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ascended into heaven.' For the same reason he concludes, that the following articles, of his session at God's right hand,' and his coming to judge the quick and the dead,' could not be inserted into the Creed in opposition to the Marcionites and Gnostics, as the forementioned author supposes; for then they would have been more precisely worded against their reigning tenets, which were, that Christ's flesh was void of sense in heaven, and that Christ was not the Son of that God who is the Judge of the world.' Wherefore it is more reasonable to suppose those articles were originally inserted by the Apostles, to correct the ignorance and errors of the Jews and Gentiles.
As to those two articles, ' He was conceived by the Holy Ghost,' and 'born of the Virgin Mary,' Dr. Grabe makes some question whether they were as ancient as the former, because they do not appear in the common catechetical discourses of the Apostles, but he thinks, before St. John's death, they were inserted against the heresies of Carpocrates, Ebion, and Cerinthus, who denied both articles, and asserted, that Christ was born of Joseph and Mary, after the common way of mankind.'
The article of the Holy Ghost' was always a part of the Apostles' Creed, by the confession of Episcopius himself. And therefore the opinion of those, who maintain that nothing more was required of catechumens before baptism, but only the profession of their faith in Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, is wholly to be rejected.
The article of remission of sins' was also originally in the apostolical Creed, because it always appears to have been one principal point of their catechetical institutions. And therefore the opinion of the learned author of the Critical History, that it was only in some Creeds, but not in all, till the rise of the Novatian heresy, is also to be rejected; because it appears from Cyprian that it was in the Creed, which the Novatians themselves made use of in baptism.
The articles of the resurrection of the dead,' and the life everlasting,' are also concluded to have been in the Apostles' Creed, if not from the very first, yet at least when St. Paul wrote his Epistle to the Hebrews, because he there mentions 'the resurrection of the dead' and 'eternal judgment' among the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. (Hebr. 6, 2.)
The article of the Church,' Dr. Grabe thinks, was not originally in the Creed, but added in the latter end of the first century, or beginning of the second, upon occasion of heretics and schismatics separating from the Church. At least it appears from Tertullian's book, De Baptismo, that the profession of it was required in his time of catechumens at their baptism. For he says 26, after they had testified their faith in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, they also added the Church, because where those Three were, there was the Church, and it was the body of the Three.'
The article of the communion of saints,' he readily acknowledges, was never in any Creed before the fourth century. And that concerning the descent into hell,' was not originally in the Creed, but added upon occasion of heretics in after-ages. But the precise time of its addition is not exactly agreed upon, between the author of the Critical History and Dr. Grabe. The former, who is allowed to have explained the genuine sense of this article with as great exactness as the most consummate divine, supposes it to have been added against the Arians and Apollinarians, who denied the soul or spirit of Christ, because the Fathers argued thus against them: Christ descended into hell either in his divinity, or his soul, or his body; but it is absurd to ascribe the descent into hell either to his divinity or his body, and therefore it must be his soul that descended; which proves the reality of his soul. But Dr. Grabe thinks this article was of earlier date, because it is to be found in some of the Arian Creeds themselves, and others, more ancient than the Apollinarians: and that, if it had been inserted against the Apollinarian doctrine, it would not have been barely said, 'He descended into hell,' but rather, ‘He descended by his soul into hell,' which had been directly against that heresy. Therefore he rather supposes it to have been added to the Creed in opposition to the Valentinians and Marcionites, who, according to the account given by Irenæus 27
26 De Bapt. c. 6. (p. 226 d.) Quum autem sub tribus et testatio fidei et sponsio salutis pignerentur, necessario adjicitur ecclesiæ mentio ; quoniam ubi tres, id est, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus, ibi ecclesia, quæ trium corpus est.
27 L. 5. c. 31. (p. 450. 15.) Hæretici despicientes plasmationem Dei, et non suscipientes salutem carnis suæ, contemnentes autem et repromissionem Dei, et totum supergredientes Deum sensu, simulatque mortui fuerint, dicunt, se supergredi
and Tertullian 28, pretended that the souls of all that died of their sects went immediately to heaven; when yet Christ himself went into the state and place of separate souls for three days before his resurrection and ascension.
Upon the whole matter, Dr. Grabe concludes, that all the articles of the Creed, except these three, the communion of saints,' the Church,' and 'the descent of Christ into hell,' were solemnly professed by the first Christians in their confessions of faith in the Apostles' days, by their authority, or at least their approbation: for which reason the Creed, as to those parts of it, may properly be called apostolical. And it could hardly be that all Churches in the world should so unanimously agree in the common confession of so many articles of it, unless it had proceeded from some such authority as they all acknowledged. But the reason why the confessions of particular Churches differed in words and phrases, he thinks was from hence, that the Creed, which the Apostles delivered, was not written with paper and ink, but in the fleshly tables of the heart,' as St. Jerom 29 words it. Whence every Church was at liberty to express their sense in their own terms. But he will not undertake to vindicate the common tradition of Ruffinus, that it was made by joint consent of all the Apostles, when they were about to separate from one another; and much less,
cœlos et demiurgum, et ire ad matrem, vel ad eum, qui ab ipsis affingitur, patrem.-[Ibid. (p. 451. 12.)
Qui dicunt inferos quidem esse hunc mundum, qui sit secundum nos; interiorem autem hominem, ipsorum derelinquentem hic corpus, in supercolestem ascendere locum. Grischov.]
28 De Anim. c. 55. (p. 305 d.) Nobis inferi non nuda cavositas, nec subdivalis aliqua mundi sentina, creduntur; sed in fossa terræ, et in alto vastitas, et in ipsis visceribus ejus, abstrusa profunditas. Siquidem Christo [leg. Christum] in corde terræ triduum mortis legimus expunctum, id est, in recessu intimo et interno, et in ipsa terra operto, et intra ipsam clauso [al. cavato], et inferioribus adhuc abyssis superstructo. Quod si Christus Deus, quia et homo, mortuus secundum
Scripturas, et sepultus secus [al. secundum] easdem, huic quoque legi satisfecit, forma humanæ mortis apud inferos functus; nec ante ascendit in sublimiora cœlorum, quam descendit in inferiora terrarum, ut illic patriarchas et prophetas compotes sui faceret. Habes et regionem inferum subterraneam credere, et illos cubito pellere, qui satis superbe [al. superque] non putent animas fidelium inferis dignas: servi super dominum, et discipuli super magistrum, aspernati, si forte, in Abrahæ sinu exspectandæ resurrectionis solatium capere.
29 Ep. 61. ad Pammach. [s. Lib. contr. Ioan. Hierosol.] c.9. [aÏ. s. 28.] (t. 2. p. 435 e.) In symbolo fidei, quod ab Apostolis traditum, non scribitur in charta et atramento, sed in tabulis cordis carnalibus, &c.
that every one of the twelve Apostles cast in his symbol to complete the number of twelve articles, as the other story is told by the author under the name of St. Austin, which he thinks is not in the least to be regarded.
I have been a little more particular in representing the sense of this great man upon this point, both because his account of the original of the several articles of the Creed seems to be most exact, and because the discourse, where he delivers his opinion, may not yet be fallen into the hands of every ordinary reader.
A collection of several ancient forms of the Creed out of the
primitive records of the Church.
1. I SHALL now in the next place present the reader with The fragseveral of the ancient forms of the Creed, as we find them the Creed preserved in the most ancient writers and the most authentic in Irenæus. primitive records of the Church. The use of these will be, not only to illustrate and confirm what has been said in the last chapter, but also to declare what was the ancient faith of the Church, and show the vanity of modern heretics, especially the Arians, who pretend that the doctrine of our Saviour's. divinity was no necessary article of faith before the Council of Nice. Bp. Usher, in his curious tract De Symbolo Romano, has already collected a great many of these ancient forms, but because that piece is written in Latin 30, and become very scarce, and some things more may be added to it, I will here oblige the English reader with a new account of them, beginning with the fragments of the Creed, which we have in Irenæus, Origen, Cyprian, Tertullian, and other private writers, which Bp. Usher gives no account of. Some fancy the Creed may be found in the writings of Ignatius, Clemens Romanus, Polycarp, and Justin Martyr; but Bp. Pearson 31 has rightly observed, that these writers, however they may
30 [Dissertatio de Symbolo Apostolico Romanæ Ecclesiæ, originally published with the Chronologia Sacra, Oxon. 1660, 4to. Or, De Symbolis, in vol. 7. of Usher's Whole
Works, edited by Dr. Elrington,
31 Exposition of the Creed, Article
incidentally mention some articles of faith, do not formally deliver any rule of faith used in their own times.
The first, that speaks of this, is Irenæus 31, who calls it ' the unalterable canon, (or rule of truth,) which every man received at his baptism;' and he immediately declares what it was in these words 32: The Church, though it be dispersed over all the world from one end of the earth to the other, received from the Apostles and their disciples the belief in one God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and sea, and all things in them: and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who was incarnate for our salvation: and in the Holy Ghost, who preached by the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advent, and nativity of a virgin, and passion, and resurrection from the dead, and bodily ascension of the flesh of his beloved Son, Christ Jesus, our Lord, into heaven, and his coming again from heaven in the glory of the Father, to recapitulate all things, and raise the flesh of all mankind; that according to the will of the invisible Father every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in the earth, and things under the earth, to Jesus Christ, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King; and that every tongue should confess to him, and that he may exercise just judgment upon all, and
31 L. I. c. I. (p. 44. 2.) Οὕτω δέ τὸν κανόνα τῆς ἀληθείας ἀκλινῆ ἐν ἑαυτῷ κατέχων, ὃν διὰ τοῦ βαπτίσματος εἴληφε, τὰ μὲν ἐκ τῶν γραφῶν ὀνόματα, καὶ τὰς λέξεις, καὶ τὰς παραβολὰς ἐπιγνώσεται.
32 Ibid. c. 2. (p. 45. 1.) Ἡ μὲν γὰρ ἐκκλησία, καίπερ καθ ̓ ὅλης τῆς οἰκουμένης ἕως περάτων τῆς γῆς διεσπαρμένη, παρὰ δὲ τῶν ̓Αποστόλων καὶ τῶν ἐκείνων μαθητῶν παραλαβοῦσα τὴν εἰς ἕνα Θεὸν Πατέρα παντοκράτορα, τὸν πεποιηκότα τὸν οὐρανὸν, καὶ τὴν γῆν, καὶ τὰς θαλάσσας, καὶ πάντα τὰ ἐν αὐτοῖς, πίστιν· καὶ εἰς ἕνα Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν, τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ, τὸν σαρκωθέντα ὑπὲρ τῆς ἡμετέρας σωτηρίας· καὶ εἰς Πνεῦμα ̔́Αγιον, τὸ διὰ τῶν προφητῶν κεκηρυχὸς τὰς οἰκονομίας, καὶ τὰς ἐλεύσεις, καὶ τὴν ἐκ παρθένου γέννησιν, καὶ τὸ πάθος, καὶ τὴν ἔγερσιν ἐκ νεκρῶν, καὶ τὴν ἔνσαρκον εἰς τοὺς οὐρανοὺς ἀνάληψιν τοῦ ἠγαπημένου, Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ
Κυρίου ἡμῶν, καὶ τὴν ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν ἐν τῇ δόξῃ τοῦ Πατρὸς παρουσίαν αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τὸ ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι τὰ πάντα, καὶ ἀναστῆσαι πᾶσαν σάρκα πάσης ἀνθρωπότητος, ἵνα Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ Κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, καὶ Θεῷ, καὶ Σωτῆρι, καὶ Βασιλεῖ, κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν τοῦ Πατρὸς τοῦ ἀοράτου, πᾶν γόνυ κάμψῃ ἐπουρανίων καὶ ἐπιγείων, καὶ καταχθονίων, καὶ πᾶσα γλῶσσα ἐξομολογήσηται αὐτῷ, καὶ κρίσιν δικαίαν ἐν τοῖς πᾶσι ποιήσηται· τὰ μὲν πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας, καὶ ἀγγέ λους παραβεβηκότας, καὶ ἐν ἀποστα σίᾳ γεγονότας, καὶ τοὺς ἀσεβεῖς, καὶ ἀδίκους, καὶ ἀνόμους, καὶ βλασφήμους τῶν ἀνθρώπων, εἰς τὸ αἰώνιον πῦρ πέμψῃ· τοῖς δὲ δικαίοις, καὶ ὁσίοις, καὶ τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ τετηρηκόσι, καὶ ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ αὐτοῦ διαμεμενηκόσι, τοῖς μὲν ἀπ ̓ ἀρχῆς, τοῖς δὲ ἐκ μετανοίας, ζωὴν χαρισάμενος, ἀφθαρσίαν δωρήσηται, καὶ δόξαν αἰωνίαν περιποιήσῃ.