Different Christian beliefs compared
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What Christian Groups Believe
The aim of this section is to give the statements of belief of difference Churches and Christian Organisation plus some historical statements that under gird our Christian beliefs



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Belief Systems

The Word fo God
  • Scripture Union: Statement of Belief
  • Anglican: 39 Articles
  • AOG
  • Baptist: Statement of Beliefs  As approved by 1979 Assembly  NSW Baptist
  • UNITING: Basis of Union (18)
  • Presbyterian: Westminister Confession of Faith (33)

  • God (Including the Trinity)
    Scripture Union
    We hold that the Lord our God is one:Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that he fulfils his sovereign purposes - in creation, revelation, redemption, judgement, and the coming of his kingdom - by calling out from the world a people united to himself and to each other in love.

    I. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity.
    There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

    There is one God, eternally existent in three persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14).

    The Nature and Unity of the Godhead
    There is one God Who is eternal personal Spirit. He is infinite in power, wisdom, holiness and love. He is Triune in essential being and revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    Uniting Church

    CHAPTER II.  Of God, and of the Holy Trinity.
    I. There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his won glory, most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him; and withal most just and terrible in his judgments; hating all sin; and who will by no means clear the guilty.

    II. God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them; he is the alone foundation of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom, are all things; and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth. In his sight all things are open and manifest; his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature; so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain. He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands. To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience he is pleased to require of them.

    III. In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternal begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.

    CHAPTER III.                      Of God's Eternal Decree.
    I. God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin;nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
    II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions; yet hath he not decreed any thing because he foresaw it as future, as that which would come to pass, upon such conditions.
    III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.
    IV. These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it can not be either increased or diminished.
    V. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of his free grace and love alone, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto; and all to the praise of his glorious grace.
    VI. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore they who are elected being fallen in Adam are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season; are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and
    saved, but the elect only.
    VII. The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.
    VIII. The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men attending to the will og God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election. So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God; and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel

    CHAPTER IV. Of Creation.
    I. It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create or make of nothing the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good.
    II. After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness after his own image, having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Besides this law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.

    CHAPTER V. Of Providence.
    I. God, the great Creator of all things, doth uphold, direct dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.
    II. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly, yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.
    III. God, in his ordinary providence, maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at his pleasure.
    IV. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first Fall, and all other sins of angels and men, and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God; who being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.
    V. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God, doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.
    VI. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous judge, for former sins, doth blind and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had; and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptatoins of the world, and the power of Satan; whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others.
    VII. As the providence of God doth, in general, reach to all creatures, so, after a most special manner, it taketh care of his Church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof.

    Scripture Union
    We acknowledge that though God made us
    in his own likeness and image, conferring on us dignity and worth and
    enabling us to respond to himself, we now are members of a fallen race;
    we have sinned and come short of his glory.

    XVI. Of Sin after Baptism.
    Not every deadly sin willingly committed after Baptism is sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after Baptism. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and by the grace of God we may arise again, and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned, which say, they can no more sin as long as they live here, or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.
    IX. Of Original or Birth-Sin.
    Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world it deserveth God's wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek, frohnayma sarkos, (which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh,) is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized; yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.
    X. Of Free Will.
    The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.
    XI. Of the Justification of Man.
    We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of Comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.

    XII. Of Good Works.
    Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

    XIII. Of Works Before Justification.
    Works done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ; neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School-authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.

    XIV. Of Works of Supererogation.
    Voluntary Works besides, over and above, God's Commandments, which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety: for by them men do declare, that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake, than of bounden duty is required: whereas Christ saith plainly, When ye have done all that are commanded to you, say, We are unprofitable servants.

    The Sinfulness of Man
    Man was made in the image of God and for fellowship with Him. By transgression of God's command he fell from fellowship with God and his nature was corrupted. As a consequence, all men are spiritually dead under Satan's dominion and control and subject to God's wrath and condemnation. Therefore, apart from God's grace, man is helpless and hopeless.

    CHAPTER VI.  Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof.
    I. Our first parents, begin seduced by the subtilty and temptations of Satan, sinned in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory.
    II. By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.
    III. They being the root of mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by original generation.
    IV. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.
    V. This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.
    VI. Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, doth, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries spiritual, temporal, and eternal.

    (b) The Scriptures
    We believe that the Old and New Testament Scriptures
    are God-breathed, since their writers spoke from God as they were moved
    by the Holy Spirit; hence are fully trustworthy in all that they affirm; and
    are our highest authority for faith and life.BIBLE

    2. Bible Ministries

    In encouraging people to meet God through the Bible, we emphasize the
    significance of the Bible as a whole.

    (a) We encourage people to read it so that they come to repentance, faith, obedience to God and worship.
    (b) We prepare systematic programmes and materials for children, young people and adults, appropriate to their age and situation.
    (c) We are committed to Bible reading which is thoughtful, prayerful and regular and which enables the reader to respond to the message of the whole Bible rather than to isolated passages.
    (d) We are concerned to interpret the text in a way which enables people, in their contemporary situations, to hear for themselves the message of the Bible from its original context.

    6. Biblical Standards
    (a) We aim to follow Biblical principles in all that we do. This includes, for example, our administration, our publicity and the way we care for our staff and volunteers.
    (b) We seek to honour God in carrying out our ministries, by combining prayerful reliance on him with the use of the best available means,
    maintaining the highest standards possible.
    (c) We believe in praying for financial support, in dependence on God, and telling the Christian public of our needs, without distorting the truth or
    using undue pressure.

    VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.
    Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.

    The First Book of Samuel
    The Second Book of Samuel
    The First Book of Kings
    The Second Book of Kings
    The First Book of Chronicles
    The Second Book of Chronicles
    The First Book of Esdras
     The Second Book of Esdras
    The Book of Esther
     The Book of Job
    The Psalms
    The Proverbs
    Ecclesiastes or Preacher
    Cantica, or Songs of Solomon
    Four Prophets the greater
    Twelve Prophets the less

    And the other Books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following:

    The Third Book of Esdras
    The Fourth Book of Esdras
    The Book of Tobias
    The Book of Judith
    The rest of the Book of Esther
    The Book of Wisdom
    Jesus the Son of Sirach
    Baruch the Prophet
    The Song of the Three Children
    The Story of Susanna
    Of Bel and the Dragon
    The Prayer of Manasses
    The First Book of Maccabees
    The Second Book of Maccabees
    All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.

    VII. Of the Old Testament.
    The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.

    The Bible Is the inspired and only infallible and authoritative written Word of God (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:19-21).

    The Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures
    The Scriptures, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, are the infallible Word of God. They were written by holy men of God inspired by the Holy Spirit and have supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.

    The Uniting Church acknowledges that the Church has received the books of the Old and New Testaments as unique prophetic and apostolic testimony, in which it hears the Word of God and by which its faith and obedience are nourished and regulated. When the Church preaches Jesus Christ, its message is controlled by the Biblical witnesses. The Word of God on whom salvation depends is to be heard and known from Scripture appropriated in the worshipping and witnessing life of the Church. The Uniting Church lays upon its members the serious duty of reading the Scriptures, commits its ministers to preach from these and to administer the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper as effective signs of the Gospel set forth in the Scriptures.

    The Uniting Church acknowledges that God has never left the Church without faithful and scholarly interpreters of Scripture, or without those who have reflected deeply upon, and acted trustingly in obedience to, God's living Word. In particular the Uniting Church enters into the inheritance of literary, historical and scientific enquiry which has characterised recent centuries, and gives thanks for the knowledge of God's ways with humanity which are open to an informed faith. The Uniting Church lives within a world-wide fellowship of Churches in which it will learn to sharpen its understanding of the will and purpose of God by contact with contemporary thought. Within that fellowship the Uniting Church also stands in relation to contemporary societies in ways which will help it to understand its own nature and mission. The Uniting Church thanks God for the continuing witness and service of evangelist, of scholar, of prophet and of martyr. It prays that it may be ready when occasion demands to confess the Lord in fresh words and deeds.

    CHAPTER I. Of the holy Scripture.
    I. 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 inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation; therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his Church; and afterwards for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.
    II. Under the name of holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the Books of the Old and New Testament, which are these: All which are given by inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.
    III. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the Canon of Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.
    V. The authority of the holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or Church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the Author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.
    V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the holy Scripture; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's 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 of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
    VI. The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's 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. Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word; and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the 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.
    VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.
    VIII. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as in all controversies of religion the Church is finally to appeal unto them. But because these 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, therefore they are to be translated into the language of every people unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.
    IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it may be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.
    X. The Supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decress of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.
    We believe that the Father
    has shown us his holy love in giving Jesus Christ, his only Son, for us,
    while through our sinfulness and guilt, we were subject to his wrath and
    condemnation; and has shown his grace by putting sinners right with himself
    when they place their trust in his Son.

    II. Of the Word or Son of God, which was made very Man.
    The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man's nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance; so that two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men.

    In the deity of our Lord Jesus
    Christ, in his virgin birth, in his sinless life, in his miracles, in his vicarious and atoning death, in his bodily resurrection in his ascension to the right hand of the Father, in his personal future return to this earth inpower and glory to rule a thousand years.

    The Deity and Humanity of Christ
    Jesus Christ as the second Person of the Godhead is eternally one with God the Father of Whose Person and glory He is the accurate expression. To become man He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, so that two whole and perfect natures, the nature of God and the nature of man, were united in one Person; truly God and truly man.

    CHAPTER VIII.        Of Christ the Mediator.

    I. It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only-begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and men, the prophet, priest, and king; the head and Savior of the Church, the heir or all things, and judge of the world; unto whom he did, from all eternity, give a people to be his seed, and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.
    II. The Son of God, the second Person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance, and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man's nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof; yet without sin: being conceived by he power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.
    III. The Lord Jesus in his human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit above measure; having in him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell: to the end that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, he might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety. Which office he took not unto himself, but was thereunto called by his Father; who put
    all power and judgment into his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.
    IV. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake, which, that he might discharge, he was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it; endured most grievous torments immediately in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified and died; was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption. On the third day he arose from the dead, with the same body in which he suffered; with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father, making intercession; and shall return to judge men and angels, at the end of the world.
    V. The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he through the eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of his Father; and purchased not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto him.
    VI. Although the work of redemption was not actually wrought by Christ till after his incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof were communicated into the elect, in all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices wherein he was revealed, and signified to be the seed of the woman, which should bruise the
    serpant's head, and the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world, being yesterday and today the same and for ever.

    VII. Christ, in the work of mediation, acteth according to both natures; by each nature doing that which is proper to itself; yet by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes, in Scripture, attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.

    VIII. To all those for whom Christ hath purchased redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same; making intercession for them, and revealing unto them, in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation; effectually persuading them by his Spirit to believe and obey; and governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit; overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdon, in such manner and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation.
    CHAPTER XI. Of Justification.
    I. Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth: not by infusing righteousness into
    them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alons; not by imputing faith
    itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but
    by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on him
    and his righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.

    II. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of
    justification; yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other
    saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.

    III. Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus
    justified, and did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction o his Father's justice in their behalf. Yet
    inasmuch as he was given by the Father for them, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in
    their stead, and both freely, not for any thing in them, their justification is only of free grace, that
    both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.

    IV. God did, from all eternity, decree to justify the elect; and Christ did, in the fullness of time, die
    for their sins and rise again for their justification; nevertheless they are not justified until the Holy
    Spirit doth, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them.

    V. God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified; and although they can never fall
    from the state of justification, yet they may by their sins fall under God's Fatherly displeasure, and
    not have the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess
    their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.

    VI. The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respect, one and the
    same with the justification of believers under the New Testament.

                        CHAPTER XII.Of Adoption.

    All those that are justified, God vouchsafeth, in and for his only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption: by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God; have his name put upon them; receive the Spirit of adoption; have access to the throne of grace with boldness; are enabled to cry, Abba, Father; are pitied,
    protected, provided for, and chastened by his as by a father; yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises, as heirs of everlasting salvation.

                               CHAPTER XIII. Of Sanctification.

    I. They who are effectually called and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and they more and more quickened and strengthened, in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

    II. This sanctification is throughout in the whole man, yet imperfect in this life: there abideth still
    some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war, the
    flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

    III. In which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail, yet, through the
    continual supply of strength rom the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regerate part doth overcome:
    and so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

                        CHAPTER XIV. Of Saving Faith.

    I. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the
    work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts; and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word:
    by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and

    II. By this faith, a Christian believeth to be true whatesoever is revealed in the Word, for the
    authority of god himself speaking therein; and acteth differently, upon that which each particular
    passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings,
    and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come. But the principle acts
    of saving faith are, accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification,
    sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.

    III. This faith is different in degrees, weak or strong; may be often and many ways assailed and
    weakened, but gets the victory; growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance through
    Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our faith.

                                CHAPTER XV.Of Repentance Unto Life.

    I. Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace, the doctrine whereof is to be preached by every
        minister of the gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ.

    II. By it a sinner, out of the sight and sense, not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and
    odiousness of his sins, as contrary to the holy nature and righteous law of God, and upon the
    apprehension of his mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, so grieves for, and hates his sins, as to
    turn from them all unto God, purposing and endeavoring to walk with him in all the ways of his

    III. Although repentance be not to be rested in as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the
    pardon thereof, which is the act of God's free grace in Christ; yet is it of such necessity to all
    sinners, that none may expect pardon without it.

    IV. As there is no sin so small but it deserves damnation; so there is no sin so great that it can
    bring damnation upon those who truly repent.

    V. Men ought not to content themselves with a general repentance, but it is every man's duty to
    endeavor to repent of his particular sins, particularly.

    VI. As every man is bound to make private confession of his sins to God, praying for the pardon
    thereof, upon which, and the forsaking of them, he shall find mercy: so he that scandelizeth his
    brother, or the Church of Christ, ought to be willing, by a private or public confession and sorrow
    for his sin, to declare his repentance to those that are offended; who are thereupon to be
    reconciled to him, and in love to receive him.

                        CHAPTER XVI.Of Good Works.

    I. Good works are only such as God hath commanded in his holy Word, and not such as, without
    the warrant thereof, are devised by men out of blind zeal, or upon any pretense of good intention.

    II. These good works, done in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a
    true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance,
    edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and
    glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit
    unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.

    III. Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ.
    And that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there is
    required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit to work in them to will and to do of his good
    pleasure; yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any
    duty unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the
    grace of God that is in them.

    IV. They, who in their obedience, attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so
    far from being able to supererogate and to do more than God requires, that they fall short of much
    which in duty they are bound to do.

    V. We can not, by our best works, merit pardon of sin, or eternal life, at the hand of God, because
    of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance that
    is between us and God, whom by them we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former
    sins; but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants:
    and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they
    are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection that they can not endure the
    severity of God's judgment.

    VI. Yet notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works
    also are accepted in him, not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable
    in God's sight; but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that
    which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.

    VII. Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which
    God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others; yet, because they proceed not from
    a heart purified by faith; nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word; nor to a right
    end, the glory of God; they are therefore sinful and can not please God, or make a man meet to
    receive grace from God. And yet their neglect of them is more sinful, and displeasing unto God.

    We confess Jesus Christ
    as Lord and God;
    as truly human, born of the virgin Mary;
    as Servant, sinless, full of grace and truth;
    as only Mediator and Saviour, dying on the cross in our place,
    representing us to God, redeeming us from the grip, guilt and
    punishment of sin;
    as Victor over Satan and all his forces,
    rising from death with a glorious body, being taken up to be with his
    Father, one day returning personally in glory and judgement to establish
    his kingdom.

    IV. Of the Resurrection of Christ.
    Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man's nature; wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth, until he return to judge all Men at the last day.
    XV. Of Christ alone without Sin.
    Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh, and in his spirit. He came to be the Lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice of himself once made, should take away the sins of the world; and sin (as Saint John saith) was not in him. But all we the rest, although baptized, and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things; and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

    XVIII. Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ.
    They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.

    XXXI. Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross.
    The Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.

    The only means of being cleansed from sin is through repentance and faith in the precious blood of Christ (Eph. 1:7).

    Christ's Atonement for the Sin of Man

    In order to redeem mankind from the guilt, penalty and power of sin, Jesus Christ became man and died a sacrificial death as our representative substitute. By His resurrection, God's acceptance of His atoning death was demonstrated. This atonement is sufficient for the whole world but effective only in those who receive it. The sinner is justified and reconciled to God, not through any personal merit but solely on the basis of God's gracious gift of salvation in Jesus Christ received through faith.

      The Uniting Church acknowledges that the faith and unity of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church are built upon the one Lord Jesus Christ.
      The Church preaches Christ the risen crucified One and confesses him as Lord to the glory of God the Father. In Jesus Christ "God was reconciling the world to himself" (2 Corinthians 5:19 RSV). In love for the world, God gave the Son to take away the world's sin.
      Jesus of Nazareth announced the sovereign grace of God whereby the poor in spirit could receive God's love. Jesus himself, in his life and death, made the response of humility, obedience and trust which God had long sought in vain. In raising him to live and reign, God confirmed and completed the witness which Jesus bore to God on earth, reasserted claim over the whole of creation, pardoned sinners, and made in Jesus a representative beginning of a new order of righteousness and love. To God in Christ all people are called to respond in faith. To this end God has sent forth the Spirit that people may trust God as their Father, and acknowledge Jesus as Lord. The whole work of salvation is effected by the sovereign grace of God alone.
      The Church as the fellowship of the Holy Spirit confesses Jesus as Lord over its own life; it also confesses that Jesus is Head over all things, the beginning of a new creation, of a new humanity. God in Christ has given to all people in the Church the Holy Spirit as a pledge and foretaste of that coming reconciliation and renewal which is the end in view for the whole creation. The Church's call is to serve that end: to be a fellowship of reconciliation, a body within which the diverse gifts of its members are used for the building up of the whole, an instrument through which Christ may work and bear witness to himself. The Church lives between the time of Christ's death and resurrection and the final consummation of all things which Christ will bring; the Church is a pilgrim people, always on the way towards a promised goal; here the Church does not have a continuing city but seeks one to come. On the way Christ feeds the Church with Word and Sacraments, and it has the gift of the Spirit in order that it may not lose the way.

    The Uniting Church acknowledges that the Church is able to live and endure through the changes of history only because its Lord comes, addresses, and deals with people in and through the news of his completed work. Christ who is present when he is preached among people is the Word of God who acquits the guilty, who gives life to the dead and who brings into being what otherwise could not exist. Through human witness in word and action, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ reaches out to command attention and awaken faith; he calls people into the fellowship of his sufferings, to be the disciples of a crucified Lord; in his own strange way Christ constitutes, rules and renews them as his Church.

    We believe in the Holy Spirit
    who convicts the world of guilt in regard to sin,
    righteousness and judgement;
    who makes the death of Christ effective to sinners,
    declaring that they must now turn to Christ in repentance, and directing
    their trust towards the Lord Jesus Christ;
    who through the new birth
    makes us partake in the life of the risen Christ, and
    who is present within all believers,
    illuminating their minds to grasp the truth of Scripture,
    producing in them his fruit,
    granting to them his gifts, and
    empowering them for service in the world.

    V. Of the Holy Ghost.
    The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory, with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.

    Regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential for personal salvation (John 1:13; 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:23).
    In the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Chrisitan is enabled to live a holy life (Gal. 5:16).

    he Holy Spirit
    The Holy Spirit as the third Person of the Trinity is eternally one with the Father and the Son yet He is sent by Them to achieve the Divine purpose in the world and in the Church.

    The Work of the Holy Spirit in Salvation
    The ministry of the Holy Spirit is necessary for the acceptance of God's provision of salvation. The Holy Spirit convinces sinners of their sinfulness, leads them to personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and so brings them to spiritual birth as God's children and to fellowship in Christ. Working within the life of believers the Holy Spirit makes real the presence of Christ, witnesses to their relationship with God, leads into all truth, bestows gifts for effective service and produces grace for holy living.

    (c) The Church and its Mission
    We recognise the Church
    as the body of Christ, held together and growing up in him;
    both as a total fellowship throughout the world, and as the local
    congregation in which believers gather.

    The Church
    The Church is the body of people whom God has separated from the world through faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. All regenerate persons are members of the universal Church of God which takes local form wherever groups of believes unite for worship, fellowship and service in accordance with scriptural principles. All believers are called to priestly ministry in the offering of spiritual sacrifices and sent into the world to be witnesses. God calls individuals to positions of oversight and leadership or to special ministries. The Church recognises such by ordaining pastors, commissioning missionaries, appointing deacons and other leaders, following New Testament practice.

      The Congregational Union of Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia and the Presbyterian Church of Australia, in fellowship with the whole Church Catholic,
      and seeking to bear witness to that unity which is both Christ's gift and will for the Church, hereby enter into union under the name of the Uniting Church in Australia.
       pray that this act may be to the glory of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They give praise for God's gifts of grace to each of them in years past; they acknowledge that none of them has responded to God's love with a full obedience; they look for a continuing renewal in which God will use their common worship, witness and service to set forth the word of salvation for all people.
      To this end they declare their readiness to go forward together in sole loyalty to Christ the living Head of the Church; they remain open to constant reform under his Word;
      and they seek a wider unity in the power of the Holy Spirit.
      In this union these Churches commit their members to acknowledge one another in love and joy as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ,
      to hear anew the commission of the Risen Lord to make disciples of all nations,
      and daily to seek to obey his will.
      In entering into this union the Churches concerned are mindful that the Church of God is committed to serve the world for which Christ died, and that it awaits with hope the day of the Lord Jesus Christ on which it will be clear that the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of the Christ, who shall reign for ever and ever.

      The Uniting Church in Australia lives and works within the faith and unity of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
      The Uniting Church recognises that it is related to other Churches in ways which give expression, however partially, to that unity in faith and mission.
      Recalling the Ecumenical Councils of the early centuries, the Uniting Church looks forward to a time when the faith will be further elucidated, and the Church's unity expressed, in similar Councils.
      It thankfully acknowledges that the uniting Churches were members of the World Council of Churches and other ecumenical bodies, and will seek to maintain such membership.
      It remembers the special relationship which obtained between the several uniting Churches and other Churches of similar traditions, and will continue to learn from their witness and be strengthened by their fellowship. It is encouraged by the existence of United Churches in which these and other traditions have been incorporated, and wishes to learn from their experience.
      It believes that Christians in Australia are called to bear witness to a unity of faith and life in Christ which transcends cultural and economic, national and racial boundaries,
      and to this end the Uniting Church commits itself to seek special relationships with Churches in Asia and the Pacific.
       The Uniting Church declares its desire to enter more deeply into the faith and mission of the Church in Australia, by working together and seeking union with other Churches.

    12. MEMBERS
    The Uniting Church recognises and accepts as members all who are recognised as members of the uniting Churches at the time of union. Thereafter membership is open to all who are baptized into the Holy Catholic Church in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The Uniting Church will seek ways in which the baptized may have confirmed to them the promises of God, and be led to deeper commitment to the faith and service into which they have been baptized. To this end the Uniting Church commits itself to undertake, with other Christians, to explore and develop the relation of baptism to confirmation and to participation in the Holy Communion.

    The Uniting Church affirms that it belongs to the people of God on the way to the promised end. The Uniting Church prays that, through the gift of the Spirit, God will constantly correct that which is erroneous in its life, will bring it into deeper unity with other Churches, and will use its worship, witness and service to God's eternal glory through Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen

    The Return of Christ
    In the blessed hope – the rapture of the church at Christ’s coming (1 Thess 4:17); in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; the one to everlasting life and the other to everlasting damnation (Dan. 12:2; John 11:25-26; Rev 21:7,8).

    The Return of the Lord Jesus Christ
    At the end of this age, according to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in His glory to the earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom of God awaits His return.

    In the blessed hope – the rapture of the church at Christ’s coming (1 Thess 4:17); in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; the one to everlasting life and the other to everlasting damnation (Dan. 12:2; John 11:25-26; Rev 21:7,8).

    XXII. Of Purgatory.
    The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.

    he Resurrection of the Dead
    At the end of the age, there is to be a resurrection both of the righteous and the unrighteous. After death the bodies of men return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God - the righteous to be with Him and the unrighteous to be reserved for the punishment.
    Rewards and Punishments in a Future State
    God has appointed a day of final judgement for the world. At that time jesus Christ will judge every man and each will receive reward or punishment according to his deeds. Those judged righteous, in their resurrected and glorified bodies, will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment.

    CHAPTER XXXII  Of the State of Man After Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead.
    I. The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption; but their souls (which neither die nor sleep), having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utterdarkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. Besides these two places for souls separated         from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.
    II. At the last day, such as are found alive shall not die, but be changed: and all the dead shall be raised up with the self-same bodies, and none other, although with different qualities, which shall be united again to their souls forever.
    III. The bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonor; the bodies of the just, by his Spirit, unto honor, and be made conformable to his own glorious body.

    CHAPTER XXXIII.                    Of the Last Judgment.
    I. God hath appointed a day, wherein he will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ, to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father. In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged; but likewise all persons, that have lived upon earth, shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.
    II. The end of God's appointing this day, is for the manifestation of the glory of his mercy in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of his justice in the damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient. For then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fullness of joy and refreshing which shall come from the presence of the Lord: but the wicked, who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and punished with
    everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
    III. As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin, and for the greater consolation of the godly in their adversity: so will he have that day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come; and may be ever prepared to say, Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen.
    We acknowledge the commission of Christ
    to proclaim the Good News to all people, making them disciples, and
    teaching them to obey him;
    We acknowledge the command of Christ
    to love our neighbours, resulting in service to the church and society,
    in seeking reconciliation for all with God and their fellows,
    in proclaiming liberty from every kind of oppression; and in spreading
    Christ's justice in an unjust world
    ...until he comes again.
    We seek to exercise the ministries God has given us in obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ and in reliance on the Holy Spirit. We therefore aim to follow Biblical principles in all that we do and to emphasize the vital importance of prayer.
    We approach our work in the following ways:

    1. Evangelism and Teaching
    (a) We are committed to teaching basic Christian truths as an essential part of evangelism.
    (b) We aim to express God's Good News to children, young people and families,
    not only in words, but also by building caring relationships with them.
    (c) We make every effort to communicate the Gospel in contemporary language
    and in ways appropriate to the context.
    (d) We emphasize that faith should always lead to action and to growth in
    Christian character and service.
    (e) We acknowledge that the Gospel has inescapable social dimensions and
    therefore it involves us in service to others and a concern for social justice.
    In view of our specific aims, we have a special responsibility for children
    and young people who are poor, deprived or exploited.
    (f) We encourage children to follow Christ in ways that are appropriate to
    their age, culture and background, taking special account of their home
    and family situation and level of maturity.
    (g) We believe that the new birth is a profound supernatural experience, brought about by the Holy Spirit. So we invite people to respond to what He is doing in their lives and guard against calling for superficial responses.
    (h) We are committed to working in ways that reflect our beliefs, in appropriate cooperation with organizations and institutions, such as schools, that welcome us.

    3. Churches

    (a) We recognise our part in God's worldwide family and seek ways of working positively with a variety of churches.
    (b) We encourage people who come to faith through our ministries to take part in the life of a local church fellowship.

    4. Equality and Unity

    (a) We believe that all human beings are of equal worth in the sight of God and that all those who put their faith in Christ are one in Him.
    (b) We are therefore committed to exercising our ministries without
    discrimination as to race, colour, gender, language or social position.
    (c) We recognise that Scripture Union worldwide is a family of national movements in which resources can be shared in a responsible way on a basis of trust.
    (d) We express our Christian commitment in varied and creative ways since we are drawn from diverse backgrounds.

    XIX. Of the Church.
    The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.
    As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.

    XX. Of the Authority of the Church.
    The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.

    XXI. Of the Authority of General Councils.
    [The Twenty-first of the former Articles is omitted; because it is partly of a local and civil nature, and is provided for, as to the remaining parts of it, in other Articles.]

    XXIII. Of Ministering in the Congregation.
    It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord's vineyard.

    XXXVI. Of Consecration of Bishops and Ministers.
    The Book of Consecration of Bishops, and Ordering of Priests and Deacons, as set forth by the General Convention of this church in 1792, doth contain all things necessary to such Consecration and Ordering; neither hath it any thing that, of itself, is superstitious and ungodly. And, therefore, whosoever are consecrated or ordered according to said Form, we decree all such to be rightly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordered.

    XXXVII. Of the Power of the Civil Magistrates.
    The Power of the Civil Magistrate extendeth to all men, as well Clergy as Laity, in all things temporal; but hath no authority in things purely spiritual. And we hold it to be the duty of all men who are professors of the Gospel, to pay respectful obedience to the Civil Authority, regularly and legitimately constituted.

    XXXII. Of the Marriage of Priests.
    Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons, are not commanded by God's Law, either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage: therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness.

    The Uniting Church, from inception, will seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to recognise among its members women and men called of God to preach the Gospel, to lead the people in worship, to care for the flock, to share in government and to serve those in need in the world.
    To this end:
    (a) The Uniting Church recognises and accepts as ministers of the Word all who have held such office in any of the uniting Churches, and who, being in good standing in one of those Churches at the time of union, adhere to the Basis of Union. This adherence and acceptance may take place at the time of union or at a later date. Since the Church lives by the power of the Word, it is assured that God, who has never failed to provide witness to that Word, will, through Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, call and set apart members of the Church to be ministers of the Word. These will preach the Gospel, administer the sacraments and exercise pastoral care so that all may be equipped for their particular ministries, thus maintaining the apostolic witness to Christ in the Church. Such members will be called Ministers and their setting apart will be known as Ordination.

    The Presbytery will ordain by prayer and the laying on of hands in the presence of a worshipping congregation. In this act of ordination the Church praises the ascended Christ for conferring gifts upon men and women. It recognises Christ's call of the individual to be his minister; it prays for the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to equip the minister for that service. By the participation in the act of ordination of those already ordained, the Church bears witness to God's faithfulness and declares the hope by which it lives. In company with other Christians the Uniting Church will seek for a renewed understanding of the way in which the congregation participates in ordination and of the significance of ordination in the life of the Church.

    (b) The Uniting Church recognises and accepts as elders or leaders those who at the time of union hold the office of elder, deacon or leader appointed to exercise spiritual oversight, and who, being in good standing in any of the uniting Churches at the time of union, adhere to the Basis of Union. It will seek to recognise in the congregation those endowed by the Spirit with gifts fitting them for rule and oversight. Such members will be called Elders or Leaders.

    (c) The Uniting Church recognises and accepts as deaconesses those who at the time of union are deaconesses in good standing in any of the uniting Churches and who adhere to the Basis of Union. It believes that the Holy Spirit will continue to call women to share in this way in the varied services and witness of the Church, and it will make provision for this. Such members will be called Deaconesses.
    The Uniting Church recognises that at the time of union many seek a renewal of the diaconate in which women and men offer their time and talents, representatively and on behalf of God's people, in the service of humanity in the face of changing needs. The Uniting Church will so order its life that it remains open to the possibility that God may call men and women into such a renewed diaconate: in these circumstances it may decide to call them Deacons and Deaconesses, whether the service is within or beyond the life of the congregation.

    (d) The Uniting Church recognises and accepts as lay preachers those who at the time of union are accredited lay preachers (local preachers) in any of the uniting Churches and who adhere to the Basis of Union. It will seek to recognise those endowed with the gift of the Spirit for this task, will provide for their training, and 'will gladly wait upon that fuller understanding of the obedience of Christians which should flow from their ministry. Such members will be called Lay Preachers.
    In the above sub-paragraphs the phrase "adhere to the Basis of Union" is understood as willingness to live and work within the faith and unity of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as that way is described in this Basis. Such adherence allows for difference of opinion in matters which do not enter into the substance of the faith.
    The Uniting Church recognises that the type and duration of ministries to which women and men are called vary from time to time and place to place, and that in particular it comes into being in a period of reconsideration of traditional forms of the ministry, and of renewed participation of all the people of God in the preaching of the Word, the administration of the sacraments, the building up of the fellowship in mutual love, in commitment to Christ's mission, and in service of the world for which he died.

    The Uniting Church recognises that responsibility for government in the Church belongs to the people of God by virtue of the gifts and tasks which God has laid upon them. The Uniting Church therefore so organises its life that locally, regionally and nationally government will be entrusted to representatives, men and women, bearing the gifts and graces with which God has endowed them for the building up of the Church. The Uniting Church is governed by a series of inter-related councils, each of which has its tasks and responsibilities in relation both to the Church and the world.
    The Uniting Church acknowledges that Christ alone is supreme in his Church, and that he may speak to it through any of its councils. It is the task of every council to wait upon God's Word, and to obey God's will in the matters allocated to its oversight. Each council will recognise the limits of its own authority and give heed to other councils of the Church, so that the whole body of believers may be united by mutual submission in the service of the Gospel.
    To this end the Uniting Church makes provision in its constitution for the following:

    (a) The Congregation is the embodiment in one place of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, worshipping, witnessing and serving as a fellowship of the Spirit in Christ. Its members meet regularly to hear God's Word, to celebrate the sacraments, to build one another up in love, to share in the wider responsibilities of the Church, and to serve the world. The congregation will recognise the need for a diversity of agencies for the better ordering of its life in such matters as education, administration and finance.
    (b) The Elders' or Leaders' Meeting (the council within a congregation or group of congregations) consists of the minister and those who are called to share with the minister in oversight. It is responsible for building up the congregation in faith and love, sustaining its members in hope, and leading them into a fuller participation in Christ's mission in the world.
    (c) The Presbytery (the district council) consists of such ministers, elders/leaders and other Church members as are appointed thereto, the majority of elders/leaders and Church members being appointed by Elders'/Leaders' Meetings and/or congregations, on a basis determined by the Synod. Its function is to perform all the acts of oversight necessary to the life and mission of the Church in the area for which it is responsible, except for those agencies which are directly responsible to the Synod or Assembly. It will in particular exercise oversight over the congregations within its bounds, encouraging them to strengthen one another's faith, to bear one another's burdens, and exhorting them to fulfil their high calling in Christ Jesus. It will promote those wider aspects of the work of the Church committed to it by the Synod or Assembly.
    (d) The Synod (the regional council) consists of such ministers, elders/leaders and other Church members as are appointed thereto, the majority being appointed by Presbyteries, Elders'/Leaders' Meetings or congregations, on a basis determined by the Assembly. It has responsibility for the general oversight, direction and administration of the Church's worship, witness and service in the region allotted to it, with such powers and authorities as may from time to time be determined by the Assembly.
    (e) The Assembly (the national council) consists of such ministers, elders/leaders and other Church members as are appointed thereto, the majority being appointed by the Presbyteries and Synods. It has determining responsibility for matters of doctrine, worship, government and discipline, including the promotion of the Church's mission, the establishment of standards of theological training and reception of ministers from other communions, and the taking of further measures towards the wider union of the Church. It makes the guiding decisions on the tasks and authority to be exercised by other councils. It is obligatory for it to seek the concurrence of the councils, and on occasion of the congregations of the Church, on matters of vital importance to the life of the Church.
    The first Assembly, however, will consist of members of the uniting Churches, appointed in equal numbers by them in such manner as they may determine, and is vested with such powers as may be necessary to establish the Uniting Church according to the provisions of the Basis of Union.
    Until such time as councils other than the Assembly can be established, the Uniting Church recognises and accepts the various agencies for the discharge of responsibility which are in existence in the uniting Churches. It invites any such continuing bodies immediately to enter a period of self-examination in which members are asked to consider afresh their common commitment to the Church's mission and their demonstration of its unity. The Uniting Church prays that God will enable them to order their lives for these purposes.
    The Uniting Church recognises the responsibility and freedom which belong to councils to acknowledge gifts among members for the fulfilment of particular functions. The Uniting Church sees in pastoral care exercised personally on behalf of the Church an expression of the fact that God always deals personally with people, would have God's loving care known among people, and would have individual members take upon themselves the form of a servant.
    The Uniting Church acknowledges that the demand of the Gospel, the response of the Church to the Gospel, and the discipline which it requires are partly expressed in the formulation by the Church of its law. The aim of such law is to confess God's will for the life of the Church; but since law is received by human beings and framed by them, it is always subject to revision in order that it may better serve the Gospel. The Uniting Church will keep its law under constant review so that its life may increasingly be directed to the service of God and humanity, and its worship to a true and faithful setting forth of, and response to, the Gospel of Christ. The law of the Church will speak of the free obedience of the children of God, and will look to the final reconciliation of humanity under God's sovereign grace.

    CHAPTER XXV. Of the Church.
    I. The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.
    II. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children; and is the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ; the house and family of God, through which men are ordinarily saved and union with which is essential to their best growth and service.
    III. Unto this catholic and visible Church, Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world; and doth by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.
    IV. This catholic Church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less, visible. And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.
    V. The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error: and some have so degenerated as to become apparently no Churches of Christ. Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth, to worship God according to his will.
    VI. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God.
    CHAPTER XXIII. Of the Civil Magistrate.
    I. God, the Supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be under him over the people, for his own glory and the public good; and to this end, hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defense and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil-doers.
    II. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate when called thereunto; in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth, so, for that end, they may lawfully, now under the New Testament, wage war upon just and necessary occasions.
    III. The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven: yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and
    observed. For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.
    IV. It is the duty of the people to pray for magistrates, to honor their persons, to pay them tribute and other dues, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience' sake. Infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not make boid the magistrate's just and legal authority, nor free the people from their obedience to him: from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted; much less hath the Pope any power or jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and least of all to deprive them of their dominions or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretense whatsoever.

                       CHAPTER XXVI. Of the Communion of the Saints.
    I. All saints that are united to Jesus Christ their head, by his Spirit and by faith, have fellowship with him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory: and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other's gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, as to conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.
    II. Saints by profession, are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necesities. Which communion, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who, in every place, call upno the name of the Lord Jesus.
    III. This communion which the saints have with Christ, doth not make them in any wise partakers of the substance of the Godhead, or to be equal with Christ in any respect: either of which to affirm, is impious and blasphemous. Nor doth their communion one with another as saints, take away or infringe the title or property which each man hath in his goods and possessions.

    XXV. Of the Sacraments.
    Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God's good will towards us, by the which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in him.
    There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.
    Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.
    The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith.

    XXVI. Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacraments.
    Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ's, and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ's ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God's gifts diminished from such as by faith, and rightly, do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because of Christ's institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men.
    Nevertheless, it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church, that inquiry be made of evil Ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offenses; and finally, being found guilty, by just judgment be deposed.

      The Uniting Church acknowledges that Christ has commanded his Church to proclaim the Gospel both in words and in the two visible acts of Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
      Christ himself acts in and through everything that the Church does in obedience to his commandment: it is Christ who by the gift of the Spirit confers the forgiveness, the fellowship, the new life and the freedom which the proclamation and actions promise; and it is Christ who awakens, purifies and advances in people the faith and hope in which alone such benefits can be accepted

    CHAPTER XXVII.Of the Sacraments.
    I. Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace, immediately instituted by God, to represent Christ and his benefits, and to confirm our interest in him: as also to put a visible difference between those that belong unto the Church, and the rest of thw world; and solemnly to engage them to the service of God in Christ, according to his Word.
    II. There is in every sacrament a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified; whence it comes to pass that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other.
    III. The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments, rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither doth the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that doth administer it, but upon the work of the Spirit, and the word of institution, which conatins, together with a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers.
    IV. There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the gospels, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord: neither or which may be dispensed by any but a minister of  the Word, lawfully ordained.
    V. The sacraments of the Old Testament, in regard of the spiritual things thereby signified and exhibited, were, for substance, the same with those of the New.

    XXVII. Of Baptism.
    Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or New-Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God.
    The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.

    In the observance of the ordinances of Christian baptism by immersion for believers and the Lord’s Supper (Matt 28:19; Acts 2:38; 1 Cor. 11:23-26).

    The Baptism of Believers Only, by Immersion
    Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a public declaration of a person's faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In accordance with New Testament Scripture it should be administered only by total immersion which symbolises the believer's identification with Christ in death, burial and resurrection, the remission of sins and the believer's dedication of himself to God to live and walk in newness of life.

    7. BAPTISM
    The Uniting Church acknowledges that Christ incorporates people into his body by Baptism. In this way Christ enables them to participate in his own baptism, which was accomplished once on behalf of all in his death and burial, and which was made available to all when, risen and ascended, he poured out the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Baptism into Christ's body initiates people into Christ's life and mission in the world, so that they are united in one fellowship of love, service, suffering and joy, in one family of the Father of all in heaven and earth, and in the power of the one Spirit. The Uniting Church will baptize those who confess the Christian faith, and children who are presented for baptism and for whose instruction and nourishment in the faith the Church takes responsibility.

    CHAPTER XXVIII. Of Baptism.
    I. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church, but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, or his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life: which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in his Churchy until the end of the world.
    II. The outward element to be used in the sacrament is water, wherewith the party is to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a minister of the gospel,
    lawfully called thereunto.
    III. Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person.
    IV. Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one or both believing parents are to be baptized.
    V. Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it as that no person can be regenerated or saved without it, or that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.
    VI. The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinancy the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in his appointed time.
    VII. The sacrament of Baptism is but once to be administered to any person.

    XXVIII. Of the Lord's Supper.
    The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ's death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.
    Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
    The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.
    The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.

    XXIX. Of the Wicked, which eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord's Supper.
    The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing.

    XXX. Of both Kinds.
    The Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the Lay-people: for both the parts of the Lord's Sacrament, by Christ's ordinance and commandment, ought to be ministered to all Christian men alike.

    The Communion
    The Lord's Supper is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus Christ, instituted by Him to be celebrated with the elements of bread and wine by believers in Christ until the end of the age. It commemorates and declares our thanks for the Lord's substitutionary death. The celebration of the ordinance expresses our fellowship with and in the Lord Jesus Christ as members of the Body of which He is the Head.

    The Uniting Church acknowledges that the continuing presence of Christ with his people is signified and sealed by Christ in the Lord's Supper or the Holy Communion, constantly repeated in the life of the Church. In this sacrament of his broken body and outpoured blood the risen Lord feeds his baptized people on their way to the final inheritance of the Kingdom. Thus the people of God, through faith and the gift and power of the Holy Spirit, have communion with their Saviour, make their sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, proclaim the Lord's death, grow together into Christ, are strengthened for their participation in the mission of Christ in the world, and rejoice in the foretaste of the Kingdom which Christ will bring to consummation.

    CHAPTER XXIX. Of the Lord's Supper.
    I. Our Lord Jesus, in the night wherein he was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of his body and blood, called the Lord's Supper, to be observed in his Church unto the end of the world; for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of himself in his death, the sealing all benefits thereof unto true believers, their spiritual nourishment and growth in him, their further engagement in and to all duties which they owe unto him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other, as members of his mystical body.
    II. In this sacrament Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sins of the quick or dead, but a commemoration of that one offering up of himself, by himself, upon the cross, once for all, and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same; so that the Popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominably injurious to Christ's one only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect.
    III. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to declare his word of institution to the people, to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to an holy use; and to take and break the bread, to take the cup, and (they communicating also themselves) to give both to the communicants; but to none who are not then present in the congregation.
    IV. Private masses, or receiving this sacrament by a priest, or any other, alone; as likewise the denial of the cup to the people; worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and the reserving them for any pretended religious use, are all contrary to the nature of this sacrament, and to the institution of Christ.
    V. The outward elements in this sacrament, duly set apart to the uses ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, yet sacramentally only, they are sometimes called by the name of the thigns they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ; albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly, and only, bread and wine, as they were before.
    VI. That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ's body and blood (commonly called transubstantiation) by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant, not to Scripture alone, but even to common-sense and reason; overthroweth the nature of the sacrament; and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries.
    VII. Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this sacrament, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all benefits of his death: the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.
    VIII. Although ignorant and wicked men receive the outward elements in this sacrament, yet they receive not the thing signified thereby; but by their unworthy coming thereunto are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, to their own damnation. Wherefore all ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with him, so are they unworthy of the Lord's table, and can not, without great sin against Christ, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be
    admitted thereunto.

    The baptism of the Holy Spirit according to Acts 2:4 is given to believers who ask (Luke 11:13).
    In the present day reality of the supernatural operation of the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:8-10; Heb. 2:3-4)
    The redemptive work of Christ on the cross provides healing of the human body in answer to believing prayer (Isa. 53:4,5; Matt. 8:17).

    The Uniting Church affirms that every member of the Church is engaged to confess the faith of Christ crucified and to be his faithful servant. It acknowledges with thanksgiving that the one Spirit has endowed the members of Christ's Church with a diversity of gifts, and that there is no gift without its corresponding service: all ministries have a part in the ministry of Christ. The Uniting Church, at the time of union, will recognise and accept the ministries of those who have been called to any task or responsibility in the uniting Churches. The Uniting Church will thereafter provide for the exercise by men and women of the gifts God bestows upon them, and will order its life in response to God's call to enter more fully into mission.

    Jesus goes to Hell
    III. Of the going down of Christ into Hell.
    As Christ died for us, and was buried; so also is it to be believed, that he went down into hell.


    VIII. Of the Creeds.
    The Nicene Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.

    9. CREEDS
    The Uniting Church enters into unity with the Church throughout the ages by its use of the confessions known as the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. The Uniting Church receives these as authoritative statements of the Catholic Faith, framed in the language of their day and used by Christians in many days, to declare and to guard the right understanding of that faith. The Uniting Church commits its ministers and instructors to careful study of these creeds and to the discipline of interpreting their teaching in a later age. It commends to ministers and congregations their use for instruction in the faith, and their use in worship as acts of allegiance to the Holy Trinity.

    XXXIV. Of the Traditions of the Church.
    It is not necessary that Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, or utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely, doth openly break the Traditions and Ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like,) as he that offendeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the Magistrate, and woundeth the consciences of the weak brethren.
    Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, Ceremonies or Rites of the Church ordained only by man's authority, so that all things be done to edifying.

    XXXV. Of the Homilies.
    The Second Book of Homilies, the several titles whereof we have joined under this Article, doth contain a godly and wholesome Doctrine, and necessary for these times, as doth the former Book of Homilies, which were set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth; and therefore we judge them to be read in Churches by the Ministers, diligently and distinctly, that they may be understanded of the people.
    Of the Names of the Homilies.
    1 Of the right Use of the Church.
    2 Against Peril of Idolatry.
    3 Of repairing and keeping clean of Churches.
    4 Of good Works: first of Fasting.
    5 Against Gluttony and Drunkenness.
    6 Against Excess of Apparel.
    7 Of Prayer.
    8 Of the Place and Time of Prayer.
    9 That Common Prayers and Sacraments ought to be ministered in a known tongue.
    10 Of the reverend Estimation of God's Word.
    11 Of Alms-doing.
    12 Of the Nativity of Christ.
    13 Of the Passion of Christ.
    14 Of the Resurrection of Christ.
    15 Of the worthy receiving of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.
    16 Of the Gifts of the Holy Ghost.
    17 For the Rogation-days.
    18 Of the State of Matrimony.
    19 Of Repentance.
    20 Against Idleness.
    21 Against Rebellion.
    XXXVIII. Of Christian Men's Goods, which are not common.
    The Riches and Goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession of the same; as certain Anabaptists do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.

    The Uniting Church continues to learn of the teaching of the Holy Scriptures in the obedience and freedom of faith, and in the power of the promised gift of the Holy Spirit, from the witness of the Reformers as expressed in various ways in the Scots Confession of Faith (1560), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647), and the Savoy Declaration (1658). In like manner the Uniting Church will listen to the preaching of John Wesley in his Forty-Four Sermons (1793). It will commit its ministers and instructors to study these statements, so that the congregation of Christ's people may again and again be reminded of the grace which justifies them through faith, of the centrality of the person and work of Christ the justifier, and of the need for a constant appeal to Holy Scripture.

    CHAPTER XXX Of Church Censures.
    I. The Lord Jesus, as king and head of his Church, hath therein appointed a government in the hand of Church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate.
    II. To these officers the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven are committed, by virtue whereof they have power respectively to retain and remit sins, to shut that kingdom against the impenitent, both by the word and censures; and to open it unto penitent sinners, by the ministry of the gospel, and by absolution from censures, as occasion shall require.
    III. Church censures are necessary for the reclaiming and gaining of offending brethren; for deterring of others from like offenses; for purging out of that leaven which might infect the whole lump; for vindicating the honor of Christ, and the holy profession of the gospel; and for preventing the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the Church, if they should suffer his covenant, and the seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders.
    IV. For the better attaining of these ends, the officers of the Church are to proceed by admonition,suspension from the sacrament of the Lord's Supper for a season, and by excommunication fromthe Church, according to the nature of the crime, and demerit of the person.

                       CHAPTER XXXI.Of Synods and Councils.
    I. For the better government and further edification of the Church, there ought to be such  assemblies as are commonly called synods or councils.
    II. As magistrates may lawfully call a synod of ministers and other fit persons to consult and advise with about matters of religion; so, if magistrates be open enemies of the Church, the ministers of Christ, of themselves, by virtue of their office, or they, with other fit persons, upon delegation from their churches, may meet together in such assemblies.
    III. It belongeth to synods and councils, ministerially, to determine controversies of faith, and cases of conscience; to set down rules and directions for the better ordering of the public worship of God, and government of his Church; to receive complaints in cases of maladministration, and authoritatively to determine the same: which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the Word of God, are to be received with reverence and submission, not only for their agreement with the Word, but also for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of God, appointed thereunto in his Word.
    IV. All synods or councils since the apostles' times, whether general or particular, may err, and many have erred; therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith or practice, but to be used as a help in both.

    V. Synods and councils are to handle or conclude nothing but that which is ecclesiastical: and  are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or by way of advice for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.

    XVII. Of Predestination and Election.
    Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.
    As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.
    Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.

    CHAPTERIX. Of Free Will.
    I. God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor by any absolute necessity of nature determined to good or evil.

    II. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that which is good and well-pleasing to God; but yet mutably, so that he might fall from it.

    III. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.

    IV. When God converts a sinner and translates him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin, and, by his grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so as that, by reason of his remaining corruption, he doth not perfectly, nor only, will that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil.

    V. The will of man is made perfectly and immutable free to good alone, in the state of glory only.

    CHAPTER X. Of Effectual Calling.
    I. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed
    and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in
    which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ: enlightening their minds,
    spiritually and savingly, to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and
    giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining
    them to that which is good; and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.

    II. This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from any thing at all foreseen in
    man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is
    thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.

    III. Elect infants, dying in infance, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who
    worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth. So also are all other elect persons who are
    incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

    IV. Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have
    some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly come to Christ, and therefore can not be saved: much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way
    whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the
    law of that religion they do profess; and to assert and maintain that they may is without warrant of
    the Word of God.
    CHAPTER XVII.  Of The Perseverance of the Saints.

    I. They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can
    neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to
     the end, and be eternally saved.

    II. This perseverance of the saints depends, not upon their own free-will, but upon the immutability
    of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the
    efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit and of the seed of
    God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty
    and infallibility thereof.

    III. Nevertheless they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevelancy of
    corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their perseverance, fall into grievous
    sins; ad for a time continue therein: whereby they incur God's displeasure, and grieve his Holy
    Spirit; come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; have their hearts
    hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal
    judgments upon theselves.

                               CHAPTER XVIII.  Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation.

    I. Although hypocrites, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false
    hopes and carnal presumptions: of being in the favor of God and estate of salvation; which hope of
    theirs shall perish: yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity,
    endeavoring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that
    they are in a state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God: which hope shall
                          never make them ashamed.

    II. This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probably persuasion, grounded upon a fallible
    hope; but an infallible assurance of faith, founded upon the divine truth of the promises of
    salvation, the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made, the testimony
    of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God; which Spirit is
    the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption.

    III. This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith but that a true believer may
    wait long and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it: yet, being enabled by the
    Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary
    revelation, in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto. And therefore it is the duty of
    everyone to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure; that thereby his heart may be
    enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and
    cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance: so far is it from
    inclining men to looseness.

    IV. True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and
    intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it; by falling into some special sin, which woundeth
    the conscience, and grievth the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation; by God's
    withdrawing the light of his countenance and suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness
    and to have no light: yet are they never utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that
    love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart and conscience of duty, out of which, by the
    operation of the Spirit, this assurance may in due time be revived, and by the which, in the
    meantime, they are supported from utter despair.

    XXIV. Of Speaking in the Congregation in such a Tongue as the people understandeth.
    It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have public Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understood of the people.

    XXXIII. Of excommunicate Persons, how they are to be avoided.
    That person which by open denunciation of the Church is rightly cut off from the unity of the Church, and excommunicated, ought to be taken of the whole multitude of the faithful, as an Heathen and Publican, until he be openly reconciled by penance, and received into the Church by a Judge that hath authority thereunto.

    XXXIX. Of a Christian Man's Oath.
    As we confess that vain and rash Swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ, and James his Apostle, so we judge, that Christian Religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the Magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the Prophet's teaching, in justice, judgment, and truth.

    5. Volunteers and Staff

    (a) We work with a relatively small number of staff who recruit, motivate, train, equip and support a larger number of volunteers with whom they work in partnership.

    (b) We believe that the Holy Spirit confers gifts of leadership on Christians of all nations without discrimination. So we encourage national leadership of Scripture Union movements, while recognizing the contribution of those from other countries.

    (c) We, as staff and volunteers, from a variety of backgrounds, are united in
    our commitment to the aims, beliefs and working principles of Scripture Union.

    (d) We agree that, while we are involved in Scripture Union activities, we will handle controversial issues, such as baptism, spiritual gifts and church order, in ways that promote harmony.

    CHAPTER XXIV. Of Marriage and Divorce.
    I. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband at the same time.
    II. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife; for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed; and for preventing of uncleanness.
    III. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry who are able with judgment to give their consent. Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord. And, therefore, such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, Papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies.
    IV. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden in the Word; nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man, or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together, as man and wife. The man may not marry any of his wife's kindred nearer in blood than he may of his own, nor the woman of her husband's kindred nearer in blood than of her own.
    V. Adultery or fornication, committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract. In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce, and after the divorce to marry another, as if the offending party were dead.
    VI. Although the corruption of man be such as is apt to study arguments, unduly to put asunder those whom God hath joined together in marriage; yet nothing but adultery, or such willful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage; wherein a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the persons concerned in it, not left to their own wills and discretion in their own case.

    CHAPTER VII Of God's Covenant with Man.
    I. The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of him, as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescencion on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.
    II. The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.
    III. Man by his fall having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace: wherein he freely offered unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.
    IV. This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in the Scripture by the name of a testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ, the testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.
    V. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel: under the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ to come, which were for that time sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation, and is called the Old Testament.

    VI. Under the gospel, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed, are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper; which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity and less outward glory, yet in them it is held forth in more fulness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy, to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the New Testament. There are not, therefore, two covenants of grace differing in substance, but one and the same under various dispensations.

    CHAPTER XIX. Of the Law of God.
    I. God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which he bound him and all his posterity to
    personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience; promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened
    death upon the breach of it; and endued him with power and ability to keep it.

    II. This law, after his Fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was
    delivered by God upon mount Sinai in ten commandments, and written in two tables; the first four
    commandments containing our duty toward God, and the other six our duty to man.

    III. Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a
    Church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship,
    prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth divers
    instructions of moral duties. All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated under the New

    IV. To them also, as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the
    state of that people, not obliging any other, now, further than the general equity thereof may

    V. The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof;
    and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God
    the Creator who gave it. Neither doth Christ in the gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen,
    this obligation.

    VI. Although true believers be not under the law as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or
    condemned; yet is it of great use to them, as well as to others; in that, as a rule of life, informing
    them of the will of God and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly; discovering
    also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts, and lives; so as, examining themselves thereby,
    they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin; together with a
    clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of his obedience. It is likewise of
    use to the regenerate, to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin, and the threatenings of it
    serve to show what even their sins deserve, and what afflictions in this life they may expect for
    them, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law. The promises of it, in like
    manner, show them God's approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the
    performance thereof; although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works: so as a man's
    doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourageth to the one, and deterreth from
    the other, is no evidence of his being under the law, and not under grace.

    VII. Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the gospel, but do
    sweetly comply with it: the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely
    and cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done.

    CHAPTER XX. Of Christian Liberty, and Liberty of Conscience.
     I. The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the curse of the moral law; and in their being delivered from thos present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin, from the evil of afflictions, the sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation; as also in their free access to God, and their yielding obedience unto him, not out of slavish fear, but a childlike love, and a willing mind. All which were common also to believers under the law; but under the New Testament the liberty of Christians is further enlarged in their freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law, to which the Jewish Church was subjected; and in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace, and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of.

    II. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his Word, or beside it in matters of faith on worship. So that to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commandments out of conscience, is ts betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.
    III. They who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby destroy the end of Christian liberty; which is, that, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
    IV. And because the powers which God hath ordained, and the liberty which Christ hath purchased, are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another; they who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God. And, for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or to the known principles of Christianity, whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation; or, to the power of godliness; or, such erroneous opinions or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order which Christ hath established in the Church, they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against by the censures of the Church, and by the power of the civil magistrate.

    CHAPTER XXI.  Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath-day.
    I. The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is good, and doeth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served with all the hearth, and with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.
    II. Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to him alone: not to angels, saints, or any other creature: and since the Fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.
    III. Prayer with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship, is by God required of all men; and that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of his Holy Spirit, according to his will, with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and, if vocal, in a known tongue.
    IV. Prayer is to be made for things lawful, and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.
    V. The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear; the sound preaching, and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God with understanding, faith, and reverence; singing of psalms with grace in the heart; as, also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ; are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God: besides religious oaths, and vows, solemn fastings, and thanksgivings upon special occasion; which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.
    VI. Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is now, under the gospel, either tied unto, or made more acceptable to, any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed: but God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth; as in private families daily, and in secret each one by himself, so more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly or willfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God, by his Word or providence, calleth thereunto.
    VII. As it is of the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in his Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him: which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, which in Scripture is called the Lord's Day, and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath.
    VIII. This Sabbath is to be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their wordly employments and recreations; but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.
    CHAPTER XXII.Of Lawful Oaths and Vows.
    I. A lawful oath is a part of religious worship, wherein upon just occasion, the person swearing solemnly calleth God to witness what he asserteth or promiseth; and to judge him according to the truth or falsehood of what he sweareth.
    II. The name of God only is that by which men ought to swear, and therein it is to be used with all holy fear and reverence; therefore to swear vainly or rashly by that glorious and dreadful name, or to swear at all by any other thing, is sinful, and to be abhorred. Yet, as, in matters of weight and moment, an oath is warranted by the Word of God, under the New Testament, as well as under the Old, so a lawful oath, being imposed by lawful authority, in such matters ought to be taken.
    III. Whosoever taketh an oath ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act, and therein to avouch nothing but what he is fully persuaded is the truth. Neither may any man bind himself by oath to any thing but what is good and just, and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and resolved to perform. Yet it is a sin to refuse an oath touching any thing that is good and just, being imposed by lawful authority.
    IV. An oath is to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation or mental reservation. It can not oblige to sin; but in any thing not sinful, being taken, it binds to performance, although to a man's own hurt: nor is it to be violated, although made to heretics or infidels.
    V. A vow is of the like nature with a promissory oath, and ought to be made with the like religious care, and to be performed with the like faithfulness.
    VI. It is not to be made to any creature, but to God alone: and that it may be accepted, it is to be made voluntarily, out of faith and conscience of duty, in way of thankfulness for mercy received, or for obtaining of what we want; whereby we more strictly bind ourselves to necessary duties, or to other things, so far and so long as they may fitly conduce thereunto.
    VII. No man may vow to do any thing forbidden in the Word of God, or what would hinder any duty therein commanded, or which is not in his own power, and for the performance of which he hath no promise or ability from God. In which respects, monastical vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself.