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A CONFESSION OF FAITH,
OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible (A) rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience ; although the (B) light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation (C). Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto (D) writing ; which maketh the holy scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.
(A) 2 Tim. iii. 15, 16, 17.-And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiratiou of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproot, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That he man of God may be pertect, throughly furnished unto all good works. Isa. viii. 20. To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word; it is because there is no light in them. Luke xvi. 29, 31.- Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets ; let them hear them. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. Eph. ii. 20.-And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief
(B) Rom. i. 19,20,21.-Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath sheived it unto them. For the invisible things of bim from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead: so that they are without excuse : Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Chap. ii. 14, 15.-For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another. Ps. xix. 1, 2, 3.- The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament cheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
(c) Heb. i. 1.-God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.
(D) Prov. xxii. 19—21.—That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. Have not I'written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth, that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto
thee? Rom. xv.4.-For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we throngh patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 2 Pet. i. 19, 20.–We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts : Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testament, which are these:
OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.
OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
Matthew 1 Corinthians 1 Timothy The first and Mark
2 Corinthians 2 Timothy second Epistles Luke Galatians To Titus
of Peter John
Ephesians To Philemon The first, second, The Acts of the Philippians The Epistle to and third EpisApostles Colossians
the Hebrews tles of John Paul'sEpistle to 1 Thessalonians Epistle of James TheEpistle of Jude the Romans 2 Thessalonians
The Revelation. All which are given by the (F) inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.
(B) 2 Tim. iii. 16.-All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
3. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine (F) inspiration, are no part of the canon or rule of the scripture, and therefore are of no authority to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writings.
(F) Luke xxiv. 27, 44.- And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Rom. iii. 2.--Much every way : chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
4. The authority of the holy scripture, for which it ought to be believed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon (G) God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.
(G) 2 Peter i. 19–21.-We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts ; Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Tim. ii. 16.---All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Thess ii. 13.- But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. I John v. 9.-If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to an high and reverent esteem of the holy scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, and many other incomparable excellencies, and entire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the word of God; yet notwithstanding, our (u) full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
(1) John xvi. 13, 14.-Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall near, that shall he speak : and he will shew you things to come.
He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 1 Cor. ii. 10–12.—But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him ? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 1 John ií. 20, 27.-But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. But the anointing which ye have received of bin abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you : but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath * taught you, ye shall abide in him.
6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things (1) necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the holy scripture; unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men.
Nevertheless, we acknowledge the (K) inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the word, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be (L) ordered by the light of nature and christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
(1) 2 Tim. iii. 15–17.–And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness : That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furuished unto all good works. Gal. i. 8, 9.-But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be aecursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
(K) John vi. 45.---It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 1 Cor. ii. 9-12.-But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear h-ard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
(L) 1 Cor. xi, 13, 14.-Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered ? Doch not even nature itself teach you that, if a man have long hair it is a shame unto him? Chap. xiv. 26, 40.-How is it then, brethren ? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. Let all things be done decently and in order.
7. All things in scripture are not alike (M) plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so (N) clearly propounded and opened in some place of scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.
(2) 2 Pet. iii. 16.—As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things ; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are udlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destructiun.
(n) Ps. xix. 7.—The law of the Lord is perfect, convertiag the soul : the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. Ps. cxix 130.—The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
8. The Old Testament in (0) 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 (P) authentic; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal to them (Q). But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in the scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read (R) and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they (s) come, that the Word of God dwelling (T) plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the scriptures, may have hope.
(0) Rom. iii. 2.-Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
(P) Isa. viii. 20.-To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
(Q) Acts xv. 15.–And to this agree the words of the prophets ; as it is written.
(R) John v. 39.--Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
(s) 1 Cor. xiv. 6, 9, 11, 12, 24, 28.-- Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ve shall speak into the air. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. Even so ye, foras much as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convini ed of all, he is judged of all. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church ; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
(T) Col. iii. 16.—Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
9. The infallible rule of interpretation of scripture is the (U) 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 must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.
(v.) 2 Pet. i. 20, 21. -Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Acts xv. 15, 16.–And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up.
10. The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees 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 scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which (x) scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.
(x) Matt. xxii. 29, 31, 32.- Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Eph. ii. 20.--And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. Acts xxviii. 23.-And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodgings; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.
OF GOD AND OF THE HOLY TRINITY. 1. The Lord our God is but (A) one only living and true God; whose (B) subsistence is in and of himself, (c) infinite in being and perfection; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; (D) a most pure spirit, (E) invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; who is (F) immutable, (G) immense, (u) eternal, incomprehensible, (1) almighty, every way infinite, (K) most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute;(L) werking all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will (m) for his own glory ; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin ; (N) the rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and withal most just (0) and terrible in his judgments, (P) hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the (Q) guilty.
(A) 1 Cor. viii. 4, 6.-As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. Deut. vi. 4.--Hear, O Israel : The Lord our God is one Lord.
(B) Jer. x. 10 –But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting King; at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. Isa. xlviii. 12.-Hearken unto me O Jacob and Israel, my called ; I am he; I am first, I also am the last.
(c) Exod. iii, 14.-- And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said Thus shalt thou say 11thechildren of Israel, I AM bath sent me unto you,