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points perfect and agreeable to the law of God. But all our works, even the best of them, are imperfect in this life, and defiled with sin.y
63. Q. But how can all our good works avail us nothing, since God promises that he will reward us for them, both in this life and in that which is to come ?
A. That reward is not given of merit, but of grace.
64. Q. But does not this doctrine render men careless and profane?
A. No. For they who are grafted into Christ by faith, must of necessity bring forth the fruits of thankfulness.a
* Cursed is every one that continueth not in all the things which are written in the book of the law to do them. Gal. iii. 10. Deut. xxvii. 26.
y But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Isa. Ixiv. 6. For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing ; for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not. Rom. vii. 18.
: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us. Titus iii. 5. So likewise
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. Luke xvii. 10.
• A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Matt. vii. 18. I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit ; so shall ye be my disciples. John xv. 5—8.
OF THE SACRAMENTS.
65. Q. Since, then, faith alone makes us partakers of Christ and his benefits, whence does it proceed?
A. From the Holy Ghost, who kindles it in our hearts by the preaching of the gospel, and strengthens and confirms it by the use of the sacraments.
66. Q. What are the sacraments?
A. They are sacred and visible signs and seals, ordained by God himself for this cause, that he
b For by grace are ye saved, through faith ; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Eph. ii. 8. Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Eph. vi. 23. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. Phil. i. 29. Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John iii. 5.
So, then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Rom. x. 17. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Gal. iii. 2. Ye are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. Eph. ii. 20. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently ; being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth for ever. 1 Pet. i. 22–24. Go ye, there.. fore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.
may declare and seal up as it were by them the promise of his gospel unto us; viz.—That he gives, freely, remission of sins and everlasting life, not only to all in general, but to every one that believeth, for that one sacrifice of Christ made upon the cross.d
67. Q. Do not the word and the sacrament tend to lead our faith to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, as to the only ground of our salvation ?
A. Yes. For the Holy Spirit teaches us, by the gospel, and assures us by the sacraments, that the salvation of all rests on this one sacrifice of Christ, offered for us on the cross.e
& And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. Gen. xvii. 11. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised; that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed to them also. Rom. iv. 11. And the Lord thy God will eircumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. Deut. xxx. 6. And I will establish my covenant with thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. Gen. xvii. 7. Now I say, that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision, for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers. Rom. xv. 8. Heb. ix. 7-9, 24, &c.
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death ? Rom. vi. 3. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Gal. iii. 27. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith Heb. xii. 2. Once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Heb. ix. 26. By one
68. Q. How many sacraments has Christ instituted in the New Testament?
A. Two. Baptism and the holy supper.
69. Q. How are you admonished and assured, in baptism, that you are a partaker of that one oblation of Christ?
A. Because Christ commanded the outward washing of water,& adjoining this promise thereunto,h that I am as thoroughly washed by his blood
offering he hath for ever perfected them that are sanctified. And there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. Heb. X. 10, 14, 26. i John ii. 1, 2. Heb. ix. 25, 26.
& Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Matt. xxviii. 19.
b He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark Xvi. 16. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Mark i. 4. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized, every one of yon, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost. Acts ii. 38. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; be shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. Matt. iii. 11. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. John i. 33. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus
and Spirit from the impurities of my soul, that is, from all my sins, as I am washed outwardly with water, which cleanses me from the impurities of my body.
70. Q. What is it to be washed with the blood and Spirit of Christ?
A. It is to receive of God forgiveness of sins, freely, for the blood of Christ, which he shed for us in his sacrifice on the cross. j And also to be
Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Rom. vi. 3, 4.
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. iii. 21. And he came into all the country' about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Luke iii. 3. And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Acts xxii. 16. Christ also loved the church; and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. Eph,'v. 25, 26.
1 And to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. Heb. xii. 24. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obe. dience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. i. 2. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. Rev. i. 5. In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness. Zech. xiii. 1. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. Ezek. xxxvi. 25,