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Let us now consider the latter part of our prayer, and compare it with a passage which occurs in the liturgy of Cæsarea before communion, and we shall perceive that the whole prayer, which is the subject of the present section, is accordant in substance and spirit with one of the most famous and venerable liturgies of primitive times.
Grant us, therefore, gracious Συ ο θεός ημών, και προσδεξάμεLord, so to eat the flesh of thy νος τα δώρα ταύτα, καθάρισον ημάς dear Son Jesus Christ, and to από παντός μολυσμού σαρκός και drink his blood, that our sinful πνεύματος, και διδάξον αγιωσύνην bodies
may be made clean by επιτελείν εν φόβω σου" ίνα εν καhis body, and our souls washed θαρώ τη μαρτυρία της συνειδήσεως through his most precious ημών υποδεχόμενοι την μερίδα των blood, and that we may ever- αγιασμάτων σου, ενωθώμεν τώ αγίω more dwell in him, and he in σώματι και αίματι του Χριστού σου, us. Amen.
και υποδεξάμενοι αυτά αξίως, σχώ-
INTRODUCTION OF THE PRAYER OF CONSECRATION.
It has been observed in the last section, that in the liturgies of Antioch, Cæsarea, and Constantinople, the part of the service which intervened between the seraphic hymn and the beginning of consecration, consisted chiefly of a commemoration of God's benefits to the human race in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the actions of our Saviour's life and ministry on earth. It has been shewn that the English liturgy, as far as relates to the first part of its corresponding portion, is supported by the liturgy of Cæsarea. I now come to
1 Liturgia Basilii, Goar, p. 173.
the second part of this intervening portion, and shall endeavour to shew, that (as I have already observed) it is similarly supported. I proceed to cite those portions of both the English and Cæsarean liturgies which immediately precede the beginning of consecration.
Almighty God, our heavenly "Οτε δε ήλθε το πλήρωμα των Father, who of thy tender καίρων, ελάλησας ημίν εν αυτό το mercy didst give thine only υιό σου, δι' ου και τους αιώνας Son Jesus Christ to suffer εποιήσας-επειδάν γάρ δι' ανθρώdeath upon the Cross for our που η αμαρτία εισήλθεν εις τον redemption; who made there κόσμον, και διά της αμαρτίας ο θά(by his one oblation of himself
νατος, ευδόκησεν ο μονογενής σου once offered) a full, perfect, υιός-κατακρίνει την αμαρτίαν εν
) a , and sufficient sacrifice, obla- τη σαρκί αυτού. ίνα οι εν τω 'Αδάμ tion, and satisfaction, for the αποθνήσκοντες ζωοποιηθώσιν εν αυsins of the whole world; and τω το Χριστό-έδωκεν αυτόν άντ. did institute, and in his holy άλλαγμα των θανάτω ενώ κατειχο
, Gospel command us to con- μεθα πεπραγμένοι υπό την αμαρτίαν tinue a perpetual memory of –κατέλιπε δε ημίν υπομνήματα του that his precious death, until σωτηρίου αυτού πάθους, ταύτα, και his coming again.
προτεθείκαμεν κατά τας αυτού εν
τολάς m. The intermediate part of the liturgy of Constantinople, between the Seraphic hymn and the beginning of consecration, is even shorter than our own, and contains fewer allusions to the events of our Saviour's ministry. It is as follows: “ With these blessed powers, O Lord, thou lover of mankind, we cry aloud and say: Holy art thou, and most holy, thou and thine only-begotten Son, and thy Holy Spirit; Holy art thou, and most holy, and thy glory is magnificent, who didst so love the world, that thou gavest thine only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlastm Liturgia Basilii, Goar, p. 167, 168.
He came into the world, and fulfilled all the dispensation for our sakes n.” And then it proceeds to an account of the last
and consecration. In the liturgy of Antioch, the commemoration of the events of our Saviour's ministry is longer than in that of Constantinople, and resembles more the corresponding part of the liturgy of Cæsarea, which has been cited aboveo.
It appears, then, that the portion of our liturgy between the hymn Tersanctus, and the actual commencement of consecration, is in order and substance conformable to, or supported by, the ancient oriental liturgies of Antioch, Cæsarea, and Constantinople; although it does not bear the most remote resemblance to the corresponding portion of the liturgies of Milan and Rome. So that we may refer to the practice of the greatest and most ancient churches in the world, fifteen or sixteen hundred years ago, in confirmation of this portion of our liturgy.
SECOND PART OF THE PRAYER OF CONSECRATION.
The immediate or proper prayer of consecration follows the preface, which I have considered in the last section, and begins with the words, “ Hear us, O merciful Father.” This prayer may
This prayer may be divided into two particulars : first, the prayer itself, or iniKinous, in the language of the primitive church ; and, secondly, the commemoration of our Lord's deeds and words at the last supper. For the sake
of convenience, the subject will be treated of under these two heads.
THE PRAYER OR ΕΠΙΚΛΗΣΙΣ.
In all the ancient liturgies, and indeed in all the writings of the Fathers, we find memorials and traces of some prayer at the time of consecration, in which God was requested to confer on his people then assembled, the benefit which the sacrament was peculiarly intended to exhibit. In other words, we find in all, some petition that in partaking of the elements of bread and wine the faithful might be partakers of the body and blood of Christ.
The forms of this prayer varied much in different churches. In some, the request was addressed to God in more direct, pointed, definite terms; elsewhere, in less. In the east and much of the west, the church supplicated God to send down from on high his Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine, and make them the body and the blood of our Lord and Saviour. In Rome and Italy, they implored God to bless the sacrifice of bread and wine, that to them it might be Christ's body and blood. In order that we may more fully appreciate and compare the ancient forms of prayer on this subject, let us present the two forms as used in the ancient liturgies of Constantinople and of Rome. The extract of the Roman liturgy I transcribe as it was before the time of Gregory the Great, A. D. 590.
CONSTANTINOPLE. Παρακαλού- RomE. Hanc igitur oblatioμεν και δεόμεθα και ικετεύομεν, nem servitutis nostræ, sed et κατάπεμψον το πνεύμα σου το ά- cunctæ familiæ tuæ, quæsuγιον εφ' ημάς και επί τα προκεί- mus Domine, ut placatus ciμενα δώρα ταύτα. ποίησον τον μεν pias per Christum Dominum άρτον τούτον τίμιον σώμα του Χρι- nostrum ; quam oblationem tu στού σου, το δε εν ποτηρίω τούτω Domine in omnibus, quesuτίμιον αίμα του Χριστού σου, με- mus, benedictam, ratam, ratioταβαλών τω πνεύματί σου το α- pabilem, acceptabilemque faγίωP.
cere digneris, ut nobis corpus, et sanguis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui Domini Dei nostri Jesu Christi 9.
It may be said that all the oriental liturgies agree with that of Constantinople in substance, and almost in words. Cæsarea, Antioch, Alexandria; in all these churches a direct invocation of God to send his holy Spirit, and make the bread Christ's body, and the wine his blood, prevailed". The African churches also used the invocation of the Holy Ghost, as did the churches of Spains; and there can be no doubt, from the general texture of the Gallican liturgy, that the same form was always used in it in primitive times. A form supported by such a cloud of witnesses in the primitive church, is, it must be confessed, of great weight and value; and no one can pretend to deny that it is perfectly orthodox, and highly laudable. But I must contend that it is not essential; and this I do on two grounds : first, because the form was never used in the churches of Italy, and the apostolic church of Rome; secondly,
p Liturg. Chrysostomi, Goar, Rituale Græc. p. 77.
9 Gregory introduced that passage, "diesque nostros" &c. according to Bede. See vol. i. p. 113. note c.
note v. Isidore Hispalensis, describing the prayers of the li. turgy, says,
“ Porro sexta exhinc succedit confirmatio sacramenti, ut oblatio quæ Deo offertur, sanctificata per Spiritum Sanctum, corporis et sanguinis (sacramentum) confirmetur." Isid. Hisp. de Officiis,
r Liturgia Basilii, Goar, p. 169.
s Optatus Milevitan. mentions the invocation of the Holy Ghost; see vol. i.
lib. i. c. 15