Arminius: ON GOD, CONSIDERED ACCORDING TO THE RELATION BETWEEN THE PERSONS IN THE TRINITY

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1. The Son of God is not called by the ancient fathers “God from himself,” and this is a dangerous expression. For, Autoqeo” [as thus interpreted, God from himself,] properly signifies that the Son has not the divine essence from another — But it is by a catachresis, or improperly, that the essence which the Son has is not from another; because the relation of the subject is thus changed: for “the Son,” and “the divine essence,” differ in relation.

2. The divine essence is communicated to the Son by the Father, and this properly and truly. Wherefore it is unskillfully asserted “that the divine essence is indeed properly said to be common to the Son and to the Father, but is improperly said to be communicated:” For it is not common to both except in reference to its being communicated.

3. The Son of God is correctly called Autoqeo” “very God,” as this word is received for that which is God himself, truly God. But he is erroneously designated by that epithet, so far as it signifies that he has an essence not communicated by the Father, yet has one in common with the Father.

4. “The Son of God, in regard to his essence, is from himself,” is an ambiguous expression, and, on that account, dangerous. Neither is the ambiguity removed by saying “The Son, with respect to his absolute essence, or to his essence absolutely considered, is from himself.” Besides, these modes of speaking are not only novel, but are also mere prattle.

5. The divine persons are not trowoi uparxewv or modes of being or of existing, or modes of the divine essence; For they are things with the mode of being or existing.

6. The divine persons are distinguished by a real distinction, not by the degree and mode of the thing.

7. A. person is an individual subsistence itself, not a characteristic property, nor is it an individual principle; though it be not an individual, nor a person, without a characteristic property or without an individual principle.

8. QUERIES. Is it not useful that the Trinity be considered, both as it exists in nature itself, according to the co-essential relation of the divine persons, and as it has been manifested in the economy of salvation, to be accomplished by God the Father, in Christ, through the Holy Spirit? And does not the former of these considerations appertain to religion universally, and to that which was prescribed to Adam, according to the law? But the latter consideration properly belongs to the gospel of Jesus Christ, yet not excluding that which I have mentioned as belonging to all religion universally, and therefore to that which is Christian.

 

The Works of James Arminius – Vol. 2:  Certain Articles To Be Diligently Examined And Weighed Because Some Controversy Has Arisen Concerning Them Among Even Those Who Profess The Reformed Religion