Unless we have reason for thinking, first, that it matters not what we believe; or, secondly, that no faith is acceptable in the case of individuals which does not arise from their own personal inferences from Scripture. Let, then, grounds be produced for either of these two positions,—that correct faith is unimportant, or that personal faith must be built upon argument and proof. Till then, surely the general opinion of all men around us, and that from the first,—the belief of our teachers, friends, and superiors, and of all Christians in all times and places,—that the doctrine of the Holy Trinity must be held in order to salvation, is as good a reason for our believing it ourselves, even without being able to prove it in all its parts from Scripture; I say, this general reception of it by others, is as good a reason for accepting it without hesitation, considering the fearful consequences which may follow from not accepting it, as the general belief how the law stands and the opinion of skilful lawyers about the law is a reason for following their view of the law, though we cannot verify that view from law books.
2. But it may here be said, that the cases are different in this respect,—that the commonly-received notions about what the law of the land is, do not impose upon our belief any thing improbable or difficult to accept, but that the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity is mysterious and unlikely; and, therefore, though it is reasonable to go by what others say in legal matters, it is not reasonable to go by others in respect to this doctrine.
Now, on the contrary, I consider that this mysteriousness is, as far as it proves any thing, a recommendation of the doctrine. I do not say that itis true, because it is mysterious; but that if it be true, it cannot help being mysterious. It would be strange, indeed, as has often been urged in argument, if any doctrine concerning God's infinite and eternal Nature were not mysterious. It would even be an objection to any professed doctrine concerning His Nature, if it were not mysterious. That the sacred doctrine, then, of the Trinity in Unity is mysterious, is no objection to it, but rather the contrary; the only objection that can plausibly be urged is, why, if so, should it be revealed?