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Book of Common Prayer





The Protestant Church of England






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THE attempt to Revise the Book of Common Prayer of the Church

. cedents, that it appears to be only necessary to inquire whether any further attempt at Revision is warranted by the condition of affairs, National and Ecclesiastical, prevailing in England in the year A.D. 1894.

The answer to such inquiry may be found in a brief sketch of the previous Revisions of this venerated Book.

I. THE FIRST ENGLISH PRAYER BOOK was based upon, and principally derived from, the three separate Roman Service Books-The Missal (or Mass Book), The Breviary, and The Ritual (all of them in Latin), and was issued by Authority A.D. 1549, the second year of King Edward VI. It is known as the First Prayer Book of King Edward vi. Omitting much that was superstitious, and adding much that was scriptural, and issued in the English language, it marked an epoch in the movement towards Reformation. The awakening of the English mind to the abomina, tions of the Romish Apostasy was shown by the introduction into the Litany of the Suffrage, “From the Bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities,

Good Lord, deliver us." But many remnants of vnapostolic doctrines and practices were retained. The Communion Service has the words "commonly called the Mass," added to its title (the people being as yet unfamiliar with the corrected designation, "The Supper of the Lord, and The Holy Communion"). The Table is called an “Altar"; priestly vestments were worn by the officiating minister; wafer bread was used; the wine was mixed with water; the elements were consecrated (a) by a special invocation, (6) by the sign of the Cross, (c) by the hands of the "priest"; in delivering the bread to the communicants the following words were used : “The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul to everlasting life;" and siinilarly with the wine. Absolution, if desired, was to be given "by the priest as the Minister of God and of the Church."

The Office for Baptism contained forins for exorcism and for anointing with holy oil, a service for the consecration of the fontal water, and a direction for the use of the "chrisom," or sacred garment put upon the baptized child.

In The Order For Visitation of The Sick" there was a form of absolution to be used, not only for the sick, if desired, but also " in all Private Confessions ;" and Extreme Unction was allowed.

To these may be added, the reservation of the Eucharistic Elements for the sick, prayers for the dead, and an office for the Holy Com, munion in connection with the Burial Service.

The Second Prayer Book of King Edward VI., A.D. 1552.

In this book was seen a wonderful change, and the rejection of sacerdotalism was strikingly manifested. Every one of the particulars above inentioned as contained in the First Book was here omitted, or so changed as to bring it into greater harmony with the simple teaching of the apostolic age.

In this Second Book there were found no "Altar"; no sacrificial vestments; no consecration of the Eucharistic Elements by a priest's invocation and manual acts; the words used in delivering the bread were, “Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on Him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving;" and similarly with the wine, and those who were troubled in mind were to receive absolution" by the ministry of God's word,"

In the Baptismal Service the exorcism, the holy oil, and the chrisom were discarded; the Service for the consecration of the fontal water was altogether omitted as a separate office, though some portions of it were transferred, with alterations, to the new Service for Baptism. In doing this, however, the Reformers were careful to exclude entirely the particular petition for the sanctification of the water, on the ground that it implied a recognition of the superstitious, unscriptural, and essentially Pagan notion of a magical transmutation of the material element employed in the Ordinance.

In the Visitation of the Sick no reference was made to other occasions of “Private Confession"; and Extreme Unction, the reservation of the “Eucharistic elements," and Prayers for the Dead were abandoned. Finally, there was appended to the Communion Service a Declaration which is sometimes called the “Black Rubric," from its being printed in black instead of in red letters, and which is said to have been added by the King in Council after the book had been sanctioned by Parliament; and in this the following words were used respecting the custom of kneeling at the Lord's Supper :-"We do declare that it is not meant thereby that any adoration is done, or ought to be done, either unto the Sacramental bread or wine there bodily received, or to any real and essential presence there being of Christ's natural flesh and blood."

The Prayer Book of Queen Elizabeth, A.D. 1559.

This book was prepared by a Royal Commission of Divines. It underwent some alterations by the Queen in Council; after which it was submitted to Parliament, and authorised by the Act of Uniformity.

This Revision was avowedly to some extent a compromise.

The Queen's desire was to have a Liturgy which should not be violently repulsive to the Papists in the country, without decidedly countenancing Papal superstitions. She wished, indeed, the First Prayer Book of King Edward VI. "to be favoured," but the feeling of the Commission was too strong for this to be done, and the Second Book, of A.D. 1562, was made the basis of the new Prayer Book.

The principal changes in a compromising direction were effected(1) by the restoratioa of the sacerdotal dress in the Vestments (or "Ornaments"), Rubric, afterwards modified by the “Book of Advertisements"; (2) by omitting from the Litany the petition for deliverance" from the Bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities;" (3) by the words which were appointed to be said in delivering the bread and wine to communicants, and which combined the formulas of the First and second Books of King Edward VI. (as still used in the Liturgy of the Established Church of England), thus : "The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul to everlasting life (words deliberately rejected in 1552). Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on Him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving"(the beautifully simple words of the Second Prayer Book of King Edward VI.); (4) by omitting the “Black Rubric" as to the posture of kneeling at the Lord's Supper.

These changes were of grave import.
They were principally connected with the ministration of th.

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