Of the Holy Scriptures.
1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain,
and infallible (a) rule of all saving
Knowledge, Faith and Obedience; Although the (b)
light of Nature, and the works of Creation and Providence do so far manifest
the goodness, wisdom and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet
are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and His will, which
is necessary unto Salvation. (c) Therefore
it pleased the Lord at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself,
and to declare that His will unto his Church; and afterward for the better
preserving, and propagating of the Truth, and for the more sure Establishment,
and Comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the
malice of Satan, and of the World, to commit the same wholly unto (d)
writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former
ways of Gods revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.
a 2 Tim. 3 15,16,17. Isa. 8. 20. Luk.
16. 29,31. Eph. 2. 20.
b Rom. 1. 19,20,21. &c. ch 2. 14,15.
Psal. 19. 1,2,3.
c Heb. 1. 1.
d Pro. 22. 19,20,21. Rom. 15. 4. 2
Pet. 1. 19,20.
2. Under the Name of Holy Scripture or the Word of
God written; are now contained all the Books of the Old and New Testament
which are these,
Of the Old Testament.
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth,
1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra,
Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Songs,
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah,
Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
Of the new Testament.
- Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Pauls Epistle
to the Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Phillippians,
Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, to
Titus, to Philemon, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Epistle of James, The
first and second Epistles of Peter, The first, second and third Epistles
of John, the Epistle of Jude, the Revelation. All which are given by the
(e) inspiration of God, to be the
rule of Faith and Life.
- e 2 Tim. 3. 16.
- 3. The Books commonly called Apocrypha not being
of (f) Divine inspiration, are no
part of the Canon (or rule) of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority
to the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of,
then other humane writings.
- f Luk. 24. 27.44. Rom. 3. 2.
- 4. The Authority of the Holy Scripture for which
it ought to be believed dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or
Church; but wholly upon (g) God (who
is truth it self) the Author thereof; therefore it is to be received, because
it is the Word of God.
- g 2 Pet. 1. 19,20,21. 2 Tim. 3. 16.
2 Thes. 2. 13. 1 Joh. 5. 9.
- 5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony
of the Church of God, to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures;
and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the Doctrine, and the
Majesty of the stile, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole
(which is to give all glory to God) the full discovery it makes of the
only way of mans salvation, and many other incomparable Excellencies, and
intire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence
it self to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding; our (h)
full perswasion, and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority
thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by
and with the Word in our Hearts.
- h Joh. 16. 13,14. 1 Cor. 2. 10,11,12.
1 John 2. 2.20.27.
6. The whole Councel of God concerning all things
(i) necessary for his own Glory, Mans
Salvation, Faith and Life, is either expressely set down or necessarily
contained in the Holy Scripture; unto which nothing at any time
is to be added, whether by new Revelation of the Spirit, or traditions
- Nevertheless we acknowledge the (k)
inward illumination of the Spirit of God, to be necessary for the saving
understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word, and that there
are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of
the Church common to humane actions and societies; which are to be (l)
ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence according to the
general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
- i 2 Tim. 3. 15,16,17. Gal. 1. 8,9.
k John 6. 45. 1 Cor. 2. 9,10,11,12.
l 1 Cor. 11, 13,14. & ch. 14.
26. & 40.
- 7. All things in Scripture are not alike (m)
plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are
necessary to be known, believed, and observed for Salvation, are so (n)
clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that
not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means,
may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.
- m 2 Pet. 3. 16.
n Ps. 19. 7. and 119. 130.
- 8. The Old Testament in (o)
Hebrew, (which was the Native language of the people of God of old)
and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing
of it was most generally known to the Nations being immediately inspired
by God, and by his singular care and Providence kept pure in all Ages,
are therefore (p) authentical; so
as in all controversies of Religion the Church is finally to appeal unto
them (q) But because these original
tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto,
and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to
read (r) and search them, therefore
they are to be translated into the vulgar language
of every Nation, unto which they (s)
come, that the Word of God dwelling (t)
plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and through
patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.
- o Rom. 3. 2.
p Isa. 8. 20.
q Act. 15. 15.
r John 5. 39.
s 1 Cor. 14, 6.9.11,12.24.28.
t Col. 3. 16.
- 9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture
is the (u) Scripture it self: And
therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any
Scripture (which is not manifold but one) it must be searched by other
places that speak more clearly.
- u 2 Pet. 1. 20,21. Act. 15. 15,16.
- 10. The supream judge by which all controversies
of Religion are to be determined, and all Decrees of Councels, opinions
of antient Writers, Doctrines of men, and private Spirits, are to be examined,
and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture
delivered by the Spirit, into which (x)
Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.
- x Mat. 22. 29.31. Eph. 2. 20 Acts