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SET FORTH AT LARGE
FOR THE USE OF MEMBERS
FAMILY AND PRIVATE PRAYER,
IN THE REIGN OF
JOSEPH MASTERS, ALDERSGATE STREET,
AND NEW BOND STREET.
THE Devotions here published form the First Part of the Primer as revised and issued in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. The Primer is the authorised Book of Family and Private Prayer, for the laity of the English Church. Earlier in the time of its first publication than the Book of Common Prayer, its subsequent editions and revisions run parallel with that Book. The Invocations of the Saints, the "Ave Maria," and other features of the Primer of Henry VIII., disappear from the revised editions of Edward VI. and of Elizabeth. In the reign of Edward a rival Primer of very inferior merit with fixed lessons for every day in the week and fixed Psalms in order, struggled into life, and after maintaining a brief and precarious existence alongside of the original Primer finally died out in Elizabeth's reign, leaving the ground unoccupied to the nobler Book which continued to throw out its editions till superseded by the altered (unhappily altered) versions of later and more private hands. Bishop Cosin's Hours of Prayer which are based upon the Primer are well known at the present day. Perhaps a
devotional Manual which claims to be not the work of a single divine, nor of a single year, nor of a single edition, but the carefully matured gift of the Fathers of the English Reformation, perfected by the best of all Revisionists-use, through many editions in an earnest and learned age, may be welcome to the Faithful of the English Communion. Its intrinsic value has been recognised by the editors of the Parker Society, who published the edition of 1559, together with other documents, with a view to making known the true principles of the English Reformation. Indeed no better commentary on the Book of Common Prayer itself can be found than its parallel Primer. In preparing the Primer the Revisers kept the same object in view as guided the Revision of the Public Offices :-sc. the retention of the old Offices so far as was compatible with simplicity sufficient to fit them for universal use. Hence what is lost in variety and in delicacy of chiselling (and the loss of course is infinite, as in the case also of the Common Prayer) is to some extent compensated by its fitness for general wear and tear. After all, it does but assume to be a manual of Family and Private Prayer. As the latter, it was used, among other better men, by Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, on the scaffold. Readers of Mr. Froude will recognise the prayer at p. 53 of this Primer. It is quoted at full length in his History as the last words of Cromwell before execution.