« PreviousContinue »
69. But particular and visible churches (consisting of those who make profession of the faith of Christ, and live under the outward means of salvation) be many in number; wherein, the more or less sincerely, according to Chrisi's institution, the word of God is taught, the sacraments are administered, and the authority of the keys used is, the more or less pure are such churches to be accounted.
70. Although in the visible church the evil be ever mingled with the good : and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the ministration of the word and sacraments, yet for as much as they do not the same in their own pame, but in Christ's, and minister by his commission and authority, we may use their ministry both in hearing the word, and in receiving the sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ's ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God's gifts diminished from such as by faith do rightly receive the sacraments ministered unto them, which are effectual, because of Christ's institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men. Nevertheless, it appertaineth to the discipline of the church, that inquiry be made of evil ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences, and finally, being found guilty by just judgment, be deposed.
71. It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching, or ministring the sacraments of the church, unless he be first lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given them in the church to call and send ministers into the Lord's vineyard.
72. To have public prayer in the church, or to administer the sacraments in a tongue not understood of the people, is a thing plainly repugnanť to the word of God and the custom of the primitive church.
73. That person which by public denunciation of the church, is rightly cut off from the unity of the church, and excommunicate, ought to be taken of the whole multitude of the faithful as a heathen and publican, until by repentance he be openly reconciled and received into the church, by the judgment of such as have authority in that behalf.
74. God hath giren power to his ministers not simply to forgive sins, (which prerogative he hath reserved only to himself) but in his name to declare and pronounce unto such as truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy gospel, the absolution and forgiveness of sins. Neither is it God's pleasure, that his people, should be tied to make a particular confession of all their known sins unto any mortal man; howsoever, any persou, grieved in his conscience upon any special canse, may well resort unto any godly and learned minister, to receive advice and comfort at his hands.
of the Authority of the Church, general Councils, and Bishop of Rome.
15. It is not lawful for the chureh to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's word; neither may it so expound one place of seripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the church be a witness, and a keeper of holy writ, yet as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed upon necessity of salvation.
76. General councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of princes; and when they be gathered together (forasmuch as they be an assembly of men not always governed with the spirit and word of God) they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining to the rule of piety; wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation, have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be shewed that they be taken out of the holy scriptures.
77. Every particular church hath authority to institute, to change, and clean to put away ceremonies and other ecelesiastical rites, as they be superfluous, or be abused, and to constitute other, making more to seemliness, to order, or edification.
78. As the churches of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch, have erred, so also the church of Rome hath erred, not only in those things which concern matters of practice and point of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith.
179. The power which the bishop of Rome now challengeth, to be the supreme head of the universal church of Christ, and to be above all emperors, kings, and prinees, is an usurped power, contrary to the seriptures and word of God, and contrary to the example of the primitive church, and therefore is for most just causes taken away and abolished, within the king's majesty's realms and dominions.
80. The bishop of Rome is so far from being the supreme head of the universal church of Christ, that his works and doctrine do plainly discover him to be that man of sin foretold in the holy scriptures, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and abolish rith the brightness of his coming.
Of the State of the Old and New Testament, 81. IN the Old Testament the commandments of the law were more largely, and the promises of Christ more sparingly and darkly propounded : shadowed with a multitude of types and figures, and so much more generally and obscurely delivered, as the manifesting of them was farther off.
82: The Old Testament is not contrary to the New ; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by
Christ, who is the only mediator between God and man, being both God and man; wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises, for they looked for all the benefits of God the Father, through the merits of his Son Jesus Christ, as we now do ; only they believed in Christ which should come, we in Christ already come.
83. The New Testament is full of grace and truth, bringing joyful tidings unto mankind, that whatsoever formerly was promised of Christ is now accomplished; and so instead of the ancient types and ceremonies exhibiteth the things themselves, with a large and elear declaration of all the benefits of the gospel. Neither is the ministry thereof restrained any longer to one circumcised nation, but is indifferently propounded unto all people, whether they be Jews or Gentiles; so that ihere is now no nation, which can truly complain that they be shut forth from the communion of saints, and the liberties of the people of God.
81. Although the law given from God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, be abolished, and the civil precepts thereof be not of necessity to be received in any commonwealth ; yet notwithstanding, no christian nan whatsoever is freed from the obedience of the com mandments, which are called mora.
of the Sacraments of the New Testament.
85. THE sacraments ordained by Christ are not only badges or tokens of christian men's profession, but rather certai are witnesses, and effectual or powerful signs of grace and God's good-will towards us, by which he doth work invisibly in us, and not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our faith in him.
86. There he two sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the gospel, that is to say, baptism and the Lord's supper.
87. Those five which by the church of Rome are called sacraments, to wit, confirmation, penance, orders, matrimony, and extreme unction, are not to be accounted sacraments of the gospel, being such as have partly grown from corrupt imitation of the apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the scriptures, but yet have not like nature of sacraments with baptism and the Lord's supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God, together with a promise of saving grace annexed thereunto.
88. 'The sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And iu sueh only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect. and operation; but they that receive them unworthily thereby draw judgment upon themselves.
89. BAPTISM is not only an outward sign of our profession, and x note of difference, whereby christians are discerned from such as are no christians; but much more a sacrament of our adınission into the church, sealing unto us our new birth (and consequently our justification, adoption, and sanctification) by the communion which we have with Jesus Christ.
90. The baptism of infants is to be retained in the chureh as agreeable to the word of God.
91. In the administration of baptism, exorcism, oil, salt, spittle, and superstitious hallowing of the water, are for just causes abolished; aud without them the sacrament is fully and perfectly administered to all intents and purposes, agreeable to the institution of our Savior Christ.
of the Lord's Supper.
92. THE Lord's supper is not only a sign of the mutual love which christians ought to bear one towards another, but much more a sacrament of our preservation in the church, sealing unto us our spiritnal nourishment, and continual growth in Christ.
93. The change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of the body and blood of Christ, commonly called the transubstantiation, cannot be proved by holy writ, but is repugnant to plain testimonies of the scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to most gross idolatry and manifold superstitions.
94. In the outward part of the holy communion, the body and blood of Christ is in a most lively manner represented, being no otherwise present with the visible elements than things signified and sealed are present with the signs and seals; that is to say, symbolically and relatively. But in the inward and spiritual part, the saine body and blood is really and substantially presented unto all those who have grace to receive the Son of God, even to all those that believe in his name, And unto such as in this manner do worthily and with faith repair unto the Lord's table, the body and blood of Christ is not only signified and offered, but also truly exhibited and communicated.
95. The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Lord's supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner; and the mean whereby the body of Christ is thus received and eaten, is faith.
96. The wicked, and such as want a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly (as St. Augustine speaketh) press with their teeth the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they made partakers of Christ, but rather to their condemnation do eat and drink ile siga or sacrament of so great a thing.
Đ7. Both the parts of the Lord's sacrament, according to Christ's institution, and ihe practice'of the ancient church, ought to be ministered unto all God's people, and it is plain sacrilege to rob them of the mystical cup, for whom Christ hath shed his most precious blood.
98. The sacrament of the Lord's supper was not by Christ's ordiDance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.
99. The sacrifice of the mass, wherein the priest is said to offer up Christ for obtaining the remission of pain or guilt for the quick and the dead, is neither agreeable to Christ's ordinance, nor grounded upon doctrine apostolic : but contrariwise most ungodly, and most injurious to that all-sufficient sacrifice of our Savior Christ, offered olice for ever upon the cross, which is the only propitiation and satisfaction for all our sins.
100. Private mass, that is, the receiving the eucharist by the priest alone, without a competent number of communicants, is contrary to the institution of Christ.
Of the State of the Souls of Men, after they be departed out of this Life,
together with the general Resurrection and the last Judgment. 101. AFTER this life is ended, the souls of God's children are presently received into heaven, there to enjoy unspeakable comforts; the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, there to endure endless torments.
102. The doctrine of the church of Rome concerning limbus patrum, limbus puerorum, purgatory, prayer for the dead, pardons, adoration of images and relics, and also invocation of saints, is vainly invented, without all warrant of holy scripture, yea, and is contrary to the same.
103. At the end of this world the Lord Jesus shall come in the clouds with the glory of bis Father; at which time, by the almighty power of God, the living shall be changed, and the dead shall be raisa ed, and all shall appear both in body and soul before his judgment seat, to receive according to that which they have done in their bodies, whether good or evil. · 104. When the last judgment is finished, Christ shall deliver up the kingdom to his father, and God shall be all in all.
The DECREE of the SYNOD. IF any minister, of what degree or quality soever he be, shall publicly teach any doctrine contrary to these articles agreed upon; if after due admonition he do not conform bimself, an cease to disturb the peace of the church, let him be silenced, and deprived of all spiritual promotions he doth enjoy. Vol. V.