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testimonies of the scriptures, and the examples of the saints.
13. Neither, even in those who are reinstated after a fall, doth the renewed confidence of perseverance produce licentiousness, or neglect (incuriam) of piety, but much greater care of solicitously keeping the ways of God, which are prepared, that by walking in them they may retain the certainty of their own perseverance: lest, on account of the abuse of his parental benignity, the face of the merciful God, (the contemplation of which is to the pious sweeter than life, and the withdrawing of it more bitter than death,) should again be turned away from them, and so they should fall into heavier torments of the soul.1
14. But, as it hath pleased God to begin this work in us by the preaching of the gospel; so, by the hearing, reading, meditation of the same, by exhortations, threatenings, promises, and moreover by the use of the sacraments, he preserves, continues, and perfects it.2
15. This doctrine, concerning the perseverance of the truly believing and saints, and of its certainty, which God hath abundantly revealed in his word, to the glory of his own name and to the comfort of pious souls, and impresses on the hearts of the faithful, the flesh indeed doth not receive, Satan hates, the world derides, the inexperienced (imperiti) and hypocrites violently hurry away (rapiunt) into abuse, and the spirits of error oppose. But the spouse of Christ hath always most tenderly loved it, as a treasure of inestimable value, and hath constantly defended it, (propugnavit,) which indeed that she may do God will take care (procurabit,) against whom neither counsel can avail, nor any strength succeed. To whom, the only God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Ps. lxxxv. 8.
* Is not this a full confutation of those who accuse such as hold this doctrine of rendering all means of grace needless, and all exhortations nugatory? The means to be used by the persons themselves, and by others for them, in whatever form they are employed, constitute a part of that counsel and plan by which God preserves his people, and causes them ' to walk religiously 'in good works, and at length by his mercy to attain to ever'lasting felicity.' Art. xvii. Ch. Eng. Compare Acts xxvii. 22— 24, with 31; and Jude 20, 21, with 24.
BY THE TRANSLATOR.
These fifteen articles are abbreviated, as has been above stated, in the following article.
'Art. V. Of the Certainty of Perseverance.
'That such as have once received that grace 'by faith, can never fall from it finally or totally, 'notwithstanding the most enormous sins they 'can commit.'
REJECTION OF ERRORS ON THE FIFTH HEAD CONCERNING THE DOCTRINE OF THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS.
The orthodox doctrine having been set forth, the Synod rejects the errors of those,
1. Who teach 'That the perseverance of the 'truly faithful is not the effect of election, or the 'gift of God obtained by the death of Christ, but 'a condition of the new covenant, to be performed 'by man, of free will, antecedent to his peremp'tory election and justification, as they themselves 'speak.' For, the sacred scripture testifies, that it follows election, and that it is given to the elect, through the power of the death, resurrection, and intercession of Christ. Rom. xi. 7. "The election "have obtained; the rest were hardened." Also Rom. viii. 32. "He that spared not his own "Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall "he not with him freely give us all things ? Who "shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? "It is God that justifieth. Who is he that con"demneth ? It is Christ that died; yea, rather "who is risen again, who also sitteth at the right "hand of God; who likewise intercedeth for us. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ?"1 2. Who teach * That God indeed provides the 'believer with powers sufficient for persevering, 'and is ready to preserve them in him if he 'performs his duty : all things, however being 'furnished which are necessary to persevering 'in faith, and which God willeth to supply for the 'preservation of faith, it always depends upon 'the freedom of the will whether he will persevere, 'or not persevere.' For this opinion contains manifest Pelagianism; and, while it willeth to make men free, makes them sacrilegious, contrary to the perpetual agreement of the evangelical doctrine, which deprives men of all ground (materiam) for glorying, and ascribes to divine
1 Luke xxii. 32'. 1 Pet. i. 5. 'Because the frailty of man 'without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful.' Col. xv. after Trinitv.
grace alone the praise of this benefit: and it is opposite to the apostle, who declares, that "It is "God who will confirm us even to the end, "blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. i. 8.1
3. Who teach, 'That true believers and re'generate persons may not only fall from justifying 'faith, and in like manner from grace and salvation, 'totally and finally, but likewise that in fact (re 'ipsa) they not seldom do fall from it, and perish 'eternally.' For this opinion renders vain the grace itself of justification and regeneration, and the perpetual guardian care (custodiam) of Christ, contrary to the express words of the apostle Paul, Rom. v. 8,9: "If Christ died for us while we "were yet sinners, much more, then, being now "justified through his blood, we shall be saved "from wrath by him." And contrary to the apostle John, 1 John iii. 9: "Every one that is "born of God doth not commit sin, (non dat "operam peccato,) because his seed remaineth in "him; neither can he sin, because he is born of "God." Also, contrary to the words of Jesus "Christ, John x. 28, 29: "I give eternal life to "my sheep, and they shall never perish, neither "shall any one tear them out of my hand: my "Father who gave them me is greater than all, "neither can any one tear them out of my "Father's hand."
1 " Being confident of this, that he who hath begun a good "work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Phil. i. 6. If it depend absolutely on the freedom of man's will, whether he will persevere or not, his reliance must and ought to be placed on that, on which the whole event depends; and is not this to trust ouf own hearts?
4. Who teach, 'That true believers and the 'regenerate may sin the sin unto death, or against 'the Holy Spirit.' Whereas the same apostle John, chap, v., after he has, in the 16th and 17th verses, mentioned those who sin unto death, and forbidden to pray for them, immediately, ver. 18. adds, "We know, that whosoever is "born of God, sinneth not," (namely, with that "kind of sin) "but he that is begotten of God, "keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth "him not."
5. Who teach, ' That no certainty of future per'severance can be had in this life, without special 'revelation.' For, by this doctrine, solid consolation is taken away from true believers in this life and the doubting of the papists (pontificiorum) brought back into the church. But the holy scripture every where requires this certainty, not from special and extraordinary revelation, but from the peculiar marks of the children of God, and the most constant promises of God: especially the apostle Paul, Rom. viii. 39: "No created thing "can separate us from the love of God which is "in Christ Jesus our Lord:" and 1 John iii. 24: "Whoso keepeth his commandment remaineth "in him, and he in him; and hereby we know "that we remain in him by the Spirit which he "hath given us."1
11 John ii. 3, 4. iii. 14, 18, 19. Not a single instance can be adduced from the scripture, in which any prophet or apostle ascribes his own assurance' of salvation to special revelation, or to any thing different from what he exhorts others to, in order to obtain and retain the same assurance. This concludes at least as strongly against those who ground their assurance on dreams.