First London Baptist Confession of Faith (1646)
/END OF SERMON TITLE//>
/BEGIN MAIN BODY OF TEXT//>
of faith of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London, which
are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication
of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off
those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly
cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.
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.
1 Cor. 8:6,
Isa. 44:6, 46:9, Exod. 3:14, 1 Tim 6:16, Isa. 43:15; Ps. 147:5, Deut. 32:3;
Job 36:5; Jer. 10:12, Exod. 34:6,7, Acts 17:28; Rom. 11:36.
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 relative properties.
1 Cor. 1:3;
John 1:1, 15:26, Exod. 3:14; 1 Cor. 8:6
God had 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.
Eph. 1:11, Rom. 11:33, Ps. 115:3; 135:6, 33:15; 1 Sam. 10:9, 26, Prov.
21:6; Exod. 21:13; Prov. 16:33, Ps. 144, Isa. 45:7, Jer. 14:22, Matt. 6:28,
30; Col. 1:16, 17; Num. 23:19, 20; Rom. 3:4; Jer. 10:10; Eph. 1:4,5; Jude
4, 6; Prov. 16:4.
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 subtlety 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 fell, whereby
death came upon all his posterity; who now are conceived in sin, and by
nature the children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subject 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, 1 Cor. 15:45, 46; Eccles. 7:29; Gen. 3:1,4,5; 2 Cor.
11:3, 1 Tim. 2:14; Gal. 3:22; Rom. 5:12, 18, 19, 6:22; 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 their good.
Isa. 46:10,11, Eccles. 3:14, Mark 10:29,30; Exod. 21:13; Prov. 16:33, Rom.
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 own 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 rejoiceth, might rejoice in
Eph. 1:3, 7, 2:8,9; 1 Thess. 5:9, Acts 13:48; 2 Cor. 5:21; Jer. 9:23,24;
1 Cor. 1:30,31; Jer. 23:6.
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.
Heb. 5:9, 2 Thess. 1:8; John 6:36.
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 observed.
Matt 15:6,9; John 5:39, 2 Tim. 3:15,16,17; Isa. 8:20; Gal. 1:8,9; Acts
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, etc. 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.
22:18, 49:10; Dan. 7:13, 9:24, etc.; Prov. 8:23; John 1:1,2,3; Heb. 1:8;
Gal. 4:4; Heb. 7:14; Rev. 5:5; Gen. 49:9,10, Rom. 1:3, 9:10; Matt. 1:16;
Luke 3:23,26; Heb. 2:16; Isa. 53:3,4,5; Heb. 4:15.
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.
1 Tim. 2:5;
Heb. 9:15; John 14:6; Isa. 9:6.7.
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
Isa. 42:6, 49:15; 11:2,3,4,5, 61:1,2; Luke 4:17, 22; John 1:14, 26, 3:34.
mediatorship, the Scripture holds forth Christ's call to His office; for
none takes this honor 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 meer free and
absolute grace towards God's elect, and without any condition foreseen
in them to procure it.
Isa. 53:10,11; John 3:16; Rom. 8:32.
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, or any part thereof,
it cannot be transferred from Him to any other.
1 Tim. 2:5;
Heb. 7:24; Dan. 7:14; Acts 4:12; Luke 1:33; John 14:6.
This office to
which Christ is called, is threefold; 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; 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 convince, subdue, draw, uphold and preserve us to His heavenly
Acts 3:22,23; Heb. 3:!, 4:14,15; Ps. 2:6; 2 Cor. 5:20; Acts 26:18; Col.
1:21; John 16:8, Ps. 110:3; Song of Sol. 1:3; John 6:44; Phil. 4:13; 2
prophecy of Christ, it is that whereby He hath 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, but also 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.
12:49,50; 17:8; Deut. 18:15; Matt. 23:10; Heb. 3:1; Mal. 3:1; 1 Cor. 1:24;
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.
Acts 3:22; Deut. 18:15; Heb. 1:1.
Christ is God is wonderfully and 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, 1 Tim. 3:16.
The same is very God, 1 John 5:20. He is the first, Rev. 1:8. He gives
being to all things, and without Him was nothing made, John 1:2. He forgiveth
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 Sone He saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, Heb.
1:8, John 1:18.
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.
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, etc. and is now entered
within the vail into the holy of holies, which is the presence of God.
Also, He makes His people a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer
up spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God through Him. Neither doth the
Father accept, nor Christ offer to the Father, any other worship or worshippers.
Heb. 5:7,8,9,10,12; Rom. 5:19, Eph. 5:2; Col. 1:20; Eph. 2:14, etc.; Rom.
8:34; Heb. 9:24; 8:1; 1 Pet. 2:5; John 4:23,24.
was not legal or temporary, but according to the order of Melchisedec,
and is stable and perfect, not for a time, but forever, 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
the altar according to 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 itself.
etc.; Heb. 5:6, 10:10; 1 Pet. 1:18,19; Col. 1:20, 22; Heb. 9:13; Acts 20:28;
Heb. 9:14, 13:10,12,15; Matt. 23:17; John 17:19.
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 overruling
and destruction of His enemies. By this kingly power He applieth the benefits,
virtue, 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
fea 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
1 Cor. 15:4;
1 Pet. 3:21,22; Matt. 28:18,19; Luke 24:51; Acts 1:1, 5:30,31; John 19:36;
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 2:8; Rom. 1:21, [9:17-18]; Eph. 4:17,18; 2 Pet.
This His kingly
power shall be more fully manifested 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.
1 Cor. 15:24,28;
Heb. 9:28; 2 Thess. 1:9,10; 1 Thess. 4:15,16,17; John 17:21, 26.
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 their behalf, and to 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.
Heb. 5:9; Matt. 1:21; John 17:6; Heb. 7:25; 1 Cor. 2:12; Rom. 8:29,30;
1 John 5:12; John 15:35, 3:16.
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
excellency of them above all other writings, and all things in the world,
as they hold forth the glory of God in His attributes, the execellency
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 His truth thus believed.
Eph. 2:8; John
6:29, 4:10; Phil. 1:29; Gal. 5:22; John 17:17; Heb. 4:11,12; John 6:63.
All those that
have this precious faith wrought in them by the Spirit, can never finally
nor totally 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 unto immortality; and though
many storms and floods arise, and beat against them, yet they shall never
be able to take them off that foundation and rock, which by faith they
are fastened upon; not withstanding, through 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.
John 13:10, 10:28,29; 1 Pet. 1:4,5,6; Isa. 49:13,14,15,16.
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
than that which raised Christ from the dead.
1 Cor. 1:28; Rom. 9:16; Ezek. 16:16; Rom. 3:12, 1:16; Eph. 1:19, Col. 2:12.
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 Savior for such
sinners as through the gospel shall be brought to believe on Him.
1:12; Isa. 55:1; John 7:37; 1 Tim. 1:15; Rom. 4:5, 5:8; Acts 5:30,31, 2:36,
1 Cor. 1:22,24.
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.
1 Pet. 1:5,
2 Cor. 12:9, 1 Cor. 15:10; Phil. 2:12, 13; John 15:5; Gal. 2:19,20.
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, 20:17; Heb. 2:11, 1 John 4:16; Gal. 2:19,20.
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 (in manifestation of it)
1 John 1:7;
Heb. 10:14, 9:26; 2 Cor. 5:19; Rom. 3:23; Acts 13:38,39; Rom. 5:1, 3:25,30.
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, whereby 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 to them.
1 Cor. 12;
1 Pet. 2:9; Eph. 1:4; 1 John 4:16; Matt. 28:20.
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 that new covenant, peace with God, 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
2 Cor. 5:19;
Rom. 5:9,10; Isa. 54:10; Eph. 2:13,14, 4:7; Rom. 5:10,11.
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 predestined and appointed thereunto,
and whatsoever the saints possess or enjoy of God spiritually, is by faith;
and outward and temporal things are lawfully enjoyed by a civil right by
them who have no faith.
Eph. 6:10,11, etc.; Heb. 2:9,10, 2 Tim. 3:12; Rom. 8:29; 1 Thess. 3:3;
Gal. 2:19,20; 2 Cor. 5:7; Deut. 2:5.
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.
15:5; Phil. 4:11, Heb. 2:9,10; 2 Tim. 4:18.
Jesus Christ hath
here on earth a [manifestation of His] 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 faith
of the gospel, being baptized into that faith, and joined to the Lord,
and each other, by mutual agreement in the practical enjoyment of the ordinances
commanded by Christ their head and king.
2 Thess. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:1; Rom. 1:7; Acts 19:8,9, 26:18; 2 Cor.
6:17; Rev. 18:4; Acts 2:37, 10:37; Rom. 10:10; Matt. 18:19,20; Acts 2:42,
9:26; 1 Pet. 2:5.
To this Church
He hath made His promises, and giveth the signs of His covenant, presence,
acceptation, love, blessing and protection. Here are the fountains and
springs of His heavenly graces flowing forth to refresh and strengthen
etc.; 1 Cor. 11:24, 3:21; 2 Cor. 6:18; Rom. 9:4,5; Ps. 133:3; Rom. 3:7,10;
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 others wants,
inward and outward; (and although each person hath a propriety in his own
estate, yet they are to supply each others wants, according as their necessities
shall require, that the name of Jesus Christ may not be blasphemed through
the necessity of any in the Church) and also being come, they are here
by Himself to be bestowed in their several order, due place, peculiar use,
being fitly compact and knit together according to the effectual working
of every part, to the edifying of itself in love.
Isa. 4:3, 1 Cor. 12:6,7, etc.; Ezek. 20:37,40; Song of Sol. 4:12; Eph.
2:19; Rom. 12:4,5,6; Col. 1:12, 2:5,6,19; Acts 20:32, 5:4, 2:44,45, 4:34,35;
Luke 14:26; 1 Tim. 6:1; Eph. 4:16.
Being thus joined,
every church hath power given them from Christ, for their wellbeing, 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.
6:3, 15:22,25; Rom. 12:7,8; 1 Tim. 3:2,6,7; 1 Cor. 12:8,28; Heb. 13:7,17;
1 Pet. 5:1,2,3,4:15.
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 mind.
Heb. 5:4; John
10:3,4; Acts 20:28,29; Rom. 12:7,8; Heb. 13:7,17; 1 Pet. 5:1,2,3.
of Christ ought to have whatsoever they shall need, supplied freely by
the church, that according to Christ's ordinance they that preach the Gospel
should live of the gospel by the law of Christ.
1 Cor. 9:7,14;
Gal. 6:8; Phil. 4:15,16; 2 Cor. 10:4; 1 Tim. 1:2; Ps. 110:3.
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 Supper.
John 4:1; Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:37,38, 8:36,37, etc.
That the way and
manner of dispensing this ordinance, is dipping or plunging the body under
water; it being a sign, must answer the things 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 the resurrection, to reign with Christ.
Mark 15:9 reads (into Jordan) in Greek; John 3:23, Acts 8:38; Rev. 1:5,
7:14; Heb. 10:22; Rom. 6:3,4,5,6; 1 Cor. 15:28,29. The word baptizo signfies
to dip or plunge (yet so as convenient garments be both upon the administrator
and subject with all modesty).
The person designed
by Christ to dispense baptism, the Scripture holds forth to be a disciple;
it being no where tied to a particular church officer, or person extraordinarily
sent the commission enjoining the administration, being given to them as
considered disciples, being men able to preach the gospel.
Eph. 2:7; Matt 28:19; John 4:2; Acts 20:7, 11:10; 1 Cor. 11:2, 10:16,17;
Rom. 16:2; Matt. 18:17.
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, either member or officer, but in relation to the
whole body, in reference to their faith and fellowship.
Matt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:4,11,14, 12:6, 2:3; 2 Cor. 2:6,7.
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.
17:18; Acts 11:2,3; 1 Tim. 5:19, etc.; Col. 4:17; Acts 15:1,2,3.
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
Heb. 13:17,24; Matt. 24:45; 1 Thess. 5:2, 14; Jude 3,20; Heb. 10:34,35
[cf. 24,25], 12:15.
Also such to whom
God hath given gifts in the church, may and ought to prophecy according
to the proportion of faith, and to teach publicly the word of God, for
the edification, exhortation, and comfort of the church.
1 Cor. 14:3,
etc.; Rom 12:6; 1 Pet. 4:10, 11; 1 Cor. 12:7; 1 Thess. 5:19, etc.
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 tenderness, sought redress thereof.
Rev. 2, 3;
Acts 15:12; 1 Cor. 1:10; Heb. 10:25; Jude 19; Rev. 2:20,21,27; Acts 15:1,2;
Rom. 14:1; 15:1,2,3.
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.
1 Cor. 4:17,
14:33,36, 16:1; Ps. 122:3; Eph. 2:12,19; Rev. 21; 1 Tim. 3:15, 6:13,14;
1 Cor. 4:17; Acts 15:2,3; Song of Sol. 8:8,9; 2 Cor. 8:1,4, 13:14.
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 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.
etc.; 1 Pet. 2:13,14; 1 Tim. 2:1,2,3.
magistracy of this kingdom we acknowledge to be the king and parliament
(now established) freely chosen by the kingdom, and that we are to maintain
and defend all civil laws and civil officers made by them, which are for
the good of the commonwealth. And we acknowledge with thankfulness, that
God hath made this present king and parliament honorable in throwing down
the prelatical hierarchy, because of their tyranny and oppression over
us, under which this kingdom long groaned, for which we are ever engaged
to bless God, and honor them for the same. And concerning the worship of
God; there is but one lawgiver, which is able to save and destroy, James
4:12; which is Jesus Christ, who hath given laws and rules sufficient in
His word for His worship; and for any to make more, were to charge Christ
with want of wisdom, or faithfulness, or both, in not making laws enough,
or not good enough for His house: Surely it is our wisdom, duty, and privilege,
to observe Christ's laws only, Ps 2:6,9,10,12. So it is the magistrates
duty to tender the liberty of mens' consciences, Eccles. 8:8 (which is
the tenderest thing unto all conscientious men, and most dear unto them,
and without which all other liberties will not be worth the naming, much
less enjoying) and to protect all under them from all wrong, injury, oppression
and molestation; so it is our duty not to be wanting in nothing which is
for their honor and comfort, and whatsoever is for the wellbeing of the
commonwealth wherein we live; it is our duty to do, and we believe it to
be our express duty, especially in matters of religion, to be fully persuaded
in our minds of the lawfulness of what we do, as knowing whatsoever is
not of faith is sin. And as we cannot do anything contrary to our understandings
and consciences, so neither can we forebear the doing of that which our
understandings and consciences bind us to do. And if the magistrate should
require us to do otherwise, we are to yield our persons in a passive way
to their power, as the saints of old have done, James 5:4. And thrice happy
shall he be, that shall lose his life for witnessing (though but for the
least tittle) of the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. 5; Gal. 5.
But in case we
find not the magistrate to favor us herein; yet we dare not suspend our
practice, because we believe we ought to go 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
Testaments 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.
4:19, 5:28,29, 20:23; 1 Thess. 3:3; Phil. 1:28,29; Dan. 3:16,17, 6:7,10,22,23;
1 Tim. 6:13,14; Rom. 12:1,8; 1 Cor. 14:37; Rev. 2:20; 2 Tim. 4:6,7,8; Rom.
14:10, 12; 2 Cor. 5:10; Ps. 49:7,50:22.
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 wrath
and vain oaths the Lord is provoked and this land mourns.
10:1,2,35; Rom. 16:23; Deut. 6:13; Rom. 1:9; 2 Cor. 10,11; Jer. 4:2; Heb.
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.
1 Thess. 4:6;
Rom. 13:5,6,7; Matt. 22:21; Titus 3; 1 Pet. 2:15,17, 5:5; Eph. 5:21,23,
etc. , 6:1,9; Titus 3:1,2,3.
There shall be
a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust, and everyone 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
1 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:12. [Matt. 25; Rev. 22:11,12,13,14,15.]
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, endeavoring 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 [viz., reasonable], quiet, and harmless people
(no ways dangerous or troublesome to human society) and to labor 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
which 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 stripped 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 unmoveable, always
abounding in obedience to Christ, as knowing our labor shall not be in
vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:24:
Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith we stand.
Psalm 74:21, 22:
Arise, O God, plead mine own cause. Remember how the foolish man blasphemeth Thee daily. O let not the oppressed return ashamed, but let the poor and needy praise Thy name.
Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.
/END MAIN BODY OF TEXT//>