DIRECTIONS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, CONCERNING SECRET AND PRIVATE WORSHIP, AND MUTUAL EDIFICATION; FOR CHERISHING PIETY, FOR MAINTAINING UNITY, AND AVOIDING SCHISM AND DIVISION.
BESIDES the publick worship in congregations, mercifully established in this land in great purity, it is expedient and necessary that secret [personal] worship of each person alone, and private worship of families, be pressed and set up; that, with national reformation, the profession and power of godliness, both personal and domestick, be advanced.
I. And first, for secret worship, it is most necessary, that every one apart, and by themselves, be given to prayer and meditation, the unspeakable benefit whereof is best known to them who are most exercised therein; this being the means whereby, in a special way, communion with God is entertained, and right preparation for all other duties obtained: and therefore it becometh not only pastors, within their several charges, to press persons of all sorts to perform this duty morning and evening, and at other occasions; 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.
II. The ordinary duties comprehended under the exercise of piety which should be in families, when they are convened to that effect, are these: First, Prayer and praises performed with a special reference, as well to the publick condition of the kirk [church] of God and this kingdom, as to the present case of the family, and every member thereof. Next, Reading of the scriptures, with catechising [explanation of the Scriptures and instruction in the faith using a question and answer format] in a plain way, that the understanding of the simpler may be better enabled to profit under the publick ordinances, and they made more capable to understand the scriptures when they are read; together with godly conferences [group discussions] attending to the edification of all members in the most holy faith: as also, admonition and rebuke, upon just reason, from those who have authority in the family.
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