« PreviousContinue »
An ACT of the Pårliament of the kingdom of Seotland; approving and estk.
blishing the Directory for Public Worship.
At Edinburgh, Feb. 6. 1645.
HE Estates of Parliament now conveened, in the second Seffion
of this first triennial Parliament, by virtue of the last act of the last Parliament holden by his Majesty and the Three Estates, in anno 1641 ; after the public reading, and serious consideration of the act under written of the Geħeral Assembly; approving the following Directory for the public worship of God, in the three kingdoins, lately united by the Solemn League and Covenant, together with the ordinance of the Parliament of England establishing the faid Directory, and the Directory itself; do heartily and cheerfully agree to the said Directory, according to the act of the General Aflembly ap: proving the fame. Which act, together with the Directory itself
, the Estates of parliament do, without a contrary voice, ratify and ap, prove in all the heads and articles thereof; and do interpone and add the authority of parliament to the said act of the General Allembly. And do ordain the fame to have the strength and force of a law and act of parliament, and execution to pass thereupon, for obferv. ing the said Directory, according to the said act of the General Affembly in all points.
ALEX. GIBSON, Cler. Regiftri.
ASSEMBLY at Edinburgh, Feb. 3. 1645. Sell. 10. ACT of the General Asembly of the kirk of Scotland, for the establishing
and putting in execution of the Directory for the Public Worship of God. WH
HEREAS an happy unity, and uniforinity in religion amongf
the Kirks of Christ, in these three kingdoins, united under one Sovereign, having been long and earneitly wished for, by the godly and well-affected amongst us, was propounded as a main article of the large treaty, without which band and bulwark, no fafe, well-grounded, and lasting peace, could be expected; and afterward, with greater strength and maturity, revived in the Solemn League and Covenant of the three kingdoms; whereby they stand straitly obliged to endeavour the nearest uniformity in one form of Church-government, Directory of Worship, Confession of Faith, and form of Catechising: Which hath also before, and fince our entering into that Covenant, been the matter of many supplications and remonftráncès, and fending Commissioners to the King's Majesty, of declarations to the Hon.
Houses of the Parliament of Eng; land, and of letters to the Reverend Affembly of Divines, and others of the ministry of the Kirk of England; being also the end of our sending Commissioners, as was desired, from this Kirk, with commission to treat of uniformity in the four particulars afore-mentioned, with such committees as should be appointed by both Houses of Parliament of England, and by the Aflembly of Divines fitting at Westminster: And beside all this, it being, in point of conscience, the chief motive and end of our adventuring upon manifold and great hazards, for quenching the devouring flame of the present unnatural and bloody war in England, though to the weakening of this kingdom within itself, and the advantage of the enemy which have invaded it, accounting nothing too dear to us, so that this our joy be fulfilled. And now this great work being so far advanced, that a Directory for the Public Worship of God in all the three kingdoms, being agreed upon by the Honourable Houses of the Parliament of England, after consultation with the Divines of both kingdoms there assembled, and sent to us for our approbation, that, being also agreed upon by this Kırk and kingdom of Scotland, it may be in the naine of both kingdoms presented to the King, for his Royal consent and ratification: The General Affembly hay. ing most seriously considered, revised and examined the Directory afore-mentioned, after several public readings of it, after much deliberation, both publicly and in private committees, after full liberty given to all to object against it, and earnest invitations of all who have any scruples about it, to make known the fame, that they might be satisfied; doth unanimously, and without a contrary voice, agree to, and approve the following Directory, in all the heads thereof, together with the preface set before it: And doth require, decern and ordain, That according to the plain tenor and meaning thereof, and the intent of the preface, it be carefully and uniformly observed and practised by all the Ministers and óthers within this kingdom whom it doth concern;
practice shall be begun, upon intimation given to the several prefbyteries, from the Commissioners of this General Affembly, who shall also take special care for timeous printing of this Directory, that a printed copy of it be provided and kept for the use of every Kirk in this kingdom ; also, that each presbytery have a printed copy thereof for their use, and take fpecial notice of the observation or neglect thereof in every congregation within their bounds, and make known the fame to the provincial or General Allembly, as there shall be cause. Provided always, that the clause in the Directory, of the administration of the Lord's fupper, which mentioneth the communicants fitting about the table, or at it, be not interpreted, as if, in the judgment of this Kirk, it were indifferent, and free for any of the communicants not to come to, and receive at the table; or as if we did approve the distributing of the elements by the Minister to each communicant, and not by the communicants among themselves. It is also provided, that this shall be no prejudice to the order and practice of this Kirk, in such particulars as are appointed by the books of discipline, and acts of General Assemblies, and are not otherwise ordered and appointed in the Directory.
Finally, the Assembly doth, with much joy and thankfulness, aeknowledge the rich blessing and invaluable mercy of God, in bring. ing the so much wished for uniformity in religion to such a happy period, that these kingdoms, once at so great a distance in the form of worship, are now, by the blessing of God, brought to a nearer uniformity than any other reformed kirks; which is unto us the return of our prayers, and a lightening of our eyes, and a reviving of our hearts in the midst of our many forrows and sufferings ; a taking away, in a great measure, the reproach of the people of God, to the stopping of the mouths of malignant and difaffected persons; and an opening unto us a door of hope, that God hath yet thoughts of peace towards us, and not of evil, to give us an expected end; in the expectation and confidence whereof, we do rejoice ; beseeching the Lord to preserve these kingdoms from herefies, schisms, offences, profaneness, and whatsoever is contrary to found doctrine, and the power of godlinels; and to continue with us and the generations following, these his pure and purged ordinances, together with an increase of the power and life thereof, to the glory of his great Name, the enlargement of the kingdom of his Son,
the corroboration of peace and love between the kingdoms, the unity and comfort of all his people, and our edi. fying one another in love.
Τ Η Ε C Ο Ν Τ Ε Ν Τ S.
Τ Η Ε
PUBLIC WORSHIP OF GOD.
THE PRE FACE.
N the beginning of the blessed reformation, our wise and pious
ancestors took care to set forth an order for redress many things, which they then, by the word, discovered to be vain, erroneous, fuperftitious, and idolatrous, in the public worship of God. This occasioned many godly and learned men to rejoice much in the Book of Common Prayer, at that time set forth; because the mass, and the rest of the Latin fervice being removed, the public worship was celebrated in our own tongue: many of the common people also re-' ceived benefit by hearing the seriptures read in their own language, which formerly were unto them as a book that is sealed.
Howbeit, long and fad experience hath made it manifeft, that the liturgy used in the Church of England, (notwithstanding all the the pains and religious intentions of the compilers of it), hath proved an offence, not only to many of the godly at home, but also to the reformed Churches abroad. For, not to speak of urging the reading of all the prayers, which very greatly increased the burden of it, the many unprofitable and burdensome ceremonies contained in it, have occasioned much michief, as well by disquieting the consciences 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 diebarred from the exercise of their ministry, (to the endangering of many thousand fouls, in a time of such scarcity of faithful pastors), and spoiled of their livelihood, to the undoing of them and their fainilies. Prelates, and their fáction, have laboured to raise the estimation of it to fuch an height, as if there were no other worship, or way of worship of God, amongst us, but only the Service-book, to the great hinderance of tire preaching of the word, and (in some places
especially of late) to the juftling of it out, as uneceffary, or, at beft, as far inferior to the reading of common prayer, which was made no better than an idol by many ignorant and fuperftitious people, who, pleasing themselves in their presence at that service, and their liplabour in bearing a part in it, have thereby hardened themselves in their ignorance and carelellness of faving knowledge and true piety.
In the inean time, Papists beafted thet 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 thein, than endeavouring the reformation of themselves : in which expectation they were of late very much encouraged, when, upon the pretended warfantableness of imposing of the former cere. monies, 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 ministry, which contented itself with set forins made to their hands by others, without putting forth themselves to exercife the gift of prayer, with which our Lord Jesus Christ pleaseth to furnish all his servants whom he calls to that office: fo, on the other side, it hath been (and ever would be, if continued) a matter of endless strife and contention in the Church, and a fnare both to many godly and faithful Ministers, who have been persecuted and filenced upon that occafion, and to others of hopeful parts, many of which have been, and more ftill would be, diverted from all thoughts of the ministry to other studies; efpecially in these lattertimes, whereim God vonchlafeth to his people more and better means for the discovery of error and superstition, and for attaining of knowledge in the inysteries of godliness, and gifts in preaching and prayer.
Upon thefe, and many the like weighty confiderations in reference to the whole book in general, and because of divers particulars contained in it, not from any love to novelty, or intention to difparage our first reformers, (of whom we are perfuaded, that, were they now alive, they would join with us in this work, and whom we acknowledge as excellent instruments, raifed by God, to begin the purging and building of his house, and defire they may be had of us and
posterity in everlasting rememberance, with thankfulness and honour); but that we may, in some measure, anfwer the gracious providence of God, which at this time calleth upon us for further reformation, and may fatisfy our own consciences, and answer the expec. tation of other reformed Churches, and the desires of many of the godly among ourselves, and withal give some public testimony of our endeavours for uniformity in divine worship, which we have promif. ed in our Solemn League and Covenant: we have, after earnest and frequent calling upon the name of God, and after much confultation, not with flefh and blond, but with his holy word, resolved to lay a. fide the former liturgy, with the many rites and ceremonies formerly used in the worfhip of God; and have agreed upon this following Directory for all the parts of public worthip, at ordinary and extra ordinary times..