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conceived, be a great improvement. Again, the Psalms should not be read as Prayers, but as Scripture Reading, whilst we silently sit and listen to what God the Lord will say to us from this portion of his holy word.
The plan of reading adopted in this liturgy, is the following. The Old Testament is divided into three parts. The first of these, contains from Genesis to Job inclusive; the second, the Book of Psalms only; and the third, from the Proverbs to the end. The New Testament also is divided into three portions. The first, containing the four Gospels; the second, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles to the Romans and Corinthians; and the third, from the Epistle to the Galatians, to the end. The whole Scriptures being thus divided into Six Portions, one chapter from each is to be read in due order for the Forenoon Service, making together six chapters, and all read directly and formally from the Holy Bible itself.—At the clos . of the Scripture. Readings a hymn is sung, called the third hymn.
The next part of the Service, is the Prayer before Sermon. This is the Fourth Prayer, and as will be seen, is not a general prayer, but is especially directed to the Sermon about to be deliver, d.
The Sermon follows. The time occupied in delivering the Sermon should be from 30 to 50 minutes, say on an average 40. Preachers and Hearers differ somewhat in their way of thinking and acting as to the manner of preaching. Some preachers write all their sermons, and read them to their congregations; and this mode is the most acceptable to many hearers. Other preachers deliver all their Sermons extempory, and their hearers prefer this plan to the other. This difference of opinion, and practice, respecting the mode of delivering a sermon, should not be allowed to weigh much in our judgments. The question should not be, whether the sermon was read or delivered extempory, but what did it contain. As to the two modes, we should all try to accustom ourselves to both, and fix our attention chiefly on the matter spoken or read. In considering maturely both sides of this subject, it would seem best to unite them, and to keep both in use. The one contributes to accuracy, and the other to fluency, or readiness; and were both pr perly combined, our edification would most likely be greater, than it would be, by the constant use of any one of the two exclusively.
The place from which the Sermon is delivered in the National Church is more elevated than that from which the Scriptures are read, and where the minister stands when leading the Prayers of the Congregation. There seems an incongruity in this; for surely, both the Reading of the Scripture, and Prayer, are more solemn exercises than the delivering of a Sermon. But it seems most suitable that the person who officiates, should occupy one and the same place during the whole service; and also, that his attire should be the same throughout.
After the Sermon, there is a prayer bearing upon the subject immediately preceding; and referring also to the closing of the service. This is classed as the Fifth Prayer. It is terminated by a benediction or doxology; and this concludes the forenoon service.
Various forms of benediction, or doxology, are used in the several services, and this varying from one to anoth r seems a better plan, than that of using the same one constantly. There is a variety in the mode in which the Apostles close their Epistles, and this should be imitated.
The whole of the Forenoon Service is calculated to occupy about two hours and a quarter.
Afternoon Service.—The Forenoon Service should be considered the chief service of the day. The Afternoon Service is therefore made somewhat shorter than that for the forenoon. This is done by using a shorter general prayer, by reading fewer chapters from the Scriptures, and by singing twice instead of three times. This service should occupy from one hour and a half, to one hour and three quarters. The portions of Scripture are, the first second and fifth.
Evening Service.—The Evening Service is intended to be of the same length as that for the afternoon. The portions of Scripture to be read, are the third fourth and sixth.
In the afternoon and evening services, as elsewhere noticed, extempory prayers may be used instead of the formulas here given; and it seems particularly desirable that this mode should be adopted, in at least one service of the day. The order of service here arranged may nevertheless be observed, and the prescribed portions of Scripture should always be read.
The whole portion of Scripture to be read in the course of the Lord's day according to the above directions amounts to Twelve Chapters. By this arrangement we would secure a considerable portion of infallible instruction. This would counteract the evils arising from erring and uninstructed teachers, should such unfortunately be found in the church; and on the other hand, it would aid strengthen and confirm, the true and pious instructions of the good pastor. And this observation particularly applies to those congregations where there are many who cannot read; a blot this, soon, it is hoped, to be wiped from off our land for ever. The benefit and true edification that would arise from this plan of Scripture reading being adopted all over the nation, in every place of worship, would doubtless be very great. If we honour God in his holy word, he will honour us in return.
In regard to the Ministerial Instructions on the three several parts of the day, it might be stated, that the best method to be pursued, would probably be as follows. In the forenoon, to deliver a written discourse from some text, or short portion of Scripture; in the afternoon, to read, or to deliver from brief notes, an exposition of some larger portion of Scripture, going through each book that may be selected for this purpose, in regular order; and in the evening to preach a Sermon extempory.
It is not to be supposed that each individual will attend all the three services of the Sunday; and perhaps, generally speaking, it might not be the most profitable plan for him to pursue, as individual prayers, readings, and meditations, should form the occupation of some portion of every Lord's day. There are also Sunday School and family instructions to be attended to, which necessarily occupy many; and there is besides, the care of young children, and of the sick, which keep some members of not a few families at home. The three Services will afford the advantage, of each member of the family attending two of them, by interchanging with each other. It is however desirable that every individual who may be absent from any of the three services, should read privately, or with the family, those portions of Scripture which are publicly read, in those services of the day at which he was not present. This will keep up a general course of Scripture reading, which will be of great value.—In accordance with what is here recommended, it may be suggested, that the passages or portions of Scripture forming the ministerial instructions in the services we cannot attend, should be ascertained, and the expositions of them, as much as possible learned, from those who were present. This mutual help would greatly tend to our advancing in the knowledge of God together.
Week Day Services.—A form is here given to suit every general service on week days, but this may be dispensed with, and extemporaneous prayers used instead or it, whilst the order is preserved, and the same portions of Scripture read.
A few words are required in regard to Music. As the Responses are to be pronounced by the whole congregation, so should all sing aloud in praising God in the Assembly for Public Worship. People should not be left to gather an imperfect knowledge of singing by chance, more than to learn reading in that way, but they should be taught it formally, and if possible when young; but if not acquired in early days, it should be taught with care afterwards. Every minister should be at pains to regulate this matter, so that all his congregation may be able to sing with propriety and harmony.
In several places of worship instrumental music is used. Some have objected to this, as considering it contrary to Scripture. But it is difficult to say what the Scriptures permit or discourage on this head. The probability is, that this is one of the things undefined in Scripture, and which consequently is left to be regulated by the general precept referred to in the preface.
It appears to the writer of this liturgy, that no music is so sweet in itself as the human voice divine, and assuredly in the worshipping and praising of God, it is every way the most befitting. But some will say, that instrumental music is necessary, or at least desirable, as an aid to the human voice. Necessary, it cannot well be, if proper care is taken as above recommended to instruct all the congregation in the due use of their own voices. Desirable, or useful, it may be perhaps, if used in a proper manner. It does however strike the writer, that it is seldom used with much propriety. The organ is itself the chief singer in every congregation where it is used. The best instrument for aiding in church music would seem to be the flute, or some such mellow instrument as would closely assimilate with the human voice, so as to afford it aid, whilst the instrument itself might remain undiscerned, or as nearly so as could be.
Though the services above noticed are all drawn out, and intended for, Public Worship, they are nevertheless calculated to suit a single individual by the change of the pronouns, and a few other words. It is therefore recommended to private individuals to worship God through these services, at such times as they may find themselves alone, being unavoidably detained from assembling with the Great Congregation, whither we ought by all means to repair, and present ourselves, except when we have a lawful and urgent reason for acting otherwise. This manual may likewise be used in the sick room, and will enable the person afflicted, and those who are in attendance, to join together in the worship of God.
The next part of this liturgy is occupied with those services, which, though of a public nature, are yet used only on particular occasions: albeit, the Eucharist should be celebrated every Lord's day.
The first of these, is a Prayer to be offered up at the solemnization of the Lord's Supper. It is here suggested that the term Remembrance might conveniently be used instead of Eucharist. The word Remembrance is a sweet and significant term, and seems preferable to the one referred to. The word Communion however is a very suitable term in every sense.
In presenting ourselves at the Table of the Lord aa members of his family, the most proper posture seems to be, the one we use when we partake of food or refreshment with a friend, which with us is in the sitting posture. For the reason here alluded to, it should seem to be our duty