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Wherein our care hath been to hold forth such things as are of divine institution in every ordinance, and other things we have eno deavoured to set forth according to the rules of Christian prudence, agreeable to the general rules of the word of God: Our meaning therein being only, that the general heads, the fenfe and fcope of the prayers, and other parts of
public worship, being known to all, there may
be a consent of all the churches in those things that contain the fubstance of the service and worship of God; and the Minifters may be hereby directed, in their adminiftrations, to keep like foundness in doctrine and prayer, and may, if need be, have some help and furniture, and yet so as they become not hereby slothful and negligent in stirring up the gifts of Christ in them ; but that each one, by meditation, by taking heed to himself, and the flock of God committed to him, and by wife observing the ways of divine provi
may be careful to furnish his heart and tongue with further or other materials of prayer and exhortation, as Ihall be needful upon all occasions.
Of the affembling of the congregation, and their behaviour in the public
worship of God.
WHEN the congregation is to meet for public worship, the
people having before prepared their hearts thereunto) ought all to come and join therein ; not absenting themselves from the public ordinances through negligence, or upon pretence of private meetings.
Let all enter the Afsembly, not irreverently, but in a grave and seemly manner, taking their feats or places without adoration, or bowing themselves towards one place or other.
The congregation being aflembled, the Minister, after folemn cal. ling on them to the worshipping of the great name of God, is to begin with prayer.
“ In all reverence and humility acknowledging the incomprehen“ fible greatness and majesty of the Lord, in whose presence they “ do then in a special manner appear, and their own vileness and
unworthiness to approach so near him, with their utter inability “ of themselves to fo great a work; and humbly beseeching him for “ pardon, assistance, and acceptance, in the whole service then to be " performed; and for a blessi
blessing on that particular portion of his " word then to be read: And all in the name and mediation of the “Lord Jesus Christ.”
The public worship being begun, the people are wholly to attend upon it, forbearing to read any thing, except what the Minister is then reading or citing; and abstaining much more from all private whisperings, conferences, salutations, or doing reverence to any perfon present, or coming in; as also from all gazing, flecping, and other indecent behaviour, which may difturb the Minister or people; or hinder themselves or others in the service of God.
If any, through neceffity, be hindered from being prefent at the beginning, they ought not, when they come into the congregation, to betake themselves to their private devotions, but reverently to compose themselves to join with the Assembly in that ordinance of God which is then in hand.
of public Reading of the holy Scriptures.
lic worship of God, (wherein we acknowledge our dependence upon him, and subjection to him,) and one mean fanctified by hini for the edifying of his people, is to be performed by the pastors' and teachers.
Hoivbeit, such as intend the ministry, may occasionally both read the word, and exercise their gift in preaching in the congregation, if allowed by the presbytery thereunto.
All the canonical books of the Old and New Testament (but none of those which are commonly called Apocrypha) shall be publicly read in the vulgar tongue, out of the þest allowed translation, distinctly, that all may hear and understand.
How large a portion shall be read at once, is left to the wisdom of the Minister; but it is convenient, that ordinarily one chapter of each Testament be read at every meeting; and sometimes more, where the chapters be short, or the coherence of matter requireth it.
It is requisite that all the canonical books be read over in order, that the people may be better acquainted with the whole body of the Scriptures; and ordinarily, where the reading in either Testament endeth on one Lord's day, it is to begin the next.
We conumend also the more frequent reading of such scriptures, as he that readeth shall think beft for edification of his hearers, as the book of Psalms, and such like.
When the Minister who readeth, fhall judge it neceffary to ex. pound any part of what is read, lct it not be done until the whole chapter or pfalm be ended; and regard is always to be had unto the time, thạt neither preaching, nor other ordinances, be straitened, or rendered tedious. Which rule is to be observed in all other public performances.
Beside public reading of the holy Scriptures, every person that can read, is to be exhorted to read the Scriptures privately, (and all others that cannot read, if not disabled by age, or otherwise, are likewise to be exhorted to learn to read,) and to have a Bible.
of public Prayer before the Sermon.
Fter reading of the word, (and singing of the psalm,) the Mini
fter who is to preach, is to endeavour to get his own and his hearers hearts to be rightly affected with their fins, that they may all mourn in sense thereof before the Lord, and hurger and thirst after
grace of God in Jesus Christ, by proceeding to a more full confeilion of fin, with shame and holy confusion of face, and to call upon the Lord to this effect:
“ To acknowledge our great finfulness, First, by reason of origi« nal fin, which (beside the guilt that inakes us liable to everlasting “ dainnation) is the feed of all other fins, hath depraved and poifon" ed all the faculties and powers of foul and body, doth defile our “ best actions, and (were it not reitrained, or our hearts renewed by
grace) would break forth into innumerable transgressions, and
greatest rebellions against the Lord that ever were committed by “ the vilest of the sons of men. And, next, by reason of actual sins,
our own fins, the sins of Magistrates, of Ministers, and of the whole “ nation, unto which we are many ways acceflory: which suns of “ours receive many fearful aggravations, we having broken all “ the commandments of the holy, just, and good law of God, doing " that which is forbidden, and leaving undone what is enjoined ; and “ that not only out of ignorance and infirmity, but also inore pre“ sumptuously, against the light of our minds, checks of our confci
ences, and motions of his own holy Spirit to the contrary, so that
we have cloak for our sins ; yea, not only despising the “ riches of God's goodness, forbearance and long-suffering, but stand“ing out against inany invitations and offers of grace in the gospel ; “not endeavouring, as we ought, to receive Chrilt into our hearts by “ faith, or to walk worthy of him in our lives.
To bewail our blindness of mind, hardness of heart, un“ belief, impenitency, security, lukewarmness, barrenness; our not " endeavouring after mortification, and newness of life, nor af“ter the exercise of godliness in the power thereof, and that the « best of us have not so stedfastly walked with God, kept our gar
ments so unspotted, nor been so zealous of his glory, and the good “ of others, as we ought: and to mourn over such other fins as the “ congregation is particularly guilty of, notwithstanding the mani“ fold and great inercies of our God, the love of Christ, the light “ of the gospel, and reformation of religion, our own purposes, “ promises, vows, folenın covenant, and other special obligations to
« the contrary.
“ To acknowledge and confess, that, as we are convinced of our “ guilt, fo, out of a deep fenfe thereof, we judge ourselves unworthy “ of the smallest benefits, most worthy of God's fiercest wrath, and * of all the curses of the law, and heaviest judgments inflicted upon " the most rebellious finners ; and that he might most justly take " his kingdom and gospel from us, plague us with all forts of fpi“ ritual and temporal judgments in this life, and after cast us into
utter darkness, in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, ' where is weeping and gnashing of teeth for evermore. " Notwithstanding all which, to draw near to the throne of grace, encouraging ourselves with hope of a gracious answer of our pray
ers, in the riches and all-fufficiency of that only one oblation, the ' satisfaction and intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ, at the right - hand of his Father and our Father, and in confidence of the ex
" ceeding great and precious promises of mercy and grace in the “ new Covenant, through the same Mediator thereof, to deprecate " the heavy wrath and curse of God, which we are not able to avoid, “ or bear; and humbly and earnestly to supplicate for mercy in the “ free and full remiffion of all our fins, and that only for the bitter “ fufferings and precious merits of that our only Saviour Jesus 66 Christ.
" That the Lord would youchsafe to shed abroad his love in our " hearts by the Holy Ghost; seal unto us, by the fame Spirit of a“ doption, the full assurance of our pardon and reconciliation; com“ fort all that mourn in Zion, speak peace to the wounded and « troubled spirit, and bind up the broken hearted : and as for fe« cure and presumptuous finners, that he would open their eyes, con« vince their consciences, and turn them from darkness unto light, « and from the power of Satan unto God, that they also may receive “ forgiveness of sin, and an inheritance among them that are far.cti. « fied by faith in Christ Jesus.
“ With remission of fins through the blood of Christ, to pray for “ fanctification by his Spirit ; the mortification of fin dwelling in, “ and many times tyrannizing over us; the quickning of our dead “ fpirits, with the life of God in Christ; grace to fit and enable us “ for all duties of conversation and callings towards God and “ men; ftrength against temptations; the fanctified use of blessings “ and crosses, and perseverance in faith and obedience unto the o end.
“ To pray for the propagation of the gospel and kingdom of « Christ to all nations ; for the conversion of the Jews, the fulness ¢ of the Gentiles, the fall of Antichrift, and the hastening of the « fecond coming of our Lord; for the deliverance of the distrefled « Churches abroad from the tyranny of the Antichristian faction, « and from the cruel oppressions and blasphemies of the Turk; for “ the blessing of God upon all the reformed Churches, especially up“ on the Churches and kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland, “ now more strictly and religiously united in the Solemn National « League and Covenant ; and for our plantations in the remote “ parts of the world : more particularly for that Church and kingo dom whereof we are members, that therein God would establish « peace and truth, the purity of all his ordinances, and the power « of godlinefs; prevent and remove heresy, schism, profaneness, fu« perftition, security, and unfruitfulness under the means of grace; « heal all our rents and divisions, and preserye us from breach of < our Solemn Covenant.
“ To pray for all in authority, especially for the King's Majesty, « that God would make him rich in blessings, both in his person and « government ; establish his throne in religion and righteousness
, « fave him from evil counsel, and make him a blessed and glorious « instrument for the conservation and propagation of the gospel, for “ the encouragement and protection of them that do well, the ter « rer of all that do evil, and the great good of the whole church, and
< of all his kingdoms; for the conversion of the Queen, the religi
education of the Prince, and the rest of the Royal feed; for “ the comforting the afflicted Queen of Bohemia, fifter to our So
vereign, and for the restitution and establishment of the illustrious “ Prince Charles, Elector Palatine of the Rhine, to all his domi“ nions and dignities; for a blessing upon the High Court of Parlia
ment, (when sitting in any of these kingdoins respectively,) the. “ Nobility, the Subordinate Judges and Magistrates, the Gentry, " and all the Commonality; for all Pastors and Teachers, that God “ would fill them with his Spirit, make them exemplarily holy, fober, “just, peaceable, and gracious in their lives, found, faithful, and “ powerful in their ministry; and follow all their labours with a. “ bundance of success and blessing; and give unto all his people paf. “ tors according to his own heart; for the universities, and all schools “ and religious seminaries of church and commonwealth, that they
may flourish more and more in learning and piety; for the par“ticular city or congregation, that God would pour out a blessing “ upon the ministry of the word, facraments and discipline, upon " the civil government, and all the several families and perfons " therein; for mercy to the afflicted under any inward or outward “ distress for seasonable weather, and fruitful seasons, as the time
may require ; for averting the judgments that we either feel or “ fear, or are liable unto, as famine, pestilence, the sword, and such
“ And, with confidence of his mercy to his whole church, and the
acceptance of our persons, through the merits and mediation of “our High Priest, the Lord Jesus, to profess that it is the defire of
fouls to have fellowship with God, in the reverend and con“ fcionable use of his holy ordinances; and, to that purpose, to pray " earnestly for his grace and effectual assistance to the fanctification " of his holy Sabbath, the Lord's day, in all the duties thereof public " and private, both to ourselves, and to all other congregations of " his people, according to the riches and excellency of the gospel, “ this day celebrated and enjoyed.
“ And because we have been unprofitable hearers in times past, " and now cannot of ourselves receive, as we should, the deep things " of God, the mysteries of Jesus Christ, which require a spiritual dis
cerning ; to pray, that the Lord, who teacheth to profit, would
graciously please to pour out the Spirit of grace, together with "the outward means thereof, causing us to attain such a measure of “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord, and, in “ him, of the things which belong to our peace, that we may ac" count all things but as drofs in comparison of him; and that we, “ tasting the first-fruits of the glory that is to be revealed, may long “ for a more full and perfect communion with him, that where he “ is, we may be also, and enjoy the fulness of those joys and plea“ sures, which are at his right hand for evermore.
“. More particularly, that God would in a special manner furnish " his servant (now called to dispense the bread of life unto his houf3Q