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that the understandings of the simpler may be the better en. abled to profit under the public ordinances, and they made more capable to understand the Scriptures, when they are read: together with godly conferences tending to the edification of all the members in the most holy faith : As also, Admonition and rebuke, upon just reasons, from those who have authority in the family.
III. As the charge and office of interpreting the holy Scriptures, is a part of the ministerial calling, which none (however otherwise qualified) 1hould take upon him in any place, but he that is duly called thereunto by God and his kirk; fo in every family, where there is any that can read, the holy Scriptures should be read ordinarily to the family; and it is commendable, that thereafter they confer, and by way of conference make some good use of what hath been read and heard : As for example, if any sin be reproved in the word read, use may be made thereof to make all the family circumspect and watchful against the fame : Or if any judgment be threatned, or mentioned to have been indicted in that portion of Scripture which is read, use may be made to make all the family fear, left the same or a worse judg. ment befal them, unless they beware of the sin that procured it. And finally, If any duty be required, or comfort held forth in a promise, use may be made to stir up themselves to employ Christ for strength to enable them for doing the com• manded duty, and to apply the offered comfort. In all which, the master of the family is to have the chief hand; and any member of the family may propone a question or doubt for resolution.
IV. The head of the family is to take care that none of the family withdraw himself from any part of family-worship And, seeing the ordinary performance of the parts of familyworship belongeth properly to the head of the family, the minister is to ftir up such as are lazy, and train up such as are weak, to a fitness for these exercises; it being always free to persons of quality, to entertain one approved by the presbytery for performing family-exercise. And in other families wbere the head of the family is unfit, that another constantly residing in the family, approved by the minister, and session, may be employed in that service; Wherein the minister and feffion are to be countable to the
presbytery. And if a minister by divine providence be brought to any family, it is requisites, that at no time he con. veen a part of the family for worship, secluding the rest, except in fingular cases, especially concerning these parties, which (in christian prudence) need not, or ought not, to be imparted to others.
V. Let no idler who hath no particular calling, or vagrant person under pretence of a calling, be suffered to perform worship in families, to, or for the fame; seeing persons tainted with errors, or aiming at a division, may be ready (after that manner) to creep into houses, and lead captive filly and unstable fouls.
VI. At family-worship, a special care is to be had, that each family keep by themselves : neither requiring, inviting, nor admitting persons from diverse families; unless it be those who are lodged with them, or at meal or other wise with them upon fome lawful occafion.
VII. -Whatsoever have been the effects and fruits of meetings of perfons of diverse families, in the times of cor. ruption or trouble in which cafes many things are com mendable, which otherwise are not tolerable) yet, when God hath blessed us with peace and purity of the gospel, fuch meetings of persons of divers families (except in cases mentioned in these directions) are to be disapproved, as tending to the hindrance of the religious exercise of each 'family by itself, to the prejudice of the public ministry, to the renting of the families of particular congregations, and (in progress of time) of the whole kirk:
Besides many offences which may come thereby, to the hardning of the hearts of carnal men, and grief of the godly.
VIII. On the Lord's day, after every one of the familly apart, and the whole family together, have fought the Lord (in whose hands the preparation of mens hearts are) to fit them for the public worship, and to bless to them the public ordinances; the master of the family ought to take care, that all within his charge repair to the public worship, that he and they may join with the rest of the congregation : and the public worship being finished, after prayer, he should take an account what they have heard; and chereafter, to spend the rest of the time, which they may spare, in catechiling, and in fpiritual conferences
upon the word of God: or else (going apart) thiey ought
IX. So many as can conceive prayer, ought to make use
(Let them confess to God how unworthy they are to come
in his presence, and how unfit to worship his majesty : and therefore earnestly ask of God the spirit of prayer.
They are to confess their fins, and the sins of the family accufing, judging and condemning themselves for them,till they bring their souls to some measure of true humiliati
"They are to pour out their souls to God, in the name of
ly; and that they may serve God with joy and delight,walk
They are to give thanks to God for his many mercies
They are to pray for such particular benefits, spiritual and temporal, as they stand in need of for the time (whe* •ther it be morning, or evening) as anent health or sickness, prosperity or adversity.
• They ought to pray for the kirk of Christ in general, for
and for all that suffer for the name of Christ; for all our
* dren; for the magistrates, ministers and whole body of
the congregation whereof they are members, as well for their neighbours absent in their lawful affairs, as for those
that are at home. - The prayer may be closed with an earnest desire that • God may be glorified in the coming of the kingdom of his ' fon, and in doing of his will, and with assurance that
themselves are accepted, and what they have alked accor'ding to his will shall be done.'
X. These exercises ought to be performed in great sincerio , ty, without delay, laying aside all exercises of worldly bu« siness, or hinderances, notwithstanding the mockings of atheists and profane men; in respect of the great mercies of God to this land, and of his severe corrections wherewith lately he hath exercised us. And, to this effect, persons of eminency (and all elders of the kirk) not only ought to stir up themselves and families to diligence herein: but also to concur effectually, that in all other families, here they have power and charge, the faid exercises be concionably performed.
Xi. Besides the ordinary duties in families, which are a. bove mentioned, extraordinary duties, both of humiliation and thanksgiving; are to be carefully performed in families, when the Lord by extraordinary occasions (private or public) calleth for them.
XII, Seeing the word God requíteth, that we should consider one another to provoke unto love and good works ; therefore, at all times, and specially in this time; wherein profanity abounds, and mockers, walking after their own fusts, think it strange that others run not with them to the fame excess of riot; every member of this kirk ought to ftir up themselves, and one another, to the duties of mutual edification, by instruction, admonition, rebuke; exhorting one another to manifeft the grace of God, in denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, and in living godly, soberly, and righteously in this present world :. by comforting the fee: ble-minded, and praying with or for one another: which duties respectively are to be performed upon special occasions offered by divine providence, as namely, when under any calamity, cross, or great difficulty, counsel or comfort is fought, or when an offender is to be reclaimed by private admonition,
and, if that be not effectual, by joining one or two more in
XIII. And, because it is not given to every one to speak a word in season to a wearied or distressed conscience it is expedient, that a perlon (in that case finding no ease) after the use of all ordinary means, private and public, have their address to their own pastor, or some experienced chriAian: but if the person, troubled in conscience, be of that condition, or of that sex, that discretion, modesty, or fear of scandal requireth a godly, grave and secret friend to be present with them in their faid address, it is expedient that fuch a friend be present,
XIV. When persons of diverse families are brought togee ther by divine providence, being abroad upon their particu
. lar vocations, or any necessary occasions; as they would have the Lord their God with them whithersoever they go, they ought to walk with God, and not neglect the duties of prayer and thanksgiving, but take care that the same be pera formed by such as the company fhalt judge fittest. And that they likewise take heed that no corrupt communication pro ceed out of their mouths, but that which is good, to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.
The drift and scope of all these directions is no other, but that upon the one part, the power and practice of godiinels amongst all the ministers and members of this kirk, accor. ding to their several places and vocations, may be cherished and advanced, and all impiety and mocking of religious exercises suppressed; and, upon the other part, that, under the name and pretext of religious exercises, no such meetings or practices be allowed, as are apt to breed error, scandal, fchifm, contempt, or mifregard of the public ordinances and ministers, or neglect of the duties of particular callings, or such other evils as are the works not of the spirit, but of the flesh, and are contrary to truth and peace: