III. Of the written word of God.
We confess that this word of God was not sent, nor delivered bv the will
of man, but that holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,
as the apostle Peter saith. And that afterwards God, from a special care,
which he has for us and our salvation, commanded his servants, the
prophets and apostles, to commit his revealed word to writing; and he himself
wrote with his own finger, the two tables of the law. Therefore we
call such writings holy and divine Scriptures.
IV. Canonical books of the holy Scriptures.
We believe that the holy scriptures are contained in two books, namely, the
old and new testament, which are canonical, against which nothing can be
alleged. These are thus named in the church of God. The books of the old
testament are, the five books of Moses, viz. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; the book of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, two books of Samuel,
and two of the Kings; two books of the Chronicles, commonly called Paralipomenon, the first of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, the Psalms of David, the
three books of Solomon, namely, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song
of Songs; the four great prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel; and
the twelve lesser prophets, namely, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum,
Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
Those of the new testament are the four evangelists; viz. Matthew, Mark,
Luke, and John; the Acts of the Apostles; the fourteen epistles of the apostle
Paul; viz. one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians,
one to the Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colosslans, two to the
Thessalonians, two to Timothy, one to Titus, one to Philemon, and one to
the Hebrews: the seven epistles of the other apostles, namely, one of James,
two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude; and the revelations of the apostle John.
V. From whence do the Holy Scriptures derive their dignity and authority.
We receive all these books, and these only, as holy and canonical, for the
regulation, foundation, and confirmation of our faith; believing without any
doubt, all things contained in them, not so much because the church receives
and approves them as such, but more especially because the Holy Ghost
witnesseth in our hearts, that they are from God, whereof they carry the
evidence in themselves, for the very blind are able to perceive that the
things foretold in thcni are fulfilling.
VI. The difference between the canonical and apocryphical booka.
We distinguish those sacred booka from the apocryphical; viz. the third
and fourth book of Esdras, the books of Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Jesus Syrach,
Baruch, the appendix to the book of Esther, the Song of the three
Children in the Furnace, the history of Susannah, of Bell and the Dragon,
the prayer of Manasses, and the two books of Maccabees. All which the
church may read and take instruction from, so far as they agree with the
canonical books; but they are far from having such power and efficacy,
as that we may from their testimony confirm any ;oint of faith, or of the
christian religion; much less detract from the authority of the other sacred books.
VII. The sufficiency of the holy scriptures, to be the only rule of faith.
We believe that those holy scriptures fully contain the will of God, and
that, whatsoever man ought to believe, unto salvation, is sufficiently taught
therein. For since the whole manner of worship, winch God requires of us,
is written in them at large, it is unlawful for any one, though an apostle, to
teach otherwise, than we are now taught in the holy scriptures: Nay, though
it were an angel from heaven, as the npostle Paul saith. For, since it is forbidden,
to add unto it take away any thing from the word of Godl,
it doth thereby evidently appear, that the doctrine thereof is most perfect and complete
in all respects. Neither may we compare any writings of men, though ever
so holy, with those divine scriptures, nor ought we to compare custom, or
the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times or persons, or councils,
decrees or statutes, with the truth of God, for the truth is above all;
for all men are of themselves liars, and more vain than vanity itself: Therefore,
we reject, with all our hearts, whatsoever doth not agree with this infallible rule,
which the apostles have taught us, saying, try the spirits whether they are of God.
Likewise, if there come any unto you, and bring not this
doctrine, receive him not into your house.
VIII. That God is one in essence,
yet nevertheless distinguished in
According to this truth and this word of God, we believe in one only God,
who is one single essence, in which are three persons, really, truly, and eternally distinct,
according to their incommunicable properties; namely, the
Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The Father is the cause, origin
and beginning of all things, visible and invisible; the Son is the word, wisdom,
and image of the Father; the Holy Ghost is the eternal power and
might, proceeding from the Father and the Son. Nevertheless God is not
by this distinction divided into three, since the holy scriptures teach us, that
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost have each his personality, distinguished
by their properties; but in such wise that these three persons
are but one only God. Hence then, it is evident, that the Father is not the
Son, nor the Son the Father, and likewise the Holy Ghost is neither the Father
nor the Son. Nevertheless these persons thus distinguished are not divided,
nor intermixed: For the Father hath not assumed the flesh, nor hath
the Holy Ghost, but the Son only. The Father hath never been without
his Son, or without his Holy Ghost. For they are all three co-eternal and
co-essential. There is neither first nor last: for they are all three one, in
truth, in power, in goodness, and in mercy.
IX. The proof of the foregoing article
of the trinity of persons in one God.
All this we know, as well from the testimonies of holy writ, as from their
operations, and chiefly by those we feel in ourselves. The testimonies of
the holy scriptures, that teach us to believe this holy trinity, are written in
many places of the old testament, which are not so necessary to enumerate,
as to choose them out with discretion and judgment. In Genesis, chap. i.
26, 27, God saith: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, &c.
So God created man in his own image, male and female created he them. And
Gen. iii. 22. Behold the man has become as one of us. From this saying, let
us make man in our image, it appears that there are more persons than one in
the Godhead: and when he saith, God created, signifies the unity. It is
true he doth not say how many persons there are, but that, which appears
to us somewhat obscure in the old testament, is very plain in the new.
For when our Lord was baptised in Jordan, the voice of the Father was
heard, saying, this is my beloved Son: The Son was seen in the water, and
the Holy Ghost appeared in the shape of a dove. This form is also instituted
by Christ in the baptism of all believers. Baptise all nations, in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. In the Gospel of
Luke, the angel Gabriel thus addressed Mary, the mother of our Lord,
The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall
overshadow thee, therefore also that holy thing, vihich shall be born of thee,
shall be called the Son of God: likewise, the grace of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be
with you. And there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father,
the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. In all which
places we are fully taught, that there are three persons in one only divine
essence. And although this doctrine far surpasses all human understanding;
nevertheless we now believe it by means of the word of God, but
expect hereafter to enjoy