The committee to whom was referred the report of the preliminary Committee on the Declaration of Faith made report as follows:

The committee, in presenting the following report to the Council, regret that time and circumstances would not allow them to prepare a condensed statement of the doctrines held by our denomination. We desire it to be distinctly understood that the brief confession of the faith which we held in concert with the great body of believers is in no sense designed to be regarded as a creed for our churches.

REPORT ON A DECLARATION OF FAITH. When the churches of New England assembled in a general synod at Cambridge, in 1648, they declared their assent, “ for the substance thereof," to the Westminster Confession of Faith. When, again, these churches convened in a general synod at Boston, in 1680, they declared their approval (with slight verbal alterations) of the doctrinal symbol adopted by a synod of the Congregational Churches in England, at London, in 1658, and known as the “ Savoy Confession,” which in doctrine is almost identical with that of the Westminster Assembly. And yet again : when the churches in Connecticut met in Council at Saybrook, in 1708, they“ owned and consented to” the Savoy Confession as adopted at Boston, and offered this as a public symbol of their faith.

Thus, from the beginning of their history, the Congregational churches in the United States have been allied in doctrine with the Reformed churches of Europe, and especially of Great Britain. The eighth article of the “ Heads of Agreement,” established by the Congregational and Presbyterian ministers in England in 1692, and adopted at Saybrook in 1708, defines this position in these words: “ As to what appertains to soundness of judgment in matters of faith, we esteem it sufficient that a Church acknowledge the Scriptures to be the word of God, the perfect and only rule of faith and practice, and own either the doctrinal part of those commonly called the Articles of the Church of England, or the Confessions or Catechisms, shorter or larger, compiled by the Assembly at Westminster, or the Confession agreed on at the Savoy, to be agreeable to the said rule."

In conformity, therefore, with the usage of previous Councils, we, the elders and messengers of the Congregational churches in the United States, do now profess our adherence to the above-named Westminster and Savoy Confessions for “substance of doctrine.” We thus declare our acceptance of the system of truths (which is commonly known among us as Calvinism, and) which is distinguished from other systems by so exalting the sovereignty of God as to “ establish ” rather than take away the “ liberty” or free-agency of man, and by so exhibiting the entire character of God as to show most clearly “ the exceeding sinfulness of sin.”

At the same time we re-affirm the fundamental principle of Congregationalism, that the Bible is "the only sufficient and invariable rule of religion;"1 that, in order to attain a faith which is “ right and divine, the word of God must be the foundation of it, and the authority of the word the reason of it.”? We “ought to account nothing ancient that will not stand by this rule, and nothing new that

“ It was the glory of our fathers, that they heartily professed the only rule of their religion, from the very first, to be the Holy Scripture.” 1

Besides thus expressing the faith which we hold as a denomination, we deem the present a fit occasion to express the earnestness of our sympathy with all those

will.” 1

1 Preface to the Savoy Confession, as adopted at Saybrook in 1708.

Christian churches who are agreed with us in the essential truths of the gospel; especially as our common faith is now assailed by popular and destructive forms of unbelief, which deny the living and personal God, which reject the possibility of a supernatural revelation by Jesus Christ, which exclude the fact of sin and the hope of redemption.

Against these dangerous errors, we, in common with all Christian believers, confess our faith in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the only living and true God; in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word, who is exalted to be our Redeemer and King; and in the Holy Comforter, who is present in the Church to regenerate and sanctify the soul.

With the whole Church, we confess the common sinfulness and ruin of our race, and acknowledge that it is only through the work accomplished by the life and expiatory death of Christ that we are justified before God, and receive the remission of sins; and that it is through the presence and grace of the Holy Comforter alone that we hope to be delivered from the power of sin and to be perfected in holiness.

We believe also in the organized and visible Church, in the ministry of the word, in the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper, in the resurrection of the body, and in the final judgment, the issues of which are eternal life and everlasting punishment.

We receive these truths on the testimony of God, given originally through prophets and apostles, and in the life, the miracles, the death, the resurrection, of his Son, our divine Redeemer. This testimony is preserved for the Church in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, which were composed by holy men as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

We affirm our belief that those who thus hold “one faith, one Lord, one baptism,” together constitute the one catholic Church, the several households of which, though called by different names, are the one body of Christ; and that these members of his body are sacredly bound to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace,” and to dwell together in the same community in harmony and mutual fellowship

We hold it to be a distinctive excellence of our Congregational system that it exalts that which is more above that which is less important, and by the simplicity of its organization facilitates, in communities where the population is limited, the union of all true believers in one Christian Church; and that the division of such communities into several weak and jealous societies, holding the same common faith, is a sin against the unity of the body of Christ, and at once the shame and scandal of Christendom.

We bless the God of our fathers for the inheritance of these doctrines which have been transmitted to us their children. We invoke the help of the divine Redeemer, that, through the presence of the promised Comforter, he will enable us to transmit them in purity to our children. We rejoice, that, through the influence of our free system of apostolic order, we can hold fellowship with all who acknowledge Christ, and act efficiently in the work of restoring unity to the divided Church, and of. bringing back harmony and peace among all“ who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.”

We believe that these truths and this free spirit have blessed our country in the past, that they have made New England what she is in the present, and have carried her principles, by other denominations as well as our own, throughout the Union, while in our recent struggle they have largely contributed to redeem and save the nation.

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In the critical times that are before us as a nation, times at once of duty and of danger, we rest all our hopes in the gospel of the Son of God. It was the grand peculiarity of our Puritan Fathers, that they held this gospel, not merely as the ground of their personal salvation, but as declaring the worth of man by the incarnation and sacrifice of the Son of God; and therefore applied its principles to elevate society, to regulate education, to civilize humanity, to purify law, to reform the Church and the State, to assert, to defend, and to die for liberty ; in short, to mould and redeem by its all-transforming energy everything that belongs to man in his individual and social relations.

It was the faith of our fathers that gave us this free land in which we dwell. It is by this faith only that we can transmit it to our children, a free and happy, because a Christian, commonwealth.

We acknowledge the duty that is laid upon us by the Redeemer to carry this gospel into every part of this land and to all nations, and to teach all men the things which he has commanded us to observe and to do. May He to whom "all power is given in heaven and earth” fulfil the promise which is all our hope : "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world.” To him be praise in the Church forever, Amen. For the committee.

JOHN O. FISK, Chairman. It was moved to accept and adopt the report.

Rev. Mr. Balkam, of Maine, moved to amend by substituting the original paper presented by the committee of which Dr. Thompson was chairman; but the motion, on request, was withdrawn.

Rev. Dr. Leavitt, of New York, moved to amend by striking out the words, “ which is commonly known among us as Calvinism, and.”

It was moved that the orders of the day be suspended (the hour designated for adjournment having arrived), so as to allow Rev. Mr. Allen to speak for two minutes; and the motion was carried.

Dr. Leavitt's amendment was lost.
The motion to lay the Report of the Committee on the table was lost.

Rev. Mr. Quint, of the Business Committee, moved that the Council suspend the rule to adjourn at 5 o'clock, so as to remain in session after that hour; which was carried.

Dr. Leavitt, of New York, moved further to amend, by inserting in the third paragraph, between the words “ above-named” and “ Westminster,” the words “doctrinal articles of the Church of England, and."

Pending the discussion of this amendment, on motion of Mr. Dexter, of Mass., the Council voted, that, when it adjourn, it adjourn (should to-morrow not be a rainy day), to meet at 11, A. M., on Burial Hill, in Plymouth, Mass.

The discussion of Dr. Leavitt's proposition was further arrested, to allow of the reception and appropriate reference of several resolutions from the Business Committee, as follows, viz. :

(1.) Whereas, The use of tobacco is a great and growing evil in our land, and large treasures are wasted in forming and cherishing a habit that is not only expensive but highly injurious; therefore

Resolved, That this Council do, in the most solemn and decided manner, raise a voice of warning against this evil, and exhort our churches and our people everywhere to set their faces like a flint against it, that our precious youth may be saved from its baneful influence, and the fairest portion of our earthly heritage from foul desecration.

Accepted, and referred to the Committee on Temperance.

(2.) Resolved, That we recommend to all the churches represented in this Council the observance of the

day of

-as a day of special fasting and prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the land, to crown with success the results reached by this body; and that we send a brief address to those churches, to be laid before them on that occasion.

Accepted, and reference ordered to a special committee to be appointed. (3.) Whereas, Our Pilgrim Fathers regarded the strict observance of the Sabbath as a duty they owed to God, and also as indispensable to the formation of a free Christian republic; and

Whereas, The desecration of the Sabbath is proverbial, both by the nation and by individuals, and thereby one of the fundamental principles on which our fathers reared this mighty nation is greatly imperilled, and the God who ordained the Sabbath dishonored: therefore

Resolved, That we as a Council greatly deplore the general desecration of the Sabbath in our beloved land, and feel called upon to use all proper efforts, in the pulpit and by the pew, by prayer, and if necessary by our petitions to Congress, to restore to the nation the sanctity of the Christian Sabbath, once so dear to our fathers.

Reference ordered to the Committee on “ the Declaration of Faith.”

(4.) Whereas, This Council is informed that a band of Christians in Baltimore, many of whom are known to have been first among the foremost in the great movements in Maryland during the last four years for liberty and the Union, have recently been organized into a Congregational Church; and

Whereas, These representative s of the New England polity and spirit have with great self-sacrifice devoted themselves and their property to the enterprise of building, upon a commanding height in that city, a Church edifice worthy of their cause, and of gathering from the large number of intelligent and liberty-loving citizens of that emancipated metropolis a vigorous and influential Church; and

Whereas, We have reason to believe that the success of one such enterprise would lead to the early establishment of other strong churches in Baltimore, and that such a Church, standing in the gateway of the South, would insure the organization of many more in the regions beyond, and would itself become a light and a power over the whole land: therefore

Resolved, That this National Council commend this initial enterprise at the South to the sympathy and most liberal aid of our whole denomination, as one of the highest importance to our country, to the interests of liberty, and to the cause of Christ.

Accepted, and referred to the Committee on the Evangelization of West and South.

(5.) Resolved, That it is inexpedient and improper that pastors of Congregational churches should assume, or retain, membership in another denomination.

Accepted, and referred to the Committee on Church Polity. (6.) Resolved, That a committee be raised to devise ways and means to raise the $750,000 voted as expedient for national evangelization.

Reference ordered to a special committee to be appointed.
(7.) Resolved, That this Council will adjourn sine die on Saturday next, at 12, M.
Reference ordered to Business Committee.

(8.) Whereas, The expeditious securing of the $750,000 which our churches have been recommended to raise is of the first importance to our land and the Church; and

Whereas, An equitable apportionment of this sum among the churches of our several States, according to their several ability, would greatly facilitate the obtaining of the entire


Resolred, That a committee be appointed to make as equitable an apportionment as possible, of the sum to be raised, among the different States, and in due time to inform the churches of each State what portion of the fund it properly belongs to them to furnish.

Accepted, and reference ordered to the special Committee on Ways and Means of gaining the $750,000 fund, previously ordered.

The special committee to whom was referred the report of the Finance Committee reported by resolutions, as follows:

Whereas, The failure of a large number of churches to respond to the call made by the preliminary meeting, for contributions to meet the expenses of this Council, has resulted in a lack of means to meet the just demands upon our treasury: therefore

Resolved, That the Finance Committee be authorized to call upon the more wealthy of those churches which failed to make contribution, for a sum not less than one thousand dollars to meet such deficit; and that said committee be directed to pay over any balance which shall remain in their hands, after discharging all just claims against this Council, into the hands of the Congregational Union.

Resolved, That the delegates to this Council, representing the churches to which this call shall be addressed, be requested to aid the committee in their collections.

Accepted and adopted.

Adjourned with the Doxology, to meet at the Mt. Vernon Church tomorrow morning, at 9 o'clock, should the day be rainy; otherwise to meet on Burial Hill in Plymouth, at 11, A. M.

Eighth DAY; THURSDAY, JUNE 22, 1865.

Council assembled between eleven and twelve o'clock, A. M., on Burial Hill, in Plymouth, Mass., and were called to order by Hon. C. G. Hammond, first Assistant Moderator. Prayer was offered by the Rev. David Bremner, pastor of the Third Church of the Pilgrimage in Plymouth.

The reading of the records was postponed until to-morrow.

Rev. Mr. Quint, from the Business Committee, presented a paper as a substitute for that yesterday reported by the committee to whom was referred the report of the preliminary Committee on a Declaration of Faith, as follows:


tions, we,

Standing by the rock where the Pilgrims set foot upon these shores, upon the spot where they worshiped God, and among the graves of the early genera

Elders and Messengers of the Congregational Churches of the United States in National Council assembled, like them acknowledging no rule of faith but the word of God, do now [reiterate] our adherence to the faith and order of the Apostolic and Primitive Churches [as] held by our Fathers, and [as substantially embodied] in the Confessions and Platforms which our Synods of 1648 and 1680 set forth or reaffirmed. We declare that the experience of the nearly two and a half centuries which have elapsed since the memorable day when our sires founded here a Christian Commonwealth, with all the development of new forms of error since their times, have only deepened our confidence in the faith and polity of these Fathers. We bless [the] God (of our Fathers] for the inheritance of these doctrines, [which have been transmitted to us their children.] We invoke the help of the Divine Redeemer, that, through the presence of the promised Comforter, he will enable us to transmit them, in purity, to our children.

In the times that are before us as a nation, times at once of duty and of danger, we rest all our hope in the gospel of the Son of God. It was the grand peculiarity of our Puritan Fathers that they held this gospel, not merely as the ground of their personal salvation, but as declaring the worth of man by the incarnation and sacrifice of the Son of God; and therefore applied its principles to elevate society, to regulate education, to civilize humanity, to purify law, to reform the Church and

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