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Before the invention of printing (15th century), the directions in Law
Manuscripts had been written in red, in order to distinguish them from
the Statutes. This distinction had been made also in Service Books and
it has been continued to our own time. But every sheet which contains
both black and red letters requires to be twice passed over a printing
press. Hence, for cheap books, italics are used instead of red letters
to distinguish the directions from the prayers, &c. The directions are
called Rubrics (from Lat. ruber=red) whether the distinction is made
by the colour or the type.

The rubrics about the Confession and the Absolution were in 1662 made
more clear. The habit had grown up in some churches for the Priest to
say the Absolution kneeling. The word all was therefore inserted in
the rubric about Confession, and the words standing, the people still
kneeling were added to the rubric about Absolution. Thus all
kneeling includes the minister.

This Introductory Part of the Service was composed for the Revision of
1552, and was then printed only in the Morning Service, with a rubric
ordering it to be used at the beginning of Morning Prayer, and
likewise of Evening Prayer. In 1662 it was first printed out in full
in the Evening Service, and the rubric was altered to agree therewith.

Simplification of rubrics. One aim of the Revisers was simplicity of
rules. As they sought Variety of worship without excess, so they
desired Order of {33} worship without complexity of regulations.
Anyone, looking casually over the Prayer Books of the Sarum and other
Uses before 1549, will be struck at once by the redness of many of the
pages. This redness indicates rubrics, and helps us to realise what is
meant in the Prayer Book Preface (Concerning the Service of the Church,
Section 2) by the number and hardness of the rules called the Pie, and
the manifold changings of the Service[2].

In order to provide for the many occasions when a difference was to be
made, rubrics had been multiplied and inserted at the places to which
they applied. The Revisers (1) collected as many as possible at the
beginning of each Service, or at the end; and (2) reduced the number of
rubrics thus collected together, by reducing the number of variations
which were to be provided for.

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