« ПредишнаНапред »
We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in unity; neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the substanceof one glory and coeternal majesty-uncreated-incomprehensible-infinite-eternal-Almighty. There is one Fatherthere is one Son-there is one Holy Ghost-and (yet) in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another. But the whole three Persons are eternal and coequal.
The Second Article, "Of the Word, or Son of God, who was made Very Man," may be traced in the readings of the Athanasian Creed, as the following excerpt will show:
The Son of God is God and man: God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance of his mother, born in the world. Perfect God and Perfect Man (Very God and Very Man), not two, but one Christ who suffered for our salvation, and descended into the grave [Greek, Hades1] and was buried.
The Nicene Creed adds:
And [we believe] in one Lord Jesus Christ the onlybegotten of God. Very God of Very God, begotten not made being of one substance (homoousian) with the Father-who for us men, and our salvation, came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; he was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried.
The phrase "who is the Word of God," occurring in our Second Article, is found in no form in either the Athanasian or the Nicene Creed. The controversy concerning the "Logos" in the Christ nature had not
'The scholastic dogma of the descent of Christ into hell after his crucifixion rests in this term, which is purely figurative for the grave. We have taken the liberty to so define it.
arisen. It did arise, however, shortly after the completion of the Nicene Creed. Apollinaris in his zeal for the creed practically denied the presence of a human soul in Christ, asserting that its place was supplied by the essential Divinity. Nestorius later appears to have taught the doctrine of two Persons. Still later came Eutyches and taught that the divine substance in Christ (that is, the Logos) absorbed the human. The creed of Chalcedon which corrected these errors is the source of this one of our Articles, as this extract will show :
We then confess one and the same Son-our Lord Jesus Christ to be acknowledged in two natures. Unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union; but rather the property of each nature being preserved and concurring in one Person, and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God, the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.
That portion of the Augsburg Article (III.) with which our own almost literally agrees reads thus:
The Word, that is the Son of God, assumed human nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, so that the two natures, that is to say, human and divine, inseparably united in one Person, constitute one Christ, who is true God and man (very God and very Man), born of the Virgin Mary, who truly suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried, that he might reconcile the Father to us and be a sacrifice not only for original sin (pro culpa originis) but also for the actual sins of men.
The clause "the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father," is taken almost word for
word from the Wurtemberg Articles, to which reference has already been made.2
The Third Article, "Of the Resurrection of Christ," is found in both the Athanasian and the Nicene formularies, as also in the Apostles' Creed. The development is a natural and orderly one, as will be seen from the comparison.
The third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.-Apostles' Creed.
Now the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again with glory to judge the quick and the dead.-Nicene Creed.
The third day he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of the Father; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead; at whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their works.-Athanasian Creed.
He truly arose on the third day, and then ascended to heaven that he might sit at the right hand of the Father. The same Christ will return again openly, that he may judge the living and the dead.—Augsburg Confession.
Christ did truly rise again from death, and took his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man's nature, wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth, until he return to judge all Men at the last day.-Anglican Article.
The Fourth Article, "Of the Holy Ghost," is preeminently catholic and orthodox. Up to the meeting of the Council of Nicea the doctrine concerning the
This passage in the Wurtemberg Article is: "Verum et aternum Deum, Patri suo consubstantialem."
Holy Ghost had been only indirectly involved in any Church controversy. The discussions touching the divinity of the Son had moved about it, but had not touched it directly. The Nicene Fathers accordingly wrote in their Confession only the words: "And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost." But by the time of the meeting of the Council of Constantinople (381 A.D.), fifty-six years later, the necessity for a fuller definition being apparent, the tenet was amended to read as follows:3
And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and Giver of Life who proceedeth from the Father.
The "Filioque," or the double procession-"and from the Son"-was added by the third Council of Toledo in the sixth century, but it appears in the Athanasian Creed, which is at least a century older. The Athanasian tenet reads thus:
The Holy Ghost is of the Father and the Son; not made, not created, not begotten, but proceeding.
The Augsburg Confession has no separate tenet on the Holy Ghost, the doctrine concerning the third Person of the Trinity being set forth in the First Article, "Of God," which we have quoted already. But the
"Modern Unitarianism has made much of the fact that for four centuries there was no statement in the Church of the doctrine of the Trinity. We have in this fact the most pertinent illustration of the true theory concerning the development of the Confession-namely, that controversy and necessity have made, and only can properly make, dogmas. The doctrine of the Trinity existed in the Scriptures from the beginning, but not until the fourth century did it find confessional statement.
Wurtemberg tenet under the same head is almost identical with our own. Rendered from the Latin, it reads:
We believe the Holy Ghost from eternity proceedeth from the Father and the Son, and is of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.
The Fifth and Sixth Articles, relating to the canonicity and authority of the Holy Scriptures, are leveled at the error of the Romish Church in elevating tradition to an equality with revelation, and also against the false canon of the Apocrypha. They were, with the exception of the last sentence of the Fifth Article,1 original with the English Confessors and were probably the first formal protests ever written against the degradation of the Canon of Scripture by Rome. The Council of Trent, in 1546, fixed in the Roman Catholic canon several Apocryphal books, and anathematized those who rejected them. Six years later the Edwardine Articles were written; but when Archbishop Parker revised these Articles in the time of Elizabeth, the additional sentence was added. The canonical books were named in order, as were also the Apocryphal books in a rejected list. This rejected list does not appear in the Article of the Wesleyan recension. The Wurtemberg Article reads:
The name Holy Scripture applies to those canonical books of the Old and New Testament of whose authority there was never doubt in the Church.
*The sentence referred to is the complete Article of the Wurtemberg Confession on the Scriptures, written in 1552. It was added by Archbishop Parker to the Edwardine Article.