VI. How Many Persons are there in the Godhead?

There are three persons that subsist in the one essence of God, really distinct by their peculiar properties, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. These three are con-substantial and co-eternal all, and each, being the one true and eternal God.

This is proven, 1. By many express declarations from the Scriptures of the old and new testaments. “ The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” “ God said, let there be light.” “ By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” (Gen. 1 : 3, 4. Ps. 33 : 6.) The new testament scriptures furnish the clearest and most satisfactory testimony. “ Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

“ The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, [that is, through and on account of me,] he shall teach you all things.” “ When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.” “ According to his mercy, he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost ; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ.” “ Through him, [Christ,] we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” “ The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all,” “ God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts,” &c. (Matt. 28:19. John 14:26; 15:26. 1 John 5:7. Titus 3:5, 6. Eph. 2:18. 2 Cor. 13:14. Gal. 4:6.)

2. Those passages of Scripture prove the same thing, which attribute to these three, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the name of Jehovah, and of the true God ; and also those places in which certain things are spoken of Jehovah, in the old testament, which in the new, are expressly and without any limitation, referred to the Son and Holy Ghost.

3. Those passages prove the same thing which attribute the same and the whole divine essence to the three persons of the Godhead, and teach that the Son is the proper and only begotten Son of the Father ; and that the Holy Spirit is in such a manner the proper Spirit of the Father and the Son, that he proceeded from both.

4. This doctrine is still further confirmed by those declarations of Scripture which ascribe to these three persons of the Godhead the same attributes and perfections ;* such as eternity, immensity, omnipotence, &c.

5. The same is true in regard to those passages which attribute to the three persons of the Godhead the same works which are peculiar to the Deity, viz : creation, preservation, and government of the world also miracles, and the deliverance and preservation of the church.

6. The same may be said to be true of those passages, which attribute to the three, equal honor, prayer, and worship, such as belongs to the true God alone.

From this agreement of the old and new testaments we know and prove that one God is three persons truly distinct, and that these three persons are one God. Hence it is also correct to say that the Father is other from the Son and Holy Spirit: and the Holy Spirit is other from the Father and the Son. But it is not correct to say that the Father is something else or another thing from the Son, and that the Son is another thing, and that the Holy Spirit is another ; for to be other signifies merely a distinction of persons ; whilst to be another thing signifies a diversity of essence.

We must now prove, in reference to the three persons of the Godhead, that they are truly subsistents, against Samosatenus and Servetus ; that they are distinct subsistents or persons, against Sabellius ; that they are equal against, Arius, Eunomius, and Macedonius; and lastly that they are consubstantial or of the same essence against the same heretics. Concerning the person of the Father there is no controversy. And as to the objections which have been raised against the personality of the Son and Holy Spirit, we shall hereafter notice them in their proper place.