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"hold) with wifdom, fidelity, zeal, and utterance, that he may di"vide the word of God aright, to every one his portion, in evidence "and demonftration of the Spirit and power; and that the Lord "would circumcife the ears and hearts of the hearers, to hear, love, " and receive with meeknefs the ingrafted word, which is able to
fave their fouls, make them as good ground to receive in the good "feed of the word, and ftrengthen them against the temptations of "Satan, the cares of the world, the hardness of their own hearts, and "whatfoever elfe may hinder their profitable and faving hearing; "that fo Chrift may be fo formed in them, and live in them, that "all their thoughts may be brought into captivity to the obedience "of Chrift, 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 fo, as the Minifter may defer (as in prudence he fhall think meet) fome part of thefe petitions till after his fermon, or offer up to God fome of the thankfgivings hereafter appointed, in his prayer before his fermon.
Of the Preaching of the Word.
REACHING of the word, being the power of God unto falvation and one of the greatest and moft excellent works belonging to the miniftry of the gofpel, fhould be fo performed, that the workman need not be afhamed, but may fave himself, and those that hear him.
It is prefuppofed, (according to the rules for ordination), that the Minifter of Chrift is in fome good meafure gifted for fo weighty a service, by his skill in the original languages, and in fuch arts and sciences as are handmaid unto divinity; by his knowledge in the whole body of theology, but most of all in the holy fcriptures, having his fenfes and heart exercifed in them above the common fort of believ ers; and by the illumination of God's Spirit, and other gifts of edification, which (together with reading and ftudying of the word) he ought still to seek by prayer, and an humble heart, refolving to admit and receive any truth not yet attained, whenever God shall make it known unto him. All which he is to make ufe of, and improve, in his private preparations, before he deliver in public what he hath provided.
Ordinarily, the fubject of his fermon is to be fome text of fcripture, holding forth fome principle or head of religion, or fuitable to fome fpecial occafion emergent; or he may go on in fome chapter, pfalm, or book of the holy fcripture, as he fhall fee fit.
Let the introduction to his text be brief and perfpicuous, drawn from the text itself, or context, or fome parallel place, or general fentence of fcripture.
If the text be long, (as in hiftories or parables it fometimes must be,) let him give a brief fum of it; if fhort, a paraphrafe thereof, if need be: in both, looking diligently to the fcope of the text, and pointing at the chief heads and grounds of doctrine which he is to raife from it.
In analyfing 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 divifion, nor to trouble their minds with obfcure 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 contained in, or grounded on that text, that the hearers may difcern how God teacheth it from thence. Thirdly, That he chiefly infift upon thofe doctrines which are principally intended, and make moít for the edification of the hearers.
The doctrine is to be expreffed in plain terms; or, if any thing in it need explication, it is to be opened, and the confequence alfo from the text, cleared. The parallel places of feripture confirming the doctrine, are rather to be plain and pertinent, than many, and (if need be) fomewhat infifted upon, and applied to the purpose in
The arguments or reafons are to be folid, and, as much as may be, convincing. The illuftrations, of what kind foever, ought to be full of light, and fuch as may convey the truth into the hearer's heart with spiritual delight.
If any doubt obvious from fcripture, reafon, or prejudice of the hearers, feem to arife, it is very requifite to remove it, by reconciling the feeming differences, anfwering the reafons, and difcovering and taking away the causes of prejudice and mistake. Otherwife 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 reft in general doctrine, although never fo much cleared and confirmed, but to bring it home to fpecial ufe, 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 fuch a manner, that his auditors may feel the word of God to be quick and powerful, and a difcerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; and that, if any unbeliever or ignorant perfon be prefent, he may have the fecrets of his heart made manifeft, and give glory to God.
In the use of inftruction or information in the knowledge of fome truth, which is a confequence from his doctrine, he may (when convenient) confirm it by a few firm arguments from the text in hand, and other places of feripture, or from that nature of the commonplace in divinity, whereof that truth is a branch.
In confutation of falfe doctrines, he is neither to raise an old herefy from the grave, nor to mention a blafphemous opinion unneceffarily. But, if the people be in danger of an error, he is to confute it foundly, and endeavour to fatisfy their judgments and confciences against all objections.
In exhorting to duties, he is, as he feeth caufe, to teach alfo the means that help to the performance of them.
In dehortation, reprehenfion, and public admonition, (which require fpecial wisdom,) let him, as there fhall be caufe, not only dif cover the nature and greatness of the fin, with the mifery attending it, but also fhew 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 anfwer fuch objections as a troubled heart and afflicted spirit may fuggeft to the contrary.
It is alfo fometimes requifite to give fome notes of trial, (which is very profitable, efpecially when performed by able and experienced minifters, with circumfpection and prudence, and the figns clearly grounded on the holy fcripture,) whereby the hearers may be able to examine themselves, whether they have attained thofe graces, and performed thofe duties to which he exhorteth, or be guilty of the fin reprehended, and in danger of the judgments threatened, or are fuch to whom the confolations propounded do belong; that accordingly 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 fhall require.
And, as he needeth not always to profecute every doctrine which lies in his text, fo is he wifely to make choice of fuch uses, as, by his refidence and converfing with his flock, he findeth most needful and feasonable; and, amongst thefe, fuch as may most draw their fouls to Chrift, the fountain of light, holiness, and comfort.
This method is not prefcribed as neceffary 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 understandings and memories.
But the fervant of Chrift, whatever his method be, is to perform his whole ministry.
1. Painfully, not doing the work of the Lord negligently.
2. Plainly, that the meaneft 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 Chrift fhould be made of none effect; abftaining alfo from an unprofitable use of unknown tongues, ftrange phrases, and cadences of founds and words; fparingly citing fentences of ecclefiaftical or other human writers, ancient or modern, be they never fo elegant.
3. Faithfully, looking at the honour of Christ, the converfion, edification, and falvation of the people, not at his own gain or glory; keeping nothing back which may promote thofe holy ends, giving to every one his own portion, and bearing indifferent refpect unto all, without neglecting the meaneft, or sparing the greatest in their fins.
4. Wifely, framing all his doctrines, exhortations, and especially his reproofs, in fuch a manner as may be moft likely to prevail: fhewing all due refpect to each man's perfon and place, and no mixing his own paffion or bitterness.
5. Gravely, as becometh the word of God; fhunning all fuch gef ture, voice, and expreffions, as may occafion the corruptions of me to despise him and his ministry.
6. With loving affection, that the people may see all coming from his godly zeal, and hearty defire to do them good. And,
7. As taught of God, and perfuaded in his own heart, that all that he teacheth is the truth of Chrift; and walking before his flock, as an example to them in it; earnestly, both in private and public, recommending his labours to the bleffing of God, and watchfully looking to himself, and the flock whereof the Lord hath made him overfeer: So fhall the doctrine of truth be preferved uncorrupt, many fouls 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 efpecially apply himself to doctrine or exhortation, according to the gift wherein he most excelleth, and as they fhall agree between themselves.
Of Prayer after Sermon.
HE fermon being ended, the Minister is "To give thanks for "the great love of God, in fending his Son Jefus Chrift unto "us; for the communication of his holy Spirit; for the light and << liberty of the glorious gofpel, and the rich and heavenly bleffings "revealed therein; as, namely, election, vocation, adoption, jufti❝fication, fanctification, and hope of glory; for the admirable good"nefs of God in freeing the land from Antichriftian darkness and 66 tyranny, and for all other national deliverances; for the refor"mation of religion; for the covenant; and for many temporal «bleffings.
"To pray for the continuance of the gofpel, and all ordinances "thereof, in their purity, power, and liberty: To turn the chief "and moít useful heads of the fermon into fome 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 Jefus 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 Prieft and Saviour the Lord jefus Chrift."
And because the prayer which Christ taught his difciples, is not only a pattern of prayer, but itfelf a moft comprehenfive 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 fafts and days of thankfgiving, and other fpecial occafions, which may afford matter of fpecial petitions and thanksgiving; it is requifite to exprefs fomewhat in our public prayers, (as at this time it is our duty to pray for a bleffing upon the Affembly of divines, the armies by fea and land, for the defence of the King, Parliament, and Kingdom,) every Minister is herein to apply himself in his prayer, before or after fermon, to thofe occafions: But, for the manner, he is left to his liberty as God fhall direct and enable him, in piety and wisdom to discharge his duty.
The prayer ended, let a pfalm be fung, if with conveniency it may be done. After which (unless fome other ordinance of Christ, that concerneth the congregation at that time be to follow) let the minifter difinifs the congregation with a folemn bleffing.
Of the Administration of the Sacraments:
And firft, Of Baptifm.
is not be fo it is not to
adminiftred in any cafe by any private perfon, but by a minister of Christ, called to be the fteward of the mysteries of God.
Nor is it to be adminiftred in private places, or privately, but in the place of public worship, and in the face of the congregation, where the people may moft conveniently fee and hear; and not in the places where fonts, in the time of Popery, were unfitly and superftitiously placed.
The child to be baptized, after notice given to the minister the day before, is to be prefented by the father, or (in case of his neceflary abfence) by fome Chriftian friend in his place, profeffing his earnest defire that the child may be baptifed.
Before baptifin, the minifter is to ufe fome words of inftruction, touching the inftitution, nature, ufe, and ends of this facrament: fhewing,
"That it is inftituted by our Lord Jefus Chrift: That is a feal of "the covenant of grace, of our ingrafting into Christ, and of our "union with him, of remiffion of fins, regeneration, adoption, and "life eternal: That the water, in baptifm, reprefenteth and figni“fieth, both the blood of Chrift, 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 wathing with water, "fignifieth the cleanfing from fin by the blood and for the merit of "Chrift, together with the mortification of fin, and rifing from fin "to newness of life, by virtue of the death and refurrection of "Chrift: That the promife is made to believers, and their feed; " and that the feed and pofterity of the faithful, born within the "Church, have, by their birth, intereft in the Covenant, and right "to the feal of it, and to the outward privileges of the Church, un"der the gofpel, no less than the children of Abraham in the time "of the Old Teftament; the covenant of grace, for fubftance, 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 prefence, embracing and bleffing them, faying, "For of fuch is the kingdom of God: That children, by baptifin, are "folemnly received into the bofom of the vifible church diftinguish"ed from the world, and them that are without, and united with "believers; and that all who are baptifed in the name of Chrift, do renounce, and by their baptifm are bound to fight against the