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Boston, Nov. 11, 1811.
ALEXANDER V. GRISWOLD,
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
26. A form of Prayer and Thanksgiving to Aimighty God, for the
BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER,
By the BISHOPS, the CLERGY, and the LAITY of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of Ameri ca, in CONVENTION, this Sixteenth Day of October, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty
This Convention, having in their present Session, set forth A 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.
Ir is a 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 convenient 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 the preface of her Book of Common Prayer, laid 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 nature indifferent and alterabie, and so acknowledged, it is but reasonable that, upon weighty and important considerations, according to the various exigencies of times and occasions, such changes and alterations should be made therein, as to those who are in places of authority, should, from time to time, seem either necessary or expedient.”
The same church hath not only in her preface, but likewise in her Articles and Homilies, declared the necessity and expediency of occa. sional alterations and amendments in her forms of publick worship; and we find accordingly that, seeking to "keep the happy mean be tween too much stiffness in refusing and too much easiness in admitting 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 particulars, 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 continued firm and unshaken."
Her general aim in these different reviews and alterations hath been, as she farther 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 and devotion in the worship of God; and, finally, the cutting off occasion, from them that seek occasion, of cavil or quarrel against her Liturgy." And although, according to her judgement, there be not 66 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 common equity, ought to be allowed