Strikeout text is in the Westminster
but not the London. Underlined text is in the London Baptist but not the
Westminster. Black text is identical between the two documents. I have
highlighted in yellow the passages I consider problematic for unity between Baptists
and Presbyterians. ~Nate Wilson
1. Although the light of nature,
and the works of creation and
providence, do so far manifest the
, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God , and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation; therefore it pleased the Lord ,
at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that
His will unto his Church; and afterward for the better preserving
and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh,
and the malice of Satan and of the world, to
commit the same wholly unto 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.
2. Under the name of holy Scripture
, or the Word of God written ,
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, Ruth, 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, Zechariah, Malachi
Of the New Testament:
The Gospels according
to, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s
Epistle to the Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians,
Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 TimothyTitus, 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 inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.
3. The books commonly called
, not being of divine
inspiration, are no part of the Canon of Scripture ;
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.
of the holy
for which it ought to be believed and obeyed , dependeth not upon
the testimony of any man or Church ,
but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) , the Author thereof; and therefore
it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.
5. We may be moved and induced by
the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of
the holy Scripture;
and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, [and] 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
many other incomparable excellencies, and [the] entire
thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly
to be the Word of God; yet ,
our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible
and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit,
bearing witness by
and with the Word in our hearts.
The whole counsel
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 acknowledge 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 worship of God, and the government of the
common to human actions and societies ,
which are to be ordered by the light
and Christian prudence ,
according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
7. 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,
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 of them.
8. 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 the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately
inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence 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 come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they
may worship him in an acceptable manner, and ,
through patience and comfort of the Scriptures , may have hope.
9. 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) ,
be searched and
known by other places that speak more clearly.
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
are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but
the Holy Spirit
speaking in the Scripture .
, and of the Holy Trinity.
There is but one only living and true God , who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body,
parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almightymost 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 glory, most loving, gracious, merciful,
abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression ,
and sin ;
the rewarder of them
that diligently seek him ;
and withal most just
and terrible in his judgments ; hating all sin ;
and who will by no means clear the guilty.
life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself ; and
is alone in
and unto himself
all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creature[s] which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from
them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them ;
he is the alone foundation
of all being,
of whom, through whom, and to whom , are all things ; and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever
himself pleaseth. In
his sight all things are open and manifest ; his knowledge is infinite,
infallible, and independent upon the creature; so as nothing is
to him contingent or uncertain. He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and
in all his commands. To
him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever
worship, service, or obedience he is pleased to require of them.
In the unity of the
there are three Persons God the Father, God
the Word (or Son) and God the Holy Spirit[Ghost], of one substance, power, and eternity:Father
is of none ,
neither begotten nor proceeding ; the Son is eternally begotten of the
Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son .
ordain from all eternity by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and
unchangeably whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither
God the author
of sin ; nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the
liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but
Although God knows
whatsoever may or can come to pass
, upon all supposed
conditions; yet hath he not decreed any thing because he foresaw
it as future, as that which would come to pass ,
upon such conditions.
By the decree of
for the manifestation of his glory , some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting [Eternal] life, and others
foreordained to everlasting death.
thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and
certain and definite that it can
5. Those of mankind that are
unto life, God , before the foundation of the
world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ , unto everlasting glory, out
of his free grace and love alone, without
foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the
creature , as a condition s or
cause s moving him thereunto ; and all to the praise of his
6. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free
purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore they who are elected being
fallen in Adam are
redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season
justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power
through faith unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually
called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.
rest of mankind, God
was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he
extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign
power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain
them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of
his glorious justice .
8. The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination
is to be handled with special prudence and care
that men attending to the
will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding
obedience thereunto, may ,
from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal
shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God ;
and of humility,
diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.
I. It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy
for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to
create or make of nothing
2. After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and
female, with reasonable and immortal souls,
endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness
having the law
of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it; and yet
under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own
will, which was subject unto
Law written in their hearts, they
received a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil; which while
they kept were happy in their communion with God, and had
dominion over the creatures.
the great Creator of
all things, doth uphold, direct dispose, and govern all creatures , actions,
and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy
providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the
free and immutable counsel
of his own
to the praise of the
glory of his wisdom,
power, justice, goodness , and mercy.
Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of
the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly
, yet , by the same providence, he
ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or
in his ordinary
providence, maketh use of means ,
yet is free to work without, above, and against them ,
at his pleasure.
power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness
so far manifest themselves in his providence, that
it extendeth itself even to the first Fall, and all other sins of angels and men, and that not by a bare permission , but such as hath
joined with it a most
wise and powerful
and otherwise ordering
and governing of them,
in a manifold dispensation ,
to his own
holy ends ;
yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God; who being most holy and righteous, neither is nor
can be the author or approver of sin.
The most wise, righteous, and gracious God,
leave for a season his own
children to manifold temptations and the corruption[s] of their own
to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden
strength of corruption
and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them
to a more close
and constant dependence for their support upon himself ,
and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other
just and holy ends.
As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God
as a righteous judge, for former sin s, doth blind and
harden; from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened
in their understanding s, and wrought upon their
sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had ;
and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption[s] makes
occasion of sin; and withal gives them over to their own
lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan ;
whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even
under those means which God useth for the softening
Our first parents
, being seduced by the
subtlety and temptations of Satan, sinned
in eating the forbidden fruit
. This their sin
was pleased ,
according to his wise
and holy counsel, to permit, having
purposed to order it to his own glory.
2 By this sin they
fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and
so became dead
and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.
They being the root
the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin
and corrupted nature
conveyed to all their posterity ,
descending from them by original
4. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.
5. This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated
and although it be
through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and all the motions
thereof, are truly and properly sin.
. Every sin, both original and actual, being a
transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, doth, in its
own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath
of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to death, with
all other miseries spiritual, temporal,
Of God's Covenant
The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could
fruition of him, as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God's part,
which he hath been pleased to express
by way of covenant.
2 . The first
covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was
promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and
by his fall having
of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly
called the covenant of grace: wherein
he freely offered[eth]
unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ,
requiring of them faith
in him, that they may be saved , and promising to give unto all
those that are ordained unto
Life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing
and able to believe.
This covenant of
grace is frequently set forth in the Scripture by the name of a testament, in
reference to the death of Jesus Christ, the testator, and to the everlasting
inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.
This covenant was
differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel:
under the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices,
circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types
and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ
to come, which were for that time sufficient and efficacious, through the
operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the
promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal
salvation, and is called the Old Testament.
. Under the gospel, when Christ the substance was
exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed, are the
preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and
the Lord's Supper; which, though fewer in number, and administered with more
simplicity and less outward glory, yet in them it is held forth in more
fullness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy, to all nations, both Jews and
Gentiles; and is called the New Testament. There
are not, therefore, two covenants of grace differing in substance, but one and
the same under various dispensations.
Of Christ the Mediator.
It pleased God
, in his eternal
purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus , his
be the Mediator between
and men man, the prophet, priest, and king;
of the Church,
the heir of all
things, and judge of the world; unto whom he did , from all eternity, give a people to be his seed, and to be by him in
time redeemed, called, justified,
sanctified, and glorified.
of God, the second Person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of
and equal with the
Father, the did , when the fullness of time was
nature, with all the essential
properties and common infirmities thereof ;
yet without sin: being conceived by t he
power of the Holy Ghost, in
the womb of the Virgin Mary,
of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and
distinct natures, the
Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition,
or confusion. Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.
Jesus in his human nature thus united to the
divine, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit
above measure; having in him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge
in whom it pleased the Father that
all fullness should dwell: to
the end that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth,
he might be thoroughly furnished to
execute the office of a Mediator
and Surety. Which office he took not unto
himself, but was thereunto called by his Father;
all power and judgment in to
his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.
4. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly
, that he might discharge , he was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it,enduring most grievous torments immediately in his soul, and most painful sufferings
in his body; was crucified and died ; was buried, and remained under
the power of death , yet saw
no corruption. On the third day he arose from
the dead, with the same body in which he suffered; with which also he ascended into heaven , and
there sitteth at the right hand of his Father, making
and shall return to judge men and angels, at the end of the world.
, by his perfect
obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he through the eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied
the justice of
his Father; and purchased not
but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those
whom the Father hath
given unto him.
of redemption was not actually wrought
by Christ till after his incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefit s
thereof were communicated into the elect, in all ages successively
from the beginning of the world,
in and by those promises,
types, and sacrifices wherein he was revealed, and signified to be the seed of the woman, which should bruise the serpent's head ,
and the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world, being yesterday and today the same and for ever.
in the work of mediation, acteth according to
both natures ;
by each nature doing that which is proper
yet by reason of the unity
of the person,
that which is proper to one nature is sometimes ,
in Scripture , attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.
To all those for whom Christ hath
purchased redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same; making
intercession for them, and
revealing unto them, in and by the Word, the mysteries
of salvation; effectually
persuading them by his Spirit to
believe and obey; and governing
their hearts by his Word
and Spirit; overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power
and wisdom ,
in such manner
and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation .
Of Free Will.
God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor by any
of nature determined to good
in his state of innocence, had freedom and power to will and to do that which is
and well-pleasing to God; but yet mutably, so that he might fall from it.
by his fall into a state of sin , hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual
good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether
averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert
or to prepare himself thereunto.
When God converts a sinner and translates him into the state
he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin, and
by his grace alone, enables him freely to will
and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so as that ,
by reason of his remaining
corruption he doth not perfectly , nor only , will that which is good ,
but doth also will that which is evil.
Of Effectual Calling.
All whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only,
he is pleased ,
in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to
by his Word
and Spirit, out of that state of sin
in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ :
enlightening their minds, spiritually and savingly ,
to understand the things of God , taking away their heart of stone,
and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining
them to that which is good ; and effectually drawing them to
Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.
2. This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone,
not from any thing at all foreseen in man,
who is altogether passive therein, until , being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled
to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in ita.
3. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are
regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit
, who worketh when, and where,
and how he pleaseth. So also are all other elect persons who are
being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit,
never truly come to Christ ,
and therefore can , not professing the
be saved in
any other way whatsoever, be they ever so diligent to frame their
lives according to the light of nature, and the law of that religion they do profess ; and to assert and maintain that they may is
without warrant of the Word of God.
1. Those whom God effectuallyEffectually
calleth, he also freely justifieth
: not by infusing Righteousness into them, but by pardoning their
sins, and by accounting and accepting their Persons as Righteous; not for any thing wrought in
them, or done by them, but for Christ’s
sake alone ;
not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical
obedience to them, as their Righteousness;
but by imputing the
Christ unto them , they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is
the gift of God.
thus receiving and resting on Christ
and his righteousness,
is the alone instrument
of justification; yet it
is not alone in the person justified,
but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.
, by his obedience and
death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus
justified, and did make a
proper, real , and full satisfaction of his Father's’ justice in their behalf. Yet inasmuch as he was given by the Father
for them, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead, and both freely, not
for any thing in them, their justification is only of free grace, that both the exact justice
and rich grace of God might
be glorified in the justification of sinners.
from all eternity ,
decree to justify the elect; and Christ did , in the fullness
of time ,
die for their sins and rise again for their justification; nevertheless
they are not justified until the Holy Spirit doth , in due time , actually apply Christ unto them.
God doth continue to forgive
the sins of
that are justified; and although they can never fall from the state of
justification , yet they may by their sins fall under God's Fatherly
and have notthe
light of his countenance
restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg
pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.
those that are justified, God vouchsafeth/ed, in
and for his only Son Jesus Christ, to make
partakers of the grace
of adoption: by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy
and privileges of
the children of God;
have his name put upon them ;
receive the Spirit of
have access to the throne of grace with boldness
are enabled to cry , Abba,
are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by him as by a father; yet never cast off , but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the
promises, as heirs of everlasting salvation.
They who are effectually called and regenerated, having a new
and a new spirit created in them,are
also further sanctified, really
and personally, through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection,
by his Word and
in them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several
lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified
and they more and more quickened and strengthened ,
in all saving graces, to the practice of true
holiness, without which no man shall
see the Lord.
is throughout in the whole man, yet imperfect
in this life
there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war ,
lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.
In which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail yet
, through the continual supply of strength from the
sanctifying Spirit of
Christ , the regenerate part
doth overcome :
and so the saints
grow in grace,
perfecting holiness in the fear of God .
Of Saving Faith.
The grace of faith,
whereby the elect
are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the
their hearts; and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word
by which also, and by the administration
it is increased
By this faith,
a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God himself
speaking therein; and acteth
differently, upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the
threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is
to come .
But the principle
acts of saving faith
receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life,
by virtue of the covenant of grace.
often and many
and weakened , but gets the victory; growing up in many to the attainment of a full
assurance through Christ,
who is both the author
and finisher of our faith.
Of Repentance Unto Life.
I. Repentance unto life is
an evangelical grace , the doctrine whereof is to be preach ed/ing by
every minister of the gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ.
II. By it a sinner, out of the sight and sense, not
only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, as contrary to the holy nature and righteous law of God,
and upon the apprehension of his mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, so
grieves for, and hates his sins , as to turn from
them all unto God, purposing and endeavoring to walk with him in all
the ways of his commandments .
III. Although repentance be not to be rested in as
any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the pardon thereof, which is the act
of God's free grace in Christ; yet is it of such necessity to all sinners, that
none may expect pardon without it.
Repentance is an evangelical Gracehis sinpurpose and endeavour to walk all
IV. As there is ; so
there is no sin so great that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent.
it is every mans duty, to repent of his particular known sins, particularly.
V. Men ought not to content themselves with a
general repentance, but it is every man's duty to endeavor to
repent of his particular sins, particularly.
there is no sin so small, but it deserves damnation; yet there is no sin so great, that it shall bring damnation on them that repentpreach
VI. As every man is
bound to make private confession of his sins to God, praying for the pardon
thereof, upon which, and the forsaking of them, he shall find mercy: so he that
scandalizeth his brother, or the Church of Christ, ought to be willing, by a private or public confession and sorrow for
his sin, to declare his repentance to those that are offended; who are
thereupon to be reconciled to him, and in love to receive him.
Of Good Works.
Good works are
only such as God hath commanded in his holy Word, and not such as
, without the warrant thereof, are devised by
men out of blind zeal, or upon any pretense of good intention.
These good works, done in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits
and evidences of a true and lively faith
and by them believers
manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their
assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries ,
and glorify God , whose workmanship they are, created in Christ
Jesus thereunto, that ,
having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end ,
Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves
but wholly from the Spirit of
Christ. And that
they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there
is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit to work in them to will and to do of his good pleasure; yet are
they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any
unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in
stirring up the grace of God that is in them.
who in their obedience ,
attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so far from
being able to supererogate
and to do more than
God requires, that they fall short of much which
in duty they are
bound to do.
We can not,
by our best works
merit pardon of sin,
or eternal life,
at the hand of God, because
of the great disproportion that is
between them and the glory to come ,
and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom
by them we can neither profit, nor satisfy
for the debt of our former sins; but when we have done all we can, we have done
but our duty, and are unprofitable servants : and because ,
as they are good ,
they proceed from his Spirit ; and as they are wrought by us , they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness
and imperfection that they can
the persons of believers
being accepted through Christ , their good works also are accepted in him ,
not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable
and unreprovable in God's
sight; but that he ,
looking upon them in his Son , is pleased to accept and reward that which is
although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.
Works done by
although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of
good use both to themselves and others; yet , because they proceed not from a heart purified by
faith nor are done in a right manner , according to the Word; nor to a right end , the glory of God; they are therefore sinful and
can , or
make a man meet to receive grace from God. And yet their neglect of them is more sinful ,
and displeasing unto
The Perseverance of the Saints.
1. Those whom
God hath accepted in
effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can
neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but
shall certainly persevere therein to the end , and be eternally saved.
This perseverance of the saints
not upon their own free -will ,
but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God
the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ ; the abiding of the
Spirit and of the
seed of God within them and the nature of the covenant of grace;
from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.
Nevertheless they may ,
through the temptation s
of Satan and of the world, the prevalancy of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect
of the means
of their perseverance,
fall into grievous sins;
and for a time continue therein
whereby they incur God's
displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit come to be deprived of some
measure of their graces and comforts ; have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded ;
hurt and prevalancy others, and bring temporal
judgments upon themselves .
Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation.
and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes
and carnal presumptions of being in the favor of God and estate of salvation
which hope of theirs shall perish yet such as truly believe in the
Lord Jesus, and love him
in sincerity, endeavoring
to walk in all good conscience
before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in a state
and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God :
which hope shall never make them ashamed.
This certainty is not
a bare conjectural
persuasion, grounded upon a fallible hope; but an
infallible assurance of faith
, founded upon divine
truth of promises of
salvation, the inward evidence of those graces unto
promises are made, the
testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are the
children of God; which
Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of
This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith but that a true believer may wait long and
conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it
being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of
God, he may ,
without extraordinary revelation , in the right use of ordinary means ,
attain thereunto. And therefore
it is the duty of everyone
to give all diligence to make his calling and election
sure that thereby his heart may be
enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost/Spirit, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength
and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper
fruits of this assurance:
so far is it from inclining men to looseness.
may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished,
and intermitted; as
by negligence in preserving of it ; by falling into some special sin, which woundeth the conscience, and grieveth the Spirit ; by some sudden or
vehement temptation ;
withdrawing the light of his countenance and suffering
even such as fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light :
yet are they never utterly
destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ
and the brethren, that sincerity of heart and conscience of duty, out of
by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may in due time be revived ,
and by the which ,
in the meantime,
they are supported from utter despair.
Of the Law of God.
God gave to Adam a
as a covenant of works, by which he bound him and all his posterity to personal , entire , exact , and perpetual obedience; promised
life upon the fulfilling, and threatened
death upon the breach of it; and endued him with power and ability to keep it.
This law, after
his Fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was
delivered by God upon mount Sinai in
ten commandments, and written in two tables; the first four commandments containing
our duty toward God,
and the other six our duty to man.
Besides this law,
commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel
, as a Church under age, Ceremonial Laws,
containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship,
prefiguring Christ, his graces,
actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties. All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated under the New
To them also
as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together
with the state of that people, not obliging any other, now, further than
their general equity may require.
5. moral The moral Law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof
that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the
Creator who gave it . Neither
doth Christ in the gospel any way
dissolve, but much strengthen , this obligation.
Although true believers be not under the law as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned; yet it is
of great use to them
as well as to others in that, as a rule of life, informing them of the will of God
and their duty,
it directs and binds them to walk accordingly; discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts, and lives;
so as, examining
themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred
together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ , and
the perfection of his obedience.
It is likewise of use to the regenerate, to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin, and the threatenings
of it serve to show what even their sins deserve
and what afflictions in this life they may expect for them, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in
of it, in like manner,
show them God's approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance
although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works: so as a man's doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourageth
to the one ,
and deterreth from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law, and not under grace.
Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the gospel, but do sweetly comply with it
subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely and cheerfully, which the will of God
revealed in the law,
requireth to be done.
1. The Covenant of Works being broken by Sin, and made unprofitable unto Life; God was pleased to give forth the promise of Christ, the Seed of the Woman, as the means of calling the Elect, and begetting in them Faith and Repentance; in this Promise, the Gospel, as to the substance of it, was revealed, and therein Effectual, for the Conversion and Salvation of Sinners.
2. This Promise of Christ, and Salvation by him, is revealed only by the Word of God; neither do the Works of Creation, or Providence, with the light of Nature, make discovery of Christ, or of Grace by him; so much as in a general, or obscure way; much less that men destitute of the Revelation of him by the Promise, or Gospel; should be enabled thereby, to attain saving Faith, or Repentance.
3. The Revelation of the Gospel unto Sinners, made in divers times, and by sundry parts; with the addition of Promises, and Precepts for the Obedience required therein, as to the Nations, and Persons, to whom it is granted, is merely of the Sovereign Will and good Pleasure of God; not being annexed by virtue of any Promise, to the due improvement of men’s natural abilities, by virtue of Common light received, without it; which none ever did make, or can so do: And therefore in all Ages the preaching of the Gospel hath been granted unto persons and Nations, as to the extent, or straightening of it, in great variety, according to the Council of the Will of God.
4. Although the Gospel be the only outward means, of revealing Christ, and saving Grace; and is, as such, abundantly sufficient thereunto; yet that men who are dead in Trespasses, may be born again, Quickened or Regenerated; there is moreover necessary, an effectual, insuperable work of the Holy Spirit, upon the whole Soul, for the producing in them a new spiritual Life; without which no other means will effect their Conversion unto God.
Liberty which Christ
under the gospel
consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the cursecurse of
law; and in their being delivered from this present
evil world, bondage
to Satan, and dominion
of sin, from the evil of afflictions, the sting of death, the victory of the grave, and
everlasting damnation; as also in their free access to God ,
and their yielding obedience
unto him ,
not out of slavish fear, but a childlike love, and a willing mind.
All which were common also to believers under the law; but under the New Testament the liberty of Christians is further enlarged in their freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law, to which the Jewish Church was subjected; and in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace, and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of.
God alone is Lord of the conscience,
and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any
thing contrary to his Word, or
beside it in matters of faith or worship. So that to believe such doctrines, or to obey
out of conscience,
is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring an
and an absolute
and blind obedience,
is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.
upon pretense of
Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust ,
do thereby destroy the end of Christian
which is, that ,
being delivered out of the hands of our
we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness
before him, all the days of our life.
IV. And because the powers which God hath ordained,
and the liberty which Christ hath purchased, are not intended by God to
destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another; they who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, shall
oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or
ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God. And, for their publishing
of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the
light of nature, or to the known principles of Christianity, whether concerning
faith, worship, or conversation; or, to the power of godliness; or, such
erroneous opinions or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the
manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace
and order which Christ hath established in the Church, they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against by the
censures of the Church, and by the power of the civil magistrate.
Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.
1. The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath
lordship and sovereignty over all; is good,
and doeth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved,
praised, called upon, trusted in, and served with
all the heart, and
with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself , and so limited by his own
revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan,
under any visible representations or
any other way not
prescribed in the holy Scriptures.
worship is to be given to God
and Holy Ghost;
and to him alone: not
to angels, saints, or any other creatures:
and since the Fall,
not without a Mediator ;
nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ
Prayer with thanksgiving, being one special part of
worship, is by God required of all men ; and
that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of his
holy Spirit according
to his will,with understanding,
reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and , if vocal, in a known tongue.
4. Prayer is to be made for things lawful, and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.
5. The reading of the Scriptures
godly fear; the sound preaching, and conscionable hearing
of the Word ,
in obedience unto God with understanding, faith, and reverence;
Psalms singing with grace in the heart ;
as, also, the due administration and worthy receiving
of the sacraments
instituted by Christ; are all parts of the ordinary religious
worship of God : besides religious oaths, and
vows , solemn fastings,
and thanksgivings upon special occasion ; which are, in their
several times and seasons, .
nor any other part of religious
worship, is now
under the gospel, either
tied unto, or made more acceptable to,
any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed but God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth; as in private families daily, and in
secret each one by himself, so more solemnly
in the public assemblies,
which are not carelessly , by his Word or providence , calleth thereunto.
As it is of the law of
, in general , a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so , in his
Word , by a
positive , moral,
and perpetual commandment,
binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly
appointed one day in seven for a Sabbath , to be kept holy
unto him which , from the beginning of the world to the resurrection
of Christ, was the last day of the week; and , from the resurrection
of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week ,
Scripture is called the Lord's Day, and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath.
8. The Sabbath is
to be kept
holy unto the Lord when men , after a due preparing of their hearts, and
ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the
their own works, words, and thoughts about
their worldly employment s and recreations ; but
also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his
worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.
Of Lawful Oaths and Vows.
A lawful oath
is a part of religious worship, wherein
upon just occasion, the
person swearing solemnly calleth God to witness what he asserteth or promiseth ;
and to judge him according to the truth or falsehood of what he sweareth.
of God only is that by which men ought to swear
and therein it is to be used with all holy fear and reverence
therefore to swear vainly or rashly by that
and dreadful name
or to swear
at all by any
other thing, is sinful
and to be abhorred.
Yet, as , in matter s of weight and moment, an oath is
warranted by the Word of God , under the New Testament, as well as under the
Old, so a lawful
oath, being imposed
by lawful authority,
in such matters ought to be taken.
Whosoever taketh an oath
duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act and therein to avouch nothing but what he
is fully persuaded is
the truth . Neither may any man
bind himself by oath to any thing but what is
good and just, and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and resolved
to perform. Yet it is a sin to refuse an
oath touching any thing that is good and just,
being imposed by
An oath is to be taken in
the plain and common sense of the words
without equivocation or mental reservation. It can not oblige to
sin; but in any thing not sinful, being taken, it binds to performance,
although to a man's own hurt: nor is it to be violated, although made to
heretics or infidels.
A vow is of the like
nature with a promissory oath, and ought to be made with the like religious
care, and to be performed with the like faithfulness. It A is not to
be made to any creature,
but to God alone :
and that it may be accepted, it is to be made voluntarily, out of faith and
conscience of duty, in way of thankfulness for mercy received, or for obtaining
of what we want; whereby we more strictly bind ourselves to necessary duties,
or to other things, so far and so long as they may fitly conduce thereunto. VII. No man may vow to do any thing forbidden in
the Word of God, or what would hinder any duty therein commanded, or which is
not in his own power, and for the performance of which he hath no promise or
ability from God. In which respects, monastical
perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular obedience, are so far
from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious
and sinful snares, in which no Christian may
Of the Civil Magistrate.
Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be under him
over the people ,
for his own glory and the public good; and to this
hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defense
and encouragement of them that are good,
and for the punishment of evil -doers.
It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate when called thereunto; in the managing whereof, as they
ought especially to maintain
according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth, so , for that end , they may lawfully , now under the New Testament ,
wage war upon just and necessary occasions.
III. The civil magistrate may not assume to himself
the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the
kingdom of heaven: yet he hath authority, and it
is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church,
that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and
heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and
discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled,
administered, and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at
them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the
mind of God. IV. It is the duty of the
people to prayfor Magistrates
, to honor their
persons, to pay them tribute and other dues, to obey and to be subjection to their authority,
commanded/ s, for conscience' sake . Infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not
make void the magistrate's just and legal authority, nor free the people from
their obedience to him: from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted;
much less hath the Pope any power or
jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people;
and least of all to deprive them of their dominions or lives, if he shall judge
them to be heretics, or upon any other pretense whatsoever.
1. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband at the same time.
Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife; for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and
of the Church with an
holy seed ;
and for preventing of uncleanness.
3. It is lawful for all sorts
of people to marry who are able with judgment to give their consent. Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry
only in the Lord. And, therefore , such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, Papists , or
other idolaters : neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in
their life, or maintain damnable heresie s.
ought not to be
within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden in the Word; nor can such incestuous marriage
s ever be made lawful
by any law of man, or consent of
parties, so as those persons may live together , as man and
man may not marry any of his wife's kindred nearer in blood than he may of his
own, nor the woman of her husband's kindred nearer in blood than of her own.
V. Adultery or fornication, committed after a
contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just occasion to the innocent
party to dissolve that contract. In the case of
adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a
divorce, and after the divorce to marry another, as if the offending party were
dead. VI. Although the corruption of man be such as is
apt to study arguments, unduly to put asunder those whom God hath joined
together in marriage; yet nothing but adultery, or such willful desertion as
can no way be remedied by the Church or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient
of dissolving the bond of marriage; wherein a public and orderly course of
proceeding is to be observed; and the persons concerned in it, not left to
their own wills and discretion in their own case.
Of the Church.
or universal Church, which
consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into
one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness
of Him that
filleth all in all.
. The visible Church, which is also catholic or
universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the
law), consists of all those throughout the world that professing the true religion ; and of
their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus
Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary
possibility of salvation. III. Unto this catholic and visible Church, Christ
hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and
perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world; and doth by
his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual
thereunto. IV. This catholic Church
hath been sometimes more, sometimes less, visible. And particular Churches,
which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the
doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and
public worship performed more or less purely in them. V. The
purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and
error and some have so degenerated as to become apparently no Churches of nevertheless, there shall be always Christ a Church on earth, to
worship God according to his will.
VI. re is no other head
of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ :
Of the Communion of
1. All saints that are united to Jesus Christ their head, by his Spirit and
by faith, have fellowship with him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory and , being united to one another
in love, they have communion in each other's gifts and graces , and are obliged to the performance of such duties,
public and private, as to conduce to their mutual good,
both in the inward and outward man.
are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship
of God, and in performing such other spiritual services
as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward
according to their several abilities
and necessities. Which communion , as God offereth opportunity ,
is to be extended unall those who ,
in every place ,
call upon the name of the Lord Jesus . III. This communion
which the saints have with Christ, doth not make them in any wise partakers of
the substance of the Godhead, or to be equal with Christ in any respect: either
of which to affirm, is impious and blasphemous. Nor doth their communion one with another as saints, take away or infringe the title or property which each man hath in his goods and possessions.
holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace, immediately institut ed/ by God , to represent Christ
and his benefits, and to confirm our interest in him: as also to put a visible
difference between those that belong unto the Church , and the rest of
the world ; and solemnly to engage them to the service of God
in Christ, according to his Word. II. There is in every sacrament a spiritual
relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified;
whence it comes to pass that the names and effects of the one are attributed to
the other. III. The grace which is exhibited in or by the
sacraments, rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither doth
the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that doth
administer it, but upon the work of the Spirit, and the word of institution,
which contains, together with a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise
of benefit to worthy receivers. IV./ There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ
our Lord in the gospels, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper : neither or which
may be dispensed by any but a minister of
the Word, lawfully ordained
1. Baptism is
of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the
visible Church, but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the
covenant of grace, of his ingraft ing/ into Christ/ , of regeneration,of remission of sins and of
his giving up unto God , through Jesus Christ , to walk in
life: which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment,
to be continued in his Church until the end of the world.
II./ The outward element to be used in
the sacrament is
water, where- with/ the party is to be baptized in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost , by a minister of
the gospel, lawfully called thereunto. III./ to
the water is not necessary ; but baptism is
rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person.
IV./ Not only those that do actually
profess Christ, but also the
infants of one or both believing parents are to be baptized.
V. Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect
this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not
so inseparably annexed unto it as that no person can be regenerated or saved
without it, or that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated. VI. The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that
moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right
use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really
exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto,
according to the counsel of God's own will, in his appointed time.
Of the Lord's Supper.
Our Lord Jesus, in the night wherein he was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of his body and blood,
called the Lord's Supper, to be observed in his Church unto the end of the world for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of himself in his
death , the sealing all benefits thereof unto true believers,
their spiritual nourishment and growth in him, their further engagement in and to all duties which they owe unto
him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each
as members of his mystical body.
sacrament Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real
sacrifice made at all for remission of sin s of
the quick or dead, but a commemoration/
of that one offering up of
himself, by himself, upon the cross, once for all and a spiritual oblation of all
possible praise unto God for the same; so that the Popish sacrifice of the Mass
(as they call it ,
is most abominable,
injurious to Christ's one
only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect.
The Lord Jesus hath
in this ordinance,
appointed his ministers
to declare his word of
institution to the people, to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine,
and thereby to set them apart from a common to an holy use
and to take and break the bread,
to take the cup,
and (they communicating also themselves) to give both to the communicants; but to none who are not then present in the congregation.
Private masses, or
receiving this sacrament by a priest, or any other, alone; as likewise the
denial of the cup to the people; worshipping
the lifting them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and the reserving
them for any pretended religious use, are all contrary to the
nature of this sacrament, and to the institution of Christ.
The outward elements
sacrament, duly set apart to the uses ordained by Christ, have
such relation to him crucified, as that truly, yet sacramentally only, they are sometimes called by the name of the things they represent, to wit ,
the body and blood
of Christ; albeit ,
in substance and nature, they still remain
truly, and only, bread
and wine, as they were before.
That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ's body and blood (commonly called transubstantiation)
by consecration of a priest,
or by any other way, is repugnant
, not to Scripture alone, but even to common -sense
and reason; overthroweth the nature of the sacrament; and hath been , and is , the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross
Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this
sacrament, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed,
yet not carnally
and corporally, but
receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all benefits of his death: the body and blood of Christ
being then not corporally or carnally in, with,
or under the bread and wine; yet as really,
but spiritually ,
present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.
Although ignorant and wicked men receive the
outward elements in this sacrament, yet they receive not the thing signified
thereby; but by their shall unworth y/ coming thereunto are guilty of the
body and blood of the Lord themselves , to their own damnation. Wherefore all
ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to
enjoy communion with him, so are they unworthy of the Lord's table, and can not, without great sin
while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted
I. The Lord Jesus, as king and head of his Church,
hath therein appointed a government in the hand
of Church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate. II. To these officers the keys of the Kingdom of
Heaven are committed, by virtue whereof they have power respectively to retain and remit sins, to shut that kingdom
against the impenitent, both by the word and censures; and to open it unto
penitent sinners, by the ministry of the gospel, and by absolution from
censures, as occasionshall require. III. Church censures are necessary for the reclaiming
and gaining of offending brethren; for deterring of others from like offenses;
for purging out of that leaven which might infect the whole lump; for
vindicating the honor of Christ, and the holy profession of the gospel; and for
preventing the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the Church, if they
should suffer his covenant, and the seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious
and obstinate offenders. IV. For the better attaining of these ends, the officers of the Church are to proceed by admonition,
suspension from the sacrament of the Lord's Supper for a season, and by
excommunication from the Church, according to the nature of the crime,
and demerit of the person.
I. For the better government and further
edification of the Church, there ought to be
such assemblies as are commonly called synods or councils. II. As magistrates
may lawfully call a synod of ministers and other fit persons to consult and
advise with about matters of religion; so, if magistrates be open enemies of
the Church, the ministers of Christ, of themselves , by virtue of their
office, or they, with other fit persons, upon delegation from their churches,
may meet together in such assemblies.
III. It belongeth to synods and councils,
ministerially, to determine controversies of
faith, and cases of conscience; to set down rules and directions for the better
ordering of the public worship of God, and government of his Church; to receive
complaints in cases of maladministration, and authoritatively to determine the
same: which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the Word of God, are to
be received with reverence and submission, not only for their agreement
with the Word, but also for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance
of God, appointed thereunto in his Word. IV. All synods or councils since the apostles'
times, whether general or particular, may err, and many have erred; therefore
they are not to be made the rule of faith or practice, but to be used as a help
in both. V. Synods and councils are to handle or conclude
nothing but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil
affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in
cases extraordinary; or by way of advice for satisfaction of conscience, if
they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.
Of the State of Man After Death
,and of the Resurrection of the Dead.
return to dust, and see corruption; but their souls (which neither die nor sleep)
having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous,
being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens,
where they behold the face of God in light and glory ,
waiting for the full redemption
of their bodies;
and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell ,
where they remain in torment s and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of
the great day. Besides
these two places for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture
2. At the last day, such as are
found alive shall not
die but be
changed : and all the dead shall be raised up with the self -same bodies, and none other ,
although with different qualities, which shall be united again to their souls forever.
Of the Last Judgment.
God hath appointed a day,
wherein he will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ
, to whom all power and judgment is
given of the Father. In
which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged;
but likewise all persons ,
that have lived upon the earth, shall appear before the tribunal of Christ , to
give an account of their thoughts,
words, and deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in
the body, whether good or evil.
The end of God's
appointing this day,
is for the manifestation of the glory of his mercy in the eternal salvation
of the elect;
and of his justice
in the damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked
and disobedient. For then
shall the righteous
go into everlasting
life, and receive that fullness
shall come from
the presence of the Lord: but the wicked , who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments,
and punished with everlasting destruction
from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded
that there shall be a day
of judgment, both to deter all men from sin, and for the
greater consolation of the godly in their adversity
will he have that day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and
be always watchful, because they know not at what hour
the Lord will come; and may ever be prepared
to say, Come , Lord Jesus, come quickly . Amen.
o The LBC is clearly a revision of the WCF. Therefore omissions are just as significant as additions.
o The Baptists didn’t like the word “sacrament” and substituted “ordinance.” This appears to be due to a memorial emphasis.
o The Baptists did not want any church council to able to act authoritatively over churches.
o They also seem nervous about the exercise of authority in the local church as well, shying away from delineating censures, and shying away from emphasis on obeying.
o There is also a clear movement away from the continuing authority of the law-word of God in the LBC, removing references to obeying the Bible or substituting law with the word “rigor”.
o Another omission in the LBC is the necessity of both private and public confession of sin and reconciliation with other people when we offend.
o The Baptism issue, is of course a difference, with the LBC only admitting immersion of confessing believers, and apparently allowing multiple baptisms, whereas the WCF allows multiple modes for believers and their children and but only one baptism. Predictably, the LBC adds language about baptism as burial and resurrection and removes the language of the “seal” of the Spirit’s work.
o The LBC seems to take a harder stance on church membership, not admitting as much possibility of “tares” within the church, and not including children as part of the church, (although, surprisingly, it shares a common expectation with the WCF that the children of the elect will be saved if they die in infancy). This also shows up in the marriage section, omitting the listing in the WCF that marriage is for the increase of the church with holy seed.
o The LBC was apparently uncomfortable with the WCF’s wording of God’s sovereignty over evil and reworded the section.
o Baptists were also uncomfortable with double-predestination, rewording the punishment of the wicked such that it would not be attributed to God’s predestination but rather man’s choice to sin.
o The LBC appears to have carefully removed alls references in the WCF to a covenant of works, but then curiously, added their own chapter delineating a similar doctrine of a covenant of works after all.
o The LBC appears to be a little more evangelical, mentioning Christ and his saving work more explicitly. It also honors God the Father with more doxological language.
o Why did the LBC drop “of nothing” out of the section on creation?
o In the Lord’s Supper, the LBC omits the WCF language that repudiates the Lutheran position, also omitting the prohibition against private communion.
o The congregational mode of government is mandated in the LBC of elders only being ordained by congregations.
o The LBC also appears to be skittish about drawing parallels between the Old Testament and the New, whereas the WCF freely draws parallels.
o There are places where the LBC’s language is clearer and perhaps les apt to be misunderstood than the WCF.
o The LBC introduces the phrase “temporary believers” (as a substitute for the WCF hypocrites) as though there were a class of people who truly believe but only temporarily. This seems to be self-contradictory with the LBC’s agreement with the WCF on the perseverance of the saints.
o The LBC seems to advocate the necessity of a time of living in sin before being “converted at riper years.”
o The LBC also denies the power of the civil magistrate to support the church, a doctrine which is taught in the WCF.
o The LBC allows for the speaking of tongues out loud, which is denied in the WCF.
o Also unlike the WCF, The LBC avoids the use of vows in the case of promising to do something. Both appear to see a vow as appropriate if it is merely affirming the truth of a statement.
o The LBC does not allow for divorce or remarriage, like the WCF does.