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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ticulars, are for the most part, though not always,
precisely the same. No such resemblance can be
predicated of any two Western rites that we are ac-
quainted with. The two sets of Offices, in a \vord,
are cast unquestionably, as to all essential points, in
the same mould. Yet that they are not identical,
but only very closely akin, after all, — sister-rites, as
it were, — a careful examination of them, combined
with historical evidence, no less certainly evinces.
In the first place, the two books which contain these
two rites are totally different, — as different as their
names of Breviarium Eomanum and Portiforium (also
Breviarium) Sarisburiense. The one is mostly in four
volumes, the other in two ; the one has the Psalter at the
beginning, the other in the middle. The rubrical struc-
ture and phraseology is widely different : the Roman
knows nothing of the English " Rules called the Pie,"
(Pica); the English nothing oHhe^Bubriccegenerales."
The English has a peculiar title for the series of lection-
responsories, viz. '' historia'' ;" and by the change of
this the character of the day is in a great measure
determined. It also distinguishes between memori(B
and commemorationes, and has many other rubrical
peculiarities. But there are also great differences,

' Yide Pica de Dom. i. Adv. Brev. Sar. "Portiforium appears to have
been adopted only in England." Maskell, Diss. vol. I. p. lxxx\Tii.


both of structure and contents, even in the body of
the Offices themselves. First, of structure. The Ro-
man use has the Gloria after every Psalm, unless the
contrary is specified ; the English only at certain spe-
cified places : the English had no absolutions what-
ever before the lessons ; the Roman has a very elabo-
rate system of them : the Roman substitutes the Te
Deum for the last responsory on Festivals ; the English
added it, and repeated the responsory where the Te
Deum was not used : the English prefaced Lauds
with a Versus sacerdotalis, quite unknown, name and
thing, to the Roman .- the English had a full respon-
sory to the Vespers Capitulum on Festivals ; the Roman
none. The Preces at Prime and Compline, (including
the Apostles' Creed, and also the Creed of Athanasius,)
were said all the year round in the English Church,
though only on certain days in the Roman. She
had also a special addition to these Offices, entitled,
" For the peace of the Church," including Ps. cxxi. at
Prime, and Ps. cxxiii. at Compline. And while the
Roman use has but oneionw of Compline, the English
has ticenty-two. It would be easy to add to these
differences. The variation of contents, again, between
the two Uses, is on occasion very great, even where
the structure is identical. The particular antiphons,
benedictions, lections, responsories, hymns, Capitnla,
Preces, versiclcs and responses, are to a great extent,
especially at particular seasons, quite different from
the Roman. Sometinies, too, the number even of
the Psalms is different. Thus on Low Simday the
English use had but three Psalms and lessons; the
Roman, nine.

These diversities as clearly establish the distinctness,
as the correspondences l)efore mentioned do the close


ajfinify, of the two rites. For that the variations of the
English use from the Roman are of the essence of it,
and not, or rarely, the effect, as might be supposed,
of a gradual departure from the forms at first received,
appears in various ways. Some of them, as e. g. the
Comphne and Prime peculiarities, have every appear-
ance of having come direct from the East. The
whole rite is by many degrees more Oriental than the
Roman. How should the English Church develope
such Orientalisms ? Again, it is well known that the
Roman Church, on more than one occasion, used con-
siderable efforts to assimilate the English use to her
own ; as, e. g. at the Council of Cloveshoo* (748), and
probably did so to some extent. Grancolas, who pro-
bably never had seen the English rite, hastily con-
cludes hence that it was originally the same as the
Roman : whereas it proves exactly the contrary. The
fact that such material variation remained after all,
argues the essential and invincible irreconcilableness
of the two rites.

But further, some of these peculiarities are shared
by certain other rituals otherwise of the Roman type,
and thus tend to class the English rite in a particular
variety of that species to which the Roman belongs.
It is a curious fact, that the ritual of the Church of
Lyons", otherwise agreeing with the Roman in all
essential points, even more closely than the English
does, departs from it in several of the selfsame respects
as the English. It adds the Te Deum to the ninth re-
sponsory, prefixes a versus to Lauds, and on Sexage-
siraa and following Sundays substitutes Ps. xciii. for Ps.
cxviii. at Prime ; which same thing the English did, only
beginning on Septuagesiraa. But another French rite,

' Concil. Clovesh., can. 2-i. " Bona, Psalmod. sviii. G.


still existing, — that of the Premonstratensians '', — co-
incides still more exactly with the English in its vari-
ations from the Roman. It had, 1, no absolutions be-
fore the lessons ; 2, it prefixed a Versus sacerdotalis
to Lauds ; 3, on the first Vespers of great Festivals it
had a responsory to the Capitulura ; 4, finally, on Sep-
tuagesima Sunday it began to make the substitution
just mentioned at Prime. Bona, who notices these
peculiarities, adds that the Premonstratensians main-
tain " that theirs is the original Roman Breviary,
which they have preserved in its purity, rejecting later
alterations and reforms."

The English rite, it would seem from hence, may
properly be classed with the Gallican variety of the
family to which the Roman belongs. The only ques-
tion is, how did two varieties so similar, yet so dis-
tinct, originate ? and how came the French variety to
be imported into England by St. Augustine ? Now
as to the first point, Cassian was singularly in a posi-
tion to originate two rites thus circumstanced, as a
brief glance at his history w^ill shew \ A Thracian or
Scythian by birth, he seems to have spent his earlier
years as an inmate of St, Jerome's monastery at Beth-
lehem, and afterwards lived at least seven years in
Egypt, in diligent study, as well as practice, of the
peculiar monastic system, both disciplinary and ritual,
of that country. Returning to his native region, lu:

* Vide Bona, il)i(l., 6. Tliis order was founded by St. NorbcH, an.
1115, at Preniontri', near llliciiiis. It was, however, only a r( roriiiation
of tlic order of Ue^'ular Canons of St. Austin, already .settled at Laon,
ill that neighbourhood, and so niif,'ht very well bt; in possession of the
ancient French variety of the Roman rite. Vide Uuller, liil'e of Norbert,
June 0; Ilolyot, Ordrcs Monastiqucs, torn. ii. ch. 2:}.

y Sec Life of Cassian, prefixed to his works, by Gaza-us ; and lUitlcr'a
liives of the Saints, note on St.Victor, July 21.


was ordained deacon by St. Chrysostom at Constanti-
nople, circ. 403, (some think that he was his archdea-
con*,) and was sent by that Church, daring Chryso-
stora's exile, on a mission on. his behalf to Pope Inno-
cent*. It was probably in consequence of the destruc-
tion of St. Jerome's monastery by the Pelagians, in
the year 416, that he removed to Marseilles. Here
he founded two monasteries, and wrote his " Institu-
tions of the Cccnobitic Life," describing minutely the
Egyptian monastic ways and ritual. In this work he
dwells especially on the number of twelve Psalms,
which the Egyptian monks alleged had been fixed
by revelation ; and on the reading of two lessons of
Scripture, one from the Old Testament and one from
the New, (both from the New on Sundays ^) in their
daily office ; a thing unknown, as we have seen, to
the rest of the East. He was also requested by St.
Leo, then archdeacon of Rome imder Pope Celestine,
(422,) to write against Nestorius on the Incarnation.
This must have been between the years 422 and 433,
soon after which Cassian died. Leo became pope in

Cassian then lacked no qualification, either of date,
position, knowledge, influence, or inclination, for the
chief authorship of these two rituals. Imbued from
his youth with the Eastern ritual system, and espe-
cially with that expanded form of it which had re-
cently grown up in the monasteries ; equally well ac-
quainted with the Egyptian monastic offices, and so

* Gazseus, ut supra. • Iimoceut. Ep. ap. Hieron.

*• It is curious, and indicates tlie influence of the Egyptian monastic
ritual system, probably through Cassian, upon the Spanish Church,
that its rule was to have lessons out of the Old and New Testament on
week-days, but on Sundays from the New only. Isidor., ap. Mabillou,
p. 303.


habituated to the number of twelve PsaUiis, and to
the daily reading of Scripture, (which are the charac-
teristics of the Western family of offices as compared
with the Eastern) ; a diligent propagator of Eastern
monastic ways on Western ground ; holding a position
in the south of France, yet reaching by his influence
to Rome through one of the greatest of her Popes, to
whom, as well as to Rome generally, he probably be-
came known on the occasion of his embassy ; the re-
presentative, in a manner, of the mind of St. Jerome,
to whom the arrangement of the Roman Offices is tra-
ditionally ascribed ; — there is hardly any feature or
circumstance belonging to these Offices which is not
accounted for on the hypothesis of his authorship.
St. Jerome may perfectly well have been consulted by
Damasus, as tradition represents *", and have performed
through his disciple Cassian the task commonly as-
cribed to him. He died in the very year (420) com-
monly named ^ for the reconstruction of the Roman
ritual, the very same time at which Cassian must have
been enoiaged on that of the French Churches. And
as Leo is known to have been the originator of a par-
ticular feature in these offices, viz. of the Collects, and
also the writer of a large proportion of the homilies
used as lessons, we shall probably be not far wrong
in ascril)ing to him, conjointly with Cassian, the au-
thorship, in the main ", of the existing Roman Daily

Again, as to the formation of the French variety of

* Vide .supr. St. Grrj^ory ."lays (Ep. vii. 1'.*.) thai !St. Damasus ad-
opted .some Greek usages at St. Jerome's suggestion, lie died, how-
ever, ill 381-.

"• Graneolas, ul)i s\ipr.

• Milmaii ob-serves, (Hist, of Latin Cliristiauily, vol. i. p. 20, 20,)lliat
Leo was llic first distinguished writer among the popes.


the Roman rite, and its transmission to England.
Cassian would naturally draw up for the use of his
own or neighboimng monasteries or Churches, a
scheme of service after the Oriental model, grafted on
the older and simpler forms of the West, combined
with such methods as Lyons or other Churches had
already derived from the East. The Church of Mar-
seilles, of whose ritual we know nothing \ may have
adopted this. He would be free here to copy the
Eastern model more closely, than when acting as the
counsellor and assessor of Leo. The result would
he such a service as that which England inherited,
really independent of the Roman, and more distinctly
Oriental. Neither is there any difficulty in under-
standing how Cassian's scheme of service found its
way to England by the hands of St. Augustine. Here,
too, authoritative history furnishes a most reasonable
account of the matter. When St. Augustine was sent
by St. Gregory on his mission to England, " they took
ship," says St. Augustine's most recent biographer^,
" at one of the Italian ports, and landed probably at
Marseilles.'" He was well received by Arigius, the
bishop, by the neighbouring bishop of Aix, and by
Stephen, abbot of Lerins. Returning to St. Gre-
gory for further instructions, he received from him
letters^ to both the bishop of Marseilles and the
abbot of Lerins, commending him to their counsel
and guidance in the matter of evangelizing England.
He was to acquaint the bishop ' more especially with
the occasion of his journey, and seek help from him.
He was also to take with him some French presby-
ters'', to assist him in his undertaking. Moreover,

' Mabillon, Curs. Gall. b Lives of the Saints.

•> Ep. Greg-., vi. 51, &c. » lb., vi. 52. " lb., vi. 58, 59,


he afterwards returned from England to Aries to ob-
tain consecration, and spent about two years there,
from 596 to 598. Add to all this, that having sought
from St. Gregory directions as to what ritual he should
adopt, he was instructed "that whatever he found,
either in the Roman Church, or in the Church of
Gaul, or in any other, which might be more pleasing
to Almighty God, he should most carefully {sollicitt;)
select, and should thus introduce into the English
Church, as being new to the faith, (and therefore a fit
subject for a special ordinance in the matter of ritual,)
what he had been able to collect from many Churches V
St. Augustine would be fulfilling these instructions
most equably, by introducing into England the Com-
munion Office of the Roman, and the Ordinary Offices
of the southern French Churches. The commonly-
received hypothesis, that he merely adopted into the
Roman Office some variations derived from French
sources, is manifestly untenable. The English varia-
tions bespeak an Oriental hand, and e.Ktend to the
whole structure of the rubrical part of the Office, and
to not a little of the Office itself. Some alterations,
tending to assimilate it to the Roman, such as certain
of the Gelasian or Gregorian adjustments in respect of
the Collects or antiphons, St. Augustine may have in-
troduced ; though I think it more probable that even
these had reached the French Churches previously.
But in any case, the stock upon which he grafted
them was indisputably, I conceive, not tlie Roman,
but the French, or pure Cassianic ritual.

' I'cd. Ilisi. i. 27. "Milii placci, sivo in Ronianii, sivc in Gallicanft,
sou ill q\ialihct Ecclcsia ali(iuid invtMiisli, quod plu.s omnipolcnti Deo
possit placcre, sollioilc clipa.s, (it in Angloruni Ecclcsia, (|ui« adliuc ad
fidcin nova est, inslitutionc pia'cipua, qua: dc niultis Ecclcsiis collif^crc
poluibti, iul'undas.


The contents and cliaracter of the English Office,
whose history we have now investigated, will form the
subject of the next section. But some remarks on
the result of our inquiry will not be misplaced here.

In the first place, then, it is deeply interesting to
observe, that it was ordained that the whole West
should, in the fifth and sixth centuries, brighten afresh
the torch of her public devotions at the same Eastern
fount of sacred fire at which she had at the first kin-
dled it. *' The isles waited" once more, for their portion
in spiritual things, upon the more favoured and more
fervid regions upon which "the light" had first risen"^
of old : and the East dictated, for a second time, the
ritual of the world. It is, I conceive, as well ascer-
tained as any fact of the kind can be, that the later
Western ritual, in all its known forms, is universally
derived from the Eastern. It is as clear from internal
evidence, that St. Benedict's Offices, and the Roman,
and the Milanese, and the Spanish, and the French,
and the English, were largely indebted to the Greek
Offices, as it is that the Italian, the Spanish, the
French, and the English languages were indebted to
the Latin, or Latin and Greek to Sanscrit. The no-
tion, for example, that St. Benedict invented this
scheme of services, though believed in Europe for a
thousand years, and contributing largely to the extra-
ordinary reverence in which he was held, is a fable
and a dream. We of the West must be content to
speak of the greater part, and of all the more striking
featm-es of our rituals, as of things which we have
received from others, not struck out for ourselves.

Now this consideration may well moderate the con-
tempt with which the West has so long looked upon the

" Isa. Ix. 1, 9.


ritual, as well as the position in other respects, of her
Eastern sister -, that is to say, of sixty millions of Chris-
tians. There was a time when she as teachably sat
at the feet of the Eastern Church in the matter of
ritual, and even (too much so, indeed,) of doctrine
also, as she now loftily affects to ignore her existence,
except on condition of receiving her homage. The
Chm'ches of the West in the fifth and sixth centuries
vied with each other in importing into their own simpler
and perhaps declining ritual, the features and arrange-
ments with which the East had enriched hers. They
found that, while they had been content to keep the de-
posit of apostolically-derived service unimpaired, — if in-
deed they had so kept it, — the Eastern Church had laid
out the same to usury. " We know certainly," says Mr.
Palmer, — though it is astonishing that, with his in-
formation, he followed out the clue no further, — " that
the Eastern Churches at an early period devised many
improvements in the celebration of Divine Service,
which did not occur to the less lively and inventive
imagination of their brethren in the West , and that
the latter were accustomed to imitate the former in
their rites and ceremonies"." Stimulated, apparently,
by the necessity for making a stand", in the shape of
a more elaborate and attractive ritual, against the
rising Arian heresy, the East had drawn oti' into more
diversified channels the reservoir of ritual which in
common with the West she inherited. Hence, in the
earlier stage of her development, lier s[)lendi(lly con-
ceived Morning Office ; and her Vespers, less grand,

" Ori^'. Lit., vol. i. p. .'ilO. He only iusliinccs alternate eliaiitinf:^, —
the Kyrie elcLson, the Nicene Creed, litanies and proccsaioijs, and the
position of tlic Lord'.s Prayer in the Roman Canon,

" See Bingham, XIU. x. 12; Socr., lib. vi. 7.


but even more refined in conception. Hence, a little
later, the multiplication in number, as before the aug-
mentation in bulk, of her services. Thus, when she
sought " to water abundantly her garden-bed, her
brook became a river, and her river became a sea."
And from that deep and broad fount of waters it was
that the West drew her later ritual conceptions and
arrangements ; nor can she deny her obligations, how-
ever she may desire to forget them.

But it is still more to the purpose of this work to
observe, that the facts which have here been pointed
out furnish a complete answer to that favourite theme
of declamation against the English Church ; viz. that
in the full and fearless Revision she made of her ritual
in the 16th and 17th centuries, she committed an act
unprecedented, singular, and schismatic. I have al-
ready had occasion to allude to the condemnation
which has been freely and confidently pronounced
upon particular features of her revised Offices ; as, for
example, upon the penitential commencement and the
thanksgiving close. We have seen how entire a justifica-
tion those features receive from the primitive condition
of our Offices, and indeed from the general principles,
recognised in the East and West alike, of Christian
w^oi'ship. But, as is well known, this sentence of con-
demnation is by no means limited to details, but ex-
tends to the act of Revision itself, in all its parts.
Now it is certain that neither the Western Church as
a whole, nor any particular branch of it, is in a posi-
tion to judge us in this matter ; " for she herself, that
judges, has done the same things." Of all the points
in which Rome and the West have sat in judgment
on the English Church, there is not one in which they
have not set us the example.


To confine ourselves here to the Daily Offices.
Did the English Church, in the 16th century, re-
adjust the whole scheme of her services? All the
Churches of the West in the fifth and sixth centu-
ries did the same. Did England add new features ?
Rome and the West imported new offices. Are we
accused of fusing together offices originally distinct,
by the omission of some things, and the transposition
of others ? They dismembered the great Morning Of-
fice of the East, and divided its spoils between their
Lauds and Nocturns. Did our revision involve the
rejection of the then existing scheme of Psalms, omit-
ting the fixed and re-arranging the contuuious psal-
mody ? The West revolutionized hers no less ; reject-
ing, we can hardly doubt, the 119th, and perhaps other
anciently fixed Nocturns Psalms, and substituting for
the free course of Psalms p, which followed, a fixed daily
portion. Was the number of Psalms thus used in
the English Church greatly reduced ? So was it, in
all probability, by the Western revision. Is it an
unheard-of thing for a Church to be for three centu-
ries without antij)hons ? The whole West had probably
had few or none for four or five. Did we, agani, put
our lection system on a new footing? Rome and the
West devised the system itself. Did we increase
the amount of Scripture used ? They brought in the
reading of Scripture into their Daily Offices for the
first time. Did Ridley and Sanderson compose Col-
lects? Leo invented them. Or, lastly, was the sin of
the English Church in this, that she acted for herself
as a national Church, and not in concert with the
whole West ? Nay, all the Churches of the West acted

•• Vide Graiicoks, ubi supra.


with tlic same independence, revising, as we have
seen, each one their own ritual ; and that not even
simnltaneously, but in the course of two centuries.
And the real " composers and compilers" of services,
after all, were Leo and Gregory, Isidore and Fruc-
tuosus, Caisarius and Hilary.

It is in no spirit of recrimination that these things
are pointed out. On the contrary, as I have said at
the outset, I conceive that the Churches of the West
were not only justified in the main principle of thus
revising their ritual, but were, so far as we can judge,
fulfilling therein a great and general law of the
Church's growth and progress. All I desire to do
is to point out this as a signal exemplification of
the saying,

" Quam temere in nosmet legem sancimus iniquam ;"

and to claim for ihe English Church of the 16th cen-
tury the benefit of that weighty truth, which, though
she w^as the first to enunciate it, the whole West had
accepted and acted upon a thousand years before, viz.

" The particular forms of divine worship, and the rites and ce-
remonies appointed to be used therein, being things in their own
nature indifferent ; it is but reasonable, that upon weighty and
important considerations, such changes and alterations should be
made therein, as to those that are in place of authority shall
from time to time seem either necessary or expedient i."

Freely, too, is it admitted, as was indeed noticed
in the first chapter, that the changes effected in the
West, though very great, w^re after all sufficiently
conservative of the old landmarks to ensure ritual
continuity. Only we claim no less for the English
Revised Offices, as compared with the older forms,

' Preface to the Book of Common Prayer, 1662.


that (to adopt again the language of tlie document
just quoted) this Church did indeed, —

" Upon just and weighty considerations her thereunto moving,
yield to make such alterations as were thought conveaicut ; yet
so as that the main body and essentials (as well in the chiefest
materials, as in the frame and order thereof,) have still continued
the tame until this day."


""VMien ye come together, every one of you bath a Psalm, hath
a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an mtcrpretation.
Let all things be done to edifying."

We have now seen what was the history, and made
some acquaintance with the materials, of our ancient
Services, But before we can appreciate the character
which our present Offices derive from their relation to

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 20 of 33)