Andrew Fowler.

An exposition of the Book of Common Prayer and administration of the sacraments and other rites and ceremonies of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America online

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Online LibraryAndrew FowlerAn exposition of the Book of Common Prayer and administration of the sacraments and other rites and ceremonies of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America → online text (page 1 of 26)
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Rector of St. Bartholomew's Parish, South-Carolina.

Tht second Edition, with Auditions and Improvzmnt;,


No. 160 Pea."



District of New-Tori, sa.

Be IT REMEMBERED, That on the
thirteenth day of October, in the thirty-
(L. S.) second year of the Independence of the

United States of America, Andrew Fow-
ler, of the said District, hath deposited
in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as
Author, in the words following, to wit: " An Exposition of
the Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacra-
ments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Protestant Episco-
pal Church in the United States of America. By the Rev. An-
drew Fowler, A. M. Rector of St. Bartholomew's Parish, South-
Carolina. The second Edition, with Additions and Improvements."
In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United
States, entitled, " An Act for the Encouragement of Learning,
by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the
Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the Times
therein mentioned ;" and also to an Act, entitled, " An Act
supplementary to an Act, entitled, An Act for the Encourage-
ment of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts,
and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies,
during the Times therein mentioned, and extending the Bene.
fits thereof to the Arts of Designing, Engraving, and Etching
Historical and other Prints."

Clerk of the District of Nevi-Tork.




Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of






1 HE design of the following pages is to
show the beauty, harmony, excellency, and
usefulness of the Book of Common Prayer,
&c. and to render the whole sufficiently
clear and intelligible to the meanest ca-

That such a performance is much wanted,
cannot be denied; for it is well known that
the Book of Common Prayer is little un-
derstood by some, and but negligently used
by others, even of our own communion;
and that our opponents have, from time to
time, raised a variety of objections against
it, hoping thereby to lessen its credit, and
to bring it into disuse.

The consideration of these great evils
has induced me to publish this Exposition,
wherein the prayers and administration of
the sacraments and other rites and cere-
monies of our church are illustrated, ob-


jections answered, and advice is humbly
offered, both to the younger clergy and the
laity, for promoting true devotion in the
use of these forms.

To render this attempt successful, I have
endeavoured to comprise as much informa-
tion as possible in a small volume. — I have
also divided the book into suitable chapters,
and arranged the subjects of it in the same
order in which they are placed in the Book
of Common Prayer. — The form of it, by
way of question and answer, was chosen,
because it is a method best adapted to con-
vey instruction, and to impress on the mind
the truths which it inculcates.

The first chapter is intended as an in-
troduction to the work. — Of the other chap-
ters, it will be needless to add any thing
more concerning them than what is con-
tained in the table of contents. — At the end
of the book is annexed an alphabetical in-
dex of the ecclesiastical writers cited in this
Exposition, and the times when they flou-
rished j as also an explanation of some
words and terms therein used, in order to


assist the common reader, whose benefit is
here principally regarded.

In this edition I have made some essen-
tial alterations and additions, and should
have made more, if time and situation
would have permitted.

It will be proper to observe, that, in the
prosecution of this work I have not only
consulted Bishop Sparrow, Dr. Comber,
Dr. Nichols, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Nelson, Mr.
Wheatly, Mr. Shepherd, and others, but
have actually selected from them whatever
would answer my purpose; and especially
from the last two named authors.

How well I have executed this under-
taking I leave my reader to judge; hoping
his candour will excite him to make fa-
vourable allowances for its many imperfec-
tions; and also that it may please God to
bless my honest endeavours to his glory>
and the good of his church, whose pros-
perity ever occupies the first place in my

O pray for the peace of Jerusalem s they
shall prosper that love thee,


Peace be within thy zvalls, and plenteous-
?iess within thy palaces.

For my brethren and companions' sakes, I
will wish thee prosperity.

Yea, because of the house of the Lord our
God, I will seek to do thee good.

Psalm cxxik


Chapter 1. Of Forms of Prayer 1

2. Of the Order for Daily Morning and Even-

ing Prayer 20

3. Of the Litany 69

4. Of the Prayers and Thanksgivings npon

several Occasions 86

5. Of the Sundays and Holy-Days throughout

the Year 103

6. Of the Order for the Administration of

the Lord's Supper, or Holy Communion 168

7. Of the Ministration of public Baptism of

Infants 207

8. Of the Ministration of private Baptism of

Infants 242

9. Of the Ministration of Baptism to such as

are of riper Years, and able to answer for
themselves 248

10. Of the Catechism 250

11. Of the Order of Confirmation, or laying on

of Hands upon those that are baptized,
and come to Years of Discretion 256

12. Of the Form of Solemnization of Matrimony 264

13. Of the Order for the Visitation of the Sick 284

14. Of the Communion of the Sick 296

15. Of the Order for the Burial of the Dead 299
76 t Of the Thanksgiving of Women after

Child-Birth, commonly called Churching

of Women 310


Chapter 17. Of the Forms of Prayer to be used at Sea 313

18. Of the Form of Prayer for the Visitation

of Prisoners 314

19. Of the Form of Prayer and Thanksgiving

to Almighty God for the Fruits of the
Earth, and all the other Blessings of his
merciful Providence ibid

20. Of the Forms of Prayer to be used in Fa-

milies 317

21. Of the Selections and Book of Psalms in

Prose 320

22. Of the Book of Psalms and Hymns in Metre 324
An Alphabetical Index of the Ecclesiastical Writers cited

in this Exposition, &c 326

Councils cited in this Exposition ibid

Explanation of some Words and Terms made use of in

this Exposition 32?




Of Forms of Prayer.

St. Luke xi. 1.

] .ord teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And
he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father who art
in heaven, See.

i^j WHAT do you mean by common prayer?

A'. The form of service used by the Protestant
Episcopal Church in the United States of America,
upon several occasions, ordinary and extraordinary.;
ratified by the Bishops, the Clergy, and the laity, in
convention, the sixteenth day of October, in the
year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and
eighty-nine ; when they declared it to be the liturgy
of this church, and ordered it to be received as
such by all the members of the same.

^« Whence appears the lawfulness of forms of
prayer f

* A. From the custom of the ancient Jews, the
precept and example of our Saviour, the example
also of his Apostles, and the practice of the primitive

Q, Hoiv does it appear that the feivs joined hi
precombosed forms ?

A. By innumerable testimonies, both ancient and
modern, as Josephus, Philo, Paul, Fagius, Scaligcr,
Buxtorf, and Selden, in Eutvchium ; and especially
}\ '

2 Of Forms of Prayer.

Dr. Hammond and Dr. Lightfoot : the former of
whom proves that the Jews used set forms, and
that their prayers and praises, &c. were in the same
order as our Common Prayer ; and the latter not
only asserts that they worshipped God by stated
forms, but mentions both the order and method of
their hymns and supplications. So that there is no
more reason to doubt that they used a precomposed
•settled liturgy, than that we use the book of Common

$%. What insia7ices of precomposed forms of Jew-
ish worship do xvefnd in the scriptures f

A. A great variety: the first piece of solemn
worship recorded in scripture is a hymn of praise,
composed by Moses upon the deliverance of the
children of Israel from the Egyptians, which was
sung by all the congregation alternately ; by Moses
and the men first, and afterwards by Miriam and the
women, Exodus xv. which could not have been
done unless it had been a precomposed form. In
the expiation of an uncertain murder, the elders of
the city that is next to the slain are expressly com-
manded to offer up, and consequently to join in a
form of prayer precomposed by God himself, Deut,
xxi. 7, 8. And in Numbers vi. 22. &c. chap. x. 35,
36. Deut. xxvi. 3, 5, &c. are several other forms oi
prayer precomposed by God, and prescribed by
Moses ; which, though they were not to be joined
in by the whole congregation, are yet sufficient pre-
cedents for the use of precomposed stated forms.
The scriptures also assure us that David appointed
the Levites to stand every morning to thank and
praise the Lord, and likewise at even, I Chron.
xxiii. 30. which rule was observed in the temple
afterwards built by Solomon, and restored at the
building of the second temple after the captivity,
Nehem. xii. 25, 45, 46. And the whole book of
Psalms, it may be observed, were forms of prayer
and praise indited by the Holy Ghost for the joint
use of the congregation ; as appears from the titles

Of Forms of Prayer.

of several of the psalms and from divers places of

^. Hoxu does it appear that Christ enjoined a
form of prayer?

A. From Luke xi. 1, 2, &c. " And it came to
pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place,
when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him,
Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his dis-
ciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say,
Our Father," &c. And again, Mat. vi. 9. After
this manner pray ye, &c.

Q. How is it evident that Christ joined in pre*
composed set forms of prayer ?

A. It cannot be doubted but that he was in com-
munion with the Jewish church, and zealous and
exemplary in their public devotions, and, conse-
quently, that he took all opportunities of joining in
those precomposed forms of prayer, which were
daily used in the Jewish congregations, as the
learned Dr. Lightfoot has largely proved. And
we may be certain, that had not our Saviour very
constantly attended their public worship, and joined
in the devotions of their congregations, the scribes
and pharisees, his bitter and implacable enemies,
and great zealots for the temple service, would have
reproached him as " an ungodly wretch that despised
prayer," &c. But nothing of this nature do we find
in the New Testament ; and, therefore, had we no
other evidence than this, we might safely conclude
that our Saviour was a constant attendant on the
public service of the Jews, and consquently that he
joined in precomposed set forms of prayer.

% What was the practice of the Apostles and pri-
mitive Christians ?
_ A. As to the Apostles and our Lord's other dis-
ciples, their practice was doubtless the same as that
of the Jews, and our Saviour, at least till his ascen-
sion. And as to the primitive Christians, it appears
that they used stated forms of prayer, from their
joining in the use of the Lord's prayer, in the us©

4 Of Forms of Prayer,

of the psalms, and divers other precomposed set.

^K Hoiv do you prove that the Apostles joined in
the use of the Lord's prayer?

A. That they joined in the use of the Lord's
prayer is sufficiently evident from our Saviours
having commanded them so to do: for whatever
dispute may be made about the original word in
Mat. vi. 9. which is translated not exactly, but pa-
raphrastically, " after this mariner," but ought, with
greater accuracy, to be rendered so or thus ; yet if
we should grant that our Lord, in thi3 place, only
proposed this prayer as a directory and the pattern
to make our other prayers by, we should still find
that afterwards, upon another occasion, namely,
when his disciples requested him to " teach them to
pray, as John had also taught his disciples," he pre-
scribed the use of these very words, expressly bid-
ding them, " When ye pray, say, Our P ather," &c.
Luke xi. 12, *kc.

. H>. Supposing our Saviour did prescribe this prayer
as a form to his disciples, zvas it not for a time only,
till theif should be more fully instructed, and enabled
to pray by the assistance of the Holy Ghost f

A. No : for if, because our Saviour has not in
express words commanded this form of prayer to be
used for ever, w T e are to conclude that it was only
prescribed for a time, we must also necessarily allow,
that whatever Christ has instituted without limita-
tion of time, is not always obligatory upon us ; and,
consequently, we may declare Christ's institutions to
be null, and regard baptism and the Lord's supper
as temporary prescriptions only, as well as the Lord's

$. 1 'hough we read in the Acts, of the Apostles of
several prayers made by the church, yet we find not
any intimation that they ever used this firm: and docs
'his sufficiently prove that they did not ?

A, No : for we may as well conclude from the
silence of the scripture, that the Apostles di

Of Forms of Prayer'. 5

baptize " in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy
Gnost," as that they did not use this prayer, since
they had as strict a command to do the one as the
other. But, besides, in ail those places, except two,
namely, Acts i. 24. and ch. iv. 24. there is nothing
mentioned, but that they prayed ; no mention at all
of the words of their prayers ; and, therefore, there
is no reason why we should expect a particular inti-
mation that they used the Lord's prayer.

S%. But are not the words of this prayer improper
to be used nozu ; because therein we pray that God^s
kingdom may come nozv, which came many ages
since, viz. at our Saviour's ascension P

A. No : for though the foundations of God's
kingdom were then laid, it is not yet completed ;
and since we know that all the world must be con-
verted to Christianity, and that Jews, Turks and
Heathens still make up far the greater part of the
world, we have as much reason, on this account,
to pray for the coming of God's kingdom now as
formerly. And if we consider those parts of the
world which have already embraced Christianity,
we cannot think it improper to pray that they may
sincerely practise what they believe, which condu-
ces much more to the advancement of God's king-
dom, than a bare profession does without such prac-

^. What must we conclude then from xvhat has
been already said on this siibject f

A. That since it appears that our Saviour pre-
scribed the Lord's prayer as a standing form, and
commanded his Apostles and other disciples to use
it as such, it is not to be suspected but that they ob-
served this command ; especially since the accounts
which we have from antiquity do, though the scrip-
tures are silent in the matter, fully prove it to have
been their constant custom; as appears by a cloud-
of witnesses, who conspire in attesting this truth; ;

^. Produce a few of these testimonies.

A. First, Tertuilian w?,s, without all doubt, ci
13 2

6 Of Forms of Prayer.

opinion that Christ delivered the Lord T s prayer not
as a directory only, but as a precomposed set form
to be used by all Christians. P'or he says, " The
Son taught us to say, " Our Father, who art in hea-
ven," that is, he taught us to use the Lord's prayer;
and speaking of the same prayer, he says, " Our
Lord gave his disciples of the New Testament, a new
form of prayer." He calls it " the prayer appointed
by Christ ;" the " praver appointed by law ;" and
u the ordinary," that is, the usual and customary
" prayer, which is to be said before our other pray-
ers, and upon which, as a foundation, our other
prayers are to be built ;" and observes, that the use
of it was ordained by our Saviour.

St. Cyprian tells us, that " Christ himself gave
us a form of prayer, and commanded us to use it ;
because when we speak to the Father in the Son's
words, we shall be more readily heard;" and that
" there is no prayer more spiritual or true than the
Lord's prayer : therefore he most earnestly ex-
horts men to the use of it as often as they pray.

St. Cyril, of Jerusalem, calls it " the prayer which
Christ gave his disciples, and which God hath taught

St. Chrysostom calls it " the prayer enjoined by
law, and ordained by Christ."

Optatus takes it for granted, that this prayer is

St. Austin mentions that " our Saviour gave it to
the Apostles to the intent that they should use it ;
that he himself taught his disciples, and by them
taught us to use it ; that he dictated it to us as a
lawyer would put words in his client's mouth ; that
it is necessary for all ; that it is such as all are bound
to use; and that we cannot be God's children un-
less we use it."

St. Gregory Nyssen says, that " Christ showed
his disciples how they shouldpray, by the words of
the Lord's prayer." And Theodoret assures us,
that " the Lord's prayer is a form of prayer, and

Of Forms of Prayer.


that Christ has commanded us to use it." But tes-
timonies of this kind are numberless.

. What follows from hence ?

A, It follows, that if the judgment of the ancient
fathers may be relied on, who knew the practice of
the Apostles much better than we can pretend to
do, we may safely affirm that the Apostles made
use of the Lord's prayer. And if it be granted
that they did so, we may reasonably suppose that
they enjoined the use of it. It is very improbable,
indeed, that a Christian assembly would, in their

Eublic devotions, omit that prayer which was the
adge of their discipleship, and so expressly en-
forced on them. And the very petitions of the
prayer, it may be remarked, running all along in
the plural number, do evidently show that it was
primarily designed for the joint use of a congrega-

^. How is it evident that the Christians of the
first centuries used the Lord^s prayer in their as*
semblics ?

A. From its being always used in the celebration
of the Lord's supper, which for some ages was ad-
ministered every day. And St. Austin tells us in ex»
press words, that this prayer was said at God's altar
daily. So that, without enlarging on the subject,
we may reasonably conclude, that the Apostles and
primitive Christians did join in the use of the
Lord's prayer.

§>. What is the next argument to prove that the
primitive Christians used stated forms of prayer ?

A. From their joining in the use of psalms : for
though all the psalms are not prayers, because some
of them are not addressed to God, yet it is certain
a great part of them are so.

Q. jffotv does it appear that the Apostles did ever
join in the use of psalms ?

A. Because we are told, Acts xvi. 25. that Paul
and Silas, when they were in prison, prayed and sang
praises (psalms) to God ; and this we must suppose

$ Of Forms of Prayer.

they did audiblv, because the prisoners heard them,
and they would have disturbed each other, had they
not united in the same prayers and praises. Because
also St. Paul blames the Corinthians, that when they
came together, ever)' one had a psalm, had a doc-
trine, &'\ 1 Cor. xiv. 26. Where we must not sup-
pose that he forbad the use of psalms in public wor-
ship, any more than he did the use of doctrines, &c.
but that he is displeased with them for not having
the psalm altogether; that is, for not joining in it,
that so the whole congregation might attend one and
the same part of divine service at the same time,
From whence we may conclude, that the use of
psalms was a customary thing, and that the Apostles
approved of it; only ordering them to join regularly
in the use of them, which we may reasonably sup-
pose they afterwards did, since we find by the Apos-
tle's second epistle to them, that they had reformed
their abuses.

The Apostle exhorts the Ephesians to speak to
themselves with psalms, and hymns, and spiritual
songs, singing and making melody in their hearts to
the Lord, chap. v. 19: And he bids the Colossians
to teach and admonish one another in psalms, and
.hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in
their hearts to the Lord, chap. iii. 16. From which
texts of scripture,, and several others that might be
alleged, we must necessarily conclude, that joint
psalmody was instituted by the Apostles as a con-
stant part of divine worship.

i2>. How does it appear that the primitive Chris-
tians continued in this practice ?.

A. Because Eusebius, Justin Martyr, Cyril, So-
crates, Athanasins, and main others of the ancient
fathers mention the churches using psalms in the
publi: assemblies of the primitive Christians, as a
practice that had universally obtained from the
times- of the Apostles.

^. What do we learn from the use of psalms ?

Ai That the. Apostles and primitive Cliristit\ns, by

Of Forms of Prayer. 9

jointly singing such psalms in their congregations
did consequently join in the use of precomposeci
set forms of devotion.

^. Hmv does it appear that the primitive Chris-
tians used precomposed set forms in their public
xv or ship ?

A. That the primitive Christians did very early
use precomposed set forms in their worship, is evi-
dent from the names given to their public prayers,
for they are called common prayers, constituted
prayers, &c. But that which puts the matter out
of all doubt, are the liturgies ascribed to St. Peter,
St. Mark, and St. James ; which, though corrupted
by latter ages, are doubtless of great antiquity. The
liturgy of St.. James was of great authority in the
Church of Jerusalem, in St. Cyril's time, who has
a comment upon it still extant,- which St. Jerome
says was written in his younger years : It is not
probable that St. Cyril would have taken the pains
to explain this liturgv, unless it had been of general
use in the church ; which we cannot suppose it
would have obtained in less than seventy or eighty
years. St. Cyril was chosen Bishop of Jerusalem,
about the year 34-9 ; to which office, it is very well
known, seldom any were promoted before they were
pretty well advanced in life : if, therefore, he wrote
his comment upon this liturgy in his younger years',
we cannot possibly date it later than the year 340 ;
and then allowing the liturgy to have obtained in the
church about eighty years, it necessarily follows
that it must have been composed in the year 260,
which was not above 160 years after the apostolical
age. It is, indeed, declared by Proclus, and the
sixth general council, to have been St. James's own
composition ; and that there are forms of worship
in it as ancient as the Apostles, seems highly proba-
ble ; for all the form, Sursum Cor da contained there-
in, is also in St. Cyril's comments; the same is like-
wise in the liturgies of Rome and Alexandria, and
in the constitutions of Clemens, which all agree are

10 Of Forms of Prayer,

of great antiquity; and St. C • prion, who lived within
an hundred years after the Apostles, mentions it as
a form then used and received j as does also Nice-
phorus. We do not deny but that these liturgies
may have been corrupted in after times ; but that no
more overthrows the antiquity of the ground work
of them, than the large additions to a building prove
there was no house before. It is an easy matter to
say that this liturgy could not be St. James's, because
of its corruptions : but is this an argument to prove
that there were no ancient liturgies in the church of
Jerusalem or Alexandria, when even in Ori gen's
time we find an entire collect produced by him out
of the Alexandrian liturgy ? And the like may be
showed as to other churches, which by degrees came
to have their liturgies much enlarged by the devout
additions of some extraordinary men, who had the
care of several churches afterwards ; such as St.
Basil and St. Chrysostom : So that notwithstand-
ing their interpolations, the liturgies themselves are
a plain demonstration of the use of divers precom-
posed set forms of prayer, besides the Lord's prayer

Online LibraryAndrew FowlerAn exposition of the Book of Common Prayer and administration of the sacraments and other rites and ceremonies of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America → online text (page 1 of 26)