Tract No. 75 (Ad Clerum)

On the Roman Breviary as Embodying the
Substance of the Devotional Services of the
Church Catholic

Teach her to know and love her hour of prayer,
       And evermore,
       As faith grows rare,
Unlock her heart, and offer all its store,
       In holier love and humbler vows,
       As suits a lost returning spouse.

{1} THERE is so much of excellence and beauty in the services of the Breviary, that were it skilfully set before the Protestant by Roman controversialists as the book of devotions received in their communion, it would undoubtedly raise a prejudice in their favour, if he were ignorant of the circumstances of the case, and but ordinarily candid and unprejudiced. To meet this danger is one principal object of the following pages; in which, whatever is good and true in those Devotions will be claimed, and on reasonable grounds, for the Church Catholic in opposition to the Roman Church, whose only real claim above other Churches is that of having, on the one hand, preserved the Service with less of mutilation or abridgment, and, on the other, having adopted into it certain additions and novelties, ascertainable to be such in history, as well as being corruptions doctrinally. In a word, it will be attempted to wrest a weapon out of our adversaries’ hands; who have in this, as in many other instances, appropriated to themselves a treasure which was ours as much as theirs; and then, on our attempting to recover it, accuse us of borrowing what we have but lost through inadvertence. The publication then of the selections, which it is proposed presently to give from these Services, is, as it were, an act of re-appropriation. Were, however, the Breviary ever so much the property of the Romanists, by retaining it in its ancient Latin form, they have defrauded the Church of that benefit which, in the vernacular tongue, it might have afforded to the people at large. {2}

Another reason for the selections which are to follow, lies in the circumstance, that our own daily Service is confessedly formed upon the Breviary; so that an inspection of the latter will be found materially to illustrate and explain our own Prayer-Book.

It may suggest, moreover, character and matter for our private devotions, over and above what our Reformers have thought fit to adopt into our public Services; a use of it which will be but carrying out and completing what they have begun.

And there is a further benefit which, it is hoped, will result from an acquaintance with the Breviary Services, viz. that the adaptation and arrangement of the Psalms therein made, will impress many persons with a truer sense of the excellence and profitableness of those inspired compositions than it is the fashion of this age to entertain.

Lastly, if it can be shown, as was above intimated, that the corruptions, whatever they be, are of a late date, another fact will have been ascertained, in addition to those which are ordinarily insisted on, discriminating and separating off the Roman from the primitive Church.

With these views a sketch shall first be given of the history of the Breviary; then the selections from it shall follow.

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Contents

[Table of Contents not in the Tract—NR.]

Page
Introduction      2.
1. Analysis of Seven Daily Services    17.
2. Service for Sunday, June 21, 1801
Matins and Lauds    26.
Prime, etc.    55.
3. Weekday Service    87.
4. Part of Service for August 6th    97.
5. Part of Service for August 10th  117.
6. Matin Service for March 21  135.
7. Service in Commemoration of Dead   146.
8. Service for Sundays in Advent  158.
9. Service for Week Days in Advent  184.


—NR

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