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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 Providence, 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

of the flower and the sweep of the hurricane, as much two as those in Christ and in the common soul? And, in the creation of our intellectual and moral and emotional life, do we not see him in forms which are quite as different as in those of our natural and spiritual being? There are a thousand, nay, there are countless things of which it may be said, "he speaks in each, but says something new each time," “reveals a new form of his being," "shows us not the same order and aspect of truth, but wholly different aspects," just as truly as it is said of these which are now taken to make up the Trinity. The selection of these merely is like the old notion, that there must be four elements and only seven planets, or like dividing the stars into any fixed number of constellations. The truth is, the whole universe is a manifestation of God; and there are as many modes of this manifestation as there are objects in it, rising in clearness, one above another, and culminating at last, not in three orders, but in the one Christ, "the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person."

No: we believe the vital truth of the Trinity lies at once nearer the surface, and is wider reaching, than this idea of three manifestations. There is one principle, one great law, which extends throughout all religions, just as there is through all the complicity of the natural heavens, explaining alike their motions and forms. It is the same truth which underlies fetichism, polytheism, gnosticism, dualism, Mariolatry, and pantheism,- —a key which unlocks not only the mystery of three persons in the Godhead, but all the multiplied forms in which the Deity has ever been conceived of. It consists in this. The human soul is made, in its very nature, to want in its worship the whole circle of Divine perfections, the allmighty, gracious, good, and fair,—to want it both as an object of contemplation and as one with which to commune. This want, indeed, is very far from being one of which it is permanently conscious; but it is always in it as a controlling force, at once leading it to worship, and shaping its conceptions of what is worshipped. The spirit, even in its lowest and most grovelling state, will not be satisfied with a limited

divine nature, with that which embodies only one or two or three of the attributes of Deity. It craves them all in some form or other. And if they are not presented to it in the knowledge of one being or one person, then inevitably it is led to seek after and adore them in others.

It has been a question with theologians, whether the earliest form of natural religion was that of monotheism or polytheism. It would seem, however, both from history and on the general grounds of what the condition of human nature was in the earliest ages, that man had a countless number of deities, and deities not far away but resident with him on the earth. Brute animals, plants, the elements, things most obvious to the senses, were the ones in which he first saw the divine element. No one of these, however, could present him with all the attributes of God. The bull was a manifestation only of strength; the owl, of wisdom; the serpent, of eternity; the sun, of life-giving energy. Hence, in order to get all which the heart craved for in its worship, it was necessary to have, not one or two, but,a vast number of deities. Fetichism, in some of its aspects, is false and degrading enough; and yet to the larger view there was a grand reason in it. It testifies to the aspirations of our nature for a divinity, such as could be found in no one object of earth,not the greatest. Its truth was, that God is not far away, but manifest in the most familiar objects around us; its false. hood, the very same that we find now in the Orthodox conception of Christ, that that which manifests God is God himself.


But men cannot be satisfied always with the worship of animals and things. These are seen to be limited and imperfect expressions of what they want. Many different things present themselves as the types of wisdom, strength, beauty, and goodness. The tendency is to idealize, to combine, to get at something better and fairer than any visible object, the unseen attribute of divinity which lies behind them, and give that a local habitation and a name. Men are deified. The various powers, first of the material then of the spiritual world, are supposed to have a personal head;

and the different departments of nature and life, the ocean, heavens and under-world, commerce, art, learning, and agriculture, are regarded as having special divinities, who preside over them, and take their interests in direct control. This multiplication of gods, especially as we find it in the mythologies of Greece and Rome and Northern Europe, is apt at first glance to seem absurd, the mere vagaries of the imagination, a useless burden placed on the religious nature. But, as we look deeper, there is seen to be a method about it. It results inevitably from the desire within us for the full circle of divine perfections. The human mind has not yet arrived at the sublime conception, that one Being is able to unite all excellencies, and to be present everywhere at once. Minerva has only wisdom; but a man wishes to adore something else than wisdom. Diana has purity; but purity alone cannot satisfy the soul. Venus has beauty and love; Apollo, grace and strength; Mars, force: but with each of these there is wanting all the rest. And so, by the very necessity of our nature, when man once starts with the idea that one person can have only a part of the divine attributes, there must be persons enough to supply them all. The same principle holds in regard to the multiplication of local divinities. Jupiter can be only in one place at once, Neptune in another, Pluto in another. But man wants to find Deity in every place, wants his care and help in every interest of life. And so, when one was localized, it became necessary to have enough for all possible localities. A pantheon, which united all the parts, was the logical result of a partition which separated the divine nature among different persons. And the truth which lies at the centre of all polytheism, is that the Divine somehow must embrace every possible perfection, and be present everywhere.

The step from polytheism to the belief in one God, perfect and omnipresent, was too long to be taken all at once. It had to be made by various stages. The work began with the Hebrews, whose great teachers, far back, spirit-taught, proclaimed the simple unity of the Divine nature, “Hear, O Israel! the Lord our God is one Lord." But the mere doc

trine of God's unity was not enough, could not satisfy all the spirit's wants. The Hebrew conception of him was narrow. He was self-existence, power, purity, justice; but the God only of one people, and without those sweeter and gentler attributes which are revealed to us in the Christian Father. Hence, inevitably, the Israelites, seeking after more of God, fell into the worship of the heathen divinities around them, Bell, Dagon, Astarte, Moloch, some of whom represented those very qualities which they had failed to get in their idea of Jehovah. It was an idolatry, paradoxical as it may seem, that in one sense was divine, God only to seek more of him. ishment earthquake, pestilence, was ever able to cure them of it. that only when the sweet singers and the later prophets of Israel had enlarged the conception of Jehovah, representing him as grace and mercy and tenderness, do we find the people settling down quietly into the permanent condition of monotheism.

a going away from the true There was no kind of punfamine, subjugation — that And it is a notable fact,

But with the process of combining the divine attributes into one Person, not only among the Jews but among all nations, there was another and backward movement almost inevitable, going on at the same time. The original conception of their deities, with all religions, seems to have been that of their immediate presence. Jehovah went with the Hebrews in all their wanderings, a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night: he abode in their ark, led them to battle, and governed their state. Olympus and Asgard, the dwellingplaces of Jupiter and Odin, were parts of the earth. And the hosts of divinities which gathered around them Apollo, Mercury, Venus and Minerva, Thor, Freir, Balder-were conceived of as mingling daily in the affairs of mankind. But with the doctrine of God's unity, with the conception of him as one mighty Being, embracing all the attributes which had been divided among countless divinities, the tendency was to remove him away from earth and earthly things. It was a more terrible thing to hold communion with such a Being. He could be gone to only on great occasions. A set order

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