« PreviousContinue »
THE FIRST AMERICAN EDITION.
PREFACE TO THE READER.
r is well known, that several learned com* ments, and other tracts, have been already written on the creed, commonly called the a* postles: The names of the great men, who have exercised their wits and pens on this subject, are so obvious, that the mentioning of them will beneediess; so that at first view, the following essay will run the risk of being censured as superfluous and unnecessary: but whoever will consider what hath been written of this kind, will find, that most part of the writers who have gone before, have only handled the creed in a theological manner, explaining and confirming its several articles according to thevarious senses andinterpretationsdcducible from holy writ; which is in no sort the design of the author in the ensuing treatise. The reader is not to expect here a perfect and complete explication of the creed, or of its several articles in their latitude and extent, according as they may be inferred, or proved from the holy scriptures; this hath been already done with great judgment and copious* ness by others, to whose endeavours the author doth not pretend to add any thing: But the author's only intent, in the following treatise, is to make an essay, towards an historical and critical account of the creed, to find out, if possible, the authors and frarners of the creed, the time when the several articles were introduced, the occasion and intent of their first introducing, and what the sense, meaning and design of the first introducers were ; inter, mixing here and there some critical observations, which may be both useful and delightful to the reader.
To this end the author hath not contented himself with reading of modern books or collections made by later writers, but hath himself had immediate recourse to the remaining monuments of the primitive ages of the church, from whence only all learning of this kind can be fetched and derived.
Whether the author hath succeeded in this attempt, must be left toothers to judge; he can only say ki his own excuse, that he hath done his best; and that it will be very acceptable to him to see it better done by others of more leisure, and greater abilities and learning,