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66 THE PREFACE”
TO THE COMMON PRAYER BOOK.
The former part of “the Preface” was drawn up by Bishop Saunderson, approved by the Convocation, and ordered to be here printed.
It contains instructions concerning the Service in the Church; the reasons why some Ceremonies were abolished, and some retained; the order in which the Psalter, and the order in which the rest of the Holy Scriptures are appointed to be read.
Dr. John Pell, an eminent Linguist and Mathematical Professor, at Amsterdam and at Breda, assisted Archbishop Sancroft in reforming the Calendar in the Book of Common Prayer.
After “the Calendar, with the Table of Lessons,” follow “ Tables and Rules for the Moveable and Immoveable Feasts; together with the Days of Fasting and Abstinence, through the whole year:" particular Services, appointed for “ Certain Solemn Days;" and a “ Table to find Easter-Day.”
The Order for Morning Prayer daily throughout
the Year. These offices are prescribed and appointed to be the same throughout the whole National Church. It was anciently ordained, “ that all Governors of Churches, and their people should observe one and the same rite and order of service, which they knew to be appointed in the Metropolitan See."
• With one mind, and one mouth, glorify God.'
At the beginning of Morning Prayer the Minister
shall read with a loud Voice some one or more of these Sentences of the Scriptures that follow. And then he shall say that which is written after the said Sentences.
The sentences at the beginning are intended to prepare the congregation for the great duty, upon which they are about to enter. The first Book of King Edward began with the Lord's Prayer, but in the subsequent review. of it, these sentences, with the following Exhortation, Confession, and Absolution, were prefixed.
1 Con. Toletan, 11. c. 3.
m Rom. xv. 6.
The Exhortation declares to the people the end of their meeting; to prepare them for the performance of their devotions. " Before thou prayest, prepare thine heart."
A general Confession to be said of the whole
Congregation after the Minister, all kneeling.
Prepared by the previous Exhortation, the “Confession" properly follows. It is reasonable, that, before we offer up our praise to God, we intreat his pardon of our sins. This confession is most solemn and comprehensive. It includes every species of sin.
" Thou, even Thou only, knowest the hearts of the children of men.
It is “to be said by the whole Congregation.” Every one is enjoined to accompany the “Minister” in it.
We are also directed to “ kneel;" to place ourselves in the humble posture of suppliants; as a token of the abasement of ourselves. In our Sa. viour's prayers to his Father, we find him upon
n Ecclesiasticus xviii. 23,
• 1 Kings viii. 29.
his knees. The Evangelists often relate, that he “ kneeled down, and prayed.” ”
Among the Roman Catholics, the Priest alone recites the Confession for himself; and afterwards the Congregation recite the same for themselves. This custom divides that union, which in our Church subsists between the Priest and the
The Absolution or Remission of Sins, to be pro
nounced by the Priest alone, standing ; the People still kneeling.
The Absolution is pronounced by the “Priest." This word was inserted at the last review of our Liturgy, to limit the reading of it to the office of Priest."
In King Edward VIth's second Book, the “ Absolution" was first inserted. In all Books, till the restoration of King Charles II. the word in the rubric was “ Minister," not “ Priest ;" and at the Savoy conference, “Priest”
" Priest” was inserted
Luke xxiv. 41. 4 Πάντες, ώς εξ ενός σώματος και μιάς καρδιάς, τον της εξομολογήσεως ψαλμόν αναφέρεσι τω κυριω, ίδια εαυτών έκασος τα ρήματα της μητανοίας ποιουμενοι. Οmnes velut uno ore et corde uno, confessionis psalmum Deo offerunt, et suis quisque verbis pænitentiam profitetur. Basil Ep. 63. tom. ii. p. 843. D.
r The Savoy Conference, printed in Collier's Ecclesiastical History.
before the “ Absolution," instead of “Minister." “ Minister” means any one who ministers in the holy office, of what order soever he be.
The Absolution, which the Church of England authorizes is ministerial, or declaratory of God's pardon upon the performance of the conditions which are required in the Gospel. It always supposes Faith and sincere Repentance, of which God alone is the judge. Among the early Christians, no other Absolution, except that which was declaratory and precatory, was known.
There are three forms of Absolution in the Common Prayer; in this place, in the “ Communion Service," and in the “Order for the Visitation of the Sick." Here the Priest speaks in the third person. In the “Communion Service," not in a declaratory, but in an optative
In the “ Visitation of the Sick," the Priest speaks in his own person, according to the commission given by our Saviour to the Apostles after his resurrection. “ Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted ; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.”s
It is to be said by the Priest alone. A Deacon is not permitted to pronounce it. The Congregation are, therefore, to hear it, not to join in it.
* John xx. 23.