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“ readily passed an act for its establishment; and the “ Earl of Clarendon, then high Chancellor of England,
was ordered to return the thanks of the Lords to the “ Bishops and Clergy of both provinces for the great os care and industry shewn in the review of it.”
The reader is requested to correct the following error, introduced by the compositor after the sheet had passed through the author's hands. In the collect for the Epiphany, p. 430, in various places, for Magii read Magi.
Note, p. 64, for w'n' r. Wat
On the prefatory Sentences from Holy Scripture,
with which the Morning and Evening Service of the Church is introduced.
'HE liturgy of the church of England has
be composition of great excellence. It has now stood the test of examination, both by its friends and enemies, for several centuries : and there yet remains a numerous host of persons, endued both with sense and piety, who admire the. venerable structure. Though no argument, drawn in favour of any work from the character of an uninspired author, can be absolutely conclusive; yet, when the subject is religion, the known piety of a writer will naturally bias a candid reader in behalf of his productions. The compilers of our liturgy were men eminent for Godliness. Many of them were persons of high attainments in human literature, and distinguished both by the soundness and strength of their faith, and by the purity of their lives. And it ought not to be forgotten that some of them sealed the truth with their blood, “ not loving their lives unto death,” that so they might glorify God their Saviour, and transmit to posterity the truth as it is in Jesus, freed from the leaven of popish superstition * with which the church
* It has been objected (says a late writer on ecclesiastical history) “ that the liturgy or common prayers were chiefly,
relative either to our souls or bodies, which is not comprehended in our admirable forms. But these things will more conspicuously appear as we proceed in the further elucidation of our subject.
The spirituality of our liturgy is another of its excellencies. Nothing is to be found therein to satisfy the conscience of the formalist and pharisee; but, on the contrary, every thing that is calculated to awaken attention to the necessity of the worship of the heart, of communion with God, and real delight in His service. Herein we are taught that “ God is a spirit, and that
they, who worship Him aright, must worship “ Him in spirit and in truth." The absurdity of the language of mere compliment, when addressed to Him who searcheth the heart, is plainly pointed out: and the worship of our church is adapted, exclusively, to the use of those who desire and expect to enjoy on earth, in the courts of the Lord's house, that which may afford them a foretaste of, and fit them for, more refined and exalted pleasures at God's right-hand for evermore. Much more might be said to the same purpose, were it not an anticipation of what may, with greater propriety, be introduced hereafter.
Therefore, leaving this general view of the subject, we proceed to give our serious attention to the preparatory sentences at the commencement of our public worship; which exhibit to us the necessity of a solemn preparation of the heart for an appearance in the presence of God. When * Moses was preparing to prostrate himself before the dread majesty of
Exod. ii. 5.