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The third article, of the incarnation of the Son of God;
The sixth article, of the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven; The seventh article, of the second coming of Jesus Christ upon earth;
The eighth article, of the third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Ghost;
The ninth article, of the Church;
The tenth article, of Baptism, under which are implied the other Sacraments also;
The eleventh article, of the future resurrection of the dead;
ON THE FIRST ARTICLE.
76. What is it to believe in God?
To believe in God is to have a lively belief of his being, his attributes, and works; and to receive with all the heart his revealed Word respecting the salvation of men.
77. Can you show from holy Scripture that faith in God must consist in this?
The Apostle Paul writes: Without faith it is impossible to please God; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Heb. xi. 6.
The same Apostle expresses the effect of faith on Christians in the following prayer for them to God: That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith. Eph. iii. 16, 17.
78. What must be the immediate and constant effect of a hearty faith in God? The confession of this same faith.
79. What is the confession of the faith?
It is openly to avow that we hold the orthodox faith, and this with such sincerity and firmness that neither seductions, nor threats, nor tortures, nor death itself may be able to make us deny our faith in the true God and in our Lord Jesus Christ.
80. For what is the confession of the faith necessary?
The Apostle Paul witnesses that it is necessary for salvation. For
with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Rom. x. 10.
81. Why is it necessary to salvation not only to believe, but also to confess the orthodox faith?
Because if any one, to preserve his temporal life or earthly goods, shrink from confessing the orthodox faith, he shows thereby that he has not a true faith in God the Saviour, and the life of happiness to
82. Why is it not said in the Creed simply, I believe in God, rather than with the addition, in one God?
In order to contradict the error of the heathen, who, taking the creature for God, thought there were many gods.
83. What does holy Scripture teach us of the unity of God?
The very words of the Creed on this point are taken from the following passage of the Apostle Paul: There is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, as there be gods many, and lords many, but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. 1 Cor. viii. 4, 5, 6.
84. Can we know the very essence of God?
No. It is above all knowledge, not of men only, but of angels.
85. How does holy Scripture speak on this point?
The Apostle Paul says, that God dwelleth in the light, which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see. 1 Tim. vi. 16.
86. What idea of the essence and essential attributes of God may be derived from divine revelation?
That God is a Spirit, eternal, all-good, omniscient, all-just, almighty, omnipresent, unchangeable, all-sufficing to himself, all-blessed.
87. Show all this from holy Scripture.
Jesus Christ himself has said that God is a Spirit. John iv. 24.
Of the eternity of God David says: Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and the world were made, Thou art from everlasting and world without end. Psalm xc. 2. In the Apocalypse we read the following doxology to God: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. Apoc. iv. 8.
The Apostle Paul says that the Gospel was made manifest according to the commandment of the everlasting God. Rom. xvi. 26.
Of the goodness of God Jesus Christ himself said: There is none good but one, that is God. Matt. xix. 17. The Apostle John says: God is Love. 1 John iv. 16. David sings: The Lord is gracious and merciful, long-suffering, and of great goodness. The Lord is loving unto every man, and his mercies are over all his works. Psalm cxlv. 8, 9. Of the omniscience of God the Apostle John says: God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 1 John iii. 20. The Apostle Paul exclaims: O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out. Rom. xi. 33.
Of the justice of God David sings: The righteous Lord loveth righteousness, his countenance will behold the thing that is just. Psalm xi. 8. The Apostle Paul says that God will render to every man according to his deeds, and that there is no respect of persons with God. Rom. ii. 6, 11.
Of the almighty power of God the Psalmist says: He spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. Psalm xxxiii. 9. The archangel says in the Gospel: With God nothing shall be impossible. Luke i. 37.
The omnipresence of God David describes thus: Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I go from thy presence? If I climb up into heaven, thou art there; if I go down to hell, thou art there also. If I take the wings of the morning, and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Peradventure the darkness shall cover me; then shall my night be turned to day. Yea, the darkness is no darkness with thee, but the night is as clear as the day; the darkness and light to thee are both alike. Psalm cxxxix. 6–11. The Apostle James says that With the Father of lights there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James i. 17.
The Apostle Paul writes that God receiveth not worship of men's hands as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things. Acts xvii. 25. The same Apostle calls God The blessed and only potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
1 Tim. vi. 15.
88. If God is a Spirit, how does holy Scripture ascribe to him bodily parts, as heart, eyes, ears, hands?
Holy Scripture in this suits itself to the common language of men; but we are to understand such expressions in a higher and spiritual sense. For instance, the heart of God means his goodness or love; eyes and ears mean his omniscience; hands, his almighty power.
89. If God is every where, how do men say that God is in heaven, or in the church? God is every where; but in heaven he has a special presence manifested in everlasting glory to the blessed spirits; also in churches he has, through grace and sacraments, a special presence devoutly recognized and felt by believers, and manifested sometimes by extraordinary signs. Jesus Christ says: Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matt. xviii. 20.
90. How are we to understand these words of the Creed, I believe in one God the Father? This is to be understood with reference to the mystery of the Holy Trinity; because God is one in substance but trine in persons-the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost-a Trinity consubstantial and undivided.
91. How does holy Scripture speak of the Blessed Trinity?
The chief texts on this point in the New Testament are the following: Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matt. xxviii. 19. There are three that bear record in heaven-the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. 1 John v. 7.
92. Is the Holy Trinity mentioned in the Old Testament also?
Yes; only not so clearly. For instance: By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the hosts of them by the Breath of his mouth. Psalm xxxiii. 6. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. Isaiah vi. 3.
93. How is one God in three Persons?
We can not comprehend this inner mystery of the Godhead; but we believe it on the infallible testimony of the Word of God. The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 1 Cor. ii. 11.
94. What difference is there between the Persons of the Holy Trinity? God the Father is neither begotten, nor proceeds from any other Person: the Son of God is from all eternity begotten of the Father: the Holy Ghost from all eternity proceeds from the Father.
95. Are the three Hypostases or Persons of the Most Holy Trinity all of equal majesty ? Yes; all of absolutely equal divine majesty. The Father is true God, the Son equally true God, and the Holy Ghost true God; but yet so that in the three Persons there is only one Tri-personal God.
96. Why is God called the Almighty (Havroкpáropa)?
Because he upholds all things by his power and his will.
97. What is expressed by the words of the Creed, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible?
This: that all was made by God, and that nothing can be without God. 98. Are not these words taken from holy Scripture?
They are. The book of Genesis begins thus: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
The Apostle Paul, speaking of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, says: By him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. Coloss. i. 16.
99. What is meant in the Creed by the word invisible?
The invisible or spiritual world, to which belong the angels. 100. What are the angels?
Incorporeal spirits, having intelligence, will, and power.
101. What means the name angel?
It means a messenger.
102. Why are they so called?
Because God sends them to announce his will. Thus, for instance, Gabriel was sent to announce to the Most Holy Virgin Mary the conception of the Saviour.
103. Which was created first, the visible world or the invisible?
The invisible was created before the visible, and the angels before men. (Orthod. Confess. Pt. I. Q. 18.)
104. Can we find any testimony to this in holy Scripture?
In the book of Job God himself speaks of the earth thus: Who laid the corner-stone thereof? When the stars were CREATED, all my angels praised me with a loud voice. Job xxxviii. 6, 7.
105. Whence is taken the name of guardian angels?
From the following words of holy Scripture: He shall give his angels charge over thee, to guard thee in all thy ways. Psalm xci. 11.