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N. B. For the right understanding of the relation which the following Confession of Faith has to the Congregational ministers and churches of Connecticut, the attention of the reader is directed to the eighth article of the Heads of Agreement, and the practice of the associations and churches based on that article.


Among the memorable Providences relating to our English Nation in the last century, must be acknowledged the settling of English Colonies in the American parts of the world; among all which this hath been peculiar unto and to the distinguishing glory of that tract called New England, that the colonies there were originally formed, not for the advantage of trade, and a worldly interest; but upon the most noble foundation, even of religion, and the Liberty of their Consciences, with respect unto the ordinances of the Gospel administered in the purity and power of them ; a happiness then not to be enjoyed in their native soil.

We joyfully congratulate the religious liberty of our brethren, in the late auspicious reign of K. William and Q. Mary, of blessed memory, and in the present glorious reign, and from the bottom of our hearts bless the Lord, whose perogative it is to reserve the tiines and seasons in his own hand; who also hath inspired the pious mind of her most sacred Majesty, whose reign we constantly, and unfeignedly pray may be long and glorious, with royal resolutions, inviolably to maintain the toleration.

Deus enim-hæe 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 solum patria) for a vast and howling wilderness ; since for the enjoyment of so desirable liberty, a considerable number of learned, worthy, and pious persons, were, by divine impulse and extraordinary concurrence of dispositions, engaged to adventure their lives, families, and estates, upon the vast ocean, following the Lord into a wilderness, a land then not sown wherein innumerable difficulties staring them in the face, were outbid by heroic resolution, magnanimity, and confidence in the Lord alone. Our fathers trusted in the Lord and were delivered, they trusted in him and were not confounded. It was their care to be with the Lord, and their indulgence, that the Lord was with them, to a wonder, 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 they heartily professed the only rule of their religion, from the very first, to be the Holy Scripture, according whereunto, so far as they were persuaded, upon diligent inquiry, solicitous search, and faithful prayer, conformed was their faith, their worship, to

* Jer. 2:2.
* 2 Chron. 15:2.

+ Psalms 22 : 4,5.

Psalms 80:8, 9,



gether 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, respecting the worship of God, and the ment of the Church of Christ, according to his own appointment, their faith and profession religion being the same which was generally received in all the reformed churches of Europe, and in substance the Assembly's Confession, as shall be shown 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 acknowleged to be most so, and of universal 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. Consequent hereunto, as the necessity of the Church, for the correcting, condemning, 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 Chalcedon 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 country, by unanimous vote of the Synod of Elders and Messengers of the Churches, met at Cambridge, the last of the 6th month, 1648: the latter owned and consented to by the Elders 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 appear to the Christian world, that our churches do not maintain differing opinions in the doctrine 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 of the Hon

* See the Preface to the Platform of Church Discipline.

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