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Southern District of New-York, ss. BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the twenty-sixth day of September. 1846, STANFORD AND SWORDS, of the said District, hath deposited at this Office the title of a book, the title of which is in the words following, to wit:
“The Family Prayer Book, or the Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, accompanied by a General Commentary, historical, explanatory, doctrinal, and practical: compiled from the most approved Liturgical works, with alterations and additions, and accommodated to the Liturgy of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Stereotype Edition Revised. By Thomas Church Brownell, D.D. LL.D., Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of Connecticut. Mía dénois els vos isw. St. Ignatius.
The right whereof he claims as Proprietor. In conformity with an Act of Congress, entitled " An Act to amend the several Acts respecting copy-rights."
CHARLES D. BETTS,
I do hereby certify that the edition of the Common Prayer Book, the Articles and Offices, to which this Commentary is attached, having been compared and corrected by the Standard Book, by a Presbyter appointed for the purpose, according to the Canon, is permitted to be published accordingly.
BENJAMIN T. ONDERDONK,
Bishop of the Diocese of New York. New York, June 26, 1841.
The considerations which have led to the publication of the following work, were stated at large in the Prospectus of the Editor. Some of the leading ones may properly be recapitulated in this place. It is well known that the Scholars and Divines of the Church of England have expended much labour in the elucidation of her Book of Common Prayer. The history of its several Offices has been investigated, and their import fully explained; the system of doctrines it inculcates has been successfully defended and established ; and the whole has been commended to the judgment, and enforced upon the conscience and the heart, by the most earnest practical appeals. But the works of these writers on the Liturgy are diffused through a great number of volumes. Some of them have become, in a measure, obsolete in their style, and some of the most valuable of them are hardly to be obtained, even in England; while no complete work on the Liturgy has yet been issued from any American Press. The result is, that those among us who wish to profit by such works, can only gratify their inclinations at great expense, and with much difficulty ; while a very large portion of the members of our Church remain but imperfectly instructed in the full import of those services which constitute the formulary of her worship, and the ritual for the administration of her sacraments.
A judicious compilation from the works of the best English writers on the Liturgy ; so comprehensive as to contain all that is most interesting and useful, and yet at so moderate a price that it may be brought into general use, seems greatly to be needed by our Church; and it has been the object and endeavour of the Editor to supply this desideratum.
In the prosecution of his work, he has thought it expedient to present the Commentary on the Morning and Evening Prayers of the Church, mostly in his own language, and somewhat at large; condensing what has been said by many writers into single articles, attached to each particular part of the service. As this portion of the work will probably be most frequently read in a devotional way, such an arrangement was thought convenient to preserve the connexion, and to prevent those interruptions which must otherwise occur in passing from the observations of one writer to those of another. But in most other
parts of the work, the Comments selected from various authors have been inserted in their own words, with the name of the author subjoined to his remarks. And on all controverted doctrines, those writers have been resorted to, who have been most distinguished for their judgment, learning, and piety, and whose opinions have received the most unanimous sanction of the Church. The remarks for which the Editor may feel himself responsible, either as their author, or as having collected them from various sources with alterations, will be designated by having the initials of his name annexed to them. Great use has been made of the excellent Compilation of Dr. Mant, the present Bishop of Killaloe, which was printed at the Oxford press in the year 1820. Where the notes have been taken from this work, the names of the authors will be found printed in Italics.
It has been a leading object, in the following work, to notice all the principal alterations of the English Liturgy, which have been made by the compilers of our American Book ; and to state, as far as practicable, the considerations on which they were founded. In this part of his labour, the Editor has been kindly assisted by the correspondence of the venerable Presiding Bishop, as well as by the valuable information contained in his "Memoirs of the Church."
In the use of the English Commentators, omissions, alterations, and additions have been made, for the purpose of accommodating their remarks to the state of the American branch of the Church; and on some subjects, illustrations have been sought in the writings of the American Bishops, and other Clergy.
The several parts of the Liturgy have afforded a wide range for comments and reflections. The history of each particular part, the ideas intended to be conveyed or excited, and the doctrines of faith and practice inculcated or recognised, have severally occupied the attention of the Compiler. But it has been his main design to give to the whole work a practical character, for the purpose of recommending it to the use of Families, and making it a help to their domestic devotions. He is persuaded that many who habitually use the Book of Common Prayer, have a very imperfect apprehension of the full import of its several Offices and catch but a faint inspiration from that spirit of piety which animates them.
If, by collecting together the lights which have been shed upon the Liturgy, he can afford a guide to its clearer comprehension, and a more pious use of it, his labours will not have been in vain.
New-Haven, January, 1823.
1.-OF THE ADVANTAGES OF FORMS OF PRAYER FOR PUBLIC WORSHIP.
The Protestant Episcopal Church in the prescribed form of worsł.ip is not subject to United States of America, following ancient, the same inconveniences with extemporary primitive, and, until within these few centu- effusions. If there should be nothing absurd ries, universal usage, has prescribed a FORM and unbecoming in them, yet the audience OF PRAYER, or LITURGY, for public worship. must first endeavour to understand the This form she has received, and with few words; and then they must weigh and conand unessential alterations adopted, from the sider the sense and meaning; and then they Church of England, " to whom she is in- must deliberate whether such requests are debted under God, for her first foundation, proper for persons in their condition, before and for a long continuance of nursing care they can lawfully join in them; and by that and protection.” (1.)
time the minister is passed on to some other She conceives that forms of prayer are subject, which requires the like attention justified by many particular and important and consideration; and so their curiosity
l advantages, as well as by Scripture, and may be raised, and they may exercise their ancient and primitive usage.
judgment, but there can scarce be any room Forms of prayer possess many important
left for devotion." advantages. When public worship is con- “A precomposed form of prayer—is so ducted according to a prescribed form, the far from obstructing or quenching our depeople are previously acquainted with the votion, as is pretended, that it assists and prayers in which they are to join, and are thus inflames it; the matter and the words are enabled to render unto God a reasonable and both prepared to our hands; we know before enlightened service. In forms of prayer,
what is to follow, that we may lawfully join that dignity and propriety of language,
in it; and no other attention is required but so necessary in supplications addressed to to raise our affections. And let me ask, is the infinite Majesty of Heaven, may be pre
not the spirit of the congregation equally served. They prevent the particular opin- stinted, whether the minister pray in an exions and dispositions of the minister from temporary or in a composed regular form ? influencing the devotions of the congrega
And which is the more fit and proper for tion. They serve as a standard of faith and
the people to receive, a form of prayer from practice, impressing on both minister and the wisdom and authority of the whole people, at every performance of public wor
Church, or to depend upon the discretion of ship, the important doctrines and duties of every single minister ?" the Gospel. And they render the service “But a precomposed form of prayer is not more animating, by uniting the people with only liable to no just objection ; but hath the minister in the performance of public besides several advantages to recommend it. worship.
It is more for the honor of Almighty God, The peculiar advantages of forms of prayer expresses more reverence and devotion, preare thus forcibly displayed by an eminent serves greater propriety and decency of lanprelate of the Church of England. (2.) “Aguage. It is likewise more for the edifica
(1.) Preface to the Book of Common Prayer of Dissertations on the prophecies. See his serthe Prot. Epis. Church.
mon on forms of prayer in the 3d vol. of his (2.) Bishop Newton, the learned author of the works.
tion of men as well as for the honor of God. The pious Author of the Ecclesiastical For who can question, which is likely to be polity, termed by way of eminence “The most instructive and edifying, hasty concep- learned and judicious” HOOKER, thus delivtions, or studied compositions ; the produc- ers his judgment concerning forms of praytions of an individual, or the wisdom of the er : (5.) “No doubt from God it hath proChurch, prepared and digested into form and ceeded, and by us it must be acknowledged, order ? It is better not only for the people, but as a work of singular care and providence, for the Ministers too ; for as it prevents any that the Church hath evermore held a prevain ostentation of their talents in the more script form of prayer; although not in all learned, so it supplies the more ignorant things every where the same, yet for the most with what, perhaps, they could ill compose of part retaining still the same analogy. So themselves. Moreover it better establishes that if the Liturgies of all ancient Churches and secures the unity of faith and worship; throughout the world be compared among hinders the heterodox from infusing their themselves, it may be easily perceived they particular notions in their prayers, which is, had all one-original mould, and that the pubperhaps, the most artful and plausible way lic prayer of the people of God in Churches of infusing them; reduces all the Churches throughly settled, did never use to be volto an uniformity, prevents any disagreement untary dictates proceeding from any men's or contradiction in their petitions, and in- extemporal wit. To him who considers structs them, as they worship the same God, to the grievous and scandalous inconveniences worship him with the same mind and voice." whereunto they make themselves daily sub
The use of precomposed forms of prayer ject, with whom any blind and secret corner for public worship is also justified by Scrip is judged a fit house of common prayer ; ture and the practice of the primitive the manifold confusion which they fall into, Church. The public service of the Jews where every man's private spirit and gift, was conducted according to prescribed forms. as they term it, is the only Bishop that or The Levites who were appointed by David daineth him to this ministry; the irksome (3.) “ to stand every morning to thank and deformities by which, through endless and praise the Lord, and also at even," must have senseless effusions of indigested prayers, performed this duty according to some set they, who are subject to no certain order, form, in which they could all join. The but pray both what and how they list, oftenbook of Psalms was indited by the Holy times disgrace, in most insufferable manner, Ghost, with the view of supplying forms of the worthiest part of Christian duty towards prayer and praise for the joint use of the God; to him, I say, who weigheth duly all congregation. (4.) Our Saviour, by joining these things, the reasons cannot be obscure; in communion with the Jewish Church, and why God doth in public prayer so much reparticularly by giving to his disciples the spect the solemnity of places where, the form of prayer called the Lord's Prayer, tes- authority and calling of persons by whom, tified, in the strongest manner, his approba- and the precise appointment even with tion of set forms. The Apostles and dis- what words and sentences, his name should ciples no doubt joined, until our Lord's as- be called on amongst his people.” Bp. cension, in the Jewish worship, which was Hobart's Companion for the Book of Comconducted according to a prescribed form. mon Prayer. In the writings of the earliest Fathers, we find It has been objected to forms of prayer, the expressions, common prayers, constitu- that they are “a hindrance to a zealous ted prayers ; from which it is evident that praying by the Spirit.” To this objection the primitive Christians had forms of prayers. the following reply of the learned and pious