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THE VISITATION OF PRISONERS. 9 When Morning or Evening Prayer shall be read in any Prison, instead of the Psalm, 0 come let us sing, &c., shall be read the 130th Psalm : and the Minister shall insert, after the Collect for the day, the Collect in the following Service, O God, who sparest, &c., and at such times as the Litany is not read, he shall add the prayer, O God, merciful Father, who despisest not, &c. TAnd when notice is given to the Minister, that a Prisoner is
confined for some great or capital crime, he shall visit him; and when he cometh into the place where the Prisoner is, he shall say, kneeling down,
. the iniquities of our forefathers ; neither take thou vengeance of our sins: spare us, good Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood, and be not angry with us for ever. Answer. Spare us, good Lord.
Let us pray:
Minister. O Lord, show thy mercy upon us;
Minister. O Lord, hear our prayer;
Answer. And let the sighing of the prisoners come before thee.
THE COLLECT. RANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God that
we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace
may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. 0
GOD, who sparest when we deserve punish
ment, and in thy wrath rememberest mercy; We humbly beseech thee, of thy goodness to comfort and succour all those who are under reproach and misery in the house of bondage; correct them not in thine anger, neither chasten them in thy sore displeasure. Give them a right understanding of themselves, and of thy threats and promises ; that they may neither cast away
their confidence in thee, nor place it any where but in thee. Relieve the distressed, protect the innocent, and awaken the guilty: and forasmuch as thou alone bringest light out of darkness, and good out of evil, grant that the pains and punishments which these thy servants endure, through their bodily confinement, may tend to setting free their souls from the chains of sin ; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 1 Here the Minister, as he shall see convenient, may read the Prayer for All conditions of Men, the Collect for Ash Wednesday, and the Collect beginning Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, &c., or any other prayer of the
Liturgy, which he shall judge proper. 1 Then shall the Minister exhort the prisoner or prisoners after this form, or other like. EARLY beloved, know this, that Almighty
God, whose neverfailing providence governeth all things both in heaven and earth, hath so wisely and mercifully ordered the course of this world, that his judgments are often sent as fatherly corrections to us; and if with due submission and resignation to his holy will we receive the same, they will work together for our good.
It is your part and duty, therefore, to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, to acknowledge the righteousness of his judgments,
and to endeavour that, by his grace, this present visitation may lead you to a sincere and hearty repentance.
The way and means thereto is, to examine your life and conversation by the rule of God's commandments; and whereinsoever you shall perceive yourself to have offended either by will, word, or deed, there to bewail your own sinfulness, and to confess yourself to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life. And if you shall perceive your offences to be such as are not only against God, but also against your neighbours ; then to reconcile yourself to them, being ready to make restitution and satisfaction, according to the uttermost of your power, for all injuries and wrongs done by you to any other: and being likewise ready to forgive others who have offended you, as you would have forgiveness of your offences at God's hand. And to this true repentance and change of mind you must add a lively and steadfast faith, and dependence upon the merits of the death of Christ, with an entire resignation of yourself to the will of God. Except you repent, and believe, we can give you no hope of salvation. But if you do sincerely repent and believe, God hath declared, though your sins be as 'red as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow; though your wickednesses have gone over your head, yet shall they not be your destruction,
We exhort you therefore in the Name of God, and of his dear Son Jesus Christ our Saviour, and as you tender your own salvation, to take good heed of these things in time, while the day of salvation lasteth; for the night cometh, when no man can work. While you have the light, believe in the light, and walk as children of the light, that you be not cast into outer darkness ;
that you may not knock, when the door shall be shut; and cry for mercy, when it is the time of justice. Now, you are the object of God's mercy, if by repentance and true faith you turn unto him ; but if you neglect these things, you will be the object of his justice and vengeance. Now, you may claim the merits of Christ; but if you die in your sins, his sufferings will tend to your greater condemnation. O beloved, consider in this your day, how fearful a thing it will be to fall into the hands of the living God, when you can neither fly to his mercy to protect you, nor to the merits of Christ to cover you in that terrible day. 1 Here the Minister shall examine him concerning his faith,
and rehearse the articles of the Creed, Dost thou believe in God, &c. And the prisoner shall answer,
All this I steadfastly believe. 1 Then shall the Minister examine whether he repent him
truly of his sins, and be in charity with all the world, and further admonish him particularly concerning the crimes wherewith he is charged; and exhort him, if he have any scruples, that he would declare the same, and prepare himself for the Holy Communion, against the time that it may
be proper to administer it to him. T Then, all kneeling, the Minister shall say as follows, from
the 51st Psalm. AVE mercy upon me, O God, after thy great
goodness; according to the multitude of thy mercies do away mine offences.
Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness, and cleanse me from
my sin. For I acknowledge my faults, and my sin is ever before me,
Against thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; that thou mightest be justified in thy saying, and clear when thou art judged.
Behold, I was shapen in wickedness, and in sin hath my mother conceived me.
But lo, thou requirest truth in the inward parts, and shalt make me to understand wisdom secretly.
Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Turn thy face from my sins, and put out all my misdeeds.
Make me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
O give me the comfort of thy help again, and stablish me with thy free Spirit.
Then shall I teach thy ways unto the wicked, and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou that art the God of my health; and my tongue shall sing of thy righteousness.
Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall show thy praise.
For thou desirest no sacrifice, else would I give it thee; but thou delightest not in burnt-offerings.
The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt thou not despise.
1 Then the Minister shall say,
Let us pray
our prayers, and spare all those who con. fess their sins unto thee; that they, whose consciences by sin are accused, by thy merciful par. don
may be absolved; through Christ our Lord. Amen.