« ПредишнаНапред »
I. THE DOCTRINAL ARTICLES. Controverted beliefs are the only ones that are profound; besides, the same controversies that strengthen the intellect strengthen also the character.-Nisard.
The Creed [the Apostles' Creed), without controversy, is a brief comprehension of the objects of our Christian faith, and is generally taken to contain all things necessary to be believed.-Bishop Pearson on the Creed.
Upon these terms the Church of God is constituted. It is a congregation, association, community of men, called of God, to whom the Holy Spirit has shown the things of Christ, and imparted his power that they may be his witnesses in all the world.--Bishop Wilson, "Witnesses to Christ."
On studying the results of his endeavors in the Augsburg Confession (they] are found . breathing the same cordial deference for the teaching of the past which characterizes nearly all the writings of Melancthon .. while in theological terminology it [the Confession] everywhere adheres, as closely as the truth permitted, to existing standards of the Western Church.-Archdeacon Hardwick.
I. THE DOCTRINAL ARTICLES. The study of comparative dogmatics on an extended scale would correct many misapprehensions as to the need and utility of detailed confessions and dogmatic theological statements. I am not aware that this study has been attempted beyond the cataloguing and analyzing of the formularies of the different Churches. Professor Schaff's great work in this respect is little more than a huge scrapbook, and in its analytical parts is entirely satisfactory only to Calvinists, to whose school he belonged. I am making bold to attempt here in a small way this task of comparison by showing the particular sources, ancient and contemporaneous, from which the Twenty-Five Articles were derived, and also to indicate the immediate controversies which influenced their writing.
I have already traced with more or less detail the history of the Twenty-Five Articles, so as to show their kinship with the great historic symbols and confessions. This I did for two reasons-namely, first to show the dignity of their genesis, that they are worthy of consideration from their so great and tried antiquity, and also to show that they have been chastened and compressed by the force of every great historical exigency until the language in which they now appear has been made to express the ultimate of that of which language is capable. But to be able to see the quarries out of which these enduring formulas were taken, and to view the answering segments of the original formations, must be to enhance their interest and greatly augment their usefulness.
The First Article, "Of Faith in the Holy Trinity," is traceable through the Augsburg Article treating of the same subject back to the two great creeds of the Church—the Nicene and the Athanasian-and through these back to the very earliest symbols of Christianity. The Augsburg Article reads:
There is one divine essence which is called, and is, God, eternal, incorporeal, indivisible, infinite in power, wisdom, and goodness, the Creator and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and yet there are three Persons, who are of the same essence and power, and are coeternal, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The Nicene Creed, formulated by the first Council of Nicea, which was convened by the Emperor Constantine in 325 to pronounce against the Arians, contains this tenet on the Godhead:
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
This will be readily recognized as an enlargement of the same tenet in the Apostles' Creed; but the Athanasian Creed, which certainly dates to the fifth century, completes the orthodox formula of Catholic Christianity. With the Nicene terms added, it fully covers the range of our First Article. The Athanasian tenet reads: