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I. Of the Holy Scripture.

James Dodson

CHAPTER. I.-Of the Holy Scripture.

1. 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[a]; yet they are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation.[b] Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church;[c] 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:[d] which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary[e]; those former ways of God's revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.[f] 
2. 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:



1 Samuel
2 Samuel

1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles

The Song of Songs





The Gospels according to
The Acts of the Apostles

Paul's Epistles to the Romans
Corinthians 1
Corinthians 2
Thessalonians 1

Thessalonians 2
To Timothy 1
To Timothy 2
To Titus
To Philemon
The Epistle to the Hebrews
The Epistle of James

The first and second Epistles of Peter
The first, second, and third Epistles of John
The Epistle of Jude
The Revelation of John

All which are given by inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.[g] 
3. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.[h] 
4. 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.[i] 
5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to a high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture.[k] 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.[l] 
6. 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.[m] 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:[n] and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.[o] 
7. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all:[p] 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. [q] 
8. 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;[r] so as, in all controversies of religion,the Church is finally to appeal unto them.[s] 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,[t] therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come,[u] that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner;[w] and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.[x] 
9. 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 must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.[y] 
10. The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined and in whose sentence we are to rest; can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.[z] 


(a) Rom. 2:14, 15; Rom. 1:19, 20; Ps. 19:1, 2, 3; Rom. 1:32, with chap. 2:1.  

(b) I Cor. 1:21; I Cor. 2:13, 14.  

(c) Heb. 1:1.  

(d) Prov. 22:19, 20, 21; Luke 1:3, 4; Rom. 15:4; Matt. 4:4, 7, 10; Isa. 8:19, 20.  

(e) II Tim. 3:15; II Pet. 1:19.  

(f) Heb. 1:1, 2.  

(g) Luke 16:29, 31; Eph. 2:20; Rev. 22:18, 19; II Tim. 3:16. 

(h) Luke 24:27, 44; Rom. 3:2; II Pet. 1:21.  

(i) II Pet. 1:19, 21; II Tim. 3:16; I John 5:9; I Thess. 2:13.  

(k) I Tim. 3:15.  

(l) I John 2:20, 27; John 16:13, 14; I Cor. 2:10, 11, 12; Isa. 59:21.  

(m) II Tim. 3:15, 16, 17; Gal. 1:8, 9; II Thess. 2:2.  

(n) John 6:45, I Cor. 2:9-12.  

(o) I Cor. 11:13, 14; I Cor. 14:26, 40.  

(p) II Pet. 3:16.  

(q) Psalm 119:105, 130.  

(r) Matt. 5:18. 

(s) Isa. 8:20; Acts 15:15; John 5:39, 46. 

(t) John 5:39. 

(u) I Cor. 14:6, 9, 11, 12, 24, 27, 28. 

(w) Col. 3:16. 

(x) Rom. 15:4. 

(y) II Pet. 1:20, 21; Acts 15:15, 16.  

(z) Matt. 22:29, 31; Eph. 2:20 with Acts 28:25.   

II. Of God, and of the Holy Trinity.

James Dodson

Chapter II.-Of God, and of the Holy Trinity.

1. There is but one only[a], living, and true God[b]: who is infinite in being and perfection[c], a most pure spirit[d], invisible[e], without body, parts[f], or passions[g], immutable[h], immense[i], eternal[k], incomprehensible[l], almighty[m], most wise[n], most holy[o], most free[p], most absolute[q], working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will[r], for His own glory[s]; most loving[t], gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin[u]; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him[w]; and withal, most just and terrible in His judgments[x], hating all sin[y], and who will by no means clear the guilty[z]. 
II. God hath all life[a], glory[b], goodness[c], blessedness[d], in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He hath made[e], nor deriving any glory from them[f], but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them: He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things[g]; and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleaseth[h]. In His sight all things are open and manifest[i]; His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature[k], so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain[l]. He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands[m]. To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them[n]. 
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[o]. The Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding: the Son is eternally begotten of the Father[p]: the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son[q]. 


(a) Deut. 6:4; I Cor. 8:4, 6.  

(b) I Thess. 1:9; Jer. 10:10.  

(c) Job 11:7, 8, 9; Job 26:14.  

(d) John 4:24.  

(e) I Tim. 1:17.  

(f) Deut. 4:15, 16; John 4:24, with Luke 24:39.  

(g) Acts 14:11, 15.  

(h) James 1:17; Mal. 3:6.  

(i) I Kings 8:27; Jer. 23:23, 24.  

(k) Ps. 90:2; I Tim. 1:17.  

(l) Ps. 145:3. 

(m) Gen. 17:1; Rev. 4:8.  

(n) Rom. 16:27.  

(o) Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8.  

(p) Ps. 115:3. 

(q) Exod. 3:14.  

(r) Eph. 1:11.  

(s) Prov. 16:4; Rom. 11:36.  

(t) I John 4:8, 16.  

(u) Exod. 34:6, 7.  

(w) Heb. 11:6.  

(x) Neh. 9:32, 33.  

(y) Ps. 5:5, 6.  

(z) Nah. 1:2, 3; Exod. 34:7.  

(a) John 5:26.  

(b) Acts 7:2.  

(c) Ps. 119:68. 

(d) I Tim. 6:15; Rom. 9:5.  

(e) Acts 17:24, 25.  

(f) Job 22:2, 3.  

(g) Rom 11:36. 

(h) Rev. 4:11; I Tim. 6:15; Dan. 4:25, 35.  

(i) Heb. 4:13.  

(k) Rom. 11:33, 34; Ps. 147:5.  

(l) Acts 15:18; Ezek. 11:5.  

(m) Ps. 145:17; Rom. 7:12.  

(n) Rev. 5:12, 13, 14.  

(o) I John 5:7; Matt. 3:16, 17; Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14. 

(p) John 1:14, 18.  

(q) John 15:26; Gal. 4:6. 

VII. Of God's Covenant with Man.

James Dodson

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 condescension on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant[a]. 
II. The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works[b], wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity[c], upon condition of perfect and personal obedience[d]. 
III. Man by his fall having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second[e], commonly called the Covenant of Grace: whereby he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved[f]; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe[g].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[h]. 
V. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel[i]; 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 foresignifying Christ to come[k], 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[l], by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the Old Testament[m]. 
VI. Under the gospel, when Christ the substance[n] 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[o], 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[p], to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles[q]; and is called the New Testament[r].  There are not therefore two covenants of grace differing in substance, but one and the same under various dispensations[s]. 


(a) Isa. 40:13-17; Job 9:32,33; 1 Sam. 2:25; Ps. 113:5,6; Ps. 100:2,3; Job 22:2,3; Job 30:7,8; Luke 17:10; Acts 17:24,25.  

(b) Gal. 3:12.  

(c) Rom. 10:5; Rom. 5:12-20.  

(d) Gen. 2:17; Gal. 3:10.  

(e) Gal. 3:21; Rom. 8:3; Rom. 3:20,21; Gen. 3:15; Isa. 42:6.  

(f) Mark 16:15,16; John 3:16; Rom. 10:6,9; Gal. 3:11.  

(g) Ezek. 36:26,27; John 6:44,45.  

(h) Heb. 9:15-17; Heb. 7:22; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25.  

(i) 2 Cor. 3:6-9.  

(k) Heb. chapters 8,9,10; Rom. 4:11; Col. 2:11,12; 1 Cor. 5:7.  

(l) 1 Cor. 10:1-3; Heb. 11:13; John 8:56. 

(m) Gal. 3:7-9,14.  

(n) Col. 2:17.  

(o) Matt. 28:19,20; 1 Cor. 11:23-25.  

(p) Heb. 12:22-27; Jer. 31:33,34. 

(q) Matt. 28:19; Eph. 2:15-19.  

(r) Luke 22:20.  

(s) Gal. 3:14,16; Acts 15:11; Rom. 3:21-23,30; Ps. 32:1 with Rom. 4:3,6,16,17,23,24; Heb. 13:8.   


XXVIII. Of Baptism.

James Dodson

Chapter XXVIII.-Of Baptism.

I. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ[a], not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible church[b], but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace[c], of his ingrafting into Christ[d], of regeneration[e], of remission of sins[f], and of his giving up unto God through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life[g]: which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in his church until the end of the world[h]. 
II. The outward element to be used in this 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[i]. 
III. Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person[k].IV. Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ[l], but also the infants of one or both believing parents are to be baptized[m]. 
V. Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance[n], yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated or saved without it[o], or that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated[p]. 
VI. The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered[q]; yet notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, 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[r].VII. The sacrament of baptism is but once to be administered to any person[s]. 


(a) Matt. 28:19.  

(b) 1 Cor. 12:13.  

(c) Rom. 4:11; Col. 2:11, 12.  

(d) Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:5.  

(e) Tit. 3:5.  

(f) Mark 1:4.  

(g) Rom. 6:3, 4.  

(h) Matt. 28:19, 20.  

(i) Matt. 3:11; John 1:33; Matt. 28:19, 20.  

(k) Heb. 9:10, 19-22; Acts 2:41; Acts 16:33; Mark 7:4.  

(l) Mark 16:15, 16; Acts 8:37, 38. 

(m) Gen. 17:7, 9; Gal. 3:9, 14; Col. 2:11, 12; Acts 2:38, 39; Rom. 4:11, 12; 1 Cor. 7:14; Matt. 28:19; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15.  

(n) Luke 7:30; Ex. 4:24-26.  

(o) Rom. 4:11; Acts 10:2, 4, 22, 31, 45, 47.  

(p) Acts 8:13, 23. 

(q) John 3:5, 8.  

(r) Gal. 3:27; Tit. 3:5; Eph. 5:25, 26; Acts 2:38, 41.  

(s) Tit. 3:5.