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So large a portion of the day as conveniently may be, is to be spent
public reading and preaching of the word, with singing of pfalms, fit to quicken affections suitable to such a duty: But especially in prayer, to this, or the like effect : «i Giving glory to the great Majesty of God, the Creator, Preser
and fupreme Ruler of all the world, the better to affect us thereby with an holy reverence and awe of him ; acknowledging “ his manifold, great, and tender merciés, especially to the church " and nation, the more effectually to foften and abase our hearts “ before him; humbly confessing of fins of all forts, with their se“ veral aggravations; justifying God's righteous judgments, as be- • ** ing far less than our fins do deserve; yet humbly and earnestly
imploring his merey and grace for ourselves, the church and na« tion, for our king, and all in authority, and for all others for “ whom we are bound to pray, (according as the present exigent “ requireth,) with more special importunity and enlargement than “ at other times; applying by faith the promises and goodness of « God for pardon, help, and deliverance from the evils felt, feared,
deserved ; and for obtaining the bleflings which we need and " expect; together with a giving up of ourselves wholly and for e
ver unto the Lord.”
In all these, the Ministers, who are the mouths of the people unto God, ought fo to speak from their hearts, upon ferious and thorough premeditation of them, that both themselves and their people may be much affected, and even melted thereby, especially with forrow for their fins, that it may be indeed a day of deep huniiliation and afflicting of the foul.
Special choice is to be made of such Scriptures to be read, and of such texts for preaching, as may best work the hearts of the hearers to the special business of the day, and most difpofe them to humiliation and repentance: Insifting most on those particulars which each'. minister's observation and experience tells him are most conducing to the edification and reformation of that congregation to which he preacheth.
Before the clofe of the public duties, the minister is, in his own and the peoples names, to engage his and their hearts to be the Lord's, with profefled purpose and resolution to reform whatever is amiss among them, and more particularly such fins as they have been nore remarkably guilty of; and to draw near unto God, and to walk inore closely and faithfully with him in new obedience, than ever before.
He is also to admonish the people, with all importunity, that the work of that day doth not end with the public duties of it, but that they are so to improve the remainder of the day, and of their whole life, in reinforcing upon themselves and their families in private, all those godly affections and resolutions which they profeffed in public, as that they may be settled in their hearts for ever, and themselves may more sensibly find that God hath smelt a sweet favour in Chrift from their performances, and is pacified towards them, by answers of grace, in pardoning of fin, in removing of judgments, in avert
ing or preventing of plagues, and in conferring of blessings, suitable to the conditions and prayers of his people, by Jesus Christ.
Besides folemn and general fasts enjoined by authority, we judge that, at other times, congregations may keep days of fafting, as divine Providence shall administer unto them fpecial occasion, and also that families may do the same, so it be not on days wherein the congregation to which they do belong is to meet for fasting, or other public duties of worship.
Concerning the Observation of Days of public Thanksgiving. WHEN any such
day is to be kept, let notice be given of it, and of the occasion thereof, some covenient time before, that the people may the better prepare themselves thereunto.
The day being come, and the congregation (after private preparations) being allembled, the minister is to begin with a word of ex. hortation, to itir up the people to the duty for which they are met, and with a short prayer for God's assistance and blessing, (as at other conventions for public worship,) according to the particular occasion of their meeting.
Let him then make some pithy narration of the deliverance obtained, or mercy received, or of whatever hath occasioned that afsembling of the congregation, that all may better understand it, or be minded of it, and more affected with it.
And, because singing of pfalms is of all other the most proper or. dinance for exprefling of joy and thanksgiving, let fome pertinent pfalm or psalms be sung for that purpose, before or after the reading of fome portion of the word suitable to the present business.
Then let the Minister, who is to preach, proceed to further exhor. tation and prayer before his sermon, with special reference to the present work: After which, let him preach upon some text of Scrip. ture pertinent to the occasion,
The fermon ended let him not only pray, as at other times after preaching is directed, with remembrance of the necessities of the Church, King, and State, (if before the sermon they were omitted,) but enlarge himself in due and folemn thanksgiving for former mercies and deliverances; but more especially for that which at the prefent calls them together to give thanks: With humble petition for the continuance and renewing of God's wonted mercies, as need shall be, and for fanctifying grace to make a right use thereof. And so, having fung another psalm suitable to the mercy, let him dismiss the congregation with a blessing, that they may have some convenient time for their repaft and refreshing.
But the Minister (before their dismission is folemnly to admonith them, to beware of all excess and riot, tending to gluttony or drunk, eness, and much more of these fins themselves, in their eating and refreshing; and to take care that their mirth and rejoicing be not carnal, but fpiritual, which may make God's praise to be glorious, and themselves humble and fober; and that both their feeding and
rejoicing may render them more cheerful and enlarged, further to celebrate his praises in the midst of the congregation, when they return unto it, in the remaining part of that day.
When the congregation shall be again affembled, the like course in praying, reading, preaching, singing of psalms, and offering up of more praise and thanksgiving, that is before directed for the inorning, is to be renewed and continued, so far as the time will give leave:
At one or both of the public meetings that day, a collection is to be made for the poor, (and in the like manner upon the day of public humiliation), that their loins
us, and rejoice the more with us. And the people are to be exhorted, at the end of the latter meeting, to spend the residue of that day in holy duties, and testifications of Christian love and charity one towards another, and of rejoicing more and more in the Lord ; as becometh those who make the joy of the Lord their strength.
Of Singing of Psalms.
psalms together in the congregation, and also privately in the family
In fin ging of psalms, the voice is to be tunably and gravely ordered; but the chief care must be, to sing with understanding, and with grace in the heart, making melody unto the Lord.
That the whole congregation may join herein, every one that can read is to have a pfalm-book; and all others, not disabled by age or otherwise, are to be exhorted to learn to read.
But for the present where many in the congregation cannot read, it is convenient that the minister, or some other fit person appointed by him and the o-. ther ruling officers, do read the psalm, line by line, before the singing thereof.
Α Ρ Ρ Ε
N D Ι Χ,
Touching Days and Places for Public Worship.
THere is no day commanded in Scripture to be kept holy un
der the gospel, but the Lord's day, which is the Christian Sabbath.
Festival-days, vulgarly called holy-days, having no warrant in the word of God, are not to be continued.
Nevertheless, it is lawful and necesary, upon special emergent occasions, to separate a day or days for public fasting or thanksgiving, as the several eminent and extraordinary dispensations of God's providence shall administer cause and opportunity to his people.
Ás no place is capable of any holiness, under pretence of whatsoever dedication or consecration; so neither is it subject to such pollution by any /uperstition
formerly used, and now laid afide, as may render it unlawful or inconvenient for Chrifti. ans to meet together therein for the public worship of GodAnd therefore we hold it requisite, that the places of public assembling for worship among us, should be continued and employed to that use.
C O M MISS I O N E R S
A Part of the Covenanted Uniformity in Religion betwixt
the Churches of CHRIST in the Kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland.
wΙ Τ Η
An Act of the General Asembly, anno 1645, approving the fame.
Ezek. xliii. 11. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, sew them the form
of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms therof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their light, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them,