NEW PRAYER BOOK
BEING A CHARGE DELIVERED TO THE CLERGY & CHURCHWARDENS OF THE DIOCESE OF GLOUCESTER ON THE OCCASION OF HIS SECOND VISITATION
ARTHUR CAYLEY HEADLAM
LORD BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.
THE CHARGE I
I. REASONS FOR REVISION
II. MORNING AND EVENING PRAYER
III. THE LITANY AND ATHANASIAN CREED
IV. THE COLLECTS, EPISTLES, AND GOSPELS
V. THE OCCASIONAL OFFICES
VI. THE ORDINAL
VII. THE COMMUNION OFFICE
IX. THE ALLEGED DOCTRINAL CHANGES
XI. PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD
XII. SOME GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS
I. THE APOSTOLIC TRADITION OF HIPPOLYTUS
THE LITURGY OF ST. CHRYSOSTOM
THE FIRST PRAYER BOOK OF EDWARD VI. (1549)
THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND (1637 )
Bp. Arthur C Headlam
This little book by Arthur C Headlam, the Bishop of Gloucester at the time (1927), was written in support of the proposed revision of the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England. It was addressed primarily to his own Diocese, but also to others of the English Church. In spite of his efforts, the Book was rejected twice by Parliament. This book is, nevertheless, a good introduction to the proposed revision and description of the changes from the 1662 Book.
In this book a good deal of attention is paid to the theology of the Eucharist, which should not be surprising as the author had been Regius Professor of Theology at Oxford before becoming Bishop of Gloucester. Other works of his may be found courtesy of Project Canterbury.
We have the book available both as HTML text (see at left) and as a single PDF file (see below).
THE NEW PRAYER BOOK
MY BRETHREN OF THE CLERGY, MY BRETHREN OF THE LAITY,
I do not think that anyone can doubt that the occasion on which I have summoned you together is one of grave importance, per¡haps the most serious event that has occurred in the last 200 years in the Church of England. The Prayer Book which we now use dates from the year 1662. It has been in use, therefore, with practically no change, for 265 years. That Prayer Book was based upon one produced in 1552, 375 years ago, and the differences between the Prayer Book of 1552 and the Prayer Book of 1662 are not great. The Prayer Book which we now use has in all its main features been the Prayer Book of the Church of England for nearly 400 years. It would, I think, have been much better if changes had taken place from time to time, if it had been gradually adapted to the circumstances of a later age. It is most desirable for a Church to have a traditional form of service, to which its members may grow accustomed and become attached; it is not desirable that that form should be so stereotyped that it cannot be altered. For inevitably the time comes when demands arise for something new, and then the very idea of a revision rouses misgivings. Certainly the revision of what has been used for so long a period represents a crisis of grave importance in the history of the Church, and it is our duty to meet this crisis with thoughtfulness, deliberation, and freedom from party spirit.
And there is another reason why we should receive and examine the Revision before us with respect and care, for it is the final result of some twenty years of careful and unremitting work. Personally, at no time before it came before the House of Bishops have I had any part in this revision; and that enables me to speak with greater freedom of the labour expended upon it. There are many who have been working steadily at it for twenty years; others whose labours are before us have passed away. In particular may I remind you that Bishop Gibson was one who had worked at it for many years with great thoroughness. He was Chairman of the Committee of the Church Assembly which produced the document called N.A. 84, which summed up the work of the Houses of Convocation, laid down the lines on which we have worked since, and is the basis of the book now before you. It was, I believe, in the Abbots' Hall in the Palace at Gloucester that that Committee held its sittings, so that in spite of the very subordinate part that I personally have taken, this diocese has played a considerable part in the production of the Revision. A work on which so much labour has been spent demands our careful and sober attention.
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REASONS FOR REVISION
I THINK, perhaps, the first question I would consider is the statement that is sometimes made that no one really wants a revision. If it is meant by that statement that people are contented with the existing Prayer Book, that is hardly true of anyone. It is true that many people are fairly content with the services in their own church, but they forget that those services vary in many points—sometimes more, sometimes less important—from the directions in the Prayer Book. It is true again that there are some who would prefer to retain the present Prayer Book, and then use it or not as they feel inclined, modifying it to suit their tastes, and adding to it whatever they feel inclined, feeling that the present state of chaos and anarchy is one which has distinct advantages for those who prefer their own individual tastes to the directions of the Church to which they belong. It is true again that there are some who are so frightened of change that they would be tempted to acquiesce in things they dislike remaining unaltered, especially when they know that no strictness is possible in enforcing existing regulations. But that people are contented with the Prayer Book which they have is hardly in any case, I think, really true, and what is also true is that much in it forms a real and serious stumbling-block to many who are anxious to conform to the uses of the Church of England.
How many people, for example, are there within or without the Church who really like our present usage with regard to the Athanasian Creed? Or, if they are anxious to preserve the present use of the Athanasian Creed, are they content with the Communion Office? I very rarely attend service in a parish church now in which I get the service in the Prayer Book without any alteration, and I presume that in the presence of a Bishop it is more likely that the rubrics would be obeyed than in his absence; so the irregularities which I do not know of are probably more considerable than those that I do know. Of course, all people do not want the same alterations. Some want one, some want another. When they tell us that they do not want a revision, what they really mean is that they want a revision, provided it does only what they desire, and it is obvious that very few people will ever get that. I cannot help remembering that that section of the Church which has been denouncing the present Revision in no measured language, and is appealing to the present Prayer Book as representing the true Protestant traditions of the English Church, has in times past made proposals for removing the sacerdotal elements in that book. While desiring, therefore, to give full weight to what they put before us, I cannot feel that the affection at present displayed for the existing book is altogether real. What is true is that in religious matters the most pious and devout people tend to be conservative, that they feel real affection for the prayers and forms to which they have been accustomed, and therefore dread a change. For such I have great sympathy, and one of the aims that I have before me is to reassure such devout persons. I am sure that they, at any rate, if they give the new book a fair trial will find that there is little that they value in the old that it omits, that some things that grated upon them are gone, and that much has been added which enriches its devotional and spiritual appeal.
Let me now put before you the reasons for a revision of the Prayer Book, and the functions a revised Prayer Book ought to fulfil.
In the first place, it is desirable that the Prayer Book should conform to existing use. In religious worship, as in every other department of life, it is inevitable that changes will gradually take place, whether they are sanctioned by legislation or not. You can retard change, you cannot prevent it, and if you retard it too much you will cause revolution. In smaller and larger matters alike there are alterations from the existing usage which are in some cases almost invariable. The Exhortation is omitted in the Communion Office. No doubt, in itself, to most of us this is a matter of no great importance; but if we allow this omission, can we forbid others? The Commandments are often omitted either with or without permission. And if these omissions are allowed, it becomes difficult to deal with additions. At any rate, there are clergy who are not content with the present Canon of the Communion Service. How often is it that the Litany is used exactly in the way which the rubrics direct? I rarely hear now the whole of the first Exhortation at Morning and Evening Prayer. The Marriage Service is rarely used in its present form. But little of the Service for the Visitation of the Sick is, I believe, ever used. And how anomalous is the position as regards the use of the Eucharistic vestments. It is quite true that they have been condemned by the courts, but it cannot be expected that judicial decisions will be accepted when their correctness is questioned by perfectly competent persons. At present both those who adopt vestments and those who disapprove accuse their opponents of breaking the law, and if the one side have judges in their support, the others have the moral support of historians. Clearly it is a situation which demands new legislation.
The Prayer Book as we have it is not used in churches without some changes, even in those parishes which profess to be "Prayer Book parishes," and it is desirable that the regulations of the Church should as far as possible conform to the habits of the people.
Then, secondly, it is desirable that certain things in the Prayer Book which do not harmonize with the habits and thoughts of the day should be modified. A typical instance would be the first Exhortation in the Marriage Service. In the same way, a large number of the not very apposite Old Testament references which occur in some of the prayers do not harmonize with the way many people look at the Old Testament, and are therefore not always edifying. Then there is a good deal of old-fashioned phraseology which is sometimes misleading. That is a point on which I personally should not be inclined to sympathize with the critics. I like the archaisms, and I think many others do. I should like to meet the difficulty by a little more careful education. I think, therefore, that I always voted in favour of the archaic expressions. At the same time, I admit the force of the plea that it is not wise to increase the difficulties in our Church services by retaining an obsolete language. Elizabethan English is in danger of becoming a language not understood by the people.
Then, thirdly, we want to enrich the Prayer Book. Our life at the present time is far fuller and richer than it was in the sixteenth century. Our interests are greater. There are many more things for which we desire to pray. That desire had for long existed, but it became much more articulate during the war, and since then the custom of adding, with or without the consent of the Ordinary, many prayers which are not contained in the Prayer Book has continued. It may be, indeed, that there is sometimes a reaction in favour of the old-fashioned language of the prayers to which people have been accustomed, and they may find them more expressive than they thought they were. But the demand for extra services, extra prayers, and greater variety of usage, is certainly a real one. There are many more people who take a thoughtful and instructed interest in the services of the Church. People soon weary of what they consider monotonous. A Bishop is constantly asked to license something which is not contained in the Prayer Book. Whether or no he has the power to do so under the existing law may be doubtful, but practically he is bound to assume the power, as it is the only means that he has, under existing conditions, of regulating the services of the Church.
Then, fourthly, there is a demand made by some that the Prayer Book should be adapted much more to what are called the conditions of modern thought. That is the characteristic of those proposals for revision which were contained in what is called the Grey Book. It means removing everything which conflicts, or seems to conflict, with modern science or criticism, and adapting the prayers and services to the conditions of modern life. The social well-being of the people, the interest of our country, the desire for better international relations, the problem of peace or war, the conflict between capital and labour, and many other similar questions, represent a new outlook and interest. The social and corporate side of Christianity is more prominent than it was. The idea of the Kingdom of God is not interpreted merely in an ecclesiastical or eschatological sense, but is held to mean the building of a Kingdom of God on earth, and many things therefore unknown to the Elizabethan Prayer Book or to liturgical tradition are included in that term. It is maintained that we must not be merely antiquarian in our worship.
On the other hand, fifthly, there is a great demand from another section of the clergy for what is historical, or, as it is often called, Catholic, and in some cases this desire takes the form of a desire to assimilate the worship of the Church of England to that of the Church of Rome. Demands in this direction were contained in what was called the Green Book, and have left their traces on some of the changes proposed by the House of Clergy. Very often the demands of the Modernist and the demands of the so-called Catholic would conflict, but that is not always the case, and both alike might be distasteful to persons of a more conservative and old-fashioned temperament. It would be maintained that a larger amount of ceremonial is desirable in our worship; that we want more colour; that a ritualistic service makes a wider popular appeal; that we want greater richness and variety; that the English Prayer Book, in its traditional form, only imperfectly expresses the true doctrine and practice of the Christian Church, especially as regards the Sacraments; and that for these reasons the Church of England fails in its mission.
All these various points of view are held, and widely held, and therefore must be before anyone who is concerned with the Revision of the Prayer Book, and it will be obvious that the existence of these various, and in some cases conflicting, tendencies of opinion makes the task hard.
Then, finally, there is another demand, and that is that a Prayer Book should be constructed which would make it possible for the law of the Church to be enforced. It is widely recognized that practically there is a good deal in the present Prayer Book which needs modification in practice. It is recognized that greater variety of usage is desirable. This leads naturally to a good deal being done which is contrary to the Prayer Book, and therefore contrary to the law of the Church, but at the same time accepted as harmless innovation. Such a situation makes any enforcement of the law difficult. If complaints are made to a Bishop that any clergyman has introduced some new and irregular usage, or has disobeyed what seems to be an equally clear rubric, he is able to defend himself by pointing out that there are others who have introduced services not contained in the Prayer Book, and there are others who disobey clear rubrics. Why, he asks, should the law be enforced against him and not against them? If it is pointed out to him that the changes that he makes are really quite different in character and contrary to the spirit of the Church of England. he would reply that what he does is really more loyal to the spirit of the Prayer Book than many other changes which have been introduced. To omit the Athanasian Creed is to be disloyal to the fundamental truths of Christianity. To reserve the Sacrament is not only in accordance with the traditions of the Catholic Church, but enables him to ensure that a dying man may always be able to receive that Sacrament which is "generally necessary for salvation," as the Church of England teaches. To give thanksgiving for the harvest may be a seemly innovation, how much more should we give thanks for the spiritual benefits received through the institution of the Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ by joining with the rest of Western Christendom in celebrating the festival of Corpus Christi! The argument may sometimes appear to us unreal, but the situation created is difficult to deal with.
It is desirable, therefore, that we should have a Prayer Book which legalizes the many and various changes which have been gradually made in the custom and use of the Church, which allows a reasonable variety in many directions, which permits many things to be done, which are widely desired and are clearly not inconsistent with the traditions of the Church of England, and will therefore enable those who have to administer the law of the Church to forbid definitely what is in the opinion of the great majority of members of the Church inconsistent with Anglican tradition. I do not think that this ought to mean legal proceedings except in extreme cases. I am sure that the more careful we are to avoid legal proceedings the better it will be. What it will do is to make possible the appeal to the loyalty of the Church. If everything that the great body of loyal Churchmen demand, everything that can really be asked for is allowed, if within certain limits real variety of usage is granted, if the Prayer Book is enriched with services and prayers sufficient to meet all natural and reasonable demands, we may then appeal to the great body of the clergy loyally to obey and to carry out the rubrics and directions of the Prayer Book in its revised form. Although the power to initiate prosecution should exist, and might ultimately have to be employed, it must be remembered that the appeal to law is the worst method to use in appeasing ecclesiastical troubles, and is almost invariably unsuccessful. What we have to aim at securing is loyalty, and that we can reasonably hope to do when every reasonable demand for innovation has been granted.
It will be obvious to anyone who considers the different proposals for revision that have been made, that the work which the Bishops have had to do was one of extreme difficulty. Let me take one or two instances. The House of Clergy have definitely demanded that the Bishops should provide a new alternative book which should be a substitute for the present Prayer Book. On the other hand, the House of Laity have definitely stated that what they desire is one book, and that any variations from the existing book which are allowed should be contained in that book, so that it would not be necessary for them to have two Prayer Books when they go to church. Here at the very outset of our task was a clear inconsistency between the demands of the two houses, and it is obvious that it was impossible to satisfy both. The Bishops have attempted to produce a single book even at the risk of making that book somewhat bulky, and have included in it both the old Prayer Book and the permitted variations, and where necessary have put those permitted variations in the form of an alternative service. No doubt the result of their work may appear large, but for a transitional period this probably represents the wisest course. It will be possible, no doubt, if experience shows that some portions of the new book receive general acceptance, to produce an edition which leaves out what has become obsolete and unnecessary; but at the beginning it is far better that clergy and laity alike should have everything before them, and should not be prevented from adopting the new or retaining the old by the difficulties of books.
But there are other and greater difficulties. While one party in the Church demanded Reservation, another party have denounced it as inconsistent with the teaching of the Church of England. The House of Clergy has demanded two alternative forms of the Canon; the House of Laity is prepared to acquiesce in one alternative form, and many of those who have been most anxious to advise us have insisted on no alternative form. We cannot possibly please everyone, whether we allow or forbid the use of the Eucharistic vestments. And then, in minor matters, there will be much criticism of the book from a literary standpoint. Some are so attached to the old phraseology that they desire no change; others are anxious that the language should be modernized. Some do not like or desire new prayers; others are most anxious to have them. In every direction there is difference of opinion.
Our work was difficult, and we cannot hope to satisfy anyone completely; and the tendency of everyone will be to dwell on the points that they desire to criticize. I do not suppose that anyone will entirely agree with the book as it is; certainly no one Bishop succeeded in getting all that he desired. Everyone of us found himself voting in the minority. It may be claimed, however, on most points, that the book represents the considered opinion of a majority—generally a considerable majority—of the Bishops. Many points were discussed three and four times. Sometimes the original decision has, on maturer reflection. been reversed. No one has ever been ashamed to change his opinion in the face of arguments which he recognized were sound. On many points, even important points, the Bishops were unanimous.
But it must be recognized that there are in the Church now, as there always have been, some whose views are extreme and their minds narrow. They demand everything for themselves, and are prepared to concede nothing to those who differ from them. If the present Prayer Book is to be accepted, and if a certain uniformity of usage is to be introduced into the Church, it will have to be the work of the great body of moderate-minded people who are ready to accept the voice of the majority, to lay aside any desire to get just what they want themselves, and to satisfy the reasonable demands of' other people. Unless there is a willingness on the part of the great majority of the members of a Church to conform to common usage, unless they recognize the need of subordinating their own individual aims to the general well-being, any real unity in that Church is impossible. Church life demands loyalty, charity, and unselfishness.
MORNING AND EVENING PRAYER
LET us now consider the alterations which have been made in greater detail, and let us begin with those which are largely uncontroversial—Morning and Evening Prayer.
There have been, I think, in all the changes that have been made certain general principles which have been more or less consciously followed. The aim has been to adapt the service to the usage of the day. Gradually certain parts of the service have come to be found less suitable for ordinary or popular usage. Further than that an attempt has been made to make this service better structurally, more interesting, with greater variety, to enrich it with prayers for many different occasions and purposes. I think that as the service is studied the meaning of what has been done will become more apparent.
It will be noted that the first part of the service for Mattins and Evensong which is common to both offices has been printed separately as "An Introduction to Morning and Evening Prayer." It may be omitted altogether on weekdays and on Sundays if the Holy Communion or some other service allowed in the book follows. Moreover, as will be seen, the service itself for Morning or Evening Prayer may be shortened by omitting the Creed and all that follows under similar circumstances. That, I think, ought to lead to an improvement in our services. There are many churches now which have, as what they call the principal service, a Choral Communion Service. I do not think that that alone is sufficient, at any rate in the elements of instruction, as a Sunday service. It is felt that Mattins as we have it is too long as an introduction, and moreover there is a good deal of unnecessary repetition. Why should we have a Confession and Absolution when there is one shortly to follow in the Communion Service? Why should we say the Apostles' Creed when we are going to have the Nicene Creed in a few minutes? Why should we say the Collect for the day when we are going to repeat it almost at once? Why should we say the Lord's Prayer at least four times? But the shortened form with a short introduction, a psalm or psalms, and two lessons with the Canticles, will form an admirable and suitable introduction to the Communion Service, and will, I hope, be widely used, especially in those churches which have had a tendency to drop Mattins, or read them separately with no congregation.
There are more introductory sentences from Holy Scripture, and they are arranged to suit the different seasons of the year. I believe that this to many people, will make the service more intelligent, although I have heard it criticized, and there will be some (not so many as there used to be) who do not like any change. Then there is an alternative form of Exhortation, there are two forms of Confession, and two of Absolution. I believe that the simpler Confession and Absolution will be found of great practical value in many parishes where the present forms are found to be unsuited to the congregation. After all, the use of them has often been very formal, and a Simpler alternative form will appear to many of our congregations much more real.
But while there is this larger amount of variety, it is specially ordered that the old form of Exhortation, Confession, and Absolution shall always be used on the first Sunday in Advent
and on the first Sunday in Lent, and of course such a direction is intended to be observed. We may feel that, constantly repeated, the well-known Exhortation with which our Morning and Evening Service begin, becomes a little wearisome, but it is a fine and impressive piece of English prose; it puts before us our religious obligations in a striking manner, and it would be a misfortune if it went entirely out of use.
I am not sure, however, whether in future the tendency will not be to use it more frequently
at the ordinary Sunday Morning Service in many churches.
One particular point I would notice the definite omission of the Lord's Prayer in this part of the service. That is, I am sure, entirely right. It does away with an unnecessary repetition, for the Lord's Prayer is repeated at the central part of the service. The proper place in any service for the Lord's Prayer is not at the beginning—this was a custom that grew up in the later Middle Ages—but at the most solemn part of the service, at its culminating point. To introduce it earlier is really meaningless. I could wish that the same thing had been done at the beginning of the Communion Service, but the instincts of conservatism were too strong.
There is, I think, no change in Evening Prayer until after the Third Collect, but in Morning Prayer there are important changes. The Venite is shortened, only the first seven verses being retained as suitable to its purpose as an invitation to prayer and praise, and there is a rubric saying that it may be omitted except on Sundays and Holy-days. Then certain Invitatories are added, suitable to the season. The Te Deum is printed in paragraphs, as also is the Benedicite, and as a further alternative the fifty·first Psalm is added for use in Lent. To these proposals must be added the advantages which will be gained by a revised use of the Psalter. Old-fashioned people who are used to the Psalms of the day complain of the change, but I am sure it is really very valuable. Congregations nowadays notice very quickly whether the service is harmonious in its character, and whether there is a consistent purpose running through it. Not only were the Psalms according to the old Lectionary often too long, but it might well be that penitential Psalms come during Eastertide and Psalms of joy and thanksgiving during Lent. The desire to have shorter Psalms, and those appropriate, comes from the increased interest in them, and the discovery of how great a response they make to our religious feelings, and not from carelessness, or indifference, or a mere desire that everything should be shorter. What people desire is that the services should be real and edifying, and not so long that only partial and intermittent attention is possible. How admirable an introduction to the service of Christmas, or some other great festival, is that given by the shortened Venite, the Invitatory, the proper Psalm or Psalms, not too lengthy, the proper Lessons, and the Te Deum!
The Morning and Evening Prayer proper end at the Third Collect (or in certain cases after the Benedicite), but very wide choice of occasional prayers is allowed, and there is at Evening Prayer more than one method of concluding the service. The idea is that there should be a fixed form of service with a few variations, but that, as far as regards the prayers at the end, there should be great variety, sufficient to satisfy all legitimate needs, and besides those given there is a rubric added allowing other prayers with the consent of the Ordinary.
THE LITANY AND ATHANASIAN CREED
THE Litany is no longer to be compulsory except on Rogation Days. The petitions are arranged in sections, and discretion is allowed in the selection of the petitions to be said on each occasion, while the latter part of the service may be omitted. I suppose that there are many who have felt a little weary when the Litany has been said directly after a somewhat lengthy Morning Service. On the other hand, its beauty and appropriateness, especially for times of trouble and distress, is widely recognized, and the great variety of usage which is allowed, and the freedom of selection, ought to enable us to use the Litany at the time and in the way which will make it most impressive, and make it appeal more widely to our religious needs.
Perhaps to many the treatment of the Athanasian Creed may be of greater interest. Here again great freedom is allowed. Nothing is enjoined, but it is specially stated that it may be said on Trinity Sunday and on the Feast of the Annunciation, and if it is preferred in a revised translation. Or as an alternative it may be divided into two portions. The first, beginning at verse 3 and going down to verse 28, deals with the doctrine of the Trinity. This, it is suggested, should be said on Trinity Sunday. The second, beginning at verse 30 and going down to verse 41, deals with the doctrine of the Incarnation, and is recommended for the Sunday after Christmas Day and for the Festival of the Annunciation. This arrangement has the additional advantage of leaving out verses 1 and 2, verse 29, and verse 42, which state in a way which seems to us somewhat over emphatic the necessity of a right belief.
Let me say a few words about the Athanasian Creed, as it has probably presented greater difficulties than any other part of the Prayer Book, and perhaps not unnaturally. On the other hand, a certain section of the Church has laid what has seemed excessive emphasis on this Creed as a valuable document for stating the Christian faith. It has been claimed that to accept the Athanasian Creed is a necessary part of Christian orthodoxy.
The document called the Athanasian Creed, or more correctly the Quicunque vult, is a venerable monument of the Christian faith. It was written probably early in the fifth century by some theologian of the School of Lerins in Southern Gaul. It was certainly not written by St. Athanasius. Its original language was Latin, and it sums up tersely and correctly the theology of St. Augustine. It has not, however, any real authority as a Creed of the Catholic Church. It is not used in its services by the Eastern Church at all, and has never been put forward by any Council of the Church. The importance assigned to it in the Church of England is not a sign of our catholicity, but of our insularity. It was given great emphasis at the time of the Reformation. because the English Church wished to clear itself from any suspicion of being unsound on the subject of the doctrine of the Trinity. It was part of the same policy which increased the importance of Trinity Sunday, and introduced the Proper Preface for that day.
The Quicunque vult is not well suited for recitation in the ordinary services of the Church for two reasons. In the first place, it is too technical in its language. It makes it appear to many that the doctrine of the Trinity is only a question of words, and does not bring out or explain the reality which underlies those words; and then, secondly, it puts in too emphatic a form the necessity for correctness of belief—I had almost said correctness of definition—in a way which repels people from wise theology, and does not attract them to it. But it must be remembered that it is a correct statement, and that wise thought demands exact language, and properly used by a clergyman who understood what he was talking about it might be made the basis of real instruction.
Under all those circumstances I think it will be recognized that the Revised Prayer Book, while taking away what is to many a stumbling-block, especially on such days as Christmas Day and Easter Day, enables a clergyman to make a wise use of this ancient statement of the Christian faith.
THE COLLECTS, EPISTLES, AND GOSPELS
I SHOULD like to draw attention shortly to the plan followed with regard to the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels. They are divided into two series. The first occupies the customary place in the Prayer Book; it is concerned with the Sundays and greater feasts, fasts, and days of abstinence, and corresponds to our present custom. The second will be found in an Appendix, and is novel in character.
As regards the first series, few changes have been made. Three additions have been made, for a Second Sunday after Christmas, St. Mary Magdalene Day, and the Festival of the Transfiguration. In a few cases an alternative Epistle and Gospel has been given, and a few changes have been made in the language, but this only concerns obvious mistakes or the spelling of proper names. It might have been possible to make with edification some further alterations, but the business before the House of Bishops was not to revise the Authorized Version; and unless the work was done consistently, and upon some recognized principle, it would not have had much value. Incidental or haphazard variations would have been misleading. The time will, I believe, shortly come when it will be desirable that a revision should be made of the Authorized Version of the Old and New Testaments, as well as of the Prayer Book Version of the Psalms, in which passages which are wrongly translated, or based on incorrect readings, or are ill-expressed or unreasonably archaic, or in which the argument is obscure, should be corrected, but the greater part should be preserved in its present form. That would, I believe, be a far better course than to authorize the use of the Revised Version, which has, I believe, very serious defects.
The second series of Collects, Epistles, and Gospels is for the lesser feasts and other days which it is permitted but not enjoined to observe. This list is not at present complete. There is no provision except a series of "Commons" for the Commemoration of the Minor Saints. The reason for this is twofold. In the first place the Calendar is subject to further re-vision. Neither the House of Laity nor the House of Clergy were content with what had been done. They had found the work more difficult than they had expected, and a request was made that a Commission should be appointed to complete the work of revision. This will be done. But it is obvious that it would not be wise to issue Collects, Epistles, and Gospels for days which it was finally decided should not be kept. Moreover,suddenly to introduce the commemoration of a large number of days which had not been considered before might have been too great an innovation. When a work such as Prayer Book revision is undertaken after a lapse of over 250 years, when so many changes have taken place in life and custom and thought, far more problems arise and suggestions are made than can at once be grappled with. As much has been done as was possible, and it was wise to leave some things for future consideration.
Meanwhile it will be found that a good deal has been done. There are Collects, Epistles, and Gospels for Christmas Eve, all the week-days in Lent, for Easter Week, the Rogation Days, and Whitsun Week. There is provision also for the celebration of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for the festival of the Name of Jesus, for the Beheading of Saint John Baptist, for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for Holy Cross Day, for All Souls' Day, for the Saints, Martyrs, Missionaries and Doctors of the Church of England (November 8). Then there are "Commons" for the festivals of a Martyr, a Doctor, a Bishop, an Abbot or Abbess, of Missionaries, a Virgin Martyr, a Matron, and a Saint. Also for Ember Days, the Feast of the Dedication or Consecration of a Church, for the Patronal Festival, a Thanksgiving for Harvest, for the Institution of Holy Baptism and the Institution of Holy Communion, also for the Missionary Work of the Church, and for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Of these, the only points which demand explanation are the Thanksgiving for the Institution of Holy Baptism and the Thanks-giving for the Institution of the Holy Communion. The clergy had proposed the Commemoration of Corpus Christi Day. The laity had rejected this in somewhat ambiguous language. It was obvious that owing to the doctrinal associations connected with the festival of Corpus Christi, there were reasons for not making this an authorized festival, but undoubtedly there are strong reasons for a festival of thanksgiving for the spiritual bene-fits of Holy Communion, and it appeared on enquiry that there were many Evangelicals who have recognized this by a celebration of the Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday. The right course, therefore, appeared to be to authorize special services of Thanksgiving for the two great Sacraments of the Gospel without fixing a special day.
There are two further considerations that I want to put before you. The interest exhibited by many in the question of the Calendar and of the celebration of special days is connected with two changes in our customs. The first is the growth of historical interest. A really well-constructed Calendar commemorating the great names in Church history of every age and country will be of the greatest value in educating and arousing the interest of our people in the history of the Church. I hope that in no long time we may have a new Calendar constructed, and a proper provision for the Liturgical Commemoration of the names included in it.
But there is another fact that we have to notice, and that is the growth of the custom of daily attendance at a Communion Service, among the laity as well as the clergy. In former days the pious layman or laywoman attended a daily morning or evening service or read the lessons at home. Now it is probable that more lay people attend a daily celebration than the daily offices. The number, of course, is only small in any case, but it must be remembered that it is the piety of the few that penetrates the whole Church. In learning, in piety, in religious devotion, in missionary enterprise, in pastoral work, it is the zeal of the few that inspires the feebler efforts of the many and raises the standard of human life. This form of piety does not correspond to my own custom, and there may be some dangers to be guarded against. We do not want the clergy of the Church of' England to become Mass priests, who think that they have fulfilled the duties of their office when they have said Mass. We must not check but regulate all genuine piety. There is far too little in the world. At present there are many unauthorized series of Collects, Epistles, and Gospels, often very ill constructed. It is therefore the duty of the Church to provide for our people something better.
THE OCCASIONAL OFFICES
I DO not think I need devote much time to the Occasional Offices. With the exception of the Communion of the Sick, of which I shall speak later, there is not, I think, anything controversial in them, and I believe that the changes made will commend themselves as great improvements. The Alternative Order for the Baptism of Infants will be found less lengthy, clearer, and more intelligible in arrangement, and more easily understood. It may be noticed particularly that the service is to be said standing throughout. This is a practical matter; the change of attitude in the present service is often very awkward. The Creed is to be said by the priest and god-parents together. The prayer for the Blessing of the Water is to be introduced by the Sursum Corda, the traditional introduction to Benedictions, the exhortations are throughout shortened and made simpler and more direct, and the service concludes with a Prayer for the Home.
In the Alternative Order of Confirmation the present Preface has been retained as a rubric and a new Preface substituted, which harmonizes with the traditional custom of the Prayer Book by the quotation of passages in Scripture as the authority for the service, and addresses the candidates in a simpler manner more easily understood. In addition to the present form of Renewal of Baptismal Vows there is given as an alternative a triple promise repeating the words of the actual baptismal vow, and the concluding Benediction is solemn and impressive.
The Alternative Form of the Marriage Service contains alterations which most people will, I think, welcome. The Introduction is more in harmony with the thoughts and feelings of the day than the older form, especially the words, marriage "was ordained in order that the natural instincts and affections, implanted by God, should be hallowed and directed aright; that those who are called of God to this holy estate should continue therein in pureness of living." The Old Testament allusions which to many seemed of doubtful appropriateness are taken out of the prayers; and there is a special Collect, Epistle, and Gospel given for a Communion Service.
On one point there will be great difference of opinion. The marriage vow for the woman is exactly assimilated to that for a man, the word "obey" being omitted. I doubt whether everyone who is married will desire this change, although it is one that has been made without authority on many occasions. The difficulty which might thus arise for those who desired to use the new form of service, but to keep the old form of the vows, is met by the very great freedom of choice allowed under the measure. It is possible always to substitute any section in the alternative form for the similar section in the old form, the limits of sections being marked by the sign for a paragraph. It will therefore be possible for the new form to be used generally, but with either the old or the new form of vows. I do not think that this is an entirely satisfactory arrangement, but it is, I believe, the wisest and most suitable at the present time. For my own part I much prefer the old form of the vows; but if the Church generally accepted the new form, I should desire that it should be used universally. Yet it is wiser, perhaps, that at the present time the alternative use should be allowed, and it is in accordance with all the promises which have been given during the preparation of the new book.
The revised form for the Visitation of the Sick, which among other changes divides the Office into various different portions, will, I hope, have the effect of enabling the clergy to use the rich material which the old Prayer Book provides besides the additional matter much more freely. The old service for the Visitation of the Sick was, I think, seldom used; the new form will, I hope, make all clergy take this as their guide in their pastoral work.
There is much greater variety introduced into the service for the Burial of the Dead—a variety which will, I hope, be made clearer, if the new book becomes law, by printing some of the variations allowed as alternative forms. In particular I would allude to the Rubric, which allows three lessons to be used, each preceded by a psalm. This would, I think, make the service much more impressive, and might be particularly suitable for a memorial service. There is a special service for the Burial of a Child, which all will be glad to use.
THERE is a point of great importance which must be noted in regard to the Ordinal. This is treated in a different way from any other portion of the Prayer Book. The revised Ordinal is substituted for the old, and will be made part of the old Prayer Book. The reason for this will, I think, be clear. It would not be at all proper that we should have two alternative forms for the celebration of this Sacrament. The service is one which concerns in particular the Bishops, and I do not think that they would feel it suitable that one of them should ordain in one way and one in another. The Church of England, as the Catholic Church as a whole, has from time to time changed and improved its Ordination Service, but it has never allowed the existence of two alternative forms side by side in the same branch of the Church.
The changes proposed are few but important. The first is the new question concerning the Holy Scriptures in the form for the Ordering of Deacons: "Do you unfeignedly believe all the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, as given of God to convey to us in many parts and in divers manners the revelation of Himself which is fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ?"
This question has been the subject of long and lengthy discussion in the Houses of Convocation, and the Bishops have accepted without change the result there attained, which represents, I believe, a very large measure of agreement. I do not think that I need dwell on this matter further. The old question, "Do you unfeignedly believe all the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament?" puts a very severe strain on the consciences of many of those who had to answer; and the proposed form, which does not in any way diminish the respect shown to Holy Scripture, will be a great relief to the whole body of young theological students.
The second change to be noticed is that the concluding Collect at the Ordination of a Deacon is removed to a point immediately preceding the laying on of hands. The only possible defect about the English Office for the Ordination of a Deacon is that there is no prayer directly before the laying on of hands. It has been held that this makes the service inadequate and ineffective; but that is not the case, for there is quite definite prayer for the gift of the Spirit in the service. But it is not definitely associated with the laying on of hands, as it clearly ought to be, for Scripture and Church history alike make the essential character of' an Ordination lie in laying on of hands with prayer. The remedy of this defect is a not unimportant matter.
The third change made is that to the Ordination prayer in all the three offices there is prefixed the Sursum Corda. This is in accordance with traditional usage, and adds dignity to the central act of Ordination without adding to the length of the service or departing from the simplicity which is such an admirable characteristic of the Anglican Service of Ordination; it adds to its impressiveness and its historical correctness.
We have finished our survey of that portion of the Revised Prayer Book which may be considered to be, in the main at any rate, uncontroversial, and I venture to suggest to all those who have followed me, and have studied the service, that the changes present throughout a great improvement on the old service. The new services are in all cases better constructed. They harmonize much more with the spirit of the day. They are richer. If there is any change in this direction they are more scriptural. Certain things which grated somewhat on the feelings of many people have been removed. I have some acquaintance with the revisions of the Book of Common Prayer which have been made in other parts of the Anglican Communion, and I do not hesitate to say that this Revision is better and bolder than any other.
THE COMMUNION OFFICE
I NOW turn to the revised Communion Service, round which most of the controversy in relation to the Prayer Book will turn.
There is first of all the question, Is it desirable to have an alternative office for Holy Communion at all? Many have felt that in this, the essential service of the Church, there should be one service, and one service only; and with that point of view I should personally agree. I think that it would have been far wiser if, from the beginning, the proposal had been, not to put forward an alternative Prayer Book, but a Revised Prayer Book, and to have made a revision which would have been generally accepted. I think that this might well have been done if at the beginning the alterations had been of a minor character; and that then, as people had become used to a certain measure of change, and had found the changes good, the more important alterations had been later introduced.
But that is not the policy which has been adopted, and a definite pledge has been given that the old Prayer Book should remain in use for those who desired it. Either, then, there could be no change in the Communion Service or an alternative service must be permitted. Now I do not think that any thoughtful person would be satisfied with allowing the old service to remain unchanged. It is just in relation to the Communion Service that the greatest difficulties arise. It is just in relation to the Communion Service that it is desirable that, as far as possible, some of the extravagant and improper changes which have been introduced in certain churches should be prohibited, and prohibited in such a way as will command assent. That will not, however, be possible unless regulations are made which make it quite clear that what is desired by many loyal Churchmen is permitted.
I have felt, therefore, that it was right to acquiesce in an alternative service, and perhaps precedent can be quoted for it. There is the Scotch Church, which allows the English Communion Service, besides the Scotch Office. There are the Liturgies of St. Chrysostom and St. Basil in the Orthodox Church, and in some of the other Eastern Churches there are a great variety of forms of the Anaphora or Prayer of Consecration. These are, none of them, exact analogies, because in those Churches the alternative services are used according to certain directions on particular days. The present proposal is that the two alternatives should be used on the same days in different churches, according to the wishes of the priest and people. It has been suggested that they imply and emphasize a different theological outlook. I do not think that this is a correct view, because, as I shall hope to show, the new service only expresses the doctrine of the Church of England in a clearer and better way. But it must be recognized that in a matter of this sort an attitude of conservatism is natural. People are tenacious of traditional and established forms. They fear a change, and therefore to impose a new service on the Church at the present time would be most unwise, even if it had very wide support. I think that we must acquiesce in the proposed alternative use, with the distinct understanding that we are beginning a transitional and experimental period, and that we look forward to the building up in this way of a single revised and enriched Communion Office.
But if I have had doubts about the policy of an alternative service, I have none at all as to the superiority of the new service. It is, I think, in every point better than the old. It is more evangelical and, at the same time, more Catholic. It is a service which ought gradually to win universal assent, and we should look forward to it becoming, perhaps still further revised, the one Communion Service of the Church of England for the future.
Let us now study it in some detail. A short service of preparation is provided to precede the Communion, but is placed in the Appendix. The purpose of doing this is to provide that the Preparation Service should be one said by the celebrant and people, and not, as at present, copying an imperfect Roman custom, by the celebrant and his assistant alone. In the service itself we notice particularly the rubric with which it begins:
"The Service following shall be said through-out in a distinct and audible voice ;"
and this is repeated in relation to the Epistle and Gospel:
"He that readeth the Epistle or the Gospel shall so stand and turn himself as he may best be heard of the people."
Whatever service we have in the Church of England, the mumbling of it, or repeating it in a low voice or with indifference to the congregation, is definitely prohibited, and I hope much that this will be always and scrupulously observed.
I have already said that I regret that the Lord's Prayer should be retained at the opening of the service. Its appropriate place is after the Prayer of Consecration at the culminating point of the service as the most essential prayer, and we do not want unnecessary repetitions. But, as I have said, conservative tendencies were too strong. Of course, the matter is one of small importance.
The Commandments are given in a shortened form, and that, I think, is desirable. They are more impressive if put shortly, and the Commandment becomes clearer if without the further illustrative matter. The definite emphasis also on the creation of the world in six days might cause difficulties to some people. There are two alternatives allowed, either our Lord's Summary of the Law or the Kyrie eleison, and that both in its original and English form; but the Decalogue is to be rehearsed at least once on a Sunday in each month, and on Sundays either the Decalogue or the Summary is to be used. I hope that it will remain the custom of the Church always to recite the Ten Commandments at the principal service on a Sunday, for I believe that the emphasis that we give them in our services and the continued public recital has had a most important and virile influence on the moral traditions of this country. For the weekday celebrations, when there are few persons present, and those the most devout Church people, they are, I think, unsuitable, and the use of the Kyrie eleison is much better.
We come next to the old Prayer for the Church Militant, which is now named The Intercession. It may be noted that the Communion Office, as all the Occasional Offices, is divided into sections with headings. This gives greater clearness, helps to bring out the structure of the service, and will be found a great help to the clergy in the instruction of their simpler people. The Bidding of this prayer now is, "Let us pray for the whole state of Christ's Church," a change which is rendered necessary by alterations in the prayer, and is also more seemly in itself. We do not want in this prayer to think only of the militant side of the Church's life even on earth. The chief changes in the prayer itself are the petition for the King and other rulers:
"We beseech thee also to lead all nations in the way of righteousness and peace; and so to direct all kings and rulers, that under them thy people may be godly and quietly governed. And grant unto thy servant GEORGE our King, and to all that are put in authority under him, that they may truly and impartially minister justice,"
and so on.
Then it is proposed that the Bishop of the diocese should be mentioned by name, and there is a petition added for missionaries and for places of learning and education:
"Guide and prosper, we pray thee, those who are labouring for the spread of thy Gospel among the nations, and enlighten with thy Spirit all places of education and learning; that the whole world may be filled with the knowledge of thy truth."
Then the concluding clauses are modified in a way which is of some importance:
"And we commend to thy gracious keeping, O Lord, all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear, beseeching thee to grant them everlasting light and peace."
"And here we give thee most high praise and hearty thanks for all thy Saints, who have been the chosen vessels of thy grace, and lights of the world in their several generations; and we pray, that rejoicing, in their fellowship, and following their good examples, we may be partakers with them of thy heavenly kingdom."
The next section is headed "The Preparation," and begins with an exhortation which is a revised form of the longer exhortation in the Prayer Book, with certain passages, which perhaps grated upon us, omitted. This is ordered to be said at least on the fourth or fifth Sunday in Lent. Then follows the second and shorter Exhortation , the Confession, Absolution, and comfortable words. For this Exhortation, Confession, and Absolution an alternative and shorter form is provided to be used on weekdays. The only change in this part of the service is that the Prayer of Humble Access (as it is called) comes immediately after the comfortable words, the purpose being that the Consecration prayer may follow immediately after the Sursum Corda, which is the proper introduction to it, and emphasizes the eucharistic element in the service.
We now come to the Prayer of Consecration. Directly after the Sanctus it begins: "All glory be to thee, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that thou of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption;" and the rest of that clause proceeds unchanged. Then come directly afterwards the words of Institution. After that the Memorial or Anamnesis in these words:
"Wherefore, O Lord and heavenly Father, we thy humble servants, having in remembrance the precious death and passion of thy dear Son, his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension, according to his holy institution do celebrate and set forth before thy Divine Majesty with these thy holy gifts, this memorial which he hath willed us to make, rendering unto thee most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits which he hath procured unto us."
Then follows the Epiclesis, or Invocation of the Holy Spirit:
"Hear us, O Merciful Father, we most humbly beseech thee, and with thy Holy and Life-giving Spirit vouchsafe to bless and sanctify both us and these thy gifts of Bread and Wine, that they may be unto us the Body and Blood of thy Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, to the end that, we receiving the same, may be strengthened and refreshed both in body and soul."
And then there comes immediately the Prayer of Oblation of "ourselves, our souls and bodies" from the Post-Communion of the old Prayer Book, followed immediately by the Lord's Prayer.
I will postpone what I have to say about this prayer until I deal fully with the controversial points which have been raised, and it will suffice to say at the moment that I believe it to be a much better Consecration prayer than the old one, richer, more catholic and more evangelical, and entirely loyal to the theological traditions both of the Catholic Church and the Church of England.
Then comes the Communion. As regards this, the only point to notice is that the custom of using one-half of the Words of Administration only, one which has often been adopted when occasion requires, is definitely allowed, and also the custom of saying the words once only for each row of communicants, or a convenient number in each row. These permissions regularize what is often and necessarily done now when there are a large number of communicants.
The service concludes with a shortened Thanksgiving, the Gloria in excelsis, and the Benediction. Afterwards are placed the Proper Prefaces.
They have been in some instances altered, are ordered to be used for longer periods. and have been added to. The Preface for Christmas Day is to be used until the Epiphany. There is a Preface for the Epiphany and seven days afterwards, and for Maundy Thursday. The Preface for Easter Day is to be used until Ascension Day, that for Ascension Day until Whitsunday. The Preface for Whitsunday is rewritten:
"Through Jesus Christ our Lord: Who after that he has ascended up far above all the heavens. and was set down at the right hand of thy Majesty: Did as at this time pour forth upon the Universal Church thy Holy and Life-giving Spirit: That through his glorious power the joy of the everlasting gospel might go forth into all the world: Whereby we have been brought out of darkness and error into the clear light and true knowledge of thee, and of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ."
It may be noted that the references to the physical accompaniments of Pentecost, and the gift of divers languages — an expression which causes difficulty as being a doubtful interpretation of the gift of tongues—have been omitted. The Proper Preface for Christmas is ordered also for the Purification and the Annunciation, and there are Prefaces for the Transfiguration, the feasts of the greater saints and All Saints' Day, for the Consecration of a Church and the Feast of its Dedication, and for any Sunday in the year.
The Benedictus is allowed after the Sanctus. It may be noted that nothing is said about the Agnus Dei, either in its ordinary form or in that used in Memorials for the Departed, because it is quite legal as a hymn in its ordinary place after the prayer of Consecration. This, in fact, was recognized by the Lincoln judgment even under the old Prayer Book. There is an order for a second Consecration; and the Exhortations to be used at giving notice of Holy Communion are placed at the end of the service.
Although the changes in the Communion Service are not numerous, they all tend to make it better in its structure, more adapted to practical needs, and, as I shall hope to show, better in its theology.
I now come to treat more in detail those few points on which it is probable that there will be a considerable amount of controversy, as being matters of rather greater importance than the other changes.
The first is the new rubric with regard to the Eucharistic Vestments. It is one which is taken from N. A. 84, and has received the assent both of the House of Clergy and of the House of Laity:
"For the avoidance of all controversy and doubtfulness, it is hereby prescribed, that, not-withstanding anything that is elsewhere enjoined in any Rubrick or Canon, the priest, in celebrating the Holy Communion, shall wear either a surplice with stole or with scarf and hood, or a white alb plain with a vestment or cope."
May I say quite definitely that if we are to have either peace or order in the Church of England no other rubric is possible, and I say this although I do not use, nor do I desire to use, the Eucharistic Vestments.
There are some who would desire to forbid the Eucharistic Vestments entirely. It must be realized that that is impossible. No direction to that effect would be obeyed in a large number of parishes by either clergy or laity. The two uses exist in the Church of England; both are in accordance with the traditions and history of the Church, and they must both be recognized. It does not seem to me that this is in the least a matter in which uniformity is necessary. While I sometimes receive complaints from parishes of the introduction in an unauthorized way of the use of the chasuble, I equally receive requests from other parishes that no change may be made in the use of the vestments which have become habitual and are appreciated. There is no necessary doctrinal import.
That I explained in my first charge. The vestments receive their meaning from the service, and do not give a meaning to it. There is no connection between them and any particular doctrine of sacrifice. In some sense the Eucharist is a sacrifice, and has been so described throughout the history of the Church; in what sense it is a sacrifice is perhaps a more difficult question. But really there is no symbolism of sacrifice in the chasuble. It is used in the Swedish Church. In the Roman Church it is spoken of as the distinctive dress of the priest, but is said to symbolize not sacrifice, but charity.
"Accipe vestem Sacerdotalem, per quam caritas intelligitur; potens enim est Deus, ut augeat tibi caritatem, et opus perfectum."
"Receive the Priestly garment, by which is signified charity: for God is powerful to increase in thee charity and the perfect work."
The Eucharistic Vestments represent the historical usage of the Christian Church.
I do not believe that there is any valid argument for condemning them on doctrinal grounds, nor do I feel that there can be any damage to the Church in their use, provided that it is confined to those parishes where clergy and people alike desire them. I am able to put this all the stronger because, as I have already stated, I do not use them or desire their use. I wear a cope in my cathedral, in accordance with the Canons, but personally I consider that the traditional English episcopal dress is more dignified. The question is to me a question of what is most edifying. To me the simple white surplice harmonizes better with the extreme solemnity of the Eucharist and with the traditions and ways of the Church of England than do the more ornate coloured vestments. But, although that is my own feeling, I cannot deny that there are many who would hold a different opinion. It is to a certain extent a matter of temperament. It is quite reasonable to feel that colour and light and warmth in our services are what is needed; that all that is most beautiful artistically should be employed. Music, vestments, lights will all help to arouse our feelings of worship and adoration. The symbolism used in the Book of the Revelation is surely not unsuited to the worship of a Christian Church.
I do not think that in this matter it is possible for either side to maintain an exclusive position, and we may, I think, appeal to all sections of the Church to accept this rubric, loyally interpreted in accordance with the other rubrics of the book as the basis of peace between different points of view.
THE ALLEGED DOCTRINAL CHANGES
THE changes made in the Canon which have been already described have been stated to be unscriptural and to have departed from the teaching of the Church of England. I do not think that this criticism can be maintained.
Let us consider first the teaching of Scripture. There are some who talk as if the words of the Bible were always on the side of negative theories of the Eucharist. That is, it seems to me, a position which cannot be maintained. There is great danger at the present day to some people of underrating their impressiveness. To begin with the words of institution, the very definite statements made by our Lord Himself "This is my body," "This is my blood" cannot be evacuated of all significance. There is no reason why we should hold that they are merely symbolical, and when we turn to the earliest interpretation of them, that of St. Paul, we find that to him their significance is great. Let us study the tenth and eleventh chapters of the first Epistle to the Corinthians.
There is, first of all, the parallel drawn between the sacraments of the old and the sacraments of the new Dispensation. The Israelites had received a Baptism at the beginning of' their history, and had received spiritual food from heaven—and the rock from which that spiritual food came was, St. Paul suggests, making use of the methods of interpretation familiar in Rabbinical Schools, "Christ." Yet because they sinned they had been punished, so much so that in one day there perished three and twenty thousand. All this was a warning to those who had the privilege of sharing the sacraments of the New Testament, and certainly the warning is needed, for the bread and wine mean Communion in the Body and Blood of Christ. The whole multitude of the faithful are made the one body of Christ because they are partakers of the one bread which is His Body. Just as in Israel and in ethnic sacrifices alike the sharing in the sacrificial meal was held to mean Communion with the deity, so for the Christian the sharing in the sacrificial meal, the Eucharist, meant union with Christ. We must interpret St. Paul's language in accordance with the ideas of the time, and this implies that the Christian Communion means a real sharing in the divine essence.
Then later, in the eleventh chapter, when he describes the Lord's Supper he tells us that those who eat and drink unworthily are guilty of the Body and mood of Christ, and just as they who partook of the Sacrament of the Old Testament and sinned had received punishment, so "He that eateth and drinketh eateth and and drinketh judgment unto himself, if he discern not the body. For this cause many among you are weak and sickly, and not a few sleep." Now St. Paul's argument may not be one which will appeal to many at the present day, but we are not concerned with the validity of the argument but with the belief as to the meaning of the Sacrament that it implies, and although there may not be anything which would justify some modern theories and certain theological language, it certainly does imply a belief in the supernatural character of the rite.
Then we turn to the Gospel of St. John and the sixth chapter. It is, I think, quite impossible to interpret this chapter without any reference to the Christian Eucharist, which was certainly a well-established and universal rite at the time when the words were written, nor if we believe the divine origin of our Lord's teaching need we hold that He could not teach with reference to a rite which He was afterwards to initiate. I have always believed that this chapter had the same meaning in relation to the Eucharist as the third chapter in relation to the other great Christian Sacrament. In both alike the purpose is to exalt the significance of the rite, but to make it clear that the interpretation is to be spiritual and not material. Quite early in the history of the Christian Church it was natural, considering the environment, that crude materialistic ideas should exist, and it was necessary to check these and at the same time preserve the significance of' the Sacraments. So we have: "Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," and " The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is everyone that is born of the Spirit," and then:
"Jesus therefore said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood ye have not life in ,Yourselves. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life . and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me and I in him."
Now it is, I think, impossible to believe that these words are intended to be understood without reference to the Eucharist, and then almost immediately afterwards we have:
"It is the Spirit that quickeneth the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I have spoken unto you are Spirit, and are life."
Now I will ask you to read and ponder carefully over all these passages in Scripture and consider their significance. They are naturally enough not expressed in the language of any later theories, and in fact are somewhat difficult to fit into any of those theories. But quite certainly they all alike imply that the Eucharist is a rite of great and spiritual significance. They imply that it has supernatural meaning and power. They are entirely inconsistent with the theory that it is merely a bare commemoration, or has only a subjective value. They imply that it is a Sacrament, with an outward sign and a spiritual grace, that it is a real gift from Christ to us. And let us remember that such an interpretation harmonizes with the thoughts and ideas of the times. Modern criticism teaches us that we must interpret the language of the Bible in accordance with the environment in which it was produced, and of one thing we may be certain, that the conceptions of modern negative and rationalistic criticism were entirely alien to those days, and that to introduce them is to be guilty of a crude anachronism.
And then as to the teaching of the Church of England. The Church of England has always been characterized by a wise moderation. It has, like the Christian Church for 1,200 years, not been too anxious to define. Until the Fourth Lateran Council there was no definition of Eucharistic doctrine, there was much theology—some good, some bad—but the belief of the Church was rightly expressed in its Liturgies. It is easy for us to unite in worship, it is impossible for us to unite in definition, for no human language and no human thought can be equal to so great a mystery. The English Church condemns Zwinglianism. It condemns also Transubstantiation.
"Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but it is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions."
It condemns also, I think we may say, all those crude and material theories which Transubstantiation was intended to correct. For it must be recognized that Transubstantiation rightly understood is not a material theory but a spiritual. I think the word "substance" has been very misleading, for to us it certainly has a crude and materialistic sound. It really means what we describe as "essence." According to this teaching, while the essence is changed, the accidents—hat is, everything that appeals to our sense—remain unchanged. It is based upon a philosophy which is untenable by us, but it is right to recognize that it has not the crudity about it which has been ascribed to it.
There are some English clergy at the present day who hold, or think they hold, a belief in Transubstantiation. I do not think that they understand in the least what it means; but it must be recognized that, as presumably they do not accept the scholastic philosophy which alone gives meaning to the term and is quite untenable as an hypothesis, they really do not know what they are committing themselves to. Transubstantiation at the present day is really an unintelligent belief, and I think that the same may be said of Consubstantiation.
Then, further, our Church teaches us that "the Body and Blood of Christ are verily and indeed taken and received by the Faithful in the Lord's Supper." A most significant sign of its teaching is the change that was made in the Prayer Book of 1661 in what is sometimes called the Black Rubric. Whereas in the 1552 Rubric the words were:
"Lest yet the same kneelynge myght be thought or taken otherwyse, we dooe declare that it is not mente thereby, that any adoracion is doone, or ought to be doone, eyther unto the Sacramentall bread or wyne there bodelye receyued, or unto anye reall and essenciall presence there beeyng of Chrystes naturall fleshe and bloude."
This is altered in 1661 to:
"It is here declared; that thereby no Adoration is intended, or ought to be done, either unto ye Sacramentall bread, or wine, there bodily received, or unto any Corporal Presence of Christ's naturall Flesh, and Blood."
The correction of real and essential presence" to "corporal" has always been recognized to be of great importance, and shows that our Church condemns any corporal or material theory, but not a spiritual theory of the divine presence. To sum up, I should hold that the Church of England, while condemning all materialistic theories, and all theories which make the Sacrament a bare memorial or a mere sign, teaches the reality of the spiritual gift, and does not condemn any belief in a spiritual presence.
Let us now turn to the Prayer of Consecration in the old book. I have always thought it the most unsatisfactory part of our Communion Service, not because it is insufficient as a Consecration prayer, but because it is only too likely to lead to crude and magical views of the action of the priest in Consecration. The element of prayer is very slight, and it suggests that the Act of Consecration is simply the recital of the Words of Institution. If the teaching of our Church were Zwinglian that would be satisfactory—in fact, I do not think that we could desire anything else; but as that is not what the Church teaches, as it believes that there is a real gift in the Sacrament, it seems to me only too likely to lead to magical views—to the idea that it is the priest who brings the gift by the recital of certain words. Let me quote from one of the Grey Book pamphlets:
"Our present Prayer of Consecration ends with the Words of Institution, and no one will dispute that they make a solemn climax: and the intention of bringing the Act of Communion as near to the recital of the Institution as possible is one which has much to commend it. But in practice grievous and unexpected results have followed. In certain quarters the words have been invested with an almost magical efficacy, and treated as though, in their present isolated position, they affected the consecration ex opere operato, a doctrine not at all borne out by a careful study of early Liturgies, Further, the sudden ending of the prayer at this point has made it all too possible for those who are so inclined to add silently words and actions from the Roman Mass or other sources,"
Let us now turn to the new Prayer of Consecration and examine with care its doctrinal significance, The prayer itself is constructed on definitely Anglican lines, and is similar to that we have in the First Prayer Book of Edward VI. (with one important change), to the Scotch Office, and the American Prayer Book. I think there has always been a feeling that the prayer that we owe to the Book of 1552 is not satisfactory.
It begins with a clear statement of the uniqueness of the one sacrifice once offered, a statement which, did we not recognize the necessity for it, we might think somewhat over-dogmatic; but no one can really doubt that it is essential that the teaching of the Church of England on this point should be made quite clear. Then follow the Words of Institution, and then the Memorial or Anamnesis. Following the example of the old Liturgies we commemorate not only the Death and Passion, but also the Resurrection and Ascension—the whole drama of Redemption. So in the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom, the main service of the Orthodox Church:
"We, therefore, remembering this salutary precept, and all that happened for us: the Cross, the tomb, the resurrection on the third day, the ascension into Heaven, the session on the right hand, the second and glorious coming again."
It will, I think, be recognized that this thanksgiving for the evangelical history adds to the scriptural character of the service. It also harmonizes with the words of St. Paul:
"As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come." It is complained that the showing forth in the prayer is not only to man but to God, and it is suggested that that means in some way a repetition of the sacrifice of Christ. In view of what has been held and is held in another community, there might be some grounds for this belief were it not that in the Consecration prayer itself any thought of the repetition of the sacrifice is guarded against, and that there is a well-balanced theology behind this memorial before God. As Jesus Christ himself pleads for us in heaven, for "Christ is entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us," who" ever liveth to make intercession," so surely we may plead the merit of His death before God. I do not know that I can do better than quote a well-known hymn, equally distinguished for the depth of its devotional feeling and for the balance of its theology, in which Dr. Bright expressed the teaching of the English Church:
"And now, O Father, mindful of the love
That bought us, once for all, on Calvary's Tree,
And having with us Him that pleads above,
We here present, we here spread forth to Thee
That only Offering perfect in Thine eyes,
The one true, pure, immortal Sacrifice.
Look, Father, look on His anointed Face,
And only look on us as found in Him;
Look not on our misusings of Thy grace,
Our prayer so languid, and our faith so dim:
For lo! between our sins and their reward
We set the Passion of Thy Son our Lord."
The Memorial is followed by the Epiclesis or Invocation of the Holy Spirit. This was a feature of all ancient Liturgies, but is not found in the Roman Mass or our English Prayer Book. It is contained, also, in the Scotch and American offices. Moreover, there are considerable grounds for believing that it was present in the earlier forms of the Roman use. We find it, at any rate, in the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus, the earliest liturgical document of that Church, written at the beginning of the third century.
I do not know that there is any more important change made in the new Prayer Book than this introduction of an invocation of the Holy Spirit, for it emphasizes more than anything else the fact that the whole action in the Holy Communion is spiritual. Our English Prayer Book, like the Roman Mass, is capable of a mechanical, almost magical, interpretation, as if something happened by the recitation of a formula by the priest.. This is alien to all evangelical religion and the true Catholic tradition that the priest and people together pray God, through His Holy Spirit, to give us these spiritual gifts. The whole action is in the realm of the Spirit, and there is in it nothing material or mechanical.
We come now to the words which follow the Invocation, they are—
"that they may be unto os the Body and Blood of thy Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, to the end that we receiving the same, may be strengthened and refreshed both in body and soul."
These words are important because they imply that the gift which is given us in the Holy Communion is one that is relative to the Church, and, secondly, that it is given us for reception. Here are some illustrations of this. The first is from the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom:
"Changing them by thy Holy Spirit, so that they may be to those who partake for purification of soul, forgiveness of sins, communion of the Holy Spirit."
So in the Apostolic Constitutions:
"And we beseech thee that thou wilt look graciously upon these gifts now lying before thee, O God who art in need of nought, and accept them to the honour of thy Christ, and that thou wilt send down thy Holy Spirit, the witness of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus; upon this sacrifice, that he may make this bread the Body of thy Christ. and this cup the Blood of thy Christ; that all who shall partake thereof may be confirmed in piety."
And there is the same subjective element in the language of the Roman Mass:
"ut nobis corpus et sanguis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi "
"that it may become to us the Body and Blood of thy most beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord."
So also a Russian theologian tells us:
"This Sacrament is in the Church, and for the Church; not for the outside world, not for fire, not for irrational creatures, not for corruption, and not for the man who has not heard the law of Christ." *
|* Khomiakoff' in Russia and the English Church, by W. J. Birkbeck, pp. 207, 208.
| Then comes the oblation taken from the Prayer of Oblation in our present Communion Service, emphasizing the belief that the sacrifice offered in the Communion Service is our own sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, and of "ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice." Here following, above all, the teaching of St. Augustine as of our own Prayer Book:
"The whole redeemed City itself, that is, the congregation and society of the Saints, is offered as a universal sacrifice to God by the High Priest, who offered even Himself in suffering for us in the form of a servant, that we might be the body of so great a Head. For this form of a servant did He offer, in this was He offered, for in this is He mediator and priest and sacrifice. And so when the Apostle exhorted us that we should present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, our reasonable service, and that we be not conformed to this world but reformed in the newness of our mind, to prove what is the will of God, that which is good and well pleasing and complete, which whole sacrifice we ourselves are . . . This is the sacrifice of Christians: 'the many one body in Christ.' Which also the Church celebrates in the Sacrament of the altar, familiar to the faithful, where it is shewn to her that in this thing which she offers she herself is offered."*
It is sometimes said that the new Consecration Prayer is Romanizing in its tendency. That is really a mistake. There are two types of Communion Service. The one conforms to the usage of the Eastern Church, the other to that of the Roman Mass; and, in every essential point, our new Consecration Prayer belongs to the Eastern type.
As soon as the Christian Church began to pass from a religious and devotional view of the Eucharist to a scholarly and philosophical one, there arose a discussion among theologians as to the exact moment of consecration, and the exact words which may be considered efficacious for the purpose. It was not, perhaps, a very profitable or wise discussion, but it is necessary to realize that the question arose. The Christian Church, as we may judge from the earlier Liturgies, had recited the words of Institution, and they prayed that God, through the operation of His Holy Spirit might give us the spiritual benefits of the Holy Communion; but the belief grew up in the Western Church, that by the recital of the words of Institution by the Priest, a change in the Elements took place; and then, later, came the development of the scholastic doctrine of Transubstantiation. As a result of this tendency the Epiklesis, that is, the Invocation of the Holy Spirit, dropped out in the Western form of service, although, probably, as we shall see in a moment, it was originally present there.
If we may contrast the two views, according to the one the emphasis is laid on the action of the Priest, who recites certain words and a change takes place. According to the other view the whole action is presented in the region of the spiritual. It is through the Holy Ghost that, in and through the Consecrated Elements, the spiritual gift comes to us. The Consecration Prayer of the old Communion Office is quite compatible with modern Roman theology, although some might think it rather meagre. But the new Consecration Prayer definitely forbids it, for, following the tradition of the Eastern Liturgies, and, probably also, the earlier for of Western, it first recites the words of Institution, and then afterwards recites the Invocation of the Spirit. The real difficulty with regard to the new form is that it will be somewhat unpalatable to that section of the Anglo-Catholic Party, which is most definitely Western in its theology. That is why there were such long discussions in the House of Clergy on this subject, and why, ultimately, two alternative forms of the Consecration Prayer were suggested to the Bishops. Our new Communion Office is, I believe, evangelical in character, and harmonizes with modern thought. It will satisfy the great body of English High Churchmen, but it is out of harmony with Roman Theology. It is not capable, as was the old, of mechanical explanation. It represents the whole action as taking place in the sphere of the spirit. It does not suggest any particular moment when a change takes place in the Elements, but would allow the belief that it is through the whole action of the Service that the spiritual gifts come to us. It is, in fact, Catholic, in the best sense of the word. It is evangelical, for it is spiritual, not mechanical, in its implication. It is in accord with the best traditions of the Church of England, and is quite compatible with any form of modern thought which recognizes the spiritual basis of life.
As regards the historical authority for this type of Consecration Prayer. and of the theology that underlies it, there has been a certain amount of confusion, and it may be as well to review the evidence. There can be no doubt that in all the Eastern Liturgies, including that of the Apostolical Constitution, which dates from the end of the fourth century, it is present. The only exception, so far as I know, is the Prayer of Serapion, which dates from about the year 350, and there, while the theology is the same, the invocation is to the Word:
"O God of Truth let thy Holy Word come upon this Bread that the Bread may become Body of the Word, and upon the Cup that the Cup may become Blood of the Truth."
But shortly afterwards comes the phrase: " For we have invoked Thee, through the only begotten in the Holy Spirit."
If we pass to the West, our earliest evidence is that of Hippolytus, about the year 225, and here the invocation to the Spirit seems to me clear; nor was Dr. Armitage Robinson correct in the interpretation which he put upon it in his most misleading speech in the Lower House of Convocation:
"Mindful therefore of His Death and Resurrection we offer to Thee this Bread and this Cup giving thanks to Thee, because Thou hast deemed us worthy to stand before Thee and minister unto Thee; and we beseech Thee that Thou wouldst send Thy Holy Spirit upon this oblation of thy Holy Church, and that joining them together Thou wouldst grant it to all Thy Holy Ones who partake, for fulfilment with the Holy Spirit, and for the confirmation of faith in truth,"
This is a little obscure, and one is inclined to suspect a corruption; in fact, I think that a good deal more critical work is necessary with regard to The Apostolic Tradition; but I do not think that it is true to say, as the Dean of Wells does, that "it is not an invocation of' the Holy Spirit for the purpose of effecting a change in the Elements, it is a Prayer for renewal of Holiness."
It is quite true that the Epiklesis does not occur in all Gallican forms. That is natural, because they gradually assimilated themselves to the later Western tradition ; but when we find an Epiklesis in all the Eastern forms, in the earliest Roman form and in the early Gallican forms, the right, and I think necessary, deduction, is that it is one of the most primitive features of the Consecration Prayer.
And now turn to the Roman Mass. Monseigneur Duchuesne finds the Epiklesis in the following prayer at the end of the Canon:
"We most humbly beseech Thee, Almighty God, command these things to be carried out by the hands of thy Holy Angel to Thy Altar on high, in sight of Thy Divine Majesty, that as many of us as by participation at this Altar shall receive the most sacred Body and Blood of Thy Son may be filled with all heavenly benediction and grace."
I think it is sufficiently important to quote his commentary upon this passage,
"This prayer is far from exhibiting the precision of the Greek formularies, in which there is a specific mention of the grace prayed for, that is, the intervention of the Holy Spirit to effect the transformation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. It is true, nevertheless (1) that it occupies. in regard to the subject-matter and the logical connection of the formulary, the exact place of the Greek Epiclesis: and (2) that it also is a prayer to God for His intervention in the mystery. But whilst the Greek Liturgies use here clear and simple terms, the Roman Liturgy embodies its meaning in symbolical forms. It prays that the angel of the Lord may take the oblation from the visible altar and bear it to the highest heaven, to the invisible altar, before the shrine of the Divine Majesty. This symbolical transference is ill a contrary sense to that implied in the Greek formulary; it involves not the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the oblation, but the elevation by God's angel of the oblation to heaven. But in both cases alike it is after it has been brought near to, and has participated in, the Divine Virtue that it is called the Body and Blood of Christ. "*
I venture to think that this short survey will be sufficient to show that we are right in claiming a Catholic Authority for the new Consecration Prayer. I think our study may stop here, and I would put it to you that this Consecration prayer is evangelical, scriptural, and traditional. It guards adequately the uniqueness of the one Sacrament once offered ; it commemorates the great facts of evangelical history alike before God and man; it reminds us, by the invocation of the Holy Ghost, that the whole of this action is in the sphere of spiritual, and not of material, things, that the gifts are the spiritual food of the Body and Blood of Christ, given to the Church, and given that, by devout reception, we may attain the blessings which they bring; and it reminds us that the great sacrifice that is offered is that of ourselves, our souls and our bodies, the sacrifice of the whole Church united with our Lord Jesus Christ, so that it is His body.
* S. Augustinus, De Civitate Dei, x. 6. I have ventured to use the translation of Dr. Darwell Stone (History of the Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, i., 123, 124) , to whom I am indebted for the quotation.
|* Christian Worship: Its Origin and Evolution, by Mgr. L. Duchcsne. Translated from the Third French Edition by M. L. McClure. S.P.C.K., pp. 181, 182. In the First French Edition it will be found on pp. 173, 174. In an interesting letter to The Times, Professor Vernon Bartlett suggests the omission in the new Prayer Book of the words in the Epiclesis, "And these thy gifts of Bread and Wine," on the ground that they would be unpalatable to those who would think that the Consecration takes place at the recital of the words of Institution. As, however, in the Roman Mass, after the words of Institution, the expression is used, "The Holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation," I hardly think that there is need for this fear. As Mgr. Duchesne points out, our prayer in this particular conforms exactly to the use of the Roman Mass.
THE third point upon which controversy will arise, and will arise in both directions, is with regard to Reservation. This is allowed under conditions quite clearly defined.
First of all there is Communion direct from the altar. The rubric is as follows:
"When the Holy Communion cannot reverently or without grave difficulty be celebrated in private, and also when there are several sick persons in the parish desirous to receive the Communion on the same day, it shall be lawful for the Priest (with the consent of the sick person or persons) on any day when there is a celebration of the Holy Communion in the Church, to set apart at the open Communion so much of the consecrated Bread and Wine as shall serve the sick person (or persons), and so many as shall communicate with him (if there be any). And, the open Communion ended, he shall, on the same day and with as little delay as may be, go and minister the same."
Secondly, what is called perpetual reservation is allowed, but under strict conditions:
"If further provision be needed in order to secure that any sick person may not lack the benefit of the most comfortable Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, the Priest, if licensed by the Bishop so to do, may to that end, when the Holy Communion is celebrated in the Church, reserve so much of the consecrated Bread and Wine as is needed for the purpose. And the Bishop shall grant such licence if satisfied of the need, unless in any particular case he see good reason to the contrary."
Then, thirdly, the conditions under which such reservation is allowed are as follows:
"The consecrated Bread and Wine set apart under either of the two preceding rubricks shall be reserved only for the Communion of the Sick, shall be administered in both kinds, and shall be used for no other purpose whatever. There shall be no service or ceremony in connexion with the Sacrament so reserved, nor shall it be exposed or removed, except in order to be received in Communion, or otherwise reverently consumed. All other questions that may arise concerning such Reservation shall be determined by rules, framed by the Arch-bishop and Bishops of the Province, or by Canons lawfully made by the Convocation of the Province, and subject to any such rules and Canons by the direction of the Bishop."
Here it may be noted that Perpetual Reservation is only allowed with the definite permission of the Bishop, which of course will not be refused unreasonably, whose business it will be to see whether the circumstances of the parish make the demand for such Reservation proper. Further, it is definitely to be reserved for Communion of the Sick and for that purpose only, and regulations of a very careful character are added to secure that restriction. It will thus be seen that, so far as is possible, the Reservation which is allowed and conceded is most carefully guarded. It is to be for the Communion of the Sick, and for no other purpose whatever.
Now these regulations will be criticized from both sides. First of all, there are those who would prohibit any form of Reservation. I do not think that that is an attitude that we can reasonably adopt. There are parishes in which in some form it appears to be necessary. It is necessary in those in which there is a large number of sick communicants—people who have been for many years regular communicants, and who desire to be communicated at Easter and the other great festivals. It is not possible for a priest to celebrate separately for thirty or forty sick people. Then it is necessary in hospitals, and for those sick and dying persons who cannot bear the full service and yet would wish to receive the Communion. I do not doubt that there are many parishes in which the demand for Reservation for the Communion of the Sick is quite an honest one. It must be remembered that with a considerable section of the Church of England their religion has become much more sacramental than was the case in old times, and the sacramental ordinances which are undoubtedly contained in the Prayer Book have much more meaning and significance than used to be the case. When a demand is reasonable, if there is no valid argument against it, it should be conceded, and I do not think that there is any doctrinal reason against it. The Sacrament is used for the purpose for which it was given, and there is a real appropriateness in the Communion of the Sick from the altar of the parish church. The sick who cannot be present are united with those who are present in spiritual union.
It is quite true that there may be those who desire to reserve ostensibly for the Communion of the Sick really for another purpose. I do not think that you will have any power to restrain such people by forbidding Reservation altogether. You will really be giving them an ostensibly just grievance. They will be able to say that you are hampering them in their pastoral work. But if you meet their reasonable requests, you will then be in a far stronger position to appeal to their loyalty, and to allow the influence of wise theology to prevail; for I do not think that ultimately you can prevent extra-liturgical adoration of the Sacrament, and the services connected with it, unless you can show that it is theologically unsound. Our religious belief will ultimately be dependent upon a wise theology.
In allowing Reservation when it is necessary, I would not desire to do anything to supersede our old Prayer Book service for the Communion of the Sick. I have always felt that it was one of the most beautiful and affecting of our services. I have known great spiritual gain coming to many from it, and I think that wherever it is possible and desired we should make any sacrifice to provide it. I think, further, that we should encourage our people to ask for it and desire it. And I mean by any sacrifice this—that a clergyman who normally makes a rule of celebrating fasting, even a rigid rule, should always be prepared to celebrate at any time of the day or night, fasting or not fasting, for the benefit of his sick people. I do not count the difficulties with regard to fasting among the arguments for Reservation. The fasting Communion and the rule of celebrating fasting are, I believe, for many a healthy discipline, but they should never be turned into a principle or made too rigid. The spiritual well-being of our people should always overpower any such rule.
Then, on the other side, there will be some who want more. Let us say quite clearly that whereas in their demand for Reservation for the sick they stand on historical grounds, and do not ask anything inconsistent with evangelical truth, in their demand for extra-liturgical services of devotion, they are passing from the custom and tradition of the whole Christian Church, and they are demanding what a wise theology would condemn. Extra-liturgical adoration is not Catholic. It is unknown in the Eastern Church and for more than a thousand years in the Western. The gift of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Communion is given us by our Lord definitely and explicitly for the purpose of Communion. Neither in the service that He instituted nor in the liturgical tradition of the Christian Church for many centuries is there any evidence of any other purpose.
It is argued by some that as we adore Christ present in the service of the Eucharist, so we should adore Him as present in the elements separate from the service. I do not believe that this is a legitimate deduction, nor is the position theologically sound. We adore Christ as present in the Eucharist, not because He comes among us suddenly when the priest speaks certain words, but because we believe that in accordance with His promise He is present with us throughout the whole action. He is the High Priest of every Eucharist. The consecration is His consecration. The gift is His gift. He being present among us, as meeting together in His name, gives us the spiritual gifts of His Body and Blood. These gifts are very real, but they are gifts given us for a particular purpose, and should be used for that purpose and no other. Christ is present in the service of the Liturgy, and therefore we rightly adore Him as present among us. We do not adore Him as present in the eucharistic elements.
I believe that in regard to Reservation every rational and valid concession, if it can be called a concession (I do not like the term), has been made, and I believe that the new regulations of the Prayer Book will adapt it to the very varying needs of different parishes and different circumstances; but to those who desire to go further, who desire, or think they desire, Perpetual Reservation for the sake of worship, I would make a strong appeal. I would ask them to consider how inconsistent such a desire is with the Christian life as depicted for us in the Gospels, or with the action and words of our Lord at the Institution, or, I would add, with the traditions of Catholic theology. Christ is the minister of the Sacrament, and as the minister present among us we worship Him. Christ in the Holy Communion gives us His Body and Blood to be our spiritual food. Christ, "Himself the Victim and Himself the Priest," celebrates the sacrifice which He once offered for the sins of the whole world. We worship Him as present in every Eucharist, and we receive from Him the gifts of His Body and Blood. We worship Him, not as present in the gifts, but as giving them to us, and the Christian Church for more than a thousand years treated these gifts with all reverence, but did not make them in any way the objects of its worship. We have given us in the Sacrament all that is needed to respond to our deepest spiritual aspirations, and there is nothing in it so explained which is open to the suspicion or accusation of superstition.
I believe this teaching is loyal to the traditions of the Church of England and of the Catholic Church, and on such a basis I should hope that we might be able to unite.
PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD
THE fourth point on which difficulties may be felt is Prayers for the Dead. I do not think that this is a point on which the same. difficulties will be felt as might have been the case a few years ago. Ever since the war the custom of remembering the departed in our prayers has prevailed widely. It has been adopted by many of those who are commonly designated as evangelicals, and has been felt to respond to a real and natural need.
Nor need we be troubled with the theological implications. It is, it must be remembered, prayer for the faithful departed. It is a custom which dates from the very earliest days of the Christian Church. It is quite independent of any belief in purgatory. It was a Christian custom long before any such belief was formulated. It means that we recognize that the departed are still in a state of spiritual progress, and therefore need the help of prayer in the life to come as well as in this life, that our salvation comes to us as the divine response to the prayers of the whole go Church, that it is through our prayers on behalf of the departed, and their prayers, as we may believe, on behalf of us, that we are knit together with the Saints in one Communion and Fellowship. The spiritual life of the whole Church comes from mutual prayer.
The following passage from the same Russian theologian whom we have quoted above will illustrate what has been said:
"Just as each of us requires prayers from all, so each person owes his prayers on behalf of all, the living and the dead, and even those who are as yet unborn: for in praying, as we do with all the Church, that the world may come to the knowledge of God, we pray not only for the present generation, but for those whom God will hereafter call into life. We pray for the living that the grace of God may be upon them, and for the dead that they may become worthy of the vision of God's face. We know nothing of an intermediate state of souls, which have neither been received into the kingdom of God, nor condemned to torture, for of such a state we have received no teaching either from the Apostles or from Christ; we do not acknowledge Purgatory, that is, the purification of souls by sufferings from which they may be redeemed by their own works or those of others: for the Church knows nothing of salvation by outward means, nor any sufferings whatever they may be, except those of Christ; nor of bargaining with God, as in the case of a man buying himself off by good works.
"All such heathenism as this remains with the inheritors of the wisdom of the heathen, with those who pride themselves of place, or name, or in territorial dominion, and who have instituted an eighth Sacrament of dead faith. But we pray in the spirit of love, knowing that no one will be saved otherwise than by the prayer of all the Church, in which Christ lives, knowing and trusting that so long as the end of time has not come, all the members of the Church, both living and departed, are being perfected incessantly by mutual prayer....
"Let no one say: 'What prayer shall I apportion for the living or the departed, when my prayers are insufficient even for myself?' For if he is not able to pray, of what use would it be to pray even for himself? But in truth the spirit of love prays in him. Likewise let him not say: 'What is the good of my prayer for another, when he prays for himself, and Christ Himself intercedes for him?' When a man prays, it is the spirit of love which prays within him. Let him not say: 'It is even now impossible to change the judgment of God,' for his prayer itself is included in the ways of God, and God foresaw it. If he be a member of the Church his prayer is necessary for all her members. If the hand should say, that it did not require blood from the rest of the body, and that would not give its own blood to it, the hand would wither. So a man is also necessary to the Church, as long as he is in her: and if he withdraws himself from communion with her, he perishes himself and will cease to be any longer a member of the Church. The Church prays for all, and we pray together for all; but our prayer must be true, and a true expression of love, and not a mere form of words. Not being able to love all men, we pray for those whom we love, and our prayer is not hypo-critical; but we pray God, that we may be able to love all, and pray for all without hypocrisy. Mutual prayer is the blood of the Church, and the glorification of God her breath. We pray in a spirit of love, not of interest; in the spirit of filial freedom, not of the law of the hireling demanding his pay. Every man who asks: 'What use is there in prayer?' acknowledges himself to be in bondage. True prayer is true love." *
* Khomiakoff, op. cit., pp. 217, 218.
SOME GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS
I HAVE now reviewed the main changes which have been made in the revised Prayer Book and discussed the principal points on which controversy is likely to arise. I would conclude with certain general observations.
In the first place as regards this diocese. I think that it will be noticed that on every point of importance but one the new Prayer Book agrees with the voting of our Diocesan Conference. You will remember that a very large majority of the Conference were in favour of the permissive use of vestments, Prayers for the Departed, and Reservation for the Sick only. A very large majority were equally opposed to Reservation for any other purpose. The point on which the Prayer Book differs from the voting at the Conference is the provision of the alternative Communion Office. I have already explained the reasons why that was decided on, and I think it must be admitted that they have weight. I still am of opinion that two forms of Communion, two forms of Baptism (although these differ in no important point), and two forms of Confirmation are a mistake just as two alternative forms of Ordination must be, but a pledge had been made and the policy had been accepted. I believe that the new forms of Communion Baptism, and Confirmation are in all cases very much better than the old, and our aim must be to make their use universal. But I think for this diocese, at any rate, which finds the new Prayer Book corresponding so closely to what it desired, the proper attitude must certainly be that of loyal acceptance.
But now I wish to turn to another side of the new book. It is quite true that things which some thought of doubtful legality under the old Prayer Book are now definitely authorized, but that is only one side of what the new Prayer Book does. It is true that it authorizes them, but it also prohibits their introduction except with the consent of the people. The following general rubric is also inserted in the Measure:
"In as much as it is to be desired that changes sanctioned by this Book in the customary arrangement and conduct of the Services should not be made arbitrarily or without the good Will of the people as represented in the Parochial Church Council: any question which may arise between the Minister of a parish and the people as so represented with regard to such changes shall stand referred to the Bishop of the Diocese, who after such consultation as he shall think best both with the Minister and with the people shall make orders thereupon, and these orders shall be final."
Here the authority of the people as represented in their Parochial Church Council with regard to innovations is definitely and clearly laid down. No change is to be made in the services by introducing anything allowed in this book without the consent of the people. For instance, if a clergyman wishes to introduce vestments, he cannot do it without the consent of the Parochial Church Council. If he does so, the Council may appeal to the Bishop. Then the Bishop may investigate the matter, he has to adjudicate on it, and his decision is final. If he found that a small majority of the Parochial Church Council was acting contrary to the wishes of a large majority of the electoral roll, he might overrule the Church Council. But he is bound to ensure that the minister of the parish acts as far as possible in harmony with the people of the parish. Exactly the same procedure would take place if the minister wished to introduce the surplice in the place of vestments. If the people want a change and the minister does not, they may appeal to the Bishop, but he cannot order the minister to make a change which he does not wish. The proposed Measure is constructed to respect the scruples of any clergyman who might feel that something is required of him in the new book which was not contained in his ordination vow.
Neither the new Communion Office nor any part of it can be used by the minister without the consent of the people, and the same will apply to all other services.
Now I venture to think that this provision is one of great importance, both to prevent the arbitrary and unreasonable introduction of services and innovations where they are not desired, and also to establish the principle that the conduct of the services is a matter which concerns priest and people together. The priest should be the leader of his people, and it is for him to instruct and advise them, but his business is to lead and not to drive, and, until he can persuade them to follow him, he must acquiesce in the customs that they prefer. No doubt, especially in country districts, there will be minorities, just as there are now, but the aim of the book is to show consideration for minorities, and the Bishop will be able to use the powers with which he is entrusted on their behalf. The two notes of the new Prayer Book are the satisfaction of the legitimate aims of different sections of the Church and consideration for the religious demands of the layman.
I would say a word to those sections of the Church which are inclined to assume an attitude of determined opposition to the new book. There are, first of all, those who are frightened that what the Prayer Book will allow will mean a romanizing tendency. I venture to suggest to them that an entirely opposite view would really be the right one. The Church of England is based upon the conception of historical Christianity. It recognizes the principles of catholicity. It bases itself on those beliefs and customs for which there has been continuous witness in the Christian Church. Its sacramental customs and beliefs are those for which, in accordance with the principles of the English Reformation, the authority is not only mediaeval, but also that of the undivided Church. Now this position represents to an intelligent person the strongest antithesis to Romanism. Our Church has a sound and logical position behind it, and nothing that has been introduced into the Prayer Book is inconsistent with the position and principles of the English Reformation.
Let them face the actual facts of the case.
The eucharistic vestments are worn in this diocese in seventy or eighty churches, and generally with the approval of the parish. Prayers for the Dead have become widely used in all sections of the Church. Reservation is asked for in many churches quite loyal in every way to the teaching of the Church. A large portion of the minor reforms represent the legitimation of what is already done. The fuller Canon of the new Communion Office represents the traditions of a large part of the Anglican Communion. To refuse such things would not make for the peace or the strength of the Church. To grant them enables the great body of the clergy to be whole-heartedly loyal.
Then there are those who want more, who will always be wanting more, who are said to be preparing to continue to do just what they like in the future as they have in the past, and intend to ignore the restriction of the new Prayer Book as of the old. They will not be content with Reservation for the Sick only. They want a Communion Service adapted to the lines of the Roman Mass. They would like to add many things not allowed at present. Now I would venture to suggest to them that their position is wholly un-Catholic. To demand in particular that their Communion Service should be assimilated to the Roman Mass means confusing two different rites. A priest is ordained to celebrate according to a particular rite; for a Latin priest to celebrate according to the Greek rite, or for a Greek priest to celebrate according to the Latin rite, would be in the highest degree irregular. We have in the Church of England an admirable rite; to that we should conform. To substitute for it the Roman Canon (as some, I am told, do), or to interpolate in it extracts from the Roman Canon, is not to act as a Catholic, but to make a blunder. The revised Canon is a revision of the Anglican rite and not an imitation of the Roman, and as such demands the loyal acceptance of those who belong to the Anglican Church.
And I would venture to add one more point. The English people are very patient and long-suffering. They have borne with even the extravagance of the Anglo-Catholic party, but quite clearly there is a limit to their patience. There are signs that that limit is being reached. If they find that a section of the clergy are not prepared to conform loyally to the limitations—very wide limitations—which have been granted, there may be a strong and dangerous reaction, and much more that the clergy value may be in peril.
The new Prayer Book gives quite legally and without any difficult or doubtful interpretations very wide latitude in the Church of England. It is a tolerant and comprehensive measure, and as such harmonizes with the characteristics of the present day. But if we accept that latitude it must mean also loyalty; and I would ask you all to accept the new Prayer Book, gradually to learn to use its very much wider liberty and richer liturgical material, but always to combine its use with a determination to be loyal to the liberty which is granted us.
There is, perhaps, one more aspect from which the new Prayer Book should be considered. What will be its relation to the hopes of Christian Reunion? Now, if this means, Is it constructed on the principle of conciliating either Nonconformist or Romanist by the concessions and alterations that it makes? I am quite clear that it does not fulfil any such aim. I do not think that it is desirable that it should, for I am sure that no Reunion of any permanence or value could be secured in that way. But if we take a longer outlook, it does, I think, a great deal. For it may be looked upon as an attempt to construct a service book which contains all the elements which will make a real unity possible in the future. For on what basis will it be possible that some day Christians might come together? It is a basis which will be historical or Catholic, evangelical, and harmonious with the realities of modern thought. Towards such a basis this Prayer Book is an essay. It is no doubt an imperfect attempt. Any such book must be imperfect, for we can only move slowly. But I have tried to show how this new book aims at being more Catholic than its predecessor, how it aims at being more evangelical, how it aims at fitting our worship to the conditions of modern life. In all those directions it accomplishes much, and therefore it will prepare for creating a basis on which Christians may be able in the future to come together. It harmonizes with the traditions and aims of the Church of England; it suggests an ordered and intelligent comprehensiveness; it will give us services well constructed, simple, and edifying; it has lost nothing of the dignity of the old Prayer Book; it preserves its merit and has removed its defects, and will be found to deserve the gratitude of Churchmen, and to be a power to strengthen and deepen our religious life.
IT seemed to me that it would be an interesting illustration of what has been said in this Charge if I added some examples of the Consecration Prayers drawn from different periods in Church History and different ecclesiastical regions. The earliest, that of "The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus," dates from the beginning of the third century; that of the Roman Mass, very nearly its present form, from the fifth century; but the remarkable resemblance in structure and character of both the Eastern and Western form shows that their common origin must be quite early. I have to express my thanks to the Secretary of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge for his kindness in allowing me to make use of the translations contained in Twenty-five Consecration Prayers, with notes and introduction, by Arthur Linton, published by that Society.
(1) THE APOSTOLIC TRADITION OF HIPPOLYTUS (c. 225)
(Translated from Latin text of Hauler, with Ethiopic additions.)
The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up unto the Lord.
Let us give thanks unto the Lord.
It is meet and right.
We give Thee thanks,O God, through Thy beloved Son Jesus Christ, Whom in the last days Thou didst send to us, a Saviour and Redeemer, and Angel of Thy counsel ; Who is Thy inseparable Word, through Whom Thou didst make all things, and He was well pleasing unto Thee: Thou didst send Him from heaven into the womb of a Virgin; He was conceived and became incarnate, and was shown to be Thy Son, being born of the Holy Spirit and a Virgin; Who, fulfilling Thy will and acquiring a holy people for Thee, stretched out His hands for suffering that He might free from suffering those who believed in Thee. And when He was betrayed to His voluntary passion, that He might loose (the pains of) death and break the chains of the devil, might tread underfoot (the powers of) Hell, and lead forth the righteous, fix the boundary thereof and make known His Resurrection, taking bread and giving thanks to Thee, He said: TAKE, EAT: THIS IS MY BODY WHICH IS BROKEN FOR YOU. Likewise also the cup saying: THIS IS MY BLOOD, WHICH IS SHED FOR YOU: AS OFTEN AS YE DO THIS YE SHALL DO IT FOR MY MEMORIAL.
Mindful, therefore, of His death and resurrection, we offer to Thee this bread, and this cup, giving thanks to Thee because Thou hast deemed us worthy to stand before Thee find minister unto Thee: and we beseech Thee that Thou wouldst send Thy Holy Spirit upon this oblation of Thy Holy Church: and that joining them together Thou wouldest grant it to all Thy holy one' who partake, for fulfillment with the Holy Spirit and for the confirmation of faith in truth; that we may praise Thee and glorify Thee through Thy Son Jesus Christ; through Whom to Thee be glory and honour, to Father and Son with the Holy Spirit, in Thy Holy Church, both now and to the ages of the ages. Amen.
People. As it was and is and shall be to generation of generations, and to the ages of the ages. Amen. (In Ethiopic only.)
(2) SERAPION (c. 350)
(Translation from "The Prayer Book of Serapion" [Wordsworth], by the permission of the S.P.C.K.)
The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.
Let us lift up our hearts.
We lift them up unto the Lord.
Let us give thanks unto the Lord.
It is meet and right.
It is meet and right to praise, to hymn, to glorify Thee the uncreated Father of the Only-Begotten Jesus Christ. We praise Thee, O uncreated God, Who art unsearchable, ineffable, incomprehensible by any created substance. We praise Thee, Who art known of Thy Son, the Only-Begotten, Who through Him art spoken of and interpreted and made known to created nature. We praise Thee, Who knowest the Son and revealed to the saints the glories that are about Him; who art known of Thy Begotten Word, and are brought to the sight and interpreted to the understanding of the Saints. We praise Thee, O unseen Father, Provider of immortality. Thou art the Fount of life, the Fount of light, the Fount of all grace and all truth, O lover of men, O lover of the poor, Who reconcilest Thyself to all, and drawest all to Thyself through the advent of Thy beloved Son. We beseech Thee make us living men. Give us a spirit of light, that we may know Thee the true (God) and Him Whom Thou didst send, (even) Jesus Christ. Give us Holy Spirit that we may be able to tell forth and to enunciate Thy unspeakable mysteries. May the Lord Jesus speak in us and Holy Spirit, and hymn Thee through us.
For Thou art far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come. Beside Thee stand thousand thousands and myriad myriads of angels, archangels, thrones, dominions, principalities, powers. By Thee stand the two most honourable six-winged Seraphim, with two wings covering the face, and with two the feet, and with two flying, and crying holy, with whom receive also one cry of "holy" as we say:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabaoth,
Full is the heaven and the earth of Thy Glory.
Full is the heaven, full also is the earth of Thy excellent glory, Lord of hosts, fill also this sacrifice with Thy power and Thy participation: for to Thee have we offered this living sacrifice, the bloodless oblation, To Thee have we offered this bread, the likeness of the Body of the Only-Begotten. This bread is the likeness of the Holy Body, because the Lord Jesus Christ, on the night in which He was betrayed, took bread and broke and gave to His disciples, saying: TAKE YE AND EAT, THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH IS BEING BROKEN FOR YOU FOR REMISSION OF SINS.
Wherefore we also, making the likeness of the death, have offered the bread, and beseech Thee, through this sacrifice, be reconciled to all of us and be merciful, O God of Truth, and as this bread had been scattered on the top of the mountains and gathered together came to be one, so also gather Thy Holy Church out of every nation and every country and every city and village and house and make one living catholic Church, We have offered also the cup, the likeness of the Blood, because the Lord Jesus Christ, taking a cup after supper, said to His own disciples: TAKE YE, DRINK: THIS IS THE NEW COVENANT WHICH IS MY BLOOD, WHICH IS BEING SHED FOR YOU FOR REMISSION OF SINS.
Wherefore we have also offered the cup, presenting a likeness of the Blood.
O God of Truth, let Thy Holy Word come upon this bread, that the bread may become Body of the Word, and upon the cup, that the cup may become Blood of the Truth: and make all who communicate to receive a medicine of life for the healing of every sickness, and for the strengthening of all advancement and virtue, not for condemnation, O God of Truth, and not for censure and reproach. For we have invoked Thee, the uncreated, through the Only-Begotten in Holy Spirit.
Let the people receive mercy, let it be counted worthy of advancement, let angels be sent forth as companions to the people for bringing to naught of the Evil One and for establishment of the Church.
(Here follow intercessions for the Dead.)
Receive also the Thanksgiving (eucharist) of the people, and bless those who have offered the offerings and the thanksgivings, and grant health and soundness and cheerfulness and all advancement of soul and body to this whole people through the Only-Begotten Jesus Christ in Holy Spirit; as it was, and is and shall be to generations of generations and to all the ages of' the ages. Amen.
(3) THE LITURGY OF ST. CHRYSOSTOM
(Translated from Greek text of Brightman Liturgies)
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of the God and Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
And with thy spirit.
Let us lift up our hearts.
We lift them up unto the Lord.
Let us give thanks unto the Lord.
It is meet and right (to worship the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Consubstantial and Undivided Trinity).
It is meet and right to hymn Thee (to bless Thee, to praise Thee), to give thanks to Thee, to worship Thee, in every place of Thy dominion. For Thou art God ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, the same from everlasting to everlasting. Thou and Thine Only-Begotten Son and the Holy Spirit. Thou it was Who didst bring us forth to being out of nothing, and when we had fallen didst raise us up again. and gavest not over until Thou hadst done all things, that Thou mightest bring us to Heaven, and bestow on us Thy Kingdom to come. For all these things we give thanks to Thee, and to Thine Only-Begotten Son, and Thy Holy Ghost, for all that we know, and that we know not, of the seen and the unseen benefits that are come upon us. We give thanks to Thee also for this Ministry which Thou hast vouchsafed to receive at our hands although there stand by Thee thousands of Archangels and ten thousands of Angels, the Cherubim and the Seraphim that have six wings and are full of eyes, and soar aloft on their wings, singing, crying aloud, shouting and saying the Triumphal Hymn:
Holy, Holy, Lord of Hosts,
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.
We also with these (blessed) powers, O Master, Lover of men, cry aloud, and say: Holy art Thou and All-Holy, Thou and Thine Only-Begotten Son and Thine Holy Spirit. Holy art Thou and All-Holy, and great is the Majesty of Thy glory; Who didst so love the world as to give Thine Only-Begotten Son, that whoso believeth in Him might not perish but have everlasting life; Who having come and having fulfilled for us all the dispensation, in the night wherein He (was given up, or rather) gave Himself up (for the life of the world), took bread in His holy and pure and spotless hands, and gave thanks, and blessed (and hallowed) and brake, and gave to His holy disciples and apostles, saying: TAKE, EAT: THIS IS MY BODY WHICH IS (BROKEN) FOR YOU (FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS). (AMEN.) Likewise after supper, He took the cup, saying: DRINK YE ALL OF IT: THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW COVENANT, WHICH IS SHED FOR YOU AND FOR MANY FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS. (AMEN.)
We, therefore, remembering this salutary precept, and all that happened for us: the Cross, the tomb, the resurrection on the third day, the ascension into Heaven, the session on the right hand, the second and glorious coming again; in relation to all and through all, we offer to Thee Thine Own of Thine Own. (Choir: We hymn Thee, we bless Thee, we give thanks to Thee, O Lord, and pray of Thee, Our God.) Moreover, we offer to Thee this reasonable and unbloody sacrifice; we beseech Thee and pray and supplicate: send down Thy Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts lying before Thee (Deacon: Sir, Bless the Holy Bread.) And make this Bread the Precious Body of Thy Christ. (Amen.) (Deacon: Sir, Bless the Holy Cup.) And that which is in this cup, the Precious Blood of Thy Christ. (Amen.) (Deacon: Sir, Bless them both.) Changing them by Thy Holy Spirit. (Amen, Amen, Amen.) (Deacon: Holy Sir, remember me, a sinner.) So that they may be to those who partake for purification of soul, forgiveness of sins, communion of the Holy Spirit, fulfilment of the Kingdom (of Heaven), and boldness towards Thee, and not to judgment nor to condemnation. And moreover we offer to Thee this reasonable service etc.
(Here follow the intercessions.)
And send forth on us all Thy mercies, and grant us with one mouth and one heart to glorify and praise Thy glorious and majestic Name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of the ages. Amen.
(4) GALLICAN, MISSA V., MISSALE RICHENOVENNE
(Translated from the Latin text of Neale and Forbes
[Burntisland, 1885], pp. 12·15)
The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up unto the Lord
Let us give thanks unto the Lord.
It is meet and right.
It is meet and right, fitting and right, that we who owe all things to Thy grace, should unceasingly venerate Thee, both by prayer in public worship at Thy holy altar, and also, reckoning all the unutterable things ...*
Rightly then to Thee do all angels and archangels unceasingly render praise and say.
* A long section of Praise is omitted.
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts.
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.
Here, I say, Christ, our Lord and our God, Who of His own will was made like to mortals throughout this span of life, showed to Thee an immaculate body, and, fitting expiator of the ancient fault, displayed a soul pure and inviolate by sin; that His blood might wash the soul defiled, and, the law of death having been finally abrogated, He might raise the fallen body to heaven, even to the right hand of the Father; through our Lord Jesus Christ, [Who, on the day before He suffered for our salvation, and that of all men, took bread, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, to Thee, God, His Almighty Father, and giving thanks to Thee, He blessed and broke, and gave to His disciples, saying to them: TAKE, AND EAT YE ALL OF THIS: FOR THIS IS MY BODY. In like manner after they had supped, taking the cup, He raised His eyes to Thee, God, His Almighty Father, also giving thanks to Thee, and blessed, and gave to His disciples, saying to them: TAKE, AND DRINK YE ALL OF IT: FOR THIS IS THE CUP OF MY BLOOD, OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL TESTAMENT, A MYSTERY OF FAITH, WHICH FOR YOU AND FOR MANY SHALL BE SHED FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS. Commanding also and saying to them: AS OFTEN AS YE SHALL DO THESE THINGS, YE SHALL DO THEM FOR A MEMORIAL OF ME, YE SHALL PROCLAIM MY DEATH AND ANNOUNCE MY RESURRECTION, YE SHALL HOPE FOR MY ADVENT TILL I SHALL COME AGAIN TO YOU FROM THE HEAVENS.]* He adds also the especial declaration that, as often as His Body should be taken and His Blood, a memorial of the Lord's Passion would be made. And as we make this, we ever show forth the glory of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God. We pray that, with Thy blessing Thou wilt bless this Sacrifice, and be-sprinkle it with the dew of Thy Holy Spirit: that to all who partake It may be a eucharist, pure, real, valid. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord and God, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee together with the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.
* As the Institution is not given in the Gallican books, the Ambrosian formula has been inserted here.
The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up unto the Lord.
Let us give thanks unto the Lord our God.
It is meet and right.
It is truly meet and right, fitting and salutary, that we should always and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eternal God: Who with Thy Only-Begotten Son and the Holy Ghost art One God and One Lord: not in a singularity of One Person, but in a Trinity of One Substance, for that which we believe, by Thy re relation, of Thy glory, the same we believe of Thy Son, and the same of the Holy Ghost, without any difference or distinction: That, in the confession of' a true and eternal Deity, distinctness in the Persons, unity in the essence, and equality in the Majesty may be adored. Thus do the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and the Seraphim praise, who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice, saying:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts.
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.
We therefore humbly pray and beseech Thee, most merciful Father, through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, that Thou wouldest vouchsafe to accept and bless these gifts, these presents, these holy unspotted sacrifices, which in the first place we offer Thee for (Here are inserted Intercessions) We, therefore, beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously to accept this Oblation of our service, as also of Thy whole family (dispose our days in Thy peace, command us to be delivered from eternal damnation, and to be numbered in the flock of Thy elect). Through Christ our Lord. Amen. Which Oblation do Thou, O God, vouchsafe to make in every way blessed, approved, ratified, reasonable and acceptable, that it may become to us the Body and Blood of Thy most beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Who, the day before He suffered, took bread into His Holy and Venerable Hands, and with His eyes lifted up towards Heaven, to Thee, His God and Almighty Father, giving thanks to Thee, He Blessed, Broke, and gave to His disciples, saying: TAKE, AND EAT YE ALL OF THIS: FOR THIS IS MY BODY. Likewise, after supper, taking also this renowned chalice into His Holy and Venerable Hands, and giving Thee thanks, He blessed and gave it to His disciples, saying: TAKE, AND DRINK YE ALL OF IT: FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD, OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL TESTAMENT, THE MYSTERY OF FAITH: WHICH SHALL BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR MANY FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS. AS OFTEN AS YE DO THESE THINGS YE SHALL DO THEM FOR MY MEMORIAL.
Wherefore, O Lord, we Thy servants but also Thy holy people, mindful of the blessed passion of the same Christ Thy Son our Lord, His Resurrection from the dead, and also His glorious Ascension into Heaven, offer unto Thy Most Excellent Majesty, of Thy gifts and favours, a pure Sacrifice, a Holy Sacrifice, an immaculate Sacrifice, the Holy Bread of eternal life, and the chalice of everlasting salvation. Upon which vouchsafe to look with a favourable and gracious countenance, and to accept them, as Thou wast pleased to accept the gifts of Thy righteous servant Abel, and the Sacrifice of our Patriarch Abraham and (the holy sacrifice and spotless host) which Thy high priest Melchizedek offered unto Thee.
We most humbly beseech Thee, Almighty God, command these things to be carried by the hands of Thy holy angel to Thy Altar on high, in the sight of Thy Divine Majesty, that as many of us who by participation at this Altar shall receive the Most Sacred Body and Blood of Thy Son, may be filled with all Heavenly Benediction and Grace. Through the same Christ our Lord. (Intercessions are here inserted.) Through Christ our Lord.
By Whom, O Lord, Thou dost always create, sanctify, quicken, bless, and bestow upon us all these good things. Through Whom and with Whom and in Whom is to Thee, O God, the Father Almighty in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory. World without end. Amen.
(6) FIRST PRAYER BOOK OF EDWARD VI. (1549).
The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.
Lift lip your hearts.
We lift them lip unto the Lord.
Let us give thanks to our Lord God.
It is meet and right so to do.
It is very meet and right, and our bounden duty, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to Thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God. Therefore, with Angels and Archangels, and with all the holy 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.
Hosanna in the Highest.
Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord.
Glory to Thee, O Lord, in the Highest.
(Here are inserted the Intercessions.)
O God, Heavenly Father, Which of Thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption, Who made there, by His one oblation once offered, a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, and did institute, and in His holy gospel command us, to celebrate a perpetual memory of that His precious death, until His coming again: hear us, O merciful Father, we beseech Thee, and with Thy Holy Spirit and Word vouchsafe to bless and sanctify these Thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine, that they may be unto us the Body and Blood of Thy most dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ, Who in the same night that He was betrayed took bread; and when He had blessed and given thanks, He brake it and gave it to His disciples, saying: TAKE, EAT: THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH IS GIVEN FOR YOU: DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME. Likewise after supper He took the cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: DRINK YE ALL OF THIS: FOR THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, WHICH IS SHED FOR YOU AND FOR MANY, FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS: DO THIS, AS OFT AS YE DRINK IT, IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.
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 hath 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 accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, most humbly beseeching thee to grant, that by the merits and death of Thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in His blood, we, and all Thy whole Church, may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of His Passion. And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable. holy and lively sacrifice unto Thee; humbly beseeching Thee, that whosoever shall be partakers of this holy communion, may worthily receive the most precious body and blood of Thy Son Jesus Christ, and be fulfilled with Thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with Thy Son Jesus Christ, that He may dwell in them, and they in Him. And although we be unworthy, through our manifold sins, to offer unto Thee any sacrifice, yet we beseech Thee to accept this our bounden duty and service, and command these our prayers and supplications, by the ministry of Thy holy angels, to be brought up unto Thy holy Tabernacle before the sight of Thy Divine Majesty, not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, through Christ our Lord; by Whom, and with Whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory be unto Thee, O Father Almighty, world without end. Amen.
(7) THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND (1637)
The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up unto the Lord .
Let us give thanks unto our Lord God.
It is meet and right so to do.
It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God. Therefore, 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. Amen.
All glory be to Thee, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that Thou, of Thy tender mercy, didst give Thy only Son Jesus Christ, to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption ; Who (by His own oblation of Himself once offered) made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world, and did institute and in His Holy Gospel command us to continue a perpetual memorial of that His precious death and sacrifice, until His Coming again. For, in the night that He was betrayed, He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and gave it to His disciples, saying: TAKE, EAT: THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH IS GIVEN FOR YOU: DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME. Likewise, after supper, He took the cup; and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them) saying: DRINK YE ALL OF THIS: FOR THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, WHICH IS SHED FOR YOU AND FOR MANY FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS: DO THIS AS OFT AS YE SHALL DRINK IT IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.
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 which we now offer unto Thee, the memorial Thy Son hath commanded us to make; having in remembrance His Blessed Passion and precious Death, His mighty Resurrection and glorious Ascension; rendering unto Thee most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same.
And we most humbly beseech Thee, O merciful Father, to hear us, and of Thy almighty goodness vouchsafe to bless and sanctify with Thy Word and Holy Spirit these Thy gifts and creatures of Bread and Wine, that they may become the Body and Blood of Thy most dearly beloved Son. And we earnestly desire Thy Fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, most humbly
beseeching Thee to grant, that by the merits and death of Thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith In His blood, we and all Thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins and all other benefits of His Passion.*
And here we humbly offer and present unto Thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto Thee, beseeching Thee, that whosoever shall he partakers of this Holy Communion may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of Thy Son Jesus Christ, and he filled with Thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one Body with Him, that He may dwell in them, and they in Him.
And although we are unworthy, through our manifold sins, to offer unto Thee any sacrifice; yet we beseech Thee to accept this our bounden duty and service, not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, through Jesus Christ our Lord: by Whom and with Whom, in the Unity of this Holy Ghost, all honour and glory he unto Thee, O Father Almighty, world without end, Amen,
* The Invocation in the Order as revised in 1911 is as follows :
"And humbly beseech Thee that it may he unto us according to His Word. We, thine unworthy servants, beseech Thee, most merciful Father, to hear us and to send Thy Holy Spirit upon us, and, upon these Thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine, that being blessed and hallowed by Thy life-giving power they may become the Body and Blood of Thy most truly beloved Son, to the end that all who shall receive the same may be sanctified both in body and soul and preserved unto everlasting life."