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from their performances, and is pacified towards them, by answers of grace, in pardoning of sin, in removing of judgments, in averting or preventing of plagues, and in conferring of blessings, suitable to the conditions and prayers of his people by Jesus Christ.

Besides solemn and general fasts enjoined by authority, we judge, that at other times congregations may keep days of fasting, as Divine Providence shall administer unto them special occasions. And also, that families may do the same, so it be not on days wherein the congregation to which they do belong, is to meet for fasting, or other public duties of worship. Concerning the Observation of Days of Public Thanksgiving.

When any such day is to be kept, let notice be given of it, and of the occasion thereof, some convenient time before, that the people may the better prepare themselves thereunto.

The day being come, and the congregation (after private preparations) being assembled, the minister is to begin with a word of exhortation, to stir up the people to the duty for which they are met, and with a short prayer for God's assistance and blessing (as at other conventions for public worship), according to the particular occasion of their meeting

Let him then make some pithy narration of the deliverance obtained, or mercy received, or of whatever hath occasioned that assembling of the congregation, that all may better understand it, or be minded of it, and more affected with it.

And because singing of psalıns is of all other the most proper ordinance for expressing of joy and thanksgiving, let some pertinent psalm or psalms be sung for that purpose, before or after the reading of some portion of the word, suitable to the present business.

Then let the minister who is to preach, proceed to farther exhortation and prayer before his sermon, with special reference to the present work: after which, let him preach upon some text of Scripture pertinent to the occasion.

The sermon ended, let him not only pray, as at other time after preaching is directed, with remembrance of the necessities of the church, king, and state (if before the sermon they were omitted), but enlarge himself in due and solemn thanksgiving for former mercies and deliverances, but more especially for that which at the present calls them together to give thanks: with humble petition for the continuance and renewing of God's wonted mercies, as need shall be, and for sanctifying grace to make a right use thereof. And so, having sung another psalm suitable to the mercy, let him dismiss the congregation with a blessing, that they may

have some convenient time for their repast and refreshment.

But the minister (before their dismission) is solemnly to admonish them, to beware of all excess and riot, tending to gluttony or drunkenness, and much more of these sins themselves, in their eating and refreshing; and to take care that their mirth and rejoicing be not carnal, but spiritual, which may make God's praise to be glorious, and themselves humble and sober; and that both their feeding and rejoicing may render them more cheerful and enlarged, farther to celebrate his praises in the midst of the congregation, when they return unto it, in the remaining part of that day.

When the congregation shall be again assembled, the like course in praying, reading, preaching, singing of psalms, and offering up of more praise and thanksgiving, that is before directed for the morning, is to be renewed and continued so far as the time will give leave.

At one or both of the public meetings that day, a collection is to be made for the poor (and in the like manner upon the day of public humiliation), that their loins may bless us, and rejoice the more with us. And the people are to be exhorted, at the end of the latter meeting, to spend the residue of that day in holy duties, and testificat ons of Christian love and charity one towards another, and of rejoicing more and more in the Lord, as becometh those who make the joy of the Lord their strength.

Of Singing of Psalms. It is the duty of Christians to praise God publicly, by singing of psalıns together in the congregation, and also privately in the family.

In singing of psalms the voice is to be tunably and gravely ordered; but the chief must be, to sing with understanding, and with grace in the heart, making melody unto the Lord.

That the whole congregation may join herein, every one that can read is to bave a psalm-book ; and all others, not disabled by age, or otherwise, are to be exhorted to learn to read. But for the present, where many in the congregation cannot read, it is convenient that the minister, or some other fit person appointed by him, and the other ruling officers, do read the psalm line by line, before the singing thereof. An Appendix, touching Days and Places of public Worship.

There is no day commanded in Scripture to be kept holy under the gospel but the Lord's day, which is the Christian sabbath.

Festival days, vulgarly called holidays, having no warrant in the word of God, are not to be continued.

Nevertheless, it is lawful and necessary, upon special emergent occasions, to separate a day or days for public fasting or thanksgiving, as the several eminent and extraordinary dispensations of God's providence shall administer cause and opportunity to his people.

As no place is capable of any holiness, under pretence of whatsoever dedication or consecration; so neither is it subject to such pollution by any superstition formerly used, and now laid aside, as may render it unlawful or inconvenient for Christians to meet together therein for the public worship of God. And therefore we hold it requisite, that the places of public assembling for worship amongst us, should be continued, and employed to that use.



The preface.
Of the assembling of the congregation.
of public reading of the Holy Scripture.
Of public prayer before sermon.
Of preaching of the word.
Of prayer after the sermon.
of the sacrament of baptism.
Of the sacrament of the Lord's supper.
Of the sanctification of the Lord's day.
Of the solemnization of marriage.
Of Ibe visitation of the sick.
Of burial of the dead.
Of public solemn fasting.
Of The observation of days of public thanksgiving,
Of singing of psalms.
An Appendix, touching days and places of public worsbip.

No. IX.


Agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster;

examined and approved, Anno 1645, by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, &c.


Jesus Christ, upon whose shoulders the government is, whose name is called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace,* of the increase of whose government and peace there shall be no end, who sits upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice, from henceforth even for ever, having all power given unto him even in heaven and in earth by the Father, who raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand, far above all principalities, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all: he being ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things, received gifts for his church, and gave offices necessary for the edification of his church, and perfecting of his saints.

Of the Church. There is one general church visible held forth in the New Testament, 1 Cor. xii. 12, 13. 28, together with the rest of the chapter.

The ministry, oracles, and ordinances, of the New Testament, are given by Jesus Christ to the general church visible, for the gathering and perfecting of it in this life, until his second coming, 1 Cor. xii. 28. Eph. iv. 4, 5, compared with ver. 10-16, of the same chapter.

Particular visible churches, members of the general church, are also held forth in the New Testament, Gal. i. 21, 22, Rev. i. 4. 20, and Rev. ii. 1. Particular churches,

* Ina. Ix. 6,7.

in the primitive times, were made up of visible saints, viz. of such as, being of age, professed faith in Christ, and obes dience unto Christ, according to the rules of faith and life taught by Christ and his apostles; and of their children, Acts ii. 38. 41; and ver. last, compared with v. 14. 1 Cor. i. 2, compared with 2 Cor. ix. 13. Acts ii. 39. 1 Cor. vii. 14. Rom. ix. 16, and so forward; Mark x. 14, compared with Matt. xix. 13, 14. Luke xviii. 15, 16.*

Of the Officers of the Church. The officers which Christ hath appointed for the edification of his church, and the perfecting of the saints, are,

Some extraordinary, as apostles, evangelists, and prophets, which are ceased.

Others ordinary and perpetual, as pastors, teachers, and other church-governors, and deacons.

Pastors. The pastor is an ordinary and perpetual officer in the church. Jer. iii. 15–17; prophesying of the time of the gospel, 1 Pet. v. 2–4. Eph. iv. 11-13.

First, it belongs to his office,

To pray for and with his flock, as the mouth of the people unto God. Acts vi. 2-4. Acts xx. 36; where preaching and prayer are joined as several parts of the same office. James v. 14, 15. The office of the elder, that is, the pastor, is to pray for the sick, even in private, to which a blessing is especially promised: much more therefore ought he to perform this in the public execution of his office, as a part thereof. 1 Cor. xiv. 15, 16.

To read the Scripture publicly; for the proof of which,

1. That the priests and Levites in the Jewish church were trusted with the public reading of the word, as is proved, Deut. xxxi. 9-11. Neh, viii. 1,2, 13.

2. That the ministers of the gospel have as ample a charge and commission to dispense the word as well as other ordinances, as the priests and Levites had under the law, proved, Isa. Ixvi. 21, and Matt. xxiii. 34, where our Saviour entitleth the officers of the New Testament, whom he will send forth, by the same names as the teachers of the Old. Which propositions prove, that therefore (the duty being

, * Matt. xxviji. 18—20. Eph. i. 20—22, compared with iv. 8-11, and Psalm

Ixviii. 18.


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