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THE SECOND LONDON CONFESSION OF FAITH-2

PUT FORTH BY THE ELDERS AND BRETHREN OF MANY

CONGREGATIONS Of Christians (baptised upon Profession of their Faith) in London and the Country. LONDON: Printed in the Year, 1677. First Edition

{This information is taken from the AGES Electronic Library and placed here for educational and edification purposes only}

TABLE OF CONTENTS

19. Of the Law of God

20. Of the Gospel, & of the extent of the Grace thereof

21. Of Christian Liberty, and the Liberty of Conscience

22. Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath day

23. Of Lawful Oaths and Vows

24. Of the Civil Magistrate

25. Of Marriage

26. Of the Church

27. Of the Communion of the Saints

28. Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

29. Of Baptism

30. Of the Lord’s Supper

31. Of the State of Man after Death, & the Resurrection

32. Of the Last Judgment

 

CHAPTER 19. — OF THE LAW OF GOD.

1. GOD gave to Adam a Law of universal obedience, (Genesis 1.

<210729>Ecclesiastes 7:29.) 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 (<451005>Romans

10:5.) obedience; promised life upon the filfilling, and (<480310>Galatians 3:10, 12.)

threatened death upon the breach of it, and indued him with power and ability

to keep it.

2. The same Law that was first written in the heart of man, (<450214>Romans 2:14,

15.) continued to be a perfect rule of Righteousness after the fall; & was

delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in (<051004>Deuteronomy 10:4.) Ten

Commandments and written in two Tables; the four first containing our duty

towards God, and the other six our duty to man.

3. Besides this law commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the

people Israel Ceremonial Laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly

of worship, (<581001>Hebrews 10:1. <510217>Colossians 2:17.) prefiguring Christ, his

graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth divers

instructions (<460507>1 Corinthians 5:7.) 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, (<510214>Colossians 2:14, 16, 17. <490214>Ephesians 2:14, 16.)

abrogate and taken away.

4. To them also he gave sundry judicial Laws, which expired together with the

state of that people, not obliging and now by vertue of that institution; their

general (<460908>1 Corinthians 9:8, 9, 10.) equity onely, being of moral use.

5. The moral Law doth for ever bind all, (<451308>Romans 13:8, 9, 10. <590208>James

2:8, 10, 11, 12.) 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 (<590210>James 2:10, 11.) authority of God the Creator, who gave it: Neither

doth Christ in the Gospel any way dissolve, (<400517>Matthew 5:17, 18, 19,

<450331>Romans 3:31.) but much strengthen this obligation.

6. Although true Believers be not under the Law, as a Covenant of Works,

(<450614>Romans 6:14. <480216>Galatians 2:16. <450801>Romans 8:1. cha. 10:4.) 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 (<450320>Romans 3:20. chap. 7:7, etc.)

discovering also the sinfull 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 for-bids Sin; and

the Threatnitigs of it serve to shew what even their Sins deserve; and what

afflictions in this Life they may expect for them, although free’d from the

Curse and unallayed Rigor there-of. The Promises of it likewise shew them

Gods 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 mans doing Good and refraining from Evil, because the Law

incourageth to the one and deterreth from the other, is no Evidence of his being

(<450612>Romans 6:12, 13, 14; <600308>1 Peter 3:8-13.) under the Law and not under

Grace.

7. Neither are the forementioned uses of the Law (<480321>Galatians 3:21.) contrary

to the Grace of the Gospel; but do sweetly comply with it; the Spirit of Christ

subduing (<263627>Ezekiel 36:27.) and inabling the Will of man, to do that freely

and chearfully, which the will of God revealed in the Law requireth to be done.
 

CHAPTER 20. — OF THE GOSPEL, AND OF THE

EXTENT OF THE GRACE THEREOF.

 

1. THE Covenant of Works being broken by Sin, and made unprofitable unto

Life; God was pleased to give forth the promise of Christ, (<010315>Genesis 3:15.)

the Seed of the Woman, as the means of calling the Elect, and begetting in

them Faith and Repentance; in this Promise, the (<661308>Revelation 13:8.) Gospel,

as to the substance of it, was revealed, and therein Effectual, for the

Conversion and Salvation of Sinners.

2. This Promise of Christ, and Salvation by him, is revealed only by

(<450117>Romans 1:17.) the Word of God; neither do the Works of Creation, or

Providence, with the light of Nature, (<451014>Romans 10:14, 15, 17.) 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; (<202918>Proverbs 29:18. <232507>Isaiah 25:7, with ch. 60:2, 3.) should be

enabled thereby, to attain saving Faith, or Repentance.

3. The 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

meerly of the (<19E720>Psalm 147:20. <441607>Acts 16:7.) Soveraign Will and good

Pleasure of God; not being annexed by vertue of any Promise, to the due

improvement of mens natural abilities, by vertue of Common light received

with-out it; which none ever did (<450118>Romans 1:18 etc.) make, or can so do:

And there-fore in all Ages the preaching of the Gospel hath been granted unto

persons and Nations, as to the extent, or streightning of it, in great variety,

according to the Councell of the Will of God.

4. Although the Gospel be the only outward means, of revealing Christ, and

saving Grace; and is, as such, abundantly sufficient there-unto; yet that men

who are dead in Trespasses, may be born again, Quickened or Regenerated;

there is morover necessary, an effectual, insuperable (<19B003>Psalm 110:3. <460214>1

Corinthians 2:14. <490119>Ephesians 1:19, 20.) 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 (<430644>John 6:44; <470404>2 Corinthians 4:4, 6.) their

Conversion unto God.
 

CHAPTER 21. — OF CHRISTIAN LIBERTY AND

LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE.

1. THE 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 (<480313>Galatians 3:13.) Curse of the Law; and in their being

delivered from this present evil (<480104>Galatians 1:4.) World, bondage to

(<442618>Acts 26:18.) Satan, and Dominion (<450803>Romans 8:3.) of Sin; from the

(<450828>Romans 8:28.) Evil of Afflictions, the Fear, and Stings (<461554>1 Corinthians

15:54, 55, 56, 57.) of Death, the Victory of the Grave, and (<530110>2 Thessalonians

1:10.) Everlasting Dam-nation; as also in their (<450815>Romans 8:15.) free access

to God; and their yielding Obedience unto him not out of a slavish fear,

(<420174>Luke 1:74, 75; <620418>1 John 4:18.) but a Child-like love, and willing mind.

All, which were common also to Believers under the Law (<480309>Galatians 3:9,

14.) for the substance of them; but under the new Testament, the Liberty of

Christians is further enlarged in their freedom from the yoke of the 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 (<430738>John

7:38, 39. <581019>Hebrews 10:19, 20, 21.) Free Spirit of God, then Believers under

the Law did ordinarily partake of.

2. God alone is (<590412>James 4:12. <451404>Romans 14:4.) Lord of the Conscience,

and hath left it free from the Doctrines and Commandments of men (<440419>Acts

4:19. & 5:29; <460723>1 Corinthians 7:23. <401509>Matthew 15:9.) 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, (<510220>Colossians 2:20,

22, 23.) is to betray true liberty of Conscience; and the requiring of an (<460305>1

Corinthians 3:5. <470124>2 Corinthians 1:24.) implicit Faith, and absolute and blind

Obedience, is to destroy Liberty of Conscience, and Reason also.

3. They who upon pretence of Christian Liberty do practice any sin, or cherish

any sinfull lust; as they do thereby pervert the main design of the Grace of the

Gospel (<450601>Romans 6:1, 2.) to their own Destruction; so they wholly destroy

(<480513>Galatians 5:13; <610218>2 Peter 2:18-21.) 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 Righteousness be-fore him, all the days of

our Life.
 

CHAPTER 22. — OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP, AND

THE SABBATH DAY.

1. THE light of Nature shews that there is a God, who hath Lordship, and

Soveraigntye 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, (<241007>Jeremiah 10:7. <411233>Mark 12:33.) and with all the Might.

But the acceptable way of Worshipping the true God, is (<051232>Deuteronomy

12:32.) instituted by himself; and so limited by his own revealed will, that he

may not be worshipped ac-cording to the imaginations, and devices of Men, or

the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or (<022004>Exodus

20:4, 5, 6.) any other way, not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.

2. Religious Worship is to be given to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

and to him (<400409>Matthew 4:9, 10. <430623>John 6:23. <402819>Matthew 28:19.) alone; not

to Angels, Saints, or any other (<450125>Romans 1:25. <510218>Colossians 2:18.

<661910>Revelation 19:10.) Creatures; and since the fall, not without a (<431406>John

14:6.) Mediator, nor in the Mediation of any other but (<540205>1 Timothy 2:5.)

Christ alone.

3. Prayer with thanksgiving, being one special part of natural worship, is by

God required of (<199501>Psalm 95:1-7. <196502>Psalm 65:2.) all men. But that it may be

accepted, it is to be made in the (<431413>John 14:13, 14.) Name of the Son, by the

help (<450826>Romans 8:26.) of the Spirit, according to (<620514>1 John 5:14.) his Will;

with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and

perseverance; and when with others, in a (<461416>1 Corinthians 14:16, 17.) known

tongue.

4. Prayer is to be made for things lawful, and for all sorts of men living, (<540201>1

Timothy 2:1, 2:<100729>2 Samuel 7:29.) or that shall live hereafter; but not (<101221>2

Samuel 12:21, 22, 23.) for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known

that they have sinned (<620516>1 John 5:16.) the sin unto death.

5. The (<540413>1 Timothy 4:13.) reading of the Scriptures, Preaching, and (<550402>2

Timothy 4:2. <420818>Luke 8:18.) hearing the word of God, teaching and

admonishing one another in Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual songs, singing with

grace in our Hearts to (<510316>Colossians 3:16. <490519>Ephesians 5:19.) the Lord; as

also the Administration (<402819>Matthew 28:19, 20.) of Baptism, and (<461126>1

Corinthians 11:26.) the Lords Supper are all parts of Religious worship of

God, to be performed in obedience to him, with understanding, faith,

reverence, and godly fear; more-over solemn humilitation, (<170416>Esther 4:16.

Joel. 2:12.) with fastings; and thanksgiving upon (<021501>Exodus 15:1 etc. Psalm

107.) special occasions, ought to be used in an holy and religious manner.

6. Neither 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

(<430421>John 4:21. <390111>Malachi 1:11; <540208>1 Timothy 2:8.) performed, or towards

which it is directed; but God is to be worshipped every where in Spirit, and in

truth; as in (<441002>Acts 10:2.) private families (<400611>Matthew 6:11. <195517>Psalm

55:17.) daily, and (<400606>Matthew 6:6.) in secret each one by himself, so more

solemnly in the public Assemblies, which are not carelessely, nor willfully, to

be (<581025>Hebrews 10:25. <440242>Acts 2:42.) neglected, or forsaken, when God by

his word, or providence calleth thereunto.

7. As it is of the Law of nature, that in general a proportion of time by Gods

appointment, be set apart for the Worship of God; so by his Word, in a positive

moral, and perpetual commandement, binding all men, in all Ages, he hath

particularly appointed one day in seven for a (<022008>Exodus 20:8.) 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 (<461601>1 Corinthians 16:1, 2. <442007>Acts

20:7. <660110>Revelation 1:10.) which is called the Lords 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.

8. The 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 (<235813>Isaiah 58:13. <161315>Nehemiah 13:15-23.) rest all the

day, from their own works, words, and thoughts, about their worldly

employment, and recreations, but also are taken up the whole time in the

publick and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties (<401201>Matthew

12:1-13.) of necessity and mercy.
 

CHAPTER 23. — OF LAWFUL OATHS AND VOWS.

1. A lawful Oath is a part of religious worship, (<022007>Exodus 20:7.

<051020>Deuteronomy 10:20. <240402>Jeremiah 4:2.) wherein the person swearing in

Truth, Righteousness, and Judgment, solemnly calleth God to witness what he

sweareth; (<470602>2 Corinthians 6:22, 23.) and to judge him according to the Truth

or falseness thereof.

2. The 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 (<400534>Matthew 5:34, 37. <590512>James 5:12.) abhorred; yet

as in matter of weight and moment for confirmation of truth, (<580616>Hebrews

6:16; <470123>2 Corinthians 1:23.) and ending all strife, an Oath is warranted by the

word of God; so a lawful Oath being imposed, (<161325>Nehemiah 13:25.) by

lawful Authority, in such matters, ought to be taken.

3. Whosoever taketh an Oath warranted by the word of God, ought duely to

consider the weightiness of so solemn an act; and therein to avouch nothing,

but what he knoweth to be the truth; for that by rash, false, and vain Oaths the

(<031912>Leviticus 19:12. <242310>Jeremiah 23:10.) Lord is provoked, and for them this

Land mournes.

4. An Oath is to be taken in the plain, and (<192404>Psalm 24:4.) common sense of

the words; without equivocation, or mental reservation.

5. A Vow, which is not to be made to any Creature, but to God alone,

(<197611>Psalm 76:11. <012820>Genesis 28:20, 21, 22.) is to be made and performed with

all Religious care, and faithfulness; but Popish Monastical Vows, (<460702>1

Corinthians 7:2, 9.) of perpetual single life, professed (<490428>Ephesians 4:28.)

poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being decrees of higher

perfection, that they are superstitious, (<401911>Matthew 19:11.) and sinful snares,

in which no Christian may intangle himself.
 

CHAPTER 24. — OF THE CIVIL MAGISTRATE.

1. God the supream Lord, and King of all the World, hath ordained Civil

(<451301>Romans 13:1, 2, 3, 4.) Magistrates to be under him, over the people, for

his own glory, and the publick 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 doers.

2. It 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 (<102303>2 Samuel 23:3. <198203>Psalm 82:3, 4.) Justice, and Peace,

according to the wholesome Laws of each Kingdome, and Common-wealth: so

for that end they may lawfully now under the New Testament (<420314>Luke 3:14.)

wage war upon just and necessary occasions.

3. Civil 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 (<451305>Romans 13:5, 6, 7; <600217>1 Peter 2:17.) but for Conscience

sake; and we ought to make supplications and prayers for Kings, and all that

are in Authority, (<540201>1 Timothy 2:1, 2.) that under them we may live a quiet

and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.
 

CHAPTER 25. — OF MARRIAGE.

1. MARRIAGE is to be between one Man and one Woman; (<010224>Genesis 2:24.

<390215>Malachi 2:15. <401905>Matthew 19:5, 6.) neither is it lawful for any man to have

more then one Wife, nor for any Woman to have more then one Husband at the

same time.

2. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help (<010218>Genesis 2:18.) of Husband

and Wife, (<010128>Genesis 1:28.) for the increase of Mankind, with a legitimate

issue, and for (<460702>1 Corinthians 7:2, 9.) preventing of uncleanness.

3. It is lawful for (<581304>Hebrews 13:4. <540403>1 Timothy 4:3.) all sorts of people to

Marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent; yet it is the duty of

Christians (<460739>1 Corinthians 7:39.) to marry in the Lord, and therefore such as

profess the true Religion, should not Marry with infidels, (<161325>Nehemiah

13:25, 26, 27.) or Idolators; neither should such as are godly be unequally

yoked, by marrying with such as are wicked, in their life,. or maintain

damnable Heresie.

4. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanquinity, (Leviticus

18.) or Affinity forbidden in the word; nor can such incestuous Marriage ever

be made lawful, by any law of Man or consent of parties, (<400618>Matthew 6:18;

<460501>1 Corinthians 5:1.) so as those persons may live together as Man and Wife.
 

CHAPTER 26. — OF THE CHURCH.

 

1. The Catholick or universal Church, which (with respect to internal work of

the Spirit, and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole

(<581223>Hebrews 12:23. <510118>Colossians 1:18. <490110>Ephesians 1:10, 22, 23, & ch.

5:23, 27, 32.) 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.

2. All 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 unholyness of

conversation, (<460102>1 Corinthians 1:2. <441126>Acts 11:26.) are and may be called

visible Saints; (<450107>Romans 1:7. <490120>Ephesians 1:20, 21, 22.) and of such ought

all particular Congregations to be constituted.

3. The purest Churches under heaven are subject (1 Corinthians 15. Revelation

2 & ch. 3.) to mixture, and error; and some have so degenerated as to become

(<661802>Revelation 18:2. <530211>2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12.) no Churches of Christ, but

Synagogues of Satan; nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have

a (<401618>Matthew 16:18. Psalm 72:17 & <19A228>Psalm 102:28. <661217>Revelation 12:17.)

Kingdome, in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and

make profession of his Name.

4. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, in whom by the

appointment of the Father, (<510118>Colossians 1:18. <402818>Matthew 28:18, 19, 20.

<490411>Ephesians 4:11, 12.) all power for the calling, institution, order, or

Government of the Church, is invested in a supream & soveraigne manner,

neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is (<530203>2

Thessalonians 2:3-9.) 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.

5. In 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, (<431016>John 10:16. chap. 12:32.) those that are given unto him by his

Father; that they may walk before him in all the (<402820>Matthew 28:20.) ways of

obedience, which he prescribeth to them in his Word. Those thus called he

commandeth to walk together in particular societies, or (<401815>Matthew 18:15-

20.) Churches, for their mutual edification; and the due performance of that

publick worship, which he requireth of them in the World.

6. The Members of these Churches are (<450109>Romans 1:9. <460102>1 Corinthians 1:2.)

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 & one to another by the will of God,

(<440241>Acts 2:41, 42. ch. 5:13, 14; <470913>2 Corinthians 9:13.) in professed

subjection to the Ordinances of the Gospel.

7. To each of these Churches thus gathered, according to his mind, declared in

his word, he hath given all that (<401817>Matthew 18:17, 18; <460504>1 Corinthians 5:4,

5, with 5:13.) power and authority, which is any way needfull, 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.

8. A particular Church gathered, and compleatly 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 (<442017>Acts 20:17, with v. 28. <500101>Philippians 1:1.) Bishops or Elders

and Deacons.

9. The 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 (<441423>Acts 14:23. See the original.) suffrage

of the Church it self; and Solemnly set apart by Fasting and Prayer, with

imposition of hands of the (<540414>1 Timothy 4:14.) Eldership of the Church, if

there be any before Constituted therein; And of a Deacon (<440603>Acts 6:3, 5, 6.)

that he be chosen by the like suffrage, and set apart by Prayer, and the like

Imposition of hands.

10. The work of Pastors being constantly to attend the Service of Christ, in his

Churches, in the Ministry of the Word, and Prayer, (<440604>Acts 6:4. <581317>Hebrews

13:17.) 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, (<540517>1 Timothy 5:17, 18. <480606>Galatians 6:6, 7.) 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 (<550204>2 Timothy

2:4.) entangled in Secular Affairs; and may also be capable of exercising (<540302>1

Timothy 3:2.) Hospitality towards others; and this is required by the (<460906>1

Corinthians 9:6-14.) 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.

11. 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 (<441119>Acts

11:19, 20, 21; <600410>1 Peter 4:10, 11.) gifted, and fitted by the Holy Spirit for it,

and approved, and called by the Church, may and ought to perform it.

12. As all Believers are bound to joyn themselves to particular Churches, when

and where they have opportunity so to do; So all that are admitted unto the

priviledges of a Church, are also (<520514>1 Thessalonians 5:14; <530306>2

Thessalonians 3:6, 14, 15.) under the Censures and Government thereof,

according to the Rule of Christ.

13. 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, (<401815>Matthew

18:15, 16, 17. <490402>Ephesians 4:2, 3.) in the further proceeding of the Church.

14. As each Church, and all the Members of it, are bound to (<490618>Ephesians

6:18. <19C206>Psalm 122:6.) pray continually, for the good and prosperity of all the

Churches of Christ, in all places; and upon all occasions to further it (everyone

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 injoy opportunity and advantage for it) ought to hold (<451601>Romans

16:1, 2; <640108>3 John 1:8, 9, 10.) communion amongst them-selves for their

peace, increase of love, and mutual edification.

15. In cases of difficulties or differences, either in point of Doctrine, or

Administration; where-in 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,

(<441502>Acts 15:2, 4, 6. & 22, 23, 25.) 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 entrusted 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 (<470124>2 Corinthians 1:24; <620401>1

John 4:1.) to impose their determination on the Churches, or Officers.
 

CHAPTER 27. — ON THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS.

1. All 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 (<620103>1 John 1:3.

<430116>John 1:16. <500310>Philippians 3:10. <450605>Romans 6:5, 6.) fellowship in his

Graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory; and being united to one

another in love, they (<490415>Ephesians 4:15, 16; <461207>1 Corinthians 12:7. <460321>1

Corinthians 3:21, 22, 23.) have communion in each others gifts, and graces;

and obliged to the performance of such duties, publick and private, in an

orderly way, (<520511>1 Thessalonians 5:11, 14. <450112>Romans 1:12; <620217>1 John 2:17,

18. <480610>Galatians 6:10.) as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward

and outward man.

2. Saints by profession are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and

communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual

services, (<581024>Hebrews 10:24, 25 with ch. 3:12, 13.) as tend to their mutual

edification; as also in relieving each other in (<441202>Acts 12:29, 30.) outward

things ac-cording to their several abilities, and necessities; which communion,

according to the rule of the Gospel, though especially to be exercised by them,

in the relations wherein they stand, whether in (<490604>Ephesians 6:4.) families, or

(<461214>1 Corinthians 12:14-27.) Churches; yet as God offereth opportunity is to

be extended to all the houshold 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 (<440504>Acts 5:4 <490428>Ephesians 4:28.)

infringe the title or propriety, which each man hath in his goods and

possessions.
 

CHAPTER 28. — OF BAPTISM AND THE LORDS

SUPPER.

1. BAPTISM and the Lords Supper are ordinances of positive, and sovereign

institution; appointed by the Lord Jesus the only Law-giver, to be continued in

his Church (<402819>Matthew 28:19, 20; <461126>1 Corinthians 11:26.) to the end of the

world.

2. These holy appointments are to be administered by those only, who are

qualified and thereunto called according (<402819>Matthew 28:19; <460401>1 Corinthians

4:1.) to the commission of Christ.
 

CHAPTER 29. — OF BAPTISM.

1. BAPTISM 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,

(<450603>Romans 6:3. 4, 5. <510212>Colossians 2:12. <480327>Galatians 3:27.) and

resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of (<410104>Mark 1:4. <442616>Acts 26:16.)

remission of sins; and of his (<450602>Romans 6:2, 4.) giving up unto God through

Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of Life.

2. Those who do actually profess (<411616>Mark 16:16. <440836>Acts 8:36, 37.)

repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience, to our Lord Jesus, are the

only proper subjects of this ordinance.

3. The outward element to be used in this ordinance (<402819>Matthew 28:19, 20,

with <440838>Acts 8:38.) is water, wherein the party is to be baptized, in the name

of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

4. Immersion, or dipping of the person (<400316>Matthew 3:16. <430323>John 3:23.) in

water, is necessary to the due administration of this ordinance.
 

CHAPTER 30. — OF THE LORDS SUPPER.

1. THE 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 in his

death (<461123>1 Corinthians 11:23, 24, 25, 26.) 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 unto him;

(<461016>1 Corinthians 10:16, 17, 21.) and to be a bond and pledge of their

communion with him, and with each other.

2. In 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 (<580925>Hebrews 9:25, 26, 28.) one offering up of himself, by himself, upon

the crosse, once for all; and a spiritual oblation of all (<461124>1 Corinthians 11:24.

<402626>Matthew 26:26, 27.) possible praise unto God for the same; so that the

Popish sacrifice of the Mass (as they call it) is most abominable, injurious to

Christs own only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the Elect.

3. The 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 an holy use, and to take and break the Bread; to take the Cup,

(<461123>1 Corinthians 11:23, 24, 25, 26, etc.) and (they communicating also

themselves) to give both to the Communicants.

4. The denyal of the Cup to the people, worshiping the Elements, the lifting

them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and reserving them for any pretended

religious use, (<402626>Matthew 26:26, 27, 28. <401509>Matthew 15:9.

<022004>Exodus 20:4, 5.) are all contrary to the nature of this Ordinance, and to the

institution of Christ.

5. The outward Elements in this Ordinance, duely set apart to the uses ordained

by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truely, although in terms

used figuratively, they are sometimes called by the name of the things they

represent, to wit (<461127>1 Corinthians 11:27.) body and Blood of Christ; albeit in

substance, and nature, they still remain truly, and only (<461126>1 Corinthians 11:26

& 5:28.) Bread, and Wine, as they were before.

6. That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of Bread and Wine,

into the substance of Christs body and blood (commonly called

Transubstantiation) by consecration of a Priest, or by any, other way, is

repugnant not to Scripture (<440321>Acts 3:21. <422406>Luke 24:6 & 5:39.) alone, but

even to common sense and reason; overthroweth the (<461124>1 Corinthians 11:24,

25.) nature of the ordinance, and hath been and is the cause of manifold

superstitions, yea, of gross Idolatries.

7. Worthy 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 (<461016>1

Corinthians 10:16. ch. 11:23-26.) & 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.

8. All ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion

(<470614>2 Corinthians 6:14, 15.) with Christ; so are they unworthy of the Lords

Table; and cannot without great sin against him, while they remain such,

partake of these holy mysteries, (<461129>1 Corinthians 11:29. <400706>Matthew 7:6.) or

be admitted thereunto: yea whosoever shall receive. unworthily are guilty of

the Body and Blood of the Lord, eating and drinking judgment to themselves.
 

CHAPTER 31. — OF THE STATE OF MAN AFTER

DEATH AND OF THE RESURRECTION

OF THE DEAD.

1. THE Bodies of Men after Death return to dust, (<010319>Genesis 3:19. <441336>Acts

13:36.) and see corruption; but their Souls (which neither die nor sleep) having

an immortal subsistence, immediately (<211207>Ecclesiastes 12:7.) return to God

who gave them; the Souls of the Righteous being then made perfect in

holyness, are received into paradise where they are with Christ, and behold the

face of God, in light (<422343>Luke 23:43; <470501>2 Corinthians 5:1, 6, 8.

<500123>Philippians 1:23. <581223>Hebrews 12:23.) 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 (<070607>Judges 6:7.

<600319>1 Peter 3:19. <421623>Luke 16:23, 24.) the judgement of the great day; besides

these two places for Souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture

acknowledgeth none.

2. At the last day such of the Saints as are found alive shall not sleep but be

(<461551>1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; <520417>1 Thessalonians 4:17.) changed; and all the

dead shall be raised up with the self same bodies, and (<181926>Job 19:26, 27.) none

other; although with different (<461542>1 Corinthians 15:42, 43.) qualities, which

shall be united again to their Souls for ever.

3. The bodies of the unjust shall by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonour;

the bodies of the just by his spirit unto honour, (<442415>Acts 24:15. <430528>John 5:28,

29. <500321>Philippians 3:21.) and be made conformable to his own glorious Body.
 

CHAPTER 32. — OF THE LAST JUDGEMENT.

1. GOD hath appointed a Day wherein he will judge the world in

Righteousness, by (<441731>Acts 17:31. <430522>John 5:22, 27.) Jesus Christ; to whom

all power and judgement is given of the Father; in which Day not only the

(<460603>1 Corinthians 6:3. <650106>Jude 1:6.) Apostate Angels shall be judged; but

likewise all persons that have lived upon the Earth, shall appear before the

Tribunal of Christ; (<470510>2 Corinthians 5:10. <211214>Ecclesiastes 12:14.

<401236>Matthew 12:36. <451410>Romans 14:10, 12. <402532>Matthew 25:32 etc.) 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 evil.

2. The end of Gods appointing this Day, is for the manifestation of the glory of

his Mercy, in the Eternal Salvation of the Elect; (<450922>Romans 9:22, 23.) 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 reward, in the presence

(<402521>Matthew 25:21, 34; <550408>2 Timothy 4:8.) of the Lord: but the wicked who

know not God, and obey not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into

Eternal torments, and (<402546>Matthew 25:46. <410948>Mark 9:48; <530107>2 Thessalonians

1:7, 8, 9, 10.) punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the

Lord, and from the glory of his power.

3. As Christ would have us to be certainly perswaded that there shall be a Day

of judgement, both (<470510>2 Corinthians 5:10, 11.) to deter all men from sin, and

for the greater (<530105>2 Thessalonians 1:5, 6, 7.) consolation of the godly, in their

adversity; so will he have that day unknown to Men, that they may shake. off

all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what

hour, the (<411335>Mark 13:35, 36, 37. <421335>Luke 13:35, 36.) Lord will come; and

may ever be prepared to say, (<662220>Revelation 22:20.) Come Lord Jesus, Come

quickly,. Amen.
 

AN APPENDIX TO THE CONFESSION

WHOSOEVER reads and impartially considers what we have in our foregoing

confession declared, may readily perceive that we do not only concentre with

all other true Christians on the word of God (revealed in the scriptures of

truth), as the foundation and rule of our faith and worship; but that we have

also industriously endeavoured to manifest, that in the fundamental articles of

Christianity we mind the same things, and have therefore expressed our belief

in the same words that have on the like occasion been spoken by other

societies of Christians before us.

This we have done, that those who are desirous to know the principles of

religion which we hold and practise may take an estimate from ourselves (who

jointly concur in this work), and may not be misguided, either by undue

reports, or by the ignorance or errors of particular persons, who going under

the same name with ourselves, may give an occasion of scandalizing the truth

we profess.

And although we do differ from our brethren who are paedobaptists, in the

subject and administration of baptism, and such other circumstances as have a

necessary dependence on our observance of that ordinance, and do frequent

our own assemblies for our mutual edification, and discharge of those duties

and services which we owe unto God, and, in his fear, to each other; yet we

would not be from hence misconstrued, as if the discharge of our own

consciences herein did any ways disoblige, or alienate our affections or

conversations from any others that fear the Lord; but that we may and do, as

we have opportunity, participate of the labours of those whom God hath

endued with abilities above ourselves, and qualified and called to the ministry

of the word, earnestly desiring to approve ourselves to be such as follow after

peace with holiness; and therefore we always keep that blessed Irenicum, or

healing word of the apostle before our eyes;

If in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto

you: nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the

same rule, let us mind the same thing, <500315>Philippians 3:15, 16.

Let it not therefore be judged of us, (because much hath been written on this

subject, and yet we continue this our practice different from others) that it is

out of obstinacy; but rather, as the truth is, that we do herein, according to the

best of our understandings, worship God out of a pure mind, yielding

obedience to his precept, in that method which we take to be most agreeable to

the scriptures of truth and primitive practice.

It would not become us to give any such intimation as should carry a

semblance that what we do in the service of God is with a doubting

conscience, or with any such temper of mind, that we do thus for the present

with a reservation that we will do otherwise hereafter upon more mature

deliberation; nor have we any cause so to do, being fully persuaded that what

we do is agreeable to the will of God. Yet we do heartily propose this, that if

any of the servants of our Lord Jesus shall, in the spirit of meekness, attempt to

convince us of any mistake, either in judgment or practice, we shall diligently

ponder his arguments, and account him our chiefest friend that shall be an

instrument to convert us from any error that is in our ways, for we cannot

wittingly do any thing against the truth, but all things for the truth.

And therefore we have endeavoured seriously to consider what hath been

already offered for our satisfaction in this point; and are loth to say any more,

lest we should be esteemed desirous of renewed contests thereabout; yet,

forasmuch as it may justly be expected that we show some reason why we

cannot acquiesce in what hath been urged against us, we shall, with as much

brevity as may consist with plainness, endeavour to satisfy the expectation of

those that shall peruse what we now publish in this matter also.

1. As to those Christians who consent with us, that repentance from dead

works and faith towards God and our Lord Jesus Christ, is required in persons

to be baptized; and do therefore supply the defect of the infant (being

incapable of making confession of either) by others, who do undertake these

things for it. Although we do find by church history that this hath been a very

ancient practice, yet considering that the same scripture (<451404>Romans 14:4, 10,

12, 23) which does caution us against censuring our brother, with whom we

shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, does also instruct us, that

every one of us shall give an account of himself to God, and whatsoever is not

of faith is sin; therefore we cannot for our own parts be persuaded in our own

minds to build such a practice as this upon an unwritten tradition; but do rather

choose, in all points of faith and worship, to have recourse to the holy

scriptures for the information of our judgment and regulation of our practice;

being well assured that a conscientious attending thereto is the best way to

prevent and rectify our defects and errors. <550316>2 Timothy 3:16, 17. And if any

such case happen to be debated between Christians, which is not plainly

determinable by the scriptures, we think it safest to leave such things

undecided, until the second coming of our Lord Jesus: as they did in the church

of old, until there should arise a priest with Urim and Thummim, that might

certainly inform them of the mind of God thereabout. <150262>Ezra 2:62, 63.

2. As for those our Christian brethren, who do ground their arguments for

infants’ baptism, upon a presumed foederal holiness or church membership, we

conceive they are deficient in this — that albeit this covenant holiness and

membership should be as is supposed, in reference unto the infants of

believers, yet no command for infant baptism does immediately and directly

result from such a quality or relation.

All instituted worship receives its sanction from the precept, and is to be

thereby governed in all the necessary circumstances thereof.

So it was in the covenant that God made with Abraham and his seed, the sign

whereof was appropriated only to the male, notwithstanding that the female

seed, as well as the male, were comprehended in the covenant and part of the

church of God; neither was this sign to be affixed to any male infant till he was

eight days old, albeit he was within the covenant from the first moment of his

life; nor could the danger of death, or any other supposed necessity, warrant

the circumcising of him before the set time, nor was there any cause for it; the

commination of being cut off from his people being only upon the neglect or

contempt of the precept.

Righteous Lot was nearly related to Abraham in the flesh, and contemporary

with him, when this covenant was made; yet inasmuch as he did not descend

from his loins, nor was of his household family (although he was of the same

household of faith with Abraham), yet neither Lot himself nor any of his

posterity (because of their descent from him) were signed with the signature of

this covenant that was made with Abraham and his seed.

This may suffice to show that where there was both an express covenant and a

sign thereof, such a covenant as did separate the persons with whom it was

made and all their offspring from all the rest of the world, as a people holy

unto the Lord, and did constitute them the visible church of God (though not

comprehensive of all the faithful in the world), yet the sign of this covenant

was not affixed to all the persons that were within this covenant, nor to any of

them till the prefixed season; nor to other faithful servants of God that were

not of descent from Abraham. And, consequently, that it depends purely upon

the will of the lawgiver to determine what shall be the sign of his covenant,

unto whom, at what season, and upon what terms it shall be affixed.

If our brethren do suppose baptism to be the seal of the covenant which God

makes with every believer (of which the scriptures are altogether silent), it is

not our concern to contend with them herein; yet we conceive the seal of that

covenant is the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ in the particular and

individual persons in whom he resides, and nothing else. Neither do they or we

suppose that baptism is in any such manner substituted in the place of

circumcision, as to have the same (and no other) latitude, extent, or terms than

circumcision had. For that was suited only for the male children: baptism is an

ordinance suited for every believer, whether male or female. That extended to

all the males that were born in Abraham’s house, or bought with his money,

equally with the males that proceeded from his own loins; but baptism is not so

far extended in any true Christian church that we know of, as to be

administered to all the poor infidel servants that the members thereof purchase

for their service, and introduce into their families, nor to the children born of

them in their house.

But we conceive the same parity of reasoning may hold for the ordinance of

baptism as for that of circumcision (<021249>Exodus 12:49), viz., one law for the

stranger as for the home-born. If any desire to be admitted to all the ordinances

and privileges of God’s house, the door is open; upon the same terms that any

one person was ever admitted to all or any of those privileges that belong to

the Christian church, may all persons of right challenge the like admission.

As for that text of scripture (<450411>Romans 4:11), He received circumcision, a

seal of the righteousness of the faith, which he had yet being uncircumcised;

we conceive, if the apostle’s scope in that place be duly attended to, it will

appear that no argument can be taken from thence to enforce infant baptism.

And forasmuch as we find a full and fair account of those words given by the

learned Dr. Lightfoot (a man not to be cuspated of partiality in this

controversy), in his her, Hebrai, on the <460710>1 Corinthians 7:10, p, 42, 43, we

shall transcribe his words at large, without any comment of our own upon

them.

Circumcisio nihil eat rations habitra temporis, jam enim evanuerat, adimpleto

praecipue ejus fine ob quem fuerat instituta; istum finem exhibet apostolus in

vorbis istis, <450411>Romans 4:11. sragi~da th~v dikaiosu>nhv th~v pi>stewv th~v

ejn ajkrobusti>a At vereor ue u plerisque versionibus non satis aptontur, ad

finem circumcisionis, et scopum apostoli, dum ab iis interseritur aliquid do

suo.

Circumcision is nothing, if we respect the time, for now it was without use,

that end of it being especially fulfilled for which it had been instituted: this

end the apostle declares in these words, <450411>Romans 4:11, sfragi>da &c. But

I fear that by most translations they are not sufficiently suited to the end of

circumcision and the scope of the apostle, whilst something of their own is by

them inserted.

And after the doctor hath represented divers versions of the words, agreeing

for the most part in sense with that which we have in our bibles, ho thus

proceeds: —

Aliae in eundem sensum, ne si circumcisio darotur Abrahamo in sigillum

justititae istius, quam ille habuit, dum adhuc foret praeputiatus; quod non

negabiutus aliqualiter verum ease, at crodinius circumcisionem longe alio

priecipue respexisso.

Liceat mihi verba sic reddere: et signum accepit circumcisionis, sigillum

justitiae fidei, quoe futura in prmputio; quod futura dico, non quae fuerat. Non

quae fuerat Abrahamo adhuc preputiato, sed quae futura semini ejus

preeputiato, id est, gentilibus, fidem olim Abrahami imitaturis.

Nunc adverts bene qua occasions instituta Abrahamo circumcisio, po. nous

tibi auto oculos historiam ejus, Gen, xvil.

Fit primo ci haec promissio, Multa. tarum gentium eris tu pater (quonam

sensu explicat apostolus, isto capite) et subinde subjungitur duplex sigillum

rei corroborandre; immutatio scilicet nominis Abranli in Abrahamum; et

institutio circumcisionis: ver. 4. Ecce mihi tecum est foedus, eris tu pater

multarum gentium. Quare vocatum est nomen ejus Abrahamus! In

sigillationem hujus promissionis. Tu pater eris multarum gentium. Et quare

instituta ei circumcisio? In sigillationem ejusdem promissionis. Tu pater eris

multarum gentium. Ita ut hic sit seusus apostoli, institutioni circumcisionis

congruentissimus; accepit signum circumicisionis, sigillum justiticae fidei,

quam (dim erat iucircumcisio (vel Gentiles) habitura ot adeptura.

Duplex semen erat Abrahamo, naturale, Judreorum; et fidele, gentilium

credentium: signatur naturale signo circumcisionis, prima quidem in sui

distinctionem, ab omnibus aliis gentibus, dum eae non adhuc forent semen

Abrahami; at praecipue in memoriam justificationis gentium per fidem, cum

tandem forent ejus semen. Cessatura ergo merito erat circumcisio, cum

introducerentur Gentiles ad fidem, quippe quod tuna finem suum ultimum ac

praecipuum obtinuerat, at perinde hJ peritomh< oujde>n.

——————————

Other versions are to the same purpose; as if circumcision was given to

Abraham for a seal of that righteousness which he had, being yet

uncircumcised, which we will not deny to be in some souse true; but we

believe that circumcision had chiefly a far different respect.

Give me leave thus to render the words: — And he received the sign of

circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of faith, which was to be in the

uncircumcision. Which was to be (I say), not which had been; not that which

Abraham had whilst he was yet uncircumcised, but that which his

uncircumcised seed should have, that is, the Gentiles, who in time to come

should imitate the faith of Abraham.

Now consider well on what occasion circumcision was instituted unto

Abraham, setting before thine eyes the history thereof. Genesis 46.

This promise is first made unto him, Thou shalt be the father of many nations

(in what sense the apostle explaineth in that chapter), and then there is

subjoined a double seal for the confirmation of the thing, to ‘wit, the change

of the name Abram into Abraham, and the institution of circumcision, ver. 4,

Behold, as for me, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be the father of

many nations. Wherefore was his name called Abraham? For the sealing of

his promise. Thou shalt be the father of many nations. And wherefore was

circumcision instituted to him? For the sealing of the same promise. Thou

shalt be the father of many nations. So that this is the sense of the apostle,

most agreeable to the institution of circumcision; he received the sign of

circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of faith, which in time to come the

uncircumcision (or the Gentiles) should hare and obtain.

Abraham had a twofold seed, natural, of the Jews; and, faithful, of the

believing Gentiles: his natural seed was signed with the sign of circumcision,

first, indeed, for the distinguishing of them from all other nations, whilst they

as yet were not the seed of Abraham, but especially for the memorial of the

justification of the Gentiles by faith, when at length they should become his

seed. Therefore, circumcision was of right to cease when the Gentiles were

brought into the faith, forasmuch as then it had obtained its last and chief end,

and thenceforth circumcision is nothing.

Thus far he, which we earnestly desire may be seriously weighed, for we plead

not his authority, but the evidence of truth in his words.

3. Of whatsoever nature the holiness of the children, mentioned (<460712>1

Corinthians 7:12), be, yet they who do conclude that all such children (whether

infants, or of riper years), have from hence an immediate right to baptism, do

as we conceive, put more into the conclusion than will be found in the

premises.

For although we do not determine positively concerning the apostles’ scope in

the holiness here mentioned, so as to say, it is this, or that, and no other thing;

yet, it is evident, that the apostle does by it determine not only the lawfulness,

but the expedience also of a believer’s cohabition with an unbeliever in the

state of marriage.

And we do think that, although the apostle’s asserting of the unbelieving yokefellow

to be sanctified by the believer should carry in it somewhat more than is

in the bare marriage of two infidels, because although the marriage covenant

have a divine sanction so as to make the wedlock of two unbelievers a lawful

action, and their conjunction and cohabition in that respect undefiled, yet there

might be no ground to suppose from, thence, that both or either of their persons

are thereby sanctified; and the apostle urges the cohabition of a believer with

an infidel in the state of wedlock from this ground, that the unbelieving

husband is sanctified by the believing wife; nevertheless, here you have the

influence of a believer’s faith ascending from an inferior to a superior relation;

from the wife to the husband, who is her head, before it can descend to their

offspring. And, therefore, we say, whatever be the nature or extent of the

holiness here intended, we conceive it cannot convey to the children an

immediate right to baptism; because it would then be of another nature, and of

a larger extent, than the root and original from whence it is derived. For it is

clear, by the apostle’s argument, that holiness cannot be derived to the child

from the sanctity of one parent only; if either father or mother be (in the sense

intended by the apostle) unholy or unclean, so will the child be also; therefore,

for the production of a holy seed, it is necessary that both the parents be

sanctified. And this the apostle positively asserts in the first place to be done

by the believing parent although the other be an unbeliever, and then,

consequentially, from thence argues, the holiness of their children. Hence, it

follows, that as the children have no other holiness than what they derive from

their parents; so neither can they have any right by this holiness to any spiritual

privilege, but such as both their parents did also partake of; and therefore, if

the unbelieving parent (though sanctified by the believing parent) have not

thereby a right to baptism, neither can we conceive that there is any such

privilege derived to the children by their birth-holiness.

Besides, if it had been the usual practice in the apostles’ days for the father or

mother, that did believe, to bring all their children with them to be baptized,

then the holiness of the believing Corinthians’ children would not at all have

been in question when this. epistle was written; but might have been argued

from their passing under that ordinance, which represented their new birth,

although they had derived no holiness from their parents by their first birth;

and would have lain as an exception against the apostle’s inference, else were

your children unclean, &c. But of the sanctification of all the children of every

believer by this ordinance, or any other way than what is before mentioned, the

scripture is altogether silent.

This may be also added, that if this birth-holiness do qualify all the children of

every believer for the ordinance of baptism; why not for all other ordinances?

for the Lord’s supper, as was practised for a long time together? for if recourse

be had to what the scriptures speak generally of this subject, it will be found

that the same qualities which do entitle any person to baptism, do so also for

the participation of all the ordinances and privileges of the house of God that

are common to all believers.

Whosoever can and does interrogate his good conscience towards God, when

he is baptized (as every one must do that makes it to himself a sign of

salvation), is capable of doing the same thing in every other act of worship that

he performs.

4. The arguments and inferences that are usually brought for or against infant

baptism, from those few instances which the scriptures afford us of whole

families being baptized, are only conjectural, and therefore cannot of

themselves be conclusive on either hand; yet in regard most that treat on this

subject of infant baptism do (as they conceive) improve these instances to the

advantage of their argument, we think it meet (in like manner, as in the cases

before mentioned, so in this) to spew the invalidity of such inferences.

Cornelius worshipped God with all his house. The jailor and Crispus, the chief

ruler of the synagogue, believed God with each of their houses. The household

of Stephanus addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints: so that thus far

worshipping and believing runs parallel with baptism. And if Lydia had been a

married person when she believed, it is probable her husband would also have

been named by the apostle, as in like cases, inasmuch as he would have been

not only a part, but the head of that baptized household.

Who can assign any probable reason why the apostle should make mention of

four or five households being baptized and no more? or why he does so often

vary in the method of his salutations (<450106>Romans 1:6), sometimes mentioning

only particular persons of great note, other times such and the church in their

house? the saints that were with them; and them belonging to Narcissus, who

were in the Lord; thus saluting either whole families, or part of families, or

only particular persons in families, considered as they were in the Lord. For if

it had been a usual practice to baptize all children with their parents, there

were then many thousands of the Jews which believed, and a great number of

the Gentiles, in most of the principal cities in the world, and among so many

thousands, it is more than probable there would have been some thousands of

households baptized; why then should the apostle in this respect signalize one

family of the Jews and three or four of the Gentiles, as particular instances in a

case that was common? Whoever supposes that we do wilfully debar our

children from the benefit of any promise or privilege that of right belongs to

the children of believing parents, they do entertain over-severe thoughts of us.

To be without natural affections is one of the characters of the worst of.

persons in the worst of times. We do freely confess ourselves guilty before the

Lord, in that we have not with more circumspection and diligence trained up

those that relate to us in the fear of the Lord; and do humbly and earnestly

pray, that our omissions herein may be remitted, and that they may not

redound to the prejudice of ourselves or any of ours; but with respect to that

duty that is incumbent on us, we acknowledge ourselves obliged by the

precepts of God to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the

Lord, to teach them his fear, both by instruction and example and should we

set light by this precept, it would demonstrate that we are more vile than the

unnatural heathen, that like not to retain God in their knowledge; our baptism

might then be justly accounted as no baptism to us.

There are many special promises that do encourage us, as well as precepts that

do oblige us to the close pursuit of our duty herein; that God whom we serve,

being jealous of his worship, threatens the visiting of the father’s transgression

upon the children, to the third and fourth generation of them that hate him; yet

does more abundantly extend his mercy, even to thousands (respecting the

offspring and succeeding generations) of them that love him and keep his

commands.

When our Lord rebuked his disciples, for prohibiting the access of little

children that were brought to him that he might pray over them, lay his hands

upon them, and bless them, [he] does declare, that of such is the kingdom of

God. And the apostle Peter, in answer to their inquiry that desired to know

what they must do to be saved, does not only instruct them in the necessary

duty of repentance and baptism, but does also thereto encourage them, by that

promise which had reference both to them and their children. If our Lord Jesus

in the fore-mentioned place, do not respect the qualities of children (as

elsewhere) as to their meekness, humility, and sincerity, and the like, but

intend also, that those very persons, and such like, appertain to the kingdom of

God; and if the apostle Peter, in mentioning the aforesaid promise, do respect

not only the present and succeeding generations of those Jews that heard him

(in which sense the same phrase doth occur in scripture), but also the

immediate offspring of his auditors; whether the promise relate to the gift of

the Holy Spirit, or of eternal life, or any grace, or privilege tending to the

obtaining thereof; it is neither our concern, nor our interest, to confine the

mercies and promises of God, to a more narrow, or less compass than he is

pleased graciously to offer and intend them; nor to have a light esteem of them;

but are obliged in duty to God, and affection to our children, to plead earnestly

with God, and use our utmost endeavours, that both ourselves and our

offspring may be partakers of his mercies and gracious promises. Yet we

cannot, from either of these texts, collect a sufficient warrant for us to baptize

our children before they are instructed in the principles of the Christian

religion.

For, as to the instance in little children, it seems, by the disciples forbidding

them, that they were brought upon some other account, not so frequent as

baptism must be supposed to have been, if from the beginning believers’

children had been admitted thereto: and no account is given whether their

parents were baptized believers or not. And as to the instance of the apostle, if

the following words and practice may be taken as an interpretation of the scope

of that promise, we cannot conceive it does refer to infant baptism, because the

text does presently subjoin, then they that gladly received the word were

baptized.

That there were some believing children of believing parents in the apostles’

days is evident from the scriptures, even such as were then in their father’s

family, and under their parents’ tuition and education; to whom the apostle, in

several of his epistles to the churches, giveth commands to obey their parents

in the Lord; and does allure their tender years to hearken to this precept, by

reminding them that it is the first command with promise.

And it is recorded by him for the praise of Timothy, and encouragement of

parents, betimes to instruct, and children early to attend to godly instruction,

that, ajpo< bre>fouv, from a child he had known the holy scriptures.

The apostle John rejoiced greatly when he found the children of the elect lady

walking in the truth; and the children of her elect sister join with the apostle in

his salutation.

But that this was not generally so, that all the children of believers wore

accounted for believers (its they would have been if they had been all

baptized), may be collected from the character which the apostle gives of

persons fit to be chosen to eldership in the church, which was not common to

all believers; among others, this is expressly one, viz. if there be any having

believing or faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly; and we may, from

the apostle’s writings on the same subject, collect the reason of this

qualification, viz. that in case the person designed for this office, to teach and

rule in the house of God, had children capable of it, there might be first a proof

of his ability, industry, and success in this work in his own family, and private

capacity, before he was ordained to the exercise of this authority in the church,

in a public capacity, as a bishop in the house of God.

These things we have mentioned, as having a direct reference unto the

controversy between our brethren and us; other things that are more abstruse

and prolix, which are frequently introduced into this controversy, but do not

necessarily concern it, we have purposely avoided, that the distance between

us and our brethren may not be by us made more wide; for it is our duty and

concern, so far as is possible for us (retaining a good conscience towards God)

to seek a more entire agreement and reconciliation with them.

We are not insensible, that as to the order of God’s house, and entire

communion therein, there are some things wherein we (as well as others) are

not at a full accord among ourselves; as for instance, the known principle and

state of the consciences of divers of us, that have agreed in this confession is

such, that we cannot hold church communion with any other than baptized

believers, and churches constituted of such; yet some others of us have a

greater liberty and freedom in our spirits that way; and therefore we have

purposely omitted the mention of things of that nature, that we might concur in

giving this evidence of our agreement, both among ourselves, and with other

good Christians, in those important articles of the Christian religion, mainly

insisted on by us; and this, notwithstanding we all esteem it our chief concern,

both among ourselves and all others that in every place call upon the name of

the Lord Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours, and love him in sincerity,

to endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; and in order

thereunto, to exercise all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering,

forbearing one another in love.

And we are persuaded, if the same method were introduced into frequent

practice between us and our Christian friends, who agree with us in all the

fundamental articles of the Christian faith (though they do not so in the subject

and administration of baptism), it would soon beget a better understanding and

brotherly affection between us.

In the beginning of the Christian church, when the doctrine of the baptism of

Christ was not universally under-stood, yet those that knew only the baptism of

John were the disciples of the Lord Jesus, and Apollos an eminent minister of

the gospel of Jesus.

In the beginning of the reformation of the Christian church, and recovery from

that Egyptian darkness wherein our forefathers for many generations were held

in bondage, upon recourse had to the scriptures of truth, different

apprehensions were conceived, which are to this time continued, concerning

the practice of this ordinance.

Let not our zeal herein be misinterpreted; that God whom we serve is jealous

of his worship. By his gracious providence the law thereof is continued

amongst us; and we are forewarned, by what happened in the church of the

Jews, that it is necessary for every generation, and that frequently in every

generation, to consult the divine oracle, compare our worship with the rule,

and take heed to what doctrines we receive and practice.

If the ten commandments exhibited in the popish idolatrous service-books had

been resolved as the entire law of God, because they agree in number with his

ten commands, and also in the substance of nine of them, the second

commandment, forbidding idolatry, had been utterly lost.

If Ezra and Nehemiah had not made a diligent search into the particular parts

of God’s law and his worship, the feast of tabernacles (which for many

centuries of years had not been duly observed according to the institution,

though it was retained in the general notion) would not have been kept in due

order.

So may it be now as to many things relating to the service of God, which do

retain the names proper to them in their first institution, but yet through

inadvertency (where there is no sinister design) may vary in their

circumstances, from their first institution, And if by means of any ancient

defection, or of that general corruption of the service of God and interruption

of his true worship and persecution of his servants by the anti-christian bishop

of Rome, for many generations, those who do consult the word of God cannot

yet arrive at a full and mutual satisfaction among themselves what was the

practice of the primitive Christian church, in some points relating to the

worship of God; yet inasmuch as these things are not of the essence of

Christianity, but that we agree in the fundamental doctrines thereof, we do

apprehend there is sufficient ground to lay aside all bitterness and prejudice,

and in the spirit of love and meekness to embrace and own each other therein,

leaving each other at liberty to perform such other services, wherein we cannot

concur, apart unto God, according to the best of our understanding.