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XI. THE LAYING OF A CORNER STONE,
N the year 1868 the General Synod appointed a Com
mittee “to revise our Liturgy, so that it may more fully meet the wants of the Church."
This Committee consisted of E. S. Porter, D.D., M. S. Hutton, D.D., J. B. Thompson, D.D., T. C. Strong, D.D., and the Rev. W. R. Duryee, and the Elders F. T. Frelinghuysen and J. B. Jewett.
În 1870 the Rev. Dr. Porter was released at his own request from the Committee, which was then increased by the addition of J. Elmendorf, D.D., and A. R. Thompson, D.D., and the Elder R. H. Pruyn.
At the meeting of the General Synod, in 1873, this Committee reported the Revision which they had made.
The Report was accepted, but further action was postponed until the following year, that the proposed Liturgy might be printed and submitted to the churches for their inspection
In 1874 the General Synod "approved of so much of the Revised Liturgy as is not inconsistent with, or forbidden by, the Constitution,” and gave permission to use the same, “not sanctioning any change in the Baptismal Form, or the Form for the Administration of the Lord's Supper.”
In 1875 this action was reconsidered, on the ground that the Liturgy was a part of the Constitution, and could not be altered by a resolution of the General Synod, but only in accordance with the prescribed constitutional methods, after submitting the proposed changes to the several Classes for their approval. In 1876, two-thirds of the Classes having approved the revised Form for the Confirmation of Marriage, the General Synod declared the same to be adopted.
In 1878, two-thirds of the Classes having signified their approval of the Forms for the Public Reception into Full Communion of those who have been baptized in Infancy, the Installation of a Minister, the Laying of a Corner Stone, the Dedication of a House of Worship, the Burial of the Dead, and Prayers for Special Occasions, not hitherto forming a part of the Liturgy, the same were ordered to “be printed in connection with our Standards, not as authoritative and imperative Formulas, but as specimens, embodying the sense of the Church in reference to the most edifying mode of rendering these services.”
The remaining Forms and the Order of Worship have long been a part of the Constitution of the Reformed Church, having been translated from the Liturgy of the Church of Holland, by the Rev. Dr. Livingston, in the latter part of the last century.
The use of the Forms for the Administration of the Sactaments, for Ordination, and for Discipline, and the observance of the Order of Worship, are obligatory. (See Constitution, II., II; X., 1, 2, 4; XIII., 11, 13.)
With these exceptions, this Liturgy is not of binding authority, but it is set forth as a general expression of the manner in which the Public Worship of God should be conducted, and, in the words of the late Rev. Mancius S. Hutton, D.D., the chairman of the Committee through whose labors the Revised Liturgy was first prepared and presented to the Church, “ with the hope that it will so commend itself to the piety and wisdom of the Church, that its increasing use will place us before the world in our true historic position as a spiritual Liturgical and Reformed Church."
NEW YORK, 1882.
THE Synod of Dort, A. D. 1618, in its Rules of Church Government (which were recognized and expressly adopted” by the Reformed Dutch Church in America, in Convention, New York, October, A. D. 1771), decreed as follows:
“Art. 67.—Besides the Sabbath day, the Churches shall likewise observe Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, with the day succeeding each; and whereas, in most of the cities and provinces of the Netherlands, it is, moreover, customary to observe the day of the Circumcision and Ascension of our Lord, the Ministers, where such practice has not been adopted, shall endeavor to prevail with the civil authority to establish a conformity with the other Churches.”
This article bears witness to the ancient usage of our Church. The evident design of that usage was to bring into devout remembrance, year by year, the vital facts of the Advent, Death, and Resurrection of Our Blessed Lord, and of the Mission of the Holy Comforter. Thereto this Order of Scripture Lessons is adjusted, with the hope that if any, in the exercise of Christian liberty, shall use it, such use may be found to edification.
SEASON OF THE ADVENT OF OUR LORD.
The Order of Lessons for the Christmas Season begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas.
Sun. before Christmas.. Isaiah, I..... Luke, 1:1-38.. Isaiah,
The Lessons for the Sundays after Christmas are intended to be used until the ninth Sunday before Easter, and no further.