« ПредишнаНапред »
serve the Lord daily in simplicity and humility. For such are more apt for attending to heavenly things than they who are distracted with the private affairs of a family. But if, again, the gift be taken away, and they feel a continual burning, let them call to mind the words of the apostle, “It is better to marry than to burn’ (1 Cor. vii. 9).
For wedlock (which is the medicine of incontinency, and continency itself) was ordained by the Lord God himself, who blessed it most bountifully, and willed man and woman to cleave one to the other inseparably, and to live together in great concord (Gen. ii. 24; Matt. xiv. 5, 6). Whereupon we know the apostle said, 'Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled' (Heb. xiii. 4). And again, “If a virgin marry, she hath not sinned' (1 Cor. vii. 28). We therefore condemn polygamy, and those who condemn second marriages. We teach that marriages ought to be contracted lawfully, in the fear of the Lord, and not against the laws which forbid certain degrees to join in matrimony, lest the marriages should be incestuous. Let marriages be made with consent of the parents, or such as are instead of parents; and for that end especially for which the Lord ordained marriages. And let them be confirmed publicly in the Church, with prayer and blessing. Moreover, let them be kept holy, with peace, faithfulness, dutifulness, love, and purity of the persons coupled together. Therefore let them take heed of brawlings, debates, lusts, and adulteries. Let lawful judgments and holy judges be established in the Church, who may maintain marriages, and may repress all dishonesty and shamefulness, and before whom controversies in matrimony may be decided and ended.
Let children also be brought up by the parents in the fear of the Lord; and let parents provide for their children, remembering the saying of the apostle, ' He that provideth not for his own, hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel' (1 Tim. v. 8). But especially let them teach their children honest arts and occupations, whereby they may maintain themselves. Let them keep them from idleness, and plant in them a true confidence in God in all these things; lest they, through distrust, or overmuch careless security, or filthy coretousness, wax loose, and in the end coine to no good.
Now, it is most certain that those works which parents do in true faith, by the duties of marriage, and government of their families, are, before God, holy and good works indeed, and do please God no less than prayers, fastings, and alms-deeds. For so the apostle has taught in his epistles, especially in those to Timothy and Titus. And with the same apostle we account the doctrine of such as forbid marriage, or do openly dispraise or secretly discredit it as not holy or clean, among the doctrines of demons' (1 Tim. iv. 1).
And we do detest unclean single life, licentious lusts, and fornications, both open and secret, and the continency of dissembling hypocrites, when they are, of all men, most incontinent. All these God will judge. We do not disallow riches, nor contemn rich men, if they be godly and use their riches well; but we reprove the sect of the Apostolicals, etc.
CHAPTER XXX.—OF THE MAGISTRACY. The magistracy, cf what sort soever it be, is ordained of God himself, for the peace and quietness of mankind; and so that he should have the chief place in the world. If the magistrate be an adversary to the Church, he may hinder and disturb it very much; but if he be a friend and a member of the Church, he is a most useful and excellent member thereof; he may profit it very much, and finally may help and further it very excellently.
The chief duty of the civil magistrate is to procure and maintain peace and public tranquillity: which, doubtless, he shall never do more happily than when he shall be truly seasoned with the fear of God and true religion—namely, when he shall, after the example of the most holy kings and princes of the people of the Lord, advance the preaching of the truth, and the pure and sincere faith, and shall root out lies and all superstition, with all impiety and idolatry, and shall defend the Church of God. For indeed we teach that the care of religion does chiefly appertain to the holy magistrate.
Let him, therefore, hold the Word of God in his hands, and look that nothing be taught contrary thereunto. In like manner, let him govern the people, committed to him of God, with good laws, made according to the Word of God in his hands, and look that nothing be taught contrary thereunto. Let him hold them in discipline and in duty and in obedience. Let him exercise judgment by judging 'uprightly: let him not respect any man's person, or receive bribes. Let froin the guilt and power of sin except through God's redeeming grace.
IV. We believe that God would have all men return to Him; that to this end He has made Himself known, not only through the works of nature, the course of His providence, and the consciences of men, but also through supernatural revelations made especially to a chosen people, and above all, when the fulness of time was come, through Jesus Christ His Son.
V. We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the record of God's revelation of Himself in the work of redemption; that they were written by men under the special guidance of the Holy Spirit; that they are able to make wise unto salvation; and that they constitute the authoritative standard by which religious teaching and human conduct are to be regulated and judged.
VI. We believe that the love of God to sinful men has found its highest expression in the redemptive work of His Son; who became man, uniting His divine nature with our human nature in one person; who was tempted like other men, yet without sin; who, by His humiliation, His holy obedience, His sufferings, His death on the cross, and His resurrection, became a perfect Redeemer; whose sacrifice of Himself for the sins of the world declares the righteousness of God, and is the sole and sufficient ground of forgiveness and of reconciliation with Hiin.
VII. We believe that Jesus Christ, after He had risen from the dead, ascended into heayen, where, as the one Mediator between God and man, He carries forward His work of saving men; that He sends the Holy Spirit to convict them of sin, and to lead them to repentance and faith; and that those who through renewing grace turn to righteonsness, and trust in Jesus Christ as their Redeemer, receive for His sake the forgiveness of their sins, and are made the children of God.
VIII. We believe that those who are thus regenerated and justified grow in sanctified character through fellowship with Christ, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and obedience to the truth; that a holy life is the fruit and evidence of saving faith; and that the believer's hope of continnance in such a life is in the preserving grace of God.
IX. We believe that Jesus Christ came to establish among men the kingdom of God, the reign of truth and love, righteousness and peace;
as do either openly or closely refuse to perform those duties which they owe.
The Conclusion.-We beseech God, our most merciful Father in heaven, that he will bless the rulers of the people, and us, and his whole people, through Jesus Christ, our only Lord and Saviour; to whom be praise and glory and thanksgiving, both now and forever. Amen.
THE AMERICAN CONGREGATIONAL CREED OF 1883.
(The following Statement of Doctrine and Confession of Faith was agreed apon in the year 1883 by leading divines of the Congregational churches in the United States, as a modern substitute for older Congregational Confessions, printed in this volume, pp. 707–737. The text, together with the historical introduction, was kindly furnished to me by the Rev. Dr. HENRY MARTYN DEXTER, of Boston, who is one of the framers and signers of this important document, and well known as an authority in all that pertains to the history and literature of Congregationalism.-Ev.]
To the fourth session of the National Council of the Congregational Churches of the United States, convened at St. Louis, Mo., 11-15 November, 1880, were presented memorials from the Congregational Association of Ohio, the General Congregational Conference of Minnesota, and the Central South Conference of Tennessee, asking that body to take measures for the restatement of the doctrines held by the Congregational Churches which in it are associated and represented. An able argument, to the same effect, was presented to the Council by the Rev. Prof. H. Mead, D.D., of Oberlin, O., in an elaborate paper. The Council, after discussion [Minutes, p. 24), passed the following resolutions, viz. :
Resolved, That the paper on Creeds be printed, and receive the thoughtful consideration of the churches.
Resolved, That a committee of seven be appointed, who shall, as soon as praeticable after the adjournment of the Council, select from among the members of our churches, in different parts of our land, twenty-five men of picty and ability, well versed in the truths of the Bible, and representing different shades of thought among us, who may be willing to confer and act together as a Commission to prepare in the form of a Creed or Catechism, or both, a simple, clear, and comprehensive exposition of the truths of the Glorious Gospel of the Blessed God, for the instruction and edification of our churches.
Resolved, That this committee of seven take pains to secure the willing co-operation of the men selected; that the Commission be left, without specific instructions from this body, to adopt their own methods of proceeding, and to take time as they may find necessary to perfect their work; and that the result of their labors, when complete, be reported—not to this Council, but to the churches and to the world through the public press—to carry such weight of authority as the character of the Commission and the intrinsic merit of their exposition of truth may command. The committee of seven were accordingly appointed as follows, viz. : Rev. A. L. Chapin, D.D., Wis. ;
Rev. C. D. Barrows, Mass.;
Rev. N. A. Hyde, D. 1)., Ind. ;
Deacon D. C. Bell, Minn. ;
Hon. J. E. Sargent, LL.D., N. H. The Commission, as finally constituted through the labors of this committee, comprised the following members (with power to fill vacancies), viz. :
Rev. Julius H. Seelye, D.D., Mass. ; Rev. William S. Karr, D.D., Conn. ;