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IV. The parties ought to be of such years of dis. cretion as to be capable of making their own choice: and if they be under age, or live with their parents, the consent of the parents or others, under whose care they are, ought to be previously obtained, and well certified to the minister, before he proceeds to solemnize the marriage.
V. Parents ought neither to compel their children to marry contrary to their inclinations, nor deny their consent without just and important reasons.
VI. Marriage is of a public nature. The werfare of civil society, the happiness of families, and the credit of religion, are deeply interested in it. Therefore the purpose of marriage ought to be sufficiently published a proper time previously to the solemnization of it. "It is enjoined on all ministers to be careful that, in this matter, they neither transgress the laws of God, nor the laws of the community: and that they may not destroy the peace and comfort of families, they must be properly certified with respect to the parties applying to them, that no just objections lie against their marriage.
VII. Marriage must always be performed before a competent number of witnesses ; and at any time, except on a day of public humiliation. And we advise that it be not on the Lord's day. And the minister is to give a certificate of the marriage when required.
VIII. When the parties present themselves for marriage, the minister is to desire, if there is any person present who knows any lawful reason why these persons may not be joined together in the inarriage relation, that they will now make it known, or ever after hold their
No objections being made, he is then severally to address himself to the parties to be married, in the following or like words:
“ You, the man, declare, in the presence of “God, that you do not know any reason by pre“contract or otherwise, why you may not lawfully marry this woman."
Upon his declaring he does not, the minister shall address himself to the bride, in the same or similar terms:
“ You, the woman, declare, in the presence of “God, that you do not know any reason, by pre " contract or otherwise, why you may not lawfully
marry this man."
Upon her declaring she does not, he is to begin with prayer for the presence and blessing of God.
The minister shall then proceed to give them some instruction from the Scriptures, respecting the institution and duties of this state, shewing,
“That God hath instituted marriage for the "comfort and happiness of mankind, in declaring
a man shall forsake his father and mother, and “cleave unto his wife; and that marriage is honour"able in all; that he hath appointed various duties, 66 which are incumbent upon those who enter into “this relation; such as, a high esteem and mutual “love for one another; bearing with each other's "infirmities and weaknesses, to which human "nature is subject in its present lapsed state; to
encourage each other under the various ills of “ life; to comfort one another in sickness; in ho"nesty and industry to provide for each other's
temporal support; to pray for and encourage one another in the things which pertain to God, and
"to their immortal souls; and to live together as “the heirs of the grace of life.”
Then the minister shall cause the bridegroom and bride to join their hands, and shall pronounce the marriage covenant, first to the man, in these words :
“ You take this woman, whom you hold by the "hand, to be your lawful and married wife; and
you promise, and covenant, in the presence of “God and these witnesses, that you will be unto "her a loving and faithful husband, until you
shall “be separated by death."
The bridegroom shall express his consent, by saying, “ Yes, I do."
Then the minister shall address himself to the woman, in these words:
“You take this man, whom you hold by the hand, to be your lawful and married husband; “and you promise, and covenant, in the presence “ of God and these witnesses, that
will be unto “him a loving, faithful, and obedient wife, until "you shall be separated by death."
The bride shall express her consent, by saying, “Yes, I do."
Then the minister is to say,
“ I pronounce you husband and wife, according “to the ordinance of God; whom therefore God hath joined together let no man put asunder."
After this the minister may exhort them, in a few words, to the mutual discharge of their duty.
Then let him conclude with prayer suitable to the occasion.
Let the minister keep a proper register for the names of all persons whom he marries, and of the
time of their marriage, for the perusal of all whom it
Of the Visitation of the Sick. 1. When persons are sick, it is their duty, before their strength and understanding fail them, to send for their minister, and to make known to him, with prudence, their spiritual state; or to consult him on the concerns of their precious souls. And it is his duty to visit them, at their request, and to ap. ply himself, with all tenderness and love, to admi. nister spiritual good to their immortal souls.
II. He shall instruct the sick out of the Scriptures, that diseases arise not out of the ground, nor do they come by chance; but that they are directed and sent by a wise and holy God, either for correction of sin, for the trial of grace, for improvement in religion, or for other important ends : and that they shall work together for good to all those who make a wise improvement of God's visitation, neither despising his chastening hand, nor fainting under his rebukes.
ill. If the minister finds the sick person to be grossly ignorant, he shall instruct him in the nature of repentance and faith, and the way of acceptance with God, through the mediation and atonement of Jesus Christ.
IV. He shall exhort the sick to examine himself, to search his heart, and try his former ways, by the word of God; and shall assist him, by mentioning some of the obvious marks and evidences of sincere piety.
V. If the sick shall signify any scruple, doubt, or temptation, under which he labours, the minis. ter must endeavour to resolve his doubts, and administer instruction and direction, as the case may seem to require.
VI. If the sick appear to be a stupid, thoughtless, and hardened sinner, he shall endeavour to awaken his mind; to arouse his conscience; to convince him of the evil and danger of sin; of the curse of the law, and the wrath of God due to sinners; to bring him to a humble and penitential sense of his iniquities; and to state before him the fulness of the grace and mercy of God, in and through the glorious Redeemer; the absolute necessity of faith and repentance, in order to his being interested in the favour of God, or his obtaining everlasting happiness.
VII. If the sick person shall appear to have knowledge, to be of a tender conscience, and to have been endeavouring to serve God in uprightness, though not without many failings and sinful infirmities; or if his spirit be broken with a sense of sin, or through apprehensions of the want of the divine favour; then it will be proper to administer consolation and encouragement to him, by setting before him the freeness and riches of the grace of God, the all-sufficiency of the righteousness of Christ, and the supporting promises of the Gospel.
VIII. The minister must endeavour to guard the sick person against ill-grounded persuasions of the mercy of God, without a vital union to Christ, and against unreasonable fears of death, and de. sponding discouragements; against presumption upon his own goodness and merit, upon the one