« AnteriorContinuar »
accept this our Sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving: most humbly beseeching Thee to grant that by the merits,” &c.?
The particular form of oblation with which this prayer begins is omitted in our present Service, and I (with very many of my brethren) regret the omission.
We have, however, now to inquire, whether this omission vitiates that true sacrificial character of the Eucharist which our Reformers, as well as all our great divines, have acknowledged. I cannot think that, in the sight of God, it does; for, if we are to judge by the words of St. Paul, the special sacrificial act is the act of the whole Church, and is intimately connected with the partaking “ As oft as ye Eat this bread and DRINK this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come.”
From the words of Christ, “ Do this in remembrance of Me,” and from these words of St. Paul, we derive all our views of the sacrificial character of Holy Communion.
Now, the words, “Do this in remembrance of Me," certainly do not refer to one particular act of oblation in the Service, but to the whole Eucharistic action-giving thanks, blessing, breaking, on the part of the minister; taking, and eating and drinking, on the part of the whole Church.2
If we are to judge of it by these words of Christ and of
1 The Scottish and American Liturgies contain an act of oblation almost identical with the above extract, as far as the words “pro cured unto us by the same.”
2 This is the proper drift of the word remembrance in the Lord's Institution of the Sacrament. “Do this,” He seems to say, “ Bless, break, distribute, receive this Bread: bless, distribute, drink of this cup; say over the two respectively, “This is My body, this is My blood,' in order to that memorial sacrifice which belongs to Me the memorial which My servants are continually to make of Me, among one another, and before My Father."-KEBLE'3 " Eucharistio Adoration,” p. 68.
His Apostle, the sacrificial character of the Eucharist is not to be confined to any particular form of oblation, in words or acts, but is to be extended to the whole Eucharistic Service, especially to the “partaking."
We do, or may, however, make a verbal act of oblation in the words, “We, Thy humble servants, entirely desire Thy Fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our sacri. fice of praise and thanksgiving, most humbly beseeching Thee to grant,” &c.
The words," sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving" (as any one who is in the least conversant with any Communion Service besides our own well knows), allude not to any act of praise in the Service (such as the Tersanctus, for instance), but to the Eucharist itself, i.e., the blessing, breaking, giving, taking, and eating, as a memorial of Christ.
NOTE 1. I bere give some very ancient forms of the “Tere sanctus,” or “Hymn of the Seraphim," called by some the “ Triumphal Hymn.”
From the Liturgy of St. James, anciently used in the Church of Jerusalem :
“It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty that we should praise and bless, worship, glorify, and give thanks to Thee, the Maker of all visible and invisible things ; the Treasure of eternal happiness, the Fountain of life and immortality, the God and Governor of the universe : To whom the heavens sing praise and all their powers: The sun and moon, and the whole choir of stars : The earth and sea and all their inhabitants : Jerusalem the heavenly assembly and Church of the first-born that are written in heaven : The spirits of Just men and Prophets : The souls of Martyrs and Apostles, Angels, Archangels, Thrones, Dominions, Principalities, Authorities, and the tremendous Powers : The many-eyed Cherubim and the Seraphim with six wings, who with twain cover their faces and with twain their feet, and with twain they ily, crying incessantly one to another, and with uninterrupted shouts of praise.
" People.— Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth, Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory. Hosanna in the Highest : Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord : Hosanna in the Highest.'”
From the Liturgy used in the Church of Alexandria, ascribed 10 St. Mark :
“... The many-cyed Cherubim and Seraphim of six wings, who with twain cover their faces, and with twain their feet, and with twain they fly, calling one to another, never ceasing from Divine praises, singing, crying aloud and glorifying, lifting up their voices and saying to the Majesty of Thy glory the triumphal hymn, 'Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabaoth, Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory.'
“It is Thou indeed Who dost make all Holy, but, with all that glorify Thee, accept our Holy Song which we sing together with them, saying,
“People.—Holy, Holy, Holy Lord.'”
“The Cherubim and Seraphim with six wings . . . . crying incessantly, with uninterrupted shouts of joy: and let all the people say with them,
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Sabaoth. Heaven and earth are full of His glory : Blessed be He for evermore."
From the Liturgy used in the Church of Ethiopia or Abyssinia :
“ And as they (the Seraphim and Cherubim) always praise anıl Bructify Thee, so do Thou receive these our praises and thanksgiving which we offer to Thee, saying, 'Holy, Holy, Holy.'
People.—Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth. Heaven and earth are full of the holiness of Thy glory.''
From a Liturgy used in ancient Persia, called the Liturgy of tho Apostles. According to Neale (« Holy Eastern Church,” General Introduction, vol. i. pp. 319, 321), “this Liturgy bears every mark of the remotest age. It is simple, stern, entirely unlike the pompous effusions of later writers, evidently incapable of being derived from any amplification or change of the offices of Cæsarea or Jerusalem.” The introduction of the Tersanctus is so singularly good, that I give it in full :
Worthy is praise from every mouth, and confession from all tongues, and worship and exaltation from all creatures unto the
adorable and glorious name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, who created the world from His goodness, and the inhabitants thereof by His loving-kindness, and who hath saved mankind by His mercy, and magnified His grace upon the perishing. Thy Majesty, O Lord, a thousand thousand spirits and ten thousand times ten thousand holy angels, the intellectual hosts, the ministers and spirits of the Holy Cherubim and Spiritual Seraphim do sanctify and celebrate and praise without end to one another, crying,
“People.— Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty. Heaven and earth are full of His glory.”
From the Mozarabic, a Liturgy which the Court of Rome is obliged to tolerato in a few churches in Spain, and which, as Mr. Neale has proved, embodies what remains of the Gallican or Celtic Liturgies. In all probability, this very form of the Tersanctus was the one used in Britain before the native Liturgy was superseded by the Roman :
" It is meet and right that we should extol,” &c. [What follows varies with the Sunday or Festival, as our own proper prefaces do, but to a much greater extent.] “Whom angels and archangels extol, thus saying, ' Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth, Heaven and earth are full of the glory of Thy Majesty. Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the Highest.'”
NOTE II. ON THE SACRIFICIAL ASPECT OF THE EUCHARIST. I have said (page 185) that “the sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist most assuredly does not seem prominent in the passages of Scripture which teach us the nature of this Sacrament.” This is not to be understood as if I meant that that view seems even to be promiuent, which sets forth the Eucharist as a means of merely reminding ourselves of what we owe to Christ's Death.
Without, at present, entering into the question of the exact meaning of the term “Sacrifice," I assert that the words used by our Lord, as recorded by St. Luke and St. Paul, TOÛTO TÕLETTE Eis the éuñv åváuvnoiv, must have suggested to the Apostles a memorial. service answering to the Old Law sacrificial or oblatory rites in its public ecclesiastical impetratory character.
I assert also that several other considerations derived from the language of Scripture compel us to give to these words of our Lord at least the meaning which a competent authority asserts that the early Church gave to them, “that Christ instituted not only a remembrance of this sacrifice to ourselves, but also a special mode of pleading it before God, and therefore it was named a Sacrifice.”(Bishop Harold Browne on Article XXXI.)
Owing to the course which popular Protestant theology has taken since the Reformation, many among us determine not to associate sacrificial terms (except in the merest figurative sense) with anything but the actual Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, so that, for instance, when we come to the passage, “ we have an altar whereof they have no right to eat who serve the tabernacle” (Heb. xiii. 10), we at once determine to adopt any interpretation whatsoever except hat which would make this altar to be the “ Table of the Lord.” I have no doubt but that St. Paul (or the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews) had in his mind the Lord's Table, and this because lo uses the word “eat," and the speciality of the Christian altar is that the matter placed upon it is neither slain nor burnt, but“ eaten."
This comes out still more strongly when we attentively consider the force of the particular reason assigned by the sacred writer why we have an altar of which they who serve the tabernacle have no right to partake. Reference is made in the words“ for the bodies of those beasts,” &c., to that particular class of sin-offerings of which even Aaron and his sons might not eat (Levit. iv. 12—21; xvi. 27), and which had their fulfilment in the Sacrifice of our Lord. “ The Jewish believers are reminded of that singular privilege which attended the sacrificial feast of the New Covenant, whereby all Christians are allowed to partake of a Victim (as a sin-offering), the sacrificial type of which victim was under the Mosaic law forbidden to be eaten, save by the officiating priests, though it was their sinoffering.” So that, whilst Aaron himself was directly forbidden to partake of his sin-offering, every Christian is commanded to partake of his, i.e., of Christ. But how is the Christian to partake? By eating; for it is a fact that throughout the New Testament there are no words respecting “eating" Christ used anywhere except in connection with the Lord's Supper. However we may extend the eating of Christ's Flesh and Blood to spiritual communion, as is, I think, rightly done in our rubric, at the conclusion of the Office for the Communion of the Sick, let it be remembered that no New Testament writer applies the word "eating” to spiritual communion.
Bishop Harold Browne, in a note at the conclusion of his remarks on the Thirty-first Article, writes : “ Though we may speak of the