« הקודםהמשך »
they were found in that Book, but because they were agreeable to the Scriptures, and are to be found in those Antient Liturgies, which were framed by the Fathers of the Primitive Church, before Popery appeared in the World. It was not the Design, neither ought to have been of those good Fore-fathers of ours, who rescued us from Popery, to introduce a Nero Religion, but only to reform the old one.
Their Business was not to root up the Foundation, but to destroy that Superstition ard Idolatry which the Church of Rome had brought in amongst us. Whatsoever was plainly Ellential, either to the Being or Wellbeing of Christianity, and eyidently appeared to be Established by Christ and his Apostles, was not to be rejected, because the Church of Rome maintained it, but to be preserved as the Institution of Jesus Christ, whose Disciples we profess our felves to be; and if we reject bis Institutions we can be no longer Chriftians. Among ft these Ejentials there are two unanimously cast off by 'our Diflenters, for no other Reason that I know of, than because they are retained by the Church of Rome, which are Episcopacy and Liturgy: Though for the same Reason, and by Virtue of the same Argument, they might as well cast off the Scriptures themselves, nay th very Faith of Christ, and Belief in the Holy Trinity ; ( which fome Diflenters have also done ) because they are still retained in the Church of Rome.
As to Episcopacy, it being Foreign to the Design of this Treatise, I shall not at this time trouble you with the Proof of its Divine Authority and Institution ; But shall only observe, that it has been demonstrated by many excellent Authors, to have been inflituted by Christ and his Holy Apoftles; and that this has been done so very evidently and clearly, that the most learned of our Adversaries have been forced to acknowledge
As to Liturgy, that is, a prescribed Form of Prayer, to be used in our Solemn Allemblies for Divine Worship; it is certain, the Church of God was never without one, either under tbe Law or the Gospel: The many Forms of Prayer and Praises, of Confession, Deprecation and Intercession, which are to be found not
only in the Book of Pfalms, which is altogether
made up of such Forms, but which are also scattered here and there throughout most of the Books, both of the old and new Testament, are a full Evidence of the Divine Insitution of such Forms.
The many places which this judicious Author has s referred to in the following Treatife, have, I
think, cleared this Point beyond Dispute. And the many learned Gentlemen who have wrote Paraphrases, or Rationales, or Explanations on our Book of Common-Prayer, have not only proved the Lawfulness but Expediency, yea, Necessity of set Forms for publick Worship, mhole
. I shall not here repeat, but desire those who require further Satisfaction to consult the Author's themselves. All ! hall therefore add on this. Occasion is, that I conceive nothing can be a plainer Evidence for the Neces, fory of Jet. Formgs of Prayer in publick Worship, than our Saviours oron Words. Matthew XVIII, 19, 20. I say unto you, that if two of you fhall agree on Earth, as-touching any thing that they shall ask, it hall be done for them of my Father which is in Heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them. Now, how can two or three, that is a Congregation of Christians agree together, in what. they hall ask, except they ask in a set Form, which they are all acquainted with, before the Prayer is offered, that so all may know what Petitions are to be made? Can those be said to be agreed concerning that they shall ask, when but one of the Company knapos robat he intends to asks Yet this is the case of those who meet together, to hear an Extempore. Prayer, which not one of them knows one Petition of before-band, except. 'the Speaker himself, if he does.
if therefore Set Forms of Prayer are necessary for publick Worlaipsas I think it is evident bém. yond all Dispute that they are, what set Førm can be better than that which is taken from the Hply
. Scriptures, in whicle there is not one Petition but
what the Holy Ghost himself has particularly warranted us to make? This Judicions Gentle man having proved this with relation to our Liturgy, will I hope be a great means to bring those well-meaning Persons who are yet prejudi ced against it, not only to approve of it, but to be heartily Zealous for it. That so all, in these Realnas aë least, who profess themselves to be Chriftians, may agree on Earth, fouching that they fall ask, that the Petitions we here inanimously make, may be granted by our Father which is in Heaven, and bring down the choice of his Blessings on us and our Pofterity:
The Compilers of the Common-pray,
er book of the Church of England,
Dr. Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury,
*Mense Maij 1549. Anno Regni Edwardi sexti tertio Cap. t. The Book of Common-prayer, &c. which at this time by the aid of the Holy Ghost, with one uniform Agreement, is of them concluded and set forth, &c.