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tion of the service of the Church, that this reformation was regularly made by the bishops and clergy in their provincial synods; the king and parliament only establishing by the civil sanction what was there done by ecclesiastical authority. " It was indeed (as my lord bishop of Sarum has excellently well observed ) confirmed by the authority of parliament, and there was good reason to desire that, to give it the force of a law; but the authority of the book and those changes is wholly to be derived from the Convocation, who only consulted about them and made them. And the parliament did take that care in the enacting them, that might shew they did only add the force of a law to them : for in passing them it was ordered, that the Book of Common Prayer and Ordination should only be read over, (and even that was carried upon some debate ; for many, as I have been told, moved that the book should be added to the act, as it was sent to the parliament from the Convocation, without ever reading it; but that seemed indecent and too implicit to others,) and there was no change made in a tittle by parliament. So that they only enacted by a law what the Convocation had done.” And therefore, as his lordship says in another place, so “ As it were a great scandal on the first general councils to say, that they had no authority for what they did, but what they derived from the civil power; so is it no less unjust to say, because the parliament empowered (I suppose his lordship means approved) some persons to draw up forms for the more pure administration of the sacraments, and enacted that these only should be lawfully used in this realm, which is the civil sanction; that therefore these persons had no other authority for what they did. Was it ever heard of that the civil sanction, which only makes any constitution to have the force of a law, gives it any other authority than a civil one? The prelates and other divines, that compiled [these forms], did it by virtue of the authority they had from Christ, as pastors of his Church; which did empower them to teach the people the

pure word of God, and to administer the sacraments, and to perform all holy functions, according to the Scripture, the practice of the primitive Church, and the rules of expediency and reason; and this they ought to have done, though the civil power had opposed it: in which case their duty had been to have submitted to whatever severities and 7 Vmdication of Ordinations of the Church of England, p. 53, 54. 80 P. 74, 75.

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persecutions they might have been put to for the name of Christ, or the truth of his gospel. But on the other hand, when it pleased God to turn the hearts of those which had the chief power, to set forward this good work; then they did, as they ought, with all thankfulness acknowledge so great a blessing, and accept and improve the authority of the civil power, for adding the sanction of a law to the reformation, in all the parts and branches of it. So by the authority they derived from Christ, and the warrant they had by the Scripture and the primitive Church, these prelates and divines made those alterations and changes in the ordinal; and the king and the parliament, who are vested with the supreme legislative power, added their authority to them, to make them obligatory on the subjects.” These excellent words of this right reverend prelate are a full and complete answer to the Romanists' cavil of the lay original of our Liturgy. And I cannot but wonder, that others, who have wrote exceeding well on the Common Prayer Book, have not been careful to obviate this objection; but have indeed rather given occasion for it, by intimating as if the Book of Common Prayer had been compiled by some persons only by virtue and authority of the king's commission: whereas it was indeed a committee of the two houses of Convocation, and the book was revised and authorized by the whole synod, and in a synodical way, before it received the civil sanction from the king and parliament.

And for this reason I have given a true account of this matter, that others who are led away by Erastian principles, and think that the civil magistrate only has authority in matters of religion, may be convinced that this is not agreeable to the doctrine of our Church; who declares in her twentieth article, that the Church (that is, the ecclesiastical governors, the bishops and their presbyters; for there may be a Church where there is no Christian civil magistrate) hath power to decree rites and ceremonies and authority in matters of faith: and affirms again in the thirty-seventh article, that where we attribute to the Queen's Majesty the chief government, we give not to our Princes the ministering either of God's word, or of the Sacraments ; but that only prerogative, which we see to have been given always to all godly Princes in holy Scripture by God himself; that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be ecclesiastical or temporal, and restrain with the CIVÍL sword the stubborn and evil doers. Our Liturgy was therefore first established by the Convocations or provincial Synods of the realm, and thereby became obligatory in foro conscientiæ ; and was then confirmed and ratified by the supreme magistrate in parliament, and so also became obligatory in foro cirili

. It has therefore all authority both ecclesiastical and civil. As it is established by ecclesiastical authority, those who separate themselves and set up another form of worship are schismatics; and consequently are guilty of a damnable sin, which no toleration granted by the civil magistrate can authorize or justify. But as it is settled by act of parliament, the separating from it is only an offence against the state ; and as such may be pardoned by the state. The act of toleration therefore (as it is called) has freed the Dissenters from being offenders against the state, notwithstanding their separation from the worship prescribed by the Liturgy: but it by no means excuses or can excuse them from the schism they have made in the Church; they are still guilty of that sin, and will be so as long as they separate, notwithstanding any temporal authority to indemnity them.

And here I designed to have put an end to the Introduction; but having in the first part of it vindicated the use of Liturgies in general, and in this Appendix given an historical account of our own; I think I cannot more properly conclude the whole than with Dr. Comber's excellent and just encomium of the latter; by which the reader will, I doubt not, be well entertained, and perhaps be rendered more inquisitive after those excellencies and beauties which are here mentioned, and which it is one chief design of the following treatise to shew. In hopes of this, therefore, I shall here transcribe the very words of the reverend and learned author.

• Though all churches in the world,” saith he, 81 “ have, and ever had forms of prayer; yet

our Liturgy. none was ever blessed with so comprehensive, so exact, and so inoffensive a composure as ours : wþich is so judiciously contrived, that the wisest may exercise at once their knowledge and devotion; and yet so plain, that the most ignorant may pray with understanding : so full, that nothing is omitted which is fit to be asked in public; and so

81 Dr. Comber's preface, p. 4, of the folio edition


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particular, that it compriseth most things which we would ask in private ; and yet so short, as not to tire any that hath true devotion: its doctrine is pure and primitive; its ceremonies so few and innocent, that most of the Christian world


in them : its method is exact and natural; its language significant and perspicuous; most of the words and phrases being taken out of the holy Scriptures, and the rest are the expressions of the first and purest ages; so that whoever takes exception at these must quarrel with the language of the Holy Ghost, and fall out with the Church in her greatest innocence; and in the opinion of the most impartial and excellent Grotius, (who was no member of, nor had any obligation to, this Church,) the English Liturgy comes so near to the primitive pattern, that none of the Reformed Churches can compare with it. 82

And if any thing external be needful to recommend that which is so glorious within ; we may add that the compilers were (most of them] men of great piety and learning ; (and several of them] either martyrs or confessors upon the restitution of Popery; which as it declares their piety, so doth the judicious digesting of these prayers evidence their learning. For therein a scholar may discern close logic, pleasing rhetoric, pure divinity, and the very marrow of the ancient doctrine and discipline; and yet all made so familiar, that the unlearned may safely say Amen.83

“ Lastly, all these excellencies have obtained that universal reputation which these prayers enjoy in all the world: so that they are most deservedly admired by the Eastern Churches, and had in great esteem by the most eminent Protestants beyond sea, st who are the most impartial judges that can be desired. In short, this Liturgy is honoured by all but the Romanist, whose interest it opposeth, and the Dissenters, whose prejudices will not let them see its lustre. Whence it is that they call that, which the Papists hate because it is Protestant, superstitious and popish. “But when we consider that the best things in a bad world have the most enemies, as it doth not lessen its worth, so it must not abate our esteem, because it hath malicious and misguided adversaries.

“How endless it is to dispute with these, the little success of the best arguments, managed by the wisest men, do too sadly testify: wherefore we shall endeavour to convince the



84 See Durel's Defence of the Liturgy.

82 Grotius Ep. ad Boet.

83 1 Cor. xiv. 16.

enemies, by assisting the friends of our Church devotions : and by drawing the veil which the ignorance and indevotion of some, and the passion and prejudice of others, have cast over them, represent the Liturgy in its true and native lustre: which is so lovely and ravishing, that, like the purest beauties, it needs no supplement of art and dressing, but conquers by its own attractions, and wins the affections of all but those who do not see it clearly. This will be sufficient to shew, that whoever desires no more than to worship God with zeal and knowledge, spirit and truth, purity and sincerity, may do it by these devout forms. And to this end may the God of peace give us all meek hearts, quiet spirits, and devout affections; and free us from all sloth and prejudice, that we may have full churches, frequent prayers, and fervent charity; that uniting in our prayers here, we may all join in his praises hereafter, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."







Sect. I.–Of the Rule for finding Easter. The proper Lessons and Psalms being spoken to at large in other parts of this treatise, there is no need to say any thing particularly concerning the Tables that appoint them. I shall therefore pass

them by, and begin with the Rule for finding Easter ; which stands thus in all Rule for finding Books of Common Prayer printed in or since the year 1752: Easter-day is always the first Sunday after the full Moon, which happens upon or next after the twenty

1 In this edition, after the example of all others published since the year 1752, this chapter is printed with the alterations necessary to adapt it to the new Calendar, Tables, and Rules, which were ordered to be prefixed to all future editions of the Book of Common Prayer, by the Act 24 Geo. II., entitled, An Act for regulating the coinmencement of the year; and for correcting the calendar.


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