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New York, Sept. 4, 1823. I
Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments, &c. (having been compared with a standard book, and corrected by the same) is permitted to be published as an Edition duly compared and corrected by a suitable Person appointed for that purpose, as the Canon directs.
JOHN HENRY HOBART, Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church
in the State of New-York.
BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.
By the Bishops, the Clergy, and the Laity of the Protestant Episcopal 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 cighty-nine. THIS Convention havmg in their present Session, set forth A
, 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 shall be in use from and after the first Day of October, in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
4 The Order how the rest of the Holy firmed by the Bishop
Scripture is appointed to be read. 18 The Order of Confirmation, or Laying
to be Morning and Evening tized, and come to Years of Discre.
19 The Form of Solemnization of Matri.
two final Prayers of Morning and 25 A Form of Prayer for the Visitation
27 Forms of Prayer to be used in Fami-
free, that in his worship, different forms and usages may without offence be allowed, provided the substance of the faith be kept entire, and that, in every church, what cannot be clearly determined to belong to Doctrine must be referred to Discipline; and therefore, by common consent and authority, may be altered, abridged. enlarged, amended, or otherwise disposed of, as may seem most conve. nient 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 long continuance of nursing care and protection, rath, in the Preface of her Book of Common Prayer, haid 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 na. ture indifferent and alterable, and so acknowledged, it is but reasonable that, upon weighty and important considerations, accurling to the various exigencies of times and occasions, such changes ard alterations should be made therein, as to those who are in places of authoritv should. from time to u me, seem either necessary or experient.
The same Church hath not only in her Preface, but likewise in her Articles and Homilies, declared the necessity and expediency of xccasional alterations and amendments in her forms of Public Worship, and we find accordingly. that, seeking to " keep the happy mean between too much stiffness in refusing, and too much easi. Dess in admitting variations in things once advisedly established, she hath, in the reign of severa! Princes, since the first compiling of her Liturgy in the time of Ed. ward the Sixth, upon just and weighty considerations her thereunto moving, yielded to make such alterations in some parti ulars, as in their respective times were thought convenient, vel so as that the main body and essential parts of the same (as well in the chiefest naterials, as in the frame and order thereof) have still been con. tinued firm and unshaken
Her general aim in these different Reviews and Alterations hath been, as she further declares in her said Preface. " to do that which, according to her best un. derstanding, might must tend to the preservation of peace and unity in the Church : the procuring of reverence, and the exciting of piety ard devotion in the worship of God'; and, finally, the cutting off occasion, from them that seek occasion, of cavil er quarrel against her Liturgy And although, according to her jurigment, there be not any thing in it contrary to the Word of God, or to sound doctrine, or which a godly man may not with a good conscience use and submit unto, or which is not fairly defensible, if allowed such just and favourable construction, as, in conta mon equity, ought to be allowed to all human writings;" yet upon the principles already laid down, it cannot but be supposed, that further alteration would in time be found expedient Accordingly, a commission for a review was issued in the year 1649: But this great and good work miscarried at that time, and the Civil Authority has not since thought proper to revive it by any new Commission
But when in the course of Divine Providence, these American States became inde. pendent with respect to Civil Government, their Ecclesiastical Independence was necessarily included; and the different religious denominations of Christians in these States were left at full and equal liberty to model and organize their respective Churches, and forms of worship, and discipline, in such manner as they mighi 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 for our Civil Rulers, in conseguence of the Revolution
And the principal 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 " mav lead quiet and peaceable lives, in ell godliness 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 then (uninfluenced and unrestrained by any worldly authority whatsoever) to take a fur. ther review of the Public Service, and to establish such other alterations and amend. ments therein as might be deemed expedient.