Of the Civil Magistrate.
I. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates, to be, under Him, over the people, for His own glory, and the public good: and, to this end, hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defence and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil doers.(a)
(a) Rom. 13:1 , 2, 3, 4; I Pet. 2:13, 14.
II. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate, when called thereunto;(b) in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth;(c) so for that end, they may lawfully now, under the New Testament, wage war, upon just and necessary occasion.(d)
III. The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven:(e) yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be. preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administrated, and observed.(f) For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.(g)
(e) II Chron. 26:18 with Matt. 18:17 and Matt. 16:19 ; I Cor. 12:28, 29; Eph. 4:11 , 12; I Cor. 4:1, 2; Rom. 10:15; Heb. 5:4 .
(f) Isa. 49:23 ; Ps. 122:9; Ezra 7:23 , 25, 26, 27, 28; Lev. 24:16 ; Deut. 13:5 , 6, 12; I Kings 18:4; I Chron. 13:1 to 9; II Kings 23:1 to 26; II Chron. 34:33; II Chron. 15:12, 13.
(g) II Chron. 19:8, 9, 10, 11; II Chron. 29 and 30; Matt. 2:4 , 5.
IV. It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates,(h) to honour their persons,(i) to pay them tribute or other dues,(k) to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience’ sake.(l) Infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not make void the magistrates’ just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to them:(m) from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted,(n) much less hath the Pope any power and jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and, least of all, to deprive them of their dominions, or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretence whatsoever.(o)
(h) I Tim. 2:1, 2.
(i) I Pet. 2:17.
(k) Rom. 13:6 , 7.
(l) Rom. 13:5 ; Tit. 3:1 .
(m) I Pet. 2:13, 14, 16.
(n) Rom. 13:1 ; I Kings 2:35; Acts 25:9 , 10, 11; II Pet. 2:1, 10, 11; Jude ver. 8, 9, 10, 11.
(o) II Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:15 , 16, 17.
Of Marriage and Divorce.
I. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband; at the same time.(a)
II. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife,(b) for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed;(c) and for preventing of uncleanness.(d)
(b) Gen. 2:18.
(c) Mal. 2:15 .
(d) I Cor. 7:2, 9.
III. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent.(e) Yet is it the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord:(f) and therefore such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies.(g)
IV. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden by the Word;(h) nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife.(i) The man may not marry any of his wife’s kindred nearer in blood than he may of his own; nor the woman of her husband’s kindred nearer in blood than of her own.(k)
V. Adultery or fornication committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract.(l) In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce:(m) and, after the divorce, to marry another, as if the offending party were dead.(n)
VI. Although the corruption of man be such as is apt to study arguments unduly to put asunder those whom God hath joined together in marriage: yet nothing but adultery, or such wilful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage:(o) wherein, a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the persons concerned in it not left to their own wills and discretion, in their own case.(p)
Of the Church.
I. The catholic or universal Church which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.(a)
II. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion;(b) and of their children:(c) and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,(d) the house and family of God,(e) out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.(f)
(b) I Cor. 1:2; I Cor. 12:12, 13; Ps. 2:8; Rev. 7:9 ; Rom. 15:9, 10, 11, 12.
(c) I Cor. 7:14; Acts 2:39 ; Ezek. 16:20 , 21; Rom. 11:16; Gen. 3:15; Gen. 17:7.
(d) Matt. 13:47 ; Isa. 9:7 .
(e) Eph. 2:19 ; Eph. 3:15 .
(f) Acts 2:47 .
III. Unto this catholic visible Church Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and doth by His own presence and Spirit, according to His promise, make them effectual thereunto.(g)
IV. This catholic Church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less visible.(h) And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the Gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.(i)
V. The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error:(k) and some have so degenerated, as to become no Churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan.(l) Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth, to worship God according to His will.(m)
VI. There is no other head of the Church, but the Lord Jesus Christ;(n) nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God.(o)
Of the Communion of the Saints.
I. All saints, that are united to Jesus Christ their Head by His Spirit and by faith, have fellowship with Him in His grace, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory:(a) and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other’s gifts and graces,(b) and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.(c)
(a) John 1:3 ; Eph. 3:16 , 17, 18, 19; John 1:16 ; Eph. 2:5 , 6; Phil. 3:10 ; Rom. 6:5 , 6; II Tim. 2:12.
(b) Eph. 4:15 , 16; I Cor. 12:7; I Cor. 3:21, 22, 23; Col. 2:19 .
(c) I Thess. 5:11, 14; Rom. 1:11 , 12, 14; I John 3:16 , 17, 18; Gal. 6:10 .
II. Saints by profession are bound to maintain a holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God; and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification;(d) as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities, and necessities. Which communion, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who, in every place, call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.(e)
III. This communion which the saints have with Christ, doth not make them, in any wise, partakers of the substance of His Godhead; or to be equal with Christ, in any respect: either of which to affirm is impious and blasphemous.(f) Nor doth their communion one with another, as saints, take away, or infringe the title or propriety which each man hath in his goods and possessions.(g)
Of the Sacraments.
I. Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace,(a) immediately instituted by God,(b) to represent Christ and His benefits; and to confirm our interest in Him;(c) as also, to put a visible difference between those that belong unto the Church, and the rest of the world;(d) and solemnly to engage them to the service of God in Christ, according to His Word.(e)
II. There is in every sacrament a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified: whence it comes to pass, that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other.(f)
III. The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither doth the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that doth administer it:(g) but upon the work of the Spirit,(h) and the word of institution, which contains, together with a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers.(i)
IV. There are only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord: neither of which may be dispensed by any but by a minister of the Word lawfully ordained.(k)
V. The sacraments of the Old Testament, in regard to the spiritual things thereby signified and exhibited, were, for substance, the same with those of the New.(l)
(l) I Cor. 10:1, 2, 3, 4.