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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 290 pages of information about The Parish Clerk (1907).

     Behold, thy King is coming
       Upon this earth to reign,
     To take away oppression
       And break the captive’s chain;
     Then trim your lamps, ye virgins,
       Your oil of love prepare,
     To meet the coming Bridegroom
       Triumphant in the air.

     Behold, thy King is coming,
       Hark! ’tis the midnight cry,
     The herald’s voice proclaimeth
       The hour is drawing nigh;
     Then go ye forth to meet Him,
       With lamps all burning bright,
     Let sweet hosannahs greet Him,
       And welcome Him aright.

     Go decorate your churches
       With evergreens and flowers,
     And let the bells’ sweet music
       Resound from all your towers;
     And sing your sweetest anthems,
       For lo, your King is nigh,
     While songs of praise are soaring
       O’er vale and mountain high.

     Let sounds of heavenly music
       From sweet-voiced organs peal,
     While old and young assembling
       Before God’s “Altar” kneel;
     In humble adoration
       Let each one praise and pray,
     And give the King a welcome
       This coming Christmas Day.

CHAPTER XIII

THE CLERK GIVING OUT NOTICES

After the Nicene Creed in the Book of Common Prayer occurs a rubric with regard to the giving out of notices, the observance of Holy-days or Feasting-days, the publication of Briefs, Citations and Ex-communications, which ends with the following words: 

“And nothing shall be proclaimed or published in the Church, during the time of Divine Service, but by the Minister; nor by him any thing but what is prescribed in the Rules of this Book, or enjoined by the King or by the Ordinary of the place.”

This rubric was added to the Prayer Book in the revision of 1662, and doubtless was intended to correct the undesirable practice of publishing all kinds of secular notices during the time of divine service.  Dr. Wickham Legg has unearthed an inquiry made in an archidiaconal visitation in 1630, relating to the proclamation of lay businesses made in church, when the following question was asked: 

“Whether hath your Parish Clerk, or any other in Prayers time, or before Prayers or Sermon ended, before the people departed, made proclamation in your church touching any goods strayed away or wanting, or of any Leet court to be held, or of common-dayes-works to be made, or touching any other thing which is not merely ecclesiasticall, or a Church-businesse?”

In times of Puritan laxity it was natural that notices sacred and profane should be indiscriminately mingled, and the rubric mentioned above would be sorely needed when church order and a reverent service were revived.  But in spite of this direction the practice survived of not very strictly confining the notices to the concerns of the Church.

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