A call to repent from the communion service, in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, is here offered for your edification in honor of the season of Lent. This is the first English prayer book, penned by Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer seven years before he was burned at the stake under Queen Mary.
DERE frendes, and you especially upon whose soules I have cure and charge, on next, I do intende by Gods grace, to offre to all suche as shalbe godlye disposed, the moste comfortable Sacrament of the body and bloud of Christ, to be taken of them in the remembraunce of his moste fruitfull and glorious Passyon: by the whiche passion we have obteigned remission of our synnes, and be made partakers of the kyngdom of heaven, whereof wee bee assured and asserteigned, yf wee come to the sayde Sacrament, with hartie repentaunce for our offences, stedfast faithe in Goddes mercye, and earnest mynde to obeye Goddes will, and to offende no more. Wherefore our duetie is, to come to these holy misteries, with moste heartie thankes to bee geven to almightie GOD, for his infinite mercie and benefites geven and bestowed upon us his unworthye servauntes, for whom he hath not onely geven his body to death, and shed his bloude, but also doothe vouchesave in a Sacrament and Mistery, to geve us his sayed bodye and bloud to feede upon spiritually. The whyche Sacrament beyng so Divine and holy a thyng, and so comfortable to them whiche receyve it worthilye, and so daungerous to them that wyll presume to take the same unworthely: My duetie is to exhorte you in the meane season, to consider the greatnes of the thing, and to serche and examine your owne consciences, and that not lyghtly nor after the maner of dissimulers [dissemblers] with GOD: But as they whiche shoulde come to a moste Godly and heavenly Banket, not to come but in the mariage garment required of God in scripture, that you may (so muche as lieth in you) be founde worthie to come to suche a table. The waies and meanes thereto is,
First, that you be truly repentaunt of your former evill life, and that you confesse with an unfained hearte to almightie God, youre synnes and unkyndnes towardes his Majestie committed, either by will, worde or dede, infirmitie or ignoraunce: and that with inwarde sorowe and teares you bewaile your offences, and require of almightie God mercie and pardon, promising to him (from the botome of your hartes) thamendment of your former lyfe. And emonges all others, I am commaunded of God, especially to move and exhorte you to reconcile yourselfes to your neighbors, whom you have offended, or who hath offended you, putting out of your heartes al hatred and malice against them, and to be in love and charitie with all the worlde, and to forgeve other, as you woulde that god should forgeve you. And yf any man have doen wrong to any other: let him make satisfaccion, and due restitucion of all landes and goodes, wrongfully taken awaye or withholden, before he come to Goddes borde, or at the least be in ful minde and purpose so to do, as sone as he is able, or els let him not come to this holy table, thinking to deceyve God, who seeth all mennes hartes. For neither the absolucion of the priest, can any thing avayle them, nor the receivyng of this holy sacrament doth any thing but increase their damnacion. And yf there bee any of you, whose conscience is troubled and greved in any thing, lackyng comforte or counsaill, let him come to me, or to some other dyscrete and learned priest, taught in the law of God, and confesse and open his synne and griefe secretly, that he may receive suche ghostly counsaill, advyse, and comfort, that his conscience maye be releved, and that of us (as of the ministers of GOD and of the churche) he may receive comfort and absolucion, to the satisfaccion of his mynde, and avoyding of all scruple and doubtfulnes: requiryng suche as shalbe satisfied with a generall confession, not to be offended with them that doe use, to their further satisfiyng, the auriculer and secret confession to the Priest: nor those also whiche thinke nedefull or convenient, for the quietnes of their awne consciences, particuliarly to open their sinnes to the Priest: to bee offended with them that are satisfied, with their humble confession to GOD, and the generall confession to the churche. But in all thinges to folowe and kepe the rule of charitie, and every man to be satisfied with his owne conscience, not judgyng other mennes myndes or consciences; where as he hath no warrant of Goddes word to the same.
The images are in the public domain. You can find the entire book online at this site: http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1549/Communion_1549.htm