¶ 16. There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body or parts, of infinite power, wisdom and goodness, the maker and preserver of all things, visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there are three persons of one substance, power, and eternity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
¶ 17. The Son, who is the Word of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, took man’s nature in the womb of the blessed virgin, so that the two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God and very man, who truly suffered, was crucified, dead and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for the original guilt, but also for the actual sins of men.
¶ 18. Christ did truly rise again from the dead, and took again His body, with, all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature, wherewith He ascended into heaven, and there sitteth until He returns to judge all men at the last day.
¶ 20. The Holy Scriptures contain all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. By the term Holy Scriptures we understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testaments of whose authority there was never any doubt in the Church.
The names of the canonical books are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, the First Book of Samuel, the Second Book of Samuel, the First Book of Kings, the Second Book of Kings, the First Book of Chronicles, the Second Book of Chronicles, the Book of Ezra, the Book of Nehemiah, the Book of Esther, the Book of Job, the Psalms, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, or the Preacher, Canticles, or the Song of Solomon, Four Prophets the greater, Twelve Prophets the less. All the books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive and account canonical.
¶ 21. The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for in both the Old and New Testaments everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man. Wherefore they are not to be heard who feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the law given from God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, doth not bind Christians, nor ought the civil precepts thereof, of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet, notwithstanding, no Christian whatsoever is free from obedience to the commandments which are called moral.
¶ 22. Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, as the Pelagians do vainly talk, but it is the corruption of the nature of every man that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and of his own nature inclined to evil and that continually.
¶ 23. The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and works to faith and calling upon God; wherefore we have no power to do good works, pleasing and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ enabling us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.
¶ 24. We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings; wherefore, that we are justified by faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.
¶ 25. Although good works, which are the fruits of faith, and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins and endure the severity of God’s judgments, yet they are pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and spring out of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree is discerned by its fruit.
¶ 26. Voluntary works—besides, over and above God’s commandments—which are called works of supererogation, cannot be taught without arroganey and impiety. For by them men do declare that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for His sake than of bounden duty is required; whereas Christ saith plainly, “When ye have done all that is commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants.”
¶ 27. Not every sin willingly committed after justification is the sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after justification. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and by the grace of God rise again and amend our lives. Therefore they are to be condemned who say they can no more sin as long as they live here, or who deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.
¶ 28. Justified persons, while they do not outwardly commit sin, are nevertheless conscious of sin still remaining in the heart. They feel a natural tendency to evil, a proneness to depart from God and cleave to the things of earth. Those who are sanctified wholly are saved from all inward sin—from evil thoughts and evil tempers. No wrong temper, none contrary to love, remains in the soul. All their thoughts, words, and actions are governed by pure love.
Entire sanctification takes place subsequently to justification, and is the work of God wrought instantaneously upon the consecrated, believing soul. After a soul is cleansed from all sin, it is then fully prepared to grow in grace.
¶ 29. God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ, according to the gospel. The righteous shall have in heaven an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away. The wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
¶ 30. It is a thing plainly repugnant to the word of God and the custom of the primitive Church to have public prayer in the Church or to minister the sacrament in a tongue not understood by the people.
¶ 31. The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of pure men, in which the pure word of God is preached, and the sacraments are duly administered, according to Christ’s ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.
¶ 32. Sacraments ordained of Christ are not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession, but also they are certain signs of grace, and of God’s good will toward us, by the which He doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken but also strengthen and confirm our faith in Him.
¶ 33. Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference, whereby Christians are distinguished from others who are not baptized; but it is also a sign of regeneration or the new birth. The baptism of young children is to be retained in the church.
¶ 34. The Supper of the Lord is not merely a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather i8 a sacrament of our redemption by Christ’s death, insomuch that, to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ; and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ.
Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine in the Supper of our Lord, cannot be proved by holy writ, but it is repugnant to the plain word of the Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and bath given occasion to many superstitions.
The body of Christ is given, taken and eaten in the Supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner; and the means whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is faith. The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshiped.
¶ 35. The offering of Christ, once made, is a perfect redemption, propitiation and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifice of the masses, in the which It is said that the priest doth offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, is a blasphemous and dangerous deceit.
¶ 36. It is not necessary that rites and ceremonies should in all places be the same, or exactly alike; for they have been always different, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times and men’s manners, so that nothing be ordained against God’s word. Whosoever through his private judgment, willingly and purposely doth openly break the rites and ceremonies of the church to which he belongs, which are not repugnant to the word of Cod, and are ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, that others may fear to do the like, as one that offendeth against the common order of the church, and woundeth the consciences of the weak brethren. Every particular church may ordain, change or abolish rites and ceremonies so that all things may be done to edification.
¶ 37. The riches and goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title and possession of the same, as some do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor according to his ability.
¶ 38. As we confess that vain and rash swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ, and James the apostle; so we hold that the Christian religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the magistrate requireth in a case of faith and charity, so it be done according to the prophet’s teaching, in justice, judgment, and truth.
Note: This article shall not deprive of membership in our church those who have conscientious scruples against taking an oath.