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twelve presbyterian divines to make such reasonable and neces: sary alterations as they might jointly agree upon. In a word, the whole Liturgy was then brought to the state it now stands, and was unanimously subscribed to by both houses of Convocation, on Friday, December 20, 1661 ; and being brought to the House of Lords the March following, both Houses very readily passed an Act for its establishment, when the thanks of the lords were ordered to the bishops and clergy, for the great care and industry shown in the review of it.
The Creed, commonly called “ the Apostles' Creed,” forms an essential part of the doctrines of the English Church, and from its great antiquity, is of high authority. It is asserted that the genuineness of this creed may be proved from the unanimous testimony of antiquity, in the writings of the fathers. Clemens Romanus, in his epistle (A. D. 65), saith, “ that the apostles having received the gift of tongues, while they were together, by joint consent composed that creed, which the church of the faithful now holds.” This matter is largely set down by Ruffinus, in his preface to the exposition of the creed, and affirmed, not only by him, but a cloud of unexceptionable witnesses, whose words are too long to insert, and their names too many to mention. Irenæus, Origen, Tertullian, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, Ruffinus, and many other orthodox fathers, whose testimonies will show, that this creed was composed by the apostles themselves, and has been received as such by the most learned and judicious Christians, from the first planting of the Christian faith down to the present time. In a word, the ancients quote the creed as well as scripture to confute heresies, and seem to have given it the same honour, because it is indeed the same thing ; called therefore the compendium of the gospel, and the epitome of holy writ.*
St. Augustine, writing on the creed, has the following remark, ós Say your creed daily, morning and evening to God. Say not, I said it yesterday, I have said it to-day already ; say it again ; say it every day ; guard yourselves with your faith : and if the adversary assault you, let the redeemed know, that he ought to meet him with the banner of the cross and the shield of faith.”
When the worshippers in the Church of England come to the second article in this creed, in which the name of Jesus is mentioned, they make obeisance, which the church (in regard to that passage of St. Paul, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bowe-Phil. ii. 10) expressly enjoins in her eighteenth canon ; ordering, “ that when in time of divine service the Lord Jesus shall be mentioned, due and lowly reverence shall be done by all persons present ; testifying by these outward gestures their inward humility, Christian resolution, and due ac. knowledgment, that the Lord Jesus Christ, the true eternal Son
* Many able writers do not admit the Creed to be so ancient as the Apostolic age, though they believe it to have been composed soon after,
of God, is the only Saviour of the world ; in whom alone all the mercies, grace, and promises of God to mankind, for this life and the life to come, are fully and wholly comprised.” Again, according to the Rubric it is to be repeated standing, to signify our resolution to stand up boldly in the defence of it. As in Poland and Lithuania, it is said, the nobles used formerly to draw their swords, in token that, if there was an occasion, they would defend and seal the truth of it with their blood.
The Litany of the Church of England is a distinct and separate office in the intention of the church, as is evident from the rubric before it, which appoints it, “ to be sung or said after inorning prayer."
The word itself is defined in the rubric as “a supplication."
As to the form in which litanies are made, namely, in short petitions by the priest, with responses by the people, St. Chrysostom derives the custom from the primitive ages, when the priest began, and uttered by the spirit, some things fit to be prayed for, and the people joined the intercessions, saying, w We beseech thee to hear us good Lord.” When the miraculous gifts of the spirit began to cease, they wrote down several of these forms, which were the original of our present litanies. St. Ambrose has left us one, which agrees in many particulars with that of our own church.
About the year 400, litanies began to be used in processions, the people walking barefont, and repeating them with great devotion. It is pretended that several countries were delivered from great calamities by this means. About the year 600, Gregory the Great, from all the litanies extant, composed the famous seven-fold litany, by which Rome, it is said, was delivered from a grievous mortality. This has served as a pattern to all the western churches since ; and to it ours of the Church of England comes nearer than that of the Romish Missal, in which later popes have inserted the invocation of saints, which our reformers properly expunged. These processional litanies having occasioned much scandal, it was decreed that in future the litanies should be used only within the wall of the church.
The days, appointed by the fifteenth canon of our church, for using the litany, are Wednesdays and Fridays, the ancient fasting days of the primitive church ; to which, by the rubric, Sundays are added, as being the days of the greatest assembly for divine service. Before the last review of the common prayer, the litany was a distinct service by itself, and used some time after the morning prayer was ended. At present, it forms one office with the morning service, being ordered to be read after the third collect for grace, instead of the intercessional prayers in the daily service. 1. The occasional prayers and thanksgivings found in the book of common prayer are, for the most part, highly appropriate to the respective ends for which they were composed.
Concerning the antiquity of the collects, most of them were used in the western church above twelve hundred years ago,
and many of them no doubt long before ; for this is certain, that these prayers were collected and put in order by St. Gregory, that great light and guide of the church.
The Festivals of the English Church are held on what are called “ Saints' Days,” with some others. St. Andrew's on the 30th of November ; St. Thomas', 31st December ; St. Stephen's 26th of December; St. John the Evangelist, 27th of December ; the Innocents' day, on the 28th December.
This day is commemorated by the church because the Holy Innocents* were the first that suffered upon our Saviour's account ; also for the greater solemnity of Christmas, the birth of Christ being the cause of their deaths. The Greek Church reckons the number forty thousand ; but the scripture is silent on the subject.
Conversion of St. Paul, 25th January ; St. Matthias' day, 24th February ; St. Mark’s, 25th April ; Št. Philip and St. James, 1st of May ; St. Barnabas the Apostle, 11th of June ; Nativity of John the Baptist, 24th June; Beheading of John the Baptist, 29th August ; St. Peter's day, 29th June, St. James the Apostle, 25th July ; St. Bartholomew the Apostle, 24th August ; St. Matthew the Apostle, 21st of September ; St. Michael and All Angels, 29th of September ; St. Luke the Evangelist, 18th October ; St. Simon and St. Jude, 28th October ; and All Saints, the 1st of November. The reformers having laid aside the celebration of a great many martyrs' days, which had grown too numerous and burthensome to the church, thought fit to retain this day, whereon the church, by a general commemoration, returns her thanks to God for them all.
Besides these festivals may be mentioned two others, not connected with those relating to the apostles : these are the Purification, on the second of February ; and the Annunciation, on the 25th of March.t
Such are the saints, and such the days on which festivals are kept in the Church of England. They are, however, at present but little attended to, except at the " public offices,” in which “ red-letter days,” so called from being usually printed with red ink in the common almanacks, are observed as holidays, &c. There are other days, as Good-Friday, Easter, Whitsuntide, and Lent, observed in their church ; but they are all well known.
The communion service of this church is appointed to be read at the altar, or communion-table, every Lord's day, and upon every festival or fast throughout the year. To “receive the communion,” means to receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, called the eucharist by the Roman Catholics ; and here it may be proper to observe, that the Church of England allows of two sacraments only, (viz.) baptism and the eucharist. Those *The children of Bethlehem, slain by Herod.
+ The Episcopalians in the United States neglect the most of these festivals.