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circumstance is to be observed, namely, its being repeated by the minister and people conjointly, both. here and wheresoever else it is used in divine service. It forms here part of the confessional office. The Church considers no. office complete without it.
Some people, accounting for its frequent recurrence in our service, tell us that the different
portions of our Liturgy were formerly said at different times of the day; and that, therefore, in the beginning, there was no repetition of the Lord's Prayer at any one time when the congregation was assembled. I have ever thought this a very poor answer to a very silly objection to the Liturgy; for if it be improper that the congregation should join more than once in the Lord's Prayer at any one time of meeting together, it had been incumbent on the compilers of the Book of Common Prayer to have struck it out wherever found after the first recital.But I have already said, the Church considers no office complete without it. Here it forms a part of the confessional office; we meet with it again after the Creed, preceding the ordinary course of our daily prayers ; on the days when the Litany is ordered to be read, there we find it again; in the Communion Service it is twice read; once in the opening of that sublime composition, and once in the post-communion, immediately after the reception of the emblems of Christ's blessed body and blood: the preacher repeats it as a main part of his prayer before the Sermon ; and it is met with in the Baptismal Service; the Order of Confirmation; of Marriage; the Visitation of the Sick; the Burial of the Dead; and, in a word, in all the various prescribed forms of prayer to be met with
throughout the Liturgy. Our Saviour, in the text, said, “ When ye pray, say, Our Father, which art in heaven.”—Whether we confess our sins, therefore, and pray for pardon ; whether we pray for the necessary supplies of sustenance, or of grace; whether our prayers assume
an eucharistical form; whether we are about to listen to the preaching of God's Word; whether any be ingrafted by baptism into the body of Christ's Church, or in whatsoever holy ordinance we approach, through Jesus Christ, the throne of merciful Omnipotence; “ when” soever “ we pray,” we“ say,” as we are taught, as we are commanded, “ Our Father, which art in heaven.” Here is, it is true, a repetition of one prayer, but it is the LORD's, PRAYER. Here is, it is true, a repetition, bųt it is not what our Lord warned his disciples against, when he said,
" Use not
vain repetitions, as the heathen do;"-a specimen of which, and I know not any more pregnant, you perhaps recollect in the eighteenth chapter of the First Book of Kings, where the opposers of the prophet Elijah, the opposers of the God of Elijah, called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, and from noon to the time of offering the evening sacrifice, saying, “O Baal, hear us." There is, it is true, in the Liturgy, a repetition of the Lord's Prayer; but it is not such vain repetition as the Papists use, who utter Pater-noster after Pater-noster, five, or ten, or twenty times successively, as if there were a magical charm in the very words,
they were to be heard for their much speaking.”—No; we repeat the Lord's Prayer, but we repeat it with judgment, on specific occasions; and whosoever keeps in his mind a distinct recollection of the
various offices, as they arise, and are concluded in our daily service, will see the reason for its recurrence; and will see that rationally, not superstitiously, -to perfect his "prayers, and not in vain and to no purpose, he repeats it as often as it comes.
The primitive Christians used this prayer in all their various offices, nearly as we use it at this day; their encomiums upon it are conceived in the warmest style : and surely the injunction of our Lord in the text, the practice of the first Christians, and their merited commendation of it, sufficiently warrant the manner in which it is inserted in the Book of Common Prayer, notwithstanding the absurd way in which the Papists are wont to repeat it.*
It is not difficult to point out the source of the exceptions which some people take at the repetition of the Lord's Prayer in