MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA TREATISE I. 10. THE UNITY OF GOD.
Apotheosis of St Ignatius
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA
10. THE UNITY OF GOD.
I. The next great truth after the existence of God is His Unity. " Know that the Lord He is God, and there is no other besides Him " (Deut. iv. 35). This is a wonderful and a necessary perfection. There is a striking grandeur in the idea of a One, sole, supreme, unequalled Being. The Gentile multiplication of gods was ignoble and debased ; it was destructive of the very idea of the supreme infinite God as revealed by Moses and Our Divine Lord. Sovereignty, omnipotence, infinity, perfection, independence are meaning less terms as soon as we attempt to conceive them as divided amongst a number of equal beings. Supremacy is necessarily vested in one or it does not exist. The multiplication of beings is an acknowledgment that no one of them is absolutely perfect : it is a vain attempt to make up the perfection which does not exist in any one of them. So, too, the authoritative manifestation of God in religion must be one and sole. The idea of a multiplicity of religions, all equally good, is a survival of that tendency to deterioration which expressed itself of old in polytheism. If religion be the divine system for the communication of truth and grace, it does not need to be multiplied, like the cells of an electric battery, in proportion to the increase of the circuit. Religion is a representation of God, and is the exercise of His divine action. A number of them, if they are uniform, are at variance with the supreme unity of God ; if they are contradictory, they cannot be the manifestation of Him who is harmony and peace. Thank God for calling you to a Church whose unity proclaims its divine origin and its all- sufficiency.
II. Reason, proceeding on the data which the visible world supplies, sufficiently indicates the Unity of God, Science shows us a surpassing unity underlying all things, and carries us back towards one great original principle of life, motion and law. Harmony and strength are marks of all the works of God ; and the source of them is unity and not division. Divided power is weakness, divided authority is no authority. In the spiritual and religious sphere, even more than in nature, we should expect to find the impress of God s Unity. If there is to be among men unity of mind and heart, of doctrine, worship and morals, there must be unity of spiritual laws and religious organization. Disorder and contradiction do not accord with the Divine Ideal. No kingdom divided against itself shall stand. One Church alone maintains the principle of unity and possesses unity in itself. Endeavour always to promote " the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. iv. 3).
III. In relation to man individually, the unity of God demands unity of service from us. We cannot serve two masters ; we must serve God alone " with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, with all our mind." If we render partial service to the world or any creature, to our pride, our interests or our lusts, we are putting a false god in Gods place. It is equivalent to dividing our loyalty among a number of gods, or attempting to worship God simultaneously in discordant religions; it is compounding together light and darkness, truth and falsehood. Our hearts are too small to love the one great Being sufficiently : much more insufficient is their service if part of it be withdrawn and bestowed on creatures. In any pursuit we can only secure success by concentrating all our thoughts and energies upon it alone. In this respect, the children of light may well take a lesson from the children of this world. Seek God alone and always. Let one principle guide your life in all its diverse operations. Let nothing turn you from the path of consistency, from whole-hearted loyalty and affection towards God. Do not dissipate your energies on any other object ; but let all the various duties of life look to God and be turned to His service.
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA BY THE RIGHT REV. JAMES BELLORD, D.D.