476d Pearson, John. (1613-1685) An Exposition of the Creed. By John
Lord Bishop of Chester. The fourth edition, revised and now more enlarged.
London: J.M. for John Williams, at the Crown in
Cross-Keys-Court in Little-Britain, 1676.
Folio, 7.5 x 12.5 in. Fourth edition. [ ]1,
A-Z4, Aa-Zz4, Aaa-Ddd4, Eee3. The portrait of Pearson by Willem Sonman
and J.H. Van Houe is
present. The title page is embellished. The bookplate of “Wriothesley
Duke of Bedford, Knight of the most noble Order of the Garter, 1703” appears
on the verso of the title. This copy is bound in modern quarter calf
over marbled boards with a gilt spine.
“In 1654, [Pearson] accepted an invitation from the inhabitants of St.
Clement’s, Eastcheap, to deliver a weekly sermon in their parish church.
This he appears to have regularly continued up to the Restoration, without receiving
any pecuniary recompense. It was at Saint Clement’s that he preached in
substance the series of discourses which he published in 1659 under the title
of An Exposition of the Creed, a work which is, within its limits, the most perfect
and complete production of English dogmatic theology. […] While debarred
from the full exercise of his ministry, Pearson defended the church with his
pen against both Romanist and puritan assailants. […][His] reputation
as a scholar was soon established, and his commendation was considered sufficient
evidence of the value of a work.
“The Exposition of the Creed, on which Pearson’s reputation still
mainly rests, has long been a standard book of English divinity. It has won the
highest praise, not only from Anglican theologians, but from such men as Dr.
Johnson, Dean Milman, and Hallam. The last-mentioned writer says: ‘It expands
beyond the literal purport of the Creed itself to most articles of orthodox belief,
and is a valuable summary of arguments and authorities on that side. The closeness
of Pearson and his judicious selection of proofs distinguish him from many, especially
the earlier, theologians.’
“Pearson’s preference for the scholastic method of theology appears
in the book; it is a work of one accustomed to vigorous definition and exact
deduction, and might easily be thrown into a form similar to that in which the
schoolmen have treated the same subjects. The style is singularly unambitious,
and seems to aim at nothing beyond the careful and accurate statement of propositions
and arguments.’ The notes to the Exposition—a rich mine of patristic
and general learning—are at least as remarkable as the text, and form a
complete catena of the best authorities upon doctrinal points.” (DNB)