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[Hereupon they shall join hands together, and the Minister speak first to the bridegroom.]
N. Do you acknowledge here before God, and this his holy church, that you have taken, and do take to your lawful wife N. here present, promising her never to forsake her; to love her faithfully, to maintain her as a faithful and pious husband is bound to do to his lawful wife; that you will live holily with her; keeping faith and truth to her in all things according to the holy gospel ?-Answer. Yes.
[Afterwards to the bride.]
N. Do you acknowledge here before God, and this his holy church, that you have taken, and do take to your lawful husband N. here present, promising to be obedient to him, to serve and assist him, never to forsake him, to live holily with him, keeping faith and truth to him in all things, as a pious and faithful wife is bound to do to her lawful husband according to the holy gospel?-Answer. Yes.
[Then the Minister shall say,]
The Father of all mercies, who of his grace hath called you to this holy state of marriage, bind you in true love and faithfulness, and grant you his blessing. Amen.
Hear now from the gospel, how firm the bond of marriage is, as described, Matthew, chapter xix. verses, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
"The Pharisees came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? and he answered and said unto them, have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning, made them male and female? and said, for this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh; wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man
put asunder. They say unto him, why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away, doth commit adultery."
Believe these words of Christ, and be certain and assured, that our Lord God hath joined you together in this holy state. You are therefore to receive, whatever befals you therein with patience and thanksgiving, as from the hand of God, and thus all things will turn to your advantage and salvation. Amen.
[Then the Minister shall bid the married persons to kneel down, and exhort the con regation to pray for them.]
LMIGHTY God, thou who displayest thy goodness and wisdom in all thy works and ordinances, and hast said from the beginning, that it is not good that man should be alone, and therefore hast made an help meet for him, and ordained, that those who were two should be one, and likewise punishest all uncleanness. We beseech thee (since thou hast called these two persons to the holy state of marriage, and joined them together) replenish them with thy holy Spirit, that they may piously live together according to thy divine will in true and firm faith, and resist all wickedness. Vouchsafe to bless them, as thou didst send thy blessing upon the faithful fathers, thy friends and servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; that they may as co-heirs of the covenant (which thou didst make with those fathers) educate the children which thou shalt be pleased to give them, in all godliness, to the glory of thy holy name, to the edification of thy church, and to the propagation of thy holy gospel. Hear us, O Father of mercies! for Jesus Christ's sake, thy beloved Son our Lord, in whose name we conclude our prayers, saying, Our Father, &c.
[Hearken now to the promise of God from Psalm cxxviii.]
Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord, that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands; happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house; thy children like olive plants, round about thy table.
Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.
The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion; and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.
The Lord our God replenish you with his grace, and grant that ye may long live together in all godliness and holiness. Amen.
THE CONSOLATION OF THE SICK,
Which is an instruction in faith and the way of salvation, to prepare believers to die willingly.
INCE Adam was created just and good, that is to say, holy and righteous, and dominion given him over all the creatures which God had created; and whereas he did not long remain in this state, but has through the subtilty of the devil, and his own rebellion, fallen from this excellent glory, whereby he hath brought upon us the misery of temporal and eternal death: this is the original sin of which David speaks in Psalm 51, saying, "I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." In like manner Paul saith to the Romans," that by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Rom. v. 12. For, as soon as Adam was thus fallen, he immediately came under a certain curse, as we read in Genesis, where God saith, "cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life: in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”. Gen. iii. 17, 19.
Whence we certainly know, that all things which receive life, must once die: this David clearly testifies, saying, "what man is he that liveth, and shall not see death?" Psa. lxxxix. 48. Solomon saith, "the living know that they shall die." Eccl. ix. 5. And Paul
saith, "For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come." Heb. xiii. 14. And "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the Judgment." Heb. ix. 27. For as the scripture saith: "we must needs all die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again." 2 Sam. xiv. 14. "For our days, (saith Job) are like the days of an hireling, and swifter than a post." And we pass away like a stream, yea, like a leaf which the wind driveth away, and a withered stalk, and a garment moth-eaten, And Solomon saith, "for the dust must return to the earth, as it was, and the spirit unto God who gave it." Eccl. xii. 7. Likewise James saith, "that man's life is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." Jam. iv. 14. Yea, our time passeth away as a cloud and is consumed like a mist, and vanisheth as a shadow. And Peter also saith (quoting from Isaiah) "that all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man, as the flower of grass; the grass withereth; and the flower thereof falleth away." 1 Peter i. 24. Again Jesus Sirach saith, "this is the old covenant, you must die; the one to-day, and the other to-morrow, like as green leaves upon a tree, some fall off, and others grow again: thus it goeth with mankind; some die and some are born." As Solomon saith, "to every thing there is a season, a time to be born, and a time to die." Eccl. iii. 1, 2. And this time is in the hands of the Lord, as Job saith, “the number of his months are with thee; thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass." Job xiv. 5. Which Paul also saith," that God hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation." Acts xvii. 26. And David saith, "that our days are as an hand-breadth, and cur age is as nothing before him." Psa. xxxix. 5. How vain are all men who live so unconcerned! For "our days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and swifter than a post.”
Job vii. 6. and ix. 25. Moreover we are here only pilgrims and strangers for a short time. "For the days of our years are threescore years and ten, and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength, labour, and sorrow: for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." Psa. xc. 10. And when we live long, we live an hundred years: whereas then we must all die, according to holy scripture. For as drops of water are to the sea, so are our years to eternity. And Peter saith, "that one day is with the Lord as a thousand `years, and a thousand years as one day :" 2 Pet. iii. 8.
Who would not earnestly wish for death, when we behold in what state and ruin we are plunged through Adam, namely, in all unrighteousness, misery, and trouble; inasmuch that we are wicked, and inclined to wickedness, from our very infancy. For, as Paul saith, " we are by nature the children of wrath, and reprobate unto every good work, having nothing of ourselves but sin," Eph. ii. 3. and Tit. i. 16. As David also saith, Psa. xiv. 1. "There is none that doth good; they are all gone aside; they are altogether become filthy." Rom. vii. 19. "For the good that we would, we do not," by reason of sin that dwelleth in us. Of this inherent sin, David witnesseth, Psa. li. that we are conceived and born in sin, and proceed in the same for the inclination of men's hearts is to evil from their youth.
Since we thus lie under the wrath of God, and in the shadow of death, yea, in hell and damnation, therefore Christ, the light of the world, appeared unto us, and the sun of righteousness is risen. Rom. iv. 25, "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification," and hath also quickened us, when we were dead in sin, and hath forgiven our sins, "and blotted out the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us, and took it out of the way, and