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X. These exercises ought to be performed in great sincerity, without delay, laying aside all exercises of worldly business or hinderances, notwithstanding the mockings of atheists and profane meh ; in respect of the great mercies of God to this land, and of his severe corrections wherewith lately he hath exercised us. And, to this effect, persons of eminency (and all elders of the kirk) not only ought to stir up themselves and families to diligence herein, but also to concur effectually, that in all other families, where they have power and charge, the said exercises be conscionably performed.
XI. Besides the ordinary duties in families, which are above mentioned, extraordinary duties, both of humiliation and thanksgiving, are to be carefully performed in families, when the Lord, by extraordinary occasions, (private or publick,) calleth for them.
XII. Seeing the word of God requireth, that we should consider one another to provoke unto love and good works ; therefore, at all times, and especially in this time, wherein profanity abounds, and mockers, walking after their own Justs, think it strange that others run not with them to the same excess of riot; every member of this kirk ought to stir
up themselves, and one another, to the duties of mutual edification, by instruction, admonition, rebuke ; exhorting one another to manifest the grace of God, in denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and in living godly, soberly, and righteously, in this present world; by comforting the feeble, minded, and praying with or for one another. Which duties respectively are to be performed upon special occasions offered by divine Providence; as, namely, when under any calamity, cross, or great difficulty, counsel or comfort is sought ; or when an offender is to be reclaimed by private admonition, and if that be not effectual, by joining one or two more in the admonition, according to the rule of Christ; that in the mouth of two or three witnesses
may be established.
XIII. And, because it is not given to every one to speak a word in season to a wearied or distressed conscience, it is expedient that a person in that case) finding no ease, after the use of all ordinary means, private and publick, have their address to their own pastor, or some experienced Christian: but if the person troubled in conscience be of that condition, or of that sex, that discretion, modesty, or fear of scanda!
requireth a golly, grave, and secret friend to be present with thein in their said address, it is expedient that such a friend be present.
XIV. When persons of divers families are brought together by divine Providence, being abroad upon their par. ticular vocations, or any necessary occasions ; as they would have the Lord their God with them whithersoever they go, they ought to walk with God, and not neglect the duties of prayer and thanksgiving, but take care that the same be performed by such as the company shall judge fittest. And that they likewise take heed that no corrupt communication proceed out of their mouths, but that which is good, to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.
The drift and scope of all these Directions is no other, but that, upon the one part, the power and practice of godliness, amongst all the ministers and members of this kirk, according to their several places and vocations, may be cherished and advanced, and all impiety and mocking of religious exercises suppressed : and, upon the other part
, that, under the name and pretext of religious exercises, no such meetings or practices be allowed, as are apt to breed error, scandal, schism, contempt, or misregard of the publick ordinances and ministers, or neglect of the duties of particular callings, or such other evils as are the works, not of the Spirit, but of the Hesh, and are contrary to truth and peace.
As a Part of the Covenanted Uniformity in Religion betwixt the Churches of
Christ in the Kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland :
An Act of the General Assembly, Anno 1645, approving the same.
. 11. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, anıl the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof;—and all the liwe thereof; and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.
“ Though the Synod hereby declare their approbation of the Presbyterial government of the church, which is materially contained in the tract compir led by the Westminster Assembly, commonly called “ The Form of Church Government,” yet they are not to be considered as adopting every thing in that tract, as absolutely necessary to Presbyterial government."
Declar. and Test. of the Gen. Assoc. Synod of Scotland, p. 11.-See also the Testimony of the Assoc. Synod of North America, part II. Artic. 9 sect. 1.
Assembly at EDINBURGH, February 10, 1645. Sess. 16.
Act of the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, appro
ving the Propositions concerning Kirk-government, and Ordination of Ministers.
THE General Assembly being most desirous and solicit
ous, not only of the establishment and preservation of the Form of Kirk-government in this kingdom, according to the word of God, books of Discipline, acts of General Assemblies, and National Covenant, but also of an uniformity in Kirk-government betwixt these kingdoms, now more straitly and strongly united by the late Solemn League and Covenant; and considering, that as in former times there did, so hereafter there may arise, through the nearness of contagion, manifold mischiefs to this kirk from á corrupt form of government in the kirk of England: likeas the precious opportunity of bringing the kirks of Christ in all the three kingdoms to an uniformity in Kirkgovernment being the happiness of the present times above the former; which may also, by the blessing of God, prove an effectual mean, and a good foundation to prepare for a safe and well grounded pacification, by removing the cause from which the present pressures and bloody wars did ori. ginally proceed : and now the Assembly having thrice read, and diligently examined, the propositions (hereunto annexed) concerning the officers, assemblies, and government of the kirk, and concerning the ordination of ministers, brought unto us, as the results of the long and learned debates of the Assembly of Divines sitting at Westminster, and of the treaty of uniformity with the Commissioners of this kirk there residing; after mature deliberation, and after timeous calling upon, and warning of all, who have any exceptions against the same, to make them known, that they might receive satisfaction ; doth agree to and approve the
propositions aforementioned, touching Kirk-government and Ordination ; and doth hereby authorise the Commissioners of this Assembly, who are to meet at Edinburgh, to agree to and conclude in the name of this Assembly, an uniformity betwixt the kirks in both kingdoms, in the afore-mentioned particulars, so