Page images

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 such 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 thesë latter Ages, who have erected a new Body of Divinity in opposition to the Catholick Theology. Against these" I proceed upon such Principles as they themselves allow, that is, upon the Word of God delivered in the Old and New Testament, alledged according to the true sense, and applied by right reason ; not urging the authority of the Church which they reject, but only giving in the Margin the sense of the Primitive Fathers, for the satisfaction of such as have any respeit left for Antiquity, and are persuaded that Chrift had a true Church on the Earth before these times.

In that part, which after the demonftration of each Truth, teacheth the neceffity 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 effects 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 perspicuity. And indeed in the whole Work, as I have laid the foundation upon the written Word of God, so I have with much diligence colle&ted such places of Scripture as are pertinent to each Do&trine, and with great faithfulness delivered them as they lie in the Writings of those hoły 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 Exposition, so that the

Reader may understand the strength of all my ReaJon without any farther enquiry or consultation. For if those words which I have produced, prove not what I have intended, I desire not any to think there is more in the places named to maintain it.

At the conclusion of every diftin&t and several Notion, I have res collected briefly and plainly the sum of what hath been delivered in 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 profesion. 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.


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Believe in God the Father Almighty, ma

ker of Heaven and Earth: And in Jesus J 1

Chust his only Son our Lord: Twhich was

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

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of

Heaven and Earth.


S the first Word Credo, I believe, giverh 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 expressid, but to be carried
through the whole Body of the Confession. For although

it be but twice actually rehearsed, yet 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 first, 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 td 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 Confession 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 :


[ocr errors]

Faith: and consequently this word, so used, admits a threefold Consideration. First, as it supposeth Belief, or Faith, which is confessed. Secondly, as it is a Confession, or external expression of that Faith so fupposed. 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 confessing of our Faith ; Thirdly, what obligation lies upon every particular person to believe and confess; then may we be conceived to have fufficiently explicated 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 Assent to that which is Credible, as Clem. Alex. Credible. By the word * Asent is expressed that Act or Habit of the Un

is er goederstanding, by which it receiveth, acknowledgeth and embraceth ληψις εκούσιος

any is v, Siost- 'thing as a Truth; it being the nature of the Soul fo to embrace whatsoβίας συγκα

ever appeareth true unto it, and so far as it so appeareth. Now this Af 766. SEGis. Sirom. lib. 2. sent, or Judgment of any thing to be true, being a general Act of the UnSt. Bafil. derstanding, and so applicable to f other Habits thereof as well as to Faith, Πίσις και ουν isi culxalé

must be specified by its proper Object, and so limited and determined to its Secus didic proper Act, which is the other part left to complete the Definition. xe

This Object of Faith is expreis’d by that which is Credible ; for every ακαθένων εν πληροφορία

one who believeth any thing, doth thereby without question assent unto it Η αληθείας as to that which is credible ; and therefore all belief whatsoever is such a next kind of Assent. But though all belief be an Affent to that which is Crediτων Θεού χάext, after ble, yet every such Assent may not be properly Faith ; and therefore those , .

words make not the Definition complete. For he which sees an action done, ans, 'Oescovo

knows it to be done, and therefore assents unto the truth of the perfor

mance of it because he fees it: but another person to whom he relates it, Βασιλάδα και σίσιν ψυχής

may assent unto the performance of the same action, not because himself culege Secon sees it, but because the other relates it; in which case that which is Credi

9cCoy w pass to ble is the Object of Faith in one, of evident knowledge in the other. To en de motor on the make the definition therefore full

, besides the material Object or Thing beTò wagei- lieved, we have added the formal Object, or that whereby it is properly be

lieved, expressed in the last term, as Credible, which being taken in, it then Theodoret. de appears, that, First, whosoever believeth any thing, assenteth to something Prov. Serm.I. which is to him credible, and that as ʼtis credible; and again, whosoever

it was assenteth to any thing which is credible, as ’tis credible, believeth something τερον λόον,

by so assenting : which is sufficient to shew the definition complete. Exścia fuxis ovlxellel.Secis. And yet he also afterwards acknowledgeth they had that definition from the Greeks. This peties η πίσιν και οι υμέτεροι φιλόσοφοι ωρίσαντο είναι εθελέσιον τψυχής συγκατάθεσιν. Credere eft cum affenfu cogitare, S. August. Et de Sp. c Lit. cap. Quid eft credere, nisi consentire verum esse quod dicitur ? so I take the cosa xalétitis used by the Greek Fathers to signify affenfum or affenfionem, as A. Gellius translateth the Stoick, cvikt747056), fuâ affentione approbat, l. 19. 1. and before him Cicero, nunc de assensione atque approbatione, quam Græci cufxalc.Tecu vocant, pauca dicamus, in Lucullo. So etisia and ovlxx?ch. Fecis are opposed by the Greekş. As Sextus Empiricus speaking of Admetus, seeing Alcestis brought back by Hercules from Hades, 'Etsi jejátos zde ότι τέθνηκε σελεσάτο αυτού η διάνοια δύο του καταθέσεως, και προς άπισίαν έκλινε, Pyrrh. Hypot. 1. 13. 3. aatrs si luxhoudé7076 xE, to feuda dve zopefán dic7635 ay, dnes se pare dangos wer7ws on tugese Simplic

. in 3. Arift. de Anima Cl. Αlex. 1. 2. Strom. Kάν τις ταληθές σκοπή, ουρήσει τ άνθρωπον φύσει διαβεβλημύον και προς τ' τα ψύdes ovfxce?cé.Seciv, özovice dooguias aegis wisw ránngoos

. As ourxad.ticis the Greek word used for this Allent is applied to other. Acts of the understanding as cuell as that of belief. So Clemens Alexandrinus, speaking of the definition of Faith, "Αλλοι δ' αφανούς πράματG- ενοικίω συ[κατάθεσιν απέδωκαν είναι ή πίσιν, ώστες αμέλα τ' λεδεξιν αίνος με τον Γκαίο- φανεραν συκαλάθεσιν, Strom. 1. 2. And again, Πάτα ούν δόξα, και κρίσις και σίληψις οίς ζω μου και σώεσμόν αίείετω γένει ή ανθρώπων, συκαλάθεσις έσιν ή δ' ουδέν άλλο ή πίσις είη αν και τα υπισία, λύπούσαcieniste , ésty ji

, * crisia, qis our tistws, duc? l deixyuri f ovviale sain to a wiser.


de Fide.
The Basilidi-


[ocr errors]

vus, Clem.

[ocr errors]

Alex. lib. 2.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

non habent fi

cap. 5.

[ocr errors]

effe quod

But for the explication of the fame, farther observations will be neceffary. For if that which we believe be fomething 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 Belief.

Now that is properly Credible which is not apparent of it felf, nor cerfainly to be collected, either antecedently by its cause, or reversly by its effect, and yet, though by none of these ways, hath the attestation of a truth. For those things which are apparent of themselves, are either so in respect of our sense, as that snow is white, and fire is hot ; or in respect of our understanding, as thar 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 sense; 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 rent, are not said properly to be believed, but to be known.

dem, fed agAgain, other things, though not immediately apparent in themselves, nitionem. may yet appear most certain and evidently true, by an immediate and Greg. 4. Dial. necessary connexion with something formerly known. For, being every Frides oculos 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 caufe ; therefore there must be an immediate citerque connexion between the cause and its effect. From whence it follows, that, nondum viif the connexion be onee 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 from principles evidently known by consequences certainly concluding, fe videre

. we come to the knowledge of propositions in Mathematicks, and conclu- quod credit,

S. August. Epo fions in other Sciences : which propofitions and conclusions are not said 222. to be Credible, but Scientifical ; and the comprehension of them is not Faith, but Science.

Besides, some 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 fome 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 Asent. In which cafe, whatsoever is thus apprehended, if it depend upon real Arguments, is not yet callid Credible, but Probable; and an Assent to such a truth is not properly Faith, but Opinion.

But when any thing propounded to us is neither apparent to our sense, por evident to our understanding, in and of it self, neither certainly to be collected from any clear and necessary connexion with the cause from which it proceedeth, 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, but attestation of the truth, and to 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.

Having thus defined and illustrated the nature of Faith in general, so far as it agreeth to all kinds of belief whatsoever ; our method will lead us wisus. on to descend by way of division, to the several kinds thereof, till at last we come to the proper notion of Faith in the Christian's Confeffion, the design of our present difquisition, and being we have placed the formality of

B 2



Probl. 18. 3. as die Frage

τύρων ραδιοι

« PreviousContinue »