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Professors of the Reformed Religion; such as are the Socinians, Armenians, Annabaptists, and innumerable others, who have crept up in this corrupt Age ; but in particular, because it is according to the Simplicity of the Gospel, pure from the false Doctrines of Idolatry, and free Agency, with which the Roman Catholick Religion is defiled and corrupted.
Q. By whom has this Religion been established, as it is now practifed?
A. By all the Members of the truly reformed Proteftant Churches, who profess the Doctrine according to the Old and New Testament, as it is comprehended in the Articles of the Christian Faith, revised and established by the national Synod of Dort, in the Years of our Lord 1618, and 1619.
Q. Is then this Christian reformed Doctrine the only true Religion?
A. Yes. Because it alone has the effential Attributes which belong to a saving Religion.
Q. Which are those essential Attributes ?
A. They are specially four. ift, That we know God rightly, according as he has been pleased to mamifeft himself in his Word. 2d, That we ascribe the Glory of all Good in us, to God; but all Cause of Corruption and Sin, to ourselves. 3dly, That we ftir up in the People, true Piety, and administer unto them full Consolation whilst living, and at the Time. of their Death.
Of tbe HOLY SCRIPTURES. WHERE are the Principles of the true Religion
to be learned? A. Out of the holy Scriptures, which are contained in the Books of the Old and New Testament, called the Word of God.
Q. How can the Scriptures be called the Word of God, seeing the Things contained therein were spoken and written by Men ?
A. They are truly and properly called the Word of God, because they came not by the Will of Man, but Holy Men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, 2. Pet. i. 2. I.
( What are the principle Arguments to persuade us that the Scriptures are of divine Authority and Inspiration?
A. These Things especially convince us, if, The great and wonderful Things therein contained, which are above the Comprehention of Men ; such as the Trinity, the Incarnation of the Son of God. 2dly, The Holiness of the Doctrine, in commanding whatfoever is pure and holy, Phil. iv. In forbidding all Unholiness under Pain of Damnation, i Cor. vi. 9. This shews that they came not from Satan, being contrary to his Defign; nor from Men, it being aagainst his corrupt Nature, and above his Capacity, and therefore they must be derived from God alone. 3dly, The Certainty of the Promise, and the fulfilling of all Prophesies concerning the Revelation of Christ. 4thly, By their awful Impression on the Soul, in the Power they have to search and discover the Secrets of Men, Heb. iv. 12. In their converting Efficacy, , changing and renewing the Soul, Pf. xix. 8. No human Power can do fuch Things as these. Edly, The uncontroulable Miracles with which they are sealed, put it beyond all rational Doubt, that they are the very Words of God.
Q. Are the Scriptures perfect ? do they contain every thing that is necessary to know, and do for Salvation ?
X. Yes. Pf. xix. 7, 8. The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the Soul; the Statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the Heart. And 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17. An 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, thoroughly furnished unto all good Works. Q. Is every Thing in Scripture evidently revealed ?
A. That which belongs to the pure Doctrine, and also to our Salvation therein contained, we can clearly apprehend; but as to their Mysteries, we ought to believe them, though they are incomprehensible ; for Man muft necessarily, and more justly adore, the incomprehensible Things revealed of the Divine Being, making the infalliable Testimony of God the only Ground of his Faith, and not his own fallible Reasoning: That would be a Proof rather of his Pride, than Humiliation before God, whose Myttéries we either cannot, or need not understand. Job.xx. 11. 7. and Deut. xix. 29.
Q. But if the pure Doktrine in Scripture evidently is revealed, can every one apprehend that?
A. No. The Scripture, like the cloudy Pillar which it records, is Light to the true Ifraelites, but Darkness to the Egyptians, 1.Cor. ii. 14. But the natural Man receiveth not the Things of the Spirit of God, for they are Foolishness unto him, &c. And i Cor. i. 23, 24. Where Christ crucified, unto the Jews is a stumbling Block, and unto the Greeks Foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the Power of God, and the Wisdom of God.
Q. What is necessary to understand the holy Scriptures ?
A. To pray to God for the Assistance of his holy Spirit to enlighten and fanctify our Understanding; and to engage us to exert a religious Diligence in studying of them. Pf. cxix. 18. Open thou mine
. Eyes, that I may behold wondrous Things out of thy Law. And Pf. cxliii. 10. Teach me to do thy Will, for thou art my God; thy Spirit is good, lead me into the Land of Uprightness.
Q. Is every one that has access to the holy Scriptures, bound to study them? And may every one read them in his own Language ?
A. Yes." John v. 39. Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal Life; and they are they which testify of me. Aets xvii. 11. These were more noble than those of Thesialonia, in that they received
the Word with all Readiness of Mind; and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those Things were so.
Q. What follows from thence ?
A. That we must take Care to owe no Obedience to the Injunctions of Men, farther than they are sufficiently warranted by the written Word of God. Matt. xv. 9. But in vain they worship me, teaching for Doctrines the Commandments of Men.
Q. But are we not bound to believe what learned Men teacb us, as Points of Faith, though not contained in the Word of God?
A. No. If the Things they teach us be not expressly, or by necessary Consequence, in the Word of God, we are not obliged to believe them as Points of Faith. Fel. viii. 20. To the Law, and to the Testimony, if they speak not according to his Word, it is because there is no Light in them. Or, suitable to the Hebrew Text, There will not be rising of Light to them, Gal. i. 8. Though we, or an Angel from Heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
l. If then the Scripture is our only Rule, what is our Duty to prevent Errors?
A. Deliberately to examine what we hear, and not be hasty in receiving any Doctrine ; but to be mindful of that Admonition of our Saviour, Matt. vii. 15. Beware of. false Prophets, which come to you in Sheep's Cloathing, but inwardly they are ravening Wolves.
Q. What is our Duty to God for such a Revelation ?
Ā. That we heartily render to God a due Honour for his Testimony; a due. Acknowledgment for the Mercy of his Revelation, and a due Obedience to his Commandments. The first Question of the HEIDELBERG
CATECHISM. O WHAT is your only Consolation whilf you are living, and at the Time of your Death.
" A. It is, That my Body, as well as Soul, whe66 ther alive or dead, belongs not to me, but to my « faithful Saviour Jesus Christ, who with his precious * Blood hath made full-Satisfaction for all my Sins; es who hath delivered me from the Power of Satan; .“ and who guards me so carefully, that not a single “ Hair can fall from my Head without the Will of
my Heavenly Father ; And that all Things shall “ tend to my Salvation ; for which Reason, he has 166 also assured me of eternal Life by his holy Spirit, « and formed me to live hereafter with a fincere Heart " and Affection towards him.
Q. What is the Intention of the Catechift in this System of Religion ?
A. To impart to his Disciple a true Comprehension of the Doctrine of Salvation, deduced from the Word of God.
Q. What is then the scope of the revealed Doctrine ?
A. To fhew unto the anxious and restless Sinner his supreme good; which is alone capable of satisfying his Desire.
Q. What is the principle Duty of a Christian?
A. His Duty is to propagate the Glory of God; and to work out (through Christ Jesus), his own Salvation.
Q. How do yoti prove that ? : **Ā. From I Cor. x. 31. Whether, therefore, ye 'eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do-all to the Glory of God. And Col. iii. 17.
And from Phil. ii. 12. Work out your own Salvation with Fear and Trembling.
Q. Wherein consists your Salvation?
A. In the Poffeffion of a full and perfect Good, which can comfort my Body as well as Soul, whether alive or dead. Il
Q. But before we enter into those Questions and Anfwers of the Heidelberg Catechism; what ought to be observed? A. It ought to be observed, that we may learn