A Covenant Of Repentance And Reformation
In the book Sanctify Thy Congregation: A Call to the Solemn Assembly and to Corporate Repentance, Richard Owen Roberts includes the following covenant that a church made in 1680 as means of spiritual renewal following a time of fasting. Although the language is somewhat dated, the covenant provides a good example of deep repentance and strong determination to walk according to God’s will, acknowledging the need for the Lord’s enabling:
"We, who through the mercy of God, are members of this church, being now assembled in the presence of God and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, after humble confession of our manifold breaches of covenant with the Lord our God and earnest supplications for His pardoning mercy through the blood of Christ and deep acknowledgement of our own unworthiness…, also acknowledging our inability to keep covenant with God or to perform any spiritual duty unless the Lord enable us thereunto by the grace of His Spirit, and yet being awfully sensible that in these times, by the loud voice of His judgments both felt and feared, the Lord is calling us to repentance and reformation, we do therefore in humble confidence of His gracious assistance, through Christ, renew our covenant with God and one with another in the manner following.
"1. We do give up ourselves to the only true and living God, and unto our Lord Jesus Christ, as our only Redeemer and Saviour, as the only Prophet, Priest, and King over our souls and only Mediator of the Covenant of Grace, engaging our hearts unto God in Christ, by the help of His Spirit of Grace, to cleave unto Him as our God and chief good, and unto Jesus Christ as our Mediator by faith, in a way of Gospel obedience, as becometh His people for ever.
"2. We do also give up our offspring unto God in Jesus Christ, avouching the Lord to be our God and the God of our children, and ourselves with our children to be His people, humbly adoring the grace of God in Christ Jesus, that we and our children may be looked upon as the Lord’s.
"3. We do also give up ourselves one to another in the Lord according to the will of God, to walk together as a church of Christ in all the ways of His worship and service, according to the rules of the Word of God, promising in brotherly love faithfully to watch over one another’s souls, and to submit ourselves to the discipline and government of Christ and His church and duly to attend the seals and censures and whatever ordinances Christ hath commanded to be observed by His people according to the order of the Gospel, as far as the Lord hath, or shall reveal unto us.
"…And as an expedient unto reformation of those evils or whatever else have provoked the eyes of God’s glory among us, we do promise and engage ourselves in the presence of God:
"1. That we will, by the help of Christ, endeavour every one to reform his own heart and life, by seeking to mortify all our sins and to walk more closely with God than ever we have done, and to uphold the power of godliness, and that we will continue to worship God, in public, private and secret and this, as God shall help us, without formality and hypocrisies, and more fully and faithfully than heretofore, to discharge all covenant duties one towards another in a way of church communion.
"2. We promise by the help of Christ to reform our families and to walk before God in our houses with a perfect heart and that we will uphold the worship of God therein continually, as He in His Word requires both in respects to prayer and reading of the Scriptures, and that we will do what lies in us to bring up our children for God and therefore will, so far as there shall be need of it, catechize them and exhort and charge them to fear and serve the Lord, and endeavour to set an holy example before them, and be much in prayer for their conversion and salvation.
"3. We do further engage, the Lord helping us, to endeavour to keep ourselves pure from the sins of the times and what lies in us to help forward the reformation of the same in the places where we live, denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, living soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, making conscience to walk so as to give no offence nor to give occasion to others to sin or to speak evil of our holy profession.
"Finally, giving glory to the Lord our God, that He is the faithful God, keeping covenant and mercy with His people forever, but confessing that we are a weak and sinful people and subject in many ways to break our covenant with Him, therefore, that we may observe and keep these and all other covenant duties required of us in the Word of God, we desire to deny ourselves and to depend wholly upon the grace of God in Christ Jesus for the constant presence and assistance of His Holy Spirit to enable us thereunto. Wherein we shall fail, we shall humbly wait upon His grace in Christ for pardon, for acceptance and for healing for His name’s sake. Amen."
– Used by permission.