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votion. A sameness in any thing foon fatiates and wearies us; and it is as difficult to keep the mind as it is the body, long in one posture. But by the beautiful intermixture of prayer and praise, of fupplication and thanksgiving, of confession and absolution, of hymns and creeds, of psalms and lessons, our weariness is relieved, our attention is renewed, and we are led on agreeably from one subject to another, and by means of the variety are scarcely sensible of the length of our service. The frame of our liturgy is somewhat like the frame of the world; 'tis order in variety, and tho' all the parts are different, yet the whole is consistent and regular.
7. What renders it yet more excellent is it's comprehensiveness, including all that we can want or de
fire. The exhortation of the Apostle 1 Tim. ii. is religiously observed; and supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving
of thanks are made for all men, for kings and for all that are in authority. Indeed there is nothing that relates either to ourselves or others, nothing that concerns us either as men or members of society, nothing that conduces to our happiness in this world or the world to come, but is comprehended in some or other of the petitions
. A form of prayer for general use could not well be made more particular; and it is easy, while the minister is reading it, with a sudden glance of thought to appropriate and apply any passages to ourselves and our
A great deal is expressed, but more is implied; and our devotions in our closets and in our families we cannot perhaps better express than in the words of our liturgy, it is so suited to all ranks and conditions, and adapted to all wants and occasions.
8. The congregation have particular reason to be pleased, as they
have a larger pare in our service than in any other whatever: and the minister and people mutually raise and inflame each other's devotion. In the church of Rome the congregation are, so far from having any Thare in the service, that they do no so much as understand it; but the priest mutters over his Latin prayers to him felf, and the people every one their particular prayers to themselves; and so they depart some fooner and some later, just as they happen to have finish'd their devotions. And among our protestant dissenters there is commonly one long-winded tedious extemporary prayer; the people are only hearers, and they must hear before they can understand, and they must understand before they can approve, and they must approve before they can join in any petition, all which is impossible to be done in an instant while one is speaking. It is a singular privilege therefore, that
our people enjoy, of bearing fo large a part in our service; and it is this that properly denominates ours, what really none else is, a book of Common Prayer.
In a word our liturgy is in every respect excellently contrived and fitted to promote true devotion. The language is so plain as to be level to the capacities of the meanest, and yet the sense so noble as to raise the conceptions of the greatest. And the manner,
in which our service is performed, is worthy of the matter; our churches plain and solemn, neither painted and adorned like a theater on the one hand, nor yet intirely unadorned like a common room on the other; our vestments suitable and becoming, and the very emblem of holiness, for as St. John faith; the fine linnen clean Rev. xix. and white is the righteousness of saints; our ceremonies neither too many nor too few, such as may excite and cherish and not such as may distract and
dissipate our devotion. All things are
done, as the Apostle would have them 1 Cor. xiv.done, decently and in order; and if
our piety is not eminent and confpicuous in proportion to our advantages, it is because we are wanting to ourselves, not because our church hath been wanting in making proper provision for us.
As we have therefore such an excellent form of prayer, let us reverence it accordingly; resort to it frequently; attend to it devoutly; accompany it not only with our lips but with our hearts; repeat what we are to repeat, and answer where we are to answer, but never incroach upon another's office, never repeat the absolution after the minister, never say our prayers aloud to disturb the rest of the congregation; join in every prayer with our mind, and in every amen with our voice, and in all respects behave like those who are in the more immediate presence of God;