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CHAPTER VII

THAT IN THE GODHEAD WE OUGHT NOT TO SAY THREE GODS OR THREE ESSENCES, AS WE SAY THREE PERSONS: AND THAT ILK MAN SHALL BE CALLED GREAT OR SMALL AFTER THE QUANTITY OF HIS LOVE

If any, erring, would say in the Trinity are three Essences because they say three Persons, why should they not also say three Gods; since to God it is all one to be God and to be His Essence? We say truly, the Father is God; the Son is God; the Holy Ghost is God; the Father also is His Essence; the Son is His Essence; the Holy Ghost is His Essence: and yet not three Gods nor three Essences we say; but one God and three Persons to be of one Essence, with strong faith we grant.

One Godhead truly there is, of three Persons, full and perfect; and ilk Person in the self contains the whole Godhead; evenhood and onehood, forsooth, having after the Substance of the Godhead; not lacking distinction of diversity after the property of the Name.

They are also three Persons and one god; one Essence; one Substance; one Godhead: and, though ilk Person betokens the Essence, although there be three Persons yet three Essences shall not therefore be understood. And as our God, the Father the Son and the Holy Ghost we call one Essence and not three, so we shall say the High Trinity to be three Persons, not one alone.

The Father is so called, because of Himself He gat a Son; the Son is so called, because of the Father He is gotten; the Holy Ghost, because of both the Holy Father and the Holy Son He is inspired. The Father, Life, getting the Son, Life, has given to Him His whole Substance: so that the Father should be as mickle in His Son as in Himself (and the Son is not less in the Father than in Himself). But the Father has taken His Essence of none; the Son truly of His Father alone has taken in His birth that He is; the Holy Ghost forsooth of the Father and the Son forth passing, and with Them and in Them endlessly being, is no more in Himself than in Either: for truly He is even and everlasting with Them of whom He is; since He is of the same Substance, of the same Kind, and of the same Godhead; and the third Person in the Trinity.

Truly the everlasting Son of the Father is become Man in time, born of a maiden, that He might gainbuy man from the fiend’s power. This is our Lord Jesus Christ: the which only be fastened in our minds the which for us only was tied on the cross.

Nothing truly is so sweet as to love Christ. And therefore ransack we not too mickle those things that we in this life may not conceive. Truly in heaven they shall be clearer than light, if we give all our hearts to love God. For we shall be able to be taught of God; and we shall joy in full marvellous melody, and in high mirth praise our Maker, in full sweet easiness without grief and irksomeness and withouten end.

He forsooth that loves mickle is great, and he that loves least is least: for after the greatness of the charity we have in us, shall we be praised before God. So is it not before men, but he that has most riches or goods is most considered and especially dreaded; when they ought not so to do, but most honour and dread them that they suppose be best in knowledge.

Truly the mighty men of this world can do nothing but for their bodies or their goods. Holy men truly have more worthiness; for they shall have power to spar heaven to them that disease them and would not therefore do penance: and also to open heaven to them that have honoured them in God, and maintained them in this exile: whiles they were arrayed with charity and have not received vainglory. Wherefore they should travail to get, to have, and to hold to charity with all their might and all their strength, that in the day of temptation they may manfully stand against the enemy; and when they shall be proved they may receive the crown of life. Charity truly makes men perfect; and only those loving perfectly are granted to come to the height of contemplative life.

And truly the poor, although they be clad with heaviness and uncleanness, yet they should not be despised; for they are friends of God and breathren of Christ, if they bear the burden of poverty with deeds of praise. Then sickerly the persons ye despised without, ye honour within as heavenly citizens; and in so mickle as ye grow to honour them for God, in so mickle He privily works in His Godhead; the which, comforting them, says: Beati pauperes quoniam vestrum est regnum Dei, that is to say: ‘Blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.’

For the great tribulation and need that they suffer in this life they are purged of their sins. For whiles the poor man is noyed in body with hunger, thirst, cold, nakedness and other griefs of this world, he is purged in soul from uncleanness and worldly filth. And truly in the time to come poor men shall feel the sweeter rest of the everlasting, in as mickle as in this life they have borne most grievous labours. It shall belong to them truly to say: Laetati sumus pro diebus quibus nos humiliasti, annis quibus vidimus mala; that is to say: ‘Gladdened are we for the days in which Thou hast meeded us, for the years in which we have seen grief.’

Wherefore halse2828    embrace the burden of poverty with joy, and have mind to bear goodly other wretchedness; that by the sufferance of tribulation thou mayest be worthy to come to the joy of everlasting peace!


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