« PreviousContinue »
and chief-commissioner for the kirk of Scotland to the parliament and synod of England, made upon his death-bed ; and taking into their serious consideration how many gross lies and impudent calumnies are therein contained ; out of the tender respect which they do bear to his name (which ought to be very precious to them and all posterity, for his faithful service in the great work of reformation in these kingdoms, wherein the Lord was pleased to make him eminently instrumental); and lest through the malice of some, and ignorance of others, the said pamphlet should gain belief among the weaker sort, they have thought fit to niake known and declare, concerning the same, as followeth :
That, after due search and trial, they do find, that their worthy brother Master Alexander Henderson did, from the time of his coming from London to Newcastle, till the last moment of his departure out of this life, upon all occasions manifest the constancy of his judgment touching the work of reformation in these kingdoms; namely, in all his discourses and conferences with his majesty, and with his brethren, who were employed with him in the same trust at Newcastle: in his letters to the commissioners at London, and particularly in his last discourse to his majesty, at his departing from Newcastle, being very weak, and greatly decayed in his natural strength. When he was come from Newcastle by sea to this kingdom, he was in such a weak, worn, and failed condition, as it was evident to all who saw him, that he was not able to frame any such declaration : for he was so spent, that he died within eight days after his arrival; and all that he was able to speak in that time, did clearly shew his judgment of, and affection to the work of reformation, and cause of God, to be every way the same then that it was in the beginning and progress thereof; as divers reverend brethren, who visited him, have declared to this assembly, and particularly two brethren who cónstantly attended him from the time he came home till his breath expired. A farther testimony may be brought from a short confession of faith under his hand, found amongst his papers, which is expressed as his last words, wherein, among other mercies, he declareth himself most of all obliged to the care and goodness of God, for calling him to believe the promises of the gospel, and for exalting him to be a preacher of them to others; and to be a willing, though
a weak instrument in this great and wonderful work of reformation, which he earnestly beseeched the Lord to bring to a happy conclusion. Other reasons may be added from the levity of the style, and manifest absurdities contained in that paper. Upon consideration of all which, this assembly doth condemn the said pamphlet as forged, scandalous, and false. And farther declare the author and contriver of the same, to be void of charity and a good conscience, and a gross liar and calumniator, led by the spirit of the accuser of the brethren.
August 7, 1648. Ante meridiem. Sess. 31.
A Confession of Faith of Seven Congregations, or Churches
of Christ in London, which are commonly but unjustly called Anabaptists ; published for the Vindication of the Truth, and Information of the Ignorant : likewise for the taking off those Aspersions, which are frequently, both in Pulpit and Print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed at London, Anno 1646.
1. The Lord our God is but one God, whose subsistence is in himself; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; who is in himself most holy, every way infinite, in greatness, wisdom, power, love; merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth : who giveth being, moving, and preservation, to all creatures.*
II. In this divine and infinite Being there is the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided; all infinite without any beginning, therefore but one God; who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties. III. God hath decreed in himself, before the world was,
* 1 Cor. viii. 6. Isa. xliv. 6; and xlvi. 9. Exod. ji. 14. 1 Tim. vi. 16. Isa. xlii. 15. Psalm cxlvii. 5. Deut. xxxii. 3. Job xxxvi. 5. Jer. x. 12. Exod. xxxir. 6,7. Acts xvii. 28. Rom. xi. 36.
1 Cor. i. 3. John, i. 1; and xv. 26. Exod. iji. 14. - 1 Cor. viii. 6.
concerning all things, whether necessary, accidental, or voluntary, with all the circumstances of them, to work, dispose, and bring about, all thiogs according to the counsel of his own will, to his glory (yet without being the author of sin, or having fellowship with any therein): in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, unchangeableness, power, and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree: and God hath, before the foundation of the world, foreordained some men to eternal life, through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of his grace: leaving the rest in their sin, to their just condemnation, to the praise of his justice.*
IV. In the beginning God made all things very good : created man after his own image, filled with all meet perfection of nature, and free from all sin: but long he abode not in this honour; Satan using the subtlety of the serpent to seduce first Eve, then by her seducing Adam ; who, without any compulsion, in eating the forbidden fruit, transgressed the command of God, and fell, whereby death came upon all his posterity: who now are conceived in sin, and by nature the children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subjects of death, and other miseries in this world, and for ever, unless the Lord Jesus Christ set them free.t
V. God, in his infinite power and wisdom, doth dispose all things to the end for which they were created; that neither good nor evil befals any by chance, or without his providence; and that whatsoever befals the elect, is by his appointment, for his glory, and their good. I
VI. All the elect, being loved of God with an everlasting love, are redeemed, quickened, and saved, not by themselves, nor their own works, lest any man should boast, but only and wholly by God, of his free grace and mercy, through Jesus Christ, who is made unto us by God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, and all in all, that he that rejoiceth might rejoice in the Lord.
* Isa. xlvi. 10. Eph. i. 11. Rom. xi. 33. Psalm xxxiii. 15; cxv. 3; cxxxv. 6; and cxliv.
1 Sam. x. 9. 26. Prov. xvi. 4. 33; and xxi. 6. Exod. xxi. 13. Isa. xlv.7. Matt. vi. 28. 30. Col. i. 16, 17. Numb. xxiii. 19, 20. Rom. iii. 4. Jer. x. 10; xiv. 22. Eph. i. 4, 5. Jade 4. 6.
+ Gen. i. 1; and iii. i. 4, 5. Col. i. 16. Isa. xlv. 12. 1 Cor. xv. 45, 46. Eccles. vii. 29. 2 Cor. xi. 3. 1 Tim. ii. 14. Gal. iii. 22. Rom. v. 12 ; vi. 22 ; and xviii. 19. Eph. ii. 3.
# Job xxxviij. 11. Isa. xlvi. 10, 11. Eccles. iii. 14. Mark x. 29, 30. Exod. xxi. 13. Prov. xvi. 33. Rom. viii. 28.
Jer. xxiii. 6; and xxxi. 2. Eph. i. 3.7; and ii. 8,9. 1 Thess. v. 9. Acts xiii. 38. 2 Cor. v. 21. Jer. ix. 23, 24. 1 Cor. i. 30, 31.
VII. And this is life eternal, that we might know him the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. And on the contrary, the Lord will render vengeance, in flaming fire, to them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ.*
VIII. The rule of this knowledge, faith, and obedience, concerning the worship of God, in which is contained the whole duty of man, is (not men's laws, or unwritten traditions, but) only the word of God contained in the Holy Scriptures; in which is plainly recorded whatsoever is needful for us to know, believe, and practise ; which are the only rule of holiness and obedience for all saints, at all times, in all places, to be observed.+
IX. The Lord Jesus Christ, of whom Moses and the prophets wrote, the apostles preached," he is the Son of God, the brightness of his glory, &c. by whom he made the world; who upholdeth and governeth all things that he hath made; who also, when the fulness of time was come, was made of a woman, of the tribe of Judah, of the seed of Abraham and David; to wit, of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit coming down upon her, the power of the Most High overshadowing her; and he was also tempted as we are, yet without sin. I ; X. Jesus Christ is made the mediator of the new and everlasting covenant of grace between God and man, ever to be perfectly and fully the prophet, priest, and king, of the church of God for evermore.
XI. Unto this office he was appointed by God from everlasting; and in respect of his manhood, from the womb called, separated, and anointed, most fully and abundantly with all gifts necessary, God having without measure poured out his Spirit upon him.
XII. Concerning his mediatorship, the Scripture holds forth Christ's call to his office; for none takes this honour upon him, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron, it being an action of God, whereby a special promise being made, he ordains his Son to this office; which promise is, that Christ should be made a sacrifice for sin; that he should see his seed, and prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; all of mere free and absolute grace towards God's elect, and without any condition foreseen in them to procure it.*
* Jobu vi. 36; and xvii. 3. Heb. v. 9. 1 Thess. i. 8.
+ Col. ij. 23. Matt. xv. 9. 6. John v. 39. 2 Tim. iii. 15-17. Isa. viii. 20. Gal. i. 8, 9. Acls iji. 22, 23.
# Gen. iii. 15; xxii. 18; and xlix. 9, 10. Dan, vji. 13; and ix. 24, &c. Prov. viii. 23. John i. 1-3. Heb. i. 8; ii. 16; iv. 15; and vii. 14. Gal. iv. 4. Rev. V. 1. Rom. i. 3; and it. 10. Matt. i. 16. Luke iji. 23. 26. Isa. liii. 3-5.
1 Tim. ii. 5. Heb. ix. 15. John xiv. 6. Isa. ix. 6, 7. # Prov. viii. 23. Isa. xi. 2.-5. xlii. 6; xlix. 15; and lxi. 1, 2. Luke iv. 17. 22. John i. 14. 26; and iji. 34.
XIII. This office to be mediator, that is, to be prophet, priest, and king, of the church of God, is so proper to Christ, that neither in whole, or any part thereof, it cannot be transferred from him to any other.
XIV. This office, to which Christ is called, is threefold; a prophet, priest, and king: this number and order of offices is necessary, for in respect of our ignorance, we stand in need of his prophetical office; and in respect of our great alienation from God, we need his priestly office to reconcile us; and in respect of our averseness and utter inability to return to God, we need his kingly office, to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, and preserve, us to his heavenly kingdom. I
XV. Concerning the prophecy of Christ, it is that whereby he hath revealed the will of God, whatsoever is needful for his servants to know and obey; and therefore he is called not only a prophet and doctor, and the apostle of our profession, and the angel of the covenant, but also the very wisdom of God, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, who for ever continueth revealing the same truth of the gospel to his people.g
XVI. That he might be a prophet every way complete, it was necessary he should be God, and also that he should be man: for unless he had been God, he could never bave perfectly understood the will of God; and unless he had been man, he could not suitably have unfolded it in his own person to men.)
That Jesus Christ is God, is wonderful clearly expressed in the Scriptures. He is called the mighty God, Isa. ix. 6. That Word was God, John i. 1. Christ, who is God over
* Heb. v. 4-6. Isa. lii. 10, 11. Jobn iii. 16. Rom. viii, 32. + 1 Tim. ii. 5. Heb. vii. 24. Dan. vii. 14. Acts iv. 12. Luke i. 33. John xiv. 6.
Deut. viii. 15. Acts iii. 22, 23; and xxvi. 18. Heb. jji, 3; and iv. 14, 15. Psalm ji. 6. 2 Cor. v. 20. Col. i. 21. Jobu xvi. 8. Psalm cx. 3. Cant. i. 3. Jobn vi. 44. Pbil. iv. 13. 2 Tim. iv, 18.
John i. 18; xii. 49, 50; and xvii. 8. Matt. xxiii. 10. Deut. xviii. 15. Heb. iji. 1. Gal. iii. 1. 1 Cor. i. 24. Col. ii. 3. Mal. iij. 2.
# Johu i. 18. Acts iii. 22. Deut. xviii. 15. Heb. i. 1.