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to the angry and perplexing tone of this Creed in any part of the New Testament? Where can we find even its sentiments ? For though it be true that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, the God Jehovah, yet never do we find the God of our faith thus displayed in the intricate propositions of Scholastic subtilty.
The doctrine intended to be conveyed in this Creed is never stated in Scripture as a mere speculative dogma, but in connexion with our faith and obedience (as in Eph. ii. 18); and in every respect the Athanasian Creed must be considered not an elucidation and a defence, but a caricature and distortion of the truth : for though it undertakes to define the truth with marvellous accuracy, and to hedge it in with a barrier of curses, yet it is totally silent about repentance, and the sure hope of a trembling sinner : it says not a syllable concerning justification by faith,-nor of the new covenant; but having talked loudly about a hard mystery, leaves the unconsoled inquirer to tremble before an inaccessible God.
And yet see the inconsistency of the compilers of the Prayer Book ! They have insisted on the Athanasian Creed as a part of Christian worship, but have omitted to give it a place in the most important passage of all, the Visitation of the Sick and the Dying. The faith required of a dying man by the Prayer Book is the faith contained in the Apostles' Creed, in which the doctrines of the Trinity and
the Atonement are totally omitted; and in order to secure a certainty on the subject, the Apostles' Creed is broken up into an interrogatory form, and put as a question to the dying man. Hence it is clear that the dying man is not required to believe in the Trinity; and yet, behold, the Athanasian Creed loudly declares, that if a man does not believe rightly and exactly about the Trinity,“ without doubt he shall perish everlastingly!"
From these considerations we are led to the conclusion that the Athanasian Creed is merely the symbol of a party; and as it attacks none of the strongholds of Satan in a sinner's heart, as it is without any searching application of the truth, and without any practical consequences, we need not wonder to see it in high favour with sundry violent churchmen*, who find in it a passport for their orthodoxy, and a shield for their sins.
I conclude with what I have to say on the subject by quoting the words of Mr. Riland : “SO that we have three Creeds containing nothing
* April 29, 1721, Lord Willoughby de Bro! Dean of Windsor, a Priest and a Peer, brought in a bill for “ the more effectual suppressing of blasphemy and profaneness," comprehending under that description a denialof the Trinity as set forth by the Thirty-nine Articles.
Persons convicted under this bill were to suffer perpetual imprisonment, unless they professed " that in the unity of the Godhead, there be three persons of one substance, power, and eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” This bill was countenanced by Archbishop Wake, and the bishops of London, Winchester, and Coventry. The bill was rejected by sixty against thirty-one.
whatever on original sin, the existence and effects of which are the cause why an atonement is needed; and with regard to the atonement itself, furnishing only a few desultory assertions, with no distinct application, and in two of the instances formally separating the ' forgiveness of sins from the only source of pardon."" (Decus et Tutamen, p. 160.)
Having thus stated my objections to the matter of the Creeds, let me add a word on the manner in which they are to appear in the Churches. The rubric says that the Creeds are to be “ sung or said;" “ singing ' has the precedence of “ saying;" so that if the Church hath no fiddles, nor organs, nor bagpipes, nor sackbuts, no singing men, nor singing women, then the faithful
may say” what they cannot “sing.” This makes the matter complete ; for I can hardly imagine Christians in a more unseemly act of worship than when they are warbling the Athanasian Creed.
The ceremony of singing the Creeds was introduced by the Popes in the tenth century.
FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.
AMONGST the many
" excellencies of the Prayer Book, the Burial Service holds a conspicuous place. Rubric. “Then while the earth shall be cast upon the body, the Priest shall say:• Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God of his great mercy to take unto himself the soul of our dear brother here departed, we commit his body to the ground in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life;'"--and part of the prayer following is thus :-“ We give thee hearty
thanks for that it hath pleased thee to deliver this our brother out of the miseries of this sinful world, beseeching thee that it may please thee shortly to accomplish the number of thine elect."
The design of all this is too plain to be mistaken: the burial service declares that all who are buried are buried in a sure and certain hope of eternal life, and that they are of the number of the elect; and this is a compliment paid to every man, woman, and child, laid in our churchyards, without any discrimination or attempt at inquiry. Mr. Riland thus shows the difficulty of the service: “ If one of my parishioners should be killed in a
drunken quarrel, I shall be compelled in a few days verbally to include my own gratitude to God with that of the drunkard's family and friends, in these words, &c., . . but in point of fact I am astounded at the terrible reality that the man was cut off in a moment, in the very act of sin ;
that he was hurried away from the miseries and guilt of a wicked life, into miseries yet greater; that he died without the possibility of repentance; and I found, on such a death, a prayer that God would complete the number of the elect.” (130.)
It is very important to connect the Burial Service (though I fear it never is connected) with the Athanasian Creed; for since that symbol declares that whosoever does not believe in the prescribed way concerning the Trinity shall wITHOUT DOUBT perish everlastingly -- how incumbent it is on
every clergyman to ascertain before the funeral service is performed, whether the person to be buried did, during his lifetime, understand and keep whole and undefiled the Athanasian Creed !
Allow me, my dear uncle, to ask of you if you ever ascertain this point when an opportunity occurs? Did old Gaffer Jones and old Goody Brownrigg believe the consubstantiality and coequality of the three hypostases ? Did they, in fact, " keep whole and undefiled the Catholic faith?” for if they did not, the Prayer Book tells us they must without doubt perish everlastingly; and how shocking in