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A. For all things necessary for soul and body, which Christ our Lord has comprised in that prayer, he himself has taught us.
Q. 73. What are the words of that prayer
A. Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our dehtory; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Q. 74. What do you desire of God in this prayer
A. 1. That all things, which tend to the glory of God, may be promoted, and whatsover is repugnant thereto, or contrary to his will, may he prevented. 2. That he may provide me with all things necessary for the body, and as to my soul, preserve me froin all evil, which might in any wise be detrimental to my salvation. Amen.
When those who are inclined to become members in full communion of the church, and to approach the Holy Supper of the Lord, thoroliglily know and confess these fundimental trutlis
, they are then to be asked whether they have any doubt on any point concerning the doctrine ; to the end they may be satisfied : and in case any of them should answer in the affirmative, endeavours must be used to convince them from the scriptures; and if satisfied, they must be asked whether they have experienced the power of the truth in their hearts, and are willing and desirous to be saved by Jesus Christ from their sins ; and whether they propose, by the grace of God, to persevere in this doctrine, to forsake the world, and to lead a new christian life. Lastly, they are to be asked, whether they will submit themselves to the christian discipline.
Which being done, they are to be exhorted to peace, love and concord with all men, and to reconciliation, if there is any variance subsisting be tween them and their neighbours.
THE CONFESSION OF FAITH
OF THE REFORMED DUTCH CHURCH.
REVISED IN THE NATIONAL SINOD, HELD AT DORDRECHT, IN THE YEARS
1618, AND 1619.
That there is one only God. WE all believe with the heart, and confess with the mouth, that there is one only simple and spiritual Being, which we call God ; and that he is eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, immutable, infinite, almighty, perfectly wise, just, good, and the overflowing fountain of all good.
II. By what means God is made known unto us. We know him by two means : first, by the creation, preservation and government of the universe ; which is before our eyes as a most elegant book, wherein all
creatures, great and small, are as so many characters leading us to contemplate the invisible things of God, namely, his eternal power and Godhead, as the apostle Paul saith, Rom. i. 20.
All which things are sufficient io convince men, and leave them without excuse. Secondly, he makes himself more clearly and fully known to us by his holy and divine word ; that is to say, as far as is necessary for us to know in this life, to his glory and our salvation.
III. Of the written word of God. We confess that this word of God was not sent, nor delivered by the will of man, but that holy men of God. spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, as the apostle l'eter saith. And that afterwards God, from a special care, which he has for us and our salvation, commanded his servants
, the prophets and apostles, to commit llis revealed word to writing; and he himself wrote with his owo finger, the two tables of the law : Therefore we call suck writings holy and divine Scriptures.
IV. Canonical books of the holy Scriptures. We believe that the holy scriptures are contained in two books, namely, the old and new testament, which are canonical, against which nothing can he alleged. These are thus pamed in the church of God. The books of the old testament are, the five books of Moses, viz. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; the book of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, two books of Samuel, and two of the Kings; two books of the Chronicles, commonly called Paralipomenon, the first of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, the Psalms of David, the three books of Solomon, namely, the Proverbs
, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs ; the four great prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel ; and the twelve lesser prophets, namely, Hosea, Joel, anos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniali, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
Those of the new testament are the four evangelists; viz. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John ; the Acts of the Apostles ; the fourteen epistles-of the apostle Paul, viz. one to the Romans, tiro to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, ove to the Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the Collossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, one to Titus, one to Philemon, and one to the Hebrews : the seven epistles of the other apostles, naniely, one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude; and the Kevelation of the apostle Jolin. V. From whence do the holy scriptures derive their dignity and authority.
We receive all these books, and these only, as holy and canonical, for the regulation, foundation, and confirmation of our faith ; believing without any doubt, all things contained in them, not so much because the church receives and approves them as such, but more especially because the Holy Ghost witnesseth in our hearts, that they are from God, whereof they carry the evidence in themselves. For the very blind are able to perceive that the things foretold in them are fulfilling.
VI. The difference between the canonical and apocryphical books. We distinguish those sacred books from the apocryphical; viz. the third and fourth book of Esdras, the books of Tobias, Judith, Wisdom), Jesus Syrach, Baruch, the appendix to the hook of Esther, the Song of the three Children in the Furnace, the history of Susannah, of Bell and the Dragon, the prayer of Monasses, and the two books of the Maccabees. All which the church may read and take instruction from, so far as they agree with the canonical hooks; but they are far froin having such power and efficacy, as that we may from their testimony confirin any point of faith, christian religion ; much less detract from the authority of the other sacred books. VII. The sufficiency of the holy scriptures, to be the only rule of faith.
We believe that those holy scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that, whatsoever man ought to believe, unto salvation, is sufficiently taught therein. For since the whole manner of worship, which God requires of us, is written in them at large, it is unlawful for any one, though an aposlle, to teach otherwise, than we are now taught in the holy scriptures : Nay, though it were an angel from heaven, as the apostle Paul saith. For, since it is forbidden, to add unto or take away any thing from the word of God,
or of the
it doth thereby evidently appear, that the doctrine thereof most perfect
All this we know, as well from the testimonies of holy writ, as from their operations, and chiefly by those we feel in ourselves. The testimonies of the holy scriptures, that teach us to believe this holy trinity, are written in many places of the old testament, which are not so necessary to enumerate, as to choose them out with discretion and judgment. In Genesis, chap. i. 26, 27, God saith : Let us make man in our image, ofter our likeness, 8c. So God created man in his own image, male and female created he them. And Gen. Üï. 22. Behold the man has become as one of us. From this saying, let us make man in our image, it appears that there are inore persons than one in the Godheads and when he saith, God created, signifies the unity, It is true he doth not say how inany persons there are, but that, which appears to us soinewhat obscure in the old testament, is very plain in the new. For when our Lord was baptised in Jordan, the voice of the Father was heard, saying, this is my beloved Son: The Son was seen in the water, and the Holy Ghost appeared in the shape of a dove. This form is also instituted by Christ in the baptism of all believers. Baptise all nations, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. In the Gospel of Luke, the angel Gabriel thus addressed Mary, the inother of our Lord, The How ly Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadon thee, therefore also that holy thing, which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God: likewise the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you. And there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. In all which places we are fully taught, that there are three persons in one only divine essence. And although this doctrine far surpasses all human understanding ; nevertheless we now believe it by means of the word of God, but expect hereafter to enjoy
the perfect knowledge and benefit thereof in Heaven. Moreover we must observe the particular offices and operations of these three persons towards
The Father is called our creator, by his poirer; the Son is our Saviour aud Redeemer, hy his blood; the Holy Ghost is our sanctifier, by his dwelling in our hearts. This doctrine of the holy trinity, hath always been defended and maintained by the true church, since the times of the apostles, to this very day, against the Jews, Mahometans, and soine false christians and heretics, as Marcion, Manes, Praxeas, Sabellius, Samosatenus, Arrius, and such like, who have been justly condemned by the orthodox fathers. Therefore, in this point, we do willingly receive the three creeds namely, that of the Apostles, of Nice, and of Athanasios: Likewise that, which, conforunable thereunto, is agreed upon by the ancient fathers.
X. That Jesus Christ is true and eternal God. We helieve that Jesus Christ, according to his divine nature, is the only begotten Son of God, begotten from eternity, not inade nor created, (for then he should be a creature) but co-essential and co-eternal with the Father, the repress images of his person, and the brightness of his glory, equal unto him in all things. Who is the Son of God, not only from the tiare that he assumed our bature, but from all eternity, as these testimonies, when compared to gether, teach us. Moses saith, that God created the world; and John saith, that all things were made by that word, which he calleth God: And the apostle saith, that God made the worlds by his Son. Likewise, that God created all things by Jesus Christ. Therefore it must needs follow, that he, who is called God, the Word, the Son, and Jesus Christ, did exist at that time, when all things were created by hiin. Therefore the prophet Micah saith; his goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. And the Apostle ; he hath neither beginning of days, nor end of life: He therefore is that true, eternal, and almighty God, whoin we invoke, worship, and serve.
XI. That the Holy Ghost is true and eternal God. We believe and confess also, that the Holy Ghost, from eternity, proceeds from the Father and Son; and therefore neither is made, created, nor begotten, but only proceedeth from both; who in order is the third
of the holy trinity; of one and the same essence, majesty and glory with the Father, and the Son: and therefore, is the true and eternal God, as the holy scripture teaches us.
XII. Of the Creation. We believe, that the Father by the word, that is by his Son, hath created of nothing, the heaven, the earth, and all creatures, as it seemed good unto him, giving unto every creature its being, shape, form, and several ofices to serve its Creator. That he doth also still uphold and govern them by his eternal providence, and infinite power, for the service of mankind, to the end that man may serve his God. He hath also created the angels good, to be his messengers, and to serve his elect; some of whom are fallen from that excellency, in which God created them into everlasting perdition: and the others have, by the grace of God, remained stedfast and continued in their primitive state. The devils and evil spirits are so depraved, tlrat they are enemies of God and every good thing, to the utmost of their power, as murderers, watching to ruin the church and every member thereof, and by their wicked stratagems to destroy all: and are therefore, by their own wickedress, adjudged to eternal damnation, daily expecting their horrible torments. Therefore we reject and abhor the error of the Sadducees, who deny the existence of spirits and angels: and also that of the Manichees, who assert that the devils have their origin of themselves, and that they are wicked of their own nature, without having been corrupted.
XIII. Of Divine Providence. We believe that the same God, after he had created all things, did not forsake them, or give them up to fortune or chance, but that he rules and
governs them according to his holy will, so that nothing happens in this world without his appointment: nevertheless, God neither is the author of, nor can be charged with the sins which are committed. For his power and goodness is so great and incomprehensible, that he orders and executes his work in the most excellent and just manner, even then, when devils and wicked men act unjustly. And, as to what he doth surpassing human understanding, we will not-curiously enquire into, farther than our capacity will admit of; but with the greatest humility and reverence adore the righteous judgments of God, which are hid from us, contenting ourselves that we are disciples of Christ, and to learn only those things which he has revealed to us in his word, without transgressing these limits. This doctrine affords us udspeakable consolation, since we are taught thereby, that nothing can befall us by chance, but by the direction of our most gracious and heavenly Father ; who watches over us with a paternal care, keeping all creatures so under his power, that not a hair of our bead, (for they are all numbered) nor a sparrow can fall to the ground, without the will of our Father, in whom we do entirely trust, being persuaded, that he so restrains the devil and all our enemies, that without his will and permission, they cannot hurt us. And therefore we reject that damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God regards nothing, but leaves all things to chance. XIV. Of the creation, and fall of man, and his incapacity to perform what
is truly good. We believe that God created man out of the dust of the earth, and made and formed him after his own image and likeness, good, righteous, and holy, capable in all things to will, agreeably to the will of God. But being in honour, he understood it not, neither knew his excellency, but wilfully subjected himself to sin, and consequently to death, and the curse, giving ear to the words of the devil. For the commandment of life, which he had received, he transgressed; and by sin separated himself from God, who was his true life, having corrupted his whole nature; whereby he made himself liable to corporal and spiritual death. And heing thus become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all his ways, he hath lost all his excellent gifts, which he had received from God, and only retained a few remains thereof, which however are sufficient to leave man without excuse ; for all the light which is in us is changed into darkness, as the scriptures teach us, saying: The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not: where St. John calleth men darkness. Therefore we reject all that is taught repuguant to this, concerning the free will of man, since man is but a slave to sin; and has nothing of himself, unless it is given him from heaven. For who
may presume to boast, that he of himself can do any good, since Christ saith, no man can come to me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him? Who will glory in his own will, who understands, that to be carnally minded is enmity against God? Who can speak of his knowledge, since the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God.
In short, who dare suggest any thought, since he knows that we are not sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves, but that our sufficiency is of God? And therefore what the apostle saith ought justly to be held sure and firin, that God worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. For there is no will nor understanding, conformable to the divine will and understanding, but what Christ hath wrought in man: which he teaches us, when he saith, without me ye can do nothing.
XV. Of Original Sin. We believe that, through the disobedience of Adam, original sin is extended to all mankind; which is a corruption of the whole nature, and an hereditary disease, wherewith infants themselves are infected even in their mother's womb, and which produceth in man all sorts of sin, being in him as a root thereof; and therefore is so vile and abominable in the sight of God, that it is sufficient to condemn all mankind. Nor is it by any means