1644 Baptist Confession of Faith

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The
CONFESSION
OF FAITH,

Of those CHURCHES which are
commonly (though falsly)
called ANABAPTISTS;


Presented to the view of all that feare God, to examine by the touchstone of the Word of Truth: As likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently both in Pulpit and Print, (although unjustly) cast upon them.



Acts 4.20
We can not but speake the things which wee have seene and heard.
Isai. 8.20
To the Law and to the testimony, if they speake not according to this Rule, it is because there is no light in them.
2 Cor. 1.9, 10
But wee had the sentence of death in our selves, that wee should not trust in our selves, but in the living God which raiseth the dead; who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver, in whom wee trust that he will yet deliver.



LONDON
Printed by Matthew Simmons in Aldersgate-street.
1644



To
ALL THAT DESIRE


The lifting up of the Name of the LORD Jesus in sincerity, the poor despised Churches of God in London send greeting, with prayers for their farther increase in the knowledge of CHRIST JESUS.
We question not but that it will seem strange to many men, that such as we are frequently termed to be, lying under that calumny and black brand of Heretics, and sowers of division as we do, should presume to appear so publicly as now we have done: But yet notwithstanding we may well say, to give answer to such, what David said to his brother, when the Lord's battle was a fighting, 1 Sam. 29:30. Is there not a cause?
Surely, if ever people had cause to speak for the vindication of the truth of Christ in their hands, we have, that being indeed the main wheel at this time that sets us awork; for had anything by men been transacted against our persons only, we could quietly have sitten still, and committed our Cause to him who is a righteous Judge, who will in the great day judge the secrets of all men's hearts by Jesus Christ: But being it is not only us, but the truth professed by us, we cannot, we dare not but speak; it is no strange thing to any observing man, what sad charges are laid, not only by the world, that know not God, but also by those that think themselves much wronged, if they be not looked upon as the chief Worthies of the Church of God, and Watchmen of the City: But it hath fared with us from them, as from the poor Spouse seeking her Beloved,
Cant. 5:6, 7. They finding us out of that common roadway themselves walk, have smote us and taken away our vail, that so we may by them be recommended odious in the eyes of all that behold us, and in the hearts of all that think upon us, which they have done both in Pulpit and Print, charging us with holding Free-will, Falling away from grace, denying Original sin, disclaiming of Magistracy, denying to assist them either in persons or purse in any of their lawful Commands, doing acts unseemly in the dispensing the Ordinance of Baptism, not to be named amongst Christians: All which Charges we disclaim as notoriously untrue, though by reason of these calumnies cast upon us, many that fear God are discouraged and forestalled in harboring a good thought, either of us or what we profess; and many that know not God encouraged, if they can find the place of our meeting, to get together in Clusters to stone us, as looking upon us as a people holding such things, as that we are not worthy to live: We have therefore for the clearing of the truth we profess, that it may be at liberty, though we be in bonds, briefly published a Confession of our Faith, as desiring all that fear God, seriously to consider whether (if they compare what we here say and confess in the presence of the Lord Jesus and his Saints) men have not with their tongues in Pulpit, and pens in Print, both spoken and written things that are contrary to truth; but we know our God in his own time will clear our Cause, and lift up his Son to make him the chief cornerstone, though he has been (or now should be) rejected of Master Builders. And because it may be conceived, that what is here published, may be but the Judgement of some one particular Congregation, more refined than the rest; We do therefore here subscribe it, some of each body in the name, and by the appointment of seven Congregations, who though we be distinct in respect of our particular bodies, for convenience sake, being as many as can well meet together in one place, yet are all one in Communion, holding Jesus Christ to be our head and Lord; under whose government we desire alone to walk, in following the Lamb wheresoever he goeth; and we believe the Lord will daily cause truth more to appear in the hearts of his Saints, and make them ashamed of their folly in the Land of their Nativity, that so they may with one shoulder, more study to lift up the Name of the Lord Jesus, and stand for his appointments and Laws; which is the desires and prayers of the condemned Churches of Christ in London for all saints.

Subscribed in the Names of seven Churches in London.

William Kiffin.
Thomas Patience.
________________________

John Spilsbery.
George Tipping.
Samuel Richardson.
________________________

Thomas Skippard.
Thomas Munday.
________________________

Thomas Gunne.
John Mabbatt.
________________________

John Webb.
Thomas Killcop.
________________________

Paul Hobson.
Thomas Goare.
________________________

Joseph Phelpes.
Edward Heath.


Contents

Article 1 : That God as he is in himself ...[edit]

I. That God as he is in himself, cannot be comprehended of any but himself,1 dwelling in that inaccessible light, that no eye can attain unto, whom never man saw, nor can see; that there is but2 one God, one Christ, one Spirit, one Faith, one Baptism;3 one Rule of holiness and obedience for all Saints, at all times, in all places to be observed.

Article 2 : That God is of himself ...[edit]

II. That God is4 of himself, that is, neither from another, nor of another, nor by another, nor for another:5 But is a Spirit, who as his being is of himself, so he gives6 being, moving, and preservation to all other things, being in himself eternal, most holy, every way infinite in7 greatness, wisdom, power, justice, goodness, truth, etc. In this God-head, there is the Father, the Son, and the Spirit; being every one of them one and the same God; and therefore not divided, but distinguished one from another by their several properties; the8 Father being from himself, the9 Son of the Father from everlasting, the holy10 Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son.

Article 3 : That God hath decreed in himself from everlasting ...[edit]

III. That God hath11 decreed in himself from everlasting touching all things, effectually to work and dispose them12 according to the counsel of his own will, to the glory of his Name; in which decree appeareth his wisdom, constancy, truth, and faithfulness;13 Wisdom is that whereby he contrives all things;14 Constancy is that whereby the decree of God remains always immutable;15 Truth is that whereby he declares that alone which he hath decreed, and though his sayings may seem to sound sometimes another thing, yet the sense of them doth always agree with the decree;16 Faithfulness is that whereby he effects that he hath decreed, as he hath decreed. And touching his creature man,17 God had in Christ before the foundation of the world, according to the good pleasure of his will, foreordained some men to eternal life through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of his grace,18 leaving the rest in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of his Justice.

Article 4 : In the beginning God made all things very good ...[edit]

IV. 19In the beginning God made all things very good, created man after his own20 Image and likeness, filling him with all perfection of all natural excellency and uprightness, free from all sin.21 But long he abode not in this honor, but by the22 subtlety of the Serpent, which Satan used as his instrument, himself with his Angels having sinned before, and not23 kept their first estate, but left their own habitation; first24 Eve, then Adam being seduced did wittingly and willingly fall into disobedience and transgression of the Commandment of their great Creator, for the which death came upon all, and reigned over all, so that all since the Fall are conceived in sin, and brought forth in iniquity, and so by nature children of wrath, and servants of sin, subjects of25 death, and all other calamities due to sin in this world and forever, being considered in the state of nature, without relation to Christ.

Article 5 : All mankind being thus fallen ...[edit]

V. All mankind being thus fallen, and become altogether dead in sins and trespasses, and subject to the eternal wrath of the great God by transgression; yet the elect, which God hath26 loved with an everlasting love, are27 redeemed, quickened, and saved, not by themselves, neither by their own works, lest any man should boast himself, but wholly and only by God of28 his free grace and mercy through Jesus Christ, who of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, that as it is written, He that rejoiceth, let him rejoice in the Lord.

Article 6 : This therefore is life eternal ...[edit]

VI. 29This therefore is life eternal, to know the only true God, and whom he hath sent Jesus Christ.30 And on the contrary, the Lord will render vengeance in flaming fire to them that know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Article 7 : The Rule of this Knowledge ...[edit]

VII. The Rule of this Knowledge, Faith, and Obedience, concerning the worship and service of God, and all other Christian duties, is not man's inventions, opinions, devices, laws, constitutions, or traditions unwritten whatsoever, but only the word of God contained in the Canonical Scriptures.31

Article 8 : In this written Word God hath plainly revealed ...[edit]

VIII. In this written Word God hath plainly revealed whatsoever he hath thought needful for us to know, believe, and acknowledge, touching the Nature and Office of Christ, in whom all the promises are Yea and Amen to the praise of God.32

Article 9 : Touching the Lord Jesus ...[edit]

IX. Touching the Lord Jesus, of whom33 Moses and the Prophets wrote, and whom the Apostles preached, is the34 Son of God the Father, the brightness of his glory, the engraven form of his being, God with him and with his holy Spirit, by whom he made the world, by whom he upholds and governs all the works he hath made, who also35 when the fullness of time was come, was made man of a36 woman, of the Tribe of Judah, of the seed of Abraham and David, to wit, of Mary that blessed Virgin, by the holy Spirit coming upon her, and the power of the most High overshadowing her, and was also in37 all things like unto us, sin only excepted.

Article 10 : Touching his Office ...[edit]

X. Touching his Office,38 Jesus Christ only is made the Mediator of the new Covenant, even the everlasting Covenant of grace between God and Man, to39 be perfectly and fully the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church of God for evermore.

Article 11 : Unto this Office he was foreordained from everlasting ...[edit]

XI. Unto this Office he was foreordained from everlasting, by the40 authority of the Father and in respect of his Manhood, from the womb called and separated, and41 anointed also most fully and abundantly with all gifts necessary, God having without measure poured the Spirit upon him.

Article 12 : In this Call the Scripture holds forth two special things ...[edit]

XII. In this Call the Scripture holds forth two special things considerable; first, the call to the Office; secondly, the Office itself. First, that42 none takes this honor but he that is called of God, as was Aaron, so also Christ, it being an action especially of God the Father, whereby a special covenant being made, he ordains his Son to this office: which Covenant is, that43 Christ should be made a Sacrifice for sin, that he shall see his seed, and prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; which calling therefore contains in itself44 choosing,45 foreordaining,46 sending. Choosing respects the end, foreordaining the means, sending the execution itself,47 all of mere grace, without any condition foreseen either in men, or in Christ himself.

Article 13 : So that this Office to be Mediator ...[edit]

XIII. So that this Office to be Mediator, that is, to be Prophet, Priest, and King of the Church of God, is so proper to Christ, as neither in the whole, nor in any part thereof, it can be transferred from him to any other.48

Article 14 : This Office itself to which Christ was called ...[edit]

XIV. This Office itself to which Christ was called, is threefold, of49 a Prophet, of50 Priest, and of51 a King: this number and order of Offices is showed; first, by men's necessities grievously laboring52 under ignorance, by reason whereof they stand in infinite necessity of the Prophetical office of Christ to relieve them. Secondly,53 alienation from God, wherein they stand in need of the Priestly Office to reconcile them: Thirdly, our54 utter disability to return to him, by which they stand in need of the power of Christ in his Kingly Office to assist and govern them.

Article 15 : Touching the Prophesy of Christ ...[edit]

XV. Touching the Prophesy of Christ, it is that whereby he hath55 perfectly revealed the whole will of God out of the bosom of the Father, that is needful for his servants to know, believe, and obey; and therefore is called not only a Prophet and56 a Doctor, and the57 Apostle of our profession, and the58 Angel of the Covenant; but also the very59 wisdom of God, and60 the treasures of wisdom and understanding.

Article 16 : That he might be such a Prophet ...[edit]

XVI. That he might be such a Prophet as thereby to be every way complete, it was necessary that he should be61 God, and withal also that he should be man; for unless he had been God, he could never have perfectly understood the will of God,62 neither had he been able to reveal it throughout all ages; and unless he had been man, he could not fitly have unfolded it in his63 own person to man.

Article 17 : Touching his Priesthood ...[edit]

XVII. Touching his Priesthood, Christ64 being consecrated, hath appeared once to put away sin by the offering and sacrifice of himself, and to this end hath fully performed and suffered all those things by which God, through the blood of that his Cross in an acceptable sacrifice, might reconcile his elect only;65 and having broken down the partition wall, and therewith finished and removed all those Rites, Shadows, and Ceremonies, is now entered within the Vail, into the Holy of Holiest, that is, to the very Heavens, and presence of God, where he forever liveth and sitteth at the right hand of Majesty, appearing before the face of his Father to make intercession for such as come to the Throne of Grace by that new and living way; and not that only, but66 makes his people a spiritual House, an holy Priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God through him; neither doth the Father accept, or Christ offer to the Father any other worship or worshippers.

Article 18 : This Priesthood was not legal ...[edit]

XVIII. This Priesthood was not legal, or temporary, but according to the order67 of Melchizedek;68 not by a carnal commandment, but by the power of an endless life;69 not by an order that is weak and lame, but stable and perfect, not for a70 time, but forever, admitting no successor, but perpetual and proper to Christ, and of him that ever liveth. Christ himself was the Priest, Sacrifice and Altar: he was71 Priest, according to both natures, he was a sacrifice most properly according to his human nature:72 whence in the Scripture it is wont to be attributed to his body, to his blood; yet the chief force whereby this sacrifice was made effectual, did depend upon his73 divine nature, namely, that the Son of God did offer himself for us: he was the74 Altar properly according to his divine nature, it belonging to the Altar to sanctify that which is offered upon it, and so it ought to be of greater dignity than the Sacrifice itself.

Article 19 : Touching his Kingdom ...[edit]

XIX. Touching his Kingdom,75 Christ being risen from the dead, ascended into heaven, sat on the right hand of God the Father, having all power in heaven and earth, given unto him, he doth spiritually govern his Church, exercising his power76 over all Angels and Men, good and bad, to the preservation and salvation of the elect, to the overruling and destruction of his enemies, which are Reprobates,77 communicating and applying the benefits, virtue, and fruit of his Prophesy and Priesthood to his elect, namely, to the subduing and taking away of their sins, to their justification and adoption of Sons, regeneration, sanctification, preservation and strengthening in all their conflicts against Satan, the World, the Flesh, and the temptations of them, continually dwelling in, governing and keeping their hearts in faith and filial fear by his Spirit, which having78 given it, he never takes away from them, but by it still begets and nourisheth in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all heavenly light in the soul unto immortality, notwithstanding through our own unbelief, and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of this light and love be clouded and overwhelmed for the time.79 And on the contrary, ruling in the world over his enemies, Satan, and all the vessels of wrath, limiting, using, restraining them by his mighty power, as seems good in his divine wisdom and justice to the execution of his determinate counsel, delivering them up to a reprobate mind, to be kept through their own deserts, in darkness and sensuality unto judgment.

Article 20 : This Kingdom shall be then fully perfected ...[edit]

XX. This Kingdom shall be then fully perfected when he shall the second time come in glory to reign amongst his Saints, and to be admired of all them which do believe, when he shall put down all rule and authority under his feet, that the glory of the Father may be full and perfectly manifested in his Son, and the glory of the Father and the Son in all his members.80

Article 21[edit]

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Article 22[edit]

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Article 23[edit]

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Article 24[edit]

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Article 25[edit]

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Article 26[edit]

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Article 27[edit]

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Article 28[edit]

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Article 35[edit]

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Article 37[edit]

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Article 38[edit]

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Article 39[edit]

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Article 40[edit]

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Article 42[edit]

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Article 43[edit]

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Article 44[edit]

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Article 45[edit]

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Article 46[edit]

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Article 47[edit]

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Article 48[edit]

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Article 49[edit]

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Article 50[edit]

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Article 51[edit]

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Article 52[edit]

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Article 53[edit]

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This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.