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The petitions contained in this part of the prayer are found in almost all the liturgies of the primitive church. In addition to prayers for the whole peo

. ple, and the congregation then present, it was also common in primitive times to pray by name for those persons who had contributed liberally to the support of God's ministers and of the poor u.

ENGLAND. And to all thy CESAREA. Μνήσθητι κύριε του people give thy heavenly grace, παρεστώτος λαού, και των δι' ευand especially to this congre- λόγους αιτίας απολειφθέντων, και gation here present; that with ελέησον αυτούς και ημάς κατά το meek heart and due reverence πλήθος του ελέους σου.

τα ταμεία they may hear and receive thy αυτών έμπλησον παντός αγαθού, , holy word; truly serving thee τας συζυγίας αυτών εν ειρήνη και in holiness and righteousness ομονοία διατήρησον, τα νήπια έκall the days of their life. θρεψον, την νεότητα παιδαγώγη

σον, το γήρας περικράτησον, κ.

τ.λ. W

ANTIOCH. Rursus meminisse dignare eorum qui nobiscum in oratione consistunt, patrum, fratrum, magistrorumque nostrorum, et eorum qui absuntv.

MILAN, ROME. Memento Domine famulorum famularumque N. et N., et omnium circumadstantium, quorum tibi fides cognita est, et nota devotio ,

There is a prayer of the same kind in the liturgy of Alexandria y.

173. Æthiop. Renaudot, tom.

naud. tom. ii. p. 35. i. p. 514. Jacobi Græce, Asse- w Liturgia Basilii, Goar, p. mani, Codex Liturg. tom. v.

171. p. 41. Marci, Renaudot, tom. x Sacramentarium Gregorii i. p. 140.

Menard, p. 2. Miss. Ambros. u See Bona, Rer. Liturg. Pamel

. Liturg. tom. i. p. 301. lib. ii. c. 8.

y Liturgia Cyrilli Copt. Rev Liturg. Jacobi Syr. Re- naudot, tom. i. p. 44.


Such petitions as these occur abundantly in the eastern liturgies of Constantinople, Cæsarea, Antioch, and Alexandria. But they are not found in the ancient liturgies of Milan and Rome. It is a matter of some surprise, that the western churches, who borrowed so many things from eastern liturgies, did not adopt these prayers, which breathe the very spirit of that “pure and undefiled religion” described by the apostle James.

ENGLAND. And we most CoNSTANTINOPLE. Μνήσθητι humbly beseech thee of thy κύριε πλεόντων, οδοιπορoύντων, νοgoodness, O Lord, to comfort σούντων, καμνόντων, αιχμαλώτων, and succour all those who, in και της σωτηρίας αυτών Ζ. this transitory life, are in trou- ALEXANDRIA. Solve captible, sorrow, need, sickness, or vos, salva eos qui necessitaany other adversity.

tem patiuntur, esurientes saCÆSAREA. Xnpôv mpóorndı, tia, conforta pusillanimes, lapορφανών υπεράσπισον, αιχμαλώ- sos erige, stantes confirma, erτους ρύσαι, νοσούντας ίασαι, των rantes converte, perduc eos εν βήματι, και εξορίαις, και πάση omnes ad viam salutis tuæ, θλίψει και ανάγκη και περιστάσει numera illos omnes cum poόντων μνημόνευσον ο θεός a.

pulo tuo b.

The liturgies of Antioch and Ethiopia contain prayers which scarcely differ from the abovec,


We proceed, lastly, to a general commemoration of all the servants of God who have entered into


2 Liturgia Chrysost. Goar, p. 79.

a Liturgia Basilii, Goar, p.

naudot, tom. i. p. 45.

c Liturgia Jacobi Syr. Renaud. tom. ii. p. 34. Æthiop. tom. i. p. 515.


b Liturgia Cyrilli Copt. Re

their rest since the beginning of the world. Here, though we name them not, we commemorate the patriarchs, the prophets, apostles, martyrs, and all the departed righteous, and testify our belief in the immortality of the soul, and in life everlasting.

In primitive times these commemorations were accompanied by prayers for the departed. When the custom of praying for the dead began in the Christian church has never been ascertained. We find traces of the practice in the second century, and either then, or shortly after, it appears to have been customary in all parts of the churchd. The first person who objected to such prayers was Aërius, who lived in the fourth century; but his arguments were answered by various writers, and did not produce any effect in altering the immemorial practice of praying for those that rest. Accordingly, from that time all the liturgies in the world contained such prayers. These facts being certain, it becomes a matter of some interest and importance to ascertain the reasons which justified the omission of these prayers in the liturgy of the English church for the first time in the reign of king Edward VI. Some persons will perhaps say that this sort of prayer is unscriptural ; that it infers either the Romish doctrine of purgatory, or something else which is contrary to the revealed will of God, or the nature of things. But when we reflect that the great divines of the English church have not taken this ground,

d Prayers and offerings for xv. ch. 3. §. 15, &c. Bp. Taythe departed faithful are men- lor's Dissuasive from Popery, tioned by Tertullian, Cyprian, part 2. book ii. §. 2. ArchOrigen, Cyril of Jerusalem, &c. bishop Usher's Answer to the See Bingham's Antiquities, b. Challenge, &c.

and that the church of England herself has never formally condemned prayers for the dead, but only omitted them in her liturgy, we may perhaps think that there are some other reasons to justify that omissione

The true justification of the church of England is to be found in her zeal for the purity of the Christian faith, and for the welfare of all her members. It is too well known that the erroneous doctrine of purgatory had crept into the western churches, and was held by many of the clergy and people. Prayers for the departed were represented as an absolute proof that the church had always held the doctrine of purgatoryf. The deceitfulness of this argument can only be estimated by the fact, that many persons at this day, who deny the doctrine of purgatory, assert positively that the custom of praying for the departed infers a belief in purgatory. If persons of education are deceived by this argument, which has been a hundred times refuteds, how is it possible

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e It has been indeed thought the communion-service? The by some great and respectable commemoration that closes characters, that prayers for the the prayer which is the subject dead are not entirely omitted of the present section, was not in the liturgy and offices of the introduced until the last review English church, but this is not in 1661. clearly or satisfactorily proved Prayer for the dead prein my opinion; and it appears supposeth purgatory. Harding's almost certain, that if the Answer to Jewel's Apology, prayers in the liturgy, and the f. 119. Antwerp, 1565. "Oraoffice for burial of the dead, tio pro mortuis quæ purgatorii may imply some petition for doctrinam invehit necessario." the departed, such a petition Renaudot. Liturg. Oriental. was not intended by the re- tom. i. p. 296. visers of the English liturgy in & See the writings of almost the year 1551; for had they every divine who has argued designed to retain prayers for against the doctrine of purgathe departed, how are we to tory. For instance, Burnet on account for their omission in the Thirty-nine Articles, art.

that the uneducated classes could ever have got rid of the persuasion that their church held the doctrine of purgatory, if prayers for the departed had been continued in the liturgy? Would not this custom, in fact, have rooted the error of purgatory in their minds? If, then, the church of England omitted public prayer for the departed saints, it was to remove the errors and superstition of the people, and to preserve the purity of the Christian faith. According to scripture, they that die in the Lord are “ blessed," and “rest” from their labours, although, as St. James saith, “ in many things we offend all.According to the doctrine of the catholic Fathers, these souls rest in peace, and joyfully await the time of their resurrection and perfection in eternal glory; and if all prayers for them were omitted, they could not be made unhappy, nor would their felicity and refreshment be diminished. But, on the other hand, the living, who were yet in perils and temptations, might have been led astray, if prayers for the departed had been continued, and thus being brought into dangerous and presumptuous superstitions, might finally have offended God and been condemned.

Granting the doctrine of purgatory to be false, I think it is impossible to deny, that the danger which would have arisen to the living, had prayers for those that rest continued, would have been greater than any advantage that the souls of the blessed could have derived from those prayers. The satisfactory and sufficient reason, therefore, for the omission of such prayers in the English liturgy is, that xxii; Bp. Taylor's Dissuasive admirable Defence of Archfrom Popery; Bp. Stillingfleet's bishop Laud, p. 643, &c.

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