[4 January, 1644/5.]
Several Statutes repealed.; 2. 3. Ed. 6.; 5. 6. Ed, 6.; 1. Eliz.; 5. Eliz.; 3. Eliz.; Book of Common-Prayer shal not be used; The Directory shall be observed.; Register Books for Births, and Marriages and Burials.
The Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, taking
into serious consideration the manifold inconveniences that have
arisen by the Book of Common-Prayer in this Kingdome, and
resolving, according to their Covenant, to reform Religion
according to the Word of God, and the Example of the
best Reformed Churches, have consulted with the Reverend,
Pious, and Learned Divines called together to that purpose;
And do judge it necessary, that the said Book of CommonPrayer be abolished, and the Directory for the Publique Worship
of God, herein after mentioned, be established and observed in
all the Churches within this Kingdome: Be it therefore Ordained
by the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, That the
Statute of the second and third years of King Edward the Sixth,
intituled, [The Penalty for not using Uniformity of Service, and
Administration of Sacraments, &c.] And the Statute of the fifth
and sixth years of the same King, intituled, [Uniformity of
Prayer, and Administration of Sacraments, shall be used in the
Church:] And so much of the Statute of the first year of Queen
Elizabeth, intituled, [There shall be Uniformity of Prayer and
Administration of Sacraments] as concerns the said Book of
Common-Prayer, and the Uniformity of Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments: And so much of the Statute of the
fifth year of the same Queen, intituled, [By whose Order, the
Bible, and Book of Common-Prayer shall be Translated into the
Welch Tongue] as concerns the Book of Common-Prayer: And
so much of the Statute of the eighth year of the same Queen,
intituled, [All Acts made by any person since primo Eliz. for the
Consecrating, Investing &c of any Archbishop, or Bishop, shall
be good] as concerns the said Book, be and stand from henceforth repealed, void, and of none effect, to all intents, constructions,
and purposes whatsoever. And that the said Book of CommonPrayer, shall not remain, or be from henceforth used in any
Church, Chappel, or place of publique Worship, within the
Kingdome of England, or Dominion of Wales; And that the
Directory for publique Worship herein set forth, shall be henceforth used, pursued, and observed, according to the true intent
and meaning of this Ordinance, in all Exercises of the publique
Worship of God, in every Congregation, Church, Chappel, and
place of publique Worship within this Kingdome of England, and
Dominion of Wales; Which Directory for the publique Worship
of God, with the Preface thereof followeth. And it is further
Ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That there shall be provided
at the charge of every Parish or Chappelry in this Realm of
England, and Dominion of Wales, a fair Register Book of Velim,
to be kept by the Minister and other Officers of the Church;
and that the Names of all Children Baptized, and of their Parents
and of the time of their Birth and Baptizing, shall be written
and set down by the Minister therein; and also the Names of all
Persons Married there, and the time of their Marriage; and also
the Names of all Persons Buried in that Parish, and the time of
their Death and Burial: And that the said Book shall be shewed
by such as keep the same, to all persons reasonably desiring to
search for the Birth, Baptizing, Marriage, or Burial of any person
therein Registred, and to take a Copy, or procure a Certificate
In the beginning of the blessed Reformation, our wise and
pious Ancestours took care to set forth an Order for Redress of
many things which they, then, by the Word discovered to be
Vain, Erroneous, Superstitious, and Idolatrous in the Publique
Worship of God. This occasioned many Godly and Learned
men to rejoyce much in the Book of Common-Prayer at that
time set forth; Because the Mass and the rest of the LatineService being removed, the Publique Worship was celebrated in
our own Tongue; many of the common People also receive
benefit by hearing the Scriptures read in their own Language
which formerly were unto them as a Book that is sealed.
Howbeit, long and sad Experience hath made it manifest;
That the Leiturgie used in the Church of England (notwithstanding all the pains and Religious intentions of the
Compilers of it) hath proved an offence, not onely to many of the
Godly at home; but also to the Reformed Churches abroad.
For not to speak of urging the Reading of all the Prayers which
very greatly increased the burden of it; the many unprofitable
and burdensome Ceremonies, contained in it, have occasioned
much mischief, as well by disquieting the Consciences of many
godly Ministers and people who could not yeeld unto them, as
by depriving them of the Ordinancies of God, which they might
not enjoy without conforming or Subscribing to those Ceremonies.
Sundry good Christians have been by meanes thereof, kept from
the Lords Table, and divers able and faithfull Ministers debarred
from the Exercise of their Ministery (to the endangering of
many thousand Souls in a time of such scarcity of faithfull
Pastors) and spoiled of their livelihood, to the undoing of them
and their Families. Prelates and their Faction have laboured to
raise the Estimation of it to such an height, as it there were no
other Worship, or way of Worship of God amongst us, but onely
the Service-Book: to the great hinderance of the Preaching of
the Word, and (in some places, especially of late) to the justling
of it out, as unnecessary; or (at best) as far inferiour to the
Reading of Common-Prayer, which was made no better then an
Idol by many Ignorant and Superstitious People, who pleasing
themselves in their presence at that Service, and their Lip-labour
in bearing a part in it, have thereby hardened themselves in
their ignorance, and carelesness of saving knowledge and true
In the meantime Papists boasted, that the Book was a
compliance with them in a great part of their Service, and so
were not a little confirmed in their Superstition, and Idolatry.
expecting rather our return to them, then endeavouring the
reformation of themselves: In which expectation they were of
late very much incouraged, when, upon the pretended warrantableness of imposing of the former Ceremonies, new ones were
daily obtruded upon the Church.
Add hereunto (which was not foreseen, but since hath come to
pass) that the Leiturgie hath been a great means, as on the one
hand to make and increase an idle and unedifying Ministery,
which contented it self with set forms made to their hands by
others, without putting forth themselves to exercise the gift of
Prayer, with which our Lord Jesus Christ pleaseth to furnish all
his Servants whom he calls to that Office: So on the other side
it hath been (and ever would be, if continued) a matter of endless
strife and contention in the Church, and a snare both to many
godly and faithfull Ministers, who have been persecuted and
silenced upon that occasion, and to others of hopefull parts, many
of which have been, and more still would be, diverted from all
thoughts of the Ministery to other studies; especially in these
latter times, wherein God vouchsafeth to his people more and
better means for the discovery of Errour and Superstition, and
for attaining of knowledge in the mysteries of godliness, and
gifts in Preaching and Prayer
Upon these, and many the like weighty considerations, in
reference to the whole Book in general, and because of divers
particulars contained in it; not from any love to Novelty, or intention to disparage our first Reformers (of whom we are perswaded
that, were they now alive, they would joyn with us in this work,
and whom we acknowledge as Excellent Instruments raised by
God to begin the purging and building of his House, and desire
they may be had of us and Posterity in everlasting Remembrance,
with thankfulness and honour;) 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 satisfie our own consciences, and answer the expectation of other Reformed Churches,
and the desires of many of the godly among our selves, and
withall give some publique Testimony of our endeavours 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 Leiturgy, 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 Publique 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
endeavoured to set forth according to the Rules of Christian
Prudence, agreeable to the General Rules of the Word of God.
Our meaning therein being onely that the general heads, the
sense and scope of the Prayers and other parts of Publique
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 slothfull 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 wayes of
Divine Providence, may be carefull to furnish his heart and tongue
with further, or other materials of Prayer and Exhortation, as
shall be needfull upon all occasions.
Directory for Public Prayer, etc., etc.
A Directory for Publique Prayer, Reading the Holy Scriptures,
Singing of Psalmes, Preaching of the Word, Administration
of the Sacraments, and other parts of the Publique Worship
of God, Ordinary and Extraordinary.
Of the Assembling of the Congregation, and their Behaviour
in the Publique Worship of God.
Assembly and behaviour of Congregation.
When the Congregation is to meet for Publique Worship, the
People (having before prepared their hearts thereunto) ought all
to come and joyn therein: not absenting themselves from the
Publique Ordinances, through negligence, or upon pretence of
Let all enter the Assembly, not irreverently, but in a grave and
seemly manner, taking their seats or places without Adoration,
or Bowing themselvs 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 Publique Worship being begun, the people are wholly to
attend upon it; forbearing to reade anything, 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 undecent behaviour, which may
disturb the Minister or people, or hinder themselves or others in
the service of God.
If any through necessity be hindred 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 joyn with the Assembly, in that
Ordinance of God which is then in hand.
Of Publique Reading of the Holy Scriptures.
Public Reading of the Holy Scriptures
Reading of the Word in the Congregation, being part of the
Publique 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 Ministery may occasionally both
read the Word, and exercise their gift in Preaching in the
Congregation, if allowed by the Presbytery therunto.
All the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, (but
none of those which are commonly called Apocrypha) shall be
publiquely 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 somtimes
more, where the Chapters be short, or the Coherence of matter
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 Lords day, it is to begin the
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 or other Ordinance be
straitned, or rendred tedious. Which rule is to be observed in
all other publique performances.
Besides Publique Reading of the Holy Scriptures, every person
that can reade, is to be exhorted to reade the Scriptures
privately (and all others that cannot reade, if not disabled by
age or otherwise, are likewise to be exhorted to learn to reade)
and to have a Bible.
Of Publique Prayer before the Sermon.
Of Publique Prayer before the Sermon.
After reading of the Word (and singing of the Psalm) the
Minister who is to Preach, is to endeavour 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 poysoned all the faculties and powers of Soul and Body, doth
defile our best actions, and (were it not restained, 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 fearfull
aggravations, we having broken all the Commandements of the
holy, just, and good Law of God, doing that which is forbidden,
and leaving undone what is enjoyned; and that not onely out of
Ignorance, and Infirmity, but also more presumptuously against
the light of our Mindes, 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 onely despising the riches of Gods
goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering, but standing out against
many invitations and offers of Grace in the Gospel, not
endeavouring 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 minde, hardness of heart, unbelief,
impenitencie, securitie, lukewarmness, barrenness, our not
endeavouring 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 guiltie 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 Gods fiercest wrath, and
of all the Curses of the Law and heaviest Judgements inflicted
upon the most rebellious Sinners; and that he might most
justly take his Kingdom and Gospel from us, plague us with all
sorts of spiritual and temporal judgements 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 our selves with hope of a gracious Answer of
our Prayers, in the riches and all-sufficiency of that onely one
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 heavie wrath and curse of God. which we
are not able to avoid or bear; and humbly, and earnestly to
supplicate for mercy in the free and full remission of all our sins,
and that onely for the bitter sufferings and precious merits of
that our onely Saviour 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 & presumptuous sinners, that he would open their eys,
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 bloud of Christ To pray
for sanctification by his Spirit; the Mortification of sin dwelling
in, and many times tyrannizing over us, the quickning of our
dead spirits with the life of God in Christ, grace to fit and inable
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
To pray for the propagation of the Gospel and Kingdome of
Christ to all Nations, for the conversion of the Jews, the fulness
of the Gentiles, the fall of Antichrist, and the hastning of the
second coming of our Lord; For the deliverance of the distressed
Churches abroad, from the tyranny of the Antichristian 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 Kingdomes of England,
Scotland, 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 Kingdome 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
heresie, schisme, prophanneness, superstition, securitie, and
unfruitfulness under the means 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 Kings 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 terrour of all that do evil, and the great good of the whole
Church, and of all his Kingdomes; For the conversion of the Queen
the religious education of the Prince, and the rest of the Royal
seed; For the comforting of the afflicted Queen of Bohemia, sister
to our Soveraign, and for the restitution and establishment of the
illustrious Prince Charles, Elector Palatine of the Rhene, to all his
Dominions and Dignities; For a blessing upon the High Court
of Parliament (when sitting in any of these Kingdomes 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, faithfull, and powerfull in their Ministery; and follow
all their labours 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 aflicted under any inward or outward
distress; For seasonable weather and fruitfull seasons as the
time may require; For averting the Judgements 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 great High-Priest the Lord Jesus, To profess
that it is the desire of our souls to have fellowship with God
in the reverent 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 Lords
day, in all the duties thereof, publick 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, because we have been unprofitable hearers in times
past, and now cannot of our selves receive as we should, the
deep things of God, the mysteries of Jesus Christ, which require
a spirituall discerning, 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, causing us
to attain such a measure of the excellency of the knowledge
of Christ Jesus our Lord, and in him, of the things which
belong to our peace, that we may account all things but as
dross in comparison of him: And that we, tasting 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 also, and enjoy the fulness of those joyes and pleasures
which are at his right hand for evermore.
More particularly, that God would in special manner furnish
his Servant (now called to dispense the bread of life unto
his houshold) with wisedome, fidelity, zeal, and utterance,
that he may divide the Word of God aright, to every one his
portion, in evidence and demonstration of the Spirit and power;
and that the Lord would circumcise the ears and hearts of the
Hearers, to hear, love, and receive with meekness the ingrafted
Word, which is able to save their souls, make them as good
ground to receive in the good seed of the Word, and strengthen
them against the temptations of Satan, the cares of the World,
the hardness of their own hearts, and whatsoever else may
hinder their profitable and saving hearing; that so Christ may
be so formed in them, and live in them, that all their thoughts
may be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and
their hearts established in every good word and work for ever.
We judge this to be a convenient Order, in the ordinary publike prayers; yet so, as the Minister may defer (as in prudence
he shall think meet) some part of these Petitions, till after his
Sermon, or offer up to God some of the Thanksgivings, hereafter
appointed, in his Prayer before his Sermon.
Of the Preaching of the Word.
Preaching of the Word, being the power of God unto Salvation, and one of the greatest and most excellent Works
belonging to the Ministry of the gospel, should be so performed,
that the Workman need not to be ashamed, but may save
himself, and those that hear him.
It is presupposed (according to the Rules for Ordination)
that the Minister of Christ is in some good measure gifted
for so weighty a service, by his skill in the Original Languages,
and in such Arts and Sciences as are handmaids unto Divinity,
by his knowledge in the whole Body of Theology, but most of
all in the holy Scriptures, having his senses and heart exercised in them above the common sort of Believers; And by the
illumination of Gods Spirit, and other gifts of edification
which (together with reading and studying of the Word) he
ought still to seek by Prayer, and an humble heart, resolving
to admit and receive any truth not yet attained, when ever
God shall make it known unto him. All which he is to make
use of, and improve, in his private preparations, before he
deliver in publike what he hath provided.
Ordinarily, the subject of his Sermon is to be some Text of
Scripture, holding forth some principle or head of Religion; or
suitable to some special occasion emergent; or he may go on in
some Chapter, Psalm, or Book of the holy Scripture, as he shall
Let the Introduction to his Text be brief and perspicuous, drawn
from the Text it self, or context, or some parallel place, or general
sentence of Scripture.
If the Text be long (as in Histories and Parables it sometimes
must be) let him give a brief sum of it; if short, a Paraphrase
thereof, if need be: In both, looking diligently to the scope of the
Text, and pointing at the chief heads and grounds of Doctrine,
which he is to raise from it.
In Analysing and dividing his Text, he is to regard more the
order of matter, then of words; and neither to burthen the
memory of the hearers in the beginning, with too many members
of Division, nor to trouble their minds with obscure terms of
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
discern how God teacheth it from thence. Thirdly, that he
chiefly insist upon those Doctrines which are principally intended,
and make most for the edification of the hearers.
The Doctrine is to be expressed in plain terms; or, if any thing
in it need explication, is to be opened, and the consequence also
from the Text cleared. The parallel places of Scripture confirming the Doctrine, are rather to be plain and pertinent then many,
and (if need be) somewhat insisted upon, and applied so the
purpose in hand.
The Arguments or Reasons are to be solid; and as much as
may be, convincing. The illustrations of what kinde soever,
ought to be full of light, and such as may convey the truth into
the Hearers heart with spiritual delight.
If any doubt, obvious from Scripture, Reason, or Prejudice of
the Hearers, seem to arise, it is very requisite to remove it, by reconciling the seeming differences, answering the reasons, and
discovering and taking away the causes of prejudice and mistake.
Otherwise, it is not fit to detain the Hearers with propounding or
answering vain or wicked Cavils, which as they are endless, so the
propounding and answering of them doth more hinder then
He is not to rest in general Doctrine, although never so much
cleared and confirmed, but to bring it home to special Use, 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 such a manner, that his
Auditors may feel the Word of God to be quick and powerfull,
and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; and
that if any unbeliever or ignorant person be present, he may have
the secrets of his heart made manifest, and give glory to God.
In the Use of Instruction or Information in the knowledge of
some truth, which is a consequence from his Doctrine, he may
(when convenient) confirm it by a few firm Arguments from the
Text in hand, and other places of Scripture, or from the nature of
that Common place in Divinity, whereof that truth is a branch.
In Confutation of false Doctrines, he is neither to raise an old
Heresie from the grave, nor to mention a blasphemous opinion
unnecessarily: But if the people be in danger of an Errour, he is
to confute it soundly, and endeavour to satisfie their judgements
and consciences against all objections.
In Exhorting to Duties, he is, as he seeth cause, to teach also
the means that help to the performance of them.
In Dehortation, Reprehension, and publique Admonition (which
require special wisdom) let him, as there shall be cause, not only
discover the nature and greatness of the sin, with the misery
attending it, but also shew the danger his Hearers are in to be
overtaken and surprized by it, together with the Remedies and
best way to avoid it.
In applying comfort, whether general against all tentations, or
particular against some special troubles or terrors, he is carefully
to answer such objections as a troubled heart and afflicted spirit
may suggest to the contrary.
It is also sometimes requisite to give some notes of trial (which
is very profitable, especially when performed by able and experienced Ministers, with circumspection and prudence, and the
Signes clearly granted on the holy Scripture) whereby the
Hearers may be able to examine themselves, whether they have
attained those Graces, and performed those Duties to which he
exhorteth, or be guilty of the sin Reprehended, and in danger of
the judgements threatned, or are such to whom the Consolations
propounded do belong, that accordingly they may be quickned
and excited to duty, humbled for their Wants and Sms, affected
with their Danger, and strengthened with Comfort as their
condition on examination shall require.
And, as he needeth not alwayes to prosecute every Doctrine
which lies in his Text, so is he wisely to make choice of such
Uses, as, by his residence and conversing with his flock, he
findeth most needfull and seasonable: and, amongst these such
as may most draw their souls to Christ, the fountain of light,
holiness and comfort.
This method is not prescribed as necessary for every man, or
upon every Text; but only recommended, as being found by
experience to be very much blessed of God, and very helpfull for
the peoples understandings and memories.
But the Servant of Christ, what ever his method be, is to
perform his whole Ministery;
1. Painfully, not doing the work of the Lord negligently.
2. Plainly, that the meanest may understand, delivering the
truth, not in the entising words of mans wisdom, but in
demonstration of the Spirit and of power, lest the Cross of Christ
should be made of none effect; Abstaining also from an
unprofitable use of unknown Tongues, strange phrases, and
cadences of sounds and words, sparingly citing sentences of
Ecclesiastical, or other humane Writers, ancient or Modern, be
they never so elegant.
3. Faithfully, looking at the honour of Christ, the conversion,
edification and salvation of the people, not at his own gain or
glory: Keeping, nothing back which may promote those holy
ends, giving to every one his own portion, and bearing indifferent
respect unto all, without neglecting the meanest, or sparing the
greatest in their sins.
4. Wisely, framing all his Doctrines, Exhortations, and especially
his Reproofs, in such a manner as may be most likely to prevail,
showing all due respect to each mans person and place, and not
mixing his own passion or bitterness.
5. Gravely, as becometh the Word of God, shunning all such
gesture, voice and expressions, as may occasion the corruptions
of men to despise him and his Ministery.
6. With loving affection, that the people may see all coming
from his godly zeal, and hearty desire to do them good. And,
7. As taught of God, and perswaded in his own heart, that all
that he teacheth, is the truth of Christ: and walking before his
flock as an example to them in it; earnestly, both in private and
publique, recommending his labours to the blessing of God, and
watchfully looking to himself and the flock whereof the Lord
hath made him overseer; So shall the Doctrine of truth be
preserved uncorrupt, many souls 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 then one,
and they of different gifts, each may more especially apply
himself to Doctrine or Exhortation, according to the gift wherein
he most excelleth, and as they shall agree between themselves.
Of Prayer after the Sermon.
Prayer after the Sermon.
The Sermon being ended, the Minister is;
To give thanks for the great Love of God in sending his Son
Jesus Christ unto us; For the communication of his Holy
Spirit; For the light and liberty of the glorious Gospel, and the
rich and heavenly blessings revealed therein; as namely,
Election, Vocation, Adoption, Justification, Sanctification, and
hope of Glory; For the admirable goodness of God in freeing the
Land from Antichristian Darkness and Tyranny, and for all
other National Deliverances; For the Reformation of Religion;
For the Covenant; and for many Temporal blessings.
To pray for the continuance of the Gospel, and all Ordinances
thereof, in their purity, power and liberty. To turn the chief
and most useful heads of the sermon into some few Petitions;
and to pray that it may abide in the heart, and bring forth
To pray for preparation for death and judgement, and a
watching for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. To intreat of
God the forgiveness of the iniquities of our holy things, and the
acceptation of our spiritual sacrifice, through the merit and
mediation of our great High-Priest and Saviour the Lord Jesus
And because the Prayer which Christ taught his Disciples, is
not onely a pattern of Prayer, but it self a most comprehensive
Prayer, we recommend it also to be used in the Prayers of the
And whereas, at the Administration of the Sacraments, the
holding Publique Fasts and dayes of Thankesgiving, and other
special occasions, which may afford matter of special Petitions
and Thankesgivings; It is requisite to express somewhat in our
publique Prayers (as at this time, it is our duty to pray for a
blessing upon the Assembly of Divines, the Armies by Sea and
Land for the defence of the King, Parliament and Kingdom),
Every Minister is herein to apply himself in his Prayer before
or after his Sermon to those occasions; but for the manner he is
left to his liberty as God shall direct and inable him, in piety
and wisdom to discharge his duty.
The Prayer ended, let a Psalm be sung, if with conveniency it
may be done. After which (unless some other Ordinance of
Chris[t] that concerneth the Congregation at that time be to
follow) et the Minister dismiss the Congregation with a solemn
The Administration of the Sacraments.
And first, Of Baptism.
Baptism, As it is not unnecessarily to be delayed, so is it not
to be administred in any case by any private person; but by a
Minister of Christ, called to be the Steward of the Mysteries of
Nor is it to be administred in private places, or privately, but
in the place of publique Worship, and in the face of the
Congregation, where the people may most conveniently see and
hear; and not in the places where Fonts in the time of Popery
were unfitly and superstitiously placed.
The Childe to be Baptized, after notice given to the Minister
the day before, is to be presented by the Father, or (in case of his
necessary absence) by some Christian friend in his place,
professing his earnest desire that the Childe may be Baptized.
Before Baptisme, the Minister is to use some words of
Instruction, touching the Institution, Nature, Use and ends of
this Sacrament: shewing,
That it is instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ: That it is a Seal
of the Covenant of Grace, of our Ingrafting into Christ, and of
our Union with him, of Remission of Sins, Regeneration,
Adoption, and Life eternal: That the Water in Baptism, representeth and signifieth, both the blood of Christ, which taketh away
all guilt of sinne, Original and Actual; and the sanctifying vertue
of the Spirit of Christ against the Dominion of Sin, and the
Corruption of our sinful Nature: That Baptizing, or sprinkling
and washing with water signifieth the cleansing from sin by the
Bloud; and for the Merit of Christ, together with the Mortification
of sin, and rising from sin to Newness of life, by vertue of the
Death and Resurrection of Christ: That the Promises made to
Believers and their seed, and that the seed and posterity of the
Faithfull, born within the Church, have by their birth, interest
in the Covenant, and right to the Seal of it, and to the outward
Priviledges of the Church, under the Gospel, no less then the
Children of Abraham in the time of the Old Testament; the
Covenant of Grace, for substance, being the same; and the Grace
of God and the consolation of Believers, more plentiful then
before: That the Son of God admitted little children into his
presence, imbracing and blessing them, saying, For of such is the
Kingdom of God: That children by Baptism are solemnly
received into the bosome of the visible Church, distinguished
from the world, and them that are without, and united with
Believers; and that all who are baptized in the Name of Christ,
do renounce, and by their Baptism are bound to fight against the
Devil, the World and the Flesh: That they are Christians, and
fœderally holy before Baptism, and therefore are they Baptized:
That the inward Grace and vertue of Baptism is not tied to that
very moment of time wherein it is administred, and that the
fruit and power thereof reacheth to the whole course of our life;
and that outward Baptism is not so necessary, that through the
want thereof the Infant is in danger of Damnation, or the
Parents guilty, if they do not contemn or neglect the Ordinance
of Christ when and where it may be had.
In these or the like Instructions, the Minister is to use his
own liberty, and godly wisdom, as the Ignorance or Errors in
the Doctrine of Baptism, and the Edification of the people shall
He is also to admonish all that are present;
To look back to their Baptism; to repent of their sins against
their Covenant with God, to stir up their faith; to improve and
make the right use of their Baptism; and of the Covenant
sealed thereby betwixt God and their souls.
He is to exhort the parent;
To consider the great mercy of God to him and his childe; To
bring up the childe in the knowledge of the grounds of the
Christian Religion, and in the nurture and admonition of the
Lord: and to let him know the danger of Gods wrath to himself
and child, if he be negligent. Requiring his solemn promise for
the performance of his duty.
This being done, Prayer is also to be joyned with the word of
Institution, for sanctifying the water to this spiritual use, and
the Minister is to pray to this or the like effect:
That the Lord who hath not left us as strangers without the
Covenant of promise, but called us to the priviledges of his
Ordinances, would graciously vouchsafe to sanctifie and bless his
own Ordinance of Baptism at this time: That he would joyn the
inward Baptism of his spirit with the outward Baptism of water;
make this Baptism to the Infant a Seal of Adoption, Remission
of sin, Regeneration, and Eternal life, and of all other promises
of the Covenant of Grace: That the childe may be planted into
the likeness of the death and Resurrection of Christ; and that
the body of sin being destroyed in him, he may serve God in
newness of life all his dayes.
Then the Minister is to demand the Name of the childe, which
being told him, he is to say (calling the Childe by his Name)
I Baptize thee in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost.
As he pronounceth these words, he is to Baptize the Childe
with water: which for the manner of doing of it, is not onely
lawfull but sufficient and most expedient to be, by powring or
sprinkling of the water on the Face of the childe, without adding
any other Ceremony.
This done, he is to give thanks and pray, to this or the like
Acknowledging with all thankfulness, that the Lord is true
and faithfull in keeping Covenant and Mercy: That he is good
and gracious, not onely in that he numbreth us among his
Saints, but is pleased also to bestow upon our children this
singular token and badge of his love in Christ: That in his
truth and special providence, he daily bringeth some into the
bosome of his Church, to be partakers of his inestimable benefits,
purchased by the bloud of his dear Son, for the continuance and
increase of his Church.
And praying, That the Lord would still continue and daily
confirm more and more this his unspeakable favour; That
he would receive the Infant now Baptized, and solemnly entred
into the houshold of Faith, into his Fatherly tuition and defence,
and remember him with the favour that he sheweth to his
people; That if he shall be taken out of this life in his infancy,
the Lord, who is rich in mercy, would be pleased to receive him
up into glory; and if he live and attain the years of discretion,
that the Lord would so teach him by his Word and Spirit, and
make his Baptism effectual to him, and so uphold him by his
Divine power and grace, that by Faith he may prevail against
the Devil, the World, and the Flesh, till in the end he obtain a
full and final victory, and so be kept by the power of God
through Faith unto Salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Of the Celebration of the Communion, or Sacrament of the Lords Supper.
The Communion, or Supper of the Lord is frequently to be
Celebrated; But how often, may be considered and determined
by the Ministers and other Church Governours of each Congregation, as they shall finde most convenient for the comfort and
edification of the people committed to their charge. And when
it shall be administred, we judge it convenient to be done after
the morning Sermon.
The Ignorant and the Scandalous are not fit to receive this
Sacrament of the Lords Supper.
Where this Sacrament cannot with conveniency be frequently
administred, it is requisite that publike warning be given the
Sabbath day before the administration thereof: and that either
then, or on some day of that Week, something concerning that
Ordinance, and the due preparation thereunto, and participation
thereof be taught, that by the diligent use of all means sanctified
of God to that end, both in publique and private, all may come
better prepared to that heavenly Feast.
When the day is come for administration, the Minister having
ended his Sermon and Prayer, shall make a short exhortation;
Expressing the inestimable benefit we have by this Sacrament;
together with the ends and use thereof: Setting forth the great
necessity of having our comforts and strength renewed thereby
in this our pilgrimage and warfare: How necessary it is that we
come unto it with Knowledge, Faith, Repentance, Love, and
with hungring and thirsting souls after Christ and his benefits:
How great the danger, to eat and drink unworthily.
Next, he is in the name of Christ on the one part, to warn all
such as are Ignorant, Scandalous, Profane, or that live in any sin
or offence against their knowledge or conscience, that they
presume not to come to that holy Table, shewing them, That he
that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh
judgement unto himself: And on the other part, he is in
especial manner to invite and encourage all that labour under
the sense of the burden of their sins; and fear of wrath, and
desire to reach out unto a greater progress in Grace then yet
they can attain unto, to come to the Lords Table; assuring them
in the same Name, of ease, refreshing and strength to their weak
and wearied souls.
After this Exhortation, Warning, and Invitation, the Table
being before decently covered, and so conveniently placed, that
the Communicants may orderly sit about it, or at it, The
Minister is to begin the action with sanctifying and blessing the
elements of Bread and Wine set before him (the Bread in comely
and convenient vessels, so prepared, that being broken by him,
and given, it may be distributed amongst the Communicants:
The Wine also in large Cups) having first in a few words shewed,
That those elements, otherwise common, are now set apart and
sanctified to this holy use, by the word of Institution and
Let the words of Institution be read out of the Evangelists, or
out of the first Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians,
chap. 11. vers. 23. I have received of the Lord, &c. to the 27,
verse, which the Minister may, when he seeth requisite, explain
Let the Prayer, Thankesgiving, or Blessing of the Bread and
Wine, be to this effect;
With humble and hearty acknowledgement of the greatness of
our misery, from which neither man nor Angel was able to
deliver us, and of our great unworthiness of the least of all Gods
mercies; To give thanks to God for all his benefits, and especially
for that great benefit of our Redemption, the love of God the
Father, the sufferings and merits of the Lord Jesus Christ the
Son of God, by which we are delivered; and for all means of
Grace, the Word and Sacraments, and for this Sacrament in
particular, by which Christ and all his benefits are applied and
sealed up unto us, which, notwithstanding the denial of them
unto others, are in great mercy continued unto us, after so much
and long abuse of them all.
To profess that there is no other name under heaven, by which
we can be saved, but the Name of Jesus Christ, by whom alone
we receive liberty and life, have access to the throne of Grace,
are admitted to eat and drink at his own Table, and are sealed
up by his Spirit to an assurance of happiness and everlasting
Earnestly to pray to God the Father of all mercies, and God of
all consolation, to vouchsafe his gracious presence and the
effectual working of his spirit in us, and so to sanctifie these
Elements both of Bread and Wine, and to bless his own
Ordinance, that we may receive by Faith the Body and Bloud of
Jesus Christ crucified for us, and so to feed upon him, that he
may be one with us, and we with him, that he may live in us,
and we in him, and to him, who hath loved us and given himself
All which he is to endeavour to perform with suitable affections
answerable to such an holy Action, and to stir up the like in the
The Elements being now sanctified by the Word and Prayer,
The Minister being at the Table, is to take the Bread in his
hand, and say, in these expressions (or other the like used by
Christ, or his Apostle upon this occasion:)
According to the holy Institution, command, and example of
our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, I take this Bread, and having
given thanks, I break it and give it unto you (There the Minister
who is also himself to communicate, is to break the Bread, and
give it to the Communicants:) Take ye, eat ye, This is the body
of Christ which is broken for you, Do this in remembrance of
In like manner the Minister is to take the Cup, and say in these
expressions (or other the like, used by Christ, or the Apostle upon
the same occasion;)
According to the Institution, command, and example of our Lord
Jesus Christ. I take this Cup and give it unto you, (Here he
giveth it to the Communicants;) This Cup is the new Testament
in the blood of Christ, which is shed for the Remission of the sins
of many; Drink ye all of it.
After all have communicated, the Minister may, in a few words
put them in minde Of the grace of God in Jesus Christ, held
forth in this Sacrament, and exhort them to walk worthy of it.
The Minister is to give solemn thanks to God,
For his rich mercy, and invaluable goodness vouchsafed to them
in that Sacrament, and to entreat for pardon for the defects of the
whole service, and for the gracious assistance of his good Spirit,
whereby they may be enabled to walk in the strength of that Grace,
as becometh those who have received so great pledges of salvation.
The Collection for the poor is to be ordered, that no part of the
publique worship be thereby hindred.
Of the Sanctification of the Lords Day.
The Lords Day.
The Lords day ought to be so remembred before hand, as that all
worldly business of our ordinary Callings may be so ordered, and
so timely and seasonably laid aside, as they may not be impediments to the due sanctifying of the Day when it comes.
The whole Day is to be celebrated as holy to the Lord, both in
publique and private, as being the Christian Sabbath. To which
end it is requisite, that there be a holy cessation or resting all the
Day, from all unnecessary labours, and an abstaining, not onely
from all sports and pastimes, but also from all worldly words and
That the diet on that Day be so ordered, as that neither servants
be unnecessarily detained from the publique worship of God, nor
any other persons hindred from the sanctifying that Day.
That there be private preparation of every person and family, by
prayer for themselves, and for Gods assistance of the Minister, and
for a blessing upon his Ministery, and by such other holy exercises,
as may further dispose them to a more comfortable communion
with God in his publique Ordinances.
That all the people meet so timely for publique worship, that
the whole Congregation may be present at the beginning, and with
one heart solemnly joyn together in all parts of the publique
Worship; and not depart till after the Blessing.
That what time is vacant, between, or after the solemn meetings of the Congregation in publique, be spent in Reading, Meditation, Repetition of Sermons (especially, by calling their families
to an account of what they have heard) and catechizing of them,
holy conferences, prayer for a blessing upon the Publique Ordinances, singing of Psalms, visiting the sick, relieving the poor, and
such like duties of piety, charity and mercy, accounting the
Sabbath a delight.
The Solemnization of Marriage.
Although Marriage be no Sacrament, nor peculiar to the
Church of God, but common to mankinde, and of publique
interest in every Common-wealth, yet because such as marry are
to marry in the Lord, and have special need of Instruction
Direction, and Exhortation from the Word of God, at their
entring into such a new condition; and, of the blessing of God
upon them therein, we judge it expedient, that Marriage be solemnized by a lawfull Minister of the Word, that he may
accordingly counsel them, and pray for a blessing upon them.
Marriage is to be betwixt one man and one woman only, and they,
such as are not within the degrees of Consanguinity or Affinity
prohibited by the Word of God. And the parties are to be of
years of discretion, fit to make their own choice, or upon good
grounds to give their mutual consent.
Before the solemnizing of Marriage between any Persons, their
purpose of Marriage shall be published by the Minister three
several Sabbath dayes in the Congregation, at the place or places
of their most usual and constant abode respectively. And of
this Publication, the Minister who is to joyn them in Marriage,
shall have sufficient Testimony, before he proceed to solemnize
Before that Publication of such their purpose (if the parties be
under age) the consent of the Parents, or others, under whose
power they are (in case the Parents be dead) is to be made
known to the Church-Officers of that Congregation, to be
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 those 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 consent, nor deny their own consent without just
After the purpose or contract of marriage hath been thus
published, the marriage is not to be long deferred. Therefore,
the Minister, having had convenient warning, and nothing being
objected to hinder it, is publikely to solemnize it in the place
appointed by Authority for publique Worship, before a competent
number of credible witnesses, at some convenient hour of the day,
at any time of the year, except on a day of publique Humiliation.
And we advise that it be not on the Lords day.
And because all Relations are sanctified by the Word and
Prayer, the Minister is to pray for a blessing upon them to this
Acknowledging our sins, whereby we have made our selves
less then the least of all the mercies of God, and provok'd him to
imbitter all our comforts, earnestly in the name of Christ to
intreat the Lord (whose presence and favour is the happiness of
every condition, and sweetens every Relation) to be their Portion,
and to own and accept them in Christ, who are now to be joyned
in the Honourable estate of Marriage, the Covenant of their God:
And that as he hath brought them together by his Providence,
he would sanctifie 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,
undergo 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 Conjugal
duties which in all faithfulness they are to perform each to other,
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, sanctifying Gods name in a thankfull, sober, 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 of
the Grace of life.
After solemn charging of the persons to be married, before the
great God, who searcheth all hearts, and to whom they must
give a strict account at the last Day, that if either of them know
any cause, by præcontract or otherwise, why they may not
lawfully proceed to marriage, that they now discover it: The
Minister (if no impediment be acknowledged) shall cause, first,
the Man to take the woman by the right hand, saying these
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 faithfull Husband unto thee, untill
God shall separate us by death.
Then the Woman shall take the Man by his right hand, and
say these words,
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 loving, faithfull, and obedient Wife unto thee,
untill 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, according to Gods Ordinance; and so conclude
the action with Prayer to this effect;
That the Lord would be pleased to accompany his own
Ordinance with his blessing, beseeching him to enrich the
persons now 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 Jesus.
A Register is to be carefully kept, wherein the names of
the parties so married, with the time of their marriage, are
forthwith to be fairly Recorded in a Book provided for that
purpose, for the perusal of all whom it may concern.
Concerning Visitation of the Sick.
Visitation of the Sick.
It is the duty of the Minister, not onely to teach the
People committed to his charge, in publique, but privately,
and particularly to admonish, exhort, reprove, and comfort
them, upon all seasonable occasions, so far as his time, strength,
and personable 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 Minister about the estate of their souls: and in times
of sickness to desire his advice and help timely and seasonably,
before their strength and understanding fail them.
Times of sickness and affliction are special opportunities
put into his hand by God, to minister a word in season to
weary souls: because then the consciences of men are, or
should be more awakened to bethink themselves of their
Spiritual estates for Eternity, and Satan also takes advantage
then, to load them more with sore 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 soul, to this effect.
He may, from the consideration of the present sickness,
instruct him out of Scripture, that diseases come not by
chance, or by distempers of body onely, but by the wise and
orderly guidance of the good hand of God to every particular
person smitten by them. And that whether it be laid upon him
out of displeasure for sin, for his correction and amendment, or
for trial and exercise of his graces, or for other special and
excellent ends, all his sufferings shall turn to his profit, and work
together for his good, if he sincerely labour to make a sanctified
use of Gods visitation, neither despising his chastening, nor
waxing weary of his correction,
If he suspect him of ignorance, he shall examine him in the
principles of Religion, especially touching Repentance and Faith;
and, as he seeth cause, instruct him in the nature, use,
excellency, and necessity of those graces; as also touching the
Covenant of Grace, and Christ the Son of God, the Mediatour of
it, and concerning Remission of sins by Faith in him.
He shall exhort the sick person to examine himself, to search
and try his former ways, and his estate towards God.
And if the sick person shall declare any scruple, doubt or
temptation, that are upon him, instructions and resolutions shall
be given to satisfie 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 sins, of the guilt and
desert of them, of the filth and pollution, which the soul 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 withall to make known the danger of deferring Repentance,
and of neglecting Salvation at any time offered, to awaken his
Conscience, and rowze him out of a stupid and secure condition
to apprehend the Justice and wrath of God, before whom none
can stand, but he that being lost in himself, layeth hold upon
Christ by Faith.
If he have endeavoured to walk in the wayes of holiness, and
to serve God in uprightness, although not without many failings
and infirmities; or if his spirit be broken with the sense of sin,
or cast down through want of the sense of Gods favour; then it
will be fit to raise him up by setting before him the freeness and
fulness of Gods grace, the sufficiency of Righteousness in Christ,
the gracious offers in the Gospel, that all who repent and believe
with all their heart in Gods mercy through Christ, renouncing
their own Righteousness, shall have life and salvation in him.
It may be also useful to shew him, that death hath in it no
Spiritual evil to be feared by those that are in Christ, because
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 entred
into glory, to prepare a place for his people: So that neither life
nor death shall be able to separate them from Gods love in
Christ, in whom such are sure, though now they must be laid in
the dust, to obtain a joyful and glorious Resurrection to eternal
Advice also may be given, as to beware of an ill grounded
perswasion on mercy, or on the goodness of his condition for
heaven, so to disclaim all merit in himself, and to cast himself
wholly upon God for mercy in the sole 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 sick person 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 seasonable 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 necessary offices about him least hindred, the Minister,
if desired, shall pray with him, and for him to this effect,
Confessing and bewailing of sin Original and Actual, the
miserable condition of all by nature, as being Children of Wrath
and under the Curse, acknowledging that all Diseases, Sicknesses,
Death, and Hell it self are the proper issues and effects thereof:
Imploring Gods mercy for the sick person through the bloud of
Christ, beseeching that God would open his eyes, discover unto
him his sins, cause him to see himself lost in himself, make
known to him the cause why God smiteth him, reveal Jesus
Christ to his soul 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 temptations, to take off his heart from the world, to
sanctifie his present Visitation, to furnish him with patience and
strength to bear it, and to give him perseverance in Faith to the
That if God shall please to add to his dayes, he would
vouchsafe to bless and sanctifie all meanes 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 glorifie
God in the remaining part of his life.
And if God have determined to finish his dayes by the present
Visitation, he may finde 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 cast himself
wholly upon Christ, without doubting, desire to be dissolved and
to be with Christ, and so receive the end of his Faith, the
Salvation of his Soul, through the onely merits and intercession
of the Lord Jesus Christ, our alone Saviour and All-sufficient
The Minister shall admonish him also (as there shall be cause)
to set his house in order, thereby to prevent inconveniences, to
take care for the payment of his debts, and to make restitution
or satisfaction 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
mortality, to return to the Lord and make Peace with him; in
health to prepare for sickness, death, and judgement, and all the
dayes of their appointed time so to wait until their change come;
that when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, they may appear
with him in glory.
Concerning Burial of the Dead.
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 Publique Burial, and there immediately
interred without any Ceremonv.
And because the customes 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 grosly abused, are no way
beneficial to the dead, and have proved many wayes 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 publique 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
differences at the Burial, suitable to the rank and condition of
the party deceased whiles he was living.
Concerning Publique Solemn Fasting.
When some great and notable Judgements are either inflicted
upon a People, or apparently imminent, or by some extraordinary
provocations notoriously deserved; as also, when some special
blessing is to be sought and obtained, Publique solemn Fasting
(which is to continue the whole Day) is a Duty that God
expecteth from that Nation, or People.
A Religious Fast requires total abstinence, not onely 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, (although at other times lawfull) rich apparel,
ornaments and such like, during the Fast; and much more, from
what ever is, in the nature or use, scandalous and offensive; as,
garish attire, lascivious habits and gestures, and other vanities of
either sex, which we recommend to all Ministers in their places,
diligently and zealously to reprove, as at other times, so
especially at a Fast. without respect of persons as there shall be
Before the publique meeting, each Family and Person apart,
are privately to use all Religious care to prepare their hearts to
such a solemn work; and to be early at the Congregation.
So large a portion of the Day, as conveniently may be, is to be
spent in Publique Reading and Preaching of the Word, with
singing of Psalms fit to quicken affections suitable to such a
Duty; but especially in Prayer, to this or the like effect:
Giving Glory to the Great Majesty of God, the Creator,
Preserver, and Supream 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 mercies, especially
to the Church and Nation, the more effectually to soften, and
abase our hearts before him. Humbly confessing of sins of all
sorts, with their several aggravations: Justifying Gods righteous
Judgements, as being far less then our sins do deserve; yet
humbly and earnestly imploring his mercy and grace for our
selves, the Church, and Nation, 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 inlargement then at other times. Applying by
faith the Promises and Goodness of God, for Pardon, help and
deliverance from the evils felt, feared, or deserved, and for
obtaining the blessings which we need and expect; together with
a giving up of our selves wholly and for ever unto the Lord.
In all these, the Ministers, who are the mouths of the people
unto God, ought so to speak from their hearts upon serious and
through premeditation of them, that both themselves and their
people may be much affected, and even melted thereby;
especially with sorrow for their sins, that it may be indeed a Day
of deep humiliation and afflicting of the soul.
Special choise is to 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 dispose
them to humiliation and repentance; insisting most on those
particulars, which each Ministers observation and experience tels
him are most conducing to the edification, and reformation of
that Congregation to which he preacheth.
Before the close of the publique Duties, the Minister is in his
own, and the Peoples names, to engage his and their hearts to be
the Lords, with professed purpose and resolution to Reform what
ever is amiss among them, and more particularly such sins as
they have been more remarkably guilty of; and, to draw nearer
unto God, and to walk more closely and faithfully with him in
new obedience, then ever before.
He is also to admonish the people with all importunity, that
the work of that day doth not end with the Publique duties of it,
but that they are so to improve the remainder of the day, and
of their whole life, in re-inforcing upon themselves and their
families in private, all those godly affections and resolutions
which they professed in publique, as that they maybe setled in
their hearts for ever, and themselves may more sensibly finde that
God hath smelt a sweet savour in Christ from their performances,
and is pacified towards them, by answers of Grace, in pardoning
of sin, in removing of judgements, in averting or preventing of
Plagues, and in conferring of blessings suitable to the conditions
and prayers of his people, by Jesus Christ.
Beside solemn and general Fasts injoyned by Authority, we
judge, that at other times, Congregation may keep dayes of
Fasting, as Divine Providence shall administer unto them special
occasions. And also that Families may do the same, so it be not
on dayes wherein the Congregation to which they do belong, is to
meet for fasting, or other publique duties of Worship.
Concerning the observation of Dayes 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 convenient time before, that the
people may the better prepare themselves thereunto.
The Day being come, and the Congregation (after private
preparations) being assembled, the Minister is to begin with a
word of exhortation to stir up the people to the Duty for which
they are met, and with a short Prayer for Gods assistance and
blessing (as at other Conventions for publique 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
assembling of the Congregation, that all may better understand
it, or be minded of it, and more affected with it.
And because singing of Psalms is of all other the most proper
Ordinance for expressing of Joy and Thanksgiving, let some
pertinent Psalm or Psalms be sung for that purpose, before or
after the reading of some portion of the Word suitable to the
Then let the Minister who is to preach, proceed to further
Exhortation and Prayer before his Sermon, with special
reference to the present work: after which let him preach upon
some Text of Scripture pertinent to the occasion.
The Sermon ended let him not onely 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 inlarge himself in due and solemn Thankesgiving for
former mercies and deliverances, but more especially for that
which at the present calls them together to give Thanks: with
humble Petition for the continuance and renewing of Gods
wonted mercies, as need shall be, and for sanctifying grace to
make a right use thereof. And so, having sung another Psalm
suitable to the mercy, let him dismiss the Congregation with a
blessing, that they may have some convenient time for their
repast and refreshing.
But the Minister (before their dismission) is solemnly to
admonish them to beware of all excess and riot, tending to
gluttony or drunkenness, and much more of these sins themselves,
in their eating and refreshing, and to take care that their mirth
and rejoycing be not carnal, but spiritual, which may make Gods
praise to be glorious, and themselves humble and sober; and
that both their feeding and rejoycing may render them more
cheerful and inlarged 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 assembled, the like
course in praying. reading, preaching, singing of Psalms, and
offering up of more praise and thanksgiving, that is before
directed for the morning, is to be renewed and continued so far
as the time will give leave.
At one or both of the publick meetings that day, a Collection
is to be made for the poor (and in the like manner upon the
day of publick Humiliation) that their loynes may bless us, and
rejoyce 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 rejoycing more and more in the
Lord; as becometh those who make the joy of the Lord their
Of Singing of Psalmes.
It is the duty of Christians to praise God publiquely by singing of Psalmes together in the Congregation, and also privately
in the Family.
In singing 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 joyn herein, every one that
can read is to have a Psalm-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 other Ruling Officers, do read the Psalm line by
line, before the singing thereof.
An Appendix touching Dayes and Places for
Days and Places for Public Worship.
There is no Day commanded in Scripture to be kept holy under
the Gospel, but the Lords Day, which is the Christian Sabbath.
Festival dayes, vulgarly called Holy dayes, having no Warrant
in the Word of God, are not to be continued.
Nevertheless, it is lawful and necessary upon special emergent
occasions, to separate a day or days for Publique Fasting or Thanksgiving, as the several eminent and extraordinary dispensations
of Gods Providence shal administer cause & opportunity to
As no place is capable of any holiness under pretence of
whatsoever Dedication or Consecration, so neither is it subject
to such pollution by any superstition formerly used and now
laid aside, as may render it unlawfull or inconvenient for
Christians to meet together therein for the publique worship of
God. And therefore we hold it requisite that the places of
publique assembling for worship among us should be continued
and imployed to that use.