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with Divine things, is wholly destitute of a saving acquaintance with the first principles of the gospel; for the path “ of the just is as the “ shining light, which shineth more and more “ unto the perfect day.” Are your memories treacherous and like a leaky vessel? If you really lament this infirmity, you will see the greater need of constant reading and prayer; as a man, whose food passes too quickly off his stomach, will be constantly reminded of the necessity of a more frequent supply. There is reason, however, to fear, that many persons who complain of the defects of their memory, are making an excuse for wilful ignorance, and that in fact their minds are so stuffed with the vanities of the world that no room is left for the admission of Divine truth. Were it not so, the truth, though the memory be irretentive, would have a sanctifying influence on the soul, as water passing through a vessel may cleanse it, though it does not remain therein. Many persons complain of the difficulty of comprehending the Divine record. Surely there is enough therein that is level to the meanest understanding. And perhaps much of the difficulty arises from the opposition made by the corruption of the heart to its holy tenets. Did we read in a dependence on Divine teaching, and at the same time with a holy determination of reducing what we read to practice; did we, in reading of the evil of sin, labour, through grace, to get our hearts deeply impressed therewith; or, when the subject is the love of Christ, did we ardently long to taste it; or, when duties are proposed, strive to fulfil them; the difficulties objected to would be removed, and every mountain become level as the open valley. For

My doctrine is not mine," said the adorable Jesus, but His that sent me. If any man " will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, “ whether it be of God, or whether I speak of “ myseli.” *

* John vii, 16, 17.

ESSAY VI.

On the Apostles' Creed.

TH

HAT part of our liturgy which is com

monly called the Apostles' Creed, is a summary of the Christian faith, an epitome of those things which “ a Christian ought to know « and believe to his soul's health." It is confessedly a composition of very great antiquity; but whether the twelve inspired persons whose names it bears, or any of them, were really the authors of it, or of any part of it, will not here be discussed. Each side of the question has had its advocates. Whether this famous formulary be sufficiently comprehensive to include all the fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion, will be here left undetermined; nor will it be

* Dr. Comber, in his Companion to the Temple (p. 132), strongly asserts, and labours hard to establish the affirmative side of the question, referring the reader to the primitive fathers from Clemens Romanus downwards to the time of Augustine, as having positively ascribed Apostolic authority to this creed. He cites also Luther, Calvin, Beza, P. Martyr, and Bullenger, as uniting in opinion with himself. But it seems very questionable whether, by “ Fides A pos"tolica,” and such like phrases, these ancient fathers of the church meant this or any other compendium of divinity, or whether they did not thereby intend a general description of the Christian faith, as built on the foundation of the Apostolic writings. Bishops Burnet and Pearson consider this high claim, which some have made in favour of this creed, to be altogether indefensible. See Bishop Burnet's Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles, on Art. VIII.

the object of the present essay to comment at large on the several articles of the creed, and confirm them by apposite quotations from Scripture. This has been done repeatedly and copiously by various writers. * It will, however, be proper to lay the creed itself before the reader, and cursorily to point out the particulars of which it consists.

“ I believe in God, the Father Almighty, “ Maker of heaven and earth: and in Jesus “ Christ His only Son our Lord, who was con“ ceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin

Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was

crucified, dead, and buried; He descended “ into Hell, † the third day He rose again from " “ the dead; He ascended into heaven, and “ sitteth on the right hand of God the Father

Almighty; from thence He shall come to

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* Those who are desirous of further information on this subject, will find great satisfaction by reading Bishop Pearson's Exposition of the Creed; and Mr. Walker's (of Truro) Lectures on the Church Catechism.

+ As the article of the descent into hell has offended the minds of many serious persons, it seems proper to remark that “our English or rather Saxon word hell, in its original “ signification (though it is now understood in a more limited “sense) exactly answers to the Greek word Hades, and “ denotes a concealed or unseen place; and this sense of the “ word is still retained in the eastern, and especially in the “ western counties of England; to hele over a thing is to

cover it.-See Lord King's History of the Creed, ch. iv." Doddridge on Rev. i. 18. It seems, however, a pity that Hades and Gehenna, the former signifying in general the place of separate spirits, and the latter the place of torment, should both have been rendered, in the translation of our Bible, by the same word. Hell, considered as the place to which the disembodied spirit of our Saviour went, must be synonymous with Paradise, since our Lord promised there to meet the penitent thief. Luke xxiii. 43. VOL. I.

I

judge the quick and the dead. I believe in * the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church; " the communion of saints; the forgiveness of "sins; the resurrection of the body, and the “ life everlasting. Amen."

This compendious body of Divinity commences with the fundamental article of all true religion, the unity of the Godhead, “I believe

, v in God.” The importance of this part of our *6 belief our Lord points out in a conversation He held with a certain scribe, who came and asked Him, “ Which is the first commandment of all? " Jesus answered him, The first of all tlie com(6 mandments is, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our os God is one Lord."* The doctrine of the Trinity is not omitted, though it be not asserted and illustrated in those strong terms' which are used in the other creeds, which were drawn up after the rise of the various heresies which soon began, and still continue, to infest the church of Christ. We profess our faith in the first Person of the Godhead, as “the Father" of us all by creation, and of His church by adoption and

and as “ the Maker of heaven and “ earth,” and of all things therein contained. The second Person in Jehovah is also introduced as the object of faith; and though the assertion

grace; and as

* Mark xii. 29. Our Lord's answer is a quotation from Deut. vi. 4, where the words of the original Hebrew are very remarkable: “ Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our Aleiin (a “plural noun regularly formed from its singular, and fre

quently used with verbs, adjectives, and participles plural)

is one Jehovah.” In the compass of these few words thé doctrine of the unity of the Divine essence, and of the plurality of Persons therein, is so clearly laid down, that the gates of hell, with all its sophistry and power, can never prevail against this most valuable and consolatory truth.

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