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That as He always continued in communion with the Jewish Church, and attended their worship, He was accustomed to use their form of prayer.
6. What was the practice of the Apostles ?
It was doubtless the same till Christ's ascension ; and it is plain, that after his departure from them, they continued to use both set forms and hours of prayer. (Acts i. 24 ; ii. 24; iii. l; iv. 24; xii. 12; xx. 36.)
7. What was the custom of those Churches which existed nearest the times of the holy Apostles, and which are called the primitive Churches ?
We have every reason to believe that the primitive Churches used set forms of prayer, from the Liturgies ascribed to St. Peter, St. Mark, and St. James, which, though corrupted by later ages, are doubtless of great antiquity.
8. Has it not been thought that there was in the Apostles' time one original Liturgy, from which the others were compiled ?
Yes; but we have no positive proof of this. Most of the ancient Liturgies have, however, some parts common to all; and it appears therefore probable, that there might have been one common model. Some of these Liturgies can be traced to the primitive ages.
9. Has it not been the custom since those times to use a set form of prayer ?
Certainly : for the greatest enemies of a precomposed set form of prayer do acknowledge that in the fourth and fifth centuries, and ever after, till the Reformation, the joint use of them was general over the whole Christian world.
10. Are we not justified, from these examples, in using a set form of prayer?
Certainly: the example of the Jews, our Saviour, his Apostles, and the Universal Church of Christ, is amply sufficient authority of our custom.
11. Why is a set form better adapted to the use of a congregation than extempore prayer, or prayer spoken without preparation, and without book ?
A set form of prayer prevents any extravagant addresses or irreverence in the solemn worship of God, is profitable to the less gifted minister, that he may have a manual of devotion always ready for his use in leading the congregation, and in administering the holy Sacraments, and rites of the Church; and for the gifted minister, lest his prayer be turned into vanity. It prevents the introduction of false doctrine into this part of public worship, and is necessary for this end ; viz., that all the members of the Church may know the condition of public communion, and understand beforehand what prayers they are to join in, which they cannot do without a set and prescribed form of prayer.
ON THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.
1. What authority have we for using our present Book of Common Prayer in the public service of the Church ?
It was agreed upon by the Bishops and Clergy in Convocation, and afterwards confirmed by the two Houses of Parliament. It has, therefore, the sanction and authority, both of the ecclesiastical and civil powers, of Church and State.
2. Is the Book of Common Prayer now used in the Church of England a translation of the Latin Liturgy used by the Roman Catholics before the Reformation ?
No: that was a collection of prayers partly made up of some ancient forms used in the primitive Church, partly of others accommodated to the superstitions which had crept into the Church of Rome; and as these were mixed with addresses to the saints, adoration of the host, &c., a great part of the worship was in itself idolatrous and profane.
3. Did the Reformers then introduce a new form of worship into the Church ?
No: their design was to correct and amend the old, and to purge it from those gross corruptions which had gradually crept into it, and to render the service more agreeable to the Scriptures, and to the doctrine and practice of the primitive Church,
4. In what language was the form of Common Prayer used by the Roman Catholics before the Reformation ?
In the Latin tongue; so that the unlearned could not join in it, nor pray with the heart and understanding.
5. What does the 24th Article say upon this point ?
“ It is a thing plainly repugnant to the word of God, and the custom of the primitive Church, to have public prayer in the church, or to minister the Sacraments in a tongue not understanded of the people.”
6. What was first done towards reforming the Prayer Book ?
The Convocation appointed a committee in 1537, to compose a book called “ The Godly and Pious Institution of a Christian Man," containing a declaration of the Lord's Prayer, the Ave Maria, the Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the holy Sacraments; and this was again altered and corrected.
7. What further alteration was accomplished in the reign of King Henry the Eighth ?
A Committee of Bishops and Divines was appointed to reform the Rituals and Offices of the Church, in 1540. Afterwards the prayers and other parts were put into English, and in 1545, “ The King's Primer” came forth, containing, amongst other things, the Lord's Prayer, Creed, Ten Commandments, Venite, Te Deum, and other Hymns and Collects in English. 8. What was effected in the reign of Edward the Sixth ?
In 1547, an Act of Parliament was made, ordering the Communion to be administered in both kinds. And then a Committee of Bishops and other learned Divines was appointed to compose an uniform order of Communion according to the rules of Scripture, and the use of the primitive Church.
9. What did this Committee effect afterwards ?
They finished the whole Liturgy, by drawing up public offices, not only for Sundays and holydays, but for Baptism, Confirmation, Matrimony, Burial of the Dead, and other special occasions. This book was called “ The First Book of Edward the Sixth.”
10. What was King Edward's Second Prayer Book ?
When some exceptions were taken against the first book, Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, with the assistance of Martin Bucer and Peter Martyr, foreign reformers, revised it, and made considerable alterations and additions to it; and when it had received the sanction of the proper authorities it was published in 1551.
11. Was this book used in the reign of Queen Mary?
No : not being agreeable to the Romish superstition, which she was resolved to restore, it was forbidden.
12. Did Queen Elizabeth bring the Book of Common Prayer into use again?
Yes : at her accession it was again restored after some alterations had been made in it.
13. Give an account of the alterations made in the reign of James the First ?
When the Puritans petitioned for a reform of what they called abuses, a conference was held at Hampton Court, between the Bishops and Divines of the Church on one side, and the principal dissenters on the other, the King being president of the conference. After much debate, it was found that the demands of the Puritans were so unreasonable, that they could not be admitted. Improvements were, however, afterwards made, and these were universally adopted, though not confirmed by Parliament.
14. Was any thing done respecting the Prayer Book in the reign of Charles the First ?
But little was done during his reign ; but at the Restoration of Charles the Second, the whole book was reviewed.
15. What did the Commissioners appointed by him in 1661 effect?
Twelve Bishops and twelve Presbyterian ministers met at the Savoy, to consider the objections raised against the Prayer Book, and to make such alterations as should be jointly
greed upon. The proposals, however, of the dissenters were so extreme, that the conference broke up without any thing being done. The Bishops, however, proposed some additions and alterations, which were afterwards agreed upon by the Clergy in Convocation. The whole Prayer Book as it now stands was ratified by Act of Parliament, and received the Royal assent, May 19, 1662.
16. What declaration is required of every minister concerning the Book of Common Prayer, when he is presented to any benefice ?
“I do hereby declare my unfeigned assent and consent to all and every thing contained in and by the Book of Common Prayer, and administering the Sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the Church of England, together with the Psalter or Psalms of David, pointed as they are to be said or sung in Churches, and the form and manner of making, ordaining, and consecrating Bishops, Priests, and Deacons."
ON THE RUBRICS.
1. What are the Rubrics ?
They are rules or orders directing how, when, and where all things in Divine Service are to be performed.
2. What is the meaning of the word Rubric ?
Rubrica, the Latin word whence it is derived, means Red or Vermilion, in which colour the Rubrics were formerly printed.
3. Is it the duty of the ministers to observe the Rubrics ?
Certainly : they have tied themselves down to a regular, constant, and conscientious performance of all, and every thing prescribed in and by the Book of Common Prayer, according to the usage of the Church of England.
4. Repeat the first Rubric or order for the Morning and Evening Prayer, daily to be used throughout the year.
The Order for Morning and Evening Prayer daily to be said and
used throughout the Year. The Morning and Evening Prayer shall be used in the accustomed Place of the Church, Chapel, or Chancel ; except it shall be otherwise determined by the Ordinary of the Place. And the Chancels shall remain as they have done in times past.
And here is to be noted, that such Ornaments of the Church, and of the Ministers thereof, at all Times of their Ministration, shall be retained, and be in use, as were in this Church of Eng. land, by the Authority of Parliament, in the Second Year of the Reign of King Edward the Sixth.