(Liturgy, Reformed Churches, Part 6)

And when he gives the cup: 
The cup of blessing, which we bless, is the communion of the 
blood of Christ. 
(During the communion, there shall or may be devoutly sung, a 
psalm, or some chapter read, in remembrance of the death of 
Christ, as the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, the 13th, 14th, 15th, 
16th, 17th, and 18th chapters of John, or the like.) 
After the Communion the Minister shall say: 
Beloved in the Lord, since the Lord has now fed our souls at 
this table, let us therefore jointly praise his holy name with 
thanksgiving, and every one say in his heart, thus: 
  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 forgives all thine iniquities; who heals all thy 
  Who redeems thy life from destruction, who crowns thee with 
loving kindness and tinder mercies. 
  The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and 
plenteous in mercy. 
  He has 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, so far has he removed 
our transgressions from us. 
  Like as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities them 
that fear him. 
  Who has not spared his own Son, but delivered him up for us 
all, and given us all things with him. Therefore God commends 
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 forever more. 
Let every one say with an attentive heart: 
O! Almighty, merciful God and Father, we render thee most 
humble and hearty thanks, that Thou hast 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 give us lively faith, whereby we are 
made partakers of such great 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 which is in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy 
kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as 
we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but 
deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power 
and the glory, for ever. Amen. 
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 offense given by our 
fellow-member , 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 yet 
appeared before us, who has in the least given us to understand 
that he, by the frequent admonitions given him, (as well in 
private as before witnesses, and in the presence of many), is 
come to any remorse for his sins, or has 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 patience shown him by the Church, we 
should be under the disagreeable 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 
  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 aforesaid 
reasons we have excommunicated, and by these, do excommunicate 
 from the Church of God, and from fellowship with Christ, 
and the holy sacraments, and from all the spiritual blessings 
and benefits, which God promises to and bestows upon his 
Church, so long as he obstinately and impenitently 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 (Matt. 
18), who says, that whatsoever his ministers 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 meantime 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 fall"; but having 
true fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, 
together with all faithful Christians, remain steadfast 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. Today, 
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 bewail some one of you; but that you may 
with one accord, living in all godliness, be our crown and joy 
in the Lord. 
  Since it is God who works in us, both to will and to do of 
his good pleasure, let us call upon his holy name with 
confession 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, should Thou enter into 
judgment with us, by reason of our great transgressions, to be 
cut off and banished 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 them; that we may, fearing thy 
judgments which thou executes against the stiffnecked, 
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 desires 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 admonitions 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 has taught us to pray: 
  Our Father which is in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy 
kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as 
we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but 
deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power 
and the glory, for ever. Amen. 
Form of Readmitting Excommunicated Persons 
Beloved in the Lord, it is known to you, that some time ago our 
fellow member , 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 admonitions and your 
christian prayers, is come so far, that he is ashamed of his 
sins, praying us to be readmitted into the communion of the 
  Since we, then, by virtues 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 therefore give you 
to understand hereby, 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 
meantime, shall show just cause why this ought not to be done, 
of which you must give notice to us in due time. In the 
meantime, 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 readmission of the excommunicated sinner, in the 
following manner: 
Beloved Christians, we have the last time informed you of the 
repentance of our fellow-member  to the end, that he 
might with your foreknowledge be again received into the Church 
of Christ: and whereas no one has alleged anything why his 
readmission ought not to take place, we therefore at present 
purpose to proceed to the same. 
Our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 18), having confirmed the sentence 
of his Church, in the excommunicating of impenitent sinners, 
declares immediately thereupon, "that whatsoever his ministers 
shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven"; whereby He 
gives 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 repentance of the 
backslidden sinner, and keeps her bosom open to receive the 
penitent; accordingly the apostle Paul (1 Cor. 5), commanded 
the Corinthian (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 swallowed up with overmuch sorrow 
(2 Cor. 2). 
Secondly. Christ teaches 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 says (John 20), "Whosesoever sins ye remit, 
they are remitted unto them." 
  But now to proceed to the matter in hand: I ask thee, , 
whether thou do declare here with all thine heart before God 
and his Church; that thou are sincerely sorry for the sin and 
stubbornness, for which thou has been justly cut off from the 
Church? Whether thou do also truly believe, that the Lord has 
forgiven thee, and does forgive thy sins for Christ's sake, and 
that thou therefore are desirous to be readmitted into the 
Church of Christ, promising henceforth to live in all godliness 
according to the command of the Lord? 
  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, , 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 are in the 
communion of Christ and of the holy sacraments, and of all the 
spiritual blessings and benefits of God, which he promises to 
and bestows upon his Church: may the eternal God preserve thee 
therein to the end, through his only begotten Son Jesus Christ. 
  Be therefore assured in thy heart, my beloved brother, that 
the Lord has 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 may not 
fall again into sin: love Christ, for many sins are forgiven 
  And you, beloved Christians, receive this your brother, with 
hearty affection; be glad that he was dead and is alive, he was 
lost and is found; rejoice with the angels of heaven, over this 
sinner who repents: count him no longer as a stranger, but as a 
fellow-citizen with the saints, and of the household of God. 
  And whereas we can have no good of ourselves, let us, 
praising and magnifying the Lord Almighty, implore his mercy, 
Gracious God and Father, we thank thee through Jesus Christ, 
that thou hast been pleased to give this our fellow-brother 
repentance unto life, and us cause to rejoice in his 
conversion. We beseech thee, show him thy mercy, that he may 
become more and more assured in his mind of the remission of 
his sins, and that he may receive from thence inexpressible joy 
and delight, to serve thee. And whereas he has heretofore by 
his sins offended many, grant that he may, by his conversion, 
edify many. Grant also that he may steadfastly walk in thy ways 
to the end: and may we learn from this example, that with thee 
is mercy, that thou mayest be feared; and that we, counting him 
for our brother and coheir of life eternal, may jointly serve 
thee with filial fear and obedience all the days of our life, 
through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in whose name we thus conclude 
our prayer: 
  Our Father which is in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy 
kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as 
we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but 
deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power 
and the glory, for ever. Amen. 
Form of Ordination of the Ministers of God's Word 
The sermon and the usual prayers being finished, the Minister 
shall thus speak to the congregation: 
Beloved brethren, it is known unto you, that we have, at three 
different times, published the name of our brother , here 
present, to learn whether any person had aught to offer 
concerning his doctrine or life, why he might not be ordained 
to the ministry of the Word. And whereas no one has appeared 
before us, who has alleged anything lawful against his person, 
we shall therefore at present, in the name of the Lord, proceed 
to his ordination; for which purpose, you , and all those 
who are here present, shall first attend to a short declaration 
taken from the word of God, touching the institution and the 
office of pastors and ministers of God's Word; where, in the 
first place, you are to observe, that God our heavenly Father, 
willing to call and gather a Church from amongst the corrupt 
race of men unto life eternal, does by a particular mark of his 
favour use the ministry of men therein. 
  Therefore, Paul says, that the Lord Jesus Christ has given 
some apostles and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some 
pastors and ministers; for the perfecting of the saints, for 
the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of 
Christ. Here we see that holy apostle among other things says 
that the pastoral office is an institution of Christ. 

  What this holy office enjoins, may easily be gathered from 
the very name itself; for as it is the duty of a common 
shepherd, to feed, guide, protect and rule the flock committed 
to his charge; so it is with regard to these spiritual 
shepherds, who are set over the Church, which God calls unto 
salvation, and counts as sheep of his pasture. The pasture, 
with which these sheep are fed, is nothing else but the 
preaching of the gospel, accompanied with prayer, and the 
administration of the holy sacraments; the same word of God is 
likewise the staff with which the flock is guided and ruled, 
consequently it is evident, that the office of pastors and 
ministers of God's word is, 
  First. That they faithfully explain to their flock, the Word 
of the Lord, revealed by the writings of the prophets and the 
apostles; and apply the same as well in general as in 
particular, to the edification of the hearers; instructing, 
admonishing, comforting and reproving, according to every one's 
need; preaching repentance towards God, and reconciliation with 
him through faith in Christ; and refuting with the Holy 
Scriptures, all schisms and heresies which are repugnant to the 
pure doctrine. All this is clearly signified to us in Holy 
Writ, for the Apostle Paul says, "that these labour in the 
Word"; and elsewhere he teaches, that this must be done 
"according to the measure or rule of faith"; he writes also, 
that a pastor "must hold fast and right divide the faithful and 
sincere word which is according to the doctrine": likewise, he 
that prophesieth (that is, preacheth God's Word), speaketh unto 
men to edification, and exhortation and comfort. In another 
place he proposes himself as a pattern to pastors, declaring 
that he has publicly, and from house to house, taught and 
testified repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord 
Jesus Christ. But particularly we have a clear description of 
the office, and ministers of Gods Word (2 Cor. 5:18, 19, 20), 
where the apostle thus speaks, "And all things are of God, who 
has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ and has given to 
us (namely, to the apostles and pastors) the ministry of 
reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the 
world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, 
and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then 
we are ambassadors for Christ as though God did beseech you by 
us we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." 
Concerning the refutation of false doctrine, the same apostle 
says (Titus 1:9): "That a minister must hold fast the faithful 
Word of God, that he may be able by sound doctrine, both to 
exhort and convince the gainsayers." 
Secondly. It is the office of the Ministers, publicly to call 
upon the name of the Lord in behalf of the whole congregation; 
for that which the apostles say, we will give ourselves 
continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word, is 
common to these pastors with the apostles; to which St. Paul 
alluding, thus speaks to Timothy: "I exhort therefore, that 
first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving 
of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are 
in authority," etc. (1 Tim. 2:1 and 2). 
Thirdly. Their office is to administer the sacraments, which 
the Lord has instituted as seals of his grace: as is evident 
from the command given by Christ to the apostles, and in them 
to all pastors: "Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of 
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Likewise: "for I have received 
of the Lord, that which also I delivered unto you, that the 
Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed," etc. 
Finally, it is the duty of the Ministers of the Word, to keep 
the Church of God in good discipline, and to govern it in such 
a manner as the Lord has ordained; for Christ having spoken of 
the Christian discipline, says to his apostles, whatsoever ye 
shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. And Paul will 
have the ministers to know how to rule their own house, since 
they otherwise neither can provide for, nor rule the Church of 
God. This is the reason why the pastors are in Scripture called 
stewards of God, and bishops, that is, overseers and watchmen, 
for they have the oversight of the house of God, wherein they 
are conversant, to the end that everything may be transacted 
with good order and decency; and also to open and shut, with 
the keys of the kingdom of heaven, committed to them, according 
to the charge given them by God. 
From these things may be learned what a glorious work the 
ministerial office is, since so great things are effected by 
it; yea, how highly necessary it is for man's salvation, which 
is also the reason why the Lord will have such an office always 
to remain. For Christ said when he sent forth his apostles to 
officiate in his holy function, Lo, I am always with you, even 
unto the end of the world; where we see his pleasure is, that 
this holy office (for the persons to whom he here speaks, could 
not live to the end of the world) should always be maintained 

on earth. And therefore Paul exhorts Timothy, to commit that 
which he had heard of him, to faithful men, who are able to 
teach others, and he also, having ordained Titus minister, 
further commanded him to ordain elders in every city. (Titus 
Forasmuch, therefore as we, for the maintaining of this office 
in the Church of God, are now to ordain a new minister of the 
Word, and having sufficiently spoken of the office of such 
persons, therefore you , shall answer to the following 
questions, which shall be proposed to you, to the end that it 
may appear to all here present, that you are inclined to accept 
of this office as above described. 
First. I ask thee, whether thou feelest in thy heart that thou 
art lawfully called of God's Church, and therefore of God 
himself, to this holy ministry? 
Secondly. Whether thou dost believe the books of the Old and 
New Testament to be the only Word of God and the perfect 
doctrine unto salvation, and dost reject all doctrine repugnant 

Thirdly. Whether thou dost promise faithfully to discharge thy 
office, according to the same doctrine as above described, and 
to adorn it with a godly life: also, to submit thyself, in case 
thou shouldest become delinquent either in life or doctrine, to 
ecclesiastical admonition, according to the public ordinance of 
the churches? 
  Answer. Yes, truly, with all my heart. 
Then the Minister, who demanded those questions of him, while 
he and other Ministers who are present, shall lay their hands 
on his head, shall say: 
  God our heavenly Father, who has called thee to his holy 
ministry, enlighten thee with his Holy Spirit, strengthen thee 
with his hand, and so govern thee in thy ministry, that thou 
mayest decently and fruitfully walk therein, to the glory of 
his name, and the propagation of the kingdom of his Son Jesus 
Christ. Amen. 
Then the Minister shall, from the pulpit, exhort the ordained 
Minister, and the congregation in the following manner: 
  "Take heed, therefore, beloved brother, and fellow-servant in 
Christ, unto thyself and to all the flock, over which the Holy 
Ghost has made thee overseer, to feed the Church of God which 
he has purchased with his own blood: love Christ and feed his 
sheep, taking the oversight of them not by constraint, but 
willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind, neither 
as being lord over God's heritage, but an example to the flock. 
Be an example of believers, in word, in conversation, in 
charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Give attendance to 
reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that 
is in thee, meditate upon those things, give thyself wholly to 
them, that thy profiting may appear to all; take heed to thy 
doctrine, and continue steadfast therein. Bear patiently all 
sufferings, and oppressions, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, 
for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that 
hear thee. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, thou shalt 
receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." 
  "And you likewise, beloved Christians, receive this your 
minister in the Lord with all gladness, 'and hold, such in 
reputation.' Remember that God himself through him speaketh 
unto and beseecheth you. Receive the Word which he, according 
to the Scripture, shall preach unto you, 'not as the word of 
man, but (as it is in truth) the Word of God.' Let the feet of 
those that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings 
of good things, be beautiful and pleasant unto you. Obey them 
that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they 
watch for your souls, as they that must give account; that they 
may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is 
unprofitable for you. If you do these things, it shall come to 
pass, that the peace of God shall enter into your houses, and 
that you who receive this man in the name of a prophet, shall 
receive a prophet's reward, and through his preaching, 
believing in Christ, shall through Christ, inherit life 
  Since no man is of himself fit for any of these things, let 
us call upon God with thanksgiving. 
Merciful Father, we thank thee that it pleaseth thee by the 
ministry of men, to gather a Church to thyself unto life 
eternal, from amongst the lost children of men; we bless thee 
for so graciously providing the Church in this place with a 
faithful minister; we beseech thee to qualify him daily more 
and more by the Holy Spirit, for the ministry to which thou 
hast ordained and called him; enlighten his understanding to 
comprehend thy holy Word, and give him utterance, that he may 
boldly open his mouth, to make known and dispense the mysteries 
of the gospel. Endue him with wisdom and valour, to rule the 
people aright over which he is set, and to preserve them in 
christian peace, to the end that thy Church under his 
administration and by his good example, may increase in number 
and in virtue. Grant him courage to bear the difficult ties and 
troubles which he may meet with in his ministry, that being 
strengthened by the comfort of thy Spirit, he may remain 
steadfast to the end, and be received with all faithful 
servants into the joy of his master. Give thy grace also to 
this people and Church, that they may becomingly deport 
themselves towards this their minister; that they may 
acknowledge him to be sent of thee; that they may receive his 
doctrine with all reverence, and submit themselves to his 
exhortations. To the end that they may, by his word, believing 
in Christ, be made partakers of eternal life. Hear us, O 
Father, through thy beloved Son, who has taught us to pray: 
  Our Father which is in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy 
kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as 
we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but 
deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power 
and the glory, for ever. Amen. 
Form of Ordination of Elders and Deacons 
When ordained at the same time. But if they are ordained 
separately this form shall be used as occasion requires. 
Beloved Christians, you know that we have several times 
published unto you the names of our brethren here present, who 
are chosen to the office of elders and deacons in this Church, 
to the end that we might know whether any person had aught to 
allege, why they should not be ordained in their respective 
offices; and whereas no one has appeared before us, who has 
alleged anything lawful against them, we shall therefore at 
present, in the name of the Lords proceed to their ordination. 
  But first, you, who are to be ordained, and all those who are 
here present, shall attend to a short declaration from the word 
of God concerning the institution and the office of elders and 
  Of the elders is to be observed, that the word elder or 
eldest (which is taken from the Old Testament, and signifies a 
person who is placed in an honorable office of government over 
others), is applied to two sorts of persons who minister in the 
Church of Jesus Christ: for the apostle says, "the elders that 
rule well, shall be counted worthy of double honour, especially 
they who labour in the Word and doctrine." Hence it is evident 
that there were two sorts of elders in the Apostolic Church, 
the former whereof did labour in the Word and doctrine, and the 
latter did not. The first were the ministers of the Word and 
pastors, who preached the gospel and administered the 
sacraments; but the others, who did not labour in the Word, and 
still did serve in the Church, bore a particular office, 
namely, they had the oversight of the Church, and ruled the 
same with the ministers of the Word. For Paul, Rom. chap. 12, 
having spoken of the ministry of the word, and also of the 
office of distribution or deaconship, speaks afterwards 
particularly of this office, saying, "he that ruleth let him do 
it with diligence"; likewise, in another place he counts 
government among the gifts and offices which God has instituted 
in the Church: 1 Cor. 12. Thus we see that these sorts of 
ministers are added to the others who preach the gospel, to aid 
and assist them, as in the Old Testament the common Levites 
were to the priests in the service of the tabernacle, in those 
things which they could not perform alone: notwithstanding the 
offices always remained distinct one from the other. Moreover, 
it is proper that such men should be joined to the ministers of 
the Word in the government of the Church, to the end, that 
thereby all tyranny and lording may be kept out of the Church 
of God, which may sooner creep in, when the government is 
placed in the hands of one alone, or of a very few. And thus 
the ministers of the Word, together with the elders, form a 
body or assembly, being as a council of the Church, 
representing the whole Church; to which Christ alludes when he 
says, "Tell the Church" which can in no wise be understood of 
all and every member of the Church in particular, but very 
properly of those who govern the Church, out of which they are 
Therefore, in the first place, the office of elders is, 
together with the ministers of the Word, to take the oversight 
of the Church, which is committed to them, and diligently to 
look, whether every one properly deports himself in his 
confession and conversation; to admonish those who behave 
themselves disorderly, and to prevent, as much as possible, the 
sacraments from being profaned: also to act (according to the 
Christian discipline) against the impenitent, and to receive 
the penitent again into the bosom of the Church, as does not 
only appear from the above mentioned saying of Christ, but also 
from many other places of Holy Writ, as 1 Cor. chap. 5, and 2 
Cor. chap. 2, that these things are not alone intrusted to one 
or two persons, but to many who are ordained thereto. 
Secondly. Since the apostle enjoins, that all things shall be 
done decently and in order, amongst Christians, and that no 
other persons ought to serve in the Church o Christ, but those 
who are lawfully called according to the christian ordinance, 
therefore it is also the duty of the elders to pay regard to 
it, and in all occurrences, which relate to the welfare and 
good order of the Church, to be assistant with their good 
counsel and advice, to the ministers of the Word, yea, also to 
serve all Christians with advise and consolation. 
Thirdly. It is also the duty particularly to have regard unto 
the doctrine and conversation of the ministers of the Word, to 
the end that all things may be directed to the edification of 
the Church; and that no strange doctrine be taught, according 
to that which we read, Acts 20, where the apostle exhorts to 
watch diligently against the wolves, which might come into the 
sheepfold of Christ; for the performance of which, the elders 
are in duty bound diligently to search the Word of God, and 
continually be meditating on the mysteries of faith. 
Concerning the deacons: of the origin and institution of their 
office we may read, Acts 6, where we find that the apostles 
themselves did in the beginning serve the poor, "At whose feet 
was brought the price of the things that were sold: and 
distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. 
But afterwards, when a murmuring arose, because the widows of 
the Grecians were neglected in the daily ministrations" men 
were chosen (by the advice of the apostles who should make the 
service of the poor their peculiar business, to the end that 
the apostles might continually give themselves to prayer, and 
the ministry of the Word. And has been continued from that time 
forward in the Church, as appears from Rom. 12, where the 
apostle, speaking of this office, says, "he that giveth, let 
him do it with simplicity." And 1 Cor. 12:28 speaking of helps, 
he means those, who are appointed in the Church to help and 
assist the poor and indigent in time of need. From which 
passage we may easily gather, what the deacon's office is 
namely, that they in the first place collect and preserve with 
the greats fidelity and diligence, the alms and goods which are 
given to the poor: yea, to do their utmost endeavours, that 
many good means be procured for the relief of the poor. 
  The second part of their office consists in distribution 
wherein are not only required discretion and prudence to bestow 
the alms only on objects of charity, but also cheerfulness and 
simplicity to assist the poor with compassion and hearty 
affection: as the apostle requires, Rom., chap 12; and 2 Cor., 
chap. 9. For which end it is very beneficial, that they do not 
only administer relief to the poor and indigent with external 
gifts, but also with comfortable words from Scripture. 
  To the end therefore, beloved brethren, , that every 
one may hear, that you are willing to take your respective 
offices upon you, ye shall answer to the following questions: 
And in the first place I ask you, both elders and deacons, 
whether you do not feel in your hearts, that ye are lawfully 
called of God's Church, and consequently of God himself, to 
these your respective holy offices? 
Secondly. Whether ye believe the books of the Old and New 
Testament to be the only Word of God, and the perfect doctrine 
of salvation, and do reject all doctrines repugnant thereto? 
Thirdly. Whether ye promise, agreeably to said doctrine, 
faithfully, according to your ability, to discharge your 
respective offices, as they are here described? ye elders in 
the government of the Church together with the ministers of the 
Word; and ye deacons in the ministration to the poor? Do ye 
also jointly promise to walk in all godliness, and to submit 
yourself, in case ye should become remiss in your duty, to the 
admonition of the Church? 
Upon which they shall answer: Yes. 
Then the Minister shall say: 
  The Almighty God and Father, replenish you all with his 
grace, that ye may faithfully and fruitfully discharge your 
respective offices. Amen. 
The Minister shall further exhort them, and the whole 
congregation, in the following manner: 
  Therefore, ye elders, be diligent in the government of the 
Church, which is committed to you, and the ministers of the 
Word. Be also, as watchmen over the house and city of God, 
faithful to admonish and to caution every one against his ruin; 
Take heed that purity of doctrine and godliness of life be 
maintained in the Church of God. And, ye deacons, be diligent 
in collecting the alms, prudent and cheerful in the 
distribution of the same: assist the oppressed, provide for the 
true widows and orphans, show liberality unto all men, but 
especially to the household of faith. 
Be ye all with one accord faithful in your offices, and hold 
the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience, being good 
examples unto all the people. In so doing you will purchase to 
yourselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith, 
which is in Christ Jesus, and hereafter enter into the joy of 
our Lord. On the other hand, beloved Christians, receive these 
men as the servants of God: count the elders that rule well 
worthy of double honour, give yourselves willingly to their 
inspection and government. Provide the deacons with good means 
to assist the indigent. Be charitable, ye rich, give liberally, 
and contribute willingly. And, ye poor, be poor in spirit, and 
deport yourselves respectfully towards your benefactors, be 
thankful to them, and avoid murmuring: follow Christ, for the 
food of your souls, but not for bread. "Let him that has stolen 
(or who has been burdensome to his neighbours) steal no more: 
but rather let him labour, working with his hands the things 
which are good, that he may give to him that needeth." Each of 
you, doing these things in your respective callings, shall 
receive of the Lord, the reward of righteousness. But since we 
are unable of ourselves, let us call upon the name of the Lord 
O Lord God and heavenly Father, we thank thee that it has 
pleased thee, for the better edification of thy Church, to 
ordain in it, besides the ministers of the Word, rulers and 
assistants, by whom thy Church may be preserved in peace and 
prosperity, and the indigent assisted; and that Thou hast at 
present granted us in this place, men, who are of good 
testimony, and we hope endowed with thy Spirit. We beseech 
thee, replenish them more and more with such gifts as are 
necessary, for them in their ministration; with the gifts of 
wisdom, courage, discretion, and benevolence, to the end that 
every one may, in his respective office, acquit himself as is 
becoming; the elders in taking diligent heed unto the doctrine 
and conversation, in keeping out the wolves from the sheepfold 
of thy beloved Son; and in admonishing and reproving disorderly 
persons. In like manner, the deacons in carefully receiving, 
and liberally and prudently distributing of the alms to the 
poor, and in comforting them with thy holy Word. Give grace 
both to the elders and deacons, that they may persevere in 
their faithful labour, and never become weary by reason of any 
trouble, pain or persecution of the world. Grant also 
especially thy divine grace to this people, over whom they are 
placed, that they may willingly submit themselves to the good 
exhortations of the elders, counting them worthy of honour for 
their work's sake; give also unto the rich, liberal hearts 
towards the poor, and to the poor grateful hearts towards those 
who help and serve them; to the end that every one acquitting 
himself of his duty, thy holy name may thereby be magnified, 
and the kingdom of thy Son Jesus Christ, enlarged, in whose 
name we conclude our prayers, saying: 
  Our Father which is in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy 
kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as 
we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but 
deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power 
and the glory, for ever. Amen. 

Liturgy of the Reformed Churches

(continued in part 7...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-05: litur-06.txt