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churches are successively noticed. After which, some mention is made of the Symbolic Books of the Churches of Scotland and Ireland ; and of the Symbolic Books of the Anabaptists and Quakers.

CONFESSIONS OF FAITH.

CHAP. I.

THE SYMBOLIC BOOKS RECEIVED BY ALL CHRISTIAN

CHURCHES, AND SOME OBSERVATIONS ON THE

SYMBOL OF ST. ATHANASIUS.

All Christian Churches receive the symbol of the Apostles, and the Nicene symbol.

As the symbol of St. Athanasius is received by the roman-catholic, and many other christian • churches, some mention of it, in this place, seems proper.

I. 1.

The Symbol of the Apostles. The first of the christian creeds in antiquity, confessedly is, the symbol of the Apostles. On the origination of it, there are different opinions : some writers have supposed, that the Apostles, be

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fore their dispersion, agreed on its several articles. An ancient tradition, recorded by Rufinus, mentions, that each of the Apostles contributed to it a sentence; and a writer, under the name of St. Austin, proceeds so far as to assign to each Apostle, the article, which he contributed. This tradition, and still more the improvement on it, have greatly the air of a fable : and even the opinion, which generally attributes the symbol to the Apostles, is open to serious objection. If it were their composition, it seems unaccountable, that it should not be mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles; that no reference to it should be found in any of the apostolic epistles; that it was not included among the canonical writings; and that, when the council of Ephesus, and afterwards the council of Chalcedon, proscribed all creeds, except the Nicene, neither of them excepted the symbol of the Apostles from the general proscription. Without discussing any of these opinions, it is sufficient for the present purpose to state, in the words of Mr. Grabe, adopted by Mr. Bingham, (Ecc. Ant. Book x. l. 4.) “ that the symbol of the Apostles unquestionably contains the Articles of Faith, solemnly professed by the first christians, in their confessions, in the Apostles' days, by their authority, or at least with their approbation.” It has been called by several titles. In the course of time, it acquired the name, both in the eastern and in the western churches, of the symbol of the Apostles ;

but, in England, it is more frequently called the Apostles' Creed.

I. 2.

The Nicene Symbol.

This ancient and important document of christian faith, in its original form, was published by the council of Nice. It was enlarged by the second general council of Constantinople. As it was settled at that council, the form of it is the same as that, which is used in the roman-catholic and protestant liturgies. At an early period, the word Filioque, to express the procession of the Holy Ghost, both from the Father and the Son, was inserted in it, by the latin church. It is recited in the first council of Bracara, in 411; and in the third council of Toledo, in 589.

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The Symbol of St. Athanasius. The symbol, which bears the nawe of St. Athanasius, has its place in the roman-catholic and some protestant liturgies. Whether St. Athanasius were the author of it, has been disputed with great erudition, by the learned of both communions. It is observable, ist, that in his epistle to the people of Antioch, St. Athanasius explicitly declares, that, “ perfectly acquiescing in the Nicene symbol, it

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