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A recommendation to God at night.”
N manus tuas. Lord, I bitake in to thine hondes, and in to thine hondis (sic) of thine halwen, in this nyght my soule and my
bodi, myne bretheren and myne sustren, myne frendes, myne cosines, myne kynrede, my goode
dedes doares, and alle cristen folk : kepe vs, lord, this | nyght, bi the medes and the prayeres of the blessede
mayde marie, and of alle halwen, fram vices and couertises, fram sinnes and fram the fendes fondinges, and fram the sodayn deth, and the peynes of helle. Alyghte myne herte of the holi gost, and of thin holi grace: and make me for to ben more bouxom to thi comaundemens, and let me neuere more ben be departed fro the: so be it.
3 From MS. “S. 30.” in S. John's College, Cambridge: of the xvth. cent.
The form of the Greater Ers
Isti sunt generales articuli majoris excommunicationis in lingua materna, et dicantur hoc modo.
ODEMEN and wymmen, it is ordeyned by the counseil of all holi chirche : First of our holy fader the pope of Rome, and his
cardinalis, and all his counseil, sithen of all archebisshopes and all the clergie, that every man of holy chirche that hath soule for to kepe, sholde shewe among them foure sithe bi yere, the articles that ben writen in the general sentence, that is for to seyn, the pointhes that longen to the great curs: that on is the fyrst sonday of Advent, that other is the first sonday of lenten, and the nexte sonday after Witsonday, and the first sonday after the assumpcyon of our lady.
Of two maner of cursinge, holy chirche telleth : that on is cal'd the lesse curs, that other is cal'd the more curs : and this moste openly be taught unto lewed men, that they may knowe perfitly the michef therof, that no man sholde have matere to excuse him by.
Wherfor ye shal understande atte the begynnyng that this worde, cursynge, is thus miche to say: as a depertinge fro God and all goode workes. That, we call
From a copy of the Sarum Manual in the Bodleian Library. 4to. Paris. Regnault. 1530.
the lesse curs, is of this strength, that every man and woman that falleth ther inne, it depertet them fro all the sacramentis that ben in holy chirche, that they may none of them recyue till that thei ben asoiled.
T The more curs is miche wers, and is of this strength : for it deperteth a man fro God, and fro holy chirche, and also fro the companie of all christen folk, neuer to be saued be the passion of Crist, ne to be holpen by the sacramentis that ben done in holy chirche, ne to have part in prayer with no cristen man, as witnesseth wel seynt Austyn.
Clerkes seyn that a child byfore it be cristned, it hath a wikked spirit dwelling in the soule. The wiche wikkede spirit is conjured, and cast out thorough prayers of the prest, by fore the chirche dore whanne it shal be cristned: the wiche sacrament of bapteme is ground and begynnyng of all sacramentis, as was verely betokned in the passion of our Lorde Jesu Crist; by water that ran out of his syde, whan al his blod was gon: so that by the sacrament of bapteme he is mad Godes child, and he receiveth there part of the passion of Crist, and part of al sacramentis and prayers that ben don in holi chirche : and also he receyveth part of al gode dedis that be done among al cristen folk : and yf he holde unto God's covenant that he maketh there, for to have a dwellyng place for evere in the blisse of heven: but what tyme he trespasseth so ageynste the lawe of God, that he is worthy to be accursed of holy chirche, than is he departhet from God and all goode werkes : and he is than delyvered agaen unto the fend of hell, for to putte hym fro his synne in the payene withouten ende.
withouten ende. And the fire is nothyng in all this worlde that a cristen man ought so gretly for to drede, as for to falle by any waye in to the sen