Of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, God and man in one person, and the necessity of believing it. Of this we confess: That it is necessary for all Christians to believe that the knowledge of the only Son of the Father, is, as one of the principal articles of. our faith, in the highest degree essential unto salvation. It is therefore not sufficient to know Christ only after the flesh, or His humanity; as, that He was born of Mary, and become like unto us in all things, except sin; but we must also (which is the most important) know Him after the Spirit, and His eternal Godhead; that is, that He before all time, in eternity, in an unspeakable manner, was born of or proceeded from the true God His Father, and that He is the true real Word and Wisdom, which proceeded from the mouth of the Most High, and which for this reason, was equal with His Father in brightness, glory, power, might and eternal Godhead, before the foundation of the world. And that this only Son of God, for our justification, became a visible man, that by His present, visible humanity-which is not of this tabernacle or sinful substance, but in essence far different from sinners-He might give us a holy, unblamable example in doctrine and conversation, in order thus to incite all men to follow Him.
And that according to His divine power and might He was able to deliver us from the captivity of sin, hell, the devil, and death, and save us forever; seeing no other means or name in heaven or on earth is given unto men for salvation. To this end, Christ was made unto us, of God, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Hence neither Moses with his threatening and punishing law of commandments, nor Aaron with the entire Levitical priesthood, and all their sacrifices and offerings, which were made only for remembrance of sins, and consequently, passed by polluted mankind without affording them any help (for no corruptible man could redeem his brother, and reconcile him with God; as all human, sinful substance was not able to redeem the soul from eternal death); but this was fulfilled and accomplished by the slain Lamb, which was foreordained and was manifest in these last times. He restored that which He had not taken away. He, the innocent one, took the guilt of us all upon Him, and only He was found worthy in heaven and earth, to open the book with its seven seals. And by His coming into this world (which can never be sufficiently praised), He opened the entrance to the kingdom of God, which was closed by sin, not by the blood of bulls and goats, or of any corruptible man, nor by corruptible silver or gold; but Christ paid and accomplished this by His own dear and precious blood, thereby obtaining an eternal redemption.
And as the sun in the heavens is endowed by God with a glorious splendor, so that it is the eye of the world, which illuminates the darkness, and spreads its beautiful light over all visible things, and receives nothing from any of them; so also Christ Jesus, the true Sun of righteousness, and what is still more, the Creator and Ruler of the sun, and of all things, did not take to His assistance any created substance, by which to accomplish the work of our salvation; but came with His most praiseworthy light from God out of heaven, and shone into this dark world, where He was received, and arose, as the beautiful daystar, in the hearts of many men; and was thus a Giver, but not a recipient. Hence, the praise and honor for this redemption must be ascribed to the only God of heaven and earth, and not to any created man; otherwise we would rob the Creator of His proper honor, and ascribe the same to sinful, created flesh like unto ourselves; thereby making flesh our arm, Redeemer, God and Saviour; and thus departing with our hearts from God our salvation, we should fall into damnable ,idolatry, seeking life from the dead, where it cannot be found.
Herein we are to know the love and goodness, and also the severity of God, and how greatly the Almighty God hates sin; His severity and justice, from the fact, that through the one sin of the first man, the whole human race became corrupted; and that this could be paid and atoned for by no other means than through the death and blood of God's own, only begotten Son. God's goodness and everlasting love are known from this, that He, the Blessed, so graciously looked upon and recognized, the weakness and nothingness of man; and, hence, as He often sent angels, as His faithful messengers, in human form to men, upon the earth, knowing that this sinful, mortal, earthly flesh and blood is not able to behold the immortal, heavenly glory of the angels; much less can man with his sinful and mortal eyes behold the immortal, eternal, holy splendor and glory of the eternal Creator of all things; therefore- the eternal, invisible and immortal Son of God, through His unfathomable love, had Himself to become a visible, mortal man, for a little while lower than the angels, and to appear in the form of a servant, like unto His brethren; so that the glory of the eternal and only begotten Son of God was felt and seen in human
form, that He might be a true example for us to follow His footsteps. Herein we may especially know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge
that the holy heavenly, only begotten, blessed Son of God, Jesus Christ, became man, died and rose for us, when we were yet ungodly and His enemies.
And though Christ suffered for us in the flesh, and was crucified, and died; yet it was not possible that He should be held by death, or that His holy flesh should see corruption. But He had Himself the keys of death and hell, and the power to open and to shut, to lay down His life, and to take it again; and He it is that liveth, and was dead, and, behold, He is alive forevermore.
Hence all true believers must believe that the true knowledge of Jesus Christ, both of His true divinity, and pure, immaculate humanity, is necessary to salvation. And to this, life and eternal salvation are promised by the Holy Ghost; and that Christ would build His church upon this foundation, and that the gates of hell should not prevail against her. On the other hand: that all unbelievers, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh (that is, that the Son of God became man, and thus coming, appeared in the flesh), are not of God, but of the spirit of antichrist, who began already in the days of the Apostles, and is to exalt himself still more in the last times.
Of the necessity of this knowledge of Jesus Christ, read, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." John 17:3; Hosea 13:4., "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also," etc. John 14:7., "Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more." II Cor. 5:16., "And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Phil. 2:11; Rom. 14:11; Col. 2:2; Phil. 3:8., "And Jesus said to Peter, after the latter had confessed and pronounced the man Jesus, to be Christ, the Son of the living God; Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and .upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matt. 16:17, 18.
And after the apostle Thomas had confessed the visible and palpable man Jesus as his Lord and God, Christ did not reprehend him for it, but accepted it as the belief of the truth, saying, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed
blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." John 20:29; 17:20; I Pet. 1:8.
Read in this connection the various Scripture passages, how the apostles through the Holy Ghost, labored with all their might, to impress on men, not that the eternal Son of God dwelt concealed in the man Jesus; but, on the contrary, that the visible man Jesus was the Christ; that is the Anointed and the Saviour of the world, sent down from heav en; and to this, the promise of life is given. Read"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the pres ence of His disciples, which are not written in thi; book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.' John 20:30, 31., "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God." I John 4:15; I John 5:5; II John 1:3; John 6:47., "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." I John 5:1, 5, 10; Acts 18:5, 28., "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? he is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son." I John 2:22., "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh [that is; that the eternal Word became flesh, and being thus flesh, came into his own] is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God
and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." I John 4:2, 3; II John 1:7.
Read further, how we have been redeemed and bought by no other means, than only by the death of the Son of God., "For- God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son," etc. John 3:16; Rom. 5:8., "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son," etc. Rom. 5:10; Heb. 5:9., "If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all," etc. Rom. 8:31, 32; I John 3:16., "Ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." I Pet. 1:18, 19., "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." I John 4:9.
Of the life, suffering, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, and of His again receiving His glory with His Father. Of this we confess: That the Lord Jesus, in the time of His humiliation in the flesh, being about:thirtythree years, did not only with words, but also by works and deeds, set us a holy, godly example, to be looked to as the Captain of the faith, by. all believers, and followed in the regeneration; for in His youth He was subject to His father and mother. And when His time was fulfilled, He entered in full obedience toward His heavenly Father, on the office and ministry imposed upon Him, pro-
claimed unto them His Father's good pleasure, made the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, the blind to see, cleansed the lepers, cast out devils, raised the dead from their graves, forgave men their sins, and promised eternal life to those who believe in Him.
These things Christ did not do in the same manner and form as His apostles and others, who performed miracles through a power and gift only received, which had been conferred upon and given them by Christ. But such was not the case with Christ; for He Himself had all power in heaven and earth; so that He said to the two blind men, "Believe ye that I am able to do this?" And further, "That ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins." And still further, "I will raise them up at the last day; and I give unto them eternal life."
Thus the Lord Jesus completely fulfilled and accomplished the works of His Father, and shone as a clear heavenly light into this dark world, convincing the same of her evil works, and pointing them out to her; by which He incurred the hatred of the blinded scribes and Pharisees, who did not know the light of truth, and who, from hatred and envy, censured Him for all these divine deeds, attributing them to the devil; and thus they delivered this innocent one into the hands of the unbelieving heathen, Pontius Pilate. They also examined this dumb Lamb with many severe threats, mocked Him, spat in His face, smote Him with their fists, scourged Him, wounded His head with a crown of thorns, and finally stripped Him and stretched Him naked on the cross, nailed His hands and feet thereon, and thus suspended Him, as the Prince and Captain of all malefactors, between two murderers. In His bitter thirst they gave Him vinegar to drink, mixed with gall; they pierced His side with a spear, so that blood and water flowed out therefrom.. Thus He gave up the ghost with a loud voice, commending it into the hands of His Father. And when He had died, heaven and earth were convulsed by this precious death and resurrection; so that the sun lost his brightness, and darkness came over all the earth; the earth quaked; the vail of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and many bodies of the saints arose from their graves, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
And as in the time of His flesh, suffering and death, He showed that He had become man, so He also showed herein that this very man was also true God with His Father; and that He had the keys of the power of death and hell, that He could again raise up the broken temple of His body in three days, and had the power to lay down His life, and to take it up again; so that it was impossible, that He should be held by death, or that His holy flesh should see corruption, but rose triumphantly from the dead, on the third day, by the glory of the Father, revealed Himself to His apostles and others, and miraculously appeared unto hem, as they were assembled with doors closed, ate and drank with them, and for forty days spake with them of many things pertaining to the kingdom of God. Then, in the presence of the apostles, He was taken up to heaven by a cloud, and sat down on the right hand of His Almighty Father in heaven.
Thus the only begotten Son of God suffered, was crucified and put to death according to the flesh; but thereby was again glorified and made alive according to the spirit, and again fully received His previous divine glory, and His equality with the Father. He will now die no more neither will death have any more dominion over Him; but He shall live and rule as a reigning King of kings, and Lord of lords over Mount Zion and the house of Jacob, forever and ever.
Of the unblamable life and conversation of Christ, and how He was subject to His father and mother, read: Luke 2:51; John 8:46; Acts 1:1.
And after His time was fulfilled, how He entered on the ministry imposed upon Him, and performed many glorious deeds in His Father's name, read
Mark 1:15; Matt. 8:16; 9:35; 11:5; 12:15; John 10; Acts 10:38; Isa. 53:7; I Pet. 2:24.
And how He, as a light in the world, testified of their dark and evil works, and thus fell into the hands of sinners, read, "The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil." John 7:7; 1:5; 3:19; Matt. 27:18.
How Christ in the time of His humiliation in the flesh was obedient to His heavenly Father, read, "He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Phil. 2:8., "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." Heb. 5:8.
Of the suffering, death, and burial of Christ, read: Ps. 22:16; 60:9, 21; Isa. 53:7; 63:3; Acts 8:32; Matt. 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 19;Acts 3:15; I Cor. 15:4, 20; Matt. 27:57; Isa. 53:9.
Of the resurrection of Christ, read: Matt. 28:7; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:7; I Cor. 15:4, 20; Acts 3:26; 10:40.
How Christ again received the divine glory and likeness which He had forsaken; and how He ascended unto heaven, read, "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." Matt. 28:18; Ps. 8:6., "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" Luke 24:26., "Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet." Heb. 2:7-9; John 17:5., "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour," etc. Acts 5:30, 31; Phil. 2:9; Acts 2:33, 36., "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received
him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up," etc. Acts 1:9,10; Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51.
Of the office of Christ, and the specific reason of His coming into the world. We confess: That Christ is the true promised Prophet, High Priest, and King, whom Moses and all the prophets foretold and proclaimed, and to whom the former priests and kings pointed as figures and shadows. And the specific reason of His coming into the world was: to destroy the works of the devil, to seek that which was lost, to deliver the whole human race from the captivity of sin, and the power of the devil, and to reconcile them with God His Father, and thus to save sinners.
According to His prophetical office he went out from God, and came into the world to proclaim unto men, through the Gospel, the full counsel and will of God, which had been hid from the beginning of the world, and thus to preach deliverance to the captives, the Gospel to the poor, and the acceptable year of the Lord, according to which, as the last declaration and will of God, all the children of the New Covenant are required to live and walk, according to a perfect rule of faith, which shall obtain until the end of the world.
According to His office as High Priest He fulfilled and changed the Levitical priesthood; and by His one offering made on the cross, He opened the closed entrance to the Holy of holies; and through this His one offering, which is of eternal value, He fulfilled and finished the sacrifice of the law, and obtained an eternal redemption. And thus reconciling mankind with the Father, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in heaven, and is become the believers' only Advocate, Mediator, High Priest, and Intercessor with God His Father, and ever lives to make intercession for them.
And according to His office as King He came with full power from His almighty Father from heaven, to re-establish, as a mighty King of kings, and commander of the people, judgment and righteousness on earth; and He was the end and fulfillment of all kings of Israel: But as His kingdom was not of this world, and He was a spiritual, heavenly King, He avoided all earthly kingdoms of this world, and desired and had only a spiritual, heavenly kingdom. Among His subjects He reformed, improved and fulfilled the commandments, laws, and customs, given by Moses. As a commanding King He dissuaded and prohibited His followers from all revenge, whether with words or by deed; [and taught them] that they should beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into scythes and sickles, and should learn war no more; but that, on the contrary, they, according to the example of Christ, their Captain, should love their enemies, and pray for those who injure and persecute them-very far indeed from allowing hem to wage war against their enemies with carnal weapons. But Christ armed His people only with the armor of God, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, with which to fight against flesh and blood, the world, sin, and the manifold wiles of the devil, and thus finally to receive, through grace, from this eternal King, the crown of everlasting life, as their recompense and exceeding great reward.
How Christ is the prophet promised by God, whom we must hear and follow as the perfect teacher of the will of God, read, "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken." Deut. 18:15; Acts 7:37; 3:22; Matt. 17:5., "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place." II Pet. 1:19., "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son," etc. Heb. 1:1, 2.
Of His prophecies, read: Matt. 24 throughout; Luke 17:20; 19:41-44.
Of His priestly office, read, "And having a high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith," etc. Hebrews 10:21, 22., "For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change alsb of the law." Heb. 7:12; 8:6; 10:12., "But Christ being come a high priest of good things to come," etc. Heb. 9:11.
Of His preaching, read: Matt. 9:35; Mark 1:14; Matt. 5:2; 11:1; Luke 4:15.
Of His office of King, read, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy King cometh unto thee," etc. Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:5., "Behold, the days come, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth." Jer. 23:5; 33:15; Isa. 32:1., "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel." John 1:49; Acts 10:36; II Cor. 4:5; Phil. 2:11.
Of His spiritual kingdom and dominion, read, "And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." Luke 1:32, 33., "For he is Lord of lords, and King of kings and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." Rev. 17:14., "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood," etc. I Pet. 2:9; Ex. 19:6; Rev. 5:10; John 18:36, 37; Ps. 22:28.
Of His government, read, "Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people." Isa. 55:4.
Of the church of God and the communion of believers. Concerning this we believe and confess: Whereas men by reason of the natural birth of the flesh, follow sin and wickedness when they attain to their understanding, and thereby depart from God their Creator; therefore the high and holy God, before whom the sinners and ungodly cannot stand, from the beginning of the world, called and chose, from all the unbelieving nations of the world, an own special people, and separated them from all other nations. These are they who turn their ears to the calling voice of God, and thereby have separated themselves from the world with all its sinful lusts, and all false worship, and have again united themselves to Christ, bowing, as obedient members and sheep of Jesus Christ, under His head and commanding voice, and shunning everything strange which militates against this. These are they who are renewed in the inward man, and are circumcised, changed, and converted, and live after the Spirit.
This church of God was first commenced on earth, with Adam and Eve in paradise, and afterwards, with Enoch, Noah, and all those who with them honored and called upon the high name of God; which was the first period of time, that is, before the law.
After this God the Lord established His covenant or church with Abraham and his seed, giving them circumcision as a sign of the covenant, together with many laws, ceremonies, statutes, and customs; which continued till the coming of Christ, and was the second period, or the time of the law of Moses.
Finally'God sent His Son, who, as a potentate in heaven and earth, established a new and perfect covenant with the house of Israel, calling to the same all the Gentiles and nations of the earth, all those who amend their sinful life, and obediently yield their bodies under this covenant. With all these Christ has established His church and congregation; this is the third and last period, which shall thus continue, without change in faith, walk, and laws, until the reappearing of Christ from heaven.
And though the people of God in these three periods, had different and special laws and ceremonies, according to which they had to live and walk; yet this was the will of God, and they were nevertheless only one people of God, and were moved and led by one Spirit.
This church and congregation of believers has not always been visible .to the eyes of all men, but has frequently vanished from the sight of the sinful and bloodthirsty world, the latter not being worthy of them. This can be seen in the case of Noah with his families in the ark, who concealed hemselves from the whole world; in the people of Israel in the Red Sea, and here and there during the forty years in the wilderness; in the pious in Judah, from the bloody sword of Manasseh; and in all the God-fearing in Israel from the awful threats of Jezebel. Thus also the bride of the Lamb, the church of Jesus Christ, had to hide herself in the wilderness, forty-two months, or three times and a half a time,* from the abominable beast of antichrist, which with his tyrannical sword and burning, exalted itself above everything which is called and worshiped as God. Afterwards, through the grace of God, she again came to the light, and was built upon the first, ancient apostolical foundation.
And as Solomon's temple was destroyed, and the second building continued until the first coming of Christ in the flesh, so we hold that the church of Jesus Christ, rebuilt upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, shall also continue openly in the light until the second coming of Christ from heaven.
This church of God, that is, all believers, are, as members of one body, joined together by faith and the bond of love; they are like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus; they live according to the same rule of the divine word, and are bound together by the same love, thus having fellowship with one another. Those whom God has blessed with spiritual gifts, minister with them to the souls of their neighbors, out of love. And those whom God has provided with temporal possessions, minister with them to the temporal needs of their neighbors; thus showing that they have their temporal and spiritual goods in common, and suffer no want in spiritual and temporal gifts. This church of God has existed on the earth from the beginning of the world, either in greater or in smaller numbers, secretly or openly, and shall thus continue unto the end of the world, and Christ will be with her, with His Spirit, always.
Of the Christian church, that is, of all believing regenerated persons, gathered and purified by the holy Spirit, read, "The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth." Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; I Pet. 2:9., "And among all the multitude of peoples thou host gotten thee one people: and unto this people, whom thou lovedst, thou gayest a law that is approved of all." II Esd. 5:27.
How the church of God, which is built upon Christ, must be subject, as members to their head, read, "And upon this rock (Christ) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matt. 16:18; 28:20., "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of
water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Eph. 5:25-27, 29, 32; 1:22., "That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." I Tim. 3:15; Eph. 2:20; 4:16; Hebrews 12:23.
Of the fellowship of believers, read, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sin." I John 1:7., "They continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship." Acts 2:42; 4:34; I Cor. 12:12; Gal. 3:28; John 17:21.
0 f the signs of the church of God, by which it may be distinguished from all other peoples, we confess the following: In the first place, all true Christians are known by the only saving faith, which works by love. It is wrought, through the grace of God, in the heart of man by the hearing of the Word of God, and hence, is not founded and built upon human decrees, but upon the Word of God alone; and it works so effectually that by it we are drawn and impelled from all visible things and sinful lusts of this world to the invisible God and His heavenly riches.
Secondly. All true children of God are known by the second or new birth, from above, of God; which is wrought by the Spirit of God internally in the heart, through the putting off of the sinful lusts of the flesh; so that, as man, through his first birth of the flesh, brings forth his human nature and mind; so, through regeneration, he becomes a partaker of the divine nature, by which he is also to bring forth godly and spiritual fruits, and the mind of Christ Jesus.
Thirdly. The church, or the believers, are known by the good works which they evince as fruits of gratitude from their faith; which may not be done according to human instructions, in a self-selected holiness, but in which we follow Christ and His apostles, as they prescribed and walked. And with these divine virtues all true believers must be clothed, that, as a light on the candlestick, and a city on a hill, they may excel and shine among all men, and may be known thereby, as a good tree is known and distinguished by its good fruits.
Fourthly. The church of God is known by the glorious appellations by which she is described and honored by the Holy Spirit, as a city and temple of the living God, in which God will dwell and walk; the bride of the Lamb, the daughter of Zion; a chaste virgin, joined to Christ by faith; so that, even as with all cities which are subject to the command of their Lord and king, and it may thereby properly be known, under whose power and dominion they belong, so also the church of God is known by this that she recognizes and obeys Christ Jesus as her only Head and King, in all matters of faith, and observes His commandments. And as a pure virgin and bride forsakes father, mother, and all strange company and subjects herself to the will and obedience of her only bridegroom; so all true children of God must separate themselves from all false worship, flee from the stranger's voice, and unite themselves to Christ, to hear and obediently follow His voice, which is proclaimed by the ministers sent by Him.
Fifthly. The people of God are known by their faithful ministers, who, according to the doctrine of Paul, are unblamable in doctrine and life, and feed the sheep of Christ, not for the milk and wool, but with a willing mind, with knowledge and understanding;.speaking not their own words, but only the words of their Lord, and executing His work; rightly dividing and dispensing the Word of God, and bringing forth fruits with it; in order that through this good message of the ways of the Lord men might, according to the counsel and will of God, be converted from their evil ways, and won to God.
Sixthly, and lastly. All true disciples of Jesus Christ are known by the unfeigned godly love, which our Saviour Himself has put as a sign, by which His disciples should be specially known; which is comprehended in these things: That we love the Lord God our Creator with all our heart and strength, above all other things, which consists principally in the keeping of His commandments. And besides: That we love our brethren or neighbors as ourselves, not only in word or tongue, but in deed and in truth; so that those to whom God has given spiritual gifts, minister therewith, from love, to the souls of their neighbors; and those whom God has blessed with temporal possessions, minister therewith unto the temporal needs of their neighbors, in order that thus among this true Israel of God, there may be found no poor, nor any lack in spiritual or temporal things. Finally, we must show charity to all men, though they be our open enemies, who persecute and kill us, whom we may by no means resist with carnal weapons; but, as Christ did not open His mouth in revenge upon His enemies, but, as an humble and dumb lamb, prayed for them, so we must also follow this infallible example. And as all soldiers forsake their former avocation, and wear the livery of their lord and king, as a sign to distinguish them from all strange servants, and that they are bound to their captain even unto death; so also, must all true servants of Jesus Christ be armed with the aforesaid marks, that thereby they may be known and distinguished from all other people.
Where, therefore, men believe with the heart, in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and in the incarnation, justification or redemption, suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, and the resurrection of the dead and the eternal judgment; and where, besides, the ordi-
nances of the Lord, as baptism, Supper, separation, and the like, are rightly observed, according to Scripture, and Christ is followed therein, in the clean fear of the Lord, and in the regenerationthere is the city and church of the living God, the pillar and firm ground of the truth, the tabernacle of God with men, in which God will dwell and walk with His Spirit. Such a body [church] has Christ for its Head, Preserver, and Saviour. But where said marks do not exist, and where the ordinances of men are the rule of action, there is no church of God, but a vain boasting of the same.
How the true faith is to be known, read, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Rom. 10:17., "He that believeth on me, as the scripture bath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." John 7:28., "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." I Cor. 2:5., "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love." Gal. 5:6; Heb. 11:1; Hab. 2:4; Heb. 10:38; Rom. 1:17.
How the children of God are to be known by regeneration or the new birth, read, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." I Pet. 1:23., "Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Matt. 19:28., "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." Gal. 6:15; John 3:8; II Cor. 5:17.
How the true members of Christ are. to be known from their godly conversation, read, "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that with unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is i heaven." Matt. 7:19-21; 5:16; 12:50; john 15:1; Sir. 19:24., "Do all things without murmuring and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life." Phil. 2:14-16., "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil." I John 3:7, 8.
How the people of God are to be known from this that they have separated themselves from all other people, and put themselves under Christ their Head, hearing only His voice, and observing His commandments, read, "Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils." I Cor. 10:14, 21., "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing." II Cor. 6:14, 17; Rev. 18:4; Isa. 52:11; Jer. 15:19; 51:6., "As I said unto you, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers." John 10:26, 27, 5., "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." Matt. 28:20; II Thess. 2:15; John 8:31; 14:21; 15:10; Matt. 11:28; I John 3:7.
How the false prophets are to be known and distinguished from the true servants of Jesus Christ, read, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits." Matt. 7:15, 16; Dent. 13:1., "He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him." John 7:18., "For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God." John 3:34; 8:31; I Pet. 4:11., "But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings." Jer. 23:22, 31; Isa. 55:11; Matt. 23 throughout; Col. 1:6; read also Tit. 1:6; I Tim. 3 throughout.
How Christians are to be known by their love, read, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13:34, 35; I John 3:23., "In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother." I John 3:10; 15:12; Matt. 22:39; Eph. 5:2; I Pet. 1:22; II Pet. 1:7.