BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER
The Original Manuscript
THE ACT OF UNIFORMITY OF 1662,
And now preserved in the House of Lords;
EYRE & SPOTTISWOODE,
Printers to the Queen's most Excellent Majesty.
LONDON—GREAT NEW STREET, FLEET STREET, E.C.
EDINBURGH, GLASGOW, MELBOURNE, SYDNEY, AND NEW YORK.
PREFACE OF THE PUBLISHERS.
IN the following pages the Book of Common Prayer which was annexed in manuscript, as the authoritative record, to the Act of Uniformity of 1662. is exactly reproduced in type—it is believed for the first time.
By this it is to be understood that the text is here printed verbatim et literatim, without any attempt to modernize the spelling, or to harmonize it in the very numerous instances in which it is at variance with itself, and that the punctuation of the original MS. (often extremely faulty and defective if judged by a present-day standard) has been most rigidly adhered to, even in cases where it is, to modern readers, obviously erroneous. Wherever an erasure or correction occurs in the MS., the passage is printed as it was left after the making of such erasure or correction.
The MS. copy now reproduced was adopted by the clergy of both Houses of Convocation and of both Provinces, Dec. 20, 1661, and is authenticated by their signatures appended. Nevertheless, the earliest printed copies of the Book of Common Prayer of 1662, namely, those known as the Sealed Books, because they were declared under the Great Seal of England to be true copies of the MS., are found to differ considerably from that original standard in various details of orthography and punctuation. The causes of this discrepancy cannot be discussed here. A brief statement, however, seems to be required, to explain the character of the so-called Annexed Book, and the method of its present reproduction in type, more particularly in the interest of readers who have not access to the facsimile made in 1891 by special permission of the House of Lords, now the custodians of the MS.
The MS. is written in two styles of handwriting (but not all by the same scribe), the text of the work being in the set hand of the period, and that, as a rule, beautifully clear; whilst the rubrics and other matter are in a more cursive hand, the styles being used interchangeably, as occasion arose, to distinguish certain words or phrases.
To represent the original handwriting, therefore, two kinds of type sufficed, the Roman being adopted for the set or engrossing hand of the text, and the Italic for the cursive of the rubrics; whilst the titles, headlines, sundry words and phrases written large in the text, and the marginal notes—which are not in the set hand nor in the cursive of the rubrics—are reproduced in the Roman or in the Italic according to typographical practice. Such sizes of each type have been selected as would fairly and sufficiently represent the variations of size deliberately introduced into the original MS. by the writer or writers. Refinements of mere penmanship have been disregarded, but whatever could be considered an integral part of the Annexed Book has been exhibited in type.
During the execution of the work, every precaution that experience could suggest was taken to ensure perfect accuracy, and the completed work was then minutely compared, word by word, stop by stop, with the photographs of the Annexed Book from which the copy in facsimile was made in 1891, every case of ambiguity being determined by reference to the original in the House of Lords. Throughout this final examination the Queen's Printers have had the assistance of Mr. Reginald S. Faber, by whose special knowledge and experience of such manuscript work they have been guided in every detail. They may instance in particular the use of the capitals I, J, and S, which appear to have been adopted by the writers of the MS. in the most uncertain and varying manner, the S being almost always of such indefinite size that its reproduction in type could only be satisfactorily effected by a careful comparison of its numerous varieties.
Note that the modern i, j, u, v, and s are used in all cases here.
In addition to the lines which enclose each page or form the skeleton of certain Tables and a few cross-lines within the pages, parts of the Kalendar, viz. the numerals in the first column of each month, the words Kalend, Nonæ, Idus together with the name of the month in the line following, also Morning and Evening in headings, and 1 Lesson in both Services, are, in the original, executed in red ink. But inasmuch as this treatment was found to involve no principle, being rather a matter of penmanship or ornament, it seemed preferable to avoid it as being exceptional and possibly misleading in the printed volume. The titles of twenty-four of the Feast Days and of the three State Services which are, in the Kalendar, also written with red ink, have been set in a distinctive type.
The reader will notice many curious points throughout the work; but, however strange some of them may appear, he may rely on their being in every case a truthful reproduction of the MS. In some instances, matters of doctrine or ritual may seem to be affected, but on such questions it is, fortunately, not within the province of printer or press-corrector to express any opinion. But they venture to state, as the result of their labours, their belief that the Annexed Book was intended to be a record of the language only of the Book of Common Prayer (and not to be a standard of orthography—which the manuscript of the chief reviser, the learned Bishop Cosin, and of his secretary Sancroft shows to have been still in an unsettled condition—nor of punctuation, nor of typographical detail), and that the MS. was used in this limited sense by the authorised examiners of the Sealed Books.
HER MAJESTY'S PRINTING OFFICE,
The Booke of
Administration of the
And other Rites and
of the Church
According to the Use of
the Church of England
The Psalter or Psalmes of
Pointed as they are to be
sung or said in Churches
The Forme or Manner of
Making, ordeining, & consecrating
Bishops, Priests, & Deacons.
The Contents of this Book
1 An Act for the uniformitie of Common Prayer.
2 The Præface.
3 Concerning the service of the Church.
4 Concerning Ceremonies.
5 The Order how the Psalter is appointed to be read.
6 The Order how the rest of the holy scripture is appointed to be read.
7 A Table of proper Lessons, and Psalms.
8 Tables, and Rules for the Feasts, and Fasts through the whole year.
9 The Kalendar, with the Table of Lessons.
10 The Order for Morning Prayer.
11 The Order for Evening Prayer.
12 The Creed of St. Athanasius.
13 The Litany.
14 Prayers and Thanksgivings, upon severall Occasions
15 The Collects, Epistles, and Gospels, to be used at the ministration of the holy Communion throughout the year.
16 The Order of the Ministration of the holy Communion.
17 The Order of Baptism, both publick, and private.
18 The Order of Baptism for those of riper years.
19 The Catechism, with the Order for Confirmation of children.
21 Visitation of the sick, and Communion of the sick.
23 Thanksgiving for women after Child-bearing
24. A Commination or denouncing of Gods Anger and Judgements against Sinners.
25 The Psalter.
26 The Order of Prayers to be used at sea.
27. A form and manner of ordaining Bishops, Priests and Deacons.
An Act for the Uniformity of Where at the death of our late soveraign Lord King Edward the sixth, there remained one uniform order of Common service and prayer, and of the Administration of sacraments, Rites and Ceremonies in the Church of England which was set forth, in one Book, intituled, The Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies in the Church of England, authorized by Act of Parliament holden in the fifth and sixth years of our said late soveraign Lord King Edward the sixth, intituled, An Act for the uniformity of common prayer, and Administration of the sacraments: The which was repealed and taken away by Act of Parliament in the first year of the raign of our late soveraign Lady Queen Mary to the great decay of the due honour of God, and discomfort to the Professors of the truth of Christs religion.
Common Prayer, and Service
in the Church, and Adminis-
tration of the Sacraments,
Be it therefore enacted by the authority of this present Parliament, that the said statute of repeal, and every thing therein contained, only concerning the said Book, and the service, Administration of sacraments, Rites, and Ceremonies contained or appointed in or by the said book, shall be void, and of none effect, from and after the feast of the Nativity of St. John Baptist next coming.
And that the said book with the order of service, and of the administration of Sacraments, Rites, and Ceremonies, with the Alteration and additions therein added and appointed by this statute, shall stand and be from and after the said feast of the nativity of Saint John Baptist in full force and effect, according to the tenor and effect of this statute: any thing in the foresaid statute of repeal to the contrary notwithstanding.
And further be it enacted by the Queens Highness, with the assent of the Lords and Commons of this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that all and singular Ministers in any Cathedrall, or parish-church, or other place within this Realm of England, Wales, and the Marches of the same, or other the Queens dominions, shall from and after the feast of the nativity of St. John Baptist next coming, be bounden to say and use the Mattens, Evensong, celebration of the Lords supper, and Administration of each of the sacraments, and all other common and open prayer in such order and form as is mentioned in the said book, so authorized by Parliament in the said fifth and sixth year of the reign of King Edward the sixth, with one alteration or addition of certein lessons to be used on every Sunday in the year, and the form of the Letany altered, and corrected, and two sentences only added in the delivery of the sacrament to the communicants, and none other or otherwise. And that if any manner of Parson, Vicar, or other whatsoever Minister, that ought or should sing or say common prayer mentioned in the said book, or minister the Sacraments from and after the feast of the nativity of Saint John Baptist next coming, refuse to use the said common prayers, or to minister the sacraments, in such Cathedral, or Parish church, or other places, as he should use to minister the same in such order and form as they be mentioned and set forth in the said book, or shall wilfully or obstinately standing in the same, use any other Rite, Ceremony, Order, Form, or Manner of celebrating of the Lords Supper' openly or privily, or Mattens, Evensong, Administration of the sacraments, or other open prayers, then is mentioned and set forth in the said book [Open prayer in and through this Act, is meant that prayer which is for other to come unto, or hear, either in common churches, or private Chappels, or Oratories, commonly called, the Service of the Church] or shall preach, declare, or speak any thing in the derogation, or depraving of the said book, or any thing therein conteined, or of any part thereof, and shall be thereof lawfully convicted, according to the lawes of this Realm by verdict of twelve men, or by his own confession, or by the notorious evidence of the fact: shall lose and forfeit to the Queens Highness her heirs and successors, for his first offence, the profit of all his spirituall benefices, or promotions, coming or arising in one whole year next after his conviction: And also that the person so convicted, shall for the same offence suffer imprisonment by the space of six months without bail or mainprise. And if any such person once convict of any offence concerning the premisses, shall after his first conviction, eftsoons offend, and be thereof in form aforesaid lawfully convict: that then the same person shall for his second offence suffer imprisonment, by the space of one whole year, and also shall therefore be deprived ipso facto of all his spiritual promotions, And that it shall be lawfull to all Patrons or donors of all and singular the same spirituall promotions or any of them to present or collate to the same, as though the person or persons so offending were dead. And that if any such person or persons after he shall be twice convicted in form aforesaid, shall offend against any of the premisses the third time, and shall be thereof in form aforesaid lawfully convicted: that then the person so offending, and convicted the third time, shall be deprived ipso facto of all his spirituall promotions, and also shall suffer imprisonment during his life.
And if the person that shall offend and be convict in form aforesaid, concerning any of the premisses, shall not be beneficed, nor have any spirituall promotion: that then the same person so offending, and convict, shall for the first offence suffer imprisonment during one whole year next after his said conviction, without bailor mainprise. And if any such person not having any spiritual promotion, after his first conviction shall eftsoons offend in any thing concerning the premisses, and shall in form aforesaid be thereof lawfully convicted, that then the same person shall for his second offence suffer imprisonment during his life.
And it is ordained and enacted by the authority aforesaid that if any person or persons whatsoever after the said feast of the nativity of Saint John Baptist next coming shall in any Enterludes, Playes, Songs, Rimes, or by other open words declare or speake any thing in the derogation, depriving or despising of the same book, or of any thing therein conteined, or any part thereof, or shall by open fact, deed, or by open threatnlngs compell or cause, or otherwise procure or mantein any Parson, Vicar or other Minister, in any Cathedrall or parish church, or in chappel, or in any other place to sing or say any common or open prayer, or to minister any sacrament otherwise, or in any other manner and form then is mentioned in the said book, or that by any of the said means shall unlawfully interrupt, or let any Parson Vicar or other Minister in any Cathedrall or parish church, chappel, or any other place, to sing or say common and open prayer, or to minister the sacraments, or any of them in such manner and form as is mentioned in the said book: that then every such person, being thereof lawfully convicted in form abovesaid, shall forfeit to the Queen our Soveraign Lady, her heirs, and successors for the first offence an hundred marks. And if any person or persons being once convict of any such offence, eftsoons offend against any of the last recited offences, and shall in form aforesaid be thereof lawfully convict: that then the same person so offending and convict, shall for the second offence forfeit to the Queen our Sovereign Lady, her heirs and successors four hundred Marks. And if any person after he in form aforesaid shall have been twice convict of any offence concerning any of the last recited offences, shall offend the third time, and be thereof in form abovesaid lawfully convict: that then every person so offending and convict, shall for his third offence forfeit to our Soveraign Lady the Queen all his goods and chattels, and shall suffer imprisonment during his life. And if any person or persons that for his first offence concerning the premisses shall be convict in form aforesaid, do not pay the summe to be payed by virtue of his conviction, in such manner and form as the same ought to be payed, within six weeks next after his conviction: that then every person so convict, and so not paying the same, shall for the same first offence, instead of the said summe, suffer imprisonment by the space of six months without bail or mainprise: And if any person or persons that for his second offence concerning the premisses shall be convict in form aforesaid, do not pay the said summe to be paied by virtue of his conviction, and this estatute in such manner and form as the same ought to be payed within six weeks next after this said second conviction: that then every person so convicted, and not paying the same, shall for the same second offence, in the stead of the said summe, suffer imprisonment during twelve monthes without Bail or mainprise. And that from and after the said feast of the nativity of Saint John Baptist next coming all and every person and persons inhabiting within this Realm, or any other the Queens Majesties Dominions, shall diligently and faithfully, having no lawfull or reasonable excuse to be absent, indeavour themselves to resort to their parish church or chappell accustomed, or upon reasonable let thereof, to some usuall place where common prayer, and such service of God shall be used in such tyme of let, upon every Sunday, and other dayes ordained, and used to be kept as holy dayes: and then and there to abide orderly and soberly during the time of common prayer, preachings or other service of God there to be used and ministred, upon pain of punishment by the censures of the Church: and also upon pain that every person so offending shall forfeit for every such offence twelve pence to be levied by the church-wardens of the parish where such offence shall be don to the use of the poor of the same parish, of the goods lands and tenements of such offender, by way of distress. And for due execution hereof, the Queens most excellent Majesty, the Lords temporall, and all the Commons in this present Parliament assembled doth in Gods name eamestly require and charge all the Archbishops, Bishops, and other Ordinaries that they shall endeavour themselves to the uttermost of their knowledges that the due and true execution hereof may be had throughout their Diocess and charges, as they will answer before God, for such evils and plagues wherewith Almighty God may justly punish his people for neglecting his good and wholesom law. And for the authority in this behalf, be it further inacted by the authority aforesayd that all and singular the same Archbishops, Bishops, and all other their officers exercising ecclesiasticall Jurisdiction, as well in place exempt, as not exempt within their Diocess, shall have full power and authority by this Act to reform correct, and punish by censures of the church, all and singular persons which shall offend within any of their jurisdictions, or Diocess after the said feast of the nativity of Saint John Baptist next coming against this act and statute: any other law, Statute, priviledge liberty or provision heretofore made had or suffered to the contrary notwithstanding.
And it is ordained and enacted by the authority aforesaid that all and every Justice of Oyer and Determiner, or Justices of Assize shall have full power and authority in every of their open and generall sessions, to inquire hear and determine all and all manner of offences, that shall be committed or done contrary to any Article conteined in this present Act, within the limits of the Commission to them directed, and to make process for the execution of the same, as they may do against any person being indicted before them of trespass, or lawfully convicted thereof.
Provided alwayes, and be it enacted by the authority aforesaid that all and every Archbishop and Bishop shall and may at all time and times at his liberty and pleasure join, and associate himself, by virtue of this Act, to the said Justices of Oyer, and Determiner, or to the said Justices of Assize, at every of the said open and generall sessions, to be holden in any place within his Diocess for and to the inquiry, hearing, and determining of the offences aforesaid.
Provided also, and be it enacted by the authority aforesaid that the books concerning the said service, shall at the costs and charges of the parishioners of every parish, and Cathedrall church be attained and gotten before the said feast of the nativity of Saint John Baptist next following: and that all such parishes and Cathedrall churches, or other places where the said books shall be attained, and gotten before the said feast of the nativity of Saint John Baptist, shall within three weeks next after the said books so attained and gotten, use the said service and put the same in use according to this Act.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that no person or persons shall be at any time hereafter impeached or otherwise molested of or for any of the offences above mentioned hereafter to be committed or don contrary to this Act unless he or they so offending be thereof indicted at the next generall sessions to be holden before any such Justices of Oyer and Determiner, or Justices of Assize next after any offence committed or don contrary to the tenor of this Act.
Provided allwayes and be it ordained and enacted by the authority aforesaid, that all and singular Lords of the Parliament for the third offence above mentioned, shall be tryed by their Peers
Provided also and be it ordained and enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the Major of London, and all other Majors Bayliffs, and other head-officers of all and singular cities, boroughs, and towns corporate within this Realm, Wales, and the Marches of the same to the which Justices of Assize do not commonly repair, shall have full power and authority by virtue of this Act to enquire hear and determine the offences above said and every of them yearly, within fifteen dayes after the feasts of Easter, and Saint Michael the Archangel, in like manner and form as Justices of Assize, and Oyer, and Determiner may do.
Provided always, and be it ordained and enacted by the authority aforesaid, that all and singular Archbishops, and Bishops, and every of their Chancellors, Commissaries, Archdeacons, and other Ordinaries, having any peculiar ecc1esiasticall jurisdiction, shall have full power and authority by virtue of this Act, as well to inquire in their Visitation, Synods, or elsewhere within their jurisdiction, at any other time and place to take accusations and informations of all and every the things above mentioned, done committed or perpetrated within the limits of their jurisdiction, and authority, and to punish the same by admonition, excommunication, sequestration, or deprivation, or other censures, and Processes in like form as heretofore hath been used in like cases, by the Queens ecclesiasticall lawes.
Provided always, and be it enacted, that whatsoever person offending in the premisses, shall for the first offence receive punishment of the Ordinary, having a testimonial thereof under the said Ordinaries seal, shall not for the same offence eftsoons be convicted before the Justices: and likewise receiving for the said first offence, punishment by the Justices, he shall not for the same first offence, eftsoons receive punishment of the Ordinary: any thing contained in this Act to the contrary notwithstanding.
Provided always, and be it enacted, that such ornaments of the church, and of the Ministers thereof shall be retained, and be in use, as was in this church of England by the authority of Parliament in the second year of the reign of King Edward the sixth, until other order shall be therein taken, by authority of the Queens Majesty, with the advice of her Commissioners appointed and authorized under the great seal of England, for causes ecclesiasticall or of the Metropolitane of this Realm. And also, that if there shall happen any contempt or irreverence to be used in the Ceremonies or Rites of the Church by the misusing of the orders appointed in this book: the Queens Majesty may by the like advice of the said Commissioners, or Metropolitane, ordain and publish such further Ceremonies or Rites, as may be most for the advancement of Gods glory, the edifying of his Church, and the due reverence of Christs holy Mysteries and sacraments.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that all lawes Statutes and ordinances wherein or whereby any other service, administration of sacraments, or common prayer is limited, established, or set forth to be used within this Realm, or any other the Queens
Dominions and Countries shall
from henceforth utterly
be voyd and of
Act of Uniformity of Queen Elizabeth (1559)
It hath been the wisdom of the Church of England, ever since the first compiling of her publick Liturgie, to keep the meane between the two extreams; of too much stiffness in refusing, and of too much easiness in admitting any variation from it. ffor as on the one side common experience sheweth, that where a change hath been made of things advisedly established, no evident necessity so requiring, sundry inconveniences have thereupon ensued, and those many times more, and greater, then the evils that were intended to be remedied by such change: So on the other side, the particular Forms of divine Worship, and the Rites and Ceremonies appointed to be used therein, being things in their own nature indifferent, and alterable, and so acknowledged; it is but reasonable that upon waighty and important considerations, according to the various exigency of times and occasions, such changes and alterations should be made therein as to those that are in place of Authority, should from time to time seem either necessary or expedient. Accordingly we find that in the Reignes of severall Princes of blessed memory since the reformation, the Church upon just and weighty considerations her thereunto moving, hath yeilded to make such alterations in some particulars, as in their respective times were thought convenient. Yet so as that the main body and essentials of it (as well in the chiefest materials, as in the frame and order thereof) have still continued the same unto this day; and do yet stand firm and unshaken, notwithstanding all the vain attempts, and impetuous assaults made against it by such men as are given to change, and have alwayes discovered a greater regard to their own private fancies and interests, then to that duty they ow to the publick.
By what undue means, and for what mischievous purposes the use of the Liturgy (though injoyned by the Lawes of the land, and those laws never yet repealed) came, during the late unhappy confusions to be discontinued, is too well-known to the world, and we are not willing here to remember. But when upon his Majesties happy restauration, it seemed probable, that amongst other things, the use of the Liturgy also would return of course (the same having never been legally abolished;) unless some timely means were used to prevent it: those men, who under the late usurped powers, had made it a great part of their business, to render the people disaffected thereunto, saw themselves in point of reputation, and interest concerned (unless they would freely acknowledge themselves to have erred, which. such men are very hardly brought to do) with their utmost endeavors to hinder the restitution thereof. In order whereunto divers pamphlets were published against the Book of Common-prayer, the old objections mustred up, with the addition of some new ones, more then formerly had been made, to make the number swell. In fine, great importunities were used to his sacred Majesty that the said Book might be revised, and such alterations therein, and additions thereunto made, as should be thought requisite for the ease of tender consciences. Whereunto his Majesty out of his pious inclination to give satisfaction (so far as could be reasonably expected) to all his subjects of what perswasion soever, did gratiously condescend.
In which review we have endeavored to observe the like moderation as we find to have been used in the like case in former times; And therefore of the sundry alterations proposed unto us, we have rejected all such, as were either of dangerous consequence (as secretly striking at some established doctrine, or laudable practise of the church of England, or indeed of the whole Catholick church of Christ;) or else of no consequence at all, but utterly frivolous and vain. But such alterations as were tendred to us (by what persons, under what pretenses, or to what purpose soever so tendred) as seemed to us in any degree requisite or expedient, we have willingly, and of our own accord assented unto. Not enforced so to do by any strength of Argument convincing us of the necessity of making the said alterations: for we are fully perswaded in our judgements (and we here profess it to the world) that the Book, as it stood before established by Law, doth not contain in it any thing contrary to the word of God, or to sound doctrine, or which a godly man may not with a good conscience use, and submitt unto, or which is not fairly defensible against any that shall oppose the same; if it shall be allowed such just and favourable construction as in common equity ought to be allowed to all humane writings, especially such as are set forth by Authority, and even to the very best translations of the holy scripture it selfe.
Our generall aime therefore in this undertaking was, not to gratify this or that party in any their unreasonable demands: but to do that which to our best understandings we conceived might most tend to the preservation of peace and unity in the Church; the procuring of reverence, and exciting of piety, and devotion in the publick worship of God; and the cutting off occasion from them that seek occasion of cavill, or quarell against the Liturgy of the Church. And as to the severall variations from the former Book, whether by alteration, addition, or otherwise: it shall suffice to give this generall account. That most of the alterations were made either ffirst, for the better direction of them that are to officiate in any part of divine service, which is chiefly don in the Kalendars, and Rubricks, or secondly for the more proper expressing of some words or phrases of antient usage, in terms more suteable to the language of the present times; and the clearer explanation of some other words and phrases that were either of doubtfull signification, or otherwise liable to misconstruction. Or thirdly, for a more perfect rendring of such portions of holy Scripture, as are inserted into the Liturgy: which in the Epistles and Gospells especially, and in sundry other places are now ordered to be read according to the last Translation. And that it was thought convenient that some prayers and thanksgivings fitted to speciall occasions should be added in their due places, particularly for those at Sea, Together with an Office for the baptism of such as are of riper years; (which although not so necessary when the former Book was compiled, yet by the growth of Anabaptism, through the licentiousness of the late times crept in amongst us, is now become necessary) and may be alwayes usefull for the baptizing of Natives in our plantations, and others converted to the Faith.
If any man who shall desire a more particular account of the severall alterations in any part of the Liturgie, shall take the pains to compare the present book with the former,: we doubt not, but the reason of the change may easily appear.
And having thus indeavored to discharge our duties in this weighty affair, as in the sight of God, and to approve our sincerity therein (so far as lay in us) to the consciences of all men: Although we know it impossible (in such variety of Apprehensions, humors, and interests as are in the world) to please all; nor can expect that men of factious, peevish, and perverse spirits should be satisfied with any thing that can be don in this kind, by any other then themselves: Yet we have good hope, that what is here presented, and hath been by the Convocations of both Provinces with great diligence examined and approved; will be also well accepted and approved by all sober, peaceable, and truly conscientious Sons of the Church of England.
Concerning the Service of the Church
There was never any thing by the wit of man so well devised, or so sure established, which in continuance of time hath not been corrupted: as, among other things it may plainly appear by the Common Prayers in the Church, commonly called divine service. The first original and ground whereof if a man would search out by the ancient Fathers he shall find that the same was not ordeined, but of a good purpose, and for a great advancement of godliness. For they so ordered the matter, that all the whole Bible (or the greatest part thereof) should be read over once every year: intending thereby, that the Clergie, and especially such as were Ministers in the Congregation should (by often reading and meditation in Gods word) be stirred up to godliness themselves, and be more able to exhort others by wholesom doctrine, and to confute them that were Adversaries to the Truth. And further that the people (by daily hearing of holy Scripture read in the Church) might continually profit more and more in the knowledge of God and be the more inflamed with the love of his true Religion.
But these many years passed this godly and decent order of the ancient Fathers hath been so altered, broken, and neglected by planting in uncertein Stories and Legends, with multitude of Responds, Verses, vain repetitions, Commemorations, and Synodals; that commonly when any book of the bible was begun, after three or four chapters were read out, all the rest were unread. And in this sort, the book of Esay was begun in Advent, and the book of Genesis in septuagesima: but they were only begun, and never read through. After like sort were other books of holy scripture used.
And moreover, whereas Saint Paul would have such language spoken to the people in the church, as they might understand, and have profit by hearing the same: the service in this churche of England these many years hath been read in latine to the people, which they understand not; so that they have heard with their ears only, and their heart spirit and mind have not been edified thereby.
And furthermore notwithstanding that the ancient Fathers have divided the Psalms into seaven portions, whereof every one was called a Nocturn: now of late time a few of them have been daily said, and the rest utterly omitted.
Moreover the number and hardnes of the rules, called the Pie, and the manifold changings of the service, was the cause that to turn the book only was so hard and intricate a matter, that many times there was more busines to find out what should be read, then to read it, when it was found out.
These inconveniences therefore considered, here is set forth such an order, whereby the same shall be redressed. And for a readiness in this matter, here is drawn out a Kalendar for that purpose, which is plain and easie to be understood; wherein (so much as may be) the reading of holy scripture is so set forth that all things shall be don in order, without breaking one piece from another. For this cause be cutt off Anthemes, Responds, Invitatories, and such like things as did break the continual course of the reading of the Scripture.
Yet because there is no Remedy, but that of necessity there must be some Rules: therefore certein Rules are here set forth; which, as they are few in number, so they are plain, and easie to be understood. So that here you have an Order for prayer, and for the reading of the holy Scripture, much agreable to the mind and purpose of the old Fathers, and a great deal more profitable, and commodious then that, which of late was used. It is more profitable; because here are left out many things, whereof some are untrue, some uncertein, some vain and superstitious; and nothing is ordeined to be read, but the very pure word of God, the holy Scriptures, or that which is agreeable to the same; and that in such a language and order as is most easie and plain for the understanding both of the readers and hearers. It is also more commodious; both for the shortness thereof. and for the plainness of the order. and for that the rules be few and easy.
And whereas heretofore there hath been great diversity in saying, and singing in Churches within this Realm; some following Salisbury use, some Hereford use, and some the use of Bangor, some of York, some of Lincoln; now from henceforth all the whole realme shall have but one use.
And for as much as nothing can be so plainly set forth. but doubts may arise in the use and practise of the same: to appease all such diversity (if any arise) and for the resolution of all doubts concerning the manner how to understand, do and execute the things contained in this book; The parties that so doubt or diversly take any thing, shall alway resort to the Bishop of the Diocess, who by his discretion shall take order for the quieting and appeasing of the same; so that the same order be not contrary to any thing contained in this book. And if the Bishop of the Diocess be in doubt; then he may send for the Resolution thereof to the Arch-Bishop.
This is the 1549 Preface
Though it be appointed that all things shall be read and sung in the Church, in the english tongue, to the end that the congregation may be thereby edified: Yet it is not meant, but that when men say Morning and Evening Prayer privatly, they may say the same in any Language that they themselves do understand.
And all Priests and Deacons are to say daily the Morning and Evening Prayer, either privatly, or openly, not being let by sickness or some other urgent cause.
And the Curate that ministreth in every parish church or Chappel being at home, and not being otherwise reasonably hindred, shall say the same in the parish church or chappel where he ministreth, and shall cause a Bell to be tolled there unto a convenient time before he begin; that the people may come to hear Gods word, and to pray with him.
Of Ceremonies, Why some
be abolished and some
Of such Ceremonies as be used in the Church, and have had their beginning by the Institution of man, some at the first were of godly intent and purpose devised, and yet at length turned to vanity and superstition: some entred into the Church by undiscreet devotion, and such a Zeale as was without knowledge; and for because they were winked at in the begining they grew daily to more and more abuses which not only for their unprofitableness, but also because they have much blinded the people, and obscured the glory of God, are worthy to be cut away and clean 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 order in the Church (for the which they were first devised) as because they pertain to edification, whereunto all things done in the church (as the Apostle teacheth) ought to be referred. And although the keeping or omitting of a Ceremony, in it self considered, is but a small thing, yet the wilfull and contemptuous transgression and breaking of a common order and discipline is no small offence before God.
Let all things be don among you, saith S. Paul, in a seemly and due order. The appointment of the which order pertaineth not to private men: therefore no man ought to take in hand, nor presume to appoint or alter any publick, or common order in Christs church, except he be lawfully called and authorized thereunto.
And whereas in this our time, the minds of men are so divers, that some think it a great matter of conscience to depart from a peece of the least of their Ceremonies; they be so addicted to their old customs: and again on the other side, some be so newfangled, that they would innovate all things, and so despise the old, that nothing can like them but that is new: It was thought expedient, not so much to have respect how to please and satisfie either of these parties, as how to please God and profitt them both. And yet lest any man should be offended, whom good reason might satisfie, here be certein causes rendred why some of the accustomed Ceremonies be put away, and some retained, and kept still.
Some are put away because the great excess and multitude of them hath so increased in these latter dayes, that the burthen of them was intolerable; whereof S. Augustine in his tyme complained that they were grown to such a number, that the estate of Christian people was in worse case concerning that matter, then were the Jews. And he counselled that such yoke and burthen should be taken away, as time would serve quietly to do it.
But what would S. Augustine have said, if he had seen the Ceremonies of late daies used among us: whereunto the multitude used in his time was not to be compared? This our excessive multitude of Ceremonies was so great, and many of them so dark, that they did more confound and darken, then declare and sett forth Christs benefits unto us.
And besides this, Christs Gospell is not a ceremoniall law, (as much of Moses law was) but it is a Religion, to serve God, not in bondage of the figure, or shadow, but in the freedom of the spirit, being content only with those ceremonies which do serve to a decent order, and godly discipline, and such as be apt to stir up the dull mind of man to the remembrance of his duty to God, by some notable and speciall signification, whereby he might be edified.
Furthermore, the most weighty cause of the abolishment of certain Ceremonies was, that they were so far abused, partly by the superstitious blindsess of the rude, and unlearned, and partly by the unsatiable avarice of such as sought more their own lucre, then the glory of God; that the abuses could not well be taken away, the thing remaining still. But now, as concerning those persons which peradventure will be offended, for that some of the old ceremonies are retained still: if they consider that without some ceremonies it is not possible to keep any order or quiet discipline in the Church, they shall easily perceive just cause to reform their judgements. And if they think much that any of the old do remain, and would rather have all devised anew: then such men granting some ceremonies convenient to be had; surely where the old may be well used, there they cannot reasonably reprove the old, only for their age, without bewraying of their own folly. For in such a case they ought rather to have reverence unto them for their antiquitie: if they will declare themselves to be more studious of unitie and concord, then of innovations, and newfangleness, which (as much as may be with the true setting forth of Christs religion) is alwayes to be eschewed. Furthermore such shall have no just cause with the Ceremonies reserved to be offended. For as those be taken away which were most abused, and did burden mens consciences without any cause; so the other that remain, are retained for a discipline and order, which (upon just causes) may be altered and changed, and therefore are not to be esteemed equall with Gods law. And moreover they be neither dark nor dumb ceremonies, but are so set forth, that every man may understand what they do mean, and to what use they do serve. So that it is not like that they in time to come should be abused, as other have been. And in these our doings we condemn no other Nations, nor prescribe any thing, but to our own people only. For we think it convenient that every country should use such ceremonies as they shall think best to the setting forth of Gods honour and glory, and to the reducing of the people to a most perfect and godly living without errour or superstition: And that they should put away other things, which from time to time they perceive to be most abused, as in mens ordinances it often chanceth diversly in divers countries.
The Order how the Psalter
is appointed to be read.
The Psalter shall be read through once every month, as it is there appointed, both for Morning and Evening Prayer. But in February it shall be read onely to the twenty eighth or twenty ninth day of the month.
And, whereas January, March, May, July, August, October and December have one and thirty dayes a peece; It is ordered that the same Psalms shall be read the last day of the said Monthes which were read the day before: So that the Psalter may begin again the first day of the next month ensuing.
And, whereas the cxix. psalm is divided into xxii. portions, and is overlong to be read at one time: It is so ordered, that at one time shall not be read above four or five of the said portions.
And at the end of every Psalm, and of every such part of the cxix Psalm shall be repeated this Hymn
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.
Note, that the Psalter followeth the division of the Hebrews, and the Translation of the great English Bible, set forth and used in the time of K. H. viii. and Edw. vi.
The Order how the rest of
Holy Scripture is appointed
to be read.
The Old Testament is appointed for the first Lessons at Morning, and Evening Prayer; so as the most part thereof will be read every year once as in the Kalendar is appointed.
The New Testament is appointed for the second Lessons at Morning and Evening Prayer, and shall be read over orderly every year thrice, besides the Epistles and Gospels; except the Apocalyps, out of which there are only certein proper Lessons appointed upon divers Feasts.
And to know what Lessons shall be read every day, looke for the day of the month in the Kalendar following; and there ye shall find the Chapters that shall be read for the Lessons, both at morning and evening Prayer. Except only the Moveable Feasts, which are not in the Kalendar; and the Immoveable, where there is a blank left in the Column of Lessons; The proper Lessons for all which dayes are to be found in the Table of Proper Lessons.
And note, that whensoever proper Psalms, or Lessons are appointed; then the Psalms and Lessons of ordinary course appointed in the Psalter, and Kalendar (if they be different) shall be omitted for that time.
Note also, that the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel appointed for the Sunday, shall serve all the week after, where it is not in this book otherwise ordered.