Nevertheless, left to itself reason is utterly unable to see this Trinity. How are we to understand its three parts? Are they three gods who are one God in essence and name? Are they distinct qualities of one underlying material, meaning that they are just qualities or attributes of a single God that have names? Or is there some other alternative?
The only good advice tells us to turn to the Lord God our Savior and read the Word under his supervision (since he is the God of the Word). Then we will be enlightened and see truths that even reason will acknowledge.
If you do not turn to the Lord, even if you read the Word a thousand times and see a divine trinity and a divine unity there, the only understanding you will get will be that there are three divine persons, each of whom is individually God; and therefore there are three gods. The common sense of all in the whole world finds this conclusion repulsive, however. Therefore to avoid being abused, people have come up with a strange compromise: although there are in fact three gods, the faith insists that we not say three gods; instead we must say there is one God. Furthermore, if we do not wish to undergo a barrage of verbal hostility, our intellect has to be especially imprisoned in this regard and held in chains under obedience to faith–from now on, according to the Christian leadership in the Christian church, this has to be the holy way.
Such is the paralyzed offspring that was born as a result of not reading the Word under the Lord’s supervision. Any of us who do not read the Word under the Lord’s supervision read it under the supervision of our own intelligence; but when it come to objects in spiritual light, such as all the essential teachings of the church, our intelligence is [as blind] as an owl[in daylight]. In that case, when we read about the Trinity in the Word and we get the impression that although there are three, still they are one, it seems to us like a response from an oracle. Since we do not understand it, we chew on it, because if we put it straight in front of our eyes it would be a puzzle. The harder we worked to solve the puzzle, the more we would entangle ourselves in darkness, until we began to set our intellect aside as we thought about it, which is like setting our eyes aside in the act of seeing.
To put it briefly, when we read the Word under the supervision of our own intelligence (which we all do if we do not acknowledge that the Lord is the God of heaven and ear line, and turn to him and worship him alone), we are like children playing a game of blindfolding their eyes and trying to walk in a straight line. They believe they are walking straight, although step by step they turn increasingly to one side, till they come around to the opposite direction, bump into a stone, and fall over.
If we red the Word with our own intelligence, we are like sailors navigating without a compass, who steer their ship onto the rocks and perish. We are like someone out walking through a large field in a thick fog who sees a scorpion but thinks it is a bird; in trying to catch it and pick it up, the person is fatally stung. We are like a seagull or an osprey that sees a tiny part of the back of a huge fish under the water, so it flies down and attacks, but its beak becomes stuck and it is dragged underwater and drowns. We are like someone who goes into a labyrinth without a guide or a spool of thread; the deeper we go in, the more we forget the way out.
If we read the Word under the supervision of our own intelligence rather than under the Lord’s supervision, we think we are a keen-sighted as Lynceus and have more eyes that Argus, when nevertheless inwardly everything we see is false and nothing true. As we convince ourselves of this falsity, it looks to us like the North Star, and we point all the sails of our thought toward it. By then our eyesight for truths is not better than a mole’s: if we see truths at all, we bend them to favor things we ourselves made up–we distort and falsify the holy contents of the Word.
from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 165