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accompany the case, is beside the present inquiry: -the writer conceives, that, (each of them standing singly, no other copy printed or manuscript has yet been produced, which can be put into competition with it.
The Book of Common Prayer.
THAT the Jews had set forms of prayer, and used them in their synagogues, has been satisfactorily shown by Dr. Lightfoot: that the earliest Christians joined in the use of the Lord's Prayer and the Psalms, appears from several passages in the Acts of the Apostles and the Apostolic Epistles that, at an early period of christianity, liturgies were in use, may be justly inferred from those ascribed to St. Peter, St. Mark, and St. James, which Mr. Wheately in a work of real learning, his Rational Illustration of the Common Prayer, (Introduction, p. 13,) says are doubtless of great antiquity." In the course of time there was a variety of liturgies. In England, those of York, Sarum and Bangor, were particularly distinguished. Those of the middle ages generally consisted of the missal, and the breviary. The former contained the service of the mass; the latter, those forms of prayer, consisting of psalms, hymns, and lessons, which there was an obligation.
was solemnly sung in the churches, every Sunday, and principal holiday, for the edification of the laity. The liturgy soon attracted the notice of the Reformers. In 1537, a book was published, called The godly and pious Instruction of a Christian Man. It contained in the English language, a declaration of the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Seven Sacraments. With some variations, it was re-published in 1540 and 1543, under the title of A necessary Doctrine and Erudition for any Christian Man. In 1545, the King's Primer was published, containing, among other things, the Lord's Prayer, Creed, Ten Commandments, Venite Exultemus, Te Deum and several hymns and collects.
Soon after the accession of Edward the sixth, a committee of divines was appointed to reform the liturgy. They drew up offices for Sundays and holidays; for baptism, confirmation and matrimony; burial of the dead, and other special occasions; and formed them into one book. It was published by the common agreement and full assent of the parliament and convocations. In 1548, it was confirmed by an act of parliament, and declared to have been composed by the aid of the Holy Ghost." Exceptions, however, were made to some passages. These were altered by archbishop Cranmer, with the assistance of Martyn Bucer, and Peter Martyr, whom he had invited
to England from Germany. Thus revised and altered, the book was confirmed by parliament, in 1551. Both acts were repealed in the first year of the reign of queen Mary.
At the accession of queen Elizabeth, it was debated, which of the two books should be adopted. It was decided in favour of the latter and, by the act of uniformity, passed in the second year of her reign, the latter received, with some variation, the sanction of parliament.
Alterations were made in it, in the first year of James the first, in consequence of some things which had been said of it, at the conference at Hampton Court.
Immediately after the Restoration, it was solemnly reviewed; some alterations were made, and the liturgy was brought to its present state. It was unanimously subscribed by the houses of convocation of both provinces, in December 1661. the following March, an act of parliament was passed for its legal establishment. It is there styled, "the Book of Common Prayer, and administration of the sacraments and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Church of England, together with the Psalter or Psalms of David, as they are to be sung and said in churches, and the form and manner of making, ordaining, and consecrating of bishops, priests, and deacons."
THE Thirty-nine Articles, and Book of Common Prayer, are the only symbolic books of the Church of England. Next to them in authority are the Homilies. These are held in so much consideration, that recourse is sometimes had to them, to determine the sense of passages in the articles which have been thought dubious.
They are," says Mr. Wheatley in his Rational Illustration of the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, "two books of plain sermons, (for so the word signifies,) set out by public authority; one whereof is to be read on every Sunday and holiday when there is no sermon. The first volume of them was set out in the beginning of Edward the sixth's reign, having been composed (as it is thought,) by archbishop Cranmer, bishop Ridley and Latimer, at the beginning of the Reformation, when a competent number of ministers of sufficient abilities to preach to a congregation was not to be found. The second volume was set out in queen Elizabeth's reign.
THE SYMBOLIC BOOKS OF THE PRESBYTERIANS AND INDEPENDENTS.
FROM what has been mentioned in a preceding part of this work, it appears, that, in the reign of Henry the eighth, the Church of England generally adopted the sentiments of Luther concerning the eucharist, ecclesiastical government, and the liturgy. During the reign of Edward the sixth, the church generally retained the same form of government and liturgy, but adopted much of the doctrine of Calvin. The change of religion, in the reign of Queen Mary, and the consequences of this change, drove many of the most zealous of the reformers into Switzerland. Some observed the form of worship of the English church; others preferred that of the Helvetic churches, on account of its greater simplicity. This distinction followed them, in their return to England, on the accession of Queen Elizabeth; and the former received the denomination of Conformists, the latter those of Nonconformists and Puritans. By the legislative acts of her parliaments, and the religious principles generally favoured during her reign, a larger portion of lutheranism was introduced into the church of England. To these, the German exiles and their adherents generally objected: some of them required, that the church of England should be