Page images

said in the Gospel, 'It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of my Father speaketh in you; therefore he that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me' (Matt. x. 20; Luke x. 16; John xiii. 20).

Wherefore when this Word of God is now preached in the church by preachers lawfully called, we believe that the very Word of God is preached, and received of the faithful; and that neither any other Word of God is to be feigned, nor to be expected from heaven: and that now the Word itself which is preached is to be regarded, not the ininister that preaches; who, although he be evil and a sinner, nevertheless the Word of God abides true and good.

Neither do we think that therefore the outward preaching is to be thought as fruitless because the instruction in true religion depends on the inward illumination of the Spirit, or because it is written No inan shall teach his neighbor; for all men shall know me’ (Jer. xxxi. 34), and “He that watereth, or he that planteth, is nothing, but God that giveth the increase' (1 Cor. iii. 7). For albeit ‘No man can come to Christ, unless he be drawn by the Heavenly Father' (John vi. 44), and be inwardly lightened by the Holy Spirit, yet we know un. doubtedly that it is the will of God that his word should be preached even outwardly. God could indeed, by his Holy Spirit, or by the min. istry of an angel, without the ministry of St. Peter, have taught Corne lins in the Acts; but, nevertheless, he refers him to Peter, of whom the angel speaking says, 'He shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do' (Acts x. 6).

For he that illuminates inwardly by giving men the Holy Spirit, the self-saine, by way of commandment, said unto his disciples,‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature' (Mark xvi. 15). And so Paul preached the Word outwardly to Lydia, a purpleseller among the Philippians; but the Lord inwardly opened the woman's heart (Acts xvi. 14). And the same Paul, upon an elegant gradation fitly placed in the tenth chapter to the Romans, at last infers, • Therefore faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God' (Rom. x. 14–17).

We know, in the mean time, that God can illuminate whom and when he will, even without the external ministry, which is a thing appertaining to his power; but we speak of the usual way of in




have their writings matched with the Canonical Scriptures, but bid us allow of them so far forth as they either agree with them or disagree.

And in the same order we also place the decrees and canons, of councils.

Wherefore we suffer not ourselves, in controversies about religion or matters of faith, to be pressed with the bare testiinonies of fathers or decrees of councils; much less with received customs, or with the multitude of men being of one judgment, or with prescription of long time. Therefore, in controversies of religion or matters of faith, we can not admit any other judge than God himself, pronouncing by the Holy Scriptures what is true, what is false, what is to be followed, or what to be avoided. So we do not rest but in the judgment of spiritual men, drawn from the Word of God. Certainly Jeremiah and other prophets did vehemently condemn the assemblies of priests gathered against the law of God; and diligently forewarned us that we should not hear the fathers, or tread in their path who, walking in their own inventions, swerved from the law of God (Ezek. xx. 18).

We do likewise reject human traditions, which, although they be set ont with goodly titles, as though they were divine and apostolical, delivered to the Church by the lively voice of the apostles, and, as it were, by the hands of apostolical men, by means of bishops succeeding in their room, yet, being compared with the Scriptures, disagree with them; and that by their disagreement bewray themselves in no wise to be apostolical. For as the apostles did not disagree among themselves in doctrine, so the apostles' scholars did not set forth things contrary to the apostles. Nay, it were blasphemous to avouch that the apostles, by lively voice, delivered things contrary to their writings. Paul affirms expressly that he taught the same things in all churches (1 Cor. iv. 17). And, again, We,' says he, write none other things unto you than what ye read or acknowledge' (2 Cor. i. 13). Also, in another place, he witnesses that he and his disciples-to wit, apostolic men-walked in the same way, and jointly by the same Spirit did all things (2 Cor. xii. 18). The Jews also, in time past, had their traditions of elders; but these traditions were severely confuted by the Lord, showing that the keeping of them hinders God's law, and that God is in vain worshiped of such (Matt. xv. 8, 9; Mark vii. 6, 7).

CHAPTER III. OF GOD; THE UNITY AND THE TRINITY. We believe and teach that God is one in essence or nature, subsisting by himself, all-sufficient in himself, invisible, without a body, infinite, eternal, the Creator of all things both visible and invisible, the chief good, living, quickening and preserving all things, almighty and supremely wise, gentle or merciful, just and true.

And we detest the multitude of gods, because it is expressly written, "The Lord thy God is one God' (Deut. vi. 4). 'I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have no strange gods before my face' (Exod. xx. 2, 3). “I am the Lord, and there is none other; beside me there is no God. Am not I the Lord, and there is none other beside me alone? a just God, and a Saviour; there is none beside me' (Isa. xlv. 5, 21). "I the Lord, Jehovah, the merciful God, gracious and long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,' etc. (Exod. xxxiv. 6).

We nevertheless believe and teach that the same infinite, one, and indivisible God is in person inseparably and without confusion distinguished into the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: so, as the Father has begotten the Son from eternity, the Son is begotten in an inspeakable manner; and the Holy Spirit proceeds from them both, and that from eternity, and is to be worshiped with them both. So that there are not three Gods, but three persons, consubstantial, coeternal, and coequal; distinct, as touching their persons; and, in order, one going before another, yet without any inequality. For, as touching their nature or essence, they are so joined together that they are but one God; and the divine essence is common to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

For the Scripture has delivered unto us a manifest distinction of persons; the angel, among other things, saying thus to the Blessed Virgin, 'The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; and that holy thing which shall be born shall be called the Son of God' (Luke i. 35). Also, in the baptism of Christ, a voice was heard from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved

* Lest any man should slander us, as though we did make the persons all existing together, but not all of the same essence, or else did make a God of divers natures joined together in one, you must understand this joining together só as that all the persons (though distinct one from the other in properties) be yet but one and the same whole Godhead, or so that all and every of the persons have the whole and absolute Godhead.

Son' (Matt. iii. 17). The Holy Spirit also appeared in the likeness of a dove (John i. 32). And when the Lord himself commanded to baptize, he commanded to baptize 'in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit' (Matt. xxviii. 19). In like manner, elsewhere in the Gospel he said, “The Father will send the Holy Spirit in my name' (John xiv. 26). Again he says, 'When the Comforter shall come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me,' etc. (John xv. 26). In short, we receive the Apostles' Creed, because it delivers unto us the true faith.

We therefore condemn the Jews and the Mohammedans, and all those who blaspheme that sacred and adorable Trinity. We also condemn all heresies and lieretics who teach that the Son and the Holy Spirit are God only in name; also, that there is in the Trinity something created, and that serves and ministers unto another; finally, that there is in it something inequal, greater or less, corporeal or corporeally faslıioned, in manners or in will diverse, either confounded or sole by itself: as if the Son and Holy Spirit were the affections and proprieties of one God the Father—as the Monarchists, the Novatians, Praxeas, the Patripassians, Sabellius, Sainosatenus, Aëtius, Macedonius, the Anthropomorphites, Arins, and such like, have thonght.


SAINTS. And because God is an invisible Spirit, and an incomprehensible Essence, he can not, therefore, by any art or image be expressed. For which cause we fear not, with the Scripture, to term the images of God mere lies.

We do therefore reject not only the idols of the Gentiles, but also the images of Christians. For although Christ took upon him man's nature, yet he did not therefore take it that he might set forth a pattern for carvers and painters. He denied that he came'to destroy the law and the prophets' (Matt. v. 17), but images are forbidden in the law and the prophets (Deut. iv. 15; Isa. xliv. 9). He denied that his bodily presence would profit the Church, but promised that he would by his Spirit be present with us forever (John xvi. 7; 2 Cor. v. 5).

Who would, then, believe that the shadow or picture of his body doth

« PreviousContinue »