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granted their request. In St. Matthew's Gospel, (vi. 9) the words which our Lord addresses to his disciples, before giving the prayer, are, "After this manner," though the word in the original simply means "thus." In St. Luke, however, (xi. 1, 2) he says, "When ye pray, say, Our Father," &c., and then gives the same prayer. Now supposing that, by the first, our Redeemer wished to teach us that we are to frame our prayers after that model and example,-by the second we must, as naturally believe, that he meant to give us the very words of a form of prayer. I would not wish to draw more from these things than is fairly and reasonably to be drawn from them: but what has been said is only what is to be fairly gathered from the words of St. Luke's Gospel. And some of the earliest Fathers of the Christian Church expressly declare their belief, that the Lord gave his new disciples, of the New Testament, a new form of prayer,' meaning the Lord's Prayer; and we know that the Christians, in the first ages, always used it every day at the Lord's Supper, which they partook of every day.
The early Christians also joined in the use of Psalms. St. Paul blamed the Corinthians (1 Cor. xiv. 26), that when they came together for public worship, "every one had a Psalm," that is, he found fault with them, not for using Psalms (for he and Silas, when in prison, "prayed and sang Psalms" together, which the prisoners heard), but because they did not say or sing their Psalms together, because there was no uniformity of worship; yet there was plainly but one Spirit which moved them all-"diversity of gifts, indeed, but the same Spirit." This diversity he did not desire to do away. How could he do away
that which God gave? But he desired to bring all into order and decency, because God was "the Author, not of confusion, but of order and peace,' in all the Churches of his Saints. The same Apostle also exhorts the Ephesians (Eph. v. 19) to" speak to themselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs;" and the Colossians also he desires" to teach and admonish one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in their hearts to the Lord.
It is likely, then, that the very early Christians used forms of prayer, and some written Psalms, in their public worship; and we know (without any doubt) that, within less than 200 years after the days of the Apostles, a Liturgy, that is, a set form of public prayer, was used in many churches; in those of Jerusalem, for instance, and Rome, and Alexandria; and perhaps it is, in itself, no slight reason for a form of prayer being the first and primitive way of Christian worship, that every nation, which has become Christian, joins in the use of forms of prayer.
In having gone over the foregoing arguments, I have done it, not to shew that others, who use no forms, are wrong, but to give the reasons why, as Churchmen, we believe that we, as a Church, are right; and from a wish that you may not only see that a form of prayer seems, at first sight, very expedient, but that history, as far as it carries up such things, clearly gives her witness in favour of forms of prayer and if, in the times immediately following the Apostles' times, history is silent, we must remember, that the enmity and hatred, which followed the first Christians every where, forced them to keep their worship so secret, that men charged them with abominations, only
because they hated them, and knew nothing of what they did, in their meetings, for worshipping God.
Having thus endeavoured to shew, first, the expediency and usefulness of a form of Prayer, and, next, the authority for using one, we now go on to the third point of our consideration, viz.
The excellency of that Form which we have the happiness to possess.
And if the holiness and piety of those who put it together can recommend a human work to the Christian's notice, then is not our Book of Common Prayer' without this recommendation: for they, who put the first frame-work of it together, were either men who actually suffered afterwards, in a reign of terror and blood, for the part they had taken; or men who boldly confessed their belief, and thus laid themselves open to the same untimely end. And if a spirit of humble contrition for sin a deep and sober faith in the atonement for sin-an earnest seeking after grace, to resist sin for the future-and heartfelt thanksgiving for mercies already received;-if these, joined to a charity, wide as the heaven, and, like the God from whose Spirit it comes, taking in within its wide sweep all, from the king on his throne to the captive in his dungeon ;-if these things can commend the form of Prayer, in which they are found, to the love of Christians, our Liturgy will not want friends, as long as these things are valued; for they are all found within it. It has its faults; who shall deny that?-what human work has not? It does not please all, who shall deny that?— what work of man ever did ?-But as to its faults, they are more arising from change of times, and
customs, and circumstances, than from any evil in the Prayers themselves: and as for even the attempt to please all, we know that it would be vain.
Now in all true faith there must be these parts -a humbling sense of sin-a trust in the Saviour, and hope of pardon through Him—a desire of help against future sins-and thanksgiving for help already given. Now to make the subject as simple as possible, we will consider (it must be very shortly) our Common Prayer regarding these points.
The first, in natural order, is 'Confession of Sin;' for between every sabbath, and the one before, we have all sinned and done many things amiss :these must be acknowledged, if we would find mercy. Accordingly our Services begin, morning and evening, with Confession of Sins; and, to prepare the mind of each person for doing this heartily and humbly, the Minister reads some Sentences of Scripture which declare in substance this thing, that, "he who covereth his sins, shall not prosper, but he who confesseth and forsaketh them, shall find mercy." Thus our Services begin with that which is the first and most natural part of true faith-acknowledgment of our sins, though this, indeed, runs through many other parts of the Services; but I only need notice it here.
But there must be a hope of pardon' to the penitent, and a 'trust in the great atonement for sin, next to Confession; and, accordingly, the Absolution, spoken by the Minister alone to the people, declares that Almighty God, who desires that none should die, but all be forgiven and live, has left it in charge to the Ministers of his Son, Jesus
Christ, to declare to such as truly repent and believe his Gospel, that he forgives them and then the Minister calls on the people to join with him in asking God to give them that true repentance, by which they may live a holy and religious life, and in the end attain everlasting happiness, through Jesus Christ.
Then, in the hope that such as have faithfully asked pardon for sins, truly felt, have found mercy, all join in the Prayer which the Saviour taught his disciples, and then lift up their hearts with joy and love to God, in a song of 'praise.'
But, next to these, there is need of 'prayer for help against future transgressions;' and, as we said before, that it would be impossible to make known every individual's wants by themselves, they must be therefore set forth according to their characters; and thus the Litany was put together, (the word meaning 'a General Supplication') in which every want, either of body or soul-every sin, to which any one might be tempted-every sufferer, for whom we should feel-every sort and condition of men, for whom we should pray-is mentioned before God; and all these petitions urged forward with the utmost devotion, by pleading all those points in a Redeemer's life and history, which must plead before the Father's mercy-seat.
It is impossible for us, in the short time we have left, to go over half the excellencies of our Church of England Form of Prayer. It was the Spirit of God, the spirit of universal Charity and Love, which was in their hearts who drew it up; and its prayers are, like their charity, universal. What or who is left out in them ?-the rich and poor-the