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RATIFICATION OF THE 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 eighty-nine.
This Convention having, in And require that it be received as their present session, set forth A such by all the members of the Book of Common Prayer, and Ad- same: And this Book shall be in ministration of the Sacraments, and use from and after the First day other Rites and Ceremonies of the of October, in the Year of our Church, do hereby establish the Lord one thousand seven hundred said Book: And they declare it to and ninety. be the Liturgy of this Church :1
It has a blessed liberty wherewith is a moct invaluable part of | stiffness in refusing, and too much
easiness in admitting variations CHRISThath made us free, that in in things once advisedly establishhis worship, different forms and ed, she hath, in the reign of seveusages may without offence be ral Princes, since the first comallowed, provided the substance piling of her Liturgy in the time of the Faith be kept entire; and of Edward the Sixth, upon just that, in every Church, what can and weighty considerations her not be clearly determined to be thereunto moving, yielded to long to Doctrine, must be referred make such alterations in some to Discipline; and therefore, by particulars, as in their respective common consent and authority, times were thought convenient; may be altered, abridged, en yet so as that the main body and larged, amended, or otherwise essential parts of the same (as disposed of, as may seem most well in the chiefest materials, as convenient for the edification of in the frame and order thereof) the people, “according to the have still been continued firmi various exigencies of tiines and and unshaken.". occasions.
Her general aim in these difThe Church of England, to ferent review and alterations which the Protestant Episcopal hath been, as she further declares Church in these states is indebt in her said Preface, "to do that ed, under God, for her first foun which, according to her best undation and a long continuance of derstanding, might most tend to nursing care and protection, hath, the preservation of peace and in the Preface of her Book of unity in the Church; the proCommon Prayer, laid it down as a curing of reverence, and the ex-. rule, that “The particular forms citing of piety and devotion in of Divine Worship, and the Rites the worship of God; and, finally, and Ceremonies appointed to be the cutting off occasion, from used therein, being things in their them that seek occasion, of cavil own nature indifferent and alter or quarrel against her Liturgy." able, and so acknowledged, it is And although, according to her but reasonable that upon weighty judgment, there be not "any and important considerations, ac- thing in it contrary to the Word cording to the various exigencies of God, or to sound doctrine, or of times and occasions, such which a godly man may not with changes and alterations should a good conscience use and submit be made therein, as to those who unto, or which is not fairly deare in places of authority should, fensible, if allowed such just and from time to time, seem either favourable construction as in necessary or expedient."
common equity ought to be alThe same Church hath not only lowed to all human writings ;" in her Preface, but likewise in her yet upon the principles already Articles and Homilies, declared laid down, it cannot but be supthe necessity and expediency of posed that further alterations occasional alterations and amend would in time be found expedient. ments in her forms of Public Accordingly, a commission for a Worship; and we find accord review was issued in the year ingiy, that, seeking to keep the 1689: but this great and good happy mean between too much work miscarried at that tine;