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AN

EXPOSITION

OF THE

CREED.

BY JOHN PEARSON, D.D.

LATE LORD BISHOP OF CHESTER.

WITH

AN APPENDIX,

CONTAINING THE

PRINCIPAL GREEK AND LATIN CREEDS.

LONDON:

PRINTED AND SOLD BY J. F. DOVE, PICCADILLY;

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PURARY 100002

ASTOR, BENOX AND TILDEN FOUNDATIONS. 1898.

TO THE

RIGHT WORSHIPFUL AND WELL-BELOVED

THE PARISHIONERS OF ST. CLEMENTS,

EAST-CHEAP.

Mercy unto you, and peace and love be multiplied.

IP I should be at any time unmindful of your commands, you might well esteem me unworthy of your continued favours; and there is some reason to suspect I have incurred the interpretation of forgetfulness, having been so backward in the performance of my promises. Some years have passed since I preached unto you upon such texts of Scripture as were on purpose selected in relation to the CREED, and was moved by you to make those meditations publick. But you were pleased then to grant what my inclinations rather led me to, that they might be turned into an Exposition of the Creed itself; which, partly by the difficulty of the work undertaken, partly by the intervention of some other employments, hath taken me up thus long, for which I desire your pardon. And yet a happy excuse may be pleaded for delay, meeting with a very great felicity, that as faith triumpheth in good works, so my Exposition of the Creed should be contemporary with the re-edifying of your Church. For though I can have little temptation to believe that my book should last so long as that fabric, yet I am exceedingly pleased that they should begin together; that the publishing of the one should so agree with the opening of the other. This, I hope, may persuade you to forget my slackness, considering ye were not ready to your own expectation; your experience tells you the excuse of church-work will be accepted in building, I beseech you let it not be denied in printing.

That blessed Saint, by whose name your Parish is known, was a fellow-labourer with St. Paul, and a successor of St. Peter; he had the honour to be numbered in the Scripture with them "whose names are written in the book of life;" and when he had sealed the Gospel with his blood, he was one of the first whose memory was perpetuated by the building a Church to bear his name. Thus was St. Clement's Church famous in Rome, when Rome was famous for the "faith spoken of throughout the whole world." He wrote an epistle to the Corinthians infested with a schism, in imitation of St. Paul, which obtained so great authority in the primitive times, that it was frequently read in their public congregations; and yet had for many hundred years been lost, till it was at last set forth out of the library of the late king.

Now as, by the providence of God, the memory of that primitive Saint hath been restored in our age, so my design aimeth at nothing else but that the primitive faith may be revived. And therefore in this edition of the Creed I shall speak to you but what St. Jude hath already spoken to the whole Church: "Beloved, when I give all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints." If it were so needful for him then to write, and for them to whom he wrote to contend for the first faith, it will appear as needful for me now to follow his writing, and for you to imitate their earnestness, because the reason which he renders, as the cause of that necessity, is now more prevalent than it was at that time, or ever since. "For (saith he) there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation; ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." The principles of Christianity are now as freely questioned as the most doubtful and controverted points; the grounds of faith are as safely denied as the most unnecessary superstructions; that religion hath the greatest advantage which appeareth in the newest dress, as if we looked for another faith to be delivered to the saints: whereas in Christianity there can be no concerning truth which is not ancient; and whatsoever is truly new, is certainly false. Look then for purity in the fountain, and strive to embrace the first faith, to which you cannot have a more probable guide than the CREED, received in all ages of the Church; and to this I refer you, as it leads you to the Scriptures, from whence it was at first deduced, that while "those which are unskilful and unstable, wrest" the words of God himself "unto their own damnation;" ye may receive so much instruction as may set you beyond the imputation of unskilfulness, and so much of confirmation as may place you out of the danger of instability; which as it hath been the constant endeavour, so shall it ever be the prayer of him, who after so many encouragements of his labours amongst you, doth still desire to be known as

Your most faithful Servant in the Lord,

JOHN PEARSON.

ADVERTISEMENT.

Or this Edition, imbodied in one octavo volume, and,
it is trusted, in the most convenient form, the following
may be stated as the proper advantages. First, great
care has been taken to correct the numerous errors, in the
references to the Texts of Scripture, which had crept in
by reason of the repeated editions through which this
admirable Work has passed; and many references, as
will be seen on turning to the Index of Texts, have been
added. Secondly, the Quotations in the Notes have
been almost universally identified, and the references to
them adjoined; a great desideratum to the learned (who
alone can fully appreciate the labour attending such
researches), and a satisfaction at least to the general
reader. Lastly, the principal Symbola or Creeds, of
which the particular Articles have been cited by the most
learned and ever to be revered Author of this Exposition,
have been annexed; and, wherever the original writers
have given the Symbola in a scattered and disjoined
manner, the detached parts have been brought into a
successive and connected point of view-These have
been added, in chronological order, in the form of an
Appendix.

January, 1832.

W. S. DOBSON, M. A.

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