The Trinity. -- By: H. B. Smith

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 003:11 (Aug 1846)
Article: The Trinity.
Author: H. B. Smith


The Trinity.

Rev. H. B. Smith

West Amesbury, Mass.

[From the Theological Lectures of Dr. A. D. C. Twesten, Professor of Theology in the University of Berlin.]

Introductory Note.

[The following Article has been translated, not only on account of its intrinsic excellence, but also because it presents a discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity upon somewhat different grounds from those ordinarily found in English and American systems of theology. Even if we do not agree with all the positions advanced nor think them conclusive, yet they may aid the mind to some new aspects of a doctrine which lies at the basis of the whole Christian scheme. This doctrine has always been discussed and illustrated differently by different minds, in different ages of the church; and that, too, without detriment to the general orthodoxy. Those who hold, and faithfully hold, to the same formula of doctrine will expound it differently, according to the influences under which their minds have been trained, to the objections made against their creed, and to the philosophical views prevailing around them. And such a discussion of this doctrine as is here presented, may lead us to a more thorough

conviction that it is not a mere abstract formula, but a living truth; a truth, not merely derived by a set of proof-texts from the Scriptures, but intimately inwrought into the whole scheme of Christianity; which can not only be shown to be unassailable by the principles of a common-sense philosophy, but can also be maintained in its most orthodox form in the midst of the severest critical discussions of the Scriptures, and against all the pretensions even of pantheistic and transcendental speculations.

Some parts of the discussion will be felt, in their full force, only by those somewhat acquainted with the later theological and philosophical systems of Germany. This is especially the case in the third and fourth sections, which exhibit the connection of this doctrine with the whole system of Christianity as experienced by the believer, or with the Christian consciousness; and in the attempts made to give a philosophical deduction of the Trinity. In both these portions of the Article the difficulty of translation has not been slight, and in many cases a free paraphrase has been thought absolutely necessary. But even with the most liberal translation, it may be doubted whether the exact sense of the original can be transferred into a language so different in its theological and philosophical phraseology, as is the English from the German. In the first section to which reference has just been made, for example, the phrase Christian consciousness frequently occurs; and it is a phrase of very d...

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