In my research on the spirituality of Oliver Hart and the “Charleston Baptist Tradition,” I have been very interested to get a handle on the corporate worship practices of 18th Century American Baptists. One source I have enjoyed exploring is a work by pastor/historian Morgan Edwards, called, “The Customs of the Primitive Churches” (1768). Edwards, pastor for sometime of the Philadelphia Baptist Church, describes not only the government, but also the worship of the typical Baptist churches at that time. Here is his article on public worship, including what appears to be a common ‘order of service’ for an evening worship gathering:
XLI. Public worship is of divine institution and perpetual obligation. The stated branches of it (at least of evening worship) are these: and this the order in which they most commonly succeed each other, viz., a short prater suitably prefaced; reading a portion of Scripture; a longer prayer; singing; preaching; a third prayer; singing a second time; administering the Lord’s Supper; collecting for the necessities of the saints; a benediction.