C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.
To-day we are called upon to keep the festival of revelation. Every other great festival of our Church commemorates a fact through which God has been pleased to teach men something of His purpose of love; Trinity Sunday encourages us to reflect for a brief space on that final truth, most absolute, most elementary, most practical, which gives unity and stability to all knowledge. The view of the Divine nature which it offers for our devout contemplation is the charter of human faith.
The light of the sun, the light of the moon, and the light of the air, in nature and substance are one and the same light, and yet they are there distinct lights: the light of the sun being of itself, and from none; the light of the moon from the sun; and the light of the air from them both. So the Divine Nature is one, and the persona three; subsisting, after a diverse manner, in one and the same Nature.
He who goes about to speak of the mystery of the Trinity, and does it by words, and names of mans invention, talking of essence and existence, hypostases and personalities, priority in co-equality, and unity in pluralities, may amuse himself and build a tabernacle in his head, and talk somethinghe knows not what; but the renewed man, that feels the power of the Father, to whom the Son is become wisdom, sanctification, and redemption, in whose heart the love of the Spirit of God is shed abroadthis man, tho he understand nothing of what is unintelligible, yet he alone truly understands the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.
The two principal names which are applied to Deity in the Old Testament are Jehovah and God (in Hebrew, Elohim). The former is Gods proper name, and clearly applies to the divine essence. This name is always singular, and may be rendered, He who exists. The other name, Aleim or Elohim, in plural. And the question occurs, Why is the name Jehovah, which refers to His essence, always singular? Plainly, to express the unity of the divine essence. Why is the other, Elohim, plural? As clearly to denote a plurality of persons in the Godhead.
This symbol, light, is composed of three parts, one visible and two invisible; first, illuminative rays, which affect our vision, and by their Fraunhofer lines bring to us a knowledge of the substance of the suns from which they spring; second, chemical rays, which cause growth, and give the results of photography; and, third, the principle called heat, separate from either. So is God revealedthree persons in one God. No man hath seen the Father, or the Holy Ghost: but the Son has been seen of men. Each of these component parts is capable of separate and independent action. Each can be sundered from the other, and still retain its full efficiency. The illuminative rays still stream with their incredible swiftness, still bloom with incomprehensible color, and still bear their records of other worlds, after the other two component parts have been turned to other work. There could be no other so happy illustration of the incomprehensible triune nature of God.
Here is a mystery, the stupendous mystery of the Christian religion, the ineffable mystery of three persons in one God. We cannot define it. Every human attempt at definition involves it in deeper mystery. The arithmetic of heaven is beyond us. Yet this is no more mysterious and inexplicable than the trinity of our own nature; body, soul, and spirit; and no man has ever shown that it involved a contradiction or in any way conflicted with the testimony of our senses or with demonstrated truth; and we must accept it by the power of a simple faith, or rush into tritheism on the one hand or unitarianism on the other.
This, then, appears to be the solution of our trinitarian difficulty; to concentrate our thoughts and our affections on God the Son as He is revealed to us in Christ; to adore Him as the Creator, Preserver, all-wise Ruler and Redeemer of the world; to worship Him as the ever-present King and Head of His Church; and to look forward to the eternal enjoyment of His presence in heaven, as the consummation of our happiness, as all our salvation and all our desire. Almighty God, who hast given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto Thee, and dost promise that when two or three are gathered together in Thy name, Thou wilt grant their requests, fulfil now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of Thy servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of Thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting. Amen.