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The Directory for the Publick Worship of God. 443
“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 * 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 ** 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 confidenee 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 “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, aggording 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 full 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 “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, that 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 ublick prayer; yet so, as the minister may defer (as in prudence 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.
Qf the Preaching of the Word. Doo of the word, being the power of God unto
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 languages, 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 edification, which (together with reading and studying of the
word) he ought still to seek by prayer, and an humble heart, resolving to admit and receive any truth not yet attained, whenever God shall make it known unto him. All which he is to make use of, and improve, in his private preparations, before he deliver in publick what he hath provided. Ordinarily, the subject of his sermon is to be some text of scripture, holding forth some principle or head of religion, or suitable to some special occasion emergent; or her may go on in some chapter, psalm, or book of the holy scripture, as he shall see fit. Let the introduction to his text be brief and perspicuous, drawn from the text itself, or context, or some parallel place, or general sentence of scripture. - * If the text be long, (as in histories or parables it sometimes must be,) let him give a brief sum of it; if short, a paraphrase thereof, if need be : in both, looking diligently to the scope of the text, and pointing at the chief heads and grounds of doctrine which he is to raise from it. In analysing and dividing his text, he is to regard more, the order of matter than of words; and neither to burden the memory of the hearers in the beginning with too many members of division, nor to trouble their minds with obscure terms of art. ‘In raising doctrines from the text, his care ought to be, First, That the matter be the truth of God. Secondly, That it be a truth contained in or grounded on that text, that the hearers may discern how God teacheth it from thence. Thirdly, That he chiefly insist upon those doctrines which are principally intended, and make most for the edification of the hearers. * of The doctrine is to be expressed in plain terms; or, if any thing in it need explication, it is to be opened, and the consequence also from the text cleared. The parallel places of
seripture, confirming the doctrine, are rather to be plain and
pertinent, than many, and (if need be) somewhat insisted.
upon, and applied to the purpose in hand. The arguments or reasons are to be solid, and, as much
as may be, convincing. The illustrations, of what kind so
ever, ought to be full of light, and such as may convey the
truth into the hearer's heart with spiritual delight. If any doubt, obvious from scripture, reason, or prejudice
ef the hearers, seem to * is very requisite to remove
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- it, by reconciling the seeming differences, answering the reasons, and discovering and taking away the causes of prejudice and mistake. Otherwise it is not fit to detain the hearers with propounding or answering vain or wicked cavils, which, as they are endless, so the propounding and answering of them doth more hinder than promote edification. He is not to rest in general doctrine, although never so much cleared and confirmed, but to bring it home to special use, by application to his hearers: which albeit it prove a work of great difficulty to himself, requiring much prudence, zeal, and meditation, and to the natural and corrupt man will be very unpleasant; yet he is to endeavour to perform it in such a manner, that his auditors may feel the werd of God to be quick and powerful, aud a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; and that, if any unbeliever or ignorant person be present, he may have the secrets of his -heart made manifest, and give glory to God.
In the use of instruction or information in the knowledge of some truth, which is a consequence from his doctrine, he may (when convenient) confirm it by a few firm arguments
from the text in hand, and other places of scripture, or from
the nature of that common-place in divinity, whereof that truth is a branch. ... In confutation of false doctrines, he is neither to raise an old heresy from the grave, nor to mention a blasphemous opinion unnecessarily: but, if the people be in danger of an error, he is to confute it soundly, and endeavour to satisfy their judgments and consciences against all objections. . In exhorting to duties, he is, as he seeth cause, to teach also the means that help to the performance of them. “In dehortation, reprehension, and publick admonition, (which require special wisdom,) let him, as there shall be cause, not only discover the nature and greatness of the sin, with the misery attending it, but also shew the danger his hearers are in to be overtaken and surprised by it, together with the remedies and best way to avoid.it. 'In applying comfort, whether general against all temptations, or particular against some special troubles or terrors, he is carefully to answer-such objections as a troubled heart and afflicted spirit may suggest to the contrary. . It is also sometimes, requisite to give some notes of trial, (which is very profitable, especially when performed by able and experienced ministers, with circumspection and prudence, and the signs clearly grounded on the holy scripture,) whereby the hearers may be able to examine themselves, whether they have attained those graces, and performed those duties, to which he exhorteth, or be guilty of the sin reprehended, and in danger of the judgments threatened, or are such to whom the consolations propounded do belong ; that accordingly they may be quickened and excited to duty humbled for their wants and sins, affected with their danger, and strengthened with comfort, as their condition, upon examination, shall require. And as he needeth not always to pr8secute every doctrine which lies in his text, so is he wisely to make choice of such uses, as, by his residence, and conversing with his flock, he findeth most needful and seasonable ; and, amongst these, such as may most draw their souls to Christ, the fountain of light, holiness, and comfort. r This method is not prescribed as necessary for every man, or upon every text; but only recommended, as being found by experience to be very much blessed of God, and very helpful for the people's understandings and memories. But the servant of Christ, whatever his method be, is to perform his whole ministry: 1. Painfully, not doing the work of the Lord negligently. • 2. Plainly, that the meanest may understand ; delivering the truth, not in the enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect; abstaining also from an unprofitable use of unknown tongues, strange phrases, and cadences of sounds and words ; sparingly citing sentences of ecclesiastical or other human writers, ancient o modern, be they never so elegant. * - 3. Faithfully, looking at the honour of Christ, the conversion, edification, and salvation of the people, not at his
own gain or glory ; keeping nothing back, which may pro
mote those holy ends, giving to every one his own portion, and bearing indifferent respect unto all, without neglecting the meanest, or sparing the greatest, in their sins. 4. Wisely, framing all his doctrines, exhortations, and especially his reproofs, in such a manner as may be most likely to prevail; she wing all due respect to each man’s person and place, and not mixing his own passion or bitterness.