Obrázky na stránke

both with each other, and with those, which our Church has introduced into her services.

The advantage and propriety of a frequent and public recitation of the Creed will appear from the consideration; that, if it was justly held to be necessary for proselytes, before they were admitted to the rite of baptism, to prove their acquaintance with the main doctrines of Christianity, and their acceptance of the terms of salvation ; it must at least be highly expedient and desirable, that all members of every Christian congregation should be frequently reminded of those doctrines; and should be called upon to testify their adherence to the faith.

Nor was it without due consideration, that the Creed, both in our morning and evening service, was placed between the lessons and the prayers. For, as our belief cannot have any other foundation than that of the holy Scriptures; so must the sincerity and the efficacy of prayer depend entirely upon faith. It is only through Christ our Redeemer that our prayers can be heard. If, then, our faith in his intercession is defective ;if we believe not his saying—“All things wbatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive;" '- the very attempt to pray is either a vain presumption, or a hypocritical pretence.

Having premised these general observations upon the design and authority of Creeds, I proceed to a brief examination of that particular exposition of the Christian faith, to which our review of the Liturgy has now brought us, commonly described as THE APOSTLES' CREED. It may be expedient, however, first to remind you, that (as I remarked on a former occasion) this name continues to be assigned to it, not, because it is at this day attributed to all or any of the Apostles, as composed by them; but, because it has borne that name from very ancient times, and is with good reason supposed to exhibit a summary of those doctrines, which the Apostles themselves taught and approved.?

The first Article of this Creed declares our faith in that essential basis of all true religionthe existence of the great Being, whom we worship :-“ I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” That is; I am firmly persuaded that there is a God, such as he is represented to us in the Scriptures, the Father of all created beings, to whom alone, in the indivisible UNITY of his essence, infinite power, wisdom, justice, and goodness, must of necessity belong; and who, moreover, is revealed to us, in his personality, as THE FATHER, distinct both from the Son, and from the Holy Ghost.'

1 Matt. xxi. 22.

2 Amongst other reasons for this conclusion, it may be observed, that some of the most ancient Christian writers have described this Creed as “the Creed of the Apostles," while others have named it “ the Apostolic Creed."

The next Article is thus expressed ; in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.” Here we declare our belief of a fact known to us only by revelation, but most essential to our Christian profession ; namely—that the same Jesus . Christ, whose life, actions, and death, as of a human being like ourselves, are recorded in the Gospel, was, nevertheless, the very and eternal Son of God. We then enumerate some of those particulars, which, in his human nature, formed the chief and peculiar incidents of his life and death :: “ Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of

« And



the Virgin Mary ; suffered under Pontius Pilate ; was crucified, dead, and buried.” In these words we testify our persuasion (according to the Gospel) that the conception of Jesus Christ by his mother Mary was truly miraculous and preternatural, and that she was still a pure virgin :-that Christ, having been born into the world after the ordinary manner of men, did also truly suffer death

a man, being nailed to a cross by the authority of Pontius Pilatus, the Roman governor of Jerusalem ; and that, in proof of his death, he was actually entombed. For these signal facts, or for those previously enumerated, I do not produce any distinct vouchers from the Scriptures; because no one can doubt of them, except those who would dispute the whole series of the Gospelhistory.

The Creed next proceeds to the sequel, or consequences, of Christ's death. “ 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 judge the quick and dead." According to this profession, we believe, that although Jesus, in his human nature, submitted to death, the common lot of mortality, and “ descended into Hell,”--that is,-into that state or condition, wbenever, or whatever it may be, into which the souls of other men, immediately after death, must of pecessity pass : yet, having lain in the tomb for such a period of time, and under such circumstances, as to place the fact of his death beyond all reasonable question; he, by a miraculous act of his divine power, did raise himself again from the dead ; restored his soul to his body, and became, to all intents and purposes, the same living person, as he was before his death; united, as then, to the second Person in the blessed Trinity, the adorable Son of God. As man, then, he died, though, as God, he could not die. He therefore " loosed the pains of death,” because (as St. Peter declared to the Jews on the day of Pentecost) “ it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”:

To this Article the faith of a Christian preeminently adheres : because Christ, having pro

1 Acts ii. 21.

« PredošláPokračovať »