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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tion is still more distinctly expressed, as we have seen,
than at Vespers. And thronghont all these Offices
there rnns more or less of reference to the Passion.
Thus at Prime on Wednesdays and Fridays there is
a special prayer or hymn for the aid of the Cross of
Christ ; and the hymn on which onr evening thiid
Collect is founded evidently alludes to the " snares"
(insidiae) laid for our Lord in His betrayal and cruci-

The Western Offices carry out these ideas in vari-
ous degrees, as we shall have occasion to notice here-
after. In Prime, more especially, the Eastern refer-
ence to the Passion was rendered with great fulness,
Pss. xxii. — XXV. being appointed to be used on Sun-
days ; all of them probably, but the 22nd certainly, in
this connection. It is remarkable that Ps. xxii. alone
is appointed for the Prime Office of the Armenian
Church ; to which St. Benedict, too, appears to have
been indebted, through whatever channel, for much
of his scheme. These five Prime Psalms were subse-
quently distributed in the Roman ritual (by Pius V.)
over the other days of the week, Ps. xxii. l)cing appro-
priately allotted to Priday, and Ps. xxiii. to Thursday.
Our own third Collects at morning and evening, as
being based on Pss. xc, xci., and xxxi. 1 — 0, (see
p. 228,) necessarily recal, according to the prolbund-
est conception of them, those sorrows and ))erils of
our Lord, and that triumph over them, wiiich are at
once the typo of our daily condition, as the members
of Ilis Bofly, the Church, aiul the assurance of pro-
tection and deliverance.



" Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is
risen upon thee . . . And the Gentiles shall come to thy Ught, and kings
to the brightness of thy rising . , . Who are these that tly as a cloud,
and as the doves to their windows ? Sui'ely the isles shall wait for me,
and the ships of Tarshish first."

The most obscure chapter in the ritual annals of
the Western Church is confessedly that which em-
braces the period from the first introduction of Chris-
tianity till the begiiining of the fifth century. At this
latter epoch, tradition, rather than history, begins to
shed a feeble and uncertain light upon the past. The
information that we obtain, even then, is chiefly of
a negative kind. We discern, that is to say, the in-
auguration of a new and different era, in ritual mat-
ters, from that which preceded it. But wherein the
difference consisted, and what consequently was the
character of the superseded state of things, we are still
left for the most part to conjecture. All that we know
is, that by the hands of some persons, either tradi-
tionally named, (as St. Ambrose at Milan, and St.
Jerome and St, Damasus at Rome,) or plausibly con-
jectured from their writings and known history, (as
Cassian in the south of France,) the older forms were
laid aside or remodelled, and new ones introduced;
of which, while some have been swept away, others
survive in some form or other to the present hour.

In this dearth of historical testimony, the internal
evidence, which the Western ritual on examination
supplies, of its derivation from Eastern sources, comes


most opportunely to our aid. For if the arguments
be well founded, by which I have endeavoured, in the
first chapter, to make good the claims of certain of
the Eastern Offices to represent in the main, and even
as to some details, the apostolic manner of ordinary
worship, it will follow, almost as a matter of course,
that similar forms of service must have been widely
if not universally diffused throughout the Christian
world. Following the analogy of the ancient Com-
munion Services or Liturgies, this more ordinary kind
of worship would be likely to retain in all lands, as
those certainly did"", the same leading features, with
only such variations as might arise from the differing
mental or spiritual constitution of the first cvange-
lizers, or from other accidental circumstances. If
such services existed at all in the Church at the first,
they would be likely, by the time the faith began to
be preached to the world at large, (which was not
until twelve years after the Ascension^), to have ac-
quired a tolerably settled form. And then both habit,
and reverence for apostolic institution, would conspire
to secure a considerable uniformity in the ordinary
worship of all Churches.

This conjecture is entirely confirmed by such notices
as we have in ancient writers of the Church's ordinary
service. Inhabitants of the most widely se})arated
regions render, in the main, the same account of it.
St. Basil in Cappadocia, St. Chrysostom at Constanti-
nople, Origcn in Egypt, Tertullian in Africa, Justin
Martyr at Rome (probably), bear witness that it took
place partly by night and partly by day. That its
staple contents were Psalms and hymns we learn

' Vide Palmer's Dissertation on Primitive Liturgies.
' Vide Burton's Eccl. Hist., Icct. v.


from the same writers, and indirectly indeed from
others, as many as speak of Psahns and hymns as
having been in use in the Churches, since we know
that the Communion Offices were otherwise con-
stituted. In the third and fourth centuries par-
ticular writers positively affirm the general preva-
lence of such services : as Origen and St. Basil in
passages already quoted * ; and Epiphanius, bishop of
Salamis, circ. 370, " Morning hymns are used con-
tinually in the Church, and morning prayers ; and
evening (lychnic) Psalms and prayers." When the
Church of Malabar", said to have been founded
by the apostle St. Thomas, was discovered by the
Portuguese in the year 1501, "The priests," it was
found, "performed the Divine Office twice daily, at
three in the morning and five in the evening;" a
striking testimony, as it should seem, to the general
correctness of the view which we have been led to,
as to the ancient practice in this matter. Particular
featm'es of the Office, again, are occasionally testified
to by remote and independent witnesses: as the 51st
Psalm, and the prolongation of the Night Office into
the daylight, by Tertullian and Basil ; the invitatory
of the Constantinopolitan Office by Athanasius in
Egypt; "Before the beginning of their prayers, the
Christians invite and exhort one another in the words
of this Psalm (95th'')." Arnobius, an African, in the
fourth century, writing a general apology for the de-
votions of Christians, enumerates the topics of prayer
as nearly as possible in the order, and that a some-
what peculiar one, wduch is found m the Litany sub-

' Supr., ch. i. sect. ii. Add S. Aug. Conf., ix. 4. " Toto orbe cantautur."
" For an interesting account of this Church, see Neale, p. 145.
' Athanas. De Virginitate,


joined to the Eastern Nocturns, viz., "for magistrates,
the army, kings, friends, enemies, the living, the de-
parted." That the Office was universally devoid of les-
sons from Scripture, is both negatively testified by the
absence of any mention of them; and positively by
the council of the fourth century at Laodicea, which
provides for their introduction as a new thing.

In the West, although, as 1 have said, direct his-
torical testimony is all but wanting, the conclusions
arrived at by the best informed and most cautious
of Western Ritualists represents ordinary worship as
having probably exhibited the selfsame general aspect
as in the East, Grancolas, to whom I refer, conceives
its leading characteristics previous to the fifth century
to have been abundance of Psalms and entire absence
of lessons,

" Je ne fais pas meme diffieulte d' avancer que le Pseautier dis-
tribue par le semaine etait rancien Office Romain, dont on a
conserve le titre a la tete du Breviaire ; ' Psalterium dispositum
per hebdomadam ;' et que corame le Pseautier faisait le Bre-
viaire des Juifs, I'Eglise n' eut d'abord que les Pseaumcs avec
r Oraison Uomiiiicale ... II n' y avait a Rome de Lc^on dans
r office, ni d' Hymne, ni de Collccte. A 1' egard des Lectures,
clles ne se firent pendant long-tems qu' a la Mcsse . . . . Ce sont
les Moines qu' ont les premiers insert les lemons dans 1' oflicey."

These views of a very learned member of the Gal-
ilean Church, at the beginning of the 17th century,
are thoroughly coincident, as to their main tenor,
with those to which we are conducted by our investi-
gations into the l"]astern ritual, and into the relations
between it and the Western. Only it is j)robable that
the earlier Western ritual was more organized than
Grancolas supposed, and already possessed the basis
of those arrangemenXs which it afterwards adopted in

' Grancolas, Conimcut. sur le Breviaire, i. p. 23. Compare Miliiiaii,
Lat. Christianity, p. 28,


fuller measure from the East. The Churches of the
AVest, if there be anything in the hypothesis we have
proceeded upon, can hardly but have received, at their
first planting, some kind of Nocturnal Office of Psalms
and hymns. The testimony of Justin Martyr and
Hippolytus ^ accordingly, is, as we have seen, as far
as it goes, to this effect; the one speaking of noc-
turnal worship, the other of Psalms and hymns as its
contents. And, indeed, independently of this pre-
sumption, and this degree of testimony, such a sup-
position seems ahuost necessary to account for the
facility with which these Churches accepted Eastern
avrano-ements and details at the hands of Cassian or


others. It is most improbable that they would throw
away entirely all their established usages ; most na-
tural, that, having a common basis with the Orientals,
they should accept and incorporate their improvements
or enlargements upon it. The same supposition is
again confirmed by a certain independence with which,
after all, and notwithstanding the vast deference they
paid to Eastern arrangements, they of the West acted
in the reconstruction of their Offices. We observe
this in their incorporating the continuous psalmody
with their first and Nocturnal, and not (as the Ori-
entals since Basil's time) with their second or Matu-
tinal Office; in their free rejection of some Psalms,
as e. g., some of those of the hexapsalmus, while
retaining others ; in their different appropriation of
the canticles to the several days of the week ; and in
their superseding some of the Eastern canticles them-
selves in favour of other claimants. All this was pro-
bably the result of adherence to their own usages.
And in one or two particulars .we seem to possess

' Sapr., cli. i. sect. ii. Milman (Hist. Lat. Christianity, p. 27.) coa-
siders that the Roman ritual for tlu-ee centuries was Greek. So also
Wiseman, Bunseu, &c. This would fall in with the view in the text.


direct evidence of their having inherited certain ritual
ways, some coinciding with, some differing from the
Eastern. Thus Cassian testifies^ that all the Churches
of Italy in his time had Ps. li. at the end of their Matins
Psalms or hymns; exactly as the East has always
had it (vide p. 112) after theirs, and as the West has
retained it in effect ever since, viz. on the confines of
Matins and Lauds''. Again he says, still speaking
apparently of the West before the introduction of the
new services, that they had the 63rd Psalm in the
early morning, and also the 11 9th ^ as the East had.
Their Te Deum, judging from its universality in the
West, and from its unvarying responsive position,
they had probably wrought out some time before,
out of ancient elements common to them with the
East. Other features they seem to have inherited
from Jewish times. Eor example, it is very singular
that the West should unanimously, alike in the mo-
nastic and in the other uses, sing the Venite entire;
the East, no less universally, using only an invitatory
formed out of it. It was most likely a Western habit
from the first so to use if*. Still more striking is it
that the whole West should have one of the Songs of
Moses (Deut. xxxii.) and also Ps. xcii. on the Satur-
day or Sabbath (at Lauds), this usage being a feature

• Instil., iii. 6.

'■ Mr. Palmer (i. 215) supposes lliat Cassian meant the end of
Lauds, or even of Prime, and makes this a note of difference between
East and West.

"= Instit., iii. 3. In matutina solcnmitate dceanlari solet "Dens
Deus mens," &e., et "Pra-veiiiunt oeuli mei in diiuculo," (Ps. cxix.
148.) Now tlie latter of tliese passaf,'es is nowhere used now in tlio
West in the morning. If Cassian tlien is speaking of the West, we
have proof that Ps cxix. was used there, as in the East, in the ante-
luean service. The Te Dcum has been ascribed to Hilary of Poitiers,
circ. 3.54.

'' See note B.


of the Jewish Temple service, and yet one which
they cannot have received through the Greek Offices,
since these have them not on that day. These con-
siderations, indeed, suggest the possibihty that in some
few other instances they may have been retaining
usages which they already had, and not — as I have
for the most part assumed to be the case — borrowing
them from the Greeks for the first time in the fifth
century. It is of no importance for our present
purpose, in what proportion the West inherited or
adopted her' existing forms. That all the more ela-
borate features of them, how^ever, are due to the
latter cause, we have, I think, seen abundant reason
for believing.

Tf then it be asked, what was the ordinary service
of the Church of this country from the first introduc-
tion of Clu'istianity, down to the time of St. Augus-
tine's arrival, it may be answered that here, as
throughout Western Christendom, it was most pro-
bably a service of Psalms and hymns ; performed,
originally at least, partly at night, partly in the early
morning, and again in the evening; possessing per-
haps the same fixed Psalms as the Eastern Nocturns
and Vespers, with a considerable addition of continu-
ous psalmody ; that it commenced possibly with some
kind of penitential preparation, or else with the A^enite ;
w^as devoid of Scripture Lessons, the Psalms being
used for the purposes of meditation as well as of praise ;
but contained responsive Canticles, among them the
Te Deum, the IMagnificat, and Nunc Dimittis. The
51st and C3rd Psalms were also probably used in the
Morning Office at day-break, with more Canticles,
such as the Benedictus, the Sonss of Moses, &c.
Such, in their general outline, we may fairly presume.


were the offices used by the Church of St.Alban and
St.Amphibalus. The change to the offices introduced
by St. Augustine, though considerable, would thus be
HO greater than the other Churches of the West had
experienced in the century or two preceding ; and
would be rather of the nature of a development than
of an actual substitution.

The next question is. How came this earlier and
simpler state of things to be innovated upon and al-
tered throughout the West ? through what agency, or
by what men, was so serious a change eflfected ? Now
there is a story*', dating no further back however than
the ninth century, and founded on a letter supposed
to be spurious, — that Pope Damasus, in the end of
the fourth century, at the suggestion of the Emperor
Theodosius, commissioned St. Jerome to distribute the
Psalms, fix the Lections, and otherwise re-arrange the
old Ptoman Office after the Eastern model. And though
this tradition is valueless so far as it rests on the letter
in question, we shall see presently that it contains a
substratum of fact ; the letter, indeed, Avas ])robably
forged to fill up a blank in a history substantially true.
But rejecting the story as it stands, to whom can we
point as likely to have originated the Western Offices ?
Now the fact that Cassian, so often alluded to already,
dwells much^ upon the number of Iwchw Psalms as
prevailing in the Egyptian monasteries, joined (u llie
almost universal prevalence of that number as the
characteristic of Nocturns in the West, and to liis
known zeal in founding monasteries at Marseilles, —
has procured him the reputation, by the general voice,
of having been at least a principal agent in introduc-
ing the newer ritual. And whatever share he may

' Duniuduii, V. ii. 2; Graucolas, i. jt. 22. ' Jiistit. ii. 5, 'i.



have had in originating the Ordinary Offices of the
rest of Europe, — a point which, from our imperfect
information as to their contents, we are not in a posi-
tion to decide, — it may, I think, be shewn that of his
having been concerned in the construction of the
Roman Office and of our own, there is very great
probabihty indeed.

Those who, rejecting the account of St. Jerome's or
St. Damasus' authorship, liave gone furthest back in
search of the origin of the Eoman Office as a whole,
have not ventured to carry it higher than the date of
St. Benedict, circ. 530. It has been discussed " whether
the Roman Offices were taken from the Benedictine,
or the Benedictine from the Roman ^." To this ques-
tion we may confidently answer, Neither. Notwith-
standing their general similarity, the internal structure
of the Offices differs in such important points, that
even without any knowledge of a common source to
which their peculiarities may be traced, we could
hardly resist this conclusion. Thus the number of Noc-
turns in the Benedictine (two) ; of Psalms in a Noc-
turn (six) ; of Antiphons (one to every Psalm) ; of
Lessons in a Nocturn (four), — is quite different from
the Roman. So are the selections of Psalms for Prime
and all the other minor hours except Compline. And
when in the rites of the East, we read a full and satis-
factory account, as well of their resemblance as of their
irreconcilable discrepancies, this conviction as to their
independence amounts to certainty. Examples have
from time to time been given in this work. With
these facts before us, it is as incredible that either of
these rites can have come from the other, instead
of from the East as a common source, as it is that

* Palaicr, i. 215.


the French language can have been derived from the
ItaHan, or vice versa, and not both alike from Latin.
St. Benedict refers (Reg. cap. 13.) to the Roman rite as
furnishing the rule for his OAvn in a single point, viz.
the appropriation of the Canticles for each day. This
affords" a presumption of his independence of it in
other respects, as well as a proof that the Roman was
a rite then existing. It has been supposed that the
Roman use in its turn borrowed Compline from St.
Benedict : but for this opinion there are, as I have
shewn, no grounds whatever ; Compline having come
to both rites alike from the East. I will only add that
the Armenian variety of the Eastern Offices appears in
several respects to have furnished the type of the
Benedictine ; having two sets of Psalms sung continu-
ously at Nocturns, and followed hy four homilies with
responsory hymns. And that St. Benedict had the
Armenian rite before his eyes, we have this curious in-
dication, that in his Rule he speaks of it as the practice
of monks in former days, which he would fain have
imitated, to go through the whole Psalter every day.
Now tliis was precisely the practice of the Armenian
monasteries; while the Churches distributed it over
the week^. It is very conceivable that monachism and
nioiiastic ritual may have passed over from that or any
other part of the East to the southern parts of Italy ',
and supplied the foundation of St. Benedict's Oliiccs.
Setting aside, then, the Benedictine scheme of ser-

^ I?c.iia, ib. ]0.

' St. Eciuitius, an Ab))ot of Abnizzo, was about a conlcmporary of
St. Iknedict, (S. Greg. Dial. i. 4j. It lias been supposed by some lliat
St. Gregory and St. Augustine were of liis order. Tliat tlicy were
Benedictines, though volumes have been written to prove it, (vide
Kayncr's Benedict, in Kcgno Angliw,) is infinitely improba))lc ; their
ritual .sympathies flowing, as we have seen, in (piite another channel.

11 2


vices as having certainly not been the parent of the
Eoman, we may next observe that those of the various
European Churches, as far as we are acquainted with
them, are such as may very well have owed their origin
to the impulse first given by Cassian to the spirit of
ritual reconstruction. They exhibit, indeed, in very
different degrees the peculiar characters of Cassian's
revival ; and all bear the marks, more or less, of con-
nection with the East through other channels, besides
what they owe to the Cassianic movement. Thus we
find the Church of Aries ^ having t/co Nocturns ;
agreeing herein with the East and St. Benedict, while
differing from Cassian, who fused the two Nocturns
into one of twelve Psalms. The same Church had
the Magnificat ^ at Lauds, adding the Gloria in Excelsis
on Sundays ; and the Kyrie eleison, on occasion, tioehe
times repeated ; all features, as we have seen, of the
Eastern Offices, though not adopted in the Roman.
The authors of these Oriental arrangements w^ere
Csesarius and Aurelian "", at the beginning of the sixth
century. Again, both the French and Spanish Churches
go back to the Council of Laodicea as of great au-
thority ; and they may have derived their Psalm, and
lection arrangements, (as has been already suggested,)
in a great measure at least, from that source ^. The
Church of Spain has been supposed to have differed °
from all the West generally, in having little or no
psalmody in its ancient Nocturns. But this is mani-
festly an error. Isidore of Seville prescribes for Noc-
turns, first, " the three regular Psalms," (meaning pro-
bably Pss. iii. xcv. li.) ; then three services (or sets, —

'' Mahill. Curs. Gall., p. 406. » Vid. supr., p. 112.

" Mabillon, p. 406, quotes their rules. " Supr., ch. i. sect. vi.

" Mabillon Curs. Gall., p. 891 : Palmer, i. p. 224.


Missse) of Psalms ; a fourth of Canticles ; a fifth con-
sisting of the jNIatins (i. e. Lauds) Office ''. This is
plainly the meaning of the passage, which Menar-
dus, and after him Mabillon, misunderstood, taking
" Missae" to mean " Collects" connected with the
Psalms. But its use in the sense of a " service,"
almost of any kind, is familiar to the readers of Bing-
ham and Mabillon'^. The rule of Fructuosus con-
firms the fact that there were numerous Psalms in
the Spanish night Office. It may be observed, too,
that one of St. Benedict's Nocturns on Sundays con-
sists of Canticles, exactly as is here prescribed. That
the Spanish Church had also Scripture lessons in their
daily Offices is affirmed in the same passage of Isidore.
The Church of Milan, once more, though manifestly
Oriental in many of its provisions, and according with
the Roman to a great extent as to the minor hours, is
shigularly independent in its arrangement of Psalms,
and in various other respects : especially it pays no
regard to the Cassianic number of twelve Psalms ;
spreads the Psalter over a fortnight ; and has but two
" festivals of nine lections" (viz. Christmas-day and
Epiphany) in the year'.

The Orientally-derived Western rituals hitherto
enumerated, manifest, together with much of affinity,
a marked independence of tlu; I^)man and of each
other. There are, on tiie otlicr hand, two which co-
incide so nearly, that it is hardly to be wondered that
their coincidence has hitherto been taken, on a suj)cr-
ficial view of them, for actual i(h;ntity. T mean the
Ko.MAN and the ancient b^N(;i,isii rituals. Of tlie cor-
respondence of these it is unnecessary to speak.

' Isid. Hispal. Uof^. 7, ■'•pud Mahillmi, iil supr. j ami I'rucluobus, ibid.
1 Bingli. xiii. 1; f)f M.-iljilloii, p. 101).
' Boiia, Psalinod. xviii, 10.


The number of their Psahns in the several Offices,
the selection and appropriation (with very few excep-
tions) of the Psalms themselves, the position of the
Antiphons, the structure of the complex Psalm-lec-
tion-responsory-and-canticle system, the number of
lessons, the prefixing of benedictions, the arrange-
ments about the hymns, Capitula, Creed, Lord's
Prayer, Preces, Collects, and countless other par-

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 19 of 33)