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“ Priest.-0 Lord save the King.
People.-And mercifully hear us when we call upon thee.”
Who could have anticipated such a confusion of petitions and who but the Popes would thus have thrown all things together pell-mell, as if anything was fish that came into their nets ? In the same way we might couple the Queen's name with our spiritual wants, and if it were in the Prayer Book it would meet with warm approbation from some people. The last
prayer of the morning service is headed thus—“A prayer of Saint Chrysostom,” which is in fact subscribing a hearty assent and consent to the canonizations of the Roman Chancery without the least authority from Scripture. Chrysostom may be a Saint at Rome and at Lambeth, for he has written with all his might to exalt the priesthood, but this same Saint also approved of offering for the dead alms with oblations; he preached up pilgrimages to Job's dunghill, and talked all sorts of nonsense about holy water and other superstitious absurdities which I cannot stop here to recount.
The authorized prayers for the King are very offensive; for it is highly presumptuous in the humble act of prayer thus to make a display of worldly greatness, and, under the pretence of piety, to introduce an unconstitutional and slavish tone of politics. “O Lord our heavenly Father . ,
the only Ruler of Princes," as a fact, in the government of Providence, is indeed true, as it is with every individual in the world ; but in the sense here intended, that is to say, that no mortal man can rule a King, is not true; for we know very well that our Parliaments have not only ruled, but dethroned; not only dethroned, but beheaded reigning princes ; they have ruled in a very masterly manner Edward II., Richard II., Mary Queen of Scots, Charles I., and James II. What they have done they can do again; nay, we have seen with our own eyes a King over-ruled in the matter of a Reform Bill and a reforming Ministry; and the instances are very frequent where Parliament has refused the wishes of reigning sovereigns. This language does not, therefore, suit the atmosphere of England; it suits only the hot-houses in which Prelates live, who have ideas and feelings, politics, and religion unknown to the rest of the nation.
The Prayer Book calls the King “our most gracious Sovereign Lord, King William,” __“ our most gracious King and Governor,”—“ most religious and gracious,”—and prays that he may “ vanquish and overcome all his enemies." These swelling oriental titles and belligerent petitions are exceptionable anywhere, but in the worship of God they are profane; for in the House of Prayer the King is only a miserable sinner, who, with his people, must some day stand before the universal
judgment-seat in an awful equality with the lowest of his subjects; and if we should search Scripture for a precedent, we should find indeed prayers relating to kings, but in a very different strain : as thus in the Prophet Daniel :~"0 Lord, the great and dreadful God have sinned and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled even by departing from thy precepts and judgments: neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the Prophets, who spake in thy name to our kings, to our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land ! O Lord to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because
, we have sinned against Thee.”
The service for the thirtieth of January,“ being the martyrdom of the blessed King Charles the First,” is an outrageous stretch of impiety and servility. No language can be used against it too
There is nothing in the Mass-book or Breviary half so bad; for though the Mass-book and Breviary do indeed exalt the merits of the Saints, yet they never have presumed to appropriate the atoning attributes and merits of Christ to a mortal, as is done without compunction in our Protestant Prayer Book. “ Form of prayer, with fasting, to be used yearly, upon the thirtieth of January, being the day of the Martyrdom of the blessed King Charles the First : to implore the mercy of God that that sacred and innocent blood may never at any time hereafter be visited upon us, or our posterity.”
Thus do we see a very bad King, who, above all his contemporaries, was famed for falsehood and treachery; who was hy painful experience so universally suspected of dissimulation, that no party dared trust him; who made no scruples to break the law of the land, and to commit acts of the grossest oppression without the least shame or remorse-converted into a martyr, that is, one who has sealed the truth of the faith of Christians by his death ; one who has died for the truth ; and thus are we commanded to keep the anniversary of his execution with a piacular fast, lest peradventure the blood of this tyrant should be visited on our children to the uttermost generation !
But the order of the service is far more scandalous than the title. Instead of the “ Venite exultemus,” the Priest and people read alternately a patch-work of verses culled from various parts of the word of God, and from the Apocrypha : the greater part of the selections from Scripture allude to Christ : as thus; “ The people stood up, and the rulers took council together against the Lord and against his anointed,”—“ the man of thy right hand, the son of man whom thou hadst made so strong for thyself,” &c. &c. The second lesson is the twenty-seventh of Matthew, which details the sufferings of our Lord. The Gospel for the Communion Service is from Matthew xxi. 33:—“There was a certain householder ;” the well-known parable which our Lord gave to his disciples to point out the death he should die; and amongst the impious prayers for this occasion, one of the sentences runs thus : .“ We magnify thy name for thine abundant
upon our martyred Sovereign, by which he was enabled so cheerfully to follow the steps of his blessed Master and Saviour in a constant meek suffering,” &c.
Now if all the rest of the Prayer Book were free from the sad defects which abound in it
everywhere, yet still this one service would be sufficient utterly to condemn it; and they who praise our
Scriptural Liturgy,” as if it were a volume taken out of the Ark of the Covenant, are bound to remember “ the form of prayer, with fasting, for King Charles the Martyr;" and if they cannot perceive the impious strain of that ritual, and if they do not shrink under its weight, then must they indeed be blinded by the errors of a superstitious darkness.
In vain is it for a clergyman to say that he knows not this service ; for not only is he commanded to use it on the thirtieth of January every year, but he has thus made this solemn declaration, "I, A. B., do hereby declare my unfeigned assent and consent to all and everything contained and prescribed in and by the book intituled the Book of Common Prayer.” He may indeed profess