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ON THE MORNING PRAYER DAILY
"THIS present world affordeth not any thing comparable unto the
¶ At the beginning of the Morning Prayer the Minister shall read with a loud voice some one or more of these Sentences of the Scriptures that follow. And then he shall say that which is written after the said Sentences.
1. What may that part of the service alluded to in the Rubric be called?
The Preface, which consists of sentences selected from the Holy Scriptures, and an exhortation grounded upon them.
2. Why does the service commence in this manner?
Since nothing can so effectually awaken us to a pious frame of mind as the words of God speaking to us, our service begins, as did that of the primitive Church, with a preface, to dispose the minds of the congregation to a reverent performance of that duty upon which they are now entering. "Before thou prayest prepare thyself." (Ecclus. xvii. 23.)
3. To what do the sentences particularly relate?
To repentance, and confession of sins, which naturally stand first in the devotion of guilty creatures like ourselves.
4. Repeat the sentences.
WHEN the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Ezek. xviii. 27.
I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before Psalm li. 3.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Psalm li. 9.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm li. 17.
Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Joel
To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him: neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws which he set before us. Dan. ix. 9, 10.
O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; lest thou bring me to nothing. Jer. x. 24. Psalm vi. 1.
not in thine anger,
Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. St. Matt. iii. 2.
I will arise, and go to my Father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. St. Luke xv. 18, 19.
Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. Psalm cxlii. 2.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us; but, if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 St. John i. 8, 9.
5. What term is given to the address which the minister now makes to the congregation?
It is called the Exhortation, and demands our most serious attention from the excellent instruction it contains; and we ought silently and attentively to hearken to this seasonable introduction to the Service of the Church.
6. Repeat the Exhortation.
DEARLY beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us in sundry places to acknowledge and confess our manifold sins and wickedness; and that we should not dissemble nor cloke them before the face of Almighty God our heavenly Father; but confess them with an humble, lowly, penitent, and obedient heart; to the end that we may obtain forgiveness of the same, by his infinite goodness and mercy. And although we ought at all times humbly to acknowledge our sins before God; yet ought we most chiefly so to do, when we assemble and meet together to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at his hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy Word, and to ask those things which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul. Wherefore I pray and beseech you, as many as are here present, to accompany me with a pure heart and humble voice, unto the throne of the heavenly grace, saying after me.
7. What do the first words of the Exhortation ("Dearly beloved brethren") express?
The good will and tender regard which the ministers of God's word should have for their people, who should in return receive their minister's admonitions thankfully, since they speak to them the truth in love. (Eph. iv. 15.)
8. What does the Scripture move us to do?
To acknowledge and confess our manifold sins and wickedness. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us: but, if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John i. 8, 9.)
9. Before whom are we not to dissemble, nor cloke our sins?
Before the face of our heavenly Father. his sins shall not prosper." (Ps. xxviii. 13.) 10. How ought we to confess our sins?
With an humble, lowly, penitent, and obedient heart. sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." (Ps. li. 17.)
11. To what end are we to confess our sins?
"For he that covereth
To the end that we may obtain forgiveness of the same by his infinite goodness and mercy. "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon him." (Isa. iv. 7.)
12. When ought we to acknowledge our sins before God? At all times. "My sin is ever before me." (Ps. li. 3.) 13. When ought we most chiefly so to do? When we assemble and meet together. "For God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are round about him." (Ps. lxxxix. 7.)
14. For what do we assemble and meet together?
1st. To render thanks for the great benefits which we have received at his hands. "Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works." (1 Chron. xvi. 8, 9.)
2ndly. To set forth his most holy praise. "Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him for his mighty acts; praise him according to his excellent greatness." (Ps. cl. 1, 2.) 3dly. To hear his most holy Word. "The next sabbath came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God." (Acts xiii. 44.)
4thly. To ask those things which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul. "My God shall supply all your need according to his riches and glory by Christ Jesus." (Phil. iv. 19.)
15. How does the minister beseech those who are present to accompany him?
With a pure heart and humble voice. "Let us have grace whereby we may serve God with reverence and godly fear." (Heb. xii. 28.)
16. Where does he beseech them to accompany him unto?
The throne of heavenly grace. "Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. iv. 16.)
17. What does the Rubric order next?
A general Confession to be said of the whole Congregation after the
18. Who is to say the confession?
Every individual in the church; the whole congregation. 19. In what posture?
All kneeling, for which we have the example of our Saviour, and of good men in all ages, who have always performed their public
devotions with humble and lowly gestures, and more commonly in the posture of kneeling, which should never be omitted, wilfully or negligently, in favour of ease and indolence. "Jesus kneeled down and prayed." (Luke xxii. 41.)
20. Is confession of sins a scriptural custom?
"And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood, and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers." (Neh. ix. 1.) "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them, shall have mercy." (Prov. xxxviii. 13.) "Were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins." (Matt. iii. 6.)
22. Why is this confession very properly placed at the commencement of our form of Prayer?
Because it is right that we should acknowledge our transgressions, before we ask forgiveness of our sins, or pray for the blessing of God's grace.
23. Repeat the Confession.
ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou them, O God, which confess their faults. Restore thou them that are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.
24. What do we here confess God to be?
1st. That he is Almighty. "I am the Almighty God, walk before me." (Gen. xvii. 1.)
2ndly. That He is most merciful. "Thou Lord art good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee." (Ps. lxxxvi. 5.)
25. From what do we confess we have erred and strayed?
From God's ways. "We all like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every man to his own way." (Isa. liii. 6.)
26. What have we followed too much?
The devices and desires of our own hearts. 66 They said we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart." (Jer. xviii. 12.)
27. Against what have we offended?
Against God's holy laws. "We have offended against the Lord, our trespass is great." (2 Chron. xxviii. 13.)
28. What have we left undone ?
Those things which we ought to have done. "Ye have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith. These ought ye to have done." (Matt. xxiii. 23.)
29. What have we done?
Those things which we ought not to have done. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Rom. iii. 2.)
30. What is the meaning of the phrase "there is no health in us ?"
The unsoundness and corruption of the soul through sin is described by a term which expresses the loss of bodily health through sickness. "I said, Lord, be merciful unto me, heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee." (Ps. xli. 4.)
31. What do we confess ourselves to be?
Miserable offenders. "For thy name's sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity for it is great." (Ps. xxv. 11.)
32. Whom do we beseech God to spare?
Those who confess their faults. "Whoso confesseth and forsaketh his sins shall have mercy." (Prov. xxviii. 13.)
33. Whom do we beseech Him to restore ?
Them that are penitent. "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit." (Ps. li. 12.)
34. Name some of the promises of pardon declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord.
"I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.' (Heb. viii. 12.) "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. xi. 28.)
35. How do we pray we may hereafter live?
A godly, righteous, and sober life. "Denying all ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." (Tit. ii. 11, 12.)
36. To whose glory should we thus live?
To the glory of God's holy name. (1 Cor. x. 31.)
37. What does the Rubric order to be next said?
"Do all to the glory of God."
The Absolution or Remission of sins, to be pronounced by the Priest alone, standing; the people still kneeling.
38. Why does the Absolution immediately follow the Confession of sins?
Because the penitent being more humbled for his sins, may justly be supposed to stand in need of pardon and reconciliation.
39. Why is the priest directed to stand, and the people to kneel while the Absolution is pronounced?
The difference of their postures declares the difference of their duties. The priest stands as performing an act of authority in the capacity of God's ambassador, and the people kneel in token of the reverence with which they receive the joyful news of God's pardon.
40. By what authority does the priest pronounce the Absolution?