Modern options for worship range from fixed liturgical practice at one end to “free church” liberty at the other. The directory approach, common among Presbyterians, falls in the middle. Modern directories are adaptations of the original directory of the church of Scotland (first published in 1645). In recent years many Presbyterian denominations have adopted new directories with the intent of using them to reform and renew worship. A directory not only guides worship, but also is useful as a teaching tool for pastors, leaders, and members.
In 1643, following the outbreak of civil war in England between the Puritan-controlled Parliament and the Anglican King Charles I, Parliament commissioned 150 ministers and lay leaders to draft a new confession, catechism, worship service, and form of government for England. Although this body, later known as the Westminster Assembly of Divines, was predominantly Presbyterian, almost a dozen Congregationalists were invited. This body produced the first Westminster Directory.
As time went by sectarian differences became less important and denominations cooperated for such causes as evangelism, social action, and missionary activities.
From seminaries and Bible schools went thousands of young men and women eager for Christian work, ministering and serving wherever the opportunities opened.
The opportunity for social gatherings had a powerful appeal to people who were starving for companionship. They were stirred by the evangelistic drive of the preachers, who encouraged emotional expression. The same exhibitions of tearful remorse and exuberant joy that appeared in England under Wesley’s preaching and in the Great Awakening in America appeared on the frontier. Out of the conversions of the camp meetings, the churches gathered recruits and the morals of the region showed dramatic improvement.
Joseph Grigg, an English Presbyterian minister, was born in 1720. He began writing hymns when he was only ten years old. He entered the ministry in 1743 and became an assistant pastor at the Silver Street Presbyterian Church, London.
George Duffield was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1818. He graduated from Union Theological Seminary in 1840 and was ordained an elder in the Presbyterian Church.
Horatius Bonar, a distinguished Presbyterian minister, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1808. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh, was ordained in 1837, and became a minister of the Established Church at Kelso.
Benjamin Breckinridge (B. B.) Warfield (1851-1921) was a noted Presbyterian theologian, writer, and educator. He was born in Kentucky and studied at Princeton College and the University of Leipzig.
John Milton (1608-1674) was one of the greatest English poets. He was born in London and was educated at Cambridge. His family’s wealth allowed him to travel extensively after graduation and to spend six years at his father’s estate writing poetry.