The following paper was drawn up, on the request being made to the writer to give a statement of his faith.
It was replied that the writer would not sign a confession of faith which he had drawn up himself; that all human statement of truth was so inferior to scripture, even when drawn from it [the written word], that he could not do it; and the drawing up of this has only the more convinced him of it.
In the first place, there might be important points left out, or that put in which had better not be there. And supposing everything right that was there, it was like a made tree instead of a growing tree. The word gives truth in its living operations. It is giving in connection with God, in connection with man, with conscience, with divine life, and is thus a totally different thing. To use another image, it is not the growing tree, but supposing all there, sticks laid up in bundles. The writer had, however, no objection personally to say what he believed, to give an answer when asked the question. What follows is given with a deeper conviction than ever of the imperfection of a human assemblage of truth; the writer adding that there are many things more which he should teach. But he could say, “I believe this”; I have learnt this from scripture.
I learn from the scriptures that there is one living God,18 fully revealed to us in Christ,19 and known through Him as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,20 in the unity of the Godhead,21 but revealed as distinctively willing,22 acting,23 sending, sent,24 coming,25 distributing,26 and other actings; or, as habitually expressed amongst Christians, three persons in one God, or Trinity in Unity. God is the Creator of all things; but the act of creating is personally attributed to the Word and the Son, and the operation of the Spirit of God.27
I learn that the Word, who was with God and was God, was made flesh, and dwelt among us,28 the Father sending the Son to be the Saviour of the world.29 That He, as the Christ, was born of a woman,30 by the power of the Holy Spirit coming on the Virgin Mary,31 true man,32 without sin,33 in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,34 the promised seed of David according to the flesh,35 the Son of man,36 and Son of God,37 determined to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead,38 one blessed Person, God and man,39 the man Christ Jesus,40 the anointed man,41, Jehovah the Saviour.42
I learn that He died for our sins according to the scriptures,43 having appeared once in the consummation of ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself;44 that He has borne our sins in His own body on the tree, suffering for sins the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God;45 and that He is our righteousness before God.46
I learn that after Christ’s ascension the Holy Ghost has been sent down to dwell in His people individually and collectively, so that in both ways they are the temple of God.51 We are sealed52 and anointed with this Spirit,53 the love of God being shed abroad in our hearts;54 we are led by Him,55 and He is the earnest of our inheritance;56 we cry, Abba, Father, knowing we are sons.57
I learn that Christ will come again to receive us to Himself,58 raising those that are His, or changing them if living, fashioning their bodies like His glorious body, according to the power by which He is able to subdue all things to Himself,59 and that those of them who die meanwhile will depart and be with Him.60
I learn that God has appointed a day in which He will judge this habitable world in righteousness by that man whom He has ordained, whereof He has given assurance unto all men, in that He has raised Him from the dead,61 and that at the end He will sit on the great white throne, and judge the dead, small and great.62
I learn that every one of us shall give an account of himself to God,63 and receive the things done in the body, whether they be good or evil;64 and as the righteous inherit eternal life,65 so the wicked shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, will go into everlasting punishment, be cast into the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels; and that whosoever is not found in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire.66
I learn that this blessed one, the Lord Jesus Christ, died for all, has given Himself a ransom for all, testified in due time,67 that He has made propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the whole world.
I learn that He has thereby obtained an eternal redemption,68 and that by one offering of Himself once for all the sins of all that believe on Him are purged,69 and that by faith in Him their consciences are also purged,70 and God remembers their sins and iniquities no more;71 that being called of God, they receive the promise of an eternal inheritance,72 being perfected for ever, so that we have boldness to enter into the holiest by His blood, by the new and living way He has consecrated for us.73
I learn that to enter into the kingdom of God we must be born of water and the Spirit, born again,74, being naturally dead in sins, and by nature children of wrath.75 That which God employs in order to our being born again is His word.76 Hence it is by faith that we become His children.77
I learn that God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall have everlasting life,78 but that to this end, God being a righteous and holy God, the Son of man had to be lifted up upon the cross;79 that there He bore our sins in His own body on the tree,80 and was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.81
I learn that He loved the church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.82
I learn that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we might be holy and without blame before Him in love.83
I learn that those that believe are sealed with the Holy Spirit, who is the earnest of our inheritance till the redemption of the purchased possession;84 that by Him the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts,85 that we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father;86 that they who have received this Spirit not only cry, Abba, Father, but know that they are in Christ, and Christ in them; that thus not only He appears in the presence of God for them, but they are in Him who is sitting at the right hand of God, expecting till His enemies be made His footstool;87 that they are dead to sin in God’s sight, and to reckon themselves so; having put off the old man, and put on the new; alive to God through Jesus Christ (Christ is their new life); crucified to the world, and dead to the law.88
I learn thus that if they are in Christ, Christ is in them and they are called upon to manifest the life of Jesus in their mortal flesh,89 and to walk as He walked,90 God having set them in the world as the epistles of Christ,91 whose grace is sufficient for them, and whose strength is made perfect in their weakness.92
I learn that they are converted to wait for God’s Son from heaven,93 and taught to do so; and that they have the promise that they shall never perish, nor shall any man pluck them out of Christ’s hand,94 but that God will confirm them to the end, that they may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.95
I learn that they have part in these privileges through faith in Christ Jesus, in virtue of which righteousness is imputed to them;96 that Christ, who has obeyed even unto death, and wrought a perfect work upon the cross for them,97 is now their righteousness, made such of God to them,98 and that we are made the righteousness of God in Him;99 that as His precious blood cleanses us from all sin, so we are personally accepted in the beloved,100 that as by one man’s disobedience many were constituted sinners, so by the obedience of One many shall be constituted righteous.101
I learn that we are sanctified, or set apart to God, by God the Father, through the offering of Jesus Christ once for all, and by the operation and power of the Holy Ghost through the truth, so that all Christians are saints,102 and that in our practical state we have to follow after holiness,103 and grow up to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, being changed into His image, to whom we are to be perfectly conformed in glory.104
I learn that the Lord has left two rites, or ordinances, both significative of His death; one initiatory, the other of continual observance in the church of God—baptism and the Lord’s supper.105
I learn that, when Christ ascended up on high, He received gifts for men, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; and that from Christ the whole body, fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, maketh increase of the body, to the edifying of itself in love.106
I learn that, as the grace and sovereign love of God is the source and origin of all the blessing,107 so continual and diligent dependence on that grace is that by which we can walk after Him and to His glory, who has left us an example that we should follow His steps.108
I learn from the example and authority of the Lord and His apostles that the scriptures of the Old and New Testament are inspired of God, and are to be received as the word of God, having His authority attached to it, and which works effectually in those that believe;109 and that the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple, discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart, being understood, not by the wisdom of man, but by the teaching of God, being spiritually discerned, they are revealed, communicated, and discerned by the Spirit.110
I learn that, while God alone is immortal in and by Himself,111 the angels are not subject to death,112 and that the death of a man does not affect the life of his soul, be he wicked or renewed, but that all live still as to God, though dead,113 and that the wicked will be raised again as well as the just.114
I learn that every assembly of God is bound by the exercise of discipline, according to the word, to keep itself pure in doctrine and godly walk.115
18 1 Tim. 2:5; ch. 4:10, et passim.
19 John 1:18.
20 Matt. 3:16, 17; ch. 28:19; Eph. 2:18.
21 John 5:19; 1 Cor. 12:6.
22 John 6:38-40; ch. 5:21; 1 Cor. 12:11.
23 John 5:17; 1 Cor. 12:11.
24 John 14:26; ch. 15:26; ch. 5:24, 37; 1 Pet. 1:12; 1 John 4:14.
25 John 15:26; ch. 16:7, 8, 13.
26 1 Cor. 12:11.
27 Gen. 1:1, 2; Job 26:13; John 1:1, 3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2.
28 John 1:1, 2, 14.
29 1 John 4:14.
30 Gal. 4:4.
31 Luke 1:35.
32 Phil. 2:7; Heb. 2:14, 17; 1 John 4:2; 2 John 7.
33 Luke 1:35; 1 John 3:5.
34 Col. 2:9.
35 Rom. 1:3; Acts 2:30; ch. 13:23; 2 Tim. 2:8.
36 Matt. 16:13, et passim.
37 John 1:18, 34, et passim,
38 Rom. 1:4.
39 Phil. 2:6-10; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Heb. 1 and 2; 1 John 2:23 to ch. 3:3; ch. 5:20; Rev. 22:12, 13; John 1:1, 14; ch. 8:58, and many others.
40 1 Tim. 2:5.
41 Acts 10:38.
42 Matt. 1:21. The word Christ or Messiah means anointed, and Jesus or Joshua, Jehovah or Jah the Saviour.
43 1 Cor. 15:3.
44 Heb. 9:26.
45 1 Pet. 2:24; ch. 3:18.
46 1 Cor. 1:30; Heb. 9:24.
47 1 Cor. 15:20; Matt. 28:6, and many others.
48 Acts 3:15; John 2:19; Rom. 6:4; Eph. 1:20.
49 Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51; Eph. 4:8-10, and others.
50 Heb. 1:3; ch. 10:12; Eph. 1:20, 21, and others.
51 John 16:7; ch. 7:39; Rom. 8:9; the Father sends, John 14:26; Christ sends from the Father, John 14:16,17, 26; Rom. 8:11 j 1 Cor. 6:19; ch. 3:16; Eph. 2:22; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 5:30; ch. 1:23. etc.
52 Eph. 1:13; 2 Cor. 1:22.
53 2 Cor. 1:21; 1 John 2:20, 27.
54 Rom. 5:5.
55 Rom. 8:14.
56 Eph. 1:14; 2 Cor. 1:22; ch. 5:5.
57 Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6.
58 John 14:3.
59 1 Thess. 4:16, 17; 1 Cor. 15:23, 51, 52; Phil. 3:20, 21.
60 2 Cor. 5:8; Luke 23:43; Acts 7:59.
61 Acts 17:31.
62 Rev. 20: 11, 12.
63 Rom. 14:12.
64 2 Cor. 5:10.
65 Rom. 6:22, 23; Matt. 25:46.
66 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Matt. 25:46; Rev. 20:15.
67 2 Cor. 5:14; 1 Tim. 2:6; 1 John 2:2.
68 Heb. 9:12.
69 Heb. 1:3; ch. 9:22; ch. 10:2.
70 Heb. 9:14; ch. 10:2.
71 Heb. 10:17.
72 Heb. 9:15.
73 Heb. 10:14, 19, 20.
74 John 3:3, 5.
75 Eph. 2:1, 3; 2 Cor. 5:14.
76 James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23.
77 Gal. 3:26.
78 John 3:16.
79 John 3:14, 15.
80 1 Pet. 1:24.
81 2 Cor. 5:21.
82 Eph. 5:25-27.
83 Eph. 1:4.
84 Eph. 1:13, 14; 2 Cor. 1:22.
85 Rom. 5:5.
86 Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6; John 14:20.
87 Eph. 2:6; Heb. 9:24; ch. 10:12,13.
88 Col. 3:3, 4, 9, 10; Rom. 6:6, 11; Gal. 2:20; ch. 6:14.
89 John 14:20; Rom. 8:10; 2 Cor. 4:10.
90 1 John 2:6.
91 2 Cor. 3:3.
92 2 Cor. 12:9.
93 1 Thess. 1:10; Titus 2:12, 13; Luke 12:35-37.
94 John 10:29.
95 1 Cor. 1:7-9.
96 Rom. 5:1, 2; Gal. 3:24-26; ch. 3:11, 14; Rom. 4:16; Eph. 2:8; 2 Cor. 5:7; Gal. 2:20; Heb. 11:4; Acts 13:39; Gal. 3:9, 6; Rom. 4:24, 25, and many others.
97 Phil. 2:8; John 17:4; Heb. 7:27; ch. 9:25-28; ch. 10:12, 18.
98 1 Cor. 1:30.
99 2 Cor. 5:21.
100 Eph. 1:6.
101 Rom. 5:19.
102 Jude 1; Heb. 10:10; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Cor. 6:11; John 17:17, 19; 1 Pet. 1:22; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:1, et passim.
103 Heb. 12:14; 2 Pet. 3:14.
104 Eph. 4:13, 15; 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 John 3:2, 3; Eph. 4:1; Col. 1:10; 1 Thess. 2:12; ch. 5:23.
105 Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; ch. 8:12,16,36; ch. 9:18; Eph. 4:5; 1 Cor. 1:17; 1 Pet. 3:21; Rom, 6:3; Col. 2:12; Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22,23; Luke 22:19,20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; ch. 10:3, 4.
106 Eph. 4:6-13; Arts 2:33; 1 Cor. 12:28; Rom. 12:6; 1 Pet. 4:10, 11; Matt. 25:14; Luke 19:13.
107 John 3:16, 27 j 1 Cor. 2:12; ch. 4:7; Eph. 2:7-10; Titus 2:11.
108 John 15:5; Phil. 2:12, 13; 1 Thess. 5:17; Rom. 12:12; Luke 18:1; 2 Pet. 1:5-10, and many others. John 8:12; ch. 10:4; ch. 12:26; ch. 17:10; 2 Cor. 5:15; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; Rom. 14:7, 8; 1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:17; 1 John 2:6; 1 Pet. 2:2.
109 Matt. 4:4, 7, 10; Luke 24:25-27, 44-46; John 5:39; ch. 10:35; Matt. 5:17, 18; John 20:9; Matt. 1:23; and a multitude of passages. Matt. 26:54; 2 Pet. 1:20, 21; Gal. 3:8; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; 1 Thess. 2:13; 1 Cor. 15:2, 3; ch. 2:13; ch. 14:36, 37; Rom. 16:26, where it is not “the scriptures of the prophets,” that is, at any rate scriptures, but New Testament, not Old; 2 Pet. 3:16.
110 Psa. 19:7; Heb. 4:12, 13; Luke 24:45; 1 Cor. 2:10; 1 John 2:20, 27; John 6:45; 1 Cor. 2:12-14.
111 1 Tim. 6:16.
112 Luke 20:36.
113 Luke 12:4, 5; Matt. 10:28; Luke 16:23; ch. 20:38.
114 John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15.
115 Heb. 12:15-17; 1 Tim. 3:15; Titus 3:10, 11; 1 Cor. 5:7, 13.