AN OLD CHURCH CONSTITUTION
Records of the Baptist Church formed at Crowborough, June 23rd, 1844
Through the blessing of God on this little interest, it having now been formed into a church, we think it right to record and preserve for further days the various steps taken – to show that we have, as far as the Lord has given us grace to enable us and light to shew us, followed the path which He himself and His Apostles taught and practised. Through His abundant mercy, the Gospel of the grace of God, having been attended with the power and demonstration of the Spirit, has been preached among us- and been made effectual in giving knowledge of salvation. We, having given ourselves unto the Lord, were desirous of giving ourselves to one another in the bonds of church fellowship – according to the law of our Lord as King in Zion.
After holding meetings to relate the Lord’s dealings with us – and feeling united to each other in Christ Jesus, we were desirous to follow the Lord in his own appointed ordinance, as we read in Mark 16.16, also Acts 2.41. Mr. Philip Dickerson, pastor of the Baptist Church at Little Alie Street, London, was invited to spend a Lord’s day with us for this purpose. Our brother, Mr. Mose, who has been labouring among us near four years, preached in the morning, and in the afternoon Mr. Dickerson gave an address and baptised ten of
us whose names are hereafter enrolled.
In the evening Mr. Dickerson, having assembled the Brethren and Sisters who had been baptised, he stated the nature of a Gospel church, and asked them if it was their desire to be joined into a church, to which they replied by the holding up of the hand. He publicly associated us together, giving us the right hand of fellowship and recognised us as a distinct church. After this he gave a most suitable, solemn address and broke bread with us. In recording these events we would lift up our hearts in devout thankfulness to the God of all grace, for the hallowed influence of His Holy Spirit which He was so graciously pleased to pour out upon us on that solemn occasion, and we would most earnestly pray that the union thus formed may be strengthened by the addition of many of the Lord’s blood-bought and grace-redeemed souls from time to time, and by sweetly influencing us who are thus united by His
Spirit, as we have received Christ so also to walk in Him.
In this day of degeneracy from the truth as it is in Jesus, we think it right to record our views of divine truth which are the fundamental principles of our union and to which we subscribe our hands, and pray that the vital savour of these truths may rest upon our souls, that we may not hold them as sentiments only, but really know their truthfulness. At all times and in all places, by grace, we are determined to stand fast by the truth, that we may not be of them who deny the faith but who contend earnestly for it as it was once delivered to the saints, in all its glorious doctrines, experimental knowledge, and becoming practice; resting in the glorious hope that we shall one day arrive at that glorious consummation, so desired by the apostle. Col. 1.28, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
A Declaration of the Truth and practice of the Church of Christ
assembling at Crowborough, Sussex under the pastoral care of Jonathan Mose
Having been enabled through divine grace to give up ourselves to the Lord, and likewise to one another by the will of God, we account it a duty incumbent upon us to make a declaration of our faith and practice to the honour of our Lord Jesus Christ and the glory of His name. Knowing, that as with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation: which declaration is as follows:
- We believe that all the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the real Word of God, and the only rule of faith and practice.*
- We believe that there is but one only living and true God, and that there are Three Persons in the Godhead: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost who are equal in nature, power and
glory, and that the Son and the Holy Ghost are as truly and properly God as the Father.
- We believe that before the world began God did elect a certain number of persons unto everlasting salvation, whom He did predestinate to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ, of His own free grace according to the good pleasure of His will, and that in pursuance of this gracious design He did make a covenant of grace and peace with His Son Jesus Christ on the behalf of those persons. His chosen, wherein a Saviour was appointed and all spiritual blessings settled upon them; and also that their persons with all their grace and glory were put into the hands of Christ and made His especial care and charge.
- We believe that God created the first man Adam after His image and in His likeness, an upright, innocent and holy creature, capable of glorifying Him while he thus stood, but he sinning, all his posterity sinned in him, and came short of the glory of God, the guilt of whose sin is imputed and a corrupt nature derived to all his offspring descending from him by ordinary and natural generation, that they are, by their first birth carnal and unclean, averse to all that is good and incapable of doing any good and prone to every sin and are also by nature children of wrath and under a sentence of condemnation, and so are subject not only to a corporal death, and involved in a moral one, commonly called spiritual, but are also as sinners exposed to an eternal death from all which there is no deliverance but by Christ, the second Adam.
- We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ being set up from everlasting as Mediator of the new covenant, and He having engaged to be the Surety of his people, did, in the fulness of time, really assume human nature, in which nature He really suffered and died as their Substitute, in their room and stead, whereby He made all that satisfaction for their sins which the law and justice of God could require as well as made way for the conveyance of all those blessings which are needful for them, both for time and for eternity.
- We believe that the eternal redemption which Christ has obtained by the shedding of His blood is special and particular, being only designed for the elect of God, and sheep of Christ, who only share the especial and peculiar blessings of it.
- We believe that the justification of God’s elect is only by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them without the consideration of any works of righteousness done by them, and the full and free pardon of all their sins and transgressions past, present, and to come is only through the blood of Christ
according to the riches of His grace.
- We believe that the work of regeneration, conversion, sanctification and faith is not an act of man’s free will and power, but of the almighty efficacious and invincible grace of God.
- We believe that all those who are chosen by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and sanctified by the Spirit shall certainly and finally persevere and that not one of them shall ever perish, but shall have everlasting life.
- We believe that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust, and that Christ will come a second time to judge both the quick and the dead, when He will take vengeance on the wicked and introduce His own people into His kingdom and glory, when they shall be forever with Him.
- We believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of Christ to be continued unto His second coming and that the former is absolutely requisite to the latter, that is to say, that those and those only are to be admitted into the communion of the Church, and to participate of all its ordinances, who, upon a profession of their faith in Christ have been baptised by immersion in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
- We also believe that singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (vocally) is an ordinance of the Gospel designed of God, for the comfort and edification of His chosen.
Now all and each of these doctrines and ordinances with all the doctrines and ordinances of the Gospel, we look upon ourselves under the greatest obligation to embrace, maintain and defend, believing it to be our duty and privilege to stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel. And whereas we are sensible that our conversation both in the world and in the church might be as becometh the Gospel of Christ, we judge it our incumbent duty to walk in wisdom towards them that are without; to exercise a conscience void of offence towards God and man by living soberly, righteously and godly in the present world;
and, as to conduct to each other in our Church communion, we esteem it our duty to walk with each other in all humility and brotherly love; to watch over each other’s conversation; to stir up one another to love and good works; not forsaking the assembling ourselves together as we have opportunity; to worship God according to His revealed will; and when the case requires it, to warn, rebuke, and admonish one another, according to the rule of the Gospel. Likewise we think ourselves obliged to sympathise with each other in all conditions, both inward and outward, which God, in His providence may bring us into; as also we bear with each
other’s weaknesses, failings and infirmities; and particularly to pray one for another, and that the Gospel and the ordinances thereof might be blessed to the edification and comfort of each other’s souls; and for the gathering in of others to Christ beside those that are already called. All which duties we desire to be found in the performance of, through the gracious aid and influence of the Holy Spirit, whilst we bless, admire and adore the grace which has given us a place and a name in God’s house better than that of sons and daughters.
* In the original church book numerous Scripture references are given for each statement of doctrine