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IT
T hath been the wisdom of the Church of England, ever since the first com-

piling of her Publick Liturgy, to keep the mean between the two extremos, of too much stiffness in refusing, and of too much easiness in admitting any variation from it. For, as on the one side common experience sheweth, that where a change hath been made of things advisedly established (no evident necessity so 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 therein, as to those that are in place of Authority should from time to time seem either necessary or expedient. Accordingly we find, that in the Reigns of several Princes of blessed memory since 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 times were thought convenient: Yet so, as that the main Body and Essentials of it (as well in the chiefest materials, as in the frame and order thereof) have still continued the same unto this day, and do yet stand firm and unshaken, notwithstanding all the vain attempts and impetuous 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for what mischievous purposes the use of the Liturgy (though enjoined by the Laws of the Land, and those Laws never yet repealed) came, during the late unhappy confusions, to be discontinued, is too well known to the world, and we are not willing here to remember.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 would also 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 restitution 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 soever, did graciously 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 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 judgments (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 might 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.

THERE

THERE was never any thing by the their ears only, and their heart, spirit, and

wit of man so well devised, or so sure mind, have not been edified thereby. And established, which in continuance of time furthermore, notwithstanding that the anhath not been corrupted: As, among other cient Fathers have divided the Psalms things, it may plainly appear by the Com- into seven portions, whereof every one mon Prayers in the Church, commonly was called a Nocturn: Now of late time called Divine Service. The first original a few of them have been daily said, and and ground whereof if a man would search the rest utterly omitted. Moreover, the out by the ancient Fathers, he shall find, number and hardness of the Rules called that the same was not ordained but of a the Pie, and the manifold changings of good purpose, and for a great advancement the Service, was the cause, that to turn of godliness. For they so ordered the the Book only was so hard and intricate a matter, that all the whole Bible, (or the matter, that many times there was more greatest part thereof) should be read over business to find out what should be read, once every year ; intending thereby, that than to read it when it was found out. the Clergy, and especially such as were These inconveniences therefore considerMinisters in the congregation, should (by ed, here is set forth such an Order, whereoften reading, and meditation in God's by the same shall be redressed. And for word) be stirred up to godliness them- a readiness in this matter, here is drawn selves, and be more able to exhort others out a Calendar for that purpose, which is by wholesome Doctrine, and to confute plain and easy to be understood ; wherein them that were adversaries to the Truth ; (so much as may be) the reading of holy and further, that the people (by daily Scripture is so set forth, that all things hearing of holy Scripture read in the shall be done in order, without breaking Church) might continually profit more one piece from another. For this cause be and more in the knowledge of God, and cut off Anthems, Responds, Invitatories, be the more inflamed with the love of his and such like things as did break the true Religion.

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

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thereof, and for the plainness of the Order, , for the resolution of all doubts, concernand for that the Rules be few and easy. ing the manner how to understand, do,

And whereas heretofore there hath been and execute, the things contained in this great diversity in saying and singing in Book ; the parties that so doubt, or diChurches within this Realm ; some follow- versly take any thing, shall alway resort ing Salisbury Use, some Hereford Use, and to the Bishop of the Diocese, who by his some the Use of Bangor, some of York, discretion shall take order for the quietsome of Lincoln; now from henceforth all ing and appeasing of the same; so that the whole Realm shall have but one Use. the same order be not contrary to any

And forasmuch as nothing can be so thing contained in this Book. And if the plainly set forth, but doubts may arise in Bishop of the Diocese be in doubt, then the use and practice of the same; to ap- he may send for the resolution thereof to pease all such diversity (if any arise) and the Archbishop.

THOUGH it be appointed, that all things shall be read and sung in the Church

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yet it is not meant, but that when men say Morning and Evening Prayer privately, they may say the same in any language that they themselves do understand.

And all Priests and Deacons are to say daily the Morning and Evening Prayer either privately or openly, not being let by sickness, or some other urgent cause.

And the Curate that ministereth in every Parish-Church or Chapel, being at home, and not being otherwise reasonably hindered, shall say the same in the Parish-Church or Chapel where he ministereth, and shall cause a Bell to be tolled thereunto a convenient time before he begin, that the people may come to hear God's Word, and to pray with him.

OF CEREMONIES,

WHY SOME BE ABOLISHED, AND SOME RETAINED.

OF
F such Ceremonies as be used in the Church (as the Apostle teacheth) ought

Church, and have had their begin- to be referred. ning by the institution of man, some at And although the keeping or omitting the first were of godly intent and pur- of a Ceremony, in itself considered, is but pose devised, and yet at length turned to a small thing; yet the wilful and convanity and superstition : some entered into temptuous transgression and breaking of the Church by undiscreet devotion, and a common order and discipline is no small such a zeal as was without knowledge; offence before God, Let all things be done and for because they were winked at in among you, saith St. Paul, in a seemly and the beginning, they grew daily to more due order: The appointment of the which and more abuses, which not only for their order pertaineth not to private men; thereunprofitableness, but also because they fore no man ought to take in hand, nor have much blinded the people, and ob- presume to appoint or alter any publick scured the glory of God, are worthy to be or common Order in Christ's Church, excut away, and clean rejected : other there cept he be lawfully called and authorized be, which although they have been devised thereunto. by man, yet it is thought good to reserve And whereas in this our time, the them still, as well for a decent order in minds of men are so diverse, that some the Church, (for the which they were first think it a great matter of conscience to devised) as because they pertain to edifi- depart from a piece of the least of their cation, whereunto all things done in the Ceremonies, they be so addicted to their

old customs; and again on the other side, some be so new-fangled, that they would innovate all things, and so despise the old, that nothing can like them, but that is new: it was thought expedient, not so much to have respect how to please and satisfy either of these parties, as how to please God, and profit them both. And yet lest any man should be offended, whom good reason might satisfy, here be certain causes rendered, why some of the accustomed Ceremonies be put away, and some retained and kept still.

Some are put away, because the great excess and multitude of them hath so increased in these latter days, that the burden of them was intolerable; whereof St. Augustine in his time complained, that they were grown to such a number, that the estate of Christian people was in worse case concerning that matter, than were the Jews. And he counselled that such yoke and burden should be taken away, as time would serve quietly to do it. But what would St. Augustine have said, if he had seen the Ceremonies of late days used among us; whereunto the multitude used in his time was not to be compared ? This our excessive multitude of Ceremonies was 80 great, and many of them so dark, that they did more confound and darken, than declare and set forth Christ's benefits unto us. And besides this, Christ's Gospel is not a Ceremonial Law (as much of Moses' Law was) but it is a Religion to serve God, not in bondage of the figure or shadow, but in the freedom of the Spirit; being content only with those Ceremonies which do serve to a decent Order and godly Discipline, and such as be apt to stir up the dull mind of man to the remembrance of his duty to God, by some notable and special signification, whereby he might be edified. Furthermore, the most weighty cause of the abolishment of certain Ceremonies was, That they were so far abused, partly by the superstitious blindness of the rude and unlearned, and partly by the unsatiable avarice of such as sought more their own lucre, than the glory of God, that the abuses could not well be taken away, the thing remaining still.

But now as concerning those persons, which peradventure will be offended, for that some of the old Ceremonies are retained still: If they consider that without some Ceremonies it is not possible to keep any Order, or quiet Discipline in the Church, they shall easily perceive just cause to reform their judgments. And if they think much, that any of the old do remain, and would rather have all devised anew: then such men granting some Ceremonies convenient to be had, surely where the old may be well used, there they cannot reasonably reprove the old only for their age, without bewraying of their own folly. For in such a case they ought rather to have reverence unto them for their antiquity, if they will declare themselves to be more studious of unity and concord, than of innovations and newfangleness, which (as much as may be with true setting forth of Christ's Religion) is always to be eschewed. Furthermore, such shall have no just cause with the Ceremonies reserved to be offended. For as those be taken away which were most abused, and did burden men's consciences without any cause; 80 the other that remain, are retained for a discipline and order, which (upon just causes) may be altered and changed, and therefore are not to be esteemed equal with God's Law. And moreover, they be neither dark nor dumb Ceremonies, but are so set forth, that every man may understand what they do mean, and to what use they do serve. So that it is not like that they in time to come should be abused as other have been. And in these our doings we condemn no other Nations, nor prescribe any thing but to our own people only: For we think it convenient that every Country should use such Ceremonies as they shall think best to the setting forth of God's honour and glory, and to the reducing of the people to a most perfect and godly living, without error or super

and that they should put away other things, which from time to time they perceive to be most abused, as in men's ordinances it often chanceth diversly in divers countries.

stition ;

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