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of God, is the only Saviotr of the world ; in whom alone all the mercies, grace, and promises of God to mankind, for this life and the life to come, are fully and wholly comprised.” Again, according to the Rubric it is to be repeated standing, to signify our resolution to stand up boldly in the defence of it. As in Poland and Lithuania, it is said, the nobles used formerly to draw their swords, in token that, if there was an occasion, they would defend and seal the truth of it with their blood.
The Litany of the Church of England is a distinct and separate office in the intention of the church, as is evident from the rubric before it, which appoints it, “ to be sung or said after morning prayer.”
The word itself is defined in the rubric as “a supplication."
As to the form in which litanies are made, namely, in short petitions by the priest, with responses by the people, St. Chry. sostom derives the custom from the primitive ages, when the priest began, and uttered by the spirit, some things fit to be prayed for, and the people joined the intercessions, saying, * We beseech thee to hear us good Lord.” When the miraculous gifts of the spirit began to cease, they wrote down several of these forms, which were the original of our present litanies.. St. Ambrose has left us one, which agrees in many particulars with that of our own church.
About the year 400, litanies began to be used in processions, the people walking barefoot, and repeating them with great devotion. It is pretended that several countries were delivered from great calamities by this means. About the year 600, Gregory the Great, from all the litanies extant, composed the famous seven-fold litany, by which Rome, it is said, was deliyered from a grievous mortality. This has served as a pattern to all the western churches since ; and to it ours of the Church of England comes nearer than that of the Romish Missal, in which later popes have inserted the invocation of saints, which our reformers properly expunged. These processional litanies having occasioned much scandal, it was decreed that in future the litanies should be used only within the wall of the church.
The days, appointed by the fifteenth canon of our church, for using the litany, are Wednesdays and Fridays, the ancient fasting days of the primitive church ; to wbich, by the rubric, Sundays are added, as being the days of the greatest assembly for divine service. Before the last review of the common prayer, the litany was a distinct service by itself, and used some time after the morning prayer was ended. At present, it forms one office with the morning service, being ordered to be read after the third collect for grace, instead of the intercessional prayers in the daily service.
The occasional prayers and thanksgivings found in the book of common prayer are, for the most part, highly appropriate to the respective ends for which they were composed.
Concerning the antiquity of the collects, most of them were used in the western church above twelve hundred years ago,
and many of thein no doubt long before ; for this is certain, that these prayers were collected and put in order by St. Gregory, that great light and guide of the church.
The Festivals of the English Church are held on what are called “ Saints' Days," with some others. St. Andrew's on the 30th of November ; St. Thomas', 31st December ; St. Stephen's 26th of December ; St. John the Evangelist, 27th of December ; the Innocents' day, on the 28th December.
This day is commemorated by the church because the Holy Innocents* were the first that suffered upon our Saviour's account ; also for the greater solemnity of Christmas, the birth of Christ being the cause of their deaths. The Greek Church reckons the number forty thousand ; but the scripture is silent on the subject.
Conversion of St. Paul, 25th January ; St. Matthias' day, 24th February ; St. Mark's, 25th April ; Št. Philip and St. James, 1st of May ; St. Barnabas the Apostle, 11th of June ; Nativity of John the Baptist, 24th June ; Beheading of John the Baptist, 29th August ; St. Peter's day, 29th June, St. James-the Apos. tle, 25th July ; St. Bartholomew the Apostle, 24th August ; St. Matthew the Apostle, 21st of September ; St. Michael and All Angels, 29th of September; St. Luke the Evangelist, 18th October ; St. Simon and St. Jude, 28th October ; and All Saints, the 1st of November. The reformers having laid aside the celebration of a great many martyrs' days, which had grown too numerous and burthensome to the church, thought fit to retain this day, whereon the church, by a general commemoration, returns her thanks to God for them all.
Besides these festivals may be mentioned two others, not connected with those relating to the apostles : these are the Purification, on the second of February ; and the Annunciation, on the 25th of March.t
Such are the saints, and such the days on which festivals are kept in the Church of England. They are, however, at present but little attended to, except at the “ public offices,” in which * red-letter days," so called from being usually printed with red ink in the common almanacks, are observed as holidays, &c. There are other days, as Good-Friday, Easter, Whitsuntide, and Lent, observed in their church ; but they are all well known.
The communion service of this church is appointed to be read at the altar, or communion-table, every Lord's day, and upon every festival or fast throughout the year. To “receive the communion,” means to receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, called the eucharist by the Roman Catholics ; and here it may be proper to observe, that the Church of England allows of two sacraments only, (viz.) baptism and the eucharist. Those
*The children of Bethlehem, slain by Herod.
+The Episcopalians in the United States neglect the most of these fpstivals
called occasional offices of the church, are the Lord's Supper ; baptism ; the catechism ; confirmation ; matrimony ; visitation of the sick; burial of the dead ; churching of women; and the commination.
The Church of England, though admitting the eucharist as a sacrament, conferring grace, when worthily administered and received, does not attach any superstitious importance to it.
This sacrament is generally taken by persons a little before death, as is that of extreme unction in the Roman Catholic Churcb ; but it is administered once a month publicly in the church. The manner of its administration may be seen in all our common prayer-books.
Baptism is the other sacrament of the Church of England, and it may be administered to either infants or adults ; but generally to the former, and is either public or private. There are three services for this sacrament: 1st. “ the ministration of public baptism of infants, to be used in the church ; 2d. the ministration of baptism of children in houses ; and 3d, the ministration of baptism to such as are of riper years, and are able to answer for themselves.” Infants receive their Christian names at this rite.
The use of sponsors, or god-fathers, at the time a child is bap. tized, or christened, as it is called, is indispensable : for a male there must be two god-fathers and one god-mother; and for a female, two god-mothers and one god-father, who “promise a vow,” in the child's name,“ that it shall renounce the devil and all his works ; believe all the articles of the Christian faith ; keep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the same till the end of its life!"
The catechism of the Church of England teaches the leading doctrines of the church, and instructs the young in many of their duties, moral and theological.
Confirmation.- When children are properly instructed in the nature and obligations promised for them in baptism, by the church catechism, they are then required to be presented to the bishop for confirmation, in order to ratify those vows in their own persons, by this rite ; but not being instituted by Christ, it cannot properly be called a sacrament.
The office of the church begins with a serious admonition to all those who are desirous to partake of its benefits ; and that they should renew in their own names the solemn engagement which they entered into by their sureties at their baptism, and this in the presence of God and the whole congregation ; to which every one ought to answer, with reverence, and serious consid. eration, I do. Then follow some acts of praise and prayer, proper for the occasion. The ceremony consists of the imposition, or laying on of hands upon the head. The office concludes with suitable prayers. The bishop having laid his hand upon the head of each person, as a token of God's favour, humbly supplicates the Almighty and everlasting God, that his hand inay be over them, and his Holy Spirit may be always with thein,