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BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER,
A RATIONALE OF ITS OFFICES.
FRANCIS PROCTER, M.A.,
VICAR OF WITTON, NORFOLK ;
WITH AN INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER ON THE HISTORY
OF THE AMERICAN LITURGY,
WILLIAM STEVENS PERRY, D.D.,
BISHOP OF IOWA.
London and Mew York:
At the opening of the war for American Independence the clergy of the Church of England, who sympathized with the popular cause, readily conformed to the requirements of the provincial assemblies,' or the recommendations of their own vestries, and omitted from the service all mention of the temporal authority of the mother-land. The further prosecution of the struggle drove the clergy, who found compliance with the acts of Congress and the State legislatures incompatible with their convictions of duty, within the British lines, leaving their parishes destitute of clerical ministrations, and exposing their churches to the outrages of those who failed to distinguish between the English Church and the obnoxious measures of the Crown. The issue of the war, involving, as it did, the independence of
i Bishop White earnestly advocated this course. Memoirs of the Prot. Ep. Church, 20 ed. pp. 76, 77.
2 Parker, afterwards Bishop of Massachusetts, sought the
advice of his vestry, and acted
the Colonial Church, gave opportunity for the revision of the Book of Common Prayer; changes in which were now necessary, in consequence of the altered relations of Church and State.
Slowly, and with evident reluctance, did the ministers and members of the Church betake themselves, on the return of peace, to the task thus imposed upon them. At the north, the clergy of Connecticut had bent their energies, from the moment that the issue of the strife was no longer doubtful, towards securing the episcopate. Until they had a bishop, they deemed themselves incompetent to effect an ecclesiastical organization, or to attempt a revision of the Liturgy. In this unwillingness to enter upon the discussion of these matters, the clergy throughout New England, and not a few in New York, and New Jersey, sympathized. Even at the south this feeling obtained at the first. In Virginia, on the day following the Declaration of Independence, the State Convention altered the Book of Common Prayer to accommodate it to the change in affairs,' 6 and by
1 When, in the course of 3 Reprint of the Early JourDivine Providence, these Amer- nals. Notes, I. 435-437, 475. ican States became independent 4 Unpublished correspondwith respect to civil govern- ence of the time in the possesnient, their ecclesiastical inde- sion of the writer. pendence was necessarily in- 5 Bisliop White's Memoirs, cluded.' Preface to the Ameriran Book of Common Prayer. & Reprint of the Early Jour
? Hawks and Perry's Docu- nals, I. 473. Hawks' Ecclesiusmentary History of the Prot. tical Contributions, 1. Virginia,' Ep. Church of Connecticut, II.
Hoffman in his 272.
Treatise on the Law of the
subsequent legislative enactments restrained the clergy from consenting directly or indirectly 'to any alterations in the order, government, doctrine, or worship of the Church.'1 Maryland pursued the same conservative course,2 and it was not till later in the progress of the war that the State, not the clergy, attempted by civil legislation to effect the organization of the Church and the appointment of persons to exercise episcopal functions. To such an extent did these scruples obtain, that at the informal Convention of 1784, in which Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland were respectively represented, it was recommended as a 'fundamental principle of organization for the * Episcopal Church in the United States of America'That the said Church shall maintain the doctrines of the
Gospel as now held by the Church of England, and shall adhere to the Liturgy of the said Church as far as shall be consistent with the American Revolution, and the constitutions of the respective States.' 4
Prot. Ep. Church in the U.S. p. 31, gives the particulars of these changes.
1 Folio 'Broadside 'Proceedings of the preliminary Convention of Clergymen and Lay Deputies of the Prot. Ep. Ch. in the U.S. of America, held in New York, October 6th and 7th, 1784. But one or two copies of this document still exist. It was reprinted from an original copy preserved among the Ar
chives of the General Convention among the notes appended to Hawks and Perry's edition of The Early Journals, 1. 373-375.
2 Hawks' Ecclesiastical Contributions, 11. Maryland,'p. 284.
3 White's Memoirs of the Prot. Ep. Ch. p. 92. Hawks' Ecclesiastical Contributions, jl. Maryland,' p. 290.
4 “Broadside' Proceedings. This was the fourth "fundamental principle.'