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none can mark. The roll put into our hand has lamentation written on it. "Praise," says the Son of Sirach," is not seemly "in the mouth of a sinner, for it was not sent him of the Lord'."
Again, from the Prayer" for the Church militant," we have excluded the more solemn commendation to GOD, and prayer for the Dead; this is a moving thought, for may we not venture to consider it in this light, that we are by this exclusion, as it were, in some degree disunited from the purer communion of those departed Saints who are now with CHRIST, as if scarce worthy to profess ourselves one with them? For the dead who are the objects of prayer are such as are considered in a state of comparative if not complete blessedness; to pray for such in any condition, and for their perfection, is the privilege of saints rather than the office of servants. And in the Prayer of Oblation, the beautiful mention of Angelic ministries, as bearing our supplications into the presence of the Divine Majesty, is lost: as if thereby (to follow the former train of reflection) we were not to be considered meet to be of that sacred society, who are come to the Mount Sion," to "the innumerable company of angels," any more than to that of" the spirits of just men made perfect'." But instead of these the higher and more inspiring commemoration of the spirits of the blessed, and the mention of good angels, we have introduced into our offices an awful service of " Commination" to the living; and in it an appeal, combining the most fearful denunciations to be found in Scripture, forming an office peculiar to ourselves.
Moreover, other churches have had their Litanies in times of public calamity, when "God's wrath lies hard upon them;"
1 Ecclus. xv. 9.
2 And yet the silence, or rather the slight and touching mention of these subjects, is perhaps the most becoming expression of humiliation that could be made after the great abuse of such prayers.
3 In the First Book of Edward this service was appointed for Ash Wednesday; in the second it is added in the Rubric" to be used divers times in the year;" this Rubric, and that which now stands, produce no practical difference, yet tend more to diffuse the spirit of it into the Church, as a characteristic.
"These Litanies were at first composed by the Fathers in the primitive "Church solemnly to be used for the appeasing of GOD's wrath in public evils."
but to us our own is given as our weekly, nay our almost daily food. And not only so, but it has come to be that of our Sundays also; for it is remarkable, that it was first appointed only for the Wednesday and Friday. How much this contributes to the tendencies alluded to is very evident, in that it infuses so strongly penitential a tone into the Sunday itself. But no intention of this kind is attributed to those who introduced it, but only that of a more solemn service'. And the Litany itself, if it differs from former supplications of the kind, it is in this, that it appears to be a combination of every most moving petition, and a deprecation of every evil of body and mind to which guilty sinners are subject, and penitent sinners are brought to the sense of. This peculiar 00s of our own Church will be seen by a reference to the American. For the most part adhering to our own Prayer Book (excepting in the Communion Service, which is more primitive), it will sometimes, by the mere influence of its own inherent difference of spirit, or led by the tendencies of later times, as it were inconsiderately, start aside from its parent's hand. We find, by a slight direction inserted before the Kúpiɛ ¿Néŋoov, that the most solemn and penitential part of the Litany from thence to the prayer, "We humbly beseech Thee,” may be omitted at the discretion of the minister.
Another trifling circumstance may be noticed. Every body
And further on: "they were afterwards augmented by Gregory the Great, Bishop "of Rome, in whose time there was much affliction and trouble throughout the "world." Hooker, quoted by Bishop Cosins on the Litany.
1 How expressive of this change in our condition is our custom of kneeling on Sunday instead of standing, as the ancient Church used to do on that day, and through the baptismal season from Easter to Pentecost. This custom we have left off with the white baptismal robes. Add to which, the remarkable tendency in this country to hold Sunday in something of the spirit of a Fast. It might be supposed, indeed, that this is owing to the neglect of the weekly Fast, for if religion is only solemnly thought of on one day in the week, that day must be a day of mourning; and they who are not buried with CHRIST in His death, He raises not to the joy of His resurrection. But even this is not sufficient to account for it. Is it not the case in Germany, that Sunday is a day of festal rejoicing, though they keep no day of humiliation? These remarks on the Sunday are the more important, as it is the Sunday which gives the tone and character to our religion.
must have observed, how much the short prayer to be used after the occasional prayers, which speaks of our being tied "and bound by the chain of our sins," is of this penitential chaBut observe, how it has crept, as it were imperceptibly, into its present position. It was first only to be used after the prayer in public sickness, on an occasion, that is, of public humiliation; but now it almost occupies a place in the general service, as coming after the Prayers in the Ember weeks and others.
9. The Sunday Lessons.
The next point which comes before us is that of the Sunday Lessons, and on this subject it will be sufficient to adduce the testimony of the "Tract for the Times" (No. 13). In this the writer considers that there is a general principle, if not intended, yet at all events evidenced by the selection, as running through it, and a key to which may be found in the 95th Psalm. It is curious to find that the American Prayer Book actually omits the latter part of this Psalm, which the writer considers as so expressive in implying this lesson. This general principle alluded to he shows to be one of admonition, by setting before us the conduct of God's people of old, and God's dealings with them: "that amidst the daily experience we have of Christians "behaving so very differently from what one should expect à "priori in God's elect, unworthy Christians might discern them"selves, by anticipation, in the faithless demeanour of the "Jews." Now, what is this but to remind us that we, like the Jews, have fallen back from our privileges, and that if we do not take heed we shall forfeit the final inheritance also? For it may be observed, that it is the analogy of the Jewish nation which arrests our attention to the fact, and explains to us the later appearances of Christianity as states of degradation.
And may not the compression of the seven canonical Hours into our two daily services be considered also of this character? The Psalmist, indeed, though a Jew, in the state of a servant, yet speaking in the Spirit, anticipates the privileges and language of a son, when he says, "Seven times a day do I praise Thee;"
but we, as if having lost the glad spirit of adoption, which such frequent worship would imply, have come to nothing more than the morning and evening sacrifice of the Jew. Or, if the Litany be considered as a distinct service, to the three times a day of the Jews' public prayers observed by Daniel and David; by the which change, that which had more the character of a spontaneous and free offering, as of the son who was "always with” his father, becomes more like the forced returns of a servant, and an appointed task1.
10. Changes in the Rubric.
To pass from the matter of our Services themselves, there is a circumstance in the Rubric which will serve as a Comment on these changes in the Prayers.
In the time of Edward the Sixth, and sanctioned by his First Book, it seems to have been the custom for the Prayers to be said by the priest in the chancel, turning to the East. Although this was discontinued in the Second Book (where the Rubric spoke of the place where the people could best hear), during the
1 In the daily prayers there are two peculiarities of our own Church, the one is the position which the prayer for the King occupies before that for the Church; we cannot, humanly speaking, approve of such an anomaly. But may we not perceive in it some design of warning or otherwise? Is it a witness to ourselves of that leaven which has pervaded the Church, and the evil consequences of which we are experiencing, in an Erastian preference of the State to the Church, a badge of the servitude which we have taken on ourselves for want of confidence in GOD, and looking to the temporal power? Or is it not, on the other hand, a warning against that disobedience to authority which has so much infected this nation, and the first indication of the temper of disobedience to GOD, and therefore set first as the foundation of natural piety? The next circumstance is the Prayer for the Parliament, which is, of course, unprecedented. It is remarkable that, at the time of its being first issued, and ever since, the Parliament has been more or less the enemy of GoD's Church, and exercising an indirect control over it. And yet to pray for them, under such circumstances, is of Divine command, and perhaps the strictest parallel to it will be found in the case of the Israelites (Jer. xxix. 7), "Seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be "carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it; for in the peace thereof "shall ye have peace." This may be applied to both circumstances alluded to.
year and a half of its duration, it seems to have been partially restored by that of Elizabeth, which prescribes "the accustomed "place of the church, chapel, or chancel," which accustomed place cannot, one would think, allude to that of King Edward's Second Book, as a year and a half before the intervening reign of Mary could not of course then be the accustomed place'. But to this it was added, "except it be otherwise appointed by the Ordinary." Whatever the Rubric may have originally intended, the Morning and Evening Prayer seems gradually to have passed from the chancel to the outer church. In Bishop Sparrow's "Ra"tionale," and a note there quoted of Bishop Andrews, the middle of the church is spoken of as the place for the Litany. Whatever may have occasioned it, the fact itself may serve as a practical illustration of what has been said on the substance of the prayers. That we seem thereby gently thrust, as it were, aside, and put off from a nearer approach to the Altar, bid to stand off awhile, and take the lower place, the position of suppliants, at the entrance of the chancel, and to " weep between the porch
"and the altar."
It may be noticed that this proceeding typifies, as it were, by external act, another circumstance of our spiritual condition. The mystical interpretations of Holy Scripture are spoken of by the Fathers as the peculiar privilege of sons, as the inner temple of sacred writ, the holier place. In the Breviaries, such spiritual and deep meanings are much brought before us by the verses which are made to answer each other in the responses, and in the lessons from the Fathers. But by our own church they seem scarcely at all openly taught or recognised; perhaps the most remarkable instance of it may be found in the penitential confessions attached to the reading of each of the commandments as broken, which, of course, must apply to the interior sense as explained by the Catechism and indeed in the Rubric in the
1 It is mentioned by Bishop Burnet, that among six Articles discussed by the House of Commons, in the reign of Elizabeth, against the established usages, the first was against Saints' days, the second against turning to the east, the third against the use of the Cross at baptism. These three were therefore at that time considered in the same light. Burnet's Hist. Ref. part iii. book vi.