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tolerable choir, and may moreover more easily dispense with a choir, and be wholly congregational, than the usual order. The responsive psalms are printed in a new way, so as to be easily used; and this is the first time within our knowledge that they have been so arranged as to be read by our people according to the original intention, and it is evident that this method will soon be universal. These psalms, together with the hymns for congregational singing, contribute towards a more sympathetic and edifying worship in our churches, and tend to do away with the coldness and isolation that are so often complained of. Strange it is that principles so large and genial as ours should be so commonly set forth inadequately, and the most meagre of rituals should attend so rich a faith.
The Vesper service may admit of the accustomed evening or afternoon sermon, although it is more compatible with an extemporaneous address or exposition. We believe that it meets a decided and general want in our churches, and attracts and impresses many who do not care to attend an evening service on the old plan, or to hear two reyular sermons with much the same accompaniments. The want of something like this has led several churches to discontinue the second service. It is a very serious and devout mode of worship, and only by a monstrous perversion can it be made the occasion of musical vanity and operatic artifice. It is in great part scriptural, and calls for constant and devout attention from the audience. Thus far, wherever held, it has won the favor of all classes of hearers, and is ranked among the fixed institutions of religion with us as with the ancient Church.
We remark in the third place, that we have not in the least sacrificed the natural and cherished order of our usual worship, but have built wholly upon that order, beginning with praise to God, and reserving the more penitential acts until we have so contemplated his goodness as more fitly to see and confess our sins and seek forgiveness and peace. The regular services of our congregations who adopt this book may continue almost wholly as usual; and the prayers that are introduced are to be used at home or at church, as may be in each family or congregation appointed. The only portions of the prayers that are essential, and not properly to be displaced by extempore prayer, are the responsive sentences that are common to all the great historic churches, and are as edifying as they are time-hallowed. The more extended prayers that are to be used at discretion, as well as the Collects for the Christian Year, are mainly from the old standards; and were preferred not only from their sacred associations and simple and solemn diction, but because our current thought and style, our more subjective, personal, and emotional thoughts and feelings, have such full movement in the free extempore prayer which we regard as so essential to the vitality of worship, and which we can never wholly
renounce without surrendering all our usages and convictions. In common with our neighbors, especially our Episcopal neighbors, we have put our hands somewhat freely into the coffers of the great mother church of old; and have all the less scruples at our course, from the fact that we have no exclusiveness to maintain, but on the contrary are bound to claim all the gifts of God, and the endowments and achievements of our race, as our own and our children's by right. We have preferred to respect, as far as practicable, the ancient usages, especially where the Scriptures and custom agree, and accordingly we follow the ancient Church in the division of the Christian Year, and name the closing Sundays as coming after Pentecost or Whitsunday, instead of adopting the modern and more dogmatic nomenclature.
We owe a great deal to the Church of England; something to its original work, but more to the simple and rich diction of its translations from the Latin standards; and in this diction, as in that of the Bible, we are all heirs. Our own friends here and in England retain much of the Book of Common Prayer, and we are indebted to them for a portion of this volume, especially to the Liturgy of King's Chapel, Boston, one of our oldest churches. Where doctrinal points are involved, we have sought uniformly to respect the convictions of our people; yet we have judged for ourselves, and not followed servilely all precedents, retaining more or less of the ancient standards, and in some cases adding studies from the Bible and ancient manuals of worship different from the English models. To Dr. Hedge we are indebted for a valuable oriental litany, and to Rev. James Freeman Clarke for some most edifying litanies from the Scriptures, which have passed into general use with our brethren, and are contained in five or six different manuals. Should some portions of the book, such as the Catechism and Service of Confirmation, seem novel to any, they will remember that these have been, in substance, used already in some of our churches, at home and abroad, and are important in the religious nurture of the young. Confirmation gives meaning and force to Infant Baptism, and is a proper introduction for Communion. Yet it is not to be so urged as to trenck at all upon personal conviction, and the freest access of every conscientious and devout believer to the table of our Lord.
While preparing this volume for our own people, we have been asked to have some thought for others, and we have sought to shun all local narrowness and dogmatic prejudice. Our churches in this vicinity, so long under the lead of such large and truly catholic minds as Drs. Dewey and Bellows, favor a broad policy, and our work is easier because the way has been so prepared. We have brought together essential materials for Christian worship in a form so flexible as to allow each congregation to follow its own judgment. Moreover, while the volume presents freely many of the time-hallowed treasures of ancient devotion, it acknowledges candidly the riches of the new ages, and mingles with the old chants and prayers the free thoughts and stirring lyrics which are the peculiar fruit of our Protestant life, and the cheering proof that inspiration is a living power and not a dead tradition. Here the minister is encouraged to use his mind not only in selecting the treasures of sacred wisdom, and also in reading his own elaborate compositions, but in uttering his own spontaneous convictions in extempore speech. Equally free is the method of devotion here favored, and we accept fully the three kinds of prayer which Bunsen so earnestly urges as the practice of the ancient church-Silent Prayer, Free Prayer, and Short Forms, sanctioned by custom, watchwords, as it were, either for the minister alone, or for the clergy and people jointly.
In what we have done we have followed the leadings of our own education and position, and not set ourselves up as the framers of a new liturgy or the founders of a new church. We have preferred to keep within our own circle, and not sought to introduce any symbols or phrases that would make a battle-ground of our altar of devotion. Without being bigots or radicals, we can keep our own accustomed place as lovers of the old piety and friends of the new freedom, as believing in the Church of the Future, because we believe in the divine seed in the Church of the Past and Present. Three names are of themselves enough to justify our conviction and hope of the better times coming, and to cheer the champions of a brave fellowship and a broad faith. Channing, Robertson, Bunsen! these men, whom we love for what they hoped, as well as for what they did, would not despise the intention, if they could not praise the success of a work so humble as ours.
S. O. New York, January 21, 1862.
F. A. F.
REGULAR ORDER OF SERVICE.
I. Organ Voluntary. II. Introductory Sentences : Minister. III. Chanted Psalm. In the order of the Month (not named)—
1. Sunday, “ O come;" 2.“ O be joyful ;" 3. "Be mcr
ciful ;" 4. “Blessed be the Lord;” 5. “I was glad.”
Or Hymn in the same order, without being read. IV. Prayer. V. Chanted Hymn. In the order of the Month (not read)—
1. Thrice Holy ; 2. Glory in the Highest ; 3. Te Deum ;
4. Hosanna ; 5. Alleluia.
Or the versified Hymns in like order, as given. VI. Reading of Scriptures.
It is desirable that, once a month, the Commandments be read as printed, as part of the Scripture Lessons ; and that the reading of Scripture end with the “Christian
Faith” from the New Testament, as often.
The Congregation stand during the singing, and kneel or sit with bowed head in prayer.