Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Though I cannot explain this mystery to you, I think I can show you in nature certain figures whereby we may get some idea of how true the mystery is, though it is beyond our understanding. If I were to shut the window of a room, and cut a slit in the shutter, and put into the slit a piece of glass called a prism, you would see on the wall on the other side of the room a streak of red, yellow, and blue light. If I take the piece of glass away, there is only a streak of white light. Now learned men have found out that all pure white light is made up of red, yellow, and blue light; and by that piece of glass a ray of light can always be separated into the parts which make it up. Now, the red ray is light, the yellow ray is light, the blue ray is light. But the three together make up only one ray of light. Then, again. In your own self you have an image of the Trinity. You are made up of spirit, and soul, and body. Your spirit thinks, it prays, and you say, "I think, I pray." Your spirit is you. If anything pains your body, you say, "I am in pain," speaking now of your body as yourself. Again, your soul is moved by some passion, fear, or love. You speak of your soul as yourself, and say, "I fear," or "I love." Well, here there is the spirit you, the body you, and the soul you; and yet you are not three different creatures, but you body, soul, and spirit, make up one being, called man. Take another illustration. You know the florin, or two-shilling piece, has a cross of shields on one side. In the corners of that cross are flowers or plants. In the first and fourth are roses, the badge of England. In the second is the thistle, the badge of Scotland. In the third is a little cluster of clover leaves. The clover leaf, called in Ireland the shamrock, is the badge of Ireland. I will tell you how the Irish obtained the clover leaf as their badge. Long ago, when the Irish were heathens, there came to their shores St. Patrick, to teach them the true Catholic faith. He was brought to the king, and he spoke before him of the religion of Christ. The king listened attentively. But when St. Patrick began to tell him that there was but one God, and yet in that Godhead there were Three Persons, the king stopped him, saying, "I do not understand you. You say the Father is God?" "Yes." "And you say that the Son is God." "Yes." "And you say that the Holy Ghost is God?" "Yes." "Then," said the king, "there must be three Gods." St. Patrick, instead of answering, stooped down and picked a little clover leaf which grew at his feet. The clover leaf, as you know, is made up of three little leaves, joined together by a slim stalk, so that the three leaves make only one leaf. St. Patrick held up only one division of the leaf, and said, "This is a leaf?" "Yes," said the king. He showed the second division of the leaf, and said, "This is a leaf?" "Yes," said the king. He showed the third, saying the same words, and receiving the same reply. Then he held up the whole leaf by its long stalk before the king, and asked, "What is this?" "It is a leaf," replied the king. "So learn from a humble plant the mystery of the Trinity," said the saint. Now all this does not make us any more able to understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity; but it at least shows us that, although it is above our reason, it is not contrary to our reason to believe that God is Three Persons and yet but One God.
(J. E. Vernon, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: