or head of Doctrine, concerning
Christís death and the redemption
of men by it
The first Article
††††††††† God is not only most merciful, but most just also. Now his justice requires (as he hath revealed himself in his word) that our sins committed against his infinite majesty, be punished not with temporal pains only, but eternal also, and those both of body and soul: which punishments we cannot escape, unless Godís justice be satisfied.
††††††††† But seeing we ourselves cannot make satisfaction, and free ourselves from the wrath of God, God of his infinite mercy hath given us his only begotten Son to become a surety for us, who, that he might satisfy for us, was made sin, and a curse upon the cross for us, or in our stead.
††††††††† This death of the Son of God is the only, and most perfect sacrifice, and satisfaction for sins, of infinite price, and value, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world.
††††††††† And therefore this death is of so great value and price, because the person, which suffered it, is not only a true, and perfectly holy man, but the only begotten Son of God also, of the same eternal, and infinite essence with the Father, and the holy Ghost: such a one as it behooved our Savior to be. Again, because his death was joined with a feeling of Godís wrath and of the curse, which we had deserved by our sins.
††††††††† Furthermore it is the promise of the Gospel: That whoever believes in Christ crucified, should not perish, but have life everlasting: Which promise together with the injunction of repentance and faith, ought promiscuously, and without distinction, to be declared and published to all men and people, to whom God in his good pleasure sends the Gospel.
††††††††† But forasmuch as many being called by the Gospel do not repent, nor believe in Christ, but perish in their infidelity, this comes not to pass for want of, or by any insufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ offered upon the cross, but by their own proper fault.
††††††††† But as many as truly believe, and are freed by Christís death from their sins, and saved from destruction; they by Godís grace alone (which he owes to no man) given unto them from eternity in Christ, obtain this benefit.
††††††††† For this was the most free counsel, gracious will, and intention of God the Father, that the lively and saving efficacy of the most precious death of his Son should manifest itself in all the elect, for the bestowing upon them only justifying faith, and bringing them infallibly by it unto eternal life, that is, God willed, that Christ by the blood of his cross (whereby he was to establish a new covenant) should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all them, and them only, who from eternity were elected unto salvation, and given to him of the Father, that he should bestow faith on them (which as also the other saving gifts of the holy Spirit, he purchased for them by his death) that by his blood he should cleanse them from all sins both original, and actual, as well committed after, as before they believed, and finally should present them before him in glory without all spot, or blemish.
††††††††† This counsel proceeding from his eternal love toward the elect, the gates of Hell bootlessly (vainly) resisting it, hath from the beginning of the world to this present time, been mightily fulfilled, and hereafter also shall be fulfilled: so that the elect in their times must be gathered into one, and there must always be some Church of the believers founded in the blood of Christ, which constantly loving, steadfastly worshipping, and here and forever and ever praising him her Savior, who laid down his life upon the cross for her, as the bridegroom for his bride.
of the errors
The Synod having delivered the
Orthodox doctrine, rejects the errors of them;
††††††††† Who teach, that God the Father ordained his Son unto the death of the cross without any certain and determinate counsel of saving any particular man expressly; so that its necessity, profit, and dignity, might have remained whole, and sound, and perfect, in every respect, complete, and entire, to the impetration of Christís death, although the obtained redemption had never actually been applied to any particular person. For this assertion is reproachful unto the wisdom of God the Father, and the merit of Jesus Christ, and contrary to the Scripture; Where our Savior Christ says, John 10: 15, I lay down my life for my sheep. (verse 27) and I know them. And the prophet Isaiah speaks thus of our Savior. Isaiah 53: 10. When he shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Lastly, it overthrows an article of our faith: namely that, wherein we believe, that there is a Church.
††††††††† Who teach, that this was not the end of Christís death, that he might establish a new covenant of grace by his blood, but that he might only procure unto his Father the bare right of making again with men any covenant whatsoever, whether of grace, or of works. For this thwarts the Scripture which teaches that Christ is made the surety, and mediator of a better, that is, a new covenant, Hebrews and Ė 17. The Testament is confirmed when men are dead.
†††††††† Who teach, that Christ by his satisfaction did not certainly merit for any man salvation itself, and faith, by which the satisfaction of Christ may be effectually applied unto salvation, but only, that he purchased to his Father a power, or resolution to enter into a new match with mankind, and to prescribe then what new conditions soever he pleased: the performance of which conditions should depend upon manís free will, and that therefore it might fall out that either no man, or every man might fulfill them. For these esteem too, too †basely of Christís death, in no wise acknowledging the chiefest, and most excellent fruit, and benefit procured thereby, and call up again the Pelagian error out of hell.
††††††††† Who teach, that the new Covenant of grace which God the Father, by the mediation of Christís death made with men, doth not consist herein, viz. that we are justified before God, and saved by faith, in so much as it apprehends the merit of Christ: but herein, viz. that God, the exaction of perfect legal obedience being abrogated, reputes faith itself, and the imperfect obedience of faith for perfect obedience of the law, and graciously thinks it worthy of the reward of eternal life. For these contradict the Scripture, Romans , 25 all are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption, that is, in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a reconciliation through faith in his blood. And, with wicked Socinus, they bring in an uncouth and strange justification of man before God, contrary to the consent of the whole Church.
††††††††† Who teach, that all men are received into the state of reconciliation and grace of the covenant, so that nobody shall be condemned for original sin, nor, in respect of it, be liable unto death or damnation, but that all are acquitted, and freed from the guilt of that sin. For this opinion is contrary to the Scripture, which affirms, that we are by nature the children of wrath.
††††††††† Who employ the distinction of impetration, and application, to the end that they may infuse this opposition into unskillful and unwary wits, namely; that God, as much as concerns him, would confer upon all men equally these benefits, which are procured by Christís death. And whereas some, rather than others, are made partakers of forgiveness of sins, and life eternal, that this diversity depends upon their own free will, applying itself unto grace indifferently offered: but not upon the singular gift of mercy, effectually working in them rather than others, that they may apply this grace unto themselves. For they, while they bear the world in hand, that they propound this distinction with a sound meaning, go about to make the people drink of the poisonous cup of Pelagianism.
††††††††† Who teach, that Christ neither could, nor ought to die, neither did die for those, whom God dearly loved, and chose unto eternal life, seeing such stood in no need of Christís death. For they contradict the Apostle, who says, Galatians 2: 20 Christ loved me, and gave himself for me. In like manner, Romans 8: 33, Who shall lay anything to the charge of Godís chosen? it is God that justifieth, who shall condemn? it is Christ which is dead, to wit, for them. And our Savior averring, John 10: 15, I lay down my life for my sheep. And John 15: 12, 13, This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you: greater love than this hath no man, that a man lat down his life for his friends.