« PreviousContinue »
ence seweth, that where a change hath been made of things advisedly
a established (no evident neceflity fo requiring) sundry inconveniences have thereupon ensued; and those many times more and greater than the evils that were intended to be remedied by such change : So on the other side, the particular Forms of Divine worship, -and the Rites and Ceremonies appointed to be used therein, being things in their own nature indifferent, and alterable, and so acknowledged; it is but reasonable, that upon weighty and important considerations, according to the various exigency, of times and occasions, such changes and alterations should be made sherein, as to those that are in place of Authority Mould from time to time seem either necessary or expedient. Accordingly we find that in the Reigns of several Princes of blessed memory fince the Reformation, the Church upon just and weighty considerations her thereunto moving, hath yielded to make such alterations in some particulars, as in their respective çimes were thought convenient : Yet so, as that the main Body and Ellentials of it (as well in the chiefest materials, as in the frame and order chereof) have still continued the same unto this day, and do yet stand firm
en, notwithstanding all the vain attempts and impetuous afsaults made against it, by such men as are given to change, and have always discovered a greater regard to their own private fancies and intereks, than to that duty they owe to the public.
By what undue means, and for what mischievous purposes the use of the Liturgy (though enjoined by the Laws of the Land, and those Laws never yet repealed) came, during the late unhappy confusions, to be discontinued, is two well known to the world, and we are not willing here to remember. But when upon His Majesty's happy Restoration it seemed probable that amongst other things, the use of the Liturgy also would return of course (the same having never been legally abolished) unless some timely means were used to prevent it, those men who under the late usurped powers had made it a great part of their business to render the people disaffected thereunto, saw themselves in point of reputation and interest concerned (unless they would freely acknowledge themselves to have erred, which such men are very hardly brought to do) with their utmost endeavours to hinder the reftitution thereof. In order whereunto divers Pamphlets were published against the Book of Common Prayer, the old Objections mustered up, with the addition of some new ones, more than formerly had been made, to make the number swell.
In fine, great importunities were used to His Sacred Majesty, that the said Book might be revised, and such Alterations therein and Additions thereunto made, as should be thought requisite for the ease of tender Consciences : whereunto His Majesty, out of his pious inclination to give satisfaction (so far as could be reasonably expected) to all his subjects of what persuasion foever, did gracioully condescend.
In which Review we have endeavoured to observe the like moderation, as we find to have been used in the like case in former times. And therefore of the fundry alterations proposed unto us, we have rejected all such as were either of dangerous consequence (as secretly Atriking at fome etablished Doctrine, or laudable Practice of the Church of England, or indeed of the whole Catholick Church of Chrift) or else of no consequence at all, but utterly frivolous and vain. But such Alterations as were tendered to us (hy what persons, under what pretences, or to what purpose
foever fo tendered) as seemed to us in any degree requisite or expedient, we have willingly, and of our own accord assented unto : not enforced foto do by any strength of Arguinent, convincing us of the necessity of making the faid Alterations : For we are fully persuaded in our judg. meats (and we here profess it to the world) that the Book, as it hood before established by Law, doth not contain in it any thing contrary to the Word of God, or to found Doctrine, or which a godly man may Bot with a good Conscience use and submit unto, or which is not fairly defenfible against any that shall oppose the same; if it shall be allowed foch juft 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 belt Trandations of the holy Scripture itfelf.
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 belt understandings we conceived might moft tend to the preservation of peace and unity in the Church ; the procuring of Reverence, and exciting of Piety and Devotion in the public Worship of God; and the cutting off occasion from them that seek occafion of cavil, or quarrel againt the Liturgy of the Church. And as to the several variations from the former Book, whether by Alteration, Addition, or otherwise, it shall fuffice to give this general Account, That moft of the Alterations were made, either firt, for the better direction of them that are to officiate in any part of Divine Service ; which is chiefly done in the Kalanders and Rubricks : Or secondly, for the more proper expresling of some words of phrafes of antient usage, in terms more suitable to the Language of the prefent times, and the clearer explanation of some other words and phrases, that were either of doubtful signification, or otherwise liable to misconfruction : Or thirdly, for a more perfect rendering of fuch portions of holy Scripture, as are inserted into the Liturgy ; which, in the Epistles and Gospels especially, and in fundry other places, are now ordered to be read according to the laft translation : and that it was thought convenient, that some Prayers and Thanksgivings firted to special Occasions should be added in their due places ; particularly for those at Sea, together with an Ofice for the Baptism of such as are of riper years; which, although not to necessary when the former Book was compiled, yet by the growth of Arabapiifi, 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 fall desire a more particular account of the several Alteration's 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 daties in this weighty affair, as in the light of God, and to approve our sincerity therein (so far as lay in us) to the consciences of all men ; although we know it imposáble (in such variety of apprehenfions, humours, and interests, as are in the world) to please all ; nor can expect that men of factious, peevis, 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 fons of the Church of England,
OD has made man after his own image, and endowed
him with a spiritual and immortal soul capable of knowing and loving his Creator ; and therefore it is our duty to acknowledge and adore the power, majesty and wisdom of God : who was pleased to shew from the beginning of the world, that he accepts the service of none but good people, and has given convincing proofs that there is another life after this reserved for good men, by the ascenfion of Jefus Chrift: This ought to engage us to imitate the faith of the patriarch Noah, to walk in righteousness as he did, that we may avoid those judginents which will surely fall upon the wicked.---Since God has endowed us with reason and underítanding, that we may know and praise him, and has made other creatures subject to us, we ought gratefully to improve these advantages to his glory and continually praise our Creator and benefactor, saying, with David,
Rejoice in the Lord all ye people ; come before his presence with thanksgiving, and be devout and joyful in his service. Sing praises unto him," and blefs him; for he is good, and his mercy enclureth for ever”-Let us then proinote the interest of Religion, and discharge these duties with pleasure and a holy zeal : let us adore and praise the infinite power and majesty of God : let us with profound humility acknowledge that we are in his light but frail morcal creatures; that all we have comes from him ;' and
hat whatever we offer or do for his glory, we do but offer hiin his own, and what he had first given us. Let us befeech him to produce in' us good dispositions, and ever keep thein up in us, and to turn our hearts and thoughts towards himn ; let us excite our neighbours to join their praises with ours; and let us continually animate one another to bless and glorify his holy name, by our obedience, and steadly application to his Service,
2 Leffon- Matthew-26 Hebr. 5 to ver. n1
Sunday after Afcen- Mattins.
Evenfong fion-day. Deuteronomy-12 Deuteronomy-13 Whitsunday. 1 Leffon 16 to ver, 18 Isaiah
-II 2 Lesson
Acts_-10 ver. 34 Acts 19 to ver. 2 1 Trinity-Sunday. i Leffon Genesis
Genesis 2 Leflon -Matthew 31 John
5 Sundays after Tri.
--17 vi 2 Samuel
122 Samuel vii.
1 Kings 13. Kings- -17 ix
22 xi 2 Kings ---512 Kings
Ezekiel- -2 Ezekiel-
24 xix Daniel 3 Daniel
6 XX Joel -2 Micah