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performance of their religious worship, as directed by the law of Moses, has been absolutely impossible. The form of civil government established among the Jews was adapted to their peculiar destination; but it was temporary even to them, and was obviously never intended for any other country or people. On the other hand, the moral precepts resting upon fixed and immutable principles, being founded in the essential difference between right and wrong, and being equally applicable to all persons, at all times, will be binding upon every man, to all eternity. And this, which appears from the whole tenor of the New Testament, is expressly asserted by Christ himself, in his sermon upon the Mount: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets : I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil; for verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled (t);" in which declaration our Saviour evidently refers to the moral law; and all the moral precepts contained in the Old Testament are not only separately confirmed and enforced in the new, but many of them are extended to a greater degree of strictness and purity (u).

(t) Matt. c. 5. v. 17 & 18.

(u) Vide Sermon upon the Mount, Matt. c. 5, &c.


Of the Three Creeds.


By the word Creed is meant the substance of a Christian's belief. The Greek word used in this sense is Σvußoλor, and the Latin Symbolum. Some have imagined that each of the Apostles contributed an article to that which is called the Apostles Creed, and that therefore a Creed in general was called Zupßoor: Symbolum dici potest collatio, hoc est, quod plures in unum conferunt; id enim fecerunt apostoli in his sermonibus, in unum conferendo quod unusquisque sensit (a); but it seems more reasonable to suppose that Creeds were thus called because ZvμBoxov and Symbolum signify a watch-word or sign, the object of Creeds having been to distinguish true Christians from heretics and infidels : Symbolum

(a) Ruffinus, Exp. Symb. sect. 2.

Symbolum tessera est et signaculum quo inter fideles perfidosque secernitur (b).

I shall treat of the three Creeds in the order in which they are mentioned in this article. The Nice, or Nicene, Creed is so denominated, because the greater part of it, namely, as far as the words " Holy Ghost," was drawn up and agreed to at the council of Nice, or Nicæa in Bythynia, A.D. 325; the rest of this Creed was added at the council of Constantinople, A. D. 381, except the words "and the Son," which follow the words "who proceedeth from the Father," and they were inserted A. D. 447. The addition made at Constantinople was caused by the denial of the Divinity of the Holy Ghost by Macedonius and his followers, and the Creed, thus enlarged, was immediately received by all orthodox Christians. The insertion of the words, " and the Son," was made by the Spanish bishops, and they were soon after adopted by the Christians in France. The bishops of Rome for some time refused to admit these words into the Creed; but at last, in the year 883, when Nicholas the First was pope, they were allowed, and from that time they have stood in the Nicene creed, in all the western churches; but the Greek Church has never received them. This point of difference was noticed under the fifth article.

(b) Maximus Taurinensis de Trad. Symb.


That which is called the Creed of Athanasius

was certainly not written by that Father: it is not found in his works; nor is it probable that he should himself compose a Creed, as he and all the orthodox divines of those times constantly refer to the Nicene Creed as the standard of their faith. Besides, the Athanasian Creed condemns the Macedonian, Nestorian, and Eutychian heresies (c); but as this Creed is never mentioned in any of those controversies, we conclude that it did not then exist; indeed it was never heard of till the sixth century, above a hundred years after the death of Athanasius (d); it was then published under the name of that distinguished father, probably for the purpose of giving weight to it; and at most it is to be considered as containing his doctrines. It cannot now be ascertained who was its real author, but it is generally believed that it was written in Latin: it had never the sanction of any council, and it is doubtful whether it was ever admitted into the eastern church.

Great objection has been made to the clauses of this Creed, which denounce eternal damnation against

(c) The Macedonians denied the personality of the Holy Ghost; the Nestorians maintained that there were two persons in Christ, the one divine, and the other human; and the Eutychians contended that there was only one nature in Christ, namely the divine. (d) Athanasius died A.D. 373.


against those who do not believe the catholic faith, as here stated; and it certainly is to be lamented that assertions of so peremptory a nature, unexplained and unqualified, should have been used in any human composition. The principle upon which these clauses are founded is this-that a belief of certain doctrines is essential to salvation; and this principle seems to rest upon the general tenor and express declarations of the New Testament. We find our Saviour and his Apostles equally anxious to establish a right faith and a correct conduct. and good works are inculcated as equally necessary: "Without faith, it is impossible to please Him (e)."" He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (f)," that is, condemned. is indeed impossible for any one to admit the divine authority of the New Testament, and doubt the necessity of faith in general; and surely the faith thus required must include the leading and characteristic doctrines of the Christian religion; and though the Gospel has not expressly enumerated these particular doctrines, none seem to have a stronger claim to be so considered than those which relate to the three persons, in whose name we are commanded to be baptized, to the incarnation of Christ,

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(e) Heb. c. 11. v. 6.

(f) Mark, c. 16. v. 16.

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