Faith which imputes Christ's merit was unknown to the earlier, Apostolic church, and is nowhere to be understood in the Word.
The church which existed before the Council of Nicaea was called the Apostolic church. This was extensive, having been spread to three continents, Asia, Africa and Europe, as is evident from the Emperor Constantine the Great, whose dominion covered not only a number of European kingdoms that subsequently broke away, but also the nearer parts outside Europe, being a Christian and zealous for his religion. He therefore, as said above, summoned the bishops from Asia, Africa and Europe to his palace in the city of Nicaea in Bithynia, in order to expel from his empire the scandalous teachings of Arius. This took place by the Lord's Divine providence, since if the Lord's divinity is denied, the Christian church dies off, and becomes like a tomb bearing the inscription: HERE LIES. . .
The church which existed before this time was called Apostolic, and its notable writers were known as the Fathers, and the true Christians beside them as brethren. It is certain from the Creed known after that church as the Apostles', that it did not acknowledge three Divine Persons and thus not a Son of God from eternity either, but only a Son of God born in time. The Creed says:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born of the Virgin Mary. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic church, the communion of saints.
This makes it plain that they acknowledged no Son of God other than Him who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, certainly not a Son of God born from eternity. This Creed, like the two others, has been acknowledged down to the present day by the whole Christian church as a genuine and catholic creed.