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SERVICES OF THE CHURCH OF
THE NOTES OF BISHOP MANT'S BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER,
PEARSON ON THE CREED,
WATERLAND ON THE CREED OF ST. ATHANASIUS,
WHEATLEY'S ILLUSTRATION OF THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER, &c. &c.
PROVING, BY TEXTS FROM HOLY WRIT,
THE SCRIPTURAL FOUNDATION OF THE DOCTRINE CONTAINED
IN THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.
REV. S. W. DOWELL,
VICAR OF GOSFIELD, ESSEX.
1. Why does the Church of England use a precomposed, or set form of prayer, in the public worship of Almighty God?
In this the Church follows the example of the Jews, our Saviour, his Apostles, and the universal Church of Christ.
2. On what authority do you assert that the Jews used set forms of prayer in their worship ?
Bishop Bull, in his Sermon on 1 Tim. ii, 1, 2, says, “All the learned know that the ancient Church of the Jews before Christ had set forms of prayer, which they used in the Temple and synagogues, as the Jews do at this day.”
3. Have you any other authority ?
Dean Comber says, “ For the saints in the Old Testament prayed by forms, and so did Christ in the New, and He taught his disciples a set form to pray by.” And he instances the set form wherewith Aaron was to bless the children of Israel : “Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord bless thee, and keep thee : the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee : the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” (Num. vi. 23—26.)
4. What does Wheatley, in his Illustration of the Book of Common Prayer, say upon this subject?
“Innumerable proofs might be brought, both ancient and modern, that the Jews did always worship God by preconiposed set forms." And Dr. Lightfoot not only asserts that they worshipped God by stated forms, but also set down both the order and method of their hymns and supplications.
5. What may we conclude was the custom of Jesus Christ upon this point ?