In his foreword H.B. Swete notes that he wrote this book to encourage younger clergy to read the church fathers for themselves and not to rely on second hand information. This brief introduction will be still of value to students of the early church more than a century after it was first published. This title is in the public domain.
The literary remains of the Apostolic age in the providence of God have become the common property of Christendom. Admitted into the canon of Holy Scripture, translated into the language of every civilised people, circulated by great societies established for that end, the Gospels and Epistles, the Acts and the Apocalypse are in the hands of all Christians who can read their mother tongue. A widely different fate has overtaken the post-Apostolic literature of the Ancient Church. If the names of some of the more eminent ‘Fathers’ are familiar to all educated men, few are attracted to the study of their writings. A grotesque misrepresentation associates the Fathers with dulness and ignorance. It is assumed that the writings which record the history, the life, and the thought of the Christian Church during the centuries which followed the death of St. John are destitute of literary merit or spiritual profit….
Andrew Ewbank Burns 1899 Introduction to the Creeds appears to be a comprehensive treatment of the subject. Originally prepared as course book for students at Cambridge University, the author hoped that his work would also be useful to a wider readership.
The Historic Faith in the Second and Third Centuries
The Theological Faith of the Fourth Century
Our Nicene Creed
The Athanasian Creed I
The Athanasian Creed II
The Apostles’ Cred in the Fourth Century
Our Apostles’ Creed
The “Te Deum”
Of the Use of the Creeds
The following Introduction to the Creeds· and to the Early History of the Te Deum has been designed, in the first instance, for the use of students reading for the Cambridge Theological Tripos. I have edited all the Creed-forms set for that examination, with the exception of three lengthy formularies, which belong rather to a history of doctrine than to my present subject. These are-the letter of Cyril to Nestorius, the letter of Leo to Flavian, and the Definition of the Council of Chalcedon.
At the same time, I hope that the book may be useful to a wider circle of readers-to clergy and candidates for Holy Orders. The subject is of supreme importance to all teachers of Church doctrine; and the only excuse for adding to the number of books which already deal with it, is the desire to enable others to gather the first-fruits of many writers and of recent researches in England and abroad. [Continue reading]