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sponsible for the phrase, was familiar with the new learning of his time; he was a scholar also, and had the moderation of one who looked at a subject in its different aspects. To his mind the unity of Scripture lay in the presentation of Christ, by anticipation in the Old Testament and by its fulfilment in the New. "Both in the old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and Man" (Article VII).

On this point, Dr. Creighton, the late bishop of London, has remarked:

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"The Church of England stands in a remarkably free attitude toward the progress of human learning. It has nothing to conceal and shrinks from no inquiry. No religious organization attaches a higher importance to Holy Scripture or venerates more highly its authority; but it has never committed itself to any theory concerning the mode in which Scripture was written or the weight to be attached to it for any other purpose than that of ascertaining all that is necessary to salvation. That the Scriptures contain God's revelation to man, there must be no doubt; but the Church

of England has never erected any artificial barrier against inquiry into the mode in which that revelation was made, into the method and degree in which God's spirit made use of human instruments, into the way in which national records were penetrated with a sense of the divine purpose. It is true that assumptions have been made on these points and others. Men have always asked questions and have given themselves answers to the best of their capacity. Such answers are of the nature of hypotheses, founded on the best knowledge available, but capable of extension or alteration as knowledge advances." 1

The fear and the disquiet caused by Biblical criticism are overcome when we concentrate attention on the essence of the Christian faith as consisting in the Person of the Christ, who is the "Way, the Truth, and the Life." The Bible is the divinely ordered record of that Person. We read the Bible that it may show us Christ, and that by prayer and study and meditation Christ may grow in our hearts by faith.

1 "The Church and the Nation," pp. 78, 79.

CHAPTER II

HISTORICAL VARIATIONS IN THE INTERPRETATION OF THE CREED

I

I. THE creed commonly called the Apostles' Creed took its origin in Rome about the middle of the second century, and may in a general way be regarded as a summary of those convictions regarding the Christian faith in the strength of which the rising Catholic Church overcame the heathenism of the Roman Empire in the West. Viewed from this point, it is seen to include two unique statements which never gained formal entrance into Eastern creeds, but were for the Western Church embodiments of profound and influential conviction. These two statements, so difficult for the modern mind to receive, but of the highest significance in the ancient Church, are the "descent into hell" (descendit ad inferos), and the "resurrection of the body" (resurrectionem carnis).1 In their origin and in their

1 The translation, "the resurrection of the body," is found in the "Necessary Doctrine and Erudition for any Christian Man,"

development, they were the expression of vital belief in the ancient and the early medieval Church. Long before its insertion in the creed, the "descent into hell" was associated with the conviction that Christ had not only been actually born into this lower world and had actually died on the cross, and had made this world His own; but that He also had ranged through the universe, as the victorious, unconquerable Son of God, who, in the power of immortal youth, had visited every place where human souls were to be found, even hades and hell; that He had met the evil spirit, the enemy of man, and had routed him from his stronghold. Then, when the under world had yielded up its contents to Him, began the upward movement. Henceforth souls ascended instead of going down into the lower of the world. Heaven was revealed, parts unknown sphere to the ancient world. So, having accomplished His work in the under world and routed the prince of darkness, He rose up again from the dead and ascended into heaven, and He sitteth henceforth on the right hand of the Father, which implies the attitude of assured success, that evil had been conquered in its strongholds. But it also means more, — that at

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put forth by the king's authority in 1543. But the original purport of the article was to lay emphasis on the flesh.

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the right hand of the Father, He is also in the thick of the strife, ever ready to come to the aid of His Church; or, as St. Stephen, before he fell asleep, beheld Him, not sitting, but standing, as if the assault moved Him to rise in behalf of His devoted follower.

Whatever may be one's difficulty in believing in the descent into hell, the Church will not willingly yield this picture of the immortal, conquering Christ. If the dread of the evil spirit in the universe has been exorcised, it is owing to this ancient belief, or rather it is owing to the influence of Christ Himself, as His followers saw Him, when they no longer knew Him only after the flesh, but in His transfigured career throughout the universe of God. Nor does it weaken the beauty or truth of the picture when we recall how the old Roman world, from the second to the fourth century, was invaded by Mithra, to whom a similar rôle was assigned in the heathen imagination. Light has been shed on the religious ferment of that age, by researches of modern scholars.1 Mithra is now recognized as having been a competitor for the suffrage of the Roman emperors. He appeared as an immortal youth, endowed with great beauty.

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1 Cf. Cumont, "The Mystery of Mithra."

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