General rules by which an answer may be returned to the principal heresies and objections of heretics.

1. Heretics reason from false principles when they argue that, if God begat one Son he could have begotten more, and the Son might have begotten another son, &c. We reply to this objection by laying down this rule, That we are to judge of God according to the revelation which he has made in his word, and not according to the brain of heretics. Hence, as he has revealed himself in his word as such an one as could have begotten only one Son, and has and willed to have only one and not more, we should rest satisfied with this and not go beyond what he has been pleased to reveal.

2. They assume many things which are true in relation to things that are finite, but which are false when they are applied to God who is infinite, as, for example, when they argue, That three cannot be one: Three persons really distinct cannot be one essence: He that begets and he that is begotten are not the same essence: An infinite person cannot beget another that is infinite: One essence cannot be communicated to many: He who communicates his own essence, whole and entire to another, does not remain what he was, &c. To these and similar objections often brought forward by those who oppose the doctrine of the Divinity of the Son and Holy Ghost, we reply, not by simply denying what they affirm, but by making a distinction according to this rule: Principles which are true concerning a nature that is finite, are not to be transferred to the infinite essence of God; for when this is done they become false.

3. When they argue from things peculiar to the human nature, as that Christ suffered, died, &c., which things cannot be said of God; we reply to them by making a distinction between the natures in Christ, according to this rule: Those things which are proper to the human nature of Christ are not to be transferred to his divine nature.

4. When they conclude from those things which are peculiar to the office of the mediator, that God cannot be sent by God; we must reply according to the rule of Cyril: Sending and obedience do not take away or conflict with equality of power, or of essence; or, inequality of office does not set aside equality of nature, or of persons. It is in accordance with this rule that we are also to explain that declaration of Christ: My Father is greater than I; viz. as it respects the office and human nature of the mediator, but not as it respects his divine essence. (John 14:28)

5. When they conclude that the Son is not God, or that he is inferior to the Father, because he sometimes in the Scriptures attributes his own works to the Father, as the fountain of all divine operations, as in John 14:10, "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works;” an answer is to be returned according to this rule: Those things which are attributed to the Father as the fountain, are not to be considered as belonging to him exclusively , as though the Son did not participate in them; for they are communicated to him that he may have them as his own. For what things soever the Father doeth, these doeth the Son likewise.

6. So when they argue from those passages of Scripture in which the Father is opposed to false deities which make no mention of the Son, that this omission is a manifest proof that the Son is not that one God, an answer is easily given according to this rule: When any thing is attributed to any one of the persons of the Godhead that is opposed to creatures, or false deities, that he may thereby be distinguished from them, the other persons are not excluded, but only those things in regard to which a comparison is made. Or, When one divine person, as the Father, is opposed to creatures, or idols, and glory and honor are ascribed to him, it does not follow that the Son and Holy Ghost are not of the same divine essence with the one thus opposed, and that they do not possess equal honor and glory: Or, the divine properties, operations and honor are attributed to any one of the persons in such a manner that they are not removed from the other persons of the Godhead, but only from creatures: Or, a superlative or exclusive manner of speaking in regard to one person, does not exclude the other persons of the Godhead; but creatures and false gods with whom the true God in one or more persons, is opposed. As, "the Father is greater than all,” that is, all creatures, and not the Son or Holy Ghost. (John 10:29) “Of that day knoweth no one, but the Father only, ”that is, no creature. (Matt. 24:86) Hence an answer is also furnished to the declaration, “that they might know thee, the only true God.” (John 17:3) The Son is not by this excluded as though he were not truly and properly God, but idols and false gods with whom the Father, the true God, is compared, are excluded.

7. Concerning the phrases and language of Scripture which they corrupt, we are to judge of them according to the circumstances connected with the passages referred to, and by a comparison of them with other passages, as, "he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father,” (1 Cor. 15:24) in such a manner, doubtless, that he himself might retain it, just as the Father delivered the kingdom to the Son in such a way that he, nevertheless, did not lose it. So "the Son does nothing;” (John 5:19) that is, he does nothing of himself, or without the will of the Father going before, yet he acts by himself from the Father.