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The like is to be observed in the proceedings of all others, although of
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 caufe.
After the purpose or contract of marriage have been thus published, the marriage is not to be long deferred. Therefore the minister, having had convenient warning, and nothing been objected to hinder it, is publickly to solemnize it in the place appointed by authority for publick 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 publick humiliation. And we advise that it be not on the Lord's day.
And, because all relations are fanctified by the word and prayer, the minister is to pray for a blessing upon them, to this effect;
Acknowledging our fins, whereby we have made our< felves less than the least of all the mercies of God, and pro• voked him to embitter all our comforis, earnestly, in the
name of Christ, to intreat the Lord (whose presence and fa"your is the happiness of every condition, and sweetens every
relation to be their portion, and to own and accept then 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 gra• ces whereby they may perform the duties, enjoy the com• forts, undergo the cares, and resist the temptations which accompany that condition, as becometh Christians."
The prayer being ended, it is convenient that the minifter do briefly declare unto them, out of the scripture,
•The institution, use, and ends of marriage, with the conju*gal 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; watch
ing over, and provoking each other to love, and good • works: and to live together as the heirs of the grace of life.'
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 and covenant to be a loving and faithful husband unto thee, until God Mall
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 fhall, in the face of the congregation, pronounce them to be husband and wife, according to God's ordinance; and fo conclude the action with prayer to this effect;
"That the Lord would be pleased to acompany his owo • ordinance with his bleffing, 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.
ticularly 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 fickness, to desire his advice and help, timely and seasonably, before their strength and understanding fail them.
Times of sickness and affiction are special opportunities put into his hand by God, to minister a word in season to weary fouls: because then the consciences of men are or should be, more awakened to bethink themselves of their spiritual estate for eternity; and Saran also takes advantage then, to load them more with fore 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.
from the consideration of the present ficknefs, in. struct him out of scripture, that diseafes 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 fin, 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 fan&tified use of God's visitation, neither despising his chastning, 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 fick 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.
If it appear that he bath not a due sense of his lins, 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 rouze 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, loft in himself, layeth hold upon Christ by faith.
If he have 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 hew him, that death hath in it no fpiritual 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, tho' now they must be laid in the dust, to obtain a joyful and glorious resurrection to eternal life.
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 cart 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 sensible propounding of Christ and his merit for a door of hope to every enitent believer.
When the sick person is best composed, may be least disurbed, and other necessary offices about him least hindered, he minister, if desired, Thall pray with him, and for him, to his 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, ficknesses, death, and hell itself, are che proper issues and effects thereof; imploring God's mercy for the fick person, through the blood of Christ; beseeching that God would open his eyes, discover unto him his fins, cause him to see himself loft in himself, make known to him the cause why God smitech him, reveal Jesus Christ to his soul for righte