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BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.
HOPE & CO., 16, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
138. c. 406.
BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.
At this time, when men's minds are agitated and depressed by the defection of many who were esteemed loyal and dutiful sons of the Church Catholic in England, and when heresy and schism are showing forth a bold front, patronized and petted by those in high places, who should be nursing fathers and mothers of the Church, it may not be amiss to give a few brief notes upon the doctrine and ritual of the Church, as expressed in her Book of Common Prayer.
That the rending of the seamless garmentthe Church—is not exclusively practised by
those without the pale of the Catholic Church, but that even those who ought to agree to the doctrines of the Church, as taught in her formularies, and having been baptized in the faith, ay, and even admitted into the holy office of the priesthood, oppose each other with great animosity and bitterness of spirit, is to be accounted for, by men being more willing to exalt their own judgment upon the interpretation of holy writ, than humbly to submit to an appeal to the early and a postolic Church, and those immediately succeeding them.
That the Anglican Church, according to the doctrine taught in the Book of Common Prayer, is the via media, is easy of proof; and that this Book of Common Prayer is the powerful safeguard against error, whether it be of addition on the one hand, as amongst the Romanists, or, on the other hand, of subtraction, as among the Dissenters. The Romanist exalting a man, in the person of the Pope, to the power of the Omnipotent God, and substituting vain fables (in many cases amounting to blasphemy, as may be seen in her services, and more particularly in the Creed of Pope Pius IV.), as articles of Christian verity necessary to salvation. The Dissenter, detracting from the honour of the Almighty God, asserts that what he has declared necessary for our salvation is not now at all reasonable, their Erastian minds not being able to receive it; pride being their stumbling-block, in enthroning reason, where faith alone ought to be exalted.
These being the views, then, I entertain with regard to the misunderstanding of the Prayer Book, I will now endeavour to give some few, though short, remarks upon the doctrines therein taught, and also of the ritual, as expressed in the Rubrics.
The Book of Common Prayer, as now used, is not the first publication by the Reformed Church, but one agreed upon by the last convocation at the Savoy Conference, 25th March, 1661: the members of which were, on the