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Then shall they loose their hands, and the Man shall
give unto the Woman a Ring, putting it upon the fourth finger of her left hand. And the Man holding the Ring there, and taught by the Minister, shall
say, W ITH this ring I thee wed; with all my worldly
goods I thee endow; and to thee only do I promise to keep myself, so long as we both shall live. Amen.
Then the Minister shall say,
ETERNAL God, creator and preserver of all
mankind, giver of all spiritual grace, the author of everlasting life ; send thy blessing upon these thy servants, whom we bless in thy name. Enable them to perform the covenant which they have now made in thy presence. May they seriously attend to the duties of the new relation in which they stand to each other; that it may not be to them a state of temptation and sorrow, but of holiness and comfort; may they live together in peace and love ; and wilt thou, the God of peace and love, be always with them, and lead them in the paths of innocence and virtue to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then shall the Minister speak unto the People. FORASMUCH as M. and N. have consented
together in wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and thereto
have engaged and pledged themselves to each other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving a ring, and by joining hands; I pronounce that they be Man and Wife; and those whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.
Then shall the Minister say, Let us pray.
MERCIFUL God and Heavenly Father, who
art the guide, the support, and the felicity of all who put their trust in thee; we beseech thee to bless these thy servants, and give them grace to fear and serve thee all the days of their life. May their hearts be united in the closest bonds of love and purity; may they be blessings and comforts to one another, sharers of each other's joys, consolers of each other's sorrows, and helpers to one another in all the changes of the world ; and grant that they may so faithfully discharge the duties which belong to the condition into which they have entered, that they, and all who may be committed to their care, may meet together in that world of perfect felicity which thou hast revealed to us by Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then shall he add this
BLESSING. THE Lord God Almighty bless, preserve, and
keep you ; the Lord mercifully with his favor look upon you, and fill you with all spiritual bene
diction and grace; that ye may so live together in this life, that in the world to come ye may have life everlasting. Amen.
EXHORTATION TO THE PARTIES AFTER MARRIAGE. To be read or omitted at the discretion of the Minister. IT will become you to consider seriously the
sacred and important engagement into which ye have now entered. Marriage is the union of one man with one woman for their joint happiness, and for the pious education of children, where God gives them ; and, by the original appointment of God, confirmed by our Saviour, (Gen. ii. 24; Matt. xix. 4, 5, 6,) this union is to be perpetual, to be dissolved only by death. It was intended by the benevolent Parent of mankind to be a source of the purest satisfactions, to soften the unavoidable cares, and increase the innocent pleasures of life, by affording opportunities of sharing them with a most intimate friend and partner. By Christians in particular it is to be looked upon as a state of perfect indissoluble friendship, in which ye are to carry your regards for each other beyond the grave; that ye may so live in virtue and holiness here, that ye may live hereafter, in that state where there will be no marrying nor giving in marriage, but ye shall be as the angels in heaven. Study then to correct what is amiss in your respective tempers and dispositions, which may disturb your mutual love and peace. And be severe censors of yourselves, but exact not too much one from another; and bear with each other's infirmities, for there is nothing perfect here below. None are faultless, but all are to endeavor to become such. Cultivate in yourselves, and in each other, the knowledge and practice of virtue and true religion, as the only foundation of present comfort and future hopes. Study the Scriptures and the precepts and example of Christ, who alone hath the words of eternal life. And be not extravagant in your expectations from the world ; for although it abound with many innocent joys and pleasures, yet it is not, nor is it intended to be, a place of unmixed prosperity and enjoyment, but a transitory scene of trial and improvement for a better and more enduring state.
The other great end of marriage is for the well ordering of families and right education of children. This is a matter of the highest moment. For families are the nurseries and schools, in which the successive generations of men are to be instructed and fitted for their different stations and employments in life, to bear their part and burden in it, to be helpful to others, good citizens, useful magistrates, faithful husbands, virtuous wives, patterns of all that is excellent and worthy in every relation. Of a number of families united, nations are composed; and of all of them together, the whole community of mankind. And as these little seminaries are well tutored and governed, or neglected, kingdoms, nations, and the world are happy or miserable.
Take heed therefore to set an example of piety and virtue yourselves; and then ye may with authority require those who belong to you to follow
it. Let the God of heaven be publicly acknowledged and worshipped each day in your family. At least let not his name and worship be forgotten in it on the Lord's day. Keep a strict watch over all who depend upon you ; and suffer no vice to go unreproved, or to remain in your house persisted in and unamended. For this would be to encourage it, and put a snare before others. By this domestic care, and godly discipline, ye will ensure your own peace, and be a blessing to your family, your neighbors, and country ; but, which is above all to be valued and sought for, ye will be approved by Almighty God, and rank with prophets and apostles in that future world, where we are told, that they who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they who turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
END OF THE MARRIAGE SERVICE.