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RANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
GOD, who sparest when we deserve punishment, and in thy wrath rememberest mercy; We humbly beseech thee, of thy goodness to comfort and succour all those who are under reproach and misery in the house of bondage; correct them not in thine anger, neither chasten them in thy sore displeasure. Give them a right understanding of themselves, and of thy threats and promises; that they may neither cast away their confidence in thee, nor place it any where but in thee. Relieve the distressed, protect the innocent, and awaken the guilty and forasmuch as thou alone bringest light out of darkness, and good out of evil, grant that the pains and punishments which these thy servants endure, through their bodily confinement, may tend to setting free their souls from the chains of sin; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
¶ Here the Minister, as he shall see convenient, may read the Prayer for All Conditions of Men, the Collect for Ash-Wednesday, and the Collect beginning Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, &c., or any other prayer of the Liturgy, which he shall judge proper.
¶ Then shall the Minister exhort the Prisoner or Prisoners after this form, or other like.
DEARLY beloved, know this, that Almighty God, whose
never-failing providence governeth all things both in heaven and earth, hath so wisely and mercifully ordered the course of this world, that his judgments are often sent as fatherly corrections to us; and if with due submission and resignation to his holy will we receive the same, they will work together for our good.
It is your part and duty, therefore, to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, to acknowledge the righteousness of his judgments, and to endeavour that, by his grace, this present visitation may lead you to a sincere and hearty repentance.
The way and means thereto is, to examine your life and conversation by the rule of God's commandments; and whereinsoever you shall perceive yourself to have offended either by
will, word, or deed, there to bewail your own sinfulness, and to confess yourself to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life. And if And if you shall perceive your offences to be such as are not only against God, but also against your neighbours; then to reconcile yourself to them, being ready to make restitution and satisfaction, according to the uttermost of your power, for all injuries and wrongs done by you to any other and being likewise ready to forgive others who have offended you, as you would have forgiveness of your offences at God's hand. And to this true repentance and change of mind you must add a lively and steadfast faith, and dependence upon the merits of the death of Christ, with an entire resignation of yourself to the will of God. Except you repent, and believe, we can give you no hope of salvation. But if you do sincerely repent and believe, God hath declared, though your sins be as red as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow; though your wickednesses have gone over your head, yet shall they not be your destruction.
We exhort you therefore in the Name of God, and of his dear Son Jesus Christ our Saviour, and as you tender your own salvation, to take good heed of these things in time, while the day of salvation lasteth; for the night cometh, when no mant can work. While you have the light, believe in the light, and walk as children of the light, that you be not cast into outer darkness; that you may not knock, when the door shall be shut; and cry for mercy, when it is the time of justice. Now, you are the object of God's mercy, if by repentance and true faith you turn unto him; but if you neglect these things, you will be the object of his justice and vengeance. Now, you may claim the merits of Christ; but if you die in your sins, his sufferings will tend to your greater condemnation. O beloved, consider in this your day, how fearful a thing it will be to fall into the hands of the living God, when you can neither fly to his mercy to protect you, nor to the merits of Christ to cover you in that terrible day.
¶ Here the Minister shall examine him concerning his faith, and rehearse the Articles of the Creed, Dost thou believe in God, Sr. And the Prisoner shall answer,
All this I steadfastly believe.
Then shall the Minister examine whether he repent him truly of his sins, and be in charity with all the world, and further admonish him particularly concerning the crimes wherewith he is charged; and exhort him, if he have any scruples, that he would declare the same, and prepare himself for the Holy Communion, against the time that it may be proper to administer it to him.
¶ Then, all kneeling, the Minister shall say as follows, from the 51st Psalm. AVE mercy upon me, O God, after thy great goodness; according to the multitude of thy mercies do away mine
Wash me throughly from my wickedness, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my faults, and my sin is ever before me. Against thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; that thou mightest be justified in thy saying, and clear when thou art judged.
Behold, I was shapen in wickedness, and in sin hath my mother conceived me.
But lo, thou requirest truth in the inward parts, and shalt make me to understand wisdom secretly.
Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Turn thy face from my sins, and put out all my misdeeds.
Make me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
O give me the comfort of thy help again, and stablish me with thy free Spirit.
Then shall I teach thy ways unto the wicked, and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou that art the God of my health; and my tongue shall sing of thy right
Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall show thy praise.
For thou desirest no sacrifice, else would I give it thee; but thou delightest not in burnt-offerings.
The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt thou not despise.
¶ Then the Minister shall say,
LORD, we beseech thee, mercifully hear our prayers, and spare all those who confess their sins unto thee; that they, whose consciences by sin are accused, by thy merciful pardon may be absolved; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
GOD, whose mercy is everlasting, and power infinite; Look down with pity and compassion upon the sufferings of this thy servant; and whether thou visitest for trial of his patience, or punishment of his offences, enable him by thy grace cheerfully to submit himself to thy holy will and pleasure. Go not far from those, O Lord, whom thou hast laid in a place of darkness, and in the deep; and forasmuch as thou hast not cut him off suddenly, but chastenest him as a father, grant that he, duly considering thy great mercies, may be unfeignedly thankful, and turn unto thee with true repentance and sincerity of heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayers for Persons under Sentence of Death.
¶ When a Criminal is under Sentence of Death, the Minister shall proceed, immediately after the Collect, O God, who sparest, &c., to exhort him after this form, or other like.
EARLY beloved, it hath pleased Almighty God, in his justice, to bring you under the sentence and condemnation of the law. You are shortly to suffer death in such a manner, that others, warned by your example, may be the more afraid to offend; and we pray God, that you may make such use of your punishments in this world, that your soul may be saved in the world to come.
Wherefore we come to you in the bowels of compassion; and, being desirous that you should avoid presumption on the one hand, and despair on the other, shall plainly lay before you the wretchedness of your condition, and declare how far you ought to depend on the mercies of God, and the merits of our Saviour. Consider then seriously with yourself, in all appearance the time of your dissolution draweth near; your sins
have laid fast hold upon you; you are soon to be removed from among men by a violent death; and you shall fade away suddenly like the grass, which in the morning is green and groweth up, but in the evening is cut down, dried up, and withered. After you have thus finished the course of a sinful and miserable life, you shall appear before the Judge of all flesh; who, as he pronounces blessings on the righteous, shall likewise say, with a terrible voice of most just judgment, to the wicked, Go, ye accursed, into the fire everlasting, prepared for the devil and his angels.
Your sins have brought you too near this dreadful sentence: it is therefore your part and duty, my brother, humbly to confess and bewail your great and manifold offences, and to repent you truly of your sins, as you tender the eternal salvation of your soul.
Be not deceived with a vain and presumptuous expectation of God's favour, nor say within yourself, Peace, peace, where there is no peace; for there is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. God is not mocked; he is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; and without holiness no man shall see the Lord. On the other hand, despair not of God's mercy, though trouble is on every side; for God shutteth not up his mercies. for ever in displeasure: but if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Do not either way abuse the goodness of God, who calleth us mercifully to amendment, and of his endless pity promiseth us forgiveness of that which is past, if with a perfect and a true heart we return unto him.
Since therefore you are soon to pass into an endless and unchangeable state, and your future happiness or misery depends upon the few moments which are left you, I require you strictly to examine yourself, and your estate both towards God and towards man; and let no worldly consideration hinder you from making a true and full confession of your sins, and giving all the satisfaction which is in your power to every one whom you have wronged or injured; that you may find mercy at your heavenly Father's hand, for Christ's sake, and not be condemned in the dreadful day of judgment.