« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Of admission of members into the church,
72 Of excommunication, and other censures,
74 of the communion of churches one with another, . 77 Of synods,
81 Of the civil magistrate's power in matters ecclesiastical, 82 CONFESSION OF Faith. Preface,
89 Of the Holy Scriptures,
93 Of God and of the Holy Trinity,
96 Of God's eternal Decree,
97 Of Creation, .
98 Of Providence,
99 Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and the punishment thereof, 100 Of God's Covenant with Man,
101 Of Christ, the Mediator,
102 Of Free-Will,
104 Of Effectual Calling,
104 Of Justification,
105 Of Adoption,
107 Of Sanctification,
107 Of Saving Faith,
108 Of Repentance unto Life and Salvation,
109 Of Good Works,
110 of the Perseverance of the Saints,
111 Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation,
112 Of the Law of God,
113 Of the Gospel, and of the extent of the Grace thereof, 115 Of Christian Liberty, and Liberty of Conscience,
116 Of Religious Worship, and of the Sabbath Day,
117 Of Lawful Oaths and Vows,
119 Of the Civil Magistrate,
120 Of Marriage,
121 Of the Church,
122 Of the Cominunion of Saints,
123 Of the Sacraments,
123 Of Baptism, :
124 Of the Lord's Supper,
125 Of the State of Man after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead,
127 of the Last Judgment, .
REPORT ON CONGREGATIONALISM.
The particular object of the Committee, appointed in Boston, May 29, 1844, on the subject of Congregationalism, was “ to take into consideration what measures are necessary for the re-affirmation and maintenance of the principles and spirit of Congregationalism." * The subcommittee sent a copy of their Unfinished Report to each of the district associations, for the purpose of obtaining their brotherly assistance in revising and finishing the Report. Such assistance has been afforded in the returns which have been made to the committee from seventeen associations. In preparing the final copy of their Report, the committee have availed themselves of the many valuable suggestions made to them by associations and by individual ministers. And they indulge the hope that they have been able so to re-construct and improve the Report, that it will meet the views and wishes of their brethren, as expressed in their communications to the committee. Indeed there appears to us to be much more ground to believe, than was previously supposed, that Congregationalists in Massachusetts may come to a cordial agreement in regard to all the important points of ecclesiastical polity. If the measures which have been pursued have brought to view some differences of opinion, they have also shown how those differences may be disposed
* The Committee consisted of the Rev. Drs. Woods, Humphrey, Snell, Shepard, Cooley and Storrs, and Rev. Parsons Cooke. At the first meeting of the Committee, all were present, except Drs. Shepard and Cooley. Rev. Drs. Woods and Storrs and Rev. Parsons Cooke were chosen as the Subcommittee.
of, and how far Congregationalists are already of the same mind and judgment. And if a spirit of candor and a love of union shall prevail among them in a suitable degree, there is no reason to doubt, that they will come at length to a substantial agreement on all questions of real moment.
In considering “ what measures are necessary for the re-affirmation and maintenance of the principles and spirit of Congregationalism,” we cannot overlook the importance of clearly apprehending what those principles are, which are to be re-affirmed and maintained. And with the means of information which we possess, this cannot be a difficult task. The only Platform of church government which has ever been adopted by the ministers and churches of this Commonwealth, is the well known Cambridge Platform. This must be regarded as the basis and standard of Congregationalism. For although this Platform has been much neglected ; and although certain usages, not authorized by the Platform, have worked themselves into our ecclesiastical affairs; it is still true that Congregationalists generally adhere to the essential principles of the Platform. And no scheme of church polity, which is essentially at variance with those principles, can meet the approbation of enlightened and judicious Congregationalists. In our statement of ecclesiastical principles and rules, we have kept our eye upon that ancient and excellent Platform, and have aimed to conform to its essential principles.
But although the principles of Congregationalism, as held by our Puritan Fathers, are plainly set forth in the Platform, which was adopted in 1648, they are not at present sufficiently understood and maintained by our churches generally. Is it not then high time to awake to a serious consideration of the subject, and to inquire what can be done to remove the evils which have come upon us in consequence of our declining, in various respects, from the ways of our Puritan Fathers.
We have turned our thoughts particularly to the following things, as being important and necessary in order that the essential principles of Congregationalism may be reaffirmed and maintained by our churches.
1. First it is important and necessary that the funda