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THE GREEK TRADITION

From the death of Socrates


to the Council of Chalcedon
399 B.C. TO A.D. 451
VOLUME I. THE RELIGION OF PLATO (second edition)
VOLUME II. HELLENISTIC PHILOSOPHIES
VOLUME III. THE CHRIST OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
VOLUME IV. CHRIST THE WORD
Complementary Volumes
PLATONISM (third edition)
THE CATHOLIC FAITH
London: Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press
THE CATHOLIC
FAITH
BY
PAUL ELMER MORE
Author of "Shelburne Essays"
PRINCETON
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS
1931
Copyright, 1931, Princeton University Press
PRINTED AT THE PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS
PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY, U.S. A.
CONTENTS
BUDDHISM AND CHRISTIANITY
THE CREEDS
THE EUCHARISTIC SACRAMENT
THE CHURCH
CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM
PAGE
1
76
122
169
206
THE CREEDS
BELIEF in Christ as a person manifesting in him-
self both the nature of God and the nature of
man is undoubtedly the fundamental dogma of
the Catholic Faith; and the formulation of this
d.ogma, as made at Nicea in 325 and more pre-
cisely defined at Chalcedon in 451, is undoubt-
edly the charter of the Catholic Church. But the
Niceo-Chalcedonian definition has no part in the
devotional and liturgical services of the Church,
and was not uttered for that purpose. It is rather
a bare and sharp statement of the one indispen-
sable fact to which assent should be demanded of
all Christians, a military oath of union, so to
speak, stripped of emotional accessories and di-
rected to the negative intention of defending the
final citadel of faith against any possible perver-
sion by heresy or diminution by incredulity. In
the various acts of worship, both communal and
private, its place has been supplied by creeds of
a different sort, in the West primarily by the
so-called Apostles' Creed.
The history of the Apostles' Creed is not with-
out lacunae and difficulties. In the complete form
as we have the Symbol today it is first found in
the writings of Pirminius, a Frankish monk of
THE CREEDS 77
the eighth century, although its usage in Rome
may be dated with some certainty as early as the
year 700. In the fourth century it is quoted, with
a few verbal variations and with unimportant
omissions, by Rufinus, a priest of Aquileia, in
Latin, and somewhat earlier in a Greek transla-
tion by Marcellus of Ancyra. From that period
its existence can be traced by allusions and
partial quotations to the first decades of the
second century; and beyond that its origin
goes back to the baptismal formula of Mat-
thew ("In the name of the Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Ghost") , and to the
simple Christological confession demanded by
the apostles of all converts, as indicated by such
texts as Acts viii, 37 ("I believe that Jesus Christ
is the Son of God"), and I John v, 5 ("Who is he
that overcometh the world, but he that believeth
that Jesus is the Son of God?") . These two arti-
cles of faith, the baptismal formula and the "good
profession before many witnesses" (I Tim. vi,
12), were apparently merged together and ampli-
fied to form the Old Roman Creed, as it is styled;
and this, fluid at first in content, was gradually
hardened into the profession of faith as we have
it today. "It may fitly be called an Apostolic
Creed, because it contains the substance of apos-
tolic teaching, and is the work of a mind sepa-
78 THE CATHOLIC FAITH
rated only by one generation from the apostles.m
Clearly the value of the creed today would lie
in its function of stamping the long unbroken
continuity of worship and at the same time of
expressing in its most general form that common
element of belief without which the Church as an
institution can scarcely survive. But it is just on
these two points that objections are raised by those
who feel that radical changes of knowledge and
thought make it impossible to retain the precise
formula of devotion hallowed by antiquity, and
that the variety, not to say looseness, of our pres-
ent religious convictions renders any such dog-
matic confession of faith impracticable. They
would like to see the creed removed from public
service, and hold that nothing more should be
expected of a congregation than a kind of vague
undefined assent to the moral and spiritual
beauty of Christianity. They shrink from com-
mitting themselves to the implications of an open
credo, "I believe."
Now the answer to such semi-agnostics is to
ask them first of all to consider the various import
of the word "believe." We say, "I believe in my-
self," "I believe in the honour of a friend," "I
1 A. E. Burn, An Introduction to the Creeds, 65. The develop-
ment of the creed as summarized above is in accordance with the
investigations of Harnack and Kattenbusch. In his recently pub-
lished History of the Creeds Dr. F. J. Badcock questions the
validity of their demonstration; but his own results are about the
same.
THE CREEDS
79
believe that the sun will rise tomorrow," "I be-
lieve in the truth of beauty," or, if we are scien-
tifically inclined, "I believe in a certain structure
of the atom"; and manifestly, though the sincer-
ity of all such professions may be unquestioned,
the degree and manner of believing vary with the
content. And so it is with the grounds of belief
where the content is identical; two men may be-
lieve the same thing yetforverydi:fferentreasons.
To take the case under consideration. Few pro-
fessing Christians of today could go through such
a book as Pearson's Exposition of the Creed with-
out acknowledging that the arguments which
satisfied readers of the seventeenth century have
lost much of their force for them. The Lord
Bishop of Chester was a theologian of sound
learning and acute intelligence, but his method
of dealing with the successive articles of the creed
as though they all demanded the same order of
acceptance, and his process of demonstrating
their inspiration by appeal to this and that iso-
lated text of Scripture or the Fathers, leave us
unconvinced, if not amazed. In a century and a
half our attitude towards the Bible and antiquity,
and towards the nature of revelation in general,
has undergone so great a change that his argu-
ments seem to fall upon our ears out of another
world. If we are to make salvage of the venerable
formula from the storms of time we must ap-
80 THE CATHOLIC FAITH
proach it in a different spirit, recognizing the fact
that is a word of various import, though
the vanatwns may range within fixed bounds.
And first of all, with this fact in mind, I think we
must look more closely into the composition of
the creed and its sequence of ideas.
It was an ancient and, needless to say, baseless
tradition of the Church that the creed was the
outcome of a deliberative session of the apostles,
each of whom contributed his portion to the com-
mon confession; and as a consequence it is still
regularly divided into twelve articles. The divi-
sion, though rendered a little arbitrary by later
additions, is suitable for use in public service, but
for our purpose we may better dissect it into
fourteen clauses, as follows:
I. I. I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
2. And in Jesus Christ his only Son our
Lord:
3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
'horn of the Virgin Mary:
4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate was cru-
cified, dead, and buried : '
5. He descended into hell:
6. The third day he rose again from the
dead:
7. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on
the right hand of God the Father
Almighty:
---
THE CREEDS 81
8. From thence he shall come to judge the
quick and the dead.
II. 9. I believe in the Holy Ghost:
10. The Holy Catholic Church:
11. The communion of saints:
12. The forgiveness of sins:
13. The resurrection of the body:
14. And the life everlasting.
Now, of these fourteen articles the first nine
compose what we have historical evidence for re-
garding as the original body of the creed, to
which the five concluding articles were added at
a relatively late date. And it will be observed that
this earlier original body of the creed corresponds
in substance with the Faith of Nicea promulgated
in 325.
2
Its kernel (articles 2-8), like that of the
Nicene Faith, is a clear statement of the divinity
and incarnation of Christ, and derives from that
"good profession" demanded by the apostles of
converts to the new religion. With this goes nec-
essarily a belief in the Fatherhood of God, so that
the contents of articles 1-8 would be no more than
a legitimate expansion of Titus i, 4: "Grace,
mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the
Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour." The combina-
tion of this primitive confession with the trini-
tarian formula of baptism is shown by the
2 Cf. Christ the Word, 157.
-- -- -==--- - -- - ---_- ----=-----=---===- =-
8 ~ THE CATHOLIC FAITH
addition of the ninth article, which, again, agrees
exactly with the similarly placed clause of the
Nicene Faith: "And in the Holy Ghost." Here
it is of the utmost importance to observe that by
the repetition of the phrase "I believe" the creed
is broken into two parts ( 1-8 and 9-14) , setting
belief in the Father and Son together in one part
and belief in the Holy Ghost, as of a separate
order, by itself. And this division is confirmed by
the different development of the two parts. In
the treatment of the Father and the Son the note
is definitely personal, as the words Father and
Son themselves imply, and as the activities
ascribed to the second person confirm. On the con-
trary, the activity connected with the Holy
Ghost, as expressed in the later articles ( 10-14) ,
is not of a person, nor of an individual, but de-
notes rather the influence of the spirit of God
(i.e. of the Father and the Son) working within
and upon the spirit of man. It is the doctrine of
Grace as declared by St. Paul (I Cor. xii, 3):
"No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by
the Holy Ghost." Hence the Church and the
process and result of salvation, as the work, not
of a distinct person in a supposed trinity of in-
dividuals, but of God as a spirit-"God is a
Spirit, and they that worship him must worship
him in spirit and in truth."
We have thus in the creed, as in the Nicene
THE CREEDS
83
Faith, not the dogmatic trinitarianism of the
more rationalized confessions, which demand be-
lief in three persons, equally distinct and equally
individual, but a trinitarian forrnu,la, which im-
plies a double personality, or the double revela-
tion of a personal God, whose spirit of Grace is
the Comforter of our human spirit and its eternal
Advocate. So, precisely, Hippolytus expressed
the idea of the apostles: "I will not say two Gods,
but one God and two persons, and a third econ-
omy which is the Grace of the Holy Ghost."
Here a word of explanation may be in place.
This conception of the trinitarian formula as dis-
tinct from the rationalized dogma of a triune
God, for which I have argued at length else-
where,3 has been branded by the name of binitari-
anism. The term itself has rather an ugly sound,
but it may be accepted if thereby nothing more is
meant than this, that the Incarnation implies (I)
a personal Deity, and ( 2) some indefinable
dualism in the Godhead which makes it possible
that the divine personality should manifest itself
in a human life while the essential Deity remains
intact. That I take to be the Christian interpreta-
tion of the philosophy of the Logos. It may be
that such a definition savours, in the language of
ancient theology, of modalistic or dynamistic
Sabellianism; but with this difference, that it
a Christ the Word, 177 ff.
84 THE CATHOLIC FAITH
would refrain from any too presumptuous at-
tempt to measure the depths of the divine econ-
omy by the nomenclature or processes of human
reason. After all, we should remember that the
terms Father and Son were acknowledged by the
great doctors of the past to be no more than
symbols of an inexpressible mystery. "Binitari-
anism," so taken and so limited, as the rejection
of a petrified trinitarian dogma, together with
the admission of a trinitarian formula in worship,
is no heresy, I submit, but the primitive and fun-
damental and catholic doctrine of the Church.
4
However it be with these technical niceties of
theology, there can be no doubt of the fact that
the central truth of the creed is the Incarnation,
with the corollary and inseparable belief in God
the Father and in the operation of Grace through
the Holy Spirit. This is the gospel taught by the
apostles and demanded by the Church as the
minimum of faith and the standard of orthodoxy.
And there can be no doubt that he who repeats
the creed ought to believe these three truths, or
rather these three aspects of a single truth, liter-
ally and explicitly, ex animo and without reser-
vation. Honesty to one's self and respect for
4 I think I am not wrong in saying that this view of the Trinity
is substantially the same as that of Dr. H. L. Goudge, Professor
of Theology at Oxford, in his essay contributed to The Meaning of
the Oreed, although that champion of orthodoxy might demur to
some of my terms.
THE CREEDS 85
historic tradition require this, and no less than
this.
But with articles 3-8, which particularize the
acts of Christ as Saviour, and with articles 10-14,
which summarize the operations of Grace, the
matter is not quite so simple; here a reasonable
Christian of today either must refuse assent or
must lend to the phrase "I believe" a certain elas-
ticity of meaning. These declinations from the
literal sense of believing will become clear if we
consider the prior group of amplifications ( arti-
cles 3-8) , taking them not in the order of their
enumeration but in accordance with the nature of
the truths to which they demand assent.
Article 4: Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was
crucified, dead, and b1tried. These events belong
to the human life of Jesus and offer no special
difficulties. Even the sceptic may profess belief
in them simply and literally, as in the case of any
other facts of secular history.
But the remaining articles of the group imply
the divine nature of the agent and record events
more or less miraculous. So far as the mere fact
of miracle is concerned no difficulties will be felt
by one who accepts the Incarnation and has thus
committed himself to the supernatural. But ques-
tion must arise as to the interpretation of what
may be called the manner of the miraculous. Can
a reasonable man today profess belief in them
86
THE CATHOLIC FAITH
literally, without reservation? And by literally I
mean what Pearson intended when he wrote: "It
will be no way fit to give any other explication of
these words as the sense of the CREED than what
was understood by the Church of God when they
were first inserted. "
5
That is the only sense in
which the word "literal" can be taken honestly
and, if the tautology be allowed, literally. And if
the articles under discussion are not professed
literally, then their profession must be with a cer-
tain reservation. That is to say, he who so pro-
fesses must have tacitly or explicitly in his mind
some such thought as this: "I acknowledge the
truth of this event as a fact and as important to
the religion of a Christian, but I do not under-
stand it to have happened in the manner under-
stood by those who formulated the words I use,
and to this extent I reserve the right of private
interpretation." The first question then will be
whether such reservation is necessary if the words
of the ancient profession are retained. It may be
a further question whether in such a case reten-
tion of the ancient formula is justifiable.
Articles 5 and 7: He descended into hell. . . .
He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right
hand of God the Father Almighty.-N ow there
can be no doubt of the fact that to the framers
5 An Eroposition of the Creed, Cambridge, 1899, p. 660.
THE CREEDS 87
of the creed these clauses meant that the soul of
Christ after his death went down to a cavernous
region under the earth called Hades, and that
after the resurrection his glorified body mounted
to a celestial region somewhere overhead and took
its place by the side of the Father. T h e ~ under-
stood these transactions locally and spatially. So
of the former event we may read in Pearson, who
maintained the regular tradition of the Church:
"We have already shewn the substance of t ~ e
Article to consist in this, that the soul of Chnst
really separated from his body by death, did truly
pass unto the places below, where the souls of
men departed were. . . . His body was laid in a
grave, as ordinarily the bodies of dead men are;
his soul was conveyed into such receptacles as the
h d t b
"6
souls of ot er persons use o e.
And so of the ascension and the session, we have
the sermons of Peter and Stephen in the record
of Acts to remind us how literally they were vis-
ualized by the early disciples. Can any Christian
of today believe that these events so occurred as
the makers of the creed believed? Hades and
heaven may 'be a profound reality to him, but he
cannot conceive them locally and spatially as they
were conceived by the apostles, by the early
Church, and by the great divines of the seven-
s Op. cit., 476.
88 THE CATHOLIC FAITH
teenth century. Not the Pope himself, not the
Archbishop of Canterbury himself,-! speak
with due respect,-can profess these articles of
faith literally and without mental reservation.
Nor can I see that it makes much difference
whether we permit such reservation to the con-
science of the individual, or say that these articles
must be taken literally, not indeed as the Church
originally interpreted them, but as the Church
at any moment interprets them. In either case it
is a mere subterfuge to pretend that the creed is
quite the same thing so soon as we allow the sense
of the words to change with the changing views
of the age.
So much being granted, the consequences are
far-reaching. At once the door is thrown open to
a sliding scale in the matter of belief, and the
question becomes, not whether reservation may
be permitted (or, rather, actually is permitted),
but where the line should be drawn between an
honest use of reserve and a liability to the charge
of hypocrisy.
Artide 6: The third day he rose again from the
dead.-Here enters the first shift in the scale of
interpretation. So far as this clause is merely
complementary to that which precedes, signify-
ing a local and spatial return from the under-
ground dwelling of the dead, it requires the same
kind and degree of reservation. But a new ele-
THE CREEDS 89
ment of disturbance is added when we ask by
what medium the risen Lord appeared to the
disciples. Shall we take that appearance as it
seems to have been taken by St. Paul, that is as
a miraculous manifestation of the living spirit of
Christ to the spirit of man, or shall we give
credence to the more legendary narrative of the
gospels, which represents the Lord as appearing
in corporeal form? And if we read the gospel
story into the creed, what are we to think of this
body which was visible to mortal eyes and palpa-
ble to mortal hands, and ate and drank, yet was
capable of passing through solid doors? Clearly
here from the mere relation of space and locality
to spiritual realities we are proceeding to a more
complicated question of symbolism. In some way
the form of the risen Lord is not a body in the
grosser sense of the word, but has undergone a
spiritual metamorphosis. So much indeed the
apostles themselves might concede; but how
much further can a man go legitimately in im-
posing a symbolical interpretation upo:p_ the facts
of the gospel narrative? In deciding this he will
get no help from those who demand a literal ad-
herence to the words of the creed.
Article 8: From thence he shall come to judge
the quick and the dead.-This clause follows the
seventh as the clause of the resurrection follows
the descent into hell, and it enforces upon the
90 THE CATHOLIC FAITH
modern mind the same necessity of giving a lib-
eral meaning to what is expressed in local terms.
And it goes a step further: it obliges us, many of
us at least, to find a general significance for what
is presented as a specific act in time, and so to
take as a symbol what was meant originally to be
understood literally. I fancy that very few edu-
cated Christians today can think of the judgement
as a localized event, or picture to themselves the
judge descending from heaven to the sound of
trumpets and amidst a host of angels, and the
myriad souls of men congregated before his tribu-
nal. So far the literal sense of the creed has been
generally superseded-was perhaps never held
universally. But it is not easy to stop at this
point. The day and place of judgement may have
lost their temporal and local significance without
much troubling our conscience; but what of the
judgement itself? To me personally, and I suspect
to others, the most disturbing problem of the
New Testament is that which springs from such
passages as Matthew xxv, where the sheep and
the goats are divided once and forever into sepa-
rate herds. Take the parable how we will, it
seems to ascribe to Christ himself that doctrine
of a static and eternal heaven and hell which has
grown repugnant to our most intimate sense of
justice and to our whole conception of spiritual
life. Somehow, if we wopld be honest with our-
THE CREEDS 91
selves, we are bound to regard such a picture as
a condensed and symbolic image of the long
progress of the soul towards righteousness or of
its gradual lapse into the pit of evil. Judge there
may be, but his act of judgement becomes coex-
tensive with life here and hereafter, not a sen-
tence pronounced irrevocably in articulo mortis
or at the dissolution of the world. So far as the
New Testament is concerned, I comfort myself
by reflecting that only so, only by presenting the
awful justice of eternity in the parable of an
instantaneous judgement, could the Master have
won credence then and there for a truth upon
which depends the compelling force of morality,
and without which the otherworldliness of relig-
ion sinks into unedifying superstition. But un-
doubtedly the framers of the creed accepted the
language of Scripture literally, so far at least as
it implies an instantaneous and final act of judge-
ment, and so the Roman Church continues to in-
terpret this article of the faith, though it may
tolerate symbolism so far as to admit a spiritual
interpretation of the material and spatial aspects
of the scene. The Anglo-catholic feels, I suppose,
some impulsion to accept the same doctrine as the
Romanist; but, having no dogma of infallibility
to hamper him, he may leave the door open to a
more liberal attitude of the Church in the future
9 ~ THE CATHOLIC FAITH
and to more freedom for the individual in the
present.
There remains of the Christological clauses
only the third, which, it must be admitted, raises
issues of a more serious purport than do those we
have already considered. Here, for the question-
ing mind, lies the crux of the creed.
Article 3: Who was conceived by the Holy
Ghost, born of the Virgin !'lary.-Grammati-
cally, it will be seen, there is no break between
this article and that which follows, the two to-
gether summarizing the earthly life of the Lord,
and to a certain point presenting no difficulty.
That .Jesus was born of a mother named Mary is
a human incident no more mysterious than the
birth of any other child. But with the additions
to that simple statement we are carried into a
region of the miraculous mingling of the natural
and the supernatural more perplexing than the
purely supernatural of articles 5-8. There are
those, of course, who do not feel this peculiar per-
plexity, to whom. this unique manner of birth
appeals as a proper prelude to a life which intro-
duces into history the stupendous novelty of the
Incarnation-the lesser miracle is swallowed up
in the greater. They have, and need have, no hes-
itation in repeating this article of the creed with
the rest. But there are others to whom the matter
is not so clear. In the first place they are con-
THE CREEDS 93
vinced that the documentary evidence rather in-
dicates that the virgin birth as found in the
narratives of Matthew and Luke was no tenet of
the original disciples, but is a legendary over-
growth, beautiful in form it may be, but unhistor-
ical in content. And when this legend leads on to
the virtual deification of the Virgin as the Theo-
tokos, Mother of God, it runs into a superstition
which, to some minds at least, can only be de-
scribed as repulsive. And again they are brought
up sharply by the phrase "conceived by the Holy
Ghost." That in some way the spirit of God was
concerned in the epiphany of the Word, and that
in some way the soul of Christ participated
uniquely in a divine source,-so much they read-
ily grant as consequent upon a belief in the Incar-
nation. But "conceived by the Holy Ghost," con-
ceptus est de 8 piritu 8 ancto!-the phrase, if
taken at all literally of the Holy Ghost as a dis-
tinct person, would imply some special relation
of fatherhood attributed to the third person of
the Trinity liable to, almost obligatory of, a mon-
strous misconception of the Godhead. And fur-
ther, unless we restrict this fatherhood to the
human nature of .Jesus (a restriction which really
does violence to the words), it would suggest a
beginning of the divine nature of Christ in time
more heretical than any but the worst form of
Arianism. These are not difficulties that can be
r
94
THE CATHOLIC FAITH
waved aside as savouring of mere agnosticism;
they are of a kind to bring trouble to the honest
believer, who is likely to dread the intrusion of
biological explanations into the mystery of his
faith as intrinsically sacrilegious. Yet there the
article stands, and he must decide what he will
do with it.
What answer I myself would propose to this
question may be left until we come to consider the
present value and function of the creed as a
whole. Here I would bring out only this point,
that the most tender conscience need not draw
back from this article simply on the ground that
it cannot be understood literally, unless on the
same ground assent must be withheld from.
ticles 5, 7, and 8. It will be a matter not of prmci-
ple but of degree: in principle any one is
at least Christians whose sincerity is beyond cavil
hold themselves practically justified, in using the
language of a creed without giving to it the exact
meaning it was originally intended to convey;
but there comes a step in the gradual extension
of a non-literal into a positively symbolical in-
terpretation at which the demands of sincerity
bid a man pause. On which side of the line does
this article of the creed lie? I shall hope to show
that it still lies on the side of possible acceptance.
Article 9: I believe in the Holy Ghost.-With
THE CREEDS 95
this clause we pass to the being and function of
what is commonly called the third person of the
Trinity. But it is to be observed that, whatever
may have been believed of the personality of the
Spirit by the framers of the creed, this statement
of theirs, taken by itself in the most literal sense,
does not require such a belief. In this it agrees
with the similar clause of the Nicene Faith,
although, of course, this article of the Apostles'
Creed does not, on the other hand, assert any-
thing positively prejudicial to belief in the per-
sonality of the Spirit. It can be spoken with equal
consistency by those who accept the full-blown
dogma of the Trinity and by those who cling to
the undeveloped and, as they think, fundamental-
ly orthodox attitude suggested by a trinitarian
formula.
Article 10: The Holy Catholic Church.-Of
this clause nothing need be said in this place,
since it furnishes the text of a later essay.
Article 11: The Communion of Saints.-Here
we are stopped by a doubt as to the actual mean-
ing of the original words such as meets us nowhere
else in the creed. It is contended by certain schol-
ars, that the Greek phrase and its Latin equivalent
( sanctorum communionem) had no reference to
"saints" or to persons at all, but implied "a parti-
cipation in the holy things" ( sancta, neuter).
96
THE CATHOLIC FAITH
However that may be-and the contention is
probaJbly correct-it happened at an early date
that the phrase came somehow to be referred to
persons ( sancti, masculine) ; and thus the clause
stands in the English translation. So taken, the
article must 'be understood simply to define and
amplify the preceding confession o! in .the
Church. Yet it is an extension so riCh m possible
consequences as to merit separate
The certain nemesis of individualism, the pr1ce
perhaps of being individuals, .is loneliness,-.-the
sullen power ever on watch if It may creep mat
the gate of the soul, to darken with its shadows
the hours of revelry, to tantalize the sweet ex-
pectations of love, to embitter the anguish of
sorrow,-the mocker whose thin laughter can be
heard without even when the bolts are drawn
against its entrance. There is no escape fro_m
it though we go down to the pits of no dis-
traction that will drive it away, no pride of am-
bition that will-satiate it, no human wisdom that
will utterly extract its sting, and the threat. of
death is its eternal reality. The most ternble
word of our western philosophy is the sentence
with which Plotinus closes his account of the
mystic ecstasy: "The flight of the alone to the
Alone"; and it is but a chilly comfort that comes
with the same idea from the theosophy of the
East:
THE CREEDS
He, in that solitude before
The world was, looked the wide void o'er
And nothing saw, and said, Lo I
Alone !-and still we echo the lone cry.
Thereat He feared, and still we fear
In solitude when naught is near:
And, Lo, He said, myself alone!
What cause of dread when second is not known?
7
97
If there be any real mitigation of that loneli-
ness, which otherwise seems only to be brought
into deeper consciousness by the upward striv-
ings of religion, we must look for it in the Church.
Here, if anywhere, in the community of worship
through prayer and praise, the spirits of men are
united in "the fellowship of the Holy Ghost."
This is the thought that underlies the symbol of
the Church as the body of Christ, running through
the epistles of St. Paul like a beautiful refrain:
"By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,"
and "For we being many are one bread and one
body."
But the Church includes a wider fellowship
than this. Besides the visible body of living be-
lievers it embraces the body of those who have
passed into the invisible world, so that by this
communion with the saints the very sundering
partitions of time are broken down as well as
7 Century of Indian Epigrams, lxvi. From the Brihadaranyaka
Upanishad, I, iv, I and 2.
98 THE CATHOLIC FAITH
the separations of place, and almost we can say
that death has lost its sting and the grave its vic-
tory. It is a thought of unspeakable consolation,
if only we could realize it in experience as we
profess it in words. Something of what is meant
by this article of faith can be guessed from the
arts, for in these too we have communion with the
great dead as well as with the living. We read
the poets whose soul has gone into their works,
an Aeschylus or Virgil or Dante or Milton, we
hear the melodies or see the pictures of the ancient
masters, and forthwith we are rapt out of our-
selves, out through the locked doors of the pres-
ent, into the large atmosphere of those who once
lived in the mystery of beauty and turned life
itself into a tale of wonder. Or we study the
sages, the veritable seers to whom the gross forms
of matter were commuted into a vision of Ideas
or lost in "the intellectual love of God." We know
that there, in that society, is our true home, and
we say, sit anima mea cum philosophis. Such is
the communion of art and philosophy, the high
and glorious adventure of education; yet withal
it is but a sign and foretaste of that which may
be given by religion. For in philosophy and the
arts we are made free indeed of the world in
which the masters lived, and partakers of that
which they added to the world by their creative
genius; we live with their works, but, so far as
THE CREEDS 99
they are merely artists and philosophers, not with
them, they are dead and their task is done. It is
not so with the communion of saints. No doubt
we have here too the benefit of their achievements
as such; their holiness is a lesson and an ensample
to us, as it were a poem, a picture, and a book of
wisdom on which we can draw for courage and
enlightenment. But if the article of the creed is
properly understood, it means more than this. It
signifies that the saints are active spirits, mem-
bers of the Church like ourselves, though with-
drawn from sight and nearer to the source of light
than we, to whom a man may come in prayer and
friendship. That is a mystery of religion, none
the less precious for the abuses of exaggeration
it has suffered in certain practices of the actual
Church. Nor is it limited to the mighty cham-
pions of the faith, the canonized or uncanonized
heroes of holiness. In another sense the lesser
dead as well as the greater are included among
the saints, those of our own circle who have gone
before, and who speak to us, not in the dull me-
chanical fashion of the spiritualists so-called, but
in a silence that can stir our being to its depths.
There are those who will tell you how sometimes
at the hearing of the mass or at the regular morn-
ing and evening service of prayer, and more es-
pecially when the congregation is united in say-
ing the creed, they become strangely aware of
100 THE CATHOLIC FAITH
the presence of one "loved long since and lost
awhile," and with that spirit seem to be carried
close to the throne of mercy. And the memory of
that communion is to them inexpressibly sweet.
You may say that they are carried away by aes-
thetic emotions, momentarily rapt out of them-
selves by the illusions of fancy. It may be so; but
I believe they are not utterly deceived.
All this is conveyed by profession of faith in
the holy catholic Church, the communion of
saints.
Article 12: The forgiveness of sins.-Here
more than anywhere else in the creed there is
need of careful discrimination. It is not a ques-
tion, as with articles 5 and 7, of giving spiritual
enlargement to events which, as originally con-
ceived, were limited too narrowly by our sense
of space and time; nor are we required to turn a
physical fact into a symbol, as some minds feel
obliged to do with the virgin birth. The difficulty
is rather ethical and psychological: is sin of such
a nature that it can be forgiven?
Now in the first place this dogma of Christian-
ity would seem to come into direct' conflict with
the teaching of the other supreme }o:,eligion of the
world, Buddhism, at least as that religion left
the hands of its Founder ;
8
and such a contradic-
8 I may recall the fact that later Buddhism developed a theory
of grace and mercy quite contrary to the doctrine of the Founder
and curiously akin to Chl"istianity.
THE CREEDS 101
tion must give us pause. To Buddha the very
foundation of morality was the remorseless, uni-
versal, unescapable law of Karma, the law that ex-
acts for every deed its full consequence in this life
or in the life to come, that denies any possible
interference here or hereafter in the ethical chain
of cause and effect. There is no room for redemp-
tion or forgiveness: as a man sins or fails in self-
control, so he shall suffer; as he attains to right-
eousness or self-government, so he shall progress
in peace and happiness. No external Power rules
over that sequence, no Judge upon whose will
depends the apportionment of praise and blame;
but an inner necessity that has no respect for
persons. Yet withal the law, if without mercy, is
not without hope. \Ve cannot escape the penalty
of our errors, but we may in the act of paying that
penalty learn wisdom, and so step by step, through
successive lives, by the exercise of our own un-
aided will, may mount to better and better things,
until the great enlightenment comes, and we are
saved, or, rather, have saved ourselves. There is
something grandiose in the oriental conception
of the human will, something also that appeals to
the positive and scientific temper of the modern
man. And conscience tells us it is true. But is it
possibly only a half truth? Has it perhaps left
out of the account another aspect of the truth
which is equally fundamental to our sense of
1 0 ~ THE CATHOLIC FAITH
good and evil? Beside the stern authority of the
moral law (Karma) must we not find room for
the coexistence of a divine executive of the law?
This at least is exactly what Plato has done in a
curious passage of the Laws which, but for its
slight colouring of theism, might have been bor-
rowed from the Buddhist canon:
"To this end God has contrived that the char-
acter developed by us should determine the
character of our seat and the place occupied by us
at any time; but the development of our particu-
lar character He has left to the will of each of us.
As a man desires and as is the character of his
soul, such and in such manner, for the most part,
each of us is born. "
9
The theory of transmigration, as it comes from
Plato's brain, stands as a kind of mediatorial link
between the ethics of Buddhism and of Christi-
anity. He has brought a God into the world, but
he has not mitigated the inexorable consequences
of good and evil. His deity is a judge, but acts
strictly under the law; and he emphatically re-
pudiates as immoral the notion that God may he
placated by prayer or diverted by sacrifice from
executing the stern decrees of fate. There is
still no place for "the forgiveness of sins," no
response to the cry of the human heart that justice
and mercy may abide together.
9 See The Religion of Plato, 100 and 149.
THE CREEDS 103
Now in interpretating the article of the creed
on forgiveness we should first of all be careful
not to sever it from the eighth article on the
judgement of the quick and the dead, and with
them we should bear in mind such complemen-
tary texts of Scripture as Nehemiah ix, 17: "A
God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful,"
and Galatians vi, 7: "God is not mocked; for
whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
Man would thus seem to be in a double position
as the evil that he does may be related to God in
the double role of gracious pardoner and inexor-
able judge. In the latter case there can be no
forgiveness, but unmitigated retribution; as a
man has sown, so shall he reap, though the har-
vesting may not fall within this earthly period of
life. This is a thought that may burden the pres-
ent with a terrible gravity, to reflect that we carry
the consequences of our good and evil into the
long ways of eternity; though there is consola-
tion also in knowing that our wills are not neces-
sarily crushed by the past but are free to shape
the future. It is a thought that belongs to Christi-
anity as well as to Platonism and Buddhism, and
that will arise indeed wherever men reflect on the
law written in the heart. All this is embodied in
the eighth article of the creed, as this should be
interpreted in accordance with the text of Gala-
r'
104 THE CATHOLIC FAITH
tians: "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he
also reap."
The question remains how we shall reconcile
this view of justice with the twelfth article and
with such passages as that quoted from N ehe-
miah. First of all I think we must reject any such
mode of reconciliation as that which got into
Christian theology through St. Augustine and
was made classical by St. Anselm's Cur Deus.
The fault here is in regarding mercy and justice
as merely arbitrary affections of an irresponsible
tyrant. The account of the divine tribunal raises
before the eye the picture of a human magistrate
exercizing authority upon culprits charged with
infringing his prescriptive rights. Guilt or inno-
cence such a magistrate will pronounce, not by
reference to a constitutional code which may or
may not have been transgressed, but solely by
reference to the personal relation of the defen-
dant to himself. The question at issue becomes
thus rather a point of honour, punctilio, than of
law. And there is the further consideration that
the judge, who acts also as plaintiff, is a sovereign
of infinite majesty. Any breach of honour is there-
fore measured by the dignity of the person in-
sulted, so that all infractions become of equal and
infinite turpitude, and must be repaired hy in-
finite pains or at infinite cost. 'Vhen to these
complications we add the awful fact that the
THE CREEDS 105
plaintiff and judge is also the free creator of the
culprit, what can be said? The conflict between
justice and mercy appears as something worse
than a farce, it is converted into a drama of cruel
despotism.
The Augustinian-Anselmic theory simply can-
not stand up against the conscience of mankind.
If there is to be any satisfactory reconciliation of
justice as embodied in the eighth article and of
mercy as embodied in the twelfth article of the
creed, it must be through another aspect of evil-
doing which belongs peculiarly to Christianity,
though it was adumbrated in Plato's cosmology
of the Timaeus. Suppose that besides man's sub-
jection to the law of righteousness he is respon-
sible to a God who is engaged in the continuous
work of creation in accordance with that law, and
who by His Spirit calls upon all created spirits
to take their part in the great task; and suppose
that, through unbelief or weakness or wilfulness,
we have failed to respond to that appeal. Could
it not be said that to the evil of breaking the law
we have added the sin of disloyalty? And, this
being so, suppose that first of all we need to set
that personal relationship right before we can
conform to the law, for man as a person cut off
from association with the divine personality is
but a fragmentary and helpless thing,-then, I
think, we may get some inkling of what is meant
106
THE CATHOLIC FAITH
by the two articles of the creed, and may begin to
understand how intimately "forgiveness" is con-
nected with our eternal welfare, while yet the law
of righteousness demands on the part of God in-
exorable judgement. Only with that understand-
ing may our eyes be opened to the depth of the
celestial love concealed in the "eternal purpose"
of the Incarnation, and to the mystery of atone-
ment.
A religion that leaves us to the rigour of the
moral law with no merciful hand reached out to
help, no love to make righteousness personal as
well as imperative, has about it the coldness and
comfortlessness of Fate. On the other hand to
magnify the office of a personal judge to the
detriment of impersonal law, to hang the conduct
of morality upon the arbitrary decisions of a
Power who is at once legislator and judge and
executive, is an error that has brought discredit
upon the Christian scheme of salvation. It ex-
plains the blunder of Rome in her theory of par-
dons and indulgences at the whim of a priest; it
is the mistake that led Lutheranism into its mad
metaphysics of justification by faith alone
out relation to acts. If there were no m1ddle
ground for religion between an immoral interpre-
tation of theism on the one side and the atheistic
ethics of Buddhism on the other side, then, I
hold, a right mind would turn to the latter al-
THE CREEDS 107
ternative as the ndbler guide and the truer faith.
But it is not so; both Roman and Lutheran, each
in his own way, have ignored the great text,
"God is not mocked," and have forgotten to link
the twelfth article of the creed with the eighth.
Articles 13 and 14: The resurrection of the
and the life everlasting.-The latter of
these two clauses, though it is in fact one of the
latest additions to the creed, states a spiritual
truth which all Christians have always been
ready to profess literally and unreservedly; but
about the fashion of the life to come as declared
in the preliminary clause, there may well be dif-
ferences of opinion. What was originally signi-
fied by the resurrection of the body, or of the flesh
as it was often expressed, and what significance,
if any, can be given to such a doctrine today? Of
the literal meaning of the words in the early ages,
and indeed until a very recent period, we have
abundant knowledge. This body of ours was to
be raised up at some definite moment of time,
and rejoined to the soul which had been severed
from it at death. It was to be spiritualized, ren-
dered incorruptible, freed from its painful dis-
abilities, as St. Paul had testified; but it was to
be nevertheless the actual substance of this
flesh, these very same particles of matter which
now constitute our limbs and members, gathered
together from their dispersion in the grave or the
108
THE CATHOLIC FAITH
sea or the maw of ravenous beast and redinte-
grated into their present texture, however they
might be glorified for the uses of eternity. So
Athenagoras, in his treatise De Resurrectione,
declares categorically that our risen bodies "are
constituted from the parts that properly belong
to them"; and he argues for the necessity of such
a belief on the ground that, as the good and evil
of this life are the work of both soul and body, so
the judgement must fall upon both. And as justice
requires that the rewards and penalties must be
apportioned to the same soul which has merited
them, and not to another, so they must affect the
same body. A similar view is maintained in Ad-
amantius, expressed even more materialistically;
and Methodius not only undertakes to refute
those who would allegorize such terms as "the
flesh," but explains why the present body is al-
lowed to decay at death (i.e. in order that sin
may 'be utterly rooted out of it), and is then re-
stored at the resurrection, the same material being
used. And so the belief came down to the great
scholars of the seventeenth century, as we may
read in the swelling language of Pearson's Ex-
position:
"He which numbereth the sands of the sea,
knoweth all the scattered bones, seeth into all the
graves and tombs, searcheth all the repositories
and dormitories in the earth, knoweth what dust
THE CREEDS 109
belm_1geth t? each body, what body to each soul.
as Jus all-seeing eye observeth every par-
ticle of dissolved and corrupted man, so doth
he .also see and know all ways and means by
parts should be united, by
whiCh this rumed fabric should be recomposed.
Whatsoever we lose in deatp, is not lost to
God; as could be made out of nothing
but by him, so can It not be reduced into nothing,
but by the same: though therefore the parts of
the body of man be dissolved, yet they perish not
the! lose their own entity when they part with
their relatwn to humanity; they are laid up in the
secret places, and lodged in the chambers of na-
ture; and it is no more a contradiction that they
should become the parts of the same body of man
to which they did belong, than that after his death
they should become the parts of any other body
as we see they do. "
10
'
But there is no need to labour the point it is
well.known .and indisputable. The question 'to be
IS whether this article of the creed
can, legitimately, be reinterpreted so as to meet
a more enlightened view of what happens at
death, or must be rejected as utterly untenable
Of a .certainty no. man today can accept the
rna literally, taking the word "literally" as in
10
Op: cit., 700, 701. Pearson quotes confirmatory passages fro
Tertull1an and Augustine. m
110
THE CATHOLIC FAITH
honesty it must be defined. These particles of
matter can never be reassembled; this actual flesh
cannot 'be raised up in the manner held by ancient
theologians. But neither on the other hand is it
easy, or even possible, to imagine an absolutely
disembodied existence. If the future life is to be
anything more than a vague abstraction of meta-
physics to which we cling with a kind of cheerless
hope, if in any way we are to take it to our
bosoms and cherish it as a continuance of our in-
dividual entity with satisfaction for the unful-
filled aspirations of this earth, then surely we
must think of the liberated soul as still possessing
some centre of activity in the vast expansions of
space, some vehicle of self-expression, some
medium of subtler perception and purer sensa-
tion, which may be regarded as an etherialized
body. There is nothing alarmingly fantastic in
such a conception, certainly nothing new. One
has only to recall the widespread theory among
the Hindus of the five tanmatras as shadowy
counterparts of the grosser elements of matter;
or to remember the allegory of Plato's Timaeus,
in which the whole process of creation is for the
purpose of shaping and adapting the material
world to spiritual ends; or to reflect on certain
hypotheses of modern science which are dissolv-
ing the brute inert mass of the older physics into
spectral centres of force.
THE CREEDS 111
taken the resurrection of the body becomes
a ?f parable of an event admittedly mysteri-
ous m Its nature. But I see nothing insincere in
the reservation of belief implied in this symboli-
cal recitation of an incomprehensible fact, unless
we are bound to the exact literal sense of every
word we repeat; and to such a restriction, as we
have seen in the case of the articles on the descent
and ascension, no man today does, or can,
submit.
.This resurrection of the fle.,h does then only
b:mg out what was stated at the begin-
nmg of. our discussion, that the belief exacted by
one article of the creed may be of a very different
order from that exacted by another. We believe,
if we are Christians, in the fundamental dogma
of God and the Incarnation and the operation of
the divine spirit unreservedly, though we are not
re9uir.ed to subscribe to any explanation of our
faith m. the of a particular philosophy or
of a ratiOnalized theology. We believe in certain
historical events simply and physically. But evi-
dently confession of other articles involves us in
the of the function and legitimacy of
symbolism, and the doubt may arise whether in
such cases we can in honesty say I believe. I think
the test of sincerity lies in this: is there behind
the metaphorical language a truth to which we
can give whole-hearted assent? If there be such a
THE CATHOLIC FAITH
truth, then I do not see why the most meticulous
mind should hesitate to make confession. Now
in the case of most of the articles to be taken sym-
bolically-the ascension, the session, the return
for judgement, the resurrection-the spiritual
truth is so clear and important and lies so close
to the physical image, that few will feel any
scruples. It is not quite so with the into
hell. It is not likely that many men today Will be-
lieve, as did the Fathers and great theologians of
antiquity, that Christ so appeared to the souls of
the dead and preached to them in order that they
too as well as the living might have salvation of-
fered to them. That seems to us to be passing
from transparent symbolism to sheer mythology,
beautiful no doubt but incredible. Let us take
it as myth; but suppose now a man turns his at-
tention from its spatial to its temporal
cance. Then, when he repeats the words of the
creed, he will not think of a place where the wait-
ing souls of the dead are congregated; rat?er he
will reflect on the momentous mystery of time of
which this myth is a hint, viz. the fact that the
Incarnation was not a mere accident intruded
suddenly into the years, but was eternally present
in the divine purpose, hinted at in many ways,
dimly revealed in prophecy and art and philoso-
phy, so that its efficacy reaches back into the past
as well as forward into the future, making of
THE CREEDS 113
Isaiah and Pheidias and Plato better servants of
the Logos than many who have received the seal
of baptism.
The virgin birth undoubtedly causes more dis-
quietude than any other article of the creed; but
here again the right approach to the problem is
to ask, first, what, if any, great spiritual truth
was urging the Fathers on to formulate such a
profession, and then secondly, if we have found
such a truth, to determine our attitude towards
the specific event in which it is supposed to be
exemplified. To the first question the answer
comes clear and simple. The points at which the
morality and otherworldliness of religion meet
together in Christian dogma are purity and hu-
mility and love. Under these heads can be ana-
lysed the substance of Christ's ethical teaching,
as the elements that enter into the repentance
demanded for participation in the Kingdom of
God; they are the names for the impersonal
moral law, the dbjective Ideas of Plato, when
absorbed into, and vivified by, the personality of
the Incarnate Word; they are the secret of the
Incarnation. Humility inspires the saying of
Jesus himself: "For even the Son of man came
not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to
give his life a ransom for many"; and humility is
the key to St. Paul's theology: "And being found
in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and be-
114
THE CATHOLIC FAITH
came obedient rmto death, even the death of the
cross." Love is proclaimed in the saying: "For
God so loved the world," and is translated into
theology in St. John: "For God is love." These
are the mystic virtues exemplified in the life and
death of Christ as summarized by the creed, and
they are the demands laid upon the spirit of the
Church which makes that life and death a profes-
sion of faith. But what of the remaining virtue of
the triad? "Blessed are the pure in heart," we
read, "for they shall see God"; and immediately
we recall Christ's reiterated justification of his
claims to authority on the ground that he
preached only that which he had seen and heard
with the Father-and, "He that hath seen me
hath seen the Father."
This was the thought in the mind of those who
framed for us the creed. And as the quality of
purity comes most openly and cogently to a test
in nature's method of procreation, so we can un-
derstand how they were drawn to look for its ex-
emplification in the manner of the
birth. Now there are those who accept the article
literally; they have no problem. But there are
others who feel that it would have been wiser to
leave the illustration of purity to the life of Christ
himself, and who cannot overcome a certain re-
pugnance to the overgrowth of Mariolatry. Can
they here, as with other articles, find ease for their
THE CREEDS 115
scruples by repeating as symbol what was meant
to be taken literally? I admit that the question
here becomes acute; it is not the mere translation
of an historical fact into a symbolic myth that is
likely to trouble them, but the character of the
myth itself. And yet I think that, if they will re-
flect more deeply on the divine significance of
purity, and will remember how, not among
Christians alone but in many parts of the world
and among many peoples, reverence for this
virtue has passed into glorification of virginity,
and if at the same time they will reflect on the
beauty of motherhood,-! think then they
understand how the myth (if myth it be) of the
virgin mother could arise and how it could capti-
vate the heart of mankind. Its beauty, its pro-
found spiritual significance, may even lead them
to modify their doubts of its literal truth. In that
spirit, at least, they may accept the symbolism of
this article of the creed, and may without fear
of hypocrisy pronounce the mystical words in awe
and reverence and wonder. "'V e need to remind
ourselves from time to time that the way in which
a thing appears to us does not affect the under-
lying reality."n
I suspect that a certain type of mind, more
honest than subtle, will receive all that I have
11 From the excellent chapter on Symbolism in Professor San-
day's Christologies: Ancient and Modern.
116
THE CATHOLIC FAITH
said by way of explanation and extenuation with
an outburst of indignant reproach. "\Vhy, such a
reader will ask, if the traditional creed cannot be
professed without these reservations and accom-
modations, why not jettison the whole thing, or
at any rate the dubious parts of it, and adopt in
its place a confession that will express precisely
what the modern intelligence can believe? Well,
to that obvious question there are two sufficient
answers, one negative the other positive. For the
first, it is a plain fact that it would be impossible
for any single man or any body of men today to
frame a creed which would meet with wide, not to
say general, acceptance. The result of such an
attempt, supposing it were locally successful,
would be to break the Church, loose enough in its
cohesion as things are, into warring groups of
dissidents. The variety of creeds, instead of
serving as a bond of unity, would become the
source of dissipation and distraction amidst which
the faith would certainly disappear.
And there is a positive objection equally valid.
Granted for the sake of argument, that it were
possible to rewrite the creed in terms which would
satisfy the more rationalistic demands of the
present and at the same time might be generally
adopted, would not the new formula, by the very
elimination of those "mythical" elements which
were the occasion of the revision, lose its value as
THE CREEDS 117
a confession of faith suitable for use in public
worship? For the primary function of the creed,
today at least, is just this, and just in this
it differs from such conciliar decrees as the
"Faith" of Nicea and the "Definition" of Chal-
cedon. The latter were deliberately devised,
in response to the more intellectual needs of the
age, to express the minimum of belief in terms
of invulnerable precision. And by good fortune
they performed that service well and definitively.
But in doing so they inevitably adopted a dispu-
tative manner of statement scarcely compatible
with those expansions of faith upon which the
emotions and the imagination can lay hold for
the use of common praise and prayer. That
larger service was left to the creeds; and I have
written entirely in vain if I have concealed my
conviction that the Apostles' Creed at least is
magnificently, so magnificently as to seem provi-
dentially, contrived to that end. It might be
called the lyric or, rather, the brief epic of Chris-
tianity-poetry in the sense that it clothes the
fundamental articles of belief in symbols of ex-
quisite beauty and enduring appeal, faith in the
sense that behind the symbols, vivifying and
justifying them, lie truths of the eternal spiritual
life as revealed in the divine economy of the In-
carnation. It grew together gradually, almost in-
stinctively, with the fresh and deepening and
118
THE CATHOLIC FAITH
harmonious experience of the Church, and took
its final shape before it could suffer the doubtful
accretions of scholasticism. It has been tested by
the ages, and found not wanting. Only a pre-
sumptuous madness will suppose that anything
devised today could take its place; only a quer-
ulous conceit would remove it from its post of
honour at the centre of the great drama of public
worship; only a soul aridly unimaginative can
miss the thrill of awe, the ecstasy of spirit joining
spirit to go out together in the supreme venture
of faith, when, after a momentary hush, the
priest with lowered voice pronounces the invoca-
tion: "I believe," and the people continue: "In
God the Father Almighty and in Jesus Christ his
only Son our Lord ... and the life everlasting."
The Apostles' Creed, which has been under
consideration, goes back substantially to the early
decades of the second century, and has been in
continuous usage for some eighteen hundred
years. It bears the stamp of Rome, but has
passed without change to the Protestant an.d the
Anglican communities, and is thus
the form in which the whole western church IS at
one in its confession of faith. There remains to
say a few words about the so-called Nicene and
Athanasian Creeds which have a more limited
currency in the Occident.
THE CREEDS 119
The "Nicene" Creed, to be distinguished from
the dogmatic statement of the faith issued by the
first ecumenical council at Nicea, was in use in
Jerusalem at least as early as the middle of the
fourth century. It was officially adopted for the
service of the eastern Church under the Emperor
Justin II, and, with the addition of the dispu-
tatious term filioqne, received the sanction of
Rome in 1014. In the main it corresponds with
the Apostles' Creed; but in the clause on the
Holy Ghost it contains additional phrases which
clearly imply, though perhaps they do not posi-
tively compel, acceptance of the theologically de-
veloped doctrine of the Trinity, in this differing
from the Roman Creed and from the Nicene
Faith. It connects the remission of sins in a ques-
tionable manner w:ith the act of baptism, while it
omits the beautiful article on the communion of
saints. Magnificent as it is, there ate reasons for
regretting that it was ever allowed by the West
to supplant the simpler creed in any part of her
communal worship.
Those readers who have followed this history
of the Greek Tradition will know that, in my
opinion, we need in some matters to return to the
more Platonically minded theology of the East.
But in the formulation of the creed we see Rome
at her best. She had, in the patristic age, the mind
suitable for such a work, unspeculative, satisfied
HW
THE CATHOLIC FAITH
with the great central facts of Christianity with-
out troubling herself over meta physical subtleties.
She had the habit of authority which enabled her
to suppress the vagaries of individualism and to
express the faith in a form suitable for
confession. Her language had, and has, the quali-
ties of an ideal medium for public worship,
sonorous in sound, and rich in general while poor
in specific terms. It is characteristic of the two
sections of the world that in the West the creed
soon stiffened into an unchanging mould, whereas
the East continued to formulate creed after creed
for the purpose of rebutting this or that di_:aga-
tion of heresy. And when at last the oriental
churches were brought by imperial authority to
adopt a common confession, it is significant that
the formula chosen should contain phrases of an
argumentative cast which to a certain extent.


its fitness for the simpler purposes of devotwn.
The Quicunque, or so-called Athanasian
Creed, is of western origin and has no direct con-
12 Kattenbusch, Das apostolische Symbol, I, 371: "Wie ieh sagte,
bin ich zu der Ueberzeugung gelangt, dass R [the Old Roman
Creed) fiir den Archtypus der gut der oc-
cidentalischen Formeln zu erachten se1. . . . Die sachhch belang-
reichen Unterschiede der oben verglichenen Formeln [i.e. of the
East) .gegen R liegen vor in den dopnatischen Stiicken? die. sie
enthalten." The latter observation IS sound, but, takmg mto
account the whole history of the East and the West, I am inclined
to believe that the ultimate source of all the creeds must be looked
for in the creative spirit of the Greek Orient, while to the Occident
belongs the credit of wise formulation.
THE CREEDS
nection with the theologian whose name it bears.
It is fanatic and contentious in spirit, devised to
crush certain heresies and thus to exclude rather
than to unite. So far as I know, it has no place in
any office of the eastern church, and it is not
essential to the expression of the catholic faith.
Its half-hearted retention in the English Prayer
Book has been ably defended;
13
but I cannot re-
gard it as anything but an ineptitude to demand
the repetition of such a formula from a congrega-
tion of worshippers.
13 Notably by A. E. Burn in his Introduction to the Creeds,
291 ff.