תמונות בעמוד

thies with divine perfections, is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Saviour.

V. OF JUSTIFICATION.-That the great Gospel blessing, which Christ of his fulness bestows on such as believe in Him, is justification; that justification consists in the pardon of sin and the promise of eternal life, on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through his own redemption and righteousness; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favour with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.

VI. OF THE FREENESS OF SALVATION.-That the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the Gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth, except his own voluntary refusal to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ; which refusal will subject him to an aggravated condemnation.

VII. OF GRACE IN REGENERATION. That in order to be saved, we must be regenerated or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind, and is effected in a manner above our comprehension or calculation, by the power of the Holy Spirit, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; and that its proper evidence is found in the holy fruit which we bring forth to the glory of God.

VIII. OF GOD'S PURPOSE OF GRACE. That election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which he regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, being infinitely wise, holy and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it is ascertained by its effects in all who believe the Gospel; is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves, demands and deserves our utmost diligence.

IX. OF THE PERSEVERANCE OF SAINTS.-That such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

X. HARMONY OF THE LAW AND GOSPEL.-That the law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government; that it is holy, just and good; and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfil its precepts, arises entirely from their love of sin; to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible church.

XI. OF A GOSPEL CHURCH.-That a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by his laws; and exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by his word; that its only proper officers are bishops or pastors, and deacons, whose qualifications, claims and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.

XII. OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER.-That Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit; to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, with its purifying power; that it is pre-requisite to the privileges of a church relation; and to the Lord's supper, in which the members of the church, by the use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ; preceded always by solemn selfexamination.

XIII. OF THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH.-That the first day of the week is the Lord's day, or Christian Sabbath, and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes, by abstaining from all secular labor and recreations; by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private and public; and by preparation for that rest which remaineth for the people of God.

XIV. OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT.-That civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests of good order of human society; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed, except in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.

XV. OF THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED.-That there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death.

XVI. OF THE WORLD TO COME.-That the end of this world is approaching; that at the last day, Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous, to endless joy ; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness.

CHURCH COVENANT.-Having been, as we trust, brought by divine grace to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ, and to give up ourselves wholly to him; we do now solemnly and joyfully covenant with each other, TO WALK TOGETHER IN HIM WITH BROTHERLY LOVE, to his glory as our commom Lord. We do, therefore, in his strength engage,

That we will exercise a mutual care, as members one of another, to promote the growth of the whole body in Christian knowledge,

holiness and comfort; to the end that we may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

That to promote and secure this object, we will uphold the public worship of God and the ordinances of his house; and hold constant communion with each other therein; that we will cheerfully contribute of our property for the support of the poor, and for the maintenance of a faithful ministry of the Gospel among us.

That we will not omit closet and family religion at home, nor allow ourselves in the too common neglect of the great duty of religiously training up our children, and those under our care, with a view to the service of Christ, and the enjoyment of heaven.

That we will walk circumspectly in the world, that we may win their souls; remembering that God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind; that we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and that a city set on a hill cannot be hid.

That we will frequently exhort, and if occasion shall require, admonish one another, according to Matthew 18th, in the spirit of meekness; considering ourselves, lest we also be tempted, and that as in baptism we have been buried with Christ, and raised again; so there is on us a special obligation henceforth to walk in newness of life.

And may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us perfect every good work to do his will; working in us that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ: to whom be glory forever and ever. AMEN. See Matt. 3: 5, 6, 11, 13—16.—20: 22, 23.-21: 25.-28: 19. Mark 1: 4, 5, 8, 9, 10.-11: 30.-16: 15, 16. Luke 3: 3, 7, 12, 16, 21.-7: 29, 30.-12: 50.-20: 4. John 1: 28, 31, 33.-3: 22, 23.—4: 1, 2. Acts 1: 5, 22.-2: 38, 41.-8: 12, 13, 36-39.-9: 18.-10: 37, 47, 48.-13: 24.—16: 15, 33.—18: 8, 25.-19: 4, 5.-22: 16. Rom. 6: 3, 4. 1 Cor. 1: 13-17.—10: 2. 12: 13.-15: 29. Gal. 3: 27. Eph. 4: 5. Col. 2: 12. Heb. 6: 2. 1st Pet. 3: 21.

Many of the Baptists, particularly in large cities, erect baptistries in their places of worship. This is considered improper, by some, as in all baptisms mentioned in the Scriptures, where the place is named, the ordinance was performed in the open air; in a river, lake or sea. (See Appendix, Note B.)


THE Bereans are a sect of protestant dissenters from the church of Scotland, who take their title from and profess to follow the example of the ancient Bereans, in building their system of faith and practice upon the Scriptures alone, without regard to any human authority whatever. The Bereans first assembled as a separate society of Christians, in the city of Edinburgh, in the autumn of 1773. Mr. Barclay, a Scotch clergyman, was the founder of this sect.

The Bereans agree with the great majority of Christians respecting the doctrine of the Trinity, which they hold as a fundamental article; and they also agree in a great measure with the professed principles of our orthodox churches, respecting predestination and election, though they allege that these doctrines are not consistently taught. But they differ from the majority of all sects of Christians in various other important particulars, such as, 1. Respecting our knowledge of the Deity. Upon this subject they say, the majority of professed Christians stumble at the very threshold of revelation; and, by admitting the doctrine of natural religion, natural conscience, natural notices, &c., not founded upon revelation, or derived from it by tradition, they give up the cause of Christianity at once to the infidels; who may justly argue, as Mr. Paine in fact does in his Age of Reason, that there is no occasion for any revelation or word of God, if man can discover his nature and perfections from his works alone. But this the Bereans argue is beyond the natural powers of human reason; and, therefore, our knowledge of God is from revelation alone, and that without revelation man would never have entertained an idea of his existence. 2. With regard to faith in Christ, and assurance of salvation through his merits, they differ from almost all other sects whatsoever. These they reckon inseparable, or rather the same, because (they say) "God hath expressly declared, he that believeth shall be saved; and, therefore, it is not only absurd but impious, and in a manner calling God a liar, for a man to say I believe the Gospel, but have doubts, nevertheless, of my own salvation." With regard to the various distinctions and definitions that have been given of different kinds of faith, they argue that there is nothing incomprehensible or obscure in the meaning of this word as used in Scripture; but that as faith, when applied to human testimony, signifies neither more nor less than the mere simple belief of that testimony as true, upon the authority of the testifier, so, when applied to the testimony of God, it signifies precisely "the belief of his testimony, and resting upon his veracity alone, without any kind of collateral support from concurrence of any other evidence or testimony whatever." And they insist that, as this faith is the gift of God alone, so the person to whom it is given is as conscious of possessing it as the being to whom God gives life is of being alive : and, therefore, he entertains no doubts either of his faith or his consequent salvation through the merits of Christ, who died and rose again for that purpose. In a word, they argue that the gospel would not be what it is held forth to be, glad tidings of great joy, if it did not bring full personal assurance of eternal salvation to the believer; which assurance, they insist, is the present infallible privilege and portion of every individual believer of the gospel. 3. Consistently with the above definition of faith, they say that the sin against the Holy Ghost, which has alarmed and puzzled so many in all ages, is nothing else but unbelief; and that the expression-"it shall not be forgiven neither in this world nor that which

́o come,” means only that a person dying in infidelity would not

be forgiven neither under the former dispensation by Moses (the then present dispensation, kingdom, or government of God,) nor under the gospel dispensation, which, in respect of the Mosaic, was a kind of future world or kingdom to come. 4. The Bereans interpret a great part of the Old Testament prophecies, and in particular the whole of the Psalms, excepting such as are merely historical or laudatory, to be typical or prophetical of Jesus Christ, his sufferings, atonement, mediation and kingdom; and they esteem it a gross perversion of these Psalms and prophecies to apply them to the experiences of private Christians. In proof of this, they not only urge the words of the apostle, that no prophecy is of any private interpretation, but they insist that the whole of the quotations from the ancient prophecies in the New Testament, and particularly those from the Psalms, are expressly applied to Christ. this opinion many other classes of Protestants agree with them. 5. Of the absolute all-superintending sovereignty of the Almighty, the Bereans entertain the highest idea, as well as of the uninterrupted exertion thereof over all his works, in heaven, earth, and hell, however unsearchable by his creatures. A God without election, they argue, or choice in all his works, is a God without existence, a mere idol, a nonentity. And to deny God's election, purpose, and express will in all his works, is to make him inferior to ourselves.


The Bereans consider infant baptism as a divine ordinance, instituted in the room of circumcision; and think it absurd to suppose that infants, who all agree are admissible to the kingdom of God in heaven, should, nevertheless, be incapable of being admitted into his visible church on earth. They commemorate the Lord's supper generally once a month; but as the words of the institution fix no particular period, they sometimes celebrate it oftener, and sometimes at more distant periods, as it may suit their general convenience. They meet every Lord's day for the purpose of preaching, praying, and exhorting to love and good works. With regard to admission and exclusion of members, their method is very simple: when any person, after hearing the Berean doctrines, professes his belief and assurance of the truths of the gospel, and desires to be admitted into their communion, he is cheerfully received upon his profession, whatever may have been his former manner of life. But if such a one should afterwards draw back from his good profession or practice, they first admonish him, and, if that has no effect, they leave him to himself. They do not think that they have any power to deliver a backsliding brother to Satan; that text, and other similar passages, such as, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven," &c. they consider as restricted to the apostles, and to the inspired testimony alone, and not to be extended to any church on earth, or any number of churches or of Christians, whether decided by a majority of votes, or by unanimous voices. Neither do they think themselves authorized, as a Christian church, to inquire into each other's political opinions, any more than to examine into each other's notions of philos

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