صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

in Balaam's mouth; and not only fo, but a bridle with that word, only the Num.22. 35. word that I fhall speak unto thee, that thou shalt Speak. The Prophets, as they did not frame the notions or conceptions themselves of those truths which they delivered from God, fo did they not loofen their own tongues of their own inftinct, or upon their own motion, but as moved, impelled, and acted by God. So we may in correfpondence to the antecedent and fubfequent words interpret those words of S. Peter, that no Prophecy of the Scripture 2 Pet. 1. 20. is of any private interpretation: that is, that no Prophecy which is writ- *dias i ten did fo proceed from the Prophet which spake or wrote it, that he of him- GEWS. felf or by his own inftinct did open his mouth to prophecy; but that all phetical Revelations came from God alone, and that whofoever first delivered them was antecedently infpired by him, as it followeth, for the Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God fpake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. That therefore which they delivered was the Word, the Revelation of God; which they affented unto as to a certain and infallible truth, credible upon the immediate teftimony of God, and to which the rest of the Believers affented upon the fame testimony of God mediately delivered by the hands of the Prophets.


Heb. 1.


Thus God, who at fundry times, and in divers manners Spake in times Heb. 1. 1. paft unto the Fathers by the Prophets, and by so speaking propounded the Object of Faith both to the Prophets and the Fathers, hath in thefe verse z. Laft days Spoken unto us by his Son, and by fo fpeaking hath enlarged the Object of Faith to us by him, by which means it comes to be the Faith Rev. 14. 12. of Jefus. Thus the only-begotten Son, who was in the bofom of the Fa- John 1. 18. ther, the exprefs Image of his Perfon, he in whom it pleafed the Father Col. 1: 39. that all fulness fhould dwell, he in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Col. 2. 9. Godhead bodily, revealed the will of God to the Apostles, who being af fured that he knew all things, and convinced that he came forth from John 16.30. God, gave a full and clear affent unto those things which he delivered, and grounded their Faith upon his words as upon the immediate teftimony of God. I have given unto them, faith Chrift unto his Father, the words John 17.8. which thou gavest me, and they have received them, and have known furely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst fend me. Befides this delivery of these words by Chrift to the Apostles, they received the Promife of the Spirit of truth, which fhould guide them John 16.13. into all truth, and teach them all things, and bring all things into their John 14. 26. remembrance what foever Chrift bad faid unto them. So clearly, fo fully, so constantly were they furnished with divine Illuminations and Revelations from God, upon which they grounded their own Faith; that each of them might well make that profeffion of S. Paul, I know whom I have be- 2 Tim. 1. 11. lieved. Thus the Faith of the Apostles, as of Mofes and the Prophets, was grounded upon the immediate Revelations of God.

But those Believers to whom the Apostles preached, and whom they converted to their Faith, believed the fame truths which were revealed to the Apostles, though they were not fo revealed to them as they were unto the Apostles, that is immediately from God. But as the Ifraelites believed those truths which Mofes fpake, to come from God, being convinced by the conftant fupply of Miracles wrought by the Rod which he carried in his hand : fo the bleffed Apostles, being fo plentifully endued from above with the power of Miracles, gave fufficient teftimony that it was God which spake by their mouths, who fo evidently wrought by their hands. They which heard S. Peter call a lame man unto his legs, fpeak a dead man alive, and strike a living man to death with his tongue, as he did Ananias and Sapphira, might easily be perfuaded that it was God who fpake by his mouth, and conclude that where they found him in his Omnipotency, they might well expect him in his Ve



racity. These we the perfons from whom our Saviour next to the Apostles John 17.20. prayed, because by a way next to that of the Apostles they believed. Neither pray I for thefe alone, faith Chrift, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word. Thus the Apostles believed on Chrift through his own word, and the primitive Chriftians believed on the fame Chrift through the Apoftles word, and this distinction our Saviour himself hath clearly made; not that the word of the Apostles was really diftinct from the word of Christ, but only it was called theirs, because delivered by their Miniftry, otherwife it was the fame word which they had heard from him, and upon which they 1 John 1. 1,3. themselves believed, That which was from the beginning, faith S. John, which we have heard, which we have feen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life, That which we have feen and heard declare we unto you. And this was the true foundation of Faith in all them which believed, that they took not the words which they heard from the Apostles to be the words of the men which fpake them, no more than they did the power of healing the fick, or raifing the dead, and the rest of the miracles, to be the power of them that wrought them; but as they attributed thofe miraculous works to God working by them, fo did they also that faving word to the fame God fpeaking by them. When S. Paul Acts 13. 44. preached at Antioch, almost the whole City came together to hear the word of God; fo they esteemed it, though they knew him a man whom they came to hear fpeak it. This the Apoftle commendeth in the Theffalonians, that when they received the word of God, which they heard of him, they received it not as the word of man, but (as it is in truth) the word of God; and receiving it fo, they embraced it as coming from him who could neither deceive nor be deceived, and confequently as infallibly true; and by fo imbracing it, they afsented unto it, by fo affenting to it, they believed it, ultimately upon the teftimony of God, immediately upon the teftimony of S. Paul, as 2 Theff. 1. 10. he fpeaks himself, because our teftimony among you was believed. Thus the Faith of thofe which were converted by the Apostles was an affent unto the word as credible upon the teftimony of God delivered to them by a teftimony Apoftolical. Which being thus clearly stated, we may at laft defcend into our own condition, and fo defcribe the nature of our own Faith, that every one may know what it is to Believe.

I Theff. 2. 13.

Although Mofes was endued with the power of Miracles, and converfed with God in the Mount, and spake with him face to face at the door of the Tabernacle: although upon these grounds the Ifraelites believed what he delivered to them as the word of God; yet neither the Miracles nor Mofes did for ever continue with them; and notwithstanding his death, they and their Pofterity to all Generations were obliged to believe the fame truths. Acts 7. 38. Wherefore it is obfervable which S. Stephen faith, he received the lively Oracles to give unto them; the Decalogue he received from the hand of God, written with the finger of God; the reft of the divine patefactions he wrote himself, and fo delivered them not a mortal word to die with Aófia ära. him, but living Oracles, to be in force when he was dead, and oblige the people to a belief, when his Rod had ceafed to broach the Rocks and divide the Seas. Neither did he only tie them to a belief of what he wrote himself, but by foretelling and defcribing the Prophets which fhould be raifed in future Ages, he put a farther obligation upon them to believe their Prophecies as the Revelations of the fame God. Thus all the Ifraelites, in all Ages, believed Mofes, while he lived, by believing his words; John 5.46,47. after his death, by believing his writings. Had ye believed Mofes, faith our Saviour, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how fhall ye believe my words? Wherefore the Faith of the Ifraelites in the Land of Canaan was an Affent unto the truths of the


Law as credible upon the teftimony of God delivered unto them in the
Writings of Mofes and the Prophets.

In the like manner is it now with us. For although Chrift first published the Gospel to those who beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten John 1. 14. of the Father; although the Apostles first converted thofe unto the Faith who heard them fpeak with Tongues they never learn'd, they never heard before, and discover the thoughts of men they never faw before; who faw the lame to walk, the blind to fee, the dead to revive, and the living to expire at their command: yet did not these Apostles prolong their lives by virtue of that power which gave fuch teftimony to their Doctrine, but rather fhortned them by their conftant atteftation to the truth of that Doctrine farther confirmed by their death. Nor did that power of frequent and ordinary miraculous operations long furvive them; and yet they left as great an obligation upon the Church in all fucceeding Ages to believe all the truths which they delivered, as they had put upon thofe perfons who heard their words and faw their works; because they wrote the fame truths which they spake, affifted in writing by the fame Spirit by which they spake, and therefore require the fame readiness of affent fo long as the fame truths fhall be preferved by those Writings. While Mofes lived and fpake as a Mediator between God and the Ifraelites, they believed his words, and fo the Prophets while they preached. When Mofes was gone up to Mount Nebo, and there died, when the reft of the Prophets were gathered to their Fathers, they believed their Writings, and the whole object of their Faith was contained in them. When the Son of God came into the World to reveal the will of his Father, when he made known unto the Apostles, as his friends, all things that he had heard of the father, then did the Apostles John 15. 157 believe the Writings of Mofes and the Prophets, and the words of Christ, and in these taken together was contained the entire object of their Faith, and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jefus had faid. John 2. 22. When Chrift was afcended up into Heaven, and the Holy Ghost came down, when the words which Chrift had taught the Apoftles were preached by them, and many thousand Souls converted to the Faith, they believed the Writings of the Prophets and the Words of the Apostles; and in these two was comprifed the complete object of their Faith. When the Apostles themselves departed out of this life, and confirmed the truth of the Gospel preached by the last of sufferings, their death, they left the fumm of what they had received, in writing, for the continuation of the Faith in the Churches which they had planted, and the propagation thereof in other John 20.31. b Eph. 2.20. places, by those which fucceeded them in their ordinary function, but were Prophetæ & not to come near them in their extraordinary gifts. These things were Apoftoli, fuwritten, faith St. John, the longest Liver, and the latest Writer, that ye nium Ecclefimight believe, that Jefus is the Chrift, the Son of God, and that be- arum fundalieving ye might have life through his name.

[ocr errors]


per quos om

menta locantur. S. Hieron.

no. Ruff. ib.

Thofe Chriftians then which have lived fince the Apostles death, and in Pfal. 17. never obtain❜d the wish of St. Auguftin, to fee either Chrift upon Earth, or Super Prophetas ædifiSt. Paul in the Pulpit, have believed the Writings of Mofes and the Pro- catur orbis phets, of the Apostles and Evangelifts, in which together is fully compre- terrarum,crehended whatsoever may properly be termed matter of divine Faith; and dens in Domifob the boufhold of God is built upon the Foundation of the Apostles and *Durand. 1.3. Prophets, who are continued unto us only in their Writings, and by them Dist. 24. q. 1. alone convey unto us the truths which they received from God, upon whofe teftimony we believe. And therefore he which put their Writings into affentimus dithe definition of Faith, confidering Faith as now it stands with us, is none &tis Scripturæ of the smallest of the *School-men. From whence we may at laft con- thoritatem clude, that the true nature of the Faith of a Christian, as the state of Chrift's Dei revelan

C 2.

$9. Fides eft

habitus quo

propter au

Church tis.

Church now stands and fhall continue to the end of the World, confists in this, that it is an Affent unto truths credible upon the teftimony of God delivered unto us in the Writings of the Apostles and Prophets.

To believe therefore as the word ftands in the front of the CREED, and not only fo, but is diffused through every Article and Propofition of it, is to affent to the whole and every part of it, as to a certain and infallible truth revealed by God (who by reafon of his infinite knowledge cannot be deceived, and by reafon of his tranfcendent holiness cannot deceive) and delivered unto us in the Writings of the bleffed Apostles and Prophets immediately infpired, moved and acted by God, out of whofe Writings this Oux as ido- brief fumm of neceffary points of Faith was firft*collected. And as this is evalgos properly to believe, which was our firft confideration; fo to fay I believe, is to make a confeffion or external Expreffion of the Faith, which is the fecond confideration propounded.

συνετέθη τὰ

wists, a

ἐκ πάτης

γραφῆς τα και ριώτατα

x pia avar egi 7 & wididao

σεως καλίαν.

Cyril. Catech.

te foliciti, ex

pturarum col

mentis. Eufeb.

Gall. in Sym.


[ocr errors]

unde credere


Faith is an habit of the intellectual part of man, and therefore of it self invifible; and to believe is a spiritual act, and confequently immanent and internal, and known to no man but him who believeth: For what man knoweth the things of a man, fave the spirit of a man which is in him? Wherefore Chrift being not only the great Apoftle, fent to deliver these revealed truths, and fo the Author of our Faith, but also the Head of the Patres de po- Church, whofe Body confifteth of faithful Members, and fo the Author of pulorum falu- union and communion, which principally hath relation to the unity of diverfis volu- Faith, he must needs be imagin'd to have appointed fome external exprefminibus Scri- fion and communication of it: efpecially confidering that the found of the legerunt tefti- Apostles was to go forth unto the ends of the World, and all Nations to be monia divinis called to the profeffion of the Gofpel, and gathered into the Church of gravidaSacra- Chrift; which cannot be performed without an acknowledgment of the truth, and a profession of Faith, without which no entrance into the 1 Cor. 2. 11. Church, no admittance to Baptifm. What doth hinder me to be baptiAct. 8. 36, zed? faith the Eunuch. And Philip faid, If thou believeft with all thine Rom. 10. 10. heart, thou mayeft. And he answered and faid, I believe that Jefus Habes,homo, Chrift is the Son of God. So believing with all his heart, as Philip required, debeas, corde and making profeffion of that Faith, he was admitted. For with the fit confeffio heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confeffion is ad juftitiam; made unto falvation. The belief of the heart is the internal habit refidebeas confi- ding in the Soul, and act of Faith proceeding from it, but terminated in the teri, ore con- fame. The confeffion of the mouth is an external fignification of the inward falutem. habit or act of Faith, by words expreffing an acknowledgment of those Chryfol, S. 56. truths which we believe or affent to in our Souls. †The ear receiveth the + Sermo creat word, faith cometh by hearing; the ear conveyeth it to the heart, which ditus concipit being opened receiveth it, receiving believeth it; and then out of the abunfidem, credu- dance of the heart the mouth speaketh. In the heart Faith is feated; with * confeffion is made; between these two falvation is completed. tongue If thou shalt confefs with thy mouth the Lord Jefus, and shalt believe credulitas nu- in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be faperpetuam ved. This Faith of the heart every one ought, and is prefum'd to have; dat falutem, this confeffion of the mouth every one is known to make, when he pronounChryfol.Serm. ceth these words of the CREED, I believe; and if true, he may with d Mat. 12.34. comfort fay, the word of Faith is nigh me, even in my mouth and in my * Magnum fi- heart: firft in my heart really affenting, then in my mouth clearly and finfidei noftræ cerely profeffing with the Prophet David, & I have believed, therefore

habes unde

feffio fit ad

litatem partu-
rit fides, con-
feffionem e

trit, confeffio


lioli, per hoc

videmus effe.


compendium, quando inter cor & linguam totum falutis humanæ verfatur & geritur Sacramentum. Chryfol. Serm. 56. Quod à te & pro te repofcitur, intra te eft, i. e. oris famulatus & cordis affectus. Eufeb. Gall.

e Rom. 10. 9.

Rom. 10. 8. De hoc fine dubio legimus per Prophetam, propè eft, inquit, in ore tuo, & in corde tuo. Euseb. Gal. 8 Pfal. 116. 10.

have I spoken. Thus briefly from the fecond Confideration concerning Confeffion implied in the first words I believe, we fhall pafs unto the third Confideration, of the neceffity and particular obligation to fuch a Confeffion.




If there were no other Argument, yet being the Object of Faith is fuppofed infallibly true, and acknowledged to be fo by every one that believeth, being it is the nature of Truth not to hide it felf, but rather to defire the light that it might appear; this were fufficient to move us to a Confeffion of our Faith. But befides the nature of the thing, we shall find many Arguments obliging, preffing, urging us to fuch a profeffion. For firft, from the fame God, and by the fame means by which we have received the Object of our Faith, by which we came under a poffibility of Faith, we have alfo received an exprefs command to make a Confession of the fame: Bex Pet. 3. 15. ready, faith St. Peter, always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reafon of the hope that is in you; and there can be no reason of hope but what is grounded on Faith, nor can there be an Anfwer given unto that without an acknowledgment of this. Secondly, 'tis true indeed that the great promises of the Gospel are made unto Faith, and glorious things are Ipoken of it; but the fame promises are made to the Confeffion of Faith to- b Rom. 10.10. gether with it; and we know who it is hath faid, Whosoever shall confefs Mat. 10. 32. me before men, him will I confefs alfo before my Father which is in Heaven. Befides, the profeffion of the Faith of one Christian confirmeth, and edifieth another in his, and the mutual benefit of all layeth an obligation upon every particular. Again, the Matters of Faith contain fo much purity of Doctrine, perfuade fuch holiness of life, defcribe God fo infinitely glorious, fo tranfcendently gracious, fo loving in himself, fo merciful in his Son, fo wonderful in all his works, that the fole confeffion of it glorifieth God; and how can we expect to enter into that glory which is none of ours, if we deny God that glory which is his? Laftly, the concealing thofe truths which he hath revealed, the not acknowledging that Faith which we are thought to believe, is fo far from giving God that glory which is due unto him, that it dishonoureth the Faith which it refufeth or neglecteth to profefs, and cafteth a kind of contumely upon the Author of it, as if God had revealed that which man fhould be ashamed to acknowledge. Wherefore he that came to fave us hath also faid unto us, Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and & Luke 9. 26. of my words, of him fhall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he shall* xavova come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy Angels. Such an i a neceffity there is of Confeffion of Faith, in refpect of God, who com- xalexavovala manded it, and is glorified in it; in refpect of our felves, who fhall be rewarded for it; and in refpect of our Brethren, who are edified and con- Iren. l. 1. c. 1. firmed by it. Which neceffity the Wisdom of the Church in former Ages bus & teftatio have thought a fufficient ground to command the recitation of the CREED fidei & fponat the * first initiation into the Church by Baptifm, (for which purpose fio falutis pigit was taught and expounded to those which were to be baptized imme- ceffario adji

το βαπλίσμα τα εἴληφε.

norentur, ne

citur Ecclefiæ

mentio, quoniam ubi tres, id eft, Pater, Filius, & Spiritus San&us, ibi Ecclefia, quæ trium corpus eft. Tertul. de Baptif. In quem tingere ? in pœnitentiam? quo ergò illi præcurforem? in peccatorum remiffionem quam verbo dabat? in femetipfum, quem humilitate celabat? in Spiritum Sanctum qui nondum à Patre defcenderat? in Ecclefiam, quam nondum Apoftoli ftruxerant? Id. Dehinc ter mergimur, amplius aliquid refpondentes quàm Dominus in Evangelio determinavit. Id. de Cor. Militis. Sed & ipfa interrogatio quæ fit in Baptifmo teftis eft veritatis, nam cum dicimus, Credis in vitam aternam, & remissionem peccatorum per fanctam Ecclefiam? intelligimus remiffionem peccatorum non nifi in Ecclefia dari. S. Cyprianus, Ep. ad Januarium, &c. Quod fi aliquis illud opponit, ut dicat eandem Novatianum Legem tenere quam Catholica Ecclefia teneat, eodem Symbolo quo & nos baptizare, eundem nôffe Deum Patrem, eundem Filium Chriftum, eundem Spiritum Sanctum, ac propterea ufurpare eum poteftatem baptizandi poffe quod videatur in interrogatione Baptifmi à nobis non difcrepare: fciat quifquis hoc opponendum putat, non effe unam nobis & fchifmaticis Symboli Legem, neque eandem interrogationem. Nam cum dicunt, Credis remiffionem peccatorum, & vitam aternam per Santtam Ecclefiam? mentiuntur in interrogatione, quando non habeant Ecclefiam. Idem Epift. ad Magnum. Mos ibi (id eft Roma) fervatur antiquus, eos qui gratiam Baptifmi fufcepturi funt, publicè, i. e. fidelium populo audiente, Symbolum reddere. Ruffin in Symb. Solenne eft in lavacro, poft Trinitatis confeflionem interrogare, Credis in Sanctam Ecclefiam? Credis remiffionem peccatorum? S. Hieron. contra Lucifer. Mens Hæretica reliquit Doctorem à quo fidem Ecclefiæ didicerat, oblita eft pacti Dei fui, hoc eft, fidei ipfius Dominicæ quæ in Symbo


« السابقةمتابعة »