Images de page
PDF
ePub

be long and glorious, with royal resolutions, violably to maintain the toleration.

Deus enim hæc Otia fecit.

Undoubtedly if the same had been the liberty of those times, our fathers would have been far from exchanging a most pleasant land (dulce 80lum patria ) for a vast and howling wilderness; since for the enjoyment of so desirable liberty, a consider ible number of learned, worthy, and pi. ous persons, were, by a divine impulse and ex. traordinary concurrence of dis positions, engaged to adventure their lives families, and estates, up on the vast ocean, following the Lord into a wil. derness, a land hen not 80wn :* wherein innume. rable difficulties staring them in the face, were outhid by heroick resolution, magnanimity and confidence in the Lord lone. Our Fathers truded in the Lord and were delivered. they trust. ed in him and were not confounded.t their care to be with he Lord, and their indul. gence, that the Lord was with hem,i to a wopder, preserving, supporting, protecting, and animating them ; dispatching and destroying the pagan natives by extraordinary sickness and mortality, that there might be room for his people to serve the Lord our God in § It was the glory of our fathers, that ther heartily professed

It was

* Jer. ii. 2. + Psal. xxii. 4,5. II Chroni $1. 3. -Psal. Ixxx. 8, 9.

the only rule of their religion, from the vers first, to be the Holy Scripture, according where unto, so far as they were persuaded, upon dili. gent enquiry, solicitous search, and faithful prayer conformed, was their faith, their worship, together with the whole administration of the house of Christ, and their manners, allowance being given to human failures and imperfections.

That which they were most solicitous about, and wherein their liberty had been restrained, respected the worship of God, and the Government of the Church of Christ, according to his own appointment, their faith and profession of religion being the same which was generally received in all the reformed churches of Eu. rope, and in substance the Assembly's Confession, as shall be shewn anon.

It cannot be denied, that the usage of the Christian Church, whose faith wholly rested upon the word of God respecting Confessions of Faith, is very ancient, and that which is universally acknowledged to be most so, and of univer: sal acceptance and consent, is commonly called the Apostles' Creed, a symbol, sign, or badge of . the christian religion, called the Apostles, not because they composed it, for then it must have been received into the canon of the Holy Bible, but because the matter of it agreeth with the doctrine, and is taken out of the writings of the Apostles. Conseqent hereunto, as the necessity of the Church for the correcting, condemn?

ing, and suppressing of heresy and error required, have been emitted ancient and famous Confessions of Faith, composed and agreed upon by Oecumenical Councils, e. g. of Nice against Arius, of Constantinople against Macedonius, of Ephesus, against Nestorius, of. Calcedon, against Eutyches. And when the light of reformation broke forth to the dispersing of popish darkness, the reformed nations agreed upon Confessions of Faith, famous in the world, and of especial service to theirs and standing ages. And among those of latter times, published in our nation most worthy of repute and acceptance, we take to be the Confession of Faith, composed by the reverend Assembly of Divines convened at Westminster, with that of the Savoy, in the substance, and in expressions for the most part the same ; the former* professedly assented and attested to, by the Fathers of our countrv, by unanimous vote of the synod of Elders and Messengers of the churches met at i ambridge, the last of the oth month, 1648, The latter owned and consented to by the Eld. ers and Messengers of the churches assembled at Boston, May 12th, 1680. The same, we doubt not to profess, to have been the constant faith of the churches in this Colony, from the first foundation of them. And that it may ap. pear to the christian world, that our churches do not maintain differing opinions in the doctrine

* See the Preface to the Platform of Church Discipline.

of religion, nor are desirous, for any reason, to conceal the faith we are persuaded of the elders and Messengers of the Churches in this colony of Connecticut, in New England, by virtue of the appointment and encouragement ofthe honourable the General Assembly, convener by delegation at Saybrook, September 9th. 1708, unanimously agreed, that the Confession of Fiith, owned and consented unto by the elders and messengers of the churches assembled at Boston, in New. England, May 12th. 1680, being the second session of tht Synod, be recommen. ded to the honourable General Assembly of this Colony at their next session. for their publick testimony thereto, as the faith of the churches of this colony ; which confession, together with the heads of Union, and articles for the administration of Church Government herewith emit. ted, were presented unto, and approved and established by the said General Assembly, at New Haven, on the 14th of October, 1708.

This Confession of Faith, we offer as our firm persuasion, well and fully grounded upon the Holy Scripture, and commend the same unto all, and particularly to the people of our Colony, to be examined, accepted, and constantly maintained. We do not assume to ourselves, that any thing be taken upon trust from us, but commend to our people these following Counsels.

1. That you be inmovcably and unchangeably agreed in the only sufficient, and invariable rule

of religion, which is the Holy Scriptures the fixed Canon* uncapable of addition or diminution. You ought to accout nothing ancient, that will not stand by this rule,t nor any thing new that will. Do not hold yourselves bound to unscriptural rites in religion, wherein custom it. self doth many times misguide. Believe it to be the honour of Religion to resign and captivate our wisdom and faith to Divine Revelation.I

II. That You be determined by this Rule in the whole of Religion. That your Faith be right and Divine, the Word of God must be the foundation of it, and the authority of the word the reason of it. You may believe the most important articles of Faith, with no more than a human faith; And this is evermore the cause, when the principle Faith is resolved into, is any other than the holy Scripture. For an orthodox christian to resolve his Faith, into education instruction and the persuasion of others is not an higher reason, than a Papist, Mahometan, or Pagan can produce for his religion.

Pay also unto God the worship, that will hear the trial of and receive establishment by this 'rule. Have always in readiness a divine warrant for all the worship you perform to God. Believe that worship is accepted and that only, which is directed unto and commanded, and

*Isa. viii. 20. +Rev. xxi. 18, 19. (Jer vi. 16. Mat. xix. 8, or xliv. 17. Mat. xi. 27. 1 Joho 'Vo D. !!! ke X. 26.

« PrécédentContinuer »