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pect him in his veracity. These were the persons for whom our Saviour next to the apostles prayed, because by a way next to that of the apostles they believed. “ Neither pray 1 for these alone (saith Christ), but for them also who shall believe on me through their word.” (John xvii. 20.) Thus the apostles believed on Christ through his own word, and the primitive Christians believed on the same Christ through the apostles' word, and this distinction our Saviour himself hath clearly made; not that the word of the apostles was really distinct from the word of Christ, but only it was called theirs, because delivered by their ministry, otherwise it was the same word which they had heard from him, and upon which they themselves believed, “That which was from the beginning (saith St. John), which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life, that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you.” (1 John i. 1. 3.) And this was the true foundation of faith in all them who believed, that they took not the words which they heard from the apostles to be the words of the men who spake them, no more than they did the power of healing the sick, or raising the dead, and the rest of the miracles, to be the power of them that wrought them; but as they attributed those miraculous works to God working by them, so did they also that saving word to the same God speaking by them. When St. Paul preached at Antioch, “almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God;" (Acts xiii. 44.) so they esteemed it, though they knew him a man whom they came to hear speak it. This the apostle commendeth in the Thessalonians, 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;' (1 Thess. ii. 13.) and receiving it so, they embraced it as coming from him who could neither deceive nor be deceived, and consequently as infallibly true; and by so embracing it, they assented unto it, by so assenting unto it, they believed it, ultimately upon the testimony of God, immediately upon the testimony of St. Paul, as he speaks himself,“ because our testimony among you was believed.” (2 Thess. i. 10.) Thus the faith of those which were converted by the apostles was an assent unto the word as credible upon the testimony of God delivered to them by a testimony apostolical. Which being thus clearly stated, we may at last descend into our own condition, and so describe the nature of our own faith, that every one may know what it is to believe.
Although Moses was endued with the power of miracles, and conversed with God in the mount, and spake with him face to face at the door of the Tabernacle: although upon these grounds the Israelites believed what he delivered to them as the word of God; yet neither the miracles nor Moses did for ever continue with them; and notwithstanding his death, they and
their posterity to all generations were obliged to believe the same truths. Wherefore it is observable which St. Stephen saith, he “ received the lively oracles to give unto them;" (Acts vii. 38.) the Decalogue he received from the hand of God, is written with the finger of God;" (Exod. xxxi. 18.) the rest of the divine patefactions he wrote himself, and so delivered them not a mortal word to die with him, but living oracles, * to be in force when he was dead, and oblige the people to a belief, when his rod had ceased 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 describing the prophets which should be raised in future ages, he put a farther obligation upon them to believe their prophecies as the revelations of the same God. Thus all the Israelites, in all ages, believed Moses: while he lived, by believing his words; after his death, by believing his writings. “ Had ye believed Moses (saith our Saviour), ye would have believed me; for be wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" (John v. 46, 47.) Wherefore the faith of the Israelites in the land of Canaan was an assent unto the truths of the law as credible upon the testimony of God delivered unto them in the writings of Moses and the prophets.
In the like manner is it now with us. For although Christ first published the Gospel to those " who beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father;" (John i. 14.) although the apostles first converted those unto the faith who heard them speak with tongues they never learned, they never heard before, and discover the thoughts of men they never saw before; who saw the lame to walk, the blind to see, 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 such testimony to their doctrine, but rather shorttened them by their constant attestation to the truth of that doctrine farther confirmed by their death. Nor did that power of frequent and ordinary miraculous operations long survive them; and yet they left as great an obligation upon the Church in all succeeding ages to believe all the truths which they delivered, as they had put upon those persons who heard their words and saw their works; because they wrote the same truths which they spake, assisted in writing by the same Spirit by which they spake, and therefore require the same readiness of assent so long as the same truths shall be preserved by those writings. While Moses lived and spake as a mediator between God and the Israelites, they believed his words, and so the prophets while they preached. When Moses was gone up to Mount Nebo, and there died, when the rest 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
Λόγια ζώντα, .
his Father, when he “made known unto" the apostles, as his “ friends, all things that he had heard of the Father," (John šv. 15.) then did the apostles believe the writings of Moses 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 Jesus had said.” (John ii. 22.) When Christ was ascended up into beaven, and the Holy Ghost came down, when the words which Christ had taught the apostles 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 comprised 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 sum 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 places, by those that succeeded them in their ordinary function, but were not to come near them in their extraordi. nary gifts. “ These things were written (saith St. John, the longest liver, and the latest writer), that ye might believe, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John xx. 31.)
Those Christians then which have lived since the apostles' death, and never obtained the wish of St. Augustin, to see either Christ upon earth, or St. Paul in the pulpit, have believed the writings of Moses and the prophets, of the apostles and evangelists, in which together is fully comprehended whatsoever may properly be termed matter of divine faith; and so“ the household of God is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,"* (Eph. ii. 20.) who are continued unto us only in their writings, and by them alone convey unto us the truths which they received from God, upon whose testimony we believe. And therefore he which put their writings into the definition of faith, considering faith as it now stands with us, is none of the smallest of the Schoolmen.t From whence we may at last conclude, that the true nature of the faith of a Christian, as the state of Christ's Church now stands, and shall continue to the end of the world, consists in this, that it is an assent unto truths credible upon the testimony of God delivered unto us in the writings of the apostles and prophets.
To believe therefore as the word stands in the front of the CREED, and not only so, but is diffused through every article and proposition of it, is to assent to the whole and every part of it, as to a certain and infallible truth revealed by God (who
* *Propbetæ et Apostoli, super quos + Fides est habitus, quo assentiomnium Ecclesiarum fundamenta lo- mus dictis Scripturæ propter auctoricantur.'S. Hieron. in Psal. xvii. 'Su- tatem Dei revelantis. Durand. I. iii. per Prophetas ædificatur orbis terra. Dist. 24. q. 1. §. 9. rum, credens in Domino.' Ruffin, ibid.
by reason of his infinite knowledge cannot be deceived, and by reason of his transcendent holiness cannot deceive),and delivered unto us in the writings of the blessed apostles and prophets, immediately inspired, moved, and acted by God, out of whose writings this brief sum of necessary points of faith was first collected.* And as this is properly to believe, which was our first consideration; so to say I believe, is to make a confession or external expression of the faith, which is the second consideration propounded.
Faith is a habit of the intellectual part of man, and therefore of itself invisible; and to believe is a spiritual act, and consequently immanent and internal, and known to no man but bim who believeth: “ For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in him ?” (1 Cor. ii. 11.) Wherefore Christ being not only the great Apostle, sent to deliver these revealed truths, and so the author of our faith, but also the head of the Church, whose hody consisteth of faithful members, and so the author of union and communion, which principally hath relation to the unity of faith, he must needs he imagined to have appointed some external expression and communication of it: especially considering that the sound of the apostles was to go forth unto the ends of the world, and all nations to be called
to the profession of the Gospel, and gathered into the Church of Christ; which cannot be performed without an acknowledgment of the truth, and a profession of faith, without which no entrance into the Church, no admittance to baptism. “What doth hinder me to be baptized? (saith the eunuch.) And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." (Acts viii. 36, 37.) So believing with all his heart, as Philip required, and making profession of that faith, he was admitted. “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom. x. 10.)+ The behief of the heart is the internal habit residing in the soul, an act of faith proceeding from it, but terminated in the same. The confession of the mouth is an external signification of the inward habit or act of faith, by words expressing an acknowledgment of those truths which we believe or assent to in our souls.I The ear receiveth the word, “ faith cometh by hearing;” (Rom. x. 17.) the ear conveyeth it to the heart, which being opened receiveth it, receiving believeth it; and then
Ούχ, ώς έδοξεν ανθρώπους, συνετέθη p. 552. τα της πίστεως, αλλ' εκ πάσης γραφής t . Habes, homo, unde credere deTà Kalpbrata outlexoevra uiav åva- beas, corde fit confessio ad justitiam; a\npot inv rñs riOTEwg didascaliav. S. habes unde debeas confiteri, ore conCyril
. Catech. 5. fin. "Ecclesiarum Pa- fessio fit ad salutem.'Chrysol. Serm. 56. tres, de populorum salute soliciti,ex di I 'Serino creat auditum, auditus versis voluminibus Scripturarum colle- concipit fidem, credulitatem parturit gerunt testimonia divinis gravida Sa- fides, confessionem credulitas nutrit, cramentis.' Euseb. Gall. in Sym. Hom. confessio perpetuam dat salutem.' į, in Biblioth. Patr. Lat. t. v. par. i. Chrysol. Serm. 60.
“out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matt. xii. 34.) In the heart faith is seated; with the tongue confession is made; between these two salvation is completed. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. x. 9.) This faith of the heart every one ought, and is presumed to have; this confession of the mouth every one is known to make, when he pronounceth these words of the CREED, I believe ; and if true, he may with comfort say, “the word of faith is nigh me, even in my mouth and in my heart:” (Rom. x. 8.)t first in my heart really assenting, then in my mouth clearly and sincerely professing with the prophet David, “ I have believed, therefore have I spoken.” (Psal. cxvi. 10.) Thus briefly from the second consideration concerning confession implied in the first words I believe, we shall pass unto the third consideration, of the necessity and particular obligation to such a confession.
If there were no other argument, yet being the object of faith is supposed infallibly true, and acknowledged to be so by every one that believeth, being it is the nature of truth not to hide itself, but rather to desire the light that it might appear; this were sufficient to move us to a confession of our faith. But besides the nature of the thing, we shall find many arguments obliging, pressing, urging us to such a profession. For, first, from the same God, and by the same means by which we have received the object of our faith, by which we came under a possibility of faith, we have also received an express command to make a confession of the same: “Be ready (saith St. Peter), always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you;" (1 Pet. iii. 15.) and there can be no reason of hope but what is grounded on faith, nor can there be an answer given unto that without an acknowledgment of this. Secondly, it is true indeed that the great promises of the Gospel are made unto faith, and glorious things are spoken of it; but the same promises are made to the confession of faith, (Rom. X. 10.) together with it; and we know who it is hath said, “Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. x. 32.) Besides, the profession 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 so much purity of doctrine, persuade such holiness of
Magnum, filioli, per hoc fidei dis affectus.' Euseb. Gall. de Symb. nostræ videmus esse compendium, Hom. ii. p. 554. quando inter cor et linguam totum + 'De hoc sine dubio legimus per salutis humanæ versatur et geritur Prophetam, Prope est (inquit) in ore Sacramentum. Chrysol. Serm. 56. tuo, et in corde tuo.' Euseb. Gall. Quod a te et pro te reposcitur, in
ibid. tra te est, i. e. oris famulatus et cor