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Books are so plentiful nowadays that whoever writes a new one ought to be required to come into court and show cause. If that policy were pursued in the case of the volume at hand, it is altogether sure that the author could successfully meet the demand. The matters with which he deals are of prime importance; and the time is auspicious for dealing with them. When the assertion is boldly made that the doctrinal formularies of Methodism, under which it has achieved all its victories and made all its history, are antiquated and inadequate, and should be thoroughly rewritten in the current speech of to-day, the season has surely arrived for calm and honest discussion. Such discussion cannot fail to be profitable. If any man has light to give to the Church, let him come forward and display it.
Dr. Du Bose has not written hastily, nor without wide and careful reading. Indeed, I much doubt whether there is another man in the Church who has taken so much pains to inform himself in regard to every phase of the subject. The fullness of his knowledge is matched also by the clearness and vigor of his English. He knows how to use his mother tongue so as to convey the exact thought in his mind. Above all, he has the temper and spirit of a Christian. One may look through these pages to find a single trace of the odium theologicum. It is a real pleasure to commend the work of my well-beloved fellow-laborer, who never forgets, under any stress of circumstances, that he is a disciple of the Great Teacher.
CREED OR CONFESSION ? The “Articles of Religion,” together with the "established standards” of doctrine, make a system as complete as it is orthodox.-Bishop Holland N. McTyeire.
Mr. Wesley did one great thing for theology, which has never been fully appreciated, either in Europe or America. We allude to the Twenty-Four Articles of Religion which he provided for the use of his followers in this country. We have studied these Articles for more than forty years, not only in the works which have been written upon them, but also in the light of the holy Scriptures, and in the silent hours of our private meditations; and we are now firmly and confidently persuaded that they constitute the most perpect Confession of faith under the sun.-Albert Taylor BledCHAPTER I.
CREED OR CONFESSION?
THEOLOGICAL controversy has tended to establish an important distinction between the creed of a Church and its confession. In harmony with this distinction, the creed may be defined as that which gives to the Church its catholic character, while the confession is that which, in one part or another, distinguishes it from the other Christian bodies. This definition finds full warrant in the earliest confessions of Protestantism, which are a logical, though unstudied, illustration of its principle.
The divergence of the confession from the norm of the creed has increased at almost every stage of modern theological development. Some
Some modern Churches, especially of the Calvinistic school, have seen their elaborate scholastic confessions honeycombed by the inroads of catholic and evangelical interpretations originating within their own bodies. The general drift, indeed, is away from the discursive statements of the sixteenth and seventeenth century
Here a necessary distinction is to be remembered between articles of faith and articles of doctrine: the one are held necessary to salvation, the other are only believed to be true that is, revealed in the Scriptures, which is a suffcient ground for esteeming them to be true.-Bishop Burnet, on the Thirty-Nine Articles.