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Chapter 14. What Works are Reputed Good before God

We confess and acknowledge that God has given to man his holy law, in which not only are forbidden all such works as displease and offend his godly Majesty, but also are commanded all such as please him, and as he has promised to reward.8888Ex. 20:3, etc.; Deut. 5:6, etc.; 4:8. And these works are of two sorts: the one are done to the honour of God, the other to the profit of our neighbours; and both have the revealed will of God for their assurance.

To have one God; to worship and honour him; to call upon him in all our troubles; to reverence his holy name; to hear his word; to believe the same; to communicate with his holy sacraments, are the works of the first table.8989Luke 10:27-28; Micah 6:8. To honour father, mother, princes, rulers, and superior powers; to love them, to support them, yea, to obey their charges (not repugning to the commandment of God); to save the lives of innocents; to repress tyranny; to defend the oppressed; to keep our bodies clean and holy; to live in sobriety and temperance; to deal justly with all men, both in word and in deed; and, finally, to repress all appetite of our neighbour's hurt,9090Eph. 6:1,7; Ezek. 22:1,etc.; 1Cor. 6:19-20; 1 Thess. 4:3-7;Jer. 22:3, etc.; Isa. 50:1, etc.; 1 Thess. 4:6. are the good works of the second table, which are most pleasing and acceptable unto God, as those works that are commanded by himself.

The contrary whereof is sin most odious, which always displeases him, and provokes him to anger: as, not to call upon him alone, when we have need; not to hear his word with reverence; to contemn and despise it; to have or to worship idols; to maintain and defend idolatry; lightly to esteem the reverent name of God; to profane, abuse, or contemn the sacraments of Christ Jesus; to disobey or resist any that God has placed in authority (while they pass not over the bounds of their office);9191Rom. 13:2. to murder, or to consent thereto; to bear hatred, or to suffer innocent blood to be shed if we may gainstand it;9292Ezek. 22:13, etc. and, finally, the transgressing of any other commandment in the first or second table, we confess and affirm to be sin,93931 John 3:4. by the which God's anger and displeasure are kindled against the proud and unthankful world. So that good works we affirm to be these only that are done in faith,9494Rom. 14:23; Heb. 11:6. at God's commandment,95951 Sam. 15:22; 1 Cor. 10:31. who in his law has expressed what be the things that please him. And evil works, we affirm not only those that expressedly are done against God's commandment,96961 John 3:4. but those also that, in matters of religion and worshipping of God, have no other assurance but the invention and opinion of man: which God from the beginning has ever rejected, as by the prophet Isaiah,9797Isa. 29:13. and by our master Christ Jesus, we are taught in these words: In vain do they worship me, teaching the doctrines and precepts of men.9898Matt. 15:9.; Mark 7:7.

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