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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our own is indebted to it, throw great light upon the
latter, instructing us in what manner we should un-
derstand a portion of it, otherwise somewhat ambigu-
ous. It may be added, that the more elevated turn
given to the last clause, " may come to His eternal
joy" as compared with the old "ad vitam perducat
eternam," not improbably represents the joyful inter-
change of versicles and responses which followed the
old absolution : — V. " God, Thou wilt turn again and
quicken us." R. " And Thy people shall rejoice in
Thee," &c.

But while our Morning and Evening Absolution is



distinctly traceable to this extent to the old Prime
and Compline form, it is no less plain that it ditlers
from it in the mould into which the absolving part
is cast : the old form being throughout a prayer or
desire ; while the significant part of ours is an an-
nouncement or declaration. There is little difficuUy,
as it would seem, in pointing either to the source
whence this changed form was derived, or the motive
for adopting it. As to the former point, there is in
a Latin Service-Book |)ublished for the use of the
German refugees in this country, about the year
1550", a declaratory absolution which we can hardly
doubt suggested the phraseology of our own ; though
this is probably the only point in which this introduc-
tion was indebted to foreign reformers. In it occur
the expressions : —

"... desirest not the death of a sinner, but ratlier that he
should be converted and live .... [and that] He may entirely
pardon and abolish all their sins for all them that truli/ repent . . . :
to all of you, I say, who are thus minded, I pronounce (or declare,
denancio) on the faith of the promise of Christ, that all your sins
arc forgiven in heaven by God our Father . . . We hcsccch Thee
that Thou wouldst give us Thy Holy Spirit . . . that Thy holy
law may in all our life be expressed i."

We may especially note, besides the pervading
resemblance in oilier respects, the irregularity of

P By John a L.nsco the I'olc, an intimutn friend of Craninor. Sco
Procter, p. 41; Clay, ut supr. : Laurence, lianipton Loci., p. 210.

•i Sec llic orifj'iiial Latin, rrocter, p. 44. Tliis ionn was, it is true, n»
wc shall sec presently, baaed throu(,'liouf upon c«;rtain old fonnulK . 1'.).

'M12 TiiK ruiNc-iri.KS of divink skrvick. [ciiav. iv.

more especially the seaiehiiii^ and humbling expres-
sions from Rom. vii., in their order, — that we shall
most fully enter into the mind of it.

Of the Sentences and Exhortation a slightly dif-
ferent account must be given. Yet these too represent,
in a far greater degree than is generally imagined, old
established devotional ways and forms of the English
Church. First, two of tire old English Offices, (not
of the Roman,) one in the morning and one in the
evening, viz. Lauds and CompHne, commenced with
a single penitential verse ^ of a Psalm; only in the
form of a versicle and response, coming before the
usual opening, " O God make speed," &c. It is just
possible that this may have suggested the idea of
the Sentences. Next, a form of exhortation to confes-
sion and repentance, preparatory to absolution, was a
regular part of the old English Visitation of the Sick ;
and it would have been perfectly analogous to the
general design of our Revisers (as above described) in
this part of the office, had they on this ground alone
introduced such an exhortation in this place. But in
truth a public Exhortation, in English, followed by
a form of confession and absolution, and forming
an introduction to a Service of the Church, (viz. the
Communion,) was already in use, apparently when-
ever there were communicants, in some parts, at least,
of the English Church^. And while the earlier part

' Viz. Lauds, on week-days, "Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon
us," &c. And Compliue, " Turn us, God our Saviour, and let Thine
anger cease from us." This was never omitted but on Easter-eve and

i» The form is given by Maskell, vol. iii. p. 348. The earlier part
ran thus : " Good men and women, I charge you by the authority
of holy Church, that no man nor woman that this day proposes to be
communed, (communicated,) go not to God's board, unless that he
believe stedfastly, &c., and that he be of his sins clean confessed, and


of it is the manifest original '^ of our present Exhorta-
tion before Communion, the few concluding words
no less clearly shew that from hence, and not from
any novel or foreign source, the whole idea and
method ^ of our daily Exhortation was derived. For
it thus concludes : " Furthermore, . , , that he be of
his sins clean confessed, and for them contrite. Also
ye shall kneel down, saying after me. . . ." Next
came a confession in Enghsh ; then (in Latin) the
ordinary public Misereatur and Absolution, and the
authoritatwe form used in private absolution, as above
given : " Our Lord Jesus Christ of His great mercy
absolve you .... and by the authority .... I ab-
solve," &c. It hence appears there was already actual
precedent in the English Church, with reference to
the Communion Office, for that bringing into the
sanctuary of the private and authoritative form of
absolution, and that conversion of it into a general
and public ministration, which at our Eevision was
adopted in the daily services.

For the materials, again, of such an Exhortation to
penitence, it would be natural to turn to the offices
for Ash- Wednesday, and for Lent. Now on that day,
by an arrangement peculiar to it, a regular address or
exhortation on the topics of the season — not, as was
often the case, a passage from a homily — formed the
three lections at Matins. It commenced, as was
indeed very usual, with "Dearly beloved brethren,"

for them coutritc. Also ye shall kneel down upon your knees, saying .
after mc, ' I cry God mercy.' " &c.

*• Maskell, ubi supr.

•" One turn in it is traceable to Abp. Hermann : ''It is agreeable to
godliness, that as often as wc appear before the Lord, before all things
we should acknowledge and confess our sins, and pray for remission of
the same." (See Procter, p. 187.) Yet compare too the Lenten homily
from St. Leo, to be quoted presently.

Y 2


("Fratres charissimi, or dilectissimi,") and was mainly
a cento of suitable passages of Scripture. On the
next Wednesday, reckoned the first Wednesday in
Lent, (as indeed on other days of the season,) there
was a very similar homily from St. Leo. In it occur
the following expressions, which seem the manifest
original of a part of our Exhortation. " For although,
dearly beloved, there is no time which is not full of
the divine gifts ; and we have always access afforded
us, through God's grace, to His mercy," (compare
" accompany me to the throne of the heavenly grace,")
"yet now ought all our minds to be moved, ....
more zealously, .... when," &c., &c. Other pro-
minent features of the Lent services, were the fixed
Capitula, daily said at the hours from Lauds to
Vespers ; and the penitential Psalms also, said every
day, one at each office. Now on these hints there is
considerable appearance of our Sentences and Exhorta-
tion having been framed. The Lenten Capitula were
all penitential texts from the Prophets. So also are
the Sentences, so far as they are taken from the Old
Testament. And with a single exception, they are all
but identical with those Capitula ; or else are taken
from the penitential Psalms. Thus we have for the
first of the Sentences, as they stood originally, a com-
position, rather than a quotation, from Ezek. xviii. :
" At what time soever a sinner doth repent him of his
sin from the bottom of his heart, I will put all his
wickedness out of My remembrance, saith the Lord."
(Ver. 27 was substituted for this in 1662.) Now
this same chapter of Ezekiel (ver. 20) furnished
the fixed week-day Capitulum at Vespers throughout
Lent \ The Capitulum for the sixth hour was nearly

• Brev. Sar. Fer. ii. Hebd. i. Quadrag.


the same ; viz. " Let the wicked forsake," &c. Our
next Sentence from the Prophets (Joel ii. 13, " Rend
your hearts," &c.) fmiiished the week-day Capitulum
at Lauds through the same season, and also the re-
sponsory to the second lesson on Ash- Wednesday K
Another, from Jeremiah x. 24, (" Correct me, Lord,")
is nearly identical with the well-known "Domine
ne in ira^," the responsory at beginning of this season.
The remaining Sentence from 'Dun. ix. is probably due
to some similar association. Passages are added from
the penitential Psalms, especially three from the great
central one, the 51st ; and others follow from the New
Testament. These Sentences then bemg prefixed, the
Exhortation which follows is in its earlier part little
else than a cento formed out of them in the order
of their occurrence ; just as the Ash- Wednesday ad-
dress is out of similar passages on repentance. For

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 25 of 33)