Belgic Confession of Faith - TextGeneral Information
Article 1 - There Is One Only GodWe all believe with the heart, and confess with the mouth, that there is one only simple and spiritual Being, which we call God; and that He is eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, immutable, infinite, almighty, perfectly wise, just, good, and the overflowing fountain of all good.
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Secondly, He makes Himself more clearly and fully known to us by His holy and divine Word; that is to say, as far as is necessary for us to know in this life, to His glory and our salvation.
Ps. 19:2; Eph. 4:6
Ps. 19:8; 1 Cor. 12:6
2 Pet. 1:21
Ex. 24:4; Ps. 102:19; Hab. 2:2
2 Tim. 3:16; Rev. 1:11
The books of the Old Testament are: the five books of Moses, namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; the books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, the two books of Samuel, the 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 Daniel; 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, namely, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the Acts of the Apostles; the fourteen epistles of the apostle Paul, namely, one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, one to the Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, one to Titus, one to Philemon, 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 Revelation of the apostle John.
Neither do we consider of equal value any writing of men, however holy these men may have been, with those divine Scriptures; nor ought we to consider custom, or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees, or statutes, as of equal value 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.
Rom. 15:4; John 4:25; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; 1 Pet. 1:1; Prov. 30:5; Rev. 22:18; John 15:15; Acts 2:27
1 Pet. 4:11; 1 Cor. 15:2-3; 2 Tim. 3:14; 1 Tim. 1:3; 2 John 10
Gal. 1:8-9; 1 Cor. 15:2; Acts 26:22; Rom. 15:4; 1 Pet. 4:11; 2 Tim. 3:14
Deut. 12:32; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18; John 4:25
Matt. 15:3; 17:5; Mark 7:7; Isa. 1:12; 1 Cor. 2:4
Isa. 1:12; Rom. 3:4; 2 Tim. 4:3-4
Gal. 6:16; 1 Cor. 3:11; 2 Thes. 2:2
1 John 4:1
2 John 10
1 John 5:7; Heb. 1:3
1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16
John 1:1,2; Rev. 19:13; Prov. 8:12
Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3
John 15:26; Gal. 4:6
Phil. 2:6,7; Gal. 4:4; John 1:14
For when our Lord was baptized 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. Baptize all nations, in the name 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;9 the Son is our Savior and Redeemer by His blood;10 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, Mohammedans, and some false Christians and heretics, as Marcion, Manes, Praxeas, Sabellius, Samosatenus, Arius, and such like, who have been justly condemned 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.
2 Cor. 13:13
1 John 5:7
Ps. 45:8; Isa. 61:1
Eccl. 12:3; Mal. 2:10; 1 Pet. 1:2
1 Pet. 1:2; 1 John 1:7; 4:14
1 Cor. 6:11; 1 Pet. 1:2; Gal. 4:6; Tit. 3:5; Rom. 8:9; John 14:16
Therefore the prophet Micah saith: His goings 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.
John 1:14; Col. 1:15
John 10:30; Phil. 2:6
John 1:2; 17:5; Rev. 1:8
John 8:23,58; 9:35-37; Acts 8:37; Rom. 9:5
Ps. 33:6,17; John 14:16
Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:9; John 15:26
Gen. 1:2; Isa. 48:16; 61:1; Acts 5:3-4; 28:25; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Ps. 139:7
He also created the angels good, to be His 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 expecting their horrible torments. Therefore we reject and abhor 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 themselves, and that they are wicked of their own nature, without having been corrupted.
Gen. 1:1; Isa. 40:26; Heb. 3:4; Rev. 4:11; 1 Cor. 8:6; John 1:3; Col. 1:16
Heb. 1:3; Ps. 104:10; Acts 17:25
1 Tim. 4:3-4; Gen. 1:29-30; 9:2-3; Ps. 104:14-15
1 Cor. 3:22; 6:20; Matt. 4:10
Ps. 103:20; 34:8; 148:2
Heb. 1:14; Ps. 34:8
John 8:44; 2 Pet. 2:4; Luke 8:31; Jude 6
1 Pet. 5:8; Job 1:7
Gen. 3:1; Matt. 13:25; 2 Cor. 2:11; 11:3,14
Matt. 25:41; Luke 8:30,31
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), nor a sparrow, can fall to the ground, without the will of our Father, in whom we do entirely trust; being persuaded that He so restrains the devil and all our enemies that, without His will and permission, they cannot hurt us. And therefore we reject that damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God regards nothing, but leaves all things to chance.
John 5:17; Heb. 1:3; Prov. 16:4; Ps. 104:9, etc.; Ps. 139:2, etc.
Jas. 4:15; Job 1:21; 1 Kings 22:20; Acts 4:28; 1 Sam. 2:25; Ps. 115:3; 45:7; Amos 3:6; Deut. 19:5; Prov. 21:1; Ps. 105:25; Isa. 10:5-7; 2 Thes. 2:11; Ezek.
14:9; Rom. 1:28; Gen. 45:8; 1:20; 2 Sam. 16:10; Gen. 27:20; Ps. 75:7-8; Isa. 45:7; Prov. 16:4; Lam. 3:37-38; 1 Kings 22:34,38; Ex. 21:13
Matt. 8:31,32; John 3:8
Matt. 8:31; Job 1:12; 2:6
Therefore we reject all that is taught repugnant to this concerning the free will of man, since man is but a slave to sin, and has nothing of himself unless it is given him from heaven. For who may presume to boast that he of himself can do any good, since Christ saith, No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him? Who will glory in his own will, who understands that to be carnally minded is enmity against God? Who can speak of his knowledge, since the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God? In short, who dare suggest any thought, since he knows that we are not sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves, but that our sufficiency is of God? And therefore what the apostle saith ought justly to be held sure and firm, that God worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. For there is no will nor understanding, conformable to the divine will and understanding, but what Christ hath wrought in man; which He teaches us when He saith, Without Me ye can do nothing.
Gen. 1:26; Eccl. 7:29; Eph. 4:24
Gen. 1:31; Eph. 4:24
Ps. 49:21; Isa. 59:2
Rom. 5:12; Gen. 2:17; 3:19
Acts 14:16-17; 17:27
Rom. 1:20,21; Acts 17:27
Eph. 5:8; Matt. 6:23
Isa. 26:12; Ps. 94:11; John 8:34; Rom. 6:17; 7:5,17
John 3:27; Isa. 26:12
John 3:27; 6:44,65
1 Cor. 2:14; Ps. 94:11
2 Cor. 3:5
Rom. 5:12,13; Ps. 51:7; Rom. 3:10; Gen. 6:3; John 3:6; Job 14:4
Isa. 48:8; Rom. 5:14
Gal. 5:19; Rom. 7:8,10,13,17-18,20,23
Rom. 9:18,22-23; 3:12
Rom. 9:15-16; 11:32; Eph. 2:8-10; Ps. 100:3; 1 John 4:10; Deut. 32:8; 1 Sam. 12:22; Ps. 115:5; Mal. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:9; Rom. 8:29; 9:11,21; 11:5-6; Eph.1:4; Tit. 3:4-5; Acts 2:47; 13:48; 2 Tim. 2:19-20; 1 Pet. 1:2; John 6:27;15:16; 17:9
Rom. 9:17,18; 2 Tim. 2:20
Gen. 3:8-9,19; Isa. 65:1-2
Heb. 2:14; Gen. 22:18; Isa. 7:14; John 7:42; 2 Tim. 2:8; Heb. 7:14; Gen. 3:15; Gal. 4:4
Isa. 11:1; Luke 1:55; Gen. 26:4; 2 Sam. 7:12; Ps. 132:11; Acts 13:23
1 Tim. 2:5; 3:16; Phil. 2:7
Heb. 2:14-15; 4:15
Matt. 26:38; John 12:27
Ps. 132:11; Rom. 1:3
Gen. 22:18; 2 Sam. 7:12; Matt. 1:1; Gal. 3:16
Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23
But these two natures are so closely united in one person, that they were not separated even by His death. Therefore that which He, when dying, commended into the hands of His Father, was a real human spirit, departing from His body. But in the meantime the divine nature always remained united with the human, even when He lay in the grave; and the Godhead did not cease to be in Him, any more than it did when He was an infant, though it did not so clearly manifest itself for a while. Wherefore we confess that He is very God and very man: very God by His power to conquer death, and very man that He might die for us according to the infirmity of His flesh.
1 Cor. 15:13,21; Phil. 3:21; Matt. 26:11; Acts 1:2,11; 3:21; Luke 24:39; John 20:25,27
Luke 23:46; Matt. 27:50
Heb. 2:14; Rom. 8:3,32-33
Isa. 53:6; John 1:29; 1 John 4:9
Wherefore we justly say with the apostle Paul, that we know nothing but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified; we count all things but loss and dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord, in whose wounds we find all manner of consolation. Neither is it necessary to seek or invent any other means of being reconciled to God, than this only sacrifice, once offered, by which believers are made perfect forever. This is also the reason why He was called by the angel of God, Jesus, that is to say, Savior, because He should save His people from their sins.
Ps.110:4; Heb. 5:10
Col. 1:14; Rom. 5:8-9; Col. 2:14; Heb. 2:17; 9:14; Rom. 3:24; 8:2; John 15:3; Acts 2:24; 13:28; John 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:6
Luke 23:22,24; Acts 13:28; Ps. 22:16; John 18:38; Ps. 69:5; 1 Pet. 3:18 Ps. 69:5
1 Pet. 3:18
Ps. 22:2; Matt. 27:46
1 Cor. 2:2
Heb. 9:25-26; 10:14
Matt. 1:21; Acts 4:12
Therefore we justly say with Paul, that we are justified by faith alone, or by faith without works. However, to speak more clearly, we do not mean that faith itself justifies us, for it is only an instrument with which we embrace Christ our Righteousness. But Jesus Christ, imputing to us all His merits, and so many holy works which He hath done for us and in our stead, is our Righteousness. And faith is an instrument that keeps us in communion with Him in all His benefits, which, when they become ours, are more than sufficient to acquit us of our sins.
Eph. 3:16-17; Ps. 51:13; Eph. 1:17-18; 1 Cor. 2:12
1 Cor. 2:2; Acts 4:12; Gal. 2:21; Jer. 23:6; 1 Cor. 1:30; Jer. 31:10
Matt. 1:21;Rom. 3:27; 8:1,33
Rom. 3:27; Gal. 2:6; 1 Pet. 1:4-5; Rom. 10:4
Jer. 23:6; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Tim. 1:2; Luke 1:77; Rom. 3:24-25; 4:5; Ps. 32:1-2; Phil. 3:9; Tit. 3:5; 2 Tim. 1:9
And therefore we always hold fast this foundation, ascribing all the glory to God, humbling ourselves before Him, and acknowledging ourselves to be such as we really are, without presuming to trust in any thing in ourselves, or in any merit of ours, relying and resting upon the obedience of Christ crucified alone, which becomes ours when we believe in Him. This is sufficient to cover all our iniquities, and to give us confidence in approaching to God; freeing the conscience of fear, terror, and dread, without following the example of our first father, Adam, who, trembling, attempted to cover himself with fig-leaves. And, verily, if we should appear before God, relying on ourselves or on any other creature, though ever so little, we should, alas! be consumed. And therefore every one must pray with David: O Lord, enter not into judgment with Thy servant: for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified.
Luke 1:77; Col. 1:14; Ps. 32:1-2; Rom. 4:6-7
Rom. 3:23-24; Acts 4:12
Ps. 115:1; 1 Cor. 4:7; Rom. 4:2
1 Cor. 4:7; Rom. 4:2; 1 Cor. 1:29,31
Heb. 11:6-7; Eph. 2:8; 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 Tim. 2:6
Rom. 5:1; Eph. 3:12; 1 John 2:1
Isa. 33:14; Deut. 27:26; James 2:10
Ps. 130:3; Matt. 18:23-26; Ps. 143:2; Luke 16:15
Therefore we do good works, but not to merit by them (for what can we merit?) nay, we are beholden to God for the good works we do, and not He to us, since it is He that worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Let us therefore attend to what is written: When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say we are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
In the meantime we do not deny that God rewards our good works, but it is through His grace that He crowns His gifts. Moreover, though we do good works, we do not found our salvation upon them; for we can do no work but what is polluted by our flesh, and also punishable; and although we could perform such works, still the remembrance of one sin is sufficient to make God reject them. Thus, then, we would always be in doubt, tossed to and fro without any certainty, and our poor consciences would be continually vexed if they relied not on the merits of the suffering and death of our Savior.
1 Pet. 1:23; Rom. 10:17; John 5:24
1 Thes. 1:5; Rom. 8:15; John 6:29; Col. 2:12; Phil. 1:1,29; Eph. 2:8
Acts 15:9; Rom. 6:4, 22; Tit. 2:12; John 8:36
Tit. 3:8; John 15:5; Heb. 11:6; 1 Tim. 1:5
1 Tim. 1:5; Gal. 5:6; Tit. 3:8
2 Tim. 1:9; Rom. 9:32; Tit. 3:5
Rom. 4:4; Gen. 4:4
Heb. 11:6; Rom. 14:23; Gen. 4:4; Matt. 7:17
1 Cor. 4:7; Isa. 26:12; Gal. 3:5; 1 Thes. 2:13
Matt. 10:42; 25:34-35; Rev. 3:12,21; Rom. 2:6; Rev. 2:11; 2 John 8; Rom. 11:6
Isa. 28:16; Rom. 10:11; Hab. 2:4
Gal. 5:2-4; 3:1; 4:10-11; Col. 2:16-17
2 Pet. 1:19
Therefore it was only through distrust that this practice of dishonoring instead of honoring the saints was introduced, doing that which they never have done nor required, but have, on the contrary, steadfastly rejected, according to their bounden duty, as appears by their writings. Neither must we plead here our unworthiness; for the meaning is not that we should offer our prayers to God on account of our own worthiness, but only on account of the excellency and worthiness of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is become ours by faith.
Therefore the apostle, to remove this foolish fear or, rather, distrust from us, justly saith that Jesus Christ was made like unto His brethren in all things, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered, being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted. And further to encourage us, he adds: Seeing, then, that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. The same apostle saith: Having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, etc. Likewise, Christ hath an unchangeable priesthood, wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.
What more can be required? since Christ Himself saith: I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me. To what purpose should we then seek another advocate, since it hath pleased God to give us His own Son as our Advocate? Let us not forsake Him to take another, or rather to seek after another, without ever being able to find Him; for God well knew, when He gave Him to us, that we were sinners.
Therefore, according to the command of Christ, we call upon the heavenly Father through Jesus Christ our only Mediator, as we are taught in the Lord's Prayer; being assured that whatever we ask of the Father in His Name will be granted us.
1 Tim. 2:5; 1 John 2:1; Rom. 8:33
Hos. 13:9; Jer. 2:13,33
John 10:11; 1 John 4:10; Rom. 5:8; Eph. 3:19; John 15:13
Mark 16:19; Col. 3:1; Rom. 8:33; Matt. 11:27; 28:18
Acts 10:26; 14:15
Dan. 9:17-18; John 16:23; Eph. 3:12; Acts 4:12; 1 Cor. 1:31; Eph. 2:18
1 Tim. 2:5; 1 John 2:1; Rom. 8:33
John 4:17; 16:23; 14:13
This Church hath been from the beginning of the world, and will be to the end thereof; which is evident from this, that Christ is an eternal king, which, without subjects He cannot be. And this holy Church is preserved or supported by God against the rage of the whole world; though she sometimes (for a while) appears very small, and, in the eyes of men, to be reduced to nothing; as during the perilous reign of Ahab, when nevertheless the Lord reserved unto Him seven thousand men, who had not bowed their knees to Baal.
Furthermore, this holy Church is not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place or to certain persons, but is spread and dispersed over the whole world; and yet is joined and united with heart and will, by the power of faith, in one and the same spirit.
Isa. 2:2; Ps. 46:5; 102:14; Jer. 31:36
Matt. 28:20; 2 Sam. 7:16
Luke 1:32-33; Ps. 89:37-38; 110:2-4
Matt. 16:18; John 16:33; Gen. 22:17; 2 Tim. 2:19
Luke 12:32; Isa. 1:9; Rev. 12:6,14; Luke 17:21; Matt. 16:18
Rom. 12:4; 11:2,4; 1 Kings 19:18; Isa. 1:9; Rom. 9:29
And that this may be the more effectually observed, it is the duty of all believers, according to the Word of God, to separate themselves from those who do not belong to the Church, and to join themselves to this congregation, wheresoever God hath established it, even though the magistrates and edicts of princes be against it; yea, though they should suffer death or any other corporal punishment. Therefore all those who separate themselves from the same, or do not join themselves to it, act contrary to the ordinance of God.
1 Pet. 3:20; Joel 2:32
Acts 2:40; Isa. 52:11
Ps. 22:23; Eph. 4:3,12; Heb. 2:12
Ps. 2:10-12; Matt. 11:29
Eph. 4:12,16; 1 Cor. 12:12, etc.
Acts 2:40; Isa. 52:11; 2 Cor. 6:17; Rev. 18:4
Matt. 12:30; 24:28; Isa. 49:22; Rev. 17:14
Dan. 3:17-18; 6:8-10; Rev. 14:14; Acts 4:17,19; 17:7; 18:13
The marks by which the true Church is known are these: if the pure doctrine of the gospel is preached therein; if she maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as instituted by Christ; if church discipline is exercised in punishing of sin; in short, if all things are managed according to the pure Word of God, all things contrary thereto rejected, and Jesus Christ acknowledged as the only Head of the Church. Hereby the true Church may certainly be known, from which no man has a right to separate himself.
With respect to those who are members of the Church, they may be known by the marks of Christians, namely, by faith; and when they have received Jesus Christ the only Savior, they avoid sin, follow after righteousness, love the true God and their neighbor, neither turn aside to the right or left, and crucify the flesh with the works thereof. But this is not to be understood as if there did not remain in them great infirmities; but they fight against them through the Spirit all the days of their life, continually taking their refuge in the blood, death, passion, and obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom they have remission of sins through faith in Him.
As for the false Church, she ascribes more power and authority to herself and her ordinances than to the Word of God, and will not submit herself to the yoke of Christ. Neither does she administer the sacraments, as appointed by Christ in His Word, but adds to and takes from them as she thinks proper; she relieth more upon men than upon Christ; and persecutes those who live holily according to the Word of God, and rebuke her for her errors, covetousness, and idolatry. These two Churches are easily known and distinguished from each other.
Matt. 13:22; 2 Tim. 2:18-20; Rom. 9:6
John 10:27; Eph. 2:20; Acts 17:11-12; Col. 1:23; John 8:47
Matt. 28:19; Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:23
Matt. 18:15-18; 2 Thes. 3:14-15
Matt. 28:2; Gal. 1:6-8
Eph. 1:22-23; John 10:4-5,14
Eph. 1:13; John 17:20
1 John 4:2
1 John 3:8-10
Rom. 6:2; Gal. 5:24
Rom. 7:6,17; Gal. 5:17
Rev. 12:4; John 16:2
Eph. 4:11; 1 Cor. 4:1-2; 2 Cor. 5:20; John 20: 23; Acts 26:17-18; Luke 10:16
Acts 6:3; 14:23
Matt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:4-5
1 Tim. 3:1; Tit. 1:5
As for the ministers of God's Word, they have equally the same power and authority wheresoever they are, as they are all ministers of Christ, the only universal Bishop, and the only Head of the Church.
Moreover, that this holy ordinance of God may not be violated or slighted, we say that every one ought to esteem the ministers of God's Word and the elders of the Church very highly for their work's sake, and be at peace with them without murmuring, strife, or contention, as much as possible.
1 Tim. 5:22
Jer. 23:21; Heb. 5:4; Acts 1:23; 13:2
1 Cor. 4:1; 3:9; 2 Cor. 5:20; Acts 26:16-17
1 Pet. 2:25; 5:4; Isa. 61:1; Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18
1 Thes. 5:12,13; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:17
Therefore we admit only of that which tends to nourish and preserve concord and unity, and to keep all men in obedience to God. For this purpose excommunication or church discipline is requisite, with the several circumstances belonging to it, according to the Word of God.
1 Cor. 7:23; Matt. 15:9; Isa. 29:13; Gal. 5:1; Rom. 16:17-18
Matt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:5; 1 Tim. 1:20
Moreover, we are satisfied with the number of sacraments which Christ our Lord hath instituted, which are two only, namely, the sacrament of baptism, and the holy supper of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom. 4:11; Gen. 9:13; 17:11
Col. 2:11,17; 1 Cor. 5:7
Matt. 26:36; 28:19
Therefore He has commanded all those who are His to be baptized with pure water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, thereby signifying to us, that as water washeth away the filth of the body, when poured upon it, and is seen on the body of the baptized, when sprinkled upon him, so doth the blood of Christ, by the power of the Holy Ghost, internally sprinkle the soul, cleanse it from its sins, and regenerate us from children of wrath unto children of God. Not that this is effected by the external water, but by the sprinkling of the precious blood of the Son of God; who is our Red Sea, through which we must pass to escape the tyranny of Pharaoh, that is, the devil, and to enter into the spiritual land of Canaan.
Therefore the ministers, on their part, administer the sacrament, and that which is visible, but our Lord giveth that which is signified by the sacrament, namely, the gifts and invisible grace; washing, cleansing, and purging our souls of all filth and unrighteousness; renewing our hearts and filling them with all comfort; giving unto us a true assurance of His fatherly goodness; putting on us the new man, and putting off the old man with all his deeds.
Therefore we believe that every man who is earnestly studious of obtaining life eternal ought to be but once baptized with this only baptism, without ever repeating the same, since we cannot be born twice. Neither doth this baptism only avail us at the time when the water is poured upon us and received by us, but also through the whole course of our life.
Therefore we detest the error of the Anabaptists, who are not content with the one only baptism they have once received, and moreover condemn the baptism of the infants of believers, whom we believe ought to be baptized and sealed with the sign of the covenant, as the children in Israel formerly were circumcised upon the same promises which are made unto our children. And indeed, Christ shed His blood no less for the washing of the children of the faithful than for adult persons; and therefore, they ought to receive the sign and sacrament of that which Christ hath done for them; as the Lord commanded in the law, that they should be made partakers of the sacrament of Christ's suffering and death shortly after they were born, by offering for them a lamb, which was a sacrament of Jesus Christ. Moreover, what circumcision was to the Jews, that baptism is to our children. And for this reason Paul calls baptism the circumcision of Christ.
Col. 2:11; 1 Pet. 3:21; 1 Cor. 10:2
1 Cor. 6:11; Tit. 3:5; Heb. 9:14; 1 John 1:7; Rev. 1:6
Matt. 3:11; 1 Cor. 3:5,7; Rom. 6:3
Eph. 5:26; Acts 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21
Gal. 3:27; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:22-24
Mark16:16; Matt. 28:19; Eph. 4:5; Heb. 6:2
Acts 2:38; 8:16
Matt. 19:14; 1 Cor. 7:14
John 1:29; Lev. 12:6
Now those who are regenerated have in them a twofold life, the one corporal and temporal, which they have from the first birth, and is common to all men; the other spiritual and heavenly, which is given them in their second birth, which is effected by the word of the gospel, in the communion of the body of Christ; and this life is not common, but is peculiar to God's elect. In like manner God hath given us, for the support of the bodily and earthly life, earthly and common bread, which is subservient thereto, and is common to all men, even as life itself. But for the support of the spiritual and heavenly life which believers have, He hath sent a living bread, which descended from heaven, namely, Jesus Christ, who nourishes and strengthens the spiritual life of believers, when they eat Him, that is to say, when they apply and receive Him by faith, in the Spirit.
Christ, that He might represent unto us this spiritual and heavenly bread, hath instituted an earthly and visible bread as a sacrament of His body, and wine as a sacrament of His blood, to testify by them unto us, that, as certainly as we receive and hold this sacrament in our hands, and eat and drink the same with our mouths, by which our life is afterwards nourished, we also do as certainly receive by faith (which is the hand and mouth of our soul) the true body and blood of Christ our only Savior in our souls, for the support of our spiritual life.
Now as it is certain and beyond all doubt that Jesus Christ hath not enjoined to us the use of His sacraments in vain, so He works in us all that He represents to us by these holy signs, though the manner surpasses our understanding, and cannot be comprehended by us, as the operations of the Holy Ghost are hidden and incomprehensible. In the meantime we err not when we say that what is eaten and drunk by us is the proper and natural body, and the proper blood, of Christ. But the manner of our partaking of the same is not by the mouth, but by the Spirit through faith. Thus, then, though Christ always sits at the right hand of His Father in the heavens, yet doth He not, therefore, cease to make us partakers of Himself by faith. This feast is a spiritual table, at which Christ communicates Himself with all His benefits to us, and gives us there to enjoy both Himself and the merits of His sufferings and death, nourishing, strengthening, and comforting our poor comfortless souls, by the eating of His flesh, quickening and refreshing them by the drinking of His blood.
Further, though the sacraments are connected with the thing signified, nevertheless both are not received by all men; the ungodly indeed receives the sacrament to his condemnation, but he doth not receive the truth of the sacrament. As Judas and Simon the sorcerer, both indeed received the sacrament, but not Christ who was signified by it, of whom believers only are made partakers.
Lastly, we receive this holy sacrament in the assembly of the people of God, with humility and reverence, keeping up among us a holy remembrance of the death of Christ our Savior, with thanksgiving, making there confession of our faith and of the Christian religion. Therefore no one ought to come to this table without having previously rightly examined himself; lest by eating of this bread and drinking of this cup he eat and drink judgment to himself. In a word, we are excited by the use of this holy sacrament to a fervent love towards God and our neighbor.
Therefore we reject all mixtures and damnable inventions, which men have added unto and blended with the sacraments, as profanations of them, and affirm that we ought to rest satisfied with the ordinance which Christ and His apostles have taught us, and that we must speak of them in the same manner as they have spoken.
Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:23-25
1 John 5:12; John 10:28
1 Cor. 10:16-17; Eph. 3:17; John 6:35
John 6:55-56; 1 Cor. 10:16
Acts 3:21; Mark 16:19; Matt. 26:11
Matt. 26:26, etc.; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 10:2-4
Isa. 55:2; Rom. 8:22-23
1 Cor. 11:29; 2 Cor. 6:14-15; 1 Cor. 2:14
Acts 2:42; 20:7
1 Cor. 11:27-28
Moreover, it is the bounden duty of every one, of what state, quality, or condition soever he may be, to subject himself to the magistrates; to pay tribute, to show due honor and respect to them, and to obey them in all things which are not repugnant to the Word of God; to supplicate for them in their prayers, that God may rule and guide them in all their ways, and that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
Wherefore we detest the error of the Anabaptists and other seditious people, and in general all those who reject the higher powers and magistrates, and would subvert justice, introduce a community of goods, and confound that decency and good order which God hath established among men.
Ex. 18:20, etc.; Rom. 13:1; Prov. 8:15; Jer. 21:12; 22:2-3; Ps. 82:1,6;101:2; Deut. 1:15-16; 16:18; 17:15; Dan. 2:21,37; 5:18
Isa. 49:23,25; 1 Kings 15:12; 2 Kings 23:2-4
Tit. 3:1; Rom. 13:1
Mark 12:17; Matt. 17:24
Acts 4:17-19; 5:29; Hos. 5:11
Jer. 29:7; 1 Tim. 2:1-2
2 Pet. 2:10
Jude 8, 10
Then the books (that is to say, the consciences) shall be opened, and the dead judged according to what they shall have done in this world, whether it be good or evil. Nay, all men shall give an account of every idle word they have spoken, which the world only counts amusement and jest; and then the secrets and hypocrisy of men shall be disclosed and laid open before all.
And, therefore, the consideration of this judgment is justly terrible and dreadful to the wicked and ungodly, but most desirable and comfortable to the righteous and the elect; because then their full deliverance shall be perfected, and there they shall receive the fruits of their labor and trouble which they have borne. Their innocence shall be known to all, and they shall see the terrible vengeance which God shall execute on the wicked, who most cruelly persecuted, oppressed, and tormented them in this world; and who shall be convicted by the testimony of their own consciences, and, being immortal, shall be tormented in that everlasting fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels.
But on the contrary, the faithful and elect shall be crowned with glory and honor; and the Son of God will confess their names before God His Father, and His elect angels; all tears shall be wiped from their eyes; and their cause, which is now condemned by many judges and magistrates as heretical and impious, will then be known to be the cause of the Son of God. And for a gracious reward, the Lord will cause them to possess such a glory as never entered into the heart of man to conceive.
Therefore we expect that great day with a most ardent desire, to the end that we may fully enjoy the promises of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus (Rev. 22:20).
Matt. 24:36; 25:13; 1 Thes. 5:1-2; Rev. 6:11; Acts 1:7; 2 Pet. 3:10
2 Thes. 1:7-8; Acts 17:31; Matt. 24:30; 25:31; Jude 15; 1 Pet. 4:5; 2 Tim. 4:1
2 Pet. 3:7,10; 2 Thes. 1:8
Rev. 20:12-13; Acts 17:31; Heb. 6:2; 9:27; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10
1 Cor. 15:42; Rev. 20:12-13; 1 Thes. 4:16
John 5:28-29; 6:54; Dan. 12:2; Job 19;26-27
1 Cor. 15:51-53
Rev. 20:12-13; 1 Cor. 4:5; Rom. 14:11-12; Job 34:11; John 5:24; Dan. 12:2; Ps. 62:13; Matt. 11:22; 23:33; John 5:29; Rom. 2:5-6; 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 6:2;:27
Rom. 2:5; Jude 15; Matt. 12:36
1 Cor. 4:5; Rom. 2:1-2,16; Matt. 7:1-2
Rev. 6:15-16; Heb. 10:27
Luke 21:28; 1 John 3:2; 4:17; Rev. 14:7; 2 Thes. 1:5-7; Luke 14:14
Matt. 25:46; 2 Thes. 1:6-8; Mal. 4:3
Rev. 21:8; 2 Pet. 2:9
Mal. 4:1; Matt. 25:41
Matt. 25:34; 13:43
Isa. 25:8; Rev. 21:4
Isa. 64:4; 1 Cor. 2:9
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