Are The Remonstrants Heretics?

This question comes over the transom regularly. I think most confessional Reformed pastors would probably say that, though they disagree strongly with Arminianism, it is not heresy. Somewhere I read (or heard) that William Ames (1576–1633),   who served as an advisor at the Synod of Dort, regarded Arminianism as an error tending to heresy but not heresy itself. Whether Ames actually said that—he wrote treatises against the Remonstrants, which have not been translated—it all comes down to the definition of heresy.

Defining Heresy
The New Testament noun αἵρεσις (haeresis signals “faction” or “sect.” In Acts 5:17 the Sadducees are described as a “faction” or “sect.” In Acts 15:5 the Pharisees are a αἵρεσις. In Acts 24:5 Tertullus describes the Christians as a αἵρεσις. In 1 Cor 11:19 a αἵρεσις is divisive group in the Corinthian congregation. In Galatians 5:20 it refers to “divisions” that must be avoided in the church.

Already in the apostolic period the line between divisive behavior and divisive doctrine began to blur. The Corinthian congregation was riven by self-described “Super Apostles,” who denigrated Paul’s office and his doctrine. The Galatian Judaizers, who were teaching that God accepts (justifies) us partly on the basis of grace and partly on the basis of our law keeping (obedience) were guilty of schismatic doctrine, which produced divisions in the congregation. The Apostle Peter’s lapse was doctrinal and moral (Gal 2:11–14). Peter and Barnabas accepted false doctrine (i.e., that Gentiles must become Jews to become Christians) for which the Apostle Paul rightly denounced their doctrine and life as out of “step with the truth of the gospel.”

In the early post-Apostolic church this pattern, of recognizing the connection between doctrinal and moral error, continued. The ecumenical church, meeting in council (e.g., at Nicea in 325, at Constantinople in 381, at Ephesus in 431) recognized and denounced moral errors and great doctrinal errors. Today, however, we speak less frequently of moral heresy and more typically of doctrinal heresy.

There is another distinction to consider and that is between heresy used in the broad sense, to refer to error and heresy used in the narrow sense, to refer to a doctrinal error that contradicts the holy ecumenical faith and puts one in jeopardy of damnation. We know that there are such things. There is a sin against the Holy Spirit (Matt 12:31), namely attributing the work of the Spirit to the devil. The Athanasian Creed (mid-4th to mid-5th centuries AD) declares:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic [ecumenical] faith; Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

It is not possible to reject the doctrine of the ecumenical doctrine of the Trinity and be saved nor is it possible to reject the ecumenical doctrine of the two natures of Christ and be saved. The ecumenical faith is summarized by the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed (325, 381), the Definition of Chalcedon (451), and the Athanasian.

An Ecumenical Consensus On Salvation
What, however, should we say about the doctrine of salvation (soteriology)? Is there an ecumenical orthodoxy on salvation? Yes. The Council of Ephesus (431) condemned the errors of Coelestius [aka, Caelestius], who was an associate of Pelagius, the British monk who opposed Augustine’s doctrine that humans are fallen in Adam and utterly corrupted by sin and that salvation, including unconditional election, is by grace alone. Pelagius and Coelestius denied that in Adam’s fall sinned we all, as the colonial catechism had it. They denied the doctrine of total depravity (as it has come to be known). They taught that humans are all born like Adam, able to sin or not to sin, that we are able, at birth, if we will, to live sinless lives. They taught the doctrine of sinless perfection and that grace is to make salvation easier. Those doctrines were condemned not only at Ephesus but all through the medieval church and by the Reformation churches. The Second Council of Orange (529 AD), and even the Council of Trent (17 June 1546) condemned it. Pelagianism is condemned by name in the Augsburg Confession (1530), French Confession (1559), the Belgic Confession (1561), the Second Helvetic Confession (1566), the Anglican Articles (1571), and by the Synod of Dort (1619). As I wrote some years ago, “to say that Pelagianism is heresy, is to stand in the broadest stream of the Western Church. It is not a narrow, bigoted position, at least not as seen from the perspective of the historic Western Christian tradition.”

Arguably, to deny the Augustinian doctrine of provenient grace (i.e., unconditional election, that grace comes first, that grace regenerates) and to deny the Augustinian doctrine of sin is to contradict the ecumenical understanding of holy Scripture. This is a significant claim. It is not clear to me how to reconcile the soteriology of post-7th century [Greek/Russian etc] Orthodox traditions, whose soteriology more closely resembles that of Origen and Pelagius than Augustine’s, with the ecumenical doctrine. Nor is it easy to see how the Wesleyan and Nazarene traditions are squared with the broad Augustinianism of Ephesus et al.

It is important to note that, to this point, I have only appealed to Scripture (the magisterial authority for the Christian faith and the Christian life; sola Scriptura) and to the Council of Ephesus, the Second Council of Orange, to the Lutheran Augsburg Confession, to the Council of Trent (!), and to the Reformed church insofar as they all agree contra Pelagius. It is important to recognize that this is not a narrow band of ecclesiastical authorities nor a bigoted opinion.

This bring us to the question of the way the international Synod of Dort (1618–19) addressed the Remonstrants [Arminians]. What category did they use to analyze and reject the Remonstrants?

Above we considered the definition of heresy. We saw that there is a distinction to be made between heresy defined narrowly and broadly. The question remains, what should we think of the Remonstrants? In 1610 they made their Remonstrance against the confession of the Reformed churches. They proposed that the Reformed churches should confess

  1. that election is conditioned upon foreseen faith (and perseverance). They proposed;
  2. that Christ died and has obtained forgiveness for all;
  3. that grace is resistible;
  4. that it is possible that believers can turn away from Christ

In 1611, the contra-Remonstrance replied to the Remonstrants in a series of 5 articles that would form the core of the Canons considered by the various committees and finally adopted by the Synod. The international Synod of Dort (1618–19) convened to respond to this challenge. Did they regard these proposed revisions as heresy and if so, in what sense? The Canons did not use the word heresy or heretic very often but they did use it in the preface to the Canons:

The truth of this kind promise is evident in the Church of all ages. She has been attacked from the beginning, not only by the public force of enemies and the ungodly violence of heretics, but also by the masked subtleties of seducers.

The promise to which Synod referred was “I will be with you always” in Matthew 28:20.

Synod was explicit in its support for the judgment of the Council of Ephesus that Pelagianism is heresy:

But that others who are called by the gospel obey the call and are converted is not to be ascribed to the proper exercise of free will, whereby one distinguishes himself above others equally furnished with grace sufficient for faith and conversion (as the proud heresy of Pelagius maintains); but it must be wholly ascribed to God…. (3/4.10)

Finally, they invoked the category of heresy in the 5th head of doctrine, article 15:

The carnal mind is unable to comprehend this doctrine of the perseverance of the saints and the certainty thereof, which God has most abundantly revealed in His Word, for the glory of His Name and the consolation of pious souls, and which He impresses upon the hearts of the believers. Satan abhors it, the world ridicules it, the ignorant and hypocritical abuse it, and the heretics oppose [spiritusque erronei oppugnant] it. But the bride of Christ has always most tenderly loved and constantly defended it as an inestimable treasure; and God, against whom neither counsel nor strength can prevail, will dispose her so to continue to the end. Now to this one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be honor and glory forever. Amen.

So far it seems likely that Synod was confessing that the Remonstrants were teaching heresy but it is not certain. Even though the phrase “spiritusque erronei oppugnant” (“the spirits of the wanderers”) is widely translated as “heretics,” since the word heretic is not explicitly used in 5.15 some ambiguity remains. If, however, we consider the rhetorical function of their invocation of Pelagius, the picture becomes clearer.

Synod declared that the Remonstrant doctrine of conditional election “savors of the teaching of Pelagius” (Rejection of Errors, 1.10. Hereafter, RE). In the RE 2.3 Synod denounced the teaching that, “by his satisfaction” Christ neither merited salvation itself for anyone nor faith but he only merited the right to create a sort legal new deal, a new set of conditions to be met by the Christian the exercise of free will. Here the Remonstrants were guilty of judging “too contemptuously the death of Christ, in no way acknowledge that most important fruit or benefit thereby gained” and guilty of “bring[ing] again out of hell the Pelagian error.”

In RE 2.6 Synod complained bitterly that the Remonstrants, by using the distinction between “meriting” and “appropriating” such that our salvation depends upon our exercise of our free cooperation with grace, sought to “instill into the people the destructive poison of Pelagianism.”

In 3/4 head of doctrine, article 2, Synod contrasted the Augustinian teaching of the Reformed churches on the corruption and conversion of man with that of the Pelagians who held that sin was not inherited but communicated “by imitation, as the Pelagians of old asserted…”.

The Remonstrant doctrine that “the grace whereby we are converted to God is only a gentle persuasion” or an “advising,” is “altogether Pelagian and contrary to the whole Scripture…” ( RE 3/4.7). The Remonstrant proposal to return to the old medieval system of grace and cooperation with grace was, according to Synod, a proposed return to “this doctrine of the Pelagians” that had “long ago ago condemned…” (RE 3/4.9). In the 3/4 head of doctrine, article 10, on the corruption and conversion of man, Synod rejected the Remonstrant doctrine that the ability to obey the gospel call lies in the human free will, by which “one distinguishes himself above others equally furnished with grace sufficient for faith and conversion (as the proud heresy of Pelagius maintains)…”. In RE 4.7, Synod condemned as “altogether Pelagian” the Remonstrant doctrine that saving grace is but “gentle persuasion” or “advice” and the Remonstrant doctrine that grace and free will are both partial causes of our salvation as the “doctrine of the Pelagians” condemned “long ago” (RE 4.9). The Remonstrant idea that our perseverance depends partly on our free will is nothing but “outspoken Pelagianism” (RE 5.2).

Finally, in her sentence pronounced upon the Remonstrants, Synod explicitly characterized the Remonstrant errors as “heresies.”

Did Synod condemn the Remonstrants as heretics? If we consider the various points at which Synod flatly characterized the errors of the Remonstrants as heresy, the ways in which Synod repeatedly associated the Remonstrants themselves with the Pelagians, and characterized their errors as Pelagian it seems hard to avoid the conclusion that, for the Synod of Dort, the revisions proposed by the Remonstrants were errors of such a magnitude that they not mere errors and not merely heresy in the broad sense, but heresy in the narrow, technical sense described in the first part of this essay: an error transgressing the ecumenical teaching of the church as agreed at Ephesus in 431, in the condemnation of Coelestius (and through him, Pelagius).

In the modern period, and particularly under the influence of neo-Evangelicalism, the rhetorical tendency has been to downplay the differences between the Reformed and the Remonstrants. To be sure, much water has passed under the bridge since 1619 but the Reformed churches still confess the Canons (rules) of the Synod of Dort. These are not mere historical curiosities. They are the living voice of the Reformed Churches, they are our understanding of the Word of God as touching the revisions of Reformed doctrine proposed by Arminius and his followers.

Perhaps the most important use that can be made of a recovery of the judgment of Synod upon the original Arminian doctrine is to recognize how passionate the church was for the Reformation. This year is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The 400th anniversary of the Synod of Dort will be observed in 2018–19 and it is well that we should remember that what Synod feared most was that the Remonstrants were leading us away from the biblical gospel of salvation by grace alone back to the medieval doctrine of salvation by grace and cooperation with grace. That threat is ever with us. It exists now in the form of the self-described Federal Vision theology. It exists in other proposals too. We ought to be as passionate for the Reformation and biblical doctrines of grace as the Synod was.

We ought also to recognize again how great the difference is between the Reformed confession of the Word of God and the Arminian-inspired versions that have dominated evangelical theology and piety since the early 19th century. Synod did not invoke the category of heresy lightly or unintelligently. They knew what they were doing and they used that language advisedly. It was meant to be bracing to the churches and to her ministers and so it should once again have that same affect in us.

This essay first appeared in May-June, 2017 on the Heidelblog. ©2017 R. Scott Clark. All rights reserved.

The Scots Confession (1560)

THE CONFESSON OF THE
Faith and Doctrine,
Belevit and professit be the
PROTESTANTIS of Scotland,
Exhibitit to the Estaitis of the same in Parliament, and be their publick Votis authorisit, as a Doctrine groundit upon the infallibil Worde of God, Aug. 1560. And afterwards stablished and publicklie confirmed be sundrie Acts of Parliaments, and of lawful General Assemblies.

THE PREFACE
The Estaitis of Scotland with the Inhabitants of the same professand Christ Jesus his haly Evangel, to their natural Countrymen, and unto all uther realmes professand the same Lord Jesus with them, wish Grace, Mercie and Peace fra god the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Spirit of richteous Judgement, for Salvatioun.

Lang have we thristed, dear Brethren, to have notified to the Warld the Sum of that Doctrine quhilk we professe, and for the quhilk we have susteined Infamie and Danger: Bot sik hes bene the Rage of Sathan againis us, and againis Christ Jesus his eternal Veritie latlie now againe born amangst us, that to this daie na Time hes been graunted unto us to cleir our Consciences, as maist gladlie we wald have done. For how we have been tossit heirtofoir, the maist part Europe, as we suppose, dois understand.

But seing that of the infinit Gudnes of our God (quha never sufferis his afflickit utterlie to be confoundit) above Expectation we have obteined sum Rest and Libertie, we culd not bot set furth this brefe and plaine Confessioun of sik Doctrine as is proponed unto us, and as we beleeve and professe; partlie for Satisfactioun of our Brethren quhaishartis, we nathing doubt, have been and zit ar woundit be the despichtful rayling of sik as zit have not learned to speke well: And partlie for stapping the mouthis of impudent blasphemers, quha bauldlie damne that quhilk they have nouther heard nor zit understude.

Not that we judge that the cankred malice of sik is abill to be cured be this our simple confession; na, we knaw that the sweet savoure of the evangel is and sal be deathe unto the sonnes of perditioun. Bot we have chief respect to our weak and infirme brethren, to quham we wald communicate the bottom of our hartes, leist that they be troubiled or carried awaie be diversity of rumoris, quhilk Sathan spredis againist us to the defeating of this our maist godlie interprize: Protestand that gif onie man will note in this our confessioun onie Artickle or sentence repugnand to Gods halie word, that it wald pleis him of his gentleness and for christian charities sake to admonish us of the same in writing; and we upon our honoures and fidelitie, be Gods grace do promise unto him satisfactioun fra the mouth of God, that is, fra his haly scriptures, or else reformation of that quhilk he sal prove to be amisse. For God we take to recorde in our consciences, that fra our heartis we abhorre all sectis of heresie and all teachers of erronious doctrine: and that with all humilitie we imbrace the purity of Christs Gospell, quhilk is the onelie fude of our sauls, and therefoir sa precious unto us, that we ar determined to suffer the extremest of wardlie daunger, rather than that we will suffer our selves to be defraudit of the sam. For heirof we ar maist certainlie perswadit, that quhasumever denieis Christ Jesus, or is aschamit of him in the presence of men, sal be denyit befoir the Father, and befoir his haly Angels. And therefoir be the assistance of the michtie Spirit of the same our Lord Jesus Christ, we firmelie purpose to abide to the end in the confessioun of this our faith, as be Artickles followis.

ART. I OF GOD
We confesse and acknawledge ane onelie God, to whom only we must cleave, whom onelie we must serve, whom onelie we must serve, whom onelie we must worship, and in whom onelie we must put our trust. Who is Eternall, Infinit, Unmeasurable, Incomprehensible, Omnipotent, Invisible: ane in substance, and zit distinct in thre personnis, the Father, the Sone, and the holie Gost. Be whom we confesse and beleve all thingis in hevin and eirth, aswel Visible as Invisible, to have been created, to be reteined in their being, and to be ruled and guyded be his inscrntable Providence, to sik end, as his Eternall Wisdome, Gudnes, and Justice hes appoynted them, to the manifestatioun of his awin glorie.

ART. II OF THE CREATIOUN OF MAN
We confesse and acknawledge this our GOD to have created man, to wit, our first father Adam, to his awin image and similitude, to whome he gave wisdome, lordship, justice, free-wil, and cleir knawledge of himselfe, sa that in the haill nature of man there culd be noted no imperfectioun. Fra quhilk honour and perfectioun, man and woman did bothe fal: the woman being deceived be the Serpent, and man obeying the voyce of the woman, both conspyring against the Soveraigne Majestie of GOD, who in expressed words had before threatned deith, gif they presumed to eit of the forbidden tre.

ART. III OF ORIGINAL SINNE
Be quhilk transgressioun, commonlie called Original sinne, wes the Image of GOD utterlie defaced in man, and he and his posteritie of nature become enimies to GOD, slaves to Sathan, and servandis unto sin. In samekle that deith everlasting hes had, and sall have power and dominioun over all that have not been, ar not, or sal not be regenerate from above: quhilk regeneratioun is wrocht be the power of the holie Gost, working in the hartes of the elect of GOD, ane assured faith in the promise of GOD, reveiled to us in his word, be quhilk faith we apprehend Christ Jesus, with the graces and benefites promised in him.

ART. IV OF THE REVELATION OF THE PROMISE
For this we constantlie beleeve, that GOD, after the feirfull and horrible defectioun of man fra his obedience, did seek Adam againe, call upon him, rebuke his sinne, convict him of the same, and in the end made unto him ane most joyful promise, to wit, That the seed of the woman suld break down the serpents head, that is, he suld destroy the works of the Devill. Quhilk promise, as it was repeated, and made mair cleare from time to time; so was it imbraced with joy, and maist constantlie received of al the faithfull, from Adam to Noe, from Noe to Abraham, from Abraham to David, and so furth to the incarnatioun of Christ Jesus, all (we meane the faithfull Fathers under the Law) did see the joyfull daie of Christ Jesus, and did rejoyce.

ART. V OF THE CONTINUANCE, INCREASE, AND PRESERVATIOUN OF THE KIRK
We maist constantly beleeve, that God preserved, instructed, multiplied, honoured, decored, and from death called to life, his Kirk in all ages. fra Adam, till the cumming of Christ Jesus in the flesh. For Abraham he called from his Fathers cuntry, him he instructed, his seede he multiplied; the same he marveilouslie preserved, and mair marveilouslie delivered from the bondage and tyrannie of Pharaoh; to them he gave his lawes, constitutions and ceremonies; them he possessed in the land of Canaan; to them after Judges, and after Saul, he gave David to be king, to whome hee made promise, that of the fruite of his loynes suld ane sit for ever upon his regall seat. To this same people from time to time he sent prophets, to reduce them to the right way of their God: from the quhilk oftentimes they declined be idolatry. And albeit that for their stubborne contempt of Justice, he was compelled to give them in the hands of their enimies, as befoir was threatned be the mouth of Moses, in sa meikle that the haly cittie was destroyed, the temple burnt with fire, and the haill land left desolate the space of lxx years: zit of mercy did he reduce them againe to Jerusalem, where the cittie and temple were reedified, and they against all temptations and assaultes of Sathan did abide, till the Messias come, according to the promise.

ART. VI OF THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST JESUS
Quhen the fulnes of time came, God sent his Sonne, his eternall Wisdome, the substance of his awin glory in this warld, quha tuke the nature of man-head of the substance of woman, to wit, of a virgine, and that be operatioun of the holie Ghost: and so was borne the just seede of David, the Angell of the great counsell of God, the very Messias promised, whome we confesse and acknawledge Emmanuel, very God and very man, two perfit natures united, and joyned in one persoun. Be quhilk our Confessioun we condemne the damnable and pestilent heresies of Arius, Marcion, Eutyches, Nestorius, and sik uthers, as either did denie the eternitie of his God-head, or the veritie of his humaine nature, or confounded them, or zit devided them.

ART. VII WHY IT BEHOOVED THE MEDIATOR TO BE VERY GOD AND VERY MAN
We acknawledge and confesse, that this maist wonderous conjunction betwixt the God-head and the man-head in Christ Jesus, did proceed from the eternall and immutable decree of God, from quhilk al our salvatioun springs and depends.

ART. VIII OF ELECTION
For that same eternall God and Father, who of meere grace elected us in Christ Jesus his Sonne, befoir the foundatioun of the warld was laide, appointed him to be our Head, our Brother, our Pastor, and great Bischop of our sauls. Bot because that the enimitie betwixt the justice of God and our sins was sik, that na flesh be it selfe culd or might have attained unto God: It behooved that the Sonne of God suld descend unto us, and tak himselfe a bodie of our bodie, flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bones, and so become the Mediator betwixt God and man, giving power to so many as beleeve in him, to be the sonnes of God; as himselfe dois witnesse, I passe up to my Father, and unto zour Father, to my God, and unto zour God. Be quhilk maist holie fraternitie, quhatsaever wee have tynt in Adam, is restored unto us agayne. And for this cause, ar we not affrayed to cal God our Father, not sa meikle because he hes created us, quhilk we have common with the reprobate; as for that, that he hes given to us his onely Sonne, to be our brother, and given unto us grace, to acknawledge and imbrace him for our onlie Mediatour, as before is said. It behooved farther the Messias and Redemer to be very God and very man, because he was to underlie the punischment due for our transgressiouns, and to present himselfe in the presence of his Fathers Judgment, as in our persone, to suffer for our transgression and inobedience, be death to overcome him that was author of death. Bot because the onelie God-head culd not suffer death, neither zit culd the onlie man-head overcome the samin, he joyned both togither in one persone, that the imbecillitie of the ane, suld suffer and be subject to death, quhilk we had deserved: And the infinit and invincible power of the uther, to wit, of the God-head, suld triumph and purchesse to us life, libertie, and perpetuall victory: And so we confesse, and maist undoubtedly beleeve

ART. IX OF CHRIST’S DEATH, PASSION, AND BURIAL
That our Lord Jesus offered himselfe a voluntary Sacrifice unto his Father for us, that he suffered contradiction of sinners, that he was wounded and plagued for our transgressiouns, that hee being the cleane innocent Lambe of God, was damned in the presence of an earthlie Judge, that we suld be absolved befoir the tribunal seat of oar God. That hee suffered not onlie the cruell death of the Crosse, quhilk was accursed be the sentence of God; bot also that he suffered for a season the wrath of his Father, quhilk sinners had deserved. Bot zit we avow that he remained the only welbeloved and blessed Sonne of his Father, even in the middest of his anguish and torment, quhilk hee suffered in bodie and saule, to mak the full satisfaction for the sinnes of the people. After the quhilk we confesse and avow, that there remaines na uther Sacrifice for sinne, quhilk gif ony affirme, we nathing dout to avow, that they ar blasphemous against Christs death, and the everlasting purgatioun and satisfactioun purchased to us be the same

ART. X OF THE RESURRECTION
We undoubtedly beleeve, that in sa mekle as it wes impossible, that the dolours of death sulde reteine in bondage the Author of life, that our LORD JESUS crucified, dead and buryed, quha descended into hell, did ryse agayne for our Justificatioun, and destroying of him quha wes the Author of death, brocht life againe to us, that wer subject to death, and to the bondage of the same. We knaw that his Resurrectioun wes confirmed be the testimonie of his verie Enemies, be the resurrectioun of the dead, quhais Sepultures did oppen, and they did ryse, and appeared to mony, within the Cittie of Jerusalem. It wes also confirmed be the testimonie of his Angels, and be the senses and judgements of his Apostles, and of uthers, quha had conversatioun, and did eate and drink with him, after his Resurrection.

ART. XI OF THE ASCENSION
We nathing doubt, bot the self same bodie, quhilk was borne of the Virgine, was crucified, dead, and buried, and quhilk did rise againe, did ascend into the heavens, for the accomplishment of all thinges: Quhere in our names, and for our comfort, he hes received all power in heaven and eirth, quhere he sittes at the richt hand of the Father, inaugurate in his kingdome, Advocate and onlie Mediator for us. Quhilk glorie, honour, and prerogative, he alone amonges the brethren sal posses, till that all his Enimies be made his futestule, as that we undoubtedlie beleeve they sall be in the finall Judgment: To the Execution whereof we certainelie beleve, that the same our Lord Jesus sail visiblie returne, as that hee was sene to ascend. And then we firmely beleve, that the time of refreshing and restitutioun of all things sall cum, in samekle that thir, that fra the beginning have suffered violence, injurie, and wrang, for richteousnes sake, sal inherit that blessed immortalitie promised fra the beginning.

Bot contrariwise the stubburne, inobedient, cruell oppressours, filthie personis, idolaters, and all such sortes of unfaithfull, sal be cast in the dungeoun of utter darkenesse, where their worme sall not die, nether zit their fyre sall bee extinguished. The remembrance of quhilk day, and of the Judgement to be executed in the same, is not onelie to us ane brydle, whereby our carnal lustes are refrained, bot alswa sik inestimable comfort, that nether may the threatning of worldly Princes, nether zit the feare of temporal death and present danger, move us to renounce and forsake that blessed societie, quhilk we the members have with our Head and onelie Mediator CHRIST JESUS: Whom we confesse and avow to be the Messias promised, the onlie Head of his Kirk, our just Lawgiver, our onlie hie Priest, Advocate, and Mediator. In quhilk honoures and offices, gif man or Angell presume to intruse themself, we utterlie detest and abhorre them, as blasphemous to our Soveraigne and supreme Governour CHRIST JESUS.

ART. XII OF FAITH IN THE HOLY GOSTE
This our Faith and the assurance of the same, proceeds not fra flesh and blude, that is to say, fra na natural poweris within us, bot is the inspiration of the holy Gost: Whome we confesse God equall with the Father and with his Sonne, quha sanctifyis us, and bringis us in al veritie be his awin operation, without whome we sulde remaine for ever enimies to God, and ignorant of his Sonne Christ Jesus; for of nature we are so dead, so blind, and so perverse, that nether can we feill when we ar pricked, see the licht when it shines, nor assent to the will of God when it is reveiled, unles the Spirit of the Lord Jesus quicken that quhilk is dead, remove the darknesse from our myndes, and bowe our stubburne hearts to the obedience of his blessed will. And so as we confesse, that God the Father created us, when we were not, as his Sonne our Lord Jesus redeemed us, when wee were enimies to him; so also do we confesse that the holy Gost doth sanctifie and regenerat us, without all respect of ony merite proceeding from us, be it before, or be it after our Regeneration. To speak this ane thing zit in mair plaine words: As we willingly spoyle our selves of all honour and gloir of our awin Creation and Redemption, so do we also of our Regeneration and Sanctification, for of our selves we ar not sufficient to think one gude thocht, bot he quha hes begun the wark in us, is onlie he that continewis us in the same, to the praise and glorie of his undeserved grace.

ART. XIII OF THE CAUSE OF GUDE WARKIS
Sa that the cause of gude warkis, we confesse to be not our free wil, bot the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, who dwelling in our hearts be trewe faith, bringis furth sik warkis, as God hes prepared for us to walke in. For this wee maist boldelie affirme, that blasphemy it is to say, that Christ abydes in the heartes of sik, as in whome there is no spirite of sanctification. And therefore we feir not to affirme, that murtherers, oppressers, cruell persecutors, adulterers, huremongers, filthy persouns, Idolaters, drunkards, thieves, and al workers of iniquity, have nether trew faith, nether ony portion of the Spirit of the Lord JESUS, so long as obstinatlie they continew in their wickednes. For how soone that ever the Spirit of the Lord JESUS, quhilk Gods elect children receive be trew faith, taks possession in the heart of ony man, so soone dois he regenerate and renew the same man. So that he beginnis to hait that quhilk before he loved, and begins to love that quhilk befoir he hated; and fra thine cummis that continuall battell, quhilk is betwixt the flesh and the Spirit in Gods children, till the flesh and natural man, according to the awin corruption, lustes for things pleisand and delectable unto the self, and grudges in adversity, is lyfted up in prosperity, and at every moment is prone and reddie to offend the majestie of God. Bot the spirite of God, quhilk gives witnessing to our spirite, that we are the sonnes of God, makis us to resist filthie plesures, and to groane in Gods presence, for deliverance fra this bondage of corruption; and finally to triumph over sin, that it reygne not in our mortal bodyis. This battell hes not the carnal men, being destitute of Gods Spirite, bot dois followe and obey sinne with greedines, and without repentance, even as the Devill, and their corrupt lustes do prick them. Bot the sonnes of God, as before wes said, dois fecht against sinne; dois sob and murne, when they perceive themselves tempted in iniquitie; and gif they fal, they rise againe with earnest and unfained repentance: And thir thingis they do not be their awin power, bot be the power of the Lord Jesus, without whom they were able to do nothing.

ART. XIV WHAT WARKIS ARE REPUTIT GUDE BEFOIR GOD
We confesse and acknawledge, that God hes given to man his holy Law, in quhilk not only ar forbidden all sik warkes as displeis and offend his godly Majestie, but alswa ar commanded al sik as pleis him, and as he hes promised to rewaird. And thir warkes be of twa sortes. The ane are done to the honour of God, the uther to the profite of our Nichtbouris; and both have the reveiled will of God for their assurance. To have ane God, to worschip and honour him, to call upon him in all our troubles, reverence his holy name, to heare his word, to beleve the same, to communicate with his holy Sacraments, are the warkes of the first Tabill. To honour Father, Mother, Princes, Rulers, and superiour powers; to love them, to support them, zea to obey their charges (not repugning to the commaundment of God), to save the lives of innocents, to represse tyrannie, to defend the oppressed, to keepe our bodies cleane and halie, to live in sobernes and temperance, to deall justlie with all men both in word and deed; and finally, to represse all appetite of our Nichtbouris hurt, are the gude warkes of the secund Tabill, quhilk are maist pleising and acceptabill unto God, as thir warkes that are commanded be himselfe. The contrary quhairof is sinne maist odious, quhilk alwayes displeisis him, and provokes him to anger: As not to call upon him alone, when we have need; not to hear his word with reverence, to contemne and despise it; to have or worschip idols, to maintene and defend Idolatrie; lichtlie to esteeme the reverend name of God; to prophane, abuse, or contemne the Sacraments of Christ Jesus; to disobey or resist ony that God hes placed in authoritie (quhil they passe not over the bounds of their office); to murther, or to consent thereto, to beare hatred, or to let innocent blude bee sched, gif wee may withstand it. And finally, the transgression of ony uther commandement in the first or secund Tabill, we confesse and affirme to be sinne, by the quhilk Gods anger and displesure is kindled against the proud unthankfull warld. So that gude warkes we affirme to be thir onlie, that are done in faith, and at Gods commandment, quha in his Lawe hes expressed what the thingis be that pleis him. And evill I warkis we affirme not only thir that expressedly ar done against Gods commaundement: bot thir alswa that in matteris of Religioun, and worschipping of God, hes na uther assurance bot the inventioun and opinioun of man: quhilk God fra the beginning hes ever rejected, as be the Prophet Esay, and be our Maister CHRIST JESUS we ar taught in thir words, In vaine do they worschip me, teaching the doctrines the precepts of men.

ART. XV OF THE PERFECTIOUN OF THE LAW, AND THE IMPERFECTIOUN OF MAN
The Law of God we confesse and acknawledge maist just, maist equall, maist halie, and maist perfite, commaunding thir thingis, quhilk being wrocht in perfectioun, were abill to give life, and abill to bring man to eternall felicitie. Bot our nature is sa corrupt, sa weake, and sa unperfite, that we ar never abill to fulfill the warkes of the Law in perfectioun. Zea, gif we say we have na sinne, evin after we ar regenerate, we deceive our selves, and the veritie of God is not in us. And therfore, it behovis us to apprehend Christ Jesus with his justice and satisfaction, quha is the end and accomplishment of the Law, be quhome we ar set at this liberty, that the curse and malediction of God fall not upon us, albeit we fulfill not the same in al pointes. For God the Father beholding us, in the body of his Sonne Christ Jesus, acceptis our imperfite obedience, as it were perfite, and covers our warks, quhilk ar defyled with mony spots, with the justice of his Sonne. We do not meane that we ar so set at liberty, that we awe na obedience to the Law (for that before wee have plainly confessed), bot this we affirme, that na man in eird (Christ Jesus onlie except) hes given, gives, or sall give in worke, that obedience to the Law, quhilk the Law requiris. Bot when we have done all things, we must falle down and unfeinedly confesse, that we are unprofitable servands. And therefore, quhosoever boastis themselves of the merits of their awin works, or put their trust in the works of Supererogation, boast themselves in that quhilk is nocht, and put their trust in damnable Idolatry.

ART. XVI OF THE KIRK
As we beleve in ane God, Father, Sonne, and haly Ghaist; sa do we maist constantly beleeve, that from the beginning there hes bene, and now is, and to the end of the warld sall be, ane Kirk, that is to say, ane company and multitude of men chosen of God, who richtly worship and imbrace him be trew faith in Christ Jesus, quha is the only head of the same Kirk, quhilk alswa is the bodie and spouse of Christ Jesus quhilk Kirk is catholike, that is, universal, because it conteinis the Elect of all ages, of all realmes, nations, and tongues, be they of the Jewes, or be they of the Gentiles, quha have communion and societie with God the Father, and with his Son Christ Jesus, throw the sanctificatioun of his haly Spirit: and therefore it is called the communioun, not of prophane persounes, bot of Saincts, quha as citizenis of the heavenly Jerusalem, have the fruitioun of the maist inestimable benefites, to wit, of ane God, ane Lord Jesus, ane faith, and ane baptisme: Out of the quhilk Kirk, there is nouther lyfe, nor eternall felicitie. And therefore we utterly abhorre the blasphemie of them that affirme, that men quhilk live according to equitie and justice, sal be saved, quhat Religioun that ever they have professed. For as without Christ Jesus there is nouther life nor salvation; so sal there nane be participant therof, bot sik as the Father hes given unto his Sonne Christ Jesus, and they that in time cum unto him, avowe his doctrine, and beleeve into him, we comprehend the children with the faithfull parentes. This Kirk is invisible, knawen onelie to God, quha alane knawis whome he hes chosen; and comprehends as weill (as said is) the Elect that be departed, commonlic called the Kirk Triumphant, and they that zit live and fecht against sinne and Sathan as sail live hereafter.

ART. XVII OF THE IMMORTALITIE OF THE SAULES
The Elect departed are in peace and rest fra their labours: Not that they sleep, and come to a certaine oblivion, as some Phantastickes do affirme; bot that they are delivered fra all feare and torment, and all temptatioun, to quhilk we and all Goddis Elect are subject in this life, and therfore do beare the name of the Kirk Militant: As contrariwise, the reprobate and unfaithfull departed have anguish, torment, and paine, that cannot be expressed. Sa that nouther are the ane nor the uther in sik sleepe that they feele not joy or torment, as the Parable of Christ Jesus in the 16th of Luke, his words to the thiefe, and thir wordes of the saules crying under the Altar, O Lord, thou that art righteous and Just, How lang sall thou not revenge our blude upon thir that dwellis in the Eird? dois testifie.

ART. XVIII OF THE NOTIS, BE THE QUHILK THE TREWE KIRK IS DECERNIT FRA THE FALSE, AND QUHA SALL BE JUDGE OF THE DOCTRINE
Because that Sathan from the beginning hes laboured to deck his pestilent Synagoge with the title of the Kirk of God, and hes inflamed the hertes of cruell murtherers to persecute, trouble, and molest the trewe Kirk and members thereof, as Cain did Abell, Ismael Isaac, Esau Jacob, and the haill Priesthead of the Jewes Christ Jesus himselfe, and his Apostles after him. It is ane thing maist requisite, that the true Kirk be decerned fra the filthie Synagogues, be cleare and perfite notes, least we being deceived, receive and imbrace, to our awin condemnationn, the ane for the uther. The notes, signes, and assured takens whereby the immaculate Spouse of Christ Jesus is knawen fra the horrible harlot, the Kirk malignant, we affirme, are nouther Antiquitie, Title usurpit, lineal Descence, Place appointed, nor multitude of men approving ane error. For Cain, in age and title, was preferred to Abel and Seth: Jerusalem had prerogative above all places of the eird, where alswa were the Priests lineally descended fra Aaron, and greater number followed the Scribes, Pharisies, and Priestes, then unfainedly beleeved and approved Christ Jesus and his doctrine: And zit, as we suppose, no man of sound judgment will grant, that ony of the forenamed were the Kirk of God. The notes therefore of the trew Kirk of God we beleeve, confesse, and avow to be, first, the trew preaching of the Worde of God, into the quhilk God hes revealed himselfe unto us, as the writings of the Prophets and Apostles dois declair. Secundly, the right administration of the Sacraments of Christ Jesus, quhilk man be annexed unto the word and promise of God, to seale and confirme the same in our hearts. Last, Ecclesiastical discipline uprightlie ministred, as Goddis Worde prescribes, whereby vice is repressed, and vertew nurished. Wheresoever then thir former notes are seene, and of ony time continue (be the number never so fewe, about two or three), there, without all doubt, is the trew Kirk of Christ: Who, according unto his promise, is in the middis of them. Not that universall, of quhilk we have before spoken, bot particular, sik as wes in Corinthus, Galatia, Ephesus, and uther places, in quhilk the ministrie wes planted be Paull, and were of himselfe named the kirks of God. And sik kirks, we the inhabitantis of the Realme of Scotland, professoris of Christ Jesus, professis our selfis to have in our citties, townes, and places reformed, for the doctrine taucht in our Kirkis, conteined in the writen Worde of God, to wit, in the buiks of the Auld and New Testamentis, in those buikis we meane quhilk of the ancient have been reputed canonicall. In the quhilk we affirme, that all thingis necessary to be beleeved for the salvation of mankinde is sufficiently expressed. The interpretation qnhairof, we confesse, neither appertaines to private nor publick persone, nether zit to ony Kirk, for ony preheminence or prerogative, personallie or locallie, quhilk ane hes above ane uther, bot apperteines to the Spirite of God, be the quhilk also the Scripture was written. When controversie then happines, for the right understanding of ony place or sentence of Scripture, or for the reformation of ony abuse within the Kirk of God, we ought not sa meikle to luke what men before us have said or done, as unto that quhilk the haly Ghaist uniformelie speakes within the body of the Scriptures, and unto that quhilk Christ Jesus himselfe did, and commanded to be done. For this is ane thing universallie granted, that the Spirite of God, quhilk is the Spirite of unitie, is in nathing contrarious unto himselfe. Gif then the interpretation, determination, or sentence of ony Doctor, Kirk, or Councell, repugne to the plaine Worde of God, written in ony uther place of the Scripture, it is a thing maist certaine, that there is not the true understanding and meaning of the haly Ghaist, although that Councels, Realmes, and Nations have approved and received the same. For we dare non receive or admit ony interpretation quhilk repugnes to ony principall point of our faith, or to ony uther plaine text of Scripture, or zit unto the rule of charitie.

ART. XIX OF THE AUTHORITIE OF THE SCRIPTURES
As we beleeve and confesse the Scriptures of God sufficient to instruct and make the man of God perfite, so do we affirme and avow the authoritie of the same to be of God, and nether to depend on men nor angelis. We affirme, therefore, that sik as allege the Scripture to have na uther authoritie bot that quhilk it hes received from the Kirk, to be blasphemous against God, and injurious to the trew Kirk, quhilk alwaies heares and obeyis the voice of her awin Spouse and Pastor; bot takis not upon her to be maistres over the samin.

ART. XX OF GENERALL COUNCELLIS, OF THEIR POWER, AUTHORITIE, AND CAUSE OF THEIR CONVENTION
As we do not rashlie damne that quhilk godly men, assembled togither in generall Councel lawfully gathered, have proponed unto us; so without just examination dare we not receive quhatsoever is obtruded unto men under the name of generall Councellis: For plaine it is, as they wer men, so have some of them manifestlie erred, and that in matters of great weight and importance. So farre then as the councell previs the determination and commandement that it gives bee the plaine Worde of God, so soone do we reverence and imbrace the same. Bot gif men, under the name of a councel, pretend to forge unto us new artickles of our faith, or to make constitutionis repugning to the Word of God; then utterlie we must refuse the same as the doctrine of Devils, quhilk drawis our saules from the voyce of our onlie God to follow the doctrines and constitutiones of men. The cause then quhy that generall Councellis convened, was nether to make ony perpetual Law, quhilk God before had not maid, nether zit to forge new Artickles of our beleife, nor to give the Word of God authoritie; meikle les to make that to be his Word, or zit the trew interpretation of the same, quhilk was not before be his haly will expressed in his Word: Bot the cause of Councellis (we meane of sik as merite the name of Councellis) wes partlie for confutation of heresies, and for giving publick confession of their faith to the posteritie following, quhilk baith they did by the authoritie of Goddis written Word, and not by ony opinion or prerogative that they culd not erre, be reasson of their generall assemblie: And this we judge to have bene the chiefe cause of general Councellis. The uther wes for gude policie, and ordour to be constitute and observed in the Kirk, quhilk, as in the house of God, it becummis al things to be done decently and in ordour. Not that We think that any policie and an ordour in ceremonies can be appoynted for al ages, times, and places: For as ceremonies, sik as men have devised, ar bot temporall; so may and aucht they to be changed, when they rather foster superstition then that they edifie the Kirk using the same.

ART. XXI OF THE SACRAMENTIS
As the Fatheris under the Law, besides the veritie of the Sacrifices, had twa chiefe Sacramentes, to wit, Circumcision and the Passeover, the despisers and contemners whereof were not reputed for Gods people; sa do we acknawledge and confesse that we now in the time of the Evangell have twa chiefe Sacramentes, onelie instituted be the Lord Jesus, and commanded to be used of all they that will be reputed members of his body, to wit, Baptisme and the Supper or Table of the Lord Jesus, called the Communion of his Body and his Blude. And thir Sacramentes, as weil of Auld as of New Testament, now instituted of God, not onelie to make ane visible difference betwixt his people and they that wes without his league: Bot also to exerce the faith of his Children, and, be participation of the same Sacramentes, to seill in their hearts the assurance of his promise, and of that most blessed conjunction, union and societie, quhilk the elect have with their head Christ Jesus. And this we utterlie damne the vanitie of thay that affirme Sacramentes to be nathing ellis bot naked and baire signes. No, wee assuredlie beleeve that be Baptisme we ar ingrafted in Christ Jesus, to be made partakeres of his justice, be quhilk our sinnes ar covered and remitted. And alswa, that in the Supper richtlie used, Christ Jesus is so joined with us, that hee bocummis very nurishment and fude of our saules. Not that we imagine anie transubstantiation of bread into Christes body, and of wine into his naturall blude, as the Papistes have perniciouslie taucht and damnablie beleeved; bot this unioun and conjunction, quhilk we have with the body and blude of Christ Jesus in the richt use of the Sacraments, wrocht be operatioun of the haly Ghaist, who by trew faith carryis us above al things that are visible, carnal, and earthly, and makes us to feede upon the body and blude of Christ Jesus, quhilk wes anes broken and shed for us, quhilk now is in heaven, and appearis in the presence of his Father for us: And zit notwithstanding the far distance of place quhilk is betwixt his body now glorified in heaven and us now mortal in this eird, zit we man assuredly beleve that the bread quhilk wee break, is the communion of Christes bodie, and the cupe quhilk we blesse, is the communion of his blude. So that we confesse, and undoubtedlie beleeve, that the faithfull, in the richt use of the Lords Table, do so eat the bodie and drinke the blude of the Lord Jesus, that he remaines in them, and they in him: Zea, they are so maid flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bones; that as the eternall God-head hes given to the flesh of Christ Jesus (quhilk of the awin conditioun and nature wes mortal and corruptible) life and immortalitie; so dois Christ Jesus his flesh and blude eattin and drunkin be us, give unto us the same prerogatives. Quhilk, albeit we confesse are nether given unto us at that time onelie, nether zit be the proper power and vertue of the Sacrament onelie; zit we affirme that the faithfull, in the richt use of the Lords Table, hes conjunctioun with Christ Jesus, as the naturall man can not apprehend: Zea, and farther we affirme, that albeit the faithfull, oppressed be negligence and manlie infirmitie, dois not profite sameikle as they wald, in the verie instant action of the Supper; zit sall it after bring frute furth, as livelie seid sawin in gude ground. For the haly Spirite, quhilk can never be divided fra the richt institution of the Lord Jesus, wil not frustrat the faithfull of the fruit of that mysticall action: Bot all thir, we say, cummis of trew faith, quhilk apprehendis Christ Jesus, who only makis this Sacrament effectuall unto us. And therefore, whosoever sclanders us, as that we affirme or beleeve Sacraments to be naked and bair Signes, do injurie unto us, and speaks against the manifest trueth. Bot this liberallie and franklie we confesse, that we make ane distinctioun betwixt Christ Jesus in his eternall substance, and betwixt the Elements of the Sacramentall Signes. So that wee will nether worship the Signes, in place of that quhilk is signified be them, nether zit doe we dispise, and interpret them as unprofitable and vaine, bot do use them with all reverence, examining our selves diligentlie before that so we do; because we are assured be the mouth of the Apostle, That sik as eat of that bread, and drink of that coup unworthelie, are guiltie of the bodie and blude of Christ Jesus.

ART. XXII OF THE RIGHT ADMINISTRATIOUN OF THE SACRAMENTIS
That Sacramentis be richtlie ministrat, we judge twa things requisite: The ane, that they be ministrat be lauchful Ministers, whom we affirme to be only they that ar appoynted to the preaching of the word, into quhais monthes God hes put sum Sermon of exhortation, they being men lauchfullie chosen thereto be sum Kirk. The uther, that they be ministrat in sik elements, and in sik sort, as God hes appoynted; else, we affirme, that they cease to be the richt Sacraments of Christ Jesus. And therfore it is that we flee the doctrine of the Papistical Kirk, in participatioun of their sacraments; first, because their Ministers are na Ministers of Christ Jesus; zea (quhilk is mair horrible) they suffer wemen, whome the haly Ghaist will not suffer to teache in the Congregatioun, to baptize: And secundly, because they have so adulterate both the one Sacrament and the uther with their awin inventions, that no part of Christs action abydes in the originall puritie: For Oyle, Salt, Spittill, and sik lyke in Baptisme, ar bot mennis inventiounis. Adoration, Veneration, bearing throw streitis and townes, and keiping of bread in boxis or buistis, ar prophanatioun of Christs Sacramentis, and na use of the same: For Christ Jesus saide, Take, eat, &c., do ze this in remembrance of me. Be quhilk words and charge he sanctifyed bread and wine, to the Sacrament of his halie bodie and blude, to the end that the ane suld be eaten, and that all suld drinke of the uther, and not that thay suld be keiped to be worshipped and honoured as God, as the Papistes have done heirtofore. Who also committed Sacrilege, steilling from the people the ane parte of the Sacrament, to wit, the blessed coupe. Moreover, that the Sacramentis be richtly used, it is required, that the end and cause why the Sacramentis were institute, be understanded and observed, asweil of the minister as of the receiveris: For gif the opinion be changed in the receiver, the richt use ceassis; quhilk is maist evident be the rejection of the sacrifices: As also gif the teacher planely teache fals doctrine, quhilk were odious and abhominable before God (albeit they were his awin ordinance) because that wicked men use them to an uther end than God hes ordaned. The same affirme we of the Sacraments in the Papistical kirk; in quhilk, we affirme, the haill action of the Lord Jesus to be adulterated, asweill in the external forme, as in the end and opinion. Quhat Christ Jesus did, and commanded to be done, is evident be the Evangelistes and be Saint Paull: quhat the Preist dois at his altar we neid not to rehearse. The end and cause of Christs institution, and why the selfesame suld be used, is expressed in thir words, Doe ze this in remembrance of me, als oft as ze sall eit of this bread, and drinke of this coupe, ze sall shaw furth, that is, extoll, preach, magnifie and praise the Lords death, till he cum. Bot to quhat end, and in what opinioun the Preistes say their Messe, let the wordes of the same, their awin Doctouris and wrytings witnes: To wit, that they, as Mediatoris betwix Christ and his Kirk, do offer unto God the Father, a Sacrifice propitiatorie for the sinnes of the quick and the dead. Quhilk doctrine, as blasphemous to Christ Jesus, and making derogation to the sufficiencie of his only Sacrifice, once offered for purgatioun of all they that sall be sanctifyed, we utterly abhorre, detest and renounce.

ART. XXIII TO WHOME SACRAMENTIS APPERTEINE
We confesse & acknawledge that Baptisme apperteinis asweil to the infants of the faithfull, as unto them that be of age and discretion: And so we damne the error of the Anabaptists, who denies baptisme to apperteine to Children, before that they have faith and understanding. Bot the Supper of the Lord, we confesse to apperteine to sik onely as be of the houshald of Faith, and can trie and examine themselves, asweil in their faith, as in their dewtie towards their Nichtbouris; sik as eite and drink at that haly Table without faith, or being at dissension and division with their brethren, do eat unworthelie: And therefore it is, that in our Kirk our Ministers tak publick & particular examination, of the knawledge and conversation of sik as are to be admitted to the Table of the Lord Jesus.

ART. XXIV OF THE CIVILE MAGISTRATE
We confesse and acknawledge Empyres, Kingdomes, Dominiounis, and Citties to be distincted and ordained be God; the powers and authoritie in the same, be it of Emperours in their Empyres, of Kingis in their Realmes, Dukes and Princes in their Dominionis, and of utheris Magistrates in the Citties, to be Gods haly ordinance, ordained for manifestatioun of his awin glory, and for the singular profite and commoditie of mankind: So that whosoever goeth about to take away, or to confound the haill state of Civile policies, now long established; we affirme the same men not onely to be enimies to mankinde, but also wickedly to fecht against Goddis expressed will. Wee farther confesse and acknawledge, that sik persouns as are placed in authoritie ar to be loved, honoured, feared, and halden in most reverent estimatioun; because that they are the Lieu-tennents of God, in whose Sessiouns God himself dois sit and judge: Zea, even the Judges & Princes themselves, to whome be God is given the sword, to the praise and defence of gude men, and to revenge and punish all open malefactors. Mairover, to Kings, Princes, Rulers and Magistrates, wee affirme that chieflie and most principallie the conservation and purgation of the Religioun apperteinis; so that not onlie they are appointed for Civill policie, bot also for maintenance of the trew Religioun, and for suppressing of Idolatrie and Superstitioun whatsoever: As in David, Josaphat, Ezechias, Josias, and utheris highlie commended for their zeale in that caise, may be espyed.

And therefore wee confesse and avow, that sik as resist the supreme power, doing that thing quhilk appertains to his charge, do resist Goddis ordinance; and therefore cannot be guiltles. And farther we affirme, that whosoever denies unto them ayde, their counsell and comfort, quhiles the Princes and Rulers vigilantly travell in execution of their office, that the same men deny their helpe, support and counsell to God, quha, be the presence of his Lieu-tennent, dois crave it of them.

ART. XXV OF THE GUIFTES FREELY GIVEN TO THE KIRK
Albeit that the Worde of God trewly preached, and the Sacraments richtlie ministred, and Discipline executed according to the Worde of God, be the certaine and infallible Signes of the trew Kirk, we meane not that everie particular persoun joyned with sik company, be ane elect member of Christ Jesus: For we acknawledge and confesse, that Dornell, Cockell, and Caffe may be sawen, grow, and in great aboundance lie in the middis of the Wheit, that is, the Reprobate may be joyned in the societie of the Elect, and may externally use with them the benefites of the worde and Sacraments: Bot sik being bot temporall professoures in mouth, but not in heart, do fall backe, and continew not to the end. And therefore have they na fruite of Christs death, Resurrection nor Ascension. Bot sik as with heart unfainedly beleeve, and with mouth bauldly confesse the Lord Jesus, as before we have said, sail most assuredly receive their guiftes: First, in this life, remission of sinnes, and that be only faith in Christs blude; in samekle, that albeit sinne remaine and continuallie abyde in thir our mortall bodies, zit it is not imputed unto us, bot is remitted, and covered with Christs Justice. Secundly, in the general Judgement, there sall be given to every man and woman resurrection of the flesh: For the Sea sall give her dead; the Earth, they that therin be inclosed; zea, the Eternall our God sall stretche out his hand on the dust, and the dead sall arise uncorruptible, and that in the substance of the selfe same flesh that every man now beiris, to receive according to their warkis, glory or punishment: For sik as now delyte in vanity, cruelty, filthynes, superstition or Idolatry, sal be adjudged to the fire unquencheable: In quhilk they sall be tormented for ever, asweill in their awin bodyes, as in their saules, quhilk now they give to serve the Devill in all abhomination. Bot sik as continew in weil doing to the end, bauldely professing the Lord Jesus, we constantly beleve, that they sall receive glorie, honor, and immortality, to reigne for ever in life everlasting with Christ Jesus, to whose glorified body all his Elect sall be made lyke, when he sall appeir againe in judgement, and sall rander up the kingdome to God his Father, who then sall bee, and ever sall remaine all in all things God blessed for ever: To whome, with the Sonne and with the haly Ghaist, be all honour and glorie, now and ever. So be it.

Arise (O Lord) and let thy enimies be confounded; let them flee from thy presence that hate thy godlie Name. Give thy servands strenth to speake thy word in bauldnesse, and let all Natiouns cleave to thy trew knawledge. Amen.

Chir Acts and Artickles ar red in the face of Parliament, and ratifyed be the thre Estatis, at Edinburgh the 17 day of August, the Zeir of GOD 1560 Zeiris.

<cite>Philip Schaff,</cite> The Creeds of ChristendomThe Evangelical Protestant Creeds, with Translations, vol. 3 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1882), 437–79.

French Confession (1559)

THE FRENCH SUBJECTS WHO WISH TO LIVE IN THE PURITY OF THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

To the King.

Sire, we thank God that hitherto having had no access to your Majesty to make known the rigor of the persecutions that we have suffered, and suffer daily, for wishing to live in the purity of the Gospel and in peace with our own consciences, he now permits us to see that you wish to know the worthiness of our cause, as is shown by the last Edict given at Amboise in the month of March of this present year, 1559, which it has pleased your Majesty to cause to be published. This emboldens us to speak, which we have been prevented from doing hitherto through the injustice and violence of some of your officers, incited rather by hatred of us than by love of your service. And to the end, Sire, that we may fully inform your Majesty of what concerns this cause, we humbly beseech that you will see and hear our Confession of Faith, which we present to you, hoping that it will prove a sufficient answer to the blame and opprobrium unjustly laid upon us by those who have always made a point of condemning us without having any knowledge of our cause. In the which, Sire, we can affirm that there is nothing contrary to the Word of God, or to the homage which we owe to you.

For the articles of our faith, which are all declared at some length in our Confession, all come to this: that since God has sufficiently declared his will to us through his Prophets and Apostles, and even by the mouth of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, we owe such respect and reverence to the Word of God as shall prevent us from adding to it any thing of our own, but shall make us conform entirely to the rules it prescribes. And inasmuch as the Roman Church, forsaking the use and customs of the primitive Church, has introduced new commandments and a new form of worship of God, we esteem it but reasonable to prefer the commandments of God, who is himself truth, to the commandments of men, who by their nature are inclined to deceit and vanity. And whatever our enemies may say against us, we can declare this before God and men, that we suffer for no other reason than for maintaining our Lord Jesus Christ to be our only Saviour and Redeemer, and his doctrine to be the only doctrine of life and salvation.

And this is the only reason, Sire, why the executioners’ hands have been stained so often with the blood of your poor subjects, who, sparing not their lives to maintain this same Confession of Faith, have shown to all that they were moved by some other spirit than that of men, who naturally care more for their own peace and comfort than for the honor and glory of God.

And therefore, Sire, in accordance with your promises of goodness and mercy toward your poor subjects, we humbly beseech your Majesty graciously to examine the cause for which, being threatened at all times with death or exile, we thus lose the power of rendering the humble service that we owe you. May it please your Majesty, then instead of the fire and sword which have been used hitherto, so have our confession of Faith decided by the Word of God: giving permission and security for this. And we hope that your yourself will be the judge of our innocence, knowing that there is in us no rebellion or heresy whatsoever, but that our only endeavor is to live in peace of conscience, serving God according to his commandments, and honoring your Majesty by all obedience and submission.

And because we have great need, by the preaching of the Word of God, to be kept in our duty to him, as well as to yourself, we humbly beg, sine, that we may sometimes be permitted to gather together, to be exhorted to the fear o God by his Word, as well as to be confirmed by the administration of the Sacraments which the Lord Jesus Christ instituted in his Church. And if it should please your Majesty to give us a place where any one may see what passes in our assemblies, we shall thereby be absolved from the charge of the enormous crimes with which these same assemblies have been defamed. For nothing will be seen but what is decent and well-ordered, and nothing will be heard but the praise of God, exhortations to his service, and prayers for the preservation of your Majesty and of your kingdom. And if it do not please you to great us this favor, at least let it be permitted us to follow the established order in private among ourselves.

We beseech yon most humbly, Sire, to believe that in listening to this application which is now presented to yon, listen to the cries and groans of an infinite number of year poor subjects, who implore of your mercy that you extinguish the fires which the cruelty of your judges has lighted in your kingdom. And that we may thus be permitted, in serving your Majesty, to serve him who has raised you to your power and dignity.

And if it should not please you, Sire, to listen to our voice, may it please you to listen to that of the Son of God, who, having given you power over our property, our bodies, and even our lives, demands that the control and dominion of our souls and consciences, which he purchased with his own blood, be reserved to him.

We beseech him, Sire, that he may lead yon always by his Spirit, increasing with your age, your greatness and power, giving you victory over all your enemies, and establishing for ever, in all equity and justice, the throne of your Majesty: before whom, may it please him that we find grace, and some fruit of this our present supplication, so that having exchanged our pains and afflictions for some peace and liberty, we may also change our tears and lamentations into a perpetual thanksgiving to God, and to your Majesty for having done that which is most agreeable to him, most worthy, of your goodness and mercy, and most necessary for the preservation of your most humble and obedient subjects and servants.

CONFESSION OF FAITH

Made in one accord by the French people, who desire to live according to the purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. A.D. 1559.

ART. I. We believe and confess that there is but one God, who is one sole and simple essence, spiritual, eternal, invisible, immutable, infinite, incomprehensible, ineffable, omnipotent; who is all-wise, all-good, all-just, and all-merciful.

II. As such this God reveals himself to men; firstly, in his works, in their creation, as well as in their preservation and control. Secondly, and more clearly, in his Word, which was in the beginning revealed through oracles, and which was afterward committed to writing in the books which we call the Holy Scriptures.

III. These Holy Scriptures are comprised in the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, as follows: the five books of Moses, namely: GENESIS, EXODUS, LEVITICUS, NUMBERS, DEUTERONOMY; then JOSHUA, JUDGES, RUTH, the first and second books of SAMUEL, the first and second books of the KINGS, the first and second books of the CHRONICLES, otherwise called Paralipomenon, the first book of EZRA; then NEHEMIAH, the book of ESTHER, JOB, the PSALMS of David, the PROVERBS or Maxims of Solomon; the book of ECCLESIASTES, called the Preacher, the SONG OF SOLOMON; then the book of ISAIAH, JEREMIAH, LAMENTATIONS of Jeremiah, EZEKIEL, DANIEL, HOSEA, JOEL, AMOS, OBADIAH, JONAH, MICAH, NAHUM, HABAKKUK, ZEPHANIAH, HAGGAI, ZECHARIAH, MALACHI; then the Holy Gospel according to St. MATTHEW, according to St. MARK, according to St. LUKE, and according to St. JOHN; then the second book of St. LUKE, otherwise called the ACTS of the Apostles; then the Epistles of St. PAUL: one to the ROMANS, two to the CORINTHIANS, one to the GALATIANS, one to the EPHESIANS, one to the PHILIPPIANS, one to the COLOSSIANS, two to the THESSALONIANS, two to TIMOTHY, one to TITUS, one to PHILEMON; then the Epistle to the HEBREWS, the Epistle of St. JAMES, the first and second Epistles of St. PETER, the first, second, and third Epistles of St. JOHN, the Epistle of St. JUDE; and then the APOCALYPSE, or Revelation of St. John.

IV. We know these books to be canonical, and the sure rule of our faith, not so much by the common accord and consent of the Church, as by the testimony and inward illumination of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to distinguish them from other ecclesiastical books upon which, however useful, we can not found any articles of faith.

V. We believe that the Word contained in these books has proceeded from God, and receives its authority from him alone, and not from men. And inasmuch as it is the rule of all truth, containing all that is necessary for the service of God and for our salvation, it is not lawful for men, nor even for angels, to add to it, to take away from it, or to change it. Whence it follows that no authority, whether of antiquity, or custom, or numbers, or human wisdom, or judgments, or proclamations, or edicts, or decrees, or councils, or visions, or miracles, should be opposed to these Holy Scriptures, but, on the contrary, all things should be examined, regulated, and reformed according to them. And therefore we confess the three creeds, to wit: the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian, because they are in accordance with the Word of God.

VI. These Holy Scriptures teach us that in this one sole and simple divine essence, whom we have confessed, there are three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father, first cause, principle, and origin of all things. The Son, his Word and eternal wisdom. The Holy Spirit, his virtue, power, and efficacy. The Son begotten from eternity by the Father. The Holy Spirit proceeding eternally from them both; the three persons not confused, but distinct, and yet not separate, but of the same essence, equal in eternity and power. And in this we confess that which hath been established by the ancient councils, and we detest all sects and heresies which were rejected by the holy doctors, such as St. Hilary, St. Athanasius, St. Ambrose, and St. Cyril.

VII. We believe that God, in three co-working persons, by his power, wisdom, and incomprehensible goodness, created all things, not only the heavens and the earth and all that in them is, but also invisible spirits, some of whom have fallen away and gone into perdition, while others have continued in obedience. That the first, being corrupted by evil, are enemies of all good, consequently of the whole Church. The second, having been preserved by the grace of God, are ministers to glorify God’s name, and to promote the salvation of his elect.

VIII. We believe that he not only created all things, but that he governs and directs them, disposing and ordaining by his sovereign will all that happens in the world; not that he is the author of evil, or that the guilt of it can be imputed to him, as his will is the sovereign and infallible rule of all right and justice; but he hath wonderful means of so making use of devils and sinners that he can turn to good the evil which they do, and of which they are guilty. And thus, confessing that the providence of God orders all things, we humbly bow before the secrets which are hidden to us, without questioning what is above our understanding; but rather making use of what is revealed to us in Holy Scripture for our peace and safety, inasmuch as God, who has all things in subjection to him, watches over us with a Father’s care, so that not a hair of our heads shall fall without his will. And yet he restrains the devils and all our enemies, so that they can not harm us without his leave.

IX. We believe that man was created pure and perfect in the image of God, and that by his own guilt he fell from the grace which he received, and is thus alienated from God, the fountain of justice and of all good, so that his nature is totally corrupt. And being blinded in mind, and depraved in heart, he has lost all integrity, and there is no good in him. And although he can still discern good and evil, we say, notwithstanding, that the light he has becomes darkness when he seeks for God, so that he can in nowise approach him by his intelligence and reason. And although he has a will that incites him to do this or that, yet it is altogether captive to sin, so that he has no other liberty to do right than that which God gives him.

X. We believe that all the posterity of Adam is in bondage to original sin, which is an hereditary evil, and not an imitation merely, as was declared by the Pelagians, whom we detest in their errors. And we consider that it is not necessary to inquire how sin was conveyed from one man to another, for what God had given Adam was not for him alone, but for all his posterity; and thus in his person we have been deprived of all good things, and have fallen with him into a state of sin and misery.

XI. We believe, also, that this evil is truly sin, sufficient for the condemnation of the whole human race, even of little children in the mother’s womb, and that God considers it as such; even after baptism it is still of the nature of sin, but the condemnation of it is abolished for the children of God, out of his mere free grace and love. And further, that it is a perversity always producing fruits of malice and of rebellion, so that the most holy men, although they resist it, are still stained with many weaknesses and imperfections while they are in this life.

XII. We believe that from this corruption and general condemnation in which all men are plunged, God, according to his eternal and immutable counsel, calleth those whom he hath chosen by his goodness and mercy alone in our Lord Jesus Christ, without consideration of their works, to display in them the riches of his mercy; leaving the rest in this same corruption and condemnation to show in them his justice. For the ones are no better than the others, until God discerns them according to his immutable purpose which he has determined in Jesus Christ before the creation of the world. Neither can any man gain such a reward by his own virtue, as by nature we can not have a single good feeling, affection, or thought, except God has first put it into our hearts.

XIII. We believe that all that is necessary for our salvation was offered and communicated to us in Jesus Christ. He is given to us for our salvation, and ‘is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:’ so that if we refuse him, we renounce the mercy of the Father, in which alone we can find a refuge.

XIV. We believe that Jesus Christ, being the wisdom of God and his eternal Son, has put on our flesh, so as to be God and man in one person; man, like unto us, capable of suffering in body and soul, yet free from all stain of sin. And as to his humanity, he was the true seed of Abraham and of David, although he was conceived by the secret power of the Holy Spirit. In this we detest all the heresies that have of old troubled the Church, and especially the diabolical conceits of Servetus, which attribute a fantastical divinity to the Lord Jesus, calling him the idea and pattern of all things, and the personal or figurative Son of God, and, finally, attribute to him a body of three uncreated elements, thus confusing and destroying the two natures.

XV. We believe that in one person, that is, Jesus Christ, the two natures are actually and inseparably joined and united, and yet each remains in its proper character: so that in this union the divine nature, retaining its attributes, remained uncreated, infinite, and all-pervading; and the human nature remained finite, having its form, measure, and attributes; and although Jesus Christ, in rising from the dead, bestowed immortality upon his body, yet he did not take from it the truth of its nature, and we so consider him in his divinity that we do not despoil him of his humanity.

XVI. We believe that God, in sending his Son, intended to show his love and inestimable goodness towards us, giving him up to die to accomplish all righteousness, and raising him from the dead to secure for us the heavenly life.

XVII. We believe that by the perfect sacrifice that the Lord Jesus offered on the cross, we are reconciled to God, and justified before him; for we can not be acceptable to him, nor become partakers of the grace of adoption, except as he pardons [all] our sins, and blots them out. Thus we declare that through Jesus Christ we are cleansed and made perfect; by his death we are fully justified, and through him only can we be delivered from our iniquities and transgressions.

XVIII. We believe that all our justification rests upon the remission of our sins, in which also is our only blessedness, as saith the Psalmist (Psa. 32:2). We therefore reject all other means of justification before God, and without claiming any virtue or merit, we rest simply in the obedience of Jesus Christ, which is imputed to us as much to blot out all our sins as to make us find grace and favor in the sight of God. And, in fact, we believe that in falling away from this foundation, however slightly, we could not find rest elsewhere, but should always be troubled. Forasmuch as we are never at peace with God till we resolve to be loved in Jesus Christ, for of ourselves we are worthy of hatred.

XIX. We believe that by this means we have the liberty and privilege of calling upon God, in full confidence that he will show himself a Father to us. For we should have no access to the Father except through this Mediator. And to be heard in his name, we must hold our life from him as from our chief.

XX. We believe that we are made partakers of this justification by faith alone, as it is written: ‘He suffered for our salvation, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish.’ And this is done inasmuch as we appropriate to our use the promises of life which are given to us through him, and feel their effect when we accept them, being assured that we are established by the Word of God and shall not be deceived. Thus our justification through faith depends upon the free promises by which God declares and testifies his love to us.

XXI. We believe that we are enlightened in faith by the secret power of the Holy Spirit, that it is a gratuitous and special gift which God grants to whom he will, so that the elect have no cause to glory, but are bound to be doubly thankful that they have been preferred to others. We believe also that faith is not given to the elect only to introduce them into the right way, but also to make them continue in it to the end. For as it is God who hath begun the work, he will also perfect it.

XXII. We believe that by this faith we are regenerated in newness of life, being by nature subject to sin, Now we receive by faith grace to live holily and in the fear of God, in accepting the promise which is given to us by the Gospel, namely: that God will give us his Holy Spirit. This faith not only doth not hinder us from holy living, or turn us from the love of righteousness, but of necessity begetteth in us all good works. Moreover, although God worketh in us for our salvation, and reneweth our hearts, determining us to that which is good, yet we confess that the good works which we do proceed from his Spirit, and can not be accounted to us for justification, neither do they entitle us to the adoption of sons, for we should always be doubting and restless in our hearts, if we did not rest upon the atonement by which Jesus Christ hath acquitted us.

XXIII. We believe that the ordinances of the law came to an end at the advent of Jesus Christ; but, although the ceremonies are no more in use, yet their substance and truth remain in the person of him in whom they are fulfilled. And, moreover, we must seek aid from the law and the prophets for the ruling of our lives, as well as for our confirmation in the promises of the gospel.

XXIV. We believe, as Jesus Christ is our only advocate, and as he commands us to ask of the Father in his name, and as it is not lawful for us to pray except in accordance with the model God hath taught us by his Word, that all imaginations of men concerning the intercession of dead saints are an abuse and a device of Satan to lead men from the right way of worship. We reject, also, all other means by which men hope to redeem themselves before God, as derogating from the sacrifice and passion of Jesus Christ.

Finally, we consider purgatory as an illusion proceeding from the same source, from which have also sprung monastic vows, pilgrimages, the prohibition of marriage, and of eating meat, the ceremonial observance of days, auricular confession, indulgences, and all such things by which they hope to merit forgiveness and salvation. These things we reject, not only for the false idea of merit which is attached to them, but also because they are human inventions imposing a yoke upon the conscience.

XXV. Now as we enjoy Christ only through the gospel, we believe that the order of the Church, established by his authority, ought to be sacred and inviolable, and that, therefore, the Church can not exist without pastors for instruction, whom we should respect and reverently listen to, when they are properly called and exercise their office faithfully. Not that God doth require such aid and subordinate means, but because it pleaseth him to govern us by such restraints. In this we detest all visionaries who would like, so far as lies in their power, to destroy the ministry and preaching of the Word and sacraments.

XXVI. We believe that no one ought to seclude himself and be contented to be alone; but that all jointly should keep and maintain the union of the Church, and submit to the public teaching, and to the yoke of Jesus Christ, wherever God shall have established a true order of the Church, even if the magistrates and their edicts are contrary to it. For if they do not take part in it, or if they separate themselves from it, they do contrary to the Word of God.

XXVII. Nevertheless we believe that it is important to discern with care and prudence which is the true Church, for this title has been much abused. We say, then, according to the Word of God, that it is the company of the faithful who agree to follow his Word, and the pure religion which it teaches; who grow in grace all their lives, believing and becoming more confirmed in the fear of God according as they feel the want of growing and pressing onward. Even although they strive continually, they can have no hope save in the remission of their sins. Nevertheless we do not deny that among the faithful there may be hypocrites and reprobates, but their wickedness can not destroy the title of the Church.

XXVIII. In this belief we declare that, properly speaking, there can be no Church where the Word of God is not received, nor profession made of subjection to it, nor use of the sacraments. Therefore we condemn the papal assemblies, as the pure Word of God is banished from them, their sacraments are corrupted, or falsified, or destroyed, and all superstitions and idolatries are in them. We hold, then, that all who take part in these acts, and commune in that Church, separate and cut themselves off from the body of Christ Nevertheless, as some trace of the Church is left in the papacy, and the virtue and substance of baptism remain, and as the efficacy of baptism does not depend upon the person who administers it, we confess that those baptized in it do not need a second baptism. But, on account of its corruptions, we can not present children to be baptized in it without incurring pollution.

XXIX. As to the true Church, we believe that it should be governed, according to the order established by our Lord Jesus Christ That there should be pastors, overseers, and deacons, so that true doctrine may have its course, that errors may be corrected and suppressed, and the poor and all who are in affliction may be helped in their necessities; and that assemblies may be held in the name of God, so that great and small may be edified.

XXX. We believe that all true pastors, wherever they may be, have the same authority and equal power under one head, one only sovereign and universal bishop, Jesus Christ; and that consequently no Church shall claim any authority or dominion over any other.

XXXI. We believe that no person should undertake to govern the Church upon his own authority, but that this should be derived from election, as far as it is possible, and as God will permit. And we make this exception especially, because sometimes, and even in our own days, when the state of the Church has been interrupted, it has been necessary for God to raise men in an extraordinary manner to restore the Church which was in ruin and desolation. But, notwithstanding, we believe that this rule must always be binding: that all pastors, overseers, and deacons should have evidence of being called to then office.

XXXII. We believe, also, that it is desirable and useful that those elected to be superintendents devise among themselves what means should be adopted for the government of the whole body, and yet that they should never depart from that which was ordained by our Lord Jesus Christ. Which does not prevent there being some special ordinances in each place, as convenience may require.

XXXIII. However, we reject all human inventions, and all laws which men may introduce under the pretense of serving God, by which they wish to bind consciences; and we receive only that which conduces to concord and holds all in obedience, from the greatest to the least In this we must follow that which the Lord Jesus Christ declared as to excommunication, which we approve and confess to be necessary with all its antecedents and consequences.

XXXIV. We believe that the sacraments are added to the Word for more ample confirmation, that they may be to us pledges and seals of the grace of God, and by this means aid and comfort our faith, because of the infirmity which is in us, and that they are outward signs through which God operates by his Spirit, so that he may not signify any thing to us in vain. Yet we hold that their substance and truth is in Jesus Christ, and that of themselves they are only smoke and shadow.

XXXV. We confess only two sacraments common to the whole Church, of which the first, baptism, is given as a pledge of our adoption; for by it we are grafted into the body of Christ, so as to be washed and cleansed by his blood, and then renewed in purity of life by his Holy Spirit We hold, also, that although we are baptized only once, yet the gain that it symbolizes to us reaches over our whole lives and to our death, so that we have a lasting witness that Jesus Christ will always be our justification and sanctification. Nevertheless, although it is a sacrament of faith and penitence, yet as God receives little children into the Church with their fathers, we say, upon the authority of Jesus Christ, that the children of believing parents should be baptized.

XXXVI. We confess that the Lord’s Supper, which is the second sacrament, is a witness of the union which we have with Christ, inasmuch as he not only died and rose again for ns once, but also feeds and nourishes us truly with his flesh and blood, so that we may be one in him, and that our life may be in common. Although he be in heaven until he come to judge all the earth, still we believe that by the secret and incomprehensible power of his Spirit he feeds and strengthens us with the substance of his body and of his blood. We hold that this is done spiritually, not because we put imagination and fancy in the place of fact and truth, but because the greatness of this mystery exceeds the measure of our senses and the laws of nature. In short, because it is heavenly, it can only be apprehended by faith.

XXXVII. We believe, as has been said, that in the Lord’s Supper, as well as in baptism, God gives Us really and in fact that which he there sets forth to us; and that consequently with these signs is given the true possession and enjoyment of that which they present to us. And thus all who bring a pure faith, like a vessel, to the sacred table of Christ, receive truly that of which it is a sign; for the body and the blood of Jesus Christ give food and drink to the soul, no less than bread and wine nourish the body.

XXXVIII. Thus we hold that water, being a feeble element, still testifies to us in truth the inward cleansing of our souls in the blood of Jesus Christ by the efficacy of his Spirit, and that the bread and wine given to us in the sacrament serve to our spiritual nourishment, inasmuch as they show, as to our sight, that the body of Christ is our meat, and his blood our drink. And we reject the Enthusiasts and Sacramentarians who will not receive such signs and marks, although our Saviour said: ‘This is my body, and this cup is my blood.’

XXXIX. We believe that God wishes to have the world governed by laws and magistrates, so that some restraint may be put upon its disordered appetites. And as he has established kingdoms, republics, and all sorts of principalities, either hereditary or otherwise, and all that belongs to a just government, and wishes to be considered as their Author, so he has put the sword into the hands of magistrates to suppress crimes against the first as well as against the second table of the Commandments of God. We must therefore, on his account, not only submit to them as superiors, but honor add hold them in all reverence as his lieutenants and officers, whom he has commissioned to exercise a legitimate and holy authority.

XL. We hold, then, that we must obey their laws and statutes, pay customs, taxes, and other dues, and bear the yoke of subjection with a good and free will, even if they are unbelievers, provided that the sovereign empire of God remain intact. Therefore we detest all those who would like to reject authority, to establish community and confusion of property, and overthrow the order of justice.

Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom…: The Evangelical Protestant Creeds, with Translations, vol. 3 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1882), 356–82.

Westminster Larger Catechism

Q. 1. What is the chief and highest end of man?
A. Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.

Q. 2. How doth it appear that there is a God?
A. The very light of nature in man, and the works of God, declare plainly that there is a God; but his word and Spirit only do sufficiently and effectually reveal him unto men for their salvation.

Q. 3. What is the Word of God?
A. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God, the only rule of faith and obedience.

Q. 4. How doth it appear that the Scriptures are the Word of God?
A. The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the Word of God, by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation: but the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very Word of God.

Q. 5. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.

WHAT MAN OUGHT TO BELIEVE CONCERNING GOD

Q. 6. What do the Scriptures make known of God?
A. The Scriptures make known what God is, the persons in the Godhead, his decrees, and the execution of his decrees.

Q. 7. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.

Q. 8. Are there more Gods than one?
A. There is but one only, the living and true God.

Q. 9. How many persons are there in the Godhead?
A. There be three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one true, eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory; although distinguished by their personal properties.

Q. 10. What are the personal properties of the three persons in the Godhead?
A. It is proper to the Father to beget the Son, and to the Son to be begotten of the Father, and to the Holy Ghost to proceed from the Father and the Son from all eternity.

Q. 11. How doth it appear that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father?
A. The Scriptures manifest that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father, ascribing unto them such names, attributes, works, and worship, as are proper to God only.

Q. 12. What are the decrees of God?
A. God’s decrees are the wise, free, and holy acts of the counsel of his will, whereby, from all eternity, he hath, for his own glory, unchangeably foreordained whatsoever comes to pass in time, especially concerning angels and men.

Q. 13. What hath God especially decreed concerning angels and men?
A. God, by an eternal and immutable decree, out of his mere love, for the praise of his glorious grace, to be manifested in due time, hath elected some angels to glory; and in Christ hath chosen some men to eternal life, and the means thereof: and also, according to his sovereign power, and the unsearchable counsel of his own will (whereby he extendeth or withholdeth favor as he pleaseth), hath passed by and foreordained the rest to dishonor and wrath, to be for their sin inflicted, to the praise of the glory of his justice.

Q. 14. How doth God execute his decrees?
A. God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will.

Q. 15. What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is that wherein God did in the beginning, by the word of his power, make of nothing the world, and all things therein, for himself, within the space of six days, and all very good.

Q. 16. How did God create angels?
A. God created all the angels spirits, immortal, holy, excelling in knowledge, mighty in power, to execute his commandments, and to praise his name, yet subject to change.

Q. 17. How did God create man?
A. After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female; formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground, and the woman of the rib of the man, endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls; made them after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it, and dominion over the creatures; yet subject to fall.

Q. 18. What are God’s works of providence?
A. God’s works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures; ordering them, and all their actions, to his own glory.

Q. 19. What is God’s providence towards the angels?
A. God by his providence permitted some of the angels, willfully and irrecoverably, to fall into sin and damnation, limiting and ordering that, and all their sins, to his own glory; and established the rest in holiness and happiness; employing them all, at his pleasure, in the administrations of his power, mercy, and justice.

Q. 20. What was the providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was created?
A. The providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was created, was the placing him in paradise, appointing him to dress it, giving him liberty to eat of the fruit of the earth; putting the creatures under his dominion, and ordaining marriage for his help; affording him communion with himself; instituting the Sabbath; entering into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience, of which the tree of life was a pledge; and forbidding to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.

Q. 21. Did man continue in that estate wherein God at first created him?
A. Our first parents being left to the freedom of their own will, through the temptation of Satan, transgressed the commandment of God in eating the forbidden fruit; and thereby fell from the estate of innocency wherein they were created.

Q. 22. Did all mankind fall in that first transgression?
A. The covenant being made with Adam as a public person, not for himself only, but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in that first transgression.

Q. 23. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
A. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.

Q. 24. What is sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature.

Q. 25. Wherein consisteth the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consisteth in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of that righteousness wherein he was created, and the corruption of his nature, whereby he is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that continually; which is commonly called original sin, and from which do proceed all actual transgressions.

Q. 26. How is original sin conveyed from our first parents unto their posterity?
A. Original sin is conveyed from our first parents unto their posterity by natural generation, so as all that proceed from them in that way are conceived and born in sin.

Q. 27. What misery did the fall bring upon mankind?
A. The fall brought upon mankind the loss of communion with God, his displeasure and curse; so as we are by nature children of wrath, bond slaves to Satan, and justly liable to all punishments in this world, and that which is to come.

Q. 28. What are the punishments of sin in this world?
A. The punishments of sin in this world are either inward, as blindness of mind, a reprobate sense, strong delusions, hardness of heart, horror of conscience, and vile affections; or outward, as the curse of God upon the creatures for our sakes, and all other evils that befall us in our bodies, names, estates, relations, and employments; together with death itself.

Q. 29. What are the punishments of sin in the world to come?
A. The punishments of sin in the world to come, are everlasting separation from the comfortable presence of God, and most grievous torments in soul and body, without intermission, in hell-fire forever.

Q. 30. Doth God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A. God doth not leave all men to perish in the estate of sin and misery, into which they fell by the breach of the first covenant, commonly called the covenant of works; but of his mere love and mercy delivereth his elect out of it, and bringeth them into an estate of salvation by the second covenant, commonly called the covenant of grace.

Q. 31. With whom was the covenant of grace made?
A. The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.

Q. 32. How is the grace of God manifested in the second covenant?
A. The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant, in that he freely provideth and offereth to sinners a mediator, and life and salvation by him; and requiring faith as the condition to interest them in him, promiseth and giveth his Holy Spirit to all his elect, to work in them that faith, with all other saving graces; and to enable them unto all holy obedience, as the evidence of the truth of their faith and thankfulness to God, and as the way which he hath appointed them to salvation.

Q. 33. Was the covenant of grace always administered after one and the same manner?
A. The covenant of grace was not always administered after the same manner, but the administrations of it under the Old Testament were different from those under the New.

Q. 34. How was the covenant of grace administered under the Old Testament?
A. The covenant of grace was administered under the Old Testament, by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the passover, and other types and ordinances, which did all foresignify Christ then to come, and were for that time sufficient to build up the elect in faith in the promised messiah, by whom they then had full remission of sin, and eternal salvation.

Q. 35. How is the covenant of grace administered under the New Testament?
A. Under the New Testament, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the same covenant of grace was and still is to be administered in the preaching of the word, and the administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper; in which grace and salvation are held forth in more fullness, evidence, and efficacy, to all nations.

Q. 36. Who is the mediator of the covenant of grace?
A. The only mediator of the covenant of grace is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, of one substance and equal with the Father, in the fullness of time became man, and so was and continues to be God and man, in two entire distinct natures, and one person, forever.

Q. 37. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ the Son of God became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance, and born of her, yet without sin.

Q. 38. Why was it requisite that the mediator should be God?
A. It was requisite that the mediator should be God, that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and the power of death; give worth and efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession; and to satisfy God’s justice, procure his favor, purchase a peculiar people, give his Spirit to them, conquer all their enemies, and bring them to everlasting salvation.

Q. 39. Why was it requisite that the mediator should be man?
A. It was requisite that the mediator should be man, that he might advance our nature, perform obedience to the law, suffer and make intercession for us in our nature, have a fellow-feeling of our infirmities; that we might receive the adoption of sons, and have comfort and access with boldness unto the throne of grace.

Q. 40. Why was it requisite that the mediator should be God and man in one person?
A. It was requisite that the mediator, who was to reconcile God and man, should himself be both God and man, and this in one person, that the proper works of each nature might be accepted of God for us, and relied on by us, as the works of the whole person.

Q. 41. Why was our mediator called Jesus?
A. Our mediator was called Jesus, because he saveth his people from their sins.

Q. 42. Why was our mediator called Christ?
A. Our mediator was called Christ, because he was anointed with the Holy Ghost above measure; and so set apart, and fully furnished with all authority and ability, to execute the offices of prophet, priest, and king of his church, in the estate both of his humiliation and exaltation.

Q. 43. How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
A. Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in his revealing to the church, in all ages, by his Spirit and word, in divers ways of administration, the whole will of God, in all things concerning their edification and salvation.

Q. 44. How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
A. Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering himself a sacrifice without spot to God, to be a reconciliation for the sins of the people; and in making continual intercession for them.

Q. 45. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in calling out of the world a people to himself, and giving them officers, laws, and censures, by which he visibly governs them; in bestowing saving grace upon his elect, rewarding their obedience, and correcting them for their sins, preserving and supporting them under all their temptations and sufferings, restraining and overcoming all their enemies, and powerfully ordering all things for his own glory, and their good; and also in taking vengeance on the rest, who know not God, and obey not the gospel.

Q. 46. What was the estate of Christ’s humiliation?
A. The estate of Christ’s humiliation was that low condition, wherein he for our sakes, emptying himself of his glory, took upon him the form of a servant, in his conception and birth, life, death, and after his death, until his resurrection.

Q. 47. How did Christ humble himself in his conception and birth?
A. Christ humbled himself in his conception and birth, in that, being from all eternity the Son of God, in the bosom of the Father, he was pleased in the fullness of time to become the son of man, made of a woman of low estate, and to be born of her; with divers circumstances of more than ordinary abasement.

Q. 48. How did Christ humble himself in his life?
A. Christ humbled himself in his life, by subjecting himself to the law, which he perfectly fulfilled; and by conflicting with the indignities of the world, temptations of Satan, and infirmities in his flesh, whether common to the nature of man, or particularly accompanying that his low condition.

Q. 49. How did Christ humble himself in his death?
A. Christ humbled himself in his death, in that having been betrayed by Judas, forsaken by his disciples, scorned and rejected by the world, condemned by Pilate, and tormented by his persecutors; having also conflicted with the terrors of death, and the powers of darkness, felt and borne the weight of God’s wrath, he laid down his life an offering for sin, enduring the painful, shameful, and cursed death of the cross.

Q. 50. Wherein consisted Christ’s humiliation after his death?
A. Christ’s humiliation after his death consisted in his being buried, and continuing in the state of the dead, and under the power of death till the third day; which hath been otherwise expressed in these words, He descended into hell.

Q. 51. What was the estate of Christ’s exaltation?
A. The estate of Christ’s exaltation comprehendeth his resurrection, ascension, sitting at the right hand of the Father, and his coming again to judge the world.

Q. 52. How was Christ exalted in his resurrection?
A. Christ was exalted in his resurrection, in that, not having seen corruption in death (of which it was not possible for him to be held), and having the very same body in which he suffered, with the essential properties thereof (but without mortality, and other common infirmities belonging to this life), really united to his soul, he rose again from the dead the third day by his own power; whereby he declared himself to be the Son of God, to have satisfied divine justice, to have vanquished death, and him that had power of it, and to be Lord of quick and dead: all which he did as a public person, the head of his church, for their justification, quickening in grace, support against enemies, and to assure them of their resurrection from the dead at the last day.

Q. 53. How was Christ exalted in his ascension?
A. Christ was exalted in his ascension, in that having after his resurrection often appeared unto and conversed with his apostles, speaking to them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, and giving them commission to preach the gospel to all nations, forty days after his resurrection, he, in our nature, and as our head, triumphing over enemies, visibly went up into the highest heavens, there to receive gifts for men, to raise up our affections thither, and to prepare a place for us, where himself is, and shall continue till his second coming at the end of the world.

Q. 54. How is Christ exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God?
A. Christ is exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God, in that as God-man he is advanced to the highest favor with God the Father, with all fullness of joy, glory, and power over all things in heaven and earth; and doth gather and defend his church, and subdue their enemies; furnisheth his ministers and people with gifts and graces, and maketh intercession for them.

Q. 55. How doth Christ make intercession?
A. Christ maketh intercession, by his appearing in our nature continually before the Father in heaven, in the merit of his obedience and sacrifice on earth, declaring his will to have it applied to all believers; answering all accusations against them, and procuring for them quiet of conscience, notwithstanding daily failings, access with boldness to the throne of grace, and acceptance of their persons and services.

Q. 56. How is Christ to be exalted in his coming again to judge the world?
A. Christ is to be exalted in his coming again to judge the world, in that he, who was unjustly judged and condemned by wicked men, shall come again at the last day in great power, and in the full manifestation of his own glory, and of his Father’s, with all his holy angels, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, to judge the world in righteousness.

Q. 57. What benefits hath Christ procured by his mediation?
A. Christ, by his mediation, hath procured redemption, with all other benefits of the covenant of grace.

Q. 58. How do we come to be made partakers of the benefits which Christ hath procured?
A. We are made partakers of the benefits which Christ hath procured, by the application of them unto us, which is the work especially of God the Holy Ghost.

Q. 59. Who are made partakers of redemption through Christ?
A. Redemption is certainly applied, and effectually communicated, to all those for whom Christ hath purchased it; who are in time by the Holy Ghost enabled to believe in Christ according to the gospel.

Q. 60. Can they who have never heard the gospel, and so know not Jesus Christ, nor believe in him, be saved by their living according to the light of nature?
A. They who, having never heard the gospel, know not Jesus Christ, and believe not in him, cannot be saved, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, or the laws of that religion which they profess; neither is there salvation in any other, but in Christ alone, who is the Savior only of his body the church.

Q. 61. Are all they saved who hear the gospel, and live in the church?
A. All that hear the gospel, and live in the visible church, are not saved; but they only who are true members of the church invisible.

Q. 62. What is the visible church?
A. The visible church is a society made up of all such as in all ages and places of the world do profess the true religion, and of their children.

Q. 63. What are the special privileges of the visible church?
A. The visible church hath the privilege of being under God’s special care and government; of being protected and preserved in all ages, notwithstanding the opposition of all enemies; and of enjoying the communion of saints, the ordinary means of salvation, and offers of grace by Christ to all the members of it in the ministry of the gospel, testifying, that whosoever believes in him shall be saved, and excluding none that will come unto him.

Q. 64. What is the invisible church?
A. The invisible church is the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ the head.

Q. 65. What special benefits do the members of the invisible church enjoy by Christ?
A. The members of the invisible church by Christ enjoy union and communion with him in grace and glory.

Q. 66. What is that union which the elect have with Christ?
A. The union which the elect have with Christ is the work of God’s grace, whereby they are spiritually and mystically, yet really and inseparably, joined to Christ as their head and husband; which is done in their effectual calling.

Q. 67. What is effectual calling?
A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s almighty power and grace, whereby (out of his free and special love to his elect, and from nothing in them moving him thereunto) he doth, in his accepted time, invite and draw them to Jesus Christ, by his word and Spirit; savingly enlightening their minds, renewing and powerfully determining their wills, so as they (although in themselves dead in sin) are hereby made willing and able freely to answer his call, and to accept and embrace the grace offered and conveyed therein.

Q. 68. Are the elect only effectually called?
A. All the elect, and they only, are effectually called; although others may be, and often are, outwardly called by the ministry of the word, and have some common operations of the Spirit; who, for their willful neglect and contempt of the grace offered to them, being justly left in their unbelief, do never truly come to Jesus Christ.

Q. 69. What is the communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ?
A. The communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is their partaking of the virtue of his mediation, in their justification, adoption, sanctification, and whatever else, in this life, manifests their union with him.

Q. 70. What is justification?
A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners, in which he pardoneth all their sins, accepteth and accounteth their persons righteous in his sight; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them, and received by faith alone.

Q. 71. How is justification an act of God’s free grace?
A. Although Christ, by his obedience and death, did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in the behalf of them that are justified; yet inasmuch as God accepteth the satisfaction from a surety, which he might have demanded of them, and did provide this surety, his own only Son, imputing his righteousness to them, and requiring nothing of them for their justification but faith, which also is his gift, their justification is to them of free grace.

Q. 72. What is justifying faith?
A. Justifying faith is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and Word of God, whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition, not only assenteth to the truth of the promise of the gospel, but receiveth and resteth upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin, and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.

Q. 73. How doth faith justify a sinner in the sight of God?
A. Faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, not because of those other graces which do always accompany it, or of good works that are the fruits of it, nor as if the grace of faith, or any act thereof, were imputed to him for his justification; but only as it is an instrument by which he receiveth and applieth Christ and his righteousness.

Q. 74. What is adoption?
A. Adoption is an act of the free grace of God, in and for his only Son Jesus Christ, whereby all those that are justified are received into the number of his children, have his name put upon them, the Spirit of his Son given to them, are under his fatherly care and dispensations, admitted to all the liberties and privileges of the sons of God, made heirs of all the promises, and fellow-heirs with Christ in glory.

Q. 75. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is a work of God’s grace, whereby they whom God hath, before the foundation of the world, chosen to be holy, are in time, through the powerful operation of his Spirit applying the death and resurrection of Christ unto them, renewed in their whole man after the image of God; having the seeds of repentance unto life, and all other saving graces, put into their hearts, and those graces so stirred up, increased, and strengthened, as that they more and more die unto sin, and rise unto newness of life.

Q. 76. What is repentance unto life?
A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and Word of God, whereby, out of the sight and sense, not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, and upon the apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, he so grieves for and hates his sins, as that he turns from them all to God, purposing and endeavoring constantly to walk with him in all the ways of new obedience.

Q. 77. Wherein do justification and sanctification differ?
A. Although sanctification be inseparably joined with justification, yet they differ, in that God in justification imputeth the righteousness of Christ; in sanctification his Spirit infuseth grace, and enableth to the exercise thereof; in the former, sin is pardoned; in the other, it is subdued: the one doth equally free all believers from the revenging wrath of God, and that perfectly in this life, that they never fall into condemnation; the other is neither equal in all, nor in this life perfect in any, but growing up to perfection.

Q. 78. Whence ariseth the imperfection of sanctification in believers?
A. The imperfection of sanctification in believers ariseth from the remnants of sin abiding in every part of them, and the perpetual lustings of the flesh against the spirit; whereby they are often foiled with temptations, and fall into many sins, are hindered in all their spiritual services, and their best works are imperfect and defiled in the sight of God.

Q. 79. May not true believers, by reason of their imperfections, and the many temptations and sins they are overtaken with, fall away from the state of grace?
A. True believers, by reason of the unchangeable love of God, and his decree and covenant to give them perseverance, their inseparable union with Christ, his continual intercession for them, and the Spirit and seed of God abiding in them, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Q. 80. Can true believers be infallibly assured that they are in the estate of grace, and that they shall persevere therein unto salvation?
A. Such as truly believe in Christ, and endeavor to walk in all good conscience before him, may, without extraordinary revelation, by faith grounded upon the truth of God’s promises, and by the Spirit enabling them to discern in themselves those graces to which the promises of life are made, and bearing witness with their spirits that they are the children of God, be infallibly assured that they are in the estate of grace, and shall persevere therein unto salvation.

Q. 81. Are all true believers at all times assured of their present being in the estate of grace, and that they shall be saved?
A. Assurance of grace and salvation not being of the essence of faith, true believers may wait long before they obtain it; and, after the enjoyment thereof, may have it weakened and intermitted, through manifold distempers, sins, temptations, and desertions; yet are they never left without such a presence and support of the Spirit of God as keeps them from sinking into utter despair.

Q. 82. What is the communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ?
A. The communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is in this life, immediately after death, and at last perfected at the resurrection and day of judgment.

Q. 83. What is the communion in glory with Christ which the members of the invisible church enjoy in this life?
A. The members of the invisible church have communicated to them in this life the firstfruits of glory with Christ, as they are members of him their head, and so in him are interested in that glory which he is fully possessed of; and, as an earnest thereof, enjoy the sense of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, and hope of glory; as, on the contrary, sense of God’s revenging wrath, horror of conscience, and a fearful expectation of judgment, are to the wicked the beginning of their torments which they shall endure after death.

Q. 84. Shall all men die?
A. Death being threatened as the wages of sin, it is appointed unto all men once to die; for that all have sinned.

Q. 85. Death being the wages of sin, why are not the righteous delivered from death, seeing all their sins are forgiven in Christ?
A. The righteous shall be delivered from death itself at the last day, and even in death are delivered from the sting and curse of it; so that, although they die, yet it is out of God’s love, to free them perfectly from sin and misery, and to make them capable of further communion with Christ in glory, which they then enter upon.

Q. 86. What is the communion in glory with Christ which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death?
A. The communion in glory with Christ which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death, is, in that their souls are then made perfect in holiness, and received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies, which even in death continue united to Christ, and rest in their graves as in their beds, till at the last day they be again united to their souls. Whereas the souls of the wicked are at their death cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, and their bodies kept in their graves, as in their prisons, till the resurrection and judgment of the great day.

Q. 87. What are we to believe concerning the resurrection?
A. We are to believe that at the last day there shall be a general resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust: when they that are then found alive shall in a moment be changed; and the selfsame bodies of the dead which were laid in the grave, being then again united to their souls forever, shall be raised up by the power of Christ. The bodies of the just, by the Spirit of Christ, and by virtue of his resurrection as their head, shall be raised in power, spiritual, incorruptible, and made like to his glorious body; and the bodies of the wicked shall be raised up in dishonor by him, as an offended judge.

Q. 88. What shall immediately follow after the resurrection?
A. Immediately after the resurrection shall follow the general and final judgment of angels and men; the day and hour whereof no man knoweth, that all may watch and pray, and be ever ready for the coming of the Lord.

Q. 89. What shall be done to the wicked at the day of judgment?
A. At the day of judgment, the wicked shall be set on Christ’s left hand, and, upon clear evidence, and full conviction of their own consciences, shall have the fearful but just sentence of condemnation pronounced against them; and thereupon shall be cast out from the favorable presence of God, and the glorious fellowship with Christ, his saints, and all his holy angels, into hell, to be punished with unspeakable torments, both of body and soul, with the devil and his angels forever.

Q. 90. What shall be done to the righteous at the day of judgment?
A. At the day of judgment, the righteous, being caught up to Christ in the clouds, shall be set on his right hand, and there openly acknowledged and acquitted, shall join with him in the judging of reprobate angels and men, and shall be received into heaven, where they shall be fully and forever freed from all sin and misery; filled with inconceivable joys, made perfectly holy and happy both in body and soul, in the company of innumerable saints and holy angels, but especially in the immediate vision and fruition of God the Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, to all eternity. And this is the perfect and full communion which the members of the invisible church shall enjoy with Christ in glory, at the resurrection and day of judgment.

HAVING SEEN WHAT THE SCRIPTURES PRINCIPALLY TEACH US TO BELIEVE CONCERNING GOD, IT FOLLOWS TO CONSIDER WHAT THEY REQUIRE AS THE DUTY OF MAN

Q. 91. What is the duty which God requireth of man?
A. The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will.

Q. 92. What did God first reveal unto man as the rule of his obedience?
A. The rule of obedience revealed to Adam in the estate of innocence, and to all mankind in him, besides a special command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was the moral law.

Q. 93. What is the moral law?
A. The moral law is the declaration of the will of God to mankind, directing and binding every one to personal, perfect, and perpetual conformity and obedience thereunto, in the frame and disposition of the whole man, soul, and body, and in performance of all those duties of holiness and righteousness which he oweth to God and man: promising life upon the fulfilling, and threatening death upon the breach of it.

Q. 94. Is there any use of the moral law since the fall?
A. Although no man, since the fall, can attain to righteousness and life by the moral law; yet there is great use thereof, as well common to all men, as peculiar either to the unregenerate, or the regenerate.

Q. 95. Of what use is the moral law to all men?
A. The moral law is of use to all men, to inform them of the holy nature and will of God, and of their duty, binding them to walk accordingly; to convince them of their disability to keep it, and of the sinful pollution of their nature, hearts, and lives: to humble them in the sense of their sin and misery, and thereby help them to a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and of the perfection of his obedience.

Q. 96. What particular use is there of the moral law to unregenerate men?
A. The moral law is of use to unregenerate men, to awaken their consciences to flee from the wrath to come, and to drive them to Christ; or, upon the continuance in the estate and way of sin, to leave them inexcusable, and under the curse thereof.

Q. 97. What special use is there of the moral law to the regenerate?
A. Although they that are regenerate, and believe in Christ, be delivered from the moral law as a covenant of works, so as thereby they are neither justified nor condemned; yet besides the general uses thereof common to them with all men, it is of special use, to show them how much they are bound to Christ for his fulfilling it, and enduring the curse thereof in their stead, and for their good; and thereby to provoke them to more thankfulness, and to express the same in their greater care to conform themselves thereunto as the rule of their obedience.

Q. 98. Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the Ten Commandments, which were delivered by the voice of God upon mount Sinai, and written by him in two tables of stone; and are recorded in the twentieth chapter of Exodus; the four first commandments containing our duty to God, and the other six our duty to man.

Q. 99. What rules are to be observed for the right understanding of the Ten Commandments?
A. For the right understanding of the Ten Commandments, these rules are to be observed:
1. That the law is perfect, and bindeth every one to full conformity in the whole man unto the righteousness thereof, and unto entire obedience forever; so as to require the utmost perfection of every duty, and to forbid the least degree of every sin.
2. That it is spiritual, and so reacheth the understanding, will, affections, and all other powers of the soul; as well as words, works, and gestures.
3. That one and the same thing, in divers respects, is required or forbidden in several commandments.
4. That as, where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden; and, where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded: so, where a promise is annexed, the contrary threatening is included; and, where a threatening is annexed, the contrary promise is included.
5. That what God forbids, is at no time to be done; what he commands, is always our duty; and yet every particular duty is not to be done at all times.
6. That under one sin or duty, all of the same kind are forbidden or commanded; together with all the causes, means, occasions, and appearances thereof, and provocations thereunto.
7. That what is forbidden or commanded to ourselves, we are bound, according to our places, to endeavor that it may be avoided or performed by others, according to the duty of their places.
8. That in what is commanded to others, we are bound, according to our places and callings, to be helpful to them; and to take heed of partaking with others in what is forbidden them.

Q. 100. What special things are we to consider in the Ten Commandments?
A. We are to consider, in the Ten Commandments, the preface, the substance of the commandments themselves, and several reasons annexed to some of them, the more to enforce them.

Q. 101. What is the preface to the Ten Commandments?
A. The preface to the Ten Commandments is contained in these words, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Wherein God manifesteth his sovereignty, as being JEHOVAH, the eternal, immutable, and almighty God; having his being in and of himself, and giving being to all his words and works: and that he is a God in covenant, as with Israel of old, so with all his people; who, as he brought them out of their bondage in Egypt, so he delivereth us from our spiritual thraldom; and that therefore we are bound to take him for our God alone, and to keep all his commandments.

Q. 102. What is the sum of the four commandments which contain our duty to God?
A. The sum of the four commandments containing our duty to God, is, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and with all our mind.

Q. 103. Which is the first commandment?
A. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Q. 104. What are the duties required in the first commandment?
A. The duties required in the first commandment are, the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly, by thinking, meditating, remembering, highly esteeming, honoring, adoring, choosing, loving, desiring, fearing of him; believing him; trusting, hoping, delighting, rejoicing in him; being zealous for him; calling upon him, giving all praise and thanks, and yielding all obedience and submission to him with the whole man; being careful in all things to please him, and sorrowful when in anything he is offended; and walking humbly with him.

Q. 105. What are the sins forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the first commandment, are, atheism, in denying or not having a God; idolatry, in having or worshiping more gods than one, or any with or instead of the true God; the not having and avouching him for God, and our God; the omission or neglect of anything due to him, required in this commandment; ignorance, forgetfulness, misapprehensions, false opinions, unworthy and wicked thoughts of him; bold and curious searching into his secrets; all profaneness, hatred of God; self-love, self-seeking, and all other inordinate and immoderate setting of our mind, will, or affections upon other things, and taking them off from him in whole or in part; vain credulity, unbelief, heresy, misbelief, distrust, despair, incorrigibleness, and insensibleness under judgments, hardness of heart, pride, presumption, carnal security, tempting of God; using unlawful means, and trusting in lawful means; carnal delights and joys; corrupt, blind, and indiscreet zeal; lukewarmness, and deadness in the things of God; estranging ourselves, and apostatizing from God; praying, or giving any religious worship, to saints, angels, or any other creatures; all compacts and consulting with the devil, and hearkening to his suggestions; making men the lords of our faith and conscience; slighting and despising God and his commands; resisting and grieving of his Spirit, discontent and impatience at his dispensations, charging him foolishly for the evils he inflicts on us; and ascribing the praise of any good we either are, have, or can do, to fortune, idols, ourselves, or any other creature.

Q. 106. What are we specially taught by these words, before me, in the first commandment?
A. These words, before me, or before my face, in the first commandment, teach us, that God, who seeth all things, taketh special notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God: that so it may be an argument to dissuade from it, and to aggravate it as a most impudent provocation: as also to persuade us to do as in his sight, whatever we do in his service.

Q. 107. Which is the second commandment?
A. The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Q. 108. What are the duties required in the second commandment?
A. The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his word; particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the word; the administration and receiving of the sacraments; church government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God, and vowing unto him: as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing, all false worship; and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.

Q. 109. What sins are forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and any wise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.

Q. 110. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it?
A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it, contained in these words, For I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments; are, besides God’s sovereignty over us, and propriety in us, his fervent zeal for his own worship, and his revengeful indignation against all false worship, as being a spiritual whoredom; accounting the breakers of this commandment such as hate him, and threatening to punish them unto divers generations; and esteeming the observers of it such as love him and keep his commandments, and promising mercy to them unto many generations.

Q. 111. Which is the third commandment?
A. The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Q. 112. What is required in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment requires, that the name of God, his titles, attributes, ordinances, the word, sacraments, prayer, oaths, vows, lots, his works, and whatsoever else there is whereby he makes himself known, be holily and reverently used in thought, meditation, word, and writing; by an holy profession, and answerable conversation, to the glory of God, and the good of ourselves, and others.

Q. 113. What are the sins forbidden in the third commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the third commandment are, the not using of God’s name as is required; and the abuse of it in an ignorant, vain, irreverent, profane, superstitious, or wicked mentioning or otherwise using his titles, attributes, ordinances, or works, by blasphemy, perjury; all sinful cursings, oaths, vows, and lots; violating of our oaths and vows, if lawful; and fulfilling them, if of things unlawful; murmuring and quarreling at, curious prying into, and misapplying of God’s decrees and providences; misinterpreting, misapplying, or any way perverting the word, or any part of it, to profane jests, curious or unprofitable questions, vain janglings, or the maintaining of false doctrines; abusing it, the creatures, or anything contained under the name of God, to charms, or sinful lusts and practices; the maligning, scorning, reviling, or any wise opposing of God’s truth, grace, and ways; making profession of religion in hypocrisy, or for sinister ends; being ashamed of it, or a shame to it, by unconformable, unwise, unfruitful, and offensive walking, or backsliding from it.

Q. 114. What reasons are annexed to the third commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the third commandment, in these words, The LORD thy God, and, For the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain, are, because he is the Lord and our God, therefore his name is not to be profaned, or any way abused by us; especially because he will be so far from acquitting and sparing the transgressors of this commandment, as that he will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment, albeit many such escape the censures and punishments of men.

Q. 115. Which is the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment is, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Q. 116. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment requireth of all men the sanctifying or keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word, expressly one whole day in seven; which was the seventh from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, and the first day of the week ever since, and so to continue to the end of the world; which is the Christian sabbath, and in the New Testament called The Lord’s Day.

Q. 117. How is the sabbath or the Lord’s day to be sanctified?
A. The sabbath or Lord’s day is to be sanctified by an holy resting all the day, not only from such works as are at all times sinful, but even from such worldly employments and recreations as are on other days lawful; and making it our delight to spend the whole time (except so much of it as is to be taken up in works of necessity and mercy) in the public and private exercises of God’s worship: and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts, and with such foresight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably dispatch our worldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for the duties of that day.

Q. 118. Why is the charge of keeping the sabbath more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors?
A. The charge of keeping the sabbath is more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors, because they are bound not only to keep it themselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under their charge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them by employments of their own.

Q. 119. What are the sins forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the fourth commandment are, all omissions of the duties required, all careless, negligent, and unprofitable performing of them, and being weary of them; all profaning the day by idleness, and doing that which is in itself sinful; and by all needless works, words, and thoughts, about our worldly employments and recreations.

Q. 120. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it?
A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it, are taken from the equity of it, God allowing us six days of seven for our own affairs, and reserving but one for himself, in these words, Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: from God’s challenging a special propriety in that day, The seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: from the example of God, who in six days … made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: and from that blessing which God put upon that day, not only in sanctifying it to be a day for his service, but in ordaining it to be a means of blessing to us in our sanctifying it; Wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Q. 121. Why is the word Remember set in the beginning of the fourth commandment?
A. The word Remember is set in the beginning of the fourth commandment, partly, because of the great benefit of remembering it, we being thereby helped in our preparation to keep it, and, in keeping it, better to keep all the rest of the commandments, and to continue a thankful remembrance of the two great benefits of creation and redemption, which contain a short abridgment of religion; and partly, because we are very ready to forget it, for that there is less light of nature for it, and yet it restraineth our natural liberty in things at other times lawful; that it cometh but once in seven days, and many worldly businesses come between, and too often take off our minds from thinking of it, either to prepare for it, or to sanctify it; and that Satan with his instruments much labor to blot out the glory, and even the memory of it, to bring in all irreligion and impiety.

Q. 122. What is the sum of the six commandments which contain our duty to man?
A. The sum of the six commandments which contain our duty to man, is, to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to do to others what we would have them do to us.

Q. 123. Which is the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment is, Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Q. 124. Who are meant by father and mother in the fifth commandment?
A. By father and mother, in the fifth commandment, are meant, not only natural parents, but all superiors in age and gifts; and especially such as, by God’s ordinance, are over us in place of authority, whether in family, church, or commonwealth.

Q. 125. Why are superiors styled Father and Mother?
A. Superiors are styled Father and Mother, both to teach them in all duties toward their inferiors, like natural parents, to express love and tenderness to them, according to their several relations; and to work inferiors to a greater willingness and cheerfulness in performing their duties to their superiors, as to their parents.

Q. 126. What is the general scope of the fifth commandment?
A. The general scope of the fifth commandment is, the performance of those duties which we mutually owe in our several relations, as inferiors, superiors or equals.

Q. 127. What is the honor that inferiors owe to their superiors?
A. The honor which inferiors owe to their superiors is, all due reverence in heart, word, and behavior; prayer and thanksgiving for them; imitation of their virtues and graces; willing obedience to their lawful commands and counsels; due submission to their corrections; fidelity to, defense, and maintenance of their persons and authority, according to their several ranks, and the nature of their places; bearing with their infirmities, and covering them in love, that so they may be an honor to them and to their government.

Q. 128. What are the sins of inferiors against their superiors?
A. The sins of inferiors against their superiors are, all neglect of the duties required toward them; envying at, contempt of, and rebellion against their persons and places, in their lawful counsels, commands, and corrections; cursing, mocking, and all such refractory and scandalous carriage, as proves a shame and dishonor to them and their government.

Q. 129. What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?
A. It is required of superiors, according to that power they receive from God, and that relation wherein they stand, to love, pray for, and bless their inferiors; to instruct, counsel, and admonish them; countenancing, commending, and rewarding such as do well; and discountenancing, reproving, and chastising such as do ill; protecting, and providing for them all things necessary for soul and body: and by grave, wise, holy, and exemplary carriage, to procure glory to God, honor to themselves, and so to preserve that authority which God hath put upon them.

Q. 130. What are the sins of superiors?
A. The sins of superiors are, besides the neglect of the duties required of them, an inordinate seeking of themselves, their own glory, ease, profit, or pleasure; commanding things unlawful, or not in the power of inferiors to perform; counseling, encouraging, or favoring them in that which is evil; dissuading, discouraging, or discountenancing them in that which is good; correcting them unduly; careless exposing, or leaving them to wrong, temptation, and danger; provoking them to wrath; or any way dishonoring themselves, or lessening their authority, by an unjust, indiscreet, rigorous, or remiss behavior.

Q. 131. What are the duties of equals?
A. The duties of equals are, to regard the dignity and worth of each other, in giving honor to go one before another; and to rejoice in each others’ gifts and advancement, as their own.

Q. 132. What are the sins of equals?
A. The sins of equals are, besides the neglect of the duties required, the undervaluing of the worth, envying the gifts, grieving at the advancement or prosperity one of another; and usurping preeminence one over another.

Q. 133. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment, the more to enforce it?
A. The reason annexed to the fifth commandment, in these words, That thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, is an express promise of long life and prosperity, as far as it shall serve for God’s glory and their own good, to all such as keep this commandment.

Q. 134. Which is the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill.

Q. 135. What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?
A. The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by just defense thereof against violence, patient bearing of the hand of God, quietness of mind, cheerfulness of spirit; a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labor, and recreations; by charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness; peaceable, mild and courteous speeches and behavior; forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil; comforting and succoring the distressed, and protecting and defending the innocent.

Q. 136. What are the sins forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves, or of others, except in case of public justice, lawful war, or necessary defense; the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life; sinful anger, hatred, envy, desire of revenge; all excessive passions, distracting cares; immoderate use of meat, drink, labor, and recreations; provoking words, oppression, quarreling, striking, wounding, and whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any.

Q. 137. Which is the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Q. 138. What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?
A. The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections, words, and behavior; and the preservation of it in ourselves and others; watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses; temperance, keeping of chaste company, modesty in apparel; marriage by those that have not the gift of continency, conjugal love, and cohabitation; diligent labor in our callings; shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.

Q. 139. What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts; all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections; all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto; wanton looks, impudent or light behavior, immodest apparel; prohibiting of lawful, and dispensing with unlawful marriages; allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them; entangling vows of single life, undue delay of marriage; having more wives or husbands than one at the same time; unjust divorce, or desertion; idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, unchaste company; lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays; and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.

Q. 140. Which is the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.

Q. 141. What are the duties required in the eighth commandment?
A. The duties required in the eighth commandment are, truth, faithfulness, and justice in contracts and commerce between man and man; rendering to every one his due; restitution of goods unlawfully detained from the right owners thereof; giving and lending freely, according to our abilities, and the necessities of others; moderation of our judgments, wills, and affections concerning worldly goods; a provident care and study to get, keep, use, and dispose these things which are necessary and convenient for the sustentation of our nature, and suitable to our condition; a lawful calling, and diligence in it; frugality; avoiding unnecessary lawsuits, and suretiship, or other like engagements; and an endeavor, by all just and lawful means, to procure, preserve, and further the wealth and outward estate of others, as well as our own.

Q. 142. What are the sins forbidden in the eighth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the eighth commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, theft, robbery, man-stealing, and receiving anything that is stolen; fraudulent dealing, false weights and measures, removing landmarks, injustice and unfaithfulness in contracts between man and man, or in matters of trust; oppression, extortion, usury, bribery, vexatious lawsuits, unjust enclosures and depredation; engrossing commodities to enhance the price; unlawful callings, and all other unjust or sinful ways of taking or withholding from our neighbor what belongs to him, or of enriching ourselves; covetousness; inordinate prizing and affecting worldly goods; distrustful and distracting cares and studies in getting, keeping, and using them; envying at the prosperity of others; as likewise idleness, prodigality, wasteful gaming; and all other ways whereby we do unduly prejudice our own outward estate, and defrauding ourselves of the due use and comfort of that estate which God hath given us.

Q. 143. Which is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Q. 144. What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?
A. The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for and covering of their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; discouraging talebearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth; keeping of lawful promises; studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.

Q. 145. What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbors, as well as our own, especially in public judicature; giving false evidence, suborning false witnesses, wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause, outfacing and overbearing the truth; passing unjust sentence, calling evil good, and good evil; rewarding the wicked according to the work of the righteous, and the righteous according to the work of the wicked; forgery, concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others; speaking the truth unseasonably, or maliciously to a wrong end, or perverting it to a wrong meaning, or in doubtful or equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of the truth or justice; speaking untruth, lying, slandering, backbiting, detracting, talebearing, whispering, scoffing, reviling, rash, harsh, and partial censuring; misconstructing intentions, words, and actions; flattering, vainglorious boasting, thinking or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others; denying the gifts and graces of God; aggravating smaller faults; hiding, excusing, or extenuating of sins, when called to a free confession; unnecessary discovering of infirmities; raising false rumors, receiving and countenancing evil reports, and stopping our ears against just defense; evil suspicion; envying or grieving at the deserved credit of any; endeavoring or desiring to impair it, rejoicing in their disgrace and infamy; scornful contempt, fond admiration; breach of lawful promises; neglecting such things as are of good report, and practicing, or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering what we can in others, such things as procure an ill name.

Q. 146. Which is the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour’s.

Q. 147. What are the duties required in the tenth commandment?
A. The duties required in the tenth commandment are, such a full contentment with our own condition, and such a charitable frame of the whole soul toward our neighbor, as that all our inward motions and affections touching him, tend unto, and further all that good which is his.

Q. 148. What are the sins forbidden in the tenth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the tenth commandment are, discontentment with our own estate; envying and grieving at the good of our neighbor, together with all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.

Q. 149. Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
A. No man is able, either of himself, or by any grace received in this life, perfectly to keep the commandments of God; but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed.

Q. 150. Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous in themselves, and in the sight of God?
A. All transgressions of the law are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

Q. 151. What are those aggravations that make some sins more heinous than others?
A. Sins receive their aggravations,
1. From the persons offending; if they be of riper age, greater experience or grace, eminent for profession, gifts, place, office, guides to others, and whose example is likely to be followed by others.
2. From the parties offended: if immediately against God, his attributes, and worship; against Christ, and his grace; the Holy Spirit, his witness, and workings; against superiors, men of eminency, and such as we stand especially related and engaged unto; against any of the saints, particularly weak brethren, the souls of them, or any other, and the common good of all or many.
3. From the nature and quality of the offence: if it be against the express letter of the law, break many commandments, contain in it many sins: if not only conceived in the heart, but breaks forth in words and actions, scandalize others, and admit of no reparation: if against means, mercies, judgments, light of nature, conviction of conscience, public or private admonition, censures of the church, civil punishments; and our prayers, purposes, promises, vows, covenants, and engagements to God or men: if done deliberately, willfully, presumptuously, impudently, boastingly, maliciously, frequently, obstinately, with delight, continuance, or relapsing after repentance.
4. From circumstances of time, and place: if on the Lord’s day, or other times of divine worship; or immediately before or after these, or other helps to prevent or remedy such miscarriages: if in public, or in the presence of others, who are thereby likely to be provoked or defiled.

Q. 152. What doth every sin deserve at the hands of God?
A. Every sin, even the least, being against the sovereignty, goodness, and holiness of God, and against his righteous law, deserveth his wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come; and cannot be expiated but by the blood of Christ.

Q. 153. What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us by reason of the transgression of the law?
A. That we may escape the wrath and curse of God due to us by reason of the transgression of the law, he requireth of us repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, and the diligent use of the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation.

Q. 154. What are the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation?
A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to his church the benefits of his mediation, are all his ordinances; especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for their salvation.

Q. 155. How is the word made effectual to salvation?
A. The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the word, an effectual means of enlightening, convincing, and humbling sinners; of driving them out of themselves, and drawing them unto Christ; of conforming them to his image, and subduing them to his will; of strengthening them against temptations and corruptions; of building them up in grace, and establishing their hearts in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation.

Q. 156. Is the Word of God to be read by all?
A. Although all are not to be permitted to read the word publicly to the congregation, yet all sorts of people are bound to read it apart by themselves, and with their families: to which end, the holy Scriptures are to be translated out of the original into vulgar languages.

Q. 157. How is the Word of God to be read?
A. The holy Scriptures are to be read with an high and reverent esteem of them; with a firm persuasion that they are the very Word of God, and that he only can enable us to understand them; with desire to know, believe, and obey the will of God revealed in them; with diligence, and attention to the matter and scope of them; with meditation, application, self-denial, and prayer.

Q. 158. By whom is the Word of God to be preached?
A. The Word of God is to be preached only by such as are sufficiently gifted, and also duly approved and called to that office.

Q. 159. How is the Word of God to be preached by those that are called thereunto?
A. They that are called to labor in the ministry of the word, are to preach sound doctrine, diligently, in season and out of season; plainly, not in the enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; faithfully, making known the whole counsel of God; wisely, applying themselves to the necessities and capacities of the hearers; zealously, with fervent love to God and the souls of his people; sincerely, aiming at his glory, and their conversion, edification, and salvation.

Q. 160. What is required of those that hear the word preached?
A. It is required of those that hear the word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine what they hear by the Scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the Word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.

Q. 161. How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
A. The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not by any power in themselves, or any virtue derived from the piety or intention of him by whom they are administered, but only by the working of the Holy Ghost, and the blessing of Christ, by whom they are instituted.

Q. 162. What is a sacrament?
A. A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ in his church, to signify, seal, and exhibit unto those that are within the covenant of grace, the benefits of his mediation; to strengthen and increase their faith, and all other graces; to oblige them to obedience; to testify and cherish their love and communion one with another; and to distinguish them from those that are without.

Q. 163. What are the parts of a sacrament?
A. The parts of a sacrament are two; the one an outward and sensible sign, used according to Christ’s own appointment; the other an inward and spiritual grace thereby signified.

Q. 164. How many sacraments hath Christ instituted in his church under the New Testament?
A. Under the New Testament Christ hath instituted in his church only two sacraments, baptism and the Lord’s supper.

Q. 165. What is baptism?
A. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein Christ hath ordained the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, to be a sign and seal of ingrafting into himself, of remission of sins by his blood, and regeneration by his Spirit; of adoption, and resurrection unto everlasting life; and whereby the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible church, and enter into an open and professed engagement to be wholly and only the Lord’s.

Q. 166. Unto whom is baptism to be administered?
A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him, but infants descending from parents, either both, or but one of them, professing faith in Christ, and obedience to him, are in that respect within the covenant, and to be baptized.

Q. 167. How is baptism to be improved by us?
A. The needful but much neglected duty of improving our baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long, especially in the time of temptation, and when we are present at the administration of it to others; by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for which Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and sealed thereby, and our solemn vow made therein; by being humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of baptism, and our engagements; by growing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all other blessings sealed to us in that sacrament; by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized, for the mortifying of sin, and quickening of grace; and by endeavoring to live by faith, to have our conversation in holiness and righteousness, as those that have therein given up their names to Christ; and to walk in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body.

Q. 168. What is the Lord’s supper?
A. The Lord’s supper is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to the appointment of Jesus Christ, his death is showed forth; and they that worthily communicate feed upon his body and blood, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace; have their union and communion with him confirmed; testify and renew their thankfulness, and engagement to God, and their mutual love and fellowship each with other, as members of the same mystical body.

Q. 169. How hath Christ appointed bread and wine to be given and received in the sacrament of the Lord’s supper?
A. Christ hath appointed the ministers of his word, in the administration of this sacrament of the Lord’s supper, to set apart the bread and wine from common use, by the word of institution, thanksgiving, and prayer; to take and break the bread, and to give both the bread and the wine to the communicants: who are, by the same appointment, to take and eat the bread, and to drink the wine, in thankful remembrance that the body of Christ was broken and given, and his blood shed, for them.

Q. 170. How do they that worthily communicate in the Lord’s supper feed upon the body and blood of Christ therein?
A. As the body and blood of Christ are not corporally or carnally present in, with, or under the bread and wine in the Lord’s supper, and yet are spiritually present to the faith of the receiver, no less truly and really than the elements themselves are to their outward senses; so they that worthily communicate in the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, do therein feed upon the body and blood of Christ, not after a corporal and carnal, but in a spiritual manner; yet truly and really, while by faith they receive and apply unto themselves Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death.

Q. 171. How are they that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper to prepare themselves before they come unto it?
A. They that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper are, before they come, to prepare themselves thereunto, by examining themselves of their being in Christ, of their sins and wants; of the truth and measure of their knowledge, faith, repentance; love to God and the brethren, charity to all men, forgiving those that have done them wrong; of their desires after Christ, and of their new obedience; and by renewing the exercise of these graces, by serious meditation, and fervent prayer.

Q. 172. May one who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation, come to the Lord’s supper?
A. One who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation to the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, may have true interest in Christ, though he be not yet assured thereof; and in God’s account hath it, if he be duly affected with the apprehension of the want of it, and unfeignedly desires to be found in Christ, and to depart from iniquity: in which case (because promises are made, and this sacrament is appointed, for the relief even of weak and doubting Christians) he is to bewail his unbelief, and labor to have his doubts resolved; and, so doing, he may and ought to come to the Lord’s supper, that he may be further strengthened.

Q. 173. May any who profess the faith, and desire to come to the Lord’s supper, be kept from it?
A. Such as are found to be ignorant or scandalous, notwithstanding their profession of the faith, and desire to come to the Lord’s supper, may and ought to be kept from that sacrament, by the power which Christ hath left in his church, until they receive instruction, and manifest their reformation.

Q. 174. What is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper in the time of the administration of it?
A. It is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, that, during the time of the administration of it, with all holy reverence and attention they wait upon God in that ordinance, diligently observe the sacramental elements and actions, heedfully discern the Lord’s body, and affectionately meditate on his death and sufferings, and thereby stir up themselves to a vigorous exercise of their graces; in judging themselves, and sorrowing for sin; in earnest hungering and thirsting after Christ, feeding on him by faith, receiving of his fullness, trusting in his merits, rejoicing in his love, giving thanks for his grace; in renewing of their covenant with God, and love to all the saints.

Q. 175. What is the duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s supper?
A. The duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, is seriously to consider how they have behaved themselves therein, and with what success; if they find quickening and comfort, to bless God for it, beg the continuance of it, watch against relapses, fulfill their vows, and encourage themselves to a frequent attendance on that ordinance: but if they find no present benefit, more exactly to review their preparation to, and carriage at, the sacrament; in both which, if they can approve themselves to God and their own consciences, they are to wait for the fruit of it in due time: but, if they see they have failed in either, they are to be humbled, and to attend upon it afterwards with more care and diligence.

Q. 176. Wherein do the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper agree?
A. The sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper agree, in that the author of both is God; the spiritual part of both is Christ and his benefits; both are seals of the same covenant, are to be dispensed by ministers of the gospel, and by none other; and to be continued in the church of Christ until his second coming.

Q. 177. Wherein do the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper differ?
A. The sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper differ, in that baptism is to be administered but once, with water, to be a sign and seal of our regeneration and ingrafting into Christ, and that even to infants; whereas the Lord’s supper is to be administered often, in the elements of bread and wine, to represent and exhibit Christ as spiritual nourishment to the soul, and to confirm our continuance and growth in him, and that only to such as are of years and ability to examine themselves.

Q. 178. What is prayer?
A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, in the name of Christ, by the help of his Spirit; with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies.

Q. 179. Are we to pray unto God only?
A. God only being able to search the hearts, hear the requests, pardon the sins, and fulfill the desires of all; and only to be believed in, and worshiped with religious worship; prayer, which is a special part thereof, is to be made by all to him alone, and to none other.

Q. 180. What is it to pray in the name of Christ?
A. To pray in the name of Christ is, in obedience to his command, and in confidence on his promises, to ask mercy for his sake; not by bare mentioning of his name, but by drawing our encouragement to pray, and our boldness, strength, and hope of acceptance in prayer, from Christ and his mediation.

Q. 181. Why are we to pray in the name of Christ?
A. The sinfulness of man, and his distance from God by reason thereof, being so great, as that we can have no access into his presence without a mediator; and there being none in heaven or earth appointed to, or fit for, that glorious work but Christ alone, we are to pray in no other name but his only.

Q. 182. How doth the Spirit help us to pray?
A. We not knowing what to pray for as we ought, the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, by enabling us to understand both for whom, and what, and how prayer is to be made; and by working and quickening in our hearts (although not in all persons, nor at all times, in the same measure) those apprehensions, affections, and graces which are requisite for the right performance of that duty.

Q. 183. For whom are we to pray?
A. We are to pray for the whole church of Christ upon earth; for magistrates, and ministers; for ourselves, our brethren, yea, our enemies; and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those that are known to have sinned the sin unto death.

Q. 184. For what things are we to pray?
A. We are to pray for all things tending to the glory of God, the welfare of the church, our own or others’ good; but not for anything that is unlawful.

Q. 185. How are we to pray?
A. We are to pray with an awful apprehension of the majesty of God, and deep sense of our own unworthiness, necessities, and sins; with penitent, thankful, and enlarged hearts; with understanding, faith, sincerity, fervency, love, and perseverance, waiting upon him, with humble submission to his will.

Q. 186. What rule hath God given for our direction in the duty of prayer?
A. The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in the duty of prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which our Savior Christ taught his disciples, commonly called The Lord’s prayer.

Q. 187. How is the Lord’s prayer to be used?
A. The Lord’s prayer is not only for direction, as a pattern, according to which we are to make other prayers; but may also be used as a prayer, so that it be done with understanding, faith, reverence, and other graces necessary to the right performance of the duty of prayer.

Q. 188. Of how many parts doth the Lord’s prayer consist?
A. The Lord’s prayer consists of three parts; a preface, petitions, and a conclusion.

Q. 189. What doth the preface of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A. The preface of the Lord’s prayer (contained in these words, Our Father which art in heaven) teacheth us, when we pray, to draw near to God with confidence of his fatherly goodness, and our interest therein; with reverence, and all other childlike dispositions, heavenly affections, and due apprehensions of his sovereign power, majesty, and gracious condescension: as also, to pray with and for others.

Q. 190. What do we pray for in the first petition?
A. In the first petition (which is, Hallowed be thy name), acknowledging the utter inability and indisposition that is in ourselves and all men to honor God aright, we pray, that God would by his grace enable and incline us and others to know, to acknowledge, and highly to esteem him, his titles, attributes, ordinances, word, works, and whatsoever he is pleased to make himself known by; and to glorify him in thought, word, and deed: that he would prevent and remove atheism, ignorance, idolatry, profaneness, and whatsoever is dishonorable to him; and, by his overruling providence, direct and dispose of all things to his own glory.

Q. 191. What do we pray for in the second petition?
A. In the second petition (which is, Thy kingdom come), acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan, we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fullness of the Gentiles brought in; the church furnished with all gospel officers and ordinances, purged from corruption, countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate; that the ordinances of Christ may be purely dispensed, and made effectual to the converting of those that are yet in their sins, and the confirming, comforting, and building up of those that are already converted: that Christ would rule in our hearts here, and hasten the time of his second coming, and our reigning with him forever: and that he would be pleased so to exercise the kingdom of his power in all the world, as may best conduce to these ends.

Q. 192. What do we pray for in the third petition?
A. In the third petition (which is, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven), acknowledging that by nature we and all men are not only utterly unable and unwilling to know and to do the will of God, but prone to rebel against his word, to repine and murmur against his providence, and wholly inclined to do the will of the flesh, and of the devil: we pray, that God would by his Spirit take away from ourselves and others all blindness, weakness, indisposedness, and perverseness of heart; and by his grace make us able and willing to know, do, and submit to his will in all things, with the like humility, cheerfulness, faithfulness, diligence, zeal, sincerity, and constancy, as the angels do in heaven.

Q. 193. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
A. In the fourth petition (which is, Give us this day our daily bread), acknowledging that in Adam, and by our own sin, we have forfeited our right to all the outward blessings of this life, and deserve to be wholly deprived of them by God, and to have them cursed to us in the use of them; and that neither they of themselves are able to sustain us, nor we to merit, or by our own industry to procure them; but prone to desire, get, and use them unlawfully: we pray for ourselves and others, that both they and we, waiting upon the providence of God from day to day in the use of lawful means, may, of his free gift, and as to his fatherly wisdom shall seem best, enjoy a competent portion of them; and have the same continued and blessed unto us in our holy and comfortable use of them, and contentment in them; and be kept from all things that are contrary to our temporal support and comfort.

Q. 194. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
A. In the fifth petition (which is, Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors), acknowledging that we and all others are guilty both of original and actual sin, and thereby become debtors to the justice of God; and that neither we, nor any other creature, can make the least satisfaction for that debt: we pray for ourselves and others, that God of his free grace would, through the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, apprehended and applied by faith, acquit us both from the guilt and punishment of sin, accept us in his Beloved; continue his favor and grace to us, pardon our daily failings, and fill us with peace and joy, in giving us daily more and more assurance of forgiveness; which we are the rather emboldened to ask, and encouraged to expect, when we have this testimony in ourselves, that we from the heart forgive others their offenses.

Q. 195. What do we pray for in the sixth petition?
A. In the sixth petition (which is, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil), acknowledging that the most wise, righteous, and gracious God, for divers holy and just ends, may so order things, that we may be assaulted, foiled, and for a time led captive by temptations; that Satan, the world, and the flesh, are ready powerfully to draw us aside, and ensnare us; and that we, even after the pardon of our sins, by reason of our corruption, weakness, and want of watchfulness, are not only subject to be tempted, and forward to expose ourselves unto temptations, but also of ourselves unable and unwilling to resist them, to recover out of them, and to improve them; and worthy to be left under the power of them; we pray, that God would so overrule the world and all in it, subdue the flesh, and restrain Satan, order all things, bestow and bless all means of grace, and quicken us to watchfulness in the use of them, that we and all his people may by his providence be kept from being tempted to sin; or, if tempted, that by his Spirit we may be powerfully supported and enabled to stand in the hour of temptation; or when fallen, raised again and recovered out of it, and have a sanctified use and improvement thereof: that our sanctification and salvation may be perfected, Satan trodden under our feet, and we fully freed from sin, temptation, and all evil, forever.

Q. 196. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A. The conclusion of the Lord’s prayer (which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.) teacheth us to enforce our petitions with arguments, which are to be taken, not from any worthiness in ourselves, or in any other creature, but from God; and with our prayers to join praises, ascribing to God alone eternal sovereignty, omnipotency, and glorious excellency; in regard whereof, as he is able and willing to help us, so we by faith are emboldened to plead with him that he would, and quietly to rely upon him, that he will fulfill our requests. And, to testify this our desire and assurance, we say, Amen.

Westminster Shorter Catechism

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

Q. 3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.

Q. 4. What is God?
A. God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.

Q. 5. Are there more Gods than one?
A. There is but one only, the living and true God.

Q. 6. How many persons are there in the godhead?
A. There are three persons in the Godhead; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.

Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?
A. The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.

Q. 8. How doth God execute his decrees?
A. God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence.

Q. 9. What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.

Q. 10. How did God create man?
A. God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.

Q. 11. What are God’s works of providence?
A. God’s works of providence are his most holy, wise and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.

Q. 12. What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the estate wherein he was created?
A. When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.

Q. 13. Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
A. Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God.

Q. 14. What is sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.

Q. 15. What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created?
A. The sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created was their eating the forbidden fruit.

Q. 16. Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?
A. The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.

Q. 17. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
A. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.

Q. 18. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell consists in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin; together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it.

Q. 19. What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. All mankind by their fall lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.

Q. 20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A. God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a redeemer.

Q. 21. Who is the redeemer of God’s elect?
A. The only redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, forever.

Q. 22. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.

Q. 23. What offices doth Christ execute as our redeemer?
A. Christ, as our redeemer, executeth the offices of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king, both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation.

Q. 24. How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
A. Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by his word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.

Q. 25. How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
A. Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God; and in making continual intercession for us.

Q. 26. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.

Q. 27. Wherein did Christ’s humiliation consist?
A. Christ’s humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross; in being buried, and continuing under the power of death for a time.

Q. 28. Wherein consisteth Christ’s exaltation?
A. Christ’s exaltation consisteth in his rising again from the dead on the third day, in ascending up into heaven, in sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and in coming to judge the world at the last day.

Q. 29. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit.

Q. 30. How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.

Q. 31. What is effectual calling?
A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.

Q. 32. What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?
A. They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, adoption and sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them.

Q. 33. What is justification?
A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.

Q. 34. What is adoption?
A. Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of, the sons of God.

Q. 35. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.

Q. 36. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification?
A. The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.

Q. 37. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
A. The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection.

Q. 38. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
A. At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God to all eternity.

Q. 39. What is the duty which God requireth of man?
A. The duty which God requireth of man is obedience to his revealed will.

Q. 40. What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
A. The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience was the moral law.

Q. 41. Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments.

Q. 42. What is the sum of the ten commandments?
A. The sum of the ten commandments is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves.

Q. 43. What is the preface to the ten commandments?
A. The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Q. 44. What doth the preface to the ten commandments teach us?
A. The preface to the ten commandments teacheth us that because God is the Lord, and our God, and redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.

Q. 45. Which is the first commandment?
A. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Q. 46. What is required in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly.

Q. 47. What is forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment forbiddeth the denying, or not worshiping and glorifying the true God as God, and our God; and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone.

Q. 48. What are we specially taught by these words before me in the first commandment?
A. These words before me in the first commandment teach us that God, who seeth all things, taketh notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other god.

Q. 49. Which is the second commandment?
A. The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Q. 50. What is required in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his word.

Q. 51. What is forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment forbiddeth the worshiping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his word.

Q. 52. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment are, God’s sovereignty over us, his propriety in us, and the zeal he hath to his own worship.

Q. 53. Which is the third commandment?
A. The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Q. 54. What is required in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God’s names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word and works.

Q. 55. What is forbidden in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment forbiddeth all profaning or abusing of anything whereby God maketh himself known.

Q. 56. What is the reason annexed to the third commandment?
A. The reason annexed to the third commandment is that however the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment.

Q. 57. Which is the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment is, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Q. 58. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy sabbath to himself.

Q. 59. Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the weekly sabbath?
A. From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly sabbath; and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian sabbath.

Q. 60. How is the sabbath to be sanctified?
A. The sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.

Q. 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.

Q. 62. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are, God’s allowing us six days of the week for our own employments, his challenging a special propriety in the seventh, his own example, and his blessing the sabbath day.

Q. 63. Which is the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment is, Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Q. 64. What is required in the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment requireth the preserving the honor, and performing the duties, belonging to every one in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors or equals.

Q. 65. What is forbidden in the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment forbiddeth the neglecting of, or doing anything against, the honor and duty which belongeth to every one in their several places and relations.

Q. 66. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment?
A. The reason annexed to the fifth commandment is a promise of long life and prosperity (as far as it shall serve for God’s glory and their own good) to all such as keep this commandment.

Q. 67. Which is the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill.

Q. 68. What is required in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life, and the life of others.

Q. 69. What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment forbiddeth the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbor unjustly, or whatsoever tendeth thereunto.

Q. 70. Which is the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Q. 71. What is required in the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment requireth the preservation of our own and our neighbor’s chastity, in heart, speech and behavior.

Q. 72. What is forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment forbiddeth all unchaste thoughts, words and actions.

Q. 73. Which is the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.

Q. 74. What is required in the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment requireth the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.

Q. 75. What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever doth or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbor’s wealth or outward estate.

Q. 76. Which is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Q. 77. What is required in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name, especially in witness-bearing.

Q. 78. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbor’s good name.

Q. 79. Which is the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.

Q. 80. What is required in the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbor, and all that is his.

Q. 81. What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment forbiddeth all discontentment with our own estate, envying or grieving at the good of our neighbor, and all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.

Q. 82. Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
A. No mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but doth daily break them in thought, word and deed.

Q. 83. Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
A. Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

Q. 84. What doth every sin deserve?
A. Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.

Q. 85. What doth God require of us that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us for sin?
A. To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.

Q. 86. What is faith in Jesus Christ?
A. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.

Q. 87. What is repentance unto life?
A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.

Q. 88. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption?
A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption, are his ordinances, especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.

Q. 89. How is the word made effectual to salvation?
A. The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching, of the word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation.

Q. 90. How is the word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation?
A. That the word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation and prayer; receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.

Q. 91. How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
A. The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in him that doth administer them; but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith receive them.

Q. 92. What is a sacrament?
A. A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ; wherein, by sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers.

Q. 93. Which are the sacraments of the New Testament?
A. The sacraments of the New Testament are baptism and the Lord’s supper.

Q. 94. What is baptism?
A. Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s.

Q. 95. To whom is baptism to be administered?
A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him; but the infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptized.

Q. 96. What is the Lord’s supper?
A. The Lord’s supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to Christ’s appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace.

Q. 97. What is required to the worthy receiving of the Lord’s supper?
A. It is required of them that would worthily partake of the Lord’s supper, that they examine themselves of their knowledge to discern the Lord’s body, of their faith to feed upon him, of their repentance, love, and new obedience; lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgment to themselves.

Q. 98. What is prayer?
A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.

Q. 99. What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?
A. The whole word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which Christ taught his disciples, commonly called the Lord’s prayer.

Q. 100. What doth the preface of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A. The preface of the Lord’s prayer, which is, Our Father which art in heaven, teacheth us to draw near to God with all holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father able and ready to help us; and that we should pray with and for others.

Q. 101. What do we pray for in the first petition?
A. In the first petition, which is, Hallowed be thy name, we pray that God would enable us and others to glorify him in all that whereby he maketh himself known; and that he would dispose all things to his own glory.

Q. 102. What do we pray for in the second petition?
A. In the second petition, which is, Thy kingdom come, we pray that Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed; and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced, ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it; and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened.

Q. 103. What do we pray for in the third petition?
A. In the third petition, which is, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven, we pray that God, by his grace, would make us able and willing to know, obey and submit to his will in all things, as the angels do in heaven.

Q. 104. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
A. In the fourth petition, which is, Give us this day our daily bread, we pray that of God’s free gift we may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them.

Q. 105. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
A. In the fifth petition, which is, And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, we pray that God, for Christ’s sake, would freely pardon all our sins; which we are the rather encouraged to ask, because by his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others.

Q. 106. What do we pray for in the sixth petition?
A. In the sixth petition, which is, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, we pray that God would either keep us from being tempted to sin, or support and deliver us when we are tempted.

Q. 107. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A. The conclusion of the Lord’s prayer, which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen, teacheth us to take our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power and glory to him. And in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen.

The Savoy Declaration (1658)

Chapter 1 Of The Holy Scripture
Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence, do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation: therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his Church; and afterwards for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing: which maketh the holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people, being now ceased.

Under the name of holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the Books of the Old and New Testament; which are these: Of the Old Testament Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations. Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiab, Jonah, Micab, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Of the New Testament Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 To Timothy, 2 To Timothy, To Titus, To Philemon, The Epistle to the Hebrews, The Epistle of James, The first and second Epistles of Peter, The first, second and third Epistles of John, the Epistle of Jude, The Revelation.

All which are given by the inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.

The Books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of, than other human writings.

The authority of the holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the Author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.

We may he moved and induced by the testimony of the Church, to an high and reverent esteem of the holy Scripture; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture; unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old) and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of writing of it was most generally known to the nations) being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as in all controversies of religion the Church is finally to appeal unto them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read and search them; therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.

The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one) it must be searched and known by other places, that speak more clearly.

The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other, but the holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit; into which Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.

Chapter 2 Of God and of the Holy Trinity

There is but one only living and true God; who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure Spirit, invisible, without body, parts or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory, most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, the rewarder of them that diligently seek him; and withal most just and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.

God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in, and of himself; and is alone, in, and unto himself, all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures, which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them: He is the alone fountain of all being. of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and bath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth. In his sight all things are open and manifest, his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain. He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands. To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service or obedience, as creatures, they owe unto the Creator, and whatever he is further pleased to require of them.

In the unity of the God-head there be three Persons, of one substance, power and eternity. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. Which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence upon him.

Chapter 3 Of God’s Eternal Decree
God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin. nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed any thing, because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.

By the decree of God for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others fore-ordained to everlasting death.

These angels and men thus predestinated, and fore-ordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number is so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.

Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions or causes moving him thereunto, and all to the praise of his glorious grace.

As God bath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he by the eternal and most free purpose of his will fore-ordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power, through faith, unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified and saved, but the elect only.

The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy, as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by and to ordain them to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.

The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men attending the will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election. So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence and admiration of God, and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the Gospel.

Chapter 4 Of Creation
It pleased God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom and goodness, in the beginning, to create or make out of nothing the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good.

After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness and true holiness, after his own image, having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Besides this law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.

Chapter 5 Of Providence
God the great Creator of all things, doth uphold, direct, dispose and govern all creatures, actions and things from the greatest even to the least by his most wise and holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness and mercy.

Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly; yet by the same providence he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.

God in his ordinary providence maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them at his pleasure.

The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, in that his determinate counsel extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men (and that not by a bare permission) which also he most wisely and powerfully boundeth, and otherwise ordereth and governeth in a manifold dispensation to his own most holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God, who being most holy and righteous, neither is, nor can be the author or approver of sin.

The most wise, righteous and gracious God doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption, and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.

As for those wicked and ungodly men, whom God as a righteous judge, for former sins, doth blind and harden, from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had, and exposeth them to such objects, as their corruption makes occasions of sin; and withal gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan; whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others.

As the providence of God doth in general reach to all creatures, so after a most special manner it taketh care of his Church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof.

Chapter 6 Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof

God having made a covenant of works and life, thereupon, with our first parents and all their posterity in them, they being seduced by the subtlety and temptation of Satan did willfully transgress the law of their creation, and break the covenant in eating the forbidden fruit.

By this sin they, and we in them, fell from original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.

They being the root, and by God’s appointment standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation.

From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.

This corruption of nature during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself and all the motions thereof are truly and properly sin.

Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, doth in its own nature bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries, spiritual, temporal and eternal.

Chapter 7 Of God’s Covenant with Man
The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of life, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.

The first covenant made with man, was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.

Man by his fall having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the Covenant of Grace; wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.

This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in the Scripture by the name of a Testament, in reference to the dcath of Jesus Christ the testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.

Although this covenant hath been differently and variously administered in respect of ordinances and institutions in the time of the law, and since the coming of Christ in the flesh; yet for the substance and efficacy of it, to all its spiritual and saving ends, it is one and the same; upon the account of which various dispensations, it is called the Old and New Testament.

Chapter 8 Of Christ the Mediator

It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus his only begotten Son, according to a covenant made between them both, to be the Mediator between God and man; the Prophet, Priest, and King, the Head and Saviour of his Church, the Heir of all things and Judge of the world; unto whom he did from all eternity give a people to be his seed, and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.

The Son of God, the second Person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man’s nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance: So that two whole perfect and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one Person, without conversion, composition, or confusion; which Person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.

The Lord Jesus in his human nature, thus united to the divine in the Person of the Son, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit above measure, having in him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell; to the end that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, he might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety; which office he took not unto himself, but was thereunto called by his Father, who also put all power and judgment into his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.

This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake; which that he might discharge, he was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfil it, and underwent the punishment due to us, which we should have borne and suffered, being made sin and a curse for us, enduring most grievous torments immediately from God in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body, was crucified, and died; was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption. On the third day he arose from the dead with the same body in which he suffered, with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father, making intercession; and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.

The Lord Jesus by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of God, and purchased not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father bath given unto him.

Although the work of redemption was not actually wrought by Christ, till after his incarnation; yet the virtue, efficacy and benefits thereof were communicated to the elect in all ages, successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types and sacrifices wherein he was revealed and signified to be the Seed of the woman, which should bruise the serpent’s head, and the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world, being yesterday and today the same, and for ever.

Christ in the work of mediation acteth according to both natures; by each nature doing that which is proper to itself; yet by reason of the unity of the Person, that which is proper to one nature, is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the Person denominated by the other nature.

To all those for whom Christ bath purchased redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same; making intercession for them; and revealing unto them in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation; effectually persuading them by his Spirit to believe and obey, and governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit; overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdom, and in such manner and ways as are most consonant to his most wonderful and unsearchable dispensation.

Chapter 9 Of Free-Will
God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice that it is neither forced, nor by any absolute necessity of nature determined to do good or evil.

Man in his state of innocency had freedom and power to will and to do that which was good and well-pleasing to God; but yet mutably, so that he might fall from it.

Man by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able by his own strength to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.

When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin, and by his grace alone enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so as that, by reason of his remaining corruption, he doth not perfectly nor only will that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil.

The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to do good alone in the state of glory only.

Chapter 10 Of Effectual Calling

All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased in his appointed and accepted time effectually to call by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good; and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.

This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from any thing at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.

Elect infants dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth: so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

Others not elected. although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet not being effectually drawn by the Father, they neither do nor can come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: much less can men not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the law of that religion they do profess: and to assert and maintain that they may, is very pernicious, and to be detested.

Chapter 11 Of Justification
Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth; not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing Christ’s active obedience to the whole law, and passive obedience in his death for their whole and sole righteousness, they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.

Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ, and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification; yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.

Christ by his obedience and death did fully discharge the debt of all those that are justified, and did by the sacrifice of himself, in the blood of his cross, undergoing in their stead the penalty due unto them make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in their behalf. Yet in as much as he was given by the Father for them, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead, and both freely, not for any thing in them, their justification is only of free grace, that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.

God did from all eternity decree to justify all the elect, and Christ did in the fulness of time die for their sins, and rise again for their justification: nevertheless, they are not justified personally, until the Holy Spirit doth in due time actually apply Christ unto them.

God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified; and although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may by their sins fall under God’s fatherly displeasure: and in that condition they have not usually the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.

The justification of believers under the Old Testament, was in all these respects one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament.

Chapter 12 Of Adoption
All those that are justified, God vouchsafeth in and for his only Son Jesus Christ to make partakers of the grace of adoption, by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God, have his name put upon them, receive the Spirit of adoption; have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry, Abba Father; are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by him as by a father; yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises as heirs of everlasting salvation.

Chapter 13 Of Sanctification
They that are united to Christ, effectually called and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, are also further sanctified really and personally through the same virtue, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened, and mortified, and they more and more quickened, and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of all true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

This sanctification is throughout in the whole man, yet imperfect in this life; there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part; whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

In which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail, yet through the continual supply of strength froin the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome, and so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Chapter 14 Of Saving Faith
The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word; by which also, and by the administration of the seals, prayer, and other means, it is increased and strengthened.

By this faith a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God himself speaking therein, and acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come. But the principal acts of saving faith are, accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone, for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.

This faith, although it be different in degrees, and may be weak or strong yet it is in the least degree of it different in the kind or nature of it (as is all other saving grace) from the faith and common grace of temporary believers; and therefore, though it may be many times assailed and weakened, yet it gets the victory, growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance through Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our faith.

Chapter 15 Of Repentance unto Life and Salvation
Such of the elect as are converted at riper years, having sometime lived in the state of nature, and therein served divers lusts and pleasures, God in their effectual calling giveth them repentance unto life.

Whereas there is none that doth good, and sinneth not, and the best of men may through the power and deceitfulness of their corruptions dwelling in them, with the prevalency of temptation, fall into great sins and provocations; God hath in the covenant of grace mercifully provided, that believers so sinning and falling, be renewed through repentance unto salvation.

This saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person being by the Holy Ghost made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth by faith in Christ humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrence, praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose, and endeavour by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things.

As repentance is to be continued through the whole course of our lives, upon the account of the body of death, and the motions thereof; so it is every man’s duty to repent of his particular known sins particularly.

Such is the provision which God hath made through Christ in the covenant of grace, for the preservation of believers unto salvation, that although there is no sin so small, but it deserves damnation; yet there is no sin so great, that it shall bring damnation on them who truly repent; which makes the constant preaching of repentance necessary.

Chapter 16 Of Good Works
Good works are only such as God hath commanded in his holy Word, and not such as without the warrant thereof are devised by men out of blind zeal, or upon pretence of good intentions.

These good works done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith; and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto; that having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.

Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ. And that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit to work in them to will and to do of his good pleasure; yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a pecial motion of the Spirit; but they-ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.

They who in their obedience attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate, and to do more than God requires, as that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.

We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins; but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants; and because, as they are good, they proceed from the Spirit, and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s judgment.

Yet notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblameable and unreproveable in God’s sight; but that he looking upon them in his Son is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.

Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and to others: yet because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith; nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word; nor to a right end, the glory of God; they are therefore sinful, and cannot please God, nor make a man meet to receive grace from God; and yet their neglect of them is more sinful, and displeasing unto God.

Chapter 17 Of The Perseverance of The Saints
They whom God bath accepted in his Beloved, effeGtually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.

This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election; from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ, and union with him; the oath of God; the abiding of his Spirit; and of the seed of God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.

And though they may, through the temptation of Satan, and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; and for a time continue therein, whereby they incur God’s displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit; come to have their graces and comforts impaired; have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves; yet they are and shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Chapter 18 Of The Assurance of Grace and Salvation
Although temporary believers and other unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes, and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God, and state of salvation, which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.

This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion, grounded upon a fallible hope; but an infallible assurance of faith, founded on the blood and righteousness of Christ, revealed in the gospel, and also upon the inward evidence of those graces unto which promises are made, and on the immediate witness of the Spirit, testifying our adoption, and as a fruit thereof, leaving the heart more humble and holy.

This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it; yet being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation, in the right use of ordinary means attain thereunto. And therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure; that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance; so far is it from inclining men to looseness.

True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished and intermitted; as by negligence in preserving of it; by falling into some special sin, which woundeth the conscience, and grieveth the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation; by God’s withdrawing the light of his countenance; suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness, and to have no light; yet are they neither utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart and conscience of duty, out of which by the operation of the Spirit this assurance may in due time be revived, and by the which in the meantime they are supported from utter despair.

Chapter 19 Of The Law of God
God gave to Adam a law of universal obedience written in his heart, and a particular precept of not eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, as a covenant of works, by which he bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact and perpetual obedience; promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it; and endued him with power and ability to keep it.

This law, so written in the heart, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness after the fall of man; and was delivered by God upon mount Sinai in ten commandments, and written in two tables; the four first commandments containing our duty towards God, and the other six our duty to man.

Beside this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances; partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings and benefits, and partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties. All which ceremonial laws being appointed only to the time of reformation, are by Jesus Christ the true Messiah and only lawgiver, who was furnished with power from the Father for that end, abrogated and taken away.

To them also he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any now by virtue of that institution, their general equity only being still of moral use.

The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it: neither doth Christ in the gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.

Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned; yet it is of great use to them as well as to others, in that, as a rule of life, informing them of the will of God, and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly; discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts and lives; so as examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin; together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of his obedience. It is likewise of use to the regenerate, to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin; and the threatenings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve, and what afflictions in this life they may expect for them, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law. The promises of it in like manner show them God’s approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof, although not as due to them by the law, as a covenant of works; so as a mans doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourageth to the one, and deterreth from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law, and not under grace.

Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the gospel, but do sweetly comply with it; the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely and cheerfully, which the will of God revealed in the law required to be done.

Chapter 20 Of the Gospel, and of the Extent of the Grace Thereof
The covenant of works being broken by sin, and made unprofitable unto life, God was pleased to give unto the elect the promise of Christ, the seed of the woman, as the means of calling them, and begetting in them faith and repentance: in this promise the gospel, as to the substance of it, was revealed, and was therein effectual for the conversion and salvation of sinners.

This promise of Christ, and salvation by him, is revealed only in and by the Word of God; neither do the works of creation or providence, with the light of nature, make discovery of Christ, or of grace by him, so much as in a general or obscure way; much less that men destitute of the revelation of him by the promise or gospel, should be enabled thereby to attain saving faith or repentance.

The revelation of the gospel unto sinners, made in divers times, and by sundry parts, with the addition of promises and precepts for the obedience required therein, as to the nations and persons to whom it is granted, is merely of the sovereign will and good pleasure of God, not being annexed by virtue of any promise to the due improvement of men’s natural abilities, by virtue of common light received without it, which none ever did make or can so do. And therefore in all ages the preaching of the gospel hath been granted unto persons and nations, as to the extent or straitening of it, in great variety, according to the counsel of the will of God.

Although the gospel be the only outward means of revealing Christ and saving grace, and is as such abundantly sufficient thereunto; yet that men who are dead in trespasses, may be born again, quickened or regenerated, there is moreover necessary an effectual, irresistible work of the Holy Ghost upon the whole soul, for the producing in them a new spiritual life, without which no other means are sufficient for their conversion unto God.

Chapter 21 Of Christian Liberty, and Liberty of Conscience
The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel, consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the rigour and curse of the law; and in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin, from the evil of afflictions, the fear and sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation; as also in their free access to God, and their yielding obedience unto him, not out of slavish fear, hut a childlike love and willing mind. All which were common also to believers under the law, for the substance of them; but under the New Testament the liberty of Christians is further enlarged in their freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law, the whole legal administration of the covenant of grace, to which the Jewish church was subjected; and in oreater boldness of access to the throne of grace, and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of.

God alone is lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his Word, or not contained in it; so that to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.

They who upon pretence of Christian liberty do practise any sin, or cherish any lust, as they do thereby pervert the main design of the grace of the gospel to their own destruction; so they wholly destroy the end of Christian liberty, which is, that being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.

Chapter 22 Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath-Day
The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all, is just, good, and doth good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served with all the heart, and all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.

Religious worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and to him alone; not to angels, saints, or any other creatures; and since the fall, not without a Mediator, nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.

Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of natural worship, is by God required of all men; but that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son by the help of his Spirit, according to his will, with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and when with others in a known tongue.

Prayer is to be made for things lawful, and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.

The reading of the Scriptures, preaching, and hearing the Word of God, singing of psalms; as also the administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, are all parts of religious worship of God, to be performed in obedience unto God with understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear. Solemn humiliations, with fastings and thanksgivings upon special occasions, are in their several times and seasons to be used in a holy and religious manner.

Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is now under the gospel either tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed; but God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth, as in private families daily, and in secret each one by himself, so more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly nor wilfully to be neglected, or forsaken, when God by his Word or providence calleth thereunto.

As it is of the law of nature, that in general a proportion of time by God’s appointment be set apart for the worship of God; so by his Word in a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a Sabbath to be kept holy unto him; which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which in Scripture is called the Lord’s Day, and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week being abolished.

This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations; but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.

Chapter 23 Of Lawful oaths and Vows
A lawful oath is a part of religious worship, wherein the person swearing in truth, righteousness and judgment, solemnly calleth God to witness what he asserteth or promiseth, and to judge him according to the truth or falsehood of what he sweareth.

The name of God only is that by which men ought to swear, and therein it is to be used with all holy fear and reverence. Therefore to swear vainly, or rashly, by that glorious or dreadful name, or to swear at all by any other thing, is sinful and to be abhorred. Yet as in matters of weight and moment an oath is warranted by the Word of God under the New Testament, as well as under the Old; so a lawful oath, being imposed by lawful authority in such matters, ought to be taken.

Whosoever taketh an oath, warranted by the Word of God, ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act, and therein to avouch nothing but what he is fully persuaded is the truth: neither may any man bind himself by oath to any thing, but what is good and just, and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and resolved to perform. Yet it is a sin to refuse an oath touching any thing that is good and just, being lawfully imposed by authority.

An oath is to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation or mental reservation. It cannot oblige to sin, but in any thing not sinful, being taken it binds to performance, although to a man’s own hurt; nor is it to be violated, although made to heretics or infidels.

A vow, which is not to be made to any creature, but God alone, is of the like nature with a promissory oath, and ought to be made with the ]ike religious care, and to be performed with the like faithfulness.

Popish monastical vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself.

Chapter 24 Of The Civil Magistrate
God the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be under him, over the people for his own glory and the public good; and to this end hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defence and encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil-doers.

It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate, when called thereunto: in the management whereof, as they ought specially to maintain justice and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth; so for that end they may lawfully now under the New Testament wage war upon just and necessary occasion.

Although the magistrate is bound to encourage, promote, and protect the professors and profession of the gospel, and to manage and order civil administrations in a due subserviency to the interest of Christ in the world, and to that end to take care that men of corrupt minds and conversations do not licentiously publish and divulge blasphemy and errors, in their own nature subverting the faith and inevitably destroying the souls of them that receive them: yet in such differences about the doctrines of the gospel, or ways of the worship of God, as may befall men exercising a good conscience, manifesting it in their conversation, and holding the foundation, not disturbing others in their ways or worship that differ from them; there is no warrant for the magistrate under the gospel to abridge them of their liberty.

It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates, to honour their persons, to pay them tribute and other dues, to obey their ]awful commands, and to be subject to their authority for conscience sake. Infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not make void the magistrate’s just and legal authority, nor free the people from their obedience to him: from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted, much less hath the Pope any power or jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people, and least of all to deprive them of their dominions or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretence whatsoever.

Chapter 25 Of Marriage
Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband at the same time.

Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife; for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed, and for preventing of uncleanness.

It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent. Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry in the Lord; and therefore such as profess the true reformed religion, should not marry with infidels, Papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly, be unequally yoked by marrying with such as are wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies.

Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguity or affinity forbidden in the Word; nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man, or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife.

Chapter 26 Of The Church
The catholic or universal church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ, the Head thereof, and is the Spouse, the Body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

The whole body of men throughout the world, professing the faith of the gospel and obedience unto God by Christ according to it, not destroying their own profession by any errors everting the foundation, or unholiness of conversation, are, and may be called the visible catholic church of Christ; although as such it is not entrusted with the administration of any ordinances, or have any officers to rule or govern in, or over the whole body.

The purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error, and some have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan: nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have, a visible kingdom in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make profession of his name.

There is no other Head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ; nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of Iperdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God, whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.

As the Lord in his care and love towards his Church, hath in his infinite wise providence exercised it with great variety in all ages, for the good of them that love him, and his own glory; so according to his promise, we expect that in the latter days, antichrist being destroyed, the Jews called, and the adversaries of the kingdom of his dear Son broken, the churches of Christ being enlarged, and edified through a free and plentiful communication of light and grace, shall enjoy in this world a more quiet, peaceable and glorious condition than they have enjoyed.

Chapter 27 Of The Communion of Saints
All Saints that are united to Jesus Christ their Head, by his Spirit and faith, although they are not made thereby one person with him, have fellowship in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection and glory: and being united to one another in love, they have communion in each others gifts nd graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.

All Saints are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necessities: which communion, though especially to be exercised by them in the relations wherein they stand, whether in families or churches, yet as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who in every place call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus.

Chapter 28 Of The Sacraments
Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace, immediately instituted by Christ, to represent him and his benefits, and to confirm our interest in him, and solemnly to engage us to the service of God in Christ, according to his Word.

There is in every sacrament a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified; whence it comes to pass that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other.

The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither doth the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that doth administer it, but upon the work of the Spirit, and the word of institution; which contains, together with a precept authorising the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers.

There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the gospel, that is to say, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; neither of which may be dispensed by any but a minister of the Word lawfully called.

The Sacraments of the Old Testament, in regard of the spiritual things thereby signified and exhibited, were for substance the same with those of the New.

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Chapter 29
Of Baptism

Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ to be unto the party baptised a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God through Jesus Christ to walk in newness of life; which ordinance is by Christ’s own appointment to be continued in his Church until the end of the world.

The outward element to be used in this ordinance, is water, wherewith the party is to be baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a minister of the gospel lawfully called.

Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person.

Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one or both believing parents are to be baptised, and those only.

Although it be a great sin to conterin or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated or saved without it; or that all that are baptised are undoubtedly regenerated.

The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will in his appointed time.

Baptism is but once to be administered to any person

Chapter 30 Of The Lord’s Supper
Our Lord Jesus in the night wherein he was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of his body and blood, called the Lord’s Supper, to be observed in his churches to the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and showing forth of the sacrifice of himself in his death, the sealing of all benefits thereof unto true believers, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in and to all duties which they owe unto him, and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other.

In this sacrament Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sin of the quick or dead, but only a memorial of that one offering up of himself upon the cross once for all, and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same; so that the Popish sacrifice of the mass (as they call it) is most abominable, injurious to Christ’s own only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect.

The Lord Jesus hath in this ordinance appointed his ministers to pray and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to an holy use; and to take and break the bread, to take the cup, and (they communicating also themselves) to give both to the communicants; but to none who are not then present in the congregation.

Private masses, or receiving the sacrament by a priest, or any other, alone; as likewise the denial of the cup to the people; worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and the reserving them for any pretended religious use; are contrary to the nature of this sacrament, and to the institution of Christ.

The outward elements in this sacrament duly set apart to the uses ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, yet sacramentally only, they are sometimes called by the name of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ; albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine as they were before.

The doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of Christ’s body and blood (commonly called Transubstantiation) by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant not to Scripture alone, but even to common sense and reason; overthroweth the nature of the sacrament; and hath been and is the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries.

Worthy receivers outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this sacrament, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally in, with, or under the bread or wine; yet as really, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.

All ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with Christ, so are they unworthy of the Lord’s table, and cannot without great sin against him, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted thereunto; yea, whosoever shall receive unworthily, are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, eating and drinking judgment to themselves.

Chapter 31 Of The State of Man After Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead
The bodies of men after death return to dust, and see corruption; but their souls (which neither die nor sleep) having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting -for the full redemption of their bodies: and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torment and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day: Besides these two places for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.

At the last day such as are found alive shall not die, but be changed; and all the dead shall be raised up with the self-same bodies, and none other, although with different qualities, which shall be united again to their souls for ever.

The bodies of the unjust shall by the power of Christ be raised to dishonour; the bodies of the just, by his Spirit unto honour, and to be made conformable to his own glorious body.

Chapter 32 Of The Last Judgment
God hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ, to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father. In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but likewise all persons that have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words and deeds, and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.

The end of God’s appointing this day is for the manifestation of the glory of his mercy in the eternal salvation of the elect, and of his justice in the damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient. For then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fulness of joy and glory, with everlasting reward in the presence of the Lord; but the wicked who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a judgment, both to deter all men from sin, and for the greater consolation of the godly in their adversity; so will he have that day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they Imow not at what hour the Lord will come, and may be ever prepared to say, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly, Amen.

Westminster Larger Catechism (1648)

Q. 1. What is the chief and highest end of man?
A. Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.

Q. 2. How doth it appear that there is a God?
A. The very light of nature in man, and the works of God, declare plainly that there is a God; but his word and Spirit only do sufficiently and effectually reveal him unto men for their salvation.

Q. 3. What is the Word of God?
A. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God, the only rule of faith and obedience.

Q. 4. How doth it appear that the Scriptures are the Word of God?
A. The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the Word of God, by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation: but the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very Word of God.

Q. 5. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.

Q. 6. What do the Scriptures make known of God?
A. The Scriptures make known what God is, the persons in the Godhead, his decrees, and the execution of his decrees.

Q. 7. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.

Q. 8. Are there more Gods than one?
A. There is but one only, the living and true God.

Q. 9. How many persons are there in the Godhead?
A. There be three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one true, eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory; although distinguished by their personal properties.

Q. 10. What are the personal properties of the three persons in the Godhead?
A. It is proper to the Father to beget the Son, and to the Son to be begotten of the Father, and to the Holy Ghost to proceed from the Father and the Son from all eternity.

Q. 11. How doth it appear that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father?
A. The Scriptures manifest that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father, ascribing unto them such names, attributes, works, and worship, as are proper to God only.

Q. 12. What are the decrees of God?
A. God’s decrees are the wise, free, and holy acts of the counsel of his will, whereby, from all eternity, he hath, for his own glory, unchangeably foreordained whatsoever comes to pass in time, especially concerning angels and men.

Q. 13. What hath God especially decreed concerning angels and men?
A. God, by an eternal and immutable decree, out of his mere love, for the praise of his glorious grace, to be manifested in due time, hath elected some angels to glory; and in Christ hath chosen some men to eternal life, and the means thereof: and also, according to his sovereign power, and the unsearchable counsel of his own will (whereby he extendeth or withholdeth favor as he pleaseth), hath passed by and foreordained the rest to dishonor and wrath, to be for their sin inflicted, to the praise of the glory of his justice.

Q. 14. How doth God execute his decrees?
A. God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will.

Q. 15. What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is that wherein God did in the beginning, by the word of his power, make of nothing the world, and all things therein, for himself, within the space of six days, and all very good.

Q. 16. How did God create angels?
A. God created all the angels spirits, immortal, holy, excelling in knowledge, mighty in power, to execute his commandments, and to praise his name, yet subject to change.

Q. 17. How did God create man?
A. After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female; formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground, and the woman of the rib of the man, endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls; made them after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it, and dominion over the creatures; yet subject to fall.

Q. 18. What are God’s works of providence?
A. God’s works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures; ordering them, and all their actions, to his own glory.

Q. 19. What is God’s providence towards the angels?
A. God by his providence permitted some of the angels, willfully and irrecoverably, to fall into sin and damnation, limiting and ordering that, and all their sins, to his own glory; and established the rest in holiness and happiness; employing them all, at his pleasure, in the administrations of his power, mercy, and justice.

Q. 20. What was the providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was created?
A. The providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was created, was the placing him in paradise, appointing him to dress it, giving him liberty to eat of the fruit of the earth; putting the creatures under his dominion, and ordaining marriage for his help; affording him communion with himself; instituting the Sabbath; entering into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience, of which the tree of life was a pledge; and forbidding to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.

Q. 21. Did man continue in that estate wherein God at first created him?
A. Our first parents being left to the freedom of their own will, through the temptation of Satan, transgressed the commandment of God in eating the forbidden fruit; and thereby fell from the estate of innocency wherein they were created.

Q. 22. Did all mankind fall in that first transgression?
A. The covenant being made with Adam as a public person, not for himself only, but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in that first transgression.

Q. 23. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
A. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.

Q. 24. What is sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature.

Q. 25. Wherein consisteth the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consisteth in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of that righteousness wherein he was created, and the corruption of his nature, whereby he is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that continually; which is commonly called original sin, and from which do proceed all actual transgressions.

Q. 26. How is original sin conveyed from our first parents unto their posterity?
A. Original sin is conveyed from our first parents unto their posterity by natural generation, so as all that proceed from them in that way are conceived and born in sin.

Q. 27. What misery did the fall bring upon mankind?
A. The fall brought upon mankind the loss of communion with God, his displeasure and curse; so as we are by nature children of wrath, bond slaves to Satan, and justly liable to all punishments in this world, and that which is to come.

Q. 28. What are the punishments of sin in this world?
A. The punishments of sin in this world are either inward, as blindness of mind, a reprobate sense, strong delusions, hardness of heart, horror of conscience, and vile affections; or outward, as the curse of God upon the creatures for our sakes, and all other evils that befall us in our bodies, names, estates, relations, and employments; together with death itself.

Q. 29. What are the punishments of sin in the world to come?
A. The punishments of sin in the world to come, are everlasting separation from the comfortable presence of God, and most grievous torments in soul and body, without intermission, in hell-fire forever.

Q. 30. Doth God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A. God doth not leave all men to perish in the estate of sin and misery, into which they fell by the breach of the first covenant, commonly called the covenant of works; but of his mere love and mercy delivereth his elect out of it, and bringeth them into an estate of salvation by the second covenant, commonly called the covenant of grace.

Q. 31. With whom was the covenant of grace made?
A. The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.

Q. 32. How is the grace of God manifested in the second covenant?
A. The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant, in that he freely provideth and offereth to sinners a mediator, and life and salvation by him; and requiring faith as the condition to interest them in him, promiseth and giveth his Holy Spirit to all his elect, to work in them that faith, with all other saving graces; and to enable them unto all holy obedience, as the evidence of the truth of their faith and thankfulness to God, and as the way which he hath appointed them to salvation.

Q. 33. Was the covenant of grace always administered after one and the same manner?
A. The covenant of grace was not always administered after the same manner, but the administrations of it under the Old Testament were different from those under the New.

Q. 34. How was the covenant of grace administered under the Old Testament?
A. The covenant of grace was administered under the Old Testament, by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the passover, and other types and ordinances, which did all foresignify Christ then to come, and were for that time sufficient to build up the elect in faith in the promised messiah, by whom they then had full remission of sin, and eternal salvation.

Q. 35. How is the covenant of grace administered under the New Testament?
A. Under the New Testament, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the same covenant of grace was and still is to be administered in the preaching of the word, and the administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper; in which grace and salvation are held forth in more fullness, evidence, and efficacy, to all nations.

Q. 36. Who is the mediator of the covenant of grace?
A. The only mediator of the covenant of grace is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, of one substance and equal with the Father, in the fullness of time became man, and so was and continues to be God and man, in two entire distinct natures, and one person, forever.

Q. 37. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ the Son of God became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance, and born of her, yet without sin.

Q. 38. Why was it requisite that the mediator should be God?
A. It was requisite that the mediator should be God, that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and the power of death; give worth and efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession; and to satisfy God’s justice, procure his favor, purchase a peculiar people, give his Spirit to them, conquer all their enemies, and bring them to everlasting salvation.

Q. 39. Why was it requisite that the mediator should be man?
A. It was requisite that the mediator should be man, that he might advance our nature, perform obedience to the law, suffer and make intercession for us in our nature, have a fellow-feeling of our infirmities; that we might receive the adoption of sons, and have comfort and access with boldness unto the throne of grace.

Q. 40. Why was it requisite that the mediator should be God and man in one person?
A. It was requisite that the mediator, who was to reconcile God and man, should himself be both God and man, and this in one person, that the proper works of each nature might be accepted of God for us, and relied on by us, as the works of the whole person.

Q. 41. Why was our mediator called Jesus?
A. Our mediator was called Jesus, because he saveth his people from their sins.

Q. 42. Why was our mediator called Christ?
A. Our mediator was called Christ, because he was anointed with the Holy Ghost above measure; and so set apart, and fully furnished with all authority and ability, to execute the offices of prophet, priest, and king of his church, in the estate both of his humiliation and exaltation.

Q. 43. How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
A. Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in his revealing to the church, in all ages, by his Spirit and word, in divers ways of administration, the whole will of God, in all things concerning their edification and salvation.

Q. 44. How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
A. Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering himself a sacrifice without spot to God, to be a reconciliation for the sins of the people; and in making continual intercession for them.

Q. 45. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in calling out of the world a people to himself, and giving them officers, laws, and censures, by which he visibly governs them; in bestowing saving grace upon his elect, rewarding their obedience, and correcting them for their sins, preserving and supporting them under all their temptations and sufferings, restraining and overcoming all their enemies, and powerfully ordering all things for his own glory, and their good; and also in taking vengeance on the rest, who know not God, and obey not the gospel.

Q. 46. What was the estate of Christ’s humiliation?
A. The estate of Christ’s humiliation was that low condition, wherein he for our sakes, emptying himself of his glory, took upon him the form of a servant, in his conception and birth, life, death, and after his death, until his resurrection.

Q. 47. How did Christ humble himself in his conception and birth?
A. Christ humbled himself in his conception and birth, in that, being from all eternity the Son of God, in the bosom of the Father, he was pleased in the fullness of time to become the son of man, made of a woman of low estate, and to be born of her; with divers circumstances of more than ordinary abasement.

Q. 48. How did Christ humble himself in his life?
A. Christ humbled himself in his life, by subjecting himself to the law, which he perfectly fulfilled; and by conflicting with the indignities of the world, temptations of Satan, and infirmities in his flesh, whether common to the nature of man, or particularly accompanying that his low condition.

Q. 49. How did Christ humble himself in his death?
A. Christ humbled himself in his death, in that having been betrayed by Judas, forsaken by his disciples, scorned and rejected by the world, condemned by Pilate, and tormented by his persecutors; having also conflicted with the terrors of death, and the powers of darkness, felt and borne the weight of God’s wrath, he laid down his life an offering for sin, enduring the painful, shameful, and cursed death of the cross.

Q. 50. Wherein consisted Christ’s humiliation after his death?
A. Christ’s humiliation after his death consisted in his being buried, and continuing in the state of the dead, and under the power of death till the third day; which hath been otherwise expressed in these words, He descended into hell.

Q. 51. What was the estate of Christ’s exaltation?
A. The estate of Christ’s exaltation comprehendeth his resurrection, ascension, sitting at the right hand of the Father, and his coming again to judge the world.

Q. 52. How was Christ exalted in his resurrection?
A. Christ was exalted in his resurrection, in that, not having seen corruption in death (of which it was not possible for him to be held), and having the very same body in which he suffered, with the essential properties thereof (but without mortality, and other common infirmities belonging to this life), really united to his soul, he rose again from the dead the third day by his own power; whereby he declared himself to be the Son of God, to have satisfied divine justice, to have vanquished death, and him that had power of it, and to be Lord of quick and dead: all which he did as a public person, the head of his church, for their justification, quickening in grace, support against enemies, and to assure them of their resurrection from the dead at the last day.

Q. 53. How was Christ exalted in his ascension?
A. Christ was exalted in his ascension, in that having after his resurrection often appeared unto and conversed with his apostles, speaking to them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, and giving them commission to preach the gospel to all nations, forty days after his resurrection, he, in our nature, and as our head, triumphing over enemies, visibly went up into the highest heavens, there to receive gifts for men, to raise up our affections thither, and to prepare a place for us, where himself is, and shall continue till his second coming at the end of the world.

Q. 54. How is Christ exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God?
A. Christ is exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God, in that as God-man he is advanced to the highest favor with God the Father, with all fullness of joy, glory, and power over all things in heaven and earth; and doth gather and defend his church, and subdue their enemies; furnisheth his ministers and people with gifts and graces, and maketh intercession for them.

Q. 55. How doth Christ make intercession?
A. Christ maketh intercession, by his appearing in our nature continually before the Father in heaven, in the merit of his obedience and sacrifice on earth, declaring his will to have it applied to all believers; answering all accusations against them, and procuring for them quiet of conscience, notwithstanding daily failings, access with boldness to the throne of grace, and acceptance of their persons and services.

Q. 56. How is Christ to be exalted in his coming again to judge the world?
A. Christ is to be exalted in his coming again to judge the world, in that he, who was unjustly judged and condemned by wicked men, shall come again at the last day in great power, and in the full manifestation of his own glory, and of his Father’s, with all his holy angels, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, to judge the world in righteousness.

Q. 57. What benefits hath Christ procured by his mediation?
A. Christ, by his mediation, hath procured redemption, with all other benefits of the covenant of grace.

Q. 58. How do we come to be made partakers of the benefits which Christ hath procured?
A. We are made partakers of the benefits which Christ hath procured, by the application of them unto us, which is the work especially of God the Holy Ghost.

Q. 59. Who are made partakers of redemption through Christ?
A. Redemption is certainly applied, and effectually communicated, to all those for whom Christ hath purchased it; who are in time by the Holy Ghost enabled to believe in Christ according to the gospel.

Q. 60. Can they who have never heard the gospel, and so know not Jesus Christ, nor believe in him, be saved by their living according to the light of nature?
A. They who, having never heard the gospel, know not Jesus Christ, and believe not in him, cannot be saved, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, or the laws of that religion which they profess; neither is there salvation in any other, but in Christ alone, who is the Savior only of his body the church.

Q. 61. Are all they saved who hear the gospel, and live in the church?
A. All that hear the gospel, and live in the visible church, are not saved; but they only who are true members of the church invisible.

Q. 62. What is the visible church?
A. The visible church is a society made up of all such as in all ages and places of the world do profess the true religion, and of their children.

Q. 63. What are the special privileges of the visible church?
A. The visible church hath the privilege of being under God’s special care and government; of being protected and preserved in all ages, notwithstanding the opposition of all enemies; and of enjoying the communion of saints, the ordinary means of salvation, and offers of grace by Christ to all the members of it in the ministry of the gospel, testifying, that whosoever believes in him shall be saved, and excluding none that will come unto him.

Q. 64. What is the invisible church?
A. The invisible church is the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ the head.

Q. 65. What special benefits do the members of the invisible church enjoy by Christ?
A. The members of the invisible church by Christ enjoy union and communion with him in grace and glory.

Q. 66. What is that union which the elect have with Christ?
A. The union which the elect have with Christ is the work of God’s grace, whereby they are spiritually and mystically, yet really and inseparably, joined to Christ as their head and husband; which is done in their effectual calling.

Q. 67. What is effectual calling?
A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s almighty power and grace, whereby (out of his free and special love to his elect, and from nothing in them moving him thereunto) he doth, in his accepted time, invite and draw them to Jesus Christ, by his word and Spirit; savingly enlightening their minds, renewing and powerfully determining their wills, so as they (although in themselves dead in sin) are hereby made willing and able freely to answer his call, and to accept and embrace the grace offered and conveyed therein.

Q. 68. Are the elect only effectually called?
A. All the elect, and they only, are effectually called; although others may be, and often are, outwardly called by the ministry of the word, and have some common operations of the Spirit; who, for their willful neglect and contempt of the grace offered to them, being justly left in their unbelief, do never truly come to Jesus Christ.

Q. 69. What is the communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ?
A. The communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is their partaking of the virtue of his mediation, in their justification, adoption, sanctification, and whatever else, in this life, manifests their union with him.

Q. 70. What is justification?
A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners, in which he pardoneth all their sins, accepteth and accounteth their persons righteous in his sight; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them, and received by faith alone.

Q. 71. How is justification an act of God’s free grace?
A. Although Christ, by his obedience and death, did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in the behalf of them that are justified; yet inasmuch as God accepteth the satisfaction from a surety, which he might have demanded of them, and did provide this surety, his own only Son, imputing his righteousness to them, and requiring nothing of them for their justification but faith, which also is his gift, their justification is to them of free grace.

Q. 72. What is justifying faith?
A. Justifying faith is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and Word of God, whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition, not only assenteth to the truth of the promise of the gospel, but receiveth and resteth upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin, and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.

Q. 73. How doth faith justify a sinner in the sight of God?
A. Faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, not because of those other graces which do always accompany it, or of good works that are the fruits of it, nor as if the grace of faith, or any act thereof, were imputed to him for his justification; but only as it is an instrument by which he receiveth and applieth Christ and his righteousness.

Q. 74. What is adoption?
A. Adoption is an act of the free grace of God, in and for his only Son Jesus Christ, whereby all those that are justified are received into the number of his children, have his name put upon them, the Spirit of his Son given to them, are under his fatherly care and dispensations, admitted to all the liberties and privileges of the sons of God, made heirs of all the promises, and fellow-heirs with Christ in glory.

Q. 75. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is a work of God’s grace, whereby they whom God hath, before the foundation of the world, chosen to be holy, are in time, through the powerful operation of his Spirit applying the death and resurrection of Christ unto them, renewed in their whole man after the image of God; having the seeds of repentance unto life, and all other saving graces, put into their hearts, and those graces so stirred up, increased, and strengthened, as that they more and more die unto sin, and rise unto newness of life.

Q. 76. What is repentance unto life?
A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and Word of God, whereby, out of the sight and sense, not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, and upon the apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, he so grieves for and hates his sins, as that he turns from them all to God, purposing and endeavoring constantly to walk with him in all the ways of new obedience.

Q. 77. Wherein do justification and sanctification differ?
A. Although sanctification be inseparably joined with justification, yet they differ, in that God in justification imputeth the righteousness of Christ; in sanctification his Spirit infuseth grace, and enableth to the exercise thereof; in the former, sin is pardoned; in the other, it is subdued: the one doth equally free all believers from the revenging wrath of God, and that perfectly in this life, that they never fall into condemnation; the other is neither equal in all, nor in this life perfect in any, but growing up to perfection.

Q. 78. Whence ariseth the imperfection of sanctification in believers?
A. The imperfection of sanctification in believers ariseth from the remnants of sin abiding in every part of them, and the perpetual lustings of the flesh against the spirit; whereby they are often foiled with temptations, and fall into many sins, are hindered in all their spiritual services, and their best works are imperfect and defiled in the sight of God.

Q. 79. May not true believers, by reason of their imperfections, and the many temptations and sins they are overtaken with, fall away from the state of grace?
A. True believers, by reason of the unchangeable love of God, and his decree and covenant to give them perseverance, their inseparable union with Christ, his continual intercession for them, and the Spirit and seed of God abiding in them, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Q. 80. Can true believers be infallibly assured that they are in the estate of grace, and that they shall persevere therein unto salvation?
A. Such as truly believe in Christ, and endeavor to walk in all good conscience before him, may, without extraordinary revelation, by faith grounded upon the truth of God’s promises, and by the Spirit enabling them to discern in themselves those graces to which the promises of life are made, and bearing witness with their spirits that they are the children of God, be infallibly assured that they are in the estate of grace, and shall persevere therein unto salvation.

Q. 81. Are all true believers at all times assured of their present being in the estate of grace, and that they shall be saved?
A. Assurance of grace and salvation not being of the essence of faith, true believers may wait long before they obtain it; and, after the enjoyment thereof, may have it weakened and intermitted, through manifold distempers, sins, temptations, and desertions; yet are they never left without such a presence and support of the Spirit of God as keeps them from sinking into utter despair.

Q. 82. What is the communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ?
A. The communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is in this life, immediately after death, and at last perfected at the resurrection and day of judgment.

Q. 83. What is the communion in glory with Christ which the members of the invisible church enjoy in this life?
A. The members of the invisible church have communicated to them in this life the firstfruits of glory with Christ, as they are members of him their head, and so in him are interested in that glory which he is fully possessed of; and, as an earnest thereof, enjoy the sense of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, and hope of glory; as, on the contrary, sense of God’s revenging wrath, horror of conscience, and a fearful expectation of judgment, are to the wicked the beginning of their torments which they shall endure after death.

Q. 84. Shall all men die?
A. Death being threatened as the wages of sin, it is appointed unto all men once to die; for that all have sinned.

Q. 85. Death being the wages of sin, why are not the righteous delivered from death, seeing all their sins are forgiven in Christ?
A. The righteous shall be delivered from death itself at the last day, and even in death are delivered from the sting and curse of it; so that, although they die, yet it is out of God’s love, to free them perfectly from sin and misery, and to make them capable of further communion with Christ in glory, which they then enter upon.

Q. 86. What is the communion in glory with Christ which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death?
A. The communion in glory with Christ which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death, is, in that their souls are then made perfect in holiness, and received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies, which even in death continue united to Christ, and rest in their graves as in their beds, till at the last day they be again united to their souls. Whereas the souls of the wicked are at their death cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, and their bodies kept in their graves, as in their prisons, till the resurrection and judgment of the great day.

Q. 87. What are we to believe concerning the resurrection?
A. We are to believe that at the last day there shall be a general resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust: when they that are then found alive shall in a moment be changed; and the selfsame bodies of the dead which were laid in the grave, being then again united to their souls forever, shall be raised up by the power of Christ. The bodies of the just, by the Spirit of Christ, and by virtue of his resurrection as their head, shall be raised in power, spiritual, incorruptible, and made like to his glorious body; and the bodies of the wicked shall be raised up in dishonor by him, as an offended judge.

Q. 88. What shall immediately follow after the resurrection?
A. Immediately after the resurrection shall follow the general and final judgment of angels and men; the day and hour whereof no man knoweth, that all may watch and pray, and be ever ready for the coming of the Lord.

Q. 89. What shall be done to the wicked at the day of judgment?
A. At the day of judgment, the wicked shall be set on Christ’s left hand, and, upon clear evidence, and full conviction of their own consciences, shall have the fearful but just sentence of condemnation pronounced against them; and thereupon shall be cast out from the favorable presence of God, and the glorious fellowship with Christ, his saints, and all his holy angels, into hell, to be punished with unspeakable torments, both of body and soul, with the devil and his angels forever.

Q. 90. What shall be done to the righteous at the day of judgment?
A. At the day of judgment, the righteous, being caught up to Christ in the clouds, shall be set on his right hand, and there openly acknowledged and acquitted, shall join with him in the judging of reprobate angels and men, and shall be received into heaven, where they shall be fully and forever freed from all sin and misery; filled with inconceivable joys, made perfectly holy and happy both in body and soul, in the company of innumerable saints and holy angels, but especially in the immediate vision and fruition of God the Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, to all eternity. And this is the perfect and full communion which the members of the invisible church shall enjoy with Christ in glory, at the resurrection and day of judgment.

Q. 91. What is the duty which God requireth of man?
A. The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will.

Q. 92. What did God first reveal unto man as the rule of his obedience?
A. The rule of obedience revealed to Adam in the estate of innocence, and to all mankind in him, besides a special command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was the moral law.

Q. 93. What is the moral law?
A. The moral law is the declaration of the will of God to mankind, directing and binding every one to personal, perfect, and perpetual conformity and obedience thereunto, in the frame and disposition of the whole man, soul, and body, and in performance of all those duties of holiness and righteousness which he oweth to God and man: promising life upon the fulfilling, and threatening death upon the breach of it.

Q. 94. Is there any use of the moral law since the fall?
A. Although no man, since the fall, can attain to righteousness and life by the moral law; yet there is great use thereof, as well common to all men, as peculiar either to the unregenerate, or the regenerate.

Q. 95. Of what use is the moral law to all men?
A. The moral law is of use to all men, to inform them of the holy nature and will of God, and of their duty, binding them to walk accordingly; to convince them of their disability to keep it, and of the sinful pollution of their nature, hearts, and lives: to humble them in the sense of their sin and misery, and thereby help them to a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and of the perfection of his obedience.

Q. 96. What particular use is there of the moral law to unregenerate men?
A. The moral law is of use to unregenerate men, to awaken their consciences to flee from the wrath to come, and to drive them to Christ; or, upon the continuance in the estate and way of sin, to leave them inexcusable, and under the curse thereof.

Q. 97. What special use is there of the moral law to the regenerate?
A. Although they that are regenerate, and believe in Christ, be delivered from the moral law as a covenant of works, so as thereby they are neither justified nor condemned; yet besides the general uses thereof common to them with all men, it is of special use, to show them how much they are bound to Christ for his fulfilling it, and enduring the curse thereof in their stead, and for their good; and thereby to provoke them to more thankfulness, and to express the same in their greater care to conform themselves thereunto as the rule of their obedience.

Q. 98. Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the Ten Commandments, which were delivered by the voice of God upon mount Sinai, and written by him in two tables of stone; and are recorded in the twentieth chapter of Exodus; the four first commandments containing our duty to God, and the other six our duty to man.

Q. 99. What rules are to be observed for the right understanding of the Ten Commandments?
A. For the right understanding of the Ten Commandments, these rules are to be observed:
1. That the law is perfect, and bindeth every one to full conformity in the whole man unto the righteousness thereof, and unto entire obedience forever; so as to require the utmost perfection of every duty, and to forbid the least degree of every sin.
2. That it is spiritual, and so reacheth the understanding, will, affections, and all other powers of the soul; as well as words, works, and gestures.
3. That one and the same thing, in divers respects, is required or forbidden in several commandments.
4. That as, where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden; and, where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded: so, where a promise is annexed, the contrary threatening is included; and, where a threatening is annexed, the contrary promise is included.
5. That what God forbids, is at no time to be done; what he commands, is always our duty; and yet every particular duty is not to be done at all times.
6. That under one sin or duty, all of the same kind are forbidden or commanded; together with all the causes, means, occasions, and appearances thereof, and provocations thereunto.
7. That what is forbidden or commanded to ourselves, we are bound, according to our places, to endeavor that it may be avoided or performed by others, according to the duty of their places.
8. That in what is commanded to others, we are bound, according to our places and callings, to be helpful to them; and to take heed of partaking with others in what is forbidden them.

Q. 100. What special things are we to consider in the Ten Commandments?
A. We are to consider, in the Ten Commandments, the preface, the substance of the commandments themselves, and several reasons annexed to some of them, the more to enforce them.

Q. 101. What is the preface to the Ten Commandments?
A. The preface to the Ten Commandments is contained in these words, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Wherein God manifesteth his sovereignty, as being JEHOVAH, the eternal, immutable, and almighty God; having his being in and of himself, and giving being to all his words and works: and that he is a God in covenant, as with Israel of old, so with all his people; who, as he brought them out of their bondage in Egypt, so he delivereth us from our spiritual thraldom; and that therefore we are bound to take him for our God alone, and to keep all his commandments.

Q. 102. What is the sum of the four commandments which contain our duty to God?
A. The sum of the four commandments containing our duty to God, is, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and with all our mind.

Q. 103. Which is the first commandment?
A. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Q. 104. What are the duties required in the first commandment?
A. The duties required in the first commandment are, the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly, by thinking, meditating, remembering, highly esteeming, honoring, adoring, choosing, loving, desiring, fearing of him; believing him; trusting, hoping, delighting, rejoicing in him; being zealous for him; calling upon him, giving all praise and thanks, and yielding all obedience and submission to him with the whole man; being careful in all things to please him, and sorrowful when in anything he is offended; and walking humbly with him.

Q. 105. What are the sins forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the first commandment, are, atheism, in denying or not having a God; idolatry, in having or worshiping more gods than one, or any with or instead of the true God; the not having and avouching him for God, and our God; the omission or neglect of anything due to him, required in this commandment; ignorance, forgetfulness, misapprehensions, false opinions, unworthy and wicked thoughts of him; bold and curious searching into his secrets; all profaneness, hatred of God; self-love, self-seeking, and all other inordinate and immoderate setting of our mind, will, or affections upon other things, and taking them off from him in whole or in part; vain credulity, unbelief, heresy, misbelief, distrust, despair, incorrigibleness, and insensibleness under judgments, hardness of heart, pride, presumption, carnal security, tempting of God; using unlawful means, and trusting in lawful means; carnal delights and joys; corrupt, blind, and indiscreet zeal; lukewarmness, and deadness in the things of God; estranging ourselves, and apostatizing from God; praying, or giving any religious worship, to saints, angels, or any other creatures; all compacts and consulting with the devil, and hearkening to his suggestions; making men the lords of our faith and conscience; slighting and despising God and his commands; resisting and grieving of his Spirit, discontent and impatience at his dispensations, charging him foolishly for the evils he inflicts on us; and ascribing the praise of any good we either are, have, or can do, to fortune, idols, ourselves, or any other creature.

Q. 106. What are we specially taught by these words, before me, in the first commandment?
A. These words, before me, or before my face, in the first commandment, teach us, that God, who seeth all things, taketh special notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God: that so it may be an argument to dissuade from it, and to aggravate it as a most impudent provocation: as also to persuade us to do as in his sight, whatever we do in his service.

Q. 107. Which is the second commandment?
A. The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Q. 108. What are the duties required in the second commandment?
A. The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his word; particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the word; the administration and receiving of the sacraments; church government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God, and vowing unto him: as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing, all false worship; and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.

Q. 109. What sins are forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and any wise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.

Q. 110. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it?
A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it, contained in these words, For I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments; are, besides God’s sovereignty over us, and propriety in us, his fervent zeal for his own worship, and his revengeful indignation against all false worship, as being a spiritual whoredom; accounting the breakers of this commandment such as hate him, and threatening to punish them unto divers generations; and esteeming the observers of it such as love him and keep his commandments, and promising mercy to them unto many generations.

Q. 111. Which is the third commandment?
A. The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Q. 112. What is required in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment requires, that the name of God, his titles, attributes, ordinances, the word, sacraments, prayer, oaths, vows, lots, his works, and whatsoever else there is whereby he makes himself known, be holily and reverently used in thought, meditation, word, and writing; by an holy profession, and answerable conversation, to the glory of God, and the good of ourselves, and others.

Q. 113. What are the sins forbidden in the third commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the third commandment are, the not using of God’s name as is required; and the abuse of it in an ignorant, vain, irreverent, profane, superstitious, or wicked mentioning or otherwise using his titles, attributes, ordinances, or works, by blasphemy, perjury; all sinful cursings, oaths, vows, and lots; violating of our oaths and vows, if lawful; and fulfilling them, if of things unlawful; murmuring and quarreling at, curious prying into, and misapplying of God’s decrees and providences; misinterpreting, misapplying, or any way perverting the word, or any part of it, to profane jests, curious or unprofitable questions, vain janglings, or the maintaining of false doctrines; abusing it, the creatures, or anything contained under the name of God, to charms, or sinful lusts and practices; the maligning, scorning, reviling, or any wise opposing of God’s truth, grace, and ways; making profession of religion in hypocrisy, or for sinister ends; being ashamed of it, or a shame to it, by unconformable, unwise, unfruitful, and offensive walking, or backsliding from it.

Q. 114. What reasons are annexed to the third commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the third commandment, in these words, The LORD thy God, and, For the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain, are, because he is the Lord and our God, therefore his name is not to be profaned, or any way abused by us; especially because he will be so far from acquitting and sparing the transgressors of this commandment, as that he will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment, albeit many such escape the censures and punishments of men.

Q. 115. Which is the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment is, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Q. 116. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment requireth of all men the sanctifying or keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word, expressly one whole day in seven; which was the seventh from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, and the first day of the week ever since, and so to continue to the end of the world; which is the Christian sabbath, and in the New Testament called The Lord’s Day.

Q. 117. How is the sabbath or the Lord’s day to be sanctified?
A. The sabbath or Lord’s day is to be sanctified by an holy resting all the day, not only from such works as are at all times sinful, but even from such worldly employments and recreations as are on other days lawful; and making it our delight to spend the whole time (except so much of it as is to be taken up in works of necessity and mercy) in the public and private exercises of God’s worship: and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts, and with such foresight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably dispatch our worldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for the duties of that day.

Q. 118. Why is the charge of keeping the sabbath more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors?
A. The charge of keeping the sabbath is more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors, because they are bound not only to keep it themselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under their charge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them by employments of their own.

Q. 119. What are the sins forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the fourth commandment are, all omissions of the duties required, all careless, negligent, and unprofitable performing of them, and being weary of them; all profaning the day by idleness, and doing that which is in itself sinful; and by all needless works, words, and thoughts, about our worldly employments and recreations.

Q. 120. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it?
A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it, are taken from the equity of it, God allowing us six days of seven for our own affairs, and reserving but one for himself, in these words, Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: from God’s challenging a special propriety in that day, The seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: from the example of God, who in six days … made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: and from that blessing which God put upon that day, not only in sanctifying it to be a day for his service, but in ordaining it to be a means of blessing to us in our sanctifying it; Wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Q. 121. Why is the word Remember set in the beginning of the fourth commandment?
A. The word Remember is set in the beginning of the fourth commandment, partly, because of the great benefit of remembering it, we being thereby helped in our preparation to keep it, and, in keeping it, better to keep all the rest of the commandments, and to continue a thankful remembrance of the two great benefits of creation and redemption, which contain a short abridgment of religion; and partly, because we are very ready to forget it, for that there is less light of nature for it, and yet it restraineth our natural liberty in things at other times lawful; that it cometh but once in seven days, and many worldly businesses come between, and too often take off our minds from thinking of it, either to prepare for it, or to sanctify it; and that Satan with his instruments much labor to blot out the glory, and even the memory of it, to bring in all irreligion and impiety.

Q. 122. What is the sum of the six commandments which contain our duty to man?
A. The sum of the six commandments which contain our duty to man, is, to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to do to others what we would have them do to us.

Q. 123. Which is the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment is, Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Q. 124. Who are meant by father and mother in the fifth commandment?
A. By father and mother, in the fifth commandment, are meant, not only natural parents, but all superiors in age and gifts; and especially such as, by God’s ordinance, are over us in place of authority, whether in family, church, or commonwealth.

Q. 125. Why are superiors styled Father and Mother?
A. Superiors are styled Father and Mother, both to teach them in all duties toward their inferiors, like natural parents, to express love and tenderness to them, according to their several relations; and to work inferiors to a greater willingness and cheerfulness in performing their duties to their superiors, as to their parents.

Q. 126. What is the general scope of the fifth commandment?
A. The general scope of the fifth commandment is, the performance of those duties which we mutually owe in our several relations, as inferiors, superiors or equals.

Q. 127. What is the honor that inferiors owe to their superiors?
A. The honor which inferiors owe to their superiors is, all due reverence in heart, word, and behavior; prayer and thanksgiving for them; imitation of their virtues and graces; willing obedience to their lawful commands and counsels; due submission to their corrections; fidelity to, defense, and maintenance of their persons and authority, according to their several ranks, and the nature of their places; bearing with their infirmities, and covering them in love, that so they may be an honor to them and to their government.

Q. 128. What are the sins of inferiors against their superiors?
A. The sins of inferiors against their superiors are, all neglect of the duties required toward them; envying at, contempt of, and rebellion against their persons and places, in their lawful counsels, commands, and corrections; cursing, mocking, and all such refractory and scandalous carriage, as proves a shame and dishonor to them and their government.

Q. 129. What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?
A. It is required of superiors, according to that power they receive from God, and that relation wherein they stand, to love, pray for, and bless their inferiors; to instruct, counsel, and admonish them; countenancing, commending, and rewarding such as do well; and discountenancing, reproving, and chastising such as do ill; protecting, and providing for them all things necessary for soul and body: and by grave, wise, holy, and exemplary carriage, to procure glory to God, honor to themselves, and so to preserve that authority which God hath put upon them.

Q. 130. What are the sins of superiors?
A. The sins of superiors are, besides the neglect of the duties required of them, an inordinate seeking of themselves, their own glory, ease, profit, or pleasure; commanding things unlawful, or not in the power of inferiors to perform; counseling, encouraging, or favoring them in that which is evil; dissuading, discouraging, or discountenancing them in that which is good; correcting them unduly; careless exposing, or leaving them to wrong, temptation, and danger; provoking them to wrath; or any way dishonoring themselves, or lessening their authority, by an unjust, indiscreet, rigorous, or remiss behavior.

Q. 131. What are the duties of equals?
A. The duties of equals are, to regard the dignity and worth of each other, in giving honor to go one before another; and to rejoice in each others’ gifts and advancement, as their own.

Q. 132. What are the sins of equals?
A. The sins of equals are, besides the neglect of the duties required, the undervaluing of the worth, envying the gifts, grieving at the advancement or prosperity one of another; and usurping preeminence one over another.

Q. 133. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment, the more to enforce it?
A. The reason annexed to the fifth commandment, in these words, That thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, is an express promise of long life and prosperity, as far as it shall serve for God’s glory and their own good, to all such as keep this commandment.

Q. 134. Which is the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill.

Q. 135. What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?
A. The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by just defense thereof against violence, patient bearing of the hand of God, quietness of mind, cheerfulness of spirit; a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labor, and recreations; by charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness; peaceable, mild and courteous speeches and behavior; forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil; comforting and succoring the distressed, and protecting and defending the innocent.

Q. 136. What are the sins forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves, or of others, except in case of public justice, lawful war, or necessary defense; the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life; sinful anger, hatred, envy, desire of revenge; all excessive passions, distracting cares; immoderate use of meat, drink, labor, and recreations; provoking words, oppression, quarreling, striking, wounding, and whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any.

Q. 137. Which is the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Q. 138. What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?
A. The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections, words, and behavior; and the preservation of it in ourselves and others; watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses; temperance, keeping of chaste company, modesty in apparel; marriage by those that have not the gift of continency, conjugal love, and cohabitation; diligent labor in our callings; shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.

Q. 139. What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts; all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections; all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto; wanton looks, impudent or light behavior, immodest apparel; prohibiting of lawful, and dispensing with unlawful marriages; allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them; entangling vows of single life, undue delay of marriage; having more wives or husbands than one at the same time; unjust divorce, or desertion; idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, unchaste company; lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays; and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.

Q. 140. Which is the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.

Q. 141. What are the duties required in the eighth commandment?
A. The duties required in the eighth commandment are, truth, faithfulness, and justice in contracts and commerce between man and man; rendering to every one his due; restitution of goods unlawfully detained from the right owners thereof; giving and lending freely, according to our abilities, and the necessities of others; moderation of our judgments, wills, and affections concerning worldly goods; a provident care and study to get, keep, use, and dispose these things which are necessary and convenient for the sustentation of our nature, and suitable to our condition; a lawful calling, and diligence in it; frugality; avoiding unnecessary lawsuits, and suretiship, or other like engagements; and an endeavor, by all just and lawful means, to procure, preserve, and further the wealth and outward estate of others, as well as our own.

Q. 142. What are the sins forbidden in the eighth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the eighth commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, theft, robbery, man-stealing, and receiving anything that is stolen; fraudulent dealing, false weights and measures, removing landmarks, injustice and unfaithfulness in contracts between man and man, or in matters of trust; oppression, extortion, usury, bribery, vexatious lawsuits, unjust enclosures and depredation; engrossing commodities to enhance the price; unlawful callings, and all other unjust or sinful ways of taking or withholding from our neighbor what belongs to him, or of enriching ourselves; covetousness; inordinate prizing and affecting worldly goods; distrustful and distracting cares and studies in getting, keeping, and using them; envying at the prosperity of others; as likewise idleness, prodigality, wasteful gaming; and all other ways whereby we do unduly prejudice our own outward estate, and defrauding ourselves of the due use and comfort of that estate which God hath given us.

Q. 143. Which is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Q. 144. What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?
A. The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for and covering of their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; discouraging talebearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth; keeping of lawful promises; studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.

Q. 145. What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbors, as well as our own, especially in public judicature; giving false evidence, suborning false witnesses, wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause, outfacing and overbearing the truth; passing unjust sentence, calling evil good, and good evil; rewarding the wicked according to the work of the righteous, and the righteous according to the work of the wicked; forgery, concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others; speaking the truth unseasonably, or maliciously to a wrong end, or perverting it to a wrong meaning, or in doubtful or equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of the truth or justice; speaking untruth, lying, slandering, backbiting, detracting, talebearing, whispering, scoffing, reviling, rash, harsh, and partial censuring; misconstructing intentions, words, and actions; flattering, vainglorious boasting, thinking or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others; denying the gifts and graces of God; aggravating smaller faults; hiding, excusing, or extenuating of sins, when called to a free confession; unnecessary discovering of infirmities; raising false rumors, receiving and countenancing evil reports, and stopping our ears against just defense; evil suspicion; envying or grieving at the deserved credit of any; endeavoring or desiring to impair it, rejoicing in their disgrace and infamy; scornful contempt, fond admiration; breach of lawful promises; neglecting such things as are of good report, and practicing, or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering what we can in others, such things as procure an ill name.

Q. 146. Which is the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour’s.

Q. 147. What are the duties required in the tenth commandment?
A. The duties required in the tenth commandment are, such a full contentment with our own condition, and such a charitable frame of the whole soul toward our neighbor, as that all our inward motions and affections touching him, tend unto, and further all that good which is his.

Q. 148. What are the sins forbidden in the tenth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the tenth commandment are, discontentment with our own estate; envying and grieving at the good of our neighbor, together with all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.

Q. 149. Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
A. No man is able, either of himself, or by any grace received in this life, perfectly to keep the commandments of God; but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed.

Q. 150. Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous in themselves, and in the sight of God?
A. All transgressions of the law are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

Q. 151. What are those aggravations that make some sins more heinous than others?
A. Sins receive their aggravations,
1. From the persons offending; if they be of riper age, greater experience or grace, eminent for profession, gifts, place, office, guides to others, and whose example is likely to be followed by others.
2. From the parties offended: if immediately against God, his attributes, and worship; against Christ, and his grace; the Holy Spirit, his witness, and workings; against superiors, men of eminency, and such as we stand especially related and engaged unto; against any of the saints, particularly weak brethren, the souls of them, or any other, and the common good of all or many.
3. From the nature and quality of the offence: if it be against the express letter of the law, break many commandments, contain in it many sins: if not only conceived in the heart, but breaks forth in words and actions, scandalize others, and admit of no reparation: if against means, mercies, judgments, light of nature, conviction of conscience, public or private admonition, censures of the church, civil punishments; and our prayers, purposes, promises, vows, covenants, and engagements to God or men: if done deliberately, willfully, presumptuously, impudently, boastingly, maliciously, frequently, obstinately, with delight, continuance, or relapsing after repentance.
4. From circumstances of time, and place: if on the Lord’s day, or other times of divine worship; or immediately before or after these, or other helps to prevent or remedy such miscarriages: if in public, or in the presence of others, who are thereby likely to be provoked or defiled.

Q. 152. What doth every sin deserve at the hands of God?
A. Every sin, even the least, being against the sovereignty, goodness, and holiness of God, and against his righteous law, deserveth his wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come; and cannot be expiated but by the blood of Christ.

Q. 153. What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us by reason of the transgression of the law?
A. That we may escape the wrath and curse of God due to us by reason of the transgression of the law, he requireth of us repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, and the diligent use of the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation.

Q. 154. What are the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation?
A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to his church the benefits of his mediation, are all his ordinances; especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for their salvation.

Q. 155. How is the word made effectual to salvation?
A. The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the word, an effectual means of enlightening, convincing, and humbling sinners; of driving them out of themselves, and drawing them unto Christ; of conforming them to his image, and subduing them to his will; of strengthening them against temptations and corruptions; of building them up in grace, and establishing their hearts in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation.

Q. 156. Is the Word of God to be read by all?
A. Although all are not to be permitted to read the word publicly to the congregation, yet all sorts of people are bound to read it apart by themselves, and with their families: to which end, the holy Scriptures are to be translated out of the original into vulgar languages.

Q. 157. How is the Word of God to be read?
A. The holy Scriptures are to be read with an high and reverent esteem of them; with a firm persuasion that they are the very Word of God, and that he only can enable us to understand them; with desire to know, believe, and obey the will of God revealed in them; with diligence, and attention to the matter and scope of them; with meditation, application, self-denial, and prayer.

Q. 158. By whom is the Word of God to be preached?
A. The Word of God is to be preached only by such as are sufficiently gifted, and also duly approved and called to that office.

Q. 159. How is the Word of God to be preached by those that are called thereunto?
A. They that are called to labor in the ministry of the word, are to preach sound doctrine, diligently, in season and out of season; plainly, not in the enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; faithfully, making known the whole counsel of God; wisely, applying themselves to the necessities and capacities of the hearers; zealously, with fervent love to God and the souls of his people; sincerely, aiming at his glory, and their conversion, edification, and salvation.

Q. 160. What is required of those that hear the word preached?
A. It is required of those that hear the word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine what they hear by the Scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the Word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.

Q. 161. How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
A. The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not by any power in themselves, or any virtue derived from the piety or intention of him by whom they are administered, but only by the working of the Holy Ghost, and the blessing of Christ, by whom they are instituted.

Q. 162. What is a sacrament?
A. A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ in his church, to signify, seal, and exhibit unto those that are within the covenant of grace, the benefits of his mediation; to strengthen and increase their faith, and all other graces; to oblige them to obedience; to testify and cherish their love and communion one with another; and to distinguish them from those that are without.

Q. 163. What are the parts of a sacrament?
A. The parts of a sacrament are two; the one an outward and sensible sign, used according to Christ’s own appointment; the other an inward and spiritual grace thereby signified.

Q. 164. How many sacraments hath Christ instituted in his church under the New Testament?
A. Under the New Testament Christ hath instituted in his church only two sacraments, baptism and the Lord’s supper.

Q. 165. What is baptism?
A. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein Christ hath ordained the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, to be a sign and seal of ingrafting into himself, of remission of sins by his blood, and regeneration by his Spirit; of adoption, and resurrection unto everlasting life; and whereby the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible church, and enter into an open and professed engagement to be wholly and only the Lord’s.

Q. 166. Unto whom is baptism to be administered?
A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him, but infants descending from parents, either both, or but one of them, professing faith in Christ, and obedience to him, are in that respect within the covenant, and to be baptized.

Q. 167. How is baptism to be improved by us?
A. The needful but much neglected duty of improving our baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long, especially in the time of temptation, and when we are present at the administration of it to others; by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for which Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and sealed thereby, and our solemn vow made therein; by being humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of baptism, and our engagements; by growing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all other blessings sealed to us in that sacrament; by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized, for the mortifying of sin, and quickening of grace; and by endeavoring to live by faith, to have our conversation in holiness and righteousness, as those that have therein given up their names to Christ; and to walk in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body.

Q. 168. What is the Lord’s supper?
A. The Lord’s supper is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to the appointment of Jesus Christ, his death is showed forth; and they that worthily communicate feed upon his body and blood, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace; have their union and communion with him confirmed; testify and renew their thankfulness, and engagement to God, and their mutual love and fellowship each with other, as members of the same mystical body.

Q. 169. How hath Christ appointed bread and wine to be given and received in the sacrament of the Lord’s supper?
A. Christ hath appointed the ministers of his word, in the administration of this sacrament of the Lord’s supper, to set apart the bread and wine from common use, by the word of institution, thanksgiving, and prayer; to take and break the bread, and to give both the bread and the wine to the communicants: who are, by the same appointment, to take and eat the bread, and to drink the wine, in thankful remembrance that the body of Christ was broken and given, and his blood shed, for them.

Q. 170. How do they that worthily communicate in the Lord’s supper feed upon the body and blood of Christ therein?
A. As the body and blood of Christ are not corporally or carnally present in, with, or under the bread and wine in the Lord’s supper, and yet are spiritually present to the faith of the receiver, no less truly and really than the elements themselves are to their outward senses; so they that worthily communicate in the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, do therein feed upon the body and blood of Christ, not after a corporal and carnal, but in a spiritual manner; yet truly and really, while by faith they receive and apply unto themselves Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death.

Q. 171. How are they that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper to prepare themselves before they come unto it?
A. They that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper are, before they come, to prepare themselves thereunto, by examining themselves of their being in Christ, of their sins and wants; of the truth and measure of their knowledge, faith, repentance; love to God and the brethren, charity to all men, forgiving those that have done them wrong; of their desires after Christ, and of their new obedience; and by renewing the exercise of these graces, by serious meditation, and fervent prayer.

Q. 172. May one who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation, come to the Lord’s supper?
A. One who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation to the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, may have true interest in Christ, though he be not yet assured thereof; and in God’s account hath it, if he be duly affected with the apprehension of the want of it, and unfeignedly desires to be found in Christ, and to depart from iniquity: in which case (because promises are made, and this sacrament is appointed, for the relief even of weak and doubting Christians) he is to bewail his unbelief, and labor to have his doubts resolved; and, so doing, he may and ought to come to the Lord’s supper, that he may be further strengthened.

Q. 173. May any who profess the faith, and desire to come to the Lord’s supper, be kept from it?
A. Such as are found to be ignorant or scandalous, notwithstanding their profession of the faith, and desire to come to the Lord’s supper, may and ought to be kept from that sacrament, by the power which Christ hath left in his church, until they receive instruction, and manifest their reformation.

Q. 174. What is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper in the time of the administration of it?
A. It is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, that, during the time of the administration of it, with all holy reverence and attention they wait upon God in that ordinance, diligently observe the sacramental elements and actions, heedfully discern the Lord’s body, and affectionately meditate on his death and sufferings, and thereby stir up themselves to a vigorous exercise of their graces; in judging themselves, and sorrowing for sin; in earnest hungering and thirsting after Christ, feeding on him by faith, receiving of his fullness, trusting in his merits, rejoicing in his love, giving thanks for his grace; in renewing of their covenant with God, and love to all the saints.

Q. 175. What is the duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s supper?
A. The duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, is seriously to consider how they have behaved themselves therein, and with what success; if they find quickening and comfort, to bless God for it, beg the continuance of it, watch against relapses, fulfill their vows, and encourage themselves to a frequent attendance on that ordinance: but if they find no present benefit, more exactly to review their preparation to, and carriage at, the sacrament; in both which, if they can approve themselves to God and their own consciences, they are to wait for the fruit of it in due time: but, if they see they have failed in either, they are to be humbled, and to attend upon it afterwards with more care and diligence.

Q. 176. Wherein do the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper agree?
A. The sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper agree, in that the author of both is God; the spiritual part of both is Christ and his benefits; both are seals of the same covenant, are to be dispensed by ministers of the gospel, and by none other; and to be continued in the church of Christ until his second coming.

Q. 177. Wherein do the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper differ?
A. The sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper differ, in that baptism is to be administered but once, with water, to be a sign and seal of our regeneration and ingrafting into Christ, and that even to infants; whereas the Lord’s supper is to be administered often, in the elements of bread and wine, to represent and exhibit Christ as spiritual nourishment to the soul, and to confirm our continuance and growth in him, and that only to such as are of years and ability to examine themselves.

Q. 178. What is prayer?
A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, in the name of Christ, by the help of his Spirit; with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies.

Q. 179. Are we to pray unto God only?
A. God only being able to search the hearts, hear the requests, pardon the sins, and fulfill the desires of all; and only to be believed in, and worshiped with religious worship; prayer, which is a special part thereof, is to be made by all to him alone, and to none other.

Q. 180. What is it to pray in the name of Christ?
A. To pray in the name of Christ is, in obedience to his command, and in confidence on his promises, to ask mercy for his sake; not by bare mentioning of his name, but by drawing our encouragement to pray, and our boldness, strength, and hope of acceptance in prayer, from Christ and his mediation.

Q. 181. Why are we to pray in the name of Christ?
A. The sinfulness of man, and his distance from God by reason thereof, being so great, as that we can have no access into his presence without a mediator; and there being none in heaven or earth appointed to, or fit for, that glorious work but Christ alone, we are to pray in no other name but his only.

Q. 182. How doth the Spirit help us to pray?
A. We not knowing what to pray for as we ought, the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, by enabling us to understand both for whom, and what, and how prayer is to be made; and by working and quickening in our hearts (although not in all persons, nor at all times, in the same measure) those apprehensions, affections, and graces which are requisite for the right performance of that duty.

Q. 183. For whom are we to pray?
A. We are to pray for the whole church of Christ upon earth; for magistrates, and ministers; for ourselves, our brethren, yea, our enemies; and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those that are known to have sinned the sin unto death.

Q. 184. For what things are we to pray?
A. We are to pray for all things tending to the glory of God, the welfare of the church, our own or others’ good; but not for anything that is unlawful.

Q. 185. How are we to pray?
A. We are to pray with an awful apprehension of the majesty of God, and deep sense of our own unworthiness, necessities, and sins; with penitent, thankful, and enlarged hearts; with understanding, faith, sincerity, fervency, love, and perseverance, waiting upon him, with humble submission to his will.

Q. 186. What rule hath God given for our direction in the duty of prayer?
A. The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in the duty of prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which our Savior Christ taught his disciples, commonly called The Lord’s prayer.

Q. 187. How is the Lord’s prayer to be used?
A. The Lord’s prayer is not only for direction, as a pattern, according to which we are to make other prayers; but may also be used as a prayer, so that it be done with understanding, faith, reverence, and other graces necessary to the right performance of the duty of prayer.

Q. 188. Of how many parts doth the Lord’s prayer consist?
A. The Lord’s prayer consists of three parts; a preface, petitions, and a conclusion.

Q. 189. What doth the preface of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A. The preface of the Lord’s prayer (contained in these words, Our Father which art in heaven) teacheth us, when we pray, to draw near to God with confidence of his fatherly goodness, and our interest therein; with reverence, and all other childlike dispositions, heavenly affections, and due apprehensions of his sovereign power, majesty, and gracious condescension: as also, to pray with and for others.

Q. 190. What do we pray for in the first petition?
A. In the first petition (which is, Hallowed be thy name), acknowledging the utter inability and indisposition that is in ourselves and all men to honor God aright, we pray, that God would by his grace enable and incline us and others to know, to acknowledge, and highly to esteem him, his titles, attributes, ordinances, word, works, and whatsoever he is pleased to make himself known by; and to glorify him in thought, word, and deed: that he would prevent and remove atheism, ignorance, idolatry, profaneness, and whatsoever is dishonorable to him; and, by his overruling providence, direct and dispose of all things to his own glory.

Q. 191. What do we pray for in the second petition?
A. In the second petition (which is, Thy kingdom come), acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan, we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fullness of the Gentiles brought in; the church furnished with all gospel officers and ordinances, purged from corruption, countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate; that the ordinances of Christ may be purely dispensed, and made effectual to the converting of those that are yet in their sins, and the confirming, comforting, and building up of those that are already converted: that Christ would rule in our hearts here, and hasten the time of his second coming, and our reigning with him forever: and that he would be pleased so to exercise the kingdom of his power in all the world, as may best conduce to these ends.

Q. 192. What do we pray for in the third petition?
A. In the third petition (which is, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven), acknowledging that by nature we and all men are not only utterly unable and unwilling to know and to do the will of God, but prone to rebel against his word, to repine and murmur against his providence, and wholly inclined to do the will of the flesh, and of the devil: we pray, that God would by his Spirit take away from ourselves and others all blindness, weakness, indisposedness, and perverseness of heart; and by his grace make us able and willing to know, do, and submit to his will in all things, with the like humility, cheerfulness, faithfulness, diligence, zeal, sincerity, and constancy, as the angels do in heaven.

Q. 193. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
A. In the fourth petition (which is, Give us this day our daily bread), acknowledging that in Adam, and by our own sin, we have forfeited our right to all the outward blessings of this life, and deserve to be wholly deprived of them by God, and to have them cursed to us in the use of them; and that neither they of themselves are able to sustain us, nor we to merit, or by our own industry to procure them; but prone to desire, get, and use them unlawfully: we pray for ourselves and others, that both they and we, waiting upon the providence of God from day to day in the use of lawful means, may, of his free gift, and as to his fatherly wisdom shall seem best, enjoy a competent portion of them; and have the same continued and blessed unto us in our holy and comfortable use of them, and contentment in them; and be kept from all things that are contrary to our temporal support and comfort.

Q. 194. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
A. In the fifth petition (which is, Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors), acknowledging that we and all others are guilty both of original and actual sin, and thereby become debtors to the justice of God; and that neither we, nor any other creature, can make the least satisfaction for that debt: we pray for ourselves and others, that God of his free grace would, through the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, apprehended and applied by faith, acquit us both from the guilt and punishment of sin, accept us in his Beloved; continue his favor and grace to us, pardon our daily failings, and fill us with peace and joy, in giving us daily more and more assurance of forgiveness; which we are the rather emboldened to ask, and encouraged to expect, when we have this testimony in ourselves, that we from the heart forgive others their offenses.

Q. 195. What do we pray for in the sixth petition?
A. In the sixth petition (which is, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil), acknowledging that the most wise, righteous, and gracious God, for divers holy and just ends, may so order things, that we may be assaulted, foiled, and for a time led captive by temptations; that Satan, the world, and the flesh, are ready powerfully to draw us aside, and ensnare us; and that we, even after the pardon of our sins, by reason of our corruption, weakness, and want of watchfulness, are not only subject to be tempted, and forward to expose ourselves unto temptations, but also of ourselves unable and unwilling to resist them, to recover out of them, and to improve them; and worthy to be left under the power of them; we pray, that God would so overrule the world and all in it, subdue the flesh, and restrain Satan, order all things, bestow and bless all means of grace, and quicken us to watchfulness in the use of them, that we and all his people may by his providence be kept from being tempted to sin; or, if tempted, that by his Spirit we may be powerfully supported and enabled to stand in the hour of temptation; or when fallen, raised again and recovered out of it, and have a sanctified use and improvement thereof: that our sanctification and salvation may be perfected, Satan trodden under our feet, and we fully freed from sin, temptation, and all evil, forever.

Q. 196. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A. The conclusion of the Lord’s prayer (which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.) teacheth us to enforce our petitions with arguments, which are to be taken, not from any worthiness in ourselves, or in any other creature, but from God; and with our prayers to join praises, ascribing to God alone eternal sovereignty, omnipotency, and glorious excellency; in regard whereof, as he is able and willing to help us, so we by faith are emboldened to plead with him that he would, and quietly to rely upon him, that he will fulfill our requests. And, to testify this our desire and assurance, we say, Amen.

Source

Westminster Shorter Catechism (1648)

Shorter Catechism

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

Q. 3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.

Q. 4. What is God?
A. God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.

Q. 5. Are there more Gods than one?
A. There is but one only, the living and true God.

Q. 6. How many persons are there in the godhead?
A. There are three persons in the Godhead; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.

Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?
A. The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.

Q. 8. How doth God execute his decrees?
A. God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence.

Q. 9. What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.

Q. 10. How did God create man?
A. God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.

Q. 11. What are God’s works of providence?
A. God’s works of providence are his most holy, wise and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.

Q. 12. What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the estate wherein he was created?
A. When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.

Q. 13. Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
A. Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God.

Q. 14. What is sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.

Q. 15. What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created?
A. The sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created was their eating the forbidden fruit.

Q. 16. Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?
A. The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.

Q. 17. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
A. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.

Q. 18. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell consists in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin; together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it.

Q. 19. What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. All mankind by their fall lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.

Q. 20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A. God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a redeemer.

Q. 21. Who is the redeemer of God’s elect?
A. The only redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, forever.

Q. 22. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.

Q. 23. What offices doth Christ execute as our redeemer?
A. Christ, as our redeemer, executeth the offices of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king, both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation.

Q. 24. How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
A. Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by his word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.

Q. 25. How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
A. Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God; and in making continual intercession for us.

Q. 26. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.

Q. 27. Wherein did Christ’s humiliation consist?
A. Christ’s humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross; in being buried, and continuing under the power of death for a time.

Q. 28. Wherein consisteth Christ’s exaltation?
A. Christ’s exaltation consisteth in his rising again from the dead on the third day, in ascending up into heaven, in sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and in coming to judge the world at the last day.

Q. 29. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit.

Q. 30. How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.

Q. 31. What is effectual calling?
A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.

Q. 32. What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?
A. They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, adoption and sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them.

Q. 33. What is justification?
A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.

Q. 34. What is adoption?
A. Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of, the sons of God.

Q. 35. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.

Q. 36. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification?
A. The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.

Q. 37. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
A. The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection.

Q. 38. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
A. At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God to all eternity.

Q. 39. What is the duty which God requireth of man?
A. The duty which God requireth of man is obedience to his revealed will.

Q. 40. What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
A. The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience was the moral law.

Q. 41. Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments.

Q. 42. What is the sum of the ten commandments?
A. The sum of the ten commandments is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves.

Q. 43. What is the preface to the ten commandments?
A. The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Q. 44. What doth the preface to the ten commandments teach us?
A. The preface to the ten commandments teacheth us that because God is the Lord, and our God, and redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.

Q. 45. Which is the first commandment?
A. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Q. 46. What is required in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly.

Q. 47. What is forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment forbiddeth the denying, or not worshiping and glorifying the true God as God, and our God; and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone.

Q. 48. What are we specially taught by these words before me in the first commandment?
A. These words before me in the first commandment teach us that God, who seeth all things, taketh notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other god.

Q. 49. Which is the second commandment?
A. The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Q. 50. What is required in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his word.

Q. 51. What is forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment forbiddeth the worshiping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his word.

Q. 52. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment are, God’s sovereignty over us, his propriety in us, and the zeal he hath to his own worship.

Q. 53. Which is the third commandment?
A. The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Q. 54. What is required in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God’s names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word and works.

Q. 55. What is forbidden in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment forbiddeth all profaning or abusing of anything whereby God maketh himself known.

Q. 56. What is the reason annexed to the third commandment?
A. The reason annexed to the third commandment is that however the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment.

Q. 57. Which is the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment is, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Q. 58. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy sabbath to himself.

Q. 59. Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the weekly sabbath?
A. From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly sabbath; and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian sabbath.

Q. 60. How is the sabbath to be sanctified?
A. The sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.

Q. 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.

Q. 62. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are, God’s allowing us six days of the week for our own employments, his challenging a special propriety in the seventh, his own example, and his blessing the sabbath day.

Q. 63. Which is the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment is, Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Q. 64. What is required in the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment requireth the preserving the honor, and performing the duties, belonging to every one in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors or equals.

Q. 65. What is forbidden in the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment forbiddeth the neglecting of, or doing anything against, the honor and duty which belongeth to every one in their several places and relations.

Q. 66. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment?
A. The reason annexed to the fifth commandment is a promise of long life and prosperity (as far as it shall serve for God’s glory and their own good) to all such as keep this commandment.

Q. 67. Which is the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill.

Q. 68. What is required in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life, and the life of others.

Q. 69. What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment forbiddeth the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbor unjustly, or whatsoever tendeth thereunto.

Q. 70. Which is the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Q. 71. What is required in the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment requireth the preservation of our own and our neighbor’s chastity, in heart, speech and behavior.

Q. 72. What is forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment forbiddeth all unchaste thoughts, words and actions.

Q. 73. Which is the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.

Q. 74. What is required in the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment requireth the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.

Q. 75. What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever doth or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbor’s wealth or outward estate.

Q. 76. Which is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Q. 77. What is required in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name, especially in witness-bearing.

Q. 78. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbor’s good name.

Q. 79. Which is the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.

Q. 80. What is required in the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbor, and all that is his.

Q. 81. What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment forbiddeth all discontentment with our own estate, envying or grieving at the good of our neighbor, and all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.

Q. 82. Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
A. No mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but doth daily break them in thought, word and deed.

Q. 83. Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
A. Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

Q. 84. What doth every sin deserve?
A. Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.

Q. 85. What doth God require of us that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us for sin?
A. To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.

Q. 86. What is faith in Jesus Christ?
A. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.

Q. 87. What is repentance unto life?
A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.

Q. 88. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption?
A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption, are his ordinances, especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.

Q. 89. How is the word made effectual to salvation?
A. The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching, of the word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation.

Q. 90. How is the word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation?
A. That the word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation and prayer; receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.

Q. 91. How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
A. The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in him that doth administer them; but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith receive them.

Q. 92. What is a sacrament?
A. A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ; wherein, by sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers.

Q. 93. Which are the sacraments of the New Testament?
A. The sacraments of the New Testament are baptism and the Lord’s supper.

Q. 94. What is baptism?
A. Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s.

Q. 95. To whom is baptism to be administered?
A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him; but the infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptized.

Q. 96. What is the Lord’s supper?
A. The Lord’s supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to Christ’s appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace.

Q. 97. What is required to the worthy receiving of the Lord’s supper?
A. It is required of them that would worthily partake of the Lord’s supper, that they examine themselves of their knowledge to discern the Lord’s body, of their faith to feed upon him, of their repentance, love, and new obedience; lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgment to themselves.

Q. 98. What is prayer?
A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.

Q. 99. What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?
A. The whole word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which Christ taught his disciples, commonly called the Lord’s prayer.

Q. 100. What doth the preface of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A. The preface of the Lord’s prayer, which is, Our Father which art in heaven, teacheth us to draw near to God with all holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father able and ready to help us; and that we should pray with and for others.

Q. 101. What do we pray for in the first petition?
A. In the first petition, which is, Hallowed be thy name, we pray that God would enable us and others to glorify him in all that whereby he maketh himself known; and that he would dispose all things to his own glory.

Q. 102. What do we pray for in the second petition?
A. In the second petition, which is, Thy kingdom come, we pray that Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed; and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced, ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it; and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened.

Q. 103. What do we pray for in the third petition?
A. In the third petition, which is, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven, we pray that God, by his grace, would make us able and willing to know, obey and submit to his will in all things, as the angels do in heaven.

Q. 104. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
A. In the fourth petition, which is, Give us this day our daily bread, we pray that of God’s free gift we may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them.

Q. 105. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
A. In the fifth petition, which is, And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, we pray that God, for Christ’s sake, would freely pardon all our sins; which we are the rather encouraged to ask, because by his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others.

Q. 106. What do we pray for in the sixth petition?
A. In the sixth petition, which is, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, we pray that God would either keep us from being tempted to sin, or support and deliver us when we are tempted.

Q. 107. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A. The conclusion of the Lord’s prayer, which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen, teacheth us to take our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power and glory to him. And in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen.

Source

Blogging in the name of the Lord: R. Scott Clark

This is the second in a series of interviews with Christian bloggers. In the hot seat today is…

GD: Hello R. Scott Clark and welcome to Exiled Preacher. Please tell us a little about yourself.
RSC: Hello Guy. Thanks for the invitation. I became a broadly-evangelical Christian in the mid-70s. I found the Reformed faith (or perhaps I should that it found me!) about 1980. I was raised in the midwest of the USA and attended seminary at Westminster Seminary California and served a congregation in Kansas City, Missouri (pronounced “Miz-ur-rah” in Kansas City) from 1987-93. For the next two years my family and I were in Oxford, UK pursuing graduate studies. After that we were in Wheaton, IL at Wheaton College. I’ve been back at Westminster Seminary California since 1997.

GD: Your blog is called ‘The Heidelblog‘ please explain.
RSC: The title is a reference to the home of the German Reformed Church and theology, Heidelberg. It’s also a pretty blatant plagiarizing of Kim Riddlebarger’s “Riddleblog.”

GD: What made you start blogging?
RSC: I began the HB as a way to comment on the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), a worthy project from which I’ve been diverted and to which I need to return. Somewhere I read that “writers write.” I needed a place to write on a regular basis and to try to do on a more public basis what I found myself doing privately by email, namely, answering questions.

GD: What are the strengths and weaknesses of blogging as a medium for theological reflection?
RSC: One strength is that it has taught me certain particularly sinful habits and attitudes and thence it has taught me humility. It regularly reinforces to me the limits of my abilities and reading. The immediacy of the medium puts me quickly into contact with a wide range of questions and issues of which I would otherwise be ignorant. It usually takes months or longer to get an article into print and it usually takes at least a year to get a book into print. Because it can be done so quickly it can be a great way to start or have a conversation and to try out new ideas. It is not a good medium for presenting detailed, careful, academic research. Because blogging lacks editorial controls it demands of the writer the virtues of self-control and prudence—virtues that are not as much in evidence in me as they should be.

GD: Who has had the greatest influence on your theological development?
RSC: Packer’s Knowing God and Calvin’s Institutes were the first Reformed works I read. I’m sure that they have shaped me in ways of which I’m not even aware. Bob Strimple’s biblical-exegetical approach to systematic theology at WSC laid strong foundations. Bob Godfrey’s lectures in church history put me into contact with the whole Christian tradition. Reading 16th- and 17th-century Reformed orthodoxy (especially Wollebius) Recently I think I’ve been most influenced by Mike Horton’s series with WJKP and by Darryl Hart’s work (especially, ‘The Lost Soul of American Protestantism’).

GD: Why should today’s Christians be interested in church history and historical theology?
RSC: Christians are redeemed by Christ alone (sola gratia, sola fide) to be a part of the covenant community, i.e. the visible church. The church did not begin last week. It has a history and every Christian, by virtue of the the fact of being a Christian, is a part of a historic tradition. Consider the very name “Christian.” We are given the name of Christ in baptism. It is a historic name (given to us by others). It is the name of a historic person, God the Son who entered into history to be our Redeemer. Thus our faith itself is grounded in the history of salvation. The Christian faith is unavoidably historical. The way we worship, the way we read Scripture, the way we think of God, man, Christ, sin, salvation, the church, sacraments, last things, and the Christian life are all conditioned by history. Thus the question is not whether we are going think about history but whether we are going to do it well.

GD: There has been a reassessment of the value of scholastic theology in the last few years. What can Reformed Christians learn from the scholastics?
RSC: Much in every way. They mediated to us a theology, piety, and practice. Many of the great Protestant confessions were formed by and under the influence of Protestant orthodoxy. They gave us our vocabulary, a hermeneutic, an approach to worship, to prayer, to the Christian life that we’ve been begun to recover.

For much of the modern period we were tempted to try to think of the history of the church after the medieval period as consisting of the Reformation and modern churches. We sort of leap-frogged the post-Reformation church and theology. In this view we were too often willing victims of Enlightenment hostility to a rich resource for theology and church life. Now, however, thanks to the pioneering work of a number of scholars in the 70s and 80s we’ve begun to clear away the vines from a solid old footbridge between the Reformation and the modern church and we’ve found there was much to learn. My students can’t imagine what it be like to be without Ursinus, Ames, Wollebius, Turretin, or Wtisius, just to name a few.

GD: David Bebbington famously claimed (in Evangelicalism in Modern Britian) that evangelicalism is largely a product of the 18th century Enlightenment. What do you make of his thesis?
RSC: It’s all a matter of definition. If the adjective “evangelical” is used in its original Protestant sense, then “evangelical” simply means “confessional” or “magisterial Protestant.” It refers to the recovery of the biblical (and Pauline) doctrine of justification in the Reformation, the Reformation doctrine that acceptance with God is by God’s undeserved favor alone and received through faith resting in and receiving Christ and his righteousness imputed alone as the ground of acceptance with God. It refers to the notion that salvation (justification and sanctification) is mediated through the visible church, through the preaching of the gospel and administration of the sacraments. It refers to the hermeneutical/theological distinction between law and gospel. As a matter of sociology and modern history, the modern evangelical movement is, in many important ways deeply influenced by modernity. The theology, piety, and practice mediated to us by the so-called “First Great Awakening” is at least partly indebted to the idealism of the Cambridge Platonists. The subjectivism of modern the evangelical movements is indebted to Romanticism. Modern fundamentalism was influenced by Enlightenment rationalism. In ‘Recovering the Reformed Confession’ I describe the subjectivist impulse of modern evangelical religion as the Quest for Illegitimate Religious Experience (QIRE), i.e. the desire to experience God without mediation. This quest was fueled partly by a reaction to the doubt and fear created by early modern criticisms of the faith. The rationalism of modern fundamentalism reflects the Quest for Illegitimate Religious Certainty (QIRC) or the desire to know things the way God knows them as distinct from the way he reveals himself to us. It is a desire to get behind revelation.

There is also a real question as to whether there really is such a thing as “evangelicalism,” at least in North America. The project of the modern evangelicals, especially since the mid-1940s was to form an alliance organized around a common religious experience and a high view of Scripture. The movement was intentionally churchless. The minimalism of the neo-evangelical movement, however, did not prepare it well for what was to come. Today, in North America, it’s almost impossible to say what makes one “evangelical” since there is no common doctrine of God, man, Christ, salvation, church, sacraments or last things. For example, the split over “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” revealed that there was no longer even a common definition of “the gospel” or of justification and that was the material doctrine of justification. There’s been no shared doctrine of Scripture since at least the early 70s. Thus, Darryl Hart, in ‘Deconstructing Evangelicalism’, has questioned whether “evangelicalism” even exists anymore.

GD: You have written on Recovering the Reformed Confession. If “the Bible alone is the religion of Protestants”, why do we need confessions of faith?
RSC: In the book I use the word “confession” in two ways. In the first and narrow sense it refers to those public, authoritative, ecclesiastical summaries of the Word adopted by the Reformed churches in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the broader sense, however, it refers to the theology, piety, and practice of the Reformed churches that forms the context for those documents and in light of which they must be read. I wrote the book to try to encourage those who identify with the Reformed faith to see the confessions as the definition of the adjective “Reformed.” Too many folk think that the doctrine of predestination is the alpha and omega of Reformed theology. The Reformed churches know nothing of such a definition! The Reformed churches confess much more than divine sovereignty and predestination. They confess a holistic theology, a distinct piety (that is neither pentecostal nor sterile), a churchly, sacramental practice of the faith. So the confessions themselves are essential to being Reformed and to recovering an authentic Reformed identity and life. Confessions are unavoidable. Every Christian has a confession, even if very brief. “No creed but Christ” is still a confession. The church has always confessed her faith whether in the Shema of Deut 6:4 or in 1 Tim 3:16, to name but two places. So the question is whether one will have a confession that reflects the scope of biblical revelation and practice. The original evangelicals were confessing people. Modern evangelicals have experimented with churchless, “creed-less” Christianity for two centuries and it has been a failure. We should take note of Luther, Bucer, Bullinger, and Calvin and of all the great Protestant churches of the Reformation in virtually every place. They were all confessing churches.

GD: What factors under God have led to a widespread recovery of Reformed teaching in the States?
RSC: If you’re referring to the ‘Young, Restless, and Reformed’ movement or the increased interest in divine sovereignty among some segments of evangelicalism, that is a cause for encouragement. The doctrines of grace essential to the historic evangelical faith but they are just an on-ramp to Reformed theology. The most obvious cause for a turn to the doctrines of grace is the vacuous, narcissistic, therapeutic, and moralistic nature of so much modern “evangelical” theology, piety, and practice. The baby-boom generation largely wrecked what they inherited from Carl Henry (and that inheritance was problematic). It is not surprising that the children of those ruins have begun to cast about for an alternative. I hope they don’t try to add a doctrine of divine sovereignty to the rickety house of modern evangelicalism.

GD: If time travel were possible, which figure from post-biblical Church history would you most like to meet and what you say to him/her?
RSC: Oh, this is very difficult choice for a historian! I have questions for some many different people. I think I would enjoy talking to Luther more than to Calvin (whom, I fear, I might find a little solemn). I would ask Luther about his view of baptism (did he really teach baptismal regeneration?) and his view of Calvin.

GD: Martin Luther said that when it comes to contending for the faith we should fight for the truth that is most under attack at any given time. Where is the battle raging most fiercely today?
RSC: The most fundamental question of the modern (early and late) period has been the authority and reliability of Scripture. The great question of the pre-modern period was, “What has God said?” The Roman and Protestant communions gave different answers but they they agreed that divine authority is pre-eminent. In the modern period the question became, “Has God said?” Of course that’s not a modern question The current attempt to revise the doctrine of justification is probably a manifestation of that problem. It has been in the background for the last two decades but it appears to be re-emerging into the foreground. Related to both of these is the hermeneutical crisis of the last several decades. These were the formal and material issues of the Reformation: sola Scriptura and sola fide so it shouldn’t surprise us too much to see that they are the most basic issues we face today.

GD: What is the most helpful theological book that you have read in the last twelve months? It is a must read because?
RSC: This is very difficult to answer. For one thing my interests tend toward history and historical theology. One volume that stands out might be Herman Selderhuis, Calvin’s Theology of the Psalms (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007). Everyone should read it because it’s a model of how to read texts and how to write about them winsomely.

GD: Care to share your top three songs or pieces of music?
RSC: In no particular order here are three tunes I always turn up.
Green Onions, Booker T and the MGs
I Wanna Be Sedated, Ramones
Gimme Shelter, Rolling Stones

GD: Tell us three things you know about Wales and the Welsh.
RSC: The Welshmen I know (and have known) have
1) a wonderful grasp of the English language
2) a dry sense of humor
3) dislike generalizations about the Welsh

GD: You must be thinking of your colleague at WSC, Hywel Jones, who was Principal of the London Theological Seminary when I studied there many years ago. Do give him my regards. Now, what is the biggest problem facing evangelicalism today and how should we respond?
RSC: There are three great problems: Christlessness, Wordlessness, and churchlessness. The very fact that there is likely no such thing as “evangelicalism,” i.e., virtually no common confession among those who identify themselves as “evangelicals” signals the magnitude of the problem faced by those who identify themselves as evangelicals. They are bound together by a common experience of or quest for the immediate experience of the divine but they are united in and defined by little else. Such could not have been said about the original evangelicals. The original evangelicals were united by their understanding of the gospel, the doctrine of justification and the unique and normative authority of Scripture as God’s Word and by their conviction that God has promised to work savingly in the visible, institutional church through Word and sacrament. Modern evangelicals have really been gradually becoming Anabaptist in their approach to theology, piety, and practice since the 1970s. However passionate the Anabaptists were they were not Protestants and they were not evangelicals. The Christian hope is not grounded in immediate experience of the divine presence nor in continuing, extra-biblical revelation, but in the good news of the risen Savior revealed in the inerrant, canonical Word of God and sealed in divinely instituted sacraments and administered in the visible church.

GD: Which blogs do you enjoy reading and why?
RSC: I’m subscribed to more than I should admit. I am enjoying many, including this one. If I had to pick five (with apologies to all the other outstanding blogs):
Martin Downes, Against Heresies
Darryl Hart and John Muether, Old Life Theological Society
The Confessional Outhouse (Zrim, Rick, and Ruberad)
Creed or Chaos (Brannan and Chaos)
Adiaphora
These, among others, come to mind because they are consistently faithful or thoughtful, and thought provoking or all three. I always learn from them.
GD: Well, that just about wraps things up. Thanks for dropping by for this conversation. Bye!

http://exiledpreacher.blogspot.com/2009/06/blogging-in-name-of-lord-r-scott-clark.html

Trans-Confessional Catechism? A Review Of The New City Catechism

It’s encouraging to the see the The Gospel Coalition talking about the importance of catechesis. I was encouraged when The Resurgence did a series on the Heidelberg Catechism (which I can no longer find) and it’s encouraging to see Carl Trueman’s new book, The Creedal Imperative. One might give a somewhat different list of Reformed catechisms than Tim Keller does in his brief encouragement. Richard Baxter (1615–91) was not Reformed and we need to stop calling him Reformed. Anyone as confused as Baxter was about the “article by which the church stands or falls” (justification) can hardly be called “Reformed.” Nevertheless, his main points stand:

…in the evangelical Christian world today the practice of catechesis, particularly among adults, has been almost completely lost.

and

The catechetical discipline of memorization drives concepts in deep, encouraging meditation on truth.

Amen. One of the first things the Protestants did was to confess the faith, as churches, and to instruct children and adults in the basics of the Christian faith through the use of questions and answers or catechisms. Luther published two catechisms in 1529 (the Large and Small). Calvin published two catechisms for Geneva. The Palatinate Church published the Heidelberg Catechism in 1563. The Church of England adopted a catechism (1549). There were many (now) lesser known catechisms written by a variety of figures (e.g., Johannes a Lasko) through the sixteenth century that were used by churches locally or regionally.

So, TGC is on firm historical footing when they advocate for a return to more serious catechesis. Clearly the flannel graphs and power point haven’t done the job. Catechesis and confession also follows a biblical pattern. See Recovering the Reformed Confession for more on this.

The issue here is not the creation of a new confession or catechism. One of the burdens of RRC was to argue the case for a new confession (and catechism). We may be sure that our confessing forebears would be quite surprised that we have gone this long without confessing the faith again in response to the issues facing the visible church in our own time.

What might give one pause, however, is the prospect of an organization such as TGC writing and publishing a summary of the faith. To be sure, as noted above, private individuals have written documents that became major ecclesiastical documents. Guido de Bres was a French-Speaking Reformed pastor in the Lowlands (Belgium) when he wrote what became known as the Belgic Confession. He wrote it as a pastor but it was not drafted by a commission of the church. The Second Helvetic Confession was written by Heinrich Bullinger (1504–75) was a private work that became an ecclesiastical document. Nevertheless, there are differences between these examples listed above and the TGC project just announced.

The main concern is that TGC comprises folk who do not confess the same understanding of the church and sacraments. Some Reformed and covenantal in their reading of redemptive history and, as a consequence, reach a certain view of the sacraments. TGC also embraces teachers who read redemptive history quite differently and thus have reached rather different views regarding the church and sacraments.

Typically Protestant catechisms contain expositions of the Decalogue (Ten Commandments), the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. They contain summaries of the Gospel (the Creed), the moral norms of the Christian life (the law), and an account of Christian piety (the Lord’s Prayer). The sections on the church and sacraments are usually placed under the Creed, under the 9th article, “the Holy Catholic Church.” The Reformed understanding holds that salvation is, by divine ordination, administered through the visible, institutional church. We confess that the visible church is a divinely established institution.

In Belgic Confession article 28, the Reformed Churches confess:

We believe that since this holy assembly and congregation is the gathering of those who are saved and there is no salvation apart from it, no one ought to withdraw from it, content to be by himself, regardless of his status or condition.

The Westminster Standards confess the very same doctrine in Westminster Confession of Faith 25.2 when it re-states Cyprian’s dictum: “out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.”

The point here is that, according to the Reformed churches in the British Isles and Europe, the doctrines of church and sacraments are essential to instruction in the Christian faith. This is why the various confessional traditions produced their own documents that reflected their particular reading of redemptive history, their hermeneutic, and their understanding of the Biblical teaching on church and sacraments.

When an organization that is Together for the Gospel but not together regarding the church and sacraments, where and in which the gospel is administered, what can they confess about those issues that separate the various members ecclesiastically? One fears that, in order to satisfy the needs of such an ecumenical organization, the temptation will be to downplay church and sacraments or else to create two parallel catechisms, one for those who confess the Reformed faith and those who affirm elements of the Reformed faith but who dissent from the Reformed ecclesiology and theology and practice of the sacraments.

Finally, regular readers of TCG have reason to wonder whether their recent pattern of publishing articles by the leading proponent of the Federal Vision signals a shift in how they define the gospel and whether their new inclusiveness will include a nod to the Federal Vision.

When this new project was announced there were things to applaud and questions to be answered. The New City Catechism is now out and since the HB is devoted to recovering the Reformed confession, a healthy part of which is recovering catechesis, we owe this project a careful look.

There is a lot to like in the New City Catechism.

Content
Anyone who knows the Heidelberg Catechism or the Westminster Shorter Catechism will recognize most of the language of this catechism. The answers are abbreviated but the substance of several of the answers is present and generally well done. The questions are well formed and the answers are crisp and clear. This will make the catechism easier to put to memory.

My students (and catechism students) have heard me complain for years about the 1976 CRC translation of the Heidelberg Catechism. In their attempt to mimic the New International Version translation of Scripture the translators made the answers wordy and even poetic. The translators did not appear to assume that the catechism would be memorized and so they gave up the repetition essential to a sound catechism. Finally, the translators omitted essential vocabulary by substitution and thus weakened its doctrinal content.

The New City Catechism does not suffer from these ills. Rather, in Q. 3 it asks, “How many persons are there in God?” The answer is just right. We have to admire a catechism that gets to the Trinity so early. Sometimes in the Reformed tradition, the Trinity has been treated as sort of second blessing for the illuminati.

There is a question and answer for each Sabbath/Lord’s Day of the year. In our distracted age if parents can get their children to memorize a question each week and recite it on the Lord’s Day, that would be an accomplishment but such a goal seems to be within reach in with this catechism. By contrast, the Heidelberg Catechism has 129 Q/A (divided into 52 Lord’s Days) and the Westminster Shorter Catechism has a 107 questions and answers.

It contains the elements of a classic catechism: the decalogue, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. Those who know classic Reformed theology will recognize the substance of the covenant of works and federal (representative) theology in questions 7 and 14 The summary of the law seems adequate for such a brief catechism. It seems to get both the pedagogical use and the normative (third) use of the law. Questions 18 and 19 seem to reflect Dr Keller’s emphasis on idols of the heart by going back to that topic after the survey of the ten commandments. This might be judged by some as an idiosyncratic pedagogical decision. The doctrine they teach is certainly biblical.

It teaches historic evangelical doctrine regarding the substitutionary atonement and justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (eg., Q/A 29–32). We would expect nothing less from a PCA congregation. Those committed to cultural transformation will be encouraged by Q/A 26. Others may wonder whether this Q/A has more to do with Redeemer PCA’s particular cultural mission. Those worried about a possible shift at Redeemer regarding the doctrine of hell will be reassured by Q. 28’s affirmation of the biblical and traditional doctrine.

There is a clear articulation of the moral, spiritual necessity of Spirit-wrought sanctification as a consequence of justification. The language of Q/A 34 comes almost verbatim from the Heidelberg Catechism. There is a brief but solid account of the nature and importance of prayer for the Christian.

There is a brief, accurate account of the church and sacraments. Baptism is described as a sign and a seal. There is a warning about the danger of communing with an impenitent heart. Roman Catholics will find no comfort in Q. 47. The difficulty for some will be what is left unsaid. More on this below.

Form
The most revolutionary aspect of this catechism is the way the material is presented. It makes terrific use of the touch-screen iPad technology, which is how I accessed the catechism. There is a hide and seek feature for each answer. When the question appears on the screen, the answer is blurred. This gives the student an opportunity to test himself. When ready, the user may tap the screen to reveal the answer and then tap it again to obscure it. This is terrific. The iPad does this well and this is exactly how catechisms are memorized, by self-testing and repetition.

I believe that it is also available as a PDF and perhaps in hardcopy, I don’t know. At a certain point, if the document is used traditionally, students and teachers will want hard copies to hold in their hands and read. In my experience, catechisms tend to get beat up and an iPad may not be quite up to that sort of abuse.

The electronic version also shows Bible texts in the right-hand column. Users may adjust the settings in various ways including an option to switch between the ESV and the NIV. The controls are clear and intuitive.

Criticisms
The introduction says rightly that “catechetical instruction is less individualistic and more communal.” That’s certainly true but there is also a sort or romance about catechism implied in the introduction that may ultimately disappoint the user. Darryl Hart at Old Life has outlined some interesting criticisms on this point. By “romance” I mean the tendency to structure religious life around the quest for exquisite experience or the quest for illegitimate religious experience (QIRE). The truth is that catechizing children, while ultimately joyous, is often hard and sometimes tedious. Sin corrupts things and the QIRE-ish vision of the Christian life is just too eschatological, i.e., it paints an unrealistic picture of life in fallen world. It implies that we have more experience of heaven than we should expect. The problem is that such a vision is powerful and persuasive to Americans who are always looking for the next taste of heaven and rarely do they look for it Word and sacrament ministry. In short, my concern here is the same as James Boice’s. What we use to get them here will shall have to use to keep them here.

The chief concern expressed in part one touched on ecclesiology and sacraments. This catechism reflects the strengths and weaknesses of its Gospel Coalition milieu. It is sound on soteriology and basic Christian doctrine. In that sense it has the spirit and sensibilities of a sort of catechism of “mere Christianity.” Commentary and prayers have been included for each answer and the breadth is remarkable—from Chrysostom to Francis Schaefer. It includes Wesley, Spurgeon, Booth, Lloyd-Jones, and Stott.

It is not entirely inclusive, however. Those steeped in the confessional Lutheran tradition will not find themselves at home in the questions and answers on the sacraments and they might have the sense that the Christology implied in Q. 49 leans more Reformed than Lutheran.

Our Young, Restless, and Reformed friends, however, will find themselves right at home. There is nothing here to exclude them. Reformed confessionalists may wince here and there. The answer to the question, “What is the Church?” might encourage children to think that all the members of the visible church are elect. I doubt that this potential implication was intended. Rather it appears to be unintended consequence of collapsing Heidelberg numbers 54 and 55.

In this respect it is interesting that the word covenant appears quite infrequently. This will comfort those evangelicals who regard “covenant” something imposed on Scripture by “covenantalist” Reformed types but the biblical words for covenant occur more than 200 times. Reformed folk might expect to see more explicit references to the covenants.

In question 46 and 49 the impression is given that the kingdom of God is wholly future. Was this intentional? Most Reformed folk affirm that the Kingdom of God, though essentially eschatological (heavenly), has been inaugurated in history by Jesus, is being administered through its embassy on earth (the visible church), and will be consummated at Christ’s return. Again, this may be a function of the compression necessary to squeeze everything into 52 short answers.

All the 60+ Reformation and post-Reformation era Reformed Catechisms and confessions teach infant baptism. If such doctrine and practice is essential to the Reformed faith then the New City Catechism has omitted a Reformed essential. Of course this makes the project more inclusive but for those Reformed congregations that may be thinking to take up this tool as a substitute for the Heidelberg or the Westminster Shorter Catechism this will be a significant drawback.

Confessional Reformed congregations may also be reluctant to replace the older catechisms with this one because of what is omitted from answer 46 on the Holy Supper. It says that the Supper is “feeding and nourishing our souls” but it does not say with what or by whom exactly. There is no language about being fed by his body and blood. It’s true that such language has roots in Reformation arguments but it is also biblical language. It wasn’t Luther or Calvin who said, “This is my body.” It was Jesus. Instead we get language about remembering, which is biblical and confessional, “celebration,” and “communion with God and one another.

What should we make of the New City Catechism? Despite my criticisms and misgivings we should give a hearty thanks to those who produced it for their good work. They have pioneered a new and very interesting way to renew catechesis in our day. Those of us who are unwilling to omit a more full account of the church and sacraments (among other things) should take this project as a stimulus to produce our own new confession and catechism(s). This project shows that it can be done and it can be done well.

Canones Synodi Dordrechtanae

JUDICIUM SYNODI NATIONALIS REFORMATARUM ECCLESIARUM BELGICARUM,

Habitæ Dordrechti Anno MDCXVIII. et MDCXIX. Cui Plurimi insignes Theologi Reformatarum Ecclesiarum Magnæ Britanniæ Germaniæ, Galliæ, interfuerunt, de Quinque Doctrinæ Capitibus in Ecclesiis Belgicis Controversis: Promulgatum VI. Maii MDCXIX.

PRÆFATIO

IN NOMINE DOMINI ET SERVATORIS NOSTRI JESU CHRISTI. AMEN.

Inter plurima, quæ Dominus et Servator noster Jesus Christus militanti suæ Ecclesiæ in hac ærumnosa peregrinatione dedit solatia, merito celebratur illud, quod ei ad Patrem suum in cœleste sanctuarium abiturus reliquit: Ego, inquiens, sum vobiscum omnibus diebus usque ad consummationem sæculi. Hujus suavissimæ promissionis veritas elucet in omnium temporum Ecclesia, quæ quum non solum aperta inimicorum violentia, et hæreticorum impietate, sed etiam operta seductorum astutia inde ab initio fuerit oppugnata, sane, si unquam salutari promissæ suæ præsentiæ præsidio eam destituisset Dominus, pridem aut vi tyrannorum fuisset oppressa, aut fraude impostorum in exitium seducta. Sed bonus ille Pastor, qui gregem suum, pro quo animam suam posuit, constantissime diligit, persecutorum rabiem tempestive semper, et exserta sæpe dextera, miraculose repressit, et seductorum vias tortuosas, ac consilia fraudulenta detexit atque dissipavit, utroque se in Ecclesia sua præsentissimum esse demonstrans. Hujus rei illustre documentum exstat in historiis piorum imperatorum, regum, et principum, quos Filius Dei in subsidium Ecclesiæ suæ toties excitavit, sancto domus suæ zelo accendit, eorumque opera, non tantum tyrannorum furores compescuit, sed etiam Ecclesiæ cum falsis doctoribus religionem varie adulterantibus conflictanti, sanctarum synodorum remedia procuravit, in quibus fideles Christi servi conjunctis precibus, consiliis, et laboribus pro Ecclesia et veritate Dei fortiter steterunt, Satanæ ministris, licet in angelos lucis se transformantibus, intrepide se opposuerunt, errorum et discordiæ semina sustulerunt, Ecclesiam in religionis puræ concordia conservarunt, et sincerum Dei cultum ad posteritatem illibatum transmiserunt.
Simili beneficio fidelis noster Servator Ecclesiæ Belgicæ, annos aliquam multos afflictissimæ, gratiosam suam præsentiam hoc tempore testatus est. Hanc enim Ecclesiam a Romani antichristi tyratnnide et horribili papatus idololatria potenti Dei manu vindicatam, in belli diuturni periculis toties miraculose custoditam, et in veræ doctrinæ atque disciplinæ concordia ad Dei sui laudem, admirabile reipub. incrementum, totiusque reformati orbis gaudium efflorescentem, JACOBUS ARMINIUS ejusque sectatores, nomen Remonstruntium præ se ferentes, variis, tam veteribus, quam novis erreribus, primum tecte, deinde aperte tentarunt, et scandalosis dissensionibus ac schismatibus pertinaciter turbatam, in tantum discrimen adduxerunt, ut florentissimæ Ecclesiæ, nisi Servatoris nostri miseratio opportune intervenisset, horribili dissidiorum et schismatum incendio tandem conflagrassent. Benedictus autem sit in sæcula Dominus, qui postquam ad momentum faciem suam a nobis (qui multis modis iram et indignationem ejus provocaveramus) abscondisset, universo orbi testatum fecit, se fœderis sui non oblivisci, et suspiria suorum non spernere. Cum enim vix ulla remedii spes humanitus appareret, illustrissimis et præpotentibus Belgii fæderati ordinibus generalibus hanc mentem inspiravit, ut consilio et directione illustrissimis et fortissimi principis Arausicani legitimis mediis, quæ ipsorum apostolorum, et quæ eos secutæ Ecclesiæ Christianæ exemplis longo temporum decursu sunt comprobata, et magno cum fructu in Ecclesia etiam Belgica antehac usurpata, sævientibus hisce malis obviam ire decreverint, synodumque ex omnibus, quibus præsunt, provinciis, authoritate sua, Dordrechtum convocarint, expetitis ad eam et favore serenissimi ac potentissimi Magnæ Britanniæ regis JACOBI, et illustrissimorum principum, comitum, et rerumpublicarum, impetratis plurimis gravissimis theologis, ut communi tot Reformatæ Ecclesiæ theologorum judicio, ista ARMINII ejusque sectatorum dogmata accurate, et ex solo Dei verbo, dijudicarentur, vera doctrina stabiliretur, et falsa rejiceretur, Ecclesiisque Belgicis concordia, pax et tranquillitas, divina benedictione, restitueretur. Hoc est illud Dei beneficium, in quo exultant Ecclesiæ Belgicæ, et fidelis Servatoris sui miserationes humiliter agnoscunt, ac grate prædicant.
Hæc igitur veneranda Synodus (prævia per summi magistratus authoritatem in omnibus Belgicis Ecclesiis, ad iræ Dei deprecationem et gratiosi auxilii implorationem, precum et jejunii indictione et celebratione) in nomine Domini Dordrechti congregata, divini Numinis et salutis Ecclesiæ accensa amore, et post invocatum Dei’uomen, sancto juramento obstricta, se solam Scripturam sacram pro judicii norma habituram, et in caussæ kujus cognitione et judicio, bona integraque conscientia versaturam esse, hoc egit sedulo magnaque patientia, ut præcipuos horum dogmatum patronos, coram se citatos, induceret ad sententiam suam de Quinque notis doctrinæ Capitibus, sententiæque rationes, plenius exponendas. Sed cum Synodi judicium repudiarent, atque ad interrogatoria, eo, quo æquum erat, modo respondere detrectarent, neque Synodi monitiones, nec generosorum atque amplissimorum ordinum generalium Delegatorum mandata, imo ne ipsorum quidem illustrissimorum et præpotentum DD. ordinum generalium imperia, quicquam apud illos proficerent, aliam viam eorundem Dominorum jussu, et ex consuetudine jam olim in synodis antiquis recepta, ingredi coacta fuit; atque ex scriptis, confessionibus, ac declarationibus, partim antea editis, partim etiam huic Synodo exhibitis, examen illorum quinque dogmatum institutum est. Quod cum jam per singularem Dei gratiam, maxima diligentia, fide, ac conscientia, omnium et singulorum consensu absolutum sit, Synodus hæc ad Dei gloriam, et ut veritatis salutaris integritati, conscientiarum tranquillitati, et paciac saluti Ecclesiæ Belgicæ consulatur, sequens judicium, quo et vera verboque Dei consentanea de praedictis Quinque Doctrinæ Capitibus sententia exponitur, et falsa verboque Dei dissentanea rejicitur, statuit promulgandum.

SENTENTIA, DE DIVINA PRÆDESTINATIONE, ET ANNEXIS EI CAPITIBUS,

Quam Synodus Dordrechtana Verbo Dei consentaneam atque in Ecclesiis, Reformatis hactenus receptam esse, judicat, quibusdam Articulis exposita.

PRIMUM DOCTRINÆ CAPUT, DE DIVINA PRÆDESTINATIONE.

ARTICULUS PRIMUS.

Cum omnes homines in Adamo peccaverint, et rei sint facti maledictionis et mortis æternæ, Deus nemini fecisset injuriam, si universum genus humanum in peccato et maledictione relinquere, ac propter peccatum damnare voluisset, juxta illa Apostoli, Totus mundus est obnoxius condemnationi Dei. Rom. 3:19. Omnes peccaverunt et destituuntur gloria Dei. Ver. 23. Et, Stipendium peccati mors est. Rom. 6:23.

II.

Verum in hoc manifestata est charitas Dei, quod Filium suum unigenitum in mundum misit, ut omnis qui credit in eum, non pereat, sed habeat vitam æternam. 1 Johan. 4:9; Johan. 3:16.

III.

Ut autem homines ad fidem adducantur, Deus clementer Iætissimi hujus nuntii præcones mittit, ad quos vult, et quando vult, quorum ministerio homines ad resipiscentiam et fidem in Christum crucifixum vocantur. Quomodo enim credent in eum, de quo non audierint? quomodo autem audient absque prædicante? quomodo prædicabunt, nisi fuerint missi? Rom. 10:14, 15.

IV.

Qui huic Evangelio non credunt, super eos manet ira Dei. Qui vero illud recipiunt, et Servatorem Jesum vera ac viva fide amplectuntur, illi per ipsum ab ira Dei et interitu liberantur, ac vita æterna donantur.

V.

Incredulitatis istius, ut et omnium aliorum peccatorum, caussa seu culpa neutiquam est in Deo, sed in homine. Fides autem in Jesum Christum et salus per ipsum, est gratuitum Dei donum, sicut scriptum est: Gratia salvati estis per fidem, et hoc non ex vobis, Dei donum est. Ephes. 2:8. Item: Gratis datum est vobis in Christum credere. Phil. 1:29.

VI.

Quod autem aliqui in tempore fide a Deo donantur, aliqui non donantur, id ab æterno ipsius decreto provenit; Omnia enim opera sua novit ab æterno: Actor. 15:18; Ephes. 1:11; secundum quod decretum electorum corda, quantumvis dura, gratiose emollit, et ad credendum inflectit, non electos autem justo judicio suæ malitiæ et duritiæ relinquit. Atque hic potissimum sese nobis aperit profunda, misericors pariter et justa hominum æqualiter perditorum discretio; sive decretum illud electionis et reprobationis in verbo Dei revelatum. Quod ut perversi, impuri, et parum stabiles in suum detorquent exitium, ita sanctis et religiosis animabus ineffabile præstat solatium.

VII.

Est autem electio immutabile Dei propositum, quo ante jacta mundi fundamenta ex universo genere humano, ex primæva integritate in peccatum et exitium sua culpa prolapso, secundum liberrimum voluntatis suæ beneplacitum, ex mera gratia, certam quorundam hominum multitudinem, aliis nec meliorum, nec digniorum, sed in communi miseria cum aliis jacentium, ad salutem elegit in Christo, quem etiam ab æterno Mediatorem et omnium electorum caput, salutisque fundamentum constituit; atque ita eos ipsi salvandos dare, et ad ejus communionem per verbum et Spiritum suum efficaciter vocare ac trahere; seu vera et ipsum fide donare, justificare, sanctificare, et potenter in Filii sui communione custoditos tandem glorificare decrevit, ad demonstrationem suæ misericordiæ, et laudem divitiarum gloriosæ suæ gratiæ, sicut scriptum est: Elegit nos Deus in Christo, ante jacta mundi fundamenta, ut essemus sancti et inculpati in conspectu ejus, cum charitate; qui prædestinavit nos quos adoptaret in filios, per Jesum Christum, in sese, pro beneplacito voluntatis suæ, ad laudem gloriosæ suæ gratiæ, qua nos gratis sibi acceptos fecit in illo dilecto. Ephes. 1:4, 5, 6. Et alibi: Quos prædestinavit, eos etiam vocavit; ct quos vocavit, eos etiam justificavit; quos autem justificavit, eos etiam glorificavit. Rom. 8:30.

VIII.

Hæc electio non est multiplex, sed una et eadem omnium salvandorum in Vetere et Novo Testamento, quandoquidem Scriptura unicum prædicat beneplacitum, propositum, et consilium voluntatis Dei, quo nos ab æterno elegit et ad gratiam et ad gloriam; et ad salutem et ad viam salutis, quam præparavit ut in ea ambulemus.

IX.

Eadem hæc electio facta est non ex prævisa fide, fideique obedientia, sanctitate, aut alia aliqua bona qualitate et dispositione, tanquam caussa sen conditione in homine eligendo prærequisita, sed ad fidem, fideique obedientiam, sanctitatem, etc. Ac proinde electio est fons omnis salutaris boui: unde fides, sanctitas, et reliqua dona salvifica, ipsa denique vita æterna, ut fructus et effectus ejus profluunt, secundum illud Apostoli: Elegit nos (non quia eramus, sed) ut essemus sancti et inculpati in conspectu ejus in charitate. Ephes. 1:4.

X.

Caussa vero hujus gratuitæ electionis, est solum Dei beneplacitum, non in eo consistens, quod certas qualitates seu actiones humanas, ex omnibus possibilibus, in salutis conditionem elegit; sed in eo, quod certas quasdam personas ex communi peccatorum multitudine sibi in peculium adscivit, sicut scriptum est: Nondum natis pueris, cum neque boni quippiam fecissent neque mali, etc., dictum est (nempe Rebeccæ), Major serviet minori, sicut scriptum est, Jacob dilexi, Esau odio habui. Rom. 9:11, 12, 13. Et, Crediderunt quotquot erant ordinati ad vitam æternam. Act. 13:48.

XI.

Atque ut Deus ipse est sapientissimus, immutabilis, omniscius, et omnipotens: ita electio ab ipso facta nee interrumpi, nec mutari, revocari, aut abrumpi, nec electi abjici, nee numerus eorum minui potest.

XII.

De hac æterna et immutabili sui ad salutem electione, electi suo tempore, variis licet gradibus et dispari mensura, certiores redduntur, non quidem arcana et profunditates Dei curiose scrutando; sed fructus electionis infallibiles, in verbo Dei designatos, ut sunt vera in Christum fides, filialis Dei timor, dolor de peccatis secundum Deum, esuries et sitis justitiæ, etc., in sese cum spirituali gaudio et sancta voluptate observando.

XIII.

Ex hujus electionis sensu et certitudine, filii Dei majorem indies sese coram Deo humiliandi, abyssum misericordiarum ejus adorandi, seipsos purificandi, et eum, qui ipsos prior tantopere dilexit, vicissim ardenter diligendi, materiam desumunt: tantum abest, ut hac electionis doctrina atque ejus meditatione in mandatorum divinorum observatione segniores, aut carnaliter securi, reddantur. Quod iis justo Dei judicio solet accidere, qui de electionis gratia, vel temere præsumentes, vel otiose et proterve fabulantes, in viis electorum ambulare nolunt.

XIV.

Ut autem hæc de divina electione doctrina sapientissimo Dei consilio per prophetas, Christum ipsum, atque Apostolos, sub Veteri æque atque sub Novo Testamento, est prædicata, et sacrarum deinde literarum monumentis commendata: ita et hodie in Ecclesia Dei, cui ea peculiariter est destinata, cum spiritu discretionis, religiose et sancte, suo loco et tempore, missa omni curiosa viarum altissimi scrutatione, est proponenda, idque ad sanctissimi nominis divini gloriam, et vividum populi ipsius solatium.

XV.

Cæterum æternam et gratuitam hanc electionis nostri gratiam eo vel maxime illustrat, nobisque commendat Scriptura Sacra, quod porro testatur non omnes homines esse electos, sed quosdam non electos, sive in æterna Dei electione præteritos, quos scilicet Deus ex liberrimo, justissimo, irreprehensibili, et immutabili beneplacito decrevit in communi miseria, in quam se sua culpa præcipitarunt, relinquere, nec salvifica fide et conversionis gratia donare, sed in viis suis, et sub justo judicio relictos, tandem non tantum propter infidelitatem, sed etiam cætera omnia peccata, ad declarationem justitiæ suæ damnare, et æternum punire. Atque hoc est decretum reprobationis, quod Deum neutiquam peccati authorem (quod cogitatu blasphemum est) sed tremendum, irreprehensibilem, et justum judicem ac vindicem constituit.

XVI.

Qui vivam in Christum fidem, seu certam cordis fiduciam, pacem conscientiæ, studium filialis obedientiæ, gloriationem in Deo per Christum in se nondum efficaciter sentiunt, mediis tamen, per quæ Deus ista se in nobis operaturum promisit, utuntur, ii ad reprobationis mentionem non consternari, nec se reprobis accensere, sed in usu mediorum diligenter pergere, ac horam uberioris gratiæ ardenter desiderare et reverenter humiliterque expectare debent. Multo autem minus doctrina de reprobatione terreri debent ii, qui cum serio ad Deum converti, ei unice placere, et e corpore mortis eripi desiderant, in via tamen pietatis et fidei eo usque, quo volunt, pervenire nondum possunt, siquidem linum fumigans se non extincturum, et arundinem quassatam se non fracturum, promisit misericors Deus. Iis autem hæc doctrina merito terrori est, qui Dei et Servatoris Jesu Christi obliti, mundi curis et carnis voluptatibus se totos manciparunt, quamdiu ad Deum serio non convertuntur.

XVII.

Quandoquidem de voluntate Dei ex verbo ipsius nobis est judicandum, quod testatur liberos fidelium esse sanctos, non quidem natura, sed beneficio fœderis gratuiti, in quo illi cum parentibus comprehenduntur, pii parentes de electione et salute suorum liberorum, quos Deus in infantia ex hac vita evocat, dubitare non debent.

XVIII.

Adversus hanc gratuitæ electionis gratiam, et justæ reprobationis severitatem, obmurmuranti opponimus hoc apostolicum: O homo! tu quis es qui ex adverso responsas Deo? Rom. 9:20. Et illud Servatoris nostri, An non licet mihi quod volo facere in meis? Matt. 20:15. Nos vero hæc mysteria religiose adorantes, cum Apostolo exclamamus: O profunditatem divitiarum tum sapientiæ tum cognitionis Dei! Quam imperascrutabilia sunt Dei judicia, et ejus viæ impervestigabiles! Quis enim cognovit mentem Domini? Aut quis fuit ei a consiliis? Aut quis prior dedit ei ut reddatur ei? Nam ex eo, et per eum, et in eum sunt omnia. Ipsi sit gloria in sæcula. Amen. Rom. 11:33–36.

REJECTIO ERRORUM,

Quibus Ecclesiæ Belgicæ sunt aliquamdiu perturbatæ. Exposita doctrina Orthodoxa de Electione et Reprobatione, Synodus rejicit Errores eorum:

I.

Qui docent, ‘Voluntatem Dei de servandis credituris, et in fide fideique obedientia perseveraturis, esse totum et integrum electionis ad salutem decretum; nec quicquam aliud de hoc decreto in verbo Dei esse revelatam.’ Hi enim simplicioribus imponunt, et Scripturæ sacræ manifeste contradicunt, testanti Deum non tantum servare velle credituros, sed etiam certos quosdam homines ab æterno elegisse, quos præ aliis in tempore fide in Christum et perseverantia donaret; sicut scriptum est, Manifestum feci nomen tuum hominibus, quos dedisti mihi. Johan. 17:6. Item, Crediderunt quotquot ordinati erant ad vitam æternam. Act. 13:48. Et, Elegit nos ante jacta mundi fundamenta, ut essemus sancti, etc. Ephes. 1:4.

II.

Qui docent, ‘Electionem Dei ad vitam æternam esse multiplicem; aliam generalem et indefinitam, aliam singularem et definitam; et hanc rursum vel incompletam, revocabilem, non peremptoriam, sive conditionatam: vel completam, irrevocabilem, peremptoriam, seu absolutam.’ Item, ‘Aliam electionem esse ad fidem, aliam ad salutem; ita ut electio ad fidem justificantem absque electione peremptoria ad salutem esse possit.’ Hoc enim est humani cerebri commentum extra Scripturas excogitatum, doctrinam de electione corrumpens, et auream hanc salutis catenam dissolvens: Quos prædestinavit, eos etiam vocavit: et quos vocavit, eos etiam justificavit: quos autem justificavit, eos etiam glorificavit. Rom. 8:30.

III.

Qui docent, ‘Dei beneplacitum ac propositum, cujus Scriptura meminit in doctrina electionis, non consistere in eo, quod Deus certos quosdam homines præ aliis elegerit, sed in eo, quod Deus ex omnibus possibilibus conditionibus (inter quas etiam sunt opera legis) sive ex omnium rerum ordine actum fidei, in sese ignobilem, et obedientiam fidei imperfectam, in salutis conditionem elegerit; eamque gratiose pro perfects obedientia reputare, et vitæ æternæ præmio dignam censere voluerit.’ Hoc enim errore pernicioso beneplacitum Dei et meritum Christi enervatur, et homines inutilibus quæstionibus a veritate justificationis gratuitæ, et simplicitate Scripturarum avocantur; illudque Apostoli falsi arguitur; Deus nos vocavit vocatione sancta; non ex operibus, sed ex suo proposito et gratia, quæ data est nobis in Christo Jesu ante tempora sæculorum. 2 Tim. 1:9.

IV.

Qui docent, ‘In electione ad fidem hanc conditionem prærequiri, ut homo lumine naturæ recte utatur, sit probus, parvus, humilis, et ad vitam æternam dispositus, quasi ab ipsis electio aliquatenus pendeat.’ Pelagium enim sapiunt, et minime obscure falsi insimulant Apostolum scribentem: Versati sumus olim in cupiditatibus carnis nostrœ, facientes quæ carni et cogitationibus libebant, eramusque natura filii iræ, ut et reliqui. Sed Deus, qui dives est misericordia, propter multam charitatem suam, qua dilexit nos, etiam nos cum in offensis mortui essemus, una vivificavit cum Christo, cujus gratia estis servati, unaque suscitavit, unaque collocavit in cœlis in Christo Jesu; ut ostenderet in seculis supervenientibus supereminentes illas opes suæ gratiæ, pro sua erga nos benignitate in Christo Jesu. Gratia enim estis servati per fidem (et hoc non ex robis, Dei donum est), non ex operibus, ut ne quis glorietur. Ephes. 2:3–9.

V.

Qui docent, ‘Electionem singularium personarum ad salutem, incompletam et non peremptoriam, factam esse ex prævisa fide, resipiscentia, sanctitate et pictate inchoata, aut aliquamdiu continuata: completam vero et peremptoriam ex prævisæ fidei, resipiscentiæ, sanctitatis, et pietatis finali perseverantia: et hanc esse gratiosam et evangelicam dignitatem, propter quam qui eligitur dignior sit illo qui non eligitur: ac proinde fidem, fidei obedientiam, sanctitatem, pietatem, et perseverantiam non esse fructus sive effectus electionis immutabilis ad gloriam, sed conditiones, et caussas sine quibus non, in eligendis complete prærequisitas, et prævisas, tanquam præstitas.’ Id quod toti Scripturæ repugnat, quæ hæc et alia dicta passim auribus et cordibus nostris ingerit: Electio non est ex operibus, sed ex vocante. Rom. 9:11. Credebant quotquot ordinati erant ad vitam æternam. Act. 13:48. Elegit nos in semetipso ut sancti essemus. Ephes. 1:4. Non vos me elegistis, sed ego elegi vos. Johan. 15:16. Si ex gratia, non ex operibus. Rom. 11:6. In hoc est charitas, non quod nos dilexerimus Deum, sed quod ipse dilexit nos, et misit Filium suum. 1 Johan. 4:10.

VI.

Qui docent, ‘Non omnem electionem ad salutem immutabilem esse, sed quosdam electos, nullo Dei decreto obstante, perire posse et æternam perire.’ Quo crasso errore et DEUM mutabilem faciunt, et consolationem piorum de electionis suæ constantia subvertunt, et Scripturis sacris contradicunt docentibus, Electos non posse seduci: Matt. 24:24. CHRISTUM datos sibi a Patre non perdere: Johan. 6:39. DEUM quos prædestinavit, vocavit et justificavit, eos etiam glorificare. Rom. 8:30.

VII.

Qui docent, ‘Electionis immutabilis ad gloriam nullum in hac vita esse fructum, nullum sensum, nullam certitudinem, nisi ex conditione mutabili et contingente.’ Præterquam enim quod absurdum sit ponere certitudinem incertam, adversantur hæc experientiæ sanctorum, qui cum Apostolo ex sensu electionis sui exultant, Deique hoc beneficium celebrant, qui gaudent cum discipulis, secundum Christi admonitionem, quod nomina sua scripta sunt in cœlis: Luc. 10:20; qui sensum denique electionis ignitis tentationum diabolicarum telis opponunt, quærentes, Quis intentabit crimina adversus electos Dei? Rom. 8:33.

VIII.

Qui docent, ‘Deum neminem ex mera justa sua voluntate decrevisse in lapsu Adæ et in communi peccati et damnationis statu relinquere, aut in gratiæ ad fidem et conversionem necessariæ communicatione præterire.’ Stat enim illud, Quorum vult, miseretur; quos vult, indurat. Rom. 9:18. Et illud, Vobis datum est nosse mysteria regni cœlorum, illis autem non est datum. Matt. 13:11. Item, Glorifico te, Pater, Domine cæli et terræ, quad hæc occultaveris sapientibus et intelligentibus, et ea detexeris infantibus: etiam, Pater, quia ita placuit tibi. Matt. 11:25, 26.

IX.

Qui docent, ‘Caussam cur Deus ad hanc potius, quam ad aliam gentem Evangelium mittat, non esse merum et solum Dei beneplacitum, sed quod hæc gens melior et dignior sit ea, cui Evangelium non communicatur.’ Reclamat enim Moses, populum Israeliticum sic alloquens, En Jehovæ Dei tui sunt cæli, et cæli cœlorum, terra, et quicquid est in ea: Tantum in majores tuos propensus fuit amore Jehova diligendo eos; unde selegit semen eorum post eos, vos inquam, præ omnibus populis, sicut est hodie. Deut. 10:14, 15. Et Christus: Væ tibi Chorazin, væ tibi Bethsaida, quia si in Tyro et Sidone factæ essent virtutes illæ quæ in vobis factæ sunt, in sacco et cinere olim pœnitentiam egissent. Matt. 11:21.

Ita nos sentire et judicare, manuum nostrarum subscriptione testamur.

JOHANNES BOGERMANNUS, Pastor Ecclesiæ Leoverdiensis et Synodi Præses.
JACOBUS ROLANDUS, Pastor Ecclesiæ Amstelodamensis et Præsidis Assessor.
HERMANNUS FAUKELIUS, Pastar Ecclesiæ Middelburgensis et Præsidis Assessor.
SEBASTIANUS DAMMAN, Pastor Ecclesiæ Zutphaniensis et Synodi Scriba.
FESTUS HOMMIUS, Pastor Ecclesiæ Leydensis et Synodi Scriba.

EX MAGNA BRITANNIA.

GEORGIUS Episcopus LANDAVENSIS.
JOHANNES DAVENANTIUS, Presbyter; Doctor ac Sacrœ Theologiæ publicus Professor in Academia Cantabrigiensi et Collegii Reginalis ibidem Præses.
SAMUEL WARDUS, Presbyter, SS. Theologiæ Doctor, Archidiaconus Fauntonnensis, et Collegii Sidneyani in Academia Cantabrigiensi Præfectus.
THOMAS GOADUS, Presbyter, SS. Theologiæ Doctor, Cathedralis Ecclesiæ Paulinæ Londinensis Præcentor.
GUALTERUS BALCANQUALLUS, Scoto-Britannus, Presbyter, S. Theologiæ Baccalaureus.

EX ELECTORALI PALATINATU.

ABRAHAMUS SCULTETUS, S. Theologiæ Doctor et Professor in Academia Heydelbergensi.
PAULUS TOSSANUS, S. Theologiæ Doctor, et Consiliarius in Senatu Ecclesiastico inferioris Palatinatus.
HENRICUS ALTINGIUS, S. Theologiæ Doctor et Professor in Academia Heydelbergensi.

EX HASSIA.

GEORGIUS CRUCIGER, S. Theologiæ Doctor, Professor, et pro tempore Rector Academiæ Marpurgensis.
PAULUS STEINIUS, Concionator Aulicus et S. Theologiæ in Collegio Nobilitatis Adelphico Mauritiano Professor, Cassellis.
DANIEL ANGELOCRATOR, Ecclesiæ Marpurgensis Pastor, et vicinarum ad Lanum et Æderam Superintendens.
RODOLPHUS GOCLENIUS, Senior. Philosophiæ purioris in Academia Marpurgensi Antecessor primarius, et nunc Decanus.

EX HELVETIA.

JOANNES JACOBUS BREYTINGERUS, Ecclesiæ Tigurinæ Pastor.
MARCUS RUTIMEYERUS, S. Theologiæ Doctor et Ecclesiæ Bernensis Minister.
SEBASTIANUS BECKIUS, SS. Theologiæ Doctor, et Novi Testamenti Professor in Academia Basiliensi, ibidemque Facultatis Theologice Decanus.
WOLFGANGUS MAYERUS, SS. Theologiæ Doctor, Ecclesiæ Basiliensis Pastor.
JOHANNES CONRADUS KOCHIUS, Ecclesiæ Schaphusianœ Minister.

A CORRESPONDENTIA WEDDERAVICA.

JOHANNES HENRICUS ALSTEDIUS, in illustri Schola Nassovica, quw est Herbornæ, Professor ordinarius.
GEORGIUS FABRICIUS, Ecclesiæ Windeccensis in Comitatu Hanovico Pastor, et vicinarum Inspector.

EX REPUBLICA ET ECCLESIA GENEVENSI.

JOHANNES DEODATUS, in Ecclesia Genevensi Pastor, et in eadem Schola SS. Theologiæ Professor.
THEODORUS TRONCHINUS, Divini verbi Minister in Ecclesiæ Genevensi, et ibidem SS. Theologiæ Professor.

EX REPUBLICA ET ECCLESIA BREMENSI.

MATTHIAS MARTINIUS, illustris Scholæ Bremensis Rector, et in ea Divinarum literarum Professor.
HENRICUS ISSELBURG, SS. Theologiæ Doctor, in Bremensi Ecclesia ad B. Virginis Jesu Christi servus et in Schola Novi Testamenti Professor.
LUDOVICUS CROCIUS, SS. Theologiœ Doctor, Ecclesiæ Bremensis ad S. Martini Pastor, et in illustri Schola Veteris Testamenti et Philosophiœ Professor.

EX REPUBLICA ET ECCLESIA EMDANA.

DANIEL BERNARDUS EILSHEMIUS, Emdanæ Ecclesiæ Pastor senior
RITZIUS LUCAS GRIMERSHEMIUS, Emdanæ Ecclesiæ Pastor.

SS. THEOLOGIÆ PROFESSORES BELGICI.

JOHANNES POLYANDER, SS. Theologiæ Doctor, atque in A cademia Leydensi Professor.
SIBRANDUS LUBERTUS, SS. Theologiæ Doctor, et Professor in A cademia Frisiorum.
FRANCISCUS GOMARUS, Sacrosanctæ Theologiæ Doctor, et Professor in Academia Groningæ et Omlandiæ.
ANTONIUS TYSIUS, Sacræ Theologiœ in illustri Schola Geldro-Velavica, quæ est Hardervici, Professor.
ANTONIUS WALÆUS, Pastor Ecclesiæ Middelburgensis, et ex ejusdem urbis illustri Schola inter Theologos ad Synodum evocatus.

EX DUCATU GELDRLÆ, ET COMITATU ZUTPHANIÆ.

GUILIELMUS STEPHANI, SS. Theologiæ Doctor, et Arnhemiensis Ecelesiæ Pastar.
ELLARDUS A MEHEN, Ecclesiæ Hardrovicenæ Pastor.
JOHANNES BOUILLET, Pastor Ecclesiæ Warnsfeldensis.
JACOBUS VERHEYDEN, Senior, Ecclesiæ Noviomagensis et Scholæ Rector.

EX HOLLANDIA AUSTRALI.

BALTHASAR LYDIUS, M. F. Pastor Ecclesiæ Dei in urbe Dordrechto.
HENRICUS ARNOLDI, Ecclesiastes Delphensis.
GISBERTUS VOETIUS, Ecclesiæ Heusdanæ Pastor.
ARNOLDUS MUSIUS AB HOLY, Baillivus Suyd-Hollandiæ, Senior Ecclesiæ Dordrechtanæ.
JOHANNES DE LAET, Senior Ecclesiæ Legdensis.

EX HOLLANDIA BOREALI.

JACOBUS TRIGLANDIUS, Pastor Ecclesiæ Amstelodamensis.
ABRAHAMUS A DORESLAER, Pastor Ecclesiæ Enchusanæ.
SAMUEL BARTHOLDUS, Pastor Ecclesiæ Monachodammensis.
THEODORUS HEYNGIUS, Senior Ecclesiæ Amstelodamensis.
DOMINICUS AB HEEMSKERCK, Senior Ecclesiæ Amstelodamensis.

EX ZELANDIA.

GODEFRIDUS UDEMANNUS, Pastor Ecclesiæ Ziericzeanœ.
CORNELIUS REGIUS, Ecclesiæ Goesanæ Pastor.
LAMBERTUS DE RYCKE, Ecclesiæ Bergizomianœ Pastor.
JOSIAS VOSBERGIUS, Senior Ecclesiæ Middelburgensis.
ADRIANUS HOFFERUS, urbis Zirizææ Senator, et Ecclesiæ ibidem Senior.

EX PROVINCIA ULTRAJECTINA.

JOHANNES DIBBEZIUS, Pastor Dordracenus, Synodi Orthodoxæ Ultrajectinæ Deputatus.
ARNOLDUS OORTCAMPIUS, Ecclesiæ A mersfortianæ Pastor.

EX FRISIA.

FLORENTIUS JOHANNES, Jesu Christi crucifixi Servus in Ecclesia Snecana.
PHILIPPUS DANIELIS EILSHEMIUS, Pastor Ecclesiæ Harlingensis.
KEMPO HARINXMA A DONIA, Senior Ecclesiæ Leoverdiensis.
TACITUS AB AYSMA, Senior Ecclesiæ in Buirgirt Hichtum, et Hartwardt.

EX TRANSISALANIA.

CASPARUS SIBELIUS, Pastor Ecclesiæ Daventriensis.
HERMANNUS WIFERDINGIUS, Ecclesiæ Swollanæ in Evangelio Christi Minister.
HIERONYMUS VOGELLIUS, Hasseltanæ Ecclesiæ Pastor, tempore deputationis inserviens Ecclesiæ Orthodoxæ Campensi.
JOHANNES LANGIUS, Ecclesiastes Vollenhovianus.
WILHELMUS A BROECKHUYSEN TEN DOERNE, tanqnam Senior deputatus.
JOHANNES A LAUWICK, tanquam Senior deputatus.

EX CIVITATE GRONINGANA, ET OMLANDIIS.

CORNELIUS HILLENIUS, Servus Jesu Christi in Ecclesia Groningana.
GEORGIUS PLACIUS, Pastor Ecclesiæ Appingadammonensis.
WOLFGANGUS AGRICOLA, Pastor Ecclesiæ Bedumanæ.
WIGBOLDUS HOMERUS, Ecclesiæ Midwoldanæ Pastor.
EGBERTUS HALBES, Ecclesiæ Groninganæ Senior.
JOHANNES RUFELAERT, Senior Ecclesiæ Stedumanæ.

EX DRENTIA.

THEMO AB ABSCHEBERG, Pastor Ecclesiæ Meppelensis.
PATROCLUS ROMELINGIUS, Pastor Ecclesiæ Rhuinensis.

EX ECCLESHS GALLO-BELGICIS.

DANIEL COLONIUS, Pastor Ecclesiæ Leydensis, et Regens Collegii Gallo-Belgici in Academia Leydensis.
JOHANNES CRUCIUS, Pastor Ecclesiæ Haerlemensis.
JOHANNES DOUCHER, Pastor Ecclesiæ Flissinganæ.
JEREMIAS DE POURS, Ecclesiæ Gallo-Belgicæ Middelburgensis Pastor.
EVERARDUS BECKERUS, Senior Ecclesiæ Gallo-Belgicæ Middelburgensis.
PETRUS PONTANUS, Senior Ecclesiæ Amstelodamensis.

SECUNDUM DOCTRINÆ CAPUT, DE MORTE CHRISTI, ET HOMINUM PER EAM REDEMPTIONE

Articulus Primus.

Deus non tantum est summe misericors, sed etiam summe justus. Postulat autem ejus justitia (prout se in verbo revelavit), ut peccata nostra, adversus infinitam ejus majestatem commissa, non tantum temporalibus, sed etiam æternis, tum animi, tum corporis, pœnis puniantur: quas pœnas effugere non possumus, nisi justitiæ Dei satisfiat.

II.

Cum vero ipsi satisfacere, et ab ira Dei nos liberare non possimus, Deus ex immensa misericordia Filium suum unigenitum nobis Sponsorem dedit, qui, ut pro nobis satisfaceret, peccatum et maledictio in cruce pro nobis, seu vice nostra, factus est.

III.

Hæc mors Filii Dei est unica et perfectissima pro peccatis victima et satisfactio, infiniti valoris et pretii, abunde sufficiens ad totius mundi peccata expianda.

IV.

Ideo autem hæc mors tanti est valoris et pretii, quia persona, quæ eam subiit, non tantum est verus et perfecte sanctus homo, sed etiam unigenitus DEI Filius, ejusdem æternæ et infinitæ cum Patre et Spiritu S. essentiæ, qualem nostrum Servatorem esse oportebat. Deinde, quia mors ipsius fuit conjuncta cum sensu iræ Dei et maledictionis, quam nos peccatis nostris eramus commeriti.

V.

Cæterum promissio Evangelii est, ut quisquis credit in Christum crucifixum, non pereat, sed habeat vitam æternam. Quæ promissio omnibus populis et hominibus, ad quos Deus pro suo beneplacito mittit Evangelium, promiscue et indiscriminatim annunciari et proponi debet cum resipiscentiæ et fidei mandato.

VI.

Quod autem multi per Evangelium vocati non resipiscunt, nec in Christum credunt, sed infidelitate pereunt, non fit hoc hostiæ CHRISTI in cruce oblatæ defectu, vel insufficientia, sed propria ipsorum culpa.

VII.

Quotquot autem vere credunt, et per mortem CHRISTI a peccatis, et interitu liberantur ac servantur, illis hoc beneficium, ex sola Dei gratia, quam nemini debet, ab æterno ipsis in CHRISTO data, obtingit.

VIII.

Fuit enim hoc Dei Patris liberrimum consilium, et gratiosissima voluntas atque intentio, ut mortis pretiosissimæ Filii sui vivifica et salvifica efficacia sese exereret in omnibus electis, ad eos solos fide justificante donandos, et per eam ad salutem infallibiliter perducendos: hoc est, voluit Deus, ut Christus per sanguinem crucis (quo novum fœdus confirmavit) ex omni populo, tribu, gente, et lingua, eos omnes et solos, qui ab æterno ad salutem electi, et a Patre ipsi dati sunt, efficaciter redimeret, fide (quam, ut et alia Spiritus Sancti salvifica dona, ipsis morte sua acquisivit) donaret, ab omnibus peccatis, tum originali, tum actualibus, tam post, quam ante fidem commissis sanguine suo mundaret, ad finem usque fideliter custodiret, tandemque absque omni labe et macula gloriosos coram se sisteret.

IX.

Hoc consilium, ex æterno erga electos amore profectum ab initio mundi in præsens usque tempus, frustra obnitentibus inferorum portis, potenter impletum fuit, et deinceps quoque implebitur: ita quidem ut electi suis temporibus in unum colligantur, et semper sit aliqua credentium Ecclesia in sanguine Christi fundata, quæ illum Servatorem suum, qui pro ea, tanquam Sponsus pro sponsa, animam suam in cruce exposuit, constanter diligat, perseveranter colat, atque hic et in omnem æternitatem celebret.

REJECTIO ERRORUM

Exposita doctrina orthodoxa, rejicit Synodus errores eorum:

I.

Qui docent, ‘Quod Deus Pater Filium suum in mortem crucis destinaverit, sine certo ac definito consilio quemquam nominatim salvandi, adeo ut impetrationi mortis Christi sua necessitas, utilitas, dignitas sarta tecta, et numeris suis perfecta, completa atque integra constare potuisset, etiamsi impetrata redemptio nulli individuo unquam acta ipso fuisset applicata.’ Hæc enim assertio in Dei Patris sapientiam meritumque Jesu Christi contumeliosa, et Scripturæ contraria est. Sic enim ait Servator: Ego animam pono pro ovibus, et agnosco eas. Johan. 10:15, 27. Et de Servatore Esaias propheta: Cum posuerit se sacrificium pro reatu, videbit semen, prolongabit dies, et voluntas Jehovæ in manu ejus prosperabitur. Esai. 53:10. Denique, articulum Fidei, quo Ecclesiam credimus, evertit.

II.

Qui docent, ‘Non fuisse hunc finem mortis Christi, ut novum gratiæ fœdus suo sanguine reipsa sanciret, sed tantum, ut nudum jus Patri acquireret, quodcunque fœdus, vel gratiæ, vel operum, cum hominibus denuo ineundi.’ Hoc enim repugnat Scripturæ, quæ docet, Christum melioris, id est, novi fœderis Sponsorem et Mediatorem factum esse. Heb. 7:22. Et, Testamentum in mortuis demum ratum esse. Heb. 9:15, 17.

III.

Qui docent, ‘Christum per suam satisfactionem, nullis certo meruisse ipsam salutem et fidem, qua hæc Christi satisfactio ad salutem efficaciter applicetur, sed tantum Petri acquisivisse potestatem vel plenariam voluntatem, de novo cum hominibus agendi, et novas, quascunque vellet conditiones, præscribendi, quarum præstatio a libero hominis arbitrio pendeat, atque ideo fieri potuisse, ut vel nemo, vel omnes eas implerent.’ Hi enim de morte Christi nimis abjecte sentiunt, primarium fructum seu beneficium per eam partum nullatenus agnoscunt, et Pelagianum errorem ab inferis revocant.

IV.

Qui docent, ‘Fœdus illud novum gratiæ, quod Deus Pater, per mortis Christi interventum cum hominibus pepigit, non in eo censistere, quod per fidem, quatenus meritum Christi apprehendit, coram Deo justificemur et salvemur; sed in hoc, quod Deus, abrogate perfectæ obedientiæ legalis exactione, fidem ipsam et fidei obedientiam imperfectam pro perfecta legis obedientia reputet, et vitæ æternæ præmio gratiose dignam censeat.’ Hi enim contradicunt Scripturæ, Justificantur gratis, ejus gratia, per redemptionem factam in Jesu Christo, quem proposuit Deus placamentum per fidem in sanguine ejus. Rom. 3:24, 25. Et cum impio Socino, novam et peregrinam hominis coram Deo justificationem, contra totius Ecclesiæ consensum, inducunt.

V.

Qui docent, ‘Omnes homines in statum reconciliationis et gratiam fœderis esse assumptos, ita ut nemo propter peccatum originale sit damnationi obnoxius, aut damnandus, sed omnes ab istius peccati reatu sint immunes.’ Hæc enim sententia repugnat Scripturæ, affirmanti nos natura esse filios iræ. [Ephes. 2:3.]

VI.

Qui impetrationis et applicationis distinctionem usurpant, ut incautis et imperitis hanc opinionem instillent: Deum, quantum ad se attinet, omnibus hominibus ex æquo ea beneficia voluisse conferre, quæ per mortem Christi acquiruntur; quod autem quidam præ aliis participes fiant remissionis peccatorum, et vitæ æternæ, discrimen illud pendere ex libero eorum arbitrio, se ad gratiam indifferenter oblatam applicante, non autem ex singulari misericordiæ dono, efficaciter in illis operante, ut præ aliis gratiam illam sibi applicent. Nam isti, dum simulant se distinctionem hanc sano sensu proponere, populo perniciosum Pelagianismi venenum conantur propinare.

VII.

Qui docent, ‘CHRISTUM, pro iis, quos DEUS summe dilexit, et ad vitam æternam elegit, mori nec potuisse, nec debuisse, nec mortuum esse, cum talibus morte CHRISTI non sit opus.’ Contradicunt enim Apostolo dicenti: Christus dilexit me, et tradidit seipsum pro me. Galat. 2:20. Item, Quis est, qui crimina intentet adversus electos DEI? DEUS est is, qui justificat. Quis est qui condemnet? CHRISTUS est, qui mortuus est. Rom. 8:33, 34: nimirum, pro illis. Et Salvatori assevcranti, Ego pono animam meam pro ovibus meis, Johan. 10:15. Et, Hoc est præceptum meum, ut diligatis alii alios, sicut ego dilexi vos. Majorem dilectionem nemo habet, quam ut ponat animam suam pro amicis. Johan. 15:12, 13.

Huic capiti eadem quæ prius subscribuntur nomina.

TERTIUM ET QUARTUM DOCTRINÆ CAPUT, DE HOMINIS CORRUPTIONE, ET CONVERSIONE AD DEUM EJUSQUE MODO

Articulus Primus.

Homo ab initio ad imaginem DEI conditus vera et salutari sui creatoris et rerum spiritualium notitia in mente, et justitia in voluntate et corde, puritate in omnibus affectibus exornatus, adeoque totus sanctus fuit; sed Diaboli instinctu, et libera sua voluntate a Deo desciscens, eximiis istis donis seipsum orbavit: atque e contrario eorum loco cœcitatem, horribiles tenebras, vanitatem, ac perversitatem judicii in mente, malitiam, rebellionem, ac duritiem in voluntate et corde, impuritatem denique in omnibus affectibus contraxit.

II.

Qualis autem post lapsum fuit homo, tales et liberos procreavit, nempe corruptus corruptos; corruptione ab Adamo in omnes posteros [solo Christo excepto] non per imitationem [quod Pelagiani olim voluerunt], sed per vitiosæ naturæ propagationem, justo Dei judicio, derivata.

III.

Itaque omnes homines in peccato concipiuntur, et filii iræ nascuntur, inepti ad omne bonum salutare, propensi ad malum, in peccatis mortui, et peccati servi; et absque Spiritus Sancti regenerantis gratia, ad Deum redire, naturam depravatam corrigere, vel ad ejus correctionem se disponere nec volunt, nec possunt.

IV.

Residuum quidem est post lapsum in homine lumen aliquod naturæ, cujus beneficio ille notitias quasdam de Deo, de rebus naturalibus, de discrimine honestorum et turpium retinet, et aliquod virtutis ac disciplinæ externæ studium ostendit: sed tantum abest, ut hoc naturæ lumine ad salutarem Dei cognitionem pervenire, et ad eum se convertere possit, ut ne quidem eo in naturalibus ac civilibus recte utatur, quinimo qualecumque id demum sit, id totum variis modis contaminet, atque in injustitia detineat, quod dum facit, coram Deo inexcusabilis redditur.

V.

Quæ luminis naturæ, eadem hæc Decalogi per Mosen a Deo Judæis peculiariter traditi est ratio: cum enim is magnitudinem quidem peccati retegat, ejusque hominem magis ac magis reum peragat, sed nec remedium exhibeat, nec vires emergendi ex miseria conferat, adeoque per carnem infirmatus transgressorem maledictione relinquat, non potest homo per eum salutarem gratiam obtinere.

VI.

Quod igitur nec lumen naturæ, nec lex potest, id Spiritus Sancti virtute præstat Deus, per sermonem, sive ministerium reconciliationis, quod est Evangelium de Messia, per quod placuit Deo homines credentes tam in Veteri, quam in Novo Testamento servare.

VII.

Hoc voluntatis suæ mysterium Deus in Veteri Testamento paucioribus patefecit, in Novo Testamento pluribus, sublato jam populorum discrimine, manifestat. Cujus dispensationis caussa, non in gentis unius præ alia dignitate, aut meliore luminis naturæ usu, sed in liberrimo beneplacito, et gratuita dilectione DEI est collocanda. Unde illi, quibus præter et contra omne meritum tanta fit gratia, eam humili et grato corde agnoscere, in reliquis autem, quibus ea gratia non fit, severitatem et justitiam judiciorum DEI cum Apostolo adorare, nequaquam vero curiose scrutari debent.

VIII.

Quotquot autem per Evangelium vocantur, serio vocantur. Serio enim et verissime ostendit DEUS verbo suo, quid sibi gratum sit, nimirum, ut vocati ad se veniant. Serio etiam omnibus ad se venientibus et credentibus requiem animarum, et vitam æternam promittit.

IX.

Quod multi per ministerium Evangelii vocati, non veniunt et non convertuntur, hujus culpa non est in Evangelio, nec in Christo per Evangelium oblato, nec in Deo per Evangelium vocante, et dona etiam varia iis conferente, sed in vocatis ipsis, quorum aliqui verbum vitæ non admittunt securi; alii admittunt quidem, sed non in cor immittunt, ideoque post evanidum fidei temporariæ gaudium resiliunt; alii spinis curarum et voluptatibus sæculi semen verbi suffocant, fructusque nullos proferunt; quod Servator noster seminis parabola docet, Matt. 13.

X.

Quod autem alii, per ministerium Evangelii vocati, veniunt et convertuntur, id non est adscribendum homini, tanquam seipsum per liberum arbitrium ab aliis pari vel sufficiente gratia ad fidem et conversionem instructis discernenti (quod superba Pelagii hæresis statuit), sed Deo, qui ut suos ab æterno in Christo elegit, ita eosdem in tempore efficaciter vocat, fide et resipiscentia donat, et e potestate tenebrarum erutos in Filii sui regnum transfert, ut virtutes ejus, qui ipsos e tenebris in admirandam hanc lucem vocavit, prædicent, et non in se, sed in Domino, glorientur. Scriptura apostolica passim id testante.

XI.

Cæterum, quando Deus hoc suum beneplacitum in electis exequitur, seu veram in iis conversionem operatur, non tantum Evangelium illis externe prædicari curat, et mentem eorum per Spiritum Sanctum potenter illuminat, ut recte intelligant et dijudicent quæ sunt Spiritus Dei, sed ejusdem etiam Spiritus regenerantis efficacia ad intima hominis penetrat, cor clausum aperit, durum emollit, præputiatum circumcidit, voluntati novas qualitates infundit, facitque eam ex mortua vivam, ex mala bonam, ex nolente volentem, ex refractaria morigeram, agitque et roborat eam, ut, ceu arbor bona, fructus bonarum actionum proferre possit.

XII.

Atque hæc est illa tantopere in Scripturis prædicata regeneratio, nova creatio, suscitatio e mortuis, et vivificatio, quam Deus sine nobis, in nobis operatur. Ea autem neutiquam fit per solam forinsecus insonantem doctrinam, moralem suasionem, vel talem operandi rationem, ut post Dei (quoad ipsum) operationem, in hominis potestate maneat regenerari vel non regenerari, converti vel non converti; sed est plane supernaturalis, potentissima simul et suavissima, mirabilis, arcana, et ineffabilis operatio, virtute sua, secundum Scripturam (quæ ab Authore hujus operationis est inspirata) nec creatione, nec mortuorum resuscitatione minor, ant inferior, adeo ut omnes illi, in quorum cordibus admirando hoc modo Deus operatur, certo, infallibiliter, et efficaciter regenerentur, et actu credant. Atque tum voluntas jam renovata, non tantum agitur et movetur a Deo, sed a Deo acta, agit et ipsa. Quamobrem etiam homo ipse per gratiam istam acceptam credere et resipiscere recte dicitur.

XIII.

Modum hujus operationis fideles in hac vita plene comprehendere non possunt; in eo interim acquiescentes, quod per istam DEI gratiam, se corde credere, et Servatorem suum diligere, sciant ac sentiant.

XIV.

Sic ergo fides Dei donum est, non eo quod a Deo hominis arbitrio offeratur, sed quod homini reipsa conferatur, inspiretur, et infundatur. Non etiam quod Deus potentiam credendi tantum conferat, consensum vero seu actum credendi ab hominis deinde arbitrio expectet, sed, quod et velle credere, et ipsum credere in homine is efficiat, qui operatur et velle et facere, adeoque omnia operatur in omnibus.

XV.

Hanc gratiam DEUS nemini debet. Quid enim debeat ei, qui prior dare nihil potest, ut ei retribuatur? Imo quid debeat ei, qui de suo nihil habet, præter peccatum et mendacium? Qui ergo gratiam illam accipit, soli Deo æternas debet et agit gratias; qui illam non accipit, is aut hæc spiritualia omnino non curat, et in suo sibi placet: aut securus se habere inaniter gloriatur, quod non habet. Porro de iis, qui externe fidem profitentur, et vitam emendant, optime secundum exemplum apostolorum judicandum et loquendum est, penetralia enim cordium nobis sunt incomperta. Pro aliis autem qui nondum sunt vocati, orandus est Deus, qui quæ non sunt vocat tanquam sint. Neutiquam vero adversus eos est superbiendum, ac si nosmetipsos discrevissemus.

XVI.

Sicuti vero per lapsum homo non desiit esse homo, intellectu et voluntate præditus, nec peccatum, quod universum genus humanum pervasit, naturam generis humani sustulit, sed depravavit, et spiritualiter occidit; ita etiam hæc divina regenerationis gratia, non agit in hominibus tanquam truncis et stipitibus, nec voluntatem ejusque proprietates tollit, aut invitam violenter cogit, sed spiritualiter vivificat, sanat, corrigit, suaviter simul ac potenter flectit: ut ubi antea plene dominabatur carnis rebellio et resistentia, nunc regnare incipiat prompta, ac sincera Spiritus obedientia; in quo vera et spiritualis nostrœ voluntatis instauratio et libertas consistit. Qua ratione nisi admirabilis ille omnis boni opifex nobiscum ageret, nulla spes esset homini surgendi e lapsu per liberum arbitrium, per quod se, cum staret, præcipitavit in exitium.

XVII.

Quemadmodum etiam omnipotens illa Dei operatio, qua vitam hanc nostram naturalem producit et sustentat, non excludit sed requirit usum mediorum, per quæ Deus pro infinita sua sapientia et bonitate virtutem istam suam exercere voluit: ita et hæc prædicta supernaturalis DEI operatio, qua nos regenerat, neutiquam excludit, aut evertit usum Evangelii, quod sapientissimus DEUS in semen regenerationis, et cibum animæ ordinavit. Quare, ut Apostoli, et qui eos secuti sunt doctores, de gratia hac DEI ad ejus gloriam et omnis superbiæ depressionem, pie populum docuerunt, neque tamen interim sanctis Evangelii monitis, sub verbi, sacramentorum, et disciplinæ exercitio eum continere neglexerunt: sic etiamnum, absit, ut docentes aut discentes in Ecclesia DEUM tentare præsumant, ea separando, quæ DEUS pro suo beneplacito voluit esse conjunctissima. Per monita enim confertur gratia, et quo nos officium nostrum facimus promptius, hoc ipso DEI in nobis operantis beneficium solet esse illustrius, rectissimeque ejus opus procedit. Cui soli omnis, et mediorum, et salutaris eorum fructus atque efficaciæ debetur gloria in sæcula. Amen.

REJECTIO ERRORUM

Exposita doctrina orthodoxa, Synodus rejicit errores eorum:

I.

Qui docent, ‘Proprie dici non posse, quod peccatum originis per se sufficiat toti generi humano condemnando, aut temporales et æternas pœnas promerendo.’ Contradicunt enim Apostolo, dicenti, Rom. 5:12: Per unum hominem peccatum in mundum introiit, ac per peccatum mors, et ita in omnes homines more transiit, in quo omnes peccaverunt. Et vers. 16: Reatus ex uno introiit ad condemnationem. Item, Rom. 6:23: Peccati stipendium mors est.

II.

Qui docent, ‘Dona spiritualia, sive habitus bonos, et virtutes, ut sunt bonitas, sanctitas, justitia, in voluntate hominis, cum primum crearetur, locum habere non potuisse, ac proinde nec in lapsu ab ea separari.’ Pugnat enim hoc cum descriptione imaginis Dei, quam Apostolus ponit Ephes. 4:24; ubi illam describit ex justitia et sanctitate, quæ omnino in voluntate locum habent.

III.

Qui docent, ‘Dona spiritualia non esse in morte spirituall ab hominis voluntate separata, cum ea in sese nunquam corrupta fuerit, sed tantum per tenebras mentis, et affectuum inordinationem impedita; quibus impedimentis sublatis, liberam suam facultatem sibi insitam exerere, id est, quodvis bonum sibi propositum ex se, aut velle, sive eligere, aut non velle, sive non eligere possit.’ Novum hoc et erroneum est, atque eo facit ut extellantur vires liberi arbitrii, contra, Jeremiæ prophetæ dictum, cap. 17:9: Fraudulentum est cor ipsum supra omnia et perversum. Et Apostoli, Ephes. 2:3: Inter quos (homines contumaces) et nos omnes conversati sumus olim in cupiditatibus carnis nostrœ, facientes voluntates carnis ac cogitationum.

IV.

Qui docent, ‘Hominem irregenitum non esse proprie nec totaliter in peccatis mortuum, aut omnibus ad bonum’ spirituale viribus destitutum, sed posse justitiam vel vitam esurire ac sitire, sacrificiumque Spiritus contriti, et contribulati, quod Deo acceptum est, offerre.’ Adversantur enim hæc apertis Scripturæ testimoniis, Ephes. 2:1, 5: Eratis mortui in offensis et peccatis. Et Gen. 6:5 et 8:21: Imaginatio cogitationum cordis hominis tantummodo mala est omni die. Adhæc liberationem ex miseria et vitam esurire ac sitire, Deoque sacrificium Spiritus contriti offerre, regenitorum est, et eorum qui beati dicuntur. Psa. 51:19 et Matt. 5:6.

V.

Qui docent, ‘Hominem corruptum et animalem gratia communi, quæ ipsis est lumen naturæ, sive donis post lapsum relictis, tam recte uti posse, ut bono isto usu majorem gratiam, puta evangelicam, sive salutarem, et salutem ipsam gradatim obtinere possit. Et hac ratione DEUM se ex parte sua paratum ostendere, ad Christum omnibus revelandum, quandoquidem media ad Christi revelationem, fidem, et resipiscentiam necessaria, omnibus sufficienter et efficaciter administret.’ Falsum enim hoc esse præter omnium temporum experientiam Scriptura testatur. Psa. 147:19, 20: Indicat verba sua Jacobo, statuta sua et jura sua Israeli, non fecit ita ulli genti, et jura ista non noverunt. Act. 14:16: Deus sivit præteritis ætatibus omnes gentes suis ipsarum viis incedere. Act. 16:6, 7: Prohibiti sunt (Paulus cum suis) a Spiritu Sancto loqui sermonem DEI in Asia. Et, Quum venissent in Mysiam, tentabant ire versus Bithyniam, sed non permisit eis Spiritus.

VI.

Qui docent, ‘In vera hominis conversione, non posse novas qualitates, habitus, seu dona in voluntatem ejus a Deo infundi, atque adeo fidem, qua primum convertimur, et a qua fideles nominamur, non esse qualitatem seu donum a Deo infusum; sed tantum actum hominis, neque aliter donum dici posse, quam respectu potestatis ad ipsam perveniendi.’ Contradicunt enim hæc sacris literis, quæ testantur DEUM novas qualitates fidei, obedientiæ, ac sensus amoris sui cordibus nostris infundere. Jer. 31:33: Indam legem meam menti eorum, ac cordi eorum inscribam eam. Esa. 44:3: Effundam aquas super sitientem, et fluenta super aridam; effundam Spiritum meum super semen tuum. Rom. 5:5: Charitas Dei effusa est in cordibus nostris per Spiritum Sanctum, qui datus est nobis. Repugnant etiam continuæ praxi Ecclesiæ, sic apud prophetam orantis: Converte me, Domine, et convertar. Jer. 31:18.

VII.

Qui docent, ‘Gratiam’ qua convertimur ad Deum, nihil aliud esse quam lenem suasionem; seu’ (ut alii explicant) ‘nobilissimum agendi modum in conversione hominis, et naturæ humanæ convenientissimum esse, qui fiat suasionibus; nihilque obstare quo minus vel sola moralis gratia homines animales reddat spirituales; imo Deum non aliter quam morali ratione consensum voluntatis producere: atque in eo consistere operationis divinæ efficaciam, qua Satanæ operationem superet, quod Deus æterna bona, Satan autem temporaria promittat.’ Omnino enim hoc Pelagianum est, et universæ Scripturæ contrarium, quæ præter hunc etiam alium, et longe efficaciorem ac diviniorcm Spiritus Sancti agendi modum, in hominis conversione agnoscit. Ezech. 36:26: Dabo vobis cor meum, et spiritum novum dabo in medio vestri, et auferam cor lapideum, daboque cor carneum, etc.

VIII.

Qui docent, ‘Deum in hominis regeneratione eas suæ omnipotentiæ vires non adhibere, quibus voluntatem ejus ad fidem et conversionem potenter et infallibiliter flectat; sed positis omnibus gratiæ operationibus, quibus Deus ad hominem convertendum utitur, hominem tamen Deo, et Spiritui regenerationem ejus intendenti, et regenerare ipsum volenti, ita posse resistere, et actu ipso sæpe resistere, ut sui regenerationem prorsus impediat, atque adeo in ipsius manere potestate, ut regeneretur vel non regeneretur.’ Hoc enim nihil aliud est, quam tollere omnem efficaciam gratiæ Dei in nostri conversione, et actionem Dei omnipotentis subjicere voluntati hominis, idque contra Apostolos, qui docent, Nos credere pro efficacitate fortis roboris Dei. Ephes. 1:19. Et, Deum bonitatis suæ gratuitam benevolentiam et opus fidei potenter in nobis complere. 2 Thess. 1:11. Item, Divinam ipsius vim omnia nobis donasse, quæ ad vitam et pietatem pertinent. 2 Pet. 1:3.

IX.

Qui docent, ‘Gratiam et liberum arbitrium esse causas partiales simul concurrentes ad conversionis initium; nec gratiam ordine causalitatis efficientiam voluntatis antecedere;’ id est, ‘Deum non prius hominis voluntatem efficaciter juvare ad conversionem, quam voluntas ipsa hominis se movet ac determinat.’ Hoc enim dogma Ecclesia prisca in Pelagianis jam olim condemnavit, ex Apostolo Rom. 9:16: Non est volentis nec currentis, sed Dei miserentis. Et, 1 Cor. 4:7: Quis te discernit? Et, Quid habes quod non acceperis? Item, Phil, 2:13: Deus est qui in vobis operatur ipsum velle et perficere pro suo beneplacito.

Huic capiti eadem quæ prius subscribuntur nomina.

QUINTUM DOCTRINÆ CAPUT, DE PERSEVERANTIA SANCTORUM

Articulus Primus.

Quos Deus secundum propositum suum, ad communionem Filii sui Domini nostri Jesu Christi, vocat, et per Spiritum sanctum regenerat, eos quidem et a peccati dominio et servitute, non autem a carne, et corpore peccati, penitus in hac vita liberat.

II.

Hinc quotidiana infirmitatis peccata oriuntur, et optimis etiam sanctorum operibus nævi adhærescunt: quæ illis perpetuam sese coram Deo humiliandi, ad Christum crucifixum confugiendi, carnem magis ac magia per Spiritum precum et sancta pietatis exercitia mortificandi, et ad perfectionis metam suspirandi, materiam suggerunt; tantisper dum hoc mortis corpore soluti, cum Agno Dei in cœlis regnent.

III.

Propter istas peccati inhabitantis reliquias, et mundi insuper ac Satanæ tentationes, non possent conversi in ista gratia perstare, si suis viribus permitterentur. Sed fidelis est Deus, qui ipsos in gratia semelcollata misericorditer confirmat, et in eadem usque ad finem potenter conservat.

IV.

Etsi autem illa potentia Dei vere fideles in gratia confirmantis et conservantis, major est, quam quæ a carne superari possit; non semper tamen conversi ita a Deo aguntur et moventur, ut non possint in quibusdam actionibus particularibus a ductu gratiæ, suo vitio, recedere, et a carnis concupiscentiis seduci, iisque obsequi. Quapropter ipsis perpetuo est vigilandum et orandum, ne in tentationes inducantur. Quod cum non faciunt, non solum a carne, mundo, et Satana, in peccata etiam gravia et atrocia abripi possunt, verum etiam interdum justa Dei permissione abripiuntur. Quod tristes Davidis, Petri, aliorumque sanctorum lapsus, in sacra Scriptura descripti, demonstrant.

V.

Talibus autem enormibus peccatis Deum valde offendunt, reatum mortis incurrunt, Spiritum S. contristant, fidei exercitium interrumpunt, conscientiam gravissime vulnerant, sensum gratiæ nonnunquam ad tempus amittunt: donec per scriam resipiscentiam in vitam revertentibus paternus Dei vultus rursum affulgeat.

VI.

Deus enim, qui dives est misericordia, ex immutabili electionis proposito, Spiritum Sanctum, etiam in tristibus lapsibus, a suis non prorsus aufert, nec eousque eos prolabi sinit, ut gratia adoptionis, justificationis statu excidant, aut peccatum ad mortem, sive in Spiritum Sanctum committant, et ab eo penitus deserti in exitium æternum sese præcipitent.

VII.

Primo enim in istis lapsibus conservat in illis semen illud suum immortale, ex quo regeniti sunt, ne illud pereat aut excutiatur. Deinde per verbum et Spiritum suum, eos certo et efficaciter renovat ad pœnitentiam, ut de admissis peccatis ex animo secundum Deum doleant, remissionem in sanguine Mediatoris, per fidem, contrito corde, expetant, et obtineant, gratiam Dei reconciliati iterum sentiant, miserationes per fidem ejus adorent, ac deinceps salutem suam cum timore et tremore studiosius operentur.

VIII.

Ita non suis meritis, aut viribus, sed ex gratuita Dei misericordia id obtinent, ut nec totaliter fide et gratia excidant, nec finaliter in lapsibus maneant aut pereant. Quod quoad ipsos non tantum facile fieri posset, sed et indubie fieret; respectu autem Dei fieri omnino non potest: cum nec consilium ipsius mutari, promissio excidere, vocatio secundum propositum revocari, Christi meritum, intercessio, et custodia irrita reddi nec Spiritus Sancti obsignatio frustranea fieri aut deleri possit.

IX.

De hac electorum ad salutem custodia, vereque fidelium in fide perseverantia, ipsi fideles certi esse possunt, et sunt pro mensura fidei, qua certo credunt se esse et perpetuo mansuros vera et viva Ecclesiæ membra, habere remissionem peccatorum, et vitam æternam.

X.

Ac proinde hæc certitudo non est ex peculiari quadam revelatione præter aut extra verbum facta, sed ex fide promissionum Dei, quas in verbo suo copiosissime in nostrum solatium revelavit: ex testimonio Spiritus Sancti testantis cum spiritu nostro nos esse Dei filios et hæredes. Rom. 8:16 Denique ex serio et sancto bonæ conscientiæ et bonorum operum studio. Atque hoc solido obtinendæ victoriæ solatio, et infallibili æternæ gloriæ arrha, si in hoc mundo electi Dei destituerentur, omnium hominum essent miserrimi.

XI.

Interim testatur Scriptura fideles in hac vita cum variis carnis dubitationibus conflictari, et in gravi tentatione constitutos hanc fidei plerophoriam, ac perseverantiæ certitudinem, non semper sentire. Verum Deus, Pater omnis consolationis, supra vires tentari eos non sinit, sed cum tentatione præstat evasionem. 1 Cor. 10:13. Ac per Spiritum Sanctum perseverantiæ certitudinem in iisdem rursum excitat.

XII.

Tantum autem abest, ut hæc perseverantiæ certitudo vere fideles superbos, et carnaliter securos reddat, ut e contrario humilitatis, filialis reverentiæ, veræ pietatis, patientiæ in omni lucta, precum ardentium, constantiæ in cruce et veritatis confessione, solidique in Deo gaudii vera sit radix: et consideratio istius beneficii sit stimulus ad serium et continuum gratitudinis et bonorum operum exercitium, ut ex Scripturæ testimoniis et sanctorum exemplis constat.

XIII.

Neque etiam in iis, qui a lapsu instaurantur, lasciviam aut pietatis injuriam procreat rediviva perseverantiæ fiducia; sed multo majorem curam de viis Domini solicite custodiendis, quæ præparatæ sunt ut in illis ambulando perseverantiæ suæ certitudinem retineant, ne propter paternæ benignitatis abusum propitii Dei facies (cujus contemplatio piis vita dulcior, subductio morte acerbior) denuo ab ipsis avertatur, et sic in graviores animi cruciatus incidant.

XIV.

Quemadmodum autem Deo placuit, opus hoc suum gratiæ per prædicationem Evangelii in nobis inchoare; ita per ejusdem auditum, lectionem, meditationem, adhortationes, minas, promissa, nec non per usum sacramentorum illud conservat, continuat, et perficit.

XV.

Hanc de vere credentium ac sanctorum perseverantia, ejusque certitudine, doctrinam, quam Deus ad nominis sui gloriam, et piarum animarum solatium, in verbo suo abundantissime revelavit, cordibusque fidelium imprimit, caro quidem non capit, Satanas odit, mundus ridet, imperiti et hypocritæ in abusum rapiunt, spiritusque erronei oppugnant; sed sponsa Christi ut inæstimabilis pretii thesaurum tenerrime semper dilexit, et constanter propugnavit: quod ut porro faciat procurabit Deus, adversus quem nec consilium valere, nec robur ullum prævalere potest. Cui soli Deo, Patri, Filio, et Spiritui Sancto sit honor et gloria in sempiternum. Amen.

REJECTIO ERRORUM CIRCA DOCTRINAM DE PERSEVERANTIA SANCTORUM

Exposita doctrina orthodoxa, Synodus rejicit errores eorum:

I.

Qui docent, ‘Perseverantiam vere fidelium non esse effectum electionis, aut donum Dei morte Christi partum, sed esse conditionem novi fœderis, ab homine ante sui electionem ac justificationem’ (ut ipsi loquuntur) ‘peremtoriam, libera voluntate præstandam.’ Nam sacra Scriptura testatur eam ex electione sequi, et vi mortis, resurrectionis et intercessionis Christi electis donari. Rom. 11:7: Electio assecuta est, reliqui occalluerunt. Item, Rom. 8:32: Qui proprio Filio non pepercit, sed pro omnibus nobis tradidit ipsum, quomodo non cum eo nobis omnia donabit? Quis intentabit crimina adversus electos Dei? Deus est qui justificat Quis est qui condemnet? Christus in est qui mortuus est, imo qui etiam resurrexit, qui etiam sedet ad dexteram Dei, qui etiam intercedit pro nobis: Quis nos separabit a dilectione Christi?

II.

Qui docent, ‘Deum quidem hominem fidelem sufficientibus ad perseverandum viribus instruere, ac paratum esse eas in ipso conservare si officium faciat: positis tamen illis omnibus, quæ ad perseverandum in fide necessaria sunt, quæque Deus ad conservandam fidem adhibere vult, pendere semper a voluntatis arbitrio, ut perseveret, vel non perseveret.’ Hæc enim sententia manifestum Pelagianismum continet; et homines, dum vult facere liberos, facit sacrilegos, contra perpetuum evangelicæ doctrinæ consensum, quæ omnem gloriandi materiam homini adimit, et hujus beneficii laudem soli divinæ gratiæ transcribit; et contra Apostolum testantem: Deum esse qui confirmabit nos usque in finem inculpatos in die Domini nostri Jesu Christi. 1 Cor. 1:8.

III.

Qui docent, ‘Vere credentes et regenitos non tantum posse a fide justificante, item gratia, et salute totaliter et finaliter excidere, sed etiam reipsa non raro ex iis excidere, atque in æternum perire.’ Nam hæc opinio ipsam justificationis ac regenerationis gratiam, et perpetuam Christi custodiam irritam reddit, contra diserta Apostoli Pauli verba, Rom. 5:8, 9: Si Christus pro nobis mortuus est, quum adhuc essemus peccatores, multo igitur magis, jam justificati in sanguine ejus, servabimur per ipsum ab ira. Et contra Apostolum Johannem, 1 John 3:9: Omnis qui natus est ex Deo, non dat operam peccato: quia semen ejus in eo manet, nec potest peccare, quia ex Deo genitus est. Nec non contra verba Jesu Christi, Johan. 10:28, 29: Ego vitam æternam do ovibus meis, et non peribunt in æternum, nec rapiet eas quisquam de manu mea; Pater meus, qui mihi eas dedit, major est omnibus, nec ullus potest eas rapere de manu Patris mei.

IV.

Qui docent, ‘Vere fideles ac regenitos posse peccare peccato ad mortem, vel in Spiritum Sanctum.’ Quum idem Apostolus Johan. [Ep. I.] cap. 5 postquam vers. 16, 17 peccantium ad mortem meminisset, et pro iis orare vetuisset, statim ver. 18 subjungat: Scimus quod quisquis natus est ex Deo, non peccat (nempe illo peccati genere), sed qui genitus est ex Deo, conservat seipsum, et malignus ille non tangit eum.

V.

Qui docent, ‘Nullam certitudinem futuræ perseverantiæ haberi posse in hac vita, absque speciali revelatione.’ Per hanc enim doctrinam vere fidelium solida consolatio in hac vita tollitur, et pontiflciorum dubitatio in Ecclesiam reducitur. Sacra vero Scriptura passim hanc certitudinem, non ex speciali et extraordinaria revelatione, sed ex propriis filiorum Dei signis, et constantissimis Dei promissionibus petit. Imprimis Apostolus Paulus, Rom. 8:39: Nulla res creata potest nos separare a charitate Dei, quæ est in Christo Jesu, Domino nostro. Et Johannes, Epist. I. 3:24: Qui servat mandata ejus, in eo manet, et ille in eo: et per hoc novimus ipsum in nobis manere, ex Spiritu quem dedit nobis.

VI.

Qui docent, ‘Doctrinam de perseverantiæ ac salutis certitudine, ex natura et indole sua, esse carnis pulvinar, et pietati, bonis moribus, precibus aliisque sanctis exercitiis noxiam; contra vero de ea dubitare, esse laudabile.’ Hi enim demonstrant se efficaciam divinæ gratiæ, et inhabitantis Spiritus S. operationem ignorare: et contradicunt Apostolo Johanni contrarium disertis verbis affirmanti, Epist. I. 3:2, 3: Dilecti mei, nunc filii Dei sumus; sed nondum patefactum est id quod erimus: scimus autem fore, ut quum ipse patefactus fuerit, similes ei simus, quoniam videbimus eum, sicuti est. Et quisquis habet hanc spem in eo, purificat seipsum, sicut et ille purus est. Hi præterea sanctorum tam Veteris quam Novi Testamenti exemplis redarguuntur, qui licet de sua perseverantia et salute essent certi, in precibus tamen, aliisque pietatis exercitiis, assidui fuerunt.

VII.

Qui docent, ‘Fidem temporariorum a justificante et salvifica fide non differre nisi sola duratione.’ Nam Christus ipse Matt. 13:20 et Luc. 8:13 ac deinceps, triplex præterea inter temporarios et veros fideles discrimen manifesto constituit, quum illos dicit semen recipere in terra petrosa, hos in terra bona, seu corde bono: illos carere radice, hos radicem firmam habere: illos fructibus esse vacuos, hos fructum suum diversa mensura, constanter seu perseveranter proferre.

VIII.

Qui docent, ‘Non esse absurdum, hominem priore regeneratione extincta, iterato, imo sæpius renasci.’ Hi enim per hanc doctrinam negant seminis Dei, per quod renascimur, incorruptibilitatem: adversus testimonium Apostoli Petri, Epist. I. 1:23: Renati non ex semine corruptibili, sed incorruptibili.

IX.

Qui docent, ‘Christum nunquam rogasse pro infallibili credentium in fide perseverantia.’ Contradicunt enim ipsi Christo, dicenti, Luc. 22:32: Ego rogavi pro te, Petre, ne deficiat fides tua; et Evangelistæ Johanni testanti, Johan. 17:20, Christum non tantum pro apostolis, sed etiam pro omnibus, per sermonem ipsorum credituris, orasse, ver. 11: Pater sancte, conserva eos in nomine tuo; Et ver. 15: Non oro ut eos tollas e mundo, sed ut conserves eos a malo.

CONCLUSIO

Atque hæc est perspicua, simplex, et ingenua Orthodoxæ de Quinque Articulis in Belgio controversis doctrinæ declaratio, et errorum, quibus Ecclesiæ Belgicæ aliquamdiu sunt perturbatæ, rejectio, quam Synodus ex verbo Dei desumptam, et Confessionibus Reformatarum Ecclesiarum consentaneam esse judicat. Unde liquido apparet eos, quos id minime decuit, citra omnem veritatem, æquitatem, et charitatem, populo inculcatum voluisse:
‘Doctrinam Ecclesiarum Reformatarum de prædestinatione et annexis ei capitibus, proprio quodam genio atque impulsu, animos hominum ab omni pietate et religione abducere: esse carnis et Diaboli pulvinar, arcemque Satanæ, ex qua omnibus insidietur, plurimos sauciet, et multos tum desperationis, tum securitatis jaculis lethaliter configat: eandem facere Deum authorem peccati, injustum, tyrannum, hypocritam; nec aliud esse quam interpolatum Stoicismum, Manicheismum, Libertinismum, Turcismum: eandem reddere homines carnaliter securos, quippe ex ea persuasos electorum saluti, quomodocunque vivant, non obesse, ideoque eos secure atrocissima quæque scelera posse perpetrare; reprobis ad salutem non prodesse, si vel omnia sanctorum opera vere fecerint: eadem doceri Deum nudo puroque voluntatis arbitrio, absque omni ullius peccati respectu, vel intuitu, maximam mundi partem ad æternam damnationem prædestinasse et creasse: eodem modo, quo electio est fons et caussa fidei ac bonorum operum, reprobationem esse caussam infidelitatis et impietatis: multos fidelium infantes ab uberibus matrum innoxios abripi et tyrannice in gehennam præcipitari, adeo ut iis nec baptismus, nec Ecclesiæ in eorum baptismo preces prodesse queant.’
Et quæ ejus generis sunt alia plurima, quæ Ecclesiæ Reformatæ non solum non agnoscunt, sed etiam toto pectore detestantur. Quare quotquot nomen Servatoris nostri Jesu Christi pie invocant, eos Synodus hæc Dordrechtana per nomen Domini obtestatur, ut de Ecclesiarum Reformatarum fide, non ex coacervatis hinc inde calumniis, vel etiam privatis nonnullorum, tum veterum tum recentium doctorum dictis, sæpe etiam aut mala fide citatis, aut corruptis, et in alienum sensum detortis, sed ex publicis ipsarum Ecclesiarum Confessionibus, et ex hac orthodoxæ doctrinæ declaratione, unanimi omnium et singulorum totius Synodi membrorum consensu firmata, judicent. Calumniatores deinde ipsos serio monet, viderint quam grave Dei judicium sint subituri, qui contra tot Ecclesias, contra tot Ecclesiarum Confessiones, falsum testimonium dicunt, conscientias infirmorum turbant, multisque vere fidelium societatem suspectam reddere satagunt.
Postremo hortatur hæc Synodus omnes in Evangelio Christi symmystas, ut in hujus doctrinæ pertractatione, in scholis atque in ecclesiis, pie et religiose versentur, eam tum lingua, tum calamo, ad Divini nominis gloriam, vitæ sanctitatem, et consternatorum animorum solatium accommodent, cum Scriptura secundum fidei analogiam non solum sentiant, sed etiam loquantur; a phrasibus denique iis omnibus abstineant, quæ præscriptos nobis genuini sanctarum Scripturarum sensus limites excedunt, et protervis sophistis justam ansam præbere possint doctrinam Ecclesiarum Reformatarum sugillandi, aut etiam calumniandi. Filius Dei Jesus Christus, qui ad dextram Patris sedens dat dona hominibus, sanctificet nos in veritate, eos qui errant adducat ad veritatem, calumniatoribus sanæ doctrinæ ora obstruat, et fidos verbi sui ministros spiritu sapientiæ et discretionis instruat, ut omnia ipsorum eloquia ad gloriam Dei, et ædificationem auditorum, cedant. Amen.

Huic capiti eadem quæ prius subscribuntur nomina.

Hæc omnia de Quinque Doctrinæ Capitibus Controversis supra comprehensis, ita esse gesta testatur Illustrissimorum ac Præpotentium DD. Ordinum Generalium ad hanc Synodum Deputati, manuum nostrarum subsignatione.

EX GELDRIA.

MARTINUS GREGORII D., Consiliarius Ducatus Geldriæ, et Comitatus Zutphaniæ.
HENRICUS VAN ESSEN, Consiliarius Ducatus Geldriæ, et Comitatus Zutphaniæ.

EX HOLLANDIA.

WALRAVUS DE BREDERODE.
HUGO MUYS VAN HOLY.
JACOBUS BOELIUS.
GERARDUS DE NIEUBURCH.

EX ZELANDIA

SYMON SCOTTE, Consiliarius et Secretarius Civitatis Middelburgensis.
JACOBUS CAMPE, Ordinum Zelandiæ Consiliarius.

EX PROVINCIA ULTRAJECTINA

FREDERICUS VAN ZUYLEN VAN NYEVELT.
WILHELMUS VAN HARDEVELT.

EX FRISIA.

ERNESTUS AB AYLVA, Ordinum Frisiæ Consiliarius, Orientalis Dongriæ Grietmannus.
ERNESTUS AB HARINXMA, Consiliarius primarius in Curia Provinciali Frisiæ

EX TRANSISALANIA

HENRICUS HAGEN.

EX CIVITATE GRONINGENSI ET OMLANDIIS

HIERONYMUS ISBRANTS, I. U. D.
EDVARDUS JACOBUS CLANT A STEDUM.

Et Illustribus ac Amplissimis DD. Delegatis a Secretis,
DANIEL HEINSIUS.

SENTENTIA SYNODI DE REMONSTRANTIBUS

Explicata hactenus, et asserta, per Dei gratiam, veritate, erroribus rejectis, et damnatis, abstersis iniquis calumniis; SYNODUS HÆC DORDRECHTANA (quæ ipsi porro cura superest) serio, obnixe et pro auctoritate, quam ex Dei verbo in omnia suarum Ecclesiarum membra obtinet, in Christi nomine rogat, hortatur, monet, atque injungit omnibus et singulis in Fœderato Belgio Ecclesiarum Pastoribus, academiarum et scholarum Doctoribus, Rectoribus, et Magistris, atque adeo omnibus in universum, quibus vel animarum cura, vel juventutis disciplina est demandata, ut missis quinque notis Remonstrantium Articulis, qui et erronei sunt, et mera errorum latibula, hanc sanam veritatis salutaris doctrinam, ex purissimis verbi divini fontibus haustam, sinceram, et inviolatam, pro viribus et munere suo, conservent: illam populo et juventuti fideliter et prudenter proponant et explicent; usumque ejus suavissimum atque utilissimum, tum in vita, tum in morte, diligenter declarent: errantes ex grege, secus sentientes, et opinionum novitate abreptos, veritatis evidentia mansuete erudiant, si quando det ipsis Deus resipiscentiam, ad agnoscendam veritatem: ut saniori menti redditi, uno spiritu, ore, fide, charitate, Ecclesiæ Dei, et sanctorum communioni, denuo accedant; atque tandem coalescat vulnus Ecclesiæ, et fiat omnium ejus membrorum cor unum et anima una in Domino.
At vero, quia nonnulli e nobis egressi, sub titulo Remonstrantium (quod nomen Remonstrantium ut et Contra-Remonstrantium, SYNODUS perpetua oblivione delendum censet), studiis et consiliis privatis, modis illegitimis, disciplina et ordine Ecclesiæ violato, atque fratrum suorum monitionibus et judiciis contemptis, Belgicas Ecclesias antea florentissimas, in fide et charitate conjunctissimas, in his Doctrinæ Capitibus, graviter et periculose admodum turbarunt: errores noxios et veteres revocarunt, et novos procuderunt, publice et privatim, voce ac scriptis, in vulgus sparserunt, et acerrime propugnarunt: doctrinam, hactenus in Ecclesiis receptam, calumniis et contumeliis enormibus insectandi, nec modum nec finem fecerunt: scandalis, dissidiis, conscientiarum scrupulis, et exagitationibus, omnia passim compleverunt: quæ certe gravia in fidem, in charitatem, in bonos mores, in Ecclesiæ unitatem et pacem, peccata, cum in nullo homine tolerari juste possint, in Pastoribus censura severissima ab omni ævo in Ecclesia usurpata, necessario animadverti debent; SYNODUS, invocato Dei sancto nomine, suæ auctoritatis ex verbo Dei probe conscia, omnium legitimarum tum veterum tum recentium Synodorum vestigiis insistens, et illustrissimorum DD. Ordinum Generalium auctoritate munita, declarat atque judicat, Pastores illos, qui partium in Ecclesia ductores, et errorum doctores sese præbuerunt, corruptæ religionis, scissæ Ecclesiæ unitatis, et gravissimorum scandalorum, citatos vero ad hanc Synodum, intolerandæ insuper adversus supremi magistratus in hac Synodo publicata decreta, ipsamque hanc venerandam Synodum, pervicaciæ, reos et convictos teneri. Quas ob causas, primo Synodus prædictis citatis omni ecclesiastico munere interdicit, eosque ab officiis suis abdicat, et academicis functionibus etiam indignos esse judicat, donec per seriam resipiscentiam, dictis, factis, studiis contrariis abunde comprobatam, Ecclesiæ satisfaciant, et cum eadem vere et plene reconcilientur, atque ad ejus communionem recipiantur: quod nos in ipsorum bonum, et totius Ecclesiæ gaudium unice in Christo Domino nostro exoptamus. Reliquos autem, quorum cognitio ad Synodum hanc Nationalem non devenit, Synodus Provincialibus, Classibus, et Presbyteriis, ex ordine recepto, committit: quæ omni studio procurent ne quid Ecclesia detrimenti vel in præsens capere, vel in posterum metuere possit. Errorum istorum sectatores spiritu prudentiæ discriminent: refractarios, clamosos, factiosos, turbatores, quam primum officiis ecclesiasticis, et scholasticis, quæ sunt suæ cognitionis et curæ, abdicent: eoque nomine monentur, ut nulla interjecta mora, post acceptum hujus Synodi Nationalis judicium, impetrata ad hoc magistratus auctoritate, conveniant, ne lentitudine malum invalescat et roboretur. Ex infirmitate, et vitio temporum lapsos, vel abreptos, et in levioribus forte hæsitantes, aut etiam dissentientes, modestos tamen, sedatos, vitæ inculpatæ, dociles, omni lenitate, charitatis officiis, patientia, ad veram atque perfectam concordiam cum Ecclesia provocent: ita tamen, ut diligenter sibi caveant, ne quemquam ad sacrum ministerium admittant, qui doctrinæ hisce synodicis constitutionibus declaratæ subscribere, eamque docere recuset: neminem etiam retineant, cujus manifesta dissensione, doctrina in hac Synodo tanto consensu comprobata violari, et Pastorum concordia, Ecclesiarumque tranquillitas denuo turbari queat. Præterea veneranda hæc Synodus serio monet ecclesiasticos omnes cœtus, ut invigilent diligentissime in greges sibi commissos, omnibus subnascentibus in Ecclesia novitatibus mature obviam eant, easque tanquam zizania ex agro Domini evellant: attendant scholis et scholarum moderatoribus ne qua ex privatis sententiis et pravis opinionibus juventuti instillatis, postmodum Ecclesiæ et reipub. pernicies denuo creetur. Denique illustrissimis et præpotentibus DD. Fœderati Belgii Ordinibus Generalibus, gratiis reverenter actis, quod tam necessario et opportuno tempore, afflictis et labentibus Ecclesiæ rebus, Synodi remedio clementer succurrerint, probos et fideles DEI servos in suam tutelam receperint, pignus omnis benedictionis et præsentiæ divinæ, verbi nempe ipsius veritatem, in suis ditionibus sancte et religiose conservatam voluerint: nulli labori, nullis sumptibus ad tantum opus promovendum et perficiendum pepercerint: pro quibus eximiis officiis largissimam a Domino et publice et privatim, et spiritualem et temporalem, remunerationem toto pectore SYNODUS comprecatur: Eosdem porro Dominos clementissimos obnixe et demisse rogat, ut hanc salutarem doctrinam, fidelissime ad verbum Dei et Reformatarum Ecclesiarum consensum a Synodo expressam, in suis regionibus solam et publice audiri velint et jubeant: arceant suborientes omnes hæreses et errores, spiritus inquietos et turbulentos compescant: veros et benignos Ecclesiæ nutritios ac tutores sese probare pergant: in personas supra dictas sententiam pro jure ecclesiastico, patriis legibus confirmato, ratam esse velint, et auctoritatis suæ adjecto calculo, synodicas constitutiones immotas et perpetuas reddant.

NOMINE ET JUSSU SYNODI,

SEBASTIANUS DAMMAN, Synodi Scriba.
FESTUS HOMMIUS, Eccl. Leydensis Pastor, et Synodi Nat. Actuarius.

In testimonium Actorum, DANIEL HEINSIUS.

APPROBATIO ILLUSTRISSIMORUM AC PRÆPOTENTIUM DOMINORUM, DD. ORDINUM GENERALIUM

Ordines Generales Fœderati Belgii omnibus qui hasce visuri aut lecturi sunt, salutem. Notum facimus, Quum ad tollendas tristes et noxias illas controversias, quæ aliquot abhine annis cum magno reipubl. detrimento, et pacis Ecclesiarum perturbatione, exortæ sunt super quinque notis Doctrinæ Christianæ Capitibus, eorumque appendicibus, visum nobis fuerit, ex ordine in Ecclesia Dei, ipsaque adeo Belgica, Dordrechtum convocare Synodum Nationalem omnium Ecclesiarum Fæderati Belgii; utque illa maximo cum fructu et reipubl emolumento celebrari posset, non sine gravi molestia, magnisque impensis, ad eandem expetiverimus et impetraverimus complures præstantissimos, doctissimos, et celeberrimos Reformatæ Ecclesiæ Theologos exteros, uti ex prædictæ Synodi Decretorum subscriptione, post singula doctrinæ Capita videre est; delegatis insuper ex singulis provinciis ad ejusdem directionem nostris deputatis, qui in eadem ab initio usque ad finem præsentes curam gererent, ut omnia ibidem in timore Dei, et recto ordine, ex solo Dei verbo, sinceræ nostrœ intentioni congruenter, possent pertractari: Cumque prædicta hæc Synodus singulari Dei benedictione tanto omnium et singulorum, tam exterorum quam Belgicorum, consensu, de prædictis quinque Doctrinæ Capitibus, eorumque doctoribus jam judicarit, nobisque consultis et consentientibus sexto Maii proxime præterito decreta et sententiam hisce præfixa promulgarit; Nos, ut exoptati fructus ex magno et sancto hoc opere (quale nunquam antehac Ecclesiæ Reformatæ viderunt), ad Ecclesias harum regionum redundare queant, quandoquidem nihil nobis æque cordi et curæ est, quam gloria Sanctissimi Nominis Divini, quam conservatio et propagatio veræ Reformatæ Christianæ Religionis (quæ fundamentum est prosperitatis et vinculum unionis Fœderati Belgii), quam concordia, tranquillitas, et pax Ecclesiarum; itemque conservatio concordiæ et communionis Ecclesiarum, quæ sunt in hisce regionibus, cum omnibus exteris Reformatis Ecclesiis, a quibus nos separare nec debuimus, nec potuimus, Visis, cognitis, et mature examinatis atque expensis, prædicto judicio et sententia Synodi, ista plene in omnibus approbavimus, confirmavimus, et rata habuimus, approbamus, confirmamus, et rata habemus per præsentes: Volentes ac statuentes, ut nulla alia doctrina de quinque prædictis Doctrinæ Capitibus in Ecclesiis harum regionum doceatur aut propagetur, præter hanc, quæ prædicto judicio sit conformis atque consentanea; Mandantes atque imperantes omnibus ecclesiasticis cœtibus, Ecclesiarum Ministris, Sacrosanctæ Theologiæ Professoribus et Doctoribus, Collegiorum Regentibus, omnibusque in universum et singulis, quos hæc aliquatenus concernere queant aut attingere, ut in suorum ministeriorum et functionum exercitio eadem in omnibus fideliter et sincere sequantur, iisque convenienter sese gerant. Utque bonæ nostrœ intentioni plene ac per omnia ubique possit satisfieri, Denunciamus et mandamus Ordinibus, Gubernatoribus, Deputatis Ordinum, Consiliariis et Ordinibus Deputatis provinciarum Geldriæ, et comitatus Zutphaniæ, Hollandiæ, et Westfrisiæ, Zelandiæ, Ultrajecti, Frisiaæ, Transisalaniæ, civitatis Groningæ et Omlandiarum, omnibusque aliis Officiariis, Judicibus, et Justitiariis, ut prædicti Judicii Synodici, eorumque quæ inde dependent, observationem promoveant et tueantur, ac promovere et tueri faciant, adeo ut nullam in hisce mutationem aut ipsi faciant, aut ab aliis ullo modo fieri permittant: Quoniam ad promovendam Dei gloriam, securitatem et salutem status harum regionum, tranquillitatem et pacem Ecclesiæ, ita fieri debere judicamus.
Actum sub nostro sigillo, signatione Præsidis, et subscriptione nostri Graphiarii, Hagæ-Comitis, secundo Julii, anno millesimo, sexcentesimo et decimo nono, signatum erat.

A. PLOOS, ut
Et inferius
Ex mandato prædictorum Præpotentium Dominorum Ordinum Generalium
Subscriptum
C. AERSSEN.
Eratque spatio impressum prædictum sigillum in cera rubra.

Source: Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical Notes: The Evangelical Protestant Creeds, with Translations, vol. 3 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1882), 550–80.

Confessio Belgica

Articulus I: De Natura Dei
Corde credimus, et ore confitemur omnes, unicam esse et simplicem essentiam spiritualem, quam Deum vocamus; eumque aeternum, incomprehensibilem, invisibilem, immutabilem, infinitum, omnipotentem, summe sapientem, iustum, et bonorum, omniumque nonorum fontem uberrimum.

Articulus II: De Cognitione Dei
Duobus autem modis eum cognoscimus: primo, per creationem, conservationem, et gebernationem universi huius mundi. Is enim oculis nostris est instar Libri pulcherrimi, in quo creaturae mones, a minimis usque ad maximas, veluti literae quaedam inscriptae, ex quibus invisibilia Dei conspici et cognosci possunt; nempe aeterna ipsius potential et divinitas, ut Apostolus Paulus loquitur Rom. 1, 20. Quae omnia sufficient ad homines convincendos et inexcusabiles reddendos. Secundo seipsum multo clarius et manifestius in sacro suo et divino verbo nobis cognoscendum praebet ac patefacit, quantum scilictet nobis in hac vita ad ipsius gloriam et ad suorum salute necessarium est.

Articulus III: De Sacra Scriptura
Confitemur hoc Dei verbum non fuisse ulla humana voluntate aut allatum aut traditum: sed sanctos Dei viros divino afflatus Spiritu illud ellocutos esse, ut testator divus Petrus. Postea vero Deus ipse pro immense sua cura et sollicitudine, quam de suis suorumque salute gerit, servis suis suis Prophetis et Apostolis mandavit, ut sua illa oracula scriptis committerent: ipse que adeo duas tabulas Legis digito suo exaravit: quae caussa est cur eiusmodi scripta sacram et divinam Scripturam appellamus.

Articulus IV: De Canonicis Libris Vet. Et Novi Testamenti
Sacram autem Scripturam, duobus voluminibus, Veteris nimirum et Novi Testamenti Complectimur: qui sunt libri Canonici: quibus nihil opponi potest. Eorum in Dei Ecclesia hic est Catalogus.  Veteris quidem Testamenti, quinque libri Mosis, liber Iosuae, Iudicum, Ruth, duo libri Samuelis, duo Regum, duo Chronicorum, qui et Paralipomenon vocantur, primus Esdrae, Nehemias, Esther, Iob: item Psalmi Davidis, tres libri Salomonis, nempe Proverbia, Ecclesiastes et Canticum Canticorum: quatuor Prophetae maiores, Esaias, Ieremias, Ezechiel et Daniel: adhaec duodecim etiam minors Prophetae. Novi porro Testamenti libri Canonici suntL Euangelistae quator, divus scilicet Matthaeus, Marcus, Lucas et Iohannes: Acta Apostolorum: quotuordecim Epistolae divi Pauli, et septa reliquorum Apostolorum: Apocalypsis divi Iohannis Apostoli.

Articulus V: De Auctoritate Sacrae Scripturae
Hosec libros solos recipimus tanquam sacros et Canonicos, quibus fides nostra inniti, confirmari et stabiliri possit. Et credimus absque ulla dubitatione ea Omnia, quae in illis contineatur, idque non tam quod Ecclesia illus pro Canonicis recipiat et comprobet, quam quod Spiritus Sanctus nostris conscientiis testetur illos a Deo emanasse: et eo etiam quod ipsi hanc suam autoritatem per se satis testentur ac comprobent: quam et ipsi caeca rerum omnium, quae in illis praedictae fuerunt, impletionem et executionem clare conspicere, et veluti sensibus percipere possint.

Articulus VI: De Discrimine Librorum Canonicorum et Apocryphorum
Differentiam pore constituimus inter libros hosce Sacros et eos, quos Apocryphos vocant: utpote quod Apocryphos legere quidem Ecclesia possit, et documenta ex iis desumere in rebus, quae consentiunt cum libris Canonicus: at nequaquam ea est ipsorum autoritas et firmitudo, ut ex illorum testimonio aliquod dogma de Fide et Religione Christiana certo constitui possit: tantum abest, ut aliorum autoritatem infringer vel minuere valeant.

Articulus VII: De Perfectione Sacrae Scripturae
Credimus sacram hang Scripturam Dei voluntatem perfecte complecti, et quodcunque ab hofminibus ut salutem consequantur, credi necesse est, in illa efficienter edoceri. Nam quum illic omnis divini cultus ratio, quem Deus a nobis  exigit, fuissime descripta sit, nulli hominum (quamvis Apostolica dignitate praedito, ac ne ulli quidem Angelo e coelo demisso, ut divus Paulus loquitur) fas est aliter docere, quam iam pridem in sacris Scripturus edocti sumus. Quum enim vetitim sit, ne quis Dei verbo quidquam aut addat aut detrahat, satis eo ipso declaratur sacram hanc doctrinam omnibus suis numeris et partibus perfectam ac absolutam esse. [Ununsquisque itaque diligenter cavere debet, ne quid illi addat aut detrahat, quo sapientia humana cum sapientia divina commisceri possit.] Ideoque ccum hisce divinis Scripturis atque hac Dei veritate nulla alia hominum, quantavis santitate praeditorum, Scripta, nulla consuetudo, nec multitude ulla, nec antiquitas, neque temporum praescriptio, nec personarum successio, neque concilia ullam nulla denique hominum decreta ant statute conferenda aut comparanda sunt, utpote quod Dei veritas rebus omnibus antecellat. Omnes enim homines sunt mendaces, [et illorum sapientia Deo subiici non potest] sunt ipsa vanitate vaniores. Ideireo toto animo uti ab Apostolis edocti, quum dicunt: Probate spiritus, an ex Deo sint: et, si quis venit ad vos, et hanc doctrinam non adfert, ne recipite eum domum etc.

Articulus VIII: De Sacrosanta Trinitate Personarum in Unica Essentia Divina
Iuxata hanc veritatem et verbum hoc Dei, credimus in unicum solum Deum (qui unica atque aeterna est essentia, distincta reipsa, vere, et ab aeterno in tres Personas, quarem quaeque suas habet proprietaes incommunicabiles) nempe in Patrem, Filium, et Spiritum Sanctum. Pater caussa et origo et initium est omnium rerum tam visibilium quam invisibilium. Filius est Verbum, Sapientia et Imago Patris: Spiritus Sanctus est aeterna [atque essentialis] potential et virtus procedens a Patre et a Filio. Ita tame nut haec distinction non efficiat ut Deus sit veluti in tres partes divisus: quandoquidem Scriptura nos docet, Patrem, et Fulium, et Spiritum Sanctum suam quidem singulos habere hypostasin seu subsistentiam proprietatibus suis distinctam: it ataman ut tres hae Personae sint tantum unus et solus Deus. Certum igitur est Patrem non esse Filium nec Filium esse Patrem, neque Spiritum Santum esse aut Patrem aut Filium. Interim tamen Personae illae sic distintae, neque sunt divisae, neque confusae, neque permixtae. Neque enim Pater carnem humanam assumpsit, nec Spiritus Sanctus sed solus Filius. Pater nunquam sine Filio suo fuit, nec sine Spiritu suo sancto, quia singuli in una eademque essential eiusdem sunt arternitatis. Nullis ex his aut primus aut ultimus est, quia omnes tres unum sunt in veritate et potential, in bonitate et misercordia.

Articulus IX: De SS. Trinitate
Haec vero Omnia cognoscimus tam ex Sacrae Scripturae testimoniis, quam ex effectis iis potissimum, quae nos in nobisnos docent sacram hanc Trinitatem credere, passim in Veteri Testamento occurrunt; quae non tam numeranda, quam certo iudicio seligendasunt. Qulaia haec sunt, Geneseos primo dicit Deus, Faciamus hominem as imaginem et similitidinem nostrum, etc. Et mox, creavit itaque Deus hominem ad imaginem et similitudunem suam, marem, inquam, et foeminam creavit eos. Item, Ecce Adam tanquam unus nostrum factus est. Ex eo enim quod dicitur, Faciamus hominem ad similitudinem nostrum, apparet pluralitatem esse Personarum in Deitate, Quum autem dicitur, Deus creavit etc., indicator unitas Divinitatis. Verum quidem est hic non exprimi, quot sint personae: tamen quod in Veteri Testamento obscure traditum est, id in Novo nobis clare admodum exponitur. Quum enim Dominus noster Iesus Christus in Iordane baptizaretur, Patris vox audita est decentis, His est Filius meus dilectus: et Filius ipse in aquis est visus: Spiritus vero Sanctus sub soecue columbae apparuit. [An non igitur tres sunt?] In communi omnium fidelium baptism haec formula a Christo institute est: Baptizate mones gentes in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Sic etiam in Evangelio Lucae Angelus Gabriel Mariam, Domini nostril matrem, alloquitur: Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te et virtus Altissimi inumbrabit te, propterea id quod nascetur ex te sanctum, vocabitur Filius Dei. [Videmus hic nominari Patrem Altissimum, postea Filium Dei qui ex Virgine natus est, et Spiritum Sanctum, qui Virginem inumbravit.] Item, Gratia Domini nostril Iesu Christi et charitas Dei, et communicatio Spiritus Sancti sit vobiscum [Atque hic videmus claret res nominari]. Item, Tres sunt qui testificantur in coelo, Pater, Sermo et Spiritus Santus, et hi tres unum sunt. Quibus omnibus locis plenissime docemur, in unico Deo tres esse Personas. Etsi autem haec doctrina omnem humani ingenii captum superset, illam tamen nunc ex verbo Dei firmiter credimus, expectantes, donee in coelo plena illius cognotione fruamur. Notanda porro sunt etiam harum trium Personarum singularia officia et effectar, quae erga nos singulae exerunt. Pater enim vocatur Creator noster per virtutem ipsius, Filius noster Servator per sanguinem ipsius; Spiritus sanctus est sanctificator noster perinhabitationem ipsius in eordibus nostris. Atque hanc de Sacrae Scripturae. Trinitate doctrinam iam inde ab Apostolorum aetate ad haec usque tempora semper vera rettnuit Ecclesia, et adversus Iudaeos, Mahumetanos, aliosque pseudochristianos et haereticos defendit, quales fuerunt Marcion, Manes, Praxeas, Sabellius Samosatenus [Arius] et similes, qui omnes iure meritoque ab orthodoxis Patribus condemnati sunt. Recipimus itaque libenter hic tria illa Symbola, nempe Apostolorum, Necenum et Athanasii, et quaecunque de hoc dogmate iuxta illorum Symbolorum sententiam [sacra Concilia] statuerunt.

Articulus X: De Æterna Deitate Filii Dei, Domini Nostri Jesu Christi
Credimus Iesum Christum respectu naturae ipsius divinae esse unicum Dei filium ab aeterno genitum, non factum aut creatum, (sic enim esset creatura) sed Patri ὁμοουσιον καὶ συναῒδιον seu eiusdem cum Patre essentiae, eique coaeternum, characterem, seu veram imaginem ὑποστάσεως Patris, et Splendorem gloriae eius in omnibus [et per omnia] ei aequalem. Est autem is Filius Dei non tantum ab eo tempore quo naturam nostrum humanam induit, sed ab aeterno, uti haec testimonia inter se collate nos docent. Moses ait Deum cease mundum: At divus Iohannes per Sermonem, quem Deum vocat, omnis facta fuisse dicit; [Et quem D. Ioannes Sermonem vocat, eundem D. Paulus Filium vocat] asserens, Deum per Filium suum secula seu mundum condidisse. [Praeterea docet D. Paulus Deum omnia per Iesum Christum crease.] Sequitur itaque eum, qui et Deus et Sermo et Filius et Iesu Christus dicitur, iam tum extitisse, quum ab ipso omnia condita feurunt. Ideireo Michaeas cap. 5, 2. Propheta inquit, Exitus eius ab initio, a deibus aeternitatis. Item, [Est primogenitus omnis creaturae et] Est absque initio dierum, et absque fine vitae. [Psalmo secundo, Filius meus es, ego hodie genui to: Osculamini Filium.] Est igitur ille verus et aeternus Deus, omnipotens ille, quem invocamus, adoramus, et colimus [omnibus diebus vitae nostrae].

Articulus XI: De Persona et Æterna Deitate Spiritus Sancti
Credimus etiam et confitemus Spiritum Sanctum a Patre et Filio ab aeterno procedure: itaque nec factum, nec creatum, nec genitum fuisee, sed an utroque tantum procedentum, qui ordine tertia est Trinitatis Persona, eiusdem essentiae, gloriae et maiestatis cum Patre et Filio. Ideoque et ipse verus et aeternus Deus est.

Art. XII: De Creatione Mundi, et De Angelis
Credimus Patrem per Verbum suum, hoc est, per Filium, coelom, terram, et reliquas naturas mones ex nihilo crease, quum illi visum fuit opportunum, singulisque suum esse, formam, et varia officia tribuisse, ut Creatori suo inserirent. Eumque nunc illas fovere, sustentare, et regere, secundum aeternam suam Providentiam, et per immensam virtutem suam. Idque ut illae quidem homini, homo vero Deo suo inserviat. Creavit etiam Angelos, omnes natura bonos, ut ministry ipsius essent, et electia etiam inservirent: quorim tamen nonnulli ab excellenti illa natura, in qua eos Deus creavat, in perditionem aeternam deciderunt. Diaboli quidem et eacodaemones illi, ita corrupti et depravati suat, ut et Dei et omnis boni coniurati sint hostes, qui cula omnibus viribus insidiantur, ut imposturis suis ac deceptionibus Omnia destruant atque pessundent: [atque adeo quidem ut se adorari ab omnibus velint, quem in finem multa hominibus pollicentur: neque mirum hoc est, quum Diabolus Christum ausus fuerit aggredi, eumque permovere ut ipsum adoraret.] Ideireo propria sua malitia perpetuae condemnation addicti, expectant indies horrenda suorum facinorum supplicia ac tormenta. Respuiqui Spiritus ullos aut Angelos esse negarunt. Item et Manichaeorum errorem, qui asserunt Diablos ex seipsis priginem ducere et ex propria sua natura malos esse, non autem corruptis per inobedientiam voluntariam.

Articulus XIII: De Providentia Dei
Credimus Deum hunc Opt. Max. postquam res omnes creasset, eas minime sortis aut fortunae arbitrio commisisse, sed ipsummet illas ex praescripto sacrosanctae suae voluntatis ita assidue, regere et gubernare, it nihil in hoc mundo absque illius decreto atque ordinatione contingat: quanquam tamen Deus malorum, quae in hoc mundo accident, neque anctor, neque rens dici possit. Tam late patet infinita et incomprehensibilis illius tum potential tim bonitas, ut tunc etiam opera et actiones suas sancta et iuste decernat atque exequatur, quum et Diabolus et impii iniuste agunt. Quaecunque vero ille agit humanum captum excedentia, de iis nolumus curiose et supra nostrum captum inquirere: quinumo secreta et iusta tamen Dei iudicia humiliter et reverenter adoramus. Sufficit enim nobis, quod Christi discipuli esse possimus, et ea duntaxar discamus quae ipso verbo suo nos docet, neque hos fines transilire volumus. Haec vero doctrina immensam nobis adfert consolationem. Ex illa enim cognoscimus nihil nobis fortuity contingere, sed omnia Patris nostril coelestis voluntate, qui pro nobis vera paterna cura excubat, Omnia sibi subdita habens, ita ut ne pilus quidem capitis nostril (qui omnes ad unum numerate sunt) evelli, nec minimus oasserculus humi cadere, sine Patris nostril voluntate, possit. His itaque penitus acquiescimus, agnoscentes Deum diablos et inimicos nostros omes veluti habenis ita fraenatos continere, ut, sine ipsius voluntate et bona venia, nemini nostrum necere valeant. Itaque hoc loco detestandam Epicureoerum opinionem reiicimus, qui Deum otiosum, et nihil agentem, nae et casui committentem fiuxerunt.

Articulus XIV: De Hominis Creatione, Lapsu et Corruptione
Credimus Deum ex limo terrae hominem ad imaginem suam crease bonum, iustum et sanctum [atque in omnibus plane perfectum,] qui proprio arbitrio suam voluntatem ad Dei voluntatem componere et conformem reddere possit. [Deus itaque eum creavit constantem duabus partibus, corpore et anima: corpus e terra conditum fuit, Spiritum vero et vitam Deus ei inspiravit: adeo ut in homine tanta conspiciatur excellntia, ut humanum ingenium illi exprimendae par non sit. Eiusmodi eum fuisse David testatur, ut nihil illi amplius deesset, quam quod Deus non esset. Gloria et honore coronatus fuit.] Verum quum in honore esset, nescivit, et excellentiam suam non cognovit [iumentis similis factus est:] sed seipsum sciens et volens peccato, et oer consequens morti ac malediction subiecit: dum Diaboli verbis et imposturis aurem praebens mandatum vitae transgressus est, quod a Domino acceperat, seque a Deo (vera ipsius vita) per peccatum subduxit atque abalienavit, et totam ipsius naturam corrupit ac vitiavit. Quo factum est, ut morti tum corporali tum spirituali sese obnoxiu, reddiderit, improbus atque oerversus effectus fuerit, atque in omnibus viis et studiis suis corruptus, et praeclara illa dona Omnia amiserit, quae a Deo acceperat: adeo ut non nisi exiguae illorum scintillae et vestigial exitia illi relicta sint, quae sufficient ad homines reddendos inexcusabiles, [sed nequaquam ad nos bonos ac Deo probatos efficiendos,] quoniam quidquid in nobis est Iucis in caecas tenebras est convereum, ut et Scriptura ipsa docet dicens: Lux in tenebris lecet, et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt. Ibi enim Iohannes manifeste homines tenebras vocat. [Atque in Psalmo dicitur: Penes te Domine est fons vitae, et in luce tua clare videmus lucem.] Ideireo quaecunque de libero hominis arbitrio [adversus haec] traduntur, ea nos merito reiicimus, quum homo sit servus peccati, nihilque boni ex se possit, nisi datum sit illi de coelo. Quis enim iactare audeat se quaecunque voluerit praestare posse, quum Christus ipse dicat: Nemo potest venire ad me, nisi Pater meus, qui misit me, traxerit eum; [D. Paulus testator naturalem hominem talem esse, qualem Adamus in lapsu suo produxit.] Quis volutatem suam ostentet, qui intelligat omnes carnis affectus inimicitias esse adversus Deum? Quis de intelligentia sua gloriabitur, qui seiat animalem hominem non esse capacem eorum quae sunt spiritus Dei? In summa, quis vel ullam suam cogitationem in medium proferat, qui intelligat nos non esse idoneos ex nobis ipsis ad cogitandum quidquam, sed quod idonei sumus, id omne ex Deo esse? [Cogitare minus est quam facere.] Certim ergo et firmim manere oportet, quod Apostolus dixit, Deim esse qui effcit in nobis et ipsum velle et ipsum efficere pro gratuita sua benevolentia. Nulla enim intelligentia, nulla voluntas est menti et voluntati Dei conformis, quam Christus in homine non sit operates: quod et ipse nos docet dicens: Sine me nihil potestis facere. [Christus etiam et hoc dicit: Qui peccatum facit, servus est peccati. Ubi ergo est liberum eius arbittium?

Articulus XV: De Peccato Originali
Credimus Adami inobedientia peccatum, quod vocant Originis, in totum genus humanum diffusum esse. Est autem peccatum originis corruption totius naturae, et vitium haereditarium, quo et ipse infants in matris utero pollute sunt: quodque velut noxia quaedam radix genus omne peccatorum in homine producit, estque tam foedum atque execarbile coram Deo, ut ad universi generis humani condemnationem sufficiat. Neque vero per Baptismum penitus aboletur aut radicitus evellitur quandoquidem ex illo, tanquam ex infausta ac corrupta scaturigine perpetui rivuli assidue exoriuntir atque effluunt: quamvis filiis Dei in condemnationem non cedat aut imputetur, sed ex pura Dei gratia et misercordia illis remittitur: non ut huic remissioni confidentes obdormiant, sed ut sensud huius corruptionis crebriores gemitus in fidelibus excitet, utque eo ardentius optent se ab hoc corpore mortis liberari. Hinc ergo Pelagianorum errorem damnamus, qui hoc peccatum originis nihil aliud esse asserunt, quam imitationem.

Articulus XVI: De Praedestinatione Divina
Credimus Deum (postquam tota Adami soboles, sic in perditionem et exitium, primi hominis culpa, praecipitata fuit) seipsum talem demonstrasse ac praestitisse qualis est revera, nimirum misercordem et iustum. Misercordem quidem eos damnatione et interitu liberando et sevando, quos in aeterno et immintabili consilio suo pro mera et gratuita sua bonitate per Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum elegit, sine ullo [bonorum] operum ipserum respect. Iustum vero, alios in illo suo lapsu et perdition relinquendo, in quam sese ipsi praecipites dederunt. [Hac ratione declaret se esse misercordem et clementem Deum iis quos salvos facit, quibus nihil debebat: uti quoque se declarant iustum iudicem ostenione iustae severitatis suae erga reliquos. Atque interim illis nullam facit iniuriam. Nam quod nonnullos salvos facit, non propterea fit, quod isti aliis sint meliores, cum omnes in exitium certum prolapse sint, donec Deus eos discernat, et liberet secundum aeternum atque immuntabile propositum suum, quod in Iesu Christo fundatum est, antequam mundus creates fuit. Nemo itaque secundum hanc sententiam ad hanc gloriam pervenire per se ipsum potest, quoniam a nobis ipsis non sumus idonei ad cogitandum aliquid boni, nisi Deus per gratiam ac meram bonitatem suam nos praeveniat: adeo natura nostra est corrupta.]

Articulus XVII: De Reaparatione Generis Humani Per Filium Dei
Credimus etiam Deum nostrum Opt. Max. (quum cerneret hominem sese ita in mortis et corporeae et spiritualis damnationem coniecisse, et prorsus miserum atque maledictum effectum abs se prae timore fugientem et quaereret et benigne consolaretur: promisso illi Filio suo ex muliere nasciture, qui serpentis caput contereret et illum beatum redderet.

Articulus XVII: De Incarnatione Filii Dei
Confitemur itaque Deum promissionem (Patribus per os sanctorum Prophetarum factam) implevisse, quum constituto ab se tempore Fillium illum suum unicum et aeternum in hunc mundum misit: qui formam servi assumpsit, similis hominibus factus, et veram naturam humanam cum omnibus ipsius informitatibus (except peccator) vere assumpsit, dum conceptus est in utero beatae Virgins Mariae, virtute Spiritus Sancti absque ulla maris opera. Eam porro naturam humanam non quoad corpus tantum induit, sed etiam quoad animam: fuit enim vera anima humana praeditus, ut verus esset himi, Etenim quum anima non minus quam ipsum corpus damnationi esset obnoxia, necesse fuit illum et hoc et illam assumere, ut utrumque simul servaret. Ideireo contra Anabaptistarum haeresin qui negant Christum carnem humanam assumpsisse, confitemur Christum participem eiusdem carnis et sanguinis fuisse, sicut et pueri ex lumbis Davidis secundum carnem: factum ex semine Davidis secundum eandem carnem, fructumque ex utero virginis Mariae, natum ex muliere: germen Davidis: surculim e radice Iesse: e tribu Iuda, atque a Iudaeis ipsis ortum secundum carnem, et in summa, verum semen Abrahae et Davidis,quandoquidem Abrahae semen assumpsit, et fratribus suis per omnia similis factus est, excepto peccato [genitus ex Maria], adeo ut (hac ratione) factus sit revera noster Emmanuel, id est, deus nobiseum.

Articulus XIX: De Unione Hypostatica, Seu Personali, Duarum Naturarum in Christo
Credimus etiam per hanc concepionem, Personam Filii coniunctam atque unitam fuisse inseparabiliter cum humana natura, ita ut non sint duo Filii Dei, nec duae Personae, sed duae Naturae in una eademque persona unitae, quarum utraque proprietaes suas retineat, adeo ut sicut Divina natura semper increate et absque initio dierum et sine fine vitae remansit, coelumque et teram implens: sic natura Humana proprietates suas non amiserit, sed creatura remanserit, initium dierum et finem vitae habens, finitae ac circumscriptae naturae existens, atque Omnia, quae vero corpori competent, retinens. Et quamvis illi immortalitatem resurrectione sua dederit, veritatem tamen humanae naturae illi neque ademit neque cimmutavit. Salus enim et resurrectio nostra a veritate corporis ipsius dependet. Caeterum, duae istae naturae ita sunt sine unitae et coniunyae in unam personam, ut ne morte quidem ipsius separari potuerint. Quod igitur Patri suo moriendo commendavit, id vere erat spiritus humanus, a corpore ipsius egrediens: at interim Divina natura semper Humanae (etiam in sepulero iacenti) coniuncta remansit: adeo it Deitas ipsa non minus in ipso tunc fuerit, quam cum adhuc infans esset, etsi exiguum ad tempus sese non exereret. Quapropter confitemur ipsum esse verum Deum, et verum hominem: verum quidem Deum, ut mortem sua potentia vinceret; et verum hominem, ut in canis suae infirmitate pro nobis mortem obiret.

Articulus XX: De Modo Redemptionis, Per Declarationem Iustitiae et Misercordiae Dei in Christo
Credimus Deum, qui summe et perfectissime est tum misercors tum iustus, Filium suum misisse, ut naturam illam assumeret, quae per inobedientiam peccarat, ut in ea ipsa natura satisfaceret, atque ut Deus de peccator per acerbissimam mortem ac passionem Filii sui iustas poenas sumeret. Deus igitur iustitiam suam in proprio Filio, in quem peccata nostra coniecerat, ostendit et exeruit: bonitatem vero et misercordiam suam in nos nocentes et condematione dignos benigne effudit et exeruit, dum Filium suum pro nobis, ex perfectissimo suo erga nos amore, morti tradidit et eum rursus propter iustificationem nostrum e mortuis excitavit, ut immortalitatem et vitam aeternam per illum consequeremur.

Articulus XXI: De Satisfactione Christi Pro Peccatis Nostris
Credimus Iesum Christum sumum illum Sacerdotem esse, in aeternum cum iureiurando contitutum, secundum ordinem Melchisedeci, qui se nostro nomine coram Patre ad placandam ipsius iram cum plena satisfaction obtulit, sistens seipsum super altare cruces, et sanguinem suum pretiosum ad purgationem peccatorum nostororum profudit, sicuti id Prophetae futurum praedixerant. Scriptum enim est, castigationem pacis nostrae super Filium Dei positam, et livore eius nos sanatos esse. Item, ipsum tanquam ovem ad mactationem ductum, atque inter peccatores et iniquos deputatum, condemnatumque a Pontio Pilato tanquam maleficum, etsi illum prius innocentem pronuntiasset. Quae igitur non rapuerat, persolvit, et iustus pro iniustis passus est, idque tum in anima sua tum in corpore: adeo ut sentiens horribilem illam poenam, quam nos peccatis nostris commeriti eramus, aquam et sanguinem sudaverit: et tandem etiam exclamaverit, Deus meus, Deus meus, cur deseruisti me? Ea vero omnia pro remissione peccatorum nostrorum pertulit. Quamobrem merito cum divo Paulo dicimus, nos nihil quidquam scire, nisi Iesum Christum eumque crucifixum: quinetiam omnia pro stercoribus ducimus propter excellentiam cognitionis Domini nostril Iesu Christi, ut qui in euis vulneribus omnis generis consolationem capiamus. Itaque nihil necesse est ut alias ullas rationes vel optemus, vel ipsi cogitemus, quibus Deo reconciliari possimus, praeter hanc solam et semel peractam oblationem, qua consecrati sunt et perfecti in perpertuum fideles omnes, qui sanctificantur. Atque haec eset caussa cur ipse ab Angelo Iesu vocatus sit, id est, Servator, quod servaturus esset populum suum a peccatis ipsius.

Articulus XXII: De Fide Iustificante, et De Iustificatione Fidei
Credimus Spiritum Sanctum per veram magni huius mysterii cognitionem in cordibus nostris veram Fidem accendere, quae Iesum Christum uem omnibus suis meritis amplectitur, eumque sibi preparium vindicate, nihilque deinceps extra illum quaerit. Necesse enim est aut Omnia quae ad salute nostrum requiruntur in Christo non esse: aut si sint in eo omnia, eum, qui fide Iesum Christum possidet, simul etiam perfectam haber salute, Itaque horrenda est omnine in Deum blasphemia, asserere Christum minime sufficere, sed aliis quoque rebus opus esse. Inde enim sequeretur, Christium ex parte tantum esse Servatorem. Merito igitur iureque dicimus cum D. Paulo, Nos sola fide iustificari, seu Fide absque operibus legis. Caeterum nequaquam intelligimus esse fidem ipsam proprie loquendo quae nos iustificet, [seu propter fidem nos iustificari,] nam illa tantum est velut intrumentum, quo Christum iustitiam nostrum apprehendimus. Christus igitur ipse nobis imputans Omnia sua merita, et tam multa sanctissima opera, quae pro nobis praestititm est iustitia nostra: Fide vero est intrumentum, quo illi in communionem omnium bonorum ipsius copulamur, atque in eadem retinemur: adeo ut illa Omnia, postquam nostra facta sunt, nobis plus quam suffuciant ad nostril a peccatis absolutionem.

Articulus XXIII: De Iustitia Nostra Qua Coram Deo Consistimus
Credimus beatitudinem nostrum sitam esse in peccatorum nostrorum remissione, quae fit propter Iesum Christum: atque in ea contineri iustitiam nostrum coram Deo: uti nos D. Paulus docet ex Davide, quum pronuntiat Beatum cum hominem, cui Deus imputat iustitiam absque operibus; idem Apostulus ait: Nos gratis iustificari per remdemptionem factam in Christo Iesu. Ac proptera hoc fundamentum [in aeternum] firmum retinemus, et Deo gloriam omnem tribuimus, de nobis ipsis perquam humiliter sentientes, ut qui probe noverimus qui, qualesque simus revera. Ideoque de nobis ullisve nostris meritis nihil quidquam praesumimus, sed soli Iesu Christi crucufixi obedientiae innixi, in ea prorsus acquiscimus, quae nostra fit, quando in eum credimus. Haec porro una abunde suffucut, tum ad omnes nostras iniquitates obtegendas, tum etiam ad nos tutos securosque reddendos adversus omnes tentationes. Illa enim procul a conscientia abigit omnem metum, omnem horrorem, omnem denique formidinem, quo proprius ad Deum accedamus, nec primi illius nostril parentis exemplum imitemur, qui prae metu fugiens ficulneis sese foliis obtegere et occultare conatus est. Et sane si nobis ipsis, aut ulli alteri creaturae vel tantillum nitentes coram Deo nos sistere oporteret, certum est nos statim absorptum iri. Ideireo cum Davide nobis singulis potius est exclamandum, Domine ne inters in iudicium cum servo tuo, quia non iustificabitur in conspectus tuo ullus vivens.

Articulus XXIV: De Sanctificatione, et De Bonis Operibus
Credimus verum hanc fidem per auditum verbi Dei et Spiritus operationem in nobis productam nos regenerare ac veluti novos homines efficere, ut a peccati servitude liberos reddat. Tantum abest igitur ut fides haec iustificans a recta sanctaque vivendi ratione avocet aut tepidiores efficiat, ut contra absque illa nemo unquam quidquam boni ex amore Dei agree atque operari possit, sed tantum ex amore sui ipsius et ex metu condemnationis. Fieri itaque non potest, ut haec fides sancta in homine sit otiosa. Nequ enim loquimur de fide inani, sed de ea tantum, quae in Scriptura dicitur per charitatem operari, quaeque impellit hominem ut in illis sese operibus exerceat, quae Deus ipse in verbo suo praecepit. Haec vero opera a sincera Fidei juius radice emanantia, ideo demum bona et Deo grata sunt, quia per illius gratiam sanctificantur: ad nos autem iustificandos nullius prorsus sunt momenti. Fide enim in Iesum Christum iustificamur, et quidem priusquam bona ulla opera ediderimus. Neque enim magis ante fidem opera nostra bona esse possunt. Quam fructus arboris esse possunt boni, priusquam arbor ipsa bona fuerit. FAcimus igitur bona quidem opera, sed non ut aliquid iis promereamur. Quid enim promereri nos possimus? Quinimo Deo magis magisque ad bona opera (si quae facimus) sumus obstricti, non Deus nobis. Deus enim is est, qui efficit in nobis, et ut velimus, et ut efficiamus, pro gratuita sua benevolentia. Unde ad illud nobis semper est respiciendum, quod scriptum est: Quum feceritis Omnia, quae praecepta sunt vobis, dicite, servi, servi inutiles sumus; nam quod debuimus facere, hoc facimus. Interea non negamus Deum bona opera in suis remunerari; sed id mera sua gratia fieri dicimus, ut qui dona sua in nobis coronet. Caeterum quamvis bona opera faciamus, nequaquam tamen ullam salutis nostra spem in illis collocamus. Nulla enim opera edere possumus quae non sint carnis nostrae vitio pollunta, ac proinde supplicio poenisque digna. Quod si etiam aliquod eiusmodi opus proferre quiremus, sola tamen peccati recordation sufficeret ad illud e conspectus Dei removendum. Itaque semper in dubio essemus, hinc inde fluctuantes, absque ulla certitudine, et miserae nostrae conscientiae semper vexarentur, nisi unico merito mortis et passionis Servatoris nostril niterentur, et in illo acquiescerent.

Articulus XXV: De Abrogatione Legis Ceremonialis, et De Convenientia Veteris et Novis Testamenti
Credimus omnes ceremonias et figuras Legis, omnes denique umbras cessasse adventu Christi; adeo ut earum quoqur usus inter Christianos iam tolli atque aboleri debeat. Interim tamen manet nobis illarum veritas et substantia in Christo, in quo omnes impletae fuerunt. Legis vero et Prophetarum testimoniis adhuc utimur, ut nos ipsos in Evangelii doctrina confirmemus; et omnem vitam nostrum honeste ad Dei gloriam iuxta ipsius voluntatem componamus.

Articulus XXVI: De Intercessione Christi
Credimus nos nullum ad Deum actessum habere, nisi tantum per unicum Mediatorem atque Advocatum Iesum Christum iustum, qui hanc ob caussam homo factus est et cum divina natura personaliter unitus, ut nos homines per ipsum ad divinam Maiestatem accessum haberemus: alioquin nobis hic aditus erat praeclusus, [haud secus uti spinae ad ignem accedere non possunt. Nos sola ipsius voce absorpt fuissemus, sicuti in Adamo apparet, qui tremebundous a Domino profugiebat: atque in Israelitis ad montem Sinai, qui mediatorem postulabant, ex metu ne propter vocem Domini morerentur.] Hic Mediator, quem Pater inter ipsum et nos ordinavit, non debet nos propter maiestatem suam deterrere, ut alium mediatorem, prout nobis visum feurit, quaeramus: nemo enim est ex omnibus creaturis in coelo aut in terries, quae nos impensius amet, quam Iesus Christus, qui tametsi esset in forma Dei, seipsum tamen exinanivit, forma servi accepta, similis factus hominibus ac fratribus suis per omnia [Ipse qui dives erat, nostra caussa pauper factus est.] At vero si alius nobis Mediator esst quaerendis, qui bene erga nos esst affectus, quem invenire possemus, qui bene erga nos esset affectus, quem invenire possemus, qui nos magis diligat, quam qui vitam suam pro nobis posuit, etiam tunc quum eseemus ipius inimici? Sin autem nobis quaerendus aliquis est, qui potential atque autoritate valeat, quis est qui tanta polleat, quanta is qui ad dextram Dei Patris sui consedit, atque omnem autoritatem habet in coelo et in terra? Quis est qui facilius exaudietur, quam proprius et unice delectus filius? Sola itaque diffidentia hanc consuetudinem invexit, quod Sancti ignominia afficiantur, dum illos honarare volunt, eiusmodi illis exhibentes honorem, quem illi ipsi nunquam desiderarunt, sed semper constantissime, prout officium etiam eorum exigebat, respuerunt, uti ex scriptis eorum patet. Neque hic proferendum illud est, quod nos non simus digni: hic enim non quaeritur de precibus nostris propter dignitatem nostrum Deo offerendis, sed tantum propter excellentiam et dignitatem nostrum Deo offerendis, sed tantum propter excellentiam et dignitatem Iesu Christi, cuius iustitia est nostra per fidem. Quapropter Apostulus hunc stultum metum seu potius diffidentiam nobis eximere volens merito nobis dicit, Iesum Christum fratribus suis per omnia similem esse factum, ut misericors esset et fidelis Pontifex in iis quae apud Deum agenda forent, ad expiandum peccata populi. Nam ex eo quod perpessus fuit, cum tentatus est, potest et iis, qui tentantur, succerrere. Et Paulo post, ut in nobis tanto maiorem [ad ipsum accedendi] fiduciam accendat, addit: Habentes igitur Pontificem magnum, qui pentravit coelos, Iesum Filum Dei, teneamus hanc prodessionem: non enim habemus Pontificem, qui non possit affici sensu infirmitatum nostrarum, sed tentatum in omnibus similiter absque peccator. Accedamus igitur cum fiducia ad thromum gratiae, ut consequamur misercordiam et gratiam inveniamus ad oportunam auxilium. [Commutat hic tremendum gloriae thronum in thronum gratiae, ut nos faciat ad ipsum accedere.] Idem Apostolus docet, nos habere libertatem ingrediendi sacrariu, per sanguinem Iesu. Accedamus itaque, ait, cim certa persuasion Fidei, etc. Item, Christus habet perpetum sacerdotiam: unde et servare prorsu potest eos qui per ipsum accedunt ad Deum, semper vivens ut interpellet pro iis. Quo amplius desiderari poterit, cum Christus ipse palam testetur, Ego sum via, vertitas et vita: Nemo potest ad Patrem venire, nisi per me? Quem in finem quaeremus alium advocatum, [cum per ipsum solum accessum habeamus ad Paterm?] Quumque Deo pacuerit nobis Filiu, suum dare, ut esset advocatus noster, ne illum relinquamus, ut nobis alium sumamus, vel potius ut alium quaeramus, et nunquam inveniamus. Quum enim Deus eum nobis donaret, probe sciebat nos esse peccatores. Quare praeceptum Christi sequentes, Patrem coelestem invocamus per Christum unicum Mediatorem nostrum, quemadmodum ipse nos docuit in Oratione Dominica, certo persuasi, quidquid Patrem patierimus in ipsius nomine, nos esse idipsum impetraturos.

Articulus XXVII: De Ecclesia Catholica
Credimus et confitemur unicam Ecclesiam Catholicam seu universalem, quae est sancta congregation seu coetus omniom fidelium Christianorum, qui totam suam salute ab uno Iesu Christo expectant abluti ipsius sanguine et per Spiritum eius sanctificati, et usque ad finem eius est perduratura: quemadmodum hoc vel ex eo apparet, quod Christus Rec aeternus est, qui nunquam sine subditis esse potest. Caeterum hanc Sanctam Ecclesiam Deus contra omnem mundi furorem et impetum tuetur: quamvis ad aliquod tempus parva admodum et quasi extincta in conspectus hominum appareat: quemadmodum tempore illo periculosissimo Achabi Deus sibi septem millia virorum reservasse dicitur, qui non flexerant genua coram Baal. Denique haec Ecclesia sancta nullo est aut certo loco sita et circumscripta, aut ullis certis personis astricta aut alligata: sed per omnem orbem terrarium sparsa atque diffusa est, quamvis animo ac voluntate in uno eodemque spiritu, virtute Fidei, tota sit simul coniuncta atque unita.

Articulus XXVIII: De Communione Sanctorum Cum Vera Ecclesia
Credimus quod quum sanctus hic coetus et congregatio sit eorum qui servari debent: et salus nulla sit extra eam; neminem (cuiuscunque dignitatis aut nominis is fuerit) sese ab ea subdecere aut segregare debere, ut sua tantum consuetudine contentus, solus ac separatism vivat. Sed omnes ac singulos teneri huic coetui se adiungere atque uniri Ecclesiae unitatem sollicite conservare, seseque illius tum doctrinae tum disciplinae subiicere, collum denique Christi iugo sponte subiicere, ac tanquam communia eiusdem corporis membra aedificationi fratrum inservire, prout Deus unicuique sua dona fuerit largitus. Porro ut haec melius observentur, omnium fidelium partes sunt, sese iuxta Dei verbum ab iis omnibus disiungere, qui sunt extra Ecclesiam constitute: huicque fidelium coetui ac congregation se adiugere, ubicinque illam Deus constituerit: etsi id contraria Principum vel Magistratuum edicta prohibeant, indicta etiam in eos capitis et mortis corporeae poena, qui id fecerint. Quicunque igitur a vera illa Ecclesia recedunt, aut se illi aggregare recusant, aperte Dei mandato repugnant.

Articulus XXIX: De Notis Verae Ecclesiae
Credimus summa tum diligentia tum prudential ex verbo Dei esse inquirendum ac discernendum, quaenam sut illa vera Ecclesia: quandoquidem omnes sectae quotquot hodie in mundo vigent, Ecclesiae titulum nomenque usurpant atque praetexunt. Nequaquam vero de hypocritarum coetu nunc loquimur, qui bonis in Ecclesia sunt permisti [et simul hoc Ecclesiae titulo sunt tecti,] sed ad Ecclesiam proprie non pertineant, licet in ea corpore praesentes sint: sed de distinguenda verae Ecclesiae congregatione ab omnibus aliis sectis, quae se Ecclesiae membra esse falso gloriantur. Notae, quibus vera Ecclesia a falsa discenitur, hae sunt: Si Ecclesia utatur pura Evangelii praedicatione, et sincera Sacramentorum adminsitratione, secundum Christi institutionem: si disciplina Ecclesiastica recte utatur ad corrigenda viatia: si denique (ut uno verbo nuncta complectamur) ad normam verbi Dei omnia exigat, et quaecunque huic adversantur, repudiet: Christumque unicum caput agnoscat. Hisce notis certum est veram Ecclesiam dignosci posse, a qua fas non sit quemquam disiungi. Quae autem sint verae huius Ecclesiae vera membra, ex communibus Christianorum omnium notis pterit iudicari: qualis est Fides; atque hinc cognoscuntur, quod Christum unicum Servatorem fide apprehendant, peccatum fugiant, et iustitiam consectentur: verum etiam Deum et proximus diligent, neque ad dextram neque ad sinistram deflectentes, carnemque suam cum ipsius operibus crucifigentes: quod quidem ita minime est intelligendum, quasi nulla amplius in illis sit infirmitas, sed quod adversus eam per mone vitae tempus virtute Spiritus pungent, confugientes semper ad sanguinem, mortem, passionem et obedientam Domini nostril Iesu Christi in quo solo remissionem peccatorum suorum habent, per fidem in ipsum. Quod ad falsam vero attinet Ecclesiam illa sibi suisque instititis et traditionibus plus semper autoritatis tribuit, quam verbo Dei: illa Christi iugo se subiici recusat; illa Sacramenta non administrat prout Christus in verbo suo praescripsit: sed illis pro arbitrio modo addit aliquid, modo detrahit. Praeterea hominibus illa semper plus quam Christo nititur, eosque qui sacnte ex preascripto verbi Dei vitam suam componere student, quique vitia illius, atque imprimis avaritiam et idolomanias taxant, ac reprehendunt, hostiliter persequuntur. Ex his igitur facile est utramque Ecclesiam agnoscere atque a se invicem discernere.

Articulus XXX: De Regimine Ecclesiae
Credimus veram hanc Ecclesiam debere regi ac gubernari spirituali illa politia, quam nos Deus ipso verbo suo edocuit: nimirum ut sint in ea Pastores ac Ministri, qui pure et concionentur et Sacramenta administrant. Sint quoque Seniores et Diaconi, qui Presbyteriu, seu Ecclesiae Senatum constiuant, ut his veluti mediis vera Religio conservari possint. Tuuc enim omnia rite et ordine fient in Ecclesia, cum viri fidelis ac pii ad eius gubernationem deligentur, iuxta D. Pauli praescriptum, quod habetur 1 Tim. 3. et Tit. 1.

Articulus XXXI: De Vocatione Ministrorum Ecclesiae
Credimus Ministros, Seniores, et Diaconos debere ad functiones illas suas vocari et promoveri legitima Ecclesiae vocatione adhibita ad eam seria Dei invocation, [atque adhibitis Ecclesiae suffragiis, ac postea confirmari in munderibus suis per impositionem manuum] eo ordine et modo, qui nobis in verbo Dei praescribitur. Debent autem imprimis singuli cavere, ne illicitis mediis sese ad haec munia ingerant. Expectandum est enim omnibus, donec a Deo ipso vocentur, ut certum habeant vocationis suae testimonium, seiantque eam esse a Domino. Caeterum omnes verbi Dei Ministri, ubicunque sint locorum, eandem habent omnes atque aequalem tum potestattm, tum autoritatem, ut qui sint aeque omnes Christi unici illius Eposcopi universalis et capitis Ecclesiae, Ministri. [Ac proinde nulla Ecclessia habet autoritatem ullam, sive dominium in alteram, ut illi dominetur.] Porro ne sancta haec Dei ordinatio, aut violetur aut abeat in contemptum, debent omnes de verbi Ministris et Senioribus Ecclesiae, propter opus cui incumbent, honorifice sentire, atque cum iis pacem colere: et a rixis ac contentionibus, quamtum fieri potest, invicem abstinere.

Articulus XXXII: De Potestate Ecclesiae in Condendis Legibus Ecclesiastics, et in Administranda Disciplina
Interim credimus quamvis utile quiden sit, ut Gubernatores, qui Ecclesiis praesunt, aliquem inter se ordinem constituent, ad conservationem corporis Ecclesiae, tamen studiose cavere eos debere, ne quo pacto ab iis deflectant, declinentve, quae Christus ipse, unicus Magister noster semel constituit. Quapropter reiicimus omnia humana inventa, omnesque leges, quae ad Dei cultem sunt introductae, ut iis conscientiae ullo modo illiaqueentur, aut obstringantur. Recipimus itaque eas solas, quae idoneac sunt vel ad fovendam, alendamque concordiam, vel ad nos in Dei obedientia retinendos. Ad id vero imprimis necessaria est Excommunicatio, ex praecepto verbi Dei usurpata: et aliae illi annexae disciplinae Ecclesiasticae appendices.

Articulus XXXIII: De Sacramentis
Credimus Deum habita nostrae habitudinis atque infirmitatis ration, Sacramenta nobis iustituisse, ut promissa sua in nobis obsignaret, et ut essent Divinae erga nos benevolentiae, gratiae, donorumque euis certissima nobis pignora, ad fidem nostrum fovendam, et sustentandam comparata. Addidit vero illa ad verbum Evangelii, ut tam ea ipsa quae nobis externe verbo suo decalrat, tum ea etiam quae ille ipse iu cordibus nostris interne operatur, efficacius sensibus nostris proponeret: ac denique ut salutem, quam nobis commincare dignatur, magis magisque in nobis confirmaret. Sunt enim Sacramenta signa, ac symbola visibilia rerum internarum et invisibilium, per quae, ceu per media, Deus ipse virtute Spiritus Sancti in nobis operatur. Itaque signa illa minime vana sunt, aut vacna: nec ad nos decipiendos Christus, sine quo nullius prorsus essent momenti. Praeterea sufficit nobis is Sacramentorum numerus, quem Christus ipse verus et unicus Doctor noster iustituit. Sunt vero illa duo duntaxat, nimirum Sacramentum Baptismi, et sacrae Coenae Domini nostril Iesu Christi.

Articulus XXXIV: De Baptismo
Credimus et confitemur Iesum Christum (qui finis legis est) omnia lii Sanguinis effusioni ad propitiationem peccatorem adhibendae finem proprio suo sanguine effuse iam ipmosuisse: et abolita Circumcisione, quae fiebat per Sanguinem, Baptismum illius loco instituisse, quo in Eccleisiam Sei recipimur, et a cunctis aliis gentibus et peregrinis aliis religionibus segregamur, utpote illi soli consecrati, cuius symbolum et insignia gestamus. Est denique Baptismus nobis testimonio, illum ipsum nobis fore Deum in aeternum, qui et Pater nobis est propitius. Omnes igitur, qui sui sunt, iussit Dominus aqua pura Baptizari in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti: ut significaret sanguinem Christi per Spiritum Sanctum idem praestare et efficere interae in anima, quod aqua externe operatur in corporibus. Sicut enim aqua in nos effusa et super corpus baptizati eminens ipsumque irrigans, sordes corporis abluit: sic et Sanguis Christi animam abluens, a peccatis illum emundat, nosque filios irae in filios Dei regenerat. Non quod aqua haec materialis ista efficiat, sed aspersion ipsa pretiiosissimi Sanguinus Filii Dei, qui nobis est ceu mare illud rubrum, per quod transeundum est, ut e tyrannide Pharonis, id est, Diaboli, egredi, et in spiritualem terram Chanaan introire possimus. Itaque Ministri quidem praebent nobios Sacramentem, et rem visibilem: at Domininus ipse exhibet quod Sacramento significatur, nimirum dona et gratias invisibiles, abluens , purificans, et mundans animas nostras a cunctis sordibus et iniquitatibus suis: renovans item, et Replens corda nostra omni consolation: largiens denique nobis veram paternae suae bonitatis certitudinem novo homine nos induens, et vetere exuens cum omnibus operibus eius. Praetorea credimus omnem hominem, qui vitam aeternam consequi cupiat, debere semel Baptizari, [atque unico hoc Baptismo contentum esse] qui nunquam postea sit iterandus, cum ne nasci quidem bis possimus. Neque tamen hic Baptismus eo duntaxat momento prodest, quo aqua nobis inhaeret, aut quo ea tingimur: sed per totum vitae nostrae tempus: [alioquin necesse foret nos caput nostrum semper aqau tinctum habere.] Anabaptistarum itaque errorem hic detestamur, qui non modo unico et semel suscepto Baptismo contenti non sunt: sed et Baptismum infantium e fidelibus parentibus natorum damnant. Nos vero eos eadem ratione baptizandos et signo foederis obsignandos esse credimus, qua olim in Israële parvuli circumcidebantur, nimirum propter easdem promissiones infantibus nostris factas. Et revera Christus non minus sanguinem suum effudit, ut fidelium infants, quam ut adultos ablueret. Ideoqua signum seu Sacramentum rei, quam Christus eorum caussa est operatus, illos recipere convenit: quemadmodum in Lege iubet Dominus Sacramentum mortis et passionis Christi communicari pueris recens natis, offerendo pro ipsis agnum, qui Sacramentum erat Christi venturi. Praeterea quod Circumcisio praestabat populo Iudaico, idem infantibus fidelium nunc praestat Baptismus. Atque haec caussa est, cur Paulus Baptismum vocet Circumcionem Christi.

Articulus XXXV: De Coena Domini
Credimus etiam et confitemur D. Iesum Christum Servatorem nostrum, sacrosanctum Coenae suae Sacramentum instituisse, ut in ea nutria, ac sustentet eos, quos iam regeneravit, et in familiam suam, nempe Ecclesiam inservit. Qui vero regenerati sunt, duplicem in se vitam habent: unam quidem carnalem et temporariam, quam secum a prima nativatate sua attulerunt, et haec communis est omnibus hominibus: alteram spiritualem et coelestem, quae illis donator in secunda illa nativatate, quae fit per verbum Evangelii in unione corporis Christi, et haec vita non est communis nisi solis Electis Dei. Sicuti vero Deus panem terrenum et materialem ad hiuus vitae carnalis et terrenae sustentationem idoneum constituit, qui ut et ipsa vita, omnibus est communis; ita et ad conservationem illius vitae spiritualis, et coelestis, quae fideluium propira est, Deus panem vivificum misit, qui de coelo doscendit, nempe Iesum Christum: is nutrit et sustentat vitam fideliu, spiritualem, si comedatur, id est, applicetur et coelestem Christus nobis figuraret, sive repraesentaret; instituit Panem et Vinum terrenum et visibilem in Corporis et Sanguinus sui Sacramentum: ut iis nobis testificentur, qum vere accipimus et tenemus manibus nostris hoc Sacramentum, illudque ore comedimus (unde et postmodum vita haec nostra sustentatur), tam vere etiam nos fide (quae animae nostrae est instar et manus et oris) nostris, ad vitam spiritualem in nobis fovendam. Certissimum vero est, Christum non sine caussa tam solicite hoc suum Sacramentum nobis commendare, utpote qui perficiat in nobis revera, quaecunque ipse nobis his sacris repraesentat: quamvis modus ipse ingenii nostril captum superset, nec percipi a quoquam possit: quod videlicet operatio Spiritus Sancti occulta sit et incomprehensibilis: [interm nequaquam erreverimus si dicamus fieri per fidem.] Dicimus itaque id quod bibtur verum ipsius sanguinem: at instrumentum seu medium quo haec comedimus et bibimus non est os corporeum, sed spiritus ipse noster, idque per fidem.

Christus itaque semper ad dextram Patris in coelis residet, nec ideo minus se nobis per fidem communicat. Porro haec Coena mensa est spiritualis, in qua Christus seipsum nobis cum omnibus bonis suis participandum offert, efficitque ut nos in illa, tam illo ipso, quam merito passionis mortisque ipsius fruamut. Animam enim nostrum miseram et afflictam, omnique consolatione destitutam, carnis suae esu ipsemet nutrit, roborat et consolatur: sanguinus item sui potu eam sustentat et recreat. Preaterea quamvis Sacramenta sint coniunta rei ipsi significatae, ambae tamen res istae non ab omnibus recipiuntut. Ipmius enim recipit quidem Sacramentum in suam condemnationem, at rem seu veritatem Sacramenti non recipit. Verbi gratia, Iudas et Simon Magus receperunt quidem ambo Sacramentum: Christum vero ipsum, qui illo significabatur, minime, quoniam solis ille fidelibus communicator. Postremo huic nos Sacramento sacrosancto in coeto populi Dei cum summa humilitate et reverential comminicamus, memoriam mortis Christi Servatoris nostri cum gratiarum actione sancte celebrantes, et Fidei Relisionisque Christianae confessionem publice ibi profitentes. Nemo itaque ad hanc mensam se sister debet, qui pruis se non probaverit, ne de hoc pane edens, et de hoc poculo bibens iudicium ipse sibi et damnationem maducet, ac bibat. Usu porro huius Sacramenti accenditur in nobis flagrantissimus amor tum in Deum ipsum, tum in proximum. Itaque nos hic quidem merito omnes hominum Iudicationes, et damnanda commenta (quae illi Sacramentis addiderunt et admiscuerunt) tanquam veram profanationem reiicimus: afformamusque omnes pios unico illo ordine, et ritu, quem Christus et Apostoli nobis tradiderunt, contentos esse, atque de mysteriis eodem modo loqui debere, quo et illi locuti sunt.

Articulus XXXVI: De Magistratu
Credimus Deum Optimum Maximum ob generis humani corruptelam ac depravationem, Reges, Principes et Magistratus constituisse: velleque ut Mundus hic legibus ac certa politia gubernetur, ad coercenda hominum vitia , et ut omnia inter homines recto ordine gerantur. Ideireo Magistratus ipsos gladio armavit, ut malos quidem plectant poenis, probos vero tueantur. Horum porro est non modo de civili politia conservanda esse sollicitos, verum etiam dare operam ut sacrum Ministeriom conservetur, omnis idololatria et adulterinus Dei cultus e medio tollatur, Regnim Antichristi diruatur, Christi vero Regnum propagetur. Denique horum est efficere, ut sacrum Evangelii verbum ubique praedicetur, ut singuli pure Deum colere et venerari ex praescripto verbi ipsius libere possint. Caeterum cuncti homines, cuiuscunque sint vel dignitatis, vel conditionis, ac status, legitimis Magistratibus subiici debent, illisque vectigalia ac tribute pendere, et iis in omnibus obsequi ac obdire, quae verbo Dei non repugnant: preces etiam pro iis fundere, ut eos Deus in omnibus ipsorum actionibus dirigere dignetur, nos vero vitam tranquillam ac quietam sub ipsis, cum omni pietate et honestate, ducere possimus. Quamobrem Anabaptistas et et turbulentos omnes detestamur, qui superiors Dominationes et Magistratus abiiciunt, iura ac iudicia pervertunt, bona omnia communia faciunt, ac denique ordines ac gradus, quos Deus honestatis gratia inter homines constituit, abolent ac confundunt.

Articulus XXXVII: De Iudicio Extremo, Resurrectione Carnis, et Vita Aeterna
Postremo credimus ex Dei verbo, Dominim nostrum Iesum Christum, quando tempus a Deo praestitutum, quod omnibus creaturis est ignotum, advenerit, et numerus Electorum comletus fuerit, e coelo rursus venturum, idque corporaliter et visibiliter, sicuti olim illuc asscendit, cum summa Gloria et Maiestate, ut se declaret iudicem vivorem et mortuorum: vetere hoc mundo igne et flamma succenso, ut illum purificet. Tunc vero omnes creaturae, tam viri quam mulieres et infants, quotquot inde an initio usqus ad finem mundi extiterint, coram summon hoc iudice comparebunt, eo nimirum voce [et tremendo clamore Angelorum] et Archangeli, et tuba Dei evocato. Omnes enim antea unita proprio suo corpori, in quo vixerat. Qui porro ultimo illo die superstites erunt, nequaquam morientur more reliquorum, sed in momento et iactu oculi, immutabuntur, a corruptione videlicet in incorruptum naturam. Tunc aperientur libri (nimirum conscientiae) et mortui iudicabuntur secundum ea, quae in hoc mundo egerint, sive bona sive mala. Quin etiam tunc reddituri sunt homines rationem de omni verbo otioso, quod locuti fuerint, etsi id mundus nunc pro ludo et ioco reputet. In summa omnis tunc hominum hypocrisis et abstruse quaeque cordis eorum palam coram omnibus detegentur. Ac propterea sola iudicii istois memoria impoos et reprobis merito est horrenda et formidabilis: piss vero et electis summe exoptanda, et ingentis consolationis. Tunc enim redemption ipsorum plane perficietur, et suavissimos laborum et dolorum suorum, quos in hac vita pertulerunt, fructus consequentur: innocentia ipsorum tunc aperte ab omnibus agnoscetur, ipsique vicissim horrendam vindicram conspecturi sunt, quam Dominis de iis sumet, qui eos variis tormentis et molestiis in hoc mundo tyrannic afflixerunt, et immortals quidem reddentur, sed ea conditione ut in igno aeterno, qui Diabolo et angelis eius paratus est, in sempiternum crucientur. Contra vero fidelis et Electi corona gloriae et honoris donabuntur: et Filius Dei eorum nomina coram Deo Patre et [sanctis eius atque electis] Angelis confitebitur: et abstergetur omnis lachryma ab oculis eorum. Caussa itaque eorum, quae non haereseως et impietatis a Magistratibus et iudicibus damnatur, caussa Filii Dei esse tunc agnoscetur. Et Dominus eos tanta Gloria gratis remunertabitur, quantam nullus hominum animo concipere unquam possit. Magnum ergo illum Domini diem [retributionis] summu cim desiderio expectamus, ut rebus omnibus a Deo promissis plenessime in Christo Iesu Domino nostro laeti potiamur, et in aeternum perfruamut. Apocal. 22, 20. Etiam veni Domine Iesu.

Thanks to Harrison Perkins for his help in keying in this text.