Imatges de pÓgina
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the most approved translation, in the vulgar tongue, that all may hear and understand.

Sect. III. How large a portion shall be read at once, is left to the discretion of every minister: however, in each service, he ought to read, at least one chapter, and more, when the chapters are fhort, or the connection requires it. when he thinks it expedient, expound any part of what is read; always having regard to the time, that neither reading, finging, praying, preaching, or any other ordinance, be disproportionate the one to the other ; nor the whole rendered too fhort, or too tedious.

He may,

CH A P. IV.

Of the Singing of Psalms.

Sect. I.

I

'Tis the duty of Christians to praise

hymns, publicly in the church, as also privately in the family.

Sect. II. In singing the praises of God, we are to fing with the spirit, and with the understanding also ; making melody in our hearts unto the Lord. It is also proper, that we cultivate fome knowledge of the rules of music; that we may praise God in a becoming manner with our voices, as well as with our hearts.

Sect. III. The whole congregation should be furnished with books, and ought to join in this part of worfhip. It is proper tò fing without parcelling out the pfalm, line by line. The practice of reading the psalm, line by line, was introduced in times of ignorance, when many in the congregation could not read : therefore, it is recommended, that it be laid afide, as far as convenient.

Sect. IV. The proportion of the time of public worship to be spent in singing, is left to the prudence of every minister : but it is recom. mended, that more time be allowed for this excellent part of divire service, than has been usual. in most of our churches.

CHAP. V.

of public Prayer.

I

Sect. I. seems very proper to begin the

public worship of the fanctuary by a short prayer; humbly adoring the infinite ma jesty of the living God: exprefsing a sense of our distance from him as creatures,

and unwor. thiness as finners : and humbly imploring his gracious prefence, the afhstance of his holy spirit in the duties of his worship, and his accep: tance of us through the merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Chrift,

Sec. II. Then, after finging a psalm, or hymn, itis proper that, before sermon, there should be a full, and comprehensive prayer. Firf, Adoring the glory and perfections of God, as they are made known to us in the works of creation; in the conduct of providence; and in the clear, and full revelation he hath made of himself in his written word. Second, Giving thanks to him for all his mercies of every kind, general and par. ticular, spiritual and temporal, common and special; above all for Christ Jesus his unspeak. able gifts and the hope of eternal life through him. Third, Making humble confession of ling both original and actual ; acknowledging, and endeavouring to impress the mind of every wor, shipper with a deep sense of the evil of all sin, as such ; as being a departure from the living God; and also taking a particular and affecting view of the various fruits which proceed from this root of bitterness :--as, fins against God, our neighbour, and ourselves; fins in thought, in word, and in deed; fins secret and presumptum ous; fins accidental and habitual. Also, the aggravations of Gn; arising from knowledge, or the means of it; from distinguishing mercies; from valuable privileges; from breach of vows, &c. Fourth, Making earnelt supplication for the pardon of lin, and peace with God, through the blood of the atonement, with all its important and happy fruits ; for the spirit of sanctification,

and abundant fupplies of the grace that is neceffary to the discharge of our duty; for support and comfort, under all the trials to which we are liable, as we are finful and mortal; and for all temporal mercies, that may be necefsary in our paffage through this valley of tears. Always remembering to view them as flowing in the channel of covenant love, and intended to be subservient to the preservation and progress of the fpiritual life. Fifth, Pleading from every principle warranted in fcripture; from our own necessity; the all-fufficiency of God; the merit ard intercession of cur Saviour, and the glory of God in the comfort and happiness of his people. Sixth, Interceflion for others, including the whole world of mankind; the kingdom of Chrift; or his church universal; the church or churches with which we are more particularly connected; the interest of human fociety in general, and in that community, to which we immediately be. long; all that are invested with civil authority; the ministers of the everlafting gospel; and the rising generation : with whatever else, more pare ticular, may seem necefsary, or suitable, to the interest of that congregation where divine worfhip is celebrated.

Sect. III. Prayer after sermon ought general. ly to have a relation to the subject that has been treated of in the discourse; and all other public

prayers, to the circumstances that gave occasion for them.

Sect. IV. It is easy to perceive, that in all the preceding directions there is a very great compass and variety; and it is committed to the judgment and fidelity of the officiating pastor to infift chiefly on such parts, or to take in more or less of the several parts, as he shall be led to by the arpect of providence; the particular state of the congregation in which he officiates; or the dir. position and exercise of his own heart at the time.

-But we think it necessary to observe, that although we do not approve, 'as is well known, of confining minifters to set, or fixed forms of prayer for public worship; yet it is the indispensible duty of every minister, previously to his entering on his office, to prepare and qualify himself for this part of his duty, as well as for preaching. He ought, by a thorough acquaintance with the holy scriptures; by reading the best writers on the subject; by meditation; and by a life of com. munion with God in secret; to endeavour to acquire both the spirit and the gift of prayer.-Not only fo, but when he is to enter on particular acts of worship, he should endeavour to compose his fpirit, and to digest his thoughts for prayer, that it may be performed with dignity and propriety, as well as to the profit of those who join in it, and that he may not disgrace that important service by mean, irregular, or extravagant effuĝons.

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