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not lose your confidence, though his every way may seem dark and mysterious. I believe in humanity, and believe that it is destined to attain absolute sanctity and absolute beauty." Yet this new life, is it the religion of Strauss? or the humanism of Bruno Bauer? or the atheism of Feuerbach?


IT has come to be a recognized principle among the most advanced students of theology, that every great and widespread belief, every doctrine which has been clung to and lived in through a long series of years, no matter how false its form may be, must have its core in some precious and substantial elements of truth. The human mind was never made, even in its lowest and grossest state, to be satisfied with error alone. A lie-which is a lie and nothing more, the same as a body which is all disease, or a soul which has sinned till it is utterly without goodness-must die inevitably of its own nature. It is the truth inside of falsehood which gives it life and beauty, which makes it loved and clung to, which enables it, like a fortress full of men, as compared with one which is only dead matter, to resist attacks and repair the ravages, which from time to time are made in its walls. The pertinacity with which the world clings to many things which we regard as superstition and poison, is evidence not of its love for error, but of that craving for what is true which will take it even in its worse forms, rather than not have it at all. There is no false system of doctrine which has not had a providential mission, either as a poison neutralizing some other poison, or a bitter shell holding within it the germ of a precious fruit. God is to be found in the history of error, not less clearly than in the progress of truth and the course of events. It is better for our moral,

the same as for our physical health, to have all the elements of food, even though mixed up with some things which are inert or hurtful, rather than to have none at all, or to have one separated entirely from the others. And when we find a doctrinal statement, which we feel sure is wrong, resisting all our attacks, and held not only in the minds of scholars but by the great common heart, it is absolute proof that the world needs it, is better off with it, errors and all, than with our pure half truth, and that it is something we need conquer to possess, not to destroy.

Recognizing this principle, it is an interesting and most important question, what is the vital truth which underlies the Church doctrine of the Trinity? We have no doubt, that every statement of this doctrine, which was ever made, and which ever can be made, is false. It is contradictory in itself. It is opposed by the most explicit terms of Scripture. There is no analogy for it in nature. Again and again its defences have been battered down, and the doctrine itself logically demolished. Yet somehow it has survived all its destructions. It is one of the oldest doctrines of the Church. Nine-tenths of the strongest and best Christians that have ever lived have believed it. It is connected with all the great revivals of religion; is as prominent in all light of modern science, as in the darkest night of the middle ages; and is held to-day, by the whole Christian world, Protestant as well as Roman Catholic, except a mere handful of liberals, as a most vital part of its religious faith. What is the secret of its strength? How are we to reconcile our position as Unitarians with these undeniable facts of Trinitarianism?

Rev. J. F. Clarke, in his recent most valuable book, "The Truths and Errors of Orthodoxy," has stated, in its best form, one of the ways by which a reconciliation has been attempted. He supposes the essential truth, which underlies the doctrine of the Trinity, to be, that "the Deity has made, and is evermore making, three distinct and independent revelations of himself; each revelation giving a different view of the Divine Being, each revelation showing God to man under a different aspect." "The Father would seem to be



the Source of all things, the Creator, the Fountain of being and of life. The Son is spoken of as the manifestation of that Being in Jesus Christ; and the Holy Spirit is spoken of as a spiritual influence, proceeding from the Father and Son, dwelling in the hearts of believers, as the source of their life, the idea of God seen in causation, in reason, and in conscience, as making the very life of the soul itself." "There are these three revelations of God, and we know of no others. They are distinct from each other in form, but the same in essence. They are not merely three names for the same thing; but they are real personal manifestations of God, real subsistences, since he is personally present in all of them." "It is the same God who speaks in each, but he says something new each time. He reveals a new form of his being. He shows us not the same order and aspect of truth in each manifestation, but wholly different aspects." "It teaches that God is immanent in nature, in Christ, and in the soul." "So that, when we study the mysteries and laws of nature, we are drawing near to God himself and looking into his face. When we see Christ, we see God who is in Christ; and when we look into the solemn intuitions of the soul, the monitions of conscience, and the influences which draw our hearts to goodness, we are meeting and communing with God."

There seems to be some confusion in the language here used, as to whether Dr. Clarke makes the Trinity consist in the three aspects of God which are spoken of, or in the three modes by which he is manifested; also whether the Father is to be considered one of the manifestations of Deity, or as the entire Being who is manifested. The meaning, however, that we get from his words, as a whole, is not that there is any real distinction in the Divine nature otherwise than of its attributes, but that the one eternal person of the godhead is revealed to us in the three ways of nature, Christ, and the soul; and that, through each of these ways, we get a view of something in him which is different from what we get in the others.

Now, there can be no question as to the general facts on

which this reconciliation is based. God is manifested in nature, in Christ, and in the soul; and it is the same Person who is manifested in all these different ways. But is this really the vital truth which underlies the Church doctrine of the Trinity? Is it the source from which it grew, and the reason for which it is held? Or is it an after-thought, made to explain away its logical difficulties, and make it more acceptable to the thinking mind?

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The objection starts up at once, that, whatever truth the view itself may have, it is not, in the proper sense of the words, a truth of Orthodoxy. It is not the kind of trinity in which the Orthodox churches believe, and which they have clung to for so many ages. The doctrine, as generally held, is that God is revealed in Scripture as three persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, having special points of difference; and that these three together are one God. Even Sabellianism, which comes nearest the view of Dr. Clarke, makes the distinction consist in the relations of God to the world as Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, rather than in the modes. by which he is revealed. There is no prevailing statement or conception of the Trinity which lays any stress on his being manifested in any separate modes. Hence, as an explanation of the vitality there is in the Church doctrine, it entirely fails.

Then, in regard to the view itself, it does not do full justice to the words of Scripture. Christ says, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." The Father, however, is a term which denotes not an attribute or manifestation or aspect of God, but the Eternal Being himself. It is the name of all he is; the word which expresses the highest conception of him the human mind has ever reached. And it is hardly possible that Christ meant to say otherwise than that he was a revelation of the entire Deity. So with the words of Paul in Colossians, "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the godhead bodily." What other meaning can they have, than that Christ was a manifestation, not merely of one part of God, different from what we have in nature and in the soul, but of the whole God, of his wisdom and power, and justice

and quickening influence, as well as of his love and mercy and redeeming grace? And, in general, the idea of a Trinity of manifestations through nature, Christ, and the soul is as foreign to the phraseology of the Bible as that of a Trinity of persons.

It is not a view which is corroborated by any thing which is seen in the world around us. The difference there is in the manifestations of God through nature, Christ, and the soul is not so much of kind as degree. It is not so much a different, but a larger, view of him that we get in Christ, over what we find in nature and the soul. Is it in Christ only that he is seen as Father and Friend? Have the sparrows and the lilies nothing to say of his care and tenderness? Has the Spring no lesson of his life-giving power? The golden sheaves and the bending fruit of Autumn, do they show us nothing of his friendship and paternal love? There is no real ground for the words, "He shows us not the same order and aspect of the truth in each manifestation, but wholly different aspects." Christ only speaks in clear, articulate words what the soul whispers faint and low, and what nature is striving, with its poor dumb lips but its speaking face, evermore to tell.

But the gravest objection to this view, as containing in any way the vital truth of the Trinity, is that the division of the ways in which God manifests himself into the three of nature, Christ, and the soul, is entirely arbitrary. What ground is there for saying, "There are these three revelations of him, and we know of no others"? Are not the revelations of himself in history, in society, in the moral order of the universe, as distinct from those of nature, Christ, and the soul, as these are from each other? Is he not revealed as Provi dence, Legislator, Judge, and Ruler with the same distinctness that he is as Creator, Redeemer, and Spiritual Quickener? And are not the embodiments of his truth and justice, in principles and laws, ways in which we know him, as truly as those of his power and life in nature and the soul? Yea, what ground is there for calling any of these manifestations one? Are not the modes of revealing himself in the beauty

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