William Palmer.

Origines liturgicæ : or, Antiquities of the English ritual : and a dissertation on primitive liturgies (Volume 1) online

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distinct service, said after the morning prayer : and
in this case we find a confirmation of our practice in
the ancient rites of the English church, where the
litany was appointed to be said in the same manner
during the greatest part of Lent k .

Thirdly, we may consider the litany as an intro-
duction to the liturgy or communion service : and
to prove the antiquity and propriety of this posi-
tion, we refer to the ancient liturgies of the pa-
triarchate of Constantinople, and of the church of
Milan 1 , and to the liturgy of the Roman church
in ancient times ; for since the ninth century the
litany has not been repeated after Kyrie eleeson in
the Roman liturgy" 1 .

The form of prayer in our litany, according to
which the minister or priest precents, or repeats the
beginning of each petition, and the people respond,
has been used in the western churches from a re-
mote period ; but we cannot with justice ascribe its
origination to these churches. The most ancient
western formularies of this kind are too evidently

' Goar, Rituale Graec. p. 54. week of Lent, to Wednesday

J Apost. Const, lib. viii. c. before Easter, whenever there

37. The prayers for the faith- was no proper service of Sun-

ful there referred to are con- days or holy-days.

tained in c. 10. of the same 1 Liturgia Basilii Goar, p.

book. 159. Chrysostomi ibid. p. 64.

k Breviar. Sarisb. pars hye- Missale Ambros. apud Pamelii

malis fol. 68. The litany was Liturgic. torn. i. p. 328, 329.

said with the gradual psalms, m Bona, Rer. Lit. lib. ii.

after the office for the third c. 4. N. 2. p. 337.

hour, from Monday in the first

288 The Litany. CHAP. n.

copied from Greek or oriental models, to leave any
doubt as to the source from whence they were de-
rived. In fact, we have memorials in the writings
of primitive antiquity, which trace back this sort of
prayer to the third century in the eastern churches ;
while it does not appear that there are any notices
of a similar practice in the west, until after the in-
troduction of processions, in imitation of the eastern
church, which probably took place early in the fifth
century. Besides this, the litaneutical form of pray-
ing is visible in all the offices of the eastern churches,
in the liturgies, the canonical hours, the administra-
tion of all rites. In the west it has always been
very sparingly used. Of the petitions which are
comprised in our litany, it may be observed, that
they are generally of remote antiquity in the Eng-
lish church. Mabillon has printed a litany of the
church of England, written probably in the eighth
century, which contains a large portion of that
which we repeat at the present day, arid which pre-
serves exactly the same form of petition and re-
sponse which is still retained. The still more an-
cient litanies of the abbey of Fulda, of the Ambro-
sian missal, and of Gelasius, patriarch of Rome;
together with the Diaconica or Irenica of the litur-
gies and offices of the churches of Constantinople,
Caesarea, Antioch, Jerusalem, &c. which all preserve
the form of the litany; all these ancient formularies
contain very much the same petitions as the Eng-
lish litany. This is in fact so manifest, even to the
most superficial observer, that Schultingius could find
nothing to blame in the English litany^ except the
omission of the invocations of saints. "It is not
" pleasing to him," he says, " that the suffrages and

SECT. vi. Invocation of Saints rightly discontinued. 289

" intercessions of the saints are omitted, contrary to
" the practice of the primitive church, and the cus-
" torn of ancient litanies 11 ." In reply to this objec-
tion, I may remark, first, that the litanies of the
eastern apostolical churches have never contained
the invocations which appear in many of the west-
ern litanies ; therefore those invocations are not
essential in the litany. Secondly, the most ancient
western litanies do not contain any invocations of
saints, and there is no proof that these invocations
were introduced into them before the eighth cen-
tury. Therefore the western churches in early times
did not use those invocations which now appear at
the beginning of their litanies.

If then the church of England had only wished
to assimilate her rites to those of the catholic church
during the first seven centuries, she would have
been obliged to omit the invocations of saints which
had for a considerable time been placed at the be-
ginning of her litany. And who will venture to
blame the church of England for assimilating her
rites to those of the primitive catholic church ? The
church of England, however, is justified on other
grounds for removing the invocation of saints from
the litany.

First, it is unnecessary to invoke the saints, by
the admission of all parties ; and it is so for two
reasons ; because, first, while we are not commanded
by the word of God to invoke the saints, we are

n " De hac litania idem ju- morem antiquarum litaniarum,

dico quod de litaniis Luthera- de quibus antea copiose et

norum antea dixi, nempe mihi iterate dixi, praetermittantur."

non placere quod sanctorum Schultingii Biblioth. Eccl.tom.

suffragia et intercessiones con- iv. pars 2. p. 133.
tra praxin priscae ecclesiae, et


290 The Litany. CHAP. n.

invited to " call on the Lord in the day of trouble,"
to " ask " and " receive ;" and we have the repeated
assurance of Christ, that " if we ask any thing in
" his name he will do it." Secondly, the Fathers of
the church affirm, that the saints departed pray for
their brethren in this world : therefore it is not
necessary to invoke their prayers, because they are
given spontaneously.

Secondly, it is imprudent to invoke the saints,
because, as cardinal Cajetan has observed, we have
no certain way of knowing whether they can hear
our invocations. The catholic church has not taught
us that the saints certainly hear any address made
to them. Those Fathers who invoked the saints
expressed some doubts whether they knew any thing
of what passed on earth. But we are certain that
God hears every prayer that is addressed to him,
and that he is ready to succour to the utmost those
that come to him. If, then, we fly from such
prayers to invocations of the saints, we exchange
a certain means of grace for an uncertainty, and
therefore act imprudently.

Thirdly, it was the duty of the church of Eng-
land to remove all invocations of saints from her
litany and other offices, in order to rescue her chil-
dren effectually from the peril of heresy and blas-
phemy. The custom of invoking the saints in the
offices of the church, or on other occasions, produces
at length a conviction in the minds of men, that the
saints hear all invocations addressed to them. They
who hear the church continually repeating the words
" Saint Mary pray for us," must be led to believe
that the saint hears this address. Now if it be
firmly believed and taught, that the saints always

SECT. iv. Invocation of Saints rightly discontinued. 291

hear invocations, a wide field is opened for the
spread of error and superstition. The refinements
of schoolmen, as to the mode by which a knowledge
of our prayers is said to be communicated to the
saints, cannot be intelligible to the capacities of the
ignorant and unlearned, nor will they be commu-
nicated to them. The majority of Christians are
therefore, by the custom of invoking the saints,
placed in peril of ascribing a natural intrinsic power,
little less than divine, to beings who, though invi-
sible to mankind, can hear all prayers addressed to
them in all parts of the world. This sentiment,
admitted by all to be erroneous and perilous in it-
self, gives encouragement and impulse to evils which
follow from another species of invocation addressed
to the saints. Bellarmine, a Romanist, affirms that
it is lawful to say, " St. Peter, have mercy upon me,
" save me, open to me the way to heaven ; grant
" me health of body, grant me patience, fortitude ,"
&c. If we take such prayers in a literal sense, they
are heretical and blasphemous ; and as many of the
unlearned must necessarily take them in a literal
sense, the use of such prayers must lead many
persons into heresy and blasphemy.

Now, before the Reformation many prayers of
this kind were not only recited in private, but even
in the public offices of some churches ; and it would

" Est tamen notandum, item da mihi sanitatem corpo-

cum dicimus, non debere peti ris, da patientiam, da mihi for-

a Sanctis, nisi ut orent pro no- titudinem, &c. dummodo intcl-

bis, nos non agere de verbis, ligamus, salva me, et miserere

sed de sensu verbornm : nam mei orando pro me, da mihi

quantum ad verba, licet dicere : hoc et illud tuis precibus et

S. Petre miserere mei, salva meritis." BellarminusdeSanct.

me, aperi mihi aditum cceli : Beatit. lib. i. c. 17.

U 2

292 The Litany. CHAP. n.

not have been sufficient to abolish these prayers, if
the invocation of saints to pray for us had been
retained. For when erroneous notions of the power
of saints had been engrafted on the mind of any
person, it would have been impossible to eradicate
them while the church continually supplied a ready
and popular argument in favour of the ubiquity and
universal intelligence of the saints by invoking
them. The church of England was therefore justi-
fied in omitting the invocation of saints in her litany.
First, because the litanies of all churches were de-
void of them for seven centuries. Secondly, because
they were unnecessary. Thirdly, because they were
imprudent. And, fourthly, because they originated
and promoted the danger of heresy and blasphemy.
And on the same grounds we affirm, that it is the
duty of all other churches to follow her example.
Those catholic fathers, who in the fourth century
invoked the saints, were too well instructed in the
Christian faith, either to believe positively that the
saints heard our prayers, or that they could aid us
in any way except by their own ; and they never
contemplated the dangers of heresy and blasphemy
into which this practice, originally intended for the
promotion of piety, has led many of the simple and



O God the Father, of hea- Pater de coelis Deus, mise-

ven : have mercy upon us rere nobis.
miserable sinners.

O God the Son, Redeemer Fili redemptor mundi Deus,

of the world : have mercy upon miserere nobis.
us miserable sinners.


Originals of the English Litany.


O God the Holy Ghost, pro-
ceeding from the Father and
the Son : have mercy upon us
miserable sinners.

O holy, blessed, and glori-
ous Trinity, three persons and
one God : have mercy upon us
miserable sinners.

Remember not, Lord, our
offences, nor the offences of
our forefathers ; neither take
thou vengeance of our sins :
spare us good Lord, spare thy
people, whom thou hast re-
deemed with thy most pre-
cious blood, and be not angry
with us for ever.

Spare us, good Lord.

From all evil and mischief,
from sin, from the crafts and
assaults of the Devil : from thy

Spiritus Sancte Deus, mise-
rere nobis.

Sancta Trinitas unus Deus,
miserere nobisP.

Ne reminiscaris Domine de-
licta nostra vel parentum iios-
trorum ; neque vindictum su-
mas de peccatis nostris. Farce
Domine, parce populo tuo
quern redemisti precioso san-
guine tuo, ne in aeternum iras-
caris nobis ( 1.

Parce nobis Domine*.

Ab omni malo s A peccatis
nostris * Ab infestationibus
daemonumu a ventura ira v .

V Breviar. Sarisb. fol. 59.
pars hiemalis. These four in-
vocations have been used for
many centuries in the western
litanies ; they do not, however,
occur in the eastern. They
may be considered as a para-
phrase of the Kyrie eleeson,
Christe eleeson, Kyrie eleeson,
which have from the fifth or
sixth century being recited at
the beginning of the litany in
the west. In the east, the form
of Kyrie eleeson is much more
ancient. The oldest litany in
which I have found the words
used in the text, is that of the
Codex Chisii, printed by Bona,
Rer. Lit. Appendix, p. 558.
Martene de Antiq. Eccl. Rit.

lib. i. c. 4. art. 12. p. 551.
This MS. was written in the
tenth century. Bona, lib. i.

C. I 2. N. 4.

9 Breviar. Sarisb. fol. 59.
It was formerly used as an an-
them at the end of the peni-
tential psalms, which were fre-
quently repeated before the
litany. But I have seen an-
cient litanies, in which very
nearly this form was placed at
the beginning of the litany.

r Breviar. Sarisb. fol. 60.

s Brev. Sar. 60. Litania An-
glica Octavi Saeculi ap. Ma-
billon, Anal. torn. iii. p. 674.

1 Brev. Trajectens, fol. 72.

" Brev. Sar. 60.

v Brev. Eboraccns, fol. 263.

u 3


The Litany.


wrath, and from everlasting

Good Lord, deliver us.

From all blindness of heart ;
from pride, vain-glory, and
hypocrisy ; from envy, hatred,
and malice, and all uncharita-

From fornication, and all
other deadly sin ; and from all
the deceits of the world, the
flesh, and the devil,

From lightning and tempest;
from plague, pestilence, and
famine ; from battle and mur-
der, and from sudden death,

From all sedition, privy con-
spiracy, and rebellion ; from
all false doctrine, heresy, and
schism ; from hardness of heart,
and contempt of thy Word and

By the mystery of thy holy
Incarnation ; by thy holy Na-
tivity and Circumcision; by thy
Baptism, Fasting, and Tempt-

By thine agony and bloody
Sweat ; by thy Cross and Pas-
sion ; by thy precious Death
and Burial ; by thy glorious
Resurrection and Ascension ;
and by the coming of the Holy

a damnatione perpetua w ,

Libera nos Domine*.
A caecitate cordisY ; a peste
superbiee 2 ; ab appetitu inanis
glorias a ; ab ira et odio et
omni mala voluntate.

A spiritu fornicationis 1 *; a
carnalibus desideriis c ; ab insi-
diis diaboli.

A fulgure et tempestate d ;
ano AotyioO, Xt/ioi), /xa^aipar e ; a
subitanea et improvisa morte f .

Per mysterium sanctae Incar-
nationis tux ; per Nativitatem
tuam 5 per sanctam Circumci-
sionem tuam ; per Baptismum
tuum ; per jejunium tuum.

Per Crucem et Passionem
tuam ; per preciosam Mortem
tuam ; per gloriosam Resurrec-
tionem tuam ; per admirabilem
Ascensionem tuam ; per gra-
tiam Spiritus Sancti .

w Brev. Sarisb. 60. Mabil-
lon, p. 674.

* Brev. Sar. 60. Mabillon,
674. Brev. Ebor. 263.

7 Ibid.

z Brev. Ebor. fol. 263.

a Brev. Sar. fol. 60.

* Ibid.

c Brev. Ebor. fol. 263.
d Brev. Sar. fol. 60.
e Orationes Lucernarii apud
Goar, Rit. Grace, p. 42.
f Brev. Sar. fol. 60.


Originals of the English Litany.


In all time of our tribula-
tion ; in all time of our wealth ;
in the hour of death, and in
the day of judgment,

Good Lord, deliver us.

We sinners do beseech thee
to hear us, O Lord God ; and
that it may please thee to rule
and govern thy holy Church
universal in the right way ;

We beseech thee to hear us,
good Lord.

That it may please thee to
keep and strengthen in the true
worshipping of thee, in right-
eousness and holiness of life,
thy Servant N., our most gra-
cious King and Governor ;

That it may please thee to
rule his heart in thy faith, fear,
and love-, and that he may
evermore have affiance in thee,
and ever seek thy honour and
glory ;

That it may please thee to
be his defender and keeper,
giving him the victory over all
his enemies ;

That it may please thee to
bless and preserve our gracious
Queen N., and all the Royal
Family ;

In hora mortis succurre no-
bis Domine ; in die judicii,

Liber a nos DomineS.
Peccatores te rogamus audi
nos ; ut Ecclesiam tuam regere
et defensare digneris,

Te rogamus audi nos.

Ut Regi nostro et principi-
bus nostris pacem et veram
concordiam atque victoriam do-
nare digneris 11 ; ut Regem et
Episcopum nostrum conservare
digneris ; ut vitam et sanita-
tem eis dones 1 .

Ut Regi nostro .... victo
riam donare digneris k v

i' > xpdrovs,
aiiTeoi/ 1 .

Pro . . . famula tua N. Im-
peratrice m Ut . . . principibus
nostris pacem et veram con-
cordiam . . . donare digneris 11 .

s Brev. Sar. fol. 60.

fc Ibid.

1 Litania Anglicanae Eccle-
siae apud Mabillon. Analecta,
torn. iii. p. 675.

k Brev. Sar. fol. 60.

1 Goar, Rit. Grace. Orationes
Lucernaris, p. 4 1 .

m Missale Ambrosian. apud
Pamelii. Liturgic. torn. i. p..


n Brev. Sar. fol. 60.

u 4


The Litany.


That it may please thee to
illuminate all Bishops, Priests,
and Deacons, with true know-
ledge and understanding of thy
Word ; and that both by their
preaching and living they may
set it forth, and shew it ac-
cordingly ;

That it may please thee to
endue the Lords of the Coun-
cil, and all the Nobility, with
grace, wisdom, and under-
standing ;

That it may please thee to
bless and keep the Magistrates,
giving them grace to execute
justice, and to maintain truth ;

That it may please thee to
bless and keep all thy people ;

That it may please thee to
give to all nations unity, peace,
and concord ;

That it may please thee to
give us an heart to love and
dread thee, and diligently to
live after thy commandments ;

That it may please thee to
give to all thy people increase
of grace to hear meekly thy
Word, and to receive it with
pure affection, and to bring
forth the fruits of the Spirit ;

Ut Episcopum nostrum et
Praelatos nostros, et nos con-
gregationes illis commissas, in
tuo sancto servitio conservare
digneris vnep TU>V irpf<rjBvTf-
pa>v T]fj.>v 8fT)6a>fjLfv virtp Tracrrjs
TTJS fv Xptcrrw

row ev<re/3e(rTaT<Bi/ /cat

TOS TOV iraXariov, KOI TOV
TreSoti avrSw, TOV Kvpiov

Omnibus judicibus et cuncto
exercitui . . . vita et victoria 1 ".

Ut cunctum populum Chris-
tianum precioso sanguine tuo
redemptum conservare digne-
ris 8 .

Ut populo Christiano pacem
et unitatem largiri digneris 4
virep Tr)s elprjvrjs Kai TTJS eicrra-
6f Las rov Koer/iou . . . der)6>pfv ll .

Ut gratiam Sancti Spiritus
cordibus nostris clementer in-
fundere digneris v .

Brev. Herefordens.

P Apost. Const. lib.viii. c. 1 1.

<1 Goar, Rituale Graec. p. 65.

r Laudes Ecclesiae Suessio-
nensis, from a MS. seven hun-
dred years old. Martene de

Antiq. Eccl. Rit. torn. i. p. 365.

8 Brev. Sar. fol. 60.

* Litania Anglica Mabillon.
Analecta, p. 675.

" Apost. Const, lib. viii. c. 1 1 .

v Menard. noteeinSacr.Gre-


Originals of the English Litany.


That it may please thee to
bring into the way of truth all
such as have 'erred, and are
deceived ;

That it may please thee to
strengthen such as do stand ;
and to comfort and help the
weak-hearted ; and to raise up
them that fall ; and finally to
beat down Satan under our
feet ;

That it may please thee to
succour, help, and comfort, all
that are in danger, necessity,
and tribulation 5

That it may please thee to
preserve all that travel by land
or by water, all women labour-
ing of child, all sick persons,
and young children ; and to
shew thy pity upon all prison-
ers'and^ca'ptives ;

That it may please thee to
defend, and provide for, the
fatherless children, and widows,
and all that are desolate and
oppressed ;

That it may please thee to
have mercy upon all men ;

That it may please thee to
forgive our enemies, persecut-
ors, and slanderers, and to turn
their hearts ;

Ut errantes ad viam salutis
reducas w .

Stantes confirma conforta
pusillanimes lapsos erige x
rbv "Saravav KOI iracrav avrov TTJV
fVfpyeiav KOI Trovrjpiav crvvrpityov
VTTO rovs ir68as fip-ci

TOVS ev vdyicais

Yirep ir\(6vT(i>v KOI 68onropovv-

ra>v fT]a>iJ.(v imep T>V v ppa>-
ori'a feTaofjLev<av d8f\(f)>v>
8cT)d>iJ.fv T>V iT/Triav rrjs (KK\T)-
<rias p,vr)pov(v<rci>[j.(v a Ut mise-
rias pauperum et captivorum
intueri et relevare digneris b .
'Yrrep XtP^" Tf * ea ' op<pav>v

8tT)6>[l:(V C .

ep e \6p5nv KOI ni<rovvra>v ij-
virt r>v

rtav Tjfjias 8ia TO ovofta rov Kvpiov
v' OTTQJJ 6 K.vpios TTpavvas

gorii, p. 157. from a litany a
thousand years old.

w Litania Lugdunensis Ec-
clesiae, from a MS. six hun-
dred years old. Martene de
Antiq. Eccl. Discipl. in Div.
Officiis, p. 521.

* LiturgiaCyrilli Ronatidot.

Liturp. Oriental, torn. i. p. 45.
Marci, p. 153.

7 Liturgia Marci Renaudot,
p. 152.

z Ibid. p. 153.

a Apost. Const, lib. viii.c. 1 1.

b Brev. Sar. fol. 60.

c Apost. Const, as before.


The Litany.


That it may please thee to
give and preserve to our use
the kindly fruits of the earth,
so as in due time we may en-
joy them ;

That it may please thee to
give us true repentance; to
forgive us all our sins, negli-
gences, and ignorances ; and
to endue us with the grace of
thy Holy Spirit, to amend our
lives according to thy holy

We beseech thee to hear us,
good Lord.

Son of God, we beseech thee
to hear us.

O Lamb of God, that takest
away the sins of the world ;

Grant us thy peace.

O Lamb of God, that takest
away the sins of the world ;

Have mercy upon us.

O Christ, hear us.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Christ, have mercy upon us.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Our Father, which art in
heaven, &c.

TOV dvfjLov avTa>v 8ia(TK(8d<ri] TQV
K.a.6* fjfj,S)v opyrjv".

Ut fructus terrae dare et
conservare digneris 6 .

Ut nobis veram poenitentiam
concedas agere f Ut remissio-
nem omnium peccatorum nos-
trorum nobis donare dignerisg
Ut gratiam Sancti Spiritus
cordibus nostris infundere dig*
neris ut locum pcenitentiae
nobis concedas h ,

Te rogamus audi nos 1 .

Fili Dei te rogamus audi

Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata
mundi, exaudi nos Domine.

Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata
mundi miserere nobis.

Christe audi nos.
Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison k .
Pater noster, qui es in cce-
lis, &C. 1

d Apost. Const, as before.

e Brev. Sar. fol. 60.

f Litan. Angl. Mabillon, p.

& Brev. Ebor. fol. 263.

h Bona, Rer. Lit. p. 564.
from the Codex Chisii of the
tenth century.

' Brev. Sar. 60. Brev. Ebor,

Herefordens, &c. &c. Menard
conjectures, that the words
" audi nos" did not form part
of the response originally; see
notas in Gregor. Sacr. p. 157,

J Brev. Sar. fol. 60. Mabil-
lon, p. 676.

k Ibid. 1 Ibid.


Originals of the English Litany,


O Lord, deal not with us
after our sins.

Neither reward us after our

O God, merciful Father, that
despisest not the sighing of a
contrite heart, nor the desire
of such as be sorrowful ; Mer-
cifully assist our prayers that
we make before thee in all our
troubles and adversities, when-
soever they oppress us ; and
graciously hear us, that those
evils, which the craft and sub-
tilty of the Devil or man work-
eth against us, be brought to
nought ; and by the providence
of thy goodness they may be
dispersed ; that we thy ser-
vants, being hurt by no per-
secutions, may evermore give
thanks unto thee in thy holy
Church ; through Jesus Christ
our Lord.

O Lord, arise, help us, and
deliver us for thy Name's sake.

O God, we have heard with
our ears, and our Fathers have
declared unto us, the noble
works that thou didst in their
days, and in the old time be-
fore them.

Lord, arise, help us, and
deliver us for thine honour.

Domine non secundum pec-
cata nostra facias nobis.

Neque secuiidum iniquitates
nostras retribuas nobis m .

Deus qui contritorum non
despicis gemitum, et moeren-
tium non spernis affectum; ad-
esto precibus nostris quas pie-
tati tuae pro tribulatione nostra
offerimus, implorantes ut nos
clementer respicies, et solito
pietatis tuae intuitu tribuas., ut
quicquid contra nos diabolicae
fraudes atque hurnanae moliun-
tur adversitates, ad nihilum re-
digas, et consilio misericordiae
tuae allidas, quatenus nullis ad-
versitatibus laesi, sed ab omni
tribulatione et angustia libe-
rati, gratias tibi in Ecclesia
referamus consolati. Per".

Exurge Domine adjuva nos
et libera nos propter nomen
tuum. Alleluia.

Deus auribus nostris audivi-
mus patresque nostri annun-
ciaverunt nobis, opus quod
operatus es in diebus eorum,
et in diebus antiquis.

Exurge Domine adjuva nos
et libera nos propter nomen
tuum. Alleluia.

m Brev. Sar. fol. 60. Brev.
Ebor. fol. 263.

n Miss. Sarisb. Commune,
fol. xxi. Missa de tribulatione

cordis. Miss. Leofr. Exon. E-
piscopi. Missa Illyrici Bona,

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Online LibraryWilliam PalmerOrigines liturgicæ : or, Antiquities of the English ritual : and a dissertation on primitive liturgies (Volume 1) → online text (page 22 of 27)