« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
be lawful on other days; and also, as much as possible, from worldly thoughts and conversation.
III. Let the provisions for the support of the family on that day, be so ordered, that servants or others be not improperly detained from the public worship of God; nor hindered from sanctifying the Sabbath.
IV. Let every person and family, in the morning, by secret and private prayer, for themselves and others, especially for the assistance of God to their minister, and for a blessing upon his ministry, by reading the Scriptures, and by holy meditation, prepare for communion with God in his public ordinances.
V. Let the people be careful to assemble at the appointed time; that, being all present at the beginning, they may unite, with one heart, in all the parts of public worship: and let none unnecessarily depart, till after the blessing be pronounced.
VI. Let the time after the solemn services of the congregation in public are over, be spent in reading, meditation, repeating of sermons, catechizing, religious conversation, prayer for a blessing upon the public ordinances, the singing of psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs;— visiting the sick, relieving the poor, and in performing such like duties of piety, charity, and mercy.
OF THE ASSEMBLING OF THE CONGREGATION, AND THEIR BEHAVIOUR DURING DIVINE SERVICE.
I. WHEN the time appointed for public worship is come, let the people enter the church, and take their seats in a decent, grave, and
II. In time of public worship, let all the people attend with gravity and reverence; forbearing to read any thing, except what the minister is then reading or citing; abstaining from all whisperings, from salutations of persons present, or coming in; and from gazing about, sleeping, smiling, and all other indecent behaviour.
OF THE PUBLIC READING OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
I. THE reading of the Holy Scriptures, in the congegation, is a part of the public wor ship of God, and ought to be performed by the ministers and teachers.
II. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, shall be publicly read, from the most approved translation, in the vulgar tongue, that all may hear and understand.
III. How large a portion shall be read at
once, is left to the discretion of every minister: however, in each service, he ought to read, at least, one chapter; and more, when the chap ters are short, or the connection requires it. He may, when he thinks it expedient, expound any part of what is read: always having regard to the time, that neither reading, singing, praying, preaching, or any other ordinance, be disproportionate the one to the other; nor the whole rendered too short, or too tedious.
OF THE SINGING OF PSALMS.
I. IT is the duty of Christians to praise God, by singing psalms, or hymns, publicly in the church, as also privately in the family.
II. In singing the praises of God, we are to sing with the spirit, and with the understanding also; making melody in our hearts unto the Lord. It is also proper, that we cultivate some knowledge of the rules of music; that we may praise God in a becoming manner with our voices, as well as with our hearts.
III. The whole congregation should be furnished with books, and ought to join in this part of worship. It is proper to sing without parcelling out the psalm, line by line. The practice of reading the psalm, line by line, was introduced in times of ignorance, when many
in the congregation could not read: therefore, it is recommended, that it be laid aside, as far as convenient.
IV. The proportion of the time of public worship to be spent in singing, is left to the prudence of every minister: but it is recommended, that more time be allowed for this excellent part of divine service than has been usual in most of our churches.
OF PUBLIC PRAYER.
I. IT seems very proper to begin the public worship of the sanctuary by a short prayer; humbly adoring the infinite majesty of the living God; expressing a sense of our distance from him as creatures, and unworthiness as sinners; and humbly imploring his gracious presence, the assistance of his Holy Spirit in the duties of his worship, and his acceptance of us through the merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
II. Then, after singing a psalm, or hymn, it is proper that, before sermon, there should be a full and comprehensive prayer: First, Adoring the glory and perfections of God, as they are made known to us in the works of creation, in the conduct of providence, and in the clear and full revelation he hath made of himself in his written word: Second, Giving
thanks to him for all his mercies of every kind, general and particular, spiritual and temporal, common and special; above all, for Christ Jesus, his unspeakable gift, and the hope of eternal life through him: Third, Making humble confession of sin, both original and actual; acknowledging, and endeavouring to impress the mind of every worshipper, with a deep sense of the evil of all sin, as such; as being a departure from the living God; and also taking a particular and affecting view of the various fruits which proceed from this root of bitterness:as sins against God, our neighbour and ourselves; sins in thought, in word, and in deed; sins secret and presumptuous; sins accidental and habitual. Also, the aggravations of sin, arising from knowledge, or the means of it; from distinguishing mercies; from valuable privileges; from breach of vows, &c.: Fourth, Making earnest supplication for the pardon of sin, and peace with God, through the blood of the atonement, with all its important and happy fruits; for the Spirit of sanctification, and abundant supplies of the grace that is necessary to the discharge of our duty; for support and comfort, under all the trials to which we are liable, as we are sinful and mortal; and for all temporal mercies that may be necessary, in our passage through this valley of tears: always remembering to view them as flowing in the channel of covenant love, and intended to be subservient to the preservation and progress of