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needs not to be said, since no man can be ignorant thereof, that hath made it his concern to be acquair ted with things of this nature. The confession of the Bohemians, of the Waldenses, and of the reformed Protestant churches abroad, (which also to shew what harmony in respect of doctrine there is among all sincere professors of the truth, have been published in one volume) all these have been of singular use, not only to those that lived in the ages when these declarations were emitted, bit unto posterity, yea, unto this day.
There have been some who have reflected upon these New-English churches, for our defect in this matter, as if our principles were unknown; whereas it is well known, that as to matters of doctrine, we agree with other reformed churches: nor was it that, but what concerns worship and discipline, that canised our fathers to come into this wilderness, while it was a land not sown, that so they might have liberty to practice accordingly. And it is a ground of holy rejoycing before the Lord, that now there is no advantage left for those that may be disaffected towards 'us, to object any thing of that nature against us. For it hath pleased the only wise Gud so to dispose in his providence, as that the elders and messengers of the churches in the colovy of the Massachusetts in New-England, did, by the call and encouragement of the honored general Court, meet together Sept. 10, 1679. This Synod at their second session, which was May 12, 1680, consulted and considcred of a confession of Faith. That which was consented unto by the olders and messengers of the congregational churches in England, who met at the Savoy (being for the most part, some small variations, exceptcil, the same with that which was agreed upon first by the Assembly at Westminster, and was approved of by the Synod at Cambridge in New. England, annu 1048, as also by a general Assembly in Scotland) was twice pullickly read, examined and approved of: that little variation which we have made from the one, in compliance with the other may be seen by those who please 10 compare them. But we have (for the main) cliosen to express ourselves in the words of those reverend Assenvies, that so we might not only with one heart, but with one mouth glorily God, and our Lord Jesus Clirist.
As to what concerns church-government, we refer to the Platform 5€ discipline agreed upon by tlie messengers of these churches anno 1648, and solemily owned and confirmed by the late Synod.
What hours of temptation may overtake these churches, is not for us to say. Only the Lord doth many times so order things, that when his people have made a good confession, they shall be put upon the trial one way or other, to see whether they have (or who among them hath not) been sincere in what they have done. The Lord grant that the loins of our minds may be so girt about with uth, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
ALTHOUGH the light of nature, and the works of creation and prov. idence, do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation : there. fore it pleased the Lord at sundry times, and in diverse manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and after. wards for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the cor. ruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly to writing : which maketh the holy scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.
11. Under the name of holy scripture, or the word of God writ. ten, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testament, which are these :
of the Old Testament. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Puth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zachariah, Malachi.
Of the New Testament.
Mathew, Mark, Luke, John, the Acts of the Apostles, Paul's Epistle the Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Phia
lippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 to Timothy, to Timothy, to Titus, to Philemon, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the 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 which are given by the inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.
III. The books commonly called Apochrypa, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the script:re; and therefore are of no authority in the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of, than other human writings.
IV. The authority of the holy scripture, for which it ought to be be. lieved and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon Gou (who is truth itself) the author thereof ; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the word of God.
V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of thc church, to an high and reverend esteem of the holy scripture. And the heaven. liness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, 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, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments wherety it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the word of God; yet notwith standing, our full persuasion and as, „surance 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.
VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture ; unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless we aeknowledge 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 worslip of God and government of the church, common to human actions and socie. ties, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and chritian pradence, according to the general rules of the word, which are always to be observed.
VII. All 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 olserved 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 the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding oi them.
VIII. The 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 writing of it was most generally known to the nations) being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and provi, dence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical ; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal unto them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have 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 some, that the word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may wor. ship him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the scriptures may have hope.
IX. The 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 apd known by other places, that speak more clearly.
X. The 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 deliver ed by the spirit; into which scripture so delivered our Faith is finally resolved.
of God und of the holy Trinity.
THERE is but one only living and true God; who is infinite in being od perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own