8. THE DIRECTORY FOR THE WORSHIP OF GOD
CHAPTER 1 THE SANCTIFICATION OF THE LORD’S DAY
1. It is the duty of every person to remember the Lord’s Day and to prepare for it before its approach. All worldly business should be so ordered and seasonably laid aside, so that we may not be hindered thereby from sanctifying the Sabbath as the Holy Scriptures require.
2. The whole day is to be kept holy to the Lord and to be employed in the public and private exercises of religion. Therefore, except for matters of emergency, it is requisite that there be holy resting all day from labors and activities for bodily pleasures, and also from worldly thoughts and conversation.
3. Let the provisions for the support of the family on that day be so ordered that family members and guests in the house be not improperly hindered from the public worship of God and sanctifying the Sabbath.
4. Let every person and family prepare for communion with God in his public ordinances by secret and private prayer for themselves and others, and especially for the assistance of God to their minister, and for a blessing upon his ministry, by reading the Scriptures and by holy meditation.
5. Let the people be careful to assemble at the appointed time; that, being all present at the beginning, they may unite with one heart in all the parts of public worship, and let no one unnecessarily depart till the blessing be pronounced.
6. Let the time after the solemn services of the congregation in public are over, be spent in reading devotional books, studying the Bible and meditating upon it, catechizing, engaging in religious conversation, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, visiting the sick, relieving the poor, instructing those weak in faith, evangelizing unbelievers, and in performing similar duties of piety, charity, and mercy.
CHAPTER 2 THE ASSEMBLING OF THE CONGREGATION AND THEIR BEHAVIOR DURING THE WORSHIP SERVICE
1. When the time appointed for public worship has come, let the people enter the church and take their seats in a decent, grave, and reverent manner. They shall also pray quietly for their pastor, those who are attending worship, and those who are unable to attend.
2. During the time of public worship, let all the people attend with gravity and reverence, forbearing to read anything except what the minister is then reading or citing, abstaining from all whisperings, from salutations of persons present, from gazing about, sleeping, laughing, and other indecent behavior. It is recommended that children be with their parents, as it is important for families to worship together in the house of God. If children are to have a separate children’s service, then a member of the session must attend and lead the worship.
CHAPTER 3 THE PUBLIC READING OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
1. The reading of the Holy Scriptures in the congregation is a part of the public worship of God and ought to be performed by the ministers and those who are permitted to do so.
2. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments shall be publicly read from the most approved translation that all may hear and understand.
3. How large a portion shall be read at once, is left to the discretion of the minister. When he thinks it is expedient, he may expound any part of what is read. However, reading the Holy Scriptures, singing, praying, or any other ordinance shall not be overly disproportionate in regard to time, and the worship service as a whole shall not be too short or too tedious.
CHAPTER 4 THE SINGING OF PSALMS AND HYMNS
1. It is the duty of Christians to praise God by singing psalms and hymns publicly in the church, as also privately in the family. In doing so, their language shall reflect what is befitting of the Scripture, which honors God.
2. In singing the praise of God, we are to sing with the spirit and with the understanding also, making melody in our hearts unto the Lord. It is also proper that we cultivate some knowledge of the rules of music, that we may praise God in a becoming manner with our voices as well as with our hearts. Let the people bring their own hymnals and choose hymns of modest difficulty so that everyone can sing together and get better at it.
CHAPTER 5 PUBLIC PRAYER
1. It seems very proper to begin the public worship of the sanctuary with prayer, humbly adoring the infinite majesty of the living God, expressing our having been distant from him because of our bodily desires and our unworthiness as sinners, and humbly imploring his gracious presence, the assistance of his Holy Spirit in the duties of worship, and his acceptance of us through the merits of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2. Then, after singing a psalm or hymn, it is proper that, before the sermon, there should be a prayer that includes the petitions of the believers in a comprehensive way. Moreover, the following shall be included:
(a) Adoring the glory of God as it is made known to us in the works of creation, in the workings of providence, and in the clear and full revelation he has made of himself in his written word.
(b) Giving thanks to him for all of his mercies of every kind, general and particular, spiritual and temporal, common and special; above all, for Jesus Christ, his unspeakable gift, who transcends all grace, for the hope of eternal life through him, and for sending us the Holy Spirit and his manifestation.
(c) Making humble confession of sin, both original and actual; acknowledging all sin as being a departure from the living God and endeavoring to impress the mind of every worshiper with a deep sense of its evil; and also taking a particular and affecting view of the various fruits which proceed from this root of bitterness, as sins against God, sins of harming our neighbor, accidental sins, and habitual sins. Also, confessing the aggravations of sin, such as sins committed due to lack of discernment, sins committed despite having discernment, sins committed even after receiving special mercies, and sins committed despite making vows.
(d) Making earnest supplication for the pardon of sin through the blood of the Atonement, for peace with God through which all its important and happy fruit result, for the Spirit of sanctification, for abundant supplies of the grace that is necessary for the discharge of our duty, for support and comfort under all the trials to which we are liable as we are sinful and mortal, and for all temporal mercies that may be necessary in our passage through this vale of tears. In making these supplications, we shall remember that this grace flows from God’s covenantal love and that it is given in order to protect our spiritual life and to promote its progress.
(e) Our supplications in prayer will be granted because of every principle warranted in the Old and New Testaments: our own necessity, the all sufficiency of God, the merit and intercession of our Savior, and the glory of God manifested in the comfort and happiness of his people.
(f) Intercession for others, including the whole world of mankind, for outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all mankind, for peace, purity, and growth of the church of God, for pastors and missionaries in various regions, for those persecuted for righteous causes, for the church or churches with which we are more particularly connected, for those afflicted and about to die, for those in unfortunate circumstances, for the poor and needy, for vagabonds and those imprisoned, for men and women, for those traveling, for the region wherein the church is located and for the civil authority and soldiers thereof, and for any other matters. The officiating pastor shall carefully consider and decide which matters the congregation should pray for more.
3. Prayer after the sermon generally ought to have a relation to the subject that has been treated of in the discourse. All other public prayer should be based on the circumstances that provided the occasion for it.
4. As stated thus far, all the preceding directions concerning prayer are of a very great compass and variety, and it is committed to the judgment and fidelity of the officiating pastor to insist chiefly on such parts, or to take in more or less of the several parts.
Although ministers should not be confirmed to set or fixed forms of prayer for public worship, yet it is the indispensable duty of every minister to prepare and qualify himself for sermon as well as for prayer. Moreover, he ought, by a thorough acquaintance with Holy Scripture, by reading the best writers on the subject, by meditation, and by a life of communion with God in secret, to endeavor to acquire both the spirit and the gift of prayer. Not only that, he should endeavor to compose his spirit and to digest and prepare his thoughts for prayer, that it may be performed with dignity and propriety, as well as to the profit of those who join in it; and that he may not disgrace that important service by meaningless, irregular, or extravagant effusions.
5. All those who are present at public prayer must have a solemn attitude. The congregation should have the identical posture if possible. Praying in the standing posture is mentioned in Scriptures, and was practiced by the early churches, and has been a Presbyterian practice. Nevertheless, either standing or sitting is acceptable.
CHAPTER 6 THE PREACHING OF THE WORD
1. The preaching of the word being an institution of God for the salvation of men, great attention should be paid to the manner of performing it. Every minister ought to give diligent application to it, and endeavor to prove himself a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly discerning the word of truth.
2. The subject of a sermon should be some verse or verses of the Scripture, and its object should be to explain, exposit, and apply some part of the system of divine truth. It is proper also that large portions of Scripture be sometimes expounded, and particularly improved, for the instruction of the people regarding the bounds and obligation of their duty. Apologetics may be done, if necessary.
3. Preachers must study the method of preaching, and meditate and pray in preparing their sermons with care; and not indulge themselves in loose, extemporary harangues; nor serve God with that which cost them naught (2 Sam. 24:24). However, they ought to keep to the simplicity of the gospel, expressing themselves in language agreeable to the Scripture, and level to the understanding of the meanest of their hearers, carefully avoiding ostentation either of their academic achievements or talents. They also ought to adorn, by their lives, the doctrine that they teach (Titus 2: 10), and ought to be examples to the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity.
4. As one primary design of public ordinances is to pay social acts of homage to the most high God, ministers ought to be careful not to make their sermons so long as to interfere with or exclude the more important duties of prayer and praise, but preserve a just proportion between the several parts of public worship.
5. The sermon being ended, the minister is to pray and return thanks to almighty God. Then let a psalm or hymn be sung, and let the assembly be dismissed with the apostolic benediction (2 Cor. 13:14; Jude 24-25; Heb. 13:20-21; Eph. 3:20-21; 2
Thess. 3:16-17; Num. 6:24-26).
6. As the Scripture so clearly teaches, we ought to give systematically and cheerfully to meet the expenses of the church, to spread the gospel both in home and foreign fields, and to help the needy. This is an expression of our desire to receive blessings from the Lord, and it ought to be understood to be a part of public worship. It is for the church session to decide when the offering should be taken during the service.
7. It is expedient that no person, other than those sent by the presbytery, be introduced to preach in any of die churches under our care, unless by the consent of the pastor or church session.
CHAPTER 7 CHURCH SCHOOL
1. The Church school program should include prayer, praise, Scripture lessons, doctrine, catechisms, church government, the Constitution of the Church, and offerings for home and foreign missions. Attendance at Church school should not hinder children’s attending the worship service, nor should it excuse parents from carrying out their duty of training their children directly. Church school must be supervised by the church session.
2. The superintendent must open the school at the scheduled time. He must oversee the classes from the beginning to the end. He must check whether the right teachers are in the classes, the children are under control, the children are growing in the faith, the children are encouraged by the teacher, and the teachers are serious and pious, thereby influencing the children to be likewise.
3. Teachers ought to prepare their lessons with meditation, prayer, and hard work, so that their duties are well performed. If there are unsaved children in the class, the teacher must advise and invite the children to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. The teacher ought to visit the sick and pray for those who are having problems. The teacher must be punctual, so that the children will be encouraged to be punctual also.
CHAPTER 8 PRAYER MEETINGS
1. Prayer meetings should be held under the supervision of the church session. The meetings shall be scheduled regularly on a weekly basis. For those who live far away, some special meeting may be arranged. At this type of special meeting, either the minister or an elder or someone who is spiritually mature should conduct the meeting. The meeting shall contain prayer, praise, reading of Scripture, and a brief exhortation.
2. Let every person pray. The prayer should be short, yet spiritual. The prayer should not be so long as to be tedious.
CHAPTER 9 INFANT BAPTISM
1. Baptism is not to be unnecessarily delayed; nor to be administered, in any case, by a private person, but by a minister of Christ, called to be the steward of the mysteries of God.
2. Baptism is usually to be administered in the church, in the presence of the congregation.
3. After previous notice is given to the minister, the child to be baptized is to be presented, by one or both parents, signifying their desire that the child be baptized.
4. Before baptism, let the minister use some words of instruction, respecting the institution, nature, use, and ends of this ordinance; showing, “That it is instituted by Christ; that it is a seal of the righteousness of faith; that the seed of the faithful have no less a right to this ordinance under the gospel than the seed of Abraham to circumcision, under the Old Testament; that Christ commanded all nations to be baptized; that he blessed little children, declaring that of such is the kingdom of heaven; that the blessings of the gospel extend not only to believers, but also to their families, and that the apostles baptized whole households; that we are, by nature, sinful, guilty, and polluted, and have the need of cleansing by the blood of Christ, and by the sanctifying power of the Spirit of God.”
The minister shall also exhort the parents to perform their duty carefully; requiring, “That they teach the child to read the Word of God; that they instruct it in the principles of our holy religion as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament; an excellent summary of which we have in the Westminster Confession of Faith, and in the Larger and Shorter Catechisms of the Westminster Assembly, which are to be recommended to them, as adopted by this church, for their direction and assistance, in the discharge of this important duty; that they pray with and for it; that they set an example of piety and godliness before it; and endeavor by all the means of God’s appointment, to bring it up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
5. Then the minister shall ask the parents:
(a) “Do you acknowledge that the child needs the grace of washing by the blood of
Christ and renewing by the Holy Spirit?”
(b) “Do you wish the covenant promise for this child and acknowledge that this child will be saved by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, just as you seek earnestly your own salvation?”
(c) “Do you completely dedicate this child to God, and trust God’s grace in humility, and promise to be a good example to this child, to pray for and with this child, to instruct this child in the holy Christian religion, and to be active in the instructions which God has ordained to train up this child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?”
6. Then the minister is to pray for a blessing to attend this ordinance; after which, calling the child by its name, he shall say, “I baptize you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” As he pronounces these words, he is to baptize the child with water, by pouring or sprinkling it on the head of the child; and the whole shall be concluded with prayer. Although it is proper that baptism be administered in the presence of the congregation, yet there may be cases when it will be expedient to administer this ordinance in private houses, of which the minister is to be the judge.
CHAPTER 10 THE ADMISSION OF PERSONS TO SEALING ORDINANCES
1. Children, born within the pale of the visible church and dedicated to God in baptism, are subject to the examination and government of the church, and are to be taught to read and repeat the catechism, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. They are to be taught to pray, to abhor sin, to fear God, and to love and obey the Lord Jesus Christ. And when they come to years of discretion, efforts will be made to inform them that they have been a member of church from birth, and that it is their duty and their privilege to put their trust in Jesus Christ for salvation, to confess their faith to others, and to come to the Lord’s Supper.
2. The years of discretion, in young Christians, cannot be precisely fixed.
This must be left to the discretion of the session. The officers of the church are the judges of the qualifications of .those to be admitted to sealing ordinances, and of the time when it is proper to admit young Christians to them.
3. Those who are to be admitted to sealing ordinances shall be required to give evidence of their knowledge and faith in God, and then, if they have not previously been baptized, they shall, after making a public profession of their faith in the presence of the congregation, be baptized.
4. When persons who have received infant baptism participate in the Lord’s Supper for the first time with the permission of the session, they shall make a public profession of their faith and ought to be clearly reminded of their special relation with the church from birth.
5. The process for admission to church membership shall be as follows:
(a) On the day of confirmation, after the person has been approved by the church session, he shall stand in front of the congregation, and the minister shall say to the congregation, “Whereas this person _____ has been a member of this church through infant baptism and an inheritor of the covenant promise, and was dedicated to the Lord by the solemn oath of the parents, and has expressed a desire to become a responsible member of the body of the believers to fulfill the obligations and privileges pertaining to the inheritance bestowed on believers, the church session, having examined his/her faith in Christ and knowledge concerning the Lord’s body, has admitted this person into church membership.”
(b) If a person to be baptized is present, the minister shall say: “Baptism is the sign and seal of the engrafting of the believer into the Lord and the uniting of the believer with Christ. Since this person has been baptized, and seeks to become a member of the church of God, the church session, having examined and approved of his/her faith in Christ and of his/her spiritual growth, welcomes this person into our fellowship. Let us thank the Lord for this occasion.”
(c) Then the minister shall say to the person who has been confirmed by one of the two above statements: “You are here to publicly confess your faith. You must know that you are making a solemn covenant with God and his church by accepting the following statements and pledges:”
(1) “Do you acknowledge that you are a sinner before God and that you deserve nothing but the wrath of God, and that the only way for you to be saved is by God’s great mercy?”
(2) “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only Savior of sinners, and, as the gospel says, that Jesus is the only One who can save you, and do you believe and trust him alone?”
(3) “Do you trust the grace of the Holy Ghost to give you a desire to follow Jesus Christ, and will you forsake sin and live according to Christ’s teachings and examples?”
(4) “Do you promise to submit yourself to the discipline of the church, and to seek the peace and purity of the church?”
Then the minister shall charge the persons who would be either baptized or admitted to church membership in solemn responsibility as the inheritors of the covenant promises. After a short exhortation the minister shall perform the baptism. After the baptism, the service will close with a prayer.
6. The minister shall announce the names of those who have been transferred to the congregation and speak concerning their virtue and love.
CHAPTER 11 THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
1. The communion or supper of the Lord is to be celebrated frequently, but how often may be determined by the session of each congregation, as they judge to be most edifying.
2. Those who are ignorant of the Lord’s body and those who are scandalous are not to be admitted to the Lord’s Supper.
3. It is proper that public notice should be given to the congregation, at least the Sabbath before the administration of this ordinance, and that, either then or on some day of the week, the people be instructed in its nature, and a due preparation for it; that all may come in a suitable manner to this holy feast.
4. When the sermon is ended, the minister shall say, “The Lord’s Supper is to be observed in remembrance of Christ, to show forth his death till he comes; it is of inestimable benefit to strengthen his people against sin, to support them under troubles, to encourage and quicken them in their duty, to inspire them with love and zeal, to increase their faith and holy resolution, and to beget peace of conscience and comfortable hopes of eternal life.”
He is to warn the profane, the ignorant, and the scandalous, and those that secretly indulge themselves in any known sin, not to approach the holy table. On the other hand, he shall invite to this holy table, such as, sensible of their lost and helpless states by sin, depend upon the atonement of Christ for pardon and acceptance of God; such as, being instructed in the gospel doctrine, have a competent knowledge to discern the Lord’s body; and such as desire to renounce their sins, and are determined to lead a holy and godly life.
5. The table on which the elements are placed should be decently covered, with the bread in convenient dishes and the wine in cups, and the communicants orderly and gravely sitting around the table (or in their seats before it) in the presence of the minister, with elders nearby to help; let him set the elements apart by prayer and thanksgiving.
The bread and the wine being thus set apart by prayer and thanksgiving, the minister is to take the bread, and break .it, in the view of the people, saying in expressions of this sort:
“Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the same night in which he was betrayed, having taken bread, and blessed and broken it, gave it to his disciples; as I ministering in his name, give this bread unto you; saying (here the bread is to be distributed), ‘Take, eat: this is my body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me.’”
After having distributed the bread with the assistance of the elders, he shall take the cup, and say,
“After the same manner our Savior also took the cup; and having given thanks, as has been done in his name, he gave it to the disciples, saying (while the minister is repeating these words let him give the cup), ‘This cup is the new testament in my blood which is shed for many for the remission of sins: drink ye all of it.’”
The elders shall assist in distributing the cup.
The order of the Lord’s Supper may be as follows: The communicants shall take it first, then the minister, and then the minister may give it to the elders. Or the minister may take it first, then the communicants, and then the minister may give it to the elders.
6. This is to be done in the spirit of covenant with the Lord, and everyone must be in prayer, thanksgiving, meditation, and supplication during the distribution.
7. The minister may, in a few words, remind the communicants:
“Of the grace of God in Jesus Christ, held forth in this sacrament, and of their obligation to be the Lord’s; and may exhort them to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called; and, as they have professedly received Christ Jesus the Lord, that they be careful so to walk in him, and to maintain good works.”
It may not be improper for the minister to give a word of exhortation also to those who have been only spectators, reminding them:
“Of their duty; stating their sin and danger, by living in disobedience to Christ, in neglecting this holy ordinance; and calling upon them to be earnest in making preparation for attending upon it, at the next time for its celebration.”
Then the minister is to pray and give thanks to God:
“For his rich mercy and invaluable goodness vouchsafed to them in that sacred communion; to implore pardon for the defects of the whole service; and to pray for the acceptance of their persons and performances; for the gracious assistance of the Holy Spirit, to enable them, as they have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so to walk in him; that they may hold fast that which they have received, that no man take their crown; that their conversation may be as it becomes the gospel; that they may bear about with them, continually, the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in their mortal body; that their light may so shine before men, that others, seeing their good works, may glorify their Father who is in heaven.”
The collection for the poor, and to defray the expense of the elements, may be made after this or at such other time as may seem appropriate to the session. Now let a psalm or hymn be sung, and the congregation dismissed with the following or some other gospel benediction:
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
8. As it has been customary, in some parts of the church, to observe a fast before the Lord’s Supper; to have a sermon on Saturday and Monday; and to invite two or three ministers on such occasions; and as these seasons have been blessed to many souls, and may tend to keep up a more strict union of ministers and congregations; it is not improper that they who choose it may continue in this practice.
CHAPTER 12 THE SOLEMNIZATION OF MARRIAGE
1. Marriage is not a sacrament, nor an institution unique to the church of Christ, but it is a holy institution established by God. It is proper that every commonwealth, for the good of society, make laws to regular marriage, which all citizens are bound to obey.
2. Christians ought to marry in the Lord; therefore, it is fit that their marriage be solemnized by a lawful minister; that special instruction be given to them, and suitable prayers made, when they enter this relation.
3. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman only, and they are not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity prohibited by the Word of God.
4. The parties ought to be of such years of discretion as to be capable of making their own choice and shall receive the consent of their parents or guardians. This shall be well certified to the minister, before he proceeds to solemnize the marriage.
5. Parents neither ought to compel their children to marry contrary to their inclinations, nor deny their consent without just and important reasons.
6. Marriage is of a public nature. The welfare of civil society, the happiness of families, and the credit of religion, is deeply interested in it. Therefore, the purpose of marriage ought to be sufficiently published a proper time previous to the
solemnization of it. It is enjoined on all ministers to be careful that, in this matter, they neither transgress the laws of God, nor the laws of the community: and that they may not destroy the peace and comfort of families, they must be properly certified with respect to the parties applying to them, that no just objections lie against their marriage.
7. Marriage must always be performed before the competent number of witnesses. The minister is to give a certificate of marriage upon request.
8. Let the minister keep a proper register for the names of all person whom he marries, and of the time of their marriage, for the perusal of all whom it may concern in the future.
CHAPTER 13 THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD
1. The proper procedure for the funeral shall include singing appropriate psalms and hymnals, and reading appropriate portions of Scripture. The minister shall give an explanation as he deems appropriate, shall pray to comfort those grieved, that they may receive the grace of God so that their sadness may change to joy in his eternal benefits.
2. While ministers frequently conduct the funeral as they see fit, they shall not forget to caution, instruct, and comfort the survivors. Moreover, the word of God may not be misapplied to suggest that the deceased, if having died without faith in Christ, has any hope of salvation.
CHAPTER 14 FASTING AND THE OBSERVING OF DAYS OF THANKSGIVING
1. There is no day under the gospel commanded to be kept holy, except the Lord’s Day, which is the Christian Sabbath. Nevertheless, to observe days of fasting and thanksgiving, as the extraordinary dispensations of divine providence may direct, is both scriptural and reasonable.
2. Fasts and thanksgivings may be observed by individual Christians; or families, in private; by particular congregations; by a number of congregations contiguous to each other; by the congregations under the care of a presbytery, or of a synod; or by all the congregations of our church.
3. Public notice is to be given a convenient time before that day of fasting or thanksgiving comes, that persons may so order their temporal affairs, that they may properly attend to the duties thereof.
4. There shall be public worship upon all such days: and let the prayers, psalms, portions of Scripture to be read, and sermons, be all in a special manner adapted to the occasion.
5. On fast days, let the minister point out the authority and providence calling to the observation thereof; and let him spend a more than usual portion of time in solemn prayer, particularly confession of sin, especially the sins of the day and place, with their aggravations which have brought down the judgments of heaven. And let the whole day be spent in deep humiliation and mourning before God.
6. On days of thanksgiving, he is to give the like information respecting the authority and providence that call to the observance of them; and to spend more than the usual part of their time in the giving of thanks, agreeable to the occasion, and in singing psalms or hymns of praise. It is the duty of people on these days to rejoice with holy gladness of heart; but let trembling be so joined with our mirth, that no excess of unbecoming levity be indulged.
CHAPTER 15 THE DIRECTORY FOR SECRET PRAYER AND FAMILY WORSHIP
1. Besides attending public worship in congregations, it is the indispensable duty of each person, alone, in secret, and of every family, by itself, in private, to pray to and worship God.
2. Secret worship is most plainly enjoined by our Lord. In this duty everyone, apart by himself, is to spend some time in prayer, reading the Scriptures, holy meditation, and serious self-examination. The many advantages arising from a conscientious discharge of these duties, are best known to those who are found in the faithful discharge of them.
3. Family worship that ought to be performed by every family, ordinarily morning and evening, consists in prayer, reading the Scriptures, and singing praises.
4. The head of the family, who is to lead in this service, ought to be careful that all the members of his household duly attend; and that none withdraw themselves unnecessarily from any part of family worship; and that all refrain from their common business while the Scriptures are read, and gravely attend to the same, no less than when prayer or praise is offered up.
5. Let the heads of families be careful to instruct their children and servants in the principles of religion. Every proper opportunity ought to be embraced for such instruction. Sabbath evenings, after public worship, should be sacredly preserved for this purpose. Therefore, we highly disapprove of paying unnecessary private visits on the Lord’s Day; admitting strangers into the families, except when necessity or charity requires it.
CHAPTER 16 THE MANNER OF IMPOSING CHURCH CENSURES
1. Church censures should be imposed in proportion to the nature of the offense. Offenses of a personal nature may be censured by the church judicatory in secret, publicly, or in the presence of the congregation. Even though the offense has been known publicly, if the circumstance or the cause is somewhat unique and the offense is not of a serious nature, then the offender ought to be rebuked privately or censured temporarily. But if the censure involves excommunication or deposition, it should be pronounced to the offender in the presence of the congregation or publicly announced to the church according to the decision of the governing body.
2. When any member of the church shall have been guilty of a fault deserving censure, the judicatory shall proceed with all tenderness, and restore their offending brother in the spirit of meekness; considering themselves, lest they also be tempted.
3. Admonition consists in reproving the offender by one or two representatives sent by the judicatory if the offense was unintended or unknown. However, if the offense has been manifested openly, the chairman shall rebuke the offender at the judicatory and pronounce it publicly.
4. Censures of a temporary nature may serve as an example to others. Therefore, the sentence may be pronounced by the governing body to the offender publicly or to the church.
5. Censures of a permanent nature ought to be imposed with great solemnity, that it may be the means of impressing the mind of the delinquent with a proper sense of his danger, while he stands excluded from the privileges of the church of the living God; and that, with divine blessing, it may lead him to repentance. When the judicatory has resolved to suspend a member from church privileges, the moderator shall address him in the following way:
“Because there is clear evidence that Mr. _________(minister, elder, deacon, member) is guilty of the sin of (here mention the particular offense), the presbytery (or the session) shall suspend him from the sacraments of the church in the name, and by the authority, of the Lord Jesus Christ, till there is satisfactory evidence of the sincerity of repentance.” To this shall be added such advice, admonition, or rebuke, as may be judged necessary, and the whole shall be concluded by prayer to almighty God, that he would follow this act of discipline with his blessing.
6. Upon deciding to excommunicate the offender, the minister shall give the church or congregation a short account of the steps that have been taken with respect to their offending brother, and inform them that it has been found necessary to cut him off from communion; and he shall in the presence of the church or congregation pronounce this sentence, in the following or like manner:
He shall begin by showing the authority of the church to cast out unworthy members, from Matthew 18:15-18; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, and shall briefly explain the nature, use, and consequences of this censure, warning the people to avoid all unnecessary intercourse with him who is cast out. Then he shall say:
“Whereas ________ has been, by sufficient proof, convicted of (here insert the sin), and after much admonition and prayer obstinately refuses to hear the church, and has manifested no evidence of repentance; therefore in the name, and by the authority, of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pronounce him to be excluded from the communion of the church.”
After that, prayer shall be made that the blessing of God may follow his ordinance, for the conviction and reformation of the excommunicated person and for the establishment of all true believers.
7. If the sentence involves suspension from office, the moderator shall say:
“Whereas you, ______ (here insert the office of the offender), have been, by sufficient proof, convicted of (here insert the sin), through a careful trial, we are fully convinced that you are not fit for the office of (insert the name of the office). Therefore, we now declare, in the name, and by the authority, of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you are suspended from that office and not allowed to exercise that office.”
If that pronouncement involves deposition or excommunication, the moderator shall continue to say:
“We by the same authority pronounce that ______ shall be suspended from the sacraments and the communion of the church until the person manifests the proof of a sincere repentance which shall satisfy the church.”
The matters of deposition ought to be treated solemnly like the matters relating to excommunication.
CHAPTER 17 RESTORATION
1. After any person has been thus suspended from the sacraments, it is proper that the minister, and elders, and other Christians should frequently converse with him, pray together, and pray for him in private.
2. When the judicatory shall be satisfied as to the reality of the repentance of any offender, he shall be admitted to profess his repentance, and be restored to the privileges of the church. This restoration shall be declared to the penitent in the presence of the church session or the congregation, with this pronouncement: “Whereas you, _______ (here insert his former office), were suspended from the communion of the church, but have now manifested such repentance as satisfies the church, the church session (presbytery), in the name, and by the authority, of the Lord Jesus Christ, declares that you are absolved from the sentence of suspension from the communion of the church. You are now restored to your previous office and privileges.”
Then prayer and thanksgiving shall follow.
3. When one who has been excommunicated shall also be so affected with his state as to be brought to repentance, and to desire to be readmitted to the privileges of the church, the church session, having obtained sufficient evidence of his sincere repentance, shall, with the advice and concurrence of the presbytery, restore him. In order to do that, the minister shall inform the congregation of the measures that have been taken with the excommunicated person, and of the resolution of the session to receive him again into the communion of the church. On the day appointed for his restoration, the minister shall call upon the excommunicated person and ask him, in the presence of the congregation, the following questions:
Q: “Do you, from a deep sense of your great wickedness, freely confess your sin, in thus rebelling against God, and in refusing to hear his church, and do you acknowledge that you have been in justice and mercy cut off from the communion of the saints?”
Answer: “I do.”
Q: “Do you now voluntarily profess your sincere repentance and deep contrition for your sin and obstinacy, and do you humbly ask the forgiveness of God and of his church?”
Answer: “I do.”
Q: “Do you sincerely promise, through divine grace, to live in all humbleness of mind and circumspection, and to endeavor to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior, by having your behavior to be in accordance with the gospel?
Answer: “I do.”
Here the minister shall give the penitent a suitable exhortation, addressing him with brotherly love, encouraging and comforting him. Then he shall pronounce the sentence of restoration, in the following words:
“Whereas you, _______ , have been shut out from the communion of the faithful, but have now manifested such repentance as satisfies the church; in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by his authority, I declare you absolved from the sentence of excommunication formerly pronounced against you, and I do receive you into the communion of the church, that you may be a partaker of all the benefits of the Lord Jesus, to your eternal salvation.”
The whole shall be concluded with prayer, and the people dismissed with the usual blessing.
4. When an officer who has been deposed makes a public confession of his sin and answers the questions set forth in section 3 above, he may be reinstalled. In the restoration of a minister who has been suspended, and in the installation of an officer who has been deposed, the presbytery should proceed with considerable caution. It should first admit him to the sacraments, if he was barred from them, and afterwards should grant him the privilege of preaching for a time to test the sincerity of his repentance and the prospect of his usefulness, and, if satisfied, the presbytery shall restore and install him to his office. But he shall be on probation until the sentence of restoration be pronounced.
5. When a ruling elder or deacon has been absolved from the censure of deposition, he may not be allowed to resume the exercise of his office in the church without reelection by the congregation.
6. When a person under censure shall move to a place far from the court by which he was sentenced and shall desire to profess repentance and obtain restoration, it shall be lawful for the court to transmit a certified copy of its proceedings to the new court where he now resides, which shall take up the case and proceed to absolve him from the censure as though it had originated with itself.
CHAPTER 18 THE OFFERINGS
1. Each believer in the local congregation shall be encouraged to make an honest offering from what has been given by God, for it is lawful for believers to help propagate the gospel to all nations as commanded by Christ, and to this end a time shall be set for the congregation to give. This should be done as an exercise of grace and as a solemn act of worship to the almighty God as enjoined in the Scriptures.
2. The minister and the session shall decide at which service and when to take up the offering. In order that the receiving of the offering may be an act of worship, the minister should either precede or follow it with a brief prayer invoking the blessing of God upon the offering and dedicating it to his service.
3. The offerings shall be used only for the work of various agencies of the church and for charity. The amount of the expenditure and the specific plans pertaining thereto may be determined as deemed appropriate, and in the event that a member of the church designates his or her gift to a particular cause, the donor’s wish shall be respected. The offerings received and disbursed by the Sunday school and by other agencies shall be regularly reported to and approved by the session. No session shall collect or disburse offerings for any cause unrelated to the interests of the World Korean Presbyterian Church without prior permission.
4. It is the duty of the minister to cultivate the grace of liberal giving in his church. Every member should give as he or she is able, regardless of the amount.