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sufferings, the glorious resurrection and ascension of the Lord, as “ the only means of grace, and hope of glory;" and are looking to His second coming “ to judge the quick and the dead,” for a blessed consummation of their faith and hopes in Him:
To all these Christians, the Holy Catholic Church of England, as she is rightly named, addresses her Exhortations, Creeds, Sacraments, and other religious Services.
To these Christians, she recommends the Athanasian Creed, as a short and scriptural explanation of the Mysteries of the Christian Faith; and which, humble and advanced Christians will receive with just veneration and respect: indeed, the Ancient and General reception of this Creed into the sacred Offices of the Christian Churches, is a testimony only inferior to that which Holy Scripture affords of its intrinsic excellence, as a “ just, sound, and accurate form of Christian Faith."
Any imputation of illiberality or uncharitableness can only, therefore, proceed, either from those who have not taken the pains to compare this Creed with the doctrines of the Gospel; or from gainsayers, who do not “ embrace and hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which God hath given us in His Son." The former, she intreats to do her the justice and themselves the benefit of making the comparison. The latter, she can only regard with the spirit of meekness; and, including them in her prayers for her “ enemies, persecutors, and slanderers,” implore a God of mercy to open
eyes to the blessed light of Truth; and so to “ turn their hearts," that they may be
one flock, under one Shepherd, Jesus Christ the Righteous.”
The uncertainty of the Author of this Creed, and of the exact Time, and Place, when, and where it was composed, are circumstances of minor consideration. It is sufficient that we have clear and positive proof, that it formed a part of the Church service in England, at the beginning of the Tenth Century; and, at a subsequent period, was considered worthy to retain a place in the Liturgy of the reformed Church.
The pious object of the Author evidently appears to have been a careful study to provide a summary of the true Doctrines of Christianity; particularly of the essential doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation ; in order to establish a right Faith, as the most effectual protection to his Christian brethren, from the dangerous Heresies prevailing at that time. These will be mentioned under the respective clauses of the Creed which refer to them.
Should the following pages be successful in calling into action the talents of more able Advocates of the incomparable Liturgy of the Established Church, one great object of the Writer, devoutly to be wished, will be attained. Should they be the means of conciliating the hostility, and softening the prejudices, which have been entertained towards the Athanasian Creed; and lead to a candid enquiry into its merits ; He is persuaded that its value will be more justly appreciated. If, however, He might indulge a hope that they may be thought worthy serious perusal, and be effectual through the Divine blessing to turn one disobedient heart “ to the wisdom of the
Just;" “ great will be his reward !" but not his the glory.
He now proceeds to shew, as was proposed, that the Athanasian Creed is perfectly agreeable with the pure and holy doctrines, and spirit of the Christian Faith, as revealed in the Gospel; and entirely accords with the other truly Evangelical Creeds, Sacraments, Articles, and Prayers, of the Established Church.