- There Is One Only God
- By What Means God Is Made Known unto Us
- Of the Written Word of God
- Canonical Books of the Holy Scriptures
- Whence Do the Holy Scriptures Derive Their Dignity and Authority
- The Difference between the Canonical and Apocryphal Books
- The Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures to Be the Only Rule of Faith
- God Is One in Essence, Yet Distinguished in Three Persons
- The Proof of the Foregoing Article of the Trinity of Persons in One God
- Jesus Christ Is True and Eternal God
- The Holy Ghost Is True and Eternal God
- Of the Creation
- Of Divine Providence
- Of the Creation and Fall of Man, and His Incapacity to Perform What Is Truly Good
- Of Original Sin
- Of Eternal Election
- Of the Recovery of Fallen Man
- Of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ
- Of the Union and Distinction of the Two Natures in the Person of Christ
- God Hath Manifested His Justice and Mercy in Christ
- Of the Satisfaction of Christ, Our Only High-Priest, for Us
- Of Our Justification through Faith in Jesus Christ
- Our Justification Consists in the Forgiveness of Sin and the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness
- Of Man’s Sanctification and Good Works
- Of the Abolishing of the Ceremonial Law
- Of Christ’s Intercession
- Of the Catholic Christian Church
- Every One Is Bound to Join Himself to the True Church
- Of the Marks of the True Church, and Wherein she Differs from the False Church
- Concerning the Government of, and Offices in, the Church
- Of the Ministers, Elders, and Deacons
- Of the Order and Discipline in the Church
- Of the Sacraments
- Of Holy Baptism
- Of the Holy Supper of Our Lord Jesus Christ
- Of Magistrates
- Of the Last Judgment
Article 1: There Is One Only God
We all believe the heart, and confess with the mouth (Rom 10:10), that there is one only simple (Eph 4:6;Deut 6:4; 1 Tim 2:5; 1 Cor 8:6) and spiritual (John 4:24) Being, which we call God; and that he is eternal (Ps 90:2; Isa 40:28), incomprehensible (Rom 11:33), invisible (Rom 1:20; Col 1:15; 1 Tim 6:16), immutable (Mal 3:6; Jas 1:17), infinite (1 Kgs 8:27; Isa 44:6; Jer 23:24), almighty (Gen 17:1; Matt 19:26; Rev 1:8), perfectly wise (Rom 16:27; 1 Tim 1:17), just (Jer 12:1; Rom 3:25-26; Rom 9:14; Rev 16:5, 7), good (Matt 19:17), and the overflowing fountain of all good (Jas 1:17; 1 Chr 29:10-12).
Article 2: By What Means God Is Made Known unto Us
We know him by two means: first, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe (Ps 19:2;Eph 4:6; which is before our eyes as a most elegant book, wherein all creatures, great and small, are as so many characters leading us to contemplate the invisible things of God, namely, his eternal power and Godhead, as the Apostle Paul saith (Rom 1:20). All which things are sufficient to convince men, and to leave them without excuse.
Secondly, he makes himself more clearly and fully known to us by his holy and divine Word (Ps 19:8; 1 Cor 1:18-21; 12:6); that is to say, as far as is necessary for us to know in this life, to his glory and our salvation.
Article 3: Of the Written Word of God
We confess that this Word of God was not sent nor delivered by the will of man, but that holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, as the Apostle Peter saith (2 Pet 1:21). And that afterwards God, from a special care which he has for us and our salvation, commanded his servants, the Prophets (Exod 24:4; Exod 34:27; Ps 102:18; Hab 2:2) and Apostles (2 Tim 3:16; Rev 1:11), to commit his revealed Word to writing; and he himself wrote with his own finger the two tables of the law (Exod 31:18). Therefore we call such writings holy and divine Scriptures.
Article 4: Canonical Books of the Holy Scriptures
We believe that the Holy Scriptures are contained in two books, namely, the Old and New Testaments, which are canonical, against which nothing can be alleged. These are thus named in the Church of God.
The books of the Old Testament are: the five books of Moses, viz., Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; the book of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, the two books of Samuel, and the two of the Kings, two books of the Chronicles, commonly called Paralipomenon, the first of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther; Job, the Psalms of David, the three books of Solomon, namely, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs; the four great Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel; and the twelve lesser Prophets, viz., Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malchi.
Those of the New Testament are: the four Evangelists, viz., Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the Acts of the Apostles; the fourteen Epistles of the Apostle Paul, viz., one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, one to the Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, one to Titus, one to Philemon, and one to the Hebrews; the seven Epistles of the other Apostles, viz., one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude; and the Revelation of the Apostles John.
Article 5: Whence Do the Holy Scriptures Derive Their Dignity and Authority
We receive (1 Thess 2:13) all these books, and these only, as holy and canonical, for the regulation, foundation, and confirmation of our faith (2 Tim 3:16-17); believing, without doubt, all things contained in them, not so much because the Church receives and approves them as such, but more especially because the Holy Ghost witnesseth in our hearts that they are from God (1 Cor 12:3; 1 John 4:6; 5:7), whereof they carry the evidence in themselves. For the very blind are able to perceive that the things foretold in them are fulfilling (Deut 18:21-22; 1 Kgs 22:28; Jer 28:9; Ezek 33:33).
Article 6: The Difference between the Canonical and Apocryphal Books
We distinguish these sacred books from the apocryphal, viz., the third and fourth book of Esdras, the books of Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Jesus Syrach, Baruch, the appendix to the book of Esther, the Song of the Three Children in the Furnace, the History of Susannah, of Bell and the Dragon, the Prayer of Manasses, and the two books of Maccabees. All which the Church may read and take instruction from, so far as they agree with the canonical books; but they are far from having such power and efficacy as that we may from their testimony confirm any point of faith or of the Christian religion; much less to detract from the authority of the other sacred books.
Article 7: The Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures to Be the Only Rule of Faith
We believe that these Holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation, is sufficiently taught therein (Rom 15:4; John 4:25; 2 Tim 3:15-17; 1 Pet 1:10-12;Prov 30:5; Gal 3:15; Rev 22:18; John 15:15; Acts 2:27). For since the whole manner of worship which God requires of us is written in them at large, it is unlawful for any one, though an Apostle, to teach otherwise than we are now taught in the Holy Scriptures (1 Pet 4:11; 1 Cor 15:2-3; 2 Tim 3:14; 1 Tim 1:3; 2 John 10):nay, though it were an angel from heaven, as the Apostle Paul saith (Gal 1:8-9; Acts 26:22; Rom 15:4; 2 Tim 3:14). For since it is forbidden to add unto or take away any thing from the Word of God (Deut 4:2; 12:32; Prov 30:6; 1 Cor 4:6; Rev 22:18-19; John 4:25), it doth thereby evidently appear that the doctrine thereof is most perfect and complete in all respects (Ps 19:7; John 15:15; Acts 18:28; 20:27; Rom 15:4). Neither may we compare any writings of men, though ever so holy, with those divine Scriptures; nor ought we to compare custom, or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times or persons, or councils, decrees, or statutes, with the truth of God, for the truth is above all (Matt 15:3; 17:5; Mark 7:7; Isa 1:12;Acts 4:19; 1 Cor 2:4; Col 2:8; 2 Tim 4:3-4; 1 John 2:19): for all men are of themselves liars (Ps 116:11;Rom 3:4), and more vain than vanity itself (Ps 62:9). Therefore we reject with all our hearts whatsoever doth not agree with this infallible rule (Deut 4:5†; Isa 8:20; Gal 6:16; 1 Cor 3:11; Eph 4:4-6; 2 Thess 2:2;2 Tim 3:14-15), which the Apostles have taught us, saying, Try the spirits whether they are of God (1 John 4:1); likewise, If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house (2 John 10).
Article 8: God Is One in Essence, Yet Distinguished in Three Persons
According to this truth and this Word of God, we believe in one only God (1 Cor 8:4-6), who is one single essence (Isa 43:10), in which are three persons (1 John 5:7 [TR]; Heb 1:3), really, truly, and eternally distinct, according to their incommunicable properties; namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (Matt 3:16-17; 28:19). The Father is the cause, origin, and beginning of all things, visible and invisible (1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:16; Eph 3:14-15); the Son is the Word (John 1:1-2; 1:14; Rev 19:13; Prov 8:12), Wisdom (Prov 8:12, 22, etc.; 1 Cor 1:24), and the Image of the Father (John 5:17-26; Col 1:15; Heb 1:3); the Holy Ghost is the eternal Power and Might (Matt 12:28), proceeding from the Father and the Son (John 15:26;Gal 4:6). Nevertheless, God is not by this distinction divided into three, since the Holy Scriptures teach us that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost have each his personality, distinguished by their properties; but in such wise that these three persons are but one only God. Hence, then, it is evident then that the Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father, and likewise the Holy Ghost is neither the Father nor the Son. Nevertheless these persons thus distinguished are not divided nor intermixed; for the Father hath not assumed the flesh nor hath the Holy Ghost, but the Son only (Phil 2:6-7; Gal 4:4; John 1:14). For the Father hath never been without his Son (Mic 5:2; John 1:1-2), or without his Holy Ghost. For they are all three co-eternal and co-essential. There is neither first nor last; for they are all three one, in truth, in power, in goodness, and in mercy.
Article 9: The Proof of the Foregoing Article of the Trinity of Persons in One God
All this we know, as well from the testimonies of the Holy Writ (1 John 5:1-12; Jude 20-21; Rev 1:4-5) as from their operations, and chiefly by those we feel in ourselves. The testimonies of the Holy Scriptures, that teach us to believe this Holy Trinity, are written in many places of the Old Testament, which are not so necessary to enumerate as to choose them out with discretion and judgment. In the book of Genesis God saith: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, etc. So God created man in his own image, male and female created he them (Gen 1:26-27). And: Behold, man has become like as one of us (Gen 3:22). From this saying, Let us make man in our image, it appears that there are more persons than one in the Godhead; and when he saith God created, this signifies the unity. It is true he doth not say how many persons there are, but that which appears to us somewhat obscure in the Old Testament is very plain in the New.
For when our Lord was baptized in Jordan, the voice of the Father was heard, saying, This is my beloved Son: the Son was seen in the water; and the Holy Ghost appeared in the shape of a dove (Matt 3:16-17). This form is also instituted by Christ in the baptism of all believers. Baptize all nations, in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matt 28:19). In the Gospel of [Saint] Luke the angel Gabriel thus addresses Mary, the mother of our Lord: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35). Likewise: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you (2 Cor 13:14). And There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one (1 John 5:7 [TR]). In all which places we are fully taught that there are three persons in the one only divine essence. And although this doctrine surpasses all human understanding, nevertheless we now believe it by the means of the Word of God, but expect hereafter to enjoy the perfect knowledge and benefit thereof in heaven (Ps 45:7; Isa 61:1).
Moreover we must observe the particular offices and operations of these three persons towards us. The Father is called our Creator by his power (Eccl 12:1; Mal 2:10; 1 Pet 1:2); the Son is our Saviour and Redeemer by his blood (1 Pet 1:2; 1 John 1:7; 4:14); the Holy Ghost is our Sanctifier by his dwelling in our hearts (1 Cor 6:11; 1 Pet 1:2; Gal 4:6; Tit 3:5; Rom 8:9; John 14:16; 15:26†; Acts 2:32-33).
This doctrine of the Holy Trinity hath always been defended and maintained in the true Church, since the times of the Apostles to this very day, against the Jews, Mohammedans, and some false Christians and heretics, as Marcion, Manes, Praxeas, Sabellius, Samosatenus, Arius, and such like, who have been justly condemned by the orthodox [Saints] fathers.
Therefore, in this point, we do willingly receive the three creeds, namely, that of the Apostles, of Nice, and of Athanasius; likewise that which, conformable thereunto, is agreed upon by the ancient fathers.
Article 10: Jesus Christ Is True and Eternal God
We believe that Jesus Christ, according to his divine nature, is the only begotten Son of God (Matt 17:5;John 1:18, 49; 3:16; 14:1–14; 20:17, 31; Rom 1:4; Gal 4:4; Heb 1:2; 1 John 5:5, 9-12), begotten from eternity (John 1:14; Col 1:15), not made nor created (for then he would be a creature), but co-essential (John 10:30; Phil 2:6) and coeternal with the Father (John 1:2; 17:5; Rev 1:8), the express image of his person, and the brightness of his glory(Heb 1:3), equal unto him in all things (John 5:18, 23; 10:30;14:9; 20:28; Rom 9:5; Phil 2:6; Col 1:15; Tit 2:13; Heb 1:3; Rev 5:13). Who is the Son of God, not only from the time that he assumed our nature, but from all eternity (John 8:23, 58; 9:35-37; 17:5; Acts 8:37[TR]; Rom 9:5; Heb 13:8), as these testimonies, when compared together, teach us. Moses saith that God created the world(Gen 1:1); and John saith that all things were made by that Word(John 1:3), which he calleth God; and the Apostle saith that God made the worlds by his Son(Heb 1:2); likewise, that God created all things by Jesus Christ(1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:16). Therefore it must needs follow that he—who is called God, the Word, the Son, and Jesus Christ—did exist at the time when all things were created by him (Col 1:16). Therefore the Prophet Micah saith: His goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting(Mic 5:2; John 8:58; 17:5). And the Apostle: He hath neither beginning of days nor end of life(Heb 7:3). He therefore is that true, eternal, almighty God, whom we invoke, worship, and serve.
Article 11: The Holy Ghost Is True and Eternal God
We believe and confess also that the Holy Ghost from eternity proceeds from the Father (Ps 33:6, 17; John 14:16) and Son (Gal 4:6; Rom 8:9; John 15:26); and therefore is neither made, created, nor begotten, but only proceedeth from both; who in order is the third person of the [Holy] Trinity; of one and the same essence, majesty, and glory, with the Father and the Son; and therefore is the true and eternal God, as the Holy Scripture teaches us (Gen 1:2; Isa 48:16; 61:1; Matt 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 28:25; 1 Cor 2:10; 3:16; 6:19;Ps 139:7; 1 John 5:7 [TR]).
Article 12: Of the Creation
We believe that the Father, by the Word—that is, by his Son—created of nothing the heaven, the earth, and all creatures, as it seemed good unto him (Gen 1:1; 2:3; Isa 40:26; Jer 32:17; Heb 3:4; Rev 4:11; 1 Cor 8:6; John 1:3; Col 1:16; 1 Tim 4:3; Heb 11:3), giving unto every creature its being, shape, form, and several offices to serve its Creator; that he doth also still uphold and govern them by his eternal providence and infinite power (Heb 1:3; Ps 104:10; Acts 17:25) for the service of mankind (1 Tim 4:3-4;Gen 1:29-30; 9:2-3; Ps 104:14-15), to the end that man may serve his God (1 Cor 3:22; 6:20; Matt 4:10). He also created the angels good (Col 1:16), to be his messengers (Ps 103:20; 34:7; 148:2) and to serve his elect (Matt 4:11; Heb 1:14; Ps 34:7): some of whom are fallen from that excellency, in which God created them, into eternal perdition (John 8:44; 2 Pet 2:4; Luke 8:31; Jude 6); and the others have, by the grace of God, remained steadfast, and continued in their primitive state (Matt 25:31). The devils and evil spirits are so depraved that they are enemies of God and every good thing to the utmost of their power, as murderers watching to ruin the Church and every member thereof (1 Pet 5:8; Job 1:7), and by their wicked stratagems to destroy all (Gen 3:1; Matt 13:25; 2 Cor 2:11; 11:3, 14; Eph 6:12; Rev 12:4, 13-17; Rev 20:7-9); and are therefore, by their own wickedness, adjudged to eternal damnation, daily expecting their horrible torments (Matt 8:29; 25:41; Luke 8:30-31; Rev 20:10). Therefore we reject and abhor the error of the Sadducees, who deny the existence of spirits and angels (Acts 23:8); and also that of the Manichees, who assert that the devils have their origin of themselves, and that they are wicked of their own nature, without having been corrupted.
Article 13: Of Divine Providence
We believe that the same