Commination

COMMINATION. The word means a threat, or denunciation of vengeance. The Service, so-called in our Prayer Book, took its present shape in 1549. It is, as the first exhortation states, an imperfect substitute for the primitive practice of open penance. Notice that in using this Service we do not invoke the wrath of God on sinners, but merely declare that a curse must rest on sin. The Service is used on Ash Wednesday, although, if ordered, it may be used at other times. The first seven sentences are from Deut. xxvii.15-26; the eighth is from Jer. xvii.5; the ninth is an agglomeration of sins condemned in Scripture. The Amen  here means not So be it, but So it is. The exhortation which follows is a succession of quotations from Scripture. The Rubric mentions the "place where they are accustomed to say the Litany," which place is neither the pulpit  nor reading pew  mentioned in the first Rubric in the Office, but is a desk placed "in the midst of the church" (Injunctions of 1549). Following the Lord's Prayer, Versicles, and Collects, comes a most forcible confession couched in the words of Scripture, but less comprehensive than those of the Morning and Communion Services. The Blessing, added in 1662, is a shortened form of the old Jewish Blessing (Num. vi.24-26), but here it is precatory not declaratory.