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'A type of heaven': on the Second Collect, for Peace, at Matins

Continuing with extracts from John Shepherd's A Critical and Practical Elucidation of the Morning and Evening Prayer of the Church of England (1796), we turn to the Second Collect, for Peace, at Mattins. Shepherd provides a pithy introduction to the collect: This Collect, copied with some little variation from a form in the Sacramentary of Gregory, is not more remarkable for its antiquity, than for its piety and comprehensive brevity. Having noted the antiquity of the collect - reminding us how its place in Matins draws us into an ancient Christian prayer - Shepherd then provides a beautiful reflection on the collect's meaning: The title of this prayer is a Collect for peace. Peace is the happiness of the earth, and a type of heaven. All earthly blessings are nothing without it, and in it all heavenly blessings are comprehended. Peace was the first legacy bequeathed to the world, through our blessed Redeemer, and peace was the last bequest of our dying Lord to his disciples.

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