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Why some be abolished, and some retained. OF F sach Ceremonies as be used in the Church, and have had their begin
ning by the institution of man, some at the first were of godly intent and purpose devised, and yet at length turned to vanity and superstition : some entered into the Church by undiscreet devotion, and such a zeal as was without knowledge ; and for because they were winked at in the beginning, they grew daily to more and more abuses, which not only for their unprofitableness, but also because they have much blinded the people, and obscured the glory of God, are worthy to be cut away, and clean rejected : other there be, which although they have been devised by man, yet it is thought good to reserve them still, as well for a decent order in the Church, (for the which they were first devised) as because they pertain to edification, whereunto all things done in the Church (as the Apostle teacheth) ought to be referred.
And although the keeping or omitting of a Ceremony, in itself considered, is but a small thing ; yet the wilful and contemptuous transgression and breaking of a common order and discipline is no small offence before God, "Let all things be done among you," saith Saint Paul, “ in a seemly and due order:" the appointment of the which order pertaineth not to private men ; therefore no man ought to take in hand, nor presume to appoint or alter any publick or common order in Christ's Church, except he be lawfully called and authorized thereunto.
And whereas in this our time, the minds of men are so diverse, that some think it a great matter of conscience to depart from a piece of the least of their Ceremonies, they be so addicted to their old customs ; and again on the other side, some be so new-fangled, that they would innovate all things, and so despise the old, that nothing can like them, but that is new : it was thought expedient, not so much to have respect how to please and satisfy either of these parties, as how to please God, and profit them both. And yet lest any man should be offended, whom good reason might satisfy, here be certain causes rendered, why some of the accustomed Ceremonies be put away, and some retained and kept still.
Some are put away, because the great excess and multitude of them hath so increased in these latter days, that the burden of them was intolerable ; whereof St. Augustine in his time complained, that they were grown to such a number, that the estate of Christian people was in worse case concerning that matter, than were the Jews. And he counselled that such yoke and burden should be taken away, as time would serve quietly to do it. But what would St. Augustine have said, if he had seen the Ceremonies of late days used among us ; whereunto the multitude used in his time was not to be compared ? This our excessive multitude of Ceremonies was so great, and many of them so dark, that they did more confound and darken, than declare and set forth Christ's benefits unto us. And besides this, Christ's Gog. pel is not a Ceremonial Law, as much of Moses' Law was,) but it is a religion to serve God, not in bondage of the figure or shadow, but in the freedom of the Spirit ; being content only with those Ceremonies which do serve to a decent order and godly discipline, and such as be apt to stir up the dull mind of man to the remembrance of his duty to God, by some notable and special signification, whereby he might be edified. Furthermore, the most weighty cause of the abolishment of certain Ceremonies was, that they were so far abused, partly by the superstitious blindness of the rude and unlearned, and partly by the unsatiable avarice of such as sought more their own lucre, than the glory of God, that the abuses could not well be taken away, the thing remaining still.
But now as concerning those persons, which peradventure will be offended, for that some of the old Ceremonies are retained still : If they consider that without some Ceremonies it is not possible to keep any order, or quiet discipline in the Church, they shall easily perceive just cause to reform their judgments. And if they think much, that any of the old do remain, and would rather have all devised anew : then such men granting some Ceremonies convenient to be had, surely where the old may be well used, there they cannot reasonably reprove the old only for their age, without bewraying of their own folly. For in such a case they ought rather to have experience of centuries; (c) by examination of the ceremonial on its own merits, as to clearness, simplicity, and unlikelihood of abuse. On this question it is interesting to compare Hooker's statement in his Ecclesiastical Polity (book v., cc. 6—10) of the principles on which all Ceremonial ought to be judged. It is also suggested that it is not immutable, and may be modified, not by individual vagary, but by the authority which imposed it; as was, in fact, done in subsequent Revisions.
Lastly, in strict accordance with the actual course of the English Reformation, all authority to condemn other nations is repudiated, and the action of the Church of England is justified as taken independently for the edification of its own people; though, of course, not without consideration of what was done elsewhere.
The Order how the Psalter is appointed to be read. The division of the Hebrews" is named in contradistinction from the division of the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate. In this latter, what we call Psalms ix. and x. form one Psalm (Ps. ix.), and our cxlvii. Psalm is divided into two (as Psalms cxlvi., cxlvii.).
The “Great Bible" was the last of the English translations put forth under Henry vill. (1539-40), (following Tyndale's, Coverdale's, and Matthew's Bibles); and formally authorized to be set up and read in Churches. Its translation of the Psalter is less accurate than our Authorized Bible Version, but perhaps more flowing and rhythmically beautiful.
It may be noted that one clause of the next section properly belongs to this-providing that, on occasions appointed by the Ordinary, and with his consent, Proper Psalms may supersede the regular Psalms of the day.
The Order how the rest of holy Scripture is appointed to be read. Of these directions the second has been modified, and the 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th added to suit the New Lectionary of 1871.
The chief differences of the old from the New Lectionary in the Common Lessons are the following :-(a) According to the Old Lectionary, the New Testament was to be read thrice in the year, omitting the Apocalypse altogether from the Order of Common Lessons, the Gospels and Acts being always read in the Morning, and the rest in the Evening Services; (b) the selection from the Old Testament was different, reading the books more continuously, but omitting altogether the Books of Chronicles, introducing only four chapters of Leviticus, and nine of Ezekiel, and adding a considerable number of Lessons from the Apocryphal Books.
In respect of the Proper Lessons, (a) the selection differed considerably in the Lessons for Sundays, much more in the Lessons for Holy days. (6) The provision for alternative First Lessons at Evensong, and the use of a Second Lesson by choice from the Gospels at a second Evensong, had then no existence. (c) The case of coincidence of Holy days with Sundays was not provided for. The rule now given is a simple substitute for the elaborate rules of the ancient Service books. It singles out for necessary preference over the Holy day, Advent Sunday, Easter-Day, White Sunday, and Trinity Sunday; in all other cases it leaves the choice to the Minister.
reverence unto them for their antiquity, if they will declare themselves to be more studious of unity and concord, than of innovations and new-fangleness, which (as much as may be with true setting forth of Christ's religion) is always to be eschewed. Furthermore, such shall have no just cause with the Ceremonies reserved to be offended. For as those be taken away which were most abused, and did burden men's consciences without any cause ; 80 the other that remain, are retained for a discipline and order, which (upon just causes) may be altered and changed, and therefore are not to be esteemed equal with God's law. And moreover, they be neither dark nor dumb Ceremonies, but are so set forth, that every man may understand what they do mean, and to what use they do serve. So that it is not like that they in time to come should be abused as other have been. And in these our doings we condemn no other nations, nor prescribe any thing but to our own people only : for we think it convenient that every country should use such Ceremonies as they shall think best to the setting forth of God's honour and glory, and to the reducing of the people to a most perfect and godly living, without error or superstition; and that they should put away other things, which from time to time they perceive to be most abused, as in men's ordinances it often chanceth diversly in divers countries.
The Order how the Psalter is appointed to be read. THE Psalter shall be read through once every Month, as it is there appointed, both for eighth, or twenty-ninth day of the month.
And, whereas January, March, May, July, August, October, and December have oneand-thirty days apiece, 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 119th Pralm is divided into twenty-two portions, and is over-long 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,
And at the end of every Psalm, and of every such part of the 119th Psalm, shall be repeated this Hymn,
Glory be to the Father, and to the son: and to the Holy Ghost;
Note, that the Psalter followeth the division of the Hebrews, and the translation of the great English Bible, set forth and used in the time of King Henry the Eighth, and Edward the Suth.
The Order how the rest of holy Scripture is appointed to be read. so as the most part thereof will be read every year once, as in the Calendar is appointed.
: The New Testament is appointed for the Second Lessons at Morning and Evening Prayer, and shall be read over orderly every year twice, once in the morning and once in the evening, besides the Epistles and Gospels, except the Apocalypse, out of which there are only certain Lessons appointed at the end of the year, and certain proper Lessons appointed upon divers feasts.
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 and portions of 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 coluinn of lessons, the Proper Lessons for all which days are to be found in the Table of Proper Lessons.
If Evening Prayer is said at two different times in the same place of worship on any Sunday (except a Sunday for which alternative Second Lessons are specially appointed in the table, the Second Lesson at the second time may, at the discretion of the minister, be any chapter from the four Gospels, or any lesson appointed in the Table of Lessons from the four Gospels.
Upon occasions, to be approved by the Ordinary, other lessons may, with his consent, be substituted for those which are appointed in the Calendar.
And note that whensoever Proper Psalms or Lessons are appointed, then the Psalms and Lessons of ordinary course appointed in the Psalter aud Calendar (if they be different) shall be omitted for that time,
Note also that upon occasions to be appointed by the Ordinary, other Psalms may, with his consent, be substituted for those appointed in the Psalter.
If any of the Holy-days for which Proper Lessons are appointed in the table fall upon a Sunday which is the first Sunday in Advent, Easter Day, Whitsunday, or Trinity Sunday, the Lessons appointed for such Sunday shall be read, but if it fall upon any other Sunday, the Lessons appointed either for the Sunday or for the Holy-day may be read at the dis. cretion of the minister.
Note also that the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel appointed for the Sunday shall serve all the week after, where it is not in this book otherwise ordered.
THE LECTIONARY OF THE CHURCH.
The Lectionary of the Church of England provides, with perhaps greater care than has been shown by any other Christian body, for the complete and orderly reading of Holy Scripture in Divine Service. Such reading, independently of its spiritual value both for instruction and. exhortation to the individual hearer, tends for the Church at large to the continual maintenance of the Scriptural standard of truth, and to the preservation of the true "proportion of faith,” exhibiting in right order and variety all the elements of Christian doctrine and practice.
It contains, (a) the Series of Proper Lessons for Sundays; (6) the Proper Lessons for Holy days; (c) the Common Lessons of the year; to which may be added, (d) the Series of Epistles and Gospels.
(A) THE LESSONS PROPER FOR SUNDAYS. The First Lessons are so ar- to those who only attend Church ranged, as to present striking on Sundays a course of Scripand important chapters from the tural reading which is orderly, various books of the Old Testa- if not complete; and, as a rule, ment in order. In this arrange- the lessons are rather longer ment, according to old practice than the average of the Common (see Preface “Concerning the Lessons. Service of the Church"), Isaiah It may be noted that in the is read in Advent and Epiphany, Prayer Books of 1549 and 1552, except for those Sundays in there were no Proper Lessons Epiphany which may or may not for ordinary Sundays. From 1561 exist in any year; and the book onwards the series was made of Genesis on Septuagesima, be- complete, and underwent but ginning the regular series, first little change till the establishof the historical, then of the ment of the New Lectionary in prophetical books, which is only 1871. broken in upon by special lessons The New Lectionary, by the for Whitsunday and Trinity provision of alternative Lessons, Sunday.
has largely increased the number Of Second Lessons there are of Proper Lessons from the Old but few-for Septuagesima, Palm- Testament, keeping generally Sunday, Easter - Day, and the to the same order, and mostly First Sunday after Easter, Whit- including the old Lessons. It sunday, and Trinity Sunday: has added Proper Lessons from for all other Sundays the course the New Testament for Septua. of Common Lessons remain un- gesima and the First Sunday broken.
after Easter, and a Third Les. The general principle, there. son for Palm-Sunday, Easterfore, of the Sunday Lessons is Day, Whitsunday, and Trinity REGULARITY, with a view to give Sunday.
TO BE READ AT MORNING AND EVENING PRAYER, ON THE SUNDAYS,
AND OTHER HOLY-DAYS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.
38 Second Lesson... Rev. 21 to v. 9 Rev.21 v. 9 to 22 v. 6 Sexagesima.........
8 Quinquagesima..... 9 to v. 20
13 LENT. First Sunday... 19 . 12 to . 30
22 to v. 20 ,
23 Second ............ 27 to v. 41
45 Exodus 3 Exodus
5. Exodus - 6 to r. 14 Sixth..
11 Second Lesson..... Matt.
-26 Luke -19 v. 28, Luke-20 v. 9 to v. 21
First Lesson...... Exodus -12 to n. 29 Exodus -12 v. 29 , Exodus