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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if it be thought needful, a more authoritative inter-

The writer's view^s on the subject of any further
Revision of the Church's Offices will be found em-


bodied in the chapters bearing upon the Revision
of the 16th century, and on the capabilities of the
present Services.

It only remains to state briefly the plan of this
Avork. The First Part, contained in the First Volume,
treats of the Daily Offices : the Second Part, occupy-
ing the Second Volume, of the Office for the Ploly
Communion. A chapter will be found, early in the
First Volume, on the general theory of the Church's
Ordinary Worship ; more especially as to the relation
in which it stands to her Eucharistic Worship : — an
important subject, which the writer had nowhere seen
treated with the attention which it seems to deserve.
The Second Volume opens with a chapter carrying
on the same subject by an investigation of the theory
of Eucharistic AVorship. These two chapters are of
the nature, therefore, of a distinct Treatise, more
or less complete, on the entire Theory of Christian
Worship and Service.

The following are some of the chief points in
which the prevailing conceptions about our Ordinary
Offices have appeared to the writer to be erroneous,
and to be capable of correction, either by referring
to the ancient forms and ideas, or from other con-

I. The general structure and design of our Morn-
ing and Evening Services, and of the Litany ; con-
cerning which great vagueness of view })revails : while
various opinions, more or less conjectural, have l)een
propounded by different writers. More particularly,
the relation in which they stand to the Oflice for the
lloly Communion.

II. Among the details of the Services, the follow-
ing points : —

i. The origin, structure, and design of the iutro-


ductory part, which has been in various ways mis-
understood and undervakied.

ii. The sense in which the Lord's Prayer is to be
understood and used at the commencement of the

iii. The full conception according to which the
Psahns, forming the first great division of the Ser-
vice, are to be used ; and especially the relation of
this act of worship to the corresponding action in
the Holy Communion.

iv. The full idea under which readino- and hearinsj
of Holy Scripture, forming the second great division
of the Service, is to be conceived of; and the analogy
between this part of the Office, and certain features of
the Holy Communion.

V. The design of the Canticles, considered as re-
sponsive to the Lessons.

vi. The true conception of the third and last divi-
sion of the Service, commencing with the Creed ; and
its correspondence with one of the aspects of the Holy

vii. The light in which the Creed, occupying the
position that it does, is to be viewed and used.

viii. The idea under which the Lord's Piayer oc-
curs for the second time in the Service, and in what
sense it is to be used in consequence.

ix. The exact origin and probable design of the
Versicles which accompany the Creed and the Lord's

X. The true nature of Collects, as distinguished
from other Prayers ; and the purpose and effect of
introducing the current Eucharistic Collect into the
Morning and Evening Office.

xi. The origin and pecuKar character of the Second
and Third Collects.


xii. The idea with which the intercessory Prayers,
the general Thanksgiving, &c., were added to the
Offices at the later Revisions ; the general struc-
ture of these Prayers ; and other particulars respect-
ing them.

A similar resume of the points touched upon in
the Communion Office, may most conveniently be re-
served to the commencement of the Second Volume.







"And lie shewed me a pure river of the water of life, . . . proceeding
out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. . . And on either side of the
river was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits . . .
and the leaves of the tree were for the heahnsr of the nations."

The Church of England, in common with all other
branches of the Church Universal, recognises two
kinds of Divine Service % or Public Worship, and
possesses certain accredited Offices for the perform-
ance of them. The Celebration of the Holy Com-
munion, or Eucharist, is by universal consent the
supreme act of Christian worship and service. Dis-
tinct from this, though nearly allied to it, is the more
Ordinary kind, known to us by the name of Com-

" This, though commonly supposed to be a modern term, is tlie
ancient phrase {Servitium Dicinum), peculiar to the Enghsh Church,
for the act of pubUc woi'ship. Vid. Ruhr. Sar. ante Mat. fol. 3, 4. — The
latter rubric shews that Servitium was applied to the Eucharist. See
Preface to the Prayer-book, " Concerning the Service of the Church."
Cf. S.Aug. Civ. Dei, x. 1. " AaTpua Grajce, Latine iuterpretatui- Ser-
Vitus ea qua colimus Deum."


MON Prayer ^ The existence of both these kmds of
Service from the earliest ages oi the Church °, their
general theory, and the relation in which they stand
to each other ^ are points which will be discussed
as part of the Inquiry, which it is the purpose of this
vi^ork to institute, concerning the right manner of
understanding and using the Offices now appointed
for the performance of public worship in the English

That inquiry is, indeed, far from being a new one.
Of the labours, accordingly, of preceding writers on
the subject, I have spoken at some length in the
Introductory Chapter. I endeavoured at the same
time to state clearly to what extent, and in what de-
partment of inquiry more especially, there still ap-
peared to be room for an attempt like the present.
I shall venture to assume some accpiaintance on the
part of the reader with the more important informa-
tion contained in the works referred to, and now
generally accessible, cither in the originals or in more
popular manuals''.

The particular field of research, it may be remem-
bered, to which we seemed to be more especially in-
vited by the fact of its having been hitherto but im-
perfectly investigated, was that of the actual lihlorij

•> Original title of the " Praycr-boolc," VoW) ■—" Tlu; Book of the Com-
mon I'raycr, aud Adriiinistratiou of the Sacraniciiis, &c., of tliu Cluucli,
according to the Use of the Church of England."

•= Sec below, sect. 2 — 0.

Vide Part I. chap, ii., and Pari IT. chap, i., on the Theory of the
Church's Ordinary and Eucharistic Wor.ship.

• See Berens, Watson, and others, on the Praycr-l)ook. A valiiablo
compendium of tliis kind has lalcly appeared, entitled "A History of Iho
Prayer book, with a Kationalc of its Olfices," by the Pcv. E. Procter
(Macrnillan, Cambridge). It is an epitome of almost all hitherto existing
information of the kind requisite for following out the line of inquiry
here attempted.

D 2


of our Offices, viewed as conducting us to their original
and real intention. And surely this is, in all reason,
tlie first thing to be done in a matter of the kind.
The first question to be asked about the Services of
the Church is not so much, What are we enabled, by
the exercise of our own ingenuity, to make of them?
as, "What is the meaning which properly attaches to
them ? What sense and acceptation belongs to them
in virtue of the facts of their origination? Portions
or features there will in all probability be, after all,
upon which this method of inquiry throws but an
imperfect light ; and upon these we must form the
best judgment that we can. But the historical in-
quiry, it cannot be too strongly urged, ought to pre-
cede all others.

Two cautions only, it is conceived, will be neces-
sary in applying this historical method, so to call it,
to the elucidation of these Services. The one, that
we be careful to interpret the older provisions for
Divine Service in no narrow or confined sense ; look-
ing rather to the principles involved in them, than to
the particular forms in which these were embodied.
The other, that, while we give to the original and
proper intention of the Services, so far as it is ascer-
tainable, the first place, we exclude not such other
secondary and subordinate, or it may be even co-
ordinate senses and applications, as they are capa-
ble of.

When then we set ourselves in earnest to ask,
What are these Services which the English Church
possesses ? whence did they come ? by whom were
they composed ? and in what sense w^ere they in-
tended to be taken and used ? we find that these
are questions which are far from admitting of a very


plain and simple reply. In the case of every Church
on earth, and emphatically in that of the Church of
England, much consideration, and not a little of
historical research, are required, ere we can give
a full and adequate answer to such inquiries. In
no instance, that we are acquainted with, does the
Church's Ritual resemble a clear and undisturbed
pool, exhibiting unaltered the features of primitive
and Apostolic service. Rather is it, in all cases, to
be likened to a river, having its source indeed in
the heart of the Primitive Church, but which has
experienced, from time to time, various accessions
or diminutions, and presents accordingly, at dif-
ferent points in its course, a very different aspect.
Thus did the Liturgies or Communion Offices of the
Eastern Churches undergo, as is well known, several
material revisions ^ and alterations, even within what
may be called the historical period of their existence ;
while there is reason to believe ^ that even the earliest
phase, under which they are known to us, resulted
from a serious modification of their primary forms.
The Eastern Offices for ordinary worship also re-
ceived considerable expansion at about the same
I)eriod^. Thus too were the ordinary Offices of the
Churches of the West — the llomun, the Spanish, the
French ' — completely reorganized or replaced in the
course of the fifth and following centuries; while
their Comnmnion Offices were all modified at an early
period, and most of them in later days abandoned
for a difrcrent form of service.

' Vide Palmer, Orip. Lit., Diss, on Primitive Liturgies.

« Sec Part 11., cli. on Primitive Liturgy-

*■ Sec Part L cli. iii.

' Vide Palmer, Orig., Itli cd. p. 218, ^c. ; and infra, Part l. ch. iii.


Tliis is not the place for entering into any ex-
tended discussion of the phenomenon thus presented
by the rituals of all known Churches, of having un-
dergone more or less of alteration, and so possess-
ing a history. Suffice it to say, that it has all the
appearance of a Divine provision for securing to the
Offices of the Church in diflPerent lands the enrich-
ment or adaptation which from time to time they

These changes have in some cases, — as in the fourth
and fifth centuries in the Eastern Church, under Basil
and Chrysostom ; and in the fifth and sixth under
Gelasius and Gregory, in the West, — issued spon-
taneously from the bosom of the Churches them-
selves. They may then be viewed as occasions on
which the Holy Spirit, working through the mind of
the ecclesiastical rulers of the day, moulded the ritual
of such Churches to His own high purposes.

At other times the change or substitution has pro-
ceeded from without, and has been more or less
violent in its character ; taking place, mostly, under
a certain degree of protest on the part of the parti-
cular Church whose previous ritual was so altered or
superseded. So w^as it, probably, in those various
instances in which the ritual of Constantinople was
substituted for those of other Eastern Churches, e. g.
for that of Antioch, or Alexandria ; and, more cer-
tainly, when that of Rome was made to replace the
older offices of Spain and of France. But even in
these cases it may be well to bear in mind that —
distasteful to natural feeling, and in our human
judgment to be deprecated, as such externally im-
posed changes of ritual are — it was a substitution,
after all, of one Apostolically originated line or family


of Offices for another ; and tliat the change doubtless
conferred some benefits, as well as entailed some loss,
on the Churches which were the subjects of it. To
which may be added, that in some instances, and
probably in all, the old national customs and modes
of service exercised a sufficient sway to modify in
some degree the newly received forms, and thus
maintain a continuity between them and the ritual
which they superseded; — the result being a com-
mingling, in however unequal proportions, of two
previously distinct streams of ancient ritual. Though,
in fact, there was often sufficient affinity between
the older and the newly introduced forms, to render
the change less serious than at first sight it might

The liistory of the English Cluirch exhibits a marked
instance of each of the two kinds of ritual change
which have just been spoken of. In one instance,
we see her ancient and probably primeval ritual
superseded from without by Offices belonging to a
different stock or family ; in another, we have a re-
vision from within, and by her own deliberate act,
of her then existing Services. I speak, of course, of
the introduction of certain Offices into this country
at the end of the Otli century; and of the Revision
of them, again, in the middle of the 10th.

Thus then there are — beginning with the first
planting of Ciiristianity in liritain — three great car-
dinal events and epochal dates in our Church's ritual
liistory ; forming the commencement of as many ritual
eras or periods, discriminated from each other, as we
shall find, by certain broad features and character-
istics. Other minor changes, no doubt, took place in
the course of the ])erio(ls marked off by these events ;
but nothing that can for a nionicnt be c()ni[)Mr(Ml to


them in point of importance, at least for our present

The frst of these periods extends, probably, from
Apostolic times to the arrival of St. Augustine in
England in the year 597.

The second extends from the arrival of St. Augustine
to the authorization of the " Book of the Common
Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and
other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, after the
Use of the Church of England," in 1549.

The third extends from the year 1549 to the pre-
sent day.

There is indeed nothing novel in the distribution
into periods here made. But it has perhaps not been
sufficiently realized that the ichole science of English
ritucdism is reducible, for all practical purposes, to the
correct cqjprehension of the three events by ichich these
periods are ushered in. To have mastered them in
their entire character, is to have obtained the true
key, the leading clue to the right understanding of
our present Offices.

It must be here observed, however, that the history
of the two kinds of Divine Service— the Eucharistic and
the Ordinary — is, as will appear in the sequel, widely
differeiit throughout ; so much so, that they must be
treated of separately, if we would form a distinct and
a just conception of them. Deferring then, in accord-
ance with this necessity, no less than with the plan
of the present work, all consideration of the Eucharistic
Offices, let us proceed to inquire into the history and
condition of the Offices of Ordinary Public Worship,
during the first of these periods which have been indi-
cated. This is necessary on two accounts ; — as well
that we may understand the probable condition of
the Church in this country, as to its forms of Ordi-


nary Worship, during that period, as in order to our
knowing the earlier history of those Offices which first
reached us at tlie end of the sixth century.

As regards the latter point indeed, the well-known
circumstances of St. Augustine's mission to this countiy
may seem at first sight to render this inquiry in part
a superfluous, and for the rest a hopeless one. St.
Augustine, it may be thought, would be certain to
bring with him the Daily Offices of the Church of
Rome at that time, with at most some slight modifi-
cation : — and much beyond this we cannot, it is gene-
rally conceived, hope to know ; the early history of
the Roman, as of all other Western ritual, being con-
fessedly very obscure''.

But in the first place it is capable, as I conceive, of
demonstration, that what St. Augustine introduced was
not, strictly speaking, the Roman Daily Offices at all,
but only a kindred, though very closely allied member
of the family or stock of offices to which the Roman
belonged'. And in the next place, the history of that
entire family, including both the Roman variety and
our own, is pei'fectly ascertainable, and may be traced
up with clearness and certainty to very early, and
probably to Apostolic days'". The truth is, that these
offices, which have ever since prevailed in the Western
Church, had at that time been but very recently re-
ceived into it. And tlirlr history may be plainly read
in the ritual annuls of the countries from whence they
came. It is the ritual history of the Western Churches
themselves, — that of Koine not least, — previous to their
receiving their comparatively newer formularies, that

^ bo Giaiicolius, Ili.'it. Brcv. i. 27. Mr. I'alincr (uhi su]). p. 21 1—217.)
traces the Koiiian ofliocs to the sixth century, but no further,
' Vide infra, ch. iii. init.
■" Vide uifra, sect. 3— G, and ch. iii.


is SO obscure ; though even this, including the early
history of Daily Offices in our own Church, may by
a careful attention to ascertained facts be in a mea-
sure cleared up.

Strange questions have been raised as to the exist-
ence of any other kind of worship in the early Church,
than that which takes place in the celebration of the
Holy Communion. The opinion indeed that there was
none such, may be said to be the popular belief, in
this country at least, at the present day. Whereas it
must, on a little consideration, appear incredible, and
all but impossible, that such should have been the case.
This opinion rests mainly, in truth, upon another mis-
taken supposition, viz. that the Holy Communion, or
Eucharist, was celebrated in the earliest ages every day.
The entire fallacy of this view is proved in a subse-
quent chapter^ of this volume, to which the reader is
referred. It may suffice to say here, that while many
excellent writers, speaking in a rhetorical way, (as, for
example. Sparrow and Jeremy Taylor,) have asserted
or assumed the fact of ancient daily celebration, the
view has been abandoned as altogether untenable by
those who, like Fleury, Cotelerius, and Biiigham, have
examined for themselves. And with it, the idea that
the Church had at the first no other Service than the
Eucharist falls to the ground also : unless we are pre-
pared to say that she utterly neglected, as a Church,
the duty of perseverance in prayer, and that the Chris-
tians of the first century systematically adopted the
custom of meeting together for the worship of God
but once a-week.

But it is alleged that men well versed in antiquity,

" Cli. ii. on the Theory of Ordinary Worship.


such as Bingham, have acquiesced in this conclusion.
This however is only an instance of the way in Avhich
the dicia of learned men are first carelessly quoted,
and then pass from mouth to mouth without inquiry.
Bingham was by far too well informed to make such
a wholesale and improbable statement. His brief
section" on this subject is couched in very cautious
language, and leaves the matter, to say the least,
entirely open.

Another cause of the general adoption of this opi-
nion has been, that a too conventional and compara-
tively modern conception of what constitutes Church
worship has been applied to the early Cluu'ch. It is
by no means essential to Church worship, of the
strictest kind, that the people of a whole neighbour-
hood should be gathered into one assembly. Where-
evcr there was a presbyter and but " two or three"
to join in worship with hira, there, doubtless, it was
held, were the sufficient elements of Church worship.
And this will abundantly account for the absence of
any mention of the more ordinary kind of Church
worship in the record preserved by Pliny in the
first, and by Justin Martyr in the second century.
The Service which naturally was dwelt on in both
these instances, to the exclusion of all minor ritual,

o Cliristiaii Antiquities, XIII. is. 1. vol. iv. p. 35:J. IIi; entitles this
section, "No rcrluin rule for meeting in public, except upon the Lord's
Day, in limes of pancculion, for llic first two ages." The utmost that
this can be taken to mean, is that the services which otherwise took
place were ill times of persecution intermitted or uncertain, except on
Sundays. All that he adduces for proof even of tliis, is that Justin
Martyr mentions no public assembly but the Sunday Euchari:-(t ; " whence
learned men have concluded," (he quotes, however, no one but Cotc-
Icrius,) "that in his time the Church observt-d no othei days of solenni
assemblies." The true explanation of Justin Martyr's silence is given

44 Till!; nuNCirLES of divine service, [chap. i.

was the celebration of the Eucharist. This was the
great Christian event, occurring, (as both writers evi-
dently imply,) as a general rule, but once a-weck ;
attendance upon which was the very badge of a Chris-
tian. And there seems to have been a peculiarity in
the customs of the Church of the first two or three
centuries (arising from the fewness of numbers in a
diocese), which had the effect of giving a singular
and overwhelming prominence to the Eucharistic ser-
vice. It was this, — that the Bishop was commonly
the celebrant at the Holy Communion ; the priests,
deacons, and laity — in a word, the whole body of the
faithful within the diocese — being present. This is
evidently the idea of Eucharistic celebration which St.
Ignatius, writing in the beginning of the second cen-
tury, has before his eyes in various passages of his
Epistles. Thus too Clemens Romanus, in the first cen-
tury, assumes the celebration to be a general gathering
of this kindP : — " To the high priest," he says, (that
is, the Bishop,) " his proper part in the service is as-
signed ; and to the priests and Levites (i. e. deacons)
theirs : the lay person is bound by rules applying to
laymen. Let each one of you join in the Eucharist
in his own order," &c. Now all this, while it exactly
agrees with Justin Martyr's account in other re-
spects, goes far to explain why he says nothing, in
his Apology, of that secondary kind of service, which,
being conducted probably for the most part by
single presbyters, ministering to small bodies of the
faithful, exhibited in altogether an inferior degree
the great features of the Christian polity and wor-
ship. This view differs but little from that which
Bingham, after all, acquiesces in, viz. that Justin

p Clem. Rom. Ep. I. ad Cor. c. 40, 41.


Martyr's silence as to Church assemblies on week-
days " is a negative argument against them, unless
perhaps some distinction may he made between the
general assem.tAy of both city and country on the
Lord's day, and the particular assemblies of the city
Christians (who had better opportunities to meet)
on other days : which distinction we often meet with
in following ages." The exception would of course
include such "country Christians" as had a pres-
byter among them.

On the whole, we may conclude that no presumption
against the existence, in early times, of other Church
Services than the Eucharistic can be grounded upon
the silence either of Pliny's informant, or of Justin
^Martyr in his Apology. Nor, considering, first, the
exceeding scantiness of ecclesiastical writings in the
first two or three centuries, and next, the subordinate
character of these services, would it be at all sur-
prising if no mention of them Avere found within

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 4 of 33)