The Wicked Sin’d, the Just did bear the blameHere is the Myst’ry of the Gospel-love:That Christ for us should bear the cursed Shame,And Wrath (that we deserved) from above.
Horrible and insane is the daring of those who maintain that salvation may be hoped for in every religion or sect which men have professed, as long as they strive as hard as they can for innocence and integrity of life according to the light which has been put in them by nature, for plagues of this kind are condemned by the authority of Holy Writ. For there the one and only name of Jesus Christ is commended to us, that all salvation may come to us from him.
XVIII—Of Obtaining Eternal Salvation Only by the Name of ChristThey also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.
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Now if baptism itself (which is the sacrament of our initiation) supposeth (according to the tenor and meaning of Christ’s institution) that the party baptized (if of age) doth actually convert and believe, and (if an infant) supposeth an interest in Jesus Christ and in the covenant of grace…how much more doth the Lord’s supper, necessarily, by Christ’s institution, suppose that the receivers are not unconverted and unbelieving persons?
XVII—Of Predestination and ElectionPredestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God’s purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God’s mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.Furthermore, we must receive God’s promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.
Thus the Word is the only instrument of God to beget faith, or work conversion, and there are many expressions of Scripture, tending to prove it…the Word is the great Charter of Gods Covenant; His Covenant is to make us his, to entertain us as his, and so the Word is a seed of our new birth, and the milk or meat of our spiritual growth. Unto this Covenant or Indenture hang two seals…for their certioration and comfort.
The word is not only a confirming and comforting, but a converting ordinance…whereas the sacrament is not a converting, but a confirming and sealing ordinance, which is not given to the church for the conversion of sinners, but for the communion of saints. It is not appointed to put a man in the state of grace, but to seal unto a man that interest in Christ and in the covenant of grace which he already hath.
Paraeus puts this difference between the word and sacraments: that the word is a mean appointed both for beginning and confirming faith,—the sacraments are means of confirming it after it has begun: that the word belongs to the converted and to the unconverted,—the sacraments are intended for those who are converted and do believe, and for none others.