« PreviousContinue »
12. There is at this time (as we humbly conceive) an extraordinary occafion for a way of ordination for the present lupply of ministers.
The Directory for the Ordination of Ministers.
T being manifeft by the word of God, that no man ought to
take upon him the office of a minister of the gospel, until he be lawfully called and ordained thereunto; and that the work of ordination is to be performed with all due care, wisdom, gravity, and folemnity: we humbly tender thete directions, as requisite to be oblerved.
First, He that is to be ordained, being either dominated by the people, or otherwise commended to the presbytery for any place, must addrets himlelf to the presbytery, aod bring with him a tettimonial of his taking the covenant of the three kingdoms, of his diligence and proficiency in his studies ; what degrees he hath taken in the university, and what hath been the time of his abode chere; and withal of his age, which is to bę twenty four years; but eipecially of his life and conversation.
Which being cofidered by the presbytery, they are to proceed to enquire touching the grace of God in him, and whether he be of fuch holiness of life as is required in a minifter of the gospel ; and to examine him touching his learning and fufficiency, and touching the evidences of his calling to the holy ministry, and in particular his tair aod direct calling to that place.
The Rules for examination are these; 1. That the party examined be dealt withal in a brotherly way,
with mildness of spirit, and with special respect to the gravity, mo• desty, and quality of every one,
2. He shall be examined touching his skill in the original congues, ! and his trial to be made by reading the Hebrew and Greek Testaments. • and rendering some portion of some into Latin; and, if he be de• fective in them, enquiry shall be made more strictly after his other • learning, and whether he has skill in Logic and Philosophy,
God had prepared the people : for rusalem. v. 4. and the thing pleas. the thing was done suddenly. 2 ed the king, and all the congrega. Chron. xxx. 2. For the king had tion. V 5. so they established a taken counsel and his princes, and decree, make proclamation all the congregation in Jerusalem, throughout all Ifrael from Beer. to keep the passover in the second sheba even to Dan, that they should month. y. 3. For they could not come to keep the passover unto the keep it at that time, because the Lord God of Israel, at Jerufalem : priests had not fanctified themselves for they had not done it of a long Teficiently, neither had the people time in such a fort as it was write gathered themselves together to Je ten.
• What authors in divinity he hath read, and is best acquainted * with : and trial shall be made in his knowledge of the grounds of re
ligion, and of his ability to defend the orthodox doctrine contained • in them, against all untound and erroneous opinions, especially these • of the prelent age; of his skill in the sense and meaning of fuch places • of scripture as shall be proposed unto him, in cases of conscience and • in the chronology of she scripture, and the ecclesiastical history.
4. "If he hath not before preached in publick with approbation of • such as are able to judge, he fhali at cumpetent time afligned him, • cxpound before the presbytery luch a portion of fcripture as shall be
5. • He fall also, within a competent time, frame a discourse in · Latin, upon tuch a common place or controversy in divinity as shall s be assigaed to him, and exhibit to the presbytery such theses as ex• prels the sum thereof, and maintain a dispute upon them.
6. ' He shall preach before the people, the presbytery, or some of o the ministers of the word appointed by them, being present.
7. • The proportion of his gifts in relation to the place uoto which he is called shall be considered.
8. • Beside the trial of his gifts io preaching, he shall undergo an ' ex-mination in the premisses two several days, and more if the pref. bytery fhall judge it necessary,
9. And as for him that hath formerly been ordained a minifter, and is to be removed to anotber charge, he shall bring a testimonial of his • ordination, and of his abilities and observation, whereupon his fite • ness for that place shall be tried by his preaching there, and (if it • shall be judged necessary) by a further examination of him.'
In all which he being approved, he is to be sent to the church where he is to serve, there to preach three several days, and to converse with the people, that they may have trial of his gifts for their edification, and may have time and occasion to enquire into, and the better to know, his life and converfation.
4. In the last of these three days appointed for the trial of his gifts in preaching, there shall be fent from the presbytery to the congregation, a public intimation in writing which thall be publicly read be. fore the people, and after affixed to the church-door, to signify that such a day, a competent number of the members of that congregation, nominated by themlelves, shall appear before the presbytery, to give their content and approbation to such a man to be their minister : or other wile, to put in, with all Christian discretion and meeknels, what exceptions they have againtt him, and if, upon the day appointed, there be no just exception against bim but the people give their consent, then the presbytery shall proceed to ordination.
5. Upon the day appointed for ordination, which is to be performed in that church where he that is to be ordained is to serve, a folemn faft is to be kept by the congregation, that they may the more earnell
ly join in prager for a blessing upon the ordinance of Christ, and the labours of his fervant for their good. The presbytery shall come to the place, or at leaft three or four ministers of the word thall be fent thither from the presbytery; of which one appointed by the presbytery, shall preach to the people, concerning the office and duty of miDiers of Christ, and how the people ought to receive them for their work's lake.
6. After the fermon, she minister who hath preached, shall, in the face of the congregation, demand of him who is now to be ordaioed concerning his faith in Chrift Jelus, and his perluasion of the truth of the reformed religion, according to the scripture; his sincere intentions and ends in defiring to enter into this calling ; his diligence in praying, reading, meditation, preaching, miniftering the facrameots, discipline, and doing all ministerial duties towards his charge; his zeal and faithfuldess in maintaining the truth of the gospel, and unity of the church, againft error and ichiím ; his care that himself and his family may be unblameable, and examples to the fock; his willingness and humility, in meekvels of spirit, to submit unto the admonitions of his brethren, and discipline of the church, and his resolution to continue in his duty against all trouble and perfecution. 7. In all which having declared himselt, professed his willingness
, and promised his endeavours, by the help of God : the minister like wife shall demand of the people, concerning their willingness to receive and acknowledge him as the minister of Chrift: and to obey, and submit unto him, as having rule over them in the Lord; and to maintain, encourage and aslilt him in all the parts of his office.
8. Which being muually promised by the people, the presbytery, or the ministers fent from them for ordination, fall folemuly fet him apart to the office and work of the ministry, by laying their hands on him, which is to be accompanied with a short prayer or blefing to this effect;
• Thankfully acknowledging the great mercy of God, in tending • Jesus Christ for the redemption of his people; and tor his ascention • to the right-hand of God the Father, and thence pouring out his Spi. ' rit, and giving gifts to men, apostles, evangelists prophets, pastors, 6 and teachers, for the gatbering and building up of his church; and * for fitting and inclining this man to this great work*: To ingreat « him to fit him with his holy Spirit, to give him (who io his name we "thus set apart to this holy service) to fulfil the work of his ministry . in all things, that he may both tave himiell, and his people commit• ted to his charge.'
9. This or the like form of prayer and blessing being ended, let the minister who preached, briefly exhort him to consider of the greatness of his office and work, the danger of negligence both to himself and his people, the blessing which will accompany bis faithfuloels in this life, and that to come, and withal exhort the people to carry them. felves to him, as to their minister in the Lord, according to their 10. * Here let them impose hands on his head.
lena promise made betore ; and to by prayer commending both him and his flock to the grace of God, atter enging of a plalm, det the affembly be dismissed with a bleffing.
10. If a minifter be deligaed to a congregation, who hath been formerly ordained presbyter according to the torm of ordination which hath been in the church of England, which we hold for substance to be valid, and not to be ditclaimed by any who have received it ; then, there being a cautious proceeding in matters of examination, let him be admitted without any new ordination.
I. And in case any person already ordained minister in Scotland, ar in any other reformed church, be defigned to apother congregation in Engiand he is to bring from that church to the prefbytery here, with in which that congregation is, a sufficient teftimonial of his ordination, of his life and converlation while he lived with them, and of the causes of his remuval; and to undergo fuch a trial of his fitness and fufficiency, and to have the same course held with him in other particulars, as is let down in the rule immediately going before, touching examination and admiffion.
12. That records be carefully kept in the feveral presbyteries, of the names of the persons ordained, with their testimonials, the time
and place of their ordination, of the prelbyters who did impose hands E opon them, and of the charge to which they are appointed.
13. That no money or gift of what kind foever shall be received from the person to be ordained, or from any on his behalf, for ordination, or ought else belonging to it, by any of the presbytery, or any appertaining to any of them, upon what pretence foever.
Thus far of ordinary Rules and Course of Ordination, in the ordinary
Way; that which concerns the extraordinary Way, requifite to be now practised, followeth.
1. lp these present exigencies, while we cannot have any presbyteries formed up to their whole power and work, and that many ministers are to be ordained for the service of the armies and navy, and to many congregations where there is no minister at all; and where (by reason of the public troubles) the people cannot either themselves enquire, and find out one who may be a faithful minister for them, or have any with safety leot upto them for such a folemn trial as was before mentioned in the ordinary rules ; elpecially when there can be no presbytery gear upto them, to whom they may address themselves, or which may come or send to them a fic man to be ordained in that congregation, and for that people : and yet notwithstanding, it is requilite that ministers be ordained for them, by fome, who, being set apart themselves for the work of the ministry, have power to join in the setting apart others, who are found fit and worthy. In those cases, voil, by God's blessing, the aforesaid difficulties may be in some good measure removed, let some godly ministers in or about the city of Lowdon be designed by public authority, who, being associated, may or daio ministers for the city and the vicioity, keeping as dear to the ordinary rules forementioned, as pullibly they may: and let this association be for no other intent or purpose, but only for the work of ordination.
2., Let the like association be made by the same authority in great towns, and the neighbouring parishes in the several counties, which are at the prelent quiet and undisturbed, to do the like for the parts adjacent.
3. Let such as are chosen, or appointed for the service of the armies ot navy, be ordained, as aforesaid, by the associated ministers of London, or some others in the country.
4. Let them do the like, when any man fhall duly and lawfully be recommended to them for the ministry of any congregation, who cannot enjoy liberty to have a trial of his parts and abilities, and desire the help of such ministers so associated, for the better furnishiog of them with such a person as by them shall be judged fit for the service of that church and people.