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but, the case being maturely considered, it was enjoined by the authority of several fynods *. If we survey the Churches of Sweden, we will find them equally careful in bringing individual members, as well as public perfons, under folemn engagements to maintain the doctrine, worship, and discipline of divine appointment. Puffendorff assures, that, as the light of the Gospel was diffused in that country, by the perusal of the holy Scriptures in their mothertongue, 10 “ the King and Estates obliged themfelves, BY A SOLEMN OATH, to maintain the Lutheran religion with all their power †:" And covenant-renovation appears to have obtained in the same cliurch; they afterwards formed an AssOCIATION, at least, under the auspices of Duke Charles, for the defence of the Protestant religion ; and to defeat the infidious practices of Sigismund for its overthrow # As to the Churches of Hungary and Transylvania, two different fynods PRESCRIBE AN OATH to be taken by superintendants, ministers, elders, and candidates for the holy ministry, and such as are converted from error unto the truth G.-From the eastern point of
* INCREASE MATHER, Order of the Churches in New
England, p. 20. + PUFFENDORFF's Introduction to the History of Europe,
P. 476. I PUFFENDORFF, p. 486. ut fupra. § Vide Canones Ecclef. Helvet. in Synod. COMJATHINÆ et VARADINI Statuti ann. - 1032, Class I. Can. 7, B, 27. Class II. Can. 2, 5; 7, 8.
Europe unto the most diftant colonies of America did this practice prevail in the last century: For example, Mr Higginson an: Mr Skelton, and other good people, that arrived at Salem in the year 1629, set apart the fixth day of August, after their arrival, for fasting and prayer, for the settling a church-state among them, and for their making a Confession of their Faith, and entering into an holy Covenant, whereby that church-state was formed. Now, the Covenant whereunto these Christians engaged themselves, and which was, abont seven years after, folemnly renewed among them, I shall lay before my readers, as it was then expressed and enforced.
“WE covenant with our Lord, and one with another; and we do bind ourselves, in the presence of God, to walk together in all his
ways, according as he is pleafed to reveal himself unto us in his blessed word of truth; and do explicitly, in the name and fear of God, profess and protest, to walk as followeth, through the power and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: “ We avouch the Lord to be our God, and ourselves to be his people, in the truth and fimplicity of our fpirits. We give ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the ivord of his grace, for the teaching, ruling, and fanctifying of us in matters of worship and conversation, refolving to cleave unto him alone for life and glory; and to reject all contrary liii. 2
ways, canons, and testimonies of men in his worthip. We promise to walk with our brethren, with all watchfulness and tenderness, avoiding jealoufies and fufpicions, backbitings, censurings, provokings, secret rilings of fpirit against them; but; in all oífences, to follow the rule of our Lord Jesus, and bear and forbear, give and forgive, as he hath taught us. In public or private shall willingly do nothing to the offence of the Church ; but will be willing to take advice for ourselves and ours, as occasion shall be presented. We will not, in the congregation, be forward to shew our own gifts, either by speaking or scrupling, or there discover the weakness and failings of our brethren; but attend an orderly call thereunto, knowing how much tho Lord may be dishonoured, and his gospel, and the profession of it fighted by our distempers, and weaknesses in public. We bind ourselves to study the advancement of the Gofpel in all truth and peace; both in regard of those that are within or without; no way slighting our lister churches, but using their counsel as need thall be; not laying a stumbling-block before any, no, not the Indians, whose good we desire to promote ; sind fo to converse as we may avoid the very appearance of evil.
We do promise to carry ourselves in all lawful obedience to those that are over us in church or commonwealth, knowing how well-pleasing it will be to the Lord,
that they should have encouragement in their places, by our not grieving their fpirits through our irregularities. We resolve to approve ourfelves to the Lorel' in our particular callings; fhunning idleness, as the bane of any state; nor will we deal hardly or opprellingly with any, wherein we are the Lord's stewards.
Promibing.also, unto our best ability, to teach our children and servants the knowledge of God, and of his will, that they may serve him also; and all this not by any strength of our ownl, but by the Lord Christ; whose blood we defire may sprinkle this our corenant, made in his name*."
FORTY-SEVEN years after this, a Synod met at Boston for the purpose of Covenant-renovation. The tenor whereof follows:'
“ WE, who through the exceeding riches of the grace and patience of God, do continue to be a church of Clirist, being now assembled in the holy presence of God, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, after humble confellion of our manifold breaches of covenant before the Lord our God, and earnest fupplication of pardoning mercy through the blood of Christ, --after deep acknowledgment of our great unworthiness to be owned to be the Lord's cove
* MATHER's History of New England, Book I. p. 18.
nant people ; also, acknowledging our own inability to keep covenant with God, or to perform any spiritual duty, unless the Lord Jesus enable thereto by his Spirit dwelling in us : And being awfully sensible, that it is a dreadful thing for finful dust and ashes personally to transact with the infinitely glorious majesty of heaven and earth, we do, in humble confidence of his gracious assistance and acceptance thro’ ' Christ, each one of us for ourselves, and jointly as a Church of the living God, and one with another, in manner following:
WE do give up ourselves to that God whose name alone is Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the One only true and living God, and to our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, as our only blessed Saviour, Prophet, Priest, and King over our souls, and only mediator of the Covenant of Grace, promising (by the help of his Spirit and grace) to cleave unto God as our chief good, and to the Lord Jesus Christ, by faith and gospel obedience, as becoineth his covenant people for ever. We do also give olur offspring unto God in Jelus Christ, avouching the Lord to be our God, and the God of our children, and ourselves, with our children, to be his people; humbly adoring the grace of God, that we, and our offspring with us, may be looked upon to be the Lord's.
We do also give up ourselves one to another io the Lord, and according to the will of God;