Page images


nounce his gospel in a worthy and competent manner, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." Then rising, the deacon descends, and after having made his reverence to the altar, he goes, preceded by the incense-bearer and two acolyths with lighted tapers, and the sub-deacon, to the gospel side; and having saluted the people, with his face turned towards the north, in the words, Dominus vobiscum, he proclaims the portion of the Gospel which he is to publish; and having marked his forehead, mouth and breast, with the sign of the cross, he perfumes the book with incense, sings the Gospel, points out to the sub-deacon the portion which he has sung, saying, Hæc sunt verba Christi; "these are the words of Christ." The sub-deacon carries the book open to the celebrant, repeats the same words as he points that portion out, and the celebrant kisses the book, saying Credo and Confiteor; "I believe and confess.' The deacon incenses the celebrant, and having bowed to him, they resume their places.


The deacon is an authorized minister of the Church, appointed to preach the Gospel by his ordination, previously to his doing which he seeks the grace of God by prayer; next, he seeks a mission, for as St Paul says, How shall they preach unless they be sent ? (Ep. to Rom. x. 15.) He takes the book of the gospels, containing the heavenly doctrine from the altar. which represents Christ, asks authority to preach from the celebrant, as his superior, (Matt. ix. 38, and x. 7,) and the lord of the harvest, whose duty it is to send workmen into that harvest; and having received it in the name of the blessed Trinity, and through the institution of him who died upon a cross, the sign of which the celebrant makes over the deacon; he proceeds to proclaim the Gospel, or glad tidings of salvation, preceded by the perfume of the good works; for as Innocent III. says upon this, "A preacher ought to send forth the odour of good esteem, according to that of the apostle; we are the good

odour of Christ to God, in every place." The lights signify how by the means of the doctrines of the Gospel, they were enlightened, who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death. The deacon passes to ad fferent side from that at which the prophecies and the Epistle were read, to show the change from the law of Moses, to the Gospel of Christ; and he faces the north, as well to proclaim the truth to the people, without turning his back to the altar, as to declare to him who cometh from the north, (Isaias xiv. 13 and 31,) that the Lord hath founded Sion, and the poor of his people to whom the glad tidings are preached, (Luke vii. 23,) shall trust in it. He and the people mark their foreheads, mouths and breasts, with the sign of our redemption, joining with the Apostle in his prayer; God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Galat. vi. 14.) It is exhibited on the forehead for profession; on the mouth for declaration, and on the heart for belief: As Pope Innocent III. says (Lib. 3, Myst. Missæ, c. 43:) "He should sign himself upon the forehead, he should sign himself upon the mouth, and he should sign himself upon the breast, as if to say, I am not ashamed of the cross of Christ, but I believe in my heart, what I preach with my mouth." He perfumes the book out of respect, and to teach us how the odour of virtue proceeds from the Gospel. When the sub-deacon gives the book to the celebrant and points out the portion which has been proclaimed, stating it to be the word of Christ, the celebrant kisses it, through respect, and makes the declaration mentioned above; for, as St. Paul says, With the heart we believe, unto justice; but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (2 Rom. x. 10.) The deacon then incenses the cele brant, through respect, as he does on two other occaions during the Mass. During the deacon's singing the Gospel, if a Bishop be the celebrant, he stands uncovered through respect but rests upon his crosier, as well for support, as to exhibit the superior pastoral

charge with which he is invested: the people all stand during the reading or singing of the Gospel. This is a very old custom; we find it commanded in a decretal epistle of Pope Anastatius I. It is also mentioned in the 2d book of the constitutions of Clement, who says in the 57th chap. (alias 61) that it was so regulated by the apostles, through respect to the words of Christ. The ceremony of asking the blessing by the deacon, is very old, as are also that of announcing the Gospel by the words Sequentia, &c.; the answer, Gloria tibi Domine, "Glory be to thee, O Lord," being found in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and quoted as ancient by Amalarius, lib. 18 de off. Missæ, and Alcuen, lib. De off. divin. All the old Liturgies, and councils, and fathers mention the Gospel.

After the Gospel the creed is properly introduced, as the profession of that faith which the Gospel has promulgated. That now recited is the creed of Constantinople that originally used was the Apostles' creed; but after the decision of the Council of Nice, and the condemnation of Arius, it was made more explicit upon the subject of his errors. In the year 381 the Council of Constantinople was held, and to oppose new errors, the creed assumed its present form. It is begun by the celebrant and taken up by the choir, to shew that faith springs from Christ, and through him is established amongst the people., We find it in the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and mentioned by the 3d Council of Toledo. It is said or sung only on Sundays and great festivals. After the celebrant and his attendants repeat it, they sit until the choir has concluded.

This is the end of what is called the Mass of Catechumens. Formerly the deacon at this period ordered the catechumens and infidels, &c., to retire the sermon had been preached after the Gospel; they had received instruction, but the faithful only, and in some instances only the communicants were suffered

to attend at the mysteries. Upon the deacon's proclamation, the porters excluded those not admitted to full communion of the faithful, and closed the doors.

All hitherto was read openly; now the mysteries began, and the chief part was read in an under voice. The first part of the Mass of the faithful is the offertory. This is a small portion of the scriptures applicable to the mystery or fact which is commemorated, and of course varies every day. This is called the offertory, because it was sung by the choir whilst the faithful made their offerings, for in the early ages of the church, every person made some offering at the altar when he or she attended the holy sacrifice. "Whilst the offertory is sung," says Innocent III, "the priest receives the oblations from the people, or the hosts from the attendants " This custom of sing ing and music at the offering was very ancient, We find it in the days of the good king Ezechias.* when the holocausts were offered, they began to sing praises to the Lord, and to blow with trumpets, and to perform with different instruments which king David had prepared. The same spirit which presided over the Jewish church in the days of its purity, presides over the Christian church, and will continue so to do, all days to the end of the world.†

*II. Paralip. xxix. 27, &c.


The objection of some persons to the introduction of music, in the solemn service of the Creator is strangeMan should consecrate all his powers and acquirements to the greater glory of his Lord; and if this fine science and touching art is to be excluded, it is impossible to discover upon what principles the exclusion will rest, without being fatal to every other mode of external worship. Music, it is said, is used in theatres, and is used for the excitement of levity and criminal dispositions; so has speaking, therefore we should not speak, there should be no preachers; so has reading, therefore we should not study the scred volumes. But improper speaking and reading, are very different from preaching and reading the Scriptures. Undoubtedly they are, and sacred solemn music is very

The offerings were at first indiscriminately made of whatever the people thought proper to give, either for the sacrifice, or for the support of the clergy; but

different from profane and lascivious airs. But the same
sort of instruments are used. And so the same sort of
tongues, and the same sort of types, and the same sort of
paper. Perhaps the identical cases of type which were
used to print a bad novel, or an indecent jest-book, are
used to print the Holy Bible-is the sacred book profaned
thereby? Besides the frequent mention of instrumental
and vocal music, for the service of God, in the dfferent
parts of the old Testament, we have the distinct statements
of St. John in the Apocalypse, or Revelations, xiv. 1. &c.
And I beheld, and lo a lamb stood upon Mount Sion, and
with him, an hundred and forty-four thousand having his
name, and the name of his father written upon their fore-
heads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the noise of
many waters, and as the voice of great thunder: and the
voice which I heard, was as the voice of harpers harping on
their harps, and they sung as it were a new canticle before
the throne, &c. xv. 2. And saw as it were a sea of glass
mingled with fire, and them that had overcome the beast, and
his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea
of glass, having the harps of God; and singing the canticle
of Moses the servant of God, and the canticle of the Lamb,
&c. Ep. of St. James v. 13. Is any man cheerful in mind
et him sing. We may therefore well conceive the sublime
British poet fully justified in attributing to Angels, adora-
tion by music.

-How often from the steep
Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive to each other's notes,
Singing their great Creator? Oft his bands
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds
In full harmonic number join'd, their songs
Divide the night and lift our thoughts to Heaven.
Paradise Lost. Book 4.

The following extract from Mr. Ketts' essay on Music shall close this note.

"As the notes used to express any sensations may be equally in unison with those of a similar nature, Music re

« PreviousContinue »