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CONCERNING HERETICS: AND FAITH IN THE TRINITY
The plenteousness and the whole of holy truth shows itself to them that seek it; and to the children of unity hidden mysteries are open. Wherefore, soothly, springs the frowardness of heretics but from an untaught and inordinate mind, which is blinded by desire of its own excellence? For truly they cease not to resist God within themselves by vain desires; and it is also by their earning that with open arguments they gainstand the truth outwardly.
When the Christian religion wills to cut away all that is contrary, and fully accord in unity of love, the manner of heretics and the proud is to get new opinions, and to make known questions, unwont and from the saying of holy kirk; and so those thing that true Christian men hold holy they joy to scatter with their vanities.
Whose errors casting away we say: Truly the Son of God, even to the Father, and without beginning, is evermore to be trowed and understood; for except the Father had begotten Him without beginning, truly the full Godhead should not have been in Him. Soothly if God had been at sometime the Father when He had no Son, then no marvel He was less than afterward, when He had gotten a Son; that shall no man of good mind say.
Therefore God unchangeable begets God unchangeable; and whom He has begotten from eternity He ceases not this day also to beget. For neither might the substance of the Son be called at any time unbegotten, nor the being of the Getter ever be conscious of Himself without any only begotten Son of Himself. Truly even as the beginning of the Godhead may not be found of reason or wit because it has not beginning, so the generation of the Son with the eternal Godhead unchangingly abides.
When truly the marvel and worship of God almighty shows itself clearly in infinity, without beginning, to what end shall man’s folly raise itself in striving to make known to the ears of mortal men a sacrament unable to be spoken? He truly knows God perfectly that feels Him incomprehensible and unable to be known. Nothing, soothly, is perfectly known unless the cause thereof, how and in what wise it is, be perfectly known. In this present life we know in part and we understand in part; in the life to come, truly, we shall know perfectly and fully, as is lawful or speedful to creatures. Forsooth he that desires to know of our Everlasting Maker above that that is profitable, without doubt falls fonder from perfect knowledge of Him.
Thou askest what God is? I answer shortly to thee: such a one and so great is He that none other is or ever may be of like kind or so mickle. If thou wilt know properly to speak what God is, I say thou shalt never find an answer to this question. I have not known; angels know not; archangels have not heard. Wherefore how wouldest thou know what is unknown and also unteachable? Truly God that is almighty may not teach thee what He Himself is. For if thou knew what God is thou shouldest be as wise as God is: that neither thou nor any other creature may be.
Stand therefore in thy degree, and desire not high things. For if thou desirest to know what God is, thou desirest to be God; the which becomes thee not. Wot thou well God alone knows Himself, and may know. Truly it is not of God’s unpower that He may not teach thee Himself as He is in Himself, but for His inestimable worthiness; for such a one as He is, none other may be. Soothly if He might be truly known, then were He not incomprehensible. It is enough for thee therefore to know that God is; and it were against thee if thou would know what God is.
Also it is to be praised to know God perfectly; that is to say, He being unable to be fully conceived: knowing Him to love Him; loving Him to sing in Him; singing to rest in Him, and by inward rest to come to endless rest. Let it not move thee that I have said to know God perfectly, and I have denied that He may be known: since the prophet in the psalm has said: Praetende misericordiam tuam scientibus te, that is to say: ‘Thy mercy show to them knowing Thee.’ But thus understand this authority if thou wilt not err: ‘To them knowing Thee,’ that is to say: God is to be loved, to be praised, to be worshipped and glorified, the only Maker of all things; above all things; through all things; and in all things; that is blessed in the world of worlds. Amen.
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