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THE FIRSTE DATE OF LENTE

COMMONLY CALLED

ASHE-WEDNISDAYE.

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:

BRETHREN, 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.
CURSED is the man that maketh any carved or molten image, an abominacion to the Lorde, the woorke of the handes of the craftesmanne, and putteth it in a secrete place, to wurship it.

And the people shal aunswere, and saye,

Amen.

Minister.
    Cursed is he that curseth his father, and mother.
Answere.
Amen.
Minister.
Cursed is he that removeth awaye the marke of hys neighbours land.
Answere.
Amen.
Minister.
Cursed is he that maketh the blinde to goe oute of hys waye.
Answere.
Amen.
Minister.
    Cursed is he that letteth [=prevents] in judgemente the right of the straungier, of them that be fatherlesse, and of widowes.
Answere.
Amen.
Minister.
Cursed is he that smiteth his neighbour secretely.
Answere.
Amen.
Minister.
Cursed is he that lieth with his neighbour's wyfe.
Answere.
Amen.
Minister.
    Cursed is he that taketh rewarde to slea the soule of innocent bloude.
Answere.
Amen.
Minister.
    Cursed is he that putteth his truste in man, and taketh manne for his defence, and in his harte goeth from the Lorde.
Answere.
Amen.
Minister.
    Cursed are the umnercifull, the fornicators and aduouterers, the covetous persones, the wurshyppers of images, slaunderers, drunkardes, and extorcioners.
Aunswere.
Amen.
 

 

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.
 


Psal. cxviii.

 

 

Mat iii


Hebru. x.
Psal. x.
Esai. [Isaiah] xxvi.

* come in some printings
Mal. iii.
Mat. iii.

 

1 Thess. v.

 

 

Rom. ii.


Prover. i

 

 

 
Mat. xxv.

ii. Cor. vi.
John ix.

 
Mat. xxv.

 

Esai. [Isaiah] i.
Esech. [Ezek.] xviii.

 

 

1 John ii

 

Esai. liii

 


Mat. xi.

 

 

 

Math. xxv.

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.

HAVE mercye upon me, (O God,) after thy greate goodnesse according to the multitude of thy mercies, do away mine offences.
    Washe me throwly from my wickednes, and clense me from my synne.
    For I knowlage my faultes, and my sinne is ever before me.
    Agaynst thee only have I synned, and done this evyl in thy syght: that thou myghtest bee justified in thy saying, and clere when thou art judged.
    Behold, I was shapen in wickednes, and in synne hath my mother conceived me.
    But loe, thou requirest trueth in the inward partes, and shalte make me to understande wysedome secretelye.
    Thou shalt pourge me with Isope [hyssop], and I shall bee cleane thou shalt washe me, and I shal bee whyter then snowe.
    Thou shalte make me heare of joye and gladnesse, that the bones whiche thou haste broken, maye rejoyce.
    Turne thy face from my synnes, and putte out all my mysdedes [misdeeds].
    Make me a cleane herte, (O God) and renue a ryght spyrite within me.
    Caste me not awaye from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirite from me.
    O geve me the coumforte of thy helpe agayne, and stablishe me wyth thy free spirite.
    Then shal I teache thy waies unto the wicked, and sinners shal bee converted unto thee.
    Deliver me from bloud-giltinesse, (O God,) thou that art the god of my health : and my toungue shall syng of thy righteousnesse.
    Thou shalt open my lippes, (O Lorde) my mouthe shal shewe thy prayse.
    For thou desyreste no sacrifice, els would I geve it thee : but thou deliteste not in burnt offeryng.
    The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirite, a broken and contrite herte, (O God), shalt thou not despise.
    O bee favourable and gracious unto Syon, build thou the walles of Hierusalem [Jerusalem].
    Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifice of righteousnesse, wyth the burnt-offeringes and oblacions : then shall they offre young bullockes upon thyne aultare.
    Glorye to the father, &c.
    As it was in the beginning, &c.
        Lorde have mercie upon us.
        Christe have mercye upon us.
        Lorde have mercye upon us.
    Our father whiche art in heaven, &c.
    And leade us not into temptacion.

Answere.
But deliver us from evyll. Amen.
Minister.
O Lorde save thy servauntes.
Answere.
Whiche put theyr truste in thee.
Minister.
Sende unto them helpe from above.
Aunswere.
And evermore mightily defende them.
Minister.
Helpe us O God our saviour.
Aunswere.
    And for the glory of thy names sake delyver us, be mercifull unto us synners for thy names sake.
Minister.
O Lorde heare my prayer.
Aunswere.
And let my crye come to thee.

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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