ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Against an event thus to be dreaded, let " was not the production of this or that man erery friend of vital piety, of primirive order, --the compilers of it were, not only the best of evangelical worship, most solicitously and wisest men of that age in this nation, guard. Let him repress in himself and in | but they consulted likewise the most eniinent others all tendency to innovation, all dispo | of the divines abroad, and had their approsition to find fault with a service, which has bation of it, and approved it yet farther been deemed, through a long course of tiine, themselves, hy dying in its defence. in the judgment of some of the wisest and best | It was composed principally out of Scripof men, to be the most perfect of human com- ture, or out of ancient liturgies and fathers. positions. Above all, since we enjoy "such Even where entire parts and passages, are an excellent form of prayer, let us reverence not borrowed, and the very words of Scriplit accordingly; resort to it frequently; at ture or of the fathers are not taken orapplied, tend to it devoutly ; accompany it not only yet their spirit and manner, their style and with our lips, but with our hearts; repeat character are still preserved ; and perhaps what we are to repeat; and answer what there is scarce any collect in our liturgy, we are to answer; join in every prayer of scarce any sentiment or expression that may the ininister with our mind, and in every not be justified by the authority of one or response and Amen with our voice ; and in other of them. What a coinfort and satis. all respects behave like those who are in the faction should it be to us, that we are such more immediate presence of God. Then a sound part of the Holy Catholic Church, will “ the words of our mouths and the me that we thus maintain the communion of ditations of our hearts be always acceptable saints; that we worship God in the same in thy sight, O Lord, our strength and our manner as the Martyrs and the Confessors Redeemer."

and best of Christians did in the purest Let every one who has received authority ages; and the spirit of their Liturgies, like to minister in the sanctuary, and to present the spirit of Elijah upon Elisha, hath dethe prayers of the people at the throne of scended in " a double portion” upon ours. God. let hiin consider it as his most sacred Our prayers are addressed to the proper) dury to perform the service with that dignity object through the proper mediator ; to the and correctness of manner, and alove all, onu God, through the “one Mediator bewith that solemn and fervent spirit of piety, tween God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” which proceeding unaffectedly from his own Each collect begins with a solemn invocaheart, will always find its way to the hearts

tion of the one, and concludes with the preof the people, and engage them with him in

vailing merits and intercession of the other.! the sublime exercises of devotion.

It is besides a great excellence of our ser"L't thy priests, O Lord, be clothed with

vice to have so many short distinct petitions. suivation, that the people may rejoice.”—Bp.

They are thus rendered more fit and easy to Hobart's Companion to the book of Common

be remembered and repeated. Our Liturgy Prayer.

in this respect may be compared to a string To the above remarks, we add the follow

of pearls, every one valuable, but altogether ing commendations of the Liturgy, which

almost inestirnable. If the whole was disare not less distinguished for their jusiness,

posed in one contin'ied prayer, though it than for their eloquence. They are from

might not be tedious, yet it would keep the peps of Bishop Newton, Bishop Jeremy our minds upon the stretch too long together; Taylor, and Dean Comber.

whereas, these breaks and pauses give relief, * Our Liturgy,” says Bishop Newton, our souls recover breath as it were, and we ordination, which in the most solemn manner, bind

return to worship again with new' spirit and every minister to conform to the doctrine, discipline, vigour. and worship of the Church

The variety of our service is another ex

cellence in the composition of it, and con- ' performed is worthy of the matter ; our trihutes much to the keeping up of our at- vestments are suitable and becoming and tention and devotion. A sameness in any the very emblem of holiness, for as St. thing soon satiates and wearies us ; and it | John saith, “the fine linen clean and white is as difficult to keep the mind as it is the is the righteousness of the saints;” our body long in one posture But hy the beau- ceremonies neither too many nor too few, tiful intermixture of prayer and praise, of such as may excite and cherish, and not supplication and thanksgiving, of confes. such as may distract and dissipate our desion and absolution, of hymns and creeds, votions. All things are done as the Apostle of psalms and lessons, our weariness is re | would have them done, “decently and in lieved, our attention is renewed, and we are order," and if our piety is not eminent and led on agree bly from one subject to another. couspicuous in proportion to our advantages, The frame of our Liturgy is somewhat like it is because we are wanting to ourselves, the frame of the world; it is order in variety, not because our church has been wanting and thongh all the parts are different, yet in making proper provision for us.” Bishop the whole is consistent and regular.

Newton. What renders it more excellent is its com “ The Liturgy of the Church of England," prehensiveness. There is nothing that re- says Bishop Jeremy Taylor," hath advanlates either to ourselves or others, nothing tages so many and considerable, as not only that concerns iis either as men or members to raise itself above the devotions of other of society, nothing that conduces to our Churches, but to endear the affections of happiness in this world or in the world to good people to be in love with Liturgies in come, but is comprehended in some or other general. To the Churches of the Roman of the petitions. It is easy while the minister Communion we can say that ours is Reformis reading it, to appropriate and apply any ed: to the Reformed Churches we can say, passages to ourselves and our own case. A that it is orderly and decent. For we were great deal is erpressed but more is implied ; | freed from the impositions and lasting er. and our devotions in our closets and in our rors of a tyrannical spirit, and yet from the families, we cannot better perhaps express extravagances of a popular spirit too. Our than in the words of our Liturgy; it is so Reformation was done without tumult, and suited 10 all ranks and conditions, and adapt yet we saw it necessary to reform: we ed to all wants and occasions.

were zealous to cast away the old errors; 1 The congregation have particular reason but our zeal was balanced with consideraį to be pleased, as they have a larger share tion, and the results of authority. We were in our service than in any other whatever: not like women and children when they are and the minister and people mutually raise affrighted with fire on their clothes ; we and inflame each others' devotions. It is shook off the coal indeed, but not our gara singular privilege, therefore, that our ments ; lest we should have exposed our people enjoy of bearing so large a part in Church to that nakedness, which the excel. our service; and it is this that properly lent men of our sister Churches complained denominates ours, what really none else is, to be among themselves. And indeed it is a book of common prayer.

no small advantage to our Liturgy, that it In a word, our Liturgy is in every re. was the offspring of all that authority, which spect excellently contrived, and fitted to was to prescribe in matters of religion. So promote true devotion. The language is that it was not only reasonable and sacred, so plain as to be level 10 the capacities of but free both from the indiscretion, and, the meanest, and yet the sense is so noble which is very considerable, even from the as to raise the conceptions of the greatest. scandal of popularity. That only, in which The manner too in which our service is the Church of Rome had prevaricated

against the word of God, or innovated against the Church instructed by the proposition of apostolic iradition, was pared away. Great their examples; and we give testimony of part of it consisted of the very words of Scrip- the honour and love we pay to religion, by ture, as the Psalms, Lessons, Hymns, Epis- our pious veneration and esteem of those tles, and Gospels : and the rest was in every holy and beatified persons. To which if we particular made agreeable to it, and drawn add the advantages of the whole Psalter, from the Liturgies of the ancient Church. which is an entire body of devotion by itself, The Rubrics of it were written in the blood and hath in it forms to exercise all graces, of some of the compilers, men famous in by way of internal actand spiritual intention; their generations; whose reputation and glo there is not any ghostly advantage, which ry of martyrdom hath made it immodest for the most religious can either need or fancy, the best of men now to compare themselves but what the English Liturgy, in its entire with them. And its composure is so admi- constitution, will furnish us withal.” rable, that the most industrious wits of its

Bishop Jeremy Taylor. enemies can scarce find out an objection, of Though all the Churches in the world value enough to make a doubt, or scarce a have, and ever had, forms of prayer; yet scruple, in a serious spirit. There is no none was ever blessed with so comprehensive, part of religion, but is in the offices of the so exact, and so inoffensive a composure as Church of England. For, if the soul desires ours: which is so judiciously contrived, that to be humbled, she hath forms provided of the wisest may exercise at once their knowconfession to God before his Church : if she | ledge and devotion : and yet so plain, that

joice and give God thanks for particu- the most ignorant may pray with underlar blessings, there are forms of thanksgiving standing ; so full that nothing is omitted for all the solemn occasions, which could be which is fit to be asked in public; and so foreseen, and for which provision could by particular, that it compriseth most things public order be made: if she will commend which we would ask in private ; and yet so to God the public and private necessities of short, as not to tire any that hath true devothe Church and single persons, the whole tion : its doctrine is pure and primitive; its body of collects and devotions supplies them ceremonies so few and innocent, that most abundantly: and if her devotions be high of the Christian world agree in them : its and pregnant, and prepared to fervency and method is exact and natural ; its language importunity of congress with God, the Lita significant and perspicuous; most of the ny is an admirable pattern of devotion, full words and phrases being taken out of the of circumstances proportionable to a quick holy Scriptures, and the rest are the expresand earnest spirit.— When the revolution of sions of the first and purest ages ; so that the anniversary calls on us, to perform our whoever takes exception at these must quarduty of special meditation on, and thankful-rel with the language of the Holy Ghost, ness to God for the glorious benefits of Christ's and fall out with the Church in her greatest incarnation, nativity, passion, resurrection, innocence : and in the opinion of the most and ascension, &c. then we have the offices impartial and excellent Grotius, (who was of Christmas, the Annunciation, Good-Fri- no member of, nor had any obligation to this day Easter, and Ascension, &c.; and the Church,) the English Liturgy comes so near offices are so ordered, that, if they be summed to the primitive pattern, that none of the reup, they will make an excellent creed, and the formed Churches can compare with it. very design of the day teaches the meaning And if any thing external be needful to reof an Article. The life and death of the commend that which is so glorious within ; saints, which are very precious in the sight we may add that the Compilers were (most of God, are so remernbered, that, by giving of them) men of great piety and learning; thanks and praise, God may be honoured ; and several of them) either martyrs or confessors upon the restitution of Popery ; which How endless it is to dispute with these, as it declares their piety, so doth the judi- | the little success of the best arguments, mancious (ligesting of these prayers evidence their aged by the wisest men, do too sadly testify : learning. For therein the scholar may dis- wherefore we shall endeavour to convince cern close logic, pleasing rhetoric, pure di the enemies, by assisting the friends of our vinity, and the very marrow of the ancient Church devotions: and by drawing the veil doctrine and discipline; and yet all made so which the ignorance and indevotion of some, familiar, that the unlearned may safely say and the passion and prejudice of others, have Amen. 1 Cor. xiv. 16.

cast over them, represent the Liturgy in its Lastly, all these excellencies have obtained true and native lustre: which is so lovely that universal reputation which these prayers and ravishing, that like the purest beauties, enjoy in all the world : so that they are most it needs no supplement of art and dressing, deservedly admired by the eastern Churches, but conquers by its own attractions, and wins and had in great esteem by the most eminent the affections of all but those who do not see Protestants beyond the sea, who are the most it clearly. This will be sufficient to shew, impartial judges that can be desired. In that whoever desires no more than to worship short, this Liturgy is honoured by all but God with zeal and knowledge, spirit and the Romanist, whose interest it opposeth, truth, purity and sincerity, may do it by these and the Dissenters, whose prejudices will devout forms. And to this end may the not let them see its lustre. Whence it is God of peace give us all meek hearts, quiet that they call that, which the Papists hate spirits, and devout affections; and free us because it is Protestant, superstitious and from all sloth and prejudice, that we may popis!ı. But when we consider that the best have full churches, frequent prayers, and things in a bad world have the most enemies, fervent charity ; that, uniting in our prayers as it doth not lessen its worth, so it must here, we may all join in his praises hereafter, not abate our esteem, because it hath mali- | for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. cious and misguided adversaries.

Dean Comber.

II.-OF THE ORIGIN AND PROGRESSIVE FORMATION OF THE LITURGY.

Before the Reformation the Liturgy was | adoration of the host, images, &c. a great only in Latin, being a collection of prayers, part of the worship was in itself idolatrous made up partly of some ancient forms used and profane. in the primitive Church, and partly of some | But when the nation in King Henry Vill's others of a later original, accommodated to time was disposed to a reformation, it was the superstitions which had by various means thought necessary to correct and amend these crept by degrees into the Church of Rome, offices; and not only have the service of the and were from thence derived to other Church in the English or vulgar tongue (that Churches in communion with it; like what men might “ pray, not with the spirit only, we may see in the present Roman Breviary but with the understanding also;" and "that and Missal. And these being established by he, who occupied the room of the unlearned, the laws of the land, and the canons of the might understand that unto which he was Church, no other could publicly be made to say Amen;" agreeably to the precept of use of: so that those of the laity, who had St. Paul, 1 Cor. xiv. 15, 16,) but also to not the advantage of a learned education, abolish and take away all that was idola could not join with them, or be any other trous and superstitious, in order to restore

ise edified by them. And besides, they the service of the Church to its primitive being mixed with addresses to the saints. | purity. For it was not the design of our

Reformers (nor indeed ought it to have / In the year 1547, the first of King Edward been) to introduce a new form of worship VI, December the second, the Convocation into the Church, but to correct and amend declared the opinion, “nullo reclamante," the old one; and to purge it from those gross that the Communion ought to be adminiscorruptions which had gradually crept into | tered to all persons under “ both kind." it; and so to render the divine service more Whereupon an Act of Parliament was made, agreeable to the Scriptures and to the doc ordering the Communion to be so administrine and practice of the primitive Church tered. And then a committee of bishops, in the best and purest ages of Christianity. / and other learned divines, was appointed In which reformation they proceeded gradu- | to compose “an uniform order of Commu- ; ally, according as they were able.

nion, according to the rules of Scripture, And first, the Convocation appointed a and the use of the primitive Church." In committee in the year of our Lord 1537, to order to this, the committee repaired to compose a book, which was called, " The Windsor castle, and in that retirement, godly and pious, institution of a Christen within a few days, drew up that form which man :" containing a declaration of the Lord's is printed in Bishop Sparrow's collection. Prayer, the Ave Maria, the Creed, the Ten And this being immediately brought into Commandments, and the Seven Sacraments, use, the next year the same persons, being &c., which book was again published in the impowered by a new commission, prepared year 1540, and 1543, with corrections and themselves to enter upon a yet nobler work; alterations, under the title of “A necessary and in a few months' time finished the whole doctrine and erudition for any Christen Liturgy, by drawing up public offices not man :" and, as it is expressed in that preface, only for sundays and Holidays, but for Bapwas “set furthe hy the King, with the advyse tism, Confirmation, Matrimony, Burial of of his Clergy; the Lordes both spirituall the Dead, and other special occasions; in and temporall, with the nether house of which the forementioned office for the holy Parliament, having both sene and lyked it Communion was inserted, with many alteravery well."

tions and amendments. And the whole book Also in the year 1540, a committee of | being so framed, was set forth by the combishops and divines was appointed loy King mon agreement and full assent both of the Henry VIII, at the petition of the Convoca

Parliament and Convocations provincial ;" tion, to reform the rituals and office of the that is the two Convocations of the provinces Church. And what was done by this com- of Canterbury and York. mittee for reforming the offices was recon The committee appointed to compose this sidered by the Convocation itself two or Liturgy were, three years afterwards, namely, in February 1. Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Can1542-3. And in the next year the King and terbury; who was the chief promoter of his Clergy ordered the prayers for proces our excellent Reformation ; and had a prinsions, and litanies, to be put into English, cipal hand, not only in compiling the Lil

and to be publicly used. And finally, in urgy, but in all the steps made towards it. 3. the year 1515, the King's Primer came forth, | He died a martyr to the religion of the Re

wherein were contained, amongst other formation, which principally by his means things, the Lord's Prayer, Creed, 'Ten Com | had been established in the Church of Eng. mandments, Venite, Te Deum, and other land; being burnt at Oxford in the reign hymns and collects in English ; and several of Queen Mary, March 21, 1556. of them in the same version in which we 2. Thomas Goodrich, Bishop of Ely. now use them. And this is all that appears . 3. Henry Holbech, alias Randes, Bishop to have been done in relation to liturgical of Lincoln. matters in the reign of King Henry VIII. 4. George Day, Bishop of Chichester.

« 前へ次へ »