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“ hold) with wisdom, fidelity, zeal, and utterance, that he may di“ vide the word of God aright, to every one his portion, in evidence 6 and demonstration of the Spirit and power; and that the Lord “ would circumcise the ears and hearts of the hearers, to hear, love, < and receive with meekness the ingrafted word, which is able to do save their fouls, make them as good ground to receive in the good “ seed of the word, and strengthen them against the temptations of “ Satan, the cares of the world, the hardness of their own hearts, and “ whatsoever else may hinder their profitable and faving hearing; “ that so Christ may be fo formed in them, and live in them, that “ all their thoughts may be brought into captivity to the obedience “ of Christ, and their hearts established in every good word and “ work for ever.”
We judge this to be a convenient order, in the ordinary public prayer; yet so, as the Minister may defer (as in prudence he shall think ineet) some part of these petitions till after his serinon, or offer up to God some of the thanksgivings hereafter appointed, in his prayer before his fermon.
Of the Preaching of the Word.
DREACHING of the word, being the power of God unto salvation
I and one of the greatest and most excellent works belonging to the ministry of the gospel, should be so performed, that the workman need not be ashamed, but may fave himself, and those that hear him.
It is presupposed, (according to the rules for ordination), that the Minister of Christ is in some good measure gifted for so weighty a service, by his skill in the original languages, and in such arts and sciences as are handmaid unto divinity ; by his knowledge in the whole body of theology, but most of all in the holy scriptures, having his senses and heart exercised in them above the common fort of believ. ers; and by the illumination of God's Spirit, and other gifts of edi. fication, which (together with reading and studying of the word) he ought still to seek by prayer, and an humble heart, resolving to admit and receive any truth not yet attained, whenever God shall make it known unto him. All which he is to make use of, and improve, in his private preparations, before he deliver in public what he hath provided.
Ordinarily, the subject of his sermon is to be some text of fcripture, holding forth fome principle or head of religion, or fuitable to fome special occasion emergent; or he may go on in some chapter, pfalm, or book of the holy scripture, as he shall see fit.
Let the introduction to his text be brief and perfpicuous, drawn from the text itself, or context, or some parallel place, or general sentence of fcripture.
If the text be long, (as in histories or parables it sometimes muft be,) let him give a brief fum of it ; if short, a paraphrafe thereof, if need be: in both, looking diligently to the scope of the text, and pointing at the chief heads and grounds of doctrine which he is to raise from it.
In analysing and dividing his text, he is to regard more the order of matter than of words; and neither to burden the memory of the hearers in the beginning with too many members of division, nor to trouble their minds with obscure terms of art.
In raising doctrines from the text, his care ought to be, first, That the matter be the truth of God. Secondly, That it be a truth cottained in, or grounded on that text, that the hearers may discern how God teacheth it from thence. Thirdly, That he chiefly insist upon those doctrines which are principally intended, and make most for the edification of the hearers.
The doctrine is to be exprefled in plain terms; or, if any thing in it need explication, it is to be opened, and the consequence also from the text cleared. The parallel places of scripture confirming the doctrine, are rather to be plain and pertinent, than many, and (if need be) somewhat infifted upon, and applied to the purpose in hand.
The arguments or reasons are to be folid, and, as much as may be, convincing. The illuftrations, of what kind foever, ought to be full of light, and such as may convey the truth into the hearer's heart with spiritual delight.
If any doubt obvious from fcripture, rcafon, or prejudice of the hearers, seem to arise, it is very requisite to remove it, by reconciling the seeming differences, answering the reasons, and discovering and taking away the causes of prejudice and mistake. Otherwise it is not fit to detain the hearers with propounding or answering vain or wicked cavils, which, as they are endless, fo the propounding and answering of them doth more hinder than promote edificati
He is not to rest in general doctrine, although never so much cleared and confirmed, but to bring it home to special use, by application to his hearers: Which albeit it prove a work of great difficulty to himself, requiring much prudence, zeal, and meditation, and to the natural and corrupt man will be very unpleasant; yet he is to endeavour to perform it in such a manner, that his auditors may feel the word of God to be quick and powerful, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; and that, if any unbeliever or ignorant person be present, he may have the secrets of his heart made manifest, and give glory to God.
In the use of instruction or information in the knowledge of some truth, which is a consequence from his doctrine, lie may (when convenient) confirm it by a few firm arguments from the text in hand, and other places of fcripture, or from that nature of the commonplace in divinity, whereof that truth is a branch.
In confutation of false doctrines, he is neither to raise an old hcrefy from the grave, nor to mention a blasphemous opinion unnecefsarily. But, if the people be in danger of an error, he is to confutę it soundly, and endeavour to satisfy their judgments and confciences against all objections.
In exhorting to duties, he is, as he feeth cause, to teach also the means that help to the performance of them.
In dehortation, reprehension, and public admonition, (which require special wisdom,) let him, as there shall be cause, not only dif. cover the nature and greatness of the fin, with the misery attending it, but also shew the danger his hearers are in to be overtaken and surprised by it, together with the remedies and best way to avoid it.
In applying comfort, whether general against all temptations, or particular against some special troubles or terrors, he is carefully to answer such objections as a troubled heart and afflicted fpirit may fuggest to the contrary.
It is also sometimes requisite to give fome notes of trial, (which is very profitable, especially when performed by able and experienced ministers, with circumspection and prudence, and the signs clearly grounded on the holy fcripture,) whereby the hearers may be able to examine themselves, whether they have attained those graces, and performed those duties to which he exhorteth, or be guilty of the sin reprehended, and in danger of the judgments threatened, or are such to whom the consolations propounded do belong; that accord. ingly they may be quickened and excited to duty, humbled for their wants and fins, affected with their danger, and strengthened with comfort, as their condition upon examination shall require.
And, as he needeth not always to prosecute every doctrine which lies in his text, so is he wisely to make choice of such uses, as, by his residence and conversing with his flock, he findeth most needful and seasonable; and, amongst these, such as may most draw their souls to Christ, the fountain of light, holiness, and comfort.
This method is not prescribed as necessary for every man, or upon every text; but only recommended, as being found by experience to be very much bleffed of God, and very helpful for the peoples un. derstandings and memories.
But the servant of Christ, whatever his method be, is to perform his whole ministry.
I. Painfully, not doing the work of the Lord negligently.
2. Plainly, that the meanest may understand ; delivering the truth not in the enticing words of man's wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power, left the cross of Christ should be inade of none effect; abstaining also from an unprofitable use of unknown tongues, strange phrases, and cadences of sounds and words ; sparingly citing sentences of ecclesiastical or other human writers, ancient or modern, be they never fo elegant.
3. Faithfully, looking at the honour of Christ, the conversion, edi. fication, and falvation of the people, not at his own gain or glory; keeping nothing back which may promote those holy ends, giving to every one his own portion, and bearing indifferent respect unto all, without neglecting the meanest, or sparing the greatest in their fins.
4. Wisely, framing all his doctrines, exhortations, and especially his reproofs, in such a manner as înay be most likely to prevail: Thewing all due respect to each man's person and place, and not mixing his own passion or bitterness.
5. Gravely, as becometh the word of God; shunning all such gel ture, voice, and expreffions, as may occasion the corruptions of mes to defpise him and his ministry.
6. With loving affection, that the people may see all coming from his godly zeal, and hearty desire to do them good. And,
7. As taught of God, and persuaded in his own heart, that all that he teacheth is the truth of Christ; and walking before his flock, as an example to them in it; earnestly, both in private and public, recommending his labours to the blessing of God, and watchfully looking to himself, and the flock whereof the Lord hath made him overseer: So shall the doctrine of truth be preserved uncorrupt, many souls converted and built up, and himself receive manifold comforts of his labours even in this life, and afterward the crown of glory laid up for him in the world to come.
Where there are more ministers in a congregation than one, and they of different gifts, each may more especially apply himfelf to doctrine or exhortation, according to the gift wherein he inost excelleth, and as they shall agree between themselves.
Of Prayer after Sermon.
HE sermon being ended, the Minister is “ To give thanks for
“ the great love of God, in sending his Son Jesus Christ unto “ us; for the communication of his holy Spirit; for the light and “ liberty of the glorious gospel, and the rich and heavenly blessings “ revealed therein; as, namely, election, vocation, adoption, justi“ fication, sanctification, and hope of glory; for the admirable good“ ness of God in freeing the land from Antichristian darkness and
tyranny, and for all other national deliverances; for the refor“ mation of religion ; for the covenant ; and for many temporal “ blessings.
“ To pray for the continuance of the gospel, and all ordinances “ thereof, in their purity, power, and liberty: To turn the chief • and most useful heads of the fermon into some few petitions; and to pray that it
may abide in the heart, and bring forth fruit. “ To pray for preparation for death and judgment, and a watch“ ing for the coming of our Lord Jesus Chrift: To intreat of God " the forgiveness of
the iniquities of our holy things, and the accep“ tation of our fpiritual facrifice, through the merit and mediation ." of our great High Priest and Saviour the Lord jesus Christ.”
And because the prayer which Christ taught his disciples, is not only a pattern of prayer, but itself a most comprehensive prayer, we recommend it also to be used in the prayers of the church.
And whereas, at the administration of the facraments, the holding public fasts and days of thanksgiving, and other special occasions, which may afford matter of speciai petitions and thanksgiving; it is requisite to express somewhat in our public prayers, (as at this time it is our duty to pray for a blefling upon the Afembly of divines, the armies by sea and land, for the defence of the King, Parliament, and Kingdom,) every Minister is herein to apply himself in his prayer, before or after sermon, to those occasions: But, for the manner, he is left to his liberty as God shall direct and enable him, in piety and wisdom to discharge his duty.
The prayer ended, let a psalm be fung, if with conyeniency it may be done. After which (unless some other ordinance of Chrift, that concerneth the congregation at that time be to follow) let the minister dismiss the congregation with a folemn blessing.
Of the Administration of the Sacraments :
And first, Of Baptisin. D Aptifm, as it is not unnecessarily to be delayed, so it is not to be
D adminiftred in any case by any private person, but by a minilter of Christ, called to be the steward of the mysteries of God.
Nor is it to be adıninistred in private places, or privately, but in the place of public worship, and in the face of the congregation, where the people may most conveniently fee and hear; and not in the places where fonts, in the time of Popery, were unfitly and superstitiously placed.
The child to be baptized, after notice given to the minister the day before, is to be presented by the father, or (in case of his necessary absence) by some Christian friend in his place, profefling his earnett desire that the child may be baptised.
Before baptifin, the minister is to use fome words of instruction, touching the institution, nature, use, and ends of this sacrament: fhewing,
" That it is instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ : That is a feal of " the covenant of grace, of our ingrafting into Christ, and of our « union with him, of remission of fins, regeneration, adoption, and « life eternal : That the water, in baptifm, representeth and figni. « fieth, both the blood of Christ, which taketh away all guilt of fin, " original and actual; and the fanctifying virtue of the Spirit of “ Christ against the dominion of fin, and the corruption of our finful “ nature: That baptizing, or sprinkling and washing with water, “ fignifieth the cleansing from sin by the blood and for the merit of ☆ Christ, together with the mortification of fin, and rising from fin “ to newness of life, by virtue of the death and refurrection of " Christ: That the promise is made to believers, and their feed; " and that the feed and posterity of the faithful, born within the * Church, have, by their birth, interest in the Covenant, and right " to the seal of it, and to the outward privileges of the Church, uni. “ der the gospel, no less than the children of Abraham in the time c of the Old Testament; the covenant of grace, for substance, being " the fame; and the grace of God, and the confolation of believers, “ more plentiful than before : That the Son of God admitted little “ children into his presence, embracing and blessing them, faying, “ For of such is the kingdom of God: That children, by baptifin, are “ folemnly received into the bofom of the visible church diftinguish6 ed from the world, and them that are without, and united with “ believers ; and that all who are baptised in the name of Chrift, “ do renounce, and by their baptism are bound to fight against the