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the forms of thanksgiving upon several occasions were then added; the questions and answers concerning the sacraments were subjoined to the catechism; and the administration of private baptism was by the rubric expressly confined to the lawful minister. These and some other additions and improvements were made by the authority of James the First, and universally adopted, although they were not ratified by parliament.
Charles the First, by his own authority only, made some few unimportant alterations in the Liturgy; but in 1661, the year after the restoration of Charles the Second, when the hierarchy had been broken down with the monarchy above fourteen years, and the Liturgy had been entirely laid aside by puritanical usurpers of the government, twenty-four commissioners, twelve of whom were episcopalians, and twelve presbyterians, with nine assistants on each side, were appointed by patent, and were enjoined "to meet at the master's lodging in the Savoy, and to take into consideration the several directions, rules, forms of prayer, and things in the Common Prayer contained; to revise the same, comparing them with the most antient Liturgies; to advise upon the exceptions and objections that might be made, and, if occasion should require, to make
make such reasonable corrections and amendments, as they might judge useful and expedient for giving satisfaction to tender consciences, and restoring unity, but avoiding all unnecessary abreviations of the forms and liturgy so long received in the church of England." These commissioners had several personal conferences at the Savoy, and several written communications passed between them; but they were unable to come to any agreement concerning the great points in dispute between the two parties; they therefore resolved to inform his majesty, that "the church's welfare, unity, and peace, and his majesty's satisfaction, were ends upon which they all agreed, but as to the means they could not come to any harmony."
When it was found impossible to frame a Liturgy, which should be acceptable to all the persons of different religious persuasions then subsisting in the kingdom, the Convocation, which met May the 8th, 1661, took into consideration such improvements as were suggested by the episcopalian commissioners, and the following additions and alterations were agreed to: the collects for the Ember weeks; the prayer for the high court of parliament; the prayer for all sorts and conditions of men; the general thanksgiving; the collect for Easter Eve; the collect, epistle, and gospel
gospel for the sixth Sunday after Epiphany; a new collect for the third Sunday in Advent; the office of baptism for those of riper years; the two psalms prefixed to the lesson in the burial service; the forms of prayer to be used at sea, for the martyrdom of Charles the First, and for the restoration of the royal family, were all added. There were also several other less material additions; and through the whole service ambiguities were removed, and various improvements were made; and in particular, the portions of the Epistles and Gospels were taken from the new translation of the Bible; but the Psalms, according to the translation of Cranmer's Bible, were retained. The book, in this state, passed both houses of convocation; it was subscribed by the bishops and clergy; it was ratified by act of parliament, and received the royal assent, May 19th, 1662. This was the last revisal of the Book of Common Prayer, in which any alteration was made by public authority.
I shall conclude this brief account of the origin and gradual improvement of our Liturgy, with the following just commendation of it by Dr. Comber, in the Preface to his " Companion to the Temple:"-" Though all churches in the world have, and ever had, forms of prayer, yet none was ever blessed with so comprehensive, so
exact, and so innoffensive a composure as ours, which is so judiciously contrived, that the wisest may exercise at once their knowledge and devotion, and yet so plain that the most ignorant may pray with understanding; so full that nothing is omitted which is fit to be asked in public, and so particular, that it compriseth most things which we would ask in private, and yet so short as not to tire any that hath true devotion. Its doctrine is pure and primitive; its ceremonies so few and innocent, that most of the christian world agree in them; its method is exact and natural; its language significant and perspicuous, most of the words and phrases being taken out of the holy Scriptures, and the rest are the expressions of the first and purest ages, so that whoever takes exception at these must quarrel with the language of the Holy Ghost, and fall out with the church in her greatest innocence; and in the opinion of the most impartial and excellent Grotius (who was no member of, nor had any obligation to, this church) the English liturgy comes so near to the primitive pattern, that none of the reformed churches can compare with it. Whoever desires to worship God with zeal and knowledge, spirit and truth, purity and sincerity, may do it by these devout forms. And to this end may the God of Peace give us all meek hearts, quiet spirits,