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And there shall none be admitted to the holy communion, until such time as he be confirmed, or be ready and desirous to be confirmed.
Item nullus debet admitti ad sacramentum corporis et sanguinis Christi Jesu, extra mortis articulum, nisi fuerit confir. matus, vel a receptione sacramenti confirmationis fuerit rationabiliter impeditust.
t Man. Sarisb. fol. 46. Man. Ebor. ad finem Baptismi.
THERE can be no reasonable doubt that the office of matrimony has from the earliest period been performed by the ministers of the Christian church. Tertullian asks, “How shall I sufficiently declare the happiness of that marriage which the church makes, the oblation confirms, and the benediction seals a?” We find frequent mention made of the benediction of marriage, and of the rites which attended it, by Ambrose, Augustine, Gregory Nazianzen, Chrysostom, and other Fathers, and early councils. It is unnecessary to enter into a detail of the particular times when it has been held most proper to administer this holy rite, and of the restrictions as to seasons and persons, which in various ages have been made, altered, or abrogated, in the Christian church. We may therefore proceed, without further preface, to consider the office of matrimony according to the English ritual. The greater portion of this office has been used for a lengthened period in the English church, as will appear by the following extracts from the ancient manuals of Salisbury and York.
a “ Unde sufliciam ad enarrandam tantam felicitatem matrimonii, quod ecclesia concilis et confirmat oblatio, et obsignat benedictio.” Tertull.
ad Uxorem, lib. ii. c. 8. p. 171. ed. Rigalt.
b See Bingham, Antiquities, book xxii. ch. 4. sect. I.
( Ibid. ch. 2. sect. 14.
| At the day and time appointed Statuantur vir et mulier ante for solemnization of matri- ostium ecclesiæ coram Deo mony, the persons to be mar- et sacerdote et populo, vir à ried shall come into the body dextris mulieris, et mulier a of the church with their sinistris viri ... Tunc interfriends and neighbours : and roget sacerdos banna dicens in there standing together, the lingua materna sub hac forma. man on the right hand, and the woman on the left, the priest shall say,
Dearly beloved, we are ga- Ecce convenimus huc fratres thered together here in the coram Deo, angelis, et omnisight of God, and in the face of bus sanctis ejus, in facie ecthis congregation, to join to- clesiæ, ad conjungendum duo gether this man and this wo- corpora scilicet hujus viri, et man in holy matrimony; which hujus mulieris, (hic respiciet is an honourable estate, insti- sacerdos personas.) tuted of God, in the time of modo sint una caro, et duæ man's innocency, &c. .
animæ, in fide et in lege Dei, It was ordained for the mutual ad promerendam simul vitam society, help, and comfort, æternam, quicquid ante hoc that the one ought to have of fecerint. Admoneo igitur vos the other, both in prosperity
omnes, ut si quis ex vobis aliand adversity. Into which quid dicere sciat, quare
isti holy estate these two persons
adolescentes legitime contrapresent come now to be join here non possunt, modo coned. Therefore if any man can
fiteatur d. shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace. | And also speaking unto the Idem in lingua materna ad persons that shall be married, virum et ad mulierem hoc
modo. I require and charge you Also I charge you both and both, as ye will answer at eyther be yourselfe, as ye wyll the dreadful day of judgment, answer before God at the day
he shall say,
d Manuale Sarisb. de Sponsalibus, fol. 47. VOL. II.
when the secrets of all hearts of dome, that yf there be any
any man do allege and de- aliquod proponere voluerit, et
as the truth be tried. 1 If no impediment be alleged, Postea dicat sacerdos ad virum then shall the curate say unto
cunctis audientibus in lingua
materna sic, M. Wilt thou have this wo- M. Vis habere hanc mulieman to thy wedded wife, to rem in sponsam, et eam dililive together after God's ordi- gere, honorare, tenere, et cusnance in the holy estate of todire, sanam, et infirmam, matrimony ? Wilt thou love sicut sponsus debet sponsam, her, comfort her, honour, and et omnes alias propter eam keep her in sickness and in dimittere, et illi soli adhærere health; and forsaking all other, quamdiu vita utriusque vekeep thee only unto her, so strum duraverit ? long as ye both shall live?
The man shall answer, I Respondeat vir, Volo.
Then shall the priest say unto the woman,
N. Wilt thou have this man
Item dicat sacerdos ad mulierem
e Manuale Eboracens. Ordo in sponsalibus. Man. Sarisb.
to thy wedded husband, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou obey him, and serve him, love, honour, and keep him in sickness and in health ; and forsaking all other, keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live?
The woman shall answer, I will.
in sponsum et ei obedire et servire, et eum diligere, honorare, ac custodire sanum et infirmum, sicut
debet sponsum, et omnes alios propter eum dimittere, et illi soli adhærere quamdiu vita utriusque vestrum duraverit?
Respondeat mulier, Volos.
This first part of the office was anciently termed the espousals, which took place some time before the actual celebration of marriage. The espousals consisted in a mutual promise of marriage, which was made by the man and woman before the bishop or presbyter and several witnesses ; after which, the articles of agreement of marriage, (called tabula matrimoniales,) which are mentioned by Augustin, were signed by both persons. After this, the man delivered to the woman the ring and other gifts, an action which was termed subarrhation h. In the latter ages the espousals have always been performed at the same time as the office of matrimony, both in the western and eastern churches; and it has long been customary for the ring to be delivered to the woman after the contract has been made, which has always been in the actual office of matrimony.
When marriage was to be celebrated, the man and woman, accompanied by their relatives, or a
g Manuale Sarisb. fol. 48. Eccl. Rit. lib. i. c. 9. art. 3. Eboracens. in Sponsalibus. p. 605, &c. Bingham, book h See Martene, de Antiq. xxii. c. 3.