The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments, and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, According to the Use of the Church of England; Together With the Psalter or Psalms of David, Pointed as They Are to Be Sung or Said in Churches; And the Form and Manner Of

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Fb&c Limited, 2015 M06 25 - 775 pages
Excerpt from The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments, and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, According to the Use of the Church of England; Together With the Psalter or Psalms of David, Pointed as They Are to Be Sung or Said in Churches; And the Form and Manner Of

The English Prayer Book embodies, in tangible form, the chief principles of the English Reformation. It was no new book, drawn up by the religious leaders of the 16th century, but was mainly a reformed republication of those old Services, which had grown up through nearly a thousand years of English Christianity, being themselves developments of the Liturgies of an even remoter antiquity. So far it exemplified the famous Declaration (in the Act against suing for dispensations at Rome, a.d. 1538), that the English Church and nation in the Reformation "intended not to decline or vary from the Congregation of Christ's Church, in things concerning the Catholic faith of Christendom, or declared by Holy Scripture and the Word of God necessary to salvation." But, at the same time, it was the assertion of a right to remodel and reform, to add to and to take from, those old Services, so as to adapt them to the needs of the English people, and to the growth of spiritual knowledge and liberty; and in this respect it implied that claim of national religious independence - under the supreme authority of God's Word, and appeal to a General Council of the Church freely chosen - which was a distinct defiance of the Papal authority, and thus a resolute, though independent, adhesion to the Reformation movement.

I. Materials and History. - The materials from which it was compiled were large and various. There were, first, the Latin Service Books; which may be, generally speaking, reduced to three, (a) the Breviary, containing, besides the Calendar and Rubrical directions, the Psalms, Hymns, Antiphons, Collects, Lections, &c., to be said at the several hours of prayer, whether on ordinary days or days of special observance. (b) The Missal, containing its own Calendar, Rubrics, and elaborate ritual directions, and the regular Order of the Holy Communion Service, or "Mass," with the variable Introits, Collects, Epistles, Gospels, &c., for various seasons of the Ecclesiastical year, (c) The Manual, containing the Baptismal Service, and other "Occasional Services." To these may be added the Pontifical, containing the Ordination Service, and other Services, which could be performed only by a Bishop. These Service-Books were voluminous and intricate, each (except the Manual) longer Chan our whole Prayer Book.

Of these various Latin Service Books there were extant several forms or Uses. St. Augustine, on his mission to England, found various Services already existing in the ancient British Church, not improbably framed on the Gallican model, which has strong affinities with the Eastern Liturgies, and differing considerably from the authorized Roman form of his time.

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