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us;" 1 John ii. 19. Such persecutors are heretics; that is, such as, under the pretext of supporting the truth, destroy it by their singular and ruinous opinions. These monsters have been the dishonour of all ages, and by them the bowels of the church of Christ have been grievously torn. Since the time of our Saviour, the following have been the most eminent heretics: the Simonians, Valentinians, Montanians, Manichæans, Arians, Pelagians, Nestorians, Eutychians, &c. But what necessity is there to mention them all? Persecution, internal as well as external, will continue till the end of time; that is, till that moment when the Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire;" Matt. xiii. 41.

Persecutors of the church, are styled in the Holy Scriptures Antichrists, that is, opposers of Christ, 1 John ii. 18, who increase the more in number and in fury the nearer the judgment day approaches; 2 Col. ii. 7. The kind providence of God permits these persecutions to take place, for the manifestation of his chosen ; because the fierceness of torments reveals constancy in the faith, and thus others are brought to embrace it, and in heaven the reward of the sufferers is thereby enhanced; and those who remain con

stant in the truth, more clearly expose pernicious opinions, as St Paul writes, "For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you;" 1 Cor. xi. 19. But, woe unto him by whom offences come!

We ought to pray to our heavenly Father, that he may not lead us into temptation, that he may destroy offences and heresies, that we may be preserved from being infected by such deadly plagues, and particularly so in these most sorrowful times, in which we behold even Christianity itself torn into different sects.

2. The only aim of all these persecutors has ever been the destruction of truth itself; but this is one of those things which are utterly impossible. For the church of Christ is founded on himself, as upon the most immoveable rock, against which the gates of hell shall never prevail, Matth. xvi. 18.


All the doctrines necessary to salvation, and held by the church, are presented to us in the Holy Scriptures; and, in order that every one may more easily understand them, and distinguish orthodox doctrines from heterodox, the holy fathers have abridged them.

The books of the Holy Scriptures, in which the

doctrines of the church are contained, are not few in number, and, because of the mysteries. which they contain, cannot be perfectly understood by every one. Moreover, in consequence of the different stations and abilities of men, all cannot so easily exercise themselves in reading the Holy Scriptures, though it is highly desirable that they should. On this account, it was plainly requisite for the advantage of more common Christians, that all the necessary points of faith should be presented in an abridgment, as it were in a kind of mirror, in which every one might see what he must believe, in order to his salvation; and that he might fix the same forever upon his memory, without farther difficulty.


What is the symbol of faith?

The following abridgment is called the symbol of faith:

1. I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.


2. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages: Light of Light, true God of true

* The word here rendered Almighty, properly signifies Upholder of all things.


God, begotten, not created, co-essential with the Father, by whom all things were made.

3. Who, for the sake of men, and for the sake of our salvation, descended from heaven, and became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man.

4. Also was crucified for us under Pontius Pi late, and suffered, and was buried.

5. And rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.

6. And ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father.

7. And will come again with glory to judge the quick and the dead; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

8. And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, and with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets.

9. In one holy Catholic and apostolical church. 10. I confess one baptism for the remission of

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11. I expect the resurrection of the dead. 12. And the life of the world to come. Amen. The symbol of faith was drawn up at the first general council of Nice, which was against Arius, composed of three hundred and eighteen holy fathers assembled there. It was enlarged in the

8th article at the second general council of Constantinople, and afterwards powerfully confirmed by all the other general councils, and recommended to all Christians, as a most precious treasure of faith. This symbol ought, on this account, the more particularly to be explained, and to be held by every one with faith unfeigned, seeing that in it are contained the chief tenets of the faith and hope of Christians; and should any one of them obstinately reject it, he thereby loses the hope of salvation.


What is faith?

The symbol begins with faith, and faith is a hearty reception of the gospel.

1. With good reason the symbol begins with faith; because faith only points out to man the means of reconciliation with God; " and without faith it is impossible to please God." Heb. xi. 6,

2. Under the term Gospel, as already pointed out, is understood the glad tidings of salvation to the children of men, through the only begotten Son of God, our Mediator Jesus Christ. Whosoever receives this doctrine with a repenting heart, believes; on the contrary, whosoever despises it, is reckoned among the number of

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