« AnteriorContinuar »
is Holy, One is the Lord Jesus Christ.' For truly One is Holy, by nature Holy; we too are holy, but not by nature, only by participation, and discipline, and prayer."
It is worthy of notice that in most Liturgies there is closely connected with the Sancta Sanctis (sometimes preceding it, and at other times following it) a threefold repetition of the Kyrie Eleison, by the people alone.
Let us now sum up how matters stand respecting these Primitive Liturgies. We have cited them, not merely as testifying to the use of forms, but to the use of certain forms which enable the people to join prominently and audibly in the most sacred parts of the service.
The New Testament writers have left no directions whatsoever respecting public prayers. The only thing which we learn from the New Testament is, that the leading act of Christian assemblies was the “s
the “breaking of bread.” But it is the height of absurdity to infer that, because there are no specific directions in the New Testament, therefore the Apostles ordained that the presiding minister of each congregation should have all the public devotions of the Church so made over to him, that his own thoughts and words should become the sole public prayers of the people, and be their sole mode of public access to God. Before we can allow that such a thing is according to the Divine will, we must be shown a very distinct command for it, for it bears extreme improbability on the face of it. If there is to be “common
prayer, there must be forms, in order that the congregation may know what they are going to ask for ; and furthermore, if the congregations are to take a part in the service of God, in a way at all suitable to their high vocation as “ priests of God,” these forms must be of that responsive character which we
See Chrysostom on 1 Corinth. xiv. 33, p. 518.
observe in the ancient Liturgies, and with which we are familiar through using our own Liturgy. Well, we have certain documents called Liturgies (the very word "Liturgy” signifying a service belonging to the people) -all Communion offices—all traceable to the remotest antiquity, in lands as far apart as Malabar and Spain, Gaul and Ethiopia, Armenia and Milan.
These Liturgies contain certain forms of prayer and praise which are alike both in the words used and in the fact that particular opportunity is given for the whole congregation to take part in them.
Who ordered the use of these forms? The most ancient are ascribed to Apostles, or to Apostolic men. Of this we may be certain, that no name in the Universal Church of Christ, from the times the Apostles to the full establishment of the Papacy,' has had sufficient weight to induce all Christendom, from Spain to Malabar, to begin their Communion Services with certain words to which tho people all the world over give the same response, und, besides this, to cause them universally to adopt as their own the Hymn of the Seraphim, and also to recite the words of our Lord when He instituted the Eucharist, and also to ordain that every Liturgy (except the Roman) should have a specific direction in this place to the people to respond, and also that all should recite the Lord's Prayer, but not without a preparatory prayer for boldness, or, in other words, for the Spirit of adoption, to say, “ Abba, Father.”
1 And not even then, for the power of the Court of Rome was only established over Western Europe. As late as the year 600 the Pope, who sent Augustine to convert our Saxon ancestors, was careful not to impose the whole Roman Liturgy on his converts, but bid him choose from other existing rites, as the Gallican, wheat wemed likely to edify,
And in other matters besides these do these Liturgies agree; for in seven or eight other features do they all correspond with one another, as has been shown in such a well-known book as Palmer's Origines Liturgicæ."
Now, since the Apostles passed to their rest, what Saint, or Patriarch, or Pope, or Emperor has had the power so to revolutionise the worship of all Christendom as to induce Churches at opposite ends of the earth to substitute for a fancied primitive worship, in which all was left to the will of the one man who conducted the service, a totally different worship, which with every variety of detail in particular Liturgies still rigidly adhered to certain forms, and was characterised by certain very strongly-marked features; these forms being such as enabled the people to take their part in the most solemn acts of Divine Service, and the features the very opposite of those which now characterise Ultra-Protestant worship?'
Cyril of Jerusalem, in a series of Catechetical Lectures (delivered before the year 350), comments on the Liturgy used in his time in Palestine, much in the same way as any clergyman of the present day would lecture on our Prayer-book. From his comments we gather that it had all the leading features of the Liturgy of St. James as it now exists, with one notable exception—the address to the Virgin Mary, which has evidently been foisted into it since Cyril's time.
Cyril expressly notices the “kiss of peace,” the “lift up your hearts,” the response to it, the “Holy, Holy, Holy,” the invocation of the Holy Spirit upon the elements, the prayers answering to our prayer for the Church militant, the commemoration of the faithful departed, the Lord's Prayer, and the introduction to it, the “Holy things for Holy persons," and the response to it. All these Cyril mentions in the same order as that in which they occur in the extant copies of this Liturgy.
The Liturgy of St. Mark, zsed in Alexandria, contains all these features of the Liturgy of St. James, though arranged somewhat differently. All Liturgical writers agree in considering it a totally independent rite, in no way derived from the Liturgy of St. James.
Again, we have the fact that various bodies of heretics, such as
The circuinstances of time and place under which tho Apostles met to institute these forms we know not-just as we know nothing whatsoever respecting the formation of the Canon of the New Testament. But if we dare apply the doctrine of chances to a matter so sacred, and add together the points in which these Liturgies agree, and take into consideration also the remoteness of the times to which their use in various Churches can be traced, and the distance of these various Churches from one another, and add to all this the fact that in those early times there was no attempt to impose the Liturgy of any one Church upon all;—if, I say, we give due weight to all these considerations, we shall be forced to acknowledge that the chances are incalculable against any man since the times of the Apostles having been able to impose upon all Christendom that extremely peculiar method of Divine Service of which we enjoy the substance in our “ Order of the Administration of the Lord's Supper.”
the Nestorians, seceded from the Church in the century after this, and their leaders composed their own Liturgies, but in doing so carefully adhered to the prescribed model, and incorporated in these new Liturgies all the leading features of the old ones to which I have alluded, which they would not have done if they had not been satisfied that these features wero of Apostolic origin.
The Gallican and Mozarabic (or Primitive Spanish) Liturgies differed essentially from the Roman, and were sister Liturgies. The framework of the Gallican seems to have been coeval with the introduction of the Gospel into Gaul from Asia Minor, and was superseded by the Roman in the time of Charlemagne. Manuscripts of the Gallican Liturgy have been discovered in Carlsruhe, which the learned editor (Mone) believes cannot possibly be of a later date than 305, and may be as early as 177 A.D.
The total absence of any prayer or petition in any of these Liturgies (except, of course, in the Roman) for the Bishop of Rome, is one of the strongest proofs which remote antiquity affords us of the absurdity of his pretensions to universal dominion;
Unfortunately, the Post-Nicene Church, in all its branches, did not exhibit that jealousy respecting alteration in the words of public prayer, which has been (perhaps) carried to excess in the Church of England. Consequently, prayers were continually inserted which reflected the state of popular religious feeling; and as the current of that feeling set in strongly in favour of Mariolatry, we have some of these documents disfigured by addresses to the Virgin which are manifestly unprimitive.
I would now, in conclusion, briefly allude to another matter in which our prayers, if they are to be accounted Common Prayers, must agree with Scripture.
Our Lord, in His Parables, gave us clearly to understand that His Church would not be a select assembly of spiritually-minded men and women, but a great, open, mixed body, including soutwardly at least] every form of moral character and every grade of spiritual advancement.
The Apostles, even in the first age, addressed the Churches as being of that very mixed character which their Lord had foretold.
There are, in the Epistles, many messages of the Spirit which seem above the reception of even the most spiritual, and there are many other messages which make us wonder that the Churches in that age should have needed such admonitions.
St. James, for instance, begins his Epistle with, “My brethren, count it ALL JOY when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
I think few, very few, have attained to this, that they should in very deed count it all joy when God casts them