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XXVI. Of Christ's intercession. We believe that we have no access unto God, but alone through the only mediator and advocate Jesus Christ, the righteous, who therefore became man, having united in one person the divine and human natures, that we men might have access to the divine Majesty, which access would otherwise be barred against us. But this Mediator, whom the Father hath appointed þetween him and us, ought in no wise to affright us by his majesty, or cause us to seek another according to our fancy. For there is no creature either in heaven or on earth, who loveth us more than Jesus Christ; who though he was in the form of God, yet made himself of-no reputation, and took uport him the form of a nun, and of a servant for us, and was made like unto his brethren in all things. If ther we should seek for another Mediator, who would be well affected towards us, whom could we find, who loved us more than he, who laid down his life for us, even when we were his enemies ? And if we seek for one, who hath power and majesty, who is there that has so much of both as he who sits at the right hand of his Futher, and who hath all power in heaven and on earth ? And who will sooner be heard than the own well beloved Son of God? Therefore it was only through distrust that this practice of dishonouring, instead of honouring the saints, was introduced, doing that, which they never have done, por required, but have on the contrary stedfastly 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 our Lord Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is become ours by faith. Therefore the apostle, to remove this foolish fear, or rather mistrust 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 succour 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 an high priest which cinnot 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 muy obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. The same apostle saith, that we have boldness to enter into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus ; let us dran ne ir (saith he) with a true heart in full assurance of filith, &c. Likewise, Christ hath an unchangeable priesthood, wherefore he is able also to sive 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 himselt saith, I am the way and the truth, and the life, ng min 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 Sou as an advocate? Let us not forsake hiin 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 cominand 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 bis naine, will be granted us.
XXVII. Of the catholic christian church. We believe and profess, one catholic or universal church, which is an holy congregation, of true christian believers, all expectiug their salvation in Jesus Christ, being washed by his blood, sanetified and sealed by the Holy Ghost. This church hath been from the beginning of the world, and will he to the end thereof; which is evident from this, that Christ is an eternal king, whic!), without subjects, cannot be. And this holy church is preserved or supported by God, against the rage of the whole world; though she some
times (for a while) appear very small, and in the eyes of men, to be reduced to nothing: as during the perilous reign of Achab, the Lord reserved unto him seven thousand men, who had not bowed their knees to Baal. Further. more, this holy church is not contined, 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.
XXVIII. That every one is bound to join himself to the true church. We believe, since this holy congregation is an assembly of those who are saved, and that out of it there is no salvation, that no person of whatsoever state or condition he may be, ought to withdraw himself, to live in a sep. arate state from it, but that all men are in duty bound to join and unite themselves with it ; maintaining the unity of the church ; submitting themselves to the doctrine and discipline thereof; bowing their necks under the yoke of Jesus Christ; and as mutual members of the same body, serving to the edification of the brethren, according to the talents God has given them. 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 all 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 were 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. XXIX. Of the marks of the true church, and wherein she differs from the
false church. We believe, that we ought diligently and circumspectly to discern from the word of God, which is the true church, since all sects which are in the world askume to themselves the name of the church. But we speak not here of hypocrites, who are mixed in the church with the good, yet are not of the church, though externally in it: but we say that the body and communion of the true church, must be distinguished from all sects, who call themselves the church. The marks, by which the true church is koown, 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. Hence 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 Saviour, they avoid sin, follow after righteousness, love the true God and their neighbour, 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 remaia in them great infirmities; but they tight against them through the spirit, all the days of their life, continually taking their refuge to 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 inerself 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 eacb other.
XXX. Concerning the government of, and offices in the church. We believe, that this true church must be governed by that spiritual policy, which our Lord hath taught us in his word ; namely, that there must be ministers or pastors to preach the word of God, and to administer the sacra*ments; also elders and deacons, who, together with the pastors, form the council of the church : that hy these means the true religion may be preserved, and the true doctrine every where propogated, likewise transgressors punished and restrained by spiritual means : also that the poor and distressed may he relieved and comforted, according to their necessities. By these means every thing will be carried on in the church with good order and decency, when faithfud men are chosen, according to the rule prescribed by St. Paul in his epistle to Timothy.
XXXI. Of the ministers, elders, and deacons. We believe, that the ministers of God's word, and the elders and deacons, ought to be chosen to their respective offices by a lawful election by the church, with calling upon the name of the Lord, and in that order, which the word of God teacheth. Therefore every one must take heed, not to intrude himself hy indecent means, but is hound to wait till it shall please God to call him; that he may have testimony of his calling, and be certain and assured that it is of the Lord. As for the ministers of God's word, they have equally the same power and authority wheresoever they are, as they are all niinisters 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, strise or contention, as much as possible.
XXXII. Of the order and discipline of the church. In the mean time we believe, though it is useful and beneficial, that those, who are rulers of the church, institute and establish certain ordinances among themselves for maintaining the body of the church ; yet they ought studiously to take care, that they do not depart from those things, which Christ, our only master, hath instituted. And therefore, we reject all human inventions, and all laws, which man would introduce into the worship of God, thereby to bind and compel the conscience, in any manner whatever. 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.
XXXIII. Of the sacraments. We believe, that our gracious God, on account of our weakness and infirmities, hath ordained the sacraments for us, thereby to seal unto us bis promises, and to be pledges of the good will and grace of God toward us, and also to nourish and strengthen our faith ; which he hath joined to the word of the gospel, the better to present to our senses, both that, which he signifies to us by his word, and that which he works inwardly in our hearts, thereby assuring and confirining in us the salvation which he imparts
For they are visible signs and seals of an inward and invisible thing, by means whereof, God worketh in us by the power of the Holy Ghost. Therefore the signs are not in vain or insignificant, so as to deceive us. For Jesus Christ is the true object presented by them, without whom they would be of no moment. Moreover, we are satisfied with the number of sacraments which Christ our Lord hath instituted, which are two only, Damely, the sacrament of baptism, and the holy supper of our Lord Jesus Christ.
XXXIV. Of holy baptism. We believe and confess that Jesus Christ, who is the end of the law. hath made an end, by the shedding of his blood, of all other sheddings of blood, which men could or would make as a propitiation or satisfaction for sin: and that he, having abolished circumcision, which was done with blood, liath instituted the sacrament of baptism instead thereof; by which we are received into the church of God, and separated from all other people and strange religions, that we may wholly belong to him, whose ensign and banner we bear : and which serves as a testimony to us, that he will forever be our gracious God and Father Therefore he has commanded all those, who are his, to be baptised 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 chuilt en of God Not that this is effected by the external water, but by the sprickling deur of the precious blood of the Son of God; who is our red sea, through wnich we must pass, to escape the tyranny of Pharaoh that is the devil, ali to enter into the spiritual land of Canaan. Therefore the ministers, on their part, administer the sacr ment, and that which is visible, but our Lord giveth that which is signified hy the sacrament, namely, the gilts and novisible grace ; washing, cleansing and purging our souls of all this and uurigt irting teouspess; renewing our hearts, and filling them with all comiort ; giving unto us a true assurance of his fatherly goodness; putting on us the new map, and putting off the old man with all his dreds. Therefore we believe, tiat every man, who is earnestly studious of obtaining life eternal, ought to be but once baptised 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 wben the water is poured upon us, and received by us, hut 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 ovce received, and moreover condemn the haptism of the infants of believers deu whom we believe ought to be baptised and sealed with the sign of the covenant, as the children in Israel formerly were circumcised, upon the same promises
, mine which are made unto our children. And indeed Christ shed his blood do less for the washing of the children of the faithful, than for adult persons;re and therefore they ought to receive the sign and sacrament of that, which Christ hath done for them; as the Lord coinmanded in the law, that they should be made partakers of the sacrament of Christ's suffering and death, shortly after they were horo, by offering for them a lamb, which was a sacrament of Jesus Christ. Moreover, what circumcision was to the to Jews, that baptism is to our cbildren. And for this reason Paul calls baptism the circumcision of Christ.
XXXV. Of the holy supper of our Lord Jesus Christ. We believe and conless, that our Saviour Jesus Christ did ordain and institute the sacrament of the holy supper, to nourish and support those whom he hath already regenerated and incorporated into his family, which is his church. Now those, who are regenerated, have in them a two-fold 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 give 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 cominon, 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 scnt 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, wlien 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 land and mouth of our soul) the true body and blood of Christ our only Saviour in our souls, for the support of our spiritual life. Now, as it is certain and beyond all doubt, that Jesus Christ liath not enjoined to us the use of his sacraments in vain, so be work, in us all that he represents to us by these holy signs, though the manner surpasses our undestanding, and cannot be comprehended by us, as the operations of the Holy Ghost are hidden and incomprehensible. In the mean time 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 througla 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 him-self by faith. This feast is a spiritual table, at which Christ coinmunicates 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 hy 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 amongst us a holy remembrance of the death of Christ our Saviour, with thanksgiving : making there copfession 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 neighbour. 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, whích Christ and his apostles have taught us, and that we must speak of them in the same manner as they have spoken,
XXXVI. of Magistrates. We believe that our gracious God, because of the depravity of mankind, hath appointed kings, princes and magistrates, willing that the world should be governed by certain laws and policies; to the
end that the dissoluteness of men might be restrained, and all things carried on among them with good order and decency. For this purpose he hath invested the magistracy with the sword, for the punishment of evil doers, and for the protection of them that do well. And their office is, not only to have regard unto, and watch for the welfare of the civil state; but also that they protect the sacred ministry; and thus may remove and prevent all idolatry and false worship; that the kingdom of antichrist may be thus destroyed, and the kingdom of Christ promoted. They must therefore countenance the preaching of the word of the gospel every where, that God may be honoured and worsbipped by every one, as he commands in his word. Moreover, it is the hounden duty of every one, of what state, quality or condition soever he may be, to subject bimself to the magistrates ; to pay tribute, to show