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Thanksgiving, were added: several of the Collects were altered; the Epistles and Gospels were taken out of the last translation of the Bible in the time of King James, being read before out of what is called Cranmer's translation; the Office of Baptism for those of riper Years, and the Forms of Prayer to be used at Sea, were added. A more particular account of what was done, at this Review, may be seen in the Preface to the Common Prayer Book.
Thus was the whole Liturgy brought to the state in which we now see it. It was unanimously subscribed by both Houses of Convocation 20th of Dec. 1661, and was established by the last Act of Uniformity, Stat. 13 and 14 Car. II. chap. iv.; when Lord Chancellor Clarendon was charged by the House, to return the thanks of the Lords to the Bishops and Clergy of both provinces, for the great care and industry shewn in the Review.
This Liturgical work is spoken of in the Statute of Charles II. as consisting of three distinct books,-1st. " the Book of "Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments "and Rites, and Ceremonies of the Church, according to "the use of the Church of England; together with-2dly. the "Psalter or Psalms of David, pointed as they are to be sung or said in Churches; and-3dly. the Form or Manner of "making, ordaining, and consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and "Deacons."
Such is the History of the Common Prayer, and of the several Reviews it has undergone; from which it appears, that in the successive stages of this national work of religion and piety, there has invariably been an union of all the ability, and all the authority, which the Church and State could contribute. The matter has always been planned, digested, and approved by the Bishops and Clergy, first under regular Commissions, and afterwards in full Convocation; and the whole result has then been sanctioned by the King, with the advice, and consent, of the three estates of the realm; so that it stands upon the joint foundations of ecclesiastical, and civil authority.
Our Common Prayer, thus framed upon the most approved models of primitive Christianity, and brought to its present state, after successive revisions, by our own divines, has been judged to be as comprehensive, and as unexceptionable a Form of Public Service, as is used in any Church in the world. We have the testimony of the celebrated Grotius, that it
comes nearer to the primitive patterns, than those of any of the Reformed Churches. It has always been in high esteem with the most eminent Protestants abroad; and it has been admired even in the Eastern Churches: it is disapproved only by the Papists, who grudge, that it retains not more of their service; and by the Dissenters, who are jealous, that it retains any of it at all. Among impartial judges it must be owned, to be so judiciously contrived, as that the wisest may there exercise at once their knowledge and devotion; and yet so plain, that the most ignorant may pray out of it, with understanding; so full, that nothing is omitted which is fit to be asked in public; so particular, that it comprises most things, which we would ask in private ; and yet so short, as not to tire any, that have 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 Scriptures; the rest are the expressions of the first and purest ages. In such Forms as these, there are few, surely, who may not consent to worship God, if they desire only to do it, with zeal and knowledge, spirit and truth, purity and sincerity.
There have been since annexed to the Common Prayer Book, by royal authority, renewed at the beginning of every reign, four Services; those for the 5th of November; 30th of January; and 29th of May; and that for the Inauguration. In the Irish Common Prayer Book, there has been added, by the authority of the Lord Lieutenant, a Service, for the Visitation of Prisoners.
The whole of the Book, as now finally settled, consists of the following parts; The Common Prayer, containing the services that were in the first, and subsequent Prayer Books, to which, the Forms of Prayer to be used at Sea, were added at the last Review: The Psalter, which was always a distinct Book from the Common Prayer, till the last Review: The Form of Ordaining and Consecrating; which also, before the last Review, was a distinct Book; and lastly, the annexed Services, which have been added since the last Review, by royal authority. These Four Parts comprehend in them five distinct heads, or classes of matter; namely, Common Prayer, Sacraments, Rites and Ceremonies, the Psalter, and Ordaining and Consecrating, as they are particularly specified in the Title-page of the Book.
Out of these, it is meant, to select for comment and illustration, only the Congregational Services; that is, such as come under the class of Common, or Public Prayer, the Sacrament of the Communion, and the Psalter.
OF THE ORDER FOR MORNING AND EVENING PRAYER,
Daily to be said and used throughout the Year.
OF THE FIRST RUBRIC.
To have a clear understanding of the direction given in this first Rubric, for the Order of Morning and Evening Prayer, the Place where they are to be said, and the Ornaments of the Church and Minister, it will be proper to consider shortly the following circumstances.
God appointed to his peculiar people, the Jews, their set times of public devotion; commanding them to offer up two lambs daily, one in the morning, the other at even, Exod. xxix. 38. Numb. xxviii. 3. We find from other passages of Scripture, that these offerings were at their third and ninth hour, which correspond with our nine in the morning, and three in the afternoon. Thus these burnt offerings, being the types of the great Sacrifice, which Christ, the Lamb of God, was to offer up for the sins of the world, were actually sacrificed at the same hours wherein his death was begun, and finished; for about the third hour, or nine in the morning, he was delivered to Pilate, accused, examined, and condemned to die; about the sixth hour, or noon, this Lamb of God was laid upon the altar of the cross; and at the ninth hour, or three o'clock, he yielded up the Ghost.
Accordingly all Christian Churches have had their Morning and Evening public devotions: the Church of England, however, has not prescribed any fixed hour, but has left the determination thereof to the ministers that officiate, who appoint it according to the circumstances of respective places, and as they judge it most convenient and proper.
When Christianity became the established religion of the Eastern, and Western Empires, and Churches were built for the celebration of Divine Service, they gave to them an oblong form, which was chosen, it is said, as resembling a ship, a
common metaphor, by which the Church used to be represented; to remind us, that we are tossed up and down in this world, and that, out of the Church, there is no safe passage to Heaven, the country at which we all hope to arrive. It was always divided into two parts, the Nave, (probably from navis, a ship,) or body of the Church; and the Sacrarium, since called the Chancel, because it was divided from the body of the Church by slender rails, called Cancelli. The Nave was common to all the people, and was considered as representing the visible world; the Chancel was peculiar to the priests, and sacred persons, and in the eyes of pious speculation, was deemed to typify Heaven. This end of the Church was always to the East, in which they had a respect to Christ, who is stiled the Day Spring from on high, Luke, i. 78; for as the East is the birth-place of the natural day, so Christ is the true son of righteousness, who arose upon the world with the light of truth, when it sat in the darkness of error and ignorance. Since therefore we must in our prayers turn our faces to some quarter, it has been judged fittest, that it should be towards the East; which, for the above reasons, and from similar expressions in Scripture, has been deemed symbolically, to be the peculiar residence of God. In the Chancel always stood the Altar, or Communion Table, which none were allowed to approach, but such as were in Holy Orders, unless it was the Emperor, at the time when he made his offerings, who was immediately thereupon to return again. In our Cathedral Churches the choir is the Chancel.
Churches used to be solemnly consecrated; and the Dedications of them were celebrated with great festivity, and rejoicing. Besides the performance of divine offices, the singing of hymns and psalms, the reading and expounding of the Scripture, sermons, and orations, receiving the Holy Sacrament, prayers and thanksgiving, there were liberal alms bestowed on the poor, and great gifts made to the Church. These dedications were constantly commemorated afterwards, every year: this annual solemnity usually lasted eight days; and was one of the religious customs observed in this kingdom till the 28th Hen. VIII. when, by a decree of Convocation, confirmed by the King, Feasts of Dedication were ordered to be established in all places throughout England, on one and the same day, namely, the 1st of October. The Wakes, which are still observed in many country villages, and are generally holden upon the Sunday that follows the Saint's day, whose
name the church bears, are the remains, not of these dedications, but of the Old Church Holidays, which were feasts kept in memory of the Saint, to whose honour the Church was dedicated, and who was therefore always called the patron of such church. Every church, being the Lord's House, as the name imports, is in truth dedicated only to God; yet at its consecration it was generally distinguished by the name of some Angel, or Saint, chiefly, that the people, by frequently mentioning such distinguished names, might be excited to imitate those virtues, which holy men may acquire, and which belong inherently to Heavenly Beings.
Nothing need be said here upon so extensive a subject as the ministerial office and character, and the distinct orders of Bishop, Priest, and Deacon; the Rubric goes no further than to speak of their ornaments, which are to be retained as they were used in the second year of Edward VI. Thus we are referred to the first Common Prayer Book of Edward VI. where we find directions for wearing various articles of ornament in dress, which are now out of use, and hardly known to us; for, besides the Surplice and Hood, which are now used, there are the Rochette, or Albe; Cope, or Vestement; the Pastoral Staff, and Tunicle. Some of these were deemed to retain in them too much of the Popish reverence for indifferent things; and it was, accordingly, in the second Book of Edward VI. directed, that the minister should not, at the Communion, wear an albe, vestment, or cope; but, if a Bishop, he should have a rochette, and if a Priest or Deacon, a surplice only. However, in the next Review under Queen Elizabeth, the Rubric of the first Book was restored, which order has continued ever since; being, as we have just seen, referred to in our present Rubric.
The Surplice, or Superpelliceum, is said to be so called, because anciently this garment was put super tunicas PELLICEAS de pellibus mortuorum animalium factas, upon leathern coats, made of the hides of dead beasts, symbolically to represent, that the offence of our first parents, which brought us under a necessity of wearing garments of skin, was now hid and covered by the grace of Christ; and that, in consequence, we are clothed with the emblem of innocence. There is certainly very high example, and very long practice, for using a white garment in Divine worship. It is observable, that the Ancient
Kugann dinia, from whence kirche, kirk, church.