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OF THE REFORMED DUTCH CHURCH.
1. Of Public Prayer.-II. Of the Administration of the Holy Sacra.
ments.--III. Of the Exercise of Church Discipline.- IV. Of the Ordination of Church Officers.–V. Of the Celebration of Marriage. VI. Of Comforting the Sick.
Christian Prayers, to be used in the Assembly of the Faithful, and on
A Prayer on the Lord's day, before sermon.
ourselves before thy high majesty, against which we have so of.. ten and grievously offended; and acknowledge if thou shouldest enter into judgment with us, that we have deserved nothing but eternal death : for besides that we all are by original sin, unclean in thy sight, and children of wrath, conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity, whereby all manner of evil lusts, striving against thee and our neighbour, dwell within us; we have also indeed, frequently and without end, transgressed thy precepts, neglecting what thou hast commanded us, and done what thou hast expressly forbidden 19a We have strayed like sheep, and have greatly offended against thee, which we acknowl. edge, and are heartily sorry for; ray we confess to our shame, and to the praise of thy mercy towards us, that our sins are more than the hairs of our heads, and that we are indebted ten thousand talents, but not able to pay. Wherefore we are not worthy to be called thy children; nor to lift up our eyes towards heaven, to pour out our prayers before thee. Nevertheless, O Lord God, and merciful Father, knowing that thou dost not desire the death of a sinner, but that he may turn from his wickedness and live; and that thy mercy is infinite; which thou sherest unto those who return to thee; we heartily call upon thee, trusting in our Mediator Jesus Christ, who is that Lamb of God that
taketh away the sins of the world, and we beseech thee to commiserate our infirmity, forgiving us all our sins for Christ's sake: wash us in the pure fountain of his blood, that we may become clean and white as snow : cover our nakedness with his innocence and righteousness, for the glory of thy name's sake : clear our understanding of all blindness, and our hearts of all hardness and pride. Open the mouth of thy servant at present, and replenish him with thy wisdom and knowledge, that he may purely and confidently set forth thy word; prepare also our hearts, that we may hear, understand and keep the same ; write thy laws (according to thy promise) in the tables of our hearts, and strengthen us to delight and walk in the same, to the praise and glory of thy name, and to the edification of thy church. O gracious Father, we ask for, and desire all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, who Hath taught us thus to pray. Our Father, &c.
A Prayer to be used on the Lord's day, after sermon.
confess before thee, as the truth is, that we are not worthy to lift up our eyes towards heaven, and to present our prayers before thee, if thou shouldest respect our merits and worthiness ; for our consciences accuse us, and our sins bear witness against us ; we also know, that thou art a righteous judge, punishing the sins of those who transgress thy commandments. But O Lord, since thou hast commanded us to call upon thee in all times of necessity, and hast of thine ineffable inercy promised to hear our prayers, not because of our merits, (which are none) but for the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom thou hast appointed to be our Mediator and Advocate : wherefore we forsake all other help, and take our refuge to thy mercy alone.
Especially, O Lord, besides the innumerable benefits which thou shew. est to all mankind in general on earth, thou hast in particular bestowed manifold favours on us, which we are not capable to comprehend or express : for thou hast delivered us from the woful slavery of the devil, and all idolatry, wherein we were held, and hast brought us to the light of thy truth, and to the knowledge of thy holy gospel. On the contrary, we have by our ingratitude been regardless of these thy benefits, we are departed from thee, and have followed our own devices, not honouring thee as was our bounden duty to do. Thus have we, O Lord, grievou-ly sinned, and highly offended thee, and can expect nothing else than everlasting death and damnation, is thou shouldest deal with us according to our deserts. Yea we also perceive, O Lord, by the chastisements, which thou daily art inflicting on us, that thou art justly displeased with us. For since thou art just, thou wilt punish no map without cause, and we also see thine hand stretched out, further to punish us. But through thou didst punish us more severely than thou hast hitherto done, nay though all the plagues fell upon us, wherewith thou didst visit
the sins of thy people Israel, we must still confess that thou wouldest do us no injustice. But, O Lord, thou art our God, and we are but dust and ashes; thou art our Creator, and we are thy handy work ; thou art our Shepherd, and we are thy sheep; thou art our Redeemer, and we are those whom thou hast redeemed. Thou art our Father, and we are thy children and heirs. Therefore do not punish us in thine anger, but chastise us mercifully, and preserve that work which thou hast of thy mercy begun in us, that the whole world may know and acknowledge thee to be our God and Saviour. Thy people Israel have frequently offended thee, and thou hast justly punished them, but as oft as they turned themselves again to thee, thou didst always mercifully receive them into favour. And though their sins and transgressions were never so great, thou didst always avert thy wrath and punishment prepared for them by reason of the covenant which thou hadst made with thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, so that thou never hast refused to hear the prayers of thy people. And we have of thy mercy even that same covenant, which thou hast erected in the hand of Jesus Christ our Mediator between thee and all believers : nay it is now more glorious and efficacious, since Christ hath ratified and confirmed the same by his holy suffering and death, and entrance into his glory. Therefore, O Lord, forsaking ourselves, and all human assistance, we fly for succour to this blessed covenant of grace, by means whereof our Lord Jesus Christ (having offered his body once on the cross as a perfect sacrifice for us) hath reconciled us with thee, for ever. Therefore, O Lord, look upon the face of thine anointed, and not upon our sins, that thine anger may be appeased by his intercession ; and cause thy face to shine on us to our joy and salvation Take us henceforth into thy holy guidance and protection, and govern us with thy holy Spirit, wło daily inore and more mortifying our flesh with all its lusts, renews us to a better life, and produces in us fruits of true faith, that hereby thy name may be glorified and praised to all eternity, and that we despising all transitory things, may with an ardent desire, fix our thoughts only on things heavenly.
And in as much as it is thy pleasure that we should pray for all mankind, we beseech thee to extend thy blessings on the doctrine of thy holy Gospel, that it may be preached and accepted every where, that the whole world may be filled with thy saving knowledge, that the ignorant may be converted, the weak strengthened, that every one, not only in word, but also in deed, may magnify and sanctify thy holy tian churches, spread over the face of the earth in unity of true faith, and in godliness of life, that thy kingdom may daily increase, and that of satan be destroyed, till thy kingdom is perfected, when thou shalt be all in all
Send forth for this end faithful labourers into thy harvest; and replenish them with thy grace, that they may faithfully serve before thee. On the contrary, utterly destroy all false teachers, ravenous wolves and hirelings, who seek their own honour and advantage, and not the glory of thine holy name only, nor the welfare and salvation and souls. Be also pleased graciously to preserve and govern all thy chrisBless and long preserve thy servant, the President of the UnitedStates. Bless the Vice-President, the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress assembled. Bless all placed in authority throughout the States, and especially in the State wherein we reside ; the Governor of the State, the Magistrates, and all others entrusted with powers either legislative or executive Replenish them all with thy grace and heavenly gifts, each in his respective calling and state, wherein thou hast placed him, that they may wisely govern, and strenuously protect the people, whom thou hast committed to their care, faithfully defend thy worship, and rightly adıninister justice among the people : preside with thy holy Spirit in their assemblies, that in all cases they may resolve nothing but what is good and becoming, and let the laws be happily executed : that these United-States heing preserved from all enemies, the evil-doers punished, and the just protected, thy name thereby may be praised, and the kingdom of the King of kings, Christ Jesus, promoted ; and that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. Moreover we pray for our brethren, who are uoder persecution or tyranny; comfort them with thy holy Spirit, and mercifully deliver them ; suffer not thy church wholly to be destroyed, nor the remembrance of thy name to be abolished from the face of the earth, lest the enemies of thy truth triumph to the dishonouring and blaspheming of thy name. But if it is thy divine will that the suffering christians should die for the glory of thy nume, and by their death witness unto the truth, comfort them in their sufferings, that they, considering them as coming from thy fatherly hand, may therefore, doing thy will remain stedfast, whether in life or death; to thy glory, to the edification of thy church, and to their salvation. We likewise beseech thee, for all those whoin thou dost afflict with poverty. inprisonment, sickness of body or mind, comfort them all, O Lord, according to their several necessities. Grant that their chastisement may bring them to the knowledge of their sins, and to an amendment of their lives. Give them also firm patience, alleviate their sufferings, and finally deliver them, that they may rejoice in thy goodness, and eternally praise thy
Particularly we pray for these United States of America ; keep them under thy holy protection; prosper them in their agriculture, manufactures, cominerce and literature; and let their civil and religious rights be preserved inviolate to the latest posterity.”
And, o ord, take us, together with all that belongs to, us, in thy keeping. Grant that we may live in our respective callings according to thy will, and so use the gifts which we receive of thy blessing, that they may not impede, but rather further us to life eternal.
Strengthen us in all temptations, that we striving in true faith, may overcome, and hereafter enjoy with Christ, life eternal.
We ask thee for all these things, as our faithful Lord, and Saviour Jesus Christ himself hath taught us : Our Father, &c. Afterwards the congregation is dismissed with the usual blessing.
Receive the blessing of the Lord. The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
A Prayer before the explanation of the Catechism. O ,
sure testimony, making wise the simple, enlightening the eyes of the blind, and a powerful means unto salvation, for all those who believe. And whereas we are not only blind by nature, but even incapable of doing any good : and also since thou wilt help none, but those who are of a broken and contrite heart ; we beseech thee to enlighten our understanding with thy holy Spirit, and give us a meek heart, free from all haugintiness and carnal knowledge, that we hearing thy word, may riglıtly understand it, and regulate our life accordingly : be graciously pleased to convert all those who still stray from thy truth, that we may together with them, unanimously serve thee in true holiness and righteousness all the days of our life,
We crave all these things for Christ's sake, who hath thus taught as to pray in his name, and promised to hear us : Our Father, &c.
A Prayer after the explination of the Catechism. O ,
thinks, that it hath pleased thee, not only to take us into thy covenant, but also our little children, which thou hast not only sealed unto them, by thy holy baptism, but yet daily shewest when thou perfectest thy praise out of their mouths, thus to cause the wise world to blush: we beseech thee, increase thy grace in them, that they may always grow up in Christ thy Son; till they acquire their perfect manly age in all knowledge and righteousness. Give us grace, that we may educate them, as thou hast commanded us, iu thy knowledge and fear, that by their godliness the kingdom of satan may be destroyed, and the kingdom of Jesus Christ strengthened in this and other congregations, to the glory of thy holy name, and to their eternal salvation, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
A Prayer before sermon in the week.
sinpers, conceived in ein, and horn in iniquity, prone to all evil, unft