THen follows the LORDS PRAYER. The Church of Christ did use to begin and end her Services with the Lords Prayer, this being the Foundation upon which all other Prayers should be built, therefore we begin with it; that so the right Foundation being laid, we may justly proceed to our ensuing requests; Tertul. de orat. c. 9. And it being the perfection of all prayer, therefore we conclude our prayers with it. S. Augustine Ep. 59. Let no Man therefore quarrel with the Churches frequent use of the Lords Prayer. For the Church Catholick ever did the same. Besides, if we hope to have our prayers accepted of the Father only for his Sons sake, why should we not hope to have them most speedily accepted, when they are offered up in his Sons own words?
Both in this place and other parts of the Service, where the Lords prayer is appointed to be used, the Doxology, For thine is the Kingdom, &c. is left out. The reason is given by Learned Men, because the Doxology is no part of our Lords Prayer. For though in S. Matt. 6. it be added in our usual Copies, yet in the most ancient Manuscripts it is not to be found, no nor in S. Lukes Copy, S. Luke 11. and therefore is thought to be added by the Greek Church, who indeed use it in their Liturgies (as the Jews before them did,) but divided from the Prayer as if it were no part of it. The Latin Church generally say it as this Church does, without the Doxology following S. Lukes Copy, who setting down our Lords Prayer exactly, with this Introduction, when you pray say, not after this manner, as S. Matthew hath it, but say, Our Father, &c. leaves out the Doxology: and certainly it can be no just matter of offence to any reasonable Man, that the Church uses that Form which S. Luke tells us was exactly the prayer of our Lord.
In some places, especially among those Ejaculations which the Priest and people make in course, the People are to say the last words--But deliver us from evil, Amen. That so they may not be interrupted from still bearing a part, and especially in so divine a Prayer as this, thereby giving a fuller testification of their Concurrence and Communion.
Then follow the Verses,
O LORD open Thou our Lips.
And our mouth shall shew forth thy praise, &c.
This is a most wise order of the Church in assigning this place to these Verses: namely, before the Psalms, Lesson and Collects: and yet after the Confession and Absolution; insinuating that our mouths are silenced only by sin, and opened only by God; and therefore when we meet together in the Habitation of Gods Honour, the Church, to be thankful to him, and speak good of his Name. We must crave of God Almighty first pardon of our sins, and then that he would put a New Song in our mouths that they may shew forth his praise. And because without Gods Grace we can do nothing, and because the Devil is then most busie to hinder us, when we are most desirously bent to serve God: therefore follow immediately those short and passionate Ejaculations, O Lord open thou our Lips, O God make speed to save us. which verses are a most excellent defence against all Incursions and invasions of the Devil, against all unruly affections of Humane Nature, for it is a Prayer and an earnest one, to God for his help, an humble acknowledgement of our own inability to live without him a minute. O God make haste to help us. If any be ready to faint and sink with sorrow, this raises him, by telling him that God is at hand to help us. If any be apt to be proud of spiritual success, this is fit to humble him, by minding him that he cannot live a moment without him. It is fit for every Man in every state, degree, or condition, sayes Cassian. Col. 10. c. 10.
The DOXOLOGY follows. Glory be to the father, &c. which is the Christians both Hymn and shorter Creed. For what is the summ of the Christians faith but the mystery of the holy Trinity, God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, which neither Jew, nor Pagan, but only the Christian believes, and in this Doxology professes against all Hereticks old and new? and as it is a short Creed, so it is also a most excel-Hymn; for the glory of God is the end of our Creation, and should be the aim of all our services, whatsoever we do should be done to the glory of that God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: and this is all that we can either either by word or deed give to God, namely, GLORY. Therefore this Hymn fitly serves to close any of our Religious services, our Praises, Prayers, Thanksgivings, Confessions of Sins or Faith. Since all these we do to Glorifie God, it cannot be unfitting to close with Glory be to God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. It cannot easily be expressed how useful this Divine Hymn is upon all occasions. If God Almighty send us prosperity, what can we better return him, than Glory? If he sends Adversity, it still befits us to say, Glory be to, &c. Whether we receive good, or whether we receive evil at the hands of God, we cannot say a better Grace than Glory be the Father, &c. In a word, we cannot better begin the day when we awake, nor conclude the day when we go to sleep, than by Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. Then the Hallelujah, or Praise ye the Lord; of which S. Augustine sayes, [There is nothing that more soundly delights, than the praise of God, and a continual Hallelujah.