Of marriage. Of marriage we confess: That the same is honorable and an ordinance of God, who in the beginning instituted this state with the two human beings first created in the image of God, blessed it, and joined them together. And since this divine ordinance, through the hardness of the heart and the evil wantonness of man had fallen into great disorder, so that men, through the lusts of the flesh, married whomsoever they would, and took unto them many wives, and then, for divers reasons, dismissed them by a bill of divorcement and married others; therefore Christ as a perfect Lawgiver, rejected and abolished the writing of divorcement and permission of Moses, together with all abuses thereof, referring all that heard and believed him to the original ordinance of his heavenly Father, instituted with Adam and Eve in Paradise; and thus re-establishing marriage between one man and one woman, and so inseparably and firmly binding the bond of matrimony, that they might not, on any account, separate and marry another, except in case of adultery or death. Hence, every believer who desires to enter into matrimony, must follow this doctrine of Christ and the above example, and unite himself in marriage only with one person, who has been, by a like faith with him, born from above, of God, and renewed, and created after the image of God. And such persons, after their parents and the church have given their consent, shall, in the presence of the church, with fervent prayer to God, be joined together by a minister. This we believe to be marrying in the Lord, of which God is Himself the Author and Joiner. II Pet. 1:1; Jno. 3:3; I Jno. 5:4.
But all unregenerated persons, who are not yet sanctified by faith in Christ, and do thus marry, we also regard as being in honorable matrimony, but not in the Lord. Heb. 13:4; I Cor. 7:12.
And, as Christ accepts none as His bride and a member of His body, but those alone who are united with Him by faith; so also, believers cannot sever their bodies which are sanctified and surrendered to God, as members of Christ and temples of the Holy Ghost from Christ, and unite them in marriage with the unregenerate, and thus be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, who are not known to the church, by faith and Christian baptism, as brethren or sisters in fellowship, seeing that baptism is the first Christian ordinance in the church, after which all other ordinances of God follow. Eph. 5:30; Gal. 3:26.
Thus marriage is advised by the holy Ghost, to avoid fornication and all uncleanness; but if any one does not need this, and can without it, keep himself pure and undefiled, in a virginal state, in order to serve the Lord the better and without hindrance, it is commended still more highly. Hence, marriage is free for all, but no commandment:
How God the Lord in the beginning instituted marriage, read, "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helpmeet for him.""And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.""Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Gen. 2:18, 22, 24.
How Christ rejected all abuses of marriage, and renewed the ordinance of His Father, read, "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and the twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Matt. 19:4-6, 8; I Cor. 7:10., "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." Heb. 13:4; I Cor. 7:2., "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in
the Lord." I Cor. 7:39; Gen. 1:27; 24:4; Exodus 34:16; Num. 36:6; Deut. 7:3; Tob. 7:13.
Concerning the transgressors of this, and their punishment, read: Gen. 6:3; Num. 25:1; Nehemiah 13:26, 27; I Kings 11:1.
Of the swearing of oaths, we confess: That the people of the Old Testament were permitted to swear in various ways by the name of the Lord; either by lifting up their hand toward heaven, or by putting it on the thigh of some one, which was done in various ways, and into which practice, through the artifice of man, many abuses were introduced, so that they would swear by heaven and earth, by Jerusalem, by their head, the temple, the gold of the temple, the altar, and the sacrifice; on account of which the Lord Christ, who had come from God, and been sent, to execute judgment and righteousness, being the only lawgiver, utterly abolished and prohibited all the aforesaid swearing, whether permitted or feigned and, in place thereof, referred all His hearers and followers, only to yea and nay, which is so in truth.
And we also find that the high apostles of Christ, as obedient sheep of their only Shepherd, followed the doctrine of Christ in this respect. Hence all believers are in duty bound obediently to follow this doctrine of Christ and the course of His apostles, putting away all lying, and dealing only in truth, and thus testifying in all true matters, whether before authority, or however the case may be, only with yea that which is yea, and with nay that which is nay, without adding anything more; and to keep these few words, little in sound, but great and strong in signification, as inviolable as an oath, thus showing themselves to be obedient followers of Christ and His apostles.
Of the rejection and abolishment of the ancient custom of swearing, and how Christ commanded yea and nay in place of it, read, "Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: but I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool
neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." Matt. 5:33-37; 23:21., "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath; but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation." James 5:12., "When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea, yea, and nay, nay? For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen." II Cor. 1:17, 20.
Of the ofice of magistracy, and secular power, we confess: That the office of magistracy is an ordinance and institution of God who Himself willed and ordained that such a power should be over every country in order that thereby countries and cities might, through good policy and laws, for the punishment of the evil and the protection of the pious, be governed and maintained in quiet and peace, in a good civil life; without which power of authority the world, lying as it is in wickedness, could not subsist. Hence, all believers are in duty bound, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake, to submit themselves to this power, and as good subjects, to obey it with fear and reverence; willingly and without murmuring to render unto their human ordinances and laws everything that is due to them, whether it be tribute, custom or excise; and to pray with an humble heart for their life and welfare, and thus to seek with faithful heart the prosperity of the country and city in which they reside; and though they, for the Word of God, may have to suffer persecution, the spoiling of their property, and death, from the authorities, they may not speak evil of them, nor resist them in any wise with weapons and defense, but commit vengeance to God alone, and expect consolation with God after this life. Rom. 12:2; Wisd. 6:4; Ecclus. 17:14.
But if the authorities, through Christian equity, grant liberty to practice the faith in every respect, we are under so much the greater obligation of submissive obedience to them; but so far as the authorities abuse the office imposed on them, which extends only to the temporal, bodily government of men in temporal things, and encroach on the office of Christ, who alone has power over the spirits and souls of men, seeking, through their human laws, to press and compel men to act contrary to the Word of God, we may not follow them, but must obey God rather than men, seeing Christ has been set by God His Father above all authority and power,- the head in His church; and to this Father of Spirits we are directed, that in all things pertaining to the faith we should obey Him.
And as the kingdom of Christ is not of this world, but spiritual, He has dissuaded and prohibited all His servants and followers from all secular government and highness, and has instituted in His church various ordinances, as pastors, teachers, helps and governments, by which the saints may be joined together, to edify the body of Christ; but the secular office* He left to the secular government, under which the followers of Christ as strangers and pilgrims, who have here no kingdom, power or continuing city, must sojourn, and fight only with spiritual weapons, which is the Word of God; seeing neither Christ nor His apostles pre-
* "But not the office of authority," then says the writer.
scribed to believers any laws or rules according to which they should govern the world; neither did they refer them to the laws of the Jews, much less to those of the Roman emperors, or heathen laws, according to which they might regulate themselves herein; but they prescribed to believers only good doctrines, how they should conduct themselves in all Christian propriety as obedient subjects, under the government of the authorities; referring them to His own example, who shunned all the greatness of this world, and showed Himself only as a poor servant. Thus must also all His followers avoid the office of magistracy in all its departments, and not administer it, following also in this the example of Christ and His apostles, in whose church said offices were not administered, as is well known to every intelligent person.
But as all Christians are not permitted, but very strictly prohibited by God, to speak evil of, judge or condemn any one that is without their communion, we would with this still much less speak evil or injuriously of the magistracy, but trust in the only good God, who keeps all the alms of man as a signet, and his good deeds as the apple of the eye, and has promised a true reward to him who will give only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple; that he, the Blessed, will also be gracious to, and not leave unrewarded the good deeds of all authorities, particularly those who administer their office aright according to the.ordinances of God, which consists chiefly in protecting good, innocent, defenseless people, and in punishing the evil. Hence, all Christians are in duty bound to regard the authorities as God's ministers, and to pray for them, with a fervent heart, that it may please God to be gracious to them and give them eternal salvation.
How government is of God, and for what purpose it is instituted, read, "For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." Rom. 13:1-4; Sir. 17:17., "Jesus answered Pilate: Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above." John 19:11; Wisd. 6:3; Dan. 2:21; 4:25; 5:21; Jer. 27:5.
How Christ taught His followers not to accept magisterial office, read, "But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." Mark 10:42-45; Matt. 20:25; Luke 22:5.
Mark- the words: But so shall it not be among you. This can not be applied to the apostles only, who were equal servants, the one being no greater than the other, and they soon separating f rom each other to preach the Gospel to all nations, could not, on this account, show to each other alone the duty of servants here required; hence the words, among you, must necessarily be understood of the whole church, seeing Christ spoke to His twelve apostles many others of His principal doctrines and commandments, which relate to all believers, as His blessed lips say in the Gospel, "And what I say unto you I say unto all." Mark 13:37., "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." John 1$:36; 6:15; Matt. 5:39; II Cor. 10:4; Eph. 6:13; Isa. 2:4; Micah 4:3; Zech. 9:10; Ps. 76:3.
Read further, not according to what law the believers are to govern the unbelievers, but only how the church of Christ shall be obedient to government."Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.""Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also'for conscience' sake.""Render therefore to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear." Rom. 13:1, 5, 7., "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." Matt. 22:21; Mark 12:17., "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well." I Pet. 2:13, 14., "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men." Tit. 3:1, 2; I Tim. 2:2; Jer. 29:7; Bar. 1:11.
Of the discipline of the Christian Church and separation of ofending members. Of this we confess: That, as a house or city cannot be maintained without doors, gates and walls by which evil men may be expelled, excluded and debarred, and the good and pious be taken in and protected; so Christ, for the preservation of His church, gave her the key of heaven, which is His Word, that by and according to the same she should judge and reprove according to truth, for their reformation, all those
in her communion that are found to offend in doctrine and-conversation, that is, to act contrary to any commandment or ordinance which God has given to His church; and thus to separate the disobedient from her communion, that the church may not be leavened and stained by their false doctrine and impure walk, and become a partaker of other men's sins; and that the pious thereby may be brought to fear, and restrain themselves from the commission of similar offenses.
And, as God through Moses commanded this punishment of transgressors to be inflicted according to the magnitude of the offense, so that those who through ignorance, weakness, and otherwise, offended by minor sins against any of the commandments of the Lord, were reconciled to God by various offerings and the intercessions of the priests, but the open, great transgressors of the law could not be reconciled by such offerings, but had to die without mercy under two or three witnesses; so Christ in the New Testament also taught to inflict Christian punishment according to the magnitude of the offense; not to man's destruction, as in the punishment of Israel, which was death, by which the transgressor was cut off from repentance and reformation; but Christ having come to save men's souls, instituted this punishment for the reformation of sinners and ordained that if any one see his brother commit a transgression which is obviously a sin, but not so great as to have brought forth death in him, he shall out of Christian love for his soul, speak to him privately, with the Word of God, and reprove him of his sin and admonish him. If he receive this Christian admonition, he has gained his brother, and shall, out of fervent charity, conceal and cover his sin. I Pet. 4:8. But if he heareth him not, he shall take one or two more with him, so that in the mouth of these witnesses every word may be established. But if he shall neglect to hear them, then the matter must be brought before the church; and if he neglect to hear the church, all the members of which, are judges, he shall be excluded from the brotherhood.
But if any one fall into open works of the flesh, from which the church perceives that, through these sins he has separated himself from his God, and incurred the divine wrath, such an one the church shall, without any of the aforesaid admonitions and words as in the case of the offending sinner, on account of"tis sins, exclude from the brotherhood, and point him to repentance and reformation, by which he may again find grace with God, even as he has become separated from God through the evil works of the flesh. Thus the church shall knowingly keep none in her communion who are separated from God through their sins; nor separate any from her communion save those who have previously through their sins become separated from God; nor again receive any, and promise life and peace to them, except those who hrough faith and true repentance have first been received into grace with God.
This true repentance possesses the following properties: 1. That we have a sincere sorrow before Almighty God for all the sins we have committed; 2. that we confess our sins from the heart, before God and men; 3. that we desist from and do not continue any longer in sin, and, according to our ability, seek to make amends for the evil we have done, by doing good. This repentance and reformation again opens the entrance to the kingdom of God, which before was closed to us on account of our sins. So that the church of God, by this her separation and reception, may according to His Word, follow the previous separation and reception by God in heaven, of which the action of the church is only a proof and proclamation.
And since with God there is no respect of persons, therefore the church of God shall use this key of the Word of God aright, and, in punishing, spare no one, whether he be minister or brother, man or woman, but shall judge the small as well as the great after one rule and measure of the divine word, according to the truth. And, as all disobedient sinners by consent of the church, with sorrow and sadness of heart, are excluded from the brotherhood, and referred to repentance and reformation; so also shall -all obedient, penitent sinners with the consent and concurrence of the church, be received, by the bishop of the church. And, as men are wont to rejoice over the finding of a lost sheep, piece of silver, or son, so shall believers rejoice with all the angels of God over the repentance and return of their erring brother or sister.
How the minor sins, whether caused through weakness or ignorance, were reconciled by the priest with various offerings, read: Lev. 4:27; 5; Numbers 5:6; 15:22.
But the open transgressors of the law were put to death without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of this. read: Num. 15:30; Lev. 24:14; Deut. 17:12; 19:15; Heb. 10:28.
In connection with this read also the words of the high priest Eli, "If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him; but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him?" I Sam. 2:25.
How Christ commanded that small offenses between brother and brother should be punished, read, "I£ thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but i f he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed
in heaven." Matt. 18:15-18; Luke 17:3; Gal. 6:1; Jas. 5:19., "If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death." I John 5:16.
But open offending members Christ commanded to sever and cast away without exercising admonition, intercession, or forgiveness in regard to them, before the separation. Read: Matt. 18:8; Mark 9:42.
Thus did also the apostles, according to the doctrine of Christ, deny eternal life to all the known works of the flesh, condemning them to death, and in their assembly; delivered the Corinthian fornicator unto Satan, with the word and power of our Lord Jesus Christ, without using the aforesaid admonition with regard to him. I Cor. 5:3. Read also: I Tim. 1:20; 5:20; II Cor. 13:2., "There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it." I John 5:16; Numbers 15:30; Heb. 10:28; I Cor. 5:13; II Cor. 13:2; Ps. 1:5; II Tim. 2:20; I Cor. 6:9; Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:5.
Of the withdrawing from and avoiding of apostate and separated members, is confessed: As separation is commanded by God for the reformation of sinners, and the maintenance of the purity of the church; so God has also commanded and willed, that in order to shame him to reformation, the separated individual shall be shunned and avoided. This withdrawing proceeds from the separation, and is a fruit and proof of the same, and without it separation is vain and unavailing. Hence, this ordinance of God shall be practiced and maintained, by all believers, with the separated persons. This withdrawing extends to all spiritual communion, as the supper, evangelical salutation, the kiss of peace, and all that pertains to it. This withdrawing extends likewise to all temporal and bodily things, as eating, drinking, buying and selling, daily intercourse and conversation, with all that pertains to it.
Thus, believers shall, according to the Word of God, withdraw themselves, from the separated in all spiritual, evangelical matters, as well as in all bodily and temporal things. And as in separation no persons may be regarded or spared, but must, by consent, be separated from the true members of the body; so also in withdrawing, extending to all spiritual and temporal matters, none may be spared or excepted, whether man or woman, parent or child, or whatever relation it may be; seeing we nowhere read, where God gave His church a general commandment or ordinance, that any member of said church was entirely exempted and excluded from such commandment; but on the contrary, it appears in many places, that the whole number, without exception, had to regulate themselves according to one rule set before them by God; hence this ordinance of God must be practiced and maintained by all the members of the body of Christ, without respect of persons, in the fear of God, to shame sinners to reformation, until the person punished is again received into the church.
But as all divine ordinances must be tempered with Christian kindliness and discretion, these also must have their place in this matter of shunning. Hence, the believers must conduct themselves with more discernment and equity with regards to separated persons, than did the scribes and Pharisees with regard to the Sabbath; who, as it appears would rather let men perish, than that they should receive help on the Sabbath, thinking that the Sabbath should be broken thereby, though they themselves, in such a case, broke the Sabbath for various minor matters. But even as the pious followers of the law did not sin, nor break the Sabbath, when they, on this day, performed not their own, but only the works which God had commanded them, so the believers neither sin nor act contrary to the commandment of shunning, when they perform not their own works, but only the works which God has commanded them concerning separated persons; as, in case of necessity, to minister to their bodies with food and other needful things, and to their souls with the Word of God, as well as to assist them by virtue of the commandment of God, in case of danger from water, fire and the like; these all believers are in duty bound to do; and they must thus, with great carefulness, seek that which is lost, and lead that which has erred, back to the right way, reprove and instruct them with the word of God, where such Christian admonition may take place, according to the example of Christ; but in all human works believers must with all diligence withdraw themselves from the separated persons, until they have reformed and been united again with the church.
In order rightly to understand this matter, it must be considered that the people of Israel at the time of Christ were under the power and dominion of the Romans, and could not punish transgressors according to the law of Moses, hence they separated from their communion and avoided those who departed from the law of the fathers, and went over to the Gentiles, Samaritans, or open sinners. Concerning this read: They regarded them as unclean, abhorred them, compared them to heathens and enemies, avoided all dealings and intercourse with them, and hindered them in their business. III Macc. 2:34. Read also: John 18:31; 4:9; Acts 10:28; 11; Gal. 2:12.
This custom Christ also observed, and commanded that the disobedient in the church should be so regarded, saying, "If he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican." Matt. 18:17.
This the apostles also practiced in like manner, according to the doctrine of Christ. Read, "I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: yet not altogether with the fornicators of this wo.7ld, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out
of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat." I Cor. 5:9-11.
Here the holy apostle forbids us to company and eat with apostate brethren or sisters, which he did not mean or command with reference to the unrighteous of this world, but permitted it with them; else we would needs have to go out of the world, seeing the whole world lies in wickedness; hence it must necessarily be understood with reference to daily intercourse and eating, buying and selling, and the like."A man that is an heretick, after the first and second admonition, reject." Titus. 3:10; II Tim. 4:15; II John 10., "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed." II Thess. 3:14.
How this withdrawing is to be observed by all believers, with regard to all apostates, walking disorderly, without respect of person, read, "Now, we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourself from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us." II Thess. 3:6.
Understand this withdrawing according to scriptures. Gal. 2:12; III Macc. 2:34, and the like, according to the spirit of the Gospel of Christ.
How believers must seek the lost, and not count the separated as enemies, but admonish them, as brethren. Read: II Thess. 3:15; Jas. 5:19; Luke 19:10; 15, the whole chapter.
Of the last day and the second coning of Christ from heaven, we confess: That the great God of heaven, who in the beginning created heaven and earth with all visible things out of nothing, also appointed a day and time, which cannot be known by the angels of God in heaven; much less by mortal men, but which shall unexpectedly overtake men, as the snare of the bird, and a thief in the night; at which time the Almighty God will destroy this whole visible, earthly, realm, and burn it with everlasting fire, except those of the human race who shall have done the will of God; these shall abide forever.
In the last great day of the Lord the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who in the presence of the apostles ascended from the earth in a cloud, shall come again from heaven, in the clouds of the sky, but not in the humiliated form of a servant, as in His first coming into the world at Bethlehem. For at this His second coming He shall reveal Himself in the clouds as a King of mighty kings, and Lord of lords, with the power and glory of His Almighty Father, and all the angels of God with Him, and shall thus, with the trump of God, and the voice of the archangel, peal forth an unutterable sound and shout; so that heaven and earth, all the mountains and islands, shall be moved; the sun and moon shall lose their brightness, the stars shall fall from heaven, and all kindreds of the earth shall weep and wail over themselves, for fear and expectation of the things which are to come; and all shall see the Son of man coming, with power and great glory.
Of this last day of the Lord, read, "And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" Matt. 24:3., "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." II Peter 3:16; Sir. 16:18; Mal. 4:1., "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child." I Thess. 5:2, 3., "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." Matt. 24:35, 36; Mark 13:31; Ps. 102:27; Isa. 51:6.
Of Christ's coming from heaven, read, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:11., "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God." I Thess. 4:16., "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him
and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him." Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:30; Luke 21:27. Read also: I Thess. 1:10; II Thess. 1:7; Dan. 7:13; Jude 14.
Of the Death of the body and the Resurrection of the dead, we confess: That, in the beginning, man was created immortal, but that through the envy of the devil and the sin of our first parents, death came into the world. And, as through the sin of Adam all men became sinful in him, so also through him, all men became subject to bodily death; so that in consequence thereof it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment; seeing this sinful, corruptible flesh and blood cannot inherit the eternal, incorruptible kingdom, but must be renewed and glorified through death and the resurrection, by the power of God.
And, even as, when a man falls into a deep sleep, his heart, soul or spirit does not entirely sleep, as the body; so also the spirit or soul of man does not die or fall asleep with the body, but is and remains
an immortal spirit. Hence temporal death, in the Scriptures, is called a sleep, and the resurrection of the dead an awakening from this sleep of death.
And as a sleeping man cannot receive and enjoy any good gifts, either according to the soul or the body, much less any punishment, pain and torment, unless he be previously awakened from his sleep; so also, believers cannot receive the perfect heavenly existence, nor unbelievers the eternal death or the pain of hell, either in the soulor in the body, except they have first been awakened from the sleep of death, and have arisen, through the coming of Christ.
Until this last day of judgment the souls of believers are waiting in the hands of God, under the altar of Christ, to receive then in their souls and bodies, the rewards promised them. So also the souls of unbelievers are reserved to be punished, after the day of judgment, in their souls and bodies.
And as through the sin and transgression of Adam death came upon all men; so also the resurrection of the dead came upon all men through the Saviour Jesus Christ; so that, as in the springtime the sun, through his glorious radiance and brightness, draws forth all sweet scented herbs from the earth, as well as thistles and thorns, which are rejected and reserved for the fire; so also, shall Christ Jesus, the true Son of righteousness, in this great last day and hour, through His glorious coming and appearing in the clouds of heaven, draw forth from the earth, and cause to arise all men, the wicked and the pious; so that this great God, through His power and commanding voice, by which He spake in the beginning: Let heaven and earth be made; and His word was immediately a perfect work; and who created all visible things from that which was invisible, and made man of the dust of the ground; this same God shall, through His unchangeable power and almighty word, in the last day, call all men who have been changed into dust and earth, and have been consumed by fire, birds, and fishes, from the dust, and cause each to rise with his own body, flesh, and bones, with which they have served either their Creator or sin.
And, as a woman in travail, when her hour is come, cannot retain, but makes haste to deliver, the fruit of her womb, so also shall in this last hour, death, earth, or hell and sea make haste to deliver up the great number of the dead which in them have become dust and ashes, and passed away. These shall all arise, with their own bodies, incorruptible, which shall again be united with the soul and spirit, which through death had been separated from the body, and had remained immortal. At that time the pious shall be glorified and changed from the mortal and corruptible into the immortal and incorruptible, from the weak and frail, into the strong and glorious, being made like unto the angels of God, and the glorious body of Christ. Thus shall also those who shall live and remain at this sudden second coming of Christ from the heaven, be changed and glorified after the image of Christ.
Of the first or temporal death, which came by the first transgression, read, "For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." Gen. 3:19; 25:33., "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Heb. 9:27., "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead." I Cor. 15:21., "For God made not death: neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living." Wisd. 1:13., "Nevertheless, through envy of the devil came death into the World." Wisd. 2:24; Rom. 5:12.
How at the second coming of Christ the dead shall rise through Christ, read, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first." I Thess. 4:16., "Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation." John 5:28, 29., "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold." Job 19:25-27.
Read also: Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:13; Matt. 22:31; Luke 20:35; John 6:40; 11:25; I Cor. 15 throughout; Ps. 90:3.
How in the resurrection of the dead, men's vile bodies shall be glorified, read, "In the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." Matt. 22:30., "For our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ
who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." Phil. 3:20, 21; I Cor. 15:42, 53.
Of the last judgment; of hell, and the damnation of unbelievers, we confess: That in the last day, when Christ Jesus shall appear in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory, all nations shall be gathered before His judgment seat, and He shall separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, placing the sheep on His right hand, and the goats on His left. Over these Christ Jesus is ordained by His Father judge of quick and dead, who will regard no person, nor need the testimony of any; for the heart, mind and thoughts of every one are manifest before Him as an open book. This righteous judge will judge the whole world in righteousness, and as the great Shepherd of the sheep, pronounce an eternal, irre-
vocable judgment upon them, rewarding each in his own body according to that he hath done. To all the believing, generated children of God who in this life, as obedient sheep, heard and followed the voice of Christ, He shall say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." And to all unbelievers, who would not have Christ and His word in this life, but, as disobedient, obstinate goats, rejected them, He will say, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
In that last day of the Lord the righteous God will deprive this world of all good gifts; so that the sun, moon and stars shall lose their brightness, and all the light and glory of the world shall be changed into everlasting darkness. In that time the earth, waters and streams shall be turned into burning pitch and brimstone, which shall burn forever and ever. And, seeing this earth is called hell in many places in Scripture, and no other hell being anywhere mentioned, the same is regarded as hell and the place of damnation; in which fiery pool and outer darkness all unbelievers will finally have to suffer the burning of hell and eternal damnation; and thus they shall at last be punished and tormented with the visible things, which in preference to the eternal and invisible, they chose and served in this life.
Into that place of darkness and fiery pool all unbelievers shall, after the resurrection, their souls having been united with their bodies, be sentenced by Christ. Then shall be fulfilled that which is written concerning this last, sad day of separation; namely, that one of two shall be taken in the field, in the bed, and at the mill, and be caught up in the air to meet the Lord; but the others shall be left, and be sentenced into said pool of darkness, where they shall be tormented with the devil and his angels, burning, and suffering in all eternity, forever deprived of all grace and mercy from God, which is the second death.
Of the last judgment, and how the whole human race shall appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to receive each in his own body an eternal sentence, read, "And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead." Acts 10:42., "Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained." Acts 17:31; Ps. 7:11., "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." II Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10., "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." Rev. 20:12; Dan. 7:10., "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." Matt. 25:31, 32; 16:27; 26:64; II Thess. 1:7.
Of hell and the place of damnation, read, "For it is the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up forever." Is. 34:8-10; II Peter 3:10; Sir. 16:18., "And it came to pass as he (Moses) had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods." Num. 16:31, 32.
Read further concerning Sodom and Gomorrah, how they were overturned and condemned and made an example; and how the earth is called hell. Gen. 19:24; Jude 7; Acts 2:27, 31; Ps. 16:11., "That they might know, that wherewithal a man sinneth, by the same also shall he be punished." Wisd. 11:16., "Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire." James 5:3.
How the souls of unbelievers are reserved by God until the last day of vengeance, to be tormented with their bodies after the resurrection, read, "For after death shall the judgment come, when we shall live again: and then shall the names of the righteous be manifest, and the works of the ungodly shall be declared." II Esd. 14:35., "For behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud; yea, and all that do wickedly shall be stubble: and the day that cometh, shall burn them up, saith the Lord." Mal. 4:1., "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished." II Peter 3:9.
Them"he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." Jude 6; Matt. 25:30; Rom. 14:10; II Cor. 5:10.
Read further concerning the fearful and intolerable pain of hell. Judith 16:17; Mark 9:46; Matthew 22:13; 24:51; 25:30, 41; Rev. 19:20; 21:8.
Of the kingdom of heaven and eternal life, we confess: That as there is a visible, perishable kingdom of this, which, through the sins and wick-
edness of men, lies in darkness; of which darkness, Satan, the spirit of wickedness, who works in the children of unbelief, is the supreme prince, who at last, with all his servants, shall be brought to everlasting lamentation and remorse, and shall perish; so also there is an eternal, immovable and invisible kingdom of heaven, of which Christ Jesus is King, Prince and Lord; in which all believers shall live with God forever in everlasting joy. To this glorious kingdom of heaven, God, through His grace and goodness, from the beginning of the world, caused the fallen human race to be called; first through His servants, the prophets, and then through the Son Himself, who, leaving this His kingdom for a time, came to preach, and to invite all men, to flee the shadow of this world, and to make haste to enter into this eternal rest. For this end the fatlings are killed, and this glorious feast is prepared; so that men are prevented from making any excuse concerning the piece of land, the oxen, and the wife, but the way, door and gate, is open and well prepared.
This glorious kingdom of heaven is typified and represented to us by a city full of all good things, and the new Jerusalem, coming down from heaven, which is beautifully prepared by God, as a bride adorned for her husband; the streets of it are pure gold, and the gates and walls built of and beautifully adorned with manifold pearls and precious stones. In this city is the glory of the Almighty God, which neither Moses on Mount Sinai, nor the eyes of any mortal man were able to behold. This brightness and everlasting light shall shine in this city forever and ever. Here all sorrow and mourning, cold, nakedness, hunger and thirst shall be changed into everlasting, satisfying joy and consolation. This glory and joy is so exceedingly great and unspeakable, that eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him; and into this heavenly state, which is beyond all praise, all believers and God-pleasing persons shall, at the resurrection of the dead, when their souls, which through death had become separated from the body, and until this last time were preserved in the hand of God, shall be re-united with their bodies, be caught up from this earthly darkness, to meet the Lord in the air.
And, as a bride is received by her bridegroom; so also shall all true children of God then be received with body and soul through grace, by Christ Jesus, and be admitted to this glorious joy, where they shall see God as He is, in His unspeakable glory, together with all the heavenly hosts. Then shall their robe of mourning, or the mortal clothing of the flesh be put off, and the immortal be put on; and they shall be clothed in white, shining raiment, and together with all God's chosen ones, be fed by the son of God, whom they confessed in the world, with the hidden heavenly bread. and shall eat of the tree of life, and drink out of the living fountain of water, and, being as he angels, shall, with joyful tongues and mouths, in gladsome voices, to the honor of the lamb, their bridegroom, sing the new song, with unspeakable, glorious joy, which no one can take away from them; but they shall be kings and priests of God, and shall live and reign with Christ for ever and ever.
May the God of grace and mercy, and of all comfort, who has from the beginning called us to this His heavenly kingdom and glory, endow us unworthy children of men with His good Spirit, make us worthy of Him and draw us Himward, that we may follow and run after this high prize, and by grace receive the same, through Jesus Christ, and enjoy it for ever. Amen.
Of the everlasting kingdom of heaven, and its King, read, "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace." Heb. 12:28., "My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence." John 18:36., "Receive the gift that is given you, and be glad, giving thanks unto him that hath called you to the heavenly kingdom." II Esd. 2:37; Col. 1:13; Ps. 22:28.
Read further how this eternal King, Christ Jesus, at His second coming from heaven, after the dead shall have arisen, and the eternal judgment been held, shall receive all the members of His kingdom in this His everlasting glorious kingdom of heaven, where they shall behold God in unspeakable glory."Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Matt. 25:34., "But the righteous live for ever more; their reward also is with the Lord, and the care of them is with the Most High. Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown from the Lord's hand." Wisd. 5:15, 16; I Peter 5:4; II Tim. 4:8; Rev. 2:10; Jas. 1:12., "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." I Thess. 4:17, 18; I Cor. 2:9; I Peter 1:8; John 16:22., "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." I John 3:2; Phil. 3:20, 21., "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." Col. 3:4., "Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty they shall behold the land that is very far off. Thine heart shall meditate terror." Isa. 33:17, 18.
Of all who from a true faith shall show forth the required spiritual virtues, and shall continue to the
end in this divine calling, read, "If ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." II Peter 1:10,11.
Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. Rev. 13:10.
We feel now that we have fulfilled the promise which we made in the beginning concerning the matter of holy baptism, and other articles of Christian worship; with which, we trust, those who fear God and love the truth will content themselves; hence we conclude this, and proceed to the steadfast martyrs who in the sixteenth century suffered for the name of Jesus Christ, and His holy truth.