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

. (page 31 of 33)
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 31 of 33)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

truly and honci fide our existing Offices are a combi-
nation of the more numerous preceding ones. This
alone might suggest the plan of once more, on occa-
sion, and where need is, resolving them into their
constituent elements. Owing to the structure thus
belonging to them, they lend themselves with great
facility to such a design. They all but suggest joaz^se*,
serving to reduce them in practice to more services
than one, each short enough for all conceivable pur-
poses. The Morning Office easily resolves itself into
two, the one corresponding to Matins and Lauds, the
other extending from the Creed inclusive to Prime;
the Evening Office falls in like manner into two
services, resembling Vespers and Compline : though
indeed there is more than one way of dividing each
Office intelligibly enough, without reference to the old
arrangements. Tims in either Office the pause might
well be after the Canticle to the First Lesson. All
that is needed is, that such pauses be pre-arranged
and understood, as occasions for free egress and in-
gress of worshippers ; a bell, if necessary, being rung
to give notice of the time. Such an arrangement
seems to be contemplated by the frequent breaks in
the old Offices; especially in the two Eastern Noc-
turns, each commencing in the same way. By this
method then, which has been found to ansioer its
purpose most completely, and is no less applicable to
week-days than to Sundays, all necessity for any re-
trenchment, or substitution of shorter services, may
be precluded; the English Church saved the appa-
rent discredit of proclaiming that her services, already
the shortest in Christendom, are yet longer than she
knows how to use ; and the setting up of rival Offices,
which might here as elsewhere become the watch-


words of parties, avoided. If it be said, that there is
somewhat novel, and un-English, in such a plan, and
that few will be at the pains to carry it out, or avail
themselves of it : it is obvious to reply, that novelty
of administration is less serious than that of sub-
stance ; and that if those who plead for relief in point
of length will not accept it in this form, it only shews
that their alleged need is not very urgent.

3. The authorization of new and additional of-
fices to meet special needs of the Church, stands on
somewhat different ground from the two former pro-
posals. That such offices are in themselves desir-
able, and have been provided in all ages, as they are
still in a measure by the English Church, is unques-
tionable. The Euchologies of the East, the Missse
Votivae, or special Communion Offices of the West,
made somewhat ample provision of this kind. But it
may still be questioned whether our existing ritual
machinery, if worked with that moderate degree of
licence which it is inconceivable that it was intended
to exclude, cannot supply all that is absolutely re-
quired. One particular need alleged is that of an
additional Evening Office of a simpler and less litur-
gical kind than our present Evensong. But such an
Office is, in the first place, supplied by tlic method
above described, of breaking the Evensong by a
pause. A second method, which has been deemed
by high authorities perfectly compatible with the
Cluu'ch's rubric, is to combine the Litany with a
sermon. And further, a great and most desirable de-
gree of freedom has ever been recognised in connec-
tion with sermons, as regards the use bolii of j)riiyers
and hymns. It would seem, then, that round the


combination here mentioned might be gathered, under
due regulation and authorization in the several dio-
ceses, the materials not only of such a popular Even-
ing Service as is desired, but also of a minor kind of
Office adapted to special occasions and emergencies.
It may be added here, that in the free use of hymns,
which has never been disallowed, but rather encou-
raged in various w^ays, in the English Church, lies
one great resource for amplifying and enriching our
ordinary Office.

On the whole, then, I conceive that no cause has
been shewn, nor can be, for embarking at the present
hour on so great and hazardous an enterprise as that
of revising once more our Ordinary Offices, whether
in the way of retouchment, retrenchment, or addition.
No such second emergency and crisis has arisen now,
as that which prompted and demanded the Revision
of the sixteenth century. The English Church had
sinned deeply then, had she failed to recognise the
new duty which had come upon her by the breaking
up of the great crust of the old mediaeval condition,
and to cast forth the bread of a vernacular and popular
ritual on the risinsr waters of knowledo;e. It remains
now to "find it after many days." What is really wanted
is a better understanding and appreciation of what
was done then, together with faith and love to give —
wdiat has never yet been given — full effect to it. Our
need, in a word, is not of new services, but of a new
mind and heart, in clergy and people ahke, towards
those which we have. The affection felt for them
by this Church and nation, though deep, has surely
been blind. Their powers as instruments of spiri-
tual perfection, and as the exponents of religious feel-


ing and worship, have been — if there be any truth
in what has been here unfolded — underrated and

But above all, these Offices have not been duly
rised. As services reaching through the whole of life,
and so, in due subordination to Eucharistic service,
guiding, moulding, and elevating it, they are to the
far greater part of our clergy, much more to the
mass of the laity, utterly strange. Solemnly bound
though the former are, by their ordination vow, to
the daily and continual use of them, and to bring
others to them to the best of their power, it is but
lately that any sense of these obligations has begun
to be manifested among us.

The causes which have led to this state of things
cannot here be inquired into. One fertile source of
it, and which must continue to have the same result
until the evil shall in God's good time be remedied,
is to be found in the strange and well-nigh incre-
dible custom which has prevailed among us, and
is only beginning in the rarest instances to be broken
through, of our clergy being admitted to their holy
Office without a shadow of training in the duties,
but specially in the mind and habits proper to it,
and essential to the well-being of the Church. All,
however, that it falls within the scope of this work to
point out is, that the responsibility and shame; of such
neglect, in clergy and laity alike, is tenfold greater
in the case of the English Church than of any other.
First, because in no other have the jjublic Olliccs of
Ordinary Worship been so sedulously and completely
popularised, and lilted for the; use of ;ill iu wlioni
a spark of love or faith survives; and next, because,
though a faithful use of these services, beyond the


example of other ages and lands, will abundantly
justify that reduction of them from their old grandeur
to their present simpHcity, and from an ideal to a
practicable standard, nothing short of this can pos-
sibly do so.



Note A. — p. 21.

The charge which, in no heated spirit of controversy, but in
all sadness as well as soberness, is in the text advanced against
the existing Eoman Church of " treading, to say the least, on
the very verge of polytheism ;" and again, of sanctioning more
or less formally a direct idolatry paid to various objects of
sense, — is too serious a one not to demand some degree of sub-
stantiation. I shall confine myself to one strong instance of
each kind. The following is from the Prayer-book of the
Oratory of St. Philip Neri, p. 41. We may surely well ask
what distinctive attributes or powers are reserved for Almighty
God, when such prayers as this are addressed to one of His

creatures. " O most holy keeper of the treasures of

grace, and refuge of us miserable sinners, we have recourse to

thy love with lively foith ; and beg of thee the grace

ever to do God's will and thine ; we give up our hearts into thy
most holy hands, and implore of thee the salvation of our souls
and bodies, and in the sure hope that thou who art our most
loving wilt hear us, we say with lively faith "

The blanks in the original arc filled up with the titles of the
Blessed Virgin Mary ; the last with three " hail Maries." The
following is a prayer to St. Aloysius Gonzaga, ibid., p. 50 : — "
holy Aloysius, beautiful for thy angelic virtues, &c., I recom-
mend to thee in a particular manner the purity of my soul and
body. I beseech thee .... to preserve me from all sin : never
permit me to be defiled ; and when thou seeat nie exposed to
temptation, remove far from my lieart all impure tliouglits, and
renew in me the remembrance of God ; — inij)rint dcej)ly in my
soul the fear of God, and enkindle within me tlie fire of divine
love "

These are the devotions, it is true, of an extreme section of
Romanists; but tluy of necessity possess the sanction of the

400 NOTES.

see of Rome. Throughout a great part of Spain, again, as we
are informed by a candid and credible witness, (vide Meyrick's
Church in Spain,) a very principal object of the popular worship
is Saint Philumena ; a person who, there is good reason to be-
lieve, never existed. It is difficult to see the difference between
this and the worship of Ceres or Diana.

On the subject of idolatry, it may suffice to allege the follow-
ing passage from the Roman Pontifical ; bearing in mind the
Roman definition, following the second Nicene Council, " Latria
solum Dkince Naturce competit." — " Ille qui gladium Imperatori
prasfert, et alius crucem Legati portans, simul ire debent. Crux
Legati, quod dehehir ei Latria, erit a dexteris, et gladius Impe-
ratoris a sinistris." Ordo ad recip. process. Imperat. Ponti-
ficale Rom., p. 672, ed. Rom. 1595. Pont. Rom. Urban YIII.
pars iii. p. 109, Paris, 1664. Pont. Rom. p. 571, typ. Vat.
1745. I have selected these peculiarly flagrant instances, not
as in the least admitting that the lower degrees of worship
addressed to creatures in the Roman communion are in any
way justifiable, but as conceiving the present instances, at least,
to admit of no answer or palliation.

It is only just, however painful, to add that the existing
Eastern Offices go to quite the same lengths as the Roman in
ascribing to the Blessed Virgin the attributes of Almighty God ;
such as the government of the world and the Church, the dis-
posing of the heaits of kings, the giving of victory, kc. "It
must be confessed," says Mr. Neale, " that these troparia are at
least as strong as any corresponding expressions in the Latin
Church," (p. 833). Take the following instance, (lb., Lauds,
p. 915): "O Mother of God. confirm the state of the orthodox,
preserve those whom thou hast chosen to rule, (!) and give them
from heaven the victory; because thou, who only art blt-ssed,
didst bring forth God." More awful blasphemy it is difficult to
conceive. Indeed there is strong historical ground (vid. Nice-
pi orus) for believing that this and many like hymns were ori-
ginally, or in their earlier forms, addressed to Christ, but have
been perverted to their present purpose, simply by substituting
the name of the Theotokos. In like manner, the intercession
of Christ, which I do not remember to have seen pleaded
anywhere in the existing Greek services, seems to have been
obliterated to make room for the constantly recurring request
for the intercession of the saints, and of the Elessed Virgin
Mary especially.

NOTES. 401

If any one should think it absolutely improbable, either that
so vital a corruption slioukl for so long a period have infected
the greater portion of the Church of God, without its forfeiting
the very name and the being of a Church ; or again, that a com-
paratively small remainder of the Church should retain the pure
deposit of the truth, the far larger part holding it in a deeply
vitiated form ; let such ponder well the strikingly parallel case
of the Church of the Elder Covenant.

From about the 6th to the 16th century of the Christian era,
certain corruptions in doctrine and discipline had been gathering
to a head. That they grew up as encroachments upon the old
truth and the old prerogatives, has been again and again demon-
strated. And there existed all the while, even to the last, a leaven
and an element of protest. The two leading aspects of the in-
novations which had thus grown up had reference, 1, to the
Headship of the Church; and 2, to the Object of worship. A
claim had been gradually set up to an earthly headship, alike in
things temporal and spiritual ; and wor.-hip of the most exalted
kind, trenching very closely, to say the least, upon that which
is due to Almighty God, had been introduced, and was declared
to be due to various created things. And when, in the 16th
century, various events raised the momentous issue between tlie
old ways and faith and the new, and compelled men to choose
their side, the result was that a great preponderance adhered to
the novel doctrines and discipline which had thus arisen in the
course of several preceding centuries; while a comi)aratively
small number refused to acknowkdge any other supreuie Head-
shi[) than the Church had known from the beginning, or any
other Object of worship than God Himself.

Such, stated in general terms, and drawn in its true colours,
was tlie spectacle which was exhibited to the world in the 16lh
century. And it is singularly parallel, in all its nuiin features, to
the breaking off of the ten tribes from the theocratic common-
wealth of Israel. It has Ijcen well pointed out by a writer of
our own, (see Blunt'sliulsean Lectures,) that that disruption was
only the result of tendencies wliich had long been in operation,
— tendencies on the part of the great mass of Israel, 1, to form
themselves into a separate confederation under the licadsliip of
the tribe of Eidiraim ; and 2, to worsliip God through forbidden
media, as well as to worsliij) other gods.

And tlie points lliat we are concenud to notice arc these two:
1. That the body which broke away from its nlkgiuuce to the

n (I

-10:2 NOTES.

Mosaic theocracy, and to the one Object of M'orship, was of the
two bj' far the larger and more imposing in grandeur and popu-
lousness ; while the far smaller body exclusively retained the
pure form both of ecclesiastical polity and Divine worship ; and
yet, 2. that notwithstanding the deep degradation, and appa-
rently hopeless apostacy, of the kingdom of Israel, it did not
cease to be accounted a portion of the Church of God ; that God
still pleaded with it by His prophets ; and that there were still,
even in its darkest days, " seven thousand who had not bowed
the knee to Baal."

We might, indeed, pursue the parallel further. "While it is
not for us to lift the curtain of the Church's yet future destiny,
we cannot but be struck with the fact, that though Judah was
scourged for her sins by the captivity, yet it was not upon her,
but upon " backsliding Israel," that the curse of final excision
and dispersion fell ; that the true ark of refuge in those days was
not Epliraim, hit Judah, (see 2 Chron. xi. 13 — 16). Thought-
ful men have deemed that even such a destiny as this, to be the
one refuge of the faithful in the last days, may be reserved to
the Church of the English succession.

Note B. — p. 75.

It may be conjectured, though we have no positive evidence
for the fact, that the Temple Service commenced daily with the
95th Psalm itself, or with some part of it. For it were surely
most remarkable that a Psalm so peculiarly to the purpose, and
bearing so expressly upon early Israelitish story, should find no
appointed place in that Service. Now it is not among the seven
Psalms allotted to the seven daj's of the week ; which are said
to have been as follows : —

On the 1st day of the week, our Sunday, Ps. xxiv.


Monday, Ps. xlviii.


, Tuesday, Ps. Ixxxii.

„ 4th

Wednesday, Ps. xciv.

„ 5 th

Thursday, Ps. Ixxxi.

„ 6th

?< >i

Friday, Ps. xciii.



ath) „

Saturday, Ps. xcii.

Is it improbable that the 95th Psalm, though the Jewish
writers have preserved no record of it, was used also ; viz. as

NOTES. 403

a fixed every-day Psalm, preparatory to the whole psalmody of
the day, — a purpose for which it is so entirely suitable ? We
may take notice, as lending some countenance to this conjecture,
that the Psalms in the above scheme are numbered backwards in
two instances, viz. in the case of the 81st and 82nd occiu-iing on
the fifth and third days ; and again, in that of the 92nd, 93rd,
and 94th, which are allotted to tlie 7th, Gth, and 4th. Kow
this is a thorouglily Jewish way of reckoning ; an instr.noe
of which in the Synagogue Service has already been refei red
to (p. 71, note z) ; — the Sabbath, though last in order, being
reckoned the chief and leading day of the week to which it
belongs, and regulating its character in ritual things. Though,
indeed, — and it is another indication of the Jewish origin of the
Eastern ritual, — some weeks in the calendar of Constantinople
derive their name and character from the following Sunday.
Thus the six days preceding PiJm-Sunday make up with it
what is called Palm-week ; and so of others (vide Neale, pp.
743, 753). This feature in the Jewish scheme furnishes some
presumption in favour of its antiquity, which, though highly
l)robable, cannot be absolutely demonstrated. But our present
concern with it is to observe, that it seems to point to the 9olh
Psalm as having had in some way, and in some shape or other,
a place in the Temple Service. For there is manifestly a prin-
ciple, and the same principle, in the sehction of these two
groups of Psalms. The 81st Psalm is an exhortation to sted-
fast adherence to the service and piaise of God, grounded on a
review of the events in the wilderness ; the 82nd, though differ-
ing in subject, is connected with the 81st as being a Psalm of
Asaph, the only two in succession that bear his name. In like
manner the 95th Psalm is the culminating point of the t-eries
which commences on the Sabbath, or rather sets out Uom it.
The peculiar character of the ninctitth Psalm, as being probably
a genuine composition of Moses, widely separates it from the
next group of Psalms extending from the 91st to the 100th.
And of these the first five — among which are the Psalms now
under our consideration — possess a character of their own. The
whole group is thought by competent judges to belong to
the j)eriod just preceding the captivity"; j)robably to the last
national revival under Josiah''. But the first five arc clearly

• Hcngstcnbcrg on the rsnliiiB, Appemlix II. !>. 17, iiml |i]i. ]r>0, \ol .

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 31 of 33)