Monday, February 08, 2010

Saturated with the truth

The following extract from Hilary of Poitiers' letter "On the Councils" to the Western bishops in 359 AD makes good theological and pastoral sense:
Every separate point of heretical doctrine has been successfully refuted. The infinte and boundless God cannot be made comprehensible by a few words of human speech.

Brevity often misleads both learner and teacher, and a concentrated discourse either causes a subject not to be understood, or spoils the meaning of an argument where a thing is hinted at, and is not proved by full demonstration.

The bishops fully understood this, and therefore have used for the purpose of teaching many definitions and a profusion of words that the ordinary understanding might find no difficulty, but that their hearers might be saturated with the truth thus differently expressed, and that in treating of divine things these adequate and manifold definitions might leave no room for danger or obscurity.

You must not be surprised, dear brethren, that so many creeds have recently been written. The frenzy of heretics makes it necessary.
On the Councils, Ch. 62 & 63

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