Of The Holy Scripture
- Although the 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 of his will, which is necessary unto salvation:
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
afterwards 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 writing: which maketh the holy Scripture to
be most necessary; those former ways of God's revealing his will unto
his people, being now ceased.
- 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 Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,
Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1
Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther,
Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Songs, Isaiah,
Jeremiah, Lamentations. Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiab,
Jonah, Micab, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Of the New Testament
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Paul's Epistle to
the Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians,
Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 To
Timothy, 2 To Timothy, To Titus, To Philemon, The Epistle to the
Hebrews, The Epistle of James, The first and second Epistles of Peter,
The first, second and third Epistles of John, the Epistle of Jude, The
- All which are given by the inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.
- The Books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine
inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture; and therefore
are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise
approved or made use of, than other human writings.
- The authority of the 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 is truth itself) the Author thereof:
and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.
We may he moved and induced by the testimony of the Church, to an
high and reverent esteem of the holy Scripture; and the heavenliness of
the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, 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, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire
perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence
itself to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding, our 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.
- The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for
his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set
down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced
from Scripture; unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether
by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless we
acknowledge the 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 ordered by the light of nature and
Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which
are always to be observed.
- All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor
alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known,
believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and
opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned,
but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto
a sufficient understanding of them.
- The Old Testament 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 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 Church 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 in the Scriptures, and are
commanded in the fear of God to read and search them; therefore they
are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation 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.
- The infallible rule 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
must be searched and known by other places, that speak more clearly.
- 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 Scripture so delivered,
our faith is finally resolved.
Of God and of the Holy Trinity
- There is but one only living and true God; who is infinite in being
and perfection, a most pure Spirit, invisible, without body, parts or
passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most
wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according
to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his
own glory, most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in
goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression 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.
- God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in, and of
himself; and is alone, in, and unto himself, all-sufficient, not
standing in need of any creatures, which he hath made, nor deriving any
glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and
upon them: He is the alone fountain of all being. of whom, through
whom, and to whom are all things; and bath most sovereign dominion over
them, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself
pleaseth. In his sight all things are open and manifest, his knowledge
is infinite, 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 his works, and in all his commands. To him is due from
angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service
or obedience, as creatures, they owe unto the Creator, and whatever he
is further pleased to require of them.
- In the unity of the God-head there be three Persons, of one
substance, power and eternity. God the Father, God the Son, and God the
Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding;
the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally
proceeding from the Father and the Son. Which doctrine of the Trinity
is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable
dependence upon him.
Of God's Eternal Decree
- God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his
own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet
so, as thereby neither is God the author 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 established.
- Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all
supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed any thing, because he
foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such
- By the decree of God for the manifestation of his glory, some
men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others
fore-ordained to everlasting death.
- These angels and men thus predestinated, and fore-ordained,
are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number is so
certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.
- Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before
the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and
immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his
will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his mere
free grace and love, without any foresight of faith 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
- As God bath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he by the
eternal and most free purpose of his will fore-ordained all the means
thereunto. Wherefore they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are
redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his
Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and
kept by his power, through faith, unto salvation. Neither are any other
redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted,
sanctified and saved, but the elect only.
- The rest of mankind 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 them to dishonour and
wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.
- The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be
handled with special prudence and care, that men attending the will of
God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may from
the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal
election. So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence and
admiration of God, and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation
to all that sincerely obey the Gospel.
- It pleased God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, for the
manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom and goodness,
in the beginning, to create or make out of nothing the world, and all
things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days,
and all very good.
- After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male
and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge,
righteousness and true holiness, after his 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 this 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, they were happy in their
communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.
- God the great Creator of all things, doth uphold, direct, dispose
and govern all creatures, actions and things from the greatest even to
the least by his most wise and holy providence, according to his
infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own
will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice,
goodness and mercy.
- Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God,
the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly; yet
by the same providence he ordereth them to fall out according to the
nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.
- God in his ordinary providence maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them at his pleasure.
- The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness
of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, in that his
determinate counsel extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all
other sins of angels and men (and that not by a bare permission) which
also he most wisely and powerfully boundeth, and otherwise ordereth and
governeth in a manifold dispensation to his own most holy ends; yet so,
as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not
from God, who being most holy and righteous, neither is, nor can be the
author or approver of sin.
- The most wise, righteous and gracious God doth oftentimes
leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations, and the
corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins,
or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption, and
deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise
them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon
himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of
sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.
- As for those wicked and ungodly men, whom God as a righteous
judge, for former sins, doth blind and harden, from them he not only
withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in
their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts; but sometimes
also withdraweth the gifts which they had, and exposeth them to such
objects, as their corruption makes occasions of sin; and withal gives
them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the
power of Satan; whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves,
even under those means which God useth for the softening of others.
- As the providence of 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 good thereof.
Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof
- God having made a covenant of works and life, thereupon, with our
first parents and all their posterity in them, they being seduced by
the subtlety and temptation of Satan did willfully transgress the law of
their creation, and break the covenant in eating the forbidden fruit.
- By this sin they, and we in them, fell from original
righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and
wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.
- They being the root, and by God's appointment standing in the
room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and
corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity descending from them
by ordinary generation.
- From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly
indisposed, disabled and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined
to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.
- This corruption of nature during this life, doth remain in
those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned
and mortified, yet both itself and all the motions thereof are truly
and properly sin.
- Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of
the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, doth in its own
nature bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby 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.
Of God's Covenant with Man
- The distance between God and the creature is so great, that
although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their
Creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of life, but by
some voluntary condescension on God's part, which he hath been pleased
to express by way of covenant.
- The first covenant made with man, was a covenant of works,
wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon
condition of perfect and personal obedience.
- Man by his fall having made himself incapable of life by that
covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the
Covenant of Grace; wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and
salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him that they may
be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto
life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.
- This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in the
Scripture by the name of a Testament, in reference to the dcath of
Jesus Christ the testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all
things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.
- Although this covenant hath been differently and variously
administered in respect of ordinances and institutions in the time of
the law, and since the coming of Christ in the flesh; yet for the
substance and efficacy of it, to all its spiritual and saving ends, it
is one and the same; upon the account of which various dispensations,
it is called the Old and New Testament.
Of Christ the Mediator
- It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the
Lord Jesus his only begotten Son, according to a covenant made between
them both, to be the Mediator between God and man; the Prophet, Priest,
and King, the Head and Saviour of his Church, the Heir of 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, and glorified.
- The Son of God, the second Person in the Trinity, being very
and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when
the fullness of time was come, take upon him man's nature, with all the
essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin,
being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the
virgin Mary, of her substance: So that two whole perfect and distinct
natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together
in one Person, without conversion, composition, or confusion; which
Person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator
between God and man.
- The Lord Jesus in his human nature, thus united to the divine
in the Person of the Son, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy
Spirit above measure, having in him all the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge, in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell;
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
Mediator and Surety; which office he took not unto himself, but was
thereunto called by his Father, who also put all power and judgment
into his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.
- This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake; which
that he might discharge, he was made under the law, and did perfectly
fulfil it, and underwent the punishment due to us, which we should have
borne and suffered, being made sin and a curse for us, enduring most
grievous torments immediately from God in his soul, and most painful
sufferings in his body, was crucified, and died; was buried, and
remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption. On the third
day he arose from the dead with the same body in which he suffered,
with which also he ascended into heaven, 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.
- The Lord Jesus by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of
himself, which he through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God,
hath fully satisfied the justice of God, and purchased not only
reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of
heaven, for all those whom the Father bath given unto him.
- Although the work of redemption was not actually wrought by
Christ, till after his incarnation; yet the virtue, efficacy and
benefits thereof were communicated to the elect in all ages,
successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises,
types and sacrifices wherein he was revealed and signified to be the
Seed of the woman, which should bruise the serpent's head, and the Lamb
slain from the beginning of the world, being yesterday and today the
same, and for ever.
- Christ in the work of mediation acteth according to both
natures; by each nature doing that which is proper to itself; yet by
reason of the unity of the Person, that which is proper to one nature,
is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the Person denominated by the
- To all those for whom Christ bath purchased redemption, he
doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same; making
intercession for them; and revealing unto them in and by the Word, the
mysteries of salvation; effectually persuading them by his Spirit to
believe and obey, and governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit;
overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdom, and in
such manner and ways as are most consonant to his most wonderful and
- God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power
of acting upon choice that it is neither forced, nor by any absolute
necessity of nature determined to do good or evil.
- Man in his state of innocency had freedom and power to will
and to do that which was good and well-pleasing to God; but yet
mutably, so that he might fall from it.
- Man by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all
ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a
natural man being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is
not able by his own strength to convert himself, or to prepare himself
- When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state
of grace, he freeth him from his natural 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 which is good, but
doth also will that which is evil.
- The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to do good alone in the state of glory only.
Of Effectual Calling
- All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he
is pleased in his appointed and accepted time effectually to call by
his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they
are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening
their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God,
taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of
flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them
to that which is good; and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ;
yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.
- This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone,
not from any thing at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive
therein, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit he is
thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered
and conveyed in it.
- Elect infants dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by
Christ, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth: so also are
all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by
the ministry of the Word.
- Others not elected. although they may be called by the
ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the
Spirit, yet not being effectually drawn by the Father, they neither do
nor can come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: much less can
men not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way
whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to
the light of nature, and the law of that religion they do profess: and
to assert and maintain that they may, is very pernicious, and to be
- Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth; not
by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and
by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for
anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone;
nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other
evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing
Christ's active obedience to the whole law, and passive obedience in
his death for their whole and sole righteousness, they receiving and
resting on him and his righteousness by faith; which faith they have
not of themselves, it is the gift of God.
- Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ, and his
righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification; yet it is not
alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other
saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.
- Christ by his obedience and death did fully discharge the debt
of all those that are justified, and did by the sacrifice of himself,
in the blood of his cross, undergoing in their stead the penalty due
unto them make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God's justice
in their behalf. Yet in as much as he was given by the Father for them,
and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead, and both
freely, not for any thing in them, their justification is only of free
grace, that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be
glorified in the justification of sinners.
- God did from all eternity decree to justify all the elect, and
Christ did in the fulness of time die for their sins, and rise again
for their justification: nevertheless, they are not justified
personally, until the Holy Spirit doth in due time actually apply
Christ unto them.
- God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are
justified; and although they can never fall from the state of
justification, yet they may by their sins fall under God's fatherly
displeasure: and in that condition they have not usually the light of
his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves,
confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.
- The justification of believers under the Old Testament, was in
all these respects one and the same with the justification of believers
under the New Testament.