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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by
A. S. BARNES & CO., In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
The proceeds of the Copyright of this work are to be devoted to the aid of the Ministers
and Churches who adopt it.
IT is a most invaluable
part of that blessed liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, that in His worship different forms and usages may without offence be allowed, provided the substance of the faith be kept entire.
And it is ever within the sphere of Christian people, upon weighty and important considerations, to make such alterations and enlargements in the rites and ceremonies to which they have been accustomed as the edification of worshipers may seem to demand.
While, therefore, in the arrangement of this book, the main portion of that Liturgy which has been endeared to so many in England and America by centuries of use-and which in several parts connects us with the devotions of a still earlier antiquity-has been carefully retained, such changes and additions have been made as may tend, it is believed, to the clearer setting forth of Christian doctrine, the unity of the various branches of the Church, and the furtherance of heartfelt prayer and praise.
With this view, the order of the Services has been simplified; repetitions have been avoided ; the Psalter has been taken from the version of the Bible now in common use, and classified according to the different Sundays of the Ecclesiastical year; the Table of Sunday Lessons has been so extended as to ensure the reading of a double portion of the divine Word; a greater variety of chants and prayers has been introduced ; controverted and doubtful expressions have been omitted, and the rubrical directions so expressed as not to restrict the inherent liberty of every minister and congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the arrangement of the Special Services the system of no one of the denominations of the Church has been followed, but that line of ceremonial has been selected which their general experience since the Reformation has shown to be good, and the continued investigation of Holy Scripture has proved to be true. It has been kept steadily in mind that the want of the Church is not a further addition to the number of Christian sects, but some central ground upon which their common faith may find harmonious utterance toward heaven, and their actual oneness be manifested to the world; some form which shall afford precision and dignity to the services of the sanctuary without controlling them; which may be used with mutual acceptance by believers of every name, in order to confess their sins and offer up their thanksgivings to their Heavenly Father, without confining them to the prescriptions of an ecclesiastical authority.
Upon these principles has this work been carried out; and now, being brought to a conclusion, it is hoped the whole will be received and examined by every sincere Christian, with a meek, candid, and charitable frame of mind; without prejudice or prepossessions; seriously considering what Christianity is, and what the truths of the Gospel are; and earnestly beseeching Almighty God to accompany with His blessing every endeavor for promulgating them to mankind, in the clearest, plainest, most affecting and majestic manner, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour.