|The Book of Common Prayer|
THE FIRSTE DATE OF LENTE
¶ After mattens ended, the people beeyng called together by the ryngyng of a bel, and assembled in the churche: Thinglyshe [The English] letanye shall be sayed after thaccustomed maner: whiche ended, the prieste shal goe into the pulpitte and saye thus:
in the prymitive churche there was a godlye disciplyne, that at the
begynnyng of lente suche persones as were notorious synners, were put
to open penaunce, and punished in this worlde, that theyr soules myght
bee saved in the day of the lord. And that other admonished by theyr
example, might he more afrayed to offende. In the steede [stead]
whereof until the saide disciplyne maye bee restored agayne; (whiche
thynge is muche to bee wyshed,) it is thoughte good, that at thys tyme
(in your presence) shoulde bee read the general sentences of goddes
Cursyng agaynste impenitente sinners, gathered out of the xxvii Chapter
of Deuteronomie, and other places of scripture. And that ye shoulde
aunswere to every sentence, Amen: To thentente that you beeyng admonished
of the greate indignacion of God agaynste sinners: may the rather be
called to earneste and true repentaunce, and maye walke more warely
in these daungerous dayes, fleyng from suche vices, for the whiche ye
affirme with your owne mouthes: the curse of god to be due.
And the people shal aunswere, and saye,
Minister.Cursed is he that curseth his father, and mother.
Minister.Cursed is he that removeth awaye the marke of hys neighbours land.
Minister.Cursed is he that maketh the blinde to goe oute of hys waye.
Cursed is he that letteth [=prevents] in judgemente the right of the straungier, of them that be fatherlesse, and of widowes.
Minister.Cursed is he that smiteth his neighbour secretely.
Minister.Cursed is he that lieth with his neighbour's wyfe.
Cursed is he that taketh rewarde to slea the soule of innocent bloude.
Cursed is he that putteth his truste in man, and taketh manne for his defence, and in his harte goeth from the Lorde.
Cursed are the umnercifull, the fornicators and aduouterers, the covetous persones, the wurshyppers of images, slaunderers, drunkardes, and extorcioners.
Note: In subsequent books this service is called "A Commination against Sinners'
The minister. Nowe seeing
that all they bee accursed (as the Prophete David beareth witnesse)
whiche doe erre and goe astray from the commaundementes of God, let
us (remembring the dredefull judgement hanging over our heades,
and beyng alwayes at hande) returne unto our lorde God, with all
contricion and mekenes of heart, bewailing and lamenting our sinful
life, knowlaging and confessing our offences, and seekyng to bring
furth worthie fruites of penance. For even now is the axe put unto
the roote of the trees, so that every tree whiche bryngeth not furth
good fruite, is hewen downe and cast into the fyer. It is a fearefull
thing to fall into the handes of the living God: he shal powre downe
rayne upon the sinners, snares, fyer and brimstone, storme and tempest:
this shalbe theyr porcion to drynke. For loe, the lorde is cummen*
out of his place, to visite the wickednes of such as dwell upon the
earth. But who may abyde the daye of his cumming? Who shalbe hable
to endure whan he appeareth? His fanne is in his hande, and he wil
pourge his floore, and gather his wheate into the barne, but he will
burne the chaffe with unquencheable fier. The day of the lorde cummeth
as a thiefe upon the night, and when men shall say peace, and all
thynges are safe, then shall sodayne destruccion come upon them,
as sorowe cometh upon a woman travaylyng with chylde, and they shall
not escape: then shall appeare the wrathe of God in the daye of vengeaunce,
whiche obstinate synners, through the stubbernes of theyr hearte,
have heaped unto themselfe, which despised the
goodnesse, pacience an long-sufferaunce of god, when he called them
continually to repentaunce. Then shall they cal upon me (sayth the
lorde), but I wil not heare: they shal seke me early, but thei shal
not finde me, and that because they hated knowlage, and received not
the feare of the lord, but abhorred my counsell and despised my correccion:
then shal it be to late to knocke, when the doore shalbe shut, and
to late to cry for mercy, when it is the tyme of justice. O terrible
voice of most just judgement, which shalbe pronounced upon them when
it shalbe sayde unto them. Go ye cursed into the fyer everlasting,
which is prepared for the devil and his angels. Therfore brethren,
take we hede by time, while the day of salvacion lasteth, for the night
cometh when none can worke: but let us while we have the light, beleve
in the light, and walke as the children of the light, that we be not
cast into the utter derkenes, where is weping and gnashing of teeth.
Let us not abuse the goodnes of god, whiche calleth us mercifully to
amendement, and of his endlesse pitie, promiseth us forgevenes of that
which is past: if (with a whole mind and a true hert) we returne unto
him: for though our sinnes be red as scarlet, they shalbe as white
as snowe, and though they be lyke purple, yet shall they be as whyte
as woolle. Turne you cleane (sayth ye lord) from all your wickednes,
and your synne shall not be your destruccion Cast away from you all
your ungodlines that ye have doen, make you new hertes, and a new spirite:
wherfore will ye dye, O ye house of Israel? seing I have no pleasure
in the death of him that dieth (sayth the Lord God). Turne you then,
and you shall lyve. Although we have sinned yet have we an advocate
with the father Jesus Christ
the righteous, and he it is that obteyneth grace for our sinnes; for
he was wounded for our offences, arid smitten for our wickednes: let
us therfore returne unto him, who is the merciful receiver of al true
penitent sinners, assuring ourselfe that he is ready to receive us,
and most willing to pardon us, if we come to him with faithful repentaunce:
if we wil submit ourselves unto him, and from heceforth walke
in hys waies: if we wil take his easy yoke and light burden upon
us to folowe hym in lowlynesse, pacience, and charitie, and bee ordred
by the governaunce of his holy spirite, seking alwayes his glorye,
and serving him duely in our vocacion with thankesgevyng. This yf
we doe, Christe wil deliver us from the curse of the law, and from
the extreme malediccion whiche shall lyght upon them that shalbee
set on the left hand: and he wyl set us on his right hand, and geve
us the blessed benediccion of hys father, commaundyng us to take
possessions of hys glorious kyngdome, unto the whiche he vouchsafe
to bryng us al, for hys infinite mercye. Amen.
* come in
1 Thess. v.
1 John ii
¶ Then shall they all kneele upon theyr knees: And the prieste and clerkes kneelyng (where they are accustomed to saye the letanye) shall saye this psalme.
Miserere mei Deus. Psal. li.
mercye upon me, (O God,) after thy greate goodnesse according to the multitude
of thy mercies, do away mine offences.
Let us praye.
O LORD, we beseche thee mercifully heare our prayers, and spare all those which confesse theyr synnes to thee, that they (whose consciences by synne are accused), by thy mercyfull pardon may be absolved, through Christe our Lorde. Amen.
O MOST mightie god and mercifull father, which hast compassion of all menne, and hateste nothyng that thou haste made: whiche wouldeste not the deathe of a sinner, but that he shoulde rather turne from sinne and bee saved: mercifully forgeve us oure trespasses, receyve and coumforte us, whiche bee grieved and weried with the burden of our sinne: Thy propertie is to have mercie, to thee onely it apperteineth to forgeve sinnes: spare us therfore, good Lorde, spare thy people whome thou hast redemed. Enter not into judgemente with thy servauntes, which be vile yearthe, and miserable sinners: But so turne thy ire from us, which mekely knowlage our vilenes, and truely repent us of our fautes: so make hast to helpe us in this worlde: that wee may ever live with thee in the worlde to come: through Jesus Christe our Lorde. Amen.
Then shal this antheme he sayed or song.
TURNE thou us, good Lord, and so shall we be turned: bee favourable (O Lorde) he favourable to thy people, whiche turne to thee in wepyng, fasting and praying: for thou art a mercifull God, full of compassion, long sufferyng, and of a great pietie*. Thou sparest when we deserve punishement, and in thy wrathe thynkest upon mercy. Spare thy people, good Lorde, spare them, and lette not thy heritage bee brought to confusion: Heare us (O Lorde) for thy mercy is great, and after the multitude of thy mercyes looke upon us.
* pity in some printings
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