Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.—Rom. 8.33




The Publike VVorſhip of GOD


The three KINGDOMS


Scotland, England, and Ireland.

With an Act of the Generall Assembly of the Kirk

of Scotland, for eſtablishing and obſerving this

present DIRECTORY.

Together with an Act of the Parliament of the Kingdom of

Scotland approving and eſtablishing the ſame.

An Act of the Committee of Eſtates concerning the
PRINTING thereof:

And an Act of the Commission of the Generall Aſſembly

for the Printing, and for the preſent practice of it

throughout the ſaid Kingdom of Scotland.



Printed by Evan Tyler, Printer to the Kings moſt

Excellent Majeſtie.  1645.

TrueCovenanter.com Editor’s Introduction.

The following document presents the Westminster Assembly’s Directory for the Public Worship of God as it was adopted by and printed for the Church of Scotland during the Second Reformation.  Of all parts of the contemplated “Covenanted Reformation,” this Directory had the most general and enduring acceptance.  The Church embraced it, and the State approved it.  Scotland and England both implemented it.  Presbyterians and Independents both worshipped God according to its “Puritan” ideals.

The text presented here is taken from the Edinburgh edition of 1645, as indicated above, for the Directory and the various Scottish acts, ordinances, and decisions to implement the Directory.  To these have been added similar ordinances from the English Parliament, as printed in sources indicated below, and also some Observations from the present editor.





The Publike VV O R S H I P



Throughout the three KINGDOMS





An Act of the Generall Assembly of the

Kirk of Scotland, for establishing and

observing this preſent Directory.



Printed by Evan Tyler, Printer to the Kings most

Excellent Majeſtie.  1645.


The Act of the General Assembly.

The Preface.

Of the Assembling of the Congregation.

Of Publike reading of the holy Scripture.

Of Publike Prayer before the Sermon.

Of the Preaching of the Word.

Of Prayer after the Sermon.

Of the Sacrament of Baptism.

Of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

Of the Sanctification of the Lord’s Day.

Of the Solemnization of Marriage.

Of the Visitation of the Sick.

Of the Burial of the Dead.

Of Publike solemn Fasting.

Of the observation of Days of Publike thanksgiving.

Of Singing of Psalms.

An Appendix touching Days and Places of Publike Worship.

Observations Relative to Directory by J. Kerr, 2018.

Ordinance of English Parliament for Taking away the Book of Common-Prayer and Establishing the Directory, 1644.

Ordinance of English Parliament for Printing the Directory.

Ordinance of English Parliament for the More Effectual Putting in Execution the Directory, 1645.

Act of the Scottish Church General Assembly for Establishing and Putting in Execution the Directory, 1645.

Act of the Scottish Parliament Approving and Establishing the Directory, 1645.

Ordinance of Scottish Committee of Estates Concerning Printing the Directory, 1645.

Order of the Commissioners of the Scottish General Assembly Concerning Printing the Directory, 1645.




The Publike VVORSHIP



In the three




IN the beginning of the blessed Reformation, our wise and pious Ancestors took care to set forth an Order for Redress of many things, which they, then, by the Word, discovered to be Vain, Erroneous, Superstitious, and Idolatrous, in the Public Worship of God.  This occasioned many Godly and Learned men to rejoice much in the Book of Common-Prayer, at that time set forth; Because the Mass, and the rest of the Latin Service being removed, the Public Worship was celebrated in our own Tongue; many of the common People also received benefit by hearing the Scriptures read in their own Language, which formerly were unto them as a Book that is sealed.

Howbeit, long and sad Experience hath made it manifest, That the Liturgy used in the Church of England, (notwithstanding all the pains and Religious intentions of the Compilers of it,) hath proved an offence, not only to many of the Godly at home; but also to the Reformed Churches abroad.  For, not to speak of urging the Reading of all the Prayers, which very greatly increased the burden of it; the many unprofitable and burdensome Ceremonies, contained in it, have occasioned much mischief, as well by disquieting the Consciences of many godly Ministers and people, who could not yield unto them, as by depriving them of the Ordinances of God, which they might not enjoy without conforming or Subscribing to those Ceremonies.  Sundry good Christians have been by means thereof kept from the Lord’s table, and divers able and faithful Ministers debarred from the exercise of their Ministry, (to the endangering of many Thousand Souls, in a time of such scarcity of faithful Pastors) and spoiled of their livelihood, to the undoing of them and their Families.  Prelates, and their Faction have laboured to raise the Estimation of it to such a height, as if there were no other Worship, or way of Worship of GOD amongst us, but only the Service-Book; to the great hinderance of the Preaching of the Word, and (in some places, especially of late) to the justling of it out, as unnecessary, or (at best) as far inferior to the Reading of Common-Prayer, which was made no better than an Idol by many Ignorant and Superstitious People, who pleasing themselves in their presence at that Service, and their Lip-labour in bearing a part in it, have thereby hardened themselves in their ignorance and carelessness of Saving knowledge and true Piety.

In the mean time Papists boasted, that the Book was a compliance with them in a great part of their Service, and so were not a little confirmed in their Superstition and Idolatry, expecting rather our return to them, than endeavouring the Reformation of themselves: In which expectation they were of late very much encouraged, when, upon the pretended warrantableness of imposing of the former Ceremonies, new ones were daily obtruded upon the Church.

Add hereunto, (which was not foreseen, but since hath come to pass,) that the Liturgy hath been a great means, as on the one hand to make and increase an idle and unedifying Ministry, which contented itself with set Forms made to their hands by others, without putting forth themselves to exercise the gift of Prayer, with which our Lord Jesus Christ pleaseth to furnish all his Servants whom he calls to that office: So on the other side, it hath been (and ever would be, if continued) a matter of endless strife and contention in the Church, and a snare both to many godly and faithful Ministers, who have been persecuted and silenced upon that occasion, and to others of hopeful parts, many of which have been, and more still would be diverted from all thoughts of the Ministry to other studies; especially in these latter times, wherein God vouchsafed to his people more and better means for the discovery of Error and Superstition, and for attaining of knowledge in the Mysteries of godliness, and gifts in Preaching & Prayer.

Upon these, and many the like weighty considerations in reference to the whole Book in general, and because of divers particulars contained in it; not from any love to Novelty, or intention to disparage our first Reformers (of whom we are persuaded, that, were they now alive, they would join with us in this Work, and whom we acknowledge as Excellent Instruments raised by God to begin the Purging and Building of his House, and desire they may be had of us and Posterity in everlasting Remembrance, with thankfulness and honour;) but that we may in some measure answer the gracious Providence of God, which at this time calleth upon us for farther Reformation, and may satisfy our own Consciences, and answer the expectation of other Reformed Churches, and the desires of many of the godly among ourselves, and withal give some public Testimony for our endeavours for Uniformity in Divine Worship, which we have promised in our Solemn League and Covenant: We have, after earnest and frequent calling upon the Name of God, and after much Consultation, not with flesh and blood, but with his holy Word, resolved to lay aside the former Liturgy, with the many Rites and Ceremonies formerly used in the Worship of God: And have agreed upon this following Directory for all the parts of Public Worship, at ordinary and extraordinary times.

Wherein our care hath been to hold forth such things as are of Divine Institution in every Ordinance; and other things we have endeavoured to set forth according to the Rules of Christian Prudence, agreeable to the general Rules of the Word of God: Our meaning therein being only that the general heads, the sense and scope of the Prayers, and other parts of Public Worship being known to all, there may be a consent of all the Churches, in those things that contain the substance of the Service and Worship of God; And the Ministers may be hereby directed, in their Administrations to keep like soundness in Doctrine and Prayer; and may, if need be, have some help and furniture: And yet so, as they become not hereby slothful and negligent in stirring up the gifts of Christ in them: But, that each one, by Meditation, by taking heed to himself and the Flock of God committed to him, and by wise observing the ways of Divine Providence, may be careful to furnish his heart and tongue with further, or other materials of Prayer and Exhortation, as shall be needful upon all occasions.





Publike Prayer, Reading the Holy Scriptures, Singing

of Psalms, Preaching of the Word, Administration

of the Sacraments; And other parts of the

Publike Worship of God, Ordinary

and Extraordinary.


Of the Assembling of the Congregation, and their Behaviour in the Public Worship of God.

WHen the congregation is to meet for Public Worship, the people (having before prepared their hearts thereunto) ought all to come, and join therein: not absenting themselves from the Public Ordinances, through negligence, or upon pretence of Private meetings.

Let all enter the Assembly, not irreverently, but in a grave and seemly manner, taking their seats or places without Adoration, or Bowing themselves towards one place or other. {10}

The congregation being assembled, the Minister, after solemn calling on them to the worshipping of the great name of God, is to begin with Prayer;

In all Reverence and Humility acknowledging the incomprehensible Greatness and Majesty of the Lord, (in whose presence they do then in a special manner appear) and their own vileness and unworthiness to approach so near him; with their utter inability of themselves to so great a Work: And humbly beseeching him for Pardon, Assistance, and Acceptance in the whole Service then to be performed; and for a Blessing on that particular portion of his Word then to be read: And all, in the Name and Mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Public Worship being begun, the people are wholly to attend upon it, forbearing to Read any thing, except what the Minister is then reading or citing: and abstaining much more from all private whisperings, conferences, salutations, or doing reverence to any person present, or coming in; as also from all gazing, {11} sleeping, and other indecent behaviour, which may disturb the Minister or people, or hinder themselves or others in the service of God.

If any, through necessity be hindered from being present at the beginning, they ought not, when they come into the Congregation, to betake themselves to their private Devotions, but reverently to compose themselves to join with the Assembly, in that Ordinance of God which is then in hand.


Of Public Reading of the holy Scriptures.

REading of the Word in the Congregation, being part of the public Worship of God, (wherein we acknowledge our dependence upon him, and subjection to him,) and one Means sanctified by him for the edifying of his People, is to be performed by the Pastors and Teachers.

Howbeit, such as intend the Ministry, may occasionally both read the Word, and exercise their gift in Preaching in the Congregation, if allowed by the Presbytery thereunto.

All the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament (but none of those which are commonly called Apocrypha) shall be publicly read in the vulgar Tongue, out of the best allowed Translation, distinctly, that all may hear and understand.

How large a portion shall be read at once, is left to the wisdom of the Minister: But it is convenient that ordinarily one Chapter of each Testament be read at every meeting; and sometimes more, where the Chapters be short, or the coherence of matter requireth it. {12}

It is requisite that all the Canonical Books be read over in order, that the people may be better acquainted with the whole Body of the Scriptures; And ordinarily, where the reading in either Testament endeth on one Lord’s day, it is to begin the next.

We commend also the more frequent reading of such Scriptures, as he that readeth shall think best for edification of his Hearers, as the Book of Psalms and such like.

When the Minister, who readeth, shall judge it necessary to expound any part of what is read, let it not be done until the whole Chapter or Psalm be ended: and regard is always to be had unto the time, that neither Preaching, nor other Ordinances be straitened, or rendered tedious.  Which Rule is to be observed in all other public performances.

Beside Public Reading of the Holy Scriptures, every person that can read, is to be exhorted to read the Scriptures 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 Public Prayer before the Sermon.

AFter 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 mourn 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: {13}

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 rebellions 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 aggravations, we having broken all the Commandments of the holy, just, and good Law of God, doing that which is forbidden, and leaving undone what is enjoined; and that not only out of Ignorance and Infirmity, 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 Invitations 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, barrenness, our not endeavouring after mortification and newness of life; nor after the exercise of godliness in the power thereof; and that the best of us have not so steadfastly 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 Congregation 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 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 conversation 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 deliverance of the distressed Churches abroad from the tyranny of the Antichristian faction, and from the cruel oppressions and blasphemies of the Turk; For the blessing of God upon 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 particularly 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, profaneness, 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 Religion and Righteousness, save him from evil Counsel, and make him a blessed and glorious Instrument for the Conservation and Propagation of the Gospel, for the encouragement 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 of the afflicted Queen of Bohemia, sister to our Sovereign, and for the restitution and establishment of the illustrious Prince Charles, Elector Palatine of the Rhine, to all his Dominions and Dignities; For a blessing upon the high Court of Parliament, (when sitting in any of these Kingdoms respectively) the Nobility, the subordinate Judges and Magistrates, the Gentry, and all the Commonalty; 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 follow all their labours with abundance of success and blessing; and give unto all his people Pastors according to his own heart; For the Universities, and all Schools and Religious seminaries of Church and Common-wealth, 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 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 reverent and conscionable use of his holy Ordinances; 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, public 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 our selves 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 circumcise 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 hardness 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 Public 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.


Of the Preaching of the Word.

PReaching 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. {25}

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 handmaids 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 public 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 he 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 and 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 {26} 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.

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 Scripture 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 soever, 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 of the Hearers, seem to arise, it is very requisite to remove 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 {27} 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 Word of God to be quick and powerful, and 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 public 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 {28} also show the danger his hearers are in to be overtaken and surprized 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 prosecute every Doctrine which lies in his Text, so is he wisely to make a 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.

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. {29}

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, [1 Cor. 2.4,] lest the Cross of Christ should be made of none effect, [1 Cor. 1.17]: 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 or 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 promote 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; showing all due respect to each man’s person and place, and not mixing his own passion or bitterness.

  5. Gravely, as becometh the Word of God; shunning all such gesture, voice, and expressions, as may occasion the corruptions of men to despise him and his Ministry.

  6. With loving affection, that the People may see all coming from his godly zeal, and hearty desire to do them good.  And

  7. As taught of God, and persuaded in his own heart, that all that he teacheth, is the truth of Christ; & walking {30} before his flock, as an example to them in it; earnestly, both in private and public, recommending his labours to the blessing of God, and watchfully looking to himself and the flock whereof the Lord hath made him overseer; So shall the Doctrine of Truth be preserved uncorrupt, many souls converted and built up, and himself receive manifold comforts of his labours, even in this life, and afterward the Crown of Glory laid up for him in the world to come.

Where there are more Ministers in a Congregation than one, and they of different gifts, each may more especially apply himself to Doctrine or Exhortation, according to the gift wherein he most excelleth, and as they shall agree between themselves.


Of Prayer after the Sermon.

THe Sermon being ended, the Minister is;

To give thanks for the great Love of God in sending his Son Jesus Christ unto us; For the communication of his Holy Spirit; For the light and liberty of the glorious Gospel, and the rich and heavenly Blessings revealed therein; as namely, Election, Vocation, Adoption, Justification, Sanctification, and hope of Glory; For the admirable goodness of God in freeing the Land from Antichristian Darkness and Tyranny, and for all other National Deliverances; For the Reformation of Religion; For the Covenant; and for many temporal Blessings.

To pray for the continuance of the Gospel, and all Ordinances thereof, in their purity, power, and liberty.  To turn the chief and most useful heads of the Sermon into some few Petitions: and to pray that it may abide in the heart, and bring forth fruit.

To pray for preparation for Death, and Judgment, and a watching for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  To entreat of God the forgiveness of the iniquities of our holy things, and the acceptation of our spiritual sacrifice, through the merit and mediation of our great High-Priest and Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ.

And because the Prayer which Christ taught his Disciples, is not only a Pattern of Prayer, but itself a most {32} comprehensive Prayer, we recommend it also to be used in the Prayers of the Church.

And whereas, at the Administration of the Sacraments, the holding Public Fasts and days of Thanksgiving, and other special occasions, which may afford matter of special Petitions and Thanksgivings; It is requisite to express somewhat in our Public Prayers (as at this time it is our duty to pray for a blessing upon the Assembly of Divines, the Armies by Sea and Land, for the defence of the King, Parliament, and Kingdom,) Every minister is herein to apply himself, in his Prayer, before or after his Sermon, to those occasions; but for the manner, he is left to his liberty, as God shall direct and enable him, in piety and wisdom to discharge his duty.

The prayer ended, let a Psalm be sung, if with conveniency it may be done.  After which (unless some other Ordinance of Christ that concerneth the Congregation at that time, be to follow) let the Minister dismiss the Congregation with a solemn Blessing.


The Administration of

The Sacraments.

And first,

Of Baptism.

BAptism, as it is not unnecessarily to be delayed, so, it is not to be administered in any case by any private person, but by a Minister of Christ, called to be the Steward of the Mysteries of God.

Nor is it to be administered in private places, or {33} privately, but in the place of Public Worship, and in the face of the Congregation, where the people may most conveniently see and hear; and not in the places where Fonts in the time of Popery, were unfitly and superstitiously placed.

The Child to be Baptized, after notice given to the Minister the day before, is to be presented by the Father, or (in case of his necessary absence) by some Christian friend in his place, professing his earnest desire that the Child may be Baptized.

Before Baptism, the Minister is to use some words of Instruction, touching the Institution, Nature, Use, and ends of this Sacrament: Showing,

That it is Instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ: That it is a Seal of the Covenant of Grace, of our Ingrafting into Christ, and of our Union with him, of Remission of Sins, Regeneration, Adoption, and Life eternal: That the water in Baptism, representeth and signifieth, both the Blood of Christ which taketh away all guilt of Sin, Original and Actual, and the sanctifying virtue of the Spirit of Christ against the Dominion of Sin, and the corruption of our sinful Nature: That Baptizing, or sprinkling and washing with water signifieth the cleansing from sin by the Blood and for the Merit of Christ, together with the Mortification of sin, and rising from sin to Newness of life, by virtue of the Death and Resurrection of Christ: That the Promise is made to Believers and their seed, and that the seed and posterity of the faithful, born within the Church, have by their birth, interest in the Covenant, and right to the Seal of it, and to the outward Privileges of the Church, under the Gospel, no less than the Children of Abraham in the time of the Old Testament; the Covenant of Grace, for substance, being the same; and the Grace of God, and the consolation of Believers, more plentiful than before: That the Son of God admitted little children into his presence, embracing and blessing them, saying, For of such is the Kingdom of God: That children by Baptism are solemnly received into the bosom of the visible Church, distinguished from the world, and them that are without, and united with Believers; and that all who are Baptized in the Name of Christ, do renounce, and by their Baptism are bound to fight against the Devil, the World, and the Flesh: That they are Christians, and fœderally holy before Baptism, and therefore are they Baptized: That the inward Grace and virtue of Baptism is not tied to that very moment of time wherein it is administered, and that the fruit and power thereof reacheth to the whole course of our life; and that outward Baptism is not so necessary, that through the want thereof the Infant is in danger of Damnation, or the Parents guilty, if they do not contemn or neglect the Ordinance of Christ when and where it may be had.

In these or the like Instructions, the Minister is to use his own liberty and godly wisdom, as the Ignorance or Errors in the Doctrine of Baptism, and the Edification of the people shall require.

He is also to admonish all that are present;

To look back to their Baptism; to repent of their sins against their Covenant with God; to stir up their Faith; to improve and make right use of their Baptism; and of the Covenant sealed thereby betwixt God and their souls.

He is to exhort the Parent;

To consider the great mercy of God to him and his child; To bring up the child in the knowledge of the grounds of the Christian Religion, & in the nurture & admonition of the Lord; And to let him know the danger of God’s wrath to himself and child, if he be negligent: Requiring his solemn promise for the performance of his duty.

This being done, Prayer is also to be joined with the word of Institution, for sanctifying the water to this spiritual use, & the Minister is to pray to this or the like effect; {37}

That the Lord who hath not left us as strangers without the Covenant of Promise, but called us to the privileges of his Ordinances, would graciously vouchsafe to sanctify and bless his own Ordinance of Baptism at this time: That he would join the inward Baptism of his Spirit with the outward Baptism of Water; make this Baptism to the Infant a Seal of Adoption, Remission of Sin, Regeneration, and Eternal Life, and all other Promises of the Covenant of Grace: That the Child may be planted into the likeness of the Death and Resurrection of Christ; and that the body of sin being destroyed in him, he may serve God in newness of life all his days.

Then the Minister is to demand the Name of the Child, which being told him, he is to say (calling the Child by his Name)

I Baptize thee in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

As he pronounceth these words, he is to Baptize the Child with water: which, for the manner of doing of it, is not only lawful, but sufficient, and most expedient to be, by pouring or sprinkling of the water on the face of the Child, without adding any other Ceremony.

This done, he is to give thanks and pray, to this or the like purpose;

Acknowledging with all thankfulness, that the Lord is true and faithful in keeping Covenant and Mercy; That he is good and gracious, not only in that he numbereth us among his Saints, but is pleased also to bestow upon our children this singular token and badge of his love in Christ: That in his truth and special providence, he daily bringeth some into the bosom of his Church, to be partakers of his inestimable benefits, purchased by the Blood of his dear Son, for the continuance and increase of his Church.

And praying, That the Lord would still continue, and daily confirm more and more this his unspeakable favour: That he would receive the Infant now Baptized, and solemnly entered into the household of Faith, into his Fatherly tuition and defence, and remember him with the favour that he sheweth to his people; That if he shall be taken out of this life in his Infancy, the Lord, who is rich in mercy, would be pleased to receive him up into glory; and if he live, and attain the years of discretion, that the Lord would so teach him by his Word and Spirit, and make his Baptism effectual to him, and so uphold him by his Divine power and grace, that by Faith he may prevail against the devil, the world, and the flesh, till in the end he obtain a full and final victory, and so be kept by the power of God through Faith unto salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. [1 Pet. 1.5.]


Of the celebration of the Communion,



THe Communion, or Supper of the Lord is frequently to be celebrated; but how often, may be considered and determined by the Ministers and other Church-Governours of each Congregation, as they shall find most convenient for the comfort and edification of the people committed to their charge.  And when it shall be administered, we judge it convenient to be done after the morning Sermon.

The Ignorant and the Scandalous are not fit to receive this Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

Where this Sacrament cannot with convenience be frequently administered, it is requisite that public warning be given the Sabbath day before the administration thereof: and that either then, or on some day of that week, something concerning that Ordinance, and the due preparation thereunto, and participation thereof be taught, that by the diligent use of all means sanctified of God to that end, both in public and private, all may come better prepared to that heavenly Feast.

When the day is come for administration, the Minister, having ended his Sermon and Prayer, shall make a short Exhortation,

Expressing the inestimable benefit we have by this Sacrament; together with the ends and use thereof: setting forth the great necessity of having our comforts and strength renewed thereby in this our pilgrimage and warfare: How necessary it is that we come unto it with Knowledge, Faith, Repentance, Love, and with hungering and thirsting souls after Christ and his benefits: How great the danger, to eat and drink unworthily.

Next, he is, in the Name of Christ, on the one part, to warn all such as are Ignorant, Scandalous, Profane, or that live in any sin or offence against their knowledge or conscience, that they presume not to come to that holy Table, showing them, That he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself: And, on the other part, he is in an especial manner to invite and encourage all that labour under the sense of the burden of their sins, and fear of wrath, and desire to reach out unto a greater progress in grace than yet they can attain unto, to come to the Lord’s Table; assuring them, in the same Name, of ease, refreshing, and strength to their weak and wearied souls.

After this Exhortation, Warning, and Invitation, the Table being before decently covered, and so conveniently placed, that the Communicants may orderly sit about it, or at it, The Minister is to begin the action with sanctifying and blessing the elements of Bread and Wine set before him, (the Bread in comely and convenient vessels, so prepared, that being broken by him, and given, it may be distributed amongst the Communicants; The Wine also in large Cups;) having first in a few words showed, That those elements, otherwise common, are now set apart and sanctified to this holy use, by the word of Institution and Prayer.

Let the words of Institution be read out of the Evangelists, or out of the first Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians, Chap. 11. verse 23, I have received of the Lord, &c. to the 27th verse, which the Minister may, when he seeth requisite, explain, and apply.

Let the Prayer, Thanksgiving, or Blessing of the Bread and Wine, be to this effect;

WIth humble and hearty acknowledgment of the greatness of our misery, from which neither man nor Angel was able to deliver us, and of our great unworthiness of the least of all God’s mercies; To give thanks to God for all his benefits, and especially for that great benefit of our Redemption, the love of God the Father, the sufferings and merits of the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, by which we are delivered; and for all means of Grace, the Word and Sacraments, and for this Sacrament in particular, by which Christ and all his benefits are applied and sealed up unto us, which, notwithstanding the denial of them unto others, are in great mercy continued unto us, after so much and long abuse of them all.

To profess that there is no other name under Heaven, by which we can be saved, but the Name of Jesus Christ, by whom alone we receive liberty and life, have access to the Throne of Grace, are admitted to eat and drink at his own Table, and are sealed up by his Spirit to an assurance of happiness and everlasting life.

Earnestly to pray to God, the Father of all mercies, and God of all consolation, to vouchsafe his gracious presence, and the effectual working of his Spirit in us, and so to sanctify these Elements both of Bread and Wine, and to bless his own Ordinance, that we may receive by Faith the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ crucified for us, and so to feed upon him, that he may be one with us, and we with him, that he may live in us, and we in him, and to him, who hath loved us, and given himself for us.

All which he is to endeavour to perform with suitable affections, answerable to such an holy Action, and to stir up the like in the people.

The Elements being now sanctified by the Word and Prayer, The Minister, being at the Table, is to take the Bread in his hand, & say, in these expressions, (or other the like, used by Christ, or his Apostle upon this occasion:)

According to the holy Institution, command, and example of our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, I take this Bread and, having given thanks, I break it, and give it unto you,

(There the Minister, who is also himself to communicate, is to break the Bread, and give it to the Communicants:)

Take ye, eat ye; This is the Body of Christ which is broken for you, Do this in remembrance of him.

In like manner the Minister is to take the Cup, and say, in these expressions, (or other the like, used by Christ, or the Apostle upon the same occasion;)

According to the Institution, command, and example of our Lord Jesus Christ, I take this Cup, and give it unto you

( Here he giveth it to the communicants, )

This Cup is the new Testament in the Blood of Christ, which is shed for the remission of the sins of many; Drink ye all of it.

After all have communicated, the Minister may, in a few words, put them in mind,

Of the grace of God in Jesus Christ held forth in this Sacrament, and exhort them to walk worthy of it.

The Minister is to give solemn thanks to God,

For his rich mercy, and invaluable goodness, vouchsafed to them in that Sacrament, and to entreat for pardon for the defects of the whole service, and for the gracious assistance 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 public worship be thereby hindered.


Of the Sanctification of the Lord’s day.

THe Lord’s day ought to be so remembered before-hand, 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 sanctifying of the Day when it comes.

The whole day is to be celebrated as holy to the Lord, both in public and private, as being the Christian Sabbath.  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 public {47} worship of God, nor any other person hindered from the sanctifying that Day.

That there be private preparations of every person and family, by prayer for themselves, and for God’s assistance of the Minister, and for a blessing upon his Ministry, and by such other holy exercises, as may further dispose them to a more comfortable communion with God in his public Ordinances.

That all the people meet so timely for public Worship, that the whole Congregation may be present at the beginning, and with one heart solemnly join together in all parts of the public Worship; and not depart till after the Blessing.

That what time is vacant, between or after the solemn meetings of the Congregation in public, be spent in Reading, Meditation, Repetition of Sermons; (especially, by calling their families to an account of what they have heard,) and catechising of them, holy conferences, Prayer for a blessing upon the Public Ordinances, singing of Psalms, visiting the sick, relieving the poor, and such like duties of piety, charity, and mercy, accounting the Sabbath a delight.


The Solemnization of Marriage.

ALthough Marriage be no Sacrament, nor peculiar to the Church of God, but common to mankind, and of Public interest in every Commonwealth; yet because such 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 blessing {48} of God upon them therein; we judge it expedient, that Marriage be solemnized by a lawful Minister of the Word, that he may accordingly counsel them, and pray for a blessing 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 Sabbath-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 made 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 shall 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. {49}

After the purpose or contract of Marriage hath been thus published, the Marriage is not to be long deferred.  Therefore, the Minister, having had convenient warning, and nothing being objected to hinder it, is publicly to solemnize it in the place appointed by Authority for public 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 Public humiliation.  And we advise that 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 sins, whereby we have made ourselves less than the least of all the mercies of God, and provoked him to embitter all our comforts, earnestly in the name of Christ to entreat the Lord (whose presence and favour 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 Graces, whereby they may perform the duties, enjoy the comforts, undergo the cares, and resist the temptations which accompany that condition, as becometh Christians.

The prayer being ended, it is convenient that the Minister do briefly declare unto them, out of the Scripture,

The Institution, Use, and ends of Marriage, with the Conjugal 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, sanctifying God’s Name in a thankful, sober, and holy use of all Conjugal comforts, praying much with, and for, one another; watching over, and provoking each other to love and good works; and to live together as the heirs of the grace of life. [1 Pet. 3.7.]

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 acknowledged) shall cause, first the man to take the woman by the right hand, saying these words,

I N. do take thee N. to be my married wife, and do, in the presence of God, and before this Congregation, promise & covenant to be a loving and faithful husband unto thee, until God shall separate us by death.

Then the woman shall take the man by the right hand, and say these words,

I N. 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 shall, in the face of the Congregation, pronounce them to be husband and wife, according to God’s Ordinance; and so conclude the action with Prayer to this effect,

That the Lord would be pleased to accompany his own Ordinance with his blessing, 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 Visitation of the Sick.

IT is the duty of the minister not only to teach the people committed to his charge, in public, 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 purpose, they are often to confer with their Minister about the estate of their souls; and, in times of sickness 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 {53} season to weary souls: 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 apply 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 sickness, instruct him out of Scripture, that diseases 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 smitten by them.  And that whether it be laid upon him out of displeasure for sin, for his correction and amendment, or for Trial, and exercise of his graces, or for other special and excellent ends, all his sufferings shall turn to his profit, and work together for his good, if he sincerely labour to make a sanctified use of God’s Visitation, neither despising his chastening, nor waxing weary of his correction.

If he suspect him of ignorance, he shall examine him in the Principles of Religion, especially touching Repentance and Faith; and, as he seeth cause, instruct him in the nature, use, excellency, and necessity of those graces; as also touching the Covenant of Grace; and Christ the Son of God, the Mediator of it, and concerning Remission of sins by faith in him.

He shall exhort the sick person to examine himself, to search and try his former ways, and his estate towards God.

And if the sick person shall declare any scruple, doubt or temptation that are upon him, instructions and resolutions shall be given to satisfy and settle him. {54}

If it appear that he hath not a due sense of his sins, endeavours ought to be used to convince him of his sins, of the guilt and desert of them; of the filth and pollution which the soul contracts by them; and of the curse of the Law, and wrath of God, due to them; that he may be truly affected with, and humbled for them: and withal make known the danger of deferring Repentance, and of neglecting salvation at any time offered; to awaken his Conscience, and rouse him up out of a stupid and secure condition, to apprehend the Justice and wrath of God, before whom none can stand, but he that being lost in himself, layeth hold upon Christ by Faith.

If he hath endeavoured to walk in the ways of holiness, and to serve God in uprightness, although not without many failings and infirmities; or if his spirit be broken with the sense of sin, or cast down through want of the sense of God’s favour; then it will be fit to raise him up, by setting before him the freeness and fulness of God’s grace, the sufficiency of righteousness in Christ, the gracious offers in the Gospel, that all who repent, and believe with all their heart in God’s mercy through Christ, renouncing their own righteousness, shall have life and salvation in him.  It may be also useful to show him, that death hath in it no Spiritual evil to be feared by those that are in Christ, because sin, the sting of death, is taken away by Christ, who hath delivered all that are his from the bondage of the fear of death, triumphed over the grave, given us victory, is Himself entered into glory, to prepare a place for his people: So that neither life nor death shall be able to separate them from God’s love in Christ, in whom such are sure, though now they must be laid in the dust, to obtain a joyful and glorious resurrection to eternal life. {55}

Advice also may be given, as to beware of an ill-grounded persuasion on mercy, or on the goodness of his condition for heaven, so to disclaim all merit in himself, and to cast himself wholly upon God for mercy, in the sole Merits and Mediation of Jesus Christ, who hath engaged himself never to cast off them, who in truth and sincerity come unto him.  Care also must be taken that the sick person be not cast down into despair by such a severe representation of the wrath of God due to him for his sins, as is not mollified by a seasonable propounding of Christ and his Merit for a door of hope to every penitent Believer.

When the sick person is best composed, may be least disturbed, and other necessary offices about him least hindered, the Minister, if desired, shall pray with him, and for him, to this effect;

Confessing and bewailing of sin Original and Actual, the miserable condition of all by nature, as being Children of Wrath and under the Curse, acknowledging that all diseases, sicknesses, death, and hell itself, are the proper issues and effects thereof: Imploring God’s mercy for the sick person through the Blood of Christ; beseeching that God would open his eyes, discover unto him his sins, cause him to see himself lost in himself, make known to him the cause why God smiteth him, reveal Jesus Christ to his soul for Righteousness and Life, give unto him his Holy Spirit, to create and strengthen faith, to lay hold upon Christ, to work in him comfortable evidences of his love, to arm him against Temptations, to take off his heart from the world, to sanctify his present Visitation, to furnish him with patience and strength to bear it, and to give him perseverance in Faith to the end.

That if God shall please to add to his days, he would vouchsafe to bless and sanctify all means of his recovery, to remove the disease, renew his strength, and enable him to walk worthy of God, by a faithful remembrance, and diligent observing of such vows and promises of holiness and obedience, as men are apt to make in times of sickness, that he may glorify God in the remaining part of his life.

And if God have determined to finish his days by the present Visitation, he may find such evidence of the pardon of all his sins, of his interest in Christ, and Eternal life by Christ, as may cause his inward man to be renewed, while his outward man decayeth; that he may behold Death without fear, cast himself wholly upon Christ without doubting, desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ, and so receive the end of his Faith, the salvation of his Soul, through the only Merits and Intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ, our alone Saviour and All-sufficient Redeemer.

The Minister shall admonish him also (as there shall be cause) to set his house in order, thereby to prevent inconveniences, to take care for payment of his debts, and to make restitution or satisfaction where he hath done any wrong, to be reconciled to those with whom he hath been at variance, and fully to forgive all men their trespasses against him, as he expects forgiveness at the hand of God.

Lastly, the Minister may improve the present occasion to exhort those about the sick person, to consider their own mortality, to return to the Lord and make Peace {58} with him; in health to prepare for sickness, death, and judgment; and all the days of their appointed time so to wait until their change come, that when Christ who is our life, shall appear, they may appear with him in glory.


Concerning Burial of the Dead.

WHen any person departeth this life, let the dead body, upon the day of Burial, be decently attended from the house to the place appointed for public Burial, and there immediately interred, without any Ceremony.

And because the custom of kneeling down, and praying by, or towards the dead Corpse, and other such usages, in the place where it lies, before it be carried to Burial, are Superstitious; and for that, praying, reading, and singing both in going to and at the Grave, have been grossly abused, are no way beneficial to the dead, and have proved many ways hurtful to the living, therefore let all such things be laid aside.

Howbeit, we judge it very convenient, that the Christian friends, which accompany the dead body to the place appointed for public Burial, do apply themselves to Meditations and Conferences suitable to the occasion: and, that the Minister, as upon other occasions, so at this time, if he be present, may put them in remembrance of their Duty.

That this shall not extend to deny any civil respects or deferences at the Burial, suitable to the rank and condition of the party deceased while he was living.


Concerning Public ſolemn Faſting.

WHen some great and notable Judgments are either inflicted upon a People, or apparently imminent, or by some extraordinary provocations notoriously deserved; as also, when some special Blessing is to be sought and obtained, Public solemn Fasting (which is to continue the whole Day) is a Duty that God expecteth from that Nation, or people.

A Religious Fast requires total abstinence, not only from all food (unless bodily weakness do manifestly disable from holding out till the Fast be ended, in which case somewhat may be taken, yet very sparingly, to support nature when ready to faint) but also from all worldly labour, discourses, and thoughts, and from all bodily delights, (although at other times lawful) rich apparel, ornaments and such like, during the Fast; and much more, from whatever is, in the nature, or use, scandalous and offensive, as garish [gaudish] attire, lascivious habits and gestures, and other vanities of either sex; which we recommend to all Ministers in their places, diligently and zealously to reprove, as at other times, so especially at a Fast, without respect of persons, as there shall be occasion.

Before the Public meeting, each Family, and person apart, are privately to use all religious care to prepare their hearts to such a solemn work; and, to be early at the Congregation.

So large a portion of the day, as conveniently may be, is to be spent in Public Reading, and Preaching of the Word, with singing of Psalms fit to quicken affections suitable to such a Duty; but especially in Prayer, to this or the like effect:

Giving glory to the great Majesty of God, the Creator, Preserver, and Supreme Ruler of all the World, the better to affect us thereby with an holy reverence and awe of Him;  Acknowledging his manifold, great, and tender mercies, especially to the Church and Nation, the more effectually to soften, and abase our hearts before him;  Humbly confessing of sins of all sorts, with their several aggravations: justifying God’s righteous Judgments, as being far less than our sins do deserve; yet humbly and earnestly imploring his mercy and grace for ourselves, the Church, and Nation, for our King, and all in authority, and for all others for whom we are bound to pray, (according as the present exigent requireth,) with more special importunity and enlargement than at other times:  Applying by Faith, the Promises and Goodness of God, for Pardon, help, and deliverance from the Evils felt, feared, or deserved; and for obtaining the blessings which we need and expect; together with a giving up of our selves wholly and for ever unto the Lord.

In all these, the Ministers, who are the mouths of the people unto God, ought so to speak from their hearts upon serious and thorough premeditation of them, that both themselves and their people may be much affected, and even melted thereby; especially with sorrow for their sins, that it may be indeed a Day of deep humiliation and afflicting of the soul.

Special choice is to be made of such Scriptures to be read, and of such Texts for Preaching, as may best work the hearts of the hearers to the special business of the day, and most dispose them to humiliation and repentance; insisting most on those particulars, which each Minister’s observation and experience tells him are most conducing to the edification, and reformation of that Congregation to which he preacheth.

Before the close of the Public Duties, the Minister is, in his own and the people’s names, to engage his and their hearts to be the Lord’s, with professed purpose and resolution to reform what ever is amiss among them, and more particularly such sins as they have been more remarkably guilty of; and to draw near unto God, and to walk more closely and faithfully with him in new obedience, than ever before.

He is also to admonish the people with all importunity, that the work of that day doth not end with the Public duties of it, but that they are so to improve the {62} remainder of the day, and of their whole life, in re-enforcing upon themselves and their families in private, all those godly affections and resolutions which they professed in public, as that they may be settled in their hearts for ever, and themselves may more sensibly find that God hath smelt a sweet savour in Christ from their performances, and is pacified towards them, by answers of Grace, in pardoning of sin, in removing of Judgments, in averting or preventing of plagues, and in conferring of blessings suitable to the conditions and prayers of his people, by Jesus Christ.

Besides solemn and general Fasts enjoined by Authority, we judge, that at other times, Congregations may keep days of Fasting, as Divine Providence shall administer unto them special occasion;  And also that Families may do the same, so it be not on days wherein the Congregation to which they do belong, is to meet for Fasting, or other public Duties of Worship.


Concerning the Observation of Days of Public Thanksgiving.

WHen any such Day is to be kept, let notice be given of it, and of the occasion thereof, some convenient time before, that the people may the better prepare themselves thereunto.

The Day being come, and the Congregation (after private preparations) being assembled, the Minister is to begin with a word of Exhortation to stir up the people to the Duty for which they are met, and with a short prayer for God’s assistance and blessing (as at other Conventions for Public Worship) according to the particular occasion of their meeting. {63}

Let him then make some pithy narration of the Deliverance obtained, or Mercy received, or of whatever hath occasioned that assembling of the Congregation, that all may better understand it, or be minded of it, and more affected with it.

And because singing of Psalms is of all other the most proper Ordinance for expressing of Joy and Thanksgiving, let some pertinent Psalm or Psalms be sung for that purpose, before or after the reading of some portion of the Word suitable to the present business.

Then let the Minister who is to preach, proceed to further Exhortation and Prayer before his Sermon, with special reference to the present work: after which let him preach upon some Text of Scripture pertinent to the occasion.

The Sermon ended, let him not only pray, as at other times after preaching is directed, with remembrance of the necessities of the Church, King, and State, (if before the Sermon they were omitted,) but enlarge himself in due & solemn Thanksgiving for former mercies and deliverances, but more especially for that which at the present calls them together to give thanks: with humble petition for the continuance and renewing of God’s wonted mercies, as need shall be, and for sanctifying grace to make a right use thereof.  And so, having sung another Psalm suitable to the mercy, let him dismiss the Congregation with a blessing, that they may have some convenient time for their repast and refreshing.

But the Minister (before their dismission) is solemnly to admonish them, to beware of all excess and riot, tending to gluttony or drunkenness, and much more of these sins themselves, in their eating and refreshing, and to take care that their mirth and rejoicing be not carnal, {64} but spiritual, which may make God’s praise to be glorious, and themselves humble and sober; and that both their feeding and rejoicing may render them more cheerful and enlarged further to celebrate his Praises in the midst of the Congregation, when they return unto it, in the remaining part of that Day.

When the Congregation shall be again assembled, the like course in praying, reading, preaching, singing of Psalms, and offering up of more praise and thanksgiving, that is before directed for the morning, is to be renewed and continued so far as the time will give leave.

At one or both of the public meetings that day, a collection is to be made for the poor, (and in the like manner upon the Day of Public Humiliation) that their loins may bless us, and rejoice the more with us.  And the people are to be exhorted at the end of the latter meeting, to spend the residue of that Day in holy duties, and testifications of Christian love and charity one towards another, and of rejoicing more and more in the Lord; as becometh those who make the joy of the Lord their strength.


Of Singing of Psalms.

IT is the duty of Christians to praise God publicly by singing of Psalms together in the Congregation, and also privately in the Family.

In singing of Psalms, the voice is to be tunably and gravely ordered: but the chief care must be, to sing with understanding, and with Grace in the heart, making melody unto the Lord.

That the whole Congregation may join herein, every {65} one that can read is to have a Psalm book, and all others not disabled by age, or otherwise, are to be exhorted to learn to read.  But for the present, where many in the Congregation cannot read, it is convenient that the Minister, or some other fit person appointed by him and the other Ruling Officers, do read the Psalm, line by line, before the singing thereof.


An Appendix Touching Days and
Places for Public VVorship.

THere is no Day commanded in Scripture to be kept holy under the Gospel, but the Lord’s day, which is the Christian Sabbath.

Festival days, vulgarly called Holy days, having no warrant in the word of God, are not to be continued.

Nevertheless it is lawful and necessary upon special emergent occasions, to separate a day or days for Public Fasting or Thanksgiving, as the several eminent and extraordinary dispensations of God’s providence shall administer cause and opportunity to his people.

As no place is capable of any holiness under pretence of whatsoever Dedication or Consecration, so neither is it subject to such pollution by any superstition formerly used and now laid aside, as may render it unlawful or inconvenient for Christians to meet together therein for the public worship of God.  And therefore we hold it requisite, that the places of public assembling for worship among us, should be continued and employed to that use.



Observations Relative to the Directory, by J. Kerr, 2018.

The above Directory occasions several observations concerning both its Scriptural and Reasonable provisions, and also the ways in which they are disregarded in these later times.  As will be evident from both the Directory itself, and from the various decisions to approve and enact the Directory by public authority, the intention of its authors was to institute such an order as would be acceptable and unifying to all Protestant churches, and particularly to the English-speaking national-churches looking to them for direction.  Sadly, our times show little evidence of the blessed success with which these efforts were formerly crowned.  The disorders of today’s undefinable Evangelicalism and sectarianized Presbyterianism present innumerable obstacles to the Christ-centered simplicity of Second-Reformation worship order.

While we are not willing to concede a defeat to those innumerable obstacles, knowing the Lord’s intention is yet to gather his people into a unity worthy of his Son and of his Name, (John 17, Zech. 14.9);  yet we will confine the present observations to specific items which are now in disorder among the better classes of Presbyterian churches in the present day: those churches least affected by the workings of internal schism and institutionalized sectarianism.  These items all exhibit the consequences of setting aside the Covenanted uniformity established by means of the above Directory, and of adopting newly drafted Worship Directories, Orders, and Liturgies to supersede (or rather supplant) the above simplicity and scriptural unity.

The above Directory, in its section titled Of Public Reading of the holy Scriptures, provides that the church should use “the best allowed translation” of the Bible.  To the present day, this remains the translation of 1611, in its official revision.  The reasons making it best have been discussed by many others elsewhere, and are worthy of careful study.  Without descending into such questions, it is observable that the various translations put in its place, are generally implemented with no uniformity in modern Presbyterian communions.  The fact is that there is no consensus that any of these replacements are “best,” and in many cases it cannot be said that they were ever “allowed” by authority.  The above Directory gives us no license to use them.  In this point, the observance of the Directory has a direct tendency to preserve unity among God’s people, and secure to the present and future generations a recognition of the Word of God as the Word of God, which serves for memorization, effective persuasion, and other purposes as well.  Urging the 1611 translation may be seen like a matter of contention because of the importunity or impatience of some; but in actual fact, it is those who bring in other translations who are causing divisions and offences. (Rom. 16.17.)

Next, it may seem at face-value that our Directory provides us nothing distinct in presenting to us a section Of the Preaching of the Word.  But it is highly advisable that the directions on Preaching and on structuring a sermon be examined and compared with modern homiletics.  In many cases, there is much to be learned which could wonderfully contribute to the building up of Christ’s flock, by sermons better designed with the application of doctrine to the many different needs of hearers.  The Directory gives instruction both concise and yet helpfully detailed.  Its authors were seeking to remedy both misguided extremes and shortcomings of their own day, and were not ignorant of the needfulness of keeping their hearers’ attention, addressing them at their capacity, or setting matters forth so as to secure essential points in their hearers’ memories.

Compared to practices now popular, our Directory gives distinctly different direction, and exhibits a doctrine now contradicted, when it comes to church Collections.  It is now asserted by many that monetary collections or offerings are an element of public worship, and should be implemented as such in the Church’s ritual.  The above Directory makes little mention of Collections, implying that collections for the poor and for special causes might have a place in the public gathering of God’s people (as the New Testament makes clear,) but that they are not part of the public worship.  We may infer the same from Paul’s directions in 1 Cor. 16.2.  Unless we choose to innovate on the public worship service, our best option is to make use of a collection box, and avoid the introduction of ceremonial “circumstances” which have proven a snare to those who now regard them as worship elements rather than circumstances.

In the matter of Marriage, our Directory is explicit that the simplicity of marriage, as an exchange of vows, with a solemnization or blessing, should be guarded particularly.  After the exchange of vows, its direction is that the minister pronounce the man and woman as husband and wife, “Without any further ceremony.”  This is intended to exclude the public exchange of rings in Marriage, as a superstitious corruption.  Given man’s tendency to superstition, and inclination to disregard the significance of these vows as constituting the actual marriage, it remains necessary at the present day to strictly observe the prohibition here instituted.

Perhaps a more important item on the topic of Marriage would be the vows themselves.  If we compare the Westminster Directory’s vows with those used in modern Reformed churches, we will notice a step of de-forming embraced by these churches, in which they have conformed to anti-Christian culture, and alienated themselves from the better standards of Christian culture.  In the 1640s it was expected that a woman would promise and covenant to be obedient to her husband, as well as loving and faithful.  But however awkward this may seem to modern Christians, it was not a peculiarity of puritan times.  The mainline Presbyterians in America continued to use the expression, loving, faithful, and obedient wife, in their Directory, at least into the mid-1800s.  Why is the change now near universal?  Does the Bible no longer include Titus 2:5 or similar passages?  From without, the force of feminism, and from within, the inclination to conform to the world, seem to be at work.  How serious is the matter?  It is this serious: changing marriage vows to reflect new concepts of the duties and purpose of marriage, effectively constitutes a re-defining of what marriage is.  Apostate “secular” culture has taken this to extremes that offend the Christian conscience.  But the Christian Church has taken it to an extreme that offends the Creator who first appointed marriage by his authority.

Our Directory gives an honourable place to the duty of Praising God in his worship.  The Directory’s authors seek to remedy both the carelessness of some congregations to do this solemnly, and the difficulty of other congregations to do it well.  These concerns are expressed in that the Directory requires that the voice be “tunably and gravely” ordered.  There are extremes in which congregations fail on either one side, or the other, or both; but while it is a matter of infirmity that some cannot sing tunably, it is not a mere infirmity that some will not sing gravely.  For many, the artfulness of the sound of the music has become a primary goal in the exercise of singing praise.  And sadly, psalm-books themselves reflect this.  There is no room for doubt: The endless multiplying of tunes, many of a complicated nature, and some of a nature far from grave, is the imbibing of the very spirit that will lead away from Psalm singing.  But the Westminster Directory is clearly prescribing a practice of Exclusive Psalmody, without the use of instrumental accompaniment; and this is the reason why the wording is changed in the later Directories of other churches.  Hymns of unscriptural authorship and authorization cannot be introduced otherwise.  Unity is broken, and Preference is embraced.  A Directory intended to sustain Uniformity cannot be valued if we pursue such selfish courses.  So it is set aside by many.  Finally, it is to be observed, that the reading of the lines or lining of the Psalms is an edifying and expedient practice, and even more so than what is expressed in the Directory’s simple provision.  Where it is, and where it is useful, it cannot be abolished without offence.  And where it is not in use, it ought to be introduced, or made affectionately familiar to worshippers, as a circumstance which tends to edification, and makes needless other circumstances which have no proper place in the worship of God.

In the Appendix to the Directory, we find that Holy Days, such as Christmas and Easter, are effectively abolished as no part of the worship of God.  In fact, they cannot be any part of the worship of God, because they are not instituted in his Word.  Later directories supplanting our Reformation Directory, might be able to leave out the prohibition, but they can never institute the practice of Holy Days as Scriptural.  In Presbyterian Scotland, this observation led to opposition to Holy Days in the year when her first General Assembly met in 1560, during the first Reformation; and also in the labors of the first General Assembly of the second Reformation, 1638.  Setting aside these superstitions is an obligation incorporated into the National Covenant of Scotland, where it renounces the Articles of Perth.  Further, an Act of the Church of Scotland from about the same time as our Directory, appoints that Church Censures would be used against any found guilty of keeping these days, especially scholars.  In England an Act For Abolishing Festivals was passed June 8, 1647, appointing that the days be no longer observed, and that a monthly day of recreation would be allowed to Scholars, Apprentices, and Servants instead.  “Superstition” was the concern in England too.  If it seems to some in our day that Christmas-keeping and Holy-Days can be allowed privately, in keeping with the above Directory; it remains a fact that such was not the judgment of those directed by the Reformation intentions that are expressed in the Directory.  The Presbyterians of the 1640s, whose labors were productive in a Reformation of the Church and elimination of Prayer-Book superstitions, were Presbyterians who would look upon Christmas-keeping on the part of their successors for whom they then labored, with the same concern as Paul in writing to the Galatians: But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.  I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. (Gal. 4.9-11.)

Moving on from the Directory itself, we note an observation from the General Assembly’s adopting Act (below) relative to the Lord’s Supper.  Although the language is not so confining in the Directory, it may be observed that the Church of Scotland was explicit that sitting at a table for the Lord’s Supper is not an indifferent matter.  Admitting it as a matter of “circumstance” as we might say, yet there is a right-and-wrong about the circumstances used in the sacrament.  A different posture, and a different location, could not be allowed, especially considering former abuses which made the Lord’s Supper into a ritual entirely different from its proper nature.  Readers may find it useful to consider a list of articles printed with the Acts of the General Assembly for February, 1645, titled, The opinion of the Committee for keeping the greater Uniformity in this Kirk, in the practice and observation of the Directory in some points of public Worship.  One other point suggested by this committee, and approved by the Assembly, was “That Congregations be still tried and examined before the Communion, according to the bygone practice of this Kirk.”

An item entirely omitted from our Directory, perhaps to the surprise of some, is the general public Absolution, or “Assurance of Pardon” now used in many Reformed churches, and newly brought into Presbyterian churches.  It would seem strange and extreme to condemn the reading of a verse of Scripture about forgiveness as “Assurance” during a worship service, but it is another innovation on the above order.  As an attempt to restore something missing from the “Liturgy” it can only be regarded as a self-condemning failure.  Either a general absolution is called for or it is not.  If it is not, there is no need to revert to the liturgical usages of pre-Reformation times.  But if the general absolution is called for, then all who learned this before us will be ready to tell Presbyterians that it requires more than reading a comforting verse of Scripture.  Really, nothing needful is missing from the “Liturgy” in the above Directory.  But it may be that something is missing from the sermon, and this makes Presbyterians ready to grasp at the modern substitute for a general absolution.  The general declaration of forgiveness, scoped with reference to the penitent people of God coming to him for the pardon of their sins, should be a frequent item, carefully and solemnly presented, in the preaching of the Word of God.  If it is not, then it is the fault of preachers, when their hearers either struggle with personal Assurance, or else incline to seek innovations in worship giving them a feeling of comfort they could not find in the sermon.  In sum, the “Word of Assurance” or “Assurance of Pardon” is a disorder to be remedied not by eliminating the reading or concept, but by restoring it to its place: the public preaching of the Gospel of Jesus.  Or, if it seems that something considerable is omitted from the modern church service in the matter of “binding and loosing,” (Matthew 18.18,) we should be assessing whether or not it is a culpable neglect of the use of Church Discipline in our churches.  And where this is the case, is it not this neglect which has led ministers and members to conclude that the Bible must be followed by way of these general and misdirected “loosings” called “assurance”?

All of these observations are offered as encouragements to return to the more Scriptural order which was formerly both the delight and the honor of the Presbyterian Church.  Of all churches, the Covenanters, or Reformed Presbyterians, should be most concerned to lead the way in this effort for reformation, restoration, and edifying uniformity.  As has been demonstrated, the setting aside of this Directory has involved Presbyterians, and even Covenanters, in several deviations from a Scriptural rule of worship.  Some of these involve matters which are circumstantial, yet sinful.  Others involve matters of will-worship, superstition, and idolatry.  After many generations of turning away from this Directory, some of us have become insensible of these things, even though our very Bibles point them out to us.  What are the reasons?  Two: (1) The turning away from our Directory was not a chance event, but was motivated by a desire to be free from its restrictions.  (2) The turning away from our Directory represents both schism and unthankfulness, which displease the Lord who formerly heard our fathers’ prayers as they Covenanted to pursue and adopt a Directory for Public Worship that was carefully brought into conformity with the Word of God.  If we consider these reasons why the Lord’s rewards for setting aside this Directory would not be blessings, and if we consider the many various fruits which this change has occasioned, even among those who hold a “Regulative Principle of Worship,” the inescapable conclusion is that we need to return to our covenanted order, and be thankful for the direction of an enlightened generation that preceded us.

J. T. Ker.


[ As Printed at London, for Evan Tyler, Alexander Bifield, Ralph Smith, and John Field; And are to be sold at the Sign of the Bible in Cornhill, neer the Royall-Exchange. 1644. ]

Die Veneris, 3. Januarii, 1644.

An Ordinance of Parliament for the taking away of the Book of Common-Prayer, and for the establishing and putting in execution of the Directory for the publique Worship of God.

THe Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, taking into serious consideration the manifold Inconveniences that have arisen by the Book of Common-Prayer in this Kingdom, and resolving, according to their Covenant, to reform Religion according to the Word of God, and the Example of the best Reformed Churches, have consulted with the Reverend, Pious and Learned Divines, called together to that purpose; And do judge it necessary that the said Book of Common-Prayer be abolished, & the Directory for the Publique Worship of God, herein after mentioned, be established and observed in all the Churches within this Kingdom: Be it therefore Ordained by the Lords and commons Assembled in Parliament, That the Statute of the second and third years of King Edward the sixth, Entitled, The Penalty for not using Uniformity of Service and Administration of Sacraments, &c. And the Statute of the fifth and sixth years of the same King, Entitled, Uniformity of Prayer, and Administration of Sacraments, shall be used in the Church; And so much of the Statute of the first year of Queen Elizabeth, Entitled, There shall be Uniformity of Prayer and Administration of Sacraments, as concerns the said Book of Common-Prayer, and the Uniformity of Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments; And so much of the Statute of the fifth year of the same Queen, Entitled, By whose Order, the Bible, and Book of Common-Prayer shall be Translated into the Welch Tongue, as concerns the Book of Common-Prayer; And so much of the Statute of the eighth year of the same Queen, Entitled, All Acts made by any person since Primo Eliz. for the Consecrating, Investing, &c. of any Archbishop, or Bishop, shall be good, as concerns the said Book;   Be, and stand from henceforth Repealed, void, and of none effect, to all intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever; And that the said book of Common-Prayer, shall not remain, or be from henceforth used in any Church, Chappell, or place of Publique Worship, within the Kingdom of England, or Dominion of Wales; And that the Directory for Publique Worship herein set forth, shall be henceforth used, pursued, and observed, according to the true intent and meaning of this Ordinance, in all Exercises of the Publique Worship of God, in every Congregation, Church, Chappell, and place of Publique Worship within this Kingdom of England, and Dominion of Wales; Which Directory for the Publique Worship of God, with the Preface thereof followeth.  And it is further Ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That there shall be provided at the charge of every Parish, or Chappelry in this Realm of England, and Dominion of Wales, a fair Register Book of Velum, to be kept by the Minister and other Officers of the Church; And that the Names of all Children Baptized, and of their Parents, and of the time of their Birth and Baptizing, shall be written and set down by the Minister therein; And also the Names of all persons Married there, and the time of their Marriage; And also the Names of all persons Buried in that Parish, and the time of their Death and Buriall: And that the said Book shall be shewed by such as keep the same, to all persons reasonably desiring to search for the Birth, Baptizing, Marriage, or Buriall of any person therein Registred, and to take a Copy, or procure a Certificate thereof.


[ As Printed at London, by M.B. and A.M. for the Company of Stationers. 1646. ]

Die Jovis, 13. Martii, 1644.

IT is this day Ordered by the Lords and Commons in Parliament Assembled, That this Directory, and Ordinance concerning it, be forthwith Printed and Published; wherein, Mr. Henry Robrough, and Mr. Adoniram Byfield, the Scribes of the Assembly of Divines, are required to use all possible care and diligence, that it be from time to time faithfully and exactly done.  And for preventing of all abuses therein; It is further Ordered, That no Person or Persons whatsoever, shall presume to Print or re-print the same, in any Volume, but only such as shall be appointed and Authorized thereunto by the said Scribes. And that no Person or Persons shall presume to Sell, Barter, or any way to spread or convey any Book, or Copies of the said Directory, printed without the the appointment abovesaid, upon pain of forfeiture, of the whole Impression, if any such be so Printed, and of all such Books or Copies thereof as shall be offered to Sale, Bartering, or be any other wayes spread abroad.  And all and every Person offending in any of the Premises, to be lyable to such further punishment, as the contempt of an Ordinance of Parliament shall deserve.

Jo. Brown, Cleric.


H Elſynge, Cler.
Parl. D. Com

[ As Printed at London, by T.W. for ED. HUSBAND, Printer to the Honorable House of Commons... 1646. ]

11. August, 1645.

An Ordinance of the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, For the more effectual putting in execution the Directory for Publique Worship, in all Parish Churches and Chappels within the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales: And for dispersing of them in all places and Parishes in England and Wales.

WHereas by an Ordinance of Parliament made the third day of January last past, and Entitled, An Ordinance of Parliament for the taking away the Book of Common-Prayer, and for establishing and putting in execution of the Directory for the Public Worship of God; It was (amongst other things therein contained) Ordained, That the said Book of Common-Prayer should not remain, or be from thenceforth used in any Church, Chapel or Place of Public Worship within the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales, and that the Directory for Public Worship, in the said recited Ordinance set forth, should be from thenceforth used, pursued and observed, according to the true intent and meaning of the said Ordinance, in all Exercises of the Public Worship of God in every Congregation, Church, Chapel and Place of Public Worship within this Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales; yet nevertheless in regard that in or by the said recited Ordinance, there was no special direction made or contained for the speedy dispersing of the said Directory into the several Parishes within the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales, and publishing of the same Directory, nor any punishment set down either for the using of the said Book of Common-Prayer, or for the Non-using or depraving of the said Directory, by means whereof there hath been as yet little fruit of the said Ordinance: The Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament taking the premises into serious consideration do Ordain, That the Knights and Burgesses of the several Counties shall send printed Books of the said Directory for God’s Worship, fairly bound up in Leather, unto the Committees of Parliament residing in the said several respective Counties, who shall with all convenient speed send the same, and cause them to be delivered unto the several respective Constables or other Officers of all the several Parishes and respective Chapelries and Donatives within the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales, and Port and Town of Berwick; (that is to say) One Book unto the respective Constables and other Officers of every one of the said Parishes, Chapelries and Donatives, to be paid for by the Inhabitants within the said several Parishes and Chapelries.

And it is further hereby Ordained by the Lords and Commons, That the several and respective Constables or other Officers, shall within one week after their receipts of the said Books of the Directory, deliver the said Books unto the several and respective Ministers of the said Parishes; upon pain, that every of the said Constables, or other Officers, that shall make default therein, shall forfeit and pay for every such default the sum of five shillings of lawful English money.

And it is further hereby Ordained by the said Lords and Commons, That the said several Ministers shall on the next Lords day after their receipt of the said Books of the Directory, before the Morning Sermon, openly read in their several Churches and Chapels, the said Directory for the Public Worship of God.

And it is further hereby Ordained by the said Lords and Commons, That if any person or persons whatsoever shall at any time or times hereafter use, or cause the aforesaid Book of Common-Prayer to be used, in any Church, Chapel or public place of Worship, or in any private place or Family, within the Kingdom of England or Dominion of Wales, or Port and Town of Berwick, That then every such person so offending therein, shall for the first offence forfeit and pay the sum of five pounds of lawful English money, for the second offence the sum of Ten pounds, and for the third offence shall suffer one whole years Imprisonment without Bail or Mainprize.

And it is further hereby Ordained by the said Lords and Commons, That the several and respective Ministers of all Parishes, Churches and Chapels within the said Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales, and Town and Port of Berwick, shall respectively from time to time, and at all times hereafter (as much as shall in them lie) pursue and observe the Directory for public Worship Established by Ordinance of Parliament, according to the true intent and meaning thereof.

And it is further Ordained, That every Minister which shall not henceforth pursue and observe the Directory for public Worship, according to the true intent and meaning thereof, in all exercises of the public Worship of God within this Realm of England and Dominion of Wales, and within the Town and Port of Berwick, shall for every time that he shall so offend, lose and forfeit the sum of Forty shillings of lawful English money.  And that what person soever shall with intent bring the said Directory into contempt and neglect, or to raise opposition against it, Preach, Write, Print, or cause to be written or printed any thing in the derogation or depraving of the said Book, or any thing therein contained, or any part thereof, shall lose and forfeit for every such offence, such a sum of money as shall at the time of his conviction be thought fit to be imposed upon him by those before whom he shall have his trial, provided that it be not less than five pounds, nor exceeding the sum of fifty pounds.

And be it further Ordained by the authority aforesaid, That no person or persons shall be at any time hereafter impeached or molested, of or for any of the offence last above mentioned, hereafter to be committed or done contrary to this Ordinance, unless he or they so offending be thereof indicted at the next or second general Sessions, to be holden before any Justice of Oyer and Terminer, or Justices of Assize, or before the Justices of Peace at their general quarter Sessions next, after any offence committed or done, contrary to the tenor of this Ordinance; and that he be thereof lawfully convicted according to the Laws of this Realm, by verdict of twelve men, or by his own confession.

Provided also, and be it Ordained by the authority aforesaid, That the Lord Mayor of London, and all other Mayors, Bailiffs, and all other head-Officers of all the singular Cities, Boroughs and Towns Corporate within this Realm and Dominion of Wales, to the which Justices of Assize do not commonly repair, and that have Commissions of the Gaol-delivery directed unto them, or are Counties of themselves, shall have full power and authority by virtue of this Ordinance, to inquire, hear and determine the offences aforementioned, and every of them yearly within fifteen days after the twenty fifth day of March, and the nine and twentieth day of September, in like manner and form as Justices of Assize, and Oyer and Terminer may do.

And it is further Ordained by the authority aforesaid, That all Mulcts and Penalties inflicted by this Ordinance, not exceeding the sum of five pounds, shall be levied and paid to the use of the poor of the Parish where the said offence hath been committed; and that all other fines exceeding the said sum of five pounds, shall be to the use of the poor of the County, City or Borough respectively, where the said offences shall be committed, to be disposed by the Justices of Peace, Mayors or Bailiffs respectively, at the next general Sessions, where and when the said sums shall be adjudged.

It is further Ordered and Ordained, That all Common-Prayer Books remaining in Parish Churches and Chapels, shall within a month after the publishing of this Ordinance, be by the Church-wardens, or Constables of the respective Parishes, under the penalty of forty shillings to be employed as aforesaid, carried unto the Committees of the respective Counties where they shall be found, to be disposed of as the Parliament shall direct.


[ As Printed with above Edinburgh 1645 printing of the Directory, immediately before the Preface. ]

Act of the Generall Assembly of the Kirk
of Scotland, for the establishing and putting
in execution of the
Directory for
the Publike Worship of God

Edinb. 3. Feb. 1645. Postm. Sess. X.

WHereas a happy Unity and Uniformity in Religion amongst the Kirks of Christ in these three Kingdoms, united under one Sovereign, having been long and earnestly wished for by the godly and well-affected amongst us, was propounded as a main Article of the large Treaty, without which Band and Bulwark no safe well-grounded and lasting Peace could be expected; And afterward with greater strength and maturity, revived in the Solemn League and Covenant of the three Kingdoms; whereby they stand straitly obliged to endeavour the nearest Uniformity in one form of Church-government, Directory of Worship, Confession of Faith, and form of Catechising: Which hath also before and since our entering into that Covenant, been the matter of many Supplications and Remonstrances, and sending Commissioners to the King’s Majesty, of Declarations to the Honourable Houses of the Parliament of England, and of Letters to the Reverend Assembly of Divines, and others of the Ministry of the Kirk of England, being also the end of our sending Commissioners, as was desired, from this Kirk, with Commission to treat of Uniformity in the four particulars afore-mentioned, with such Committees as should be appointed by both houses of the Parliament of England, and by the Assembly of Divines sitting at Westminster: And besides all this, it being, in point of conscience the chief motive and end of our adventuring upon manifold and great hazards, for quenching the devouring flame of the present unnatural and bloody War in England, though to the weakening of this Kingdom within itself, and the advantage of the enemy which hath invaded it, accounting nothing too dear to us, so that this our joy be fulfilled.  And now this great Work being so far advanced, that a Directory for the public Worship of God in all the three Kingdoms, being agreed upon by the honourable Houses of the Parliament of England, after consultation with the Divines of both Kingdoms there assembled, and sent to us for our approbation, that being also agreed upon by this Kirk and Kingdom of Scotland, it may be in the name of both Kingdoms presented to the King, for his Royal consent and Ratification; The General Assembly having most seriously considered, revised, and examined the Directory afore-mentioned, after several public readings of it, after much deliberation, both publicly and in private Committees, after full liberty given to all to object against it, and earnest invitations of all who have any scruples about it to make known the same, that they might be satisfied; Doth unanimously, and without a contrary Voice, Agree to, and Approve the following Directory, in all the heads thereof, together with the Preface set before it: And doth Require, Decern, and Ordain, That, according to the plain tenor and meaning thereof, and the intent of the Preface, it be carefully and uniformly observed and practised by all the Ministers and others within this Kingdom, whom it doth concern; which practice shall be begun, upon Intimation given to the several Presbyteries, from the Commissioners of this General Assembly, who shall also take special care for timeous Printing of this Directory, that a Printed Copy of it be provided and kept for the use of every Kirk in this Kingdom; Also that each Presbyterie have a Printed Copy thereof for their use, and take special notice of the Observation or neglect thereof in every Congregation within their bounds, and make known the same to the Provincial or General Assembly, as there shall be cause.  Provided always, that the Clause in the Directory, of the Administration of the Lord’s Supper, which mentioneth the Communicants sitting about the Table, or at it, be not interpreted, as if in the judgment of this Kirk, it were indifferent, and free for any of the Communicants, not to come to, and receive at the Table; or as if we did approve the distributing of the Elements by the Minister to each Communicant, and not by the Communicants among themselves.  It is also provided, That this shall be no prejudice to the order and practice of this Kirk, in such particulars as are appointed by the Books of Discipline, and Acts of General Assemblies, and are not otherwise ordered and appointed in the Directory.

Finally, The Assembly doth with much joy and thankfulness acknowledge the rich Blessing and invaluable Mercy of God, in bringing the so much wished for Uniformity in Religion, to such a happy Period, that these Kingdoms, once at so great a distance in the Form of Worship, are now by the blessing of God brought to a nearer Uniformity than any other Reformed Kirks; which is unto us the return of our Prayers, and a lightening of our eyes, and reviving of our Hearts in the midst of our many sorrows and sufferings; a taking away in a great measure, the reproach of the People of God, to the stopping of the mouths of Malignant and dis-affected persons; and an opening unto us a door of hope, that God hath yet thoughts of Peace towards us, and not of evil, to give us an expected end:  In the expectation and confidence whereof we do rejoice, beseeching the Lord to preserve these Kingdoms from Heresies, Schisms, Offences, Profaneness, and whatsoever is contrary to sound Doctrine, and the power of Godliness, and to continue with us and the generations following, these his pure and purged Ordinances, together with an increase of the power and life thereof, To the glory of his great Name, the enlargement of the Kingdom of his Son, the corroboration of Peace and Love between the Kingdoms, the unity and comfort of all his People, and our edifying one another in love.


[ As Printed with above Edinburgh 1645 printing of the Directory, being the third item after the outer title page. ]

An Act of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Scotland, approving and establishing the Directory for Publike Worship.

At Edinb. Feb. 6 1645.

THe Estates of Parliament now convened, in the second Session of this first Triennial Parliament, by virtue of the last Act of the last Parliament holden by his Majesty and the Three Estates, in Anno 1641; After public reading and serious consideration of the Act under-written of the General Assembly approving the following Directory for the Public Worship of God in the three Kingdoms, lately united by the solemn League and Covenant, Together with the Ordinance of the Parliament of England establishing the said Directory, and the Directory itself, Do heartily and cheerfully agree to the said Directory, according to the Act of the General Assembly approving the same.  Which Act, together with the Directory itself, the Estates of Parliament do, without a contrary voice, Ratify and approve in all the Heads and Articles thereof, And do interpone and add the authority of Parliament to the said Act of the General Assembly. And do Ordain the same to have the strength and force of a Law and Act of Parliament, and execution to pass thereupon for observing the said Directory, according to the said Act of the General Assembly in all points.

Alex. Gibsone, Cler. Registri.


[ As Printed with above Edinburgh 1645 printing of the Directory, being the first item after the outer title page. ]

[ Ordinance of the Committee of Estates concerning Printing the Directory. ]

Edinb. 14. April 1645.

THe Committee of Estates understanding from the Commissioners of the General Assembly, the abuses which may follow upon the Printing in this Kingdom of the Directory for Public worship without License, and upon the venting of such Copies thereof as are not Revised and Printed with Privilege here, Do therefore for preventing of all abuses therein Ordain, That no person or persons whatsoever presume to Print or re-Print The Directory for the Public Worship of God throughout the three Kingdoms in any Volume, but only such as shall have Licence thereunto from the General Assembly, or their Commission meeting at Edinburgh, or from such persons as shall have powers from the said Assembly or Commission to grant Licences for Printing the same: And that no person presume to Sell, Barter, or any way to spread or convey any Copies of the said Directory Printed without Licence aforesaid, Upon the pain of confiscation of the whole Impression, if any be so Printed, and of the Presses and Types of the Printers thereof, And of all such Books and Copies thereof as shall be offered to Sale, Bartering, or be any otherwise spread abroad:  And that beside further punishment to be infliced upon the offenders in any of the premises by the Lords of Secret Council or of the Committee of Estates, as that disobedience and contempt deserveth.  And that this Ordinance may come to the knowledge of all whom it doth concern, The Committee Ordains the same to be prefixed in Print to the said Directory, and to the Acts of Parliament and Assembly establishing the same Printed therewith, when they shall be Printed by the Order aforesaid; And that it be presently published at the Market Crosses of all the head Burrows within this Kingdom, that none pretend ignorance thereof.

Arch. Primerose.


[ As Printed with above Edinburgh 1645 printing of the Directory, being the second item after the outer title page. ]

[ Order of the Commissioners of the G.A. concerning Printing the Directory.]

Edinb. 27. Maii 1645. Postmeridiem.

THe Commissioners of the General Assembly having seriously considered the Printed Copie of the Directory for Publike Worship sent unto them from their Brethren now in England, And finding the same agreeable to the form approven in the late Generall Assembly, Do therefore according to the power committed to them by the said Assembly, Ordain and Require the said Directory for the Publike Worship of God to be forthwith practised and observed by all the Ministers and others within this Kirk whom it doth concern, And that all such Rules and practices be laid aside as may frustrate the intent of the Directory; And for this effect, It is also Ordained that this Directory with the Preface, Together with the Acts of the Generall Assembly and of the Parliament of this Kingdom establishing the same, be presently Printed for the use of this Kirk: Wherein M. Andrew Ker Clerk to the Commission of the Assembly is required to use all possible care and diligence; And he is hereby authorized with full power to cause Print and re-Print the same from time to time, as there shall be occasion.

A. Ker.

I do appoint Evan Tyler, his Majesties Printer, to Print this Directory, with the Acts of Parliament and Assembly concerning the same.          A. Ker.