Against an event thus to be dreaded, let every friend of vital piety, of primitive order, of evangelical worship, most solicitously guard. Let him repress in himself and in others all tendency to innovation, all disposition to find fault with a service, which has been deemed, through a long course of time, in the judgment of some of the wisest and best of men, to be the most perfect of human compositions. Above all, since we enjoy "such an excellent form of prayer, let us reverence it accordingly; resort to it frequently; attend to it devoutly; accompany it not only with our lips, but with our hearts; repeat what we are to repeat; and answer what we are to answer; join in every prayer of the minister with our mind, and in every response and Amen with our voice; and in all respects behave like those who are in the more immediate presence of God. Then will the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be always acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer."

Let every one who has received authority to minister in the sanctuary, and to present the prayers of the people at the throne of God. let him consider it as his most sacred

dary to perform the service with that dignity and correctness of manner, and above all, with that solemn and fervent spirit of piety, which proceeding unaffectedly from his own heart, will always find its way to the hearts. of the people, and engage them with him in

the sublime exercises of devotion.

"Lt thy priests, O Lord, be clothed with salvation, that the people may rejoice."-Bp. Hobart's Companion to the book of Common Prayer.

To the above remarks, we add the following commendations of the Liturgy, which are not less distinguished for their justness, than for their eloquence. They are from the peus of Bishop Newton, Bishop Jeremy Taylor, and Dean Comber.

Our Liturgy," says Bishop Newton, ordination, which in the most solemn manner, bind every minister to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Church

"was not the production of this or that man the compilers of it were, not only the best and wisest men of that age in this nation, but they consulted likewise the most eminent of the divines abroad, and had their approbation of it, and approved it yet farther themselves, by dying in its defence.

It was composed principally out of Scripture, or out of ancient liturgies and fathers. Even where entire parts and passages, are not borrowed, and the very words of Scripture or of the fathers are not taken or applied, yet their spirit and manner, their style and character are still preserved; and perhaps there is scarce any collect in our liturgy, scarce any sentiment or expression that may not be justified by the authority of one or other of them. What a comfort and satis. faction should it be to us, that we are such a sound part of the Holy Catholic Church, that we thus maintain the communion of saints; that we worship God in the same manner as the Martyrs and the Confessors and best of Christians did in the purest ages; and the spirit of their Liturgies, like the spirit of Elijah upon Elisha, hath descended in "a double portion" upon ours.

Our prayers are addressed to the proper object through the proper mediator; to the one God, through the "one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." Each collect begins with a solemn invocation of the one, and concludes with the prevailing merits and intercession of the other.

It is besides a great excellence of our service to have so many short distinct petitions. They are thus rendered more fit and easy to be remembered and repeated. Our Liturgy in this respect may be compared to a string of pearls, every one valuable, but altogether almost inestimable. If the whole was disposed in one continued prayer, though it might not be tedious, yet it would keep our minds upon the stretch too long together; whereas, these breaks and pauses give relief, our souls recover breath as it were, and we return to worship again with new spirit and vigour.

The variety of our service is another u

cellence in the composition of it, and con- | performed is worthy of the matter; our

tributes much to the keeping up of our attention and devotion. A sameness in any thing soon satiates and wearies us; and it is as difficult to keep the mind as it is the body long in one posture. But by the beautiful intermixture of prayer and praise, of supplication and thanksgiving, of confession and absolution, of hymns and creeds, of psalms and lessons, our weariness is relieved, our attention is renewed, and we are led on agreeably from one subject to another. The frame of our Liturgy is somewhat like the frame of the world; it is order in variety, and though all the parts are different, yet the whole is consistent and regular.

What renders it more excellent is its comprehensiveness. There is nothing that relates either to ourselves or others, nothing that concerns us either as men or members of society, nothing that conduces to our happiness in this world or in the world to come, but is comprehended in some or other of the petitions. It is easy while the minister is reading it, to appropriate and apply any passages to ourselves and our own case. A great deal is expressed but more is implied; and our devotions in our closets and in our families, we cannot better perhaps express than in the words of our Liturgy; it is so suited to all ranks and conditions, and adapted to all wants and occasions.

The congregation have particular reason to be pleased, as they have a larger share in our service than in any other whatever: and the minister and people mutually raise and inflame each others' devotions. It is a singular privilege, therefore, that our people enjoy of bearing so large a part in our service; and it is this that properly denominates ours, what really none else is, a book of COMMON prayer.

In a word, our Liturgy is in every respect excellently contrived, and fitted to promote true devotion. The language is so plain as to be level to the capacities of the meanest, and yet the sense is so noble as to raise the conceptions of the greatest. The manner too in which our service is

vestments are suitable and becoming and the very emblem of holiness, for as St. John saith "the fine linen clean and white is the righteousness of the saints;" our ceremonies neither too many nor too few, such as may excite and cherish, and not such as may distract and dissipate our devotions. All things are done as the Apostle would have them done, "decently and in order," and if our piety is not eminent and conspicuous in proportion to our advantages, it is because we are wanting to ourselves, not because our church has been wanting in making proper provision for us." Bishop Newton.

"The Liturgy of the Church of England," says Bishop Jeremy Taylor, "hath advantages so many and considerable, as not only to raise itself above the devotions of other Churches, but to endear the affections of good people to be in love with Liturgies in general. To the Churches of the Roman Communion we can say that ours is Reformed to the Reformed Churches we can say, that it is orderly and decent. For we were freed from the impositions and lasting errors of a tyrannical spirit, and yet from the extravagances of a popular spirit too. Our Reformation was done without tumult, and yet we saw it necessary to reform: we were zealous to cast away the old errors; but our zeal was balanced with consideration, and the results of authority. We were not like women and children when they are affrighted with fire on their clothes; we shook off the coal indeed, but not our garments; lest we should have exposed our Church to that nakedness, which the excellent men of our sister Churches complained to be among themselves. And indeed it is no small advantage to our Liturgy, that it was the offspring of all that authority, which was to prescribe in matters of religion. So that it was not only reasonable and sacred, but free both from the indiscretion, and, which is very considerable, even from the scandal of popularity. That only, in which the Church of Rome had prevaricated

against the word of God, or innovated against apostolic tradition, was pared away. Great part of it consisted of the very words of Scripture, as the Psalms, Lessons, Hymns, Epistles, and Gospels: and the rest was in every particular made agreeable to it, and drawn from the Liturgies of the ancient Church. The Rubrics of it were written in the blood of some of the compilers, men famous in their generations; whose reputation and glory of martyrdom hath made it immodest for the best of men now to compare themselves with them. And its composure is so admirable, that the most industrious wits of its enemies can scarce find out an objection, of value enough to make a doubt, or scarce a scruple, in a serious spirit. There is no part of religion, but is in the offices of the Church of England. For, if the soul desires to be humbled, she hath forms provided of confession to God before his Church: if she will rejoice and give God thanks for particular blessings, there are forms of thanksgiving for all the solemn occasions, which could be foreseen, and for which provision could by public order be made: if she will commend to God the public and private necessities of the Church and single persons, the whole body of collects and devotions supplies them abundantly and if her devotions be high and pregnant, and prepared to fervency and importunity of congress with God, the Litany is an admirable pattern of devotion, full of circumstances proportionable to a quick and earnest spirit.-When the revolution of the anniversary calls on us, to perform our duty of special meditation on, and thankfulness to God for the glorious benefits of Christ's incarnation, nativity, passion, resurrection, and ascension, &c. then we have the offices of Christmas, the Annunciation, Good-Friday Easter, and Ascension, &c.; and the offices are so ordered, that, if they be summed up, they will make an excellent creed, and the very design of the day teaches the meaning of an Article. The life and death of the saints, which are very precious in the sight of God, are so remembered, that, by giving thanks and praise, God may be honoured;

the Church instructed by the proposition of their examples; and we give testimony of the honour and love we pay to religion, by our pious veneration and esteem of those holy and beatified persons. To which if we add the advantages of the whole Psalter, which is an entire body of devotion by itself, and hath in it forms to exercise all graces, by way of internal act and spiritual intention; there is not any ghostly advantage, which the most religious can either need or fancy, but what the English Liturgy, in its entire constitution, will furnish us withal."

Bishop Jeremy Taylor.

Though all the Churches in the world have, and ever had, forms of prayer; yet none was ever blessed with so comprehensive, so exact, and so inoffensive a composure as ours: which is so judiciously contrived, that the wisest may exercise at once their knowledge and devotion: and yet so plain, that the most ignorant may pray with understanding; so full that nothing is omitted which is fit to be asked in public; and so particular, that it compriseth most things which we would ask in private; and yet so short, as not to tire any that hath true devotion its doctrine is pure and primitive; its ceremonies so few and innocent, that most of the Christian world agree in them: its method is exact and natural; its language significant and perspicuous; most of the words and phrases being taken out of the holy Scriptures, and the rest are the expressions of the first and purest ages; so that whoever takes exception at these must quarrel with the language of the Holy Ghost, and fall out with the Church in her greatest innocence and in the opinion of the most impartial and excellent Grotious, (who was no member of, nor had any obligation to, this Church,) the English Liturgy comes so near to the primitive pattern, that none of the reformed Churches can compare with it.

And if any thing external be needful to recommend that which is so glorious within; we may add that the Compilers were [most of them] men of great piety and learning [and several of them] either martyrs or eon

fessors upon the restitution of Popery; which as it declares their piety, so doth the judicious digesting of these prayers evidence their learning. For therein the scholar may discern close logic, pleasing rhetoric, pure divinity, and the very marrow of the ancient doctrine and discipline; and yet all made so familiar, that the unlearned may safely say Amen. 1 Cor. xiv. 16.

Lastly, all these excellencies have obtained that universal reputation which these prayers enjoy in all the world: so that they are most deservedly admired by the eastern Churches, and had in great esteem by the most eminent Protestants beyond the sea, who are the most impartial judges that can be desired. In short, this Liturgy is honoured by all but the Romanist, whose interest it opposeth, and the Dissenters, whose prejudices will not let them see its lustre. Whence it is that they call that, which the Papists hate because it is Protestant, superstitious and popish. But when we consider that the best things in a bad world have the most enemies, as it doth not lessen its worth, so it must not abate our esteem, because it hath malicious and misguided adversaries.

How endless it is to dispute with these, the little success of the best arguments, managed by the wisest men, do too sadly testify: wherefore we shall endeavour to convince the enemies, by assisting the friends of our Church devotions: and by drawing the veil which the ignorance and indevotion of some, and the passion and prejudice of others, have cast over them, represent the Liturgy in its true and native lustre: which is so lovely and ravishing, that like the purest beauties, it needs no supplement of art and dressing, but conquers by its own attractions, and wins the affections of all but those who do not see it clearly. This will be sufficient to shew, that whoever desires no more than to worship God with zeal and knowledge, spirit and truth, purity and sincerity, may do it by these devout forms. And to this end may the God of peace give us all meek hearts, quiet spirits, and devout affections; and free us from all sloth and prejudice, that we may have full churches, frequent prayers, and fervent charity; that, uniting in our prayers here, we may all join in his praises hereafter, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Dean Comber.


BEFORE the Reformation the Liturgy was only in Latin, being a collection of prayers, made up partly of some ancient forms used in the primitive Church, and partly of some others of a later original, accommodated to the superstitions which had by various means crept by degrees into the Church of Rome, and were from thence derived to other Churches in communion with it; like what we may see in the present Roman Breviary and Missal. And these being established by the laws of the land, and the canons of the Church, no other could publicly be made use of: so that those of the laity, who had not the advantage of a learned education, could not join with them, or be any otherwise edified by them. And besides, they being mixed with addresses to the saints,

adoration of the host, images, &c. a great part of the worship was in itself idolatrous and profane.

But when the nation in King Henry VIII's time was disposed to a reformation, it was thought necessary to correct and amend these offices; and not only have the service of the Church in the English or vulgar tongue (that men might "pray, not with the spirit only, but with the understanding also ;" and "that he, who occupied the room of the unlearned, might understand that unto which he was to say Amen;" agreeably to the precept of St. Paul, 1 Cor. xiv. 15, 16,) but also to abolish and take away all that was idola trous and superstitious, in order to restore the service of the Church to its primitive purity. For it was not the design of ou

Reformers (nor indeed ought it to have been) to introduce a new form of worship into the Church, but to correct and amend the old one; and to purge it from those gross corruptions which had gradually crept into it; and so to render the divine service more agreeable to the Scriptures and to the doctrine and practice of the primitive Church in the best and purest ages of Christianity. In which reformation they proceeded gradually, according as they were able.

And first, the Convocation appointed a committee in the year of our Lord 1537, to compose a book, which was called, "The godly and pious institution of a Christen man :" containing a declaration of the Lord's Prayer, the Ave Maria, the Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Seven Sacraments, &c., which book was again published in the year 1540, and 1543, with corrections and alterations, under the title of "A necessary doctrine and erudition for any Christen man :" and, as it is expressed in that preface, was "set furthe by the King, with the advyse of his Clergy; the Lordes both spirituall and temporall, with the nether house of Parliament, having both sene and lyked it very well."

Also in the year 1540, a committee of bishops and divines was appointed by King Henry VIII, at the petition of the Convocation, to reform the rituals and office of the Church. And what was done by this committee for reforming the offices was reconsidered by the Convocation itself two or three years afterwards, namely, in February 1542-3. And in the next year the King and his Clergy ordered the prayers for procesans, and litanies, to be put into English, and to be publicly used. And finally, in the year 1545, the King's Primer came forth, wherein were contained, amongst other things, the Lord's Prayer, Creed, Ten Commandments, Venite, Te Deum, and other hymns and collects in English; and several of them in the same version in which we now use them. And this is all that appears to have been done in relation to liturgical matters in the reign of King Henry VIII.

In the year 1547, the first of King Edward VI, December the second, the Convocation declared the opinion, "nullo reclamante," that the Communion ought to be administered to all persons under "both kind." Whereupon an Act of Parliament was made, ordering the Communion to be so administered. And then a committee of bishops, and other learned divines, was appointed to compose "an uniform order of Communion, according to the rules of Scripture, and the use of the primitive Church." In order to this, the committee repaired to Windsor castle, and in that retirement, within a few days, drew up that form which is printed in Bishop Sparrow's collection. And this being immediately brought into use, the next year the same persons, being impowered by a new commission, prepared themselves to enter upon a yet nobler work; and in a few months' time finished the whole Liturgy, by drawing up public offices not only for sundays and Holidays, but for Baptism, Confirmation, Matrimony, Burial of the Dead, and other special occasions; which the forementioned office for the holy Communion was inserted, with many alterations and amendments. And the whole book being so framed, was set forth by the common agreement and full assent both of the Parliament and Convocations provincial;" that is the two Convocations of the provinces of Canterbury and York.


The committee appointed to compose this Liturgy were,

1. Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury; who was the chief promoter of our excellent Reformation; and had a principal hand, not only in compiling the Liturgy, but in all the steps made towards it. He died a martyr to the religion of the Reformation, which principally by his means had been established in the Church of England; being burnt at Oxford in the reign of Queen Mary, March 21, 1556.

2. Thomas Goodrich, Bishop of Ely. 3. Henry Holbech, alias Randes, Bishop of Lincoln.

4. George Day, Bishop of Chichester.

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