A vindication of the ancient liturgie of the Church of England wherein the several pretended reasons for altering or abolishing the same, are answered and confuted
Hammond, Henry, 1605-1660.


HAving thus past through the Ordinance and the Preface, and in the view of the Ordinance stated and setled aright the com∣parison betwixt the Liturgie and the Directory, and demon∣strated the no-necessity, but plain unreasonablenesse of the change, and so by the way insisted on most of the defects of the Dire∣ctory, which are the speciall matter of accusation we prosesse to find in it, I shall account it a Superfluous importunity to proceed to a review of the whole body of it, which makes up the bulk of that Book, but instead of insisting on the faults and infirm parts of it (such are, the prohibition of adoration toward any place, p. 10. that is of all adoration, while we have bodies about us for that must be toward some place; the interdict∣ing of all parts of 〈◊〉••ochryphal Books, p. 12. which yet the Ancient Church avowed to be read for the directing of manners, though not as Page  83rule of Faith, the frequent motion of the Covenant in the directions for Prayer, once as a speciall mercy of God, p. 17. which is the greatest curse could befall this Kingdome, and a great occasion, if not Authour of all the rest, which are now upon it, then as a means of a strict and religious Ʋnion, p. 21. which is rather an engagement of an irreligious War; then as a precious band that men must pray that it never be broken, p. 21. which is in effect to pray, that they may never repent, but continue in Rebellion for ever. Then as a mercy again, p. 37. as if this Covenant were the grea∣test treasure we ever enjoyed. Then the praying for the Armies by Land and Sea, p. 38. with that addition [for the defence of King & Parliament, and Kingdome] as resolving now to put that cheat upon God himself, which they have used to their Fellow Subjects, that of fighting against the King for the defence of him, (Beloved be not deceived, God is not mock∣ed:) Then affirming that the Fonts were superstitiously placed in time of Popery, & therefore the Child must now be baptized in some other place, p. 40. while yet they shew not any ground of that accusation, nor ever will be able to do. Then that the customs of kneeling & praying by, & towards the dead, is superstitious, p. 73. which literally it were, (Superstitum cul∣tus) if it were praying to them, but now is far enough from that guilt. And lastly, that the Lords day is commanded in the Scripture to be kept holy, p, 85. the sanctification of which we acknowledge to be grounded in the Scripture, and instituted by the Apostles, but not commanded in the Scripture, by any revealed precept. (The first that we meet with to this purpose, is that of Ignatius, Epist. ad Magnes.〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Let us therefore Sabbatize no longer; Let every Christian celebrate the Lords day, which saying of an Apostolick writer being added to the mention of the Lords day in the New Testa∣ment is a great argument of the Apostolick institution of that day, which the universall practice of the Church ever since doth sufficiently confirm unto us, and we are content and satisfied with that authority, although it doth not offer to shew us any command in the Scripture for it. And then you may please to observe, that the same Ignatius, within a page before that place, foreciting for the observing of the Lords day, hath a command for Common Prayer, and I conceive for some set Form, I shall give you the words, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Let all meet together to the same, whether action or place in Prayer, Let there be one Common Prayer, one mind, &c. and Cle••.*Alex. to the same purpose, the Altar which we have here on Earth, is the company of those that dedicate themselves to Prayers, as having 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 a common voice, and one mind, which cannot Page  84 well be, unlesse there be some common Form by all agreed on.) Instead I say of pressing these or the like frailties upon this work, which will ar∣gue the Composers of it to be men and fallible. I shall rather desire to expresse and evidence my charity (and my endeavour to read it without any prejudice) by adding my opinion, that there be some things said in it (by way of direction for the matter of Prayer, and course of Preach∣ing) which agree with wholsome doctrine, and may tend to edification, and I shall not rob those of that approbation which is due to them, nor conceive our Cause to need such pevish means to sustain it; Being not thereby obliged to quarrel at the Directory absolutely as a Book, but onely as it supplants the Liturgie (which if it had a thousand more ex∣cellencies in it then it hath, it would not be fit to do.) And being willing to give others an example of peaceablenesse, and of a resolution to make no more quarrels then are necessary, and therefore contributing my part of the endeavour to conclude this one assoon as is possible. And the ra∣ther because it is in a matter, which (if without detriment to the Church, and the Souls of men, the Book might be universally received, and so the experiment could be made) would I am confident within ve∣ry few years assoon as the pleasure of the change and the novelty were over, prove it's own largest confutation, confesse it's own wants & faults; and so all but mad men see the errour, and require the restitution of Li∣turgie again. This I speak upon a serious observation and pondering of the tempers of men, and the so mutable habits of their minds, which as they are 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, easily changed from good to evil, so are they (which is the difference of men from lapst Angels)〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, easily reduced also to their former state again, when reason comes to them in the cool of the day, when the heat of the kindnesse is past, and a saiety hastning in its stead, or if it prove not so well, yet falling from one change to another, & never coming to stability. How possible this may prove in this particular, I shall now evidence no farther, then by the parallel vehement dislikes, that the Presbyteriall Government hath already met with among other of our reforming Spirits, very liberally exprest in many Pamphlets which we have lately received from London, but in none more fully then in the Epistle to the Book entituled, John Baptist: first charging the Presbyteri∣ant (who formerly exclaimed against Episcpacy for stinking the spirit) that they began to take upon them to establish a Dagon in his throne, in stinking the whole worship of the God of Heaven, &c. and in plain words without micing or dissembling, that they had rather the French King, nay the great Turk should rule over them, then these, The onely use which I would now make of these experiments is this, to admire that Page  85blessed excellent Christian grace of obedience (and contentment with our present lot, whatsoever it be, that brings not any necessity of sinning on us.) I mean, to commend to all in matters of indifference, (or where Scripture hath not given any immediate rule, but left us to obey those who are set over us) that happy choice of submitting, rather then let∣ting loose our appetites, of obeying, then prescribing; A duty, which be∣sides the very great ease it brings withit, hath much of vertue in it, and will be abundant reward to it self here on Earth, and yet have a mighty arrear remaining to be paid to it in Heaven hereafter; which when it is heartily considered, it will be a thing of some difficulty to invent or feign a heavier affliction to the meek & quiet spirit, a more ensuaring peice of treachery to the Christian Soul, (I am sure to his Estate, and tempo∣rall prosperity) then that of contrary irreconciliable commands, which is now the case, and must alwayes be when Ordinances undertake to su∣persede Laws, when the inferior, but over-swaying power, adventures to check the Superiour. Of which subject I have temptation to annex a full tyde of thoughts, would it not prove too much a 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and be most sure to be so esteemed by them to whom this addresse is now ten∣dred. The good Lord of Heaven and Earth encline our hearts to keep that Law of his 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Ephes. 6. 2. which is a prime Commandment, and that with a promise of secular Peace and a∣bundance annext (if not confined) to it.

To conclude therefore, and summe up all in a word, we have disco∣ver'd by this brief survey, the resonablenesse of this act of Gods provi∣dence, in permitting our Liturgy to be thus defamed, though in all rea∣son the Liturgy it self deserve not that fate, the no-inconveniences so much as pretended to arise from our Liturgy, to which the Directory is not much more liable, the no-objection from the Word of God against the whole or any part of it produced, or offered by you, the no-man∣ner of the least or loosest kind of necessity to abolish it, the perfect justifi∣ablenesse, and withall usefulnesse of set Forms above extemporary effusi∣ons, the very many particulars of eminent benefit to the Church, and of authority in it, preserved in our Liturgy, but in the Directory totally o∣mitted, and that in the despight of all Statutes both of K. Edward, and Q. Elizabeth, by which the Reformation of this Church is establisht among us, and I trust shall still continue, notwithstanding the opposition of those who pretended kindnesse, but now run riot against this Reformati∣on; we have shew'd you also the true grounds of our ancestours rejoycing in our Liturgy, instead of the partiall imperfect account given of that businesse by your Preface, the wonderfull prosperity of this Church Page  86 under it, contrary to the pretended sad experience, &c. and withall we have made it clear, that all the exceptions here proposed against the Li∣turgy, are perfectly vain and causlesse; as that it hath prov'd an offence, &c. the ordinary crime charg'd on those actions that are liable to no other, and so that offence without a cause; that this offence hath been by the length of the Service, which will onely offend the prophane, and withall, is as observable in your Service; by the many unprofitable bur∣thensome Ceremonies, which have been shewed neither to be many, nor unprofitable, nor burthensome; by the disquieting of Consciences, i. e. one∣ly of the unquiet; by depriving them of the Ordinance, i. e. those who would rather loose the Sacrament, then receive it kneeling, or reverent∣ly; that the offence was extended to the reformed Churches abroad also, and yet for that no one proof offered, nor Church named that was so offended: and if there were, yet still this supposed offensivenesse, no just plea for any thing but Reformation. So also that by means of the Litur∣gy, many were debarred of the exercise of their Ministery, the sugge∣stion for the most part a meer calumny, and that which was true in it, ready to be retorted upon these Reformers: that the Prelates have la∣bour'd to raise the estimation of the Liturgy too high, yet that no higher then you would the value of your Directory, to have it the rule for the manner of publick worship, or if they did, this is the fault of those Pre∣lates, not of the Liturgy; who yet were said but to have labour'd it nei∣ther, not to have effected it; and even that labour or desire of theirs, to have amounted no higher then Calvin's letter to the Protectour would avow; that this hath been to the justling out of Preaching, which is rather a speciall help to it, and prescribes it, and allows it its proper place, but hath oft the ill luck to be turn'd out by Preaching; that it hath been made no better then an Idol, which if it be a fault in the Li∣turgy, is as farre more chargeable on the hearing of Sermons that the people please themselves in their presence, and lip-labour in that service; an uncharitable judging of mens hearts, and a crime to which your Di∣rectory makes men as lyable as the Liturgy; that our Liturgy is a compli∣ance with Papists, and so a means to confirm them in their Idolatry, &c. whereas it complies with them in nothing that is Idolatrous, &c. and by complying with them, where they do with antiquity and truth, it is more apt to convince them of their errors, and by charity to invite, then by de∣fiance; that it makes an idle Ministery; which sure the Directory will not unmake, being as fit for that turn, either by forming and conning the Prayer there delineated, or by depending on present conceptions, as the Liturgie can be; that it hinders the gift of Prayer, which if it signifie Page  87 the elocution, or conception of words in Prayer, is not peculiar to the Minister, and for any thing else, hindring it no more then the Directory doth; that the continuance of it would be matter of endlesse strifes &c. which sure 'tis more reasonable to think of an introduction of a new way of Service, then the retaining of the old; that there be many other weighty considerations, and many particulars in the book, on which this condemna∣tion is grounded, and yet not one of these mention'd, but kept to boil in their own breasts, if there be any, or which is more likely, falsely here pre∣tended to inflame the reckoning; that they are not mov'd to this by any love of novelty, and yet do that which is most novell; that they intend not to disparage the Reformers, and yet do that which is most to their dis∣paragement; that they do this to answer Gods providence, which never call'd them to this work, to satisfie their own Conscience, which if Errone∣ous, must not thus be satisfied; to satisfie the expectation of other Churches which expect it not, or if they did, might rather conform to us and satisfie us; and the desires of many of the godly at home, whose pietie is no as∣surance that their desires are reasonable, and yet are not known to have exprest any such desires; that they may give testimony of their endeavours for uniformity, whereas with other Churches, there is no such necessity of conforming in such matters, and within our selves, nothing is so contrary to uniformity, as this endeavour. And lastly, we have learnt from them, a rule by which they pretend to form their Directory, the agreeablenesse to the Word of God, and Christian prudence, and are most confident to justifie our Liturgy by that rule, against all Disputers in the World; And having now over and above all this, a plain confession under their own hands, in their Supply of Prayer, to justifie all that we pretend to, and so being saved the pains of any farther superfluous confutation, we shall leave it to the judgement of any rationall Lay-man in the New Assembly, to judge betwixt us and his fellow Members; whose pretensions are most moderate in this matter, whose most like Chri∣stian, those that are to rescue and preserve, or those which to destroy. Thus in the Councell of Nice, holden before Constantine and He∣lena, in a controversie of great importance, Craton and Zenosius, not onely Lay-men, but Heathens were appointed Judges or Arbi∣tratours, onely on this ground, because Craton a Philosopher would not possesse any worldly goods, and Zenosimus in time of his Con∣sulship, * never received Present from any, saith Jacobosius: thus al∣so Eutropius a Pagan Philosopher, was chosen umpire between Orign and the Marcionites, it being supposed, that such an one was as fit to understand their severall claims, and judge according to Allegations Page  88 and proofs as any; And if we fall or misc••ry before such an Aristar∣chs, I shall then resolve, that a Covenant may wast a soul, (even drive the man into the field with Nebuchadnezar) deprive it of those 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 common principles of discourse, (by which, till it be debauched, it is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, able in some measure, to judge of truth, proposed and debated before it) and then I shall hope for more candor in the busi∣nesse from an intelligent heathen, then from him. My onely appeal in that case shall be to Heaven, that the host of Angels, may by the Lord of that Host be appointed, to guard and assist that cause, and those Armies whose pretentions in this, and all other particulars, are most righteous, and most acceptable in his sight.

Do not erre my beloved Brethren.

Now the Lord of all mercies, and God of love and Peace, grant us to be like minded in all things, that we may joyn with one heart, and tongue, to praise him, and worship him, to blesse him, and to magnifie him for ever.