Изображения страниц

tion upon them; for we can do no work but what is polluted by our flesh, and also punishable: and although we could perform such works, still the remembrance of one sin is sufficient to make God reject them. Thus then we should always be in doubt, tossed to and fro without any certainty, and our poor consciences continually vexed, if they relied not on the merits of the sufferings and death of our Saviour.

XXV. Of the abolishing the ceremonial law. We believe that the ceremonies and figures of the law ceased at the coming of Christ, and that all the shadows are accomplished: so that the use of them must be abolished amongst Christians ; yet the truth and substance of them remain with us in Jesus Christ, in whom they have their completion. In the mear: time, we still use the testimonies taken out of the law and the prophets, to confirm us in the doctrine of the gospel, and to regulate our life in all honesty, to the glory of God, according to his will.

XXVI. Of Christ's intercession. We believe that we have no access unto God, but alone through the only mediator and advocate, Jesus Christ, the righteous, who therefore became man, having united in one person the divine and human natures, that we men might have access to the divine Majesty, which access would otherwise be barred against us. But this Mediator, whom the Father hath appointed between him and us, ought in no wise to affright us by his Majesty, or cause us to seek another according to our fancy. For there is no creature either in heaven or on earth, who loveth us more than Jesus Christ; who though he was in the form of God, yet made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant for us, and was made like unto his brethren in all things. If then we should seek for another Mediator, who would be well affected towards us, whom could we find, who loved us more than he, who laid down his life for us, even when we were his enemies? And if we seek for one, who hath power and majesty, who is there that has so much of both as he who sitteth at the right hand of his Father, and who hath all power in heaven and on earth? And who will sooner be heard than the own well beloved Son of God ?Therefore it was only through diffidence that this practice of dishonouring instead of honouring the saints, was introduced, doing that, which they never have done, nor required, but have on the contrary stedfastly rejected according to their bounden duty, as appears by their writings. Neither must we plead here our unworthiness ; for the meaning is, not that we should offer our prayers to God on account of our own worthiness, but only on account of the excellency and worthiness of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is become ours by faith. Therefore the apostle, to remove this foolish fear, or rather mistrust from nis, justly saith, that Jesus Christ was made like unto fris brethren in all things, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted; and further to encourage us, he adds, seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.--For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the fecling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. The same apostle saith, that we have boldness to enter into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus ; let us draw near (saith he) with a true heart in full assurance of faith, &c. Likewise, Christ hath an unchangeable priesthood, wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. What more can be required ? since Christ himself saith, I am the way,

and the truth, and tie life ; no man cometh unto the Father but by me. To what purpose then should we seek another advocate, since it hath pleased God, to give us his own Son as an advocate ? Let us not forsake him to take another, or rather to seek after another, without ever being able to find him; for God well knew, when he gave him to us, that we were sinners. Therefore according to the command of Christ, we call upon the heavenly Father through Jesus Christ our only mediator, as we are taught in the Lord's prayer; being assured that whatever we ask of the Father in his name, will be granted us.

XXVII. Of the catholic christian church. We believe and profess one catholic or universal church, which is an holy congregation of true christian believers, who all expect their salvation in Jesus Christ, being washed by his blood, sanctified and sealed hy the Holy Ghost. This church hath been from the beginning of the world, and will be to the end thereof; which is evident from this, that Christ is an eternal King, which, without subjects, cannot be.And this holy church is preserved or supported by God, against the rage of the whole world ; though she some times (for a while) appears very small, and in the eyes of men, to be reduced to nothing: as during the perilous reign of Ahab, the Lord reserved unto him seven thousand men, who had not bowed their knees to Baal. Furthermore, this holy church is not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place, or to certain persons, but is spread and dispersed over the whole world; and yet is joined and united with heart and will, by the power of faitb, in one and the same spirit.

XXVIII. That every one is bound to join himself to

the true church. We believe, since this holy congregation is an assembly of those who are saved, and that out of it there is no salvation, that no person of whatsoever state or condition he may be, ought to withdraw himself, to live in a separate state from it; but that all men are in duty bound to join and unite themselves with it, maintaining the unity of the church; submitting themselves to the doctrine and discipline thereof; bowing their necks under the yoke of Jesus Christ; and as mutual members of the same body, serving to the edification of the brethren, according to the talents God has given them. And that this may be the more effectually observed, it is the duty of all believers, according to the word of God, to separate themselves from all those, who do not belong to the church, and to join themselves to this congregation, wheresoever God hath established it, even though the magistrates and the edicts of princes were against it; yea, though they should suffer death or any other corporal punishment. Therefore all those, who separate themselves from the same, or do not join themselves to it, act contrary to the ordinance of God. XXIX. Of the marks of the true church, and wherein

she differs from the false church. We believe that we ought diligently and circumspectly to discern from the word of God, which is the true church; since all sects which are in the world assume to themselves the name of the church.

But we speak not here of hypocrites, who are mixed in the church with the good, yet are not of the church, though externally in it: but we say that the hody and communion of the true church must be distinguished from all sects, who call themselves the church. The marks, by which the true church is known, are these: If the pure doctrine of the gospel is prenched therein; it she maintains the pure administration of the sacramenta as instituted by Christ; if church discipline is eterrieri in punishing of sin: In short, it

' all things are managed according to the pure word of God, all things contrary thereto rejected ; and Jesus Christ acknowledged as the only Head of the church. Hence the true churchi may certainly be known ; from which no may has a right to separate himself. With respect to those, who are members of the church, they may be known hy the marks of christians, namely, by faith; and when they have received Jesus Christ the only haviour, avoid sin, follow after righteousness, love the true God and their neighbour, neither turn aside to the right or left, and crucify the flesh with the works thereof. But this is not to be understood, as if there did not remain in them great infirmitiem; but they fight syninst then through the spirit, all the days of their life, contimially taking their refuge to the bleonl, denth, passion, and obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ, in when they have remission of sins, through faith in him, Az furt the falze church, she ascrit es mute summer an authenity to herself and her ordinances, than to the word oltal, and will not submit herself to the goke A Christ. We ther does she administer the sacramentz ** *09014 by Christ in his words utaksity are taken fremt?

,, as she thinks projets te relieth 166** * * Hanne upon Christ and coperník 1.4*, infringe Arnting ** cording to the worst of care arat perny<* * Adige bun ICTE, COVER C3, and day. ** from a mozgás na n are easily ava aart stins 2 ** 2 ** Vios XII. Canceradom, the younetame 1, ng'ward in San

choch Weekere at 1h 1, A4 Avant de tym hay idi, tumia wate', mar wel syt bedsteget 19 11 is word, samutis just 100jasa pembezigde en

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »