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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
The Doctrine of the Trinity
By Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831)
From the ‘Philosophy of History’
  [Hegel goes on to show the significance of the doctrine of the Trinity, as a symbol of this deep truth. He discusses the appearance of concrete subjective caprice in the Greek national mind, and the abstract subjective mind in the Roman national mind, especially in the right of private property, in goods and chattels, and in land,—a right which realized for the citizen a sphere of free individuality.]

GOD is thus recognized as Spirit only when known as the Triune. This new principle is the axis on which the History of the World turns. This is the goal and the starting-point of History. “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent his Son,” is the statement of the Bible. This means nothing else than that self-consciousness had reached the phases of development [momente] whose resultant constitutes the Idea of Spirit, and had come to feel the necessity of comprehending those phases absolutely. This must now be more fully explained. We said of the Greeks, that the law for their Spirit was “Man, know thyself.” The Greek Spirit was a consciousness of Spirit, but under a limited form, having the element of Nature as an essential ingredient. Spirit may have had the upper hand, but the unity of the superior and the subordinate was itself still Natural. Spirit appeared as specialized in the idiosyncrasies of the genius of the several Greek nationalities and of their divinities, and was represented by Art, in whose sphere the Sensuous is elevated only to the middle ground of beautiful form and shape, but not to pure Thought. The element of Subjectivity that was wanting in the Greeks we found among the Romans; but as it was merely formal and in itself indefinite, it took its material from passion and caprice;—even the most shameful degradations could be here connected with a divine dread [vide the declaration of Hispala respecting the Bacchanalia, Livy xxxix. 13]. This element of subjectivity is afterwards further realized as Personality of Individuals—a realization which is exactly adequate to the principle, and is equally abstract and formal. As such an Ego [such a personality], I am infinite to myself, and my phenomenal existence consists in the property recognized as mine, and the recognition of my personality. This inner existence goes no further; all the applications of the principle merge in this. Individuals are thereby posited as atoms; but they are at the same time subject to the severe rule of the One, which, as monas monadum, is a power over private persons [the connection between the ruler and the ruled is not mediated by the claim of Divine or of Constitutional Right, or any general principle, but is direct and individual, the Emperor being the immediate lord of each subject in the Empire]. That Private Right is therefore, ipso facto, a nullity, an ignoring of the personality; and the supposed condition of Right turns out to be an absolute destitution of it. This contradiction is the misery of the Roman World.  1

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