Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 5, 1646-1648. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Die Veneris, 10 Martii, 1647.
Norwich City Officers.
Consession of Faith.
According to Order, the House proceeded in the Consideration of the humble Advice of the Assembly of Divines, concerning a Consession of Faith; and took up the Consideration of the Five-and-twentieth Chapter, intituled, "Of the Church."
"The Catholick or Universal Church, which is Invisible, consists of the whole Number of the Elect, that have been, are, or shall be, gathered into One, under Christ, the Head thereof; and is the Spouse, the Body, the Fulness of Him that filleth all in all."
"The Visible Church, which is also Catholick or Universal, under the Gospel, not confined to One Nation, as before, under the Law, consists of all those throughout the World that prosess the true Religion, and of their Children; and is the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the House and Family of God; out of which there is no ordinary Possibility of Salvation."
"Unto this Catholick Visible Church Christ hath given the Ministry, Oracles, and Ordinances of God, for the Gathering and Perfecting of the Saints in this Life to the End of the World; and doth, by his own Presence and Spirit, according to his Promise, make them effectual thereunto."
"This Catholick Church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less, visible; and particular Churches, which are Members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the Doctrine of the Gospel is taught and embraced, Ordinances administered, and publick Worship performed, more or less purely in them."
Consession of Faith.
"The purest Churches under Heaven are subject both to Mixture and Error; and some have so degenerated as to become no Churches of Christ, but Synagogues of Satan; nevertheless there shall be always a Church on Earth to worship God, according to his Will."
"There is no other Head of the Church, but the Lord Jesus Christ; nor can the Pope of Rome, in any Sense, be Head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that Man of Sin, and Son of Perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God."
"All Saints that are united to Jesus Christ, their Head, by his Spirit, and by Faith, have Fellowship with him in his Graces, Sufferings, Death, Resurrection, and Glory; and, being united to one another in Love, they have Communion in each others Gifts and Graces; and are obliged to the Performance of such Duties, publick and private, as do conduce to their mutual Good, both in the inward and outward Man."
"Saints, by Profession, are bound to maintain an holy Fellowship and Communion in the Worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual Services as tend to their mutual Edification; as also in relieving each other in outward Things, according to their several Abilities and Necessities: Which Communion, as God offereth Opportunity, is to be extended unto all those, who, in every Place, call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus."
"This Communion which the Saints have with Christ doth not make them, in anywise, Partakers of the Substance of this Godhead, or to be equal with Christ in any respect, either of which to affirm is impious and blasphemous; nor doth their Communion one with another, as Saints, take away or infringe the Title or Propriety which each Man hath in his Goods and Possessions."
"Sacraments are holy Signs and Seals of the Covenant of Grace, immediately instituted by God to represent Christ, and his Benefits, and to confirm our Interest in him; as also to put a visible Difference between those that belong unto the Church, and the rest of the World: and solemnly to engage them to the Service of God in Christ, according to his Word."
"There is in every Sacrament a spiritual Relation, or sacramental Union, between the Sign and the Thing signified: Whence it comes to pass, that the Names and Effects of the one are attributed to the other."
"The Grace which is exhibited in or by the Sacraments, rightly used, is not conferred by any Power in them; neither doth the Efficacy of a Sacrament depend upon the Piety or Intention of him that doth administer it, but upon the Work of the Spirit, and the Word of Institution; which contains, together with a Precept authorizing the Use thereof, a Promise or Benefit to worthy Receivers."
There be only Two Sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord; neither of which may be dispensed by any but by a Minister of the Word lawfully ordained."
"Baptism is a Sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ; not only for the solemn Admission of the Party baptized into the visible Church, but also to be unto him a Sign and Seal of the Covenant of Grace, of his Ingrasting into Christ, of Regeneration, of Remission of Sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in Newness of Life: Which Sacrament is, by Christ's own Appointment, to be continued in his Church until the End of the World."
"The outward Element to be used in this Sacrament is Water; wherewith the Party is to be baptized, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a Minister of the Gospel, lawfully called thereunto."
"Although it be a great Sin to contemn or neglect this Ordinance, yet Grace and Salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no Person can be regenerated or saved without it; or that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated."
"The Efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that Moment of Time wherein it is administered: Yet, notwithstanding, by the right Use of this Ordinance, the Grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such, whether of Age or Infants, as that Grace belongeth unto, according to the Counsel of God's own Will, in his appointed Time."
" Our Lord Jesus, in the Night wherein he was betrayed, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood, called the Lord's Supper, to be observed in his Church unto the End of the World, for the perpetual Remembrance of the Sacrifice of himself in his Death, the Sealing all Benefits thereof unto true Believers, their spiritual Nourishment and Growth in him, their further Engagement in and to all Duties which they owe unto him, and to be a Bond and Pledge of their Communion with him, and with each other, as Members of his mystical Body."
"In this Sacrament Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real Sacrifice made at all for Remission of Sins of the Quick or Dead; but only a Commemoration of that one Offering up of himself, by himself, upon the Cross, once for all; and a spiritual Oblation of all possible Praise unto God for the same; so that the Popish Sacrifice of the Mass, as they call it, is most abominably injurious to Christ's One only Sacrifice, the alone Propitiation for all the Sins of his Elect."
The Lord Jesus hath, in this Ordinance, appointed his Ministers to declare his Word of Institution to the People, to pray and Bless the Elements of Bread and Wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to an holy Use, and to take and break the Bread, to take the Cup, and (they communicating also themselves) to give both to the Communicants, but to none who are not then present in the Congregation."
" Private Masses, or Receiving this Sacrament by a Priest, or any other, alone; as likewise the Denial of the Cup to the People, Worshipping the Elements, the Listing them up, or carrying them about, for Adoration, and the reserving them for any pretended religious Use; are all contrary to the Nature of this Sacrament, and to the Institution of Christ."
" The outward Elements in this Sacrament, duly set apart to the Uses ordained by Christ, have such Relation to him crucified, as that truly, yet sacramentally only, they are sometimes called by the Name of the Things they represent; to wit, the Body and Blood of Christ; albeit in Substance and Nature they still remain truly and only Bread and Wine, as they were before."
Consession of Faith.
" That Doctrine which maintains a Change of the Substance of Bread and Wine into the Substance of Christ's Body and Blood, commonly called Transubstantiation, by Consecration of a Priest, or by any other Way, is repugnant not to Scripture alone, but even to common Sense and Reason overthroweth the Nature of the Sacrament, and hath been, and is, the Cause of manifold Superstitions, yea, of gross Idolatries."
" Worthy Receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible Elements in this Sacrament, do then also inwardly in Faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all Benefits of his Death; the Body and Blood of Christ being then not corporally, or carnally, in, with, or under, the Bread and Wine; yet as really, but spiritually, present to the Faith of Believers in that Ordinance, as the Elements themselves are to their outward Senses."
" Although ignorant and wicked Men receive the outward Elements in this Sacrament, yet they receive not the Thing signified thereby; but, by their unworthy coming thereunto, are guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord, to their own Damnation: Wherefore all ignorant and ungodly Persons, as they are unfit to enjoy Communion with him; so are they unworthy of the Lord's Table, and cannot without great Sin against Christ, while they remain such, partake of these holy Mysteries, or be admitted thereunto."
Resolved, &c. That this House doth agree to the First Paragraph of the Two-and-thirtieth Chapter of the Consession of Faith, intituled, " Of the State of Men after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead," in these Words; viz.
" The Bodies of Men, after Death, return to Dust, and see Corruption; but their Souls, which neither die, nor sleep, having an immortal Subsistence, immediately return to God, who gave them; the Souls of the Righteous, being then made perfect in Holiness, are received into the highest Heavens, where they behold the Face of God in Light and Glory, waiting for the full Redemption of their Bodies; and the Souls of the Wicked are cast into Hell where they remain in Torments, and utter Darkness, reserved to the Judgment of the great Day: Beside these Two Places for Souls, separated from their Bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none."
Resolved, &c. That this House doth agree to the Second Paragraph of the Two-and-thirtieth Chapter of the Consession of Faith, intituled, " Of the State of Men after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead," in these Words; viz.
" At the last Day, such as are found alive shall not die, but be changed: And all the Dead shall be raised up with the self-same Bodies, and none other, although with different Qualities; which shall be united again to their Souls for ever."
Resolved, &c. That this House doth agree to the Third Paragraph of the Two-and-thirtieth Chapter of the Consession of Faith, intituled, " Of the State of Men after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead," in these Words; viz.
" God hath appointed a Day wherein he will judge the World in righteousness, by Jesus Christ; to whom all Power and Judgment is given of the Father: In which Day, not only the apostate Angels shall be judged, but likewise all Persons that have lived upon Earth shall appear before the Tribunal of Christ, to give an Account of their Thoughts, Words, and Deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in the Body, whether Good or Evil."
" The End of God's appointing this Day is for the Manifestation of the Glory of his Mercy in the eternal Salvation of the Elect, and of his Justice in the Damnation of the Reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient: For then shall the Righteous go into everlasting Life, and receive that Fulness of Joy and Refreshing, which shall come from the Persence of the Lord: But the Wicked, who know not God, and obey not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal Torments, and be punished with everlasting Destruction from the Presence of the Lord, and from the Glory of his Power."
" As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded, that there shall be a Day of Judgment, both to deter all Men from Sin, and for the greater Consolation of the Godly in their Adversity; so will he have that Day unknown to Men, that they may shake off all carnal Security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what Hour the Lord will come, and may be ever prepared to say, Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen."
Message to Lords.
Confession of Faith.
Ordered, That, on this Day Sevennight, the first Business, that Part of the Confession of Faith, which was recommitted, be brought in; and the House then to proceed thereupon, and upon such other Parts thereof, as remain yet unfinished: And that then likewise the House do take into Consideration in what Manner further to proceed upon the Parts finished.