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tions of councils, that the design of the church thereby is, “ that what was before more simply, should now more diligently be believed ; that what was more seldom, should now more frequently be preached; and tbat what was more unconcernedly, should for the future be more carefully worshipped.”
By these two ways then, was the present creed framed; part thereof was transmitted down from the apostles, and the other part thereof was afterwards added by the governors of the church, to prevent heresies from corrupting her doctrine, and heretics from infecting her members : by the which of these two ways each particular article was inserted in the creed, I shall shew in the following part of this treatise, and shall not here anticipate or forestall it.
This being then the method whereby the creed was framed ; although nothing that is contained therein, must be believed any farther than it agrees with the holy scriptures; yet the intended sense of the greatest part thereof, is not to be fetched from thence, but from the writings of the fathers, and from those heresies against whom it was designed ; which expression may at the first hearing be perhaps, esteemed by some too hasty and in
considerate, but the nature of the thing well reflected on, makes it evident and beyond con. tradiction; and if the authority of others be. fore me, will be more valued and better re, ceived, it will be no difficult task to produce several, who have affirnied the same thing; but at present, I shall content myself with the testimony of Monsieur Jurieu, a French divine now living, who writes in express terms, that for his part “ he is persuaded that we must not seek the sense of the articles of the apostles creed in the scriptures, but in the intens' tion of those who composed it."
This is that which I design to do, to search into the intended meaning of this compendio um of faith, which hath been received in all ages with the greatest veneration and esteem: The respect and reverence that the ancients paid unto it, hath been in part already related; and in these latter tinies, throughout several centuries of years, so great a deference hath been rendered thereunto, as that it hath not been only used at baptisnı, but in every public assembly it hath been usually, if not always read, as the standard and basis of the christian faith, unto whiclrthe whole congres gation hath been wont to testify their unanimous assent, by saying, Amen.
It is true that the primitive christians affecte
ing an unaccountable secresy for this and their other mysteries, as it hrath been already shewn, did not in their assemblies publicly recite the creed, except at the times of baptism, which besides cases of necessity, were only at Easter and Whitsontide ; from whence it comes to pašs, that the constant repeating of the creed in the church was not introduced till a long time after our saviour's incarnation.
· The repetition of the creed at every assein. bly, was appointed in the Eastern cliurch by Timothy, archbishop of Constantinople, is the reign of the emperor Anastasius, who after Javing governed the empire twenty-seven years, died Anno. 521. About which time, Petrus Gnapheus, bishop of Antioch, prescribed also" the perpetual recital of the creed at the public administration of divine service ;" which before that time, as the historian obsérves, “ was only repeated on the day inmediately preceding Good Friday, when the catechisms were more solemnly performed in order to the celebration of baptisın, the Eas. ter or the Easter-Eve ensuing:" which repe. tition on that day was first appointed by the council of Laodicea ; the 46th canon whereof is that “ those who are to be baptized, must learn the creed, and repeat it to the bishop or a presbyter the 'Thursday before Easter." .
In the Western churches, at a synod of thirty-five bishops, held under Alaricus at A." gatha or Agde, in the lower Languedoc, the ninth cenon thereof ordains, that “ on the Lord's day before Easter, the creed should be publicly preached in the church to the conpetentes or to those of the Catecboinens, who being ripe for baptism, were speedily to be admitted thereunto :" but the general and constant reading thereof, scenis not to have prevailed in the West, till alnost five hundred and ninety years after Christ; when, in ini. tation of the Eastern churches, the third council of Toledo, by the "petition of K. Recared, ordered, that throughout all the churches both of Spain and Gallicia, tlie creed should be repeated with a loud voice every Lord's day, that so the true faith might be manifested and assented to, and the hearts of the people bea ing purified by faith, they might be prepared I to partake of the body and blood of Christ."
It must indeed be owned, that the creed appointed to be read in the church, both by Tiinothy, archbisliop of Constantinople, and the third council of Toledo, was the Nicene or Constantinopolitan creed; which for that time, through some réasons pecaliar to that age, did in some measure eclipse the apostles creed, although this latter did in a little time
recover its former esteem and value, and for several ages hath, next to the holy scriptures, been always reputed the most venerable and divine extant; and whilst all other creeds, excepting the Nicene, and that commonly ascribed to Athanasius, have perished as to their fuse, with their very birth and framing, this hath outlived them all, and for several hun. dred years hath been uninterruptedly used, and even before those two other creeds, it hath been perpetually and constantly preferred.
Such a peculiar honor hath almighty God been pleased in his most wise providence, to put upon this particular creed: To the expli. cation of the several articles whereof, I shall forthwith proceed ; first repeating the creed itself, which is to be the subject of the ensus ing discourse, and is as follows :
“I believe in God the father almighty maker of heaven and earth ; and in Jesus Christ his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the holy ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead, he ascended into heaven,und sitteth at the right hand of God the father almighty ; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the