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.

Westminster Confession

Chapter 1
Of Holy Scripture
1. 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 unexcusable; 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.

2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these:

Of the Old Testament:
Genesis II Chronicles Daniel
Exodus Ezra Hosea
Leviticus Nehemiah Joel
Numbers Esther Amos
Deuteronomy Job Obadiah
Joshua Psalms Jonah
Judges Proverbs Micah
Ruth Ecclesiastes Nahum
I Samuel Song of Songs Habbakuk
II Samuel Isaiah Zephaniah
I Kings Jeremiah Haggai
II Kings Lamentations Zechariah
I Chronicles Ezekiel Malachi
Of the New Testament:
The Gospels Galatians The Epistle
according to Ephesians of James
Matthew Philippians The first and
Mark Colossians second Epistles
Luke Thessalonians I of Peter
John Thessalonians II The first, second
The Acts of the to Timothy I and third Epistles
Apostles to Timothy II of John
Paul’s Epistles to Titus The Epistle
to the Romans to Philemon of Jude
Corinthians I The Epistle to The Revelation
Corinthians II the Hebrews of John

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

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. We may be 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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 the 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.

9. 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..

10. 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 Spirit speaking in the Scripture.

Chapter 2
Of God and Of the Holy Trinity

1. 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.

2. 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 hath 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 he is pleased to require of them.

3. In the unity of the Godhead 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.

Chapter 3
Of God’s Eternal Decree
1. 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.

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

3. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.

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

5. 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.

6. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained 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, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

7. 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 dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.

8. 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
1. 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 of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good.

2. 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. Beside 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
1. 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.

2. 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.

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

4. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering, and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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
1. Our first parents, being seduced by the subtlety and temptation of Satan, sinned, in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin, God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory.

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

3. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed; and the same death in sin, and corrupted nature, conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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
1. 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 any fruition of him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.

2. 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.

3. 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 eternal life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe.

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

5. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel: under the law, it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all foresignifying Christ to come; which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the old testament.

6. Under the gospel, when Christ, the substance, was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper: which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity, and less outward glory, yet, in them, it is held forth in more fullness, evidence and spiritual efficacy, to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the new testament. There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations.

Chapter 8
Of Christ the Mediator
1. It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man, the Prophet, Priest, and King, the Head and Savior 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.

2. 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.

3. The Lord Jesus, in his human nature thus united to the divine, 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 put all power and judgment into his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.

4. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake; which that he might discharge, he was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it; endured most grievous torments immediately 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.

5. 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 his Father; and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto him.

6. Although the work of redemption was not actually wrought by Christ till after his incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof were communicated unto 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 forever.

7. Christ, in the work of mediation, acts 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.

8. To all those for whom Christ hath 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, in such manner, and ways, as are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation.

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

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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

Chapter 10
Of Effectual Calling
1. 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 a 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.

2. This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything 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.

3. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, 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.

4. Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly 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 laws 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
1. 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 the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness, by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.

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

3. Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to his Father’s justice in their behalf. Yet, inasmuch as he was given by the Father for them; and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead; and both, freely, not for anything 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.

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

5. 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 not have the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.

6. 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
1. 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
1. They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, 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 true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

2. This sanctification is throughout, in the whole man; yet imperfect in this life, there abiding 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.

3. In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; yet, through the continual supply of strength from 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
1. 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 sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened.

2. 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.

3. This faith is different in degrees, weak or strong; may be often and many ways assailed, and weakened, but 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
1. Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace, the doctrine whereof is to be preached by every minister of the gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ.

2. By it, a sinner, out of the sight and sense not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, as contrary to the holy nature, and righteous law of God; and upon the apprehension of his mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, so grieves for, and hates his sins, as to turn from them all unto God, purposing and endeavoring to walk with him in all the ways of his commandments.

3. Although repentance be not to be rested in, as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the pardon thereof, which is the act of God’s free grace in Christ; yet it is of such necessity to all sinners, that none may expect pardon without it.

4. As there is no sin so small, but it deserves damnation; so there is no sin so great, that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent.

5. Men ought not to content themselves with a general repentance, but it is every man’s duty to endeavor to repent of his particular sins, particularly.

6. As every man is bound to make private confession of his sins to God, praying for the pardon thereof; upon which, and the forsaking of them, he shall find mercy; so, he that scandalizeth his brother, or the church of Christ, ought to be willing, by a private or public confession, and sorrow for his sin, to declare his repentance to those that are offended, who are thereupon to be reconciled to him, and in love to receive him.

Chapter 16
Of Good Works
1. 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 any pretense of good intention.

2. 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.

3. 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, beside 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 special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.

4. 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.

5. 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 his 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.

6. 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 unblamable and unreprovable 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.

7. 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 others: yet, because they proceed not from an 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, or 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 Perserverance of the Saints
1. They, whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually 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.

2. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ, the abiding of the 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.

3. Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations 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 be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts, have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.

Chapter 18
Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation
1. Although hypocrites and other unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favor of God, and estate of salvation (which hope of theirs shall perish): yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavoring 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.

2. This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion grounded upon a fallible hope; but an infallible assurance of faith founded upon the divine truth of the promises of salvation, the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made, the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God, which Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption.

3. 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 everyone 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.

4. 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, and suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light: yet are they never 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
1. God gave to Adam a law, 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.

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

3. Beside this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a church under age, 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 are now abrogated, under the new testament.

4. To them also, as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.

5. The moral law doth forever 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.

6. Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified, or condemned; yet is it 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 man’s 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.

7. 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, requireth to be done.

Chapter 20
Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience
1. 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 curse of the moral law; and, in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin; from the evil of afflictions, the 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, but a childlike love and willing mind. All which were common also to believers under the law. But, under the new testament, the liberty of Christians is further enlarged, in their freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law, to which the Jewish church was subjected; and in greater 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.

2. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in anything, contrary to his Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship. 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.

3. They who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby 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.

4. And because the powers which God hath ordained, and the liberty which Christ hath purchased, are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another, they who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God. And, for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or to the known principles of Christianity (whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation), or to the power of godliness; or, such erroneous opinions or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order which Christ hath established in the church, they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against, by the censures of the church.

Chapter 21
Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day
1. The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all, is 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 with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture.

2. 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 creature: and, since the fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.

3. Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship, is by God required of all men: and, 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, if vocal, in a known tongue.

4. 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.

5. The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear, the sound preaching and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith, and reverence, singing of psalms with grace in the heart; as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God: beside religious oaths, vows, solemn fastings, and thanksgivings upon special occasions, which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.

6. 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 worshiped everywhere, in spirit and truth; as, in private families daily, and in secret, each one by himself; so, more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly or willfully to be neglected, or forsaken, when God, by his Word or providence, calleth thereunto.

7. As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in his Word, by 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.

8. This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of 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 22
Of Lawful Oaths and Vows
1. A lawful oath is a part of religious worship, wherein, upon just occasion, the person swearing solemnly calleth God to witness what he asserteth, or promiseth, and to judge him according to the truth or falsehood of what he sweareth.

2. 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 and 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.

3. Whosoever taketh an oath 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 anything but what is good and just, and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and resolved to perform.

4. 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 anything 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.

5. A vow is of the like nature with a promissory oath, and ought to be made with the like religious care, and to be performed with the like faithfulness.

6. It is not to be made to any creature, but to God alone: and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made voluntarily, out of faith, and conscience of duty, in way of thankfulness for mercy received, or for the obtaining of what we want, whereby we more strictly bind ourselves to necessary duties; or, to other things, so far and so long as they may fitly conduce thereunto.

7. No man may vow to do anything forbidden in the Word of God, or what would hinder any duty therein commanded, or which is not in his own power, and for the performance whereof he hath no promise of ability from God. In which respects, 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 23
Of the Civil Magistrate
1. 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 defense and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evildoers.

2. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate, when called thereunto: in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, 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.

3. Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven; or, in the least, interfere in matters of faith. Yet, as nursing fathers, it is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the church of our common Lord, without giving the preference to any denomination of Christians above the rest, in such a manner that all ecclesiastical persons whatever shall enjoy the full, free, and unquestioned liberty of discharging every part of their sacred functions, without violence or danger. And, as Jesus Christ hath appointed a regular government and discipline in his church, no law of any commonwealth should interfere with, let, or hinder, the due exercise thereof, among the voluntary members of any denomination of Christians, according to their own profession and belief. It is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered, either upon pretense of religion or of infidelity, to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever: and to take order, that all religious and ecclesiastical assemblies be held without molestation or disturbance.

4. It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates, to honor their persons, to pay them tribute or other dues, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience’ sake. Infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not make void the magistrates’ just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to them: from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted, much less hath the pope any power and 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 pretense whatsoever.

Chapter 24
Of Marriage and Divorce
1. 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.

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

3. 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 only 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 notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies.

4. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden by 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.

5. Adultery or fornication committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract. In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce: and, after the divorce, to marry another, as if the offending party were dead.

6. Although the corruption of man be such as is apt to study arguments unduly to put asunder those whom God hath joined together in marriage: yet, nothing but adultery, or such willful desertion as can no way be remedied by the church, or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage: wherein, a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the persons concerned in it not left to their own wills, and discretion, in their own case.

Chapter 25
Of the Church
1. 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 fullness of him that filleth all in all.

2. The visible church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.

3. Unto this catholic visible church Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and doth, by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.

4. This catholic church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less visible. And particular churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.

5. 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, there shall be always a church on earth, to worship God according to his will.

6. 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.

Chapter 26
Of the Communion of Saints
1. All saints, that are united to Jesus Christ their Head, by his Spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory: and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other’s gifts and 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.

2. Saints by profession 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, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who, in every place, call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

3. This communion which the saints have with Christ, doth not make them in any wise partakers of the substance of his Godhead; or to be equal with Christ in any respect: either of which to affirm is impious and blasphemous. Nor doth their communion one with another, as saints, take away, or infringe the title or propriety which each man hath in his goods and possessions.

Chapter 27
Of the Sacraments
1. Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace, immediately instituted by God, to represent Christ, and his benefits; and to confirm our interest in him: as also, to put a visible difference between those that belong unto the church, and the rest of the world; and solemnly to engage them to the service of God in Christ, according to his Word.

2. 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.

3. 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 authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers.

4. There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, baptism, and the Supper of the Lord: neither of which may be dispensed by any, but by a minister of the Word lawfully ordained.

5. 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.

Chapter 28
Of Baptism
1. Baptism is a sacrament of the new testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible church; but also, to be unto him 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 sacrament is, by Christ’s own appointment, to be continued in his church until the end of the world.

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

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

4. 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 baptized.

5. Although it be a great sin to contemn 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 baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.

6. 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.

7. The sacrament of baptism is but once to be administered unto any person.

Chapter 29
Of the Lord’s Supper
1. 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 church, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of himself in his death; the sealing 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, as members of his mystical body.

2. In this sacrament, Christ is not offered up to his Father; nor any real sacrifice made at all, for remission of sins of the quick or dead; but only a commemoration of that one offering up of himself, by 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 abominably injurious to Christ’s one, only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of his elect.

3. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to declare his word of institution to the people; 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.

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

5. 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.

6. That 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.

7. 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 and wine; yet, as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.

8. Although ignorant and wicked men receive the outward elements in this sacrament; yet, they receive not the thing signified thereby; but, by their unworthy coming thereunto, are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, to their own damnation. Wherefore, all ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with him, so are they unworthy of the Lord’s table; and cannot, without great sin against Christ, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted thereunto.

Chapter 30
Of Church Censures
1. The Lord Jesus, as King and Head of his church, hath therein appointed a government, in the hand of church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate.

2. To these officers the keys of the kingdom of heaven are committed; by virtue whereof, they have power, respectively, to retain, and remit sins; to shut that kingdom against the impenitent, both by the Word, and censures; and to open it unto penitent sinners, by the ministry of the gospel; and by absolution from censures, as occasion shall require.

3. Church censures are necessary, for the reclaiming and gaining of offending brethren, for deterring of others from the like offenses, for purging out of that leaven which might infect the whole lump, for vindicating the honor of Christ, and the holy profession of the gospel, and for preventing the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the church, if they should suffer his covenant, and the seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders.

4. For the better attaining of these ends, the officers of the church are to proceed by admonition; suspension from the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper for a season; and by excommunication from the church; according to the nature of the crime, and demerit of the person.

Chapter 31
Of Synods and Councils
1. For the better government, and further edification of the church, there ought to be such assemblies as are commonly called synods or councils: and it belongeth to the overseers and other rulers of the particular churches, by virtue of their office, and the power which Christ hath given them for edification and not for destruction, to appoint such assemblies; and to convene together in them, as often as they shall judge it expedient for the good of the church.

2. It belongeth to synods and councils, ministerially to determine controversies of faith, and cases of conscience; to set down rules and directions for the better ordering of the public worship of God, and government of his church; to receive complaints in cases of maladministration, and authoritatively to determine the same: which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the Word of God, are to be received with reverence and submission; not only for their agreement with the Word, but also for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of God appointed thereunto in his Word.

3. All synods or councils, since the Apostles’ times, whether general or particular, may err; and many have erred. Therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith, or practice; but to be used as a help in both.

4. Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.

Chapter 32
Of the State of Men after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead
1. 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 torments 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.

2. 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 selfsame bodies, and none other (although with different qualities), which shall be united again to their souls forever.

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

Chapter 33
Of the Last Judgment
1. 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.

2. 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 fullness of joy and refreshing, which shall come from 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.

3. As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of 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 know not at what hour the Lord will come; and may be ever prepared to say, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly, Amen.

HT/ST615 Reformed Confessions (Three Forms of Unity)

Course Description

An introduction to the background, doctrine, and use of the Reformed Confessions. Spring. 2 Credits.

The Student Learning Outcome for the Historical Theology Program: The student demonstrates understanding of the main eras of church history, the significant issues and leaders/theologians of each.

Course Requirements:

(1) Attend all classes, complete all readings and participate in class discussion (30%).

(2) One double or single spaced, typed, confession of faith or catechism of no more than 1000 words which addresses and includes the following topics:

  • Prolegomena (Revelation, Scripture)
  • Theology Proper (God’s being, attributes, the Trinity, creation and providence)
  • Anthropology (Creation, image of God and sin)
  • Christology (Jesus’ person, natures and work)
  • Soteriology (Sin, atonement, ordo salutis)
  • Ecclesiology (Offices, nature, structure, authority)
  • Sanctification and the sacraments (Baptism, Lord’s Supper; preaching and worship)
  • Eschatology (judgment, heaven and eternity)

This confession/catechism should be grounded in Scripture and informed by the catholic (universal) creeds of the Church and by the Reformed confession(s) to which you subscribe (e.g., The Three Forms or the The Westminster Standards). Your mark will be determined by whether and how well you address the topics listed. Given the word limit and the number of topics (which works out to about 100 words per topic) you must choose your words carefully. It would be wise to begin this assignment in the first week of classes.

NB: This exercise is intended to help you discover and appreciate the difficulty and art of writing a coherent, useful, confessional document. It is not intended to challenge or replace in your affections your present confessional allegiance.

Due the last day of the semester, 10:00 AM (35%)

(3) One double spaced, typed, essay of no more than 2500 words. A normal typescript page is approximately 300 words, therefore your essay should be about 8 pages. (35%)

Topics: You may write on any historical or theological topic addressed by one or more of the standards. Your essay must, however, interact substantially with a portion of at least one of the standards. Due the last day of the semester, 10:00 AM.

OR

Those who wish may substitute catechism memory for the assigned paper.

Heidelberg Catechism questions must be memorized from the Schaff edition, the 1959 CRCNA edition, or the 1978 RCUS edition, or the edition published by the Ontario/Oceanside/Pasadena URCs (in the bookstore), or the edition on this website.

The Heidelberg questions are:

1-9, 15-17, 19, 21, 26-28, 31, 32, 37, 45, 53, 54, 60, 61, 64, 65, 69, 72, 75, 80, 81, 86, 88, 96-98, 103, 114-116.

Those who choose this option will be tested at the end of the semester during finals week.

You must submit your reading percentage to the instructor by the end of reading week.

(4) Complete the Student Work Portfolio (for any questions not covered here, please contact the Academic Dean).

As a graduating senior, you must submit a Student Work Portfolio, which is a collection of your work over the course of your seminary education. This portfolio will be used by WSC for internal review of our educational effectiveness. It will not be distributed outside of the institution. Please follow the submission instructions carefully and ensure that your portfolio contains all of the required documents. Your portfolio should be submitted in digital form (preferably in PDF).

Cover Page

Submit your portfolio with a cover page that provides the following information:

  • Name
  • Program (MDiv, MATS, MAHT, MABS)
  • Start Date (year/month)
  • End Date (year/month)Required DocumentsPlease write a five-page reflection paper that addresses your impression of your experience here at WSC. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses in the curriculum, things you like and things you would like to see changed. Also comment on how well you believe that you have done in achieving educational improvement on the SLOs for your specific degree program. You do not have to cite any sources, as you are the primary source for this paper!PapersPlease submit a clean copy (your name does not appear anywhere) of the following papers if assigned for the class listed below (note, the submission of these papers is the only exception to the rule against the dual-submission of papers for course credit)

MDiv

ST501 Christian Mind
NT602 Pauline Epistles
ST703 Doctrine of the Church
OT702 Prophetical Books (or OT701 Psalms and Wisdom)
One sermon manuscript (not an outline) from a Senior-level preaching practicum

MABS

ST501 Christian Mind
NT601 Gospels and Acts
OT702 Prophetical Books (or OT701 Psalms and Wisdom) OT601 Historical Books

MATS

ST501 Christian Mind
ST702 Christian Life
ST703 Doctrine of the Church

Required Readings

R. Scott Clark, Recovering the Reformed Confession.

D. G. Hart, The Lost Soul of American Protestantism (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002).

Samuel Miller, Doctrinal Integrity: On the Utility and Importance of Creeds and Confessions and Adherence to our Doctrinal Standards (Dallas: Presbyterian Heritage Press, [repr] 1989), 3–89.

R. Scott Clark, Why We Memorize the Catechism,” Presbyterian Banner (August, 2003).

R. Scott Clark, “Notes on Belgic Confession Article 15.”

R. Scott Clark, “Notes on a Possible Difficulty in Belgic Confession Article 14

R. Scott Clark, On the Revision of Belgic Confession Article 36

R. Scott Clark, Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude: Historical, Theological, Pastoral Commentary On The Heidelberg Catechism.

WSC Faculty, Our Testimony on Justification

The Three Forms of Unity (Heidelberg Catechismthe Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dort). For a print version see Schaff’s Creeds of Christendom. The 1976 CRC edition of the Heidelberg Catechism is not recommended.

P. Y. DeJong ed., Crisis in the Reformed Churches (Grand Rapids: Reformed Fellowship, 1968), 1,2,3,8.

Richard Muller, Confessing the Reformed Faith: Our Identity in Unity and Diversity,” New Horizons (1994).

Recommended Reading

Zacharias Ursinus, Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, [repr] 1985).

Lyle D. Bierma, Charles D. Gunnoe Jr., and Karin Y. Maag, An Introduction to the Heidelberg Catechism: Sources, History, and Theology. Texts and Studies in Reformation and Post-Reformation Thought (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005).

Nicholaas Gootjes, The Belgic Confession: Its History and Sources (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007).

A. A. Hodge, The Westminster Confession of Faith: A Commentary (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth).

David W. Hall, Practice of Confessional Subscription, ed. (Oak Ridge, TN: The Covenant Foundation, repr. 2001).

Joel R. Beeke and S. B. Ferguson, Reformed Confessions Harmonized (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1999).

Ligon Duncan, ed. The Westminster Confession into the 21st Century: Essays in Remembrance of the 350th Anniversary of the Publication of the Westminster Confession of Faith, 3 vols (Ross-Shire, Scotland: Mentor, 2003) .

W. R. Godfrey, “Tensions in International Calvinism” (PhD. Diss. Stanford University, 1974), ch.1.

S. W. Carruthers, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Being an account of the preparation and printing of its seven leading editions to which is appended a critical text of the confession(Greenville, [repr] 1995).

Johannes G. Vos, The Westminster Larger Catechism: A Commentary (Philipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2002).

C. R. Trueman and R. Scott Clark, ed., Protestant Scholasticism: Essays in Reassessment(Carlisle: Paternoster, 1999), Introduction, 1.2; 2.1; 2.4, 5.

Caspar Olevianus, A Firm Foundation, trans. L. D. Bierma (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995).

——An Exposition of the Apostles’ Creed

R. Scott Clark, Caspar Olevian and the Substance of the Covenant of Grace: The Double Benefit of Christ (2005; Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Press, 2008).

Daniel R. Hyde, “The Holy Spirit in the Heidelberg Catechism,” Mid-America Journal of Theology 17 (2006): 211-37.

Daniel Hyde, With Heart and Mind: An Exposition of the Belgic Confession

James T. Dennison, ed. Reformed Confessions of the 16h and 17th Centuries in English Translation (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2008).

Dorothy Sayers, “Lost Tools of Learning

—— Creed or Chaos

Other Resources

Assertion of Intellectual Property Rights

The instructor holds the copyright to all course lectures and original course materials. This copyright extends to student notes and summaries that substantially reflect the lectures or original course materials. Course lectures and materials are made available for the personal use of students only and may not be recorded or otherwise distributed (including the publication of student notes or summaries on social media) in any way for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the express written permission of the instructor.

The Second Helvetic Confession

CHAPTER I

Of The Holy Scripture Being The True
Word of God

CANONICAL SCRIPTURE. We believe and confess the canonical Scriptures of the holy prophets and apostles of both Testaments to be the true Word of God, and to have sufficient authority of themselves, not of men. For God himself spoke to the fathers, prophets, apostles, and still speaks to us through the Holy Scriptures.

And in this Holy Scripture, the universal Church of Christ has the most complete exposition of all that pertains to a saving faith, and also to the framing of a life acceptable to God; and in this respect it is expressly commanded by God that nothing be either added to or taken from the same.

SCRIPTURE TEACHES FULLY ALL GODLINESS. We judge, therefore, that from these Scriptures are to be derived true wisdom and godliness, the reformation and government of churches; as also instruction in all duties of piety; and, to be short, the confirmation of doctrines, and the rejection of all errors, moreover, all exhortations according to that word of the apostle, “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof,” etc. (II Timothy 3:16-17). Again, “I am writing these instructions to you,” says the apostle to Timothy, “So that you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God,” etc. (I Timothy 3:14-15). SCRIPTURE IS THE WORD OF GOD. Again, the selfsame apostle to the Thessalonians: “When,” says he, “You received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it, not as the word of men but as what it really is, the Word of God,” etc. (I Thess. 2:13) For the Lord himself has said in the gospel, “It is not you who speak, but the Spirit of my Father speaking through you”; therefore “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Matt. 10:20; Luke 10:16; John 13:20)

THE PREACHING OF THE WORD OF GOD IS THE WORD OF GOD. Wherefore when this Word of God is now preached in the church by preachers lawfully called, we believe that the very Word of God is proclaimed, and received by the faithful; and that neither any other Word of God is to be invented nor is to be expected from heaven: and that now the Word itself which is preached is to be regarded, not the minister that preaches; for even if he be evil and a sinner, nevertheless the Word of God remains still true and good.

Neither do we think that therefore the outward preaching is to be thought as fruitless because the instruction in true religion depends on the inward illumination of the Spirit, or because it is written “And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor…, for they shall all know me” (Jer. 31:34), And “Neither he who plants nor he that waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (I Cor. 3:7). For although “No one can come to Christ unless he be drawn by the Father” (John 6:44), And unless the Holy Spirit inwardly illumines him, yet we know that it is surely the will of God that his Word should be preached outwardly also. God could indeed, by his Holy Spirit, or by the ministry of an angel, without the ministry of St. Peter, have taught Cornelius in the Acts; but, nevertheless, he refers him to Peter, of whom the angel speaking says, “He shall tell you what you ought to do.”

INWARD ILLUMINATION DOES NOT ELIMINATE EXTERNAL PREACHING. For he that illuminates inwardly by giving men the Holy Spirit, the same one, by way of commandment, said unto his disciples, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). And so in Phillippi, Paul preached the word outwardly to Lydia, a seller of purple goods; but the Lord inwardly opened the woman’s heart (Acts 16:14). And the same Paul, after a beautiful development of his thought, in Romans 10:17 at length comes to the conclusion, “So faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God by the preaching of Christ.”

At the same time we recognize that God can illuminate whom and when he will, Even without the external ministry, for that is in his power; but we speak of the usual way of instructing men, delivered unto us from God, both by commandment and examples.

HERESIES. We therefore detest all the heresies of Artemon, the Manichaeans, the Valentinians, of Cerdon, and the Marcionites, who deny that the Scriptures proceeded from the Holy Spirit; or did not accept some parts of them, or interpolated and corrupted them.

APOCRYPHA. And yet we do not conceal the fact that certain books of the Old Testament were by the ancient authors called apocryphal, and by the others ecclesiastical; in as much as some would have them read in the churches, but not advanced as an authority from which the faith is to be established. As Augustine also, in his De Civitate Dei, book 18, ch. 38, remarks that “In the books of the Kings, the names and books of certain prophets are cited”; but he adds that “They are not in the canon”; and that “those books which we have suffice unto godliness.”

CHAPTER II

Of Interpreting The Holy Scripture;
and of Fathers, Councils, and Traditions

THE TRUE INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE. The apostle peter has said that the Holy Scriptures are not of private interpretation (2 Pet. 1:20), and thus we do not allow all possible interpretations. Nor consequently do we acknowledge as the true or genuine interpretation of the Scriptures what is called the conception of the Roman Church, that is, what the defenders of the Roman Church plainly maintain should be thrust upon all for acceptance. But we hold that the interpretation of the Scripture to be orthodox and genuine which is gleaned from the Scriptures themselves (from the nature of the language in which they were written, likewise according to the circumstances in which they were set down, and expounded in the light of and unlike passages and of many and clearer passages) and which agree with the rule of faith and love, and contributes much to the glory of God and man’s salvation.

INTERPRETATIONS OF THE HOLY FATHERS. Wherefore we do not despise the interpretations of the holy Greek and Latin fathers, nor reject their disputations and treatises concerning sacred matters as far as they agree with the Scriptures; but we modestly dissent from them when they are found to set down things differing from, or altogether contrary to, the Scriptures. Neither do we think that we do them any wrong in this matter; seeing that they all, with one consent, will not have their writings equated with the canonical Scriptures, but command us to prove how far they agree or disagree with them, and to accept what is in agreement and to reject what is in disagreement.

COUNCILS. And in the same order also we place the decrees and canons of councils.

Wherefore we do not permit ourselves, in controversies about religion or matters of faith, to urge our case with only the opinions of the fathers or decrees of councils; much less by received customs, or by the large number of those who share the same opinion, or by the prescription of a long time. Who Is The Judge? Therefore, we do not admit any other judge than God himself, who proclaims by the Holy Scriptures what is true, what is false, what is to be followed, or what to be avoided. So we do assent to the judgments of spiritual men which are drawn from the Word of God. Certainly Jeremiah and other prophets vehemently condemned the assemblies of priests which were set up against the law of God; and diligently admonished us that we should not listen to the fathers, or tread in their path who, walking in their own inventions, swerved from the law of God.

TRADITIONS OF MEN. Likewise we reject human traditions, even if they be adorned with high-sounding titles, as though they were divine and apostolical, delivered to the Church by the living voice of the apostles, and, as it were, through the hands of apostolical men to succeeding bishops which, when compared with the Scriptures, disagree with them; and by their disagreement show that they are not Apostolic at all. For as the apostles did not contradict themselves in doctrine, so the apostolic men did not set forth things contrary to the apostles. On the contrary, it would be wicked to assert that the apostles by a living voice delivered anything contrary to their writings. Paul affirms expressly that he taught the same things in all churches (I Cor. 4:17). And, again, “For we write you nothing but what you can read and understand.” (II Cor. 1:13). Also, in another place, he testifies that he and his disciples – that is, apostolic men – walked in the same way, and jointly by the same Spirit did all things (II Cor. 12:18). Moreover, the Jews in former times had the traditions of their elders; but these traditions were severely rejected by the Lord, indicating that the keeping of them hinders God’s law, and that God is worshipped in vain by such traditions (Matt. 15:1 ff.; Mark 7:1 ff).

CHAPTER III

Of God, His Unity and Trinity

GOD IS ONE. We believe and teach that God is one in essence or nature, subsisting in himself, all sufficient in himself, invisible, incorporeal, immense, eternal, Creator of all things both visible and invisible, the greatest good, living, quickening and preserving all things, omnipotent and supremely wise, kind and merciful, just and true. Truly we detest many gods because it is expressly written: “The Lord your God is one Lord” (Deut.6:4). “I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:2-3). “I am the Lord, and there is no other god besides me. Am I not the Lord, and there is no other God beside me? A righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me” ((Isa. 45:5, 21). “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex. 34:6).

GOD IS THREE. Notwithstanding we believe and teach that the same immense, one and indivisible God is in person inseparably and without confusion distinguished as Father, Son and Holy Spirit so, as the Father has begotten the Son from eternity, the Son is begotten by an ineffable generation, and the holy Spirit truly proceeds from them both, and the same from eternity and is to be worshipped with both.

Thus there are not three gods, but three persons, cosubstantial, coeternal, and coequal; distinct with respect to hypostases, and with respect to order, the one preceding the other yet without any inequality. For according to the nature or essence they are so joined together that they are one God, and the divine nature is common to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

For Scripture has delivered to us a manifest distinction of persons, the angel saying, among other things, to the Blessed Virgin, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). And also in the baptism of Christ a voice is heard from heaven concerning Christ, saying, “This is my beloved Son” (Math. 3:17). The Holy Spirit also appeared in the form of a dove (John 1:32). And when the Lord himself commanded the apostles to baptize, he commanded them to baptize “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). Elsewhere in the Gospel he said: “The Father will send the Holy Spirit in my name” (John 14:26), and again he said: “When the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me,” etc. (John 15:26). In short, we receive the Apostles’ Creed because it delivers to us the true faith.

HERESIES. Therefore we condemn the Jews and Mohammedans, and all those who blaspheme that sacred and adorable Trinity. We also condemn all heresies and heretics who teach that the Son and Holy Spirit are God in name only, and also that there is something created and subservient, or subordinate to another in the Trinity, and that their is something unequal in it, a greater or a less, something corporeal or corporeally conceived, something different with respect to character or will, something mixed or solitary, as if the Son and Holy Spirit were the affections and properties of one God the Father, as the Monarchians, Novatians, Praxeas, Patripassians, Sabellius, Paul of Samosata, Aetius, Macedonius, Anthropomorphites, Arius, and such like, have thought.

CHAPTER IV

Of Idols or Images of God,
Christ and The Saints

IMAGES OF GOD. Since God as Spirit is in essence invisible and immense, he cannot really be expressed by any art or image. For this reason we have no fear pronouncing with Scripture that images of God are mere lies. Therefore we reject not only the idols of the Gentiles, but also the images of Christians.

IMAGES OF CHRIST. Although Christ assumed human nature, yet he did not on that account assume it in order to provide a model for carvers and painters. He denied that he had come “to abolish the law and the prophets” (Matt. 5:17). But images are forbidden by the law and the prophets” (Deut. 4:15; Isa. 44:9). He denied that his bodily presence would be profitable for the Church, and promised that he would be near us by his Spirit forever (John 16:7). Who, therefore, would believe that a shadow or likeness of his body would contribute any benefit to the pious? (II Cor. 5:5). Since he abides in us by his Spirit, we are therefore the temple of God (I Cor. 3:16). But “what agreement has the temple of God with idols?” (II Cor. 6:16).

IMAGES OF SAINTS. And since the blessed spirits and saints in heaven, while they lived here on earth, rejected all worship of themselves (Acts 3:12 f.; 14:11 ff.; Rev. 14:7; 22:9) and condemned images, shall anyone find it likely that the heavenly saints and angels are pleased with their own images before which men kneel. uncover their heads, and bestow other honors?

But in fact in order to instruct men in religion and to remind them of divine things and of their salvation, the Lord commanded the preaching of the Gospel (Mark 16:15) – not to paint and to teach the laity by means of pictures. Moreover, he instituted sacraments, but nowhere did he set up images.

THE SCRIPTURES OF THE LAITY. Furthermore, wherever we turn our eyes, we see the living and true creatures of God which, if they be observed, as is proper, make a much more vivid impression on the beholders than all images or vain, motionless, feeble and dead pictures made by men, of which the prophet truly said: “They have eyes, but do not see” (Ps. 115:5).

LACTANTIUS. Therefore we approved the judgment of Lactantius, and ancient writer, who says: “Undoubtedly no religion exists where there is an image.”

EPIPHANIUS AND JEROME. We also assert that the blessed bishop Epiphanius did right when, finding on the doors of a church a veil on which was painted a picture supposedly of Christ or some saint, he ripped it down and took it away, because to see a picture of a man hanging in the Church of Christ was contrary to the authority of Scripture. Wherefore he charged that from henceforth no such veils, which were contrary to our religion, should be hung in the Church of Christ, and that rather such questionable things, unworthy of the Church of Christ and the faithful people, should be removed. Moreover, we approve of this opinion of St. Augustine concerning true religion: “Let not the worship of the works of men be a religion for us. For the artists themselves who make such things are better; yet we ought not to worship them” (De Vera Religione, cap. 55).

CHAPTER V

Of The Adoration, Worship and Invocation
of God Through The Only Mediator Jesus Christ

GOD ALONE IS TO BE ADORED AND WORSHIPPED. We teach that the true God alone is to be adored and worshipped. This honor we impart to none other, according to the commandment of the Lord, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve” (Math. 4:10). Indeed, all the prophets severely inveighed against the people of Israel whenever they adored and worshipped strange gods, and not the only true God. But we teach that God is to be adored and worshipped as he himself has taught us to worship, namely, “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23 f.), not with any superstition, but with sincerity, according to his Word; lest at anytime he should say to us: “Who has required these things from your hands?” (Isa. 1:12; Jer. 6:20). For Paul also says: “God is not served by human hands, as though he needed anything,” etc. (Acts 17:25).

GOD ALONE IS TO BE INVOKED THROUGH THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST ALONE. In all crises and trials of our life we call upon him alone, and that by the mediation of our only mediator and intercessor, Jesus Christ. For we have been explicitly commanded: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Ps. 1:15). Moreover, we have a most generous promise from the Lord Who said: “If you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you” (John 16:23), and: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest: (Matt 11:28). And since it is written: “How are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed?” (Rom. 10:14), and since we do believe in God alone, we assuredly call upon him alone, and we do so through Christ. For as the apostle says, “There is one God and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus? (I Tim. 2:5), and, “If any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,” etc. (I John 2:1).

THE SAINTS ARE NOT TO BE ADORED, WORSHIPPED OR INVOKED. For this reason we do not adore, worship, or pray to the saints in heaven, or to other gods, and we do not acknowledge them as our intercessors or mediators before the Father in heaven. For God and Christ the Mediator are sufficient for us; neither do we give to others the honor that is due to God alone and to his Son, because he has expressly said: “My glory I give to no other: (Isa. 42:8), and because Peter has said: “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved,” except the name of Christ (Acts 4:12). In him, those who give their assent by faith do not seek anything outside Christ.

THE DUE HONOR TO BE RENDERED TO THE SAINTS. At the same time we do not despise the saints or think basely of them. For we acknowledge them to be living members of Christ and friends of God who have gloriously overcome the flesh and the world. Hence we love them as brothers, and also honor them; yet not with any kind of worship but by an honorable opinion of them and just praises of them. We also imitate them. For with ardent longings and supplications we earnestly desire to be imitators of their faith and virtues, to share eternal salvation with them, to dwell eternally with them in the presence of God, and to rejoice with them in Christ. And in this respect we approve of the opinion of St. Augustine in De Vera Religione: “Let not our religion be the cult of men who have died. For if they have lived holy lives, they are not to be thought of as seeking such honors; on the contrary, they want us to worship him by whose illumination they rejoice that we are fellow-servants of his merits. They are therefore to be honored by the way of imitation, but not to be adored in a religious manner,” etc.

RELICS OF THE SAINTS. Much less do we believe that the relics of the saints are to be adored and reverenced. Those ancient saints seemed to have sufficiently honored their dead when they decently committed their remains to the earth after the spirit had ascended on high. And they thought that the most noble relics of their ancestors were their virtues, their doctrine, and their faith. Moreover, as they commend these “relics” when praising the dead, so they strive to copy them during their life on earth.

SWEARING BY GOD’S NAME ALONE. These ancient men did not swear except by the name of the only God, Yahweh, as prescribed by the divine law. Therefore, as it is forbidden to swear by the names of strange gods (Ex. 23:;13; Deut. 10:20), so we do not perform oaths to the saints that are demanded of us. We therefore reject in all these matters a doctrine that ascribes much too much to the saints in heaven.

CHAPTER VI

Of the Providence of God

ALL THINGS ARE GOVERNED BY THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD. We believe that all things in heaven and on earth, and in all creatures, are preserved and governed by the providence of this wise, eternal and almighty God. For David testifies and says: “The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down upon the heavens and the earth?” (Ps. 113:4 ff.). Again: “Thou searchest out…all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether” (Ps. 139:3 f.). Paul also testifies and declares: “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28), and “from him and through him and to him are all things” (Rom. 11:36). Therefore Augustine most truly and according to Scripture declared in his book De Agone Christi, cap. 8, “The Lord said, ‘Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will’ ” (Matt. 10:29). By speaking thus he wanted to show that what men regard as of least value is governed by God’s omnipotence. For he who is the truth says that the birds of the air are fed by him and lilies of the field are clothed by him; he also says that the hairs of our head are numbered (Matt. 6:26 ff.).

THE EPICUREANS. We therefore condemn the Epicureans who deny the providence of God, and all those who blasphemously say that God is busy with the heavens and neither sees nor cares about us and our affairs. David, the royal prophet, also condemned this when he said: “O Lord, how long shall the wicked exult? They say, “The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive.” Understand, O dullest of the people! Fools, when will you be wise? He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see?” (Ps. 94:3, 7-9).

MEANS NOT TO BE DESPISED. Nevertheless, we do not spurn as useless the means by which divine providence works, but we teach that we are to adapt ourselves to them in so far as they are recommended to us in the Word of God. Wherefore we disapprove of the rash statements of those who say that if all things are managed by the providence of God, then our efforts and endeavors are in vain. It will be sufficient if we leave everything to the governance of divine providence, and we will not have to worry about anything or do anything. For although Paul understood that he sailed under the providence of God who had said to him: “You must bear witness also at Rome” (Acts 23:11), and in addition had given him the promise, “There will be no loss of life among you…and not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you” (Acts 27:22,34), yet when the sailors were nevertheless thinking about abandoning ship the same Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers: “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved” (Acts 27:31). For God, who has appointed to everything its end, has ordained the beginning and the means by which it reaches its goal. The heathen ascribe things to blind fortune and uncertain chance. But St. James does not want us to say: “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and trade,” but adds: “Instead you ought to say, `If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that’ ” (James 4:13, 15). And Augustine says: “Everything which to vain men seems to happen in nature by accident, occurs only by his Word, because it happens only at his command” (Enarrationes in Psalmos 148). Thus it seemed to happen by mere chance when Saul, while seeking his father’s asses, unexpectedly fell in with the prophet Samuel. But previously the Lord had said to the prophet: “Tomorrow I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin” (I Sam 9:15).

CHAPTER VII

Of The Creation of All Things:
Of Angels, the Devil, and Man

GOD CREATED ALL THINGS. This good and almighty God created all things, both visible and invisible, by his co-eternal Word, and preserves them by his co-eternal Spirit, as David testified when he said: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth” (Ps. 33:6). And, as Scripture says, everything that God had made was very good, and was made for the profit and use of man. Now we assert that all those things proceed from one beginning. MANICHAEANS AND MARCIONITES. Therefore, we condemn the Manichaeans and Marcionites who impiously imagined two substances and natures, one good and the other evil; also two beginnings and two gods contrary to each other, a good and an evil one.

OF ANGELS AND THE DEVIL. Among all creatures, angels and men are most excellent. Concerning angels, Holy Scripture declares: “who makest the winds thy messengers, fire and flame thy ministers” (Ps 104:4). Also it says: “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?” (Heb. 1:14). Concerning the Devil, the Lord Jesus Himself testifies: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Consequently we teach that some angels persisted in obedience and were appointed for faithful service to God and men, but others fell of their own free will and were cast into destruction, becoming enemies of all good and of the faithful, etc….

OF MAN. Now concerning, Scripture says that in the beginning he was made good according to the image and likeness of God; that God placed him in paradise and made all thing subject to him (Gen. chp 2). This is what David magnificently sets forth in Psalm 8. Moreover, God gave him a wife and blessed them. We also affirm that man consists of two different substances in one person: an immortal soul which, when separate from the body, neither sleeps nor dies, and a mortal body which will nevertheless be raised up from the dead at the last judgement, in order that then the whole man, either in life or in death, abide forever.

THE SECTS. We condemn all who ridicule or by subtle arguments cast doubt upon the immortality of the soul, or who say that the soul sleeps or is a part of God. In short, we condemn all opinions of all men, however many, that depart from what has been delivered unto us by the Holy Scriptures in the Apostolic Church of Christ concerning creation, angels, and demons, and man.

CHAPTER VIII

Of Man’s Fall, Sin and the Cause of Sin

THE FALL OF MAN. In the beginning, man was made according to the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness, good and upright. But when at the instigation of the serpent and by his own fault he abandoned goodness and righteousness, he became subject to sin, death and various calamities. And what he became by the fall, that is, subject to sin, death and various calamities, so are all those who have descended from him.

SIN. By sin we understand that innate corruption of man which has been derived or propagated in us all from our first parents, by which we, immersed in perverse desires and averse to all good, are inclined to all evil. Full of all wickedness, distrust, contempt and hatred of God, we are unable to do or even to think anything good of ourselves. Moreover, even as we grow older, so by wicked thoughts, words and deeds committed against God’s law, we bring forth corrupt fruit worthy of an evil tree (Matt. 12:33 ff.). For this reason by our own deserts, being subject to the wrath of God, we are liable to just punishment, so that all of us would have been cast away by God if Christ, the Deliverer, had not brought us back.

DEATH. By death we understand not only bodily death, which all of us must once suffer on account of sins, but also eternal punishment due to our sins and corruption. For the apostle says: “We were dead through trespasses and sins…and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, who is rich in mercy…even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:1 ff.) Also: “As sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned” (Rom. 5:12).

ORIGINAL SIN. We therefore acknowledge that there is original sin in all men.

ACTUAL SINS. We acknowledge that all other sins which arise from it are called and truly are sins, no matter by what name they may be called, whether mortal, venial or that which is said to be the sin against the Holy Spirit which is never forgiven (Mark 3:29; I John 5:16). We also confess that sins are not equal; although they arise from the same fountain of corruption and unbelief, some are more serious than others. As the Lord said, it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for the city that rejects the word of the Gospel (Matt. 10:14 f.; 11:20 ff.).

THE SECTS. We therefore condemn all who have taught contrary to this, especially Pelagius and all Pelagians, together with the Jovinians who, with the Stoics, regard all sins as equal. In this whole matter we agree with St. Augustine who derived and defended his view from Holy Scriptures. Moreover, we condemn Florinus and Blastus, against whom Irenaeus wrote, and all who make God the author of sin.

GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF SIN, AND HOW FAR HE IS SAID TO HARDEN. It is expressly written: “Thou art not a God who delights in wickedness. Thou hatest all evildoers. Thou destroyest those who speak lies” (Ps. 5:4 ff.). And again: “When the devil lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Moreover, there is enough sinfulness and corruption in us that it is not necessary for God to infuse into us a new or still greater perversity. When, therefore, it is said in Scripture that God hardens, blinds and delivers up to a reprobate mind, it is to be understood that God does it by a just judgment as a just Judge and Avenger. Finally, as often as God in Scripture is said or seems to do something evil, it is not thereby said that man does not do evil, but that God permits it and does not prevent it, according to his just judgment, who could prevent it if he wished, or because he turns man’s evil into good, as he did in the case of the sin of Joseph’s brethren, or because he governs sins lest they break out and rage more than is appropriate. St. Augustine writes in his Enchiridion: “What happens contrary to his will occurs, in a wonderful and ineffable way, not apart from his will. For it would not happen if he did not allow it. And yet he does not allow it unwillingly but willingly. But he who is good would not permit evil to be done, unless, being omnipotent, he could bring good out of evil.” Thus wrote Augustine.

CURIOUS QUESTIONS. Other questions, such as whether God willed Adam to fall, or incited him to fall, or why he did not prevent the fall, and similar questions, we reckon among curious questions (unless perchance the wickedness of heretics or of other churlish men compels us also to explain them out of the Word of God, as the godly teachers of the Church have frequently done), knowing that the Lord forbade man to eat of the forbidden fruit and punished his transgression. We also know that what things are done are not evil with respect to the providence, will, and the power of God, but in respect of Satan and our will opposing the will of God.

CHAPTER IX

Of Free Will, and Thus of Human Powers

In this matter, which has always produced many conflicts in the Church, we teach that a threefold condition or state of man is to be considered.

WHAT MAN WAS BEFORE THE FALL. There is the state in which man was in the beginning before the fall, namely, upright and free, so that he could both continue in goodness and decline to evil. However, he declined to evil, and has involved himself and the whole human race in sin and death, as has been said already.

WHAT MAN WAS AFTER THE FALL. Then we are to consider what man was after the fall. To be sure, his reason was not taken from him, nor was he deprived of will, and he was not entirely changed into a stone or a tree. But they were so altered and weakened that they no longer can do what they could before the fall. For the understanding is darkened, and the will which was free has become an enslaved will. Now it serves sin, not unwillingly but willingly. And indeed, it is called a will, not an unwill (ing). [Etenim voluntas, non noluntas dicitur.]

MAN DOES EVIL BY HIS OWN FREE WILL. Therefore, in regard to evil or sin, man is not forced by God or by the devil but does evil by his own free will, and in this respect he has a most free will. But when we frequently see that the worst crimes and designs of men are prevented by God from reaching their purpose, this does not take away man’s freedom in doing evil, but God by his own power prevents what man freely planned otherwise. Thus Joseph’s brothers freely determined to get rid of him, but they were unable to do it because something else seemed good to the counsel of God.

MAN IS NOT CAPABLE OF GOOD Per Se. In regard to goodness and virtue man’s reason does not judge rightly of itself concerning divine things. For the evangelical and apostolic Scripture requires regeneration of whoever among us wishes to be saved. Hence our first birth from Adam contributes nothing to out salvation. Paul says: “The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God,” etc. (I Cor. 2:14). And in another place he denies that we of ourselves are capable of thinking anything good (II Cor. 3:5) Now it is known that the mind or intellect is the guide of the will, and when the guide is blind, it is obvious how far the will reaches. Wherefore, man not yet regenerate has no free will for good, no strength to perform what is good. The Lord says in the Gospel: “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). And the apostle Paul says: “The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot” (Rom. 8:7). Yet in regard to earthly things, fallen man is not entirely lacking in understanding.

UNDERSTANDING OF THE ARTS. For God in his mercy has permitted the powers of the intellect to remain, though differing greatly from what was in man before the fall. God commands us to cultivate our natural talents, and meanwhile adds both gifts and success. And it is obvious that we make no progress in all the arts without God’s blessing. In any case, Scripture refers all the arts to God; and, indeed, the heathen trace the origin of the arts to the gods who invented them.

OF WHAT KIND ARE THE POWERS OF THE REGENERATE, AND IN WHAT WAY THEIR WILLS ARE FREE. Finally, we must see whether the regenerate have free wills, and to what extent. In regeneration the understanding is illumined by the Holy Spirit in order that it many understand both the mysteries and the will of God. And the will itself is not only changed by the Spirit, but it is also equipped with faculties so that it wills and is able to do the good of its own accord (Rom. 8:1ff.). Unless we grant this, we will deny Christian liberty and introduce a legal bondage. But the prophet has God saying: “I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts” (Jer. 31:33; Ezek. 36:26f.). The Lord also says in the Gospel: “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). Paul also writes to the Philippians: “It has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (Phil. 1:29). Again: “I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (v. 6). Also: “God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (ch. 2:13).

THE REGENERATE WORK NOT ONLY PASSIVELY BUT ACTIVELY. However, in this connection we teach that there are two things to be observed: First, that the regenerate, in choosing and doing good, work not only passively but actively. For they are moved by God that they may do themselves what they do. For Augustine rightly adduces the saying that “God is said to be our helper. But no one can be helped unless he does something.” The Manichaeans robbed man of all activity and made him like a stone or a block of wood.

THE FREE WILL IS WEAK IN THE REGENERATE. Secondly, in the regenerate a weakness remains. For since sin dwells in us, and in the regenerate the flesh struggles against the Spirit till the end of our lives, they do not easily accomplish in all things what they had planned. These things are confirmed by the apostle in Rom., ch. 7, and Gal., ch. 5. Therefore that free will is weak in us on account of the remnants of the old Adam and of innate human corruption remaining in us until the end of our lives. Meanwhile, since the powers of the flesh and the remnants of the old man are not so efficacious that they wholly extinguish the work of the Spirit, for that reason the faithful are said to be free, yet so that they acknowledge their infirmity and do not glory at all in their free will. For believers ought always to keep in mind what St. Augustine so many times inculcated according to the apostle: “What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?” To this he adds that what we have planned does not immediately come to pass. For the issue of things lies in the hand of God. This is the reason Paul prayed to the Lord to prosper his journey (Rom. 1:10). And this also is the reason the free will is weak.

IN EXTERNAL THINGS THERE IS LIBERTY. Moreover, no one denies that in external things both the regenerate and the unregenerate enjoy free will. For man has in common with other living creatures (to which he is not inferior) this nature to will some things and not to will others. Thus he is able to speak or to keep silent, to go out of his house or to remain at home, etc. However, even here God’s power is always to be observed, for it was the cause that Balaam could not go as far as he wanted (Num., ch. 24), and Zacharias upon returning from the temple could not speak as he wanted (Luke, ch.1).

HERESIES. In this matter we condemn the Manichaeans who deny that the beginning of evil was for man [created] good, from his free will. We also condemn the Pelagians who assert that an evil man has sufficient free will to do the good that is commanded. Both are refuted by Holy Scripture which says to the former, “God made man upright” and to the latter, “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

CHAPTER X

Of the Predestination of God
and the Election of the Saints

GOD HAS ELECTED US OUT OF GRACE. From eternity God has freely, and of his mere grace, without any respect to men, predestinated or elected the saints whom he wills to save in Christ, according to the saying of the apostle, “God chose us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). And again: “Who saved us and called an with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago, and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus” (II Tim. 1:9 f.).

WE ARE ELECTED OR PREDESTINATED IN CHRIST. Therefore, although not on account of any merit of ours, God has elected us, not directly, but in Christ, and on account of Christ, in order that those who are now engrafted into Christ by faith might also be elected. But those who were outside Christ were rejected, according to the word of the apostle, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (II Cor. 13:5).

WE ARE ELECTED FOR A DEFINITE PURPOSE. Finally, the saints are chosen in Christ by God for a definite purpose, which the apostle himself explains when he says, “He chose us in him for adoption that we should be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption to be his sons through Jesus Christ that they should be to the praise of the glory of his grace” (Eph. 1:4 ff.).

WE ARE TO HAVE A GOOD HOPE FOR ALL. And although God knows who are his, and here and there mention is made of the small number of elect, yet we must hope well of all, and not rashly judge any man to be a reprobate. For Paul says to the Philippians, “I thank my God for you all” (now he speaks of the whole Church in Phillippi), “because of your fellowship in the Gospel, being persuaded that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is also right that I have this opinion of you all” (Phil. 1:3 ff.).

WHETHER FEW ARE ELECT. And when the Lord was asked whether there were few that should be saved, he does not answer and tell them that few or many should be saved or damned, but rather he exhorts every man to “strive to enter by the narrow door” (Luke 13:24): as if he should say, It is not for you curiously to inquire about these matters, but rather to endeavor that you may enter into heaven by the straight way.

WHAT IN THIS MATTER IS TO BE CONDEMNED. Therefore we do not approve of the impious speeches of some who say, “Few are chosen, and since I do not know whether I am among the number of the few, I will enjoy myself.” Others say, “If I am predestinated and elected by God, nothing can hinder me from salvation, which is already certainly appointed for me, no matter what I do. But if I am in the number of the reprobate, no faith or repentance will help me, since the decree of God cannot be changed. Therefore all doctrines and admonitions are useless.” Now the saying of the apostle contradicts these men: “The Lord’s servant must be ready to teach, instructing those who oppose him, so that if God should grant that they repent to know the truth, they may recover from the snare of the devil, after being held captive by him to do his will” (II Tim. 2:23 ff.).

ADMONITIONS ARE NOT IN VAIN BECAUSE SALVATION PROCEEDS FROM ELECTION. Augustine also shows that both the grace of free election and the predestination, and also salutary admonitions and doctrines, are to be preached (Lib. de Dono Perseverantiae, cap. 14 ff.).

WHETHER WE ARE ELECTED. We therefore find fault with those who outside of Christ ask whether they are elected. [Ed. 1568 reads: “whether they are elected from eternity?”] And what has God decreed concerning them before all eternity? For the preaching of the Gospel is to be heard, and it is to be believed; and it is to be held as beyond doubt that if you believe and are in Christ, you are elected. For the Father has revealed unto us in Christ the eternal purpose of his predestination, as I have just now shown from the apostle in II Tim. 1:9-10. This is therefore above all to be taught and considered, what great love of the Father toward us is revealed to us in Christ. We must hear what the Lord himself daily preaches to us in the Gospel, how he calls and says: “Come to me all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Also, “It is not the will of my Father that one of these little ones should perish” (Matt. 18:14).
Let Christ, therefore be the looking glass, in whom we may contemplate our predestination. We shall have a sufficiently clear and sure testimony that we are inscribed in the Book of Life if we have fellowship with Christ, and he is ours and we are his in true faith.

TEMPTATION IN REGARD TO PREDESTINATION. In the temptation in regard to predestination, than which there is scarcely any other more dangerous, we are confronted by the fact that God’s promises apply to all the faithful, for he says: “Ask, and everyone who seeks, shall receive” (Luke 11:9 f.) This finally we pray, with the whole Church of God, “Our Father who art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9), both because by baptism we are ingrafted into the body of Christ, and we are often fed in his Church with his flesh and blood unto life eternal. Thereby, being strengthened, we are commanded to work out our salvation with fear trembling, according to the precept of Paul.

CHAPTER XI

Of Jesus Christ, True God and Man,
the Only Savior of the World

CHRIST IS TRUE GOD. We further believe and teach that the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, was predestinated or foreordained from eternity by the Father to be the Savior of the world. And we believe that he was born, not only when he assumed flesh of the Virgin Mary, and not only before the foundation of the world was laid, but by the Father before all eternity in an inexpressible manner. For Isaiah said: “Who can tell his generation?” (Ch. 53:8). And Micah says: “His origin is from of old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:2). And John said in the Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” etc. (Ch. 1:1). Therefore, with respect to his divinity the Son is coequal and consubstantial with the Father; true God (Phil. 2:11), not only in name or by adoption or by any merit, but in substance and nature, as the apostle John has often said: “This is the true God and eternal life” (I John 5:20). Paul also says: “He appointed the Son the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding all things by his word of power” (Heb. 1:2 f.). For in the Gospel the Lord himself said: “Father, glorify Thou me in Thy own presence with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was made” (John 17:5). And in another place in the Gospel it is written: “The Jews sought all the more to kill him because he…called God his Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18).

THE SECTS. We therefore abhor the impious doctrine of Arius and the Arians against the Son of God, and especially the blasphemies of the Spaniard, Michael Servetus, and all his followers, which Satan through them has, as it were, dragged up out of hell and has most audaciously and impiously spread abroad in the world.

CHRIST IS TRUE MAN, HAVING REAL FLESH. We also believe and teach that the eternal Son of the eternal God was made the Son of man, from the seed of Abraham and David, not from the coitus of a man, as the Ebionites said, but was most chastely conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the ever virgin Mary, as the evangelical history carefully explains to us (Matt., ch. 1). And Paul says: “he took not on him the nature of angels, but of the seed of Abraham.” Also the apostle John says that woever does not believe that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is not of God. Therefore, the flesh of Christ was neither imaginary not brought from heaven, as Valentinus and Marcion wrongly imagined.

A RATIONAL SOUL IN CHRIST. Moreover, our Lord Jesus Christ did not have a soul bereft of sense and reason, as Apollinaris thought, nor flesh without a soul, as Eunomius taught, but a soul with its reason, and flesh with its senses, by which in the time of his passion he sustained real bodily pain, as himself testified when he said: “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death” (Matt. 26:38). And, “Now is my soul troubled” (John 12:27).

TWO NATURES IN CHRIST. We therefore acknowledge two natures or substances, the divine and the human, in one and the same Jesus Christ our Lord (Heb., ch. 2). And we say that these are bound and united with one another in such a way that they are not absorbed, or confused, or mixed, but are united or joined together in one person the properties of the natures being unimpaired and permanent.

NOT TWO BUT ONE CHRIST. Thus we worship not two but one Christ the Lord. We repeat: one true God and man. With respect to his divine nature he is consubstantial with the Father, and with respect to the human nature he is consubstantial with us men, and like us in all things, sin excepted (Heb. 4:15).

THE SECTS. And indeed we detest the dogma of the Nestorians who make two of one Christ and dissolve the unity of the Person. Likewise we thoroughly execrate the madness of Eutyches and of the Monothelites or Monophysites who destroy the property of the human nature.

THE DIVINE NATURE OF CHRIST IS NOT PASSIBLE, AND THE HUMAN NATURE IS NOT EVERYWHERE. Therefore, we do not in any way teach that the divine nature in Christ has suffered or that Christ according to his human nature is still in this world and thus is everywhere. For neither do we think or teach that the body of Christ ceased to be a true body after his glorification, or was deified, and deified in such a way that it laid aside its properties as regards body and soul, and changed entirely into a divine nature and began to be merely one substance.

THE SECTS. Hence we by no means approve of or accept the strained, confused and obscure subtleties of Schwenkfeldt and of similar sophists with their self-contradictory arguments; neither are we Schwenkfeldians.

OUR LORD TRULY SUFFERED. We believe, moreover, that our Lord Jesus Christ truly suffered and died for us in the flesh, as Peter says (I Peter 4:1). We abhor the most impious madness of the Jacobites and all the Turks who execrate the suffering of the Lord. At the same time we do not deny that the Lord of glory was crucified for us, according to Paul’s words (I Cor. 2:8).

IMPARTATION OF PROPERTIES. We piously and reverently accept and use the impartation of properties which is derived from Scripture and which has been used by all antiquity in explaining and reconciling apparently contradictory passages.

CHRIST IS TRULY RISEN FROM THE DEAD. We believe and teach that the same Jesus Christ our Lord, in his true flesh in which he was crucified and died, rose again from the dead, and that not another flesh was raised other than the one buried, or that a spirit was taken up instead of the flesh, but that he retained his true body. Therefore, while his disciples thought they saw the spirit of the Lord, he showed them his hands and feet which were marked by the prints of the nails and wounds, and added: “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see, for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39).

CHRIST IS TRULY ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN. We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ, in his same flesh, ascended above all visible heavens into the highest heaven, that is, the dwelling-place of God and the blessed ones, at the right hand of God the Father. Although it signifies an equal participation in glory and majesty, it is also taken to be a certain place about which the Lord, speaking in the Gospel, says: “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). The apostle Peter also says: “Heaven must receive Christ until the time of restoring all things” (Acts 3:21). And from heaven the same Christ will return in judgment, when wickedness will then be at its greatest in the world and when the Antichrist, having corrupted true religion, will fill up all things with superstition and impiety and will cruelly lay waste the Church with bloodshed and flames (Dan., ch. 11). But Christ will come again to claim his own, and by his coming to destroy the Antichrist, and to judge the living and the dead (Acts 17:31). For the dead will rise again (I Thess. 4:14 ff.), and those who on that day (which is unknown to all creatures [Mark 13:32]) will be alive will be changed “in the twinkling of an eye,” and all the faithful will be caught up to meet Christ in the air, so that then they may enter with him into the blessed dwelling-places to live forever (I Cor. 15:51 f.). But the unbelievers and ungodly will descend with the devils into hell to burn forever and never to be redeemed from torments (Matt. 25:46).

THE SECTS. We therefore condemn all who deny a real resurrection of the flesh (II Tim. 2:18), or who with John of Jerusalem, against whom Jerome wrote, do not have a correct view of the glorification of bodies. We also condemn those who thought that the devil and all the ungodly would at some time be saved, and that there would be an end to punishments. For the Lord has plainly declared: “Their fire is not quenched, and their worm does not die” (Mark 9:44). We further condemn Jewish dreams that there will be a golden age on earth before the Day of Judgment, and that the pious, having subdued all their godless enemies, will possess all the kingdoms of the earth. For evangelical truth in Matt., chs. 24 and 25, and Luke, ch. 18, and apostolic teaching in II Thess., ch. 2, and II Tim., chs. 3 and 4, present something quite different.

THE FRUIT OF CHRIST’S DEATH AND RESURRECTION. Further by his passion and death and everything which he did and endured for our sake by his coming in the flesh, our Lord reconciled all the faithful to the heavenly Father, made expiation for sins, disarmed death, overcame damnation and hell, and by his resurrection from the dead brought again and restored life and immortality. For he is our righteousness, life and resurrection, in a word, the fulness and perfection of all the faithful, salvation and all sufficiency. For the apostle says: “In him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell,” and, “You have come to fulness of life in him” (Col., chs. 1 and 2).

JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY SAVIOR OF THE WORLD, AND THE TRUE AWAITED MESSIAH. For we teach and believe that this Jesus Christ our Lord is the unique and eternal Savior of the human race, and thus of the whole world, in whom by faith are saved all who before the law, under the law, and under the Gospel were saved, and however many will be saved at the end of the world. For the Lord himself says in the Gospel: “He who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber….I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:1 and 7). And also in another place in the same Gospel he says: “Abraham saw my day and was glad” (ch. 7:56). The apostle Peter also says: “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” We therefore believe that we will be saved through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, as our fathers were (Acts 4:12; 10:43; 15:11). For Paul also says: “All our fathers ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ” (I Cor. 10:3 f.). And thus we read that John says: “Christ was the Lamb which was slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 14:8), and John the Baptist testified that Christ is that “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Wherefore, we quite openly profess and preach that Jesus Christ is the sole Redeemer and Savior of the world, the King and High Priest, the true and awaited Messiah, that holy and blessed one whom all the types of the law and predictions of the prophets prefigured and promised; and that God appointed him beforehand and sent him to us, so that we are not now to look for any other. Now there only remains for all of us to give all glory to Christ, believe in him, rest in him alone, despising and rejecting all other aids in life. For however many seek salvation in any other than in Christ alone, have fallen from the grace of God and have rendered Christ null and void for themselves (Gal. 5:4).

THE CREEDS OF FOUR COUNCILS RECEIVED. And, to say many things with a few words, with a sincere heart we believe, and freely confess with open mouth, whatever things are defined from the Holy Scriptures concerning the mystery of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, and are summed up in the Creeds and decrees of the first four most excellent synods convened at Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus and Chalcedon — together with the Creed of blessed Athanasius [The so-called Athanasian Creed was not written by Athanasius but dates from the ninth century. It is also called the “Quicunque” from the opening word of the Latin text.], and all similar symbols; and we condemn everything contrary to these.

THE SECTS. And in this way we retain the Christian, orthodox and catholic faith whole and unimpaired; knowing that nothing is contained in the aforesaid symbols which is not agreeable to the Word of God, and does not altogether make for a sincere exposition of the faith.

CHAPTER XII

Of the Law of God

THE WILL OF GOD IS EXPLAINED FOR US IN THE LAW OF GOD. We teach that the will of God is explained for us in the law of God, what he wills or does not will us to do, what is good and just, or what is evil and unjust. Therefore, we confess that the law is good and holy.

THE LAW OF NATURE. And this law was at one time written in the hearts of men by the finger of God (Rom. 2:15), and is called the law of nature (the law of Moses is in two Tables), and at another it was inscribed by his finger on the two Tables of Moses, and eloquently expounded in the books of Moses (Ex. 20:1 ff.; Deut. 5:6 ff.). For the sake of clarity we distinguish the moral law which is contained in the Decalogue or two Tables and expounded in the books of Moses, the ceremonial law which determines the ceremonies and worship of God, and the judicial law which is concerned with political and domestic matters.

THE LAW IS COMPLETE AND PERFECT. We believe that the whole will of God and all necessary precepts for every sphere of life are taught in this law. For otherwise the Lord would not have forbidden us to add or to take away anything from this law; neither would he have commanded us to walk in a straight path before this law, and not to turn aside from it by turning to the right or to the left (Deut. 4:2; 12:32).

WHY THE LAW WAS GIVEN. We teach that this law was not given to men that they might be justified by keeping it, but that rather from what it teaches we may know (our) weakness, sin and condemnation, and, despairing of our strength, might be converted to Christ in faith. For the apostle openly declares: “The law brings wrath,” and, “Through the law comes knowledge of sin” (Rom. 4:15; 3:20), and, “If a law had been given which could justify or make alive, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture (that is, the law) has concluded all under sin, that the promise which was of the faith of Jesus might be given to those who believe….Therefore, the law was our schoolmaster unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal.3:21 ff.).

THE FLESH DOES NOT FULFIL THE LAW. For no flesh could or can satisfy the law of God and fulfil it, because of the weakness in our flesh which adheres and remains in us until our last breath. For the apostle says again: “God has done what the law, weakened bythe flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin” (Rom. 8:3). Therefore, Christ is the perfecting of the law and our fulfilment of it (Rom. 10:4), who, in order to take away the curse of the law, was make a curse for us (Gal. 3:13). Thus he imparts to us through faith his fulfilment of the law, and his righteousness and obedience are imputed to us.

HOW FAR THE LAW IS ABROGATED. The law of God is therefore abrogated to the extent that it no longer condemns us, nor works wrath in us. For we are under grace and not under the law. Moreover, Christ has fulfilled all the figures of the law. Hence, with the coming of the body, the shadows ceased, so that in Christ we now have the truth and all fulness. But yet we do not on that account contemptuously reject the law. For we remember the words of the Lord when he said: “I have not come to abolish the law and the prophets but to fulfil them” (Matt. 5:17). We know that in the law is delivered to us the patterns of virtues and vices. We know that the written law when explained by the Gospel is useful to the Church, and that therefore its reading is not to be banished from the Church. For although Moses’ face was covered with a veil, yet the apostle says that the veil has been taken away and abolished by Christ.

THE SECTS. We condemn everything that heretics old and new have taught against the law.

CHAPTER XIII

Of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of the Promises,
and of the Spirit and Letter

THE ANCIENTS HAD EVANGELICAL PROMISES. The Gospel is, indeed, opposed to the law. For the law works wrath and announces a curse, whereas the Gospel preaches grace and blessing. John says: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Yet notwithstanding it is most certain that those who were before the law and under the law, were not altogether destitute of the Gospel. For they had extraordinary evangelical promises such as these are: “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head” (Gen. 3:15). “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 22:18). “The scepter shall not depart from Judah…until he comes” (Gen. 49:10). “The Lord will raise up a prophet from among his own brethren” (Deut. 18:15; Acts 3:22), etc.

THE PROMISES TWOFOLD. And we acknowledge that two kinds of promises were revealed to the fathers, as also to us. For some were of present or earthly things, such as the promises of the Land of Canaan and of victories, and as the promise today still of daily bread. Others were then and are still now of heavenly and eternal things, namely, divine grace, remission of sins, and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.

THE FATHERS ALSO HAD NOT ONLY CARNAL BUT SPIRITUAL PROMISES. Moreover, the ancients had not only external and earthly but also spiritual and heavenly promises in Christ. Peter says: “The prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired about this salvation” (I Peter 1:10). Wherefore the apostle Paul also said: “The Gospel of God was promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures” (Rom. 1:2). Thereby it is clear that the ancients were not entirely destitute of the whole Gospel.

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL PROPERLY SPEAKING? And although our fathers had the Gospel in this way in the writings of the prophets by which they attained salvation in Christ through faith, yet the Gospel is properly called glad and joyous news, in which, first by John the Baptist, then by Christ the Lord himself, and afterwards by the apostles and their successors, is preached to us in the world that God has now performed what he promised from the beginning of the world, and has sent, nay more, has given us his only Son and in him reconciliation with the Father, the remission of sins, all fulness and everlasting life. Therefore, the history delineated by the four Evangelists and explaining how these things were done or fulfilled by Christ, what things Christ taught and did, and that those who believe in him have all fulness, is rightly called the Gospel. The preaching and writings of the apostles, in which the apostles explain for us how the Son was given to us by the Father, and in him everything that has to do with life and salvation, is also rightly called evangelical doctrine, so that not even today, if sincerely preached, does it lose its illustrious title.

OF THE SPIRIT AND THE LETTER. That same preaching of the Gospel is also called by the apostle “the spirit” and “the ministry of the spirit” because by faith it becomes effectual and living in the ears, nay more, in the hearts of believers through the illumination of the Holy Spirit (II Cor. 3:6). For the letter, which is opposed to the Spirit, signifies everything external, but especially the doctrine of the law which, without the Spirit and faith, works wrath and provokes sin in the minds of those who do not have a living faith. For this reason the apostle calls it “the ministry of death.” In this connection the saying of the apostle is pertinent: “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” And false apostles preached a corrupted Gospel, having combined it with the law, as if Christ could not save without the law.

THE SECTS. Such were the Ebionites said to be, who were descended from Ebion the heretic, and the Nazarites who were formerly called Mineans. All these we condemn, while preaching the pure Gospel and teaching that believers are justified by the Spirit [The original manuscript has “Christ” instead of “Spirit”.] alone, and not by the law. A more detailed exposition of this matter will follow presently under the heading of justification.

THE TEACHING OF THE GOSPEL IS NOT NEW, BUT MOST ANCIENT DOCTRINE. And although the teaching of the Gospel, compared with the teaching of the Pharisees concerning the law, seemed to be a new doctrine when first preached by Christ (which Jeremiah also prophesied concerning the New Teatament), yet actually it not only was and still is an old doctrine (even if today it is called new by the Papists when compared with the teaching now received among them), but is the most ancient of all in the world. For God predestinated from eternity to save the world through Christ, and he has disclosed to the world through the Gospel this his predestination and eternal counsel (II Tim. 2:9 f.). Hence it is evident that the religion and teaching of the Gospel among all who ever were, are and will be, is the most ancient of all. Wherefore we assert that all who say that the religion and teaching of the Gospel is a faith which has recently arisen, being scarcely thirty years old, err disgracefully and speak shamefully of the eternal counsel of God. To them applies the saying of Isaiah the prophet: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5:20).

CHAPTER XIV

Of Repentance and the Conversion of Man

The doctrine of repentance is joined with the Gospel. For so has the Lord said in the Gospel: “Repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in my name to all nations” (Luke 24:47).

WHAT IS REPENTANCE? By repentance we understand (1) the recovery of a right mind in sinful man awakened by the Word of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit, and received by true faith, by which the sinner immediately acknowledges his innate corruption and all his sins accused by the Word of God; and (2) grieves for them from his heart, and not only bewails and frankly confesses them before God with a feeling of shame, but also (3) with indignation abominates them; and (4) now zealously considers the amendment of his ways and constantly strives for innocence and virtue in which conscientiously to exercise himself all the rest of his life.

TRUE REPENTANCE IS CONVERSION TO GOD. And this is true repentance, namely, a sincere turning to God and all good, and earnest turning away from the devil and all evil.

1. REPENTANCE IS A GIFT OF GOD. Now we expressly say that this repentance is a sheer gift of God and not a work of our strength. For the apostle commands a faithful minister diligently to instruct those who oppose the truth, if “God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth” (II Tim. 2:25).

2. LAMENTS SINS COMMITTED. Now that sinful woman who washed the feet of the Lord with her tears, and Peter who wept bitterly and bewailed his denial of the Lord (Luke 7:38; 22:62) show clearly how the mind of a penitent man ought to be seriously lamenting the sins he has committed.

3. CONFESSES SINS TO GOD. Moreover, the prodigal son and the publican in the Gospel, when compared with the Pharisee, present us with the most suitable pattern of how our sins are to be confessed to God. The former said: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants” (Luke 15:8 ff.). And the latter, not daring to raise his eyes to heaven, beat his breast, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (ch. 18:13). And we do not doubt that they were accepted by God into grace. For the apostle John says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:9 f.).

SACERDOTAL CONFESSION AND ABSOLUTION. But we believe that this sincere confession which is made to God alone, either privately between God and the sinner, or publicly in the Church where the general confession of sins is said, is sufficient, and that in order to obtain forgiveness of sins it is not necessary for anyone to confess his sins to a priest, mumuring them in his ears, that in turn he might receive absolution from the priest with his laying on of hands, because there is neither a commandment nor an example of this in Holy Scriptures. David testifies and says: “I acknowledged my sin to thee, and did not hide my iniquity; I said, `I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’; then thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin” (Ps. 32:5). And the Lord who taught us to pray and at the same time to confess our sins said: “Pray then like this: Our Father, who art in heaven,…forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors” (Matt. 6:12). Therefore it is necessary that we confess our sins to God our Father, and be reconciled with our neighbor if we have offended him. Concerning this kind of confession, the Apostle James says: “Confess your sins to one another” (James 5:16). If, however, anyone is overwhelmed by the burden of his sins and by perplexing temptations, and will seek counsel, instruction and comfort privately, either from a minister of the Church, or from any other brother who is instructed in God’s law, we do not disapprove; just as we also fully approve of that general and public confession of sins which is usually said in Church and in meetings for worship, as we noted above, inasmuch as it is agreeable to Scripture.

OF THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Concerning the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven which the Lord gave to the apostles, many babble many astonishing things, and out of them forge swords, spears, scepters and crowns, and complete power over the greatest kingdoms, indeed, over souls and bodies. Judging simply according to the Word of the Lord, we say that all properly called ministers possess and exercise the keys or the use of them when they proclaim the Gospel; that is, when they teach, exhort, comfort, rebuke, and keep in discipline the people committed to their trust.

OPENING AND SHUTTING (THE KINGDOM). For in this way they open the Kingdom of Heaven to the obedient and shut it to the disobedient. The Lord promised these keys to the apostles in Matt., ch. 16, and gave them in John, ch. 20, Mark, ch. 16, and Luke, ch. 24, when he sent out his disciples and commanded them to preach the Gospel in all the world, and to remit sins.

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION. In the letter to the Corinthians the apostle says that the Lord gave the ministry of reconciliation to his ministers (II Cor. 5:18 ff.). And what this is he then explains, saying that it is the preaching or teaching of reconciliation. And explaining his words still more clearly he adds that Christ’s ministers discharge the office of an ambassador in Christ’s name, as if God himself through ministers exhorted the people to be reconciled to God, doubtless by faithful obedience. Therefore, they excercise the keys when they persuade [men] to believe and repent. Thus they reconcile men to God.

MINISTERS REMIT SINS. Thus they remit sins. Thus they open the Kingdom of Heaven, and bring believers into it: very different from those of whom the Lord said in the Gospel, “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”

HOW MINISTERS ABSOLVE. Ministers, therefore, rightly and effectually absolve when they preach the Gospel of Christ and thereby the remission of sins, which is promised to each one who believes, just as each one is baptized, and when they testify that it pertains to each one peculiarly. Neither do we think that this absolution becomes more effectual by being murmured in the ear of someone or by being murmured singly over someone’s head. We are nevertheless of the opinion that the remission of sins in the blood of Christ is to be diligently proclaimed, and that each one is to be admonished that the forgiveness of sins pertains to him.

DILIGENCE IN THE RENEWAL OF LIFE. But the examples in the Gospel teach us how vigilant and diligent the penitent ought to be in striving for newness of life and in mortifying the old man and quickening the new. For the Lord said to the man he healed of palsy: “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you” (John 5:14). Likewise to the adulteress whom he set free he said: “Go, and sin no more” (ch. 8:11). To be sure, by these words he did not mean that any man, as long as he lived in the flesh, could not sin; he simply recommends diligence and a careful devotion, so that we should strive by all means, and beseech God in prayers lest we fall back into sins from which, as it were, we have been resurrected, and lest we be overcome by the flesh, the world and the devil. Zacchaeus the publican, whom the Lord had received back into favor, exclaims in the Gospel: “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold” (Luke 19:8). Therefore, in the same way we preach that restitution and compassion, and even almsgiving, are necessary for those who truly repent, and we exhort all men everywhere in the words of the apostle: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness” (Rom. 6:12 f.).

ERRORS. Wherefore we condemn all impious utterances of some who wrongly use the preaching of the Gospel and say that it is easy to return to God. Christ has atoned for all sins. Forgiveness of sins is easy. Therefore, what harm is there in sinning? Nor need we be greatly concerned about repentance, etc. Notwithstanding we always teach that an access to God is open to all sinners, and that he forgives all sinners of all sins except the one sin against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:29).

THE SECTS. Wherefore we condemn both old and new Novatians and Catharists.

PAPAL INDULGENCES. We especially condemn the lucrative doctrine of the Pope concerning penance, and against his simony and his simoniacal indulgences we avail ourselves of Peter’s judgment concerning Simon: “Your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God” (Acts 8:20 f.).

SATISFACTIONS. We also disapprove of those who think that by their own satisfactions they make amends for sins committed. For we teach that Christ alone by his death or passion is the satisfaction, propitiation or expiation of all sins (Isa., ch.53; I Cor. 1:30). Yet as we have already said, we do not cease to urge the mortification of the flesh. We add, however, that this mortification is not to be proudly obtruded upon God as a satisfaction for sins, but is to be performed humble, in keeping with the nature of the children of God, as a new obedience out of gratitude for the deliverance and full satisfaction obtained by the death and satisfaction of the Son of God.

CHAPTER XV

Of the True Justification of the Faithful

WHAT IS JUSTIFICATION? According to the apostle in his treatment of justification, to justify means to remit sins, to absolve from guilt and punishment, to receive into favor, and to pronounce a man just. For in his epistle to the Romans the apostle says: “It is God who justifies; who is to condemn?” (Rom. 8:33). To justify and to condemn are opposed. And in The Acts of the Apostles the apostle states: “Through Christ forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone that believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38 f.). For in the Law and also in the Prophets we read: “If there is a dispute between men, and they come into court…the judges decide between them, acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty” (Deut. 25:1). And in Isa., ch. 5: “Woe to those…who aqcuit the guilty for a bribe.”

WE ARE JUSTIFIED ON ACCOUNT OF CHRIST. Now it is most certain that all of us are by nature sinners and godless, and before God’s judgment-seat are convicted of godlessness and are guilty of death, but that, solely by the grace of Christ and not from any merit of ours or consideration for us, we are justified, that is, absolved from sin and death by God the Judge. For what is clearer than what Paul said: “Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:23 f.).

IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS. For Christ took upon himself and bore the sins of the world, and satisfied divine justice. Therefore, solely on account of Christ’s sufferings and resurrection God is propitious with respect to our sins and does not impute them to us, but imputes Christ’s righteousness to us as our own (II Cor. 5;19 ff.; Rom. 4;25), so that now we are not only cleansed and purged from sins or are holy, but also, granted the righteousness of Christ, and so absolved from sin, death and condemnation, are at last righteous and heirs of eternal life. Properly speaking, therefore, God alone justifies us, and justifies only on account of Christ, not imputing sins to us but imputing his righteousness to us.

WE ARE JUSFIFIED BY FAITH ALONE. But because we receive this justification, not through any works, but through faith in the mercy of God and in Christ, we therefore teach and believe with the apostle that sinful man is justified by faith alone in Christ, not by the law or any works. For the apostle says: “We hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law” (Rom. 3:28). Also: “If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness….And to one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness” (Rom. 4:2 ff.; Gen. 15:6). And again: “By grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God–not because of works, lest any man should boast,” etc. (Eph. 2:8 f.). Therefore, because faith receives Christ our righteousness and attributes everything to the grace of God in Christ, on that account justification is attributed to faith, chiefly because of Christ and not therefore because it is our work. For it is the gift of God.

WE RECEIVE CHRIST BY FAITH. Moreover, the Lord abundantly shows that we receive Christ by faith, in John, ch. 6, where he puts eating for believing, and believing for eating. For as we receive food by eating, so we participate in Christ by believing.

JUSTIFICATION IS NOT ATTRIBUTED PARTLY TO CHRIST OR TO FAITH, PARTLY TO US. Therefore, we do not share in the benefit of justification partly because of the grace of God or Christ, and partly because of ourselves, our love, works or merit, but we attribute it wholly to the grace of God in Christ through faith. For our love and our works could not please God in Christ through faith. For our love and our works could not please God if performed by unrighteous men. Therefore, it is necessary for us to be righteous before we may love and do good works. We are made truly righteous, as we have said, by faith in Christ purely by the grace of God, who does not impute to us our sins, but the righteousness of Christ, or rather, he imputes faith in Christ to us for righteousness. Moreover, the apostle very clearly derives love from faith when he says: “The aim of our command is love that issues from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith” (I Tim. 1:5)

JAMES COMPARED WITH PAUL. Wherefore, in this matter we are not speaking of a fictitious, empty, lazy and dead faith, but of a living, quickening faith. It is and is called a living faith because it apprehends Christ who is life and makes alive, and shows that it is alive by living works. And so James does not contradict anything in this doctrine of ours. For he speaks of an empty, dead faith of which some boasted but who did not have Christ living in them by faith (James 2:14 ff.). James said that works justify, yet without contradicting the apostle (otherwise he would have to be rejected) but showing that Abraham proved his living and justifying faith by works. This all the pious do, but they trust in Christ alone and not in their own works. For again the apostle said: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, [The Latin reads: “by the faith of the Son of God.”] who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not reject the grace of God; for if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose,” etc. (Gal. 2:20 f.).

CHAPTER XVI

Of Faith and Good Works, and of Their Reward,
and of Man’s Merit

WHAT IS FAITH? Christian faith is not an opinion or human conviction, but a most firm trust and a clear and steadfast assent of the mind, and then a most certain apprehension of the truth of God presented in the Scriptures and in the Apostles’ Creed, and thus also of God himself, the greatest good, and especially of God’s promise and of Christ who is the fulfilment of all promises.

FAITH IS THE GIFT OF GOD. But this faith is a pure gift of God which God alone of his grace gives to his elect according to this measure when, to whom and to the degree he wills. And he does this by the holy Spirit by means of the preaching of the Gospel and steadfast prayer.

THE INCREASE OF FAITH. This faith also has its increase, and unless it were given by God, the apostles would not have said: “Lord, increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). And all these things which up to this point we have said concerning faith, the apostles have taught before us. For Paul said: “For faith is the sure subsistence, of things hoped for, and the clear and certain apprehension” (Heb. 11:1). And again he says that all the promises of God are Yes through Christ and through Christ are Amen (II Cor. 1:20). And to the Philippians he said that it has been given tothem to believe in Christ (Phil. 1:29). Again, God assigned to each the measure of faith (Rom. 12:3). Again: “Not all have faith” and, “Not all obey the Gospel” (II Thess. 3:2; Rom. 10:16). But Luke also bears witness, saying: “As many as were ordained to life believed” (Acts 13:48). Wherefore Paul also calls faith “the faith of God’s elect” (Titus 1:1), and again: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Elsewhere he often commands men to pray for faith.

FAITH EFFICACIOUS AND ACTIVE. The same apostle calls faith efficacious and active through love (Gal. 5:6). It also quiets the conscience and opens a free access to God, so that we may draw near to him with confidence and may obtain from him what is useful and necessary. The same [faith] keeps us in the service we owe to God and our neighbor, strengthens our patience in adversity, fashions and makes a true confession, and in a word brings forth good fruit of all kinds, and good works.

CONCERNING GOOD WORKS. For we teach that truly good works grow out of a living faith by the Holy Spirit and are done by the faithful according tothe will or rule of God’s Word. Now the apostle Peter says: “Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control,” etc.(II Peter 1:5 ff.). But we have said above that the law of God, which is his will, prescribes for us the pattern of good works. And the apostle says: “This is the will of God, your sanctification, that you abstain form immorality…that no man transgress, and wrong his brother in business” (I Thess. 4:3 ff.).

WORKS OF HUMAN CHOICE. And indeed works and worship which we choose arbitrarily are not pleasing to God. These Paul calls “self-devised worship” Col. 2:23. Of such the Lord says in the Gospel: “In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men” (Matt. 15:9). Therefore, we disapprove of such works, and approve and urge those that are of God’s will and commission.

THE END OF GOOD WORKS. These same works ought not to be done in order that we may earn eternal life by them, for, as the apostle says, eternal life is the gift of God. Nor are they to be done for ostentation which the Lord rejects in Matt., ch. 6, nor for gain which he also rejects in Matt., ch. 23, but for the glory of God, to adorn our calling, to show gratitude to God, and for the profit of the neighbor. For our Lord says again in the Gospel: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). And the apostle Paul says: “Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Eph. 4:1). Also: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and to the Fatehr through him” (Col. 3:17), and, “Let each of you look not to his own interests, but to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4), and, “Let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not to be unfruitful” (Titus 3;14).

GOOD WORKS NOT REJECTED. Therefore, although we teach with the apostle that a man is justified by grace through faith in Christ and not through any good works, yet we do not think that good works are of little value and condemn them. We know that man was not created or regenerated through faith in order to be idle, but rather that without ceasing he should do those things which are good and useful. For in the Gospel the Lord says that a good tree brings forth good fruit (Matt. 12:33), and that he who abides in me bears much fruit (John 15:5). The apostle says: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10), and again: “Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14). We therefore condemn all who despise good works and who babble that they are useless and that we do not need to pay attention to them.

WE ARE NOT SAVED BY GOOD WORKS. Nevertheless, as was said above, we do not think that we are saved by good works, and that they are so necessary for salvation that no one was ever saved without them. For we are saved by grace and the favor of Christ alone. Works necessarily proceed from faith. And salvation is improperly attributed to them, but is most properly ascribed to grace. The apostle’s sentence is well known: “If it is by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. But if it is of works, then it is no longer grace, because otherwise work is no longer work” (Rom. 11:6).

GOOD WORKS PLEASE GOD. Now the works which we do by faith are pleasing to God and are approved by him. Because of faith in Christ, those who do good works which, moreover, are done from God’s grace through the Holy Spirit, are pleasing to god. For St. Peter said: “In every nation anyone who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:35). And Paul said: “We have not ceased to pray for you…that you may walk worthily of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work” (Col. 1:9 f.).

WE TEACH TRUE, NOT FALSE AND PHILOSOPHICAL VIRTUES. And so we diligently teach true, not false and philosophical virtues, truly good works, and the genuine service of a Christian. And as much as we can we diligently and zealously press them upon all men, while censuring the sloth and Hypocrisy of all those who praise and profess the Gospel with their lips and dishonor it by their disgraceful lives. In this matter we place before them God’s terrible threats and then his rich promises and generous rewards — exhorting, consoling and rebuking.

GOD GIVES A REWARD FOR GOOD WORKS. For we teach that God gives a rich reward to those who do good works, according to that saying of the prophet: “keep your voice from weeping,…for your work shall be rewarded” (Jer. 31:16; Isa., ch. 4). The Lord also said in the Gospel: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven” (Matt. 5:12), and, “Whoever gives to one of these my little ones a cup of cold water, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward” (ch. 10:42). However, we do not ascribe this reward, which the Lord gives, to the merit of the man who receives it, but to the goodness, generosity and truthfulness of God who promises and gives it, and who, although he owes nothing to anyone, nevertheless promises that he will give a reward to his faithful worshippers; meanwhile he also gives them that they may honor him. Moreover, in the works even of the saints there is much that is unworthy of God and very much that is imperfect. But because God receives into favor and embraces those who do works for Christ’s sake, he grants to them the promised reward. For in other respects our righteousnesses are compared to a filthy wrap (Isa. 64:6). And the Lord says in the Gospel: “When you have done all that is commanded you, say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty” (Like 17:10).

THERE ARE NO MERITS OF MEN. Therefore, although we teach that God rewards our good deeds, yet at the same time we teach, with Augustine, that God does not crown in us our merits but his gifts. Accordingly we say that whatever reward we receive is also grace, and is more grace than reward, because the good we do, we do more through God than through ourselves, and because Paul says: “What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (I Cor. 4:7). And this is what the blessed martyr Cyprian concluded from this verse: We are not to glory in anything in us, since nothing is our own. We therefore condemn those who defend the merits of men in such a way that they invalidate the grace of God.

CHAPTER XVII

Of The Catholic and Holy Church of God,
and of The One Only Head of The Church

THE CHURCH HAS ALWAYS EXISTED AND IT WILL ALWAYS EXIST. But because God from the beginning would have men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth (I Tim. 2:4), it is altogether necessary that there always should have been, and should be now, and to the end of the world, a Church.

WHAT IS THE CHURCH? The Church is an assembly of the faithful called or gathered out of the world; a communion, I say, of all saints, namely, of those who truly know and rightly worship and serve the true God in Christ the Savior, by the Word and holy Spirit, and who by faith are partakers of all benefits which are freely offered through Christ.

CITIZENS OF ONE COMMONWEALTH. They are all citizens of the one city, living under the same Lord, under the same laws and in the same fellowship of all good things. For the apostle calls them “fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19), calling the faithful on earth saints (I Cor. 4:1), who are sanctified by the blood of the Son of God. The article of the Creed, “I believe in the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,” is to be understood wholly as concerning these saints.

ONLY ONE CHURCH FOR ALL TIMES. And since there is always but one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, Jesus the Messiah, and one Shepherd of the whole flock, one Head of this body, and, to conclude, one Spirit, one salvation, one faith, one Testament or covenant, it necessarily follows that there is only one Church.

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. We, therefore, call this Church catholic because it is universal, scattered through all parts of the world, and extended unto all times, and is not limited to any times or places. Therefore, we condemn the Donatists who confined the Church to I know not what corners of Africa. Nor do we approve of the Roman clergy who have recently passed off only the Roman Church as catholic.

PARTS OR FORMS OF THE CHURCH. The Church is divided into different parts or forms; not because it is divided or rent asunder in itself, but rather because it is distinguished by the diversity of the numbers that are in it.

MILITANT AND TRIUMPHANT. For the one is called the Church Militant, the other the Church Triumphant. The former still wages war on earth, and fights against the flesh, the world, and the prince of this world, the devil; against sin and death. But the latter, having been now discharged, triumphs in heaven immediately after having overcome all those things and rejoices before the Lord. Notwithstanding both have fellowship and union one with another.

THE PARTICULAR CHURCH. Moreover, the Church Militant upon the earth has always had many particular churches. yet all these are to be referred to the unity of the catholic Church. This [Militant] Church was set up differently before the Law among the patriarchs; otherwise under Moses by the Law; and differently by Christ through the Gospel.

THE TWO PEOPLES. Generally two peoples are usually counted, namely, the Israelites and Gentiles, or those who have been gathered from among Jews and Gentiles into the Church. There are also two Testaments, the Old and the New.

THE SAME CHURCH FOR THE OLD AND THE NEW PEOPLE. Yet from all these people there was and is one fellowship, one salvation in the one Messiah; in whom, as members of one body under one Head, all united together in the same faith, partaking also of the same spiritual food and drink. Yet here we acknowledge a diversity of times, and a diversity in the signs of the promised and delivered Christ; and that now the ceremonies being abolished, the light shines unto us more clearly, and blessings are given to us more abundantly, and a fuller liberty.

THE CHURCH THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD. This holy Church of God is called the temple of the living God, built of living and spiritual stones and founded upon a firm rock, upon a foundation which no other can lay, and therefore it is called “the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (I Tim. 3:15).

THE CHURCH DOES NOT ERR. It does not err as long as it rests upon the rock Christ, and upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles. And it is no wonder if it errs, as often as it deserts him who alone is the truth.

THE CHURCH AS BRIDE AND VIRGIN. This Church is also called a virgin and the Bride of Christ, and even the only Beloved. For the apostle says: “I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to Christ” (II Cor. 11:2).

THE CHURCH AS A FLOCK OF SHEEP. The Church is called a flock of sheep under the one shepherd, Christ, according to Ezek., ch. 34, and John, ch. 10.

THE CHURCH AS THE BODY. It is also called the body of Christ because the faithful are living members of Christ under Christ the Head.

CHRIST THE SOLE HEAD OF THE CHURCH. It is the head which has the preeminence in the body, and from it the whole body receives life; by its spirit the body is governed in all things; from it, also, the body receives increase, that it may grow up. Also, there is one head of the body, and it is suited to the body. Therefore the Church cannot have any other head besides Christ. For as the Church is a spiritual body, so it must also have a spiritual head in harmony with itself. Neither can it be governed by any other spirit than by the Spirit of Christ. Wherefore Paul says: “He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent” (Col. 1:18). And in another place: “Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior” (Eph. 5:23). And again: he is “the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22 f.). Also: “We are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together, makes bodily growth” (Eph. 4:15 f.). And therefore we do not approve of the doctrine of the Roman clergy, who make their Pope at Rome the universal shepherd and supreme head of the Church Militant here on earth, and so the very vicar of Jesus Christ, who has (as they say) all fulness of power and sovereign authority in the Church.

CHRIST THE ONLY PASTOR OF THE CHURCH. For we teach that Christ the Lord is, and remains the only universal pastor, and highest Pontiff before God the Father; and that in the Church he himself performs all the duties of a bishop or pastor, even to the world’s end; [Vicar] and therefore does not need a substitute for one who is absent. For Christ is present with his Church, and is its life-giving Head.

NO PRIMACY IN THE CHURCH. He has strictly forbidden his apostles and their successors to have any primacy and dominion in the Church. Who does not see, therefore, that whoever contradicts and opposes this plain truth is rather to be counted among the number of those of whom Christ’s apostles prophesied: Peter in II Peter, ch. 2, and Paul in Acts 20:2; II Cor. 11:2; II Thess., ch.2, and also in other places?

NO DISORDER IN THE CHURCH. However, by doing away with a Roman head we do not bring any confusion or disorder into the Church, since we teach that the government of the Church which the apostles handed down is sufficient to keep the Church in proper order, the Church was not disordered or in confusion. The Roman head does indeed preserve his tyranny and the corruption that has been brought into the Church, and meanwhile he hinders, resists, and with all the strength he can muster cuts off the proper reformation of the Church.

DISSENSIONS AND STRIFE IN THE CHURCH. We are reproached because there have been manifold dissensions and strife in our churches since they separated themselves from the Church of Rome, and therefore cannot be true churches. As though there were never in the Church of Rome any sects, nor contentions and quarrels concerning religion, and indeed, carried on not so much in the schools as from pulpits in the midst of the people. We know, to be sure, that the apostle said: “God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (I Cor. 14:33), and, “While there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh?” Yet we cannot deny that God was in the apostolic Church and that it was a true Church, even though there were wranglings and dissensions in it. The apostle Paul reprehended Peter, an apostle (Gal. 2:11 ff.), and Barnabas dissented from Paul. Great contention arose in the Church of Antioch between them that preached the one Christ, as Luke records in The Acts of the Apostles, ch. 15. And there have at all times been great contentions in the Church, and the most excellent teachers of the Church have differed among themselves about important matters without meanwhile the Church ceasing to be the Church because of these contentions. For thus it pleases God to use the dissensions that arise in the Church to the glory of his name, to illustrate the truth, and in order that those who are in the right might be manifest (I Cor. 11:19).

OF THE NOTES OR SIGNS OF THE TRUE CHURCH. Moreover, as we acknowledge no other head of the Church than Christ, so we do not acknowledge every church to be the true Church which vaunts herself to be such; but we teach that the true Church is that in which the signs or marks of the true Church are to be found, especially the lawful and sincere preaching of the Word of God as it was delivered to us in the books of the prophets and the apostles, which all lead us unto Christ, who said in the Gospel: “My sheep hear me voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life. A stranger they do not follow, but they flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:5, 27, 28).

And those who are such in the Church have one faith and one spirit; and therefore they worship but one God, and him alone they worship in spirit and in truth, loving him alone with all their hearts and with all their strength, praying unto him alone through Jesus Christ, the only Mediator and Intercessor; and they do not seek righteousness and life outside Christ and faith in him. Because they acknowledge Christ the only head and foundation of the Church, and, resting on him, daily renew themselves by repentance, and patiently bear the cross laid upon them. Moreover, joined together with all the members of Christ by an unfeigned love, they show that they are Christ’s disciples by persevering in the bond of peace and holy unity. At the same time they participate in the sacraments instituted by Christ, and delivered unto us by his apostles, using them in no other way than as they received them from the Lord. That saying of the apostle Paul is well known to all: “I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you” (I Cor. 11:23 ff.). Accordingly, we condemn all such churches as strangers from the true Church of Christ, which are not such as we have heard they ought to be, no matter how much they brag of a succession of bishops, of unity, and of antiquity. Moreover, we have a charge from the apostles of Christ “ti shun the worship of idols” (I Cor. 10:14; I John 5:21), and “to come out of Babylon,” and to have no fellowship with her, unless we want to be partakers with her of all God’s plagues (Rev. 18:4; II Cor. 6:17).

OUTSIDE THE CHURCH OF GOD THERE IS NO SALVATION. But we esteem fellowship with the true Church of Christ so highly that we deny that those can live before God who do not stand in fellowship with the true Church of God, but separate themselves from it. For as there was no salvation outside Noah’s ark when the world perished in flood; so we believe that there is no certain salvation outside Christ, who offers himself to be enjoyed by the elect in the Church; and hence we teach that those who wish to live ought not to be separated from the true Church of Christ.

THE CHURCH IS NOT BOUND TO ITS SIGNS. Nevertheless, by the signs [of the true Church] mentioned above, we do not so narrowly restrict the Church as to teach that all those are outside the Church who either do not participate in the sacraments, at least not willingly and through contempt, but rather, being forced by necessity, unwillingly abstain from them or are deprived of them; or in whom faith sometimes fails, though it is not entirely extinguished and does not wholly cease; or in whom imperfections and errors due to weakness are found. For we know that God had some friends in the world outside the commonwealth of Israel. We know what befell the people of God in the captivity of Babylon, where they were deprived of their sacrifices for seventy years. We know what happened to St. Peter, who denied his Master, and what is wont to happen daily to God’s elect and faithful people who go astray and are weak. We know, moreover, what kind of churches the churches in Galatia and Corinth were in the apostles’ time, in which the apostle found fault with many serious offenses; yet he calls them holy churches of Christ (I Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:2).

THE CHURCH APPEARS AT TIMES TO BE EXTINCT. Yes, and it sometimes happens that God in his just judgment allows the truth of his Word, and the catholic faith, and the proper worship of God to be so obscured and overthrown that the Church seems almost extinct, and no more to exist, as we see to have happened in the days of Elijah (I Kings 19:10, 14), and at other times. Meanwhile God has in this world and in this darkness his true worshippers, and those not a few, but even seven thousand and more (I Kings 19:18; Rev. 7:3 ff.). For the apostle exclaims: “God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal, `The Lord knows those who are his,’ ” etc. (II Tim. 2:19). Whence the Church of God may be termed invisible; not because the men from whom the Church is gathered are invisible, but because, being hidden from our eyes and known only to God, it often secretly escapes human judgment.

NOT ALL WHO ARE IN THE CHURCH ARE OF THE CHURCH. Again, not all that are reckoned in the number of the Church are saints, and living and true members of the Church. For there are many hypocrites, who outwardly hear the Word of God, and publicly receive the sacraments, and seem to pray to God through Christ alone, to confess Christ to be their only righteousness, and to worship God, and to exercise the duties of charity, and for a time to endure with patience in misfortune. And yet they are inwardly destitute of true illumination of the Spirit, of faith and sincerity of heart, and of perseverance to the end. But eventually the character of these men, for the most part, will be disclosed. For the apostle John says: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would indeed have continued with us” (I John 2:19). And although while they simulate piety they are not of the Church, yet they are considered to be in the Church, just as traitors in a state are numbered among its citizens before they are discovered; and as the tares or darnel and chaff are found among the wheat, and as swellings and tumors are found in a sound body, And therefore the Church of God is rightly compared to a net which catches fish of all kinds, and to a field, in which both wheat and tares are found (Matt. 13:24 ff., 47 ff.).

WE MUST NOT JUDGE RASHLY OR PREMATURELY. Hence we must be very careful not to judge before the time, nor undertake to exclude, reject or cut off those whom the Lord does not want to have excluded or rejected, and those whom we cannot eliminate without loss to the Church. On the other hand, we must be vigilant lest while the pious snore the wicked gain ground and do harm to the Church.

THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH IS NOT IN EXTERNAL RITES. Furthermore, we diligently teach that care is to be taken wherein the truth and unity of the Church chiefly lies, lest we rashly provoke and foster schisms in the Church. Unity consists not in outward rites and ceremonies, but rather in the truth and unity of the catholic faith. The catholic faith is not given to us by human laws, but by Holy Scriptures, of which the Apostles’ Creed is a compendium. And, therefore, we read in the ancient writers that there was a manifold diversity of rites, but that they were free, and no one ever thought that the unity of the Church was thereby dissolved. So we teach that the true harmony of the Church consists in doctrines and in the true and harmonious preaching of the Gospel of Christ, and in rites that have been expressly delivered by the Lord. And here we especially urge that saying of the apostle: “Let those of us who are perfect have this mind; and if in any thing you are otherwise minded, God will reveal that also to you. Nevertheless let us walk by the same rule according to what we have attained, and let us be of the same mind” (Phil. 3:15 f.).

CHAPTER XVIII

Of The Ministers of The Church,
Their Institution and Duties

GOD USES MINISTERS IN THE BUILDING OF THE CHURCH. God has always used ministers for the gathering or establishing of a Church for himself, and for the governing and preservation of the same; and still he does, and always will, use them so long as the Church remains on earth. Therefore, the first beginning, institution, and office of ministers is a most ancient arrangement of God himself, and not a new one of men.

INSTITUTION AND ORIGIN OF MINISTERS. It is true that God can, by his power, without any means join to himself a Church from among men; but he preferred to deal with men by the ministry of men. Therefore ministers are to be regarded, not as ministers by themselves alone, but as the ministers of God, inasmuch as God effects the salvation of men through them.

THE MINISTRY IS NOT TO BE DESPISED. Hence we warn men to beware lest we attribute what has to do with our conversion and instruction to the secret power of the Holy Spirit in such a way that we make void the ecclesiastical ministry. For it is fitting that we always have in mind the words of the apostle: “How are they to believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? So faith comes from hearing, and hearing comes by the word of God” (Rom. 10: 14, 17). And also what the Lord said in the Gospel: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives any one whom I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me” (John 13:20). Likewise a man of Macedonia, who appeared to Paul in a vision while he was in Asia, secretly admonished him, saying: “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:9). And in another place the same apostle said: “We are fellow workmen for God; you are God’s tillage, God’s building” (I Cor. 3:9).

Yet, on the other hand, we must beware that we do not attribute too much to ministers and the ministry; remembering here also the words of the Lord in the Gospel: “No one can come to me unless my Father draws him” (John 6:44), and the words of the apostle: “What then is Paul? What is Apollos? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but only God gives the growth” (I Cor. 3:5 ff.).

GOD MOVES THE HEARTS OF MEN. Therefore, let us believe that God teaches us by his word, outwardly through his ministers, and inwardly moves the hearts of his elect to faith by the Holy Spirit; and that therefore we ought to render all glory unto God for this whole favor. But this matter has been dealt with in the first chapter of this Exposition.

WHO THE MINISTERS ARE AND OF WHAT SORT GOD HAS GIVEN TO THE WORLD. And even from the beginning of the world God has used the most excellent men in the whole world (even if many of them were simple in worldly wisdom or philosophy, but were outstanding in true theology), namely, the patriarchs, with whom he frequently spike by angels. For the patriarchs were the prophets or teachers of their age whom God for this reason wanted to live for several centuries, in order that they might be, as it were, fathers and lights of the world. They were followed by Moses and the prophets renowned throughout all the world.

CHRIST THE TEACHER. After these the heavenly Father even sent his only-begotten Son, the most perfect teacher of the world; in whom is hidden the wisdom of God, and which has come to us through the most holy, simple, and most perfect doctrine of all. For he chose disciples for himself whom he made apostles. These went out into the whole world, and everywhere gathered together churches by the preaching of the Gospel, and then throughout all the churches in the world they appointed pastors or teachers according to Christ’s command; through their successors he has taught and governed the Church unto this day. Therefore, as God gave unto his ancient people the patriarchs, together with Moses and the prophets, so also to his people of the New Testament he sent his only-begotten Son, and, with him, the apostles and teachers of the Church.

MINISTERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. Furthermore, the ministers of the new people are called by various names. For they are called apostles, prophets, evangelists, bishops, elders, pastors, and teachers (I Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11).

THE APOSTLES. The apostles did not stay in any particular place, but throughout the world gathered together different churches. When they were once established, there ceased to be apostles, and pastors took their place, each in his church.

PROPHETS. In former times the prophets were seers, knowing the future; but they also interpreted the Scriptures. Such men are also found still today.

EVANGELISTS. The writers of the history of the Gospel were called Evangelists; but they also were heralds of the Gospel of Christ; as Paul also commended Timothy: “Do the work of an evangelist” (II Tim. 4:5).

BISHOPS. Bishops are the overseers and watchmen of the Church, who administer the food and needs of the life of the Church.

PRESBYTERS. The presbyters are the elders and, as it were, senators and fathers of the Church, governing it with wholesome counsel.

PASTORS The pastors both keep the Lord’s sheepfold, and also provide for its needs.

TEACHERS. The teachers instruct and teach the true faith and godliness. Therefore, the ministers of the churches may now be called bishops, elders, pastors, and teachers.

PAPAL ORDERS. Then in subsequent times many more names of ministers in the Church were introduced into the Church of God. For some were appointed patriarchs, others archbishops, others suffragans; also, metropolitans, archdeacons, deacons, subdeacons, acolytes, exorcists, cantors, porters, and I know not what others, as cardinals, provosts, and priors; greater and lesser fathers, greater and lesser orders. But we are not troubled about all these about how they once were and are now. For us the apostolic doctrine concerning ministers is sufficient.

CONCERNING MONKS. Since we assuredly know that monks, and the orders or sects of monks, are instituted neither by Christ nor by the apostles, we teach that they are of no use to the Church of God, nay rather, are pernicious. For, although in former times they were tolerable (when they were hermits, earning their living with their own hands, and were not a burden to anyone, but like the laity were everywhere obedient to the pastors of the churches), yet now the whole world sees and knows what they are like. They formulate I know not what vows; but they lead a life quite contrary to their vows, so that the best of them deserves to be numbered among those of whom the apostle said: “We hear that some of you are living an irregular life, mere busybodies, not doing any work” etc. (II Thess. 3:11). Therefore, we neither have such in our churches, nor do we teach that they should be in the churches of Christ.

MINISTERS ARE TO BE CALLED AND ELECTED. Furthermore, no man ought to usurp the honor of the ecclesiastical ministry; that is, to seize it for himself by bribery or any deceits, or by his own free choice. But let the ministers of the Church be called and chosen by lawful and ecclesiastical election; that is to say, let them be carefully chosen by the Church or by those delegated from the Church for that purpose in a proper order without any uproar, dissension and rivalry. Not any one may be elected, but capable men distinguished by sufficient consecrated learning, pious eloquence, simple wisdom, lastly, by moderation and an honorable reputation, according to that apostolic rule which is compiled by the apostle in I Tim., ch. 3, and Titus, ch. 1.

ORDINATION. And those who are elected are to be ordained by the elders with public prayer and laying on of hands. Here we condemn all those who go off of their own accord, being nether chosen, sent, nor ordained (Jer., ch. 23). We condemn unfit ministers and those not furnished with the necessary gifts of a pastor.

In the meantime we acknowledge that the harmless simplicity of some pastors in the primitive Church sometimes profited the Church more than the many-sided, refined and fastidious, but a little too esoteric learning of others. For this reason we do not reject even today the honest, yet by no means ignorant, simplicity of some.

PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS. To be sure, Christ’s apostles call all who believe in Christ “priests,” but not on account of an office, but because, all the faithful having been made kings and priests, we are able to offer up a spiritual sacrifices to God through Christ (Ex. 19:6; I Peter 2:9; Rev. 1:6). Therefore, the priesthood and the ministry are very different from one another. For the priesthood, as we have just said, is common to all Christians; not so is the ministry. Nor have we abolished the ministry of the Church because we have repudiated the papal priesthood from the Church of Christ.

PRIESTS AND PRIESTHOOD. Surely in the new covenant of Christ there is no longer any such priesthood as was under the ancient people; which had an external anointing, holy garments, and very many ceremonies which were types of Christ, who abolished them all by this coming and fulfilling them. But he himself remains the only priest forever, and lest we derogate anything form him, we do not impart the name of priest to any minister. For the Lord himself did not appoint any priests in the Church of the New Testament who, having received authority from the suffragan, may daily offer up the sacrifice that is, the very flesh and blood of the Lord, for the living and the dead, but ministers who may teach and administer the sacraments.

THE NATURE OF THE MINISTERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. Paul explains simply and briefly what we are to think of the ministers of the New Testament or of the Christian Church, and what we are to attribute to them. “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” II Cor. 4:1). Therefore, the apostle wants us to think of ministers as ministers. Now the apostle calls them rowers, who have their eyes fixed on the coxswain, and so men who do not live for themselves or according to their own will, but for others–namely, their masters, upon whose command they altogether depend. For in all his duties every minister of the Church is commanded to carry out only what he has received in commandment from his Lord, and not to indulge his own free choice. And in this case it is expressly declared who is the Lord, namely, Christ; to whom the ministers are subject in all the affairs of the ministry.

MINISTERS AS STEWARDS OF THE MYSTERIES OF GOD. Moreover, to the end that he might expound the ministry more fully, the apostle adds that ministers of the Church are administrators and stewards of the mysteries of God. Now in may passages, especially in Eph., ch. 3, Paul called the mysteries of God the Gospel of Christ. And the sacraments of Christ are also called mysteries by the ancient writers. Therefore for this purpose are the ministers of the Church called–namely, to preach the Gospel of Christ to the faithful, and to administer the sacraments. We read, also, in another place in the Gospel, of “the faithful and wise steward,” whom “his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time” (Luke 12:42). Again, elsewhere in the Gospel a man takes a journey in a foreign country and, leaving his house, gives his substance and authority over it to his servants, and to each his work.

THE POWER OF MINISTERS OF THE CHURCH. Now, therefore, it is fitting that we also say something about the power and duty of the ministers of the Church. Concerning this power some have argued industriously, and to it have subjected everything on earth, even the greatest things, and they have done so contrary to the commandment of the Lord who has prohibited dominion for this disciples and has highly commended humility (Luke 22:24 ff.; Matt. 18:3 f.; 20:25 ff.). There is, indeed, another power that is pure and absolute, which is called the power of right. According to this power all things in the whole world are subject to Christ, who is Lord of all, as he himself has testified when he said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18), and again, “I am the first and the last, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Hades and Death” (Rev. 1:18); also, “He has the key of David, which opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens” (Rev. 3:7).

THE LORD RESERVES TRUE POWER FOR HIMSELF. This power the Lord reserves to himself, and does not transfer it to any other, so that he might stand idly by as a spectator while his ministers work. For Isaiah says, “I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David” (Isa. 22:22), and again, “The government will be upon his shoulders, but still keeps and uses his own power, governing all things.

THE POWER OF THE OFFICE AND OF THE MINISTER. Then there is another power of an office or of ministry limited by him who has full and absolute power. And this is more like a service than a dominion.

THE KEYS. For a lord gives up his power to the steward in his house, and for that cause gives him the keys, that he may admit into or exclude from the house those whom his lord will have admitted or excluded. In virtue of this power the minister, because of his office, does that which the Lord has commanded him to do; and the Lord confirms what he does, and wills that what his servant has done will be so regarded and acknowledges, as if he himself had done it. Undoubtedly, it is to this that these evangelical sentences refer: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19). Again, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:23). But if the minister does not carry out everything as the Lord has commanded him, but transgresses the bounds of faith, then the Lord certainly makes void what he has done. Wherefore the ecclesiastical power of the ministers of the Church is that function whereby they indeed govern the Church of God, but yet se do all things in the Church as the Lord has prescribed in his Word. When those things are done, the faithful esteem them as done by the Lord himself. But mention has already been made of the keys above.

THE POWER OF MINISTERS IS ONE AND THE SAME, AND EQUAL. Now the one and an equal power or function is given to all ministers in the Church. Certainly, in the beginning, the bishops or presbyters governed the Church in common; no man lifted up himself above another, none usurped greater power or authority over his fellow-bishops. For remembering the words of the Lord: “Let the leader among you become as one who serves” (Luke 22:26), they kept themselves in humility, and by mutual services they helped one another in the governing and preserving of the Church.

ORDER TO BE PRESERVED. Nevertheless, for the sake of preserving order some one of the ministers called the assembly together, proposed matters to be laid before it, gathered the opinions of the others, in short, to the best of man’s ability took precaution lest any confusion should arise. Thus did St. Peter, as we read in The Acts of the Apostles, who nevertheless was not on that account preferred to the others, nor endowed with greater authority than the rest. Rightly then does Cyprian the Martyr say, in his De Simplicitate Clericorum: “The other apostles were assuredly what Peter was, endowed with a like fellowship of honor and power; but [his] primacy proceeds from unity in order that the Church may be shown to be one.”

WHEN AND HOW ONE WAS PLACED BEFORE THE OTHERS. St. Jerome also in his commentary upon The Epistle of Paul to Titus, says something not unlike this: “Before attachment to persons in religion was begun at the instigation of the devil, the churches were governed by the common consultation of the elders; but after every one thought that those whom he had baptized were his own, and not Christ’s, it was decreed that one of the elders should be chosen, and set over the rest, upon whom should fall the care of the whole Church, and all schismatic seeds should be removed.” Yet St. Jerome does not recommend this decree as divine; for he immediately adds: “As the elders knew from the custom of the Church that they were subject to him who was set over them, so the bishops knew that they were subject to him who was set over them, so the bishops knew that they were above the elders, more from custom than from the truth of an arrangement by the Lord, and that they ought to rule the Church in common with them.” Thus far St. Jerome. Hence no one can rightly forbid a return to the ancient constitution of the Church of God, and to have recourse to it before human custom.

THE DUTIES OF MINISTERS. The duties of ministers are various; yet for the most part they are restricted to two, in which all the rest are comprehended: to the teaching of the Gospel of Christ, and to the proper administration of the sacraments. For it is the duty of the ministers to gather together an assembly for worship in which to expound God’s Word and to apply the whole doctrine to the care and use of the Church, so that what is taught may benefit the hearers and edify the faithful It falls to ministers, I say, to teach the ignorant, and to exhort; and to urge the idlers and lingerers to make progress in the way of the Lord. Moreover, they are to comfort and to strengthen the fainthearted, and to arm them against the manifold temptations of Satan; to rebuke offenders; to recall the erring into the way; to raise the fallen; to convince the gainsayers to drive the wolf away from the sheepfold of the Lord; to rebuke wickedness and wicked men wisely and severely; no to wink at nor to pass over great wickedness. And, besides, they are to administer the sacraments, and to commend the right use of them, and to prepare all men by wholesome doctrine to receive them; to preserve the faithful in a holy unity; and to check schisms; to catechize the unlearned, to commend the needs of the poor to the Church, to visit, instruct, and keep in the way of life the sick and those afflicted with various temptations. In addition, they are to attend to public prayers of supplications in times of need, together with common fasting, that is, a holy abstinence; and as diligently as possible to see to everything that pertains to the tranquility, peace and welfare of the churches.

But in order that the minister may perform all these things better and more easily, it is especially required of him that he fear God, be constant in prayer, attend to spiritual reading, and in all things and at all times be watchful, and by a purity of life to let his light to shine before all men.

DISCIPLINE. And since discipline is an absolute necessity in the Church and excommunication was once used in the time of the early fathers, and there were ecclesiastical judgments among the people of God, wherein this discipline was exercised by wise and godly men, it also falls to ministers to regulate this discipline for edification, according to the circumstances of the time, public state, and necessity. At all times and in all places the tule is to be observed that everything is to be done for edification, decently and honorably, without oppression and strife. For the apostle testifies that authority in the Church was given to him by the Lord for building up and not for destroying (II Cor. 10:8). And the Lord himself forbade the weeds to be plucked up in the Lord’s field, because there would be danger lest the wheat also be plucked up with it (Matt. 13:29 f.).

EVEN EVIL MINISTERS ARE TO BE HEARD. Moreover, we strongly detest the error of the Donatists who esteem the doctrine and administration of the sacraments to be either effectual or not effectual, according to the good or evil life of the ministers. For we know that the voice of Christ is to be heard, though it be out of the mouths of evil ministers; because the Lord himself said: “Practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do” (Matt. 23:3). We know that the sacraments are sanctified by the institution and the word of Christ, and that they are effectual to the godly, although they be administered by unworthy ministers. Concerning this matter, Augustine, the blessed servant of God, many times argued from the Scriptures against the Donatists.

SYNODS. Nevertheless, there ought to be proper discipline among ministers. In synods the doctrine and life of ministers is to be carefully examined. Offenders who can be cured are to be rebuked by the elders and restored to the right way, and if they are incurable, they are to be deposed, and like wolves driven away from he flock of the Lord by the true shepherds. For, if they be false teachers, they are not to be tolerated at all. Neither do we disapprove of ecumenical councils, if they are convened according to the example of the apostles, for the welfare of the Church and not for its destruction.

THE WORKER IS WORTHY OF HIS REWARD. All faithful ministers, as good workmen, are also worthy of their reward, and do not sin when they receive a stipend, and all things that be necessary for themselves and their family. For the apostle shows in I Cor., ch. 9, and in I Tim., ch. 5, and elsewhere that these things may rightly be given by the Church and received by ministers. The Anabaptists, who condemn and defame ministers who live from their ministry are also refuted by the apostolic teaching.

CHAPTER XIX

Of the Sacraments of the Church of Christ

THE SACRAMENTS [ARE] ADDED TO THE WORD AND WHAT THEY ARE. From the beginning, God added to the preaching of his Word in his Church sacraments or sacramental signs. For thus does all Holy Scripture clearly testify. Sacraments are mystical symbols, or holy rites, or sacred actions, instituted by God himself, consisting of his Word, of signs and of things signified, whereby in the Church he keeps in mind and from time to time recalls the great benefits he has shown to men; whereby also he seals his promises, and outwardly represents, and, as it were, offers unto our sight those things which inwardly he performs for us, and so strengthens and increases our faith through the working of God’s Spirit in our hearts. Lastly, he thereby distinguishes us from all other people and religions, and consecrates and binds us wholly to himself, and signifies what he requires of us.

SOME ARE SACRAMENTS OF THE OLD, OTHERS OF THE NEW, TESTAMENTS. Some sacraments are of the old, others of the new, people. The sacraments of the ancient people were circumcision, and the Paschal Lamb, which was offered up; for that reason it is referred to the sacrifices which were practiced from the beginning of the world.

THE NUMBER OF SACRAMENTS OF THE NEW PEOPLE. The sacraments of the new people are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. There are some who count seven sacraments of the new people. Of these we acknowledge that repentance. the ordination of ministers (not indeed the papal but apostolic ordination), and matrimony are profitable ordinances of God, but not sacraments. Confirmation and extreme unction are human inventions which the Church can dispense with without any loss, and indeed, we do not have them in our churches. For they contain some things of which we can by no means approve. Above all we detest all the trafficking in which the Papists engage in dispensing the sacraments.

THE AUTHOR OF THE SACRAMENTS. The author of all sacraments is not any man, but God alone. Men cannot institute sacraments. For they pertain to the worship of God, and it is not for man to appoint and prescribe a worship of God, but to accept and preserve the one he has received from God. Besides, the symbols have God’s promises annexed to them, which require faith. Now faith rests only upon the Word of God; and the Word of God is like papers or letters, and the sacraments are like seals which only God appends to the letters.

CHRIST STILL WORKS IN SACRAMENTS. And as God is the author of the sacraments, so he continually works in the Church in which they are rightly carried out; so that the faithful, when they receive them from the ministers, know that God works in his own ordinance, and therefore they receive them as from the hand of God; and the minister’s faults (even if they be very great) cannot affect them, since they acknowledge the integrity of the sacraments to depend upon the institution of the Lord.

THE SUBSTANCE OR CHIEF THING IN THE SACRAMENTS. But the principal thing which God promises in all sacraments and to which all the godly in all ages direct their attention (some call it the substance and matter of sacraments) is Christ the Savior — that only sacrifice, and that Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world; that rock, also, from which all our fathers drank, by whom all the elect are circumcised without hands through the Holy Spirit, and are washed from all their sins, and are nourished with the very body and blood of Christ unto eternal life.

THE SIMILARITY AND DIFFERENCE IN THE SACRAMENTS OF OLD AND NEW PEOPLES. Now, in respect of that which is the principal thing and the matter itself in the sacraments, the sacraments of both peoples are equal. For Christ, the only Mediator and Savior of the faithful, is the chief thing and very substance of the sacraments in both; for the one God is the author of them both. They were given to both peoples as signs and seals of the grace and promises of God, which should call to mind and renew the memory of God’s great benefits, and should distinguish the faithful from all the religions in the world; lastly, which should be received spiritually by faith, and should bind the receivers to the Church, and admonish them of their duty. In these and similar respects, I say, the sacraments of both peoples are not dissimilar, although in the outward signs they are different. And, indeed, with respect to the signs we make a great difference. For ours are more firm and lasting, inasmuch as they will never be changed to the end of the world. Moreover, ours testify that both the substance and the promise have been fulfilled or perfected in Christ; the former signified what was to be fulfilled. Ours are also more simple and less laborious, less sumptuous and involved with ceremonies. Moreover, they belong to a more numerous people. one that is dispersed throughout the whole earth. And since they are more excellent, and by the Holy Spirit kindle greater faith, a greater abundance of the Spirit also ensues.

OUR SACRAMENTS SUCCEED THE OLD WHICH ARE ABROGATED. But now since Christ the true Messiah is exhibited unto us, and the abundance of grace is poured forth upon the people of The New Testament, the sacraments of the old people are surely abrogated and have ceased; and in their stead the symbols of the New Testament are placed — Baptism in the place of circumcision, the Lord’s Supper in place of the Paschal Lamb and sacrifices.

IN WHAT THE SACRAMENTS CONSIST. And as formerly the sacraments consisted of the word, the sign, and the thing signified; so even now they are composed, as it were, of the same parts. For the Word of God makes them sacraments, which before they were not.

THE CONSECRATION OF THE SACRAMENTS. For they are consecrated by the Word, and shown to be sanctified by him who instituted them. To sanctify or consecrate anything to God is to dedicate it to holy uses; that is, to take it from the common and ordinary use, and to appoint it to a holy use. For the signs in the sacraments are drawn from common use, things external and visible. For in baptism the sign is the element of water, and that visible washing which is done by the minister; but the thing signified is regeneration and the cleansing from sins. Likewise, in the Lord’s Supper, the outward sign is bread and wine, taken from things commonly used for meat and drink; but the thing signified is the body of Christ which was given, and his blood which was shed for us, or the communion of the body and blood of the Lord. Wherefore, the water, bread, and wine, according to their nature and apart from the divine institution and sacred use, are only that which they are called and we experience. But when the Word of God is added to them, together with invocation of the divine name, and the renewing of their first institution and sanctification, then these signs are consecrated, and shown to be sanctified by Christ. For Christ’s first institution and consecration of the sacraments remains always effectual in the Church of God, so that these who do not celebrate the sacraments in any other way than the Lord himself instituted from the beginning still today enjoy that first and all-surpassing consecration. And hence in the celebration of the sacraments the very words of Christ are repeated.

SIGNS TAKE NAME OF THINGS SIGNIFIED. And as we learn out of the Word of God that these signs were instituted for another purpose than the usual use, therefore we teach that they now, in their holy use, take upon them the names of things signified, and are no longer called mere water, bread or wine, but also regeneration or the washing of water, and the body and blood of the Lord or symbols and sacraments of the Lord’s body and blood. Not that the symbols are changed into the things signified, or cease to be what they are in their own nature. For otherwise they world not be sacraments. If they were only the thing signified, they would not be signs.

THE SACRAMENTAL UNION. Therefore the signs acquire the names of things because they are mystical signs of sacred things, and because the signs and the things signified are sacramentally joined together; joined together, I say, or united by a mystical signification, and by the purpose or will of him who instituted the sacraments. For the water, bread, and wine are not common, but holy signs. And he that instituted water in baptism did not institute it with the will and intention that the faithful should only be sprinkled by the water of baptism; and he who commanded the bread to be eaten and the wine to be drunk in the supper did not want the faithful to receive only bread and wine without any mystery as they eat bread in their homes; but that they should spiritually partake of the things signified, and by faith be truly cleansed from their sins, and partake of Christ.

THE SECTS. And, therefore, we do not at all approve of those who attribute the sanctification of the sacraments to I know not what properties and formula or to the power of words pronounced by one who is consecrated and who has the intention of consecrating, and to other accidental things which neither Christ or the apostles delivered to us by word or example. Neither do we approve of the doctrine of those who speak of the sacraments just as common signs, not sanctified and effectual. Nor do we approve of those who despise the visible aspect of the sacraments because of the invisible, and so believe the signs to be superfluous because they think they already enjoy the things themselves, as the Messalians are said to have held.

THE THING SIGNIFIED IS NEITHER INCLUDED IN OR BOUND TO THE SACRAMENTS. We do not approve of the doctrine of those who teach that grace and the things signified are so bound to and included in the signs that whoever participate outwardly in the signs, no matter what sort of persons they be, also inwardly participate in the grace and things signified.

However, as we do not estimate the value of the sacraments by the worthiness or unworthiness of the ministers, so we do not estimate it by the condition of those who receive them. For we know that the value of the sacraments depends upon faith and upon the truthfulness and pure goodness of God. For as the Word of God remains the true Word of God, in which, when it is preached, not only bare words are repeated, but at the same time the things signified or announced in words are offered by God, even if the ungodly and unbelievers hear and understand the words yet do not enjoy the things signified, because they do not receive them by true faith; so the sacraments, which by the Word consist of signs and the things signified, remain true and inviolate sacraments, signifying not only sacred things, but, by God offering, the things signified, even if unbelievers do not receive the things offered. This is not the fault of God who gives and offers them, but the fault of men who receive them without faith and illegitimately; but whose unbelief does not invalidate the faithfulness of God (Rom. 3:3 f.).

THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH SACRAMENTS WERE INSTITUTED. Since the purpose for which sacraments were instituted was also explained in passing when right at the beginning of our exposition it was shown what sacraments are, there is no need to be tedious by repeating what once has been said. Logically, therefore, we now speak severally of the sacraments of the new people.

CHAPTER XX

Of Holy Baptism

THE INSTITUTION OF BAPTISM. Baptism was instituted and consecrated by God. First John baptized, who dipped Christ in the water in Jordan. From him it came to the apostles, who also baptized with water. The Lord expressly commanded them to preach the Gospel and to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). And in The Acts, Peter said to the Jews who inquired what they ought to do: “Be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37 f.). Hence by some baptism is called a sign of initiation for God’s people, since by it the elect of God are consecrated to God.

ONE BAPTISM. There is but one baptism in the Church of God; and it is sufficient to be once baptized or consecrated unto God. For baptism once received continues for all of life, and is a perpetual sealing of our adoption.

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE BAPTIZED. Now to be baptized in the name of Christ is to be enrolled, entered, and received into the covenant and family, and so into the inheritance of the sons of God; yes, and in this life to be called after the name of God; that is to say, to be called a son of God; to be cleansed also from the filthiness of sins, and to be granted the manifold grace of God, in order to lead a new and innocent life. Baptism, therefore, calls to mind and renews the great favor God has shown to the race of mortal men. For we are all born in the pollution of sin and are the children of wrath. But God, who is rich in mercy, freely cleanses us from our sins by the blood of his Son, and in him adopts us to be his sons, and by a holy covenant joins us to himself, and enriches us with various gifts, that we might live a new life. All these things are assured by baptism. For inwardly we are regenerated, purified, and renewed by God through the Holy Spirit and outwardly we receive the assurance of the greatest gifts in the water, by which also those great benefits are represented, and, as it were, set before our eyes to be beheld.

WE ARE BAPTIZED WITH WATER. And therefore we are baptized, that is, washed or sprinkled with visible water. For the water washes dirt away, and cools and refreshes hot and tired bodies. And the grace of God performs these things for souls, and does so invisibly or spiritually.

THE OBLIGATION OF BAPTISM. Moreover, God also separates us from all strange religions and peoples by the symbol of baptism, and consecrates us to himself as his property. We, therefore, confess our faith when we are baptized, and obligate ourselves to God for obedience, mortification of the flesh, and newness of life. Hence, we are enlisted in the holy military service of Christ that all our life long we should fight against the world, Satan, and our own flesh. Moreover, we are baptized into one body of the Church, that with all members of the Church we might beautifully concur in the one religion and in mutual services.

THE FORM OF BAPTISM. We believe that the most perfect form of baptism is that by which Christ was baptized, and by which the apostles baptized. Those things, therefore, which by man’s device were added afterwards and used in the Church we do not consider necessary to the perfection of baptism. Of this kind is exorcism, the use of burning lights, oil, salt, spittle, and such other things as that baptism is to be celebrated twice every year with a multitude of ceremonies. For we believe that one baptism of the Church has been sanctified in God’s first institution, and that it is consecrated by the Word and is also effectual today in virtue of God’s first blessing.

THE MINISTER OF BAPTISM. We teach that baptism should not be administered in the Church by women or midwives. For Paul deprived women of ecclesiastical duties, and baptism has to do with these.

ANABAPTISTS. We condemn the Anabaptists, who deny that newborn infants of the faithful are to be baptized. For according to evangelical teaching, of such is the Kingdom of God, and they are in the covenant of God. Why, then, should the sign of God’s covenant not be given to them? Whey should those who belong to God and are in his Church not be initiated by holy baptism? We condemn also the Anabaptists in the rest of their peculiar doctrines which they hold contrary to the Word of God. We therefore are not Anabaptists and have nothing in common with them.

CHAPTER XXI

Of the Holy Supper of the Lord

THE SUPPER OF THE LORD. The Supper of the Lord (which is called the Lord’s Table, and the Eucharist, that is, a Thanksgiving), is, therefore, usually called a supper, because it was instituted by Christ at this last supper, and still represents it, and because in it the faithful are spiritually fed and given drink.

THE AUTHOR AND CONSECRATOR OF THE SUPPER. For the author of the Supper of the Lord is not an angel or any man, but the Son of God himself, our Lord Jesus Christ, who first consecrated it to his Church. And the same consecration or blessing still remains among all those who celebrate no other but that very Supper which the Lord instituted, and at which they repeat the words of the Lord’s Supper, and in all things look to the one Christ by a true faith, from whose hands they receive, as it were, what they receive through the ministry of the ministers of the Church.

A MEMORIAL OF GOD’S BENEFITS. By this sacred rite the Lord wishes to keep in fresh remembrance that greatest benefit which he showed to mortal men, namely, that by having given his body and shed his blood he has pardoned all our sins, and redeemed us from eternal death and the power of the devil, and now feeds us with his flesh, and gives us his blood to drink, which, being received spiritually by true faith, nourish us to eternal life. And this so great a benefit is renewed as often as the Lord’s Supper is celebrated. For the Lord said: “Do this in remembrance of me.” This holy Supper also seals to us that the very body of Christ was truly given for us, and his blood shed for the remission of our sins, lest our faith should in any way waver.

THE SIGN AND THING SIGNIFIED. And this is visibly represented by this sacrament outwardly through the ministers, and, as it were, presented to out eyes to be seen, which is invisibly wrought by the Holy Spirit inwardly in the soul. Bread is outwardly offered by the minister, and the words of the Lord are heard: “Take, eat; this is my body”; and, “Take and divide among you. Drink of it, all of you; this is my blood.” Therefore the faithful receive what is given by the ministers of the Lord, and they eat the bread of the Lord and drink of the Lord’s cup. At the same time by the work of Christ through the Holy Spirit they also inwardly receive the flesh and blood of the Lord, and are thereby nourished unto life eternal. For the flesh and blood of Christ is the true food and drink unto life eternal; and Christ himself, since he was given for us and is our Savior, is the principal thing in the Supper, and we do not permit anything else to be substituted in his place.

But in order to understand better and more clearly how the flesh and blood of Christ are the food and drink of the faithful, and are received by the faithful unto eternal life, we would add these few things. There is more than one kind of eating. There is corporeal eating whereby food is taken into the mouth, is chewed with the teeth, and swallowed into the stomach. In times past the Capernaites thought that the flesh of the Lord should be eaten in this way, but they are refuted by him in John, ch. 6. For as the flesh of Christ cannot be eaten corporeally without infamy and savagery, so it is not food for the stomach. All men are forced to admit this. We therefore disapprove of that canon in the Pope’s decrees, Ego Berengarius (De Consecrat., Dist. 2). For neither did godly antiquity believe, nor do we believe, that the body of Christ is to be eaten corporeally and essentially with a bodily mouth.

SPIRITUAL EATING OF THE LORD. There is also a spiritual eating of Christ’s body; not such that we think that thereby the food itself is to be changed into spirit, but whereby the body and blood of the Lord, while remaining in their own essence and property, are spiritually communicated to us, certainly not in a corporeal but in a spiritual way, by the Holy Spirit, who applies and bestows upon us these things which have been prepared for us by the sacrifice of the Lord’s body and blood for us, namely, the remission of sins, deliverance, and eternal life; so that Christ lives in us and we live in him, and he causes us to receive him by true faith to this end that he may become for us such spiritual food and drink, that is, our life.

CHRIST AS OUR FOOD SUSTAINS US IN LIFE. For even as bodily food and drink not only refresh and strengthen our bodies, but also keeps them alive, so the flesh of Christ delivered for us, and his blood shed for us, not only refresh and strengthen our souls, but also preserve them alive, not in so far as they are corporeally eaten and drunken, but in so far as they are communicated unto us spiritually by the Spirit of God, as the Lord said: “The bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh (John 6:51), and “the flesh” (namely what is eaten bodily) “is of no avail; it is the spirit that gives life” (v. 63). And: “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

CHRIST RECEIVED BY FAITH. And as we must by eating receive food into our bodies in order that it may work in us, and prove its efficacy in us — since it profits us nothing when it remains outside us — so it is necessary that we receive Christ by faith, that he may become ours, and he may live in us and we in him. For he says: “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35); and also, “He who eats me will live because of me…he abides in me, I in him” (vs. 57, 56).

SPIRITUAL FOOD. From all this it is clear that by spiritual food we do not mean some imaginary food I know not what but the very body of the Lord given to us, which nevertheless is received by the faithful not corporeally, but spiritually by faith. In this matter we follow the teaching of the Savior himself, Christ the Lord, according to John, ch. 6.

EATING NECESSARY FOR SALVATION. And this eating of the flesh and drinking of the blood of the Lord is so necessary for salvation that without it no man can be saved. But this spiritual eating and drinking also occurs apart from the Supper of the Lord, and as often and wherever a man believes in Christ. To which that sentence of St. Augustine’s perhaps applies: “Why do you provide for your teeth and your stomach? Believe, and you have eaten.”

SACRAMENTAL EATING OF THE LORD. Besides the higher spiritual eating there is also a sacramental eating of the body of the Lord by which not only spiritually and internally the believer truly participates in the true body and blood of the Lord, but also, by coming to the Table of the Lord, outwardly receives the visible sacrament of the body and blood of the Lord. To be sure, when the believer believed, he first received the life-giving food, and still enjoys it. But therefore, when he now received the sacrament, he does not received nothing. For he progresses in continuing to communicate in the body and blood of the Lord, and so his faith is kindle and grows more and more, and is refreshed by spiritual food. For while we live, faith is continually increased. And he who outwardly receives the sacrament by true faith, not only receives the sign, but also, as we said, enjoys the thing itself. Moreover, he obeys the Lord’s institution and commandment, and with a joyful mind gives thanks for his redemption and that of all mankind, and makes a faithful memorial to the Lord’s death, and gives a witness before the Church, of whose body he is a member. Assurance is also given to those who receive the sacrament that the body of the Lord was given and his blood shed, not only for men in general, but particularly for every faithful communicant, to whom it is food and drink unto eternal life.

UNBELIEVERS TAKE THE SACRAMENT TO THEIR JUDGMENT. But he who comes to this sacred Table of the Lord without faith, communicates only in the sacrament and does not receive the substance of the sacrament whence comes life and salvation; and such men unworthily eat of the Lord’s Table. Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, and eats and drinks judgment upon himself (I Cor. 11:26-29). For when they do not approach with true faith, they dishonor the death of Christ, and therefore eat and drink condemnation to themselves.

THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST IN THE SUPPER. We do not, therefore, so join the body of the Lord and his blood with the bread and wine as to say that the bread itself is the body of Christ except in a sacramental way; or that the body of Christ is hidden corporeally under the bread, so that it ought to be worshipped under the form of bread; or yet that whoever receives the sign, receives also the thing itself. The body of Christ is in heaven at the right hand of the Father; and therefore our hearts are to be lifted up on high, and not to be fixed on the bread, neither is the Lord to be worshipped in the bread. Yet the Lord is not absent from his Church when she celebrates the Supper. The sun, which is absent from us in the heavens, is notwithstanding effectually present among us. How much more is the Sun of Righteousness, Christ, although in his body he is absent from us in heaven, present with us, not corporeally, but spiritually, by his vivfying operation, and as he himself explained at his Last Supper that he world be present with us (John, chs. 14; 15; and 16). Whence it follows that we do not have the Supper without Christ, and yet at the same time have an unbloody and mystical Supper, as it was universally called by antiquity.

OTHER PURPOSES OF THE LORD’S SUPPERS. Moreover, we are admonished in the celebration of the Supper of the Lord to be mindful of whose body we have become members, and that, therefore, we may be of one mind with all the brethren, live a holy life, and not pollute ourselves with wickedness and strange religions; but, perservering in the true faith to the end of our life, strive to excel in holiness of life.

PREPARATION FOR THE SUPPER. It is therefore fitting that when we would come to the Supper, we first examine ourselves according to the commandment of the apostle, especially as to the kind of faith we have, whether we believe that Christ has come to save sinners and to call them to repentance, and whether each man believes that he is in the number of those who have been delivered by Christ and saved; and whether he is determined to change his wicked life, to lead a holy life, and with the Lord’s help to persevere in the true religion and in harmony with the brethren, and to give due thanks to God for his deliverance.

THE OBSERVANCE OF THE SUPPER WITH BOTH BREAD AND WINE. We think that rite, manner, or form of the Supper to be the most simple and excellent which comes nearest to the first institution of the Lord and to the apostles’ doctrine. It consists in proclaiming the Word of God, in godly prayers, in the action of the Lord himself, and its repetition, in the eating of the Lord’s body and drinking of this blood; in a fitting remembrance of the Lord’s death, and a faithful thanksgiving; and in a holy fellowship in the union of the body of the Church.

We therefore disapprove of those who have taken from the faithful one species of the sacrament, namely, the Lord’s cup. For these seriously offend against the institution of the Lord who says: “Drink ye all of this”; which he did not so expressly say of the bread.

We are not now discussing we what kind of mass once existed among the fathers, whether it is to be tolerated or not. But this we say freely that the mass which is now used throughout the Roman Church has been abolished in our churches for many and very good reasons which, for brevity’s sake, we do not now enumerate in detail. We certainly could not approve of making a wholesome action into a vain spectacle and a means of giving merit, and of celebrating it for a price. Nor could we approve of saying that in it the priest is said to effect the very body of the Lord, and really to offer it for the remission of the sins of the living and the dead, and in addition, for the honor, veneration and remembrance of the saints in heaven, etc.

CHAPTER XXII

Of Religious and Ecclesiastical Meetings

WHAT OUGHT TO BE DONE IN MEETINGS FOR WORSHIP. Although it is permitted all men to read the Holy Scriptures privately at home, and by instruction to edify one another in the true religion, yet in order that the Word of God may be properly preached to the people, and prayers and supplication publicly made, also that the sacraments may be rightly administered, and that collections may be made for the poor and to pay the cost of all the Church’s expenses, and in order to maintain social intercourse, it is most necessary that religious or Church gatherings be held. For it is certain that in the apostolic and primitive Church, there were such assemblies frequented by all the godly.

MEETINGS FOR WORSHIP NOT TO BE NEGLECTED. As many as spun such meetings and stay away from them, despise true religion, and are to be urged by the pastors and godly magistrates to abstain from stubbornly absenting themselves from sacred assemblies.

MEETINGS ARE PUBLIC. But Church meetings are not to be secret and hidden, but public and well attended, unless persecution by the enemies of Christ and the Church does not permit them to be public. For we know how under the tyranny of the Roman emperors the meetings of the primitive Church were held in secret places.

DECENT MEETING PLACES. Moreover, the places where the faithful meet are to be decent, and in all respects fit for God’s Church. Therefore, spacious buildings or temples are to be chosen, but they are to be purged of everything that is not fitting for a church. And everything is to be arranged for decorum, necessity, and godly decency, lest anything be lacking that is required for worship and the necessary works of the Church.

MODESTY AND HUMILITY TO BE OBSERVED IN MEETINGS. And as we believe that God does not dwell in temples made with hands, so we know that on account of God’s Word and sacred use places dedicated to God and his worship are not profane, but holy, and that those who are present in them are to conduct themselves reverently and modestly, seeing that they are in a sacred place, in the presence of God and his holy angels.

THE TRUE ORNAMENTATION OF SANCTUARIES. Therefore, all luxurious attire, all pride, and everything unbecoming to Christian humility, discipline and modesty, are to be banished from the sanctuaries and places of prayer of Christians. For the true ornamentation of churches does not consist in ivory, gold, and precious stones, but in the frugality, piety, and virtues of those who are in the Church. Let all things be done decently and in order in the church, and finally, let all things be done for edification.

WORSHIP IN THE COMMON LANGUAGE. Therefore, let all strange tongues keep silence in gatherings for worship, and let all things be set forth in a common language which is understood by the people gathered in that place.

CHAPTER XXIII

Of the Prayers of the Church, of Singing, and of Canonical Hours

COMMON LANGUAGE. It is true that a man is permitted to pray privately in any language that he understands, but public prayers in meetings for worship are to be made in the common language known to all.

PRAYER. Let all the prayers of the faithful be poured forth to God alone, through the mediation of Christ only, out of faith and love. The priesthood of Christ the Lord and true religion forbid the invocation of saints in heaven or to use them as intercessors. Prayer is to be made for magistracy, for kings, and all that are placed in authority, for ministers of the Church, and for all needs of churches. In calamities, especially of the Church, unceasing prayer is to be made both privately and publicly.

FREE PRAYER. Moreover, prayer is to be made voluntarily, without constraint or for any reward. Nor is it proper for prayer to be superstitiously restricted to one place, as if it were not permitted to pray anywhere except in a sanctuary. Neither is it necessary for public prayers to be the same in all churches with respect to form and time. Each Church is to exercise its own freedom. Socrates, in his history, says, “In all regions of the world you will not find two churches which wholly agree in prayer” (Hist. ecclesiast. V.22, 57). The authors of this difference, I think, were those who were in charge of the Churches at particular times. Yet if they agree, it is to be highly commended and imitated by others.

THE METHOD TO BE EMPLOYED IN PUBLIC PRAYERS. As in everything, so also in public prayers there is to be a standard lest they be excessively long and irksome. The greater part of meetings for worship is therefore to be given to evangelical teaching, and care is to be taken lest the congregation is wearied by too lengthy prayers and when they are to hear the preaching of the Gospel they either leave the meeting or, having been exhausted, want to do away with it altogether. To such people the sermon seems to be overlong, which otherwise is brief enough. And therefore it is appropriate for preachers to keep to a standard.

SINGING. Likewise moderation is to be exercised where singing is used in a meeting for worship. That song which they call the Gregorian Chant has many foolish things in it; hence it is rightly rejected by many of our churches. If there are churches which have a true and proper sermon but no singing, they ought not to be condemned. For all churches do not have the advantage of singing. And it is well known form testimonies of antiquity that the custom of singing is very old in the Eastern Churches whereas it was late when it was at length accepted in the West.

CANONICAL HOURS. Antiquity knew nothing of canonical hours, that is, prayers arranged for certain hours of the day, and sung or recited by the Papists, as can be proved from their breviaries and by many arguments. But they also have not a few absurdities, of which I say nothing else; accordingly they are rightly omitted by churches which substitute in their place things that are beneficial for the whole Church of God.

CHAPTER XXIV

Of Holy Days,

Fasts and the Choice of Foods

THE TIME NECESSARY FOR WORSHIP. Although religion is not bound to time, yet it cannot be cultivated and exercised without a proper distribution and arrangement of time. Every Church, therefore, chooses for itself a certain time for public prayers, and for the preaching of the Gospel, and for the celebration of the sacraments; and no one is permitted to overthrow this appointment of the Church at his own pleasure. For unless some due time and leisure is given for the outward exercise of religion, without doubt men would be drawn away from it by their own affairs.

THE LORD’S DAY. Hence we see that in the ancient churches there were not only certain set hours in the week appointed for meetings, but that also the Lord’s Day itself, ever since the apostles’ time, was set aside for them and for a holy rest, a practice now rightly preserved by our Churches for the sake of worship and love.

SUPERSTITION. In this connection we do not yield to the Jewish observance and to superstitions. For we do not believe that one day is any holier than another, or think that rest in itself is acceptable to God. Moreover, we celebrate the Lord’s Day and not the Sabbath as a free observance.

THE FESTIVALS OF CHRIST AND THE SAINTS. Moreover, if in Christian liberty the churches religiously celebrate the memory of the Lord’s nativity, circumcision, passion, resurrection, and of his ascension into heaven, and the sending of the Holy Spirit upon his disciples, we approve of it highly. but we do not approve of feasts instituted for men and for saints. Holy days have to do with the first Table of the Law and belong to God alone. Finally, holy days which have been instituted for the saints and which we have abolished, have much that is absurd and useless, and are not to be tolerated. In the meantime, we confess that the remembrance of saints, at a suitable time and place, is to be profitably commended to the people in sermons, and the holy examples of the saints set forth to be imitated by all.

FASTING. Now, the more seriously the Church of Christ condemns surfeiting, drunkenness, and all kinds of lust and intemperance, so much the more strongly does it commend to us Christian fasting. For fasting is nothing else than the abstinence and moderation of the godly, and a discipline, care and chastisement of our flesh undertaken as a necessity for the time being, whereby we are humbled before God, and we deprive the flesh of its fuel so that it may the more willingly and easily obey the Spirit. Therefore, those who pay no attention to such things do not fast, but imagine that they fast if they stuff their stomachs once day, and at a certain or prescribed time abstain from certain foods, thinking that by having done this work they please God and do something good. Fasting is an aid to the prayers of the saints and for all virtues. But as is seen in the books of the prophets, the fast of the Jews who fasted from food but not from wickedness did not please God.
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE FASTING. Now there is a public and a private fasting. In olden times they celebrated public fasts in calamitous limes and in the affliction of the Church. They abstained altogether from food till the evening, and spent all that time in holy prayers, the worship Of God, and repentance These differed little from mourning, and there is frequent mention of them in the Prophets and especially by Joel in Ch. 2· Such a fast should be kept at this day, when the Church is in distress. private fasts are undertaken by each one of us, as he feels himself withdrawn from the Spirit. For in this manner he withdraws the flesh from its fuel.
CHARACTERISTICS OF FASTING. All fasts ought to proceed from a free and willing spirit, and from genuine humility, and not feigned to gain the applause or favor of men, much less that a man should wish to merit righteousness by them. But let every one fast to this end, that he may deprive the flesh of its fuel in order that he may the more zealously serve God.

LENT. The fast of Lent is attested by antiquity but not at all in the writings of the apostles. Therefore it ought not, and cannot, be imposed on the faithful. It is certain that formerly there were various forms and customs of fasting. hence, Irenaeus, a most ancient writer, says: “Some think that a fast should be observed one day only, others two days, but others more, and some forty days. This diversity in keeping this fast did not first begin in our times, but long before us by those, as I suppose, who did not simply keep to what had been delivered to them from the beginning, but afterwards fell into another custom either through negligence or ignorance” (Fragm. 3, ed. Stieren, I. 824 f.). Moreover, Socrates, the historian, says: “Because no ancient text is found concerning this matter, I think the apostles left this to every man’s own judgment, that every one might do what is good without fear or constraint” (Hist. ecclesiast. V.22, 40).

CHOICE OF FOOD. Now concerning the choice of foods, we think that in fasting all things should be denied to the flesh whereby the flesh is made more insolent, and by which it is greatly pleased, and by which it is inflamed with desire whether by fish or meat or spices or delicacies and excellent wines. Moreover, we know that all the creatures of God were made for the use and service of men. All things which God made are good, and without distinction are to be used in the fear of God and with proper moderation (Gen. 2:15 f.). For the apostle says: “To the pure all things are pure” (Titus 1:15), and also: “Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience” (I Cor. 10:25). The same apostle calls the doctrine of those who teach to abstain form meats “the doctrine of demons”; for “God created foods to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know this truth that everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (I Tim. 4:1 ff.) The same apostle, in the epistle to the Colossians, reproves those who want to acquire a reputation for holiness by excessive abstinence (Col. 2:18 ff.).

SECTS. Therefore we entirely disapprove of the Tatians and the Encratites, and all the disciples of Eustathius, against whom the Gangrain Synod was called.

CHAPTER XXV

Of Catechizing and of Comforting
and Visiting the Sick

YOUTH TO BE INSTRUCTED IN GODLINESS. The Lord enjoined his ancient people to exercise the greatest care that young people, even from infancy, be properly instructed. Moreover, he expressly commanded in his law that they should teach them, and that the mysteries of the sacraments should be explained. Now since it is well known from the writings of the Evangelists and apostles that God has no less concern for the youth of his new people, when he openly testifies and says: “Let the children come to me; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Mark 10:14), the pastors of the churches act most wisely when they early and carefully caetchize the youth, laying the first grounds of faith, and faithfully teaching the rudiments of our religion by expounding the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the doctrine of the sacraments, with other such principles and chief heads of our religion. Here let the Church show her faith and diligence in bringing the children to be catechized, desirous and glad to have her children well instructed.

THE VISITATION OF THE SICK. Since men are never exposed to more grievous temptations than when they are harassed by infirmities, are sick and are weakened by diseases of both soul and body, surely it is never more fitting for pastors of churches to watch more carefully for the welfare of their flocks than in such diseases and infirmities. Therefore let them visit the sick soon, and let them be called in good time by the sick, if the circumstance itself would have required it. Let them comfort and confirm them in the true faith, and then arm them against the dangerous suggestions of Satan. They should also hold prayer for the sick in the home and, if need be, prayers should also be made for the sick in the public meeting; and they should see that they happily depart this life. We said above that we do not approve of the popish visitation of the sick with extreme unction because it is absurd and is not approved by canonical Scriptures.

CHAPTER XXVI

Of the Burial of the Faithful,
and of the Care to Be Shown for the Dead;
of Purgatory, and the Appearing of Spirits

THE BURIAL OF BODIES. As the bodies of the faithful are the temples of the Holy Spirit which we truly believe will rise again at the Last Day, Scriptures command that they be honorably and without superstition committed to the earth, and also that honorable mention be made of those saints who have fallen asleep in the Lord, and that all duties of familial piety be shown to those left behind, their widows and orphans. We do not teach that any other care be taken for the dead. Therefore, we greatly disapprove of the Cynics, who neglected the bodies of the dead or most carelessly and disdainfully cast them into the earth, never saying a good word about the deceased, or caring a bit about those whom they left behind them.

THE CARE FOR THE DEAD. On the other hand, we do not approve of those who are overly and absurdly attentive to the deceased; who, like the heathen, bewail their dead (although we do not blame that moderate mourning which the apostle permits in I Thess. 4:13, judging it to be inhuman not to grieve at all); and who sacrifice for the dead, and mumble certain prayers for pay, in order by such ceremonies to deliver their loved ones from the torments in which they are immersed by death, and then think they are able to liberate them by such incantations.

THE STATE OF THE SOUL DEPARTED FROM THE BODY. For we believe that the faithful, after bodily death, go directly to Christ, and, therefore, do not need the eulogies and prayers of the living for the dead and their services. Likewise we believe that unbelievers are immediately cast into hell from which no exit is opened for the wicked by any services of the living.

PURGATORY. But what some teach concerning the fire of purgatory is opposed to the Christian faith, namely, “I believe in the forgiveness of sins, and the life everlasting,” and to the perfect purgation through Christ, and to these words of Christ our Lord: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24). Again: “He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over, and you are clean” (John 13:10).

APPARITION OF SPIRITS. Now what is related of the spirits or souls of the dead sometimes appearing to those who are alive, and begging certain duties of them whereby they may be set free, we count those apparitions among the laughingstocks, crafts, and deceptions of the devil, who, as he can transform himself into an angel of light, so he strives either to overthrow the true faith or to call it into doubt. In the Old Testament the Lord forbade the seeking of the truth from the dead, and any sort of commerce with spirits Deut. 18:11). Indeed, as evangelical truth declares, the glutton, being in torment, is denied a return to his brethren, as the divine oracle declared in the words: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead” (Luke 16:29 ff.).

CHAPTER XXVII

Of Rites, Ceremonies and Things Indifferent

CEREMONIES AND RITES. Unto the ancient people were given at one time certain ceremonies, as a kind of instruction for those who were kept under the law, as under a schoolmaster or tutor. But when Christ, the Deliverer, came and the law was abolished, we who believe are no more under the law (Rom. 6:14), and the ceremonies have disappeared; hence the apostles did not want to retain or to restore them in Christ’s Church to such a degree that they openly testified that they did not wish to impose any burden upon the Church. Therefore, we would seem to be bringing in and restoring Judaism if we were to increase ceremonies and rites in Christ’s Church according to the custom in the ancient Church. Hence, we by no means approve of the opinion of those who think that the Church of Christ must be held in check by many different rites, as if by some kind of training. For if the apostles did not want to impose upon Christian people ceremonies or rites which were appointed by God, who, I pray, in his right mind would obtrude upon them the inventions devised by man? The more the mass of rites is increased in the Church, the more is detracted not only from Christian liberty, but also from Christ, and from faith in him, as long as the people seek those things in ceremonies which they should seek in the only Son of God, Jesus Christ, through faith. Wherefore a few moderate and simple rites, that are not contrary to the Word of God, are sufficient for the godly.

DIVERSITY OF RITES. If different rites are found in churches, no one should think that for this reason the churches disagree. Socrates says: “It would be impossible to put together in writing all the rites of churches throughout cities and countries. No religion observes the same rites, even though it embraces the same doctrine concerning them. For those who are of the same faith disagree among themselves about rites” (Hist. ecclesiast. V.22, 30, 62). This much says Socrates. And we, today, having in our churches different rites in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper and in some other things, nevertheless do not disagree in doctrine and faith; nor is the unity and fellowship of our churches thereby rent asunder. For the churches have always used their liberty in such rites, as being things indifferent. We also do the same thing today.

THINGS INDIFFERENT. But at the same time we admonish me to be on guard lest they reckon among things indifferent what are in fact not indifferent, as some are wont to regard the mass and the use of images in places of worship as things indifferent. “Indifferent,” wrote Jerome to Augustine, “is that which is neither good nor bad, so that, whether you do it or not, you are neither just nor unjust.” Therefore, when things indifferent are wrested to the confession of faith, they cease to be free; as Paul shows that it is lawful for a man to eat flesh if someone does not remind him that it was offered to idols; for then it is unlawful, because he who eats it seems to approve idolatry by eating it (I Cor. 8:9 ff.; 10:25 ff.).

CHAPTER XXVIII

Of the possessions of the Church

THE POSSESSIONS OF THE CHURCH AND THEIR PROPER USE. The Church of Christ possesses riches through the munificence of princes and the liberality of the faithful who have given their means to the Church. For the Church has need of such resources and from ancient time has had resources for the maintenance of things necessary for the Church. Now the true use of the Church’s wealth was, and is now, to maintain teaching in schools and in religious meetings, along with all the worship, rites, and buildings of the Church; finally, to maintain teachers, scholars, and ministers, with other necessary things, and especially for the succor and relief of the poor.

MANAGEMENT. Moreover, God-fearing and wise men, noted for the management of domestic affairs, should be chosen to administer properly the Church’s possessions.

THE MISUSE OF THE CHURCH’S POSSESSIONS. But if through misfortune or through the audacity, ignorance or avarice of some persons the Church’s wealth is abused, it is to be restored to a sacred use by godly and wise men. For neither is an abuse, which is the greatest sacrilege, to be winked at. Therefore, we teach that schools and institutions which have been corrupted in doctrine, worship and morals must be reformed, and that the relief of the poor must be arranged dutifully, wisely, and in good faith.

CHAPTER XXIX

Of Celibacy, Marriage and the Management of
Domestic Affairs

SINGLE PEOPLE. Those who have the gift of celibacy from heaven, so that from the heart or with their whole soul are pure and continent and are not aflame with passion, let them serve the Lord in that calling, as long as they feel endued with that divine gift; and let them not lift up themselves above others, but let them serve the Lord continuously in simplicity and humility (I Cor. 7:7 ff.). For such are more apt to attend to divine things than those who are distracted with the private affairs of a family. But if, again, the gift be taken away, and they feel a continual burning, let them call to mind the words of the apostle: “It is better to marry than to be aflame” (I Cor. 7:9).

MARRIAGE. For marriage (which is the medicine of incontinency, and continency itself) was instituted by the Lord God himself, who blessed it most bountifully, and willed man and woman to cleave one to the other inseparable, and to live together in complete love and concord (Matt. 19:4 ff.). Whereupon we know that the apostle said: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled” (Heb. 13:4). And again: “If a girl marries, she does not sin” (I Cor. 7:28).

THE SECTS. We therefore condemn polygamy, and those who condemn second marriages.

HOW MARRIAGES ARE TO BE CONTRACTED. We teach that marriages are to be lawfully contracted in the fear of the Lord, and not against the laws which forbid certain degrees of consanguinity, lest the marriages should be incestuous. Let marriages be made with consent of the parents, or of those who take the place of parents, and above all for that purpose for which the Lord instituted marriages. Moreover, let them be kept holy with the utmost faithfulness, piety, love and purity of those joined together. Therefore let them guard against quarrels, dissensions, lust and adultery.

MATRIMONIAL FORUM. Let lawful courts be established in the Church, and holy judges who may care for marriages, and may repress all unchastity and shamefulness, and before whom matrimonial disputes may be settled.

THE REARING OF CHILDREN. Children are to be brought up by the parents in the fear of the Lord; and parents are to provide for their children, remembering the saying of the apostle: “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (I Tim. 5:8). But especially they should teach their children honest trades or professions by which they may support themselves. They should ;keep them from idleness and in all these things instill in them true faith in God, lest through a lack of confidence or too much security or filthy greed they become dissolute and achieve no success.

And it is most certain that those works which are done by parents in true faith by way of domestic duties and the management of their households are in God’s sight holy and truly good works. They are no less pleasing to God than prayers, fasting and almsgiving. For thus the apostle has taught in his epistles, especially in those to Timothy and Titus. And with the same apostle we account the doctrine of those who forbid marriage or openly castigate or indirectly discredit it, as if it were not holy and pure, among the doctrine of demons.

We also detest an impure single life, the secret and open lusts and fornications of hypocrites pretending to be continent when they are the most incontinent of all. All these God will judge. We do not disapprove of riches or rich men, if they be godly and use their riches well. But we reject the sect of the Apostolicals (The Apostolicals were followers of a religious fanatic, Gherardo Segarelli, of Parma, who in the thirteenth century wanted to restore the poverty of the apostolic life.)

CHAPTER XXX

Of the Magistracy

THE MAGISTRACY IS FROM GOD. Magistracy of every kind is instituted by God himself for the peace and tranquillity of the human race, and thus it should have the chief place in the world. If the magistrate is opposed to the Church, he can hinder and disturb it very much; but if he is a friend and even a member of the Church, he is a most useful and excellent member of it, who is able to benefit it greatly, and to assist it best of all.

THE DUTY OF THE MAGISTRATE. The chief duty of the magistrate is to secured and preserve peace and public tranquillity. Doubtless he will never do this more successfully than when he is truly God-fearing and religious; that is to say, when, according to the example of the most holy kings and princes of the people of the Lord, he promotes the preaching of the truth and sincere faith, roots out lies and all superstition, together with all impiety and idolatry, and defends the Church of God. We certainly teach that the care of religion belongs especially to the holy magistrate.

Let him, therefore, hold the Word of God in his hands, and take care lest anything contrary to it is taught. Likewise let him govern the people entrusted to him by God with good laws made according to the Word of God, and let him keep them in discipline, duty and obedience. Let him exercise judgment by judging uprightly. Let him not respect any man’s person or accept bribes. Let him protect widows, orphans and the afflicted. Let him punish and even banish criminals, impostors and barbarians. For he does not bear the sword in vain (Rom. 13:4).

Therefore, let him draw this sword of God against all malefactors, seditious persons, thieves, murderers, oppressors, blasphemers, perjured persons, and all those whom God has commanded him to punish and even to execute. Let him suppress stubborn heretics (who are truly heretics), who do not cease to blaspheme the majesty of God and to trouble, and even to destroy the Church of God.

WAR. And if it is necessary to preserve the safety of the people by war, let him wage war in the name of God; provided he has first sought peace by all means possible, and cannot save his people in any other way except by war. And when the magistrate does these things in faith, he serves God by those very works which are truly good, and receives a blessing from the Lord.

We condemn the Anabaptists, who when they deny that a Christian may hold the office of a magistrate, deny also that a man may be justly put to death by the magistrate, or that the magistrate may wage war, or that oaths are to be rendered to a magistrate, and such like things.

THE DUTY OF SUBJECTS. For as God wants to effect the safety of his people by the magistrate, whom he has given to the world to be, as it were, a father, so all subjects are commanded to acknowledge this favor of God in the magistrate. Therefore let them honor and reverence the magistrate as the minister of God; let them love him, favor him, and pray for him as their father; and let them obey all his just and fair commands. Finally, let them pay all customs and taxes, and all other such dues faithfully and willingly. And if the public safety of the country and justice require it, and the magistrate of necessity wages war, let them even lay down their life and pour out their blood for the public safety and that of the magistrate. And let them do this in the name of God willingly, bravely and cheerfully. For he who opposes the magistrate provokes the severe wrath of God against himself.

SECTS AND SEDITIONS. We, therefore, condemn all who are contemptuous of the magistrate – rebels, enemies of the state, seditious villains, finally, all who openly or craftily refuse to perform whatever duties they owe.

We beseech God, our most merciful Father in heaven, that he will bless the rulers of the people, and us, and his whole people, through Jesus Christ, our only Lord and Savior; to whom be praise and glory and thanksgiving,for all ages. Amen.

[source: CCEL]