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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take of our Services. Thoroughly to realize it in the
use of them is to take up the standing-ground nearest
to heaven on earth that man can habitually attain.
For whereas some features in our service towards God
are notes of our imperfection and low estate, — such
as the receiving of knowledge through hearing of the
written Word, and the act of prayer ; — praise is con-
fessedly that which approximates our worship to that
of the angels. Of angelic service we know but two
things ; the heavenly Ritual is revealed to us as having
for its substance praise, and for its manner, joint ac-
tion, and mutual exhortation : " Thou art worthy,
Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power ;" and
again, "Hallelujah," and again they said "Hallelujah."
And when the spirit of collective and mutually sus-
tained praise so enters into our service towards God
as to fuse and harmonize all, even to its lesser ele-
ments, into one homogeneous action of this kind, we
seem most nearly to ascend to the height of that con-
dition, in which intuition will have superseded know-
ledge, and fruition prayer.

It should be remarked, again, in connection wdth
the Eucharistic bearing of our Services, that there is
not improbably an intended parallelism, up to a cer-
tain point, between them and our Communion Office,
as they now both of them stand. The revision of
1552, which prefixed our penitential commencement


to the Daily Office, placed a similar act of confession
before the Communion Office, where the Confession
and Absolution had anciently been. At the same date
the Gloria in Excehis was placed after the Commu-
nion, instead of at the beginning of the rite. And to
this entirely corresponds the subjoining of a thanks-
giving to the entire Daily Office (in 1662) for the
means of grace. The beginning and end, then, of the
two Offices agree in character. Nor are these the only
indications we have of a design thus to conform the
lower to the higher Office as to outward form. Our
present prayers for the Queen, Clergy, and people, &c.
were first added to the Litany in 1559, and ulti-
mately, in 1662, removed to their present place, as
a substitute for the Litany on ordinary days. The
intention most probably M'as to supply, by means of
the ordinary office, that intercession which heretofore
had been made daily, or on most days, by mer.ns of
the Communion Office^. The scheme was further com-
pleted in 1662 by the addition of the "Prayer for
all conditions of men," together with the " General
Thanksgiving," as before mentioned. Whether so in-
tended or not, however, these correspondences of form
between our Ordinary and our Communion OHicc may
well assist us in using the former as a means of carry-
ing out the spirit of the latter.

2. But we shall l)e better able to ajjprcciatc this as-
pect of our Oliices, when we have considered tlieu- struc-
ture and contents somewhat more in detail. The follow-
ing scheme will exhibit more clearly than a lengthened
description their structural comiection witli the older
ones, from which they were immediately derived.

1 Canon Missa; Sarisb., &c. init. " Pro Ecclcbia tua sancta Caf.liolica
...papa,...anti3tite nostro, . . .ct rcgc nosiro ct omnibua orlliodoxis."



Ancient English Offices.
Matins. Lands. Prime.

In the Name . .


Our Father . .

O Lord, open . .

O God, make . .

Glory be . . .


or. Praise be
Response . . .
Ps. Venite . . .

12 Pss. 6 Ant. .
(S. 18 Pss. 9 Ant.)
9 Glory's . . .
Benedictions . .
"A lesson of" .a
3 or 9 lessons >

Vers, and resp.

(S. Te Deum)


O God, make .

Glory be . .


. or. Praise be .

5 Pss. and Ant.
(S. Jubilate,) .
4 Glory's . .

(S. Benedicite)
Short chapter .

Benedictus . .
[See above]

Petitions . .

Comm. Collect
Coll. for Peace

In the Name

[See below]
Our Father

God, make
Glory be
or. Praise be


3 Pss. 1 Ant. . .
(S. 9 Pss. 1 Ant.)
1 Glory . . . .

Athan. Creed.

Short chapter

The Psalms,
(in course).

r " Here begin-
\ neth". 1st Les-
(. son, O. T.

Te Deum

2nd Less., N. T.
Athan. Creed.
or, Ap. Creed.
The Lord be
Short Littiny.
Our Father

1st Collect.
Coll. for Peace.
Coll. for Grace.

( Benediction.

\ " The grace."

N'oTE. — In these tables the dotted lines will shew from which of the old OflBces the
parts of our own are derived. Any features transposed for the sake of comparison are
included in brackets. S. signifies Sunday.

[See above]
[Ap. Creed.] .
[The Lord be]
J^hort Litany .
Our Father
Petitions . .
Conf., Absol.

Coll. for Grace
Intercessions .


Short chapter, 2 Cor. xiii. Sunday, 3d hour "The grace


Revised Office.
Morning Prayer.

Conf., AbsoL
Our Father
O Lord, open
O God, make
Glory be

Praise ye

The Lord's Name

Ps. Venite.




AxciENT English Offices.

Revised Office.



Evening Prayer.

In the Name

In the Name


Turn Thou us



[See helow.]

Conf., Absol.

Our Father ....

Our Father . . .

Our Father
Lord, open

God, make ....

God, make ....

God, make

5 Pss. and Ant. . . .

4 Pss., 1 Ant

The Psalms.

5 Glory's

3 Glory's


Short chapter ....

First Eesson.


Ps. xcviii., or


Second Lesson.

Short chapter ....


Ps. Ixvii., or

Nunc Dimittis . . .

Nunc Dimittis.

[Ap. Creed] . . . .

Ap. Creed.

Short litany ....

Short litany ....

Short litany.

Our Father ....

Our Father ....

Our Father



Conf., Absol


Coniin. Coll

First Collect.

Coll. for Peace . . .

Coll. for Peace.

Collect for aid . . .

Coll. for aid.

Intercession ....


Benediction ....


Confining ourselves for the present to the Morning
Office, we may observe, first of all, that with the excep-
tion of the Sentences, Exhortation, and Thanksgiving,
there is not a single feature which docs not either ac-
tually come from some one of the older offices, or find
its parallel and counterpart there. And at the primary
Revision of 1549, whatever might be oinitted, nothing
new was introduced ; only the brief lessons at Matins,
and again, the " short cha|)ters" of Lauds and Prime,
were expanded into an entire cliiiptcr of the Old and
New Testament respe('tiv(;ly ; the 'IV; Deinn made
permanent; and the Benedicite classed with it as
a responsive Canticle. So truly and bona Jidc was
the new scheme redacted and develoj)ed out of the
older. It will !)(; fi^und, moreover, thai, with an ex-



ception to be mentioned presently, and that rather
apparent than real, the old order of the retained fea-
tures was in the original Revision'" strictly preserved.
And, to the last, nothing was added in land but the
Sentences and Exhortation at the beginmng, and the
General Thanksgiving at the close.

The most general way of characterizing the process
thus performed upon the older offices, is perhaps to
say, that it was an endeavour to return to first princi-
ples, preserving, meanwhile, as far as might consist
with that design, the existing organizations. The Re-
visers had before their eyes, on the one hand ^ an ideal
which they knew, by her own testimony, that the
Church had aimed at by the general institution of
such offices, viz. the public devotional use of the Book
of Psalms at large, and no less broad knowledge of, and
meditation on, Holy Scripture. On the other hand,
they saw in operation a system, which, hovv^ever de-
signed, and whatever its other merits, certainly was in
practice utterly subversive of that ideal. But few of
the Psalms were said, chiefly owing to the substitution
for the daily portion of some few and almost unvary-
ing ones on the plea of a " festival of three or nine
lections." Of the Scriptures, only the few earlier
chapters of the different books were really in use.
And, besides all this, the language of the services ex-
cluded the people practically from all share in them.
Here, then, was a broad, general aim, and surely
a correct one, to be carried out ; viz. to bring back the

' It can hardly be necessary to recommend to the reader, as indis-
peusable for studying the successive Revisions of the Prayer-book, Mr.
Kcclhig's vahiable "Liturgiaj Britaunicse," exhibiting them m parallel
columns. See also Proctor on the Prayer-book, L'Estrange's Athance
of Divine Offices, &c.

' See their Preface " Concerning the Service of the Cluuch."


Psalms and Holy Scripture, the great features of ordi-
nary worship, to real and effective use as instruments
of praise and divine knowledge. But how was this to
be attained, consistently with preserving sensible con-
tinuity between the old and the revised forms ? Now
whether the first Revisers debated previously of any
other method of doing this than that which they in
fact adopted, we are not informed. It is not impro-
bable that they did so, but perceived that any attempt
to retain either the old express division into three of-
fices, or certain complicating features of their contents,
would be fatal to that practicability for congregational
use which they desired to bring about. On determin-
ing, then, to reduce the three offices to one, they
would at once perceive certain phenomena in them
favourable to such a desi2;n. The commencement of
all of them, to a certain point, (see the table,) was all
but identical. A single such commencement would
therefore entail no loss of ritual elements. Next, the
order of parts in all was so far the same, that, in each,
Psalms were followed up by Scripture, however dif-
ferent the treatment of both Psalms and Scrii)ture in
each case might be. At the same time, the first of-
fice, that of Matins, took a decided lead and prei)on-
derance in respect of these elements. It contamed,
theoretically at least, the great mass of the psalmody
and reading for each day. A body of Psalms and
Scripture, then, standing first, and as the staple of
the new odice, would serve to give the old iMatiii.s
conception its due place ; while yet the psalmody and
Scripture of the other offices would not be h It unre-
presented, since the whole of the J'salms, and every
])art of Scripture, were to enter by turns into the
office. Next, they would observe that each of the

u 2


offices possessed, chiefly towards its close, certain fea-
tures peculiar to itself; viz. Matins its Te Demu,
besides (at the beginning) the " Lord, open," the
Invitatory, and Venite ; Lauds its Canticles, Benedic-
tiis, and Communion Collects ; Prime its Creeds and
Lord's Prayer, its Collects, petitions, and intercessions.
These completing portions of the offices might there-
fore preserve, in a single service, the same order rela-
tively to each other, and to the psalmody and Scrip-
ture, which they had always stood in. And thus, by
retaining once for all such elements (e. g. the intro-
ductory part, and the Psalms and Scripture) as were
common to all, and subjoining, in their natural order,
features peculiar to the several offices, a single whole
would result, recalling sufficiently, for the purposes of
continuity, the older forms. It would only be neces-
sary to combine, in one or two instances, the ritual
methods observable in different offices ; as for ex-
ample, by imparting to the Benedicite (an unrespon-
sive Canticle, retained from Sunday Lauds in its
proper relative place,) the responsive character towards
the reading of Scripture which the Te Deum already
possessed. The Benedictus would not need even this
degree of modification as to its use, since it already
stood in a truly responsive position to the " short
chapter" from the New Testament at Lauds. The
adaptation of the Jubilate, from the same office, as
another responsive Canticle to the second Lesson,
as before of Benedicite to the first, was a natural
afterthought, at the second Revision in 1552. In
these cases, then, kindred features of the several offices
w'ere made to coalesce and conspire towards one
purpose. The Collects of the two later offices fell
easily, in like manner, from their natural affinity, into


one group. The ordinary Sunday Capituluni at Terce,
or 9 A.M., (2 Cor. xiii. 13 : " The grace of our Lord,"
&c.,) performing the function of the final Prime bene-
diction, would fitly conclude the office.

Such, in f^eneral terras, was the nature of our great
Revision, as to the facts of it ; such the mechanical
process, so to speak, of which our present Morn-
ing Office is the result, preserving in its features a
certain correspondence with three of the older of-
fices, and even a slight memorial of a fourth. The
next question is, how far may we consider the idea of
them severally to have survived intact? Is the re-
semblance which remains merely an external and me-
chanical one, not extending to the inner mind and
spirit of the offices ? Has this been really transfused,
or has it perished in the process ?

In endeavouring to answer this question, we shall
do well to bear in mind that, so long as certain ele-
ments and media of service are retained at all, there
is not much fear but that the essential thing designed
by the offices of Matins, Lauds, Prime, &c., will be
really preserved. With what distinctness this is done
is a further, and comparatively secondary, though not
unimportant point. A review of the Church's past
history in this department of ritual, and the earlier
stage of it especially, shews us that the great matter,
after all, from the very i)('ginmng, was " to sing praises
with understanding." That axiom, taken in its widest,
dee[)est sense, as including completest Christian ado-
ration, and profoundest Christian knowledge, is the
prescript of all ordinary worsiiip. The numner of
carrying it out, though far iVom iudiflerent, is second-
ary to the broad design itself. And that manner has,
within certain limits, varied in all ages. No ('liureh


that we know of performs it now exactly in the same
manner as the ai)ostles did. Nor can any Church,
under wliatever variations of form, have really intro-
duced any principle into this kind of service which
the simpler apostolic method did not involve. All
distinctive ideas of Matins, Lauds, Prime, and the
like, necessarily existed, with all essential complete-
ness, in apostolic worship. It is one and the same
primeval light, only parted into manifold hues, that
appears in the more gorgeous systems of later ages.
These distinctly elaborated and discriminated offices
were but as the prism interposed. And when, as in
the instance before us, the decomposing media are in
a measure withdrawn, it may surely be maintained, 1.
that neither the essence of the act performed is in any
way affected, nor any of its varied aspects really done
away with ; and, 2. that enough of the old methods
may remain to assist greatly in the realization of that
distinctness of hue which it was their purpose to im-
part to the services ; more especially when we call to
our aid the knowledge that we possess of what those
methods in their completeness were.

The bearing of these remarks is more especially
on the new treatment of the Psalms in the Revised
English Office. How far such compensating con-
siderations were in the mind of the Revisers, when
doing away the distinction between Matins Psalms,
Lauds Psalms, &c. ; and again between the con-
tinuous psalmody of one office^ and the selection
made in others, we are not actually informed. But
seeing that they preserved, with no less than reve-
rent care, and in untouched order, as many of the
other distinctive features of each office as their lead-
ing aim allowed, — it seems a fair inference that their


hope was, that not in these features only, but in the
use of the Psalms also, now thrown open to varied
applications, the old ideas would in a great measure
survive and be expressed. There is in their original
preface, as w^as observed in the Introductory Chapter,
a most remarkable unconsciousness of having effected
any change in the purpose or nature of the services.

If this principal point then be conceded, viz. that
the continuous and unselected psalmody of our service
was probably intended to represent, not the old Matins
Psalms merely, but also those of Lauds and Prime,
we shall have less difficulty in recognising in the re-
mainder of it the reality of all three ofhces, briefly
indeed, but not inadequately represented, and surviv-
ing in a genuine though condensed form. Our ]\Iorn-
ing Service will then assume for us the following
aspect, as the result of its derivation from the older
offices. As being a day-office, and the first in the
day, it not unfitly draws its penitential prelude from
the Prime (or First Hour) Office; which itself com-
menced with Ps. li., and also, towards its close, pro-
vided a confession and absolution, e.=?pecially in regard
of imperfections in the service'; and so sent forth the
worshipper, humbled and reconciled, on the duties of
the day. The connnencement of the service proper,
until the Venite, is due to all the Offices alike; ex-
cepting only the " O Lord, oi)en," i)eculiar to Matins.
With the Venite the great Matins Oliice begins lo
assert its prerogative, and continues to be the domi-
nant element as far as the 'i'e Deum inclusive; nor
is its force fully spent until tin; end of IIk; second
Canticle. Considered as contiiuious, the wlujle psal-
mody is of Matins character ; while yet in virtue of

' Sec sii|)r.. |i. l'l!J.


such Psalms as are allied by their tenor to Lauds or
Prime, it breathes from time to time the spirit of those
Offices. The Psalms, Lessons, and Canticles, again,
viewed as woven up into one complex act of praise
and meditation", still wear the jMatins aspect through-
out. But meanwhile, in the Benedicite (if used), in
the Lesson from the New Testament, and in the Bene-
dictus or Jubilate, Lauds has gradually come to view ;
at first with faint streaks, as of the dawn, afterwards
with a steadier and more certain lio-ht. Prime in
like manner may claim some connection with both
our Lessons, in virtue of its Capitulum, — which was
indifferently from the Old Testament or the New"".
But it is at the Creed, Apostolic or Athanasian, that
the Office fairly modulates into the key of Prime.
From thence throughout, the peculiar practical^ cha-
racter of that Office is maintained : Matins has ceased
to contribute anything to the idea of the service. Prom
Lauds alone the two kindred Collects gravitate to-
wards this part of our Office, and are naturally ab-
sorbed and assimilated by it. Lastly, as has been
already observed, Terce contributes a Capitulum,
taking the form of a dismissal Benediction.

An interesting and pertinent illustration of the pro-
cess by which our present form may have evolved
itself, in the mind of the Revisers, out of the older
ones, is furnished by a parallel and in a great degrte
independent revision of the older forms of private
devotion, which was going on side by side with that
of the public services from the year 1545 to 1575^

- See p. 129.

» The ordinary Sxmday Capitulum at Prime was 1 Tim. i. 17 ; the
week-day, Zach. viii. 19.
^ See pp. 221, 267.
' For these forms see Cardwell's Three Primers of Henry VIII.;


111 the former year, as is well known, Henry the
Eighth's Primer, superseding all former ones, was
published. Like them, it provided devotions (founded
on those of the Office for Festivals of the Blessed
Virgin Mary, only revised) for the several hours of
Matins, Lauds, &c. This book was published in
Edward the Sixth's reign, 1547, and again, with pro-
gressive revisions, 1549 — 1552. It appeared again
in Elizabeth's reign, both in English and Latin, (en-
titled Orarium,) viz. in 1559 and 15G0, and even in
1575; still exhibiting the old divisions of ]\Iatins,
Lauds, &c. But meanwhile (viz. in 15G4) appeared
a highly modified form of it in Latin ^ expressly
reducing the services to two, under the titles of
Preces Matutince and Vespertincc. As might be ex-
pected, it proceeded, in the main, on the same rc-
visionary principles as had guided the construction
of the Prayer-book Offices. Yet it w^as markedly
independent in many points ; and, what is very much
to our purpose, belongs, so to speak, to an earher
stage of evolution. Thus the Morning Ofiice, com-
mencing much in the same way as our public one
as far as the Venite, only with a prayer of Absolu-
tion, has then a Hymn, three Psalms (viii., xix., xxiv.)
with one Antiphon ; a first lesson (Prov. i., &c.) not
preceded, as in the book of 1500, liy a benediction,
but ending with "Thus saith the Jiord," &c. ; and
the Te J)euni. At this point the transition to liMiids
is announced by prefi.xing that title, and the jirefaloiy
"0 God, make speed, &c.," "Glory be," &c. ; but,

Mr. Clay's valuable and learned volume of "I'riv.-ilo 1'rayer.s put forth
hy authority in the rcif,'ii of Queen Elizaheth," I'arkor Kocicly, 1851 ;
and for a complete and careful resume^ I'roClcr, chap. iii. A|»p. 2.

• "I'reccs privatjc, in studiosoruni ^'ndiain collccta*, ct Kegiaaulho-
ritate approbaise." I'arker Society, ul)i snpr., p ] l.'>


there is no Lauds versicle preceding, as in the okler
Primer of 1559, nor any Allehiia. Now commenced
the Lauds Psalms, or rather Pss. c. and cxlviii., with
the Canticle Benedicite ; all of them, it will be ob-
served, genuine Lauds features, and tiDo the same as
we have retained in our Office ; only that here they
appear simply in their old characters, not as respon-
sive to a Lesson. Then a second Lesson, (St. John
iii. 10 — 22, iv. 11, &c.) hymn, and the Benedictus ;
Creed, short Litany, Lord's Prayer, one versicle, a
Collect, (second Sunday after Easter,) one prayer for
the Queen, second and third Collects, blessing and
Litany. It will be seen that this Office keeps much
closer to the older ones ; as, e. g. in having an ex-
press recognition of Lauds, though not (as in 1560)
of Prime ; antiphons, though but one to each group of
Psalms ; an actual set of Lauds Psalms, used as such,
though no Prime ones, (the Orarium of 1560 had one
Prime Psalm, cxviii.) ; hymns, and in the old places.
We could almost imagine that the Office had been
framed on the basis of an earlier project entertained
by the Revisers of 1549 ; so entirely is it transitional
towards the plan which they adopted. Of course the
fear of complexity which confessedly operated to the
rejection of certain features, as e. g. antiphons, from
the public Office, would have less place here, where
the office was to be unvarying.

Nor can I forbear to remark, that if any revision
of our Morning Office were undertaken, on the prin-
ciple of enriching it, with the least possible amount
of disturbance, or increase of complexity, from the
older forms, the Office which we have just reviewed
would suggest one eflfective method of accomplishing
this object. The weak points of our present Office,


SO to speak, — those in which it fails to render, with
as much fulness as could be desired, the mind of the
older forms, — are, 1. the small amount, quantitatively,
of psalmody ; and, 2. the absence of any cxj)ression,
by means of selected Psalms, of Lauds or Prime ideas.
The expression of these is thrown upon other features,
as Canticles, (or Psalms used as Canticles,) Collects,
jjetitions, &c. Now by introducing, immediately after
the Te Deum or Benedicite, a small group of Lauds
and Prime Psalms, exactly as is done in the private
Office before us, this defect would be in a measure
remedied. Tido unvarying Lauds Psalms, as e. g. the
63rd and 148th, both of universal use in East and

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 23 of 33)