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and building of his house, and desire they may be had of us and posterity in everlasting remembrance, with thankfulness and honor) but that we may, in some measure, answer the gracious providence of God, which at this time calleth upon us for further reformation, and may satisfy our own consciences, and answer the expectation of other reformed churches, and the desires of many of the godly among ourselves, and withal give some public testimony of our endeavors for uniformity in divine worship, which we have promised in our solemn league and covenant: we have, after earnest and frequent calling upon the name of God, and after much consultation, not with flesh and blood, but with his holy word, resolved to lay aside the former liturgy, with the many rites and ceremonies formerly used in the worship of God; and have agreed upon this following directory for all the parts of public worship, at ordinary and extraordinary times.
Wherein our care hath been, to hold forth such things as are of divine institution in every ordinance; and other things we have endeavored to set forth according to the rules of christian prudence, agreea ble to the general rules of the word of God: our meaning therein being only, that the general heads, the sense and scope of the prayers, and other parts of public worship. being known to all, there may be a consent of all the churches, in those things that contain the substance of the service and worship of God; and the ministers may be hereby directed in their administrations, to keep like soundness in doctrine and prayer; and may, if need be, have some help and furniture; and yet so, as they become not hereby slothful and negligent, in stirring up the gifts of Christ in them; but, that each one, by meditation. by taking heed to himself and the flock of God committed to him, and by wise observing the ways of divine providence, may be careful to furnish his heart and tongue with further, or other materials of prayer and of exhortation, as shall be needful upon all occasions.
Of the assembling of the Congregation, and their Behavior 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 absenting themselves from the public ordinances through negligence, or upon pretence of private meetings.
Let all enter the assembly, not irreverently, but in a grave and seemly manner, taking their seats or places without adoration, or bowing themselves towards one place or other.
The congregation being assembled, the minister, after solemn calling on them to the worshipping of the great name of God, is to begin with prayer.
In all reverence and humility acknowledging the incomprehensible greatness and majesty of the Lord, (in whose presence 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 so great a work; and humbly beseeching him for pardon, assistance, and acceptance, in the whole service then to be performed; and for a blessing on that particular portion of his word then to be read: and all in the name and mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ."
The public worship being begun, the people are wholly to attend upon it, forbearing to read any thing, except what the minister is then reading or citing; and abstaining much more from all private whisperings, conferences, salutations, or doing reverence to any persons present, or coming in; as also from all gazing, sleeping, and other indecent behavior, which may disturb the minister or people, or hinder themselves and others in the service of God.
If any, through necessity, be hindered from being present at the beginning, they ought not, when they come into the congregation, to betake themselves to their private devotions, but reverently to compose themselves to join with the assembly, in that ordinance of God which is then in hand.
Of Public Reading of the Holy Scriptures.
READING of the word in the congregation, being part of the public worship of God, (wherein we acknowledge our dependence upon him, and subjection to him) and one means sanctified by him for the edifying of his people, is to be performed by the pastors and teachers.
Howbeit, such as intend the ministry, may occasionally both read the word, and exercise their gift in preaching in the congregation, if allowed by the presbytery thereunto.
All the canonical books of the Old and New Testament, (but none of those which are commonly called apocrypha) shall be publicly read in the vulgar tongue, out of the best allowed translation, distinctly, that all may hear and understand.
How large a portion shall be read at once, is left to the wisdom of the minister; but it is convenient, that ordinarily one chapter of each testament be read at every meeting; and sometimes more, where the chapters be short, or the coherence of matter requireth it.
It is requisite 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 testament endeth on one Lord's day, it is to begin the next.
We commend also the more frequent reading of such scriptures, as he that readeth shall think best for edification of his hearers, as the book of Psalms, and such like.
When the minister, who readeth, shall judge it necessary to expound any part of what is read, let it not be done until the whole chapter or psalm be ended; and regard is always to be had unto the time, that
neither preaching, nor other ordinance, be straitned, or rendered tedious. Which rule is to be observed in all other public performances.
Beside public reading of the holy scriptures, every person that can read is to be exhorted to read the scriptures privately, (and all others that cannot read, if not disabled by age, or otherwise, are likewise to be exhorted to learn to read) and to have a bible.
Of public Prayer before the Sermon.
AFTER reading of the word, (and singing of the psalm) the minister who is to preach, is to endeavor to get his own, and his hearers' hearts to be rightly affected with their sins, that they may all mourn in sense thereof before the Lord, and hunger and thirst after the grace of God in Jesus Christ, by proceeding to a more full confession of sin, with shame and holy confusion of face, and to call upon the Lord to this effect:
"To acknowledge our great sinfulness, first, by reason of original sin, which (beside the guilt that makes us liable to everlasting damnation) is the seed of all other sins, hath depraved and poisoned all the faculties and powers of soul and body, doth defile our best actions, and (were it not restrained, or our hearts renewed by grace) would break forth into innumerable transgressions, and greatest rebellions against the Lord, that ever were committed by the vilest of the sons of men. And, next, by reason of actual sins, our own sins, the sins of magistrates, of ministers, and of the whole nation, unto which we are many ways accessary: which sins of ours receive many fearful aggravations, we having broken all the commandments of the holy, just, 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 also more presumptuously, against the light of our minds, checks of our consciences, and motions of his own holy spirit to the contrary, so that we have no cloak for our sins; yea, not only despising the riches of God's goodness, forbearance and long suffering, but standing out against many invitations and offers of grace in the gospel; not endeavoring, as we ought, to receive Christ into our hearts by faith, or to walk worthy of him in our lives.
"To bewail our blindness of mind, hardness of heart, unbelief, impenitency, security, lukewarmness, barrenness; our not endeavoring after mortification and newness of life, nor after the exercise of godliness in the power thereof: and that the best of us have not so stedfastly walked with God, kept our garments so unspotted, nor been so zealous of his glory, and the good of others, as we ought: and to mourn over such other sins, as the congregation is particularly guilty of, notwithstanding the manifold and great mercies of our God, the love of Christ, the light of the gospel, and reformation of religion, our own purposes, promises, vows, solemn covenant, and other special obligations to the contrary.
"To acknowledge and confess, that, as we are convinced of our guilt, so, out of a deep sense thereof, we judge ourselves unworthy of the smallest benefits, most worthy of God's fiercest wrath, and of all the curses of the law, and heaviest judgments inflicted upon the most rebellious sinners; and that he might must justly take his kingdom and gospel from us, plague us with all sorts of spiritual and temporal judgments in this life, and after cast 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 ourselves with hope of a gracious answer of our prayers, in the riches and all-sufficiency of that one only oblation, the satisfaction and intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ, at the right hand of his Father, and our Father; and in confidence of the exceeding great and precious promises of mercy and grace in the new covenant, through the same mediator thereof, to deprecate the heavy wrath and curse of GOD, which we are not able to avoid, or bear; and humbly and earnestly to supplicate for merey, in the free and full remission of all our sins, and that only for the bitter sufferings and precious merits of our only Savior Jesus Christ.
"That the Lord would vouchsafe to shed abroad his love in our hearts by the Holy Ghost; seal unto us, by the same spirit of adoption, the full assurance of our pardon and reconciliation; comfort all that mourn in Zion, speak peace to the wounded and troubled spirit, and bind up the broken-hearted: and as for secure and presumptuous sinners, that he would open their eyes, convince their consciences, and turn them from darkness unto light, and from the power of satan unto God, that they also may receive forgiveness of sin, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in Christ Jesus.
"With remission of sins through the blood of Christ, to pray for sanctification by his spirit; the mortification of sin dwelling in, and many times tyrannizing over us; the quickening of our dead spirits, with the life of God in Christ; grace to fit and enable us for all duties of conversation and callings towards God and men; strength against temptations, the sanctified use of blessings and crosses, and perseverance in faith and obedience unto the end.
"To pray for the propagation of the gospel and kingdom of Christ to all nations, for the conversion of the Jews, the fulness of the gentiles, the fall of anti-christ, and the hastening of the second coming of our Lord: for the deliverance of the distressed churches abroad from the tyranny of the anti-christian faction, and from the cruel oppressions and blasphemies of the Turk; for the blessing of God upon all the reformed churches, especially upon 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 most remote parts of the world: more particularly for that church
and kingdom, whereof we are members, that therein God would estab lish peace and truth, the purity of all his ordinances, and the power of godliness; prevent and remove heresy, schism, profaneness, superstition, security, and unfruitfulness under the menus of grace; heal all our rents and divisions, and preserve 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 blessings, both in his person and government; establish his throne in religion and righteousness, save him from evil counsel, and make him a blessed and glorious instrument, for the conservation and propagation of the gospel, for the encouragement and protection of them that do well, the terror of all that do evil, and the great good of the whole church, and of all his kingdoms; for the conversion of the queen, the religious education of the prince, and the rest of the royal seed; for the comforting the afflicted queen of Bohemia, sister to our sovereign: and for the restitution and establishment of the illustrious prince Charles, elector palatine of the Rhine, to all his dominions and dignities; for a blessing upon the high court of parliament, (when sitting in any of these kingdoms respectively) the nobility, the subordinate judges and magistrates, the gentry, and all the commonalty; for all pastors and teachers, that God would fill them with his spirit, make them exemplarily holy, sober, just, peaceable, and gracious in their lives; sound, faithful, and powerful in their ministry; and follow all their labors with abundance of success and blessing; and give unto all his people pastors according to his own heart; for the universities, and all schools and religious seminaries of church and commonwealth, that they may flourish more and more in learning and piety; for the particular city or congregation, that God would pour out a blessing upon the ministry of the word. sacraments and discipline, upon the civil government, and all the several families and persons therein; for mercy to the afflicted under any inward or outward distress. For seasonable weather, and fruitful seasons, as the time may require; for averting the judgments that we either feel or fear, or are liable unto, as famine, pestilence, the sword, and such like.
"And, with confidence of his mercy to his whole church, and the acceptance of our persons, through the merits and mediation of our high priest the Lord Jesus, to profess that it is the desire of our souls to have fellowship with God, in the reverend and conscionable use of his holy ordinances; and to that purpose, to pray earnestly for his grace and effectual assistance to the sanctification 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 celebrate and enjoyed, ❤
"And because 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 Jesus Christ, which require a spiritual discerning; to pray that the Lord, who teacheth to profit, would graciously