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A Rationale upon the Book of Common Prayer
by Anthony Sparrow, D.D.

London, 1672.


The Priest and the People, being thus prepared, make their CONFESSION which is to be done with [an humble voice,] as it is in the Exhortation. Our Churches direction in this particular, is grave and conform to ancient rules. The sixth Counc. of CONSTAN. Can. 75. forbids all disorderly and rude vociferation in the execution of Holy Services; and S. Cyprian de Orat. Dominica advises thus, [Let our speech and voice in prayer be with Discipline, still and modest: Let us consider that we stand in the presence of God, who is to be pleas'd both with the habit and posture of our body, and manner of our speech: for as it is a part of impudence to be loud and clamorous; so in the contrary, it becomes modesty to pray with an humble voice.]

We begin our Service with Confession of sins, and so was the use in Saint Basils time. Ep. 63. And that very orderly. For before we beg any thing else, or offer up any praise or Lauds to God, it is fit we should confess, and beg pardon of our sins, which hinder Gods acceptation of our Services. Psal. 66. 16. If I regard iniquity with mine heart, the Lord will not hear me.

This Confession is to be said by the whole Congregation, Sayes the Rubr. And good reason. For could there be any thing devised better, than that we all at first access unto God by prayer, should acknowledge meekly our sins, and that not only in heart but with tongue; all that are present being made earwitnesses, even of every mans distinct and deliberate Assent to each particular branch of a Common Indictment drawn against our selves? How were it possible that the Church should any way else with such ease and certainty provide, that none of her children may dissemble that wretchedness, the Penitent Confession whereof is so necessary a preamble especially to Common-Prayer? Hooker.

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