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The Anabaptist Confession (1659)

Creeds and Confessions of the Church

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A document stating some key differences with the Reformed Community concerning the Anabaptists.

Declaration Of several of the People called Anabaptists,
In and about the CITY of LONDON.
We being misrepresented to the Nation,

1. As such, as are opposite to Magistracy.

2. That we would destroy the Publick Ministry of the Nation, who differ from us in some things about Religion.

3. That we do countenance the people called Quakers, in their irregular practice.

4. That we endeavor a Toleration of miscarriages in things Ecclesiastical and Civil, under pretence of Liberty of Conscience,

5. That we design to murder and destroy those who differ from us in matters of Religion, thereby endeavoring to make us odious to some people fearing God, And also to incense the rude Multitude against us, to provoke them (if possible) to destroy us.

To the first: Though we cannot answer in justification of every individual person that is of our Profession in matters of Religion, yet we can say this, and prove it to all the world, that it hath been our profession, and is our practice, to be obedient to Magistracy in all things Civil, and willing to live peaceably, under whatever Government is, and shall be established in this Nation: for we do believe, and declare, Magistracy to be an ordinance of God, and ought to be obeyed in all lawful things.

To the second: As for the public Ministers of the Nation, who differ from us in the matter of Baptizing Infants, and some things in Church-Government; We are so far from endeavoring to destroy them, that we judge, they ought to have the Liberty of their Consciences therein; and that it is our duty to stand by them, and preserve them (so much as in us lies) from all injury and violence.

To the third: Concerning the people called Quakers, it is well known to all, (that are not willfully ignorant) there are none more opposite to their irregular practices then we are: nor are there any, that they have expressed more Contradiction to, (in matters of Religion) then against us; though their provocations therein, hath not put us (in the least) on a desire of depriving them their just Liberty, while they live morally honest, and peaceable in the Nation.

To the forth: Whereas we are further charged with endeavoring an universal Toleration of all miscarriages, both in things Religious and Civil, under pretense of Liberty of Conscience; it is in both respects notoriously false. And we do before the Lord, that shall judge both quick and dead, yea, before Angels and men, declare our utter detestation of such a Toleration; for in matters Civil, we desire there may not be the least Toleration of miscarriage in any, much less in our selves.

Nor do we desire, in matters of Religion, that Popery should be tolerated, the blood of many thousands of the people of God, having been barbarously shed, by the Professors thereof; or any persons tolerated, that worship a false god; nor any that speak contemptuously and reproachfully of our Lord Jesus Christ; nor any that deny the holy Scriptures, contained in the books of the Old and New Testaments, to be the Word of God: And yet, we are not against tolerating of Episcopacy, Presbytery, or any stinted form, provided they do compel any others to a compliance therewith, or a conformity thereunto: for whatever Composers of any form of worship, may possibly err; it is derogating from God, and his holy Word, and injurious to men, to compel any to practice thereof.

To the last: For as much as we are charged, with designs, to murder or to destroy those that differ from us in matters of Religion; We do not only abhor and detest it, as a cursed practice; but we hope, have approved our selves, both in this City and in this Nation, to the contrary; notwithstanding the great provocation of some, who have endeavored our ruin: for all we desire, is just liberty to men, as men; that every man may be preserved in his own just rights, and the Christians may be preserved as Christians, though of different Apprehensions in some things of Religion; in the prosecution whereof, our lives shall be dear unto us, when we are thereunto lawfully called. The designs of our Adversaries in these Calumnies, are, to misrepresent us to some people fearing God, and also, to incense the rude Multitude against us, purposely to provoke them (if possible) to destroy us.

We hope, hereby, it will appear to them that fear God, that we are no such persons, as our Adversaries have represented us, And for their incensing the rude Multitude against us, it is no more, than some others did to our Master; and it is not for the Disciples, to expect better usage then their Lord: and we do not find, the rude Multitude ever joined with him, nor do we expect, they should favour us: it is enough to us, we have his Promise, that if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him.

This we think meet to Declare, to undeceive those, who through the unchristian actions and expressions of some persons, have been, and are, prejudiced against us.

Printed for Livewell Chapman,
at the Crown in Popes-Head-Alley, 1659.

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