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O ALMIGHTY Father of men and angels, in whose hands are the keys of life and death, of the womb and of the grave, look down at this time in great mercy and gentlest compassion upon thy servant. Thou hast, O God, upon the weakest of mankind fixed the sharpest decree of painful childbirth; but so thou lovest to magnify thy mercies and thy power, that thy strength may be seen in our weakness; so let it be, O God, unto thy handmaid ; let thy lovingkindness be her confidence and her rest, her hope and her security, now and in the hour of her travail.
Lord, let thy holy angels be present with thy servant, in their holy and charitable ministries about her persou; it is a great thing that we require ; but we beg it of the great King of heaven and earth, the Lord of angels, who hath promised that his angels shall stand in circuit round about them that fear the Lord: look, O Lord, upon her fear; it is humble, but it is trembling : look upon her love, and make it what it is not yet: do thou sanctify her fear of thee, and change it into obedience, and carefulness of duty; increase her love of thee, and make it to be pure and perfect, operative and busy, zealous and obedient; make it to grow up to the perfections of a Christian, and pass unto the beauties of
holiness : so shall thy servant feel thy daily mercies, and no evil shall come near to hurt her.
III. Gracious Father, give thy servant leave to rely upon thy glorious promises. Thou hast commanded us to call upon thee in our trouble, and hast promised to deliver us : O look upon thy handmaid, leave her not, nor forsake her, for trouble is hard at hand, and there is none that can help or deliver but only thou, O God. In thee, O Lord, do we trust, let thy servants never be confounded. Be pleased, O Lord, to give thy servant patience, and dereliction of her own desires, perfect resignation of her own will, and a conformity to thine; that she may with joy receive the blessing, which thou wilt choose for her, and which we humbly bey of thee, even that she may have a holy, a healthful, a joyful, and a safe deliverance of her burden. Lord, keep her from all sad accidents, and evil contingencies, from violent pains and passions, from all indecency of comportment and unquietness of spirit, from impatience and despair, from doing any thing that is criminal, or feeling any thing that is intolerable.
IV. O Lord our God, give thy servants leave to pray unto thee in behalf of this thy handmaid, that thou wilt not cut her off in the midst of her days, nor forsake her when her strength faileth : but spare her, O God, not for any purposes of vanity, or the satisfaction of any impotent or secular desires, but that she may live to serve thee, to redeem her time' mispent in folly, to get victory over temptations, and perfect dominion over her passions, to grow great in religion, and of an excellent charity and devotion. O spare her a little, that she may recover her strength, before she goes hence and be no more seen; so shall thy servant rejoice in thy mercies, and speak of thy loving-kindness in the church of thy redeemed ones, and will spend her days in holiness and zealous pursuances of religion. Remove her sins far from her, as the East is from the West; for thou didst send thy most holy Son to die for us, and redeem us from all the powers of sin and hell: thou knowest whereof we were made, and rememberest that we are but dust: 0 do not visit
her sins upon her by a hasty death, but manifest thy mercies and thy pardon, by giving her a mighty grace, that she may live a holy life: and be pleased to grant this also, that those impresses of pious resolutions, and religious purposes of fear and love, of hope and desire, which thy grace in the circumstances of her present condition makes upon her, may abide in her soul for ever; and in the days of ease and safety, may be as operative and productive of holiness, as now they are of a hearty prayer, and passionate desires for thy mercies upon her, in a safe and blessed child-birth.
Lord, bless her child, grant that it may be born with a right shape and a perfect body, with a comely countenance and straight limbs, with entire senses and expedite faculties, with an excellent power of understanding and sweet dispositions; and let thy Holy Spirit of grace conduct it to the sacrament of baptism, and in safety and holiness from the cradle to the grave. Grant this, 0 eternal God, for his sake, who was born of a holy maid, and suffered the infirmities of nature, and died for our sins, and rose again for our justification, even our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
An Office of public Thanksgiving for Women after their
Delivery from Child-birth, or any great Sickness, or
woman presenting berself before God on her knees, in some
Exbortation : “ FORASMUCH as it hath pleased Almighty God, who hath commanded us when we are afflicted, to pray, and hath promised to be with us in trouble,- to make good his truth and mercy unto you, in standing at your right hand in the day of your sorrow and danger, giving you safe deliverance, [and a living and hopeful child“,] you shall therefore return to him the sacrifice of a thankful and joyful heart, in an
a This may be inserted or omitted, according to the present circumstances.
humble acknowledgment of the divine mercies and goodness unto you, in this great blessing and deliverance from the pain and peril of child-birth.” [Or else name' any other instance in which the minister is required to give thanks.]
The Psalm or Hymn of Thanksgiving. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want: he maketh me lie down in green pastures, he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; for he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted : neither hath he hid his face from him, but when he cried unto him, he heard.
O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed
O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his: and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
For his anger endureth but for a moment; in his favour is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
I cried unto thee, O Lord : unto the Lord I made my supplication.
What profit is there in my blood, when I go down into the pit? shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?
Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing : thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness,
To the end that my glory may sing praise unto thee, and not be silent: 0 Lord my God, I will give thanks to thee for ever.
Glory be to the Father, &c.
Or else say the Te Deum., We praise thee, O God: we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee, the Father everlasting.
To thee all angels cry aloud : the heavens and all the powers therein.
To thee cherubim and serapbim continually do cry,
The holy church throughout all the world, doth acknowledge thee :
The Father: of an infinite majesty.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man, thou didst not abhor the virgin's womb.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come, to be our Judge.
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants, whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy saints in glory everlasting
O Lord, save thy people: and bless thine heritage.
O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us : as our trust is in thee, O Lord, in thee have I trusted : let me never be confounded.
Minister. The Lord be with you.