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It is an old English expression; and when the Church requires of the persons to be married, that they shall give their troth to each other, her meaning is, that they shall make a solemn assurance to each other that they design to be husband and wife, and to live together in a faithful discharge of those obligations which the law of God requires.
50. When the man has plighted his troth, what takes place? Then shall they loose their hands, and the woman with her right hand taking the man by his right hand shall likewise say after the minister,
I N. take thee M. to my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.
51. Is there any difference in the covenants made by the man and the woman?
They are for the most part the same, only suited to the sex of either party, and the woman promises obedience to her husband. "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands.” (1 Pet. iii. 1.)
52. Repeat the next Rubric.
Then shall they again loose their hands; and the Man shall give unto the Woman a Ring, laying the same upon the book with the accustomed duty to the Priest and Clerk. And the Priest, taking the Ring, shall deliver it unto the Man, to put it upon the fourth finger of the Woman's left hand. And the Man holding the Ring there, and taught by the Priest shall say,
53. Why is the ring used in this ceremony?
Besides the pledge of our truth, there is a visible pledge also; namely, the ring, which being anciently the seal by which all orders of importance were signed, the delivery of this to any person was a sign that the party to whom it was given was admitted to the high
54. Where do we find it used in this manner?
"And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck." (Gen. xli. 41, 42.)
55. Where in the New Testament is the ring used as a token of affection?
In the parable of the Prodigal Son. "But the Father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet." (Luke xv. 22.)
56. What is the object in giving the ring?
It is not only an ancient and universal custom, but a token and pledge of the covenant made by the parties contracting marriage. And as it is a permanent monument of the vows and promises then
made, so it ought to be a perpetual monitor that the vows be religiously observed, and the promises faithfully performed.
57. What does the laying the ring on the book intimate?
That it is our duty to offer up all we have to God, as the true proprietor, before we use them ourselves, and to receive them as from his hand to be employed to his glory.
58. What does the man say when he puts the ring on the woman's finger?
WITH this Ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow: in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
59. What does this declare?
1st. That the ring is a token of the covenant of the matrimony now being solemnized.
2ndly. It is a token of the respect and honour due to the woman. 3rdly. That in consequence of the union, of which the ring is the pledge, the woman shall have a due share and interest in all the husband's worldly estate.
60. What is the meaning of the word "worship" as here used? It means with my body I thee honour.
61. Why is the engagement made in the name of the Holy Trinity?
That the man who makes it should remember that every wilful violation of the covenant is an act of injustice done to the woman, and an offence committed against the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
62. What follows the giving and receiving of the ring?
Then the Man leaving the Ring upon the fourth finger of the Woman's left hand, they shall both kneel down; and the Minister shall say,
Let us pray.
O ETERNAL God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, Giver of all spiritual grace, the Author of everlasting life; Send thy blessing upon these thy servants, this man and this woman, whom we bless in thy Name; that, as Isaac and Rebecca lived faithfully together, so these persons may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made, (whereof this Ring given and received is a token and pledge,) and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according to thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
63. Why is it right to introduce this prayer?
The covenant being now finished, it is very requisite we should desire God's blessing upon it. For even the heathen looked upon their marriage covenant as inauspicious if it were not accompanied with a sacrifice. And, therefore, Christians can do no less than call on the Divine Majesty upon the like occasion.
64. What do we acknowledge God to be in this prayer? The Creator and Preserver of all mankind.
"Thou art worthy,
O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (Rev. iv. 11.)
65. Of what is God the giver? Of all spiritual grace. "For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." (Ps. lxxxiv. 11.)
66. Of what is God the author?
Of everlasting life. "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." (Heb. v. 9.)
67. What does the priest pray God to send upon his servants? * His blessing. "Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be established." (2 Sam. vii. 29.)
68. In whose name does he bless them?
"The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." (Numb. vi. 24, 25, 26.)
69. After whose example ought they to live?
After that of Isaac and Rebecca. "Isaac brought her unto his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her." (Gen. xxiv. 67.)
70. What ought they to keep?
The vow and covenant betwixt them made. "That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth." (Deut. xxiii. 23.)
71. In what does the priest pray they may ever remain?
In perfect love and peace together. "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you." (2 Cor. xiii. 11.)
72. Through whom does he ask all this?
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, that will I do." (John xiv. 13.)
73. The covenant between the parties having been made, and a blessing asked on it in the preceding prayer, what follows?
The Church's ratification thereof in the name of God. For the priest shall join their right hands together, and say,
Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder.
74. What shall the minister then speak unto the people?
FORASMUCH as M. and N. have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and thereto have given and pledged their troth either to other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving of a Ring, and by joining of hands; I pronounce that they be
Man and Wife together, In the Name of the Father, and of the
75. How then has the marriage contract been made?
1st. By a mutual consent. They have consented together in holy wedlock.
2ndly. By a solemn vow made before God and the company or congregation.
3rdly. By plighting their troth either to other.
4thly. By giving and receiving of a ring. 5thly. By joining of hands.
76. In what words does the priest set God's seal to this holy and religious compact, so as to make it perfect and complete?
He pronounces that they be man and wife together, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
77. Repeat the blessing with which the minister concludes this part of the service.
GOD the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, bless, preserve, and keep you; the Lord mercifully with his favour look upon you; and so fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace, that ye may so live together in this life, that in the world to come ye may have life everlasting. Amen.
78. What was the blessing pronounced at the first marriage in Paradise?
"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." (Gen. i. 28.)
79. What does the minister call upon the Holy Trinity to do? To bless, preserve, and keep those who are now joined together in holy matrimony. "The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion." (Ps. cxxxiv. 3.)
80. How does the minister beseech the Lord to look upon them? Mercifully, with his favour. "Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name." (Ps. cxix. 132.)
81. With what does he pray God to fill them?
With all spiritual benediction and grace. "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the fulness of God." (Eph. iii. 17, 18, 19.)
82. How does he pray they may live together in this life?
So that in the world to come they may have life everlasting. 'Being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." (Rom. vi. 22.)
83. Where ought that part of the service which we have hitherto been considering to be celebrated?
In the body of the Church, according to the Rubric.
84. To what part of the Church are the ministers and clerks now to go?
¶Then the Minister or Clerks, going to the Lord's Table, shall say or sing this Psalm following.
85. Are these two Psalms proper for this occasion?
Yes; the one hundred and twenty-eighth, because it sets forth the blessings, public and private, which attend piety in the state of marriage; and the sixty-seventh, because it is a prayer for the blessing promised in the former Psalm, and the arguments used to obtain it are taken from the glory which God will gain thereby.
86. Repeat the one hundred and twenty-eighth Psalm.
Beati omnes. Psalm 128.
BLESSED are all they that fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: O well is thee, and happy shalt thou be.
Thy wife shall be as the fruitful vine: upon the walls of thine house;
Thy children like the olive-branches : round about thy table.
Lo, thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord. The Lord from out of Sion shall so bless thee: that thou shalt see Jerusalem in prosperity all thy life long;
Yea, that thou shalt see thy children's children: and peace upon Israel.
87. Repeat the sixty-seventh Psalm.
Deus misereatur. Psalm 67.
GOD be merciful unto us, and bless us : and shew us the light of his countenance, and be merciful unto us.
That thy way may be known upon earth: thy saving health among all nations.
Let the people praise thee, O God: yea, let all the people praise thee.
O let the nations rejoice and be glad for thou shalt judge the folk righteously, and govern the nations upon earth.
Let the people praise thee, O God: yea, let all the people praise thee.
Then shall the earth bring forth her increase and God, even our own God, shall give us his blessing.
God shall bless us and all the ends of the world shall fear him.
Glory be to the Father, &c.
As it was in the beginning, &c.