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we have earnestly prayed, and pati- 2 Tim. ii. 25, 26. ently waited for his repentance; but we have not prevailed. But, after all, he continueth impenitent, and will not be persuaded to confess and forsake his sin. We do, therefore, 1 Cor. v. 13. according to these laws of Christ, declare him unmeet for the communion of the Church, and reject him from it: requiring him to Matt. xviii. 18. forbear it, and requiring you to avoid him: and we leave him bound to the judgment of the Lord, unless his true repentance shall prevent it.
A Form of Absolution, and Reception of the Penitent.
THOUGH you have greatly sinned against 2 Sam. xii, 13. the Lord, and against his Church, and your own soul ; yet, seeing you humble yourself 2 Chron. xxxiii. before him, and penitently flee to Christ
12, 13. for mercy, resolving to do so no more, hear now the glad tidings of salvation, which I am commanded to declare unto you. If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the 1John ii. 1, 2. Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins. If we confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Seek the
Rom. x. 15.
1 John i. 9.
Gal. vi. 1.
Isa. lv.6, 7. Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will Prov. xxviii. 13. abundantly pardon. He that covereth his sins shall not prosper ; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Brethren, if
a man be overtaken in a fault, restore Matt. xviii. 8. such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou also be tempted. According to this word of grace, I do [*loose the
bonds here laid upon you, * This must be 2 Cor. ii. 7, 10.
omitted, if the and] receive you [again] Acts xiii. 38;
into the communion of the first rejected. Luke sv. 25, 27. Church, requiring them to receive you, Psal. lxxxv. 8. and not upbraid you with your sin, but 1 Cor. ix. 25, rejoice in your recovery.
And I do declare to you the pardon of all your
sins in the blood of Christ, if your repentance be sincere. And I exhort and charge you, that you believingly and thankfully accept this great, unspeakable mercy; and that
you watch more carefully for the time to come, and avoid temptations, and subdue the flesh, and
person was not
Matt. xxvi. 41.
Psal. cxli. 5. 2 Pet. ii. 22.
accept reproofs, and see that you return not to your vomit, or to wallow again in the mire when you are washed: but obey the Spirit, and keep close to God in the means of your preservation.
A Form of Thanksgiving, or Prayer, for the Restored Penitent.
O most merciful Father, we thank thee that thou hast brought us under so gracious a covenant, as not only to pardon the sins of our unregenerate state, but also, upon our penitent confes- Rom. iii. 25. sion and return, to cleanse us from all 1 John i. 9; our unrighteousness, and pardon our
ii. 1, 2. falls by the blood of Christ ; and to restore our souls, and lead us again in the paths of
Psal. xxiii. 3; righteousness, and command thy servants to receive us. We thank thee that thou hast thus restored this thy servant, giving Matt. ix. 2. him repentance and remission of sin ; Rom. v. 1, 2, 3. * Leave out this,
[* and returning him to the com
munion of thy Church.] We beseech thee, comfort him with the believing apprehensions of thy forgiveness and reconciliation through Jesus Christ. Restore unto him the joy of Psal. li. 12. thy salvation, and uphold him by thy free Spirit.
if he was not rejected.
1 Pet. v. 10. Acts xi. 23.
Rom, ii. 23.
Stablish, strengthen, settle him, that
with full purpose of heart he may Psal. lxxxv. 8. cleave unto thee; and, now thou hast spoken peace to him, he may not return again to
2 Tim. ii. 19. 'folly. As he nameth the name of Christ, let him depart from iniquity, and never more dis
honour thee, thy Church or truth, nor his holy profession ; but save him from temptation. Let him watch and stand fast, and sin no more, lest worse befal him. Let him not receive this
in vain, nor turn it into wantonness ; nor continue in sin, that grace may abound. But let his old man be crucified with Christ, and the body of sin be destroyed, that henceforth he may no more serve sin ; remembering what fruit he had in those things whereof he is now ashamed, and that the end and wages of sin is death. And let us all take warning by the falls of others, and be not high-minded, but fear : and let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall. Let us watch and pray, that we enter not into temptation ; remembering that the flesh is weak, and our adversary the devil walketh about, seeking whom he may de
And let none of us hate our brother in