Contents The Christian System
by Alexander Campbell
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CHAPTER XVII

THE CHRISTIAN CONFESSION OF FAITH.

I. THE only apostolic and divine confession of faith which God, the Father of all, has laid for the church - and that on which Jesus himself said he would build it, is the sublime and supreme proposition: THAT JESUS OF NAZARETH IS THE MESSIAH, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.   This is the peculiarity of the Christian system: its specific attribute. The antediluvian Abel, Enoch, etc., believed that a Son of Eve would bruise Satan's head. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob believed that a peculiar son of theirs would be the child of blessings, the Son of promise to the human race. Indeed, Jesse, David, and all the Prophets, looked for one from the sceptred tribe, who would be king of all the earth, and a benefactor of humanity. John the Baptist, in his day, preached and believed that the Messenger of the covenant of eternal peace was immediately to appear. But the disciples of Jesus, son of Mary, believed and confessed that he was the identical person. "We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and all the Prophets did write; Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of David, the King of Israel." "Rabbi," said Nathaniel, "thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel." But yet it remained for Peter to speak fully and expressly, the very proposition which contains the whole matter. "We believe and are sure that thou art the Messiah, the Son of the living God." "On this rock," responded he, with a blessing upon Peter's name and head: "On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." Of this foundation Paul has said, "other foundation can no man lay than that which is already laid, which is Jesus Christ." God himself laid this corner, this tried and precious stone, as the foundation of the temple of grace; and therefore with his own lips pronounced him his beloved Son; and sealed him by the visible descent and impress of his Spirit, as his Messiah, the Messenger of Life and Peace to a condemned and rebellious world.

II. This confession of faith has in it two distinct ideas - the one concerning the person, the other concerning the office of the Son of Man. The one asserts his divine relations, the other, his official rank and glory. No one can intelligently believe this proposition, and not turn to God with all his heart: for there is in it a thousand thoughts and motives, to bind the soul to God, and melt it into the most affectionate devotion. There is also in it the strongest bond to secure the affections of all Christians to one another. There is no other confession of faith, on which the church can be built, on which it can possibly stand one and undivided, but on this one. With the heart man believes this proposition in order to justification; and with his mouth he maketh this confession of it in order to his salvation. So Paul explains it, Rom. x ; and thus we have one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, among the immutable reasons why Christians should maintain unity of spirit in the bonds of peace.1


1  See the essay on the Foundation of Christian Union and Communion.


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