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com/college/english/nael/17century/topic_1/matrimon.htm The Liturgy of Solemnizing Marriage from The Book of Common Prayer (1559), the established form of worship in the English Church, shows us the directives most English men and women heard at their own wedding and every wedding they attended, as to their respective roles and duties in marriage and the family. This liturgy emphasized for them the purposes of marriage (with procreation primary), the indissolubility of marriage, and the biblical texts undergirding that definition of marriage and establishing patriarchy. It also held up the ideal of mutual love and help, which is represented in the emblem from George Wither's A Collection of Emblems (1635). The Latin motto reads in English, "Hand Washes Hand." Black text here indicates the basic narrative description of the liturgy; red text is that spoken by the priest. First the banns must be asked [Norton note: asking of the banns= public proclamation of the intended marriage] three several Sundays or holy days, in the time of service, the people being present after the accustomed manner. And if the persons that would be married dwell in divers parishes, the banns must be asked in both parishes, and the curate of the one parish shall not solemnize matrimony betwixt them without a certificate of the banns being thrice asked from the curate of the other parish. At the day appointed for Solemnization of Matrimony, the persons to be married shall come into the body of the church, with their friends and neighbors. And there the priest shall thus say. (Red) Dearly beloved friends, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of his congregation, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is an honorable estate, instituted of God in paradise in the time of man's innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union, that is betwixt Christ and his Church: which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence and first miracle that he wrought in Cana of Galilee, and is commended of Saint Paul to be honorable among all men, and therefore is not to be enterprised nor taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding, but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God, duly considering the causes for which matrimony was ordained. One was, the procreation of children to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and praise of God. Secondly, it was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication, that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body. Thirdly, for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity: into the which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore, if any man can show any just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter forever hold his peace.
for poorer. that so many as be coupled together otherwise than God's word doth allow. Then shall the priest say to the woman.And also speaking to the persons that shall be married. for richer. and so either to give their troth to other. . are not joined together by God. till death us depart [Norton note: depart=part] according to God's holy ordinance: And thereto I plight thee my troth. he shall say. or else put in a caution to the full value of such charges as the persons to be married doth sustain to prove his allegation: [Norton note: the person claiming the impediment is responsible for proving the charges]: then the Solemnization must be deferred unto such time as the truth to be tried. when all the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed) that if either of you do know any impediment [Norton note: the language of the marriage ceremony is echoed in Shakespeare’s sonnet 116. honor. if any man do allege and declare any impediment why they may not be coupled together in matrimony. which begins. for better. for worse. (Red) Who giveth this woman to be married unto this man? And the minister receiving the woman at her father or friend's hand. and in health? And forsaking all other. in sickness. The man first saying. (Red) I will. wilt thou have this woman to thy wedded wife. take thee N. to have and to hold from this day forth. and in health? And forsaking all other. (Red) I require and charge you (as you will answer at the dreadful day of judgment. shall cause the man to take the woman by the right hand. keep thee only to her. For be ye well assured. (Red) N[ame]. by God's law or the laws of this realm. love. and will be bound. honor and keep her. to love and to cherish. (Red) N. then shall the curate say unto the man. to the parties. At which day of marriage. and keep him. (Red) I N. “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments”] why ye may not be lawfully joined together in matrimony. that ye confess it. comfort her. to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou love her. neither is their matrimony lawful. keep thee only unto him. wilt thou have this man to thy wedded husband. to be my wedded wife. If no impediment be alleged. to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou obey him and serve him. so long as you both shall live? The man shall answer. in sickness. in sickness. and in health. and sufficient sureties with him. so long as you both shall live? Then shall the minister say.
(Red) O eternal God. shall deliver it unto the man. And the priest taking the ring. the fifth chapter) doth give this commandment to all married men. whom we bless in thy name. to be my wedded husband. to have and to hold from this day forth. for richer. and the woman taking again the man by the right hand shall say. to put it upon the fourth finger of the woman's left hand. Then shall the minister speak unto the people. and have declared the same by giving and receiving of a ring. "Ye husbands love your wives. according to God's holy ordinance: And thereto I give thee my troth. that as Isaac and Rebecca lived faithfully together. and to obey. let no man put asunder. Amen. so these persons may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made. and thereto have given and pledged their troth either to other.Then shall they loose their hands. hear what Holy Scripture doth say. and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together. 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 [Norton note: duty=offering] to the priest and clerk. through thy Word. and wives toward their husbands. to sanctify it. In the name of the Father. that he might make it unto . and of the Holy Ghost. giver of all spiritual grace. in sickness. (Red) I N. to love. *** All ye which be married. the author of everlasting life: Send thy blessing upon these thy servants. and live according unto thy laws. as touching the duty of husbands toward their wives. (Red) Forasmuch as N. or which intend to take the holy estate of matrimony upon you. even as Christ loved the Church. and in health. Amen. and of the Holy Ghost. Then shall the priest join their right hands together. this man and this woman. creator and preserver of all mankind. (Red) With this ring I thee wed: with my body I thee worship: and with all my worldly goods I thee endow. have consented in holy wedlock. and N. for better. and of the Son. whereof this ring given and received is a token and pledge. the minister shall say. (Red) Those whom God hath joined together. Saint Paul (in his Epistle to the Ephesians. Amen. cherish. purging it in the fountain of water. and have witnessed the same before God and this company. and of the Son. take thee N. In the name of the Father. for worse. and hath given himself for it. for poorer. and by joining of hands: I pronounce that they be man and wife together. through Jesus Christ our Lord. till death us depart. And the man taught by the priest shall say. Then the man leaving the ring upon the fourth finger of the woman's left hand. and say.
even as it is plainly set forth in Holy Scripture. "Let the wife reverence her husband. "Let wives be subject to their own husbands." (1 Pet. dwell with your wives according to knowledge. so that the spirit be mild and quiet. even as himself. "Ye women submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord. which was himself a married man. 3. which is a precious thing in the sight of God. whose apparel let it not be outward.) Hear also what Saint Peter the Apostle unto Christ." Like wise the same Saint Paul (writing to the Colossians) speaketh thus to all men that be married. be without all corruption. while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. giving honor unto the wife as the weaker vessel. and being not dismayed with any fear. For this cause shall a man leave father and mother. Therefore as the church or congregation is subject unto Christ. For never did any man hate his own flesh. so likewise let the wives also be in subjection unto their husbands in all things.himself a glorious congregation.) Saint Peter also doth instruct you very godly. "Ye wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands. He that loveth his own wife." And (in his Epistle to the Colossians) Saint Paul giveth you this short lesson. as it is convenient in the Lord. 3. loveth himself. "Ye husbands. let any one of you so love his own wife. Nevertheless. and they two shall be one flesh. not having spot or wrinkle. saith unto all men that are married. "Ye men love your wives. and be not bitter unto them. So men are bound to love their own wives as their own bodies." And again he saith. For after this manner (in the old time) did the holy women which trusted in God apparel themselves." (Col. 3. so that if any obey not the Word." (Col. they may be won without the Word.) Hitherto ye have heard the duty of the husband toward the wife. of his flesh and of his bones. whose daughters ye are made. so that your prayers be not hindered. and as heirs together of the grace of life. thus saying. Saint Paul (in the forenamed Epistle to the Ephesians) teacheth you thus.) ." (1 Pet. even as the Lord doth the congregation: for we are members of his body. being subject to their own husbands. either in putting on of gorgeous apparel. or any such thing. but I speak of Christ and of the congregation. but nourisheth and cherisheth it. with broided [broided=braided] hair and trimming about with gold. as Sarah obeyed Abraham calling him lord. And he is also the savior of the whole body. doing well. but let the hid man which is in the heart. and shall be joined unto his wife. by the conversation [Norton note: conversation=behavior] of the wives. for the husband is the wife's head even as Christ is the head of the Church. 3. but that it should be holy and blameless. This mystery is great. Now likewise ye wives hear and learn your duty toward your husbands.
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