The Trinity – by Rev. John Hales


The Christian Walk

Hales succinctly explains what Christians may testify of concerning the doctrine of the Trinity.

The Trinity
by Rev. John Hales

The sum of whatsoever either the Scriptures teach, or the Schools conclude concerning the doctrine of the Trinity, is comprised in these few lines.

God is one; numerically one; more one, then any single man is one, if unity could suscipere magis & minus. Yet God is so one that He admits of distinction, and so admits of distinction that He still remains unity.

As he is one, so we call Him God, the Deity, the Divine Nature, and other names of the same signification. As He is distinguished so we call Him Trinity. Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

In this Trinity there is one essence, two emanations, three persons or relations, four properties, five notions [a notion is that by which any person is known or signified.]

The one essence is God, which with this relation that it doth generate or beget, makes the person of the Father. The same essence with this relation that it is begotten, maketh the person of the Son. The same essence with this relation, that it proceedeth, maketh the person of the Holy Ghost.

The two emanations are to be begotten, and to proceed, or to be breathed out. The three persons are, Father, son, and Holy Spirit.

The three relations are, to Beget, to be begotten, and to Proceed or be breathed out. The four properties are, the first, immiscibility, and inemanalility. The second is to generate. These belong to the Father. The third is to be begotten, and this belongs to the son. The fourth is to proceed or to be breathed out, and this belongs unto the Holy Spirit. The five notions are, the first immiscibility, the second is to beget, the third to be begotten, the fourth spiratio passiva, to be breathed out, the fifth spiratio activa or to breathe, and this notions belongs to the Father and the Son alike, for Pater & Filius spirant Spiritum Sanctum.

Hence it evidently follows, that he who acknowledgeth thus much, can never possibly scruple the eternal deity of the Son of God.

If any man thinks this confession to be defective (for I can conceive no more in this point necessarily to be known) let him supply what he conceives to be deficient, and shall thank him for his favor.

Taken from The Golden Remains of the Ever Memorable Mr. John Hales, London, 1687, Pages 326-327.