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Shall I then dismiss the heavenly theme before me? A voice within seems to say,– Proceed. For why shall I forbear and hesitate when I profess neither scholarship nor research? I have an apology for my presumption which, I am sure, will commend itself to you. I am not going to discuss or criticize the recondite philosophy of the many schools of divinity in the West. Learning and metaphysics I bring not to the subject before me, but only the simplicity of faith and trust. There is a cheering assurance in the Gospel that the truth of God which is hid from the sage is revealed unto babes. Verily to the vision of childlike faith Heaven has always vouchsafed the light to which the wise have no access That light do I humbly claim, and that will I testify. If I am candid and frank, if I unfold in a spirit of sincerity and simplicity, and in their natural freshness, the lessons and experiences which faith bas gathered in the fresh fields of life, will not the world listen to me? It is not the bones of a dead doctrine, gathered from dead books, nor the antiquated and lifeless Trinity fossilized in Western theology,-a theological cant, a dark enigma—that I am going to present to you ; but the living Trinity the infant soul has seen in the light of faith. In the Trinity School of Asia have I learnt this doctrine of the blessed Trinity. Upon Indian soil have I, like other Hindu souls, lived and grown into this doctrine. With mother's milk we have imbibed it. For surely this theory is as Asiatic as it is European, nay more Asiatic than European, more Indian than English. It is an oriental conception, sublime and beautiful. Though it comes to us as a hard and solid principle of Western thought, massive and colossal, we readily recognise in it the gorgeous colors of the East and the sweet
poetry of Oriental devotion. It went from the East to the West, and after centuries it returns to the East, bringing with it a fresh halo of beauty from the domain of thought. Indeed the Trinity is a doctrine of natural and universal theology, and is not the monopoly of any single age or nation. Though apparently and admittedly a Christian doctrine, it must find ready faith in every unsophisticated human heart, and every Hindu who is true to nature and loyal to his instincts and traditions must bow with the profoundest reverence before the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. If, therefore, I dwell upon this important theme, you can only expect from me the light which Heaven has given to an Asiatic seeker of truth in answer to his daily devotions and prayers.
What I know of my Father and His threefold nature I have acquired in my humble sanctuary beside the family altar. In prayer have I studied and inquired ; in prayer have I received light. Christ has been my study for a quarter of a century. That God-Man they say half God and half man-walks daily all over this vast peninsula, from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin, enlightening and sanctifying its teeming millions. He is a mighty reality in Indian history. He is to us a living and moving spirit. We see him and commune with him. He permeates society as a vital force, and imbues our daily life, and is mixed with our thoughts, speculations and pursuits. That grand man, the Christ of history, divinity in humanity, is not far from any of us. Behold him. Behold the Father and the Son living and moving in us through the Holy Spirit, and daily quickening our lives, and by spirit-movements acting and interacting through each other, making a very heaven within us. We in India are singularly
fortunate at the present moment We are nearer the secrets of heaven, and such heavenly mysteries as the Trinity shine more clearly upon us. This may appear to be a delusion ; but it is not, I can assure you, a visionary's dream ; it is science. The Indian world is near the holy kingdom of heaven. Know ye not, votaries of science, that this small globe of ours revolves round the sun, freighted with millions of beings that creep on its surface ? It whirls round in space with lightning speed. And yet, mark the orbit, the course of the earth is not a perfect circle. It is elliptical, and hence it is that the earth is at times nearer the sun than at other times. So admirably, with such wonderful mathemetica) exactness has the Divine hand laid the orbit of this earth in infinite space, that while it seems to run round the sun as its centre, it actually follows an elliptical course, being nearer to the centre at certain times and drawn farther away at others. And as the world of matter, so the world of faith has its perihelion and its aphelion. The perihelion of the spirit-world is usually called the age of revivals, the age of special dispensations. What happens during these favored periods history has often told us. As the world of faith rolls nearer to the Sun of Righteousness, the hidden mysteries of heaven start into view and become more and more clear to the eye of the soul. Things which heretofore were unintelligible and dark become plain aud comprehensible. Sable night turns into bright dawn and sunny morn. The inner court of the Lord's Sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, gradually falls within the range of our mental vision. Those bright mansions above where saints hold eternal festival, hitherto hid behind masses of clouds, greet our eyes. Standing upon this rolling orb we not
only catch glimpses of heavenly sights, but heavenly sounds too;- sweet symphonies of saint-voices steal into our ear. With rapt attention and hearts entranced we drink the solemn and joyous music which comes upon the wings of the winds from the distant corridors of heaven. There, near Jehovah Most High, shines Jesus in all his celestial glory, with the Prince's crown on his head ; there is Moses, there is Paul too, and all the martyrs and saints and prophets are there. What a clear vision of heaven! I say vision advisedly. It is not wild imagination nor morbid sentiment that conjures up a romantic fairy land above. It is the eye of intelligent faith and sober reason that sees these wondrous sights and hears these strange sounds. It is only the man of science who realizes these facts in his own inner consciousness. For if he has come nearer to heaven shall he not see more clearly? The earth's proximity to the realms above explains the whole mystery. The dark regions where men indulge in dreamy speculations about God and futurity under the clouds of doubt we have left behind, and we have risen to that higher plane of faith where knowledge means perception. Yes, there are periods in the history of nations as well as individuals when cognitions grow into convictions and reason develops into faith, when the Unknowable is as “the fruit in the clutches of the hand,” when science takes the place of vacillating surmises, and speaks with indisputable authority of invisible things seen and intangible essences touched. It is then that truths which lie far beyond the limitations of human thought, and are therefore inconceivable and incomprehensible, become yet apprehensible. What we cannot conceive in reflective consciousness we realize in intuitive consciousness,
In the dark age of aphelion conjectures we doubt and dream and despond, and Divinity is at best but an unknown and absent, though admitted Something. But in the golden age of perihelion faith the unclouded soul hails the Unknowable as its Father and Friend, and holds Him in sweet embrace as One near and dear. Gentlemen, through one such favored period is India passing at the present moment. The God of Heaven has in the plenitude of His mercy vouchsafed unto us, Indians, an altogether New Dispensation, which makes our hearts rejoice exceedingly. In the streets of this holy city, and here and there in different parts of this vast country, hundreds are seen running to and fro as messengers, eager to tell some strange tidings they have received. They say they have seen God, they have listened to the voice of God. They have been heard to say, Behold our God reigneth in all the objects of creation. And in all the whispers of that inner monitor, Conscience, they say, lo! our God speaketh. They are not mad, for even in politics and social economy, in trade and commerce, in the minute details of daily life these men profess to hear the sovereign voice of the Most High. They have been questioned and examined, and they have stood their trials bravely. Where are your
credentials ?--they have often been asked. They answer, -Our truths come from God, and their evidence is in themselves. They are self-evident truths. They speak with authority. Their conception of God is a perception of the Infinite. To them the very earth is heaven, and departed saints present companions. Their preachers are messengers
and apostles. Their consciousness is scripture, and there they read God's legible handwriting.