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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 havmig in their present Session, set forth A
1 Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments, 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.
27 Forms of Prayer to be used in Fami.
M is most invaluable part of that blessed liberty wherewith Christ hath made us
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. hath, in te 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 inchfferent 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 ar.d alterations should be made therein, as to those who are in places of authority should, from time to ume, 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 admitung variations in things once advisedly established, she hath, in the reign of several Princes, since the first compiling of her Liturgy in the time of Edward 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, yet so as that the main body and essential parts of the same (as well in the chiefest materials, 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 understanding, might most 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 cavi! or quarrel against her Liturgy" And although, according to her judgment, 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 conmon equity, onght 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 1689. 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 Liturky which became necessary in the Prayers for our Civil Rulers, in conse Quence 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 may lead quiet and peacenble lives, in all godliness and honesty
But while these siterations were in review before the Convention, they could not but, with gratitude to God, embrace the happy occasion which was offered to them (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. wents therein as might be deemed expedient,
It seems unnecessary to enumerate all the different alterations and amendments They will appear, and it is to be hoped, the reasons of them also, upou a compari son of this with the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England. In whic it will also appear, that this Church is far from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline, or worship : or further than local circumstances require.
And now, this important work being brought to a conclusion, it is hoped the whole will be received and examined by every true Member of our Church, and every sincere Christian, with a meek, candid, and charitable frame of mind, with out prejudice or prepossessions ; seriously considering what Christianity is, and what the truths of the Gospel are, and eamestly beseeching Almighty God to accompany with his blessing every endeavour for promulgating them to mankind in the clearest, plainest, most affecting and majestic manner, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour.
HOW THE PSALTER IS APPOINTED TO BE READ, T\HE Pealter shall be read through once every month, as it is there appointed, 1 both for Morning and Evening Prayer. But in February it shall be read only to the twenty-eighth or twenty-ninth Day of the Month
And whereas January, March, May, July, August, October, and December, have one-and-thirty Days a piece; it is ordered, that the same Psalms shall be read the last Day of the said Months which were read the Day before: so that the Psalter may begin again the first Day of the next Month ensuing
And whereas the 19th Psalm is divided to twenty-two Portions, and is overlong to be read at one time; it is so ordered, that at one time shall not be read above four or five of the said Portions.
The Munster, instead of reading from the Psalter as divided for Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, may read one of the Selections set out by this Church.
And, on Days of Fasting and Thanksgiving, appointed ei.her by the Civil or by the Ecclesiastical Authority, the Minister may appoint such Psalms as he shall think fit in his discretion, unless any shall have been appointed by the Ecclesiastinal Authority, in a Service set out for the Occasion: which, in that case, shal be used, and no other
PROPER PSALMS ON CERTAIN DAYS
Morning. Evening Christmas Day. Psalms 19 Psalms 89 | Easter-Day, Psalins 2 Psalms 113
103 Good Frday,
The Minuter may use one of the Selections instead of any one of the above Portions
THE ORDER HOW THE REST OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURE IS APPOINTED TO
BE READ. THE Old Testament is appointed for the First Lessons at Moming and Evening
1 Prayer; so that the most Part thereof will be read every Year once, as in the Calendar is appointed
The New Testarnent is appointed for the Second Lessons at Morning and Evening Prayer.
And to know what Lessons shall be read every Day, look for the Day of the Month In the Calendar following, and there ye shall find the Chapters that shall be read for the Lessons, both at Morning and Evening Prayer ; except only the Moveable Feasts, which are not in the Calendar; and the Immoveable, where there is a Blank left in the Column of Lessons; the proper Lessons for all which Days are to be found in the Table of Proper Lessons.
And, on Days of Fasting and Thanksgiving, the same Rule is to obtain as in reading the Psalms.
And the same discretion of choice is allowed on occasions of Ecclesiastical Con. ventions, and those of Charitable Collections. And Note, That whensoever Proper Psalms or Lessons are appointed, then the
Psalms and Lessons of ordinary course appointed in the Psaler and Calendar. if they be different, shall be omitted for that Time Note algo. That the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel, appointed for the Sunday, shall
crve all the Week aller, where it is not in this Book otherwise ordered.