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kirk, with commission to treat of uniformity in the four particulars afore-mentioned, with such committees as should be appointed by -both houses of Parliament of England, and by the assembly of divines fitting at Westminster ; And besides all this, it being, in point of conscience, the chief motive and end of our adventuring upon manifold and great hazards, for quenching the devouring flame of the present unatural and bloody war in England, tho’ to the
weakning of this kingdom within itself, and the advantage of the enemy which hath invaded it, accounting nothing too dear to us, so that this our joy be fulfilled. And now this great work being so far advanced, that a directory for the public worship of God in all the three kingdoms, being agreed upon by the honourable houses of the Parliament of England after consultation with the divines of both kingdoms there assembled, and sent to us for our approbation, that, being also agreed upon by this kirk and kingdom of Scotland, it may be in the name of both kingdoms presented to the king, for his royal consent and ratification; The general assembly having most seriously considered, reviled, and examined the directory afore-mentioned, after several public readings of it, after much deliberation, both publicly and in private committees, after full liberty given to all to object against it, and earnest invitations of all who have any fcruples about it, to make known the fame that they might be satisfied,doth unanimously, and without a contrary voice, agree to, and approve the following directory, in all the heads thereof, together with the preface, set before it: And doth require, decern and ordain, That according to the plain tenor, and meaning thereof, and the intent of the preface, it be carefully and uniformly observed and practised by all the ministers and others within this kingdom, whom it doth concern; which practice shall be begun, upon intimation given to the several presbyteries, from the commissioners of this general assembly, who shall also take fpecial care for the timeous printing of this directory,that a printed copy of it be provided and kept for the use of every kirk in this kingdom; Also, that each presbytery have a printed copy thereof for their use, and take special notice of the observation or neglect thereof in every congregation within their bounds, and make known the same to the provincial or general assembly, as there thall be cause. Provided al. ways, that the clause in the directory, of the administration of the LORD's fupper, which mentioneth the communicants sitting about the table, or at it, be not interpreted, as if, in the judgment of this kirk, it were indifferent, and free for any of the communicants, not to come to, and receive at the table, or as if we did approve the distributing of theelements by the minister to each communicant,and not by the communicants among themselves. It is also provided, That this shall be no prejudice to the order and practice or this kirk, in such particulars as are appointed by the books of discipline, and acts of general assemblies, and are not otherwise ordered and appointed in the directory.
Finally, The aflembly doth, with much joy and thankfulness, acknowledge the rich blessing and invaluable mercy of God, in bringing the lo much wilhed-for uniformity in religion to such a happy period, that these kingdoms, once at to great a distance in the form of worThip, are now by the blessing of God brought to a nearer uniformity then any other reformed kirks; which is unto us the return of our prayers, and a lightning of our eyes and reviving of our hearts in Gg 4
the midst of our many forrows and fufferings; a taking away, in a great measure, the reproach of the people of God, to the stopping of the mouths of malignant and disaffected persons; and an opening unto us a door of hope, that God hath yet thoughts of peace towards us, and not of evil, to give us an expected end in the expectation and confidence whereof we do rejoice; beleeching the Lord to preserve these kingdoms from heresies, Schisins, offences, profạneness, and whatsoever is contrary to found doctrine and the power of Godliness: and to continue with us and the generations following these his pure and purged ordinances, together with an increase of the power and life thereof, to the glory of his great name, the enlargment of the kingdom of his Son, the corroboration of peace and love between the kingdoms, the unity and comfort of all his people, and our edifying one antoher in love.
The CON TEN TS,
Of the assembly of the Congregation of Publick reading of the holy Scripture. of Publick frayer before the sermon. Of preaching of the word. Of prayer after
sermon. Of the Sacrament of baptism, of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Of the fanétifiation of the Lord's day. Of the
folemnization of marriage. Of the visitation of the sick. Of burial of the dead. Ofpublic folemn. fasting. of the observation of days of public thanksgiving: of singing of psalms. An Appendix touching days and places of publick Worship,
PUBLICK WORSHIP OF GOD. Agreed upon by the assembly of DIVINES at Westminister; examined and approved, Anno 1645, by the GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the CHURCH of SCOTLAND; and ratified by act of parliament the same Year.
The PREFACE: N the begining of the blessed reformation, our wife
and pious ancestors 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, and in the public worship of God. This occa: fioned many Godly and learned men to rejoice much in the book of common prayer, at that time fet forth; because the mass and the rest of the Latin service being removed, the public worship was celebrated in our own tongue, many of the common people also received benefit by hearing the Scriptures read in their own language, which formerly were unto them as a book that is sealed.
Howbeit, long and fad experience hath made it manifest that the liturgy used in the church of England (notwithstanding all the pains and religious intentions of the compilers of it,) hath proved an offence, not only 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 burdensom ceremonies contained in it, have oc: cafioned much mischief, as well by disquieting the conscience
of many Godly ministers and people, who could not yield unto them, as by depriving them of the ordinances of God, which they might not enjoy without conforming or subscribing to those ceremonies. Sundry good Christians have been, by means thereof,kept from the Lord's table; and divers able and faithful ministers, debarred from the exercise of their ministry (to the endangering ofmany thousands fouls, in a time of such scarcity of faithful 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 if they were no other worship, or way of worship of GOD, amongst us but only the servicebook ; to the great hindrance of the preaching of the word, and (in fome places,especially of late to the juftling of it out, as unnecessary; or, (ar belt) as far inferior to the reading of common-prayer, which was made no better than an idol by many ignorant and fuperftitious people, who pleasing themselves in these presence at that service, and their lip labour in bearing a part in it, have thereby hardned themselves in their ignorance and carlesness of saving knowledge and true piety.
In the mean time, 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, than endeavouring the reformation of themselves: In which expectation they were of late very much encouraged, when, upon the pretended warantableness, of imposing of the former ceremonies, new ones were daily obtruded upon the church.
Add hereunto (which was not forefeen, but since hath come to pass) that the liturgy hath been a great means, as on the one hand to make and increase an idle and unedifying minifry, which contented itself 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 faithful ministers, who have been perfecuted and filenced upon that occafion;and to others of hopeful parts, many of which have been, and more ftill would be, deverted from all thoughts of the ministry to other studies ; especially in these latter times, wherein God vouchfafeth to his people more and better means for the discovery of error 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 Confiderations, 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 difparage our first reformers (of whom we are perswaded,that, were they now alive, they would join 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 gra. cious providence of God, which at this time calleth
upon us for further reformation,and may satisfy our own consciences, and answer the expectation of their reformed churches, and the desires of many of the godly among ourselves, and withal give some public testimony of our endeavours, for uniformity in divine worship, which we have promised in our foiemn league and covenant; We have, after earnest and frequent calling upon the name of God, and after mych con: sultation, 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 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 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 minifters may be hereby directed in their administrations to keep like foundness in doctrine and prayer, and may, if need be, have some help and furniture, and yet so as they become not hereby Nothful and negligent in stirring up the gifts of Chrst