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his apostles and ascension; the descent of the Holy Ghost at whitsuntide, and the effects of this descent; the favour conferred on the blessed Virgin Mary, and the power of the apostles, together with the unity of the church, and the source of spiritual jurisdiction. All those are separately and specially brought in review before our minds through the year, on various occasions, by the special or proper prefaces.

The assistant rings the bell at the sanctus, to rouse the attention of the congregation, and to excite them to join in the hymn.

This has its name

The next part is the canon. from being a part which has always been an unchanging rule, by which the celebrant was to be directed; and which was not subject to the discretion of the priest or bishop, even in those early days when much was left to their prudence. The meaning of the word canon, is "a rule." It consists of that part of the Liturgy which commences with the words Te igitur clemen tissime pater, &c.; “we therefore humbly pray," &c., down to the words per omnia Sæcula Sæculorum, Amen. "For ever and ever, Amen," just before the Lord's prayer. But latterly the canon is considered to comprise the Lord's prayer, and to extend to the prayers at taking the chalice and the ablutions inclusive.

This is one of the most ancient parts of the Liturgy; we find it in very nearly the same words as are now in the Roman Missal, in the ancient Ordo Romanus, which quotes it as of the oldest date. It is on all hands agreed that the last person who amended and reduced it to its present form, was Pope St. Gregory the great, in the year 595. Kemnitz and most others who have written against the Catholic doctrine on this point, say that in the year 590 it Assumed its present form. In his 63d epistle, St. Gregory states that before his time, but he does not state exactly when, it had been compiled by an em

Inent scholastic; that is, by a person of considerable information. Pope Vigilius in the year 545, mentions it as "the text of canonical prayer." Pope Leo I. in the year 445, added the following words, Sanctum Sacrificium et immaculatam hostiam, “a holy sacrifice and unspotted victim," just after the words tibi obtulit Sacerdos tuus Melchisedech " thy high priest Melchisedech offered to thee," at the conclusion of the second paragraph after the words of consecration: and Pope Innocent I. calls the canon by excellence "The prayer," in the year 408, in his epistle to Decentius, where he speaks of the custom of repeating the names, or making the memento, "before the priest makes the prayer." St. Augustine about the year 420, calls it by the same name, where he says in his 149th epistle, that "nearly the entire church concludes all its petition with the Lord's prayer." St. Ambrose who was the teacher of St. Augustine, in his fourth book on the Sacraments, has the two prayers which immediately precede the consecration, and the two which immediately follow it, almost letter for letter as they are now found in the canon, and he quotes them as taken from the ancient rites. In the 4th chapter of this 4th book he distinctly mentions the substance of the first prayer of our canon, as does Optatus of Melevi, in his second book against Parmenian, and St. Augustine in his 84th tract on St. John, mentions those prayers thereof, in which the saints are named and invoked, and prayers offered for the dead. St. Cyprian in the year 250, calls it the prayer which follows the preface. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Basil, and Pope Vigilius testify that those customs and prayers were handed down from the apostles; and this testimony was not contradicted, but was supported by their cotemporaries and immediate successors. It was also called Actio, Mysterium, &c., by inany of the most ancient writers. St. Pelagius writes both phrases. In actione Sacri Mysterii

is the name by which he calls it "in the performance of the holy mystery." The second council of Carthage in the year 390, calls it Ordo Agendi "the order of doing"-that is of producing the Sacraments or offering the Sacrifice-doing an act. Those who are at all conversant with the history of the early ages of the church, will not be astonished at not finding earlier written documents upon the subject, for they are well aware of the custom which prevailed during the first three centuries and a half, of not committing the forms of the sacraments or the prayers of the mysteries to writing, they were taught to the Clergy, and not written: hence we could have no earlier documents. It must be then quite plain that no better evidence could be expected of the antiquity of our canon.

But in addition to these we may add some considerations which have very great weight. First it is usual in the dyptics of the churches to insert the names of the saints, to be repeated in the canon; now in this canon there is not the name of any but of a martyr of a very early date--therefore all the dyptics which have been introduced, must have been of a corresponding period, and not later than the third century. Secondly, we have the most accurate statements of all the changes that have been made in the canon by any of the Pontiffs, and they are very few; we have also the various additions to that part of the office, which was left more to discretion than the canon, hence we conclude that if the canon was not of apostolic origin, we would have had some account of its author; or if any serious change had been made, we would have earned it equally as well as we did that made by Pope Leo, and that other by Pope Gregory, when in his revision thereof he added the words Diesque nostros in tua pace disponas. "And dispose our days in thy peace,' as at the end of the prayers said by the celebrant with his

*S. Pelag. in Ep. Agobard. ad. Ludov. imp.

bands spread over the offering-and again in the enumeration of the apostles, the order is very different from any other which we find; and can be best accounted for, as also can the introduction of their names and of those of saints who lived nearly two centuries after the apostles, in a work attributed to the apostolic age, by the account of what the dyptics were as shall be given.

We shall now examine the prayers of the canon, and find that as the council of Trent declares,* it contains nothing but what is calculated to lift the soul to God, and that it consists of the compositions of our Lord himself, of the apostles, and the most holy and earliest Pontiffs.

The celebrant begins by lifting his hands and eyes to heaven, in imitation of our divine Lord, when invoking his eternal Father, then he respectfully kisses the altar, and at the words "these gifts, these presents, these holy and unspotted sacrifices," he thrice makes the sign of the cross over the offering to consecrate it to God through the merits of Christ, and then continues the prayer with his hands lifted and extended, until that part where he invokes the Lord for his living friends, Be mindful, O Lord"-here he


closes his hands, and rests for a short time in mental prayer for them, and also to give the congregation an opportunity of enumerating their friends in their prayers. After which he extends his hands and continues, to the end of that prayer, "Through the same Christ, our Lord-Amen."

The object of this prayer is evident; it is to obtain from the eternal Father, the author of all good, through the merits of his beloved Son, the blessings which we ask for. The first of those is, that he would" vouchsafe to accept" the offering which we make; it is as yet but bread and wine, but we offer it for the purpose of its being made the body and blood of Jesus Christ-tor

*Sess. xxii. c. 4.

which end the blessing of the eternal Father is necessary thereon; hence he is prayed "to bless these gifts." We call that which is given by a superior to an inferior, a gift, and as we have received those from God, who is our superior, we make the acknowledgement of his bounty even in our making the offering; but what an inferior presents with a request that it may be received well, expresses what we do in giving "these presents" to our superior, with a request that he may accept them as our "sacrifice" which is already "holy," as having been consecrated to him, and "unspotted," for it is the purest which we can bestow, and we anticipate that under those mystic veils will soon be placed the "unspotted" lamb figured by him who in Egypt was chosen without blemish.

The object of our oblation is in the first place for the Holy Catholic Church-because we are brethren throughout the whole world, having but one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all, to whom Christ our Lord, ascending on high, led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men. (Ephes. iv. 5, &c.) We then request of the Lord "to grant peace" to the church by saving it from the persecution of enemies, "to preserve it" in that peace by taking away enmity, "I will and malice, "to unite it" by removing the spirit of schism which too often exhibits itself, and "to govern the church throughout the world," by preserving the spirit of unity in the bond of peace.

And as we have but one fold under one shepherd (John x. 16,) the next petition is for him who as the Vicegerent of Christ, is our visible head here below, we therefore pray specially for our holy father the Pope-according to the injunction of St. Paul to the Hebrews, Remember your prelates who have spoken the word of God to you, (xiii. 7,) and the bishop of Rome being the centre of Catholic communion, we should necessarily first offer up our prayers for him after asking for the unity of the Catholic Church; such

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