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words of the Apoftles Creed; and consequently judges no explicatory Comment upon it, (however possibly True or Useful,) to be abfo. lutely necessary to Salvation.
In the Apostles Creed itself, only the original Articles anciently professed at Baptism, and not the additional explicatory ones, are by the Church understood to be of absolute Neceflity to Salvation : As appears evidently, from the Article of Chrifts Descent into Hell; of which, the Church has thought fit not to determine the Sense; and which all men Now understand, not in the Sense it was generally taken at the Time of its being put into the Creed, but in That Sense which is the True Meaning of those Texts of Scripture, upon which the Article was originally founded; ( See Bp Pearson on the Creed, pag. 227, Edit. 4th. ) Now if the additional explicatory Articles even of the Apostles Creed itself, are by the Church evidently understood not to be of absolute necessity to Salvation; much less can any mans Explication added 600 or 700 years after, (but only the original Articles themselves, of which such' Explications, however learned and acute, are only fallible Interpretations,) be required to be believed as Necessary to Salvation.
The learned Dr Hammond has a judicious pasfage upon This Subject. As for the Censures, faith he, annexed to the Athanafian Creed, I suppose they must be interpreted by their opposition to those Heresies that have invaded the Church, and which were acts of Carnality in them that broached and maintained them against the Apoftolick doctrine,
and were therefore to be anathematized Not that it was hereby defined to be a damnable Sin, $a fayle in the understanding or believing the full
matter of any of those explications, when it might more reasonably be deemed nat to be any Fault of the Will. Tract. of Fundamentals, Ch. 10,
+ A Brief Account And another judicious. + Auof some expressions thor: That our Church, faith he, in St Athanafius's doth not require an explicit Faith of Creed. Oxford, printed by Henry Hall all the Articles of Achanafius's Creed, Printer to the Uni- as absolutely necessary to Salvation ; versity, 1663. And is evident from her forms of baptibelieved at that time, to have been written by zing both infants and adult persons. one of the most eminent For
she there admits Bath foris to men in the Church. baptism(and'consequently to the Hopes of Salvution) upon the profession of the Apostles Creed, which is not so explicit, as that of Athanafins. And
as it is certain, that the Apostles Creed is not so explicit as that of Athanasius ;. fo is it no less, that no adult person can be a Child of God and an Heir of Heaven, without believing all those things that are absolutely necessary to Salvation. pag. 2, 3.
Again : She allows (faith he) of Several Interpretations of some Articles, and those too quite different from one another; and cannot therefore be jupposed to propose all the Articles as absolutely necesary to be believed. For That which is such, muft bear the Same Sense to all persons; because all men have the same concernments in what is absolutely necessary to be believed. But those Articles which may be received with different Interpretations, cannot bear the Same Sense to all persons, and cannot therefore be thought to be proposed as absolutely neceffary to be believed. I instance in the Article of Christs Descent into Hell; which it is notorious the Church of England allows men to receive in several Senses; ihe most considerable Members thereof, having delivered different Interpretations; and that too,
without any Čensure from the Church fir so doing. pag. 4.
And again: This I say, that there are some things in the Creeds, which are not absolutely necessary to Salvation ; and that our Church is so tender even in those Articles it presses upon the Clergy, that it doth not distinguish between Fundamentals and others, but recommends the Creeds in gross to be received by all ber Children, without acknowledging any other necesity of the Belief
of the whole, than what ariseth from the certain warrant they bave in the Word of God, and a due Proposal of theni to the Understanding. pag.
8. And the ingenious Author of the Paraphrase on the Book of Common - Prayer: I shall show, fáith he, that in the Use of the Athanafian Creed, we do not declare that the Belief of every Proposition thereof is necessary to Salvation. And this is very plain, if it be considered that no Mans words ought to be strained to an ill Sense, when they are capable of a good one. Now I appeal to our Adversaries, whether the Creed be not fairly capable of being so understood, as that the Belief of fonie Propositions thereof need not to be thought necessary to Salvation. They have beard of the Distinction of the Matter of this Creed, into the necessary Dóztrines, and the Explications of those DoEtrines : &c. Bennets Paraphr. pag. 272.
Again: But farther; What is more reasonable, than
to admit such candid Interpretations of any publick imposed Form of words, as have been delivered for true and genuine by the most approved Authors of That Body which uses the Form? especially wben ibnse Interpretations are so far from being publickly contradiãted and disallowed by our Governors, that the Authors have been beld in great Esteem,
and incouraged for those very Books, which contain and infift upon them. Now This is our present Case. To name no more; what greater Autbors bas the established Church ever bad, than Arch-Bishop Laud, Dr Hammond, Bishop Pearson, and Bishop Stillingfleet? Now All these, (the First, in bis Conference with Fisher; the second, in bis Discourse of Fundamentals; the third, in his Book on the Creed; and the fourth, in bis Rational Account;) bavę written their Minds fully and clearly as to this Matter. For, with respečt to the Procession of the Holy Ghost in particular, they have express’d themfelves in a moft satisfactory manner in defense of the Greek Church ; and abundantly
declared, that the Belief of the Procession from the Father and the Son, which is asserted in the Athanafian Creed, is not necessary to Salvation. Now this demonstrates, that the Belief of every Proposition in the Athanafian Creed, is not thought by our Church to be necessary to Salvation. pag. 273,
Again: When He (the Author of the Creed says, He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity; he does not mean, that be that will be saved, must think Every One of those Propofitions concerning the Godbead and the Three Perfons, which he had before laid down, to be True; but he means, that he must think of the Trinity, as ke bad just before said of it, and as he had proved from bis Propofitions concerning it; viz. that in all things, as is aforesaid, (viz. in the Beginning of the Creed,) the Unity in Trinity, and Trinity in U. nity, is to be worshipped. pag. 27,4.
Again: But it may be obječted, that the Conclufion of the Athanafian Creed runs thus; This is the Catholick Faith, which except a Man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved : Wbich words seem
to imply tbus much, viz. that this Form of words, and consequently every Proposition thereof, is the catholick"Faith, which except a Man believe faithfully, be cannot be saved. But I answer, that these words are not to be extended to every Propofition contained in the Creed: For then the Author must contradiet bimself: For I have shown, that there is one Proposition at least, which he did not think necessary: Whereas if bis Conclusion be so understood, every Proposition would bırve been thrught necesary by bim.
The word, This, therefore relates to the necessary Articles, and not to the Proofs or Illustra. tions of them. pag. 280.
And again: Nothing is more evident, than that those who added the Descent into Hell to those Creeds which have Cbrifts Burial in tben, meant such a Descent, as is with the justest Reason now generally exploded. And yet both Churchmen and Disfenters do receive and subscribe this Creed. But in what Sense? Not as 'twas intended certainly; but in a sense that the Words will bear notwithstanding. If they can vindicate this practise with respect to the Apostles Creed, they may much niore easily do the same with respect to that Creed which is attributed to St Athanasius. pag. 292. ;
that we worship One God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity: Neither confounding the Persons, nor