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Secondly, To do aright, for which we have a Rule of Life and Manners, fumm'd up in the Decalogue or Ten. Commandments.

Thirdly, To pray aright, for which we have a Rule of Devotion, fumm'd up in the Lord's Prayer. These three great Models of the Chriftian Religion, make up this Second Part of our Catechifm; which being to be learnt and obferv'd by all Chriftians in the whole Course of their Lives, muft be particularly handled and explain'd to us. Accordingly therefore I shall begin,

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First, With the Rule of Faith, that teaches to believe aright, which is fumm'd up for us in the Apoftles Creed to this the fifth Queftion and Anfwer of the Catechifm lead us, in which the Catechumen is bid to rehearse the Articles of his Belief.

The Anfwer whereunto, is in the words of the Creed, I believe in God, &c. But before I enter upon the Explication of it, 'twill be requifite to premife fomething by way of Introduction, touching the Name, the Authority, and the Antiquity of this Creed; together with the Obligation that lies upon every baptiz'd Chriftian to retain and adhere to it: which I fhall endeavour to do from thefe Words of the Apostle, Hold fast the Form of Sound Words, which thou hast heard, &c. Where I must enquire,

I. What we are to understand by this Form of Sound Words.

II. How it was deliver'd, imply'd in thofe words, Which thou hast heard of me.

III. What is meant by Holding it faft in Faith and Love, which is in Chrift Fefus.

I. By the Form of Sound Words, fome understand the intire Body of the Holy Scriptures, which containing a perfect Revelation of Divine Truths, may in a large Senfe be fyl'd, The Chriftian's Creed: But because the neceffary Points of Faith lie there difpers'd up and down, and are hardly diftinguish'd by vulgar Minds from Matters of leffer moment, it was thought requifite to compofe fuch a brief Summary of the Fundamental Doctrines neceffary to be believ'd in order to Salvation, as might be easily learnt and remembred by all concern'd to know them; and therefore this Form of Sound Words has been both by antient and modern



Interpreters expounded of the Apoftles Creed, which being a fhort, but complete Model of the Chriftian Faith, is to be learnt and understood of all that are receiv'd by Baptifm into the Chriftian Church.

And here for the better understanding of this excellent Model, we are firft to confider, the Name or Titles given to it, which from the first word of it, in Latin, Credo, receiv'd the Name or Denomination of Creed; and from the fame word in English, I believe, 'tis often ftyl'd the Belief: both which fignify it to be a Summary of the Fundamental Articles of the Chriftian Faith. The Greek Name of it is EuConov, which has various Significations, and is fuppos'd to be given to the Creed for different Reasons.

Sometimes it fignifies a fhot or fhare which every one of the Guests cafts in towards a Reckoning or Entertainmennt and fome have thought this Name given to it, from each of the Apoftles contributing his Article towards the Com→ pofure; the whole confifting of Twelve in Number, accora ding to the Number of the Twelve Apostles.

Sometimes it fignifies a Bond, Contract or Agreement, or a Pledge and Earneit of a Bargain; for which reason, the Creed is faid to be a Profeffion or Contract made in Baptifm about the Matter and Measure of our Faith; wherein the feveral Articles of our Belief are fo many Articles of our Covenant with God, from which if we recede, we break our Covenant, and forfeit all the Privileges of our Baptism.

Sometimes again, this word is fet to fignify fuch a Token or Mark as is wont to pafs between Friends and Allies, to procure for any the more kind and friendly Reception; and of this Nature and Ufe is or ought to be the Profeffion of the Creed in all Chriftian Churches, where whofoever brings this Teffera or Token with him, is to be receiv'd as á Brother; but if any come and bring not this Doctrine, St. John wills us not to receive him into our Houfes, nor to wish him God-Speed; 2 Epift. 10, ft. Again, this word

Coxov is fometimes taken for a military Flag or Banner by which Soldiers are known to what Captain or General they belong: and this very fitly futes the Creed, the Profeffion whereof is a Badge or Cognizance of a Soldier of Chrift: it fhews that we belong to him as the Captain and General of our Salvation, and that we fight under his Banner against his and our Enemies.

Laftly, EuConov is frequently taken for a Watch-word, whereby the Soldiers of an Army are known and distin


guifh'd from the Enemy: and this is very properly apply'd to the Creed, because the Profeffion thereof ferves to diftinguifh Chriftians from Heathens, Hereticks, and all other Enemies of the Christian Faith. This for the Name; I proceed,

2dly, To confider the Authors and Authority of the Creed, and this hath been generally afcrib'd to the Holy Apostles: which we have the fame Reafon to believe, as that the feveral Books of the Holy Scriptures are to be afcrib'd to those Authors whofe Names they bear; both being equally confirm'd by the concurrent Teftimony of the Fathers, and deliver'd down by the Tradition of the Church in all Ages. Neither hath this been deny'd, or fo much as doubted of by any before this late unhappy Age, in which fome have call'd in queftion the very Articles of the Creed as well as the Authors of it; and the better to deftroy the Credit of the one, have labour'd hard to undermine the Authority of the other. And yet they, who have thus attempted to fhake the Authority of the Creed, have never ventur'd to affign any other Authors, tho the Authors of all the other Creeds are well known, and we can affign by what Fathers and Councils they were compos'd; yet this excellent Compendium, which is the Foundation of all the other, hath never been afcrib'd to any but the Holy Apoftles: and therefore it was wifely and worthily faid of the Royal Martyr King Charles the First, I fhall believe that the Apoftles Creed was made by them (fuch Reverence I bear to the Church's • Tradition) until other Authors be certainly found out.' 5th Paper to Henderson.


3dly, For the Antiquity of the Creed, or the Time of its Compofure; this hath been juftly fuppos'd to be more tient than the Writings of the Apoftles, who in many of their Epiftles feem to refer to it.

Now the Account which Ruffinus and many other Fathers give of the Time, Manner, and Reafon of this Compofure, is briefly this; viz. After the Afcenfion of our bleffed Saviour into Heaven, and the Defcent of the Holy Ghost that follow'd thereupon, the Apoftles were both enabled and fent to preach the Gofpel to the most remote and barbarous Nations. And being qualify'd for, and authoriz❜d to this Charge, before their departure from Jerufalem to their feveral Provinces, they affembled together, and by Affiftance from above compil'd and agreed upon this brief Summary, as a conftant and uniform Rule of Faith to all


their Auditories, that, both they might preach, and others hear the fame Truths in Places where they came.

This is hinted at by the Apoftles in fundry places of their Epiftles: St. Paul in his Epiftle to the Romans ftyles it, a Form of Doctrine which was deliver'd to them, and which they heartily receiv'd and obey'd; Rom. 6. 17. In the 12th Chapter,ver. 6. 'tis call'd the Analogy or Proportion of Faith: where, as Beza and other Expofitors tell us, is a plain Reference to the Apostles Creed, which is there made the Rule not only of Faith, but Prophecy, and a ftanding Direction for the true Interpretation of Holy Scripture.


In his Epifte to the Corinthians, he calls it the Milk that is to be given to Babes in Chrift, to prepare them to receive ftronger Meat, 1 Cor. 3. 2: In the fame Chapter, verfe 10. he ftyles it the Foundation, which he, as a Mafter-builder had laid, that others might build on to Perfection, and raise these Fundamentals the Structure of their Faith and Hopes of Salvation; withal cautioning them to take heed what they builded thereupon, viz. That they laid not upon it the Hay and Stubble of Errors and Divifions, but only the Gold and Precious Stones of Unity and found Doctrine and they that do so, are faid to build upon the Foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jefus Christ himself being the chief Corner-Stone.


In his Epiftle to the Ephefians, it is call'd the One Faith, by which they were admitted to One Baptifm, Eph. 4. 5. by which we are to understand this Form of Sound Words, or Ground-work of the Chriftian Faith, which was to be receiv'd and rehears'd by all that were to be baptiz'd.

In the Epistle of St. Jude, 'tis call'd the Faith once deliver'd to the Saints, ver. 3. that is once for all, being handed down one and the fame, in all Times, and to all Places and Perfons.

In St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians, he wills them to walk by the fame Rule, and not only to think but to speak the fame thing; Phil. 3. 15, 16. meaning that they should both live and believe by this Form of Sound Words, and make the Creed the Rule of their Words and Actions.

In his Epiftle to Timothy, in the next words to our Text, he ftyles this Form of Sound Words, The Depofitum or good Thing committed to his Charge; which both St. Chryfoftom and St. Ferom interpret of the Apostles Creed.

The Author to the Hebrews calls it, The first Principles of the Oracles of God, Heb. 5. 12. In the next Chapter

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the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ, and the Foundation of Faith towards God, and the Refurrection of the Dead ; Heb. 6. I.

Ail which, by the unanimous Confent of the most learned Men, are to be understood of this Rule of Faith, compriz'd and deliver'd down to us in the Apostles Creed.

But why did the Apostles compile this Rule of Faith, and order it to be preferv'd and handed down to all Ages? Why, this was done chiefly for these two Reasons.

1. That it might serve as a Touchstone to try and examine all Doctrines by; for both Chrift and his Apostles forewarn'd the Difciples of falfe Teachers and falje Prophets, that should arife in the latter Days and deceive many, of whom our Saviour wills them to beware: And the Apostles caution them, not to believe every Spirit, but to try the Spirits whether they be of God; 1 John 4. 1. And because we should not want a Rule to try them by, they have left us this Touchftone, to which we are to bring them; and if they speak not according to this, 'tis because there is no Truth in them: and therefore the Apostle wills us to reject any Doctrine that is contrary to this, tho it be preach'd and pretended to come from an Angel of Heaven. Accordingly we find the Fathers making this a Teft or Mark of Diftinction between Believers and Unbelievers? fo that if any falfe Brother fhould creep in, he fhould, as a Father directs, be ask'd his Creed, to fee whether he be a Friend or a Foe, one that owns the Chriftian Faith, or an Infidel, and be receiv'd or rejected accordingly.

2. This Form of Sound Words was compos'd to be a Bond, not only of Faith but Charity, to unite Chriftians in the Foundations of Religion, that they may be the better built up in their most Holy Faith, and edify'd in Love and Charity. Experience teaches us, that Religion hath a mighty Influence upon the Hearts and Lives of Men, in which Unity begets Peace and Love, whereas Hatred and Animofity are the natural Effects of Divifion; and 'tis evident, that the Harmony of Faith and Worship is neceffary to create a Harmony of Minds and Affections: For thefe among other Reafons it was, that the Apoftles, not withput the Aid and Affiftance of the Holy Ghoft, indited this Form of Sound Words to be learn'd and receiv'd by all, that by Baptifm are to be admitted into the Chriftian Church. And thus having fhew'd what is meant by this


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