Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

contained in the genuine Writings of Athanafius: [ It should rather have been said, according to the Tenour of Scripture.] Cudworth's System, pag. 620.

And the ingenious Author of the Paraphrase on the Book of Common-Prayer : Nothing (faith he, in the place before-cited,) is more evident, than that those who added the Descent into Hell to those Creeds which have Christs Burial in them, meant such a Descent as is with the justest reason row exploded : And yet both Churchmen and Diffenters do receive and subscribe this [the Apostles ] Creed. But in what Sense? Not as 'twas intended certainly ; but in a sense that the Words will bear notwithstanding. If they can vindicate this practice with respect to the Apostles Creed, they may much more easily do the same with respect 10

that Creed which is attributed to St Athanasius. Bennet's Paraphr. p. 292.

Nevertheless, after all that can be said either by way of Apology for, or Explication of, this Creed; it cannot be denied to be a matter worthy of the most serious consideration of the Go-, vernors of the Church, whether it would not be more advantagious to the True Interest of Christian Religion (the Thing of the greatelt importance in the World, ) to retain only those more indisputable Forms and Profefsions of Faith, which were received unanimously in the Primitive Church, and which ( without affording Matter for Controversy) confessedly contain all that is explicitly necessary, to the Baptism, AbSolution, and Salvation of a Christian. This, I say, is a Matter of such a Nature, as ( with all due Submiflion) seems well to deserve the most serious

and

and deliberate consideration of the Governours of the Church: And That, for the following reasons.

it, Because This Creed under the Name of Athanasius, is confessed by all men not to be the genuine Work of Him whose Name it bears, but the Composition of an uncertain obscure Author, written (not certainly known whether ) in greek or latin, in one of the darkest and most ignorant Ages of the Church ; having never appeared, (is the learned Dr Cave informs us in his Historia Literaria, pag. 146,) till about the

year 800, (above 300 years after the death of Áthanafius,) nor been received in the Church till so very late as about the year 1000. Which is too great a Diminution of that Authority, which publick Professions of Faith ought to have in the Church.

2ly, Because it is so worded, as that the common People cannot but be too apt to understand it in a Sense favouring either Sabellianism or Tritheism ; viz, either that the Three Persons are merely different Denominations of the same Individual, or that they are Three absolutely co-ordinate Beings; Neither of which, is congiftent with the Doctrine of Scripture, seeing the One Likes away the very being of the Son and Holy Spirit, and the Other introduces manifestly a Plurality of Gods.

3ly, Because there are in it many Phrases, which, being much harder to understand and explain, than any expressions in the Scripture it self; may seem to give Unbelievers a needless Advantage of objecting against Religion ; and among Believers themselves, (especially as the Wo:ds found in English,) cannot but to the

many of

Vulgar have too much the appearance of Contradictions, and afford too much occasion to the Romanists to urge the Belief of real Contradi&ions; and sometimes (especially the damnatory Clauses) have given Offence to the piouseft and most learned Men, insomuch as to have been the principal Reason particularly of Mr Chillingworth's refusing to subscribe the 39 Articles, who was one of the brightest Ornaments and ableft Defenders the Protestant Cause ever had. Now That which to Some of the best and ableft men that ever lived in the Christian Church, hath appeared wholly unjustifiable ; to very Many, suSpicious ; and to All; unnecessary ; ( For That which was not at all in the Christian Church for the first 80 years, tis evident cannot be necessary Now; and That which Now is necessary neither to the Baptism of Infants nor Adult perfons, nor to the Absolution of the Sick and Penitent, tis plain cannot be absolutely necessary at all ;) muft needs be acknowledged to de. ferve the most serious consideration of those in Power, whether it had not better be quite omitted.

4!y, Because the Preface to the Book of Common Prayer it self declares,

that the particular Forms of Divine Worship, and the Rites and Ceremonies appointed to be used therein, being things in their own nature indifferent and alterable, and so acknowledged; it is but reasonable that upon weighty and important considerations, according to the various exigency of times and occasions and alterations, such Changes Mould be made therein, as to those that are in place of Authority Mould from time to time seem either necessary or expedient. Accordingly we find, that in the Reigns of several Princes of blessed memory since the Reformution, the Church upon just and weighty

cono

ther Creed, than the cancías e eranniques i

considerations Her thereunto moving, hath yielded to make such Alterations in some particulars, as in their respective times were thought convenient.

Sthly, Because, the Scripture itself, given by in, Spiration of God, being sufficient both for instruÉtion in True Doctrine, and for reproof and corre{tion of what is false, 2 Tim. 3, 16; the Primitive and purest Church was originally very cautious how they multiplyed Creeds; As appears from the manner in which almost all the Writers before the Council of Niceser down the Substance of the ancient Baptismal Creed; styling it the invariable Rule of Faith, from which no man might diminish any thing, nor add anything to A&io VI, Concilii. it : And after the "oso ouyód wel wi. Council of Nice, the

ge- sews. neral Council of Ephe Τότων τοίνυν αναγνωfus, which is received atéhlwv, úelser ñ ágía ous at This day, forbad, vodo, stéegy risiv pindsvi under the Penalty of Bξίναι προσφέρειν, ήγεν συan Anathema, any other yegpur, ñ omladérou, ale Creed after That of occasione con le sue opere ází. Nice, to be proposed

ων πατέρων και εν τη Niby any one, or received καίων σωελθόνων σω αin the Church: In which yip aydpeile. Tes it toda prohibition they were

μ/τας ή σωλιθέναι σίσιν followed by some later

ετέραν, ήγεν προκομίζαν Councils; And even

ή προσφέρον τοις έθέλεσιν to This day, (as was before observed,) no o

επιςρέφειν εις επίγνωσιν και Apostles Creed itself, Iod'aïo pã r its aigérews hath been received in 2008 nolēv, Tóta, ei meiles to the office of Baptism ev moxomor š xaneixo), ign. either of Infants or A. λόeίες ε, τες επισκόπος η

G&

dult persons, or into monoañso rý tos raneene's the Office at the Visi-põ rrugeog deiroà Levy tation of the Sick. αναθεμαίξεως.

Laftly; Because when, upon a Design which had been before concerted by the late moft Reverend Arch-Bifhop Sancroft, of reviewing, inlarging and correcting our Liturgy, (according to the Directions given in the Pasläge now-cited out of the Preface to the Book of CommonPrayer ;) a Commission was issued out under the Great Seal of England, in the year 1689, to a large number of Bishops and other eminent Divines, to meet together and to consider of these Matters; ( A Set of Men, says a most learned and

excellent * Prelate now living, + Bishop of Lincolns than which This Church was never Speech in the House of Lords, March 17,

at any one Time, blessed with ei1709--10.

ther Wifer or Better, since it was

a Church; And a Design, which I am perswaded wauld have been for the Interest and Peace of our Church and State, had it been accomplished : ) In This Commiffion nothing was more unanimously agreed upon, than that the Use of the Creed, commonly called The Creed of St A. thanafius, should no longer be imposed. Nor was it Then a New proposal, but had been long before the opinion of as learned and religious men, as ever lived in the Church. As appears from the following Expressions of Bp Taylor : Let nothing (says he) be taught as simply necessary to be believed, but what is evidently and plainly set down in the Holy Scriptures : For he that calls a proposition necessary, which the Apostles did not declaro to be fos or which they did not teach to all Christians learned and unlearned; is gone beyond his propor. tions: For every thing is to be kept in that order,

where

« ZurückWeiter »