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prayer not having his name in it, must, by this injunction, be superseded; they answer, that to pray in Christ's name is to pray in a dependence on his merits and intercession, and consequently, that prayers may be offered through him, though he be not named. That our only title to call God our Father is, through the mediation of his Son, and therefore that address is certainly, though indirectly, in the name of Christ. It is objected again, by the advocates of extempore prayer, that we have no authority from scripture to affirm, that after the day of Pentecost our Saviour's Apostles ever used the Lord's Pray. er as a form. To this argument they answer, that the silence of the Scripture might as well be brought as an argument to prove that the Apostles did not baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, since the commandments by which the use of them is enjoined, are equally strict. They who argue for extempore prayer object, that if our Lord had intended this prayer to be used as a set form, he would not have added the doxology, when he delivered it at one time, as it is recorded in St. Matthew, and have omitted it when he delivered it upon another occasion, as in St. Luke. To this the friends of liturgical forms of prayer reply, that the objection concludes with as much force against the use of the Lord's Prayer as a directory, as against the use of it as an established form ; and that from the circumstance of its being given with the doxology, in one of the Evangelists, and without it, in another, nothing more cap be inferred, than that it may be used at different times, as a form, with the same variations.
They also have many testimonies from the Christian Fathers, which they adduce to prove, that in those early days of the Church, it was not only nniversally used as a
form of prayer, but acknowledged by the Church as an institution of Christ, and as universally obligatory. Such is the testimony of Tertullian, St. Syril of Jerusalem, St. Chrysostom, St. Austin, and of many others. The ad vocates of extempore prayers observe, that as we possess the Scriptures, the Church, in our times, is just as competent to judge on this subject as any of the Christian Fathers.
The advocates for set forms of prayer contend, that in the fourth chapter of the Acts, from the twenty fourth to the thirty first verse, we have evidently a form of prayer, used by the whole Church. When Peter and John reported to them the threats of the council, the sacred Historian records—“ When they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, &c." They observe that ouabuzdor, with one accord, evidently signifies altogether--that the whole Church together lifted up their voice. Now, say they, you must either suppose that the whole congregation were at that moment inspired, not only with the same sentiments, but with the same words, or you must allow that this prayer was a precomposed form, suited to the state of persecution in which the Church at that time was. The answer commonly given to this argument is, that it is possible that this prayer might be offered up by one, in the name of the whole Church, who mentally joined with him, though not in an audible manner.
They who consider fixed forms as the most proper manner of public prayer, argue that, upon the supposition that extempore prayers had been in use in the Apostolical Churches, it is impossible to account for a change so great, so sudden, and so universal, having taken place, within so short a period after the age of the Apos.
tles. Within about a century and a half after the Apostolical age, it is certain, say they, that the use of liturgies was common, if not universal, in all Christian Churches. Now, if the mode of worship was changed from extempore to liturgical prayers, in the short intervening period, from the death of the Apostles, to about the middle of the second century, how came it to pass that so remarkable an innovation was introduced into the worship of God, without a single vestige being left in the records of antiquity, of such a change having ever been effected ? Had such a change ever taken place, (many, unquestionably, would have opposed it, say they) it must have occasioned many disputes, and, in all probability, a division in the Church. The innovators could easily have been convicted of altering the form of Christian worship, and even the proposal of such alteration must have excited many jealousies, and much alarm. They observe, that the same mode of reasoning is generally used, and with much success, by Pædo-Baptists, to prove that infant baptism must have been practised by the Apostolical Churches, because, had it been an innovation it must have been attended, at its first introduction, with such disputes and divisions, that some traces of them must have found their way down to modern times. It must be confessed this is a strong presumptive argument, to which we do not remember of having seen a satisfactory answer given.
The existence of liturgies in the early progress of the Christian Church, ascribed to St. Peter, St. Mark, and St. James, the friends of liturgical worship consider, as another strong argument to prove that forms of prayer were used in the Apostolical Churches. They allow that these forms of prayer have been corrupted, by later
times, but the circumstance of that of St. James having had great authority in the Church of Jerusalem, in St. Cyril's time, who wrote a comment upon it, still extant, they think a thing of very considerable weight, to prove the existence of liturgies in the Apostolical Churches.* The friends of extempore prayers consider the existence of the fabulous and fictitious gospels, and epistles which were early circulated as the compositions of the Apostles, as a fact which takes off the whole force of this argument.
THE ORIGINAL BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER,
AND THE ALTERATIONS MADE IN IT.
PRIOR to the Reformation, the Liturgy consisted partly of a collection of some ancient forms of prayer, which had been used in the second and third centuries of the Christian Era, and partly of those forms which had arisen out of the superstitions which, for a series of ages, had gradually crept into the Western Church. To the common people, the former were entirely useless, as the prayers were offered in Latin, a language unknown to those who had not the benefit of a learned education. In the Church of Rome it has been, and it still continues to be, a maxim, “ that ignorance is the parent of devotion,” consequently, that religion is not a reasonable service, and that
See, on this subject, Mr. Wheatly's Introductory Discourse to his Rational Illustration of the Book of Common Prayer, of the Church of England.
a man prays with most sincerity, when he knows not for what he prays. One would have thought that the absurdity of a man's saying Amen to supplications, with the nature of which he was completely unacquainted, and which, for any thing he knew, might have been invocations of the Divine vengeance on his own head, would have forcibly struck every reflecting mind. But in those unhappy times, when the scriptures were deposited in cloisters, to be the food of worms; the minds of men, as the body of Gulliver was by the Liliputians, were pinioned to the earth, by an innumerable quantity of almost invisible ligaments, which, though individually small, were yet collectively able to chain their faculties. The fact is worthy of our attention, that to this day the votaries of the Church of Rome continue bound with the same fetters, and offer up their prayers in a language they do not generally understand. Many of their forms of prayer were not only useless, but mischievous; as the superstitious acts with which they were mingled, the invocation of saints, and the adoration of the host and of images, involved the worshippers in the crime of idolatry.
In the reign of Henry the Eighth, though a breach had taken place between him and the Pope, little was done to correct the cumbrous system of superstition and folly. Provision was indeed made against continuing the absurdity of religious services in an unknown language. The prayers for the processions and the litanies were translated into English, and brought into public use.—In the first year of Edward the Sixth, the Convocation declared their opinion, that the Communion ought to be administered to all persons, in both kinds. In consequence of this, by an act of Parliament it was appointed to be so administered ; and a Committee of Bishops and other learned