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The occasional Offices of the Church
of England according to the old
prayers and forms CALB
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.1
CANNOT think that any, even a short, preface
to these volumes is of absolute necessity. They will sufficiently explain themselves; as intended to supply some information respecting the ritual and offices of the church of England during the centuries immediately preceding the Reformation. This information has been sought for in the only fit repositories; namely, in the documents themselves which may still be extant.
But I would take this opportunity of expressing my fear that although means have been open to me they have not been so profitably used as they might have been; that instead of one Office which has been selected another should rather have been chosen; that the notes and observations are not in some places required, and in others, where real difficulties exist, they have been omitted altogether; that references to more authorities should have been added on some subjects or were not necessary upon
1 With one or two verbal alterations and omissions.
others. To these and such objections (of the reasonableness of which I cannot be too sensible) I have only to offer the answer, if answer it be, that no one can know exactly all that is, or is not, required by way either of explanation or selection; and that I trust that these volumes, as a whole, will not be found to be entirely useless.
There is very much in the succeeding pages and in another work (The Ancient Liturgy of the Church of England) which will be published at the same time, involving doctrines of the highest importance, and opening questions which have been over and over again debated in the catholic Church. To have passed all these by without remark would have been wrong; to have entered into them at any length, or with the pretence of exactness in the detail, would have been impossible within the space which my limits would allow. I have therefore been obliged rather to seem to lay down decisions where reasons might have been asked for; and to give results and determinations instead of the arguments by which they ought to be arrived at. This, I fear, will be more evident in the preface to the Ancient Liturgy than even in the present work; but let me in all honesty and sincerity assure the reader that on whatever subject I have ventured so to speak, it has only been after much consideration and careful enquiry; and with the earnest and sincere desire to promote the truth, as it has always been held by the One Holy Catholic Church of Christ. Upon
another point, it must be also said, I have been very anxious; whilst I have not wished to shrink from the expression of a plain opinion in any case which might seem to call for it, I have striven to avoid harsh and unkind words towards others, and to keep within the reasonable bounds of Christian controversy. I have endeavoured to remember that they whose judgments are different from my own may be far more competent to argue upon many matters on which I have nevertheless not hesitated to speak undoubtingly my belief.
And in this place also it is incumbent upon me to discharge a most welcome duty; the acknowledgement of my best thanks to all who have given me assistance towards the completion of the object which I have had in view.2
Lastly and especially am I bound to bless and praise Him, Who by His most gracious gifts of health and time has suffered me to finish the work
Among these I named particularly the then archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Howley; Dr. Denison, bishop of Salisbury; the dean and chapter of Salisbury, for their transcript of the register of St. Osmund; the dean and chapter of Bangor, for the loan of the Bangor pontifical; the dean and chapter of Exeter, for bishop Grandisson's "ordinale;" the university of Cambridge, for four manuscripts; the president and fellows of St.
John's college, Oxford, for the Hereford missal; and the master and fellows of Emmanuel college, Cambridge, for their manuscript prymer in English.
In preparing this edition, I have again given scarcely less trouble than before to the librarians of the British museum and of the Bodleian: and once more I gratefully acknowledge the constant goodwill and attention which they have always shown