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i Y the Bisitors, the clergy, and the Lairs of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United sale, of 4-dio convestios, this Sixteenth Day of October, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Poio. " 72: Gonightion, having in their present Session, set forth A Book of CoMMon PRAYER, AND Apaixistratios of THE SAcRAMENTS AND oth ER RITEs AND CEREMon 1Es of THE CHURCH, do hereby establish the said Book: And they declare it to be the Linz, of this Church; and require, that it be received as such by all the Members of the same : And this Book shall be in Use from and after the First day of Ośīober, in the Tear of our Lord One
Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety.
The CHUR ch of ENGLAND, to which the Protestant Episcopal Church in theseStates is indebted, under GOD, for her first foundation and a long continuance of nursing care and protećtion, hath, in the Preface of her Book of Common Prayer, laid it downasakule, that “The particular Forms of Divine Worship, and the Rites and Ceremonies appointed to be used therein, being things in their own nature indifferent and alterable, and so acknowledged, it is but reasonable that, upon weighty and important considerations, according to the various exigencies of times and occasions, such changes and alterations should be made therein, as to those who are in places of authority, should, from time to time, seem either necessary or expedient.”
make such alterations in some particulars, as in their repećtive peotive times were thought convenient; yet so as that the main body and essential parts of the same (as well in the chiefest materials, as in the frame and order thereof) have still been continued firm and unshaken.” Her general aim in these different Reviews and Alterations hath been, as she farther declares in her said Preface, “ to do that which, according to her best understanding, might-most tend to the preservation of peace and unity in the Church 3, the procuring of reverence, and the exciting of piety and devotion in the worship of God; and, finally, the cutting off occasion, from them that seek occason, of cavil or quarrel against her Liturgy.” And although, according to her judgment, there be not “any. thing in it contrary to the Word of God, or to found doctrine, or which a godly man may not with a good conscience use and submit unto, or which is not fairly defenfible if allowed such just and favourable construćtion, as, in common equity, ought to be allowed to all human writings;” yet upon the principles already laid down, it cannot but be supposed, that further alteration would in time be found expedient. Accordingly, a Commission for a review was issued in the year 1689: But this great and good work miscarried at that time; and the Civil Authority has not since thought proper to revive it by any new Commission. . . . But when, in the course of Divine Providence, these merican States became independent with respect to Civil overnment, their Ecclesiastical Independence was neces. sarily included; and the different religious denominations of Christians in these States were left at full and equal liberty to model and organize their respective Churches, and forms of worship, and discipline, in such manner as they might judge most convenient for their future prosperity; confistently with the Constitution and Laws of their Country. . The attention of this Church was, in the first place, drawn to those alterations in the Liturgy which became necessary in the Prayers for our Civil Rulers, in consequence of the Revolution. And the principal care herein was to make them conformable to what ought to be the - of . , , propcr
- But while these alterations were in review before the CoNv ENTIon, they could not but, with gratitude to God, embrace the happy occasion which was offered to them (uninfluenced and unrestrained by any worldly authority whatsoever) to take a further review of the Public - Service, and to establish such other alterations and amendments therein as might be deemed expedient.
It seems unnecessary to enumerate all the different alterations and amendments. They will appear, and it is to be hoped, the reasons of them also, upon a comparison of this with the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England. In which it will also appear, that this Church. is far from intending to depart from the Church of England, in any essential point of doćtrine, discipline, or worship; or farther than local circumstances require.