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PREFACE

TO THE

REA DE R.

TH

HE following Collection of Devotions is founded upon these two principles.

ift. That the best method for all churches and chriftians to follow, is to lay afide all modern hypotheses, cuftoms, and private opinions, and fubmit to all the doctrines, practices, worship, and discipline, not of any Particular, but of the Ancient and Univerfal church of Christ, from the beginning to the end of the Fourth century; which doctrines, practices, worship, and discipline, thus Univerfally and Conftantly received, could not poffibly be derived from any other than Apoftolical authority.

2dly. That the Liturgy in the Apoftolical Conftitutions is the moft Ancient Chriftian Liturgy

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Liturgy extant; that it is perfectly pure and free from interpolation; and that the book itself, called the Apoftolical Conftitutions, contains at large the doctrines, laws, and fettlements, which the three firft and pureft ages of the gospel did with one confent believe, obey, and fubmit to, and That as derived to them from Apoftolical men: That therefore the faid book, where it does not disagree with the Tradition of the Primitive Catholick Church, (as I believe upon examination it will hardly ever be found to do) but on the contrary may be corroborated thereby, and by the confentient teftimony of the Holy Fathers of the three first centuries, ought to be received, fubmitted to, and allowed it's due authority.

If these two principles were once put in practice, all the Ecclefiaftical distractions which fubfift at prefent, would cease; and a truly Catholick union would be reftored among all chriftian churches. That I may contribute my mite towards fo

defirable an end, I have here ventured to present the world with what in my humble opinion will be the only means to attain it, which is what fome will call a Ner, but which I prefume to recommend to Every

pious

pious Chriftian as the Oldeft, and therefore the Beft, collection of devotions extant in the whole Chriftian world. This I dare venture to say, because I have omitted no prac tice or ceremony that appears to be supported by Antiquity, Univerfality, and Confent; and because I have taken in all the Devotional part of the Apoftolical Conftitutions, (except a few particulars foreign to the prefent purpose,) at the fame time that I have herein included fuch Parts of the Common Prayer Book of the Church of England, as were neceffary to compleat the design.

As I am more difposed to Peace than Controversy, I wave engaging in the proof of the two principles above mentioned: But left they fhould be thought to be not well grounded, and left any thing that I might fay in behalf of them, fhould be mifconftrued or received with prejudice, I have chofen to lay before all devout and impartialChriftians in an Appendix (to which I refer them) fome Extracts and Obfervations, taken from the writings of very eminent and learned Divines of different communions. By the Extracts the Firft, and by the Obfervations the Second, principle will, I hope, be fufficiently confirmed.

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