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CHARLES I. Parl. 3. Seff. 5.
An ACT of the Parliament of the kingdom of Scotland, approving and esta. blishing the Directory for Public Worship.
At Edinburgh, Feb. 6. 1645.
HE Estates of Parliament now conveened, in the fecond Seffion
the last Parliament holden by his Majefty and the Three Eftates, in anno 1641; after the public reading, and ferious confideration of the act under written of the General Affembly, 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 faid Direc tory, and the Directory itself; do heartily and cheerfully agree to the faid Directory, according to the act of the General Affembly ap proving the fame. Which act, together with the Directory itself, the Eftates of parliament do, without a contrary voice, ratify and ap prove in all the heads and articles thereof; and do interpone and add the authority of parliament to the faid act of the General Affembly. And do ordain the fame to have the strength and force of a law and act of parliament, and execution to pass thereupon, for obferv ing the faid Directory, according to the faid act of the General Af fembly in all points.
ALEX. GIBSON, Cler. Regifiri.
ASSEMBLY at Edinburgh, Feb. 3. 1645. Seff. 10.
ACT of the General Assembly of the kirk of Scotland, for the establishing and putting in execution of the Directory for the Public Worship of God.
WHEREAS an happy unity, and uniformity in religion amongst
one Sovereign, having been long and earneftly wished for, by the godly and well-affected amongst us, was propounded as a main ar ticle of the large treaty, without which band and bulwark, no fafe, well-grounded, and lafting peace, could be expected; and after ward, with greater ftrength and maturity, revived in the Solemn League and Covenant of the three kingdoms; whereby they ftand ftraitly obliged to endeavour the nearest uniformity in one form of Church-government, Directory of Worship, Confeffion of Faith, and form of Catechifing: Which hath alfo before, and fince our en tering into that Covenant, been the matter of many fupplications and remonftrances, and fending Commiffioners to the King's Majefty, of declarations to the Hon. Houses of the Parliament of Eng land, and of letters to the Reverend Affembly of Divines, and
others of the miniftry of the Kirk of England; being alfo the end of our fending Commiffioners, as was defired, from this Kirk, with commiffion to treat of uniformity in the four particulars afore-mentioned, with such committees as fhould be appointed by both Houses of Parliament of England, and by the Aflembly of Divines fitting at Westminster: And befide all this, it being, in point of confcience, the chief motive and end of our adventuring upon manifold and great hazards, for quenching the devouring flame of the prefent unnatural and bloody war in England, though to the weakening of this kingdom within itself, and the advantage of the enemy which have invaded it, accounting nothing too dear to us, fo that this our joy be fulfilled. And now this great work being fo far advanced, that a Directory for the Public Worship of God in all the three kingdoms, being agreed upon by the Honourable Houfes of the Parliament of England, after confultation with the Divines of both kingdoms there affembled, and fent to us for our approbation, that, being alfo agreed upon by this Kirk and kingdom of Scotland, it may be in the name of both kingdoms prefented to the King, for his Royal consent and ratification: The General Affembly haying moft feriously confidered, revised and examined the Directory afore-mentioned, after feveral 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 fcruples about it, to make known the fame, that they might be fatisfied; doth unanimoufly, and without a contrary voice, agree to, and approve the following Directory, in all the heads thereof, together with the preface fet 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 obferved and practifed by all the Ministers and others within this kingdom whom it doth concern; which practice fhall be begun, upon intimation given to the feveral prefbyteries, from the Commiffioners of this General Affembly, who fhall alfo take fpecial 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; alfo, that each prefbytery have a printed copy thereof for their ufe, and take fpecial notice of the obfervation or neglect thereof in every congregation within their bounds, and make known the fame to the provincial or General Aflembly, as there fhall be caufe. Provided always, that the claufe in the Directory, of the adminiftration of the Lord's fupper, which mentioneth the communicants fitting 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 diftributing of the elements by the Minifter to each communicant, and not by the communicants among themselves. It is alfo provided, that this fhall be no prejudice to the order and practice of this Kirk, in fuch particulars as are appointed by the books of difcipline, and acts of General Affemblies, and are not otherwife ordered and appointed in the Directory.
Finally, the Affembly doth, with much joy and thankfulness, acknowledge the rich bleffing and invaluable mercy of God, in bring ing the fo much wifhed for uniformity in religion to fuch a happy period, that these kingdoms, once at fo great a diftance in the form of worship, are now, by the bleffing 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 a reviving of our hearts in the midst of our many forrows and fufferings; a taking away, in a great measure, the reproach of the people of God, to the ftopping of the mouths of malignant and difaffected perfons; 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; befeeching the Lord to preferve these kingdoms from herefies, fchifms, offences, profanenefs, and whatsoever is contrary to found doctrine, and the power of godliness; and to continue with us and the generations following, thefe 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 edi fying one another in love.
Of the Allembling of the Congregation.
Of Prayer after 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 Vifitation of the Sick.
Of the Burial of the Dead.
Of public folemn Fafting.
Of the obfervation of days of public Thanksgiving.
Of finging of Pfalms.
An Appendix touching Days and Places of public Wor
PUBLIC WORSHIP OF GOD.
N the beginning of the bleffed reformation, our wife and pious ancestors took care to set forth an order for redrefs of many things, which they then, by the word, difcovered to be vain, erroneous, fuperftitious, and idolatrous, in the public worship of God. This occafioned many godly and learned men to rejoice much in the Book of Common Prayer, at that time fet forth; because the mass, and the rest of the Latin fervice being removed, the public worship was celebrated in our own tongue: many of the common people alfo received benefit by hearing the feriptures read in their own language, which formerly were unto them as a book that is fealed.
Howbeit, long and fad experience hath made it manifeft, that the liturgy ufed in the Church of England, (notwithstanding all the 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 fpeak of urging the reading of all the prayers, which very greatly increased the burden of it, the many unprofitable and burdenfome ceremonies contained in it, have occafioned much michief, as well by difquieting the confciences of many godly Minifters 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 fubfcribing to those ceremonies. Sundry good chriftians have been, by means thereof, kept from the Lord's table; and divers able and faithful Minifters debarred from the exercife of their ministry, (to the endangering of many thousand fouls, in a time of fuch fcarcity of faithful paftors), and fpoiled of their livelihood, to the undoing of them and their families. Prelates, and their faction, have laboured to raise the estimation of it to fuch an 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 fome places
especially of late) to the justling of it out, as uneceffary, or, at beft, as far inferior to the reading of common prayer, which was made no better than an idol by many ignorant and fuperftitious people, who, pleafing themselves in their prefence at that fervice, and their liplabour in bearing a part in it, have thereby hardened themselves in their ignorance and carelefinefs of faving knowledge and true piety. In the mean time, Papifts beafted that the book was a compliance with them in a great part of their fervice; and fo were not a little confirmed in their fuperftition 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 warrantablenefs of impofing of the former cere monies, new ones were daily obtruded upon the Church.
Add hereunto, (which was not foreseen, but fince hath come to pafs), that the liturgy hath been a great means, as on the one hand to make and increase an idle and unedifying miniftry, which contented itself with fet forms made to their hands by others, without putting forth themselves to exercife the gift of prayer, with which our Lord Jefus Christ pleaseth to furnish all his fervants whom hẹ calls to that office: fo, on the other fide, it hath been (and ever would be, if continued) a matter of endless strife and contention in the Church, and a fnare both to many godly and faithful Ministers, who have been perfecuted and filenced upon that occafion, and to others of hopeful parts, many of which have been, and more still would be, diverted from all thoughts of the miniftry to other studies; efpecially in thefe latter times, wherein God vouchfafeth to his people more and better means for the difcovery of error and fuperftition, and for attaining of knowledge in the myfteries of godliness, and gifts in preaching and prayer.
Upon thefe, and many the like weighty confiderations in reference to the whole book in general, and becaufe of divers particulars contained in it, not from any love to novelty, or intention to difparage our first reformers, (of whom we are perfuaded, that, were they now alive, they would join with us in this work, and whom we acknowledge as excellent inftruments, raifed by God, to begin the purging and building of his house, and defire they may be had of us and pofterity in everlafting rememberance, with thankfulness and hohour); but that we may, in fome meafure, anfwer the gracious providence of God, which at this time calleth upon us for further reformation, and may fatisfy our own confciences, and anfwer the expectation of other reformed Churches, and the defires of many of the godly among ourfélves, and withal give fome public teftimony of our endeavours for uniformity in divine worship, which we have promifed in our Solemn League and Covenant: we have, after earnest and frequent calling upon the name of God, and after much confultation, not with flesh and blood, but with his holy word, refolved to lay a fide the former liturgy, with the many rites and ceremonies formerly ufed in the worship of God; and have agreed upon this following Directory for all the parts of public worship, at ordinary and extraordinary times..