Page images
PDF
EPUB

ruin and perdition of themselves, although divers ways: the devil, by pride and arrogancy, whilst he would be like unto God; man, by ignorance and by craft of the devil deceived, and not by any imperfection on God's part in their creation, nor by any force, compulsion, or violence on God's part that compelled them to evil.

IV. For I believe God to be the Author of life and salvation, and ihe will of the devil and of man to be the occasion of both their loss.

V. I believe all the people of the world to be either the people of God, or the people of the devil. The people of God be those, that with heart and mind know, worship, honour, praise, and laud God after the doctrine of the Prophets and Apostles. The people of the devil be those that think they worship, honour, reverence, fear, laud, or praise God, any other ways besides or contrary to the doctrine of the

Prophets and Apostles. .: VI. I believe that the people of God, which be

the very true church of God, have a certain doctrine, that never was, is, or hereafter shall be, violated by time or any man's authority. This authority only and solely is comprehended in the sacred and holy Bible.

VII. And I believe this doctrine of the Patriarchs and Prophets to be sufficient and absolutely perfect

, to instruct me and all the holy church in our duties towards God and towards our neighbours. Of God it teacheth, that he is but one, almighty, Maker of all things, merciful, just, and every thing that good is. And seeing we know nothing of God, and can judge nothing of God, as touching our salvation, but after his word; we must judge of Him, as we be taught therein ; as well of his divine nature, as of the division of the Persons in the divine essence. So that we be compelled by the authority of God's word to confess the plurality of Persons, the Father, the

[ocr errors]

Son, and the Holy Ghost, in the unity of one divine
Godhead and essence.

VIII. I believe, as touching the Father of heaven, as much as holy Scripture teacheth us to believe, and is set forth in the first of the three Creeds, the Creed commonly called the Apostles' Creed, where we say,

IX. I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and so forth ; with all such things as the Creed of Nice believeth, and after the faith and Creed of Athanasius in this behalf.

X. I believe the second Person in Trinity to be one God with the Father in Godhead, and divers in person. I believe him to be the very substance, image, and figure of God, without beginning or ending, with all other properties and conditions, that the holy Scripture of God or the decree or doctrine of any of the three former Creeds affirm.

Xi. I believe that the mercy of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, pitied and had compassion upon Adam the lost man, and was provoked to ordain the Son of God, second Person in Trinity, to debase and humble himself unto the nature of man, and also to become inan, to redeem and save the lost man. For even as he was by eternal malice and craft of the devil brought to confusion, to sin, and so to death , both of body and soul, nothing having in himself as touching his first creation that provoked, stirred, enticed, or allured him to evil; even so, after his fall, was there nothing in him, or ever after could be in his posterity, that might or may allure to provoke him or any of his posterity to the means or help of his or their salvation. But even as he was lost by malice and deceit of the devil; so is he, and so shall all his posterity be, saved by the mercy and merits of Christ. The devil and Adam's will wrought sin and death: God's mercy and Christ's merits

5

wrought grace and life. The will of Eve and Adam straying and wandering abroad upon the fruit, an object and matter forbidden of God that they should not eat of, brought them unto death : Jesus Christ, the Seed of the woman, applying both body and soul to the obedience of God, deserved life: as it is in the Scriptures and in the second part of the common Creed,

XII. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, which was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate; he was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell, and the third day he arose again from death unto life, and ascended into heaven, and there sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. And from thence he shall come to judge both the quick and the dead.

I believe that by this means, and no other, the sins of believers be forgiven without the merits and deservings of Adam's posterity. By Adam sin came into the world, and by sin death ; even so, without all merits, respects, and worthiness of Adam, or of any of his posterity, by Jesus Christ came remission of sin and life everlasting. And even as I believe stedfastly, sin and death by this means to be overcome and destroyed, and everlasting life to follow it; so believe I the Son of God to be perfect God and man, according to the Scriptures: and do condemn the heresies of Arius and Marcion, with their accomplices and adherents, that wickedly believed the contrary. And as I confess and believe the means of our salvation to be only Christ, so I condemn the Pelagians and all such others, as believed and taught that they could by their own powers, strength, and will, work their own salvation ; which false opinion conculcateth, frustrateth, slandereth, condemneth, and blasphemeth all the deservings of Christ. There

fore the Pelagian is called worthily, “ the enemy of grace."

XIII. Farther, I believe that the grace of God, deserved by the passion of Christ, doth not only freely and without all merits of man, begin, teach, and provoke man to believe the promises of God, and 80 to begin to work the will of God: but I believe also all the works, merits, deservings, doings, and obedience of man towards God, although they be done by the Spirit of God, in the grace of God, yet being thus done, be of no validity, worthiness, or merit before God, except God by mercy and grace account them worthy, for the worthiness and merits of Jesus Christ that died under Pontius Pilate. So that I believe grace to be not only the beginner of all good works, but that all good works done by min in their greatest perfection, have need and want grace to pardon their imperfection.

XIV. I believe in the Holy Ghost, equally God with the Father and the Son, and proceeding from them both: by whose virtue, strength, and operation the catholic church is preserved froin all errors and false doctrines, and teacheth the communion of saints in all truth and verity: the which holy Spirit shall never forsake the holy church, which is Christ's mystical body.

XV. I believe that this holy Spirit worketh the remission of sin, resurrection of the flesh, and everlasting life according to the holy Scripture.

XVI. This is my faith and doctrine concerning the Godhead and diversity of Persons in the Holy Trinity, and also of the two natures in Christ, his God. head and manhood; abhorring and detesting the heresies of Samosatanus, Arius, Nestor, Eutyches, who were condemned by godly councils at Nice, Constantinople, Ephesus, Chalcedon, and others. I detest and abhor the Marcionite and Manichee, that feigneth

2

to be two gods, and both eternal, one good and the other evil, always at debate among themselves. I detest and abhor the monstrous doctrine of the Valentines, and so generally of all those that have denied to be any God, or would have many gods. Also all those I detest, that have erred and maintained their error in any thing concerning the essence of God, or denied the plurality of Persons, as of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

This is the faith of God's Spirit in my conscience, which I have learned in his word, and have faithfully and religiously preached, and taught the same in all iny sermons, as I will be judged by mine auditory. Also the same doctrine I have furthered and set forth in all my books and writings ; though some calumniators and slanderers would gladly make the poor people believe the contrary. But I'do decline and appeal from such uncharitable spirits unto the charitable reader and loving heart of all them that be endued with God's holy Spirit : for they will not constrain nor force letter, syllable, word, or sentence contrary to the mind of the speaker and writer, but will judge and search for judgment in the processes and circumstances of the writer, and content themselves with the writer's mind, rather than to bring their affection and corrupt minds to make their own imaginations and fancies another man's doctrine, as the Arian, Pelagian, Anabaptist, Papist, and others do and have done, bringing corrupt minds to the lesson and reading of Christ's Testament, and would that their false heresies and untrue imaginations should be Christ's doctrine.

Seeing both God's laws and man's laws suffer and give liberty to every man in a cause of religion to be interpeter of his own words, it were contrary to justice to put any man from it. For, if the author may not be interpreter of his own mind, what would

« PreviousContinue »