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R E A D E R.
HE following Collection of Devos
tions is founded upon these two principles.
ift. That the best method for all churches and christians to follow, is to lay aside all modern hypotheses, customs, and private opinions, and submit to all the doctrines, practices, worship, and discipline, not of any Particular, but of the Ancient and Universal church of Christ, from the beginning to the end of the Fourth century; which doctrines, practices, worship, and discipline, thus Universally and Constantly received, could not possibly be derived from any other than Apostolical authority.
2dly. That the Liturgy in the Apostolical Constitutions is the most Ancient Christian
Liturgy extant; that it is perfectly pure and free from interpolation ; and that the book itself, called the Apostolical Constitutions, contains at large che doctrines, laws, and settlements, which the three first and purest ages of the gospel did with one consent believe, obey, and submit to, and That as derived to them from Apostolical men : That therefore the said book, where it does not disagree with the Tradition of the Primitive Catholick Church, (as I believe upon examination it will hardly ever be found to do) but on the contrary may be corroborated thereby, and by the consentient testimony of the Holy Fathers of the three first centuries, ought to be received, submitted
and allowed it's due authority. If these two principles were once put
in practice, all the Ecclesiastical distractions which subsist at present, would cease ; and a truly Catholick union would be restored among all christian churches. That I
mite towards so desirable an end, I have here ventured to present the world with what in my humble opinion will be the only 'means 'to attain it, which is what some will call a New, but which I presume to recommend to Every
pious Christian as the Oldest, and therefore the Best, collection of devocions extant in the whole Christian world. This I dare vencure to say, because I have omiteed no practice or ceremony that appears to be supported by Antiquity, Universality, and Consent; and because I have taken in all the Devotional part of the Apostolical Constitutions, (except a few particulars foreign to the present purpose,) ar the same time that I have herein included such Parts of the Common Prayer Book of the Church of England, as were necessary to compleat the design.
As I am more disposed to Peace than Controversy, I wave engaging in the proof of the two principles above mentioned: But lest they should be thought to be not well grounded, and left any thing that I might say in behalf of them, should be misconstrued or received with prejudice, I have chosen to lay before all devout and impartialChristians in an Appendix (to which I refer them) some Extracts and Observations, taken from the writings of very eminent and learned Divines of different communions. By the Extracts the First, and by the Observations the Second, principle will, I hope, be sufficiently confirmed.