The Confession of Faith - Confession de la Foy

The Genevan Confession was credited to John Calvin in 1536 by Beza who said Calvin wrote it as a formula of Christian doctrine suited to the church at Geneva. More recent scholarship attributes it to William Farel but in all likelihood Calvin did have considerable influence on the document. Indeed the records of the Senate at Geneva indicate that the confession was presented by both Farel and Calvin to the magistrates who received it and set it aside for more detailed examination.

The Confession of Faith which all the citizens and inhabitants of Geneva and the subjects of the country must promise to keep and hold.

From: The Library of Christian Classics; Volume XXII; Calvin Theological Treatises; Translated with Introductions and Notes by the Rev. J. K. S. Reid; The Westminster Press: 1954. Pages 26-33.

Confession de la Foy laquelle tous bourgeois et habitans de Geneve et subjects du pays doibvent iuere de garder et tenir extraicte de linstruction dont on use en leglise de la dicte ville.

From: Joannis Calvini; Opera Selecta; Edidit Petrus Barth; Volumen I; CHR. Kaiser; 1926. pages 418-426. (Accents will be fixed eventually)

I. The Word of God

First we affirm that we desire to follow Scripture alone as rule of faith and religion, without mixing with it any other thing which might be devised by the opinion of men apart from the Word of God, and without wishing to accept for our spiritual government any other doctrine than what is conveyed to us by the same Word without addition or diminution, acccording to the command of our Lord.

I. La parolle de Dieu

Premierement nous protestons que pour la reigle de nostre foy et religion nous voullons suyvre la seule Escripture, sans y mesler aucune chose qui ayt este controuvee du snes des hommes sans la Parolle de Dieu, et ne pretendons pour celle qui nous est enseignee par icelle Parolle sans y adiouster ne diminuer, ainsy que nostre Seigneur le commande. 

II. One Only God

Following, then, the lines laid down in the Holy Scriptures, we acknowledge that there is one only God, whom we are both to worship and serve, and in whom we are to put all our confidence and hope: having this assurance, that in him alone is contained all wisdom, power, justice, goodness and pity. And since he is spirit, he is to be served in spirit and in truth. Therefore we think it an abomination to put our confidence or hope in any created thing, to worship anything else than him, whether angels or any other creatures, an to recognize any other Saviour of our souls than him alone, whether saints or men living upon earth; and likewise to offer the service, which ought to be rendered to him, in external ceremonies or carnal observances, as if he took pleasure in such things, or to make an image to represent his divinity or any other image for adoration. 

II. Ung seul Dieu.

Suyvant doncques linstitution qui est contenue aux sainctes Escriptures, nous reongnoissons quil y a ung seul Dieu, lequel nous debvons adorer et auquel nous debvons servir, auquel nous debvons mectre toute nostre fiance et esperance: ayant celle asseurance quen luy seul est contenue toute sapience, puissance, iustice, bonte et misericorde: et comme il est Espirit quil le fault servir en esperit et en verite. Et purtant reputons une abomination de mectre nostre fiance ny esperance en creature aucune, de adorer aultre que luy, soit anges ou aultres creatures quelconques, et de recongnoistre aultre Seigneur de noz amez que luy seul, soient sainctz ou sainctez, ou hommes vivans sur la terre pareillement de sonstituer le service quil luy doibt estre rendu en ceremonies exterieures et observations charnelles, comme sil se delectoit en telles choses, de faire ymage pour adorer.

III. The Law of God Alike for All

Because there is one only Lord and Master who has dominion over our consciences, and because his will is the only principle of all justice, we confess all our life ought to be ruled in accordance with the commandments of his holy law in which is contained all perfection of justice, and that we ought to have no other rule of good and just living, nor invent other good works to supplement it than those which are there contained as follows: Exodus 20: "I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee," and so on. 

III. Loy de Dieu, seulle pourtoutes.

Pourtant quil est le seul Seigneur et maistre qui a la domination sur noz consciences, et aussy que sa voullunte est la seulle reigle de toute iustice, nous confessons que toute nostre vie doibt estre reiglee aux commandemens de sa saincte loy, en laquelle est contenue toute perfection de iustice, et que ne debvons avoir aultre reigle de bien vivre et iustement, ne inventer aultres bonnes oeuvres pour complaire a luy, que celles qui y sont contenues, ainsy quil sensuyt: 
Exode 20. 
Ie suis le Seigneur ton Dieu, qui tay tyre hors de la terre dEgipte, de la mayson de servitude. Tu nauras point daultres dieux devant moy. Tu ne te feras aucune ymage ne semblance des choses qui sont au ciel las sus, ne en la terre ca bas, ne es eaues dessoubz la terre. Tu ne leur feras inclination et ne leur serviras, car ie suis le Seigneur ton Dieu, fort, ialoux, visitant liniquite des peres sur les enfans en la et faisant misericorde en milles generations a ceulx qui mayment et gardent mes commandemens. Tu ne prendras point pour innocent celuy qui prenda son nom en vain, car Dieu ne tiendra point pour innocent celuy qui prendra son nom en vain. Aye souvenance du iour du repoz pour le sanctifier: six iours to tavailleras et feras toute ton oeuvre, le septiesme oeuvre, cest le repoz du Seigneur ton Dieu. Tu ne feras aucune oeuvre, ne toy, ne ton filz, ne ta fille, ne ton serviteur, ne ta chambrier, ne ton bestial, ne lestranger qui est dedens tes portes: car en six iours Dieu a faict le ciel et la terre, la mer et tout ce qui est en iceulx, et sest repose au septiesme iour: pourtant il a beneist le iour du repoz et la sanctifie. Honore ton pere et ta mere affin que tes iours soient prolongez sur la tere laquelle le Seigneur ton Dieu te donnera. Tu ne tueras point. Tu ne paillarderas point. Tu ne dsroberas point. Tu ne diras point faulx tesmoignage contre ton prochain. Tu ne convoiteras point la miason de ton prochain et ne desireras point sa femme, ne son serviteur, ne sa chambriere, ne son beuf, ne son asne, ne aultre chose qui sot a luy.

IV. Natural Man

We acknowledge man by nature to be blind, darkened in understanding, and full of corruption and perversity of heart, so that of himself he has no power to be able to comprehend the true knowledge of God as is proper, nor to apply himself to good works. But on the contrary, if he is left by God to what he is by nature, he is only able to live in ignorance and to be abandoned to all iniquity. Hence he has need to be illumined by Fod, so that he come to the right knowledge of his salvation, and thus to be redirected in his affections and reformed to the obedience of the righteousness of God.

IV. Lhomme en sa nature

Nous recongnoissons lhomme en sa nature estre du tout aveugle en tenebres dentendement, et plain de corruption et perversite de cueur, tellement que de soymesmes il na aucune puissance de povoir comprendre la vraye congnoissance de Dieu, comme il appartient, ne de sadonner a bien faire. Mais au contraire, sil est delaisse de Dieu en sa propre nature, il ne peult synon demourer en ignorance et estre abandonne a toute iniquite. Par quoy il a besoing destre illumine de Dieu pour venir a la droicte congnoissance de son slut, et aussi destre en son affection redresse et reforme a lobeyssance de la iustice de Dieu.

V. Man by Himself Lost

Since man is naturally (as has been said) deprived and destitute in himself of all the light of God, and of all righteousness, we acknowledge that by himself he can only expect the wrath and malediction of God, and hence he must look outside himself for the means of his salvation.

V. Lhomme en soy damne.

Puis que lhomme est naturellement (ainsi comme dit a este) despourveu et desnue en soy de toute lumiere de Dieu et de toute iustice, nous recongnoissons quen soymesmes il ne peult attendre que lire et la malediction de Dieu, et pourtant quil doibt chercher autre part quen soy le moyen de son salut.

VI. Salvation in Jesus

We confess then that it is Jesus Christ who is given to us by the Father, in order that in him we should recover all of which in ourselves we are deficient. Now all that Jesus Christ has done and suffered for our redemption, we veritably hold without any doubt, as it is contained in the Creed, which is recited in the Church, that is to say: I believe in God the Father Almighty, and so on.

VI. Salut in Iesus

Nous confessons doncques que Iesuchrist est celuy qui nous a este donne du Pere, affin quen luy nous recouvrions tout ce qui nous deffault en nousmesmes. Or tout ce que Iesuchrist a faict et souffert pur nostre redemption, nous le tenons veritable sans aucune doubte, ainsy quil est contenu au Symbole qui est recite en lEglise, cest assavoir: 
Ie croy en Dieu, le Pere tout puissant, createur du ciel et de la terre, et en Iesuchrist son seul Filz, nostre Seigneur, qui a este conceu du Sainct Espirit, nay de la vierge Marie, a souffert soubz Ponce Pilate, a este crucifie, mort et ensep vely, est descendu aux enfers, le tiers iour est resuscite des mortz, est monte es cieulx, est assis a la dextre de Dieu le Pere tout puissant, et de la viendra iuger les vifz et les mors. Ie croy au Sainct Espirit, la saincte Eglise universelle, la communion des sainctz, la remission des pechez, la resurrection de la chiar, la vie eterelle. Amen.

VII. Righteousness in Jesus

Therefore we acknowledge the things which are consequently given to us by God in Jesus Christ: first, that being in our own nature enemies of God and subjects of his wrath and judgment, we are reconciled with him and received again in grace through the intercession of Jesus Christ, so that by his righteousness and guiltlessness we have remission of our sins, and by the shedding of his blood we are cleanse and purified from all our stains.

VII. Iustice en Iesus.

Pourtant nous recongnoissons les choses qui sensuyvent nous estre donnees de Dieu en Iesuchrist: Premierement que, estans de nostre nature ennemys de Dieu, subiectz a son ire et iugement, nous sommes reconciliez avec luy et remis en sa grace par lintercession de Iesuchrist, daultant que en sa iustice et innocence nous avons remission de noz iniquitez et que, par leffusion de son sang, nous sommes purgez et nectoiez de toutes noz macules.

VIII. Regeneration in Jesus

Second, we acknowledge that by his Spirit we are regenerated into a new spiritual nature. That is to say that the evil desires of our flesh are mortified by grace, so that they rule us no longer. On the contrary, our will is redered conformable to God's will, to follow in his way and to seek what is pleasing to him. Therefore we are by him delivered from the servitude of sin, under whose power we were of ourselves held captive, and by this deliverance we are made capable and able to do good works and not otherwise.

VIII. Regeneration en Iesus.

Secondement, que par son Espirit nous sommes regenerez en nouvelle nature spirituelle, cest a dire que les concupiscences maulvaises de nostre chair par sa grace sont mortifiees, affin de ne plus regner en nous, et au contraire nostre voulunte est rendue conforme a celle de Dieu pour suyvre sa voye et chercher ce qui luy est agreable, et pourtant que par luy nous sommes delivrez de la servitude de peche, soubz la puissance duquel nous sommes de nous mesmes tenuz captifz, et que par icelle delivrance nous sommes faictz capablez et ydoines a faire bonnes oeuvres et non aultrement.

IX. Remission of Sins Always Necessary for the Faithful

Finally, we acknowledge that this regeneration is so effected in us that, until we slough off this mortal body, there remains always in us much imperfection and infirmity, so that we always remain poor and wretched sinners in the presence of God. And, however much we ought day by day to increase and grow in God's righteousness, there will never be plenitude or perfection while we live here. Thus we always have need of the mercy of God to obtain the remission of our faults and offences. And so we ought always to look for our righteousness in Jesus Christ and not at all in ourselves, and in him be confident and assured, putting no faith in our works.

IX. Remission des pechez tousiours necessaire aux fideles.

Finablement que ceste regeneration est tellement faicte en nous que iusques a ce que nous sommes despoulliez de ce corps mortel il y demeure tousiours en nous beaucoup dimperfections et dinfirmitez, tellement que nous sommes tousiours pouvres et miserables pecheurs devant la face de Dieu. Et combien que nous debvions de iour en iour croistre et proffiter en la iustice de Dieu, toutesfois il ny a iamais plenitude ne perfection cependant que nous conversons icy. Par quoy nous avons tousiours besoing de la misericorde de Dieu pour obtenir remission de noz faultes et offenses. Et ainsy nous debvons tousiours chercher nostre iustice en Iesuchrist, et non point en nous, et en luy nous reposer et assurer, ne rien attribuant a noz oeuvres.

X. All our Good in the Grace of God

In order that all glory and praise be rendered to God (as is his due), and that we be able to have true peace and rest of conscience, we understand and confess that we receive all benefits from God, as said above, by his clemency and pity, without any consideration of our worthiness or the merit of our works, to which is due no other retribution than eternal confusion. None the less our Saviour in his goodness, having received us into the communion of his son Jesus, regards the works that we have done in faith as pleasing and agreeable; not that they merit it at all, but because, not imputing any of the imperfection that is there, he acknowledges in them nothing but what proceeds from his Spirit.

X. Tout nostre bien en la grace de Dieu.

Et affin que toute gloire et louenge soit rendue a Dieu (comme elle est deue), et que nous puissions avoir vraye paix et repoz en noz consciences, nous entendons et confessons que nous revevons tous les benefices de Dieu cy dessus recitez par sa seulle clemence et misericorde, sans aulcune consideration de nostre dignite ou merite de noz oeuvres, ausquelles nest deue aucune retribution que de confusion eternelle. Neantmoins que nostre Seigneur, par sa bonte nous ayant receu en la communion de son filz Iesus, a les oeuvres que nous faisons en foy plaisantes et agreables: non point quelles le meritent, mais purtant que, ne nous imputant point limperfection qui y est, il ne recongnoist en icelles synon ce qui procede de son espirit.

XI. Faith

We confess that the entrance which we have to the great treasures and riches of the goodness of God that is vouchsafed to us is by faith; inasmuch as, in certain confidence and assurance of heart, we believe in the promises of the Gospel, and receive Jesus Christ as he is offered to us by the Father and described to us by the Word of God.

XI. Foy

Nous confesons que lentree que nous avons a si grans thresors et si grandes richesses de la bonte de Dieu, qui est espandue sur nous, cest par la foy, quant en certaine confiance et certitude de cuer nous croyons aux promesses de lEvangille et recevons Iesuchrist, tel quil nous est presente du Pere et quil nous est descript par la Parolle de Dieu.

XII. Invocation of God Only and Intercession of Christ

As we have declared that we have confidence and hope for salvation and all good only in God through Jesus Christ, so we confess that we ought to invoke him in all necessities in the name of Jesus Christ, who is our Mediator and Advocate with him and has access to him. Likewise we ought to acknowledge that all good things come from him alone, and to give thanks to him for them. On the other hand, we reject the intercession of the saints as  as a superstition invented by men contrary to Scripture, for the reason that it proceeds from mistrust of the sufficiency of the intercession of Jesus Christ. 

XII. Invocation de Dieu seul et intercession de Christ.

Comme nous avons declaire ne avoir la confiance et esperance de nostre salut et tout bien en aultre que en Dieu par Iesuchrist, aussy nous confessons que nous le debvons invocquer en toutes noz necessitez au nom de Iesuchrist, qui est nostre mediateur et advocat, par lequel avons accez a luy. Pareillement debvons recongnoistre que tous biens viennent de luy seul, et luy en rendre action de graces. Au contraire, nous reietons lintercession des sainctz, comme une superstition inventee des hommes contre lEscripture, veu mesme que elle ne procede que de deffiance que lintercession de Iesuchrist ne soit suffisante.

XIII. Prayer Intelligible

Moreover since prayer is nothing but hypocrisy and fantasy unless it proceed from the interior affections of the heart, we believe that all prayers ought to be made with clear understanding. And for this reason, we hold the prayer of our Lord to show fittingly what we ought to ask of him: Our Father which art in heaven, . . . but deliver us from evil. Amen.

XIII. Orayson intelligible.

Davantaige puis que oaison nest synon hypocrisie et faintise, si elle ne procede de laffection interieure du cueur, nous entendons que toutes oraisons se doibvent faire en certaine intelligence. Et pour ceste cause nous apprenons loraison de nostre Seigneur, pour bien entendre ce que luy debvons demander. 
Nostre Pere qui es en cieulx: Ton nom soit santifie. Ton royaulme advienne. Ta voulunte soit faicte ainsy en la terre comme au ciel. Donne nous auiourdhuy nostre pain quotidien, et nous pardonne noz offenses, ainsy que nous pardonnons a ceulx qui nous offensent: et ne nous induictz point en tentation, mais delivre nous du maling. Amen.

XIV. Sacraments

We believe that the sacraments which our Lord has ordained in his Church are to be regarded as excercises of faith for us, both for fortifying and confirming it in the promises of God and for witnessing before men. Of them there are in the Christian Church only two which are instituted by the authority of our Saviour: Baptism and the Supper of our Lord; for what is held within the realm of the pope concerning seven sacraments, we condemn as fable and lie.

XIV. Sacremens.

Nous entendons que les sacremens que nostre Seigneur a ordonnez en son Eglise nous doibvent estre comme exercices de foy, tant pour la fortifier et confermer aux promesses de Dieu, que pour la tesmoigner envers les hommes. Et seulement en y a deux en lEglise chrestienne qui soient constituez de lauctorite de Dieu: le baptesme et la cene de nostre Seigneur: pourtant ce qui est tenu au royaulme de pape de sept sacremens, nous le condempnons comme fable et mensonge.

XV. Baptism

Baptism is an external sign by which our Lord testifies that he desires to receive us for his children, as members of his Son Jesus. Hence in it there is represented to us the cleansing from sin which we have in the blood of Jesus Christ, the mortification of our flesh which we have by his death that we may live in him by his Spirit. Now since our children belong to such an alliance with our Lord, we are certain that the external sign is rightly applied to them.

XV. Baptesme.

Le baptesme est ung signe exterieur par lequel nostre Seigneur, testifie quil nous veult recepvoir pour ses enfans, comme membres de son Filz Iesus. Et pourtant en iceluy nous est representee la purgation de noz pechez que nous avons au sang de Iesuchrist, la mortification de nostre chair que nous avons par sa mort, pour vivre en luy par son espirit. Or puis que noz enfans appartiennent a une telle alliance de nostre Seigneur, nous sommes cetains que a bon droict le signe exterieur leur est communique.

XVI. The Holy Supper

The Supper of our Lord is a sign by which under bread and wine he represents the true spiritual communion which we have in his body and blood. And we acknowledge that according to his ordinance it ought to be distributed in the company of the faithful, in order that all those who wish to have Jesus for their life be partakers of it. In as much as the mass of the pope was a reprobate and diabolical ordinance subverting the mystery of the Holy Supper, we declare that it is execrable to us, an idolatry condemned by God; for so much is it itself regarded as a sacrifice for the redemption of souls that the bread is in it taken and adored by God. Besides there are other execrable blasphemies and superstitions implied here, and the abuse of the Word of God which is taken in vain without profit or edification.

XVI. La Saincte Cene.

La cene de nostre Seigneur est ung signe par lequel soubz le pain et le vin il nous represente la vraye communication spirituelle que nous avons en son corps et son sang. Et recongnoissons que selon son ordonnance elle doibt estre distribuee en la compaignie des dideles, affin que tous ceulx qui veullent avoir Iesus pour leur vie en soyent paticipans. Or daultant que la messe du pape a este une ordonnance mauldicte et diabolique pour renverser le mistere de ceste saincte cene, nous declairons quelle nous  est en execration comme une idolatrie condamnee de Dieu, tant en ce quelle est estimee ung sacrifice pour la redemption des ames, que pource que le pain est en icelle tenu et adore comme Dieu: oultre les aultres blasphemes et superstitions execrables, qui y sont contenues, et labuz de la Parolle de Dieu, qui y est prinse en vain sans aucun fruict ne edification.

XVII. Human Traditions

The ordinances that are necessary for the internal dsicipline of the Church, and belong solely to the maintenance of peace, honesty and good order in the assembly of Christians, we do not hold to be human traditions at all, in as much as they are composed under the general command of Paul, where he desires that all be done among them decently and in order. But all laws and regulations made binding on conscience which oblige the faithful to things not commanded by God, or establish another service of God than that which he demands, thus tending to destroy Christian liberty, we condemn as perverse doctrines of Satan, in view of our Lord's declaration that he is honored in vain by doctrines that are the commandment of men. It is in this estimation that we hold pilgrimages, monasteries, distinctions of foods, prohibition of marriage, confessions and other like things.

XVII. Traditions humaines.

Les ordonnances qui sont necessaires a la police exterieure de lEglise et appartiennemt seullement a entretenir paix, honnestete et bon ordre en lassemblee des chrestiens, nous ne les tenons point pour traditions humaines, daultant quelles sont comprinses soubz ce commandement general de sainct Paul ou il veult que tout se face entre nous decentement et par bon ordre: mais toutes loix et constitutions faictes pour lier les consciences, pour obliger les fideles a choses qui ne sont commandees de Dieu, pur establir aultre service de Dieu que celuy quil demande, et tendantes a rompre la liberte chrestienne, nous les condemnons comme perverses doctrines de Sathan, veu que nostre Seigneur declaire quil est honore en vain par doctrines qui sont du commandement des hommes. Et en telle estime avons nous les pellerinages, moyneries, differences de viandes, deffences de mariages, confesses, et  autres semblables.

XVIII. The Church

While there is one only Church of Jesus Christ, we always acknowledge that necessity requires companies of the faithful to be distributed in different places. Of these assemblies each one is called the Church. But in as much as all companies do not assemble in the name of our Lord, but rather to blaspheme and pollute him by their sacrilegious deeds, we believe that the proper mark by which we rightly discern the Church of Jesus Christ is that his holy gospel be purely and faithfully preached, proclaimed, heard, and kept, that his sacrament be properly adminisered, even if there be some imperfections and faults, as there always will be among men. On the other hand, where the Gospel is not declared, heard, and recieved, there we do not acknowledge the form of the Church. Hence the churches governed by the ordinances of the pope are rather synagogues of the devil than Christian churches.

XVIII. Eglise.

Combien quil ny ayt qune seule Eglise de Iesuchrist, toutesfois nous recongnoissons que la necessite requiert les compaignies des fideles estre distribuees en divers lieux, desquelles assemblees une chacune est appellee Eglise. Mais daultant que toutes compaignies ne sassemblent au nom de nostre Seigeur, mais plustost pour le blasphemer et polluer par leurs sacrileges, nous entendons que la droicte marque pour bien diserner lEglise de Iesuchrist est quant son sainct Evangille y est purement et fidelement presche, annonce, escoute et garde: quand ses sacremens sont droitement administrez, encores quil y ayt quelques imperfections et faultes, comme tousiours il y en aura entre les hommes. Au contraire la ou lEvangille nest declaire, ouy et receu, la nous ne recongnoissons point forme dEglise. Et purtant les Eglises gouvernees par les ordonnances du pape sont plustost synagogues du diable que Eglises chrestiennes.

XIX. Excommunication

Because there are always some who hold God and his Word in contempt, who take account of neither injunction, exhortation nor remonstrance, thus requiring greater chastisement, we hold the discipline of excommunication to be a thing holy and salutary among the faithful, since truly it was instituted by our Lord with good reason. This is in order that the wicked would not by their damnable conduct corrupt the good and dishonor our Lord, and that though proud they may turn to penitence. Therefore we believe that it is expedient according to the ordinance of God that all manifest idolaters, blasphemers, murderers, thieves, lewd persons, false witnesses, sedition-mongers, quarrellers, those guilty of defamation or assault, drukards, dissolute livers, when they have been duly admonished and if they do not make amendment, be separated from the communion of the faithful until their repentance is known.

XIX. Excommunication.

Toutesfois pource quil y a tousiours des contempteurs de Dieu et de sa sacree Parolle, lesquelz ne tiennent compte de admonition, ne exhortation, ne reprehension, ains ont mestier dung plus frant chastiement, nous tenons la discipline dexcommunication estre une chose saincte et salutaire entre les fideles, comme veritablement elle a este instituee de nostre Seigneur pour bonne raison. Cest affin que les meschans par leur conversation damnable ne corrumpent les bons et ne deshonorent nostre Seigneur, et aussy que ayanshonte ilz se retournent a penitence. Et pourtant nous entendons quil est expediient selon lordonnance de Dieu que tous manifestes idolatres, blasphemateurs, meurtriers, larrons, paillars, faulx tesmoings, seitieux, noiseulx, detraicteurs, bateurs, yvrongnes, dissipateurs de biens, apres avoir este deuement admonestez, silz ne viennent a amendment, soient separez de la communion des fideles, iusques a ce quon y aura congneu repentance. 

XX. Ministers of the Word

We recognize no other pastors in the Church than faithful pastors of the Word of God, feeding the sheep of Jesus Christ on the one hand with instruction, admonition, consolation, exhortation, deprecation; and on the other resisting all false doctrines and deceptions of the devil, without mixing with the pure doctrines of the Scriptures their dreams or their foolish imaginings. To these we accord no other power or authority but to conduct, rule, and govern the people of God committed to them by the same Word, in which they have the power to command, defend, promise, and warn, and without which they neither can nor ought to attempt anything. As we receive the true ministers of the Word of God as messengers and ambassadors of God, it is necessary to listen to them as to him himself, and we hold their ministry to be a commission from God necessary in the Church. On the other hand we hold that all seductive and false prophets, who abandon the purity of the Gospel and deviate to their own inventions, ought not at all to be suffered or maintained, who are not the pastors they pretend, but rather, like ravening wolves, ought to be hunted and ejected from the people of God.

XX. Ministres de la Parolle.

Nous ne reputons point aultres pasteurs de lEglise que les fideles ministres de la Parolle de Dieu, et repaissans les brebis de Iesuchrist par icelle en instructions, admonitions, consolations, exhortations, reprehensions, daultre part resistans a toutes faulses doctrines et tromperies du diable, sans mesler parmy la pure doctrine des Escriptures leurs songes, ne folles imaginations. Et ne leur attribuons aultre puissance, ne auctorite, synon de conduire, regir et gouverner le peuple de Dieu a eulx commis, par icelle Parolle, en laquell ilz ont puissance de commander, deffendre, promectre et menasser, et sans laquelle ilz ne peuvent et ne doibvent rien attenter. Or comme nous recevons les vrays ministres de la Parolle de Dieu comme messagiers et ambassadeurs de Dieu, lesquelz il fault escouter comme luy mesmes, et reputons leur ministere estre une commission de Dieu necessaire en lEglise, aussy daultre part nous tenons que tous seducteurs, faulx prophetes qui delaissant la purete de lEvangile declinent a leurs propres inventions, ne doibvent nullement estre souffers, ne soustenuz, quelque tiltre de pasteur quil pretendent, mais plustost comme loups ravissans doibvent estre chassez et deboutez du peuple de Dieu.

XXI. Magistrates

We hold the supremacy and dominion of kings and princes as also of other magistrates and officers, to be a holy thing and a good ordinance of God. And since in performing their office they serve God and follow a Christian vocation, whether in defending the afflicted and innocent, or in correcting and punishing the malice of the perverse, we on our part also ought to accord them honour and reverence, to render respect and subservience, to execute their commands, to bear the charges they impose on us, so far as we are able without offence to God. In sum, we ought to regard them as vicars and lieutenants of God, whom one cannot resist without resisting God himself; and their office as a sacred commission from God which has been given them so that they may rule and govern us. Hence we hold that all Christians are bound to pray God for the prosperity of the superiors and lords of the country where they live, to obey the statutes and ordinances which do not contravene the commandments of God, to promote the welfare, peace and public good, endeavouring to sustain the honour of those over them and the peace of the people, without contriving or attempting anything to inspire trouble or dissension. On the other hand we declare that all those who conduct themselves unfaithfully towards their superiors, and have not a right concern for the public good of the country where they live, demonstrate thereby their infidelity towards God.

XXI. Magistratz.

Nous avons la supreeminence et domination tant des roys et princes que aultres magistratz et superieurs pour une chose saincte et bonne ordonnance de Dieu. Et comme eulx en faisant leur office ilz servent a Dieu et suyvent une vocation chrestienne, soit en deffendant les affligez et innocens, soit en corrigeant et punissant la malice des pervers, aussy de nostre part que nous leur debvons porter honneur et reverence, rendre obeyssance et subiection, executer leurs commandemens, porter les charges a nous par eulx imposees, en tant quil nous est possible sans offenser Dieu. En somme, quil nous les fault reputer comme vicaires et lieutenans de Dieu, ausquelz on ne puisse nullement resister, synon en resistant a Dieu mesmes, et leur office comme une saincte commission de Dieu laquelle il leur a donne, affin de nous gouverner et regir. Par quoy nous entendons que tous chrestiens sont tenuz de prier Dieu pour la prosperite des superieurs et seigneurs des pais ou ilz vivent, obeyr aux demens de Dieu, procurer le bien, la tranquilite et utilite publicque, se efforceant de entretenir lhonneur des superieurs et tranquilite du peuple, sans rien machiner, ne procurer qui soit pour esmouvoir troubles ne dessentions. Et au contraire nous declairons que tous ceulx qui se prtent infidelement envers leurs superieurs, et ne ont droicte affection au bien publicque du pays ou ilz conversent, en cela ilz demonstrent leur infidelite envers Dieu.
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 Last edited: 11/21/97