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flock to the grace of God, after singing of a psalm, let the assembly be dismissed with a blessing.
10. If a minister be designed to a congregation who hath been formerly ordained presbyter, according to the form or ordination which hath been in the church of England, which we hold for substance to be valid, and not to be disclaimed by any who have received it; then there being a cautious proceeding in matters of examination, let him be admitted without any new ordination.
11. And in case any person already ordained minister in Scotland, or in any other reformed church, be designed to another congregation in England, he is to bring from that church to the presbytery here, within which that congregation is, a sufficient testimonial of his ordination, of his life and conversation while he lived with them, and of the causes of his removal; and to undergo such a trial of his fitness and sufficiency, and to have the same course held with him in other particulars, as is set down in the rule immediately going before, touching examination and admission.
12. That records be carefully kept in the several presbyteries, of the names of the persons ordained, with their testimonials, the time and place of their ordination, of the presbyters who did impose hands upon them, and of the charge to which they are appointed.
13. That no money or gift of what kind soever shall be received from the person to be ordained, or from any on his behalf, for ordination, or aught else belonging to it, by any of the presbytery, or any appertaining to any of them, upon what pretence soever.
Thus far of ordinary rules, and course of ordination in the ordinary way; that which concerns the extraordinary way, requisite to be now practised, followeth.
1. In these present exigencies, while we cannot have any presbyteries formed up to their whole power and work, and that many ministers are to be ordained for the service of the armies and navy, and to many congregations where there is no minister at all; and where (by reason of the public troubles) the people cannot either themselves inquire, and find out one who may be a faithful minister for them, or have any with safety sent unto them, for such a solemn trial as was before mentioned in the ordinary rules, especially when there can be no presbytery near unto them, to whom they may address themselves, or which may come or send to them a fit man to be ordained in that congregation, and for that people; and yet, notwithstanding, it is requisite that ministers be ordained for them, by some, who being set apart themselves for the work of the ministry, have power to join in the setting apart others who are found fit and worthy. In those cases, until, by God's blessing, the aforesaid difficulties may be in some good measure removed, let some godly ministers, in or about the city of London, be designed by public authority, who, being associated, may ordain ministers for the city and the vicinity, keeping as near to the ordinary rules forementioned as possibly they may; and let this association be for no other intent or purpose but only for the work of ordination.
2. Let the like association be made by the same authority in great towns, and the neighbouring parishes in the several counties, which
are at the present quiet and undisturbed, to do the like for the parts adjacent.
3. Let such as are chosen, or appointed for the service of the armies or navy, be ordained as aforesaid, by the associated ministers of London, or some others in the country.
4. Let them do the like when any man shall duly and lawfully be recommended to them for the ministry of any congregation, who cannot enjoy liberty to have a trial of his parts and abilities, and desire the help of such ministers so associated, for the better furnishing of them with such a person, as by them shall be judged fit for the service of that church and people.
THE CONTENTS OF THE FORM OF PRESBYTERIAL CHURCH-
Of the church.
Of the officers of the church.
Teacher or doctor.
Of particular congregations.
Of the officers of a particular congregation. Of the ordinances in a particular congregation.
Of church-government, and the several sorts of assemblies for the same.
Of the power in common of all these assemblies.
Of congregational assemblies, that is, the
Of synodical assemblies.
Touching the doctrine of ordination.
Concerning the doctrinal part of the ordina-
The directory for the ordination of ministers.
The Assembly's Declaration of the Falsehood and Forgery of a lying scandalous Pamphlet, put forth under the Name of their Reverend Brother Master Alexander Henderson, after his Death.
THE general assembly of this kirk having seen a printed paper, entitled," The Declaration of Mr. Alexander Henderson, principal minister of the word of God at Edinburgh, and chief-commissioner for the kirk of Scotland to the parliament and synod of England, made upon his death-bed;" and taking into their serious consideration how many gross lies and impudent calumnies are therein contained; out of the tender respect which they do bear to his name (which ought to be very precious to them and all posterity, for his faithful service in the great work of reformation in these kingdoms, wherein the Lord was pleased to make him eminently instrumental); and lest through the malice of some, and ignorance of others, the said pamphlet should gain belief among the weaker sort, they have thought fit to make known and declare, concerning the same, as followeth :
That, after due search and trial, they do find, that their worthy brother Master Alexander Henderson did, from the time of his coming from London to Newcastle, till the last moment of his departure out of this life, upon all occasions manifest the constancy of his judgment touching the work of reformation in these kingdoms; namely, in all
his discourses and conferences with his majesty, and with his brethren, who were employed with him in the same trust at Newcastle: in his letters to the commissioners at London, and particularly in his last discourse to his majesty, at his departing from Newcastle, being very weak, and greatly decayed in his natural strength. When he was come from Newcastle by sea to this kingdom, he was in such a weak, worn, and failed condition, as it was evident to all who saw him, that he was not able to frame any such declaration: for he was so spent, that he died within eight days after his arrival; and all that he was able to speak in that time, did clearly shew his judgment of, and affection to, the work of reformation, and cause of God, to be every way the same then that it was in the beginning and progress thereof; as divers reverend brethren, who visited him, have declared to this assembly, and particularly two brethren who constantly attended him from the time he came home till his breath expired. A farther testimony may be brought from a short confession of faith under his hand, found amongst his papers, which is expressed as his last words, wherein, among other mercies, he declareth himself most of all obliged to the care and goodness of God, for calling him to believe the promises of the gospel, and for exalting him to be a preacher of them to others; and to be a willing, though a weak instrument in this great and wonderful work of reformation, which he earnestly beseeched the Lord to bring to a happy conclusion. Other reasons may be added from the levity of the style, and manifest absurdities contained in that paper. Upon consideration of all which, this assembly doth condemn the said pamphlet as forged, scandalous, and false. And farther declare the author and contriver of the same, to be void of charity and a good conscience, and a gross liar and calumniator, led by the spirit of the accuser of the brethren.
August 7, 1648. Ante meridiem. Sess. 31.
A Confession of Faith of Seven Congregations, or Churches of Christ in London, which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the Vindication of the Truth, and Information of the Ignorant: likewise for the taking off those Aspersions, which are frequently, both in Pulpit and Print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed at London, Anno 1646.
I. THE Lord our God is but one God, whose subsistence is in himself; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; who is in himself most holy, every way infinite, in greatness, wisdom, power, love; merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth: who giveth being, moving, and preservation, to all creatures. *
II. In this divine and infinite Being there is the Father, the Word,
* 1 Cor. viii. 6. Isa. xliv. 6; and xlvi. 9. Exod. iii. 14. 1 Tim. vi. 16. Isa. xliii. 15. Psalm cxlvii. 5. Deut. xxxii. 3. Job xxxvi. 5. Jer. x. 12. Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. Acts xvii. 28. Rom. xi. 36.
and the Holy Spirit; each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided; all infinite without any beginning, therefore but one God; who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties *.
III. God hath decreed in himself, before the world was, concerning all things, whether necessary, accidental, or voluntary, with all the circumstances of them, to work, dispose, and bring about, all things according to the counsel of his own will, to his glory (yet without being the author of sin, or having fellowship with any therein): in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, unchangeableness, power, and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree: and God hath, before the foundation of the world, fore-ordained some men to eternal life, through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of his grace: leaving the rest in their sin, to their just condemnation, to the praise of his justice +.
IV. In the beginning God made all things very good: created man after his own image, filled with all meet perfection of nature, and free from all sin but long he abode not in this honour; Satan using the subtlety of the serpent to seduce first Eve, then by her seducing Adam; who, without any compulsion, in eating the forbidden fruit, transgressed the command of God, and fell, whereby death came upon all his posterity: who now are conceived in sin, and by nature the children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subjects of death, and other miseries in this world, and for ever, unless the Lord Jesus Christ set them free .
V. God, in his infinite power and wisdom, doth dispose all things to the end for which they were created; that neither good nor evil befals any by chance, or without his providence; and that whatsoever befals the elect, is by his appointment, for his glory, and their good §.
VI. All the elect, being loved of God with an everlasting love, are redeemed, quickened, and saved, not by themselves, nor their own works, lest any man should boast, but only and wholly by God, of his free grace and mercy, through Jesus Christ, who is made unto us by God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, and all in all, that he that rejoiceth might rejoice in the Lord ||.
VII. And this is life eternal, that we might know him the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. And on the contrary, the Lord will render vengeance, in flaming fire, to them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ ¶.
VIII. The rule of this knowledge, faith, and obedience, concerning the worship of God, in which is contained the whole duty of man, is
1 Cor. i. 3.
John i. 1; and xv. 26. Exod. iii. 14. 1 Cor. viii. 6. + Isa. xlvi. 10. Eph. i. 11. Rom. xi. 33.
Psalm. xvxiii. 15; cxv. 3; cxxxv. 6; and exliv. 1 Sam. x. 9. 26. Prov. xvi. 4. 33; and xxi. 6. Exod. xxi. 13. Isa. xlv. 7. Col. i. 16, 17. Numb. xxiii. 19, 20. Rom. iii. 4. Jer. x. 10; xiv.
Matt. vi. 28. 30.
22. Eph. i. 4, 5. Jude 4. 6.
Gen. i. 1; and iii. 1. 4, 5. Col. i. vii. 29. 2 Cor. xi. 3. 1 Tim. ii. 14. 19. Eph. ii. 3.
§ Job xxxviii. 11. Isa. xlvi. 10, 11. 13. Prov. xvi. 33. Rom. viii. 28.
Jer. xxiii. 6; and xxxi. 2. Eph. i. 3. 7; and ii. 8, 9. 38. 2 Cor. v. 21. Jer. xi. 23, 24. 1 Cor. i. 30, 31. ¶ John vi. 36; and xvii. 3. Heb. v. 9. 1 Thess. i. 8.
1 Thess. v. 9.
(not men's laws, or unwritten traditions, but) only the word of God contained in the Holy Scriptures; in which is plainly recorded whatsoever is needful for us to know, believe, and practise; which are the only rule of holiness and obedience for all saints, at all times, in all places, to be observed*.
IX. The Lord Jesus Christ, of whom Moses and the prophets wrote, the apostles preached, he is the Son of God, the brightness of his glory, &c. by whom he made the world; who upholdeth and governeth all things that he hath made; who also, when the fulness of time was come, was made of a woman, of the tribe of Judah, of the seed of Abraham and David; to wit, of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit coming down upon her, the power of the Most High overshadowing her; and he was also tempted as we are, yet without sint.
X. Jesus Christ is made the mediator of the new and everlasting covenant of grace between God and man, ever to be perfectly and fully the prophet, priest, and king, of the church of God for evermore‡.
XI. Unto this office he was appointed by God from everlasting; and in respect of his manhood, from the womb called, separated, and anointed, most fully and abundantly with all gifts necessary, God having without measure poured out his Spirit upon him§.
XII. Concerning his mediatorship, the Scripture holds forth Christ's call to his office; for none takes this honour upon him, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron, it being an action of God, whereby a special promise being made, he ordains his Son to this office; which promise is, that Christ should be made a sacrifice for sin; that he should see his seed, and prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; all of mere free and absolute grace towards God's elect, and without any condition foreseen in them to procure it. XIII. This office to be mediator, that is, to be prophet, priest, and king, of the church of God, is so proper to Christ, that neither in whole, or any part thereof, it can be transferred from him to any other¶
XIV. This office, to which Christ is called, is threefold; a prophet, priest, and king: this number and order of offices is necessary, for in respect of our ignorance, we stand in need of his prophetical office; and in respect of our great alienation from God, we need his priestly office to reconcile us; and in respect of our averseness and utter inability to return to God, we need his kingly office, to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, and preserve, us to his heavenly kingdom**.
XV. Concerning the prophecy of Christ, it is that whereby he hath revealed the will of God, whatsoever is needful for his servants to know
Col. ii. 23. Matt. xv. 9. 6. John v. 39. 2 Tim. iii. 15-17, Isa. viii. 20. Gal. i. 8, 9. Acts iii. 22, 23.
Gen. iii. 15; xxii. 18; and xlix. 9, 10. Dan. vii. 13; and ix. 24, &c. 23. John i. 1-3. Heb. i. 8; ii. 16; iv. 15; and vii. 14. Gal. iv. 4. Rom. i. 3; and ix. 10. Matt. i. 16. Luke iii. 23. 26. Isa. liii. 3-5. Heb. ix. 15. John xiv. 6. Isa. ix. 6, 7.
1 Tim. ii. 5. Prov. viii. 23.
Rev. v. 1.
Isa. xi. 2-5; xliii. 6; xlix. 15; and lxi. 1, 2. Luke iv. 17. 22. John i. 14. 26; and iii. 34.
Heb. v. 4-6.
Isa. lii. 10, 11. John iii. 16. Rom viii. 32.
Heb. iii. 3; and
iv. 14, 15, Cant. i. 3.
¶ 1 Tim. ii. 5. Heb. vii. 24. Dan. vii. 14. Acts iv. 12. Luke i. 33. John xiv. 6. Deut. viii. 15. Acts iii. 22, 23; and xxvi. 18. Psalm ii. 6. 2 Cor. v. 20. Col. i. 21. John xvi. 8. John vi. 44. Phil. iv. 13. 2 Tim. iv. 18.