4. That we meet in holy assemblies for his more solemn worship; where the pastors teach his word to their flocks, and lead them in prayer and praise to God, administer the sacrament of communion, and are the guides of the church in holy things; whom the people must hear, obey, and honour; especially the Lord's day must be thus spent in holiness."

5. That parents educate their children in the knowledge and fear of God, and in obedience of his laws; and that princes, masters, and all superiors, govern in holiness and justice, for the glory of God, and the common good, according to his laws; and that children love, honour, and obey their parents, and all subjects their rulers, in due subordination unto God. a

6. That we do nothing against our neighbour's life, or bodily welfare, but carefully preserve it as our own.


7. That no man defile his neighbour's wife, or commit fornication; but preserve our own and others' chastity in thought, word, and deed.c

8. That we wrong not another in his estate, by stealing, fraud, or any other means; but preserve our neighbour's

[blocks in formation]

9. That we pervert not justice by false witness, or otherwise; nor wrong our neighbour in his name, by slanders, backbiting, or reproach; that we lie not, but speak the truth in love, and preserve our neighbour's right and honour as our own.


10. That we be not selfish, setting up ourselves and our own, against our neighbour and his good, desiring to draw from him unto ourselves; but that we love our neighbour as ourselves, desiring his welfare as our own; doing to others as, regularly, we would have them do to us; forbearing, and forgiving one another; loving even our enemies, and doing good to all, according to our power, both for their bodies and their souls.f

2 John iv. 23, 24: Matt. xv. 9; Isa. i. 13; Deut. vi. 13, and x. 20; Jer. iv. 2, and xii. 16; Jam. v. 12; Acts v. 42; vi. 2, and xx. 7, 28, 30, 31, 36; 1 Cor. xiv. 16, 26; Jam. v. 14 ; Phil. i. 4; 1 Cor. xi. 24, and x. 16; Heb. vii. 7; Rev. i. 10; Acts xx. 7; 1 Cor. xvi. 2.

Psalm ci.; 1

a Eph. vi. 4. 9; Deut. vi. 11, 12; Dan. vi. 10; Acts x. 30; Sam. ii. 23, 29; Gen. xviii. 19; Josh. xxiv. 15; Col. iii. 20, 22; Deut. xxi. 18. b Matt. v. 21-23, 25, 38, 39.

c Matt. v. 27-30.

d 1 Thess. iv. 6; Eph. iv. 28.

e Prov. xix. 5, 9, and xxi. 28; Rom. xiii. 9'; Rev. xvi. 19, and xxiv. 17 ; Prov. xvii. 23, and xxxi. 5; Col. iii. 9; Prov. xii. 22; vi. 17, and xiii. 5.

f Rom. vii. 7, and xiii. 4; Matt. xix. 19, and xxii. 36; Luke xiv. 22, 23; Jam. ii. 8, and iii. 13; 1 Cor. xiii.; Matt. vii. 12; Eph. iv. 32; Col. iii. 13;


This is the substance of the christian religion.

Sect. 15. II. The sum, or abstract, of the christian religion, is contained in three short forms; the first, called the Creed, containing the matter of the christian belief; the second, called the Lord's Prayer, containing the matter of christian desire. and hope; the third, called the law, or decalogue, containing the sum of moral duties; which are as followeth..

The Belief.

1. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth; 2. And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried, descended to hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead: 3. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

The Lord's Prayer.

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 trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever. Amen.

The Ten Commandments.

God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.h

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any

1 John iv. 16; Rom. xiii. 9; 1 Thess. iv. 9; 1 Pet. i. 22; iii. 8, and ii. 17; Gal. vi. 10; Eph. ii. 10; Tit. ii. 14.

g Hades, of which read Bishop Usher, in his ‘Answer to the Jesuits' Challenge.' De totis Scripturis, hæc breviatim collecta sunt ab Apostolis, ut quia plures credentium literas nesciunt, vel qui sciunt præoccupationibus seculi Scripturas legere non possunt, hæc corde retinentes habeant sibi sufficientem scientiam salutarem.-Isidor. de Eccl. Offic. lib. 2. cap. 22. p. (in Bibl. Patr.)


⚫h Exod. xx.; Deut. v.

likeness of any thing in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

4. Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work; thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day, wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath-day, and hallowed it.

5. Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

6. Thou shalt not kill.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

8. Thou shalt not steal.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Sect. 16. The ten commandments are summed up by Christ into these two: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and soul, and might; and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Sect. 17. These commandments, being first delivered to the Jews, are continued by Christ as the sum of the law of nature; only, instead of deliverance of the Jews from Egypt, he hath made our redemption from sin and Satan, which was thereby typified, to be the fundamental motive; and he hath removed the memo

i De die septimo qui inter omnes mortales celebris est, magna apud plerosque ignorantia est. Hic enim dies qui ab Hebræis Sabbatum vocatur, Græcè siquis interpretetur, Septimana, dicitur. Hoc nomine mortales omnes diem istum appellant; at nominis causam nesciunt plerique.-Theophil. Antioch, ad Autol. lib. 1. p. (mihi) 121. in B. P. Gr, L. T. 1.

rial of the creation-rest, from the seventh-day Sabbath, to be kept on the Lord's day, which is the first, with the commemoration of his resurrection, and our redemption, in the solemn worship of his holy assemblies.

Sect. 18. III. The most brief summary of the christian religion, containing the essentials only, is in the sacramental covenant of grace; wherein the penitent believer, renouncing the flesh, the world, and the devil, doth solemnly give up himself to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as his only God, his Father, his Saviour, and his Sanctifier, engaging himself hereby to a holy life of resignation, obedience, and love, and receiving the pardon of all his sins, and title to the further helps of grace, to the favour of God and everlasting life. This covenant is first entered by the sacrament of baptism, and after renewed in our communion with the church, in the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ.k

So that the christian religion is but faith in God, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, producing the hope of life everlasting, and possessing us with the love of God and man: and all this expressed in the genuine fruits of patience, obedience, and praise to God, and works of charity and justice unto man.

Sect. 19. That all this religion might be the better understood, received, and practised by us, the word of God came down into the flesh, and gave us a perfect example of it in his most perfect life; in perfect holiness and innocency, conquering all temptations, contemning the honours, riches, and pleasures of the world; in perfect patience, and meekness, and condescension, and in the perfect love of God and man.1

When perfect doctrine is seconded by perfect exemplariness of life, there can be no greater light set before us to lead us out of our state of darkness into the everlasting light. And had it not been a pattern of holy power, wisdom, and goodness; of self-denial, obedience, and love; of patience, and of truth and prudence, and of contempt of all inferior things, even of life itself, for the love of God, and for life eternal, it would not have been a full exemplification of his doctrine, nor a perfect revelation of it to the world. Example bringeth doctrine near our senses, and thereby maketh it more clear and powerful.

Matt. xxviii. 19; Rom. viii. 1, and vi. 4; 1 Pet. iii. 21, 22; Heb. vi. 2. Acts ii. 38, 41; Tit. iii. 5; 1 Cor. xi. De modo Baptizandi antiquo vide Walafridum Strabon. de rebus Eccles. c. 26. p. (Bibl. Pat.) 691.-Et. Ivon. Carnol. serm. de sacram. Neophytorum, pp. 767, 768, &c.

1 John xiii, 15; 1 Pet. ii. 21.

Sect. 20. It is the undertaken office of Jesus Christ, to send the Holy Spirit into believers' minds, and to write out the substance of the law upon their hearts, and give them such holy and heavenly inclinations, that it may become as it were a natural law unto them, and they obey it with love, facility, and delight, though not in perfection till they arrive at the state of perfection.m

So much to show what the christian religion is.


Of the Nature and Properties of the Christian Religion.

HAVING understood the matter and words of the christian religion, before I proceeded any further, I thought it meet to pass a judgment upon the nature, temperament, constitution, and properties of it." And therein I found that which must needs be a great preparative to belief.

[ocr errors]

Sect. 1. And first, I found that it is a most holy and spiritual religion, resolved into the most excellent principles and ends, glorifying God, and humbling man, and teaching us the most divine and heavenly life, in the love and patient service of our Creator.

1. It is most holy, for it calleth us up entirely unto God, and consisteth in our absolute dedication and devotedness to him. 2. It is most spiritual, leading us from things carnal and terrene; and being principally about the government of the soul, and placing all our felicity in things spiritual, and not in fleshly pleasures with the Epicureans and Mahometans, it teacheth us to worship God in a spiritual manner, and not either irrationally, toyishly, or irreverently; and it directeth our lives to a daily converse with God in holiness. 3. The principles or it are the three essentialities of God in unity, viz., the infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; and the three grand relations of God to man, as founded in his three most famous works, viz., as our Creator, our Redeemer, and our Regenerator or Sanctifier; and the three great relations arising from creation, and

m John iii. 5, 6, and vii. 38, 39; Gal. iv. 6, and v. 18, 25; Rom. viii. 9, 13; 2 Cor. iii. 3, 4; 1 Cor. vi. 11, aud ii. 10, 11; Jer. xxxi. 33; Psalm i. 2; 2 Pet. i. 4; 1 John iv. 7, and v. 4, 18.

"Nihil est ad defendendum Puritate tutius: nihil ad dicendum Veritate facilius.-Ing. Ambros.

« VorigeDoorgaan »