True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 165

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165. If the reason is left to itself, there is no way it can see how these statements are to be understood; it could be that there are three Gods, who are one in essence and therefore in name; it could be that they are three aspects of a single subject, so that it is merely qualities or attributes of one God which bear these names; or other solutions may be possible. What then are we to do? The only way is to approach the Lord God the Saviour, and read the Word under His guidance, since He is the God of the Word; we shall then be enlightened and see the truths, which the reason too will acknowledge. But if you do not approach the Lord, though you should read the Word a thousand times and see in it the Divine Trinity as well as the oneness of God, still you will never be able to grasp anything but the doctrine of three Divine persons, each of which taken singly is God; and this means three Gods. However, since this is repugnant to the general perception shared by all people throughout the world, to avoid criticism they invented the doctrine that although in truth there are three Gods, faith none the less demands that we should not speak of three Gods, but one. Moreover, to avoid having insults heaped on them, in this respect especially the understanding has to be imprisoned and kept chained under the control of faith; and this is henceforward to be prescribed by the ordained ministry of the Christian church.

[2] That is the kind of paralysed offspring which is produced by not reading the Word under the Lord's guidance. Everyone who does not read the Word under His guidance must do so under the guidance of his own intelligence; and this is as blind as an owl in matters illuminated by spiritual light, as are all the essential doctrines of the church. When such a person reads about the Trinity in the Word and is led by this to think that although there are three Gods they are none the less one, he finds this as enigmatic as a reply from the Delphic oracle*. Since he does not understand it, he rolls it round his teeth, for if he put it before his eyes, it would be a riddle, which becomes the more obscure the more he strives to solve it, until finally he begins to think about it without using his understanding, which is like seeing without using one's eyes. In brief, reading the Word under the guidance of one's own intelligence, as all do who fail to acknowledge the Lord as the God of heaven and earth and do not approach Him and worship Him alone, can be compared to children who in play tie a bandage over their eyes, and then try to walk in a straight line; they even think they are walking straight when step by step they turn to one side and end up walking in the opposite direction, so that they trip over a stone and fall down.

[3] They are also like ships' captains who sail without a compass, run their ship on rocks, and so are drowned. Or they are like a man who walking through a broad plain in a thick fog sees a scorpion and thinks it is a bird; he goes to grasp it and pick it up, and then gets a fatal sting. He is also like a sea-bird or a kite, which spots a small patch on the back of a large fish breaking the surface of the water, dives on it and jabs its beak into it, but is pulled under by the fish and drowns. He is also like a man who goes into a maze without a guide or a thread to pay out, and the farther he goes in, the more he loses track of the way out. A person who reads the Word under the guidance of his own intelligence instead of the Lord's thinks he is gifted with the vision of Lynceus**, and has more eyes than Argus*** when in fact he cannot inwardly discern the smallest truth, but only falsity. But having persuaded himself that this is the truth, he shapes the course of all his thinking by reference to this apparent cynosure. Yet then he is as blind to truth as a mole, and what he does see, he bends to suit his fancy, so perverting and falsifying the holiness of the Word.

* Literally, 'from the tripod', the source of oracles given at Delphi. ** A man in Greek myth famous for keenness of sight. *** The hundred-eyed monster of Greek myth.

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