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rank, to come into this opinion, that this Creed was not composed by Athanasius, but by a later and a Latin writer. Dr. Cave thinks the first that mentions it under the name of Athanasius is Theodulphus Aurelianensis, who lived about the year 794, in the reign of Charles the Great. But in this he is a little mistaken; for the Council of Autun, which was held above an hundred years before, anno 670, not only mentioned it under that name, but ordered 16 every presbyter, deacon, subdeacon, &c., to read it, together with the Apostles' Creed, or be liable to the bishop's censure for his omission: which implies that it was then esteemed the genuine work of Athanasius, and as such had for some time been received in the Church. But whoever was the author of it, there never was any question made of its orthodoxy, except by the Samosatenians and Arians in these later ages of the Church. Only, as Bp. Usher and others have observed, the modern Greeks now use it with some additions and alterations. For whereas it is said in the Latin copies that the Holy Ghost proceedeth 'from the Father and the Son,' the Greeks now read it, 'from the Father,' or 'the Father only;' as Paræus 17 has remarked in his exposition of this Creed. And in the Greek copy lately brought out of the East, and published by Bp. Usher, there is a long interpolation by way of addition, and explication of those words, 'He was man of the substance of his mother, perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh
versia durasset annis prope quingentis. Denique scriptores omnes, ante septimum ecclesiæ sæculum, ante Augustodunensem in Gallia Synodum, sub S. Leodegario episcopo habitam anno 670, de hoc Symbolo Athanasiano silent. In eo vero Concilio hic canon legitur: Si quis presbyter, &c. See the
15 Cent. 4. (Paris. 1690. t. 2. p. 41.) Le symbole, qui porte le nom de S. Athanase, &c. [Stillingfleet, Orig. Britann. ch. 4. (Lond. 1685. fol. p. 227.) says, the first author that mentions it is Abbo Floriacensis, anno 970: but in this he is a little mistaken. Ed., from a MS. note by J. B.]
16 Can. ult. (t. 6. p. 536 d.) Si quis presbyter, diaconus, subdiaco
nus, vel clericus, Symbolum, quod inspirante Sancto Spiritu Apostoli tradiderunt, vel Fidem Sancti Athanasii præsulis irreprehensibiliter non recensuerit, ab episcopo condemnetur.
17 Not. in Symbol. Athanas. ad calc. Ursin. Catechism. p. 124. (Separatim, Heidelbergæ, 1619. 4to. p. 15.) Gr. 'Arò Toù Пaτρòs, a Patre: ut Joh. 15, 26. 'O rapà тoû Пaтpòs EKTOрEVETAL, Qui a Patre procedit. Non vero dicit Athanasius àñò тoû μóvov Harpòs, a solo Patre, sicut dixerat de Filio, ἀπὸ τοῦ μόνου Πατρός. quam exclusivam cum posteriores Græci contra mentem Apostoli et Athanasii tandem adderent, Latina Ecclesia ad explendum Scripturæ sensum dixit, A Patre et Filio.
subsisting,' with some other additions of lesser note, which the curious reader may find marked out in the forementioned tract of that learned author 18.
To all the Creeds that have been related in this chapter, I think it not improper to add the short account which Eusebius 19 gives of the first preaching of St. Thaddeus to King Agbarus and the people of Edessa, which I had from the information of my learned and judicious friend Mr. Lowth 20, to whose useful conversation I owe many other curious remarks and observations, that lie scattered throughout the Antiquities of the Church. This is not indeed properly a Creed, but a summary of his first sermon, or the heads of his first catechetical institution to the people;-Concerning the coming of Jesus into the world, after what manner it was; and concerning his mission, for what reason he was sent by the Father; concerning his power, and the mysteries which he spake in the world, and by what power he did these; then of his new way of preaching; of his meanness and abject estate, and the humility of his outward appearance as a man; after what manner he humbled himself, and submitted to death, and made a diminutive appearance in his divine nature; what things he suffered of the Jews, and how he was crucified,
18 De Symbolis, Οxon. 166o. p. 29. (Works, v. 7. pp. 328, seqq.) Symbolum Athanasianum a Græcis interpolatum.
ὄχλου πρὸς τὸν Πατέρα αὐτοῦ· καὶ πῶς κάθηται ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ Πατρὸς μετὰ δόξης ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς· καὶ πῶς ἐλεύσεσθαι μέλλει πάλιν, μετὰ δόξης καὶ δυνάμεως, κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς.—It is worth our observation to compare the Apostle's expression, Phil. 2, 7. Ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσε, He made himself of no reputation, or He emptied himself, with this expression of Thaddæus, Ἐσμίκρυνεν αὐτοῦ τὴν Θεότητα, He lessened, or made a diminutive show and appearance of his Godhead. For these places mutually explain one another, and are a solid proof that the Divinity of Christ was one of the principal articles of the Christian Faith in the apostolical age.
19 L. I. c. 13. (v. I. p. 41. 3.) ... Σπερῶ ἐν αὐτοῖς τὸν λόγον τῆς ζωῆς, περί τε τῆς ἐλεύσεως τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, καθὼς ἐγένετο, καὶ περὶ τῆς ἀποστολῆς αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἕνεκά τινος ἀπεστάλη ὑπὸ τοῦ Πατρός καὶ περὶ τῆς δυνάμεως τῶν ἔργων αὐτοῦ, καὶ μυστηρίων, ὧν ἐλάλησεν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ· καὶ ποίᾳ δυνάμει ταῦτα ἐποίει· καὶ περὶ τῆς καινῆς αὐτοῦ κηρύξεως καὶ περὶ τῆς σμικρότητος καὶ εὐτελείας, καὶ περὶ της ταπεινώσεως τοῦ φαινομένου ἔξωθεν ἀνθρώπου· καὶ πῶς ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτὸν, καὶ ἀπέθανε, καὶ ἐσμίκρυνεν αὐτοῦ τὴν Θεότητα· ὅσα τε ὑπὸ Ἰουδαίων ἔπαθεν, καὶ πῶς ἐσταυρώθη, καὶ κατέβη εἰς τὸν ᾅδην, καὶ διέσχισε φραγμὸν τὸν ἐξ αἰῶνος μὴ σχισθέντα, καὶ ἀνέστη, καὶ συνήγειρε νεκροὺς τοὺς ἀπ ̓ αἰώνων κεκοιμημένους· καὶ πῶς κατέβη μόνος, ἀνέβη δὲ μετὰ πολλοῦ
20 [The Rev. Wm. Lowth, M. A. Born in London, 1661. Prebendary of Winchester, 1696. Rector of Buriton, Hants, 1699. Died 1732. He was the father of Dr. Robert Lowth, bishop of London in 1777. ED.]
The errors and pretences of
and descended into hell, and brake down the partition that had been kept up in former ages; how he arose from the dead, and raised with himself those that slept in preceding generations; how he descended from heaven alone, but ascended with a mighty company to his Father; how he sits at the right of God the Father, and shall come again with glory and power to judge both the quick and the dead.
Here are two things very remarkable in this ancient account of the first principles of Christian doctrine, viz. the divinity of our Saviour, and the descent into hell, both which are here. expressed in terms, for which reason I thought it might deserve a place among the Creeds of the Church. Eusebius says, he had the account in the Syriac tongue, as it was preserved in the archives of the Church of Edessa, signed in the year 340, which, according to the computation of time then used by the Syrians of Edessa, reckoning from the first year that Seleucus began to reign in Asia, falls in with the same year that Christ suffered and arose from the dead, as Valesius 20 and Pagi 21 after him have rightly computed in their observations upon this passage of Eusebius.
Of the original, nature, and reasons of the ancient discipline, in concealing the sacred mysteries of the Church from the catechumens.
1. THAT which makes this inquiry a little more necessary, is the several vain pretences of the Romanists concerning the the Roman- original and reasons of this discipline. Bellarmin and others
20 [In Euseb. 1. 1. c. 13. (v. I. p. 41. n. 4.) Ait... Eusebius Actorum illorum, quæ in archivis Edessæ repererat, hujusmodi fuisse subscriptionem: Επράχθη ταῦτα τεσσαρακοστῷ καὶ τριακοσιοστῷ ἔτει. Ιd est: Acta sunt hæc anno quadragesimo ac trecentesimo. Annus hic trecentesimus et quadragesimus juxta Edessenos cadit in annum primum Olympiadis 202. Etenim Edesseni annos suos numerabant ab Olympiadis 117. anno primo, quo Seleucus regnare orsus est in Asia, ut scribit Eusebius in Chronico: a
quo tempore usque ad initium Olympiadis secundæ ac ducentesimæ anni sunt trecenti ac quadraginta. Porro initium Olympiadis 202. incidit in annum 15. Tiberii Cæsaris, qui duobus Geminis consulibus est insignitus. Quo quidem anno et passionem et ascensionem Domini contigisse, plerique veterum crediderunt. Inter quos est Tertullianus, Augustinus, atque Victorius. Grischov.]
21 Crit. in Baron. an. 41. n. 3. (t. 1. p. 34.) Ad num. 18. Baronius, qui, &c.
urge it as a mighty argument for transubstantiation in particular, as if the concealing the mystery of the eucharist from the catechumens, was an indication of the belief of the Church concerning the real presence of Christ's body and blood, which they were so studiously careful to hide from the knowledge of the catechumens. But this is abundantly refuted by a more accurate observation of Albaspinæus, a learned bishop of the same communion, who in his Book of the Ancient Polity of the Church 22 relating to the Eucharist, as I find him cited by others 23, rejects this as an incompetent proof of the Romish doctrine of the real presence. For he rightly observes, that the Ancients concealed not only the mystery of the eucharist, but also the sacrament of baptism, from the catechumens; yea, and almost all other their sacred rites and ceremonies, which in a large sense are called sacraments, as the oil of chrism or confirmation, and the ordination of priests, which were as studiously concealed from the knowledge or inspection of the uninitiated, as the elements of the holy eucharist were.' So that the bare concealing that mystery from the catechumens, could no more be an argument of transubstantiation in the bread and wine in the eucharist, than it was in the waters of baptism, or any other ceremony where the same silence and caution was used.
The learned Schelstrate with a subtle invention has made a
22 Liv. 1. chap. 2. p. 47. (ad calc. Optat. p. 198 c.) Tout le monde allegue cette discipline pour preuve du corps de nostre Seigneur, et pour confondre nos adversaires : mais jamais ils n'ont pris garde que ces anciens pères de l'église apportoient beaucoup de soin et de diligence à cacher les autres sacraments aux catechumènes et aux estrangèrs; voir mesme que leur crainte et leur réligion alloit jusques là, que de leur refuser non seulement intelligence, mais aussi la seule prononciation de l'Oraison Dominicale et du Symbole des Apostres. Quant aux cérémonies de l'église, de quelque qualité qu'elles fussent, toute connoissance leur en estoit interdite; comme aussi des oraisons qu'ils faisoient pour quelque chose que ce pût estre. Et en
core cette police passoit plus outrè: car les catechumènes ne voyoient jamais les exorcismes, ny les impositions des mains qu'on faisoit sur les pénitens du troisième degrè; et toutefois ils estoient estrangèrs comme les catechumènes, et ces exorcismes n'estoient pas choses ausquelles il y eut quelque sécret ou quelque mystère, qui pût tomber dans le mépris après avoir esté découvert.
23 Albertin. de Eucharist. 1. 2. (p. 703. ad calc. sinistr.) Sic enim Gabriel Albaspinæus...Omnes adducunt hanc disciplinam ad probationem corporis Domini nostri. ... Verum non deprehenderunt veteres ecclesiæ patres multum studii et diligentiæ adhibuisse ut alia sacramenta catechumenis et extraneis occultarent.
This discipline not
more general use of this ancient practice, to palliate and excuse all the novel doctrines and practices of his own Church. He wrote a book, which he intituled Disciplina Arcani, a book highly magnified by Pagi 24 and others of his own communion, as stopping the mouths of the Protestants, when they ask the Romanists, Why no footsteps of their modern doctrines and practices appear in the earliest writers of the Church? The answer is ready upon all occasions, from this Disciplina Arcani, 'that it was because these doctrines and practices were kept secret, and only handed down by tradition, not committed to writing, lest they should come to the knowledge of the uninitiated Jews and Gentiles, and the catechumens of the Church.' This is the reason, he tells us, why there is no account of the seven sacraments, nor of the worship of saints or images, in the first writers of the Church. The things were really believed and practised from the days of the Apostles, as he will have it, but kept secret as the hidden mysteries of religion, which were not to be divulged to any but such as were initiated and prepared to know them.
This is an artifice that would justify as many errors and vanities as any Church could be guilty of: it is but working a little with this admirable instrument and tool, called Disciplina Arcani, and then all the seeming contradictions between the ancient doctrines and practices of the Church universal, and the novel corruptions of the modern Church of Rome, will presently vanish and disappear. So that we need not wonder why men, whose interest it serves so much, should magnify this as a noble invention: when yet in truth it is only a veil and a mist cast before the reader's eyes, which may easily be dispelled by giving a true account of that ancient piece of discipline and practice, first in its original, and then in the nature, use, and reasons of it.
2. As to its original, the learned Albaspinæus has rightly strictly ob- observed, that in the apostolical age, and some time after, they
24 Crit. in Baron. an. 118. n. 4. (t. 1. p. 119.) Aliquot sæculis disciplinam arcani, seu occultationem quorundam mysteriorum religionis Catholicæ viguisse, et ex ea disciplina complures Patrum sententias, quas Protestantes contra Catholicos
adducunt, exponi posse docte demonstrat Schelstratius, in dissertatione singulari de Disciplina Arcani.
Ibid. n. 9. (p. 120.) Quæ omnia ex Schelstratio in egregia dissertatione de Disciplina Arcani excerpta