The church of Christ meeting at Carlton, Bedford came together in 1672, when Gideon Fisher’s house was licensed for Congregational worship.
In 1760, the congregation moved to a new chapel in Causeway with a seating capacity of 700 people. The late Kenneth Dix, chairman for the Strict Baptist Historical Society, served as pastor for this church between the years 1967 and 1970. During the early 1990’s, the congregation amalgamated with Harrold Evangelical Church, now known as the Grace Baptist Church meeting in the Old Mission Hall in Harrold High Street. The chapel was sold in the early 2000’s, converted to a private residence.
The church was aligned with the teachings of the Strict and Particular Baptists, at least until the mid-20th century.
The fourteenth pastor of the church was a gospel preacher named John Jull. He was appointed to the office in 1873 and served this role for six years.
The report of Mr. Jull’s appointment as pastor is recorded in the Earthen Vessel 1873:
Tuesday, Sep. 16th, ordination services were held at the Baptist meeting, Carlton, Beds., to recognize Mr. John Jull as the newly-elected pastor of the church.
At 2 p.m., the chapel being well filled, Mr. Webb commented by announcing the hymn, “God moves in a mysterious way,,’ &c.” Then Mr. Bull, of Wellingborough, implored the divine blessing upon the services of the day.
Mr. Hazelton announced his text, whose business was to state the nature of a gospel church, which he did in a most clear and definite manner from I Cor. 1:2—“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth.” The following is an outline:—
God resolved in eternity to have a church. This resolve was sovereign, gracious, and unchangeable. This church is the whole election of grace, the mystical body of Christ. All God’s operations, in time, relate directly or indirectly to the existence and glorification of this church.
Having loved a people, and resolved to fill them with himself, he originated time, created the world, and commenced operations in providence. The fall of man having taken place, and God’s purpose of love remaining fixed, a gracious revelation was made:—promises, types, and predictions were given, God’s saving operations commended, and eventually, the incarnation, mediation, and triumph of the church’s Savior followed.
Christ acquired a right by his perfect work to dispense and distribute all the grace, make such appointments as were necessary to fulfill God’s great design. It is his will that regenerated persons, in different localities, should unite together in organized bodies for mutual edification, and His own glory. In these bodies Christ is Lord and King.
It is his will that we should travel to heaven in companies; that the sheep be folded, the flowers be planted, that the children live in God’s house; he has given rules and laws concerning these folds, gardens, and households.
The term “church,” denotes a body of religious persons distinguished by its doctrines, discipline, ceremonies, and worship; hence, there is the Church of Rome, of England, the Greek Church, various Non-conformist Churches. We believe, most certainly, that a Strict Communion Baptist Church, holding the faith once delivered to the saints, is a gospel church; and no other organization, however godly individuals in it may be, is scripturally entitled to be called a church of God. We stand where the apostolic church stood, while others have departed that ground.
1. Such church has its existence by the will of Christ, saints located in the same neighbourhood have Christ’s authority to be formed into a church, to meet together for worship and business, and observe the ordinances of the gospel; such a church has the promise of Christ’s blessing and presence, and will stand as a holy centre, round which regenerated persons will gather, while it fulfills the holy object of its existence, the world has no right to interfere with its being or work.
2. Such a church is spiritual in its nature, its members are living spirituals, holy persons—all others are out of their place. Can a dead plant be useful in a garden? Does a dead body benefit the living ones in a house? The means of gathering and increasing the church are spiritual; not by fines, the sword, &c., but by the preaching of the gospel and the ministry of the Spirit of God. The object of their existence is spiritual, not designed to glorify talents, to overthrow earthly governments, nor answer political purposes, but to sanctify saved sinners, and to glorify God.
3. The order of fellowship with the church is fixed. (1) There must be life; (2) the living person must be baptized in a profession of their faith; (3) it must be mutually and affectionately agreed between himself and the church that he be received. He cannot enter without the voice of the church, and the church cannot force into its fellowship.
4. The form of a gospel church is congregational; it cannot be universal, national, provincial, nor parochial, for if so, it would include all.
5. The powers of a Christian church are defined. They are not legislative, but executive.A church cannot modify, transpose, ignore or dispense with anything that comes from Christ. A church can admit or withdraw from members, choose its own officers, manage its own business, and observe the ordinances of Christ.
6. The ordinances are two: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper—both are of divine authority. Baptism is the ritual way into the church; the Lord’s Supper is a church privilege, and must be confined exclusively to the church; and such transient communicants who are members of Strict Communion Principles. Christ’s authority in relation to both, is before charity, conscience, infirmity, and policy, or ones in ability, to see their importance, and it is binding to the end of time.
7. The church has two offices—pastors and deacons. The pastor presides, preaches, and rules, and is supported by the church that calls him to lead it; not as a matter of charity but of justice, for he has a right to the proceeds of his ministry. The deacons to serve tables: the table of the Lord, of the pastor, of the poor, furnished with means to do so from the church.
8. The design of all this, is to hold forth the word of life, mutual benefit, to do good, and to glorify God.
Mr. Hazelton called upon the senior deacon to give a statement of the church’s calling Mr. Jull to the pastorate.
Mr. Smith then gave a history of the church which was nearly 200 years old. The present chapel was built in 1760; they had several pastors, some gone home to rest from their labours, others moved to different spheres of labour. Mr. Jull was invited to supply; special prayer meetings were held to ask for the Lord to send a pastor, and for him to give them counsel in the choosing of one. Mr. Jull’s ministry being acceptable, the friends hearing him with much profit, a church meeting was called, all voted, and each voted Yes for his becoming the pastor. We feel it is the providence of God directed him, for we seem to be so one spirit.
Mr. Hazelton then asked Mr. Jull to give a statement of his call by grace, which was as follows:—
Call By Grace
I was born at Wrotham Water, Kent—brought up very morally—left boarding school at the age of fourteen years—came home to assist my mother in the farm, who was left a widow with seven children, when I was between twelve and thirteen years of age. Leaving school and having my liberty, the seeds of evil and wickedness began to show themselves in using of oaths, hating the Bible, in loving the ways of the ungodly. Just at this time, when beginning to seek to gratify the propensities of my own wicked heart and fallen nature, one day, when out in one of the fields, in the month of September, when between the age of fourteen and fifteen years, these words were sent home with power to my soul, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them” Gal. 3:10, and then followed, “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (verse 13.)
I felt from the former words, I was under the curse as a guilty sinner before a holy and righteous God; I now saw and felt sin in such light as I never felt it before; it became to me a great burden, my soul was distressed, I did not know there was any remedy for such a guilty sinner as I felt myself to be; this now led me to pray to God, which I never had done before—though I used the form of prayer taught me by my parents—but now this form did not express my feelings as a guilty lost sinner before a holy and righteous God.
I now began to read the Bible, to go to chapel with very different feelings and motives I ever went before; the chief feeling was to hear, can there be mercy, pardon, hope, salvation for such a lost sinner as I am? O how I longed and prayed that I might find Jesus, but I was kept in great suspense and anxiety of soul, till the following spiring, when coming home from chapel (sitting in the chaise) thinking of the sermon, the text was, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Matt. 14:31, a ray of light seemed to come into my soul, I felt the power of Jesus’ blood to take away my sins; joy came into my heart, my burden was gone, and I felt happy in the Lord. Here I could see Jesus had died for me; there was no ecstasy of joy, but a sweet peace and persuasion that my soul was saved, the comfort and peace lasted a little while with me.
After a time, this peace subsided. I began to fear if my religion was right. I questioned if it was real, I could not feel that enjoyment I could wish. Oh, how I longed to know if all the past was of the Lord, or whether it was a deception of the enemy; my soul became greatly troubled. I was much distressed; I tried to give up my religion and go back into the world; this was impossible, yet I felt so unhappy, I did not know what to do. At length the time drew near for my deliverance. Going to Boro’ Green anniversary, the minister quoted these words, “He hath brought me up also, out of an horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings; and hath put a new song into my mouth,” &c., &c., Psalm 40:2, 3. My soul was liberated, my fetters and chains were gone, my spirit sang all the way home through the corn-fields, and rejoicing in the deliverance many days.
After this, the enemy tried and distressed me, that the work may be begun, but would never be completed; that I should one day fall away, and be lost at last; he pointed out to me several who had made a profession, and gone back into the world, and suggested that I should be the same, which greatly distressed me. O how I cried to the Lord to save me from such a course; at length the Lord delivered me by speaking home to my heart these words, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ ” (Phil. 1:6); and “for I know whom I have believed,” &c. These words by the Holy Ghost brought great joy and deliverance to me.
At this time, I was sitting under a yea and nay ministry; no pathway of the Christian explained, nor was the plan of salvation set before me; and at this time, I knew nothing of the distinguishing doctrines of grace. For three years my soul was barren and dry; I cannot point to any period during that time, I felt or enjoyed the comfort of the Holy Ghost, or the smiles of God in my soul, although I attended the means but it was all dry to me and unprofitable; but I never gave up, morning and evening; private reading the word and prayer, which I am truly thankful I never did, though it was only in form, yet I have felt since it was a preventative to me from backsliding. At length I left; I went to another chapel at Ryarsh; there I began to hear the doctrines of grace explained and Jesus exalted, my pathway explained; often did I sigh and cry when going home, O that my experience was like theirs;, and I interested in the truths I heard preached.
After a time, Mr. Inward became the pastor of the church, and by his ministry, my soul was much blessed and established in the doctrines of grace. Satan then took advantage of the liberty of soul I enjoyed, by suggesting the truths I heard, were all false and the Bible untrue; and on going home from chapel one night, he seemed to be in the road, and I can only compare the conflict with him that night and all the next day, to where Bunyan represents Christian with Apollyon in the valley; nearly all my past experience he seemed to tread under his feet and count it as nothing. However, there was one scripture he could not wrest from me, viz., “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see” John 9:25. This he could not wrest from me, and this was the only weapon with which I could fight against him.
Then in the evening the Lord spoke these words home to me (which put the enemy to flight; peace came into my soul, and the effects of the words were such I felt that should there be none to stand for the doctrines of grace, I would, as a proof of his power to save,) “And ye are complete in him” Col. 2:10; “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law” Phil. 3:9; “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, to every one that believeth” Rom. 10:4.
After this, my mind was considerably exercised about baptism. I felt a desire to join the church, but felt my unfitness and unworthiness. At length, I was proposed, and the church having beard my testimony, received me, but there being no baptistry at Ryarsh, I was baptized at Boro’ Green, May, 1858.
Mr. Hazelton then said, we have heard how you became a Christian, will you tell us how you became a Christian minister.
Mr. Jull then said,—In 1857 my mind first became exercised about the work of the ministry. It was so strange, I could not understand what it could mean, and was afraid it was from Satan to fill me with pride. I trembled at the thought of it; I was very fond of business and took great interest in it, and could not bear the thoughts of being taken from it, especially with the idea of becoming a minister. I often prayed to the Lord to take these thoughts away, but they remained and gradually grew more weighty. While thinking of the solemn position of a minister in relation to his sacred and holy office, it appeared sinful on my part even to think of occupying such a position, but it mattered not how much I tried to banish it from my mind the more it continued. In the year 1858 I could not hear the word to profit, which was a great grief to me, for, when hearing, my mind was so exercised and absorbed about preaching, that all my own spiritual comfort was dried up. My great trouble was how thoroughly unfit and unworthy I appeared for the work, and yet for all this I could not get my mind free from it.
During the year 1859 my mind was more exercised than ever about this solemn work, and, go wherever I would, the words, “The work of the ministry,” appeared before my eyes, and seemed to sound in my ears, so that I did not know what to do, but still I never told any one of my state of mind, fearing it might be a delusion. I was constantly praying to the Lord about it; sometimes a portion of the word would arrest my mind, producing (as the Prophet Jeremiah speaks of) “Then I will not make mention of Him, not speak any more in His name. But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay ” (Jer. 20:9), such love for souls, and to spread the name of Jesus among my fellow men.
During the year 1859 my private prayers were wholly absorbed with this matter. If I resolved not to mention it, such was the burden and anxiety, that I was constrained to tell the Lord my distress, and exercise and ask Him to take the burden away. It truly was often “The burden of the word of the Lord.” I spoke to Mr. Inward about it. He said his mind had been impressed for some time, for when he received me into the church he said, “The Lord is about to do one of two things with you, either to take you home to Himself, or bring you into the ministry.” This was very strange to me as I had never mentioned it to a single person.
When I mentioned it to him he assured me it would come to pass in spite of all my fears and resistances.
My first attempt to speak was the 1st Jan. 1860, from these words, “I have finished the work which Thou gayest me to do.” (John 17:4.) No one can tell the uneasiness of my mind after I had spoken, for I felt I was not called to the work; and if the Lord would strike me dumb, deep and, serious as the affliction might be, I would willingly submit to it rather than preach.
I used to go occasionally to a cottage to preach with much trembling. These words often used to speak to me, “God, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life” (Acts 5:20), which often encouraged me; the people were profited under the word, and I enjoyed many happy seasons there. Through my testimony in this cottage the Lord called some from darkness to light and set some at liberty, who, afterwards joined the church.
I supplied at other places; at length the church at Ryarsh gave me a call to become their minister. It being unanimous, and feeling that it was the will of the Lord in my own mind, according to the exercise I had had about the case, I accepted their invitation: the Lord very much blest the word to the ingathering of souls.
During the time I was with them a new chapel was built; I baptized 40, most of them being fruits of my ministry. When called to leave them we parted in peace on terms of the greatest affection for each others’ welfare, and there still exists the greatest regard and esteem between minister and people.
Mr. Jull having given a statement of the doctrines he intended to preach, Mr. Hazelton asked for the members to confirm the choice they had made by the show of hands which was accordingly done, being unanimous. Mr. Jull’s reply to their invitation, was: Having watched the hand of the Lord some time past, and having prayed to the Lord to guide and influence his mind, he felt constrained to become their pastor, to labor in their midst for the ingathering of souls, and the edification of the church.
Then Mr. Bull and Mr. Atkinson took the newly-elected pastor by the hand, and with much warmth and kindness received him as a Christian brother and fellow-laborer in the Lord. The senior deacon and Mr. Jull having joined hands, Mr. Atkinson in the name of the Lord very cordially pronounced the union, wishing peace and prosperity to attend them.
About 300 persons partook of tea. In the evening, the chapel being full in every part, Mr. Inward opened the service by prayer, seeking a blessing upon the upon formed that day.
Then Mr. Atkinson, of Brighton, delivered the charge from the words in 1 Tim. 4:16, “Take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine.”
Mr. Box, of St. Neot’s addressed the church from the words, “And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake, and be at peace among yourselves.” This address was given with much interest.
Thus ended one of the most spiritual and profitable sermons we ever experienced in Zion.
In 1875, the Carlton church unanimously agreed to a Declaration of Faith and Practice, the substance of which represents a typical Strict and Particular Baptist Church’s Statement of Faith. Unlike the Reformed Baptist churches of today, the Strict and Particular Baptists did not subscribe to the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689, nor did they even use that Confessional statement when coming together in local Associations. Each congregation and association drew up their own Statement of Faith. Henceforth, while the churches were unified in their high views of sovereign grace and a restricted communion table, yet there was a wide range of Statements allowing each church to express their convictions independent of all other churches. Having said this, if there was a single Statement of Faith around which the churches would unite, it was John Gill’s Goat Yard Declaration (1729). In fact, most Statements are adaptations of Gill’s Declaration.
The Carlton Church’s Declaration Of Faith:
A DECLARATION OF THE FAITH & PRACTICE OF THE BAPTIZED CHURCH OF CHRIST, AT CARLTON, BEDS., UNDER THE PASTORAL CARE OF JOHN JULL.
Unanimously agreed to by the Church, February, 1875.
THE CHURCH COVENANT AND FORM OF ADMISSION.
THE CHURCH COVENANT.
We do in the presence of Almighty God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, the crowned King of Zion, and in the presence of His holy angels, and all beside, here present, solemnly give up ourselves to the Lord and one another by the will of God; solemnly promising and engaging, in the aforesaid awful presence, to walk together with the Lord and one another, in the observation of all Gospel Ordinances, and in the discharge of all relative duties, in this Church of God and elsewhere, as the Lord shall enable and enlighten us.
THE FORM OF ADMISSION.
If you, Brother, [or Sister] now in the awful presence of God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the presence of His holy angels, and in the presence of His people, and all beside, here present, do give up yourself unto the Lord, and unto us His people, by the will of God, solemnly promising and engaging, in the aforesaid awful presence, to walk with God, and us, His Church and people, as the Lord shall enable and enlighten you, signify the same by holding up your right hand to the Lord.
We likewise, in the aforesaid awful presence, do receive you into our communion, solemnly promising and engaging to behave towards you as a Church of Christ, watching over you in the Lord. In testimony hereof, we give you the right hand of fellowship—wishing your coming into this Church may be attended with a blessing both to us and you.
Having been enabled, through divine grace, to give ourselves up unto the Lord, and likewise unto one another, by the will of God, we account it good for the peace and unity of ourselves to make a public declaration of our FAITH AND PRACTICE, to the honour of Christ and the glory of His name,—knowing that as “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness,” so “with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
I.—On the Scriptures.
We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the word of God, and that they are a perfect rule for faith and practice; they being given by the Inspiration of God, are profitable for all things, and able, through faith, “to make the man of God perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (John 5:39, 2 Peter 1:19—21, 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.)
II.—On the Trinity in Unity.
It is from the Scriptures of truth that we learn with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY there is but One Holy, Infinite, Incomprehensible God, One in Essence, in which are three Personal Subsistences,—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, each of them bearing divine names, performing divine works, and receiving divine honours. (Deut 4:4, Mark 12:29, 1 Tim 2-5, James 2:19, Genesis 1:26, Isaiah 6:8, Col 2:2, 1 John 5:7)
III.—On Man’s Creation and Fall.
We believe that in the beginning God created man upright, innocent, and holy; capable of serving and glorifying his bountiful Creator: but he did not continue long in those happy circumstances in which he was created, but being left to the freedom of his own will, he (WITHOUT ANYTHING IMPULSIVE FROM GOD), transgressed the Law under which he was made, and thus fell to a state of guilt and condemnation. (Genesis 1:26, Eccles 7:20, 1 Timothy 2:14)
IV.—On Original Sin.
We believe that Adam was the constituted federal head and representative of all mankind; and in consequence of which representation, he, by the fall, brought his posterity into the same miserable circumstances with himself; the guilt of his sin being imputed, and a corrupt nature imparted to all that descend from him by natural generation, so that all men are born under the curse of the Law, enemies to God, void of all that is good, and prone to all that is ill, having neither will nor ability to do that which is acceptable to God, or to deliver themselves from their state of wrath and condemnation. (1 Cor 15:22, Romans 5:12, 15—19, John 5:40, John 6:44, Jer 13:23)
V.—On Election and Reprobation.
We believe that Jehovah did sovereignly choose a certain number of the human race, as a peculiar people to Himself, and in consequence of such choice, foreseeing that they would fall, in common with the rest, made provision for their salvation, gave them into the hands of Christ, who became Surety for them, and they became His care. Also, we believe that all those who were not chosen to eternal life, were appointed to eternal death; which act is founded on man’s rebellion and the Justice of God, and is NOT the fault of any decree, but of man’s sin and transgression. (John 15:16—19. Rom 8:29, 30, Eph 1:4, 1 Pet 1:2, Jer 6:30, Mal 1:2,3, Rom 9:11,13, Isaiah 27:11, 1 Peter 2:8)
VI.—On the Incarnation of Christ.
We believe that the eternal Word did assume man’s nature, was incarnate in the flesh, so that He, Jesus Christ our Lord, IS TRULY GOD, of the substance of the Father, YET TRULY MAN, being born of the Virgin Mary, holy and pure, without the least spot of sin. (Isaiah 7:14, Matt 1:18—23, John 1,14, 1 Tim 3:16)
VII.—On Particular Redemption.
We believe the design of Christ’s coming in the flesh was to complete the eternal Salvation of the Elect, AND NO OTHERS, and to bring them home to glory in a way of equity, to the glory of Divine Justice, as well as Mercy; therefore He paid the most perfect obedience to the Divine Law, and finally, having all the sins of the Elect imputed to Him, He died the accursed death of the cross, poured out His blood to expiate their innumerable and enormous transgressions; thus offering up Himself to God, one perfect and satisfactory sacrifice, for all those that were given to Him by the Father. (Matt 10:28, Mark 10:45, John 10:11,15, Eph 5:25-27, 2 Cor 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24)
VIII. —On the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ.
We believe that Jesus Christ arose from the dead the third day, by which He gave the fullest evidence that the debt His children owed was paid, the sins for which He suffered were expiated, and the law for ever satisfied; thus securing the resurrection of all His members. We believe He ascended to glory, took His seat at the right hand of the Father, hears the prayers of His people in the wilderness, and “ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Luke 24:34, Acts 26:22,23, 1 Cor 15:3, 4—20)
We believe that Jesus Christ, as the head of the Church, did render a complete obedience to the Law of God, which being imputed to them by the Father, is the matter of their justification in His sight, without the consideration of any works of righteousness done by them whatever. (Isaiah 13:21, Rom 10:4; 4:6. Eph 2:8,9. Titus 3:5)
We believe the absolute necessity and certainty of regeneration, or the new birth, which stands in the implantation of spiritual life and the graces of the Holy Ghost, which produces love to Christ and obedience to His commands; which change is not the produce of man’s free will, but the effects of the gracious and efficacious operations of GOD THE SPIRIT,by whom the natural enmity of the mind to God is removed and the heart sweetly softened down, and made willing to receive Christ. (John 3:3, Gal 6:15, James 1:18, 1 Peter 1:23, Psalms 110:3, John 1:13, Acts 13:48)
We believe that all those who are regenerate, or born again, shall certainly persevere in grace to glory—that all the perfections of Jehovah, all the merits of Christ, all the care and attention of the Spirit are employed in their safety—and that neither Satan, sin, nor the world, can cause them to perish; their Names being written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, they shall certainly be saved, and cannot finally be deceived or fall away. (Job 17:9, Jeremiah 22:40, John 10:28, Phil 1:6, John 14:19, Romans 13:29, 30)
We believe that the Elect were sanctified in Christ, by God the Father, before the foundation of the world, or that a fulness of holiness was given them in Christ, in whom they were blessed with all spiritual blessings, and who was made unto them (IN THE ETERNAL COVENANT) wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption;—yet we deem it indispensably necessary that there be a communication of that holiness from Christ to the hearts of His Members, in order to their fearing and serving Him, and holding communion and fellowship with Him here and in the world to come; which holy principle is the root and fountain of all practical sanctification and devotedness to God; without which holiness of heart, we believe no man can be saved, let his profession be what it may. (1 Cor 1:2, Jude 1, 1 Cor 1:30, Ephesians 1:3, 1 Thess 4:3, 2 Thess 2:13, 1 Peter 1:2, Heb 12:14)
XIII.—On the Church of Christ.
We believe that the true Church is known by the word of God, and doth depend upon its authority; that it is not national, but congregational, consisting of a number of true and faithful Christians, who, having followed Christ in Baptism by immersion, do agree together to give up themselves in one spirit, to walk in all the ordinances and institutions of Christ, of which they are convinced. (Daniel 2:44; 7:14, John 18:36, 2 Cor 8:5)
XIV.—On the Duty of Church Members.
We believe it our duty to love one another, and to watch over one another in love; also to lay ourselves out for one another’s advantage, both in things spiritual and temporal, according to the ability God has given us. We also consider it our duty not to suffer sin in a brother or sister, but to tell such of it in a spirit of meekness, considering ourselves also in the body. We believe it to be the duty of Church Members to fill up their places in the House of God, in the time of Public Worship, Church, and Prayer Meetings, and that absentees should give a satisfactory reason when required. (John 15: 12,17, Rom 13:8, 1 Thess 4:9, Gal 6:10, 1 Tim 6:18, Gal 6:1, James 5:16, 20, Heb 10:25)
XV.—On the Ordinances.
We believe the Lord Jesus Christ hath given to His Church a command and example to administer Two Ordinances, and to live in the observation of them till He comes again, namely, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and that those who are blest with faith in Christ, are the only persons that have a right to them, they being designed to promote their edification and comfort. Baptism we believe is immersing the believer in water, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Lord’s Supper consists in receiving the elements of bread and wine. (Matt 23:19, Mark 16:15,16, Rom 6:4, Col 2:12, Eph 4:5, Matt 26:26, Mark 14:22, Luke 12:19, 1 Cor 11:23—26)
We believe that the Church of Christ ought not knowingly to indulge error, either in faith or practice, nor receive or retain such persons that do in communion with her. Also that a Church should be of one faith and judgment, and endeavour to avoid all cause of division. These things being scriptural, and what we believe, we will neither receive or retain any person or persons who deny the things contained in the above articles. Nor will we admit any to be incorporated into this Church, unless they are first Baptized on a profession of their faith in Christ, and give a relation of their experience, to be approved of by the majority of the Members present, and with this shall be connected a good report of their moral conduct. (Psalms 133:1, 1 Cor 1:10, Titus 3:10, Eph 4:3)
XVII. —On the Resurrection.
We believe that the souls of believers, immediately upon their departure from the body, do go unto God, to dwell in the immediate vision of Him, and that there will be a Resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust—God having appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness, by Jesus Christ—when the wicked will be sent to ever-lasting misery, for their breach of God’s holy Law, the justice of which sentence will be acknowledged by the damned themselves; whilst the Righteous (in their whole persons), shall dwell for ever in the presence of Jesus Christ their Lord. (Luke 23:43, 2 Cor 5:8,10, Acts 24:15; 17:31, Matthew 25:46)
1.—That the decision of the majority then present be considered and submitted to, as the act of the church.
2.—That seven members, with the pastor, or officers, be considered a sufficient number to transact the business of the church, if no more attend.
3.—That if the pastor be absent, a moderator be chosen to preside, and keep order, in every such meeting.
4—That the officers of the church shall, if convenient, consult together, before every church meeting, and shall have power to call special meetings, when necessary, by giving the members written or verbal notice.
5.—That members of other churches of the same faith and order be allowed to commune with us.
6.—That church meetings be begun and ended with prayer.
7.—That all matters of importance be brought before the church by way of motion, which shall be seconded, then debated, and afterwards put to vote, and a majority determine.
8.—That no vote be received except the person be present.
9.—That the members speak standing, and but once on the same subject, except to explain, till the question be gone round.
10.—That the minutes of the church meeting be entered in the church book; and the last minutes be always read for confirmation, before any other business comes on.
11.—That the officers of the church give in their account of the sums of money received and paid, every twelve months.
12.—That every candidate be acquainted with the articles of the faith and order of the church, for their consideration, before they join the church.
13.—That every candidate be proposed one month, or a sufficient time, before they are brought before the church, for every enquiry to be made that is necessary respecting their life and conversation, by messengers appointed by the church.
14.—Every candidate shall appear before the church, and make a declaration of repentance towards God, and faith in Jesus Christ, in order to their admission.
15.—That all cases of misconduct be dealt with as shall seem most consistent with the word of God, either by admonition, suspension, or separation.
16.—That in cases of offence between brethren, we shall endeavour to take for our rule, Matthew 18: 15, 16, 17. “If thy brother trespass,” &c.
17.—Any member being called by Providence to change his habitation, shall, at his own request, be dismissed to any other church of the same faith and order.
18.—That any members removing their habitations to any other part of the kingdom, shall, once within every twelvemonth, write to inform the church where they are, and what minister they hear, and if they do not write within the time stated, will not be considered any longer as members of the church.
19.—That wilful non-attendance to the Lord’s Table we deem it necessary to be enquired into; should any member absent themselves six successive ordinance months, they be admonished of their neglect, and if after they continue in the like neglect for six months, we feel it important to exclude them, in order to maintain the honour and interests of Zion.
Useful Observations and Rules for promoting Love and Harmony among Church Members
1.—The church is compared to a family, and as such, it has its private affairs which should never be published: never mention therefore among strangers, what passes at a family or church meeting.—Eph 3:15
2.—Every believer, yet in the body, is compassed with infirmity, and therefore is subject to failings; and considering yourself lest you also be tempted, do not magnify yourself against a failing brother, but rather be merciful as your Father is merciful.—Gal 3:1, Luke 6:36
3.—If you know a member to be in fault, except it be a case of public scandal, go and tell him of his fault between thee and him alone, praying also that he may be humbled, forgiven, restored, and preserved in future. And in every case of private trespass and offence against yourself in particular freely forgive, remembering how you too have been freely forgiven.—Matt. 13:15, Luke 6:4
4.—If you have offended any one, though it be the humblest person of the community, frankly acknowledge the offence and humbly ask forgiveness. —James 5:16
5.—The sincerest servants of God have not escaped slander, nor even the Lord Jesus Himself, though absolutely sinless: never, therefore, entertain for a moment, much less publish a defamatory report without well established proof.—Prov 10:18
6.—Busybodies and tattlers, going for idle gossip from house to house, Paul severely reprehended as disorderly and mischievous persons: carefully avoid therefore such conduct, and be no meddler, newsmonger, nor secret-keeper.—2 Thess 3:6—15, 1 Tim 5:13
7.—Coldness and shyness among Christians are unnatural and injurious: watch against such things in yourself, and upon what may appear like these things to you in another, put the mildest and best construction. Charity thinketh no evil.—1 Cor 13:3—7, 1 John 2:10-15.
8.—Scrupulously avoid “doting about questions and strifes of words,” and “leave off contention before it be meddled with.”—Prov 18:15, 1 Tim 6:4, 5
9.—Seeing the peace of your life is so closely connected with the peace of the church, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” at all social meetings, and especially in private, and add thereto every possible effort in “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”—Psalms 122:6—9, Eph 4:3, 2 Cor 2:2
10.—Should you know of any offence between brethren, labour by all means in your power to heal the breach. “Blessed are the peacemakers.” —Matt 5:9
11.—”Behold” said the Psalmist, “how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” In order to realize the advantage and pleasure of brotherly union, let every one “follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” —Psalms 133, Rom 14:19
12.—Finally; let every one remember and do the commandment of Jesus, “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,” copying in all things His example.—Matt 7:12, John 13:4—17
Jared Smith served twenty years as pastor of a Strict and Particular Baptist church in Kensington (London, England). He now serves as an Evangelist in the Philippines, preaching the gospel, organizing churches and training gospel preachers.