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they are, (in cale the parents be dead), is to be made known to the cliurch-officers of that congregation, to be recorded.
The like is to be observed in the proceedings of all others, although of age, whose parents are living, for their first marriage
. And, in after-marriages of either of thofe parties, they shall be exhorted not to contract marriage without first acquainting their parents with it, (if with conveniency it may be done), endeavouring to obtain their consent.
Parents ought not to force their children to marry without their free confent, nor deny their own confent without juft caufe.
After the purpose or contract of marriage hath been thus published, the marriage is to be not long deferred. Therefore the miniIter having had convenient warning, and nothing been objected to hinder it, is publickly to foleinize it in the place appointed by authority for public worship, before a competent number of credible witnesles, at some convenient hour of the day, at any time of the year, except on a day of public humiliation. And we advise that it be not on the Lord's day
And because all relations are fanctified by the word and prayer, the minister is to pray for a blessing upon them, to this effect :
" Acknowledging our fins, whereby we have inade ourselves “ less than the least of all the mercies of God, and provoked him to' “ embitter all our comforts, earneftly, in the name of Christ, to'en, “ treat the Lord (whose presence and favour is the happiness of e
very condition, and sweetens every relation) to be their portion, " and to own' and accept them in Christ, who are now to be joined “ in the honourable'estate of marriage, the covenant of their God: " and that, as he hath brought them together by his providence, be " would íanctify them by his Spirit, giving them a new frame of “ heart, fit for their new estate; enriching them with all graces " whereby they may perform the duties, enjoy the comforts, un
dergo the cares, and resist the temptations which accompany that " condition, as becometh Christians.
The prayer being ended, it is convenient that the minister do briefly declare unto them, out of the scripture,
“The institution, use, and ends of marriage, with the conjuga! “ duties, which in all faithfulness, they are to perform each to o
ther, exhorting them to study the holy word of God, that they
may learn to live by faith, and to be content in the midst of all « marriage cares and troubles, fanctifying God's name, in a thank$5. ful, fobar, and holy use of all conjugal comforts ; praying much “ with and for one another ; watching over, and provoking each “ other to love, and good works : and to live together as the heirs (s of the grace of life.
After folemn charging of the persons to be married, before the great God who searcheth all hearts, and to whom they must give : Itrict account at the last day, that if either of them know
cause by precontract or otherwise, why they may not lawfully proceed to juarriage, that they now discover it; the minifter (if no impediment be acknowledged) shall cause first the nian to take the woman by the right hand, saying these words, , .
I N. do take thee N. to be my married wife, and do in the presence of God, and before this congregation, promise and covenant to be a loving and faithful husband unto thee until God mall separate us by death.
Then the woman shall take the man by the right hand, and fay these words ; 4. I N. do take thee N. to be my married husband, and I do, in the presence of God, and before this congregation, promise and covenant to be a looing, faithful, and obedient wife unto thee, until God shall separate us by death.
Then, without any further ceremony, the Minister shall, in the face of the congregation, pronounce them to be husband and wife, i aecording to God's ordinance ; and fo conclude the action with prayer to this effect:« Tliat the Lord would be pleased to accompany
his own ordinance with his bleffing, beseeching him to enrich the persons flow “ married, as with other pledges of his love, so particularly with " the comforts and fruits of marriage, to the praise of his abundant
mercy, in and through Christ Jefus." ** A register is to be carefully kept," wherein the names of the parties fo married, with the time of their marriage, are forthwith to be fairly recorded in a book, provided for that purpofe, for the perufal of all whom it
Concerning Vifitation of the Sick. IT is the duty of the Minister, not only to teach the people com
mitted to his charge in public, but privately, and particularly to admonish, exhort, reprove, and comfort them, upon all seasonable occasions, so far as his time, strength, and personal safety will permit.
He is to admonish them, in time of health, to prepare for death ; and, for that purpose, they are often to confer with their Mirifter about the estate of their souls; and, in times of sickness, to iesire his advice and help, timely and seasonably, before their strength and understanding fail them.
Times of fickness and affliction are special opportunities put into his hand by God, to minister a word in season to weary fouls: Bea cause then the consciences of men are or should be more awakıened to bethink themselves of their fpiritual estate for eternity; and Satan also takes advantage then to load them more with fore and heavy temptations: Therefore the Minister, being sent for, and. repairing to the sick, is to apply himself, with all tenderness and love, to administer some spiritual good to his foul, to this effect.
He may, from the consideration of the present fickness, instruct him out of Scripture, that diseases come not by chance, or by diflempers of body only, but by the wife and orderly guidance of the good hand of God, to every particular person fmitten by them. And that, whether it be laid upon him out of displeasure for fin, for his cor. Yection and amendment, or for trial and exercise of his graces, or
for other special and excellent ends, all his sufferings fall turn to his profit, and work together for his good, if he fincerely labour to make a fanctified use of God's visitation, neither despising his chartening, nor waxing weary of his correction.
If he fufpect him of ignorance, he shall examine him in the principles of religion, especially touching repentance and faith; and, as he seeth cause, inítruct him in the nature, use, excellency, and necesiity of those graces; as also touching the Covenant of grace; and Chrilt the Son of God, the Mediator of it; and, concerning remiffion of sins by faith in him.
He shall exhort the fick person to examine himself, to search and try his former
and his eftate towards God. And if the sick perfon shall declare any scruple, doubt, or temptation that are upon him, instructions and resolutions shall be given to satisfy and settle him.
If it appear that he hath not a due sense of his sins, endeavours ought to be used to convince him of his fins, of the guilt and defert of them; of the filth and pollution which the foul contracts by them; and of the curse of the law, and wrath of God due to them; that he may be truly affected with, and humbled for them: And withal make known the danger of deferring repentance, and of neglecting salvation at any time offered; to awaken his conscience, and rouze him up out of a stupid and secure condįtion, to apprehend the justice and wrath of God, before whom none can stand, but he that, loft in himself, layeth hold upon Chrift by faith.....
If he hath endeavoured to walk in the ways of holiness, and to ferve God in uprightness, although not without many failings and infirmities; or if his fpirit be broken with the sense of si, or cast down through want of the sense of God's favour; then it will be fit to raise him up, by setting before him the freeness and fulness of God's grace, the fufficiency of righteousness in Christ, the graci. cus offers in the gospel, that all who repent, and believe with all their heart in God's mercy through Christ, renouncing their own righteousness, shall have life and falvation in him. It may be also useful to shew him, that death hath in it no fpiritual evil to be fear ed by those thiat are in Christ, becaufe sin the sting of death is taken away by Christ, who hath delivered all that are his from the bondage of the fear of death, triumphed over the grave, given us victory, is himself entered into glory, to prepare a place for his people; So that neither life nor death shall be able to separate them from God's love in Christ, in whom such are fure, though now they must be laid in the dust, to obtain a joyful and glorious resurrection to eternal life.
Advice also may be given, as to beware of an ill grounded persuafion on mercy, or on the goodness of his condition for heaven, foto disclaim all merit in himself, and to cast himself wholly upon God for mercy, in the fole merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, who hath engaged himself never to cast off them who in truth and sincerity come unto him. Care also must be taken, that the fick perfon be not cast down into despair, by such a severe representation of the
Wrath of God due to him for his sins, as is not mollified by a sensible propounding of Christ and his merit for a door of hope to every penitent believer.
When the sick person is best composed, may be least disturbed, and other neceffary offices about him leaft hindred, the minister, if defired, shall pray with him, and for him, to this effect:
“ Confesling and bewailing of sin original and actual, the mifer« able condition of all by nature, as being children of wrath, and “ under the curse ; acknowledging that all difeafes, ficknefles, death, « and hell itself, are the proper issues and effects thereof; implor“ing God's mercy for the fick perfon, through the blood of Chrift; “ beseeching that God would open his eyes, discover unto him his “ fins, caufe him to see himself lost in himself, make known to “ him the cause. why God smiteth him, 'reveal Jesus Christ to his “ foul for righteousness and life, give unto him his holy Spirit, to
create and strengthen faith to lay hold upon Christ, to work in “ him comfortable evidences of his love, to arm him against temp« tations, to take off his heart from the world, to sanctify his pre« fent visitation, to furnish him with patience and strength to be “ it, and to give him perfeverance in faith to the end.
“ That, if God shall please to add to his days, he would vouch“ fafe to bless and fanctify all means of his recovery, to remove the " disease, renew his strength, and enable him to walk worthy of « God, by a faithful remembrance, and diligent observing of such
vows and promises of holiness and obedience, as men are apt to " make in times of sickness, that he may glorify God in the remain“ ing part of his life.
“ And, if God have determined to finish his days by the present « visitation, he may find such evidence of the pardon of all his sins, " of his interest in Christ, and eternal life by Christ, as may cause “ his inward man to be renewed, while his outward man decayeth; " that he may behold death without fear, caft himself wholly upon “ Christ without doubting, desire to be diffolved and to be with s« Christ, and so receive the end of his faith, the salvation of his soul,
through the only merits and intercession of the Lord Jesus Clirist, our alone Saviour and all-sufficient Redeemer."
The Minister shall admonish him also, (as there shall be cause,) to set his house in order, thereby to prevent inconveniencies; to take care for payment of his debts, and to make restitution or fatisfaction where he hath done any wrong; to be reconciled to those with whom he hath been at variance, and fully to forgive all men their trespasses against him, as he expects forgiveness at the hand of God.
Lastly, The Minister may improve the present occasion to exhort those about the sick person, to consider their own inortality, to return to the Lord, and make peace with him ; in health to prepare for fickness, death, and judgment; and all the days of their appointed time fo to wait until their change come, that when Chrift, who is our life, shall appear, they may appear with him in glory,
Concerning Burial of the Dead. WHen any person departeth this life, let the dead body, upon
the day of burial, be decently attended from the house to the place appointed for public burial, and there inimediately interred, without any ceremony. : And because the customs of kneeling down, and praying by, or towards the dead corps, and other such usages, in the place where it lies before it be carried to burial, are superstitious; and for that, praying, reading, and singing both in going to, and at the grave, have been grossly abused, are no way beneficial to the dead, and have proved many ways hurtful to the living; therefore let all such things be laid aside.
Howbeit, we judge it very convenient, that the Christian friends, which accompany the dead body to the place appointed for public burial, do apply themselves to meditations and conferences suitable to the occasion; and that the minister, as upon other occasions, so at this time, if he be present, may put them in remembrance of their duty
That this shall not extend to deny any civil respects or deferences at the burial, suitable to the rank and condition of the party deceased, whiles he was living.
Concerning Public Solenn Fásting.
on a people, or apparently imuninent, or by fome extraordinary provocations notoriously deserved; as also when some special blelling is to be fouglit and obtained, public folemn fasting (which is to continue the whole day) is a duty that God expecteth from that nation, or people.
A religious fait requires total abstinence, not only from all food, '(unless bodily weakness do manifestly disable from holding out till the fast be ended, in which case somewhat may be taken, yet very sparingly, to support nature, when ready to faint,) but also from all worldly labour, discourses, and thoughts, and from all bodily delights, and such like, (although at other times lawful,) rich apparel, ornaments, and such like, during the fast; and much more from whatever is in the nature, or use, scandalous and offensive, as gaudifh attire, lascivious habits and gestures, and other vanities of either sex; which we recommend to all Ministers, in their places, diligent. ly and zealously to reprove, as at other times, fo especially at a fast, without respect of persons, as there shall be occasion.
Before the public meeting, each family and person apart are prio vately to use all religious care to prepare their hearts to such a solemn work, and to be early at the congregation.