Teachings of Menno Simons | 2

6. The Incarnation

Faithful reader, observe; just as I do not comprehend the almighty, only and eternal God

in His divine nature, in the dominion of His glory, in the creation and preservation of His creatures, in the recompensation of both the good and the evil, and in many of His works,

yet I do truly believe in Him as such, and for this reason:

because the Scripture teaches it, so likewise I cannot comprehend how, or in what manner the incomprehensible, eternal Word became flesh, or man, in Mary. Nevertheless, I do truly believe that He became man because the Scripture teaches it.

Inasmuch as we clearly find and know that the Holy Ghost has not revealed this mystery [of the Incarnation] in the Scriptures that He has not revealed it unto us in any manner,

neither by any prophet. nor apostle, nor by the Son Himself, and inasmuch as it is manifest that it cannot be fathomed by reason . . .

and besides we learn from history and find in our own time that many sharp eyes have been blinded by this impenetrable brightness,

therefore I warn all pious hearts that would walk with a clear conscience before their God, not to speculate about this ineffable and indescribable majesty of the incomprehensible, eternal Godhead,

and not to conclude, assert, teach or maintain above that which the Holy Spirit has revealed and taught us in His holy word.

And therefore I say that I do not at all undertake to reason out this incomprehensible point, but will follow the word of my Lord which is quite clear in this instance.

7. The Holy Ghost

As we have now pointed out and confessed our faith and doctrine of the true divinity of Christ, we will also now, by the grace of God, set forth in few words our faith and confession of the Holy Ghost. Let the God-fearing judge:

We believe and confess the Holy Ghost to be a true, real, or personal Holy Ghost, and this in a divine sense - even as the Father is truly Father and the Son truly Son; which Holy Ghost is [in His nature] incomprehensible, inexpressible and indescribable, as we have also testified of the Father and the Son.

He is divine in His attributes, proceeding from the Father through the Son, although He ever remains with God and in God and is never separated in His nature from the Father and the Son.

And the reason why we confess Him to be such a true and personal Holy Spirit is, because we are impelled to it by the Scriptures.

He guides us into all truth; He justifies us; He cleanses, sanctifies, pacifies, consoles, reproves, cheers and assures us; He testifies to our spirit that we are the children of God.

- Yea, my brethren, from these plain Scriptures, testimonies and references and a great many other texts which are too lengthy to quote, and which may be found in the Scriptures and read,

we believe the Holy Ghost to be the true Spirit of God who adorns us with His heavenly and divine gifts, frees us from sin, makes us cheerful, peaceful, pious, satisfies our hearts and minds and makes us holy in Christ Jesus.

8. Sin

As Adam and Eve, then, were bitten and poisoned by the infernal serpent and became of sinful nature, and would have been subject to eternal death if God had not again accepted them in grace through Christ Jesus, so also all we who are born of them, are by birth of a sinful nature.

- We cannot be delivered therefrom (we speak of those who have come to years of understanding and have committed sin), unless we accept Christ Jesus, the only and eternal means of grace, by true and unfeigned faith,

and thus look upon the brazen serpent which is lifted up by God, our heavenly Father, as a sign of salvation for us poisoned sinners (Num. 21:9; John 3:14; 8:28).

Wherever these two, namely original sin - the mother - and actual sins - the fruits - are in evidence and in power, there is neither forgiveness nor promise of life, but there abide wrath and death, unless they are repented of, as the Scriptures teach.

If this inherent sin is to lose its strength in us and actual sin be forgiven, we must believe the word of the Lord, be born again by faith,

and in the strength of this new birth, through true repentance, resist the inherent sin, die unto actual sin and be spiritually minded.

I did not know my condition as long as it was not pointed out to me by Thy Spirit:

I thought I was a Christian, but when I proved myself rightly, I realized that I was quite earthly, carnal and without Thy Word.

- O, dear Lord, I knew myself not till I viewed myself in Thy Word; then I learned to know with Paul my blindness, nakedness, uncleanness, depraved nature, and that nothing good dwelt in my flesh.

And although such wilful blasphemy and sin had no offering in Israel and the sin against the Holy Ghost has no forgiveness, as Christ says,

yet I would pray and advise all the God-fearing, as far as I am able, that if any should after his confession and baptism again fall into open works of the flesh, vice and deadly blasphemy and persist in the same,

they should consider the matter in all wisdom and not pass an unseasonable and undue sentence;

for the Lord to whom nothing is concealed knows what sin was committed; whether he has sinned against the Holy Ghost or not;

but let them admonish such according to the word of the Lord:

If he be converted, if he show true fruits of repentance according to the Scriptures, if he again give evidence of a broken, contrite and penitent heart, of a peaceful, joyous and upright mind, then it is manifest that he did not commit the sin against the Holy Ghost.

But if he remain unrepentant, continue in his perverseness, and wantonly despise Christ and His Word to the end, then his works show clearly what sin he has committed, and that his end and reward will be death.

Behold, kind reader, thus we believe that all sins, both inward and outward, have their reconciliation in the merits and the power of the Word of the Lord, if truly repented of, according to the Scriptures.

9. The Law

Wherever the law is preached rightly and the hearer takes it to heart by faith, it manifests its nature and power.

There we find a contrite mind, a repenting, humble heart, a conscience which trembles before the word of God, and the true fear of God which quenches, subdues and drives out sin, as Sirach says.

For this is the real work and object of the law:

To reveal unto us the will of God, indicate our sin, threaten us with the Lord's wrath and punishment, to announce death and to point us to Christ,

that we may be truly humbled in heart before God's countenance, die unto sin and seek and find the only and eternal medicine and remedy for our souls, Jesus Christ.

10. The Atonement

Therefore the incomprehensible, eternal Word through whom Adam and Eve were created, by whom all things are and must forever remain, the almighty power and wisdom of God,

must become man that He might bruise the head of the deceiving serpent, for the salvation of the condemned Adam and all his descendants; that he might overcome in temptation, fulfil the holy and unchangeable will of the Father;

that the dominion and power of the devil might be destroyed, and that He might by His willing obedience and spotless offering pay the great debt of Adam and put away deserved death by His undeserved death.

I think this may well be called a joyous Gospel and glad tidings to all convicted and troubled souls

who, through the law, have been brought to a knowledge of their sin and know that they are in danger of eternal death, who tremble before the righteous judgment and wrath of God

- that the almighty, eternal God and Father has so loved us poor, perishing sinners who were so far estranged from Him and according to His righteous judgment had deserved eternal death,

that He sent into this world His almighty, eternal Word, His only, eternal and beloved Son, the brightness of His glory, as a poor mortal man, like unto Adam before the fall, as a proof and means of His grace;

and that He through His perfect righteousness, willing obedience and innocent death, has brought us from the kingdom and dominion of Satan into the kingdom of His divine grace and eternal peace.

There will in eternity be found no other remedy for our sins, neither in heaven nor upon earth, neither works, merits nor ordinances (even though they are observed according to the Scriptures),

neither persecution nor tribulation, neither the innocent blood of the saints, nor angels, nor men, nor any other means,

but alone the immaculate blood of the Lamb which out of pure grace, mercy and love was shed once for all for the remission of our sins.

They all seek some remedy for their sins, but the only true remedy, Christ, they do not recognize;

they have therefore contrived so many remedies that we can neither describe nor relate them all, such as the Roman indulgences, holy water, fastings, confessions, masses, pilgrimages, infant baptism, bread and wine, etc.

My dear reader, the truth we testify to you in Christ; you may believe, do, hope and seek where and what you choose,

we are assured that you will in eternity find no other remedy for your sins which will avail before God, than the one we have pointed out to you, which is Jesus Christ, else all Scripture must be erroneous and false.

All those, therefore, that seek other remedies for their sins, however great and holy they may appear, than the remedy provided by God alone, deny the Lord's death, which He suffered for us, and His innocent blood which He shed for us.

For how could God show and express His love to us more perfectly than that He sent His eternal wisdom and truth, His pure, powerful Word, His blessed Son by whom He created all things, who was like unto Him, and His image,

and made Him lower than the angels, a poor, despised, suffering, mortal man and servant who alone had to bear the labour, transgression, curse and death of the whole world.

Yea, He so humbled Himself that He became the most despised of men. (I Pet 2:24; Isa. 53:6).

- Say, beloved, who ever heard of greater love?