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the uses of Gaul, Spain, Alexandria, and other Oriental missals, it is satisfactory to know that the greater portion of our prayers are those offered up by the Anglican Church for more
than 1200 years.
The preface was written by Bishop Sanderson, and it well explains the general aim of our Reformers; and beautifully do our services carry out St. Paul's injunction of “ Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. xiv. 40). In the calendar are retained names of many worthy and good men, placed there no doubt as examples for us, though the Church only celebrates a few others than the holy Apostles. On St. Chad's day, at the siege of Lichfield, a curious case occurred to Lord Brook, who commanded the rebel Puritans. As he led on the attack against the Close, he called on God for a sign of approval ; while he raised his vizor in order the better to be heard, a bullet went through his head, and he fell dead on the spot.
It is in some Churches a practice to sing a hymn before the commencement of service at Morning and Evening Prayer: a practice highly objectionable, as being in accordance with the
use of conventicles, which are almost as much opposed to Catholicity as light from darkness The canonical hours in the English Church and other Western Churches were seven, viz., Matins at daybreak, the second, third, and sixth hours, Vespers, and Compline; these, however, resting on no divine command, and not having been pronounced binding by an æcumenical council, the English Church was right in appointing Morning and Evening Prayer, though by that ordinance, be it observed, she never enjoined that her children would only worship at those hours."
The practice of commencing the services with a few sentences from Scripture is far from novel, it being the custom in all the offices of the ancient Church : while, moreover, it affords time for a few stragglers to be in their places before the priest begins his exhortation for a general confession; of which the Church has, in her formularies, three distinct ones ; the general one at Morning and Evening Prayer, one more explicit in the office of the holy Eucharist, and one still more so in the Communion for the Sick; where she, through her priest, exhorts the sick person to make special confession of his sins, previously to receiving the benefit of absolution. She nowhere commands auricular confession, though from her use of these it is clear that she does not think it unnecessary; and where a penitent wishes to confess and receive absolution, it is clear that the priest has no power to refuse to hear him, lest he should go to another communion where he can obtain the benefit so much desired. The power of absolution is vested in the priest by the express command of our Lord, “Whose sins ye remit,” &c. It is most certain the Apostles used this power ; one instance will be sufficient to prove this, that of St. Paul delivering over Hymeneus and Alexander to the power of Satan till they repent.
The Lord's Prayer was the commencement of the service in Edward's first book, though this could not have been in accordance with primitive usage, it being their custom to keep this
from the knowledge of the unbaptized; the heathen being frequently admitted to the earlier parts of their service. This prayer
in the Romish forms is appointed to be said mentally, which in a great measure in public worship takes away the beauty of all present in true charity crying with one voice and heart, “ Our Father.” After having confessed, and being absolved, and praying for all we can wish or desire, we call upon God to
open our lips, and make haste to help us in the great duties we are about to enter upon. These versicles are of great antiquity, and have been used in the English Church
from time immemorial : they being followed by the Gloria, which is both a creed and a hymn—a creed as regards the object of our faith, being in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This is the original as received from the Apostles, though Arius, that arch-heretic and predecessor of the modern Socinian, attempted to destroy the divinity of our Lord by affirming the original to be, “ Glory to the Father, by the Son, through the Holy Ghost ;" though even this form, used to give thanks for mercies received, and expressing the way in which they are conveyed through the second and third Persons of the ever-blessed Trinity, is commendable. In the Greek Church the form is, “ Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, now and ever, world without end." It was not till A. D. 442 that “ As it was in the beginning" was added, in order to oppose the poison of Arius, who asserted that there was a beginning of time before Christ had any beginning, and to de