The Book of Common Prayer
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    A New History of
The Book of Common Prayer




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One result of the conscientiousness of some ecclesiastics, who considered that they were so bound by their allegiance to James II. that after his deposition they could not take the oath of allegiance to William and Mary, was that Archbishop Sancroft, with eight, Bishops1 and four hundred priests, were ejected from their benefices. These Nonjurors2 denied the mission and jurisdiction of those who occupied the place of the deprived Bishops during their lifetime; and at last some of them made a division in the Church by ordaining Priests and consecrating Bishops, who continued to minister privately among those who held their opinions.3
The deprived Clergy
The earlier Nonjurors adhered to the Book of Common Prayer; i.e. they used the Prayer Book of James II., ignoring the changes which had been introduced in the prayer for the King, and in the 'State Services.' Some, however, by degrees took advantage of their independent position to use forms which they regarded as more agreeable to primitive practice. Thus Hickes used the Communion Office in the First Book of Edward VI., and Collier probably did the same: but most others continued to use the current Book of Common Prayer until the year 1718.4

generally used the Prayer Book.


Communion Office of Edward VI. revived.

King Edward's Communion Office was printed in the Appendix to Dr. Hickes's Two Treatises on Priesthood and Episcopal Order, in 1707; and founded upon it, yet by no means identical with it, was The Form and Manner of the Holy Communion,5 printed by the Nonjurors in 1717, as preliminary to their own office, which, was published in the following year.5 The ceremonies revived in the new Communion Office were, The mixing of Water with the Wine, Prayer for the Dead, Prayer for the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Elements, and the Prayer of Oblation. These were called The Usages, and those who practised them were called Usagers. Three other ceremonies are frequently mentioned among the Usages, viz. Immersion three times at Baptism, the use of Chrism at Confirmation, and Unction at the Visitation of the Sick.6 This publication caused a division in the Nonjuring communion; several of the bishops and a good many of the clergy adhered from different motives to the Prayer Book of the Established Church. These at length succeeded in persuading the greater part of the Usagers to give up their revivals of old customs, and again conform to the English book. The few who still held out were headed by Bishop Deacon. Whether he had been concerned or not in the compilation of these offices is uncertain; but he now introduced much greater changes into the congregational worship of the Nonjurors. In 1734 he published a large 8vo volume, comprising A Complete Collection of Devotions both public and private.7 These Public Devotions became the form of Service among his followers; whereupon, in 1746, Deacon published an 8vo pamphlet of fifty pages, containing :- (1) The Form of Admitting a Convert into the Communion of the Church: (2) A Litany, together with Prayers in behalf of the Catholic Church: (3) Prayers on the Death of Members of the Church, and an Office for those who are deprived of the advantage of receiving the Sacrament, &c. The Litany has been occasionally published for the use of the successors of the Nonjurors assembling in one or two of the larger towns northward: and an edition was printed at Shrewsbury so lately as 1797.8




Nonjurors' Communion Office.


The Usages


Deacon's Collection of Devotions.







It has been noticed9 that a Prayer Book for Scotland was sanctioned by King Charles I. in 1637, the introduction of which was a significant presage of the outbreak of the Great Rebellion. Its use was not revived at the Restoration; and during the reigns of Charles II. and James II. the Church of Scotland, although Episcopal in constitution, used no such liturgical forms of prayer. Archbishop Leighton aimed at the recovery of Daily Prayer and reading of the Scripture, but as yet the liturgy was too delicate a subject to be handled' rashly, and the services were hardly distinguishable from Presbyterian services.10 Soon after the disestablishment in 1688, a desire for such forms slowly sprang up among those who adhered to that communion, and they were gradually introduced. The difficulty of procuring copies of the Scottish Prayer Book (1637) led to the use of the English Book, considerable supplies of which were sent in Queen Anne's reign by English churchmen who sympathized with the sufferings of their friends in Scotland. The Communion Service, according to the form of 1637, however, began to come into use,11 and the desire for it received a great impulse from the influence of the Nonjurors. From 1724 onward it was printed repeatedly in a separate form; it was formally adopted by the Bishops in 1731, and between 1735 and 1764 slight changes were made, all tending to bring it into closer agreement with the primitive Liturgies, especially with that of S. James of Jerusalem. This was due to the posthumous publication (in 1744) of Bishop Rattray's reconstruction of The Ancient Liturgy of the Church of Jerusalem. This laborious work gives in five columns, I. The Liturgy of S. James, as we have it at present; II. The same Liturgy, without later interpolations, or The Ancient Liturgy of the Church of Jerusalem; III. St. Cyril's Account of that Liturgy in his Fifth Mystagogical Catechism; IV. The Clementine Liturgy; V. Corresponding parts. of the Liturgies of S. Mark, S. Chrysostom, and S. Basil : with an English Translation and Notes. Bishop Rattray had also put in suitable form an Office for the Sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist, being the Ancient Liturgy of the Church of Jerusalem: to which Proper Rubrics are added for Direction. That the volume was published without the name of the author, shows the difficulties of churchmen at that time.

In 1755, Bishop Gerard, of Aberdeen, issued an edition of the Communion Office, which was afterwards revised and published, in 1764, under the authority of Bishop Falconar, as Primus, and Bishop Forbes, of Ross, and its text has been regarded as the standard of the recognized Scottish Communion Office.12 A few changes made in 179213 were only used locally. An edition was published by the Rev. John Skinner in 1800, and again in 1807 with a Preliminary Dissertation on the Doctrine of the Eucharistical Sacrifice, a copious local Illustration, and an Appendix containing a Collation of the several Communion Offices in the Prayer Books of Edward VI., the Scotch Prayer Book of 1637, the present English Prayer Book, and that used in the present Scotch Episcopal Church, made by Horsley, Bishop of St. Asaph, in 1792. Other attempts14 have been made to introduce variations, but with only local, or with no success.

The Canonical position of the Scottish Office has varied. The Synod at Aberdeen, in 1811, declared it to be the Office of primary authority, and ordered it to be used in all consecrations of bishops; while liberty was given to retain the English Office in all Congregations where it had been, and was still desired to be, in use. But as the English Book of Common Prayer was used, the Communion Office became more generally used according to the English form; and by the Canons of 1863 it was declared to be the Service Book of the Church, and its Communion Office to be used at all Consecrations, Ordinations, and Synods, and in all new congregations, unless a certain number of the communicants declare their desire to use the Scottish Office. The result is that, In 1850, out of 118 congregations, 40 used the Scottish Office, in 1888, out of 275 congregations, 59 used the Scottish Liturgy only, and 33 used both the Scottish and English forms; in 1899 it was in use either jointly or solely in nearly half the churches: the dioceses of Aberdeen, Argyll and Brechin were its strongholds, while the dioceses of Edinburgh and Glasgow specially favoured the English Liturgy. The arrangement of this office will be seen from the tables printed below pp. 510 and ff.


The Scottish. Communion Office.


Mention has been made of the neglect of religious instruction in Ireland at the time of the Reformation. It was agreed that worship should be in a tongue understanded of the people; yet the Prayer Book was not given to the people in Irish until 1608.15

The civil union of the two countries was followed by the union of the Churches in 1800: and The United Church of England and Ireland continued, till the Act of 1869 left the Church of Ireland free from the control of the State, so far as a civil government will allow freedom to a National Church. This disestablishment, including the abstraction of the ancient revenues, took final effect January 1, 1871.

Meanwhile a Convention had met in 1870, and arranged the future government of the Church. The Prayer Book was for the moment accepted as it stood and was in use. Preparation, however, was made for a revision, which was debated and carried on by the General Convention or Synod until the work was completed, and the revised Book according to the Use of the Church of Ireland was issued in 1877.

A new Preface notes that there were serious differences of opinion about expressions used in the Administration of the Sacraments, but that no substantial change was made either in the Holy Communion or in the Baptismal services, or Ordination: Some complained of the changes that were made as being 'unnecessary or excessive,' and others that these 'changes were not enough.' But indeed more dissatisfaction has been aroused by the comments made on these subjects in the new Preface than by any question of changes in the services themselves, though some of these are far more grave than the Preface suggests.

The Lectionary follows the new Table of the English Book, except that all the Lessons are taken out of the Canonical Scriptures, and the whole of the Revelation of S. John is read. The black letter Saints' days are all omitted. The obligation to say the Daily Service is removed from the clergy. In Morning Prayer, the Canticle after the First Lesson may be Te Deum, Benedicite, or Ps. cxlviii. A Prayer for the Chief Governour or governours of Ireland is added after the Prayer for the Royal Family. At Evening Prayer, a Collect for Grace and Protection (the second Collect at the end of the Communion Office) may be said as the Third Collect. 'With reference to the Athanasian Creed (commonly so called),' the Preface states that 'we have removed the Rubric directing its use on certain days; but, in so doing, this Church has not withdrawn its witness, as expressed in the Articles of Religion, and here again renewed, to the truth of the Articles of the Christian Faith, therein contained.' Among the Prayers and Thanksgivings upon several Occasions, are added the Prayer for Unity, A Prayer for a Sick Person, On the Rogation Days, On New Year's Day, For Christian Missions, A Prayer for the General Synod of the Church of Ireland, a Prayer To be used in Colleges and Schools, and a Thanksgiving For Recovery from Sickness.

Provision is made for two celebrations of the Holy Communion at Christmas and Easter with the following Collect for the latter festival:— O God, who for our redemption didst give thine only begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection has delivered us from the power of our enemy; Grant us so to die daily from sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through the same Christ our Lord.16 Epistle, Hebr. Xiii. 20, 21; Gospel, S. Mark. xvi. 1-8.

In the Order for the Administration of the Lord's Supper, or Holy Communion, the second and third rubrics are replaced by one: 'If the Minister shall have knowledge or reasonable ground to believe that any person who is living in open and notorious sin intends to come to the Holy Communion, so that scandal would thereby arise, he shall privately admonish him not to presume to come to the Lords Table till the cause of offence shall have been removed; and in every such case the Minister shall have regard to the Canons relating thereto.' Rubric:— The Minister shall say the Service following in a distinct and audible voice. The Collect for the Queen may be omitted, if the Queen 'has been prayed for in any service used along with this office.' Before the reading of the Gospel may be said or sung, Glory be to Thee, O Lord; and, after the Gospel ended, Thanks be to, Thee, O Lord, or Hallelujah . . . An opportunity is to be given after the Prayer for the Church Militant for those who do not intend to communicate to withdraw: the long Exhortation may under certain conditions be omitted. The Consecration Prayer is to be said at the north side of the Table. The Gloria in Excelsis is to be said standing. Considerable alterations are made in the closing rubrics. The Ante-Communion service need not include the Prayer for the Church Militant. The minimum of communicants is reduced to 'three or two at the least.' The service may be begun at the Collect. The rubric excludes all but common usual Bread: the words of administration may be said to rails full instead of to each communicant. The rule of three communions in a year is omitted.

Parents may be Sponsors for their own children. When three Sponsors cannot be found, two shall suffice; and if two cannot be found one shall suffice. In the service used when a child that has been baptized privately is brought to Church, the Lord's Prayer is said after the Reception of the Child, as in the Office of Public Baptism. A Rubric directs the Service, when a child that has been already baptized is brought to the Church at the same time with a child that is to be baptized:— The Minister, having enquired respecting the sufficiency of the baptism, and having certified the same, shall read all that is appointed for the Publick Baptism of Infants until he have baptized and signed the Child that has not been baptized; he shall then call upon the Sponsors of the Child that has been already baptized to answer in his behalf, only instead of again reciting the Apostles' Creed, he asks, Dost thou believe all the Articles of the Christian Faith, as set forth in the Apostles' Creed? He then signs the Child, and proceeds with the remainder of the Order for Publick Baptism,— Seeing now, dearly beloved, &c.

In the Catechism, the word Mistresses is substituted for Dames in the Rubric, and the following Question and Answer, based upon the 28th Article, is inserted,- 'Q. After what manner are the Body and Blood of Christ taken and received in the Lord's Supper? A. Only after a heavenly and spiritual manner; and the mean whereby they are taken and received is Faith.'

In the Order of Confirmation, instead of the Second Collect,- O Almighty Lord, &c. — some other Collect out of this Book may be said. Rubric:— Every person ought to present himself for Confirmation (unless prevented by some urgent reason) before he partakes of the Lord's Supper. No sponsor is required.

In the Form of Solemnization of Matrimony, the opening address is shortened and bowdlerized; and, to conclude the Service, after the Sermon or Address, the Minister says, Let us pray. O Almighty Lord, and everlasting God, &c. (the Second Collect at the end of the Communion Office), and if there be no Communion, The grace of our. Lord, &c.

In the Order for the Visitation of the Sick, the Rubric about Confession is:— Here, if the sick person feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter, he shall be moved to open his grief; after which (if he humbly and heartily desire it) the Minister shall say thus, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, &c. (the Absolution in the Communion Office). An alternative is provided for· the prayer following. After the special Prayers at the end of the office is added A Prayer for a sick person, when his sickness has been mercifully assuaged.

For the Communion of the Sick, If the sick person be very weak, and necessity so require, it shall suffice to use for this Office, the Confession, Absolution, Prayer of Consecration, Form of Delivery of the Sacrament, Lord's Prayer, and Blessing.

The first Rubric in The Order for the Burial of the Dead is enlarged:— Here is to be noted, that the Office ensuing is not to be used for any that die unbaptized, or excommunicate, or in whose case a verdict shall have been found of felo de se. But if any be brought for burial who have died unbaptized, being infants of tender age, the offspring of Christian parents, and not having been withheld from Baptism by wilful default or neglect, or being persons known or certified to the Minister to have been at the time of their death prepared for or desirous of Baptism, the Minister shall in such cases read one of the following Psalms and Lessons, or such portion of them as he shall see fit, and the four Sentences at the grave, concluding with the Lord's Prayer, and the Benediction at the close of the office. An alternative Lesson is provided,— 1 Thess. iv. 13 to end.

After the Accession Service are the following :-

1. The Order for Morning Service, to be used on the first Sunday on which a Minister officiates in the Church of a Cure to which he has been instituted.

2 A Form of Thanksgiving for the Blessings of Harvest.

3. The Form for the Consecration of a Church.

4. The Form of Consecration of a Churchyard or other Burial ground.

5. A Form of Prayer for the Visitation of Prisoners, Treated upon by the Archbishops and Bishops, and the rest of the Clergy of Ireland, and agreed upon by Her Majesty's License in their Synod, holden at Dublin, in the year 1711, and amended in the Synod of said Church, holden in Dublin in the year 1875.17

6. Articles of Religion (xxxix.) Agreed upon . . . in the Convocation holden at London in 1562. Received and approved. . . . in the Synod holden in Dublin A. D. 1634. Received and approved ... in the Synod holden in Dublin A.D. 1870.

7. A Table Of Kindred and Affinity.

8. Constitutions and Canons Ecclesiastical. Agreed to and Decreed . . . . at General Synods held in Dublin in 1871 and 1877.




Before the Declaration of the Independence of the United States, the Church of England in the several Colonies held different relations to the Civil Authority. In Virginia and Maryland it was established by law, and these Colonies were divided into parishes with metes and bounds which remain to this day. In other Colonies there were Royal Governors, who gave to the Church a position of dignity and honour, even where the great body of the people were opposed to Episcopacy. In Connecticut, which continued a Charter Government, Churchmen were tolerated by law as 'sober dissenters' from the Congregational establishment; and they were also freely tolerated in the other chartered Colony of Rhode Island. But the Churchmen in all the thirteen Colonies considered themselves members of the Church of England, acknowledged the somewhat shadowy authority of the Bishop of London as their Diocesan, and used the Prayer Book of the English Church. In fact, the use of the Prayer Book was one of the distinguishing marks of Churchmen, then as now; and in many places copies of that book were the Church's first and most effective Missionaries, leading many from other bodies to consider and to embrace the doctrine, discipline, and worship which were enshrined in it. As no bishop ever visited the Colonies, it was, of course, impossible that the Ordinal or the Confirmation Office should be used; but the other services were constantly employed, the only variation noted being that some clergymen felt that they could not honestly exhort the sponsors of children baptized to bring them to the bishop to be confirmed. Apart from this, there would appear to have been, with very few exceptions, the most careful conformity to all the provisions of the Prayer Book.

When Independence was declared by the Congress sitting in Philadelphia on the 4th day of July 1776, the vestry .of the united parishes of Christ Church and S. Peter's in that city met at once at the rectory, and directed the omission of the prayers for the King and the Royal Family. On the following day the Legislature of Virginia (where, it will be remembered, the Church was established) ordered these prayers to be 'accommodated to the change of affairs.' So also in Boston, when the news of the Declaration was received, the vestry of Trinity Church recommended their Rector, who had asked their advice, to omit the State prayers. A like course was followed by others of the clergy, whose sympathy was with the Revolution, and who felt themselves to be in the same position as that of the majority of the English clergy in 1688; and presently prayers for the United States and for Congress were read in many Churches. But a large part of the clergy, especially in the northern Colonies, were strong adherents of the Crown; they were persuaded that a redress of grievances could be had in a peaceable way; and they did not believe that they were released from the oath of allegiance which they had taken in England at the time of their ordination. Some of these, under the pressure of circumstances, ceased to minister at all in public; some found safety within the British lines; and some, with the bravery of confessors, continued to read the services in their churches without alteration or omission, conducting the worship of those who were persuaded that their allegiance was due to the King of England, though at the risk of loss of liberty or of life.

The cessation of hostilities at the close of the Revolutionary War was proclaimed on the 19th of April 1783; and the definitive treaty of peace was signed at Paris on the third day of the following September. The war had weakened the Church in all the States, and the problems which confronted Churchmen we no less difficult than those which lay before the statesmen of the new Republic. It is not within the scope of this chapter to do more than allude to them; but it may not be amiss to say that the difficulties were met and overcome with a far-sighted wisdom and bravery which command our respect and often call forth our sincere admiration.

In the North,18 where Church principles have been held more strongly and under greater difficulties than elsewhere, the Churchmen of Connecticut had made an attempt to complete their organization, in the conviction that until they had a bishop they could not rightly provide for ecclesiastical government or take any action in regard to formularies of worship. On the feast of the Annunciation in 1783, before the end of the war had been officially proclaimed, the clergy of the State met at Woodbury, elected the Rev. Dr. Samuel Seabury to be their bishop, and instructed him to seek consecration in England, or, if it was refused him there, in Scotland.

But before Dr. Seabury's consecration, the first steps towards united action on the part of Churchmen in the several States had been taken, in consequence of the recommendation of certain clergymen of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, who met in 1784, with a few laymen at the town of New Brunswick in New Jersey, to consult as to the revival of a charitable corporation. They sent out an invitation to influential men in different parts of the country, asking them to meet at New York in October of the same year to take counsel for the interests of the Church. At the time appointed there were present representative Churchmen from the three States just mentioned, and also from Massachusetts (with Rhode Island), Connecticut, Delaware, and Maryland, together with one clergyman from Virginia who took no part in the proceedings. It was agreed that a general ecclesiastical constitution ought to be framed in accordance with certain fundamental principles; and a General Convention to take the whole matter into consideration was called to meet at Philadelphia in September of the following year. The fourth of these 'fundamental principles' was as follows: 'That the said Church shall maintain the Doctrines of the Gospel as now held by the Church of England, and shall adhere to the Liturgy of the said, Church as far as shall be consistent with the American Revolution and the Constitutions of the respective States.'19

Meanwhile Dr. Seabury, having been consecrated, at Aberdeen, 14th November 1784 by the bishops of the disestablished Church of Scotland, had returned to Connecticut. He met his Clergy in Convocation, 2nd August 1785; and on the fourth day of the meeting the Rev. Messrs. Bowden and Jarvis, together with the Rev. Samuel Parker of Massachusetts, who had come to consult with the bishop and clergy of Connecticut; were appointed a committee 'to consider of and make with the Bishop some alterations in the Liturgy needful for the present use of the Church.'. One week later, Bishop Seabury published a letter to his clergy in the form of a broadside, directing them to make in the use of the Prayer Book certain specified changes, all of which were required by the alteration in the form of government. The committee, as it appeared, were prepared to recommend other changes, but they reserved these that ·they might be reported for consideration to the several Convocations or Conventions. There is no evidence that they were formally laid before the Convocation of Connecticut; the Clergy there were well known to be opposed to any alterations that were not absolutely necessary. The Convention of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire approved of certain changes, but finally decided to leave the matter of their adoption to the decision of the several parishes. Thus the English Prayer Book continued to be used in New England with practically no variation except such as was demanded by political changes.

When the 'General Convention' called by the meeting of October 1784 met at Philadelphia near the end of September 1785 there were found to be present clerical and lay deputies from seven States — New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina — the New England States not being represented. The Convention drafted 'an Ecclesiastical Constitution for the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America,' adopted a petition to the English Archbishops and Bishops that they would convex the episcopate to the Church in this country, and also, referring the fourth fundamental principle of the meeting of 1784 to a committee, instructed that committee to consider 'such further alterations .in the Liturgy as it may be advisable for this Convention to recommend to the consideration of the Church here represented.' A few alterations of the same kind as had been made in the North, due to the change in the form of government, were approved of and ratified.' A large number of other alterations, involving changes in all parts of the Prayer Book, were reported to the Convention by a subcommittee without having been considered in full committee, and the Convention, giving (as it appears) but little time to their discussion, agreed to 'propose and recommend' them to the Church, leaving the question of their adoption to another Convention. This revision (if it may be so called) is known to have been largely the work of the Rev. Dr. William Smith, formerly of Pennsylvania, but then of Maryland; and to him with the Rev. Dr. William White, president of the Convention, and afterwards Bishop of Pennsylvania, and the Rev. Dr. C. H. Wharton of Delaware, was entrusted the publication of a book containing the proposed changes, with rather large editorial powers. At the close of the Convention, 'the Liturgy, as altered, was read,' and Dr. Smith preached a sermon in which he spoke of what had been done as 'taking up our Liturgy or Public Service where our former venerable Reformers had been obliged to leave it, and proposing to the Church at large such further alterations and improvements as the length of time, the progress in manners and civilization, the increase and diffusion of charity and toleration among all Christian denominations, and other circumstances (some of them peculiar to our situation among the highways and hedges of this new world), seem to have rendered absolutely necessary.'

Under date of 1st April 1786, the book known by the name of the 'Proposed Book' was published, the title-page stating that, it was The Book of Common Prayer as revised and proposed to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church.' It was reprinted in England with the label 'American Prayer Book,' and also appeared as one of the volumes of Hall's Reliquiæ Liturgicæ; and it has been often quoted in England as being the Prayer Book of the American Church. But in point of fact, though proposed in a way which might have carried much authority, it was used but in a few places and for a short time; it was, as will be seen presently, generally disapproved; and four years later, when a General Convention of the whole American Church entered upon the work of Prayer Book revision, it was not deemed necessary to mention the Proposed Book, much less to abolish its use. The book was a very unfortunate and entirely unsuccessful experiment, and its publication was regretted by none more sincerely than by some who, with too little consideration, had given it an imprimatur.

The mention of the most important of the changes from the English Prayer Book which were made in the Proposed Book will show that, although it had some features which might commend it, it could not have been accepted in its entirety by the American Church without involving most serious consequences. The Absolution in the daily service was headed 'A Declaration concerning the Forgiveness of Sins'; the Benedicite was omitted, except for discretionary use in place of a portion of the Psalms on the thirty-first day of the month; the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian were entirely omitted; the clause 'He descended into hell' was dropped from the Apostles' Creed; parents were allowed to be admitted as sponsors; the sign of the Cross might be omitted in baptism; the word 'regenerate' was removed from the latter part of the Baptismal Offices; the Marriage Service was abridged; the Absolution in the Visitation of the Sick was given in the form used in the Communion Office; a service for the Visitation of Prisoners was inserted from the Irish Book of 1711; the answer to the second question in the Catechism was given in these words: 'I received it in Baptism, whereby I became a member of the Christian Church'; the Commination Service was omitted, but the prayers from the service were ordered to be said on Ash-Wednesday after the Litany; sixty selections were made from the Psalter for use at daily Morning and Evening Prayer, the so-called damnatory clauses being among those omitted; forms of Prayer and Thanksgiving were provided, one to be used on the 4th of July for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and one to be used in the autumn for the fruits of the earth and other blessings of God's merciful providence; the Articles of Religion were modified and reduced in number to twenty; and new tables of Lessons were prepared, both for the daily services and for Sundays and Holy-days.

It was at once evident that, as Bishop White confesses, 'in regard to the Liturgy, the labours of the Convention had not reached their object.' Dr. William Smith wrote a few days after the publication of the book that it could only be received 'for temporary use till our Churches are organised and the book comes again under review of Conventions having their Bishops, &c., as the primitive rules of Episcopacy require.' Not one of the Conventions in the States20 represented at Philadelphia in 1785 approved of the Proposed Book. New Jersey formally rejected it, and memorialized the next General Convention as to the 'unseasonableness and irregularity' of some of the alterations; New York postponed the question of ratification 'out of respect to the English Bishops and because the minds of the people are not sufficiently informed'; Maryland demanded the restoration of the Nicene Creed and the insertion of an Invocation in the Prayer of Consecration in the Communion Office; Pennsylvania and South Carolina called for other amendments; Virginia held it to be 'intolerable that the Minister might repel an evil liver from the Communion'; and no Convention met in Delaware. From the northern States there came most earnest protests, both private and public, against the book. In the September following its publication, Bishop Seabury delivered his second charge to the clergy of Connecticut, in which he spoke strongly as to some of the changes made in the services, and urged no less strongly that it was an unprecedented thing that any changes of this kind should be accepted by a Diocese before its organization 'was completed by the consecration of a Bishop. And at the same time, acting in accordance with a Concordat which he had made with the Scottish Bishops at the time of his consecration, he 'set forth and recommended' to the use of his congregations a Communion Office almost identical with the .Scottish Office of 1764, adding to it certain private devotions. The influence of this Office upon the theology and the forms of worship of the American Church, through the introduction of an explicit Oblation and Invocation into the Prayer of Consecration, has been very great; and the Office was used by some of the older Clergy of Connecticut for many years after the adoption of the revised Prayer Book.

But besides the objections to the Proposed Book which came from all parts of the Church in the United States, there were objections, which had perhaps greater weight, from the English prelates to whom copies of the book had been sent with the application for the consecration of Bishops for the dioceses represented in the Philadelphia Convention. They wrote that they were grieved to observe some of the changes which had been made in the forms of worship, and particularly that two of the Creeds had been omitted altogether, while the third had been mutilated by the excision of an important clause; and they 'earnestly exhorted' the Convention 'to restore to its integrity the Apostles' Creed,' and' to give to the other two Creeds a place in the Book of Common Prayer, even though the use of them should be left discretional.' The letter was laid before a Convention of the southern Dioceses which met at Wilmington, in Delaware, October 1786; which thereupon voted unanimously to allow the use of the Nicene Creed, placing it as an alternative for the Apostles' Creed, while it ordered by a scanty vote that the omitted clause should be restored to the Apostles' Creed, and negatived a proposition to replace the Athanasian Creed in the Prayer Book. The English Bishops were satisfied with the action that was taken; and on the 4th of February 1787, in the chapel of Lambeth Palace, the Rev. Dr. William White was consecrated Bishop of Pennsylvania and the Rev. Dr. Samuel Provoost Bishop of New York.

Before the next Convention met, wise and godly Churchmen in all parts of the country were preparing the way for a complete union of the Church in all the States; and at length in Philadelphia, on the second day of October 1789, the bishop and delegates from the north gave in their consent to a modified constitution, and the Church in the United States was united in one Convention, of which the Bishops formed a separate house. Action was at once taken in regard to the Prayer Book. Bishops Seabury and White (Bishop Provoost being detained at home by illness) entered upon the work in their house of proposing amendments to the English Prayer Book; the house of Clerical and Lay Deputies appointed committees as if to propose new services, but they also practically undertook a revision of the English formularies; the 'Proposed Book,' though it furnished some suggestions, was not taken as a basis for the work of either house. At the end of two weeks the Convention adjourned; having set forth and ratified 'The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church,' requiring it to be used from and after the first day of October in the following year.


Although the work of revision was accomplished thus rapidly in the Convention, the new Prayer Book was not in reality carelessly or hastily prepared. The two bishops and such men among the deputies as Dr. Smith of Maryland, Dr. Parker of Massachusetts, and Dr. Jarvis of Connecticut, had long had the matter in mind both in its general outlines and in its details. They were well acquainted with the English book and with the objections which had been made to its use in the Colonies; and they knew no less well the needs of the Church in the new Republic, just beginning to recover from the shock of the Revolution. The two bishops in particular, both of whom gave their consent to everything that was admitted into the new book, were men in whom were united practical wisdom and strong convictions, while they looked at the great truths of theology from different standpoints; and the more the revision of 1789 is studied in the light of the time when it was made, although it is found open to criticism in one way or another, the more it will command the respect of posterity.

In this revision of the Prayer Book of the Church of England — for such in fact it was — a considerable number of minor changes were made, which it is unnecessary to mention in detail and for most of which the reason is apparent. A few words, used in an obsolete sense, were changed for words which would be better understood; thus, 'adorable' was substituted for 'honourable' in the Te Deum; 'prevent,' in the Collect of which it is the first word, was changed to 'direct,' and 'indifferently,' in the Prayer for the Church Militant, to 'impartially'; while for 'leasing,' in the two places where it occurs in the Psalter, there was substituted in one place 'falsehood' and in the other 'lies,' due regard being paid here as elsewhere to the rhythm of each verse. In some instances a sentence was recast; thus, in the Collect for Grace at Morning Prayer, the phrase 'but that all our doings may be ordered by thy governance, to do always that is righteous in thy sight' was changed to 'but that all our doings, being ordered by thy governance, may be righteous in thy sight.' Certain other changes show an over-precision in language which was characteristic of the times; as for instance, the frequent use of 'those who' for 'them which,' the omission of 'again' in the Apostles' Creed, and the change of 'which' into 'who' at the beginning of the Lord's Prayer. Perhaps undue scrupulousness led to the change of the phrase in the Te Deum, 'thou didst not abhor the virgin's womb' to 'thou didst humble thyself to be born of a virgin'; a fear of misunderstanding may account for the alteration of 'the good estate of the Catholic Church,' in the Prayer for All Conditions of Men, to 'thy holy Church universal'; and a criticism of earlier days may explain the alteration of 'who alone workest great marvels,' at the beginning of the Prayer for the Clergy and People, to 'from whom cometh every good and perfect gift.' A desire to avoid repetitions must account for the omission of the Lord's Prayer after the Creed in the daily services and the permission to omit it at the beginning of the Communion Office 'if Morning Prayer hath been said immediately before,' as also for the provision that the Creed is not to be said after the Gospel if it 'hath been read immediately before in the Morning Service,' and the other provision that the Collect for the Day is to be omitted in Morning Prayer 'when the Communion Service is read.' A desire to shorten the ordinary Sunday Service, and to make it possible to mark special solemn days or seasons, probably led to the permission for the minister to omit at his discretion the part of the Litany beginning 'O Christ, hear us' and ending 'As we do put our trust in thee.' Special care seems to have been taken to use the word 'Priest' in the rubrics only when the particular part of the service could not be read by a deacon or a layman; thus, in the daily offices the word 'Minister' was employed except in the rubric before the Absolution, and in like manner 'Minister' was substituted for 'Priest' in the Litany and in the introductory part of the Communion Office.

The variations of any importance between the English and American books will be noted as the several offices come under review in Part II. of this work. But the more characteristic changes may be mentioned here, as giving a general idea of the form of the American book. Three new sentences, Habakkuk ii, 20, Malachi i. 11, and Psalm xix. 14, 15, were prefixed to those at the beginning of Daily Morning and Evening Prayer; the Absolution in the daily offices was headed 'The Declaration of Absolution, or Remission of Sins,' and the form in the Communion Office was allowed as an alternative for it; the Venite was composed of Psalms xcv. 1-7, and xcvi. 9, 13; permission was given to use the Gloria in excelsis at the end of the portion of Psalms for the day; only the first four verses were printed for the Benedictus21; the Nicene Creed was printed as an alternative to the Apostles' Creed; the rubric as to the Litany was placed after the Prayer for the President and other Civil Rulers.22 and but one supplication for 'all Christian Rulers and Magistrates' was left in the Litany in place of the six petitions in the English book for the Civil Authority; the Prayer for All Conditions of Men and the General Thanksgiving were inserted in their place before the Prayer of St. Chrysostom; in Evening Prayer the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis were omitted, the first four verses of Psalm xcii. being allowed for use after the first Lesson, and the first four and the last three verses of Psalm ciii. after the second Lesson as alternatives to the Cantate and Deus misereatur respectively; and the opening words of the Collect for Aid against Perils were changed to a form more like that of the corresponding Morning Collect, 'O Lord, our heavenly Father, by whose Almighty power we have been preserved this day.' The Athanasian Creed was omitted, the New England Bishop and Deputies 'giving it up with great reluctance.'23 To the special prayers five were added: For a Sick Person, For a Sick Child, For a Person going to Sea, For a Person under Affliction, and For Malefactors after Condemnation; and the Thanksgiving from the Churching Office was placed among the special thanksgivings, and Thanksgivings For a Recovery from Sickness and For a Safe Return from Sea were appended.

In the Communion Service, permission was given to say after the Commandments our Lord's Summary of the Law with the Collect for grace to keep the Commandments (the second of those at the end of the English office); the Gloria tibi was ordered to be said after the announcement of the Gospel; it was provided that either the Apostles' or the Nicene Creed should be said after the Gospel, unless it had been read immediately before in the Morning Service; the words 'here in earth' were omitted from the title of the Prayer for the Church Militant; an alternative Preface was provided for Trinity Sunday, and the use of any Proper Preface on that day was left discretionary; a hymn was required to be sung after the Consecration, and a metrical hymn was allowed in place of the Gloria in excelsis; and the 'Black Rubric,' with all but two of the other rubrics at the end, was omitted. And, most important of all the changes made in the whole book, the Scottish form of the Prayer of Consecration was adopted, with a single modification, itself in the direction of primitive usage and almost identical with one formerly suggested by Dr. Sancroft, which was proposed at this time by deputies from Maryland. As modified, the Invocation, following the words of Institution and the Oblation, ends with these words; 'that we, receiving them according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's Holy Institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood.' The adoption of the Scottish form of the Prayer of Consecration, derived from primitive Eastern liturgies through the Service-book of the English Nonjurors, was due to Bishop Seabury, who, it will be remembered, had set forth an edition of the Scottish office for the use of his diocese. But Bishop White did not oppose its adoption; and in the House of Deputies the President, Dr. William Smith, read it so solemnly and impressively that it was accepted without objection.

In the Office for the Baptism of Infants, it was provided that parents might be admitted as sponsors; and permission was given to omit the Gospel and other parts of the service, provided that the whole should be read once a month if there were a baptism. In the Catechism, 'spiritually' was substituted for 'verily and indeed' in the answer to the third question on the Lord's Supper. In the Marriage Service, the first exhortation was shortened, and the service was made to end with the first blessing. In the Visitation of the Sick, the rubric as to a special confession of sins and the special Absolution were omitted, leaving the ancient form for the reconciliation of a dying penitent (the prayer beginning 'O most merciful God') in its proper place and with its full significance; and a prayer was inserted, 'in behalf of all present at the visitation,' taken from the writings of Bishop Jeremy Taylor. In the Burial Office, it was left to the discretion of the minister to use one or both of the closing prayers, and the phraseology of the first prayer was made more general. The Commination Service was not retained, but the last three prayers were ordered to be said at the close of the Litany on Ash. Wednesday. The Forms of Prayer to be used at Sea were placed after the Churching Office; and they were followed by a Form for the Visitation of Prisoners from the Irish Book of 1711, a Form of Service for the annual Thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and the other blessings of God's Providence, and Family Prayers adapted from those drawn up by Bishop Gibson of London. To the Psalter were prefixed ten Selections of Psalms (or, in some cases, parts of Psalms) which might be used at any service instead of the Psalms regularly appointed. In the preliminary part of the book a new Preface was inserted, the black-letter days with all vigils were dropped from the Calendar, and the ornaments rubric was omitted. The table of Daily Lessons was nearly the same as that prepared by Bishop White for the Proposed Book; the table of Sunday Lessons, two for each service, was new; it began Isaiah in Advent, read other prophets from Septuagesima to Whitsunday (except on Easter and the Sunday following), began Genesis on Trinity Sunday, and then read the historical books and Proverbs till the end of the year, while the New Testament Lessons were selected with reference to the Church's seasons.

Special notice must be made of the permission given as to one of the clauses in the Apostles' Creed, and as to the sign of the Cross in Baptism. To the rubric before the Apostles' Creed was added this clause: 'And any Churches may omit the words, He descended into hell, or may, instead of them, use the words, He went into the place of departed spirits, which are considered as words of the same meaning in the Creed.' The permission, it should be noted, was not given to any clergyman, or to any congregation, but to 'any Churches'; and no student of the ecclesiastical documents of the day can doubt what that means. It was a reservation of the right of any Diocese to omit from the Creed a clause of comparatively late introduction; or to substitute for it a synonymous expression which might be more easily understood. Whatever may be thought of the principle of allowing such omission or substitution, there-can be no doubt that the permission took away much of the desire to omit or to change the words, and that it was a great advantage to the Church to be able to explain in clear words and in a conspicuous place the meaning of a phrase which has been a stumbling-block to many. It is almost needless to add that no Diocese ever availed itself of the privilege granted to omit or alter the words,24 and that there is no likelihood that any Diocese will ever avail itself of the permission which still remains to substitute explanatory words for the ancient phraseology. In like manner it may be said, as to the permission to omit in Baptism the sign of the Cross with the accompanying form of words, that the concession has removed nearly all desire for the omission, while the Church has been enabled to say in the rubric in very plain words that she 'knows no worthy cause of scruple touching the same.'


Many editions of the Prayer Book thus prepared and set forth were published, several of which were from time to time established by canon as standards. The most valuable was the Standard of 1845, carefully edited and corrected by the learned Dr. Thomas Winthrop Coit.

The Convention of 1792 set forth an Ordinal, containing the three ordination services, the Litany with special suffrage as a separate service, and the Order for the Communion with 'Bishop' substituted for 'Priest' or 'Minister' in the rubrics. An alternative form of words was provided at the laying-on of hands in the Ordination of Priests, beginning with 'Take thou authority' instead of 'Receive the Holy Ghost,' and omitting the reference to the remission and the retaining of sins. Bishop Seabury consented with great reluctance to allow the use of this alternative; but he yielded to the three Bishops of English consecration (Drs. White, Provoost, and Madison), all of whom were present at the Convention. It may be noted that the first American consecration to the episcopate was held on the 17th of September 1792, Dr. Thomas John Claggett being consecrated Bishop of Maryland by the four Bishops who had been consecrated abroad; and through him both the English and the Scottish successions have come to all the later Bishops of the Church in the United States.

A form of Consecration of a Church, based on that drawn up by Bishop Andrewes in 1620, and a Prayer to be used at the Meetings of Convention, taken in great part from a paragraph in the Homily for Whit-Sunday, were added to the Prayer Book in 1799; and an Office of Institution of Ministers, substantially that drawn up by Dr. William Smith of Connecticut and adopted by the clergy of that Diocese in 1799, was added in 1804 and amended in 1808. After considerable discussion as to the desirability of Articles of Religion, and some attempts at recasting those of the English Church, the English Articles were adopted in 1801, the twenty-first being omitted 'because it is partly of a local and civil nature, and is provided for, as to the remaining parts of it, in other Articles,' and a note being added to the thirty-fifth explaining the sense in which it is received, and suspending the order for the reading of the Homilies in Churches.

In 1811 an amendment to the Constitution was adopted which provides that 'no alteration or addition shall be made in the Book of Common Prayer, or other Offices of the Church, unless the same shall be proposed in one General Convention, and by a resolve thereof made known to the Convention of every Diocese, and adopted at the subsequent General Convention.' In 1829 this provision was extended to the Articles of Religion; and in 1877 a permission was added for one Convention, under certain restrictions, to make changes in the tables of Lessons. The only change made in the Prayer Book or Offices, after their final adoption as above stated until the year 1886, with the exception of modifications of the tables of Lessons in and after 1877,25 was the change. Of 'north' to 'right' in the rubric at the beginning of the Communion Office, which was made in 1835. The House of Bishops, however, on several occasions expressed their formal opinion upon matters as to which the rubrical directions were not sufficiently clear, or for which (as for the proper postures in certain parts of the Communion Service) there were no rubrical directions.

In 1826 the House of Bishops adopted a resolution proposed by Bishop Hobart of New York, being a provision for shortened services; it was approved by the Deputies, but found so little favour in the Church at large, that it was quietly dropped at the next Convention. In 1853 the Rev. Dr. W. A. Muhlenberg and others presented to the Bishops a memorial favouring a relaxation of the obligation of the rubrics in certain cases. The immediate result of the memorial and of the discussion to which it gave rise was only a declaration from the Bishops in 1856 that Morning Prayer, the Litany, and the Order for the Holy Communion were separate services, that on special occasions the clergy' might use any parts of the Bible and the Prayer Book at their discretion, and that bishops might set forth forms of service for use under peculiar circumstances. Other proposals for the modification of rubrical requirements were made in 1868 and later years; but the plans suggested or proposed were not adopted.

At the General Convention of 1880, a resolution introduced by the Rev. Dr. W. R. Huntington, then of Massachusetts but later of New York, was adopted by both Houses, providing for the appointment of a joint committee of seven bishops, seven presbyters, and seven laymen, to consider and report whether, at the end of the first century of the work of the fully organized Church in the United States, there was occasion for 'alterations in the Book of Common Prayer in the direction of liturgical enrichment and flexibility of use.' This committee, of which Bishop Williams of Connecticut was chairman, presented to the next Convention a full report, with the 'Book Annexed,' which exhibited the Prayer Book as it would appear if all the changes proposed by the committee should be adopted. The whole matter was discussed at length; a large number of propositions, partly from the committee's report, and partly introduced by individual members of the Convention, many of them of no great importance in themselves, but all intended to provide for the enrichment of the Prayer Book or for flexibility or accuracy in its use, received a preliminary approval, and it was ordered that the Dioceses be notified of these amendments in order that final action might be taken upon them in 1886. The 'Book Annexed as Modified' showed the Prayer Book as it would appear if all the amendments proposed by the Convention of 1883 should be finally approved. The Convention of 1886 referred the whole matter to a committee, which had before it the recommendations of several of the Dioceses as to the proposed changes, together with other criticisms upon them; so that there was little doubt as to the mind of the Church with regard to either the general matter or its important details. The committee recommended for adoption, as it happened, exactly one-half of the propositions which had been approved three years before; and eighty-four of these resolutions, together with three others which were not thus specially recommended, passed both Houses. Besides these, the committee introduced twenty-five substitutes for former propositions, which could not be finally acted upon till 1889; and it proposed and obtained a vote in favour of the preparation of a Book of Offices to contain forms for occasions for which no provision is made in the Book of Common Prayer. The whole of the unfinished work was again referred to a committee, which in 1889 reported such resolutions of addition and alteration in the Prayer Book as they judged desirable in order to complete the work of revision, and also a somewhat full Book of Offices with prayers for various occasions. No action was taken upon the latter except to continue it for three years, when the whole matter was allowed to drop; but in the matter of changes in the Prayer Book, the Convention took affirmative action upon seventeen resolutions which had been proposed three years before, and, after considering the committee's report, approved fifty-two resolutions that final action might be taken upon them in 1892. Besides this, a committee was appointed to prepare and report to the next Convention the text of a Standard Book of Common Prayer, into which all the changes constitutionally made might be incorporated. Finally, in 1892 the General Convention adopted forty-three of the amendments proposed by the preceding Convention, and accepted the text reported by the committee on the Standard, ordering a Standard Book to be printed and replicas to be prepared for the several Dioceses with certificated copies for important libraries and for representatives of Churches in communion with that in the United States. Much labour was bestowed upon the preparation of the Standard, reference being constantly made to earlier standards and especially to that of 1845; the text of the Epistles and Gospels was compared with the best modern editions of the English Bible; that of the Psalter was corrected from a careful study of the Great Bible; and use was made of the facsimile edition of the Convocation Book and the manuscript Annexed Book of 1662. A canon provides for the comparison of all editions with certified copies of the Standard, and requires that all ordinary editions above the 24mo size, shall keep uniform pagination.

It remains to speak of the more important of the changes introduced into the American Prayer Book by the action completed in 1886, 1889, and 1892. By far the larger part call for no notice here, being corrections of rubrical inaccuracies or inconsistencies, or having to do with such matters as the readjustment of the Forms of Prayer to be used at Sea, and those for the Visitation of Prisoners.

Additional sentences, differing for the two services and for the most part intended for use at special seasons of the Church's year, have been prefixed to Morning and Evening Prayer without displacing any of the former sentences. Provision has been made for shortening both Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer; and the prefatory note 'concerning the Service of the Church' declares that 'the Order for Morning Prayer, the Litany and the Order for the Administration of the Lord's Supper, or Holy Communion, are distinct services, and may be used either separately or together, provided that no one of these services be habitually disused.' The full form of the Benedictus has been restored, but the shortened form (the first four verses) may still be used except on the Sundays in Advent; and the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis now stand in their proper place, the former Canticles (two after each Lesson) remaining as alternatives. From the rubric before the Apostles' Creed the permission for 'any Churches' to omit the clause' He descended into hell' has been removed. The full number of versicles and responses after the Creed is now found at Evening Prayer, the second versicle reading, O Lord, save the State,' and the response to the versicle for peace being 'For it is thou, Lord, only, that makest us dwell in safety.' A new Prayer for the Civil Authority has been provided for Evening Prayer, based on one of the Collects for the Sovereign in the English Communion Office. In the Litany, a petition has been-inserted after that for Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, 'That it may please thee to send forth labourers into thy harvest.'

New occasional prayers have been inserted, For the Unity of God's people (from the English Accession Service), For Missions, and For Fruitful Seasons (to be used at Rogation-tide): and a Thanksgiving has been inserted For a Child's Recovery from Sickness. To the Prayers which alone had been retained from the Commination Service has been prefixed the Miserere with Lord's Prayer and Versicles, and the Collect beginning 'O God, whose nature and property' has been added, making a Penitential Office for use on Ash-Wednesday or at other times. Collects, Epistles, and Gospels have been provided for first Communions on Christmas Day and Easter Day (these are from the Book of 1549), and also for the festival of the Transfiguration on the sixth day of August.

In the Communion Office, it is provided that the Decalogue may be omitted, provided it be said once on each Sunday; but when it is omitted, the Lord's Summary of the Law' is to be read, followed by the Lesser Litany. The Nicene Creed is printed in its place after the rubric as to the reading of the Gospel, and it is required that it be used on the five great festivals of the year. Acts xx. 35 (last part) has been prefixed to the Offertory Sentences, and Exodus xxv. 2, Deuteronomy xvi. 16, 17, and I. Chronicles xxix. 11 and 14 (last part) have been added to them.

The Exhortation 'may be omitted if it hath been already said on one Lord's Day in that same month.' The Sanctus is printed as a separate paragraph, with a side rubric '¶ Priest and People'; and the Oblation and the Invocation in the Prayer of Consecration have been made distinctly separate paragraphs. The Warnings have been removed to the end of the service.

In the Baptism of Adults, for the words 'these persons' or 'the persons' in the prayers there have been substituted the words 'these thy servants'; the Thanksgiving at the end has been conformed to that in the Baptism of Infants; and rubrics have been added allowing the shortening of the service when used in private 'in case of great necessity,' and providing for hypothetical administration of the Sacrament 'if there be reasonable doubt concerning the baptism of any person.' A form of presentation of candidates and a Lesson from Acts viii. 14-17 (the latter for discretionary use) have been inserted in the Order of Confirmation, and the reading of the Preface has been made optional. Certain of the clauses omitted from the exhortation in the Marriage Service in 1789, making reference to the institution of matrimony and its mystical meaning and to Christ's blessing of it, have been restored. In the Visitation of the Sick, the Commendatory Prayer has been amended by the omission of the last clause. Provision has been made for shortening the Office for the Communion of the Sick in case .of necessity. At the Burial of the Dead, permission has been given for the insertion of a hymn or anthem, the Creed, and fitting prayers after the Lesson: and three additional prayers have been provided. The former ten Selections of Psalms, which were printed before the Psalter, have been omitted, but there is a table of twenty Selections of Psalms, anyone of which may be used at any service for which Proper Psalms are not appointed; and the table of Proper Psalms has been extended to include the first Sunday in Advent, Circumcision, Epiphany, Purification, Annunciation, Easter Even, Trinity Sunday, Transfiguration, S. Michael's, and All Saints' Days. On the twenty-ninth day, Psalm cxli. has been removed from Morning to Evening Prayer. The Articles of Religion have been placed at the end of the book, where they have a separate title-page. It should be added also that the former tables for finding Easter Day, &c., have been replaced by others, much more convenient and intelligible, prepared by the late Rev. Dr. Francis Harison.




1. A curious religious ceremony was used from at least the time of Henry VII. to that of Queen Anne, for the supposed cure by the royal touch of scrofula, or, as it was formerly called, the King's Evil: the tradition was that the Kings of England, and France too, had this power, derived from Edward the Confessor.26 The earliest form on record is that used by Henry VII. in Latin. Subsequently modifications were made, and the service appeared in several forms in English.27 The efficacy of this mode of cure was believed by such men as Heylyn, Collier, and Carte;28 but it was never formally sanctioned by the Church, though the service was printed in some Prayer Books between the reign of Charles I. and the year 1719.

The form, as it stands in the Prayer Books of Queen Anne, probably after undergoing a careful revision, is as follows:—29


Touching of the King's Evil


    Prevent us, O Lord, &c.
    The Gospel (for Ascension-day) S. Mark xvi. 14-20.

Let us pray.

    Lord, have mercy upon us, &c.
    Our Father, &c.
    Then shall the infirm persons, one by one, be presented to the Queen upon their knees; and as every one is presented and while the Queen is laying her hands upon them, and putting the gold about their necks, the Chaplain that officiates, turning himself to her Majesty, shall say these words following:
    God give a blessing to this work; and grant that these sick persons on whom the Queen lays her hands may recover, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    After all have been presented, the Chaplain shall say,
    O Lord, save thy servants, &c. (the Versicies from the Commination Service).

Let us pray.

O Almighty God, who art the Giver of all health, and the aid of them that seek to thee for succour, we call upon thee for thy help and goodness mercifully to be showed upon these thy servants, that they being healed of their infirmities may give thanks unto thee in thy holy Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    Then the Chaplain, standing with his face towards them that come to be healed, shall say,
    The Almighty Lord, who is a most strong, &c. (from the Visitation of the sick).
    The grace of our Lord, &c.


2. 'A Form of Prayer, to be used yearly on the second if September, for the Dreadful Fire of London,' appears in some Prayer Books printed at Oxford (1681-1683), and in Parsell's Latin Prayer Book. It is the usual office for Holy Days, with a versicular Hymn instead of Venite; a portion of the Commination Service after the Litany, with an additional Prayer; and a Prayer to be 'used continually so long as the navy is abroad.' A note to the Litany directs it to be 'used publicly in churches, not only upon the monthly Fast-day, but on Wednesday in every week (and may by every man be used daily in private Families during the time of this Visitation.' The original form30 gives the Order of Morning and of Evening Prayer at full length. The General Thanksgiving is omitted, together with the Prayer for all Conditions of Men. The service was revised under Archbishop Tenison's authority, in 1696; and it was reprinted in a separate shape, as lately as 1821. Its use continued at S. Paul's until 1859, when its observance ceased, together with that of the three State Holy-days.
Prayer for the Fire of London.

3. A Latin Form of Prayer, used at the meeting of Convocation, was printed in 1700: it is found in Parsell's Latin Prayer Book, and in the appendix to Percival's Original Services for the State Holy-days.31

Convocation Service.
4. In 1714 there was also prepared, A Form for admitting Converts from the Church of Rome, and such as shall renounce their errors. It was not regularly carried through both Houses of Convocation: but it is occasionally used, as offering the nearest approach to an authorized form.32
Form of Reception of Converts.
5. Before the Reformation, there was interpolated into the Sunday Mass in parochial churches a form of vernacular prayer called the Bidding of the bedes.33 The people were bid to pray, as the preacher successively named the subjects of their devotion, and psalms and prayers followed. The same practice continued after the Reformation, the subjects introduced being gradually changed.34 When Henry VIII. assumed the title of Supreme Head of the Church of England, the name of the Pope was omitted, and especial care taken that the new title of the King should be correctly stated. The Form of bidding the Common-prayers is given in the Injunctions of Edward VI. (1547);35 prayer for the dead was still enjoined, until the form given in the Injunctions of Elizabeth (1559),36 which directed praise for the departed. It seems that this form was chiefly followed by those who framed the Canons of 1603.

The Bidding Prayer.



The revival of preaching and the appointment of a sermon by the rubric of the Prayer Book at the same point in the service as the old vernacular prayer brought the two things into connexion; consequently the Bidding Prayer figures as The Form of a Prayer to be used by all Preachers before their Sermons in the 55th Canon. It appears, however, from various sermons extant that, from the early period of the Reformation downwards until the year 1662, no exact rule was observed as to the position of the prayer: it was used either before, or after, or more commonly in, the Sermon.37 Strictly to comply with the Canon requires that the subjects which are there specified should be mentioned briefly, whether in the bidding or precatory form, always concluding with the Lord's Prayer. The connection with the Eucharist is now generally given up, as the Bidding Prayer is now almost entirely confined to sermons preached apart from the Communion service, and when it forms part of another service a collect or the Invocation is used instead of the longer form.38 The form of the Bidding Prayer is not rigidly prescribed, and under cover of this circumstance some liberty for the exercise of the gift of extempore prayer has been allowed, to meet the continual requests of the Puritans and others: strictly speaking, however, the use in the .pulpit of an extempore prayer at this point, unless it be modelled after the form in the canon, is quite unauthorized.39


1 These were Ken, bishop of Bath and Wells, Turner of Ely, Frampton of Gloucester, Lloyd of Norwich, White of Peterborough, Thomas of Worcester, Lake of Chichester, and Cartwright of Chester. D'Oyly's Life of Sancroft, I. 437.

2 See Lathbury, History of the Nonjurors; Dowden, Historical Account of the Scottish Communion Office, pp, 58 and ff.

3 A rival communion was thus maintained for more than a century. Lathbury, p. 412.

4 Hall, Fragmenta Liturgica, vol. I, Introd. p. xxxvi.

5 Hall, ibid, p, xii. and p. 101.

6 A Communion Office, taken partly from Primitive Liturgies; and partly from the First English reformed Common Prayer Book, together with Offices for Confirmation and the Visitation of the Sick. 1718. Hall, ibid, vol. V, p. 1. Dowden, as above, p. 293.

7 Hall, ibid. vol. I. Introd. p. xxxviii, Lathbury, pp, 492 and ff.

8 Hall, ibid. pp, xli. and ff. The first part of this production is reprinted in Frag. Liturg. vol. VI. entitled, A Complete Collection of Devotions: taken from the Apostolical Constitutions, the Ancient Liturgies, and the Common Prayer Book of the Church of England. Part I. Comprehending the Public Offices of the Church. Humbly offered to the consideration of the present Churches of Christendom, Greek, Roman, English, and all others. Lathbury, pp, 390 and 496 and ff.

9 Hall, II. p. 115.

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10 Above, pp. 143-150.

11 Dowden, Historical Account of the Scottish Communion Office, and of the Communion Office of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America, with Liturgical Notes. 1884, pp. 43 and ff. a The Scotch book of 1637 was reprinted in 1712 for use in the private chapel of the Earl of Winton.

12 Dowden, pp. 95, 99.

13 'Every single bishop,' writes Bp. Drummond in 1792, 'has made editions, and even some changes and additions, according to their liking.' The editions, however, were published without any name of the editor, until Skinner's edition in 1800. The actual names of the bishops assigned to them are traditional conjectures. See Hall, Introd. p. lxii. Many of these varying forms are printed in Fragmenta Liturgica, vol. v.

14 A Prayer Book may be mentioned, which was issued, with the sanction of Bp. Torry — according to the use of the Church of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1849 — which caused considerable controversy. See Neale's Life of Bishop Terry, ch. VII and appendix, and The Episcopate of Charles Wordsworth; appendix I.

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15 See above, pp. 62-64, 107, 125.

16 Oratio. Deus qui pro nobis Filium tuum crucis patibulum subire voluisti, ut inimici a nobis expelleres potestatem: concede nobis famulis tuis ut in resurrectionis ejus gaudiis semper vivamus. See Brev. Sar. Ante Matutinas (l. p. dcccviii); Brev. Ebor. In statione ante crucem (p. 468). The epistle for the first Sunday after Easter is altered to 1 Cor. v. 6-8.

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17 There was also printed with the editions of the Irish Prayer Book in 1690, 1700 and 1721, &c., a Form for receiving lapsed Protestants or Reconciling converted Papists to our Church, as well as the Form of Consecration of Churches. The former is said to have been written by Bp. Anthony Dopping, of Meath. The latter first appeared in 1666, with the sanction of the Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin. It was possibly taken from the form which Bishop Cosin prepared for the English Convocation (see above, p. 201). See Reeves' introduction to Irish Form of Consecration of Churches. (S.P.C.K.)
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18 The distinction between 'North' and 'South' in the early days of the country was not the same as in later years, when the terms were applied to the slaveholding and non-slaveholding States respectively. In the 18th century the division was at New York, and that Northern States were those commonly known as New England, now the six States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

19 It should be remembered that there was no Constitution of the United States until 1789.

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20 In these early days, and especially before the adoption of the Federal Constitution, the word 'State' is constantly used where we should use 'Diocese.' In fact, the Dioceses of the American Church were in every case coterminous with the States, until New York was divided into two Dioceses in 1838. In that year the word 'Diocese' was substituted for 'State' throughout the Constitution of the Church.
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21 However much this is to be deplored on principle, it has kept the Benedictus within the range of practical use, and prevented its being nearly displaced by the Jubilate.

22 This change is said to have been made because President Washington, whose home was eight miles from a church, did not ordinarily attend Evening Prayer.

23 Bishop Seabury wrote a year later that he 'never was fully convinced as to the propriety of reading the Athanasian Creed,' but that he was 'clear as to the impropriety of banishing it out of the Prayer Book.'

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24 The permission to omit was withdrawn in 1886.
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25 The Sunday Lessons have been but slightly modified from those adopted in 1789. The Lessons for Holy-days were nearly all selected anew in 1880 and 1883, at which time the Lessons appended to the Calendar were also entirely rearranged.
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26 See Lathbury, Convoc. p. 428.

27 Ibid. pp. 435 and ff.

28 Ibid. p. 432.

29 The old Latin form (from Pegge's Curialia Miscell., pp. 154 and ff.), as well as this later one, is printed in The Book of Common Prayer with Notes (ed. Eccl. Hist. Soc.), II. pp. 991 and ff.

30 A copy is preserved in Sion College Library. It was ordered to be used on Wednesday, Oct. 10th, 1666.

31 Cp. Blunt, Annotated Prayer Book, p. 580 [705].

32 It was drawn up at the command of the Queen, probably by Archbp. Wake; Lathbury, pp.426 and ff.; Wilkins, Concil. IV. 660. A new form was drawn up and published (1898) as No. XLIX. of the Church Historical Society Tracts. (S. P. C. K.)

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33 In cathedrals this formed part of the Sunday procession: in parish churches it took place after the Gospel and Offertory, either before some altar or in a pulpit designed for the purpose. Process. Sar., p. 8.

34 See ancient forms in Sarum Proc. (ed. Wordsworth) p. 22; Dr. Henderson's York Manual (Surtees Society), p. 123, pp. 219* and ff.; Maskell III. p. 342 [400]: the form ordered by Henry VIII., in Hilsey's Primer, p. 329. See also H. O. C[oxe] Forms of Bidding Prayer; L'Estrange, Alliance, pp. 253 and ff.

35 Cardwell, Doc. Ann. I. p.21.

36 Ibid. p. 235.

37 See the instances collected by Lathbury, Hist. of Convoc. pp. 210 and ff. note: e.g. Latimer's Two Sermons preached before the Convocation, in the morning and afternoon, June 9, 1536-the prayer is at the conclusion of the morning sermon (p. 40 ed. Park. Soc.); and Wren, preaching at Whitehall, in 1627, calls upon the people to pray after the text is named and the scheme stated.

38 It is stated that this practice was begun in the reign of William, to evade the recognition of his supremacy; so that, in its origin, it was a mark of disaffection to the Government. On the other hand, in the time of George I. some clergy incurred the charge of disaffection for using the Bidding Prayer, as if they would only call upon the people to pray for the King. Lathbury, p. 211, note.

39 The amount of liberty conceded has varied very much at different times. In the Convocation of 1661, a committee of the Lower House was appointed to compile a form of prayer to be used before sermon, but nothing was concluded. Lathbury, p. 212, note. See B.C.P. with Notes, pp. 1157 and ff.

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