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of our surfeiting on holy things. In this we resemble those murmurers who despised the bread of heaven, because they had it daily, and loathed manna itself, calling it in scorn dry meat. This was sufficient to sustain their bodies, and satisfie their hunger, but they required meat for their souls,' that is, to feed their fancies and their lusts; even as we do, for whom the Church hath provided prayers sufficient to express our needs, but not to satiate our wanton fancies, nor gratifie the lust of our curiosity; and we complain they are insipid ; so perhaps they are to such, for the manna had no taste to the wicked; but it suited itself to the appetite and taste of every good man, as the Jews tell us in their traditions. Sure I am it is true here: for if we be curious and proud, or carnal and profane, there is no gust in the Common Prayers ; but a truly pious man can every day here exercise repentance and faith, love and desire, and so use them as to obtain fresh hopes of mercy, peace of conscience, increase of grace, and expectations of glory; and whoever finds not this, the fault is not in the prayers, but in the indisposition of his own heart.”—Dr. Comber's “ Discourse on the daily frequenting of the Common Prayer."
59. “ I conclude this preface with a twofold request : First to my brethren of the clergy, that they will read these prayers so frequently, that such as have leisure may never want opportunity thus to serve God; and so fervently, that those who do attend them, may be brought into an high esteem of them. It was a great end to God's instituting the priest's office, and a principal motive to our pious ancestors in their liberal provisions for it : That there might be an order of men on purpose, to pray daily for all mankind, especially for such as could not daily attend Divine Service : So that if we neglect this daily sacrifice, we neither answer the designs of God nor of our benefactors.
we are not excused by, so we ought not to be discouraged at the people's slowness in coming to daily prayers, for the ir presence is indeed a comfort to us, and an advantage to themselves ; but their absence doth not hinder the success, nor should it obstruct the performance of our prayers. The promise of Jesus is made to two or three; and since our petitions are
directed to God, we need not regard who is absent, so long as He is present, to whom we speak; for He accepts our requests, not by the number, but the sincerity of those that make them. Let our congregation, therefore, be great or small, it is our duty to reade these prayers daily; and every day to doe it with such fervency and reverence, as may declare that our affections keep pace with our words, while we are presenting so excellent requests to so infinite a Majesty upon so weighty occasions. . . And if the people daily come, and constantly use the Common Prayer in this manner, they will neither be tired with the length, nor wearied with the frequent repetition thereof; for it will appear to be the most noble and comfortable exercise that religion doth afford; it will increase their graces, multiply their blessings, and fit them for the never-ceasing service of the heavenly choir.”—Ibid. sub fin.
60. Bp. Bull.—“When the Bishop came to live at Brecknock, they had publick prayers in that place only upon Wednesdays and Fridays, but by his care, during his stay there, they have prayers now every morning and evening in the week. The method he took to establish this daily exercise of devotion was briefly this : Upon his visiting the college in that town, he made the following proposal to the prebendaries, that whereas they had each of them a certain yearly stipend under the name of a pension out of their respective prebends, towards reading of daily prayers in the college chapel, which by reason of its distance from the body of the town were very little frequented, and indeed hardly by any but the scholars of the free-school, which is adjoining to it; whether it would not be a very useful and acceptable piece of service to the town, if those pensions should be applied to encourage the vicar of Brecknock to perform daily the morning and evening service in the town Church or Chapel, as it is usually called. This proposal appeared to them so reasonable, that they all readily agreed to it. By this means the vicarage is considerably augmented, and the college prayers are still kept up for the benefit of the scholars, to whom chiefly they could be of use since the ruin of the college, the master of the school having ever since discharged that duty; and the Bishop, for his encouragement, gave him a prebend just by the town, with a design that it might for ever be annexed to the school. And whereas at Caermarthen they had only morning prayers upon week days, when his Lordship first came to that town, he set up also constant evening prayers; and towards this additional labour he allowed the curate the yearly synodals of the archdeaconry; to which Mr. Archdeacon Tenison, who is very ready to contribute to all works of charity and piety, being then upon the place, added twenty shillings a year out of his revenue there; and the prayers are still kept up and well frequented."-- From the Life of Bishop Bull, by Mr. Nelson,
61. Bishop StillingflEET._“I could heartily wish that in greater places, especially in such towns where there are people more at liberty, the constant morning and evening prayers were duly and devoutly read, as it is already done with good success in London, and some other cities. By this means religion will gain ground, when the publick offices are daily performed ; and the people will be more acquainted with Scripture, in hearing the lessons ; and have a better esteem of the prayers, when they become their daily service, which they offer up to God as their morning and evening sacrifice ; and the design of our Church will be best answered, which appoints the order for morning and evening prayer to be said daily throughout the year.”— Charge to the Diocese of Worcester, 1690. Works, vol. iii. p. 630.
62. Bishop BeveridGE. -“ Daily prayers are slighted and neglected among us, far more, to our shame be it spoken, than among any other sort of people in the world. The Papists will rise up in judgment with this generation, for they every day observe their canonical hours for praying, at least, for that which they believe to be so. The Jews will rise up in judgment with this generation, for they never omitted to offer their daily sacrifices, so long as they had an house of God wherein to offer them. The Turks shall rise up in judgment with this generation, for when their priests call the people to prayer, as they do several times every day, they immediately run to their mosques or temples, and if any offer to stay at home, he is shunned by all, as a wicked atheistical wretch. The heathens will rise up in judgment with this generation, for if they had such opportunities as we have of praying and praising their Almighty CREATOR every day, I doubt not but they would do it far more constantly than it is done by most of us. What then can we expect but that some severe judgment or other will ere long be inflicted on us, when people generally live as without God in the world, notwithstanding the clear discoveries that He hath made of Himself unto them, and notwithstanding the means of grace which are so constantly administered to them, but they will not use them ?—Works, Vol. v. p. 234.
63. Bishop Gibson.—“ As for those, to whom God has given greater degrees of leisure from the business of life, to attend to reading, prayer, and other exercises and offices of religion ; they must remember that He will expect from them greater improvements in purity and goodness, suitable to the special advantages and opportunities which He has bestowed upon them. And among those may well be reckoned, the provisions made in these two great cities for daily prayers in the Church, which are attended by many serious Christians, to their great spiritual benefit, and might be attended by many more, without prejudice to health, or hindrance to business."-IVth Pastoral Letler. Ench. Theol. ï. 302.
64. ARCHBISHOP SECKER.- .“ But besides your and their duty on the Lord's day, it is appointed, that all ministers of parishes read prayers on holy-days, on Wednesdays, and Fridays ; and undoubtedly your endeavours to procure a congregation at such times ought not to be wanting. Were I to repeat to you the strong expressions which my great predecessor Bishop Fell used, in requiring this part of ecclesiastical duty, they would surprise you. But I content myself with saying that public worship was from the very first ages constantly performed on the two stationary days of each week ; that all holy-days appointed by the Church were carefully observed by the clergy, and the number of them now is not burthensorne ; that where you can get a competent number to attend at these times, you will act a very
pious and useful, as well as regular part ; that your own houses will sometimes furnish a small congregation, and what success you may have with others, nothing but trials, repeated from time to time, can inform you."-2nd Charge to the Clergy of the Diocese of Oxford, pp. 71, 2.
65. Bishop Butler.-" That which men have accounted religion in the several countries of the world, generally speaking, has had a great and conspicuous part in all public appearances, and the face of it been kept up with great reverence throughout all ranks, from the highest to the lowest ; not only upon occasional solemnities, but also in the daily course of behaviour. In the heathen world their superstition was the chief subject of statuary, sculpture, painting, and poetry. It mixed itself with business, civil forms, diversions, domestic entertainments, and every part of common life. The Mahometans are obliged to short devotions five times between morning and evening. In Roman Catholic countries, people cannot pass a day without having religion recalled to their thoughts, by some or other memorial of it; by some ceremony or public religious form occurring in their way; besides their frequent holydays, the short prayers they are daily called to, and the occasional devotions enjoined by confessors. By these means their superstition sinks deep into the minds of the people, and their religion also into the minds of such among them as are serious and well disposed. Our Reformers, considering that some of these observances were in themselves wrong and superstitious, and others of them made subservient to the purposes of superstition, abolished them, reduced the form of religion to great simplicity, and enjoined no more particular rules, nor left any thing more of what was external in religion, than was in a manner necessary to preserve a sense of religion itself upon the minds of the people. But a great part of this is neglected by the generality amongst us; for instance, the service of the Church, not only upon common days, but also upon saints' days, and several other things might be mentioned. Thus they have no customary admonition, no public call to recollect the thoughts of God and religion from