« AnteriorContinuar »
communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all. 4. Because the honour and worship due only to God, doth belong unto the spirit; we must believe in him. This is an article of the creed (commonly called the apostles creed,) I believe in the Holy Ghost. We must be baptized in his name. Matth. xxviii. 19, Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Q. 10. How doth it appear that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, being one God, are three distinct persons ?
A. 1. The Father begetting is called a person in the scripture. Heb. i. 3, Christ is said to be the express image of his person ;' and by the same reason, the Son begotten of the Father, is a person ; and the Holy Ghost proceeding from the Father and the Son, is a person. 2. That the Father and the Son are distinct persons, is evident from John viii. 16, 17, 18, I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent mé. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. 3. That the Holy Ghost is a distinct person from the Father and the Son, appeareth from John xiv. 16, 17, I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may adide with you forever; even the spirit of truth, &c. 4. That the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, are three distinct persons,
in one essence, may be gathered from 1 John v. 7, There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. These three are either three substances, or three mani. festations, or three persons, or something else besides persons : But, 1. They are not three substances, because in the same verse they are called one. 2. They are not three manifestations, because all the attributes of God are manifestations, and so there would be more than threc or thirteen ; and then one manifestation would be said to beget and send another, which is absurd. 3. They are not something else besides persons; therefore they are three distinct persons, distinguished by their relations, and distinct personal properties.
Q. 1. What should we judge of them that deny that there are three distinct persons in one Godhead?
A. 1. We ought to judge them to be blasphemers; because they speak against the ever glorious God, who hath set forth himself in this distinction in the scripture. 2. To be damnable heretics: this doctrine of the distinction of persons in the unity of essence being a fundamental truth, denied of old by the Sabellians, Arians, Photineans, and of late by the Socinians, who were against the Godhead of Christ the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ; among whom the Quakers are also to be numbered, who deny this distinction.
Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?
A. The decrees of God are his eternal purpose accoró ding to the counsel of his own will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath fore-ordained whatsoever cometh to pass.
Q. 1. What is it for God to decree ?
A. For Gud to decree, is eternally to purpose and fore-ordain, to appoint and determine what things shall be.
Q. 2. How did God decree things that come to pass ?
A. God decreed all things according to the counsel of his will; according to his will, and therefore most freely; according to the counsel of his will, and therefore most wisely. Eph. i. il, Being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will.
Q. 3. Wherefore did God decree all things that come to pass ?
A. God decreed all things for his own glory.
A. There are God's general decrees, and God's especial decrees.
Q. 5. What are God's general decrees?
A. God's general decrees are his eternal purpose, whereby he hath fore-ordained whatever comes to pass ; not only the being of all creatures which he doth make, but also all their motions and actions; not only good acrions which he doth effect, but also the permission of all evil actions. Eph. i. 1!, Who worketh all things after
the counsel of his own will. Acts iv. 27, 28, Against thy holy Child Jesus.-Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together for to do whatever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
Q. 6. What are God's especial decrees?
A. God's especial decrees are bis decrees of predestination of angels and men, especially his decrees of election and reprobation of men.
Q. 7. What is God's decree of election of men ?
A. God's decree of election of men is his eternal and unchangeable purpose, whereby, out of his mere good pleasure, he hath in Christ chosen some men unto evellasting life and happiness, as the end; and unto faith and holiness, as the necessary means in order hereunto, for the praise of his most rich and free grace. Eph. i. 4, 5, 6, According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blaine before him in love ; being predestinated according to the guod pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace. 2. Thess. ii. 13, God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the spirit, and belief of the truth.
R. 8. What is Goci's decree of reprobation of men ?
A. God's decree of reprobation is his cternal purpose (according to his sovereignty, and the unsearchable counsel of his own will) of passing by all the rest of the children of men which are not elected, and leaving ihem to perish in their sins, unto the praise of the power of his wrath and infinite justice in their everlasting punish:ment. Rom. ix. 21, 22, Hath not the polier power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour: What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, epiluled with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.
Q. 9. Whence is it that God doth decree the election of some and the reprobation of others, of the children of men ?
A. It was neither the good works foreseen in the one which moved him to choose them, nor the evil works
foreseen in the other, which moved him to pass them by; but only because he would, he chose some, and be. cause he would not, he did not choose the rest, but de. creed to withhold that grace which he was no wise bound to give unto them, and to punish them justly for their sins, as he might have punished all, if he had so pleased. Rom. ix. 11, 13, 18, The children being not yet born, neither having done good nor evil, that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth. It was said, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated : for he hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
Q. 10. May any know whether they are elected or reprobated in this life?
A. 1. Those which are elected, may know their election by their effectual calling 2 Pet. i. 10, Give diligence to make your calling and election sure. But 2dly, None can know certainly in this life (except such as have sinned against the Holy Ghost) that they are reprobated, because the greatest sinners (except such as have committed that sin) may be called. i Cor. vj. 9, 10, 11, Neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor thieves, &c. shall inherit the kingdom of God; and such were some of you : but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God. And we read of some called at the eleventh hour, Matth. xx. 6, 7.
Q. 8. How doth God execute his decrees?
A. God doth execute his decrees in the works of creation and providence.
Q. 1. What is it for God to execute his decrees?
A. God doth execute his decrees, when he doth what he eternally purposed to do, when he bringeth to pass what he had before ordained should be.
Q. 2. Wherein doth God execute his decrees?
A. God doth execute his decrees in the works of creation, wherein he maketh all thivgs according as he eterternally decreed to make them; and in his works of providence, wherein he preserveth and governeth all things according to his eternal purpose and counsel.
Q. 9. What is the work of creation ?
A. The work of creation is God's making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.
Q. 1. What is meant by creation?
A. 1. Negatively, by creation is not meant any ordinary production of creatures, wherein second causes are made use of.
2. Positively, creation is, 1. A making things of nothing, or a giving a being to things which had no being before. Thus the heavens were made of nothing, the earth and waters, and all the matter of inferior bodies were made of nothing; and thus still the souls of men were made of nothing, being immediately infused by God. 2. Creation is a making things of matter, naturally unfit, which could not by any power (put into any second causes) be brought into such a form ; thus all beasts and cattle, and creeping things, and the body of man, was at first made of the earth, and the dust of the Sround ; and the first woman was made of a rib taken out of the man.
Q. 2. Are all things that are made God's creatures ?
A. Yes, 1. All things that were made the first six days were most properly and immediately created by God:
2. All the things that are still produced are God's creatures, 1. Because the matter of them was at first created by God. 2. Because the power which one creature hath of producing another, is from God. 3. Because in all productions God doth concur as the first cause and most principal agent. And lastly, because the preservation of things by God in their being, is, as it were, a continued creation.
Q. 3. Whereby did God create all things at first?
A. God created all things by the word of his power. It was the infinite power of God which did put forth itself in erecting the glorious frame of the heavens and the earth, and that by a word speaking. Gen. i. 3, 6, God said, let there be light, and there was light; let there be a firmament, and the firmament was made, &c.