« AnteriorContinua »
who is the only •Mediator between God and man, abeing both God and man. Wherefore
c See Article XVIII. d See Article II.
* All these fathers, martyrs, and other holy men, whom St. Paul spake of, had their faith surely fixed in God, when all the world was against them. They did not only know God to be the Lord, Maker, and Governor of all men in the world ; but also they had a special confidence and trust, that he was and would be their God, their comforter, aider, helper, maintainer, and defender. This is the Christian faith, which these holy men had, and we also ought to have. And although they were not named Christian men, yet was it a Christian faith that they had; for they looked for all benefits of God the Father, through the merits of his Son Jesus Christ, as we now do. This difference is between them and us, that they looked when Christ should come, and we be in the time when he is come. Therefore, saith St. Augustine, the time is altered and changed, but not the faith. For we have both one faith in one Christ. “ The sanie Holy Ghost, also that we have, had they,” saith St. Paul, (1 Cor. xii. 4, 13.) For as the Holy Ghost doth teach us to trust in God, and call upon him as our Father, so did he teach them to say, as it is written, “ Thou, Lord, art our Father and Redeemer; and thy name is without beginning and everlasting.” (Isa. Ixiii. 16.) God gave them then grace to be his children, as he doth us now. But now, by the coming of our Saviour Christ we have received more abundantly the Spirit of God in our hearts, whereby we may conceive a greater faith,
c There is one God, and one me- in a voluntary humility, and wordiator between God and men, the shipping of angels, intruding into man Christ Jesus. 1 Tim. ii. 15. things which he hath not seen, For though there be that are called vainly puffed up by his fleshly gods, whether in heaven or in earth, mind, and not holdingjthe head, &c. (as there be gods many, and lords Col. ii. 18, 19. There is one body, many ;) but to us there is but one and one Spirit, even as ye are God, the Father, of whom are all called in one hope of your calling; things, and we in him; and one one Lord, one faith, &c. Eph. iv. 6. Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all · But now the righteousness of God things, and we by him. 1 Cor. viii. without the law is manifested, 5, 6. That in all things he might being witnessed by the law and the have the pre-eminence. For it prophets; even the righteousness pleased the Father that in him of God which is by faith of Jesus should all fulness dwell. Col. i. 18, Christ unto all and upon all them 19. He ever liveth to make inter- that believe. Rom. iii. 21, 22. cession for them. Heb. vii. 25. He e For verily I say unto you, that is the mediator of a better cove- many prophets and righteous men nant. Heb. viii. 6. He is the me- have desired to see those things diator of the New Testament. Heb. which ye see, and have not seen them; ix. 15. Jesus the Mediator of the and to bear those things which ye new covenant. Heb. xii. 24. Let hear, and have not heard them, no man beguile you of your reward Matt. xiii. 17. Jacob said, I have
they are not to be heard, which feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, fdo not bind Christian men, nor the civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any common-wealth; yet notwithstanding, S no Chris
and a surer trust than many of them had. But in effect they and we be all one: we have the same faith that they had in God, and they the same that we have. Hom. xiv. 1.
Even at those days there was the very same God that is now, the same Spirit, the same Christ, the same faith, the same doctrine, the same hope, the same inheritance, the same covenant, and the same efficacy and virtue of God's word : Eusebius also saith, All the faithful, even from Adam until Christ, were indeed very Christians, though they were not so termed. Jewell.
'The law, as the highest reason, was by God grafted in the
waited for thy salvation, O Lord. had opportunity to have returned. Gen. xlix. 18. Your father Abra- But now they desire a better counham rejoiced to see my day; and try, that is, an heavenly: wherefore he saw it, and was glad. John yiii. God is not ashamed to be called 56. By faith Noah became heir of their God: for he hath prepared the righteousness which is by faith. for them a city. Others were torBy faith Moses, when he was come tured, not accepting deliverance, to years, refused to be called the that they might obtain a better reson of Pharaoh's daughter; choos- surrection. Heb. xi. 13—16, 35. ing rather to suffer affliction with f Stand fast in the liberty wherethe people of God, than to enjoy with Christ hath made us free, and the pleasures of sin for a season; be not entangled again with the esteeming the reproach of Christ yoke of bondage. Gal. v.1. For the greater riches than the treasures of priesthood being changed, there is Egypt: for he had respect unto the made of necessity a change also of recompence of the reward. Heb. xi. the law (ceremonial.) Heb. vii. 12. 7, 24–26. And did all drink the Blotting out the hand-writing of same spiritual drink: for they ordinances that was against us, drank of that spiritual Rock that which was contrary to us, and took followed them: and that Rock was it out of the way, nailing it to his Christ. 1 Cor. x. 4. These all died cross.-Let no man therefore judge in faith, not having received the you in meat, or in drink, or in repromises, but having seen them spect of an holy-day, or of the afar off, and were persuaded of new-moon, or of the sabbath-days: them, and embraced them, and con- which are a shadow of things to fessed that they were strangers come; but the body is of Christ. and pilgrims on the earth. For Col. ii. 14, 16, 17. Having abolished they that say such things declare in his flesh the enmity, even the plainly that the seek a country. law of commandments contained in And truly, if they had been mind- ordinances. Epb. ii. 15. ful of that country from whence g Do we then make void the law they came out, they might have through faith? God forbid : yea,
tian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.
nature of man, while man's nature was yet sound, and uncorrupted, being created after the image of God; so this law is indeed, and is called, the law of nature. Nowell, p. 28.
Merciful God, minding to renew the same image in us, hath by his law written in tables, set forth the rule of perfect righteousness, and that so lively and fully, that God requireth no more of us but to follow the same rule. For he accepteth no other sacrifice but obedience, and therefore he hateth all; whatsoever it be, that we admit in religion, or in the case of worshipping without his prescribed ordainance. Nowell, P.
29. See also Article XIV. 6.
In these tables the Lord hath briefly and summarily comprehended all those things which in the Scriptures are each where most largely set out concerning the several commandřents and duties of every several man. Nowell, p. 29.
Q. Seeing then the law doth shew a perfect manner of worshipping God aright, ought we not wholly to live according to the rule thereof? A. Yea, and so much, that God promiseth life to them that live according to the rule of the law; and, on the other side, threateneth death to them that break his law. Nowell, p. 29.
In making the law, God respected not so much what we were able to perform, which by our fault are very weak, as what was meet for his own righteousness.-Moreover the law requireth nothing of us, but what we are bound to perform. Nowell,
The law in requiring so precise perfectness of life, doth shew to the godly, as it were, a mark for them to level at, and a goal to run unto, that, daily profiting, they may with earnest endeavour travel toward the highest uprightness. This purpose and desire the godly by the guiding of God do conceive. But principally they take heed, so much as they are able to do and to attain to, that it may not be said there is any notorious fault in them. Secondly, whereas the law requiretń things far above men's power, and where they find themselves too weak for so great a burden, the law doth raise them up to crave strength at the Lord's hand. Moreover, when the law doth continually accuse them, it striketh their heart with a wholesome sorrow, and driveth them to repentance, and to beg and obtain pardon
we establish the law (moral.) Rom. neighbour as thyself, ye do well: iii. 31. Circumcision is nothing, but if ye have respect to persons, and uncircumcision is nothing, but ye commit sin, and are convinced the keeping of the commandments of the law as transgressors. For of God. 1 Cor. vii. 19. If ye whosoever shall keep the whole fulfil the royal law according to law, and yet offend in one point, he the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy is guilty of all. James ii. 8-10.
of God through Christ, and therewithal restraineth them, that they trust not upon their own innocency, or presume to be proud in the sight of God, and is always to them as a bridle to withhold them in the fear of God. Finally, when beholding by the law, as it were in a glass, the spots and uncleanness of their souls, they learn thereby that they are not able to attain perfect righteousness by their works: by this mean they are trained to humility, and so the law prepareth them, and sendeth them to seek righteousness in Christ. The law is, as it were, a certain schoolmaster to Christ, to lead us the right way to Christ, by knowing of ourselves, and by repentance and faith. Nowell,
The law is holy, and the command- from heaven against all ungodliment holy, and just, and good. Rom. ness and unrighteousness of men, vii. 12. Fear God, and keep his who hold the truth in unrighteouscommandments; for this is the ness. Rom. i. 18. The wages of sin whole duty of man. Eccles. xii. 13. is death. Rom. vi. 23. For the wrath of God is revealed
VIII. Of the Three Creeds. THE Three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius's Creed, and that which is commonly called the * Apostles' Creed, 'ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of holy Scripture.
Q. Why is the sum of our faith called a symbol ? A. A symbol by interpretation is a badge-mark, watch-word, or token, whereby the soldiers of one side are known from their enemies. For which cause the short sum of our faith, by which Christians are severally known from them that be not Christians, is rightly called a symbol. Q. But why is it called the symbol of the apostles ? A. Because it was first received from the apostles' own mouth, or most faithfully gathered out of their writings, and allowed from the very beginning of the Church, and so hath continually remained among all the, godly, firm, stedfast, and unmoved, as a sure and staid rule of Christian faith. Nowell, p. 31.
• Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith. Which faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. Athan. Creed.
Q. What dost thou chiefly learn in these Articles of thy belief? A. First, I learn to believe in God the Father, who hath made me and all the world. Secondly, in God the Son, who hath redeemed me and all mankind. Thirdly, in God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me, and all the elect people of God. Catechism.
Q. What meanest thou by this word believe ? A. I mean thereby that I have a true and a lively faith, that is to say, a Christian man's faith in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and that I do by this form of confession testify and approve the same faith. · Q. Is there any faith which is not a true and lively faith ? A. There is indeed a certain general faith, as I may so call it; and there is a dead faith. Nowell, p. 32. See on Article XII.