Page images



HE following pages have been composed for the use of the theological student, but not without the hope that they may also be acceptable to that large and increasing class among the laity, who desire to be intelligent as well as faithful members of the Church.

When applied to the great purpose for which it is intended, our Liturgy needs little comment; it is adapted to the wants and feelings of all; it is simple in its style, and not above the comprehension of the unlearned and the ignorant. But when studied by the light of history, it assumes a widely different aspect. It is found to be rich in memorials of the past. It derives a great part of its contents from a remote antiquity. It is a witness to the faith, the devotional habits, and sometimes to the trials and afflictions of our Christian forefathers. It bears on its surface the marks of many conflicts and controversies, which have agitated the Church in successive ages. On these accounts it may well be regarded as a great historical monument: and the revered guide and companion of our public devotions thus becomes to us the subject of varied and interesting illustration.

If we would understand the Prayer Book thoroughly, and form a just estimate of its value, we must often turn to the Service-Books which it supplanted, and from which it was in a great measure compiled. It is instructive as well as interesting to observe how, in preparing a new manual of public devotion, the Reformers availed themselves of the Breviary, the Missal, and the Ritual; how the old Offices were

[blocks in formation]

rather remodelled than altogether superseded, and the formularies were in some cases literally translated, in others paraphrased, or adapted to the use of the Reformed Church. We frequently also find that a collect is placed in a new light by a reference to its Latin original. In order to encourage and facilitate this reference, most of the original forms have been inserted in the present treatise: and where no other source is acknowledged, it will be understood that they have been taken from the well-known Origines Liturgica of Mr Palmer.

Among the recent liturgical works to which I have had recourse, may be mentioned Dr Cardwell's Documentary Annals, and Conferences on the Book of Common Prayer, Bishop Mant's and Mr Stephens' editions of the Prayer Book, Mr Bailey's Rituale AngloCatholicum, Mr Maskell's Monumenta Ritualia, Mr Clay's Book of Common Prayer Illustrated, Mr Procter's History of the Book of Common Prayer with a Rationale of its Offices, Archdeacon Freeman's Principles of Divine Service, The Annotated Book of Common Prayer, by the Rev. J. H. Blunt, The Prayer Book interleaved, by the Rev. W. M. Campion and the Rev. W. J. Beamont, and The Sarum Missal in English (1868).

[ocr errors]

Having been a member of the Ritual Commission of 1870, and of the Committee appointed by the Commission to revise the Table of Lessons, I took upon myself when the new Lectionary had been authorised by Act of Parliament, to explain it in a short treatise, entitled "The New Table of Lessons explained (1871). That treatise was not submitted to my colleagues before publication; but having reason to believe that it has been generally approved by them, I have appended the greater part of it to the present work, in the hope that it may be of permanent use.

A short account of the proceedings of the Ritual Commission is given in an appendix.

December, 1874.

W. G. H.




Of the Ancient Liturgies, and the liturgical books in use at the time of the Reformation.

WHEN Cranmer and his

cient Liturgies, and to trace

their history from the first ages to the time of the Reformation.

joined by them to their disciples. It is, however, expressly stated in the Book of the Acts, that the Church was no sooner established than it was united and held together by common acts of devotion. They continued stedfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.' It may also be gathered from some passages in the Acts, and in the Epistles of St Paul, that special meetings of the believers were held on the first day of the week, and that the Lord's supper was celebrated at the time of the common meal. This latter practice led to certain abuses in the

colleagues undertook to frame a new manual of public devotion, they wisely abstained as much as possible from origi- The scanty records of the nal composition, and preferred primitive Church do not enable to make a compilation from the us to say for certain, that any time-hallowed Offices of the un- form of public worship was inreformed Church. Those Of-stituted by the Apostles, or enfices stood greatly in need of revision; for every form of mediæval superstition and misbelief had left its impress upon them. But to cast them altogether aside was neither expedient nor desirable; for independently of the claim which fong usage had given them, they still contained much that was pure and excellent, the work of venerable Christian fathers and apostolic men. Not the least among the recommendations of the Book of Common Prayer is this, that a large portion of its contents is of high antiquity, and that it is thus a connecting link between the present and the past. Such being the origin of our excellent Liturgy, its structure cannot be fully elucidated, without a frequent reference to the Service-books which it superseded. In order to render that reference more intelligible, I propose in the present chapter to give a brief account of the an

Corinthian Church, which were censured by the Apostle'. It is not probable that the Apostles left the infant Churches without instructions as to the mode of conducting divine worship; and among the 'traditions' (rapadóσeis) which St Paul gave to his disciples, there may have

1 Acts ii. 42; xx. 7; 1 Cor. xvi. 2; xi. 21.
2 Cor. xi. 2; 2 Thess. ii. 15.


The Second Century.

been directions, more or less definite, on this head. Liturgies are indeed extant, which bear the venerable names of St James, St Mark, St Peter, and St John; the first said to have been used at Jerusalem and in Palestine, the second at Alexandria and in Africa, the third at Rome and in Italy, the fourth at Ephesus and in Asia Minor: but as they cannot be traced back to the first age, and at no period were universally accredited as the work of the Apostles, we are not justified in assigning to them, or to any part of them, such high antiquity and authority.

At the commencement of the second century, we find reason to believe that fixed forms of public devotion were already in use. Justin Martyr, in his First Apology, written about 140 A.D., gives a description of the Communion Service, as it was celebrated in his time, and in his part of the Church, i.e. in Palestine. After describing the baptism of a catechumen, he thus proceeds:


giving has been said, and they carry away to the absent. This food we call the Eucharist (evxapioría), which no one may receive, except those who believe in the truth of our doctrines, and who have also been baptized for the remission of sins, and who live according to the commandments of Christ.' Soon afterwards he speaks of the food over which thanks are given in the words of His prayer,' thus shewing that the repetition of the Lord's Prayer was part of the eucharistic service, and a little further on he says: On Sunday, as the day is called, the inhabitants of town and country assemble together, and the memoirs of the apostles and writings of the prophets are read as long as time permits. When the reader has finished, the presiding brother makes a discourse, exhorting us to the imitation of these worthies. Then we stand up and pray, and when the prayers are done, bread and wine are brought, as I have just described, and he who presides sends up thanksgivings and prayers as well as he is able (öon dúvapuis avr), and the people answer Amen,' &c.

'We offer up prayers in common for ourselves, for the baptized person, and for all men. After the prayers we kiss each other. Then there is brought to the presiding brother a loaf The phrase ὅση δύναμις αὐτῷ, of bread, and a cup of water, 'to the best of his ability,' in and mixed wine: he takes it, the latter passage, has by some and offers praise and glory to been understood as referring the Father of all, through the not to the delivery, but to the name of the Son and the Holy composition, of the prayers, Spirit, and returns thanks to and has been claimed as an Him at great length for having authority for leaving the exvouchsafed to give us these pression of the Church's devothings. When he has made an tions to the ability and discreend both of the prayers and tion of the individual Minister. the thanksgiving, the people The phrase is too ambiguous to answer Amen, which in He- be quoted with any force in brew signifies, So be it. Then this behalf; at the same time those whom we call deacons we must admit, that there is give to each person present a no direct proof on the other portion of the bread, wine, and side. It may be that the public water, over which the thanks-devotions of the early Christ

« PreviousContinue »