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    The Book of Common Prayer - 1559




The Priest entryng into the sicke persones house, shall saye.

    Peace be in* this house, and to all that dwel in it.

When he commeth into the sicke mannes presence, he shall saye knelynge doune.

REMEMBRE not Lorde oure iniquities, nor the iniquities of our forefathers. Spare us good Lorde, spare thy people, whome thou hast redemed with thy most precious bloude and bee not angry with us for ever.

    Lorde have mercy upon us.
    Christe have mercy upon us.
    Lorde have mercy upon us.
    Our father whiche art in heaven. &c
    And leade us not into temptacion.
    Aunswere. But deliver us from evel. Amen.
    Minister. O Lorde save thy servaunt.
    Aunswere. Whiche putteth his trust in the.
    Minister. Sende him helpe from thy holy place.
    Aunswere. And evermore myghtely defende him.
    Minister. Let the enemy have none advauntage of him.
    Aunswere. Nor the wicked approche to hurte him.
    Minister. Be unto him O Lorde a strong Towre.
    Aunswere. From the face of his enemy.
    Minister. Lorde heare our praiers.
    Aunswere. And let our crie come unto the.


    O Lorde loke doune from Heaven, beholde, visite, and releve this thy servaunt. Loke uppon him with the eies of thy mercye, geve him comforte and sure confidence in the, defende him from the daunger of the enemy, and kepe him in perpetual peace, and saufety: Through Jesus Christe our Lorde. Amen.

HEARE us almighty, and most mercifull God, and saviour, extend thy accustomed goodnes, to this thy servaunt whiche is greved with syckenesse, visit him O Lorde, as thou diddest visit Peters wifes mother, and the capiteines servaunt. So visit and restore unto this sicke person his former health (if it bee thy wil) or els geve him grace so to take thy visitation, that after this painful life ended, he may dwell with the in life everlastyng. Amen.

Then shal the Minister exhorte the sicke person after this forme or other lyke.





* "to" in early 1600's.

DERELY beloved know this, that almighty god is the lorde of life and death, and over al thinges to theym perteinyng, as youthe, strength, helthe, age weaknesse, and sicknes, wherfore, whatsoever your syckenesse is, knowe you certainlye, that it is Goddes visitacion. And for what cause soever this sicknes is sent unto you: whether it bee to trie youre patience for the example of other, and that your faith may be founde in the dai of the lord laudable, glorious, and honorable, to the encrease of Glory, and endles felicitie: Or els it be sent unto you, to correct, and amende in you whatsoever dothe offende the eies of our heavenly father: knowe you certeinly, that yf you truly repent you of your sinnes, and beare your sickenes patiently, trustyng in Gods mercy for his dere sonne Jesus Christes sake, and rendre unto him humble thankes for his fatherly visitacion, submittyng your selfe wholly to his will, it shall turne to your profite, and helpe you forwarde in the right waye that leadeth unto everlastyng life*. Take therfore in good worthe, the chastemente of the lord, for whom the lord loveth he chastiseth. yea, as S. Paul saith, he scourgeth every sonne which he receiveth : If you endure chastisement, he offereth himself unto you as unto his own children. What sonne is he that the father chastiseth not? If ye be not under correction (whereof all true children are partakers) then are ye bastardes, and not children. Therfore seying, that when our carnal fathers do correct us, we reverently obey them, shal we not now muche rather be obedient to our spirituall father, and so live? And they for a few daies do chastise us after their owne pleasure, but he doth chastise us for our profit to thentent he maye make us partakers of his holines. These wordes good brother, are Gods wordes, and written in holy Scripture for our comforte and instruction, that we sholde paciently and with thankesgeving, beare our heavenly fathers Correction, whensoever by any maner of adversitie it shal please his gratious goodnes to visite us. And there shoulde be no greater comforte to christien persons, than to be made like unto christ, by sufferyng patiently adversities, troubles, and Sickenesses. For he him selfe went not up to joye, but firste he suffered paine : hee entred not into his glorye, before he was crucified: So truly our way to eternall joye, is to suffer here with Christe, and our doore to entre into eternall life: is gladly to die with Christ, that we may ryse againe from death and dwell with him in everlastynge life. Nowe therfore, taking your sickenesse, whiche is thus profitable for you paciently: I exhorte you in the name of God, to rernembre the profession whiche you made unto God, in your Baptisme. And forasmuche as after this lyfe there is accompte [account] to be geven unto the rightuous judge, of whome all must be judged without respect of persons: I require you to examine your selfe and your state, bothe towarde God and man, so that accusynge and condempning your self for your owne faultes, you may fynde mercy at our heavenly fathers hande, for Christes sake, and not be accused and condempned in that fearful judgement. Therfore I shal shortly rehearse the Articles of our faith, that ye may know whether you do beleve as a Christien man shoulde, or no.

  Here the minister shall rekerse the articles of the faith saieng thus 

DOEST thou beleve in God the father almighty.

 And so furth, as it is in Baptisme.










*If the person visited be very sicke then the Curate may ende his exhortacion in thys place.

Then shal the minister examine whether he be in charitie, with all the worlde: exhortyng hym to forgive from the botome of his hart, al persons that have offended hym, and if he have offended other, to aske them forgevenesse; And wher he hathe done injury or wrong to any man, that he make amendes to the uttermost of his power. And if he have not afore disposed his goodes, let him the make his wil. (But men must be oft admonished that they set an order for their temporall goodes and landes,when they be in health.) And also declare his debtes, what hee oweth, and what is owyng unto him, for discharging of his conscience, and quietnes ofhis executours. The minister may not forget, nor omitte to move the sicke person (and that most earnestly) to liberalitie lowarde the poore.

From late 1500's:


This may be done before the minister begin his praiers as he shal se cause.

    Then shal the minister examine whether he be in charitie, with all the world, exhorting him to forgive from the bottome of his heart all persons that have offended him, and if he have offended other, to aske them forgevenesse: and where hee hath done injury or wrong to any man, that he make amends to the uttermost of his power. And if he have not afore disposed his goods, let him the make his will, and also declare his debts, what he oweth, and what is owing unto him, for discharging of his conscience, and quietnesse of his Executors. But men must be oft admonished that they set an order for their temporall goods and lands, when they be in health.
These words before rehearsed, may bee said before the Minister begin his praier, as he shall see cause.
The minister may not forget, nor omit to moove the sicke person (and that most earnestly) to liberality loward the poore.

Here shall the sicke persone make a speciall confession, if he feele hys conscience troubled with any weighty matter. After whiche confession the priest shall absolve him after this sorte.

OUR Lorde Jesus Christ who hath left power to hys Churche to absolve all sinners, whiche truly repente, and beleve in him: of hys greate mercie forgeve thyne offences, and by his aucthoritie committed to me, I absolve the from al thy synnes. In the name of the father and of the sonne &c. Amen.

  And then the priest shal say the Collect folowyng. 

Let us praie.


O MOST merciful God, whiche according to the multitude of thy mercies, dost so put awai the sinnes of those whiche truly repent, that thou remebrest them no more, open thy eie of mercy upon this thy servaunt, who most earnestly desireth pardon, and forgevenes. Renue in him most lovying father, whatsoever hath been decaied, by the fraud, and malice of the devel, or by his owne carnall will, and frailnes, preserve, and continue this sicke membre in the unitie of thy churche, consider his contricion, accept hys teares, asswage his paine, as shalbe sene to thee most expedient for him. And forasmuche as he putteth his full trust only in thy mercy, impute not unto him his former sinnes, but take him to thy favour, through the merites of thy moste derely beloved sonne Jesus Chriest. Amen.


Then the Minister shal saie this Psalm.


IN the, O Lorde have I put my trust, let me never bee put to confusion, but ridde me, and deliver me into thy ryghtuousnesse, encline thine eare unto me and save me.
    Be thou my strong holde wherunto I may alway resorte: thou hast promysed to helpe me, for thou art my house of defence, and my Castel.
    Deliver me a my God out of the hande of the ungodly: out of the hande of the unrightuous and cruell man.
    For thou O lorde God art the thyng that I long for : thou art my hope even from my youth.
    Through the have I ben holden up ever sence I was borne: thou art he that toke me out of my mothers wombe, my prayse shall alway be of the.
    I am become as it were a monster unto many: but my sure truste is in the.
    O let my mouth be filled with thy praise: (that I may sing of thy glory) and honor all the daie longe.
    Cast me not away in the tyme of age: forsake me not when my strength faileth me.
    For myne enemies speake againste me, and they that laye wayte for my soule, take their counsail together, saiynge: God hath forsaken hym, persecute hym, and take hym, for there is none to deliver hym.
    Go not farre from me, O God: my God, haste the to helpe me.
    Let them be confounded and perishe, that are against my soule: let them be covered with shame and dishonoure that seke to do me evill.
    As for me, I will pacietly abide alwaie : and wil praise the, more and more.
    My mouthe shall dayely speake of thy righteousnes, and salvacion: for I knowe no ende therof.
    I will go furth in the strength of the Lorde God: and will make mencion of thy righteousnesse onely.
    Thou (O God) haste taughte me from my youthe up untill nowe: therefore I will tell of thy wonderous workes.
    Forsake me not (O God) in myne olde age, when I am gray headed: until I haue shewed thy strength unto this generacion, and thy power to all them that are yet for to come.
    Thy righteousnesse (O God) is very hygh, and great thinges are they that thou haste done: O God, who is lyke unto the?
    O what great troubles and adversities hast thou shewed me? and yet diddest thou turne and refreshe me, yea, and broughtest me from the depe of the earth agayne.
    Thou hast broughte me to great honour: and comforted me on every side.
    Therfore will I prayse the and thy faythefulnes (O God) plaiynge upon an instrument of Musicke: unto the will I synge uppon the Harpe, O thou holy one of Israell.
    My lippes will be faine, when I sing unto the: and so will my soule whome thou hast delivered.
    My tongue also shal talke of thy righteousnesse al the day long : for thei are confounded and brought unto shame, that seke to do me evill.
    Glory be to the Father, and to the Sonne, and to the holy Ghoste.
    As it was in the begynnynge, is nowe and ever shalbe worlde without ende. Amen.

Addyng thys.

O SAVIOUR of the worlde, save us, whyche by thy crosse and precious bloude hast redemed us, helpe us we beseche the, O God.

Then shal the Minister saye.

THE almightie Lord; whiche is a moste strong tower to all them that put their trust in him, to whom all thinges in heaven, in earthe, and under the earthe doe bowe and obey, be now; and evermore thy defence, and make the knowe and fele, that there is no other name under heaven geven to man, in whome, and throughe whome thou mayest receyve healthe and salvacion, but onely .the name of oure Lorde Jesus Christe. Amen.

In te, domine, spe.
Psal. lxxi.




    Forasmuche as al mortal men be subjecte to many soubdein perilles, diseases, and sicknesses, and ever uncertaine what time they shal departs out of this lyf. Therfore to thentent they may be alwaies in a readines to die, whensoever it that please Almightie God to cal them: The Curates shal diligently from tyme to tyme, but specially in the plague time, exhort their Parishioners to the oft receivyng in the Churche, of the holy Communion of the body and bloude of our saviour Christ. Whiche (if thei do) thei shal have no cause in their soubdeine visitation to be unquieted for lacks of the same. But if the sicke persons be not able to come to the Churche, and yet is desirous to receive the Communion in his house, then yee must give knowledge over night, or elles early in the Morning to the Curate, signifying also how many be appoincted to communicate with him. And havyng a convenient place in the sicke mans house, where the Curate may reverently minister, and a good nomber to receive the Communion with the sicke persons, with all thynges necessary for the same, he that there minister the holy Communion.

The Collect.

ALMIGHTIE everlivyng God, maker of mankynde, whiche doest correcte those whom thou doest love, and chastisest every one whome thou doest receive, we beseche the to have mercie upon this thy servaunt visited with thy hande, and to graunt that he may take his sickenesse paciently, and recover his bodily helth (yf it be thy gracious wil), and whensoever his soule shal depart from the body, it may bee without spot presented unto the: Throughe Jesus Christe our Lorde. Amen.


The Epistle.

MY sonne, despise not the correction of the Lorde, neither faint when thou art rebuked of hym. For whome the Lorde loveth, him he correcteth : yea, and he scourgeth every sonne whom he receiveth.


Hebr. xii.

The Gospel.

VERELY, verely I say unto you, he that heareth my worde, and beleveth on hym that sent me, hath everlastyng life, and shall not come unto dampnacion, but he passeth from death unto lyfe.

At the time of the distribucion of the holy Sacrament, the Priest shal flrst receive the Communion hymselfe, and after minister unto them that be appoincted to communicate with the sicke.

But if any man, either by reason of extremitie of sickenes, or for lacke of warnyng in due time to the Curate, or for lacke of company to receive with hym, or by any other just impediment, do not receive the Sacrament of Christes body and bloud, then the Curate shall instruct hym, that if he do truely repent hym of his synnes, and stedfastly beleve that Jesus Christe hath sufred death upon the crosse for him, and shed his bloud for his redempcion, earnestly remembryng the benefites he hath therby, and geving him hartie thankes therfore, he doth eate and dryncke the body and blonde of our saviour Christe, profitably to his soules health, although he doe not receive the Sacrament with his mouthe.

When the sicke person is visited, and receiveth the holy Communion al at one time, then the Priest, for more expedicion, shal cut of the fourme of the visitacion at the Psaime, In the, O Lorde have I put my trust, and go streight to the Communion.

In the time of plague, Swette, or such other like contagious tymes of sickenesses or diseases, when none of the Paroshe or neighbours can be gotten to communicate with the sicke in their houses, for feare of the infection, upon speciall request of the diseased, the minister may alonly communicate with hym.


John v.


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