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I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH.
I believe in God.
Q. WHAT meaning do you attach to the words "I believe?"
A. We understand that each individual singly, and all persons collectively, who repeat the words "I believe," make thereby a confession of their faith, and express their assent to the truth of what is contained in the Creed.
Q. Is this expression of belief only general, or does it refer to every clause and proposition in the Creed?
A. It implies an assent to each part in particular, as well as generally to all. Thus, for
a "It signifies in this place no other than the full and undoubted assent of our mind and understanding to the truth and verity of every particular clause and Article contained in this Creed or symbol." Lord Chancellor King on the Apostles' Creed, c. ii. p. 51.
instance, first, we believe in God; secondly, we believe God to be the Father; thirdly, we believe the Father to be Almighty; fourthly, we believe the Almighty Father to be the Maker of heaven and earth. So that the words "I believe" must be understood as contained, though, for the sake of brevity not repeated, at least twentyfour times.
Q. Explain more fully what you mean, when you say you assent to the truth of whatever is contained in the Creed?
A. We profess our belief that the Creed contains on the whole, and in every part of it, a true and faithful summary of the doctrines of Christianity, as revealed by God, as delivered by Christ, and as contained in the writings of the inspired Prophets and Apostles.
Q. What reason have you for believing that these doctrines of Scripture were really revealed by God?
A. We believe on the testimony of miracles. St. Paul said to the Thessalonians, "We thank God without ceasing, because when ye received the Word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God ":" which Word was mani
1 Thess. ii. 13.
fested by the miraculous powers with which the Apostles were endued.
Q. How does the testimony of miracles convince us, now miracles have ceased?
A. The Apostles committed to writing, unden the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an account of those miracles: which writings we now have to refer to, and can prove to be authentic. Therefore we have as good reason to assent to the truth of the facts there enumerated, as we have to believe in the triumphs of Alexander, the glories, of ancient Rome, or any other, or all other acknowledged historical facts. In truth, the greatest part of our knowledge depends on testimony. And he who denied its credit would be shutting the door against all reason and argument d.
Q. Are we bound as Christians to make confession of our faith?
A. "Be ready always to give an answer to
Unless the fidelity of the authors be questioned, which cannot be done with any the least show of sound argument. For proof, see Paley's Evidences, &c.
"There is no science taught without original belief; there are no letters learnt without preceding faith. There is no justice executed, no commerce maintained, no business prosecuted without this. All secular affairs are transacted, all great achievements are attempted, all hopes, desires, and inclinations are preserved by this human faith grounded upon the testimony of man." Pearson on the Creed, Art. i. p. 8.
every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you," was the injunction of St. Peter, and no such answer can be given without a confession of faith. Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven'," was the promise of our Lord Christ; and how can that promise be fulfilled without a declaration of belief? " With the mouth confession is made unto salvation . was the doctrine of St. Paul; and happy will he be who doth not transgress this commandment. For "whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words," saith our Saviour, "of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels "."
From which passages of Scripture, no less than from a strong internal sense of duty and propriety, we conclude that it is necessary and expedient, to the honour of God, and for the well-being of society,—that an open acknowledgment be made of our Christian profession, such as is contained in our Creeds.
Q. Do you use the words "I believe" on Scripture authority?
A. Philip said to the Eunuch, "If thou be
1 Petor iii. 15.
f Matt. x. 32.
h Luke ix. 26.
lievest with all thine heart, thou mayest be baptized." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
Q. In whom do you first express your belief? A. In God. This is the foundation, the corner stone of our faith *.
Q. Who, or what, is God?
A. Our finite understandings cannot fully comprehend, nor our imperfect language adequately express the idea of God'.
He is a Being from all eternity: a spiritual Essence pervading all space: self-existent; and the Author of existence to all things else; upon whom all things both in heaven and earth depend whose attributes are infinite goodness, infinite wisdom, infinite power, together with whatever else tends to form an infinitely perfect being ".
Q. Prove the existence of such a God?
A. His existence is manifested in his works.
Acts viii. 37. See also John xiv. 1. 1 Thess. iv. 14. * Origen. Dialog. i. 1.
'Cicero, De natura Deorum, lib. i. § 22, and Addison's Evidences, § i. p. 85.
"Deum cum audis, substantiam intellige sine initio, sine fine, simplicem sine ullâ admixtione, invisibilem, incorpoream ineffabilem, inestimabilem, in qua nihil adjunctum, nihil creatum sit, sine auctore enim est ille, qui auctor est omnium." Ruffin. in Symb. Apost. Vid. quoq. St. Cyril. Cateches. iv. 4. and Novatian de Trin. cap. i.