A BRIEF FORM OF CONFESSION FOR THE INEXPERIENCED.
In this manner thou shouldest say to the confessor:
Worthy and beloved Sir, I desire of thee, that thou wouldst hear my confession, and announce forgiveness unto me for God’s sake.
I, a miserable sinner, confess myself before God guilty of all manner of sins; in particular I confess in presence of thee, that I as a man-servant, a maid-servant, &c., serve my master or mistress unfaithfully; for here and there I have not performed what they commanded me; I have provoked them, and caused them to take the name of the Lord in vain; I have been neglectful to the injury of others. I have likewise been immodest in words and actions; I have been angry with my equals, murmured and uttered imprecations against my spouse, &c. For all this I am sorry, I pray for grace, and intend to reform my life.
A master or a mistress should thus say:
In particular I confess in presence of thee, that I have not to the honor of God, faithfully reared my children and domestics. I have blasphemed, set bad examples by indecorous words and actions, done my neighbor injury, and spoken evil against him; I have been too extravagant in charges, I have used false weights and unjust measures.
And whatever else he may have done in his vocation against the command of God, &c., may be mentioned. But if any one does not find himself oppressed with these, or greater sins, he should not be solicitous, or strive to hunt after imaginary sins, and thus make a torture out of confession, but mention one or two, which he knows. Thus: – In particular I confess, that I have once profaned the name of God; again, I have once been immodest in expression, have once neglected this or that, &c. Let this suffice.
But if he is unconscious of any, (which however is almost impossible,) let him mention none in particular, but receive the remission after having made a general confession to God in presence of the minister.
Here the minister shall say:
God be merciful unto thee, and strengthen thy faith. Amen.
Further: – Dost thou believe the remission which I announce, to be the remission of God? Answer. Yes, beloved Sir.
Then he shall say:
Be it unto thee, as thou believest. And I, by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, announce unto thee the forgiveness of thy sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Depart in peace.
But those who have great distress of conscience, or who are grieved and disturbed, the minister will not be at a loss to console with more passages of Scripture, and to incite to faith. This shall be only a common form of confession for the uncultivated.