« IndietroContinua »
with all his benefits to us, and gives us there to enjoy both himself, and the merits of his sufferings and death, nourishing, strengthening and comforting our poor comfortless souls, by the eating of his flesh, quickening and refreshing them by the drinking of his blood. Further, though the sacraments are connected with the thing signified, nevertheless both are not received by all men: the ungodly indeed receives the sacrament to his condemnation, but he doth not receive the truth of the sacrament. As Judas and Simon the sorcerer, both indeed received the sacrament, but not Christ, who was signified by it, of whom believers only are made partakers. Lastly, we receive this holy sacrament in the assembly of the people of God, with humility and rever ence, keeping up amongst us a holy remembrance of the death of Christ our Saviour, with thanksgiving: making there confession of our faith, and of the christian religion. Therefore no one ought to come to this table, without having previously rightly examined himself; lest eating of this bread and drinking of this cup, he eat and drink his own damnation. In a word, we are excited by the use of this holy sacrament, to a fervent love towards God, and our neighbour. Therefore we reject all mixtures and damnable inventions, ́which men have added unto, and blended with, the sacraments, as profanations of them; and affirm that we ought to rest satisfied with the ordinances, which Christ and his apostles have taught us, and that we must speak of them in the same manner as they have spoken.
XXXVI. Of Magistrates.
We believe that our gracious God, because of the depravity of mankind, hath appointed kings, princes and magistrates, willing that the world should be governed by certain laws and policies; to the end that the dissoluteness of men might be restrained, and all
things carried on among them with good order and decency. For this purpose he hath invested the magistracy with the sword, for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well. And their office is, not only to have regard unto, and watch for, the welfare of the civil state; but also to protect the holy church service; and to prevent and extirpate all idolatry and false worship; to destroy the kingdom of antichrist; to promote the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and to take care that the word of the gospel be preached every where, that God may be honoured and worshipped by every one, as he commands in his word.Moreover, it is the bounden duty of every one, of what state, quality or condition soever he may be, to subject himself to the magistrates; to pay tribute, to show due honour and respect to them, and to obey them in all things which are not repugnant to the word of God; to pray for them in their prayers, that God may rule and guide them in all their ways, and that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. Wherefore we detest the Anabaptists and other seditious people, and in general all those, who reject the higher powers and magistrates, and would subvert justice, introducing a community of goods, and confound that decency and good order, which God hath established among men.
XXXVII. Of the last judgment.
Finally we believe, according to the word of God, when the time appointed by the Lord (which is unknown to all creatures) is come, and the number of the elect complete, that our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, corporally and visibly, as he ascended, with great glory and majesty, to declare himself Judge of the quick and the dead; burning this old world with fire and flame, to cleanse it. And then all men will personally appear before this great Judge, both men and
women and children, that have been from the beginning of the world to the end thereof being sum noned by the voice of the archangel, and by the sound of the trumpet of God. For all the dead shall be raised out of the earth, and their souls joined and united with their proper bodies, in which they formerly lived. As for those, who shall then be living, they shall not die as the others, but be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and from corruptible, become incorruptible. Then the books (that is to say the consciences) shall be opened, and the dead judged according to what they shall have done in this world, whether it be good or evil. Nay, men shall give an account of every idle word they have spoken, which the world only counts amusement and jest and then the secrets and hypocrisy of men shall be disclosed and laid open before all. And therefore the consideration of this judgment, is justly terrible and dreadful to the wicked and ungodly, but most desirable and comfortable to the righteous and the elect because then their full deliverance shall be perfected, and there they shall receive the fruits of their labour and trouble, which they have borne. Their innocence shall be known to all, and they shall see the terrible vengeance which God shall execute on the wicked, who most cruelly persecuted, oppressed and tormented them in this world; and who shall be convicted by the testimony of their own consciences, and become immortal, but for this purpose, to be tormented in that everlasting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels. But on the contrary the faithful and elect shall be crowned with glory and honour; and the Son of God will confess their names before God his Father and his elect angels; all tears shall be wiped from their eyes; and their cause, which is now condemned by many judges and magistrates, as heretical and impious, will then be known to be the cause of the Son of God. And
for a gracious reward, the Lord will cause them to possess such a glory, as never entered into the heart of man to conceive. Therefore we expect that great day with a most ardent desire, to the end that we may fully enjoy the promises of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Even so, come Lord Jesus.
Rev. xxii. 20,
I. LORD'S DAY.
Question 1. WHAT is thy only comfort in life and death ?
Answer. That I with a body and soul, both in life and death, b am not my own, but belong c unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious d blood, hath fully e satisfied for all my sins, and delivered ƒ me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me g that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair h can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be i subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me j of eternal life, and makes k me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.
Q. 2. How many things are necessary for thee to know, that thou, enjoying this comfort, mayest live and die happily?
A. Three; the first, how great m my sins and miseries are the second, how I may be delivered n from all my sins and miseries: the third, how I shall express my gratitude o to God for such deliverance.
THE FIRST PART.
OF THE MISERY OF MAN.
a 1 Cor. 6. 19, 20.
b Rom. 14. 7, 8, 9.
e 1 Cor. 3. 23.
II. LORD'S DAY.
Q. 3. Whence knowest thou thy misery ?
A. Out of the law of God. p
d 1 Pet. 1. 18, 19.
e 1 John 1. 7.
f 1 John 3. 8. Heb. 2, 14, 15. John 6. 39. and 10. 28, 29. Luke 21. 18. Mat. 10. 30. i Rom, 8, 28.