페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

the which he hath chosen us to life everlasting in Jesus Christ : and this his most singular mercy we prefer to all things earthly and transitory; for without this there is to mankind no felicity, no comfort, nor final joy; and having this, we are assured that by the same love by the which he once hath freely chosen us, he shall conduct the whole course of our life, so that in the end we shall possess that immortal kingdom that he hath prepared for his chosen children ; for from this fountain of God's free mercy or adoption springeth our vocation, our justification, our continual sanctification, and finally our glorification, as witnesseth the apostle.

The same God our Father we confess almighty, not only in respect of what he may do, but in consideration that by his power and godly wisdom are all creatures in heaven and earth, and under the earth, ruled, guided, and kept in the order that his eternal knowledge and will hath appointed them. And that is it which in the third part we do confess, that he is Creator of heaven and earth; that is to say, the heaven and the earth, and the contents thereof, are so in his hand, that there is nothing done without his knowledge, neither yet against his will, but that he ruleth them so, that in the end his godly name shall be glorified in them. And so we confess and believe that neither the devils, nor yet the wicked of the world, have any power to molest or trouble the chosen children of God, but in so far as it pleaseth him to use them as instruments, either to prove and try our faith and patience, or else to stir us to more fervent invocation of his name, and to continual meditation of that heavenly rest and joy that abideth us after these transitory troubles. And yet shall not this excuse

the wicked, because they never seek, in their iniquity, to please God, nor yet to obey his will.

In Jesus Christ we confess two distinct and perfect natures, to wit, the eternal Godhead and the perfect manhood joined together; so that we confess and believe that that eternal Word, who was from the beginning, and by whom all things were created, and are yet conserved and kept in their being, did, in the time appointed in the counsel of his heavenly Father, receive our nature of a virgin, by operation of the Holy Ghost; so that in his conception we acknowledge and believe that there is nothing but purity and sanctification, yea even insomuch as he is become our brother : for it behoved him, that should purge others from their sins, to be pure and clean from all spot of sin, even from his conception. And as we confess and believe him conceived by the Holy Ghost, so do we confess and believe him to be born of a virgin, named Mary, of the tribe of Judah, and of the family of David, that the promise of God and the prophecy might be fulfilled, to wit, that the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head, and that a virgin shall conceive and bear a child, whose name shall be called Emmanuel, that is to say, God with us. The name Jesus, which signifieth a Saviour, was given unto him by the angel, to assure us that it is he alone that saveth his people from their sins. He is called Christ, that is to say, Anointed, by reason of the offices given unto him by God his Father, to wit, that he alone is appointed King, Priest, and Prophet: King, in that that all power is given to him in heaven and on earth, so that there is none other but he in heaven nor on earth, that hath just authority and power to make laws to bind the consciences of men, neither yet is there any other that may defend our souls from the bondage of sin, nor yet our bodies from the tyranny of men. And this he doeth by the power of his word, by the which he draweth us out of the bondage and slavery of Satan, and maketh us to reign over sin, whilst that we live and serve our God in righteousness and holiness of life. A Priest, and that perpetual and everlasting, we confess him, because that by the sacrifice of his own body, which he once offered up upon the cross, he hath fully satisfied the justice of his Father in our behalf, so that whosoever seeketh any means besides his death and passion in heaven or on earth to reconcile unto them God's favour, they do not only blaspheme, but also, so far as in them is, renounce the fruit and efficacy of that his only one sacrifice. We confess him to be the only Prophet, who hath revealed unto us the whole will of his Father, in all things appertaining to our salvation. This our Lord Jesus we confess to be the only Son of God, because there is none such by nature but he alone. We confess him also our Lord, not only by reason we are his creatures, but chiefly because he hath redeemed us by his precious blood, and so hath gotten just dominion over us, as over the people whom he hath delivered from bondage of sin, death, hell, and the devil, and hath made us kings and priests to God his Father.

We further confess and believe, that the same our Lord Jesus was accused before an earthly judge, Pontius Pilate, under whom, albeit oft and divers times he was pronounced to be innocent, he suffered the death of the cross, being hanged upon a tree betwixt two thieves, which death, as it was · most cruel and vile before the eyes of men, so was it accursed by the mouth of God himself, saying, “ Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” And this kind of death sustained he in our person, because he was appointed of God his Father to be our pledge, and he that should bear the punishment of our transgressions. And so we acknowledge and believe that he hath taken away that curse and malediction that hanged on us by reason of sin. He verily died, rendering up his spirit into the hands of his Father, after that he had said, “ Father, into thine hands I commend my spirit." After his death, we confess his body was buried, and that he descended to the hell. But because he was the author of life, yea, the very life itself, it was impossible that he should be retained under the dolours of death. And therefore the third day he rose again, victor and conqueror of death and hell, by the which his resurrection he hath brought life again into the world, which he, by the power of his Holy Spirit, communicateth unto his lively members, so that now unto them corporal death is no death, but an entrance into that life, wherein our Head, Jesus Christ, is now entered ; for after that he had sufficiently proved his resurrection to his disciples, and unto such as constantly did abide with him to the death, he visibly ascended to the heavens, and was taken from the eyes of men, and placed at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, where now he remaineth in his glory, only Head, only Mediator, and only Advocate for all the members of his body: of which we have most spiritual comfort ; first, for that by his ascension the heavens are opened unto us, and an entrance made unto us, that boldly we may appear before the throne of our Father's mercy; and, secondly, that we know that this honour and authority is given to Jesus Christ, our Head, in our name, and for our profit and utility; for albeit that in body he now be in the heaven, yet by the power of his Spirit he is present here with us, as well to instruct us as to comfort and maintain us in all our troubles and adversities, from the which he shall finally deliver his whole church, and every true member of the same, in that day when he shall visibly appear again Judge of the quick and the dead. For this, finally, we confess of our Lord Jesus Christ, that as he was seen visibly to ascend, and so left the world, as touching that body that suffered and rose again, so do we constantly believe, that he shall come from the right hand of his Father, when all eyes shall see him, yea, even those that have pierced him; and then shall he gather as well those that then shall be found alive, as those that before have slept. Separation shall be made betwixt the lambs and the goats, that is to say, betwixt the elect and the reprobate : the one shall hear this joyful voice, “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world :” the other shall hear that fearful and irrevocable sentence,“ Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” And for this cause, this day, in the Scriptures, is called the day of refreshing, and of the revelation of all secrets, because that then the just shall be delivered from all miseries, and shall be possessed in the fulness of their glory: contrariwise, the reprobate shall receive judgment and recompence of all their impiety, be it openly or secretly wrought.

« 이전계속 »