Of all the things produced by this tempestuous epoch, there is nothing more useful, most pious king, than dangerous falsehood! For one thing, it is only the good seed of the harvest which the author of evil, the devil, is always attempting to choke (Matt. 13:24f.); for another, the divine husbandman of souls uses wickedness and unbelief to nurture and increase faith and virtue, like the Spartans, who when they had captured a town with much sweat and blood, forbade its utter destruction in order that they might have somewhere to exercise their soldiers in close combat. In the same way, the Lord God allows us too to be threatened in unexpected ways in order that we may be proved usable before him. For how can we learn bravery or temperance except where there is the stress of danger or ample scope for self-indulgence? And so too, now that the truth has begun to raise its head, it shines all the more brightly and boldly by reason of falsehood. For as falsehood attacks her on every side, shooting out its poison upon her, she is forced to rouse herself and to wipe away the poisonous stains and to protect her members. In this way the mask of falsehood and the dear face of truth are the more clearly revealed and illuminated. But I must bring this preface to a close.
I am afraid that by their more than empty and lying insinuations certain faithless persons will attempt to win your clemency.For I know in truth that it can never be exhausted. The more deceitful they are, the more they not only do not reveal but actively defame the truth. And on every possible pretext they charge us with treading religion under foot and despising the holy office and the dignity of kings and magistrates.How little truth there is in all their actions I request your justice to decide when you have heard me expound as best I can the principles of our faith, the laws and customs of our churches, and the respect which we offer to princes.
And nothing is of more concern to a man than to give an account of his faith. For if faith, as the apostle describes it, is the strength and assurance and certainty whereby the soul trusts inflexibly in the unseen God (Hebrews 11:1), what man is there so foolish or dullwitted that he cannot explain whether he believes a thing or not? Especially when faith is the daughter of truth: for everyone trusts in what he confesses to be the absolute truth. And since God alone is true, if a man has attained to a knowledge of this in his own experience, how shall he not be able briefly to describe that trust?
Concerning God and the things of God this is what we hold:
Of God and the Worship of God
All being is either created or uncreated. God alone is uncreated, for only one thing can be uncreated. For if there were many uncreated things there would be many eternal: for uncreated and eternal are closely interrelated, so that the one is also the other. And if there were many eternal things there would be many infinite, for these too are very similar and interrelated, so that if a thing is eternal it is also infinite, and if it is infinite it is also eternal. But only one thing can be infinite, for once we allow that there are two infinite substances, the one is immediately limited by the other. Hence it is certain that God alone is uncreated. And this is the origin and source and basis of the first article of the Creed: when we say, "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth," we state emphatically that ours is an infallible faith because it rests upon the one and only God. Pagans and unbelievers and all those who trust in what is created have to admit that they may be deceived in their belief or opinion because they trust in what is created. But those who build upon the Creator and beginning of all things, who never began to be but caused all other things to exist, can never fall into error.Certainly no creature can be the object and basis of the inflexible and never-wavering power which is faith. For that which has a beginning at one time did not exist. And when it did not exist, how could anyone trust in what was not? That which has a beginning cannot therefore be the natural object or basis of faith. Only the eternal and infinite and uncreated God is the basis of faith.