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ASSOCIATE-REFORMED SYNOD, MAY 31, 1799.
THE Westminster Confession of Faith, with the Catechisms Lar ger and Shorter, having been formerly received by this Synod, with a reservation for future discussion of the doctrine respecting the pow er of the civil magistrate in matters of religion; and the said doctrine being now modified in a manner more agreeable to the word of GOD, to the nature of the Christian Church, and to the principles of civil society, The Synod do explicitly receive the aforesaid Confession and Catechisms, with the doctrine concerning the civil magistrate, as now stated in the twentieth, twenty-third, and thirty-first chapters of the Confession, as the system of doctrine which is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, JESUS CHRIST himself being the chief corner-stone: And the Synod do hereby declare, that the aforesaid Confession and Catechisms, as herein received, contain the true and genuine doctrine of the ASSOCIATE-REFORMED CHURCH; and that no tenet contrary thereto, or to any part thereof, shall be countenanced in this Church.
By order of the Synod,
JOHN RIDDELL, Moderator.
CONFESSION OF FAITH.
OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURE.
ALTHOUGH the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence, do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable ;a yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation : Therefore, it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption
I. a Rom. ii. 14, 15. For when the Gentiles which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law, are a law unto themselves. Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another. Rom. i. 19, 20. Because that which may be known of God, is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. Psal. xix. 1 to 3. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Rom. i. 32. Who knowing the judgment of God, (that they which commit such things are worthy of death,) not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. With Rom. ii. 1. Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest dost the same things.
b 1 Cor. i. 21. For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 1 Cor. ii. 13, 14. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
c Heb. i. 1. God—at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.
of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing :d which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary;e those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people, being now ceased.f
II. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New-Testament, which are these:
OF THE OLD-TESTAMENT:
d Prov. xxii. 19 to 21. That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have: made known to thee this day, even to thee. Have I not written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mighest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee? Luke i. 3, 4. It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee, in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed. Rom. xv. 4. For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning; that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Mat. iv. 4, 7, 10. But he answered and said, it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Isa viii. 19, 20. And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
e 2 Tim. iii. 15. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Pet. i, 19. We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts.
f Heb. i. 1, 2. God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds: