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great felicity, that as faith triumpheth in good works, so my Exposition of the Creed lhould be contemporary with the re-edifying of your Church. For though I can have little temptation to believe that my Book should last so long as that fabrick; yet I am exceedingly pleased that they should begin together; that the publishing of the one should lo agree with the opening the other. This, I hope, may persuade you to forget my slackness, considering ye were not ready to your own expectation; your experience tells you the excuse of Church-work will be accepted in building, I beseech you let it not be denied in printing.
That blessed Saint, by whose name your Parish is known, was a fellow-labourer with S. Paul, and a successor of S. Peter; he had the honour to be numbred in the Scripture with them whose names are written in the look of life; and when he had sealed the Gospel with 4his blood, he was one. of the first; whose memory was perpetuated by the building a Church to bear his name. Thus was S. Clement's Church famous in Rome when Rome was famous for the faith spoken of throughout the whole world. He wrote an Epistle to the Corinthians infested with a schism, in imitation of S. Paul, which obtained so great authority in the primitive times, that it was frequently read in their publick congregations; and yet had for many hundred years been lost, till it was at last let forth out of the Library of the late King.
Now as by the providence of God, the memory mory. of that primitive Saint hath been restored in our age, so my design airneth ac nothing else but that the primitive Faith may be revived. And therefore in this Edition to the Creed I shall speak to you but what & Judehath already spoken to the whole Church. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you, os the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you that ye Jbould earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the Saints. If it were so needful for Him thereto write, and for them to whom he wrote to contend for the first Faith; it; will appear as needful for me now to follow his writing, and for you to imitate their earnestness, because the reason which he renders, as the cause of that necessity, is now more prevalent than it was at that time, or ever since. For, faith he, there are certain men crept in unajvares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation $ ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lafcmousness, denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. The principles of Christianity are now as freely questioned as the molt doubtful and controverted points; the gtounds of Faith are as safely denied as the most unnecessary superstructions 5 that Religion hath the greatest advantage which appeareth in the newest dress, as if we looked for another faith to he delivered to the Saints: Whereas in Christianity there can be no concerning truth which is not ancient; and whatsoever is truly new, is certainly false. Look then for purity in the fountain, and strive to embrace the first faith, to which you cannot
A 2- have have a more probable guide than the Creed, received in all ages of the Church; and to this I refer you, as it leads you to the Scriptures, from whence it was at first deduced, that while those whkh are unskilful and unstable, wrest the words of God himself unto their own damnation; ye may receive so much instruction as may sec you beyond the imputation of unskilfulness, and so much of confirmation as may place you out of the danger of instability; which as it hath been the constant endeavour, so shall it ever be the prayer of him, who after so many encouragements of his labours amongst you, doth still desire to be known as
Have in this Book undertaken an Exposition of the Creed, and think it necessary in this Preface* to give a brief account of the Work, left any should either expeB to find that here which was never intendeds or conceive that which they meet with such as they expeBed not.
The Creed, without controveyfie, is a brief comprehension os the objeBs of our Christian Faith, and is generally taken to contain aH things necessary to be believed. Now whether all things necessary be contained there, concerneth not an Expositor to dispute, who is obliged to take notice of what is in it, but not to enquire into what is not: Whether all truths comprehended in the fame be of equal and a bsolute necessity, we are no way forced to declare it being sufficient, as to the design of an Exposition, to interpret the words\ and fi t deliver the fense, to demonstrate the truth of the sense delivered, and to manifest the proper necessity of each truth, how far, and in vvbat degree, and to what purposes, it w necessary.
This therefore is, the Method which I proposed to my self, and have prosecuted in every Artick. First, to settle the words of each Article according to their Antiquity and Generality of reception in the Creed. Secondly, to explicate and unfold the Terms, and to 'endeavour a right notion and conception of them as they are to be understood in the fame. Thirdly, to shew what are those iruths rwhich are naturally contained in those terms so explicated, and to rmake it appear that they are truths indeed, by such arguments and \reasons as are refpeBivelry proper to evidence the verity of them. [Fourthly, to declare what ts the necessity of believing those truths, '-what efficacy and influence they have in the Soul, and upon the Life of a Believer. Lastly, by a recolleBion of all, briefly to deliver the sum of every particular truth, so that every one when he pronounceth the Creed may know what he ought to intend, and what he ts understood to profess, when he so pronounceth it.
In the prosecution of the whole, according to this Method, I have considered, that a Work of so general a concernment must be ex* posed to two kinds of Readers, which though they may agree in judgment, yet must differ much in their capacities. Some there are who understand the Original Languages of the holy Scripture, the Discourses andTraBates of the ancient Fathers, the determinations of the Councils, and History of the Church of God, the constant profession of settled Truths, the rife and increase of Schisms and Heresies. Others there are unacquainted with such conceptions, and
uncauneatable of such instruct tons j who understand the Scriptures as they are translated\ who are capable of the knowledge of the Truths themselvh, and of the proofs drawn from thence; who can apprehend the nature of the Christian Faith, tvith the power and efficacy of the fame, when it is delivered unto them out of the word of God, and in a Language which they know, . When I make this difference, and distinction of Reader s> I do not intend thereby, that because one of these is learned, the other is ignorant; for he which hath no skill of the learned Languages, may notwithstanding be very knowing in the Principles of Christian Religiony and the, reason and efficacy of them, \,
According to this distinction I have contrived my Exposition, so that the Body of it containeth fully what can be delivered land made intelligible in the English Tongue, without inserting the least sentence or phrase of any learned Language; by which he who is not acquainted with it might be disturbed in his reading, or interrupted in his understanding. Not that I have selected only such notions as are common, ease, and familiar of themselves, but have endeavoured to deliver the most material conceptions in the most plain and perspicuous manner j as desirous to comprize the whole strength of the Work, as far as it is possible, in the Body of iti The other part I have p laced in the Margin, (but so as oftentimes it taketh up more room, and yet is never mingled or Confounded with the rest,) in which is contained whatsoever is necessary for the illustration of any part of the Greed, as to them which have any knowledge of the Latin, Greek, and Original Languages, of the Writings of the ancient Fathers, the Dottr'mes us the Jews, and the History of the Church, those great advantages toward a right perception of the Christian Religion.
Now being the Creed comprehendeth the Principles of our Religion, it must contain those Truths which belong unto it at it is a Religion, and those which concern it as it is ours. As it is a Religion, it delivereth such Principles as are to be acknowledged in natural Theology, such as no man which worfhippeth a God can deny; and therefore in the proof of these, I have made use of such arguments and reasons as are most proper to oppose the Atheists, who deny there is a God to be worshipped, a Religion to be professed. As it is our Religion, it is Christian and Catholick. As Christian, it containeth fuchTruths as were delivered by Christ and his Apostles, and those especially concerning Christ himself, which I have prosecuted constantly with an eye to the]cws, who obstinately deny them, expecting still another Meffias to come; wherefore I shew out of the Law and the Prophets which they acknowledge, what was foretold m every particular concerning the Meffias, and prove all those to be cornpleated