323. THE PETERNOT PROFESSION.
A brief description of the profession of the Christian faith, agreed upon and made at Peternot, commonly called Prethan Plegatose, of the kingdom of Poland; the third of May, A. D. 1555: translated out of Latin into English.
"All men have their beginning and be born in sin, and all men's understandings be as darkness, so that we cannot have a thought, not only of God, but neither of ourselves; wherefore God gave the Ten Commandments of the Law, that, by them, our blind eyes, as it were, might be opened and made bright, and by the same we might know man's infirmity.
"Therefore Christ came that he might manifest God unto us, and his will: wherefore Christ is the light of this world, whom whoso followeth, and swerveth not from his word, he walketh in the eternal light.
"This only Doctor and Schoolmaster, that eternal God of the world commanded us to hear and follow, forasmuch as that Son of God cannot lie; and whosoever follow not his word, although they be most mighty and wise, they all be liars.
"He hath manifested unto us all things that seem to pertain unto eternal salvation; without him, no man may be acceptable before God
"Unto him all the prophets do ascribe and bear witness that such as believe in the Son are blessed: he alone hath made us free from the wrath of God, because, by our works, we deserve not the same, neither is there any thing under heaven that may save us besides him.
"Therefore whosoever doth attribute salvation and due praises to any other, but only to Christ, is guilty of blasphemy against God.
"This the Son of God doth attribute to the merit of his passion by the gospel, (which ought to be preached unto every person in his own mother tongue,) and, by the sacraments, unto the believers of his word: that is, by baptism, and by the use of his body and blood which was shed for the remission of our sins.
"In these sacraments the covenant of the Lord is sealed up unto us, which, whosoever will change, is accursed.
"In none other place verily we find a sacrament, but where it is tied to the word of God: for the traditions of men not agreeing to the word be idolatries; specially when they be set in God's place.
"This also we have learned out of the commandments of Christ, that only God is to be worshipped, who alone is the searcher of the hearts; which is proper to no creature; and we have a commandment in the old law: He that worshippeth another God besides this, let him suffer death. Unto this God we have none other Mediator and Intercessor, besides Jesus Christ. It is evident therefore that God is not bound by the word unto images and figures.
"The sacrament of baptism and of the Lord's supper do offer unto the believers the remission of sins; besides these the Christians use none other.
"Other godly ordinances, as matrimony, the confirmation of the ministers of the church, [&c.,] do not bring unto us the remission of sins, which be inferior dignities; albeit we do not despise them. We deny that oblation should be made for the dead; for if, when they were alive, they knew and praised God, where they ought, they are saved; otherwise, contrary, the masses and diriges, and such other trifles, can do them no good. Of this the word of God testifieth: He that believeth in the Son of God shall not be damned.
"Paul forbiddeth us to be careful for them that be dead. While we are in this world it is certain we may help one another as well with prayers as with counsels, but when we shall come before the throne of God, neither Job, neither Daniel, neither Noah, shall pray for any person, but every man shall bear his own burden. Here life is either lost or gotten; here provision is made for us of eternal salvation, by the worship of God, and by faith: after this life there is no place of repentance, neither of any satisfaction. There is none other place but in this life to correct our affections and manners, for after this life every person shall have that, which, in the same, he hath purchased to himself.
"All the catholic faith, by the authority of Scripture, believeth the kingdom of heaven to be the first place from whence he that is not baptized is to be excluded utterly: we acknowledge no third place, yea, neither do we find it to be in the Holy Scriptures.
"We hold God's most holy word and commandment; but of the traditions of men, this God speaketh: They worship me in vain, teaching the doctrines and commandments of men. Also, Every plantation which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted out."