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The form "Here endeth the Epistle" seems hardly correct, when any of the above-noticed twentyfour portions is appointed to be read. Consistency requires that the form should be, "Here endeth the portion of Scripture appointed for the Epistle."
When the Epistle is not divided into chapters, as Jude, &c., propriety seems to require a form similar to that given in the direction for giving out the Lessons, "Such a verse of such an Epistle."
When, as in two instances, (Sunday after Ascension-day, and the day of St. James the Apostle,) parts of two chapters are used in the Gospel or Epistle, the present direction is found defective: it appears to require the addition of "and in the chapter of beginning at the
20. On the notice of the approach ing holyday, &c.-Were this Rubric obeyed, the weekly festivals, &c. of our church would be better known and kept..
Part of this long and sadly-neglected Rubric, is rendered illegal by Acts of the Legislature; as the direction respecting "Banns of Matrimony," "and Briefs; " the former being ordered by the Marriage Act to be published after the Second Lesson; and the latter being (the writer thinks) unhappily superseded by the substitution of the King's Letter, soon likely to be more ineffectual than Briefs themselves.
Acts of Parliament, enacted subsequent to the date of this Rubric, have imposed the delivery of some notices on the parish-clerk; but, excepting these, the minister alone is the person whose duty it is to give out notices: and those notices are to be no other than what are appointed by the Common Prayer, or by the King, or by the Ordinary,
These words are now omitted in most of the lately printed Prayer-books. By what authority? What body of men can dare thus to legislate for the Church, without being empowered to do so? See the note on the Litany.
which is generally the bishop. Few clergymen avail themselves of this power and privilege.
Although there is no order here as to the prayer before or after the sermon, yet in the fifty-fifth Canon there is a form of prayer, generally called the Bidding Prayer, (a corruption from Bead, though now considered as the bidding people to pray), often used by Collegiate, Visitation, and other preachers, which seems to be imposed on all preachers; but as this very form allows them to pray either "in this form or to this effect," most of the parochial clergy make the exception their rule, and depart widely even from that. This prayer will never generally be used, till in the Orders in Council, directions are given to the clergy to change therein the names and titles of the Royal Family, as is ordered to be done in other prayers.
The offertory is never read, except in college chapels, after sermon, as it is here ordered; unless when the Lord's supper is administered.
21. On the parenthesis in the prayer for the Church Militant.— Of late we find readers who omit the words "and oblations," either because the offerings formerly presented are not now made, or because they think the expression refers to the elements of bread and wine; but, if they were originally intended to apply to presents made to the ministers, or other officers of the church, they may, with great propriety, be still used with relation to the offering of "ourselves, our souls, and bodies," as "a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice" unto God. To the bread and wine they have no intended reference. But why may not the various alms and gifts, given as they doubtless are, some to the poor, and others to the minister to dispose of as he pleases, strictly and literally be called "alms and oblations?" Of Cornelius it is said, that he "gave much alms to the people," which alms were said to "come up for a memorial before God." When the rich men cast
"their gifts into the treasury," the Saviour said they were "cast in unto the offerings of God," an expression equivalent to "oblations." Thus "alms and oblations" may be well intended by the alms of rich and poor, in which, if there be any distinction, the poor may offer that as an oblation of gratitude, which the rich may present as an alms.
22. On the notice and exhortation the Sunday before the Communion. If this were read throughout oftener than it is, it might have a tendency, and be a means, to stir up the minds, and to increase the piety, of the communicants, even if it lessened their number.
In the old Communion Book of 1547 (the precursor of all our Common-Prayer Books), the expression "whereby alone we obtain remission of our sins," which is too often read, and often heard, as if it referred to the communion, is better rendered, "by the which passion we have obtained remission of our sins," &c.
In addition to the above omission one change is made, when he that gives the notice is not the stated or the only officiating minister, which seems justifiable,-the change of "I purpose," to "we purpose," or "it is purposed." But a more objectionable expression remains, "Let him come to me, or to some other discreet and learned minister," &c. If the former be deemed necessary to be altered, is not the latter more improper when the reader is a stranger? If any change be required in this case, the expression "let him come to the minister of this" (or "his") "parish," seems best.
The permission, or rather the exhortation, to come "to some other discreet and learned minister of God's word," is quite opposed to the modern jealousy between ministers and the fear of interference. See No. 34.
23. On the second exhortation.— The utter neglect of reading this form cannot be defended, except every person of a proper age, and CHRIST, OBSERV. No. 348.
of discretion, in the parish of the minister so neglecting it, actually and regularly communicates. This is too much to be expected, though devoutly to be wished; and therefore it requires to be read, till there be none "negligent to come to the holy communion."
"I, for my part," seems to require being changed to "your minister for his part," as much as the similar expressions in the former exhortation.
24. On the third exhortation.This seems the proper time for some of the communicants to come to the altar, and there to stand till told to kneel at the close of the next form, "Ye that do truly," &c.
25. On the general confession.— For the very proper following of the minister by the people in this form, there is no authority from the Rubric; but, the commencement of each member or clause in the sentences with a capital letter, seems intended to intimate the duty of the people to repeat it after the minister.
26. On the hymn after the proper prefaces.-This also is very generally and properly repeated aloud after the minister, although capitals are not used before all the sentences, at least in modern books. But the unauthorised changes daily made in our Common-Prayer Books demand repression.
27. On the prayer of consecration. In few places is the bread properly prepared for the priest. One piece at least ought to be left so nearly cut into small squares, that a touch will separate them: and the pieces should be as equal as possible.
28. On the form used in giving the bread.—When the minister himself receives, he usually prefixes the word " may;' and changes the words "thee," " thy," and "take," into "me," "my," "I take." For this there is neither warrant nor necessity. A man may properly address himself, and say to himself the words prescribed. There is, 5 D
however, no other evil attending the change of the imperative into the indicative than this, that, if allowed in one case, it may be claimed in many.
When there were no afternoon sermons, when the morning service, now joined into one form, was divided into two, and often into three parts; when the number of communicants was much smaller than at present, and the service began earlier; and, lastly, before the introduction of so much singing, and of several additional forms into the Prayer-book; it might be possible to use the whole of the words to each communicant, as bishops used to do to each candidate at confirmation: but, in the present state of things, it is next to impossible to do it, without exhausting the strength of the administrator, the patience of the communicants, and the time of the interval of the two services. What then is to be done? After much consideration, the best way appears to the writer to be for the administrator to repeat the words, solemnly and slowly, each time the railing is filled; either in the singular number, as they stand, or changed into the plural, "you," "your," "bodies," and "souls;" and then to give to each person the element in silence. This would save so much time that there would be no necessity for the form which is used before delivering the cup, to be pronounced until all had received the bread. Indeed there seems an impropriety in pronouncing the second form, till one element has been administered: this rapidity and hurry must confuse the mind, as well as mar the devotion, of those who hear the second form addressed to them before they have received the element of the first. All things should be done to the edifying of the worshippers: this must cause distraction. The liberty of ministers should not be a stumbling block to their people.
See the second and third paragraphs of the Rubric after this service.
29. On the Doxology, or Gloria in excelsis.-The remarks made on Nos. 25 and 26 equally apply to this form, especially to the latter.
30. On the collects placed after the Blessing.-It is as great an error to use any one of those collects after the Doxology (No. 29) as it is to sing before the minister begins the sentences, at the beginning of the morning or evening service. Though placed here, they were not intended to be used in this place; but either after the offertory, "Let your light," &c., when there is no sermon, and "when there is no communion;" or after the morning or evening third collect, or the antecommunion collect for the king*, or the litany collects, "We humbly beseech thee, O Father," &c. And the reason is this: after we have been admitted to the supper of the Lord, and have risen in the scale of devotion from confession to praise ; using, at the last, the language rather of saints than of sinners, of angels rather than of men; it is improper to go back again to petition and imploration: it is, as it were, undoing what we have done, “laying again the foundation," and not "going on unto perfection."
31. On the Rubric after the Communion Service.-Whatever bread and wine is left unconsecrated is the curate's own property, either to use or give away, as he pleases; and he ought to distribute at the altar, at the close of the communion, all the bread and wine that has been consecrated. Moreover, "the money given at the offertory" should be counted and taken by the minister, and not left to the clerk, or the other inferior officers of the church. The dread of being suspected to be a Judas should be accompanied with the knowledge that it was "to serve tables," that is, supply to the wants of the poor members of the church, that the office of deacon
Or after the general prayer for the Church Militant. See the first sentence of the Rubric after the Communion Service.
was instituted; and, if there be no deacon, then the curate, or the stated minister, should take charge of it, and dispose of the same with the assistance of the churchwardens. (To be concluded in the Appendix.)
REPLY TO THE RITUALIST FOR
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
I AM greatly obliged to your correspondent, "the Ritualist," in your last Number, for his efforts to promote a uniform and rubrical observation of our admirable church service; but I think him incorrect in many of his remarks. I will specify a few instances.
He says, that "nothing can be more irrational, and scarcely any thing more incongruous," than to commence Divine service with singing. "Penitents as we all then profess to be, praise does not there become us." The right time, he says, as prescribed by the church, is after the Apostles' Creed, adding, "The Injunction of Queen Elizabeth can never be so fitly complied with as in this place, where provision is made for it."
These statements appear to me incorrect. Did not the Jewish worship begin with singing? And if so, there is nothing of necessity "irrational or incongruous" in the practice. Praise, the Ritualist says, does not become us at entering the threshold of God's house; but what says the Psalmist? "Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving;" and again, "Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise." Queen Elizabeth's Injunction, the Ritualist says, prescribes the first singing after the Apostles' Creed; but upon turning to the Prayer-book, I read differently: "The whole Book of Psalms collected into English metre....set forth and allowed to be sung in all churches, of all the people together,
BEFORE and after Morning and Evening Prayer, and also before and after sermons.' The practice, therefore, of singing" before prayer,' appears to me not only not "irrational," or "incongruous," but scriptural and in accordance with the ritual of
the church. After the Apostles' Creed, where your correspondent places it, is as unauthorized as after the Second Lesson, where some clergymen introduce it. The times, authorised by the church, (for no where is singing expressly enjoined in our service,) are before and after the sermon, and after the third collect for the day; to which last place your correspondent possibly intended to relegate it, though his direction follows after the Apostles' Creed.
I lament with the Ritualist that the Ember-week prayers are so generally omitted: they are beautiful and appropriate, and ought always to be used, especially as many-I believe most-of our bishops are punctual in observing them as the proper times for ordination. But I do not agree with him that the Ember prayers ought to be read on the Sundays before and after the Ember days. These prayers are enjoined to be read in the Ember weeks; but the Sunday after is not in, but out of the Ember week. For example, the first Ember days are, "the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the first Sunday in Lent." The Ember week therefore commences on the first Sunday in Lent, in which the prayer should be read: but the week is over on Saturday night; so that the second Sunday in Lent falls beyond the Ember week. So of the Whitsunday Ember-week, the prayer should be read on Whitsunday; but the week is over before Trinity Sunday. Your correspondent, therefore, is wrong in directing it to be read on that day. The same applies to the other two Ember weeks. The truth is, that clergymen often forget the prayer on the Sunday before the Ember days; and then tack it on
the next Sunday, thus making Monday the first day of the week instead of Sunday. The best place for the marginal note, recommended by your correspondent, is opposite the prayer which precedes the prayer of St. Chrysostom. If placed opposite the Ember prayer, instead of reminding the clergyman beforehand, it will not be seen unless recollected and looked for; and is therefore like the American warning sign-board which said, "When this board is under water beware of crossing the stream, as it is not fordable."
I doubt the propriety of your correspondent's recommendation to the clergy to read more frequently the prayers and thanksgivings relative to the weather, and times of dearth and famine. I used some of these prayers the first year or two I was in orders, but have rarely done so since. Our climate is too fickle, and seasons among us are too variable, to allow of the frequent public use of these prayers and thanksgivings besides which the expressions are far too strong for ordinary vicissitudes of weather; nor can we always tell what weather is, nationally speaking, best. The first summer I was in orders, my farmers were rejoicing in the fine weather for gathering in their corn, and I used the thanksgiving proper for the occasion; but after service my poor cottagers, who depended chiefly upon their potatoe gardens, each having a strip of land allowed them at a low rent, came and told me they hoped it would please God to send rain, for their crops were parched up, and they feared they should scarcely have a sack of potatoes for their winter store. I have scarcely known in many years a season in which such expressions as "thy late plague of immoderate rain and waters," or the reference to "the drowning of the world except eight persons," would not have excited a feeling of astonishment rather than sympathy in the congregation, especially in towns and cities where the changes of weather
are not much noticed, and produce comparatively little effect.
Your correspondent suggests the probability that a sheet will ere long be provided, containing the moveable feasts for the year. But does not every Almanack do this? and are not sheet Almanacks already to be found in most town and city churches; besides which, the "Clergyman's Almanack" gives even the lessons for the day. What can a Ritualist require further?
Your correspondent again thinks his brethren negligent in not using the Vigil-collect, as prescribed in the Rubric before the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels. But in most churches the evening service is seldom used except on Sundays, when no vigil or fast is allowed; that solemnity being kept on the preceding Saturday. In colleges and cathedrals, where the Evening Service is used, the Vigil-collect is always read; and I presume the same is done in parochial churches and chapels, when the juncture happens. Clergymen, who have a weekly Evening Service, should of course never fail to use the Vigil-collect where it occurs. If any neglect this, your correspondent's warning will be useful.
It is not allowable, though it would be often convenient, to announce the Sunday or Saint's day before reading the collect. Your correspondent thinks this far more necessary than to announce the day of the month before the Psalms; but the latter is sanctioned by long usage, and probably arose out of a specific direction; whereas the latter was not considered necessary; for till of late years the mass of the people were much better acquainted with the church days than the days of the month; and even now our peasantry more often date from Lammas, Martinmas, &c., to say nothing of the four quarter-days, than from the corresponding days of the month. It would also be unseemly in the midst of prayer to stop to give out, "such or such a Sunday after Tri