Ho­ly Ghoſt to proceed from the Father, but denyed him to proceed from the Son.

Negative Notions, as Innaſcibility, &c. cannot conſtitute a perſon, becauſe a perſon is that which is poſitive Negative pro­perties ſuppoſe a perſon conſtituted, but they do not conſti­tute a perſon: they are incommunicable properties, but ſecon­dary, not of themſelves: being founded in a poſitive pro­perty, that is, in perſonality. They are founded in this, that there cannot be more proceſſions of the ſame nature: i. e. there can be but one Paternity, one Filiation, one Proceed­ing in the Divine Nature.

Spiration, or Breathing, is not a property: being common both to the Father, and the Son: Paternity, Filiation, and Proceeding, are conſidered as relative properties; ſo they conſtitute the perſons: or as meer properties, that is, not conſtituting the perſons; only notifying their diſtinction, and Order of Original; and ſo looked at, they are alſo call­ed Notions.

Obj. 3. The Holy Ghoſt is ſaid to proceed from the Fa­ther, John 15.26. but no where is he ſaid to proceed from the Son; therefore it may ſeem he proceeds not from the Son, and conſequently not from the Father and the Son.

Anſ. Proceeding, ſignifieth the being of one perſon of another:John 15.26. & 14.26. Now though the Holy Ghoſt's being from the Son, is not expreſſed by the word Proceſſion, yet it is by the word Miſſion, or Sending, which concludes the ſame in effect. That31 is Scripture which is contained therein by expreſs terms, or by ſound conſequence; Hence he is called the Spirit of Chriſt, Rom. 8.9. And the Spirit of his Son, Galat. 4.6.

The Miſſion, or ſending of one perſon from another, is the determination of one perſon by another unto their ope­rations, concerning the creature according to the order of their ſubſiſtence: As the Son in regard of the Order of Be­ing is of the Father, ſo doth he depend upon the Father in regard of the Order of his operation. The Son can do no­thing of himſelf, but what he ſeeth the Father do, John 5.19. And as the Holy Ghoſt in reſpect of the Order of his Being, is of the Father, and the Son: ſo doth he depend upon the Father, and the Son, in reſpect of the Order of his Opera­tion. Hence as the Son is of the Father, ſo in this ſence he is ſaid to be ſent from the Father, John 5.24.30. And as the Holy Ghoſt is from the Father, and the Son, ſo he is ſaid to be ſent from the Father, and the Son, John 14.26. and 15.26.

The Eſſence of the three Perſons is the ſame, 1 John 5.7. To Ʋſeful­neſs of the Doctrine of the Trinity.John 10.30. The manner of the Exiſtence, or Eſſence, (though as a perſonal property it be incommunicable) is communi­cated in reſpect of its Original from one perſon to another. The Father is not without the Son, the Son is of the Father, the Holy Ghoſt is of the Father, and the Son. The Eſſence abſolutely conſidered, is common to all the three Perſons, but not communicated; for the Son is God of himſelf,Filius eſt,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ſed non〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. F. Hom. diſp. 7. Mutua im­manentia, circum in­ceſſio. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉ſeu〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. and the Holy Ghoſt is God of himſelf, no leſs then the Father is God of himſelf. Hence there is an Original in regard of the manner of the Eſſence, but not in regard of the Eſſence it ſelf. That Propoſition in the Nycene Creed [God of God] is to be underſtood of God taken in a concrete ſence; that is, for the Eſſence, and manner of the Eſſence conſidered toge­ther; not for God taken in an abſtracted ſence; that is, for the Eſſence, conſidered abſolutely. Hence appeareth,

1. The in-being of one Perſon in another, John 14.10, 11. 1 John. 1. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me. Becauſe a perſon ſignifying both the Eſſence,32 and its relative property, all the Perſons having one and the ſame Eſſence: it followeth, that in reſpect of the Eſ­ſence, one perſon is in another. Thus John ſaith, There are three, that is, three diſtinct Perſons, in reſpect of their re­lative oppoſition: adding withal, that theſe three are one: namely, in reſpect of the ſameneſs of the Eſſence. And here we may ſee the reaſon of thoſe words of Chriſt, John 8.19. If you had known me, ye ſhould have known my Father alſo: he that hath ſeen me, hath ſeen the Father.

2. That all the Perſons are equal: Who being in the Form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God, Philip. 2.6. John 5.18.

Either the Perſons are equal, or elſe becauſe every Perſon is God, there would follow an inequality, and conſequent­ly an inferiority in God, which is inconſiſtent with his per­fection.

3. That all the Attributes, in that they flow from the Eſ­ſence, are true of every perſon: becauſe every perſon hath the whole Eſſence.

4. That all the Attributes, whether Relative, Negative, or Poſitive, or if any other, in that they proceed from the Eſſence, are true of every perſon: becauſe the whoſe Eſſence (as was now ſaid) is in every perſon. The Father is Eternal, the Son is Eternal, the Holy Ghoſt is Eternal, becauſe the whole Eſſence is in every one of them: yet there are not three Eternals, but one Eternal; becauſe the Eſſence which is in them all, is but one. In like manner, the Father is Infi­nite, the Son is Infinite, the Holy Ghoſt is Infinite; yet, &c. And ſo of all the reſt.

5. That all the Works of God which concern the crea­ture, i. e. whatſoever is beſides God,Tho. 22. qu. 2. a. 3. Ʋrſin. Ex­plic. Catech. Part. 2. qu. 25. q. 8. Keck. Theol. lib. 1. cap. 3. propè finem. are wrought by all the perſons joyntly: becauſe the efficacy whereby they are what they are, proceeds likewiſe from the Eſſence it ſelf, not from the manner of the Eſſence.

Moreover, The Knowledge of the Trinity is neceſſary to ſalvation; becauſe ſaving faith hath for its object God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghoſt, and Jeſus Chriſt God-man. No man is ſaved without the knowledge of the Father: No33 man hath ſeen God at any time; the only begotten Son which is in the boſome of the Father, he hath declared him, John 1.18. No man is ſaved without the knowledge of the Son: Whoſo­ever denyeth the Son, the ſame hath not the Father, 1 John 2.23. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which hath ſent him, John 5.23. 1 John 5.20. No man is ſa­ved without the knowledge of the Holy Ghoſt: Now if any man hath not the Spirit of Chriſt, he is none of his, Rom. 8.9. Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, be­cauſe it ſeeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and ſhall be in you, John 14.17. God heareth none but ſuch as call upon him in the Name of Chriſt: none can call upon God in Chriſt, but ſuch as are taught and aſſiſted by his Spirit.

We cannot worſhip God aright without the knowledge of the Trinity. As God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghoſt, is of the object of faith; ſo is he of the object of divine worſhip. Baptiſm is an Act of Worſhip, and Seal of the Co­venant; but we are baptized into the Name of the Father,Qui Patrem adorat diſtin­ctè ſimul eti­am Filium & Spiritum Sanctum a­dorat unitè. Alſted. Caſconſcien. cap. 5. and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghoſt, Matth. 28.19. God hath committed all judgment to the Son; that all men ſhould honour the Son, as they honour the Fanher. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which hath ſent him, John 5.22, 23. Believers are the Temples of the Holy Ghoſt, 1 Cor. 3.16. and 1 Cor. 6.19. The Lord of the Temple is worſhipped in the Temple. We worſhip the Trinity in Unity, and the Unity in Trinity.

All obedience is to be performed unto God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghoſt. To him that elected us, that gave Chriſt to redeem us, that created us, that brought Iſrael out of Egypt, that in a word doth all for us, is obedience to be performed: But God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghoſt, and that as God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghoſt, elected us, gave Chriſt to redeem us, created us, &c. Therefore un­to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghoſt, is all obedience to be performed.

The Plurality of perſons in the Trinity, is of great uſe for the confirmation of the truth unto us. John aſſerts that34 great truth of Jeſus Chriſt being the Son of God, and Savi­our of all them that believe; not only from the teſtimony of one God, but from the teſtimony of that one God, who is three Witneſſes: For there are three that bare record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghoſt, and theſe three are one, 1 John 5.7. To the ſame purpoſe is the Argu­ment Chriſt uſeth, diſputing againſt the Scribes and Phari­ſees; proving the truth of what he had ſpoken concerning himſelf, being the Light of the world, becauſe it was averred by the Father, and him, as two witneſſes: It is alſo written in your Law, that the teſtimony of two men is true: I am one that bare witneſs of my ſelf, and the Father that ſent me, bear­eth witneſs of me, John 8.12.17, 18.

The Knowledge of the Trinity, tends unto the Conſola­tion of Believers. Vide Eſtium in Col. 2.2. Paul affectionately deſirous that the hearts of the Coloſſians might be comforted, ſheweth two ſpecial means thereof, viz. The Acknowledgment of the Myſtery of God, and of the Father, and of Chriſt, with the full aſſu­rance of underſtanding; and brotherly-love: of God, i. e. of God, and of his Attributes: of the Father, i. e. of the Perſons; the firſt of which is the Father: of Chriſt, i. e. of his Perſon, and Office: ſo ſome without repugnancy to the A­nalogy of faith, or the words of the text.

Laſtly, The Knowledge of the Doctrine of the Trinity, is requiſite to our Communion, which (as our union) is with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghoſt: And truly our Fel­lowſhip is with the Father, and with the Son Jeſus Chriſt, 1 John 3.3. The Grace of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt, and the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Ghoſt, be with you all, Amen, 2 Cor. 13.13. Matth. 28.11.

Though the perfect manner how one perſon is of ano­ther, is incomprehenſible, and unutterable in this life, (the perfect knowledge thereof being reſerved unto glory) yet ſo far hath God revealed himſelf unto us in his word in this life, as that we may and ought to attain unto ſome diſtinct­neſs: yea unto ſuch diſtinctneſs, as is held forth in the ſcrip­ture of truth; which is the meaſure of faith; and not to reſt in an implicite ſaith, concerning this Myſtery of myſte­ries. 35Secret things beling to the Lord our God, but thoſe things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children for ever. Deut. 29.29. Upon which laſt words, viz. to us, and to our children,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Ipſa viſio Perſonarum divinarum perduoit nos ad beatitudi­nem. Tho. 22. q. 2. a. 8. reſp. ad 3m. De Deo eti­am verum di­cere pericu­loſum eſt. Nec pericu­loſius alicubi erratur, nec laborioſius a­liquid quaeri­tur, nec fru­ctuoſius ali­quid inveni­tur. Aug. de Trin. l. 1. c. 3. Jun. Defenſio 3a, de Trin. Si Chriſtum bene ſo s, ſa­tis eſt ſi cae­tera neſcis. Si Chriſtum neſcis, nihil eſt ſi caetera diſcis. the Hebrew hath extraordinary pricks to ſtir up our attention to the matter here ſpoken of. To be wiſe a­bove what is written, is not wiſdom: but perillous ſin and folly. To be wiſe according to what is written, is ſobriety. To be wiſe up to what is written, (though alas we have all great cauſe to cry,od be mercifull to us all herein) is our duty.

No where throughout the Revealed Will of God, is the Truth ſought out with greater labour: no where is our finding out of the Truth fruit-fuller: no where do we erre with greater danger: ſo Auguſtine.


IT need be no wonder to ſee Junius burning with zealous indignation againſt that unchriſtian Speech of Samoſate­nus, [Namely, That it concerneth us not to ſeek ſolicitouſly what the Subſtance of Chriſt is, but what the Benefit is We have by him.] And thereupon provoking his Reader by ſundry Arguments unto an anxious ſearch thereunto: Eſpe­cially whil'ſt we remember the Spirit of Paul (ſecond to meer Son of man, in the diſcovery of the beatifical object) who could not ſatisfie himſelf without, but was ſtill ſtriving to ſatisfie himſelf with the excellent knowledge, not only of the benefits, but alſo of the Perſon and Office of Chriſt, as a help to our underſtanding, whereof conſider,36

  • 1. The Divine Nature.
  • 2. The Humane Nature.
  • 3. The Perſonal-Union.
  • 4. The Manner of the Perſonal-Union.
  • 5. The Office.
  • 6. Satisfaction to ſome Objections.
  • 7. Certain Effects, and Conſequents of the Perſonal-Union, in reſpect of the Manhood.
  • 8. The two States, wherein Chriſt performed, and ſtill performeth the Office of a Mediator.

Chriſt is not a Name of either Nature,Of the Di­vine Nature. Bucan inſti­tut. Theolog. loc. 2. but of the Perſon conſiſting of both natures together with his Office: That God and man might continue one in Covenant, it was neceſ­ſary that God and man ſhould be one in Perſon.

The Divine Nature aſſuming is the Divine Eſſence ſub­ſiſting in its ſecond relative property.

The Divine Nature is the better underſtood by attending to a double Conſideration of the ſecond Perſon in the Trinity; as followeth:

  • 1. The ſecond Perſon in the Triuity conſidered in him­ſelf, is God, and not man; but being conſidered in perſonal union with the Manhood, he is God-man.
  • 2. That the ſecond Perſon ſhould be of the Father, by co-eternal generation, was abſolutely neceſſary: but that the ſecond Perſon ſhould be united unto the humane nature, was not abſolutely neceſſary; but proceeded from the free pleaſure of God. Or that the ſecond Perſon ſhould be, was abſolutely neceſſary: that he ſhould be incarnate, was arbi­trary, not neceſſary.
  • 3. The ſecond Perſon, as conſidered in himſelf, is of the Fa­ther, not of the Holy Ghoſt: the ſecond Perſon conſidered in perſonal union with the Manhood, is of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghoſt.
  • 4. The ſecond Perſon, conſidered in himſelf, is equal unto the Father, but conſidered as united to the Manhood, is in­feriour to the Father, in reſpect of his voluntatry diſpenſa­tion.
  • 375. The ſecond Perſon, conſidered in himſelf; was of the object of faith unto Adam in the firſt covenant, who was to beleeve in God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghoſt: but the ſecond Perſon incarnate, God-man, Mediator, was not of the object of faith in the firſt, though he be in the ſecond Covenan.

The humane Nature was in all things, like unto us;Of the hu­mane Na­ture. ſin only excepted, and the manner of its ſubſiſting, The manner of its ſubſiſting that is, his perſon ality was increated. Chriſt as man, that is, the humanity or humane Nature of Chriſt, is an individuum, or ſingular being; but not a perſon: the reaſon whereof will appear by the juſt conſideration of the nature of a created perſon.

A created perſon is a being individual, ſubſiſting, living,Perſona eſt ſubſiſtens, individuum, vivum, in­teligens, in­communicabile. Non ſuſtentatum in alio, nec pars alterius. Ʋrſin. Explic. Cat. pars. 2. qu. 25. intelligent, incommunicable, not ſuſtained in another, nor part of another. Here are ſeven ingredients required to the conſtituting of ſuch a being, as is a perſon.

Firſt, that it be individual, not ſomething in the general; but this particular and ſingular thing, and not another. 1. That it ſubſiſts, 'tis a ſubſtance; that is,Gradus en­titat is 6.1. Eſſentia, i. e. natura communis. 2. Exiſtentia i. e. formalis terminus creationis. 3. Suppoſi­tum, i. e. quodvis in­dividuum ſivi ſubſtantia, ſive accidens. 4. Subſiſtentia, i. e. quodvis indivi­duū ſubſtantiae completae. 5. Perſonalitus, i. e. rationalis et ultimata perfectio. 6. Perſona, i. e. individuum ſubſtantie completae intellectualis. it depends not as concerning its being upon any fellow-Creature, its being is without in-being, 'tis no inmate, as accidents are. 3. 'Tis living, 'tis not a ſtone, or ought elſe that is lifeleſs. 4. 'Tis intelligent, indued with underſtanding and reaſon, 'tis not a Beaſt. 5. 'Tis incommunicable, being is common, but ſuch a being, that is [a Perſon] is proper to the ſame ſub­ject. 6. It is not ſuſtained of another, it ſubſiſts of it ſelf, as reaſonable ſubſiſtences, viz. men and Angels do: Now the humane Nature of Chriſt, though it is ſuch a being as is individual, ſubſiſting, living, intelligent, incommunicable;38 yet it is not a perſon: becauſe it is ſuſtained by another, i. e it hath its ſubſtance not of it ſelf, but from the ſecond Per­ſon of the Trinity. 7. 'Tis not a part of another, there­fore the ſouls of men though they be ſuch beings as have all the former ingredients, yet they are not perſons, becauſe they are but parts of a whole.

Hence it followeth, that the hamane Nature was not, be­fore it was aſſumed: The ſecond perſon in the Trinity in aſ­ſuming it created it, and in creating it, aſſumed it; he did not create it without, but within his perſon.

Obj. If the humane nature of Chriſt hath not a created perſonally; then Chriſt as man, is wore imperfect then other men who are perſons? Deeſt perſo­nalius non propter de­fectum ſed propter per­fectionem. Daver in Col. 2.9. Of the perſo­nal union. Deitas ſuſ­tentat huma­nitatem tan­quā ſuā et propriam et i••i dat ſub­ſiſtentiam. Daven. in Col.

Anſ. The humane Nature of Chriſt, is without a created perſonality; not for the defect of any thing requiſite unto its perfection; but for the addition of t