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COLLECTED FROM VARIOUS SERVICES,
IN USE AMONG
TO WHICH ARE ADDED,
CHIEFLY SELECTED FROM
THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.
PRINTED BY B, C. COLLINS, 1794.
The right of Christians to judge for themselves in religious matters, and to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, must be allowed by all enlightened Protestants. Some Societies among Protestant Diflenters, in the exercise of this invaluable right of private judgment, have deviated from their usual mode of worship, and introduced some printed Devotional Services, in which they themselves may take a vocal part with the Minister.
This has given rise to the publication of many judicious Liturgies for the use of such congregations.
The compilation contained in this Volume was occafioned by the wish of a respectable society, to make a trial of this mode of public worship.
Their principal reasons for it are briefly these.
By the congregation taking a part in the devotional services, the attention of the worshippers is more easily kept up, and proper devotional affections are more likely to be excited, by a whole congregation uniting their voices, in some parts of the various folemn addresses to the Divine Being.
In this mode, their devotion is not made to depend on the Minister's frame of mind, which, like that of others, must be different at different times.
By the admission of pre-composed printed forms, the people have an opportunity of perusing them in private, and by this means of being better prepared for using them in public.
To this it may be added, that though Liturgies are not expressly enjoined in Scripture, yet this mode of worship was countenanced by the practice of Christ and his apofties, who ftatedly joined in the services of the synagogue. The form of prayer also which our blessed Lord prescribed to his disciples, was chiefly extracted from the public liturgies then in use among the Jews.
WHERE such a provision is made, public worship may, with more ease and propriety, be conducted by a congregation, in case of a Minister's illness, or neceflary absence.
THOUGH for these, and other reasons, they have thought proper to introduce some printed devotional forms, it is not intended that Free Prayer should be entirely excluded: The latter is still to be continued as part of the Service, whereby they hope to enjoy the advantages of both.
Some have objected to the introduction of printed offices of devotion among Protestant Diflenters,
that it is a deviation from the principles of their predecessors. To this it may be answered, have not Christians of the present day as much a right to judge and act for themselves as their ancestors? The objection, however, is founded in mistake. The original non-conformists in these kingdoms not only allowed the lawfulness of praying by forrn, but even the expediency of it, in some cases.
The main body of the Dissenters in England, at the restoration of Charles II. would have complied with the use of the Liturgy of the established Church (as to the main and general purport of it) if some points, which appeared to them unscriptural, might have been dispensed with.
It has also been objected, that Liturgies confine the congregations in which they are used, to a certain set of religious sentiments, and consequently have a tendency to impede the progress of free enquiry.
But this inconvenience may be prevented, by forming the Devotional Services on the general principles of Christianity; and especially, if there be an occasional review of them, as seems very proper, and a new edition printed, whenever any confiderable number of a Society express a with for it.
In order to avoid the too frequent return of the fame forms, this Volume contains TEN DIFFE