Sunday, 26 May 2013

Thomas Traherne on the Trinity

From Centuries of Meditations, 2:39-41:

God is not a mixt and compounded Being, so that His Love is one thing and Himself another: but the most pure and simple of all Beings, all Act, and pure Love in the abstract. Being Love therefore itself, by loving He begot His Love. Had He not Loved, He had not been what He now is, The God of Love, the most righteous of all beings, in being infinitely righteous to Himself, and all. But by loving He is infinitely righteous to Himself and all. For He is of Himself, Infinitely Blessed and most Glorious; and all His creatures are of Him, in whom they are infinitely delighted and Blessed and Glorious.

In all Love there is a love begetting, and a love begotten, and a love proceeding: which though they are one in essence subsist nevertheless in three several manners. For love is benevolent affection to another: which is of itself, and by itself relateth to its object. It floweth from itself and resteth in its object. Love proceedeth of necessity from itself, for unless it be of itself it is not Love. Constraint is destructive and opposite to its nature. The Love from which it floweth is the fountain of Love. The Love which streameth from it, is the communication of Love, or Love communicated. The Love which resteth in the object is the Love which streameth to it. So that in all Love, the Trinity is clear. By secret passages without stirring it proceedeth to its object, and is as powerfully present as if it did not proceed at all. The Love that lieth in the bosom of the Lover, being the love that is perceived in the spirit of the Beloved: that is, the same in substance, tho’ in the manner of substance, or subsistence, different. Love in the bosom is the parent of Love, Love in the stream is the effect of Love, Love seen, or dwelling in the object proceedeth from both. Yet are all these, one and the Selfsame Love: though three Loves.

Love in the fountain and Love in the stream are both the same. And therefore are they both equal in Time and Glory. For love communicateth itself: And therefore love in the fountain is the very love communicated to its object. Love in the fountain is love in the stream, and love in the stream equally glorious with love in the fountain. Though it streameth to its object it abideth in the lover, and is the love of the lover.

(A Trinity hymn by Traherne's fellow Brasenose alumnus, Reginald Heber.)

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