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such miracles? And there was a division among them. The man answered and said unto them, why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened my eyes.
24. Q. Do you look upon this sin to have so wholly belonged to those men, as not to be capable of being committed by any now?
A. That very sin, which in Scripture is so called, cannot now be committed, because Christ is not now upon earth, nor have we therefore any occasion given us thus to blaspheme against the Holy Ghost. Yet some sins there are of a like nature, which may still be committed by us; and which being committed, may prove no less dangerous to those who are guilty of them, than that sin did prove to the Pharisees heretofore.
25. Q. What sins are those, which you suppose come nearest to it?
A. Apostasy from the Christian religion, after having been convinced of the truth, and made partakers of the promises of it. Next to that, an apostasy from the truth and purity of the Gospel, for the sake of some worldly fears on the one hand, or of some present hopes and advantages on the other; to the communion of a church, which not only obstinately resists the truth, but damns and persecutes all such as profess it. And, lastly, apostasy to idolatry; which seems to be the sin unto death, spoken of by St. John, 1 John, v. 16, 21, and for the remission of which he gives us but little encouragement to pray; ver. 16.
26. Q. What then do you think of those who go off from the communion of the church of England, to that of the church of Rome?
A. Generally speaking, as of apostates and idola
ters: to whom God may, by an extraordinary effect of his mercy, give grace for repentance, and so for salvation, but of whom otherwise we have but little ground of hope.
27. Q. Do you look upon such to be in a more dangerous estate than those who were from the beginning bred up in the Roman communion?
A. I do forasmuch as they have both rejected the truth once known and received by them, and cast off the way in which the Providence of God had placed them; and that, it may be, on some base grounds, to be sure without any sufficient reason, to justisfy their doing of it.
28. Q. What then do you think of those who have always been of the communion of that church.
A. I think them, in general, in much greater danger now, than they were before the Reformation: and still those in more danger who have lived among those of the reformed church, and so were in a better capacity of being convinced of the errors of their way. But most of all do I think the condition of those to be dangerous, or rather desperate, who being learned know their errors; or, as priests, are called to instruct the people in the purity of Christ's religion. The sincere, and ignorant, who either want capacity, or want opportunity to know the truth, and for that reason are either seduced from it, or continue ignorant of it, I hope God, who knows the hearts of all men, will forgive: the careless, the prejudiced, but most of all, the obstinately blind and hypocritical among them, I cannot acquit; but must leave them to the judgment of God, who will render to every one according to his deservings.
OF THE ARTICLES OF OUR FAITH,
Of the Rule of Faith, the Holy Scriptures.
1. Q. WHAT was the second thing which your Godfathers and Godmothers promised in your name? A. That I should believe all the Articles of the Christian Faith.
2. Q. Where are those Articles to be found? A. In the Holy Scriptures; and particularly in those of the New Testament.
3. Q. What mean you by the Holy Scriptures? A. I mean those books, which through the assistance of the Holy Spirit, were written by Moses and the prophets under the law; and by the Apostles and Evangelists of Christ, since the publishing of the Gospel, to direct us in the knowledge of God, and of the duty which he requires of us.
PROOFS SUBJOINED.-2 Tim. iii. 16. 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, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Pet. i. 21. 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.
4. Q. How do you know what books were written by these persons, in order to these ends?
A. By the constant, universal, and undeniable testimony both of the Jewish and Christian church: from the former of which we have received the scriptures of the Old; from the latter, those of the New Testament.
5. Q. How do you know that these books were written by the assistance of the Holy Spirit?
A. 1. By the authors who wrote them; who were, doubtless, no less inspired in what they wrote, than in what they taught, of the Gospel of Christ. 2. By the design of God in stirring up those holy men to the composing of them; which was to leave thereby a constant, infallible rule of faith to the church, in all ages of it. 3. By the opinion which all Christians, from the time they were published and received by them, have had of them; and the deference which, upon that account, they have paid to them. And, lastly, by the subject matter of them, and those internal marks of Divine wisdom and piety, which are so conspicuous in all the parts of them.
PROOFS SUBJOINED.-Luke, i. 1, 2, 3. Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eye witnesses and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus. John, xix. 35. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. xx. 24. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 2 Pet. i. 15, 16. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able, after my
decease, to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fubles, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of his Majesty. John, xx. 31. These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, ye might have life through his name. Luke, i. 4. That thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed. 2 Tim. iii. 15, 16, 17. 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, throughly furnished unto all good works.
6. Q. Do you look upon these Scriptures as the only present rule of your faith?
A. I do: nor is there any other certain foundation on which to build it.
7. Q. What think you of the tradition of the church?
A. Could I be sure that any thing not contained in the Scriptures came down by a certain, uninterrupted tradition, from the apostles, I should not except against it: "Nay, I do therefore receive the Holy Scriptures as the rule of my faith, because they have such a tradition to warrant me so to do. But because there is no such tradition for any thing that is not written, therefore neither do I build my faith upon it: but, on the contrary, do suppose that by the Providence of God, the Holy Scriptures were purposely written to prevent those doubts, those mis