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truth of thy holy Word, and live in unity, and godly love. We beseech thee also to save and defend all Christian Kings, Princes, and Governours ; and specially thy Servant VICTORIA our Queen; that under her we may be godly and quietly governed : And grant unto her whole Council, and to all that are put in authority under her, that they may truly and indifferently minister justice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of thy true religion, and virtue. Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all Bishops and Curates, that they may both by their life and doctrine set forth thy true and lively Word, and rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments : And to all thy people give thy heavenly grace; and especially to this congregation here present ; that, with meek heart and due reverence, they may hear, and receive thy holy Word ; truly serving thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life. And we most humbly beseech thee of thy goodness, O Lord, to comfort and succour all them who in this transitory life are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity. And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear; beseeching thee to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom : Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.
Thoughts on the Prayer for the
Church militant. N conformity with the exhortation given by St. Paul to Timothy, in regard to the
regulation of the public worship of the Church (1 Tim. ii. 1), the prayer for the Church Militant consists mainly of two parts, viz., intercessory prayers and supplications, and giving of thanks. Before, however, any intercessory supplications or thanksgivings are uttered, prayer is offered in the name of those who have contributed of their substanceeither for the relief of the poor, or for the maintenance of the clergy, or for any other
pious and charitable uses "—that God will be pleased most mercifully to receive their alms and oblations-i.e., the money offerings which have been collected during the reading of the sentences. The money thus collected, to whatever pious use it may afterwards be applied, is regarded in the light of alms when
viewed in respect of those who contribute it, and in the light of oblations when considered in reference to Him to whom it is offered. By appointing that one or more of the offertory sentences should be read, and “the alms for the poor, and other devotions of the people," collected upon the Sundays and other Holy-days, the English Church, in accordance with the teaching of Holy Scripture, both in the Old and in the New Testament, recognises the act of almsgiving as an integral and essential part of Divine worship. The various freewill offerings which were made under the Jewish law, not only on occasion of the three great feasts, but also at other times, and more especially the todah, or thank-offering (see, e.g., Lev. vii. 12-15; 2 Chron. xxix. 31; Psa. cvii. 22), bear witness to the importance which was attached to the observance of the precept, “not to appear before the Lord empty (Deut. xvii. 16). It might reasonably be anticipated that no less importance should be attached to the willing consecration to the service of God of the good things of which He has made men the stewards, under a dispensation which requires the righteousness of those who live under it to exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees. Accordingly, we find the general principle laid down in Heb. xiii. 15, 16, that Christians are still, as of old, not only to offer to God that (todah, or) sacrifice of praise, continually, which consists in the fruit of the lips; but further, that this sacrifice is to be accompanied by acts of doing good, and of willing and liberal communication to others of the good things which God has given to them.
It matters little whether the injunction contained in 1 Cor. xvi. 2, respecting the laying by in store on the first day of the week, was designed to be of temporary or of permanent observance. In either case the principle of a stated setting apart of a just proportion of our income is distinctly recognised, whether the actual calculation and consequent reservation and contribution be made more or less frequently. And further, not only do the Apostolical Epistles recognise plainly the duty which is incumbent upon Christians, as members one of another, to minister to each other's wants, by a willing and liberal communication to those who are in need, but our Lord has Himself taught us that acts of kindness and charity done to His sick and suffering
members upon earth are regarded now, and will hereafter be rewarded, as being done unto Himself (St. Matt. xxv. 40). It is not, then, without ample warrant from Holy Scripture that, before we proceed to make special intercessions to Almighty God for all classes of men, and also to offer up to Him special thanksgiving for those who have departed this life in His faith and fear, we should ask of Him in this prayer “most mercifully to accept the alms and oblations” which are then presented to Him.
The greater part of the prayer is occupied by acts of intercession, first on behalf of the Church at large, and then on behalf of particular classes of persons. Amongst these, in conformity with the order observed by the Apostle, we find, first, kings and all those that are in authority, including both the higher class of rulers, and also the inferior officers upon whose indifferent, i.e., impartial, administration of justice much of the peace and prosperity of every state depends.
The next class of persons for whom prayers and supplications are made is “all Bishops and Curates,” by which latter word is meant all those to whom the care of souls is com