Ursinus Contra Intercession By Saints

Obj. 1. The saints, on account of their virtues, are to be honored with the worship either of adoration (λατρεια) or of veneration (δουλεια). But it is not in the former sense that they are to be worshipped; because this form of worship is due to God alone, inasmuch as it attributes to him universal power, providence and dominion, which can be ascribed to God alone. Therefore veneration is due to the saints, or such worship as that which we ascribe to them for their holiness.

Ans. We deny the consequence; because the major proposition is incomplete; for besides the worship of adoration and veneration, which is the distinction here made, there is another kind of veneration, such as is proper to the saints, which is the acknowledgment and celebration of the faith, holiness and gifts for which they were distinguished, obedience to the doctrine which they taught, and an imitation of their lives and piety, concerning which Augustin says: p 543 “They are to be honored by imitation, but not by adoration.” This veneration is due to the saints, and we have no desire to take it from them, whether living or dead; but, on the other hand, willingly attribute it to them according to the command of the Apostle: “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God; whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” (Heb. 13:7.) Wo also deny the minor proposition; because the distinction which they make between the worship of adoration and veneration is of no force, inasmuch as these are not different forms of worship, but one and the same; neither do they belong to the saints, or to any creature, but to God alone, because he knows and hears in all places and at all times the thoughts, the groans and desires of those who call upon him, and relieves their necessities. No one but God can hear those who call upon him. Therefore this honor must be ascribed to him alone, because he hears them that pray. This honor belongs also to Christ, because it is on account of his merits and intercession that God grants unto us the forgiveness of sins, eternal life and all other good things. Hence this honor cannot be transferred to the saints without manifest sacrilege and idolatry, whether it be under the name of adoration, or veneration, or whatever name it may be. This distinction, too, which they make, is of no account, since the words are used indifferently in the original to signify the same thing, both in the Scriptures and in profane writers. Concerning God it is said (Matt. 4:10), “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Here the Greek word λατζευσεις is used. And in Matt. 6:25, it is said, “He cannot serve God and Mammon;” in which place the word δουλευειν is used. Which word is also used in the following places, where it is said, “Ye turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God.” “They that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thes. 1:9. Rom. 16:18.) Paul also every where calls himself the servant of God (δουθ ον θεου). In the Greek text, “servile or slavish work is every where termed λατζευτον. Suidas writes that λατζευειν means the same thing as to serve for wages. Valla shows that this same word signifies to serve man as well as to serve God, adducing a passage from Xenophon, where a man says that he is ready to risk his life, sooner than his wife should be made to serve. And the wife, on the other hand, says that she would rather lose her life, than that her husband should serve, where the word δουθ υη on is used. Hence these words upon which the Papists base the above distinction do not differ, but express one and the same thing.

Obj. 2. We ought to honor those whom God honors. God honors the saints: “Ye shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matt. 19:28.) Therefore they are to be honored by us.

Ans. We admit the argument, in as far as it has respect to the honor which God attributes to the saints. In this, however, invocation is never included. God himself says, “I am the Lord: that is my name, and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” (Is. 42:8.)

Obj. 3. The hearing of our secret sighs and groans, which belongs to God by nature, is through grace communicated to the saints. Therefore they are to be invoked.

Ans. We deny the antecedent: for God does not communicate those properties by which he desires to be distinguished from creatures; such as immensity, omnipotence, infinite wisdom, seeing and knowing the heart, hearing prayer, etc.—these are properties which God p 544 communicates to no creature, neither by nature nor by grace.” “For thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men.” (2 Chron. 6:30.)

Obj. 4. God has communicated to the saints the power of working miracles, which is, nevertheless, a property belonging to himself alone. Therefore, he communicates to the saints at least some of the properties by which he is distinguished from creatures, so that they may have a knowledge of the thoughts and desires of those who pray unto them.

Ans. 1. The consequence which is here drawn is of no force; for it does not follow, even though it were true (which we do not admit) that God had communicated some of his properties to the saints, and that the hearing of prayer is included amongst them, if the Scriptures do not teach the fact.

Ans. 2. Nor is the reason which is assigned of any force, that the saints have a knowledge of the desires of those who invoke them, because they have been endowed with the gift of working miracles. For the power of working miracles is not transfused into the saints; nor do they perform these miracles by their own power, but merely as ministers. Hence, the saints are said to do these things in a figurative sense, when God employs them as ministers, and joins the working of a miracle, as the sign of his presence, power and will.

Obj. 5. Some prophets seemed to know the thoughts and counsels of other men: so Ahijah knew the thoughts of the wife of Jeroboam; Elisha knew the thoughts of the king of Syria; Peter knew the thoughts of Ananias and Sapphira, &c. (1 Kings 14:6. 2 Kings 6:12. Acts 5:3.) Therefore, God has communicated to the saints a knowledge of the hearts of men.

Ans. 1. Examples that are few in number and of an extraordinary character do not constitute a general rule.

Ans. 2. These persons knew these things by the gift of prophecy with which they were endowed; and yet they did not know them always, but only at that time, when the good of the church required it: nor was it by any power lodged within them, by which they were enabled to know the heart, but by a divine revelation; nor did they know all things, but only such as God was pleased to reveal to them. Hence, it does not appear that the saints, after death, are also endowed with the gift of prophecy, since there is no need of it in eternal life.

Obj. 6. The angels in heaven rejoice over the repentance of sinners. (Luke 15:10.) Therefore, they know when men exercise true penitence, and must also have a knowledge of the desires of those who call upon them in prayer.

Ans A cause that is inferred from an effect which may result from other causes, is not of much force or consequence. For it is not necessary that the angels should know the repentance of the sinner by looking into the heart, inasmuch as they may know it either from the effects and signs which accompany it, or from a divine revelation.

Obj. 7. The soul of the rich man when in hell saw Abraham in heaven, and addressed prayer to him, whom Abraham also heard. The rich man likewise knew the state and condition of his five brethren who were still on earth. Therefore, the saints in heaven see and know the desires and condition of those who are upon the earth, and are to be invoked.

Ans. No doctrine can be established from allegories and parables. That that, now, is an allegory, by which Christ desired to express the thoughts, torments and condition of the ungodly who are suffering punishment, is evident from this, that it possesses all the parts of a parable. Hence, it establishes nothing in favor of the invocation of the saints. And even though all these things had been done as they are represented, yet they prove nothing as it p 545 respects the doctrine of the invocation of the saints, since Abraham is said to have known these things by speech, and not because he had a knowledge of the secret thoughts of the heart.

Obj. 8. Christ knows all things, according to his human nature. Therefore, the saints also have a knowledge of all things.

Ans. The examples are not the same. Christ’s human understanding perceives and knows, and his bodily eyes and ears hear and see all things which he, according to his human nature, desires to perceive, either with his mind or external senses, on account of its personal union with the divine nature which reveals these things, or on account of his office as mediator. But it cannot be proven from the Scriptures that all things are revealed to the angels and saints, which are made known to the human understanding of Christ, by his Divinity.

Obj. 9. The images of all things are reflected, or appear in the vision and face of the Trinity. The holy angels and blessed men who have departed this life see the face of the Deity, as it is said, “In heaven the angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 18:10.) Therefore they, in this way, see and know all that we do, suffer, think, &c.

Ans. 1. The major proposition is uncertain, and cannot be proven from the Scriptures.

Ans. 2. Nor can the minor be established; for id is said, “No man hath seen God at any time.” (John 1:18.)

Ans. 3. Although the angels and saints in heaven have a clear knowledge of God, yet we are not to suppose that they naturally know all things, which are in God. For if this were the case their knowledge would be infinite, or in other words, it would be equal to the knowledge of God, which is absurd, and contrary to the testimony of Scripture, which declares that the angels are ignorant of the day of judgment. God reveals to every one, both in heaven and on earth, as much as he will according to his own good pleasure.

Obj. 10. The friendship and intercourse of the saints with God and Christ is so great, that it is not possible that a revelation of those things which we ask at their hands should be withheld from them.

Ans. That consequence which is drawn from an insufficient cause, is of no force. For this friendship and intercourse will continue, although God does not reveal to the saints as much as they desire, but merely those things which it is profitable for them to know, for his glory and for their own happiness.

Obj. 11. Christ is the mediator of redemption; the saints are mediators of intercession. Therefore there is nothing detracted from Christ, if the saints are invoked as intercessors, and as those who plead with God in our behalf.

Ans. We deny the distinction that is here made; because the Scriptures teach that Christ is the only mediator, and that he has not only redeemed us by once offering himself for us upon the cross, but that he also continually appears before the Father, and makes intercesssion for us. (See Heb. 5:7, 9; 7:27. John 19:9. Rom. 8:34. Heb. 9:24. 1 John: 2.)

Obj. 12. Christ alone is mediator by virtue of his own merit and inter cession; the samts are mediators and intercessors by virtue of the merit and intercession of Christ: that is, their intercessions with God in our behalf avail for the sake of the merit and intercession of Christ. There fore that which is peculiar to Christ is not transferred to the saints.

Ans. Those who make intercession in this way, detract from the honor of Christ (p. 546) as much as in the former case, which will appear by making in the antecedent a full enumeration of the ways in which the honor of Christ is transferred to others; for not only those who by their own virtue, but even those who, by the virtue of Christ, are said to merit for us from God those good things promised for the sake of Christ’s merits alone, are substituted in the place of Christ. And again: if the prayers of the saints are pleasing to God, and heard on account of the merit and intercession of Christ, they cannot please God, nor obtain anything for us by their own holiness and merits, as the Papists teach; for he who stands in need of a mediator and intercessor, cannot appear as an intercessor for others, although he may pray for others. Hence our adversaries overthrow, by their own argument, the doctrine which they vainly attempt to establish.

Obj. 13. Those who pray for us in heaven are to be invoked. The saints offer prayers in our behalf in heaven. Therefore they are to be addressed in prayer.

Ans. There is here an error in taking that as a cause which is none; for the mere fact that any one prays for another is not a sufficient reason why we should address prayer to him. We readily grant that the saints in heaven do ardently desire the salvation of the church militant, and that their prayers are heard according to the counsels of God; but that the saints know the misfortunes and business of every one in particular, and that they hear the prayers which may be addressed to them, we deny.

Obj. 14. God said, Jer. 15:1: “Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be towards this people.” Therefore the saints stand before God, and make intercession for us.

Ans. 1. But even though we were to grant the whole argument, yet it does not, therefore, follow, as we have already shown, that we ought to pray unto them.

Ans. 2. The language which is here quoted is figurative. It introduces the dead, and represents them praying, as though they were living; so that the sense is, if Moses and Samuel were yet living, and would pray for this wicked people, as they prayed for them and were heard when they lived upon earth, yet they could not obtain grace and pardon for them. There is a similar passage found in Ez. 14:4, which must be explained in like manner.

Obj. 15. The Lord said through Isaiah: “I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.” (2 Kings 19:34.) Therefore God confers benefits upon men upon the earth, for the sake of the merits and intercessions of David, and of other saints after death.

Ans. But it was not in respect to the merits of David, but in respect to the promise of the Messiah, who was to be born from the house of David, that God promised to protect and defend the city referred to. And if any one should object, and say that the deliverance of the city of David from the assault of the Assyrians might have been effected without the benefit and promise of the Messiah, and was therefore promised on account of the merits of David: we reply that they err who imagine that the benefits of Christ extend merely to those things or promises, upon the performance of which the promises made to David with reference to the Messiah could only be preserved, and receive their fulfillment. For all the benefits of God, including those that are temporal as well as those that are spiritual—those that were granted before the coming of the Messiah as well as those which have been granted since—those without which the p 547 promise of the Messiah could, as well as those without which it could not be fulfilled, are all conferred upon the church for the sake of Christ. “For the promises of God in him [Christ] are yea, and in him, Amen.” (2 Cor. 1:20.)

Obj. 16. Jacob said of the sons of Joseph, “Let my name be on them, and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac.” (Gen. 48:16.) Therefore it is lawful to call upon the saints who have departed this life.

Ans. This is to misunderstand the figure of speech which is here employed, which is a Hebrew phrase, meaning not adoration, but an adoption of the children of Joseph; so that the sense is, Let them be called after my name, or let them take their name from me: that is, let them be called my sons, and not my grand-children. The phrase is similar to that found in Isaiah 4:1, where it is said: “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, Let us be called by thy name:” that is, let us be called thy wives.

Obj. 17. Eliphaz says to Job, chapter 5, v. 1, Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn.” Therefore Job is commanded to implore help from some one of the saints.

Ans. This passage is evidently at war with the doctrine of the invocation of the saints: for it affirms that the angels so far excel men in purity, that they will not make answer, or appear when addressed or invoked by men.

Obj. 18. Christ says, Matt. 25:40, “Inasmuch as ye have done it, unto one of the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Therefore the invocation of the saints is an honor, which is showed to Christ himself.

Ans. Christ does not speak of the invocation of the saints; but of the duty of love which it becomes us to perform towards the afflicted members of his church in this life. The passage, therefore, furnishes no proof in favor of the invocation of the saints.

Obj. 19. “The Angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem, and on the cities of Judah against which thou hast indignation these three score and ten years?” (Zech. 1:2.) Therefore the angels pray for men in their times of need and distress, and so are to be prayed unto.

Ans. 1. But this passage furnishes no proof that all the angels know the wants and afflictions of all men. The calamities of the Jews were manifest not only to the sight of angels, but also to men.

Ans. 2. We deny the consequence which is here drawn from the angels to the saints who have departed this life: for the care and defence of the church, in this world, has been committed to the angels. They are, therefore, conversant with the things of this world, and see our wants and necessities, which the saints do not, inasmuch as this charge is not committed to their care.

Ans. 3. The consequence which is here drawn, that we must pray unto the angels, because they pray for us, is in like manner, of no force, as we have already shown.

Obj. 20. Judus Maccabeus saw in a vision the High Priest, Onias, and Jeremiah the prophet, praying for the people. (2 Mac. 15:14.) Therefore the saints who have departed this life pray for us, and are to be invoked.

Ans. No doctrine can be established by the authority of an apocryphal book. We also deny the consequence which is here deduced; for not every one that prays for us, is to be prayed to by us.

Obj. 21. Baruch says, “Hear now the prayers of the dead Israelites.” p 548 (Bar 3:4.) Therefore the saints pray for us, and are to be invoked.

Ans. We may return the same answer to this objection that we did to the preceding one, that an apocryphal book proves nothing. There is also a misunderstanding of the figure of speech here used; for those who are called the dead Israelites are not such as had departed this life, but such as were living and calling upon God, but who, on account of their calamities, were similar to those who were dead.

Obj. 22. It is not permitted to come into the presence of a prince without the intercession of some one. Therefore much less can we come into the presence of God, without some one to appear before him as our intercessor.

Ans. We grant the whole argument; for without Christ, the mediator, no one can have access to God, as Christ himself says, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6.) Ambrose very appropriately and forcibly answers the above objection in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, where he thus writes: “Some men are wont to use a miserable excuse, saying that we obtain access to God through his righteous saints in the same way in which any one comes into the presence of a prince, which is through his attendants. Well: is any one so mad and unmindful of his own safety, as to transfer the honor of the King to any of his attendants, since those who have been found to do this, have been condemned as guilty of treason. And yet these persons suppose that those are not guilty of treason against God, who transfer the honor of his name to creatures, and forsaking their Lord, worship their fellow servants, as if this accomplished any thing in the way of assisting them in the service of God. We come into the presence of a king through his nobles and attendants, because he is a man as we are, and does not know to whom he ought to entrust the affairs of his kingdom. But as it respects God, from whom nothing is concealed, and who knows the merits of all, we need no one to secure us an access to him, but a devout mind. For wherever such an one speaks, he will answer nothing,” &c. Chrysostrom writes. “The Canaanitish woman did not ask of James, nor did she beseech John, nor did she go to Peter, nor did she come to the whole corps of the Apostles, nor did she seek any Mediator: but instead of all these, she took re pentance for her companion, which repentance supplied the place of an advocate, and in this way she went to the chief fountain. So much concerning the sixth virtue comprehended in this commandment, which virtue we have defined as invocation, or calling upon God.

Zacharias Ursinus, The Commentary of Dr. Zacharias Ursinus on the Heidelberg Catechism, trans. G. W. Williard (Cincinnati, OH: Elm Street Printing Company, 1888), 542–48. Formatting modified for this post.

John Owen: Two Short Catechisms

(minor style revisions by R. Scott Clark, March 2006)

Wherein the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ, are unfolded and explained.

To my Loving Neighbors and Christian Friends.


My heart’s desire and request unto God for you is, that you may be saved. I say the truth in Christ also, I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness, and continual sorrow in my heart, for them amongst you who, as yet, walk disorderly, and not as appropriate the Gospel, little laboring to acquaint themselves with the mystery of godliness; for many walk, of whom I have told you often weeping, and now tell you again with sorrow, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, who mind earthly things. You know, brethren, how I have been amongst you, and in what manner, for these few years past, and how I have kept back nothing (to the utmost of the dispensation to me committed) that was profitable unto you; but have showed you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to all repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, with what sincerity this has been by me performed, with what issue and success by you received, God the righteous Judge will one day declare; for before him must both you and I appear, to give an account of the dispensation of the glorious Gospel amongst us; – in the meanwhile, the desire of my heart is, to be servant to the least of you in the work of the Lord; and that in any way which I can concede profitable unto you, – either in your persons or your families. Now, amongst my endeavors in this kind, after the ordinance of public preaching the Word, there is not, I conceive, any more needful (as all will grant that know the estate of this place, how taught of late days, how full of grossly ignorant persons) than catechizing; which has caused me to set aside some hours for the compiling of these following, which also I have procured to be printed, merely because the least part of the parish are able to read it in writing; – my intention in them being, principally, to hold out those necessary truths wherein you have been in my preaching more fully instructed. As they are, the use of them I shall briefly present unto you: –

1. The Lesser Catechism may be so learned of the younger sort, that they may be ready to answer to every question thereof.

2. The Greater will call to mind much of what has been taught you in public, especially concerning the Person and Offices of Jesus Christ.

3. Out of that you may have help to instruct your families in the Lesser, being so framed, for the most part, that a chapter of the one is spent in unfolding a question of the other.

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4. The texts of Scripture quoted are diligently to be sought out and pondered, that you may know indeed whether these things are so.

5. In reading the Word, you may have light into the meaning of many places, by considering what they are produced to confirm.

6. I have been sparing in the doctrine of the Sacraments, because I have already been so frequent in examinations about them.

7. The handling of moral duties I have wholly omitted, because, by God’s assistance, I intend for you a brief explication of the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, with some articles of the Creed, not unfolded in these, by themselves, by the way of question and answer.

Now, in all this, as the pains has been mine, so I pray that the benefit may be yours, and the praise His, to whom alone any good that is in this or any thing else is to be ascribed. Now, the God of heaven continue that peace, love, and amity, amongst ourselves, which hitherto has been unshaken, in these divided times, and grant that the scepter and kingdom of his Son may be gloriously advanced in your hearts, that the things which concern your peace may not be hidden from your eyes in this your day; Which is the daily prayer of Your servant in the work of the Lord,

J .O. From my Study,
September the last, [1645].

The Lesser Catechism

Q. Whence is all truth concerning God and ourselves to be learned?
Ans. From the holy Scripture, the Word of God. – Chapter 1 of the Greater Catechism.

Q. What do the Scriptures teach that God is?
A. An eternal, infinite, most holy Spirit, giving being to all things, and doing with them whatsoever he pleases. – Chap. 2.

Q. Is there but one God?
A. One only, in respect of his essence and being, but one in three distinct persons, of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. – Chap. 3.

Q. What else is held forth in the Word concerning God, that we ought to know.?
A. His decrees, and his works. – Chap. 4.

Q. What are the decrees of God concerning us?
A. His eternal purposes, of saving some by Jesus Christ, for the praise of his glory, and of condemning others for their sins. – Chap. 5.

Q. What are the works of God?

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A. Acts or doings of his power, whereby he creates, sustains, and governs all things. – Chap. 6.

Q. What is required from us towards Almighty God?
A. Holy and spiritual obedience, according to his law given unto us – Chap. 7.

Q. Are we able to do this of ourselves?
A. No, in no wise, being by nature unto every good work reprobate. – Chap. 7.

Q. How came we into this estate, being at the first created in the image of God, in righteousness and innocence?
A. By the fall of our first parents, breaking the covenant of God, losing his grace, and deserving his curse. – Chap. 8.

Q. By what way may we be delivered from this miserable estate?
A. Only by Jesus Christ. – Chap. 9.

Q. What is Jesus Christ?
A. God and man united in one person, to be a mediator between God and man. – Chap 10.

Q. What is he unto us?
A. A King, a Priest, and a Prophet. – Chap. 11.

Q. Wherein does he exercise his kingly power towards us?
A. In converting us unto God by his Spirit, subduing us unto his obedience, and ruling in us by his grace. – Chap. 12.

Q. In what does the exercise of his priestly office for us chiefly consist?
A. In offering up himself an acceptable sacrifice on the cross, so satisfying the justice of God for our sins, removing his curse from our persons, and bringing us unto him. – Chap. 13.

Q. Wherein does Christ exercise his prophetical office towards us?
A. In revealing to our hearts, from the bosom of his Father, the way and truth whereby we must come unto him. – Chap. 13.

Q. In what condition does Jesus Christ exercise these offices?
A. He did in a low estate of humiliation on earth, but now in a glorious estate of exaltation in heaven. – Chap. 14.

Q. For whose sake does Christ perform all these?
A. Only for his elect. – Chap. 15.

Q. What is the church of Christ?
A. The universal company of God’s elect, called to the adoption of children. – Chap. 16.

Q. How come we to be members of this church?
A. By a lively faith. – Chap. 17.

Q. What is a lively faith?

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A. An assured resting of the soul upon God’s promises of mercy in Jesus Christ, for pardon of sins here and glory hereafter. – Chap. 18.

Q. How come we to have this faith?
A. By the effectual working of the Spirit of God in our hearts, freely calling us from the state of nature to the state of grace. – Chap. 18.

Q. Are we accounted righteous for our faith?
A. No, but only for the righteousness of Christ, freely imputed unto us, and laid hold of by faith. – Chap. 19.

Q. 1. Is there no more required of us but faith only?
A. Yes; repentance also, and holiness. – Chap. 20.

Q. 2. What is repentance?
A. A forsaking of all sin, with godly sorrow for what we have committed. – Chap. 20.

Q. 3. What is that holiness which is required of us?
A. Universal obedience to the will of God revealed unto us. – Chap. 20.

Q. What are the privileges of believers?
A. First, union with Christ; secondly, adoption of children; thirdly, communion of saints; fourthly, right to the seals of the new covenant; fifthly, Christian liberty; sixthly, resurrection of the body to life eternal. – Chap. 21.

Q. 1. What are the sacraments, or seals, of the new covenant?
A. Visible seals of God’s spiritual promises, made unto us in the blood of Jesus Christ. – Chap. 21.

Q. 2. Which be they?
A. Baptism and the Lord’s supper.

Q. What is baptism?
A. A holy ordinance, whereby, being sprinkled with water according to Christ’s institution, we are by his grace made children of God, and have the promises of the covenant sealed unto us. – Chap. 23.

Q. What is the Lord’s supper?
A. A holy ordinance of Christ, appointed to communicate unto believers his body and blood spiritually, being represented by bread and wine, blessed, broken, poured out, and received of them. – Chap. 24.

Q. Who have a right unto this sacrament?
A. They only who have an interest in Jesus Christ by faith. – Chap. 24.

Q. What is the communion of saints?
A. A holy conjunction between all God’s people, partakers of the same Spirit, and members of the same mystical body. -Chap. 25.

Q. What is the end of all this dispensation?

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A. The glory of God in our salvation. Glory be to God on high!

The Greater Catechism


Q. 1. What is Christian religion?

Ans. The only way of knowing God aright, and living unto him.

John 14:5, 6, 17:3;
Acts 4:12. Colossians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 2:19, 20.

Q. 2. Whence is it to be learned?

A. From the holy Scripture only.

Isaiah 8:20; John 5:39.

Q. 3. What is the Scripture?

A. The books of the Old and New Testament, given by inspiration from God, containing all things necessary to be believed and done, that God may be worshipped and our souls saved.

Isaiah 8:20; Romans 3:2. 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Revelation 22:19, 20 Psalm 19:7, 8; Jeremiah 7:13; John 20:31.

Q. 4. How know you them to be the word of God?

A. By the testimony of God’s Spirit working faith in my heart to close with that heavenly majesty, and clear divine truth, that shines in them.

Matthew 16:17; John

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16:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 John 2:20, 5:6. Luke 24:32; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:19.


Q. 1. What do the Scriptures teach concerning God?

A. First, what he is, or his nature; secondly, what he does, or his works.

Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 45:6; Hebrews 1:1-3, 11:6.

Q. 2. What is God in himself?

A. An Eternal, infinite, etc. incomprehensible Spirit, giving being to all things, and doing with them whatsoever he pleases.

Deuteronomy 33:27; Isaiah 57:15; Revelation 1:8. 1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:2-5, Exodus 33:20; 1 Timothy 6:16. Genesis 1:1; Psalm 115:3, 135:6; Isaiah 46:10; John 5:17;

Q. 3. Do we here know God as he is?

A. No, his glorious being is not of us, in this life, to be comprehended.

Exodus 33:23; 1 Corinthians 13:12.

Q. 4. Whereby is God chiefly made known unto us in the Word?

A. First, by his names; secondly, by his attributes or properties.

Exodus 3:14, 6:3; Psalm 83:18. Exodus 34:6,7; Matthew 5:48.

Q. 5. What are the names of God?

A. Glorious titles, which he has given himself, to hold forth his excellencies unto us, with some perfections whereby he will reveal himself.

Exodus 3:14, 15, 6:3, 34:6, 7; Genesis 17:1.

Q. 6. What are the attributes of God?

A. His infinite perfections in being and working.

Revelation 4:8-11.

Q. 7. What are the chief attributes of his being?

A. Eternity, infiniteness, Simplicity or purity, all-sufficiency, Perfection, immutability, life, will, and understanding.

Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 93:2; Isaiah 57:15; Revelation 1:11. 1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:1-4, 8-10. Exodus 3:14. Genesis 17:1; Psalm 135:4-6. Job 11:7-9; Romans 11:33-36. Malachi 3:6; James 1:17. Judges 8:19; 1 Samuel 25:34; 2 Kings 3:14; Ezekiel 14:16; 16:48; Matthew 16:16; Acts 14:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:9. Daniel 4:35; Isaiah 46:10; Ephesians 1:5, 11; James 1:18. Psalm 7:8, 139:2, 147:4; Jeremiah 11:20; Hebrews 4:13.

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Q. 8. What are the attributes which usually are ascribed to him in his works, or the acts of his will?

A. Goodness, power, justice, mercy, holiness, wisdom, and the like; which he delights to exercise towards his creatures, for the praise of his glory.

Psalm 119:68; Matthew 19:17. Exodus 15:11; Psalm 62:11; Revelation 19:1. Zephaniah 3:5; Psalm 11:7; Jeremiah 12:1; Romans 1:32. Psalm 130:7; Romans 9:15; Ephesians 2:4. Exodus 15:11; Joshua 24:19 Habakkuk 1:13; Revelation 4:8. Romans 11:33, 16:27.


Q. 1. Is there but one God to whom these properties do belong?

A. One only, in respect of his essence and being but one in three distinct persons, of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 19:17; Ephesians 4:5, 6. Genesis 1:26; 1 John 5:7; Matthew 28:19.

Q. 2. What mean you by person?

A. A distinct manner of subsistence or being, distinguished from the other persons by its own properties.

John 5:17;  Hebrews 1:3.

Q. 3. What is the distinguishing property of the person of the Father? A. To be of himself only the fountain of the Godhead.

John 5:26, 27; Ephesians 1:3.

Q. 4. What is the property of the Son?

A. To be begotten of his Father from eternity.

Psalm 2:7; John 1:14, 3:16.

Q. 5. What of the Holy ghost?

A. To proceed from the Father and the Son.

John 14:17, 16:14, 15:26, 20:22.

Q. 6. Are these three one?

A. One every way, in nature, will, and essential properties, distinguished only in their personal manner of subsistence.

John 10:30; Romans 3:30. John 15:26; 1 John 5:7.

Q. 7. Can we conceive these things as they are in themselves?

A. Neither we nor yet the angels of heaven are at all able to dive into these secrets, as they are internally God; but in respect of the outward dispensation of themselves to us by creation, redemption, and sanctification, a knowledge may be attained of these things, saving and

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1 Timothy 6:16. Isaiah 6:2, 3. Colossians 1:11-14.


Q. 1. What do the Scriptures teach concerning the works of God?

A. That they are of two sorts; first, internal, in his counsel, decrees, and purposes, towards his creatures; secondly, external, in his works over and about them, to the praise of his own glory.

Acts  15:18; Proverbs 16:4.

Q. 2. What are the decrees of God?

A. Eternal, unchangeable purposes of his will, concerning the being and well-being of his creatures.

Micah 5:2; Ephesians 3:9-11; Acts 15:18. Isaiah 14:24, 46:10; Romans 9:11; 2 Timothy 2:19.

Q. 3. Concerning which of his creatures chiefly are his decrees to be considered?

A. Angels and men, for whom other things were ordained.

1 Timothy 5:21; Jude 6.

Q. 4. What are the decrees of God concerning men?

A. Election and reprobation. Romans 9:11-13.

Q. 5. What is the decree of election?

A. The eternal, fire immutable purpose of God, whereby in Jesus Christ he chooseth unto himself whom he pleaseth out of whole mankind, determining to bestow upon them, for his sake, grace here, and everlasting happiness hereafter, for the praise of his glory, by way of mercy.

Ephesians 1:4;  Acts 13:48; Romans 8:29, 30. Matthew 11:26. 2 Timothy 2:19. Ephesians 1:4, 5; Matthew 22:14. Romans 9:18-21. John 6:37, 17:6, 9, 11, 24.

Q. 6. Doth any thing in us move the Lord thus to choose us from amongst others?

A. No, in no wise; we are in the same lump with others rejected when separated by his undeserved grace.

Romans 9:11, 12; Matthew 11:25; 1 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Timothy 1:9.

Q. 7. What is the decree of reprobation?

A. The eternal purpose of God to suffer many to sin, leave them in their sin, and not giving them to Christ, to punish them for their sin.

Romans 9:11, 12, 21, 22; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 11:25, 26; 2 Peter 2:12; Jude 4.


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Q. 1. What are the works of God that outwardly respect his creatures?

A. First, of creation; secondly, of actual providence.

Psalm 33:9; Hebrews 1:2, 3.

Q. 2. What is the work of creation?

A. An act or work of God’s almighty power, whereby of nothing, in six days, he created heaven, earth, and the sea, with all things in them contained.

Genesis 1:1; Exodus 20:11; Proverbs 16:4.

Q. 3. Wherefore did God make man?

A. For his own glory in his service and obedience.

Genesis 1:26, 27, 2:16, 17; Romans 9:23.

Q. 4. Was man able to yield the service and worship that God required of him?

A. Yea, to the uttermost, being created upright in the image of God, in purity, innocence, righteousness, and holiness.

Genesis 1:26; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10.

Q. 5. What was the rule whereby man was at first to be directed in his obedience?

A. The moral or eternal law of God, implanted in his nature and written in his heart by creation, being the tenor of the covenant between him, sacramentally typified by the tree of knowledge good and evil.

Genesis 2:15-17; Romans 2:14, 15; Ephesians 4:24.

Q. 6. Do we stand in the same covenant still, and have we the same power to yield obedience unto God?

A. No; the covenant was broken by the sin of Adam, with whom it was made, our nature corrupted, and all power to do good utterly lost.

Genesis 3:16-18; Galatians 3:10, 11, 21; Hebrews 7:19, 8:13. Job 14:4; Psalm 51:5. Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 13:23.


Q. 1. What is God’s actual providence?

A. The effectual working of his power, and almighty act of his will, whereby he sustaineth, governeth, and disposeth of all things, men and their actions, to the ends which he has ordained for them.

Exodus 4:11; Job 5:10-12, 9:5, 6; Psalm 147:4; Proverbs 15:3; Isaiah 45:6, 7; John 5:17; Acts 17:28; Hebrews 1:3.

Q. 2. How is this providence exercised towards mankind?

A. Two ways; first, peculiarly towards his church, or elect, in their generations, for whom are all things; secondly, towards

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all in a general manner, yet with various and divers dispensations.

Deuteronomy 32:10; Psalm 17:8; Zechariah 2:8; Matthew 16:18, 19: 2, 29; 1 Peter 5:7. Genesis 9:5; Psalm 75:6, 7; Isaiah 45:6, 7; Matthew 5:45.

Q. 3. Wherein chiefly consists the outward providence of God towards his church?

A. In three things; — first, in causing and things to work together for their good; secondly, in ruling and disposing of kingdoms, nations, and persons, for their benefit; thirdly, in avenging them of their adversaries.

Matthew 6:31-33; Romans 8:28; 1 Timothy 6:17; 2 Peter 1:3. Psalm 105:14,15; Isaiah 44:28; Daniel 2:44; Romans 9:17. Isaiah 60:12; Zechariah 12:2-5; Luke 17:7; Revelation 17:14.

Q. 4. Does God rule also in and over the sinful actions of wicked men?

A. Yea, he willingly (according to his determinate counsel) suffereth them to be, for the manifestation of his glory, and by them effecteth his own righteous ends.

2 Samuel 12:11, 16:10; 1 Kings 11:31, 22:22; Job 1:21; Proverbs 22:14; Isaiah 10:6, 7; Ezekiel 21:19-21; Amos 7:17; Acts 4:27, 28; Romans 1:24, 9:22; 1 Peter 2:8; Revelation 17:17.


Q. 1. Which is the law that God gave man at first to fulfill?

A. The same which was afterwards written with the finger of God in two tables of stone Mount Horeb, called the Ten Commandments.

Romans 2:14, 15.

Q. 2. Is the observation of this law still required of us?

A. Yes, to the uttermost tittle. Matthew 5:17; 1 John 3:4; Romans 3:31; James 2:8-10; Galatians 3.

Q. 3. Are we able of ourselves to perform it?

A. No, in no wise; the law is spiritual, but we are carnal.

1 Kings 8:46; Genesis 6:5; John 15:5; Romans 7:14, 8:7; 1 John 1:8.

Q. 4. Did, then, God give a law which could not be kept?

A. No; when God gave it, we had power to keep it; which since we have lost in Adam.

Genesis 1:26; Ephesians 4:19; Romans 5:12.

Q. 5. Whereto, then, does the law now serve?

A. For two general ends; first, to be a rule of our duty, or to discover to us the John Owen

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obedience of God required; secondly, lets drive us unto Christ.

Psalm 19:7-11; 1 Timothy 1:8, 9. Galatians 3:24.

Q. 6. How does the law drive us unto Christ?

A. Divers ways; as, first, by laying open unto us the utter disability of our nature to do any good; secondly, by charging the wrath and curse of God, due to sin, upon the conscience; thirdly, by bringing the whole soul under bondage to sin, death, Satan, and hell — so making us long and seek for a Savior.

Romans 7:7-9; Galatians 3:19. Romans 3:19, 20, 4:15,5:20; Galatians 3:10. Galatians 3:22; Hebrews 2:15.


Q. 1. How came this weakness and disability upon us?

A. By the sin and shameful fall of our first parents.

Romans 5:12, 14.

Q. 2. Wherein did that hurt us, their posterity?

A. Divers ways; first, in that we were all guilty of the same breach of covenant with Adam, being all in him; secondly, our souls with his were deprived of that holiness, innocence, and righteousness wherein they were at first created; thirdly, pollution and defilement of nature came upon us; with, fourthly, an extreme disability of doing any thing that is wellpleasing unto God; by all which we are made obnoxious to the curse.

John 3:36; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:3. Genesis 3:10; Ephesians 4:23, 24; Colossians 3:10. Job 14:4; Psalm 51:7; John 3:6; Romans 3:13. Genesis 6:5; Ephesians 2:1; Jeremiah 6:16, 13:23; Romans 8:7. Genesis 3:17; Galatians 3:10.

Q. 3. Wherein does the curse of God consist?

A. In divers things; first, in the guilt of death, temporal and eternal; secondly, the loss of the grace and favor of God; thirdly, guilt and horror of conscience, despair and anguish here; with, fourthly, eternal damnation hereafter.

Genesis 2:17; Romans 1:18, 5:12, 17; Ephesians 2:3.  Genesis 3:24; Ezekiel 16:3-5; Ephesians 2:13. Genesis 3:10; Isaiah 48:22; Romans 3:9, 19, Galatians 3:22. Genesis 3:10,
13; John 3:36.

Q. 4. Are all men born in this estate?

A. Every one without exception.

Psalm 51:5; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:9-12; Ephesians 2:3.

Q. 5. And do they continue therein?

A. Of themselves they cannot otherwise do, Being able neither to know, nor will, nor do any thing that is spiritually good and

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pleasing unto God.

Acts 8:31, 16:14; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 5:8; John 1:5. Jeremiah 6:16, 13:23; Luke 4:18; Romans 6:16, 8:7. John 6:44; 2 Corinthians 3:5.

Q. 6. Have they, then, no way of themselves to escape the curse and wrath of God?

A. None at all; they can neither satisfy his justice, nor fulfill his law.


Q. 1. Shall all mankind, then, everlastingly perish?

A. No; God, of his free grace, has prepared a way to redeem and save his elect.

John 3:16; Isaiah 53:6.

Q. 2. What way was this?

A. By sending his own Son Jesus Christ in the likeness of sinful flesh, condemning sin sinful flesh, condemning sin.

Romans 8:3.

Q. 3. Who is this you call his own Son?

A. The second person of the Trinity, coeternal and of the one Deity with his Father.

John 1:14; Romans 1:3; Galatians 4:4; 1 John 1:1.

Q. 4. How did God send him?

A. By causing him to be made flesh of a pure virgin, and to dwell among us, that he might be obedient unto death, the death of the cross.

Isaiah 50:6; John 1:14; Luke 1:35; Philippians 2:8; 1 Timothy 3:16.


Q. 1. What does the Scripture teach us of Jesus Christ?

A. Chiefly two things first, his person, or what he is in himself; secondly, his offices, or what he is unto us.

Q. 2. What does it teach of his person?

A. That he is truly God, and perfect man, partaker of the natures of God and man in one person, between whom he is a Mediator.

John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14, 15; Ephesians 4:5; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 1:1.

Q. 3. How prove you Jesus Christ to be truly God?

A. Divers ways; first, by places of Scripture, speaking of the great God Jehovah in the Old Testament, applied to our Savior in the New; as,

Numb. 21:5, 6, in 1 Corinthians 10:9; Psalm 102:25-27, in Hebrews 1:10; Isaiah 6:2-4, in John

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12:40 ,41; Isaiah 8:13,14, in Luke 2:34, Romans 9:33; Isaiah 40:3, 4, in John 1:23; Isaiah 45:22, 23, in Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:10, 11; Malachi 3:1, in Matthew 11:10.

Secondly, By the works of the Deity ascribed unto him; as, first, of creation,

John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Hebrews 1:2;

secondly, of preservation in providence,

Hebrews 1:3; John 5:17; thirdly, miracles.

Thirdly, By the essential attributes of God being ascribed unto him; as, first, immensity, Matthew 28:20; John 14:23; Ephesians 3:17;

secondly, eternity, John 1:1; Revelation 1:11; Micah 5:2; thirdly, immutability, Hebrews 1:11, 12; fourthly, omniscience, John 21:17; Revelation 2:2 3; fifthly, majesty and glory equal to his Father, John 5:23; Revelation 5:13; Philippians 1:2, 2:6, 9, 10. Fourthly, By the names given unto him; as, first, of God expressly John 1:1, 20:28; Acts 20:28; Romans 9:5; Philippians 2:6; Hebrews 1:8; 1 Timothy 3:16; secondly, of the Son of God, John 1:18; Romans 8:3, etc.

Q. 4. Was it necessary that our Redeemer should be God?

A. Yes; that he might be able to save to the uttermost, and to satisfy the wrath of his Father, which no creature could perform.

Isaiah 43:25, 53:6; Daniel 9:17, 19.

Q. 5. How prove you that he was a perfect man?

A. First, By the prophecies that went before, that so he should be. Secondly, By the relation of their accomplishment. Thirdly, By the Scriptures assigning to him those things which are required to a perfect man; as, first, a body, secondly, a soul, and therein, first, a will, secondly, affections, thirdly, endowments, Fourthly, General infirmities of nature.

Genesis 2:15, 18:18. Matthew 1:1; Romans 1:4; Galatians 4:4. Luke 24:39; Hebrews 2:17, 10:5; 1 John 1:1; Matthew 26:38; Mark 14:34; Matthew 26:39; Mark 3:5; Luke 10:21; Luke 2:52. Matthew 4:2; John 4:6; Hebrews 2:18.

Q. 6. Wherefore was our Redeemer to be man?

A. That the nature which had offended might suffer, and make satisfaction, and so he might be every way a fit and sufficient Savior for men.

Hebrews 2:10-17.


Q. 1. How many are the offices of Jesus Christ?

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A. Three; first, of a King; secondly, of Priest; thirdly, of Prophet.

Psalm 2:6. Psalm 110:4. Deuteronomy 18:15.

Q. 2. Hath he these offices peculiar by nature?

A. No; he only received them for offended might suffer, and make satisfaction, and so he might be every way a fit and sufficient Savior for men. until the work of redemption be perfected.

Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:36, 10:42; 1 Corinthians 11:3, 15:27, 28; Philippians 2:9; Hebrews 3:2, 6, 2:7-9.

Q. 3. Wherein does the kingly office of Christ consist?

A. In a two-fold power; first, his power of ruling in and over his church; secondly, his power of subduing his enemies.

Psalm 110:3-7.

Q. 4. What is his ruling power in and over his people?

A. That supreme authority which, Christ’s subjects are all for their everlasting good, born rebels, and are he useth towards them, stubborn, until he make them whereof in general there be obedient by his Word and two acts; spirit. first, internal and spiritual, in converting their souls unto him, making them unto himself a willing, obedient, persevering people; secondly, eternal and ecclesiastical, in giving perfect laws and rules for their government, as gathered into holy societies under him.

Isaiah 53:12, 59:20, 21; Hebrews 8:10-12; Isaiah 61:1, 2; John 1:16, 12:32; Mark 1:15; Matthew 28:20; 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5. Matthew 16:19; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:8-14; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Revelation 22:18, 19.

Q. 5. How many are the acts of his kingly power towards his enemies?

A. Two also first, internal, by the mighty working of his Word, and the spirit of bondage upon their hearts, convincing, amazing, terrifying their consciences, hardening their spirits for ruin; Secondly, external, in judgements and vengeance, which ofttimes he beginneth in this life, and will continue unto eternity.

Psalm 110; John 6:46, 8:59; 9:41; 12:40; 2 Corinthians 10:4-6; 1 Corinthians 5:6; 1 Timothy 1:20. Mark 16:16; Luke 19:27; Acts 13:11; Revelation 17:14.


Q. 1. By what means did Jesus Christ undertake the office of an eternal priest?

A. By the decree, ordination, and will of God his Father, whereunto he yielded voluntary obedience; so that concerning

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this there was a compact and covenant between them.

Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:5, 6; 7:17,18. Isaiah 50:4-6; Hebrews 10:5- 10. Psalm 2:7, 8; Isaiah 53:8, 10-12; Philippians 2:7, 9; Hebrews 12:2; John 17:2, 4.

Q. 2. Wherein does his execration of this office consist?

A. In bringing his people unto God.

Hebrews 2:10, 4:16, 7:25.

Q. 3. What are the parts of it?

A. First, oblation; secondly, intercession.

Hebrews 9:14. Hebrews 7:25.

Q. 4. What is the oblation of Christ?

A. The offering up of himself secondly, intercession. an holy propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of all the elect throughout the world; as also, the presentation of himself for us in heaven, sprinkled with the blood of the covenant.

Isaiah 53:10,12; John 3:16, 11:51, 17:19; Hebrews 9:13, 14. Hebrews 9:24.

Q. 5. Whereby does this oblation do good unto us?

A. Divers ways; first, in that it satisfied the justice of God; secondly, it redeemed us from the power of sin, death, and hell; thirdly, it ratified the new covenant of grace; fourthly, it procured for us grace here, and glory hereafter; by all which means the peace and reconciliation between God and us is wrought.

Ephesians 2:14, 15.

Q. 6. How did the oblation of Christ satisfy God’s justice for our sin?

A. In that for us he underwent the punishment due to our sin.

Isaiah 53:4-6; John 10:11; Romans 3:25, 26, 4:25; 1 Corinthians15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Peter 2:24.

Q. 7. What was that punishment?

A. The wrath of God, the curse of the law, the pains of hell, due to sinners, in body and soul.

Genesis 2:17; Deuteronomy 27:15-26; Isaiah 59:2; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:3; John 3:36; Hebrews 2:14.

Q. 8. Did Christ undergo all these?

A. Yes; in respect of the greatness and extremity, not the eternity and continuance of those pains; for it was impossible he should be holden of death.

Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:33, 34; 15:34; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:20; Hebrews 5:7; Psalm 18:5.

Q. 9. How could the punishment of one satisfy for the offense of all?

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A. In that he was not a mere man only, but God also, of infinitely more value than all those who had offended.

Romans 5:9; Hebrews 9:26; 1 Peter 3:18.

Q. 10. How did the oblation of Christ redeem from death and hell?

A. First, by paying a ransom to God, the judge and lawgiver, who had condemned us; secondly, by overcoming and spoiling Satan, death, and the powers of hell, that detained us captives.

Matthew 20:28; John 6:51; Mark 10:45; Romans 3:25; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Timothy 2:6; Hebrews 10:9. John 5:24; Colossians 2:13-15; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Hebrews 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18, 19.

Q. 11. What was the ransom that Christ paid for us?

A. His own precious blood.

Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:19.

Q. 12. How was the new covenant ratified in his blood?

A. By being accompanied with his death; for that, as all other testaments, was to be ratified by the death of the testator.

Genesis 22:18; Hebrews 9:16, 8:10-12.

Q. 13. What is this new covenant?

A. The gracious, free, immutable promise of God, made unto all his elect fallen in Adam, to give them Jesus Christ, and in him mercy, pardon, grace, and glory, with a re-stipulation of faith from them unto this promise, and new obedience.

Genesis 3:15; Jeremiah 31:31-34, 32:40; Hebrews 8:10-12. Galatians 3:8, 16; Genesis 12:3. Romans 8:32; Ephesians 1:3, 4. Mark 16:16; John 1:12, 10:27, 28.

Q. 14. How did Christ procure for us grace, faith, and glory?

A. By the way of purchase and merit; for the death of Christ deservedly procured of God that he should bless us with all spiritual blessings needful for our coming unto him.

Isaiah 53:11, 12; John 17:2; Acts 20:28; Romans 5:17, 18; Ephesians 2:15, 16, 1:4; Philippians 1:29; Titus 2:14; Revelation 1:5, 6.

Q. 15. What is the intercession of Christ?

A. His continual soliciting of God on our behalf, begun here in fervent prayers, continued in heaven by appearing as our advocate at the throne of grace.

Psalm 2:8; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25, 9:24, 10:19-21; 1 John 2:1, 2; John 17. in heaven by appearing as our advocate at the throne of grace.


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Q. 1. Wherein does the prophetical office of Christ consist?

A. In his embassage from God to man, revealing from the bosom of his Father the whole mystery of godliness, the way and truth whereby we must come unto God.

Matthew 5; John 1:18, 3:32, 9, 14, 14:5, 6, 17:8, 18:37.

Q. 2. Mow does he exercise this office towards us?

A. By making known the whole instrumentally, by the Word a saving and spiritual manner.

Deuteronomy 18:18; Isaiah 42:6; Hebrews 3:1.

Q. 3. By what means does he perform all this?

A. Divers; as, first, internally and of humiliation or abasement; secondly, of exaltation or glory. writing his law in our hearts; secondly, outwardly and instrumentally, by the Word preached.

Jeremiah 31:31-34; 2 Corinthians 3:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; Hebrews 8:10. John 20:31; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:8-13; 2 Peter 1:21.


Q. 1. In what estate or condition does Christ exercise these offices?

A. In a two-fold estate; first, of humiliation or abasement; secondly, of exaltation or glory.

Philippians 2:8-10.

Q. 2. Wherein consisteth the state of Christ’s humiliation?

A. In three things; first, in his incarnation, or being born of woman; secondly, this obedience, or fulfilling the whole law, moral and ceremonial; thirdly, in his passion, or enduring all sorts of miseries, even death itself.

Luke 1:35; John 1:14; Romans 1:3; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 2:9, 14. Matthew 3:15, 5:17; Luke 2:21; John 8:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 John 3:5. Isaiah 53:6; Hebrews 2:9; 1 Peter 2:21.

Q. 3. Wherein consists his exaltation?

A. In, first, his resurrection; secondly, ascension; thirdly, sitting at the right hand of God; — by all which he was declared to be the Son of God with power.

Matthew 28:18; Romans 1:4, 6:4; Ephesians 4:9; Philippians 2:9, 10; 1 Timothy 3:16.


Q. 1. Unto whom do the saving benefits of what Christ performeth, in the execution of his offices, belong?

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A. Only to his elect.

John 17:9; Isaiah 63:9; Hebrews 3:6, 10:21.

Q. 2. Died he for no other?

A. None, in respect of his Father’s eternal purpose, and his own intention of removing wrath from them, and procuring grace and glory for them.

Acts 20:28; Matthew 20:28, 26:28; Hebrews 9:28; John 11:51, 52; Isaiah 53:12; John 3:16, 10:11-13,15; Ephesians 5:25; Romans 8:32, 34; Galatians 3:13; John 6:37, 39; Romans 4:25; 2 Corinthians 5:19, 20.

Q. 3. What shall become of them for whom Christ died not?

A. Everlasting torments for their sins; their portion in their own place.

Mark 16:16; John 3:36; Matthew 25:41; Acts 1:25.

Q. 4. For whom does he make intercession?

A. Only for those who from eternity were given him by his Father.

John 17; Hebrews 7:24, 25.


Q. 1. How are the elect called, in respect of their obedience unto Christ, and union with him?

A. His church.

Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:32.

Q. 2. What is the church of Christ?

A. The whole company of God’s elect, called elect, called by the Word and Spirit, out of their natural condition, to the dignity of his children, and united unto Christ their head, by faith, in the bond of the Spirit.

Acts 2:47; 1 Timothy 5:21; Hebrews 12:22-24. Romans 1:5, 6, 9:11,24; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 2 Timothy 1:9. Acts 16:14; John 3:8; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 1 Peter 1:23; Hebrews 8:10. Ephesians 2:11-13; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 2:14, 15; 1 Peter 2:9. John 17:21; Ephesians 2:18-22.

Q. 3. Is this whole church always in the same state?

A. No; one part of it is militant, the other triumphant.

Q. 4. What is the church militant?

A. That portion of God’s elect which, in their generation, cleaveth unto Christ by faith, and fighteth against the world, flesh, and devil.

Ephesians 6:11, 12; Hebrews 11:13, 14, 12:1, 4.

Q. 5. What is the church triumphant?

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A. That portion of God’s people who, having fought their fight and kept the faith, are now in heaven, resting from their labors.

Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 3:21, 14:13.

Q. 6. Are not the church of the Jews before the birth of Christ, and the church of the Christians since, two churches?

A. No; essentially they are but one, differing only in some outward administrations.

Ephesians 2:11-16; 1 Corinthians 10:3; Galatians 4:26, 27; Hebrews 11:16, 26, 40.

Q. 7. Can this church be wholly overthrown on the earth?

A. No; unless the decree of God may be changed, and the promise of Christ fail.

Matthew 16:18, 28:20; John 14:16; John 17; 1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:19.


Q. 1. By what means do we become actual members of this church of God?

A. By a lively justifying faith, of his Father the whole mystery of godliness, the way and truth whereby we must come unto God. Christ, the head thereof.

Acts 2:47, 13:48; Hebrews 11:6, 12:22,23, 4:2; Romans 5:1,2; Ephesians 2:13,14.

Q. 2. What is a justifying faith?

A. A gracious resting upon the free promises of God in Jesus Christ for mercy, with a firm persuasion of heart that God is a reconciled Father unto us in the Son of his love.

1 Timothy 1:16; Job 13:15, 9:25; Romans 4:5. Hebrews 4:16; Romans 8:38,39; Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:20,21.

Q. 3. Have all this faith?

A. None but the elect of God.

Titus 1:1; John 10:26; Matthew 13:11; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:30.

Q. 4. Do not, then, others believe that make profession?

A. Yes; with, first, historical faith, or a persuasion that the things written in the Word are true; secondly, temporary faith, which has some joy of the affections, upon unspiritual grounds, in the things believed.

James 2:19. Matthew 13:20; Mark 6:20; John 2:23,24; Acts 8:13.


Q. 1. How come we to have this saving faith?

A. It is freely bestowed upon us and wrought in us by the Spirit of God, in our vocation or calling.

John 6:29,44;

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Ephesians 2:8, 9; Philippians 1:29; 2 Thessalonians 1:11.

Q. 2. What is our vocation, or this calling of God?

A. The free, gracious act of Almighty God, whereby in Jesus Christ he calleth and translateth us from the state of nature, sin, wrath, and corruption, into the state of grace and union with Christ, by the mighty, effectual working of his preaching of the Word.

Colossians 1:12,13; 2 Timothy 1:9; Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 36:26; Matthew 11:25, 26; John 1:13, 3:3, 8; Ephesians 1:19; Colossians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 4:7; James 1:18; 2 Peter 2:20; Acts 16:14.

Q. 3. What do we ourselves perform in this change, or work of our conversion?

A. Nothing at all, being merely church are outwardly called by the Word, none effectually but the elect. church are outwardly called by the Word, none effectually but the elect. in ourselves we have no ability to any thing that is spiritually good.

Matthew 7:18, 10:20 John 1:13, 15:5; 1 Corinthians 12:3, 2:5; 2 Corinthians 3:5; Ephesians 2:1, 8; Romans 8:26; Philippians 1:6.

Q. 4. Does God thus call all and every one?

A. All within the pale of the church are outwardly called by the Word, none effectually but the elect.

Matthew 22:14;  Romans 8:30.


Q. 1. Are we accounted righteous and saved for our faith, when we are thus freely called?

A. No, but merely by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ apprehended and applied by faith; for which alone the Lord accepts us as holy and righteous.

Isaiah 43:25; Romans 3:23-26, 4:5.

Q. 2. What, then, is our justification or righteousness before God?

A. The gracious, free act of imputation of the righteousness of Christ apprehended and applied by faith; for which alone the Lord accepts us as holy and righteous. righteousness of Christ to a believing sinner, and for that speaking peace unto his conscience, in the pardon of his sin, pronouncing him to be just and accepted before him.

Genesis 15:6; Acts 13:38, 39; Luke 18:14; Romans 3:24, 26, 28, 4:4-8; Galatians 2:16.

Q. 3. Are we not, then, righteous before God by our own works?

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A. No; for of themselves they can neither satisfy his justice, fulfill his law, nor endure his trial.

Psalm 130:3,4, 143:2; Isaiah 64:6; Luke 17:10.


Q. 1. Is there nothing, then, required of us but faith only?

A. Yes; repentance, and holiness or new obedience.

Acts 20:21; Matthew 3:2; Luke 13:3. 2 Timothy 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; Hebrews 12:14.

Q. 2. What is repentance?

A. Godly sorrow for every known sin committed against God, with a firm purpose of heart to cleave unto him for the to cleave unto him for the quickening of all graces, to walk before him in newness of life.

2 Corinthians 7:9-11; Acts 2:37; Psalm 51:17. Psalm 34:14; Isaiah 1:16, 17; Ezekiel 18:27, 28; Acts 14:15. Ephesians 4:21-24; Romans 6:12, 13, 18, 19, 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15.

Q. 3. Can we do this of ourselves?

A. No; it is a special gift and grace of God, which he bestoweth on whom he pleaseth

Leviticus 20:8; Deuteronomy  30:6; Ezekiel 11:19,20; 2 Timothy 2:25; Acts 11:18.

Q. 4. Wherein does the being of true repentance consist, without which it is not acceptable?

A. In its performance according to the Gospel rule, with faith and assured hope of divine mercy.

Psalm 51; 1 John 2:1,2; 2 Corinthians 7:10,11; Acts 2:38; Matthew 26:75.

Q. 5. What is that holiness which is required of us?

A. That universal, sincere obedience to the whole will of God, in our hearts, minds, wills, and actions, whereby we are in some measure made conformable to Christ, our head.

Psalm 119:9; 1 Samuel 15:22; John 14:15; Romans 6:19; Hebrews 12:14; Titus 2:12; 2 Peter 1:5-7; Isaiah 1:16,17. 1 Chronicles 28:9; Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37. Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 2:21; Colossians 3:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:11, 12.

Q. 6. Is this holiness or obedience in us perfect?

A. Yes, in respect of all the parts of it, but not in respect of the degrees wherein God requires it.

2 Kings 20:3; Job 1:1; Matthew 5:48; Luke 1:6; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:24; Titus 2:12. Isaiah 64:6; Psalm 130:3; Exodus 28:38; Philippians 3:12.

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Q. 7. Will God accept of that obedience which falls so short of what he requireth?

A. Yes, from them whose persons he accepteth and justifieth freely in Jesus Christ

Romans 12:1; Philippians 4:18; Hebrews 13:16; 1 John 3:22; Ephesians 1:6.

Q. 8. What are the parts of this holiness?

A. Internal, in the quickening of all graces, purging act of all graces, purging act frequent prayers, alms, and all manner of righteousness.

Hebrews 9:14; Ephesians 3:16, 17; Romans 2:29, 6:12. Matthew 5:20; Romans 8:1,2; Ephesians 4:22, 23; Titus 2:12.

Q. 9. May not others perform these duties acceptably, as well as those that believe?

A. No; all their performances in this kind are but abominable sins before the Lord.

Proverbs 15:8; John 9:31; Titus 1:15; Hebrews 11:6.


Q. 1. What are the privileges of those that thus believe and repent?

A First, union with Christ; secondly, adoption of children; thirdly, Christian liberty; fourthly, a spiritual, holy right to the seals of the new covenant; fifthly, communion with all saints; sixthly, resurrection of the body unto life eternal.

Q. 2. What is our union with Christ?

A. An holy, spiritual conjunction unto him, as our head, husband, and foundation, whereby we are made partakers of the same Spirit with him, and derive all good things from him.

1 Corinthians 12:12; John 15:1, 2, 5-7, 17:23. Ephesians 4:15, 5:23; Colossians 1:18. 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 21:9. Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 2:20-22; 1 Peter 2:4-7. Romans 8:9, 11; Galatians 4:6; Philippians 1:19. John 1:12, 16; Ephesians 1:3.

Q. 3. What is our adoption?

A. Our gracious reception into the family of God, as his children, and coheirs with Christ.

John 1:12; Romans 8:15, 17; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5.

Q. 4. How come we to know this?

A. By the especial working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, sealing unto us the promises of God, and raising up our souls to an assured expectation of the promised inheritance.

Romans 8:15, 17; Ephesians 4:30; 1 John 3:1; Romans 8:19,23; Titus 2:13.

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Q. 5. What is our Christian liberty?

A. An holy and spiritual freedom from the slavery of sin, the bondage of death and hell, the curse of the law, Jewish ceremonies, and thraldom of conscience, purchased for us by Jesus Christ, and revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:1. John 8:32, 34, 36; Romans 6:17, 18; Isaiah 61:1; 1 John 1:7; 2 Corinthians 5:21. Romans 8:15; Hebrews 2:15; 1 Corinthians 15:55, 57. Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 2:15, 16; Galatians 4:5; Romans 8:1. Acts 15:10,11; Galatians 3,4,5. 2 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Corinthians 7:23; 1 Peter 2:16. 1 Corinthians 2:12.

Q. 6. Are we, then, wholly freed from the moral law?

A. Yes, as a covenant, or as it has any thing in it bringing into bondage, — as the curse, power, dominion, and rigid exaction of obedience; but not as it is a rule of life and holiness.

Jeremiah 31:31-33; Romans 7:1-3, 6:14; Galatians 3:19,24; Romans 8:2; Galatians 5:18. Matthew 5:17; Romans 3:31, 7:13, 22, 25.

Q. 7. Are we not freed by Christ from the magistrate’s power and human authority?

A. No; being ordained of God, and commanding for him, we owe them act lawful obedience. Romans 13:1-4; 1 Timothy 2:1,2; 1 Peter 2:13-15.


Q. 1. What are the seals of the New Testament?

A. Sacraments instituted of Christ to be visible seats and pledges, whereby God in him confirmeth the promises of the covenant to all believers, restipulating of them growth in faith and obedience.

Mark 16:16; John 3:5; Acts 2:38, 22:16; Romans 4:11 1 Corinthians 10:2-4, 11:26-29.

Q. 2. How does God by these sacraments bestow grace upon us?

A. Not by any real essential conveying of spiritual grace by corporeal means, but by the way of promise, obsignation, and covenant, confirming the grace wrought in us by the Word and Spirit.

Hebrews 4:2; 1 Corinthians 10; Romans 4:11, 1:17; Mark 16:16; Ephesians 5:26. confirming the grace wrought in us by the Word and Spirit.

Q. 3. How do our sacraments differ from the sacraments of the Jews?

A. Accidentally only, in things concerning the outward matter and form, as their number, quality, clearness of signification, and the like, — not

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essentially, in the things signified, or grace confirmed.

1 Corinthians 10:1,2, 3, etc.; John 6:35; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11.


Q. 1. Which are these sacraments?

A. Baptism and the Lord’s supper.

Q. 2. What is baptism?

A. An holy action, appointed of Christ, whereby being sprinkled with water in the name of the whole Trinity, by a lawful minister of the church, we are admitted into the family of God, and have the benefits of the blood of Christ confirmed unto us.

Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15, 16. Acts 2:41, 8:37. Acts 2:38,39; John 3:5; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 12:13.

Q. 3. To whom does this sacrament belong?

A. Unto all to whom the promise of the covenant is made; that is, to believers, and to their seed.

Acts 2:39; Genesis 17:11,12; Acts 16:15; Romans 4:10,11; 1 Corinthians 7:14.

Q. 4. How can baptism seal the pardon of all sins to us, all our personal sins following it?

A. Inasmuch as it is a seal of that promise which gives pardon of all to believers.

Acts 2:39; Romans 4:11, 12.


Q. 1. What is the Lord’s supper?

A. An holy action instituted and appointed by Christ, to set forth his death, and communicate unto us spiritually his body and blood by faith, being represented by bread and wine, blessed by his word, and prayer, broken, poured out, and received of believers.

Matthew 26:26-28; Luke 22:14-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25. Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:25, 26. Mark 14:22-24; 1 Corinthians 11:24, 25; John 6:63. 1 Corinthians 11:23, 25. 1 Corinthians 11:24; Matthew 26:26. Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19.

Q. 2. When did Christ appoint this sacraments?

A. On the night wherein he was betrayed to suffer. 1 Corinthians 11:23.

Q. 3. Whence is the right lose of it to be learned?

A. From the word, practice, and actions of our Savior, at its institution.

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Q. 4. What were the actions of our Savior to be imitated by us?

A. First, blessing the elements by prayer; secondly, breaking the bread, and pouring out the wine; thirdly, distributing them to the receivers, sitting in a tablegesture.

Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:23, 24.

Q. 5. What were the words of Christ?

A. First, of command, — “ Take, eat;” secondly, of promise, — “ This is my body;” thirdly, of institution for perpetual use, — “ This do,” etc.

1 Corinthians 11:24-26.

Q. 6. Who are to be receivers of this sacrament?

A. Those only have a true right to the signs who by faith in have an holy interest in Christ, the thing signified.

1 Corinthians 11:27-29; John 6:63.

Q. 7. Do the elements remain bread and wine still, after the blessing of them?

A. Yes; all the spiritual change is wrought  by the faith of the receiver, not the words of the giver: to them that believe, they are the body and blood of Christ.

John 6:63; 1 Corinthians 10:4, 11:29.


Q. 1. What is the communion of saints?

A. An holy conjunction between all God’s people, wrought by their participation of the same Spirit, whereby we are all made members of that one body whereof Christ is head.

Song of Solomon 6:9; Jeremiah 32:39; John 17:22; 1 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:3-6, 13; 1 John 1:3, 6, 7.

Q. 2. Of what sort is this union?

A. First, spiritual and internal, in the enjoyment of the same Spirit and graces, — which is the union of the Hebrews church catholic; secondly, external and ecclesiastical, in the same outward ordinances, — which is the union of particular congregations.

1 Corinthians 12:12,13; Ephesians 2:16, 19-22; 1 Corinthians 10:17; John 17:11, 21, 22; John 10:16; 1:11. 1 Corinthians 1:10,11; Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:27,28; Ephesians 4:11-13; Philippians 2:2; Colossians 3:15; 1 Peter 3:8.


Q. 1. What are particular churches?

A. Peculiar assemblies of professors in one place, under officers of Christ’s institution, enjoying the ordinances of

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God, and leading lives be seeming their holy calling.

Acts 11:26; 1 Corinthians 4:17, 11:22; 2 Corinthians 1:1. Acts 20:17,28, 14:23; 2 Corinthians 8:23; Hebrews13:17. 1 Corinthians 3:6; Revelation 2:1-3. 2 Thessalonians 3:5, 6,
11; Galatians 6:16; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:12.

Q. 2. What are the ordinary officers of such churches?

A. First, pastors or doctors, to teach and exhort; secondly, elders, to assist in rule and government; thirdly, deacons, to provide for the poor.

Romans 12:7, 8; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:28. Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 5:17. Acts 6:2, 3.

Q. 3. What is required of these officers, especially the chiefest, or ministers?

A. That they be faithful in the ministry committed unto them; sedulous in dispensing the Word; watching for the good of the souls committed to them; going before them in an example of all godliness and holiness of life.

1 Corinthians 4:2; Acts 20:18-20. 2 Timothy 2:15, 4:1-5. Titus 1:13; 1 Timothy 4:15, 16. Titus 2:7; 1 Timothy 4:12; Matthew 5:16; Acts 24:16.

Q. 4. What is required in the people unto them?

A. Obedience to their message and ministry; honor and love to their persons; maintenance to them and their families. 2 Corinthians 5:20; Romans 6:17; Hebrews 13:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:14; Romans 16:19; 2 Corinthians 10:4-6. 1 Corinthians 4:1; Galatians 4:14; 1
Timothy 5:17,18. Luke 10:7; James 5:4; 1 Timothy 5:17, 18; 1 Corinthians 9:9-13.


Q. 1. What is the resurrection of the flesh?

A. An act of the mighty power of God’s Holy Spirit, applying unto us the virtue of Christ’s resurrection, etc.; whereby, at the last day, he will raise our whole bodies from the dust, to be united again unto our souls in everlasting happiness.

Job 19:25-27; Psalm 16:9-11; Isaiah 26:19; Ezekiel 37:2,3; Daniel 12:2; 1 Corinthians 15:16, Revelation 20:12, 13.

Q. 2. What is the end of this whole dispensation?

A. The glory of God in our eternal salvation.

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To Him be all glory and honor for evermore! Amen.

Beza’s Summa Totius Christianismi

Theodore Beza
Geneva, 1555
trans. William Whittingham (1575) revised by R. Scott Clark (2002).

The question of God’s eternal Predestination is not curious, or unprofitable, but of great importance, and very necessary in the Church of God.

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1. In De bono perseverantiæ (On the Good of Perseverance), Augustine, chapter 14, says, that they who opposed him as adversaries in this question, alleged that the doctrine of predestination hindered the preaching of God’s word, and caused it to be unprofitable. As if (he says) this doctrine had hindered the Apostle Paul to do his duty: who so oftentimes does commend unto us, and teach Predestination, and yet never ceases to preach the word of God. Also says moreover: As he that has received the gift, can better exhort and preach: so he that has received this gift, does hear the Preacher more obediently, and with greater reverence, etc. We do therefore exhort and preach, but they only which have ears to hear do hear us quietly, and to their comfort: and in those that have them not, this sentence is fulfilled, that hearing with their ears they do not hear, for they hear with the outward sense, but not with the inward consent. Now why some men have these ears, and others not, it is, because it is given to some to come, and to others not. Who knew God’s counsel? must that be denied which is plain and evident, because that cannot be known which is hid and secret? Again in the 15th chapter, I pray you (says he) if some under the shadow of predestination give themselves to slothful negligence, and as they are bent to flatter their flesh, so follow their own lusts, must we therefore judge, that this which is written of the foreknowledge of God is false? Now surely this is very handsome, and to the purpose, that we shall not speak that which by the Scripture is lawful to speak. Oh we fear (say you) lest he should be offended, which is not able to understand, and take it. And shall we not fear (say I) lest whiles we hold our tongue, he that is able to take the truth, be taken and snared with falsehood and error? Also in the 20th chapter of the same book he writes in this sort, If the Apostles, and Doctors of the church which came after them, did the one and the other, both teaching the eternal election of God purely and truly, and also retaining the faithful in godly life and manners: What moves our adversaries (seeing they are overcome with the manifest and invincible truth) to think they speak well, saying, although this doctrine of predestination be true, yet it ought not to be preached to the people? Nay, so much the rather it is good to be thoroughly preached, that he that has

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ears to hear, may hear. And who has them, but he that has received them of God, who promises to give them? And as for him that does receive it, let him refuse it if he will: so that he that does receive it, may take it, drink it, be sufficed, and have life. For as we must preach the fear of God to the end that God may be truly served: so must we preach predestination that he which has ears to hear may hear, and rejoice in God, not in himself, for the grace of God towards him.

2. This is the mind of that excellent doctor as touching this point, which notwithstanding binds us to two conditions: the one is, that we speak no farther herein than God’s word limits us: the other, that we set forth the same thing which the Scripture teaches, accordingly, and to edification. Wherefore we will briefly speak of both these parts: first of the doctrine itself, and next of the use and applying of the same.

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Of the eternal counsel of God hidden in himself, which afterwards is known by the effects thereof.

1. GOD, whose judgments no man can comprehend, whose ways can not be found out, and whose will (1) ought to stop all men’s mouths (2), according to the determinate and unchangeable purpose of his will, by the virtue whereof all things are made (3), yea even those things which are evil and execrable (not in that they be wrought by his divine counsel, but forasmuch as they proceed of the prince of the air, and that spirit which works in the children (4) of disobedience) has determined (5) from before all beginning with himself, to create all things in their time, for his glory, and (6) namely men: whom he has made after two sorts, clean contrary one to the other. Whereof he makes the one sort (which it pleased him to choose by his secret will and purpose) partakers of his glory through his mercy (7), and these we call according to the word of God, the vessels of honor, the elect, the children of promise, and predestinate to salvation (8): and the others, whom likewise it pleased him to ordain to damnation (that he might show forth his wrath and power, to be glorified also in them) we do call the vessels of dishonor and wrath, the reprobate and cast off from all good works (9).

2. This election or predestination to everlasting life, being considered in the will of God (that is to say) this same determination, or purpose to elect, is the first fountain and chief original of the salvation of God’s children: neither is it thereon grounded, as some say, because God did foresee their faith, or good works: but only of his own good will (10,) whence afterwards the election, the faith, and the good works spring forth. Therefore, when the scripture will confirm the children of God in full and perfect hope, it does not stay in alleging the testimonies of the second causes, that is to say, in the fruits of faith, nor in the second causes themselves, as faith, and calling by the Gospel, neither yet sometimes in Christ himself, in whom notwithstanding we are, as in our head elected and adopted, but ascends higher, even unto that eternal purpose which God has determined only in himself (11.) 3. Likewise, when mention is made of the damnation of the reprobate, although the whole fault thereof be in themselves (12): yet notwithstanding, sometimes when need requires, the Scripture to make more manifest by this Chapter 2

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comparison the great power of God’s patience, and the riches of his glory towards the vessels of mercy (13), leads us unto this high secret, which by order is the first cause of their damnation, of which secret, no other cause is known to men, but only his just will, which we must with all reverence obey, as coming from him, who is only just, and can not by any means, nor of any man, in any sort be comprehended
(14). For we must put difference between the purpose or ordinance of reprobation, and reprobation itself. Because God would that the secret of this his purpose should be kept close from us: and again we have the causes or reprobation, and damnation, which depends thereof, expressed in God’s word, that is to say, corruption, lack of faith, and iniquity, which as they be necessary, so are they also voluntary in the vessels made to dishonor (15): like as on the other part when we describe orderly the causes of the salvation of the elect, we put difference between the purpose of electing, which God has determined in himself, and the election which is appointed in Christ in such sort, that this his purpose or ordinance, does not only go before election in the degree of causes, but also before all other things that follow the same. (16.)

4. The place and testimonies of the Scriptures, which are alleged in this treatise, and marked by numbers, it seemed good to place apart at the end of every Chapter, partly that being separate they might be better weighed and understood: and partly because they could not for the multitude thereof be contained in the margin of the book. And here we have compassed every number within these two lines ( ) to the intent they might the more easily be found out.

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Notes of the Second Chapter

(1) Rom. 11.33.
(2) Job 9.10-12; Rom 9.20.
(3) Eph. 1.9,11; Gen. 27.20; Exod.
21.13; John 22.13; Prov. 16.33; 20.24; 21.1; Isa. 14.27; 46.4,10; Jer. 10.23;
Dan. 4.32; Matt. 10.29; Gal. 1.4.
(4) Eph. 2.2.
(5) Gen. 45.8; 50.19,20; Exod. 4.21; 7.3; and 9.12; and 10.1,20,27; and 11.10; 14.4,8,17; Deut. 2.30; Josh.11.19,20; 1 Sam. 2.25; 2 Sam. 12.11; 16.11; and 24.1; 1 Kings 12.15; 22.22,23; 2 Kings 18.25; 2 Chron. 10.15; 11.4; 22.7; 25.20; Neh. 9.36,37; Job 1.12,21; 23.14; 34.30; 37.13; Psalm 105.25; Isa. 10.15; 54.16; 63.17; John 12.40; Acts 2.23; 4.28; Rom. 9.18,19; 11.32 with Gal 3.22; 1 Thes. 3.3
(6) Prov. 16.4.
(7) Isa. 43.7; Eph. 1.5,6; Rom. 9.23;
(8) Rom. 8.29,30; 9.8,21; 1 Cor. 2.7; Eph.1.4; 2 Thes. 2.13; 1 Pet. 1.2.
(9) Exod. 9.16; Prov. 16.4; Rom. 3.5; 9.22; Isa. 54:16.
(10) Deut. 4.37; 7.7,8; Josh. 24.2; Psalm 44.3; Ezek. 16.6,60; John 15.16,19; Acts 13:48; 22.14; Rom. 5.6; 9.11-16,18,23; 11.7,35; 1 Cor. 4.7; Eph.
1.4,5,11; 2.10; Col. 1.12; 2 Tim. 1.9.
(11) Matt. 25.34; John 6.40,45; Acts 13.48; Rom. 8.29,30; 9.8,11,12,16,23; 11.7; Eph. 1.4,5,9,11; 2 Tim. 2.19; 1 Cor. 2.7,10.
(12) Hos. 13.9; John 3.19.
(13) Rom. 9.23. (14) Exod. 9.16; Psalm 33.15; Prov. 16.4; Rom. 9.11,12,13, where he says not only that Esau was ordained to be hated before he did any evil (for in so saying he should not seem to exclude any thing but actual sin and incredulity) but says expressly, before he was born, whereby he excludes the original sin, and all that which might be considered in the person of Esau by his birth, from the cause of the hate. Therefore anon after, when he shows how the Reprobate murmur, and reply, he does not say, that they speak in this sort: Why does not God hate others alike, seeing they are also born in the same corruption that we be? The Apostle speaks no such words, but he says their reason is in this sort: who can resist his will? For hereof man’s reason gathers, that they are unjustly condemned. And yet Paul does not answer, that God would so, because he saw that they would be corrupt, and so consequently that the cause of his decree should be grounded on their corruption (which answer had been clear and resolute, if it had been true) but forasmuch as he says plainly, it so pleased God, and it was not in their power to change this his good pleasure, he bridles man’s wisdom, that it might reverence and wonder at God’s mysteries, as it is most just to do. And also encourages the Elect to honor the grace of God, which is declared and made famous by such a corruption. In this sort then the other places of the Scripture which conduct and lift us up to behold the sovereign will of God, which is the only rule of justice ought to be expounded. Isa. 54.16; 1 Sam. 2.25; John 6.44,45,64,65; 10.26; 12.39,40; 1 Pet. 2.8; and in divers other places. (15) 2 Thes. 2.10-12; Rom. 11.20; 2 Cor. 4.3,4; Heb. 12.17. (16) Rom. 8.30; Eph. 1.4,5.

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1. THE Lord God, that he might put in execution this eternal  counsel, to his glory, prepared a way according to his infinite wisdom, indifferent both to those that he would choose, and those also which he would refuse. For when he determined to show his infinite mercy in the salvation of the elect, and also his just judgment in the condemnation of the reprobate: it was necessary that he should shut up both under disobedience and sin, to show his mercy to all (1) those that believe (2): that is to say, to the elect: because faith is a gift of God which properly belongs unto them (3): and to the contrary to have just cause to condemn them, to whom it is not given to believe (4), nor to know God’s mysteries (5). Therefore God did this in such sort, and with such wisdom, that the whole fault of the reprobates’ damnation lies in themselves: and on the other side, all the glory and praise of the elects’ salvation belongs wholly in his only mercy. For he did not create man a sinner, for then he should have been (with reverent fear be it spoken, the author of sin, which afterwards he could not justly have punished) but rather he made him after his own image (6): to wit, in innocence, purity, and holiness (7): who notwithstanding without constraint of any, neither yet forced by any necessity of concupiscence as touching his will (which as yet was not made servant to sin) (8), willingly and of his own accord rebelled against God: binding by this means the whole nature of man to sin, and so consequently to the death of body and soul (9). Yet we must confess that this fall came not by chance or fortune, seeing his providence stretches forth itself even to the smallest things (10), neither can we say, that any thing happens, that God knows not, or cares not for, except we would fall into the opinion of the Epicureans, from which God preserve us, neither yet by any bare or idle permission or sufferance, which is separate from his will and sure determination. For seeing he has appointed the end, it is necessary also that he should appoint the causes which lead us to the same end, unless we affirm with the wicked Manicheans that this end happens at all adventures, or by means of causes ordained by some other God. Furthermore we cannot think that any thing happens contrary to God’s will, except we deny blasphemously that he is omnipotent and almighty, As Augustine notes plainly in his book De correptione   et gratia (On Corruption and Grace). Cap. 104. We conclude therefore that this fall of Adam did so.

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proceed of the motion of his will that notwithstanding it happened not without the will of God: whom it pleases by a marvelous and incomprehensible mean, that the thing which he does not allow (for as much as it is sin) should not happen without his will. And this is done, as we said before, that he might show the riches of his glory towards the vessels of mercy: and his wrath and power upon those vessels, which he has made to set forth his glory by their shame and confusion (12). For the final end of God’s counsel is neither the salvation of the elect, nor the damnation of the reprobate: but the setting forth of his own glory, in saving the one by his mercy, and condemning the other by his just judgment. Then to avoid all these blasphemies, unto which the infirmity of our wits does draw us, let us confess that the corruption of the principal work that God has made (which is man) is not happened by chance, nor without the will of him, who according to his incomprehensible wisdom, does make and govern all things to his glory. Albeit we must confess (in despite of man’s judgment, which was limited in the beginning within a certain compass, and after was miserably corrupted) that the whole fault of his damnation lies in man: forasmuch as between the secret and incomprehensible will of God, and that corruption of man’s nature, which is the very first occasion of the reprobates damnation, the will of the first man is a mean, which being created good, has willingly corrupted itself, and thereby opened the door to the just judgment of God, to condemn all those, to whom it does not please him to show mercy. And if they would yet object and cavil, saying, that they cannot resist the will of God (13), let us suffer them to their own destruction to plead against him, who will be able enough to defend his justice against their quarreling. Let us rather reverence that which passes the reach and compass of our wits, and turn our minds wholly to praise his mercy, who by his only grace has saved us, when we deserved the like punishment and damnation, and were no less sinners and wicked than they.

Notes of the third chapter.

(1) Rom. 11.32.
(2) Gal. 3.22.
(3) Acts 13.48; Eph. 2.8; 2 Thes. 3.2; Titus 1.1,2; Phil. 1.29; Gal. 5.22.
(4) Matt. 13.11.
(5) John 12.38,39.
(6) Gen. 3.
(7) Eph. 4.24.
(8) Rom. 5.12; 7.20.
(9) Rom. 5.12 etc.
(10) Matt. 10.29,30; Prov. 16.33.
(11) Rom. 9.21,22; 1 Pet. 2.8; Exod. 9.16; Prov. 16.4.
(12) Exod. 9.16; Prov.
16.4; Isa. 54.16; Rom. 9.11,12,13,17,18, etc.
(13) Rom. 9.13,19.


1. WHEN God had determined with himself the things before mentioned, he, by a more manifest order of causes, which notwithstanding was eternal (as all things are present to him) disposed orderly all the degrees, whereby he would bring his elect unto his kingdom. Forasmuch therefore as he is merciful, and yet could not forget his justice, before all other things it was necessary that a mediator should be appointed: by whom man might be perfectly restored, and that this should be done by the free mercy and grace which does appear in the salvation of his elect. But man, besides that he is so weak, that it is not possible for him to sustain the weight of God’s wrath, does also so much flatter himself in that his most miserable blindness, that he cannot perceive it (1): because he is wholly in bondage to sin (2): so that the law of God is to him as death (3), so far is he unable of himself to recover his liberty, or to satisfy the law of God in the very least jot. God therefore the most merciful father of the Elect, moderating in such sort his justice, with his infinite mercy, appointed his only son, who was the very same substance, and God eternal with him, that at the time determined, he should by the power of the holy (4) Ghost be made very man (5), to the end that both the natures being joined in Jesus Christ alone (6), first, all the corruption of man should be fully healed in one man (7), who should also accomplish all justice (8), and moreover should be able enough to sustain the judgment of God, and be a Priest sufficient and worthy of himself to appease the wrath of God his father, in dying as a just and innocent for them that were unjust and sinners, covering our disobedience, and purging all our sins which were laid upon him (9). And finally with one only offering and sacrifice of himself should sanctify all the elect, mortifying and burying sin in them by the partaking of his death and burial: and quickening them into newness of life by his resurrection (10): so that they should find more in him than they had lost in Adam (11). And to the intent this remedy should not be found and ordained in vain, the Lord God determined to give this his Son with all things appertaining to salvation (12), to them whom he had determined in himself to choose: and on the other side, to give them unto his son, that they being in him, and he in Chapter 4 13 them (13), might be consummate and made perfect in one, by these degrees that follow after, according as it pleased him to bring forth every one of his elect into this world. For first, when it pleases him to disclose that secret which he had purposed from before all beginning (14), at such time as men least look for it (15), as men are blinded and yet think they see most clear (16), when as in very deed death and damnation hangs over their head (17), he comes suddenly, and sets before their eyes, the great danger wherein they are, and that they might be touched more sharply and lively, he adds to the witness of their own conscience, being as it were asleep and dead, the preaching of his law (18), and the examples of his judgments, to strike them with the horror of their sins: nor that they should remain in that fear, but rather that beholding the great danger thereof, should fly to that only mediator Jesus Christ (19): in whom after the sharp preaching of the law, he sets forth the sweet grace of the Gospel, but yet with this condition, that they believe in him (20), who only can deliver them from condemnation (21) and give them right and title to the heavenly inheritance (22). Yet all these things were but vain if he should only set before men’s eyes these secrets by the external preaching of his word written and published in the church of God, which notwithstanding is the ordinary means whereby Jesus Christ is communicated to us (23): therefore as regarding his elect (24), unto the external preaching of his Word, he joins the inward working of his Holy Spirit, which does not restore (as the Papists imagine) the remnants or residue of free will (for what power soever of free will remains in us, serves to no other use but willingly to sin (25), to fly from God (26), to hate him (27), and so not to hear him (28), nor to believe in him (29), neither yet to acknowledge his gift (30), no not so much as to think a good thought (31): and finally to be children of wrath and malediction,) but to the contrary changes their hard hearts of stone into soft hearts of flesh (32), draws them (33), teaches them (34), lighten their eyes (35), and opens their sense (36), their heart, their ears, and understanding: first to make them to know (as we have said before) their own misery: and next, to plant in them the gift of faith, whereby they may perform that condition, which is joined to the preaching of the Gospel. And that stands in two points, the one, whereby we know Christ, in general, believing the story of Christ, and the Prophecies which are writ of him (37), which part of faith, as we shall declare in due place, is sometimes given to the reprobate. The other, which is proper, and only belongs to the elect, consists in applying

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Christ (who is universally and indifferently preached to all men) to ourselves, as ours: and that every man make himself sure of his election, which has been hid before all time in God’s secret (38), and afterwards revealed unto us, partly by inward testimony of our conscience through the holy ghost, joined to the external preaching of God’s word (39): and partly also by the virtue and power of the same spirit, who delivering the Elect from the servitude of sin (40), persuades and conducts them to will and work the things which please God. These then be the degrees, whereby it pleases God to create and form by his especial grace, that precious and peculiar gift of faith in his elect, to the intent that they may embrace their salvation in Jesus Christ. But because this faith in us is yet weak and only begun, to the end that we may not only persevere in it, but also profit (which thing is most necessary for all men to do) first according to the time that our adoption is revealed unto us, this faith is sealed in our hearts by the Sacrament of Baptism: and after every day more and more is confirmed and sealed in us by the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper: of which two Sacraments, the principal end is, that they be sure and effectual signs and pledges of the communion of the faithful with Christ (41) who is their wisdom, justice, sanctification, and redemption (42). For this occasion it is so oftentimes mentioned with Paul, that we being justified by faith, have peace with God (43): For whosoever has obtained the gift of true faith, has also by the same grace and liberality of God obtained the gift of perseverance (44). So that in all manner of temptations and afflictions, he doubts not to call upon God, with sure confidence to obtain his request (as far as it is expedient for him) knowing that he is of the number of God’s children, who can not fail him (45). Moreover he never swerves so from the right way, but at length by the benefit of God’s grace, he returns again: for although faith sometime seem in the Elect (as it were for a time) hid and buried, so that a man would think it were utterly quenched (46) (which God allows, that men might know their own weakness) yet it does never so far leave them, that the love of God and their neighbor, is altogether plucked out of their hearts. For no man is justified in Christ, who also is not sanctified in him (47), and framed to good works, which God prepared that we should walk therein (48). This is then the way whereby God by his mercy does prepare (to the full execution of his eternal counsel) them amongst his Elect, whom it pleases him to reserve, till they come to ripe age and discretion. As touching the other whom he calls into his kingdom so soon as they are born, or in their

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tender years, he uses a more short way. For seeing he does comprehend in that his free covenant, whereof Jesus Christ is the mediator (49), not only the faithful, but also their posterity (50), into a thousand generations (51), calling the same by express words, holy (52): there is no doubt but the children of the Saints, which appertain to election, (whom he only knows) he has given to his son, who will not cast them out (53).

Notes of the fourth chapter.

(1) John 9.41.
(2) Rom. 1.18; 7.14; 8.7; 1 Cor. 2.14; 2 Cor. 3.5; Eph. 2.3.
(3) Rom.
(4) Matt. 1.20; Luke 1.35.
(5) John 1.14; 1 John 1.1-3.
(6) Rom. 1.3,4; 2Cor. 5.19; Col. 2.9.
(7) Rom. 8.3.
(8) Matt. 3.15; 5.17,18; 1 Cor. 1.30.
(9) Isa. 53.4,5,7,11; Rom. 3.25; Acts 20.28; Col. 1.20; Rom. 5.19; 1 Pet. 2.24; 3.18; 2 Cor. 5.21.
(10) Rom. 6.3,4,5. etc. Col. 3.1; 2.12; John 17.19; Heb. 9.13; 10.14.
(11) Rom. 5.15,16,17,20.
(12) Rom. 8.32; John 3.16. (13) John 17.2,6,9,11,12,23.
(14) Gen. 3.15; 22.18; Rom. 3.25. and 16.25; 1 Cor. 2.7; Gal. 4.4; Eph. 1.9,10; Col. 1.26; 2 Tim. 1.9; Titus 1.2; 1 Pet. 1.20.
(15) Josh. 24.2; Ezek. 16.8,9; Isa. 65.1; Eph. 2.3,4,5,12; Rom. 5.10; 1 Pet. 2.10.
(16) John 9.41; John 3.19.
(17) Rom. 1.18,19; 2.15; Acts 14.17.
(18) Rom. 1.18,19; 2.15; Acts 14.17.
(19) Rom. 7.7; 1 Tim. 2.5; 2 Tim. 2.25,26; Acts 2.37,38; 1 John 2.1.
(20) John 1.12; 3.16; Rom. 1.16, and almost in every page of the whole Scripture.
(21) Rom. 8.1; 1 John 2.1.
(22) John 1.12, and 3.16; Rom. 1.16, and 5.1.
(23) Rom. 10.8,17; 2 Cor. 5.18,19; Jam. 1.18; 1 Pet. 1.25.
(24) Eph. 1.5,9; Col. 1.27.
(25) Rom. 6.19,20.
(26) Gen. 3.8; John 6.44,65.
(27) Rom. 5.10; 8.7.
(28) John 8.47.
(29) Isa. 53.1; John 12.39.
(30) Matt. 13.11; John 4.10; 3.3; 1 Cor. 2.14.
(31) 2 Cor. 3.5.
(32) Ezek. 11.19; 36.26; Psalm 51.12.
(33) John 6.44.
(34) John 6.45; 16.13; Psalm 119.33.
(35) Psalm 119.130; Eph. 1.17.
(36) Isa. 50.5; Psalm 10.17; 119.18,73,130; Col. 1.9. Jer. 31.18,19; 2 Tim. 2.25.
(37) Luke 24.45, Acts 16.14.
(38) 1 Cor. 2.10,11,12,16; Col. 1.26,27; Eph. 1.17-19; 1 John 3.24; 5.20.
(39) Rom. 8.15; Gal. 4.6.
(40) Rom. 8.14; 1 John 3.10,14; 4.14; Phil. 2.13; John 8.36; Rom. 6.18.
(41) Mark 16.16; Acts 2.38; Rom. 6.3,4; Gal. 3.27; Col. 2.12; Eph. 5.26; 1 Pet. 3.21; 1 Cor. 10.16; Rom. 4.11.
(42) 1 Cor. 1.30.
(43) Rom. 3.20-22; 4.2,5; 5.1; and in divers other places.
(44) and (45) Num. 23.19; Psalm 23.6; 27.1-3; Psalm 91 at large; Matt. 24.24; John 6.37; 17.15; 10.28,29; Rom. 5.2-5; 8.15,16,38,39; 1 Cor. 2.12,16; 2 Cor. 13.5; Eph. 1.9; Phil. 1.6; 1 Thes. 5.24; 2 Cor. 1.21; James 1.6; Heb. 4.16; 10.22; 1 John 4.17.
(46) So Moses, Aaron, David, Peter fell. 1 John 1.8.
(47) Rom. 6.1,2; and 1 John 3.9,10; 4.20; 2 Pet. 1.9.
(48) Eph. 2.10; 1.4.
(49) 1 Tim. 2.5; Heb. 9.15.
(50) Gen. 17.7.
(51) Exod. 20.6.
(52) 1 Cor. 7.14.
(53) John 6.37.

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1. BY these things whereof we have now spoken, it may easily appear how God makes them to go to their own place: (1) whom he created to that end that he might be glorified in their just condemnation. For as Christ the second heavenly Adam, is the foundation and very substance and effect of the Elect’s salvation: so also the first earthly Adam, because he fell, is the first author of the hate, and so consequently of the damnation of the reproved (2). For when God, moved with those causes which he only knows, had determined to create them to this end, to show forth in them his just wrath and power (3), likewise he did orderly dispose the causes and means, whereby it might come to pass that the whole cause of their damnation might be of themselves, as has been declared before in the third chapter. When man then was fallen willingly into that miserable estate whereof we have spoken in the chapter before, God who hates justly the Reprobate, because they are corrupt, in part of them he does execute his just wrath so soon as they are born (4): and towards the rest that be of age, whom he reserves to a more sharp judgment, he observes two ways clean contrary one to the other. For as concerning some, he shows them not so much favor, as once to hear of Jesus Christ, in whom only is salvation (5), but suffers them to walk in their own ways (6), and run headlong to their perdition. And as for the testimonies that God has left to them of his divinity (7), serve them to no other use but to make them without all excuse (8), and yet through their own default, seeing their ignorance and lack of capacity, is the just punishment of that corruption wherein they are born. And surely as touching that that they can attain unto in knowing God, by their light, or rather natural darkness (albeit they never failed in the way, but so continued) (9), yet were it not in no wise sufficient for their salvation. For it is

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necessary for us that shall be saved, that we know God, not only as God, but as our father in Christ (10): which mystery flesh and blood does not reveal (11), but the son himself, to them whom his father has given him (12). As concerning others, their fall is more terrible (13). For he causes them to hear by preaching the outward word of the Gospel (14), but because they are not of the number of the Elect, being called, they hear not (15), and forasmuch as they are not able to receive the spirit of truth (16), therefore they cannot believe, because it is not given unto them (17), wherefore when they are called to the feast, they refuse to come, so that the word of life is folly unto them, and an offence (18), and finally the savor of death to their destruction. (19.) There are yet others, whose hearts God opens to receive and believe the things that they hear, but this is with that general faith, whereby the Devils believe and tremble (20). To conclude, they which are most miserable of all, those climb a degree higher, that their fall might be more grievous, for they are raised so high by some gift of grace, that they are a little moved with some taste of the heavenly gift (21): so that for the time they seem to have received the seed, and to be planted in the Church of God (22), and also show the way of salvation to others (23). But this is plain that the spirit of adoption, which we have said to be only proper unto them which are never cast forth (24) but are written in the secret of God’s people (25), is never communicate unto them. For if they were of the Elect, they should remain still with the Elect (26). All these therefore (because of necessity, and yet willingly, as they which are under the slavery of sin (27)), return to their vomit (28) and fall away from faith (29) are plucked up by the roots, to be cast into the fire (30). I mean, they are forsaken of God (31), who according to his will (which no man can resist (32), and yet for all that because of their corruption and wickedness) (33), hardens them (34), makes their hearts fat, stops their ears, and blinds them (35): and to bring this to pass, he uses partly their own vile lusts, to which he has given them up to be ruled and led by (36), and partly the spirit of lies, who keeps them wrapped in his snares (37), by reason of their corruption, from which

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as out of a fountain, issues a continual flowing river of infidelity, ignorance, and iniquity: whereby it follows that [they] having as it were made shipwreck of their faith, can by no means escape the day, which is appointed for their destruction, that God may be glorified in their just condemnation (38).

Notes of the fifth chapter.

(1) Acts 1.25; Rom. 9.22; Matt. 25.41.
(2) Rom. 5.18; 1 Cor. 15.21, etc.
(3) Exod. 9.16; Rom. 9.17,22.
(4) Exod. 20.5; Eph. 2.3; Rom. 5.14.
(5) Matt. 1.21; Acts 4.12.
(6) Acts 14.16,17; 17.30; Rom. 1.24; Eph. 2.11.
(7) Rom. 1.19,20; Acts 14.17; 17.27.
(8) Rom. 1.20; John 15.22; Rom. 2.12.
(9) Rom. 1.21,22.
(10) John 17.3; 3.36.
(11) Matt. 11.27; 16.17. John 1.13; 3.5,6.
(12) Matt. 11.27.
(13) Luke 12.47.
(14) Matt. 22.14; Luke 13.34; 19.42.
(15) Jer. 7.27,28; Prov. 1.24.
(16) John 14.17.
(17) John 12.39,40; 2 Thes. 3.2; Matt. 13.11.
(18) 1 Cor. 1.18,23.
(19) 2 Cor. 2.15,16.
(20) James 2.19.
(21) Heb. 6.4.
(22) Acts 8.12; Matt. 13, and in many other places which we have above recited in the 2nd chapter.
(23) Acts 1.17.
(24) John 6.37.
(25) Ezek. 13.9; Rev. 22.18.
(26) 1 John 2.19.
(27) John 8.34; Rom. 5.12; 6.19,20; and 7.14; and 8.7.
(28) 2 Pet. 2.22.
(29) 1 Tim. 4.1.
(30) Matt. 15.13; John 15.2.
(31) Acts 14.16.
(32) Rom. 9.19.
(33) Rom. 1.27,28; 2 Thes. 2.9-11; John 3.19.
(34) Isa. 63.17; Exod. 4.21; Deut. 2.30, and in many other places above recited in the 2nd chapter.
(35) Isa. 6.10; Rom. 11.32.
(36) Exod. 8.32; Psalm 95.8; Acts 7.42; Rom. 1.26.
(37) 2 Kings 22.23; 2 Cor. 4.4; 2 Tim. 2.26;
(38) 1 Tim. 1.19; Prov. 16.4; Exod. 9.16; Rom. 9.21,22, etc.

Chapter 6

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1. FOR as much as God is justice itself, it is necessary that he should save the just, and condemn the unjust. Now they amongst men are only just, who being by faith joined to Christ (1), grafted (2), rooted in him (3), and made one body with him (4), are justified and sanctified in him, and by him: whereof it follows, that the glory to which they are predestined (5), to the glory of God (6), pertains to them as by a certain right or title. On the other part, they which remain in Adam’s pollution and death, are justly hated of God: and so condemned by him, not excepting so much as them which die before they sin, as Adam did (7). But both these manners of executing God’s judgments, as well in these as in the other which are elected are in three sorts: whereof we have already declared the first. For the elect in that same moment that they have received the gift of faith, have after a certain sort passed from death to life (8), whereof they have a sure pledge (9). But this their life is hid in Christ, till this corporal death make them to step a degree further, and that the soul being released out of the bands of the body, enter into the joy of the Lord (10). Finally, in the day appointed to judge the quick and the dead (11), when that which is corruptible and mortal shall be clad with incorruptibleness and immortality, and God shall be all in all things, then they shall see his majesty face to face, and shall fully enjoy that unspeakable comfort and joy, which before all beginning was prepared for them, which is also the reward that is due to the righteousness and holiness of Christ: who was given for their sins, and raised again from death for their justification: by whose virtue and spirit they have proceeded and gone forward from faith to faith, as shall manifestly appear by the whole course of their life, and good works (12). Whereas altogether contrary, the reprobate conceived, born, and brought up in sin, death, and wrath of God (13), when they depart out of this world, they fall into another gulf of destruction, and their

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souls are plunged in that endless pain (14), until the day come that their bodies and souls being joined again, they shall enter into everlasting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels (15). Then by these two ways (which are clean contrary one to another) the last issue and end of God’s judgments shall set forth manifestly his glory to all men, forasmuch as in his elect he shall declare himself most just and most merciful. Most just, I say, for that he has punished with extreme rigor and severity the sins of his elect in the person of his son, neither did receive them into the fellowship of his glory, before he had fully and perfectly justified and sanctified them in his Son. And most merciful, for as much as he freely appointed with himself to elect them, and according as he had purposed, chose them freely in his son, by calling, justifying, and glorifying them, by means of that same faith which he had given them through the same grace and mercy. On the other side, touching the reprobate, their corruption and infidelity, with such fruits as come thereof, and testimony of their own conscience, shall so reprove and accuse them, that although they resist and kick against the prick: yet the most perfect justice of God shall be manifest and shine by all men’s confession in their just condemnation.

Notes of the sixth chapter.

(1) John 17.21.
(2) Rom. 6.5.
(3) Col. 2.7.
(4) 1 Cor. 10.16.
(5) Rom. 8.30; 1 Cor. 1.30; 2 Cor. 5.5; Rom. 9.23.
(6) Rom. 3.25,26.
(7) Rom. 5.14; Eph. 2.3; John 3.36.
(8) and (9) John 5.24; 2 Cor. 1.21,22; 5.5; 1 Cor. 1.6-8; Rom. 8.25; Eph. 1.13,14; in the same 2.6; Rom. 5.2.
(10) Luke 23.43; Matt. 22.31,32; Luke 16.22; Phil. 1.23.
(11) and (12) 2 Tim. 4.1; Acts 3.21; Rom. 8.21; 1 Cor. 15; 1 Cor. 13; Matt. 25.34; Rom. 4.25; 1.17.
(13) Rom. 5.12; 7.14; Eph. 2.3.
(14) Luke 16.2,23,24.
(15) Matt. 25.41.

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1. SINCE we have now declared the effect of this doctrine: it remains also that we show what order we think best to be observed in preaching and applying the same to every particular man. Whereas many find this matter so sharp and strange, that they flee from it as from a dangerous rock: it is partly to be attributed to the malice and arrogance of men: and partly to the rashness and lack of discretion of them that teach it. And thirdly it is to be imputed to their ignorance which can not orderly apply the same to themselves, which faithfully and truly has been taught of others. Concerning them which sin of malice, it only pertains to God to amend them: which surely he has done always in his season, and likewise will do from time to time, to whom he has appointed to show mercy. But for others which remain obstinate in their sin and wickedness, there is no cause why we should be moved either for their number or authority, or dissemble God’s truth. And as touching the second sort, I have thought these things principally to be observed in preaching this mystery.

2. First as in all other things (1), so chiefly in this matter of predestination, they ought to take diligent heed, that instead of God’s pure and simple truth, they bring not forth vain and curious speculations or dreams (2): which thing they can not choose but do, which go about to compass and accord these secret judgments of God with man’s wisdom, and so do not only put difference between predestination and the purpose of God, which thing they must needs do, but separate the one from the other: for they either imagine a certain naked and idle permission, or else make a double purpose and counsel in God. From which errors they must needs fall into many and great absurdities. For sometimes they are constrained to divide those things which of themselves are joined most straitly: and sometimes they are compelled to invent a great sort of foolish and dark distinctions, wherein the further they

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occupy themselves and search, the wider they stray from the purpose, and so entangle their miserable brains, that they can find no way out. This then ought to be avoided with all careful diligence, chiefly in this matter which above all other ought purely and sincerely to be taught in the Church of God.

3. Moreover as much as is possible let them take heed (though sometimes for a more clear understanding of things a man may be bold godly and reverently to do) that no strange manner of speech, or not approvable by God’s word, be used: and also that such phrases and words which the Scriptures approve, be expounded fitly, lest otherwise any man should take occasion of offence, which as yet is rude and ignorant. Furthermore we must have good respect unto the hearers (3), wherein also we must make distinction between the malicious and the rude: and again between them which are willful ignorant, and those which are not capable through a simple and common ignorance. For to that further sort our Lord is accustomed to set forth plainly the judgment of God (4): but the other must be led by little and little to the knowledge of the truth (5). Likewise we must take heed that we have not so much respect to the weak, that they in the mean season which are apt to understand, be neglected, and not sufficiently taught: whereof we have notable examples in Paul, which declare to us the wisdom and circumspection which he observed in this matter, chiefly in the 9, 10, 11, 14, and 15th chapters of the Epistle to the Romans. Also, except some great cause hinder, that they begin at the lowest and most manifest causes, and so ascend up to the highest (as Paul in his Epistle to the Romans which is the right order and way to proceed in matters of divinity, from the law goes to remission of sins, and thence by steps he mounts till he come to the highest degree) or else let them consist in that point which is most agreeable to the text or matter which they have in hand, rather than to the contrary to begin at the very top of this mystery, and so come down to the foot. For the brightness of God’s majesty, suddenly presented to the eyes, does so dim and dazzle the sight, that afterwards, if they be not through long continuance accustomed to the same, they wear blind, when they should see other things.

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4. What then remains? That, whether they begin beneath and ascend upwards, or to the contrary, above, and come downward to the lowest degree, they take always heed, lest omitting that which ought to be in the midst, they leap from one extremity to another, as from the eternal purpose, to salvation, and much more from salvation to the eternal purpose: Likewise from God’s eternal counsel to damnation, or backward from damnation to his purpose: leaving the near and evident causes of God’s judgment. Except perchance they have to do with open blasphemers and condemners of God, who have need of nothing else, but the sharp pricks of God’s judgments: or else with men so trained and exercised in God’s word, that there be no suspicion of any offence. Finally, that they never so propound this doctrine, as if it should be applied to any one man particularly (6), although men must be used after divers sorts, some by gentleness, and some by sharpness, unless some Prophet (7) of God be admonished by some special revelation, which thing because it is out of course, and not usual, ought not lightly to be believed. When the ministers also visit the sick, or use familiar and private admonitions, it is their duty to lift up and comfort the afflicted conscience, with the testimony of their election, and again to wound and pierce the wicked and stubborn, with the fearful judgment of God: so that they keep a mean, refraining ever from that last sentence, which admits no exception nor condition. For this right and jurisdiction only pertains to God (8).

Notes of the seventh chapter.

(1) Matt. 28.20.
(2) 2 Tim. 2.23.
(3) 2 Tim. 2.15.
(4) Matt. 23, the whole chapter; John 8.44; 9.41; 10.26; Luke 20.46; Matt. 23.38.
(5) 1 Cor. 3.2; Rom. 14.1.
(6) John 8.33,34; Phil. 3.2; 1 Tim. 6.3,4.
(7) 2 Tim. 4.14; John 6.64,70.
(8) Matt. 12.38,39, with John 8.24.

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1. IT is most evident, that they who teach that man’s salvation either in part or wholly depends and is grounded in works, destroy the foundation of the Gospel of God (1). And to the contrary, they that teach justification freely by faith, ground on a sure foundation, but so, that they build upon that eternal counsel of God, whereupon Christ himself (2), and the Apostle Paul following Christ’s steps, grounds his doctrine (3). For seeing perseverance in faith is requisite to salvation (4), to what purpose shall faith serve me except I be sure of the gift of perseverance? Nor we need not fear, lest this doctrine make us negligent, or dissolute: for this peace of conscience whereof we speak (5), ought to be distinct and separate from foolish security, and he that is the son of God, seeing he is moved and governed by the spirit of God, (6), will never through the consideration of God’s benefit take occasion of negligence, and dissolution. Then if by this doctrine we had but this one commodity, that we might learn to assure and confirm our faith against all brunts that might happen, it is manifest that they which speak against, and resist this article of religion, either through their wickedness, or else through ignorance, or some foolish blind zeal, which happens when men will measure God according to the capacity of their own wits, subvert and destroy the principal ground and foundation of our salvation. And in very deed though some (as I must confess) do it not purposely: yet do they open notwithstanding the door to all superstition and impiety. As for them, which nowadays maliciously oppose the truth, I beseech the Lord, even from the heart, either to turn their minds (if so be they pertain to the elect) or else to send them a most speedy destruction, that by their own example they may confirm and establish that doctrine, which so maliciously they resist. These other I will desire most instantly, and require them in the name of God, that they would better advise themselves what they do.

2. Now to touch briefly how this doctrine may be applied, let us mark that all the works of God, even the least of all, are such that man cannot judge of them, but in two sorts: that is, either when they are done, or else by foreseeing them to come to pass by the disposition of the second and manifest

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causes, whose effects have been diligently, and by long use observed, as men accustom in natural things to do: wherein, notwithstanding men are wonderfully blind. In this matter then, which is most obscure of all others, it is no marvel if man’s wit be driven into this strait, that it cannot otherwise understand but by this means, what is determined as touching himself in this secret counsel of God. But because these are most high mysteries [1 Cor. 2.7], and therefore stand in the observation of those causes which pass all natural things, we must needs seek further, and come to God’s word: which forasmuch as without all comparison, it is more certain than man’s conjectures: so it can best direct us herein, and assure us. 3. The Scripture then witnesses (7) that all those that God has, according to his counsel, predestinate, to be adopted his children through Jesus Christ, are also called in their time appointed, yea and so effectually, that they hear the voice of him that calls, and believe it (8): so that being justified and sanctified in Jesus Christ, they are also glorified. Will you then, whosoever you are, be assured of your predestination, and so, in order, of your salvation, which you look for, against all the assaults of Satan? Assured I say, not by doubtful conjectures, or our own fantasy, but by arguments and conclusions, no less true and certain (9), than if you were ascended into heaven, and had heard of God’s own mouth his eternal decree and purpose? Beware that you begin not at that most high degree: for so you should not be able to sustain the most shining light of God’s majesty. Begin therefore beneath at the lowest order, and when you shall hear the voice of God (10) sound in your ears, and in your heart, which calls you to Christ the only mediator, consider by little and little, and try diligently (11), if you are justified and sanctified in Christ through faith: for these two be the effects or fruits, whereby faith is known, which is their cause. As for this you shall partly know by the Spirit of adoption, who cries within you, Abba, father (12): and partly by the virtue and effect of the same Spirit, which is wrought in you. As if you fall, and so declare indeed that although sin dwells in you, yet it no more reigns in you (13): for is not the Holy Ghost he who causes us not to let slip the bridle, and give liberty willingly to our naughty and vile desires (14), as they are accustomed, whose eyes the prince of this world blinds (15), or else who moves us to pray when we are cold, and slothful? who stirs up in us those unspeakable groans (16)? who is he that when we have sinned (yea and sometimes willingly and wittingly) engenders in us an hate

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of the sin committed, and not for the fear of punishment which we have therefore deserved, but because we have offended our most merciful father (17)? Who is he, I say, who testifies unto us that our sighs are heard, and also moves us to call daily God, our God, and our Father, even at that time when we have trespassed against him (18)? Is it not that spirit, which is freely given to us as a gift, for a sure and certain pledge of our adoption (19)? Wherefore if we can gather by these effects, that we have faith, it follows that we are called and drawn effectually. And again, by this vocation, which we have declared properly to belong to the children of God; that is evidently proved which we took in hand to show, that is, forasmuch as we were predestinate by the eternal counsel and decree of God, (which he had determined in himself) to be adopted in his Son, therefore we were given to him, whereof the conclusion follows, that since by the most constant will of God (20), which only is grounded on itself, and depends on none other thing, we are predestinate, and no man can take us out of the hands of the Son: also seeing that to continue and persevere in the faith is necessary, it follows, I say, that the hope of our perseverance is certain, and so consequently our salvation: so that to doubt any more of it, is evil and wicked (21). So far then it is against reason to say, that this doctrine makes men negligent or dissolute, that to the contrary, this alone does open us the way, to search out and understand, by the power of the Holy Ghost, God’s deep secrets, as the apostle plainly teaches (22), to the end that when we know them (albeit we know them here in this world but after a sort (23), so that we must daily fight with the spiritual armor against distrust (24,) we may learn to behave ourselves not idly, but rather to persevere valiantly (25), to serve and honor God, to love him, to fear him, to call upon him, that daily more and more as says Peter, as much as in us lies, we may make our vocation and election certain (26). Moreover how shall he stand sure and constant against so many grievous temptations, both within and without, and against so many assaults of fortune (as the world does term it) that is not well resolved in this point which is most true? That is, that God according to his good will, does all things whatsoever they be, and what instruments and means soever he uses in working of the same, for the commodity of his elect (27). Of which number he is, that finds himself in this danger and trouble (28). As touching the other point, which concerns reprobation, because no man can call to mind the determinate purpose of election, but at the same instant the contrary will come to remembrance: (besides that in the holy Scripture these two are oftentimes

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joined together) it must needs be, that such as esteem this part curious or unprofitable, and therefore not to be talked of, do great injury to the Spirit of God. Therefore this part is to be weighed and considered, but with such modesty, that the height of God’s judgments may at all times bridle our curious fancies, in such sort that we do not apply it particularly to any man, nor to any certain company. For in this also it differs from election, because election (as has been said) is revealed to us by the Spirit of God within ourselves, not in others, whose hearts we can not know. And reprobation is ever hid from men, except it be disclosed by God, contrary to the common course of things. For who can tell, if God have determined to show mercy at the last hour of death, to him which has spent all his life past lewdly and wickedly (29)? But this trust [hope] ought not to encourage any man to maintain, and continue in his sin and ungodliness. For I speak of those things which we ought to consider in others, for the examples of such mercy of God are very rare, neither any man that is wise will promise to himself through a vain security and trust, that thing which is not in his own power (30.) It is therefore sufficient if we understand generally that there be vessels prepared to perdition (31): which, seeing God does not reveal unto us who they are, we ought both in example of life and prayer, diligently endeavor to win and recover to their salvation, yea even very such, of whom by seeing their horrible vices, we almost despise (32). And if we observe this order, we shall receive great fruit of this doctrine. For first by the knowledge hereof, we shall learn humbly to submit ourselves to the majesty of God, so that the more we shall fear and reverence him, the more we ought to labor to confirm in ourselves the testimony of our election in Christ (33). Furthermore when we shall diligently consider the difference, which through the mercy of God is between men, which are all alike subject to the same curse and malediction, it can not be, but we must acknowledge and embrace more earnestly the singular goodness of God, than if we did make this grace common to all men indifferently, or else referred the cause of the inequality of this grace to men (34). Besides this, when we know that faith is a special gift of God, shall we not receive it more willingly when it is offered, and be more careful to have the same to increase, than if we should imagine (as some do) that it is in every man’s power to turn and repent when he will, because (they say) the Lord would that all men should be saved, and will not the death of a sinner? Finally, when we see the doctrine of the Gospel not only despised of all the world, but also cruelly persecuted: and when we see so

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great falsehood and rebellion amongst men, what thing can better confirm and fortify us, than to be assured that nothing chances by fortune, that God knows his (35), and that they which commit these things (except God turn their hearts) are those which are predestined, not by chance, but by the sure and eternal counsel of God, to be as it were a glass, wherein the anger and power of God does appear? Truth it is, that these things can never be so commodiously and perfectly treated of, that man’s reason and wit cannot find out something to reply always to the contrary, yea and so kindles with desire of contradiction, that it is ready to bring an action against God, and to accuse and blame him as chief author of all things. But let the Devil roar and discontent himself, and the wicked kick and wince: yet their own conscience shall reprove and condemn them (36) when as ours, being confirmed in the truth, by the grace and mercy of our God, shall deliver and free us (37), in the day of Christ. To whom with the Father, and the holy Ghost, praise, glory, and honor be given for ever. So be it.

Notes of the eight chapter.

(1) Gal. 2.21; Rom. 11.6.
(2) John 6.44,45, and in divers places besides.
(3) Rom. 8.29,30; 9.10,11, and the whole chapter; 1 Cor. 2.10; Eph. 1.4,5,9; 2 Tim. 1.9; 1 Pet. 1.2, and in divers places besides.
(4) Matt. 10.22.
(5) Rom. 5.1,5; Matt. 5.12; 24.48.
(6) Rom. 8.14.
(7) Rom. 8.29,30; Eph. 1.4,5,9.
(8) John 10.27.
(9) Rom. 5.2; 8.38; 1 Cor. 2.10,11; 2 Tim. 1.7; 1 John 3.24.
(10) Psalm 95.7,8; John 10.27.
(11) 2 Cor. 13.5.
(12) Gal. 4.6; 1 John 3.24; 1 Cor. 2.10,11, and in divers other places which we have already alleged. (13) Rom. 6, almost through the whole chapter; 1 John 3.9. (14) Rom. 6.11,12; Eph. 4.29,30.
(15) 2 Cor. 4.4.
(16) Rom. 8.26.
(17) Rom. 7.24.
(18) Rom. 8.15,16.
(19) Rom. 8.27; Eph. 4.30; 1.13,14; 2 Cor. 1.22, and in other places oftentimes.
(20) Rom. 11.29; Heb. 6.17; 2 Tim. 2.19.
(21) Rom. 8.38; John 3.33; Rom. 4.20,21; 5.5; Eph. 3.12; Heb. 4.16; 1 Cor. 1.9; 1 Thes. 5.24; Heb. 10.22,23.
(22) 1 Cor. 2.10-12; Rom. 8.16; 1 John 3.24.
(23) 1 Cor. 13.9. (24) 1 Tim. 6.12; Gal. 5.17.
(25) Rom. 6.1; Heb. 10.23,24; James 3.17,18.
(26) 2 Pet. 1.10.
(27) Rom. 8.28,31, even to the very end of the chapter; Job 13.15; Rom. 5.3; James 1.2.
(28) Rom. 8.16,38,39.
(29) Luke 23.43.
(30) James 4.13-15; 2 Tim. 2.25; Luke 12.20.
(31) Rom. 9.21; 2 Tim. 2.20.
(32) Matt. 5.16; 1 Cor. 9.22; 1 Pet. 2.12.
(33) Phil. 2.12; 1 Pet. 1.17; Rom. 11.20.
(34) Rom. 9.23.
(35) 2 Tim. 2.18,19.
(36) Rom. 2.15.
(37) 1 Pet. 3.21.