1. THE APOSTLES' CREED. -- There is ground for the belief that this creed was in use at Rome in the third century, and it may have been in existence before the end of the second century. In its primitive Roman form the creed lacked a few words or clauses which appear in the later and customary version. It read as follows: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, and,in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord; who was born of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary; crucified under Pontius Pilate, and buried; the third day He rose from the dead; He ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. And [I believe] in the Holy Ghost; the holy Church; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body."
2. THE NICENE CREED. -- "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible, And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God begotten of the Father, the only-begotten, that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, and Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made in heaven and on earth; who for us men, and for our salvation; came down, and was incarnate, and was made man; He suffered, and the third day He rose again, and ascended into heaven, from whence He cometh to judge the quick and the dead. And [we believe) in the Holy Ghost. And those who say, there was a time when He [the Son] was not, and that He was not before He was made, and He was made out of nothing, or out of another substance or thing, or the Son of God is created, or changeable, or alterable, the holy catholic and apostolic Church anathematizes."
3. THE CREED OF CONSTANTINOPLE.-- This formulary, commonly associated with the ecumenical council of 381, repeats the subject-matter of the Nicene creed, enlarging on some of its specifications, particularly that relating to the Holy Spirit, and omitting the anathema. It reads as follows: "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day He rose again, according to the Scripture, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; from thence He cometh again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Ghost, who is Lord and Giver of life, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified,who spake by the prophets. In one holy catholic and apostolic Church; we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen."
4. THE CREED OF CHALCEDON.-- "Following the holy fathers, we all with one consent teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one person and one subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only-begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the creed of the holy fathers has handed down to us."
5. THE ATHANASIAN CREED. -- The so-called Athanasian creed was of private origin. Its composition could not have been earlier than the middle portion of the fifth century. It may be judged that it arose in the school of Augustine, since it reflects his disposition to affirm strongly at once the perfect equality of the three Persons and the unity of the Godhead. With much boldness and detail it sets forth these opposite sides of the trinitarian theory. Its artificial character, or strained elaboration, unfits it for proper USE as an ecumenical creed.