Synod of Dordrecht
                       November 13, 1618 - May 9, 1619


         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 1. As  all  men  have sinned in Adam, lie
         under the curse,  and  are  deserving  of  eternal death, God
         would have done no  injustice  by  leaving them all to perish
         and delivering them over to  condemnation  on account of sin,
         according to the words of  the apostle: "that every mouth may
         be silenced and the  whole  world  held  accountable to God."
         (Rom 3:19). And: "for all have  sinned  and fall short of the
         glory of God," (Rom  3:23).  And:  "For  the  wages of sin is
         death." (Rom 6:23).

         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE  2.  but  in  this  the  love  of God was
         manifested, that He  "sent  his  one  and  only  Son into the
         world, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have
         eternal life." (1 John 4:9, John 3:16).

         FIRST HEAD:  ARTICLE  3.  And  that  men  may  be  brought to
         believe, God mercifully  sends  the  messengers of these most
         joyful tiding to whom He will and at what time He pleases; by
         whose ministry men  are  called  to  repentance  and faith in
         Christ crucified. "How, then, can  they  call on the one they
         have not believed in? And how  can they believe in the one of
         whom they have  not  heard?  And  how  can  they hear without
         someone preaching to them?  And  how  can  they preach unless
         they are sent?" (Rom 10:14-15).

         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 4. The wrath of God abides upon those who
         believe not this gospel. But  such  as receive it and embrace
         Jesus the Savior  by  a  true  and  living  faith  are by Him
         delivered from the wrath  of  God  and  from destruction, and
         have the gift of eternal life conferred upon them.

         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 5. The cause or guilt of this unbelief as
         well as of all other  sins  is  no  wise  in  God, but in man
         himself; whereas faith in  Jesus Christ and salvation through
         Him is the free gift of God,  as it is written: "For it is by
         grace you have been saved,  through  faith--and this not from
         yourselves, it is the gift  of God" (Eph 2:8). Likewise: "For
         it has been granted to  you  on  behalf of Christ not only to
         believe on him, but also to suffer for him" (Phil 1:29)

         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 6.  That  some  receive the gift of faith
         from God, and others do  not  receive it, proceeds from God's
         eternal decree. "For now unto God  are all his works from the
         beginning of the world"  (Acts  15:18  A.V.).  "who works out
         everything in conformity with the  purpose  of his will" (Eph
         1:11). According to  which  decree  He graciously softens the
         hearts of the elect, however  obstinate, and inclines them to
         believe; while He leaves the  non-elect  in His just judgment
         to  their  own  wickedness   and   obduracy.  And  herein  is
         especially displayed the profound,  the  merciful, and at the
         same time the  righteous  discrimination  between men equally
         involved in ruin; or that decree of election and reprobation,
         revealed in the Word of  God,  which, though men of perverse,
         impure, and unstable minds wrest it to their own destruction,
         yet to holy and pious souls affords unspeakable consolation.

         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 7.  Election  is the unchangeable purpose
         of God, whereby, before the  foundation  of the world, He has
         out of mere grace, according  to  the sovereign good pleasure
         of His own will, chosen from  the whole human race, which had
         fallen through their own  fault  from  the primitive state of
         rectitude into  sin  and  destruction,  a  certain  number of
         persons  to  redemption  in  Christ,  whom  He  from eternity
         appointed  the  Mediator  and  Head  of  the  elect  and  the
         foundation of salvation. This  elect number, though by nature
         neither better nor more deserving  than others, but with them
         involved in one common  misery,  God  has  decreed to give to
         Christ to be saved by  Him,  and  effectually to call an draw
         them to His communion by His  Word and Spirit; to bestow upon
         them  true  faith,  justification,  and  sanctification;  and
         having powerfully preserved  them  in  the  fellowship of His
         son, finally to glorify  them  for  the  demonstration of His
         mercy, and for  the  praise  of  the  riches  of His glorious
         grace; as it is written  "For  he  chose us in him before the
         creation of the world to be  holy and blameless in his sight.
         In love he predestined us to  be  adopted as his sons through
         Jesus Christ, in accordance with  his  pleasure and will-- to
         the praise of his glorious  grace,  which he has freely given
         us in the One  he  loves."  (Eph  1:4-6). And elsewhere: "And
         those he predestined, he  also  called;  those  he called, he
         also justified; those he  justified, he also glorified." (Rom

         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE  8.  There  are  not  various  decrees of
         election, but one and  the  same  decree respecting all those
         who shall be saved,  both  under  the  Old and New Testament;
         since the Scripture declares  the good pleasure, purpose, and
         counsel of the divine will to  be  one, according to which He
         has chosen us from eternity, both  to  grace and to glory, to
         salvation and to the way  of salvation, which He has ordained
         that we should walk therein (Eph 1:4, 5; 2:10).

         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 9.  This  election  was  not founded upon
         foreseen faith and the obedience  of  faith, holiness, or any
         other  good   quality   or   disposition   in   man,  as  the
         prerequisite, cause, or condition  of  which it depended; but
         men are  chosen  to  faith  and  to  the  obedience of faith,
         holiness, etc. Therefore  election  is  the fountain of every
         saving good,  from  which  proceed  faith,  holiness, and the
         other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself, as
         its fruits and effects,  according  to  the  testimony of the
         apostle: "For he chose us (not  because  we were, but) in him
         before the creation of the world  to be holy and blameless in
         his sight." (Eph 1:4).

         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 10. The good  pleasure of God is the sole
         cause of  this  gracious  election;  which  does  not consist
         herein that out of all  possible qualities and actions of men
         God has chosen some as a  condition of salvation, but that He
         was pleased out of the common  mass  of sinners to adopt some
         certain persons as a  peculiar  people  to  Himself, as it is
         written: "Yet,  before  the  twins  were  born  or  had  done
         anything good or bad--in order that God's purpose in election
         might stand: not by works but by him who calls--she (Rebekah)
         was told, 'The older will serve  the  younger.' Just as it is
         written: 'Jacob I loved, but  Esau  I hated.'" (Rom 9:11-13).
         "When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the
         word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life
         believed." (Acts 13:48).

         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE  11.  And  as  God  Himself is most wise,
         unchangeable, omniscient,  and  omnipotent,  so  the election
         made by Him can neither be interrupted nor changed, recalled,
         or annulled; neither can  the  elect  be cast away, nor their
         number diminished.

         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE  12.  The  elect  in  due time, though in
         various  degrees  and  in   different  measures,  attain  the
         assurance of this  their  eternal  and unchangeable election,
         not by inquisitively prying into  the  secret and deep things
         of God, but by observing  in  themselves with a spiritual joy
         and holy pleasure the  infallible  fruits of election pointed
         out in the Word of God  -  such  as,  a true faith in Christ,
         filial  fear,  a  godly  sorrow  for  sin,  a  hungering  and
         thirsting after righteousness, etc.

         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE  13.  The  sense  and  certainty  of this
         election afford to the children  of God additional matter for
         daily humiliation before Him,  for  adoring  the depth of His
         mercies, for  cleansing  themselves,  and  rendering grateful
         returns of ardent love to  Him  who first manifested so great
         love towards  them.  The  consideration  of  this doctrine of
         election  is  so  far  from  encouraging  remissness  in  the
         observance of the  divine  commands  or  from  sinking men in
         carnal security, that these, in the just judgment of God, are
         the usual effects of rash  presumption  or of idle and wanton
         trifling with the grace of  election,  in those who refuse to
         walk in the ways of the elect.

         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 14.  As  the  doctrine of election by the
         most wise counsel of  God  was  declared  by the prophets, by
         Christ Himself, and by the  apostles, and is clearly revealed
         in the Scriptures both of the  Old  and the New Testament, so
         it is still to  be  published  in  due  time and place in the
         Church of God, for which it was peculiarly designed, provided
         it be done with  reverence,  in  the spirit of discretion and
         piety, for  the  glory  of  God's  most  holy  Name,  and for
         enlivening  and   comforting   His   people,  without  vainly
         attempting to investigate the  secret  ways  of the Most High
         (Acts 20:27; Rom 11:33f; 12:3; Heb 6:17f).

         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 15.  What  peculiarly tends to illustrate
         and recommend  to  us  the  eternal  and  unmerited  grace of
         election is the  express  testimony  of sacred Scripture that
         not all, but some only,  are elected, while others are passed
         by in the eternal  decree;  whom  God,  out of His sovereign,
         most just, irreprehensible,  and  unchangeable good pleasure,
         has decreed to leave  in  the  common  misery into which they
         have willfully plunged  themselves,  and  not  to bestow upon
         them  saving  faith  and   the   grace  of  conversion;  but,
         permitting them in  His  just  judgment  to  follow their own
         ways, at last, for the declaration of His justice, to condemn
         and punish  them  forever,  not  only  on  account  of  their
         unbelief, but also for all their  other sins. And this is the
         decree of reprobation, which by no means makes God the Author
         of sin (the very though  of which is blasphemy), but declares
         Him to be an awful,  irreprehensible, and righteous Judge and
         Avenger thereof.

         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE  16.  Those  in  whom  a  living faith in
         Christ, and assured confidence  of soul, peace of conscience,
         an earnest endeavor after filial obedience, a glorying in God
         through  Christ,  is  not  as  yet  strongly  felt,  and  who
         nevertheless make use of  the  means  which God has appointed
         for working these graces in  us,  ought  not to be alarmed at
         the mention of reprobation, nor  to rank themselves among the
         reprobate, but diligently to persevere  in  the use of means,
         and with ardent desires  devoutly  and  humble  to wait for a
         season of richer grace.  Much  less  cause to be terrified by
         the  doctrine  of  reprobation  have  they  who,  though they
         seriously desire to be turned to God, to please Him only, and
         to be delivered from the body of death, cannot yet reach that
         measure of holiness and faith  to  which they aspire; since a
         merciful God has promised that He will not quench the smoking
         flax, nor break the bruised reed. But this doctrine is justly
         terrible to those who,  regardless  of  God and of the Savior
         Jesus Christ, have wholly given themselves up to the cares of
         the world and the pleasures of the flesh, so long as they are
         not seriously converted to God.

         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 17. Since we  are to judge of the will of
         God from His  Word,  which  testifies  that  the  children of
         believers are holy,  not  by  nature,  but  in  virtue of the
         covenant of grace, in  which  they  together with the parents
         are  comprehended,  godly  parents  ought  not  to  doubt the
         election and salvation of their  children whom it pleases God
         to call out of this  life  in  their  infancy (Gen 17:7; Acts
         2:39; 1 Cor 7:14).

         FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 18. To those who murmur at the free grace
         of election and the  just  severity  of reprobation we answer
         with the apostle "But who  are  you,  O  man, to talk back to
         God?" (Rom 9:20),  and  quote  the  language  of  our Savior:
         "Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own?" (Matt
         20:15).  And  therefore,   with   holy   adoration  of  these
         mysteries, we exclaim in the  words  of the apostle: "Oh, the
         depth of the riches of the  wisdom  and knowledge of God! How
         unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
         'Who has known the  mind  of  the  Lord?  Or who has been his
         counselor?' 'Who has ever given to God, that God should repay
         him?' For from him and through him and to him are all things.
         To him be the glory forever! Amen." (Rom 11:33-36).


         The true doctrine concerning  election and reprobation having
         been explained, the Synod rejects the errors of those:

         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH 1. Who teach:  That  the will of God to
         save those who would believe and would persevere in faith and
         in the obedience of faith is  the  whole and entire decree of
         election, and that  nothing  else  concerning this decree has
         been revealed in God's Word.

         For these  deceive  the  simple  and  plainly  contradict the
         Scriptures, which declare that God  will  not only save those
         who will believe, but that  He  has also from eternity chosen
         certain particular persons  to  whom,  above  others, He will
         grant in time, both faith  in  Christ and perseverance; as it
         is written "I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out
         of the world. (John  17:6).  "and  all who were appointed for
         eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)". And "For he chose us in
         him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless
         in his sight. (Eph 1:4)."

         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH 2.  Who  teach:  That there are various
         kinds of election of God  unto  eternal life: the one general
         and indefinite, the other  particular  and definite; and that
         the  latter  in   turn   is   either  incomplete,  revocable,
         non-decisive,  and  conditional,  or  complete,  irrevocable,
         decisive, and absolute. Likewise:  That there is one election
         unto faith and another unto  salvation,  so that election can
         be unto justifying faith,  without  being a decisive election
         unto salvation.

         For this is a  fancy  of  men's minds, invented regardless of
         the  Scriptures,  whereby   the   doctrine   of  election  is
         corrupted, and this golden chain  of our salvation is broken:
         "And those he predestined, he  also  called; those he called,
         he also justified;  those  he  justified,  he also glorified.
         (Rom 8:30)."

         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH 3.  Who  teach:  That the good pleasure
         and purpose of God, of  which  Scripture makes mention in the
         doctrine of election,  does  not  consist  in  this, that God
         chose certain persons rather than  others,  but in this, that
         He chose out of all possible conditions (among which are also
         the works of the law), or  out  of the whole order of things,
         that act of faith which  from its very nature is undeserving,
         as well  as  it  incomplete  obedience,  as  a  condition  of
         salvation, and  that  He  would  graciously  consider this in
         itself as a complete  obedience  and  count  it worthy of the
         reward of eternal life.

         For by this  injurious  error  the  pleasure  of  God and the
         merits of Christ are made of  none  effect, and men are drawn
         away  by  useless  questions   from  the  truth  of  gracious
         justification and from the  simplicity of Scripture, and this
         declaration of the apostle  is  charged  as  untrue: "who has
         saved us and  called  us  to  a  holy  life,  not  because of
         anything we have  done  but  because  of  his own purpose and
         grace. This grace was  given  us  in  Christ Jesus before the
         beginning of time (2 Tim 1:9)."

         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH 4. Who teach: That in the election unto
         faith this condition is  beforehand  demanded that man should
         use the light of nature  aright,  be pious, humble, meek, and
         fit for eternal life, as if  on these things election were in
         any way dependent.

         For this savors of the  teaching  of Pelagius, and is opposed
         to the doctrine of the  apostle  when  he  writes: "All of us
         also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of
         our sinful nature  and  following  its  desires and thoughts.
         Like the  rest,  we  were  by  nature  objects  of wrath. But
         because of his great love for  us, God, who is rich in mercy,
         made  us  alive  with  Christ  even  when  we  were  dead  in
         transgressions--it is by grace you  have  been saved. And God
         raised us up  with  Christ  and  seated  us  with  him in the
         heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming
         ages he might  show  the  incomparable  riches  of his grace,
         expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by
         grace you have been saved,  through  faith--and this not from
         yourselves, it is the gift of  God-- not by works, so that no
         one can boast (Eph 2:3-9)."

         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH 5. Who  teach:  That the incomplete and
         non-decisive  election  of  particular  persons  to salvation
         occurred because of a  foreseen  faith, conversion, holiness,
         godliness, which either began or continued for some time; but
         that the complete and  decisive  election occurred because of
         foreseen perseverance  unto  the  end  in  faith, conversion,
         holiness, and godliness; and  that  this  is the gracious and
         evangelical worthiness, for  the  sake  of  which  he  who is
         chosen is more worthy than  he  who  is  not chosen; and that
         therefore faith, the obedience of faith, holiness, godliness,
         and perseverance are not  fruits of the unchangeable election
         unto  glory,  but  are   conditions   which,  being  required
         beforehand, were foreseen as being  met  by those who will be
         fully elected, and are  causes without which the unchangeable
         election to glory does not occur.

         This is repugnant to  the  entire Scripture, which constantly
         inculcates this and similar declarations: Election is "not by
         works but by him who  calls  (Rom  9:12)."  "And all who were
         appointed for eternal  life  believed  (Acts 13:48)." "For he
         chose us in him before the  creation  of the world to be holy
         and blameless in his  sight  (Eph  1:4)." "You did not choose
         me, but I chose you  and  appointed  you to go and bear fruit
         that will last. Then  the  Father  will give you whatever you
         ask in my name (John 15:16)." "And if by grace, then it is no
         longer by works (Rom 11:6)." "This is love: not that we loved
         God, but that he loved us and sent his Son (1 John 4:10)."

         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH 6. Who  teach:  That not every election
         unto salvation is unchangeable, but  that  some of the elect,
         any decree of  God  notwithstanding,  can  yet  perish and do
         indeed perish.

         By this gross error they  make God be changeable, and destroy
         the comfort which the  godly  obtain  out  of the firmness of
         their election,  and  contradict  the  Holy  Scripture, which
         teaches that the elect  can  not  be led astray (Matt 24:24),
         that Christ does  not  lose  those  whom  the Father gave him
         (John 6:39),  and  that  God  also  glorified  those  whom he
         foreordained, called, and justified (Rom 8:30).

         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH 7.  Who  teach:  That  there is in this
         life no fruit and no  consciousness of the unchangeable elect
         to glory, nor any certainty,  except  that which depends on a
         changeable and uncertain condition.

         For not only is it absurd to speak of an uncertain certainty,
         but also contrary to  the  experience  of  the saints, who by
         virtue of the  consciousness  of  their election rejoice with
         the apostle  and  praise  this  favor  of  God  (Eph  1); who
         according to Christ's admonition  rejoice  with his disciples
         that their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20); who also
         place the consciousness  of  their  election over against the
         fiery darts of the devil,  asking: "Who will bring any charge
         against those whom God has chosen? (Rom 8:33)."

         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH  8.  Who  teach:  That  God,  simply by
         virtue of His righteous will,  did not decide either to leave
         anyone in the fall of  Adam  and  in the common state sin and
         condemnation, or to pass  anyone  by  in the communication of
         grace which is necessary for faith and conversion.

         For this is firmly decreed: "God  has  mercy on whom he wants
         to have mercy, and he  hardens  whom  he wants to harden (Rom
         9:18)." And also this: "The  knowledge  of the secrets of the
         kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them (Mat
         13:11)." Likewise: "I praise you,  Father, Lord of heaven and
         earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and
         learned, and revealed them to  little children. Yes , Father,
         for this was your good pleasure (Mat 11:25-26)."

         FIRST HEAD: PARAGRAPH 9. Who  teach:  That the reason why God
         sends the gospel to one people  rather than to another is not
         merely and solely the  good  pleasure  of God, but rather the
         fact that one people is  better  and worthier than another to
         which the gospel is not communicated.

         For this Moses denies  ,  addressing  the people of Israel as
         follows: "To the LORD your  God  belong the heavens, even the
         highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. Yet the LORD
         set his affection on your  forefathers and loved them, and he
         chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is
         today (Deu 10:14-15)." And Christ said: "Woe to you, Korazin!
         Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in
         you had been performed  in  Tyre  and  Sidon, they would have
         repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes (Mat 11:21)."


         SECOND HEAD: ARTICLE 1. God  is  not only supremely merciful,
         but also supremely just. And  His justice requires (as He has
         revealed Himself in His Word) that our sins committed against
         His  infinite  majesty  should  be  punished,  not  only with
         temporal but with eternal punishments, both in body and soul;
         which we cannot escape,  unless  satisfaction  be made to the
         justice of God.

         SECOND HEAD: ARTICLE 2.  Since,  therefore,  we are unable to
         make that satisfaction  in  our  own  persons,  or to deliver
         ourselves from the wrath of God,  He  has been pleased of His
         infinite mercy to give His  only begotten Son for our Surety,
         who was made sin, and became a curse for us and in our stead,
         that He might  make  satisfaction  to  divine  justice on our

         SECOND HEAD: ARTICLE 3. The  death  of  the Son of God is the
         only and most perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for sin, and
         is of  infinite  worth  and  value,  abundantly sufficient to
         expiate the sins of the whole world.

         SECOND HEAD: ARTICLE 4. This  death is of such infinite value
         and dignity because the  person  who  submitted to it was not
         only begotten Son of  God,  of  the same eternal and infinite
         essence  with  the   Father   and   the  Holy  Spirit,  which
         qualifications were necessary to  constitute Him a Savior for
         us; and, moreover, because  it  was  attended with a sense of
         the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin.

         SECOND HEAD: ARTICLE 5. Moreover,  the  promise of the gospel
         is that  whosoever  believes  in  Christ  crucified shall not
         perish, but have  eternal  life.  This promise, together with
         the command to repent and  believe,  ought to be declared and
         published to all  nations,  and  to all persons promiscuously
         and without distinction, to whom God out of His good pleasure
         sends the gospel.

         SECOND HEAD: ARTICLE 6. And,  whereas  many who are called by
         the gospel do not repent nor believe in Christ, but perish in
         unbelief, this is not owing to any defect or insufficiency in
         the sacrifice offered by Christ upon the cross, but is wholly
         to be imputed to themselves.

         SECOND HEAD: ARTICLE 7. But as many as truly believe, and are
         delivered and  saved  from  sin  and  destruction through the
         death of Christ, are indebted  for this benefit solely to the
         grace of God given them  in  Christ from everlasting, and not
         to any merit of their own.

         SECOND HEAD: ARTICLE 8.  For  this  was the sovereign counsel
         and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father that the
         quickening and saving efficacy of  the most precious death of
         His Son should extend  to  all  the elect, for bestowing upon
         them alone the gift  of  justifying  faith,  thereby to bring
         them infallibly to salvation; that is, it was the will of God
         that Christ by the blood  of  the cross, whereby He confirmed
         the new  covenant,  should  effectually  redeem  out of every
         people, tribe, nation,  and  language,  all  those, and those
         only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation and given to
         Him by the Father;  that  He  should  confer upon them faith,
         which, together with all the  other  saving gifts of the Holy
         Spirit, He purchased for them by His death; should purge them
         from all sin,  both  original  and  actual, whether committed
         before or after  believing;  and  having faithfully preserved
         them even to the end,  should  at  last bring them, free from
         every spot and blemish, to the  enjoyment of glory in His own
         presence forever.

         SECOND  HEAD:  ARTICLE  9.   This  purpose,  proceeding  from
         everlasting love towards the elect, has from the beginning of
         the world to this day  been powerfully accomplished, and will
         henceforeward   still    continue    to    be   accomplished,
         notwithstanding all the ineffectual  opposition  of the gates
         of hell; so  that  the  elect  in  due  time  may be gathered
         together into one,  and  that  there  never  may be wanting a
         Church composed of believers, the foundation of which is laid
         in the  blood  of  christ;  which  may  stedfastly  love  and
         faithfully serve Him as its  Savior (who, as a bridegroom for
         his bride, laid down His life  for  them upon the cross); and
         which  may  celebrate  His   praises  here  and  through  all


         The true doctrine  having  been  explained, the Synod rejects
         the errors of those:

         SECOND HEAD: PARAGRAPH 1. Who  teach: That God the Father has
         ordained His Son to the death  of the cross without a certain
         and definite decree  to  save  any,  so  that  the necessity,
         profitableness, and worth of what christ merited by His death
         might have  existed,  and  might  remain  in  all  its  parts
         complete, perfect, and intact, even if the merited redemption
         had never in fact been applied to any person.

         For this doctrine tends to the despising of the wisdom of the
         Father and of the merits of  Jesus Christ, and is contrary to
         Scripture. For thus says our Savior:  "I lay down my life for
         the sheep ... and I  know  them.  (John  10:15, 27)." And the
         prophet Isaiah says concerning  the  Savior:  "Yet it was the
         Lord's will to crush him and  cause him to suffer, and though
         the LORD makes his life  a  guilt  offering,  he will see his
         offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will
         prosper in his hand  (Isa  53:10)." Finally, this contradicts
         the article  of  faith  according  to  which  we  believe the
         catholic Christian Church.

         SECOND HEAD: PARAGRAPH  2.  Who  teach:  That  it was not the
         purpose of the death of Christ that He should confirm the new
         covenant of grace through His  blood, but only that He should
         acquire for the Father the  mere  right to establish with man
         such a covenant as He  might  please,  whether of grace or of

         For this is repugnant to  Scripture which teaches that "Jesus
         has become the guarantee of a  better  covenant that is a new
         covenant ..." and that "it  never  takes effect while the one
         who made it is living. (Heb 7:22; 9:15, 17)."

         SECOND HEAD: PARAGRAPH  3.  Who  teach:  That  Christ  by His
         satisfaction merited neither  salvation  itself  for any one,
         nor faith, whereby this satisfaction of Christ unto salvation
         is effectually  appropriated;  but  that  He  merited for the
         Father only the authority or  the  perfect will to deal again
         with man, and to prescribe new conditions as He might desire,
         obedience to which, however,  depended  on  the  free will of
         man, so that it therefore might have come to pass that either
         none or all should fulfill these conditions.

         For these adjudge too contemptuously  of the death of Christ,
         in no wise acknowledge that  most  important fruit or benefit
         thereby gained and bring again  out  of the hell the Pelagian

         SECOND HEAD: PARAGRAPH 4. Who teach: That the new covenant of
         grace, which God the  Father,  through  the  mediation of the
         death of Christ, made with  man, does not herein consist that
         we by faith, in as much  as  it accepts the merits of Christ,
         are justified before God and saved, but in the fact that God,
         having revoked  the  demand  of  perfect  obedience of faith,
         regards faith itself  and  the  obedience  of faith, although
         imperfect, as the  perfect  obedience  of  the  law, and does
         esteem it  worthy  of  the  reward  of  eternal  life through

         For these contradict the Scriptures, being: "justified freely
         by his grace  through  the  redemption  that  came  by Christ
         Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through
         faith in his blood (Rom 3:24-25)." And these proclaim, as did
         the wicked Socinus, a  new  and  strange justification of man
         before God, against the consensus of the whole Church.

         SECOND HEAD: PARAGRAPH 5. Who  teach:  That all men have been
         accepted unto the state of  reconciliation and unto the grace
         of the covenant, so that no  one is worthy of condemnation on
         account of original sin, and  that  no one shall be condemned
         because of it,  but  that  all  are  free  from  the guilt of
         original sin.

         For this opinion is repugnant to Scripture which teaches that
         we are by nature children of wrath (Eph 2:3).

         SECOND HEAD:  PARAGRAPH  6.  Who  use  the difference between
         meriting and appropriating, to the  end  that they may instil
         into  the  minds  of  the  imprudent  and  inexperienced this
         teaching that God, as far as He is concerned, has been minded
         to apply to all equally the  benefits  gained by the death of
         Christ; but that, while  some  obtain  the  pardon of sin and
         eternal life, and others do  not,  this difference depends on
         their own free will, which joins  itself to the grace that is
         offered without exception, and  that  it  is not dependent on
         the special gift of  mercy,  which  powerfully works in them,
         that  they  rather  than   others   should  appropriate  unto
         themselves this grace.

         For  these,  while   they   feign   that  they  present  this
         distinction in a sound sense,  seek to instil into the people
         the destructive poison of the Pelagian errors.

         SECOND HEAD:  PARAGRAPH  7.  Who  teach:  That Christ neither
         could die, nor needed to die, and also did not die, for those
         whom God loved in the  highest  degree and elected to eternal
         life, since these do not need the death of Christ.

         For the contradict the  apostle, who declares, Christ: "loved
         me and gave himself for  me  (Gal 2:20)." Likewise: "Who will
         bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God
         who justifies. Who is  he  that  condemns?  Christ Jesus, who
         died (Rom 8:33-34)", namely,  for  them;  and  the Savior who
         says: "I lay down my life  for  the sheep (John 10:15)." And:
         "My command is this: Love  each  other  as  I have loved you.
         Greater love has no one than  this, that he lay down his life
         for his friends (John 15:12-13)."

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