State, Elder’s Preface

State, Elder’s Preface

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This Assembly’s Prayer of Consecration and Submission and the State of the Assembly address were delivered at Rye Chapel over the course of nearly six hours in morning, afternoon, and evening services on this same day.  In the preceding series, Dr. Solín addressed the great controversy that nearly destroyed this Assembly; this day’s lesson is devoted to the reorganization of the chapel under his ministry.

In our tradition, the Prayer of Consecration and its State of the Assembly comprise the first and longest address a minister would preach during his entire tenure, given in a length and detail that underscores its importance.

In many respects, the address serves as a contract between the new shepherd and his Assembly.

In this address, the minister was—and is, in that same tradition—expected not only to explain his faith, his experience, and his practice but also to set the tone of his ministry, to explain where he hopes to lead his Assembly, and to explain how his congregation is going to get there.

Equally important is that the address is to introduce the hundreds of asides and seeds to which the minister will later return to water in the coming year of sermons and to introduce the writings of the Divines (as the Puritan ministers were so identified) so that the preaching of the good minister might be better understood in its historical context.

It is a year of sermons condensed into one, with perhaps a second year of sermons in its footnotes.

It is our plan of daily action, laced with theology.

Its three sections are devoted to general remarks on church organization and preaching, an overview of the ordinances, and thoughts related to how the church should meet our obligation to the Great Commission.


Three sermons?  In six hours?  On a single Sabbath?

In today’s society, we rarely have such a patience for God.  Yet it was not uncommon for the minister in a Puritan Assembly to ascend the pulpit with a prayer that may have extended the full hour, which was then followed by a sermon of perhaps several hours and which was then followed by the minister’s return to the pulpit for an afternoon service and then again for the evening service.

In a Puritan Assembly, far more was required of its members—on a single Sabbath—than many of us will give to Almighty God between Christmas and Easter, and then again between Easter and the next Christmas of a self-imposed obligation.

Our casual disinterest of God, or outright dismissal of God, should terrify us should we take a moment to understand that each and every one of us will soon be called to stand face-to-face before the Creator of the Universe, standing for our lives to be judged against the Law of God.

Our relationship with God is serious business.  At least He considers it so.

And many will be cast into the Lake of Fire, for such was their dismissal of God and their rebellion against His Commandments.