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HE Apoftles' Creed is the earliest Confeffion of the Chriftian Faith. Simple and fhort, and adapted to the meanest capacity, it is yet fo complete as to convey to the hearts and confciences of Believers a comprehenfive fummary of the fublime truths of the Gofpel. It has been handed down, in all languages, from generation to generation, and is commonly received all over the Chriftian world, as the most authentic Declaration of our Belief in the Three Perfons of the Ever-bleffed and Undivided Trinity,-God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghoft.
We owe a debt of grateful thanks to Theologians, who, by their learned explanations and commentaries on this Creed, have clearly defined the nature and depth of its feveral Articles. These will ever be a fource of confolation and ftrength to earneft inquirers, who seek to have "a reafon of the hope that is in them with meekness and fear." They establish the exact harmony of the Church of England with Holy Scripture, the unchangeable bafis of our Faith, ratified by the univerfal confent of the most ancient Councils and Fathers.
Bishop Ken, that he, might "inform the underftanding" of his people, and "raife their affections" to the love of God, turned the Apostles' Creed into
1 Pet. iii. 15.
1 Tim. ii. 5.
a continuous office of Prayer. He was himself in no perplexity as to the fulness of its meaning. The truths it unfolds inspired him with peaceful and heavenly thoughts, with longings to penetrate within the Vail, that he might realize a more vivid perception of the unfeen world. He feems throughout his Expofition to have an irresistible perfuafion that finful man can find balm for a wounded conscience at the foot of the Cross alone. The aspirations of his reverential heart fought utterance in the worship of GOD ONLY.
To him the Articles of THIS CREED prefented "the form of found words," which Timothy had "heard from St. Paul, and was exhorted to hold fast, "without wavering :”—that pure Faith, which the univerfal Church had received from the Apostles and their disciples. But he rejected, as contrary to Scripture, the novel Articles of the Creed of Pope Pius the Fourth, firft impofed in 1564, by a human and erring will, on the confciences of men, as neceffary to falvation.
To fay not a word of the extravagancies of Purgatory, and Indulgences, and Transubstantiation, enforced under anathema in those additional Articles, Ken could not endure that the worship of Saints fhould come between God and His creatures, and thus derogate from the All-fufficient,—or, as St. Paul expreffes it," the ONE MEDIATOR between God and men, the man Chrift Jefus." "O my God, O my Love," he exclaims, "I renounce, and deteft, and bewail, as odious and offenfive to Thee, as directly oppofite to Thy Love, and to Thy Glory, all voluntary humility, and worshipping of angels, or reliance on the creature."*
* Practice of Divine Love, Edition 1686, p. 69.