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And there shall be none admitted to the holy communion, until such time as he be confirmed, or be ready and desirous to be confirmed.

Item nullus debet admitti ad sacramentum corporis et sanguinis Christi Jesu, extra mortis articulum, nisi fuerit confirmatus, vel a receptione sacramenti confirmationis fuerit rationabiliter impeditus*.

* Man. Sarisb. fol. 46. Man. Ebor. ad finem Baptismi.

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THERE can be no reasonable doubt that the office of matrimony has from the earliest period been performed by the ministers of the Christian church. Tertullian asks, “How shall I sufficiently declare “the happiness of that marriage which the church “makes, the oblation confirms, and the benediction “seals"?” We find frequent mention made of the benediction of marriage, and of the rites which attended it, by Ambrose, Augustine, Gregory Nazianzen, Chrysostom, and other Fathers, and early councils". It is unnecessary to enter into a detail of the particular times when it has been held most proper to administer this holy rite, and of the restrictions as to seasons and persons, which in various ages have been made, altered, or abrogated, in the Christian church'. We may therefore proceed, without further preface, to consider the office of matrimony according to the English ritual. The greater portion of this office has been used for a lengthened period in the English church, as will appear by the following extracts from the ancient manuals of Salisbury and York.

* “Unde suffician ad enar- ad Uxorem, lib. ii. c. 8, p. 171, randam tantam felicitatem ma- ed. Rigalt. trimonii, quod ecclesia conci- b See Bingham, Antiquities, liat, et confirmat oblatio, et book xxii. ch. iv. sect. 1. obsignat benedictio?” Tertull. ° Ibid. ch. ii. sect. 14.

TI At the day and time appointed for solemnization of matrimony, the persons to be married shall come into the body of the church with their friends and neighbours : and there standing together, the man on the right hand, and the woman on the left, the priest shall say, Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God, in the time of man's innocency, &c. . . . . . It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace. TI And also speaking unto the persons that shall be married, he shall say, I require and charge you both, as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgment, when

Statuantur vir et mulier ante ostium ecclesiae coram Deo et sacerdote et populo, vir a deactris mulieris, et mulier a sinistris viri . . . Tunc interrogat sacerdos banna dicens in lingua materna sub hac forma.

Ecce convenimus huc, fratres, coram Deo, angelis, et omnibus sanctis ejus, in facie ecclesiae, ad conjungendum duo corpora scilicet hujus viri et hujus mulieris, (hic respiciet sacerdos personas.) Ut amodo sint una caro, et dua animae, in fide et in lege Dei, ad promerendam simul vitam aeternam, quicquid ante hoc fecerint. Admoneo igitur vos omnes, ut si quis ex vobis aliquid dicere sciat, quare isti adolescentes legitime contrahere non possunt, modo confiteatur".

Idem in lingua materna ad virum et ad mulierem hoc modo,

Also I charge you both and eyther be yourselfe, as ye wyll answer before God at the day the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment, why ye may not be lawfully joined together in matrimony, ye do now confess it. For be ye well assured, that so many as are coupled together otherwise than God's word doth allow are not joined together of God; neither is their matrimony lawful. TI At which day of marriage, if any man do allege and declare any impediment, &c. . . or else put in a caution . . . then the solemnization must be deferred, until such time as the truth be tried. T If no impediment be alleged, then shall the Curate say unto the man, M. Wilt thou have this woman to thy wedded wife, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony ? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honour, and keep her, in sickness and in health; and forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live? * The man shall answer, I will. T Then shall the priest say wnto the woman, N. Wilt thou have this man

* Manuale Sarisb. de Sponsalibus, fol. 47.

of dome, that yf there be any thynge done pryvely or openly, betwene yourselfe: or that ye knowe any lawful lettyng why that ye may nat be wedded togyder at thys tyme. Say it nowe, or we do any more to this matter".

Si vero aliquis impedimentum aliquod proponere voluerit, et ad hoc probandum cautionem praestiterit, differantur sponsalia quousque rei veritas cognoscatur'.

Postea dicat sacerdos ad virum cunctis audientibus in lingua materna sic, M. Wis habere hanc mulierem in sponsam, et eam diligere, honorare, tenere, et custodire, sanam, et infirmam, sicut sponsus debet sponsam et omnes alias propter eam dimittere, et illi soli adhaerere quamdiu vita utriusque vestrum duraverit 7

Respondeat vir, Wolo.

Ordo in Sponsalibus.

Item dicat sacerdos ad mulie-
rem hoc modo,
N. Wis habere hunc virum

* Manuale Eboracens. fol. 47.

Man. Sarisb. f Ibid.

to thy wedded husband, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony ? Wilt thou obey him and serve him, love, honour, and keep him in sickness and in health ; and forsaking all other, keep thee only unto

in sponsum et ei obedire et servire, et eum diligere, honorare, accustodire sanum et infirmum, sicut sponsa debet sponsum, et omnes alios propter eum dimittere, et illi soli adhaerere quamdiu vita utriusque vestrum duraverit 7

him, so long as ye both shall live?

T The woman shall answer, I will.

Respondeat mulier, Wolo 8.

This first part of the office was anciently termed the espousals, which took place some time before the actual celebration of marriage. The espousals consisted in a mutual promise of marriage, which was made by the man and woman before the bishop or presbyter and several witnesses: after which, the articles of agreement of marriage, (called tabulae matrimoniales,) which are mentioned by Augustin, were signed by both persons. After this, the man delivered to the woman the ring and other gifts, an action which was termed subarrhation". In the latter ages the espousals have always been performed at the same time as the office of matrimony, both in the western and eastern churches; and it has long been customary for the ring to be delivered to the woman after the contract has been made, which has always been in the actual office of matrimony.

When marriage was to be celebrated, the man and woman accompanied by their relatives, or a

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