Exposition

I believe in God. To believe God and to believe in God, are two very different things. The first expresses historical faith ; the latter, true faith or confidence ; for when I say, I believe that God is, if I speak properly, I believe there is a God, and that he is such an one as he hath revealed himself in his word, viz: a spiritual essence, omnipotent, &c., the eternal Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. When I say, I believe in God, I mean, I believe that he is my God, that is, whatever he is and has is all for my salvation. Or, to believe God, speaking properly, is to believe a certain person to be God, according to all his attributes. To believe in God, is to be persuaded that he will make all things attributed to him subservient to my salvation, for the sake of his Son.

In God. The name of God is here taken essentially for God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ; because the phrase I believe, with the particle in, is referred in the same manner to all the three persons of the Godhead ; for the reason that we do not believe in the Son and Holy Ghost less than we do in the Father.

Father. When the name of the Father is opposed to the Son, it is taken personally, and signifies the first person of the Godhead, as here in the creed ; but when it is opposed to creatures it must be understood essentially, and signifies the whole divine essence, as in the Lord s prayer, Our Father who art in heaven. In this sense the Son is expressly called by Isaiah, “The everlasting Father.” (Is. 9: 6.) The first person is called the Father: 1. In respect to Christ, his only begotten Son. 2. In respect to all creatures, as he is the Creator, and Preserver of them all. 3. In respect to the elect, whom he hath adopted as his children, and whom he hath made accepted in his beloved Son.

To believe in God the Father, therefore, is to believe in that God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ; and to believe that he is also my Father, and as such has a fatherly affection toward me, for and on ac count of Christ, in whom he has adopted me as his son. In a word, it is to believe : 1. That he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2. That he is a Father to me for Christ s sake.

Obj. 1. I believe in God the Father. Therefore, the Son, and Holy Ghost are not God, but the Father alone. Ans. This is a fallacy of com position and division ; for the word God is joined with the Father in such a mariner as not to be separated from the Son and Holy Ghost ; a comma should be placed after the words in God, in this manner I believe in God, the Father. This is proven: 1. Because the name God, as it is here used in the creed, signifies essentially, and embraces the three persons, which are, as if by apposition, placed in order in the creed I believe in God, the Father ; and in Jesus Christ his only Begotten Son ; I believe in the Holy Ghost. For, I believe in the one true God, who is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, yet so that the Father is not the Son, nor the Holy Ghost the Son or the Father. 2. We expressly profess that we believe in the Son, and Holy Ghost, not less than in God, the Father. And yet we do not believe in any one else, except in the one only true God. 3. Many of the Greek copies read, I believe in one God, to wit, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. As we are, therefore, to believe in the Father, because he is God, so we are also to believe in the Son and Holy Ghost, because they are God. The name of God is placed but once in the creed, because God is only one, but never as if the Father alone were called God.