The Book of Common Prayer
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    Deacon's Devotions (1734)


Compleat Collection




The Apostolical Constitutions, the Ancient
Liturgies, and the Common Prayer Book
of the Church of England,

Part I.


The Publick Offices of the Church.

Humbly offered

To the Consideration of the present Churches
of Christendom, Greek, Roman, English,
and all others.

Printed in the Year M. DCC. XXXIV.



The following Collection of Devotions is founded upon these two principles.
    1st. That the best method for all Churches and Christians to follow, is to lay aside all modern hypotheses, customs, and private opinions, and submit to all the doctrines, practices, worship, and discipline, not of any Particular, but of the Ancient and Universal Church of Christ, from the beginning to the end of the fourth century; which doctrines, practices, worship, and discipline, thus universally and constantly received, could not possibly be derived from any other than Apostolical authority.
    2dly. That the Liturgy in the Apostolical Constitutions is the most ancient Christian Liturgy extant; that it is perfectly pure and free from interpolation; and that the book itself, called the Apostolical Constitutions, contains at large the doctrines, laws, and settlements, which the three first and purest ages of the Gospel did with one consent believe, obey, and submit to, and that as derived to them from Apostolical men: that therefore the said book, where it does not disagree with the tradition of the Primitive Catholic Church, (as I believe upon examination it will hardly ever be found to do, but on the contrary may be corroborated thereby, and by the consentient testimony of the holy Fathers of the three first centuries,) ought to be received, submitted to, and allowed its due authority.
    If these two principles were once put in practice, all the Ecclesiastical distractions which subsist at present, would cease; and a truly Catholic union would be restored among all Christian Churches. That I may contribute my mite towards so desirable an end, I have here ventured to present the world with what in my humble opinion will be the only means to attain it; which is what some will call a New, but which I presume to recommend to every pious Christian as the Oldest, and therefore the Best, Collection of Devotions extant in the whole Christian world. This I dare venture to say, because 1 have omitted no practice or ceremony that appears to be supported by antiquity, universality, and consent; and because I have taken in all the Devotional part of the Apostolical Constitutions, (except a few particulars foreign to the present purpose,) at the same time that I have herein included such parts of the Common Prayer Book of the Church of England, as were necessary to complete the design.
    As I am more disposed to peace than controversy, I waive engaging in the proof of the two principles above mentioned.



Thomas Deacon
Thomas Deacon


These "Devotions" are actually a fairly complete Book of Common Prayer created by Thomas Deacon, a non-juring bishop. This group, which split from the Church of England following the arrival of William and Mary, was not a State church, and so they were free to develop their own liturgies - and several, including Deacon, did. Scholarship convinced Deacon and others that liturgy should be closest to that used by early Christians, as may be seen in Deacon's Preface.

Although the Non-jurors died out in the late 1700's, their influence was significant and can be seen in later editions of the Book of Common Prayer.

The text here is taken from an 1848 reprint, Vol. 6 of Liturgica Fragmenta, edited by Peter Hall. In addition to the HTML pages linked to below, we also have the entire book available as PDF graphics, with uncorrected text "behind" it, and bookmarks for navigation. Additionally, the same book os available from Google Books in PDF graphics, and from the Internet Archive in a number of other (also uncorrected) formats.


General Rubrics,
Tables, Calendar, &c,
Order for Morning Prayer,
Order for Evening Prayer.
Prayers for Catechumens.
Prayers for Energumen,
Prayers for Candidates for Baptism,
Prayers for Penitents,
Form of Admitting a Catechumen,
Form of Admitting to Penance,
Form of Absolving a Penitent,
The Penitential Office,
The Collects, Epistles, and Gospels
The Holy Liturgy,
Public Baptism of Infants,
Public Baptism of Adults.
Consecration of Oil.
Consecration of Milk and Honey.
Order of Confirmation,
Consecration of the Chrism.
Private Baptism of Infants.
Private Baptism of Adults.
Solemnization of Matrimony.
Churching of Women.
Visitation of the Sick.
Consecration of Oil.
Communion of the Sick.
Burial of the Dead.
Consecration of Bishops.
Ordaining of Priests.
Ordaining of Deacons.
Ordaining of Deaconesses.

Download the entire book as PDF graphics 

This Table of Contents did not appear in the original edition




"Catechumens" are people preparing for baptism.
"Energumens" are people possessed by an evil spirit.


The proper persons to administer in all the solemn parts of Public Worship are the Bishops; and in their absence, and by their permission, the Presbyters or Priests; and both, as ministered to by the Deacons,

If there be no Deacon belonging to any particular Church, what is in this book ordered to be performed by him, must be done by the Priest,

Note, that wherever in this book the People are appointed to do any thing, the Deacon and all the Clergy present {except the Officiating Priest) are supposed to be included in the rule unless it be otherwise particularly ordered.

It is to be noted, that such ornaments of the Church and of the Clergy, at all times of their ministration, shall be retained, and be in use, as were in the Church of England in the second year of the reign of King Edward the Sixth.

The posture for the Faithful in prayer, and at the reception of the Eucharist, is kneeling, on all days but the Lord's days; and all the days between Easter and Pentecost on which it is standing, in respect to and remembrance of our Saviour's resurrection: and therefore wherever in this book the Faithful are ordered to kneel, those times are supposed to be excepted.

The People during the time of Divine Service are always to have their faces turned towards the Altar: the same is supposed of the Priest and Deacon whenever they kneel, and likewise when they stand, except where it is otherwise ordered.

The Men and Women are to sit separate in the Public Assemblies.

Public Prayers are to be used Morning and Evening every day. The time for the holy Liturgy, or solemn Communion Service, is between nine in the morning and noon; except those days on which the Penitential Office is appointed, which is to be used about that time, and the Communion Service (if the Eucharist be celebrated) about two of the clock.

On Mondays, the Bishop, with as many of the Clergy as conveniently can, are to meet together for the exercise of Discipline according to the laws of the Gospel, and the Ecclesiastical Canons. Any of the Faithful may also be present, if they please.

And forasmuch as nothing can be so plainly set forth, but doubts may arise in the use and practice of the same ; to appease all such diversity (if any arise), and for the resolution of all doubts concerning the manner how to understand, do, and execute the things contained in this Book, the parties that so doubt, or diversely take any thing, shall always resort to the Bishop of the Diocese, who, by his discretion, shall take order for the quieting and appeasing of the same. And if the Bishop of the Diocese be in doubt, he must apply for the resolution thereof to the Metropolitan, and College of Bishops in Provincial Synod assembled.



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