RESPECTFULLY ADDRESSED TO THE CLERGY
ON ALTERATIONS IN THE LITURGY.
Attempts are making to get the Liturgy altered. My dear Brethren, I beseech you, consider with me whether you ought not to resist the alteration of even one jot or tittle of it. Though you would in your own private judgments wish to have this or that phrase or arrangement amended, is this a time to concede one tittle?
Why do I say this? because, though most of you would wish some immaterial points altered, yet not many of you agree in those points, and not many of you agree what is and what is not immaterial. If all your respective emendations are taken, the alterations in the Services will be extensive; and though each will gain something he wishes, he will lose more from those alterations which he did not wish. Tell me, are the present imperfections (as they seem to each) of such a nature, and so many, that their, removal will compensate for the recasting of much which each thinks to be no imperfection, or rather an excellence?
There are persons who wish the Marriage Service emended; there are others who would be indignant at the changes proposed. There are some who wish the Consecration Prayer in the Holy Sacrament to be what it was in King Edward's first book; there are others who think this would be an approach to Popery. There are some who wish the imprecatory Psalms omitted; there are others who would lament this omission as savoring of the shallow and detestable liberalism of the day. There are some who wish the Services shortened; there are others who think we should have far more Services, and more frequent attendance at public worship than we have.
How few would be pleased by any given alterations; and how many pained!
But once begin altering, and there will be no reason or justice in stopping, till the criticisms of all parties are satisfied. Thus will not the Liturgy be in the evil case described in the well-known story, of the picture subjected by the artist to the observations of passers-by? And, even to speak at present of compara-