|The Book of Common Prayer|
THE FIFTH ENGLISH PRAYER BOOK
Savoy Conference came to an end in July, 1661:
"The Preface" was written by Sanderson, Bishop of Lincoln, and is divided into five paragraphs :— 1. A description of the previous revisions: in the often misquoted phrase, they had been meant "to keep the mean between the two extremes, of too much stiffness in refusing, and of too much easiness in admitting any variation." The loose way in which the word "Liturgy" (properly a term for the Holy Communion) is used of the service as a whole, is a sign that liturgical knowledge is not what it had been a century before. 2. A sketch of those preliminaries to the present revision (the deputation to the king, etc.) which were described in our last chapter. The harsh tone of a triumphant party will be noticed in the Bishop's phrases. 3. The standard by which proposed changes were accepted or rejected, with a proviso that the Book of 1604 contained nothing contrary to the Word of God. Here is another famous and important sentence: — "We have rejected all such as were either of dangerous consequence (as secretly striking at some established doctrine, or laudable practice of the Church of England, or indeed of the whole Catholick Church of Christ) or else of no consequence at all, but utterly frivolous and vain." 4. A description of the changes introduced, beginning with a statement that they were not made "to gratify this or that party in any their unreasonable demands." 5. An expression of the hope that these changes (though unwelcome to "men of factious, peevish, and perverse spirits") will be approved by "all sober, peaceable, and truly conscientious sons of the Church of England."
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The changes described in this Preface are — 1. (DIRECTIONS) for the better direction of the officiant, 2. (VERBAL) the alteration of obsolete phrases, 3. (SCRIPTURE) the use of the Authorized Version, especially for the Epistles and Gospels, 4. (ADDITIONS) some new prayers and thanksgivings, especially for use at Sea and an order for the Baptism of Adults.
These alterations are about 6oo in number. Let us endeavour to summarize the more important under the four heads just mentioned.
Holy Communion. After the Creed the old rubric had merely ordered a Sermon or Homily, and then (after the Sermon) the curate was to give notice of Holy-days and Fasting-days, to exhort the people to remember the poor and to read one or more of the sentences. The rubrics which we now have were taken from the Scottish Liturgy of 1637, as was that after the sentences, ordering the priest to place the Bread and Wine on the Table.
The rubric before the Consecration ("When the Priest, standing before the Table, hath so ordered," etc.) was added, and also the direction for the Fraction and other Manual Acts, heretofore left to tradition. The very questionable rubric providing for a second consecration by the mere repetition of the Words of Institution was reinserted. The two rubrics were added ordering that what remains of the Sacrament after the Communion shall be covered with a linen veil, and afterwards reverently consumed.
The first part of the rubric "To the end that Confirmation,"
etc. was made into the Preface. The Catechism (with which the Order of
Confirmation had begun) was now printed separately; and in its stead was
inserted the Bishop's question — "Do ye here
A form was added for publishing Banns. The rubric after the Blessing "Then
shall begin the Communion," was omitted, and the concluding direction
that the new-married persons "must" receive the Communion was
altered. Visitation of the Sick. The words "Here shall the
sick person be moved to make a special Confession of his sins, if,"
etc., were substituted for "Here shall the sick person make a special
confession, if," etc.; and the words "if he humbly and heartily
desire it " were added. The rubrics also for the Communion were made
clearer. Burial. The rubric about the excommunicate, etc., was
added. Psalms 116 and 139 had been given in the First Book, but since
the Second Book there had been none: now Psalms 39 and 90 were given —
but the selection might have been better. The Lesson instead of being
said at the
The more important were: In Divine Service and in the Liturgy, "priest" was substituted for "minister
at the Absolution. In the Litany the words "rebellion" and "schism" were significantly added in the Deprecations ; and in the Intercessions, "Bishops, pastors, and ministers" was altered to "Bishops, Priests, and Deacons." In several places the word "congregation" was changed to "church." "Forsake" was well changed to "renounce" in the Baptismal Vow. In the Ordinal, Cosin's translation of the Veni Creator, "Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire," was added to the other, which, if it was originally by Cranmer, proves the truth of his confession that "mine English verses want the grace and facility that I could wish they had."
The service for the Baptism of Adults (a less successful effort) was added, as "The Preface" explains, owing to "the growth of Anabaptism," and also to the newly-felt. need of "the baptizing of natives in our plantations, and others converted to the faith." Here, then, we have the first sign of the revival of the missionary spirit — though mainly in the "plantations," that is the colonies — after a lapse of about six centuries, during which very little had been done. To all the Baptismal Services was added the Vow of Obedience, "Wilt thou then obediently keep," etc.; and thus they were brought into line with the Catechism.
To the Visitation of the Sick (which ought to have been more radically improved) the Commendation, "Unto God's gracious mercy," etc., was added; and also the four concluding Occasional Prayers; beautiful hut overweighted. The Forms of Prayer to be used at Sea were added : these too are overweighted, but are hardly beautiful.
The reader will have noticed that few concessions were made to the Puritans,
but that on the contrary many things distasteful to them were inserted.
in the most significant place of all, the Ordinal, this is specially apparent.
In the old form for the Consecration of a Bishop, "Take the Holy
Ghost, and remember that thou stir up," etc., were inserted the words
"for the Office and Work of a Bishop in the Church of God,"
so as to make it indisputably clear to the public that a Bishop's office
is other than that of a Presbyter. Similarly in the Ordering of Priests,
before the words "Whose sins," etc., was added "for the
Office and Work of a Priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee
by the Imposition of our hands." The old forms were perfectly good
and had ancient precedent; but the additions were made in order to avoid
It should be mentioned here that in 1662 two more State Services were drawn up by Convocation, those for King Charles the Martyr and for the Restoration, and were added to the Accession Service (Elizabeth's had been made in 1576, and Charles I's in 1626), and to that for Gunpowder Treason, which was altered. These State Services were then annexed to the Prayer Book by the sanction of the Crown and Convocation, and were subsequently enjoined by Royal Proclamation at the beginning of each reign. In 1859, on the petition of Convocation and Parliament, three were revoked, the Accession Service remaining. This last was revised in 1901 and again in 1910; and on June 23rd, 1910, the new form was ordered by Royal Proclamation to be annexed to the Book of Common Prayer and used yearly on the 6th of May. The fine Prayer for Unity was, till these last revisions, the latest composition within the covers of the Prayer Book, having been added at the accession of George I.
The State Services
of 1662 are largely modelled
This is magnificent, but it is not peace. Now, when we remember that these State Services (with additions in subsequent reigns) were cheerfully used throughout the country for nearly two centuries, we can understand the accompanying decline in the English Church. The Church of a party could not be the Church of a people; nor could a Church, which did nothing to supply in her Services the growing needs of succeeding ages, fail as time went on to alienate large sections of religious men.
Professor A. F. Pollard has recently written this verdict:— "While the State grew more comprehensive, the Church grew more exclusive. It was not that, after 1662, it seriously narrowed its formulas or doctrines; but it failed to enlarge them, and a larger proportion of Englishmen thus found themselves outside its pale." The Church could not indeed have reduced her Catholic heritage, for such negative action would have narrowed instead of enlarging her borders. But acts of comprehension would have been possible in many directions, had the authorities been alive to the need; and it is true that, beyond the alteration in 1865 of the form of clerical subscription to the Articles, almost nothing was done to meet the needs of the times during the two centuries and a half which have elapsed since the Restoration.
The reader may verify
the truth of this statement by testing it according to his own predilections.
The bareness of our churches has been the chief recruit Of
thing has saved the Church from far worse desertions — has enabled
her against heavy odds to emerge from the stagnation of the 1 8th century,
and has made the Evangelical and Catholic Revivals possible
the present day the Church is better equipped; and sooner or later there
will be a revision. The whole future of the English Church depends upon
whether that revision shall be not only skilful in its liturgical science
and noble in its art, but shall be also Christian in its charitable inclusiveness,
not fearing freedom because there is freedom in Dissent, nor beauty because
there is beauty in the rest of Christendom; so that the Church, no longer
encumbered by the armour of obsolete warfare, shall be simple in her teaching
as the Gospels are simple, and pure in heart as they are pure.
1661. Dec. 20th. Convocation adopts the Fifth English Prayer Book.
1662. May 19th. Act of Uniformity. Issue of Fifth English Prayer Book.
1689. (William III.) Attempted Revision of the Prayer Book.
1694. Isaac Watts begins writing his hymns.
1696. The "New Version" of Metrical Psalms (Tate and Brady), published with authorization of the King in Council.
1698. First Edition of The Supplement to the New Version.
1722. The Liturgy of 1637 revived in Scotland.
1737. John Wesley publishes first hymn-book for use in the English Church, at Charlestown, Georgia.
1760. Madan's Hymnal, followed by a few others.
1764. Scottish Liturgy, the received text.
1786. Bishop Seabury's Communion Service for his diocese of Connecticut.
1801-20. Forty-two new hymnals published.
1833. Ten new hymnals published this year.
1852. J. M. Neale's Hymnal Noted.
1861. Hymns Ancient and Modern.
1870. Bishop Bickersteth's Hymnal Companion.
1871. Church Hymns.
1871. The New Lectionary.
1877. The Irish Prayer Book.
1879. Attempted Revision, "The Convocation Prayer Book."
1906. The English Hymnal.
1901, 1910. Revisions of Accession Service.
1912. Scottish Prayer Book. Including the Scottish Liturgy, slightly revised, and many additions to and deviations from the English Prayer Book.
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