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OR, DENOUNCING OF GOD's ANGER AND JUDG.

MENTS AGAINST SINNERS. With certain Prayers to be used on the first Day of LENT,

and at other times, as the Ordinary shall appoint. | After Morning Prayer, the Litany ended according to

the accustomed manner, the Priest shall, in the Reading Pew or Pulpit, say, RETHREN, in the primitive church there was a

godly discipline, that, at the beginning of Lent, such persons as stood convicted of notorious fin were put to open penance, and punished in this world, that their souls might be saved in the day of the Lord; and that others, admonilhed by their example, might be the more afraid to offend.

A Commination] In Edward the VIth's first book the title and rubric are as follow:-“The first day of Lent, commonly called Afh-Wednesday. After matins ended, the people being called together by the ringing of a bell

, and assembled in the church, the English litany shall be said, in such wise as in the end of this book is set forth, and in the accustomed places appointed by the King's injunctions, which ended, the priest shall go into the pulpit and say thus.” At the first review of the prayer-book this rubric was somewhat altered at the suggestion of Bucer, and the words “ divers times of the year” introduced; which included one of the three Sundays next before Éafter; one of the two Sundays next before Pentecoft; and one of the two Sundays next before Christmas. The title and rubric were settled as they at present are, in 1662.

Pulpit, &c.] It is certain that the pulpit was at first designed, not only for preaching, but for any thing else that tended to the edification of the people. There the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments, were formerly appointed to be read to the people in English on every holy-day in the year, when there was no sermon to hinder it: and there also at the beginning of the Reformation, whilst the Romilh mals was continued till the English liturgy could be prepared, the epistle and gospel for the day, with a lesson out of the New Testament in the morning, and another out of the Old Testament in the afternoon, was read to the people in the English tongue. However, reading pews having been generally brought into use before the Restoration, it was not then thought proper to confine the use of this office any longer to the pulpit, but to allow it to be said as the minister should think proper, either there or in the reading-pew.

Brethren] This preface shews the reason and occasion of composing this office, viz. To supply the want of primitive discipline, that every man may judge himself, since the church now judgeth fo few offenders. In the primitive church all manifest finners, adulterers, drunkards, blasphemers, &c. were presently excommunicated, and not received into the church again, till by fome years of penitence and mortification they had

CURSE

Instead whereof, (until the faid discipline may be restored again, which is much to be wished) it is thought good, that at this time in the presence of you all) should be read the general sentences of God's cursing against impenitent finners, gathered out of the seven and twentieth chapter of Deuteronomy, and other places of scripture; and that ye should answer to every fentence, Amen: To the intent that, being admonished of the great indignation of God against finners, ye may the rather be moved to earnest and true repentance; and may walk more warily in these dangerous days; fleeing from such vices, for which ye affirm with

your own mouths the curfe of God to be due. URSED is the man that maketh any carved or molten image, to worship it.

And the People shall answer and say, Amen. made their repentance appear to be fincere. And left any other finners fhould escape, they had a godly discipline: all Christians came to the biIhop in the beginning of Lent, that is upon Ath-Wednesday; and all who by their own free confession, or by others' discovery, were guilty of any great crimes, had a strict penance laid upon them for the forty days of Lent, that the hardships they endured might help to bring the offenders to repentance and falvation, and be a warning to others to be more afraid to offend. But this in the Roman church is turned into a mere ceremony of sprinkling alhes upon all that come to confess on Ath-Wednesday: And in our church, lince custom hath discontinued the primitive usage, the only remedy, until the faid discipline be restored, (which we may rather wish than expect in these licentious days) is, to endeavour to bring every man to judge and condemn himself, by setting before him the curles due to all sin, and minding him of God's dreadful tribunal, where the impenitent, though they be never censured here, shall certainly be condemned: And it is hoped this may first bring every sinner to true repentance for that which is paft; and secondly, make them carefully to flee those vices unto which God's curse is due, as they themselves do here acknowledge.

Cursed, &c.] The origin of repeating the curses, in the manner we now use them, was a politive and divine institution, twice enjoined by Moses; and in obedience to which we find Joshua afterwards most religiously observing it. Josephus also reckons it amongst those things which the Jews always used to perform. And though the circumstances in the Jewish manner of reciting these curses were purely ceremonial, yet doubtless the end for which this duty was prescribed was truly moral. The end of the people answering Amen is not that they should curse themfelves or their neighbours, but merely an affent to what the priest has said proleptically, or by way of anticipation of those consequences which will neceffarily follow the commission of such and such crimes. As if the assertion and response had been, “ Accursed, or condemned of the Lord, will that man be who maketh any carved, &c. Amen”; or we verily believe such 2 confequence will pursue the crine.

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Minister. Cursed is he that curseth his father or mother.-Anw. Amen.

Min. Cursed is he that removeth his neighbour's landmark.--Anfw. Amen.

Min. Cursed is he that maketh the blind to go out of his way.-- Answ. Amen.

Min. Curied is he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, the fatherless, and widow.-Anw. Amen,

Min. Cursed is he that smiteth his neighbour fccretly.--Anfw. Amen.

Min. Cursed is he that lieth with his neighbour's wife. ---Answ. Amen..

Min. Cursed is he that taketh reward to flay the ins nocent.--Answ. Amen.

Min. Cuifed is he that putteth his trust in man, and caketh man for his defence, and in his heart goech from the Lord.—Answ. Amen.

Min. Cursed are the unmerciful, fornicators, and adulterers, covetous persons, idolaters, slanderers, drunkards, and extortioners.--Anfw. Amen.

Minister.
W seeing that all they are accursed (as the pro-

phet David beareth witness) who do err and go astray from the commandments of God; let us (remembering the dreadful judgment hanging over our heads, and always ready to fall upon us) return unto our Lord God, with all contrition and meekness of heart; bewailing and lamenting our sinful life, acknowledging and confessing our offences, and seeking to bring forth worthy fruits of penance. For now is the axe put unto the root of the trees, so that every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God: He shall pour down rain upon the finners, snares, fire and brimstone, storm and tempeft; this shall be their portion to drink. For lo, the Lord is come out of his place to visit the wickedness of such as dwell upon the earth. But who may abide the day of his coming ? Who fall be able to endure when he appeareth ? His fan is

NOW. feeing that all they

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in his hand, and he will purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the barn ; but he will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. The day of the Lord cometh as a thief in the night: and when men shall say, Peace, and all things are safe, then shall sudden destruction come upon them, as forrow cometh upon a woman travailing with child, and they shall not escape. Then shall appear the wrath of God in the day of vengeance, which obstiDate finners, through the stubbornness of their heart, have heaped unto themselves; which despised the goodness, patience, and long sufferance of God, when he calleth them continually to repentance. Then shall they call upon me, (faith the Lord) but I will not hear; they fhall seek me early, but they shall not find me; and that, because they hated knowledge, and received not the fear of the Lord, but abhorred my counsel, and despised my correction. Then shall it be too late to knock when the door shall be shut; and too late to cry for mercy when it is the time of justice. O terrible voice of most just judg. ment, which shall be pronounced upon them, when it shall be said unto them, Go, ye cursed, into the fire everlasting, which is prepared for the devil and his angels. Therefore, brethren, take we heed betime, while the day of salvation lasteth; for the night cometh, when none can work. But let us, while we have the light, believe in the light, and walk as children of the light; that we be not cast into utter darkness, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Let us not abuse the goodness of God, who calleth us mercifully to amendment, and of His endless pity promiseth us forgiveness of that which is past, if with a perfect and true heart we return unto him. For though our sins be as red as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow; and though they be like purple, yet they shall be made white as wool. Turn ye (faith the Lord) from all your wickedness, and your fin shall not be your destruction. Caft away from you all your ungodliness that ye have done : Make you new hearts, and a new {pirit: Wherefore will ye die, O ye house of Ifrael; seeing that I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, faith the Lord God? Turn ye then, and ye

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live. Although we have finned, yet have we an Advo. cate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins. For he was wounded for our offences, and smitten for our wickedness. Let us therefore return unto him, who is the merciful receiver of all true penitent sinners; afsuring ourselves that he is ready to receive us, and most willing to pardon us, if we come unto him with faithful repentance; if we submit ourfelves unto him, and from henceforth walk in his ways; if we will take his easy yoke, and light burden upon us, to follow him in lowliness, patience, and charity, and be ordered by the governance of his Holy Spirit ; seeking always his glory, and serving him duly in our vocation with thanksgiving: This if we do, Christ will deliver us from the curle of the law, and from the extreme maledic. ta which thall light upon them that shall be set on the koled; and he will set us on his right hand, and give as the stacious benediction of his Father, commanding Es le teda posetion of his glorious kingdom : unto which be reachure to bring us all, for his infinite mercy. Amco.

Tir bal tbey all kneel upon their knees, and the
Prket and Clerks kneeling (in the place where they are
weer terud to say the Litany) fall say this Psalm.

Miferere mei, Deus. Psalm li.
AVE mercy upon me, O God, after thy great good-

ness: according to the multitude of thy mercies do away mine offences.

Walh me thoroughly from my wickedness: and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my faults : and my fin is ever before me.

Against the only have I finned, and done this evil in thy night: that thou mightest be justified in thy saying, and clear when thou art judged.

Behold, I was shapen in wickedness; and in sin hath my mother conceived me. But lo, thou requirest truth in the inward

parts:

and Alle muke me to understand wisdom secretly.

H

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