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conceited, and contradict their superiors: whoever attempts to do this is a heretic, and deserves the stake: therefore they choose not that the scripture should be translated into the vulgar language of the people, and they enjoin that the public service of the church should be performed only in a foreign language: the people have enough to do with hearing masses, counting and muttering a great number of prayers to God, abstaining from particular meats during certain seasons, shriving all their sins, and performing well and carefully the penances imposed upon them by the priest to whom they have shriven: men must by all means establish their own righteousness, and merit heaven by their good works in that Romish communion : they make indeed a great noise and ado about the name Jesus, they must bow themselves when they hear it mentioned, they must mention it often, it must be engraven by all means in churches, in houses, upon walls, yea, upon dishes; but what doth Jesus do for all this honour? he obtains for them that their good works can merit. In this manner do they keep the people who know little or nothing, in bondage and slavery, so that they submit themselves readily to those Romish lords, without even muttering against them. But this sovereign authority and power cannot be maintained without money. What do they do? They introduce shriving to the priest, they sell spiritual offices, indulgences, masses for souls, and require satisfaction of men in their own persons in and after this life, which can be considerably moderated with money: indeed, all things are saleable at Rome, even whoredom; by which means those great merchants become excedingly rich, and maintain themselves. Must thou not therefore, observing reader, judge that the Romish lordship and not the word of God is the principle from which all the Popish doctrines and institutions are derived? If the Romish synagogue could find Lerself in the word of God, would she sport in this manner with the souls, with the bodies, with the goods of men, with the faith and with the word of God? We may see how little these men regard the book of God as their rule by the reproaches, which they belch out against it; for they say that it is an imperfect, dark, and double meaning book. I have no inclination to repeat all the reproachful expressions which many of the leaders of the Romanists have vomited out against this book. It will suffice us to see, that the Papists perceive that they are condemned by the word, and that they therefore hate it as adversaries of the light.

Hath the Lord uow a true church on the earth, as he certainly hath, and as every one steadfastly believes, and is she not to be found among those who are without us, she must then surely be found with

us. Nor is our boasting vain; for why do we teach the abominable. and guilty depravity and impotency of the sinner? why do we be lieve in the Triune God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier? why do we hold that the only begotten and proper Son of God took upon himself a true human nature, continuing one person, and that he truly and fully satisfied the justice of God by his sufferings? whence is it, that we confess a divine, effectual and heart changing grace, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, is not the word of God the only book that prescribes and enforceth these things? the book of God is our only principle; from that alone have we derived all our doctrines; by that we will be tried, and to that book alone do we subinit our whole doctrine. If we err, we must err, because we exalt the holy book of God too high, and humble the sinner too low by it, that we commend the grace of God too much, and thus comfort the delivered sinner too much, and excite him too powerfully to holiness. and to glorify God. O happy and blessed error ! by which, sinking down in our own sinful nothingness, and swallowed up in the sea of God's all sufficient grace, we lose ourselves altogether in his honour, that we may be nothing at all, and he alone may be all in all to eternity.

If we will not be enthusiasts, who teach indifferently whatever occurs to their minds, (as they pretend) through the Spirit, without above and contrary to the word of God, we need not, however, be natural men, who have not the Spirit, as if we would banish the Spirit out of the church. For we know very well from the word of God that "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; that they are foolishness to him, and that he cannot know them, because they are spiritually discerned," 1 Cor. ii. 14. We teach a saving, effectual enlightening, regeneration, repentance, faith, sanctification, consolation, leading and preservation by the Holy Spirit. But we deny that the Holy Spirit takes the word out of our hands, when he leads us: for he influenceth the minds of those whom he favours with, and according to his word: with, by and in subservience to the word he enlightens and persuades the understanding, so that it contemplates the mysteries of God with a persuasion of mind: "we see the light in God's light," Psalm xxxvi. 9. "He shines into the heart to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," 2 Cor. iv. 6. and thus "the gospel comes not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance," 1 Thess. i. 5. so that "we receive the word preached, not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, as the word of God; which effectually worketh in them that believe," 1 Thess. ii. 13.

Whereby the will is also sweetly and heartily persuaded, and thus powerfully moved by the Spirit to cleave to the Lord, and to fulfill his will, in obedience to him. See Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27.. Yea, the believer "is changed by the Spirit after the glory of Christ," which is exhibited by the word, 2 Cor. iii. 18. And he is " made free by knowing the truth," John viii. 32.

When we will not allow reason a higher authority than the word, or an equal authority with the word, nor say that free will consists in indifference, but that it is in bondage to sin, and a servant of it, do we then deny our reason and will, and declare our reason and will to be useless? By no means. We think that we cannot apprehend the divine mysteries, except by, and with our reason, and that we cannot be converted and wrought upon, unless with our will. But we say that reason hath not an equal authority with the word of God, much less a higher authority than the word, obliging us to believe it: yea, that reason, as it exists at present in every sinner without the actual enlightening of the Holy Spirit, is dark, foolish, and confused: see 1 Cor. ii. 14, and that the will is "a will of the flesh, and of the mind," Eph. ii. 3. yea, that it neither can, nor will, nor can be willing to love that which is good in a saving manner, nor convert itself: although the sinner, in consequence of his reasonable nature, always remains capable of conversion, and when God converts him, is wrought upon in a reasonable manner, his understanding and reason are enlightened, and he thereby becomes capable of apprehending spiritual things with his reason, according to the measure of their revelation; and he thus becomes willing, when he was before unwilling, and cries of his own accord, uncompelled, and willingly to the Lord, "Turn thou me, and I shall be turned," Jer. xxxi. 18. for "God takes the stony heart from him and gives him a heart of flesh," Ezek. xxxvi. 26.

As we do not deny the efficacious working of the Holy Spirit, although we are not enthusiasts; nor that men possess reason and a will, though we are not Pelagians; so also we will not deny that the Lord hath given a certain power to his church, and ordered that she should be governed by overseers, although we will not submit to the Popish yoke, because it is too Antichristian. We know that we ought to " acknowledge them who labour in the church, are over her in the Lord, and admonish her; and that we ought to esteem them very highly in love for their works sake," 1 Thess. v. 12, 13. See also Matt. xvi. 19. xviii. 17, 18, 2 Cor. x. 8. xiii. 10. Heb. xiii. 17. and what we have said on the thirty first Lords day. But this power is only ministerial, and not superior to the word, much less contrary

to it, taking it from the members of the church, and rendering it useless to them. This power must be merely subservient to the word, subduing, and rendering the mind of every person obedient to it. See 2 Cor. x. 4, 5, 6. But we ought not, in matters of faith, to "call any man our master or father, because Christ only is a master, and God only a father" in this respect, Matt. xxiii. 8, 9, 10.

And therefore we think that we may, without any offence, esteem the Reformed or Protestant church to be the true church, and her doctrine to be pure, according to, and on account of the word of God.

The other matter, reader, which so greatly concerns thee and every other person, is, that it behooves thee to inquire whether thou art in a state of grace, a child of God, the property of Christ, a temple of the Holy Ghost, and so a true member of the church of God. It will not suffice to render thee eternally happy here and hereafter, that thou conversest in the true church, as an outward member, and that thy name is enrolled in the register of the church: many such "children of the kingdom shall be cast into utter darkness," Matt. viii. 12. We may be in the true church, and be without grace. See Matt. xxii. 11, 14. There is chaff as well as wheat in the threshingfloor of the church. There are vessels of dishonour, as well as of honour in the house of God. There are more evil than good hearers of the word. There were many in the church of Sardis, who were dead, while they had the name, that they were alive, and there were but few, who had not defiled their garments. In the family of Noah there was also a wicked Ham, and in that of Abraham there was an Ishmael: Esau was a son of Isaac and Rebekah, as well as Jacob. The carnal Israelites ate and drank also of the spiritual meat and drink, 1 Cor. x. 1, 5. Among the companions of Jesus there were some who forsook him, and Judas, one of the apostles, was a devil, John vi. 66, 70, 71. It is no sign that a person is in a good state, when he enjoys the outward privileges of the church. See Luke xiii. 24, 27. Although thou wert a teacher of the church, thine office would not make thee a christian inwardly, nor preserve thee from perdition. See Matt. vii. 22, 23. A person may "be enlightened, taste the heavenly gift, be made a partaker of the Holy Ghost, taste the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come," and nevertheless be destitute of those "better things which accompany salvation, and so fall away," Heb. iv. 4, 9. Therefore inquire with concern how it is with thee in this respect, whether thou be a christian in the letter, or in the spirit: whether thy work be in appearance only, or or in truth; whether the root of the matter be in thee, or not. God desireth truth in the inward parts: thou

hast the greatest concern in this affair; it is a matter, upon which thy salvation and damnation depends. Therefore "examine thyself" again and again, "whether thou be in the faith, prove thine ownself," 2 Cor. xiii. 5. Zeph. ii. 1, 2. Dost thou obtain the Spirit, who causeth thee to know the things which are freely given thee of God, rejoice, thank him, and conduct thyself worthy of his wonderful and free grace, and endeavour to render others partakers of it, and to allure them to communion with God, and comfort his peo ple with the consolation, where with God hath comforted thee. Dost thou perceive that thou art yet destitute of the essentials of Christianity, give thyself no rest, but earnestly endeavour to partake of the Redeemer Christ entirely, and to become his property.

These two important matters are also seriously urged by the Heidelberg catechism. For in the first place it forbids us to teach and believe any thing, which the gospel doth not teach us, and which God hath not revealed to us in his word. See questions 19, 21, 22. It instructs us in the great mystery of the divine Trinity, and the blessed dispensation of the Triune God, only because God hath revealed himself thus in his word, questions 24, 25. When it treats of the nature, kind, and efficacy of the sacraments, it appeals only to the word of God, Questions 71, 77, and it humbleth the sinner to the lowest degree according to that word: it exalts the grace of God to the highest, in order to comfort and quiet the humbled sinner in a clear and effectual manner, and upon certain grounds: and it urges in the most forcible manner the delivered sinner to a holy gratitude, and to glorify the infinitely gracious God. On the other hand it shows for examination how a person, who becomes the entire property of Christ, and therefore a partaker of the only comfort and the supreme good, is led and influenced by God, and how one, who is destitute of this, may attain to it by humiliation, a true faith in the only and perfect Saviour, and an evangelical holiness, and gratitude. We have endeavoured to follow our instructor in this path, when


we have frequently shown from the doctrines which we have explained according to the word of God, both the falsehood of the doctrine of our adversaries, and the purity and truth of the doctrine of our reformed church. After treating of an important benefit, we have shown by certain marks, which are found in every believer, and in believers only, who are the real partakers of such a great benefit. We conceive indeed that no man can improve a benefit to his spiritual advantage and comfort, unless he be conscious, that he hath an indisputable right to that benefit: and that even the favourites of God are often exceedingly uncertain, perplexed, and doubtful whether


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