I. Of the holy Scripture
God, and of the
the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof
Repentance Unto Life
of the Saints
Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation
the Law of God
and Liberty of Conscience
and the Sabbath-day
Of the Civil Magistrate
of the Saints
Of the Lord's Supper
of Man After Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead
XXXIII. Of the Last Judgment
I. Of the holy Scripture.
I. Although the
nature, and the works of creation and providence, do so far manifest
goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet
they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will,
is necessary unto salvation; therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry
and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will
unto his Church; and afterwards for the better preserving and
of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the
against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the
world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the holy
to be most necessary; those former ways of God's revealing his will
his people being now ceased.
II. Under the name
Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the Books
of the Old and New Testament, which are these: All which are given by
of God, to be the rule of faith and life.
III. The books
called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the
of Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God,
to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.
V. The authority
holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth
not upon the testimony of any man or Church, but wholly upon God (who
truth itself), the Author thereof; and therefore it is to be received,
because it is the Word of God.
V. We may be moved
by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the
Scripture; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the
the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of
whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes
of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable
and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth
evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full
and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is
from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with
Word in our hearts.
VI. The whole
God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's
faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good
and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which
at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit,
traditions of men. Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination
of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of
things as are revealed in the Word; and that there are some
concerning the worship of God, and the government of the Church, common
to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of
nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the
which are always to be observed.
VII. All things in
are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those
things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for
are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or
that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the
means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.
VIII. The Old
in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old),
and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it
was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by
God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are
therefore authentical; so as in all controversies of religion the
is finally to appeal unto them. But because these original tongues are
not known to all the people of God who have right unto, and interest
the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and
them, therefore they are to be translated into the language of every
unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all,
they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and, through patience and
comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.
IX. The infallible
of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and therefore,
when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture
(which is not manifold, but one), it may be searched and known by other
places that speak more clearly.
X. The Supreme
which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all
of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private
spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can
be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.
Of God, and of the Holy Trinity.
I. There is but
living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most
spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable,
eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free,
absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own
and most righteous will, for his won glory, most loving, gracious,
long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity,
and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him; and withal most
just and terrible in his judgments; hating all sin; and who will by no
means clear the guilty.
II. God hath
goodness, blessedness, in and of himself; and is alone in and unto
all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath
nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory
by, unto, and upon them; he is the alone foundation of all being, of
through whom, and to whom, are all things; and hath most sovereign
over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself
In his sight all things are open and manifest; his knowledge is
infallible, and independent upon the creature; so as nothing is to him
contingent or uncertain. He is most holy in all his counsels, in all
works, and in all his commands. To him is due from angels and men, and
every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience he is
to require of them.
III. In the
Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity:
the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none,
neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternal begotten of the
the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.
Of God's Eternal Decree.
I. God from all
did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and
ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the
of sin;nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the
liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather
II. Although God
may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions; yet hath he not
decreed any thing because he foresaw it as future, as that which would
come to pass, upon such conditions.
III. By the decree
for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are
unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.
IV. These angels
thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably
designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it can not
either increased or diminished.
V. Those of
are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world
laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret
and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ, unto everlasting
glory, out of his free grace and love alone, without any foresight of
or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in
the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto; and all to
the praise of his glorious grace.
VI. As God hath
the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose
of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore they who
elected being fallen in Adam are redeemed by Christ, are effectually
unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season; are
adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith unto
Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called,
adopted, sanctified, and
saved, but the
VII. The rest of
God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will,
whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory
of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain
to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious
VIII. The doctrine
high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence
care, that men attending to the will og God revealed in his Word, and
obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual
be assured of their eternal election. So shall this doctrine afford
of praise, reverence, and admiration of God; and of humility,
and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.
CHAPTER IV. Of
I. It pleased God
Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal
power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create or make of
the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the
space of six days, and all very good.
II. After God had
other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and
souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness after
own image, having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to
fulfill it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to
the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Besides
law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept were
in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.
CHAPTER V. Of Providence.
I. God, the great
of all things, doth uphold, direct dispose, and govern all creatures,
and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and
providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and
immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his
power, justice, goodness, and mercy.
II. Although in
to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things
to pass immutably and infallibly, yet, by the same providence, he
them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either
freely, or contingently.
III. God, in his
providence, maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above,
against them, at his pleasure.
IV. The almighty
unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest
in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first Fall, and
all other sins of angels and men, and that not by a bare permission,
such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and
ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own
holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the
and not from God; who being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can
be the author or approver of sin.
V. The most wise,
and gracious God, doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children
manifold temptations and the corruption of their own hearts, to
them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden
of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be
and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their
upon himself, and to make them more watchful against all future
of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.
VI. As for those
and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous judge, for former sins, doth
and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they
have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon their
but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had; and exposeth
to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and withal,
gives them over to their own lusts, the temptatoins of the world, and
power of Satan; whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves,
under those means which God useth for the softening of others.
VII. As the
God doth, in general, reach to all creatures, so, after a most special
manner, it taketh care of his Church, and disposeth all things to the
Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof.
I. Our first
seduced by the subtilty and temptations of Satan, sinned in eating the
forbidden fruit. This their sin God was pleased, according to his wise
and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own
II. By this sin
from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became
dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul
III. They being
of mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in
and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from
by original generation.
IV. From this
whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all
and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.
V. This corruption
during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and
it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and all
motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.
VI. Every sin,
and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and
thereunto, doth, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner,
he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made
subject to death, with all miseries spiritual, temporal, and eternal.
CHAPTER VII Of
Covenant with Man.
I. The distance
God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do
owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any
fruition of him, as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary
condescencion on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by
II. The first
with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam,
in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal
III. Man by his
made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased
make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace: wherein he freely
offered unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of
faith in him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all
that are ordained unto life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and
able to believe.
IV. This covenant
is frequently set forth in the Scripture by the name of a testament, in
reference to the death of Jesus Christ, the testator, and to the
inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.
V. This covenant
administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel:
the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices,
the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the
of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ to come, which were for that
sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to
and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they
full remission of sins, and eternal salvation, and is called the Old
VI. Under the
Christ the substance was exhibited, the ordinances in which this
is dispensed, are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of
the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper; which, though fewer in
number, and administered with more simplicity and less outward glory,
in them it is held forth in more fulness, evidence, and spiritual
to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the New
There are not, therefore, two covenants of grace differing in
but one and the same under various dispensations.
Of Christ the Mediator.
I. It pleased
God, in his
eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only-begotten
Son, to be the Mediator between God and men, the prophet, priest, and
the head and Savior of the Church, the heir or all things, and judge of
the world; unto whom he did, from all eternity, give a people to be his
seed, and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified,
II. The Son of
second Person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one
and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come,
upon him man's nature, with all the essential properties and common
thereof; yet without sin: being conceived by he power of the Holy
in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole,
and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably
together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.
Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only
between God and man.
III. The Lord
human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified and anointed
the Holy Spirit above measure; having in him all the treasures of
and knowledge, in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should
to the end that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and
truth, he might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a
and Surety. Which office he took not unto himself, but was thereunto
by his Father; who put
all power and
his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.
IV. This office
Jesus did most willingly undertake, which, that he might discharge, he
was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it; endured most
torments immediately in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his
was crucified and died; was buried, and remained under the power of
yet saw no corruption. On the third day he arose from the dead, with
same body in which he suffered; with which also he ascended into
and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father, making intercession;
and shall return to judge men and angels, at the end of the world.
V. The Lord Jesus,
perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he through the
Spirit once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of
Father; and purchased not only reconciliation, but an everlasting
in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto
VI. Although the
redemption was not actually wrought by Christ till after his
yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof were communicated into
elect, in all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and
by those promises, types, and sacrifices wherein he was revealed, and
to be the seed of the woman, which should bruise the
Lamb slain from the beginning of the world, being yesterday and today
same and for ever.
VII. Christ, in
of mediation, acteth according to both natures; by each nature doing
which is proper to itself; yet by reason of the unity of the person,
which is proper to one nature is sometimes, in Scripture, attributed to
the person denominated by the other nature.
VIII. To all
those for whom
Christ hath purchased redemption, he doth certainly and effectually
and communicate the same; making intercession for them, and revealing
them, in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation; effectually
them by his Spirit to believe and obey; and governing their hearts by
Word and Spirit; overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and
wisdon, in such manner and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful
and unsearchable dispensation.
Of Free Will.
I. God hath endued
of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor by any
necessity of nature determined to good or evil.
II. Man, in his
innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that which is good
well-pleasing to God; but yet mutably, so that he might fall from it.
III. Man, by
a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual
accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse
that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to
himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.
IV. When God
converts a sinner
and translates him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his
bondage under sin, and, by his grace alone, enables him freely to will
and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so as that, by reason of
his remaining corruption, he doth not perfectly, nor only, will that
is good, but doth also will that which is evil.
V. The will of
man is made
perfectly and immutable free to good alone, in the state of glory only.
CHAPTER X. Of
I. All those whom
predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed
and accepted time,
to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in
which they are by
to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ: enlightening their minds,
to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and
giving unto them
of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining
them to that which
and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most
freely, being made willing by his grace.
effectual call is
of God's free and special grace alone, not from any thing at all
man, who is
therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is
thereby enabled to
this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.
in infance, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who
worketh when, and
and how he pleaseth. So also are all other elect persons who are
incapable of being
called by the ministry of the Word.
IV. Others, not
although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have
the Spirit, yet they never truly come to Christ, and therefore can not
be saved: much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be
saved in any other way
so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and
law of that
do profess; and to assert and maintain that they may is without warrant
the Word of God.
CHAPTER XI. Of Justification.
I. Those whom
calleth, he also freely justifieth: not by infusing righteousness into
them, but by
sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not
any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake
not by imputing faith
itself, the act of
or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but
by imputing the
and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on him
faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.
II. Faith, thus
and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of
not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all
saving graces, and
dead faith, but worketh by love.
III. Christ, by
and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus
justified, and did
a proper, real, and full satisfaction o his Father's justice in their
inasmuch as he was
by the Father for them, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in
their stead, and
not for any thing in them, their justification is only of free grace,
both the exact
rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.
IV. God did,
decree to justify the elect; and Christ did, in the fullness of time,
for their sins and
again for their justification; nevertheless they are not justified
Spirit doth, in
actually apply Christ unto them.
V. God doth
continue to forgive
the sins of those that are justified; and although they can never fall
from the state of
yet they may by their sins fall under God's Fatherly displeasure, and
not have the light
countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess
their sins, beg
and renew their faith and repentance.
believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respect, one and the
same with the
of believers under the New Testament.
CHAPTER XII.Of Adoption.
All those that
God vouchsafeth, in and for his only Son Jesus Christ, to make
of the grace of adoption: by which they are taken into the number, and
enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God; have his
put upon them; receive the Spirit of adoption; have access to the
of grace with boldness; are enabled to cry, Abba, Father; are pitied,
and chastened by his as by a father; yet never cast off, but sealed to
the day of redemption, and inherit the promises, as heirs of
CHAPTER XIII. Of Sanctification.
I. They who are
called and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in
them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue
of Christ's death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in
them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the
lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and they more
more quickened and strengthened, in all saving graces, to the practice
of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
throughout in the whole man, yet imperfect in this life: there abideth
some remnants of
in every part, whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war, the
Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.
III. In which
the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail, yet, through the
rom the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regerate part doth overcome:
and so the saints
grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
CHAPTER XIV. Of Saving Faith.
I. The grace of
the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the
work of the Spirit
in their hearts; and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word:
by which also, and
administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and
II. By this
faith, a Christian
believeth to be true whatesoever is revealed in the Word, for the
authority of god
speaking therein; and acteth differently, upon that which each
yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings,
and embracing the
of God for this life, and that which is to come. But the principle acts
of saving faith
receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification,
life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.
III. This faith
in degrees, weak or strong; may be often and many ways assailed and
weakened, but gets
growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance through
Christ, who is
author and finisher of our faith.
CHAPTER XV.Of Repentance Unto Life.
unto life is
an evangelical grace, the doctrine whereof is to be preached by every
of the gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ.
II. By it a
sinner, out of
the sight and sense, not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness
odiousness of his
as contrary to the holy nature and righteous law of God, and upon the
in Christ to such as are penitent, so grieves for, and hates his sins,
turn from them all
God, purposing and endeavoring to walk with him in all the ways of his
be not to be rested in as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the
the act of God's free grace in Christ; yet is it of such necessity to
sinners, that none
pardon without it.
IV. As there is
no sin so
small but it deserves damnation; so there is no sin so great that it can
who truly repent.
V. Men ought
themselves with a general repentance, but it is every man's duty to
endeavor to repent
particular sins, particularly.
VI. As every
to make private confession of his sins to God, praying for the pardon
the forsaking of them, he shall find mercy: so he that scandelizeth his
brother, or the
Christ, ought to be willing, by a private or public confession and
for his sin, to
his repentance to those that are offended; who are thereupon to be
reconciled to him,
love to receive him.
CHAPTER XVI.Of Good Works.
I. Good works
as God hath commanded in his holy Word, and not such as, without
devised by men out of blind zeal, or upon any pretense of good
II. These good
in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a
true and lively
by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their
the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and
glorify God, whose
they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit
have the end, eternal life.
ability to do
good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of
that they may be
thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there is
required an actual
of the same Holy Spirit to work in them to will and to do of his good
pleasure; yet are
hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any
duty unless upon a
motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the
grace of God that
IV. They, who
attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so
far from being
and to do more than God requires, that they fall short of much
which in duty they
V. We can not,
works, merit pardon of sin, or eternal life, at the hand of God, because
of the great
that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance
between us and
by them we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former
sins; but when we
all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants:
and because, as
good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they
are defiled and
so much weakness and imperfection that they can not endure the
severity of God's
the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works
also are accepted
not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable
in God's sight;
he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that
which is sincere,
accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.
VII. Works done
men, although for the matter of them they may be things which
God commands, and
use both to themselves and others; yet, because they proceed not from
a heart purified
nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word; nor to a right
end, the glory of
are therefore sinful and can not please God, or make a man meet to
receive grace from
And yet their neglect of them is more sinful, and displeasing unto God.
Of The Perseverance of the Saints.
I. They whom
in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can
fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere
the saints depends, not upon their own free-will, but upon the
the decree of
flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the
efficacy of the
intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit and of the seed
within them; and
nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the
through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevelancy of
them, and the neglect of the means of their perseverance, fall into
ad for a time
therein: whereby they incur God's displeasure, and grieve his Holy
Spirit; come to be
of some measure of their graces and comforts; have their hearts
wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon
CHAPTER XVIII. Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation.
other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false
hopes and carnal
of being in the favor of God and estate of salvation; which hope of
such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity,
good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that
they are in a
and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God: which hope shall
never make them
certainty is not
a bare conjectural and probably persuasion, grounded upon a fallible
hope; but an
assurance of faith, founded upon the divine truth of the promises of
of those graces unto which these promises are made, the testimony
of the Spirit of
witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God; which
earnest of our
whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption.
doth not so belong to the essence of faith but that a true believer may
wait long and
many difficulties before he be partaker of it: yet, being enabled by the
Spirit to know the
which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary
revelation, in the
use of ordinary means, attain thereunto. And therefore it is the duty of
everyone to give
to make his calling and election sure; that thereby his heart may be
enlarged in peace
in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and
of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance: so far is it from
inclining men to
believers may have
the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and
in preserving of it; by falling into some special sin, which woundeth
the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation; by God's
his countenance and suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness
and to have no
are they never utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of
love of Christ and
that sincerity of heart and conscience of duty, out of which, by the
operation of the
this assurance may in due time be revived, and by the which, in the
meantime, they are
from utter despair.
Of the Law of God.
I. God gave to
Adam a law,
as a covenant of works, by which he bound him and all his posterity to
and perpetual obedience; promised life upon the fulfilling, and
death upon the
it; and endued him with power and ability to keep it.
II. This law,
after his Fall,
continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was
delivered by God
Sinai in ten commandments, and written in two tables; the first four
our duty toward God, and the other six our duty to man.
called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a
Church under age,
laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship,
graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth
All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated under the New
IV. To them
as a body
politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the
state of that
obliging any other, now, further than the general equity thereof may
V. The moral
bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof;
and that not only
of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of
the Creator who
Neither doth Christ in the gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen,
be not under the law as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or
condemned; yet is
great use to them, as well as to others; in that, as a rule of life,
them of the will
and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly;
also the sinful
of their nature, hearts, and lives; so as, examining themselves thereby,
they may come to
conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin; together with a
clearer sight of
they have of Christ, and the perfection of his obedience. It is
use to the
restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin, and the
serve to show what
their sins deserve, and what afflictions in this life they may expect
the curse thereof threatened in the law. The promises of it, in like
manner, show them
approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the
not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works: so as a man's
doing good, and
from evil, because the law encourageth to the one, and deterreth from
the other, is no
of his being under the law, and not under grace.
uses of the law contrary to the grace of the gospel, but do
the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that
will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done.
Liberty, and Liberty of Conscience.
Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel consists in their
freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the curse
the moral law; and in their being delivered from thos present evil
bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin, from the evil of afflictions,
sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation; as
also in their free access to God, and their yielding obedience unto
not out of slavish fear, but a childlike love, and a willing mind. All
which were common also to believers under the law; but under the New
the liberty of Christians is further enlarged in their freedom from the
yoke of the ceremonial law, to which the Jewish Church was subjected;
in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace, and in fuller
of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily
II. God alone
the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and
of men which are in any thing contrary to his Word, or beside it in
of faith on worship. So that to believe such doctrines, or to obey such
commandments out of conscience, is ts betray true liberty of
and the requiring an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind
is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.
III. They who,
of Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust, do
destroy the end of Christian liberty; which is, that, being delivered
of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in
and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
IV. And because
which God hath ordained, and the liberty which Christ hath purchased,
not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one
another; they who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, shall oppose any
lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or
resist the ordinance of God. And, for their publishing of such
or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of
or to the known principles of Christianity, whether concerning faith,
or conversation; or, to the power of godliness; or, such erroneous
or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner of
or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order
Christ hath established in the Church, they may lawfully be called to
and proceeded against by the censures of the Church, and by the power
the civil magistrate.
Religious Worship and the Sabbath-day.
I. The light of
that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is
and doeth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised,
called upon, trusted in, and served with all the hearth, and with all
soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the
true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed
that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices
of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation
any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.
to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to him alone:
not to angels, saints, or any other creature: and since the Fall, not
a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.
III. Prayer with
being one special part of religious worship, is by God required of all
men; and that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the
by the help of his Holy Spirit, according to his will, with
reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and, if
in a known tongue.
IV. Prayer is to
for things lawful, and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live
hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known
that they have sinned the sin unto death.
V. The reading of
with godly fear; the sound preaching, and conscionable hearing of the
in obedience unto God with understanding, faith, and reverence; singing
of psalms with grace in the heart; as, also, the due administration and
worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ; are all parts
of the ordinary religious worship of God: besides religious oaths, and
vows, solemn fastings, and thanksgivings upon special occasion; which
in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious
any other part of religious worship, is now, under the gospel, either
unto, or made more acceptable to, any place in which it is performed,
towards which it is directed: but God is to be worshipped everywhere in
spirit and in truth; as in private families daily, and in secret each
by himself, so more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not
or willfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God, by his Word or
VII. As it is of
of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for
the worship of God; so, in his Word, by a positive, moral, and
commandment, binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly
one day in seven for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him: which, from
beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day
of the week; and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the
first day of the week, which in Scripture is called the Lord's Day, and
is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath.
VIII. This Sabbath
be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their
and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an
holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about
wordly employments and recreations; but also are taken up the whole
in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties
necessity and mercy.
CHAPTER XXII.Of Lawful Oaths and Vows.
I. A lawful oath
of religious worship, wherein upon just occasion, the person swearing
calleth God to witness what he asserteth or promiseth; and to judge him
according to the truth or falsehood of what he sweareth.
II. The name of
is that by which men ought to swear, and therein it is to be used with
all holy fear and reverence; therefore to swear vainly or rashly by
glorious and dreadful name, or to swear at all by any other thing, is
and to be abhorred. Yet, as, in matters of weight and moment, an oath
warranted by the Word of God, under the New Testament, as well as under
the Old, so a lawful oath, being imposed by lawful authority, in such
ought to be taken.
oath ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act, and
to avouch nothing but what he is fully persuaded is the truth. Neither
may any man bind himself by oath to any thing but what is good and
and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and resolved to
Yet it is a sin to refuse an oath touching any thing that is good and
being imposed by lawful authority.
IV. An oath is to
in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation or
reservation. It can not oblige to sin; but in any thing not sinful,
taken, it binds to performance, although to a man's own hurt: nor is it
to be violated, although made to heretics or infidels.
V. A vow is of the
nature with a promissory oath, and ought to be made with the like
care, and to be performed with the like faithfulness.
VI. It is not to
to any creature, but to God alone: and that it may be accepted, it is
be made voluntarily, out of faith and conscience of duty, in way of
for mercy received, or for obtaining of what we want; whereby we more
bind ourselves to necessary duties, or to other things, so far and so
as they may fitly conduce thereunto.
VII. No man may
any thing forbidden in the Word of God, or what would hinder any duty
commanded, or which is not in his own power, and for the performance of
which he hath no promise or ability from God. In which respects,
vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular
are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are
and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself.
CHAPTER XXIII. Of the Civil Magistrate.
I. God, the
and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be under
him over the people, for his own glory and the public good; and to this
end, hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defense and
of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil-doers.
II. It is lawful
to accept and execute the office of a magistrate when called thereunto;
in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety,
and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth, so,
that end, they may lawfully, now under the New Testament, wage war upon
just and necessary occasions.
III. The civil
may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and
or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven: yet he hath
and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in
the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all
and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and
prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled,
observed. For the
effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them,
and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to
mind of God.
IV. It is the duty
people to pray for magistrates, to honor their persons, to pay them
and other dues, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to
authority, for conscience' sake. Infidelity, or difference in religion,
doth not make boid the magistrate's just and legal authority, nor free
the people from their obedience to him: from which ecclesiastical
are not exempted; much less hath the Pope any power or jurisdiction
them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and least of all
to deprive them of their dominions or lives, if he shall judge them to
be heretics, or upon any other pretense whatsoever.
CHAPTER XXIV. Of Marriage and Divorce.
I. Marriage is to
one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more
one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband at the same
II. Marriage was
for the mutual help of husband and wife; for the increase of mankind
a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed; and for
III. It is lawful
sorts of people to marry who are able with judgment to give their
Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord. And,
such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with
Papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be
yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life,
maintain damnable heresies.
IV. Marriage ought
be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden in the
nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of
or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together, as man
wife. The man may not marry any of his wife's kindred nearer in blood
he may of his own, nor the woman of her husband's kindred nearer in
than of her own.
V. Adultery or
committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just
occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract. In the case
adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out
a divorce, and after the divorce to marry another, as if the offending
party were dead.
VI. Although the
of man be such as is apt to study arguments, unduly to put asunder
whom God hath joined together in marriage; yet nothing but adultery, or
such willful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church or civil
magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage;
a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the
concerned in it, not left to their own wills and discretion in their
CHAPTER XXV. Of the Church.
I. The catholic or
Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect,
that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the
thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of Him that filleth
all in all.
II. The visible
which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to
nation as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the
that profess the true religion, together with their children; and is
Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ; the house and family of God, through
which men are ordinarily saved and union with which is essential to
best growth and service.
III. Unto this
and visible Church, Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and
of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life,
the end of the world; and doth by his own presence and Spirit,
to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.
IV. This catholic
hath been sometimes more, sometimes less, visible. And particular
which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the
of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and
worship performed more or less purely in them.
V. The purest
heaven are subject both to mixture and error: and some have so
as to become apparently no Churches of Christ. Nevertheless, there
be always a Church on earth, to worship God according to his will.
VI. There is no
of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome in
sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son
of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and
that is called God.
CHAPTER XXVI. Of the Communion of the Saints.
I. All saints that
to Jesus Christ their head, by his Spirit and by faith, have fellowship
with him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory:
being united to one another in love, they have communion in each
gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties,
and private, as to conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and
II. Saints by
are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship
God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their
edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things,
to their several abilities and necesities. Which communion, as God
opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who, in every place, call
upno the name of the Lord Jesus.
the saints have with Christ, doth not make them in any wise partakers
the substance of the Godhead, or to be equal with Christ in any
either of which to affirm, is impious and blasphemous. Nor doth their
one with another as saints, take away or infringe the title or property
which each man hath in his goods and possessions.
CHAPTER XXVII.Of the Sacraments.
I. Sacraments are
and seals of the covenant of grace, immediately instituted by God, to
Christ and his benefits, and to confirm our interest in him: as also to
put a visible difference between those that belong unto the Church, and
the rest of thw world; and solemnly to engage them to the service of
in Christ, according to his Word.
II. There is in
a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the
signified; whence it comes to pass that the names and effects of the
are attributed to the other.
III. The grace
exhibited in or by the sacraments, rightly used, is not conferred by
power in them; neither doth the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the
piety or intention of him that doth administer it, but upon the work of
the Spirit, and the word of institution, which conatins, together with
a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy
IV. There be only
ordained by Christ our Lord in the gospels, that is to say, Baptism and
the Supper of the Lord: neither or which may be dispensed by any but a
minister of the Word, lawfully ordained.
V. The sacraments
Old Testament, in regard of the spiritual things thereby signified and
exhibited, were, for substance, the same with those of the New.
CHAPTER XXVIII. Of Baptism.
I. Baptism is a
of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn
admission of the party baptized into the visible Church, but also to be
unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, or his ingrafting
Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up
God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life: which sacrament
is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in his Churchy until
end of the world.
II. The outward
to be used in the sacrament is water, wherewith the party is to be
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a
minister of the gospel,
III. Dipping of
into the water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered by
pouring or sprinkling water upon the person.
IV. Not only those
do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the
of one or both believing parents are to be baptized.
V. Although it be
sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are
so inseparably annexed unto it as that no person can be regenerated or
saved without it, or that all that are baptized are undoubtedly
VI. The efficacy
is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet,
by the right use of this ordinancy the grace promised is not only
but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether
of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the
of God's own will, in his appointed time.
VII. The sacrament
is but once to be administered to any person.
CHAPTER XXIX. Of the Lord's Supper.
I. Our Lord Jesus,
night wherein he was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of his body and
blood, called the Lord's Supper, to be observed in his Church unto the
end of the world; for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of
in his death, the sealing all benefits thereof unto true believers,
spiritual nourishment and growth in him, their further engagement in
to all duties which they owe unto him; and to be a bond and pledge of
communion with him, and with each other, as members of his mystical
II. In this
is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for
remission of sins of the quick or dead, but a commemoration of that one
offering up of himself, by himself, upon the cross, once for all, and a
spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same; so
the Popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominably
to Christ's one only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins
of the elect.
III. The Lord
in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to declare his word of
to the people, to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and
to set them apart from a common to an holy use; and to take and break
bread, to take the cup, and (they communicating also themselves) to
both to the communicants; but to none who are not then present in the
this sacrament by a priest, or any other, alone; as likewise the denial
of the cup to the people; worshipping the elements, the lifting them
or carrying them about for adoration, and the reserving them for any
religious use, are all contrary to the nature of this sacrament, and to
the institution of Christ.
V. The outward
in this sacrament, duly set apart to the uses ordained by Christ, have
such relation to him crucified, as that truly, yet sacramentally only,
they are sometimes called by the name of the thigns they represent, to
wit, the body and blood of Christ; albeit, in substance and nature,
still remain truly, and only, bread and wine, as they were before.
VI. That doctrine
maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the
of Christ's body and blood (commonly called transubstantiation) by
of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant, not to Scripture alone,
but even to common-sense and reason; overthroweth the nature of the
and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of
partaking of the visible elements in this sacrament, do then also
by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but
receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all benefits of his death:
the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally in,
with, or under the bread and wine; yet as really, but spiritually,
to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves
are to their outward senses.
and wicked men receive the outward elements in this sacrament, yet they
receive not the thing signified thereby; but by their unworthy coming
are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, to their own damnation.
all ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion
with him, so are they unworthy of the Lord's table, and can not,
great sin against Christ, while they remain such, partake of these holy
mysteries, or be
CHAPTER XXX Of Church Censures.
I. The Lord Jesus,
and head of his Church, hath therein appointed a government in the hand
of Church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate.
II. To these
keys of the Kingdom of Heaven are committed, by virtue whereof they
power respectively to retain and remit sins, to shut that kingdom
the impenitent, both by the word and censures; and to open it unto
sinners, by the ministry of the gospel, and by absolution from
as occasion shall require.
necessary for the reclaiming and gaining of offending brethren; for
of others from like offenses; for purging out of that leaven which
infect the whole lump; for vindicating the honor of Christ, and the
profession of the gospel; and for preventing the wrath of God, which
justly fall upon the Church, if they should suffer his covenant, and
seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders.
IV. For the better
of these ends, the officers of the Church are to proceed by
from the sacrament of the Lord's Supper for a season, and by
fromthe Church, according to the nature of the crime, and demerit of
CHAPTER XXXI.Of Synods and Councils.
I. For the better
and further edification of the Church, there ought to be such
as are commonly called synods or councils.
II. As magistrates
call a synod of ministers and other fit persons to consult and advise
about matters of religion; so, if magistrates be open enemies of the
the ministers of Christ, of themselves, by virtue of their office, or
with other fit persons, upon delegation from their churches, may meet
in such assemblies.
III. It belongeth
and councils, ministerially, to determine controversies of faith, and
of conscience; to set down rules and directions for the better ordering
of the public worship of God, and government of his Church; to receive
complaints in cases of maladministration, and authoritatively to
the same: which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the Word of
God, are to be received with reverence and submission, not only for
agreement with the Word, but also for the power whereby they are made,
as being an ordinance of God, appointed thereunto in his Word.
IV. All synods or
since the apostles' times, whether general or particular, may err, and
many have erred; therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith or
practice, but to be used as a help in both.
V. Synods and
to handle or conclude nothing but that which is ecclesiastical:
are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the
unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or by way of
for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the
Of the State of Man After Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead.
I. The bodies of
death, return to dust, and see corruption; but their souls (which
die nor sleep), having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to
who gave them. The souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in
are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of
in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies;
the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in
and utterdarkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. Besides
two places for souls
from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.
II. At the last
as are found alive shall not die, but be changed: and all the dead
be raised up with the self-same bodies, and none other, although with
qualities, which shall be united again to their souls forever.
III. The bodies of
shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonor; the bodies of the
just, by his Spirit, unto honor, and be made conformable to his own
Of the Last Judgment.
I. God hath
day, wherein he will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ,
to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father. In which day,
only the apostate angels shall be judged; but likewise all persons,
have lived upon earth, shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to
an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive
to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.
II. The end of
this day, is for the manifestation of the glory of his mercy in the
salvation of the elect; and of his justice in the damnation of the
who are wicked and disobedient. For then shall the righteous go into
life, and receive that fullness of joy and refreshing which shall come
from the presence of the Lord: but the wicked, who know not God, and
not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments,
from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
III. As Christ
us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment,
to deter all men from sin, and for the greater consolation of the godly
in their adversity: so will he have that day unknown to men, that they
may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they
know not at what hour the Lord will come; and may be ever prepared to
Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen.