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privately, (and all others, that cannot read, if not disabled by age, or otherwise, are likewise to be exhorted to learn to read, and to have a Bible,
Of Publick Prayer before the Sermon. A
FTER reading of the word, (and singing of the psalm,)
the minister, who is to preach, is to endeavour to get his own and his hearers hearts to be rightly affected with their sins, that they may all mourp in sense thereof before the Lord, and hunger and thirst after the grace of God in Jesus Christ, by proceeding to a more full confession of sin, with shame and holy confusion of face, and to call upon the Lord to this effect :
“ To acknowledge our great sinfulness, First, by reason “ of original sin, which (beside the guilt that makes us liable
to everlasting damnation) is the seed of all other sins, hath “ depraved and poisoned all the faculties and powers of soul "and body, doth defile our best actions, and were it not "restrained, or our hearts renewed by grace) would break “ forth into innumerable transgressions, and greatest rebel“ lions against the Lord that ever were committed by the “ vilest of the sons of men. And next, by reason of actual “sins, our own sins, the sins of magistrates, of ministers, " and of the whole nation, unto which we are many ways
accessory : which sins of ours receive many fearful aggra“ vations, we having broken all the commandments of the "holy, just, and good law of God, doing that which is for “bidden, and leaving undone what is enjoined ; and that
not only out of ignorance and infrmity, but also more “ presumptuously, against the light of our minds, checks of
our consciences, and motions of his own Holy Spirit to the
contrary, so that we have no cloak for our sins ; yea, not * only despising the riches of God's goodness, forbearance, " and long-suffering, but standing out against many invita“ tions and offers of grace in the gospel ; not endeavouring,
as we ought, to receive Christ into our hearts by faith, or to walk worthy of him in our lives.
“ To bewail our blindness of mind, hardness of heart, “ unbelief, impenitency, security, lukewarmness, barren
ness ; our not endeavouring after mortification and new ness of life, nor after the exercise of godliness in the pow. “er thereof; and that the best of us have not so stedfastly 4 walked with God, kept our garments so unspotted, nor "been so zealous of his glory, and the good of others, as
we ought; and to mourn over such other sins as the con
gregation is particularly guilty of, notwithstanding the "manifold and great mercies of our God, the love of Christ, " the light of the gospel, and reformation of religion, our
own purposes, promises, vows, solemn covenant, and other 6h special obligations to the contrary.
“ To acknowledge and confess, that, as we are convinced " of our guilt, so, out of a deep sense thereof, we judge “ourselves unworthy of the smallest benefits, most worthy " of God's fiercest wrath, and of all the curses of the law, “and heaviest judgments inflicted upon the most rebellious " sinners ; and that he might most justly take his kingdom "and gospel from us, plague us with all sorts of spiritual and " temporal judgments in this life, and after cast us into utter “ darkness, in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, "where is weeping and gnashing of teeth for evermore. ** Notwithstanding all which, to draw near to the throne “ of grace, encouraging ourselves with hope of a gracious “ answer of our prayers, in the riches and all sufficiency of " that only one oblation, the satisfaction and intercession of " the Lord Jesus Christ, at the right hand of his Father and “ our Father; and in confidence of the exceeding great and “ precious promises of mercy and grace in the new covenant, " through the same Mediator thereof, to deprecate the heavy " wrath and curse of God, which we are not able to avoid, " or bear; and humbly and earnestly to supplicate for mercy, " in the free and full remission of all our sins, and that only “ for the bitter sufferings and precious merits of that our “ only Saviour Jesus Christ.
“ 'That the Lord would vouchsafe to shed abroad his love “ in our hearts by the Holy Ghost; seal unto us, by the
same Spirit of adoption, the full assurance of our pardon “ and reconciliation : comfort all that mourn in Zion, speak “ peace to the wounded and troubled spirit, and bind up " the broken-hearted : and as for secure and presumptuous “ sinners, that he would open their eyes, convince their “ consciences, and turn them from darkness unto light, and “ from the power of Satan unto God, that they also may " receive forgiveness of sin, and an inheritance among them " that are sanctified by faith in Christ Jesus.
* With remission of sins through the blood of Christ, to
pray for sanctification by his Spirit ; the mortification of " sin dwelling in and many times tyrannizing over us ; the « quickening of our dead spirits with the life of God in " Christ; grace to fit and enable us for all duties of conver“sation and callings towards God and men; strength against * temptations ; the sanctified use of blessings and crosses ; " and perseverance in faith and obedience unto the end.
“ To pray for the propagation of the gospel and kingdom of Christ to all nations ; for the conversion of the Jews, “ the fulness of the Gentiles, the fall of Antichrist, and the “ hastening of the second coming of our Lord; for the de" liverance of the distressed churches abroad from the ty. “ ranny of the antichristian faction, and from the cruel op“pressions and blasphemies of the Turk; for the blessing “of God upon all the reformed churches, especially upon " the churches and kingdoms of Scotland, England and " Ireland, now more strictly and religiously united in the “ Solemn National League and covenant'; and for our
plantations in the remote parts of the world : more par“ ticularly for that church and kingdom whereof we are * members, that therein God would establish peace and “ truth, the purity of all his ordinances, and the power of "godliness ; prevent and remove heresy, 'schism, profane“ ness, superstition, security, and unfruitfulness under the
means of grace; heal all our rents and divisions, and preserve us from breach of our Solemn Covenant.
“ To pray for all in authority, especially for the King's “ Majesty ; that God would make him rich in blessings, both “ in his person and government ; establish his throne in re
ligion and righteousness, save him from evil counsel, and “ make him a blessed and glorious instrument for the con"servation and propagation of the gospel, for the encourage“ ment and protection of them that do well, the terror of “ all that do evil, and the great good of the whole church, “ and of all his kingdoms; for the conversion of the Queen, " the religious education of the Prince, and the rest of the
royal seed; for the comforting the afflicted Queen of Bo« hemia, sister to our sovereign ; and for the restitution and " establishment of the illustrious Prince Charles, Elector Pa" latine of the Rhine, to all his dominions and dignities; for
a blessing upon the High Court of Parliament, (when sit“ ting in any of these kingdoms respectively, the nobility, " the subordinate judges and magistrates, the gentry, and all " the commonality; for all pastors and teachers, that God « would fill them with his Spirit, make them exemplarily #holy, sober, just, peaceable, and gracious in their lives; " sound, faithful, and powerful in their ministry, and fol“ low all their labours with abundance of success and bless* ing; and give unto all his people pastors according to his « own heart; for the universities, and all schools and reli“ gious seminaries of church and commonwealth, that they " may flourish more and more in learning and piety; for the 4 particular city or congregation, that God would pour out ^ a blessing upon the ministry of the word, sacraments, and
discipline, upon the civil government, and all the several
families and persons therein ; for mercy to the afflicted “ under any inward or outward distress; for seasonable 6, weather, and fruitful seasons, as the time may require; for “ averting the judgments that we either feel or fear, or are " liable unto, as famine, pestilence, the sword, and such like.
“ And, with confidence of his mercy to his whole church, "and the acceptance of our persons, through the merits and " mediation of our High Priest, the Lord Jesus, to profess " that it is the desire of our souls to have fellowship with «God in the reverend and conscionable use of his holy or" dinances; and, to that purpose, to pray earnestly for his
grace and effectual assistance to the sanctification of his 5 holy sabbath, the Lord's day, in all the duties thereof, "publick and private, both to ourselves, and to all other "congregations of his people, according to the riches and « excellency of the gospel, this day celebrated and enjoyed.
“ And because we have been unprofitable hearers in times past, and now cannot of ourselves receive, as we should, " the deep things of God, the mysteries of Jesus Christ, “ which require a spiritual discerning, to pray, that the
Lord, who teacheth to profit, would graciously please to " pour out the Spirit of grace, together with the outward
means thereof, causing us to attain such a measure of the *excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord, " and, in him, of the things which belong to our peace, that " we may account all things but as dross in comparison of * him; and that we, tasting the first-fruits of the glory that * is to be revealed, may long for a more fult and perfect
“ communion with him, that where he is, we may be also, " and enjoy the fulness of those joys and pleasures which " are at his right hand for evermore.
“ More particularly, that God would in a special manner “furnish his servant (now called to dispense the bread of « life unto his household) with wisdom, fidelity, zeal, and " utterance, that he may divide the word of God aright, to 4 every one his portion, in evidence and demonstration of “the Spirit and power; and that the Lord would circum* cise the ears and hearts of the hearers, to hear, love, and " receive with meekness the ingrafted word, which is able “ to save their souls ; make them as good ground to receive “ in the good seed of the word, and strengthen them against “ the temptations of Satan, the cares of the world, the hard
ness of their own hearts, and whatsoever else may hinder “their profitable and saving hearing; that so Christ may be " so formed in them, and live in them, tñat all their thoughts “ may be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, " and their hearts established in every good word and work “ for ever."
We judge this to be a convenient order, in the ordinary publick prayer; yet so, as the minister may defer (as in pru. dence he shall think meet) some part of these petitions till after his sermon, or offer up to God some of the thanksgivings hereafter appointed, in his prayer before his sermon.
Of the Preaching of the Word.
salvation, and one of the greatest and most excellent works belonging to the ministry of the gospel, should be so performed, that the workman need not be ashamed, but may save himself, and those that hear him.
It is presupposed, (according to the rules for ordination,) that the minister of Christ is in some good measure gifted for so weighty a service, by his skill in the original langua. ges, and in such arts and sciences as are handmaid unto divinity ; by his knowledge in the whole body of theology, but most of all in the holy scriptures, having his senses and heart exercised in them above the common sort of believers ; and by the illumination of God's Spirit, and other gifts of dification, which (together with reading and studying of the