St Hilary of Poitiers: Be Careful When You Speak of the Ineffable!

Feast of the Holy Nine Martyrs of Cyzicus

Hilary_Poitiers_Square.jpgTHE WORD OF GOD, together with the very power of its own truth which we received from the testimony of the Evangelist, was sufficient for those who believe, since He says: “Going now, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world” (Matt. 28.19-20). For, what is there pertaining to the mystery of man’s salvation that it does not contain? Or is there anything that is omitted or obscure? Everything is full as from fullness and perfect as from perfection. It includes the meaning of the words, the efficacy of the actions, the order of procedure, and the concept of the nature.

He commanded them to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, that is, in the confession of the Origin, the Only-begotten, and the Gift. There is one source of all. God the Father is one from whom are all things; and our Lord Jesus Christ is one through whom are all things; and the Holy Spirit is one, the gift in all things. Everything is arranged, therefore, according to its power and merits. There is one Power from whom are all things, one Offspring through whom are all things, and one Gift of perfect hope. Nor will anything be found wanting to a perfection so great within which there is found in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: infinity in the Eternal, the form in the Image, and the use in the Gift.

The guilt of the heretics and blasphemers compels us to undertake what is unlawful, to scale arduous heights, to speak of the ineffable, and to trespass upon forbidden places. And since by faith alone we should fulfill what is commanded, namely, to adore the Father, to venerate the Son with Him, and to abound in the Holy Spirit, we are forced to raise our lowly words to subjects which cannot be described. By the guilt of another we are forced into guilt, so that what should have been restricted to the pious contemplation of our minds is now exposed to the dangers of human speech.

—St Hilary of Poitiers, The Trinity

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.