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The Westminster Confession of Faith

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CHAPTER XXI: Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day

1. The light of nature sheweth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and doth good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might.(1) But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.(2)

(1) Rom. 1:20; Ps. 19:1-4a; Ps. 50:6; Ps. 97:6; Ps. 145:9-12; Acts 14:17; Ps. 104:1-35; Ps. 86:8-10; Pa. 95:1-6; Ps. 89:5-7; Deut. 6:4-5; (2) Deut. 12:32; Matt. 15:9; Acts 17:23-25; Matt. 4:9-10; Deut. 4:15-20; Exod. 20:4-6; John 4:23-24; Col. 2:18-23; 2. Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to him alone;(3) not to angels, saints, or any other creature:(4) and, since the fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.(5); (3) John 5:23; Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14; Eph. 3:14; Rev. 5:11-14; Acts 10:25-26; (4) Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10; Rom. 1:25; (5) John 14:6; I Tim. 2:5; Eph. 2:18; Col 3:17

3. Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship,(1) is by God required of all men:(2) and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son,(3) by the help of his Spirit,(4) according to his will,(5) with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance;(6) and, if vocal, in a known tongue.(7)

(1) Phil. 4:6; I Tim. 2:1; Col. 4:2; (2) Ps. 65:2; Ps. 67:3; Ps. 96:7-8; Ps. 148:11-13; Isa. 55:6-7; (3) John 14:13-14; I Pet. 2:5; (4) Rom. 8:26; Eph. 6:18; (5) I John 5:14; (6) Ps. 47:7; Ecc. 5:1-2; Heb. 12:28; Gen. 18:27; James 5:16; James 1:6-7; Mark 11:24; Matt. 6:12, 14-15; Col. 4:2; Eph. 6:18; (7) I Cor. 14:14

4. Prayer is to be made for things lawful;(1) and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter:(2) but not for the dead,(3) nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.(4)

(1) I John 5:14, 16; John 15:7; (2) I Tim. 2:1-2; John 17:20; II Sam. 7:29; II Chron. 6:14-42; (3) Luke 16:25-26; Isa. 57:1-2; Ps. 73:24; II Cor. 5:8, 10; Phil. 1:21-24; Rev. 14:13; (4) I John 5:16

5. The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear,(1) the sound preaching(2) and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith and reverence,(3) singing of psalms with grace in the heart;(4) as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God:(5) beside religious oaths,(6) vows,(7) solemn fastings,(8) and thanksgivings upon special occasions,(9) which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.(10)

(1) Luke 4:16-17; Acts 15:21; Col. 4:16; I Thess. 5:27; Rev. 1:3; (2) II Tim. 4:2; Acts 5:42; (3) James 1:22; Acts 10:33; Matt. 13:19; Heb. 4:2; Isa. 66:2; (4) Col. 3:16: Eph. 5:19; James 5:13; I Cor. 14:15; (5) Matt. 28:19; I Cor. 11:23-29; Acts 2:42; (6) Deut. 6:13; Neh. 10:29; II Cor. 1:23; (7) Ps. 116:14; Isa. 19:21; Ecc. 5:4-5; (8) Joel 2:12; Esth. 4:16; Matt. 9:15; Acts 14:23; (9) Exod. 15:1-21; Ps. 107:1-43; Neh. 12:27-43; Est. 9:20-22; (10) Heb. 12:28

6. Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is now, under the gospel, either tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed:(1) but God is to be worshipped everywhere,(2) in spirit and truth;(3) as, in private families(4) daily,(5) and in secret, each one by himself;(6) so, more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly or willfully to be neglected, or forsaken, when God, by his Word or providence, calleth thereunto.(7)

(1) John 4:21; (2) Mal. 1:11; I Tim. 2:8; (3) John 4:23-24; (4) Jer. 10:25; Deut. 6:6-7; Job 1:5; II Sam. 6:18, 20; (5) Matt. 6:11; see Job 1:5; (6) Matt. 6:6, 16-18; Neh. 1:4-11; Dan. 9:3-4a; (7) Isa. 56:6-7; Heb. 10:25; Ps. 100:4; Ps. 122:1; Ps. 84:1-12; Luke 4:16; Acts 13:42, 44; Acts 2:42

7. As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in his Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven, for a sabbath, to be kept holy unto him:(1) which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week,(2) which, in Scripture, is called the Lord's day,(3) and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian sabbath.(4)

(1) Exod. 20:8-11; Isa. 56:2-7; (2) Gen. 2:2-3; I Cor. 16:1-2; Acts 20:7; (3) Rev. 1:10; (4) Matt. 5:17-18; Mark 2:27-28; Rom. 13:8-10; James 2:8-12

8. This sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations,(1) but also are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.(2)

(1) Exod. 20:8; Exod. 16:23-30; Exod. 31:15-17; Isa. 58:13-14; Neh. 13:15-22; (2) Isa. 58:13-14; Luke 4:16; Matt. 12:1-13; Mark 3:1-5

CHAPTER XXII: Of Lawful Oaths and Vows

1. A lawful oath is part of religious worship,(1) wherein, upon just occasion, the person swearing solemnly calleth God to witness what he asserteth, or promiseth, and to judge him according to the truth or falsehood of what he sweareth.(2)

(1) Deut. 10:20; Isa. 45:23; Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10-11; (2) Exod. 20:7; Lev. 19:12; Rom. 1:9; II Cor. 1:23; II Cor. 11:31; Gal. 1:20; II Chron. 6:22-23

2. The name of God only is that by which men ought to swear, and therein it is to be used with all holy fear and reverence.(1) Therefore, to swear vainly, or rashly, by that glorious and dreadful Name; or, to swear at all by any other thing, is sinful, and to be abhorred.(2) Yet, as in matters of weight and moment, an oath is warranted by the Word of God, under the new testament as well as under the old;(3) so a lawful oath, being imposed by lawful authority, in such matters, ought to be taken.(4)

(1) Deut. 6:13; Josh. 23:7; (2) Exod. 20:7; Jer. 5:7; Matt. 5:33-37; James 5:12; (3) Heb. 6:16; II Cor. 1:23; Isa. 65:16; (4) I Kings 8:31; Neh. 13:25; Ezra 10:5

3. Whosoever taketh an oath ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act, and therein to avouch nothing but what he is fully persuaded is the truth:(1) neither may any man bind himself by oath to anything but what is good and just, and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and resolved to perform.(2)

(1) Exod. 20:7; Lev. 19:12; Jer. 4:2; Hos. 10:4; (2) Gen. 24:2-9; Neh. 5:12-13; Ecc. 5:2, 5

4. An oath is to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation, or mental reservation.(1) It cannot oblige to sin; but in anything not sinful, being taken, it binds to performance, although to a man's own hurt.(2) Nor is it to be violated, although made to heretics, or infidels.(3)

(1) Jer. 4:2; Ps. 24:4; (2) I Sam. 25:22, 32-34; Ps. 15:4; (3) Ezek. 17:16-19; Josh. 9:18-19; II Sam. 21:1

5. A vow is of the like nature with a promissory oath, and ought to be made with the like religious care, and to be performed with the like faithfulness.(1)

(1) Num. 30:2; Isa. 19:21; Ecc. 5:4-6; Ps. 61:8; Ps. 66:13-14

6. It is not to be made to any creature, but to God alone:(1) and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made voluntarily, out of faith, and conscience of duty, in way of thankfulness for mercy received, or for the obtaining of what we want, whereby we more strictly bind ourselves to necessary duties: or, to other things, so far and so long as they may fitly conduce thereunto.(2)

(1) Ps. 50:14; Ps. 76:11; Ps. 116:14; (2) Deut. 23:21-23; Gen. 28:20-22; I Sam. 1:11; Ps. 66:13-14; Ps. 132:2-5

7. No man may vow to do anything forbidden in the Word of God, or what would hinder any duty therein commanded, or which is not in his own power, and for the performance whereof he hath no promise of ability from God.(1) In which respects, popish monastic vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself.(2)

(1) Acts 23:12-14; Mark 6:26; Num. 30:5, 8, 12-13; (2) Matt. 19:11-12; I Cor. 7:2, 9; Heb. 13:4; Eph. 4:28; I Thess. 4:11-12; I Cor. 7:23

CHAPTER XXIII: Of the Civil Magistrate

1. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be under him, over the people, for his own glory, and the public good: and, to this end, hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defense and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil doers.(1)

(1) Rom. 13:1-4; I Pet. 2:13-14

2. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate, when called thereunto:(1) in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth;(2) so, for that end, they may lawfully, now under the new testament, wage war, upon just and necessary occasion.(3)

(1) Gen. 41:39-43; Neh. 12:26; Neh. 13:15-31; Dan. 2:48-49; Prov. 8:15-16; Rom. 13:1-4; (2) Ps. 2:10-12; I Tim. 2:2; Ps. 82:3-4; II Sam. 23:3; I Pet. 2:13; (3) Luke 3:14; Rom. 13:4; Matt. 8:9-10; Acts 10:1-2

3. Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven;(1) or, in the least, interfere in matters of faith.(2) Yet, as nursing fathers, it is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the church of our common Lord, without giving the preference to any denomination of Christians above the rest, in such a manner that all ecclesiastical persons whatever shall enjoy the full, free, and unquestioned liberty of discharging every part of their sacred functions, without violence or danger.(3) And, as Jesus Christ hath appointed a regular government and discipline in his church, no law of any commonwealth should interfere with, let, or hinder, the due exercise thereof, among the voluntary members of any denomination of Christians, according to their own profession and belief.(4) It is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered, either upon pretence of religion or of infidelity, to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever: and to take order, that all religious and ecclesiastical assemblies be held without molestation or disturbance.(5)

(1) II Chron. 26:18; Matt. 18:17; Matt. 16:19; I Cor. 12:28-29; Eph. 4:11-12; I Cor. 4:1, 12; Rom. 10:15; Heb. 5:4; (2) John 18:36; Acts 5:29; Eph. 4:11-12; (3) Isa. 49:23; Rom. 13:1-6; (4) Ps. 105:15; (5) Rom. 13:4; I Tim. 2:2

4. It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates,(1) to honour their persons,(2) to pay them tribute or other dues,(3) to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience' sake.(4) Infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not make void the magistrates' just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to them:(5) from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted,(6) much less hath the pope any power and jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and, least of all, to deprive them of their dominions, or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretence whatsoever.(7)

(1) I Tim. 2:1-3; (2) I Pet. 2:17; (3) Matt. 22:21; Rom. 13:6-7; (4) Rom. 13:5; Titus 3:1; (5) I Pet. 2:13-16; (6) Rom. 13:1; Acts 25:9-11; II Pet. 2:1, 10-11; Jude 8-11; (7) Mark 10:42-44; Matt. 23:8-12; II Tim. 2:24; I Pet. 5:3

CHAPTER XXIV: Of Marriage and Divorce

1. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband, at the same time.(1)

(1) Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6; Rom. 7:3; Prov. 2:17

2. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife,(1) for the increase of mankind with legitimate issue, and of the church with an holy seed;(2) and for preventing of uncleanness.(3)

(1) Gen. 2:18; Eph. 5:28; I Pet. 3:7; (2) Gen. 1:28; Gen. 9:1; Mal. 2:15; (3) I Cor. 7:2, 9

3. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent.(1) Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord.(2) And therefore such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies.(3)

(1) Heb. 13:4; I Tim. 4:3; I Cor. 7:36-38; Gen. 24:57-58; (2) I Cor. 7:39; (3) Gen. 34:14; Exod. 34:16 see II Cor. 6:14; Deut. 7:3-4; I Kings 11:4; Neh. 13:25-27; Mal. 2:11-12

4. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden by the Word.(1) Nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife.(2)

(1) Lev. 18:6-17; 24-30; Lev. 20:19; I Cor. 5:1; Amos 2:7; (2) Mark 6:18; Lev. 18:24-28

5. Adultery or fornication committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract.(1) In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce.(2) and, after the divorce, to marry another, as if the offending party were dead.(3)

(1) Matt. 1:18-20; see Deut. 22:23-24; (2) Matt. 5:31-32; (3) Matt. 19:9; Rom. 7:2-3

6. Although the corruption of man be such as is apt to study arguments unduly to put asunder those whom God hath joined together in marriage: yet, nothing but adultery, or such willful desertion as can no way be remedied by the church, or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage:(1) wherein, a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the persons concerned in it not left to their own wills and discretion in their own case.(2)

(1) Matt. 19:8-9; I Cor. 7:15; Matt. 19:6; (2) Deut. 24:1-4

CHAPTER XXV: Of the Church

1. The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.(1)

(1) Eph. 1:10, 22-23; Eph. 5:23, 27, 32; Col. 1:18

2. The visible church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion;(1) and of their children:(2) and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,(3) the house and family of God,(4) out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.(5)

(1) I Cor. 1:2; I Cor. 12:12-13; Ps. 2:8; Rev. 7:9; Rom. 15:9-12; (2) I Cor. 7:14; Acts 2:39; Gen. 17:7-12; Ezek. 16:20-21; Rom. 11:16; see Gal. 3:7, 9, 14; Rom. 4:12, 16, 24; (3) Matt. 13:47; Isa. 9:7; Luke 1:32-33; Acts 2:30-36; Col. 1:13; (4) Eph. 2:19; Eph. 3:15; (5) Acts 2:47

3. Unto this catholic visible church Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and doth, by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.(1)

(1) I Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11-13; Matt. 28:19-20; Isa. 59:12

4. This catholic church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less visible.(1) And particular churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.(2)

(1) Rom. 11:3-5; Acts 9:31; Acts 2:41, 47; Acts 18:8-10; (2) Acts 2:41-42; I Cor. 5:6-7; Rev. chaps. 2 and 3

5. The purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error;(1) and some have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan.(2) Nevertheless, there shall be always a church on earth to worship God according to his will.(3)

(1) I Cor. 13:12; Rev. chaps. 2 and 3; Matt. 13:24-30, 47; (2) Matt. 23:37-39; Rom. 11:18-22; (3) Matt. 16:18; Ps. 45:16-17; Ps. 72:17; Matt. 28:19-20; I Cor. 15:51-52; I Thess. 4:17

6. There is no other head of the church but the Lord Jesus Christ.(1) Nor can the pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof.(2)

(1) Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22; (2) Matt. 23:8-10; I Pet. 5:2-4

CHAPTER XXVI: Of the Communion of Saints

1. All saints, that are united to Jesus Christ their head, by his Spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory:(1) and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other's gifts and graces,(2) and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.(3)

(1) I John 1:3; Eph. 3:16-18; John 1:16; Eph. 2:5-6; Phil. 3:10; Rom. 6:5-6; Rom. 8:17; II Tim. 2:12; (2) Eph. 4:15-16; I Cor. 12:7, 12; I Cor. 3:21-23; Col. 2:19; (3) I Thess. 5:11, 14; Rom. 1:11-12, 14; I John 3:16-18; Gal. 6:10

2. Saints by profession are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification;(1) as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necessities. Which communion, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who, in every place, call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.(2)

(1) Heb. 10:24-25; Acts 2:42, 46; Isa. 2:3; I Cor. 11:20; (2) I John 3:17; I Cor. chaps. 8 and 9; Acts 11:29-30; see Acts 2:44-45

3. This communion which the saints have with Christ, doth not make them in any wise partakers of the substance of his Godhead; or to be equal with Christ in any respect: either of which to affirm is impious and blasphemous.(1) Nor doth their communion one with another, as saints, take away, or infringe the title or propriety which each man hath in his goods and possessions.(2)

(1) Col. 1:18-19; I Cor. 8:6; Ps. 45:6-7; Heb. 1:6-9; John 1:14; John 20:17; (2) Exod. 20:15; Eph. 4:28; Acts 5:4

CHAPTER XXVII: Of the Sacraments

1. Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace,(1) immediately instituted by God,(2) to represent Christ and his benefits; and to confirm our interest in him:(3) as also, to put a visible difference between those that belong unto the church and the rest of the world;(4) and solemnly to engage them to the service of God in Christ, according to his Word.(5)

(1) Rom. 4:11; Gen. 17:7, 10-11; (2) Matt. 28:19; I Cor. 11:23; (3) Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12; I Cor. 10:16; I Cor. 11:25-26; Gal. 3:27; (4) Exod. 12:48; Gen. 34:14; I Cor. 10:21; (5) Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:27; I Pet. 3:21; I Cor. 10:16; see I Cor. 5:7-8

2. There is, in every sacrament, a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified: whence it comes to pass, that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other.(6)

(1) Gen. 17:10; Matt. 26:27-28; I Cor. 10:16-18

3. The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither doth the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that doth administer it:(1) but upon the work of the Spirit,(2) and the word of institution, which contains, together with a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers.(3)

(1) Rom. 2:28-29; I Pet. 3:21; (2) I Cor. 12:13; (3) Matt. 26:26-28; Luke 22:19-20; Matt. 28:19-20; I Cor. 11:26

4. There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the gospel; that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord: neither of which may be dispensed by any, but by a minister of the Word lawfully ordained.(1)

(1) Matt. 28:19; I Cor. 11:20, 23; I Cor. 4:1; Eph. 4:11-12

5. The sacraments of the old testament in regard of the spiritual things thereby signified and exhibited, were, for substance, the same with those of the new.(1)

(1) I Cor. 10:1-4; Rom. 4:11; Col. 2:11-12


1. Baptism is a sacrament of the new testament, ordained by Jesus Christ,(1) not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible church;(2) but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace,(3) of his ingrafting into Christ,(4) of regeneration,(5) of remission of sins,(6) and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life.(7) Which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in his church until the end of the world.(8)

(1) Matt. 28:19; (2) I Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27-28; (3) Rom. 4:11; Col. 2:11-12; (4) Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:5; (5) John 3:5; Titus 3:5; (6) Mark 1:4; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; (7) Rom. 6:3-4; (8) Matt. 28:19-20

2. The outward element to be used in this sacrament is water, wherewith the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a minister of the gospel, lawfully called thereunto.(1)

(1) Acts 10:47; Acts 8:36, 38; Matt. 28:19

3. Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but Baptism is rightly administered by pouring, or sprinkling water upon the person.(1)

(1) Heb. 9:10, 13, 19, 21; Mark 7:2-4; Luke 11:38

4. Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ,(1) but also the infants of one, or both, believing parents, are to be baptized.(2)

(1) Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12-13; Acts 16:14-15; (2) Gen. 17:7-14; Gal. 3:9, 14; Col. 2:11-12; Acts 2:38-39; Rom. 4:11-12; Matt. 19:13; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17; Matt. 28:19; I Cor. 7:14

5. Although it be a great sin to condemn or neglect this ordinance,(1) yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated, or saved, without it:(2) or, that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.(3)

(1) Gen. 17:14; Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38; see Luke 7:30; (2) Rom. 4:11; Acts 10:2, 4, 22, 31, 45, 47; (3) Acts 8:13, 23

6. The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered;(1) yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in his appointed time.(2)

(1) John 3:5, 8; (2) Rom. 6:3-6; Gal. 3:27; I Pet. 3:21; Acts 2:38, 41

7. The sacrament of Baptism is but once to be administered unto any person.(1)

(1) Rom. 6:3-11

CHAPTER XXIX: Of the Lord's Supper

1. Our Lord Jesus, in the night wherein he was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of his body and blood, called the Lord's Supper, to be observed in his church, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of himself in his death; the sealing all benefits thereof unto true believers, their spiritual nourishment and growth in him, their further engagement in and to all duties which they owe unto him; and, to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other, as members of his mystical body.(1)

(1) I Cor. 11:23-26; I Cor. 10:16-17, 21; I Cor. 12:13

2. In this sacrament, Christ is not offered up to his Father; nor any real sacrifice made at all, for remission of sins of the quick or dead;(1) but only a commemoration of that one offering up of himself, by himself, upon the cross, once for all: and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God, for the same:(2) so that the popish sacrifice of the mass (as they call it) is most abominably injurious to Christ's one, only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of his elect.(3)

(1) Heb. 9:22, 25-26, 28; Heb. 10:10-14; (2) I Cor. 11:24-26; Matt. 26:26-27; Luke 22:19-20; (3) Heb. 7:23-24, 27; Heb. 10:11-12, 14, 18

3. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to declare his word of institution to the people; to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to an holy use; and to take and break the bread, to take the cup, and (they communicating also themselves) to give both to the communicants;(1) but to none who are not then present in the congregation.(2)

(1) Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; I Cor. 10:16-17; I Cor. 11:23-27; (2) Acts 20:7; I Cor. 11:20

4. Private masses, or receiving this sacrament by a priest, or any other alone;(1) as likewise, the denial of the cup to the people,(2) worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about, for adoration, and the reserving them for any pretended religious use; are all contrary to the nature of this sacrament, and to the institution of Christ.(3)

(1) I Cor. 10:16; (2) Matt. 26:27-28; Mark 14:23; I Cor. 11:25-29; (3) Matt. 15:9

5. The outward elements in this sacrament, duly set apart to the uses ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that, truly, yet sacramentally only, they are sometimes called by the name of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ;(1) albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they were before.(2)

(1) Matt. 26:26-28; (2) I Cor. 11:26-28; Matt. 26:29

6. That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ's body and blood commonly called transubstantiation by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant, not to Scripture alone, but even to common sense, and reason; overthroweth the nature of the sacrament, and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions; yea, of gross idolatries.(1)

(1) Acts 3:21; I Cor. 11:24-26; Luke 24:6, 39

7. Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements, in this sacrament,(1) do then also, inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally but spiritually, receive, and feed upon, Christ crucified, and all benefits of his death: the body and blood of Christ being then, not corporally or carnally, in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet, as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.(2)

(1) I Cor. 11:28; (2) I Cor. 10:16; see I Cor. 10:3-4

8. Although ignorant and wicked men receive the outward elements in this sacrament; yet, they receive not the thing signified thereby; but, by their unworthy coming thereunto, are guilty of the body of the Lord, to their own damnation. Wherefore, all ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with him, so are they unworthy of the Lord's table; and cannot, without great sin against Christ, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries,(1) or be admitted thereunto.(2)

(1) I Cor. 11:27-29; II Cor. 6:14-16; I Cor. 10:21; (2) I Cor. 5:6-7, 13; II Thess. 3:6, 14-15; Matt. 7:6

CHAPTER XXX: Of Church Censures

1. The Lord Jesus, as king and head of his church, hath therein appointed a government, in the hand of church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate.(1)

(1) Isa. 9:6-7; Col. 1:18; I Tim. 5:17; I Thess. 5:12; Acts 20:17, 28; Heb. 13:7, 17, 24; Eph. 4:11-12; I Cor. 12:28; Matt. 28:18-20; John 18:36

2. To these officers the keys of the kingdom of heaven are committed; by virtue whereof, they have power, respectively, to retain, and remit sins; to shut that kingdom against the impenitent, both by the Word, and censures; and to open it unto penitent sinners, by the ministry of the gospel; and by absolution from censures, as occasion shall require.(1)

(1) Matt. 16:19; Matt. 18:17-18; John 20:21-23; II Cor. 2:6-8

3. Church censures are necessary, for the reclaiming and gaining of offending brethren, for deterring of others from the like offenses, for purging out of that leaven which might infect the whole lump, for vindicating the honour of Christ, and the holy profession of the gospel, and for preventing the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the church, if they should suffer his covenant, and the seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders.(1)

(1) I Cor. 5:1-13; I Tim. 5:20; Matt. 7:6; I Tim. 1:20; I Cor. 11:27-34; Jude 23

4. For the better attaining of these ends, the officers of the church are to proceed by admonition, suspension from the sacrament of the Lord's Supper for a season; and by excommunication from the church, according to the nature of the crime, and demerit of the person.(1)

(1) I Thess. 5:12; II Thess. 3:6, 14-15; I Cor. 5:4-5, 13; Matt. 18:17; Titus 3:10

CHAPTER XXXI: Of Synods and Councils

1. For the better government, and further edification of the church, there ought to be such assemblies as are commonly called synods or councils;(1) and it belongeth to the overseers and other rulers of the particular churches, by virtue of their office, and the power which Christ hath given them for edification and not for destruction, to appoint such assemblies;(2) and to convene together in them, as often as they shall judge it expedient for the good of the church.(3)

(1) Acts 15:2, 4, 6; (2) Acts 15:1-35; (3) Acts 15:1-35; 20:17

2. It belongeth to synods and councils, ministerially to determine controversies of faith, and cases of conscience; to set down rules and directions for the better ordering of the public worship of God, and government of his church; to receive complaints in cases of maladministration, and authoritatively to determine the same: which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the Word of God, are to be received with reverence and submission; not only for their agreement with the Word, but also for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of God appointed thereunto in his Word.(1)

(1) Acts 15:15, 19, 24, 27-31; Acts 16:4; Matt. 18:17-20

3. All synods or councils, since the apostles' times, whether general or particular, may err; and many have erred. Therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith, or practice; but to be used as a help in both.(1)

(1) Eph. 2:20; Acts 17:11; I Cor. 2:5; II Cor. 1:24; cf. Isa. 8:19-20; Matt. 15:9

4. Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.(1)

(1) Luke 12:13-14; John 18:36; Matt. 22:21

CHAPTER XXXII: Of the State of Men after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead

1. The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption:(1) but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them:(2) the souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God, in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies.(3) And the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day.(4) Beside these two places, for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.

(1) Gen. 3:19; Acts 13:36; (2) Luke 23:43; Ecc. 12:7; (3) Heb. 12:23; II Cor. 5:1, 6, 8; Phil 1:23; Acts 3:21; Eph. 4:10; Rom. 8:23; (4) Luke 16:23-24; Acts 1:25; Jude 6-7; I Pet. 3:19

2. At the last day, such as are found alive shall not die, but be changed:(1) and all the dead shall be raised up, with the self-same bodies, and none other (although with different qualities), which shall be united again to their souls forever.(2)

(1) I Thess. 4:17; I Cor. 15:51-52; (2) John 5:25-29; Acts 24:15; Job 19:26-27; Dan. 12:2; I Cor. 15:42-44

3. The bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonour: the bodies of the just, by his Spirit, unto honour; and be made conformable to his own glorious body.(1)

(1) Acts 24:15; John 5:25-29; I Cor. 15:43; Phil. 3:21

CHAPTER XXXIII: Of the Last Judgment

1. God hath appointed a day, wherein he will judge the world, in righteousness, by Jesus Christ,(1) to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father.(2) In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged,(3) but likewise all persons that have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.(4)

(1) Acts 17:31; (2) John 5:22, 27; (3) Jude 6; II Pet. 2:4; (4) II Cor. 5:10; Ecc. 12:14; Rom. 2:16; Rom. 14:10, 12; Matt. 12:36-37

2. The end of God's appointing this day is for the manifestation of the glory of his mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of his justice, in the damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient. For then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fullness of joy and refreshing, which shall come from the presence of the Lord: but the wicked, who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.(1)

(1) Matt. 25:31-46; Rom. 2:5-6; Rom. 9:22-23; Matt. 25:21; Acts 3:19; II Thess. 1:7-10

3. As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin; and for the greater consolation of the godly in their adversity:(1) so will he have that day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come; and may be ever prepared to say, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen.(2)

(1) II Pet. 3:11, 14; II Cor. 5:10-11; II Thess. 1:5-7; Luke 21:27-28; Rom. 8:23-25; (2) Matt. 24:36, 42-44; Mark 13:35-37; Luke 12:35-36; Rev. 22:20

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