There are many who have labored in the explanation of the Apocalypse; but, as the spiritual sense of the Word had been hitherto unknown, they could not see the arcana which lie concealed therein, for the spiritual sense alone discloses these; on which account expositors have conjectured various things, and the most of them have applied the things that are therein to the states of empires, intermingling also some things about ecclesiastical affairs. But the Apocalypse, like the whole Word, does not in the least, in its spiritual sense, treat of worldly, but of heavenly things; thus not of empires and kingdoms, but of heaven and the church. It is to be known, that after the Last Judgment, which was accomplished in the spiritual world in the year 1757, concerning which see in a small work by itself, published at London in 1758, there was formed a New Heaven from Christians; but from those only who could receive the Lord as the God of heaven and earth, according to His words in Matthew 28:18, and who at the same time in the world had repented of their evil works. From this heaven the New Church on earth, which is the New Jerusalem, is descending and will descend. That this Church will acknowledge the Lord alone, is manifest from these passages in the Apocalypse:
There came unto me one of the seven angels, and spake with me, saying, Come I will show thee the Bride, the Lamb's Wife; and he showd me the great city, holy Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God (chapter 21:9, 10).
And in another place:
Let us rejoice and exult; for the time of the Marriage of the Lamb is come, and His Wife hath made herself ready. Happy are they that are called unto the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (chapter 19:7, 9).
That there is to be a New Heaven, and that the New Church on earth will descend therefrom, is manifest from these words there:
I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth; and I saw the holy city Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a Bride adorned for her Husband. He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new; and He said unto me, Write, for these words are true and faithful (chapter 21:1, 2, 5).
"The New Heaven" is a New Heaven from Christians: "the New Jerusalem" is the New Church on earth, which will act as one with that New Heaven. "The Lamb" is the Lord as to the Divine Human.
To this something shall be added for illustration. The Christian Heaven is below the Ancient Heavens. Into it, from the time of the Lord, when He was in the wold, were admitted those who worshiped one God under three Persons, and who at the same time had not the idea of three Gods; and this because the Trinity of Persons has been received in the whole Christian world. But they who cherished no other idea of the Lord's Human than as the human of another man, could not receive the faith of the New Jerusalem; which is, that the Lord is the only God, in whom is the Trinity. These were for that reasons separated, and were sent away to the extremes: it was given me to see the separations and the removals after the Last Judgment. For the whole heaven is founded upon a just idea of God, and the whole church on earth, and in general all religion; since by that idea there is conjunction, and by conjunction light, wisdom, and eternal happiness.
Everyone can see that the Apocalypse can by no means be explained but by the Lord alone; for each word therein contains arcana, which could never be known without particular enlightenment, and thus revelation; wherefore it has pleased the Lord to open the sight of my spirit, and to teach me. Do not believe, therefore, that I have taken anything therein from myself, nor from any angel, but from the Lord alone. The Lord also said to John through the angel:
Seal not the words of the prophecy of this Book (chapter 22:10).
By which is meant that they are to be made manifest.
A SUMMARY OF THE DOCTRINES OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND RELIGION.
SINCE Babylon, which is the Roman Catholic Religion, is also treated of in the Apocalypse, chapters 17, 18, and 19, in the beginning of these explanations, its doctrinal tenets must be laid open, and in the following order: Of Baptism, the Eucharist or Holy Supper, Masses, Repentance, Justification, Purgatory, the Seven Sacraments, the Saints, and Power.
"I. Of Baptism, they teach: That Adam, after the offense of transgression was wholly changed for the worse, both as to body and soul; that this sin was transfused into the whole human race; that this original sin is taken away only by the merit of Christ; and that the merit of Christ is applied by the sacrament of Baptism; and that thus the whole guilt of original sin is taken away by Baptism; that nevertheless lust remains in the baptized as an incentive to sins, but not sin itself; that thus they put on Christ, become new creatures, and obtain a full and complete remission of sins. Baptism is called the laver of regeneration and of faith. That the baptized, when grown up, are to be questioned concerning the promises made by their sponsors; which is the SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION. That by reason of lapses after Baptism, the Sacrament of Repentance is necessary.
"II. THE EUCHARIST OR HOLY SUPPER. That immediately after consecration, the true body and the true blood of Jesus Christ are really and substantially contained under the form of bread and wine, together with His Soul and Divinity; the body under the form of bread, and the blood under the form of wine, by virtue of the words: but the body itself under the form of wine, and the blood under the form of bread, and the soul under both, by virtue of a natural connection and alliance, whereby the parts of the Lord Christ are united together, and the Divinity by reason of its admirable hypostatic union with the body and the soul; thus that they are as fully contained under one form as under both; in a word, that the whole and entire Christ exists under the form of the bread and under every part of that form; and the whole also under the form of the wine and its parts; that therefore the two forms are separated, and the bread is given to the laity, and the wine to the clergy. That water is to be mixed with wine in the cup. That the laity are to receive the communion from the clergy, and the clergy from themselves. That the true body and the true blood of Christ, after consecration, are in the host in the consecrated particles; and that therefore the host is to be adored when it is shown and carried about. That this wonderful and particular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into body, and of the whole substance of the wine into blood, is called transubstantiation. That the communion of both forms, under certain conditions, may be granted by the Pontiff. It is called supersubstantial bread, and the bread of angels, which these eat without any veils; it is also called spiritual food; also the antidote by which they are freed from sins.
"III. MASSES. It is called the sacrifice of the mass, because the sacrifice by which Christ offered up Himself to God the Father, is represented thereby under the form of the bread and wine; that thence it is a sacrifice truly propitiatory, pure, and there is nothing in it except what is holy. That if the people do not commune sacramentally, but only the minister, then the people commune spiritually, because the ministers do it, not for themselves only, but for all the faithful who appertain to the body of Christ. The masses ought not to be performed in the vulgar tongue, because they contain the great learning of the faithful people; but that the ministers may declare some thing concerning it on the Lord's days. That it is ordained, that some things which are mystical should be pronounced with a lower, and other things with a louder, voice; and, for the purpose of giving majesty to so great a sacrifice which is offered to God, there should be lights, incense, garments, and other like things. That it is to be offered for the sins, penalties, satisfactions, and all the necessities of the living, and also for the dead. That masses in honour of the saints are thanksgivings because they intercede when they are implored.
"IV. REPENTANCE. That besides baptism there is the Sacrament of Repentance, whereby the benefit of the death and merit of Christ is applied to those who lapse after baptism; therefore it is called a kind of laborious baptism. That the parts of repentance are contrition, confession, and satisfaction. That CONTRITION is the gift of God, and the impulse of the Holy Spirit, not yet indwelling, but only moving, therefore it is a disposing. That CONFESSION ought to be made of all mortal sins, even the most secret, and of the intentions; that sins which are withheld from confession are not forgiven, but that those which after search do not occur, are included in confession; that confession ought to be made at least once a year: that absolution of sins is to be given by the ministers of the keys, and that they are forgiven on their saying, I ABSOLVE; that absolution is like the act of a judge when sentence is pronounced; that the more grievous sins are to be absolved by bishops, and the still more grievous by the pontiff. SATISFACTION is made by satisfactory punishments imposed by the ministry at discretion, according to the measure of the offence; that when eternal punishment is remitted, then temporal punishment is remitted also. That the power of INDULGENCES was left by Christ to the church, and that the use of them is most salutary.
"V. JUSTIFICATION. That the change from that state in which man is born a son of Adam, cannot be effected into a state of face through the second Adam the Saviour, without the washing of regeneration and faith, or without baptism. That the second beginning of justification is from preventing grace, which is a calling, with which man cooperates by converting himself. That disposition is produced by faith, when man believes those things to be true which are revealed, to which he is freely moved; also by hope, when he believes that God is propitious for the sake of Christ; and by charity, in consequence whereof he begins to love his neighbour, and to hate sin. That justification, which follows, is not only remission of sins, but sanctification, and renovation of the interior man; that then they are not reputed just, but that they are just, receiving justice in themselves; and because they receive the merit of Christ's passion, justification is inserted by faith, hope, and charity. That faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of justification, and that this is to be justified by faith: and because none of those things which precede justification, whether they be of faith or works, merit the grace of justification, that this is being justified gratis, for it is a preventing grace; and that still man is justified by works, and not so much by faith. That the just may fall into light and venial sins, and still be just; and that therefore the just ought continually to labour by prayers, oblations, alms, and fastings, lest they should fall, because they are born again into the hope of glory, and not into glory. That the just, if they fall from the grace of justification, may be justified again by the sacrament of repentance: that by any mortal sin grace is lost, but not faith, but that faith also is lost by infidelity, which is a receding from religion. That the works of a justified man are merits; and that the justified merit eternal life by those that are done by them through the grace of God and the merit of Christ. That FREE-WILL was not lost and extinguished after the sin of Adam; and that man co-operates by assenting to the calling of God; and that otherwise he would be an inanimate body. They establish PREDESTINATION, by saying that no one knows whether he is in the number of the predestined, and among those whom God has elected to Himself, except by special revelation.
"VI. PURGATORY. That all the guilt from which men are to be purified by temporal punishment is not blotted out by justification, and therefore all come into purgatory to be purified, before the entrance into heaven is open. That the souls there detained are assisted by the suffrages of the faithful, and particularly by the sacrifice of the mass; and that this is diligently to be taught and preached." The torments there endured are variously described, but they are inventions, and in themselves fictions.
"VII. THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS. That there are seven sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Repentance, Extreme Unction, Order, and Matrimony; that there are neither more nor less: that one is of greater dignity than another; that they contain grace; and that from the work operated by them grace is conferred; that there were the same number of sacraments of the ancient Law. Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, and Repentance have been treated of above. THE SACRAMENT OF EXTREME UNCTION: That it is founded on the epistle of James, chap. v., 14, 15; that it is to be administered to the sick near the end of life, whence it is called the sacrament of the departing; that if they recover, it may be applied again; that it is performed with oil blessed by the bishop, and with these words: "May God grant thee indulgence for whatsoever offence thou hast committed through the fault of the eyes, the nostrils, or the touch.' THE SACRAMENT OF ORDER: That there are seven orders in the ministry of the priesthood, which differ in dignity, and all together are called the ecclesiastical hierarchy, which is like the order of an encampment; that inaugurations into the ministry are to be effected by anointings, and by transferring of the Holy Spirit into them. That the secular power or consent, calling or authority of the magistrate is not required for the ordination of bishops and priests; that they who ascend to the ministry being appointed by a calling from them only, are not ministers, but thieves and robbers, who do not enter in by the door. THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY: That the dispensation of degrees and divorces belongs to the church. That the clergy are not to contract matrimony. That all of them may have the gift of chastity, and if anyone saith he cannot, when nevertheless he has vowed, let him be anathema, because God does not refuse it to those who seek it in a right way, and does not suffer anyone to be tempted beyond what he is able to bear. That a state of virginity and celibacy is to be preferred to the conjugial state; besides other things.
"VIII. THE SAINTS. That the saints reigning together with Christ offer up their prayers to God for men; that Christ is to be adored, and the saints to be invoked; that the invocation of saints is not idolatrous, nor derogatory to the honour of the one Mediator between God and men; it is called Latria. That images of Christ, of Mary the God-bearer and of the saints, are to be revered and honoured; not that it is to be believed that there is Divinity or virtue in them, but because the honour which is paid to them is referred to the prototypes which they represent; and that through the images which they kiss, and before which they kneel and uncover their heads, they adore Christ and venerate the saints. That the miracles of God are performed through the saints.
"IX. POWER. That the Pope of Rome is the successor of the apostle Peter, and vicar of Jesus Christ, the head of the church, and the universal bishop; that he is above councils; that he has the keys to open and shut heaven, consequently the power of remitting and retaining sins; that therefore he, as key-bearer of everlasting life, hath a right at once to earthly and heavenly empire; that moreover bishops and priests have such a power from him, because it was given also to the rest of the apostles, and that therefore they are called ministers of the keys. That it belongs to the church to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Sacred Scripture, and that they who oppose them are to be punished by penalties established by law. That it is not fitting for the laity to read the Sacred Scripture, because the sense of it is only known to the church; thence its ministers make traffic of their knowledge of it."
X. The above are from councils and bulls, particularly from the council of Trent, and the papal bull confirming it, wherein all who think, believe, and act contrary to what was there decreed, which in general is as above adduced, they condemn by anathema.
A SUMMARY OF THE DOCTRINES OF THE CHURCH AND RELIGION OF THE REFORMED
Since the Reformed are much treated of in the Apocalypse in its spiritual sense, therefore, before entering upon the explanations, their doctrinal tenets are also to be laid open, and in this order: Of God, of Christ the Lord, of Justification by Faith, and of God Works, of the Law and the Gospel, of Repentance and Confession, of Original Sin, of Baptism, of the Holy Supper, of Free-Agency, and of the Church.
"I. OF GOD. Of God they believe according to the Athanasian Creed, which, as it is in the hand of everyone, is not here quoted. That they believe in God the Father as the Creator and Preserver; in God the Son as the Saviour and Redeemer; and in the Holy Spirit as the Enlightener and Sanctifier, is also known.
"II. OF CHRIST THE LORD. Concerning the Person of Christ, the same doctrine is not taught by all the Reformed. The Lutherans teach that the Virgin Mary not only conceived and brought forth a real man, but also the real Son of God, whence she is rightly called, and truly is, the mother of God. That in Christ there are two natures, the Divine and the Human, the Divine from eternity, and the human in time; that these two natures are personally united, altogether in such a manner, that there are not two Christs, one the Son of God, and the other the Son of man; but that one and the same is the Son of God and the Son of man, not that these two natures are mixed together into one substance, nor that one is changed into the other, but that both natures retain their essential properties, which are also described as to their qualities; that their union is hypostatic, and that this is the most perfect communion, like that of the soul and body; that therefore it is rightly said, that in Christ God is Man and Man God; that He did not suffer for us as mere man only, but as such Man, whose Human nature hath so strict and ineffable a union and communion with the Son of God, as to become one Person with Him; that the Son of God truly suffered for us, but yet according to the properties of the human nature; that the Son of man, by whom is meant Christ as to the Human nature, was really exalted to the right hand of God when He was taken into God, which was the case as soon as He was conceived of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the mother; that Christ always had that majesty by reason of the personal union, but that, in the state of exinanition, He only exercised it so far as seemed good to Him; but that after the resurrection He fully and entirely put off the form of a servant, and established the Human nature or essence in the plenary possession of the Divine majesty; and that in this manner He entered into glory; in a word, Christ is, and remains to all eternity, perfect God and Man in one indivisible Person; and the true, omnipotent and eternal God; being, also with respect to His Human, present at the right hand of God, He governs all things in the heavens and on earth, and also fills all things, is with us, and dwells and operates in us. That there is no difference of adoration, because through the nature which is seen, the Divinity which is not seen, is adored. That the Divine essence communicates and imparts its own excellences to the Human nature, and performs its Divine operations through the body as through its organ; that thus all the fullness of the Divinity dwells in Christ bodily, according to Paul. That the Incarnation was accomplished that He might reconcile the Father to us, and become a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, as well original as actual; that He was incarnated from the substance of the Holy Spirit, but that His Human nature was produced from the Virgin Mary, which, as the Word, He assumed and united to Himself; that He sanctifies those who believe in Him, by sending the Holy Spirit into their hearts, to rule, comfort, and vivify them, and defend them against the devil and the power of sin. That Christ descended to those below, and destroyed hell for all believers; but in what manner these things were effected, He does not wish them to scrutinize too curiously, but that the knowledge of this matter may be reserved for another age, when not only this mystery, but many other things also will be revealed." These particulars are from Luther; the Augustan Confession; the Nicene Council, and the Smalcaldic Articles. See The Formula Concordiae.
"By another part of the Reformed, who are also treated of in The Formula Concordiae, it is believed that Christ, according to His Human nature, by exaltation, received only created gifts and finite power, therefore that He is a man like any other, retaining the properties of the flesh; that therefore as to His Human nature He is not omnipresent and omniscient; that although absent He governs, as King, things remote from Himself; that as God from eternity He is with the Father, and as Man born in time, He is with the angels in Heaven; and that when it is said, in Christ God is Man and Man God, it is only a figure of speech; besides other things of a like nature.
"But this disagreement is adjusted by the Athanasian Creed, which is received by all in the Christian world, where these words occur: "The true faith is, that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, from the substance of the Father, born before the world, and Man, from the substance of the mother, born in the world; perfect God and perfect Man: who, although He be God and Man, yet they are not two but one Christ: one, not by the conversion of the Divine essence into body, but by the taking of His Human into God; one altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of Person; for as the rational soul and the body is one man, so God and Man is one Christ.'
"III. OF JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH, AND OF GOOD WORKS. The justifying and saving faith of the clergy is this: That God the Father turned Himself away from the human race on account of their iniquities, and so, from justice, condemned them to eternal death, and that He therefore sent the Son into the world to expiate and redeem them, and to satisfy and reconcile; and that the Son did this by taking upon Himself the condemnation of the law, and suffering Himself to be crucified, and that thus by obedience He entirely satisfied God's justice, even to becoming justice Himself; and that God the Father imputes and applies this, as His merit, to believers, and sends the Holy Spirit to them, who operates charity, good works, and repentance, as a good tree produces good fruits; and justifies, renews, regenerated, and sanctifies; and that this faith is the only means of salvation, and that by it alone a man's sins are forgiven. They distinguish between the act and the state of justification: by the act of justification they understand the beginning of justification, which takes place in a moment, when man by that faith alone takes hold of the merit of Christ with confidence; by the state of justification they understand the progress of that faith, which takes place by the interior operation of the Holy Spirit, which does not manifest itself except by certain signs, concerning which they teach various things. They speak also of manifest good works, which are done from the man and his will, and follow that faith; but they exclude them from justification, because the proprium and therefore the merit of the man is in them. This is a summary of modern faith, but its confirmations and the traditions concerning it are numerous and manifold; some of which also shall be adduced; which are, that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, and works, but gratuitously for Christ's sake, by faith; that by this faith they believe that they are received into grace, and their sins are remitted for His sake, who by His death made satisfaction for us, and that God the Father imputes this to believers for righteousness before Him; that this faith, that Christ suffered and died for us, is not only the historical knowledge, but also a cordial assent, confidence and trust that sins are gratuitously remitted for Christ's sake, and that they are justified; and that then these three things concur, gratuitous promise, the merit of Christ as a price, and propitiation. That faith is the righteousness by which we are reputed just before God on account of the promise; and that to be justified is to be absolved from sins, and that it may also be called being vivified and regenerated; that faith is reckoned to us for justice, not because it is so good a work, but because it takes hold of the merit of Christ. That the merit of Christ is His obedience, passion, death, and resurrection; that it is necessary that there should be something by which God can be approached, and that this is nothing else but faith, by which reception is effected. That faith, in the act of justification, enters through the Word and the hearing, and that it is not the act of man, but that it is the operation of the Holy Spirit, and that then man does not co-operate any more than a statue of salt, a stock, or a stone, doing nothing from himself, and knowing nothing of it; but that after the act he co-operates, yet not with any will of his own in spiritual things; in things natural, civil, and moral, it is otherwise: but that they can so far proceed in things spiritual as to will what is good, and to feel delight in consequence, yet this is not from their own will, but from the Holy Spirit, and that thus they co-operate, not from their own powers, but from new powers and gifts begun in them by the Holy Spirit in their conversion; and that in true conversion a change, renovation, and motion are produced in the understanding and heart of man. That charity, good works, and repentance, do not enter into the act of justification, but that in the state of justification they are necessary, especially by reason of God's command, and that by them they merit the corporeal rewards of this life, but not the remission of sins, and the glory of eternal life, because faith alone, without the works of the law, justifies and saves. That faith in act justifies man, but faith in state renovates him; that in renovation by reason of God's command, the works reputed good, as commanded by the Decalogue, are necessary to be performed, because it is the will of God that carnal lusts should be restrained by civil discipline, for which reason He has provided doctrine, laws, magistrates, and punishments; that, therefore, it is consequently false, that by works we merit remission of sins and salvation, and that works have any effect in preserving faith, and that it is also false, that man is reputed just on account of the justice of his reason; and that reason can, from its own powers, love God above all things and do His law; in a word, that faith and salvation are not preserved and retained in men by good works, but only by the Spirit of God and by faith; but still that good works are testimonies that the Holy Spirit is present and dwells in them. They condemn as pernicious, the expression that good works are hurtful to salvation; because the interior works of the Holy Spirit are to be understood, which are good, not the exterior ones proceeding from man's own will, which are not good but evil, because meritorious. They teach, moreover, that Christ at the Last Judgment will pronounce sentence upon good and evil works as effects proper and not proper to the faith of man. This faith reigns at this day in the whole Reformed Christian world with the clergy, but not with the laity, except a very few; for the laity by faith understand nothing else but to believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and that he who lives well and believes well, will he saved; and of the Lord that He is the Saviour; for they are ignorant of the mysteries of justification of their preachers, who, although they preach such things, yet, with the laity who hear them, they enter in at one ear and go out at the other; their teachers, indeed, think themselves learned, from knowing them, and labor much in their schools and universities to acquire them; therefore it is said above, that this faith is the faith of the clergy. But yet the teachers teach this same faith differently in the different kingdoms in which the Reformed Church is established; in Germany, Sweden, and Denmark, they say that the Holy Spirit operates by that faith, and justifies and sanctifies men, and afterwards successively renovates and regenerates them, but without the works of the law; and they who are in that faith from trust and confidence, are in grace with God the Father; and that then the evils which they do, appear indeed, but are constantly remitted. In England, they teach that this faith produces charity without man's knowing it, and that when man feels the Holy Spirit operate interiorly in himself, this operation also is the good of charity; and if he does not feel it, and yet does good for the sake of salvation, that it may he called good, but still that it derives somewhat from man, in that there is merit in it. Moreover, that such faith can operate this at the last hour of death, yet it is not known how. In Holland, they teach, that God the Father, for the sake of the Son, justifies and purifies man interiorly by the Holy Spirit through that faith, but even to His own will, from which He turns back without touching it; some teach that He touches it lightly, and that thus the evils of man's will do not appear before God. But few of the laity know anything of these mysteries of the clergy; nor are they willing to publish them as they are in themselves, because they know that the laity do not relish them.
"IV. OF THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL. That the law was given by God, that it may be known what sin is, and that thus it may be restrained by threats and by fear, and afterwards by the promise and the announcement of grace; therefore the special office of the law is, to reveal original sin and all its fruits, and to make known to what a horrible degree the nature of man is fallen and how deeply it is depraved; by this means it terrifies, humbles, and prostrates man so that he despairs for himself, and anxiously desires help. This effect of the law is called contrition, which is not active or factitious, but passive, and the torment of conscience. But the Gospel is the whole doctrine concerning Christ and faith; and thus concerning the remission of sins; consequently, a most gladdening messenger, not reproving and terrifying, but comforting. By the law the wrath of God against all impiety is revealed, and man is condemned, therefore it causes man to look to Christ, and to the Gospel; they must both be preached, because they are connected. The Gospel teaches that Christ took upon Himself the curse of the law and expiated all sins, and that we consequently obtain remission by faith. That the Holy Spirit is given and received, and the heart of man renewed, not by the preaching of the law, but of the Gospel; and that the Spirit afterwards makes use of the ministry of the law, to teach and show in the Decalogue, what the good will and pleasure of God is; thus the Spirit makes dead and makes alive. That a distinction is to be made between the works of the law, and the works of the Spirit, therefore the faithful are not under the law, but under grace, for that very reason. That the justice of the law does not justify, that is, does not reconcile nor regenerate, nor, by itself, make men accepted of God; but when the Holy Spirit is given, the fulfilling of the law follows. That the works of the second table of the Decalogue do not justify, because by it we act with men, and not properly with God, and yet in justification we must act with God. That Christ, because without sin suffered the punishment of sin, and was made an offering for us, whereby He took away that right of the law, that it might not condemn believers, because He is a propitiation for them, for the sake of which they are reputed just.
"V. OF REPENTANCE AND CONFESSION. That repentance consists of two parts; one is contrition, or terror struck into the conscience by reason of sin; the other faith, which is conceived from the Gospel, and by the remission of sins, comforts the conscience and delivers from terrors. He who confesses that he is wholly sin, comprehends all sins, excludes none, and forgets none; thus sins are purged away, and man is purified, rectified, and sanctified; because the Holy Spirit does not suffer sin to have dominion, but represses and restrains it. That the enumeration of sins ought to be free, as the person may choose or not choose; and that great stress is to be laid upon private confession and absolution; therefore if anyone chooses, be may confess his sins, and receive absolution from the confessor, and the sins are then remitted. The words which the minister is to make use of on this occasion are, "May God be propitious to thee, and confirm thy faith; be it unto thee as thou believest, and I, by the commandment of the Lord, remit to thee thy sins;' but others say, "I announce to thee the remission of thy sins:' that still, however, sins are not forgiven by repentance any more than by works; but by faith. Therefore, the repentance of the clergy is only a confession before God that they are sinners, and a prayer that they may persevere in faith That expiations and satisfactions are not necessary, because Christ is the expiation and satisfaction.
"VI. OF ORIGINAL SIN, they teach: That after the fall of Adam all men propagated according to nature are born with sin, that is, without the fear of God, and with lusts; and that this condemns and brings eternal death upon those who are not born again by Baptism and the Holy Spirit; that it is a privation of original justice, and at the same time an inordinate disposition of the parts of the soul, and a corrupt habit. That there is a difference between the nature itself into which man was created, which exists even after the fall, and remains a creature of God, and original sin; therefore, that there is a difference between corrupt nature, and the corruption which is inherent in nature, and by which nature is corrupted; that no one but God alone can separate the corruption of nature from nature itself; that this will manifestly be done in the blessed resurrection, because then nature itself, which man bears around in the world, will rise again without original sin, and enjoy eternal felicity; that the difference is as between the work of God and the work of the devil; that this sin did not invade nature in such a manner, as if Satan had created any evil substantially and commixed it with nature, but that concreated and original justice was lost: that original sin is an accident; and that by reason of it, man is, as it were, spiritually dead before God: that this evil is covered and pardoned by Christ alone: that the seed itself from which man is formed, is contaminated by that sin: that hence also it is, that man receives from his parents depraved inclinations and internal uncleanness of heart.
"VII. OF BAPTISM. That Baptism is not simply water, but that it is water taken by the Divine command, and sealed with the Word of God, and thus sanctified: that the virtue, work, fruit, and end of Baptism is, that men may be saved and admitted into the Christian communion. That by Baptism victory is offered over death and the devil; remission of sins; the grace of God; Christ with all His works; and the Holy Spirit with all His gifts; and eternal blessedness to all and every believer. Whether faith be given to infants, also, by Baptism, is a question too deep to be solicitously inquired into. That immersion in water signifies the mortification of the old man, and the resurrection of the new; that therefore it may be called the laver of regeneration; and the true laver in the Word; also in the death and burial of Christ. That the life of a Christian is a daily Baptism once begun in this manner; that the water does not effect this, but the Word of God, which is in and with the water, and the faith of God's Word added to the water; that hence it follows, that Baptism in the name of God, is performed by men indeed, but is not from them, but from God Himself. That Baptism does not take away original sin by extinguishing depraved lust, but only the guilt of it.
"But others of the Reformed believe, that Baptism is an external laver of water, whereby an internal ablution from sins is signified; that it does not confer regeneration, faith, the grace of God, and salvation, but only signifies and seals them; and that they are not conferred in and with Baptism, but afterwards as the person grows up; and that the elect alone obtain the grace of Christ and the gift of faith: and because salvation does not depend upon Baptism, that therefore it is permitted to be performed by another in the lack of a regular minister.
"VIII. OF THE LORD'S SUPPER. They of the Reformed Church, who are called Lutherans, teach that in the Holy Supper or Sacrament of the Altar, the body and blood of Christ are really and substantially present, and are actually distributed and received with the bread and wine; that therefore the real body and the real blood of Christ are in, with, and under the bread and wine and are given to Christians to eat and drink; and that therefore they am not simply bread and wine, but are included and bound to the Word of God, and that this causes them to be the body and blood of Christ; for when the Word accedes to the element, it becomes a Sacrament; but yet that there is no transubstantiation, such as is that of the papists; that it is the food of the soul, nourishing and strengthening the new man: that it was instituted, to the end that faith might repair and receive its strength, to give remission of sins, and a new life, which Christ merited for us: that thus the body and blood of Christ are not only taken spiritually by faith, but also by the mouth, in a supernatural way, by reason of their sacramental union with the bread and wine: that the worthiness of this Supper consists in obedience alone, and in the merit of Christ, which is applied by true faith. In a word, that the Sacraments of the Lord's Supper and of Baptism are testimonies of the will and grace of God towards men; and that the Sacrament of the Supper is a promise of remission of sins through faith; that it may move the heart to believe; and that the Holy Spirit may operate through the Word and the Sacraments: that the consecration of the minister does not produce these effects, but that they are attributed to the sole omnipotent virtue of the Lord. That the unworthy, as well as the worthy, receive the real body and blood of Christ, as He hung upon the cross; but the worthy to salvation, the unworthy to condemnation; that they are worthy who have faith; that no one is to be forced to that Supper, but everyone may approach when urged by spiritual hunger.
"Others, however, of the Reformed Church teach, that in the Holy Supper the body and blood of Christ are taken only spiritually, and that the bread and wine are only signs, types, symbols, marks, figures, and similitudes; that Christ is not bodily present, but only in virtue and operation from His Divine essence; but that in heaven there is a conjunction according to the individual communion: that the worthiness of this Supper depends not only upon faith, but also upon preparation: that the worthy alone receive its virtue, but the unworthy bread and wine only. Although there are these disagreements, yet all the Reformed agree in this: that it is altogether necessary that they should do the work of repentance who desire to receive that Holy Supper worthily; the Lutherans insist that if they do not do repentance from evil works, and yet approach, they are eternally condemned; and the English, that otherwise the devil will enter into them as he did into Judas; this is evident from the prayers read before the communion.
"IX. OF FREE WILL. They make a distinction between the state before the fall, after the fall, after the reception of faith and renovation, and after the resurrection. That man since the fall is entirely incapable of beginning, thinking, understanding, believing, willing, operating or cooperating anything from his own power in spiritual and Divine things; or of applying or accommodating himself to grace; but that his natural will is only for those things which are contrary to God, and displease Him; thus that man in spiritual things is like a stock, but that still he has a capacity, not active, but passive, whereby he can be turned to good by the grace of God; that nevertheless there remains in man since the fall, the freewill and power either to hear or not to hear the Word of God, and that thus a spark of faith may be kindled in his heart, which embraces the remission of sins for Christ's sake, and imparts consolation. That nevertheless the human will enjoys the liberty of doing civil justice, and of making choice of such things as are within the province of reason.
"X. OF THE CHURCH. That the church is the congregation and communion of saints, and that it is spread through the entire world among those who have the same Christ, and the same Holy Spirit, and the same Sacraments, whether they have similar or dissimilar traditions: and that it is principally a society of faith; and that this church alone is the body of Christ, and that the good are both in reality and in name the church, but the wicked only in name; that the evil and hypocrites, because they are intermixed, are members of the church according to its external signs, provided they are not excommunicated, but that they are not members of the body of Christ. That ecclesiastical rites, which are called ceremonies, are matters of indifference (adiaphori), and that they are not the worship of God, nor a part of the worship of God; that therefore the church is at liberty to institute, change, and abrogate them, as, for instance, the distinctions of vestments, times, days, foods, and the like; and that therefore one church ought not to condemn another on account of things of this nature."
These are the doctrinal tenets of the Reformed Church and Religion in brief; but those which are taught by the Schwengfeldians, Pelagians, Manichaeans, Donatists, Anabaptists, Arminians, Cinglians, Antitrinitarians, Socinians, Arians, and, at this day, by the Quakers and Moravians, are passed over, because they are reprobated and rejected by the Church of the Reformed as heretical.