The Voices of Men in Praise
Of Jane Austen
Messages c. Valentines Day


Reference: Book of Common Prayer
Acknowledgement: John

The Forme of Solemnization of Matrimonie

First the bannes must be asked three several Soondayes or holye dayes, in the service tyme, the people beeyng presente, after the accustomed maner.

And if the persones that woulde bee maried dwel in divers parishes, the bannes muste bee asked in bothe parishes, and the Curate of thone [the one] parish shall not solemnize matrimonie betwixt them, withoute a certificate of the bannes beeyng thrise asked from the Curate of thother parishe.

At the daye appointed for Solemnizacion of Matrimonie, the persones to be maried shal come into the bodie of ye churche, with theyr frendes and neighbours. And there the priest shal thus saye.

And also speakyng to the persones that shalbe maried, he shall saie.

At which daye of mariage yf any man doe allege any impediment why they maye not be coupled together in matrimonie; And will be bound, and sureties with hym, to the parties, or els put in a caution to the full value of suche charges as the persones to bee maried dooe susteyne to prove his allegacion: then the Solemnizacion muste bee diflerred, unto suche tyme as the trueth bee tried. Yf no impedimente bee alleged, then shall the Curate saye unto the man.

The man shall aunswere,

Then shall the priest saye to the woman.

The woman shall aunswere

Then shall the Minister say,

And the minister receiving the woman at her father or frendes handes: shall cause the man to take the woman by the right hande, and so either to geve their trouth to other: The man first saying.

Then shall they looce theyr handes, and the woman taking again the man by the right hande shall say,

Then shall they agayne looce theyr handes, and the manne shall geve unto the womanne a ring, and other tokens of spousage, as golde or silver, laying the same upon the boke: And the Priest taking the ring shall deliver it unto the man: to put it upon the fowerth finger of the womans left hande. And the man taught by the priest, shall say.

Then the man leavyng the ring upon the fowerth finger of the womans lef hande, the minister shal say,

O ETERNAL God creator and preserver of al mankinde, gever of al spiritual grace, the author of everlasting life: Sende thy blessing upon these thy servauntes, thys manne, and this woman, whome we blesse in thy name, that as Isaac and Rebecca (after bracellets and Jewels of golde geven of thone to thother for tokens of their matrimonie) lived faithfully together; So these persons may surely perfourme and kepe the vowe and covenaunt betwixt them made, wherof this ring geven, and received, is a token and pledge. And may ever remayne in perfite love and peace together; And lyve accordyng to thy lawes; through Jesus Christe our lorde. Amen.

Then shal the prieste joyne theyr ryght handes together, and say.

Then shall the minister speake unto the people.

And the minister shall adde this blessyng.

God the father blesse you. God the sonne kepe you: god the holye gost lighten your understanding: The lorde mercifully with his favour loke upon you, and so fil you with al spiritual benediction, and grace, that you may have remission of your sinnes in this life, and in the worlde to come lyfe everlastyng. Amen.

Then shal they goe into the quier, and the ministers or clerkes shal saye or syng, this psalme folowyng.

Or els this psalme folowyng.

The psalme ended, and the maune and woman knelyng afore the aulter: the prieste standyng ot the aulter, and turnyng his face towarde them, shall saye.

O GOD of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, blesse these thy servauntes, and sowe the seede of etemall life in their mindes, that whatsoever in thy holy woorde they shall profitablye hearne: they may in dede fulfill the same. Looke, O Lord, mercifully upon them from heaven, and blesse them: And as thou diddest sende thy Aungell Raphaell to Thobie [Tobit], and Sara, the daughter of Raguel, to their great comfort; so vouchsafe to send thy blessyng upon these thy servauntes, that thei obeyng thy wil, and alwaye beyng in safetie under thy proteccion: may abyde in thy love unto theyr lyves ende: throughe Jesu Christe our Lorde. Amen.

This prayer folowing shalbe omitted where the woman is past childe byrth.

Then shall the prieste blesse the man and the woman, saiyng

Then shalbee sayed after the gospell a sermon, wherein ordinarily (so oft as there is any mariage) thoffice of man and wife shall bee declared according to holy scripture. Or if there be no sermon, the minister shall reade this that foloweth.

Ye housebandes love your wives, even as Christ loved the churche, and hathe geven hymselfe for it, to sanctifie it, purgeyng it in the fountayne of water, throughe the word, that he might make it unto himself, a glorious congregacion, not having spot or wrincle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and blameles. So men are bounde to love their owne wives as their owne bodies: he that loveth his owne wife, loveth himself. For never did any man hate his owne flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the lorde doeth the congregacion, for wee are membres of his bodie, of his fleshe, and of his bones. For this cause shal a man leave father and mother, and shalbe joyned unto his wife, and they two shalbe one fleshe. This mistery is great, but I speake of Christ and of the congregacion. Neverthelesse let every one of you so love his owne wife, even as himselfe.

Likewise the same Saint Paule (writing to the Colossians) speaketh thus to al menne that be maried: Ye men, love your wives and be not bitter unto them. Coloss. iii.

Heare also what saint Peter thapostle of Christ, (which was himselfe a maried man,) sayeth unto al menne that are maried. Ye husbandes, dwel with your wives according to knowledge: Gevyng honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as heyres together of the grace of lyfe, so that your prayers be not hindred. i Pet. iii.

Hitherto ye have heard the duetie of the husbande towarde the wife.

Nowe lykewise, ye wives, heare and lerne your duetie toward your husbandes, even as it is playnely set furth in holy scripture.

Saint Paul (in the forenamed epistle to the Ephesians) teacheth you thus: Ye weomen submit yourselves unto your own husbandes as unto the lord: for the husband is the wives head, even as Christ is the head of the church: And he also is the saviour of the whole bodye. Therefore as the Churche, or congregacyon, is subjecte unto Christe: So lykewise let the wives also be in subjeccyon unto theyr owne husbandes in all thynges. Ephes. v. And agayn he sayeth: Let the wife reverence her husbande. And (in his epistle to the Colossians) Saincte Paule geveth you this short lesson. Ye wives, submit yourselves unto your owne husbandes, as it is conveniente in the Lorde. Coloss. iii.

Saincte Peter also doeth instructe you very godly, thus saying, Let wives be subject to theyr owne husbandes, so that if any obey not the woorde, they may bee wonne without the woorde, by the conversacyon [=behavior] of the wives; Whyle they beholde your chaste conversacyon, coupled with feare, whose apparell let it not bee outwarde, with broyded heare, and trymmyng about with golde, either in putting on of gorgeous apparell: But leat the hyd [hid] man whiche is in the hearte, be without all corrupcion, so that the spirite be milde and quiete, which is a precious thing in the sight of god. For after this maner (in the olde tyme) did the holy women, which trusted in God, apparell themselves, beeing subjecte to theyr own husbandes: as Sara obeied Abraham calling him lorde, whose daughters ye are made, doing wel, and being not dismaied with any feare. 1 Pet. iii.

The newe maried persones (the same daye of their mariage) must receive the holy communion.

From the Meister: It's an odd thing, but there is no mention or provision for the bachelor's or bachelorette's party! They really were barbarians in those days.