Images de page
[ocr errors]

The Directory, &c.


Wherein our care hath been to hold forth fuch things as are of divine institution in every ordinance, and other things we have endeavoured to fet forth according to the rules of Chriftian prudence, agreeable to the general rules of the word of God: Our meaning therein being only, that the general heads, the fenfe and scope of the prayers, and other parts of public worship, being known to all, there may be a confent of all the churches in those things that contain the fubftance of the fervice and worship of God; and the Minifters may be hereby directed, in their administrations, to keep like foundness in doctrine and prayer, and may, if need be, have fome help and furniture, and yet fo as they become not hereby flothful and negligent in stirring up the gifts of Chrift in them; but that each one, by meditation, by taking heed to himself, and the flock of God committed to him, and by wife obferving the ways of divine providence, may be careful to furnish his heart and tongue with further or other materials of prayer and exhortation, as shall be needful upon all occafions.

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 abfenting themselves from the public ordinances through negligence, or upon pretence of private meetings.

Let all enter the Affembly, not irreverently, but in a grave and feemly manner, taking their feats or places without adoration, or bowing themselves towards one place or other.

The congregation being affembled, the Minifter, after folemn calling 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 majefty of the Lord, (in whofe prefence 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 befeeching him for pardon, affistance, and acceptance, in the whole fervice then to be performed; and for a bleffing on that particular portion of his "word then to be read: And all in the name and mediation of the "Lord Jefus Christ.”"


The public worship being begun, the people are wholly to attend upon it, forbearing to read any thing, except what the Minifter is then reading or citing; and abítaining much more from all private whisperings, conferences, falutations, or doing reverence to any perfon prefent, or coming in; as alfo from all gazing, flecping, and other indecent behaviour, which may disturb the Minifter or people, or hinder themselves or others in the fervice of God.

[ocr errors]


If any, through neceffity, be hindered from being prefent at the beginning, they ought not, when they come into the congregation, to betake themfelves to their private devotions, but reverently to compofe themfelves to join with the Affembly in that ordinance of God which is then in hand.

Of public Reading of the holy Scriptures.

Eading of the word in the congregation, being part of the public worship of God, (wherein we acknowledge our dependence upon him, and fubjection to him,) and one mean fanctified by him for the edifying of his people, is to be performed by the pafters and


Howbeit, fuch as intend the miniftry, may occafionally both read the word, and exercife their gift in preaching in the congregation, if allowed by the prefbytery thereunto.

All the canonical books of the Old and New Testament (but none of those which are commonly called Apocrypha) fhall be publicly read in the vulgar tongue, out of the beft allowed tranflation, diftinctly, that all may hear and understand.

How large a portion fhall be read at once, is left to the wifdom of the Minister; but it is convenient, that ordinarily one chapter of each Teftament be read at every meeting; and fometimes more, where the chapters be fhort, or the coherence of matter requireth it.

It is requifite 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 Teftament endeth on one Lord's day, it is to begin the next.

We commend alfo the more frequent reading of fuch fcriptures, as he that readeth fhall think beft for edification of his hearers, as the book of Pfalms, and fuch like.

When the Minister who readeth, fhall judge it neceflary to ex pound any part of what is read, let it not be done until the whole chapter or pfalm be ended; and regard is always to be had unto the time, that neither preaching, nor other ordinances, be ftraitened, or rendered tedious. Which rule is to be observed in all other public performances.

Befide public reading of the holy Scriptures, every perfon that can read, is to be exhorted to read the Scriptures privately, (and all others that cannot read, if not difabled by age, or otherwise, are likewife to be exhorted to learn to read,) and to have a Bible.

Of public Prayer before the Sermon.


Fter reading of the word, (and finging of the pfalm,) the Minifter 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 fenfe thereof before the Lord, and hunger and thirst after


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

the grace of God in Jefus Chrift, by proceeding to a more full confeflion of fin, with fhame and holy confufion of face, and to call u pon the Lord to this effect:



"To acknowledge our great finfulness, First, by reason of origi"nal fin, which (befide the guilt that makes us liable to everlafting "damnation) 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 restrained, or our hearts renewed by grace) would break forth into innumerable tranfgreffions, and greatest rebellions against the Lord that ever were committed by "the vileft of the fons of men. And, next, by reafon of actual fins, 66 our own fins, the fins of Magiftrates, of Minifters, and of the whole "nation, unto which we are many ways acceffory: which fuis of "ours receive many fearful aggravations, we having broken all "the commandments of the holy, juft, 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 alfo more pre"fumptuously, 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 no cloak for our fins; yea, not only defpifing the "riches of God's goodness, forbearance and long-fuffering, but ftand"ing out against many invitations and offers of grace in the gospel; not endeavouring, as we ought, to receive Chrift into our hearts by "faith, or to walk worthy of him in our lives.



66 To bewail our blindness of mind, hardness of heart, un"belief, impenitency, fecurity, lukewarmnefs, barrennefs; our not "endeavouring after mortification, and newnefs of life, nor af"ter the exercife of godlinefs in the power thereof, and that the beft of us have not fo ftedfaftly walked with God, kept our gar"ments fo unfpotted, nor been fo zealous of his glory, and the good "of others, as we ought: and to mourn over fuch other fins as the congregation is particularly guilty of, notwithstanding the mani"fold and great mercies of our God, the love of Chrift, the light "of the gospel, and reformation of religion, our own purposes, "promifes, vows, folemn covenant, and other special obligations to "the contrary.


"To acknowledge and confefs, that, as we are convinced of our "guilt, fo, out of a deep fenfe thereof, we judge ourselves unworthy "of the finalleft benefits, moft worthy of God's fierceft wrath, and "of all the curfes of the law, and heaviest judgments inflicted upon "the most rebellious finners; and that he might moft justly take "his kingdom and gospel from us, plague us with all forts of spi"ritual and temporal judgments in this life, and after caft 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 ourfelves with hope of a gracious anfwer of our pray

ers, in the riches and all-fufficiency of that only one oblation, the "fatisfaction and intefceffion of the Lord Jefus Chrift, at the right "hand of his Father and our Father, and in confidence of the ex


[ocr errors]

"ceeding great and precious promifes of mercy and grace in the "new Covenant, through the fame Mediator thereof, to deprecate "the heavy wrath and curfe of God, which we are not able to avoid, "or bear; and humbly and earnestly to fupplicate 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 Jefus "Chrift.

"That the Lord would vouchfafe to fhed abroad his love in our "hearts by the Holy Ghoft; feal unto us, by the same Spirit of a"doption, the full aflurance of our pardon and reconciliation; com"fort all that mourn in Zion, fpeak peace to the wounded and "troubled fpirit, and bind up the broken hearted: and as for fe"cure and prefumptuous finners, that he would open their eyes, con"vince their confciences, and turn them from darkness unto light, "and from the power of Satan unto God, that they also may receive "forgiveness of fin, and an inheritance among them that are facti"fied by faith in Chrift Jefus.

"With remiffion of fins through the blood of Chrift, 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 Chrift; grace to fit and enable us "for all duties of converfation and callings towards God and "men; ftrength against temptations; the fanctified use of bleffings "and croffes; and perfeverance in faith and obedience unto the


"To pray for the propagation of the gospel and kingdom of "Chrift to all nations; for the converfion of the Jews, the fulness " of the Gentiles, the fall of Antichrist, and the haftening of the "fecond coming of our Lord; for the deliverance of the diftreffed "Churches abroad from the tyranny of the Antichriftian faction, "and from the cruel oppreffions and blafphemies of the Turk; for "the bleffing of God upon all the reformed Churches, efpecially 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 king"dom whereof we are members, that therein God would establish << peace and truth, the purity of all his ordinances, and the power "of godliness; prevent and remove herefy, fchifm, profaneness, fu"perftition, fecurity, and unfruitfulness under the means of grace; "heal all our rents and divifions, and preferve 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 bleffings, both in his perfon and "government; establish his throne in religion and righteousness, "fave him from evil counfel, and make him a bleffed and glorious "inftrument for the confervation and propagation of the gospel, for "the encouragement and protection of them that do well, the ter "ror of all that do evil, and the great good of the whole church, and


"of all his kingdoms; for the converfion of the Queen, the religi"" ous education of the Prince, and the reft of the Royal feed; for "the comforting the afflicted Queen of Bohemia, fifter to our So❝vereign, and for the reftitution and establishment of the illuftrious "Prince Charles, Elector Palatine of the Rhine, to all his domi"nions and dignities; for a bleffing upon the High Court of Parlia

ment, (when fitting in any of thefe kingdoms respectively,) the "Nobility, the Subordinate Judges and Magiftrates, the Gentry, " and all the Commonality; for all Pastors and Teachers, that God "would fill them with his Spirit, make them exemplarily holy, fober, "juft, peaceable, and gracious in their lives, found, faithful, and "powerful in their miniftry; and follow all their labours with a"bundance of fuccefs and bleffing; and give unto all his people paf"tors according to his own heart; for the universities, and all schools "and religious feminaries of church and commonwealth, that they 66 may flourish more and more in learning and piety; for the par"ticular city or congregation, that God would pour out a bleffing (C upon the miniftry of the word, facraments and difcipline, upon "the civil government, and all the feveral families and perfons "therein; for mercy to the afflicted under any inward or outward "diftrefs for feasonable weather, and fruitful feafons, as the time "may require; for averting the judgments that we either feel or "fear, or are liable unto, as famine, peftilence, the fword, and fuch "like.



"And, with confidence of his mercy to his whole church, and the "acceptance of our perfons, through the merits and mediation of "our High Priest, the Lord Jefus, to profefs that it is the defire of our fouls to have fellowship with God, in the reverend and con"scionable use of his holy ordinances; and, to that purpose, to pray "earneftly for his grace and effectual affiftance 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 becaufe 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 Jefus Chrift, which require a fpiritual dif"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, caufing us to attain fuch a measure of "the excellency of the knowledge of Chrift Jefus our Lord, and, in ❝ him, of the things which belong to our peace, that we may account all things but as drofs in comparison of him; and that we, "tafting 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 alfo, and enjoy the fulness of those joys and plea"fures, which are at his right hand for evermore.


"More particularly, that God would in a fpecial manner furnish his fervant (now called to difpenfe the bread of life unto his houf

3 Q


« PrécédentContinuer »