Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

SYMBOLA EVANGELICA.

PARS TERTIA:

MODERN PROTESTANT CREEDS.

SYMBOLA EVANGELICA.

PART THIRD:

MODERN PROTESTANT CREEDS.

I. CONGREGATIONAL CONFESSIONS.

1. THE SAVOY DECLARATION. A.D. 1658..............

2. THE DECLARATION OF THE CONGREGATIONAL UNION OF ENGLAND AND WALES. A.D. 1833....

3. THE DECLARATION OF THE BOSTON NATIONAL COUNCIL. A.D. 1865........

III. PRESBYTERIAN CONFESSIONS.

PAGE

707

4. THE DECLARATION OF THE OBERLIN NATIONAL COUNCIL. A.D. 1871...................

II. BAPTIST CONFESSIONS.

1. THE CONFESSION OF 1688 (THE PHILADELPHIA CONFESSION).. 738
2. THE NEW HAMPSHIRE CONFESSION. A.D. 1833........
3. THE FREE-WILL BAPTIST CONFESSION. A.D. 1868.......

742

749

1784........

1. THE CONFESSION OF THE WALDENSES. A.D. 1655...
2. THE CONFESSION OF THE CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN
CHURCH (AMERICAN). A.D. 1829...

.....

....

730

731

737

757

3. THE AUBURN DECLARATION (AMERICAN). A.D. 1837.....
4. THE CONFESSION OF THE FREE EVANGELICAL CHURCH
OF GENEVA. A.D. 1848..

5. THE CONFESSION OF THE FREE ITALIAN CHURCH.
A.D. 1870.....

IV. THE CONFESSION OF THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS, COMMONLY CALLED QUAKERS. A.D. 1675.......... 789 V. THE EASTER LITANY OF THE MORAVIAN CHURCH. A.D. 1749.............

VI. THE METHODIST ARTICLES OF RELIGION. A.D.

771

777

781

787

799

807

VII. THE REFORMED EPISCOPAL ARTICLES OF RELIGION (AMERICAN). A.D. 1875..................

814

VIII. THE NINE ARTICLES OF THE EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE. A.D. 1846..

827

APPENDIX: AN EVANGELICAL UNION CATECHISM...... 831

THE SAVOY DECLARATION OF THE CONGREGATIONAL

CHURCHES.

A.D. 1658.

[The SAVOY DECLARATION Consists of a lengthy Preface, a Confession of Faith, and a Platform of Discipline. The first and last are given in full; of the second, the chapters and sections in which it differs from the Westminster Confession of Faith. See Vol. I. pp. 829 sqq.

The text is an exact reprint (except in spelling and punctuation) of the first edition, which appeared under the following title:

A

DECLARATION

OF THE

FAITH and ORDER

Owned and practised in the Congregational Churches

IN

ENGLAND:

Agreed upon and confented unto
By their

ELDERS and MESSENGERS

IN

Their Meeting at the SAVOY, Octob. 12. 1658.

LONDON

Printed for D. L. And are to be fold in Paul's Church-yard, FleetStreet, and Westminster-Hall, 1659.]

A PREFACE.

Confession of the Faith that is in us, when justly called for, is so indispensable a due all owe to the Glory of the Sovereign GOD, that it is ranked among the Duties of the first Commandment, such as Prayer is; and therefore by Paul yoked with Faith itself, as necessary to salvation: with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Our Lord Christ himself, when he was accused of his Doctrine, considered simply as a matter of fact by Preaching, refused to answer; because, as such, it lay upon evidence, and matter of testimony of others; unto whom therefore he refers himself: But when both the High-Priest and Pilate expostulate his Faith, and what he held himself to be; he without any demur at all, cheerfully makes Declaration, That he was the Son of God; so to the High-Priest: and that he was a King, and born to be a King; thus to Pilate. Though upon the uttering of it his life lay at the stake; Which holy Profession of his is celebrated for our example, 1 Tim. vi. 13.

Confessions, when made by a company of Professors of Christianity jointly meeting to that end, the most genuine and natural use of such Confessions is, That under the same form of words, they express the substance of the same common salvation or unity of their faith; whereby speaking the same things, they show themselves perfectly joined in the same mind, and in the same judgment, 1 Cor. i. 10.

And accordingly such a transaction is to be looked upon but as a meet or fit medium or means whereby to express that their common faith and salvation, and no way to be made use of as an imposition upon any: Whatever is of force or constraint in matters of this nature, causeth them to degenerate from the name and nature of Confessions, and turns them from being Confessions of Faith, into Exactions and Impositions of Faith.

And such common Confessions of the Orthodox Faith, made in simplicity of heart by any such Body of Christians, with concord among themselves, ought to be entertained by all others that love the truth as it is in Jesus, with an answerable rejoicing: For if the unanimous opinions and assertions but in some few points of Religion, and that when by two Churches, namely, that of Jerusalem, and the Messengers of Antioch met, assisted by some of the Apostles, were by the Believers of those times received with so much joy, (as it is said, They rejoiced for the consolation) much more this is to be done, when the whole substance of Faith, and form of wholesome words shall be declared by the Messengers of a multitude of Churches, though wanting those advantages of Counsel and Authority of the Apostles, which that Assembly had.

Which acceptation is then more specially due, when these shall (to choose) utter and declare their Faith, in the same substance for matter, yea, words, for the most part, that other Churches and Assemblies, reputed the most Orthodox, have done before them: For upon such a correspondency, all may see that actually accomplished, which the Apostle did but exhort unto, and pray for, in those two more eminent Churches of the Corinthians and the Romans, (and so in them for all the Christians of his time) that both Jew and Gentile, that is, men of different persuasions, (as they were) might glorify GOD with one mind and with one mouth, And truly, the very turning of the Gentiles to the owning of the same Faith, in the substance of it, with the Christian Jew (though differing in greater points than we do from our Brethren) is presently after dignified by the Apostle with this style, That it is the Confession of Jesus Christ himself; not as the Object only, but as the Author and Maker thereof: I will confess to thee (saith Christ to God) among the Gentiles. So that in all such accords, Christ is the great and first Confessor; and we, and all our Faith uttered by Us, are but the Epistles, (as Paul) and Confessions (as Isaiah there) of their Lord and ours; He, but expressing what is written in his heart, through their hearts and mouths, to the glory of God the Father: And shall not we all rejoice herein, when as Christ himself is said to do it upon this occasion: as it there also follows, I will sing unto thy Name.

Further, as the soundness and wholesomeness of the matter gives the vigor and life to such

Confessions, so the inward freeness, willingness, and readiness of the Spirits of the Confessors do contribute the beauty and loveliness thereunto: As it is in Prayer to God, so in Confessions made to men. If two or three met, do agree, it renders both, to either the more acceptable. The Spirit of Christ is in himself too free, great and generous a Spirit, to suffer himself to be used by any human arm, to whip men into belief; he drives not, but gently leads into all truth, and persuades men to dwell in the tents of like precious Faith; which would lose of its preciousness and value, if that sparkle of freeness shone not in it: The Character of His People, is to be a willing people in the day of his power (not Man's) in the beauties of holiness, which are the Assemblings of the Saints: one glory of which Assemblings in that first Church, is said to have been, They met with one accord; which is there in that Psalm prophesied of, in the instance of that first Church, for all other that should succeed.

And as this great Spirit is in himself free, when, and how far, and in whom to work, so where and when he doth work, he carrieth it with the same freedom, and is said to be a free Spirit, as he both is, and works in us: And where this Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Now, as to this Confession of ours, besides, that a conspicuous conjunction of the particulars mentioned, hath appeared therein: There are also four remarkable Attendants thereon, which added, might perhaps in the eyes of sober and indifferent Spirits, give the whole of this Transaction a room and rank amongst other many good and memorable things of this Age; at least all set together, do cast as clear a gleam and manifestation of God's Power and Presence, as hath appeared in any such kind of Confessions, made by so numerous a company these later years.

The first, is the Temper (or distemper rather) of the Times, during which, these Churches have been gathering, and which they have run through. All do (out of a general sense) complain that the times have been perilous, or difficult times (as the Apostle foretold); and that in respect to danger from seducing spirits, more perilous than the hottest seasons of Persecution.

We have failed through an Estuation, Fluxes and Refluxes of great varieties of Spirits, Doctrines, Opinions and Occurrences, and especially in the matter of Opinions, which have been accompanied in their several seasons, with powerful persuasions and temptations, to seduce those of our way. It is known, men have taken the freedom (notwithstanding what Authority hath interposed to the contrary) to vent and vend their own vain and accursed - imaginations, contrary to the great and fixed Truths of the Gospel, insomuch, as take the whole Round and Circle of Delusions, the Devil hath in this small time, ran; it will be found, that every Truth, of greater or lesser weight, hath by one or other hand, at one time or another, been questioned and called to the Bar amongst us, yea, and impleaded, under the pretext (which hath some degree of Justice in it) that all should not be bound up to the Traditions of former times, nor take Religion upon trust.

Whence it hath come to pass, that many of the soundest Professors were put upon a new search and disquisition of such Truths, as they had taken for granted, and yet had lived upon the comfort of: to the end they might be able to convince others, and establish their own hearts against that darkness and unbelief, that is ready to close with error, or at least to doubt of the truth, when error is speciously presented. And hereupon we do professedly account it one of the greatest advantages gained out of the Temptations of these Times, yea the honor of the Saints and Ministers of these Nations, That after they had sweetly been exercised in, and had improved practical and experimental Truths, this should be their further Lot, to examine and discuss, and indeed, anew to learn over every Doctrinal Truth, both out of the Scriptures, and also with a fresh taste thereof in their own hearts; which is no other than what the Apostle exhorts to, Try all things, hold fast that which is good. Conversion unto God at first, what is it else than a savory and affectionate application, and the bringing home to the heart with spiritual light and life, all truths that are necessary to salvation, together with other lesser Truths? All which we had afore conversion taken in but notionally from common Education and Tradition.

Now that after this first gust those who have been thus converted should be put upon a new

« ПредишнаНапред »