to destroy the law, but to fulfil" (S. Matt. v. 17); in the special teaching of the sermon on the mount, in which the moral law is enforced, explained, and expanded (S. Matt. v. 21-48); in the reply to the question concerning "the great commandment" (S. Matt. xxii. 37-40); and in the frequent insistence on the duties of the moral law in S. Paul's Epistles (see especially Rom. xiii. 8-10).


De Tribus Symbolis.

Symbola tria, Nicænum, Athanasii, et quod vulgo Apostolorum appellatur, omnino recipienda sunt et credenda. Nam firmissimis Scripturarum testimoniis probari possunt.

Of the Three Creeds.

The three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius' Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.

THERE has been but little alteration in this Article since 1553. At the revision of 1563 the words "and believed" (et credenda) were inserted; and in 1571 in Latin the word Apostolorum was substituted for the adjective Apostolicum, which had stood there previously.

With the language of the Article may be compared that of the Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticarum :

"Et quoniam omnia ferme, quæ ad fidem spectant Catholicam, tum quoad beatissimam Trinitatem, tum quoad mysteria nostræ redemptionis, tribus Symbolis, hoc est, Apostolico, Niceno, et Athanasii, breviter continentur; idcirco ista tria Symbola, ut fidei nostræ compendia quædam, recipimus et amplectimus, quod firmissimis divinarum et canonicarum scripturarum testimoniis facile probari possint."1

An Article on this subject asserting definitely the adherence of the Church of England to the ancient creeds of the Church Catholic was rendered necessary



1 Ref. Legum. Eccl. "De Summa Trinitate et Fide Catholica," ch. 5.

by the spread of Anabaptism, the leaders of which utterly ignored and set aside these summaries of the faith, together with the faith itself contained in them.

The subjects to be considered in connection with this Article are four in number :

1. Creeds in general.

2. The Apostles' Creed. 3. The Nicene Creed.

4. The Athanasian Creed.

I. Of Creeds in General.

The origin of creeds must be sought in the baptismal service of the Church. Our Lord's command to His apostles had been to make disciples of all nations by baptizing them into the name

(1) Of the Father;

(2) Of the Son;

(3) Of the Holy Ghost.

Hence comes the threefold division of all the ancient creeds,1 referring to the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity, and their work. In consequence of this command we find that from the earliest times some profession of faith was required from candidates for baptism, and that for this purpose short summaries of the main doctrines of Christianity were drawn up. It is possible to see in some passages of the New Testament indications of regular formularies in use even in apostolic days. the statement in 1 Cor. viii. 6 looks very much like a reminiscence of one such :—


"To us there is one God the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto Him; and one Lord Jesus

1 The Athanasian Creed is, of course, an exception, but it is scarcely a creed. It should be regarded rather as an Expositio Fidei, or even

as a Canticle.

Christ, through whom are all things, and we through
Him." 1

So the summary in 1 Tim. iii. 16 is commonly thought to contain a fragment of an early creed or hymn

"He who was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,

Seen of angels,

Preached among the nations,
Believed on in the world,

Received up in glory."


Again, according to the received text of Acts viii. 37,
when the Ethiopian eunuch says, "See, here is water;
what doth hinder me to be baptized?" Philip's answer
is, "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest."
Whereupon the eunuch makes his profession of faith:
"I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
words are, however, universally regarded as an interpola-
tion. They were probably inserted in order to bring the
account into harmony with the requirements of the bap-
tismal service. They cannot, therefore, be appealed to as
a witness of the apostolic age, but as the interpolation
was made before the days of Irenæus (A.D. 180), who
quotes the whole passage with the inserted words, it may
fairly be taken as a witness to the practice of the Church
somewhere about the middle of the second century.
About the close of this century we meet with a definite
statement in the writings of Tertullian, that the profession
of faith required at baptism was somewhat amplified from
the simple form of belief in the threefold name enjoined
in the Gospel. And since, even earlier than this, several
writers,5 when summing up the faith of the Church, give
it in a form closely corresponding to the creeds used later
1 Cf. 1 Cor. xv. 3, 4.

Christological confessions seem also to be implied in Rom. x. 9; 1 Cor. xii. 3; and 1 John iv. 2 Irenæus, Bk. III. xii. 10; cf. IV. xxxvii. 2. • De Corona Militis, ch. iii.: “Dehinc ter mergitamur, amplius aliquid respondentes quam Dominus in evangelio determinavit."

E.g. Ignatius, Ep. ad Trall. ch. ix.


on, and appear to be alluding to something like a fixed formulary, it is more natural to suppose that they are definitely alluding to the creed, than to think that the creed was subsequently developed from the summaries of the rule of faith as given by them. Thus it is now generally acknowledged that traces of, and allusions to, the creed may be found in such early writers as Aristides and Justin Martyr (circa 140), as well as in Irenæus and Tertullian. The creed of the first-mentioned writer as collected from his Apology, and restored by Professor Rendel Harris, runs as follows:


"We believe in one God, Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth;

And in Jesus Christ His Son
Born of the Virgin Mary;
He was pierced by the Jews:

He died and was buried;

The third day He rose again :

He ascended into heaven;

He is about to come to judge."1

Even if we cannot feel quite certain of the details in all cases there is no longer room for doubt that formal creeds were in use by the middle of the second century, varying to some extent in different churches, but all following the same general outline, and all alike based on the baptismal formula, with its threefold reference to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.2 In the fourth century our knowledge of creeds became much fuller. At

1 Texts and Studies, vol. i. p. 25 (Ed. J. A. Robinson).


2 The "rules of faith as given by Tertullian, Irenæus, and others may be found in Hahn's Bibliothek der Symbole. One from Tertullian is added here as a specimen. De Virg. Vel. 1. "Regula quidem fidei una omnino est, sola immobilis et irreformabilis, credendi scilicet in unicum Deum omnipotentem, mundi conditorem, et Filium ejus Jesum Christum, natum ex Virgine Maria, crucifixum sub Pontio Pilato, tertia dia resusci tatum a mortuis, receptum in cœlis, sedentem nunc ad dexteram Patris,

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