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The Foundation of Principles

The Order of Salvation and Damnation by William Perkins (1558-1602)

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Election is God’s decree “whereby on his own free will, he hath ordained certain men to salvation, to the praise of the glory of his grace.” Reprobation is “that part of predestination, whereby God, according to the most free and just purpose of his will, hath determined to reject certain men unto eternal destruction, and misery, and that to the praise of his justice.”

The Foundation of the Christian Religion Gathered into Fixed Principles

The First Principle

Question: What doest thou believe concerning God?

Answer: There is one God, Creator, and Governor of all things, distinguished into the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.

Proofs out of the Word of God:

1. There is a God. “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Romans 1:20)” “Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. (Acts 14:17)”

2. This God is one. “As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. (1 Cor. 8:4)”

3. He is the Creator of all things. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Gen. 1:1) “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (Heb. 11:3)”

4. He is the Governor of all things. “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. (Prov. 15:3)” “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matt. 10:30)”

5. Distinguished into the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: (Matt. 3:16)” “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matt. 3:17)” “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1 John 5:7)”

The Second Principle

Question: What dost thou believe concerning man, and concerning thine own self?

Answer: All men are wholly corrupted with sin through Adam’s fall and so are become slaves of Satan, and guilty of eternal damnation.

Proofs out of the Word of God:

1. All men are corrupted with sin. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Rom. 3:10)”

2. They are wholly corrupted. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess. 5:23)” “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, (Eph. 4:17)” “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: (Eph. 4:18)” “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Gen. 6:5)”

3. Through Adam’s fall. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Rom. 5:12)”

4. And so are become salves of Satan. “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (Eph. 2:2)” “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; (Heb. 2:14)” “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Cor. 4:4)”

5. And guilty of eternal damnation. “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (Gal. 3:10)” “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (Rom. 5:18)”

The Third Principle

Question: What means is there for thee to escape this damnable estate?

Answer: Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, being made man, by His death upon the cross, and by His righteousness, hath perfectly alone by Himself, accomplished all things that are needful for the salvation of mankind.

Proofs out of the Word of God:

1. Christ Jesus the eternal Son of God. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)”

2. Being made man. “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. (Heb. 2:14)”

3. By His death upon the Cross. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)”

4. And by His righteousness. “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Rom. 5:19)” “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Cor. 5:21)”

5. Hath perfectly. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Heb. 7:25)”

6. Alone by Himself. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)”

7. Accomplished all things that are needful for the salvation of mankind. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)”

The Fourth Principal

Question: But how mayest thou be made partaker of Christ and His benefits?

Answer: A man of contrite and humble spirit, by faith alone, apprehending and applying Christ with all His merits unto himself, is justified before God, and sanctified.

Proofs out of the Word of God:

1. A man of contrite and humble spirit. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15)” “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psalm 51:17)”
2. By faith alone. “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. (Mark 5:36)” “And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. (Num. 21:19)” “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:14-15)”
3. Apprehending and applying Christ with all His merits unto himself. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John 1:12)” “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)”
4. Is justified before God. “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (Rom. 4:3)” “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. (Rom. 4:6-7)”
5. And sanctified. “And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. (Acts 15:9)” “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (1 Cor. 1:30)”

The Fifth Principle

Question: What the ordinary or useful means for the obtaining of faith?

Answer: Faith cometh only by the preaching of the Word, and increaseth daily by it; as also by the administration of the Sacraments and prayer.

Proofs out of the Word of God:

1. Faith cometh only by the preaching of the Word, and increaseth daily by it. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (Rom. 10:14)” “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (Prov. 29:18)” “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. (Hosea 4:8)”
2. As also by the administration of the Sacraments. “And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: (Rom. 4:11)” “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; (1 Cor. 10:1)”
3. And prayer. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Rom. 10:13)”

The Sixth Principle

Question: What is the estate of all men after death?

Answer: All men shall rise again with their own bodies, to the last judgment, which being ended; the godly shall possess the Kingdom of Heaven; but unbelievers and reprobates shall be in hell, tormented with the devil and his angels forever.

Proofs out of the Word of God:

1. All men shall rise again with their own bodies. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28-29)”
2. To the last judgment. “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Eccl. 12:14)” “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Matt. 12:36)”
3. Which being ended; the godly. “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (2 Pet. 2:7)” “And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. (Ezek. 9:4)”
4. Shall possess the Kingdom of Heaven. “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (Matt. 25:34)”
5. But unbelievers and reprobates shall be in hell, tormented with the devil and his angels forever. “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (Matt. 25:41)”

The Scripture proofs were only quoted by the author, to move thee to search them: the words themselves I have expressed at the earnest request of many, that thou mayest more easily learn them; if yet thou wilt be ignorant, thy malice is evident; if thou gainest knowledge, give God the glory in the doing of His will. Thine T.S.

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