« AnteriorContinuar »
to their Form, even in the Festivals, and some other rites not as yet received nor observed in our Church, rather than, by omitting them, to give the adversary to think that we disliked any part of their Service.
Our first Reformers were of the same mind with us, as appeareth by the ordinance they made, that in all the parishes of this realm the Common Prayer should be read, weekly, on Sundays, and other Festival Days, with the Lessons of the Old and New Testament, conform to the order of the Book of Common Prayer ; (meaning that of England: for it is known that divers years after we had no other order for Common Prayer.) This is recorded to have been the first head concluded in a frequent Council of the Lords and Barons professing Christ Jesus. We keep the words of the History: Reli
• The History gion was not then placed in rites and of the Church
gestures, nor men taken with the fancy of Scotland, p.
of extemporary prayers.* Sure, the Public Worship of God in his Church, being the most solemn action of us his poor creatures here below, ought to be performed by a Liturgy advisedly set and framed, and not according to the sudden and various fancies of men. This shall suffice for the present to have said. The God of mercy confirm our hearts in his truth, and preserve us alike from profaneness and superstition! Amen.
All Presbyters and Deacons shall be bound to say Daily the Morning and Evening Prayer, either privately or openly, except they be let or hindered by some urgent cause. Of which cause, if it be frequently pretended, they are to make the Bishop of the Diocese, or the Archbishop of the Province, the judge and
And the Curate that ministereth in every Parish Church or Chapel, being at home, and not being otherwise reasonably letted, shall say the same in the Parish Church, or Chapel, where he ministereth ; and shall toll a bell thereto a convenient time before he begin, that such as be disposed may come to hear God's word, and to pray with him.
WHY SOME BE ABOLISHED, AND SOME RETAINED.
Of such Ceremonies as be used in the Church, and have had their beginning by the institution of man, some at the first were of godly intent and purpose devised, and yet at length turned to vanity and superstition: some entered into the Church by indiscreet devotion, and such a zeal as was without knowledge; and for because they were winked at in the beginning, they grew daily to more and more abuses, which not only for their unprofitableness, but also because they have much blinded the people, and obscured the glory of God, are worthy to be cut away and clean rejected. Other there be, which, although they have been devised by man, yet it is thought good to reserve them still, as well for a decent order in the Church, (for the which they were first devised,) as because they pertain to edification, whereunto all things done in the Church (as the Apostle teacheth) ought to be referred. And although the keeping or omitting of a ceremony, in itself considered, is but a small thing; yet the wilful and contemptuous transgression and breaking of a common order and discipline is no small offence before God.
Let all things be done among you (saith St. Paul) in a seemly and due order. The appointment of the which order pertaineth not to private men: therefore no man ought to take in hand, nor presume to appoint or alter any public or common order in Christ's Church, except he be lawfully called and authorized thereunto.
And whereas in this our time, the minds of men are so diverse that some think it a great matter of conscience to depart from a piece of the least of their ceremonies, they be so addicted to their old customs; and again, on the other side, some be so new-fangled, that they would innovate all things, and so despise the old, that nothing can like them but that is new: it was thought expedient, not so much to have respect how to please and satisfy either of these parties, as how to please God, and profit them both. And yet, lest any man should be offended, whom good reason might satisfy, here be certain causes rendered, why some of the accustomed Ceremonies be put away, and some retained and kept still.
Some are put away, because the great excess and multitude of them hath so increased in these latter days, that the burden of them was intolerable. Wherefore St. Augustine in his time complained, that they were grown to such a number, that the