(Liturgy, Reformed Churches, Part 8)

Form for the Confirmation of Marriage before the Church 
Whereas married persons are generally, by reason of sin, 
subject to many troubles and afflictions; to the end that you 
 and , who desire to have your marriage bond 
publicly confirmed, here in the name of God, before this 
Church, may also be assured in your hearts of the certain 
assistance of God in your afflictions, hear therefore from the 
Word of God, how honorable the marriage state is, and that it 
is an institution of God, which is pleasing to him. Wherefore 
he also will (as he has promised) bless and assist the married 
persons, and on the contrary, judge and punish whoremongers and 
1. In the first place you are to know, that God our Father, 
after he had created heaven and earth, and all that in them is, 
made man in his own image and likeness, that he should have 
dominion over the beasts of the field, over the fish of the 
sea, and over the fowls of the air. And after he had created 
man, he said, "It is not good that man should be alone, I will 
make him a help meet for him. And the Lord caused a deep sleep 
to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, 
and closed up the flesh instead thereof. And the rib which the 
Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her 
unto the man. And Adam said, this is now bone of my bone, and 
flesh of any flesh: she shall be called woman, because she was 
taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father, and 
his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they two shall 
be one flesh." Therefore ye are not to doubt, but that the 
married state is pleasing to the Lord, since he made unto Adam 
his wife, brought and gave her himself to him to be his wife; 
witnessing thereby that he does yet as with his hand bring unto 
every man his wife. For this lesson the Lord Jesus Christ did 
also highly honour it with his presence, gifts and miracles, in 
Cana of Galilee, to show thereby that this holy state ought to 
be kept honorably by all, and that he will aid and protect 
married persons, even when they are least deserving it. 
  But that you may live godly in this state, you must know the 
reasons, wherefore God has instituted the same. The first 
reason is, that each faithfully assist the other, in all things 
that belong to this life, and a better. 
  Secondly. That they bring up the children, which the Lord 
shall give them, in the true knowledge and fear of God, to his 
glory, and their salvation. 
  Thirdly. That each of them, avoiding all uncleanness and evil 
lusts, may live with a good and quiet conscience. 
  For, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, 
and every woman her own husband; insomuch that all, who are 
come to their years, and have not the gift of continence, are 
bound by the command of God, to enter into the marriage state, 
with knowledge and consent of parents, or guardians and 
friends; so that the temple of God, which is our body, may not 
be defiled; for, whosoever defileth the temple of God, him 
shall God destroy. 
2. Next, you are to know, how each is bound to behave 
respectively towards the other, according to the word of God. 
  First. You, who are the bridegroom, must know, that God has 
set you to be the head of your wife, that you, according to 
your ability, shall lead her with discretion; instructing, 
comforting, protecting her, as the head rules the body; yea, as 
Christ is the head, wisdom, consolation and assistance to his 
Church. Besides, you are to love your wife as your own body, as 
Christ has loved his Church: you shall not be bitter against 
her, but dwell with her as a man of understanding, giving 
honour to the wife as the weaker vessel, considering that ye 
are joint heirs of the grace of life, that your prayers be not 
hindered. And since it is God's command, "that the man shall 
eat his bread in the sweat of his face," therefore you are to 
labour diligently and faithfully, in the calling wherein God 
has set you, that you may maintain your household honestly, and 
likewise have something to give to the poor. 
  In like manner, must you, who are the bride, know how you are 
to carry yourself towards your husband, according to the Word 
of God. You are to love your lawful husband, to honour and fear 
him, as also to be obedient unto him, in all lawful things, as 
to your Lord, as the body is obedient to the head, and the 
Church to Christ. You shall not exercise any dominion over your 
husband, but be silent: for Adam was first created, and then 
Eve, to be a help to Adam; and after the fall, God said to Eve, 
and in her to all women, "your will shall be subject to your 
husband." You shall not resist this ordinance of God, but be 
obedient to the word of God, and follow the examples of godly 
women, who trusted in God, and were subject to their husbands; 
"as Sarah was obedient to Abraham, calling him her lord": you 
shall also be a help to your husband in all good and lawful 
things, looking to your family, and walking in all honesty and 
virtue, without worldly pride, that you may give an example to 
others of modesty. 
Wherefore you  and you , having now understood that 
God has instituted marriage, and what he commands you therein; 
are you willing thus to behave yourselves in this holy state, 
as you here do confess before this christian assembly, and 
desirous that you be confirmed in the same? 
  Answer. Yes. 
Whereupon the Minister shall say: 
  I take you all, who are met here to witness, that there is 
brought no lawful impediment. 
Further to the married persons. 
  Since then it is fit that you be furthered in this your work, 
the Lord God confirm your purpose, which he has given you; and 
your beginning be in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and 
Hereupon they shall join hands together, and the Minister speak 
first to the bridegroom. 
   Do you acknowledge here before God and this his holy 
Church, that you have taken, and do take to your lawful wife, 
, here present, promising her never to forsake her; to 
love her faithfully, to maintain her, as a faithful and pious 
husband is bound to do to his lawful wife; that you will live 
homily with her; keeping faith and truth to her in all things 
according to the holy gospel? 
  Answer: Yes. 
Afterwards to the bride. 
   Do you acknowledge here before God, and this his holy 
Church, that you have taken, and do take to your lawful 
husband, , here present, promising to be obedient to him, 
to serve and assist him, never to forsake him, to live homily 
with him, keeping faith and truth to him in all things, as a 
pious and faithful wife is bound to her lawful husband 
according to the holy gospel? 
  Answer. Yes. 
Then the Minister shall say: 
  The Father of all mercies, who of his grace has called you to 
this holy state of marriage, bind you in true love and 
faithfulness, and grant you his blessing. Amen. 
Hear now from the Gospel, how firm the bond of marriage is, as 
described, Matt. 19:3-9: 
  "The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying 
unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every 
cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, 
that he which made them at the beginning made them male and 
female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and 
mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be 
one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. 
What therefore God has joined together, let not man put 
asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give 
a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto 
them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you 
to put away your wives; but from the beginning it was not so. 
And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except 
it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth 
adultery: and whose marrieth her which is put away does commit 
  Believe these words of Christ, and be certain and assured, 
that your Lord God has joined you together in this holy state. 
You are therefore to receive whatever befalls you therein, with 
patience and thanksgiving, as from the hand of God, and thus 
all things will turn to your advantage and salvation. Amen 
Almighty God, Thou, who dost manifest thy goodness and wisdom 
in all thy works and ordinances; and from the beginning hast 
said, that it is not good that man be alone and therefore hast 
created him a help meet to be with him, and ordained that they 
who were two should be one, and who dost also punish all 
impurity; we pray thee, since Thou hast called and united these 
two persons in the holy state of marriage, that Thou wilt give 
them thy Holy Spirit, so that they in true love and firm faith 
may live holy according to thy divine will and resist all evil. 
Wilt Thou also bless them as Thou hast blessed the believing 
fathers, thy friends and faithful servants, Abraham, Isaac and 
Jacob; in order that they as coheirs of the covenant which Thou 
hast established with these fathers, may bring up their 
children, which Thou wilt be pleased to give them, in the fear 
of the Lord, to the honour of thy holy name, to the edification 
of thy Church and to the extension of the holy gospel. Hear us, 
Father of all mercy, for the sake of Jesus Christ, thy beloved 
Son, our Lord, in whose name we conclude our prayer: 
  Our Father which is in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy 
kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as 
we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but 
deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power 
and the glory, for ever. Amen. 
Hearken now to the promise of God, from Psalm 128: "Blessed is 
every one that feareth the Lord, that walketh in his ways. For 
thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, 
and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful 
vine by the sides of thine house; thy children like olive 
plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man 
be blessed that feareth the Lord. The Lord shall bless thee out 
of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days 
of thy life; yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and 
peace upon Israel." The Lord our God replenish you with his 
grace, and grant that ye may long live together in all 
godliness and holiness. Amen. 
  End of liturgy 

Liturgy of the Reformed Churches

(... Conclusion, Liturgy of the Reformed Churches)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-05: litur-08.txt