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

London, 1672.


THE present Age pretends so great Love to Reason, that, this RATIONALE may even for its Name, hope for acceptation, which it will the sooner have, if the Reader know, that the Author vents it not for a full and just, much less a publick and authentick Piece, but as his own private Essay (wholly submitted to the censure of our Holy Mother The Church, and the Reverend Fathers of the same, and) composed on purpose to keep some from moving that way, which, it is feared, some will say, it leads to. The Authors design was not, by Rhetorick first to Court the Affections, and then by their help, to carry the understanding. But quite contrary, by Reason to work upon the Judgment, and leave that to deal with the affections.

The Poor Liturgy suffers from two extreams, one sort says, it is old superstitious Roman Dotage. The other, it is Schismatically New. This Book endeavours to shew particularly, what Bishop JEWEL (Apol. p. 117.) says in general, 1. That it is agreeable to PRIMITIVE USAGE, and so, not Novel. 2. THAT IT IS A REASONABLE SERVICE, and so, not Superstitious. As for those that love it, and suffer for the love of it, this will shew them Reasons, why they should suffer on, and love it still more and more. To end, if the Reader will cast his Eye upon the sad Confusions in point of prayer, (wherein are such contradictions made as God Almighty cannot grant) and lay them as Rubbish under these Fundamental Considerations; First, How many Set Forms (of Petition, Blessing, and Praise) be recorded in the Old and New Testament, used both in the Church Militant and Triumphant; Secondly, How much of the Liturgy is very Scripture; Thirdly, How admirable a Thing Unity, Unity in Time, Form, &c. is; Fourthly, How many Millions of poor souls are in the world; ignorant, infirm by nature, age, accidents, (as blindness, deafness, loss of speech, &c.) which respectively may receive help by Set Forms, but cannot so well (or not at all) by extemporary voluntary effusions, and then upon all these will build what he reads in this Book; he will, if not be convinced to joyn in Communion with, yet perhaps be so sweetned, as more readily to pardon those, who still abiding in their former judgments, and being more confirmed hereby, do use THE ANCIENT FORM.

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