« PreviousContinue »
for his sins; since he must be a desperate sioner indeed, that will not fly from such vices, for which he affirms with his own mouth so great and heavy a judgment to be due. In short, these curses, and the answers that are made to them, are like our Saviour's woes in the Gospel; not the causes or procurers of the evil they denounce; but compassionate predictions of it in order to prevent it. And one would indeed think, when we consider that this manner of answering was originally appointed by God himself, people should be cautious how they charge it with being a wicked or foolish institution. But to proceed. The application.
III. Having heard to what sins the curse of
God is due, the Church has too much reason to conclude, that we are all of us guilty of more or fewer of them, and consequently all of us in danger of God's wrath, except we repent. To excite us therefore to so necessary a duty, that so we may escape those dreadful judgments, she hath collected a pious and pathetical discourse, to set home the foregoing denunciations to our conscience. It is all of it gathered from the holy Scriptures, that it may be more regarded, as coming directly from the word of God; and is so methodical and apt to the occasion, that the fault must be in the hearers, if the delivery of it be not attended with a happy effect.
SECT. III.— Of the Penitential Devotions.
I. AFTER SO serious and rational a discourse,
the Church may justly suppose that we are all resolved to repent; and therefore, to assist us in so necessary a duty, she hath prepared such penitential devotions, as will be very suitable to our pious resolutions: and that they may be said with a greater humiliation and reverence, all the people are to kneel upon their knees, and the Priests and Clerks to kneel in the place where they are accustomed to say the Litany.13 And here they are to begin with David's Litany, viz. Psalm li., the most solemn and penitential one of all that he composed.
II. After this follow the lesser Litany, the
often spoken before.
13 See chap. IV. page 165.
The first Collect,
be time to bind up the wounds of true penitents, he in the next place addresses himself solemnly to God for their pardon and forgiveness.
IV. And knowing also that now he cannot well be too importunate, he subjoins a second The second ColCollect to the first; the more pathetically to press our most merciful Father, by phrases well suited to the desires of penitents, and mostly selected from holy Scripture.
V. And the people being now prepared and revived by these importunate addresses, are al. The general sup
. lowed to open their lips for themselves, and to plead for their own pardon in so moving a form, that if it be presented with a suitable devotion, it cannot miss of prevailing; but will admirably fit them for VI. The following blessing, * which, being to
The blessing. be pronounced in the name of God, is taken
com a form of his own prescribing : 14 so that all who are prepared to receive its benefit must humbly kneel, and firmly believe that he who prescribed it will be sure to confirm it to their infinite advantage and endless comfort.
THE PSALMS OF DAVID Follow in our Common Prayer Book, next after the Commination : but of these I have formerly said as much as, I think, the nature of this work requires : 18 I have therefore no occasion to say any thing of them here, nor do I apprehend that there is any need for my enlarging upon the
FORMS OF PRAYER TO BE USED AT SEA; Which were first added at the last review, but not designed for a complete office, nor comprised in any particular method; but are all of them (except the two first alone, which are daily to be used in his Majesty's navy) occasional forms, to be used as the circumstances of their affairs require; and are so very well adapted to their several occasions, that any one that ob. serves them will see their suitableness without
* Added at the last review. 14 Numbers vi. 24.
15 Chap. III. sect. IX. p. 128, &c.
CHAPTER XV. OF THE FORM OF PRAYER FOR THE FIFTH
THE INTRODUCTION. The occasions and reasons of the observation of this and the following days are so well known to all that have any knowledge in the affairs of this nation, that it would be needless to repeat the several histories of them here.
And the suitableness of the prayers appointed on these occasions is so apparent of itself, that I think nothing further needful, even in relation to the offices, than to give a short account of the Hymns, and Psalms, and Lessons, and of the Epistles and Gospels, by shewing in what sense they are applicable to their days. And in treating of them I shall consider our present forms only, without noting how they differ or vary from the former, except where there is something remarkable in the alteration. For the Common Prayers that were printed before the Revolution (at which time the chief of the alterations in these were made) being as yet in many hands, it is easy for the readers to turn to and observe them, without my swelling these sheets with them here. I shall therefore immediately begin with the present office for the Fifth of November. Of the Sentences, Hymn, Psalms, Lessons, Epistle, and Gospel.
I. INSTEAD of the ordinary sentences before
the exhortation, are three verses taken out of the hundred and third psalm,' declaring the long-suffering and goodness of God, the short continuance of his anger, and his mercy in not dealing with us according to our sins : all of them attributes we cannot help reflecting on, when we look back on the signal mercies of this day.
II. And the hymn that is appointed instead of The hymn.
the Venite Exultemus is so methodically put together, that it seems, as it stands in this place, to be an entire psalm composed on purpose for the day. It begins with an act of praise to God for his gracious nature and providence over us, and then particularly commemorates our enemies' i Verse 8, 9, 10.
2 Verse 1, 2.
attempts, and how providentially they were entrapped in the works of their own hands :: upon this it breaks out into an humble acknowledgment of the power,and wisdom, and justice of God, and at last concludes with a prayer for the Governor whom he hath set over us, and a promise of fidelity to God for the future. The whole was added in the second
of king William and queen Mary, when this office was very much altered and enlarged, upon the account of the Revolution. At which time also the foregoing sentences were inserted in the room of others that had been used till then.5 III. The proper psalms are Psalm lxiv. cxxiv.
The psalms, The lxivth was a prayer which David made for deliverance from his enemies, when they were secretly plotting and conspiring against him; but which he foretold should be signally disappointed through their own untoward contrivance and device.
§. 2. The cxxivth Psalm is an acknowledgment of God's assistance, and a thankful commemoration of the deliverance wrought by him. It was occasioned, as some think, by the victory in Rephaim, or, as others, by
David's deliverance from Absalom : though all agree it was es composed on the account of some signal deliverance from some potent enemy.
$. 3. The cxxvth declares the safety of those who firmly adhere to God, without seeking to any irregular means for attaining it. It is appointed on this day,
to remind us of the providential care of God in frustrating the i designs of the enemies of our Church, even before they were
sensible of their being so much as in danger from them. Till the second year of king William and queen Mary, the cxxixth Psalm was used instead of this, and the xxxvth was used first of all, which is now discontinued.
IV. The proper Lessons are 2 Samuel xxii. and Acts xxiii. * The first is David's psalm of praise, composed upon
his deliverance from the hands of his enemies, especially of Saul, who sought, by murdering alise
him, to cut off the succession God had entailed on his family. The words are so applicable to the present occasion, that they explain themselves to an attentive hearer.
§. 2. The history contained in the second Lesson agrees with the treason commemorated on
Lessons. The first.
3 Verse 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
4 Verse 7, 8. 5 Viz. Psalm li. 9. Jer. x. 24. Luke xx. 18 19. 6 2 Sam. v. 17, &c. 7 Psalm xviii.
this day in some particulars, but falls short of it in others. There we find a crew of desperate zealots enraged at St. Paul, for persuading them to reform the corrupt traditions of their forefathers, and binding themselves in a bloody vow to murder him as he went to the hall of judgment. Thus far the stories agree; but in what is behind they widely differ. St. Paul was only a private man, and their fellow-subject, and so they aimed at a single sacrifice to their fury and rage; whereas the conspirators concerned in the story of this day aimed at their own indulgent sovereign, and the whole nation in representative; seeming to copy after Caligula's wish, viz. that all the people of Rome might have but one neck, that so he might cut them off at a stroke. As the whole Scripture therefore affords no parallel of such cruel and bloodthirsty men, we must be con. tent with an instance something like it, though in a far lower degree.
V. The Epistle is designed to remind the peoThe Epistle and ple of their allegiance to their sovereign : the Gospel.
Gospel,' which was appointed in the second year of king William, instead of the story of Judas betraying his Master, 10 which for some good reasons, I suppose, was then thought proper to be discontinued, is intended to correct the unruly effects of mistaken zeal for our religion ; shewing us that our faith, be it ever so true, cannot warrant us to persecute or destroy those of different persuasions.
OF THE FORM OF PRAYER FOR THE THIRTIETH
SECT. I.-Of the Rubrics.
lic Church, nor indeed of any part of it, except the Roman, and that which has too many marks of its parent, the Presbyterian Church in Scotland,' to allow of humiliation or fasting on Sundays, which are appointed for duties of a
different nature; it is ordered, that If this day shall happen to be Sunday, this form of prayer
8 Rom. xiii. 1-6. Vade Mecum, p. 182.
9 Luke ix. 51-57.
10 Matt. xxvii. 1-1