the Holy Scriptures
Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of
all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, although the light of nature,
and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness,
wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not
sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary
unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers
manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church;
and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and
for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption
of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the
same wholly unto writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary,
those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now
Isa. 8:20; Luke 16:29, 31; Eph. 2:20; Rom. 1:19-21, 2:14,15; Psalm 19:1-3;
Heb.1:1; Prov. 22:19-21; Rom. 15:4; 2 Pet. 1:19,20)
the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained
all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these:
OF THE OLD
TESTAMENT: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua,
Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, II
Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes,
The Song of Solomen, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations,Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea,
Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai,
OF THE NEW
TESTAMENT: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles,
Paul's Epistle to the Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians,
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians,
I Timothy, II Timothy, To Titus, To Philemon, The Epistle to the Hebrews,
Epistle of James, The first and second Epistles of Peter, The first, second,
and third Epistles of John, The Epistle of Jude, The Revelation
All of which are given by the inspiration
of God, to be the rule of faith and life.
(2 Tim. 3:16)
books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no
part of the canon or rule of the Scripture, and, therefore, are of no authority
to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of than
other human writings.
44; Rom. 3:2)
authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, dependeth
not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is
truth itself), the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because
it is the Word of God.
(2 Pet. 1:19-21;
2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 John 5:9)
may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to an high
and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the
matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the
consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all
glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation,
and many other incomparable excellencies, and entire perfections thereof,
are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word
of God; yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible
truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy
Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
1 Cor. 2:10-12; 1 John 2:20, 27)
whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory,
man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily
contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be
added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless,
we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary
for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word,
and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and
government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which
are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according
to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
(2 Tim. 3:15-17;
Gal. 1:8,9; John 6:45; 1 Cor. 2:9-12; 1 Cor. 11:13, 14; 1 Cor. 14:26,40)
things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear
unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and
observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place
of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in
a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of
(2 Pet. 3:16;
Ps. 19:7; Psalm 119:130)
Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of
God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing
of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired
by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages,
are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion, the church
is finally to appeal to them. But because these original tongues are not
known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in
the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read and search
them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every
nation unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully
in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and through patience
and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.
Isa. 8:20; Acts 15:15; John 5:39; 1 Cor. 14:6, 9, 11, 12, 24, 28; Col.
infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself;
and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of
any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched by
other places that speak more clearly.
( 2 Pet. 1:20,
21; Acts 15:15, 16)
supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined,
and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of
men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we
are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit,
into which Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.
31, 32; Eph. 2:20; Acts 28:23)
God and of the Holy Trinity
Lord our God is but one only living and true God; whose subsistence is
in and of himself, infinite in being and perfection; whose essence cannot
be comprehended by any but himself; a most pure spirit, invisible, without
body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light
which no man can approach unto; who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible,
almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute;
working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most
righteous will for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering,
abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and
sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and withal most just
and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means
clear the guilty.
(1 Cor. 8:4,
6; Deut. 6:4; Jer. 10:10; Isa. 48:12; Exod. 3:14; John 4:24; 1 Tim. 1:17;
Deut. 4:15, 16; Mal. 3:6; 1 Kings 8:27; Jer. 23:23; Ps. 90:2; Gen. 17:1;
Isa. 6:3; Ps. 115:3; Isa. 46:10; Prov. 16:4; Rom. 11:36; Exod.34:6, 7;
Heb. 11:6; Neh. 9:32, 33; Ps. 5:5, 6; Exod. 34:7; Nahum 1:2, 3)
having all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself, is alone
in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creature
which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting
his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them; he is the alone fountain of
all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things, and he hath
most sovereign dominion over all creatures, to do by them, for them, or
upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth; in his sight all things are open
and manifest, his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon
the creature, so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain; he is most
holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands; to
him is due from angels and men, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience,
as creatures they owe unto the Creator, and whatever he is further pleased
to require of them.
Ps. 148:13; Ps. 119:68; Job 22:2, 3; Rom. 11:34-36; Dan. 4:25, 34, 35;
Heb. 4:13; Ezek. 11:5; Acts 15:18; Ps. 145:17; Rev. 5:12-14)
this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father,
the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and eternity,
each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided: the Father
is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten
of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son;
all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be
divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative
properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the
foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on
(1 John 5:7;
Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Exod. 3:14; John 14:11; I Cor. 8:6; John 1:14,18;
John 15:26; Gal. 4:6)
hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel
of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes
to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship
with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature,
nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken way, but rather
established; in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power
and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree.
Eph. 1:11; Heb. 6:17; Rom. 9:15, 18; James 1:13; 1 John 1:5; Acts 4:27,
28; John 19:11; Num. 23:19; Eph. 1:3-5)
God knoweth whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions,
yet hath he not decreed anything, because he foresaw it as future, or as
that which would come to pass upon such conditions.
Rom. 9:11, 13, 16, 18)
the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels
are predestinated, or foreordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ,
to the praise of his glorious grace; others being left to act in their
sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of his glorious justice.
(I Tim. 5:21;
Matt. 25:34; Eph. 1:5, 6; Rom. 9:22, 23; Jude 4)
angels and men thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and
unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it
cannot be either increased or diminished.
(2 Tim. 2:19;
of mankind that are predestinated to life, God, before the foundation of
the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and
the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ
unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any
other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving him thereunto.
9, 11; Rom. 8:30; 2 Tim. 1:9; I Thess. 5:9; Rom. 9:13, 16; Eph. 2:5, 12)
God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so he hath, by the eternal and
most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto; wherefore
they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are
effectually called unto faith in Christ, by his Spirit working in due season,
are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith
unto salvation; neither are any other redeemed by Christ, or effectually
called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.
(1 Pet. 1:2;
2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Thess. 5:9, 10; Rom. 8:30; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:5;
John 10:26, 17:9, 6:64)
doctrine of the high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special
prudence and care, that men attending the will of God revealed in his Word,
and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual
vocation, be assured of their eternal election; so shall this doctrine
afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God, and of humility,
diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.
(1 Thess. 1:4,
5; 2 Pet. 1:10; Eph. 1:6; Rom. 11:33; Rom. 11:5, 6, 20; Luke 10:20)
the beginning it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the
manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness,
to create or make the world, and all things therein, whether visible or
invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good.
3; Heb. 1:2; Job 26:13; Rom. 1:20; Col. 1:16; Gen. 1:31)
God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with
reasonable and immortal souls, rendering them fit unto that life to God
for which they were created; being made after the image of God, in knowledge,
righteousness, and true holiness; having the law of God written in their
hearts, and power to fulfil it, and yet under a possibility of transgressing,
being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject to change.
Gen. 2:7; Eccles. 7:29; Gen. 1;26; Rom. 2:14, 15; Gen. 3:6)
the law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of
the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which whilst they kept, they were
happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.
Gen. 1:26, 28)
the good Creator of all things, in his infinite power and wisdom doth uphold,
direct, dispose, and govern all creatures and things, from the greatest
even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, to the end for
the which they were created, according unto his infallible foreknowledge,
and the free and immutable counsel of his own will; to the praise of the
glory of his wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy.
Job 38:11; Isa. 46:10, 11; Ps. 135:6; Matt. 10:29-31; Eph. 1;11)
in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all
things come to pass immutably and infallibly; so that there is not anything
befalls any by chance, or without his providence; yet by the same providence
he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes,
either necessarily, freely, or contingently.
Prov. 16:33; Gen. 8:22)
in his ordinary providence maketh use of means, yet is free to work without,
above, and against them at his pleasure.
44; Isa. 55:10, 11; Hosea 1:7; Rom. 4:19-21; Dan. 3:27)
almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far
manifest themselves in his providence, that his determinate counsel extendeth
itself even to the first fall, and all other sinful actions both of angels
and men; and that not by a bare permission, which also he most wisely and
powerfully boundeth, and otherwise ordereth and governeth, in a manifold
dispensation to his most holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness of their
acts proceedeth only from the creatures, and not from God, who, being most
holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.
2 Sam. 24:1, 1 Chron. 21:1; 2 Kings 19:28; Ps. 76;10; Gen. 1:20; Isa. 10:6,
7, 12; Ps. 1;21; 1 John 2:16)
most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave for a season
his own children to manifold temptations and the corruptions of their own
hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them
the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that
they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence
for their support upon himself; and to make them more watchful against
all future occasions of sin, and for other just and holy ends. So that
whatsoever befalls any of his elect is by his appointment, for his glory,
and their good.
(2 Chron. 32:25,
26, 31; 2 Cor. 12:7-9; Rom. 8:28)
for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as the righteous judge, for
former sin doth blind and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his
grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understanding,
and wrought upon their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts
which they had, and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes
occasion of sin; and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations
of the world, and the power of Satan, whereby it comes to pass that they
harden themselves, under those means which God useth for the softening
28, 11:7, 8; Deut. 29:4; Matt. 13:12; Deut. 2:30; 2 Kings 8:12, 13; Ps.
81:11, 12; 2 Thess. 2:10-12; Exod. 8:15, 32; Isa. 6:9, 10; 1 Pet. 2:7,
the providence of God doth in general reach to all creatures, so after
a more special manner it taketh care of his church, and disposeth of all
things to the good thereof.
(1 Tim. 4:10;
Amos 9:8, 9; Isa. 43:3-5)
the Fall of Man, Of Sin, And of the Punishment Thereof
God created man upright and perfect, and gave him a righteous law, which
had been unto life had he kept it, and threatened death upon the breach
thereof, yet he did not long abide in this honour; Satan using the subtlety
of the serpent to subdue Eve, then by her seducing Adam, who, without any
compulsion, did willfully transgress the law of their creation, and the
command given unto them, in eating the forbidden fruit, which God was pleased,
according to his wise and holy counsel to permit, having purposed to order
it to his own glory.
17; Gen. 3:12,13; 2 Cor. 11:3)
first parents, by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and
communion with God, and we in them whereby death came upon all: all becoming
dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul
Rom 5:12,etc; Tit. 1:15; Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:10-19)
being the root, and by God's appointment, standing in the room and stead
of all mankind, the guilt of the sin was imputed, and corrupted nature
conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation,
being now conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, the servants
of sin, the subjects of death, and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal,
and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus set them free.
1 Cor. 15:21, 22, 45, 49; Ps. 51:5; Job 14:4; Eph. 2:3; Rom. 6:20, 5:12;
Heb. 2:14, 15; 1 Thess. 1:10)
this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled,
and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed
all actual transgressions.
Col. 1:21; James 1:14, 15; Matt. 15:19)
corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated;
and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself,
and the first motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.
Eccles. 7:20; 1 John 1:8; Rom. 7:23-25; Gal. 5:17)
distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable
creatures do owe obedience to him as their creator, yet they could never
have attained the reward of life but by some voluntary condescension on
God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.
( Luke 17:10;
man having brought himself under the curse of the law by his fall, it pleased
the Lord to make a covenant of grace, wherein he freely offereth unto sinners
life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that
they may be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained
unto eternal life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.
Gal. 3:10; Rom. 3:20, 21; Rom. 8:3; Mark 16:15, 16; John 3:16; Ezek. 36:26,
27; John 6:44, 45; Ps. 110:3)
covenant is revealed in the gospel; first of all to Adam in the promise
of salvation by the seed of the woman, and afterwards by farther steps,
until the full discovery thereof was completed in the New Testament; and
it is founded in that eternal covenant transaction that was between the
Father and the Son about the redemption of the elect; and it is alone by
the grace of this covenant that all the posterity of fallen Adam that ever
were saved did obtain life and blessed immortality, man being now utterly
incapable of acceptance with God upon those terms on which Adam stood in
his state of innocency.
Heb. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:9; Tit. 1:2; Heb. 11;6, 13; Rom. 4:1, 2, &c.; Acts
4:12; John 8:56)
Christ the Mediator
pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus,
his only begotten Son, according to the covenant made between them both,
to be the mediator between God and man; the prophet, priest, and king;
head and saviour of the church, the heir of all things, and judge of the
world; unto whom he did from all eternity give a people to be his seed
and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.
1 Pet. 1:19, 20; Acts 3:22; Heb. 5:5, 6; Ps. 2:6; Luke 1:33; Eph. 1:22,
23; Heb. 1:2; Acts 17:31; Isa. 53:10; John 17:6; Rom. 8:30)
Son of God, the second person in the Holy Trinity, being very and eternal
God, the brightness of the Father's glory, of one substance and equal with
him who made the world, who upholdeth and governeth all things he hath
made, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man's nature,
with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without
sin; being conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary,
the Holy Spirit coming down upon her: and the power of the Most High overshadowing
her; and so was made of a woman of the tribe of Judah, of the seed of Abraham
and David according to the Scriptures; so that two whole, perfect, and
distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, without
conversion, composition, or confusion; which person is very God and very
man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.
Gal. 4;4; Rom. 8:3; Heb. 2:14, 16, 17, 4:15; Matt. 1:22, 23; Luke 1:27,
31, 35; Rom. 9:5; 1 Tim. 2:5)
Lord Jesus, in his human nature thus united to the divine, in the person
of the Son, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit above measure,
having in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in whom it pleased
the Father that all fullness should dwell, to the end that being holy,
harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, he might be thoroughly
furnished to execute the office of mediator and surety; which office he
took not upon himself, but was thereunto called by his Father; who also
put all power and judgment in his hand, and gave him commandment to execute
Acts 10:38; John 3:34; Col. 2:3; Col. 1:19; Heb. 7:26; John 1:14; Heb.
7:22; Heb. 5:5; John 5:22, 27; Matt. 28:18; Acts 2;36)
office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake, which that he might
discharge he was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfil it, and underwent
the punishment due to us, which we should have borne and suffered, being
made sin and a curse for us; enduring most grievous sorrows in his soul,
and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified, and died, and remained
in the state of the dead, yet saw no corruption: on the third day he arose
from the dead with the same body in which he suffered, with which he also
ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father
making intercession, and shall return to judge men and angels at the end
of the world.
8; Heb. 10:5-10; John 10:18; Gal 4:4; Matt. 3:15; Gal. 3:13; Isa. 53:6;
1 Pet. 3:18; 2 Cor. 5:21; Matt. 26:37, 38; Luke 22:44; Matt. 27:46; Acts
13:37; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4; John 20:25, 27; Mark 16:19; Acts 1:9-11; Rom. 8:34;
Heb. 9:24; Acts 10:42; Rom. 14:9, 10; Acts 1:11; 2 Pet. 2:4)
Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he
through the eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied
the justice of God, procured reconciliation, and purchased an everlasting
inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath
given unto Him.
10:14; Rom. 3:25, 26; John 17:2; Heb. 9:15)
the price of redemption was not actually paid by Christ till after his
incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefit thereof were communicated
to the elect in all ages, successively from the beginning of the world,
in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices wherein he was revealed,
and signified to be the seed which should bruise the serpent's head; and
the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, being the same yesterday,
and to- day and for ever.
(1 Cor. 4:10;
Heb. 4:2; 1 Pet. 1:10, 11; Rev. 13:8; Heb. 13:8)
in the work of mediation, acteth according to both natures, by each nature
doing that which is proper to itself; yet by reason of the unity of the
person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes in Scripture, attributed
to the person denominated by the other nature.
all those for whom Christ hath obtained eternal redemption, he doth certainly
and effectually apply and communicate the same, making intercession for
them; uniting them to himself by his Spirit, revealing unto them, in and
by his Word, the mystery of salvation, persuading them to believe and obey,
governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit, and overcoming all their
enemies by his almighty power and wisdom, in such manner and ways as are
most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation; and all
of free and absolute grace, without any condition foreseen in them to procure
10:15, 16, 17:9; Rom. 5:10; John 17:6; Eph. 1:9; 1 John 5:20; Rom. 8:9,
14; Ps. 110:1; 1 Cor. 15:25, 26; John 3:8; Eph. 1:8)
office of mediator between God and man is proper only to Christ, who is
the prophet, priest, and king of the church of God; and may not be either
in whole, or any part thereof, transferred from him to any other.
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 alienation
from God, and imperfection of the best of our services, we need his priestly
office to reconcile us and present us acceptable unto God; and in respect
to our averseness and utter inability to return to God, and for our rescue
and security from our spiritual adversaries, we need his kingly office
to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, deliver, and preserve us to his heavenly
Col. 1:21; Gal. 5:17; John 16:8; Ps. 110:3; Luke 1:74, 75)
hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of acting
upon choice, that it is neither forced, nor by any necessity of nature
determined to do good or evil.
James 1:14; Duet. 30:19)
in his state of innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that
which was good and well-pleasing to God, but yet was unstable, so that
he might fall from it.
by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to
any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether
averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able by his own strength
to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.
8:7; Eph. 2:1, 5; Tit. 3:3-5; John 6:44)
God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, he freeth
him from his natural bondage under sin, and by his grace alone enables
him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so as
that by reason of his remaining corruptions, he doth not perfectly, nor
only will, that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil.
John 8:36; Phil. 2:13; Rom. 7:15, 18, 19, 21, 23)
will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to good alone in the state
of glory only.
whom God hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed,
and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of
that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation
by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand
the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them
a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining
them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ;
yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.
11:7; Eph. 1:10, 11; 2 Thess. 2:13, 14; Eph. 2:1-6; Acts 26:18; Eph. 1:17,
Ezek. 36:26; Deut. 30:6; Ezek. 36:27; Eph. 1:19; Ps. 110:3; Cant. 1:4)
effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything
at all foreseen in man, nor from any power or agency in the creature, being
wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until being
quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit; he is thereby enabled to answer
this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that
by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.
(2 Tim. 1:9;
Eph. 2:8; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 2:5; John 5:25; Eph. 1:19, 20)
infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the
Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; so also are all
elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry
of the Word.
5, 6; John 3:8)
not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and
may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet not being effectually
drawn by the Father, they neither will nor can truly come to Christ, and
therefore cannot be saved: much less can men that receive not the Christian
religion be saved; be they never so diligent to frame their lives according
to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess.
13:20, 21; Heb 6:4, 5; John 6:44, 45, 65; 1 John 2:24, 25; Acts 4:12; John
whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth, not by infusing
righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting
and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them,
or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone; not by imputing faith itself,
the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their
righteousness; but by imputing Christ's active obedience unto the whole
law, and passive obedience in his death for their whole and sole righteousness
by faith, which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God.
8:30; Rom. 4:5-8; Eph. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:30, 31; Rom. 5:17-19; Phil. 3:8, 9;
Eph. 2:8-10; John 1:12; Rom. 5:17)
thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone
instrument of justification; yet it is not alone in the person justified,
but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith,
but worketh by love.
Gal. 5:6; James 2:17, 22, 26)
by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that
are justified; and did, by the sacrifice of himself in the blood of his
cross, undergoing in their stead the penalty due unto them, make a proper,
real, and full satisfaction to God's justice in their behalf; yet, inasmuch
as he was given by the Father for them, and his obedience and satisfaction
accepted in their stead, and both freely, not for anything in them, their
justification is only of free grace, that both the exact justice and rich
grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.
1 Pet. 1:18, 19; Isa. 53:5, 6; Rom. 8:32; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:26; Eph.
1:6, 7, 2:7)
did from all eternity decree to justify all the elect, and Christ did in
the fullness of time die for their sins, and rise again for their justification;
nevertheless, they are not justified personally, until the Holy Spirit
doth in time due actually apply Christ unto them.
1 Pet. 1:2; 1 Tim. 2:6; Rom. 4:25; Col. 1:21, 22; Tit. 3:4-7)
doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified, and although
they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their
sins, fall under God's fatherly displeasure; and in that condition they
have not usually the light of his countenance restored unto them, until
they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their
faith and repentance.
1 John 1:7, 9; John 10:28; Ps. 89:31-33; Ps. 32:5; Ps. 51; Matt. 26:75)
justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects,
one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament.
All those that are justified, God
vouchsafed, in and for the sake of his only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers
of the grace of adoption, by which they are taken into the number, and
enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God, have his name
put upon them, receive the spirit of adoption, have access to the throne
of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry Abba, Father, are pitied, protected,
provided for, and chastened by him as by a Father, yet never cast off,
but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises as heirs
of everlasting salvation.
Gal. 4:4, 5; John 1:12; Rom. 8:17; 2 Cor. 6:18; Rev. 3:12; Rom. 8:15; Gal.
4:6; Eph. 2:18; Ps. 103:13; Prov. 14:26; 1 Pet. 5:7; Heb. 12:6; Isa. 54:8,
9; Lam. 3:31; Eph. 4:30; Heb. 1:14, 6:12)
who are united to Christ, effectually called, and regenerated, having a
new heart and a new spirit created in them through the virtue of Christ's
death and resurrection, are also farther sanctified, really and personally,
through the same virtue, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them; the dominion
of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are
more and more weakened and mortified, and they more and more quickened
and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of all true holiness,
without which no man shall see the Lord.
Rom. 6:5, 6; John 17:17; Eph. 3:16-19; 1 Thess. 5:21-23; Rom. 6:14; Gal.
5;24; Col. 1:11; 2 Cor. 7:1; Heb. 12:14)
sanctification is throughout the whole man, yet imperfect in this life;
there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth
a continual and irreconcilable war; the flesh lusting against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh.
(1 Thess. 5:23;
Rom. 7:18, 23; Gal. 5:17; 1 Pet. 2:11)
which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail,
yet through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit
of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome; and so the saints grow in
grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, pressing after an heavenly
life, in evangelical obedience to all the commands which Christ as Head
and King, in His Word hath prescribed them.
Rom. 6:14; Eph. 4:15, 16; 2 Cor. 3:18, 7:1)
grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving
of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and
is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word; by which also, and by
the administration of baptism and the Lord's supper, prayer, and other
means appointed of God, it is increased and strengthened.
(2 Cor. 4:13;
Eph. 2:8; Rom. 10:14, 17; Luke 17;5; 1 Pet. 2:2; Acts 20:32)
this faith a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the
Word for the authority of God himself, and also apprehendeth an excellency
therein above all other writings and all things in the world, as it bears
forth the glory of God in his attributes, the excellency of Christ in his
nature and offices, and the power and fullness of the Holy Spirit in his
workings and operations: and so is enabled to cast his soul upon the truth
thus believed; and also acteth differently upon that which each particular
passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling
at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and
that which is to come; but the principal acts of saving faith have immediate
relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, and resting upon him alone for
justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant
Ps. 19:7-10, 119:72; 2 Tim. 1:12; John 15:14; Isa. 66:2; Heb. 11:13; John
1:12; Acts16:31; Gal. 2:20; Acts 15:11)
faith, although it be different in degrees, and may be weak or strong,
yet it is in the least degree of it different in the kind or nature of
it, as is all other saving grace, from the faith and common grace of temporary
believers; and therefore, though it may be many times assailed and weakened,
yet it gets the victory, growing up in many to the attainment of a full
assurance through Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our faith.
14; Matt. 6:30; Rom. 4:19, 20; 2 Pet. 1:1; Eph. 6:16; 1 John 5:4, 5; Heb.
6:11, 12; Col. 2:2; Heb. 12:2)
Repentance Unto Life and Salvation
of the elect as are converted at riper years, having sometime lived in
the state of nature, and therein served divers lusts and pleasures, God
in their effectual calling giveth them repentance unto life.
there is none that doth good and sinneth not, and the best of men may,
through the power and deceitfulness of their corruption dwelling in them,
with the prevalency of temptation, fall into great sins and provocations;
God hath, in the covenant of grace, mercifully provided that believers
so sinning and falling be renewed through repentance unto salvation.
Luke 22:31, 32)
saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the
Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith
in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it,
and self-abhorrency, praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose
and endeavour, by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing
in all things.
Acts 11:18; Ezek. 36:31; 2 Cor. 7:11; Ps. 119:6, 128)
repentance is to be continued through the whole course of our lives, upon
the account of the body of death, and the motions thereof, so it is every
man's duty to repent of his particular known sins particularly.
1 Tim. 1:13, 15)
is the provision which God hath made through Christ in the covenant of
grace for the preservation of believers unto salvation; that although there
is no sin so small but it deserves damnation; yet there is no sin so great
that it shall bring damnation on them that repent; which makes the constant
preaching of repentance necessary.
Isa. 1:16-18, 55:7)
works are only such as God hath commanded in his Holy Word, and not such
as without the warrant thereof are devised by men out of blind zeal, or
upon any pretence of good intentions.
Heb. 13:21; Matt. 15:9; Isa. 29:13)
good works, done in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and
evidences of a true and lively faith; and by them believers manifest their
thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the
profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify
God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that
having their fruit unto holiness they may have the end eternal life.
22; Ps. 116:12, 13; 1 John 2:3, 5; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; Matt. 5:16; 1 Tim. 6:1;
1 Pet. 2:15; Phil. 1:11; Eph. 2:10; Rom. 6:22)
ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the
Spirit of Christ; and that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces
they have already received, there is necessary an actual influence of the
same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will and to do of his good pleasure;
yet they are not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound
to perform any duty, unless upon a special motion of the Spirit, but they
ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.
5; 2 Cor. 3:5; Phil. 2:13; Phil. 2:12; Heb. 6:11, 12; Isa. 64:7)
who in their obedience attain to the greatest height which is possible
in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate, and to do more
than God requires, as that they fall short of much which in duty they are
bound to do.
(Job 9:2, 3;
Gal. 5:17; Luke 17:10)
cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin or eternal life at the hand
of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the
glory to come, and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom
by them we can neither profit nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins;
but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable
servants; and because as they are good they proceed from his Spirit, and
as they are wrought by us they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness
and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God's punishment.
Eph. 2:8, 9; Rom. 4:6; Gal. 5:22, 23; Isa. 64:6; Ps. 143:2)
notwithstanding the persons of believers being accepted through Christ,
their good works also are accepted in him; not as though they were in this
life wholly unblameable and unreprovable in God's sight, but that he, looking
upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere,
although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.
1 Pet. 2:5; Matt. 25:21, 23; Heb. 6:10)
done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things
which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others; yet
because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith, nor are done in
a right manner according to the word, nor to a right end, the glory of
God, they are therefore sinful, and cannot please God, nor make a man meet
to receive grace from God, and yet their neglect of them is more sinful
and displeasing to God.
(2 Kings 10:30;
1 Kings 21:27, 29; Gen. 4:5; Heb. 11:4, 6; 1 Cor. 13:1; Matt. 6:2, 5; Amos
5:21, 22; Rom. 9:16; Tit. 3:5; Job 21:14, 15; Matt. 25:41-43)
The Perseverance of the Saints
whom God hath accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified
by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither
totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere
therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings
of God are without repentance, whence 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; notwithstanding, through unbelief
and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of the light and love
of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them, yet he 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 palm of his hands, and their names having been written in the
book of life from all eternity.
29; Phil. 1:6; 2 Tim. 2:19; 1 John 2:19; Ps. 89:31, 32; 1 Cor. 11:32; Mal.
perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon
the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable
love of God the Father, upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession
of Jesus Christ and union with him, the oath of God, the abiding of his
Spirit, and the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant
of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.
9:11, 16; Rom. 5:9, 10; John 14:19; Heb. 6:17, 18; 1 John 3:9; Jer. 32:40)
though they may, through the temptation of Satan and of the world, the
prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of means of
their preservation, fall into grievous sins, and for a time continue therein,
whereby they incur God's displeasure and grieve his Holy Spirit, come to
have their graces and comforts impaired, have their hearts hardened, and
their consciences wounded, hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal
judgments upon themselves, yet shall they renew their repentance and be
preserved through faith in Christ Jesus to the end.
72, 74; Isa. 64:5, 9; Eph. 4:30; Ps. 51:10, 12; Ps. 32:3, 4; 2 Sam. 12:14;
Luke 22:32, 61, 62)
Of the Assurance
of Grace and Salvation
temporary believers, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves
with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God
and state of salvation, which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as
truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavouring
to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly
assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope
of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.
14; Matt. 7:22, 23; 1 John 2:3, 3:14, 18, 19, 21, 24, 5:13; Rom. 5:2, 5)
certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasiongrounded upon
a fallible hope, but an infallible assurance of faith founded on the blood
and righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel; and also upon the inward
evidence of those graces of the Spirit unto which promises are made, and
on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption, witnessing with our spirits
that we are the children of God; and, as a fruit thereof, keeping the heart
both humble and holy.
19; Heb. 6:17, 18; 2 Pet. 1:4, 5, 10, 11; Rom. 8:15, 16; 1 John 3:1-3)
infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that
a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties before
he be partaker of it; yet being enabled by the Spirit to know the things
which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation,
in the right use of means, attain thereunto: and therefore it is the duty
of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure,
that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the
duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance; -so far is it
from inclining men to looseness.
Ps. 88; Ps. 77:1-12; 1 John 4:13; Heb. 6:11, 12; Rom. 5:1, 2, 5, 14:17;
Ps. 119:32; Rom. 6:1,2; Tit. 2:11, 12, 14)
believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken,
diminished, and intermitted; as by negligence in preserving of it, by falling
into some special sin which woundeth the conscience and grieveth the Spirit;
by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God's withdrawing the light of
his countenance, and suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness
and to have no light, yet are they never destitute of the seed of God and
life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of
heart and conscience of duty out of which, by the operation of the Spirit,
this assurance may in due time be revived, and by the which, in the meantime,
they are preserved from utter despair.
3, 6; Ps. 51:8, 12, 14; Ps. 116:11; 77:7, 8, 31:22; Ps. 30:7; 1 John 3:9;
Luke 22:32; Ps. 42:5, 11; Lam. 3:26-31)
the Law of God
gave to Adam a law of universal obedience written in his heart, and a particular
precept of not eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil;
by which he bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact,
and perpetual obedience; promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened
death upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and ability to keep
Eccles. 7:29; Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:10, 12)
same law that was first written in the heart of man continued to be a perfect
rule of righteousness after the fall, and was delivered by God upon Mount
Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables, the four first containing
our duty towards God, and the other six, our duty to man.
15; Deut. 10:4)
this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people
of Israel ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly
of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits;
and partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties, all which
ceremonial laws being appointed only to the time of reformation, are, by
Jesus Christ the true Messiah and only law-giver, who was furnished with
power from the Father for that end abrogated and taken away.
Col. 2:17; I Cor. 5:7; Col. 2:14, 16, 17; Eph. 2:14, 16)
them also he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the
state of that people, not obliging any now by virtue of that institution;
their general equity only being of modern use.
(1 Cor. 9:8-10)
moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others,
to the obedience thereof, and that not only in regard of the matter contained
in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave
it; neither doth Christ in the Gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen
James 2:8, 10-12; James 2:10, 11; Matt. 5:17-19; Rom. 3:31)
true believers be not under the law as a covenant of works, to be thereby
justified or condemned, yet it is of great use to them as well as to others,
in that as a rule of life, informing them of the will of God and their
duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly; discovering also the
sinful pollutions of their natures, hearts, and lives, so as examining
themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation
for, and hatred against, sin; together with a clearer sight of the need
they have of Christ and the perfection of his obedience; it is likewise
of use to the regenerate to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids
sin; and the threatenings of it serve to shew what even their sins deserve,
and what afflictions in this life they may expect for them, although freed
from the curse and unallayed rigour thereof. The promises of it likewise
shew them God's approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect
upon the performance thereof, though not as due to them by the law as a
covenant of works; so as man's doing good and refraining from evil, because
the law encourageth to the one and deterreth from the other, is no evidence
of his being under the law and not under grace.
Gal. 2:16; Rom. 8:1, 10:4; Rom. 3:20, 7:7, etc; Rom. 6:12-14; 1 Pet. 3:8-13)
are the aforementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the Gospel,
but do sweetly comply with it, the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling
the will of man to do that freely and cheerfully which the will of God,
revealed in the law, requireth to be done.
the Gospel, and of the Extent of the Grace Thereof
covenant of works being broken by sin, and made unprofitable unto life,
God was pleased to give forth the promise of Christ, the seed of the woman,
as the means of calling the elect, and begetting in them faith and repentance;
in this promise the gospel, as to the substance of it, was revealed, and
[is] therein effectual for the conversion and salvation of sinners.
promise of Christ, and salvation by him, is revealed only by the Word of
God; neither do the works of creation or providence, with the light of
nature, make discovery of Christ, or of grace by him, so much as in a general
or obscure way; much less that men destitute of the revelation of Him by
the promise or gospel, should be enabled thereby to attain saving faith
Rom. 10:14,15,17; Prov. 29:18; Isa. 25:7; 60:2, 3)
revelation of the gospel unto sinners, made in divers times and by sundry
parts, with the addition of promises and precepts for the obedience required
therein, as to the nations and persons to whom it is granted, is merely
of the sovereign will and good pleasure of God; not being annexed by virtue
of any promise to the due improvement of men's natural abilities, by virtue
of common light received without it, which none ever did make, or can do
so; and therefore in all ages, the preaching of the gospel has been granted
unto persons and nations, as to the extent or straitening of it, in great
variety, according to the counsel of the will of God.
Acts 16:7; Rom. 1;18-32)
the gospel be the only outward means of revealing Christ and saving grace,
and is, as such, abundantly sufficient thereunto; yet that men who are
dead in trespasses may be born again, quickened or regenerated, there is
moreover necessary an effectual insuperable work of the Holy Spirit upon
the whole soul, for the producing in them a new spiritual life; without
which no other means will effect their conversion unto God.
1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 1:19, 20; John 6:44; 2 Cor. 4:4, 6)
Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience
liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel, consists
in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the
rigour and curse of the law, and in their being delivered from this present
evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin, from the evil of afflictions,
the fear and sting of death, the victory of the grave, and ever- lasting
damnation: as also in their free access to God, and their yielding obedience
unto Him, not out of slavish fear, but a child-like love and willing mind.
. All which were common also to believers under the law for the substance
of them; but under the New Testament the liberty of Christians is further
enlarged, in their freedom from the yoke of a ceremonial law, to which
the Jewish church was subjected, and in greater boldness of access to the
throne of grace, and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God,
than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of.
Gal. 1:4; Acts 26:18; Rom. 8:3; Rom. 8:28; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; 2 Thess. 1:10;
Rom. 8:15; Luke 1:73-75; 1 John 4:18; Gal. 3;9, 14; John 7:38, 39; Heb.
alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines
and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his word, or
not contained in it. So that to believe such doctrines, or obey such commands
out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring
of an implicit faith, an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty
of conscience and reason also.
Rom. 14:4; Acts 4:19, 29; 1 Cor. 7:23; Matt. 15:9; Col. 2:20, 22, 23; 1
Cor. 3:5; 2 Cor. 1:24)
who upon pretence of Christian liberty do practice any sin, or cherish
any sinful lust, as they do thereby pervert the main design of the grace
of the gospel to their own destruction, so they wholly destroy the end
of Christian liberty, which is, that being delivered out of the hands of
all our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and
righeousness before Him, all the days of our lives.
2; Gal. 5:13; 2 Pet. 2:18, 21)
Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.
light of nature shews that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty
over all; is just, good and doth good unto all; and is therefore to be
feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the
heart and all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way
of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by
his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination
and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations,
or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.
Mark 12:33; Deut. 12:32; Exod. 20:4-6)
worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to
him alone; not to angels, saints, or any other creatures; and since the
fall, not without a mediator, nor in the mediation of any other but Christ
10; John 6:23; Matt. 28:19; Rom. 1:25; Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10; John 14:6;
1 Tim. 2:5)
with thanksgiving, being one part of natural worship, is by God required
of all men. But that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of
the Son, by the help of the Spirit, according to his will; with understanding,
reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and when
with others, in a known tongue.
65:2; John 14:13, 14; Rom. 8:26; 1 John 5:14; 1 Cor. 14:16, 17)
is to be made for things lawful, and for all sorts of men living, or that
shall live hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those of whom it may
be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.
(1 Tim. 2:1,
2; 2 Sam. 7:29; 2 Sam. 12:21-23; 1 John 5:16)
reading of the Scriptures, preaching, and hearing the Word of God, teaching
and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing
with grace in our hearts to the Lord; as also the administration of baptism,
and the Lord's supper, are all parts of religious worship of God, to be
performed in obedience to him, with understanding, faith, reverence, and
godly fear; moreover, solemn humiliation, with fastings, and thanksgivings,
upon special occasions, ought to be used in an holy and religious manner.
(1 Tim. 4:13;
2 Tim. 4:2; Luke 8:18; Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19; Matt. 28:19, 20; 1 Cor. 11:26;
Esther 4:16; Joel 2:12; Exod. 15:1-19, Ps. 107)
prayer nor any other part of religious worship, is now under the gospel,
tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed,
or towards which it is directed; but God is to be worshipped everywhere
in spirit and in truth; as in private families daily, and in secret each
one by himself; so more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not
carelessly nor wilfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God by his word
or providence calleth thereunto.
Mal. 1:11; 1 Tim. 2:8; Acts 10:2; Matt. 6:11; Ps. 55:17; Matt. 6:6; Heb.
10:25; Acts 2:42)
it is the law of nature, that in general a proportion of time, by God's
appointment, be set apart for the worship of God, so by his Word, in a
positive moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages,
he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a sabbath to be kept
holy unto him, which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection
of Christ was the last day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ
was changed into the first day of the week, which is called the Lord's
day: and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath,
the observation of the last day of the week being abolished.
1 Cor. 16:1, 2; Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10)
sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing
of their hearts, and ordering their common affairs aforehand, do not only
observe an holy rest all day, from their own works, words and thoughts,
about their worldly employment and recreations, but are also taken up the
whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the
duties of necessity and mercy.
Neh. 13:15-22; Matt. 12:1-13)
We believe that (Acts 16:25, Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16) singing the praises of God, is a holy ordinance of Christ, and not a part of natural religion, or a moral duty only; but that it is brought under divine institution, it being enjoined on the churches of Christ to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; and that the whole church in their public assemblies, as well as private Christians, ought to (Heb. 2:12, Jam. 5:13) sing God's praises according to the best light they have received. Moreover, it was practiced in the great representative church, by (Matt.26:30, Matt. 14:26) our Lord Jesus Christ with His disciples, after He had instituted and celebrated the sacred ordinance of His Holy Supper, as commemorative token of redeeming love.
Lawful Oaths and Vows
lawful oath is a part of religious worship, wherein the person swearing
in truth, righteousness, and judgement, solemnly calleth God to witness
what he sweareth, and to judge him according to the truth or falseness
Deut. 10:20; Jer. 4:2; 2 Chron. 6:22, 23)
name of God only is that by which men ought to swear; and therein it is
to be used, with all holy fear and reverence; therefore to swear vainly
or rashly by that glorious and dreadful name, or to swear at all by any
other thing, is sinful, and to be abhorred; yet as in matter of weight
and moment, for confirmation of truth, and ending all strife, an oath is
warranted by the word of God; a lawful oath being imposed by lawful authority
in such matters, ought to be taken.
37; James 5:12; Heb. 6:16, 2 Cor. 1:23; Neh. 13:25)
taketh an oath warranted by the Word of God, ought duly to consider the
weightiness of so solemn an act, and therein to avouch nothing but what
he knoweth to be truth; for that by rash, false, and vain oaths, the Lord
is provoked, and for them this land mourns.
oath is to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without
equivocation or mental reservation.
vow, which is not to be made to any creature, but to God alone, is to be
made and performed with all religious care and faithfulness; but popish
monastical vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular
obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they
are superstitious and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle
Gen. 28:20-22; 1 Cor. 7:2, 9; Eph. 4:28; Matt. 19:11)
the Civil Magistrate
the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates
to be under him, over the people, for his own glory and the public good;
and to this end hath armed them with the power of the sword, for defence
and encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil
is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate
when called there unto; in the management whereof, as they ought especially
to maintain justice and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each
kingdom and commonwealth, so for that end they may lawfully now, under
the New Testament wage war upon just and necessary occasions.
(2 Sam. 23:3;
Ps. 82:3, 4; Luke 3:14)
magistrates being set up by God for the ends aforesaid; subjection, in
all lawful things commanded by them, ought to be yielded by us in the Lord,
not only for wrath, but for conscience sake;and we ought 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.
1 Pet. 2:17; 1 Tim. 2:1, 2)
is to be between one man and one woman; neither is it lawful for any man
to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband
at the same time.
Mal. 2:15; Matt. 19:5,6)
was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife, for the increase
of mankind with a legitimate issue, and the preventing of uncleanness.
Gen. 1:28; 1 Cor. 7:2, 9)
is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment
to give their consent; yet it is the duty of Christians to marry in the
Lord; and therefore such as profess the true religion, should not marry
with infidels, or idolaters; neither should such as are godly, be unequally
yoked, by marrying with such as are wicked in their life, or maintain damnable
1 Tim. 4:3; 1 Cor. 7:39; Neh. 13:25-27)
ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity, forbidden
in the Word; nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful, by
any law of man or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together
as man and wife.
Mark 6:18; 1 Cor. 5;1)
catholic or universal church, which (with respect to the internal work
of the Spirit and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of
the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered
into one, under Christ, the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body,
the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:10, 22, 23, 5:23, 27, 32)
persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the gospel, and obedience
unto God by Christ according unto it, not destroying their own profession
by any errors everting the foundation, or unholiness of conversation, are
and may be called visible saints; and of such ought all particular congregations
to be constituted.
(1 Cor. 1:2;
Acts 11:26; Rom. 1:7; Eph. 1:20-22)
purest churches under heaven are subject to mixture and error; and some
have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues
of Satan; nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have a kingdom
in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make
profession of his name.
(1 Cor. 5;
Rev. 2, 3; Rev. 18:2; 2 Thess. 2:11, 12; Matt. 16:18; Ps. 72:17, 102:28;
Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, in whom, by the appointment
of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order or government
of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner; neither can
the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist,
that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church
against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy
with the brightness of his coming.
Matt. 28:18-20; Eph. 4:11, 12; 2 Thess. 2:2-9)
the execution of this power wherewith he is so intrusted, the Lord Jesus
calleth out of the world unto himself, through the ministry of his word,
by his Spirit, those that are given unto him by his Father, that they may
walk before him in all the ways of obedience, which he prescribeth to them
in his word. Those thus called, he commandeth to walk together in particular
societies, or churches, for their mutual edification, and the due performance
of that public worship, which he requireth of them in the world.
John 12:32; Matt. 28:20; Matt. 18:15-20)
members of these churches are saints by calling, visibly manifesting and
evidencing (in and by their profession and walking) their obedience unto
that call of Christ; and do willingly consent to walk together, according
to the appointment of Christ; giving up themselves to the Lord, and one
to another, by the will of God, in professed subjection to the ordinances
of the Gospel.
1 Cor. 1:2; Acts 2:41, 42, 5:13, 14; 2 Cor. 9:13)
each of these churches thus gathered, according to his mind declared in
his word, he hath given all that power and authority, which is in any way
needful for their carrying on that order in worship and discipline, which
he hath instituted for them to observe; with commands and rules for the
due and right exerting, and executing of that power.
18; 1 Cor. 5:4, 5, 5:13 2 Cor. 2:6-8)
particular church, gathered and completely organized according to the mind
of Christ, consists of officers and members; and the officers appointed
by Christ to be chosen and set apart by the church (so called and gathered),
for the peculiar administration of ordinances, and execution of power or
duty, which he intrusts them with, or calls them to, to be continued to
the end of the world, are bishops or elders, and deacons.
28; Phil. 1:1)
way appointed by Christ for the calling of any person, fitted and gifted
by the Holy Spirit, unto the office of bishop or elder in a church, is,
that he be chosen thereunto by the common suffrage of the church itself;
and solemnly set apart by fasting and prayer, with imposition of hands
of the eldership of the church, if there be any before constituted therein;
and of a deacon that he be chosen by the like suffrage, and set apart by
prayer, and the like imposition of hands.
1 Tim. 4:14; Acts 6:3, 5, 6)
work of pastors being constantly to attend the service of Christ, in his
churches, in the ministry of the word and prayer, with watching for their
souls, as they that must give an account to Him; it is incumbent on the
churches to whom they minister, not only to give them all due respect,
but also to communicate to them of all their good things according to their
ability, so as they may have a comfortable supply, without being themselves
entangled in secular affairs; and may also be capable of exercising hospitality
towards others; and this is required by the law of nature, and by the express
order of our Lord Jesus, who hath ordained that they that preach the Gospel
should live of the Gospel.
Heb. 13:17; 1 Tim. 5:17, 18; Gal. 6:6, 7; 2 Tim. 2:4; 1 Tim. 3:2; 1 Cor.
Although it be incumbent on the bishops or pastors of the churches, to
be instant in preaching the word, by way of office, yet the work of preaching
the word is not so peculiarly confined to them but that others also gifted
and fitted by the Holy Spirit for it, and approved and called by the church,
may and ought to perform it.
1 Pet. 4:10, 11)
all believers are bound to join themselves to particular churches, when
and where they have opportunity so to do; so all that are admitted unto
the privileges of a church, are also under the censures and government
thereof, according to the rule of Christ.
(1 Thess. 5:14;
2 Thess. 3:6, 14, 15)
No church members, upon any offence taken by them, having performed their
duty required of them towards the person they are offended at, ought to
disturb any church-order, or absent themselves from the assemblies of the
church, or administration of any ordinances, upon the account of such offence
at any of their fellow members, but to wait upon Christ, in the further
proceeding of the church.
Eph. 4:2, 3)
each church, and all the members of it, are bound to pray continually for
the good and prosperity of all the churches of Christ, in all places, and
upon all occasions to further every one within the bounds of their places
and callings, in the exercise of their gifts and graces, so the churches,
when planted by the providence of God, so as they may enjoy opportunity
and advantage for it, ought to hold communion among themselves, for their
peace, increase of love, and mutual edification.
Ps. 122:6; Rom. 16:1, 2; 3 John 8-10)
cases of difficulties or differences, either in point of doctrine or administration,
wherein either the churches in general are concerned, or any one church,
in their peace, union, and edification; or any member or members of any
church are injured, in or by any proceedings in censures not agreeable
to truth and order: it is according to the mind of Christ, that many churches
holding communion together, do, by their messengers, meet to consider,
and give their advice in or about that matter in difference, to be reported
to all the churches concerned; howbeit these messengers assembled, are
not intrusted with any church-power properly so called; or with any jurisdiction
over the churches themselves, to exercise any censures either over any
churches or persons; or to impose their determination on the churches or
4, 6, 22, 23, 25; 2 Cor. 1:24; 1 John 4:1)
the Communion of Saints
saints that are united to Jesus Christ, their head, by his Spirit, and
faith, although they are not made thereby one person with him, have fellowship
in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory; and, being united
to one another in love, they have communion in each others gifts and graces,
and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private,
in an orderly way, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward
and outward man.
(1 John 1:3;
John 1:16; Phil. 3:10; Rom. 6:5, 6; Eph. 4:15, 16; 1 Cor. 12:7; 3:21-23;
1 Thess. 5:11, 14; Rom. 1:12; 1 John 3:17, 18; Gal. 6:10)
by profession are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in
the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as
tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward
things according to their several abilities, and necessities; which communion,
according to the rule of the gospel, though especially to be exercised
by them, in the relation wherein they stand, whether in families, or churches,
yet, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended to all the household
of faith, even all those who in every place call upon the name of the Lord
Jesus; nevertheless their communion one with another as saints, doth not
take away or infringe the title or propriety which each man hath in his
goods and possessions.
25, 3:12, 13; Acts 11:29, 30; Eph. 6:4; 1 Cor. 12:14-27; Acts 5:4; Eph.
Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of positive and sovereign institution,
appointed by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver, to be continued in his
church to the end of the world.
20; 1 Cor. 11;26)
holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified
and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.
1 Cor. 4:1)
is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto
the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and
resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and
of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness
Col. 2;12; Gal. 3:27; Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:4)
who do actually profess repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience
to, our Lord Jesus Christ, are the only proper subjects of this ordinance.
Acts 8;36, 37, 2:41, 8:12, 18:8)
outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, wherein the party
is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
20; Acts 8:38)
or dipping of the person in water, is necessary to the due administration
of this ordinance.
We believe that laying on of hands (with prayer) upon baptized believers, as such, is an ordinance of Christ, and ought to be submitted unto by all such persons that are admitted to partake of the Lord's Supper; and that the end of this ordinance is not fro the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, but for a farther reception of the Spirit of promise, or for addition of the graces of the Spirit, and the influences thereof; to confirm strengthen, and comfort them in Jesus Christ; it being ratified and established by the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit in the primitive times to abide in the Church, as meeting together on the first day of the week was, that being the day of worship, or Christian Sabbath, under the gospel; and as preaching the Word was, and as baptism was, and prayer was, and singing psalms was, for as the whole gospel was confirmed by signs and wonders, and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost in general, so was every ordinance in like manner confirmed in particular.
the Lord's Supper
supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he
was betrayed, to be observed in his churches, unto the end of the world,
for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of himself
in his death, confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits
thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further
engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; and to be a bond
and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other.
(1 Cor. 11:23-26;
1 Cor. 10:16, 17,21)
this ordinance Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice
made at all for remission of sin of the quick or dead, but only a memorial
of that one offering up of himself by himself upon the cross, once for
all; and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same.
So that the popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominable,
injurious to Christ's own sacrifice the alone propitiation for all the
sins of the elect.
26, 28; 1 Cor. 11;24; Matt. 26:26, 27)
Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to pray, and
bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from
a common to a holy use, and to take and break the bread; to take the cup,
and, they communicating also themselves, to give both to the communicants.
(1 Cor. 11:23-26,
denial of the cup to the people, worshipping the elements, the lifting
them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and reserving them for any
pretended religious use, are all contrary to the nature of this ordinance,
and to the institution of Christ.
15:9, Exod. 20:4, 5)
outward elements in this ordinance, duly set apart to the use ordained
by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, although
in terms used figuratively, they are sometimes called by the names of the
things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ, albeit, in
substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine,
as they were before.
(1 Cor. 11;27;
1 Cor. 11:26-28)
doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into
the substance of Christ's body and blood, commonly called transubstantiation,
by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant not to Scripture
alone, but even to common sense and reason, overthroweth the nature of
the ordinance, and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions,
yea, of gross idolatries.
Luke 14:6, 39; 1 Cor. 11:24, 25)
receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance,
do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and
corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and
all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then
not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers
in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.
(1 Cor. 10:16,
ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with
Christ, so are they unworthy of the Lord's table, and cannot, without great
sin against him, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries,
or be admitted thereunto; yea, whosoever shall receive unworthily, are
guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, eating and drinking judgment
(2 Cor. 6:14,
15; 1 Cor. 11:29; Matt. 7:6)
the State of Man after Death and Of the Resurrection of the Dead.
bodies of men after death return to dust, and see corruption; but their
souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately
return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous being then made
perfect in holiness, are received into paradise, where they are with Christ,
and behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption
of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell; where
they remain in torment and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of
the great day; besides these two places, for souls separated from their
bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.
Acts 13:36; Eccles. 12:7; Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:1, 6,8; Phil. 1:23; Heb.
12;23; Jude 6, 7; 1 Peter 3:19; Luke 16:23, 24)
the last day, such of the saints as are found alive, shall not sleep, but
be changed; and all the dead shall be raised up with the selfsame bodies,
and none other; although with different qualities, which shall be united
again to their souls forever.
(1 Cor. 15:51,
52; 1 Thess. 4:17; Job 19:26, 27; 1 Cor. 15:42, 43)
bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonour;
the bodies of the just, by his Spirit, unto honour, and be made conformable
to his own glorious body.
John 5:28, 29; Phil. 3:21)
the Last Judgment
hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteousness,
by Jesus Christ; to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father;
in which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but likewise
all persons that have lived upon the earth shall appear before the tribunal
of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds, and
to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or
John 5:22, 27; 1 Cor. 6:3; Jude 6; 2 Cor. 5:10; Eccles. 12:14; Matt. 12:36;
14:10, 12; Matt. 25:32-46)
end of God's appointing this day, is for the manifestation of the glory
of his mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of his justice,
in the eternal damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient;
for then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that
fulness of joy and glory with everlasting rewards, in the presence of the
Lord; but the wicked, who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus
Christ, shall be cast aside into everlasting torments, and punished with
everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory
of his power.
23; Matt. 25:21, 34; 2 Tim. 4:8; Matt. 25:46; Mark 9:48; 2 Thess. 1;7-10)
Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day
of judgment, both to deter all men from sin, and for the greater consolation
of the godly in their adversity, so will he have the day unknown to men,
that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because
they know not at what hour the Lord will come, and may ever be prepared
to say, Come Lord Jesus; come quickly. Amen.
(2 Cor. 5:10,
11; 2 Thess. 1:5-7; Mark 13:35-37; Luke 12:35-40; Rev. 22:20)
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