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PRAYERS AND THANKSGIVINGS,
UPON SEVERAL OCCASIONS,
TO BE USED BEFORE THE
TWO FINAL PRAYERS
OF 'THE LITANY, OR OF MORNING OR EVENING
Of these occasional prayers and thanksgivings, it may be proper to say, that the prayers for “rain," and for "fair weather," were in the first Book of King Edward VI., and then placed at the end of the Communion Service; to which, in the second Book of King Edward VI., were added the prayers in the time of dearth," "war," and “plague.” These five prayers were then inserted in the place, where they now are. The prayers for “Ember Weeks,” for the “ Parliament," and “ for all conditions of men," were added at the last Review, in 1661. In Canon 31, Anno 1603, it was ordered, that Deacons and Ministers be ordained only on the Sundays immediately following the Jejunia quatuor temporum, commonly called “Ember Weeks." This decree is as old as Gelasius, who appointed them about the year 530.
THE COLLECTS, EPISTLES, AND GOSPELS, TO BE
USED THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.
THE FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT.
The following “Epistles” and “ Gospels” seem to be taken from Coverdale's Translation, printed in 1540.
The Canonical year commences with “ Advent.” This Sunday is always nearest to the commemoration of St. Andrew.
“ Advent” was a Fast, nearly coeval in its institution with the Feast of the Nativity itself. The duration of this Fast varied at different periods, and was intended to dispose Christians to the due celebration of our Lord's Nativity.
Four “ Advent" Sundays are appointed before Christmas, as a preparation for the Advent of Christ in the flesh.
The “ Collect” is taken out of, and refers to, both the Epistle and Gospel. The first part is clearly the words of the Epistle. The “ Epistle” prepares us to behold his coming with joy and gladness.” The “Gospel” refers also to the birth
m Isaiah lx. 1.
of Christ, as well as to his Passion. « Blessed is He, that cometh in the name of the Lord."
THE SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT.
The “ Collect” is taken from the " Epistle," and is an excellent prayer for all times. The
Epistle” mentions the first coming of Christ, for the salvation even of the Gentiles. The Gospel alludes to the second coming of Christ to Judgment; which is an excellent preparation for the welcome reception of his first coming.
THE THIRD SUNDAY IN ADVENT.
This Week is one of the four Ember Weeks. The “Epistle” mentions the second coming of Christ; the “Gospel" the first coming. The “ Collect" prays for the benefit of it.
THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN ADVENT.
The “ Collect" prays for mercy to miserable sinners. The
Epistle” and “Gospel” present Christ before us, not in prophecy, but in reality. " Behold the Lamb of God.”
THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD, OR THE BIRTH-DAY
OF CHRIST, COMMONLY CALLED CHRISTMAS-DAY.
The “ Collect," “ Epistle," and " Gospel," are all plainly suitable to the Day; as well as the Psalms for the Evening Service, and the Lessons for both. The observation of this day was never omitted in the earliest times."
In King Edward's first Book, the Eucharist was twice celebrated upon Christmas Day. In the second Communion, the Introit, Collect, Epistle, and Gospel, were different from those of the first. In King Edward's second Book, the first Communion was omitted.
st. STEPHEN'S DAY.-ST. JOHN THE EVANGE
LIST'S DAY.-THE INNOCENTS' DAY.
Immediately after Christmas, follow the Festivals of “St. Stephen," "St. John," and “Innocents ;' not because this was the time of their suffering, but because they were fit attendants upon the Nativity of Christ. St. Stephen first, who suffered Martyrdom, in the acknowledgment of the Faith : St. John, who was miraculously delivered out of the boiling caldron, into which he was put before Port-Latin in Rome; the holy Innocents, who were esteemed Martyrs, because they suffered for Christ; whose praise these his witnesses confessed, and “ shewed forth not in speaking, but in dying." The observation of these days is very ancient. St. Augustine has sermons upon all these days. St. Chrysostom has sermons upon St. Stephen and Innocents; and Origen mentions it in his commentary upon the words, a voice was heard in Rama."
n St. Augustine Ep. 119.-St. Chrysostom, Orat. de Natal. Dom. Tom. 5. Edit. Savile.
THE SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS-DAY.
This Sunday has the same " Collect” as on Christmas-day. The “ Epistle ” and “ Gospel,” have reference to the birth of Christ.
THE CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST.
This Feast is supposed to be of later institution. Many of the ancients, indeed, mention the Octave of Christmas and New-year's-Day, but do not mention the Feasts of Circumcision. The “ Epistle,” “Gospel,” and “ Collect,” are particularly adapted to the service of the day.
o Tom. 10.