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God, toward the spouse and body of Christ; and see that you never cease your labor, your care and diligence, until you have done all that lieth in you, according to your bounden duty, to bring all such as are or shall be committed to your charge, unto that agreement in the faith and knowledge of God, and to that ripeness and perfectness of age in Christ, that there be no place left among you, either for error in religion, or for viciousness in life.
Forasmuch then as your office is both of so great excellency, and of so great difficulty, ye see with how great care and study ye ought to apply yourselves, as well that ye may show yourselves dutiful and thankful unto that Lord who hath placed you in so high a dignity; as also to beware that neither you yourselves offend, nor be occasion that others offend. Howbeit ye cannot have a mind and will thereto of yourselves; for that will and ability is given of God alone; therefore ye ought, and have need to pray earnestly for his Holy Spirit. And seeing that ye cannot by any other means compass the doing of so weighty a work, pertaining to the salvation of man, but with doctrine and exhortation taken out of the Holy Scriptures, and with a life agreeable to the same; consider how studious ye ought to be in reading and learning the Scriptures, and in framing the manners, both of yourselves and of them that specially pertain unto you, according to the rule of the same Scriptures; and for this selfsame cause, how ye ought to forsake and set aside (as much as you may) all worldly cares and studies.
We have good hope that you have all weighed and pondered these things with yourselves long before this time: and that you have clearly determined, by God's
grace, to give yourselves wholly to this office, whereunto it hath pleased God to call you: so that, as much as lieth in you, you will apply yourselves wholly to this one thing, and draw all your cares and studies this way, and that you will continually pray to God the Father, by the mediation of our only Saviour Jesus Christ, for the heavenly assistance of the Holy Ghost; that by daily reading and weighing of the Scriptures, ye may wax riper and stronger in your ministry; and that ye may so endeavor yourselves from time to time to sanctify the lives of you and yours, and to fashion them after the rule and doctrine of Christ, that ye may be wholesome and godly examples and patterns for the people to follow.
And now that this present congregation of Christ, here assembled, may also understand your minds and wills in these things, and that this your promise may the more move you to do your duties: ye shall answer plainly to these things which we, in the name of God and his Church, shall demand of you touching the same.
Do you think in your heart that you are truly called, according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the order of elders ?
Answ. I think so.
The bishop. Are you persuaded that the Holy Seriptures contain sufficiently all doctrine required of necessity for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ? And are you determined out of the said Scriptures to instruct the people committed to your charge, and to teach nothing as required of necessity to eternal salvation, but that which you shall be persuaded may be concluded and proved by the Scripture ?
Answ. I am so persuaded, and have so determined, by God's grace.
The bishop. Will you then give your faithful diligence always so to minister the doctrine and sacraments, and discipline of Christ, as the Lord hath commanded ?
Answ. I will so do, by the help of the Lord.
The bishop. Will you be ready with all faithful diligence to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's word; and to use both public and private monitions and exhortations, as well to the sick as to the whole within your charge, as need shall require and occasion shall be given ?
Answ. I will, the Lord being my helper.
The bishop. Will you be diligent in prayers, and in reading of the Holy Scriptures, and in such studies as help to the knowledge of the same, laying aside the study of the world and the Aesh ?
Answ. I will endeavor so to do, the Lord being my helper.
The bishop. Will you be diligent to frame
and fashion yourselves, and your families, according to the doctrine of Christ : and to make both yourselves and them, as much as in you lieth, wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Christ ?
Answ. I shall apply myself thereto, the Lord being my helper.
The bishop. Will you maintain and set forward, as much as lieth in you, quietness, peace, and love, among all Christian people, and especially among them that are or shall be committed to your charge ?
Answ. I will so do, the Lord being my helper.
T'he bishop. Will you reverently obey your chief ministers, unto whom is committed the charge and government over you; following with a glad mind and will their godly admonitions, submitting yourselves to their godly judgments ?
Answ. I will so do, the Lord being my helper.
Then shall the bishop, standing up, say,
Almighty God, who hath given you this will to do all these things, grant also unto you strength and power to perform the same; that he may accomplish his work which he hath begun in you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
[After this the congregation shall be desired se. retly in their prayers to make their humble suppli. tions to God for all these things : for the which yers there shall be silence kept for a space.]
After which shall be said by the bishop, (the persons
all along, This may be our endless song: Praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Let us pray
Almighty God and heavenly Father, who of thine infinite love and goodness toward us, hast given to us thy only and most dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ to be our Redeemer, and the author of everlasting life; who, after he had made perfect our redemption by his death, and was ascended into heaven, sent abroad into the world his apostles,