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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structure, i.e. the number of elements contained in it,
it is parallel to the latter ; it has five Psalms, hymn,

' See above, chap. i. sect. 7; and the tables and analysis below,
ch. iv. sect. 1.


Capitulum, Canticle, (reckoned as a sixth Psalm,) Col-
lects, and " memorials."

Vespers then, considered as the Lauds of Eventide,
breathes, like Lauds itself, (chiefly in virtue of its
Magnificat and Collects,) a spirit of remembrance of
man's redeemed estate through the Incarnation.

Finally, Compline, like Prime, with which it has
so much in common, — viz. Psalms and Collects for
guidance, Creed, Lord's Prayer, Confession and Ab-
solution, Petitions and Intercessions, — is an eminently
practical and personal Office. It carries on, too, in
virtue of its Capitulum (Jer. xiv. — see p. 226) and
Nunc Dimittis, the Vespers allusion to the Incar-
nation; and by its Collect and Psalms (xxxi. xci.)
rests the Christian's hope of protection on the sor-
rows and victory of Christ.

It will not be uninteresting to endeavour briefly to
discriminate in this place the genius of the East and
of the West, as exhibited in their respective forms of
Ordinary Worship which we have now passed under
review; more especially as our present Oiiiccs com-
bine, in a measure, the temper and characteristics of

The East then, if we leave out of the account those
enrichments which her ordinary Oflices derive from
the Eucharist on Sundays and Festivals, and take her,
so to speak, in her every-day dress, is more uniform
and unchanging ; the West more multiform and vari-
able. Witness the smgle, changeless Invitatory and
Benediction' of the one Clmrcli, and their endless va-
rieties in the other. While the West rings countless
' |)|). 75, 114.

1274 THK nuxcirJiEs of divine service, [cuap. m.

changes, nccorrling to the season, on the same essen-
tial idea, the East prolongs it in one unvaried and
majestic toll, from the beginning to the end of the
year. The East, again, is more rapt, the West more
intellectual. The East loves rather to meditate on
God as He is, and on the facts of Christian doctrine
as they stand in the Creed ; the West contemplates
more practically the great phenomena of Christian
psychology, and the relations of man to God. The
East has had its Athanasius, and its Andrew of
Crete ^; the West its Augustine and Leo. Hence
Psalms and hymns in more profuse abundance charac-
terize the Eastern ; larger use and more elaborate
adaptations of Scripture, the Western Offices. The
East, by making the Psalms all her meditation, seems
to declare her mind that praise is the only way to
knowledge ; the West by her combined Psalm and
lection system, that knowledge is the proper fuel of
praise. While the East, again, soars to God in excla-
mations of angehc self-forgetfulness, the West com-
prehends all the spiritual needs of man in Collects of
matchless profundity ; reminding us of the alleged
distinction between the Seraphim, who love most, and
the Cherubim, who know most. Thus the East praises,
the West pleads ; the one has fixed her eye more in-
tently on the Glory-throne of Christ, the other on His
Cross. Both alike have been dazzled and led astray by
the wondrous accidents of the Incarnation'. Finally,
the East has been more inquisitive and inventive in
the departments both of knowledge and praise : the
West, more constructive, has wrought up, out of
scattered Eastern materials, her exhaustive Athanasian
Creed, and her matchless Te Deum.

^ The author of some of the finest odes. ' See uote A.




" The living, the living, he shall praise Thee, as I do this day : the
father to the childi-en sliall uiake kuown Thy truth. The Lord was
ready to save me : therefore -will we sing my songs to the stringed
instruments all the days of oui' life in the house of the Lord."

In turning now at length to take a more connected
view of our existing services, seen in the light of the
preceding inquiry, wc arc met by one very })ractical
and indeed paramount consideration. It is tliis ; that,
as far as the Western Church at least is concerned,
we herein take off our eyes from an extinct and buried
past, to fix them on a living and an energizing pre-
sent. Whatt ver llie abstract difference between our
ordinary service and that of all other Churches of the
West; however to our disadvantage, in point of large-
ness, beauty, or the like ; — in practice the great dif-
ference is this, — that the one speaks, tiie other, (with
exceptions not worth naming, cither as comj)ared
with the l}ulk of the services as a whole, or with llie
extent of Western Christendom,) is silent. To what
purpose is it, as regards these services thcniselve.s, that
I or any other should dwell on their glorious propor-

T 2

'21 (j THE rUlXCIPLES of divine service. [ckap. IV.

tioiis, or trace their old and ennobling descent % or ex-
hibit the exquisite skill with which they are harmonized
to express the emotions or inform the life of Christian
men ? The goodly edifice is in ruins ; the noble race
is extinct ; the exquisite harmony has ceased. Though
the eloquence of a Chrysostom or a Bernard should be
expended on these topics, it would answer no spiri-
tual and practical purpose whatsoever: no one's de-
\otion, speaking broadly, would be the better for it.
The life, that is, the living use, of those once animated
and still beautiful forms has p?.ssed away, apparently
for ever. Some of them, as the Gallican and the
Spanish, have been extinct for a thousand years, and
survive but in the merest fragments. Others, as the
Roman and the Milanese, exist as the devotions of
the clergy, but of them alone. The Churches, whose
devotions they nominally are, have long given over
the struggle which for ages, with whatever success,
they maintained, against the tendency to decay innate
in services so numerous and complex, as well as un-
vernacular, and therefore uncongregational and un-
popular. In truth, as we have already seen, the
Offices of the Western Church, such as they con-
tinued from the sixth to the sixteenth century, were
by their origin, and also in the general cast and
scheme of them, monastic, and bear the marks of
this deeply impressed upon their structure. St. Basil
in the East, Cassian in the West, were earnest advo-
cates of the monastic way of ritual, and indeed in a
great measure the authors of it. The sevenfold scheme
of service, whatever may be said, was not the Church's

' " Stemmata quid faciuut ? Qidd prodest, Poutice, lougo
Sanguine censeri ....
Si coram Lepidis m;Ue viviiuri'"


originally, but was urged upon her by the intlncnce of
a few, rather animated by monastic zeal than endued
with apostolic and practical wisdom. And the ritual
history of the centuries referred to, and of the Eng-
Hsh Church not least, presents the si)ectacle of a
ceaseless, and it must be added a fruitless endeavour
to coerce a service so originated and constructed, into
a popular and universally used formulary ; to make
it, in practice as well as in theory, the ritual of the
whole body of the faithful. Some indeed in the pre-
sent day have ventured to maintain that the Church
never intended these services for the use of the peo-
ple, but for that of the clergy only ; and defend their
desuetude in modern times on this ground. No asser-
tion could be more unfounded. Mabillon was not
mistaken when he affirmed^, speaking of the French
Offices, "publicarum precum institutioncm non minus
in gratiam populi quam clcri factani fuisse."

"St. Basil, St. Chiysostom, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, all
speak of this important duty, and press the fulfilment of it.
And in succeeding ages we find frequent exhortations to the
same purpose. It is indeed a certain thing, that the Divine
Office was not instituted solely for the clergy, but for all men
who called themselves Christians •=."

The writer just quoted gives accordingly'^ a most
interesting scries of decrees of bishops, and canons
of councils, in this country, from Abj). Egbert down-
wards, urging the attendances of the luity on these'
services. By tlie middle of the sixteenth century we
have a most striking indication of the practical al)an-
donment in other countries of the system as a popular
scheme of services, in the revision uiade of it by

>> Curs. Gall , p. 40.5. « Miiakcll, Mon. Hit., vol. ii. p. xxx

•' Th.. )ip. XXV. — xxxi.


Cardinal Quignon in 1535. In the elaborate preface
to this breviary — which was sanctioned for thirty or
forty years — there is not, as far as I have observed,
the slightest allusion to the use of it by the laity : it
plainly assumes that the clergy, and they alone, were
concerned in the matter. In this country, however,
and probably in others also, attendance on some parts
of the Daily Office on Sundays or Festivals — I have
found no instance of other days — certainly survived
in some degree^ ; — to what extent it is very difficult
to ascertain. There has therefore been no inconsider-
able declension, even since that period, until at length
the state of things described in an earlier chapter of
this work prevails throughout Europe.

Let it be understood, then, that the noble scheme
of services we have been contemplating is a thing
of the past ; and of which none, that we know of,
desire or attempt the revival. Other aims engross the
mind of the continental Churches ; as ' Benediction,'
or other newly-devised services ; not Matins or Lauds,
Prime or Compline. Even Vespers, the sole relic of
the great system, is the object of earnest and un-
compromising attack^ by the most advanced section
of Eomanists. The study, therefore, of the Western
scheme of Offices in its old form, is the study of a dead
language. The inquiry into it is strictly an antiqua-
rian one. Regarded as a public Service of the Church,
there is, it may be said, no such thing anywhere now.
Let this be distinctly realized : it is of the utmost mo-

* For interesting illustrations of this, see Maitland's Essays on the
Reformation, pp. 275, 277, 281. Compare Preface to Prayer-book,
" Concerning the Service of the Church."

' See " Oratorianism and Ecclesiology." (See above, ch. i. fin.) It is,
I am informed, a rule with the Oratorians never to say the daily Offices
together, for fear of bringing back a system so obnoxious to them.


ment, in its influence upon the spirit in which we ap-
proach the subject of the present chapter. Let it be
clearly apprehended that the Churches, the congrega-
tions of Christian men and women, who use these
ancient and grand services, nowhere exist. Simdoys
or loeek-days, no such tide of psalmody as we have
been contemplating flows to the glory of God ; no such
adoring meditation on Holy Scripture occupies the
hours whether of night or day ; no Te Deum sums up
the meditation or the praise ; no Lauds salute the
return of day with mixed notes of penitence and joy,
or awaken Resurrection memories or hopes ; no Prime
pleads for pardon, or prays for guidance ; no Creed is
uttered as with one voice and heart ; no Collect gathers
into it the Eucharistic association of the passing week
or season. The curious and exquisite devices of ever-
varying Livitatory, Antiphon, and Responsory ; the
several doctrinal associations beating as pulses through
the different offices, — these no longer quicken or guide
the devotions of any. All this was done once, we
hardly know when -. all we do know is that it is not
done now. In one country alone, in one form alone,
does the ancient Western Office really survive. Psal-
mody, Scripture, responsive Canticles, Preces, Collects,
the media of Europe's ancient worship, banished from
all other lands, have taken refuge in the Churches of
the English Comnumion. The I'inglish Church is in
this matter the heir of the world. She may have
diminished her inheritance ; but all other Western
Churches have thrown it away. The fpiestion is really
between these ordinary offices and none: —

" Quod quscriinus, liic est.
Ant, inisquatn. "
"Roman fontn)V(.i-Hiali'

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 22 of 33)