The manner of liturgical recitation of the pericopes was followed throughout in Saxony, as also in Pomerania, the Mark, and part of Lower Saxony; in another part of Lower Saxony, and in Austria, it was left free whether the pericopes were to be spoken or sung, while in other areas, speaking was only permitted if the pastor did not have a sufficient gift for singing. And so it remained for some time. Thus Johann Schrader, in his Formular-Buch (1621) bears witness that it was still “in use in larger cities” and that in Magdeburg some years before, a book had been printed in folio “in which all the Epistles and Gospels were set to notation.”Thus Johannes Schrader is an interesting witness to the continuation of liturgical practice in the era of Lutheran Orthodoxy. With this in mind, I offer here a brief survey of his aforementioned Formular-Buch, using the 1670 edition (5th edition).
The title indicates the purpose and function of the Formulary: "All Manner of Christian Expressions and Ceremonies Which a Minister May Employ in the Execution of His Office; with particular care that hardly the most insignificant requirement of the minstry should slip through and not be included . . . by Johannes Schraderus Aegelensis, Pastor of Alvensleben in the Archbishopric of Magdeburg, and Poet Laureate.
In the preface to those preachers committed to the unaltered Augsburg Confession, the author appeals to scripture (Rom. 12, Jer. 48) to exhort ministers to careful diligence in their office, warning that they will be called to account (Ezek. 33). Many, he notes, are very lazy and neglect their sheep out of greed, seeking only temporal sustenance. Many others do not know how to come to their aid with salutary teaching, consolation, and reminders, or assist the ill quid pro quo like an inexperienced physician, or put the same kind of bandage on every kind of wound. Though he is weak and cannot himself boast of any greater ability in this regard, the author hopes by God's help to fulfill his office faithfully and not to eat his bread with sin. As St. Paul admonishes in 2 Tim. 1, formam tene sanorum verborum, Keep the form of sound words. He has not simply babbled whatever came to mind, but having meditated on scripture and church agendas as well as Luther's hymnal, Catechism, and other authors, the author compiled this book for cases of need from various formulas of absolution, consolation, prayer, and similar required acts of the ministry, intending its use only for private circles. After being encouraged by friends, he decided to share it for the good of his neighbors in the ministry as well, and have it published. In the process it increased greatly, and the little Absolution book became much longer than he had originally meant. The power of the keys is an important part of the holy ministry, and is very encouraging in private absolution (as held in the Lutheran churches) when a father confessor can relate to his sheep and call them by name according to his opportunity (John 10), and bring old and new treasures out of his treasury and not always wander with the same thread. For this reason he has gathered together a great variety of formulas and examples of Absolution, not only for his own parishioners, but also for those doesn't know, and not only for chief festivals, but for every Sunday of the year. IF a faithful minister would simply look through this book for fifteen minutes before hearing penitents confess in church, or making visitations to the sick, he will usually find something of service, and perhaps that he had not thought of before. So pastors, both young and seasoned veterans, should read this book with the author's best intentions in mind, and without a feeling of duress or compulsion; and older, learned pastors should not think that the author hereby prescribes anything for them, but he counts them rather as his teachers, and commends all to the Lord's grace and protection. The signature is dated 1619.
I. Protestation. Admonish penitents to three things:
A. True repentance and sorrow for sin.
B. Faith in Christ the Mediator.
C. New obedience and Christian life. * The author notes: "And though Master Sophisticus and Brother Envious, whose tricks have long been known, wrinkle their nose at this and try to accuse me of teaching three parts in penitence, I protest and explain that I call for the third, namely, newness of life, as a fruit of true repentance and conversion, not as a part in itself, as can be seen from the First Formula and others.
II. Quotes and prayers on hearing confession.
III. First Formula of Absolution for General Cases.
A. Longer examples.
B. Shorter examples (from Luther's SC and various Church Agendas and Orders).
IV. Second Formula: for appropriate persons on certain feasts.
A. Formulas for festivals: Christmas, Circumcision, Epiphany, etc., also useable for other days.
B. Formulae "imperfectae": formulas for non-festival Sundays (Advent I to Trinity XXVI)
V. Third Formula: special cases.
A. For various sacred and profane callings, the sick, widows, mothers, etc.
1. Many are given in Latin first, followed by a German version.
B. Formulae "imperfectae": merchants, laborers, soldiers, sailors, heralds, condemned to death, etc.
VI. Fourth Formula: public absolution.
A. Formulas for groups from church orders.
B. Formulas for those doing public repentance.
C. Formulas for excommunication from church orders, etc., long and brief.
D. Formulas for receiving the excommunicated.
VOLUMES TWO & THREE
Volume Two deals with prayer, the celebration of the Sacrament, churching of new mothers, catechesis, the coupling of spouses, ordination and investiture of new preachers, and burials. Appended are two indices for psalms on various feasts and Sundays. Volume Three contains formulas for use with the sick, dying, afflicted, and all in tribulation, pregnant women in travail, for dealing with a stillbirth or birth of a physically handicapped child, for widows and orphans, for those driven to misery, or having suffered by fire or water, for the melancholy and depressed, for those bodily possessed, and for criminals condemned to death. These will be looked at more closely in a future post.