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the case, or the advantage of opportunity may lead thereuntó.
6. The churches of Christ in this country having so good opportunity for it, it is meet to be commended to them, as their duty thus to consociate. For 1. Communion of churches being commanded, and consociation being but an agreement to practice it, this must needs be a duty also, Psal. cxix. cvi. Nehen. X. 28, 29.2. Paul an Apostle sought with much labour the conference, concurrence and right hand of fellowship of other Apostles; and ordinary elders and churches have not less need each of other, to prevent their running in vain, Gal. ii. 2, 6, 9. 3. Those general scripture rules touching the need and use of counsel and help in weighty cases, concern all societies and polities, ecclesiastical as well as civil, Prov. xi. 14, and xv. 22, and xx. 18, and xxiv. 6. Eccl. iv. 9, 10,
4. The pattern in Acts xv. holds forth a warrant for councils, which may be greater or lesser, as the matter shall require. 5. Concurrence and communion of churches in gospel times, is not obscurely held forth in Isai. xix, 23, 24, 25.
Zeph. iii. 9.
1 Cor. xi. 16, and xiv. 32, 36. 6. There hath constantly been in these churches a profession of communion, in giving the right hand of fellowship at the gathering of churches, and ordination of elders : Which importeth a consociation, and obligeth to the practice thereof. Without which we should also want an expedient and sufficient core for emergent church-difficulties and differ .
ences : with the want whereof our way is charged, but unjustly, if this part of the doctrine thereof were duly practised.
7. The manner of the churches agreement herein, or entering into this consociation, may be by each church's open consenting unto the things here declared in answer to this second question, as also to what is said thereabout in chap. xv. and xvi. of the Platform of discipline, with reference to other churches in this colony and country, as in proposition 5th, is before expressed.
8. The manner of exercising and practising that communion, which this consent or agreement specially tendeth unto, may be, by making use occasionally of elders or able brethren of other churches, or by the more solemn meetings of both elders and messengers in lesser or greater councils, as the matter shall require.
At a General Court held at Boston in New-Eng
land, the eighth of October, 1662. THE Court having read over this result of the Synod, judge meet to commend the same unto the consideration of all the churches and people of this jurisdiction ; and for that end de order the printing thereof.
by the Court, EDWARD RAWSON, Sec'ry.
Assembled at Boston in New England, May 12, 1680.
Bph. iv. 5.-
your Faith in Christ,
At a General Court held at Boston, May 19,
THIS Court having taken into serious consideration, the request that hath been presented by several of the Reverend Elders in the name of the late Synod, do approve thereof, and accordingly order the confession of Faith agreed upon at their second session, and the Platform of discipline consented unto by the Synod at Cambridge Anno 1648, to be printed for the benefit of these churches in present and after times.
EDWARD Rawson, Sec’ry.
THE Lord Jesus Christ witnessed a good confession, at the time when he said, to this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth; and he taketh notice of it, to the praise and high commendation of the church in Pergamos, that they held fast his name, and had not denied his faith. Nor are they worthy of the name of Christians, who, though the Lord by his providenc call them publicly to own the truth they have professell, shall nevertheless refuse to declare what they believe, as to those great and fundamental principles in the doctrine of Christ, the knowledge whereof is necessary unto salvation. We find how ready the Apostle was to make a confession of his faith ; though for that hope's sake he was accused and put in chains. And the Martyrs of Jesus, who have laid down their lives in bearing witness to the truth, against the infidelity, idolatry, heresy, apostacy of the world, when Pagan, Arian, or overspread with Popish darkness: Having their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, were free and forward in their testimony, confessing the truth, yea, scaling it with their blood. With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation, Rom. x. 10. Nor is there a greater evidence of being in in a state of salvation, than such a confession, if made in times or places where men are exposed to utinost sufferings upon that account. 1 John iv. 15. And if confession of faith be, in some cases, of such importance and necessity, as hath been expressed ; it must needs be in itself, a work pleasing in the sight of God, for his servants to declare unto the world, what those principles of truth are, which they have received, and are (by the help of Christ) purposed to live and die in the stedfast profession of Some of the Lord's worthies have been of renown among his people in this respect; especially Iræneus and Athanasius of old, and of latter times Beza, all whose (not to inention others) confessions, with the advantage which the church of God hath received thereby, are famously known.
And it must needs tend much to the honor of the dear and blessed name of the Lord Jesus, in case many churches do join together in their testi. mony. How signally the Lord hath owned the confession of the four general Synods or Councils for the suppression of the heresies of those times,