« ElőzőTovább »
That no man can fulfil the Law of God, and much less overfulfil it. That Christ, bearing human nature, was the only one born of that nature without sin; and he was thus born, that he might be a pure sacrifice, a lamb without spot, for the sins of the world; that is, for every one, Jew or Gentile, male or female, bond or free, who should come unto God by him. That there is no perfection in man, or in the flesh, not even in the regenerate; but that such may fall, and be restored again by the grace of God to newness of life. That there is a spiritual people, named the Church, which signifies The called of God, chosen in Christ out of mankind, as vessels made to honor, according to the everlasting purpose and constant decree, secret to man, of the three Persons in the unity of the Godhead, styled in the original Scriptures JEHOVAW Alenim; that
these secret ones are called according to God's purpose by his Spirit' working in due season; that they through grace, and not of themselves, obey tlie calling, are justified freely, are made sons of God by adoption, are transformed by the renewing of their mind into the image of Christ, do walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God's mercy, attain to everlasting felicity. That the godly consideration of Predestination and Election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable, comfort to godly persons, who are such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, or those works which proceed from their fleshly mind and their earthly members, and drawing up their thoughts and desires to high and heavenly things; as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation to be
enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth ferrently kindle their love towards God; but that, to all curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, this doctrine is by the devil made an occasion of stumbling, or of most dangerous downfall, either for desperation or for the utmost abandonment of divine truth, which is usually attended by other false principles, or by 66 the wretchlessness of most unclean living.”
$77. These are the proper sentiments of the real Christian. They are also the sentiments of the Church of England; and not only of the Church of Eng. land, but of the general Reformation from the errors of Rome. They are the sentiments and doctrines of the primitive Christian Church in its purest ages. They were and are also the sentiments, doctrines, and experience of that “ mystical Body of Christ,” the Holy Catholic Church
of the Faithful from the beginning of the world. All these have lived under their impression, and often . sealed them with the sincerest testimony of their blood. These principles shine throughout the inspired writings of the Prophets and Apostles, and combine together in one gracious analogy, equally bright and beautiful to every spiritual eye, which is opened to behold it. They are, above all, the Word, the Voice, the Truth, of the everliving and unerring God.
$ 78. Whosoever, therefore, contradicts and renounces these fundamental Doctrines of Salvation, or does not receive and maintain them according to the fair and obvious sense of the Confessions which state them, has no just claim to be considered as a member or minister of those Churches which were established upon such confessions ; certainly not of the Church of England, which by authority de
clares, that no member of it a shall put his own sense or comment to be the meaning of an article (and much less a double or equivocal sense, and, least of all, those “mental reservations,” of which Jesuits have been accused), but shall take it in the Literal and Grammatical sense.” If he belong not to these constituted Churches, who in essential principles agree with the visible and invisible Church of Christ from the beginning of the world; what must such a one be ; and to whom or to what does he belong? If his faith be not the faith of God's Elect, may we not suspect, that it will turn out at last to have been a very delusive and a very dangerous. opinion ? And to what end, to what a train of other mischievous principles, may not a serious error in the premises, like one in the first figures of a calculation, unavoidably lead him? IIe can be sure of no religious truth,