Philip Freeman.

The principles of divine service; an enquiry concerning the true manner of understanding and using the order for morning and evening prayer, and for the administration of the Holy Communion in the English Church (Volume 1) online

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vocatur ode."

1'2G THE I'RIXC'irLES 01" DIVINE SERVICE. [ciui'. I.

coiiipniiied, into ///ree groups, and the number of
three lections being more peculiarly the festival usage
of a particular season'", viz. Easter. Again, before
the jihif/i (or the third, if there were but three) of the
Eastern odes, or lections, the Magnificat was said,
and a/ier it a hymn closely resembling, as far as it
goes, the Te Deum": "For Thee all the powers of
the heavens praise ; and to Thee, &c. Holy is the
Lord our God ; Holy, &c. Our God reigneth over all."
Xow the Te Deum was, as a general rule, the re-
sponse" to the nint/i lection (or to the third, if there
were but three) on Sundays and Festivals in the "West.
There are other points which complete the identifi-
cation of the festival lection system of the West witli
the "odes" of the East. The lections or readings of
the former are really subordinate, just as in the East,
to the musical part of the scheme. For while the
responsories, with their versicles, sung at the end of
each lection, are fixed, the lection (on Sundays at
least) might vary^ in length, and did wnry in different
editions of the Offices. In the English use the series
of responses Avas called a historia; and by this historia,
— not by the lections, which were quite subordinate, —
was the character of the week or day determined*.

■" The Eastern idea herein was to diminish the praise of a mournful
season ; tlie Western, to reduce the labour of a festal one.

" Compare Nocturns Office, supra, p. 66. And see note.

" The English use substituted it for the repetition of tlie ninth re-
sponse; the Roman for the response itself. The Bened. had twelve
lessons on Sundays and great festivals, with the Te Deum as the ^';^•
variable response.

•• Comp. Sar. rubric in some MSS., "Then let the clerk, {dericiis,)
when enough at his discretion has been read," &c. Ai-1. MS. Transl. Sar.
Psalt., p. 48.

'' e.g. Sar. Erev. Pica de Dom. i. Adv.: "Litera dom. A. Tertia
Decemb. iota cantetur historia aspiciens ;" i. e. " Let the whole of the
nine lection responses set down for 1 S. in Advent, (the first of wliicli


In short, wlien we examine the Western lection
system, we find that it too was in reaHty a series of
nine or three "odes" or singings, with a certain ac-
companiment of lections or reading. And these "lec-
tions," on saints' days, were not from Scripture at all.
Those connected with the first siaj responsories were
the life or record of the saint commemorated, (just as
the legends in the Greek Office are connected with
the sixt/i ode,) while the remaining three were parts
of a homily on the Gospel for the day. The charac-
teristic difference between the East and West in the
matter was this ; that in the West the Psalms were
interwoven with the lection or ode system, each group
in the scheme consisting of three Psalms and three
odes, with their lections , and that the lections on
ordinary days, and })artly on Sundays, were from holy
Scripture. But these peculiarities, too, were probably
of Eastern importation. There is a well-known canon
of the Council of Laodicea (held circ. 300), which
enjoins that "the Psalms should not be sung uninter-
ruptedly ; but that after each Psalm (or singing'',
rather) there should be readi/nf/." It is dilficult, and
even impossible, to reconcile this with the ancient
practice of the East generally, there being, I believe,
no other trace in Eastern anti(iuity of this alterna-
tion of Psalms* with Scripture lessons. It has indeed

began witli the word ax/jirim.s,) he suiij; 11iroiip;li." These arc the fa-
mous "ruk^s called the I'ie." Vid. Procter's Kalionalc, Leslie's Por-
tiforium, &c.

' 5iA nfiTov Had" iKaffTov itiaKfxhu. That the rcadiiij^ was meant to come,
not between cnch J'salm, but each set of I'salnis, is probable, because
the design of the canon was to relieve the trdioustirxs of the prolonged

• St. Augustine (up. llingham, vol. iv. p. 423) is only speaking of the
one Ps.'ilm \isi-(l at tln' Cniiinimiion Scrviee.

l.OS Tin: riuNcii'LKs of divine service, [cuap. I.

been explained' of the division of the psalmody into
Calhismafa, as above, by means of a hymn sung at
the end of each, which m\^\t perhaps be called "read-
ing." But certainly, of Scripture being read at those
])auses we have no Eastern example. Now though
this particular canon does not prescribe of what kind
the reading should be, the 59th of the same Council"*
forbids any other books than the Scriptures to be read
in the church. It seems necessary, therefore, to sup-
pose that this canon never came into force in the
East beyond the exarchate of Ephesus, in which Lao-
dicea was situated ; and Mr. Palmer'' has shewn that
other provisions of this Laodicean Council bore refer-
ence to that district alone. The Church of Lyons,
however, which the same writer proves to have de-
rived its ritual from Ephesus, had by the year 499,
and probably much earlier, adopted a scheme of lec-
tions in full accordance w'ith these two Laodicean
canons. For in an extant account'' of the night-
service preceding a Synod held in that year at Lyons,
against the Arians, we find that there w^as (no doubt
after the first set of Psalms^) a lesson from Moses,
then Psalms sung, then a lesson from the prophets,
then Psalms again, then a gospel ; after which no
more Psalms, but an epistle at some later period, pro-
bably in the Communion Office. Here then seems to
be the earliest recorded instance of the alternation of
Psalms with Scripture. It seems, too, that three sets
of Psalms were sung, each followed by a lection,

' Balsamon, ap. Neale, p. 855. " Mabillou, Curs. Gal, p. 400.
. ^ Diss. Prim. Lit., sect. v. y Mabillou, Curs. Gal, p. 399.

^ Mabillon, witliout reason, supposes the lesson to have come first.
But Graucolas (Hist. Brev., i. p. 55.) says: "Dans le premier (Noc-
turne) on disoit des Pseaumes, et on lisoit de Moise," &c. But he iu-
corrcctly places a fourth set of Psalms before the epistle.


(which may or may not have been in three parts, and
accompanied by responses). Now this is exactly what
would result from adopting, together with the general
Eastern custom of dividing the psalmody of the day
into three sfaseis or parts, the Laodicean peculiarity
of inserting Lessons of Scripture at the intervals.
The Roman and English use, again, would result
from combining the Lyonnese model with the Eastern
ode scheme. I do not mean that it was necessa-
rily through these channels (scil. the Ephesine and
Galhcan rituals) that the "Western Psalm and lection
system was perfected ; but in some such way it pro-
bably did originate. And hence descended to the
English Church of the present day her still com-
pound, though no longer involved system of Psalms,
Lessons, and responsive canticles, woven together into
one complex act of praise and meditation ; an act
that meditates still as it praises, and as it meditates,

The Ainoi, or three last Psalms of the Psalter, cele-
brating (like the Benedicite, framed upon them) the
2}raises of God in the name of all creation, arc in a
manner the crowning feature of the Eastern Morning
Office. These Psalms arc an invariable feature in the
Western Lauds Office, which indeed derives its name
from them ; and they enjoy the peculiar distinction of
being reckoned as one Psalni^ the "Laudato Do-
niinum dc coelis." The rest of the Greek Office, on
ordinary days, consists of various short hymns, doxo-
logies, and suj)j)lications. Of the various enrichments
and amplifications which it receives on Sundays and
Festivals, 1 have, for the most part, forborne to speak.

• So in tlu' Kasl tlio cliaractcristic Psalms, cxli., cxlii., sung at Vcs-
pors, arc reckotrd as one piece, llie Kipn ^xtVpofo.



The most important, to us, of these additions, is per-
haps the " Morning Gospel," as it was called; not the
same as afterwards followed at the Holy Communion.
It was hence, probably, that on Sundays and Fes-
tivals in the West the GospeP for the day, or the
beginning of it, was read at Matins, with three lec-
tions out of a homily upon it.

Such then is the great Morning Office of the East ;
perhaps the most magnificent and most finely-con-
ceived Office of ordinary w^orship which the Church
has ever possessed. Owing to the embodiment in it
(instead of in the Nocturns, as in the West) of the
continuous psalmody, and, in a rudimentary form, of
the lection system also, — as well as of the fixed and
characteristic hexapsalmus, canticles, and lauds, — it
exhibits a fulness and variety of contents to which
the West at least can shew nothing comparable. It
was doubtless well, and apparently even more true to
the primitive ideal, than the present Eastern arrange-
ment, to incorporate the mass of the psalmody with
the Nocturns, as the Western framers did ; for such
seems to have been, even in St. Basil's time, the theory
of the Offices. But the majestic ideal of the Eastern
Daybreak Office was by that removal seriously marred
and impaired. As it now stands, and probably has
stood from an early period, it might well furnish the
theme of a great oratorio. We have seen how, (p. Ill)
commencing with a brief prelude of praise, it presently
subsides into the notes of profoundest penitential pre-
paration. In the hexapsalmus the two elements of
praise and penitence strive in finely-adjusted propor-
tions for the mastery ; and the same conflict is dis-

'' In Reg. S. Beued. the eutire Gospel was read, and foui' lectious
from a liomily upon it.


ccniible still, by the constitution of the Psalter itself,
in the tide of continuous psalmody which follows. In
the 51st Psalm — the penitential burst of confession
prompted by the breaking forth of dawui — the sorrdw-
ful element obtains for a brief space the ascendancy ;
but it is immediately succeeded by the " songs" and
" lauds," in which God's six days' work, once made
and marred, is acknowledged as created anew by the
Resurrection of Christ at the early morning hour : and
thus the voice of a world redeemed to God rises at last
in one chorus of unwavering and triumphant jubilation.

In endeavouring to form a judgment of the degree
of antiquity which this Office, after deducting from it
the confessedly later hymnal developments, can claim,
we may observe, first, that with one or two excep-
tions, it is wanting in those close affinities with the
Jewish Services which seem to stamp a primitive
character on the Nocturnal Office in its actually exist-
ing form. On this account, I conceive that Office to
be the oldest organized daily service in the w^orld ; a
view which, if correct, greatly heightens the interest
of those resemblances which we have detected between
it and the existing English Daily Office ; — only we must
bear in mind that it was followed by a large addition
of psahnody, to which we have nothing parallel.

Put the Greek Morning Office also bears i)ositive
marks, besides this negative one, of a somewhat later
origination. The precise and studied arrangements
of the six Psalms ; of the Iwdvc prayers accompanying
them ; of the two sets of threefold groups of Psalms
sung in course ; of the nine canticles, and the nine
odes framed with reference to them "■ ; all have a

' "To a certiiiii degree I lie eliaracfer of the Cauticlc»," respectively,
" is iinpresscd on ail the Odes." Ncale, p. S.'M-, note.

K 2


liiglily artiticial appearance. The f/erm, indeed, of
some of these numerical dispositions may be discerned
in the Jewish services : it is the full elaboration of
them that discriminates this office from the nocturnal ;
which itself had the characteristically Jewish numbers
of twe/ve and fortj/ Kyric eleisons ^. The selection
of the number six seems to have been suggested by
that of the days employed in the Creation ; to which
event the Office in various other ways refers. For not
only are the Benedicite and the three Lauds Psalms
evidently appointed as summing up the praise of all
created things, but the entire service varies with t/ie
day of the iveek, whereas the Nocturn Office is fixed
except as to Saturday and Sunday. Besides which,
the Psalms said in course, the hymns sung between
the larger divisions of them, and the canticle, all
cl ange with the day, in a weekly cycle ; as the single
selected Psalm of the Jewish Temple Office, and per-
haps other features of it, did. The twelve prayers
might refer to the twelve hours of the day, as the
ritualists tell us the twelve Eastern Kyries and the
twelve Western Psalms do^ The nine canticles,
and again the nine odes, divided into three groups of
three, probably symbolised the Holy Trinity*^, or the
nine orders of angels ". Now all this, though it may
very well have arisen in extremely early times, (St. Basil
perhaps alludes to the antiphons of the hexapsalmus,)
yet bespeaks the second rather than the first age, —
the secondary than the primary stage of formation, — of
the Church's ritual. We seem to detect in it the first

'' Supi-., p. 66.
. ' Neale, p. 895, b; Darand., v. 3, 27.
' So Zonaras, ap. Neale, p. 833.
K Vide Bp. Aiidrewes' Devotions, 2nd Day, ad fin. ; Neale, p. 469.


stirrings of a more ambitious and more systematizing
spirit of development than that of apostolic days, when
the constituents of the Temple or Synagogue Services
sufficed, with comparatively little adaptation to Chris-
tian ideas, for the purposes of ordinary worship. We
may perhaps discern the more organized Morning
Office in the process of formation in the days of Ter-
tullian (circ. 200) : for he speaks with commendation of
those persons or congregations who shewed more than
the ordinary diligence and zeal in their prayers, — evi-
dently, from the context. Church prayers, — in that
they wound them up with the " Hallelujah," or with
Psalms of that kind ; i.e. jubilant Psalms, such as the
Lauds, singing them responsively ''.


"It shall come to pass, that at evening-time it shall be light."

The simpler Evening or Vespers Office of the East
may be dismissed with a less extended notice. Yet in
one respect it possesses surpassing interest, viz. as the
only one of the Eastern Daily Offices which, in its
ordinary form, stands in an avowed relation to tlie
Eucharist. Its contents are as follows : —

• Eastkkn Vespeks.
Introduction, as far as to )

. V. p. od, no.

Ihc Invitatory, inclusive. )

'' Dc Orationc, c. 27, cd. Roiitli. Similar virws a.s to the rompara-
tive date of this Oflice will be fouiid'iii Note E, e.\.tractcd I'loin " J'aliiici's
Dissertations on the Eastern Cuiiiiiiiiiiinii."


Psalm civ. (The " Prefatory Psalm.")
Seven Prayers (meanwliile) " of the ligliting of lamps."
"Glory," &c. Alleluia, (twice).
Psalms (usually about seven) in course, in three parts,
" Glory," at end of each part.
Pss. cxli., cxlii., as one,
with Ps. cxxx. interwoven.
Ps. cxvii. ; Ps. cxxii. (set as a hymn).
*' Prayer of Entrance," (viz. of the Gospels).
The " Entrance." " Wisdom : Stand up."
Evening Hymn to Christ as " Light."
. The Prokeimenon (i.e. summary of the Epistle).
Litany and Prayers, for protection, &c.
Prayer of bowing down the head.
" Glory be, &c."
Canticle, "Nunc Dimittis."
Trisagion, "Holy Trinity," &c.
Our Father.
Thanksgiving for redemption (vide Nocturns, supr. p. 66).

It will be seen that this Service reflects in minia-
ture the features of the conjoint Nocturns and Morning
Office, (pp. 65 and 111) only with such characteristic
variations as serve to adapt it to the evening idea.
The full penitential introduction and Invitatory, fol-
lowed by a selected Psalm (civ.) of some length, and
a second group of fixed Psalms further on, one of
which (cxxiii., " To Thee lift I up mine eyes,") is
a " song of degrees," — all remind us of the Nocturns
scheme. As for the continuous psalmody, St. Basil
would probably have reckoned it a Nocturns fea-
ture ; the subsequent ages a matutinal one. But the
parallel, on the whole, lies rather between the Vespers
and the Morning Office ; the Invitatory being here at
once followed by a Psalm of praise, (as there by Pss.


XX., xxi. ;) during which, as during the hexapsahnus,
is said a fixed number of prayers (seven), having
reference to the liglit, and to the succession of niglit
and day. Here too the number of fixed Psahiis
in one group (four or five) comes nearer to that
of the Morning Office ; for in the nocturns there
were but two fixed Psalms in a group. But the
capital feature of the resemblance lies in this : that as
the Morning Office leads up through a finely-varied
series of plaintive and jubilant psalmody to the natural
dawn, considered as the memorial of the Creation and
of Christ's Resurrection ; so does the Evening Office,
through a similar progression, to the bringing in
of artijicial light at the close of day ; — the type
and the remembrancer of the coming in of the True
Light, "not of this world','' in the world's eventide,
and of His giving Himself, also at the evening hour,
for its salvation. Hence, after the chequered rise and
fall of praise and penitence has subsided into the
deeply penitential Psalm cxxx., " Out of the deep," —
as it (Hd into Psalm li. in the Morning Office, — it cul-
minates once more in the Psalm of praise of all na-
tions (cxvii.), and in a hymn consisting of the words
of Psalm cxxiii., " Unto Thee lift I up mine eyes,"
expressive of the profoundest expectation. Then with
a suitable prayer takes place the " entrance" (a feature
in the Eastern Communion Offices) as of the Gospels,
considered as enshrining Christ Himself. Then after
an exhortation to the acknowledgment and hearing of
Him as present, (" Wisdom : Stand up,") bursts forth
the triumphant " Hymn of the Evening Light," — the
Lauds of eventide, — at once giving thanks for the gift

' St. Jolmviii. 23. Comp i. \, 5, 9. ,,


of artificial liglit, and praising the True " Light that
shincth in darkness," "in Whom is life, and the life
is the Light of men."

"Joyful Light of the holy glory of the immortal Father, the
heavenly, the holy, the blessed, Jestj Cueist ; we, having come
to the setting of the sun, and beholding the evening light, praise ''
God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. It is meet at all times
that Thou shouldst be hymned with auspicious voices, Son of
God, Giver of life ; wherefore the world glorifieth Thee."

Then is read the proJceimenon, or summary of the
Epistle. A litany of intercession follows, and a prayer
" of bowing down the head," like those which in
the East follow eucharistic consecration. Einally, the
Nunc Dimittis, the Lord's Prayer, thanksgiving for
redemption by Christ, and dismissal benediction.

The points in which the Western Evening Office (or
Yespers) has taken the Eastern as its model, are for
the most part sufficiently obvious. There is the same
acknowledgment of this as being the second great
Office in point of importance in the twenty-four
hours \ answering to the conjoint Nocturns and Lauds.
Like Noeturns, it has a fixed number of Psalms, said
continuously, and in about the Eastern proportion to
those of Nocturns. Like Lauds, again, it has a can-
ticle, collect, and preces. The number of Psalms read
continuously was in general five ; in St. Benedict's
scheme, /o^//-. This diff'erence probably resulted from
reckoning or not reckoning the fifth Psalm (cxxiii.)
in the Eastern scheme; it being, in fact, sung as a
hymn in two parts "' : or from counting Pss. cxli., cxlii.,

'' Horolog., vnvovf^eu : but St. Basil, alvovfiev.

' Durandus, in loc.

"' Durandus (in Adv. vi. 2, 15) suggests various mystic reasons for
the distinction between the monastic and the secular practice in this


as two or as one. The memory of the selected Psalms
in the Greek Office also survived in different ways in
the Latin Church. Thus the verse for the sake of
which Ps. cxli. was evidently chosen, (" Let my
prayer be set forth as incense, &c. ... an evening
sacrifice,") furnishes the West with a verse and re-
spouse at Vespers " nearly all the year round, at which
incense" was used, as in the East. Again, the Roman
and the English uses have adopted each a Psalm from
this Office into their Lauds as an occasional feature,
(the English into Compline also,) viz. cxxx. and cxxiii.
But above all, the strongly chararteristic j9ro^'6'/w^e;;o;^
was preserved in the West, in the singular feature
called the " Capitulum." There can, I conceive, be
no doubt that such is the account to be given of the
"short chapter," (as it is sometimes rather incorrectly
called,) which peculiarly characterized the Western
Vespers, though it was also introduced in the Lauds
and other "hours." It is evidently not a mere text
selected at random. In its proper nature it is nothing
else than the headin(j, or commencement, by way of
a summary ''\ of the Epistle for the day. Accordingly,
on the eve and in the evening of all the more notable
Sundays and Festivals, it consisted of the first few
lines of the Epistle. For ordinary Sundays and week-
days a fixed Caj)ituluni was used. Now this is closely
j)arallel to the ]i]astern usage. On Sundays and Fes-
tivals the pr(jkcinienoii (s:iid at Lands, however,) was

" Bixv. J{om. ^;ir. !id Vcsp. Doia, ct i'cr.

" Dunmd. in Vcsp., sect. 3 ; Goar, p. 3,

p Bona: "The short rcadinf,' fioiii Scriplurc called by sonic collecfio,
lediiinrulay or mniculux, by SI. IJcnrdicl kclio, is luiivcrsally known
as the Capiiuluin. The reason of the name is thai the capitula are
ponerally brief summaries of the Epistles in the Communion Office.
The diminutive form rcferd to its brevity." rsalmod. xvi. 10.


the same " summary" as was prefixed to the Epistle
at the Coramiinion. On week-days the Vespers /»ro-
kcimenon (there was none at Lauds) was a fixed, or
rather arbitrary one, varying only with the days of the
week. The West, therefore, carried out in the Vespers
Office itself, just as the East did at Lauds, the idea of
which the jwoTceimeiion contained the germ ; viz. that
of projecting, so to speak, the mind of the current eu-
charistic Epistle upon the preceding ordinary Offices.

It may be objected that the two things are different :
that the Eastern feature is a verse from the Psalms,
with another responding to it ; the Western, a portion
of apostolic Scripture. But we have already seen that
the lection system of the Western Nocturns is appa-
rently to be identified with, and derived from, the
Eastern Odes. And just so it is here. The parallel
is complete. The Capitulum was, after all, but a
single feature in connection with a complex piece of
singing. In England it was followed (when it was a
genuine Capitulum from the Epistle) by a responsory,
exactly as the Nocturn lections were ; and, in all uses,
by a hymn, a verse and response, (generally one based
upon Psalm cxH., " Let my evening prayer ascend,"
&c.) It results, therefore, that the Western Capitu-
lum was properly, like the Eastern j^'i'okeimenon, an
expedient for forecasting the Epistle for the Sunday
or the Festival, by introducing a summary of it into
the previous ordinary Service : which was in one case
a suitable musical composition, generally from the
Psalms ; in the other, the first few lines of the Epistle,
followed by such a composition.

It may be said, however "i, that if any part of the

■J So Palmer, Orig. Lit., II. iv. 4j Neale. p. 406.


Western ritual corresponds with or represents the pro-
kemenon, it is the gradual ; for this is a verse from the
Psahns adapted to the Epistle, only following instead
of preceding it : and Mr. Palmer thinks it may have
been removed thither from its original position, before
the Epistle. Nor is it at all improbable that the
gradual may have been suggested \>^ \\\q proheimenon,
with wdiich it has so much in common. But it lacks,
after all, the peculiar characteristic of the latter ;
which is its serving as a link between the eucharistic

Online LibraryPhilip FreemanThe principles of divine service; an enquiry concerning the true manner of understanding and using the order for morning and evening prayer, and for the administration of the Holy Communion in the English Church (Volume 1) → online text (page 11 of 33)