Friday, November 20, 2009

1694 Confession of Faith & Church Covenant

The following text is a transcription of the earliest copy of the church's 1694 Confession of Faith and Church Covenant. It was printed in 1722, and also contains a very interesting acknowledgement of obligations by the members, which although an excellent, period example of strict Puritan religious conviction, can still be translated today as relevant for Christian life.
It has been transcribed with the spellings of the original document.


Confession of Faith


Church Covenant :

Solemnly Made and Entered into by the Church
Of Middleborough, December 26, 1694.
Together with
Their Acknowledgments Expressing their
Obligations by that Covenant.


The Confession of FAITH.

WE do Believe with our Hearts, and Confess with our
Mouths :

1. That the Holy Scriptures contained in the Old
and New Testament, are the Word of GOD ;
and are given by Inspiration of GOD, to
be the Rule of Faith and Life.

2. THAT there is but ONE only living and true
GOD ; and that in the Unity of the Godhead there be
Three Persons of one Substance, Power and Eternity :
GOD the FATHER, GOD the SON, and GOD the

3. THAT the One GOD, FATHER, SON and
HOLY GHOST, made the whole World, and all Things
therein, in the Space of fix Days, very good.

4. THAT GOD made Man after His own Image, in
Knowledge, Rightousness and true Holiness.

5. THAT our first Parents being seduced by the sub-
tility of Satan, Eating the forbidden Fruit, finned against
GOD, and fell from the Estate wherein they were Created:
And that all Mankind descending from them by ordinary
Generation, sinned in and fell with them in their first
Transgression, and so were brought into a State of Sin and
Misery, losing Communion with GOD, and falling under
His Wrath and Curse.

6. THAT GOD in His Eternal purpose, Chose and
Ordained the LORD JESUS His only begotten
Son, to be the One and only Mediator between GOD
and Man, the Prophet, Priest and King, the Head and
Saviour of His Church.

7. THAT JESUS CHRIST the Second Person in
the Trinity, is the very and Eternal GOD, of one Sub-
stance, and Equal with the Father : And that when the
fullness of Time was come, the SON of GOD the Second
Person in the Trinity took upon Him Man’s Nature,
being Conceived by the Power of the HOLY GHOST,
in the Womb of the Virgin Mary, of her Substance :
So that the Godhead and Manhood were joined together
in One Person, which Person is very GOD and very
MAN, yet One CHRIST, the only Mediator between
GOD and Man.

8. THE Lord JESUS CHRIST by His perfect
Obedience and Sacrifice of Himself upon the Cross, hath
Fully satisfied the Justice of His FATHER, and purchas-
ed not only Reconciliation with GOD, but an Everlasting
Inheritance in the Kingdom of Heaven, for all those
whom the FATHER hath given to Him.

9. THAT the Elect of GOD are made Partakers of
the Redemption purchased by CHRIST, by the Effectual
application of it to their Souls by His Word and Spirit.

10. THAT Justification is an act of GOD’s free
Grace unto Sinners ; in which He pardoneth all their
Sins, excepteth and accounteth their Persons Righteous in
His fight, not for any Thing wrought in them, or done
by them ; but only for the perfect Obedience, and full
Satisfaction of CHRIST inputed to them by GOD, and
Received by Faith alone.

11. SANCTIFICATION is a work of GOD’s Grace,
whereby the Elect are renewed in the whole Man, after
the Image of GOD, and are Enabled more and more to
die unto Sin and live to Righteousness.

12. THAT whosoever GOD hath accepted in JESUS
CHRIST, Effectually called and Sanctified by His
SPIRIT, can neither totally nor finally fall away from
the State of Grace, but shall certainly persevere to the
End and be Eternally saved.

13. THAT the Grace of Faith whereby the Elec't are
enabled to believe to the saving of their Souls, is the
Work of the Spirit of CHRIST in their Hearts, and is
ordinarily wrought by the Ministry of the Word, by which
also, and by the Administration of Sacraments, and
Prayer, it is increased and strengthened.

14. THAT the visible Church under the Gospel, is
not confined to One Nation, as it was under the Law; but
consists of all those throughout the World that profess the
true Religion according to the Gospel Order, and their
Children : and is the Kingdom of our Lord JESUS
CHRIST, the House and Family of GOD ; and that
unto this Church CHRIST hath given the Ministry,
Graces and Ordinances of GOD for the Gathering and
Perfecting of Saints to the End of the World ; and doth
by His own Presence and Spirit, according to His Pro-
mise, make them Effectual there-unto.

15. THAT Prayer, Singing of Psalms, Reading of the
Scriptures, the found Preaching, and conscionable Hearing
of the Word ; as also the due Administration, and worthy
Receiving of the Sacraments Instituted by CHRIST,
namely Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, are all parts of
the ordinary Religious Worship of GOD, besides solemn
Fastings and Thanksgiving, upon special Occasions, which
are in their several Times and Seasons to be used in a holy
and religious Manner.

16. THAT the Lord JESUS who is the alone Head
of His Church hath appointed Officers in His House, for
the regular carrying on of the Affairs of His Kingdom :
And that each particular Church hath Power from
CHRIST regularly to administer Censures to Offending
Members, and to carry on the Affairs of his Visible King-
dom, according to his Word.

17. THAT the Bodies of Men after Death turn to
Dust and see Corruption ; but their Souls which neither
die nor sleep, having an Immortal Substance, immediately
return to GOD who gave them : The Souls of the
Righteous being then made perfect in holiness, are re-
ceived into Heaven ; and the Souls of the Wicked are
cast into Hell.

18. THAT the Bodies of the Just and Unjust shall
be raised at the last Day.

19. THAT GOD hath appointed a Day wherein He
will Judge the World in Righteousness by JESUS
CHRIST : in which Day all Persons that have lived
upon the Earth shall Appear before the Judgment Seat 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 it be good or evil.



FORASMUCH as it hath pleased pleased GOD who hath
Commanded us to Pray daily, That His Kingdom
may come and be advanced, and hath given Direction in
His Holy Word, and manifold Encouragements to His
Poor Servants to seek and set forward his Worship, and
the Concernments of his Glory ; We do therefore perso-
nally present our Selves this Day in the Holy Presence of
G O D, to transact with Him this great Affair of His
Kingdom and Glory, and of our own Salvation : And
humbling our selves before the LORD for all our Sins,
and the Sins of ours, Earnestly Praying for Pardoning
Mercy and Rconciliation with G O D, through the
Blood of our LORD JESUS, and for the gracious Pre-
sence and Assistance of His HOLY SPIRIT ; under a
deep Sense of our own Weakness and Unworthiness, and
with an humble Confidence of His favourable Acceptation,
Each of us our selves, and all of us jointly together,
Enter into a holy Covenant with GOD, and one with ano-
ther : That is to say, We do according to the Terms and
Tenure of the Everlasting Covenant, first, Give up our
Selves and our Offspring unto the LORD GOD, FA-
Only True and Living GOD, Alsufficient, and our GOD
in Covenant ; and unto our LORD JESUS CHRIST,
our only SAVIOUR, our Prophet, Priest and King, the
only Mediator of the Covenant of Grace; Promising and
Covenanting, through the help of his Grace, to cleave to
GOD and to our LORD JESUS by Faith, in a Way of
Gospel Obedience, with full Purpose of Heart, as His
Covenant People for ever : And do also by this act of
Consederation, Give up our selves one unto another in the
LORD, according to the Will of GOD ; Promising and
Engaging to cleave and walk together in holy Union
and communion, as Members of the same Body, and
as an Instituted Church of CHRIST, Rightly Insti-
tuted and Established in the true Faith, and Order of the
Gospel : Further Obliging our selves by this our holy
Covenant to Keep and Maintain the holy Word and Wor-
ship of G O D committed to us, and endeavour faith-
fully to transmit it to our Posterity ; to cleave unto, and
uphold the true Gospel-Ministry, as it is Established by
JESUS CHRIST in His Church, to have it in due Ho-
nour and Esteem, for the work sake; To subject our selves
fully and sincerely unto the Ministerial Exercise of the
Power of CHRIST in the Dispensation of the Word, the
Administration of the Sacraments ; the LORD’s SUP-
PER to Members in full Communion, and without offence;
Baptism to Visible Church-Members, and their Infant
Seed : As also for the due Application of the holy Disci-
pline with Love, Care and Faithfulness ; Watching one
over another, and over all the Children of the Covenant
growing up with us ; and all in Obedience to the blessed
Rule and Government of our LORT JESUS CHRIST,
the alone Head of His Church : And withal we further
Engage ourselves to walk Orderly in a way of Fellowship
and Communion with all Neighbour Churches, according
to the Rules of the Gospel; that the Name of our LORD
JESUS may be One throughout all the Churches to the
Glory of GOD the FATHER : This is our holy Church
Covenant, We do in most solemn Manner take upon our
Souls, in all the Parts of it, with full purpose of Heart,
as the LORD shall help us, and according to the measure
of Grace received, We will Walk before, and with GOD,
fully, steadfastly and constantly in the discharge of all
Covenant Duties each to other : And the LORD keep
this for ever in the Thoughts and Imaginations of the
Hearts of us his poor Servants to establish our Hearts
unto Him ; and the good LORD pardon every one of
us that prepareth his Heart to seek the LORD GOD
of his Fathers. A M E N.


Their Acknowledgments Expressing their
Obligations by that Covenant.

Our Acknowledgments Expressing our Obligations to
GOD and one another, by Virtue of our Consent to
the Covenant of Grace, and the Church Covenant
drawn on our first Gathering, and particularly
assented to by each of us, &c.

We that through GOD's Goodness have been
gathered and are still continued a Church of His,
having heretofore consented to the Covenant of Grace,
according to the gracious Terms thereof, have made
and HOLY SPIRIT, as our GOD, and of our LORD
JESUS CHRIST, as the Glorious Mediator, upon
whose Fulness of Merit and Power we rely as well to
be strengthened to the Duties, as to enjoy the Blessings
of that Well-ordered Covenant ; Have therefore accor-
ding to his Will incorporated our selves into that Evan-
gelical Church-State, wherein our Desires after the
Mercies of the Covenant, are to be expressed and
answered ; Being sensible that our Justification is by
Faith in the Righteousness of CHRIST, as of our
only Surety, doth oblige us to keep all GOD's Com-
mands as Holy, Just and Good ; being also Awakened
by the many Judgments impending over our Nation
and Country ; Would search our Hearts after what
might be in us provoking to GOD ; Acknowledging
it to be our Duty, not only to Walk Circumspectly,
respecting gross Sins, and Marriages, but we desire
also to guard against prevailing Corruptions that often
prevail among the People of GOD ; and now to Renew
our Ingagements to be the LORD's, which we are sen-
sible of from the holy Covenant of GOD which hath
not only been Accepted but Renewed, and is hereby
Renewed and expressed :

We then Acknowledge,
1. THAT it would be a great Evil in us if our Love
to the World should make us abate of our Love to
Communion with GOD, or abate of that Zeal and
Watchfulness which we should always keep alive in
our Souls, or hinder us from the most affectionate
Reading GOD's Holy Word, and seeking of His Face
every Day in ourHouses, or from daily use of Close
Supplication and Meditation.

We Acknowledge 'twould be a great Evil in us,
2. IF we should on the one hand protest against any
thing in the Worship and Service of GOD for which we
have not a Divine Institution, and against the use of all
Pagan Papal Superstitions ; If we should not on the
other side to the best of our Capacities Attend and Sup-
port the Institutions of GOD in the midst of us, with
Endeavours that there be nothing wanting thereto.

We Acknowledge 'twould be a great Evil in us,
3. IF when we draw near to GOD in His Ordi-
nances, We should allow our selves to be Formal,
Carnal, or Sleepy in what we do ; or if we should
come to the LORD's Table without due Examinations
and Humiliations and Supplications preparatory thereto ;
or if in managing of Church Discipline, We should vent
our own Passions, or serve our own Humours.

We Acknowledge 'twould be a great Evil in us,
4. IF we should abuse the good Creatures of GOD
by Sensualities, in Eating or Drinking and Recreations ;
Or by Extravagancy in Apparel ; or in the irreverent
use of GOD's Names, Titles, Attributes, Word or
Ordinances, etc.

5. THAT 'twould be a great Evil in us. If we
should not keep a strict Guard over our Thoughts, as
well as Words and Works, on the SABBATH, and
also on all under our Influence, to restrain them from
Violations of that Sacred Rest.

Yea, we Acknowledge 'twould be a great Evil in us,
6. IF we should not study to have our Families well
Instructed and Governed, and in such a Condition that
is agreeable to the Fear of GOD.

We again acknowledge 'twould be a great Evil in us,
7. IF by the Prevalency of a private Spirit, We
should be backward to any Publick Service, whereby
GOD might call us with our Persons or Estates to
serve our Generations ; Or if we should by Unjust
Neglect or Censure ill requite such as have been ser-
viceable to us, which are the Ministers of GOD to
us for good.

We acknowledge 'twould be a great Evil in us,
8. IF we should Fail of a Patient, Peaceable, For-
giving Temper towards our Neighbours ; or if we
should not with meekness of Wisdom smother all Causes
of Contention.

9. Or if we should spend our Days in Idleness, and
not be diligent in such imployments as may Adorn
the Doctrine of GOD by rendring us useful to our

That 'twould be a great Evil,
10. IF our Carriage or Discourse should any ways
favour of a Licivious Disposition in our Souls.

11. Or if we should use Dishonesty in our Dealings
by Fraud, Force or unreasonable Exactions.

We Acknowledge 'twould be a great Evil in us,
12. IF we should go Maliciously to make or In-
juriously spread false Reports ; or if we should too
easily receive Slanders against the Innocent, or Coun-
tenance the Broachers of them.

13. Or if we should not Conscientiously observe and
fulfill what Promises we lawfully give one another.

14. THAT 'twould be a great Evil in us to be discontented
at others Prosperity, or our own Adversity, wherein
we are confined.

Yea, we acknowledge 'twould be a great Evil in us,
15. IF we should not be ready Charitably and
Liberally to relieve the Necessities of the Poor that
shall call for our Bounties.

Again, we acknowledge 'twould be a great Evil
in us.
Ult. IF we should not with a Brotherly Affection
either give or take Reproofs where there is cause for
them ; or if we should withold our Testimony against
whatsoever might fall out among ourselves displeasing
to GOD.

WHEREFORE, We do now by solemn VOTE
declare against all these Evils as Abominable Things,
utterly despairing of any Strength in our selves to keep
clear thereof ; We do most humbly ask the Alsufficient
Grace of GOD in CHRIST, that neither these nor
any other Iniquities may have any Dominion over
us, but that we Watch against them all both in our
selves and in one another.


Boston : Printed in the Year 1722.
Re-printed in the Year 1771.

Transcribed from an original document in the possession of the First Congregational Church of Middleboro,
by James G. MacDonald III, Historian, 2009

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