Imágenes de páginas

Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, and are given in English. The articles others, as it is represented by them of 1819, were drawn up expressly in their confessions; as also we in reply to some charges urged receive the Confession of Augs- against the Waldenses in some of bourg, and as it was published by the London journals. the authors, promising to persevere constantly therein, with the help of Confession of Faith of the WaldenGod, both in life and death, and sian Pastors, residing in Piedbeing ready to subscribe to that mont, duted Feb. 20, 1819. eternal truth of God, with our own 1. We believe (with respect to blood, even as our ancestors have numerical unity) that God is one: done from the days of the Apostles, and by this word we understand a and especially in these latter ages." spiritual, eternal, boundless, infi

A still more modern exposition nitely wise, merciful, and just,-in of faith has been found by Mr. one word, a most perfect Being; Sims among the manuscripts of M. and that in that simple essence Peyrani, the late moderator of the there are three Persons, or HypoWaldensian church. It is signed stases, namely, the Father, the by the moderator, “ with the con- Son, and the Holy Spirit. sent of all his brethren,” under the II. We believe that the same recent date of February 20, 1819. God has manifested himself to men At first sight it seems to be by his works, both of creation and merely a re-publication of the de- providence; and by his word, reclaration of 1655; but upon further vealed in the beginning“ in divers inspection it appears that the mo. manners,' written and contained in dern pastors have made a few books, which are called the Holy alterations, some of which deserve Scripture. notice. They have also reduced III. We believe that the Holy the number of articles to thirty- Scripture should be received (and two, by the omission of the twenty- we do receive it) as divine and seventh of the Confession of 1655; canonical; that is to say, as the which is as follows: “ That all men rule of our faith and conduct; that ought to join that church [namely, it is contained in the books of the “the company of the faithful elect- Old and New Testament; that in the ed and called," as described in the Old Testament are contained only twenty-fifth article,] and to con. those books which God entrusted to tinue in the communion thereof." the Jewish church, and which that The reasons for omitting this article church always approved, and acit is unnecessary to conjecture ; the knowledged as of Divine authority; fear of giving öffence by an appa- namely, five books of Moses, Joshua, rently exclusive or proselyting spirit Judges, Ruth, the first and second may sufficiently account for it, with- of Samuel, the first and second of out supposing that the writers were Kings, the first and second of themselves indifferent to the dis. Chronicles, the first of Ezra, Nehetinction between a true and a false miah, Esther, Job, the Psalms, the church. This Confession is, on va. Proverbs of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, rious accounts, well worth exami- the Song of Solomon, four greater nation. A few of the chief differ- and twelve lesser Prophets : and in ences between this document and the New Testament four Gospels, the declaration of 1655 will be the Acts of the Apostles, the Epipointed out: the merely verbal ones stles of St. Paul, one to the Romans, are not ascertainable, for want of two to the Corinthians, one to the the original Latin document of Galatians, one to the Ephesians, 1655. For the convenience of the one to the Philippians, one to the general reader, both declarations Colossians, two to the Thessa

lonians, the Epistle to the Hebrews,“ dead in sins; ” and are not able one of St. James, two of Peter, of ourselves, and without grace, to three of John, one of Jude, and cherish a good thought *. lastly the Revelation.

X. That all the descendants of IV. We acknowledge the Divine Adam are guilty of his disobeauthority of these books, not merely dience, infected with corruption, on the testimony of the church, and have fallen into the same calabut more especially on account of mity; whence that infection prothe eternal and unquestionable truth ceeds to which the fathers have of the doctrine contained in them; given the name of original sin f. the excellence, sublimity, and divine XI. That from that corruption majesty which shine throughout ; and condemnation, God delivers and by the operation of the Holy men whom he has chosen through Spirit*.

his mercy in his Son Jesus Christ I. V. We believe that God made XII. We believe that Jesus all things out of nothing, of his Christ was ordained by God, by own perfectly free will, and by the an eternal decree, as the only Sainfinite power of his word.

viour and Leader of his body, that VI. We believe that he under- is, of the church ; that he redeemed takes the care of all things by his it by his blood in the fulness of providence, and that he is neither time, and presents to it all benefits the author nor the cause of the by the Gospel. evil which men practise; “ for God XIII. We believe that there are cannot be tempted with evil, neither two natures in Christ, the divine tempteth he any man.”

and the human, truly in one sole VII. We believe that the angels person; neither confounded nor were created pure and holy; that divided, nor separated, nor changed; some of them have fallen into an each nature preserving distinct proirreparable state of corruption and perties : and that Jesus Christ is perdition : but that others have very God and very man. persevered in holiness, through the XIV. That « God so loved the Divine goodness which confirmed world", that he gave his Son to them.

VIII. We believe that man, who • The corresponding article of 1655 is was created pure and holy, deprived fuller and stronger : it says, “ in so much himself through his own fault of that our free will is become a servant

and a slave to sin : and thus all men, both the happiness allied to purity and Jews and Gentiles, are by nature the holiness, by listening to the tempto children of wrath, being all dead in their er, that is, the devil.

trespasses and sins, and consequently IX. That man, by his transgres- incapable of the least good motion, or sion, lost the righteousness and ho- their salvation : yea, incapable to think

inclination to any thing which concerns liness which he had received, and one good thought without God's special incurred, with the wrath of God, grace, all their imaginations being wholly death, and captivity under the do- evil

, and that continually.”. minion of him who “ hath the very infants from their mothers' womb."

† The article of 1655 adds,“ power of death;" so that our free

The article of 1655 says :

“ That will is in a fallen condition, and we God saves from that corruption and conare become the “children of wrath,” demnation those whom he has chosen

from the foundation of the world, not for * The Confession of 1655 adds, “who any disposition, faith, or holiness that he gives us to receive with reverence the foresaw in them, but of his mere mercy testimony of the church in that point, in Jesus Christ his Son; passing by all and opens the eyes of our understanding the rest, according to the irreprehensible to discover the beams of that celestial reason of his free will and justice.”. light which shines in the Scripture, and $ The corresponding article of 1655 prepares our taste to discern the Divine had, in the true spirit of party controversy, favour of that spiritual food."

qualified the scriptural expression “the . That of 1655 says,

even the

save us by his most perfect obe XXI. We believe good works to dience,-especially that which he be so necessary to believers, that displayed by enduring the death of they cannot attain to the kingdom the cross ; and by the conquests he of heaven without such good works, achieved over the devil, sin, and which God (it is most certain) death.

“ hath foreordained that we should XV. That Jesus Christ effected walk in them ;” and, in like manthe complete expiation of our sins ner, that we should shun every by his most perfect sacrifice once vice, and cultivate all the virtues made upon the cross ; and that that Christ hath taught us". therefore a repetition of that sacri- XXII. We believe that although fice, neither can nor ought to be our works cannot, in the strict made #.

sense of the word, merit, yet that XVI. That the Lord Jesus, when the Lord will reward them with he had reconciled us to God by eternal lifet ; his promises being his blood, became our Leader: and unchangeably constant. that we are not absolved and justi- XXIII. We believe that we ought fied by our own works, but by his to regard those who have attained merit to

to eternal life as the reward of faith XVII. That we have fellowship and good works, as worthy of praise with Christ, and participate in his and imitation; but that they ought benefits, by faith, which strives to not to be adored nor invoked by obtain the promises of life which us, since to God alone should are offered to us in the Gospel. prayer be offered through Jesus

XVIII. That this faith proceeds Christ. from the gratuitous operation of (“Let us not adopt the worship the Holy Spirit, who illuminates of the dead as our religion, since, if our souls, and induces them to they lived a devout life, they are place all their hopes in the Divine not to be deemed such as seek mercy; that we may impute to those honours, but such as desire ourselves the merits of Christ; and that we should worship him by that we may most firmly believe, that whose illumination they rejoice that without bim we cannot be saved. we are partakers of their merit.

XIX. We believe that Jesus They should be honoured therefore Christ is our Mediator, not only as objects of imitation, but not for the purpose of redemption, but adored as objects of religious worfor that of intercession also; and ship.”-Augustine.) 1 that, through his merits and me- XXIV. We believe that God diation, we may have access to the gathers together g a church in the Father, to call upon him with con

world for the salvation of men; and fidence that we shall be heard 1. that this church has one Leader and

XX. We believe that since God Foundation, namely, Jesus Christ. promises us regeneration in Jesus XXV. That this church consists Christ, we who are united to him in the union of believers, who, by a lively faith, ought strenuously " chosen of God before the foundato perform Ø good works.

tion of the world,” and “ called world" by adding, “ that is to say, those with an holy calling," are united whom he has chosen out of the world.”

making use of The older confession adds, “ as they fasting, and all other means which may pretend to do in the mass.

conduce to so holy a thing." + That of 1655 adds,“ neither is there + That of 1655 adds, “through the any other purgatory besides his blood, merciful continuation of his grace," and which cleanses us from all sin."

it has no such qualifying expression as That of 1655 adds, “it being need- “ in the strict sense of the word.” less to have recourse to any other inter- # The passage from Augustine is not cessor besides himself.”

in the articles of 1655. $ That of 1655 has, in a parenthesis, $ The older formulary says, "and do really perform."



a hath

[ocr errors]

to follow God's word, and cherish has appointed kings, princes, and a salutary religious fear, namely, magistrates, for the protection of such as is productive of holiness and the people, and that we should a reformation of manners * obey them, (agreeably to this pre

XXVI. That this church cannot cept, “Let every soul be subject be destroyed, but is necessarily a to the higher powers, for there is perpetual church t..

no power but of God, &c. WhereXXVII. That in the church God fore ye must needs be subject, not not only teaches us by his word, only for wrath but also for conbut has moreover instituted sacra- science' sake,") in all things that ments, as means whereby we might agree with the word of God, who be united to Christ, and might par. is “ King of kings, and Lord of ticipate in the benefits which he lords." has obtained for us. We believe XXXII. Lastly, we declare that that under the New Testament we receive the Apostles' Creed, dispensation there are only two the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten sacraments common to all the Commandments, as rules of faith members of the church ; namely, and conduct ; from which we beBaptism and the Lord's Supper.

lieve that we should not recede, XXVIII. We believe that God even in the least degree. instituted the sacrament of baptism

Such is the confession of our for a testimony of our adoption, faith, which we, the Waldensian and that we might be washed from pastors residing in Piedmont, opour sins in the blood of Christ, and pose to the calumnies published renewed unto holiness of life. against us, and printed in the

XXIX. That he instituted the London journals ; and this our prosacrament of the Lord's Supper, fessed faith we have not received in order to nourish our souls; that from Waldo of Lyons, nor from when, with a true and lively faith Luther, nor from Calvin, but we (through the incomprehensible have inherited it from the earliest power of the Holy Spirit), we eat times from our forefathers, who the flesh and drink the blood of had received it in like manner Christ, and are one with him, we from their remote ancestors; as is may have spiritual and eternal life. evident from various confessions

XXX. We believe it to be ne- presented to our princes, the dukes cessary that the church should have of Savoy and princes of Piedmont; learned pastors of blameless life, and from a work of the most reve(bishops, priests, and deacons, as rend James Usher, formerly archwas usual in the primitive church), bishop of Armagh and primate of to preach the word of God, to all Ireland, which contains an hisadminister the sacraments, and to torical explanation of the imporwatch over the flock of Christ ac- tant question respecting the concording to rules of good and holy tinued succession and condition of discipline, after the example of the Christian churches, especially those primitive church t.

in the west, from the time of the XXXI. We believe that God Apostles to the seventeenth century. • That of 1655 says simply, “ living in

In this faith we desire to live ; his fear."

and we desire still to persevere in + The old document adds, " and that it to the end; and to be ready to all the elect are upheld and preserved by evince our attachment to it, even the power of God, in such sort that they if required on that account to enall persevere in the faith unto the end, and remain united in the holy church, as dure torture and torments, the loss so many living members thereof."

of our possessions, and death at The Confession of 1655 gives some the stake. extracts from the formularies of the Vaudois Church, in proof of their belief on

Moreover, we declare that we this subject. It has not the word bishops. cheerfully accede to the sound

[ocr errors]

doctrine taught in the Reformed ference for his own, as more full, churches of England, the Nether- and less marked by the peculiarities lands, Germany, Prussia, Switzer- of human system. Alas! that with land, Poland, Hungary, &c.; and we the Scriptures in our hands, and humbly entreat all those churches, professedly adopted as the rule of and others settled in America, to our faith and practice, any such regard our's, though few and desti- formularies should be necessary; tute, as members of the mystical yet necessary they are, and will be, body of Christ.

so long as men are found to corrupt With regard to the style of this the truth for secular and selfish composition, which is not in every purposes. The minor discrepancies instance distinguished for classical in these documents in the churches purity, it is the less necessary to of Protestant Christendom are offer an apology on this score to triumphantly quoted by the Roman our readers, since even Cicero Catholic to disparage our ecclesiasallows that “whatever is perspi- tical reformation, and by the infidel cuously expressed on a useful or to wound Christianity itself; but important subject, should be con- amidst many differences there is sidered as well expressed ; to lavish also much in common, and that embellishments on subjects of that which is in common happily innature being in fact a puerile at- cludes, in almost every instance, tempt, since it is quite sufficient whatever is most essential to purity for å learned and intelligent man of faith, and to the advancement of to state them in a clear and per- a holy and devoted life.

PASTOR. spicuous manner.”

Pastor of the Church of Pomaret,

and Moderator of the Walden-
sian Churches (with the

consent Tothe

Editorofthe Christian Observer. of all his brethren).

There is a species of blemish ob

servable in most metrical versions of It would be beyond the limits the Psalms, which it may be well to and design of the present paper, notice, for the sake of putting future to detail the various reflections versifiers more carefully upon their which must occur to every thought- guard against it; I mean, an inattenful mind, on the perusal of the tion to the exact drift and spirit of above-cited documents. The pious figures and poetical imagery. A trope, Protestant cannot but feel deeply unless exhibited in a translation with grateful to the great Head of the the delicate shading of the original, church, for having, in the darkest becomes spiritless, or even absurd. ages of Popery, raised up and In rendering ancient authors, even maintained a Christian commu- in a prose version, there is often nion, whose articles are in the great difficulty in catching this exmain so strongly marked by the actness of figurative allusion; and great outlines of scriptural truth. the difficulty is far greater, when, in The member of the Church of addition to the sense of the passage, England, in particular, will rejoice metre, and rhyme, and rhythm are to find in the articles of this sister also to be consulted. This difficulty, church-a church cemented by the above all, is the greatest in the case blood of innumerable martyrs for of writings like the Old Testament, the cause of Christ~a confession where customs and circumstances, resembling, in many important re- to us but imperfectly known, are spects, the articles of his own incidentally referred to, so as to revered communion; though upon become part of the very staple of careful comparison he will be dis- thought and language. posed to give a very decided pre- I will illustrate my remark by

« AnteriorContinuar »