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which I undertook: of Him and to Him, on such an occasion as the present, my words spoken ought to be both careful and few.

August, 1846.

A long time has passed away since the last words of the above preface were written; very earnestly indeed I now desire humbly to repeat them.

I am anxious to express my sincere thanks to the Delegates and Secretary of the Clarendon Press for the care which has been taken in printing these books, and for their unvarying kindness in considering every suggestion which I proposed.

The additions which have been made in this edition extend to more than two hundred pages; and are mixed up with the text and notes. Although very much more is now known about the old English rituals than in 1846 I yet venture to hope that some of these additions, whether of new offices and prayers or with the wish further to illustrate and explain, may still prove to be useful.

I have thought it right to avoid argument as much as possible; not because I dislike controversy -rather, perhaps, the contrary-but because for more than one reason it would be out of place.

These books are intended (now, as they were forty years ago) chiefly for the use of the clergy and laity of the reformed Anglican church. And this, not only at home but in our colonies and in the

United States; in short, wherever the Book of Common Prayer is accepted as the form of public worship. The rituals observed in England for nearly a thousand years before the reign of Edward the sixth, and on which the rites and ceremonies of the common Prayer book are said to be founded, and from which they claim to be derived, ought always to be a subject about which the clergy, at least, of the Anglican church should not be ignorant.

If, therefore, I have succeeded in my endeavour to avoid giving offence to any one I shall be well pleased.

But let every reader or student of these pages remember that rituals, above all other classes of religious books, supply unfailing sources of controversy. Ritual is the ever-sounding voice, from age to age, of the Christian Church; as to her doctrine no less than her practice. People not uncommonly forget this. Constant attendance at public worship year after year is apt to produce a carelessness of recollection that every prayer said and everything done by bishop, priest, or deacon has a real and special meaning, as an act of faith or as a symbol and outward expression of what the Church teaches. The omission of an old or the introduction of a new ceremony, or the change even of a single word in an ancient prayer, may always be traced to the necessity of opposing some heresy or of further establishing and insisting on some article of the Faith. Rightly regarded, the public devotions

and ceremonies of the Church are intended to promote, and in fact never fail to promote, the spiritual welfare of her children, both in belief and practice. We cannot dispute one fact; namely, that where there is a bare and meagre ritual in any religious body which calls itself Christian there can be but little claim to teach with certainty what is true and what is not true.

But if I pursue this subject I must fall into the very course which it has been my desire throughout to avoid. However abruptly, therefore, this preface may seem to end, let it end here.

February, 1882.

W. M.

D

Contents.

ISSERTATION on the ancient service books

of the church of England

List of the titles

Dissertation on the old occasional offices of the church

PAGE

iij

CCXXX

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