Page images

and the possession of real religion, in stance is by no means the least intethat class of society to which he be- resting part of the work. Mr. Adkins longed. It presents to such as are in has stated (with great lucidness, and the same sphere the points of life wbich defended, by scriptural argument, the are attainable, and the features which mode of admission to communion give a real worth and dignity to cha- adopted by Congregational churches. racter

The case of Miss Raitt is one, among The memorialof Miss Raitt is a beau- many others, which prove that the tiful sketch of a lovely young Chris- scriptural mode of admitting a memtian, who had moved in the polite ber to the church is not necessarily circles of human life, had charmed a barrier to the delicacy of the female those who knew her by the beauty of character, or the sensitiveness, conher person, the amiableness of her nected with polished manners and acdisposition, the grace of her accom- complished society. This lovely young plishments, and the piety of her heart. female soon after slept in Jesus, in She was one of those lovely charac- the nineteenth year of her age; the ters, which, by the fascination of na worm was in the bud, and the flower tural attractions seem almost instinc- which had so much beauty was cut tively decked with “ whatsoever is down and withered. lovely,” But, says her biographer, prior to her conversion, “ lovely and

“ She sparkled, and exhaled, and went

to heaven.'' loved as she was, in the estimation of her fellow-creatures, she was neverthe

We can most cheerfully give this less, in the sight of him who judgeth fascinating little volume a cordial rethe heart, dead in trespasses and sins ;

commendation. The author informs and the unrevoked sentence rested us in his dedication, that it has been upon her, that she was a child of wrath composed during “ the languid hours even as others."

of a lengthened affliction. Like the The author takes occasion, from volumes which have emanated from the beauty of this young person, and

the prison, or the retired abode of the the amiable traits of natural character

silenced and suffering minister, it has which attached to her, to make a fine

the fragrance and sweetness of the touching apostrophe to this class of soul, that sheds its delightful perfume his readers.

We would willingly more powerfully from the showers of transcribe it, but our limits forbid. aMiction that fall upon it. We are

It appears that Miss Raitt became indebted to the author for this beaua member of the Independent Church tiful

memorial.” The sentiments at Southampton.

Her biographer which are interwoven in it, as well as was the instrument of conveying the the character it delineates, lead us to light of truth to her mind, and after- hope it will be read by many, and, by ward of receiving her to the Lord's the grace of the Spirit, many will be table, as a member of the church of induced to give the bloom of their Christ. The detail of this circum

youth to the Lord.




Human Reason asserted, in a Series of Speedily will be published, An Essay Essays. By John Howard Hinton, M.A. on the Ministry of Local or Lay Preach One vol. 12mo. ers; with Observations designed to point

Directions for Weak Christians. By out the Capabilities, Means of Improve. Richard Baxter. One vol. 12mo. ment, and Usefulness of that Class of

In a few days, The Devotional Letters Ministers. By Wm. Robinson.

and Sacramental Meditations of Di. A Fac-Simile of the celebrated Hymn, Philip Doddridge. 5. From Greenland's Icy Mountains,

The Life and Times of Isaac Watts, &c. by the late Bishop Heber, lithographed D.D., with Notices of many of his Conby Mr. Martin, and accompanied with an

temporaries, by the Rev. T. Milner, Historical Anecdote.

A.M. Author of The History of the Thé Harinony of Religious Truth and · Seven Churches of Asia, N. S. NO. 91.

3 L


PROPOSED DECLARATION OF The thers, at a meeting held in the Savoy,

FAITH, CHURCH ORDER, AND DIS in the year 1658, become scarce, and CIPLINE OF THE CONGREGATIONAL almost obsolete, that might have been CHURCHES.

referred to, as affording a view of our We are happy to present our read- claration, though most orthodox, as

sentiments ; but, considering that Deers with the following draught of a Declaration of Faith and Order for

too wordy and too much extended for the use of our Churches and the in

our purpose, we were glad to receive

the summary before us, as much more formation of the public, which was read at the meeting of the Congrega- compendious, and more appropriate to tional Union, and which is now printed

the present period.

“With this candid explanation, we by order of the Committee, the Secre

trust that it will meet with that kind taries having appended the following reception which its merits seemed to necessary explanations.

All that is We might satisfy ourselves with intended by directing the attention of

the meeting to warrant. directing your attention to the prelimi- the brethren to this document, is, to nary notes prefixed to the Declaration as sufficient to guard it from misappre- in their judgment, it contains a fair

ascertain in return from them, whether, hension ; but we would, in addition, fulfil the direction of the General nomination in this country.

statement of the principles of our de

There Meeting, by assuring you of the great must, of course, be shades of opinion caution with which the document was

on various points, and diversity of received, lest it should be suspected that any portion of our body enter- practice on others ; but it was thought tained the most distant wish to impose of our principles, wbich we should

to contain a general and candid view a creed upon others. It was felt that such a document was but little requir- world. Let us hope that, so far as it

have no objection to set forth to the ed for our own information, and must embodies great Scriptural truths, it necessarily be an imperfect statement of the sentiments held by us, in pro

will command the regard of many who portion as it may descend in its appli

are labouring under ignorance and cation to individuals. Still it was

misapprehension, or disposed wilfully concluded that, for the information of to misrepresent, or sincerely inquiring

after 6 a more excellent way.'' others, not of our denomination, it was essentially requisite, at the present

DecLARATION. time, when such revolutions of opinion The CONGREGATIONAL PÆDODAPand extraordinary changes are occur tists of England and Wales hold the ring, and also while such misappre- following doctrines, as of divine auhension, and even gross misrepresen- thority, and as the foundation of Christation, exist, respecting our real cha tian faith and practice : racter. It was stated by several

They also form and govern their brethren, that they were persuaded a Churches according to the principles very large proportion of our country- hereinafter stated. men take us to be either Socinians or Methodists. We are not answerable

Preliminary Notes. for this strange alternative, and entire 1. It is not designed, in the followmisapprehension--renouncing, as we ing summary, to do more than state do, with abhorrence, the tenets of the the leading doctrines of faith and order one, and differing so materially in some maintained by the denomination of important respects from those of the Christians in question. other--except as we are wanting in 2. It is not proposed to offer any some proper statement of our faith and proofs, reasons, or arguments, in suporder.

port of the doctrines herein stated, “Had not the Declaration of our fa- but simply to declare what the deno

mination at large believes to be taught lowing doctrines of religion ; each by the pen of inspiration.

might prefer to state bis sentiments in 3. It is not intended to present a his own way, and in his own words, scholastic or critical confession of but the statement of each, if taken faith, but merely such a statement as separately, would be found in subany intelligent member of the body stance to contain the following fundamight offer, as containing the leading mental truths: principles of the denomination. 4. It is not intended that the fol

Principles of Religion. lowing statement should be put forth 1. The Scriptures of the Old Testawith any authority, or as the result ment, as received by the Jews, and of a general and critical discussion of the books of the New Testament, as the doctrines professed.

received by the primitive Christians 5. It is not to be understood that from the Evangelists and Apostles, the particular wording of the following they believe to be divinely inspired, statement has been approved by the and of supreme authority. These wriwhole body, but that it is merely the tings, in the languages in which they language of an individual, and ap were originally composed, are to be proved in the main by those who consulted, by the aids of sound critisubmit it, as a declaration of what cism, as a final appeal in all controis believed and practised throughout versies ; but the ordinary version of the Congregational denomination. them into the English language, pub

6. Disallowing, as they do, the lished under civil authority, they conutility of Creeds and Articles of reli- sider to be adequate for the ordinary gion as a bond of union, and protest- purposes of Christian instruction and ing against subscription to any hu- edification. man formularies, as a term of commu 2. They believe in one God, essennion, they are yet willing to declare, tially holy, just, and good ; infinite, for general information, what all be- eternal, and immutable, in all natural lieve in common; reserving, to every and moral perfections; the Creator, one, a right of explanation, and the Supporter, and Governor of all beings, most perfect liberty of conscience.

and of all things. 7. They deprecate the use of the 3. They believe that God has refollowing statement as a standard to vealed himself to man in the Scripwhich assent should be required, tures, under the threefold distinction though they have no doubt as to the of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; to general prevalence of these principles each of which Divine Persons are atthroughout their churches.

tributed the same infinite and immu8. Upon some minor points of doc- table properties, perfections, and pretrine and practice, they charitably differ rogatives. The mode of the divine among themselves—allowing to each existence, as a trinity in unity, they other what each claims from the whole profess not to understand : the fact —the right to form an unbiassed judg- they cordially believe ; but the mysment of the word of God; but yet, tery of the Godhead they are conagreeing most cordially and generally tent, in this life, to reverence and in maintaining the great doctrines adore. herein declared.

4. They believe that Jehovah cre9. They wish it to be observed, that, ated man in his own image, pure from notwithstanding their jealousy of sub- evil bias, sinless, and in his kind scription to Creeds and Articles, and perfect. their general disapproval of the impo 5. They believe that the first man sition of any human standard, they disobeyed the divine command, fell are far more agreed in their doctrines from his state of innocence, and inand practices than any church which volved himself and all his posterity in enjoins subscription, and enforces a a state of guilt and depravity. human standard of orthodoxy; and 6. They believe that all mankind they believe it may be confidently are born in sin, and that a fatal incliaffirmed, that there is no minister and nation to moral evil, utterly incurable no church among them, that would by finite means, is inherent in every deny the matter of any one of the fol- human being.

7. They believe that God designed tified through faith in Christ; and before the foundation of the world to that not of ourselves; “it is the gift redeem fallen man, and that he made of God.very early disclosures of his mercy to 14. They believe that all who will ward this sinful race, which were the be finally saved were the objects of grounds of faith and bope to many God's eternal and electing love, and among the antediluvian world.

were given by an act of divine sove8. They believe that God revealed reignty to the Son of God; but that more fully to Abraham the covenant this act of sovereignty in no way inof his grace; and, having promised terferes with the system of means, that out of his descendants should nor with the grounds of human rearise the Deliverer and Redeemer of sponsibility, being wholly unrevealed mankind, he set him and bis posterity as to its objects, and therefore incapaapart, as a race specially favoured of ble of becoming a rule of human duty. God, and devoted to his service ; and 15. They believe that the Scriptures that, hence, a church was formed and teach the final perseverance of all true carefully preserved in the world, believers to a state of eternal blessedunder the divine sanction and govern ness ; though not irrespective of a ment, until the birth of the promised constant faith in Christ, and uniform Messiah.

obedience to his commands. 9. They believe that, in the fulness 16. They believe that a virtuous life of the time, the Son of God was mani- will be the necessary effect of a true fested in the flesh, being born of the faith, and that good works are the Virgin Mary, but conceived by the indispensable fruits of a vital union to power of the Holy Ghost; and that Christ. our Lord Jesus Christ was both the 17. They believe that the sanctifiSon of man, as partaking fully and cation of true Christians, or their truly of sinless human nature, and the growth in the graces of the Spirit, and Son of God, as being in every sense meetness for heaven, is gradually carequal with

Father, and “the ex ried on through the whole period, press image of his person.”

during which it pleases God to keep 10. They believe that Jesus Christ, them in the present life; and that, at the Son of God, revealed, either per death, their souls are perfectly freed sonally in his own ministry, or by the from all remains of evil, and are imHoly Spirit in the ministry of his mediately received into the presence of apostles, the whole mind of God for Christ. our salvation; and that by his obedi 18. They believe in the perpetual ence to the divine law while he lived, obligation of Baptism and the Lord's and by his sufferings unto death, he Supper: the former to be administered meritoriously

“ obtained eternal re to all converts to Christianity and their demption for us;" having thereby sa children, by the application of water tisfied divine justice, “ magnified the to the subject; and the latter to be law,” and “ brought in everlasting publicly celebrated by Christians as a righteousness."

token of faith in the Saviour, and of 11. They believe that, after his love to each other. death and resurrection, he ascended 19. They believe that Christ will up into heaven as a Mediator for us, finally come to judge the whole human and that he ever liveth to make in race: that the bodies of all men will tercession for all that come unto God be raised again; and that, as the Suby him.”

preme Judge, he will divide the righ12. They believe that the Holy teous from the wicked, will receive the Spirit is given in consequence of righteous into life eternal, but send Christ's mediation, to quicken and away the wicked into everlasting purenew the hearts of men; and that his nishment. influence upon the human soul is in 20. They believe that Jesus Christ dispensably necessary to bring a sinner designed and directed his followers to to true repentance, to produce saving live together in Christian fellowship, faith, to regenerate the heart, and to and to maintain the communion of perfect our sanctification.

saints; and that, for this purpose, they 13. They maintain that we are jus are jointly to observe all divine ordi,

[ocr errors]

nances, and maintain that church or 6. They believe that no persons der and discipline which is either ex should be received as members of pressly enjoined by inspired institu- Christian churches, but such as make tion, or sanctioned by the undoubted a credible profession of Christianity, example of the apostles and of apos are living according to its precepts, tolic churches.

and attest a 'willingness to be subject Principles of Church Order and

to its discipline; and that none should

be excluded from the fellowship of the Discipline.

church, but such as deny the faith of 1. They hold it to be the will of Christ, violate his laws, or refuse to Christ that true believers should vo submit themselves to the discipline luntarily assemble together to observe which the word of God enforces. religious ordinances, to promote mu 7. The power of admission into, and tual edification and holiness, to perpe. rejection from, any Christian church tuate and propagate the gospel in the they believe to be vested in the church world, and to advance the glory and itself, and to be exercised only through worship of God, through Jesus Christ; the medium of its own officers. and that each Society having these 8. They believe

that Christian objects in view in its formation, is pro churches should statedly meet for the perly a Christian church.

celebration of public worship, for the 2. They believe that the New Tes observance of the Lord's Supper, aud tament alone contains, either in the for the sanctification of the first day form of express statute, or in the ex of the week. ample and practice of apostolic men 9. They believe that the power of a and churches, all the articles of faith Christian church is purely spiritual, necessary to be believed by a Chris- and should in no way be corrupted tian, and all the order and discipline by union with temporal or civil power. requisite for constituting and govern 10. They believe that it is the duty ing Christian societies; and that hu- of Christian churches to hold comman traditions, fathers, and councils, munion with each other, to entertain possess no authority over the faith and an enlarged affection for each other, practice of Christians.

as members of the same body, and to 3. They acknowledge Christ as the co-operate for the promotion of the only Head of the Church, and the Christian cause: but that no church, officers of each church, under him, as nor union of churches, has any right ordained to administer his laws im or power to interfere with the faith or partially to all; and their only appeal, discipline of any other church, further in all questions touching their religious than to disown and separate from such faith and practice, is to the Sacred as, in faith or practice, depart from Scriptures.

the gospel of Christ. 4. They believe that the New Tes 11. They believe it is the privilege tament authorizes every Christian and duty of the church to call forth Church to elect its own officers, to such of its members as may appear to manage all its own affairs, and to stand be qualified, and indicated by the independent of, and responsible to, all Holy Spirit, as suitable persons to authority, saving that only of the su sustain the office of the ministry; and preme and divine Head of the church, that Christian churches unitedly ought the Lord Jesus Christ.

to consider the maintenance of the 5. They believe that the only offi- christian ministry, in an adequate decers placed by the apostles over indi gree of learning, as one of its especial vidual churches, are the bishops or cares, that the cause of the gospel may pastors, and the deacons; įthe number be both honourably sustained, and conof these being dependant upon the num stantly promoted. bers of the church; and that to these, as 12. They believe that church offithe officers of the church, are com cers, whether bishops or deacons, mitted respectively the administration should be chosen by the free voice of of its social worship, its discipline, the church, but that their dedication to and its temporal concerns ;-subject, the duties of their office should take however, to the approbation of the place with especial prayer, and by sochurch.

lemn designation, in the act of imposi

« PreviousContinue »