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Parent of mankind, to be a source of the purest satisfactions, to soften the unavoidable cares, and increase the innocent pleasures of life, by affording opportunities of sharing them with a most intimate friend and partner. By Christians in particular it is to be looked upon as a state of perfect indissoluble friendship, in which ye are to carry your regards for each other beyond the grave, that ye may so live in virtue and holiness here, that ye may live hereafter in that state, where there will be no marrying nor giving in marriage, but ye shall be as the angels in heaven. Study then to correct what is amiss in your respective tempers and dispositions, which may disturb your mutual love and peace. And be severe censors of yourselves, but exact not too much one from another, and bear with each other's infirmities, for there is nothing perfect here below. None are faultless, but all are to endeavour to become such. Cultivate in your selves, and in each other, the knowledge and practice of virtue and true re
ligion, as the only foundation of present comfort and future hopes. Study the scriptures and the precepts and example of Christ, who alone hath the words of eternal life. And be not extravagant in your expectations from the world; for although it abound with many innocent joys and pleasures, yet it is not, nor is intended to be, a place of unmixed prosperity and enjoyment, but a transitory scene of trial and improvement for a better and more enduring
The other great end of marriage is for the well ordering of families and right education of children. This is a matter of the highest moment. For families are the nurseries and schools, in which the successive generations of men are to be instructed and fitted for their different stations and employments in life, to bear their part and burden in it, to be helpful to others, good citizens, useful magistrates, faithful husbands, virtuous wives, patterns of all that is excellent and worthy in every relation. Of a number of families united, na
tions are composed; and of all of them together, the whole community of mankind. And as these little seminaries are well tutored and governed, or neglected, kingdoms, nations, and the world, are happy or miserable.
Take heed therefore to set an example of piety and virtue yourselves; and then ye may with authority require those who belong to you, to follow it. Let the God of heaven be publicly acknowledged and worshipped each day in your families. At least let not his name and worship be forgotten in it on the Lord's day. Keep a strict watch over all who depend upon you;
and suffer no vice to go unreproved, or to remain in your house persisted in and unamended. For this would be to encourage it, and put a snare before others. By this domestic care, and godly discipline, ye will ensure your own peace, and be a blessing to your family, your neighbours, and country; but, which is above all to be valued and sought for, ye will be approved by Almighty God, and rank with prophets and apostles in that future world, where we are told, that they who are wise, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they who turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
END OF THE MARRIAGE SERVICE.
THE VISITATION OF THE SICK.
To be used when the Sick Person desires it.
DEARLY beloved, know this, that Almighty God is the Lord of life and death, and of all things to them pertaining, as youth, strength, health, age, weakness, and sickness. Wherefore, whatsoever your sickness is, know you certainly, that it is God's visitation. And for what cause soever this sickness is sent unto you; whether it be to try your patience for the example of others, and that your faith may be found in the day of the Lord, laudable, glorious,
and honourable, to the increase of glory and endless felicity; or whether it be sent unto you to correct and amend in you whatsoever doth offend the eyes of your heavenly Father; know you certainly, that if you truly repent of your sins, and bear your sickness patiently, trusting in God's mercy, manifested by his dear Son Jesus Christ, and render unto him humble thanks for his fatherly visitation, submitting yourself wholly unto his will, it shall turn to your profit, and help you forward in the right way that leadeth unto everlasting life.
If he think fit, the Minister may proceed in his Exhortation.
TAKE therefore in good
part the chastisement of the Lord; for as St Paul saith, Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh, who corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. These words, good brother, are written in holy scripture for our comfort and instruction; that we should patiently, and with thanksgiving bear our heavenly Father's correction, whensoever by any manner of adversity it shall please his gracious goodness to visit us. And there should be no greater comfort to christian persons than to be made like unto Christ, by suffering patiently adversities, troubles, and sicknesses. For he himself went not up to joy, but
first he suffered pain; he entered not into his glory before he was crucified. So truly our way to eternal joy is to suffer here with Christ ; and our door to enter into eternal life is gladly to die with Christ; that we may rise again from death, and dwell with him. in everlasting life.
HEAR further what the scripture saith for the comfort of those who are in sickness and distress.
Then shall be repeated the following Passages of Scripture, or a portion of them.
BEHOLD, happy is the man whom God correcteth; therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty; for he maketh sore, and bindeth up; he woundeth, and his hands make whole. Job, v. 17, 18.
I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore under the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee; for thy right hand hath
God restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the path of righteousness, for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psal. xxiii. 3, 4.
The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto those who wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. Lam. iii. 24, 25, 26.
For the Lord will not cast off for ever; but though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his
mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. Lam. iii. 31, 32, 33.
I am like a broken vessel. But I trusted in thee, O Lord; I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand; make thy face to shine upon thy servant; for thy mercy's sake. Psal. xxxi. 12, 14, 15, 16.
I said in my heart, I am cut off from before thine eyes; nevertheless, thou heardest the voice of my supplication when I cried unto thee. Psal. xxxi. 22.
Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye who hope in the Lord. Psal. xxxi. 24.
Then shall be said such of the following Prayers as may be thought most fit for the occasion.
O LORD, look down from heaven, behold, visit, and relieve this thy servant. Look upon him with the eyes of thy mercy; give him comfort, and sure confidence in thee; support him under all the trials of his present sickness, relieve his pains, if it seem good unto thee, and keep him in perpetual peace and safety; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.