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NEWLY TRANSLATED AND ARRANGED
ACCORDING TO THE PRAYER-BOOK AND THE AUTHORISED
"Thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when
'He made the Moon also to serve in Her Season for a declaration of times, and a sign of the work]. ^ From the Moon is the sign of feasts."— Xeelus. xliii. 6, 7.
THE CONTENTS OF THIS BOOK.
When the leaders of the English Reformation framed out of the ancient Office Books our present services of Morning and Evening Prayer, they established the strongest possible claim on the gratitude of succeeding generations. The proportions and interchanges of their several component parts, of prayer and praise, of Scripture readings and direct addresses to God, whether in psalm or hymn, in collect or versicle, are as beautiful as they are edifying. The more frequently and the more intelligently these services are used, the more they are found to satisfy the needs, and elevate the tone, of congregational worship. When their effect is heightened, as is intended throughout, by the accompaniment of music, it may thankfully be felt that no nobler offerings of common daily prayer rise up to God from any portion of Christendom. It was also the wisest course, and most agreeable to the practice of the early Church, to fix two hours of prayer only, as the ordinary rule of daily public devotion *.
But the great work thus effected for the Church of England would have been obtained at an enormous sacrifice, if, in enjoining these Hours and services only, the intention had been to fix this as the maximum of opportunities for united prayer, or prevent any further use being made of the ancient Office Books. In two material points the deepest injury would, in such case, have been inflicted on the devotional life of the people:—(1.) It would have excluded us from a great body of varied forms of prayer and adaptations of Scripture, of great beauty, and peculiarly appropriate to the changing seasons of the Christian year,—a principle thoroughly recognised, and partially adopted, in our established services, but which could be carried out only to a very small extent consistently with their simple design. (2.) It would have entirely cut off the members of the Church of England from the observance of those Hours which are more especially primitive, aiid which, traced up through the Holy Scriptures, connect the worship of the Church of Christ with that of the saints of the race of Israel. Our Morning Prayer is composed mainly of selections from the ancient Offices for Matins, Lauds, and Prime; our Evensong from those for Vespers and
* Bingham points out the necessity of distinguishing between public and private devotions, and between the rules adopted in churchis or monasteries. "Epiphanius," he observes, "speaking of the customs of the Catholic Church. mentions the morning hymns and prayers. and the evening psalms and prayers, but no other. So Chrysostom often mentions tue daily service in the Church, morning and evening. and at the most never speaks of above three times a-day for public assemblies."—Orig. Eccles., xii. 9. 8.