Imputation not known in the Apostolic Church

Imputation not known in the Apostolic Church

The faith imputative of the merit of Christ was not known in the Apostolic church, which preceded; and is nowhere meant in the Word. The church which preceded the Nicene council is called the Apostolic church. That it was a great church, and extended into the three parts of the globe, Asia, Africa, and Europe, is evident from the fact that the Emperor Constantine the Great was a Christian, and a zealot for religion; and from his dominion over not only the region afterwards divided into the many kingdoms of Europe, but also over the neighbouring regions out of Europe. Wherefore, as was said before, he convoked the bishops of Asia, Africa, and Europe at his palace at Nice, a city of Bithynia, that he might banish from his empire the scandalous dogma of Arius. This was done of the Lord’s Divine Providence; since if the Divinity of the Lord is denied. the Christian church dies, and becomes as a sepulchre inscribed with the epitaph—”Here lies.” The church that existed before that time is called Apostolic; and the eminent writers of that church are called the Fathers, and the true Christians at their side, brethren. That this church did not acknowledge three Divine Persons, nor therefore a Son of God from eternity, but only the Son of God born in time, is evident from the creed which from their church is called Apostolic, where we read these words: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary… believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy Catholic church; the communion of saints.” From which it is plain, that they acknowledged no, other Son of God than the one conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, and by no means any Son of God’ born from eternity. This creed, like the two others, has been acknowledged as genuinely Catholic, by the whole Christian church to this day…. That in that primeval time all in the then Christian world acknowledged that the. Lord Jesus Christ was God, to whom was given all power in heaven and on earth, and power over all flesh, according to His very words (Matt. xxviii. 18; John xvii. 2), and that they believed in Him, according to His command from God the Father (John iii. 15, 16, 36; vi. 40; xi. 25, 26), is also very manifest from the convocation of all the bishops by the Emperor Constantine the Great, for the purpose of convicting and condemning, from the sacred Scriptures, Arius and his followers, who denied the Divinity of the Lord the Saviour born of the virgin Mary. This indeed was done; but in avoiding the wolf they fell upon a lion; or, as it is said in the proverb, eager to avoid Charybdis, they fell upon Scylla,—by inventing a Son of God from eternity, who descended and assumed the Human; believing that they should thus vindicate and restore Divinity to the Lord. Not knowing that God Himself the Creator of the universe descended, that He might become the Redeemer, and thus the Creator anew,—according to these plain declarations in the Old Testament; Isaiah xxv. 9; xl. 3, 5, 10, 11; 14; xliv. 6, 24; xlvii. 4; xlviii. 17; xlix. 7, 26; lx. 16; lxiii. 16; Jer. 1. 34; Hos. xiii. 4; Psa. xix. 14. To these add John i. 14. (TCR n. 636, 637)

That no faith imputative of the merit of Christ is meant in the Word, clearly appears from the fact that that faith was not known in the church until after the Nicene council introduced the three Divine Persons from eternity; and when this faith had been introduced and pervaded the whole Christian world, every other faith was cast into the shade. (ibid. n. 639)

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