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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 of many 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 some places,especially of late ) to the justling of it out, as unnecessary; or, (ar best) as far inferior to the reading of common-prayer, which was made no better than an idol by many ignorant and superstitious 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 foreseen,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 miniftry,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, a snare both to many godly and faithful ministers, who have been perfecuted and silenced upon that occasion;and to others of hopeful parts, many of which have been, and more ftill
us for further reformation and may satisfy our own consci
would be, deverted from all thoughts of the ministry to other
safeth to his people more and better means for the discovery beet, of error and superstition, and for attaining of knowledge in able the mysteries of godliness, and gifts in preaching and prayer. -heir
Upon these, and many the like weighty Considerations, in
reference to the whole book in general, and because of divers tár particulars contained in it; not from any love to novelty,
or intention to disparage our first reformers (of whom we
cious providence of God, which at this time calleth upon plé,
ences, and answer the expectation of their reformed churches,
Wherein our care hath been, to hold forth fuch things as
in them ; but that each one, by meditation, by taking heed to himself and the flock of God committed to him, and by wise observing the ways of divine providence, may be careful to furnish his heart and tongue with further or other materials of prayer and exhortation, as shall be needful upon all occasions.
Of the assembling of the congregation, and their
behaviour in the public worship of God.
ZHEN the congregation is to meet for public worship,
the people having before prepared their hearts thereunto) ought all to come, and join therein; not abfenting themselves from the public ordinances thro' negligence, or upon pretence of private meetings.
Let all enter the assembly, not irreverently,but in a grave and feemly manner, taking their seats or places without adoration, or bowing themselves towards one place or other.
The congregation being assembled, the minister after folemn 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 s to be read: And all in the name and meditation of the Lord Jesus Chrift.'
The public worship being begun, the people are wholly to attend upon it, forbearing to read any thing, except what the minister is then reading or citing; and abstaining much more from all private whisperings, conferences, salutations, or doing reverance to any person present, or coming in; as also from all gazing, sleeping, and other undecent behaviour, which may disturb the minister or people, or hinder themfelves 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 compofe themselves to join with the assembly,in that ordinance of God which is then in hand.
Of public reading of the holy Scriptures.'
the public worship of God, (wherein we acknowledge our dependence upon him, and subjection to him) and one means fanctified by him for the edifying of his people, is to be performed by the pastors and teachers.
Howbeit, such as intend the ministry, may occasionaly both read the word, and exercise their gift in preaching in the congregation ; if allowed by the presbytery thereunto.
All the canonical books of the Old and New Testament (but none of those which are commonly called Apocrypha) shall be publicly read in the vulgar tongue, out of the best allowed translatiori, distinctly, that all may hear and understand.
How large a portiori shall be read at once, is left to the wisdom of the minister ; but is convenient, that ordinarily one chapter of each testament be read at every meeting, and fome times more, where the chapters be short, or the cohefence of Matter requireth it.
It is requisite that all the canonical books be read over in order, that the people may be better acquainted with the whole body of the Seriptures; and ordinarily, where the reading in either testament endeth on one Lord's day, it is to begin in the next.
We commend also the more frequent reading of such Scriputres,as he that readeth fhall think beft for edification of his hearers, as the book of Psalms, and such like.
When the minister, who readeth, shall judge it neceffary to expound any part of what is read, let it not be done, until the whole chapter or psalm be ended ; and regard is always to be had unto the time, that neither preaching, nor other ordinance, be straitned, or rendred tedious. Which rule is to be observed in all other public performances.
Befide public Reading of the holy Scriptures, every perfon that can read; is to be exhorted to read the Scriptures
privately, (and all others that cannot read, if not disabled by age, or otherwise, are likewise to be exhorted to learn to read) and to have a Bible.
Of publick prayer before the sermon.
the minister who is to preach, is to endeavour to get his own and his hearers hearts to be rightly affected with their fins, 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 fin, with shame and holy confusion of face, and to call upon Lord to this effect;
< To acknowledge our great sinfulness, First, By reason of original fin, which (beside the guilt that makes us liable to everlasting damnation) is the feed of all other fins, hath
depraved and poisoned all the faculties and powers of foul " and body, doth defile our best actions, and (were it not
restrained, or our hearts renewed by grace) would break “.forth into innumerable transgressions, and greatest rebelli
ons against the Lord, that ever were committed by the vileft of the fons of men. And, Next, By reason of actual fins, our own fins, the sins of magistrates, of ministers, and of
the whole nation, unto which we are many ways accessory: • Which fins of ours receive many fearful aggravations, • we have broken all the commandments of the holy, just • and good law of God, doing that which is forbidden, • and leaving undone what is injoined ; and that not only - out of ignorance and infirmity,butalso more presumptuous
ly, against the light of our minds, checks of our consci
ences, and motions of his own holy spirit to the contrary, • so that we have no cloke for our síns; yea, not only de• spising the riches of God's goodness, forbearance, and
tong suffering, but standing out against may 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 mind, hardness of heart, ‘unbeliet, impenitency, security, lukewarmness, barren. nefs; our not endeavouring after mortification and newness