Samuel Clarke’s 55 Theses

1. There is One Supreme Cause and Original of Things; One simple, uncompounded, undivided, intelligent Agent, or Person; who is the Alone Author of all Being, and the Fountain of all power. 122

2. With this First and Supreme Cause or Father of all Things, there has existed from the Beginning, a Second Divine Person, which is his Word or Son. ibid.

3. With the Father and the Son, there has existed from the Beginning a Third Divine Person, which is the Spirit of the Father and of the Son. ibid.

4. What the proper Metaphysical Nature, Essence, or Substance of any of these Divine Persons is, the Scripture has no where at all declared; but describes and distinguishes them always by their PERSONAL Characters, Offices, Power and Attributes. ibid.

5. The Father Alone is Self-existent, Underived, Unoriginated, Independent. He Alone is of None, either by Creation, Generation, Procession, or Any Other Way whatsoever. 123

6. The Father is the Sole Origin of all Power and Authority, and is the Author and Principle of whsoever is done by the Son or by the Spirit. 123

7. The Father Alone is in the highest, strict, proper, and absolute Sense Supreme over All. ibid.

8. The Father Alone is, absolutely speaking, the God of the Universe; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God of Israel; of Moses, of the Prophets and Apostles; and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. ibid.

9. The Scripture, when it mentions the One God, or the Only God, always means the Supreme Person of the Father. ibid.

10. When the Word, God, is mentioned in Scripture, with any high Epithet, Title, or Attribute annex’d to it; it generally (I think, Always) means the Person of the Father. 133

11. The Scripture, when it mentions GOD, absolutely and by way of Eminence, always means the Person of the Father. 134

12. The Son is not Self-existent; but derives his Being and All his Attributes from the Father, as from the Supreme Cause. 136

13. In what particular metaphysical Manner the Son derives his Being from the Father, the Scripture has no where distinctly declared; and therefore Men ought not to presume to be able to define. 137

14. They are Both therefore worthy of Censure; both they who on the one hand presume to affirm, that the Son was made out of Nothing; and they who, on the other hand, affirm that He is the Self-existent Substance. 140

15. The Scripture, in declaring the Son’s Derivation from the Father, never makes mention of any Limitation of Time; but always supposes and affirms him to have existed with the Father from the Beginning and before all Worlds. 141

16. They therefore have also justly been censured, who taking upon them to be wise above what is written, and intruding into things which they have not seen; thave presumed to affirm that there was a time when the Son was not. ibid.

17. The Son (according to the Reasoning of the Primitive Writers) derives his Being from the Father, (whatever the particular Manner of that Derivation be,) not by mere Necessity of Nature; (which would in reality be Self-existence, not Filiation;) but by an Act of the Father’s incomprehensible Power and Will. ibid.

18. The Word or Son of the Father, sent into the World to assume our Flesh, and to become Man, and die for the Sins of Mankind; was not the internal Reason or Wisdom of God, an Attribute or Power of the Father; but a real Person, the same who from the Beginning had been the Word, or Revealer of the Will, of the Father to the World. 146.

19. The Holy Spirit of God does not in Scripture generally signify a mere Power or Operation of the Father, but more usually a real Person. 147

20. The Holy Spirit is not Self-existent, but derives his Being from the Father (by the Son) as from the Supreme Cause. ibid.

21. The Scripture, speaking of the Spirit of God, never mentions any Limitation of Time, when he derived his Being from the Father; but supposes him to have existed with the Father from the Beginning. ibid.

22. In what particular metaphysical Manner the Holy Spirit derives his Being from the Father, the Scripture hath no where at all defined; and therefore Men ought not to presume to be able to explain. 148

23. They who are not careful to maintain these personal Characters and Distinctions, but, while they are solicitous (on the one hand) to avoid the Errors of the Arians, affirm (in the contrary Extreme) the Son and Holy SPirit to be (individually with the Father) the Self-existent being: These, seeming in Words to magnify the Name of the Son and Holy Spirit, in reality take away their very existence; and so fall unawares into Sabellianism (which is the same with Socinianism.) ibid.

24. The Person of the Son, is, in the New Testament sometimes stiled God. 150

25. The Reason why the Son in the New Testament is sometimes stiled God, is not upona ccount of his metaphysical Substance, how Divine soever; but of his relative Attributes and Divine Authority (communicated to him from the Father) over US. ibid.

26. By the Operation of the Son, the Father both made and governs the World. ibid.

27. To the Son are ascribed in Scripture Other Greatest Things and the Highest Titles; even all Communicable Divine Powers: That is, All Powers which include not That Independency and Supreme Authority, by which the God and Father of All is distinguished to be the God and Father of All. ibid.

28. The Holy Spirit is described in the New Testament as the immediate Author and Worker of All Miracles, even of those done by our Lord himself; and as the Conductor of Christ in all the Actions of his Life, during his State of Humiliation here upon Earth. 153.

29. The Holy Spirit is declared in Scripture to be the Inspirer of the Prophets and Apostles, and the Great Teacher and Director of the Apostles in the whole Work of their Ministry. ibid.

30. The Holy Spirit is represented in the New Testament, as the Sanctifier of all Hearts, and the Supporter and Comforter of good Christians under all their Difficulties. ibid.

31. Concerning the Holy Spirit, there are other Greater Things spoken in Scripture, and Higher Titles ascribes to him, than to any Angel, or any other Being whatsoever, except the Only-begotten Son of God. 154

32. The Person of the Holy Ghost, is no where in Scripture expressly stiled, God, or Lord. ibid.

33. The Word, God, in Scripture, never signifies a complex Notion of more Persons, [or Intelligent Agents] than One; but always means One Person only, viz. either the Person of the Father singly, or the Person of the Son singly. 155

34. The Son, whatever his metaphysical Essence or Substance be, and whatever Divine Greatness and Dignity is ascribed to him in Scripture; yet in This He is evidently Subordinate to the Father; that He derives his Being, Attributes, and Powers, from the Father; the Father Nothing from Him. ibid.

35. Every Action of the Son, both in making the World, and in all other his Operations; is only the Exercise of the Father’s Power, communicated to him after a manner to Us unknown. 159

36. The Son, whatever his metaphysical Nature or Essence be; yet in this whole Dispensation, in the Creation and Redemption of the World, acts in all things according to the Will, and by the Mission or Authority of the Father. 164

37. The Son, how great soever the metaphysical Dignity of his Nature was, yet in the whole Dispensation entirely directed all his Actions to the Glory of the Father. 168

38. Our Saviour Jesus Christ, as, before his Incarnation, he was sent forth by the Will and good Pleasure, and with the Authority of the Father; so in the Flesh, both before and after his Exaltation, He, [not a Part of him, but Himself, his whole Person,] in acknowledgement of the Supremacy of the Person of the Father, always Prayed to him, and returned him Thanks, stiling him his God, &c. 169

39. The Reason why the Scripture, though it stiles the Father God, and also stiles the Son God; yet at the same time always declares there is but One God; is because, there being in the Monarchy of the Universe but One Authority, original in the Father, derivative in the Son; therefore the One God (absolutely speaking) always signifies Him in whom the Power or Authority is original and underived. ibid.

40. The Holy Spirit, whatever his metaphysical Nature, Essence, or Substance be; and whatever divine Power or Dignity is ascribed to him in Scripture; yet in this he is evidently subordinate to the Father; that he derives his Being and Powers from the Father, the Father nothing from Him. 178

41. The Holy Spirit, whatever his metaphysical Nature, Essence, or Substance be; and whatever divine Power or Dignity is ascribed to him in Scripture; yet in the whole Dispensation of the Gospel, always acts by the Will of the Father, is given and sent by him, intercedes to him, &c. 179

42. The Holy Spirit, as he is subordinate to the Father; so he is also in Scripture represented as subordinate to the Son, both by Nature and by the Will of the Father; excepting only that he is described as being the Conductor and Guide of our Lord, during his State of Humiliation here upon Earth. ibid.

43. Upon these Grounds, Supreme Honour or Worship is due to the Person of the Father singly, as being alone the Supreme and Original Author of all Being and Power. ibid.

44. For the same Reason, all Prayers and Praises ought primarily or ultimately to be directed to the Person of the Father, as the Original and Primary Author of all Good. 181

45. And upon the same account, whatever Honour is paid to the Son who redeemed, or to the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us, must always be understood as tending finally to the Honour and Glory of the Father, by whose good Pleasure the Son redeemed, and the Holy Spirit sanctifies us. 185.

46. For the great Oeconomy, or the Whole Dispensation of God towards Mankind in Christ, consists and terminates in this; that as all Authority and Power is originally in the Father, and from him derived to the Son, and exercised according to the Will of the Father by the Operation of the Son, and by the Influences of the Holy Spirit; and all Communications from God to the Creature, are conveyed through the Intercession of the Son, and by the Inspiration and Sanctification of the Holy Spirit: So on the contrary, All Returns from the Creature, of Prayers and Praises, of Reconciliation and Obedience, of Honour and Duty to God; are made in and by the Guidance and Assistance of the Holy Spirit, through the Mediation of the Son, to the Supreme Father and Author of all things. 186

47. The Son, before his Incarnation, was with God, was in the Form of God, and had Glory with the Father. 187

48. Yet He had not then distinct Worship paid to him in his Own Person, but appeared only as the [Shecinah or] Habitation of the Glory of the Father: in which the Name of God was. ibid.

49. At his Incarnation He freely divested himself of that Glory, which he had with God before the World was, and by virtue of which He is described as having been in the Form of God: And in this State of Humiliation he suffered and died for the Sins of the World. ibid.

50. After, and upon account of, the Accomplishment of which Dispensation, He is described in Scripture as invested with distinct Worship in his Own Person; his original Glory and Dignity being at the same time revealed, and his Exaltation in the Human Nature to his Mediatorial Kingdom Declared: Himself sitting upon his Father’s Throne, at the Right Hand of the Majesty of God; and receiving the Adoration and Thanksgivings of his Church, as the alone Mediator between God and men. ibid.

51. This Honour the Scripture directs to be paid to Christ; not upon account of his metaphysical Essence or Substance, and abstract Attributes; but of his Actions and Attributes relative to Us; his Condescension in becoming Man, who was the Son of God; Redeeming, and Interceding for, us; his Authority, Power, Dominion, and Sitting upon the Throne of God his Father, as our Law-giver, our King, our Judge, and our God. 189

52. The Honour paid in this manner to the Son, must (as before) always be understood as redounding ultimately to the Glory of God the Father. 190

53. The Honour which Christians are bound to pay peculiarly to the Person of the Holy Spirit, is expressed in the Texts following, &c. ibid.

54. For putting up Prayers and Doxologies directly and expressly to the Person of the Holy Spirit, it must be acknowledged there is no clear Precept or Example in Scripture. 191

55. The Titles given in the New Testament to the Three Persons of the ever-blessed Trinity, when all mentioned together, are, &c. ibid.