|The Book of Common Prayer|
The Proposed Prayer Book of 1786 was the first effort of the U. S. Episcopal Church to produce its own Book of Common Prayer, a process which was necessitated by the separation of that church from the Church of England caused by the Revolutionary War. Although the Book was authorized in nearly every state, it was the result of a convention of only a portion of the American Church, as can be seen on the title page at right. Its publication received much resistance, with many believing it deviated too much from its predecessor, the 1662 English Book of Common Prayer. Accordingly, its life was relatively short, being replaced by a formally authorized Prayer Book in 1790.
The book appears to be largely the work of the Rev. Dr. William Smith of Maryland, and the Rev. William White of Philadelphia, later Bishop of Pennsylvania. Although many assumed that only minor, necessary revisions would be made to the English 1662 Book, quite a number of changes were actually made, mostly along the same Latitudinarian lines which inspired the abortive 1689 attempt at revision (note the great praise accorded to the 1689 book in the Preface). Some of the main changes include:
We additionally have online some of the background history of this book, and reactions to it.
Prior to this book, Anglicans/Episcopalians in this country were "on their own" concerning what to do about the English Book of Common Prayer they had been using, in light of the Revolution. Most churches would simply alter the prayers for the King and Royal Family somewhat; some illustrations of this (literally) are given in an excellent Library of Congress exhibit on Religion and the American Revolution.
We are presenting this electronic version of the U. S. 1786 Proposed Book of Common Prayer in hopes that it will prove useful and instructive to the Church. Parishes might find it useful in recreating historical services, for example, to celebrate the anniversary of the parish. Others might find it instructive to compare the changes, additions, and deletions, which have taken place in the various versions of the Book of Common Prayer.
The texts below were taken from three sources: everything up through and including Holy Communion was taken from a Xerox copy of the original. Other sections were taken either from Prayer Book Parallels, by Paul Marshall, or from Liturgiæ Americanæ (1907), by William McGarvey. Both of these books give parallel column renditions of the various editions of the American Prayer Books. A reprint of this book issued in 1873 by the Reformed Episcopal Church was also consulted. All these books are listed in David Griffiths' Bibliography of the Book of Common Prayer as 1786/9, 1989/1, 1907/12, and 1873/18, respectively.
As an aid to readability, the old-style lower case "s" (which looked like an "f") has been replaced by its modern equivalent. In all other ways we have attempted to keep the appearance as close to the original as HTML and a limited choice of fonts allows.
A 1789 reprint of
this book, published in England for the benefit of English bishops (Griffiths
1789/8), is available online from
the Internet Archive, in PDF graphics and plain text formats, and
also from Google
Books as PDF graphics.
T H E
CONTENTS of this B O O K.
All the above files in WordPerfect 6.0 format, compressed (size=66K )
The author is greatly indebted to the Rev. Thomas Rightmyer for providing a copy of parts of this book.
|Web author: Charles Wohlers||U. S. England Scotland Ireland Wales Canada World|