תמונות בעמוד

III. Of the written word of God. We confess that this word of God was not sent, nor delivered by the will of man, but that holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, as the apostle Peter saith. And that afterwards God, from a special care, which he has for us and our salvation, commanded his servants, the prophets and apostles, to commit his revealed word to writing; and he himself wrote with his own finger, the two tables of the law. Therefore we call such writings holy and divine scriptures.

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IV. Canonical books of the Holy Scriptures. We believe that the holy scriptures are contained in two books, namely, the old and new testament, which are canon. ical, against which nothing can be alleged. These are thus named in the church of God. The books of the old testa. ment are, the five books of Moses, viz. Genesis, Exodus, Le. viticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; the book of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, two books of Samuel, and two of the Kings; two books of the Chronicles, commonly called Paralipomenon, the first of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, the Psalms of David, the three books of Solomon, namely, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs; the four great prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Danjel; and the twelve lesser prophets, namely, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

Those of the new testament are the four evangelists; viz. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John ; the Acts of the Apostles; the fourteen epistles of the apostle Paul; viz. one to the Ro. mans, two to ihe Corinthians, one to the Galatians, one to the Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, one to Titus, one to Philemon, and one to the Hebrews: the seven epistles of the other apostles, namely, one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude ; and the revelations of the apostle John. V. From whence do the Holy Scriptures derive their dignity

and authority. We receive all these books, and these only, as holy and caponical, for the regulation, foundation, and confirmation of gur faith; believing without any doubt, all things contained in them, not so much because the church receives and approves them as such, but more especially because the Holy Ghost witnesseth in our hearts, that they are from God, whereof they carry the evidence in themselves. For the very blind are able to perceive that the things foretold in Whem are fulfilling.

VI. The difference between the canonical and apocryphal books

We distinguish those sacred books from the apocryphal; viz. the third and fourth book of Esdras, the books of Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Jesus Syrach, Baruch, the appendix to the book of Esther, the song of the three Children in the Furnace, the history of Susannah, of Bell and the Dragon, the prayer of Manasses, and the two books of the Maccabees. All which the church may read and take instruction from, so far as they agree with the canonical books; but they are far from hav. ing such power and efficacy, as that we may from their testimony confirm any point of faith, or of the Christian religion; much less detract from the authority of the other sacred books. VII. The sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures, to be the only rule

of faith. We believe that those holy scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that, whatsoever man ought to believe, unto sal. vation, is sufficiently taught therein. For since the whole manner of worship, which God requires of us, is written in them at large, it is unlawful for any one, though an apostle, to teach otherwise, than we are now taught in the holy scriptures: Nay, though it were an angel from heaven, as the apostle Paul saith. For, since it is forbidden, to add unto or take away any thing from the word of God, it doth thereby evidently appear, that the doctrine thereof is most perfect and complete in all respects. Neither may we compare any writings of men, though ever so holy, with those divine scriptures, nor ought we to compare custom or the great mul. titude, or antiquity, or succession of times or persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, with the truth of God, for the truth is above all; for all men are of themselves liars, and more vain than vanity itself: Therefore, we reject with all our hearts, whatsoever doth not agree with this infallible rule, which the apostles have taught us, saying, try the spirits whether they are of God. Likewise, if there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house. VIII. That God is one in essence, yet nevertheless distinguished

in three persons. According to this truth and this word of God, we believe in one only God, who is one single essence, in which are three persons, really, truly, and eternally distinct, according to their incommunicable properties; namely, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The Father is the cause, origin and beginning of all things, visible and invisible; the Son is the wurd, wisdom, and image of the Father; the Holy Ghost is

the eternal power and might, proceeding from the Father and the Son. Nevertheless God is not by this distinction divided into three, since the holy scriptures teach us, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost have each his personality, distinguished by their properties; but in such wise that these three persons are but one only God. Hence then, it is evi. dent, that the Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father, and likewise the Holy Ghost is neither the Father nor the Son. Nevertheless these persons thus distinguished are not divided, nor intermixed: For the Father hath not assumed the flesh, nor hath the Holy Ghost, but the Son only. The Father hath never been without his Son, or without his Holy Ghost. For they are all three co-eternal and co-essential. There is neither first nor last : for they are all three one, in truth, in power, in goodness, and in mercy. IX. The truth of the foregoing article of the trinity of persons

in one God. All this we know, as well from the testimonies of holy writ, as from their operations, and chiefly by those we feel in our. selves. The testimonies of the holy scriptures, that teach us to believe this holy trinity, are written in many places of the old testament, which are not so necessary to enumerate, as to choose them out with discretion and judgment. In Gene. sis, chap. i. 26, 27, God saith: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, &c. So God created man in his own image, male and female created he them. And Gen. iii. 22. Behold, the man has become as one of us. From this saying, let us make man in our image, it appears that there are more persons than one in the Godhead: and when he saith, God created, signifies the unity. It is true he doth not say how many persons there are, but that, which appears to us somewhat obscure in the old testament, is very plain in the new.

For when our Lord was baptised in Jordan, the voice of the Father was heard, saying, this is my beloved Son: The Son was seen in the water, and the Holy Ghost appeared in the shape of a dove. This form is also instituted by Christ in the baptism of all believers. Baptise all nations, in the naine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. In the Gospel of Luke, the angel Gabriel thus addressed Mary, the mother of our Lord, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee, therefore also that holy thing, which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God: likewise, the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you. And there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. In all which places we are fully taught, that there are three persons in one only divine essence. And although this doctrine far surpasses all human understanding; nevertheless we now believe it by means of the word of God, but expect hereafter to enjoy the perfect knowledge and benefit thereof in heaven. Moreover we must observe the particular offices and operations of these three persons towards us. The Father is called our Creator, by his power; the Son is our Sa. viour and Redeemer, by his blood; the Holy Ghost is our sanctifier, by his dwelling in our hearts. This doctrine of the holy trinity hath always been defended and maintained by the true church, since the times of the apostles, to this very day, against the Jews, Mahometans, and some false Christians and heretics, as Marcion, Manes, Praxeas, Sabellius, Samosatenus, Arius, and such like, who have been justly con. demned by the orthodox fathers. Therefore, in this point, we do willingly receive the three creeds, namely, that of the Apostles, of Nice, and of Athanasius: Likewise that, which, conformable thereunto, is agreed upon by the ancient fathers.

X. That Jesus Christ is true and eternal God. We believe that Jesus Christ, according to his divine na. ture, is the only begotten Son of God begotten froin eternity, not made nor created, (for then he should be a creature) but co-essential and co-eternal with the Father, the express image of his person, and the brightness of his glory, equal unto him in all things. Who is the Son of God, not only from the time that he assumed our nature, but from all eternity, as these testimonies, when compared together, teach us. Moses saith, that God created the world; and John saith, that all things were made by that word, which he calleth God: And the Apostle saith, that God made the worlds by his Son. Likewise, that God created all things by Jesus Christ.Therefore it muist needs follow, that he, who is called God, the Word, the Sun. and Jesus Christ, did exist at that time when all things were created by him. Therefore the prophet Micah saith, his go ings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. And the apostle; he hath neither beginning of days, nor end of life: He therefore is that true eternal, and almighty God, whom we invoke, worship, and serve.

XI. That the Holy Ghost is true and eternal God. We believe and confess also, that the Holy Ghost, from eternity, proceeds from the Father and Son; and therefore neither is made, created, nor begotten, but only proceedeth from both; who in order is the third person of the holy trini. ty; of one and the same essence, majesty and glory with the Father, and the Son: and therefore, is the true and eternal God, as the holy scripture teaches us.

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XII. Of the Creation. We believe, that the Father, by the word, that is, by his Bon, hath created of nothing, the heaven, the earth, and all creatures, as it seemed good unto him, giving unto every creature its being, shape, form, and several offices to serve its Creator. That he doth also still uphold and govern them by his eternal providence, and infinite power, for the service of mankind, to the end that man may serve his God. He hath also created the angels good, to be lis messengers, and to serve his elect; some of whom are fallen from that excellency, in which God created them, into everlasting perdition: and the others have, by the grace of God, remained steadfast and continued in their primitive state. The devils and evil spirits are so depraved, that they are enemies of God and every good thing, to the utmost of their power, as murderers, watching to ruin the church and every member thereof, and by their wicked stratagems to destroy all : and are therefore, by their own wickedness, adjudged to eternal damnation, daily experting their horrible torments. Therefore we reject and ab for the error of the Sadducees, who deny the existence of spirits and angels: and also that of the Manichees, who assert that the devils have their origin of then selves, and that they are wicked of their own nature, without having been col rupted.

XIII. Of Divine Providence.

We believe that the same God, after he had created all things, did not forsake them, or give them up to fortune or chance, but that he rules and governs them, according to his holy will, so that nothing happens in this world without his appointment: nevertheless, God neither is the author of, nor can be charged with the sins which are committed. For his power and goodness is so great and incomprehensible, that he orders and executes his work in the most excellent and just manner, even then, when devils and wicked men act unjustly. And, as to what he doth surpassing human understanding, we will not curiously inquire into, farther than our capacity will admit of; but with the greatest humility and reverence adore the righteous judgments of God, which are hid from us, contenting ourselves that we are disciples of Christ, to learn only those things which he has revealed to us in his word, witnout transgressing these limits. This doctrine affords us unspeakable consolation, since we are taught thereby, that nothing can befall us by chance, but by the direction of our most gracious and heavenly Father; who watches over us with a paternal care, keeping all creatures so under his power, that not a hair of our head (for they are all numbered)

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