A Confession of Evangelical Principles in a letter to a friend
The Project Gutenberg eBook, A Confession of Evangelical Principles, byJohn ChurchThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org. If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: A Confession of Evangelical Principles in a letter to a friendAuthor: John ChurchRelease Date: December 18, 2018 [eBook #58492]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A CONFESSION OF EVANGELICALPRINCIPLES***
Transcribed from the  J. Cheney edition by David Price,email [email protected] Many thanks to the Bodleian forallowing their copy to be consulted.
LETTER TO A FRIEND;
Minister of thegospel,
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to writeunto you, of the common Salvation; it was needful for me to writeunto you, and exhort you, that ye should earnestly contend forthe Faith, which was once delivered unto the Saints.” Jude 3.
PRINTED AND SOLD BY J. CHENEY,
Printer to His Royal Highness the Dukeof Clarence.
Banbury; February 1st,1808.
As you have solicited me tovindicate myself from the things laid to my charge, I take thisopportunity of making public the sentiments I hold; and I willanswer the rest of the charges at the close of my confession offaith. The charges brought against me, are these four;First, That I hold and propogate Antinomiansentiments. Secondly, That I create divisionswherever I preach. Thirdly, That after People cometo hear me preach, they cannot with pleasure hear their ownMinisters again. And, Fourthly, That I do not preachto Sinners. These are heavy charges indeed! Withrespect to the first, as my sentiments are deemedAntinomian, I think it my duty to make them public: the rest ofthe charges are not worth an answer. But, I can assure you,Sir, that the leading doctrines I preach, are in harmony with theWord of God, which is the only rule of faith and practice: Iembrace and propogate no other doctrines than these, set forth inthe doctrinal Articles of the Church of England; the WestminsterConfession of Faith; and what your own Ministers, who belong tothe Associations, generally hold, as appears upon their circularletters; namely, receiving the Scriptures of the Old and NewTestament, as their only guide in faith and practice; and thencederiving their belief, in the important doctrines of three equalPersons, in one divine essence; Eternal and personal Election;Original Sin; Justification, by the imputed righteousness
The following doctrines I have been enabled to declare amidstgreat opposition, and, as they are a part of the revealed will ofGod, those who oppose them, are fighting against Godhimself. As to the loss of the favor and friendship ofthose Ministers who are strangers to the power of Godliness, andaverse to the humiliating doctrines of the Cross of Christ, this,I hope, will not break my heart; and while they are loading mewith reproach, I shall not render railing for railing; for whilethey curse, I will bless; while they condemn, I hope God willjustify; while they oppose, I know he will lead on; and, I hope,I shall be enabled to put up that charitable prayer for myenemies, which the Redeemer did for his; “Father, forgivethem:” p.5in the language of dying Stephen, “Lord, lay notthis to their charge:” and in the pious breathings of theChurch of England Litany, I would pray, “That it may pleasethee, to forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and toturn their hearts.” And while many in our day are shyof the doctrines of the gospel, (which is an awful proof theynever felt their power, and never tasted their sweetness, so thatthey are but little consequence to them;) I hope, I shall beenabled to stand fast in the faith, and hold the beginning of myconfidence firm, unto the end; not at all terrified by any of myadversaries, however popular they may be. If I couldpalliate and comply with their dead barren dry system oflegality, I believe that they would cease to reproach me. But, because I maintain and declare the whole counsel of God, Iam deemed an Antinomian; a Troubler of Churches; a Sower ofDissentions; a Creator of Divisions; One that Disaffects Hearerswith their own Ministers; One that does not preach to Sinners;and, in fact, every thing that is disrespectful in the estimationof proud Legalists, and self-righteous Pharisees.
The following Confession, I read at my Ordination, with a fewadditions; and as many of my friends have so repeatedly intreatedme to make it public, I take this opportunity of doing it,praying that the best of blessings may accompany the same, asthey are sentiments calculated to display the glory of God, andbring joy and peace to that Sinner who is made sensible of hislost condition.
I. I believe, that the Scriptures of the Old and NewTestament are the word of God, and the only rule of faith andpractice.
II. I believe, that there is but One only, living, andtrue God; that there are Three Persons in the Godhead, who areequal in nature, power, and glory; and, that the Son and HolyGhost, are as truly and properly God, as the Father. TheseThree divine Persons are distinguished from each other bypeculiar relative properties. These Three divine distinctPersons, I profess to reverence, serve, and worship, as the Onetrue God.
III. I believe, that before the World began, God didelect a certain number of Mankind unto everlasting life, whom hedid predestinate to the adoption of Children, by Jesus Christ, ofhis own free grace, and according to the good pleasure of hiswill; that he appointed holiness as the means; and that no onehas a right to consider himself as a chosen vessel, till he iseffectually called by the grace of God.
p. 7IV. I believe, that God made all things in Creation, out of nothing,to display his goodness, wisdom, power, and glory; and, that bythe same power, he upholds and governs, rules and directs allthings in Heaven and Earth; and, that he displays his sovereigntyaccording to the counsel of his own will, or his eternal plan,formed before all Worlds.
V. I believe, that there is one Mediator between God andMan; the Man, Christ Jesus; that he stood in his mediatorialcapacity as our representative and head, in the covenant ofeternal redemption and grace; engaged to be all that to hispeople, they could possibly need in time, and their bliss througheternity.
p. 8VI. I believe, that God made Man upright; but mutable and liable tofall: and, being left to the freedom of his own will, through theinfluence of Satan, he broke the covenant of works, and fell fromthe Image of God; that all Mankind sinned in him and fell withhim, as their head and representative; and both him and hisposterity became liable to the curse and penalty of a violatedlaw.
VII. I believe, that all Mankind are conceived and bornin sin, Children of disobedience, enemies to God, violaters ofhis commands, averse to good, prone to evil, Children of wrath,obnoxious to the justice of God, and the condemnation of his law:and I believe, that no Creature can help or deliver himself, outof that wretched state into which he has fallen. I solemnlybelieve, that this is the state of all Men by nature.
VIII. I believe, that according to the eternalappointment of God the Father, and the Covenant engagements ofthe dear Redeemer, that, in the fulness of time, God sent his Soninto the world to redeem fallen Men; that part of the human race,that was given him in eternity; that their redemption wasobtained by the shedding of his blood; that this redemption isspecial and particular, designed only for the elect of God, theSheep of Christ, who only share the special and peculiarblessings of it. And, in order to accomplish ourredemption, I believe, it was necessary that the Redeemer shouldtake upon him our nature, a human body and soul, created andformed by God the Spirit, conceived in the womb of the VirginMary, born of a Woman, made under the law, that he might redeemp. 9his peoplefrom it; work out a righteousness adequate to its demands, makean atonement by suffering the death of the Cross, satisfy divineJustice, glorify all the attributes of Deity, and open a way, forthe communication of all those blessings, which are needful forthe Saints of God, both for time and eternity.
IX. I believe, that the matter of the Sinners’justification before a holy God, is the righteousness of Christimputed to them; which is, his perfect, spotless obedience to thelaw, in their room and stead, without the consideration of anyworks done by them; and, that the full and free pardon of alltheir sins, past, present, and to come, is only through the bloodof Christ, according to the riches of his grace; and, that nonecan be justified in any other way. This righteousness beingseen by the eye of faith, and embraced by the hand of faith, weare manifestly justified and freed from the law; that, being deadwherein we were held, we live to God, and by love serve the Lord,having our fruit unto holiness, and the end, eternal life.
p.10X. I believe, that all the objects of eternallove, the subjects of his choice, and the purchase of theRedeemer’s blood, are effectually called in one way oranother, by the efficacious and irresistible grace of God thedivine Spirit; and not by an act of Man’s free will andpower. I believe they are washed, justified, andsanctified, in the name and by God the Spirit, in some part oftheir lives.
XI. I believe, that all Saints are kept by the mightypower of God, through faith, to eternal Salvation; and, that assure as they are called, justified, and sanctified, they willinfallibly persevere: because of the perpetuity of God’slove, the liability of his covenant, and his faithfulness to hisabsolute promises.
XII. I believe, that the Church of Christ consists oftrue believers in his name; that these are his mystical body, ofwhich, he is the only head, and there is no other: and, that allthe Children of God derive spiritual life from him, by virtue ofunion to him; that he is our life; and in consequence of that, weare now quickened by his life-giving power in conversion; ourbodies shall be quickened in the last day, and all Believersshall enjoy eternal life, in glory for ever.
p.11XIII. I believe, that in the new testament Churchof Christ, there are but two Sacraments; Baptism, and the Supperof the Lord. I believe, Baptism to be an outward andvisible sign; first, of the sufferings, death, burial, andresurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ; secondly, of an inward andspiritual operation of the Holy Ghost, upon the hearts ofbelievers; and is a grand emblem of a death unto sin, and a newbirth unto righteousness; for being by nature the