« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
“ dient wife until you shall be separated by « death.”
The bride shall express her consent, by saying, “Yes, I do." Then the minister is to say,
“I pronounce you husband and wife, accord“ing to the ordinance of God; whom there6 fore God hath joined together let no man put "asunder."
After this the minister may exhort them in a few words, to the mutual discharge of their duty.
Then let him conclude with prayer suitable to the occasion.
Let the minister keep a proper register for the names of all persons whom he marries, and of the time of their marriage, for the perusal of all whom it may concern.
I. WHEN persons are sick, it is their duty, before their strength and understanding fail them, to send for their minister, and to make known to him, with prudence, their spiritual state; or to consult him on the concerns of their precious souls. And it is his duty to visit them, at their request, and to apply bimself, with all tenderness and love, to administer spiritual good to their immortal souls. II. He shall instruct the sick out of the scrip
tures, that diseases arise not out of the ground, nor do they come by chance; but that they are directed and sent by a wise and holy God, either for correction of sin, for the trial of grace, for improvement in religion, or for other important ends: and that they shall work together for good to all those who make a wise improvement of God's visitation, neither despising his chastening hand, nor fainting under his rebukes.
III. If the minister finds the sick person to be grossly ignorant, he shall instruct him in the nature of repentance and faith, and the way of acceptance with God, through the mediation and atonement of Jesus Christ.
IV. He shall exhort the sick to examine himself, to search his heart, and try his former ways, by the word of God; and shall assist him, by mentioning some of the obvious marks and evidences of sincere piety.
V. If the sick shall signify any scruple, doubt, or temptation, under which he labours, the minister must endeavour to resolve his doubts, and administer instruction and direction, as the case may seem to require.
VI. If the sick appear to be a stupid, thoughtless, and hardened sinner, he shall endeavour to awaken his mind; to arouse his conscience; to convince him of the evil and danger of sin; of the curse of the law, and the wrath of God due to sinners; to bring him to an humble and penitential sense of his iniquities; and to state before him the fulness of the grace and mercy
of God, in and through the glorious Redeemer; the absolute necessity of faith and repentance, in order to his being interested in the favour of God, or his obtaining everlasting happiness.
VII. If the sick person shall appear to have knowledge, to be of a tender conscience, and to have been endeavouring to serve God in uprightness, though not without many failings and sinful infirmities; or if his spirit be broken with a sense of sin, or through apprehensions of the want of the divine favour; then it will be proper to administer consolation and encouragement to him, by setting before him the freeness and riches of the grace of God, the allsufficiency of the righteousness of Christ, and the supporting promises of the Gospel.
VIII. The minister must endeavour to guard the sick person against ill-grounded persuasions of the mercy of God, without a vital union to Christ; and against unreasonable fears of death, and desponding discouragements; against presumption upon his own goodness and merit, upon the one hand, and against despair of the mercy and grace of God in Jesus Christ, on the other.
IX. In one word, it is the minister's duty to administer to the sick person instruction, conviction, support, consolation, or encouragement, as his case may seem to require.
At a proper time, when he is most composed, the minister shall pray with and for
X. Lastly, the minister may improve the present occasion to exhort those about the sick, to consider their mortality; to turn to the Lord and make their peace with him; in health to prepare for sickness, death and judg. ment.
OF THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD.
I. When any person departs this life, let the corpse be taken care of in a decent manner; and be kept a proper and sufficient time before interment.
II. When the season for the funeral comes, let the dead body be decently attended to the grave, and interred. During such solemn occasions, let all who attend conduct themselves with becoming gravity; and apply themselves to serious meditation or discourse : and the minister, if present, may exhort them to consider the frailty of life, and the importance of being prepared for death and eternity.
OF FASTING, AND OF THE OBSERVATION OF THE DAYS
I. THERE is no day under the gospel commanded to be kept holy, except the Lord's day, which is the Christian Sabbath.
II. Nevertheless, to observe days of fasting and thanksgiving, as the extraordinary dispensations of divine providence may direct, we judge both scriptural and rational.
III. Fasts and thanksgivings may be observed by individual Christians; or families, in private; by particular congregations; by a number of congregations contiguous to each other; by the congregations under the care of a presbytery, or of a synod; or by all the congregations of our church.
IV. It must be left to the judgment and discretion of every Christian and family to determine when it is proper to observe a private fast or thanksgiving; and to the church-sessions to determine for particular congregations, and to the presbyteries or synods to determine for larger districts. When it is deemed expedient that a fast or thanksgiving should be general, the call for them must be judged of by the synod or General Assembly. And if at any time the civil power should think it proper to appoint a fast or thanksgiving, it is the duty of the ministers and people of our communion, as we live under a Christian government, to pay all due respect to the same.
V. Public notice is to be given a convenient time before the day of fasting or thanksgiving comes, that persons may so order their temporal affairs, that they may properly attend to the duties thereof.
VI. There shall be public worship upon all