Go among twenty ministers, and say,—our fellow presbyter has denied the doctrine of the Trinity. The very first bubbling up of censure will be from that form of reason which is embalmed in the vote of the vast body of believers. The arrogance of the presbyter!—is the first thing that will strike every body. But how long should this outcry last? Always, if the Church is infallible; and, past doubt, the Church is infallible in vital matters. Let us consider this.
By John Miller
The Trinity Not To Be Judged By Reason
I wish to set forward the statement, that I am moved to write this book by Scripture. In order to do this, I hold the ground that the Trinity is not to be judged by reason. In order to do this, I follow that statement, and show that it is very peculiar. Everything is to be judged by reason. Until it is true that the eye is no judge of color, it will never be true that reason is no judge of anything; for, in fact, there is no judge of anything but reason; and of all that our race can conceive, reason is the sole and universal arbiter.
What is meant, therefore, by reason being no judge of the Trinity? Let me explain by the instance of gravitation. Reaching far back to absolute sight, and to those most obstinate of all demonstrators of truth, mathematical figures, the mind has been forced into the faith that there is gravitation. It is no judge of the phenomena, afterward. The man who is prolific of difficulties, and tells us that gravitation is impossible; and who backs up his thought by saying that the sun is ninety-four millions of miles away, and that is grappling the earth over that distance is a sheer conceit, we laugh at. Let the sun get over its own difficulties. We have forever demonstrated the truth, that it does attract; and all inter-situated puzzles we neglect. Reason is a judge of everything; but, having made her judgment back at the original truth, we know what we mean by saying, that she is no judge of the doctrine afterward.
So of the Trinity. In a way that is universal and confessed, reason has made her judgment of the Word of God. This is a broad field; and she has examined it thoroughly. This is the all-comprehensive fact; and she bas established it by outward and inward evidence. She has come to the strongest faith (and no disciple of the Redeemer will lightly quibble over it), that the Bible is the voice of the Almighty; and this, not by mystic partialities, but by reasonable tests, which lift her ever afterward above the fear of what is contained in the recognized canon.
This is what is meant by reason being no judge of the Trinity.
The Papist has a kindred submissiveness. He does not deny the authority of reason; but he has spent all her power in examining into the authority of the Church. There has been his original question. He holds you to be right in testing him there. And, if you would witness patience, you have but to look at his books on the church. Where you are building up the authority of Scripture, he is laying the corner stone of Zion; and it is only after you have accepted the church, that he lays his hand upon your mouth, and tells you that you have no right of private judgment afterward.
And to show how sincere we are in all this, we say plainly, If the Mass were in the Bible, we would believe the Mass. The Papist believes it on the authority of the Church. We would believe it on the authority of Scripture. And, in either case, man’s appeal is to his rational nature; for, in the one case, it has led him to accept the Church, and in the other, Scripture; and it is only on the lower ground, that he denies, in such things as the Trinity and the Mass, any right to the judgments of the mind.