Trinity Sunday

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity; We beseech thee that thou wouldest keep us stedfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.

Psalms 29, 33 | 93, 97, 150 ,   Revelation iv. 1   &   St. John iii. 1

Admonition and Exhortation for Communion

Extract of "On the Trinty"


Shield of the Trinity, St Oswald's, Sowerby, North Yorkshire


How shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?


Psalms 29, 33, 93, 97, 150

Revelation iv. 1.

AFTER this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes before and behind. And the first was like a lion, and the second like a calf, and the third had a face as a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those living creatures give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created.

St. John iii. 1

THERE was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.


Homily

Hilary of Pointers

Extracts from "On the Trinity"

 

Book II

Go now and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I command you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [ St. Matt. xxviii. 19, 20].

What element in the mystery of manís salvation is not included in those words? What is forgotten, what left in darkness? All is full, as from the Divine fulness; perfect, as from the Divine perfection. The passage contains the exact words to be used, the essential acts, the sequence of processes, an insight into the Divine nature. He bade them baptize in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that is with confession of the Creator and of the Only-begotten, and of the Gift. For God the Father is One, from whom are all things; and our Lord Jesus Christ the Only-begotten, through whom are all things, is One; and the Spirit, Godís Gift to us, who pervades all things, is also One. Thus all are ranged according to powers possessed and benefits conferred;óthe One Power from whom all, the One Offspring through whom all, the One Gift Who gives us perfect hope. Nothing can be found lacking in that supreme Union which embraces, in Father, Son and Holy Spirit, infinity in the Eternal, his Likeness in his express Image, our enjoyment of him in the Gift....

It is the Father to whom all existence owes its origin. In Christ and through Christ he is the source of all. In contrast to all else he is self-existent. He does not draw His being from without, but possesses it from himself and in himself. He is infinite, for nothing contains him and he contains all things; he is eternally unconditioned by space, for he is illimitable; eternally anterior to time, for time is his creation. Let imagination range to what you may suppose is Godís utmost limit, and you will find him present there; strain as you will there is always a further horizon towards which to strain. Infinity is his property, just as the power of making such effort is yours. Words will fail you, but His being will not be circumscribed. Or again, turn back the pages of history, and you will find him ever present; should numbers fail to express the antiquity to which you have penetrated, yet Godís eternity is not diminished. Gird up your intellect to comprehend him as a whole; he eludes you. God, as a whole, has left something within your grasp, but this something is inextricably involved in his entirety. Thus you have missed the whole, since it is only a part which remains in your hands; nay, not even a part, for you are dealing with a whole which you have failed to divide. For a part implies division, a whole is undivided, and God is everywhere and wholly present wherever he is.

Reason, therefore, cannot cope with him, since no point of contemplation can be found outside himself and since eternity is eternally His. This is a true statement of the mystery of that unfathomable nature which is expressed by the Name ĎFather:í God invisible, ineffable, infinite. Let us confess by our silence that words cannot describe him; let sense admit that it is foiled in the attempt to apprehend, and reason in the effort to define. Yet he has, as we said, in ĎFatherí a name to indicate His nature; he is a Father unconditioned. He does not, as men do, receive the power of paternity from an external source. He is unbegotten, everlasting, inherently eternal. To the Son only is he known, for no one knoweth the Father save the Son and him to whom the Son willeth to reveal him, nor yet the Son save the Father. Each has perfect and complete knowledge of the Other. Therefore, since no one knoweth the Father save the Son, let our thoughts of the Father be at one with the thoughts of the Son, the only faithful Witness, Who reveals him to us.

Concerning the Holy Spirit I ought not to be silent, and yet I have no need to speak; still, for the sake of those who are in ignorance, I cannot refrain. There is no need to speak, because we are bound to confess him, proceeding, as he does, from Father and Son. For my own part, I think it wrong to discuss the question of His existence. He does exist, inasmuch as he is given, received, retained; he is joined with Father and Son in our confession of the faith, and cannot be excluded from a true confession of Father and Son; take away a part, and the whole faith is marred. If any man demand what meaning we attach to this conclusion, he, as well as we, has read the words of the Apostle, Because ye are sons of God, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father, and Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom ye have been sealed, and again, But we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we may know the things that are given unto us by God, and also But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God is in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is not his, and further, But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies for the sake of his Spirit which dwelleth in you. Wherefore since he is, and is given, and is possessed, and is of God, let his traducers take refuge in silence. When they ask, Through whom is he? To what end does he exist? Of what nature is he? we answer that he it is through whom all things exist, and from whom are all things, and that he is the Spirit of God, Godís gift to the faithful. If our answer displease them, their displeasure must also fall upon the Apostles and the Prophets, who spoke of him exactly as we have spoken. And furthermore, Father and Son must incur the same displeasure...

Let us therefore make use of this great benefit, and seek for personal experience of this most needful Gift. For the Apostle says, in words I have already cited, But we have not received the spirit of this world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we may know the things that are given unto us by God. We receive him, then, that we may know. Faculties of the human body, if denied their exercise, will lie dormant. The eye without light, natural or artificial, cannot fulfil its office; the ear will be ignorant of its function unless some voice or sound be heard; the nostrils unconscious of their purpose unless some scent be breathed. Not that the faculty will be absent, because it is never called into use, but that there will be no experience of its existence. So, too, the soul of man, unless through faith it have appropriated the gift of the Spirit, will have the innate faculty of apprehending God, but be destitute of the light of knowledge. That Gift, which is in Christ, is One, yet offered, and offered fully, to all; denied to none, and given to each according to the measure of his willingness to receive; its stores the richer, the more earnest the desire to earn them. This gift is with us unto the end of the world, the solace of our waiting, the assurance, by the favours which he bestows, of the hope that shall be ours, the light of our minds, the sun of our souls. This Holy Spirit we must seek and must earn, and then hold fast by faith and obedience to the commands of God.

[End of Book II]

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