Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

ing their infirmities, drawing them away from the corruptions of the flesh, releasing them from the bondage of sin, and by the Spirit of adoption, exalting them to the glorious liberty of the children of God.

The Athanasian Creed has its name, as containing the doctrines of Athanasius, Patriarch of Alexandria, collected from his writings and speeches against the Arian and other heretical opinions, which in the fourth century were broached against the Christian Church. The Apostles' Creed by the simple assertion of its truth, stands in opposition to all erroneous opinions; but any one who looks into the Ecclesiastical History of those days will at once perceive the heresies which Athanasius disavowed, and will know to whom they are to be ascribed. The first part of this Creed, which relates to the Trinity, commands to worship the Trinity in Unity and the Unity in Trinity; subjoining, that we neither with the Sabellians, confound the persons, nor, with the Arians, divide the substance; but apply, as is warranted by Scripture, to each person of the Holy Trinity the attributes of God, in a declared freedom from all restrictions of space and time and connected existence, each person in himself being uncreate, incomprehensible, (which here means not under restriction-or limitation) eternal, Almighty, Lord, and God. In the se

cond part, that which relates to the right belief in the Incarnation, this Creed declares Christ to be, not two persons, as the Nestorians held, but God and Man united. God of the substance of his father, in contradiction to one heretical doctrine, and man of the substance of his mother, in contradiction to another heretical doctrine, by an union, of which the union of the soul and body in man is considered a natural and familiar emblem.

Against this Creed much objection has been raised. Yet on the Reformation every Protestant Church received it as the profession of the true faith, Calvin admitted the truth of its doctrines, and Luther calls it the bulwark of the Apostles' Creed. How frivolous after this to call for its rejection, because the words Trinity and Unity are not words to be found in Scripture as here applied, and because the terms Substance and Person are obscure and undefined. Is there any worshipper, any who has ideas of three and one, ignorant at this day of the meaning of the terms, Trinity and Unity? Who can substitute in their place, or in the place of the other terms complained of, words less objectionable? But can we persuade ourselves that in what relates to the most sublime of all mysteries, the nature of the Divine essence, all should be clear to the comprehension of every man? How many difficulties are there to perplex the sophist and the sceptic, in the union of our own souls and bodies, which yet to ordinary apprehensions cause no embarassment on the subject: and if the assertions and the negations in the Athanasian Creed can be proved from Holy Writ, they are entitled to acceptance in the Church which looks there for its articles of belief. There we find, in the words of our Lord to those whom he sent into all the world to preach the Gospel to every creature, * He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be damned." The ablest of the interpreters of our Church have in their explanations, confined the damnatory clauses of the Athanasian Creed to that disbelief to which our Lord thus attaches damnation our Lord who knows the heart of man-who can temper severity with mercy-who can weigh actions, and make allowance for ignorance that is involuntary—he it is who declares that, the unbeliever shall be damned. That is the Catholic faith, and he who does not believe it, the author of the Creed pronounces shall perish everlastingly. Then follows the author's explanation, contradicting the doctrine of the heresies, and in the twentyseventh verse he recurs to that which he had recited in the third verse, and of which he had given explanation in the parenthesis intervening. “So that in all things as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.” Not in all things that are aforesaid, but as is before said in the beginning of the Creed. To the same he evidently refers in the last verse. “ This is the Catholic faith, which (Catholic faith) except. a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.” Such is the declaration of our Lord, and this is the declaration of his Church repeating that declaration. 6. There is none other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."* He who holds not this faith annuls the federal compact, and he excludes himself from the only hope of mercy. “ He hath trodden under foot the Son of God he hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace.”+-Who can complain, if he to whom vengeance belongeth will have recompense? Who, my beloved brethren, can complain if the Lord will judge his people? O Lord, grant we beseech thee unto us thy servants, a right judgment in all things, that we be not “ of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”I

* Acts iv. 12. + Hebrews x. 29. Hebrews x. 39.

SERMON XII.

THE SERMONSENTENCES AT THE OFFERTORY PRAYER FOR CHRIST'S CHURCH MILITANT, &c.SIX COLLECTS-BLESSING-CONCLUDING

OBSERVATIONS.

NEHEMIAH VIII. 7-8.

And the Levites caused the people to understand the law : and

the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

In the chapter from which this text is taken we read that, after the return of the Children of Israel from their captivity in Babylon, the people gathered themselves together as one man, and they spake unto Ezra the Scribe to bring the book of the Law of Mo

And Ezra opened the book and “ blessed the Lord, the great God," and the Levites " read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” Following this ex

ses.

« PredošláPokračovať »