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Westminster Assembly (1643-1652).

The Confession of faith : together with the Larger and Lesser catechismes, composed by the Reverend Assembly of Divines, sitting at Westminster, presented to both houses of Parliament (1675) online

. (page 1 of 53)
Online LibraryWestminster Assembly (1643-1652)The Confession of faith : together with the Larger and Lesser catechismes, composed by the Reverend Assembly of Divines, sitting at Westminster, presented to both houses of Parliament (1675) → online text (page 1 of 53)
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^^^ ^U^ ^%^ ^W^ ^i*^ ^iS«* ^i^ *^B* ^ie* ^&f^ Batchellor

in Divinity.
James Wtldy of Sylatten.
Dr. Chrijitpher Pashlty of Hawarden.
Henry To%cr Batchellor in Divinity.



VVlUiim SpurJI$j9 of Hampd«n in Cotn.
Bucks,

Franen CheyneU afOxoQ.

Edmrd Ellis ofGilsfield , Batchellor in Di-
vinity.

Dr. ^ohn Hach^t of St. Aivlrews Holborn.

Samuel de la Place,

fohn de la March.

At»tthevo Newcemen of Dedhattl.

KFiliiam Lyjord of Sherborne in Com.'
Dorfer.

Mr. Carter of Dynton in Com. Bucks.

y Fill tarn Lance »f Harrow in Middlefex.

Thtmns Hedges of Kenfington in Com. Mid-
dlefex.

.Andreas Ptrne of Wilby in Com. Northam-
pton.

Dr. Thomas yTefffieldofSt. Bartholomew
le great London, Bifhop of BriftoU.

Dr. Henry Hammon of Pcnfhurft in Kent.

JVichelas Projfet of Marlbotough in Com.
Wilts.

Peter Sterry of London,

John Erie of Bifliopfton in Com. Wilts.

Mr. Gibbon of Waltham.

Henry P ainter ofExeKx , Batchellor in Di-
vinity.

Mt. Atickjetvpaite of Cherry- burton.

Dr. fohn yyhimop of St. Martins in the'
fields.

Mr. Price of Pauls Church in Covent
Garden. ^

Henry yyilkinfm junior , Batchellor in Di-
vinity.

Dr, I{ichard oldfxcorth Mafter of Emanuel
Colledge in Cambridge.

Mr. yyiUitm Daning o f Coloafton.



And fuch other perfon and perfons as shall be nominated and appointed by botft'
Houfes of parliament , or fo many of them as shall not be letted by ficknefs or other
necefTary impediment, shall meet and affemble , and are hereby required and enjoy-
ned upon fummonsfignedby the Clerks of both Houfes of /'^ir/Mw^wf, left at their
fevcral refpedive dwellings , to meet and aflemble themfelves at ^'efimhjler in the
Ghappel called King Hf«ry the feventhsChappel, on thefirft day of y///;- in the year
of our Lord one thoufand fix l^undred forty three : And after tliefirft meeting, be-
ing at leaft of the number of forty , shall from time to time fit and be removed from
place to place , aijd alfothat the faid AfTembly shall be difiblved in fuch manner as by
both Houfes oi ParluTy..m shall be diredied ; And the faid perfons, orfonany of
th^m as shall be fo Aflembled , or fit) shall have power and authority, and arc hereby

* 3 likewij^



Ilkiwlfe enjoyned , from time to time during this prcfent parlUmenty or nntill fur-
ther Order be taken by boththe'faid Houfcs, to confer and treat among themfelves of
fuch matters and things , touching and concerning the Liturgy , difciplinc and Go-
vernment of the Church oiBngUnd , or the vindicating and clearing of the Dodrine
of the fame from allfalfe afperiionsand mis-conftru^ions , as shall be propofedunto
them by both or either of ihsfaid Houfes of >4?'/i.KW(r«/ , and no other, tnd deliver
their Opinions and Ad vifes of, or touching the matters aforefaid , as shall be moft a-
greeablc to the Word of God , to both or cither of the Houfes , from time to time , in
{uch manner and fort, as by both or either of the faid Houfes o^ parliament shall be re-
quired, and the fame not to divulge by printing, writing, orotherwife, without the
confent of both or either Houle or parliament. And it be further Ordained by the
authority aforefaid,that ^illUti Tmfs Dodor in Divinity shal fit in the Chair as Pro-
locutor of the faid Aflcmbly, and if he happen to dye, or be letted by ficknefs or other
necedary impediment , then fuch other pcrfon to be appointed in his place as shall be
agreed on by both the faid Houfes of p4r/wwf«f ; And in cafe any difference in opi-
nion shall happen amongft the faid perfonsfoaflTcmbled, touching any the matters
that shall be propofed to them as aforefaid , that then they shall reprefent the fame to-
gether with the reafons thereof to both , or either the faid Houfes refpeclively, to the
end fuch further dire(ftion may be given therein as shall be requifite to that behalf.
And be it be further Ordained by the authority aforefaid : That for the Charges and
Expences of the faid Divines, and every of them in attending the faid fervice , there
shall be allowed every of them that shall fo attend , during the time of their faid at-
tendance, and for ten dayes before and ten dayes after the fumme of four Shillings for
every day , at the charges of the Common-wealth , at fuch time and in fuch manner as
by both Houfes oi- Parliament shall be appointed. And be it further ordained. That
all and every the faid Divines , fo as aforefaid required and enjoyned to meet and
allemble, shall be freed and acquitted of and from every offence, forfeiture , penalty,
lofs or damage whicli shall or may arife , or grow , by reafon of any non-refidence or
abfence of them, or any of them, from his or their, or any of their Cliurch , Churches
or Cures, for, or in refpe,^

JohnMaitland.
Alexander Henderfoa.
George Gillefpie.
Samuel Rutherford.
Robert Bay lie.

Henry Robrough >
Adoniram Byfield ( Scrlb^^
JohaVVallis. ■*





T O THE

CHRISTIAN R^EADER:

Sfpeciall; heads of f AUlLl£S.

S we cannoc but with grief of Soul lament;
thofe multitudes of crrours , Klafphemiesj
and all kinds of prophanenefs, which havci
in this laft Age like a Mighty Deluge over-
flown this Nation , fo among feveral other
fins which have helped to open the Flood-
gates of all thefe impieties , we cannot but
efteem the difufe of family- inftrudion one

I of the greateft. The two great Pillars upon
which the kingdom of Satan is ereded, and
by which it is upheld, are ignorance and er-
rour; The firft ftep of our manumiffion from this fpiritual thraldom e
confifts in having our eyes opened, and being turned from darkncfto light 5 Acis 26, iS.
How much the ferious endeavours of Godly Parents and Matters might
contribute to an early feafoning the tender years , of fuch as are under
their infpedion is abundantly evident, not only from their Tpecial in-
fluence upon them , in ref pe^l of their Authority over them, interefl: in
them, continual prefence with them, and frequent opportunities of be-
ing helpful to them, but alfo from the fad effects which by woful expe-
rience we find to be the fruit of the omiffion of this duty. 'T were eafie
! to fet before you a cloud of Witmffes the language of whofe pradlife hath
. been not onely an eminent commendation of this duty, but alfo a ferious
exhortation to it. As Akl though dead) jQtfpeaks by his example to us for ^^j, j.^^
; imitation of his faith, d^r. Sodotheexamplesof^fc-r^^rfW, of Jo/7^«rt^,of
' the Parents of So/c;;w« , ofthe grand-mother and Mother of T/wo//;v, the
AIoth any better then an impertinency in this
noon-day oFthe Gofpel, either toinformorperfwadeinadutyfo ex-
exprelly commanded, fo frequently urged, fo highly encouraged, and fo
eminently owned by the Lord in all ages with his blefling , but that our
fad experience tells us this duty is not more needful then 't is of late ne-
gleded. For the reftoring of this duty to its due obfervance give us leave
to fuggeft this double advice.

Tive firftconcerns Heads of Families in refped of themfelves, That as
the Lord hath fet them in place above the reft of their family, they
would labour in all wifdom and fpiritual Underftanding to be above
them alfo. 'Tis an uncomely fight to behold men in years Babes in
knowledge , and how unmeet are they to inftrud: others , who need
H;b. 5.12, themfelves to be taught , which be the fir(i principles of the Oracles of God ?
Knowledge is an accomplishment fo defirable that the Devils them-
felves knew not a more taking bait by which to tempt our firft Parents,
then by the fruit of the Tree ofKmVpledge : fo shall yen be ^^ Gods , ki:o'^>inrig
xKing.j.59. gooi'i and evil. When Solomon had that favour shewedhim oftheLord,
that he was made his own chufer what to ask , he knew no greater mer-
cy to beg then nifdom. The underftanding is the guide and Tilot of the
whole man , that faculty which fits at the ftern of the Soul : but as the
moii expert guide may miftake in the dark ^ fo may the Underftanding
when it wants the light of knowledge ,• without KmrvUdge the win.ic^r.r
ProY. 19. 2. ^0: begooii nor the life good, nor the eternal condition fafe, J[dy people are
Epfaef. 4. i8. dtfiroyed for lack, cf k^oTplcdge. 'Tis ordinary in Scripture to fet propha-
^■'^'^* nefs and all kind of mifcarriages upon the fcore of ignorance. Difeafesin
the body have many times their rife from diftempers in the head, and
exorbitances in pradtife from erroursin Judgementjand indeed in every
iln there i.s fomething both of ignorance and errour at the bottome , for
did finners truly know what they do in finning , we might fay-of every
lin what the Apoftle fpeaks concerning that great fin, had thej kinWn himt
they woald not have crucified the Lord of glory y did they truly know that eve-
ry fin is a provoking the Lird tojealetifie , a proclaiming war againft hea-
ven, A crnciffmg the Lordjefus afresb, a treafmmg tip Vi^raih ti.uo tber/ifehei
again fithe Daj cfVoratb, and that if ever they be pardoned , it muft be at
no lower a rate then the price of his blood, it were fcarce poffible but fin
inftead of alluring, should affright, and inftead of tempting, fcarce. 'T is
one of the Arch-devices and principal methods of Sataa to deceive men

into



Tie Ipifile to the Reader^,
irrto {in • thus he prevailed againft our firft Parent ?, flbt as ^ Lyon, but as
a Serpent, ading his enmity under a pretence of friendship, and tempt-
ing them to evil under an appearance of good, and thus hath he all along
carried on his defigns of darknefs by transforming himfelf into an Angel
of light, making poor deceived men in love with their mireiies,cindhug
their own dellrudion. A moft foveraign antidote againfl all kind of er-
roursjis to be grounded and fetlediiuhe faith : perfons unfixed in ihs
true Religion are very receptive of a falfe , and they who are nothing in
fpiritual knowledge are eafily made any thing. Clotufs intlout r\yarer are
driven too and fro With ever} xvind, and Ships without bnllaft lyablc to the
violence of every tempeft. But yet the knowledge wc efpecially com-
mend is not a brain-knowledge J a mcer fpeciilation , this may be in ths
worft of Men, nay in the worft of Creatures, the Devils themfeivcs , and
that in fuch an eminency, as the beft of Saints cannot: artnin to, in this life
of imperfedion ; but an inward, a fayory , an heart knowledge , fuch as
was in that Martjr , who though she would notdifpute for Chrift, could
dye for him. I'his is that fpiritual fenfe and feeling of divine truths the
Apoftle fpeaks of HeL 5. 1 4. Having your fenfes exercifed, &c.

But alace , we may fay of moft Mens Religion , what learned Rivet
fpeaks concerning theerrours of the F.? f/;^n , ikzyn^ere tiot fo imicb (heir jiiygf q^I;^
own Errours , as the Errours of the limes vc>le/em thej lived. Thus do mod 5^^,-/
men take up their Religion upon no better an account then T^Ki and
Papifis take up theirs, becaufe 'tis the Religion ofthetimssand places
wherein they live , and what they take up thus llightly , they lay down as
eafily. Whereas an inward tafte and relish of the things of God is an ex-
cellent prefervative to keep us fetled in the moft unfetled times. Corrupt
and unfavory Principles have great advantage upon us, above thofe that
are fpiritual and found , the former being futable to corrupt nature , the
latter contrary,the former fpringing up of themfeivcs, the latter brought
forth not without a painful induftr}% The ground needs no other Mid-
wifery in bringing forth weeds then onely the neglsclofdiehusband-
mands hand to pluck them up^ the Ayr needs no ot^er caufe of dark-
nefs, then the abfenceofthe Sun, nor Water ofqcldnefsj then its diftancs
from the Fire, becaufe thefe are the genuine products of Nature, Were
it fo well with the Soul (as forae of the Phiiofophers have viinly imagi-
ned) to come into the world as an Ab raft Tabula) a meer blank or piece
of white paper>on which neither any thing written nor any bloLS,it would
then be equally receptive of good and evil , and no more averfe to the
one then to the Qther j but how much worfe its condition indeed is, were

A z Scripture



The Iptflleto the "Reader.
Scripture fileiit, every mans experience does evidently manlfeft. por
who is there that knows any thing of his own heart , and knows not thus
much, that the Suggeftions of Satan have fo eafie and free admittance
into our hearts, that our utmoft watchfulness is too little to guard us from
them, whereas the motions of Gods Spirit are lo unacceptable to us , that
our utmoft diligence is too little to get our hearts open to entertain them.
. Let therefore the excellency, neceflity, difficulty of true wifdome, ftir up
endeavours in you , fomewhat proportionable to fuch an accomplish-

ProvoT. 7. nient, above all getting^ get under (imdmg, andfearchfor mfdom as for hid-^

Prov, z. den treafures ; it much concerns you in refpe(5t of your felves.

Our fecond Advice concerns heads of Families, in refped of their Fa-
milies; whatever hath been faid akeady though it concerns every pri-



Online LibraryWestminster Assembly (1643-1652)The Confession of faith : together with the Larger and Lesser catechismes, composed by the Reverend Assembly of Divines, sitting at Westminster, presented to both houses of Parliament (1675) → online text (page 1 of 53)