Progressive Duplication

The groups of sins and sufferings from which we desire to be delivered

supply instances of progress, from that which is less, to that which is

more, serious. Most of these are obvious, and call for no further


Deprecations (Prayer for deliverance).

1. Spare thy people, O Lord: Joel ii. 17.

2. Crafts and assaults: The crafty enemy is one who cannot, or dare

not, attack openly. Hence assaults imply greater strength, or greater

courage, than crafts.

3. Of personal defects, Blindness of heart may be due at first to

causes for which we are not responsible. Pride is that which is too

well satisfied with itself: Vain-glory is that which seeks admiration

from others; Hypocrisy is that which seeks admiration on false


Envy is the desire to injure, and grows into Hatred, which has

perhaps a vestige of candour that is absent from Malice.

3 and 4. Deadly sin. All sin is deadly unless it is forgiven by God;

on the other hand "after we have {163} received the Holy Ghost, we may

depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and by the grace of God we

may arise again, and amend our lives," "the grant of repentance is not

to be denied to such" (Article xvi.). It should be remembered that our

Lord has taught us to interpret the Commandments inclusively, so that

they comprise all duties, and all sins--envy, hatred, and malice, as

well as murder, for instance. The old distinction between deadly sins

and venial sins has in it only an element of truth. Those named deadly

sins were Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Anger, Sloth. Of

these Pride, Lust, and Envy are mentioned here, being notable amongst

sins which war against the Soul. Two phrases here include all sins:

"all deadly sin," and, "the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the

devil." It is not easy to decide whether such a sin as Idleness falls

under the head of Covetousness, or Sloth, or Pride; nor whether it is a

deceit of the World, the Flesh, or the Devil. These classifications

do, however, help in self-examination, and sometimes suggest helps in

the battle against our sins.

5. Plague, Pestilence, and Famine form a group in which we see that

Famine is the most serious, because it attacks the whole community.

Plague is a disease which befalls us as a blow (plege); Pestilence is

a disease which spreads from one to another. Science tends to enlarge

the host of pestilences, and diminish the number of death-blows which

cannot be explained. It is apparent that a disease which spreads

through a community is more dreadful than one which singles out one

person or many.


battle, murder, and sudden death, are blows which may fall upon us;

it is not prayer that we may be delivered from being soldiers, and from

the crime of murder.

6. sedition, privy conspiracy, and rebellion: sedition is the

thought; conspiracy, the plan; and rebellion, the action--of a subject

against the Government.

false doctrine, heresy and schism: false doctrine is the thought;

heresy, the plan; and schism, the action--of a Churchman against the

Church, and its Lord.

hardness of heart, is a disposition to disobey what we know to be the

command of God. If not checked, it grows into actual contempt of His

Word and Commandment.

Obsecrations. (Entreaty mentioning the plea.)

7 and 8. Incarnation: S. John i. 14; Rom. i. 3.

Nativity: S. Luke ii. 11. Circumcision: S. Luke ii. 21.

Baptism: S. Matth. iii. 16.

Fasting and Temptation: S. Luke iv. 1, 2.

Agony and Bloody Sweat: S. Luke xxii. 44.

Cross and Passion: S. Matth. xxvii. 41-46; Heb. v. 7.

Death and Burial: S. Mark xv. 44, 45.

Resurrection: S. Matth. xxviii. 5-7.

Ascension: Acts i. 9; 1 Tim. iii. 16.

The Coming of the Holy Ghost: Acts ii. 32, 33.

9. Tribulation, Wealth, Death, Judgment are the four times of special


Tribulation is derived from threshing, or crushing.


Wealth is well-doing, or welfare. Prosperity and Adversity are both

times of temptation.

Intercessions. (Prayer for others.)

10. Universal is equivalent to Catholic.

11. Governor refers to the relation of the Sovereign to the Church.

12. faith, fear, and love, an ascending order of submission to God.


11, 14. The names of the Sovereign, and of the Royal Family, vary in

these petitions. A Prayer Book of 1682 has King Charles, Queen

Catherine, and James Duke of York. In 1801, King George, Queen

Charlotte, George Prince of Wales, and the Princess of Wales. In 1850,

Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and Albert Prince of Wales. The date of

a Prayer Book is sometimes omitted from a title page, but may be learnt

from these petitions more accurately than from the Table of Moveable

Feasts. It is, I believe, left to the Sovereign to say who is to be

mentioned, and by what titles.

15. Bishops: successors of the Apostles as Overseers of the Churches

(1 Tim. i. 3; 2 Tim. ii. 2; Tit. i. 5, ii. 15). The word epirkopos(=

overseer) is contracted into Bishop in many languages, with slight

differences, e.g. Old English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Cornish. In

Spanish it becomes Obispo; in Italian, Vescovo; in French, Eveque.

Priests: successors of the Elders, or Presbyters, who ministered in

congregations (Acts xx. 17). As the Bishop has the Oversight of many

congregations with their Priests and Deacons, so the Priest {166} has

the Oversight of one congregation, or Parish. In this sense he might

be called Overseer, or Bishop, of that Parish, and S. Paul's use of

this word in 1 Tim. iii. has suggested that, while the Apostles lived,

the word Bishop was used as much in this sense as in the other. When

the word Bishop was required for the Apostolic office, the word Priest

remained for the second Order of the ministry. Priest is contracted

from Presbyter, and appears with slight variations in many languages.

Deacons. The Seven appointed in Acts vi. are not there called

deacons, but they are assumed to be the first who were appointed to

that office, or order of the Ministry. In some ancient churches they

retained the practice of having seven deacons.

The word means Minister, and has come from the Greek into many

languages with slight variations. Like the word Bishop, it is used in

the N.T. of other orders of the Ministry (S. Paul, 1 Cor. iii. 5; 2

Cor. iii. 6; Eph. iii. 7, &c.: Epaphras, Col. i. 7: Tychicus, Eph. vi.

21: Timothy, 1 Tim. iv. 6: Archippus, Col. iv. 17). Although in 1 Tim.

iv. 6 the word is used of Timothy, who was receiving commandment as

overseer of all the Clergy at Ephesus, we find in 1 Tim. iii. 8-10 that

Deacons were already Church Ministers, with official duties (1 Tim.

iii. 10)[6].

shew it accordingly: i.e. shew it in accordance with their preaching.

The "teaching" and "living" must agree together.

16. The Council of the King of England had, from of old, the duty of

making, or approving, the choice of the King, and advising him on

matters of state, and of law. Many of its duties have been deputed to

Committees, to Judges, and to Parliament. The Cabinet of Chief

Ministers of State may be regarded as a Committee of the King's Council.

In the reign of Charles II., when the Prayer Book was last revised, the

Council was still the body whose advice guided the King, although it

was growing too large for the secrecy which is often necessary in such

weighty matters. It is still a very great honour to be made a Privy

Councillor, but the Privy Council very seldom, or never, meets for

business except by its Committees, which are not chosen by the Council.

When therefore we use this petition, we may think rather of the members

of the Cabinet than of those whom the King has honoured with the title

of Privy Councillor. A petition for the House of Commons might with

advantage be introduced into the Litany.

17. to execute justice, in the case which is being tried, is the

first duty of a magistrate; to maintain truth is also his duty, for

he must have regard to other cases which will come before the Court.

18. This concludes the petitions for our own nation. We now go on to

things which affect all nations alike.

19. Unity, peace, and concord. The general meaning of these words is

the same, but there may {168} be unity without peace, and peace without

concord: therefore we pray for all the three; and concord is placed

last as being the inward temper which gives reality to unity and peace.

20. Here the order is reversed--proceeding from love which is the

highest kind of bond, to dread which should keep us from

disobedience, and coming finally to the outward result viz. a diligent

life of obedience to the commandments.

21. Takes up the last thought of the previous suffrage.

The life of obedience is here traced from hearing to receiving, and so,

to the fruits of the Spirit (see Gal. V. 22-24).

22. Erred is when the fault is in ourselves only; deceived is when

we give way to the evil guidance of others.

23. Those who stand need strength: those who are weak-hearted need

comfort and help: those who fall, restoration.

24. See p. 161.

25. Emigration has become more common since this petition was prepared:

those who settle in foreign lands should here be remembered.

Captives are war-prisoners.

26. We may mentally supply the thought of motherless children.

Widows may be supposed to include widowers. Both sexes are described

as widows in some parts of England. All kinds of bereavement are of

course included in desolate and oppressed.

27. Just as 19 concluded a section of petitions {169} for our own

nation, so 27 concludes a section about the people of all nations. 28

adds a petition which the Lord particularly enjoined (S. Matth. v. 44).

28. enemies, persecutors, and slanderers--in ascending order of

malignity. Similarly in the Commandments, where the worst sin of each

sort is the one mentioned, we find false witness, or slander, named, in

the Commandment which forbids all falsehood.

and to turn their hearts--a nobler prayer even than asking God to

forgive them: for when we have asked Him for their forgiveness, we may

still long to overcome their hostility, rather than to see it

withdrawn. As Christ's disciples we here desire to forego our triumph,

and to rejoice over their conversion from evil.

29. Kindly fruits of the earth. 'Kindly' means 'natural'; from an Old

English word 'cynd' or 'gecynd,' meaning nature, kind, manner,

condition. (Cf. Gen. i. 11, 12, 21, 24, 25.)[7]

30. Although forgiveness is granted through the death of our Lord,

repentance is that condition of our souls wherein the forgiveness

cleanses them. Repentance is therefore asked for first, then

Forgiveness, Grace, and Amendment.

Sins, negligences, and ignorances: cf. General Confession, 'left

undone'=negligence; 'done'=sins; 'no health in us' supplying the other

defects, which are here set down to ignorance. We are called to a holy

life, and therefore faults due to ignorance need {170} amendment and

pardon, as well as faults which come of conscious disobedience to God's


At the close of these petitions, the cry becomes more urgent. Our Lord

warned us against vain repetitions--repetitions without meaning. The

repetitions here are not vain--they express deep feelings, and anxious


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