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kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation ; But deliver us from evil. Amen. 52. Repeat the prayer which succeeds the Lord's Prayer.
Priest. Almighty God, with whom do live the spirits of them that depart hence in the Lord, and with whom the souls of the faithful, after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh, are in joy and felicity; We give thee hearty thanks, for that it hath pleased thee to deliver this our brother out of the miseries of this sinful world ; beseeching thee, that it may please thee, of thy gracious goodness, shortly to accomplish the number of thine elect, and to hasten thy kingdom ; that we, with all those that are departed in the true faith of thy holy Name, may have our perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and soul, in thy eternal and everlasting glory ; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
53. With whom do the spirits of those who depart hence in the Lord live?
With Almighty God. “ The spirit shall return unto God that gave it.” (Eccles. xii. 7.)
54. In what state are the souls of the faithful after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh ?
They are in joy and felicity. “ Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me with glory.” (Ps. lxxiii. 24.)
55. The prayer says, “We give thee hearty thanks, for that it hath pleased thee to deliver our brother out of the miseries of this sinful world;" is it not unnatural thus to thank God on account of the death of our friends ?
It would be unnatural not to feel their loss, but we are also to consider what they have been delivered from, and what they have gained by the change; and not to thank God for this would be an act of unkindness to them, and of ingratitude to the Almighty.
56. What do we ask God to accomplish ?
The number of his elect, and to hasten his kingdom. Because, when his kingdom begins, ours begins also. Neither the saints departed, nor we, have our perfect consummation as yet; we are imperfect both in body and soul, and till the resurrection their felicity is not complete,“ that they without us should not be made perfect.” (Heb. xi. 40.)
57. Where will all those that depart in the true faith of God's holy name have their perfect consummation and bliss ?
In God's eternal and everlasting glory. “Then we which are alive, and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thess. iv. 17.)
58. Repeat the Collect which follows.
The Collect. O MERCIFUL God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the resurrection and the life ; in whom whosoever believeth shall live, though he die ; and whosoever liveth, and believeth in him, shall not die eternally ; who also hath taught us, by his holy Apostle Saint Paul, not to be sorry, as men without hope, for them that sleep in him ; We meekly beseech thee, O Father, to raise us from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness; that, when we shall depart this life, we may rest in him, as our hope is this our brother doth ; and that, at the general Resurrection in the last day, we may be found acceptable in thy sight; and receive that blessing, which thy weilbeloved Son shall then pronounce to all that love and fear thee, saying, Come, ye blessed children of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world : Grant this, we beseech thee, O merciful Father, through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer. Amen.
59. Shew that Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life.
“ Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die.” (John xi. 25, 26.)
60. What has St. Paul taught concerning those that sleep in Jesus?
“If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” (1 Thess. iv. 14.)
61. From what do we pray God to raise us ?
From the death of sin unto a life of righteousness. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. vi. 11.)
62. What is our hope respecting the departed ?
That he rests in Jesus. « Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. xi. 28.)
63. What is our prayer concerning ourselves ?
That when we depart this life we also may rest in Him. “ Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.” (Numb. xxiii. 10.)
64. Is not the Church sometimes found fault with because she declares there is hope that all persons buried in her communion rest in Christ?
Yes; but it should be remembered, that the hope here expressed for all denotes no more than a charitable wish or desire that it may be as we speak; and we are bound in charity to hope the best of those concerning whose final state we are not absolutely certain. Now there are but few with whom we are concerned that die in a state so utterly without hope, as that we may positively say that they are damned.
It remains, therefore, that we have some, though
faint, hopes of their salvation, and this seems sufficient to warrant this declaration.
65. Are there not some texts of Scripture which caution us against harshly judging others ?
There are. “ Who art thou that judgest another man's servant ? to his own master he standeth or falleth.” (Rom. xiv. 4.) “ Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Matt. vii. 1.) “First cast out the beam out of thine own eye ; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.” (Matt. vii. 5.) And our Lord severely checked the Jews for their presumptuous censure of some who they supposed to have died in their sins.
“ Think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke xiii. 4, 5.)
66. When do we hope to be found acceptable in the sight of God ?
At the general resurrection, “when all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John v. 28, 29.).
67. What blessing may those that love and fear God hope to receive at that day?
That blessing which the well-beloved Son will then pronounce: Come, ye blessed children of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.” (Matt. xxv. 34.)
68. Through whom do we beseech God to grant this ?
Through Jesus Christ our Mediator and Redeemer. sin hath reigned. unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. v. 21.)
69. How is this beautiful and affecting service concluded ?
With this benediction : The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen. 2 Cor. xiii. 14.
70. When the service is concluded, what should be the conduct of the mourners ?
Let them not stand at the grave weeping. Let them go home, silently, and study how, by holiness, they may come to that felicity to which the dead in Christ are gone before.
The Lord pardon and amend us all ! And then we shall courageously meet death ourselves, and patiently bear it in others, till they and we be awakened by the voice of Jesus summoning us to his everlasting kingdom.
“ That as
THE THANKSGIVING OF WOMEN AFTER CHILD-BIRTH, COMMONLY CALLED THE CHURCHING OF WOMEN.
1. WHENCE is this custom of giving thanks after child-birth derived ?
As many other Christian usages received their rise from other parts of the Jewish economy, so this may have arisen from the ceremony of purification, enjoined so particularly in Leviticus xii.
2. Whose example may the Church have had particularly in view when she appointed this form of thanksgiving ?
That of the Virgin Mary, who humbly submitted to the rite of purification, and offered her praise, together with her Son, in the temple.
3. Though the Jewish ceremony is now done away, ought the thanksgiving to be done away also ?
By no means; but there should still be an acknowledgment of God's goodness in delivering the mother from the great danger of child-birth, and increasing the number of mankind. She is still to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving, though the material sacrifices of the law are done away.
4. Do not the Scriptures describe excessive sorrow under the comparison of a woman in travail ?
Yes; and if the sorrow be so great, how proper is it that the recovery from such grief should be the cause of thanksgiving after child-birth?
5. Why was this sorrow entailed upon woman?
On account of Eve's transgression. “ Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” (Gen. iii. 16.)
6. Repeat the Rubric. The Woman, at the usual time after her Delivery, shall come into the Church decently apparelled, and there shall kneel down in some convenient place, as hath been accustomed, or as the Ordinary shall direct : And then the Priest shall say unto her,
7. What is the usual time” here mentioned ?
About a month; and if the woman be not able to come so soon, she is allowed to stay till her recovery is complete: for she is not expected to return thanks for a blessing before it is received.
8. Why is she to come into the church?
1st. For the honour of God, whose marvellous works in the birth of the child, and the preservation of the woman, ought publicly to be owned, so that others may learn to put their trust in Him.
2ndly. That the whole congregation may have a fit opportunity for praising God for the too much forgotten mercy of their own birth.
3rdly. That the woman may, in the proper place, own the mercy now vouchsafed to her of being restored to the happy privilege of worshipping God in the congregation of his saints.
9. Why is the apparel of the woman mentioned ?
Because the custom formerly was, that she should wear a white covering or veil. And this custom continued as late as the reign of James the First; but it having been so long a time discontinued, the decency of the woman's apparel seems to be left entirely to her own discretion,
10. Repeat the address which the priest makes to the woman. FORASMUCH as it hath pleased Almighty God of his goodness to give you safe deliverance, and hath preserved you in the great danger of Child-birth; you shall therefore give hearty thanks unto God, and say,
11. Repeat the curse entailed upon woman through the sin of Eve.
“ In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children.” (Gen. iii. 16.) 12. How is she delivered from this?
By the goodness of Almighty God. “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. Gracious is the Lord and righteous: yea, our God is merciful. The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.” (Ps. cxvi. 3–6.)
13. What ought the woman to do in consequence of this deliverance ?
She is to give hearty thanks unto God in the words of the hundred and sixteenth Psalm.
14. Repeat the hundred and sixteenth Psalm.
Psalm 116. Dilexi, quoniam. I am well pleased : that the Lord hath heard the voice of my prayer ;
That he hath inclined his ear unto me : therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.
The snares of death compassed me round about : and the pains of hell gat hold upon me.
I found trouble and heaviness, and I called upon the Name of the Lord : O Lord, I beseeh thee, deliver my soul.
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous : yea, our God is merciful.