Published in 1646
The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.
CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.
XXXVII. THAT the ministers lawfully called, as aforesaid, ought to continue in their calling and place according to God’s ordinance, and carefully to feed the flock of God committed to them, not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.
Heb.5:4; John 10:3,4; Acts 20:28,29; Rom.12:7,8; Heb.13:7.17; 1 Pet.5: 1.2,3.
The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46
7. In the second class of God’s works, namely those which are above the ordinary course of nature, the evidence of his perfections are in every respect equally clear. For in conducting the affairs of men, he so arranges the course of his providence, as daily to declare, by the clearest manifestations, that though all are in innumerable ways the partakers of his bounty, the righteous are the special objects of his favor, the wicked and profane the special objects of his severity. It is impossible to doubt his punishment of crimes; while at the same time he, in no unequivocal manner, declares that he is the protector, and even the avenger of innocence, by shedding blessings on the good, helping their necessities, soothing and solacing their griefs, relieving their sufferings, and in all ways providing for their safety. And though he often permits the guilty to exult for a time with impunity, and the innocent to be driven to and fro in adversity, nay, even to be wickedly and iniquitously oppressed, this ought not to produce any uncertainty as to the uniform justice of all his procedure. Nay, an opposite inference should be drawn. When any one crime calls forth visible manifestations of his anger, it must be because he hates all crimes; and, on the other hand, his leaving many crimes unpunished, only proves that there is a judgment in reserve, when the punishment now delayed shall be inflicted. In like manner, how richly does he supply us with the means of contemplating his mercy when, as frequently happens, he continues to visit miserable sinners with unwearied kindness, until he subdues their depravity, and woos them back with more than a parent’s fondness?
John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 5-Henry Beveridge Translation
Ere leaving what has been before us in the last three paragraphs, let it be pointed out that when our blessed Lord added to Matthew 5:38, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you” (verse 44) He was not advancing a more benign precept than had ever been enunciated previously. No, the same gracious principle of conduct had been enforced in the Old Testament. In Exodus 23:4, 5, Jehovah gave commandment through Moses, “If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.” Again in Proverbs 25:21, we read,
“If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink.”
The same God who bids us,
“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath” (Romans 12:17-19),
also commanded His people in the Old Testament,
“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18);
and therefore was David grateful to Abigail for dissuading him from taking vengeance on Nabal:
“Blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand” (1 Samuel 25:33).
So far was the Old Testament from allowing any spirit of bitterness, malice or revenge that it expressly declared,
“Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and He shall save thee” (Proverbs 20:22).
“Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth” (Proverbs 24:17).
“Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work” (Proverbs 24:29).
Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism
Many will put a third question, — Why is he to be trusted? I should like to answer that by another, — Why is he not to be trusted? When one said to me, the other day, “I cannot trust Christ,” I enquired, “Can you trust me?” And when the quick reply was, as it ought to be from a hearer to a minister, “Yes, Sir, I do trust you,” I said, “Well, then, you certainly can trust the Lord Jesus Christ, for he is infinitely more worthy of being trusted than ever I can be.” Cannot trust Christ? That is a wonderful piece of Satanic delusion. I can say, to-night, that I can not only trust my soul to Christ, but that, if I had as many souls as there are grains of sand on the sea-shore, I could implicitly trust them all to him. Why should I not? He is “God over all, blessed for ever,” and he is Man, tender and gentle; therefore he ought to be trusted. O my hearer, can you look the crucified Christ in the face, and say that you cannot trust him? Can you see the bloody sweat in the garden, can you gaze upon the nailed hands and feet, and pierced side of this suffering Man, who is at the, same time very God of very God, and can you then say that it is hard to trust him? Oh, no! He is so true, so noble, so generous, so faithful, that I beseech you to trust him, and to trust him now.
Charles H. Spurgeon-Baptism Essential to Obedience-Metropolitan Tabernacle-Lord’s Evening-Oct. 13, 1889
Today’s church has given itself over to gluttony and entertainment in the place of preaching God’s word.
Is a choir needed to ‘lead’ worship? What choir was needed to aid the Savior and His apostles as they sung that hymn in the upper room, ere going forth into the Garden? (Matthew 26:30). What choir was needed to assist the apostles, as with bleeding backs they sang praises to God in the Philippian dungeon? Singing to be acceptable to God must come from the heart. And to whom do the choirs sing — to God, or to the people?
The attractiveness of singing has been substituted for “the foolishness of preaching.” The place which music now holds in many of our public services is a solemn “sign of the times” to those who have eyes to see. But is music wrong? Has not God Himself bestowed the gift? Surely, but what we are now complaining about is church-singing that is professional and spectacular, that which is of the…
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Christian liberty is the ground on which others proceed.
They say Christians may choose for themselves about mere outward forms; these make no difference if you have the essence of the thing. Yes, and so says the Quaker, more strongly still. What would you say to the Quaker? I asked this question of an esteemed friend, who is an Episcopal clergyman. The Quaker tells us the mere outward form of baptism is unnecessary; the essential thing is to have the baptism of the Spirit, and water baptism need not be observed at all. What would you say to him? “I would tell him the Scripture teaches us to baptize in water.” Very well, I replied, and so it teaches us to baptize in water. If you have an outward ceremony at all, you have a form, and can you say that the form of a ceremony is of no importance? How will such an one answer the Quaker, except upon the Baptist principle?
The state of mind represented, the baptism of the Spirit, is of course the essential thing; without it, the outward ceremony is an empty form. But our Lord has appointed a form, a ceremony. We ought to observe this because he has appointed it; and plainly, therefore, ought to observe it as he appointed it. Either the Baptist ground or the Quaker ground.
“But suppose,” one says, that immersion is impracticable or excessively inconvenient; there is not enough water, or it is too cold; why not substitute another use of water and attach the same meaning to it?”
Well, suppose you want to observe the Lord’s Supper and there is no wine to be had – a thing much more likely to happen than that there should be no water, and which I once knew to happen in a country neighborhood – why not take some other beverage, and let that represent to us the same thing as wine? We should all unite in raising two objections. First, our Lord told us to eat bread and drink wine; if circumstances really prevent our doing that, let us do nothing, feeling that we are providentially hindered. Second, while any liquid, as water, might in some sort represent the blood of our dear Lord, yet it is obvious that wine much more clearly and strikingly represents it. Even if we did not perceive this, we ought to do just what he said; and much more when we do perceive it.
And so, if immersion be really impracticable, we should make the same two points. First, we must do what he told us or do nothing. What is really impracticable is not our duty. Second, while sprinkling with water may represent purification, yet even this part of the meaning of baptism is much more strikingly represented by immersion; while the other part, the idea of burial and resurrection, which the apostle twice connects with baptism, sprinkling does not represent at all. Even if we did not perceive that what he appointed is more expressive, we ought to do just what he said, and much more when we do perceive it. Either, then, what he told us to do, or nothing.
But someone is dying – shall we deny him the satisfaction of being baptized? Why not? How was it with the thief on the cross? Suppose the same dying man wants the Lord’s Supper, and you have no wine?
Nay, my, friends, such pleas look like making too much of baptism. In this, as I said, began clinic baptism; and pray notice how the argument we are discussing – a favorite argument with some – just comes back to the same thing, attaching an unwarranted importance to baptism. If baptism or the Lord’s Supper be providentially impracticable, as under certain circumstances may well be the case, surely there is nothing lost, and no guilt incurred, by failing to observe it.
John A. Broadus-Immersion Essential to Christian Baptism
THE TEN PRIMITIVE PERSECUTIONS
II. The Second Persecution, Under Domitian, A.D. 81
The emperor Domitian, who was naturally inclined to cruelty, first slew his brother, and then raised the second persecution against the Christians. In his rage he put to death some of the Roman senators, some through malice; and others to confiscate their estates. He then commanded all the lineage of David be put to death.
Among the numerous martyrs that suffered during this persecution was Simeon, bishop of Jerusalem, who was crucified; and St. John, who was boiled in oil, and afterward banished to Patmos. Flavia, the daughter of a Roman senator, was likewise banished to Pontus; and a law was made, “That no Christian, once brought before the tribunal, should be exempted from punishment without renouncing his religion.”
A variety of fabricated tales were, during this reign, composed in order to injure the Christians. Such was the infatuation of the pagans, that, if famine, pestilence, or earthquakes afflicted any of the Roman provinces, it was laid upon the Christians. These persecutions among the Christians increased the number of informers and many, for the sake of gain, swore away the lives of the innocent.
Another hardship was, that, when any Christians were brought before the magistrates, a test oath was proposed, when, if they refused to take it, death was pronounced against them; and if they confessed themselves Christians, the sentence was the same.
The following were the most remarkable among the numerous martyrs who suffered during this persecution.
Dionysius, the Areopagite, was an Athenian by birth, and educated in all the useful and ornamental literature of Greece. He then travelled to Egypt to study astronomy, and made very particular observations on the great and supernatural eclipse, which happened at the time of our Savior’s crucifixion.
The sanctity of his conversation and the purity of his manners recommended him so strongly to the Christians in general, that he was appointed bishop of Athens.
Nicodemus, a benevolent Christian of some distinction, suffered at Rome during the rage of Domitian’s persecution.
Protasius and Gervasius were martyred at Milan.
Timothy was the celebrated disciple of St. Paul, and bishop of Ephesus, where he zealously governed the Church until A.D. 97. At this period, as the pagans were about to celebrate a feast called Catagogion, Timothy, meeting the procession, severely reproved them for their ridiculous idolatry, which so exasperated the people that they fell upon him with their clubs, and beat him in so dreadful a manner that he expired of the bruises two days later.
John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs