In the account of the Revision of the Prayer-book at Ely House after the Restoration of Charles II., we entered upon a few changes which seemed to have an especial bearing upon the doctrines then under dispute. Many others, more or less important, resulted from the labours of the Committee, and as the history of this period would be manifestly very incomplete without some notice of them, we have subjoined an outline thereof deeming this amply sufficient for the ordinary student.
By far the greatest number of changes was made by the alteration of existing rubrics and the addition of new ones. Several which tended to promote greater reverence in the Administration of the Holy Eucharist have already been mentioned. We notice further the directions or side-notes in the Consecration Prayer providing for the manual acts which had been ignored in the Second Prayer-book of Edward VI. and not restored by Elizabeth. An addition was made to the note in the First Prayer-book of Edward VI. of the words, |and here to break the bread,| insuring what Bishop Cosin characterised as a |needful circumstance of the Sacrament.|
The belief in the: Regeneration of Infants in Holy Baptism was strengthened by the transference of a rubric from the Confirmation to the Baptismal Office. In its original place it was intended to satisfy people that Confirmation was not necessary to salvation, for that if children died in their infancy after baptism their salvation was assured. In 1662 it was added at the close of the Baptismal Service as worthy of greater prominence than it received in an Office which was used so rarely as that for Confirmation. The Rubric runs thus: -- |It is certain by GOD's Word that children which are baptized dying before they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved.| It involved a doctrine so repugnant to the Presbyterians, that Baxter declared, |That of the forty sinful terms for a communion with the Church party, if thirty-nine were taken away and only that rubric concerning the salvation of infants dying shortly after their baptism were continued, yet they could not conform.|
In the Introductory part of the Prayer-book the following additions were made: --
The Preface, most probably written by Bishop Sanderson.
The Table of the Vigils, Fasts, Days of Abstinence, together with certain solemn days for which particular services are appointed.
|The five prayers| were transferred from the close of the Litany to the services for Matins and Evensong; and the latter received the addition of the Sentences, Exhortation, etc., which before had been prefixed to Matins only. In the Litany the petition for deliverance from Rebellion and Schism was added with much significance. Among the occasional prayers and thanksgivings were introduced: --
A second prayer for fair weather.
Two prayers for Embertide.
The prayer for Parliament.
The prayer for all conditions of men.
The General Thanksgiving.
The Thanksgiving for public peace at home.
New collects were composed for --
The third Sunday in Advent.
The sixth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect for St. Stephen's Day was rewritten.
A distinct Gospel and Epistle were introduced for the 6th Sunday after the Epiphany.
The title of the Feast, |The Purification of St. Mary,| was enlarged to its present form, |The Presentation of Christ in the Temple, commonly called The Purification,| etc., and a special Epistle provided instead of that for the preceding Sunday.
A new Office was composed, for |The Baptism of such as be of riper years.|
The Catechism was separated from the Confirmation Service, and at the same time an addition was made to the latter of very doubtful expediency. The Revisionists introduced all that portion which provides for a public and solemn ratification of the Baptismal Vows by the candidate as a necessary prerequisite for the reception of the Rite. It is true that in the First Prayer-book of Edward VI., it was implied that children would previously be examined in the Church Catechism, which was united with the Confirmation Office in view of this, and also that the question, |Dost thou not think that thou art bound to believe and do as they (the Godfathers and Godmothers) have promised for thee?| together with the answer, |Yes, verily,| etc., was in some sense a |ratifying and confession of the same.| But the first Revisionists never contemplated such a result as has unhappily followed upon the action of the last, viz., the complete over-shadowing of the Scriptural and Catholic doctrine of the Gift of the Holy Ghost, by what is only subsidiary, certainly not essential to the Rite. It is a matter of profound regret that any human institution, no matter how good and useful in itself, should have been allowed to throw into the background a Divine Ordinance.
For fifteen centuries and more the Church held that the Divine Gift was imparted wholly irrespective of any such qualification as the renewal of Baptismal Vows, in witness whereof we have only to appeal to the custom of confirming infants immediately after they had been baptized, which prevailed without question down to the eighth or ninth century.
The requirement for newly-married people to communicate on the day of their marriage was modified to a recommendation to do so then or at the first opportunity.
In the Visitation of the Sick two rubrical changes were made by the insertion of the words in italics: --
|Here shall the sick person be moved to make a special confession,| and |After which confession the Priest shall absolve him, if he humbly and heartily desire it.|