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Platform of
To be presented to the Churches and Generall Court
for their consideration and acceptance,
in the Lord.
The Eighth Moneth Anno 1649

Psal: 84.1. How amiable are thy Tabernacles O Lord of Hosts?
Psal: 26.8. Lord I have loved the habitation of thy house & the
place where thine honour dwelleth.

Psal: 27. 4. One thing have I desired of the Lord that will I seek
after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the
dayes of my life to behold the Beauty of the Lord & to
inquire in his Temple.

Printed by S G at Cambridge in New England
and are to be sold at Cambridge and Boston
Anno Dom: 1649


      THE setting forth of the Publick Confession of the Faith of Churches hath a double end, & both tending to publick edification. first the maintainenance of the faith entire within it self: secondly the holding forth of Unity & Harmony, both amongst, & with other Churches. Our Churches here, as (by the grace of Christ) wee beleive & profess the same Doctrine of the trueth of the Gospell, which generally is received in all the reformed Churches of Christ in Europe: so especially, wee desire not to vary from the doctrine of faith, & truth held forth by the churches in our native country. For though it be not one native country, that can breed vs all of one mind; nor ought wee for to have the glorious faith of our Lord Jesus with respect of persons: yet as Paul who was himself a Jew, professed to hold forth the doctrine of justification by faith, & of the resurection of the dead, according as he knew his godly countrymen did, who were Iewes by nature (Galat. 2. 15. Acts 26. 6, 7.) so wee, who are by nature, English men, doe desire to hold forth the same doctrine of religion (especially in fundamentalls) which wee see & know to be held by the churches of England, according to the truth of the Gospell
      The more wee discern, (that which wee doe, & have cause to doe with incessant mourning & trembling) the unkind, & unbrotherly, & unchristian contentions of our godly brethren, & countrymen, in matters of church-government: the more ernestly doe wee desire to see them joyned together in one common faith, & our selves with them. For this end, having persued the publick confession of faith, agreed upon by the Reverend assembly of Divines at Westminster, & finding the summ & substance thereof (in matters of doctrine) to express not their own judgements only, but ours also: and being likewise called upon by our godly Magistrates, to draw up a publick confession of that faith, which is constantly taught, & generally professed amongst us, wee thought it good to present unto them, & with them all the churches of Christ abroad, our professed & hearty assent & attestation to the whole confession of faith (for substance of doctrine) which the Reverend assembly presented to the Religious & Honourable Parlamet of England: Excepting only some sections in the
25 30 & 31. Chapters of their confession, which concern points of controversie in church-discipline; Touching which wee refer our [2] selves to the draught of church-discipline in the ensueing treatise.
      The truth of what we here declare, may appear by the unanimous vote of the Synod of the Elders & messengers of our churches assembled at Cambridg, the last of the sixth month
1648: which joyntly passed in these words; This Synod having perused, & considered (with much gladness of heart, & thankfullness to God) the cofession of faith published of late by the Reverend Assembly in England, doe judge it to be very holy, orthodox, & judicious in all matters of faith: & doe therfore freely and fully
[8] To the 2 Exception, That wee take no course for the gayning & healing & calling in of ignorant, & errorious, & scandalous persos, whom we refuse to receive into our churches & so exclude them from the remidy of church-disciplie.
      Wee conceive the receiving of them into our churches would rather loose & corrupt our Churches, then gain & heale them. A little leaven layed in a lump of dough, will sooner leaven the whole lump, then the whole lump will sweeten it. Wee therefore find it safer, to square rough & unhewn stones, before the[y] be layed into the building, rather then hammer & hew them, when they lye unevenly in the building.
      And accordingly, two meanes (wee use to gayn & call in such as are ignorat or scandalous.
I The publick ministery of the word, upon which they are invited by counsel, & required by wholsome lawes to attend. And the word it is, which is the powr of God to salvation, to the calling & winning of soules. 2 Private conference, & conviction by the Elders, & other able brethren of the church: whom they doe the more respectively hearken unto, when they see no hope of enjoying church-fellowship, or participation in the Sacraments for themselves, or their children, till they approve their judgements to be sound & orthodox, & their lives subdues to some hope of a godly coversation. What can Classical discipline, or excomunication it slefe do more in this case.
      The 3 Exception wrappeth up in it a three fold domestical inconvenience: & each of them meet to be eschewed. I Disunion in families between each relation: 2 Disappointmet of edificatio for want of opportunity in the governours of familyes to take accout of things heard by their children & servants. 3 Disbursments of chargeable maintenance to the several churches, wherto the several persons of their familyes are joyned.
      All which inconvenience either do not fall out in congregationall-churches: or are easily redressed. For none are orderly admitted into congregational-churches, but such as are well approved by good testimony, to be observant of family- relations. Or if any other-wise diposed should creep in, they are either orderly healed, or duly removed from the way of Chrsit. Nor are they admitted, unless thay can give some good account of their profiting by ordinances, before the Elders & brethren of the church: & much more to their parets, & masters. Godly Tutors in the university can take an account of their pupills: & godly housholders in the Citty can take account of their children & servants, how they profit by the word they have heard in several churches: & that to the greater edification of the whole family, by the variety of such administrations. Bees may bring more hony, & wax into the hive, when they are not limited to one garden of flowers, but may fly abroad to many.
      Nor is any charge expected from wives, children, or servants to the maintenance of congregationall churches, further then they be furnished with personall estates, or earnings, which may enable them to contribute of such things as they have, & not of
[9] Such as they have not. God accepteth not Robbery for a sacrifice. And though a godly housholder may justly take himselfe bound in conscience, to contribute to any such Church, wherto his wife, or children, or servants doe stand in relation; yet that will not aggravate the burden of his charge, no more than if they were received members of the same Church wherto himself is related.
      But why doe wee stand thus long to plead exemptions from exceptions? the Lord help all his faithfull servants (whether presbyteriall, or congregational) to judge & shame our selves before the Lord for all our former complyances to greater enormityes in Church-government, then are to be found in either in the congregationall, or presbyteriall way. And then surely, either the Lord will cleare up his own will to us, & so frame, & subdue us all to one mind, & one way, (Ezek.
43. 10, 11.) or else wee shall learn to beare one anothers burdens in a spirit of meekness. It will then doubtless be farr from us, so to attest the discipline of Christ, as to detest the disciples of Christ: so to contend for the seameless coat of Christ, as to crucifie the living members of Christ: soe to divide our selves about Church communion, as through breaches to open a wide gap for a deluge of Antichristian & prophane malignity to swallow up both Church & civil state.
      What shall wee say more? is difference about Church-order become the inlett of all the disorders in the kingdom? hath the Lord indeed left us to such hardness of heart, that Church-government shall become a snare to Zion, (as somtimes Moses was to AEgypt, Exod.
10. 7.) that we cannot leave contesting & contending about it, till the kingdom be destroyed? did not the Lord Jesus, when he dedicated his sufferings for his church, & his also unto his father, make it his earnest & only prayer for us in the world, that wee all might be one in him? John. 17. 20, 21, 22, 23. And is it possible, that he (whom the Father heard alwayes, John. 11. 42.) should not have this last most solemn prayer heard, & graunted? or, shall it be graunted for all the saints elsewhere, & not for the saints in England; so that amongst them disunion shall grow even about Church-union, & communion? If it is possible, for a little faith (so much as a grain of mustardseed) to remove a mountaine: is it not possible, for so much strength of faith, as is to be found in all the godly in the kingdom, to remove those Images of jealousie, & to cast those stumbling-blockes out of the way, which may hinder the free passage of brotherly love amongst brethren? It is true indeed, the National covenant doth justly engage both partyes, faithfully to endeavour the utter extirpation of the Antichristia Hierarchy, & much more of all Blasphemyes, Heresies, & damnable errours. Certainly, if congregational discipline be Independent from the inventions of men, is it not much more Independent from the delusions of Satan? what fellowship hath Christ with Belial? light with darkness? trueth with errour? The faithfull Iewes needed not the help of the Samaritans, to [10] Reedify the Temple of God: yea they rejected their help when it was offered. Ezrea the 1, 2, 3. And if the congregationall way be a way of trueth (as wee believe) & if the brethren that walk in it be zealous of the trueth, & hate every false way (as by the rule of their holy discipline they are instructed, 2 John. 10, 11.) then verily, there is no branch in the Nationall covenant, that engageth the covenanters to abhore either Congregationall Churches, or their way: which being duely administered, doe no less effectually extirpate the Antichristian Hierarchy, & all Blasphemies, Heresyes, & pernicious errours, then the other way of discipline doeth, which is more generally & publickly received & ratifyed.
But the Lord Jesus commune with all our hearts in secret: & he who is the King of his Church, let him be pleased to exercise his Kingly powr in our spirites, that so his kingdome may come into our Churches in Purity & Peace.       Amen.       Amen.

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