A Proclamation for the
of the book of Common
Prayer to be used throughout
by the grace of God, king of great Britaine, France and Ireland, Defender
of the Faith, To our Lovits
Messengers, our Sheriffs in that part conjunctly and severally specially
constitute greeting. Forasmuch as We, ever since our entry to the imperial
Crown of this our ancient Kingdome of Scotland, especially since our
late being here in the same; have divers times recommended to the Archbishops
and Bishops here the publishing of a publike forme of Service, in the
worship of God, which we would have uniformly observed therein. And
the same being now condescended upon, although We doubt not but all
our Subjects, both Clergie and others, will receive the said publike
forme of Service with such reverence as appertaineth : yet thinking
it necessarie to make our pleasure known touching the authorising of
the Book thereof,
Will is, and We charge you straitly and command, that incontinent these
our Letters seen, you passe, and in our name and authoritie command
and charge all our Subjects, both ecclesiasticall and civill, by open
Proclamation at the market Crosses of the head Burrows [boroughs]
of this our Kingdom, and other places needfull, To conform themselves
to the said publike forme of worship, which is the only forme, which
We (having taken the Counsell of our Clergie) think fit to be used in
Godís public worship in this our Kingdome : Commanding also all Archbishops
and Bishops, and other Presbyters and Churchmen, to take a speciall
care that the same be duely obeyed and observed, and the contraveeners
censured and punished, and to have speciall care that everie Parish
betwixt and Pasch [=Easter]
next procure unto themselves two at least of the said Books of Common
Prayer, for the use of the Parish. The which to do We commit to you
conjunctly and severally our full power, By these our Letters, delivering
the same by you duely execute and indorsed againe to the bearer.
under our signet at Edinburgh the twentieth day of December, and of
our Reign the twelfth year, 1636.
actum secreti Consilii.
Preface is in Roman type in the original.
Church of Christ hath in all ages had a prescript forme of Common prayer,
or Divine service, as appeareth by the ancient Liturgies of the Greeke
and Latine Churches. This was done, as for other great causes, so likewise
for retaining an uniformitie in Godís worship : a thing most beseeming
them that are of one and the same profession. For by the forme that
is kept in the outward worship of God, men commonly judge of Religion.
If in that there be a diversitie, straight they are apt to conceive
the Religion to bee diverse. Wherefore it were to be wished, that the
whole Church of Christ were one as well in forme of publike worship,
as in doctrine : And that as it hath but one Lord and one Faith, so
it had but one heart and one mouth. This would prevent many schisms
and divisions, and serve much to the preserving of unitie. But since
that cannot be hoped for in the whole Catholike Christian Church, yet
at least in the Churches that are under the protection of one Soveraigne
Prince the same ought to be endeavoured.
It was not the least part of our late Soveraigne
King JAMES of blessed memory his care, to work
this uniformitie in all his Dominions : but while he was about to do
it, it pleased God to translate him to a better kingdome. His MAJESTY
that now raigneth (and long may He raigne over us in all happinesse)
not suffering his Fathers good purpose to fall to thin ground, but treading
the same path, with the like zeale and pious affection, gave order soon
after his coming to the Crown, for the framing of a book of Common prayer,
like unto that which is received in the Churches of England and Ireland,
for the use of this Church. After many lets [=obstacles]
the same cometh now to be published, to the good, we trust, of all Godís
people, and the increase of true pietie, and sincere devotion amongst
But as there is nothing, how good and warrantable
soever in it self, against which, some will not except: so it may be
that exceptions will be taken against this good and most pious work,
and perhaps none more pressed, than that we have followed the Service
book of England. But we should desire them that shall take this exception,
to consider, that being as we are by Gods mercie of one true profession,
and otherwise united by many bonds, it had not been fitting to vary
much from theirs, our especially coming forth after theirs, seeing the
disturbers of the Church both here and there, should by our differences,
if they had been great, taken occasion to worke more trouble. Therefore
did wee think meet to adhere to their forme, even in the festivals,
and some other rites, not as yet received, nor observed in our Church,
rather then by omitting them, to give the Adversarie to think, that
we disliked any part of their Service.
Our first Reformers were of the same minde with us,
as appeareth by the ordinance they made, that in all the Parishes of
this Realme, the Common prayer should he read weekly on Sundaies, and
other Festivall dayes, with the Lessons of the old and new Testament,
conforme to the order of the book of Common prayer, (meaning that of
England ; for it is known that divers years after we had no other order
for common prayer.) This is recorded to have been the first head concluded
in a frequent Councell of the Lords and Barons professing Christ Jesus.
We keep the words of the history; Religion was not then placed in
rites and gestures, nor men taken with the fancy of extemporary prayers.
Sure, the publike worship of God in his Church, being the most solemne
action of us his poor creatures here below, ought to be performed by
a Liturgie advisedly set and framed, and not according to the sudden
and various fancies of men. This shall suffice for the present to have
said. The God of mercy confirm our hearts in his truth, and preserve
us alike from profanenesss and superstition. Amen.
The history of the
Church of Scotland, p. 218.
ALL Presbyters and Deacons shall be bound to
say daily the Morning and Evening Prayer, either privately or openly,
except they be let [prevented]
by some urgent Cause. Of which Cause, if it be frequently pretended,
they are to make the Bishop of the Diocese, or the Archbishop of the
Province, the Judge and Allower.
And the curate that ministereth in every Parish-Church,
or Chappel, being at Home and not being otherwise reasonably letted [prevented],
shall say the same in the Parish- Church or Chappel where he ministereth,
and shall toll a Bell thereto, a convenient Time before he begin, that
such as be disposed, may come to hear Godís Word and to pray with him.
two pages containing this and the following two sections are missing from
my copy of the original.
Ceremonies, why some
be abolish'd and some
such Ceremonies as be used in the Church, and have had their Beginning
by the Institution of Man: Some at the first were of godly Intent
and Purpose devised, and yet at length turned to Vanity and Superstition:
Some entered into the Church by undiscreet Devotion, and such a Zeal
as was without Knowledge; and for because they were winked at in
the beginning, they grew daily to more and more Abuses, which not
only for their Unprofitableness, but also because they have much
blinded the People, and obscured the Glory of God, are worthy to
be cut away and clean rejected: Other there be, which although they
have been devised by Man, yet it is thought good to reserve them
still, as well for a decent Order in the Church (for the which they
were first devised) as because they pertain to Edification, whereunto
all things done in the Church (as the Apostles
teacheth) ought to be referred: And although the keeping or omitting
of a Ceremony in itself considered, is but a small thing: yet the
willful and contemptuous Transgression and breaking of a common Order
and Discipline is no small Offense before God.
Let all things be done among you (saith
Saint Paul) in a seemly and due Order. The Appointment
of the which Order, pertaineth not to private Men: Therefore no Man
ought to take in hand, nor presume to appoint or alter any public or
common Order in Christs
Church, except he be lawfully called and authorized thereunto.
And whereas in this our Time, the Minds of Men are
so diverse that some think it a great Matter of Conscience, to depart
from a piece of the least of their Ceremonies, they be so addicted
to their old Customs; and again, on the other side, some be so new-fangled
that they would innovate all Things, and so do despise the old, that
nothing can like them but that is new; it was thought expedient,
not so much to have respect how to please and satisfy either of these
Parties, as how to please God and profit them both. And yet lest any
Man should be offended, whom good reason might satisfy, here be certain
Causes rendered why some of the accustomed Ceremonies be put away,
and some retained and kept still.
Some are put away, because the great Excess and
Multitude of them hath so increased in these latter Days that the
Burden of them was intolerable. Whereof St. Augustine in
his Time complained, that they were grown to such a Number, that the
Estate of Christian People was in worse Case concerning that Matter
than were the Jews; and he counseled that such Yoke and burden should
be taken away, as Time would serve quietly to do it.
But what would St. Augustine have said,
if he had seen the Ceremonies of late Days used among us, whereunto
the Multitude used in his Time was not to be compared? This our excessive
Multitude of Ceremonies was so great, and many of them so dark, that
they did more confound and darken, than declare and set forth Christs
Benefits unto us.
And besides this, Christs Gospel is not a
Ceremonial Law (as much of Moses Law was) but it is a Religion
to serve God; not in Bondage of the Figure or Shadow, but in the Freedom
of the Spirit, being content only with those Ceremonies which do
serve to a decent Order and godly Discipline, and such as be apt to
stir up the dull Mind of Man to the Remembrance of his Duty to God:
by some notable and special Signification, whereby he might be edified.
Furthermore, the most weighty Cause of the Abolishment
of certain Ceremonies was, That they were so far abused, partly by
the superstitious Blindness of the Rude and Unlearned and partly by
the unsatiable Avarice of such as sought more their own Lucre than
the Glory of God, that the Abuses could not well be taken away, the
Thing remaining still. But now as concerning those Persons which peradventure
will be offended, for that some of the old Ceremonies are retained
still; If they consider, that without some Ceremonies it is not possible
to keep any Order or quiet Discipline in the Church, they shall easily
perceive just Cause to reform their Judgments. And if they think much
that any of the old do remain, and would rather have all devised anew:
Then, such Men granting some Ceremonies convenient to be had, surely
where the old may be well used, there they cannot reasonably reprove
the old only for their Age, without bewraying of their own Folly. For
in such a Case they ought rather to have Reverence unto them for their
Antiquity, if they will declare themselves to be more studious of Unity
and Concord than of Innovations and New-fangleness, which (as much
as may be, with the true setting forth of Christs Religion) is
always to be eschewed. Furthermore, such shall have no just Cause with
the Ceremonies reserved, to be offended. For as those be taken away
which were most abused, and did burden Mens Consciences without
any Cause; so the other that remain are retained for a Discipline and
Order, which (upon just Causes) may be alter'd and chang'd, and therefore
are not to be esteem'd equal with Gods Law. And moreover they
be neither dark nor dumb Ceremonies, but are so set forth that every
Man may understand what they do mean, and to what Use they do serve:
So that it is not like, that they in time to come, should be abused
as others have been. And in these our Doings, we condemn no other
Nations, nor prescribe any thing, but to our own People only. For
we think it convenient that every Country should use such Ceremonies
as they shall think best to the setting forth of Gods Honor
or Glory, and to the reducing of the People to a most perfect and
godly Living, without Error or Superstition. And that they should
put away other things, which from time to time they perceive to be
most abused, as in Men's Ordinances it often chanceth diversly in
Table and Kalendar Expressing the Order of Psalms
to be said at Morning and Evening Prayer throughout the Year, except
certain proper Feasts, as the Rules following more plainly
THe Psalter shall be read through
once every Month, save February,
and in that Month so far as the Psalms are appointed for 28
or 29 days in the Leap-Year.
And whereas many months have 31
Days a piece, it is ordered that the Psalms shall be read the last
Day of the said Months which were read the Day before; so that
the Psalter may begin again the first Day of the next Month ensuing.
And where the Cxix Psalm is divided into 22 Portions,
and is over-long to be read at one time; it is so ordered, that at
one time shall not he read above Four or Five of the said Portions,
as you shall perceive to be noted in this Table following.
And here is also to be noted, that in this Table,
and in all other parts of the Service where any Psalms are appointed,
the Number is expressed after the great English Bible, which from the
ix Psalm unto the Cxlviij Psalm (following the Division of the Hebrews)
doth vary in Numbers from the common Latin Translation.
The order how the rest of holy
Scripture (beside the Psalter) is
appointed to be read
old Testament is appointed for the first Lessons through Morning and
Evening prayer and shall be read every year once, except certain books
and chapters which be least edifying and might best be spared, and therefore
be left unread.
The new Testament is appointed for the second Lessons
at Morning and Evening prayer and shall be read over orderly every yeare
thrice, beside the Epistles and Gospels, except the Apocalypse [=Revelation],
out of the which there be only certaine Lessons appointed upon
divers proper Feasts.
And to know what Lessons shall bee read every day,
finde the day of the Moneth in the Kalendar following, and there ye
shall perceive the Books and Chapters that shall be read for the Lessons
both at Morning and Evening Prayer.
And here is to be noted that whensoever there be
any proper Psalmes or Lessons appointed for the Sundayes, or for any
feast, movable or unmovable : then the Psalmes and Lessons appointed
in the Kalendar shall be omitted for that time.
Ye must note also, that the Collect, Epistle, and
Gospel appointed for the Sunday shall serve all the week after, except
there fall some feast that hath his proper Collect, Epistle, and Gospel,
as it is on Ashwednesday, and on every day in the holy week next before
Pasch or Easter. But on all those daies the Psalmes and Lessons shall
be the same which fall in course as they are in the Kalendar.
When the years of our Lord may divided into foure
even yeares, which is every fourth year : the the Sunday letter leapeth,
and that year the Psalmes and Lessons which serve for the xxviij day
of Februarie, shall be read again the day following, except it be
Sunday, which hath proper Lessons of the old Testament appointed in
the Table serving to that purpose.
Also, wheresoever the beginning of any Lesson, Epistle,
or Gospel is not expressed, there ye must begin at the beginning of
And wheresoever is not expressed how far shall be
read, there shall you read to the end of the chapter.
Item, so oft as the first chapter of Saint Matthew
is read either for Lesson or Gospel, ye shall begin the same at (The
birth of Jesus was on this wise, &c.) And the third chapter
of Saint Lukes Gospel, shall be read unto, (So that he was supposed
to be the Son of Joseph)
section appears in Roman type in the original, except for those parts
in bold, which appear in blackletter.