The Book of Common Prayer
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    1786 Proposed U. S. Book of Common Prayer



I. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity.

THere is but one living, true, and Eternal God, the Father Almighty; without body, parts or passions; of infinite Power, Wisdom, and Goodness, the Maker and preserver of all things both visible and invisible: And one Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, very and true God; who came down from heaven, took man's nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin of her substance, and was God and man in one person, whereof is one Christ; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice for the sins of all men He rose again from death, ascended into heaven, and there sitteth until he shall return to judge the world at the last day: And one Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, of the same divine nature with the Father and the Son.

II. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.

HOly Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.




Exodus ,
The First Book of Samuel
The Second Book of Samuel,
The First Book of Kings,
The Second Book of Kings ,
The First Book of Chronicles,
The Second Book of Chronicles,
The First Book of Esdras,
The Second Book of Esdras,
The Book of Hester
The Book of Job,
The Psalms,
The Proverbs,
Ecclesiastes or Preacher,
Cantica, or Songs of Solomon,
Four Prophets the greater,
Twelve Prophets the less,
   And the other Books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following:
The Third Book of Esdras,
The Fourth Book of Esdras,
The Book of Tobias,
The Book of Judith,
The rest of the Book of Hester,
The Book of Wisdom,
Jesus the Son of Siruch,
Baruch the Prophet,
The Song of the Three Children,
The Story of Susanna,
Of Bel and the Dragon,
The Prayer of Manasses,
The First Book of Maccabees,
The Second Book of Maccabees.
   All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account Canonical.


III. Of the Old and New Testament.

THere is a perfect harmony and agreement between the Old Testament and the New, for in both everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man : and although the law given by Moses, as to ceremonies and the civil precepts of it, doth not bind Christians; yet all such are obliged to observe the moral commandments which he delivered.

IV. Of the Creed.

THe Creed, commonly called the Apostles' Creed ought to be received and believed: because it may be proved by the Holy Scripture.

V. Of Original Sin.

BY the fall of Adam the Nature of Man is become greatly corrupted, having departed from its primitive innocence, and that original righteousness in which it was at first created by God. For we are now so inclined naturally to do evil that the flesh is continually striving to act contrary to the Spirit of God, which corrupt inclination still remains even in the regenerate. But although there is no man living who sinneth not, yet we must use our sincere eneavours to keep the whole law of God, so far as we possibly can.

VI. Of Free-Will.

THe condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ giving a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

VII. Of the Justification of Man.

WE are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine and very full of comfort.  

VIII. Of Good Works.

ALthough Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

IX. Of Christ alone without Sin.

CHrist, by taking human nature on him, was made like unto us in all things, sin only excepted. He was a lamb without spot, and by the sacrifice of himself once offered, made atonement and propitiation for the sins of the world; and sin was not in him. But all man kind besides, although baptized and born again in Christ, do offend in many things. For if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

X. Of Sin after Baptism.

THey who fall into sin after Baptism may be renewed by repentance; for although after we have received God's grace, we may depart from it by falling into sin, yet, through the assistance of his Holy Spirit, we may by repentance and the amendment of our lives, be restored again to his favour. God will not deny forgiveness of sins to those who truly repent, and do that which is lawful and right; but all such through his mercy in Christ Jesus, shall save their souls alive.

XI. Of Predestination.

PRedestination to life, with respect to every Man's Salvation, is the everlasting purpose of God, secret to us: and the right knowledge of what is revealed concerning it, is full of comfort to such truly religious Christians, as feel in themselves the spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of their flesh, and their earthly affections, and raising their minds to heavenly things. But we must receive God's promises as they are generally declared in Holy Scripture, and do his will, as therein is expressly directed: for without holiness of life no man shall be saved.

XII. Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ.

THey are to be accounted presumptuous, who say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.

XIII. Of the Church and its Authority.

THe visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, wherein the true Word of God is preached and the Sacraments administered according to Christ's ordinance in all things requisite and necessary and every Church hath power to ordain, change, and abolish rites and ceremonies for the more decent and good government thereof: so that all things be done to edifying. But it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God's Word, nor so to expound the Scripture, as to make one part seem repugnant to another; nor to decree or enforce anything to be believed as necessary to Salvation that is not contained in the Scriptures. General Councils and Churches are liable to err, and have erred, even in matters of faith and doctrine, as well as in their ceremonies.

XIV. Of Ministering in the Congregation.

IT is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, who be chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord's vineyard.

XV. Of the Sacraments.

SAcraments ordained by Christ are not only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession, but rather certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God's good will towards us, by which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in him.
   There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.

XVI. Of Baptism.

BAptism is not merely a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that are not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or New-Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God.
   The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.

This last paragraph appears in one of my sources, but not in the other.

XVII. Of the Lord's Supper.

THe Supper of the Lord is not merely a sign bf the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ's death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and like wise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.
   Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
   The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper of the Lord, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.

XVIII. Of the one Oblation of Christ upon the Cross.

THe offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both Original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone.

XIX. Of Consecration and Ordination.

THe Book of Consecration of Bishops and Ordering of Priests and Deacons, excepting such parts as require any Oaths inconsistent with the American revolution, is to be adopted, as containing all things necessary to such Consecration and Ordering.

XX. Of a Christian Man's Oath.

THe Christian Religion doth not prohibit any man from taking an oath, when required by the Magistrate in testimony of truth; but all vain and rash swearing is forbidden by the Holy Scriptures


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Web author: Charles Wohlers U. S. EnglandScotlandIrelandWalesCanadaWorld