[Tomorrow is the Feast Day for St. Thomas More in the Catholic Church. Here is part three of an excerpt from his Response in 1523 to Martin Luther’s tract against King Henry VIII. You can read part one here and part two here.]
By St. Thomas More
Can God’s own word as set down by the Apostle leave Luther untouched, “I will put my laws in their hearts; I shall inscribe them on their minds”? [Heb 8:10, 10:16]
He makes no mention of stone or wood, for as the old law was stamped by Him upon external stone, so will the new be inscribed with His own finger in the book of the heart; that which existed so briefly upon the hardest material will be made to last forever on the softest.
So it has pleased God to show His power.
Though the old stone tablets were quickly shattered, the new remain. The word of God will remain forever uneffaced in the heart of man. The heart, the Church of Christ, will forever contain the true Gospel of Christ, written there before any of the Evangelical books. However ingenious the apparent scriptural evidence heretics may bring against the true faith, God has engraved His law in such a way that it is impervious to their guile.
The strength of this spring has preserved the faith of Christ against assaults upon both His mother and Himself from their respective enemies, Helvidius and Arius . . . it is certain that Christ would not disappoint His Church on the essentials of her faith.
But if you continue dully to insist upon the written as the only valid form of transmission, and doggedly persist in ignoring the scriptural evidence from the king’s book, at least clear up the enigma posed by these facts: the Father is never, at any place in all of Scripture, called “uncreated,” the Son is never called “consubstantial,” and the Holy Spirit never clearly described as “proceeding from the Father and Son.” . . .
Would you have, then, each individual man, freely and without spiritual hazard, decide for himself whether or not to believe in the Father as uncreated, the Son as consubstantial, and the Holy Spirit as proceeding from both?