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is the origin of the present custom? Two reasons may be assigned for it: first, they are chanted in collegiate, cathedral, and some few other, churches and chapels, wherein the congregation joins : secondly, in the Forms of Prayer,* occasionally put forth by authority, occur the following directions, from A.D. 1563, Jan. 12, to 1728, June 11, but no later: “A Psalme, to be saide of the Minister, with the answer of the People ;” or, “A Psalme, whereof one verse is to be said of the Minister, and another by the People or Clarke;" or,
one verse whereof to be said by the Priest, and another by the Clerk and People." From the prefixture of the word “ Answer” to the latter part of the Doxology, it seems intended that the Minister should always begin the Gloria Patri. This could be done if the Clerk said “ Amen,” when the Minister reads the last verse of the Psalm; and would prevent the awkwardness, often felt by a young or strange Minister, from not knowing whether he or the Clerk, (according to the custom of the Church he is then in,) is expected or wont to begin the next Psalm. The consequence is, that, where the Clerk begins the next Psalm, the “ Amen” is commonly omitted. The Minister knows it to be the Clerk's word; and the Clerk acts as if he thought it to be the Minister's; whereas it is the Clerk's duty and province to utter it here, as it is in any and every other part of the Service.
V. On giving out the Lessons.--"Before every Lesson
* In the “Exhortation unto Prayer,” 1544, May 27,--the Germ of our Protestant Prayer Book, and, probably, the first attempt at Prayers in the mother, or “vulgar,” tongue,-the Litany is so directed to be read; and it is therein said, that the one part is printed in black letters, and the other in red, " for the use of the quiere” (choir).
the Minister shall say, Here beginneth such a Chapter, or (such a) Verse of such a Chapter, of such a Book : And after every Lesson, Here endeth the First, or the Second,* Lesson.” Instead of this plain direction and positive rule, we frequently hear, “ The first Lesson, appointed for this Morning's Service," &c.; or, “The first proper Lesson," &c.; or, still more conventiclelike, the naked announcement, “The first chapter of Genesis,"_"of Luke," the Acts, &c. Moreover, in naming the Books, we should give them their exact Titles: “The First Book of Moses, called Genesis,” “The Book of Job,” “The Acts of the [holy] Apostles," &c.
Again : when, in the Evening Service, we announce a lesson from one of the Epistles ; as, for instance, that " to the Romans;" we should be careful to stop after the word “Apostle;" lest we cause the hearers to suppose, that the writer was the Apostle to the Romans, instead of the Epistle being the Epistle to the Romans of Paul the Apostle, i. e. addressed, by him, to that church or people.
VI. On the Te Deum.-We sometimes hear the word “Amen" super-added by the clerk to this hymn; for which there is no authority whatever.
VII. On the Benedicite.--If this apocryphal “ Canticle” is ever to be used, instead of the Te Deum, it can never be done with so much propriety, as on those days when the following chapters are read, Gen. i., Exodus xiv., Dan. iii. especially; and such other chapters, as contain any signal instance of God's making
* To this nicety and accuracy of punctuation, as sometimes used in our Common Prayer Books, our Readers' attention will shortly be called.
use of, or exercising his controul over, these “ Works of the Lord;” such as the Deluge, the Plagues of Egypt, the Passage of the Red Sea, the Arrest of the Sun's Light,* the Ascent of Elijah, &c.
VIII. On the Apostles' Creed.—Some clergymen turn to, or rather slightly towards, the East, while repeating this Creed: a custom probably derived, by tradition, from time immemorial; for this, however, we know of no higher sanction than what is implied in the prayer of Solomon, at the Dedication of the Temple; (1 Kings, viii. 29, 30.) and what may be gathered from the conduct of Daniel in Babylon. (Daniel, vi. 10.) The bowing “at the Name of Jesus" is authorized by the 18th Canon : “And likewise, when in time of Divine Service the Lord Jesus shall be mentioned, due and lowly reverence shall be done by all persons present, as it hath been accustomed.” " At the name of Jesus, every knee should bow.” Philippians, ii. 10.
IX. On the first time of Singing.-" In choirs and places where they sing, here followeth the Anthem.” Notwithstanding the injunction of Queen Elizabeth, and the title of the Old Version of Psalms, scarcely any thing can be more unseasonable, and unchurchmanlike, than to sing “ songs of praise,” and “hymns of triumph,” before Divine Service commences: it is inverting the order of things. Penitents, as we all then profess to be, lying in the dust and ashes of self-abasement and soul-humiliation, have no right, no heart, to sing : praise does not then become us:— weeping suits
* On some future occasion, this text will be attempted to be explained, by a solution, which, it is presumed, will be satisfactory to those, who think that it is the highest province of Reason, to believe God's Word.
us better. Now, and not before, is the time, “ the set time,” and (if we have entered into the spirit of our liturgy,) the most suitable time, to praise God; to come before his presence with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise;" either by chanting an Anthem, or by singing a Psalm. When God has “opened our lips,” then “our mouths may shew forth his praise.” No consideration of private feelings, whether of fatigue, love of music, or proud conceit of a more proper division of the service, should influence the Minister of a Church, (whose servant, not master, he is,) to be guilty of such a solecism;
i. e. to do such violence, or to offer such outrage, to the feelings of the penitent, humble, devout, and intelligent, worshipper, as to sing, before the heart is prepared for praise: (Proverbs, xxv. 20.) “As vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to a heavy heart.”*
The 49th injunction of Elizabeth, which permits "a modest song," or “a hymn or such like song," to be used in all parts of the Service, can no where be so fitly complied with, as in this place,where provision is made for it.
X. On the Apostolical Benediction, 2 Cor. xiii. 14. -This is often read, as if it were addressed to God; and in the same devotional tone of voice, as the prayer to the Saviour, immediately preceding it, is offered; but, a moment's reflection, or a perusal of this Text, will shew, that it is a devout wish, or a blessing; to be prayerfully indeed expressed, but personally addressed, by the Minister, to the People ; and should be read in a very different manner. As we should “
with the Spirit,” so should we read “with the understanding also.”
* No objection is felt to the slow and solemn chanting one of the penitential" Introductory Sentences ;” as, “ I will arise, &c.” as set by Goodman.
IV. BERNARD ON THE LORD'S PRAYER.
As our first Liturgy, (viz. A.D. 1549,) in literal obedience to Christ's command, formerly began with the Lord's Prayer, our first Number shall have some reference to it, beginning with Bernard's Paraphrase.
MATT. VI. 9-13.
“ After this manner* therefore pray ye: Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil : For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for” [ever and] “ ever. Amen.”
“In the Lord's Prayer, whether we regard the Brevitie,+ Perfection, Authoritie, Method, Efficacie, or Necessitie of it, it is to be beleeved that no Saint or Angel is able to match the Plat-forme thereof, being large for Matter, short for Phrase, and sweet for Order.
Merit of Mercie,
* Or, “When ye pray, say, Our Father, &c.” Luke, xi. 2.
+ The text of Bernard is closely followed, verbatim, literatìm, punctuatímque.