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The Westminster Confession of Faith

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CHAPTER IX: Of Free-Will

1. God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that it is neither forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, determined to good, or evil.(1)

(1) James 1:13-14; Deut. 30:19; Isa. 7:11-12; Matt. 17:12; John 5:40; James 4:7

2. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom, and power to will and to do that which was good and well pleasing to God;(1) but yet, mutably, so that he might fall from it.(2)

(1) Ecc. 7:29; Gen. 1:26, 31; Col. 3:10; (2) Gen. 2:16-17; Gen. 3:6, 17

3. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation:(1) so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good,(2) and dead in sin,(3) is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.(4)

(1) Rom. 8:7-8; John 6:44, 65; John 15:5; Rom. 5:5; (2) Rom. 3:9-10, 12, 23; (3) Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13; (4) John 6:44, 65; John 3:3, 5-6; I Cor. 2:14; Titus 3:3-5

4. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin;(1) and, by his grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good;(2) yet so, that by reason of his remaining corruption, he doth not perfectly, nor only, will that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil.(3)

(1) Col. 1:13; John 8:34, 36; Rom. 6:6-7; (2) Phil. 2:13; Rom. 6:14, 17-19, 22; (3) Gal. 5:17; Rom. 7:14-25; I John 1:8, 10

5. The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to do good alone in the state of glory only.(1)

(1) Heb. 12:23; I John 3:2; Jude 24; Rev. 21:27

CHAPTER X: Of Effectual Calling

1. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call,(1) by his Word and Spirit,(2) out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ;(3) enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God,(4) taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh;(5) renewing their wills, and, by his almighty power, determining them to that which is good,(6) and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ:(7) yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.(8)

(1) Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:28, 30; Rom. 11:7; Eph. 1:5, 11; II Tim. 1:9-10; (2) II Thess. 2:13-14; James 1:18; II Cor. 3:3, 6; I Cor. 2:12; (3) II Tim. 1:9-10; I Pet. 2:9; Rom. 8:2; Eph. 2:1-10; (4) Acts 26:18; I Cor. 2:10, 12; Eph. 1:17-18; II Cor. 4:6; (5) Ezek. 36:26; (6) Ezek. 11:19; Deut. 30:6; Ezek. 36:27; John 3:5; Titus 3:5; I Pet. 1:23; (7) John 6:44-45; Acts 16:14; (8) Ps. 110:3; John 6:37; Matt. 11:28; Rev. 22:17; Rom. 6:16-18; Eph. 2:8; Phil. 1:29

2. This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from any thing at all foreseen in man,(1) who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit,(2) he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.(3)

(1) II Tim. 1:9; Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 9:11; (2) I Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:7-9; Titus 3:4-5; (3) John 6:37; Ezek. 36:27; I John 5:1; cf. I John 3:9

3. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit,(1) who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth:(2) so also are all other elect persons who are uncapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.(3)

(1) Gen. 17:7; Luke 18:15-16; Acts 2:39; John 3:3, 5; I John 5:12; see Luke 1:15; (2) John 3:8; (3) John 16:7-8; I John 5:12; Acts 4:12

4. Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word,(1) and may have some common operations of the Spirit,(2) yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved:(3) much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the laws of that religion they do profess.(4) And to assert and maintain that they may, is very pernicious, and to be detested.(5)

(1) Matt. 13:14-15; Acts 28:24; cf. Acts 13:48; Matt. 22:14; (2) Matt. 13:20-21; Matt. 7:22; Heb. 6:4-5; (3) John 6:37, 64-66; John 8:44; John 13:18; cf. John 17:12; (4) Acts 4:12; I John 4:2-3; II John 9; John 14:6; Eph. 2:12-13; John 4:22; John 17:3; Rom. 10:13-17; (5) II John 9-11; I Cor. 16:22; Gal. 1:6-8

CHAPTER XI: Of Justification

1. Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth;(1) not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them,(2) they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.(3)

(1) Rom. 8:30; Rom. 3:24; Rom. 5:15-16; (2) Rom. 4:5-8; II Cor. 5:19, 21; Rom. 3:22-28; Titus 3:5, 7; Eph. 1:7; Jer. 23:6; I Cor. 1:30-31; Rom. 5:17-19; (3) John 1:12; Acts 10:43; Acts 13:38-39; Phil. 3:9; Eph. 2:7-8; John 6:44-45, 65; Phil. 1:29

2. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification:(1) yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.(2)

(1) John 3:18, 36; Rom. 3:28; Rom. 5:1; (2) James 2:17, 22, 26; Gal. 5:6

3. Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to his Father's justice in their behalf.(1) Yet, in as much as he was given by the Father for them;(2) and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead;(3) and both, freely, not for anything in them; their justification is only of free grace;(4) that both the exact justice, and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.(5)

(1) Mark 10:45; Rom. 5:8-10, 18-19; Gal. 3:13; I Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 1:3; Heb. 10:10, 14; Dan. 9:24, 26; see Isa. 52:13-53:12; (2) Rom. 8:32; John 3:16; (3) II Cor. 5:21; Eph. 5:2; Phil. 2:6-9; Isa. 53:10-11; (4) Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7; (5) Rom. 3:26; Eph. 2:7; Zech. 9:9; Isa. 45:21

4. God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect,(1) and Christ did, in the fulness of time, die for their sins, and rise again for their justification:(2) nevertheless, they are not justified, until the Holy Spirit doth, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them.(3)

(1) Rom. 8:29-30; Gal. 3:8; I Pet. 1:2, 19-20; (2) Gal. 4:4; I Tim. 2:6; Rom. 4:25; (3) Eph. 2:3; Titus 3:3-7; Gal. 2:16; cf. Col 1:21-22

5. God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified;(1) and, although they can never fall from the state of justification,(2) yet they may, by their sins, fall under God's fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.(3)

(1) Matt. 6:12; I John 1:7, 9; I John 2:1-2; (2) Rom. 5:1-5; Rom. 8:30-39; Heb. 10:14; cf. Luke 22:32; John 10:28; (3) Ps. 89:30-33; Ps. 51; Ps. 32:5; Matt. 26:75; Luke 1:20; I Cor. 11:30, 32

6. The justification of believers under the old testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the new testament.(1)

(1) Gal. 3:9, 13-14; Rom. 4:6-8, 22-24; Rom. 10:6-13; Heb. 13:8

CHAPTER XII: Of Adoption

1. All those that are justified, God vouchsafeth, in and for his only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption,(1) by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God,(2) have his name put upon them,(3) receive the spirit of adoption,(4) have access to the throne of grace with boldness,(5) are enabled to cry, Abba, Father,(6) are pitied,(7) protected,(8) provided for,(9) and chastened by him as by a Father:(10) yet never cast off,(11) but sealed to the day of redemption;(12) and inherit the promises,(13) as heirs of everlasting salvation.(14)

(1) Eph. 1:5; Gal. 4:4-5; (2) Rom. 8:17; John 1:12; (3) Num. 6:24-26; Jer. 14:9; Amos 9:12; Acts 15:17; II Cor. 6:18; Rev. 3:12; (4) Rom. 8:15; (5) Eph. 3:12; see Heb. 4:16; (6) Rom. 8:15; see Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:16; (7) Ps. 103:13; (8) Prov. 14:26; (9) Matt. 6:30, 32, I Pet. 5:7; (10) Heb. 12:6; (11) Lam. 3:31-32; see Ps. 89:30-35; (12) Eph. 4:30; (13) Heb. 6:12; (14) I Pet. 1:3-4; Heb. 1:14

CHAPTER XIII: Of Sanctification

1. They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection,(1) by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them,(2) the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed,(3) and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified;(4) and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces,(5) to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.(6)

(1) I Thess. 5:23-24; II Thess. 2:13-14; Ezek. 36:22-28; Titus 3:5; Acts 20:32; Phil. 3:10; Rom. 6:5-6; (2) John 17:17, 19; Eph. 5:26; Rom. 8:13-14; II Thess. 2:13; (3) Rom. 6:6, 14; (4) Gal. 5:24; Rom. 8:13; (5) Col. 1:10-11; Eph. 3:16-19; (6) II Cor. 7:1; Col. 1:28; Col. 4:12; Heb. 12:14

2. This sanctification is throughout, in the whole man;(1) yet imperfect in this life, there abiding still some remnants of corruption in every part;(2) whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.(3)

(1) I Thess. 5:23; Rom. 12:1-2; (2) I John 1:8-10; Rom. 7:14-25; Phil. 3:12; (3) Gal. 5:17

3. In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail;(1) yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome;(2) and so, the saints grow in grace,(3) perfecting holiness in the fear of God.(4)

(1) Rom. 7:23; (2) Rom. 6:14; I John 5:4; Eph. 4:15-16; see Rom. 8:2; (3) II Pet. 3:18; II Cor. 3:18; (4) II Cor. 7:1

CHAPTER XIV: Of Saving Faith

1. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls,(1) is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts,(2) and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word,(3) by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened.(4)

(1) Titus 1:1; Heb. 10:39; (2) I Cor. 12:3; John 3:5; Titus 3:5; John 6:44-45, 65; Eph. 2:8; Phil. 1:29; II Pet. 1:1; see I Pet. 1:2; (3) Matt. 28:19-20; Rom. 10:14, 17; I Cor. 1:21; (4) I Pet. 2:2; Acts 20:32; Rom. 1:16-17; Matt. 28:19; see Acts 2:38; I Cor. 10:16; I Cor. 11:23-29; Luke 17:5; Phil. 4:6-7

2. By this faith, a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God himself speaking therein;(1) and acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands,(2) trembling at the threatenings,(3) and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come.(4) But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.(5)

(1) II Pet. 1:20-21; John 4:42; I Thess. 2:13; I John 5:9-10; Acts 24:14; (2) Ps. 119:10-11; 48, 97-98, 167-168; John 14:15; (3) Ezra 9:4; Isa. 66:2; Heb. 4:1 (4) Heb. 11:13; I Tim. 4:8; (5) John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Gal. 2:20; Acts 15:11; II Tim. 1:9-10

3. This faith is different in degrees, weak or strong;(1) may be often and many ways assailed, and weakened, but gets the victory:(2) growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance, through Christ,(3) who is both the author and finisher of our faith.(n)

(1) Heb. 5:13-14; Rom. 14:1-2; Matt. 6:30; Rom. 4:19-20; Matt. 8:10; (2) Luke 22:31-32; Eph. 6:16; I John 5:4-5; (3) Heb. 6:11-12; Heb. 10:22; Col. 2:2; (4) Heb. 12:2

CHAPTER XV: Of Repentance unto Life

1. Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace,(1) the doctrine whereof is to be preached by every minister of the gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ.(2)

(1) Acts 11:18; II Cor. 7:10; Zech. 12:10; (2) Luke 24:47; Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21

2. By it, a sinner, out of the sight and sense not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, as contrary to the holy nature, and righteous law of God; and upon the apprehension of his mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, so grieves for, and hates his sins, as to turn from them all unto God,(1) purposing and endeavouring to walk with him in all the ways of His commandments.(2)

(1) Ezek. 18:30-31; Ezek. 36:31; Isa. 30:22; Ps. 51:4; Jer. 31:18-19; Joel 2:12-13; Amos 5:15; Ps. 119:128; II Cor. 7:11; I Thess. 1:9; (3) Ps. 119:6, 59, 106; II Kings 23:25; see Luke 1:6

3. Although repentance be not to be rested in, as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the pardon thereof,(1) which is the act of God's free grace in Christ;(2) yet it is of such necessity to all sinners, that none may expect pardon without it.(3)

(1) Ezek. 36:31-32; Ezek. 16:61-63; Isa. 43:25; (2) Hos. 14:2, 4; Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7; (3) Luke 13:3, 5; Mark 1:4; Acts 17:30-31

4. As there is no sin so small, but it deserves damnation;(1) so there is no sin so great, that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent.(2)

(1) Rom. 6:23; Gal. 3:10; Matt. 12:36; (2) Isa. 55:7; Rom. 8:1; Isa. 1:16-18

5. Men ought not to content themselves with a general repentance, but it is every man's duty to endeavour to repent of his particular sins, particularly.(1)

(1) Ps. 19:13; Matt. 26:75; Luke 19:8; I Tim. 1:13, 15

6. As every man is bound to make private confession of his sins to God, praying for the pardon thereof;(1) upon which, and the forsaking of them, he shall find mercy;(2) so, he that scandalizeth his brother, or the church of Christ, ought to be willing, by a private or public confession, and sorrow for his sin, to declare his repentance to those that are offended,(3) who are thereupon to be reconciled to him, and in love to receive him.(4)

(1) Ps. 32:5-6; Ps. 51:1-14; (2) Prov. 28:13; Isa. 55:7; I John 1:9; (3) James 5:16; Luke 17:3-4; Josh. 7:19; see Matt. 18:15-18; (4) II Cor. 2:7-8; see Gal. 6:1-2

CHAPTER XVI: Of Good Works

1. Good works are only such as God hath commanded in His holy Word,(1) and not such as, without the warrant thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pretence of good intention.(2)

(1) Mic. 6:8; Rom. 12:2; Heb. 13:21; (2) Matt. 15:9; Isa. 29:13; I Pet. 1:18; John 16:2; Rom. 10:2; I Sam. 15:21-23; Deut. 10:12-13; Col. 2:16-17, 20-23

2. These good works, done in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith:(1) and by them believers manifest their thankfulness,(2) strengthen their assurance,(3) edify their brethren,(4) adorn the profession of the gospel,(5) stop the mouths of the adversaries,(6) and glorify God,(7) whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto,(8) that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.(9)

(1) James 2:18, 22; (2) Ps. 116:12-14; Col. 3:15-17; I Pet. 2:9; (3) I John 2:3, 5; II Pet. 1:5-10; (4) II Cor. 9:2; Matt. 5:16; I Tim. 4:12; (5) Titus 2:5, 9-12; I Tim. 6:1; (6) I Pet. 2:15; (7) I Pet. 2:12; Phil. 1:11; John 15:8; (8) Eph. 2:10; (9) Rom. 6:22

3. Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ.(1) And that they may be enabled thereunto, beside the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit to work in them to will, and to do, of his good pleasure:(2) yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.(3)

(1) John 15:4-6; Rom. 8:4-14; Ezek. 36:26-27; (2) Phil 2:13; Phil. 4:13; II Cor. 3:5; Eph. 3:16; (3) Phil. 2:12; Heb. 6:11-12; II Pet. 1:3, 5, 10-11; Isa. 64:7; II Tim. 1:6; Acts 26:6-7; Jude 20-21

4. They who, in their obedience, attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate, and to do more than God requires, as that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.(1)

(1) Luke 17;10; Neh. 13:22; Rom. 8:21-25; Gal. 5:17

5. We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom, by them, we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins,(1) but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants:(2) and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit;(3) and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God's judgment.(4)

(1) Rom. 3:20; Rom. 4:2, 4, 6; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7; Rom. 8:18, 22-24; Ps. 16:2; Job 22:2-3; Job 35:7-8; (2) Luke 17:10; (3) Rom. 8:13-14; Gal. 5:22-23; (4) Isa. 64:6; Gal. 5:17; Rom. 7:15, 18; Ps. 143:2; Ps. 130:3

6. Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him;(1) not as though they were in this life wholly unblameable and unreproveable in God's sight;(2) but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.(3)

(1) Eph. 1:6; I Pet. 2:5; see Exod. 28:38; Gen. 4:4; Heb. 11:4; (2) Job 9:20; Ps. 143:2; I John 1:8; (3) Heb. 13:20-21; II Cor. 8:12; Heb. 6:10; Matt. 25:21, 23; I Cor. 3:14; I Cor. 4:5

7. Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands; and of good use both to themselves and others:(1) yet, because they proceed not from an heart purified by faith;(2) nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word;(3) nor to a right end, the glory of God,(4) they are therefore sinful, and cannot please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God:(5) and yet, their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing unto God.(6)

(1) II Kings 10:30-31; I Kings 21:27, 29; Luke 6:32-34; Luke 18:2-7; see Rom. 13:4; (2) Heb. 11:4, 6; see Gen. 4:3-5; (3) I Cor. 13:3; Isa. 1:12; (4) Matt. 6:2, 5, 16; I Cor. 10:31; (5) Prov. 21:27; Hag. 2:14; Titus 1:15; Amos 5:21-22; Mark 7:6-7; Hos. 1:4; Rom. 9:16; Titus 3:5; (6) Ps. 14:4; Ps. 36:3; Matt. 25:41-45; Matt. 23:23; see Rom. 1:21-32

CHAPTER XVII: Of the Perseverance of the Saints

1. They, whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.(1)

(1) Phil 1:6; II Pet. 1:10; Rom. 8:28-30; John 10:28-29; I John 3:9; I John 5:18; I Pet. 1:5, 9

2. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father;(1) upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ,(2) the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them,(3) and the nature of the covenant of grace:(4) from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.(5)

(1) Ps. 89:3-4, 28-33; II Tim. 2:18-19; Jer. 31:3; (2) Heb. 10:10, 14; Heb. 13:20-21; Heb. 9:12-15; Rom. 8:33-39; John 17:11, 24; Luke 22:32; Heb. 7:25; (3) John 14:16-17; I John 2:27; I John 3:9; (4) Jer. 32:40; Ps. 89:34-37; see Jer. 31:31-34; (5) John 6:38-40; John 10:28; II Thess. 3:3; I John 2:19

3. Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins;(1) and, for a time, continue therein:(2) whereby they incur God's displeasure,(3) and grieve his Holy Spirit,(4) come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts,(5) have their hearts hardened,(6) and their consciences wounded;(7) hurt and scandalize others,(8) and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.(9)

(1) Exod. 32:21; Jonah 1:3, 10; Ps. 51:14; Matt. 26:70, 72, 74; (2) II Sam. 12:9, 13; Gal. 2:11-14; (3) Num. 20:12; II Sam. 11:27; Isa. 64:7, 9; (4) Eph. 4:40; (5) Ps. 51:8, 10, 12; Rev. 2:4; Matt. 26:75; (6) Isa. 63:17; (7) Ps. 32:3-4; Ps. 51:8; (8) Gen. 12:10-20; II Sam. 12:14; Gal. 2:13; (9) Ps. 89:31-32; I Cor. 11:32

CHAPTER XVIII: Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation

1. Although hypocrites and other unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God, and estate of salvation(1) (which hope of theirs shall perish):(2) yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before him, may, in this life, be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace,(3) and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.(4)

(1) Mic. 3:11; Deut. 29:19; John 8:41; (2) Amos 9:10; Matt. 7:22-23; (3) I John 5:13; I John 2:3; I John 3:14, 18-19, 21, 24; (4) Rom. 5:2, 5

2. This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion grounded upon a fallible hope;(1) but an infallible assurance of faith founded upon the divine truth of the promises of salvation,(2) the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made,(3) the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God,(4) which Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption.(5)

(1) Heb. 6:11, 19; (2) Heb. 6:17-18; (3) II Pet. 1:4-11; I John 2:3; I John 3:14; II Cor. 1:12; (4) Rom. 8:15-16; (5) Eph. 1:13-14; Eph. 4:30; II Cor. 1:21-22

3. This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties, before he be partaker of it:(1) yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto.(2) And therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure,(3) that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance;(4) so far is it from inclining men to looseness.(5)

(1) I John 5:13; (2) I Cor. 2:12; I John 4:13; Heb. 6:11-12; Eph. 3:17-18; (3) II Pet. 1:10; (4) Rom. 5:1-2, 5; Rom. 14:17; Rom. 15:13; Eph. 1:3-4; Ps. 4:6-7; Ps. 119:32; (5) I John 2:1-2; Rom. 6:1-2; Titus 2:11-12, 14; II Cor. 7:1; Rom. 8:1, 12; I John 3:2-3; Ps. 130:4; I John 1:6-7

4. True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin which woundeth the conscience and grieveth the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God's withdrawing the light of his countenance, and suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light:(1) yet are they never utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart, and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may, in due time, be revived;(2) and be the which, in the mean time, they are supported from utter despair.(3)

(1) Ps. 51:8, 12, 14; Eph. 4:30-31; Ps. 77:1-10; Ps. 31:22; cf. Matt. 26:69-72 and Luke 22:31-34; (2) I John 3:9; Luke 22:32; Ps. 51:8, 12; see Ps. 73:15; (3) Mic. 7:7-9; Jer. 32:40; Isa. 54:7-14; II Cor. 4:8-10

CHAPTER XIX: Of the Law of God

1. God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which he bound him and all his posterity, to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience, promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and ability to keep it.(1)

(1) Gen. 1:26-27; Gen. 2:17; Eph. 4:24; Rom. 2:14-15; Rom. 10:5; Rom. 5:12, 19; Gal. 3:10, 12; Ecc. 7:29

2. This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables:(1) the first four commandments containing our duty towards God; and the other six, our duty to man.(2)

(1) James 1:25; James 2:8, 10-12; Rom. 3:19; Rom. 13:8-9; Deut. 5:32; Deut. 10:4; Exod. 34:1; (2) Exod. 20:3-17; Matt. 22:37-40

3. Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits;(1) and partly, holding forth divers instructions of moral duties.(2) All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated, under the new testament.(3)

(1) Heb. 10:1; Gal. 4:1-3; Col. 2:17; Heb. 9:1-28; (2) Lev. 19:9-10, 19, 23, 27; Deut. 24:19-21; see I Cor. 5:7; II Cor. 6:17; Jude 23; (3) Col. 2:14, 16-17; Dan. 9:27; Eph. 2:15-16; Heb. 9:10; Acts 10:9-16; Acts 11:2-10

4. To them also, as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people; not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.(1)

(1) Exod. 21:1-23:19; cf. Gen. 49:10; with I Pet. 2:13-14; I Cor. 9:8-10

5. The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof;(1) and that, not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it.(2) Neither doth Christ, in the gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.(3)

(1) Rom. 13:8-10; Rom. 3:31; Rom. 7:25; I Cor. 9:21; Gal. 5:14; Eph. 6:2-3; I John 2:3-4, 7; cf. Rom. 3:20; Rom. 7:7-8 and I John 3:4 with Rom. 6:15; (2) Deut. 6:4-5; Exod. 20:11; Rom. 3:19; James 2:8, 10-11; Matt. 19:4-6; Gen. 17:1; (3) Matt. 5:17-19; Rom. 3:31; I Cor. 9:21; Luke 16: 17-18

6. Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified, or condemned;(1) yet is it of great use to them, as well as to others; in that, as a rule of life informing them of the will of God, and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly;(2) discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts, and lives;(3) so as, examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin,(4) together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of his obedience.(5) It is likewise of use to the regenerate, to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin:(6) and the threatenings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve; and what afflictions, in this life, they may expect for them, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law.(7) The promises of it, in like manner, show them God's approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof:(8) although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works.(9) So as, a man's doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourageth to the one, and deterreth from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law; and not under grace.(10)

(1) Rom. 6:14; Rom. 7:4; Gal. 2:16; Gal. 3:13; Gal. 4:4-5; Acts 13:38-39; Rom. 8:1, 33; (2) Rom. 7:12, 22, 25; Ps. 119:1-6; I Cor. 7:19; Gal. 5:14-23; (3) Rom. 7:7, 13; Rom. 3:20; (4) James 1:23-25; Rom. 7:9, 14, 24; (5) Gal. 3:24; Rom. 7:24-25; Rom. 8:3-4; (6) James 2:11-12; Ps. 119, 101, 104, 128; (7) Ezra 9:13-14; Ps. 89:30-34; Gal. 3:13; (8) Exod. 9:5-6; Deut. 5:33; Lev. 18:5; Matt. 19:17; Lev. 26:1-13; II Cor. 6:16; Eph. 6:2-3; Ps. 19:11; Ps. 37:11; Matt. 5:5; (9) Gal. 2:16; Luke 17:10; (10) Rom. 6:12-15; cf. I Pet. 3:8-12 with Ps. 34:12-16; Heb. 12:28-29

7. Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the gospel, but do sweetly comply with it;(1) the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely, and cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done.(2)

(1) Rom. 3:31; Gal. 3:21; Titus 2:11-14; (2) Ezek. 36:27; cf. Heb. 8:10 with Jer. 31:33; Ps. 119:35, 47; Rom. 7:22

CHAPTER XX: Of Christian Liberty, and Liberty of Conscience

1. The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the curse of the moral law;(1) and, in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin;(2) from the evil of afflictions, the sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation;(3) as also, in their free access to God,(4) and their yielding obedience unto him, not out of slavish fear, but a child-like love and willing mind.(5) All which were common also to believers under the law.(6) But, under the new testament, the liberty of Christians is further enlarged, in their freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law, to which the Jewish church was subjected;(7) and in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace,(8) and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of.(9)

(1) Titus 2:14; I Thess. 1:10; Gal. 3:13; (2) Gal. 1:4; Col. 1:13; Acts 26:18; Rom. 6:4; (3) Rom. 8:28; Ps. 119:71; II Cor. 4:15-18; I Cor. 15:54-57; Rom. 5:9; Rom. 8:1; see I Thess. 1:10 (4) Rom. 5:1-2; (5) Rom. 8:14-15; Gal. 4:6; I John 4:18; (6) Gal. 3:8-9, 14; Rom. 4:6-8; I Cor. 10:3-4; Heb. 11:1-40; (7) Gal. 4:1-7; Gal. 5:1; Acts 15:10-11; (8) Heb. 4:14-16; Heb. 10:19-22; (9) John 7:38-39; Acts 2:17-18; II Cor. 3:8, 13, 17-18; see Jer. 31:31-34

2. God alone is Lord of the conscience,(1) and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in any thing, contrary to his Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship.(2) So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience:(3) and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.(4)

(1) James 4:12; Rom. 14:4, 10; I Cor. 10:29; (2) Acts 4:19; Acts 5:29; I Cor. 7:22-23; Matt. 15:1-6; Matt. 23:8-10; II Cor. 1:24; Matt. 15:9; (3) Col. 2:20-23; Gal. 1:10; Gal. 2:4-5; Gal. 4:9-10; Gal. 5:1; (4) Rom. 10:17; Isa. 8:20; Acts 17:11; John 4:22; Rev. 13:12, 16-17; Jer. 8:9; I Pet. 3:15

3. They who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, do practise any sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby destroy the end of Christian liberty, which is, that being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.(1)

(1) Gal. 5:13; I Pet. 2:16; II Pet. 2:19; Rom. 6:15; John 8:34; Luke 1:74-75

4. And because the powers which God hath ordained, and the liberty which Christ hath purchased, are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another, they who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God.(1) And, for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or to the known principles of Christianity (whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation), or to the power of godliness; or, such erroneous opinions or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order which Christ hath established in the church, they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against by the censures of the church.(2)

(1) I Pet. 2:13-14, 16; Rom. 13:1-8; Heb. 13:17; I Thess. 5:12-13; (2) Rom. 1:32; I Cor. 5:1, 5, 11-13; II John 10-11; II Thess. 3:6, 14; I Tim. 6:3-4; Titus 1:10-11, 13-14; Titus 3:10; Rom. 16:17; Matt. 18:15-17; I Tim. 1:19-20; Rev. 2:2, 14-15, 20

Continued: Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day

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Make a ready defense with gentleness and reverence… A look at Systematic Theology (Mar)

Topical Index: Confessions

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