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    The Book of Common Prayer - 1552







After Mornyng praier, the people being called together by the ringing of a bell, and assembled in the Churche, the English Letany shalbe sayd after the accustomed maner: whiche ended, the Priest shall goe into the pulpite and saye thus

BRETHREN, in the primative church there was a Godly discyplyne, that at the begynnyng of Lent suche persons as were notorious synners, wer put to open penaunce and punished in thys world, that their soules might be saved in the day of the lorde, and that others admonished by theyr example, myght be more afrayed to offende. In the stede [stead] wherof, untyl the sayd discipline may be restored againe, (which thing is much to be wyshed,) it is thought good, that at thys tyme (in your presence) should be read the general sentences of God's curssyng against impenitent sinners, gathered out of the xxvii. Chapiter of Deuteronomye, and other places of scripture: and that ye shoulde aunswere to every sentence, Amen. To thintent that you, beyng admonished of the great indignacion of God agaynst synners, may the rather be called to earneste and true repentaunce, and may walke more warely in these daungerous daies, fleeing from such vices, for the which 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 abhominacion to the Lorde, the worke of the handes of the craftes manne, and putteth it in a secrete place to worshyp it.

And the people shall aunswere and saye,


    Minister. Cursed is he that curseth his father, and mother.
    Aunswere. Amen.
    Minister. Cursed is he that removeth awaye the marke of hys neighbour's lande.
    Aunswere. Amen.
    Minister. Cursed is he that maketh the blynd to goe out of his waye.
    Aunswere. Amcn.
    Minister. Cursed is he that letteth [=prevents] in Judgemente the ryght of the straunger, of them that be fatherles, and of wydowes.
    Aunswere. Amen.
    Minister. Cursed is he that smiteth his neighboure secretly.
    Aunswere. Amen.
    Minister. Cursed is he that lyeth with his neighbour's wife.
    Aunswere. Amen.
    Minister. Cursed is he that taketh reward to slea the soule of innocent bloud.
    Aunswere. Amen.
    Minister. Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, and taketh man for hys defence, and in hys hearte goeth from the Lorde.
    Aunswere. Amen.
    Minister. Cursed are the unmercifull, the fornicatours and adulterers, & the covetous persons, the worshyppers of ymages, slaunderers, drunkards, and extorcioners.
    Aunswere. Amen.


    The Minister. Nowe seeing that all they be accursed (as the Prophet David beareth witnes) which dooe erre and goe astraye from the commaundementes of God: lette us (remembryng the dreadfull judgement hangynge over our heades, and beeyng always at hande) returne unto our Lorde God, with all contricion and mekenesse of hearte bewaylynge and lamentynge our synfule lyfe, knowledgyng and confessyng our offences, and seekyng to bring furth worthy fruites of penaunce (Psa. cxviii.). For nowe is the Axe put unto the roote of the trees, so that every tree whiche bringeth not furth good fruite is hewen downe, and caste into the fyre (Mat. iii.). It is a fearfull thyng to fall into the handes of the lyving God (Heb. x.): he shall poure down rain upon the synners, snares, fyre and brimstone, storme and tempest: this shalbe their porcion to drynke (Ps. x.). For he, the Lord is comen out of his place, to visite the wickednes of suche as dwell upon the earth (Es. xxvi.). But who maye abide the daye of hys comyng? Who shalbe able to endure when he appereth? His fanne is in his hand, and he wil pourge hys floore and gather hys wheate into the Barne (Mala. iii.): but he wylle burn the chaffe with unquencheable fyre (Mal. iii.). The daye of the Lord cometh as a thefe upon the night; and when men shal say peace, and al thinges are safe, then shall sodenly destruccion come upon them, as sorowe cometh upon a woman travailing with childe, and they shall not escape (1 Thes. v.): then shall appeare the wrath of God in the daye of vengeance, which obstinate sinners, throughe the stubbernes of theyr hearte, have heaped unto themselfe, whiche despysed the goodnes, pacience, and long-sufferaunce of God, when he called them continuallye to repentaunce (Rom. ii.). Then shal they cal upon me, sayeth the lord, but I wyll not heare: they shal seke me earlye, but they shall not fynd me, and that because they hated knowledge, and received not the feare of the Lorde, but abhorred my counsayle, and despysed my correccion: then shall it be to late to knock, when the dore shall be shutte, and to late to crye for mercy, when it is the time of Justice (Prove i.). O terrible voyce of moste juste judgemente, whiche shall be pronounced upon them, when it shalbe sayd unto them: Goe ye cursed into the fyre everlasting, which is prepared for the devill and hys Aungels (Matt. xxv.). Therefore, brethren, take we hede betime, whyle the day of salvacion lasteth, for the nyght cometh when none can worke (2 Cor. vi.): but lette us, whyle we have the lyght, beleve in the lyght, and walke as the children of the lyght, that we be not cast into the uttre darkenesse, where is wepyng and gnashyng of teeth (John ix.). Let us not abuse the goodnes of God, which calleth us mercifully to amendement, and of hys endlesse pitie promyseth us forgeveness of that whiche is paste, if (with a whole mynd and true heart) we returne unto hym (Matt. xxv.): for though our sins be red as scarlet, they shall be as white as Snowe; and thoughe they bee lyke purple, yet shall they be as white as wolle (Esai. [Isaiah] i.). Turne you clene (sayth the Lord) from all youre wyckednesse, and youre synne shall not be youre destruccion. Caste awaye from you all your ungodlynes that ye have done, make you new heartes, and a newe spirite: wherfore wil ye die, O ye house of Israel? Seeyng that I have no pleasure in the death of hym that dyeth? (sayeth the Lorde God.) (Ezech. xxviii.). Turne you then, and you shall lyve. Althoughe we have synned, yet have we an advocate with the father, Jesus Chryste the ryghteous: and he it is that obteyneth grace for our sinnes (1 John ii.); for he was wounded for our offences, and smitten for our wickednes (Esai. liii.). Let us therefore returne unto hym, who is the merciful receyver of all true penytent synners, assuring our self, that he is ready to receive us, and most wyllyng to pardon us, if we come to hym with faythfull repentaunce: if we wil submit ourselves unto hym, and from hencefurth walke in hys wayes: if we wil take his easye yoke and light burden upon us, to folowe him in lowlinesse, pacience, and charitie, and be ordered by the governaunce of his holy spirite, seking alwayes his glory, and serving him duely in our vocacion, with thankesgeving (Mat. xi.). This if we doe, Christ wil deliver us from the curse of the law, and from the extreme malediccion, whiche shal light upon them that shal be set on the left hand: and he wil set us on his ryght hand, and geve us the blessed benediccion of his father, commaundyng us to take possession of his glorious kyngdome; unto the which he vouchesafe to bryng us all, for hys infinite mercy (Matt. xxv.). Amen.

The scriptur references are given in the margin in several printings.

    Then shall they all knele upon their knees: and the Priestes and Clerks kneling (where thei are accustomed to saye the Letany) shal saye this Psalme.

Miserere mei Deus. Ps. li.

HAVE mercy upon me, (O God,) alter thy great goodness :   accordyng to the multitude of thy mercies, do awaye myne offences.
    Wash me throughly from my wickednes, and dense me from my sinne.
    For I knowledge my faultes, and my synne is ever before me.
    Againste thee onely have I synned, and done this evil in thy syght : that thou mightest be justified in thy saying, and cleare when thou art judged.
    Beholde I was shapen in wickednesse, and in synne hath my mother conceived me.
    But lo, thou requirest trueth in the inwarde parties, and shalt make me to understande wisdome secretly.
    Thou shalt purge me with Isope [hyssop], and I shalbe cleane : thou shalte washe me, and I shalbe whiter then Snowe.
    Thou shalt make me heare of joye and gladnesse, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoyce.
    Turne thy face from my synnes, and put out all my misdedes. Make me a cleane heart, (O God) and renewe a right spirite within me.
    Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirite from me.
    O geve me the comforte of thy helpe agayne, and stablishe me with thy free spirite.
    Then shal I teache thy wayes unto the wycked, and synners shalbe converted unto thee.
    Deliver me from bloud-guyltinesse, (O god,) thou that art the god of my health : and my tongue shal sing of thy ryghteousnes.
    Thou shalt open my lippes, (O lord) and my mouth shall shewe thy prayse.
    For thou desyrest no sacrifice, els would I geve it thee : but thou delyghtest not in burnt-offeryng.
    The sacrifice of god is a troubled spirite, a broken and a contrite heart, (O god,) shalt thou not despyse.
    O be favourable and gracious unto Syon, buyld thou the walles of Hierusalem [Jerusalem].
    Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifice of righteousnesse, with the burnte-offeryngs and oblacions : then shall they offer young bullocks upon thyne altare.
    Glory be to the father, and to the sonne, &c.
    As it was in the beginning, and is now, &c.

    Lord, have mercy upon us.
    Chryst, have mercy upon us.
    Lord, have mercy upon us.

    Our father, which art in heaven, &c.
    And lead us not into temptacion.
    Aunswere. But deliver us from evil. Amen.
    Minister. O Lorde, save thy servaunts.
    Aunswere. Which put their trust in thee.
    Minister. Sende unto them helpe from above.
    Aunswere. And evermore mightely defende them.
    Minister. Helpe us, O god our savioure.
   Aunswere. And for the glory of thy names sake deliver us, bee mercifull unto us synners for thy names sake.
    Minister. O Lorde, heare our prayers.
    Aunswere. And let our crye come to thee.

Let us praye.

O LORD, we beseche thee mercifully heare our prayers, and spare all those whiche confess their sinnes to thee, that they (whose conscyences by synne are accused,) by thy mercyfull pardon maye be absolved : Through Chryste our Lorde. Amen.

O MOST mightie god and mercyfull father, which hast compassion of al men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made: which wouldest not the death of a synner, but that he shoulde rather turne from synne and be saved: mercifully forgeve us our trespasses, receyve and comfort us, which be greved and weried with the burthen of our synnes. Thy property is to have mercy; to thee only it apperteineth to forgeve sinnes: spare us therfore, good Lord, spare thy people whom thou hast redemed. Entre not into Judgemente with thy servaunts, which be vile yearth, and miserable synners: but so turne thy yre from us, which mekely knowledge our vilenesse, and truely repente us of our faultes: so make haste to helpe us in thys worlde, that we maye ever lyve with thee, in the worlde to come: through Jesus Christe our Lord. Amen.

Then shal the people say this that foloweth. after the Minister.

TURNE thou us, O good lorde, and so shall we bee turned: bee favourable (O Lord) bee fauourable to thy people, whiche turne to thee in wepyng, fastyng and praying: for thou art a merciful god, ful of compassion, long suffering, and of a great pitie: Thou sparest when we deserve punishmente, and in thy wrath thinkest upon mercy. Spare thy people, good Lorde, spare them, and lette not thy heritage be broughte to confusion: Hear us (O Lord) for thy mercy is great, and after the multytude of thy mercyes looke upon us.



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