Table of Contents
- I-II. Of God and the Holy Trinity
- III. Of the Decrees of God
- IV. Of Creation
- V. God’s Providence
- VI. Of the Holy Scriptures
- VII. Of Original Sin
- VIII. Of Man’s Free-Will
- IX. Of Christ the Mediator
- X. Of the Offices of Christ.
- XI. Of Christ’s Humiliation and Exaltation
- XII. Of effectual Calling
- XIII. Of Justification
- XIV. Of Adoption
- XV. Of Sanctification
- XVI. Of the Souls of Men at Death
- XVII-XVIII. Of the Law
- XIX. Of Faith and Repentance
- XX. Of the Means of Grace
- XXI. Of Baptism
- XXII. Of a true Church
- XXIII. Of Laying on of Hands
- XXIV. Of the Lord’s Supper
- XXV. Of Church-Officers
- XXVI. Of Prayer
- XXVII. Of singing of Psalms, etc.
- XXVIII. Of the Christian Sabbath
- XXIX. Of Ministers, and their Maintenance
- XXX. Of the First Covenant
- XXXI. Of the New and Second Covenant
- XXXII. Of Election
- XXXIII. Of final Perseverance
- XXXIV. Of the Resurrection
- XXXV. Of Eternal Judgment
- XXXVI. Of Marriages
- XXXVII. Of Civil Magistrates
- XXXVIII. Of lawful Oaths
- XXXIX. Of Personal Propriety
Most Dear and Beloved in Christ:
I Hope I can say (with the holy Apostle) that you are by me dearly beloved, my Joy, and my Crown; yea you are my Honour, and in you I would rejoice, being the Ornament of my poor Ministry, by which the most of you have (through the Blessing of God) been converted to Jesus Christ: and if you stand fast in the Faith in one Spirit, striving together for the Faith of the Gospel, and do adorn your Profession, living in Love, and endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of Peace, you will cause my latter days to be most sweet and comfortable to me, after all those Troubles, Sorrows, and Reproaches I have met with, both from within and from without. Evident it is God hath most eminently appeared to strengthen your hands: though the Archers have sorely grieved you, and shot at you, yet your Bow abideth in strength; and that the Arms of your Hands may still abide strong by the Arm of the mighty God of Jacob, shall be my continual Prayers.
My Brethren, I here present you with that which you have so long waited for, and desired me to endeavour to do, viz. to state an account of the most concerning Articles of your Faith, which you have heard read, and have approved of, and which I thought good no longer to delay the doing of. (1.) Not knowing how soon I may put off this Tabernacle, and therefore would leave behind me an account of that holy Doctrine and Order, in which through Grace you are established (for at your desire also I have drawn up the whole Rules of your holy Discipline, which you may have added unto this, and bound up together). (2.) And the rather I have done this, because the General and more Large Confession of the Faith of our Churches, is now out of Print; but that is not all, for that being 12 d. price, some cannot well purchase it. (3.) And also that all Men may see what our Faith is, and that we differ not from our Brethren who bear other Names in any Fundamental Point or Article of Faith; and that they may discern the difference between you and some that bear the same Name with you. (4.) Though you agree in the general with all other Churches of the same Faith, in all those Articles there inserted, yet therein your whole Faith is not comprehended, viz. that of Imposition of Hands upon baptized Believers as such, and singing of God’s Praise, etc., because some of our Churches dissent from us therein: yet my desire is you would nevertheless shew all Tenderness, Charity and Moderation to such as differ from you in those Cases, and not refuse Communion with them; and indeed your late sweet Temper appears to be such, that I need not press you to this. All that I shall say more, is to entreat you to labour after Holiness, and to awake out of sleep, that you may adorn your sacred Profession, and prepare to meet the Lord; that as you have a good Doctrine, you may also have a holy and good Conversation; and then we need not fear who can harm us, whilst we are followers of that which is good. O let us bear one with another, and if in any thing we differ, let us avoid all Animosities. Brethren, great things are near, watch and pray, look out and be ready. But at present I shall conclude with the words of the Apostle, “Finally, Brethren, farewel; be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one Mind, live in peace, and the God of Love and Peace shall be with you.
So prays your unworthy Brother, Pastor, Overseer, and Servant, who earnestly desires your Pray∣ers, also,
From my House in Freemans-lane by Horsley-down, Southwark. Aug. 16. 1697.
Of God, and of the Holy Trinity
I. WE do believe, declare and testify, that there is but One Only Living and True God, who is a Spirit Infinite, Eternal, Immense and Unchangeable in his Being, Wisdom, Power, Holiness, Justice, Good∣ness, Truth and Faithfulness.
II. That there are three Persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit; and that these three are One God, the same in Essence, equal in Power and Glory.
Of the Decrees of God
III. That the Decrees of God are his Eternal Purpose according to the Counsel of his Will, whereby for his own Glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, even those Evils that his Wisdom and Justice permits for the manifestation of the Glory of those his Attributes: And that God executes his Decrees in the Works of Creation and Providence.
IV. That the Works of Creation are God’s creating all things of nothing by his Word of Power, in six days, and all very good. That God created Man Male and Female, after his own Image, in Knowledge, Righteousness, and Holiness, with Power and Dominion over the Creatures.
Of God’s Providence
V. We believe that God’s Works of Providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving, and governing all his Creatures, and their Actions.
Of the holy Scriptures
VI. We believe the holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God, and are the only Rule of Faith, and Practice; all things being contained therein that are necessary for us to know concerning God, and our Duty unto him, and also unto all Men. That all Persons ought to read, hear, and understand the holy Scriptures. That the Light of Nature, and Works of Providence, though they declare plainly there is a God, yet not so effectually as the holy Scriptures; nor can we know without them how, and in what space of time God created all things. Neither came we any other ways but by the holy Scriptures to the Knowledge of Christ the blessed Mediator; which indeed none can savingly know but by the Word and Spirit of God.
Of Original Sin
VII. We do believe, that God having created Man, he entered into a Covenant of Life with him, upon the condition of perfect Obedience; making the first Adam a common Head to all his Seed: and that our first Parents being left to the freedom of their own Will, fell from the Estate wherein they were created, by eating of the forbidden Fruit: and that Adam being set up as a publick Person, we all sinned in him, and fell with him into a state of Sin, of Wrath and Misery; the Sinfulness of which state consists in the guilt of Adam’s first Sin, the want of Original Righteousness, and the Corruption of our whole Nature: from whence all actual Sins proceed, as Water out of a filthy and an unclean Fountain. So that not only by Imputation all Men became Sinners in the first Adam, but also as the same corrupt Nature is conveyed to all his Posterity, who descend from him in ordinary Generation.
By this Sin all Mankind lost the Image of God, and Communion with him, being liable to all the Miseries of this Life, and to Death itself; and also are dead in Sins and Trespasses, and obnoxious to the Wrath of God, and the eternal Pains of Hell for ever. Hence we say that all are conceived and born in Sin, and are the Children of Wrath, even the Elect as well as others, being wholly defiled in all the Faculties and Parts of Soul and Body, and utterly indisposed and disabled to do any thing that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined with a strong propensity to all things that are evil.
Of Man’s Free-will
VIII. We believe Man in his state of Innocency had freedom of Will to do good; but by the Fall he hath utterly lost all that Power and Ability, being wofully depraved in all the Faculties of his Soul; there being in the Will and Mind of all naturally much Enmity against God, and a total aversion to him, and to eve∣ry thing that is spiritually good; loving Darkness, and rebelling a∣gainst the Light.
But when a Man is renewed by Divine Grace, tho there is no force put upon the Will, yet it is made willing, and acts freely, in the day of God’s Power: tho the Work is not perfect in any Faculty in the Regenerate, nor will be in this Life.
Of Christ the Mediator
IX. We believe that God ha∣ving, out of his own meer good Pleasure, and infinite Love, elected some Persons of the lost Seed of the first Adam unto everlasting Life, from all Eternity, did enter into a Cove∣nant of Grace with the second Per∣son of the Trinity, (who was set up as the common Head of all the Elect) to deliver them out of the state of Sin and Misery, and to bring them into a state of Salva∣tion and eternal Happiness.
That the second Person in the Godhead, (being the eternal Son of God, Coessential, and Coequal with the Father) according to that holy Covenant and Compact that was between them both, became Man, or assumed our Nature, and so was, and continueth to be God and Man in two distinct Natures, in one Person for ever. And that he the Son of God by his becoming Man, did take unto him a True Body, and Reasonable Soul, being conceived by the holy Spirit in the Womb of the Virgin, and was born of her, yet without Sin.
Of the Offices of Christ
X. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Redeemer, and the one blessed Mediator between God and Man, executeth a threefold Office, both the Office of a Priest, the Office of a King, and the Office of a Prophet.
First, That he executeth the Office of a Priest, In his once offering up himself a Sacrifice, to satisfy Divine Justice, and to reconcile God to us, and us to God. And in making conti∣nual Intercession for us, that the Merits of his Blood may be made effectual unto us.
Secondly, That he executeth the Office of a King in subduing us unto himself, and in giving us Laws and holy Precepts, by which we ought to walk; and also in his restraining and conquering all his, and our Enemies.
Thirdly, that he executeth the Office of a Prophet, in revealing to us by his Word and Spirit, the whole Will of God concerning all things that appertain to Faith and Practice.
Of Christ’s Humiliation and Exaltation
XI. We believe that Christ’s Humiliation consisted in that great Condescension of his in assuming our Nature, and being born in a low condition, made un∣der the Law, undergoing the ma∣ny Miseries of this Life, the Wrath of God, the Curse of the Law, and the ignominious Death of the Cross, continuing under Death for a time.
And that his Exaltation consisteth in his rising again from the dead the third day, and in his ascending up into Heaven, in sitting at the Right-hand of God; Angels, Powers, and Principalities being made subject unto him; and in his being made Judge of the quick and dead.
Of effectual Calling
XII. WE do believe that we are made Partakers of the Redemption purchased by Christ,by the effectual Application of his Merits, etc., unto us by the Holy Spirit, thereby uni∣ting us to Christ in effectual Cal∣ling: And that effectual Calling is the Work of God’s Free Grace, who by his Spirit works Faith in us, who are altogether passive and convincing us of Sin and Misery, enlightening our Minds in the Knowledge of Christ, and renewing our Wills, and changing our whole Hearts, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ freely, as he is offered in the Gospel.
XIII. W do believe Justification is a free Act of God’s Grace, through that Redemption which is in Christ, (who, as our Head, was acquitted, justified, and discharged, and we in him, when he rose from the Dead) and when applied to us, we in our own Persons are actually justified, in being made and pronounced righteous, through the Righteousness of Christ imputed to us; and all our Sins, past, present, and to come, for ever pardoned; which is received by Faith alone. And that our Sanctification, nor Faith itself, is any part of our Justification before God; it not being either the Habit, or Act of Believing, or any Act of Evangelical Obedience imputed to us, but Christ, and his active and passive Obedience only, apprehended by Faith: and that Faith in no sense tends to make Christ’s Merits more satisfactory unto God; but that he was as fully reconciled and satisfied for his Elect in Christ by his Death before Faith as after; otherwise it would render God only reconcilable, (not reconciled) and make Faith part of the Payment or Satisfaction unto God, and so lessen the Merits of Christ, as if they were defective or insufficient. Yet we say, it is by Faith that we receive the Atonement, or by which means (as an Instrument) we come to apprehend and receive him, and to have personal Interest in him, and to have our free Justification evidenced to our own Consciences.
XIV. We believe Adoption is an Act of God’s Free Grace, whereby such who were the Children of Wrath by Nature, are received into the Number, and have Right to all the Privileges of the Sons of God; and that such who are adopted, are also by the Spirit regenerated, and hence said to be born of God.
XV. That Sanctification is the Work of God’s Free Grace also, whereby we are renewed in the whole Man after the Image of God, and are in-abled more and more to die unto Sin, and live unto Righteousness. And that the Benefits we receive, and which flow from or accompany Justification, are Adoption, Sanctification, Peace of Conscience, Manifestations of God’s Love, Joy in the Holy Ghost, an Increase of Grace, an Assurance of eternal Life, and final Perseverance unto the end.
Of the Souls of Men at Death
XVI. We believe, that at Death the Souls of Believers are made perfect in Holiness, and do immediately pass into Glory; and their Bodies dying in Union with Christ, or dying in the Lord, do rest in their Graves till the Resurrection, when they shall be raised up in Glory. And that their Souls being reunited to their Bodies, they shall be openly acknowledged, and acquitted, and made completly blessed, both in Soul and Body, and shall have the full enjoyment of God to all Eternity. And that the Souls of the Wicked at their Death are cast into Hell, or are in Torment: and that their Bodies lie in the Grave under Wrath, and shall by virtue of the Power of Christ be raised from the Dead; and their Souls being re-united to their Bodies, shall be judged and condemned, and cast into a Furnace of Fire, or into unspeakable Torment, with the Devil and his Angels, for ever and ever.
Of the Law
XVII. We believe God re∣quires Obedience of Man, and that the Rule of that Obedience is the moral Law as it is in the Hands of Christ; which teacheth all Persons their Duty to God, and to Man; the Sum of all being this, to love the Lord our God with all our Hearts, with all our Souls, and with all our Strength, and our Neighbours as our selves. And that tho the Law is abolished as a Covenant of Works, and as so considered, we are dead to it, and that dead to us; yet it remains as a Rule of Life and Righteousness for ever.
XVIII. We believe no mere Man, since the Fall, is able in this Life perfectly to keep the Holy Law of God; and that every Offence against the Law deserves eternal Death, though some Sins are more heinous in God’s Sight than others.
And that God, as a simple Act of Mercy, will not, doth not, pardon any Man; neither doth it seem consistent with his Holiness and Justice so to do, without a full Satisfaction: wherefore he substituted Christ in our room and stead, perfectly to keep the whole Law, and to die, or bear that Wrath which we deserved for our breaking of it; he being pleased in his infinite Love and Grace to transfer our Sins, Guilt and Punishment, upon his own Son, (who took our Nature upon him, as our blessed Head and Representative) that his active Obedience and Righteousness might be our just Title unto eternal Life; and his Death (who bore our Hell-Torments) be our full Discharge from the Wrath of God, and eternal Condemnation.
And that all who would receive this Title, and have this Discharge so as to escape God’s Wrath, and the Curse of the Law, must fly to Christ, and lay hold on him by Faith; which Faith is known by its Fruits, having lively, Sin-killing, Soul-humbling, Self-abasing, Christ-exalting, and Heart-purifying Operations, always attending it.
Of Faith and Repentance
XIX. We believe that Faith is a saving Grace, or the most precious Gift of God; and that it is an Instrument whereby we receive, take hold of, and wholly rest upon Jesus Christ, as offered to us in the Gospel. That Repentance unto Life is also a saving Grace, whereby a Sinner, out of a true Sense of Sin, and Apprehension of God’s Mercy in Christ, doth with Grief and Hatred of his Sins, turn from them. And that tho Repentance is in order of Nature called the first Principle of the Doctrine of Christ, yet we believe no Man can savingly repent, unless he believes in Jesus Christ, and apprehends the Free Pardon and Forgiveness of all his Sins through the Blood of the everlasting Covenant, and the Sight and Sense of God’s Love in a bleeding Saviour; being that only thing that melts and breaks the stony Heart of a poor Sinner, as the Sight of a free Pardon from a Prince humbles the stout Heart of a rebellious Malefactor.
Of the Means of Grace
XX. We believe that the outward and more ordinary means, whereby Christ communicates to us the Benefits of Redemption, are his Holy Ordinances, as Prayer, the Word of God, and Preaching, with Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, etc.. and yet notwithstanding it is the Spirit of God that maketh Prayer, Reading, etc.. and specially the Preaching of the Word, effectual to the convincing, converting, building up, and comforting, through Faith, all the Elect of God unto Salvation.
And that it is the Duty of all, that the Word may become effectual to their Salvation, to attend upon it with all Diligence, Preparation, and Prayer, that they may receive it with Faith and Love, and lay it up in their Hearts, and practise it in their Lives.
XXI. We believe that Baptism is a Holy Ordinance of Christ, or a pure Gospel-Institution; and to be unto the Party baptized, a sign of his Fellowship with Christ in his Death, Burial, and Resurrection, and of his being grafted into him, and of Remission of Sins, and of his giving himself up to God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in Newness of Life.
We also believe that Baptism ought not to be administred to any but to those who actually profess Repentance towards God, and Faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.
That the Infants of Believers ought not to be baptized, because there is neither Precept, or Example, or any certain Consequence in the Holy Scripture for any such Practice: And we ought not to be wise above what is written. And that a human Tradition or Custom ought not to be regarded, but that it is sinful, and abominable.
We believe also that Baptism is only rightly administred by Immersion, or dipping the whole Body in Water,into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; according to Christ’s Institution, and the Practice of the Apostles; and not by sprinkling, or pouring of Water, or dipping some part of the Body in Water, after the Tradition of Men.
And that it is the indispensible Duty of such who are baptized, to give up themselves to some particular orderly Church of Jesus Christ, and to walk in all the Commandments and Ordinances of the Lord blameless: Baptism being an initiating Ordinance.
Of a true Church
XXII. We believe a true Church of Christ is not National, nor Parochial, but doth consist of a number of godly Persons, who upon the Profession of their Faith and Repentance have been baptized, and in a solemn manner have in a Holy Covenant given themselves up to the Lord, and to one another, to live in Love, and to endeavour to keep the Vnity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace: Among whom the Word of God is duly and truly preached; and Holy Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and all other Ordinances are duly administred, according to the Word of God, and the Institution of Christ in the Primitive Church: watching over one another, and communicating to each others Necessities, as becometh Saints; living Holy Lives, as becomes their sacred Profession; and not to forsake the assembling themselves,as the manner of some is; or to take leave to hear where they please in other Places when the Church is assembled, but to worship God, and feed in that Pasture, or with that Church, with whom they have covenanted, and given up themselves as particular Members thereof.
Of Laying on of Hands
XXIII. We believe that laying on of Hands (with Prayer) upon baptized Believers, as such, is an Ordinance of Christ, and ought to be submitted unto by all such Persons that are admitted to partake of the Lord’s Supper; and that the end of this Ordinance is not for the extraordinary Gifts of the Spirit, but for a farther Reception of the Holy Spirit of Promise, or for the Addition of the Graces of the Spirit, and the Influences thereof; to confirm, strengthen, and comfort them in Christ Jesus; it being ratified and established by the extraordinary Gifts of the Spirit in the Primitive Times, to abide in the Church, as meeting together on the first Day of the Week was, Act. 2.1. that being the Day of Worship, or Christian Sabbath, under the Gospel; and as Preaching the Word was, Acts 10.44. and as Baptism was, Mat. 3.16. and Prayer was, Acts 4.31. and singing Psalms, etc.. was, Acts 16.25, 26. so this of laying on of Hands was, Acts 8. & ch. 19. For as the whole Gospel was confirmed by Signs and Wonders, and divers Miracles and Gifts of the Holy Ghost in general, so was every Ordinance in like manner confirmed in particular.
Of the Lord’s Supper
XXIV. We believe that the Holy Ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, which he instituted the Night before he was betrayed, ought to be observed to the end of the World; and that it consisteth only in breaking of Bread, and drinking of Wine, in remembrance of Christ’s Death; it being appointed for our spiritual Nourishment, and Growth in Grace, and as a farther Engagement in, and to all Duties we owe to Jesus Christ, and as a Pledge of his eternal Love to us, and as a Token of our Communion with him, and one with another. And that due Preparation and Examination is required of all that ought to partake thereof; and that it cannot be neglected by any approved and orderly Member without Sin.
XXV. We do believe that every particular Church of Christ is Independent; and that no one Church hath any Priority or Super-intendency above or over another: and that every Church ought to be Organical: that an Elder, or Elders, a Deacon, or Deacons, ought to be elected in every Congregation, according to those holy Qualifications laid down in the Word of God: and that the said Elders and Deacons so chosen, ought solemnly to be ordained with Prayer, and laying on of Hands of the Eldership. That such Churches as have not Officers so ordained, are disorderly, there being something still wanting.
XXVI. We believe Prayer is a holy Ordinance of God, and that it ought to be performed by the Help and Assistance of the Holy Spirit; and that not only the Prayer Christ taught his Disciples, but the whole Word of God is to be our Rule how to pray, and pour forth our Souls unto God: and that it is the indispensible Duty of all godly Families (and others also) as well as private Christians, daily to pray for all things they need, and to give Thanks every Day for all good things they receive: and that the Omission of this Duty is a great Scandal to Religion, and a great Evil when it is carelessly or negligently performed.
Of singing of Psalms, etc.
XXVII. We believe that singing the Praises of God, is a holy Ordinance of Christ, and not a part of Natural Religion, or a moral Duty only; but that it is brought under Divine Institution, it being enjoined on the Churches of Christ to sing Psalms, Hymns, and spiritual Songs; and that the whole Church in their Public Assemblies (as well as private Christians) ought to sing God’s Praises, according to the best Light they have received. Moreover, it was practiced in the great Representative Church, by our Lord Jesus Christ with his Disciples, after he had instituted and celebrated the Sacred Ordinance of his Holy Supper, as a commemorative Token of Redeeming Love.
Of the Christian Sabbath
XXVIII. We believe that one Day in seven, ought to be solemnly observed in the Worship of God; and that by Moses’s Law the Jews and proselyted Strangers were to keep the seventh Day: but from the Resurrection of Christ the first Day of the Week ought by all Christians to be observed Holy to the Lord, that being called the Lord’s Day; and the first time the Church met together after Christ’s Ascension was on the Day of Pentecost, which was the first Day of the Week, as Tradition hath handed it down: and on that Day the Church also met together to break Bread, and make Collections for the poor Saints: and no mention is made that any one Gospel-Church kept the Jewish Sabbath in all the New Testament. And we believe that an Apostolical Precedent is equivalent to an Apostolical Precept in this case.
Of Ministers, and their Maintenance
XXIX. We do believe that every Brother that hath received a Gift to preach, having first passed the Probation of the Church, and being regularly called by the same, ought to exercise the said Gift to the Edification of the Church when desired; and that no Brother ought to take upon him to preach, until he has a lawful Call so to do.
Moreover, we believe that it is the indispensable Duty of every Church, according to their Ability, to provide their Pastor, or Elders, a comfortable Maintenance; as God hath ordained, that he that preaches the Gospel, should live of the Gospel, and not of his own Labor; but that he should wholly give himself up to the Work of the Ministry, and to watch over the Flock, being to be freed from all secular Business, and Encumbrances of the World: and yet that it is abominable Evil for any Man to preach the Gospel for filthy lucre sake, but he must do it of a ready mind.
Of the First Covenant
XXX. We believe that the first Covenant, or Covenant of Works, was primarily made with Adam, and with all Mankind in him, by virtue of which he stood in a justified state before the Fall, upon the condition of his own perfect and personal Obedience. But by the Fall he made himself incapable of Life by that Covenant.
That the Law God gave by Moses to Israel, was of the same nature of that given to Adam, being a second Ministration of it; but not given for Life, but to make Sin exceeding sinful, and to shew how unable Man was in his fallen state to fulfill the Righteousness of God; and so (with the Ceremonial Law) it was given in subservience to the Gospel, as a Schoolmaster to bring Sinners to Christ.
Of the New and Second Covenant
XXXI. We believe the Covenant of Grace was primarily made with the second Adam, and in him with all the Elect, who as God-man, or Mediator, was set up from everlasting as a Common Person, or as their Head and Representative; who freely obliged or engaged himself to the Father for them, perfectly to keep the whole Law in their Nature that had sinned, and to satisfy Divine Justice by bearing their Sins upon his own Body, i. e. the Guilt of all their Sins, which were laid upon him: and that he sustained that Wrath and Curse in his Body and Soul, that was due to them for all their Transgressions: and having received their discharge from Wrath and Condemnation, he gives it out to all that believe in him, and obtain Union with him, who are thereby brought actually into the said New Covenant, and have a personal Right to all the Blessings thereof.
XXXII. We do believe that God from all Eternity, according unto the most wise and holy Counsel of his own Will, freely and unchangeably decreed and ordained, for the manifestation of his own Glory, some Angels, and some of the lost Sons and Daughters of Adam, unto eternal Life; and that their number is so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished: and that others are left or passed by under a Decree of Preterition. And that those of Mankind that are predestined and fore-ordained, are particularly and personally designed unto eternal Life: and these God, according to his eternal and immutable Purpose, and good pleasure of his Will, did choose in Christ (the Head of this Election) unto everlasting Glory, of his mere free Grace, without any foreseen Faith or Obedience and Perseverance therein, or any thing in the Creature as a Condition or Cause moving him thereunto; and all this only to the Praise of his own glorious Grace.
Of final Perseverance
XXXIII. We believe all those whom God hath chosen, and who are effectually called, justified, and sanctified in Jesus Christ, can neither totally, nor finally fall away from a state of Grace; but shall certainly persevere therein unto the end, and eternally be saved; and this by virtue of their Election, or the immutable Decree of God, and the unchangeable Love of God the Father; and by virtue of their Union with Christ, together with his Death, Resurrection, and Intercession; as also from the nature of the Covenant of Grace, and Surety-ship of Christ; and through the indwelling of the holy Spirit, who abideth in them for ever.
Of the Resurrection
XXXIV. We believe that the Bodies of all Men, both the Just and Unjust, shall rise again at the last day, even the same numerical Bodies that die; tho the Bodies of the Saints shall be raised immortal and incorruptible, and be made like Christ’s glorious Body: and that the dead in Christ shall rise first.
Of Eternal Judgment
XXXV. We believe that God hath appointed a Day in which he will judge the World in Righteousness by Jesus Christ, or that there shall be a general Day of Judgment, when all shall stand before the Judgment-seat of Christ, and give an account to him for all things done in this Body: and that he will pass an eternal Sentence upon all, according as their Works shall be.
XXXVI. We believe Marriage is God’s holy Ordinance, that is to say between one Man and one Woman: and that no Man ought to have more than one Wife at once: and that Believers that marry, should marry in the Lord, or such that are Believers, or Godly Persons; and that those who do otherwise, sin greatly, in violating God’s holy Precept: and that Ministers as well as others may marry; for Marriage is honorable in all.
Of Civil Magistrates
XXXVII. We do believe the supreme Lord of Heaven and Earth hath ordained Magistrates for the good of Mankind: and that it is our Duty in all civil and lawful things to obey them for Conscience sake; nay, and to pray for all that are in Authority, that under them we may live a godly and peaceable Life: and that we ought to render unto Cesar the things that are Cesar’s,and to God the things that are God’s.
Of lawful Oaths
XXXVIII. We do believe it is lawful to take some Oaths before the Civil Magistrate; an Oath of Confirmation being to put an end to all Strife: nay, and that it is our Duty so to do when lawfully called thereunto: and that those that swear, ought to swear in Truth, in Righteousness, and in Judgment.
Of Personal Propriety
XXXIX. We do believe that every Man hath a just and peculiar Right and Propriety in his own Goods, and that they are not common to others; yet we believe that every Man is obliged to administer to the poor Saints, and to the public Interest of God, according to his Ability, or as God hath blessed him.