Page images












The Psalter or Psalms of David,





And sold by E. GARDNER, at the Oxford Bible Warehouse, Paternoster Row, London.

[blocks in formation]

T hath been the wisdom of the of the Land, and those Laws never


the first compiling of her Publick unhappy confusions, to be disconLiturgy, to keep the mean between tinned, is too well known to the world, the two extremes, of too much stiff- and we are not willing here to rememness in refusing, and of too much easi- ber. But when, upon His Majesty's ness in admitting any variation from happy Restoration, it seemed proit. For, as on the one side common bable, that, amongst other things, the experience sheweth, that where a use of the Liturgy would also return change hath been made of things ad- of course (the same having never been visedly established (no evident neces- legally abolished) unless some timely sity so requiring) sundry inconveni- means were used to prevent it; those ences have thereupon ensued; and men who under the late usurped those many times more and greater powers had made it a great part of than the evils, that were intended to be their business to render the people disremedied by such ekange: So on the affected thereunto, saw themselves in other side, the particular Forms of point of Reputation and Interest conDivine worship, and the Rites and cerned (unless they would freely acCeremonies appointed to be used knowledge themselves to have erred, therein, being things in their own nawhich such men are very hardly ture indifferent, and alterable, and so brought to do) with their utmost enacknowledged; it is but reasonable, deavours to hinder the restitution that upon weighty and important con- thereof. In order whereunto divers siderations, according to the various Pamphlets were published against the exigency of times and occasions, such Book of Common Prayer, the old changes and alterations should be Objections mustered up, with the admade therein, as to those that are in dition of some new ones, more than place of Authority should from time formerly had been made, to make the to time seem either necessary or exnumber swell. In fine, great imporpedient. Accordingly we find, that tunities were used to His Sacred Main the Reigns of several Princes of jesty, that the said Book might be reblessed memory since the Reforma- vised, and such Alterations therein, tion, the Church, upon just and and Additions thereunto made, as weighty considerations her thereunto should be thought requisite for the moving, hath yielded to make such ease of tender Consciences: whereunto alterations in some particulars, as in His Majesty, out of his pious inclinatheir respective times were thought tion to give satisfaction (so far as could convenient: Yet so, as that the main be reasonably expected) to all his subBody and Essentials of it (as well injects of what persuasion soever, did the chiefest materials, as in the frame graciously condescend. and order thereof) have still continued the same unto this day, and do yet stand firm and unshaken, notwithstanding all the vain attempts and im-like case in former times. And therepetuous assaults made against it, by such men as are given to change, and have always discovered a greater regard to their own private fancies and interests, than to that duty they owe to the publick.

By what undue means, and for what mischievous purposes the use of the Liturgy (though enjoined by the Laws

In which review we have endeavoured to observe the like moderation, as we find to have been used in the

fore of the sundry alterations proposed unto us, we have rejected all such as were either of dangerous consequence (as secretly striking at some established Doctrine, or laudable Practice of the Church of England, or indeed of the whole Catholick Church of Christ) or else of no consequence at all, but utterly frivolous and vain.

But such alterations as were tendered to us (by what persons, under what pretences, or to what purpose soever tendered) as seemed to us in any degree requisite or expedient, we have willingly, and of our own accord assented unto: not enforced so to do by any strength of Argument, convincing us of the necessity of making the said Alterations: For we are fully persuaded in our judgements (and we here profess it to the world) that the Book, as it stood before established by Law, doth not contain in it any thing contrary to the Word of God, or to sound Doctrine, or which a godly man may not with a good Conscience use and submit unto, or which is not fairly defensible against any that shall oppose the same; if it shall be allowed such just and favourable construction as in common Equity ought to be allowed to all human Writings, especially such as are set forth by Authority, and even to the very best translations of the holy Scripture itself,

Our general aim therefore in this undertaking was, not to gratify this or that party in any their unreasonable demands; but to do that, which to our best understandings we conceived inight most tend to the preservation of Peace and Unity in the Church; the procuring of Reverence, and exciting of Piety and Devotion in the publick Worship of God; and the cutting off occasion from them that seek occasion of cavil or quarrel against the Liturgy of the Church. And as to the several variations from the former Book, whether by Alteration, Addition, or otherwise, it shall suffice to give this general account, That most of the Alterations were made, either first, for the better direction of them that are to officiate in any part of Divine Service; which is chiefly done in the Calendars and Rubricks: Or secondly, for the more proper expressing of some words or phrases of ancient usage in terms more suitable to the language of the present times, and the clearer explanation of some other

words and phrases, that were either of doubtful signification, or otherwise liable to misconstruction: Or thirdly, for a more perfect rendering of such portions of holy Scripture, as are inserted into the Liturgy; which, in the Epistles and Gospels especially, and in sundry other places, are now ordered to be read according to the last Translation: and that it was thought convenient, that some Prayers and Thanksgivings, fitted to special occasions, should be added in their due places; particularly for those at Sea, together with an Office for the Baptism of such as are of riper years: which, although not so necessary when the former Book was compiled, yet by the growth of Anabaptism, through the licentiousness of the late times crept in amongst us, is now become necessary, and may be always useful for the baptizing of Natives in our Plantations, and others converted to the Faith. If any man, who shall desire a more particular account of the several Alterations in any part of the Liturgy, shall take the pains to compare the present Book with the former; we doubt not but the reason of the change may easily appear.

And having thus endeavoured to discharge our duties in this weighty affair, as in the sight of God, and to approve our sincerity therein (so far as lay in us) to the consciences of all men; although we know it impossible (in such variety of apprehensions, humours, and interests, as are in the world) to please all; nor can expect that men of factious, peevish, and perverse spirits should be satisfied with any thing that can be done in this kind by any other than themselves: Yet we have good hope, that what is here presented, and hath been by the Convocations of both Provinces with great diligence examined and approved, will be also well accepted and approved by all sober, peaceable, and truly conscientious Sons of the Church of England.

HERE was never any thing by
of mat er

or so sure established, which in conti-
nuance of time hath not been corrupt-
ed: As, among other things, it may
plainly appear by the Common Pray-
ers in the Church, commonly called
Divine Service. The first original and
ground whereof if a man would search
out by the ancient Fathers, he shall
find, that the same was not ordained
but of a good purpose, and for a
great advancement of godliness. For
they so ordered the matter, that all
the whole Bible (or the greatest part
thereof) should be read over once
every year; intending thereby, that
the Clergy, and especially such as were
Ministers in the Congregation, should
(by often reading, and meditation in
God's word) be stirred up to godli-
ness themselves; and be more able to
exhort others by wholesome Doctrine,
and to confute them that were adver-
saries to the Truth; and further, that
the people (by daily hearing of holy
Scripture read in the Church) might
continually profit more and more in
the knowledge of God, and be the
more inflamed with the love of his
true Religion.

[ocr errors]

many years hath been read in Latin to the people, which they understand not; so that they have heard with their ears only, and their heart, spirit, and mind, have not been edified thereby. And furthermore, notwithstanding that the ancient Fathers have divided the Psalms into seven Portions, whereof every one was called a Nocturn: Now of late time a few of them have been daily said, and the rest utterly omitted. Moreover, the number and hardness of the Rules called the Pie, and the manifold changings of the Service, was the cause, that to turn the Book only was so hard and intricate a matter, that many times there was more business to find out what should be read, than to read it when it was found out.

These inconveniences therefore considered, here is set forth such an Order, whereby the same shall be redressed. And for a readiness in this matter, here is drawn out a Calendar for that purpose, which is plain and easy to be understood; wherein (so much as may be) the reading of holy Scripture is so set forth, that all things shall be done in order, without breaking one piece from another. For this cause be cut off Anthems, Responds, Invitatories, and such like things as did break the continual course of the reading of the Scripture.

But these many years passed, this godly and decent order of the ancient Fathers hath been so altered, broken, and neglected, by planting in uncertain Stories, and Legends, with multitude Yet, because there is no remedy, of Responds, Verses, vain Repetitions, but that of necessity there must be Commemorations, and Synodals; that some Rules; therefore certain Rules commonly when any Book of the are here set forth; which, as they are Bible was begun, after three or four few in number, so they are plain and Chapters were read out, all the rest easy to be understood. So that here were unread. And in this sort the you have an Order for Prayer, and Book of Isaiah was begun in Advent, for the reading of the holy Scripture, and the Book of Genesis in Septua- much agreeable to the mind and purgesima; but they were only begun, pase of the old Fathers, and a great and never read through: After like deal more profitable and commodious, sort were other Books of holy Scrip- than that which of late was used. It ture used. And moreover, whereas is more profitable, because here are St. Paul would have such language left out many things, whereof some spoken to the people in the Church, are untrue, some uncertain, some vain as they might understand, and have and superstitious; and nothing is orprofit by hearing the same; The Ser-dained to be read, but the very pure vice in this Church of England these Word of God, the holy Scriptures, or

« PreviousContinue »