In the bloging world you sometimes come upon a quote that is so good that you just can't leave it where it was. This is one of them. I became a fan of Deamer's when I was yet a teenager in the very far ago fifties. It was one of those periods when a number of influences seemed to be warring for my intention. I was reading all of the Henry Bradshaw Society volumes the university library possessed and the works of as many Russian Orthodox theologians which I could find. And then I came upon the Parson's Handbook. It had a beauty and a logic that seemed to pull a good deal of the rest together. Anyway, this is a quote from a book of his of which I have never been able to find a copy, but like what it says so much that I think it belongs here. Hopefully those of you who appreciate the classical Anglican prayer book tradition will as well.
“The English Church happens to base herself in a special manner upon history–she appeals to the Scriptures and primitive antiquity for her theology, [* Articles VI., VIII., etc.] to the ancient Fathers for her ritual, [* The Preface Concerning the Service of the Church, Article XXIV., etc.] to Catholic tradition for her ceremonial; [* The Preface Of Ceremonies, Canon 30 (1603), Canon & (1640), etc.] she refers us to the second year of Edward VI for her ornaments, [* The Ornaments Rubric] and to the later middle ages for the arrangement of her chancels. [* "And the chancels shall remain as they have done in times past." (First inserted in 1552.)] [24/25] Her formularies, therefore, cannot be understood without a good deal of historical knowledge. Some people may object to this, and may ask–Why should they be bound by documents that are two or three hundred years old? But the fact remains that they are so bound, whether they like it or not; and that the whole intention of the Reformers, as shown from end to end of the Prayer Book, Articles, and Canons, was to bind them to principles that are nearer two thousand than two hundred years of age. Nor will they be released from this bondage to historic continuity till the same authority that imposed it shall have removed it,–which will not be for a long time to come. The attempts that have been hitherto made at throwing off this light yoke have not been so conspicuously successful in their results as to encourage us to proceed. Therefore I ask Churchmen to renounce those futile experiments of private judgment, and to throw themselves into the task of realising in its entirety that sound Catholic ideal which the defenders of the English Church preserved for us through the most troublous period of her history. “– Dearmer, Loyalty to the Prayer Book