Изображения страниц

spake, or did, shall be brought to their memory, to convince the wicked of the justice of the Judge in passing the fearful sentence upon them, and to glorify the mercies of God towards his redeemed ones: and then the righteous Judge shall condemn the wicked to the portion of devils for ever, to a state of torments, the second, and eternal, and intolerable death; and the godly being placed on his right hand, shall hear the blessed sentence of absolution, and shall be led by Christ to the participation of the glories of his Father's kingdom for ever and ever. Amen'.

I believe in the Holy Ghost [or] the Holy Spirit;

Who is the third person of the holy, undivided, everblessed Trinity, which I worship, and adore, and admire, but look upon with wonder, and am not in a capacity to understand. I believe that the Holy Spirit, into whose name, as of the Father and the Son, I was baptized, is the heavenly Author, the Captain, the Teacher, and the Witness of all the truths of the Gospel: that as the Father sent the Son, so the Son from heaven sent the Holy Spirit to lead the church into all truth; to assist us in all temptations, and to help us in the purchase of all virtue. This Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, and our Lord Jesus received him from his Father, and sent him into the world, who receiving the things of Christ, and declaring the same excellent doctrines, speaks whatsoever he hath heard from him; and instructed the apostles, and builds the church, and produces faith, and confirms our hope, and increases charity: and this Holy Spirit our blessed Lord hath left with his church for ever, by which all the servants of God are enabled to do all things necessary to salvation, which by the force of nature they cannot do: and we speak by the Spirit, and work by the Spirit, when by his assistances, any ways imparted to us, we speak or do any thing of our duty. He it is who enlightens our understandings, sanctifies our will, orders and commands our affections; he comforts our sorrows, supports our spirits in trouble, and enables us, by promises and confidences, and gifts, to suffer for the Lord Jesus and the Gospel:

Jolin, v. 22, 23. 1 Thess. iv. 16, 17. Matt. xxv. 32. Acts, x. 42. Matt. xxv. 34, &c.

and all these things God the Father does for us by his Son, and the Son by the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit by all means within and without, which are operative upon, and proportionable to, the nature of reasonable creatures. This is he who works miracles, gives the gifts of prophecy and of interpretation; that teaches us what, and how, to pray; that gives us zeal and holy desires; who sanctifies children in baptism, and confirms them with his grace in confirmation, and reproves the world, and consecrates bishops, and all the ministers of the Gospel, and absolves the penitent, and blesses the obedient, and comforts the sick, and excommunicates the refractory, and makes intercession for the saints, that is, the church; and those whom he hath blessed, appointed, and sanctified to these purposes, do all these ministeries, by his authority, and his commandment, and his aids. This is he that 'testifies to our spirits that we are the sons of God,' and that makes us to cry, Abba, Father;' that is, who inspires into us such humble confidences of our being accepted in our hearty and constant endeavours to please God, that we can with cheerfulness and joy call God our Father, and expect and hope for the portion of sons both here and hereafter, and in the certainty of this hope, to work out our salvation with fear and reverence, with trembling and joy, with distrust of ourselves, and mighty confidence in God. By this holy and ever-blessed Spirit, several persons in the church, and every man in his proportion, receives the gifts of wisdom, and utterance, and knowledge, and interpretation, and próphecy, and healing, and government, and discerning of spirits, and faith, and tongues, and whatsoever can be necessary for the church in several ages and periods, for her beginning, for her continuance, for her in prosperity, and for her in persecution. This is the great' promise of the Father,' and it is the 'gift of God,' which he will give to all them that ask him, and who live piously and chastely, and are persons fit to entertain so divine a grace. This Holy Spirit God gives to some more, to some less, according as they are capable. They who obey his motions,' and love his presence and improve his gifts, shall have him yet more abundantly but they that grieve the Holy Spirit,' shall lose that which they have: and they that 'extinguish him,' belong not to Christ, but are in the state of reprobation and they

[ocr errors]

that blaspheme' this Holy Spirit, and call him the spirit of the devil, or the spirit of error, or folly, or do malicious despites to him, that is, they who on purpose considering and choosing, do him hurt by word or by deed (so far as lies in them) shall for ever be separated from the presence of God and of Christ, and shall never be forgiven in this world, nor in the world to come. Lastly, this Holy Spirit seals us to the day of redemption; that is, God gives us his Holy Spirit as a testimony that he will raise us again at the last day, and give us a portion in the glories of his kingdom, in the inheritance of our Lord Jesus'.

The holy catholic church.

I believe that there is, and ought to be, a visible company of men, professing the service and discipline, that is, the religion of the Gospel, who agree together in the belief of all the truths of God revealed by Jesus Christ, and in confession of the articles of this creed, and agree together in praying and praising God through Jesus Christ; to read and hear the Scriptures read and expounded; to provoke each other to love and to good works; to advance the honour of Christ, and to propagate his faith and worship. I believe this to be a holy church, spiritual, and not civil, and secular, but sanctified by their profession, and the solemn rites of it, professing holiness, and separating from the evil manners of heathens and wicked persons, by their laws and institutions. And this church is catholic, that is, it is not confined to the nation of the Jews, as was the old religion; but it is gathered out of all nations, and is not of a differing faith in differing places, but always did, doth, and ever shall profess the faith which the apostles preached, and which is contained in this creed; which whosoever believes, is a catholic and a Christian, and he that believes not, is neither. This catholic church I believe, that is, I believe whatsoever all good

Matt. xxviii. 19. John xv. 26. xvi. 13. vi. 45. vii. 16, 17. and v. 57. Acts, xv. 32. iii. 33. ii. 4. xiii. 1, 2, 3. and xx. 28. Luke, xii. 12. John, xvii. 37. xiv. 16. and xvi. 13, 8. Matt. x. 10. Eph. i. 17. and iii. 16. 1 Cor. ii. 10, 11, 12. Rom. viii. 14, 15, 16. Rom. xiv. 17. 1 Thess. i. 6. Luke, xxiv. 49. and iv. 18. Acts, ii. 33, 38. Eph. i. 13. Acts, vii. 51. 2 Cor. i. 22. and v. 15.

1 Cor. iii. 16. Mark, iii. 29.

and xv. 13, 19.

Eph. iv. 7, 30.

Rom. i. 14.

1 Thess. v. 19.

Christians, in all ages and in all places, did confess to be the catholic and apostolic faith".

The communion of saints.

That is, the communion of all Christians, because, by reason of their holy faith, they are called saints in Scripture, as being begotten by God into a lively faith, and cleansed by believing; and by this faith, and the profession of a holy life in obedience to Jesus Christ, they are separated from the world, called to the knowledge of the truth, justified before God, and endued with the Holy Spirit of grace, foreknown from the beginning of the world, and predestinated by God to be made conformable to the image of his Son, here in holiness of life, hereafter in a life of glory; and they who are saints in their belief and profession, must be so also in their practice and conversation, that so they may make their calling and election sure, lest they be saints only in name and title, in their profession and institution, and not in manners and holiness of living, that is, lest they be so before men, and not before God. I believe that all people who desire the benefit of the Gospel, are bound to have a fellowship and society with these saints, and communicate with them in their holy things, in their faith, and in their hope, and in their sacraments, and in their prayers, and in their public assemblies, and in their government; and must do to them all the acts of charity, and mutual help, which they can and are required to; and without this communion of saints, and a conjunction with them who believe in God through Jesus Christ, there is no salvation to be expected: which communion must be kept in inward things always, and by all persons, and testified by outward acts always, when it is possible, and may be done upon just and holy conditions*.

The forgiveness of sins.

I believe that all the sins I committed before I came to

" 1 Tim. iii. 15. Matt. xviii. 17, 18. Heb. xiii. 8, 9.

Eph. iii. 21.
Acts, xii. 5.

Acts, xxvi. 10. ix. 13, 32, 41. 1 Pet. i. 2, 14, 15, 16. 2 Pet. iii. 1 Cor. xi. 23, &c. Eph. iv. 13. v. Rom. xvi. 16, 17. 1 John, iii. 18.

Heb. ii. 12. x. 21. 1 Cor. xiv. 26, &c. 1 Cor. xiv. 14. Gal. i. 8, 9. Col. ii. 8, 9.

1 Cor. vi. 11. and i. 2. Matt. xxii. 14. 11. Matt. xviii. 17, 18. Heb. x. 25. 6, 7, 21. vi. 18. Phil. ii. 4. and i. 27. 1 Pet. i. 22.

the knowledge of the truth, and all the slips of human infirmity, against which we heartily pray, and watch and labour, and all the evil habits, of which we repent so timely and effectually, that we obtain their contrary graces, and live in them, are fully remitted by the blood of Christ; which forgiveness we obtain by faith and repentance, and therefore are not justified by the righteousness of works, but by the righteousness of faith: and we are preserved in the state of forgiveness or justification by the fruits of a lively faith, and a timely active repentance".

The resurrection of the body.

I believe, that at the last day all they, whose sins are forgiven, and who lived and died in the communion of saints, and in whom the Holy Spirit did dwell, shall rise from their graves, their dead bones shall live, and be clothed with flesh and skin, and their bodies, together with their souls, shall enter into the portion of a new life; and that this body shall no more see corruption, but shall rise to an excellent condition; it shall be spiritual, powerful, immortal, and glorious, like unto his glorious body, who shall then be our Judge, is now our Advocate, our Saviour, and our Lord.

And the life everlasting.

I believe that they who have their part in this resurrection, shall meet the Lord in the air; and when the blessed sentence is pronounced upon them, they shall for ever be with the Lord in joys unspeakable, and full of glory; God shall wipe all tears from their eyes; there shall be no fear or sorrow, no mourning or death, a friend shall never go away from thence, and an enemy shall never enter; there shall be fulness without want, light eternal, brighter than the sun; day, and no night; joy, and no weeping; difference in degree, and yet all full; there is love without dissimulation, excellency without envy, multitudes without confusion, music without discord; there the understandings are rich,

Gal. vi. 1.

1 Pet. i. 15,

Rom. iii. 28. Acts, ii. 38. xiii. 38. 1 John, ii. 1, 2, 12. John, xx. 23. Mark, xvi. 16. 2 Pet. i. 5, &c. Eph. i. 13. 16, 17, 18. Jam. ii. 17, 20, &c. 1 John, iii. 21, &c. Heb. xii. 14, 15, 16. * 1 Cor. xv. 29, &c. Matt. xxii. 31. Rom. viii. 11, 23. John, vi. 39. Phil. iii. 20. 2 Cor. v. 1.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »