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COLLECTION OF OFFICES,
FORMS OF PRAYER
ORDINARY AND EXTRAORDINARY:
TAKEN out or
THE SCRIPTURES, AND THE ANCIENT LITURGIES OF SEVERAL CHURCHES, ESPECIALLY THE GREEK.
TO THEM THAT SHALL USE THESE PRAYERS.
BEcAUSE no Prayers are the more pleasing to God for being long, and they are oftentimes displeasing even to good men if they be very long ; and yet, on the other side, if the devotion be long it is the better;— and if that be lasting, it ought to be supplied with materials, like gums to the altar of incense, and fuel for the holy fires: he that collected these devotions did design to serve the advantages both of length and shortness, that the most devout may be fitted, and the most secular and employed may not be wearied.
1. Therefore, although every thing is set down at length, that the trouble of references and turnings back might be avoided, and, therefore, seem longer than they are ; and the hymns are sometimes double, that the variety might be more apt to please and to instruct,
* The reason for omitting the Preface to the “Collection of Offices,” has been stated at page 312 of Vol. VII.
and the offices are made full, that upon the more solemn days, when people come with a greater and more active devotion and greater leisure, their time and their piety might be employed ; yet, on other days, there is but one lesson appointed, and one hymn to follow it. 2. The prayers are divided into smaller portions, that with ease any of them may be omitted by persons, whose occasions force them from their attendance on longer offices; besides that there are two forms of Morning and Evening Prayer, the one shorter, the other longer. 3. In the beginning of Morning and Evening Prayer, some of the devotions which are set down, are desired and intended to be used but seldom ; not only to avoid tediousness, but for other reasons very obvious, that the minister's more solemn power and office might not be less regarded, by being daily (and consequently very often without just dispositions) offered: I mean it concerning the form of Absolution. The Confession may be shortened as there is cause, by making use only of some of the sections, and leaving out the other. 4. If, upon communion days, the Morning Prayer and the Communion Office be not read at one time, but the Morning Prayer be read at seven or eight o'clock in
the morning; and the Communion Office at the time