172. (4) In the ideas of thought a Trinity of Divine Persons from eternity, or before the world was created, is a Trinity of Gods; and these ideas cannot be effaced by, a lip-confession of one God. That a trinity of Divine persons from eternity is a trinity of Gods is clearly evident from the following passage in the Athanasian Creed: "There is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit; the Father is God and Lord; the Son is God and Lord; and the Holy Spirit is God and Lord; nevertheless there are not three Gods and Lords, but one God and Lord; for as we are compelled by the Christian verity to confess each person singly to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic religion to say three Gods or three Lords." This creed is accepted as ecumenical or universal by the whole Christian church, and all that is at this day known and acknowledged respecting God is from it. That no other trinity than a trinity of Gods was understood by the members of the Nicene Council, from which the Athanasian Creed came forth like a posthumous birth, anyone can see who reads it with his eyes open. And not only was the trinity understood by them to be a trinity of Gods, it was so understood by the whole Christian world as well, for the reason that the whole Christian world derives all its knowledge of God from that source, and every man clings to a belief in its words.  I appeal to everyone, layman and clergyman, to titled masters and professors, consecrated bishops and arch-bishops, purple-robed cardinals, and even the Roman pontiff himself, whether in the Christian world today the trinity is understood to be anything else than a trinity of Gods; let everyone of them consult with himself and speak from the things that are in his mind; for from the words of this universally accepted doctrine respecting God this is as manifest and clear as water in a crystal goblet, and also that there are three persons, each one of whom is God and Lord; and further that according to Christian verity each person singly ought to be confessed or acknowledged to be God and Lord, but that the Catholic or Christian religion or faith forbids the saying or naming three Gods and Lords; thus verity and religion, or verity and faith, are not one thing but two things, each contrary to the other. But lest all this should be exposed to ridicule before the whole world it was added that there are not three Gods and Lords, but one God and Lord; for who would not laugh at the idea of three Gods? And still does not everyone see the contradiction in this addition?  If they had said, indeed, that to the Father belongs the Divine essence, to the Son the Divine essence, and to the Holy Spirit the Divine essence, and yet there are not three Divine essences, but one indivisible essence, that is to say, if by the Father there be understood the Divine from whom [a Quo], by the Son the Divine Human therefrom, and by the Holy Spirit the proceeding Divine, which are the three constituents of the one God, then this mystery would be explicable. Or if we understood by the Divine of the Father what is like the soul in man, and by the Divine Human what is like the body of that soul, and by the Holy Spirit what is like the operation that proceeds from both, then three essences, which belong to one and the same person, and so together constitute one indivisible essence, are understood.