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ignorance of this service, and thus he never uses it; but this only proves him to be a deceiver, and that he is ready to swear to anything, or to make any declaration in order to become possessed of a benefice.
So much for the present : I shall have more to say about the Prayer Book in my next.
&c. &c. &c.
FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.
The three Creeds, that called the Apostles', the Athanasian, and the Nicene, have been justly objected to from many quarters.
First, then, I notice that the Apostles' Creed, as it is called, (though it might just as well be called the Angels' Creed, if any matter of fact is intended by the title,) is a patch-work of man's invention, and that it is the accumulated gatherings of many centuries. About the fourth century a part of this Creed was used in the Churches, but it was not admitted into the Roman Church, complete, till the eighth century. “This Creed," says the learned Witsius, was not the work of one man, or of one council, but in a course of
ages several additions were made to it by different
persons on various occasions."
Archbishop Usher, that diligent searcher of antiquity, has given us an account of the various additions which have at last been collected into one piece, such as we now read it :
“ Maker of heaven and earth” is a new addition" conceived” is an addition, for in the old copies it stands “ born of the Holy Ghost”-“ dead” is
added—the words “Father Almighty
are added to “ right hand"-" Catholic” is an addition to the word “ Church," and so also “ communion of Saints and life everlasting” are tacked on to the more ancient form.
Bishop Burnet testifies “ that every one of the first writers gives an abstract of his faith in words that differ both from one another and from this form. Hence, it is clear that there was no common form delivered to all the Churches. The first apologists for Christianity, when they delivered a short abstract of the Christian faith, do all
vary another, both as to the order and as to the words themselves, which they would not have done if the Churches had received one settled form from the Apostles.”
This Creed is, in fact, like one of our modern acts of Parliament, a heap of additions piled one upon another to amend previous acts, which were previously amended by others that did themselves require amendment by antecedent acts, as the cunning of the lawyers discovered flaws in that which the legislators meant to be without fault.
Episcopius says, that the Apostolical Creed originally consisted merely of these words, “I believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ;' not that the Apostles, or those whom they had taught, did indeed draw up any set form of a Creed, but this was the faith which they taught and insisted on when preaching the Gospel.
Básnage says, the first clause of the Creed was put forth to oppose the Gnostics, who taught there were two Creators, or two demiurgical powers in the universe;
" the remission of sins” was, according to this writer, meant to combat the Novatians, and the “ descent into hell” the Arians ; and so other clauses were added to oppose new heresies and to confound new sects.
Hence, we see the falsehood of the title, “the Apostles' Creed,” which is a mere deception, meant to mislead the unlearned, and to persuade them that this meagre and heartless formulary was composed by the Apostles. They who know the unction and fervour with which the Apostles testify of the grace of God in Christ to sinners could never be brought to believe that they would have left this miserable legacy of faith to the Lord's people. A committee of the House of Commons, or the King's Attorney-General, would compose a creed like this ; not so the Apostles, nor any man who enjoyed an interior view of the faith : it is a fit creed for a Church that has a mortal sinner for its supreme head. When, therefore, we read this rubric in the Prayer Book, “ Then shall be sung or said the Apostles' Creed by the Minister and people standing,” we read an untruth, and are directed to perform an act of childish superstition.
The article concerning “the descent into hell" has greatly perplexed the Protestants, and all sorts of interpretations have been put forth, not one of which is satisfactory, or can be considered as conveying any intelligible information. Bishop Pearson has laboured hard at it, and much has he toiled to bring light out of darkness, and, after reciting a number of different interpretations and refuting them by turn, has given us what he calls “a safe account," but which, in fact, exactly leaves the inquirer where he was before, “that the soul of Christ separated from his body by death, went to the place where the souls of men are kept for their sins, and did wholly undergo the law of death ;” but if we ask what this place is, the answer will be it is hell, which tells us nothing, excepting that hell is the place where the souls of sinners are, and this every body knew before.
Beza has given a totally different interpretation -and he stands in the highest place amongst divines—but none of the Protestant theologians who have discussed the subject are considered as having cleared up the mystery; and all this perplexity and error is the portion of the Church of England, because she has been pleased to insert in her service-book a profitless formulary of unknown writers, which has nothing but a supposed antiquity to recommend it. The truth seems to be, that this clause of the Creed is an invention of the fourth or fifth century, when the Church was far gone in superstition; for there is good evidence of an