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make such reasonable corrections and amendments, as they might judge useful and expedient for giving satisfaction to tender consciences, and restoring unity, but avoiding all unnecessary abreviations of the forms and liturgy so long received in the church of England." These commissioners had several personal conferences at the Savoy, and several written communications passed between them; but they were unable to come to any agreement concerning the great points in dispute between the two parties; they therefore resolved to inform his majesty, that "the church's welfare, unity, and peace, and his majesty's satis faction, were ends upon which they all agreed, but as to the means they could not come to any harmony."

When it was found impossible to frame a Liturgy, which should be acceptable to all the persons of different religious persuasions then subsisting in the kingdom, the Convocation, which met May the 8th, 1661, took into consideration such improvements as were suggested by the episcopalian commissioners, and the following additions and alterations were agreed to: the collects for the Ember weeks; the prayer for the high court of parliament; the prayer for all sorts and conditions of men; the general thanksgiving; the collect for Easter Eve; the collect, epistle, and


gospel for the sixth Sunday after Epiphany; a new collect for the third Sunday in Advent; the office of baptism for those of riper years; the two psalms prefixed to the lesson in the burial service; the forms of prayer to be used at sea, for the martyrdom of Charles the First, and for the restoration of the royal family, were all added. There were also several other less material additions; and through the whole service ambiguities were removed, and various improvements were made; and in particular, the portions of the Epistles and Gospels were taken from the new translation of the Bible; but the Psalms, according to the translation of Cranmer's Bible, were retained. The book, in this state, passed both houses of convocation; it was subscribed by the bishops and clergy; it was ratified by act of parliament, and received the royal assent, May 19th, 1662. This was the last revisal of the Book of Common Prayer, in which any alteration was made by public authority.

I shall conclude this brief account of the origin and gradual improvement of our Liturgy, with the following just commendation of it by Dr. Comber, in the Preface to his " Companion to the Temple:"-" Though all churches in the world have, and ever had, forms of prayer, yet none was ever blessed with so comprehensive, so

exact, and so innoffensive a composure as ours, which is so judiciously contrived, that the wisest may exercise at once their knowledge and devotion, and yet so plain that the most ignorant may pray with understanding; so full that nothing is omitted which is fit to be asked in public, and so particular, that it compriseth most things which we would ask in private, and yet so short as not to tire any that hath true devotion. Its doctrine is pure and primitive; its ceremonies so few and innocent, that most of the christian world agree in them; its method is exact and natural; its language significant and perspicuous, most of the words and phrases being taken out of the holy Scriptures, and the rest are the expressions of the first and purest ages, so that whoever takes exception at these must quarrel with the language of the Holy Ghost, and fall out with the church in her greatest innocence; and in the opinion of the most impartial and excellent Grotius (who was no member of, nor had any obligation to, this church) the English liturgy comes so near to the primitive pattern, that none of the reformed churches can compare with it. Whoever desires to worship God with zeal and knowledge, spirit and truth, purity and sincerity, may do it by these devout forms. And to this end may the God of Peace give us all meek hearts, quiet


spirits, and devout affections; and free us from all sloth and prejudice, that we may have full churches, frequent prayers, and fervent charity; that, uniting in our prayers here, we may all join in his praises hereafter, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."








WE learn from the New Testament, that those who first embraced the Gospel declared their faith in Jesus as the promised Messiah, in simple and general terms (a); and there is no ground for supposing that the apostles required this declaration to be made in any one particular form of words. No such formulary is transmitted to us; and had any ever existed, it would probably have been cited or alluded to in the New Testament, or in the early Apologies for Christianity. Every bishop was authorized to prescribe a formulary for the use of his own church; and there

(a) Acts, c. 8. v. 37.


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