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As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever
World without end. Amen.
THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy
Ghost, be with you all evermore.
AT FIVE O'CLOCK, P.M.
On the entry of the officiating Ministers.
COME let us worship and bow down, let
us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.
N the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
[The following are given as heads or topics.]
E have all sinned against God by actual transgression of His laws, and doing things contrary to His known will.
We have just cause to fear lest He take venge
ance on our sins.
All baptised men have taken vows at their baptism, which they have broken.
God made His Church one; but throughout, nothing is now visible but division. The brethren are seen, not living together in unity and speaking the same thing, but biting and devouring one another. In this state of division His presence cannot be manifested.
The ordinances, which He did ordain for bringing the Catholic Church unto perfection, are set at nought.
Those who bear the name of Christ are not longing for Him to come again into the world, to set up His kingdom, and righteousness, and peace.
All the institutions ordained by God for the blessing of men have been perverted, and so have failed to produce the end for which He gave them. Power has been abused; the poor and the weak have been oppressed, and not protected: rule and authority are in their turn despised; and although men are forbidden to avenge themselves, yet they are every where rising against the offices of kings and priests, and all things established by God for the guidance of mankind.
There are no means of recovery, but in returning to His ways; wherefore let us confess our miserable condition to Almighty God, and beseech His mercy for He is merciful and gracious, and ready to forgive for Christ's sake the sins of all the penitent.
[The following is given as a form.]
BELOVED in the Lord, whosoever abideth in
Jesus Christ, bringeth forth much fruit: and had we given all diligence to please God, our fruit should have remained. But we have not abounded in every good work; and the night cometh, when no man can work. We have sinned against the known will of God, and have just cause to fear lest His judgments overtake us as the defilers of His Temple.
Instead of believing and speaking the same thing, and being seen as one body, a habitation of God through the Spirit, we are distracted by diverse winds of doctrine, and are divided into many sects, which bite and devour each other, and are not capable of receiving the full blessing of God, or attaining to the perfect stature of Christ. The Church has not longed as a chaste spouse for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ; we have grieved and well-nigh quenched the Holy Ghost,
the earnest of our inheritance, and have preferred the institutions of man to those of God. The fellowship and common hope of the saints that sleep, have passed from our remembrance: Israel after the flesh has not been stirred to jealousy: and they who should have been the salt of the earth are themselves become corrupt: darkness and perplexity prevail: power is abused: authority is despised: fountains of blessing are dried up through unbelief. Men will no longer bear the yoke of Christ: and, where the way of the Lord should be prepared, there are the manifold tokens of apostasy seen, and the voices of blasphemy heard.
The sins of many generations lie sore upon us, and have provoked God to consume us in His anger; yet are we still the house of Christ. Although our sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow. God will keep us from the power of darkness, and visit us with the Day-spring from on high. Only let us acknowledge our great iniquity, that we may be loosed from the chain of our transgressions by the word of absolution ministered unto us from Jesus Christ our Lord, and that our prayers may obtain, through His intercession, an answer of peace.