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THE THIRTY-NINE ARTICLES
It has been pointed out that in the course of the Church's history there are two special eras of what is sometimes called “Symbolism,” i.e. Creed-Making, or the composition of formularies of faith,—the fourth and fifth centuries, and the sixteenth. The reason for this is obvious. Each age was emphatically an age of religious controversy. After the victory of Constantine over Maxentius and the publication of the Edict of Milan by the joint Emperors Constantine and Licinius (A.D. 313), religious questions and discussions attained a publicity which had hitherto been impossible. There followed, of necessity, a period of definition of the Church's faith.
The great Arian controversy had already begun when Constantine found himself sole ruler of the Roman Empire ; and now questions were asked as to the meaning of the Church's creed which, when once formally raised, required a clear answer. Thus the terminology of philosophy was pressed into the service of the Christian faith, in order to interpret to thoughtful minds in their own language the belief
1 Church Quarterly Review, vol. vij. p. 134.