Page images
PDF
EPUB

pleated by that Christ in whom we believe. 'As our Religion is Catholick, it holdeth fast that Faith which was once delivered to the Saints, and since preserved in the Church; and therefore I expound fuch verities, in opposition to the Hereticks arising in all Ages, especially against the Photinians, who of all the rest have most perverted the Articles of our Creed, and found out followers in these. latter Ages, who have erected a new Body of Divinity in opposition to the Catholick Theology. Against these I proceed upon fuch Principles as they themselves allow, that is, upon the Word of God delivered in the Old and New Testament, alledged according to the true fenfe, and applied by right reason ; not urging the authority of the Church which they reječt, but only giving in the Margin the sense of the Primitive Fathers, for the satisfaction of such as have any respect left for Antiquity, and are persuaded that Christ had a true Church on the Earth before these times.

In that part, which after the demonstration of each Truth; teacheth the necessity of the believing it, and the peculiar efficacy which it hath upon the Life of a Christian, I have not thought fit to expatiate or enlarge my self, but only to mention such effe&ts as flow naturally and immediately from the Doctrine, especially such as are delivered in the Scriptures; which I have endeavoured to set forth with all possible plainness and perfpicuity. And indeed in the whole Work, as I have laid the foundation upon the written Word of God, so I have with much diligence collected such places of Scripture as are pertinent to each Doctrine, and with great faithfulness delivered them as they lie in the Writings of those boły Pen-men; not referring the Reader to places named in the Margin, (which too often I find in many Books multiplied to little purpose) but producing and interweaving the Sentences of Scripture into the body of my Expofition, so that the Reader may understand the firength of all my ReaSon without any farther enquiry or consultation. For if those words which I have produced, prové not what I have intended, I desire not any to think there is more in the places named to maintain it. collected briefly and plainly the sum of what hath been delivered in

tuwe conclusion of every diftinct and several Notion, I have reo the explication of it, and put it, as it were, into the mouth of every Christian, thereby to express more fully his faith, and to declare his profession. So that if the Reader please to put those Collections together, he may at once see and perceive what he is in the whole obliged to believe, and what he is by the Church of God understood to profess, when he maketh this publick, ancient, and orthodox Confession of Faith.

I have nothing more to add; but only to pray, that the Lord would give You and Me a good understanding in all things. .

[graphic]

At the conclufioncs moi

THE

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

Believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth: And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord: which was

conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Wirgin Mary: Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into Hell, the third day he role again from the dead: He ascended into Heaven, and ütteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty: From thence he thall come to judge the quick and the dead: I believe in the Holy Ghost: The Holy Catholick Church, the Communion of Saints: The Forgiveness of ans: The Resurrection of the body: And the Life everlasting.

[graphic]
[graphic][ocr errors]
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

ARTICLE I. J believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of

Heaven and Earth.

[graphic]

S the first Word Credo, I believe, giveth a denomination to the whole Confession of Faith, from thence commonly called the CREED; fo is the same word to be imagin'd nor to stand only where it is express'd, but to be carried through the whole Body of the Confession. For although

it be but twice actually rehearsed, yer must we conceive it virtually prefixed to the Head of every Article: that as we fay, I believe in God 'the Father Almighty, so we are also understood to say, I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; as I believe in the Holy Ghost, fo allo I believe the Catholick Church. Neither is it to be joined with every complete Article only ; but where any Article is not a single verity, but comprehensive, there it is to be look'd upon as affixed to every part, or single truth contained in that Article: as for example, in the firit, I believe in God, I believe that God to be the Father, I believe that Father to be Almighty, I believe that Father Almighty to be the Maker of Heaven and Earth. So that this Credo, I believe, rightly considered, multiplieth it self to no less than a double number of the Articles, and will be found at least twenty four times contained in the CREED. Wherefore being a word so pregnant and diffusive, fo necessary and essential to every part of our Confeflion of Faith, that without it we can neither have: CREED nor Confession, it will require a more exact consideration, and more ample explication, and that in such a notion as is properly applicable to so many and so various Truths.

Now by this previous Expression, I believe, thus considered, every particular Christian is first taught, and then imagined, to make confession of his

Faith :

St

Faith : and consequently this word, so used, admits a threefold Confideration. First, as it fupposeth Belief, or Faith, which is confessed. Secondly, as it is a Confession, or external expression of that Faith so supposed. Thirdly, as both the Faith and Confession are of necessary and particular obligation. When therefore we shall have clearly delivered, First, what is the true nature and notion of Belief; Secondly, what the Duty of conféssing of our Faith ; Thirdly, what obligation lies upon every particular person to believe and confess; then may we be conceived to have suffici

the first word of the CREED, then may every one understand what it is he says, and upon what ground he proceeds, when

he professeth, I Believe.
: For the right understanding of the true nature of Christian Faith, it will
be no less than necessary to begin with the general notion of Belief; which
being first truly stated and defined, then by degrees deduced into its several
kinds, will at last make the nature of Christian Faith intelligible : a design,
if I mistake not, not so ordinary, and usual, as useful and necessary.

Belief in general I define to be an Asent to that which is Credible, as
* Clem. Alex. Credible. By the word * Asent is expressed that Act or Habit of the Un-
Tuses 3 we derstanding, by which it receiveth, acknowledgeth and embraceth any
Σηψις εκούσιος
is , Store- thing as a Truth; it being the f nature of the Soul fo to embrace whatso-
Cei ces outrcm ever appeareth true unto it, and so far as it so appeareth. Now this A
Tcé FECIS.
Strom. lib. 2. fent, or Judgment of any thing to be true, being a general Act of the Un-

derstanding, and to applicable to other Habits thereof as well as to Faith, This is one must be specified by its proper Object, and fo limited and determined to its ési culxalé Secus édiés proper Act, which is the other part left to complete the Definition. xer@ This Object of Faith is expreis’d by that which is Credible; for every ányat év]wy év winegpoera

one who believeth any thing, doth thereby without question assent unto it Denn bei ci as to that which is credible ; and therefore all belief whatsoeyer is such a **neuztér kind of Assent. But though all belief be an Assent to that which is Crediesti, Afcet. ble, yet every such Assent may not be properly Faith ; and therefore those de Fide... words make not the Definition complete. For he which sees an action done, The Bafilidians. Dei knows it to be done, and therefore assents unto the truth of the perforyouvoi tomance of it because he sees it: but another person to whom he relates it, Busincio's I may assent unto the performance of the same action, not because himself σίσιν ψυχής Cu m sees it, but because the other relates it; in which case that which is CrediBGS to ble is the Object of Faith in one, of evident knowledge in the other. To

and make the definition therefore full, besides the material Object or Thi céanciv doce 70 pn wapei- lieved, we have added the formal Object, or that whereby it is properly beves, Clem. lieved, expressed in the last term, as Credible, which being taken in, it then Alex.lib. 2. Theodoret. de appears, that, First, whosoever believeth any thing, assenteth to something

is to him credible, and that as 'tis credible ; and again, whosoever a afsenteth to any thing which is credible, as ʼtis credible, believeth something τερον λόγον, risis isiv" by fo assenting : which is sufficient to shew the definition complete. ixácia ş yuxñs cu frecl7e6.Gecig. And yet he also afterwards acknowledgeth'they had that definition from the Greeks. This is gs wiser sej oi vpéteng Qinóropoo welcarto diyos étenáciou as sugas aulxc7d9ecw. Credere est cùin afsenfu cogitare, S. Auguft. Et de Sp. e Lit. cap. Quid est credere, nisi consentire verum esse quod dicitur ? So I take the corxe79f6is used by the Greek Fathers to signify affenfum or affenfionem, as A. Gellius tranflateth the Stoick, cuixa747796), fuâ affentione approbat, 1. 19. 1. and before him Cicero, nunc de assensione atque approbatione, quam Græci currald. deci vocant, pauca dicamus, in Lucullo. So átisíce and ovlxa?.Deris are opposed by the Greekş. As Sextus Empiricus speaking of Admetus, seeing Alcestis brought back by Hercules from Hades, 'Exti feltétos indd

ti quase mere āro autoŰ dicevosce doo se culrace.O'écows, teh treg's drisieverhov!, Pyrrh. Hypot. I. 13. 3. f 0114λήθης και ψυχή ουδέποτε και το ψεύδο» ανεχομδύη διατίθετα, αλλά και φαγεν αληθές πάντως και ευθύς, Simplic. in 3. Αrift. de Anima Cl. Alex. l. 2. Strom. Köy tig táandes cmotň, süeroes t ávfewTpv Púce diabe Samuestrov pe arag's 7 Tš óúdos culxcepcb.tec'v, čxovlee ä сpoglice's weġis wiso zárn.focs. | As oufxadecis the Greek word used for this Allent is applied to other. Acts of the understanding as well as that of belief. So Clemens Alexandrinus, Speaking of the definition of Faith, "Aadol avoős sed luc?a voix.bi coz.c276. Deci úmédWxsy rivou ' wisiv, con es de 26 andeigin ályos pólóo zec [uc27a Paveegív aufxaétecly, Strom. l. 2. And again, Nära ou obža, xj reicis ry was not is ois Copy sj cierpiele cieistos y éves V dvigatwy, culxe7cé. 9ris isovej do oudis enne wisis en te dritice, drúska r: our + size, guu7w váyustf Texa7e9cy 16 % sissy, .

But But for the explication of the fame, farther observations will be neceffary. For if that which we believe be something which is credible, and the notion under which we believe be the credibility of it, then must we first declare what it is to be Credible, and in what Credibility doth confift, before we can understand what is the nature of Beli

Now that is properly Credible which is not apparent of it felf, for certainly to be collected, either antecedently by its cause, or reversly by its effect, and yet, though by none of theté ways, hath the attestation of a truth. For those things which are apparent of themselves, are either fo in respect of our sense, as that snow is white, and fire is hot ; or in respect of our understanding, as that the whole of any thing is greater than any one part of the whole, that every thing imaginable, either is, or is not. The first kind of which being propounded to our sense, one to the sight, the other to the touch, appear of themselves immediately true, and therefore are not termed Credible, but evident to senfe ; as the latter kind, propounded to the understanding, are immediately embraced and acknowledged as truths apparent in themselves, and therefore are not called Credible, but evident to the understanding. And so those things which are * appa- * Apparentia jent, are not said properly to be believed, but to be known.

non habent fi

dem, fed ag- Again, other things, though not immediately apparent in themselves, nitionem. may yet appear molt certain and evidently true, by an immediate and Greg. 4. Dial. necessary connexion with fomething formerly known for, being every cap.5. Haber natural cause actually applied doth necessarily produce its own natural ef- fuos, quibus fect, and every natural effect wholly dependeth upon, and absolutely pre. quodammodo fuppofeth its own proper cause ; therefore there must be an immediate cleared

videt verum connexion between the cause and its effect. From whence it follows, that, nondum viif the connexion be once clearly perceived, the effect will be known in det, & quibus the cause, and the cause by the effect. And by these ways, proceeding det, nondum

"certiflimè vifrom principles evidently known by consequences certainly concluding, se videre we come to the knowledge of propositions in Mathematicks, and conclu- quod credit.. fions in other Sciences : which propofitions and conclusions are not said to be Credible, but Scientifical; and the comprehension of them is not Faith, but Science. · Besides, fome things there are, which, though not evident of themselves, nor feen by any necessary connexion to their causes or effects, notwithstanding appear to most as true by some external relations to other truths ; but yet fo, as the appearing truth still leaves a possibility of falfhood with it, and therefore doth but incline to an Assent. In which cafe, whatsoever is thús apprehended, if it depend upon real Arguments, is not yet call'd Credible, but Probable; and an Aflent to such a truth is not properly Faith, but Opinion.

But when any thing propounded to us is neither apparent to our sense, nor evident to our understanding, in and of it self, neither cercainly to be collected from any clear and necessary connexion with the cause from w ceedeth, or the effects which it naturally produceth, nor is taken up upon any real Arguments, or reference to other acknowledged truths, and yet notwithstanding appeareth to us true, not by a manifestation, bur attestation of the truth, and fo moveth us to assent not of itself, but by vertue of the Testimony given to it; this is said † properly to be Credible; and an Asent + Ariftot. unto this, upon such Credibility, is in the proper notion Faith or Belief. Probl. 18.3. · Having thus defined and illustrated the nature of Faith in general, foam

for as die an mag

10 rúgwu poédor far as it agreeth to all kinds of belief whatsoever ; our method will lead us visus, op to defcend by way of division, to the several kinds thereof, till at last we come to the proper notion of Faith in the Christian's Confession, the defign of our present difquisition, and being we have placed the formality of

the

[graphic]

usions are not said : Auguft. Ep.

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »