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According to the Use of the Church of England,
“ How bless’d are they who always keep the pure and perfect way!
CARLISLE: Printed' by J. HARRISON ; of whom may
be had the Bible with Annotations and Observations.
E can no way more effectually acknowledge our de
pendance upon the Almighty, in this state of mortality, than by public and COMMON PRAYER..
St Cbryfoftom has justly observed, that the neglect of public worship forebodes the coming of Antichrist; and the Scripture in many places characterises the bad man, as one that does not call upon God, and that lives without God in the world. It seems, indeed, highly probable that all the fins of this age, derive their fource from the neglect of attending divine service.
It is to little purpose, indeed, to inculcate devotion to men, or any manner of performing it ; unless we can at the same time convince them, of the necessity and duty of frequencing the Church. Many persons palliate their nego lect of this duty, by pleas of worldly business and the care which God, as the God of Nature and great preserver of men requires of them for their families. It is certain that the gracious Sovereign of the Universe has not only allowed, but commanded us to do what we have to do in the fix. days ; remembering always to keep the Sabbath-day holy. But for those persons who are not necessarily engaged, or who have servants under them, to neglect the public worship of God, is utterly inexcusable ; and I sincerely with that every such neglecter of duty, would lay his hand upon his heart, and ask himself seriously, how he can permit the pleasures of life to engrofs that time from the business of it, which he will not allow to the worship of his God?
A pun&ual and careful performance of religious duties, neceffarily lead us to the practice of all social virtues.-But A 2
from those who can presume to neglect their duty to God, their best friend and benefactor, little is to be expected with regard to other obligations.—But as I chuse rather to reform than to upbraid, I shall only add, that the crime of neglecting the public worship is greatly aggravated by the excellence of our form of Prayer, and regular mode of worship. David says, I will praise thee with the understanding also. Now God is not only the supreme and transcendent Being to whom we owe all we possess, on the easy condition of making our requests known unto him; but he is also an infinitely wife and perfect Judge of all our words and actions : And as we are cautioned in Scripture against prophane babling, it is of no little moment for us, in our addresses to God, to study the best expressions in our power, as well as the most devout manner of delivering them.
But if absenters from the divine service of our Church, or those who may object to our COMMON PRAYER, will candidly and impartially peruse the following pages, 1 Aatter myself, they will find this Liturgy to be lo excellent a composition as to charm them to attendance; so plain, that it may be understood by those of the nieanest capacity ; so full, that it contains every thing essential ; and so concise, that no devout man can be wearied with it: Its doctrine is pure, its ceremonies few; its method accurate, and all the expressions made use of in it are taken from Scripture, and orthodox antiquity. And, as the learned Grotius has declared, it comes nearer to the primitive forms than any. Liturgy in the world. It was 'composed by men eminent for their piety and learning, most of whom died martyrs to the Protestant Faith ; and it is held in the highest esteem by all the reformed churches abroad,
Forms of Prayer were used by God's worshippers under the Old Testament dispensation, and by Christ himself under the New ; he taught his disciples a form, and all christians, both in the Greek, Latin, and reformed churches, till make use of forms. But it is proper, in this place, to give the reader some information concerning the time of composing and the compilers of our Liturgy:
Archbishop Cranmer, in the reign of Henry VIII. did his utmost to procure an English Liturgy, and to reform it from all the abuses of Popery,
It was not however possible to effect it in that reign; the worthy prelate however caused a Primer to be printed, in which, the Venite, te Deum, Benedi&tus, &c. together with the Lord's Prayer, Creed, and Ten Commandments, are trandated into English ; and these translations are still used in our Common Prayer-Book, excepting only the Psalms. But in the reign of EDWARD VI. the following thirteen persons were employed to draw up the common Service; Anno Dom. 1548.
Tbomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury ; Thomas Goodrick, bishop of Ely; Henry Holbech, bishop of Lincoln ; George Day, bishop of Chichester; John Skip, bishop of Hereford; Thomas Thirlby, bishop of Westminster i Nicholas Ridley, bishop of Rochester ; Richard Cox, dean of Christ Church, and almoner to the king ; Dr May, dean of St Pauls ; Dr Taylor,. dean of Lincoln ; Dr Heyns, dean of Exeter ; Er Robinson, dean of Durham ; Dr Ridley, master of TrinityCollege.
Shortly after, the fame reverend divines were commissioned to compile the Liturgy; which being done, it was confirm'd by act of parliament, in the second year of EDWARD VI. This, I apprehend, is sufficient to prepare the reader for the perosal of this Paraphrafe ; and may the Almighty give his blessing to these my weak endeavours, and cause my labours to contribute to his glory, the honour of our holy religion, and the salvation of mankind.
THE OLD PRE FAC E. T compiling of her Public Liturgy, to keep the mean between the twe
. extreams, of two much stiffness in refusing, and of too much easiness in admitting any variation froin it. For as on the one fide common experi