Letter Four of Fr. Clement Sederholm to His Father

In one of my last letters I cited the words of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Romans (12:2) so that you could test what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. To you, dear father, it was not clear in was sense I quoted those words. In order to explain that to you, I’m sending you a book in which, on page 174, you will find a wonderful explanation of the words. It is a book of St. Dorotheus. It would be extremely pleasing to me if you read the book and then told me your thoughts about it. In St. Petersburg, Germans read it and one of them expressed himself saying, “this is the very best mirror for the soul.”

As far as your work “On the Resurrection,” dear father, I consider it beneficial and salutary if it convinces those doubting. But I think that persuasion, resulting from deduction, is not always convincing. Can you prove with mathematical deduction that a picture is good and why it is good? That is hard to prove, especially if your objector does not have a taste for the refined, although you may be able to, in part, explain what the beauty of the picture consists of. It is the same here. In the sphere of faith, I think that deduction can only refute objections of the reason, that is, it can be proved that what reason opposes to dogma does not have a deep foundation. But the important dogmas like, for example, the teaching on the Resurrection and on the Ascension of Jesus Christ can not be proven or understood by the reason. We who are mistaken must, as they say, make insinuations, because faith is higher and more subtle than reason. Faith does not sink in water or burn in fire; reason can not imitate it and can not even understand it precisely-it is faced with the fact but is not able to explain it.

April 30, 1863


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