Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence, do so
far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men
they are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which
is necessary unto salvation:b
therefore it pleased theLord, atsundry times, and in
divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his
Church;c and afterwards, for thebetter preserving and
propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of
the Churchagainst the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of
Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing;d
which maketh the holy scripture to be most necessary;e
those former ways of Godís revealing his will unto his people being now
Rom. ,15; Rom. ,20;
Ps. 19:1-3; Rom. with
1 Cor. 1:21; 1 Cor. 2:13,14.
Prov. 22:19-21; Luke 1:3,4; Rom. 15:4; Matt. 4:4,7,10; Isa. 8:19,20.
2 Tim. 3:15; 2 Pet. 1:19.
II. Under the name of Holy
Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the Books of the
Old and NewTestaments, whichare these:
OF THE OLD TESTAMENT:
Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I.Samuel,
II. Samuel, I.Kings, II. Kings, I.Chronicles,
II. Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes,
The Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea,
Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai,
THE NEW TESTAMENT:
The Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles,
Paulís Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians I, Corinthians II, Galatians,
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians I, Thessalonians II, To
Timothy I, To Timothy II, To Titus, To Philemon, The Epistle to the Hebrews,
The Epistle of James, The first and second Epistles of Peter, The first,
second, and third Epistles of John, The Epistle of Jude, The Revelation.
All which are given by inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.g
g Luke 16:29,31;
Eph. 2:20; Rev. 22:18,19; 2 Tim. 3:16.
III. The Books commonly called
Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the
scripture;and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God,
nor to be anyotherwise approved, or made use of, than other human
h Luke 24:27,44;
Rom. 3:2; 2 Pet. 1:21.
IV. The authority of the holy
scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon
thetestimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God, (who is
truth itself,) the authorthereof; and therefore it is to be
received, because it is the word of God.i
i 2 Pet. 1:19,21; 2
Tim. 3:16; 1 John 5:9; 1 Thess. 2:13.
V. We may be moved and induced
by the testimony of the Church to a high and reverend esteem of the holy
scripture,k and the
heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the
style, the consentof all the parts, the scope of the whole, (which
is to give all glory to God,) the full discovery it makes ofthe
only way of manís salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and
the entire perfection thereof,are arguments whereby it doth
abundantly evidence itself to be the word of God; yet, notwithstanding,our
full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth,and divine
authority thereof, is from the inward work ofthe Holy Spirit,
bearing witness by and with the word in our hearts.l
k 1 Tim. 3:15.
1 John 2:20,27; John 16:13,14; 1 Cor. 2:10-12; Isa. 59:21.
VI. The whole counsel of God,
concerning all things necessary for his own glory, manís salvation, faith,
and life,is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and
necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture:unto which
nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit,
or traditions of men.m
Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to
be necessary for thesaving understanding of such things as are
revealed in the word;n
and that there are some circumstancesconcerning the worship of
God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies,which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence,
according to the general rules of the word, which are always to be observed.o
m 2 Tim. 3:15-17;
Gal. 1:8,9; 2 Thess. 2:2.
John , 1 Cor. 2:9-12.
1 Cor. 11:13,14; 1 Cor. 14:26,40.
VII. All things in scripture
are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all;p
yet those things whichare necessary to be known, believed, and
observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and openedin
some place of scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the
unlearned, in a due use of the ordinarymeans, may attain unto a
sufficient understanding of them.q
p 2 Pet. 3:16.
VIII. The Old Testament in
Hebrew, (which was the native language of the people of God of old,) and the
NewTestament in Greek, (which, at the time of the writing of it
was most generally known to the nations,) beingimmediately
inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all
ages, are therefore authentical;r
so as in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto
them.s But, becausethese original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have
right unto and interest in the scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of
God, to read and search them,t
therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation
unto which they come,u
that the word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an
and, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, may have hope.x
r Matt. 5:18.
Isa. 8:20; Acts 15:15; John 5:39,46.
1 Cor. 14:6,9,11,12,24,27,28.
IX. The infallible rule of
interpretation of scripture is the scripture itself; and therefore, when there
is a questionabout the true and full sense of any scripture,
(which is not manifold, but one,) itmust be searched and known by
other places that speak more clearly.y
y 2 Pet. 1:20,21;
X. The supreme Judge, by which
all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of
councils,opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and
private spirits, are to beexamined, and in whose sentence we are
to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the scripture.z