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is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.m Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the word; and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the word, which are always to be observed.o
VII. All things in scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all ;P yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the un
VI. m 2 Tim. i. 15 to 17. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Gal. i. 8, 9. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be ac cursed. As we said before, so say I now again; If any man preach any other gospel unto you, than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 2 Thess. ii. 2. That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
n John vi. 45. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 1 Cor. ii. 9 to 12. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man, which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
o 1 Cor. xi. 13, 14. Judge in yourselves; is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncc ered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 1 Cor. xiv. 26, 40. How is it then, brethren, when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation? Let all things be done unto edifying. Let all things be done decently and in order.
VII. p 2 Pet. iii. 16. As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of
learned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.4
VIII. The Old-Testament in Hebrew, (which was the native language of the people of God of old,) and the New Testament in Greek, (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations,) being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical ;r so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally o appeal unto them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that the word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable
these things, in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures unto their own destruction.
Psal. cxix. 105, 130. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. The entrance of thy words giveth light, it giveth understanding unto the simple.
VIII. r Mat. v. 18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
s Isa. viii. 20. To the law, and to the testimony: If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Acts xv. 15. And to this agree the words of the prophets, as it is written. John v. 39, 46. Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
t John v. 39. Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.
v1 Cor. xiv. 6, 9, 11, 12, 24, 27, 28. Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? So likewise you, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken ? for ye shall speak into the air. Therefore, if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a Barbarian; and he that speaketh shall be a Barbarian unto me. Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all. If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
manner, and, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, may have hope.x
IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of scripture, is the scripture itself; and, therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture (which is not manifold, but one) it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.y
X. The supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest; can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the scripture.
20 Col. iii. 16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
x Rom. xv. 4. For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning; that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
IX. y 2 Pet. i. 20, 21. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Acts xv. 15, 16. And to this agree the words of the prophets, as it is written. After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down, and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up.
X. z Mat. xxii. 29, 31. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God? Eph. ii. 20. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. With Acts xxviii. 25. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our
OF GOD, AND OF THE HOLY TRINITY.
THERE is but one only, a living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection ; a most pure spirit,d invi sible,e without body, parts,f or passions ; immutable, im
I. a Deut. vi. 4. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. 1 Cor. viii. 4, 6. As concerning, therefore, the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
b 1 Thess. i. 9. For they themselves shew of us, what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God. Jer. x. 10. But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting King.
c Job xi. 7, 8, 9. Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. Job xxvi. 14. Lo, these are parts of his ways, but how little a portion is heard of him?, but the thunder of his power who can understand? d John iv. 24. God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth.
e 1 Tim. i. 17. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
f Deut. iv. 15, 16. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves, (for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire.) Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female. John iv. 24. God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth. With Luke xxiv. 39. Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I my. self: handle me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
g Acts xiv. 11, 15. And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lift up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia. The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And saying, Sirs, why do you these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you, that ye should turn from these vanities unto the fiving God, which made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein.
h James i. 17. Every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Mal. iii. 6. For I am the Lord, I change not: therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
mense,i eternal,k incomprehensible, Almighty ;m most wise, most holy," most free,P most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory;s most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin; the re
1 Kings viii. 27. But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven, and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee, how much less this house that I have builded? Jer. xxiii. 23, 24. Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him? saith the Lord: do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.
k Psal. xc. 2. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. 1 Tim. i. 17. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
7 Psal. cxlv. 3. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
m Gen. xvii. 1. And when Abraham was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abraham, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God: walk before me, and be thou perfect. Rev. iv. 8. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him, and they were full of eyes within, and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
n Rom. xvi. 27. To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ, for ever. Amen.
o Isa. vi. 3. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory. Rev. iv. 8. (See letter m immediately foregoing.)
p Psal. cxv. 3. But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he pleaseth.
q Exod. iii. 14. And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: And he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
r Eph. i. 11. In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him, who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.
s Prov. xvi. 4. The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Rom. xi. 36. For of him, and through him, and to him are all things; to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
t 1 John iv. 8, 16. He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.
v Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.