Doc. of Lord (Potts) n. 55

55. THE DOCTRINE OF THE ATHANASIAN CREED AGREES WITH THE TRUTH, PROVIDED THAT BY A TRINITY OF PERSONS IS UNDERSTOOD A TRINITY OF PERSON, AND THAT THIS TRINITY IS IN THE LORD. The recognition by Christians of three Divine Persons, and thus as it were of three Gods, has arisen from there being in the Lord a Trine, one of which is called the Father, the second the Son, and the third the Holy Spirit. This Trine is also referred to in the Word under distinct names just as we refer by distinct names to soul, to body, and to that which proceeds from them, which, however, taken together, form a one. In the sense of the letter the Word is of such a nature that things which form a one it distinguishes from each other as if they did not form a one. This is why Jehovah (who is the Lord from eternity) is sometimes called "Jehovah," sometimes "Jehovah of Armies," sometimes " God," sometimes "the Lord;" and at the same time He is called "Creator," "Savior," "Redeemer," and "Former," and even "Shaddai;" and His Human which He assumed in this world, "Jesus," "Christ," "Messiah," "Son of God," "Son of man;" and, in the Word of the Old Testament, "God," "Holy One of Israel," "Jehovah's Anointed," "King," "Prince," "Counselor," "Angel," "David." [2] In consequence of this feature of the Word in the sense of the letter (that it speaks of as many those who really form a one) Christians, who at first were simple folk, and understood everything in accordance with the literal import of the words discriminated the Divinity into three Persons. On account of their simplicity this was permitted, but in such a manner that they should believe the Son to be Infinite, Uncreate, Almighty, God, and Lord, altogether equal to the Father; and that they should also believe that these are not two, or three; but one in essence, majesty, and glory, and therefore in Divinity. [3] They who believe this in simplicity in accordance with doctrine, and do not confirm themselves in the idea of three Gods, but of the three make a one, after death are taught by the Lord by means of angels that He Himself is that one God, and that Trine. And this teaching is received by all who come into heaven for no one can be admitted into heaven who thinks of three Gods, however much he may say One; for the life of the whole heaven, and the wisdom of all the angels, are founded upon the acknowledgment and consequent confession of one God, and upon the faith that this one God is also Man, and that He is the Lord, who is at once both God and Man. [4] From all this it is evident that it was of Divine permission that Christians at first received the doctrine of three Persons, provided that they at the same time received the idea that the Lord is God, Infinite, Almighty, and Jehovah. For unless they had received this too, it would have been all over with the church, because the church is the church from the Lord; and the eternal life of all is from the Lord, and from no other. [5] That the church is the church from the Lord is evident from this alone, that the whole Word from beginning to end treats solely of the Lord, as was shown above; and that we must believe in Him, and that they who do not believe in Him have not eternal life, but that the anger of God abideth on them (John 3:36). [6] Now as every one sees in himself that if God is one, He is one in both Person and Essence (for no one thinks differently, or can think differently, while thinking that God is one), I will here cite the whole of the Creed which takes its name from Athanasius, and will afterwards show that all things said therein are true, provided that instead of a trinity of Persons there is understood a trinity of Person.

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