What do we mean when we say “I”? Who, what, is this human creature which utters, so freely, and most of the time so thoughtlessly, this word of a single letter? Next to the thought of God… these thoughts are most worthy of our serious, prayerful consideration. These are the thoughts which, rightly pursued, bring the largest dividends for the enrichment of the mind, and the strengthening of the spirit.
The Apostles’ Creed is not merely a child’s confession. The child, indeed, at an early age, may learn its words, and a helpful measure of its truth; but no sage has ever exhausted it. It is like the ocean, the child may enjoy the waves as they roll up on the sandy beach, no man can touch its bottom where lie its deepest depths.
As we study this ancient symbol from Sunday to Sunday, comparing each statement with the Word of God from which it is drawn, I am sure we shall all find truths hidden here hitherto unsuspected.
The Apostles’ Creed is one of the confessions of Christendom. It is regarded as the creed of all who call themselves Christians. But it is well known that, especially in recent times, there has been a great outcry against creeds of every kind… The ideas begotten of evolution, of constant progression, have made these people intolerant of anything which bears the marks of age.
On This Page 1. The Need Of A Creed The Outcry Against Creeds The Creed and Its Purpose The Apostles’ Creed Publication Information 1.
“There are a few questions which… often trouble our people. One is the question which has to do with the number and proper order of the commandments. Our people often, in reading, or discussing the commandments, meet with these difficulties. They find that the order we follow differs from that followed by others. If they read or hear someone speak of the Fifth Commandment, for instance, they find that an entirely different subject is presented from that of which we think when the Fifth Commandment is mentioned.
” In view of the fact that God deals with men as rational, responsible creatures, whom He is anxious to bless but will not force to accept His blessings, this dealing has always had as a primary object to prove to man that God is a loving God, seeking his good, willing to pardon his faults if he would let Him do so. Throughout the whole history of God’s dealings with man He has been seeking to convince him of His true fatherhood, His willingness to enfold him in His arms of love, to guide him and provide for him as only infinite wisdom, power and love is capable of doing.
“The natural man cannot but conclude that there is a God, but his conception of His nature is never a very exalted one. Even during Old Testament times, and not infrequently during the New Covenant, the ideas of God’s own children, with respect to His nature and disposition, were often rather dark and forbidding; they regarded Him as a stern, ruthless, relentless taskmaster. Jesus’ revelation of God was far other than this.
“What is it we owe our fellowman? We owe it to him to let him make a decent living, to let him have the opportunity for cultivating his mind and inner life, the enjoyment of his rights. We owe him the financial help necessary to bridge over a season of enforced inactivity. But this is not all, it is the least that is required of us. The Divine requirement is, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor.
“These last commandments deal with the root and source of all sin; namely, the evil desires of the heart. It is true that, in the explanation of all the commandments, we bring out the fact that they are broken first of all in the heart, and that they are kept aright only when kept in and from the heart, and that in their scope they are all-inclusive. The Fifth Commandment, for instance, does not only forbid murder, but also anger, malice, and every kind of malevolent affection.
“The tendency to gossip in some people becomes a passion. Their tongues simply run away with them. It must wag, though it be without either rhyme or reason; and regardless of consequences. Sometimes there is no conscious desire to do any one an injury. But even where there is no evil intent harm is nevertheless often done. The idle talker usually loses the power of perspective so far as truth and untruth are concerned.
“The boneless tongue, so small and weak, Can crush and kill,” declared the Greek. “The tongue destroys a greater horde,” The Turk asserts, “than does the sword.” The Persian proverb wisely saith, “A lengthy tongue, — an early death;” Or sometimes takes this form instead: “Don’t let your tongue cut off your head.” “The tongue can speak a word whose speed,” Says the Chinese, “Outstrips the steed.” While Arab sage doth this impart: “The tongue’s great store-house is the heart.
“Luther felt that the disposition to dishonesty and the practice of it was extremely prevalent in his day. He says: ‘God has commanded that no one damage or curtail the possessions of his neighbor. To steal signifies nothing else than to obtain another’s property by unjust means. It briefly embraces every method, in all lines of business, by which advantage is taken of our neighbor. Stealing is a widespread, universal vice.
“God puts His emphasis on the primary things, where it belongs; but he is not unmindful of anything that concerns his people. He says: ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness;’ but at the right time and with becoming eagerness, we may also seek the creature things, which, if used aright, will help us on our heavenward way, though they be but the perishing things of the earth.
“Christ speaks of the course of life through this world as a way: the broad way and the narrow way. With special emphasis do the inspired writers speak of those who live in violation of the Sixth Commandment as followers of a way, a wicked way. In the second chapter of Proverbs we read these words of warning concerning the strange woman, who has forsaken the guide of her youth and forgotten the covenant of her God: ‘Her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.
“In spite of the loathing which this subject brings to pure, modest souls it is a seductive sin. The world makes light of it. It smiles complacently at the violation of the law of chastity. Because of this, as well as for other reasons, we need to watch and pray that we be not led into temptation.”
On This Page 18. The Unspeakable Sin Marriage Divorce Personal Impurity Paying the Price The Remedy Publication Information 18.
“In thinking and speaking of murder, the average person usually has in mind only the actual and direct taking of human life, — as, for instance, with poison, a revolver, a dirk or some similarly deadly instrument. This probably accounts for the complacency so many exhibit when it comes to considering the command which says: ‘Thou shalt do no murder.’ Most people, on hearing these words, will at once say — that does not condemn me.
“This discussion brings us to the important subject of capital punishment. Capital punishment is the legally enjoined punishment for the crime of murder. It is the conviction of many that the enforcement or non-enforcement of this penalty has much to do with the attitude of our people toward the Fifth Commandment, the first requirement of which is not to take human life. Notwithstanding, there are a great many who consider this punishment as contrary to the spirit of the age and of Christianity.
The Fifth Commandment (“Thou Shalt Not Kill”) has not become antiquated… (In it) we have a statement of that Law of God which gives emphasis to the sacredness of human life, and throws about it the protecting shield of His care.
On This Page 15. The Sacred Mystery Of Human Life The Mystery of Life The Sacredness of Human Life The Christian Attitude Toward Life Publication Information 15.
Listen to what the Lord says through the mouth of St. Peter: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether it be unto the king, as supreme, or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by Him. For so is the will of God.”
On This Page 14. The Responsibilities of Government And The Governed Government a Divine Institution The Duties of Those Who Govern The Duties of Those Governed Publication Information 14.
To live means more than having food and shelter or any degree of material prosperity. Merely to vegetate, to exist, is not truly to live. To spend an existence of isolated selfishness is not really to live. A round of useless or silly pleasures is a poor, shallow, unsatisfactory kind of life.
On This Page 13. Parental Responsibility 1. The Nature and Extent of Parental Responsibility. 2. How can parents properly discharge the great obligations they owe their children?
We have, in a measure, prepared the way for the consideration of this Fourth Commandment by our meditation on the Christian family. If all families were Christian families, if all parents lived and wrought in the midst of their families in the fear and love of God, and made it their chief concern to have their children follow them in this, then we should have the least possible trouble in having the Fourth Commandment fulfilled.