Calvinism and the Sovereignty of God - CALVINISM HD COLLECTION

SYNOD OF DORT

 
 
                              Synod of Dordrecht
                       November 13, 1618 - May 9, 1619
 
         FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE. DIVINE ELECTION AND REPROBATION
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 1. As  all  men  have sinned in Adam, lie
         under the curse,  and  are  deserving  of  eternal death, God
         would have done no  injustice  by  leaving them all to perish
         and delivering them over to  condemnation  on account of sin,
         according to the words of  the apostle: "that every mouth may
         be silenced and the  whole  world  held  accountable to God."
         (Rom 3:19). And: "for all have  sinned  and fall short of the
         glory of God," (Rom  3:23).  And:  "For  the  wages of sin is
         death." (Rom 6:23).
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE  2.  but  in  this  the  love  of God was
         manifested, that He  "sent  his  one  and  only  Son into the
         world, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have
         eternal life." (1 John 4:9, John 3:16).
 
         FIRST HEAD:  ARTICLE  3.  And  that  men  may  be  brought to
         believe, God mercifully  sends  the  messengers of these most
         joyful tiding to whom He will and at what time He pleases; by
         whose ministry men  are  called  to  repentance  and faith in
         Christ crucified. "How, then, can  they  call on the one they
         have not believed in? And how  can they believe in the one of
         whom they have  not  heard?  And  how  can  they hear without
         someone preaching to them?  And  how  can  they preach unless
         they are sent?" (Rom 10:14-15).
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 4. The wrath of God abides upon those who
         believe not this gospel. But  such  as receive it and embrace
         Jesus the Savior  by  a  true  and  living  faith  are by Him
         delivered from the wrath  of  God  and  from destruction, and
         have the gift of eternal life conferred upon them.
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 5. The cause or guilt of this unbelief as
         well as of all other  sins  is  no  wise  in  God, but in man
         himself; whereas faith in  Jesus Christ and salvation through
         Him is the free gift of God,  as it is written: "For it is by
         grace you have been saved,  through  faith--and this not from
         yourselves, it is the gift  of God" (Eph 2:8). Likewise: "For
         it has been granted to  you  on  behalf of Christ not only to
         believe on him, but also to suffer for him" (Phil 1:29)
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 6.  That  some  receive the gift of faith
         from God, and others do  not  receive it, proceeds from God's
         eternal decree. "For now unto God  are all his works from the
         beginning of the world"  (Acts  15:18  A.V.).  "who works out
         everything in conformity with the  purpose  of his will" (Eph
         1:11). According to  which  decree  He graciously softens the
         hearts of the elect, however  obstinate, and inclines them to
         believe; while He leaves the  non-elect  in His just judgment
         to  their  own  wickedness   and   obduracy.  And  herein  is
         especially displayed the profound,  the  merciful, and at the
         same time the  righteous  discrimination  between men equally
         involved in ruin; or that decree of election and reprobation,
         revealed in the Word of  God,  which, though men of perverse,
         impure, and unstable minds wrest it to their own destruction,
         yet to holy and pious souls affords unspeakable consolation.
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 7.  Election  is the unchangeable purpose
         of God, whereby, before the  foundation  of the world, He has
         out of mere grace, according  to  the sovereign good pleasure
         of His own will, chosen from  the whole human race, which had
         fallen through their own  fault  from  the primitive state of
         rectitude into  sin  and  destruction,  a  certain  number of
         persons  to  redemption  in  Christ,  whom  He  from eternity
         appointed  the  Mediator  and  Head  of  the  elect  and  the
         foundation of salvation. This  elect number, though by nature
         neither better nor more deserving  than others, but with them
         involved in one common  misery,  God  has  decreed to give to
         Christ to be saved by  Him,  and  effectually to call an draw
         them to His communion by His  Word and Spirit; to bestow upon
         them  true  faith,  justification,  and  sanctification;  and
         having powerfully preserved  them  in  the  fellowship of His
         son, finally to glorify  them  for  the  demonstration of His
         mercy, and for  the  praise  of  the  riches  of His glorious
         grace; as it is written  "For  he  chose us in him before the
         creation of the world to be  holy and blameless in his sight.
         In love he predestined us to  be  adopted as his sons through
         Jesus Christ, in accordance with  his  pleasure and will-- to
         the praise of his glorious  grace,  which he has freely given
         us in the One  he  loves."  (Eph  1:4-6). And elsewhere: "And
         those he predestined, he  also  called;  those  he called, he
         also justified; those he  justified, he also glorified." (Rom
         8:30).
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE  8.  There  are  not  various  decrees of
         election, but one and  the  same  decree respecting all those
         who shall be saved,  both  under  the  Old and New Testament;
         since the Scripture declares  the good pleasure, purpose, and
         counsel of the divine will to  be  one, according to which He
         has chosen us from eternity, both  to  grace and to glory, to
         salvation and to the way  of salvation, which He has ordained
         that we should walk therein (Eph 1:4, 5; 2:10).
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 9.  This  election  was  not founded upon
         foreseen faith and the obedience  of  faith, holiness, or any
         other  good   quality   or   disposition   in   man,  as  the
         prerequisite, cause, or condition  of  which it depended; but
         men are  chosen  to  faith  and  to  the  obedience of faith,
         holiness, etc. Therefore  election  is  the fountain of every
         saving good,  from  which  proceed  faith,  holiness, and the
         other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself, as
         its fruits and effects,  according  to  the  testimony of the
         apostle: "For he chose us (not  because  we were, but) in him
         before the creation of the world  to be holy and blameless in
         his sight." (Eph 1:4).
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 10. The good  pleasure of God is the sole
         cause of  this  gracious  election;  which  does  not consist
         herein that out of all  possible qualities and actions of men
         God has chosen some as a  condition of salvation, but that He
         was pleased out of the common  mass  of sinners to adopt some
         certain persons as a  peculiar  people  to  Himself, as it is
         written: "Yet,  before  the  twins  were  born  or  had  done
         anything good or bad--in order that God's purpose in election
         might stand: not by works but by him who calls--she (Rebekah)
         was told, 'The older will serve  the  younger.' Just as it is
         written: 'Jacob I loved, but  Esau  I hated.'" (Rom 9:11-13).
         "When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the
         word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life
         believed." (Acts 13:48).
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE  11.  And  as  God  Himself is most wise,
         unchangeable, omniscient,  and  omnipotent,  so  the election
         made by Him can neither be interrupted nor changed, recalled,
         or annulled; neither can  the  elect  be cast away, nor their
         number diminished.
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE  12.  The  elect  in  due time, though in
         various  degrees  and  in   different  measures,  attain  the
         assurance of this  their  eternal  and unchangeable election,
         not by inquisitively prying into  the  secret and deep things
         of God, but by observing  in  themselves with a spiritual joy
         and holy pleasure the  infallible  fruits of election pointed
         out in the Word of God  -  such  as,  a true faith in Christ,
         filial  fear,  a  godly  sorrow  for  sin,  a  hungering  and
         thirsting after righteousness, etc.
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE  13.  The  sense  and  certainty  of this
         election afford to the children  of God additional matter for
         daily humiliation before Him,  for  adoring  the depth of His
         mercies, for  cleansing  themselves,  and  rendering grateful
         returns of ardent love to  Him  who first manifested so great
         love towards  them.  The  consideration  of  this doctrine of
         election  is  so  far  from  encouraging  remissness  in  the
         observance of the  divine  commands  or  from  sinking men in
         carnal security, that these, in the just judgment of God, are
         the usual effects of rash  presumption  or of idle and wanton
         trifling with the grace of  election,  in those who refuse to
         walk in the ways of the elect.
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 14.  As  the  doctrine of election by the
         most wise counsel of  God  was  declared  by the prophets, by
         Christ Himself, and by the  apostles, and is clearly revealed
         in the Scriptures both of the  Old  and the New Testament, so
         it is still to  be  published  in  due  time and place in the
         Church of God, for which it was peculiarly designed, provided
         it be done with  reverence,  in  the spirit of discretion and
         piety, for  the  glory  of  God's  most  holy  Name,  and for
         enlivening  and   comforting   His   people,  without  vainly
         attempting to investigate the  secret  ways  of the Most High
         (Acts 20:27; Rom 11:33f; 12:3; Heb 6:17f).
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 15.  What  peculiarly tends to illustrate
         and recommend  to  us  the  eternal  and  unmerited  grace of
         election is the  express  testimony  of sacred Scripture that
         not all, but some only,  are elected, while others are passed
         by in the eternal  decree;  whom  God,  out of His sovereign,
         most just, irreprehensible,  and  unchangeable good pleasure,
         has decreed to leave  in  the  common  misery into which they
         have willfully plunged  themselves,  and  not  to bestow upon
         them  saving  faith  and   the   grace  of  conversion;  but,
         permitting them in  His  just  judgment  to  follow their own
         ways, at last, for the declaration of His justice, to condemn
         and punish  them  forever,  not  only  on  account  of  their
         unbelief, but also for all their  other sins. And this is the
         decree of reprobation, which by no means makes God the Author
         of sin (the very though  of which is blasphemy), but declares
         Him to be an awful,  irreprehensible, and righteous Judge and
         Avenger thereof.
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE  16.  Those  in  whom  a  living faith in
         Christ, and assured confidence  of soul, peace of conscience,
         an earnest endeavor after filial obedience, a glorying in God
         through  Christ,  is  not  as  yet  strongly  felt,  and  who
         nevertheless make use of  the  means  which God has appointed
         for working these graces in  us,  ought  not to be alarmed at
         the mention of reprobation, nor  to rank themselves among the
         reprobate, but diligently to persevere  in  the use of means,
         and with ardent desires  devoutly  and  humble  to wait for a
         season of richer grace.  Much  less  cause to be terrified by
         the  doctrine  of  reprobation  have  they  who,  though they
         seriously desire to be turned to God, to please Him only, and
         to be delivered from the body of death, cannot yet reach that
         measure of holiness and faith  to  which they aspire; since a
         merciful God has promised that He will not quench the smoking
         flax, nor break the bruised reed. But this doctrine is justly
         terrible to those who,  regardless  of  God and of the Savior
         Jesus Christ, have wholly given themselves up to the cares of
         the world and the pleasures of the flesh, so long as they are
         not seriously converted to God.
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 17. Since we  are to judge of the will of
         God from His  Word,  which  testifies  that  the  children of
         believers are holy,  not  by  nature,  but  in  virtue of the
         covenant of grace, in  which  they  together with the parents
         are  comprehended,  godly  parents  ought  not  to  doubt the
         election and salvation of their  children whom it pleases God
         to call out of this  life  in  their  infancy (Gen 17:7; Acts
         2:39; 1 Cor 7:14).
 
         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 18. To those who murmur at the free grace
         of election and the  just  severity  of reprobation we answer
         with the apostle "But who  are  you,  O  man, to talk back to
         God?" (Rom 9:20),  and  quote  the  language  of  our Savior:
         "Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own?" (Matt
         20:15).  And  therefore,   with   holy   adoration  of  these
         mysteries, we exclaim in the  words  of the apostle: "Oh, the
         depth of the riches of the  wisdom  and knowledge of God! How
         unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
         'Who has known the  mind  of  the  Lord?  Or who has been his
         counselor?' 'Who has ever given to God, that God should repay
         him?' For from him and through him and to him are all things.
         To him be the glory forever! Amen." (Rom 11:33-36).
 
         REJECTION OF ERRORS
 
         The true doctrine concerning  election and reprobation having
         been explained, the Synod rejects the errors of those:
 
         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH 1. Who teach:  That  the will of God to
         save those who would believe and would persevere in faith and
         in the obedience of faith is  the  whole and entire decree of
         election, and that  nothing  else  concerning this decree has
         been revealed in God's Word.
 
         For these  deceive  the  simple  and  plainly  contradict the
         Scriptures, which declare that God  will  not only save those
         who will believe, but that  He  has also from eternity chosen
         certain particular persons  to  whom,  above  others, He will
         grant in time, both faith  in  Christ and perseverance; as it
         is written "I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out
         of the world. (John  17:6).  "and  all who were appointed for
         eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)". And "For he chose us in
         him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless
         in his sight. (Eph 1:4)."
 
         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH 2.  Who  teach:  That there are various
         kinds of election of God  unto  eternal life: the one general
         and indefinite, the other  particular  and definite; and that
         the  latter  in   turn   is   either  incomplete,  revocable,
         non-decisive,  and  conditional,  or  complete,  irrevocable,
         decisive, and absolute. Likewise:  That there is one election
         unto faith and another unto  salvation,  so that election can
         be unto justifying faith,  without  being a decisive election
         unto salvation.
 
         For this is a  fancy  of  men's minds, invented regardless of
         the  Scriptures,  whereby   the   doctrine   of  election  is
         corrupted, and this golden chain  of our salvation is broken:
         "And those he predestined, he  also  called; those he called,
         he also justified;  those  he  justified,  he also glorified.
         (Rom 8:30)."
 
         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH 3.  Who  teach:  That the good pleasure
         and purpose of God, of  which  Scripture makes mention in the
         doctrine of election,  does  not  consist  in  this, that God
         chose certain persons rather than  others,  but in this, that
         He chose out of all possible conditions (among which are also
         the works of the law), or  out  of the whole order of things,
         that act of faith which  from its very nature is undeserving,
         as well  as  it  incomplete  obedience,  as  a  condition  of
         salvation, and  that  He  would  graciously  consider this in
         itself as a complete  obedience  and  count  it worthy of the
         reward of eternal life.
 
         For by this  injurious  error  the  pleasure  of  God and the
         merits of Christ are made of  none  effect, and men are drawn
         away  by  useless  questions   from  the  truth  of  gracious
         justification and from the  simplicity of Scripture, and this
         declaration of the apostle  is  charged  as  untrue: "who has
         saved us and  called  us  to  a  holy  life,  not  because of
         anything we have  done  but  because  of  his own purpose and
         grace. This grace was  given  us  in  Christ Jesus before the
         beginning of time (2 Tim 1:9)."
 
         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH 4. Who teach: That in the election unto
         faith this condition is  beforehand  demanded that man should
         use the light of nature  aright,  be pious, humble, meek, and
         fit for eternal life, as if  on these things election were in
         any way dependent.
 
         For this savors of the  teaching  of Pelagius, and is opposed
         to the doctrine of the  apostle  when  he  writes: "All of us
         also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of
         our sinful nature  and  following  its  desires and thoughts.
         Like the  rest,  we  were  by  nature  objects  of wrath. But
         because of his great love for  us, God, who is rich in mercy,
         made  us  alive  with  Christ  even  when  we  were  dead  in
         transgressions--it is by grace you  have  been saved. And God
         raised us up  with  Christ  and  seated  us  with  him in the
         heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming
         ages he might  show  the  incomparable  riches  of his grace,
         expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by
         grace you have been saved,  through  faith--and this not from
         yourselves, it is the gift of  God-- not by works, so that no
         one can boast (Eph 2:3-9)."
 
         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH 5. Who  teach:  That the incomplete and
         non-decisive  election  of  particular  persons  to salvation
         occurred because of a  foreseen  faith, conversion, holiness,
         godliness, which either began or continued for some time; but
         that the complete and  decisive  election occurred because of
         foreseen perseverance  unto  the  end  in  faith, conversion,
         holiness, and godliness; and  that  this  is the gracious and
         evangelical worthiness, for  the  sake  of  which  he  who is
         chosen is more worthy than  he  who  is  not chosen; and that
         therefore faith, the obedience of faith, holiness, godliness,
         and perseverance are not  fruits of the unchangeable election
         unto  glory,  but  are   conditions   which,  being  required
         beforehand, were foreseen as being  met  by those who will be
         fully elected, and are  causes without which the unchangeable
         election to glory does not occur.
 
         This is repugnant to  the  entire Scripture, which constantly
         inculcates this and similar declarations: Election is "not by
         works but by him who  calls  (Rom  9:12)."  "And all who were
         appointed for eternal  life  believed  (Acts 13:48)." "For he
         chose us in him before the  creation  of the world to be holy
         and blameless in his  sight  (Eph  1:4)." "You did not choose
         me, but I chose you  and  appointed  you to go and bear fruit
         that will last. Then  the  Father  will give you whatever you
         ask in my name (John 15:16)." "And if by grace, then it is no
         longer by works (Rom 11:6)." "This is love: not that we loved
         God, but that he loved us and sent his Son (1 John 4:10)."
 
         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH 6. Who  teach:  That not every election
         unto salvation is unchangeable, but  that  some of the elect,
         any decree of  God  notwithstanding,  can  yet  perish and do
         indeed perish.
 
         By this gross error they  make God be changeable, and destroy
         the comfort which the  godly  obtain  out  of the firmness of
         their election,  and  contradict  the  Holy  Scripture, which
         teaches that the elect  can  not  be led astray (Matt 24:24),
         that Christ does  not  lose  those  whom  the Father gave him
         (John 6:39),  and  that  God  also  glorified  those  whom he
         foreordained, called, and justified (Rom 8:30).
 
         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH 7.  Who  teach:  That  there is in this
         life no fruit and no  consciousness of the unchangeable elect
         to glory, nor any certainty,  except  that which depends on a
         changeable and uncertain condition.
 
         For not only is it absurd to speak of an uncertain certainty,
         but also contrary to  the  experience  of  the saints, who by
         virtue of the  consciousness  of  their election rejoice with
         the apostle  and  praise  this  favor  of  God  (Eph  1); who
         according to Christ's admonition  rejoice  with his disciples
         that their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20); who also
         place the consciousness  of  their  election over against the
         fiery darts of the devil,  asking: "Who will bring any charge
         against those whom God has chosen? (Rom 8:33)."
 
         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH  8.  Who  teach:  That  God,  simply by
         virtue of His righteous will,  did not decide either to leave
         anyone in the fall of  Adam  and  in the common state sin and
         condemnation, or to pass  anyone  by  in the communication of
         grace which is necessary for faith and conversion.
 
         For this is firmly decreed: "God  has  mercy on whom he wants
         to have mercy, and he  hardens  whom  he wants to harden (Rom
         9:18)." And also this: "The  knowledge  of the secrets of the
         kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them (Mat
         13:11)." Likewise: "I praise you,  Father, Lord of heaven and
         earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and
         learned, and revealed them to  little children. Yes , Father,
         for this was your good pleasure (Mat 11:25-26)."
 
         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH 9. Who  teach:  That the reason why God
         sends the gospel to one people  rather than to another is not
         merely and solely the  good  pleasure  of God, but rather the
         fact that one people is  better  and worthier than another to
         which the gospel is not communicated.
 
         For this Moses denies  ,  addressing  the people of Israel as
         follows: "To the LORD your  God  belong the heavens, even the
         highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. Yet the LORD
         set his affection on your  forefathers and loved them, and he
         chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is
         today (Deu 10:14-15)." And Christ said: "Woe to you, Korazin!
         Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in
         you had been performed  in  Tyre  and  Sidon, they would have
         repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes (Mat 11:21)."
 
         SECOND HEAD  OF  DOCTRINE.  THE  DEATH  OF  CHRIST,  AND  THE
         REDEMPTION OF MEN THEREBY
 
         SECOND HEAD: ARTICLE 1. God  is  not only supremely merciful,
         but also supremely just. And  His justice requires (as He has
         revealed Himself in His Word) that our sins committed against
         His  infinite  majesty  should  be  punished,  not  only with
         temporal but with eternal punishments, both in body and soul;
         which we cannot escape,  unless  satisfaction  be made to the
         justice of God.
 
         SECOND HEAD: ARTICLE 2.  Since,  therefore,  we are unable to
         make that satisfaction  in  our  own  persons,  or to deliver
         ourselves from the wrath of God,  He  has been pleased of His
         infinite mercy to give His  only begotten Son for our Surety,
         who was made sin, and became a curse for us and in our stead,
         that He might  make  satisfaction  to  divine  justice on our
         behalf.
 
         SECOND HEAD: ARTICLE 3. The  death  of  the Son of God is the
         only and most perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for sin, and
         is of  infinite  worth  and  value,  abundantly sufficient to
         expiate the sins of the whole world.
 
         SECOND HEAD: ARTICLE 4. This  death is of such infinite value
         and dignity because the  person  who  submitted to it was not
         only begotten Son of  God,  of  the same eternal and infinite
         essence  with  the   Father   and   the  Holy  Spirit,  which
         qualifications were necessary to  constitute Him a Savior for
         us; and, moreover, because  it  was  attended with a sense of
         the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin.
 
         SECOND HEAD: ARTICLE 5. Moreover,  the  promise of the gospel
         is that  whosoever  believes  in  Christ  crucified shall not
         perish, but have  eternal  life.  This promise, together with
         the command to repent and  believe,  ought to be declared and
         published to all  nations,  and  to all persons promiscuously
         and without distinction, to whom God out of His good pleasure
         sends the gospel.
 
         SECOND HEAD: ARTICLE 6. And,  whereas  many who are called by
         the gospel do not repent nor believe in Christ, but perish in
         unbelief, this is not owing to any defect or insufficiency in
         the sacrifice offered by Christ upon the cross, but is wholly
         to be imputed to themselves.
 
         SECOND HEAD: ARTICLE 7. But as many as truly believe, and are
         delivered and  saved  from  sin  and  destruction through the
         death of Christ, are indebted  for this benefit solely to the
         grace of God given them  in  Christ from everlasting, and not
         to any merit of their own.
 
         SECOND HEAD: ARTICLE 8.  For  this  was the sovereign counsel
         and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father that the
         quickening and saving efficacy of  the most precious death of
         His Son should extend  to  all  the elect, for bestowing upon
         them alone the gift  of  justifying  faith,  thereby to bring
         them infallibly to salvation; that is, it was the will of God
         that Christ by the blood  of  the cross, whereby He confirmed
         the new  covenant,  should  effectually  redeem  out of every
         people, tribe, nation,  and  language,  all  those, and those
         only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation and given to
         Him by the Father;  that  He  should  confer upon them faith,
         which, together with all the  other  saving gifts of the Holy
         Spirit, He purchased for them by His death; should purge them
         from all sin,  both  original  and  actual, whether committed
         before or after  believing;  and  having faithfully preserved
         them even to the end,  should  at  last bring them, free from
         every spot and blemish, to the  enjoyment of glory in His own
         presence forever.
 
         SECOND  HEAD:  ARTICLE  9.   This  purpose,  proceeding  from
         everlasting love towards the elect, has from the beginning of
         the world to this day  been powerfully accomplished, and will
         henceforeward   still    continue    to    be   accomplished,
         notwithstanding all the ineffectual  opposition  of the gates
         of hell; so  that  the  elect  in  due  time  may be gathered
         together into one,  and  that  there  never  may be wanting a
         Church composed of believers, the foundation of which is laid
         in the  blood  of  christ;  which  may  stedfastly  love  and
         faithfully serve Him as its  Savior (who, as a bridegroom for
         his bride, laid down His life  for  them upon the cross); and
         which  may  celebrate  His   praises  here  and  through  all
         eternity.
 
         REJECTION OF ERRORS
 
         The true doctrine  having  been  explained, the Synod rejects
         the errors of those:
 
         SECOND HEAD: PARAGRAPH 1. Who  teach: That God the Father has
         ordained His Son to the death  of the cross without a certain
         and definite decree  to  save  any,  so  that  the necessity,
         profitableness, and worth of what christ merited by His death
         might have  existed,  and  might  remain  in  all  its  parts
         complete, perfect, and intact, even if the merited redemption
         had never in fact been applied to any person.
 
         For this doctrine tends to the despising of the wisdom of the
         Father and of the merits of  Jesus Christ, and is contrary to
         Scripture. For thus says our Savior:  "I lay down my life for
         the sheep ... and I  know  them.  (John  10:15, 27)." And the
         prophet Isaiah says concerning  the  Savior:  "Yet it was the
         Lord's will to crush him and  cause him to suffer, and though
         the LORD makes his life  a  guilt  offering,  he will see his
         offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will
         prosper in his hand  (Isa  53:10)." Finally, this contradicts
         the article  of  faith  according  to  which  we  believe the
         catholic Christian Church.
 
         SECOND HEAD: PARAGRAPH  2.  Who  teach:  That  it was not the
         purpose of the death of Christ that He should confirm the new
         covenant of grace through His  blood, but only that He should
         acquire for the Father the  mere  right to establish with man
         such a covenant as He  might  please,  whether of grace or of
         works.
 
         For this is repugnant to  Scripture which teaches that "Jesus
         has become the guarantee of a  better  covenant that is a new
         covenant ..." and that "it  never  takes effect while the one
         who made it is living. (Heb 7:22; 9:15, 17)."
 
         SECOND HEAD: PARAGRAPH  3.  Who  teach:  That  Christ  by His
         satisfaction merited neither  salvation  itself  for any one,
         nor faith, whereby this satisfaction of Christ unto salvation
         is effectually  appropriated;  but  that  He  merited for the
         Father only the authority or  the  perfect will to deal again
         with man, and to prescribe new conditions as He might desire,
         obedience to which, however,  depended  on  the  free will of
         man, so that it therefore might have come to pass that either
         none or all should fulfill these conditions.
 
         For these adjudge too contemptuously  of the death of Christ,
         in no wise acknowledge that  most  important fruit or benefit
         thereby gained and bring again  out  of the hell the Pelagian
         error.
 
         SECOND HEAD: PARAGRAPH 4. Who teach: That the new covenant of
         grace, which God the  Father,  through  the  mediation of the
         death of Christ, made with  man, does not herein consist that
         we by faith, in as much  as  it accepts the merits of Christ,
         are justified before God and saved, but in the fact that God,
         having revoked  the  demand  of  perfect  obedience of faith,
         regards faith itself  and  the  obedience  of faith, although
         imperfect, as the  perfect  obedience  of  the  law, and does
         esteem it  worthy  of  the  reward  of  eternal  life through
         grace.
 
         For these contradict the Scriptures, being: "justified freely
         by his grace  through  the  redemption  that  came  by Christ
         Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through
         faith in his blood (Rom 3:24-25)." And these proclaim, as did
         the wicked Socinus, a  new  and  strange justification of man
         before God, against the consensus of the whole Church.
 
         SECOND HEAD: PARAGRAPH 5. Who  teach:  That all men have been
         accepted unto the state of  reconciliation and unto the grace
         of the covenant, so that no  one is worthy of condemnation on
         account of original sin, and  that  no one shall be condemned
         because of it,  but  that  all  are  free  from  the guilt of
         original sin.
 
         For this opinion is repugnant to Scripture which teaches that
         we are by nature children of wrath (Eph 2:3).
 
         SECOND HEAD:  PARAGRAPH  6.  Who  use  the difference between
         meriting and appropriating, to the  end  that they may instil
         into  the  minds  of  the  imprudent  and  inexperienced this
         teaching that God, as far as He is concerned, has been minded
         to apply to all equally the  benefits  gained by the death of
         Christ; but that, while  some  obtain  the  pardon of sin and
         eternal life, and others do  not,  this difference depends on
         their own free will, which joins  itself to the grace that is
         offered without exception, and  that  it  is not dependent on
         the special gift of  mercy,  which  powerfully works in them,
         that  they  rather  than   others   should  appropriate  unto
         themselves this grace.
 
         For  these,  while   they   feign   that  they  present  this
         distinction in a sound sense,  seek to instil into the people
         the destructive poison of the Pelagian errors.
 
         SECOND HEAD:  PARAGRAPH  7.  Who  teach:  That Christ neither
         could die, nor needed to die, and also did not die, for those
         whom God loved in the  highest  degree and elected to eternal
         life, since these do not need the death of Christ.
 
         For the contradict the  apostle, who declares, Christ: "loved
         me and gave himself for  me  (Gal 2:20)." Likewise: "Who will
         bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God
         who justifies. Who is  he  that  condemns?  Christ Jesus, who
         died (Rom 8:33-34)", namely,  for  them;  and  the Savior who
         says: "I lay down my life  for  the sheep (John 10:15)." And:
         "My command is this: Love  each  other  as  I have loved you.
         Greater love has no one than  this, that he lay down his life
         for his friends (John 15:12-13)."
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS  OF  DOCTRINE.  THE CORRUPTION OF MAN,

 HIS CONVERSION TO GOD, AND THE MANNER THEREOF
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD: ARTICLE  1.  Man was originally formed
         after the image of God.  His understanding was adorned with a
         true and saving knowledge  of  his  Creator, and of spiritual
         things; his heart and will  were  upright, all his affections
         pure, and the whole man was  holy. But, revolting from God by
         the instigation of the devil  and  by  his  own free will, he
         forfeited these excellent gifts; and  an in the place thereof
         became involved  in  blindness  of  mind,  horrible darkness,
         vanity,  and   perverseness   of   judgment;  became  wicked,
         rebellious, and obdurate in heart and will, and impure in his
         affections.
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD:  ARTICLE  2.  Man after the fall begat
         children in his  own  likeness.  A  corrupt  stock produced a
         corrupt offspring. Hence  all  the  posterity of Adam, Christ
         only excepted, have  derived  corruption  from their original
         parent, not by limitation, as  the Pelagians of old asserted,
         but by the propagation of a vicious nature, in consequence of
         the just judgment of God.
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH  HEAD:  ARTICLE  3.  Therefore  all  men are
         conceived in  sin,  and  are  by  nature  children  of wrath,
         incapable of saving good, prone to  evil, dead in sin, and in
         bondage thereto; and  without  the  regenerating grace of the
         Holy Spirit, they are neither  able  nor willing to return to
         God, to reform the depravity  of  their nature, or to dispose
         themselves to reformation
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD: ARTICLE  4.  There remain, however, in
         man since the fall, the glimmerings of natural light, whereby
         he retains some knowledge of  God,  or natural things, and of
         the difference between good and  evil,  and shows some regard
         for virtue and for good outward  behavior. But so far is this
         light of nature  from  begin  sufficient  to  bring  him to a
         saving knowledge of God  and  to  true  conversion that he is
         incapable of using  it  aright  even  in  things  natural and
         civil. Nay further,  this  light,  such  as  it  is  , man in
         various  ways  renders  wholly   polluted,   and  hinders  in
         unrighteousness, by doing which he becomes inexcusable before
         God.
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD: ARTICLE 5. In the same light are we to
         consider the law of  the  decalogue,  delivered by God to His
         peculiar people, the Jews, by  the hands of Moses. For though
         it reveals the greatness of  sin, and more and more convinces
         man thereof, yet,  as  it  neither  points  out  a remedy nor
         imparts strength to extricate him from his misery, but, being
         weak through the  flesh,  leaves  the  transgressor under the
         curse, man cannot by this law obtain saving grace.
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH  HEAD:  ARTICLE  6. What, therefore, neither
         the light of nature nor the  law  could do, that God performs
         by the operation  of  the  Holy  Spirit  through  the word or
         ministry  of  reconciliation;  which   is  the  glad  tidings
         concerning the Messiah, by means  whereof  it has pleased God
         to save such as believe, as  well  under the Old as under the
         New Testament.
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD:  ARTICLE  7.  This mystery of His will
         God reveals to but  a  small  number under the Old Testament;
         under the  New  Testament  (the  distinction  between various
         peoples having been removed) He reveals it to many. The cause
         of this dispensation is  not  to  be ascribed to the superior
         worth of one nation above another, nor to their better use of
         the light of nature,  but  results  wholly from the sovereign
         good pleasure and unmerited love  of  God. Hence they to whom
         so great and so  gracious  a  blessing is communicated, above
         their desert, or rather  notwithstanding  their demerits, are
         bound to acknowledge it with  humble and grateful hearts, and
         with the apostle to adore,  but  in  no wise curiously to pry
         into, the severity and  justice  of God's judgments displayed
         in others to whom this grace is not given.
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD: ARTICLE  8.  As  many as are called by
         the gospel are unfeignedly called. For God has most earnestly
         and truly declared in  His  Word  what  is acceptable to Him,
         namely, that those who  are  called  should come unto Him. He
         also seriously promises rest of  soul and eternal life to all
         who come to Him and believe.
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD: ARTICLE 9.  It is not the fault of the
         gospel, nor of Christ offered  therein, nor of God, who calls
         men by the gospel and  confers  upon them various gifts, that
         those who are called by  the  ministry  of the Word refuse to
         come and be converted. The  fault lies in themselves; some of
         whom when called, regardless of their danger, reject the Word
         of life; other, though they receive it, suffer it not to make
         a lasting impression  on  their  heart; therefore, their joy,
         arising only from a temporary  faith, soon vanishes, and they
         fall away;  while  others  choke  the  seed  of  the  Word by
         perplexing cares and the pleasures of this world, and produce
         no fruit. This our Savior teaches in the parable of the sower
         (Matt 13).
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD:  ARTICLE  10.  But that others who are
         called by the gospel obey the  call  and are converted is not
         to be ascribed to the  proper  exercise of free will, whereby
         one distinguishes himself above others equally furnished with
         grace sufficient  for  faith  and  conversion  (as  the proud
         heresy of Pelagius maintains); but it must be wholly ascribed
         to God, who,  as  He  has  chosen  His  own  from eternity in
         Christ, so He calls  them  effectually  in time, confers upon
         them faith and repentance,  rescues  them  from  the power of
         darkness, and translates them  into  the  kingdom  of His own
         Son; that they may  show  forth  the  praises  of Him who has
         called them out of darkness into His marvelous light, and may
         glory not in themselves  but  in  the  Lord, according to the
         testimony of the apostles in various places.
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD: ARTICLE  11. But when God accomplishes
         His good  pleasure  in  the  elect,  or  works  in  them true
         conversion, He not only  cause  the  gospel  to be externally
         preached to them, and  powerfully  illuminates their minds by
         His Holy Spirit, that they  may rightly under and discern the
         things of the Spirit of God;  but by the efficacy of the same
         regenerating Spirit He pervades  the  inmost recesses of man;
         He opens the  closed  and  softens  the  hardened  heart, and
         circumcises  that  which   was   uncircumcised;  infuses  new
         qualities into the  will,  which,  though heretofore dead, He
         quickens; from being  evil,  disobedient,  and refractory, He
         renders  it  good,  obedient,   and   pliable;  actuates  and
         strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the
         fruits of good actions.
 
         THIRD  AND  FOURTH  HEAD:  ARTICLE   12.  And  this  is  that
         regeneration so highly extolled  in  Scripture, that renewal,
         new creation, resurrection from the dead, making alive, which
         God works in us  without  out  aid.  But  this  is in no wise
         effected merely by the external  preaching  of the gospel, by
         moral suasion, or such  a  mode  of operation that, after God
         has performed His part, it still  remains in the power of man
         to be regenerated  or  not,  to  be  converted or to continue
         unconverted; but it  is  evidently  a supernatural work, most
         powerful, and at the  same time most delightful, astonishing,
         mysterious,  and  ineffable;  not  inferior  in  efficacy  to
         creation or the resurrection from  the dead, as the Scripture
         inspired by the Author of this  work declares; so that all in
         whose heart God works in this marvelous manner are certainly,
         infallibly,  and  effectually  regenerated,  and  do actually
         believe. Whereupon the will thus renewed is not only actuated
         and influenced by God, but  in  consequence of this influence
         becomes itself active. Wherefore  also man himself is rightly
         said to believe and repent  by virtue of that grace received.
 
         THIRD AND  FOURTH  HEAD:  ARTICLE  13.  The  manner  of  this
         operation cannot be fully  comprehended  by believers in this
         life. Nevertheless, they are satisfied to know and experience
         that by this grace of  God  they  are enabled to believe with
         the heart and to love their Savior.
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD: ARTICLE  14.  Faith is therefore to be
         considered as the gift of  God,  not  on account of its being
         offered by God to  man,  to  be  accepted  or rejected at his
         pleasure, but because it  is  in  reality conferred upon him,
         breathed and infused into him;  nor  even because God bestows
         the power or ability  to  believe,  and then expects that man
         should by the exercise of  his  own  free will consent to the
         terms  of  salvation  and  actually  believe  in  Christ, but
         because He who works in  man  both  to  will and to work, and
         indeed all things in all,  produces  both the will to believe
         and the act of believing also.
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD: ARTICLE 15. God is under no obligation
         to confer this grace upon any;  for how can He be indebted to
         one who had no previous gifts  to  bestow as a foundation for
         such recompense? Nay, how can He  be  indebted to one who has
         nothing of his own but  sin and falsehood? He, therefore, who
         becomes the subject of this  grace  owes eternal gratitude to
         God, and  gives  Him  thanks  forever.  Whoever  is  not made
         partaker thereof is  either  altogether  regardless  of these
         spiritual gifts and satisfied with  his  own condition, or is
         in  no  apprehension  of   danger,   and  vainly  boasts  the
         possession of that which he has not. Further, with respect to
         those who  outwardly  profess  their  faith  and  amend their
         lives, we are bound,  after  the  example  of the apostle, to
         judge and speak of them in the most favorable manner; for the
         secret recesses of the heart  are  unknown  to  us. And as to
         others who have not yet been  called,  it is our duty to pray
         for them to God, who calls the things that are not as if they
         were. But we are in no wise to conduct ourselves towards them
         with haughtiness, as if we had made ourselves to differ.
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD: ARTICLE 16. But as man by the fall did
         not cease to be  a  creature  endowed  with understanding and
         will, nor did sin  which  pervaded  the whole race of mankind
         deprive him  of  the  human  nature,  but  brought  upon  him
         depravity  and  spiritual  death;   so  also  this  grace  of
         regeneration does  not  treat  men  as  senseless  stocks and
         blocks, nor take away  their  will  and  it properties, or do
         violence  thereto;  but   is   spiritually  quickens,  heals,
         corrects, and at the same  time  sweetly and powerfully bends
         it, that  where  carnal  rebellion  and  resistance  formerly
         prevailed, a ready and  sincere spiritual obedience begins to
         reign;  in  which  the  true  and  spiritual  restoration and
         freedom of our will  consist. Wherefore, unless the admirable
         Author of every good work  so  deal  with us, man can have no
         hope of being able  to  rise  from  his  fall by his own free
         will, by which, in a  state  of innocence, he plunged himself
         into ruin.
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD: ARTICLE  17. As the almighty operation
         of God whereby He brings  forth and supports this our natural
         life does not exclude but require  the  use of means by which
         God, of His infinite mercy  and goodness, has chosen to exert
         His  influence,  so   also  the  aforementioned  supernatural
         operation of God by  which  we  are  regenerated  in  no wise
         excludes or subverts the  use  of  the gospel, which the most
         wise God has ordained to be the seed of regeneration and food
         of the soul. Wherefore, as  the apostles and the teachers who
         succeeded them piously instructed  the people concerning this
         grace of God, to His glory and to the abasement of all pride,
         and in the meantime, however,  neglected not to keep them, by
         the holy admonitions of  the  gospel,  under the influence of
         the Word, the sacraments,  and  ecclesiastical discipline; so
         even now it should  be  far  from  those  who give or receive
         instruction  in  the  Church  to  presume  to  tempt  God  by
         separating what He of His  good  pleasure has most intimately
         joined  together.  For  grace   is   conferred  by  means  of
         admonitions; and the more  readily  we  perform our duty, the
         more clearly  this  favor  of  God,  working  in  us, usually
         manifest itself, and the more  directly His work is advanced;
         to whom alone all the glory, both for the means and for their
         saving fruit and efficacy, is forever due. Amen.
 
         REJECTION OF ERRORS
 
         The true doctrine  having  been  explained, the Synod rejects
         the errors of those:
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD: PARAGRAPH 1. Who teach: That it cannot
         properly be said  that  original  sin  in  itself suffices to
         condemn the whole  human  race  or  to  deserve  temporal and
         eternal punishment.
 
         For these contradict the  apostle,  who declares: "Therefore,
         just as sin  entered  the  world  through  one man, and death
         through sin, and in this way  death  came to all men, because
         all sinned (Rom 5:12)." And:  "The  judgment followed one sin
         and brought condemnation (Rom 5:16)."  And  "the wages of sin
         is death (Rom 6:23)."
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH  HEAD:  PARAGRAPH  2.  Who  teach:  That the
         spiritual gifts or the  good  qualities  and virtues, such as
         goodness, holiness, righteousness,  could  not  belong to the
         will of  man  when  he  was  first  crated,  and  that these,
         therefore, cannot have been separated therefrom in the fall.
 
         For such is contrary to the  description  of the image of God
         which the apostle gives in  Eph. 4:24, where he declares that
         it consists in righteousness  and holiness, which undoubtedly
         belong to the will.
 
         THIRD AND  FOURTH  HEAD:  PARAGRAPH  3.  Who  teach:  That in
         spiritual death the spiritual gifts are not separate from the
         will  of  man,  since  the  will  in  itself  has  never been
         corrupted, but  only  hindered  through  the  darkness of the
         understanding and  the  irregularity  of  the  affection; and
         that, these hindrances having been removed, the will can then
         bring into operation its  nature  powers,  that  is, that the
         will of itself is able to will  and to choose, or not to will
         and not to choose, all manner  of good which may be presented
         to it.
 
         This is an innovation and an  error, and tends to elevate the
         powers of the free will,  contrary  to the declaration of the
         prophet: "The heart is deceitful  above all things and beyond
         cure (Jer 17:9)"; and of the  apostle:  "All of us also lived
         among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful
         nature and following its desires and thoughts (Eph 2:3)."
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH  HEAD:  PARAGRAPH  4.  Who  teach:  That the
         unregenerate man is not really  nor  utterly dead in sin, nor
         destitute of all powers unto  spiritual good, but that he can
         yet hunger and thirst after righteousness and life, and offer
         the sacrifice of  a  contrite  and  broken  spirit,  which is
         pleasing to God.
 
         For these things are  contrary  to  the  express testimony of
         Scripture: "you were  dead  in  your  transgressions and sins
         (Eph 2:1, 5)." And: "every inclination of the thoughts of his
         heart was only evil all the time. (Gen 6:5, 8:21)." Moreover,
         to hunger and thirst after  deliverance from misery and after
         life, and to offer unto God the sacrifice of a broken spirit,
         is peculiar to  the  regenerate  and  those  that  are called
         blessed (Ps 51:17; Matt 5:6).
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH  HEAD:  PARAGRAPH  5.  Who  teach:  That the
         corrupt and natural man can so  well use the common grace (by
         which they understand  the  light  of  nature),  or the gifts
         still left him after the fall,  that he can gradually gain by
         their good use a greater,  that is, the evangelical or saving
         grace, and salvation itself; and that  in this way God on His
         part shows Himself ready to reveal Christ unto all men, since
         He applies  to  all  sufficiently  and  efficiently the means
         necessary to conversion.
 
         For both  the  experience  of  all  ages  and  the Scriptures
         testify that this is  untrue.  "He  has  revealed his word to
         Jacob, his laws and decrees to  Israel.  He has done this for
         no other nation; they do  not know his laws (Psa 147:19-20)."
         "In the past, he  let  all  nations  go  their  own way (Acts
         14:16)." And: "Paul  and  his  companions traveled throughout
         the region of Phrygia  and  Galatia,  having been kept by the
         Holy Spirit from preaching the  word in the province of Asia.
         When they came to the  border  of  Mysia, they tried to enter
         Bithynia, but the Spirit  of  Jesus  would  not allow them to
         (Acts 16:6-7)."
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD:  PARAGRAPH  6.  Who teach: That in the
         true conversion of man no new qualities, powers, or gifts can
         be infused by God  into  the  will, and that therefore faith,
         through which we are first  converted and because of which we
         are called believers, is not a quality or gift infused by God
         but only an act of man,  and  that  it cannot be said to be a
         gift, except  in  respect  of  the  power  to  attain to this
         faith.
 
         For  thereby  they  contradict  the  Holy  Scriptures,  which
         declare  that  God  infuses   new   qualities  of  faith,  of
         obedience, and of  the  consciousness  of  His  love into our
         hearts: ""This is the covenant I  will make with the house of
         Israel after that time,"  declares  the  LORD. "I will put my
         law in their minds and write it on their hearts (Jer 31:33)."
         And: "For I will pour water  on the thirsty land, and streams
         on the  dry  ground;  I  will  pour  out  my  Spirit  on your
         offspring, and my blessing  on  your descendants (Isa 44:3)."
         And: "God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy
         Spirit, whom  he  has  given  us  (Rom  5:5)."  This  is also
         repugnant to the constant practice of the Church, which prays
         by the mouth of the  prophet  thus:  "Restore  me, and I will
         return (Jer 31:18)."
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD: PARAGRAPH 7. Who teach: That the grace
         whereby we are converted to God is only a gentle advising, or
         (as others explain it)  that  this  is  the noblest manner of
         working in the conversion  of  man,  and  that this manner of
         working, which consists in advising,  is most in harmony with
         man's nature; and that there  is  no reason why this advising
         grace alone should not be  sufficient to make the natural man
         spiritual; indeed, that God does  not  produce the consent of
         the will except through this manner of advising; and that the
         power of the divine working, whereby it surpasses the working
         of Satan, consists in this  that  God promises eternal, while
         Satan promise only temporal good.
 
         But this is altogether  Pelagian  and  contrary  to the whole
         Scripture, which, besides this,  teaches  yet another and far
         more powerful and divine manner  of the Holy Spirit's working
         in the conversion of man, as  in  Ezekiel: "I will give you a
         new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you
         your heart of stone  and  give  you  a  heart  of flesh (Ezek
         36:26)."
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD:  PARAGRAPH  8.  Who teach: That god in
         the regeneration of  man  does  not  use  such  powers of His
         omnipotence as potently  and  infallibly  bend  man's will to
         faith and conversion; but that  all the works of grace having
         been accomplished, which God employs  to convert man, man may
         yet so resist god and the Holy Spirit, when God intends man's
         regeneration and wills to regenerate him, and indeed that man
         often  does  so   resist   that   he  prevents  entirely  his
         regeneration, and that it therefore remains in man's power to
         be regenerated or not.
 
         For  this  is  nothing  less  than  the  denial  of  all that
         efficiency  of  God's  grace   in  our  conversion,  and  the
         subjecting of the working of Almighty God to the will of man,
         which is contrary to the  apostles, who teach that we believe
         accord to the  working  of  the  strength  of  his might (Eph
         1:19); and that God  fulfills  every  desire  of goodness and
         every work of faith with  power  (2  Th  1:11); and that "His
         divine power has given  us  everything  we  need for life and
         godliness (2 Pet 1:3)."
 
         THIRD AND FOURTH HEAD: PARAGRAPH 9. Who teach: That grace and
         free  will  are  partial   causes  which  together  work  the
         beginning of conversion, and that grace, in order of working,
         does not precede the working of  the  will; that is, that God
         does not efficiently help  the  will  of  man unto conversion
         until the will of man moves and determines to do this.
 
         For the ancient Church has  long  ago condemned this doctrine
         of the Pelagians according to  the  words of the apostle: "It
         does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on
         God's  mercy  (Rom  9:16)."  Likewise:  "For  who  makes  you
         different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not
         receive? And if you did receive it (1 Cor 4:7)?" And: "for it
         is God who works in you to  will  and to act according to his
         good purpose (Phil 2:13)."
 
         FIFTH HEAD OF DOCTRINE. THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS
 
         FIFTH HEAD: ARTICLE  1.  Those  whom  God,  according  to His
         purpose, calls to the  communion  of  His Son, our Lord Jesus
         Christ, and regenerates by the  Holy Spirit, He also delivers
         from the dominion and slavery of  sin, though in this life He
         does not deliver them  altogether  form  the  body of sin and
         from the infirmities of the flesh.
 
         FIFTH HEAD: ARTICLE 2. Hence  spring  forth the daily sins of
         infirmity, and blemishes cleave even to the best works of the
         saints. These are to  them  a  perpetual  reason to humiliate
         themselves before  God  and  to  flee  for  refuge  to Christ
         crucified; to mortify the flesh  more  and more by the spirit
         of prayer  and  by  holy  exercises  of  piety;  and to press
         forward to the goal of perfection, until at length, delivered
         from this body of death,  they  shall  reign with the Lamb of
         God in heaven.
 
         FIFTH  HEAD:  ARTICLE  3.  By  reason  of  these  remains  of
         indwelling sin, and also because the temptations of the world
         and of Satan, those who  are converted could not persevere in
         that  grace  if  left  to  their  own  strength.  But  God is
         faithful, who,  having  conferred  grace, mercifully confirms
         and powerfully preserves them therein, even to the end.
 
         FIFTH HEAD: ARTICLE 4.  Although  the  weakness  of the flesh
         cannot prevail against the  power  of  God, who  confirms and
         preserves true believers in  a  state  of grace, yet converts
         are not always so  influenced  and  actuated by the Spirit of
         God as not in some  particular  instances sinfully to deviate
         from the guidance of divine grace, so as to be seduced by and
         to comply with the lusts  of the flesh; they must, therefore,
         be constant in watching and prayer,  that they may not be led
         into temptation. When these are great and heinous sins by the
         flesh, the world, and Satan,  but  sometimes by the righteous
         permission of God actually are  drawn into these evils. This,
         the  lamentable  fall  of  David,  Peter,  and  other  saints
         described in Holy Scripture, demonstrates.
 
         FIFTH HEAD: ARTICLE 5. By  such  enormous sins, however, they
         very highly offend God, incur a deadly guilt, grieve the Holy
         Spirit, interrupt  the  exercise  of  faith,  very grievously
         wound their consciences, and sometimes  for  a while lose the
         sense of God's favor, until, when they change their course by
         serious repentance, the light  of  God's fatherly countenance
         again shines upon them.
 
         FIFTH HEAD:  ARTICLE  6.  But  God,  who  is  rich  in mercy,
         according to His unchangeable  purpose  of election, does not
         wholly withdraw the Holy Spirit  from  His own people even in
         their grievous falls; nor suffers them to proceed so far as t
         lose  the  grace  of  adoption   and  forfeit  the  state  of
         justification, or to commit the sin unto death or against the
         Holy Spirt; nor does He  permit  them to be totally deserted,
         and to plunge themselves into everlasting destruction.
 
         FIFTH HEAD: ARTICLE 7. For in the first place, in these falls
         He preserves in them  the  incorruptible seed of regeneration
         from perishing or being totally  lost; and again, by His Word
         and  Spirit  He  certainly  and  effectually  renews  them to
         repentance, to a sincere  and  godly  sorrow  for their sins,
         that they may seek and obtain  remission  in the blood of the
         Mediator, may again experience the favor of a reconciled God,
         through  faith  adore  His  mercies,  and  henceforward  more
         diligently  work  out  their  own  salvation  with  fear  and
         trembling.
 
         FIFTH HEAD: ARTICLE 8. Thus it is not in consequence of their
         own merits or strength,  but  of  God's free mercy, that they
         neither totally fall from  faith  and  grace nor continue and
         perish finally in their  backslidings; which, with respect to
         themselves  is  not  only  possible,  but  would  undoubtedly
         happen; but with respect  to  God,  it is utterly impossible,
         since His counsel cannot  be  changed  nor  His promise fail;
         neither can the call according to His purpose be revoked, nor
         the  merit,  intercession,  and  preservation  of  Christ  be
         rendered ineffectual, nor the sealing  of  the Holy Spirit be
         frustrated or obliterated.
 
         FIFTH HEAD: ARTICLE 9. Of  this  preservation of the elect to
         salvation  and  of  their  perseverance  in  the  faith, true
         believers themselves may and do obtain assurance according to
         the measure of their faith,  whereby they surely believe that
         they are and ever  will  continue  true and living members of
         the Church, and that  they  have  the forgiveness of sins and
         life eternal.
 
         FIFTH HEAD:  ARTICLE  10.  This  assurance,  however,  is not
         produced  by  any   peculiar   revelation   contrary   to  or
         independent of the Word  of  God,  but  springs from faith in
         God's promises, which He has  most abundantly revealed in His
         Word for our comfort; from  the testimony of the Holy Spirit,
         witnessing with our spirit that  we are children and heirs of
         God (Rom 8:16); and lastly, from a serious and holy desire to
         preserve a good conscience and  to perform good works. And if
         the elect of God  were  deprived  of  this solid comfort that
         they shall finally obtain the victory, and of this infallible
         pledge of eternal glory, they  would  be  of all men the most
         miserable.
 
         FIFTH HEAD: ARTICLE 11. The Scripture moreover testifies that
         believers in this life have  to  struggle with various carnal
         doubts, and  that  under  grievous  temptations  they  do not
         always feel this full  assurance  of  faith  and certainty of
         persevering. But God, who is  the  Father of all consolation,
         does not suffer them to be  tempted above that they are able,
         but will with the  temptation  make  also  the way of escape,
         that they may be able to endure  it (1 Cor 10:13), and by the
         Holy  Spirit  again  inspires   them   with  the  comfortable
         assurance of persevering.
 
         FIFTH HEAD:  ARTICLE  12.  This  certainty  of  perseverance,
         however, is so far  from  exciting  in  believers a spirit of
         pride, or of  rendering  them  carnally  secure,  that on the
         contrary it is the real source of humility, filial reverence,
         true piety, patience in  every  tribulation, fervent prayers,
         constancy in suffering and  in  confessing  the truth, and of
         solid rejoicing in God;  so  that  the  consideration of this
         benefit should serve  as  an  incentive  to  the  serious and
         constant practice of  gratitude  and  good  works, as appears
         from the testimonies of  Scripture  and  the  examples of the
         saints.
 
         FIFTH HEAD: ARTICLE  13.  Neither  does renewed confidence of
         persevering produce licentiousness or a disregard of piety in
         those who are recovered from backsliding; but it renders them
         much more careful and solicitous  to  continue in the ways of
         the Lord, which He has  ordained,  that they who walk therein
         may keep the assurance  of  persevering;  lest, on account of
         their abuse of His  fatherly  kindness,  God should turn away
         His gracious countenance from them (to behold which is to the
         godly dearer than life, and  the  withdrawal of which is more
         bitter than death)  and  they  in  consequence thereof should
         fall into more grievous torments of conscience.
 
         FIFTH HEAD: ARTICLE 14. And  as  it  has  pleased God, by the
         preaching of the gospel, to begin  this  work of grace in us,
         so He preserves, continues,  and  perfects  it by the hearing
         and reading of His  Word,  by  meditation thereon, and by the
         exhortations, threatenings, and promises  thereof, and by the
         use of the sacraments.
 
         FIFTH  HEAD:  ARTICLE  15.  The  carnal  mind  is  unable  to
         comprehend this doctrine  of  the  perseverance of the saints
         and the  certainty  thereof,  which  God  has most abundantly
         revealed in His Word,  for  the  glory  of  His  Name and the
         consolation of pious souls, and  which  He impresses upon the
         hearts of the believers. Satan abhors it, the world ridicules
         it, the ignorant and hypocritical  abuse it, and the heretics
         oppose it. But the bride  of  Christ has always most tenderly
         loved and constantly defended  it as an inestimable treasure;
         and  God,  against  whom  neither  counsel  nor  strength can
         prevail, will dispose her so to  continue  to the end. Now to
         this one God,  Father,  Son,  and  Holy  Spirit, be honor and
         glory forever. Amen.
 
         REJECTION OF ERRORS
 
         The true doctrine  having  been  explained, the Synod rejects
         the errors of those:
 
         FIFTH HEAD: PARAGRAPH 1. Who  teach: That the perseverance of
         the true believers is not a  fruit  of election, or a gift of
         God gained by the death of Christ, but a condition of the new
         covenant which  (as  they  declare)  man  before his decisive
         election and  justification  must  fulfil  through  his  free
         will.
 
         For the Holy Scripture  testifies  that  this  follows out of
         election, and is given the elect  in virtue of the death, the
         resurrection, and the  intercession  of  Christ: "What Israel
         sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The
         others were hardened (Rom 11:7)."  Likewise:  "He who did not
         spare His own Son, but gave  him  up  for us all--how will he
         not also, along with him,  graciously give us all things? Who
         will bring any charge against  those  whom God has chosen? It
         is God who justifies. Who  is he that condemns? Christ Jesus,
         who died--more than that, who  was  raised to life--is at the
         right hand of God and is  also  interceding for us. Who shall
         separate us from the love of Christ (Rom 8:32-35)?"
 
         FIFTH HEAD: PARAGRAPH  2.  Who  teach:  That  God does indeed
         provide the believer with sufficient powers to persevere, and
         is ever ready to  preserve  these  in  him  if he will do his
         duty; but that,  though  all  though  which  are necessary to
         persevere in faith and which  God  will use to preserve faith
         are made us of, even then  it ever depends on the pleasure of
         the will whether it will persevere or not.
 
         For this idea  contains  outspoken  Pelagianism, and while it
         would make men free,  it  make  them  robbers of God's honor,
         contrary to  the  prevailing  agreement  of  the  evangelical
         doctrine, which takes from  man  all  cause  of boasting, and
         ascribes all the praise for  this  favor  to the grace of God
         alone; and contrary to the  apostle,  who declares that it is
         God, "He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be
         blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:8)."
 
         FIFTH HEAD: PARAGRAPH 3. Who  teach:  That the true believers
         and regenerate not only  can  fall  from justifying faith and
         likewise from grace and salvation  wholly and to the end, but
         indeed often do fall from this and are lost forever.
 
         For this conception makes powerless the grace, justification,
         regeneration, and continued  preservation by Christ, contrary
         to the expressed words  of  the  apostle Paul: "While we were
         still sinners, Christ died  for  us.  Since  we have now been
         justified by his blood, how much  more shall we be saved from
         God's wrath through him  (Rom  5:8-9)."  And  contrary to the
         apostle John: "No one who  is  born  of  God will continue to
         sin, because God's  seed  remains  in  him;  he  cannot go on
         sinning, because he has been born  of  God (1 John 3:9)." And
         also contrary to  the  words  of  Jesus  Christ: "I give them
         eternal life, and they shall  never perish; no one can snatch
         them out of my hand. My Father,  who has given them to me, is
         greater than all ; no one  can snatch them out of my Father's
         hand (John 10:28-29)."
 
         FIFTH HEAD: PARAGRAPH 4. Who  teach:  That true believers and
         regenerate can sin the  sin  unto  death  or against the Holy
         Spirit.
 
         Since the same apostle John, after having spoken in the fifth
         chapter of his first epistle, vs. 16 and 17, of those who sin
         unto death and having forbidden to pray for them, immediately
         adds to this in vs. 18: "We know that anyone born of God does
         not continue to sin  (meaning  a  sin of that character); the
         one who was born  of  God  keeps  him  safe, and the evil one
         cannot harm him (1 John 5:18)."
 
         FIFTH HEAD: PARAGRAPH 5.  Who  teach:  That without a special
         revelation we can have no certainty of future perseverance in
         this life.
 
         For by this doctrine the  sure  comfort of the true believers
         is taken away in this life,  and the doubts of the papist are
         again introduced into the  Church,  while the Holy Scriptures
         constantly deduce  this  assurance,  not  from  a special and
         extraordinary revelation, but  from  the  marks proper to the
         children of God and from  the  very constant promises of God.
         So especially the  apostle  Paul:  "neither height nor depth,
         nor anything else in all  creation,  will be able to separate
         us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom
         8:39)." And John declares: "Those  who obey his commands live
         in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives
         in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us (1 John 3:24)."
 
         FIFTH HEAD: PARAGRAPH 6. Who  teach: That the doctrine of the
         certainty of  perseverance  and  of  salvation  from  its own
         character and nature is a cause of indolence and is injurious
         to godliness, good morals, prayers, and other holy exercises,
         but that on the contrary it is praiseworthy to doubt.
 
         For these show that  they  do  not  know  the power of divine
         grace and the working of the indwelling Holy Spirit. And they
         contradict the apostle John,  who  teaches that opposite with
         express words in his first epistle: "Dear friends, now we are
         children of God, and what  we  will  be has not yet been made
         known. But we know that  when  he  appears,  we shall be like
         him, for we shall see  him  as  he  is. Everyone who has this
         hope in him purifies  himself,  just  as  he  is pure (1 John
         3:2-3)." Furthermore, these are  contradicted  by the example
         of the saints, both of  the  Old  and  the New Testament, who
         though they were assured of their perseverance and salvation,
         were nevertheless constant in  prayers and other exercises of
         godliness.
 
         FIFTH HEAD: PARAGRAPH 7. Who  teach:  That the faith of those
         who believe for a  time  does  not differ from justifying and
         saving faith except only in duration.
 
         For Christ Himself, in  Matt  13:20,  Luke 8:13, and in other
         places, evidently notes,  beside  this  duration, a threefold
         difference between those who believe only for a time and true
         believers, when He declares that  the former receive the seed
         on stony ground, but the latter  in the good ground or heart;
         that the former are without root,  but the latter have a firm
         root; that the former are  without fruit, but that the latter
         bring forth their  fruit  in  various measure, with constancy
         and steadfastness.
 
         FIFTH HEAD: PARAGRAPH 8.  Who  teach:  That  it is not absurd
         that one having lost his first regeneration is again and even
         often born anew.
 
         For these deny by this  doctrine the incorruptibleness of the
         seed of God,  whereby  we  are  born  again;  contrary to the
         testimony of the  apostle  Peter:  "For  you  have  been born
         again, not of perishable  seed,  but  of  imperishable (1 Pet
         1:23)."
 
         FIFTH HEAD: PARAGRAPH 9.  Who  teach:  That  Christ has in no
         place prayed that  believers  should  infallibly  continue in
         faith.
 
         For the contradict Christ Himself,  who  says: "I have prayed
         for you, Simon, that your  faith  may not fail (Luke 22:32)",
         and the evangelist John,  who  declares  that  Christ has not
         prayed for the apostles only,  but also for those who through
         their word would believe: "Holy  Father,  protect them by the
         power of your name," and "My prayer is not that you take them
         out of the world but that  you protect them from the evil one
         (John 17:11, 15, 20)."
 
         CONCLUSION
 
         And this is the perspicuous, simple, an ingenuous declaration
         of the orthodox doctrine  respecting the five articles  which
         have  been  controverted  in  the  Belgic  Churches;  and the
         rejection of the errors, with  which  they have for some time
         been troubled. This doctrine  the  Synod  judges  to be drawn
         from the Word of God, and  to  be agreeable to the confession
         of the  Reformed  Churches.  Whence  it  clearly appears that
         some, whom such conduct by no means became, have violated all
         truth,  equity,  and  charity,  in  wishing  to  persuade the
         public:
 
         "That  the  doctrine  of  the  Reformed  Churches  concerning
         predestination, and the  points  annexed  to  it,  by its own
         genius and necessary tendency,  leads  off  the  minds of men
         from all piety and religion; that it is a opiate administered
         by the flesh  and  the  devil;  and  the stronghold of Satan,
         where he lies in  wait  for  all,  and  from  which he wounds
         multitudes, and mortally strikes  through many with the darts
         both of despair and security; that it makes God the author of
         sin, unjust, tyrannical, hypocritical; that it is noting more
         than interpolated Stoicism, Manicheism, Libertinism, Turcism;
         that it renders men carnally secure, since they are persuaded
         by it that noting can hinder  the salvation of the elect, let
         them live as  they  please;  and,  therefore,  that  they may
         safely perpetrate every species of the most atrocious crimes;
         and that, if the reprobate  should even perform truly all the
         works of the saints, their  obedience  would not in the least
         contribute  to their  salvation;  that  the  same  doctrine
         teaches that  God,  by  a  mere  arbitrary  act  of his will,
         without  the  least  respect   or   view   to  any  sin,  has
         predestinated the  greatest  part  of  the  world  to eternal
         damnation, and has created them  for  this very purpose; that
         in the same manner in which  the election is the fountain and
         cause of faith and  good  works,  reprobation is the cause of
         unbelief and impiety; that many  children of the faithful are
         torn,   guiltless,   from   their   mothers'   breasts,   and
         tyrannically plunged into hell:  so  that neither baptism nor
         the prayers of the Church at  their baptism can at all profit
         them;" and many  other  things  of  the  same  kind which the
         Reformed Churches  not  only  do  not  acknowledge,  but even
         detest with their whole soul.
 
         Wherefore, this Synod  of  Dort,  in  the  name  of the Lord,
         conjures as many as piously call  upon the name of our Savior
         Jesus Christ to judge of  the faith of the Reformed Churches,
         not from the calumnies  which  on  every side are heaped upon
         it, nor from the private  expressions  of a few among ancient
         and modern teachers, often  dishonestly  quoted, or corrupted
         and wrested to a  meaning  quite  foreign to their intention;
         but from the public  confessions  of the Churches themselves,
         and from this declaration of the orthodox doctrine, confirmed
         by the unanimous consent of  all  and  each of the members of
         the whole  Synod.  Moreover,  the  Synod  warns  calumniators
         themselves to consider  the  terrible  judgment  of God which
         awaits  them,  for   bearing   false   witness   against  the
         confessions  of  so  many   Churches;   for  distressing  the
         consciences of the weak; and for laboring to render suspected
         the society of the truly faithful.
 
         Finally, this Synod exhorts all  their brethren in the gospel
         of Christ to  conduct  themselves  piously and religiously in
         handling  this  doctrine,  both   in   the  universities  and
         churches; to direct it, as  well  in discourse as in writing,
         to the glory of the Divine  name, to holiness of life, and to
         the consolation  of  afflicted  souls;  to  regulate,  by the
         Scripture, according to the analogy  of faith, not only their
         sentiments, but also their language,  and to abstain from all
         those  phrases  which  exceed  the  limits  necessary  to  be
         observed  in  ascertaining  the  genuine  sense  of  the Holy
         Scriptures, and may  furnish  insolent  sophists  with a just
         pretext for  violently  assailing,  or  even  vilifying,  the
         doctrine of the Reformed Churches.
 
         May Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who, seated at the Father's
         right hand, gives gifts  to  men,  sanctify  us in the truth;
         bring to the truth  those  who  err;  shut  the mouths of the
         calumniators  of  sound  doctrine,  and  endue  the  faithful
         ministers  of  his  Word  with   the  spirit  of  wisdom  and
         discretion, that all their discourses  may  tend to the glory
         of God, and the edification of those who hear them. Amen.

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

An Antidote Against Arminianism (1700) by Christopher Ness

Arminian Inconsistencies and Errors; In Which It Is Shown That All the Distinctive Doctrines of the Presbyterian Confession of Faith are Taught by Standard Writers of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1856) by Henry Brown

A Display of Arminianism by John Owen

Westminster Confession of Faith Super Sale
http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/westminster-confession.htm

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Doctrinal Integrity: The Utility and Importance of Creeds and Confessions and Adherence to Our Doctrinal Standards by Samuel Miller

The Covenanted Reformation Defended Against Contemporary Schismatics: A Response and Antidote Primarily to the Neopresbyterian Malignancy and Misrepresentations, and the Manufactured "Steelite" Controversy, Found in Richard Bacon's A Defense Departed; With a Refutation of Bacon's Independency, Popery, Arminianism, Anabaptism and Various Other Heresies (Including an Exhibition of His Opposition to Scripture and the Covenanted Reformation, in General; and His Opposition to John Calvin, John Knox, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland [Especially 1638-1649], Samuel Rutherford, George Gillespie, the Testimony of the Covenanter Martyrs, the Reformed Presbytery, the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton and a Host of Other Prominent Reformers from Past Generations, in Particular) -- With Copious Notes on Mr. Bacon's Backsliding and His Blackening of the Blue Banner; as Well as Various Replies to Other Modern Malignants by Greg Barrow (Greg Price, Reg Barrow, Larry Birger, et al.) (Though set in the context of a debate with one individual, this book addresses a number of specific problems which plague the Presbyterian and Reformed churches of our day in general. "It conclusively and irrefutably demonstrates that those churches which today call themselves Presbyterian [and even many which claim a more general Reformed heritage] have grievously departed from the Scriptural standards and principles of the previous Spirit led Reformations [of the 16th and 17th centuries]. This will become progressively [and painfully] clear as the reader witnesses evidence upon evidence of defection from biblically based Reformation attainments (Phil. 3:16) -- and the burying and/or removing of the ancient Reformation landmarks. Ultimately, when the testimony and evidence [presented in this book] is weighed in light of Scriptural verities, it is entirely safe to say that the original Reformers would not only have sought negative ecclesiastical sanctions against our modern pseudo-Reformers, but in many cases negative civil sanctions as well," writes Reg Barrow in the "Publisher's Preface." This book, of over 300 [8.5" X 11"] pages, is also offered as a cerlox bound photocopy [$14.98 US funds] or a Hardcover photocopy [$25.00 US funds]. It is also free on most of the CDs in both the REFORMATION BOOKSHELF CD set [30 CDs, http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/reformation-bookshelf-CDs.htm ] and the PURITAN BOOKSHELF CD set [32 CDs, http://www.swrb.com/Puritan/puritan-bookshelf-CDs.htm ])

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NESS, CHRISTOPHER

An Antidote Against Arminianism (1700)
Recommended by John Owen, John Gill, and Augustus Toplady. An easy-to-read but devastating critique of the Arminian heresy. A treatise to refute all five points of Arminianism, setting forth predestination and the five points of Calvinism clearly and forcefully, along with numerous Scripture proofs. "As blessed Athanasius sighed out in his day," writes Ness, "ëthe world is overrun with Arianism;' so it is the sad sigh of our present times, the Christian world is overrun, yea, overwhelmed with the flood of Arminianism; which cometh, as it were, out of the mouth of the serpent, that he might cause the woman (the Church) ëto be carried away of the flood' thereof (Rev. 12:15). And lest this overflowing deluge of Arminianism should bring destruction upon us, there is great need that some servants of Christ should run to stop the further spreading of this plague and leprosy." This book will be a great help in containing the contagion of this devilish delusion!
(Rare Bound Photocopy) $19.95-70%=5.98

COLES, ELISHA

God's Sovereignty, A Practical Discourse
A Puritan work recommended by Charles Spurgeon, John Owen, Thomas Goodwin and William Romaine. Owen especially marvels at Coles' singular reliance on Scripture alone to vindicate God's sovereignty, as it relates to election, redemption, effectual calling, and the perseverance of the saints. Originally published in 1673, this is the 1831 edition.
(Rare Bound Photocopy) $24.95-60%=9.98

God's Sovereignty, A Practical Discourse (1673, 1831 edition) by Elisha Coles - A Display of Arminianism by John Owen - An Antidote Against Arminianism (1700) by Christopher Ness