Page images



The Notiones Personales. are not to be considered as two, but as one principium spirationis ; or, as above stated, that it is one indivisible act which is the ground of the subsistence of the Holy Ghost; for in all things in which they are not distinguished by opposite relations, they are to be considered as one. Accordingly, the spiratio activa cannot be looked upon as a proper personal attribute.

3. If not to be included among the personal attributes, it must have its place among the notiones personales. Thus are called those internal traits, which, though they do not constitute the notion of personality, (as do the relationes personalitatis constitutitae,) do yet serve for the recognition and distinguishing of the Persons of the Trinity. Besides the communis spiratio, which is the notio personalis of the Father and the Son, the elder theologians are accustomed to reckon here the innascibilitas, dyervndia, as the notio personalis of the Father. By this is meant, that while the Son has the ground of his subsistence in the Father, and the Holy Ghost in the Father and Son, the Father has it in himself, he himself is the principium personalitatis for himself. If to these, now, we add the three personal attributes, (which is church. Anselm however grants that the Son and Spirit are distinguished by the modus procedendi, (viz. generatio and spiratio). Here the Greeks stand, not granting, what Aquinas, in order to weaken the concession of Anselm, asserts, that the mode of procession is distinguished only by the one being referred to the Father alone, and the other to both Father and Son. Conf. Procopotiez libr. cit. Cap. XVIII. $ 304.

Aquinas, Summ. I. qu. 36. art. 4. Thus, too, Augustin (de Trin. V. 14) de. plares, ** As the Father and the Son are one God, and relatively to the creature me creator and Lord, so relatively to the Spirit they are one principle." An. selm (de proces. Sp. S. cp. 9.) uses, among other things, this illustration ; as a lake made by a fountain and a stream, is not produced by them so far as they are different, but by the water in which they are one; so the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Father and the Son so far as they are distinguished, but from the divine essence, in which they are one. Thus, too, the Lutheran theologians, e.g. Quenstedt, de Trin. Sect. I. 90. 30: Sect. II. qu. 12; who gise special prominence to the unity of the èvepyeia, or the una et indivulsa spiratio.

• Conf. Hulleri loc. p. 103: Per notionem nihil intelligunt Scholastici hoc loco aliud quam propriam rationem cognoscendi divinam personam, uti definit Cajetanus. Aliae enim sunt proprietates personales relativae, personam ipsam constituentes, quae nimirum relationem ad aliam personam habent, et ordinem producentiam et productorum constituunt; quales proprietates sunt tantum tres, gignere, gigni, procedere ; aliae sunt proprietates personales, quae non sunt relativae constituentes, h. e, non relationem habent ad alteram personam respectu productionis; neque enim personam, qualis ratione productionis sit sed tantum, qualis in se et ex se sit, h. e. quatenus aliquid ab altera persona distinctam obtineat, definiunt.





done when the notiones personales are taken in a wider sense,) we shall have five of them, and this is the number reckoned by Aquinas, and several of our Lutheran theologians.' Duns Scotus was of opinion that a sixth should be added, viz. inspirabilitas, as a notio personalis of the Son. But if in this way, a beginning is once made, of converting the mere negation of personal relations into special internal characteristics, the number of them might easily be increased to twelve, as in the following table: Pater.


Spiritus S.
non generat,

non generat,
non generatur ;
sed generatur;

neque generatur;

neque spirat,
non spiratur;
non spiratur;

sed spiratur ; which would seem to be recommended, not only by its completeness, but also because each person has an equal number of internal notes. But such symmetry and completeness belong only to that false scholastic tendency, in which one gets mere names instead of real conceptions. This is most strikingly manifest in the fact, that thus the same characteristic of dyervnoía is attributed both to the Father and the Holy Spirit, although with a wholly different meaning:3

But if we affirm this of the Father alone, if he alone subsists through hiinself, and the Son and the Spirit through him, does it not then follow, that he alone is absolute, and that the other persons are relative and dependent? In spite of all our pains, does not Arianism show itself here? Is there not an inequality in the persons, if the power to generate dwells in the Father alone, and not in the Son and Spirit, and if the Spirit is represented merely as proceeding, without any actus transitivus peculiar to himself?

The orthodox doctrine may concede a certain inequality; and

Aquinas Summ. P. I. qu. 32. art. 3. (utrum sint quinque notiones?) Baier theol. pos. P. I. cp. 1. § 42.

? Lib. I. dist. 28. qu. 1. art. 3: Sicut in Patre innascibilitas, quae est negatio processionis, est quaedam nota distincta a paternitate et spiratione; ita inspirabilitas est quaedam notio in Filio distincta a filiatione et spiratione, quae significat negationem spirationis passivue, sicut innascibilitas in Patre significat omnem negationem processionis passicae.

3 Conf. Hutter. loc. p. 104. When Augustine (de Trin. XV, 26) says that the Father alone is ingenitus, he means that he alone is not produced in any manner by any other—and in this sense (in libro ad Orosium) he denies that the Holy Spirit can be called ingenitus. When Jerome and others say that the Holy Spirit is ingenitus, the meaning is, that he is not begotten, as is the Son. And this is the sense in which this note is predicated of both the Father and the Spirit. In the Latin fathers the word has this double sense.



Ordo Subsistendi.


why not? Can it not repudiate Arianism, without denying that there is in it, as in all error, an element of truth? Its office cannot be to get as far as possible from everything which any body can call Arianism, but to come as near as possible to the truth. We may still and ever say, that the Father is greater than the Son (John 14: 28), not merely so far as we consider the humanity of the latter, bnt also, as many orthodox theologians? have taught, in his divine nature; the only question is, in what re. spect?

4. Ordo subsistendi. Since now, it is clear, that any inequality of nature or essence is utterly ont of the question, because the essence in all three persons is one and the same; the difference which exists can relate only to the subsistence, and, not to the notion or the necessity of the subsistence, but only to the order thereof, (ordo subsistendi). By virtue of this, as was remarked at the beginning, the Father is the first, the Son the second, the Holy Ghost the third person ; not in the order of time (ratione temporis), for in God all is alike eternal; not in their nature (ra. tione naturae), for this is coincident with the essence which is identical in all; but in view of the origin or emanation of one person from another, in their relations as generating, generated and proceeding, upon which alone the distinction of the persons teposes. In this sense, then, the Athanasian creed can maintain, that, “ in this Trinity none is afore, or after other,” (that is, in time,) “none is greater, or less than another,” (that is, in nature,) "but the whole three Persons are co-eternal together and coequal,” (that is, on account of their consubstantiality or sameness of substance); and yet an inequality can be conceded, if thereby nothing else is meant, than that the Father is the principle of the subsistence of the divine essence in the Son, and that the per

It is an incontestable advance in the way of looking at doctrinal differences, eben we consider not merely the formulas maintained, but also the general tendencies from which these differences have resulted. The angle of diver. genice may be very small, and the ultimate separation very wide. But with this is often connected an objectionable mode of disputation, when, in order to avoid an opinion which is seen to be extreme, we are warned against everything which seems to look that way; for error is for the most part only an exaggeration of the truth. Certain words as Arianism, Pelagianism, Gnosticisin,

bug-bears, by which many a one, in seeking to avoid ene extreme, is forced into errors on the opposite side, from which, if he had kept the matter itself before him, he would have been saved by a sound sense for truth. • Conf. Petavius, Theol. Dogm. de Trin. Lib. II. cp. 2. 1.


Dualism, are often mere

Vol. IV. No. 13.

sonality of the Spirit has its ground in the Father and the Son ; for the doctrine of the church is so far from denying this, that it is, on the contrary, wholly based upon it.!

But does it follow from this that the Father alone is absolute, and the other Persons not so ? If this be so, then indeed the Father alone is God; for to be absolute, and to be of divine nature, are interchangeable notions. But for this very reason, since it is a definition of the divine nature identical in all three persons, we say that they are all absolute. One thing we should especially guard against, and that is substituting the notion of three divine natures, instead of the true doctrine of the church, of one absolute essence, subsisting in a threefold mode (zpóros vadošens) as begetting, begotten and proceeding; in this case, indeed, only one of them, that which is unbegotten and begets the others, could be considered as absolute. Here, and not in the former view, is Arianism not yet conquered. We may derive an illustration for this from our own personality. I make my own self an object of thought; here is Ias subject and I as object; in the object, now, the I is no less really present than in the subject; and yet this objective I is produced by the subjective; or, here is a personal subject, determining itself to action, to activity in the most general form conceivable ;? now, in this activity to which this person, this I, determines itself, the person himself, the Iis also present; it is present in the action determined upon, no less really than in the act of determining. Thus we may say, that because all which is the Father's is also the Son's (John 16: 15), because he is the perfect image of his nature (Heb. 1: 3), because

n he is God of God; so, too, this also is given to the Son by the

In the language of the church this is indeed not called inequality, and we may say, justly so; for what is equal in quality, we are not wont, on account of a difference in relations, to call unequal; e. g. two men of like qualities and excellences, we do not call unequal because they may be father and son. But since many persons take offence just here, because they cannot bring into agreement with the assumed equality of the persons their relation as principium and principiatum (as the Scholastics express it); it would perhaps be better, considering that it is not the word but the thing with which we are concerned, in order to set aside this objection, at once to concede a certain inequality, only not of the nature, but in the relation of subsistence. [Conf. Pearson on the Creed, p. 48 seq. Waterland on the Athanasian Creed. Bull. Defens. Fid. Nic. Lect. IV. c. 1. § 1. c. 2. § 1. c. 4. § 1. Also Faber, Apostolicity of Trini. tarianism, Bk. 2. ch. 9.]

2 This is perhaps a better illustration because here the I has in a certain sense an absolute character an absolute tendency to the absolute, according to Fichte, Sittenlehre, p. 23,


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

Father, in begetting him, to have life in himself, even as the Father has life in himself (John 5: 26); that is, to him also be. longs the absolute and independent existence, which is contained in the very essence of the Godhead. " As the Father,” says Anselm," has essence and wisdom and life in himself, exists not by another's, but by his own essence, is wise by his own wisdom, and lives by his own life: so too in begetting the Son, he gives to him to have essence, and wisdom and life in himself, so that not by another's, but by his own essence and wisdom and life, he subsists, is wise and lives; otherwise the Son would not have the same attributes as the Father.” Much as Calvin was blamed for calling the Son, considered in his essence, avrojtos, still he was in the right, and moreover is supported in it by Lutheran theologians? In another point of view, that is, considered in his personal subsistence, the Son cannot be called avro eos, but only the Father, since he alone is dyervntos; but the dyervoia of the person is not to be confounded with the absoluteness of the es. sence. Or, if one should say that the former is something abso

Anselm, monolog. cap. 43. Calcia, instit. L. I. cp; XIII. § 25: “We say that Deity is absolutely self. eristent; hence we confess that the Son, as far as he is God, independently of the consideration of Person, is self-existent; but so far as he is Son we say that be is of the Father; that his essence is not from any originating principle, but the originating principle of the person is God himself." He brings this out more fully in his polemic upon Valentinus Gentilis. Calvin's view was strongly contested by several Catholic theologians, although Bellarmin blames his expression more than his meaning, (Controvers. de Christo, Lib. II. cp. 19. With all his polemical prejudice and bitterness, Bellarının is yet so straightforward and upright, that it were much to be wished that the polemics of our days would take him in these respects for a pattern). The Lutheran theologians, too, were not satisfied with Calvin's mode of expression; the Calvinis. te formula : Christum esse a se ipso secundum essentiam, u Putre secundum per. Saam, seemed to them to separate essence and person too much, and not to bold sufficiently fast the concrete notion of person as being the essence itself represented under a certain relation ; but still they defended the autodrótns of Christ against the Catholics as well as other opponents. Conf. Gerhard Loc. de Deo Patre, ş 179; Exeges. Loc. IV. de pers. Chr. $ 67 ; Quenstedt de Trin. Lect. II. qu. VII. The latter cites Danhuuer's words as almost classical: “ The eirodeórns may be opposed either to dependence or to communication ; if to the former, then Christ is aúródeos, because he is an entity equally indepen. dent with the Father; if to the latter, then he is not airóteoç because his es. sence is communicated to him by the Father. The dirine essence which is in the Sm is from itself (a se), although the Son himself is not from himself, but God from God, light from light.”

* John of Damascus distinguishes in this respect between úyévntoç and ủyév1970s; using the former word, written with one v, to signify that which is not

« PreviousContinue »