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A Solemn Covenant of a Church at Its Constitution

The Solemn Covenant: of the Southwark (Horse-lie-down) Church.

By Benjamin Keach

We who desire to walk together in the fear of the Lord, do, through the assistance of His
Holy Spirit, profess our deep and serious humiliation for all our transgressions. And we do also
solemnly—in the presence of God and of each other, in the sense of our own unworthiness—
give up ourselves to the Lord into a church state according to the apostolic constitution, that
He may be our God and we may be His people, through the everlasting covenant of His free
grace. In this alone we hope to be accepted by Him through His blessed Son Jesus Christ,
Whom we take to be our High Priest to justify and sanctify us, and our Prophet to teach us.
[We give up ourselves to the Lord] to subject ourselves to Him as our Lawgiver and the King of
Saints, and to conform to all His holy laws and ordinances for our growth, establishment, and
consolation; so that we may be as a holy spouse unto Him, serve Him in our generation, and
wait for His second appearance as our glorious Bridegroom (Eze 16:6-8; 2Co 8:5; Hos 2:23;
2 Cor 6:16).
Being fully satisfied in the way of church communion, and the truth of grace in some good
measure upon one another’s spirits, we do solemnly join ourselves together in a holy union
and fellowship, humbly submitting to the discipline of the gospel and all holy duties required
of a people in such a spiritual relation (Exo 26:3-6; Isa 62:5; Psa 122:3; Eph 2:18-22; 4:16; 1 Peter 2:5; Psa 93:5; Isa 55:8; Luke 1:74-75).
1. We do promise and engage to walk in all holiness, godliness, humility, and brotherly love,
as much as in us lieth, to render our communion delightful to God, comfortable to ourselves,
and lovely to the rest of the Lord’s people (2 Cor 7:7; 1 Ti 6:11; 2 Peter 1:6-7; Act 20:19; Philippians 2:3; John 13:34, 5:12).
2. We do promise to watch over each other’s conversations and not to suffer sin upon one
another, so far as God shall discover it to us, or any of us; and to stir up one another to love
and good works; to warn, rebuke, and admonish one another with meekness, according to the
rules left to us of Christ in that behalf (1 Peter 1:22; Lev 19:17; Heb 10:24-25; 1 Th 5:14-15; Rom 15).
3. We do promise to pray in a special manner for one another, for the glory and increase of
this church, for the presence of God in it, for the pouring forth of His Spirit on it, and for His
protection over it to His glory (Eph 6:18; Lam 5:16; Col 4:12).
4. We do promise to bear one another’s burdens, to cleave to one another, and to have a fellow feeling with one another, in all conditions both outward and inward as God in His providence shall cast any of us into (Gal 6:2; Heb 12:12-13; 13:3; Rom 12:15; 2Co 11:29).
5. We do promise to bear with one another’s weakness, failings, and infirmities with much
tenderness, not discovering to any outside the church nor any within, unless according to
Christ’s rule and the order of the gospel provided in that case (1 John 3:17-18; Gal 6:1; 1 Th 5:14;
Rom 15; Eph 4:31-32).
6. We do promise to strive together for the truths of the gospel and purity of God’s ways and
ordinances, to avoid causes and causers of division, “endeavouring to keep the unity of the
Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3; Jude 1:3; Gal 5:1; Ti 3:9-10; 2 John 1:10).
7. We do promise to meet together on the Lord’s Days and at other times as the Lord shall
give us opportunities, to serve and glorify God in the way of His worship, to edify one another,
and to contrive the good of His church (Heb 3:12-13; 10:25; Mal 3:16; Rom 14:18-19; 15:16;
Eph 4:16).
8. We do promise according to our ability (that is, as God shall bless us with the good things
of this world) to communicate to our pastor or minister, God having ordained that they who
preach the gospel should live of the gospel. (And can anything lay a greater obligation upon
the conscience than this covenant? What then is the sin of such who violate it?) (2 Cor 9:7-13;
Gal 6:6-10).
These and all other gospel duties we humbly submit unto, promising and purposing to per-
form—not in our own strength, being conscious of our own weakness—but in the power and
strength of the blessed God, Whose we are and Whom we desire to serve, to Whom be glory
now and forevermore.