The Catechism of Thomas Becon
Parker Society, 1844
[This is the main body of the text. Roman numerals converted to Arabic. Spelling selectively modernized. Bible citations from the margins have been moved into the text. The footnotes, often lengthy Latin and Greek, have been here omitted but indicated by an asterisk *; they may be seen as PDF at http://anglicanhistory.org/reformation/ps/becon/catechism/]
To the Reader the Book Speaketh
Though I be small in quantity,
Yet despise me not, good reader;
For perchance thou shalt find in me
That wanteth in many greater.
Though I be without eloquence,
Rude and barbarous to behold,
Yet much true divine sapience
Have I forth brought, and here enroll’d.
No subtle logic, nor sophistry,
Shalt thou in me find and perceive;
But Christ and his doctrine plainly,
Which can no man living deceive.
To teach thee Christ is mine intent,
And all that to him do belong,
That thou mayest keep his commandment,
And in the Christian faith be strong.
Approach, therefore, O gentle reader,
Pray to God for understanding;
So shalt thou in all things prosper,
And enjoy life everlasting.
Mark 10: Suffer the children to come unto me: forbid them not.
For unto such doth the kingdom of God appertain.
The Preface of the Author Unto His Children,
Theodore and Basil His Two Sons, and Rachel His Only Daughter*: Grace, Mercy, and Peace, From God the Father, and From the Lord Jesus Christ Our Lord and Alone Saviour, Through the Mighty Operation of the Holy Ghost, Be With You, My Dear Children, Both Now and Ever. Amen.
After that it pleased the Lord my God to call me unto the holy state of honourable matrimony, and to bless me with the increase of you, not of you only, but also of two more your brethren, named Theodore and Christophile, which now rest in glory with our head Christ; I thought no charge more straitly to be laid upon me of the Lord our God, than with all diligence to provide and aforesee, that you, my most dear and sweet children, may be brought up, even from your very cradles (as they use to say), in the knowledge and doctrine of the one alone true and everlasting God, and of his Son Christ Jesus, our most mighty Lord and alone sufficient Saviour: which knowledge, learned out of the holy scriptures, bringeth to the faithful believers everlasting life. [John 17, Wisdom. 15]
And as I judged this to be my duty and office committed unto me of God, if I would in any point answer his good will and pleasure, and satisfy my vocation or calling; so likewise to the uttermost of my power I have ever travailed godly and virtuously to bring you up in the knowledge of God and of his holy word, even from your tender years, that at the last you, being now young children, may wax ancient in Christ, and through him obtain everlasting life. [Rom. 6]
For in mine opinion, howsoever the wicked world judgeth in this behalf, those fathers, which only study to enrich their children with worldly possessions, and neglect their duty in the virtuous education and godly bringing up of their youth, are rather to be counted fathers of the body than of the mind, of the flesh than of the soul, and may right well be resembled, likened, and compared to unreasonable and brute beasts, which are also led with this care, and so affected toward their younglings, that with all diligence they travail and labour for the fostering and feeding of them, by this means providing that they lack nothing concerning the safe state and harmless conservation of the body. These parents are beastly parents: these fathers and mothers are ungodly fathers and mothers, and altogether unworthy of this great blessing of God, I mean the gift of children, whom God hath given unto them for this purpose and end, that they in this world should be godly and virtuously brought up in the doctrine and knowledge of his holy word, lead a good life, call on his holy name, be thankful for his benefits, study to profit the commonweal, and to do good to all men; that, when they shall be called out from this vale of misery, they may be made citizens of the heavenly kingdom, and there for ever reign and remain with their head Christ, in the glory of his Father. And would God we had not too too many of these ungodly parents in this our age! Verily unto such corruption of manners and lewd disposition of life are we come nowadays, that all parents almost seek rather how to advance their children in worldly than in godly things; how to beautify them rather with the vain and flitting goods of the corruptible body, than with the true, constant, and immortal goods of the uncorruptible mind; how to get them rather the favour of men, than the good will of God; how they may increase rather in worldly studies, than in the knowledge of God; and in fine, how they may rather become in this world men of great renown and of innumerable possessions, than after this life glorious and well-accepted citizens of that most glorious and heavenly kingdom. Certes the greatest multitude of our parents at this day, although they profess Christ, and glory to be called Christians, are much inferior to the heathen, which knew not God nor any point of godliness rightly, if we should respect the good and virtuous bringing up of youth.
To whom is this unknown, that the very gentiles spared neither cost nor labour their children might he brought up learnedly and virtuously, and at the last become worthy citizens of the commonweal? Read we not, that when it was objected unto Lycurgus, that noble prince of the Lacedemonians, that he gave too much a liberal stipend to the teacher and bringer up of his children, he answered on this manner: “If any man will take upon him to bring up my children, and to render them unto me better than he received them, I will not only give him large sums of money, but also the half of all my goods”? Read we not, that Philip, king of the Macedonians, when his son Alexander was born, wrote letters unto Aristotle, the philosopher, in the which he gave thanks unto God, not only because he had given him a son, which should succeed him in his kingdom, but also that it chanced him to be born in the time of so noble a philosopher, which should bring him up in virtue, learning, and knowledge, and make him a prince worthy of such a father and of so flourishing a kingdom?* Read we not, that a certain noble woman of Rome, called Cornelia, when a strange lady, which lodged in her house, shewed unto her her ornaments and jewels, yea, and those so precious and goodly as none could be found more precious nor more goodly, prolonged the talk with her until her children came home from school, and then brast out into these words, Et haec ornamenta mea sunt?* That is in English: “And these,” saith she, “are my ornaments and jewels;” signifying by this her answer, that nothing is so precious and goodly a jewel to a discreet, wise, and sober matron, as children virtuously and learnedly brought up. Read we not, that when Alphonsus, king of the Aragones, was demanded how it came to pass that he had so flourishing a realm, whether it was that he was so excellently learned, or of so good success in martial affairs, whereof he also had singular knowledge, he answered on this manner: “Of books I learned both armours and the law of armours”?* – hereby confessing, that learning was the alone occasion of all his good success and of so flourishing a commonweal: so truly is it said of Plato, that blessed, fortunate, and happy is that commonweal, wherein either philosophers do bear rule, or else kings that be studious of philosophy and of good letters do reign.
But wherefore do I tarry so long in rehearsing these profane and heathenish histories concerning the good and virtuous bringing up of youth, seeing that in the holy bible, which, containeth the words of everlasting life, examples do abound?
As I may pass over with silence those holy, grave, and ancient patriarchs, Adam, Seth, Enos, Henoch, Noha, Thare, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, &c., which lived before Moses, of whose industry and diligence in the godly and virtuous bringing up of their younglings to doubt, I think it more than double wickedness; who is able to express what study and care that most excellent and prince-like prophet David, the most worthy and most noble grandfather of our Lord and alone Saviour Jesu Christ, took for the godly and honest education of his children, specially of Salomon, that for his godliness, learning, and wisdom he might be counted of all men worthy to enjoy the imperial crown after him? He was so diligent in exhorting his son Salomon unto virtue and true religion, that, lying upon his deathbed, he ceased not continually to put him in remembrance of his duty toward the Lord his God. Among other were not these his words [1 Kings 2]: “I go the way of all the world: be strong therefore, and shew thyself a man. Keep thou the watch of the Lord thy God, and see that thou walk in his ways, and keep his statutes and his precepts, his judgments and his testimonies, even as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and in every thing that thou meddlest withal; that the Lord also may make good his word, which he spake unto me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me in truth with all their hearts, and with all their souls, then shalt thou not be without a man on the seat of Israel, &c.”
Tobias also, that ancient father and faithful servant of God, taught his young son Tobias, even from his tender age, to fear God, and to refrain from all sin. His admonitions which he gave to his son are so godly and profitable, so avancing virtue and repressing vice, that they may justly seem worthy to be written in letters of gold; and would God they were so surely graven in the hearts of all men that they might never fall out of remembrance!
The noble parents likewise of that most noble lady Susanna, beautiful in body, but more beautiful in mind, goodly in the lineaments of the body, but more goodly in the virtues of the soul, brought up their aforesaid daughter Susanna, from her very young age, in all godliness and honesty according to the law of God given by Moses: which godly, virtuous, and honest bringing up so greatly prevailed in her, that she rather choosed to suffer any kind of cruel torments, yea, most cruel death, than she would once turn aside from those godly lessons and virtuous instructions which she had learned of her godly and virtuous parents in her young and tender years; so profitable a thing is it even from the very cradles, as they use to say, to drink in godliness and honesty.
But what shall I speak of Philip the evangelist, [Acts 21] which, having four daughters, brought them up so godly and learnedly that they were able to prophesy, that is to say, to understand the holy scriptures according to the meaning of the Holy Ghost, and to render a perfect accompt of their faith in Christ Jesu our Lord? I pass over the godly bringing up of bishop Timothy, which from his very infancy and childhood learned and understood, as St Paul writeth, [2 Tim. 3] the holy scriptures, which alone are “able sufficiently and even to the uttermost to instruct the man of God unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesu.”
Many and divers other histories are contained in the holy scriptures, which abundantly remember what studious diligence and diligent study, what painful labour and laborous pain, the holy fathers in times past did take to bring up their children godly and honestly according to the doctrine and commandment of the Lord our God, [Deut. 4, 11; Ecclus. 7, 10, 30, 42; Eph. 6, Col. 3, Titus 2] that they might truly be counted fathers not only of the body, but also of the mind, and by this means satisfy the good pleasure of God, which requireth nothing more earnestly of fathers and mothers, than that they should godly and holily bring up their children which he hath given them, that not only in this world, but in the world to come, they may celebrate, praise, and magnify his holy and glorious name.
Provoked with these and such like examples, my most dear and sweet children, I have done mine endeavour to the uttermost of my power, from time to time, as your age requireth, to sow in your tender breasts the wholesome seed of God’s most holy word, that from your very cradles ye may learn to know your Lord God, which made you and gave you unto me, which also conserveth and nourisheth you by me; and to believe in him the alone true God; to call on his holy name, from whom alone cometh all goodness; [James 1] to fear and reverence him as your most beneficial Lord; to love him as your most gentle and kind Father; to be thankful unto him for his benefits as your most bounteous and merciful Saviour; and to reverence and honour the magistrates and all that be in authority; again, to shew yourselves humble, lowly, and obedient to the faithful ministers of God’s holy word: Item, to be gentle, loving, and helping to all men; and in fine, so to train your lives according to the rule of God’s holy commandment, that, in this world being good and profitable members of the Christian commonweal, in the world to come ye may be made citizens of that glorious and heavenly kingdom. And according to this my doctrine, yea, rather God’s doctrine, ye for your little strengths daily do your endeavour to bring forth the fruits of this good seed, which, by the help of God’s Spirit, I have sown in your young and tender breasts: which thing delighteth me so greatly, that I can none otherwise than daily offer unto God the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, which by his Holy Spirit hath wrought so good things in you, yea, and that in so young and tender age; most humbly beseeching him to continue his fatherly favour toward you, that he may bring unto a fortunate and blessed end that which he most mercifully hath begun in you, unto the glory and praise of his holy name.
And forasmuch as I your father, from my youth up even unto this day, have ever been attempted with the cruel assaults of envious fortune, which for the most part is always an unmerciful stepdame to all such as are truly studious of virtue and learning, and contrariwise a bounteous mistress to such as are dissolute and careless livers, without all fear of God, without all care of godliness, without all honest and godly disposition, &c.; and by this means have no worldly possessions to leave unto you, whereby ye may be the more able to resist the fierce and cruel darts of froward, frowning fortune; I, in this behalf leaving you to the merciful and bounteous providence of God, which never leaveth them succourless that cleave unto him with strong faith, and labour to “serve him in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life,” [Luke 1] have thought it good to study how I may enrich you, not with the flitting goods of fliring [fleering] fortune, or with the trifling treasures of the wicked world, (after the which all degrees of people in this our age, without exception, run headlong, and so inordinately hunt after them, as though they should continue in this vale of misery for ever, utterly forgetting that they are “strangers and pilgrims,” and can “have no long abode here,” [1 Pet. 2, Heb. 13] but must give over to nature and depart hence, as their ancestors and elders have done before them, and leave their pelf, for the which they have so swinked [laboured, toiled] and sweat, they cannot tell to whom, as we read in the gospel [Luke 12] of a certain ungodly rich man; and as the psalmograph saith, the covetous, rich worldling “heapeth treasure upon treasure, and knoweth not for whom he gathereth his treasure” [Psa. 39]); but with such riches, goods, treasures, and possessions, as neither fire can bren, nor water overwhelm, nor wind blow away, nor tempest disquiet, nor old age consume, nor froward fortune remove, neither any adversity put to flight; I mean the goods and riches of the mind; as doctrine, learning, knowledge, the right understanding of the holy scriptures, sincerity of judgment, wisdom, discretion, and such other godly and virtuous qualities, wherewith whosoever is endued, he may worthily be counted rich, although he were utterly destitute and void of all those things which the madness of men hath in these our days in so great admiration and price; yea, where these honourable treasures of the mind are, there the frail goods of most frail fortune offer themselves, and willingly give their service, not suffering the possessor of them extremely to lack, as divers histories do evidently declare.
Therefore to the end that you may the more plentifully abound with these immortal, constant, and unmovable riches, and by this means become richer than king Croesus, even in the midst of your poverty; I thought it not unseemly, nor unworthy either of my vocation or of your young years, to give unto you this little book, which of late I made; wherein is contained whatsoever is necessarily required unto the perfect instruction of a Christian man; that you, exercising yourselves diligently in the reading of it, may become learned in the rules of your profession, and attain unto such knowledge of God’s doctrine in this your tender age, that at the last ye may become ancient and perfect in Christ, and so in fine obtain that which is the end of our hope, I mean everlasting felicity.
This book I commend unto you, my most sweet and dear children, as a noble and singular treasure, profitable both for the body and for the soul, and necessary for the right institution of your life: according to the doctrine whereof if you frame your life, ye shall not only wax and become learned in your profession (whereof to be ignorant is too much ungodliness), but also not attempt any thing at any time that shall either be displeasant to God, or to godly men, or to yourselves.
Take it, therefore, with joyful hearts as a testimony of your father’s good will toward you; yea, receive it as your patrimony, left of your father unto you, which otherwise is not able to enrich you; and glory no less in this my gift, than other children do in the riches of this world. And I shall most humbly beseech God to be your father and defender, and to give you his Holy Spirit, which may govern you in all your doings, that ye may walk blameless in his sight, and be found in the number of God’s elect.
The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit! Amen.
Set Forth Dialogue-Wise in Familiar Talk
Between the Father and the Son.
Father. [Deut. 4, 11; Ecclus. 7, 10, 30, 42; Eph. 6, Col. 3, Titus 2] Forasmuch, my dear child, as all parents are commanded of God diligently to bring up their children in the knowledge of his most holy and blessed will, that they, even from their very cradles, may learn to fear God and to walk in his ways, neither declining on the right hand nor on the left; I have, to the uttermost of my power, not only by myself, but also by other godly and virtuous learned men, (as I may speak nothing of my diligence in bringing thee unto the temple to hear the preachings of God’s law, and the godly prayers which are there used unto the glory of God and the edifying of such as be present, whereby thy knowledge in the Lord’s ordinances may not only be confirmed, but also increased,) travailed to bring thee up even from thy very infancy and tender age in the doctrine of holy letters; following in this behalf not only the commandment of God, but also the examples both of the ancient patriarchs and of many other godly men, whose names as they be registered in the book of life, so likewise are they honourably remembered in the holy bible. Wherefore my desire is at this present to have some taste, by familiar talk between thee and me, of thy knowledge in the Lord Jesu, and how thou hast profited in matters of everlasting life; that by this means I may know whether thou hast satisfied my expectation, and no less prospered in the study of godliness, than my opinion is that thou hast done.
Son. I can none otherwise, most loving father, than acknowledge and confess your fatherly good will toward me, which have neither spared labour nor cost to bring me unto the knowledge of God, and of my salvation in the Lord Jesu.
Father. Son, that hath been ever my desire. For he is not worthy the name of a Christian man, [Psa. 32] but rather may justly be resembled to “an horse or mule,” that have not this knowledge.
“This is everlasting life,” saith our Saviour Christ, [John 17] “that they know thee (that thou only art the true God), and whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ.” Hereto pertaineth the saying of the wise man; “To know thee, O God, is perfect righteousness; yea, to know thy righteousness and power is the root of immortality.” [Wisd. 15] “Vain are all men, which have not the knowledge of God.” [Wisd. 13] “Ye err,” said Christ to the Sadducees, [Matt. 22] “because ye know not the scriptures.” Again; “Search the scriptures, for ye think ye have everlasting life in them, and the same are they which testify of me; and ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life.” [John 5]
But come off, let me now have some experience of thy good success in matters of Christian religion.
Son. I am ready, most gentle father, at your commandment. Only I shall most humbly desire you to consider my young age, and the small continuance which, by the reason of my few and tender years, I have had in the studies both of godliness and letters.
Father. This thing is not unknown unto me. Thy age is young, thy years are few, thy continuance in study is small, for as yet art thou not six years old. Therefore my mind is only at this present to talk with thee, not of things which far exceed both thy age and capacity, but of such matters as be meet for children to know, wherein also thou hast heretofore (as thy age hath suffered) been exercised, both by me thy father, and also by the preacher, and by thy schoolmaster.
Son. Do you mean such matters, as be contained in my catechism? Father. The very same. Son. If it shall be your good pleasure to examine me in them, I trust, by the help of God and by the assistance of his Holy Spirit, to make such answers as shall not only not displease you, but also most highly please you, content your mind, and satisfy your expectation; so that you shall think both your labour and cost to have been not unfruitfully employed and bestowed upon me.
Father. If thou performest no less in deed than thou promisest in word, thou shalt not only content me, but also deserve at my hand both praise and a continuance of my fatherly favour and liberality toward thee. And forasmuch as our whole communication at this time shall be altogether of the doctrine contained in the catechism, I first of all demand of thee, what thou meanest by this word Catechism. For many have this word Catechism in their mouth, but few understand what it meaneth.
Son. As I remember, I heard our schoolmaster say, that it is a Greek word, and signifieth a doctrine taught of the wise and learned to the younglings of Christ’s religion, in the which, after a brief and goodly order, is comprehended whatsoever is necessarily required unto the right institution of a Christian man; so that whosoever hath and understandeth this doctrine, hath and understandeth the whole sum of all things necessary unto salvation contained in the old or new testament.
Father. Is not this kind of teaching younglings new, and lately invented? Son. No, verily. It is rather old, and of long time used in the church of Christ, as the monuments of the ancient writers testify. For in the primitive church there were not only bishops and pastors that preached the gospel of Christ to the people, which were already graffed by baptism and the Holy Ghost in Christ Jesu, but also certain teachers, called catechistae,* which taught not only the young children that were already baptized, but also such as being in age came and were contented to forsake gentility and to take upon them Christianity, and to turn from idolatry unto the worshipping of that one and alone true, living, immortal, and everlasting God, the principles of Christian religion, before they received baptism, and were openly admitted into the congregation of the faithful. And as these teachers were called catechistae, that is to say, instructors, or teachers; so likewise were the younglings called catechumeni, that is to say, persons instructed or taught. And the office of the catechist was not only to instruct and teach, but also to examine such as they taught how they profited and increased in the knowledge of God’s mysteries; and if they failed in any point, diligently to instruct and teach them, till they were well exercised in the doctrine of Christ.
[*The office or duty of the catechists, in the primitive church, was precise and well-defined; but it does not appear that they were a distinct order. See Bingham, Orig. Eccles. Book III, chap. x.]
Father. They then do evil which report, that the teaching of the catechism, that is to say, the elements or principles of Christ’s doctrine, to the young lambs of Christ’s flock, I mean the children, is a late invention, and newly crept into the church of Christ, through the device of certain backsliders and runaways from the catholic church. Son. The true catholic and apostolic church hath had the catechism taught in it from the beginning. It is no late invention, but before many hundred years used of Christ and of his apostles, and also of the ancient fathers, both in the Greek and Latin church. Of this kind of teaching speaketh St Paul in his epistle unto the Galatians on this manner: “Let him that is taught with the word minister in all good things unto him that teacheth him.” [Gal. 6]
Father. Let this suffice concerning this word catechism. Declare now unto me of how many parts the doctrine of the catechism consisteth. Son. Of six parts.
Father. Which are they? Son. Repentance, faith, law, prayer, sacraments, and the offices of all degrees.
Father. Is the whole sum of Christ’s doctrine contained in these six parts? Son. Yea, verily.
The First Part of the Catechism.
Father. And is repentance the first part of that doctrine which is taught in the catechism? Son. So have I learned. For our catechist declared unto us, that, when John Baptist, Christ, and his apostles began to teach, they preached first of all repentance.
Father. Where readest thou that John Baptist began his doctrine of repentance? Son. In the third chapter of St Matthew’s gospel, where we read on this manner [Matt. 3]: “In those days came John Baptist preaching in the wilderness of Jewry, and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Again, in the first chapter of blessed Mark [Mark 1]: “John baptized in the wilderness, preaching the baptism,” that is to say, the doctrine, “of repentance unto the remission of sins.” The very same thing read we in the gospel of Luke. [Luke 3]
Father. Began Christ also his preaching of repentance? Son. So write the evangelists. Matthew [Matt. 4] hath in his gospel thus: “Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Mark [Mark 1] hath these words: “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe the gospel.” Hereof learn we, that both John Baptist and Christ began their preaching of repentance. And in the gospel of Luke [Luke 24] we read, that Christ gave in commandment to his disciples, that they should preach repentance and forgiveness of sins unto all nations. And according to the commandment of Christ the apostles taught. For in the Acts of the Apostles we read that, when Peter laid their sins before the Jews, they were greatly dismayed and stricken with an inward sorrow, so that they brast out into these words [Acts 2]: “Ye men and brethren, what shall we do? Peter said unto them, Repent ye of your sins, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Again [Acts 2]: “Repent, and turn, that your sins may be put away.” In another place of the same book [Acts 26] we read, that St Paul maketh mention of his doctrine which he taught “to the Jews and to the gentiles, which is, that they should repent, turn unto God, and do works worthy such as do repent.” All these testimonies of the holy scripture do abundantly declare, that the doctrine of repentance ought to have the first place in the institution of a Christian man, if we will observe that order which John Baptist, Christ with his apostles, and St Paul used.
Father. What is repentance? Son. Repentance is an inward and true sorrow of the heart, unfeignedly conceived in the mind by earnest consideration of our sins and wickednesses, which heretofore most unkindly we have committed against the Lord our God, of whom we have freely received so many, so great, and so noble benefits, with a perfect detestation and utter abhorring of our former wicked life; whereunto is also added a fervent and inward desire from henceforth to live godly and virtuously, and to frame our life in all points according to the holy will of God expressed in the divine scriptures. Of this repentance speaketh St Paul in his second epistle to the Corinthians [2 Cor. 7] on this manner: “A godly sorrow causeth repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of; when the worldly sorrow causeth death. For behold this thing, what diligence this godly sorrow that ye took hath wrought in you; yea, it causeth you to clear yourselves: it caused indignation, it caused fear, it caused desire, it caused a fervent mind, it caused punishment.”
Father. Thou confessest then the doctrine of repentance to be necessary for the right institution of a Christian man? Son. Yea, so necessary, that without it the other parts of Christian doctrine do not much profit.
For the doctrine of repentance bringeth a man unto the knowledge of himself, without the which no man shall ever know God aright, nor his salvation, which he receiveth of God through Jesus Christ. [Matt. 9] “I came not,” saith Christ, “to call the righteous, but sinners unto repentance.” “For such as are whole need no physician, but they that are sick.” What brought the people of Israel, David, Manasses, Mary Magdalene, &c. unto the knowledge of themselves and of their sins, and enforced them to run unto God for mercy, but the doctrine of repentance? The doctrine of repentance setteth before the sinner the greatness and weight of his sins, the heavy anger of God against the sinner for his sin, everlasting damnation for committing the sin, and so combereth the conscience of the sinner with the terrors of God’s judgment, that in himself he can find no rest, no ease, no consolation, no remedy; but is compelled with all humility and submission of mind to confess his sin, to grant himself a most damnable sinner, and to seek comfort not of himself, nor of his own good works, but of God and of his great mercies.
Moreover, the doctrine of repentance enarmeth a man against the assaults of Satan, against the enticements of the flesh, against the pleasures of the world, against the sting of sin, against the dart of desperation, and admonisheth him afterward so warily and circumspectly to live, that he fall no more into the same sins, nor be snarled again with the like snares; but rather from henceforth so frame his life, that he shall not need to be combered with the like shame and sorrow for committing the like wickedness, while he endeavoureth himself to the uttermost of his power to garnish his conversation with all kind of spiritual virtues and godly works, as St John Baptist saith: “Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance.” [Matt. 3] “For even now is the axe laid at the root of the tree: every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn up and cast into the fire.”
Father. They then that truly and with a faithful heart receive this doctrine of a repentance, whereof thou hast hitherto spoken, are not excluded from the grace, favour, are not and mercy of God, but may well persuade themselves to receive remission of sins, and to be made inheritors of everlasting glory. Son. Yea, verily. For thus saith God himself by the prophet [Ezek. 33]: “As surely as I live, I desire not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn and live.” And the prophet Esay saith [Isa. 4]: “Let the ungodly man forsake his own ways, and the unrighteous his own imaginations, and turn again unto the Lord; so shall he be merciful unto him. For he is such a God as is ready to forgive.” [Ezek. 18] “If the ungodly,” saith God by the prophet Ezechiel, “will turn away from all his sins that he hath done, and keep all my commandments, and do the thing that is equal and right, doubtless he shall live and not die. As for all his sins that he did before, they shall not be thought upon, but in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. For have I any pleasure in the death of a sinner, saith the Lord God, and not rather that he should convert and live?” “Be converted, and turn you from all your wickedness; so shall there no sin do you harm. Cast away from you all your ungodliness that ye have done. Make you new hearts and a new spirit. Wherefore will ye die, O ye house of Israel, seeing I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God? Turn ye then, and ye shall live.” Doth not Christ in the gospel [Matt. 11] call lovingly unto him all such as be diseased and laden with the burden of sin, and promise that he will ease and comfort them? Saith he not that he came “to save such as were lost”? [Luke 19] What other thing do we learn of the parables of the lost sheep and of the prodigal son, than that sinners repenting be received unto mercy and favour? And are not these Christ’s words? [Luke 15] “I say unto you, that there shall be joy in heaven before the angels of God over one sinner, more than over ninety and nine righteous that need no repentance.” There is no sin that giveth not place to repentance.
Father. And is this repentance the gift of nature or of grace? Son. It is the gift of God, and cometh not of ourselves. For what good thing either have we, or lad can we do, except we first receive it of God? This testifieth St Paul, saying [1 Cor. 4]: “What hast thou that thou hast not received? If thou hast received it, why dost thou glory as though thou hadst not received it?” Hereto pertaineth the saying of St James [James 1]: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” Forasmuch therefore as repentance is a good gift, therefore cometh it from God.
Father. Came the repentance of Cain, Esau, Saul, Judas, and such like, from God also? Son. It came from themselves, and from the devil, author of all sin and wickedness. For this repentance leadeth unto desperation and finally unto damnation, and is that “worldly sorrow,” which, as St Paul writeth, “causeth death”. But that repentance, which is wrought by the Spirit of God in the hearts of men, doth not only contain in it an hearty sorrow for the sin committed, with an earnest intent and full purpose to live from henceforth according to the will of God, but also an assured faith and undoubted persuasion that God for our mediator Jesu Christ’s sake will he merciful unto us, forgive us our sins, and make us inheritors of everlasting glory. And this repentance, I say, cometh not of ourselves, but it is the gift of God.
Father. Prove that by the word of God. Son. By the prophet Ezechiel God speaketh on this manner [Ezek. 36]: “I will pour clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; yea, from all your uncleannesses and from all your idols shall I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put into you. As for that stony heart, I will take it out of your body, and give you a fleshly heart. I will give you my Spirit among you, and cause you to walk in my commandments, to keep my laws, and to fulfill them. And ye shall be my people; and I will be your God.” The prophet Jeremy prayeth on this manner [Jer. 31]: “Convert thou me, O Lord, and I shall be converted; for thou art my Lord God. As soon as thou turnedst me I repented, and as soon as thou shewedst me my sins, I smote my thigh: yea, I was confounded and right greatly ashamed.” Again [Lam. 5]: “O Lord, turn thou us unto thee, and so shall we be turned.” St Paul, in his epistle unto Timothy [2 Tim. 2], by most manifest and expressed words sheweth repentance to be the gift of God. “ The servant of God,” saith he, “must inform them that resist, if that God at any time will give them repentance, for to know the truth, and that they may come to themselves again out of the snare of the devil, which are holden captive of him at his will.”
Father. That therefore is the alone true repentance, which, being the gift of God, and wrought in the hearts of men by the Holy Ghost, doth not only contain in it an inward sorrow of the mind for the sins tofore committed against God, with a full determined purpose from henceforth to amend and to lead a new life, but also a perfect faith to be forgiven for Christ’s sake. Son. Repentance not accompanied with faith driveth rather unto desperation than unto salvation; as we may see in Cain, Esau, Saul, Judas, and in such like. But repentance combined with faith lifteth up the wearied and cast down soul, comforteth the troubled heart, rejoiceth the sorrowful mind, and quieteth the restless conscience; as we have for examples in the holy scripture David, Manasses, Mary Magdalene, Peter, &c. And therefore in a most goodly and seemly order followeth the second part of the doctrine of the Catechism, which entreateth of faith. For after the doctrine of repentance, the doctrine of faith necessarily is to be set forth unto such as will be rightly and truly instructed in the rules of Christianity.
The Second Part of the Catechism
Father. Observed Christ and his apostles that order of teaching also? Son. So teach the evangelical history. For Christ began his preaching on this manner [Mark 1]: “Repent, and believe the gospel.”
First he taught repentance, and afterward faith. And after his resurrection, when he sent forth his apostles to preach, he commanded them [Luke 24] to “preach in his name repentance and remission of sins to all nations.” What other thing is it to preach remission of sins, than to publish and set forth the doctrine of faith, which faith alone obtaineth the favour of God and forgiveness of sin? Where faith in the Son of God is, there is everlasting life; but where this faith is not, there is eternal death and damnation, as the scripture saith [John 3]: “He that believeth on the Son (of God) hath everlasting life; but he that believeth not on the Son (of God) shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth upon him.”
And according to this commandment of their Master Christ, the apostles observed and kept this order of teaching in their sermons. First they taught repentance, and afterward faith, as we may see in the chronicle of the apostles’ acts, where we read [Acts 2] that St Peter answered to this demand of the Jews, “What shall we do, ye men and brethren?” on this manner: “ Repent ye of your sins, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ,” &c. What is it to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, but first steadfastly to believe, and undoubtedly to be persuaded that through the might and power of Christ our sins be forgiven, and we received and taken into the number of God’s sons; and afterward in token of this grace and favour, which we through faith have obtained of God, to receive the sacrament of baptism, whereby we do profess that we pertain no more unto the kingdom of Satan, but unto the kingdom of Christ, and will from henceforth serve him, and seek his glory all the days of our life? Again, in the same book [Acts 3]: “Repent and turn, that your sins may be put away.” Is it any other thing to turn, than to forsake incredulity and to believe, [Luke 1] than to cast away the service of idols and to serve the living God in such “holiness and righteousness,” as are accepted before him? In another place of the same book [Acts 20] we read, that St Paul taught “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” And in his epistle to the Hebrews [Heb. 6], where he maketh mention of the principles of Christian religion, he first of all nameth repentance, and afterward faith. His words are these: “Let us leave the doctrine pertaining to the beginning of a Christian man, and let us go unto perfection, and now no more lay the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of baptism, of doctrine, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection from death, and of eternal judgment.”
Thus see we, that the order which Christ and his apostles observed in their sermons was first to teach the doctrine of repentance, and then of faith.
Father. Let this suffice for the order of the doctrine contained in the catechism. Tell me now what faith is. Son. “Faith,” as the apostle defineth it [Heb. 11], “is a sure confidence of things which are hoped for, and a certainty of things which are not seen.”
Father. This definition seemeth to be somewhat hard. What teacheth the apostle here? Son. Verily, that faith is a certain, assured, and an undoubted persuasion of the mind, conceived of the word of God through the operation of the Holy Ghost, concerning the performance and enjoying of such heavenly things as God hath promised in his holy scriptures to the faithful. Which things although reason cannot comprehend them, yet faith embraceth them, and believeth them to be most true and most certain; nothing doubting but that God in his time will most assuredly accomplish, perform, and bring to pass whatsoever he hath promised.
Father. But what are those things which, being not seen, are hoped for? Son. The things which are not seen, and yet be hoped and looked for of the faithful at God’s hand, are deliverance from the tyranny of Satan, from the curse of the law, and from everlasting damnation, remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost, hearing and granting of our prayers, regeneration unto a new birth, justification, resurrection of the dead, everlasting life, and whatsoever good, godly, precious, heavenly, comfortable, and glorious things are promised us of God in the holy scriptures. These things [1 Cor. 2] “the natural and unregenerate man understandeth not, neither can he comprehend them;” but faith, wrought in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, without any doubting believeth, hopeth, and looketh for the very same things, nothing despairing but that God, which in his holy word hath mercifully promised these things, as he is able, so will most liberally perform the same things in his time, although reason, which is altogether blind in matters of God, seeth not how it may be brought to pass.
Father. Cometh not faith then of ourselves, but it is rather the gift of God? Son. Of ourself? What cometh of ourselves that good is, which are not able of ourselves once to think a good thought? Our destruction cometh of ourselves, but our salvation cometh only of God. “No man can come unto me,” saith Christ, “except my Father draweth him.” “For it is written in the prophets, All shall be taught of God. Every one therefore, that hath heard of the Father and learned, cometh unto me.” [Hos. 13, John 6, Isa. 54, Jer. 31]
Father. Prove by the word of God, that faith is the gift of God, and cometh not of ourselves. Son. When Christ demanded of his disciples who he was, Peter, in the name of himself and of his fellows, answered [Matt. 16]: “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. Christ answered and said, Blessed art thou, Simon the son of Jonas; for flesh and blood hath not shewed this thing unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” In the gospel of St John [John 6] we read, that when the Jews asked of Christ what they should do, that they might work the works of God, he answered: “This is the work of God, that ye believe in him whom he hath sent.” And in the Acts of the Apostles [Acts 13] we read, that when Paul and Barnabas preached, “so many as were tofore ordained unto everlasting life, believed.” Again, of a certain woman called Lydia, blessed Luke writeth, [Acts 16] “that the Lord opened her heart to give attendance to these things that Paul spake.” And blessed St Paul, writing to the Philippians, saith [Phil. 1]: “It is given to you, not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for him.” And in another place he confesseth faith to be given unto men of God through the Holy Ghost. [1 Cor. 12, Rom. 12, Eph. 2] These testimonies of the holy scripture declare sufficiently that faith cometh “not of ourselves, but is the gift of God;” only given to them which are the vessels of mercy, and tofore ordained unto everlasting life. For, as the apostle saith, [2 Thess. 3] “All have not faith.” To obtain therefore this most precious and noble gift of faith, we have need to pray with the father of the diseased child: “Lord, help mine unbelief.” And with the apostles: “Lord, increase our faith.” [Mark 9, Luke 17]
Father. Is faith so necessary a thing unto salvation? Son. [Heb. 11] “Without faith it is not possible to please God. For he that cometh to God must believe that God is, and that he is a rewarder to them that seek him.” “He that believeth not on the Son (of God) shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” [John 3] The godless and heathenish people wrought in times past many notable and worthy acts, and outwardly glistered with goodly virtues; so that in outward appearance they might seem not unjustly to compare with the Christians: notwithstanding, forasmuch as they wanted this faith, whereof we now speak, all that ever they did was nothing but hypocrisy and abomination before God. “For whatsoever is not grounded on faith, the same is sin.” And, “That which is worthy greater commendation before men is abominable before God.” [Rom. 14, Luke 16]
Father. Why, what commodities bringeth faith to man? Son. By faith we be made the sons of God.
Father. How provest thou that? Son. In the gospel of St John it is written [John 1]: “As many as received him, to them he gave power to be the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” And St Paul also writeth [Gal. 3]: “All ye are the sons of God, because ye have believed in Christ Jesu.”
Father. What more? Son. By faith we, which afore were sinners and unrighteous, are justified and counted righteous before God for Christ’s sake.
Father. Where is that proved? Son. St Paul saith [Rom. 3]: “We plainly affirm, that a man is justified by faith, without the works of the law.” Again [Rom. 5]; “We, being justified by faith, have peace toward God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Also in another
place he saith [Gal. 2]: “We know that a man is not justified by the deeds of the law, but by the faith of Jesu Christ. And we have believed on Jesu Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the deeds of the law; forasmuch as by the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justified.”
Father. Have we any other profit by faith? Son. Yea, many and divers.
Father. What are they? Son. By faith are we espoused and married unto Christ, as Christ himself testifieth by the prophet Ose [Hos. 2]: “I will marry thee unto myself in faith,” saith he, “and thou shalt know the Lord.” Faith is that wedding garment also, wherewith we be married unto Christ, according to the parable which we read in the gospel. [Matt. 22]
Furthermore, by faith Christ’s fulfilling of the law is counted our fulfilling, as St Paul witnesseth, saying [Rom. 10]: “Christ is the fulfilling of the law, to justify all that believe.” Again [Gal. 3]: “Christ hath delivered us (he speaketh of the faithful) from the curse of the law, inasmuch as he was made accursed for our sake.” And in the Acts of the Apostles we read thus [Acts 13]: “Be it known unto you, ye men and brethren, that through this man (Christ) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, and that by him all that believe are justified from all things, from the which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” The wise man also saith [Ecclus. 32]: “In all thy works believe faithfully with all thy soul; for that is the keeping of the commandments. He that believeth on God giveth attendance to the commandments, and he that trusteth in him shall not be confounded.”
Moreover, by faith our prayers are accepted and heard of God, as Christ himself saith [Matt. 21]: “All things whatsoever ye ask in prayer, if ye believe, ye shall receive them.” Hereunto pertaineth the saying of St James [James 1]: “Let him that pray ask in faith, and doubt not. For he that doubteth is like a wave of the sea, which is tossed of the winds, and carried with violence. Neither let that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” Item, by faith our works are allowed before God as righteous for Christ’s sake: as we read of Abel [Gen. 4], whose sacrifice was approved of God, because it was done in faith. And so likewise were all the sacrifices which the holy patriarchs and other godly men offered in the old law. “Thine eyes, O Lord, look upon faith,” saith the preacher Hieremy. [Jer. 5]
Finally, by faith we obtain everlasting life, as Christ witnesseth, saying, [John 3] “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that every one that believeth on him may not perish, but have everlasting life.” Again [John 6]: “This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, have everlasting life.” Also in another place [John 11]: “I am the resurrection and life. He that believeth in me, although he be dead, yet shall he live: and every one that liveth and believeth in me, he shall never die.”
Father. I commend thee, my dear child, that thou rememberest these things so well. But where are those things contained which we must believe, if we will receive the foresaid commodities and profits which thou hast rehearsed? Son. In the holy In the holy scriptures; but briefly and in a short sum, they are contained in the Apostles’ creed, as they call it. For in that is comprehended in few words whatsoever is taught throughout the whole bible in many, necessarily to be believed unto everlasting salvation.
Father. Why is it called the Apostles’ creed? Son. Either because the apostles, as some say, did make it together with one consent, and delivered it to the congregation of the faithful both to teach and to believe: or else, because it is agreeable in all points to the doctrine which the apostles taught by mouth, and left in writing unto their posterity; so that whosoever believeth and confesseth this doctrine, which is contained in this creed, may right well be counted in the number of the faithful Christians, and taken for a member of Christ’s church.
Father. How many articles of the Christian faith are there? Son. Twelve.
Father. Which are they?
Son. 1. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and of earth.
2. And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
3. Which was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary.
4. Suffered under Ponce Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried: he descended unto hell.
5. The third day he rose again from death.
6. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
8. I believe in the Holy Ghost.
9. The holy universal church, which is the fellowship or company of saints.
10. The forgiveness of sins.
11. The rising again of the body.
12. And everlasting life. Amen.
Father. Into how many parts is this symbol or creed of the apostles divided? Son. Into four.
Father. Which are they? Son. The first part is of God and of the creation; and comprehendeth only one article. The second part is of Christ the Son of God, and of our redemption; and consisteth of six articles. The third part is of the Holy Ghost; and containeth one article. The fourth part is of our sanctification, and of the fruits and effects of faith; and comprehendeth four articles. And thus is this creed finished.
Father. Recite the first article.
Father. Why beginnest thou on this manner, “I believe in God”? Son. [Heb. 11] For “he that cometh to God must believe that God is, and that he is a rewarder to them that seek him.” And “without faith it is not possible to please God.” Yea, “whatsoever is not grounded on faith, the same is sin.” [Rom. 14]
Father. What meanest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God”? Son. I assuredly, undoubtedly, and most certainly am persuaded in my heart, that there is but one only true, living, immortal, and everlasting God, in whom alone I repose and set all mine affiance, trust, and confidence, and of whom only and of none other I hope and look for all good things, pertaining unto the soul or unto the body.
Father. What is God? Son. To define God, which is infinite, and whose majesty is unsearchable, it lieth not in my power. But I will make a certain description of God, as I have learned.
Father. Let me hear. Son. “God is a spirit,” [John 4] everlasting, infinite, almighty, true, most wise, righteous, gentle, merciful, kind, liberal, the fountain of all goodness, an essence of himself, without beginning or ending, unchangeable, abiding alway in one state, favouring the good, punishing the evil, “in whom we live, move, and have our being” [Acts 17]: the Father, which from everlasting begat his Son, like unto himself: the Son, which is the true and lively “image” of the Father, being of the same eternity, might, power, and majesty: the Holy Ghost, which proceedeth from the Father and the Son: three Persons, and one alone true God. [Heb. 1, Psa. 110, John 15, 16; 1 John 5]
Father. Why, are there three Persons in the Godhead, and yet but one God? Son. Yea, most certainly.
Father. Prove that by the scriptures. Son. When man should be made, God the Father said to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, [Gen 1] “Let us make man like unto our own similitude and image.” In these two words, us and our, is declared the plurality of Persons; and in these two words, similitude and image, is expressed the unity or singularity of the Godhead in the Trinity of Persons. The holy scripture [Gen 18] testifieth, that Abraham saw three, and worshipped one: that is to say, three in the propriety of persons, and one in the unity of the divine substance. The prophet Esay [Isa. 6] heard seraphim crying: “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts.” By the thrice repetition of this word “holy,” the three Persons in the Trinity are expressed unto us; but by the one denomination of God, one Deity, or one only divine substance of those three Persons is declared unto us: likewise as by the one naming of the Lord of hosts, the lordship, kingdom, majesty, power, and authority of this one God is understanded to be all one and the same. The psalmograph also writeth on this manner: “By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made sure, and with the Spirit of his mouth all the power of them.” [Psa. 33] Here likewise is set forth unto us, that there be three Persons in the Godhead. The Father is called the Lord, the Son the Word, and the Holy Ghost the Spirit. In the evangelical history we read that, when Christ was baptized, the Father from heaven was heard saying, “This is my well-beloved Son, in whom I have a great delight.” [Matt. 3, Mark 1, Luke 3, John 1] We read also, that the Holy Ghost came down from heaven in the likeness of a dove, and rested upon Christ. Here is it most evident, that in that most blessed, glorious, and everlasting Godhead there are three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And when our Saviour Christ sent forth his apostles to preach, he commanded them also to “baptize all nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” [Matt. 28] The unity of the divine essence is set forth in this, that Christ saith, “in the name,” and not in the names; as likewise by these three names, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, is declared, that there are three Persons in the divine substance. To be short, St John in his epistle doth in few words comprehend all this matter, saying: “They are they [A misprint probably for three.], which give witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one.” [1 John 5]
Father. Thou affirmest then, that in the divine essence, although there be three distinct Persons, yet is there but one God. Son. I do not only affirm and confess it with my mouth, but I also most certainly do believe it with my heart. “It is the Lord that made the heavens,” which is the true and alone God; “as for the gods of the heathen, they are devils,” as the psalmograph saith. And therefore in the confession of my faith I say, “I believe in God,” and not in gods. For there is but one God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as God himself testifieth, saying: “Behold, I am alone, and there is none other God besides me.” [1 Cor. 8, Eph. 4, Deut. 32]
Father. Wherefore dost thou call God Father in the confession of thy faith, saying, “I believe in God the Father?” Son. For two causes. First, to declare that in the Godhead there are three distinct Persons, as we heard before, of the which God the Father is the first, which is the true and natural Father of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, begotten from everlasting, very God of very God, and of the same substance with the Father. [Psa. 110] Secondly, to express, that as Jesus Christ is the Son of this first Person in the Deity by natural substance, so likewise through this Christ am I his son also, not by nature, but by adoption; so that God the Father is now also become my father, and hath made me by grace his son, and inheritor of his heavenly kingdom. And while I am in this world, he conserveth and keepeth me: he nourisheth and comforteth me: yea, and as a most loving and gentle father he blesseth me with all good things necessary both for soul and body.
Father. Prove me out of the holy scriptures, that God is the father of the faithful. Son. Moses saith [Deut. 32]: “Give praise unto our God. Is not he thy father, that hath made and created thee?” The prophet Esay saith [Isa. 63]: “Thou, O Lord, art our Father and Redeemer. Thy name is from everlasting.” God himself saith by the prophet Jeremy [Jer. 3]: “Thou shalt call me, dear Father, and thou shalt turn no more away from me.” Our Saviour Christ saith: “Call no man your father upon the earth; for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” St Paul saith [Rom. 8]: “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage to fear any more, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, dear Father. The same Spirit certifieth our spirit, that we are the sons of God. If we be sons, we are also heirs, the heirs, I mean, of God, and fellow heirs with Christ.” St John crieth out on this manner [1 John 3]: “O behold, what a wonderful love God hath given to us, that we should be called the sons of God!” In fine, God saith [2 Cor. 6]: “I will be a father unto you; and ye shall be my sons and daughters.”
Father. But wherefore dost thou call God not only a Father, but also Almighty? Son. He is called Almighty, because he is able to do whatsoever his good pleasure is; [Psa. 115, Luke 1] and no man is of power to resist his godly will and determination. And this word, Almighty, is a great comfort unto me. For hereof I learn, that as God being my loving father hath a good mind and will graciously to help and succour me, so likewise hath he power and ability to aid and comfort me in all my troubles and necessities; so that in him there is both will and power.
Father. Declare unto me by the holy scriptures, that God is almighty. Son. God said unto Abraham: “I am the Almighty God: walk before me, and be thou perfect.” By the prophet Jeremy he saith also: “Behold, I am the Lord God of all flesh. Is there any thing too hard for me? Shall any thing be unpossible in my sight, saith the Lord of hosts?” Our Saviour Christ saith also: “With God all things are possible.” And the angel Gabriel said to Mary the virgin: “With God shall nothing be unpossible.” [Gen 17, Jer. 32, Matt. 19, Luke 1]
Father. Thou believest with thy heart, and confessest with thy mouth, not only that God is a Father and Almighty, but also the creator and maker both of heaven and of earth. Son. I both believe and confess.
Father. Why callest thou God the Father maker of heaven and of earth? Son. I call God not only a Father, but also almighty. And in that he is almighty, he made both heaven and earth, and all things contained in them, both visible and invisible, yea, and that of nothing. And as he at the beginning made them of nothing, so likewise doth he now still defend, govern, and keep them, even with the same might and power, wherewith he made them at the beginning.
Father. Shew unto me by the word of God, that God created all things. Son. Moses saith: “In the beginning God made heaven and earth.” [Gen 1, Jer. 32] Jeremy saith: “It is thou, O Lord God, that hast made heaven and earth with thy great power and outstretched arm. For there is nothing too hard for thee.” The psalmograph saith [Psa. 102]: “Thou, O Lord, at the beginning madest the earth; and the heavens are the works of thy hands.” [Acts 17] St Paul saith [Eph. 3]: “God made the world, and all things that are in it.” Again: “God made all things.”
Father. What comfort or doctrine dost thou gather of this, that God is the maker of heaven and earth? Son. Great comfort, and much doctrine.
For in believing on this God, which made both heaven and earth, I am right well assured, that I am free from the number of them which do believe, honour, and serve strange and false gods, yea, rather idols and devils; and that I am the servant, yea, the son by adoption, through Christ Jesu our Lord, of that one and alone true and everlasting God.
Again, by the consideration of God’s creatures I am taught to know God, his omnipotence, goodness, and providence, whose majesty otherwise I could never comprehend, nor attain unto any part of the knowledge of the same. But in them, as in a certain clear mirror or pleasant glass, I see and behold him, and learn partly to know him, as the apostle saith [Rom. 1]: “That which may be known of God is manifest among them: for God did shew it unto them: so that his invisible things, that is to say, his eternal power and Godhead, are understand and seen by the works from the creation of the world. So that they are without excuse; inasmuch as, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but waxed full of vanities in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts were blinded.” Hereto appertaineth the saying of the psalmograph [Psa. 19]: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the very firmament sheweth his handiwork.”
Moreover, hereof I learn that God created me and all his other creatures, both spiritual and corporal, both heavenly and earthly, of nothing, by his mighty power; and that I have my being, body, soul, wit, reason, discretion, wisdom, knowledge, health, wealth, riches, wife, children, and all that ever I have, of the bounteous liberality of this creator and maker of heaven and earth; which, as he by his power hath made me, so likewise by his wisdom and providence doth preserve, keep, govern, and defend me and all that I have.
And here am I taught [1 Cor. 4, James1] that whatsoever good thing I have, it is the gift of God, the author of all goodness; and that therefore I ought not to be proud, nor to stand in mine own conceit, which have nothing of myself that good is, no, not so much as once to think a good thought, much less to do any good work, but rather to humble myself before the presence of God’s majesty, and to magnify and exalt his glorious name, for the benefits which he most graciously hath bestowed upon me without my deserts, and to labour unto the uttermost of my power to use his gifts unto the glory of his holy name, the profit of my neighbour, and the salvation of my soul. [2 Cor. 3, John 15]
Finally, this comfort have I also, that, forasmuch as I believe in that God the Father, which through his omnipotence and almighty power hath made all things contained in heaven and in earth, I shall lack no good thing necessary either for my body or for my soul; but, while I live in this world, my body shall have sufficient food and raiment for the conservation and maintenance of the same, and after this life my soul, being delivered from the prison of the body, shall enjoy the blessed inheritance of God’s glorious and heavenly kingdom. For my wealth and comfort, for my joy and solace, hath God my Father created heaven and earth, and whatsoever is contained in them.
Father. Thou sayest well. But come off, tell me, why dost thou rather say, “I believe in God,” than I believe that God is? Son. To believe that God is is common not only to the faithful but also to the unfaithful, yea, to the very devils, as St James saith [James 2]: “Thou dost believe that there is but one God. Thou doest well. But the devils believe that also and tremble.” But to “believe in God” is to put our whole trust and confidence, not in any creature in heaven or in earth, not in any work or ceremony, but only and alone in this one true and everlasting God, which is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ by nature, and the Father of the faithful by grace, of such omnipotence and almighty power, that at the beginning he made of nothing both heaven and earth, and whatsoever is contained in them; to look for assuredly all good things at his hands, meat, drink, clothe, wife, children, house, health, &c., remission of sins, quietness of conscience, the gift of the Holy Ghost, everlasting life, &c.; to depend only on him; in all necessities and troubles to flee unto him, as unto the only and alone haven of health; to yield ourselves to him both body and soul; to cleave to him and to his promises both in prosperity and adversity; and in fine, so wholly to repose, settle, and quiet our minds in him, that we honour him as our alone God, love him as our most gentle Father, and obey him as our most gracious Lord, which both can and also will help, aid, succour, preserve, and defend us, suffering us to want no good thing either for the body or for the soul, but giving us largely all good things, himself being the highest good, and the fountain or wellspring of all goodness. This faith, this persuasion, this trust, this confidence of God’s goodness and mercy, have neither the unfaithful nor the devils; and therefore they “believe and tremble.” [James 2] The faithful have only this faith and confidence; and therefore they do believe and rejoice, as St Paul saith [Rom. 5]: “We, being justified by faith, are at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ by whom we have a way in through faith unto this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God,” &c.
Father. Let this suffice at this present for the first part of the Christian faith, concerning God the Father. Let us now go in hand with the second part. What followeth?
Son. “And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.”
Father. What meanest thou by that? Son. I said unto you before, that there are three distinct and several Persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and yet one only God. Of the first Person in the Deity, which is God the Father, you have heard the confession of my faith. Now in most goodly order followeth the second part of the Christian faith, concerning the second Person in the Godhead, which is here called Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, and our Lord.
Father. What believest thou of this second Person in the Deity, Jesus Christ? Son. As with my heart I do believe, and with my mouth confess the first Person in the Godhead, that is to say, the Father Almighty, which made heaven and earth, to be very God; so likewise with my heart do I believe, and with my mouth confess, that the second Person in the Deity, that is to say, Christ Jesus, is very God, begotten after an unoutspeakable manner of God the Father from everlasting, without any diminution of his divine substance, being of the same perfection, omnipotence, majesty, wisdom, eternity, glory, &c. And therefore, as I believe and put my whole trust and confidence in God the Father, and most certainly look for all good things at his hand, so in like manner do I believe and set all mine affiance and trust in God the Son, hoping to receive all prosperous things also of him, being the Son of God, and of the same might and power with God his Father.
Father. Prove by the holy scriptures that Jesus Christ is God. Son. Nothing is more easy. And although there be many, and almost innumerable, both sentences and histories in the holy scriptures, which do most evidently prove and declare that Christ Jesus is very God, yet may it seem for this present sufficient, out of so great a multitude, to select and choose out these few that follow.
Son. The prophet Esay saith [Isa. 9]: “Unto us a child is born, and unto us a son is given: upon his shoulder doth the kingdom lie, and he is called with his own name Wonderful, the Giver of Counsel, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace,” &c. Again he saith [Isa. 25]: “In that day it shall be said, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he shall save us. This is the Lord, in whom we have hoped. We shall be merry and rejoice in the salvation that cometh of him.” Also in another place he saith [Isa. 35]: “They shall see the glory of the Lord, and the majesty of our God, &c. Behold that God cometh to take vengeance; and you shall see the reward that God giveth. God cometh his own self, and will deliver you. Then shall the eyes of the blind be lightened, and the ears of the deaf opened. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the dumb man’s tongue shall be loosened.” Baruch also saith [Bar. 3]: “This is our God, and there shall none other be compared unto him. It is he that hath found out all wisdom, and hath given her unto Jacob his servant, and to Israel his beloved. Afterward did he shew himself upon earth, and dwelt among men.” The psalmograph also saith [Psa. 45]: “Thy seat, O God, endureth for ever: the scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter.”
Father. Let these testimonies of Christ’s divinity suffice concerning the old testament. Recite me some out of the new testament. Son. All the books of the new testament do largely bear witness of the Deity of Christ. St Matthew, speaking of Christ, hath these words: “ His name shall be called Emanuel, that is to say, God with us,” or God and man. St John writeth that, when Thomas the apostle saw Christ risen from death, he cried out and said, “My Lord, and my God.” [John 20] And in the beginning of his gospel he setteth forth the divinity of Christ plenteously. “In the beginning,” saith he, “was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. He was at the beginning with God: all things were made by him; and without him nothing was made that is made,” &c. [John 1] Christ, speaking of himself, saith: “ Verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.” Again: “I am that living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.” Item: “Except ye believe that I am (God), ye shall die in your sins.” “I and my Father are one.” Also in another place: “This is everlasting life, even to know thee the alone true God, and whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ.” [John 8, 6, 8, 17] St Paul saith, that “Christ came of the fathers as concerning the flesh; which (Christ) is God, in all things worthy to be praised for ever. Amen.” Again: “In Christ dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead corporally,” that is to say, naturally, truly, and effectually. Item: “We look for that blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesu Christ.” [Rom. 9, Col. 2, Titus 2] In other places St Paul calleth Christ the “image of the invisible God, first-begotten before all creatures,” the “brightness of his glory, and the very image of his substance.” [Heb. 1, 1 John 5] And St John, speaking of Christ, saith: “The same is very God and everlasting life.” Furthermore, the restoring of the blind to their sight, the raising up of the dead unto life, the cleansing of the lepers, the healing of them that were diseased with the palsy, the restoring of men possessed with devils and unclean spirits to their whole mind, the making of the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak, with the other miracles that Christ wrought, do evidently prove that Christ is very God.
Father. These things are more open than they may be denied. Now then, seeing it is Manifestly declared and proved by the holy scriptures, that Christ Jesus, the second Person in the Godhead, is equal God with God the Father, dost thou also believe in him, repose thine affiance, put all thy trust and confidence in him, and look for all good things at his hand? Son. Yea, verily; and therefore, as I said before, “I believe in God the Father,” so likewise say I now: “And I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord:” declaring my faith to be all one, both in God the Father, and in God the Son, which although they be two distinct and several Persons in the Deity, yet are they not two Gods, but one God. Our Lord and Saviour Christ saith: “Ye believe in God (the Father): believe ye also in me.” For “I and my Father are one.” “He that seeth me seeth the Father also.” “I am in my Father, and he is in me.” And St John saith: “This is the commandment of God, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ.” For “he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: but he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” [John 14, 10, 14; 1 John 3; John 3]
Father. And out of this faith mayest thou boldly cry unto this second Person in the Deity, and crave all good things at his hand? Son. No less than unto the Father. For it is written: “All that believe on him (Christ) shall not be ashamed”; “for there is one Lord of all, rich enough for all that call on him; so that every one that calleth on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” [Isa. 28, Rom. 10, Joel 2, Acts 2] And that we may be certain and not doubt, but that salvation cometh also unto us from this second Person in the Godhead, he is called Jesus. For so soundeth the article: “And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.”
Father. What signifieth this name Jesus? Son. Jesus is an Hebrew word, and signifieth a Saviour.
Father. Who gave the Son of God this name? Son. God the Father himself, as we read in the gospel. For Matthew writeth thus: “Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph in a dream, saying, Joseph, the son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife. For that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. She shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” “And the angel said unto Mary, Lo, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.” [Matt. 1, Luke 1]
Father. Why was this name Jesus appropriated and given to Christ of God the Father? Son. To declare unto us that he alone is our Saviour, and that we ought to seek salvation only at his hand, as St Peter saith [Acts 4]: “There is salvation in none other but in the Lord Jesus. Neither is there any other name under heaven given unto men, wherein we must be saved,” but only the name of Jesu. And here is another noble and notable testimony of Christ’s divinity. For in this that he is a Saviour, and saveth his people from their sins, it is evident that he is true and natural God. For none saveth, delivereth from sin, and giveth everlasting life, but God alone. But all these things doeth Christ. Therefore is Christ very God.
Father. Is Christ Jesus alone a Saviour? Son. Yea, verily. So teach the holy scriptures. And Christ himself saith by the prophet [Isa. 43]: “I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no Saviour.” Again [Hos. 13]: “Thy destruction, O Israel, cometh of thyself; but thy salvation cometh only of me.” Neither angel in heaven, nor man in earth, nor any work that we do, seemeth it never so holy, perfect, and righteous, can save us, but this Lord Christ alone, which is called Jesus. Whosoever therefore seeketh salvation at the hand of any other, deceiveth himself, and, as much as in him is, robbeth Christ both of his name and glory. And whosoever presumeth to save other by his own holiness, virtue, or righteousness, he denieth Christ to be Jesus, and is led with the spirit of antichrist. Christ calleth all them that are grieved and heavy loaden with the burden of sin unto him, and promiseth to ease them. [Matt. 11] He sendeth them not to other for to be eased. He “came to seek that was lost,” and to give his life a ransom for many. [Matt. 18, Luke 9] “This is a true saying,” saith St Paul [1 Tim. 1], “and by all means worthy to be received, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” And St John saith [1 John 3]: “To this end hath the Son of God appeared, that he should destroy the works of the devil.” Again [1 John 4]: “In this appeared the love of God toward us, that he sent his only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. In this is love; not that we loved God, but that he first loved us, and sent his Son to make agreement for our sins.” Christ is so alone Jesus, that he only saveth, delivereth from sin, and giveth everlasting life. Whosoever falleth away from this Saviour, and hunteth after other, he doeth nothing else than throw himself headlong into everlasting damnation. Against such backsliders this Son of God, this Jesus, this alone Saviour of the world, crieth out by the prophet on this manner [Jer. 2]: “Be astonied, O ye heavens, be afraid, and be abashed at such a thing, saith the Lord. For my people hath done two evils; they have forsaken me, the well of the water of life, and digged them pits, yea, vile and broken pits, that hold no water.” “Cursed is he,” saith Jeremy [Jer. 17], “that putteth his trust in man, and taketh flesh for his arm; and he whose heart departeth from the Lord. He shall be like the heath that groweth in the wilderness. As for the good thing that is to come, he shall not see it, but dwell in a dry place of the wilderness, in a salt and an unoccupied land. But O! blessed is the man that putteth his trust in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord himself is. [Psa. 1] For he shall be as a tree that is planted by the water side, which spreadeth out the root unto moistness, whom the heat cannot harm, when it cometh; but his leaves are green,” &c.
Father. But this second Person in the Godhead is not only called Jesus, but also Christ. Son. So is it.
Father. What is Christ to say? Son. Christ, in the Greek tongue, soundeth in our English speech, Anointed.
Father. Why is he called Christ, or Anointed? Son. As God the Father would declare unto us by this name Jesus, that his Son is our alone Saviour, and therefore true and natural God, so that we should seek our salvation of none, but of him alone; so likewise by this name Christ he teacheth us, that his Son is our alone king, priest, and prophet.
Father. Why was Jesus anointed also with oil, after the manner of kings, priests, and prophets in the old law? Son. The oil wherewith they were anointed was corruptible, as they themselves were corruptible and mortal; but the oil wherewith Christ was anointed was uncorruptible, immortal, heavenly, and spiritual.
Father. Of what oil speakest thou? Son. Of that oil which the psalmograph calleth the oil of gladness, saying [Psa. 45]: “Thou hast loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore hath God, even thy God, anointed thee with the oil of gladness more than all thy fellows.”
Father. What is this oil of gladness? Son. The Holy Ghost. With this oil, I mean the Holy Ghost, Christ is most abundantly anointed of God the Father, whereas the other faithful are anointed with this oil according to the measure which God hath given them; as St John Baptist saith [John 3]: “God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him,” that is to say, Christ. But “of his fullness,” and of the overflowing abundance of his Spirit, “have we all received.” [John 1]
Father. Hath God anointed Christ to be our king? Son. Yea, verily. But as his anointing is spiritual, so likewise is he a spiritual king; and his kingdom also is spiritual, as he said to Pilate [John 18]: “My kingdom is not of this world.” He ruleth not with the sword of the flesh, but with “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” [Eph. 6] Therefore saith the prophet [Zech. 9]: “Behold, thy king cometh unto thee, meek, poor, humble, or lowly, sitting upon an ass,” &c. He ruleth in the hearts of the faithful with his Spirit and word, defending them from the tyranny of the devil, from the captivity of sin, from the curse of the law, from the sting of death, from the torments of hell, and from everlasting damnation. For this cause he is called “the Prince of peace.” Neither is his kingdom temporal, but perpetual, as the angel saith: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God shall give unto him the seat of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom shall be none end.” For he is “the King of kings, and Lord of lords.” [Luke 1, Mic. 4, Dan. 7, Rev. 19]
Father. What profit have we by this kingdom of Christ? Son. Great and much. You heard before that Christ, being anointed of God his Father to be our king, preserveth and governeth us by his word and Spirit, and leadeth us in the way of holiness and righteousness. Again, he defendeth us from the cruelty of Satan, from the raging lusts of the flesh, from the vain pleasures of the world, from the thraldom of sin, from the curse of the law, from the sting of death, from the pains of hell, and from eternal damnation, and hath gotten for us an heavenly and everlasting kingdom. And through this his kingdom he hath also made us kings and conquerors of all our enemies; so that we may triumphantly and with rejoicing hearts say [1 Cor. 15, Hos. 13]: “Death, where is thy sting? Hell, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law: but thanks be unto God, which hath given us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Hereto pertaineth the saying of St Paul [Heb. 2]: “Christ through death did put him down, that had lordship over death, that is to say, the devil, that he might deliver them which through fear of death were all their lifetime in danger of bondage.”
Father. Is Christ also our priest? Son. Yea, the one and alone priest of the new testament, whose priesthood as it is most high and most excellent, so is it everlasting and perpetual, as the psalmograph saith: “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of [Psa. 110, Heb.7]
Father. Why is Christ called a priest? Son. [Exod. 12, John 1, Eph. 5] First, because he, being the true paschal lamb without spot, offered himself on the altar of the cross, a sweet-smelling sacrifice unto God the Father, for the sins of the whole world, and, by the virtue of that one and alone sacrifice once offered for all, he “hath made perfect for ever them that are sanctified” [Heb. 9, 10]; so that now we have no need of any other oblations or sacrifices to be offered unto God for our sins. For this our Bishop, with the one and alone sacrifice of his blessed body, hath fully and unto the uttermost finished and brought to pass whatsoever is necessary for our salvation, as the apostle saith [Heb. 10]: “We are sanctified and made holy by the offering up of the body of Jesu Christ done once for all.” Secondly, [1 Tim. 2, Rom. 8, Heb. 10] because he being our alone mediator, advocate, and intercessor, and sitting on the right hand of God the Father, doth continually pray for us, and appeaseth the wrath of God daily kindled against us through sin, as St John testifieth [1 John 2]: “If any man,” saith he, “sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he it is that obtaineth mercy for our sins; not for our sins only, but for the whole world’s.”
Father. What doth this priesthood of Christ profit us? Son. Very much. For in this that he is our alone high and everlasting priest, he hath offered sacrifice, as ye have heard, to God his Father, which sacrifice is he himself; and by this means hath he pacified the Father’s wrath, satisfied for our sins, reconciled us unto God, made us his sons, and fellow heirs with him of everlasting glory. Again, through this his priesthood, he is made unto God the Father our mediator, advocate, and intercessor, prayeth for us, pleadeth our cause, appeaseth God’s wrath, and obtaineth for us all good things necessary either for body or for soul. Moreover, by this his priesthood he hath made us priests to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through him, [1 Pet. 2, Rom. 12] that is to say, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a lively, holy, and well-pleasing sacrifice unto Rom. God; again, our prayers, praises, thanksgivings, and such other good works, even the fruits of our faith, as St Paul saith [Heb. 13]: “By Christ offer we the sacrifice of praise alway to God, that is to say, the fruit of those lips which confess his name. To do good and to distribute forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” “Ye are an holy priesthood,” saith St Peter, [1 Pet. 2] “for to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Again: “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, and a peculiar people, that ye should shew the virtues of him that called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Father. Is Christ also a prophet? Son. Yea, verily, even the very same prophet, of whom it is thus written [Deut. 18, Acts 7]: “I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will be avenged of him.” That Christ is this very prophet, the people also at his coming confessed, saying [John 6]: “Of a truth this is that prophet that should come into the world.”
Father. What profit have we by this, that Christ is a prophet? Son. In that he is that prophet, which God so many years before his coming promised to send, we are well assured that he is a schoolmaster sent from God unto us, and hath the words of God in his mouth, and teacheth us the truth, which we ought both diligently to hear, and steadfastly to believe, according to this saying [Matt. 17]: “This is my well-beloved Son, for whose sake I am well pleased with man; hear him.” Of his prophecy, doctrine, or preaching, Christ himself speaketh on this manner by the prophet [Isa. 63, Luke 4]: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me, and sent me to preach good tidings unto the poor, that I might bind up the wounded hearts, that I might preach deliverance to the prisoners, and open the prison to them that are bond, that I might declare the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of the avengeance of our God, that I might comfort all them that are in heaviness, that I might give unto them that mourn in Sion beauty in the stead of ashes, joyful ointment for sighing, pleasant raiment for an heavy mind; that they might be called excellent in righteousness, a planting of the Lord for him to rejoice in.” Hereunto belongeth the saying of the woman of Samaria [John 4]: “I know that Messias shall come, which is called Christ; and that, when he cometh, he will shew and declare unto us all things.” Furthermore, in that Christ is a prophet, he doth also anoint us with the oil of gladness, which is the Holy Ghost, and giveth us also the gift of prophecy, that we both can understand the holy scriptures, and also teach them to other unto the edifying of his church, as he himself saith by the prophet: “I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” Again: “I will put my laws in their minds, and in their hearts I will write them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall know me from the least to the most of them.” [Joel 2, Acts 2, Jer. 31, Heb. 8]
Father. Let these things suffice concerning the names of Christ and his office. Why dost thou call him the only Son of God? Son. I am taught by the word of God, which is an infallible verity, so to do.
Father. Prove by the word of God, that Christ is the Son of God. Son. God himself saith: “Out of Egypt have I called my Son.” Again: “I will be his Father, and he shall be my Son.” Item: “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” Peter, with his fellow apostles, John Baptist, Nathaniel, Martha, with all the faithful of the new testament (as I may speak nothing of the wicked and damnable spirits), confessed Christ to be the Son of God. Christ said to the blind man, whom he had restored unto his sight: “Dost thou believe in the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him? Jesus said unto him, Thou hast seen him, and he it is that talketh with thee. And he said, I believe, O Lord; and worshipped him.” And the eunuch said unto Philip: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” God the Father himself with an open voice from heaven twice pronounced Christ to be his Son, saying: “This is my well-beloved Son, in whom I have a singular delight; hear him.” St Paul also saith: “Christ was begotten of the seed of David as pertaining to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power,” &c. Again: “God in times past diversly and many ways spake unto the fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he hath spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath made heir of all things, by whom also he made the world: which Son also is the brightness of his glory, and the very image of his substance,” &c. Moreover St John saith: “These things are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is Christ, the Son of God, and that ye thus believing might have life through his name.” [Hos. 11, Matt. 2, 2 Sam. 7, Heb. 1, Psa. 2, Matt. 16, John 6, 1, 11; Mark 1, Matt. 8, Mark 5, Luke 8, John 9, Acts 8, Matt. 3, 17; 2 Pet. 1, Rom. 1, Heb. 1, John 20]
Father. Thou hast proved sufficiently, that Christ Jesus is the Son of God; but thy creed teacheth that he is the only Son of God. Declare that also by the word of God. Son. Christ himself saith [John 3]: “God hath so dearly loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that every one that believeth on him may not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved by him. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is already condemned, because he hath not believed on the name of the only-begotten Son of God.” St John Baptist also saith [John 1]: “No man hath seen God at any time. The only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” St John the evangelist also writeth in his epistle: “In this appeareth the love of God toward us; because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” [1 John 4]
Father. If Christ be the only Son of God, how cometh it then to pass, that the faithful are also called the sons of God in so many places of the holy scripture? Son. Christ Jesus is the true and natural Son of God, begotten of his Father from everlasting, before all worlds, of the same substance, majesty, might, and power, with by adoption. his Father. The elect and faithful people are also the sons of God, not by nature, but by adoption.
Father. What meanest thou by this word adoption? Son. I call adoption when one doth take a child, which is not his own proper child, begotten of his own body, for his own proper and legitimate child, giving unto him all rights and titles, as though he were truly and naturally his child, not as though he were bound unto it, but doeth it of his own free goodness, and of the very love that he beareth toward him. Even so be we the sons of God by Jesus Christ, in whom and for whose sake God doth love us, adopt, choose, and receive us for his children, and maketh us inheritors of his everlasting and glorious kingdom, as St Paul saith [Eph. 1]: “Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which hath blessed us with all manner of spiritual blessings in heavenly things by Christ, according as he had chosen us in him before the foundation of the world was laid, that we should be holy and without blame before him through love, and ordained us before through Jesus Christ to be sons and heirs unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherewith he hath made us accepted in his well-beloved Son, by whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace,” &c. [Titus 3] Again: “Not of the deeds of righteousness which we wrought, but of his mercy hath God saved us, by the fountain of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that we, being justified by his grace, should be heirs of everlasting life through hope.”
Therefore, when the scripture calleth Christ the Son of God, it is to be understand that he is the Son of God by nature and by the divine substance. But when it nameth the faithful to be the sons or children of God, it is meant by grace and adoption. And so are these sentences to be understand [John 1]: “So many as received him (Christ), to them he gave power to be the sons of God,” &c. [Rom. 8] “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage to fear any more, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, dear Father. The same Spirit certifieth our spirit that we are the sons of God. If we be sons, we are also heirs, the heirs, I mean, of God, and fellow heirs with Christ.” “Ye are all the sons of God, because ye have believed in Christ Jesu.” “Behold, what love the Father hath shewed on us, that we should be called the sons of God.” [Gal. 3, 1 John 3]
Father. What learnest thou of this, that Christ is the only-begotten Son of God? Son. By this I am fully and most certainly persuaded, that Jesus Christ, the second Person in the Deity (in whom I do believe as in the Father), is true, perfect, immortal, and everlasting God, begotten of God the Father before all worlds, of the same majesty, nature, substance, might, and power with the Father. For even as of the substance of a true man there is none born but a true man, so likewise of the substance of the true God there is none born but true God. Every thing begetteth the thing that is like unto itself in nature and substance.
Father. What doth it profit thee, that Christ is the Son of God, yea, God himself? Son. Very much. For in that he is God, or the Son of God, he is able to forgive me my sins, to beget me of new by his Holy Spirit, to defend me from mine enemies, to save me, to give me all good things necessary both for body and soul, to make me the son of God and heir of everlasting glory.
Father. But wherefore callest thou Christ our Lord? Son. For he is the “Lord of lords, and King of kings.” I with my heart therefore believe, and with my mouth confess Christ also to be our Lord. [1 Tim. 6, Rev. 17, 19]
Father. Prove by the word of God, that Christ is our Lord. Son. Christ himself saith by the prophet: “I am the Lord; this is my name: my glory will I give to none other, neither mine honour to graven images.” Again: “Ye call me master and Lord, and ye say well; for so am I in deed.” St Paul also saith: “God is faithful, by whom ye are called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.” Again: “Grace be unto you, and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Item: “There is but one Lord, even Jesus Christ; by whom are all things, and we by him” [Isa. 42, John 13, 1 Cor. 1, Rom 1, 1 Cor. 8]
Father. What profit have we by this, that Christ is our Lord? Son. In that he is our Lord, we are taught, first of all, that we ought to serve, honour, magnify, and praise him above all things, and to seek his glory in all our life and conversation, and by no means to commit any thing, whereby the majesty of his name should be obscured or hindered, according to this commandment: “Thou shalt honour the Lord thy God, and him alone shalt thou serve.” [Deut. 6, Matt. 4] Secondly, he is called our Lord, that is to say, the Lord of the faithful, because that he through his almighty power doth mightily defend us, and deliver us from the tyranny of all our enemies, sin, death, devil, and hell, and careth and provideth for us, as a bounteous lord and master cloth for his true and faithful servants; so that no good thing shall want unto us, profitable either for body or for soul.
Father. Hitherto have we heard of the divinity of Christ, that is to say, that Christ is the only-begotten Son of God, and therefore true God: again, that he is our Lord, our buckler, our shield, our strong and mighty tower, yea, our horn of plenty and fountain of all goodness. But come off: is this second Person in the Godhead, whom thou in thy creed tallest Jesus Christ, only God, and not also man? Son. My Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus is not only God, but also man, as the next article of the Christian faith doth right well declare.
Father. What is that? Rehearse it. Son. This is it:
“Which was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary.”
Father. What dost thou believe and confess in this article? Son. That Christ Jesus, the natural Son of God, at the time appointed of his heavenly Father from everlasting, became man, not after the common order of men, but after a supernatural manner, even by the marvelous working of the Holy Ghost, taking his perfect humanity of the substance of the most pure and undefiled virgin Mary; and when the time of her deliverance came, he was truly and naturally born of her, and brought forth into this world; so that, as he is true God of the nature and substance of his Father before all worlds, even from everlasting, so likewise is he true man of the nature and substance of his mother Mary.
Father. Are there then two natures in the Lord Christ? Son. Yea, verily, the nature of God, and the nature of man.
Father. And are both these natures in one person? Son. Yea, and that without any confusion or separation, so that whole Christ is very God and very man in one and inseparable person.
Father. How dost thou prove by the word of God, that Christ was conceived in the virgin Mary’s womb without the seed of man, only by the supernatural and wonderful operation of the Holy Ghost? Son. The holy scriptures are evident. For thus writeth blessed Luke [Luke 1]: “The angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin spoused to a man, whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel went in unto her, and said, Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was abashed at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation that should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary; for thou halt found grace with God. Lo, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God shall give unto him the seat of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom shall be none end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that holy thing, which shall be born, shall be called the Son of God.” St Matthew also hath these words [Matt. 1]: “When Mary, Christ’s mother, was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man, and loth to defame her, was minded to put her away secretly. While he thus thought, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, the son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. She shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins. All this was done to fulfill that which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet [Isa. 7], saying, Behold, a maid shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son; and they call his name Emmanuel, which is by interpretation, God with us,” or God and man.
Father. What doth it profit us, that Christ received his perfect humanity and man-head of the virgin Mary without the company of man, only by the marvelous and above-natural working of the Holy Ghost? Son. The commodity and profit hereof is greater than it can be expressed. It is not unknown unto you, that all we sinned, and justly for our sin were condemned unto everlasting damnation in Adam; so that both we and all our acts are altogether filthy, unpure, and unclean. Our generation, our conception, our birth, our life, our working, our thinking, our breathing, and whatsoever besides we are, have, or do, it is altogether unpure and unclean. For “that is born of flesh is flesh.” “A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruits.” “By nature we all are the children of wrath.” And therefore David shamed not thus to write of himself and of his being: “Behold, my father begat me in wickedness, and my mother conceived me in sin.” [Rom. 5, John 3, Matt. 7, Eph. 2, Psa. 51]
Now to be delivered from this filthy uncleanness and unclean filthiness, it was requisite that one should be born free and utterly estranged from this filthy generation and conception, wherein all we the children of Adam are wrapped, which, by his pure, clean, and holy conception, and blessed nativity and birth, should put away and cleanse the filthiness of our most filthy generation, conception, and birth, which we received of old sinful Adam. And because none among all creatures was found, either in heaven or in earth, of such purity and cleanness, that might work and bring this most noble and excellent benefit of everlasting salvation unto mankind, therefore the heavenly Father of his unoutspeakable clemency, goodness, mercy, charity, and love, sent his only-begotten Son into this world, to take upon him the nature of man, but yet not after the common order of nature, but far otherwise, without the help of man, even by the wonderful virtue and power of the Holy Ghost, by this means becoming man, and yet not of the seed of man, (for so should his conception and nativity have profited us nothing at all; for of the unclean what can be cleansed?) and “like unto us in all things, sin alone except.” [Heb. 4]
Father. It was necessary then, that the Son of God should be incarnate by the Holy Ghost, and not by any workman? Son. Yea, verily, for this incarnation of the Son of God wrought by the Holy Ghost is after a certain manner our regeneration; so that through it we, which before were the cursed children of Adam, begotten and conceived of unclean seed, are purified, and made in Christ of carnal spiritual, of filthy clean, of unrighteous righteous, of the firebrands of hell the sons of God, and heirs of his everlasting glory.
Father. As Christ was conceived by the Holy Ghost, so was he born of the maid Mary. Son. So saith the article of our faith.
Father. But how is that proved by the scriptures? Son. That the Lord Christ should be born of a maid, it was prophesied many years before Christ was born. For thus saith the prophet Esay [Isa. 7]: “Behold, a maid shall conceive or be with child, and shall bring forth a son; and they shall call his name Emmanuel.” St Matthew saith [Matt. 1]: “Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, which is called Christ.” The angel Gabriel said unto Mary [Luke 2]: “Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bear a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.” St Paul saith [Gal. 4]: “When the time was full come, God sent his Son, made of a woman, and made bond unto the law.”
Father. What is meant when we say, Christ was born of the virgin Mary? Son. Nothing else, than that Christ is true, perfect, and natural man, taking this his humanity or manhood of the pure and undefiled virgin Mary; so that, as he is true, perfect, and natural God of the substance of God the Father, so likewise is he true, perfect, and natural man of the substance of Mary his mother. And as Christ from everlasting was begotten very God of God his Father, without any mother; so likewise was he born at the time appointed very man of the virgin Mary his mother, without any father, only by the virtue and power of the Holy Ghost.
Father. This is then a certain and undoubted verity, that Christ brought not his body with him from heaven, and so passed through the virgin Mary, as the water goeth through the conduit, but received his perfect humanity of the substance of Mary his mother; so that as of God his Father he is true and natural God, so likewise of Mary his mother he is true and natural man. Son. This is so certain, as nothing is more certain. For St Paul [Heb. 2] saith, speaking of Christ: “He in no condition taketh on him the angels, but the seed of Abraham taketh he on him.” Again: “Forasmuch as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part with them.” [Rom. 1] Item: “Jesus Christ the Son of God was begotten of the seed of David, as pertaining to the flesh.” Also in another place [Rom. 9]: “Christ, as concerning the flesh, came of the Israelites.” For this cause in the holy scriptures is Christ called “the seed of the woman,” “the Son of David,” “the fruit of Mary’s womb,” “the Son of man,” &c. [Gen. 3, Matt. 15, Luke 1, Matt. 16]
Father. What profit have we by this, that Christ is true and perfect man, and [Heb. 4] “like unto us in all things, sin alone except”? Son. Very much. For in that he is not only God, but also man, yea, and that pure and undefiled man, conceived, born, and living without all sin, he is of sufficient dignity, worthiness, and perfection before God the Father, to be our Mediator and peacemaker, to be our high priest and everlasting bishop, to be a sweet-smelling sacrifice for our sins, to be head of the congregation, to be the Lord of the faithful, to subdue Satan, to destroy hell, to deliver us from the bond of sin and from the curse of the law, and to enrich us with all heavenly and spiritual blessings; for whatsoever we have offended in our wicked and sinful flesh, that same hath Christ the Lord recompensed and satisfied in his most blessed, pure, and holy flesh. And his recompense and satisfaction is accepted of God the Father for our own recompense and satisfaction, as the prophet saith [Isa. 9]: “A child is born to us, and a son is given to us;” that is to say, to our singular commodity and great profit.
Father. How cometh this to pass? Son. By his passion and death, as the article following declareth.
Father. Rehearse it.
Son. “Suffered under Ponce Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended unto hell.”
Father. What doth this article teach thee? Son. I learn of this article two things. First, my too much misery and wretchedness, into the which I was cast both by mine own sin and Adam’s; which misery and wretchedness was so great and unrecompensable, that from it neither I myself, nor no creature for me, either in heaven or in earth, could deliver me; so that remediless I must perish and everlastingly be damned. Secondly, the exceeding great and unmeasurable mercy and love of my heavenly Father toward me, which without all my deserts, even of his own mere goodness, so greatly tendered my salvation, that he, having but one only-begotten Son, was content to give him unto the death for my sake; so that I, believing on him, and looking for health and everlasting life at my heavenly Father’s hand through the passion and death of this his dearly beloved Son, might be delivered from this my wretchedness, be made free from the tyranny of Satan, and become partaker of everlasting glory, as the Lord Christ himself witnesseth, saying [John 3]: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lift up, that none that believeth on him perish, but have everlasting life. For God loved the world so dearly, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that none that believe in him should perish, but have everlasting life.” Hereto belongeth the saying of St Paul [Rom. 5]: “ God doth wonderfully set forth his love that he hath to us, seeing that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then now, seeing we are justified in his blood, shall we be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were yet enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, seeing we are reconciled, we shall be preserved by his life. Not only so, but we also joy in God by the means of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
Father. Whatsoever therefore Christ suffered in his body, did he suffer it for thee and for thy salvation? Son. That is my belief. All that ever Christ did or suffered in his humanity, was altogether done and suffered for my sake. He came down from heaven for my sake. He was incarnate by the Holy Ghost and born of the virgin Mary for my sake. He was circumcised and baptized for my sake. He fasted, prayed, preached, wrought miracles for my sake. He suffered his passion and death for my sake. He rose again for my sake. He is ascended into the kingdom of his Father for my sake. He at the last day shall come again unto the judgment for my sake, and place me with him in the glory of his Father, where I shall most blessedly remain worlds without end. For Christ is mine: how then can it be, but that, whatsoever Christ hath, the same is mine also? – as St Paul saith [Rom. 8]: “God spared not his own Son, but gave him for us all: how shall he not with him give us all things also?”
Father. Declare unto me by the word of God that Christ suffered under Ponce Pilate. Son. In the prayer, which the apostles after Christ’s ascension made unto God the Father, these words are contained [Acts 4]: “Of a truth, O Lord, against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and also Ponce Pilate, with the gentiles, and the people of Israel, gathered themselves together in this city, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” St Paul unto bishop Timothy writeth on this manner [1 Tim. 6]: “I give thee charge in the sight of God, which quickeneth all things, and before Jesu Christ, which under Ponce Pilate witnessed a good witnessing, that thou keep the commandment, and be without spot.” David also saith: “The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers took counsel together against the Lord, and against his Anointed.” The evangelical history sheweth most evidently, that Christ suffered under Ponce Pilate. And the Lord Jesus himself divers times before his passion said unto his disciples, that he should “be betrayed to the heathen, and mocked, and scourged, and spitted on, and slain,” &c. [Psa. 2, Matt. 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19, Matt. 20, Mark 10, Luke 18]
Father. What profit hast thou by this, that Christ suffered such and so great torments and pains? Son. I am not able to express it. The pains, plagues, and punishments, which I both in body and soul ought most worthily to have suffered even in hellfire, for my great and innumerable sins committed against the majesty of God, those did my Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus most willingly suffer in his most blessed, innocent, guiltless, and pure body, at the will of his Father, to deliver me from everlasting pains and torments, which most justly were due unto me; so that it is truly said of the Lord Christ by the psalmograph: “The rebukes of them which rebuked thee fell on me.” Again: “I am fain to pay the things which I never took.”
Father. Prove by the scriptures that the pains which Christ suffered, he suffered them for thy sake, for thy profit and salvation. Son. Christ Jesus is that immaculate and unspotted “Lamb of God,” “which never committed any sin, neither was there any guile found in his mouth.” [Exod. 12, John 1, 1 Pet. 2] For himself there was no need to suffer. For us therefore and for our sins he suffered whatsoever he suffered. And that this is true, the holy scriptures declare manifestly. Esay the prophet speaketh on this manner [Isa. 53]: “We reckoned him so simple and so vile, that we hid our face from him. Howbeit, of a truth, he took away our infirmities, and bare our sorrows and pains. And yet we judged him as though he had been plagued and cast down of God (for his sins): whereas he notwithstanding was wounded for our offences, and smitten for our wickedness. For the pain of our punishment was laid upon him; and with his stripes are we made whole. As for us, we all have gone astray like sheep, every one hath turned his own way. But through him the Lord hath pardoned all our sins.” And a little after the prophet, speaking in the person of God, saith: “The punishment came upon him for the sins of my people.” St Peter also saith [1 Pet. 3]: “Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, for to bring us to God.” Again [1 Pet. 4]: “Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh.” These scriptures with many more do most plainly declare, that those pains which the Lord Christ suffered, he suffered them not for his own (which were utterly none), but for our sins, that we, through the temporal pains of his most innocent and pure body, might be delivered from the eternal and everlasting pains of hellfire.
Father. Was Christ compelled to suffer these pains, either suffered he them gladly and willingly? Son. It pleased the heavenly Father of his mere mercy toward mankind, that his only-begotten Son should become man, and suffer those pains which were due unto man for his sin, that by this means the justice of God might be both pacified and satisfied, and man delivered from his most miserable captivity, and made free from the bitter torments of hell. The Son of God, taking upon him the nature of man, and like to man in all things, sin alone except, shewed himself in all things conformable to the will of his heavenly Father, and most willingly “obeyed him unto the death, even the death of the cross,” [Phil. 2] that by this means he, suffering temporal pains in his innocent body, might deliver mankind from the everlasting pains both of body and soul.
For thus writeth the prophet of Christ [Isa. 53]: “He was offered, because it was his good pleasure.” And by the same prophet he himself saith [Isa. 50]: “I offered my back unto the smiters, and my cheeks to the nippers: I turned not my face from shame and spitting.” And by the psalmograph he saith [Psa. 54]: “I will offer sacrifice unto thee willingly.” He speaketh of the sacrifice of his body. Again [Psa. 40]: “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not have, but a body hast thou ordained me. Burnt offerings and sin offerings hast thou not allowed. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the beginning of the book it is written of me, that I should do thy will, O God.” The prophet also saith of him [Isa. 53]: “When he was pained and troubled, he did not once open his mouth. He was led as a sheep to be slain, yet was he as still as a lamb before the shearer, and did not once open his mouth.” [Matt. 20, Mark 10, Luke 18] His voluntary going up unto Jerusalem, when the time of his passion began to draw nigh, declareth evidently that the passion of Christ was willing and not constrained. When he was apprehended in the garden, and Peter fought for his defense, were not these his words unto thee, Peter? [Matt. 26] “Put up thy sword into his place: for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Or thinkest thou, that I cannot pray my Father now to send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the scriptures be fulfilled? For thus must it be.” Doth not the evangelical history [John 18] plainly declare, that those which were sent to take Christ could not abide the speech of him, but fell down as dead before him, and could lay no hand on him till he suffered them? Are not these the words of Christ? [John 10] “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I give over my life, that I may take it again. No man taketh it from me; but I give it over of myself. I have power to give it over, and I have power to take it again.”
Father. Where suffered Christ these pains? Son. Upon the cross. For so hath our article: “He suffered under Ponce Pilate, was crucified,” that is to say, fastened to the cross. As through the fruit of a tree mankind perished, so through pains suffered on a tree mankind is restored to his former blessed state. The one tree brought death and damnation; the other, life and salvation.
Father. Declare unto me by the word of God, that Christ was crucified and fastened to the cross. Son. It was figured by the brasen serpent, [Num. 21] which Moses set up in the wilderness at the commandment of God, that Christ should also be lifted up and nailed on the cross. For so doth Christ himself apply this figure, saying [John 3]: “Like as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The evangelists write on this manner [Luke 23, John 19, 20]: “After they came into that place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Jesus and the two thieves; one on his right hand, the other on his left hand.” When “Pilate said unto the Jews, Behold your king ! they cried, Away with him, away with him, crucify him, crucify him! Pilate said unto them, Shall I crucify your king? The bishops answered, We have no king, but an emperor. Then he delivered Jesus unto them to be crucified.” The angel said to the women: “Ye seek Jesus crucified.” St Paul saith: “We preach Christ crucified.” Again: “Christ Jesus became obedient to his Father unto the death, even the death of the cross.” [[Matt. 28], 1 cor. 1, Phil. 2]
Father. What profit have we by this, that Christ was crucified or fastened to the cross? Son. The profit is great and incomparable.
First, in that Christ was crucified and nailed on the cross, and there suffered most intolerable pains, he by his bitter torments and punishments took away that damnation which we most righteously in Adam had deserved by eating of the forbidden fruit, and whatsoever besides we of ourselves have committed worthy the pains of hellfire. [Rom. 5] “For as by the sin of one (Adam) condemnation came on all men, even so by the justifying of one cometh the righteousness that bringeth life upon all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many became sinners, so by the obedience of one (Christ) shall many be made righteous.”
Secondly, Christ, being crucified and fastened to the tree, became accursed for our sake, and by this means delivered us from the curse of the law, as St Paul testifieth, saying: “Christ hath delivered us from the curse of the law, and was made accursed for us. For it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on tree.” [Gal. 3, Deut. 21]
Thirdly, the crucifying or fastening of Christ unto the cross preacheth to us, that as he was lifted up on the cross, so likewise, by the virtue of his passion, shall he lift us up unto the kingdom of his Father, as he himself saith [John 12]: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I were lift up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This said Jesus (writeth the evangelist), signifying what death he should die.”
Fourthly, in that Christ was fastened to the cross, we are taught, that as Adam through a tree did sin, and by that means cast both himself and all his posterity under the power of the devil; so likewise Christ Jesus through a tree delivered us from the tyranny and power of the devil, and set us again at liberty to serve the living God “in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life.” [Luke 1]
Fifthly and finally, Christ crucified hath not only [Col. 2] “put out the handwriting that was against us contained in the law written, and fastened it to his cross, and hath spoiled rule and power, and hath made a shew of them openly, and hath triumphed over them in his own person,” but he hath also “reconciled all things unto God, and through the blood of his cross he hath set at peace both things in heaven, and things in earth;” so that we, which afore were reputed [Eph. 2] “aliens from the commonweal of Israel, and utterly without Christ,” are now “no more strangers and foreigners, but citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the head cornerstone, in whom every building coupled together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.”
Father. Christ was not only crucified for us, but he also died for us and for our sins. Son. That is most certain. For this is the article of our faith:
“He suffered under Ponce Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried.”
Father. Prove by the word of God, that Christ died. Son. Daniel prophesied of Christ’s death on this manner [Dan. 9]: “After those sixty-two weeks shall Christ be slain; and they shall have no pleasure in him.” [Matt. 16, 17, 20; Mark 10, Luke 9, 18; John 11] Christ himself, long before he died, many and divers times told his disciples that he should be slain and suffer death at Jerusalem. Bishop Caiphas also prophesied of Christ’s death, when he said: “It is more expedient for us, that one die for the people, than that all the people should perish.” “This spake he,” saith the evangelist, “not of himself, but, forsomuch as he was high priest of the same year, he prophesied. For Jesus must die for the people, and not for the people only, but that he should gather together the children of God, which were scattered abroad.” “Jesus,” saith St Matthew [Matt. 27], “cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.” Blessed Luke writeth thus [Luke 23]: “Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, O Father, I commend my spirit into thy hands. And immediately he gave up the ghost.” St John writeth thus [John 19]: “When Jesus knew that all was performed, that the scripture might be fulfilled, he said, I am athirst. There stood a vessel full of vinegar. They filled a sponge with vinegar, and wound it about with hyssop, and held it to his mouth. Now when Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished; and bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
The apostles of Christ, in their sermon, spake on this manner to the Jews [Acts 2]: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, the man approved of God among you with miracles, wonders, and tokens, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves know also, him (after that he was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God), have ye taken by the hands of unrighteous persons, and crucified him, and slain him,” &c.
Of Christ’s death St Paul maketh mention almost in all his epistles. [Rom. 5, 1 Cor. 15, Phil. 2] I will rehearse certain sentences out of his writings. “God,” saith he, “doth wonderfully set forth his love toward us, in that Christ died for us when we were yet sinners.” Again: “I delivered unto you that which I also received, which is, that Christ died for our sins.” Also in another place: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesu, which, being in the shape of God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the shape of a servant, became like another man, and was found in his apparel as a man: he humbled himself, and became obedient unto the death, even the death of the cross.” Hereto appertaineth the saying of St Peter [1 Pet. 3]: “Christ died once for our sins, the righteous for the unrighteous,” &c.
Father. What profit have we by the death of Christ? Son. Christ by his temporal death hath for our sake overcome everlasting death, whereunto through sin we were subject and thrall, as Christ himself saith by the prophet [Hos. 13]: “O death, I will be thy death.” Like unto this is that which St Paul writeth [1 Cor. 15]: “Death is swallowed up into victory. Death, where is thy sting? Hell, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin: the strength of sin is the law: but thanks be unto God, which hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Again, Christ by his death hath overcome him which had the rule of death, as St Paul testifieth, saying [Heb. 2]: “Christ through death destroyed him that had the rule of death, that is to say, the devil; and hath set them at liberty, which through the fear of death all their lifetime were subject unto bondage.” Furthermore, Christ by his death hath made a full and perfect satisfaction to God the Father for all our sins, and hath offered unto him such a sacrifice for all our wickednesses and trespasses, that it sufficeth without either any repetition of the same, or without any other sacrifice to be added thereunto, for all the offences that have been or shall be committed unto the world’s end, as St Paul saith [Heb. 10]: “With one only oblation hath he (Christ) made perfect for ever them that are sanctified.” Again: “We are made holy by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ done once for all.” Moreover, by the death of Christ we are not only delivered from all our sins, but also reconciled unto God, received into his favour, and made his sons and inheritors of everlasting glory, as St Paul saith [Rom. 5]: “If we were reconciled unto God by the death of his Son, when we were yet enemies, much more shall we be saved by him now that we are reconciled.” Again [2 Tim. 1]: “Our Saviour Jesus Christ (by his death) hath taken away the power of death, and hath brought life and immortality.”
Father. Great are the benefits, I confess, which we have obtained by the death of Christ; so that it is not without a cause said of the holy apostle St Paul [Gal. 6]: “God forbid that I should rejoice in any thing, but in the cross,” that is to say, the passion and death, “of our Lord Jesu Christ.” But what was done with the body of Christ, after that it was crucified and dead? Son. It was buried. For so is the article of our faith:
“He suffered under Ponce Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried.”
Father. Declare unto me by the word of God, that Christ was buried. Son. The prophet Esay speaketh of Christ’s burial on this manner [Isa. 53]: “His grave shall be given him with the condemned, and his crucifying with the thieves.” The four evangelists write [Matt. 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19] that, when Christ was once dead, “Joseph of Aramathia, a good, just man, which was a disciple of Jesus, and one that consented not unto the wicked counsel and deed of the Jews, but waited for the kingdom of God, went unto Pilate, and besought him that he might take down the body of Jesus. And Pilate gave him license. Then took he down the body of Jesus.” “There came also Nicodemus, (which afore came unto Jesus by night,) and brought of myrrh and aloes mingled together about an hundred pound weight. They took the body of Christ, and wound it in fine linen clothes, and laid it in a new sepulcher, wherein was never man laid afore, hewn out of a rock; and they rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and went their way.” St Paul also saith [1 Cor. 15]: “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and was buried.”
Father. What doth it profit us that Christ was buried? Son. First, in that Christ was buried, it doth evidently declare unto us, that his passion and death were not fantastical, but true, certain, and unfeigned. Again, that as his body was covered in the grave, so likewise should the sins of the faithful be covered for his sake, and never be imputed unto them nor laid unto their charge. Thirdly, the burying of Christ hath brought this to pass, that our grave, which before was the dungeon of hell, should be translated and turned into a sweet, quiet, and holy dormitory, or resting place, in the which the godly rest, abiding the joyful day of their resurrection. Finally, Christ was buried, that we also, being dead through repentance, and buried with him by baptism, should through grace from henceforth rise out of sin and walk in a new life. [Rom. 6]
Father. What followeth in the creed?
Son. “He went down unto hell.”
Father. How provest thou that Christ went down unto hell? Son. Christ himself by the prophet David saith [Psa. 16, Acts 2]: “Thou shalt not leave my soul in hell, neither shalt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.” St Peter also saith [1 Pet. 3]: “Christ hath once suffered for our sins, the just for the unjust, for to bring us unto God, and was slain after the flesh, but quickened after the Spirit; in the which Spirit he also went and preached unto the spirits that were in prison,” &c.
Father. What profit have we by Christ’s descension and going down unto hell? Son. By this means are we well assured, that Christ hath overcome the devil, broken the serpent’s head, destroyed the gates of hell, vanquished the infernal army, and unto hell utterly delivered us from everlasting damnation, as Christ himself saith by the prophet [Hos. 13]: “O death, I will be thy death. O hell, I will be thy destruction.” So that now with joyful hearts and triumphant voices we may well say with the apostle [1 Cor. 15]: “Death is swallowed up into victory. Death, where is thy sting? Hell, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin: the strength of sin is the law: but thanks be unto God, which hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Father. Suffered Christ pains also in hell? Son. Nothing less. For whatsoever pains were to be suffered for our sins and wickednesses, he suffered them all in his blessed body on the altar of the cross. He went not down .unto hell as a guilty person to suffer, but as a valiant prince to conquer, and as a most puissant and glorious king to triumph over his enemies, and to make us also lords and conquerors of Satan and of all his infernal army.
Father. When Christ by his passion and death had wrought this most noble work of our redemption, paid our ransom, satisfied for our sins, appeased God’s wrath, and reconciled us unto his favour, what did he then?
Son. “The third day he rose again from death.”
Father. How provest thou that by the word of God? Son. Long before the coming of Christ into the flesh it was prophesied not only that Christ should suffer and die (as we afore have heard), but also that he should rise again unto life, yea, and that on the third day. By the prophet speaketh Christ himself on this manner [Hos. 6]: “He shall make us alive after two days, and on the third day he shall raise us up again, and we shall live before him.” Was not the swallowing up of Jonas into the whale’s belly, and the deliverance of him again unto the land the third day, a very figure of Christ’s death and of his resurrection? “Jonas,” saith the scripture, “ was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” [Jonah 2] “And the Lord spake unto the fish; and it cast out Jonas again upon the dry land.” Certes Christ applieth it unto himself, saying [Matt. 12, Luke 11]: “As Jonas was in the whale’s belly three days and three nights, matt. xii. so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.” The prophet David, speaking in the person of Christ, saith: “I laid me down and slept, but I rose up again; for the Lord sustained me.” Again: “My flesh shall rest in hope. For thou shalt not leave my soul in hell, neither shalt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption. But thou shalt shew unto me the way of life, and make me full of joy with thy countenance.” [Psa. 3, 16; Acts 2, 13]
Christ divers times before his passion declared unto his disciples, that he should rise again on the third day from death unto life. Christ himself, many times before his passion and death, declared unto his disciples that, after he was slain, he should rise again unto life the third day following. The evangelists rehearse his words on this manner: “From that time,” saith blessed Matthew [Matt. 16], “began Jesus to declare unto his disciples, that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and of the scribes, and of the head priests, and be slain, and rise again on the third day.” Again [Matt. 20]: “Jesus, going up unto Jerusalem, took his twelve disciples with him secretly, and said unto them, Behold, we go up unto Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and scribes; and they shall condemn him unto the death, and they shall deliver him to the heathen to mock, scourge, and crucify him; and on the third day he shall rise again.” The like words read we in Mark and Luke. [Mark 10, Luke 18]
Moreover (as I may let pass the history of Christ’s resurrection, lively and largely described of the four evangelists), the angel of God beareth witness of Christ’s resurrection on this manner, speaking to the women which came to Christ’s sepulcher for to anoint his body: “I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here, but is risen again, as he told you afore.” [Matt. 28, Mark 26, Luke 24] Again: “Why seek ye the living with the dead? He is not here, but is risen. Remember how he said unto you, when he was yet in Galilee, that the Son of man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” [Matt. 17, Mark 9, Luke 9]
Furthermore, the apostles testify of Christ’s resurrection on this wise [Acts 2]: “God hath raised up again Jesus, whereof all we are witnesses.” St Paul also maketh many times mention of Christ’s resurrection. In a certain sermon, as blessed Luke writeth, he spake these words [Acts 13]: “God raised up Jesus from the dead on the third day, which was seen many days of them which went up with him from Galilee unto Jerusalem,” &c. In his epistles he hath these sentences, and many such like [Rom. 4, 8; 1 Cor. 15, 2 Tim 2]: “Jesus Christ died for our sins, and rose again for our justification.” “It is Christ which died, yea rather, which is risen again.” “I delivered that unto you which I received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and rose again on the third day according to the scriptures.” “Remember that Jesus Christ, which came of the seed of David, rose again from the dead.”
Father. These testimonies of the holy scripture concerning Christ’s resurrection may seem abundantly for this present to suffice. But come off, tell me, what profit have we by Christ’s resurrection? Son. Such and so great, that without it all is in vain whatsoever Christ hath done for us.
For, first of all, by his glorious resurrection he hath shewed himself a most noble and valiant conqueror of death, devil, and hell, and by this his most victorious conquest hath he delivered us from the cruelty and tyranny of our enemies; I mean, death, devil, and hell; so that now we be no more captives and bond slaves unto them, but sons and heirs of God, yea, and fellow heirs with the Lord Jesu of his Father’s kingdom [Rom. 8]; so that we may triumphantly say with St Paul [1 Cor. 15]: “Death, where is thy victory? Death, where is thy sting? The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law: but thanks be unto God, which hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Secondly, by Christ’s resurrection we be justified and made righteous before God, as St Paul saith [Rom. 4]: “Christ Jesus died for our sins, and rose again for our justification,” or righteous-making.
Thirdly, Christ by his resurrection hath made us certain and sure of the resurrection of our bodies and of everlasting life, as Christ himself saith [John 11]: “ I am the resurrection and life. He that believeth in me, although he be dead, yet shall he live; and every one that liveth and believeth in me, he shall not die everlastingly.” St Paul also saith [1 Cor. 15]: “As by Adam all die, so likewise by Christ all shall be made alive.” Again [1 Thess. 4]: “If we believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again, even so shall God also bring with him again those which are fallen asleep by Jesus.” [Phil. 3] Item: “Our conversation is in heaven, from whence we look for a Saviour, even the Lord Jesus Christ, which shall transfigure and change this our vile body, that he may make it like to his own glorious body, according to the power wherewith he is able to make all things subject unto himself.”
Fourthly and finally, Christ by his glorious resurrection hath given us power, through the Holy Ghost, to shake off the miserable yoke of dead works, and the bondage of wicked and ungodly conversation, and to garnish ourselves with all kind of godly virtues; so that from henceforth we should walk in a new life, and pass over the time of this our pilgrimage in holiness, righteousness, and truth, doing alway that which is acceptable before the majesty of the Lord our God, as St Paul saith [Rom. 6]: “We are buried together with Christ through baptism into death, that as Christ was raised up from the dead through the glory of his Father, so likewise we should walk in a new life.” Again [Col. 3]: “If ye be risen again together with Christ, seek for those things which are above, where Christ is sitting on the right hand of God. Be careful about heavenly, and not earthly things. For ye are dead; and your life is hid in Christ with God. Whensoever Christ your life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your earthly members,” &c. Once again he saith [2 Cor. 5]: “If one died for all, then were all dead; and he died for all, that they which live should no more from henceforth live to themselves, but to him which died for them and rose again.”
Father. What did Christ after his resurrection? Son. After that the Lord Christ had shewed himself alive certain days to his disciples, declaring by divers most certain arguments that he was unfeignedly and truly risen again from death, by this means shewing himself to be an Almighty God, and Lord over sin, devil, death, and hell, he by the power of his Godhead, leaving this world, ascended into heaven visibly and corporally, yea, and that in the presence of his disciples, where he now remaineth, and shall remain unto the day of judgment, sitting on the right hand of God his Father. [Mark 16, Luke 24, Acts 1] For so is the article of our faith, as it followeth in order:
“He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”
Father. Prove me by the word of God, that Christ after his resurrection ascended and went up into heaven. Son. We have many and divers testimonies in the holy scriptures of Christ’s ascension unto the kingdom of his Father.
Father. Let me hear.
Son. That prince-like prophet David writeth of Christ’s ascension, yea, rather prophesieth on this manner [Psa. 68]: “Thou art gone up on high, and hast led captivity captive, and hast received gifts for men.” Again [Psa. 97]: “God is gone up with great rejoicing, yea, the Lord is ascended with the sound of a trumpet.” Blessed St Mark writeth of Christ’s ascension on this manner [Mark 16]: “After the Lord had spoken these things, he was taken up into heaven, and sat down on the right hand of God.” St Luke hath these words [Luke 24]: “Jesus led out his disciples unto Bethania, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. And it came to pass that when he had blessed them, he departed from them, and was carried up into heaven.” In the chronicle of the apostles’ acts we read thus [Acts 1]: “And when Jesus had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him up out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly up to heaven, as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, even as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
Christ in his last sermon maketh mention divers times of his ascension. [John 16] “I go my way,” saith he, “unto him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said such things to you, your hearts are full of sorrow. Nevertheless I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go my way: for if I go not away, that Comforter will not come unto you,” &c. Again: “I went out from the Father, and came into the world; and I leave the world again, and go to the Father.”
The blessed apostle St Paul writeth on this manner [Eph. 1]: “God hath raised up Christ from death, and set him on his right hand in heavenly things, above all rule, power, might, and dominion, and above all names that are named, not in this world only, but also in the world to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and hath made him above all things the head of the congregation, which is his body and fullness of him that filleth all in all.” [Psa. 68] Again [Eph. 4]: “He is gone up on high, and hath led captivity captive, and hath given gifts unto men. That he ascended, what meaneth it, but that he also descended first of all into the lowest parts of the earth? He that descended is even the same also that ascended up above all heavens to fulfill all things.” Item [Heb. 9]: “Christ is not entered into the holy places that are made with hands, which are but figures of true things; but he is entered into the very heaven, for to appear now in the sight of God for us.”
Father. In the article which thou recitedst, there is not only contained, that Christ “ascended into heaven,” but also that he “sitteth on the right hand of God” his Father. This latter part of the article would I have proved by the holy scriptures, I mean, that Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Son. Like as the psalmograph prophesied of the ascension of Christ, so likewise speaketh he of Christ’s sitting on the right hand of God on this manner [Psa. 110]: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Christ himself saith [Matt. 26, Mark 14]: “Ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power.” St Paul hath these testimonies concerning this matter [Rom. 8, Col. 3, Heb. 1, 10]: “It is Christ that died, yea, rather that rose again, which also is on the right hand of God, and maketh intercession for us.” “If ye be risen with Christ, seek after those things that are above, where Christ is sitting on the right hand of God.” Christ “in his own person hath cleansed our sins, and is set on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” “This man (Christ), after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, sat him down for ever on the right hand of God, and from henceforth tarrieth till his foes be made his footstool.” St Peter also saith [1 Pet. 3]: “Jesus Christ is on the right hand of God, and is gone into heaven, angels, power, and might subdued unto him.”
Father. What profit have we by the ascension of Christ? Son. Great and large.
Father. What is it?
Son. First of all, in that Christ ascended into heaven, he hath not only subdued our enemies, the devil, the world, the flesh, sin, death, hell, damnation, &c., gloriously triumphing over them for our sake; but he hath also given us many noble and precious gifts, as the Holy Ghost, faith, love, hope, joy, quietness of conscience, patience, long-suffering, temperance, goodness, meekness, continence, &c., which thing David expresseth very aptly in this verse [Psa. 68]: “Thou art gone up on high, and hast led captivity captive, and given gifts unto men.”
Secondly, in that Christ is gone up into heaven, we are well assured that he is gone, being our head, to prepare a place for us, being his members, as he himself saith [John 14]: “Ye believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many mansions. If it were otherwise, I would have told you. I go to prepare you a place. And if I go away to prepare you a place, I will come again, and take you unto myself, that where I am you also may be with me.”
Thirdly, in that Christ is ascended into heaven, he is become our Mediator, Advocate, and Intercessor, pleadeth our cause before God his Father, and obtaineth all good things of him abundantly for us. “Christ,” saith St Paul [Rom. 8], “ is on the right hand of God, and maketh intercession for us.” “If any man sinneth,” saith St John [1 John 2], “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ that righteous one. And he it is that obtaineth mercy for our sins; not for our sins only, but also for all the world’s.”
Fourthly, by the ascension of Christ we have a most certain and sure testimony of our ascension into the kingdom of heaven, and that we shall there remain for ever both body and soul with our head Christ, [Isa. 64, 1 Cor. 2] having such joys as “eye never saw the like, ear never heard the like, no tongue is able to express the like, nor heart able to conceive and think the like.” And this is it, that Christ hath in his prayer unto his heavenly Father [John 17]: “O Father, whom thou hast given me, I will that, where I am, they also be with me, that they may see my glory which thou gavest me.”
Father. But what meaneth the scripture to remember and affirm, that Christ sitteth on the right hand of God the Father, when God the Father hath neither right nor left hand? Son. Truth it is, that God the Father, the first Person in the Godhead, hath neither hand nor foot, neither any other corporal member, as we have, (for, as Christ saith, “God is a spirit,” and “a spirit hath neither flesh nor bones;)” therefore the scriptures in this behalf are to be understand, not as the bare letter sound, but as it may agree with the other scriptures. [John 4, Luke 24]
Father. What is it then to sit on the right hand of God? Son. To sit on the right hand of God is nothing else, than Christ, God and man, to be of the same might and power, of the same glory and majesty with God the Father, to be king, Lord, ruler, and governor over all things both in heaven and in earth, as he himself saith [Matt. 28]: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth;” so that the same honour and praise is due to Christ, God and man, which is due to God his Father.
Father. What doth it profit us, that Christ sitteth on the right hand of God the Father? Son. Very much. It certifieth us, that we have a king and a Lord in heaven, which hath a care for us, loveth and tendereth us, and defendeth us from our enemies, and giveth us all good things; so that we need not fear devil, world, flesh, sin, death, hell, curse, law, damnation, and whatsoever is contrary or enemy to our health, commodity, and salvation: moreover it assureth us, that we, after this our exile and banishment from our native country, which is heaven, shall also be citizens of that blessed kingdom, enjoy the glory of heaven, and behold the majesty of God face to face, sitting with our head Christ in the glorious palace of his Father, worlds without end, noble, triumphant, and victorious conquerors over all our enemies, as St Paul saith [Eph. 2]: “God, which is rich in mercy, through his great love wherewith he hath loved us, even when we were dead by sin, hath quickened us together in Christ (for by grace are ye saved), and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together with him in heavenly things through Christ Jesus,” &c.
Father. Remaineth there any other thing concerning our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus in the articles of the Christian faith? Son. Christ Jesus, as we have heard, for our salvation took flesh, and was born of the undefiled and pure maid Mary through the wonderful operation of the Holy Ghost, suffered death, rose again from death unto life, ascended by the power of his Godhead into heaven, where he sitteth now at the right hand of God his Father. As he hath done all these things aforesaid for us and for our salvation, so likewise at the end of this wretched and transitory world shall he come again to give judgment over all flesh, and to render unto every one according to his deeds, rewarding the righteous with everlasting glory, and the unrighteous with everlasting punishment. For thus soundeth the article which followeth:
“From thence shall he come to judge both the quick and the dead.”
Father. Let me hear it proved by the holy scriptures, that Christ shall come from heaven to judge the quick and the dead. Son. As I may let pass the testimonies of the old testament concerning Christ’s coming unto the judgment, which indeed are very many, Christ himself describeth his manner of coming unto the judgment on this wise [Matt. 24]: “As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth unto the west, so shall the coming of the Son of man be.” “Then shall all the kindreds of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with the great voice of a trumpet; and they shall gather together his chosen from the four winds, and from the one end of the whole world to the other.” Again [Matt. 25]: “When the Son of man cometh in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the seat of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all nations. And he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on the right hand, and the goats on the left,” &c. Hereto appertaineth the saying of St Paul [1 Thess. 4]: “The Lord himself shall come down from heaven with a shout, and the voice of the archangel, and trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall arise,” &c. Again [1 Thess. 5]: “The day of the Lord shall come, even as a thief in the night. When they shall say, Peace and no danger, then cometh on them sudden destruction, as the travailing of a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”
Now have we heard the manner of Christ’s coming unto the judgment lively described and set forth. I will also rehearse a few sentences out of the new testament concerning Christ’s judgment. Christ himself saith [Matt. 16]: “The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then shall he reward every man according to their deeds.” Again he saith [John 5]: “The Father judgeth no man, but hath given all the judgment to the Son; that all should honour the Son, as they honour the Father.” “Christ,” saith St Peter in a certain sermon, as blessed Luke writeth, “commandeth us, that we should preach to the people, and testify that it is he which was appointed of God to be the judge of the quick and the dead.” And in his epistle he writeth on this manner [1 Pet. 4]: “All men shall render an accompts unto him”, that is to say, Christ, “which shall judge both the quick and the dead.” St Paul also saith [Rom 14]: “We shall all appear before the judging place of Christ.” Again [2 Cor. 5]: “We must all appear before the judging seat of Christ, that every man may receive his reward according unto that which he hath done in his body, whether it be good or evil.” Hitherto appertaineth the saying of the holy apostle Judas in his epistle: “Behold, the Lord shall come with thousands of saints to give judgment over all men.”
Father. What meanest thou by “the quick and the dead”? Son. By “the quick” I understand them which shall be alive in this world, when Christ shall come unto the judgment; and by “the dead”, such as have slept in the heart of the earth from the beginning of the world unto the last day.
Father. Why, shall any live in this world when Christ shall come to the judgment? Son. Yea, verily. For thus writeth St Paul [1 Cor. 15]: “Behold I shew you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, and that in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trump. For the trump shall blow, and the dead shall rise again incorruptible, and we all shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” Again, he saith [1 Thess. 4]: “This say we unto you in the word of the Lord, that we, which live and are remaining in the coming of the Lord, shall not come yer [Come yer, or come er: come ere, or before, anticipate.] they which sleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, and the voice of the archangel, and trump of God. And the dead in Christ shall arise first: then shall we which live and remain be caught up with them also in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Father. What profit shall the coming of Christ unto the judgment bring unto us?
Son. This world, which is altogether set on wickedness, shall then have an end. The wicked and bloody tyrants of this world, with all the ungodly of the same, shall come unto confusion, their tyranny and wickedness being made open to the whole world. [1 John 5] Yea, these wicked themselves shall confess [Wisd. 5]: “O, these be they whom we sometime had in derision, and thought their ways to be very foolishness.” The faithful and godly [Luke 22] shall then be wholly delivered and made free from the tyranny of the devil, the world, and the flesh, and receive that which long tofore they hoped and looked for, I mean, everlasting salvation. [1 Cor. 13, 1 John 3, Rev. 6] They shall see God “face to face,” “even as he is.” They shall be clad with the white vesture of immortality. They shall receive the crown of glory. Finally, they shall have such joys as “ eye [folio, ye] never saw the like, ear never heard the like, no tongue is able to express the like, nor any heart is able to conceive or think the like.” [Isa. 64, 1 Cor. 2]
Father. Hitherto thou hast not altogether unaptly declared the two first parts of the Christian faith, concerning God the Father and God the Son. It remaineth that we approach unto the third part of the Christian belief, which concerneth the third Person in the Godhead, I mean, the Holy Ghost. What saith the article of our faith in this behalf?
Son. “I believe in the Holy Ghost.”
Father. Why sayest thou, “I believe in the Holy Ghost”? Son. When I say, “I believe in the Holy Ghost”, it is thus much in effect: I believe with my heart, and confess with my mouth, that the Holy Ghost, the third Person in the Deity, is equal God with God the Father and God the Son, in essence, power, and majesty, of whom also, as of the Father and of the Son, one true, living, immortal, and everlasting God, I look for all good things appertaining unto the body or unto the soul.
Father. How provest thou that the Holy Ghost is God? Son. Because I say no less, “I believe in the Holy Ghost,” than, “I believe in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ his only Son.” For we may believe in none but in God alone. But I believe in the Holy Ghost; therefore the Holy Ghost is God.
Father. I would hear gladly this thing proved by the word of God. Son. Nothing is more easy. In the first book of Moses we read on this manner [Gen. 1]: “In the beginning God made heaven and earth. And the earth was void and empty; and darkness was upon the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the water.” Here see we, that the Spirit of God, which otherwise we call the Holy Ghost, was in the beginning at the creation of things, not a spirit then made with other creatures, but a Spirit from everlasting, proceeding from the Father and the Son, maker of all things with the Father and the Son, being also of like majesty and power, as David witnesseth, saying: “The heavens were made through the word of the Lord, and all the host thereof through the Spirit of his mouth.” Here are the three Persons in the Godhead lively set forth in the work of the creation, the Lord, the Word, and the Spirit. Hereof doth it follow that as the Lord, whereby is signified the Father, is God, and as the Word, whereby is understand the Son, is God, so likewise is the Spirit, which is the Holy Ghost, God. Therefore in the creation of man it is not in vain said thus [Gen. 1]: “God spake, Let us make man.” He saith not, I will make man, or let me make man, but he saith, “Let us, us, us,” namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, true God, one in divine essence, and three in Persons.
So likewise read we of Abraham, which saw three persons, but worshipped one. [Gen. 18]
Again, in a certain psalm we read on this manner [Psa. 139]: “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I fly from thy presence? If I climb up into heaven, thou art there: if I go down to hell, thou art there also,” &c. This sentence of the psalmograph proveth manifestly and truly the Holy Ghost to be God. For none can be in all places at one time, but God alone. The Holy Ghost is in all places at one time; therefore is the Holy Ghost God.
The prophet Esay also saith [Isa. 50]: “Who hath reformed [Reformed: informed.] the Spirit of the Lord? or who is of his counsel to teach him? At whom hath he asked counsel to make him understand, and to learn him the way of judgment; to teach him science, and to instruct him in the way of understanding? Behold all people are in comparison of him as a drop to a bucket-full, and are counted as the least thing that the balance weigheth,” &c. These words of the prophet testify also abundantly that the Holy Ghost is very God; forasmuch as he is reformed of no man, asketh counsel of no man, craveth understanding, doctrine, knowledge, &c., of no man, but hath all these things in himself and of himself: yea, all these things flow out of him unto other, as out of a most rich and plenteous fountain or head-spring; so that, whatsoever goodness we have, it cometh from this Spirit and Holy Ghost, the author, giver, and worker of all good things.
Father. Are there any testimonies of the divinity of the Holy Ghost contained in the new testament? Son. Very many; yea, and those both noble and notable.
Father. Rehearse one or two. Son. [Matt. 3, Mark 1, Luke 3] In the baptism of Christ, when the Father made himself open by a voice from heaven, and the Son by taking man’s nature upon him, the Holy Ghost shewed himself in the likeness of a dove, to declare that the
Holy Ghost is of all one majesty with the Father and the Son, and yet a distinct Person from them both. Our Saviour Christ commanded his disciples [Matt. 28] to “teach all nations, and to baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Except the Holy Ghost were true God, truly giving everlasting salvation, he should not be joined in the works of our salvation with the Father and the Son. But forasmuch as we be baptized in the name of the Holy Ghost, so must it needs follow, that he is undoubtedly very true God. Moreover, in the chronicle of the apostles’ acts [Acts 2] we read that the Holy Ghost filled the whole house, and sat upon each one of the apostles severally; so that they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. But this thing can no creature do, I mean, be in divers places at once, as we read here of the Holy Ghost: therefore followeth it necessarily that he is true God, of like might, power, and majesty, with the Father and the Son. St John also saith [1 John 5]: “There are three which bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one.” Who seeth not also by this testimony of St John, that the Holy Ghost is very God, and of the same power, might, and majesty with the Father and the Son?
Father. These testimonies may suffice for this present concerning the divinity of the Holy Ghost. But come off, tell me, what doth it profit thee that the Holy Ghost is God, and that thou dost believe in him? Son. So greatly, that otherwise I cannot be saved.
First, in that the Holy Ghost is God, he maketh me which believe in him, of a wretched unclean creature, an holy creature. For he is called the Holy Ghost, not only because he is holy for himself and in himself, or that there may be a difference between him and the wicked and unholy spirits; but also because he sanctifieth and maketh the elect people of God holy, pure, and clean. For as the Father hath created me, and the Son hath redeemed me, so likewise hath the Holy Ghost sanctified me; without whom I am nothing else but a lump of unholiness, and a very monster of wickedness, as St Paul saith [Rom. 8]: “If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is not of God.” And Christ himself saith [John 3]: “That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Therefore prayeth the prophet David on this manner [Psa. 51]: “Make me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. O give me the comfort of thy help again, and stablish me with thy free Spirit.”
Secondly, this Holy Spirit is a comforter unto us, [John 14] whensoever either Satan, or the law, or the wrath of God, or sin, or the fear of everlasting damnation, troubleth and disquieteth us and our weak conscience. He also encourageth us valiantly to resist the assaults of Satan, studiously to mortify the lusts of the flesh, stoutly to contemn and despise both the tyranny and flattery of the world, and with a good courage through the strength of faith and innocence of life to walk before the Lord our God.
Thirdly, [1 Cor. 2] forasmuch as we of ourself are nothing but beastlike, rude, gross, ignorant, and utterly without knowledge of God and of his holy mysteries, this Holy Ghost is a teacher and schoolmaster unto us, informing us of all things appertaining unto our salvation, and leading us into all truth necessary for our profession, as Christ said to his disciples [John 14]: “The Comforter, that Holy Spirit, whom the Father shall send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that ever I have said unto you.” Again [John 16]: “When he, which is the Spirit of truth, shall come, he shall lead you into all truth.”
Fourthly, this Holy Ghost altereth the whole man, making him of the bond-slave of Satan the free servant of God; of the child of wrath the dearly beloved son of God; of the firebrand of hell the inheritor of everlasting glory; as St Paul saith [Rom. 8]: “They that are led with the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Again: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
Fifthly, [Gal. 5] he garnishes us with many glorious and heavenly gifts, which we cannot have of ourselves, as faith, hope, love, patience, long-suffering, peace, joy, meekness, temperance, pureness, innocence, gentleness, goodness, mercy, liberality, &c.
Sixthly, if at any time through the contemplation of our own frailness, or the consideration of God’s high justice, we should fear to have access to the merciful throne of God’s grace, this Holy Spirit helpeth, comforteth, assisteth us, yea, and prayeth for us; not only that, but he also through his most sweet and comfortable motions encourageth our minds, that we ourselves also have a certain reverent boldness with our prayers to approach unto the glorious throne of his divine majesty, even as loving children unto their most loving and dear father, as the apostle saith [Rom. 8]: “Whosoever are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage to fear any more, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, dear Father. The same Spirit certifieth our spirit that we are the children of God. If we be children, then are we heirs also, I mean, the heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” Again: “The Spirit helpeth our weakness. For we know not what we should desire as we ought: nevertheless the Spirit itself maketh intercession mightily for us with unoutspeakable groanings. Howbeit he that searcheth the heart knoweth what the mind of the Spirit is; for he maketh intercession for the saints according to the pleasure of God.”
To end, if any end may be found in so overflowing, unsearchable, and bottomless sea of all good and heavenly things, this Holy Ghost is “the earnest of our inheritance,” [Eph. 1] whereby we are assured in our heart of God’s good will toward us, that he loveth us, keepeth and defendeth us, blesseth us with all both ghostly and bodily benefits, and hath made us his sons and heirs of his most glorious kingdom.
Father. Hitherto halt thou declared unto me thy faith concerning [Rom. 8] that true, living, immortal, and everlasting God, one in divine substance, and yet in that divine substance three several Persons, God the Father, which made thee; God the Son, which redeemed thee; and God the Holy Ghost, which sanctifieth thee. What now remaineth? Son. The fourth part of the Christian faith, which comprehendeth four articles.
Father. Rehearse the first.
Son. “I believe that there is an holy universal church, which is the fellowship or company of saints.”
Father. But wherefore sayest thou rather, “I believe that there is one holy universal church,” than on this manner, I believe in the holy universal church? Son. My faith and my belief must be set and reposed in God alone, forasmuch as salvation cometh [Psa. 3] from him alone, and not in creatures, be they never so holy and perfect. For vain is the salvation that cometh from man, yea, [Jer. 17] “cursed be he that putteth his trust and confidence in man, and maketh flesh his arm.” If I should say, I believe in the holy universal church, then must I also grant that the church is God, and by this means make four persons in the Godhead, which God forbid. My belief is not in the body, but in the head, which is Christ Jesus our Lord and alone Saviour.
Father. What meanest thou by this word “church”? Son. Nothing else than a company of people gathered together, or a congregation. And this word “church” in the holy scriptures is taken not only for the fellowship or company of the good and faithful, but also of the wicked and unfaithful. St Paul, beside many other places, speaking of that church, which is the company of saints, hath these words [Eph. 5]: “Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it to sanctify it, and cleansed it in the fountain of water by the word, to make it unto himself a glorious church, having no spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blame.” Of that church, which is the company of the wicked, ungodly, and unfaithful, speaketh that prince-like prophet David on this manner [Psa. 26]: “I hate and utterly abhor the church of the malignant and wicked: as for the ungodly, I will by no means keep company with them.”
Father. Why dost thou call the church of Christ “holy”? Son. To discern it from other churches, which are unholy. The ethnics, the Jews, the Mahometans, the Anabaptists, the Arians, with all the rabble of heretics and sectaries, have their churches also; but all those churches are the synagogues of Satan, unpure, filthy, stinking, vile, abominable, full of all sin and wickedness. The church of Christ alone, alone is holy, pure, “without spot or wrinkle,” as it is written [Eph. 5, Cant. 4]: “Thou art all fair, O my love; and no spot is there in thee.” In this church all goodness is to be found: without this church is nothing but sin, wrath, and damnation. Again, the church of Christ is called holy, not for the holiness of itself, (for what member of that church hath not also his infirmity in this life? as it is written, [1 John 1] “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Item [James 3, Eph. 1, Col. 1]: “All we offend in many things,”) but for the holiness of Christ, the Son of God, which is the head of the church, which also hath given to his church his holiness, innocence, righteousness, and whatsoever good thing he hath more, himself being the fountain of all goodness, and hath with all these things clothed, decked, adorned, garnished, and trimmed the church, as his most dear spouse; so that now, being clothed with Christ’s holiness, she may right well be called holy, and without spot or wrinkle. The church of Christ is also called holy, because it is sanctified and made holy of the Holy Ghost, which governeth, ruleth, defendeth, and saveth her, and moveth her continually with his heavenly inspiration unto the fervent study, exercise, and increase of all virtue and godliness.
Father. Why is this church called “catholic” or universal? Son. Because it is not bound to one certain place, kingdom, or empire, but is dispersed throughout the whole world; so that in all places God hath his elect and chosen people, which believe in him, call on his holy name, and worship him according to his word, even “in spirit and truth”, according to this commandment of Christ: “Go throughout the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Again: “Ye shall be witnesses of me, even unto the furthermost part of the world.” Item: “The gospel of the kingdom shall be preached throughout the whole world for a witness unto all nations.” [John 4, Mark 16, Luke 24, Matt. 24]
Father. Why dost thou rather say and confess, that there is one holy catholic or universal church, than many churches; seeing there are in the world so many companies, fellowships, or congregations of the faithful, that call on the name of the Lord? Son. As there is but one head of this holy catholic or universal church, which is the Lord Christ Jesus alone, so likewise is there but one holy church, as it is written [Cant. 6]: “One is my dove and my darling. She is the only beloved of her mother, and dear unto her that bare her. When the daughters saw her, they said she was blessed.” And, although this holy church in her members be dispersed and scattered abroad throughout the world, so that there be in divers countries divers companies, that profess and confess Christ and his holy gospel; yet, forasmuch as they are gathered and linked together in one faith and one doctrine, under one head Christ, into whose name alone they are consecrate and sworn, all those so great and so many multitudes are counted and called but one church, which church [1 Tim. 3] “is the house of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth,” so steadfastly founded on the rock Christ, that [Matt. 16, Eph. 2] “the very gates of hell shall never be able to prevail against her;” so surely “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,” that [Matt. 7, Luke 22] though abundance of rain descend, and the winds blow, yet can they not move her; yea, though Satan goeth never so much about to sift her, yet shall her faith never fail, but remain perfect, whole, and sound. For this church is that holy congregation or fellowship of God’s elect, [Matt. 24, John 10] which cannot err, nor be brought into error, much less perish and be damned.
Father. There is at this present day great contention concerning the church, every sect sweating to prove that they are the church of God, and that all other, which dissent from them, are synagogues of Satan: come off, tell me therefore, how the true church of Christ may be known from the malignant and wicked churches, which are led with the spirit, not of God, but of the devil. Son. Albeit many signs, tokens, and marks might here be rehearsed, whereby we may easily discern the church of Christ from the synagogue of antichrist, the people of God from the bond-slaves of Satan, the vessels of mercy from the vessels of wrath; yet will I recite at this present only four tokens, or marks, whereby we may truly and undeceivably know the true catholic and apostolic church.
Father. Which are those four? Son. The first is, the sincere, true, and uncorrupt preaching of God’s word, without the intermixture or mingling of man’s doctrine, in the which God, that mighty Lord, hath opened himself, his will, his mercy, and favour to his faithful congregation, as it is written [John 8, 10]: “He that is of God heareth the words of God.” Again: “My ‘sheep hear my voice;” “as for a stranger, they follow him not, but fly from him; for they know not the voice of strangers.”
The second is, the true administration of the sacraments according to the institution and ordinance of Christ, as we read of St Paul entreating of the supper of the Lord [1 Cor. 11]: “That which I delivered unto you received I of the Lord. For the Lord Jesus, the same night in the which he was betrayed, took the bread,” &c.
The third is, fervent prayer and the diligent invocation of God in the name of our alone Mediator Jesus Christ, with continual thanksgiving for his benefits.
The fourth is, ecclesiastical discipline according to the prescript and appointment of God’s word.
Although many other signs, notes, tokens, and marks, might here be rehearsed, whereby also the church of Christ may easily be discerned from the synagogue of antichrist, yet these be the principal and chief; so that, in whatsoever congregation these aforesaid signs be found, there may we well affirm and say the true church of Christ to be, and the faithful people of God.
Father. But what dost thou mean by calling the holy universal church “the company or fellowship of saints”? Son. These words, “The company or fellowship of saints” or holy men, do nothing else in a manner than declare what the holy universal church is; verily, a company of saints or of holy and godly-disposed persons knit together by one Spirit, in one faith, in one hope, in one love, in one baptism, in one doctrine, having one head, which is Christ Jesus, and serving one God, which is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, “in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life.” [Luke 1] For this fellowship of saints, although they be dispersed never so far abroad, yea, in all quarters under the sun, not only in Europa, but also in India, Persia, &c., be they Jews or gentiles, barbarous or Scythians, have, hold, and maintain one baptism, one faith, one God and Lord, one doctrine, and are led with one Spirit, and make one flock, whereof Christ Jesus is the pastor and shepherd. And in this company or fellowship of saints all things appertaining unto everlasting salvation are common, as the favour of God, remission of sins, quietness of conscience, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and everlasting life; yea, in this holy fellowship there is such a love and hearty good will one toward another (for they are members all of one body, and therefore like affected and minded), that there is also, as I may so speak, a certain community of temporal things among them, as we read [Acts 4] in the Apostles’ Acts of Christ’s church at the beginning; so that the rich have not too much, nor the poor too little, but a certain equality is among them, [2 Cor. 8] no man wanting, that is of that holy fellowship, but having sufficient to satisfy his necessity; such and so great care one for another reigneth in them, provoked thereunto by the Holy Ghost, which ruleth and governeth that holy congregation and fellowship of saints.
Father. I cannot disallow that thou speakest. But as concerning this word “saint,” methinks it ought rather to be appropriated unto the saints departed and reigning in glory with Christ, than unto us, which live in this world and are subject to many infirmities. Son. The holy scriptures, both of the old and new testaments, do rather ascribe this word “saint” unto us in this world, which believe in Christ, than unto the godly, which are now in glory with their head Christ. And we are termed saints by the Holy Ghost in the divine scriptures, first, to put us in remembrance that we are made saints, that is to say, holy, pure, and blameless, by the free grace of God called saints. through faith for Christ’s sake, and so recounted just and righteous before God for the righteousness not of ourselves, but of our Mediator Christ Jesus: secondly, that we should endeavour ourselves unto the uttermost of our power in all our manners, life, and conversation, to answer to our name, that is to say, to be saints, I mean holy, pure, blameless, good, righteous, merciful, gentle, liberal, and altogether virtuous, “putting on that new man which is shapen after the image of God in true righteousness and holiness,” as it is written: “Even as he which hath called you is holy, even so be ye holy also in your conversation; for it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy.” [Eph. 4, Col. 3, 1 Pet. 1, Lev. 19]
Father. What doth it profit thee to believe that there is an holy universal church, which is the company or fellowship of saints, that is to say, of godly and virtuous persons? Son. Very much. For in believing that there is such an holy church, I am well ascertained and fully persuaded, that I also am a member of the same church, and partaker of all the goods of the church, having Christ my head, my bridegroom, and most loving friend, and with him all that ever he hath.
Father. What good things are these, which thou hast or hereafter shalt have, [Rom. 8] because thou art a member of this holy church? Son. Even those that are contained in the three last articles of the Christian faith now next ensuing.
Father. Rehearse them.
Son. “The forgiveness of sins.”
I believe that I, being a member of this holy church, shall have through the blood of Christ remission and forgiveness of all my sins, be they never so many, great, and grievous; yea, and that not only before or at the time of baptism, but also after baptism, even all my lifetime and unto the very death, sin I never so oft through the frailness of nature or of ignorance, or otherwise, if I repent, bewail my sins, crave remission and forgiveness of them through the blood of Christ, with strong faith in the merciful promises of God, that Father of mercies and God of all consolation, yea, and that “not only seven times, but seventy times seven times.” [Matt. 18] For as there is no time wherein we do not sin, even so is there no time wherein the grace and benefit of forgiving our sins is barred and shut up from us of God, if we crave it in the name of Christ, as St John testifieth [1 John 1]: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
Father. Is there remission of sins in none other congregation, but in the congregation or church of Christ only? Son. No, verily. For to him that is no member of this holy church sin is not remitted but retained.
Father. Prove by the holy scriptures, that there is remission of sins laid up in God’s treasure house for all sinners that repent in faith. Son. Are not these the words of God by the prophet? [Ezek. 18] “If the ungodly will turn away from all his sins that he hath done, and keep all my commandments, and do the thing that is equal and right, doubtless he shall live and not die. As for all his sins that he did before, they shall not be thought upon, but in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. For I have no pleasure in the death of a sinner, saith the Lord God, but rather that he convert and live.” Again [Ezek. 33]: “As truly as I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but much rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn you, turn you from your ungodly ways, O ye of the house of Israel. O, wherefore will ye die?” Also in another place: “It is commonly said, if a man putteth away his wife, and she goeth from him and marrieth with another, should he resort any more unto her after that? Is not this field then defiled and unclean? But as for thee, thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet turn again unto me, saith the Lord.” Item: “Thou shrinking Israel, turn again, saith the Lord, and I will not turn my face from you; for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not alway bear displeasure against you,” &c. “O ye shrinking children, turn again, saith the Lord; and I will be married with you.”
As I may pass over almost innumerable testimonies of the old testament, which do most manifestly declare, that there is plenty of mercy and abundance of remission of sins laid up in store with God for all sinners that repent and unfeignedly turn unto their Lord God; to whom is it unknown, how lovingly and mercifully Christ Jesus the Lord calleth unto him all such as are grieved and heavy leaden with the burden of sin, and promiseth that he will ease them and give them rest? How oft doth he call them that thirst, and promiseth to give them of the water of life freely! How oft doth he confess that he came “to call sinners unto repentance,” and “ to seek up that which was lost”! [Matt. 11, Isa. 4, John 7, Rev. 22, Matt. 9, Luke 19, Luke 15] What other thing do the parables of the stray sheep, of the lost groat, and of the riotous son preach unto us, than that there is mercy in store for all penitent sinners? Are not these the words of Christ? “Verily I say unto you, there shall be joy in heaven before the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine which need no repentance.” What other thing also do the histories of Matthew the publican, of Mary Magdalene, of Simon Peter, of Zache the publican, of the thief, of the incestuous Corinthian, of Paul, of Onesimus, and of such like, than preach unto us, that there is grace, favour, mercy, and remission of sins laid up in store in God’s treasure house for all sinners that repent in faith, being members of this holy universal church? Therefore I may right well say: “I believe the forgiveness of sins.” [Matt. 9, Luke 7, Matt. 26, Luke 19, 23; 2 Cor. 2, Philemon]
Father. We then are all sinners? Son. Yea, verily. For “in many things we all offend.” “We are all unprofitable servants.” “There is no difference. All have sinned, and want the glory of God.” “There is no man so righteous on the earth which sinneth not.” “Who is able to say, My heart is clean, and I am free from sin?” “All our righteousnesses are as a defiled cloth.” If God should enter into judgment with us, and deal with us according to our deserts, no man that liveth should be found righteous in his sight. [James 3, Luke 17, Rom. 3, Psa. 14, Prov. 20, Isa. 64, Psa. 143]
Father. We may then, although never so sinful, believe, hope, and look for remission of our sins boldly at the hand of God, if we unfeignedly repent and turn unto the Lord our God. Son. Nothing is more true. And therefore our Saviour Christ taught us daily to pray on this wise [Matt. 6]: “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.”
Father. Who forgiveth sins? Son. God alone, as it is written: “No man can forgive sins, but God alone.” [Matt. 9, Mark 2] And God himself saith: “I am he, yea, I am he indeed, which putteth away thy sins, yea, and that for my own sake, and I will remember them no more.” “The Lord,” saith the psalmograph, “is full of compassion and mercy, long-suffering, and of great goodness. He will not alway be chiding, neither will he keep his anger for ever. He dealeth not with us after our sins, neither rewardeth he us according to our wickedness. For look how high the heaven is in comparison of the earth, so great is his mercy also toward them that fear him. Look how wide the east is from the west, so far doth he set our sins from us. Yea, like as a father pitieth his own children, even so is the Lord merciful unto them that fear him. For he knoweth whereof we be made, he remembereth that we are but dust.” [Psa. 103] “Who is like unto thee, O God,” saith the prophet Miche [Mic. 7], “which pardonest wickedness, and forgivest the offences of the remnant of thine heritage? Thou keepest not thine anger for ever. And why? thy delight is to have compassion. Thou shalt turn again, and be merciful unto us; yea, thou shalt put down our wickednesses, and cast all our sins into the bottom of the sea.”
Father. What moveth God to be so gentle and merciful unto us, that he will so bounteously forgive us all our sins, when we repent and turn unto him? Son. His own nature, which is altogether good and gracious, and “hateth nothing of all those things that he hath made.” [Wisd. 11, Psa. 18] “He hath saved me,” saith David, “because it was his pleasure.” Again: “Freely, and for none of their deserts, shalt thou save them, O Lord.” “It lighteth not,” saith St Paul [Rom. 9], “in any man’s will or running, but in the mercy of God.” And God himself saith [Exod. 33]: “I shew mercy to whom it pleaseth me to shew mercy, and have compassion on whom it is my pleasure to have compassion.” Again: “I am he, yea, I am he indeed, which putteth away thy sins, yea, and that for mine own sake.” Item: “Thy destruction cometh of thyself, O Israel; but thy salvation cometh only of me.” [Isa. 43, Hos. 13]
Father. But seeing that God is not only gracious but also righteous, not only a rewarder but also a revenger, not only a Saviour but also a condemner, how cometh it to pass, that his mercy excelleth his justice, and his judgment giveth place to grace and favour, so that we be not punished according unto justice, but forgiven according unto mercy? Son. Christ Jesus is that dearly beloved Son of God, for whose sake God the Father is well pleased with man. He is our peace-maker. “He by his blood Eph. hath pacified all things both in heaven and, earth.” He hath reconciled us unto God his Father, and set us at one. He is “the perfect fulfilling of the law to justify everyone that believeth.” He is that “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” He is that “Mediator between God and man, which gave himself a ransom for all men.” He is that Advocate, which pleadeth our cause before God the Father, and easily obtaineth pardon and forgiveness of our sins. He is that high and everlasting Bishop, “which sitteth on the right hand of God, and maketh intercession for us.” [Matt. 3, Eph. 2, Col. 2, Eph. 2, Rom. 10, John 1, 1 Tim. 2, 1 John 2] He is that Saviour, which “came into the world to save sinners.” He is that mighty and valiant conqueror, which hath delivered us from the tyranny of Satan, from the captivity of sin, from the curse of the law, from the danger of desperation, from the dart of death, and finally from the torments of everlasting damnation. To be short, he is our “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, that, as it is written, He that rejoiceth should rejoice in the Lord.” [1 Cor. 1, Jer. 9]
Father. How or by what means do we obtain and come ye [Perhaps a mere error for come by.] this exceeding great grace, favour, and mercy, concerning the remission of our sins at the hand of God for Christ’s sake? Son. By faith, as St Paul saith [Eph. 2]: “Of grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; for it is the gift of God, and cometh not of works, lest any man should boast himself.” St Peter also saith [Acts 10]: “Of Christ all the prophets bear witness, that through his name all they that believe in him shall receive forgiveness of sins.” St Paul agreeth with this, as blessed Luke testifieth, saying [Acts 13]: “Be it known, ye men and brethren, that through this man (Christ) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and from all the things whereby ye might not be justified by the law of Moses, by this man (Christ) every one that believeth is justified.” Item [Rom. 3]: “There is no difference: all have sinned, and want the glory of God; but freely are they made righteous even by his grace through the redemption that is done by Christ Jesu, whom God hath set for a mercy seat through faith in his blood, to shew the righteousness which availeth before him, in that he forgiveth the sins which were done before under the sufferance of God, which he suffered, that at his time he might shew the righteousness which availeth before him, that he only might be righteous, and the righteous-maker of him which is of the faith of Jesu.”
Father. What doth it profit thee that thou believest the forgiveness of sins? Son. By this I am certified and well assured in my conscience, that I am a member of Christ’s church. For none doth rightly believe but such as appertain unto the holy congregation of the Christians. [1 Cor. 2] Again, that I am partaker of all the merits of Christ’s passion and death. Thirdly, that by the blood of Christ all my sins are washed away and utterly forgiven, so that they shall never more be imputed unto me, nor laid unto my charge: not only that, but also that, as all evils be taken away from me by the death and blood of Christ, so likewise by the same are all good things given unto me, as it is written: “Ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are made righteous, by the name of the Lord Jesu, and by the Spirit of our God.”
Father. Let this suffice for this present concerning the article of the forgiveness of sins. What followeth?
Son. “I believe the resurrection of the body.”
Father. What meanest thou by this? Son. I believe with my heart, and confess with my mouth, that God by his almighty power at the last day shall raise up from death unto life the bodies of all men, women, and children, that have lived and died from the time of Adam’s creation unto the day of judgment, be they good or bad, faithful or unfaithful, and by whatsoever death they perished, whether they were consumed unto ashes by fire, or devoured of wild beasts, or eaten of the fowls of the air, or swallowed up of the fishes in the waters. Those very same bodies, wherein they lived sometime here upon earth, shall be restored unto them; so that, body and soul linked together, they shall “all stand before the judging place of Christ,” and there receive their reward according to the works which they have done, be they good or bad. [Rom. 14]
Father. Let me hear it proved by the word of God, that the bodies of the dead shall rise again, and be restored to life at the last day. Son. The scriptures are plentiful in this behalf.
The holy man Job speaketh on this manner [Job 19]: “I know, and am fully persuaded, that my Redeemer doth live, and that at the last day I shall rise out of the earth, and be clothed again with my skin, and shall see God in my flesh, whom I myself shall see, and mine eyes shall behold, and none other. This hope lieth buried up in my breast.” The prophet Esay saith [Isa. 26]: “Thy dead shall live again, our bodies shall rise again. Awake and rejoice, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is the dew of life and light.” The prophet Ezechiel saith: [Ezek. 37] “The hand of the Lord came upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and let me down in a plain field that lay full of bones; and he led me round about by them; and behold, the bones that lay upon the field were very many, and marvelous dry also: then said he unto me, Thou son of man, thinkest thou these bones may live again? I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. And he said unto me, Prophesy thou upon these bones, and speak unto them, Ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones: Behold, I will put breath into you that ye may live. I will give you sinews, and make flesh grow upon you, and cover you with skin, and so give you both that ye may live, and know that I am the Lord. So I prophesied, as he had commanded me. And as I was prophesying, there came a noise and a great motion; so that the bones ran every one to another. Now, when I had looked, behold, they had sinews, and flesh grew upon them, and above they were covered with skin; but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Thou son of man, prophesy thou toward the wind: prophesy and speak to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God, Come, O thou air, from the four winds, and blow upon these slain, that they may be restored to life. So I prophesied, as he had commanded me. Then came the breath unto them; and they received life, and stood up upon their feet, a marvelous great sort.” And a little after: “Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will open your gates, O my people, and take you out of your sepulchers, and bring you into the land of Israel again. So shall ye know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you out of them. My Spirit also will I put in you; and ye shall live.” The prophet Daniel saith also [Dan. 12]: “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some to everlasting life, some to perpetual shame and reproof.”
As I may at the last come to the testimonies of the new testament, are not these the words of our Saviour Christ unto the Sadducees, which denied the resurrection of the dead and the immortality of the soul? “As concerning the resurrection of the dead, [Matt. 22, Exod. 3, Matt. 22] have ye not read what is spoken unto you of God, which saith, I am the God [of] Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God [of] Jacob? Now is not God the God of the dead, but of the living.” Christ said unto Martha of her brother Lazarus that was dead [John 11]: “Thy brother shall rise again. Martha answered, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” In another place [Luke 14] the Lord Christ, appointing whom we should call unto our table, namely, the poor, the halt, the lame, the blind, &c. saith, that although they be not able to make us amends, yet shall we be recompensed in the resurrection of the righteous. And that we should not be doubtful of the resurrection of the dead, we read that our Saviour Christ, that most mighty conqueror of sin, devil, death, and hell, raised up certain that were dead unto life, as the widow’s son of Naim, the daughter of Jairus, and Lazarus, with divers other. [Luke 7. 8; John 11, Matt. 27] We read also that, after Christ’s resurrection, “the graves did open, and the bodies of many saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves, and came into the holy city, and appeared to many.” Blessed Luke in the chronicle of the apostles’ acts writeth, that St Peter raised up from death unto life a certain woman named Tabitha, otherwise called Dorcas; again, that St Paul likewise wrought the like miracle upon a certain young man that was dead, named Eutychus. [Acts 9, 20]
Father. Are there no testimonies of the resurrection of the dead in the epistles of St Paul? Son. St Paul in all his epistles writeth of nothing so oft and so largely as of the resurrection of the dead. In his epistle unto the Romans he writeth on this manner [Rom. 6]: “If we be dead with Christ, we believe also that we shall live with him.” Again: “If we be engraft in death like unto him, then shall we also undoubtedly be partakers with him of the resurrection.” In his first epistle to the Corinthians he writeth this [1 Cor. 6]: “God hath raised up the Lord (Jesus), and he shall raise up us also by his power. Know ye not, that your bodies are the members of Christ?” If our bodies be the members of Christ, then must they also be glorified with their head, Christ. In the fifteenth chapter of the foresaid epistle, [1 Cor. 15] the blessed apostle doth prove the resurrection of the dead with so manifest reasons and invincible arguments, that it is wonder that the very godless epicures should doubt of it; which chapter I would wish that all true Christians should diligently commend to memory. I will only give you a taste of it, and of that judge you the residue.
Father. It is well said, my son. Let me hear.
Son. “If there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen. [1 Cor. 15] If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching in vain, and your faith also is in vain; yea, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified against God, that he hath raised up Christ, whom he hath not raised up, if the dead rise not again. For if the dead rise not again, then is Christ also not risen again. But if Christ be not risen again, then is your faith in vain, and ye are yet in your sins: they also that are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, then are we of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and is become the first fruits of them that sleep. For by one man cometh death, and by one man the resurrection of the dead. For as they all die in Adam, so shall they all be made alive in Christ,” &c.
In his second epistle to the Corinthians he writeth thus [2 Cor. 4]: “We know that he which raised up the Lord Jesus, shall raise us up also by the means of Jesus.” Also to the Philippians [Phil. 3]: “Our conversation is in heaven, from whence we look for a Saviour, even the Lord Jesus Christ, which shall change this our vile body, that he may make it like unto his own glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able also to subdue all things unto himself.” Item to the Thessalonians [1 Thess. 4]: “We would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant concerning them which are fallen asleep, that ye sorrow not as other do, which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep by Jesus shall God bring with him. For this we say unto you in the word of the Lord, that we which live and are remaining in the coming of the Lord, shall not come ere they which sleep. For the Lord himself shall come down from heaven with a shout, and voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall arise first: then shall we, which live and remain, be caught up with them also in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort yourselves one another with these words.”
Father. We have heard testimonies concerning the resurrection of the dead out of the holy scriptures abundantly. But shall the wicked and ungodly rise again also at the day of judgment, no less than the faithful and godly? Son. Yea, verily.
Father. Where doth that appear in the holy scripture? Son. In divers and sundry places.
Father. Let me hear.
Son. The prophet Daniel saith [Dan. 12]: “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some to everlasting life, some to perpetual shame and reproof.” Our Saviour Christ saith also [John 5]: “The hour cometh, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” And in the gospel of St Matthew [Matt. 25], where Christ describeth and setteth forth the form and manner of his judgment, we read that at the last day, “when he shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, he shall sit upon the seat of his glory; and all people shall be gathered before him. And he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on his left. Then shall he say unto them that shall be on his right hand, Come hither, ye blessed of my Father, inherit ye the kingdom which was prepared for you from the beginning of the world, &c. Then shall he say unto them also that shall be on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the everlasting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels, &c. And these shall go into everlasting pain, but the righteous into everlasting life.”
Here is it evident, that all men, both good and bad, faithful and unfaithful, righteous and unrighteous, shall rise again at the day of judgment, and come before the high judge Christ, there to receive a reward according unto their deeds, as Christ himself saith [Rev. 22]: “Behold, I come out of hand, and my reward with me, that I may give to every one according unto his works.” Hereto agreeth the saying of St Paul [2 Cor. 5]: “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
Father. With what bodies shall the dead rise again? Son. Even with the very same bodies wherein sometime they lived in this world.
Father. What, mortal, corruptible, heavy, weak, sick, diseased, &c.? Son. Nothing less; but immortal, uncorruptible, light, or quick, strong, heathful, perfect, &c.
Father. How can it be the same body, when it is so altered? Son. The very same body, wherein we have lived here, shall be restored unto us through the mighty power of God, with all the parts and members of the same. The alteration of the body shall be not in substance, but in quality. Our bodies are now mortal and corruptible; but at the resurrection they shall be immortal and uncorruptible.
Father. Declare by the word of God, that the very same bodies, which we have now, shall be restored unto us at the day of judgment. Son. The holy man Job saith [Job 19]: “I know, and am fully persuaded, that my Redeemer doth live, and that at the last day I shall rise out of the earth, and be clothed with my skin, and shall see God in my flesh; whom I myself shall see, and mine eyes shall behold, and none other. This hope lieth buried up in my breast.” These words are so plain, that nothing can be spoken more plainly. St Paul also saith [1 Cor. 15]: “This corruptible must put on uncorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this corruptible shall put on uncorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality, then shall the word be fulfilled that is written [Isa. 25, Hos. 13, Heb. 2]: Death is swallowed up into victory. Death, where is thy sting? Hell, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin: the strength of sin is the law: but thanks be unto God, which hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Moreover, we read, that in times past, in the Aquilian and Carthagian church, men did use to pronounce this article on this manner: “I believe the resurrection even of this body*.” They added to the article these words, “Even of this,” to the intent that it might be plainly and evidently expressed, that none other body like unto this shall be raised up or made, but even this very selfsame body, wherein we now live, stand, sit, hear, see, walk, sleep, wake, &c.; yea, and which useth itself here with the soul in all manner of good works.
Father. What doth it profit thee, that thou dost believe the resurrection of this body? Son. First, it putteth me in remembrance, that in this world I am nothing else but a stranger and a pilgrim, and must away from hence, and that therefore I ought not to set my mind upon the things of this world, but rather “seek after those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” [Col. 3]
Secondly, so often as I say or remember this article of the Christian faith, it beateth into my heart a certain reverent fear toward the Lord my God, wherewith I am provoked to be ware and circumspect, that I commit none unclean thing with this my body, which, being dead, shall once rise again and stand before the judgment seat of Christ, there to render an accompts, even before the whole world, of all things that it hath done, be it good or bad; but rather so order it in all my doings, that in this world it may be the temple of the Holy Ghost, and after this life reign with our head Christ in the glory of his Father worlds without end.
Thirdly, it encourageth me greatly to suffer in this my body, both patiently and thankfully, whatsoever cross is laid upon me for the glory of my Lord God, and for the testimony of his truth, yea, although it were very death; being perfectly persuaded that this my body, thus afflicted for the Lord’s sake, shall once again be restored unto me after a more perfect and blessed state, than I ever had it in this world, even in all points “like to the glorious body of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [Phil. 3]
Fourthly, it occasioneth me patiently to bear the departing of my friends, and of such as I most tenderly love, seeing that I am well assured in my heart by the word of God, that they shall live again, not only in soul, which is immortal and never dieth, but in body, although taken away by death, and resolved into earth, dust, and ashes.
Fifthly and finally, it provoketh me to be studious of good works, always attempting some good and godly deed in this my body, seeing my labour shall not be vain, but at the resurrection of the righteous, whatsoever good deed I have wrought, it shall abundantly be recompensed me both in body and in soul.
Father. What remaineth of the articles of the Christian faith? Son. One only article, which is this:
“And I believe everlasting life. Amen.”
Father. What meanest thou by that? Son. I believe with my heart, and confess with my mouth, that after this transitory and miserable life, which is rather a shadow of a life, if not a death, both my body and soul being linked again together, through the mighty power of God, shall live for ever in the kingdom of God, without all trouble, pain, sickness, or taste of death any more, in such perfect joy and true felicity, as “eye never saw the like, ear never heard the like, no tongue is able to express the like, nor any heart is able to conceive or think the like.” [Isa. 64, 1 Cor. 2, Wisd. 3, Matt. 22, 1 John 3] The righteous shall glister as the shining of heaven, yea, “they shall be as the angels of God.” They shall see God “face to face,” even “as he is,” with all the holy angels and blessed saints of God, which have been from the beginning of the world unto the end of the same; and with them shall they rejoice, glory, and triumph with an unoutspeakable gladness, praising the most high majesty of God, worlds without end.
Father. Declare unto me by the word of God, that there is an everlasting life after this transitory, frail, and short life, which we lead in this world. Son. The prophet Daniel saith [Dan. 12]: “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some to everlasting life, some to perpetual shame and reproof. The wise, such as have taught other, shall glister as the shining of heaven; and those that have instructed the multitude unto godliness shall be as the stars world without end.” Esdras also hath these words [2 Esdras. 2]: “I say unto you, O ye heathen, that hear and understand: Look for your shepherd, he shall give you everlasting rest. For he is nigh at hand, that shall come in the end of the world. Be ready to the reward of the kingdom. For the everlasting light shall shine upon you for evermore. Flee the shadow of this world: receive the joyfulness of your glory: I testify my Saviour openly. O receive the gift that is given you, and be glad, giving thanks unto him that hath called you to the heavenly kingdom.” The Lord Christ saith also [Matt. 25]: “The righteous shall go into everlasting life.” Again [John 3]: “God hath so dearly loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Again, in the same chapter: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” Also in another place [John 10]: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give them everlasting life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave me them, is greater than all; and ‘no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father am one.” Item [John 17]: “O Father, my hearty desire is, that they, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, that they may see my glory, which thou hast given me.” The blessed apostle St Paul saith [2 Cor. 5]: “We know surely that, if our earthy house of this dwelling were destroyed, we have a building ordained of God, an house not made with hands, but everlasting in heaven.”
Father. Is this everlasting life the free gift of God, or is it deserved by our own good deeds? Son. Deserved? What deserve we of ourselves, or by our own works, but the wrath of God and everlasting damnation, if God should deal with us according to our deserts? “Everlasting life,” as Paul saith, [Rom. 6] “is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” And Christ himself saith [Luke 12]: “Fear not, ye little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you a kingdom.” Again [John 10]: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give them everlasting life.” Item [Rev. 2]: “Be thou faithful unto the death; and I will give thee the crown of life.” Hereto appertaineth the saying of St John [1 John 5]: “This is the witness, that God hath given us everlasting life, which life is in his Son.” “He that hath not the Son hath not life.” Again: “We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us a mind to know the true God; and we are in him which is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and everlasting life.”
Father. Is this everlasting life given of God to all men indifferently? I mean, so well to the bad as to the good, and to the unfaithful as to the faithful? Son. Everlasting life is only given to the faithful: [Rev. 21, Matt. 22, Isa. 66, John 3] as for the unfaithful, they “have their portion in that lake which brenneth with fire and brimstone,” “where is weeping and gnashing of teeth,” and “where the worm” that gnaweth the consciences of the damned, “shall never die.” Our Saviour Christ saith: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that every one that believeth in him may not perish, but have everlasting life.” Again [John 5]: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, he hath everlasting life, and cometh not into judgment, and is removed from death unto life.” Also in another place [John 6]: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” Item [John 3]: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth upon him.” These aforesaid scriptures, with many other, do manifestly declare, that everlasting life is only laid up in God’s treasure house for the faithful, and not for the unfaithful; so that as the one sort, that is to say, the faithful, shall enjoy everlasting life, so likewise the other part, I mean, the unfaithful, shall be cast headlong into “that lake that brenneth with fire and brimstone.”
Father. And shall the bodies of the faithful enjoy this everlasting life, no less than the souls? Son. Both joined together by the mighty power of God shall be partakers alike of this everlasting life.
Father. How can that be, when the holy apostle saith, [1 Cor. 15] “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”? And the Lord Christ saith [John 3]: “No man goeth up into heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, which is in heaven.” Son. Truth it is, that our bodies, as we received them of Adam, (for “that is born of flesh is flesh,” and “by nature we are all the children of wrath,”) cannot inherit the kingdom of God: for so are they sinful, mortal, and corruptible. [John 3, Eph. 2] But being regenerate, and born anew by the Spirit of God and holy baptism, and the qualities being changed at the resurrection of the righteous, I mean, [1 Cor. 15] corruption into uncorruption, and mortality into immortality, the very same bodies, wherein we have lived, without any alteration of the substance, shall enjoy the kingdom of God, as St Paul declareth in divers places of his epistles, and as we have abundantly heard heretofore. [2 Cor. 5, 1 Thess. 4]
Father. What is this everlasting life? Son. The perfect fruition, sight, and knowledge of God’s majesty in his glorious kingdom. [1 Cor. 13] “We now see God through a glass in a dark speaking, but then shall we see him face to face. We now know God unperfectly, but then shall we know him, even as he now knoweth us.” We now behold the majesty of God only with the eyes of our faith, [1 John 3] and “it hath not yet appeared what we shall be; but we know that, when Christ the Lord shall appear, we shall be like him, and shall see him even as he is.” We now, being clad with this mortal and corruptible body, are not at home with the Lord; but “when this mortality shall be swallowed up of immortality, and this corruption of uncorruption,” then shall we be at home with the Lord, and dwell in “an house not made with hands, but everlasting in heaven.” [2 Cor. 5]
Father. What doth it profit thee to believe everlasting life? Son. So greatly, that without this faith the belief of all the other articles profit me nothing at all. So oft as I consider this blessed, glorious, immortal, and everlasting life, it maketh me to fight valiantly against the devil, the world, and the flesh, to seek the glory of the Lord my God unfeignedly, to obey his holy word, will, and commandment, to frame my life according to his pleasure, to do good to all men, yea, even to my very enemies, to bear all kind of adversity, not only patiently but also thankfully; in fine, to wish for to be loosened out of this miserable and wretched body, and to be with my Lord and Saviour Christ in the kingdom of his Father, where I shall see face to face the glorious majesty of the Lord my God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and understand those heavenly mysteries and secrets, which I, being clad with this gross, mortal, corruptible, and sinful body, can by no means attain unto; where also I shall have the company of the blessed angels, and of all the elect and chosen people of God, which have lived from the beginning unto the end of the world, and with them rejoice in the Lord our God worlds without end.
Father. Wherefore dost thou at the end of the articles of the Christian faith say, “Amen”? Son. To declare that even from the very heart I do believe all those articles of the Christian faith to be true, which I have now rehearsed, and that whatsoever is contained in them is a most undoubted verity, and hath or shall come to pass unfeignedly, as is in them contained. And thereunto I say once again, Amen.
Father. We have now handled the two first parts of the Catechism, wherein thou hast not only satisfied, but also overcome my expectation. And I thank my Lord God for thee, my dear child, that he hath through his holy Spirit, in this thy tender age, so graciously endued thee with the knowledge of his holy word. And I beseech him for his mercies’ sake to continue his fatherly favour toward thee, and daily more and more to increase the knowledge of his blessed will in thee, that thou mayest at the last become a perfect man in Christ, and serve the Lord thy God in holiness and righteousness all the days of thy life. Son. God give me grace so to do!