Thursday, March 30, 2017

2nd Helvetic Confes.

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CHAPTER V

Of The Adoration, Worship and Invocation
of God Through The Only Mediator Jesus Christ

GOD ALONE IS TO BE ADORED AND WORSHIPPED. We teach that the true God alone is to be adored and worshipped. This honor we impart to none other, according to the commandment of the Lord, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve” (Math. 4:10). Indeed, all the prophets severely inveighed against the people of Israel whenever they adored and worshipped strange gods, and not the only true God. But we teach that God is to be adored and worshipped as he himself has taught us to worship, namely, “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23 f.), not with any superstition, but with sincerity, according to his Word; lest at anytime he should say to us: “Who has required these things from your hands?” (Isa. 1:12; Jer. 6:20). For Paul also says: “God is not served by human hands, as though he needed anything,” etc. (Acts 17:25).

GOD ALONE IS TO BE INVOKED THROUGH THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST ALONE. In all crises and trials of our life we call upon him alone, and that by the mediation of our only mediator and intercessor, Jesus Christ. For we have been explicitly commanded: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Ps. 1:15). Moreover, we have a most generous promise from the Lord Who said: “If you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you” (John 16:23), and: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest: (Matt 11:28). And since it is written: “How are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed?” (Rom. 10:14), and since we do believe in God alone, we assuredly call upon him alone, and we do so through Christ. For as the apostle says, “There is one God and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus? (I Tim. 2:5), and, “If any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,” etc. (I John 2:1).

THE SAINTS ARE NOT TO BE ADORED, WORSHIPPED OR INVOKED. For this reason we do not adore, worship, or pray to the saints in heaven, or to other gods, and we do not acknowledge them as our intercessors or mediators before the Father in heaven. For God and Christ the Mediator are sufficient for us; neither do we give to others the honor that is due to God alone and to his Son, because he has expressly said: “My glory I give to no other: (Isa. 42:8), and because Peter has said: “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved,” except the name of Christ (Acts 4:12). In him, those who give their assent by faith do not seek anything outside Christ.

THE DUE HONOR TO BE RENDERED TO THE SAINTS. At the same time we do not despise the saints or think basely of them. For we acknowledge them to be living members of Christ and friends of God who have gloriously overcome the flesh and the world. Hence we love them as brothers, and also honor them; yet not with any kind of worship but by an honorable opinion of them and just praises of them. We also imitate them. For with ardent longings and supplications we earnestly desire to be imitators of their faith and virtues, to share eternal salvation with them, to dwell eternally with them in the presence of God, and to rejoice with them in Christ. And in this respect we approve of the opinion of St. Augustine in De Vera Religione: “Let not our religion be the cult of men who have died. For if they have lived holy lives, they are not to be thought of as seeking such honors; on the contrary, they want us to worship him by whose illumination they rejoice that we are fellow-servants of his merits. They are therefore to be honored by the way of imitation, but not to be adored in a religious manner,” etc.

RELICS OF THE SAINTS. Much less do we believe that the relics of the saints are to be adored and reverenced. Those ancient saints seemed to have sufficiently honored their dead when they decently committed their remains to the earth after the spirit had ascended on high. And they thought that the most noble relics of their ancestors were their virtues, their doctrine, and their faith. Moreover, as they commend these “relics” when praising the dead, so they strive to copy them during their life on earth.

SWEARING BY GOD’S NAME ALONE. These ancient men did not swear except by the name of the only God, Yahweh, as prescribed by the divine law. Therefore, as it is forbidden to swear by the names of strange gods (Ex. 23:;13; Deut. 10:20), so we do not perform oaths to the saints that are demanded of us. We therefore reject in all these matters a doctrine that ascribes much too much to the saints in heaven.

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