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The favourable manner in which the public received the Author's former volume of “Essays on the Morning * and Evening Services of the Liturgy of the Church « of England ;” and the approbation which it has received from two periodical reviews, viz. the British Critic for December 1798, and the Christian Observer, (vol. ii. p. 548) have greatly encouraged him in his present work. The latter of these periodical publications has stated some general sentiments on the utility of such attempts as the present, which the Author may transcribe without any infringement of the laws of modesty. “ Many arguments," it observes, “ have heretofore been produced to prove the advantage which attends the providing a pre-composed forın of devotion for the exercise of congregation-worship. If these arguments be valid, when applied to the abstract question of the expediency of forms in general, their force must be very much augmented, when applied to that pre-eminent set of public services with which the church of England is favoured,
“ It is to be more than feared, that a large part of the professed members of the church have a very inadequate perception of the excellencies which our liturgy possesses, and of the unrivalled merits by which it is distinguished; and that, from this and other concurrent eauses, they lose the edification with which it is preg
Some, through ignorance and the insufficiency of their understanding, cannot of themselves attain a clear' comprehension of its meaning; many, though. not deficient in ability, through inattention and inconsiderateness, remain in nearly equal, but far more disereditable ignorance; while not a small number of those
who understand the letter of the liturgy, and even admire its construction and contents, are unaffected, during its rehearsal, with those feelings which it is intended to express, and calculated to inspire.
“ He, therefore, who labours to enable the ignorant to comprehend the liturgy, to persuade the careless to examine it, and to awaken and stimulate the formalist to feel it, certainly undertakes a very necessary work, and deserves great commendation. He does honour to the church, by exemplifying one of its greatest excellencies; and confers an important benefit upon its members, by furnishing them with the means of increasing both the rationality and spirituality of their devotion.”
After giving its sentiments of the work under review, the Christian Observer proceeds in its general remarks. “ We would avail ourselves of the opportunity which the review of these Essays affords us, of suggesting to those clergymen, by whose perusal our work is honoured, that, wherever it has not been already done, a series of explanatory and practical lectures on the liturgy of our church is a work of expedience, and one, from the attentive execution of which, many and great advantages might be expected. The liturgy, as we have already observed, presents one of the distinguished excellencies by which the established church of this kingdom is recommended; but this excellency must be discovered before it can attract. The conscientious minister of the church will, therefore, make no inconsiderable provision for training up and consirning sound members of her communion, who makes plain to the
understanding of his hearers, and recommends to their rational approbation, the services which the church provides for the celebration of public worship. It is undeniably important that the congregation should understand the meaning, and feel the force of what they so frequently hear and repeat—what is designed to be an exercise of rational piety, and a means of growth in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. It will not be apprehended by any one who is at all acquainted with our liturgy, that while a minister is commenting on its contents he will be led to neglect or forego any of the general purposes of preaching. The doctrines of Christianity are so universally diffused through the whole of the services of our church, and so inextricably interwoven with the whole of their texture, that a competent description of only those portions which are in daily use, would comprise all the truths which are important to be believed, and a delineation of almost every duty which belongs to the system of Christian morality; and would exemplify the nature and requisites of devotion in all its branches of petition, confession, deprecation, praise, and thanksgiving. In short, it would afford an opportunity of saying almost everything which a minister of the gospel ought to teach, and which a hearer of the gospel ought to learn. But for the sake of requisite brevity, we must forbear the further prosecution of this subject. It is, we confess, a favourite one with us, and we feel inclined to prolong the discussion; but we are aware that the persons, for whose consideration the foregoing remarks are particularly intended, are abundantly able to pursue the subject which we have just brieily suggested; and that if it be considered with the attention it demands, they will need no aid to enable them to discern the expedience of the measure we have recommended, and no persuasion to dispose them to adopt it."