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and Adoration, which is performed by the entire congregation, in the choral singing of the Psalm. Next, the Scriptures are read, * out of both Testaments ; after which, the minister offers up a prayer for illumination in the study of God's Word. To this he adds any special supplication, growing out of the subject of discourse, or otherwise appropriate, concluding with a general Thanksgiving and the Lord's Prayer. The Sermon (preceded by a hymn) stands in connection with the reading of Scripture, of which it is properly an exposition ; and with the prayer for illumination, which has reference to this exercise of meditation upon the Word of God. It is followed by the Prayer of Intercession, the highest act of the believer's worship, and that in which, so to speak, he ventures nearest to the Throne of Grace. This, with the Creed and Benediction, closes the ordinary service, when the Lord's Supper is not celebrated. Thus, entering the Divine Presence with invocation, hearkening to the commandments of the Law, joining in the confession of sins, and receiving the Gospel assur
* In the Genevan Liturgy, this reading of Scripture forms an introductory part of Divine Service, and precedes the Law and confession of sins. But that arrangement, it was justly remarked by the Divines of Neuchatel, in their admirable revision of the old Liturgy, was open to practical objections, and was a deviation from the known custom of the Primitive Church, where the reading of Scripture was always closely followed by the preaching. “It is by these reasons that the leaders of the churches of this State have thought themselves indispensably obliged to restore the reading of the Word of God in their service.” We may add, that all the Reformed Churches of Great Britain and this country, have, in this respect, improved upon the Genevan practice; for the reading of Scripture constitutes with them a central feature of Divine worship.
ance of forgiveness: the believer has been prepared to offer up the sacrifice of song; “My lips shall utter praise, when Thou hast taught me Thy statutes.” Next, imploring Divine help in the study of the Word, he listens to its announcement; and then, approaching with enlarged desires the mercy-seat, he urges his requests in behalf of the Universal Church, and of all mankind; and finally, joins in that common profession of belief, whereby the Church of all ages
declares her oneness in the faith of the Gospel. But the cumulative order of this service would be manifestly incomplete, without some reference to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. That ordinance, in the Primitive Church, was undoubtedly celebrated upon every Lord's Day; and whatever offices of praise and prayer accompanied it, had in view this celebration as the chief part of Divine service. In the Reformed Worship, not less distinctly than elsewhere, we find the allusion to this fact préserved. The Intercessory Prayer that succeeds the Sermon, is designed to be followed immediately by the Exhortation before the Communion; and in contemplation of this crowning ordinance, remembrance is made in that prayer of all the scattered members of the body of Christ. This was customary among the early Christians: who, in their weekly observance of the sacred Feast, offered up like supplications for the necessities of the Church, and for all mankind. The analogy to this custom is maintained in our service, not only by the location of the Intercessory Prayer, in which the ordinary service culminates, but also by a particular clause inserted in the last petition. Nor is
it less observable in the tenderness and fervency of that prayer, increasing with each request presented, for the several classes of men, for the ministry and the Church, for those in affliction, for persecuted Christians; and ending with a subdued acknowledgment of guilt, and profession of surrender to the service of God. It is well known that our Reformers, while acquiescing in the practice of celebrating the Lord's Supper only at intervals of several months, regarded this as a defect of the times, and strongly recommended a return to the primitive usage of frequent communion.
Considering, therefore, the Communion as the natural and necessary consummation of the Order of Divine Worship, we proceed to a brief analysis of that Office. It begins with a prayer, which indeed is only a conclusion to the General Intercession, but which may properly be separated from it by the singing of a sacramental hymn. Then the words of the Institution are read, from 1 Corinthians, xi.; and a short address is made, setting forth the nature of the ordinance, and inviting to participation. Proceeding from this preparatory service to the administration, the minister offers up the Consecrating Prayer, and utters the sacramental words, while breaking the bread and pouring out the wine. In the distribution of the Elements, appropriate sentences of Scripture are repeated ; and, after the Thanksgiving, an offering of alms for the poor is made, when the service ends with a hymn and the Benediction.*
* The hymn universally sung in the continental Churches, on this occasion, is a paraphrase of the song of Simeon, Luke, ii. 29–32.
We can not more fitly end this examination of the Reformed service, than in the words of Calvin, as translated by his disciple, John Knox: “If so be that any would marvel why we follow rather this order than any other, in the administration of this Sacrament, let him diligently consider that, first of all, we utterly renounce the error of the Papists. Secondly, we restore unto the Sacrament its own substance, and to Christ "His proper place. And as for the words of the Lord's Supper, we rehearse them, not because they should change the substance of the bread or wine, or that the repetition thereof, with the intent of the sacrificer, should make the Sacrament (as the Papists falsely believe); but they are read and pronounced to teach us how to behave ourselves in that action; and that Christ might witness unto our faith, as it were, with His own mouth, that He hath ordained these signs to our spiritual use and comfort. We do first, therefore, examine ourselves, according to St. Paul's rule, and prepare our minds, that we may be worthy partakers of so high mysteries. Then, taking bread, we give thanks, break, and distribute it, as Christ our Saviour hath taught us. Finally, the administration ended, we give thanks again, according to His example. So that without His Word and warrant, there is nothing in this holy action attempted.”
The present work is a compilation from the Liturgies which were prepared by Calvin, Knox, Bucer, and other Divines of the Reformed Church, and which have been
adopted in the various branches of that Church on the continent of Europe, and in Great Britain. The Liturgy of Calvin, being the original formulary upon which all the others were draughted, is taken as the basis for the ordinary services of Divine Worship and the Administration of the Sacraments. Selections from other forms are appended to each of these Offices, for alternate use or occasional substitution. The Directory of Worship of the Presbyterian Church is quoted wherever appropriate, for the exhibition of the manner of performing these services; and the more essential parts are given in full, designated by marks of quotation. A collection of Scriptural prayers, and of prayers from other sources, adapted to special occasions, concludes the work. The attempt has thus been made to place within the reach of the ministers and laity of the Presbyterian Church a complete arrangement of the various forms of worship instituted by her authority, for the proper discharge of the solemn duties of the sanctuary.