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ARTICLE III.

I believe that as there is one God, so this one God is three Persons,—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

THIS, I confess, is a mystery which I cannot possibly conceive, yet it is a truth which I can easily believe; yea, therefore it is so true, that I can easily believe it; because it is so high, that I cannot possibly conceive it; for it is impossible any thing should be true of the infinite Creator, which can be fully expressed to the capacities of a finite creature: and, for this reason, I ever did, and ever shall, look upon those apprehensions of God to be the truest, whereby we apprehend him to be the most incomprehensible; and that to be the most true of God, which seems most impossible unto us.

Upon this ground, therefore, it is, that the mysteries of the gospel, which I am less able to conceive, I think myself the more obliged to believe; especially this mystery of mysteries, the Trinity in Unity, and Unity in Trinity, which I am so far from being able to comprehend, or indeed to apprehend, that I cannot set myself seriously to think of it, or to screw up my thoughts a little concerning it, but I immediately lose myself, as in a trance, or ecstacy: that God the Father should be one perfect God of himself, God the Son one perfect God of himself, and God the Holy Ghost one perfect God of himself; and yet that these three should be but one perfect God of himself; so that one should be perfectly three, and three perfectly one; that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost should be three, and yet but one; but one 40and yet three! O heart-amazing, thought-devouring, unconceivable mystery! Who cannot believe it to be true of the glorious Deity? Certainly, none but such as are able to apprehend it, which, I am sure, I cannot, and believe no other creature can. And, because no creature can possibly conceive how it should he so, I therefore believe it really to be so, viz.—That the Being of all beings is but one in essence, yet three in substance: but one nature, yet three persons; and that those three persons in that one nature, though absolutely distinct from one another, are yet but the same God. And I believe, these three persons, in this one nature, are indeed to one another as they are expressed to be to us, that the one is really a Father to the other, that the other is really a Son to him, the third the product of both; and yet, that there is neither first, second, nor third amongst them, either in time or nature. So that he that begat was not at all before him that was begotten, nor he that proceeded from them both, any whit alter either of them. And therefore, that God is not termed Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as if the divine nature of the one should beget the divine nature of the second; or the divine nature of the first and second should issue forth the divine nature of the third; (for then there would be three divine natures, and so three Gods essentially distinct from one another; by this means also, only the Father would be truly God, because he only would be essentially of and from himself, and the other two from him:) but what I think myself obliged to believe, is, that it was not the divine nature, but the divine person of the Father, which did, from eternity, beget the divine person of the Son; and from the divine persons of the Father and of the Son, did, 41from eternity, proceed the divine person of the Holy Ghost; and so one not being before the other, in time or nature, as they are from eternity three perfectly distinct persons, so they are but one co-essential God. But dive not, O my soul, too deep into this bottomless ocean, this abyss of mysteries! It is the holy of holies, presume not to enter into it; but let this suffice thee, that he, who knows best himself, hath avouched it to himself, and therefore thou oughtest to believe it, ‘Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’8888   Matt. xxviii. 19. And again, ‘There are three that bear record in heaven. the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.’8989   1 John, v. 7.


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