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church, with bishops, pastors and leaders; and that they always had to be sound in faith, virtuous in life and conversation, and of good report both in and out of church, in order that they might be an example in all good and virtuous deeds.
10. They also confess, and observe a breaking of bread or supper, which Christ instituted with bread and wine before his suffering, eat it with his apostles, and commanded it to be kept in remembrance of himself, which they consequently taught and practised in the church, and commanded to be kept by all true believers in remembrance of the sufferings and death of the Lord; and that his body was broken, and his precious blood shed for the benefit of the whole human race; the fruits of which are redemption and everlasting salvation, which he procured thereby, manifesting such great love towards sinners, hy which all true believers are greatly admonished to love one another, even as he has loved them ; and as many grains are united together into one bread, and many grapes into one cup of wine: so shall they as many members be united into one body, and all partakers of the same bread; and without this union of spirit, and true holiness, no one can be admitted to this holy supper.
1. They also confess the washing of the saints' feet, because the Lord not only commanded it, but actually washed the feet of his disciples, although he was their Lord and Master; and by so doing, he gave them an example, which they were necessitated to follow. Besides, they believe it their duty to consider with profound meditation, how the blessed Son of God humbled himself, not only in washing his disciples' feet, but much rather, because he washed and purified our souls, with his precious blood, from all the pollution of eternal damnation.
12. With regard to marriage, they believe there is in the church an honourable marriage, between two believers, as God ordained in the beginning in paradise, and instituted it between Adam and Eve; as also Christ opposed and reformed the abuses that had taken place, and restored it to its original condition. They further believe, that as the patriarchs had to marry among their own kindred, so likewise, the followers of Christ are not at liberty to marry, except such, and no others, as have been united with the church as one heart, and one soul, and stand in the same communion, faith, and doctrine.
13. They confess and believe, that God instituted and appointed authority and the magistracy as a punishment for evil-doers, and a protection for the good; hence they dare not gainsay or resist it; but must acknowledge the magistracy as the minister of God, be subject and obedient in all things, not repugnant to God's law and com
mandments; also faithfully pay tribute and tax, and render that which is due, as Christ taught, practised, and commanded his disciples to do; and also, that it is their duty to pray constantly for the prosperity of the government and welfare of the country. They further believe that, as Christ avoided the grandeur of this world, and conducted himself as an humble minister, none of his followers must discharge the duties of a magisterial office, or any branch of it, following, in this, the example of Christ and his apostles, under whose church these specified offices were not administered; and as they are instructed not to hold any worldly office whatever, they likewise think themselves deprived of the liberty of elevating others to a magisterial, or any other office.
14. Concerning the spiritual kingdom of Christ, they confess and believe, that it is not of this world ; and that he dissuaded all his ministers and followers from all worldly power, forbidding the same, and instituted a diversity of offices in his church, whereby the saints may be joined together, so as to build up the body of Christ; and that they must not be equipped with carnal weapons; but, on the contrary, with the armour of God, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, in order that they may be enabled to fight against, and overcome flesh and blood--the allurements of the world and sin--and thus, finally to overcome and receive, through grace, the crown of everlasting life, from this our Eternal King, as their recompense and reward.
15. As regards revenge, they believe and confess, that Christ did forbid his disciples all revenge and defence, and commanded them not to render evil for evil; hence they consider it evident, according to his example and doctrine, that they should not provoke, or do vio. lence to any man, or enter into any legal process, but seek to promote the welfare and happiness of all men; and that they should pray for their enemies, feed and refresh them when hungry or thirsty, and thus convince them by kindness, and overcome all ignorance by doing unto others, as they would that others should do unto them.
16. Respecting oaths, they believe and confess, that Christ did forbid his disciples the use of them, and commanded that they should not swear at all. Hence they infer, that all oaths, greater or minor, are prohibited ; and that they must, instead of this, confirm all their declarations, assertions, and testimonies with the word yea in that which is yea, and nay in that which is nay. Hence they should always perform, follow, keep and live up to their words, as though they had confirmed them with an oath.
17. They also believe and confess a ban, separation, and Christian
correction in the church, whereby the pure may be distinguished from the defiled. Namely, if any one, who has embraced religion, and attained the knowledge of truth, sins either voluntarily or presumptuously against God or unto death: they believe that such a person, when the church has sufficient evidence of the case, cannot remain in the congregation of the righteous; but shall and must be separated, excommunicated and reproved in the presence of all, and considered as an offending member and open sinner; in order that he may be an example and terror to others, and that the church may remain pure
, and undefiled. And concerning brotherly reproofs and admonition, they consider it necessary to instruct them with all meekness to their own amendment, and reprove the obstinate, according as the case may require.
18. Respecting the avoiding of the separated, they believe and confess, that if any one, by a wicked life, or perverted doctrine, has separated himself from God, and consequently from the church, he must be shamed, according to the doctrine of Christ and his apostles, and avoided without partiality, by all members of the church unto whom it is known, whether in eating, drinking, or other similar matters; and that they should have no dealings with him ; for the purpose of making the sinner ashamed, be convicted, and called to repentance.
It is also their belief, that there should be used in the avoiding, as well as in the separation, such moderation and Christian charity, as may have a tendency to insure his reformation; hence they do not consider them as enemies, but admonish them as brethren, in order to bring them to knowledge, and be reconciled to God and his church.
19. Relative to the resurrection of the dead, they believe and confess, agreeably to scripture, that all men that have died, shall be awakened, quickened, and raised on the last day, by the incomprehensible power of God; and that these, together with those that are then alive, who shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye at the sound of the last trumpet, shall be placed before the judgment seat of Christ; and that the good will be separated from the wicked: that then every one shall receive in his own body, according to his works, whether they be good or evil; and that the good or pious shall be taken up with Christ, as the blessed, enter into everlasting life, and obtain that joy, which no eye hath seen, nor ear heard, nor mind conceived, to reign with Christ from everlasting to everlasting.
And that, on the contrary, the wicked shall be driven away as accursed, and thrust down to outer darkness, and into the everlasting pains of hell, where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched ;
and that they shall have not any prospect of hope, comfort, or redemption.
These, as briefly stated above, are the chief articles of their general Christian faith, which they teach and practise universally in their churches and among their members, which in their conviction are the only true Christian faith, which the apostles taught, nay testified with their death, and some also sealed with their blood; wherein they willingly abide, live, and die, that they may with them attain to salvation by the grace of the Lord.
Respecting the statistical part of this sketch, it becomes necessary to say, that they never deemed themselves at liberty to keep an accurate account of their members; because they do not wish to make a great display respecting their numbers, but they believe all that is necessary, is to have their names recorded in the book of life; and because they read (2 Sam. xxiv. and i Chron. xxi.) that the anger of the Lord was kindled against David for numbering his people, so that he sent a pestilence which destroyed seventy thousand.
The number of churches, however, that have been organized in different parts of the country, are as follows:
Lancaster county-where the reformation first commenced — Montgomery county, Dauphin county, Cumberland county, Franklin county, Pennsylvania ; Richland and Wayne counties, Ohio; Wayne county, Indiana ; Erie county, and Livingston county, New York ; and in the province of Canada; besides which, there are numbers scattered through the adjoining counties, that have never been regularly organized.
The churches above stated are all provided with ministers, deacons, pastors, &c.
BY THE REV, JOHN S. EBAUGH,
OF THE REFORMED DUTCH CHURCH OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK.
I. The history of Millenarianism is essentially as old as the sacred scriptures. And hence, as the light of divine revelation gradually increased, even to the completion of the canon of the sacred volume, in the same degree did the views of the Church of God, both under the Old and New Testaments, become more distinct and definite on this important subject.
This doctrine was professed with great distinctness by the Jewish Church, during the three centuries preceding the incarnation of the Saviour; but their radical error consisted in their mental vision and feelings being entirely absorbed in the contemplation of those prophecies which describe, in such glowing colours, the glory and triumph which shall attend his appearance and reign as the anointed King of Zion, on his second advent, when he will come to reign and not to suffer, having once suffered for all, as the substitute and surety of sinners, so as to make an end of sin, and bring in an everlasting righteousness by the death of the cross.
Hence it was that the Jews (with comparatively few exceptions) overlooked or misapprehended those predictions, which so emphatically describe the sufferings and humiliation consequent upon his first advent, even from the manger of Bethlehem to the accursed cross on ever-memorable Calvary.
And that these were the doctrines of the Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles, is clearly evident from the whole tenor of their writings, as contained in the New Testament. And hence the frequency and urgency of their exhortations to their hearers, to make due preparation to meet their Saviour, when the voice shall be heard, “ Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him !”
These were also the doctrines of the primitive Church of Christ, for the whole of the three first centuries of its history, insomuch that