THE TWO TRINITIES
THE same Protestant training that enables you to go with me thus far, hinders you from joining me in offering the recognition due to the divine Mother who represents the feminine element in deity. Accompanying us in constructing their God in the image of man, so far as the masculine element is concerned, by their omission in this respect the sectarians have produced a deity of a hard cold passionless nature, possessing indeed intellect, will, and power, but non-productive and incapable of creation in that they have denied him the impulse that alone prompts to creation. Their unintelligent worship of the record, which comes down to a certain period only, has kept them from appreciating the spirit of that record, and its equally necessary revelation subsequently developed. Even while holding that man is made in the image of God, and consequently that God must be the idealised counterpart of man, and that the Son of God is no other than the ideal man himself, – as the ultra-evangelical professor of Moral Philosophy in the ultra-protestant
University of Cambridge recently declared, – Protestantism refuses to allow woman her place in the divine essence, and so mulcts the Godhead of one-half of its fair proportions. Shrinking thus from the journey’s end, it ought not to have entered on the journey at all. Accepting the principle, it has no right to recoil from the full application of the principle. To such timid and halting exploration of the many mansions of the Father’s house, the keys which unlock the inmost and most sacred chambers are rightly denied. The defect has been fatal to the system. Lacking the vital elements of tenderness, fervour and love, which woman alone can evoke, Protestantism as a religion is torpid and dead. The sole resource left to it is science, the domain of the real and limited, the wilderness of mere fact. While Catholicism cares not to enter there, it suffers no intrusion upon its own empire, the ideal and infinite. There it is infallible; and in nothing does it more effectually demonstrate its divinity than by its completion of what may be called the domestic economy of heaven.
I have placed before you the two Jehovah’s of the Bible. Behold now the two Trinities of the Church. As in man the same individual comprises three entire personalities, each absolutely separate and distinct, yet inseparably combined in one, Father, Husband, and Son; so in woman we have Mother, Wife, and
Daughter, three distinct persons in one, each complete and perfect in itself, and yet inseparably combined to form one whole.
Well, as in man, so in deity made after man, the masculine trinity postulates the feminine trinity. Wherefore we find the Blessed Virgin comprising in herself the functions and titles of Mother, Spouse, and Daughter of God. For the divine sonship of the ideal man has its complement and counterpart in the divine daughterhood of the ideal woman; an impersonation which bids fair in a future development of Catholic dogma, when, by the acquirement of the ‘rights’ she is already demanding, woman shall have demonstrated her superiority over man, to invert the positions hitherto assigned to these two constituents of the Godhead.
To comprehend fully the thoroughness with which the Church projects the human into the divine in this relation, you should be familiar with the modes of address to the Virgin which have been formulated through the profound insight of the Catholic fathers. Fathoming the deepest recesses of humanity, they have ascertained that the closer the relationship in blood between two persons, the more intense their love and complete their union where they love. Projected into the infinite and ideal, such union is untrammeled by the exigencies of family life in the limited and real. And hence we are without reproach enabled
to address the Holy Virgin in the words of the Litany of the Immaculate Conception as ‘Daughter of the Father Immaculate. Mother of the Son Immaculate. Spouse of the Holy Ghost Immaculate;’ and yet to regard these three as one, and the act of one as the act of all, and Mary as the ‘handmaid of the Divine Trinity,’ and this though elsewhere she is addressed as ‘Spouse of the Eternal Father.’
Not unmindful of the evils to which such ‘confounding of the persons’ is liable, the Church is careful to present such admonitions as the following: –
‘Consider with what privileges and honours the Blessed Trinity glorifies her. The Father loves her as his daughter; the Son honours her as his mother; the Holy Ghost embraces her as his bride,’ and his ‘loving spouse who was taken up to the heavenly chamber (thalamum) where the King of kings sitteth on his starry throne.’ ‘Admirabile Commercium! O marvellous intercourse!’ exclaims with exquisite fervour one of the Primes in the Golden Manual, ‘the Creator of Mankind, taking a body with a living soul, vouchsafed to be born of a Virgin, and becoming man without man’s concurrence, bestowed upon us, his Deity!’ ‘O God,’ exclaims another, ‘who didst vouchsafe to choose the chaste chamber (virginalem aulam) of the Blessed Virgin Mary to dwell therein;’ and again, ‘Thou art become
beautiful and sweet in thy delights, O holy Mother of God.’
No prudish shrinking here from the deification of the prime facts of love and loving intercourse, so dear to humanity. Small thanks would God owe to man if denied that which man prizes most for himself. But with such sacrifice offered him in the ideal, he in turn sanctifies love in the real, and constitutes it a legitimate indulgence for man possessed of a soul as for animals devoid of it. No particle of right or title to reject such doctrine can Protestantism exhibit. It is the logical and necessary outcome of the doctrines already accepted by Protestants, and is essential to the principle on which equally with Catholicism their religion is based; – the principle that, God having made man in his own image, it is by reversing the process and projecting himself into the ideal that man in his turn arrives at his conception of God.
Not without reason are Catholics sanguine over the spiritual condition of England, when they see both logic and sentiment operating to bring it back to the true fold. For, ministering in the Anglican communion are to be found men who, recognising the vital inseparability of the feminine from the masculine element in Catholicism, have accordingly restored to their parishioners the privilege of paying to it the homage due. And this in no secret underhand
way, but with the full knowledge and consent of their bishops who, lamenting the mutilation of the faith and estrangement from the Catholic Church involved in Protestantism, are, under a higher law of morality – higher in that morality itself is subordinate to theology – doing all that is possible, consistently with prudence, to annihilate the schism. There are country parishes in which, as bright cases of faith in a desert of unbelief, the parish church witnesses not only the invocation of the saints, and prayers for the dead, but the recognition of the Blessed Virgin as the effectual mediator with the Father and Son, and even as herself a hearer and answerer of prayer; and the peasant, the stolid unimaginative English peasant, reverts with delight to the worship of ideal womanhood!
And yet further, smitten by the beauty of the idea of Mary, as was Paul by that of the idea of Christ, there are Anglican clergy who in receiving the Holy Eucharist, that perpetual symbol of the Incarnation and Atonement ever in process of renewal, mentally add the Virgin’s name to that of her Son, and by faith eat her flesh and drink her blood with his.
For one placed thus high no honours can be excessive. Heaven as well as earth must contribute of its best. We have seen how Catholicism has invested the ideal man with all the glories of the
solar orb. Equally must the skies be ransacked on behalf of the ideal woman. Not enough is it to invoke her as ‘Star of Heaven,’ ‘Star of the Sea,’ ‘Gate of Light,’ the Christian Daphne and Aurora – the dawn of whom is born the light of the world. She is also ‘Queen of heaven,’ ‘glorious Queen of all the heavenly host,’ ‘gentle, chaste and spotless Maid,’ ‘Queen with the stars as a diadem crowned,’ who, ‘wrapt in the blaze of her Son’s divine light, doth shine as the dawn on the confines of night; As the Moon on the lost through obscurity dawns, the Dragon’s destroyer, the rose amid thorns.’
Here then is the process completed. Christ, the incarnation of the sun, enacts on earth a part in all its details corresponding to the course of the sun in the heavens. The Holy Spirit as Atmosphere, is variously saluted as the Searcher, the Refresher, the Invisible, the Winged, the bringer of showers, the melter of frost, the harbinger of spring, the herald of the advent of the sun. He broods over the earth. He moves on the face of the waters. He shakes the house with a mighty rushing noise. He breathes into man the breath of life. Resigning this, the dying gives up the ‘ghost.’
The Virgin is the moon, Mother of the sun and Queen of heaven. When, entering on his nadir, the sun falls into darkness, undergoes a bloody passion, and dies on the reddened bier of his setting, he turns
to the representative of his Beloved, and exhibiting to him the moon, exclaims, ‘Behold thy mother! I go hence and am no more seen; but now she takes my place. Henceforth she is thy mother.’ Thus the Church, celebrating in August the festival of the harvest moon, celebrates the same time the feast of the Assumption and of the Sacred Heart of the Virgin. And Catholic painters, following the description in the Apocalypse, fondly depict her as ‘clothed with the sun, and having the moon under her feet,’ and both as overriding the dragon. Even the triumph of Easter is not celebrated until, by attaining its full, the moon accords its aid and sanction.
Is it not interesting thus to discover the true note of Catholicism in the most ancient paganisms, and to find that the moon, which for us is incarnate in the Blessed Virgin Mary, was for the Syrians and Greeks respectively personified in the virgin Ashtoreth, the queen of heaven, and Diana, or Phœbe, the feminine of Phœbus?
It was in furtherance of that ideal perfection which ever strives to renounce the real and its pleasures, that the Church, following some of the elder paganisms, enforced the principle of asceticism which finds its extreme outcome in the adoration of virginity and practice of celibacy, For in its view sense is the chief antagonist of soul, and sex is the chief agent of sense.
THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS
WE HAVE now peopled one portion of our imaginary space with a Holy Trinity, nay two, of Absolute Excellencies, made in our image, and so far identical with, though surpassing, the best and greatest possible to ourselves. And we have followed man, redeemed by his faith in his ideal, on his passage from life through death to life again, where he reassembles as a Communion of Saints, never again to fall away, but henceforth to repose in bliss. He has shed the limitations of the real, the corruptible has put on incorruption, the mortal has put on immortality. Death is swallowed up in victory, and the victory has been given by the supreme personified Ideal through the final embodiment of his perfection in the ideal Son of God and Man. Henceforth man, redeemed, is beyond the reach of trial and temptation, beyond the necessity or possibility of being called on to make efforts that may fail or cause him to fall. His lot is fixed in that new abode, at once
heaven and earth, where all tears are wiped away, and there is no more death nor sorrow, nor crying, nor any more pain. For the real has passed away with all its limitations and antagonisms. Inheriting the kingdom of the ideal, the individual is merged in the universal Perfection and Unity from which all have proceeded, and to which those return who through tribulation and poverty and persecution have kept fast their souls, and retaining their love for the ideal, have proved faithful to it unto death, and shall now obtain a crown of life ‘with God and the Lamb.’
We have thus far, however, peopled but one portion of space, and that with idealisations derived from one side of our nature. There remains, alas, another and contrasting side, equally capable of being idealised, and not less imperious in its demand to be submitted to such a process. Opposites and contrasts are essential to consciousness. The light from the throne itself must cast a shadow somewhere. It is in the gloom thereof that we have now to seek. Seeking there, we shall find the dark side of ourselves.
Yes, as on the one hand we project our best into the regions of the infinite, and mate a Being wholly and surpassingly good; so on the other hand we project our worst, and the result is the impersonated Evil, Ruler of the world of sense, Prince of darkness.
Thus, as in man’s image the Church makes God, the Lord of the ideal, so equally in man’s image it makes the Devil, the Lord of the real, and divides between them the empire of conscious existence, in co-equal co-ordinate sovereignties, inherently and eternally antagonistic, and yet essential to each other’s existence as the idea of darkness is to that of light, of evil to that of good.
In the Zoroastrian system, the most spiritual and catholic of all pagan religions, the necessary existence of the Devil as a complement and corollary to that of the Deity was first discerned and acknowledged. Then was the Deity first rehabilitated; for in the absence of a special representative for the evil side of their nature, men were compelled to ascribe good and evil alike to God.
As other systems failed to gather up, idealise, and personify, all the best characteristics of humanity in a single deity, so had they failed to gather up, idealise, and personify the worst.
That is, they had no Devil. The credit of the revelation of this great personage was reserved for Persia; and it was thence that, after the captivity, he was adopted into the system of the Hebrews, to assume such stupendous proportions in that of the Christians. The Devil, as we have him, is the crowning proof of the divinity of the genius of Christianity, the final demonstration of the human
soul. Had there been no Devil, there would have been no God. And without God, no soul.
As by idealising and personifying his best, man creates God, in the image of his own best: so by idealising and personifying his worst, man creates the Devil, also in his own image, but the image of his worst. The incapacity to idealise the one would involve the incapacity to idealise the other; would involve therefore the incapacity to idealise at all. Thus the sense of moral perfection, or conscience, is wanting to those who exclude the Devil from their theology. But this sense is of the very essence of the soul. So that the abolition of the Devil would involve the negation of conscience and the destruction of the soul of man.
So long, then, as man retains any portion of his faculty of idealisation in respect to things moral, he must be able to exert it in one direction as well as in the other, and to personify the perfection of his bad as well as of his good. Thus, projecting his worst side into space, as we have already described him as doing with his best, and contemplating it also as divested of limitations, he is compelled to regard it as contending on equal terms with the Deity for the sovereignty of the universe, each vanquishing and vanquished at the same moment and in turn, commingled, inseparable, burning with deadly hate towards each other, and still unable to exist apart.
OF COURSE the Devil must have his special place of abode. Such a personage cannot be expected to subsist without dominion and regal state corresponding to those of him who occupies the bright half of infinity. He must have his hell and his throne, even as God must have his heaven and his throne.
But these two, though they fill space, do not monopolise it. Each is a lord of hosts. The angels of the one are matched by the demons of the other; and the lines of their hostile array are everywhere.
For, as we personify in two chief idealisations respectively the entire good and entire bad sides of our nature, under the name of God and the Devil, so do we further divide and subdivide our various qualities, and personifying each portion, project them, divested of limitations, into the spiritual would. Thus, as the supreme ideal of Good is surrounded by angels of whom each one reflects in transcendent measure some one quality found excellent in man; so the supreme ideal of Evil is backed by a host of
lesser demons, each of whom represents in a degree transcending the limits of the actual, some defect or failing in ourselves.
And as their supreme leaders, so are the two armies, to their most insignificant member, locked for ever with deadly grip in each other’s arms, instinct with unceasing vitality; inasmuch as every quality contains the idea of its opposite, and we cannot imagine its positive without necessarily imagining its negative.
It is a false theology, then, that would postulate the existence of God and exclude that of the Devil; just as it is a false theology that makes of God a unit, and denies his dual and treble nature. False, because incapable of being unlocked by the key, which, as we have seen, alone opens the gate of all theological mysteries. It is a false theology also that holds the Devil as capable of repentance and salvation, until, at least, man shall have lost the faculty of idealising and personifying evil, while retaining it in respect of good. To lose the Devil would be to lose our souls.
And inasmuch as both beings are compounded of the same essence, even the ideal, divine and indivisible, we have in good and evil, or the ideal and the real, the true duality which are, and ever have been and will be, the parents of all conscious existence, divine co-progenitors of the sentient
universe, the eternal interaction between whom is the condition of all life and thought.
If it seem to you that the hypothesis must be defective which represents the principles of good and evil as co-equal and co-eternal, and neither proceeding from the other; and nevertheless makes the latter to some extent inferior and subordinate to the former, – remember that, although in one sense they must be on an equality, inasmuch as both have an identical source in the human faculty of idealisation, yet that it lies with man to determine to which side the balance of power shall incline, and that it pleases him, theoretically at least, to give the preference to his ideal of good, and making that the Supreme, to commit all creative power into his hands, even the power that produces the Devil; – a fact recognised in the Hebrew saying, ‘I the Lord create evil.’
But though we thus attain our conception of the existence of the personified Evil by a process identical with that which brings us to God, namely, by imagining one side of our nature as divested of limitations, it does not follow that the natures of these two beings correspond in detail. In the Devil is no distinction of persons or distribution of functions; no trinity of Father, Son and Spirit, of God, Woman and offspring. These are the essential attributes of creative intelligence only, and of loving
impulse. Hate creates nought, save a hell for itself and its victims. The function of the ‘sole Being sole’ – the personified selfishness – is destruction.
‘But the Devil may improve, or at least be utterly vanquished?’
Only in one way can the former happen, namely, as we ourselves improve. And by this I mean, not the getting so far away from evil as to lose all conception of it. But rising in the scale of moral being so that our good may be a higher good, our evil a less low evil; our love for the real decreasing as our love for the ideal increases; but still with the same impassable barrier between them as before. To become so utterly unconscious of evil, so incapable of appreciating it as to be entirely lost in good; that is, to be absorbed in the ideal, or God, is attainable only in the soul’s final rest. This is Nirvana, the ideal perfection, or Absolute of Buddhism, from which all things spring, and to which they return. But so long as we remain in the real, the perception of contrasts, and therefore of good and evil, is essential to consciousness.
What, then, is the meaning of vanquishing the Devil? Simply resisting the impulses of the real, or sense, when they interfere with the call of the ideal, or spirit; and striving towards the perfection which our souls enable us to discern and our consciences prompt us to pursue.
There is a further reason against a multiplicity of persons in the diabolic nature, and this completes the astronomic parallel. As God represents light, Christ the sun, the Spirit the atmosphere, and the Virgin Mother the moon, so the Devil represents darkness. Now darkness is not gathered up and condensed into any specific orb or body. It is a mysterious intangible existence, universal and all pervading, save only where light penetrates. It is enough therefore to sum it up in a single being, without ascribing to it any distinction of persons. To do with it as the Church has done with light, would be to violate the solar analogy. There are no orbs of darkness. The very name of God in the countries whence our religion is derived signifies the shining one. What, but the prince of darkness, then, can be his opposite?