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• defects of the whole service, and for the gracious aslistance • of his good Spirit, whereby they may be enabled to walk
in the strength of that grace, as becometh those who have • received so great pledges of salvation.'
The collection for the poor, is so to be ordered, that no part of the publick worship be thereby hindered.
Of the Sanctification of the Lord's Day. THE Lord's day ought to be so remembred before-hand,
1 as that all worldly business of our ordinary callings may be so ordered, and so timely and seasonably laid aside, as they may not be impediments to the due fanctifying of the day when it comes.
The whole day is to be celebrated as holy to the Lord, both in publick and private, as being the Christian fabbath. To which end, it is requisite, that there be a holy cessation, or resting all that day, from all unnecessary labours; and an abstaining, not only from all sports and pastimes, but also from all worldly words and thoughts.
That the diet on that day be so ordered, as that neither servants be unnecessarily detained from the publick worship of God, nor any other person hindered from the fanctifying that day.
That there be private preparations of every person and family, by prayer for themselves, and for God's alistance of the minister, and for a blefling upon his ministry; and by such other holy exercises, as may further dispose them to a more comfortable communion with God in his publick ordinances.
That all the people meet so timely for publick worship, that the whole congregation may be present at the beginning, and with one heart solemnly join together in all parts of the publick worship, and not depart till after the blessing. . !
That what time is vacant, between, or after the solemn meetings of the congregation in publick, be spent in reading, meditation, repetition of sermons; especially by calling their families to an account of what they have heard, and catechizing of them, holy conferences, prayer for a blessing upon the publick ordinances, singing of psalms, visiting the fick, relieving the poor, and such like duties of piety, charity, and mercy, accounting the fabbath a delight.
The Solemnization of Marriage. . ALTHOUGH marriage be no facrament, nor peculiar to I the church of God, but common to mankind, and of publick interest in every common-wealth; yet, becaufe luch 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 bleslng of God upon them therein; we judge it expedient, that marriage be folemnized by a lawful minister of the word, that he may accordingly counsel them, and pray for a bletfing upon them.
Marriage is to be betwixt one man and one woman only; and they, such as are not within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity prohibited by the word of God; and the parties are to be of years of discretion, fit to make their own choice, or, upon good grounds, to give their mutual consent.
Before the solemnizing of marriage between any persons, their purpose of marriage shall be published by the minister three several fabbath-days, in the congregation, at the place or places of their most usual and constant abode, respectively. And of this publication, the minister who is to join them in marriage shall have sufficient testimony, before he proceed to solemnize the marriage.
Before that publication of such their purpose (if the parties be under age) the consent of the parents, or others under whose power they are in case the parents be dead) is to be inade known to the church-officers of that congregation, to be recorded.
The like is to be observed in the proceedings of all others, although of age, whose parents are living, for their first marriage. And, in after marriages of either of those parties, they Thall be exhorted not to contract marriage without first acquainting their parents with it, (if with conveniency it may be done) endeavouring to obtain their consent.
Parents ought not to force their children to marry without their free consent, nor deny their own consent without just cause.
After the purpose or contract of marriage have been thus published, the marriage is not to be long deferred. Therefore the minister, having had convenient warning, and nothing been objected to hinder it, is publickly to solemnize it in the place appointed by authority for publick 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 publick humiliation. And we advise chat it be not on the Lord's day.
And, because all relations are sanctified by the word and prayer, the minister is to pray for a blessing upon them, to this effect;
Acknowledging our fins, whereby we have made our• selves less than the least of all the mercies of God, and pro"voked him to embitter all our comforts, earnestly, in the ' name of Christ, to intreat the Lord (whose presence and fa'your is the happiness of every condition, and sweetens every • relation to be their portion, and to own and accept them in • Christ, who are now to be joined in the honourable 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 Spirit, giving them a new frame of • heart, fit for their new estate; enriching them with all gra• ces whereby they may perform the duties, enjoy the com• forts, undergo the cares, and resist the temptations which accompany that condition, as becometh Christians.'
The The prayer being ended, it is convenient that the minifter do briefly declare unto them, out of the scripture,
•The institution, use, and ends of marriage, with the conju. gal duties, which, in all faithfulness, they are to perform each * to other; exhorting them to study the holy word of God,
that they may learn to live by faith, and to be content in the • midst of all marriage cares and troubles, fan&tifying God's • name, in a thankful, sober, and holy use of all conjugal • comforts; praying much with and for one another; watch•ing 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 of them know any cause, by precontract, or otherwise; why they may not lawfully proceed to marriage, that they now discover it; The minister (if no impediment be acknowledge ed) shall cause first the man to take the woman by the right hand, saying these words. .IN, do take thee N. to be my married wife, and do, in the presence of God, and before this congregation, promise and covenant to be a loving and faithful husband unto thee, until God mall separate us by death.
Then the woman shall take the man by the right hand, and say these words.
IN do take thee N. to be my 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 separate us by death.
Then; without any further ceremony, the minister fhall, in the face of the congregation, pronounce them to be hufband and wife, according to God's ordinance; and fo conclude the action with prayer to this effect;
" That- the Lord would be pleased to acompany his own • ordinance with his bleffing, beseeching him to enrich the
• persons now married, as with other pledges of his love, so • 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 that purpose, for the perusal of all whom it may concern.
Concerning Vifitation of the Sick.
TT is the duty of the minister not only to teach the people I committed to his charge in publick but privately, and particularly to admonish, exhort, reprove and comfort them, upon all seasonable occasions, so far as his time, strength, and personal safety will permit.
He is to admonish them, in time of health, to prepare for death; and, for that purpofe, they are often to confer 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 affliction are special opportunities put into his hand by God, to minister a word in season to weary fouls: because then the consciences of men are or should be, more awakened to bethink themselves of their spiritual estate for eternity; and Satan also takes advantage then, to load them more with sore and heavy temptations: therefore the minister, being sent for, and repairing to the sick, is to ap-' ply himself with all tenderness and love, to administer some Spiritual good to his soul, to this effect.
He may, from the consideration of the present ficknefs, in. struct him out of scripture, that diseafes come not by chance, or by distempers of body only, but by the wise and orderly guidance of the good hand of God, to every particular person fmitten by them. And that, whether it be laid upon him out of displeasure for sin, for his correction and amendment,