15 million Ukrainian are displaced by Russia's war.
Millions miss a meal or two each day.
Help us change that! Click to donate today!

Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


Additional Links

Denotes all the ceremonies in general belonging to divine service. The word comes from the Greek "service, public ministry, " formed of "public, " and "work." In a more restrained signification, liturgy is used among the Romanists to signify the mass, and among us the common prayer. All who have written on liturgies agree, that, in primitive days, divine service was exceedingly simple, clogged with a very few ceremonies, and consisted of but a small number of prayers; but, by degrees, they increased the number of ceremonies, and added new prayers, to make the office look more awful and venerable to the people. At length, things were carried to such a pitch, that a regulation became necessary; and it was found necessary to put the service and the manner of performing it into writing, and this was what they called a liturgy. Liturgies have been different at different times and in different countries. We have the liturgy of St. Chrysostom, of St. Peter, the Armenian liturgy, Gallican liturgy, &c.&c. "

The properties required in a public liturgy, " says Paley, "are these: it must be compendious; express just conceptions of the divine attributes; recite such wants as a congregation are likely to feel, and no other; and contain as few controverted propositions as possible." The liturgy of the church of England was composed in the year 1547, and established in the second year of king Edward VI. In the fifth year of this king it was reviewed, because some things were contained in that liturgy which shewed a compliance with the superstition of those times, and some exceptions were taken against it by some learned men at home, and by Calvin abroad. Some alterations were made in it, which consisted in adding the general confession and absolution, and the communion to begin with the ten commandments. The use of oil in confirmation and extreme unction was left out, and also prayers for souls departed, and what related to a belief of Christ's real presence in the eucharist. This liturgy, so reformed, was established by this acts of the 5th and 6th Edward VI. cap. 1. However, it was abolished by queen Mary, who enacted, that the service should stand as it was most commonly used in the last year of the reign of king Henry VIII.

That of Edward VI. was re-established, with some alterations, by Elizabeth. Some farther alterations were introduced, in consequence of the review of the common prayer book, by order of king James, in the first year of his reign, particularly in the office of private baptism, in several rubrics, and other passages, with the addition of five or six new prayers and thanksgivings, and all that part of the catechism which contains the doctrine of the sacraments. The book of common prayer, so altered, remained in force from the first year of king James to the fourteenth of Charles II. The last review of the liturgy was in the year 1661. Many supplications have been since made for a review, but without success. Bingham's Orig. Eccl. b. 13; Broughton's Dict. Bennett, Robinson, and Clarkson, on Liturg. passim; A Letter to a Dissenting Minister on the Expediency of Forms, and Brekell's Answer; Rogers's Lectures on the Liturgy of the Church of England; Biddulph's Essays on the Liturgy: Orton's Letters, vol. 1: p. 16-24.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Liturgy'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

Search for…
Enter query in the box below:
Choose a letter to browse:
Prev Entry