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because they are taken out of, and agree with that inspired work, which contains the revealed word of God. Whence it follows, that in our comments on the Creed, and our expositions of it, we look to, and are determined solely by, the authority of Holy Writ.
Q. What is the opinion of our Church on this point ?
A. Our Church maintains, that the Scriptures are a perfect revelation of all divine truths requisite to be believed by Christians d. As is very clearly and satisfactorily explained in the Sixth Article of our religion: Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation, so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation."
Q. What need then have Christians of any other Creed than the Bible ?
A. Creeds are necessary-1st. As a help to the memory: inasmuch as they comprise in a few words the substance of truths spread over a
· Art. VIII. of XXXIX Art. “ Creeds ought thoroughly to be received and believed, for (or because) they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture."
Αυταρκεις μεν εισιν αι αγιαι και θεοπνευστοι γραφει προς την της aandelas awayyediav. Athanas. cont. Gent. vol. i. p.
much larger surface in the Bible. 2dly. As an explanation of the sense in which our Church understands the most important doctrinal texts of Scripture. 3dly. As a public Confession of Faith tending to the glory of God, and the welfare and edification of the Church.
Q. How many Creeds are there in our Church?
A. They are the Apostles' Creed; the Nicene Creed; and the Creed commonly called the Creed of St. Athanasius &
Q. Why does our Church adopt three Confessions of Faith?
A. For this reason : primum (Apostolorum) factum est ad fidei instructionem ; secundum
Symbolum breve est verbis, sed magnum est sacramentis, parvum ostendens imminutione latitudinis, sed totum continens compendio brevitatis : exiguum est, ut memoriam non obruat, sed diffusum, ut intelligentiam supercedat. Augustin. tom x. De Temp. Serm. cxxx. Quicquid per universum divinorum voluminum corpus immensâ funditur copiâ, totum in Symboli colligitur brevitate. Cassian. De Incarn. Dom. lib. vi. cap. 3.
' Idcirco istud indicium posuere (Apostoli) per quod agnosceretur is, qui Christum vere secundum Apostolicas regulas prædicaret. Ruffin. in Symb. Apost,
6 In the VIIIth Article it is written," the three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius' Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed."
(Nicenum) ad fidei explanationem ; tertium (Athanasii) ad fidei defensionem h.' That is to say, we adopt the Apostles' Creed, because it affords an admirable statement of the chief points of our Christian belief. We adopt the Nicene Creed, because it explains most clearly the opinion of our Church concerning some doctrines which were formerly, and still are disputed. We receive the Athanasian Creed into our Book of Common Prayer, because it defends our faith in the doctrine of the Trinity at all points against misconstruction or evasion.
Q. Why is the first of the Creeds you mention called the Apostles' Creed?
A. From an ancient tradition of the Romish Church', that the twelve Apostles, whilst at Jerusalem together, after the day of Pentecost, composed that Creed as their rule of faith, in the very
words handed down to us, and in which it is now expressed. Tradition further asserts,
Ludolphus of Saxony's Life of Christ, as quoted by Vossius de Tribus Symb. Dissert. i. $ 1.
Tradunt majores nostri, quod post ascensionem Domini, cum per
adventum sancti Spiritûs super singulos quosq. Apostolos igneæ linguæ sedissent:-discessuri ab invicem, normam prius futuræ sibi prædicationis in commune constituunt.Omnes ergo in uno positi, et Spiritu Sancto repleti, breve istud futuræ sibi, ut diximus, prædicationis indicium, conferendo in unum quod sentiebat unusquisq. componunt; atq. hanc credentibus dandam esse regulam statuunt. Ruffin. in Symb. Apost.
that each of the Apostles composed one article, and therefore the Creed is divided into twelve parts k.
Q. Is this Romish tradition well founded ?
1st. Because the Apostles' Creed is no where to be found among the writings of the apostolic age.
2dly. Neither does it occur in the works of the Fathers of the first three centuries m.
* Petrus dixit, Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem. Joannes dixit, Creatorem cæli et terræ. Jacobus dixit, Credo et in Jesum Christum, filium ejus unicum, Dominum nostrum. Andreas dixit, qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine.
Philippus ait, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus et sepultus. Thomas ait, descendit ad inferna, tertiâ die resurrexit a mortuis.' Bartholomæus dixit, ascendit ad coelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis. Matthæus dixit, inde venturus judicare vivos et mortuos. Jacobus Alphæi, Credo et in Spiritum Sanctum, Sanctam Ecclesiam Catholicam. Simon Zelotes, Sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum. Judas Jacobi, carnis resurrectionem. Matthias complevit, vitam æternam. Amen. - Appendix de Diversis, inter Op. Augustin. Serm. XLII.
| Vide Vossius, De tribus Symbolis, Dissert. i. $ 2–51. also Bingham's Orig. Ecc. book x. chap. iii. 9 5. and Du Pin's Ecc. Hist. vol. i. p. 10.
m The Creed, as it now stands, is contained in the works of St. Ambrose, tom. iv. p. 87.
3dly. We can trace the insertion of several of the articles " at a subsequent periodo.
Q. What conclusions do you deduce from the manner in which this Creed has been received by our Church?
A. We feel assured that if it had been considered really the composition of the Apostles, it would have gained admission into the canon of the New Testament, and been appealed to from the first, as of divine authority. It has not however, we know, been so appealed to, and it does not form part of the sacred canon. Therefore we conclude, it is not the work of the Apostles.
Q. Of what authority then is it in determining matters of faith, as it is not from the pen of inspiration?
A. It is of the highest authority, as it exhibits a faithful summary of the doctrines taught by the Apostles; though not in the very words, yet agreeable to the sense of their recorded opinions P.
* Lord Chancellor King (on the Apostles' Creed, chap. i. p. 39.) mentions the descent into hell, the communion of saints, and the life everlasting, to which we add the holy Catholic Church, on the authority of Grabe, $ 13, Annotata. ad cap. v. vj. and vii. Bulli Jud. Ecc. Cath.
Bishop Bull observes, Demum post annum Christi quadringentesimum in Ecclesiâ illâ complementum suum accepit: Orientis Ecclesiis aliud interea Symbolum usurpantibus. De Necess. Credendi, cap. v. 9 2. Burnet on the XXXIX Articles, Art. VIII.