« PreviousContinue »
Q. 25. Do you not believe that he also became man?
A. Yes: for he was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Vir. gin Mary.
Q. 26. Is his Godhead then changed into humanity?
A. No: but he took it on him of the Virgin Mary, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, and is thus become like unto us his brethren in all things, sin excepted, Heb. 2. 17, and 4. 15.
Q. 29. Why is he called Jesus, that is Saviour?
A. No: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved, than in the name of Jesus, Acts 4. 12.
Q. 31. Why is he called Christ, that is anointed?
A. Because he was anointed with the Holy Ghost, and ordained by God the Father, to be our chief Prophet, our only High Priest, and our eternal King.
Q. 32. What then hath Jesus Christ done to save us ?
A. He has suffered for us, was crucified and died, was buried and defcended into hell; that is, he suffered the torments of hell, and thus became obedient to his Father, that he might deliver us from the temporal and eternal punishment due to sin.
Q. 33. In which nature hath he suffered this
A. His Godhead, by its power, in such wise strengthened the assumed human nature, that it could bear the burden of God's wrath against sin, and deliver us from it.
Q. 35. Did Christ then remain under the power of death?
A. No: but he rose from the dead the third day for our justification, Rom. 4. 25.
Q. 36. Where is Christ now, as to his human nature ?
A. He is ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father; that is, exalted in the highest glory, far above all creatures, Eph. 1. 20, 21.
Q. 37. To what end is he there so highly exalted ?
A. Particularly that he might from thence govern his church, and there be our intercessor with the Father.
Q. 38. Is he not with us then even unto the end of the world, as he hath promised us, Mat. 28. 20 ?
A. With respect to his Godhead, majesty, grace and spirit, he is never absent from us ; but with respect to his human nature, he reinains in heaven, until he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.
Q. 39. What do you believe concerning the Holy Ghost ?
A. That he is the true and co-eternal God with the Father and Son: and that he being given to me of the Father, through Christ, regenerates me and leads me into all truth, comforts me, and will abide with me forever.
Q. 40. What believest thou concerning the Holy Catholic church?
A. That the Son of God gathers by his word and spirit out of the whole human race, those, who are chosen to eternal life, to be a church to himself; of which I believe I am, and always shall remain a living member.
Q. 41. Where doth he gather his church? A. Where God's word is purely preached, and the holy sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ.
Q. 42. What benefits doth Christ bestow on his church?
A. He grants her reinission of sins, the resurrection of the flesh, and eternal life.
Q. 43. What doth it profit thee now that thou believest all this?
A. Thus : that the perfect satisfaction, and righteousness of Christ alone are imputed to me of God, by which my sins are forgiven me, and I become an heir of everlasting life; and that I cannot receive that righteousness by any other means than by faith.
Q. 46. Why cannot our good works be our righteousness before God, or some part thereof?
A. Because even our best works, in this life, are imperfect, and polluted with sins.
Q. 47. Do our good works then merit nothing, which yet God will reward in this, and in a futnre life?
A. This reward is not given out of merit, but of grace.
A. They are holy signs and seals instituted by God, thereby to assure us, that he of grace grants us remission of sins, and life eternal, for the sake of that one sacrifice of Christ finished on the cross.
Q. 52. How many sacraments hath Christ instituted in the new testament?
A. Two: holy baptism, and the holy supper.
R. 54. What doth that signify and seal?
A. In the institution of baptism; which is as follows, “Go ye into all the Forld, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved, but he, that believeih not, shall be damned."
Q. 56. Are infants also to be baptised?
A. Yes: For they, as well as the adult, are comprehended in the covenant of God, and in his church.
Q. 57. What is the outward sign in the Lord's supper?
A. The broken bread that we eat, and the poured out wine, which we drink, in remembrance of the sufferings and death of Christ.
Q. 58. Wbat is thereby signified and sealed ?
A. That Christ, with his crucified body and shed blood, feeds and nourishes our souls to everlasting life.
R. 59. Where hath Christ promised such things to us ?
A. In the institution of the Lord's supper, which is thus expressed, by St. Paul, 1 Cor. 11. 23, 24, 25, 26, “ For have received of the Lord, that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread; and when he had given thanks, brake it, and said, take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft ag ye drink it, it remembrance of me. For so oft as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come."
Q. 60. Is the bread changed into the body of Christ, and the wine into his blood ?
A. No: no more than the water in baptism is changed into the blood of Christ.
Q. 61. After what manner must you examine yourself before you come to the Lord's supper?
A. 1. I must examine whether I abhor myself for my sins, and humble myself before God op account of them. 2. Whether I believe and trust that all my sins are forgiven me for Christ's sake. 3. Whether I also have a sincere resolution henceforward, to walk in all good works.
Q. 62. May those be admitted to the Lord's supper, who teach false doetrines, or lead oitensive lives?
A. No: lest the covenant of God be profaned, and his wrath kindled against the whole church. Q. 63. How must we then deal with such persons ?
A. According to the appointment given us by Christ, Mat. 18. 15, 16, 17. " If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother : but if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established: and if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it upto the church : but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee, as an heathen man, and a publican."
THE THIRD PART:
OF THE GRATITUDE WE OWE TO GOD FOR REDEMPTION.
Q. 64. Since we are saved merely of grace through Christ, why must we then yet do good works'
A. Not to merit heaven thereby (which Clirist hath done); but because this is commanded me of God.
Q. 65. What purpose then do your good works answer ?
A. That I may thereby testify my thankfulness to God for all his benefits, and that he may he glorified by me; and that also I may be assured of the sincerity of my faith, by good works, as the fruits thereof, and that my neighbours may be edified thereby and gained to Christ.
Q. 66. Shall they also be saved who do no good works?
A. No: For the scripture saith, that neither fornicators, nor idolaters, por adulterers, nor whoremongers, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers, nor such like, shall inherit the kingdom of God, i Cor. 6. 9, and 10, unless they turn to the Lord.
Q. 67. Wherein doth the conversion of man consist ? A. In a hearty repentance, and avoiding of sin, and in an earnest desire after, and doing all good works.
Q. 68. What are good works?
A. Only those, which proceed from a true faith; are done according to the law of God, and to his glory; and not those, which are founded on buman institutions, or on our cwn imaginations.
Q. 69. Can they, who are converted to God, perfectly keep the law?
A. Not at all: but even the most holy men, as long as they are in this life, have only a small beginning of this obedience; yet so, that they with a sincere resolution begin to live not only according to some, but according to all the commandinents of God, as they also constantly pray to God that they may daily increase therein.
Q. 70. To whom must we pray for this ?
A. Not to any creature, but to God alone, who can help us, and will hear us for Jesus Christ's gake.
Q. 71. In whose name must we pray to God?
72. What must we pray to God for?
A. For all things necessary for soul and body, which Christ our Lord has comprised in that prayer, he himself has taught us.
R. 73. What are the words of that prayer?
A. Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Q. 74. What do you desire of God in this
A. I. That all things, which tend to the glory of God, may be promoted, and whatsover is repugnant thereto, or contrary to his will, may he prevented. 2. That he may provide me with all things necessary for the body, and as to my soul, preserve me from all evil, which might in any wise be detrimental to my salvation. Amen.
When those who are inclined to become members in full communion of the church, and to approach the Holy Supper of the Lord, thororiglily know and confess these fundamental trutlis, they are then to be asked whether they have any doubt on any point concerning the doctrine ; to the end they may be satisfied : and in case any of them should answer in the affirmative, endeavours must be used to convince them from the scriptures; and if satisfied, they must be asked whether they have experienced the power of the truth in their hearts, and are willing and desirous to be saved by Jesus Christ from their sins ; and whether they propose, by the grace of God, to persevere in tbis doctrine, to forsake the world, and to lead a new christian life. Lastly, they are to be asked, whether they will submit themselves to the christian discipline
Which being done, they are to be exhorted to peace, love and concord with all men, and to reconciliation, if there is any variance subsisting be tween them and their neighbours.
That there is one only God. WE all believe with the heart, and confess with the mouth, that there is one only simple and spiritual Being, which we call God; and that he is eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, immutable, infinite, almighty, perfectly wise, just, good, and the overflowing fountain of all good.
II. By nhat means God is made known unto us. We know him by two means : first, by the creation, preservation and government of the universe ; which is before our eyes as a most elegant book,wherein all creatures, great and small, are as so many characters leading us to contemplate the invisible things of God, namely, his eternal power and Godheod, as the apostle Paul saith, Rom. i. 20. All which things are sufficient to convince men, and leave them without excuse. Secondly, he makes himself more clearly and fully known to us by his holy and divine word ; that is to say, as far as is necessary for us to know in this life, to bis glory and our salvation.
III. Of the written word of God. We confess that this word of God was not sent, nor delivered by the will of man, but that holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, as the apostle l'eter saith. And that afterwards God, from a special care, which he has for us and our salvation, commanded his servants, the prophets and apostles, to commit his revealed word to writing; and he himself wrote with his own finger, the two tables of the law : Therefore we call such writings holy and divine Scriptures.
IV. Canonical books of the holy Scriptures. We believe that the holy scriptures are contained in two books, namely, the old and new testament, which are canonical, against which nothing can he alleged. These are thus pamed in the church of God The books of the old testament are, the five books of Moses, viz. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; the book of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, two bocks of Samuel, and two of the Kings; two books of the Chronicles, commonly called Paralipomenon. the first of Ezra, Nenemiah, Esther, Job, the Psalms of David, the three books of Solomon, namely, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs ; the four great prophets, Isaiab, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel ; and the twelve lesser prophets, namely, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
Those of the new testament are the four evangelists; viz. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; the Acts of the Apostles ; the fourteen epistles of the apostle Paul, viz. one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, one to the Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the Collossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, one to Titus, one to Philemon, and one to the Hebrews : the seven epistles of the other apos. tles, namely, one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude ; and the Revelation of the apostle Jolin. V. From whence do the holy scriptures derive thcir dignity and authority.
We receive all these books, and these only, as holy and canonical, for the regulation, foundation, and confirmation of our faith ; believing without any doubt, all things contained in them, not so much because the church receives and approves them as such, but more especially because the Holy Ghost witnesseth in our hearts, that they are from God, whereof they carry the evidence in themselves. For the very blind are able to perceive that the things foretold in them are fulfilling.
VI. The difference between the canonical and apocryphical books. We distinguish those sacred hooks from the apocryphical; viz. the third and fourth book of Esdras, the books of Tohias, Judith, Wisdom, Jesus Sy. rach, Baruch, the appendix to the book of Esther, the Song of the three Children in the Furnace, the history of Susannah, of Bell and the Dragon, the prayer of Monasses, and the two books of the Maccabees. All which the church may read and take instruction from, so far as they agree with the canonical hooks; but they are far froin having such power and efficacy, as that we may from their testimony confirin any point of faith, or of the christian religion; much less detract from the authority of the other sacred books. VII. The sufficiency of the holy scriptures, to be the only rule of faith.
We believe that those holy scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that, whatsoever man ought to believe, unto salvation, is sufficieutly taught therein. For since the whole manner of worship, which God requires of us, is written in them at large, it is unlawful for any one, though an aposlle, to teach otherwise, than we are now taught in the holy scriptures: Nay, though it were an angel from heaven, as the apostle Paul saith. For, since it is forbidden, to add unto or take away any thing from the word of God,