The History and Rationale of the Book of Common Prayer are subjects which have been already treated by numerous writers of distinction. At the time, however, when the present series of Manuals was projected in the hope of supplying wants expressed on every side by students in Theology, it did not appear that any one of the existing volumes, taken singly, was available for the desired object. During the greater part of the past century, Wheatly's Rational Illustration was the chief source of knowledge on liturgical subjects, and notwithstanding its obvious blemishes and defects was very generally read. But in the course of the last twenty years the whole question has been re-opened by divines of greater learning, and more accurate research; and it is mainly with the view of epitomizing their extensive publications, and correcting by their help the errors and misconceptions which had obtained a currency amongst us, that the present volume has been put together. The materials, out of which it is composed, lie scattered in the older works of Strype, Nicholls?, and Comber?, and

1 Nicholls, Commentary on the Book of Common Prayer, 2nd ed. 1712.

Comber, Companion to the Temple, 2 vols. 1701. Bishop

Sparrow's Rationale has not been referred to, from the feeling that his excellent little volume will be in the hands of every student.

[ocr errors]

in those of more recent date which have resulted from the investigations of Dr Cardwell 1, and Messrs Palmera, Maskells, Clay“, and Lathburys.

The Author has of course been under the necessity of touching many questions which have always given rise to controversy ; some of these relating to differences of opinion in the Church itself, and others to more serious disputations which maintainers of the PrayerBook hold with its opponents. On the former class of controversies he claims for himself the liberty of giving free expression to what he believes to be the truth ; while in reference to the latter, as might naturally be

[ocr errors]

i Cardwell, Documentary Annals, (1546–1716), 2 vols. Oxf. 1844.

Synodalia, Articles, Canons, &c. (1547-1717), 2 vols. Oxf. 1842.

History of Conferences, &c. (1558–1690), Oxf. 1841.

2 Palmer, Origines Liturgicæ, or Antiquities of the English Ritual, 2 vols. Oxf. 1836.

3 Maskell, The ancient Liturgy of the Church of England, according to the Uses of Sarum, Bangor, York, and Hereford, and the Modern Roman, Lond. 1846.

Monumenta Ritualia Ecclesic Anglicance, or Occasional Offices, &c., 3 vols. 1846, 7.

4 Clay, Liturgies and Occasional Porms of Prayer set forth in the reign of Queen Elizabeth (Parker Society), 1847.

Private Prayers, put forth by Authority in the reign of Queen Elizabeth (Parker Society), 1851.

- the Book of Common Prayer Illustrated, Lond. 1841.

Historical Sketch of the Prayer-Book, Lond. 1849.

5 Lathbury, History of Convocation, 2nd ed. 1853.

To the above must be added, The Book of Common Prayer, with Notes, &c., a reprint of the Sealed Books' (Ecclesiastical History Society); and The Book of Common Prayer, printed from the MS. attached to the Irish Act of Uniformity (Eccl. Hist. Soc.), 3 vols. 1849. Much light is also thrown upon the early history of the Prayer Book by the series of Original Letters relative to the English Reformation, published by the Parker Society, 2 vols. 1846.

expected, he makes no effort to conceal his prepossessions for the doctrine and ritual of the Church of England.

A pleasing duty now remains, - to thank those friends of the Author who have given him the benefit of their suggestions, and examined for him such references as lay beyond the compass of his own library. He would especially mention the Rev. C. Hardwick, and the Rev. J. S. Purton, Fellows of St Catharine's Hall, whose kindness in this matter is accepted as an evidence of true friendship, worthy of the members of their ancient brotherhood.

The Feast of the Circumcision, 1855.

« ForrigeFortsett »