The Subsistence of God

Dr. William Ames (1576-1633)

What is God made up of? What is the being of God?

The Subsistence of God
by Dr. William Ames

1. This subsistence, or manner of being of God is his one essence so far as it has personal properties.

2. The essence is common to the three subsistences. As far as essence is concerned, therefore, the single subsistence is are rightly said to exist of themselves.

3. Nothing is attributed to the essence which cannot be attributed to each subsistence in the matter of essence.

4. But was is attributed partly to each subsistence in the matter of subsistence cannot be attributed to the essence

5. The subsistences are distinguished from the essence, because the mode of subsistence, though consolidated with the essence, are distinguished from it considered by itself.

6. They are distinguished from each other as things connected by certain relative properties, so that one cannot be another, although they are the same nature. Neither can one be said to be first or last, except in order of beginning and manner of subsistence.

7. These relative properties are, as it were, individual forces in one essence, spiritually and perfectly alive. Hence the subsistences are rightly called persons.

13. The relative property of the Son is to be begotten, that is, so to proceed from the Father as to be a participant of the same essence and perfectly carry on the Father’s nature. Hence is second in order. Hebrews 1:3, the brightness of His glory in the character of His person.

14. The property of the Holy Spirit is to be breathed, to be sent forth and to proceed from the Father and the Son John 15:26, He whom I will send forth you from the Father, that Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father: Romans 8:9, the Spirit of Christ; Galatians 4:6, the Spirit of the Son.