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    The Book of Common Prayer - 1549



OF suche Ceremonies as be used in the Church, and have had their beginning by thinstitucion of man: Some at the first were of godly intent and purpose devised, and yet at length turned to vanitie and supersticion: Some entred into the Churche by undiscrete devocion, and suche a zele as was without knowlage, and for because they were winked at in the beginning, they grewe dayly to more and more abuses, which not onely for their unprofitablenesse, but also because they have muche blynded the people, and obscured the glory of God, are worthy to be cut awaye, and cleane rejected. Other there be, which although they have been devised by man: yet it is thought good to reserve them still as well for a decent ordre in the Churche (for the which they were first devised) as because they pertayne to edificacion. Wherunto all thynges doen in the Churche (as the Apostle teacheth) ought to be referred. And although the keping or omytting of a ceremonie (in itselfe considered) is but a small thyng: Yet the wilfull and contemptuous transgression, and breakyng of a common ordre, and disciplyne, is no small offence before God. Let all thynges bee done emong you (sayeth Sainte Paule) in a semely and due ordre. The appoyntemente of the whiche ordre pertayneth not to pryvate menne: Therfore no manne ought to take in hande nor presume to appoynte or alter any publyke or common ordre in Christes Churche, excepte he be lawfully called and autorized thereunto. And whereas in this our tyme, the myndes of menne bee so diverse, that some thynke it a greate matter of conscience to departe from a peece of the leaste of theyr Ceremonies (they bee so addicted to their olde customes), and agayne on the other syde, some bee so newe fangle that they woulde innovate all thyng, and so doe despyse the olde that nothyng canne lyke them, but that is newe: It was thought expediente not so muche to have respecte howe to please and satisfie eyther of these partyes, as howe to please God, and profitte them bothe. And yet leste any manne should bee offended (whom good reason might satisfie), here be certayne causes rendered, why some of the accustomed Ceremonies be put awaye, and some be retayned and kept still.
    Some are put awaye, because the great excesse and multytude of them hathe so encreased in these latter dayes, that the burden of them was intollerable: wherof saincte Augustine in his tyme complayned, that they were growen to suche a noumbre: that the state of christian people was in wurse case (concernyng that matter) then were the Jewes. And he counsayled that suche yocke and burden should be taken awaye: as tyme woulde serve quietely to doe it. But what woulde saincte Augustine have sayed if he hadde seen the Ceremonies of late dayes used among us? Wherunto the multitude used in his time was not to bee compared. This our excessive multitude of Ceremonies, was so great, and many of them so darke: that they dyd more confounde and darken, then declare and sette forth Christes benefites unto us. And besides this, Christes Gospell is not a Ceremoniall lawe (as muche of Moses lawe was), but it is a relygion to serve God, not in bondage of the figure or shadowe: but in the freedome of spirite, beeyng contente onely wyth those ceremonyes whyche dooe serve to a decente ordre and godlye discipline, and suche as bee apte to stirre uppe the dulle mynde of manne to the remembraunce of his duetie to God, by some notable and speciall significacion, whereby he myght bee edified.
    Furthermore, the most weightye cause of the abolishement of certayne Ceremonies was, that they were so farre abused, partely by the supersticious blyndenes of the rude and unlearned, and partelye by the unsaciable avarice of suche as soughte more theyr owne lucre than the glorye of God; that the abuses coulde not well bee taken awaye, the thyng remaynyng styll. But nowe as concernyng those persones, whiche peradventure will bee offended for that some of the olde Ceremonies are retayned still: Yf they consyder, that wythoute some Ceremonies it is not possible to kepe anye ordre or quyete dyscyplyne in the churche: they shall easilye perceyve juste cause to refourme theyr judgementes. And yf they thynke muche that anye of the olde dooe remayne, and woulde rather have all devised anewe: then such menne (grauntyng some Ceremonyes conveniente to bee hadde), surelye where the olde maye bee well used: there they cannot reasonablye reprove the olde (onelye for theyr age) withoute bewraiyng of theyr owne folye. For in suche a case they oughte rather to have reverence unto them for theyr antyquitye, yf they wyll declare themselves to bee more studious of unitie and concorde, then of innovacions and newe fanglenesse, whiche (as muche as maye bee wyth the trewe settyng foorthe of Christes religion) is alwayes to bee eschewed. Furthermore, suche shall have no juste cause wyth the Ceremonies reserved, to bee offended: for as those bee taken awaye whiche were moste abused, and dydde burden mennes consciences wythoute any cause: So the other that remaine are retained for a discipline and ordre, which (upon just causes) may be altered and chaunged, and therfore are not to be estemed equal with goddes lawe. And moreover they be neyther darke nor dumme ceremonies, but are so set forth that every man may understande what they dooe meane, and to what use they do serve. So that it is not like that thei, in time to come, shoulde bee abused as the other have been. And in these all our dooynges wee condemne no other nacions, nor prescribe anye thyng, but to oure owne people onelye. For we thinke it conveniente that every countreye should use such ceremonies, as thei shal thynke beste to the settyng foorth of goddes honor, and glorye: and to the reducyng of the people to a moste perfecte and Godly living, without errour or supersticion: and that they shoulde putte awaye other thynges, which from time to time they perceive to be most abused, as in mennes ordinaunces it often chaunceth diverselye in diverse countreyes.




for the more playne explicacion and
decent ministracion of thinges, conteined in thys booke.

IN the saying or singing of Matens and Evensong, Baptizyng and Burying, the minister, in paryshe churches and chapels annexed to the same, shall use a Surples. And in all Cathedral churches and Colledges, tharchdeacons, Deanes, Provestes, Maisters, Prebendaryes, and fellowes, being Graduates, may use in the quiere, beside the yr Surplesses, such hoodes as pertaineth to their several degrees, which they have taken in any universitie within this realme. But in all other places, every minister shall be at libertie to use any Surples or no. It is also seemely that Graduates, when they dooe preache, shoulde* use such hoodes as pertayneth to theyr severall degrees.


* shall in several printings

And whensoever the Bushop shall celebrate the holye communion in the churche, or execute any other publique minystracyon, he shall have upon hym, besyde his rochette, a Surples or albe, and a cope or vestment, and also his pastorall staffe in his hande, or elles borne or holden by his chapeleyne [chaplain].

As touching kneeling, crossing, holding up of handes, knocking upon the brest, and other gestures: they may be used or left as every mans devocion serveth without blame.

Also upon Christmas day, Ester day, the Ascension daye, whit-Soonday, and the feaste of the Trinitie, may bee used anye parte of holye scripture hereafter to be certaynly limited and appoynted, in the stede of the Letany.

If there bee a sermone, or for other greate cause, the Curate by his discretion may leave out the Letanye, Gloria in excelsis, the Crede, thomely [the homily], and the exhortation to the communion.




Imprinted at London in
Fletestrete, at the signe of the Sunne over against
the conduyte, by EdVVarde VVhitchurche.
The seventh daye of Marche, the
yeare of our Lorde,

The Kinges Majestie, by
the advyse of his moste deare uncle the Lord Pro-
tector and other his highnes Counsell, streightly
chargeth and commaundeth, that no maner
of person do sell this present booke un-
bounde, above the price of ii. Shyl-
lynges the piece. And the
same bounde in paste or
in boordes, not above
the price of three
shyllynges and
the piece.


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