« AnteriorContinuar »
them is produced a holy, pure, and spiritual birth, bringing forth holiness, righteousness, purity, and all those other blessed fruits which are acceptable to God, by which holy birth (to wit, Jesus Christ' formed within us, and working his works within us), as we are sanctified, so are we justified in the sight of God, according to the apostle's words: “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."* Therefore it is not by our works wrought in our will, nor yet by good works, considered as of themselves, but by Christ, who is both the gift and the giver, and the cause producing the effects in us : who, as he hath reconciled us while we were enemies, doth also in his wisdom save us, and justify us after this manner, as saith the same apostle elsewhere. “According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.”+
THE EIGHTH PROPOSITION.
Concerning Perfection. In whom this holy and pure birth is fully brought forth, the body of death and sin comes to be crucified and removed, and their hearts united and subjected to the truth, so as not to obey any suggestion or temptation of the evil one, but to be free from actual sioning, and transgressing of the law of God, and in that respect perfect. Yet doth this perfection still admit of a growth; and there remaineth a possibility of sinning, where the mind doth not most diligently and watchfully attend unto the Lord.
THE NINTH PROPOSITION.
Concerning Perseverance, and the Possibility of falling
from Grace. Although this gift, and inward grace of God, be sufficient to work out salvation ; yet in those in whom it is resisted, it both may and doth become their condemnation. Moreover, in whom it hath wrought in part, to purify and sanctify them, in order to their farther perfection, by disobedience such may fall from it, and turn it to wantonness,
* 1 Cor. vi. 11.
† Tit. iii. 5.
1 John iij. 6.
making shipwreck of faith; and after having tasted of the heavenly gift, and been made partakers of the Holy Ghost, again fall away.* Yet such an increase and stability in the truth may in this life be attained, from which there cannot be a total apostacy.
THE TENTH PROPOSITION.
Concerning the Ministry. As by this gift, or light of God, all true knowledge in things spiritual is received and revealed; so by the same, as it is manifested and received in the heart, by the strength and power thereof, every true minister of the gospel is ordained, prepared, and supplied, in the work of the ministry: and by the leading, moving, and drawing, hereof, ought every evangelist and Christian pastor to be led and ordered in his labour and work of the gospel, both as to the place where, as to the persons to whom, and as to the times when, he is to minister. Moreover, those who have this authority may and ought to preach the gospel, though without human commission or literature; as, on the other hand, those who want the authority of this divine gift, however learned or authorized by the commissions of men and churches, are to be esteemed but as deceivers, and not true ministers of the gospel. Also, who have received this holy and unspotted gift, as they have freely received, so are they freely to givet without hire or bargaining, far less to use it as a trade to get money by it: yet if God hath called any from their employments or trades, by which they acquire their livelihood, it may be lawful for such, according to the liberty which they feel given them in the Lord, to receive such temporals, to wit, what may be needful to them for meat and clothing, as are freely given them by those to whom they have communicated spirituals.
THE ELEVENTH PROPOSITION.
Concerning Worship. All true and acceptable worship to God is offered in the inward and immediate moving and drawing of his own Spirit, which is neither limited to places, times, or persons : for though we be to worship him always, in that we are to fear before him; yet as to the outward signification thereof in prayers, praises, and preachings, we ought not to do it where and when we will, but where and when we are moved thereunto by the secret inspirations of his Spirit in our hearts; which God heareth and accepteth of, and is never wanting to move us thereunto, when need is, of which he himself is the alone proper judge. All other worship then, both praises, prayers, and preachings, which man sets about in his own will, and at his own appointment, which he can both begin and end at bis pleasure, do or leave undone as himself sees meet; whether they be a prescribed form, as a liturgy, or prayers conceived extemporarily, by the natural strength and faculty of the mind; they are all but superstitions, will-worship, and abominable idolatry, in the sight of God;* which are to be denied, rejected, and separated from, in this day of his spiritual arising; however it might have pleased him, who winked at the times of ignorance, with respect to the simplicity and integrity of some, and of his own innocent seed, which lay as it were buried in the hearts of men, under the mass of superstition, to blow upon the dead and dry bones, and to raise some breathings, and answer them, and that until the day should more clearly dawn and break forth.
* 1 Tim. i. 6. Heb, vi. 4-6.
Matt. X. 8.
THE TWELFTH PROPOSITION.
Concerning Baptism. As there is one Lord and one faith, so there is one baptism which is not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience before God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And this baptism is a pure and spiritual thing, to wit, the baptism of the Spirit and fire, by which we are buried with him, that being washed and purged from our sins, we may walk in newness of life ;£ of which the baptism of John was a figure, which was commanded for a time, and not to continue for ever. As to the baptism of infants, it is a mere human tradition, for which neither precept nor practice is to be found in all the Scripture.
* Ezek. xiii. Mark x. 20. Acts ii. 4; and xviii. 5. John iii. 6; and iv. 21. Jude 19. Acts xvii. 23.
+ Epb. iv.5. 1 Pet. ii. 21. Rom. vi. 4. Gal. iii. 27. Col. ii. 12. John iii. 30. # 1 Cor. i. 17.
THE THIRTEENTH PROPOSITION.
Concerning the Communion, or Participation of the Body
and Blood of Christ. The communion of the body and blood of Christ is inward and spiritual,* which is the participation of his flesh and blood,+ by which the inward man is daily nourished in the hearts of those in whom Christ dwells; of which things the breaking of bread by Christ with his disciples was a figure, which they even used in the church for a time, who had received the substance, for the cause of the weak; even as abstaining from things strangled, and from blood, the washing one another's feet, and the anointing of the sick with oil ;f all which are commanded with no less authority and solemnity than the former; yet seeing they are but the shadows of better things, they cease in such as have obtained the substance.
THE FOURTEENTH PROPOSITION.
Concerning the Power of the Civil Magistrate, in Matters
purely religious, and pertaining to the Conscience. Since God hath assumed to himself the power and dominion of the conscience, who alone can rightly instruct and govern it, therefore it is not lawful for any whatsoever, by virtue of any authority or principality they bear in the government of this world, to force the consciences of others; § and therefore all killing, banishing, fining, imprisoning, and other such things, which men are afflicted with, for the alone exercise of their conscience, or difference in worship or opinion, proceedeth from the spirit of Cain the murderer, and is contrary to the truth : provided always, that no man, under the pretence of conscience, prejudice his neighbour in his life or estate; or do any thing destructive to, or inconsistent with, human society; in which case the law is for the transgressor, and justice to be administered upon all, without respect of persons.
* 1 Cor. x. 16, 17.
† Jobp vi. 32, 33. 35. 1 Cor. v. 8. # Acts xv. 20. John xiii. 14. James v. 14.
Luke ix. 55, 56. Matt. vii. 12. 29. Titus iii. 10.
THE FIFTEENTH PROPOSITION.
Concerning the Salutations and Recreations, &c. Seeing the chief end of all religion is to redeem man from the spirit and vain conversation of this world, and to lead into inward communion with God,* before whom if we fear always, we are accounted happy; therefore all the vain customs and habits thereof, both in word and deed, are to be rejected and forsaken by those who come to this fear; such as the taking off the hat to a man, the bowings and cringings of the body, and such other salutations of that kind, with all the foolish and superstitious formalities attending them; all which man has invented in his degenerate state, to feed his pride in the vain pomp and glory of this world; as also the unprofitable plays, frivolous recreations, sportings and gamings, which are invented to pass away the precious time, and divert the mind from the witness of God in the heart, and from the living sense of his fear, and from that evangelical spirit wherewith Christians ought to be leavened, and which leads into sobriety, gravity, and godly fear; in which as we abide, the blessing of the Lord is felt to attend us in those actions in which we are necessarily engaged, in order to the taking care for the sustenance of the outward man.
The toleration act, entitled, “ An act for exempting their ma: jesties' Protestant subjects dissenting from the church of
England from the penalties of certain laws." FORASMUCH as some ease to scrupulous consciences, in the exercise of religion, may be an effectual means to unite their majesties' Protestant subjects in interest and affection,t
I. Be it enacted by the king and queen's most excellent
* Eph. v. 11. 1 Pet. j. 14. Jobn v. 44. Jer. X. 3, Acts x. 26. Matt. xv. 13. Col. ii. 8.
+ 1 Will. and Mary, cap. 18.