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part of our faith, and as necessary to be believed as the Sect. XV. former: but that being expressed in such plain terms as none, I suppose, scruple, I need not enlarge any farther.
$. 3. The reasons why this Creed is appointed to be Why said said upon those days specified in the rubric, are, because on those some of them are more proper for this Confession of Faith, cioned in which, being of all others the most express concerning the rubric, the Trinity, is for that reason appointed on Christmas-day, Epiphany, Easter-day, Ascension-day, Whit-Sunday, and Trinity-Sunday; which were all the days that were appointed for it by the first book of King Edward: but in his second book it was also enjoined on Saint Matthias, and some other Saints-days, that so it might be repeated once in every month.
Sect. XVI. Of the Versicles before the Lord's Prayer. The
congregation having now their consciences ab- The good solved from sin, their affections warmed with thanks- order and giving, their understandings enlightened by the word, our service. and their faith strengthened by a public profession ; enter solemnly in the next place upon the remaining part of divine worship, viz. Supplication and Prayer, that is, to ask those things which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul.
§. 2. But because they are not able to do this without Pr. The God's help; therefore the minister first blesses them with Lord be
with you. The Lord be with you ; which, it must be observed too, is a very proper salutation in this place, viz. after a public and solemn profession of their faith. For St. John forbids us to say to any heretic, God speed 7°; and the primitive Christians were never allowed to salute any that were excommunicated?'. But when the minister hath heard the whole congregation rehearse the Creed, and seen, by their standing up at it, a testimony of their assent to it; he can now salute them as brethren and members of the church. But because he is their representative and mouth to God, they return his salutation, immediately replying, And with Answ. And
with thy thy spirit : both which sentences are taken out of holy Scriptures, and together with that salutation, Peace be spirit. with you, (which was generally used by the Bishop, instead of The Lord be with you73,) have been of very early use in
Chap. III. the Church74, especially in the Eastern part of it, to which,
as an ancient council says7s, they were delivered down by the Apostles themselves : and it is observable that they always denoted (as here) a transition from one part of the
divine service to another. Pr. Let us
In the heathen sacrifices there was always one to pray.
cry, Hoc agite, or to bid them mind what they were about. And in alĩ the old Christian Liturgies the deacon was wont to call often upon the people, éxtevūs bentõusy, Let us pray earnestly; and then again, éxTevésepoy, more earnestly. And the same vehemence and earnest devotion does our Church call for in these words, Let us pray; warning us thereby to lay aside all wandering thoughts, and to attend to the great work we are about: for though the minister only speaks most of the words, yet our affections must go along with every petition, and sign them all at last
with an hearty Amen. Pr. Lord
§. 4. But being unclean like the lepers recorded by have mercy Saint Lukezó, before we come to address ourselves to
God, we begin to cry, Lord have mercy on us; lest, if we should unworthily call him Our Father, he upbraid us as he did the Jews, If I be a Father, where is mine honour77 ? And it is to be observed, that the Church hath such an awful reverence for the Lord's Prayer, that she seldom suffers it to be used without some preceding preparation. In the beginning of the Morning and Evening Service, we are prepared by the Confession of our Sins, and the Absolution of the Priest; and very commonly in other places by this short Litany: whereby we are taught first to bewail our unworthiness, and pray for mercy; and then with an humble boldness to look up to heaven, and call God Our Father, and beg farther blessings of him.
As to the original of this form, it is taken out of the Psalms78, where it is sometimes repeated twice together; to which the Christian Church hath added a third, viz. Christ have mercy upon us, that so it might be a short Litany or Supplication to every person in the blessed Tri. nity: we have offended each person, and are to pray to each, and therefore we beg help from them all.
It is of great antiquity both in the Eastern and Western churches; and an old council orders it to be used three
74 Chrys. in Coloss. 1 Hom. 3. tom. 4. p. 107. lin. 3, &c. Isid, Peleus. I. 1. Ep. 122. p. 44. A.
75 Concil. Bracar. 2. cap. 3. tom. V.
col. 740. B.
76 Luke xvii. 12, 13.
not to re
times a day in the public service79. And we are informed that Constantinople was delivered from an earthquake, by XVII. the people's going barefoot in procession, and using this short Litany 80.
N. B. The Clerk and People are here to take notice not The Clerk to repeat the last of these versicles, viz. Lord have mercy and People upon us, after the minister. In the end of the Litany indeed they ought to do it, because there they are directed have mercy to say all the three versicles distinctly after him; each of upon us them being repeated in the Common Prayer Book, viz. Minister
. first in a Roman Letter for the priest, and then in an Italic, which denotes the people's response. But in the daily Morning and Evening Service, in the office for Solemnization of Matrimony, in those for the Visitation of the Sick, for the Burial of the Dead, for the Churching of Women, and in the Commination, where these versicles are single, and only the second printed in an Italic character, there they are to be repeated alternately, and not by way of repetition: so that none but the second versicle, viz. Christ have mercy upon us, comes to the people's turn, the first and last belonging to the minister.
Sect. XVII. Of the Lord's Prayer. THE Minister, Clerk, and People, being prepared in the The Lord's manner that we have described above, are now again Prayer,why to say the Lord's Prayer, with a loud voice. For this con-repeated. secrates and makes way for all the rest, and is therefore now again repeated. By which repetition we have this farther advantage, that if we did not put up any petition of it with fervency enough before, we may make amends for it now, by asking that with a doubled earnestness.
§. 2. By the Clerks in this rubric (which was first in- Clerks, serted in the second book of King Edward) I
suppose were meant such persons as were appointed at the begin- by them. ning of the Reformation, to attend the Incumbent in his performance of the offices; and such as are still in some cathedral and collegiate churches, which have Lay-Clerks (as they are called, being not always ordained) to look out the Lessons, name the Anthem, set the Psalms, and the like $1of which sort I take our Parish Clerks to be, though we have now seldom more than one to a church.
79 Concil. Vasens. 2. Can. 3. tom. iv. col. 1680. C.
80 Paul. Diacon, l. 16. c. 24.
81 See the Clergyman's Vade Me. cuin, page 202, 203.
Sect. XVIII. Of the Versicles after the Lord's Prayer. The Versi- BEFORE the minister begins to pray alone for the peo
ple, they are to join with him (according to the primitive way of praying) in some short Versicles and Responsals taken chiefly out of the Psalms, and containing the sum of all the following Collects.
To the first, O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us,-and grant us thy salvation 82, answers the Sunday Collect, which generally contains petitions for mercy and salvation. To the second, O Lord, save the King,- and mercifully hear us when we call upon thee €3, answer the prayers for the King and Royal Family. To the third, Endue thy Ministers with righteousness, -and make thy chosen people joyful84 ; and the fourth, O Lord, save thy people,--and bless thine inheritances; answers the collect for the Clergy and People. To the fifth, Give peace in our time, O Lord, because there is none other that fighleth for us, but only thou, O God 86, answer the daily collects for Peace: and to the last, O God, make clean our hearts within us,- and take not thy holy
Spirit from us87, answer the daily collects for Grace. An objec.
$. 2. Against two of these versicles it is objected, that the Church enjoins us to pray to God to give peace in our time, for this odd reason, viz, because there is none other that fighteth for us but only God. But to this we answer, that the Church by these words does by no means imply, that the only reason of our desiring peace, is because we have none other to fight for us, save God alone; as if we could be well enough content to be engaged in war, had we any other to fight for us, besides God: but they are a more full declaration and acknowledgment of that forlorn condition we are in, who are not able to help ourselves, and who cannot depend upon man for help; which we confess and lay before Almighty God, to excite the greater compassion in his divine Majesty. And thus the Psalmist cries out to God, Be not far from me, for trouble is near;
for there is none to help 88. Why the
$. 3. The rubric which orders the priest to stand up to minister is say these versicles, (which was first added in 1552,) I imaat these vergine to have been founded upon the practice of the priests
in the Romish Church. For it is a custom there for the
82 Psalm lxxxv. 7.
83 Psalm xx. verse the last, according to the Greek translation.
84 Psalm cxxxii. 9.
85 Psalm xxviii. 9.
priest, at all the long prayers, to kneel before the altar, and mutter them over softly by himself: but whenever he comes to any versicles where the people are to make their responses, he rises up and turns himself to them, in order to be heard: which custom the compilers of our Liturgy might probably have in their eye, when they ordered the minister to stand up in this place.
Sect. XIX. Of the Collects and Prayers in general. BEFORE
we come to speak of each of the following The Prayers Prayers in particular, it may not be amiss to observe why dividone thing concerning them in general, viz. the reason many short why they are not carried on in one continued discourse, Collects. but divided into many short Collects, such as is that which our Lord himself composed. And that might be one reason why our Church so ordered it, viz. that so she might follow the example of our Lord, who best knew what kind of Prayers were fittest for us to use. And indeed we cannot but find, by our own experience, how difficult it is to keep our minds long intent upon any thing, much more upon so great things as the object and subject of our Prayers; and that, do what we can, we are still liable to wanderings and distractions: so that there is a kind of necessity to break off sometimes, that our thoughts, being respited for a while, may with more ease be fixed again, as it is necessary they should, so long as we are actually praying to the supreme Being of the world.
But besides, in order to the performing our devotions aright to the most high God, it is necessary that our souls should be possessed all along with due apprehensions of his greatness and glory. To which purpose our short prayers contribute very much. For every one of them beginning with some of the attributes or perfections of God, and so suggesting to us right apprehensions of him at first; it is easy to preserve them in our minds during the space of a short Prayer, which in a long one would be too apt to scatter and vanish
away. But one of the principal reasons why our public devotions are and should be divided into short Collects, is this: our blessed Saviour, we know, hath often told us, that whatsoever we ask the Father in his name, he will give it us 69; and so hath directed us in all our Prayers to make
89 John xiv. 13. and xvi. 24.