Thanks to our Brother In The Lord Elder Ron Pound for his labor of love in scanning this rare work.
"To God be The Glory"
CONFESSION OF FAITH
OF SEVEN CONGREGATIONS OR CHURCHES OF CHRIST IN LONDON, WHICH
ARE COMMONLY (BUT UNJUSTLY)
FOR THE VINDICATION OF THE TRUTH, AND INFORMATION OF THE IGNORANT; LIKE
WISE FOR THE TAKING OFF OF THOSE ASPERSIONS WHICH ARE FREQUENTLY BOTH IN
PULPIT AND PRINT UNJUSTLY CAST UPON THEM.
But this I confess unto thee, that after the way
which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my Fathers, believing all
things that are written in the Law and the Prophets, and have hope towards
God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of
(the) dead both of the just and the unjust.
Acts 24: 14,15.
For we cannot but speak the things that we have seen and heard.
Acts 4: 20.
If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why
smitest thou me? John 18:
THE SECOND IMPRESSION
CORRECTED AND ENLARGED.
ACCORDING TO ORDER
BY MATT. SIMMOS,
AND ARE TO BE SOLD BY
JOHN HANCOCK IN POPES-HEAD ALLEY,
TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE THE
BURGESSES IN PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED.
Right Honorable and most Noble Patriots,
In as much as there hath been a Book (Doctor Featley's Book
dedicated to the Parliament.) lately presented unto you, in whose Dedicatory
Epistle there are many heinous accusations unjustly and falsely laid against
us, we conceived it necessary to make some declaration of our innocency, and
(to that end) humbly to present unto your view this our Confession of Faith.
Here we unfainedly declare, what in
our hearts we judge, and what we teach, and according to this Rule we desire
and endeavour, through the grace of God, to lead our lives. This
Confession of our Faith we send forth to speak the
truth for us, and so to make our innocency to appeare; desiring that
the same light may guide others also to the same way of truth and of obedience
both to God and to the Magistrate, who is the Minister of God to us for good.
We hope your Honours will permit us to speak with modesty in our just defence.
And when any shall provoke you to lift up a hand against us, we desire you may
seriously consider Gamaliel's counsel in Acts
5. We take no thought for ourselves, for the Lord our God is
all-sufficient; but we desire and pray that you may do no thing against
Christ, neither in His members, nor in His ordinances, that there may be no
wrath upon you from the Lord, but that you knowing the innocent, and
protecting them according to the will of God, may for the same be famous unto
all generations, and the memorial of your names may be precious among the
Saints till the coming of King Jesus.
(PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION)
To the judicious and impartial Reader.
It is no wonder if it seem strange to thee, that
we should publish a
confession of our faith, who are
frequently termed to be heretics and
schismatics, and what not, though unjustly; neither is it any discouragement
unto us, though this sect (as they call the Anabaptists)
is everywhere spoken
against, Acts xxviii. 22; and in
that we are charged (for Christ's
name sake) with the same things
our Lord Jesus Christ and His
apostles were accused of. It is a
mercy, an honor, and a comfort unto us, rejoice
and be exceeding glad, for great
is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted they the prophets that were before
you. Matt. v. 11,12. The disciple
is not above his master, nor the servant above his Lord; it is enough for the
disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his Lord.
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more
shall they call them of his household? Matt.
x. 24,25. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated
you: if ye were of the world, the world would love her own, but because ye are
not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore, the world
hateth you. The servant is not
greater than the Lord: if they
have persecuted me, they will also persecute you, & c.
All these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they
know not him that sent me; yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus
shall suffer persecution: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of
Christ's sufferings, that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad
also with exceeding joy. John xv. 18, 19, 20, 21; see Acts xxi. 28, 30, 31; and xiv. 22; 2
Tim. iii. 12; I Pet. iv. 13.
Our Lord Jesus was accused to be a seditious and mutinous fellow; Luke
xxiii. 25. Paul was called a
pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition, and a ringleader of the sect of
Nazarenes, Acts xxiv. 1,5,6,8; xviii. 13; saying, Away with such a fellow, for
it is not fit he should live; saying, This
fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.
And our Lord Jesus Christ was accused of perverting the people, and
forbidding to give tribute to Ceaser; and
that He and His disciples did teach novelties, and brake the traditions of the
elders. Luke xxiii. 2,14;
Matt. xv. 1-9. Christ was accused to have a devil, and to be mad; saying
to the people, Why do ye hear him? John
x. 20. Paul was esteemed to
be mad: also they said, What will this
babler say and that he taught a new doctrine, Acts
xxvi. 24, 25; xvii.18,19. And Christ was accused to
speak blasphemy, and they all condemned him to be guilty of death, Mark
xiv. 64. So some are offended at us for meeting in houses to preach,
and would have us punished for it; notwithstanding, it was Christ's and
His apostles' practice to do so, whose example we are to follow.
Christ taught upon a mountain, and
in a ship. Paul preached from
house to house. Also the church met together in an upper room, where Peter
preached; and Paul preached, and converted Lydia by the river side;
the disciples met together in the night in an upper room;
Paul preached two years in
an hired house, and received all that came unto him.
Matt. v. 1, 2; and xiii. 2; Acts xx.20; i.13,15,16; ii.2; xvi. 13, 14;
xx. 7,8,9; xxviii. 30,31.
If he had lived in these days and done so, it is to be feared some
would have petitioned against him. So
some accuse us to be disturbers of the peace of the commonwealth; yet all that
know us can testify for us, that we meet together and depart
in a peaceable manner. And from Acts xvii. 5,6,7, it will appear, what person they
were that disturbed the public peace; it is fit such persons should be taken
notice of and accordingly punished.
So we are blamed, because we frequent not their temples. We dare not
trust in lying words, saying, The
temple of the Lord, the temple of
the Lord, are these. We know the
Most High dwelleth not in temples made
with hands; and that we are the temple of the living God; and that our bodies
are the temples of the Holy Ghost; and that Christ's church is not built with
dead stones. Acts vii. 48; xvii.24,25; I Cor. iii. 16; vi. 3, 19; I Pet. ii. 4,5;
John iv. 20, &c. And
because there are but a few of us, some conceive
we are in an error, and that the least number should yield to the
greater; then it seems, if the
number of the papists or atheists exceed the number of the protestants, they
must forsake their religion. God
in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways; and there was
but one true prophet to four hundred false. Acts
xiv. 16; Exod. xxiii.2; King xxii.
6,7, &c. After three years' preaching and working miracles by Christ,
there was but a small number. Christ calls His, a little flock: the scripture
declares the greatest number followed after the beast.
Acts i. 14, 15; Luke xii. 32;
Matt. vii. 13, 14; Rev. xiii. 7, 16, 17. Also those that preach amongst us
are esteemed, as the apostles were, to be unlearned and ignorant men.
Apollos was instructed more perfectly in the way of God by Aquila, a
tradesman, and Priscilla his wife; Acts iv. 13; xviii. 1 ,2, 3, 26. But the scripture saith; As every
man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good
stewards of the manifold grace of God. I
Pet. iv.10, 11; see I Cor. xiv. 3, 26, 31. Also some say of us, that we be
of several sects, and that we cannot agree among ourselves. Pilate and Herod
agreed together to crucify Christ;
we dare not agree as the Jews did, that if any did confess that Jesus was the
Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
Luke xxiii. 12; John ix. 22; see
I Cor. i.10,11. The union
Christ prayed for, we desire: for such an agreement as agreeth not with the
truth, we may not agree unto; therefore
we desire it not. John xvii. 21;
Eph. iv.3-17. Yet the paedobaptists differ more among themselves
than we do, and if this their reason have any strength in it, it is against
themselves: the several sects of
paedobaptists be papists, Arians, Nestorians,
Pelagians, Donatists, Eutychians, Grecians, Lutherans, Arminians,
Episcopalians, Nicolaites, Calvinists, Zuinglians, Hussites, and above twenty
other several sects, which are all baptizers of infants: and notwithstanding,
for other points, are all asunder, and have all rent one from another;
therefore we send them to follow the counsel of Christ.
Matt. vii. 3, 4, 5.
As the watchman dealt with the spouse of Christ, in her seeking her
beloved, so they deal with us. Song
iii. 2, 5; v. 7. They finding
us out of that common and broad way themselves walk in, they smite us, and
take away our veil, and veil us with reproaches and
odious names: to incense all, both
good and bad, against us, that we may appear vile in the eyes and ears of all
that behold us, or shall hear of us, Acts
xvi. 19. Which they endeavor to
do, both in pulpit and print, not fearing to charge us with holding free-will,
falling from grace, denying election, original sin, children's
salvation, the Old Testament, and men's property
in their estates, and censuring all to be damned that are not of our
judgment and practice; all which we disclaim, because they are untrue. And as
for the other things where of we areaccused, we refer those who desire further
satisfaction to the answers of them. (In a small treatise, entitled, Briefe
Considerations on Dr. Featley's Book, entitled, The Dipper Dipt, by Samuel Richardson. (4 to. London, 1645.)
Yet by reason of the many accusations that are cast upon us, although
they cannot prove the things where of we are accused, yet the generality of
the people are incensed against us, and are encouraged, and set on by such, to
seek out the peace of our meetings, which are the more private, not because
they are private, but because we have not any more public places; but if any
shall please to procure us more larger places to meet in, we are willing
to embrace them with thankfulness and joy, although no man should speak
for us to those in
authority, from whom one word were enough to protect us from the violence we
should be subject unto. But as it
was then, Acts xvii. 5,6.7, so it
is now; yet must we bear all the blame. But
our God will in His time clear our innocency, although now many stand looking
upon us as a people (holding such things) not worthy to live, and are in
danger by the rude multitude gathering together to stone us.
And had it been against our persons only, we would have held our peace,
and committed our cause to God; but considering it is the truth that we
profess that suffers, we may not, nor dare not be neuters in matters of so
high a nature, but come in and speak to the help of the Lord against the
Therefore, to free ourselves and the truth we profess from such unjust
aspersions, that it may be at liberty, though we be in bonds, we have
published a brief confession of our faith (which we conceive most void of
contention in these sad and troublesome times).
The thoughts of our hearts as in the
presence of God we here declare, that it may appear to the consciences
of them that fear God, what wrong we suffer from some who have ability to cast
mists, and dark clouds, which overshadow the glory of the truth, and them that
profess it. Jude, 14, 15.
And although they acknowledge with us that the truth is not fully
discovered, yet they will tie all future discovery to a former light, and
conceive they do well in so doing. But God will by His truth show their error,
and exalt Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone, which the builders so much
reject. And lest this should be
thought to be the judgment of some particular persons, this is done by the
consent and appointment of seven congregations or churches in London, with the
names of some of each of them subscribed
in the behalf of the
whole. And although we be
distinct in our meetings, for convenience; yet are we one in faith,
fellowship, and communion, holding Jesus Christ for our head and lawgiver,
under whose rule and government we desire to walk, and to follow the Lamb
wheresoever he goeth, that when our Lord and King shall call us to account, we
may be found ready and worthy to be received into our Master's joy.
Until which time we desire to spend these few days we have here to
remain, to the glory of God, the honor of the gospel, the saints' comfort, and
our country's good, to our own account at the great day when Christ shall come
in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not
the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2
Thess. i. 8.
Subscribed by us in the behalf of seven congregations or churches of
Christ in London. And also by a French congregation of the same judgment.
GUNNE, THOMAS MUNDEN,
JOHN SPILSBERY, WILLIAM
RICHARDSON, THOMAS PATIENT,
PAUL HOBSON, HANSERD
BENJAMIN COCKES, DENIS LE BARBIER,
C O N F E S S I O N O F F
A I T H
God and His Attributes.
The Lord our God is but one God, whose subsistence is in Himself; Whose
essence cannot be comprehended by any but Himself; Who only hath immortality
dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; Who is in Himself most
holy, every way infinite, in greatness,
wisdom, power, love; merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in
goodness and truth, Who giveth being,
moving, and preservation
to all creatures.
I Cor. 12:6; Isa. 44:6, chap. 46:9.Exod. 3:14.
I Tim. 6:16. Isa. 43:15.
Psal. 147:5. Deut.32: 3. Job
36:5. Jer. 10: 12. Exod. 34: 6,7.Acts 17: 28. Rom. 11:36.
The Word and The Holy
In this divine and infinite Being, there is the Father, the Word, and
the Holy Spirit, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence
undivided; all infinite, without any beginning, therefore but one God, Who is
not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar
I Cor. 1:3.
John 1:1. Chap. 15:26.
Exod. 3:14. I Cor. 8:6.
God's Decrees, Including Election and
God hath decreed in Himself before the world
was, concerning all things, whether
necessary, accidental, or voluntary, with all the circumstances of them, to
work, dispose, and bring about all things according to the counsel of His own
will, to His glory: (yet without being the author of sin, or having fellowship
with any therein) in which appears His wisdom in disposing all things,
unchangeableness, power and faithfulness in accomplishing His decree: and God
hath before the foundation of the world foreordained some men to eternal life,
through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of His grace; leaving the rest
in their sin to their just condemnation,
to the praise of His justice.
46.10; Ephes. 1:11; Rom. 11.33. Psa.115:3;
and 135:6. Psa. 33:15; I Sam. 10:
9,26; Prov.21:1; Exod. 21:13; Pro. 16:33. Psa. 144; Isa. 45:7; Jer.14:22;
Matt. 6:28-30; Col. 1:16,17; Num. 23:19, 10; Rom. 3:4; Jer. 10:10; Eph. 1:4,5;
Jude 4,6; Pro. 16:4.
The Creation, the Fall
of Man, the Fall of Satan and his Angels.
In the beginning God made all things very good; created man after His
own image, filled with all meet perfection of nature, and
free from all sin; but long
he abode not in this honor, Satan using the subtilty of the serpent to seduce
first Eve, then by her seducing Adam; who without any compulsion, in eating the forbidden fruit
transgressed the command of God, and
death came upon all his posterity, who now are conceived in sin, and by
nature the children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subjects of
death, and other miseries in this world, and for ever, unless the Lord
Jesus Christ set them free.
Gen. 1:1; Col. 1:16; Isa.
45:12. I Cor. 15:45,46. Eccles. 7: 29; Gen. 3:1,4,5.
2 Cor. 11:3. ITim.
2:14; Gal. 3:22. Rom. 5:12,18,19; chap. 6:2; Eph. 2:3.
God in His infinite power,
and wisdom, doth dispose all things to the
end for which they were created, that neither good nor evil befalls any
by chance, or without His
providence; and that whatsoever befalls the elect, is by His
appointment, for His glory, and
Job 37:10-13. Isa. 56:10,11; Eccles. 3:14. Matt. 10:29-32; Exod. 21:13;
Prov. 16:33. Rom. 8:28.
God's Everlasting Love Toward His Elect Stated
All the elect being loved
of God with an everlasting love, are redeemed, quickened, and saved, not by
themselves, nor their own works, lest any man should boast, but only and
wholly by God, of His free grace
and mercy through Jesus Christ, who is made unto us by God, wisdom,
righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, and all in all, that he that
rejoices might rejoice in the Lord.
31:3. Ephes. 1:3-7; Ephes. 2:8,9; I Thess. 5:9. Acts 13:38;
2 Cor. 5:21; Jer. 9:23,24. I Cor. 1:30,31; Jer. 23:6.
Knowing God and Jesus Christ is Eternal Life,
Damnation is not Knowing God and Jesus Christ.
And this is life eternal, that we might know Him the only true God, and
Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. And on the contrary, the Lord will render
vengeance in flaming fire, to them that know not God, and obey not the Gospel
of Jesus Christ.
John 17:3; Heb. 5:9. 2
Thess. 1:8; John 3:36.
God's Revealed Word the only Rule of Faith and
in His Worship.
The rule of this knowledge, faith, and obedience, concerning the
worship of God, in which is
contained the whole duty of man, is (not men's laws, or unwritten traditions,
but) only the Word of God
contained in the holy Scriptures, in which is plainly recorded whatsoever is
needful for us to know, believe, and practice, which are the only rule of
holiness and obedience for all saints, at
all times, in all places to be
Col. 2:23; Matt. 15:9,6. John
5:39; 2 Tim.3:15,16,17; Isa. 8:20; Gal. 1:8,9; Acts 3:22,23.
As God, the Lord Jesus Christ was also the
Creator and is the Upholder of all, as Man He was born of the Virgin Mary and
lived and died as a sinless being.
The Lord Jesus Christ, of
whom Moses and the prophets wrote, the apostles preached, He is the Son of God, the brightness of His glory, &c., by whom He
made the world, Who upholdeth and
governeth all things that He hath made; who also when the fulness of time was
come, was made of a woman, of the tribe of Judah, of the seed of Abraham and
David; to wit, of the virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit coming down upon her,
the power of the Most High overshadowing her;
and He was also tempted as we are,
yet without sin.
3:15; chap. 22:18, and 49:10; Dan. 7:13, and 9:24,25,26. Pro. 8:23, John
1:1,2,3; Heb. 1:8. Gal.4:4.Heb.
7:14; Rev. 5:5, with Gen. 49:9,10; Rom. 1:3,and 9:5; Matt. 1:16, with Luke
3:23-26; Heb. 2:16; Isa.53:3,4,5;
Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant.
Jesus Christ is made the
Mediator of the new and everlasting covenant of grace between God and man,
ever to be perfectly and fully the Prophet, Priest, and King of the Church of
God for evermore.
I Tim. 2:5; Heb. 9:15; John 14:6.
Christ Appointed, Separated, and Anointed as
by God from all Eternity.
Unto this office He was appointed by God from everlasting, and in
respect of His manhood from the womb called, separated, and anointed most
fully and abundantly with all gifts necessary, God having without measure
poured out His Spirit upon Him.
Prov. 8:23; Isa. 42:6, and 49:1, 6.
Isa. ll:2, 3, 4, 5, and 61:1, 2, with Luke 4:17, 22; John 1:14, 16, and
Christ's Office as Mediator Opened and Explained.
Concerning His Mediatorship, the Scripture holds forth Christ's call to
His office: for none takes this honour upon him, but he that is called of God,
as was Aaron, it being an action
of God, whereby a special promise being made, He ordains His Son to this
office; which promise is, that Christ should be made a sacrifice for sin, that
He should see His seed, and
prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand, all
of mere free and absolute grace towards God's elect, and without any condition
foreseen in them to procure it.
Heb. 5:4,5,6. Isa. 53:10,
11. John 3:16; Rom. 8:32.
His Office of Mediator Cannot be Transferred.
This office to be Mediator, that
is, to be Prophet, Priest, and King, of the church of God, is so proper to
Christ, that neither in whole, nor any part thereof, can it be transferred
from Him to any other.
I Tim. 2:5; Heb. 7:24; Dan. 7:14; Acts 4:12; Luke 1:33; John 14:6.
Christ's Office as a Mediator is Three-Fold,
a Prophet, a Priest, and a King.
This office to which Christ is called, is threefold, as
a Prophet, Priest, and
King: this number and order of offices is necessary; for in respect of our
ignorance, we stand in need of His prophetical office.
And in respect of our great alienation
from God, we need His priestly office to reconcile us: and in respect of our
averseness and utter inability to return to God, we need His kingly office, to
and preserve us to His
Deut. 18:15, with Acts 3:22,23. Heb. 3:1, and 4:14,15.
Psal. 2:6. 2 Cor. 5:20;
Acts 26:18. Col. 1:21. John
16:8. Psal. 110:3. Cant. 1:4; John 6:44. Phil. 4:13. 2 Tim. 4:18.
Christ as the Prophet of God.
Concerning the prophecy of Christ, it is that
revealed the will of
God, whatsoever is needful for His servants to know and obey; and therefore He
is called not only a Prophet and
Doctor, and the Apostle of our profession, and the Angel of the covenant,
the very Wisdom of God, in Whom are hid
all the treasures of
wisdom and knowledge, Who for ever continueth revealing the same truth
of the gospel to His people.
John 1:18, and 12:49,50, and 17:8; Deut. 18:15. (b) Matt. 23:10. Heb.
3:1. Mal. 3:1. I Cor. 1:24; Col. 2:3.
As the Prophet of God, Christ is both God and
That He might be a Prophet every way complete, it was necessary He
should be God, and also that He should be man: for unless He had been God, He
could never have perfectly understood the will of God; and unless He had been
man, He could not suitably have unfolded it in His own person to men.
John 1:18; Acts 3:22, with Deut.
18:15; Heb. 1:1,2.
Christ's Priesthood and Atonement Only
for His Elect.
Concerning His Priesthood, Christ having sanctified Himself, hath
appeared once to put away sin by that one offering of Himself, a sacrifice for
sin, by which He hath fully finished and suffered all things God required for
the salvation of His elect, and removed all rites and shadows. &c. And is
now entered within the veil into the Holy of Holies, which is the presence of
God. Also He makes His people a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer
up spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God through Him. Neither doth the Father
accept, or Christ offer to the Father, any
other worship or worshippers.
John 17:19; Heb. 5: 7,8,9; 10:12; Rom. 5:19; Eph.5:2; Col. 1:20; Eph.
2:14, 15, 16; Rom. 8:34;
Heb. 9:24, and 8:1; I Pet. 2:5; John 4:23,24.
The Priesthood and Sacrifice of Christ Explained
in Both His Natures.
This priesthood was not legal or temporary, but according to the order
of Melchisedec, and is stable and
perfect, not for a time, but for
ever, which is suitable to Jesus Christ, as to Him that ever liveth; Christ
was the Priest, sacrifice, and altar; He
was a Priest according to both natures; He was a sacrifice according to His
human nature; whence in Scripture
it is attributed to His body, to His blood: yet the effectualness
of this sacrifice did
depend upon His divine nature, therefore it is called the blood of God. He was
His divine nature, it belonging to the altar to sanctify that which is
offered upon it, and so it ought to be of greater dignity than the sacrifice
Heb. 5:6; 7:17. Heb. 7:16,
18, 20, 21, 24, 25. Heb. 10:10. I
Pet. 1:18, 19; Col. 1:20,22. Heb.
9:13; Acts 20:28.
Heb. 9: 14, and 13:10,
12,15; Matt. 23: 19; John 17:19.
The Deity of Christ Maintained
John 1:18; Acts 3:22 with Deut.
18:15; Heb. 1:1; That Jesus Christ is God is wonderful clearly expressed
in the Scriptures: He is called, The mighty God; Isa.
9:6; That Word was God, John 1:1; Christ Who is God over all, Rom.
9:5; God manifested in the flesh, I
Tim. 3:16; The same is very God, I
John 5:20; He is the first, Rev.
1:8; He gives being to all things, and without Him was nothing made, John
1:3; He forgives sins, Matt. 9:6;
He is before Abraham, John 8:58; He
was, and is, and ever will be the same, Heb.
13:8; He is always with His to the end of the world, Matt. 28:20; which
could not be said of Jesus Christ if He were not God. And to the Son He saith, Thy Throne, O God is for ever and
ever, Heb. 1:8; John 1:18;
Acts 20:28; Also, Christ is not only perfectly God, but perfect Man, made
of a woman, Gal. 4:4; made of the
seed of David, Rom. 1:3; Coming out
of the loins of David, Acts 2:30,
of Jesse and Judah, Acts 13:23; in
that the Children were partakers of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise took
part with them, Heb.2:14; He took
not on Him the nature of Angels, but the
seed of Abraham, verse 16.
So that we are bone of His bone, and
flesh of His flesh, Eph. 5:30; So that He
that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified, are all of one, Heb. 2:11; See Acts 3:22;
Deut. 18:15; Heb. 1:1.
Christ As A King over His Elect in their
Effectual Calling, Conversion and Maintainance Stated, and His Power
in Governing all Creation Explained.
Concerning His kingly office, Christ being risen from the dead, and
ascended into heaven, and having all power in heaven and earth, He doth
spiritually govern His church, and doth exercise His power over all angels,
and men, good and bad, to the preservation and salvation of the elect, and to
the over-ruling and destruction of His enemies.
By this kingly power, He applies the benefits, virtues, and fruits of
His prophecy and priesthood to His elect, subduing their sins, preserving and
strengthening them in all their conflicts against Satan, the world, and the
flesh, keeping their hearts in faith and filial fear by His Spirit: by this
His mighty power He ruleth the vessels of wrath, using, limiting, and
restraining them as it seems good to His infinite wisdom.
I Cor. 15:4; I Pet. 3:21,22; Matt. 28:18,19; Luke 24:51; Acts 1:2, and
5:30,31; John 20:17; Rom. 14:9; John 5:26, 27; Rom. 5:6, 7, 8, 14, 17; Gal.
5:22,23; Mark 1:27; Heb. 1:14; John 16:15; Job. 1:8;
2:6; Rom. 9:21,17,18; Eph. 4:7,8; 2 Pet. 2:9.
His Coming in Glory to Reign Among His Saints.
This His kingly power shall be more fully manifest
when He shall come in glory to reign among His saints, when He shall
put down all rule and authority under His feet,
that the glory of the
Father may be perfectly manifested in His Son, and the glory of the Father and
the Son in all His members.
I Cor. 15:24,28; Heb. 9:28: 2 Thess. 1:9,10; I Thess. 4:15,16,17; John
Christ by His Death, Obtained Salvation only for
God's Elect, and His Maintainance of Their Salvation by His Intercession
is Only for Them.
Jesus Christ by his death did purchase salvation for the elect that God
gave unto him: these only have interest in him, and fellowship with him, for
whom He makes intercession to His father in the behalf of, and unto them alone
doth God by his Spirit apply this redemption, as also the free gift of eternal
life is given to them, and none else.
Eph. 1:14; Heb. 5:9; Matt. 1:21; John 17:6; Heb. 7:25; I Cor. 2:12;
Rom. 8:29,30; I John 5:12; John 15:13; John 3:16.
God's Gift of Faith Stated and Explained in its Exercise Toward Jesus
Christ as Lord, and Belief in and Obedience to God's Revealed or Written Word.
Faith is the gift of God wrought in the hearts of
the elect by the Spirit of God: by which faith they come to know and
believe the truth of the Scriptures, and the excellence of them above all
other writings, and all things in the world, as they hold forth the glory of
God in all His attributes, the excellency of Christ in His nature and offices,
and of the power and fulness of
the Spirit in its workings and operations, and so are enabled to cast their
souls upon this truth thus believed.
Eph. 2:8; John 6:29; and 4:10;
Phil.1:29; Gal. 5:22; John 17:17; Heb. 4:11,12; John 6:63.
All True Believers are Kept unto Salvation Shown
by their Eternal Union with God and Jesus Christ.
All those that have this precious faith wrought in them by the Spirit,
can never finally nor totaly fall away, seeing the gifts of God are without
repentance; so that he still begets and nourisheth in them faith, repentance,
love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit into immortality; and though
many storms and floods arise, and yet they shall never be able to take them
off that foundation and rock,
which by faith they are fastened upon; not withstanding, though unbelief, and
the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of this light and love be clouded
and overwhelmed for a time; yet God is still the same, and they shall be sure
to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall enjoy their
purchased possession, they being engraven upon the palms of his hands, and
their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity.
Matt. 7:24, 25; John 13:10; John
10:28, 29; I Pet. 1:4,5, 6; Isa. 49:13-16.
Faith Ordinarily Comes by Hearing, but is Wrought
Wholly by God's Using His Resurrection Power.
Faith is ordinarily begotten
by the preaching of the gospel, or word of Christ; without respect to
any power or agency
in the creature;
but it being wholly passive,
and dead in trespasses and sins, doth believe,
and is converted by no less power
Christ from the dead.
Rom 10:17; I Cor. 1:21; Rom.
9:16; Ezek. 16:6; Rom. 3:12; Rom. 1: 16; Eph. 1:19,20; Col. 2:12.
The Preaching of Jesus Christ to Sinners, not the
Law as a Preparing or Preceding Ministry is Effectual, under God,
for the Conversion of Sinners.
The preaching of the gospel to the conversion of sinners, is absolutely
free; no way requiring as absolutely necessary, any qualifications,
preparations, or terrors of the law, or preceding ministry of the law; but
only and alone the naked soul, a sinner
and ungodly, to receive Christ crucified, dead, and buried, and risen again,
who is made a Prince and a Saviour for such sinners as through the gospel
shall be brought to believe on Him.
John 3:14, 15; and 1:12; Isa.
55:1; John 7: 37; I Tim. 1: 15; Rom. 4:5, and 5:8;
Acts 5:30, 31, and 2:36; I Cor.
God's Grace Converts, Maintains and Completes a
The same power that converts to faith in Christ, carrieth on the
soul through all duties, temptations, conflicts, sufferings; and
whatsoever a believer is, he is by grace,
and is carried on in all obedience and temptations by the same.
I Pet. 1:5; 2 Cor. 12:9; I
Cor. 15:10; Phil. 2:12,13; John 15:5; Gal. 2:19,20.
The Unity of the Holy Trinity shared by Believers
through Jesus Christ, and their inheritance of all things in Christ.
All believers are by
Christ united to God,
by which union God is one with them, and they are one with him; and that all
believers are the sons of God, and joint heirs with Christ, to whom belong all
the promises of this life, and that which is to come.
1 Thess. 1:1; John 17:21;
and 20:17; Heb. 2:11; I
John 4:16; Gal. 2:19,20.
are Justified, or
Acquitted from Guilt, Through Christ's Satisfaction for their Sins.
Those that have union with Christ, are justified from all their sins by
the blood of Christ; which
justification is a gracious and
full acquittance of a guilty sinner from all sin, by God, through the
satisfaction that Christ hath made by His death for all their sins.
And this applied through faith.
I John 1:7; Heb. 10:14; and
9:26; 2 Cor. 5:19: Rom.3:24; Acts 13:38, 39; Rom. 5:1, and 3:25,30.
A Believer's Holiness and Sanctification is a
Fruit of the
Everlasting Covenant as seen by their Evangelical
Obedience into Gospel Order.
All believers are a holy and sanctified people, and that sanctification
is a spiritual grace of the new
covenant, and an effect of the love of God manifested in the soul, where by
the believer presseth after a heavenly and evangelical obedience to all the
commands which Christ, as Head and King in His new covenant, hath prescribed
1 Cor. 1:2; I Pet. 2:9; Eph.
1:4; I John 4:16; Matt. 28:20.
The Knowledge of Justification Brings Peace and
Christ's Blood of the New Covenant.
All believers, through the knowledge of that justification of life
given by the Father, and brought forth by the blood of Christ, have as their
great privilege of the new covenant,
peace with God and reconciliation, whereby they that were afar off are made
nigh by that blood, and have peace passing all understanding; yea,
joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the
2 Cor. 5:19; Rom. 5:1,9,10;
Isa. 54:10, and 26:12; Eph.
2:12,13; Phil. 4:7; Rom. 5:10,11.
Believers are Predestinated to Earthly Woes and
Warfare with Sin, Overcome only by Faith.
All believers in the time of this life are in a continual warfare and
combat against sin, self,
the world, and the devil;
and are liable to all manner of afflictions, tribulations, and persecutions,
being predestinated and appointed
thereunto, and whatsoever the saints possess or enjoy of God spiritually, is
by faith; and outward and temporal things are lawfuly enjoyed by a civil right
by them who have no faith.
Rom. 7:23,24; Eph.
6:10,11,12,13; Heb. 2: 9,10; 2 Tim. 3:12; Rom. 8:29; I Thess. 3:3; Gal.
2:19,20; 2 Cor. 5:7; Deut. 2:5.
Jesus Christ, as the Alone Strength of His
is a Covenant Blessing.
The only strength by which the saints are enabled to encounter with all
oppositions and trials, is only by Jesus Christ, Who is the Captain of their
salvation, being made perfect
through sufferings, Who
hath engaged His faithfulness and strength to assist them in all their
afflictions, and to uphold them in all their temptations, and to preserve them
by His power to His everlasting kingdom.
John 15:5; Phil. 4:11; Heb.
2:9,10; 2 Tim. 4:18.
The Spiritual Kingdom of Christ on Earth is His
Church which is a Visible Company of Saints Baptized and in Gospel Order.
Jesus Christ hath here on earth a spiritual kingdom, which is His
church, whom He hath purchased and redeemed to Himself as a peculiar
inheritance; which church is a company of visible saints,
called and separated from
the world by the Word and Spirit of God, to the visible profession of the
faith of the gospel, being baptized into that faith, and joined to the Lord,
and each to other, by mutual agreement in the practical enjoyment of the
ordinances commanded by Christ their Head and King.
2 Thess. 1:1, and I Cor. 1:2; Eph.
1:1; Rom. 1:7; Acts 19:8,9; and
26:18; 2 Cor. 6:17; Rev. 18:4; Acts
2:37, with 10:37; Rom. 10:10;
Matt. 28: 19, 20; Acts 2:42;
Acts 9:26; I Pet. 2:5.
Christ's Promises, Signs, Presence and Blessings are Given
to this Church.
To this church He hath made His promises, and given the signs of His
covenant, presence, acceptation, love, blessings, and protection.
Here are the fountains and springs of his heavenly graces
flowing forth to refresh
and strengthen them.
I Cor. 11:24, and 3:21; 2 Cor. 6:18; Rom. 9:4-8; Gal. 3:8,9;
Rom. 8:35-39; Ezek.
The Duty of all Believers to Join Christ's Church
and to Serve Him in It, Especially by Giving What is Needful to Others.
And all His servants of all estates, are to acknowledge Him to be their
Prophet, Priest, and King; and called thither, to be enrolled among His
household servants, to present their bodies and souls, and to bring their
gifts God hath given them, to be under His heavenly conduct and government; to
lead their lives in this walled sheepfold, and watered
garden; to have communion here with His saints, that they may be
assured that they are made meet to be partakers of their inheritance in the
kingdom of God; and to supply each other's wants, inward and outward; (and
although each person hath a property
in his own estate, yet they are
to supply each other's wants,
according as their necessities shall require, that the name of Jesus Christ
may not be blasphemed through the necessity of any of the church);
and also being come, they are here, by Himself, to be bestowed in their
several order, due place, peculiar use, being fitly compacted and knit
together according to the
effectual working of every part, to the edifying of itself in love.
Acts 2:41,47; Isa. 4:3; Isa.
40:9; Rom. 12:1; I Cor. 12:6,7,12,18; Ezek. 20:40,37;
Can. 4:12; Eph. 2:19: Rom. 12:4, 4, 6; Col. 1:12, and 2:5,6,19; Acts
20:32; Acts 4:4; Acts 2:44, 45, and 4:34, 35. (Rom. 12:13; I John 3:17);
The Choice of Ministers and Deacons Out from
Among Themselves, Shows the Mind and Power of Christ.
Being thus joined, every church hath power given them from Christ, for
their well-being, to choose among themselves meet persons for Elders and
Deacons, being qualified according to the word, as those which Christ hath
appointed in his Testament, for the feeding, governing,
serving, and building up of His church, and
that none have any power to
impose on them either these or any other.
Acts 6:3, with 15:22, 25;
Rom. 12:7, 8; I Tim. 3:2,
6, 7, 8; I Cor. 12:8, 28; Heb. 13:7, 17; I Pet. 5:1, 2, 3; I Pet. 4:15.
Duty of Ministers.
That the ministers lawfully called, as aforesaid, ought to continue in
their calling and place, according to God's ordinance, and carefully to feed
the flock of God committed to them, not
for filthy lucre, but of a ready
Heb. 5:4; John 10:3,4;
Acts 20:28, 29; Rom. 12:7, 8; Heb.
13:7, 17; I Pet. 5:1, 2, 3.
The Support of Ministers.
The ministers of Christ ought to have whatsoever they shall need
supplied freely by the church; according to Christ's ordinance, that they that
preach the gospel, should live of the gospel,
by the law of Christ.
I Cor. 9:7,14; Gal. 6:6; Phil. 4:15,16.
Baptism is to be Administered to Believers Only
Upon Their Profession of Faith, After Which They May Take
The Lord's Supper.
Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, given by Christ, to be
dispensed upon persons professing faith, or that are made disciples: who, upon
profession of faith, ought to be baptized, and after to partake of the Lord's
Matt. 28:18,19; John 4:1; Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:37,38; and 8:36,37,38,
The Mode and Picture of Baptism.
That the way and manner of
dispensing this ordinance, is dipping or plunging the body under water;
it, being a sign, must answer the thing signified, which is, that interest the
saints have in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
And that as certainly as the body is buried under water, and risen
again, so certainly shall the bodies of the saints be raised by the power of
Christ, in the day of resurrection, to reign with Christ.
Matt. 3:6,16; Mark 1:9, reads
(into Jordan) in Greek; John 3:23; Acts 8:38;
Rev. 1:5; and 7:14, with Heb. 10:22; Rom. 6:3, 4 ,5, 6; I Cor. 15:28,
The word Baptizo signifies to dip or plunge (yet so as convenient garments be
both upon the administrator and subject with all modesty).
The Spiritual Qualifications for the
Administrator of Baptism.
The person designed by Christ to
dispense baptism, the
scripture holds forth to be a disciple; it being nowhere tied to a particular
church officer, or person extraordinarily sent; the commission enjoying the
administration, being given to them considered as disciples, being men able to
preach the gospel.
Matt. 28:19; (Mark 16:15,16);
John 4:2; (Acts 8:4, 5, 12, 38; Acts 10:48; 16:3, 15,29,33, and 18:1, 5, 8,
compared with I Cor. 1:16,17).
Power is Given to the Church by Christ to Receive
Cast Out Members.
Christ hath likewise given power to his church to receive in and cast
out any member that deserves it; and this power is given to every
congregation, and not to one particular person, neither member or officer, but
in relation to the whole body, in reference to their faith and fellowship.
(Acts 9:26; 18:27); Rom. 16:2; (Rom. 14:1; 2 Cor. 7:2; 3 John 9,10); Matt. 18:17; I Cor. 5:4, 11, 12, 13, with 6:2,
3; 2 Cor. 2:6,7; (2 Thess. 3:6;
I Pet. 5:3; 2 John 10).
Church Censures, Their Subjects and Procedures.
And every particular member of each church, how excellent, great, or
learned soever, is subject to this censure and judgment; and that the church
ought not without great care and tenderness, and due advice, but by the rule
of faith, to proceed against her members.
Matt. 18:16,17,18; Acts 11:2,3; I Tim. 5:19; Col. 4:17; Acts 15:1,2,3.
Pastoral and Mutual Oversight of Church Members.
Christ for the keeping of this church in holy and orderly communion,
placeth some special men over the church, who by their office, are to govern,
oversee, visit, watch; so likewise for
the better keeping thereof, in all places, by the members, he hath given
authority, and laid duty upon all to watch over one another.
Acts 20:17, 28; Heb. 13:17, 24;
Matt. 24:45; I Thess. 5:12-14; Jude 3, 20; Heb. 10:34, 35, and 12:15.
The Gifts of Christ in the Church, After Trial,
Are to Preach Publicly and Before the Church.
Also such to whom God hath given gifts in the church, may and ought to
prophesy, according to the proportion of faith, and so to teach publicly the word of God, for the
edification, exhortation, and comfort of the church.
I Cor. 14:3, &c.; Rom. 12:6;
I Pet. 4:10,11; I Cor. 12:7; I Thess. 5:19,20.
No Saint is to Separate From a Duly Constituted
Church Except After Due Procedure.
Thus being rightly gathered, and continuing in the obedience of the
gospel of Christ, none are to separate for faults and corruptions, (for as long
as the church consists of men subject to failings, there will be difference in
the true constituted church) until they have in due order, and
tendernes, sought redress thereof.
Rev. 2 and 3 chap.; Acts 15:1, 2; I Cor. 1:10; Heb. 10:25; Jude 19;
Rev. 2:20, 21, 27; Rom. 14:1, and 15:1, 2, 3.
A Separate Church Is A Compact and Knit City
Within Itself, But It May Have a Relation with Other Churches.
And although the particular congregations be distinct and several
bodies, every one as a compact and knit city
within itself; yet are they all to walk by
one rule of truth so also
they (by all means convenient) are to have the counsel and help one of
another, if necessity require it, as members of one body, in the common faith,
under Christ their head.
I Cor. 4:17; 14:33, 36;
16:1. Psa. 122:3; Eph.
2:12, 19, with Rev. 21; I Tim. 3:15; I Cor. 4:17.
Acts 15:2, 3; Song of Sol. 8:8,9;
2 Cor. 8:1, 4, 13, 14.
Civil Magistracy Is An Ordinance of God.
A Civil magistracy is an ordinance of God, set up by Him for the
punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well; and that,
in all lawful things, commanded by them, subjection ought to be given by us in
the Lord, not only for wrath, but for conscience's sake; and that we are to
make supplications and prayers for kings, and all that are in authority, that
under them we may live a quiet and peaceable life,
in all godliness and honesty.
Rom. 13: 1-7; I Pet. 2:13,14; I Tim. 2:1, 2, 3.
In Religion God Only is to be Obeyed, Though at
The Sacrifice of All Things Including Life Itself.
But in case we find not the magistrate to favour us herein; yet we dare
not suspend our practice, because we believe we ought to go on in obedience to
Christ, in professing the faith which was once delivered to the
saints, which faith is declared in the Holy Scriptures, and this our
Confession of Faith a part of them,
and that we are to witness to the truth of
the Old and
New Testament unto the death, if necessity require, in the
midst of all trials and afflictions, as His saints of old have done;
not accounting our goods, lands, wives, children, fathers, mothers, brethren,
sisters, yea, and our own lives,
dear unto us, so we may finish our course with joy, remembering always
that we ought to obey God
rather than men, who will, when we have finished
our course, and kept the faith, give us the crown of righteousness; to whom we
must give an account of all our actions, and no man being able to discharge us
of the same.
Acts 2:23, 40, and 4:19; 5:28, 29, and 20:23; I Thess. 3:3; Phil. 1:28,
29; Dan. 3:16, 17, and 6: 7, 10, 22, 23.
I Tim. 6:13, 14, 15. Rev.
2:10; 2 Tim. 4:6, 7, 8. Rom.
14: 10, 12; 2 Cor. 5: 10; Psa. 49:7; Psa. 50:22.
A Christian May be A Civil Magistrate and Take an
It is lawful for a Christian to be a magistrate, or civil officer; and
also it is lawful to take an oath, so it be in truth,
and in judgment, and in righteousness, for confirmation of truth, and
ending of all strife; and that by rash and vain oaths the Lord is provoked,
and this land mourns.
Acts 8:27-38, and 10:1, 2, 35, 44; Rom. 16:23; ) Deut. 6:13;
Rom. 1:9; 2 Cor. 1:23; 11:31; Jer. 4:2; Heb. 6:16; Matt. 5:34-37; Jam. 5:12.
A Christian's Duty to Men.
We are to give unto all men whatsoever is their due, as their place,
age, estate, requires; and that we defraud no man of anything, but to do unto
all men as we would they should do unto us.
I Thess. 4:6; Rom. 13:5, 6, 7; Matt. 22: 21; I Pet. 2:15, 17, and 5:5;
Eph. 5: 21, 23, and 6: 1-9; Tit. 3: 1, 2, 3.
The Resurrection of the Just and Unjust.
There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust,
and every one shall give an account of himself to God,
that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to
that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Acts 24: 15; 2 Cor. 5:10;
Thus we desire to give unto Christ that which
is His, and unto all lawful authority that which is their due, and to
owe nothing to any man but love; to live quietly and peaceably, as it becometh
saints, endeavouring in all things to keep a good conscience, and to do unto
every man (of what judgment soever) as we would they should do unto us, that
as our practice is, so it may prove us to be a conscionable, quiet,
and harmless people (no ways dangerous or troublesome to human
society), and to labour and work
with our hands, that we may not be chargeable to any,
but to give to him that
needeth, both friends and enemies, accounting it more excellent to
give than to receive. Also
we confess that we know but in part, and that we are ignorant of many things
which we desire and seek to know: and if any shall do us that
friendly part to show us from the word of God that we see not,
we shall have cause to be thankful to God and them.
But if any man shall impose upon us anything that we see not to be
commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ, we should, in his strength, rather embrace
all reproaches and tortures of men, to be stript of all outward comforts, and
if it were possible, to die a thousand deaths, rather than to do anything
against the least tittle of the truth of God, or against the light of our own
consciences. And if any shall
call what we have said heresy, then
do we with the apostle acknowledge, that after the way they call heresy,
worship we the God of our fathers, disclaiming all heresies (rightly so
called) because they are against Christ, and to be stedfast and immoveable,
always abounding in obedience to Christ, as knowing our labour shall not be in
vain in the Lord.
Arise, O God, plead thine own cause. Remember how the foolish man
blasphemeth thee daily.
O let not the oppressed return, but let the poor and needy praise thy
Psalm 74:21, 22.
Lord Jesus, come quickly.
A CONFESSION OF FAITH
A more full Declaration of the Faith and Judgment
of Baptized Believers.
Occasioned by the inquiry of some woe-affected
and godly persons in the Country.
Written by BENJAMIN COX, a Preacher of the
Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Published for the further clearing of Truth, and discovery
their mistake who have imagined a dissent in
where there is none.
MATH. 10: 27, 28.
I tell you in Darkness, that speak you in light: and
what you hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the
And fear not & c.
Printed in the year 1646.
A more full
DECLARATION OF THE FAITH and JUDGEMENT
of Baptized Believers
Be ready always, saith the Apostle Peter, to give an answer to every
man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and
fear; I Pet. 3:15. It is
therefore our duty in meekness and love to give an answer to those godly
persons, which desire to be fully informed of our judgment concerning Religion
and the ways of our God: To those
therefore that have expressed a desire to be so informed, I thus answer.
book lately reprinted, entitled, A
Confession of Faith of Seven Congregations or Churches of Christ in
London, &c. is a plain and sincere expression of our
judgment in the things therein spoken of, in 52 Articles.
And if our udgment touching some particulars, wherein we seem, or are
supposed, to dissent from some others, do not appear clearly enough in that
confession, I hope the same shall somewhat more clearly appear in this
belive that the punishment due to Adam for his first rebellion, and due to all
men for their sin in Adam, and for all their sins against the Law, was not a
lying of the whole person of man in the dust, or grave, eternally without life
or sense; for then the punishment of man that sinned, should not have differed
from the punishment of the brute beast that sinned not.
But the punishment due to man, as foresaid, was indignation and wrath,
tribulation and anguish; and that eternal: And consequently the Redemption
which we have by Christ from the curse of the Law, is a Redemption from
eternal misery and torment: this we learn from these places of Scripture compared
together; Rom. 2:8,9; Jude 7; Gal. 3:13; Heb. 9:12.
We believe that the eternity of the punishment of the vessels of wrath,
is an absolute eternity, knowing no end; as well as the eternity of the life
of the Saints: Mat. 25.46.
This we maintain against those that affirm that all men shall be saved
at the last.
Although all the power of
the creature to act be from the Creator, and there is a providence of God always extended to every creature, and to every action of the
creature; yet we judge that the sinful corruption of the creature, and the
sinfulness of the creature's action, is from the creature, and not from God:
and that it is a greatsin to say that God is the author if sin:
Eccles. 7:29; Habak. 1:13;
James 1:13,14,15; I Cor. 14:33; I Jn. 2:16. As touching that place
which is here objected against us, viz., Amos 3:6.
Shall there be evil in a City, &c.
We conceive that it is either to be rendered according to the last
Translation in the margin, Shall there be evil in a City, and shall not the
Lord do something? or else that it is to be understood only of the evil of
punishment, and not of the evil of sin.
that they only do, or can
believe in Jesus Christ, to whom it is given to believe in him by a special,
gracious, and powerful work of his Spirit: and that this is(and shall be)
given to the Elect in the time appointed of God for their effectual calling;
and to none but the Elect: John. 6:64,65; Phil. 1:29; Jer.. 31:33,34; Ezek.
36:26; Rom. 8:29,30; John. 10:26.
affirm, that as Jesus Christ never intended to give remission of sins and
eternal life unto any but his sheep; (John. 10:15. John. 17:2; Eph. 5:25-27;
Rev. 5:9.) so these sheep only have their sins washed away in the blood of
Christ. The vessels of wrath, as
they are none of Christ's sheep, never do believe in Him, so they have not the
blood of Christ sprinkled upon them, neither are partakers of Him: and
therefore have all their sins remaining upon them, and are not saved by Christ
from any of them under any consideration whatsoever;
but must lie under the intolerable burden of them eternally.
The truth of this appears unto us by the light of these Scriptures
compared together; Heb.. 12:24; I
Pet. 1:2; Heb. 3:14; Math. 7:23; Eph. 5:6; I Tim. 1:9; John.
some of our opposers do affirm, that by this doctrine we leave no Gospel to be
preached to sinners for their conversion; yet through the goodness of God we
know and preach to sinners this precious Gospel; God so loved the World, (that
is, hath been so loving to mankind) that he gave His only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life;
John. 3:16; and this faithful saying, worthy of all acceptation, That Jesus
Christ came into the World to save sinners, I Tim. 1:15; viz., all those
sinners (how vile and grievous soever) not only which already do, but also
which hereafter shall believe on him to life everlasting, I Tim. 1:16; and
that to Christ all the Prophets give witness, that through His name, whosoever
believeth in him, shall receive remission of sins, Acts 15:7.
This is the Gospel which Christ and his Apostles preached, which we
have received, and by which we have been converted unto Christ.
And we desire to mind what Paul saith in Gal. 1:9: "If any man
preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be
we confess that no man
doth attain unto faith by his own good will, John. 1:13, yet we judge
and know that the Spirit of God doth not compel a man to believe against his
will, but doth powerfully and sweetly create in a man a new heart, and so make
him to believe and obey willingly; Ezek. 36:26; Psalm. 110:3;
God thus working in us both to will and to do, of his good pleasure;
all our workings for life be in vain, irregular, and not accepted of God,
(Jesus Christ being our life, Who is freely given to us of God,) yet we
believe and know that being made partakers
of Jesus Christ, we do, and shall, and must, through Him, and walking in Him,
bring forth the fruit of good works, serving God (in true obedience, and love,
and thankfulness unto Him) in holiness and righteousness, being His
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which He hath before
ordained that we should walk in them; Eph. 2:10; Luke 1:74,75.
we that believe in Christ, be
not under the law, but under grace; Rom. 6:14; yet we know that
we are not lawless, or left to live
without a rule; not without law to God, but under law to Christ, I Cor.
9:21. The Gospel of
Jesus Christ is a law, or
commanding rule unto us; whereby, and in obedience where unto,
we are taught to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; Titus
2: 11, 12; the directions of
Christ in his Evangelical word guiding us
unto, and in this sober, righteous, and godly walking, I Tim.
we be not now sent to the Law as it was in the hand of Moses, to be commanded
thereby, yet Christ in His Gospel teacheth and commandeth us to walk in the
same way of righteousness
and holiness that God by Moses did command the Israelites to walk in, all the
Commandments of the second Table being still delivered unto us by Christ, and
all the Commandments of the first Table also (as touching the life and spirit
of them) in this epitome or brief sum, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with
all thine heart, &c. Matt. 22: 37, 38, 39, 40.. Rom. 13:8, 9, 10.
no sin be imputed to those that believe in
Christ, nor any sin do totally or fully reign over them,
or in them; yet in them
the flesh lusteth against the spirit; Gal. 5:17; and in many things they all
offend; James 3:2; where the Apostle speaks of offences that one believe may
take notice of in another. Thus
there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not, Eccles.
7:20; and if we say that we have
no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, I John. 1:8.
there be no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, yet are they
taught, and that effectually, to be ashamed of their sins Rom. 6:21; and to be
sorry for them after a godly sort, 2 Cor. 7:9, 10, 11; yea to loath themselves
for them; Ezek. 36:31. Because
that sin is an evil and a filthy thing, and in its own nature tends to the
provoking and dishonoring of God, being disobedience against God, and a thing
which the most holy GOD
declares Himself to
loath and abhor; so that nothing but the blood of Christ could
purge us from our sins, and reconcile us to God, Whom by sin we had
offended. Therefore, the Saints
both are, and must be grieved, and must judge themselves, because they have
sinned against their holy and glorious God, and merciful and loving Father, I
Though nothing be hid from God, and God imputeth not iniquity to any
believer, yet ought we to confess our sins unto God, and to beseech Him to
deal with us according to His own promise; viz., to be still gracious and
merciful unto us though we have sinned against Him, not being wroth with us,
nor rebuking us, nor ceasing to do good unto us because we have sinned, Isa.
54:9; Heb.. 8:12; Dan. 9:18,19,20; Psalm. 32:5; Psalm. 25:7; Ezek.36:37; James
5:10. Thus according to Christ's directions, we pray unto God to forgive us
our sins; Luke 11:4; yet still we are to look upon God as our Father; Luke
11:2; and consequently upon ourselves as His children; and so not short of
justification, or under wrath, but washed in Christ's blood from all our sins.
In such confession and
petitions we show obedience to God, and do
also exercise faith towards God, and repentance or godly sorrow for sin by which we see and confess that we for
our parts have deserved wrath.
they which are once really engrafted into Christ, shall certainly be kept by
the power of God through faith unto salvation; I Pet. 1:5; yet ought they to
beware, lest being led away with the error of the wicked, they fall from their
own steadfastness; 2 Pet. 3:17. They
ought therefore to seek continual support from God. Yea
they ought to seek at God's hand (in prayer, and in the right use and study of
His Word, and in the
right use of His Ordinances) not only continuance, but also growth in
grace; 2 Pet. 3:18; First,
because this is God's Command. Secondly,
because God Who will establish them, will do it in this way; viz: giving them
grace to be obedient to this His Command,
and blessing them in this obedience.
mind that our whole salvation is given unto us of the Father by Jesus Christ,
and for His sake; so we likewise mind, that the Father's giving Jesus Christ
for us, and to us, and so saving us in Him, and for His sake, is the acting
and manifesting of that free love of His towards us, which was in Himself from
all eternity, John 17:23; Eph. 1:4,5.
a true believer, whether baptized, or unbaptized, be in the state of
salvation, and shall certainly be saved: yet in obedience to the Command of
Christ every believer ought to desire Baptism, and to yield himself to be
baptized according to the rule of Christ in His Word: And where this obedience
is in faith performed, there Christ makes this His Ordinance a means of
unspeakable benefit to the believing soul,
Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; I Pet. 3:21.
And a true believer that here sees the command of Christ lying upon
him, cannot allow himself in disobedience thereunto, Acts 24:16.
baptized ought to agree and join together in a constant profession of the same
doctrine of the Gospel, and in professed obedience thereunto, and also in
fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers, Acts 2:42.
And a company of baptized believers so agreeing and joining together,
are a Church or Congregation of Christ, Acts
preaching of the Gospel, both for the conversion of sinners, and the edifying
of those that are converted; so also the right use of baptism, and the Lord's
Supper, ought to be till the end of the world, Matt. 28:19,20; I Cor. 11:26.
disciple gifted and enabled by the spirit of Christ to preach the Gospel, and
stirred up to this service by the same spirit, bringing home to his soul the
command of Christ in his word for the doing of this work, is a man authorized
and sent by Christ to preach the Gospel, see Luke 19:12, &c. Mark 16:15,
and Matt. 28:19, compared with Acts 8:4, Phil. 1:14; 3 John 7.
And those gifted disciples which thus preach Jesus Christ Who came in
the flesh, are to be looked upon as men sent and given of the Lord, I John
4:2; Romans 10:15; Eph. 4:11,12,13. And
they which are converted from unbelief and false-worship,
and so brought into Church-fellowship by which Preachers according to
the will of Christ, are a
seal of their ministry, I Cor. 9:2. And
such preachers of the Gospel may not only lawfully administer Baptism unto
believers, and guide the action of the Church in the use of the Supper, (Matt.
28:19; Acts 8:5-12; I Cor. 10:16.) but may also call upon the Churches, and
advise them to choose fit men for officers, and may settle such officers so
chosen by a Church, in the places or offices to which they are chosen, by
imposition of hands and prayer, Acts 6:3-6; Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5
believer's right to the use of the Lord's Supper do immediately flow from
Jesus Christ apprehended and received by faith; yet in as much as all things
ought to be done not only decently, but also in order; I Cor. 14:40, and the
word holds forth this order, that disciples should be baptized, Matt. 28:19,
Acts 2:38, and then be taught to observe all things (that is to say, all other
things) that Christ commanded the Apostles, Matt. 28:20, and accordingly the
Apostles first baptized disciples, and then admitted them to the use of the
Supper; Acts 2:41,42, we therefore do not admit any to the use of the Supper,
nor communicate with any in the use of this ordinance,
but disciples baptized, lest we should have fellowship with them in
their doing contrary to order.
we know that in some
things we are yet very dark, and in all things as yet we know but in
part, and do therefore wait upon
God for further light; yet we believe that we ought in our practice to obey,
and serve, and glorify God in the use of that light which he hath
given us; and not neglect
the good using of that light which God hath already given us, under
pretence of waiting for more, I Cor. 13:9, Acts 18:25.
Christ doth not teach, nor allow that we should be without natural affection,
or unsociable; (see Rom. 1:31.) so our being made partakers of Christ, doth
not discharge us from the duties of our relations.
Believing servants must perform the duties of servants towards their
masters though unbelieving; I
Tim. 6:1. So believing children
must perform the duties of children towards their parents; Col. 3:20,
believing wives, the duties of wives towards their husbands; I Pet.3:1, and
believing subjects must be subject to principalities and powers, and obey
Magistrates, Rom 13:1, & c. Titus 3:1. I Pet. 2:13, 14, 15.
But still they must remember that their fear toward God must not be
taught by the perception of men; Isaiah 29:13, that they ought to obey God
rather then men; Acts 5:29,
and that the submission that must be given to men, must be given to
them for the Lord's sake, I Pet. 2:14.
Thus I conclude with the Apostle's words (in 2 Tim. 2:7) a little
varied, but not misapplied;
Consider what we teach: and the Lord give you understanding in all things.