OF THE CREED.
OF THE CREED.
Hitherto we have heard the first part of the Christian doctrine, and learned all that God wishes us to perform, and all from which he desires us to abstain. Here then, the doctrine of Faith properly follows, which presents to us all that we must expect and receive from God; and to speak briefly, it teaches us to acknowledge him wholly and entirely. The province of this faith is to enable us to perform that which is required of us in the Ten Commandments; for they are, as we have stated above, so sublime and lofty in their institution, that all the powers of man are far too low and feeble to observe them. It is necessary, therefore, to teach this part, as it is to teach the former, in order that we may know how to observe the Commandments, and from what source and through what means this power is to be derived. For if we were able to keep them by our own powers, as they should be kept, we would have no need of any thing further, neither the Creed, nor the Lord's Prayer. But before we proceed to explain these benefits, and the necessity of the Creed, it is sufficient, first, for those who are entirely inexperienced, to learn to comprehend and understand the Creed in itself.
Heretofore, the Creed was divided into twelve articles; and yet there are a great many more articles, should we distinguish all the particulars separately which are contained in the Scriptures, and which pertain to the Creed, nor could they be distinctly defined with so few words. But, in order that the Creed may be comprehended in the easiest and most simple manner, as it is to be taught to children, it shall be comprised briefly in three chief articles, according to the three persons of the Trinity; and to these articles all that we believe is referred: so that the first article, concerning God the Father, explains creation; the second, concerning the Son, explains redemption; the third, concerning the Holy Spirit, explains sanctification. As if the Creed were briefly comprised in so many words: I believe in God the Father, who has created me; I believe in God the Son, who has redeemed me; I believe in the Holy Spirit, who sanctifies me. One God and one faith, but three persons; therefore, also three articles or confessions. Thus we shall now briefly consider the words of the Creed.