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communicable name Jehovah, to denote the three superior splendours, viz. jod, he, vau; and the second he, or the last letter, denoted according to them, the two natures of the second splendour, or person.
3.) The ancient Jews wrote the name of God symbolically, by including three jods within a circle, and subscribing under the jods, and within the circle, the vowel kametz.
The circle was the figure denoting perfection. The three jods were the beginning letter of the word Jehovah, thrice repeated, to denote the three persons in the Godhead. The kametz was the point of perfection, and denoted the same thing with the circle, and the unity of the divine essence.
(4.) Another method, used by the Jews to denote God, was to include in a square three radii, or points, disposed in the form of a crown. The crown seems to have denoted the dignity and supremacy of the object designed, and the number three, the three persons of the Godhead.
(5.) The letter schin was another emblem of the Most High, in use among the Jews.
This letter, which is the first in the word Shaddia, the Almighty, one of the scriptural names of God, is formed of three branches, alike in size and figure, especially as written in the ancient or Samaritan character, and united'in one stem. This letter was distinctly written on those phylacteries which the Jews wore upon their heads.
(6.) The equilateral triangle, with three small circles at the angles, and the letter jod inscribed over against the upper angle, was another Jewish symbol of the Deity. The three sides indicated the three persons of the Godhead; and the equal length of the sides their equality; while the jod was a direct proof that Jehovah was intended by the emblem. The three circles probably denoted the perfection of the three Persons.
(7.) The Jews also delineated the sphere, or representation of the universe, as holden by three hands; two at the sides, and one at the bottom. Near the hands were inscribed the three Hebrew letters, aleph, daleph, and schin; the initials of the three Hebrew words for truth, judgment, and peace. The same letters were also inscribed immediately above the sphere.
Such is the testimony of the Jewish church concerning this subject, composed on the one hand of direct declarations, and on the other of symbols equally definite and certain; especially as explained by their own commentators. These prove beyond a reasonable debate, that the ancient Jewish church held uniformly the doctrine of the Trinity. The later Jews have indeed denied it; but to this denial they have been led merely by their hatred to Christianity.
I shall now proceed to mention the opinion of the heathen nations concerning this subject.
(1.) The Hindoos have, from the most remote antiquity, holden a triad in the divine nature.
The name of the Godhead among these people is Brahme. The names of the three persons in the Godhead are Brahma, Veeshnu, and Seeva. Brahma they considered as the Father, or supreme Source; Veeshnu as the Mediator, whom they assert to have been incarnate; and Seeva as the Destroyer and Regenerator: destruction being in their view nothing but the dissolution of preceding forms, for the purpose of reviving the same being in new ones.
The three faces of Brahma, Veeshnu, and Seeva, they always formed on one body, having six hands, or two to each person. This method of delineating the Godhead is ancient beyond tradition, universal, uncontroverted, and carved everywhere in their places of worship; particularly in the cele brated cavern in the island of Elephanta.
(2.) Equally well known is the Persian triad; the names of which were Ormusd, Mithr, and Ahriman; called by the Greeks, Oromasdes, Mithras, and Arimanius. Mithras was commonly styled Timλagios. Among them, as well as among the Hindoos, the second person in the triad was called, The Mediator, and regarded as the great agent in the present world.
In the Oracles ascribed to Zerdusht, or Zoroaster, the fa mous Persian philosopher, are the following declarations :"Where the eternal monad is, it amplifies itself, and generates a duality."
"A triad of Deity shines forth throughout the whole world, of which a monad is the head."
"For the mind of the Father said, that all things should be divided into three; whose will assented, and all things were divided."
DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY. SER. LXXI.
"And there appeared in this triad Virtue, Wisdom, and Truth, who knew all things."
"The Father performed all things, and delivered them over to the second mind, whom the nations of men commonly suppose to be the first."
The third person, speaking of himself, says, "I Psyche, or Soul, dwell next to the paternal mind, animating all things.
(3.) The Egyptians also acknowledged a triad, from the earliest antiquity, whom they named originally, Osiris, Cneph, and Phtha; and afterwards, Osiris, Isis, and Typhon. These persons they denoted by the symbols light, fire and spirit. They represented them also on the doors and other parts of their sacred buildings, in the three figures of a globe, a wing, and a serpent. Abenephius, an Arabian writer, says that "by these the Egyptians shadowed ovтpopov, or God in three forms."
One of the Egyptian fundamental axioms of theology, as given by Damascius, and cited by Cudworth, is, "There is one principle of all things, praised under the name of the Unknown Darkness, and this thrice repeated."
In the books attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, is the following passage:
"There hath ever been one great intelligent light, which has always illumined the mind; and their union is nothing else but the spirit, which is the bond of all things."
Here light and mind are spoken of as two persons, and the spirit as the third; all declared to be eternal.
Jamblichus, a platonic philosopher, styled by Proclus, the Divine, declares, that" Hermes speaks of Eicton as the first of intelligences, and the first intelligible; and of Cneph, or Emeph, as the prince of the celestial gods; and of the demiurgic, or creating mind, as a third to these. Jamblichus calls these the demiurgic mind, the guardian of truth, and wisdom.
(4.) The Orphic theology, the most ancient recorded in Grecian history, taught the same doctrine.
In the abridgment of this theology by Timotheus, the Chronographer, are found its most important and characteristical doctrines. Of these the fundamental one is, that an eternal, incomprehensible being exists, who is the creator of
all things. This supreme and eternal being is styled in this theology, ws, Beλn, Zwn, light, counsel, life.
Suidas speaking of these three, says, "they express only one and the same power." Timotheus says further, that Orpheus declared "All things to have been made by one Godhead in three names; or rather by these names of oue Godhead; and that this Godhead is all things."
Proclus, a platonic philosopher already mentioned, says, that Orpheus taught "the existence of one God, who is the ruler over all things; and that this one God is three minds, three kings; he who is; he who has, or possesses; and he who beholds. These three minds he declares to be the same with the triad of Orpheus; viz. Phanes, Uranus, and Chronus. (5.) The Greek philosophers also extensively acknowledged a triad.
Particularly, Pythagoras styled God to, or The Unity; and μs, or That which is alone; and also to Ayabor, or, The Good.
From this eternal monad," says Pythagoras, "there sprang an infinite duality;" that is, from him who existed alone, two proceeded, who were infinite.
Plato also held a triad; and named them To Ayabor, the xn xooμe, the
Good; Nous, or Aoyos, Mind, or Word; and
pros εos, and
Parmenides, the founder of the Eleatic philosophy, says, The Deity is ἑν και πολλά, one and many. Simplicius, commenting on Plato's exhibition of the doctrines of Parmenides, says, that "these words were a description of the auтe Orros," the true or original existence; and Plotinus says, that Parmenides acknowledged three divine unities subordinated. The first unity he calls the most perfectly and properly One; the second, One many; and the third, One and many. Plotinus further says, that Parmenides acknowledged a triad of original persons. Plotinus speaks of God as being "The One, the Mind, and the Soul;" which he calls the original or principal persons. Amelius calls these persons three Kings, and three Creators.
Numenius, a famous Pythagorean, acknowledged a triad. The second person he calls the Son of the first; and the third he speaks of, as proceeding also from the first.
(6) In the empires of Thibet and Tangut, a triune God is constantly acknowledged in the popular religion. Medals, having the image of such a God stamped on them, are given to the people by the Delai Lama, to be suspended as holy around their necks, or otherwise used in their worship. These people also worshipped an idol which was the representation of a threefold God.
(7.) A medal, now in the cabinet of the Emperor of Russia, was found near the river Kemptschyk, a branch of the Jenisea, in Siberia, of the following description:
A human figure is formed on one side, having one body and three heads. This person sits upon the cup of the lotos; the common accompaniment of the Godhead in various eastern countries; and on a sofa, in the manner of eastern kings. On the other side is the following inscription: “The bright and sacred image of the Deity, conspicuous in three figures. Gather the holy purpose of God from them: love him." A Heathen could not more justly or strongly describe a trinity.
(8.) The ancient Scandinavians acknowledged a triad; whom they styled, Odin, Frea, and Thor. In the Edda, the most remarkable monument of Scandinavian theology, Gangler, a prince of Sweden, is exhibited as being introduced into the hall or palace of the gods. Here he saw three thrones raised one above another, and on each throne a sacred person. These persons were thus described to him by his guide: He, who sits on the lowest throne, is Har, or the Lofty One. The second is Jafn Har, or Equal to the Lofty One. He who sits on the highest throne is Thridi, or the Third."
(9.) The Romans, Germans, and Gauls acknowledged a triad, and worshipped a triad, in various manners.
The Romans and Germans worshipped the Mairiæ; three goddesses inseparable, and always united in their worship, temples, and honours.
The Romans also, together with the Greeks and Egyptians, worshipped the Cabiri, or three Mighty ones.
The Diana of the Romans is stamped on a medal, as having three faces on three distinct heads, united to one form. On the reverse is the image of a man, holding his hand to his lips; under whom is this inscription: "Be silent; it is a mystery."