« PreviousContinue »
the second person alone in respect of merit and attainment." But, properly speaking, it is the assumption of human nature made in behalf of redemption, which is to be specially attributed to the Son; yet even from this, the Father and Spirit are not to be absolutely excluded. The Son alone became flesh, but God prepared for him the body (Heb. 10: 6), and he was conceived by the Holy Ghost (Luke 1: 35). Considered as an act, according to Thomas Aquinas,2 the incarnation is the work of the whole Trinity; but in respect to its terminus, that is the personal union of the divine and human nature, it belongs only to the Son; since, according to the doctrine of the church, it is first and properly not the nature but a person, and that the second person, which has assumed humanityBut that which is ascribed, terminative, to the Son must at the same time be also ascribed in another way to the Father: the Word became flesh, and the Son of God assumed the form of a servant, because he was sent by the Father into the world, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem us from the curse of the law, and make us the children of God. And so, too, God has sent his Spirit into our hearts, to make us perfect in childlike obedience and trust in him (Gal. 6: 4–6).
The notion of the Sending is, thus, that by which the separation of the persons in reference to the opera ad extra is done away with, although, at the same time, it is that by which this separation is also reëstablished ; that is, he who sends and he who is sent must be conceived of as two, no less than he who begets and 1847.)
· Quenstedt de Trin. Sect. I. Déo. 53. not.
2 Summae P. IIl. qu. 3. art. 4: Tres eniin personae fecerunt, ut humana natura uniretur uni personae Filii. Conf. Quenstedt de Christi persona et naturis, Sect. 1. thes. 24 : Causa efficiens unitionis est tota S. S. Trinitas, inchoative scil. s. ratione initii et effectionis s. productionis humanae naturae ; terminutive vero solus hóyos est, utpote qui solus incarnatus est.
3 According to the Confession of Faith of the eleventh council at Toledo (anno 675): “ The whole Trinity effected the incarnation, yet the Son alone received the forın of a servant in the singleness of his person, not in the unity of the divine nature, in that, which is peculiar to the Son, not what is common to the Trinity; which form is conjoined with him in a unity of person, that is, so that the Son of God and the Son of man are one Christ." Conf. Petay. theol. Dogin. de Incarn. L. II. cp. 4. § 7. Quenst. I. c. thes. 26.—But why just the second person? This is a question which the church doctrine does not venture to answer, and even the Scholastic theology answers it only timidly; as is natural, since, according to the opinion of the most esteemed Scholastics, the Father also or the Holy Spirit might have assumed humanity. Conf. Thomae Aq. Summ. III. qu. 3. art. 5 and 8.
The Sending of the Son and Spirit.
he who is begotten. Thus this separation of the persons is done away with in all that concerns the unity of the efficiency (ivéppala) in the work of redemption (opera oeconomica); the separation holds in reference to the relation of this work to the different modes of subsistence (modi subsistendi) of the divine nature. That the Father sent the Son, and that the Father and Son have sent and send the Holy Spirit, is expressly taught in the Holy Scriptures (John 14: 24, 26. 16: 5, 7). The further statements which the Evangelical theology has here made, are rather of a negative than positive character; for example, that the sending does not involve any separation in space, or any inequality. We may say that there is in the very notion of sending a twofold relation, one to that which sends, and another to that lo which the sending is made. In the last respect the sending of the Son and the Spirit consists in this, that, although they were present with men from the beginning, yet in the fulness of time they entered into a new and closer fellowship with them, the Son by a personal union with Jesus, the Holy Spirit by his indwelling in the Christian church, which was the result of the incarnation. In respect to the first of these relations, the sending expresses nothing else but an order of operations (ordo operandi) in the divine persons, corresponding with their order of subsistence (ordo subSistendi), a τρόπος αποκαλύψεως analogous to their τρόπος υπάρξεus; the sending is the consequent (consequens) of the generation and procession, and is the manifestation or revelation of these internal relations of the Godhead in time, or in the world.4 We may even say that the sending thus viewed, is the same relation as that expressed by generation and procession ; only the former is this relation viewed in its temporal aspect, the latter is
Qui enim ut mittens et missus distinguuntur, illi ut personae differunt. Calor. SII. p. 194.
? Quenst. de Trin, sect thes. 50. not. : “ The sending of the Son of God, 1. is not a banishment and separation in respect to space, as though he had been banished from the highest heavens, and separated from his celestial Father; for this would be repugnant to the infinite and intimate identity of the persons of the Father and the Son ; 2. The mission is not of command, but of free consent, and therefore argues no inequality of him that sends and him that is sent, -but only supposes an order of origination ; 3. the sending is not coerced but spontaneous, John 4: 34. 5: 30."
* Thornas in Summ. 1. qu. 43. art.
So everywhere where the sending is spoken of; e. g. Quenstedt 1. c. thes. 29, 31, 50, 52, 62. Quenst. distinguishes the sending, as the consequent and manifestation of the opera ad intra, from the proper opera ad extra, redemption and sanctification. Hollaz, de myst. Trin. qu. 30 and 52.
the relation comprehended as an eternal act. Thus is the conception of the sending (missio) the bond between the internal and the external characteristics of the persons of the Trinity, between
ad intra and extra, and forms the fitting conclusion of the doctrine, since it brings back the end to the beginning.
The statement as to the coïncidence of the processio and missio which we have above made is the view which Petavius maintains (De Trin. Lib. VIII. cp. 1. $ 1-10), after Manuel Kalekas, to whom it gave a firm foundation for his polemics against the Greek church in his books, de processione Spiritus S. Petavius declares (1. c. ” 10): Mitti a patre Filium, est gigni naturam hominis assumpturum et suo tempore assumentem; mitti Spiritum Sanctum, est procedere externum opus aliquod efficientem. Calov indeed contests this (tom. III. p. 195), yet without reason, and because he gives Petavius' meaning incorrectly, as if he held that the missio was the aeterna processio itself. In the sense of Petavius only this can be said, that the missio considered in its eternal relation to God as the one who sends, coincides with the processio, viewed in its relation to the manifestation in time of him who proceeds. But just here may perhaps lie the highest tension, and the possibility of an adjustment, of the antagonist between the Orthodox and the Sabellian view of the Trinity. Here is the highest variance, so far as we can call it a tendency of Sabellianism, that it knows nothing of any other processio than that which exists in the missio, while according to Petavius the missio coincides with the processio. Here, too, may be the pos. sibility of an adjustment of the difference, because, if the missio and processio are comprehended in their unity, the whole conflict ceases. The difference between the two, according to Schleiermacher, runs out into this, “ that Sabellius maintains that the threeness is something which has relation only to the different modes and spheres of action of the Deity,—considered as governing the world, in its general action upon all finite existence, it is the Father,-considered as redeeming, however, and in its special action in the person of Christ, and through him, it is the Son,but, viewed as sanctifying, in its likewise special action in the body of believers, and as the unity of the same, it is the Spirit:
Schleiermacher on the Contrast between the Sabellian and Athanasian view of the 'Trinity-iranslated by Professor Stuart in the Biblical Repository, vols. 5 and 6.
while, on the other hand, the doctrinal view prevalent in the church maintains, that the threeness is something purely internal, and originally separate in the Godhead, even when viewed apart from these different modes of action; and that the Godhead would have been Father, Son and Spirit in itself, in an eternal manner, if it had never created anything, never been united with an individual man and never dwelt in the community of believers." Now, although the latter is the orthodox view, yet if we adopt the expression of Petavius-gigni carnem assumpturum, we may set aside the question whether a generation is to be assumed without regard to the incarnation, as one that rests upon a needless, not to say, an empty abstraction. And thus the first hint which Schleiermacher, at the close of his System of Theology (S. 707 of the first, 592 of the second edition) gives towards a new elaboration of the doctrine of the Trinity, will be found in fact to lie nearer to the prevalent view than he himself seems to believe.
There is an objection of Schleiermacher's, bearing upon the points discussed in this section, to which we will just refer in closing it. In reference to the divine causality, which according to our doctrine is to be viewed as undivided, he puts two cases. Either the divine causality belongs wholly to the one Godhead as such, to the Persons, however, only so far as they are in the Godhead, and not so far as they are distinguished from each other; or, this causality belongs to the three persons as such, and to the unity of nature only so far as it consists of these persons. The first view, now, Schleiermacher thinks has never been able to gain currency, because in it the threeness recedes more than the prevalent tendency allowed; hence the other has been generally adopted, but yet not without some secret opposition ; for, properly speaking, according to this view the whole divine causality must be considered as threefold ; but since, in that case, the divine unity would become merely nominalistic, it has been assumed, that every act in all three is also one and the same, not that in every one there is its own act; in so saying, however, we do Dot refer the act to the persons but to the divine nature in its anity.-Most certainly! but what follows from this? Nothing else, but that Schleiermacher is not correct in saying, that of these two views the first has never been able to gain currency, and that the second has been generally espoused. In respect to the ope
Glaubenslebre $ 189, 3. S. 699 of the first ed. $ 171, 4. S.585 of the second.
ra attributiva, the expression chosen by Schleiermacher is almost word for word the received formula ; and this is also clear in the very name of the opera essentialia. In respect to the opera oeconomica, this formula, especially in its second part, is not wholly applicable ; but yet that which Schleiermacher gives as the second view is still less applicable to these operations. But, between these two views, there is a third, viz. that the divine causality is to be ascribed to the one Deity, and to the Persons ratione ordinis et patefactionis (conf. Hutter's locc. p. 112). When Schleiermacher adduces, now, as proof that, with the first view, the threeness is really maintained almost only in reference to the special act of the persons, such points as these; that the Son himself became man, while the justifying agency is attributed to the one and undistinguished divine nature; that the Holy Spirit as such is poured out upon believers, while that divine agency which guides and vivifies the Christian community, is attributed to the one and undistinguished divine nature ;' all this, with some enlargement of the conceded almost, the doctrinal theology of the church will recognize as being its own position, in accordance with the above intermediate view.
$8. Concluding Reflections. We have endeavored to explain the doctrinal formulas and positions of the church with more than usual care, and to fortify them with the declarations of the most esteemed theologians, because among their opponents as well as friends, we not seldom see the want of that more exact acquaintance with them, without which they can neither be justly judged, nor fittingly defended. Indeed, it often happens, that it is something wholly different from the real doctrine of the Trinity, as held by the church, which the one attacks, and the other tries to establish. But perhaps, as we have gone along, the question has forced itself upon some, whether such prolonged and subtle investigations are in any correct proportion with the importance of the doctrine for religion and Christianity? whether the chief thing, the proper religious element, is not rather kept out of sight, than made clear and impressive by all this pains-taking? For it is not to be denied, that not only the formulas, which are the residuum of the discussions upon this doctrine, but also the discussions themselves, and the
1 Glaubenslehre S. 700 of the first ed, which is here more clear than the second.