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RITES and CEREMONIES of the CHURCH,
According to the Ufe of the Church of England,
"How blefs'd are they who always keep the pure and perfect way!
CARLISLE: Printed by J. HARRISON; of whom may
M DCC LXXIX.
PRE F A C E.
E can no way more effectually acknowledge our de pendance upon the Almighty, in this state of mortality, than by public and COMMON PRAYER..
St Chryfoftom has juftly obferved, that the neglect of public worthip forebodes the coming of Antichrift; and the Scripture in many places characterifes the bad man, as one that does not call upon God, and that lives without God in the world. It feems, indeed, highly probable that all the fins of this age, derive their fource from the neglect of attending divine service.
It is to little purpofe, indeed, to inculcate devotion to men, or any manner of performing it; unless we can at the fame time convince them, of the neceffity and duty of frequenting the CHURCH. Many perfons palliate their negleft of this duty, by pleas of worldly bufinefs and the care which God, as the God of Nature and great preserver of men requires of them for their families. It is certain that the gracious Sovereign of the Universe has not only allowed, but commanded us to do What we have to do in the fix days; remembering always to keep the Sabbath-day holy. But for those perfons who are not neceffarily engaged, or who have fervants under them, to neglect the public worship of God, is utterly inexcufable; and I fincerely wish that every fuch neglecter of duty, would lay his hand upon his heart, and ask himself seriously, how he can permit the pleasures of life to engross that time from the bufinefs of it, which he will not allow to the worship of his God?
A punctual and careful performance of religious duties, neceffarily lead us to the practice of all focial virtues.-But
from those who can prefume to neglect their duty to God, their best friend and benefactor, little is to be expected with regard to other obligations.-But as I chufe rather to reformi than to upbraid, I fhall only add, that the crime of neglecting the public worship is greatly aggravated by the excellence of our form of Prayer, and regular mode of worship. David fays, I will praise thee with the understanding also. Now God is not only the fupreme and tranfcendent Being to whom we owe all we poffefs, on the eafy condition of making our requests known unto him; but he is also an infinitely wife and perfect Judge of all our words and actions : And as we are cautioned in Scripture against prophane babling, it is of no little moment for us, in our addreffes to God, to study the best expreffions in our power, as well as the most devout manner of delivering them.
But if abfenters from the divine fervice of our Church, or those who may object to our COMMON PRAYER, will candidly and impartially perufe the following pages, I flatter myfelf, they will find this Liturgy to be fo excellent a compofition as to charm them to attendance; fo plain, that it may be understood by thofe of the meaneft capacity; fo full, that it contains every thing effential; and fo concife, that no devout man can be wearied with it: Its doctrine is pure, its ceremonies few; its method accurate, and all the expreffions made ufe of in it are taken from Scripture, and orthodox antiquity. And, as the learned Grotius has declared, it comes nearer to the primitive forms than any Liturgy in the world. It was compofed by men eminent for their piety and learning, moft of whom died martyrs to the Proteftant Faith; and it is held in the highest esteem by all the reformed churches abroad.
Forms of Prayer were used by God's worshippers under the Old Teftament difpenfation, and by Chrift himself under the New; he taught his difciples a form, and all christians, both in the Greek, Latin, and reformed churches, till make ufe of forms. But it is proper, in this place, to give the reader fome information concerning the time of compofing and the compilers of our Liturgy.
Archbishop Cranmer, in the reign of HENRY VIII. did his utmost to procure an English Liturgy, and to reform it from all the abufes of Popery.
It was not however poffible to effect it in that reign; the worthy prelate however caufed a Primer to be printed, in which, the Venite, te Deum, Benedictus, &c. together with the Lord's Prayer, Creed, and Ten Commandments, are tranflated into English; and thefe tranflations are still ufed in our Common Prayer-Book, excepting only the Pfalms. But in the reign of EDWARD VI. the following thirteen persons were employed to draw up the common Service; Anno Dom. 1548.
Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury; Thomas Goodrick, bishop of Ely; Henry Holbech, bishop of Lincoln George Day, bishop of Chichester; John Skip, bishop of Hereford; Thomas Thirlby, bishop of Westminster; Nicholas Ridley, bishop of Rochester; Richard Cox, dean of Christ Church, and almoner to the king; Dr May, dean of St Pauls; Dr Taylor, dean of Lincoln; Dr Heyns, dean of Exeter; Dr Robinfon, dean of Durham; Dr Ridley, mafter of TrinityCollege.
Shortly after, the fame reverend divines were commiffioned to compile the Liturgy; which being done, it was confirm'd by act of parliament, in the fecond year of EDWARD VI. This, I apprehend, is fufficient to prepare the reader for the perufal of this Paraphrafe; and may the Almighty give his bleffing to thefe my weak endeavours, and caufe my labours to contribute to his glory, the honour of our holy religion, and the falvation of mankind.
THE OLD PREFACE.
T hath been the wisdom of the Church of England, ever fince the first
I compiling of her Public Liturgy, to keep the mean between the five
extreams, of two much stiffness in refufing, and of too much eafinefs in admitting any variation from it. For as on the one fide common experi