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284 Reforming Synod met*
terian churches, generally, are in the practice o£ baptizing the children of parents, who are not Ifl fall communion with the church. Dr. Doddridge says, "Baptize not the children of the openly profane, whom it may harden in their wickedness,, but refuse none who make any thing, of a,hopeful, profession of religion.' '*
In 167.9, the reforming synod met in Boston, Sept. 10. The people had for some time suffered the afflictive providences.of heaven. Droughts, had turned the land to powder and dust, blasts, had destroyed the wheat of the field, fire hadi spread devastation in the mart of commerce, pestilence had walked through our towns,, ships o£ the merchant had been cast away, or returned: without their accustomed profits, the yell of. savage bands had terrified the rural.village, their murderous arrows 'had clothed widows-, and orphans in the garments of mourning, Serious people were deeply impressed;, particular churches exerted themselves to promote a,reformation.; min^ isters were roused to exert themselves jn.thc cause of righteousness. Under these circumstances^ the general court were prevailed upon to call upon the churches to send their elders and messengers to meet in synod, for the discussion of two questions; "What are the proyokingj^ils of New England ? What is to be done that these evils may .be reformed?" Before they convened, the churches > * Private MSV Inures tt>. hfe Students.
Its Result. 285
observed a day of fasting and prayer, to seek direction from God, Mr. John Sherman, and Mr. Uriah Oakes were chosen moderators of the synod. •
Respefling the first question, the s3rnod voted, that the provoking sins of New England were, a great decay of the power of godliness; also, pride shown in violating order, and a spirit of contention; that the rising generation were not mindful of the obligations resulting from their baptism; that, a profanation of God's name,- sabbath breaking;, want of family religion,-in daily prayer, and readying the scriptures, intemperance, andunckarmess> "temptations to which, arc common kmaked arms, and necksvand^nakexhbreasts,'^violati6n:ofprom,4 ises, and inordinate zeal for the world, shown in individuals, -by forsaking their churches for greater farms, or more valuable merchandise, who .ought to remember, that when Lot left Canaan and the church for better, 'accommodations in Sodomy "God fired him out of all," opposing the work of. reformation, v selfishness, and ^undervaluing the gospel of-Christy "are matters of the Lord*s controversy.n-• That as several of them were sins not punished by-human laws, therefore there was special reason to expeSt, that God himself would punish them.
As to the second question, " What is to be done for the reformation of these evils?" they .voted,. that if all, who wcxe above others, would become 286 Synodof 1680.
every way exemplary; if the people would publicly declare their adherence to the faith and discipline of their fathers; if no persons were admitted to church communion without a public profession of their faith and repentance; if a strict discipline were maintained in the churches; if there were a full supply of church officers, pastorsr teachers, and ruling elders; if these officers were duly supported; if the laws of the Commonwealth wrere faithfully executed; if there were an. explicit renewal of covenant in the churches; if schools were striflly inspected and supported, and the people cried fervently for the rain cf righteousness, there would be a reformation of the evils deplored. This synod was followed with many of the good effe£ts, which were desired and expected by its friends.
The next year, May 12th, 16S0, another synod met in Boston, to adopt a confession of faith. Mr. Increase Mather was chosen moderator. 44 The confesssion of faith, consented to by the congregational churches of England, which, excepting a few variations, was 'the same agreed to by the reverend assembly at Westminster, and afterward, by the general assembly of Scotland, was approved, with a few variations, as the faith of New England. The synod chose tp. use the confessions of faith adopted in Europe, 4fi that so they might not only With one heart, but with one mouth* glorify God and our Lord Jesus Christ.'5*
Its Result. 287
The fathers of the Plymouth colon^had adopt* «d'the articles of the church of England, and the confession of faith, professed by the French re* formed churches,* or in other Words, Calvinism, as the articles of their faith, or the substance of their creed. This they declared, wJhile in Holland, in their negotiations with those persons, who aided them in crossing the ocean to this country.
In the synod of New England, 1648, there was a unanimous vote in these words, "This synod having perused and considered with much gladness of heart, and thankfulness to God, the confessionof faith> published by the late reverend assembly in England, do judge it to be very holy, orthodox, and judicious in all matters of faith, and do therefore freely and fully consent thereunto for the substance thereof. And we do therefore think it meet, that this confession of faith should be com* . mended to the churches of Christ among us, and to the honoured court, as worthy of their due consideration and acceptance."
In the synod of 1680, is a language explicit on the most discriminating points. "In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons," say they, c ( of one substance, power and eternity.n *' God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass. By the decree of Godf For the manifestation of his glory, some men and
28a Result of Synod of 1680.
angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained unto everlasting death." In his providence, his determinate counsel extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men, and that not by bare permission. The first pair " being the root, and by God's ap* pointment, standing in the room of all mankind, a corrupt nature is conveyed to all their posterity." "The Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal God, hath fully satisfied the justice of God, and hath purchased reconciliation, and an eternal inheritance." "God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of a6iing upon choice, that it is neither forced, nor by any absolute necessity of nature, determined to do good or evil." "Works done by unregencrate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, 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, andcannot please God, nor make a man meet to receive the grace of God." "The works of creation and providence, with the light of nature, make no discovery of Christ, much less do they enable men, destitute of revelation, to attain saving faith or repentance." "Not only those, who do a£iually profess faith in, and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one or both believing parents are to be baptized, and those only." "From all those whom God