Journal of Theological Studies
THE time had come for a new publication carrying on the work of L'Estrange, Cardwell, Keeling, and Parker in setting out the stages of developement through which the English Prayer Book has passed. Dr Brightman in the two fine volumes of The English Rite has taken up the succession, and produced a Synopsis of the successive revisions, which for completeness, minute accuracy, and practical convenience goes a long way beyond anything that has previously been attempted. The general plan of the
... ral plan of the book is that each page is in double columns, so that each opening exhibits four, three of which are uniformly occupied by the Books of 1549, of 1552, and of 1661 respectively. These books are given complete (except that there is no Psalter), and their sequence is preserved, so that either of the three columns can be read through, and will be found to represent in the smallest detail a given edition of the book in question. Not only so, but the columns are printed to correspond with one another line by line and even word by word. This method is prodigal of space, and exacting as regards the labours of editor and printer: but the reader reaps the benefit, by having the case set before him in a form which he cannot mistake, and in a conspectus which tells its own tale to the eye at the first glance. Further, by an ingenious and simple use of varying types and of index numbers, the last of these columns distinguishes many influences which contributed after 1552 to make up the text of the Book of 1661. Thus in studying that column the reader is reminded all the time what is due e.g. to the English Book of 1604 or the Scottish Book of 1637, or again to suggestions of Wren, of Cosin, or of the Puritan Divines. Dr Brightman has further gone beyond all his predecessors in this work by making his Synopsis include also the ulterior sources of the English Rite. The first of his four columns is devoted to the original texts, Greek, Latin, and German, from which the English version is directly drawn, whether of the pre-Reformation time or of later date; and it contains also in some cases a reference to English precedents, to canonical regulations and the like, so that an illuminating commentary runs on side by side with the English texts.