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Our prayer unto God is, That whereto we have already attained, we all may walk by the same rule, and that wherein we are otherwise minded, God would reveal it to us in his due time.
A DECLARATION OF FAITH.
(As the Savoy Declaration is merely a modification of the Westminster Confession to suit the Congregational polity, it is only necessary to note the principal omissions, additions, and changes, which will be better understood by comparison with the corresponding original and with the more thorough change made by the American Presbyterians in Chap. XXIII. 3.)
Chap. XX. is added to the Westminster Confession (which accounts for the change of numbers of chapters after Chap. XX.), and reads as follows:
OU APTER XX.
Of the Gospel, and of the Extent of the Grace thereof. I. The covenant of works being broken by sin, and made unprofitable unto life, God was pleased to give unto the elect the promise of Christ, the seed of the woman, as the means of calling them, and begetting in them faith and repentance. In this promise the gospel, as to the substance of it, was revealed, and was therein effectual for the conversion and salvation of sinners.
II. This promise of Christ, and salvation by him, is revealed only in and 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.
III. 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 withont it, which none ever did make, or can so do: and therefore in all ages the preaching the gospel hath been granted unto persons and nations, as to the extent or straitening of it, in great variety, according to the counsel of the will of God.
IV. Althongh 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, irresistible work of the Holy Ghost upon the whole soul, for the producing in them [of] a new spiritual life, withont which no other means are sufficient for their conversion unto God.
In the chapter on 'Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience' slight modifications are made in two sections, as follows:
CHAP. XX. II. God alone is Lord of the con- II. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from science, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments the doctrines and commandments of men, which are in any thing of men, which are in any thing contrary to his Word, or not con- contrary to his Word, or beside tained in it; so that to believe it, in matters of faith or worsuch doctrines, or to obey such ship; so that to believe such doccommands out of conscience, is to trives, or to obey such commandbetray true liberty of conscience; ments out of conscience, is to beand the requiring of an implicit tray true liberty of conscience; faith and an absolute and blind and the requiring of an implicit obedience is to destroy liberty of faith and an absolute and blind conscience, and reason also. obedience is to destroy liberty of
conscience, and reason also. III. They who, upon pretense of III. They who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, do practice any Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust, as they sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby. do thereby pervert the main de- destroy the end of Christian libsign of the grace of the gospel to erty; which is, that being delivtheir own destruction; so they ered out of the hands of our ene. wholly destroy the end of Chris- mies, we might serve the Lord withtian liberty, which is, that being ont fear, in holiness and righteousdelivered ont of the hands of onr ness before him all the days of our enemies, we might serve the Lord life. without fear, in holiness and righteonsness before him all the days of our life.
The fourth and last section of Chap. XX. of the Westminster Confession, which gives the civil magistrate the power of punishing heresy, is entirely omitted. The American Revision of the Westminster Confession omits only the last clause (which really the only objectionable feature), 'and by the power of the civil magistrate.'
WESTMINSTER CONFES- AMER. PRESB. REVISION
OF THE WESTM. CONF.
Magistrate. III. Although the mag. III. The civil magistrate III. Civil magistrates may istrate is bound to encour- may not assume to him- not assume to themselves age, promote, and protect self the administration of the administration of the the professors and profes- the Word and Sacraments, Word and Sacraments; or sion of the gospel, and to or the power of the keys the power of the keys of manage and order, civil of the kingdom of heav- the kingdom of heaven; administrations in a due en : yet he hath author- or, in the least, interfere subserviency to the inter- ity, and it is his duty to in matters of faith. Yet est of Christ in the world,' take order, that unity and as nursing fathers, it is the and to that end to take peace be preserved in the duty of civil magistrates care that men of corrupt Church, that the truth of to protect the Church of minds and conversations God be kept pure and our common Lord, withdo not licentiously pub- entire, that all blasphe-out giving the preference lish and divulge blasphe- mies and heresies be sup- to any denomination of my and errors, in their pressed, all corruptions Christians above the rest, own nature subverting the and abuses in worship in such a manner that all faith and inevitably de- and discipline prevented ecclesiastical persons whatstroying the souls of them or reformed, and all the ever shall enjoy the full, that receive them; yet in ordinances of God duly free, and unquestioned libsuch differences about the settled, administered, and erty of discharging every doctrines of the gospel, or observed. For the better part of their sacred funcways of the worship of effecting whereof he hath tions, without violence or God, as may befall men power to call synods, to danger. And, as Jesus exercising a good con- be present at them, and Christ hath appointed a science, manifesting it in to provide that whatso- regular government and their conversation, and ever is transacted in them discipline in his Church, holding the foundation, be according to the mind no law of any commonnot disturbing others in of God.
wealth should interfere or worship
with, let, or hinder the due that differ froin them,
exercise thereof, among the there is no warrant for
voluntary members of any the magistrate under the
denomination of Chrisgospel to abridge them of
tians, according to their their liberty.
own profession and belief.
AMER. PRESB. REVISION
OF THE WESTM. CONF. It is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual manner no person be suffered, either upon pretense of religion or infidelity, to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever : and to take order that all religious and ecclesiastical assemblies be held without molestation or disturbance.
In Chap. XXV., 'Of Marriage,' the Savoy Declaration omits sections 5 and 6, and the last clause of section 4, Chap. XXIV., of the Westminster Confession.
Chap. XXV.- Of the Church. I. The catholic or universal I. The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ, gathered into one, under Christ the the Head thereof; and is the Head thereof; and is the spouse, sponse, the body, the fullness of the body, the fullness of him that him that filleth all in all.
filleth all in all. II. The whole body of men II. The visible Church, which is throughout the world, professing also catholic or universal under the faith of the gospel, and obe- the gospel (not confined to one dience unto God by Christ ac- nation as before under the law), cording into it, not destroying consists of all those, throughont their own profession by any er- the world, that profess the true rors everting the foundation, or religion, and of their children; unholiness of conversation, are and is the kingdom of the Lord and may be called the visible Jesus Christ, the house and famcatholic Church of Christ, al- lily of God, out of which there is though as such it is not intrusted no ordinary possibility of salvawith the administration of any tion. ordinances, or hath any officers to rule or govern in or over the whole body.
III. Unto this catholic 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, soinetimes 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. III. The purest churches under V. The purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture heaven are subject both to mixtand error, and some have so degen- nre and error; and some hare erated as to become no churches so degenerated as to become no of Christ, but synagogues of Sa- churches of Christ, but synatan. Nevertheless, Christ always gognes of Satan. Nevertheless, hath had, and ever shall have a there shall be always a Church visible kingdom in this world, to on earth to worship God accordthe end thereof, of such as believe ing to his will. in liim, and make profession of his