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THŁ RATIFICATION OF THE BOOK OP

COMMON PRAYER.

By the Bishops, the Clergy, and the Laity of the Protestant Epis copal Church in the United States of America, in Convention, this 16th Day of October, in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine. NHIS Convention, having in their present Session set forth

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ments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, do hereby establish the said Book: And they declare it to be the Liturgy of this Church: and require, that it be received as such by all the Members of the same: And this Book shal. be in Use from and after the first Day of October, in the Year of our Lord on thousand seven hundred and ninety.

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PREFACE.

IT is a most invaluable part of that blessed liberly wherewith Christ

hath made us free, that in his worship, different forms and usages ray without offence be allowed, provided the substance of the faith me kept entire; and that, in every Church, what cannot be clearly determined to belong to doctrine, must be referred to Discipline; and iherefore, by common consent and authority, may be altered, abridged, enlarged, amended, or otherwise

disposed of, as may seem most eonvenient for the edification of the people, "according to the various

exigencies of times and occasions."

The Church of England, to which the Protestant Episcopal Church in these States is indebted, under GOD, for her first foundation and a loug continuance of nursing care and protection, hath, in the Presace of her Book of Common Prayer, laid it down as a Rule, that “The Particular Forms of Divine Worship, and the Rites and Ceremonies appointed to be used therein, being things in their own nature indirferent and alterable, and so acknowledged, it is but reasonable turat, upon weighty and important considerations, according to the various exigencies of times and occasions, such changes and alierations should

be inade therein, as to those who are in places of authority should, m = fronr time to time, seem either necessary or expedient."

The same Church hath not only in her Preface, but likewise in her Articles and Homilies, declared the necessity and expediency of occasional alterations and amendments in her Forms of Public Worship; and we find accordingly, that, seeking to “keep the happy mean be {ween too much stiffness in refusing, and too much easiness in admit. ting variations in things once advisedly established, she hath, in the reign of several Princes, since the first compiling of her Liturgy in the time of Edward the Sixth, upon just and weighty considerations her thereunto moving, yielded to make such alterations in some particulars, es in their respective times were thought convenient; yet so as that the main body and essential parts of the same (as well in the chiefest ma. terials, as in the frame and order thereof) have still been continued Grm and unshaken."

Her general aim in these different Reviews and alterations hatlı been, as she further declares in her said Presace, “to do that which according to her best understanding, might most tend to the preserva tion of peace and unity in the Church; the procuring of reverence, and the exciting of piety and devotion in the worship of God; and, finally, the cutting off occasion, from them that seek occasion, of cavil or quarrel against her Liturgy.”. And although, according to her judgment, there be not "any thing in it contrary to the Word of God, or to sound doctrine, or which a godly mar may not with a good conscience use and submit unto, or which is not fairly desensible, if alloired such just and favourable constructior, as, in common equity ought o be allowed to all human writings;" yet upon the princ.ples already laid down, it cannot but be supposed, that further alteration would in lime be found expedients Accordingly a commission for a review was issued in the year 1689: But this great and good work miscarried at

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that time; and the Civil Authority has not since thought proper to ro vive it by any new Commission.

But when in the course of Divine Providence, these American States became independent with respeet to Civil Government, their Ecclesiastical Independence was necessarily included ; and the different religious denominations of Christians in these States were lest at full and equal liberty tu model and organize their respective Churches, and forms of worship, and discipline, in such manner as they might judge most convenient for their future prosperity; consistently with the Constitution and Laws of their Country.

The attention of this Church was, in the first place, drawn to those alterations in the Liturgy which became necessary in the Prayers fo. our Civil Rulers, in consequence of the Revolution. And the princi. pal care herein was to make them conformable to what ought to be the proper end of all such prayers, namely, that “Rulers may have grace, wisdom, and understanding to execute justice, and to maintain truth;' and that the People “may lead ouiet and peaceable lives, in all god. liness and honesty.".

But while these alterations were in review before the CONVENTION, they could not but, with gratitude to God, embrace the happy occasion which was offered to them (uninfluenced and unrestrained by any worldly authority whatsoever) to take a further review of the Public Service, and to establish such other alterations and amendments there in as might be deemed expedient.

It seems unnecessary to enumerate all the different alterations and amendments. They will appear, and it is to be hoped, the reasons of them also, upon a comparison of this, with the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England. In which it will also appear, that this Church is far from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline, or worship ; or further than local circumstances require.

And aow, this important work being brought to a conclusion, it is hoped the whole will be received and examined by every true Member of our Church, andı every sincero Christian, with a meek, candid, and charitable frame of mind; without prejudice or prepossessions ; seriously considering what Christianity is, and what the iruths of the Gospel are; and earnestly beseeching Almighty God to accompany with his blessing every endeavour for promulgating them to mankind in the clearest, plainést, most affecting and majestic manner, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour.

THE

ton THE Psalter shall be read through once every Month, as it is there appointed,

both for Morning and Evening Prayer. But in l'ebruary it shall be read rices only to the twenty-eighth op twenty-ninth Day of the Month.

And whereas January, March, May, July, August, October, and December, Hei

have one-and-thirty Days a-piece; it is ordered; tñat the same 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 whereas the 119th Psalm is divided into twenty-two Portions, and is

over-long to be read at one time; it is so ordered, that at one time shall not be iu read above four or five of the said Portions.

The Minister, instead of reading from the Psalter, as divided for Daily Morn rat ing and Evemng Prayer, nay read one of the Selections set out by this Church. lo.

And on Days of Fasting and Thanksgiving, appointed either by the Civil or

by the Ecclesiastical Authority, the Minister may appoint such Psalms as he shall het think fit in his discretion, unless any shall have been appointed by the Ecclesiasti 1. cal Authority, in a Service set out for the Occasion; which, in that case, shall

de used, and no other.

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The Minister may use one of the Selections, instead of any one of the above Portions.

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The ORDER how the rest of the HOLY SCRIPTURE is

appointed to be read.

4 THE Old

Testament is appointed for the First Lessons a: Morning and Evening Prayer; so that the inost Part thereof will be read every Year onleo, is in the Calendar is appointed. The New Testainent is appointed for the Second Lessons at Morning aua Evening Prayer.

And to know what Lessons shall be read every Day, look for the Day of the Vonth in the Caiendar following, and there ye shall find the chapters that shall be read for the Lessons, both at Morning and Evening Prayer; except only the Moveable Feasts, which are not in the Calendar; and the Immoveable, where there is a Blank left in the Column of Lessons; the proper Lessons for all which Days are to be found in the table of Proper Lessons.

And, on Days of Fasting and Thanksgiving, the same Rule is to obtain as in reading the Psalms.

And the same discretion of choice is allowed on occasions of Ecclesiastical Conventions, and those of Charitable Collections. And Note, That whonsoever Proper Psalms or Lessons are appointed, then the

Psalms and Lessons cf ordinary course appointed in the Psaher and Calendar, if they be different, shall be oruitted for that Time. Wele ulso, That the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel, appointed for the Sunday, what?

Serve all the Week after where it is not in this Book otherwise ordered.

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