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for whom we must now mourn; and that Thy Holy Name may be praised, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath taught us to pray:
OUR FATHER WHO ART 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.
READMITTING EXCOMMUNICATED PERSONS
INTO THE CHURCH OF CHRIST. BELOVED IN THE LORD, it is known unto you, that some time ago our fellow member N. was cut off from the Church of Christ; we cannot now conceal from you, that he, by the above mentioned remedy, as also by the means of good admonition and your Christian prayers, is come so far, that he is ashamed of his sins, praying us to be re-admitted into the communion of the Church.
Since we then, by virtue of the command of God, are in duty bound to receive such persons with joy, and it being necessary that good order should be used therein, we therefore give you to understand hereby, that we purpose to loose again the aforementioned excommunicated person from the bond of excommunication, the next time when by the grace of God we celebrate the Supper of the Lord, and receive him again into the communion of the Church; except any one of you, in the mean time, shall show just cause why this ought not to be done, of which you must give notice to us in due time. In the mean time, let every one thank the Lord for the mercy shown this poor sinner, beseeching Him to perfect his work in him to his eternal salvation. AMEN.
Afterwards, if no impediment be alleged, the Minister shall proceed to the
re-admission of the excommunicated person, in the following manner:
BELOVED CHRISTIANS, we have the last time informed you of the repentance of our fellow member N. to the end that he might with your foreknowledge be received into the Church of Christ; and whereas no one has alleged any thing why his re-admission ought not to take place, we therefore, at present, purpose to proceed to the same.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, Matt. 18, having confirmed the sentence of His Church, in the excommunication of impenitent sinners, declareth imme diately thereupon, that whatsoever his Ministers shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven ; whereby He giveth to understand, that when any person is cut off from His Church he is not deprived of all hope of salvation; but can again be loosed from the bonds of condemnation. Therefore, since God declares in His Word, that He takes no pleasure in the death of a sinner, but that he turn from his wickedness and live, so the Church always hopes for the repentance of the backsliding sinner, and keepeth her bcsom open to receive the penitent; accordingly the Apostle Paul, 1 Cor. 5, commanded the Corinthian (whom he had declared ought to be cut off from the Church to be again received and comforted, since being reproved by many, he was come to the knowledge of his sins: to the end that he should not be swallowed up with over-much sorrow. 2 Cor. 2.
Secondly, Christ teaches us in the aforementioned text, that the sentence of absolution, which is passed upon such a penitent sinner according to the word of God, is counted sure and firm by the Lord; therefore, no one ought to doubt in the least, who truly repents, that he is assuredly received by God in mercy, as Christ saith, John, Chap. 20, Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them.
But now to proceed to the matter in hand: I ask thee, N. whether thou dost declare here with all thine heart before God and His Church, that thou art sincerely sorry for the sin and stubbornness, for whicl. thou hast justly been cut off from the Church: whether thou dost also truly believe, that the Lord hath forgiven thee, and doth forgive thy sins for Christ's sake, and that thou therefore art desirous to be re-admitted into the Church of Christ, promising henceforth to live in all godliness according to the command of the Lord?
Answer. Yes, verily.
Then the Minister shall further say,
We, then, here assembled in the Name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, declare thee N. to be absolved from the bonds of excommunication; and do receive thee again into the Church of the Lord, and declare unto thee that thou art in the communion of Christ and of the Holy Sacra. ments, and of all the spiritual blessings and benefits of God which He promiseth to and bestoweth upon His Church: may the Eternal God preserve thee therein, to the end, through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. AMEN.
Be therefore assured in thy heart, my beloved brother, that the Lord hath again received thee in mercy. Be diligent henceforward to guard thyself against the subtlety of Satan, and the wickedness of the world, to the end that thou mayest not fall again into sin: love Christ, for many sins are forgiven thee.
And you, beloved Christians, receive this your brother with hearty affection; be glad that he was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found; rejoice with the angels of heaven, over this sinner who repenteth : count him no longer as a stranger, but as a fellow citizen with the saints, and of the household of God. And whereas we can have no good of ourselves, let us, praising and magnifying the Lord Almighty, implore His mercy, saying,
GRACIOUS GOD AND FATHER, we thank Thee, through Jesus Christ, that Thou hast been pleased to give this our fellow brother repentance unto life, and us cause to rejoice in his conversion. We beseech Thee, show him Thy mercy, that he may become more and more assured in his mind of the
reinission of his sins, and that he may receive from thence inexpressible joy and delight to serve Thee. And whereas he hath heretofore by his sins offended many, grant that he may, by his conversion, edify many. Grant also that he may steadfastly walk in Thy ways, to the end; and may we learn from this example, that with Thee is mercy, that Thou mayest be feared ; and that we, counting him for our brother and co-heir of life eternal, may jointly serve Thee with filial fear and obedience all the days of our life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose Name we thus conclude our prayer:
OUR FATHER, WHO ART 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.