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CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
Of Faith in the Holy Trinity. THERE is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker, and Preserver, of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
There is, &c.] That there is a God, is manifest, 1. From the order of causes, which derives its origin from some first, self-existent cause. 2. From the very idea or notion of a God, which implies in it a necessary existence. 3. From the consent of all nations. 4. From the origin of the world, and the order and usefulness of all things therein. 5. From the force of conscience. 6. From prophecies. 7. From miracles. See Pearson on the Creed, Art. I. Wilkins's Natural Religion, Book I. Chap. 4, 5, 6. Stillingfleet's Orig. Sac. B. III. Chap. 1, 2. Grotius de Verit. Christianæ Relig. Lib. I. C. 2. Tillotson on Job xxviii. 28.
One God] That there is but One God, appears from the very nature of God, which is incompatible with a plurality of gods; inasmuch as He is the first Cause and the ultimate end of all things, and is also a Being infinitely perfect whereas if there were more gods, then one of them might be produced by another, and they might even clash one with another. And farther, as One God is sufficient, so, if there were more, neither this nor that would be necessary. But God is a necessary Being. See Exod. iii. 14. God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: And he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. See also 1 Cor. viii. 4. There is none other God but one.
See also Ignatius. "There is One God (says he) who "hath manifested himself by Jesus Christ his Son, who " is his eternal Word."
And Justin Martyr. "That there is but One God, is "the first document of true religion."
And St. Cyprian. "There is One God, who is Lord "of all; for his sublime greatness cannot admit of a "partner, since it is alone possessed of all power."
See also Pearson on the Creed, Art. I. Wilkins's Nat. Rel. B. I. Ch. 8. Grotius de Verit. Rel. Lib. I. C. 8. Living and true God] See 1 Thess. i. 9. Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.
Everlasting] Inasmuch as he is the first Cause, which could not possibly be produced either from any other cause or from nothing. Now that which is not produced by any other cause, exists of itself, and that which exists of itself, must always exist. See 1 Tim. i. 17. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory, for ever and ever. See also Wilkins's Nat. Rel. B. I. Ch. 8. Grotius de Verit. Rel. Lib. I. C. 6.
Without body] That is, immaterial and spiritual. For a spiritual substance excels a bodily one: and therefore if God were a bodily substance, he would be more ignoble than the angels, and the souls of men. Besides, all matter is of itself inactive, and void of motion, unless it be moved by something else. But God is the first Mover. See John iv. 24. God is a Spirit.
See also Theophilus of Antioch. "The form or shape "of God (says he) is ineffable and inexpressible, and "cannot be seen with bodily eyes. For he is infinite in glory, incomprehensible in greatness, super-excellent
"in power, incomparable in wisdom, inimitable in good"ness, unspeakable in beneficence."
Without parts] Or, according to the Latin Articles, Impartibilis, that is, incapable of being divided into parts. This follows from his being immaterial and spiritual. If he were a material and bodily substance, then, as he is infinite, he would fill all places in such a manner, that there would be no room for any other bodily substance.
Without passions] Or, according to the Latin Article, Impassibilis, that is, incapable of suffering. Whatever suffers, does so from an agent stronger than itself, and is in some measure impotent. But God is a Being of immense power. For He, from whom all power is derived, must necessarily be omnipotent. And if any thing could resist God, it would either have that power from itself, and consequently would itself be God: or else it would have it from another, that is, from God. But how should God confer such a power as is greater than his own?
The English Article has, without parts or passions, for what the Latin one expresses by, impartibilis and impassibilis. And here it is to be observed, that the Scriptures indeed seem to attribute members to God, such as eyes and hands, &c. as also passions, such as love, anger, hatred, &c. of all of which, since he is the most simple essence, and is also immutable, and always infinitely happy, he is utterly incapable; and therefore that those things are spoken by way of accommodation to the weakness of men, and not as suitably to the perfections of God.
See Psal. cii. 26, 27. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.
See also Wilkins's Nat. Rel. B. I. Ch. 8. Pearson on the Creed, Art. VI.
Of infinite power] See Matt. xix. 26. With God all things are possible. See also Clement of Rome. "There Epist. ad
" is nothing (says he) impossible with God. By the word Cor. c. 27. "of his majesty were all things made, and by a word he can destroy them."
Of infinite wisdom] God's infinite wisdom appears from the admirable order and usefulness of things, and from the various effects of divine Providence. See Psal. cxlvii. 5. His understanding is infinite. See also Wilkins's Nat. Rel. B. I. Ch. 6.9. Ray's Wisdom of God, &c. Sherlock of Providence, Ch. VIII.
Of infinite goodness] God's infinite goodness appears from the creation and preservation of all things; but, especially, from the redemption of mankind by Christ. See Luke xviii. 19. Why callest thou me good? None is good save one, that is God. See also Sherlock of Providence, Ch. VII. Wilkins's Nat. Rel. B. I. Chap. 10. Art of Contentment, Sect. 3, 4. Scott's Christian Life,
Part II. Vol. II. p. 242.
Maker of all things] That the world is not eternal, is manifest from the arts which in these latter ages of it have been invented; from the countries which of late have been discovered, and which were as yet uncultivated; and, from all the histories of it, which do not reach many ages back. It was therefore made. And that it was thus made by chance, is absurd and impossible. It had therefore a Creator. And who could that be but God? See Col. i. 16, 17. By him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
See also Irenæus.
"God hath no need of any thing, Hæres. l. 1. inasmuch as he made all things by his Word and Spi
rit, and still governeth all things, which all receive their being from him."
See also Pearson on the Creed, Art. I. Wilkins's Nat. Rel. B. I. Ch. 5. Stillingfleet's Orig. Sacr. L. III. C. 2. Tillotson on Job xxxviii. 28.
Preserver of all things] For nothing exists necessarily, and of itself, except God. And therefore all things depend upon God. See Scott's Christian Life, Part II. Vol. I. C. 4. Sect. I. Nowelli Catech. p. 49, 50. Sherlock of Providence, Ch. II.
And in the unity, &c.] Since it is most certain that there is but One God, and yet that those attributes and divine honours are in Scripture ascribed to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, which belong to no other being but God; it is very justly said, that there is One God, but Three Persons.
See Matt. xxviii. 19. Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. And 2 Cor. xiii. 14. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. And 1 John v. 7. There are three that bear record in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
See also Clement of Rome.
"Have we not One God, Epist. ad
"and One Christ, and One Spirit of Grace?"
Cor. c. 46.
And Ignatius. "Be subject to your Bishop-as the Epist. ad Apostles were to Christ, and to the Father, and to the Magnes. "Spirit."
And Justin Martyr. "Him, and his Son begotten by Apol. 1. c.6. "Him, and the Prophetical Spirit, we worship and
And Athenagoras. "From him, and by him, were all Legatio pro. things made, since the Father and the Son are one, and Christo, p. "since the Son is in the Father, and the Father in the
Son, by the union and power of the Spirit." And again, "Who therefore would not wonder that we should be Ibid. p. 11. "called atheists, who acknowledge God the Son and the
Holy Ghost, declaring their power in unity [or their unity in power] and their difference in order?"
And Theophilus of Antioch. "The three days which Ad Autolyc. preceded the luminaries, are types of the Trinity, of 1. 2. God, and his Word, and his Wisdom."
And Tertullian. "The connexion of the Father in Adv. Prax"the Son, and of the Son in the Comforter, makes Three eam, c. 25. "cohering with one another. These Three are one Thing, "not one Person; and therefore it is said, I and the Fa"ther are One, with regard to the unity of Person, not the
singularity of number." And again, "It is made the Ib. c. 31. "chief Article of Faith amongst the Jews, so to believe in "one God, as not to join the Son, or the Holy Ghost "with him. For what difference will there be, except "that, between them and us? What is the business of "the Gospel, or what is the substance of the New Testa"ment, which acknowledge the Law and the Prophets "until John, if from thence it do not appear, that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, who are believed to "be Three, yet constitute but One God?"
And St. Cyprian. "These words, Go ye, and teach De Idol. "all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, "and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, intimate the Tri"nity, into the belief and profession of which the Gen"tiles were to be received by the sacrament of Baptism."
See also Stillingfleet's Doctrine of the Trinity. Hooker's Eccl. Pol. B. V. Sect. 51. Prideaux's Fasc. Controv. C. 2. Q. 2. Nelson's Festivals, Trin. Sund. Nowelli Catech. p. 46.