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The solemnization of marriage.
Lthough marriage be no facrament, por peculiar to the
church of God, but common to mankind, and of public 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 entering into such a new condition; and of the blessing of God upon them therein; we judge it expedient, that marriage be solemnized by a lawful minister of the word, that he may accordingly counsel them, and pray for a bleffing upon thein,
Marriage is to be betwixt one man and one woman only:
Before the folemnizing of marriage between any person,
Before that publication of such their purpose (if the parties
The like is to be observed in the proceedings of all others,
Parents ought not to force their children to marry with
published, the marrige is not to be long deferred. Therefore the minister, having had convenient warning, and nothing been objected to hinder it, is publicly to folemnize it in the place appointed by authority for public 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 public humiliation. And we advise that it be not on the Lord's day. · And, because all relations are fanctified by the word and prayer, the minister is to pray for a blessing upon them, to this effect; * Acknowledging our sins, whereby we have made ourfelves less than the least of all the mercies of God, and provoked him to imbitter all our comforts; earnestly, in the name of Christ, to intreat the Lord (whose presence and favour is the happinels of every condition, and sweetens e-
very relation) to be their portion, and to own and accept “them in Christ, who are now to be joined in the honour
able estate of marriage, the covenant of their God: And
that, as he hath brought them together by his providence, • he would sanctify them by his fpirit, 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 temp
tations which accompany that condition,as becometh Chri« ftians.'
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 per
form each to other; exhorting them to study the holy word 6 of God, that they may learn to live by faith, and to be
content in the midst of all marriage-cares and troubles, · fanctifying God's name, in a thankful, fober, 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
ent of the
of them know any cause, by precontract, or otherwise, why
1. N. do take thee N. to be my married, wife and do, in the "presence of God, and before this congregation, promise and cowenant to be a loving and faithful husband unto thee, until God shall
seperate us by death.
Then the woman fhall take the man by the right hand, and say there words:
I: N. do take thée N. to be niy married husband, and I do, in the presence of God, and before this congregation, promise and covenant to be a loving, faithful and obedient wife unto thee, until God shall seperate ús by deatb.
Then without any further ceremony, the minister fhall, in the face of the congregation, pronounce them to be husband and wife, according to God's ordinance; and to conclude the action with prayer to this effect;
(That the Lord would be pleased to accompany his own 6 ordinance with his blessing, beseeching him to enrich the
persons now married, as with other pledges of Lis love, < fo 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 thaç purpose, for the perusal of all whom it may concern. Concerning visitation of the Siek.
** Vic T is the Duty of the minister, not only to teach the peo
ple committed to his charge in public; but privately and particularly to admonish, exhort, reprove, and comfort them, upon all seafonable occasions, lo far" as his time, strength, and his personal fafety will permit.
He is to admonish them, in time of health, to prepare for death; and, for that purpose, they are often to conter with their minister about the estate of their souls, and, in times of fickness, to desire his advice and help, timely and
seasonably,before their strength and understanding fail them.
Times of sickness and amiction are special opportunities put into his hand by God, to minister a word in reason to weary souls : Because then the consciences of men are, or hould be,more awakned to bethink themselves of their fpiritual estate for eternity; and Satan also takes advantage then, to load them more with fore 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 fome fpiritual 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 only, but by the wife and orderly guidance of the good hand of God, to every particul'ar person smitten by them. And that, whether it'be laid upon him out of displeasure for fin, for his correction and amendment, or for trial and exercise of his graces, or for ou ther 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 fanctified use of God's visitation, neither-defpising his chastning, 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 Mediator of it, and, concerning remiffion of fins by faith in him.
He shall exhort the fick person to examine himself to fearch and try his former ways, and his estate towards God.
And if the sick person fhall declare any scrouple, doubt or temptation that are upon him, instructions and resolutions Shall be given to satisfy and settle him,
If it appear that he hath not a due sense of his fins, en. deavours ought to be used to convince him of his fins, of the guilt and defert of thems of the filth and pollution, which the soul contracts by them; and of the curle of the law, and wrath of God, due to them; that he may be truly affected with, and humbled for them. And withal make known the danger of deferring repentance, and of neglecting fal. pation at any time offered; to awaken his conscience, and
touze him up out of a stupid & fecure condition,to apprehend the justice and wrath of God, before whom none can stand, but he that, loft in himself,layeth hold upon Christ by faith.
If he have endeavoured to walk in the ways of holiness, and to serve God in uprightness, altho', not without many Failings and infirmities; or if his fpirit be broken with the fenfe of fin, or cast down through want of the fenfe of God's favour - Thenrit will be fit to rise him up, by fetting before him the freeness and fulness of God's grace, the sufficiency of righteousness in Christ, the gracious offers in the gospel, that all who repeñt, and believe with all their heart in God's merey through Christ, renouncing their own righteousness shall have life and salvation in him: It may bę also useful to frew him, that death hath in it no fpiritual evil to be feared by those that are in Christ,because fin 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, fo that neither life nor death fhall be able to seperate them from God's 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 life.
Advice also may be given, as to beware of an ill-grounded perswafion on mercy, or on the goodness of his condition for heaven, fo to disclaim all merít in himfelf, and to caft himself wholly upon God for mercy, in the folé merits and mediation of Jefus Christ, who hath engaged himself never to cast of them, who in truth and sincerity come unto him. Care also must be taken, that the sick person be not cast down into dispair, by such a severe representation of the wrath God due to him for his sins, as is not mollified by a sensible 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 difturbed, and other necessary offices about him left hindred the minister, if desired, shall pray with him, and for him, to this effect.
Confeffing 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, sickness, death, and hell itself, are the proper