« PoprzedniaDalej »
forza nella Comunione di Colui, munion with him who says to che gli dice : ‘La mia grazia ti him, 'My grace is sufficient for basta'
thee.' VI. I credenti, rigenerati in VI. Believers, regenerated in Cristo, formano la Chiesa, la qua- Christ, form the Church, which le non può perire nè apostatare, es- can not perish nor apostatize, besendo il corpo del Signore Gesù.
del Signore Gesù. ing the body of the Lord Jesus. VII. Oltre al Sacerdozio Uni VII. In addition to the univerversale, cui appartengono tutti i sal priesthood of believers, God Cristiani, Dio stesso ha stabilito himself has established in the nella Chiesa diversi ministeri spe- Church various special ministries ciali, per lo perfetto adunamento for the perfecting of the saints dei Santi e per l' edificazione del and the edifying. of the body of Corpo di Cristo : i quali ministe. Christ, which ministries ought to ri debbono essere riconosciuti dalla be recognized by the Church itChiesa medesima.
self. VIII. Il Signore Gesù Cristo VIII. The Lord Jesus Christ verrà dai Cieli, e trasformerà il will come from heaven and transnostro corpo di umiliazione in form our body of humiliation into corpo glorioso. In quel giorno i a glorious body. In that day the morti, che sono in Cristo, risorge dead in Christ shall rise first, and ranno i primi, ed i viventi, trovati the living who are found faithful
fedeli, saranno trasformati, e così shall be transformed, and thus totutti insieme saremo rapiti nelle gether shall we be caught up in nuvole a scontrare il Signore nell the clouds, to meet the Lord in aria, per esser sempre con Lui: e, the air, to be forever with the dopo il suo regno, risorgeranno Lord; and, after his Kingdom, all anche gli altri tutti per essere gir- the rest shall rise to be judged in dicati in giudizio.
judgment. “L'Assemblea generale delle Chiese Cristi These articles are held to suffice as a testiane Libere in Italia reputa questi articoli l'mony of a Christianity purely evangelical, espressione del Cristianesimo biblico, senza without pretending that there are no other però pretendere che oltre ad essi non ci sieno doctrines in the Bible to be believed. .. altre dottrine da credersi nella Bibbia. . . It is also clearly asserted that this ‘Decla
“Essa non pretende all'infallibilità. La ration of Principles' does not pretend to insola parola di Dio è infallibile ed immutabile. fallibility. The Word of God is alone infalliLa Dichiarazione dei principii nella Chiesa ble and immutable. Nor is it looked upon as non è la causa, od il titolo della salvezza, ina the cause or title to salvation, but simply as è il legame esterno dell' unità della fede, è la the outward bond of unity in the faith and the bandiera della Chiesa stessa."
banner of the Church.
THE CONFESSION OF THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS,
COMMONLY CALLED QUAKERS. A.D. 1675.
(The öfteen Theological Theses or Propositions of ROBERT BAROLAY, which are the text of his * Apology,' contain the most authoritative summary of the principles and doctrines of the RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS, commonly called QUAKERS. The “Apology' appeared first in Latin, 1675, and then repeatedly in English and other languages, and was widely distributed by the Society as a standard doctrinal treatise. I have taken the text from the magnificent copy of the sth English edition, Birmingham, 1765, 4to. On this and other Quaker Confessions, see Vol. I. pp. 864 sqq.]
TO THE CLERGY, OF WHAT SORT SOEVER, UNTO WHOSE HANDS THESE MAY COME;
BUT MORE PARTICULARLY
To the Doctors, Professors, and Students of Divinity in the Universities and Schools of
Great Britain, whether Prelatical, Presbyterian, or any other ;
ROBERT BARCLAY, a Servant of the Lord God, and one of those who in derision are called Quakers, wisheth unfeigned repentance, unto the acknowledgment of the Truth.
FRIENDS,-Unto you these following propositions are offered; in which, they being read and considered in the fear of the Lord, you may perceive that simple, naked truth, which man by his wisdom hath rendered so obscure and mysterious that the world is even burthened with the great and voluminous tractates which are made about it, and by their vain jangling and commentaries, by which it is rendered a hundredfold more dark and intricate than of itself it is : which great learning, so accounted of—10 wit, your school divinity, which taketh up almost a man's whole lifetime to learn, brings not a whit nearer to God, neither makes any man less wicked, or more righteous than he was. Therefore hath God laid aside the wise and learned, and the disputers of this world; and Hath chosen a few despicable and unlearned instruments, as to letter-learning, as he did fishermen of old, to publish his pure and naked truth, and to free it of those mists and fogs wherewith the clergy hath clouded it, that the people might admire and maintain them. And among several others, whom God hath chosen to make known these things—seeing I also have received, in measure, grace to be a dispenser of the same gospel—it seemed good unto me, according to my duty, to offer unto you these propositions; which, though short, yet are weighty, comprehending much, and declaring what the true ground of knowledge is, even of that knowledge which leads to Life Eternal; which is here witnessed of, and the testimony thereof left unto the Light of Christ in all your consciences.
THE FIRST PROPOSITION. Concerning the true Foundation of Knowledge. Seeing the height of all happiness is placed in the true knowledge of God (This is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent'),' the true and right understanding
John xvii. 3.
of this foundation and ground of knowledge is that which is most necessary to be known and believed in the first place.
THE SECOND PROPOSITION.
Concerning Immediate Revelation. Seeing 'no man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son revealeth him;' and seeing the revelation of the Son is in and by the Spirit; therefore the testimony of the Spirit is that alone by which the true knowledge of God hath been, is, and can be only revealed; who as, by the moving of his own Spirit, he converted the chaos of this world into that wonderful order wherein it was in the beginning, and created man a living soul, to rule and govern it, so by the revelation of the same Spirit he hath manifested himself all along unto the sons of men, both patriarchs, prophets, and apostles; which revelations of God by the Spirit, whether by outward voices and appearances, dreams, or inward objective manifestations in the heart, were of old the formal object of their faith, and remain yet so to be; since the object of the saints' faith is the same in all ages, though set forth under divers administrations. Moreover, these divine inward revelations, which we inake absolutely necessary for the building up of true faith, neither do nor can ever contradict the outward testimony of the Scriptures, or right and sound reason. Yet from hence it will not follow that these divine revelations are to be subjected to the examination, either of the outward testimony of the Scriptures or of the natural reason of man, as to a more noble or certain rule or touchstone; for this divine revelation and inward illumination is that which is evident and clear of itself, forcing, by its own evidence and clearness, the well-disposed understanding to assent, irresistibly moving the same thereunto; even as the common principles of natural truths move and incline the mind to a natural assent: as, that the whole is greater than its part; that two contradictory sayings can not be both true, nor both false: which is also manifest, according to our adversaries' principle, who-supposing the possibility of inward divine revelations—will nevertheless confess with us that neither Scripture nor sound reason will contradict it: and yet it will not follow, according to them, that
* Matt. xi. 27.
or temptation of the evil one, but to be free from actual sinning and transgressing of the law of God, and in that respect perfect. Yet doth this perfection still admit of a growth; and there remaineth a possibility of sinning where the mind doth not most diligently and watchfully attend unto the Lord.'
THE NINTH PROPOSITION.
Concerning Perseverance, and the Possibility of Falling from Grace.
Although this gift and inward grace of God be sufficient to work ont salvation, yet in those in whom it is resisted it both may and doth become their condemnation. Moreover, in whom it hath wrought in part, to purify and sanctify them, in order to their further perfection, by disobedience snch may fall from it, and turn it to wantonness, making shipwreck of faith; and after having tasted of the heavenly gift, and been made partakers of the Holy Ghost, again fall away.'? Yet such an increase and stability in the truth may in this life be attained, from which there can not be a total apostasy.
THE TENTH PROPOSITION.
Concerning the Ministry. As by this gift, or Light of God, all true knowledge in things spiritual is received and revealed; so by the same, as it is manifested and received in the heart, by the strength and power thereof, every trne minister of the gospel is ordained, prepared, and supplied in the work of the ministry; and by the leading, moving, and drawing hereof ought every evangelist and Christian pastor to be led and ordered in his labor and work of the gospel, both as to the place where, as to the persons to whom, and as to the times when he is to minister. Moreover, those who have this authority may and ought to preach the gospel, though without human commission or literature; as, on the other hand, those who want the authority of this divine gift, however learned or authorized by the commissions of men and churches, are to be esteemed but as deceivers, and not true ministers of the gospel. Also, who have received this holy and unspotted gift,' as they have freely
* Rom. vi. 14; viii, 13; 1 John iii. 6.
received, so are they freely to give,'' without hire or bargaining, far less to use it as a trade to get money by it: yet if God hath called any from their employments or trades, by which they acquire their livelihood, it may be lawful for such, according to the liberty which they feel given them in the Lord, to receive such temporalsto wit, what may be needful to them for meat and clothing—as are freely given them by those to whom they have communicated spirituals.
THE ELEVENTH PROPOSITION.
Concerning Worship. All true and acceptable worship to God is offered in the inward and immediate moving and drawing of his own Spirit, which is neither limited to places, times, or persons; for though we be to worship him always, in that we are to fear before him, yet as to the outward signification thereof in prayers, praises, or preachings, we ought not to do it where and when we will, but where and when we are moved thereunto by the secret inspirations of his Spirit in our hearts, which God heareth and accepteth of, and is never wanting to move us thereunto, when need is, of which he himself is the alone proper judge. All other worship then, both praises, prayers, and preachings, which man sets about in his own will, and at his own appointment, which he can both begin and end at his pleasure, do or leave undone, as himself sees meet, whether they be a prescribed form, as a liturgy, or prayers conceived extemporarily, by the natural strength and faculty of the mind, they are all but superstitions, will-worship, and abominable idolatry in the sight of God; which are to be denied, rejected, and separated from, in this day of his spiritual arising: however it might have pleased himwho winked at the times of ignorance, with respect to the simplicity and integrity of some, and of his own innocent seed, which lay as it were buried in the hearts of men, under the mass of superstition—to blow upon the dead and dry bones, and to raise some breathings, and answer them, and that until the day should more clearly dawn and break forth.2
1 Matt. x. 8. ? Ezek. xiii.; Matt. x. 20; Acts ii. 4; xviii. 5; John iii. 6; iv. 21; Jude 19; Acts xvii. 23.