תמונות בעמוד

Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

Who forgiveth thine iniquities ; who healeth all thy diseases.

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with loving hindness and tender mer. cies.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy.

He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy towards them that fear him.

As far as the East is from the West, 80 far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Like as a Father pitieth his children, 80 the Lord pitieth them that fear him.

Who hath not spared his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, and given us all things with him. Therefore God commendeth therewith his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us; much more then, being now justified in his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him*: for, if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. Therefore shall my mouth and heart show forth the praise of the Lord from this time forth, for ever more. Amen.

Let every one say with an attentive heart, 0! ALMIGHTY, merciful God and Father, we ren. der thee most humble and hearty thanks, that thou hást of thy infinite mercy, given us thine only begotten Son, for a mediator and a sacrifice for our sins, and to be our meat and drink unto life eternal, and that thou givest us lively faith, whereby we are made partakers of such thy benefits—thou hast also been pleased, that thy beloved Son Jesus Christ should institute and ordain his holy supper for the confirmation of the same. Grant, we beseech thee, O faithful God and Father, that through the operation of thy holy Spirit, the commemoration of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ may tend to the daily increase of our faith, and saving fellowship with him, through Jesus Christ thy Son, in whose name we conclude our prayers, saying-Our FATHER, &c.

THE FORM OF EXCOMMUNICATION. BELOVED in the Lord Jesus Christ; it is known unto you, that we have several times, and by several methods declared unto you the great sin committed, and the heinous offence given by our fellow member N. to the end that he, by your Christian admonition, and prayers to God, might be brought to repentance, and so be freed from the bonds of the devil, (by whom he is held captive) and recovered by the will of the Lord. But we cannot conceal from you, with great sorrow, that no one has as yet appeared before us, who hath in the least given us to understand that he, by the frequent admo. nitions given him, (as well in private as before witnesses, and in the presence of many) is come to any remorse for his sins, or hath shown the least token of true repentance; since then he daily aggravates his sin (which in itself is not small) by his stubbornness, and since we have signified unto you the last time, that in case he did not repent, after such pa. tience shown him by the church, we should be under the dis. agreeable necessity of being further grieved for him, and come to the last remedy: wherefore we at this present are necessitated to proceed to this excommunication according to the command and charge given us by God in his holy word; to the end that he may hereby be made (if possible) ashamed of his sins, and likewise that we may not by this rotten and as yet incurable member, put the whole body of the church in danger, and that God's name may not be blas. phemed.

Therefore we, the ministers and rulers of the church of God, being here assembled in the name and authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, declare before you all, that for the afore. said reasons we have excommunicated, and by these, do excommunicate N. from the church of God, and from fellowshion with Christ, and the holy sacraments, and from all th}


ritual blessings and benefits, which God promiseth to, and bestows upon his church, so long as he obstinately and im. penitently persists in his sins, and is therefore to be accounted by you as a heathen man and a publican, according to the command of Christ, Mat. 18, who saith, that whatsoever his ministers shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven.

Further we exhort you, beloved Christians, to keep no company with him, that he may be ashamed; yet count him not as an enemy, but at all times admonish him as you would a brother. In the mean time let every one take warning by this and such like examples, to fear the Lord, and diligently take heed unto himself, if he thinketh he standeth, lest he fal : but having true fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, together with all faithful Christians, remain stead. fast therein to the end, and so obtain eternal salvation. You have seen, beloved brethren and sisters, in what manner this our excommunicated brother has begun to fall, and by degrees is come to ruin: observe, therefore, how subtle Satan is, to bring man to destruction, and to withdraw him from all salutary means of salvation : guard, then, against the least beginnings of evil, “and laying aside,” according to the exhortation of the apostle, “every weight and the sin which does so easily beset us, let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; be sober, watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. To-day, if you will hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts, but work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;” and every one repent of his sins, lest our God humble us again, and that we be obliged to be wail some one of you ; but that you may with one accord, Jiving in all godliness, be our crown and joy in the Lord.

Since it is God who worketh in us, both to will and to do of his good pleasure, let us call upon his holy name with con. fession of our sins, saying,

O! RIGHTEOUS God and merciful Father, we bewail our sins before thy high majesty, and acknowledge that we have deserved the grief and sorrow caused unto us by the cutting off of this our late fellow member: yea, we all deserve, shouldst thou enter into judgment with us, by reason of our great transgressions, to be cut off and barished from thy presence.-But, O Lord, thou art merciful unto us for Christ's sake, forgive us our trespasses, for we heartily repent of them, and daily work in our hearts a greater measure of sorrow for thein; that we may, fearing thy judgments which thou executest, against the stiff-necked, endeavour to please thee : grant us to avoid all pollution of the world, and those who are cut off from the communion of the church, that we may not make ourselves partakers of their sins: and that he, who is excommunicated, may become ashamed of his sins: and since thou desirest not the death of a sinner, but that he


may repent and live, and the bosom of thy church is always open for those, who turn away from their wickedness: we therefore humbly beseech thee, to kindle in our hearts a pious zeal, that we may labour, with good Christian admo. nitions and examples, to bring again this excommunicated person on the right way, together with all those, who, through unbelief or dissoluteness of life, go astray.

Give thy blessing to our admonitions, that we may have reason thereby to rejoice again in him, for whom we must now mourn: and that thy holy name may be praised, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who háth thus taught us to pray-OUR FATHER, &c.


INTO THE CHURCH OF CHRIST. BELOVED in the Lord, it is known unto you, that some time ago our fellow member N. was cut off from the church of Christ: we cannot now conceal from you, that he, by the above-mentioned remedy, as also by the means of good admonition and your Christian prayers, is come so far, that he is ashamed of his sins, praying us to be re-admitted into the communion of the church.

Since we then, by virtue of the command of God, are in duty bound to receive such persons with joy, and it being necessary that good order should be used therein, we there. fore give you to understand thereby, that we purpose to loose again the aforementioned excommunicated person from the bond of excommunication, the next time when by the grace of God we celebrate the supper of the Lord, and receive him again into the communion of the church; except any one of you, in the mean time, shall show just cause why this ought not to be done, of which you must give notice to us in due time. In the mean time, let every one thank the Lord, for the mercy shown this poor sinner, beseeching him to perfect his work in him to his eternal salvation. Amen. Afterwards, if no impediment be alleged, the Minister shall proceed to the re-admission of the excommunicated sinner, in the following manner:

Beloved Christians, we have the last time informed you of the repentance of our fellow member N. to the end that he might with your fore-knowledge be again received into the church of Christ : and whereas no one has alleged any thing why his re-admission ought not to take place, we therefore at joresent purpose to proceed to the same.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mat. 18, having confirmed the ren. tence of his church, in the excommunicating of impenitent sinners, declareth immediately thereupon, that whatsoever his ministers shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven ; where. by he giveth to understand, that when any person is cut off from his church, he is not deprived of all hopes of salvation; but can again be loosed from the bonds of condemnation. Therefore, since God declares in his word, that he takes no pleasure in the death of a sinner, but that he turn from his wickedness and live, so the church always hopes for the re. pentance of the backslidden sinner, and keepeth her bosom open to receive the penitent: accordingly the Apostle Paul,

CO 5, commanded the orinthian (whom he had declared ought to be cut off from the church) to be again received and comforted, since being reproved by many, he was come to the knowledge of his sins : to the end that he should not be swal. lowed up with over-much sorrow. 2 Cor. 2.

Secondly. Christ teacheth us in the aforementioned text, that the sentence of absolution, which is passed upon such a penitent sinner according to the word of God, is counted sure and firm by the Lord; therefore, no one ought to doubt in the least, who truly repents, that he is assuredly received by God in mercy, as Christ saith, John, chap. 20, Whose soeder sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them.

But now to proceed to the matter in hand: I ask thee, N. whether thou dost declare here with all thine heart before God and his church, that thou art sincerely sorry for the in and stubbornness, for which thou hast been justly cut off from the church? whether thou dost also truly believe, tlat the Lord hath forgiven thee, and doth forgive thy sins for Christ's sake, and that thou therefore art desirous to be re. admitted into the church of Christ, promising henceforth to live in all godliness according to the command of the Lor 13 Answer. Yes, verily.

Then the Minister shall further say, We, then, here assembled in the name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, declare thee, N. to be absolved from the bonds of excommunication; and do receive thee again into the church of the Lord, and declare unto thee that thou art in the communion of Christ and of the holy sacraments, and of all the spiritual blessings and benefits of God, which he promiseth to and bestoweth upon his church: may the eter. nal God preserve thee therein, to the end, through his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Be therefore assured in thy heart, my beloved brother, thas the Lord hath again received thee in mercy. Be diligent henceforward to guard thyself against the subtlety of Satan, and the wickedness of the world, to the end that thou mayest

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