Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

We may thus rely on Christ, either tremblingly or confidingly; but in either case it is saving faith. If, though tremblingly, we rely on him in his obedience for us unto death, instantly we come into union with him, and are justified. If, however, we confidingly rely on him, then have we the comfort of onr justification. Simply by faith in Christ are we justified and saved.

ARTICLE XII.

Of the Justification of Man. We are pardoned and accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith; and not for our own works or deservings. He who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. He bare our sins in his own body. It pleased our heavenly Father, of his infinite mercy, without any our desert or deserving, to provide for us the most precious sacrifice of Christ, whereby our ransom might be fully paid, the law fulfilled, and his justice fully satisfied. So that Christ is himself the righteousness of all them that truly do believe in him. He for them paid their ransom, by his death. He for them fulfilled the law, in his life. So that now in him, and by him, every true Christian man may be called a fulfiller of the law. Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.

ARTICLE XIII.

Of Repentance. The repentance required by Scripture is a change of mind toward God, and is the effect of the conviction of sin, wrought by the Holy Ghost.

The unconverted man may have a sense of remorse, or of shame and self-reproach, and yet

he

may have neither a change of mind toward God nor any true sorrow; but when he accepts Christ as his Saviour, therein he manifests a change of mind, and is in possession of repentance unto life. The sinner comes to Christ through no labored process of repenting and sorrowing; but he comes to Christ and repentance both at once, by means of simply believing. And ever afterwards his repentance is deep and genuine in proportion as his faith is simple and childlike.

company by sacraments, most few in number, most easy to be kept, most excellent in signification, viz., Baptism and the Lord's Supper.

Those five so-called Sacraments—that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony,and Extreme. Unction-are not to be counted for Sacraments of the gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed by the Scriptures; but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism and the Lord's Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.

And in such only as worthily receive Baptism and the Lord's Supper are they of spiritual benefit, and yet not that of the work wrought (ex opere operato), as some men speak. Which word, as it is strange and unknown to Holy Scripture, so it gendereth no godly, but a very superstitions sense. In such as receive them rightly, faith is confirmed and grace increased by virtue of prayer to God. But they that receive them unworthily purchase to themselves judgment, as St. Paul saith; while it is eqnally true that none, however conscious of unworthiness, are debarred from receiving them, if they are trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

ARTICLE XXVI.

Of Baptism. Baptism represents the death of believers with Christ, and their rising with him to newness of life. It is a sign of profession, whereby they publicly declare their faith in him. It is intended as a sign of regeneration or new birth. They that are baptized are grafted into the visible Church : the promises of the forgiveness of sin and of adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost are visibly set forth. The baptism of young children is retained in this Church, as agreeable to ancient usage and not contrary to Holy Writ.

ARTICLE XXVII.

Of the Lord's Supper. The Supper of the Lord is a memorial of our Redemption by Christ's death, for thereby we do show forth the Lord's death till he come. It is also a symbol of the soul's feeding upon Christ. And it is a sign of the communion that we should have with one another.

VOL. III.-G GG

to believers in him pardon, acceptance, sonship, sanctification, redemption, and eternal glory. Those who believe in him are in him complete. They are even now justified and have a present salvation; though they may not at all times have the sense of its possession.

ARTICLE XVIII.

Of Election, Predestination, and Free Will. While the Scriptures distinctly set forth the election, predestination, and calling of the people of God unto eternal life, as Christ saith: * All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;' they no less positively affirm man's free agency and responsibility, and that salvation is freely offered to all through Christ.

This Church, accordingly, simply affirms these doctrines as the Word of God sets them forth, and submits them to the individual judgment of its members, as taught by the Holy Spirit; strictly charging them that God commandeth all men every where to repent, and that we can be saved only by faith in Jesus Christ.

ARTICLE XIX.

Of Sin after Conversion. The grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after conversion : that is to say, after, by the quickening into life by the Holy Ghost, they have turned to God by faith in Christ, and have been brought into that change of mind which is repentance into life. For after we have received the Holy Ghost we may, through unbelief, carelessness, and worldliness, fall into sin, and by the grace of God we may arise again, and amend our lives; but every such fall is a grievous dishonor to our Lord, and a sore injury to ourselves.

ARTICLE XX.

Of Christ alone, without Sin. Christ, in the truth of our nature, was made like unto us in all things, sin only excepted, from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh, and in his spirit. He came to be the Lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice of himself, made once forever, should take away the sin of the world; and sin (as St. John saith) was not in him. But all we the rest, although born again in Christ, yet offend in many things; and

if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not

in us.

ARTICLE XXI.

Of the Church. The souls dispersed in all the world, who adhere to Christ by faith, who are partakers of the Holy Ghost, and worship the Father in spirit and in truth, are the body of Christ, the house of God, the flock of the Good Shepherd—the holy, universal Christian Church.

A visible Church of Christ is a congregation of believers in which the pure Word of God is preached and Baptism and the Lord's Supper are duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same. And those things are to be considered requisite which the Lord himself did, he himself commanded, and his apostles confirmed.

As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch,' and Rome have erred, so also others have erred and may err, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith.

ARTICLE XXII.

Of the Authority of a Church. A Church hath power to decree ceremonies and to establish forms of worship and laws for the government and discipline of its members, and to declare its own faith; yet it is not lawful for any Church to ordain or decide any thing that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture that it be repngnant to another. And as the Church onght not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of salvation. The Nicene Creed, as set forth in the Prayer-Book of this Church, and that which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed, ought to be received and believed; for they may be proved by Holy Scripture.

'[As in the Anglican and the Protestant Episcopal Articles, so here Constantinople—the great rival of Rome and chief representative of the Eastern Church-is omitted, no doubt undesignedly; but some Anglo-Catholics, zealous for intercommunion with the Greek Church, derive comfort from the omission.]

make confession to the offended party; and so if one sin and bring scandal upon the Christian society of which he is a member. Christians may often, with manifest profit, confess to one another their sins against God, with a view solely to instruction, correction, guidance, and encouragement in righteousness. But in any and every case conifession is still to be made to God; for all sins are committed against him, as well such as offend our fellow-man as those that offend him alone.

Priestly absolution is a blasphemous usurpation of the sole prerogative of God. None can forgive sius as against God but God alone.

The blood of Jesus Christ only can cleanse us from our sins, and always we obtain forgiveness directly from God, whenever by faith in that blood we approach him with our confessions and prayers.

ARTICLE XXXIII.

Of the Marriage of Ministers. Christian ministers are not commanded by God's law either to vow the estate of single life or to abstain from marriage; therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion.

ARTICLE XXXIV. Of the Power of the Civil Authority. The power of the civil magistrate extendeth to all men, as well ministers as people, in all things temporal; but hath no authority in things purely spiritual. And we hold it to be the duty of all men who are professors of the gospel to pay respectful obedience to the civil authority, regularly and legitimately constituted.

ARTICLE XXXV.

Of Christian Men's Goods. The riches and goods of Christian men are not common, but their own, to be controlled and used according to their Christian judgment. Every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability; and as a steward of God, he should use his means and influence in promoting the cause of truth and righteousness to the glory of God.

« PoprzedniaDalej »