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EDINBURGH, 21st May, 1711.
HE GENERAL ASSEMBLY Does earneftly Recommend to Presbytries, to use their utmost Endeavours, that the Worship of God be let up and performed in all its Parts, in the Families within their Bounds, acco2ding to fozmer Aus of Allembly, and Directions given concerning the fame.
AUGUST 24. 1647.
ACT for Obferving the Directions of the GENERAL ASSEMBLY for Secret and Private Worship, and mutual Edification, and Cenfuring fuck as neglect Family Worship.
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, after mature Deliberation, doth Approve the following Rules and Directions, for cherishing Piety, and preventing Divifion and Schifm: And doth Appoint Minifters and Ruling Elders in each Congregation, to take Special Care that thefe Directions be obferved and followed: As likewife, That Presbytries and Provincial Synods inquire and make trial, whether the faid Directions be duly obServed in their Bounds; and to reprove or cenfure, according to the Quality of the Offence, fuch as fhould be found to be reprovable or cenfurable therein. And to the end that thefe Directions may not be rendred ineffectual and unprofitable among fome, through the ufual Neglect of the very Subftance of the Duty of Family Worship; the ASSEMBLY doth further Require and Appoint Minifters and Ruling Elders, to make diligent Search and Inquiry in the Congregations committed to their Charge respectively; whether there be among them any Family or Families, which use to neglect this neceffary Duty: And if any fuch Family be found, the Head of that Family is to be firft admonished privately to amend this Fault, and in cafe of his continuing therein, he is to be
gravely and fadly reproved by the Seffion; after which Reproof, if he be found ftill to neglect Family Worfhip, let him be for his Obftinacy in fuch an Offence, fufpended and debarred from the Lord's Supper, as being justly esteemed unworthy to communicate therein till he amend
DIRECTIONS of the GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Concerning Secret and Private Worship, and mutual Edification; for cherishing Piety, for maintaining Unity, and avoiding Schifm and Divifion.
ESIDES the publick Worship in Congregations, mercifully established in this Land in great Purity, it is expedient and neceffary, that Secret Worfhip of each Perfon alone, and private Worfhip of Families, be preffed and fet up; that with National Reformation, the Profeffion and Power of Godliness both Personal and Domeftick be advanced:
And firft for fecret Worfhip: It is moft neceffary, that every one apart and by themselves be given to Prayer and Meditation, the unfpeakble Benefit whereof is best known to them who are moft exer cifed therein, this being the Mean whereby in a fpecial way, Communion with God is entertained, and right Preparation for all other Duties obtained: And therefore it becometh not only Paftors within their several Charges, to press Perfons of all forts to perform this Duty Morning and Evening, and
at other Occafions; but also it is incumbent to the Head of every Family, to have a care that both themselves and all within their Charge be daily diligent herein.
The ordinary Duties comprehended under the Exercife of Piety, which fhould be in Families when they are conveened to that Effect, are these. First, Prayer and Praifes performed with a fpecial Reference, as well to the publick Condition of the Kirk of God and this Kingdom, as to the prefent Cafe of the Family and every Member thereof. Next, Reading of Scriptures, with Catechifing in a plain way, that the Understandings of the Simpler may be the better inabled to profit under the publick Ordinances, and they made more capable to understand the Scriptures when they are read: Together with Godly Conferences tending to the edification of all the Members in the most holy Faith; as alfo Admonition and Rebuke upon juft Reasons from those who have Authority in the Family.
As the Charge and Office of interpreting the holy Scriptures is a Part of the Minifterial Calling, which none (howfoever otherwife qualified) fhould take upon him in any Place, but he that is duly called thereunto by God and his Kirk: So in every Family where there is any that can read, the holy Scriptures fhould be read ordinarily to the Family: And it is commendable that thereafter they confer, and by way of Conference make fome good Ufe of what hath been read and heard; as for Example, If any Sin be reproved in the Word