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First of all, Holy Communion is, according to the theory of the Church as expressed in the construction and arrangement of the Book of Common Prayer, the great distinguishing act of Christian worship on the Lord's Day.

For the Church, in having provided for every Sunday a different Collect, Epistle, and Gospel, as part of the Communion Service, has shown her mind upon the celebration of Holy Communion, on every Lord's Day at lemaa Each Sunday is known by the special differences in its Communion Service, for these constitute the leading, if cot the only, distinction between the Services of one Sunday and another. The Table of Old Testament Lessons of course following the lead of the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels, whilst the remainder of the Service is in no way distinguished from that for week-days.

In addition to this, the very sermon itself comes in as part of the Communion Service, for the only recognition of a sermon in the whole Prayer-book is contained in a rubric in the middle of the Communion Service, after the Nicene Creed and before the Offertory.

All this shows indisputably that Holy Communion has now in theory the same place in the Church's Sunday worship as it had in primitive or New Testament times.

It is true that this has been, to a lamentable extent, only the theory of the Church ; in practice it has not been carried out; but the Prayer-book is not to blame for this. Each minister, no matter how infrequent his actual administration of Holy Communion, is obliged to read a part, viz., the commencement, of the Communion Service before he preaches, thereby forcing the more thinking of his flock to ask, Why does he omit the rest ? Why docs he begin a separato and distinct Service, and break off short in the middle of it?

Our usual practice of reading the beginning of the Holy Communion Service and not administering the Sacrament, is like " saying grace” when there is no food on the table. But the fault is our own, not the fault of the Church; for, in the Prayer-book, Holy Communion still occupies the same position which it did in New Testament or primitive times.

Then, in the next place, if the Church of England has the right view of Holy Communion-if she regards it as the one grand memorial, or commemorative sacrifice of the New Testament—she will naturally choose the time of celebrating it as the time in which her children are to bring before God their deepest confessions of sin and highest acts of worship and praise. And so she does, for at the celebration of the Eucharist—under a deep sense of that awful nearness of the presence of God our Saviour, to which we approach, we bring before God our lowliest confessions of sin—we put up a confession of sin far deeper in its expressions of humiliation than that used in daily morning or evening prayer.

The prayer of humble access also (“ We do not presume to come to this Thy Table, 0 merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness," &c.) can scarcely be surpassed in its expressions of a sense of utter unworthiness.

Then, at the time of Holy Communion, we bring before God our most earnest supplications and intercessions for all orders and degrees of men.

But here it may be objected that the form of supplication in which we do this--the Prayer for the Church Militant-is much too succinct and meagre. It may 80, compared with the corresponding form in some of the ancient Eastern Liturgies ;' but it should be remembered

1 The Prayer for the Church Militant, ver, is far more full than any corresponding form in the Canon of the Muss.


that the vast mass of our communicants partake of the Holy Sacrament after the Sunday Morning Service, i.e., after they have joined in the Litany, a form of supplication unsurpassed in its union of particularity of petition with conciseness, and of holy fervour with deep self-abasement and reverence.

At Holy Communion, too, we offer to God our most oxalted praises and deepest thanksgivings.

Now, the highest acts of praise will ever be the simplest. The thing which mars our praises in these latter days is the self-contemplation which, somehow, it seems we cannot keep out of them.

But it is evident that the nearer we get to God the more complete will be the annihilation of self.

God has revealed to us the very words in which He is praised by the unfallen spirits who are nearest to His throne. And there is no taint of self about these praises. God is very near indeed to those who sing them, and their words are very few :

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory;" so we read it in one vision (Isa. vi. 3). “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come;" thus we read it in another (Rev. iv. 8).

No praise can be simpler, and none can be higher.

And the Church Catholic has confidently adopted this anthem of the Seraphim.

Conscious that she comes nearest to God on earth in Holy Communion, she boldly claims to use in it the words of those whom, in heaven, He has set the nearest to Himself.

And with one consent has she done this. The drafts of ancient Liturgies used in Churches debarred by sheer distance from all intercourse with one another-scattered


over the earth from Gaul to Ethiopia, and from Spain to Malabar—all bear witness to the fact, that centuries before there was either Pope or Christian Emperor to compel, or even to recommend throughout the whole Christian world, uniformity in praise and thanksgiving, still, guided either by the direct inspiration of God's Spirit, or by agreement of the College of Apostles before their dispersion, every branch of Christ's Holy Church has presumed to offer to God in the most sacred service, the very same incense of praise which He receives from those whom, of all createa beings, He has placed the nearest to Himself.

This act of praise in our Service-book is as follows:

“With angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name: evermore praising Thee, and saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts, heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High ?”

The reader will perceive that these words of highest adoration will more than bear comparison, for majesty and simplicity, with the corresponding act in any Liturgy, no matter how ancient or widely used.

To assist him in forming a due estimate of them, I give, in a note at the end of this section (page 204) this anthem, or hymn, as it exists in Liturgies used in all parts of the world from the remotest times.

In addition to this, we offer up to God, at this most sacred time, the “Gloria in excelsis.” This act of praise, also, is characterised by its extreme simplicity. It is, if I may so say, a more human act of praise than the Tersanctus or Seraphic Hymn. There are cries for mercy mingled with the strain of thanksgiving.

It is also more particularly addressed to the Son of God, as the Lamb of God that taketh away sin.

The use of this hymn can be traced, according to


Palmer, for more than fifteen hundred years in the Eastern Church ; and the Church of England has used it, either at the beginning or the end of her Liturgy, for above twelve hundred years.

No forms of praise can be higher than these; and none exist which have been sanctified like these, by the general use of the Catholic Church in her highest worship.

A question arising out of the preceding remarks now calls for some notice.

It may be asked, In what part of our Communion Service do we make that solemn sacrificial memorial of the Death of Christ which the Church has ever esteemed it her highest privilege to put up to God?

It is well known that all the ancient Liturgies had a particular form of words, in which the celebrant made the oblation.

Thus, in the Clementine :-" Wherefore having in remembrance His Passion, Death, and Resurrection from the dead, Ilis return into heaven, and His future Second Appearance when He shall come with glory and power to judge the quick and the dead, and to render to every man according to his works; we offer to Thee, our King and our God, according to His Institution, this bread and this cup, giving thanks to Thee through Him," &c.

The first Liturgy of Edward VI.'s reign had a form of oblation answering to this, in the words

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“Wherefore, O Lord and heavenly Father, according to the Institution of Thy dearly-beloved Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, we Thy humble servants do celebrate, and make here before Thy Divine Majesty, with these Thy Holy gifts, the memorial which Thy Son bath willed us to make, having in remembrance His blessed Passion, mighty Resurrection, and glorious Ascension, rendering unto Thee most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same. entirely desiring Thy Fatherly Goodness mercifully to

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