abolished or done away by baptism; since sin always issues forth from this
woful source, as water from a fountain; notwithstanding it is not imputed
to the children of God unto condemnation, but by his grace and mercy is
forgiven them. Not that they should rest securely in sin, but that a sense
of this corruption should make believers often to sigh, desiring to be delivered
from this body of death. Where fore we reject the error of the Pelagians,
who assert that sin proceeds only from imitation.
XVI. Of eternal election.
We believe that all the posterity of Adam being thus fallen into perdition
and ruin, by the sin of our first parents, God then did manifest himself
such as he is; that is to say, merciful and just: Merciful, since he
delivers and preserves from this perdition all, whom, he in his eternal and
unchangeable council of mere goodness hath elected in Christ Jesus our Lord,
without any respect to their works: Just, in leaving others in the fall
and perdition wherein they have involved themselves.
XVII. Of the recovery of fallen man.
We believe that our most gracious God, in his admirable wisdom and goodness, seeing that
man had thus thrown himself into temporal and spiritual
death, and made himself wholly miserable, was pleased to seek and comfort him, when he trembling fled
from his presence, promising him that he would give his Son, who should be made of a woman to bruise the head
of the serpent, and make him happy.
XVIII. Of the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
We confess therefore, that Cod did fulfil the promise, which he made to
the fathers, by the mouth of his holy prophets, when he sent into the world,
at the time appointed by him, his own, only begotten and eternal Son,
"Who took upon him the form of a servant, and became like unto man,
really assuming the true human nature, with all its infirmities, sin excepted,
being conceived in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, by the power of
the Holy Ghost, without the means of man. And did not only assume human
nature as to the body, but also a true human soul, that he might be a
real man. For since the soul was lost as well as the body, it was necessary
that he should take both upon him, to save both. Therefore we confess
(in opposition to the heresy of the Anabaptists, who deny that Christ
assumed human flesh of his mother) that Christ is become a partaker of
the flesh and blood of the children; that he is a fruit of the loins of David
after the flesh; made of the seed of David according to the flesh; a fruit
of the womb of the Virgin Mary, made of a woman; a branch of David;
a shoot of the root Of Jesse; sprung from the tribe of Judah; descended
from the Jews according to the flesh: of the seed of Abraham, since he
took upon him the seed of Abraham, "and became like unto his brethren
in all things sin excepted;" so that in truth he is our IMMANUEL, that is to
say, God with us.
XIX. Of the union and distinction
of the two natures in the person of Christ.
We believe that by this conception, the person of the Son is inseparably
united and connected with the human nature; so thai there are not two
Sons of God, nor two persons, but two natures united in one single person:
yet, that each nature retains its own distinct properties. As then the divine
nature hath alwa\s remained uncreated, without beginning of days or end
Of life, filling heaven and earth: so also hath the human nature not lost its
properties, but remained a creature, having beginning of days, being a finite
nature, and retaining all the properties of a real body: And though
he hath by his resurrection given immortality to the same, nevertheless he
hath not changed the reality of his human nature; for as much as our salvation
and resurrection also depend on the reality of his body. But these
two natures are so closely united in one person, that ihey were not separated
even by his death. Therefore that, which, he when dying commended
into the hands
of his Father, was a real human spirit, departing from his
body. But in the mean time the divine nature always remained united
with the human, even when he lay in the grave. And the Godhead did
not cease to be in him, any more than it did when he was an infant, though
it did not so clearly manifest itself for a while. Wherefore we confess,
that he. is VERY GOD; and VERY MAN: very God by his power to cooquer
death; and very man that he might die for us according to the infirmity of his flesh.
XX. That God hath manifested his justice
and mercy in Christ.
We believe that God, who is perfectly merciful and just, sent his Son to assume that nature,
in which the disobedience was committed, to make satisfaction in the same, and to bear the
punishment of sin by his most bitter passion and death. God therefore manifested his justice
against his Son, when he laid our iniquities upon him, and poured forth his mercy and goodness on
us, who were guilty and worthy of damnation, out of mere and perfect love, giving his Son unto
death for us, and raising him for our justification, that through him we might obtain immortality
and life eternal.
XXI. Of the satisfaction of Christ,
our only high priest, for us.
We believe that Jesus Christ is ordained with an oath to be an everlasting
high priest, after the order of Melchisedec. Who had presented himself
in our behalf before his Father, to appease his wrath by his full satisfaction,
by offering himself on the tree of the cross, and pouring out his precious
blood to purge away our sins; as the prophet had foretold. For it is
written, "he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our
iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes
we are healed. He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and numbered
with the transgressors:" and condemned by Pontius Pilate as a malefactor,
though he had first declared him innocent. Therefore, " he restored that
which he took not away, and suffered, the just for the unjust," as well in
his body as soul, feeling the terrible punishment which our sins had merited;
insomuch "that his sweat became like unto drops of blood falling on
the ground." He called out, "my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken
me?" And hath suffered all this for the remission of our sins. Wherefore
we justly say with the Apostle Paul, "that we know nothing, but Jesus
Christ, and him crucified; we count all things but loss and dung for the
excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord:" in whose wounds
we find all manner of consolation. Neither is it necessary to seek or invent
any other means of being reconciled to God, than this only sacrifice, once
offered, by which believers are made perfect for ever. This is also the
reason why he was called by the angel of God, JESUS, that is to say, SAVIOUR
because he should save his people from their sins.
XXII. Of our justification through faith in Jesus Christ.
We believe that, to attain the true knowledge of this great mystery, the
Holy Ghost kindleth in our hearts an upright faith, which embraces Jesus
Christ, with all his merits, appropriates him, and seeks nothing more besides
him. For it must needs follow, either that all things, which are requisite
to our salvation, are not in Jesus Christ, or if all things are in him, that
then those, who possess Jesus Christ through faith, have complete salvation
in Him.Therefore, for any to assert, that Christ is not sufficient, but
that something more is required besides him, would be too gross a blasphe-
my; for hence it would follow, that Christ was but half a Saviour. Therefore we
justly say with Paul, that we are justified by faith alone, or by faith
without works. However, to speak more clearly, we do not mean, that faith
itself justifies us, for it is only an instrument, with which we embrace Christ
our Righteousness. But Jesus Christ, imputing to us all his merits, and so
many holy works, which he hath done for us, and in our stead, is our
Righteousness. And faith is an instrument, that keeps us in communion
with him in all his benefits, which, when become ours, are more than sufficient
to acquit us of our sins.