|The Book of Common Prayer|
These two articles appeared in two different issues of The American Church Review, a journal of the Episcopal Church, in 1882. The first, and longer one, is by the Rev. Morgan Dix, a prominent clergyman and rector of Trinity Church, Wall St., New York. The other is from the Rev. John W. Andrews. rector of Trinity Church, Columbus, Ohio. The Episcopal Church was engaged at that time in a major revision of the Book of Common Prayer, which was finalized in 1892, and both of these men supported revision, although in different ways and from different perspectives. Mr. Dix was more "high Church" (more ritualistic) and Mr. Andrews "low Church" (less ritualistic), which can be seen in their remarks and in their proposals. The articles give insight into the state of liturgy in the Church at that time, and into controversies of the time.
REVISION OF THE COMMON PRAYER
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SOME TIME AGO, I was invited, by the Editor of the American Church Review, to a "Symposium," at which he promised that several good gentlemen should sit down with him and have the best entertainment that they could desire. The invitation was cordially accepted, but some how or other the guests never got together; they have been arriving at intervals one by one; and I, as a late comer, have the misfortune to find the good things nearly all consumed. Our symposium has in fact taken the shape of an informal breakfast, at which each member of the household appears when it best suits his convenience; and, having taken his place without apology, withdraws when he must, without regard to the presence or absence of his friends. After long delay, I am able to approach the hospitable board; and though, as usual, in a great hurry, will make what effort I can to do justice to the invitation.
Obviously, the theory of a symposium is this: that each guest shall say, in friendly and cheerful wise, what is in his heart, and speak his mind on the topics proposed for general discussion, without other restraints than those which courtesy and good breeding impose. "In vino veritas;" the word with the Greekish look suggests that much at least, as the probable result of banquetting in good company. Things said, on such an occasion are said of course, "sub rosa;" we expect to talk plainly and honestly, without caring much for the comments or criticisms of lean and crabbed lookers on who are straitened in their bowels, and think when one speaks his mind, that the ends of the earth are come.
Though arriving very late, I have been so fortunate as to have heard what has been already said by some of the other guests; It might rather be considered as a misfortune, since they have left so little for others to say. But their own remarks have suggested some reflections, as is usually the case when the conversation is general; and my own words will, perchance, be little more than the expression of thoughts on what these worthy gentlemen have so gracefully and so agreeably uttered.
And, first, for a few words, a propos of some observations made by Judge Emott, a gentleman whom it would be impossible to regard too highly, and for whom I entertain a great admiration. He quotes a statement of my own to the effect that I would prefer to keep our Prayer Book as it is, a hundred years longer, without changing jot or tittle, rather than lose the smallest portion of the "strong meat" which it now contains, and turns the tables on me by suggesting that he also would keep it as it is, a hundred, or five hundred years, rather than have it enlarged, or altered, or enriched so as to come nearer to being what some of us would call a truly Catholic and orthodox book. There is encouragement in the reflection that we watch each other to attentively, on either side, and are so jealous of some mischief in the air. But lest my position might be considered as inconsistent, especially in one who fully approves of the movement inaugurated by the Rev. Dr. Huntington at the last General Convention and intends to give it what aid and help he can, let me offer a few words by way of explanation of the appetite for "strong meat" for which I am faulted by my learned friend.
I am one of those who greatly desire improvements in our Book of Common Prayer, who would like to see it very much enlarged and enriched, and who have a definite idea of what might properly be done to that end. But prior to the question about actual enrichment and possible improvement, there is another so weighty as to throw the rest into the background. Why do we need a Book of Common Prayer at all? And what is the prime value of our own? Let us first settle those points before proceeding to matters relating to embellishment and adornment.
Now, my idea of the value of a liturgy, liturgical forms, and liturgical worship, is this: that they help us to keep the faith pure and undefiled. That is the raison d'être of forms of prayer and sacramental offices: they enshrine the faith; they preserve it from loss ; they teach, even though the minister should be in heresy or error; they secure the flock from "thieves and robbers." That is their first, their prime value. Other purposes are served, but they are less important. Forms of prayer may ensure decency, propriety, order; they may impress by: their solemnity, and charm by their beauty: but what is that unless they embody the faith once delivered to the Saints? It is easy to imagine a liturgy, — such might be drawn up to-day, — so clear of dogma and doctrine as to charm the broadest and most liberal minds of the hour; a charming and beautiful piece of human composition, having a certain æsthetic poetical, and sentimental grace about it, and yet involving the rejection and denial of the mysteries of Catholic theology. Such a liturgy, not founded on dogma, nor teaching the truth, nor correcting the vagaries and individualisms of pastor and people, would be of no more real use than a book of Religious Etiquette or a Manual of the Art of Good Breeding in its application to Public Worship. I have heard it stated that there is, or was, near Boston, a chapel, erected by representatives of an eminent family of New England, as the shrine of their own particular religion. It seems that this distinguished house, having tried many religions and finding hem equally unsatisfactory, decided to invent a religion of their own, and, having done so, built that handsome church wherein to perform its rites, and framed a suitable liturgy to serve the purposes required. I doubt not that their liturgy is in excellent English, nor that it contains much nice poetry, and many polished. devotional phrases, with the opportunity of producing striking ritual effects; but at the last, it expresses the independent thoughts of men, who would wave off, with a grand manner whosoever should demand of them the surrender of the intellect, the submission of the will, and the devotion of the heart.
Now, in asserting that I would rather keep our Prayer Book just as it is a hundred years longer, than see it altered by way of dilution, I had in my thoughts the principal use of liturgies, and the danger lest, under the guise of embellishment and enlargement, something might be done to obscure or enfeeble, or minimize what we have in our Book of Common Prayer. Nor do I consider this as an idle fear. Such is the want of faith in some quarters that many things in that Book must have become distasteful and irksome; while there is an equally strong conceit, in other directions, which would no doubt lead its victims to suppose that they could "get up" a new Prayer Book vastly superior to the old one because more in accordance with the spirit of the age and with modern notions on the subject of religion. I dread, above all else, the working of influences which tend towards an amendment of the Prayer Book by striking out the dogmatic, the sacerdotal, and the sacramental, introducing platitudes and modern wish-wash in their stead and so diminishing its value as a witness to, and a teaching of the Catholic Faith, and as a means of identifying our Church with the old historic Church of the last 1800 years.
This view of the value of forms of worship will be found, I venture to say, in everyone of those writers of the Church of England and our own, who have had to fight the battle for liturgical worship against the Puritan advocates of extemporaneous prayer. They postpone, invariably all other considerations until they have enlarged sufficiently on this. To give instances is unnecessary; it would be but to present a catalogue of men, who like Richard Hooker, Bishop Taylor, Dean Comber, Dean Prideaux, Bishop Newton, and our own Brownell and Hobart, felt it their duty to defend the principle of ritual worship and prescribed forms of divine service against the objections of Dissent. These all have recognized the value of the formularies of the Anglican Communion as unchanging standards of faith and guides to reverent approach to the Throne of Almighty God, and have not hesitated to contrast our mode of worship in that respect, with those in use in systems under which the prayers are but "voluntary dictates proceeding from any man's extemporal wit," and in which the unfortunate people are left in "the manifold confusion" that results "where every man's private spirit and gift is the only Bishop that ordaineth him to his ministry."
And, therefore, following the footsteps of a long procession of divines, I adopt and adhere to their earnest and powerful sayings about that prime value of the Book of Common Prayer, and again insist that in nothing should it be weakened or shorn of its strength; for a Liturgy that does not teach is like a sword that will not cut, or a gun that cannot be fired; while a Liturgy that teaches, yet does not teach the very and sincere truth of God, would do more harm than good among a restless, unsettled people, such as that which we are seeking to gather into the Fold of Christ.
I feel the more strongly on this point, because some mischief has been done already. The Book of Common Prayer appears to many of us to be capable of improvement in two ways, by way of addition, and by way of repair. Undoubtedly, it has suffered, and considerably, by the injection of matter from Calvinistic and Lutheran sources. It is a thousand pities that this happened; it would, have been ten thousand wonders if it had not occurred. The History of the First Prayer Book of King Edward VI., which I tried to tell, simply and plainly, last Lent, to my people, gives the explanation of some very trying and unfortunate phenomena, of the presence of some blemishes and the lack of some beauties; while that of our own Book of Common Prayer might well draw forth expressions of the deepest gratitude to Almighty God; for I venture to assert, that if we were now engaged in ompiling a liturgy, under the fire of criticisms, the pressure of jealousies, and the activity of opponents of the old learning and theology, we should hardly get, in this timorous and unsettled generation, such a volume, as, by God's mercy, we have to-day. But the process of dilution must not be allowed to proceed further. That is the special danger of our own time. Ours is not an age of faith; its characteristic is not reverence for authority or readiness to submit to it. This is an age of prejudice against the old and eager experiment in the new. He who thinks that the danger of to-day is that of believing too much, or becoming too reverential, must surely be walking in a dream; he who deems it a duty at this present hour to be warning people against superstition and excess in devotion, would, (to use an old simile,) have cried Fire! during Noah's flood.
REVISION OF THE COMMON PRAYER
(John W. Andrews)
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THE work of the Committee on the Prayer Book is quite limited in its scope. The resolution under which it acts is as follows:
"Resolved, That a Joint Committee, to consist of seven Bishops, seven Presbyters, and Seven laymen, be appointed to consider and report to the next General Convention, whether, in view of the fact that this Church is soon to enter upou the second century of its organized existence in this country, the changed conditions of the national life do not demand certain alterations in the Book of Common Prayer, in the direction of litnrgical enrichment and increased flexibility of use."
The term "litnrgical enrichment" refers to the established forms of public worship of the Church, and the committee is to inqnire and report as to the propriety of enriching these forms with new materials, and of giving greater flexibility in the use of them, whether so enriched or not. It does not seem to be a fair construction of the resolution that, under the head either of enrichment or flexibility, anything can be taken away from any one of the offices of the Prayer Book as it now is. The Church has not entrusted to the Committee the subject of remodelling the Book or any part of it. It. contents, as it now stands, and has stood in the American Church since its organization, and in the English Church substantially for more than three hundred years, are not involved in the action of the Committee, but, on the contrary, the continuity of the book is to be maintained unbroken, and no radical change is to be attempted, either in the doctrine, discipline or worship of the Church. The Committee is simply to inquire and report as to improvements in the use of the Prayer Book, and as to the possibility of making some valuable contributions to its rich provisions for public worship and devotion.
And first, as to flexibility of use.
If we can trust to the judgment of Bishops, who may be fairly considered representative meu in the Church, and to the official action of the General Convention, a good deal of liberty in the use of the Prayer Book is accorded to ministers under the law as it now stands. A committee of the House of Bishops, consisting of Bishops Otey, Doane, A. Potter, Burgess and Williams, to which was referred a memorial upon this subject, having first consulted with a large number of the clergy, in a report made to the General Convention of 1853, among other things recommended for adoption the following resolution:
"That in the opinion of the Bishops (a) the order of Morning Prayer, the Litany and the Communion Service, being separate offices, may, as in former times, be used separately, under the advice of the Bishop of the Diocese. (b) That on special occasions, or at extraordinary services not otherwise provided for, ministers may, at their discretion, use such parts of the Book of Common Prayer, and such lesson or lessons, as shall, in their judgment, tend most to edification. (c) That the Bishops of the several dioceses shall provide such special services as in their judgment shall be required by the peculiar spiritual necessities of any class or portion of the population within the diocese, provided that such services shall not take the place of services or offices of the Book of Common Prayer in congregations capable of its use."
Of these resolutions Bishop A. Potter, who edited the "Memorial Papers," gave the following explanation: "The resolutions respecting the use of the Prayer Book express simply the opinion of the Bishops as to what, under existing laws, is allowable. They do not recommend that such liberty should everywhere be taken; they merely recognize the right to take it where there is sufficient occasion, and where the right is exercised under proper limitations."
Bishop Burgess, as a sub-committee to whom was especially referred the subject of liturgical services, reports in reference to the abridgment of the service as proposed, among other things, as follows: "If it should be doubted whether the universal usage which had so long prevailed might not have taken away the right to separate these services, which nevertheless our Bishops, in 1826, termed a reasonable and godly practice, yet now, that it has been asserted and carried into effect in particular instances, it must be held to be quite re-established." In reference to assemblies that cannot be viewed as congregations of our Church, he writes that this is a case which the compilers of our Prayer Book were not called to anticipate. "It has now become real and frequent, and the ministers of the Church must often preach the Gospel where the attempt to perform the entire service of an established worship would be incongruous, unsuccessful and injurious. It appears that such of the clergy as have been engaged in missionary labors, at home or in foreign lands, have generally felt themselves at liberty to yield, in such circumstances, to the law of manifest necessity and propriety, and so far to abridge as seemed meet for edification." The right to use the Morning Prayer, the Litany and the Communion Service separately and independently was subsequently more fully recognized in a joint resolution of the General Convention of 1874, which is as follows:
"Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That it is the sense of this Convention that nothing in the present order of the Common Prayer prohibits the separation, when desirable, of the Morning Prayer, the Litany and the order of the administration of the Lord's Supper into distinct services, which may be used independently of each other, and either of them without the others: provided, that when used together they be used in the same order in which they have commonly been used, and in which they stand in the Book of Common Prayer."
The report of the five Bishops from which I have quoted, and the foregoing resolution of the General Convention, both recognize as legal the right of a minister in the morning service to use any or either of the three offices referred to, separately and independently; and the report also expresses the opinion that on special occasions, or at extraordinary services not otherwise provided for — that is, on all occasions not contemplated by the Prayer Book as belonging to the regular public worship of the Church — ministers may, at their discretion, use such parts of the book, and such lesson or lessons, as shall, in their jndgment, tend most to edification.
Looking further at those clauses of the report that refer to cases "where the attempt to perform the entire service of an established worship would be incongruous, unsuccessful and injurious," the report would seem substantially to cover the ground embraced in the proposed amendment of the Ratification of the Book of Common Prayer, providing for shortened services, and with a very slight addition as to Morning and Evening Prayer on days other than Sunday and certain specified days, to answer the same purpose.
It is somewhat extraordinary that these Bishops, representative men as they were of the Church, should, as early as1853, have taken a position as to the rights and liberty of ministers in the use of the Prayer Book which the General Convention is hardly willing to accord to them even now. But it is to be remembered that a Bishop is brought in contact with the best thought of his diocese, and has extraordinary means of learning the public sentiment of the Church at large, while, until recently, the clergy and laity were more under the influence of their respective localities; and this may, to some extent, account for the fact that must be admitted, that in the past a somewhat bolder and more outspoken policy of reform bas characterized the action of the Bishops, and timidity and hesitation that of the House of Deputies. The means of communication are now such, between all parts of a diocese, and between all the dioceses, together with the influence of the press, Church Congresses, meetings of the clergy, committees, etc., as to place the Bishops, Clergy and Laity upon the same footing as to a knowledge of the needs and demands of the Church; and the action of the last General Convention shows that the two Houses are very much in accord upon such subjects. Had the General Convention of 1853, or any subsequent Convention, by a declaratory act, recognized the report of the Bishops referred to as a fair statement of the law of the Church as to flexibility in the use of the Prayer Book, such action would probably have quieted all agitation upon the subject.
In addition to the liberty in the use of the Prayer Book thus recognized by the Bishops and the General Convention, there is also the prescriptive right to use extemporaneous prayer after a sermon or lecture; a right, however, that, as is believed, is seldom exercised in any of our dioceses.
There is also, as there should be, an almost unlimited range for devotional music, under the absolute control of the rector. The Bishop of the diocese has also the right, for any reason satisfactory to him, to prepare forms of prayer for extraordinary occasions, and require the use of them by his clergy. There has been some discussion recently as to the right of a minister to meet by extemporaneous prayer, or appropriate devotional forms, unexpected emergencies that are wholly unprovided for in our established forms of prayer; such, for instance, as the assassination of the President, or the Chicago fire. This, it will be observed, is exclusively a matter between the minister and his Bisgop, to whom the Church has entrusted the duty of providing forms of prayer for extraordinary occasions; and if, not having time to consult his Bishop, a minister, under such circumstances, should adopt such devotional forms or exercises as he shall deem most appropriate, and such as he shall suppose will meet the approval of his superior, he would manifest, in so doing, a higher sense of duty and a truer loyalty than by refusing to act at all, simply for the reason that he could not consult his Bishop, who, having full authority in the premises, may always be presumed to approve of au honest effort to anticipate his wishes and instructions. It will thus be seen that, in the judgment of some of our wisest leaders, there is already a wide liberty in the use of the Prayer Book, and that its forms may legally and properly be adapted to peculiar circumstances as they arise. If in addition the minister were to have authority, when the evening congregation is substantially the same as in the morning, in order to avoid repetition, to begin the evening service with the Lord's Prayer preceded by music, at his discretion; and if he were also accorded a much larger liberty than at present in making selections from the Psalter, all reasonable demand for flexibility of use of the Prayer Book would seem to be satisfied.
The action of the General Convention of 1880 in relation to shortened services was unsatisfactory to a majority of the body, but was accepted on the ground that it would be better, after so long a delay, to adopt the proposed plan of relief at once and remedy its defects hereafter, than to reject it and postpone to an indefinite period the whole subject of shortened services. The House of Deputies, by a decisive majority, expressed its judgment that there should be in this action no restriction whatever upon the right of a minister to use extemporaneous prayer after a sermon or lecture, and so amended the proposed enactment, but, in deference to the House of Bishops, yielded the point for the time being, rather than postpone all action indefinitely. The fact that the Committee on the Prayer Book would necessarily have cognizance of the matter, with ample time for deliberation and for perfecting the necessary legislation, was not probably, in the haste and confusion of the final action, properly appreciated; but, at all events, It seems clear, on fuller consideration, that the Committee ought to be able to present a satisfactory solution of the problem of shortened services without disturbing the Ratification of 1789, or curtailing the rights of the clergy while professing to enlarge them.
By usage, both in England and this country, extemporaneous prayer is deemed admissible after a sermon or lecture, for the purpose of meeting the demands of any special occasion or of the sermon or lecture, and such liberty, however rarely exercised, should undoubtedly remain intact. But extemporaneous prayer in public worship is not, as a general rule, either in whole or in part, acceptable to the Church. She demands that her worship shall be strictly liturgical; that her prayer shall be common prayer; that the congregation shall pray, rather than listen to a person who is praying; and that the Church shall not be at the mercy of men who may attempt to improve upon her services. Our Common Prayer is not an intellectual product merely, but a growth. I h as grown out of the experience, needs, sufferings, devotions of more than fifty generations of believers, and it must continue thus to grow. Congregations of worshipers are never weary of it; and the only demand that comes up from the Church at large is, that, with greater flexibility of use, we shall seek to. make richer and more beautiful that which is wonderfully rich and beautiful as it is. We believe that liturgical worship, while less sensational is more practical than other modes, goes down deeper into the life, is more thoroughly educational, and tends more to build up and consolidate Christian character. As a Church, we distrust the emotional, the metaphysical, the technical, the sensational in worship, and rely very much upon he practical. We believe that we owe to our Liturgy the fact that, as a general rule, families remain. in the Church permanently, from generation to generation; which can hardly be said of any Church without a liturgy. As to the enrichment of the Prayer Book, there seems to be a general demand for the restoration to the evening service of the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis, the use of which, in the worship of the Church, reaches back almost to Apostolic times. The beautiful third collect, for aid against all perils, which is found in the Evening Service of the English Prayer Book, but was strangely omitted from our own, should also be restored to us as an alternate.
Occasional prayers are also needed for Missions, for State Legislatures and Governments, as was recommended by Bishop Seabury, for the dependent classes who are under public care, of whom the Church is bound to take special oversight, both for her own sake as well as theirs, and for other special objects that experience may have indicated. Additional collects are also desirable, of which it is believed a considerable number may be found, suited to the character of the Prayer Book, and adding to its resources, without in the slightest degree lowering the dignity and solemnity of its devotional forms. What, for instance, can be finer or more impressive than the following, taken from the Accession Service of the English Prayer Book, with a slight modification?
"O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace; take away all hatred and prejudice and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord ; that, as there is but one body, and one spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may henceforth be all of one heart, and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
Taking then the suggestions of the Bishops in the report referred to as a basis, with a few additional changes specified, we shall have by way of increased flexibility in the use of the Prayer Book and its enrichment as follows:
1. The right of the minister, at all times, to treat the Morning Prayer, Litany and Communion Service as distinct and independent offices; and to use one or more of them at his discretion.
2. For special and extraordinary services, and for Morning and Evening Prayer on all other days than Sunday and days specified, the right of the minister to use such Scripture lessons, and such collects and prayers from the Prayer Book, and before sermon or lecture, if there be one, as may be deemed by him for edification.
3. The right, at his discretion, to begin the Evening Service with the Lord's Prayer.
4. The Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis, and the third collect against all perils in the Evening Service of the English Prayer Book, as alternates.
5. Larger liberty in the use of the Psalter.
6. Special prayers for Missions, and for other interests and objects that experience may have indicated.
7. Additional collects to be provided.
8. The right to use extemporaneous prayer after sermon or lecture, as far as it now exists, to remain unchanged.
9. The control of the music to remain with the rector, with the largest liberty so far as matters of mere taste are concerned.
10. The right of the minister in emergencies to use appropriate devotional exercises or forms, in the absence of instructions from the Bishop.
11. These, with the authority of the Bishop to furnish from time to time, for extraordinary occasions, such forms of devotion as he may deem appropriate, would seem to meet present demands in relation to flexibility of use and enrichment of the Prayer Book; and this power in the Bishops, if wisely exercised, may perhaps be ample for meeting all the necessities of the future for new devotional forms.
An alternate Marriage Service may be desirable, for the reasons given by Dr. Dix, and manifest errors, such as Dr. Huntington refers to, should be corrected, and the size of the book kept within due limits; as to which there need be no difficulty. In order to quiet all doubts, the changes to be made should be sanctioned by appropriate legislation, and should be merely tentative, until the mind of the Church shall have been clearly indicated in regard to them; and not until then
should they be bound up with and become a part of the Prayer Book. If, in addition to what has been suggested, the Lectionary and Hymnal shall be somewhat improved, we may reasonably hope that the public worship of the Church will be made more attractive, while losing none of its dignity, beauty or force. As a mere educational process, the training which that worship gives in an ordinary lifetime is of priceless value. It makes the worshiper familiar with the scriptures beth of the Old and New Testaments, and especially with the Psalms, which are so constantly read and sung by the congregation, while the key-note of the Prayer Book is found in the first lesson which it teaches our children to remember, "that Baptism doth represent unto us our profession; which is, to follow the example of our Saviour Christ, and to be made like unto him."
Several points have been discussed by gentlemen who have preceded me in this friendly conference that, while not, perhaps, strictly pertinent, may fairly be regarded as incidentally involved in the work of the Committee on the Prayer Book, and seem to call for some notice.
A difference of opinion has been expressed as to the attitude of the Church towards dogma, outside of the authorized creeds. That there are such dogmas there is no doubt, and that they are found in the Prayer Book; but I do not understand that the scope and meaning of them are arbitrarily fixed by the Church, or that her mode of teaching them is by menace. In reference to the meaning of dogmatic statements, I know of no such relation as that of submission on the part of the people, and authority on the part of the Bishops and clergy, whose judgment is undoubtedly entitled to great weight, but whose mission is to instruct and aid men in the search after truth, and not, by dictation, to forbid such search. The Church follows the method of her Lord, in appealing to the enlightened judgment of men, and to their intuitive perception of truth when presented. He never demanded of any man "the surrender of his intellect," but, on the contrary, the consecration of all its powers to His service, in active duty, is what the intellect is made for. Were this not so, we should indeed be in an evil case, with high and low churchmen, and many intervening grades of churchmanship, differing widely in doctrine, and yet each and all historically entitled to their places in the Church. The doctrine of infallibility and passive obedience is, with us, impracticable as well as inadmissible.
The Bishop of Long Island, in a very able article entitled "Christian Dogma Essential," published in the January number of this Review for 1882, speaking of the historic creeds, says:
"They reflect now, as they did ages ago, the immutable needs of man, in the deepest realm of his being. If they ever held sway over the human mind, it was because of the divine and eternal truths which they embodied, and not because of their verbal form or technical structure."
He says further, "The doing of God's will is the only key to His doctrine of salvation. As through the intelligence this doctrine passes down into the heart, so back through the crucible of the will and the affections it must go, if it is to be securely seated in the heights of intelligence."
"Doctrine and duty, truth and action, faith and morals, what we believe and what we do as members of Christ's body, are but different sides of the Same divine message, the same divine life."
"The intrinsic power and dignity of Christian dogma, as well as its practical grasp of the human mind, lie in the fact that it speaks definitely and positively, and with due regard for all the elements involved, on questions which reason can discuss, but can never settle. These questions have an intellectual as well as a moral and spiritual side. On the former side, dogma must conform its explanations and apologies to the shifting requirements of each generation; on the latter, it need not, it cannot change. Thus it is possible for Christian dogma to be ever the same in its continuous witness, and yet to be ever intellectually fresh, ever abreast of the crises arising either from the mere fluctuations or from the actual progress of human thought."
"And sad indeed will it be for the Church if she do not find herself fully armed for such a crisis, both by her firm grasp of the dogmatic verities of Revelation, and by the disciplined intellectual vigor needed for their rational treatment and luminous exposition."
The fact that the Church, in explaining her dogmas, must appeal to
the intellect and consciences of men, and not to their fears, is fully recognized in the article referred to, as well as in the history of the American Church. The Athanasian Creed was wisely omitted from our Prayer Book, for the reason that it sought to drive men into certain curiously framed logical and metaphysical definitions, instead of leading them into the simple truths of the Apostles' Creed.
Such is the teaching of the Church, that the spiritual is always the practical, the way, the truth, and the life are one, and Christian truth is Christian life. The horizon of truth is widened and the spiritual vision wonderfully clarified by a holy life; but each man must, at last, come to his own conclusions, untrammelled by dictation, and relying on all the helps within his reach; and it is difficult to see how a faith that lacks this quality of freedom, and is a matter of compulsion, can have any moral significance. In the Baptismal Service, the question "Dost thou renounce the devil and all his works," etc., comes first; and then the question "Dost thou believe," etc.; and this is the order in which genuine Christian faith always manifests itself; this is the. method which the Church adopts, as that of the spirit of truth, leading men into all truth. It is a very different thing from a theology of proof-texts, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men; and the Church seems to regard accurate and well-defined theological views as valuable, just in proportion as they are practical, and show as their fruits holy and useful lives.
The main object of our liturgy, aside from the creeds, is devotion; and its doctrinal teaching is usually incidental, and therefore lacks the distinctness of definition and clearness of statement that a dogma of faith for the Universal Church demands. The definitions referred to by Mr. McCrady of South Carolina, in the last General Convention, that are found in the invocations in the Litany to God, the Holy Ghost, as "proceeding from the Father and the Son," and to the Trinity as "three persons and one God," constituted no part of the ancient Litany of the Church, as known down to a comparatively recent period. The petitions before the change were, "Spiritus Sancte Deus, miserere nobis," and " Sancta Trinitas unus Deus, miserere nobis;" the exact doctrinal definitions were left to the creeds, as being somewhat out of place when addressing the Deity in prayer.
Bishop Hobart saw the danger of stating in the liturgy outside of the creeds, propositions about which Christian men differ and have a right to differ; and for this reason proposed as early as 1826, by a prayer framed for the Confirmation office, to relieve the term "regeneration" in the Baptismal office from the suspicion of confounding the distinction between the Baptism of Regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost; and there can be little doubt that, had he accomplished this object, the secession of the Reformed Episcopal Church, so called, which we all regret, would have been avoided.
The Committee on the Prayer Book has, however, nothing to do with these questions of doctrine further than to see that in its recommendation no special views are emphasized, in devotional forms designed for the use of the whole Church.
The true principle of our public worship seems to be, that prayer and praise and preaching, and the Lord's Supper, are all of divine command, and all essential to true Christian worship, and that neither can safely be dispensed with, and neither is central, in the sense of superiority, throwing the others or either of them into the background. In relation to dress and mere ceremonial and ornamentation there should be a wide discretion, in order to meet the reasonable wishes and diversity of tastes of congregations and ministers, simply maintaining substantial uniformity, and protecting the Church from follies and excesses. It on the ground of comfort, convenience, or even taste, the clergy shall generally desire a change in the law regulating the dress of ministers in public worship, there would, I presume, be no serious objection to such change. If, however, it is asked for simply on the ground of reverence for mediæval usage, the suggestion will be as unintelligible to the American Church, and as unsatisfactory, as would be to the country at large a proposition to go back to the ruffles, dress and etiquette of the court of Henry VIII. in the President's receptions at Washington.
We claim that we are a branch of the Universal Church, but we differ somewhat as to the precise test of membership in that body. We admit that the historic churches, the Church of Rome, the Greek Church, the Anglo-American Church, belong to it; but how is it with these religions organizations that date their origin at or since the reformation? It is said by high authority, in reference to the distinction between the two Prayer Books of Edward VI., that "the great doctrinal alteration" made by the second book " referred to the presence of Christ in the consecrated elements of the Eucharist. In the book of 1549, the Communion Service had been so constructed as to be consistent with the belief of a real, and perhaps a substantial
and corporal, presence. But the alterations in 1552 were such as to authorize and foster the belief that the consecrated elements had no new virtues imparted to them, and that Christ was present in the Eucharist in no other manner than as He is ever present to the prayers of the faithful. The pale of Church communion was thus enlarged for the more earneot reformers, but closed against the slightest leaning to mediæval doctrine." *
*Procter, On the Book of Common Prayer, pp. 33, 34.
There can be no doubt that, so far as doctrinal standards and the philosophy of the Christian life are concerned, we are more closely in sympathy with the great Protestant Churches about us than with the Church of Rome; and if substance is to govern rather than form, theological and spiritual relations rather than ecclesiastical, it would seem that we might well broaden our views, and treat them all as within the wide dominion of the Universal Church, visible and invisible. In the Father's house on earth, as in heaven, there must be mansions for good men of every name who believe in their hearts, and openly profess, their faith in the great facts of Christianity embodied in our creeds, and earnestly endeavor, by God's help, to live the Christian life. The differences that separate us from them are melting away, and must soon substantially disappear if we shall prove true to the Protestant character of our Prayer Book. This Book is already universally adopted in the Army and Navy; and the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, Te Deum, Gloria in Excelsis, Burial Service, Marriage Service, selections from the collects and responsive services are not infrequently used by our neighbors; while the fasts and festivals of the Church, Christmas, Easter, Good Friday and Lent, are generally more or less observed by these brethren, who are beginning to understand that historically the Prayer Book is theirs as well as ours. The fact that the American Church is the only Church on the face of the earth that, resting upon the one admitted ancient creed, as the Faith once delivered to the Saints, unites law and order with perfect freedom of opinion, is gradually doing its work.
Bishop Harris has wisely said that "this country, if not this age, is intensely intolerant of mediævalism." I cannot agree with Dr. Dix that "religion has nothing to do with secular progress or political change;" and that "lucifer matches, express trains, telegraphs, electric lights, telephones, world's fairs congresses of the nations, war-drums of the world, trade-unions, socialism, scientific discoveries, cannot possibly be brought in as elements of the old Gospel." There is and can be "no state of progress and civilization to which Christianity is not "precisely adapted, thus showing conclusively its divine origin, and it is adequate to the work of transmitting all these worldly energies and influences into divine instrumentalities for the benefit of mankind; the main business of the Church in this country, and its bounden duty, is to accomplish this work; but it is a very different matter from the monastic worship of mediævalism, and cannot be done by machinery. Whatever the sins and dangers of this age may be and whatever its lack of reverence, it is the age in which we live, and with which we have to do; and if the Church was made for man, and not man for the Church, she must grapple with these difficulties and overcome the.'ll; and she cannot shirk the responsibility, and is not seeking to do so.
This Church is beginning to be felt as a power in the land. Indirectly she acts upon politics, the legislation and administration of the government, upon official, professional and business life.
But her direct influence is still greater. She fixes and maintains in her creeds the standards of doctrine towards which the religious mind of the country is all tending, sustains the dignity and solemnity of public worship, teaches the true training of children, makes herself felt for good in literature and the press, and in forming public sentiment, inculcates neatness, order, moderation, obedience to law, temperance and pure morals, and in our large cities is a standing rebuke to vice and lawlessness, and the friend of the poor. She teaches the true uses and meaning of wealth, sustains the cause of education, encourages honesty and integrity public and private, and elevates social life. Her Missionary Bishops are dealing with vast problems: the consecration of gigantic "godless wealth" and the religions teaching of all classes business men miners, railroad men, and the immense agricultural and manufacturing populations that are covering the face of the land, from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean. She is showing that she is not, as has been said, exclusively the Church of the rich and poor, but that her principal work is and is to be among the great middle class that holds in its hands the destinies of the nation: not a proselytizing Church, estimating her value by her numbers, but a standing witness of divine truth, a leavening influence that gives tone and character to the national life, lifts men up towards Him who is King of Nations as well as King of Saints.
To weaken the confidence of the people of the United States in this Church would be a great calamity. But it can be done, and in order to do it thoroughly we have only to show that we are ashamed of Protestantism, identified as it is, in the national convictions, with political civil and religious liberty; ashamed of our name, the 'Protestant Episcopal Church; ashamed of our martyrs, who died in defence of those principles of perfect freedom, freedom of mind, freedom of conscience, that are embodied in our Protestant Prayer Book.
In these confidential talks with friends we speak our minds freely, knowing that the object we all have in view is simply the truth, and that each is doing his best to find it. Let us be thankful that, much as we may differ in opinion, the Church is large enough to give us all a home; and that we can discuss the things that pertain to her interests not only with mutual respect and courtesy, but as brethren; conscious that we are in a world of shadows that perplex and sometimes blind us,
"All waiting for the golden morn to rise."
JOHN W. Andrews
Thus much I have said, on Judge Emott's reference to a passage in my lectures, by way of explaining why I would rather have the old Book just as it is, with its imperfections, whatever they may be, than see anything done to it which might, in any way, directly or indirectly, lessen its value as a standard of faith, or give aid and comfort to persons, if such there be, who would like to see it revised after the fashion of the Reformed Episcopalians, or their predecessor, the Rev. George E. Thrall the author of the "Union Service Book," which died a natural death at an early stage of Its existence.
I must be permitted to go on and express my surprise and regret at hearing it said that a Liturgy is not a deposit of doctrine once delivered, and to be forever preserved intact, "and that our Liturgy in particular is not constructed to express a system of doctrine, but for worshipers, who may hold various systems of doctrines, unitedly to use." I must ask leave respectfully to dissent from this view. Our Liturgy is nothing, if not doctrinal and dogmatic: There is not, to-day, in the English language, a living book so utterly and intensely dogmatic; and if anyone were to attempt to compile a work which should "constitute a deposit of doctrine," and "express a system of doctrine," I see not how he could do better than to take as his model our Book of Common Prayer. It is the best teacher of Christian dogma and morals to be found among the English speaking races, and far more efficient in that function than many of the clergy who use it. By way of justification of this view, let us consider how much it enshrines, and practically realizes to us in a devotional form, of that body of truth which has been held, and still is held, in common throughout the Catholic Church, and from which large numbers are in revolt today. Referring to this our invaluable Directorium of Credenda and Agenda, we find the following:
a. The dogma of the One God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; and that whatsoever is believed of the glory of the Father, the same is to be believed Of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, without any difference or inequality.
b. The dogma of the Eternal Sonship of the Second Person In the Holy Tnntty; the Homöousios; the Incarnation of that Person; His birth of the substance of a pure Virgin; the union of two whole and perfect natures in His One Person never to be divided, saecula saeculorum.
c. The dogma of the Procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son; His Eternal Personality distinct from those of the First and Second; and His Presence with us men as Paraclete.
d. The doctrine of the Atonement, viz., that our Lord Jesus Christ suffered death on the cross for our redemption, and that he made, on the cross, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.
e. The doctrine that there is an Intermediate State, called Hades, and the Place of Departed Spirits; that our Lord was in it between His death and resurrection, and that He preached there to souls in prison.
f. The doctrine of the true and literal resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, not in a figure, nor by way of a moral or spiritual resurrection, but in His Very and Real Body, with Flesh, Bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man's nature.
g. The doctrine of the true Ascension of Christ into heaven, in our proper and full nature, as Man, and His session there at the Right Hand of God, High Priest for-ever after the order of Melchisedech, making intercession for us.
h. The doctrine of "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church," a visible Kingdom, into which men are admitted by baptism, and from which they may be cut off by excommunication.
i. The doctrine of Apostolic Succession, viz., that from the Apostles' time there have been three orders of ministers in Christ's Church; that these three orders were ever more held in reverent estimation, and that no man may execute any function of that ministry among us unless he hath had Episcopal Consecration or Ordination.
j. The doctrine that there is a Priesthood in the Church, that is to say, an Order of men set apart to be Messengers, Watchmen, and Stewards of the Lord, having specific powers which none but God can give, and which he gives only by the hands of the Bishops, Successors of the Apostles.
k. The doctrine that God the Holy Ghost condescends to be given by men to men in the laying on of hands, and that He is received for blessing, confirming, and setting apart to sacerdotal and episcopal functions.
l. The doctrine of spiritual regeneration in Holy Baptism, as a means whereby we receive the same and a pledge to assure us thereof.
m. The doctrine that the Holy Communion is a solemn action before Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, wherein also there is a true Oblation, and wherein the Holy Ghost is invoked upon creatures of bread and wine to bless and sanctify the said elements of this world; that partakers of the elements so blessed do eat and drink the most blessed Body and Blood of Jesus Christ; and that the results of such
reception are both spiritual and physical, our sinful bodies being cleansed by the Body, and our souls washed through the Blood.
n. The doctrine that the priests of the Church have power and commandment to declare and pronounce to the penitent the absolution and remission of his sins, and that they receive the Holy Ghost to the end that whose sins they forgive shall be forgiven, and whose sins they retain shall be retained.
o. The doctrine of the Inspiration of the Holy Bible; that all the books thereof have been written for our learning, and contain all things necessary to salvation, and that the Church has final authority in controversies about their meaning.
p. The doctrine that Man is free, through God's grace, to render God a true and laudable service, which service shall be recompensed by an eternal reward.
q. The doctrine of the profitableness of fasting, abstinence, almsgiving, and other good works to the help of the soul.
r. The doctrine of a Special Providence which ordereth all things in heaven and earth, involving the duty and privilege of praying to God for every thing needed by the individual, the race, the nation, or the region; as, e,g. for rain, for fair weather, for the crops, for deliverance from famine, pestilence, etc.
s. The doctrine of the Spiritual World; of a Personal Spirit of Evil, who, with his kindred devils, tempts and harms men; and of a hierarchy of Angels wonderfully constituted in divers ranks and orders, who not only do God service in heaven but also succor and defend men on earth.
t. The doctrine of the Resurrection of the Flesh, and its sequence, that after this life there is an account to be given by each of us to the Righteous Judge; that His shall be "a fearful judgment," and that they who cannot abide it shall go into everlasting damnation.
To what is thus presented as divinely revealed truth, must be added those customs which identify our Church with that of all ages past, such as, for instance, the use of a Liturgy, (and, substantially, of the very Liturgy of antiquity,) and sacramental forms; the observance of holy days and seasons which map out the entire year; the customs of commemorating the saints by special offices in the churches, of using the sign of the cross, of chanting the temple psalms as in past ages, with a great number of similar matters on which it would take too much time to dwell.
Now, after presenting this list, which, far from being exhaustive, might be much enlarged, let me ask, whether the volume which thus sets dogma, doctrine, use, custom, in such profusion before every man, woman, and child, every day, may not fairly be regarded as containing a "system of doctrine"? Would any account of our Book of Common Prayer be full and correct which should slur over this or treat it as accidental and unintentional? On the contrary, ought it not rather to be considered as an amazingly explicit, clear, and earnest teacher of a very positive and logically connected body of doctrine? If this Book be not a Manual of Theology, and if the Church which gives us such a volume be not an Ecclesia Docens. sufficient for all reasonable needs, I am greatly in error. More than once have I made this point with discontented spirits, who were for abandoning our branch of the Church on the ground that she did not teach clearly. I have pointed to the system of instruction thus presented to us, covering things in Heaven, in Earth, and under the Earth, ranging through the Eternities and the Time which divides us from them, taking in God. Angels, Devils, and Men, and covering human life in all its relations, from birth to death, from death to resurrection, from resurrection to judgment, from judgment to Heaven or to Hell: and I have asked, what more do you want? Does not this suffice you? On no one of these points is our Mother the Church slow to teach, on none does she teach with uncertain voice. Compared with what is here, how insignificant appears the little that lies outside! And thinking it over by myself, I am some-times near repenting of ever having admitted that there are any "imperfections" in a volume which gives its readers this wealth of theological teaching and dogmatic instruction, The faults, indeed, are slight in comparison with the merits. They are, at the utmost, but little clouds or shadows which obscure for a time but do no lasting harm. We have in our Book of Common Prayer all necessary and essential truth, and, as things now stand, if a man cannot teach the Catholic Faith and serve as a Catholic Priest with a clean conscience in our own Communion, I know not where else he could go.
This is what I meant by "the strong meat" which I wish to see kept up as the diet of our people. It is strong; too strong for this age. There are men, even among ourselves. who, if one may judge by what they say and do, would prefer to substitute something in the sugar-candy and confectionery department for these honest and substantial viands; men who deny a few of the doctrines, and are skeptical on a good many more. No doubt, such persons feel let and hindered by being obliged to use the Book. It is a mirror which reflects their uneasy countenances; a steady witness against those who must use the words, but have ceased to believe what the words mean. And I deem that to be one of the most important functions of the Book; to teach one body of truth, whatever the age or the people may think; to keep on teaching that one truth, though the rationalists rage together, and the latitudinarians imagine a vain thing. It is the very quality and characteristic of the Book of Common Prayer which we could least afford to lose: and therefore are we most jealous, nay, nervously jealous, if you please, lest, in any way the witness should be made less intelligible or less emphatic.
But this will not be done, for the present at least. Every body must have heard, by this time, of the resolution adopted on the motion of the Bishop of Albany, "that no alteration should be made touching either statements or standards of doctrine in the Book of Common Prayer." That was, no doubt, a concession to a general sentiment; and for one I rejoice that such a feeling exists; for it serves High-Churchmen better than any other class. Their mission seems to be to stand up for the dogmatic and institutional, the sacramental, sacerdotal, and ritual elements in religion, in the face of all who oppose themselves; and this they can do with courage, while the Book of Common Prayer remains what it is. To them it is precious as a strong work which the enemy cannot force, though it is possible that he might mine and blow it up, and its defenders with it.
But the lookers-on, at the other end of our hall, while listening to this apparently interminable talk, will be asking, "What about Liturgical Revision ?" — Thus re-called to the appointed topic of discussion at our Symposium, which never came off, I will try to continue in order.
I should like to see a great many things done; more than might be inferred from what has just been said. As to erasures they are of slight importance. There are some things which look like bad blots on our volume; but yet even in such instances it is wonderful to note how God makes the foolishness of men to praise Him. Can aught be more foolish than that permissive rubric before the Apostles' Creed, except that other permissive rubric immediately following the reception of the baptized child or person into Christ's flock? I used to long for the power to cancel both; but now, I am not so sure that it would be wise to strike out either. Preposterous concessions to ignorance and prejudice, they yet have done good service; for the former constitutes an authoritative declaration that there is "a place of departed spirits," (which, of course, is neither Heaven nor Hell) and that the Lord went down into it; and forces that dogma on the view of every body, every time he goes to Morning or Evening Prayer, which is better than if it were merely hidden away in an unobserved "Article" towards the end of the book: while the latter gives an equally valuable statement that the Church knows no worthy scruple against the sign of the cross, which witness is true, not only there, but elsewhere. And so, after all, those two little glosses originally intended to quiet bigots and unlearned persons, have a value, in spite of their origin; and so may it be with other blemishes and blots, which do more good than harm when rightly explained.
But as for additions, the prospect broadens greatly. What is in order, but to state frankly what each would like to have done? It is a harmless entertainment, considering the number of our worshipful Committee, consisting of seven Right Reverend Fathers, seven Reverend Doctors of Theology, and seven honorable and learned laymen noted for their eminent abilities and high position, and considering that at least two thirds of all these must agree, ere any aspiration of anyone of us can find itself realized in act. We can but talk, at present; and modestly express our desires, speaking always under correction, and not venturing to claim more than respectful attention. And yet, there is this obstacle in the way of full speech; the Sub-committees are in session; they have no doubt discussed the numbers of the Table of Contents of the Book of Common Prayer allotted to each; they are aware of each other's mind, to some extent, and may even have agreed on certain points; but it would be a violation of confidence to tell the public what may thus have been already done; so that I find myself shut up in narrow bounds. In what follows, I shall carefully avoid the topics on which, as a member of one particular Sub-committee, I have already conferred with my colleagues, and confine myself to those branches of our work which are in the hands of others; premising that I have not exchanged a word on those subjects with the gentlemen in charge of them, and have not, at this moment, the slightest idea what they think, or what they may recommend when we come together in general session.
Now, first, of the Kalendar. I should like to see many of the Black Letter Days of the English Prayer Book restored. Some of them have no more than a local interest; as, for example, S. Chad, S. Edward, S. Richard, S. Alphege, and S. Swithin, although the last named saint might be venerated as patron of meteorological bureaus, and the "Old Probabilities" of our ancestors. But there are other names, which we ought to have in our Kalendar, such as those of S. Lucian, S. Prisca, S. Agnes, S. Perpetua, S. Agatha, S. Benedict, S. Ambrose and S. Augustine, the venerable Bede, S. Cyprian, S. Jerome, and S. Lawrence, S. Cecilia, S. Catharine, S. Clement, and S. Faith; and it would be well to restore the commemoration of events in the Bible History, such as the Visitation of S. Mary to S. Elizabeth, the Transfiguration, and the Naming of our Blessed Lord. Nothing would seem to be more strictly within the scope of liturgical "enrichment," than to fill out our comparatively meagre Kalendar by considerable additions of this character; while statements or standards of doctrine would not be affected in the remotest way. To enlarge and enrich our Christian Year, by thus expanding the roll of her holy days, would be like adding many precious works of art to a gallery of family portraits.
In the Order for Morning and Evening Prayer, most persons would like to have leave to omit the long address to the people; certainly on great Feasts, and when Daily Service is held. I never felt that I had the right to leave it out; and so, in former years, when it was my duty to read Daily Service, year after year, I went deliberately through it, seven hundred and thirty times per annum, until, like Job, I was ready to cry, "My soul is weary of my life." And is there not something positively crushing, in being compelled still to reiterate the interminable form, on such days as Christmas, or Easter, or Ascension? When the heart is overflowing with joy and exultation, and the lips are fain to burst into some enthusiastic salutation of the Lord, it overcomes one like a douche of ice-water, to hear the usual, the inevitable, "Dearly beloved brethren," with the "manifold sins and wickedness," and the "although," and the "chiefly so," and the "wherefore," till one loathes the very name of Bucer by whom this was fastened on us, and asks, how long it shall be, till, on the glorious feasts of the Christian Year, we can begin with the Invocation of the Thrice Holy Name, or the "Pater Noster," or something which shall at once ring forth joyously, as the true "vox exsultationis et satutis in tabernaculis justorum."
It may be a question whether, instead of providing other substitutes for the, Venite Exultimus Domino," similar to that now used on Easter day, it would not be better to return to the old use, of intercalating verses, by way of antiphons, suited to the great. feasts. Beautiful arrangements of this kind are found in the Mattin Office of the Breviary and elsewhere. For each great feast its own intercalary antiphon might be provided, and with brilliant effect when set to music. Take, as a specimen. the following:
"O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation: let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and show ourselves glad in Him with psalms.
The King, to whom all give: O come, let us worship.
For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods: in His hand are all the corners of the earth, and the strength or the hills is His also.
O come, let us worship.
The sea is His and He made it, and His hands prepared the dry land. O come, let us worship and fall down and kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is the Lord our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
The King, to whom all live: O come, let us worship.
Today if ye will hear My voice, harden not your hearts as in the provocation, and as In the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted Me, proved Me, and saw My works.
O come, let us worship.
Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said: It is a people that do err in their hearts, for they have not known My ways: unto whom I sware m My wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
The King, to whom all live: O come, let us worship.
We need an enlargement of our table of proper psalms, and additions and Improvements to the Selections of Psalms: "and, if any thing is to be exscinded, let it be those most extraordinary "portions of psalms appointed to be sung or said at Morning Prayer on certain Feasts and Fasts, instead if the Venite Exultemus, when any of the foregoing selections are to follow instead of the Psalms as in the table." Is there anything in the Prayer Book so odd as that! In all my life I have never even heard it tried; and yet the Idea was good, however clumsy the attempt to carry it out. The design appears to have been to mark certain days, viz.: Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Ascension, and Whitsunday, with special Invitatories of their own, to be followed by special psalms; which was quite correct; but the clumsiness of the work is evident; first, in those terrible jumbles of scraps from different psalms, (of which another awful example is in the Office of Institution); secondly, in the use of the Bible version, which is ill suited to chanting; and, thirdly, in giving up, for that occasion the "Proper Psalms"; since these odd centos are only permissible when the proper psalms are thrown overboard, and a Selection is substituted, which no-body wishes to do. The idea, though, is a good one; and they who have in charge the revision and enrichment of that part of the book might make something of it. But let us have no more chopping up of Psalms, into mince-meat, nor let us commit the Bible version of the psalms to the experiments of choir masters. Imagine trying to set the twenty-third Psalm to an Anglican chant: how will you point the first verse!
"The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want."
Another thing to be desired is the restoration of the entire Benedictus in place of the present fragment. What induced men to dock and curtail this, is as great a puzzle as to know what moved them to leave out Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis. Certainly, the liturgical revisionists of a century ago did some wonderful things; and of all that fell into their hands the Creeds and Evangelical Hymns fared worst. There is an undesigned coincidence here worth noticing: three Creeds, and three Hymns; of the Creeds, two suppressed and one mutilated in the "Proposed Book"; of the three Hymns, two suppressed and one retained only in part in the Book now in use! Restoring the Benedictus — as I trust we shall do,— it were well to enrich the Morning Office by providing alternates, such as are found in the old Gallican liturgies, in the offices for the Day Hours. The following appear to be well adapted to such use:
a. The Song of Isaiah, Chap. xii. Confitebor tibi.
b. The Song of Hezekiah, Isaiah xxxviii. 10, Ego dixi in dimidio.
c. The Song of Hannah, I Samuel ii. 1. Exultavit cor meum.
d. The Prayer of Jonah ii. 3.
I wish that the rule of King Edward's Prayer Book could be followed, making the Te Deum a part of the Morning Office excepting in Lent when the Benedicit, Omnia Opera should take its place; and I would have that done also during Advent. This is the use in my parish; the Benedicite is sung throughout Advent and Lent; the Te Deum comes to our ears with deeper impressiveness after those sombre and thoughtful weeks, and so fully does this approve itself to the devotional feeling and good taste of our people, that I think they would deeply regret a change in the custom. I have seen it suggested somewhere or other that instead of the Benedicite we should use, during Lent, a psalm of penitence, such as, e.g., the fifty-first. The idea does not commend itself to reflection: the purposes of a change are met by the temporary silencing of the Te Deum, while the song of the Three Holy Children in the Fiery Furnace seems to belong of right to the Church in her time of affliction; only we ought to restore the verse containing the names of Daniel's three blessed companions, the needless omission of which has resulted in leaving the people in ignorance of the origin of that stately hymn. It is indeed a stately one, being, in fact, a most ingenious composition, in which are set forth the glory and the praise of the Triune God in a subtle and marvellous way, so that, to the intelligent reader, it is a subject of unfailing delight. There are persons, to whom this would perhaps constitute an objection to it; they like it little, considered as what they have always supposed It to be, a dry catalogue of objects in earth, sea, and sky; perhaps they would like it less, on being shown how it falls into triples, and moves in one sublime order, through kingdom after kingdom of the vast creation of God. There is no end to the queer things that have been thought and said a bout this hymn. I well remember the sorrows of a student in the General Theological Seminary who went to Dr. Turner for consultation. To the good Doctor's amiable enquiry what it was that troubled him, he said that he feared there was authority for the Invocation of Saints in the verses, O ye Angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord! O ye Spirits and Souls of the Righteous, bless ye the Lord!' The learned professor, having attentively regarded the youth for a while through his spectacles said: "Mr. ——, if you will look again at the canticle which causes you so much alarm, you will find another verse, which I commend to your particular attention all ye green things upon the earth, bless ye the Lord.' Good morning, sir."
I must disagree entirely from those who object to the restoration of the Athanasian Creed. It seems to me an error to speak of it as a mere series of metaphysical statements; It appears to be no more open to the objection than the Nicene Creed, or the first five of our Articles of Religion. It is, so far as I can see, a clear, plain, logical statement of the dogma of the Holy Trinity, and no more difficult to accept than the Collects for Christmas Day and Trinity Sunday, or the Proper Prefaces of the Communion Office. Why then is it objected to? Chiefly I suppose, if not entirely, on account of the "damnatory clauses" with which it begins and ends. Now these certainly, imply no more than this, that a man to whom the religion of Jesus Christ has been fairly and sufficiently proposed, and who nevertheless rejects it, cannot be saved under any known terms of salvation proposed to us by God; It means but what Article XVIII. states quite as strongly, that "they are to be held accursed that presume to say that every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law and the light of Nature." The clauses now referred to contain nothing but what may be shown to be the teaching of the Catholic Church "he that believeth not shall be damned." They are: however, objectionable, not in themselves but in that place; and it has been well suggested that they might be omitted from the Creed with advantage to its symmetry and value. The General Councils attached anathemas to the Creed, but by way of appendix, enforcement, and ratification; the anathemas were not a part of the Creed, nor to be repeated whenever it was recited. To this suggestion I cordially assent, in the hope, that With such an amendment that invaluable statement of Christian doctrine may be added to our liturgical treasures.
The beautiful versicles immediately following the Apostles' Creed in the English Prayer Book are missed by those accustomed to that order of worship; so is the anthem after the third collect. To introduce an anthem there serves to mark the distinction between the collects proper with which the older Offices ended, and those added prayers and supplications for divers necessities, which came in by way of devotion: while it also makes a useful break in the now lengthy service, refreshing the people by a change of posture, and sending them back to their prayers with added zeal. And, while referring to the length of that portion of our service which follows the Creed, let me venture to hint very delicately that some of us have been known to grow very restless when the minister is heard adding to the general prayers and thanksgiving, the Prayer for Congress, a prayer for a sick person, a prayer for a sick child, a prayer for persons going to sea, a thanksgiving for a return from sea, a thanksgiving for recovery from illness, a prayer for persons in affliction, with, perchance, one of the Ember Week prayers. I know it is sinful and wicked to feel the least sensation of fatigue on such occasions, or to expect with anxiety the welcome sound of the General Thanksgiving, as a signal that the special petitions are concluded; but human nature is weak. I wish we could recover the simple bracket in the Prayers for all sorts and conditions of men, and in the General Thanksgiving, and that people could be content with such mention of their special needs in the Church.
And now, to come to what is a great need; that of a third service, after Morning and Evening Prayers have been said: I trust, that most of us feel that the best model is the Compline Office of the Day Hours. In the Diocese of New York, a service was in use for a long time, known as Bishop Hobart's service; good in certain particulars, as having one psalm, one lesson, and a canticle, with the Apostles' Creed; but objectionable, in others, and especially in having (mirabile dictu) the very same introduction, "Dearly beloved brethren" with all that follows to the psalter, and in introducing the"Prayer for the whole estate of Christ's Church Militant," a prayer totally out of place, and only valuable there because it gave a commemoration of the faithful departed in an Evening Office, where such commemorations are particularly appropriate. The present Bishop of New York, to whom the Church owes so much, gave the permission, many years ago, to use a third Office in my parish, arranged as follows:
1. Our Father, etc.
2. Versicles as in the Morning and Evening Prayer.
3. A psalm from the Psalter.
4. A lesson of Holy Scripture.
5. Magnificat, or Nunc Dimittis.
6. The Creed.
7. Versicles as in Morning and Evening Prayer, followed by
a. the Collect for the day.
b. the Collect for Aid against perils.
c. the Collect for the fifth Sunday after Trinity.
d. the Grace of our Lord, etc.
This, our Trinity Parish Compline, has given tolerable satisfaction to clergy and people; but we feel that it admits of filling out and is a poor substitute for the Compline of the old time. The Sarum Compline, very slightly adapted, would be a jewel in our Offices, and would no doubt rapidly win a place in general favor.
As regards the Office for the Holy Communion, I have a great deal to say, and many wishes to express, but must refrain from entering at all upon the subject, because it is one of those referred to the section of our Committee of which I am a member. Acquainted with the views of my colleagues, and having stated my own to them, I deem it a duty to keep silence, during the progress of this "Symposium," on that branch of the subject; and for the same reason I can say nothing about the Offices for Holy Baptism and Confirmation. But let me make some suggestions entirely outside of what we have done or are likely to do. It seems to me, that, whenever it is deemed desirable to settle certain vexed questions of ritual, the thing might most simply be done by way of a rew additions to the rubrics in the Office for the Holy Communion.
It may be happily taken for granted that there is no general disposition, on either side of the Church, to oppress or vex one another; at the same time many regret that there should be such very wide and startling diversities among us in the mode of conducting Divine Worship. But the only generous way of remedying the latter evil is, by recognizing differences of taste and making ample provisions for them within prescribed limits. My own conviction is, that a maximum and minimum should be fixed by rubric; that the maximum should give all that could be properly asked in the way of glory and beauty, in harmony with Catholic uses and traditions, while the minimum should be at least sufficient to save us from falling into the vulgarity and secularism which we see about us. Absolute ritual uniformity is a mere idle dream; it could not be secured except by a system of thumb-screws, lash and rack. such as we shall never, please God! see set up among us. Even in my own parish, there are as many uses as churches in it, and with my full consent and approval as Rector; I never attempted, or even wished to make up a "Directorium" and require exact conformity to it. Thus should it be in the Church at large, even as it has been for a hundred years, and shall be, we trust, a hundred years longer. But there are certain points on which it is desirable to come to a just settlement; and if this could be done, it may be hoped that men would be satisfied, and in gratitude or an official recognition of great principles, would no longer trouble themselves about smaller matters. Take, for example, the question of Vestments; it lies in a nutshell.
It is deemed right and expedient, among us, that the Minister, while engaged in performing Divine Service, should wear a suitable and appropriate dress, different from his ordinary costume. For the very same reasons it may be thought, further, proper and desirable, that when celebrating the Holy Communion, which is the highest act of Christian Worship, his garb should differ somewhat from that in which he performs inferior offices. In neither of these customs does the Church find ground for the charge of superstition or finical attention to externals; the considerations urged in the former case, apply as strongly to the latter.
Now in the Reformed Church of England, provision was made under each head, for what was regarded as decent and becoming. The surplice was to be worn by the priest at all times of his ministration, excepting at the celebration of the Holy Communion, when he was directed to put on "a white albe, plain, with a vestment or cope," his assistants, meanwhile, wearing "albes with tunicles."
In the First Book of King Edward VI., the use of a distinctive dress at the Holy Communion was required.
In the Second Book of King Edward VI., which was a revision under the inspiration of foreign agitators, the use of such dress was prohibited, the Minister being restricted to one and the same vesture at all times of his ministration.
Under Queen Elizabeth, the use was restored, but it was not enforced, and since that time it has always been lawful and permissible in the Church of England.
At present, the case stands thus: By the Canons of 1603, the use of the surplice at least is obligatory while by the rubric of the Book of Common Prayer of 1662 the use of the Eucharistic Vestments is continued; they who wish to do so may wear them; they who prefer not to do so are permitted to omit them.
But since the days of Queen Elizabeth down to our own time, it has been the desire and aim of a certain class of men in England to have the prohibition of 1552 re-enacted. As it is well known that this could not be accomplished through Convocation, recourse was had, in 1874, to Parliament, and an Act was obtained, which regulated the Public Worship of the Church, without regard to her rights or wishes. The resort to that measure was an acknowledgment of the fact, that what its promoters desired could not be gained from the Convocations of the two Provinces, and that the Church was unwilling to give up her ancient customs in order to gratify a Puritan faction.
It seems to me that the policy of the Church of England on this subject is eminently wise, liberal, and just; and that there is no other plan by which recent controversies of a painful character can be happily terminated; and if there could be added to our rubrics two more, the one requiring that our Clergy, in their ministrations, should wear, at least, the surplice and stole, and the other permitting those who desire it to use, at Holy Communion, the plain albe and fair white linen vestment, we should have a settlement of differences which a majority deplore; occasion for heart-burning would be removed, and large numbers would at once come forward as opposers of extreme and fanciful ritualism, who now hold back and demand the widest liberty, not because they are satisfied with things as they are, but because they know not where proscription, if once commenced, would stop.
There are some other matters connected with the Ritual of the Altar on which I feel free to speak, because there is no present prospect of their being touched in our Committee. The two Altar lights, the mixed chalice, and the use of unleavened bread, are included in the list of customs not connected with dogma; certainly they have no flavor of Romish error about them; nay, the unleavened bread and the mixed cup accord with the Lord's institution, while the use of two lights, — neither more nor less, — is a pure Anglican custom, differing entirely from the modern Roman use. These then, I should like individually, to have recognized as of the custom of "this Church," by rubric I believe them to be lawful among us now; but I should like to have the fact expressly declared; and this I will say, at the risk of being clubbed about the head by some so-called guardian of the peace among us, who is really an inciter to strife and a promoter of contention: pray God such troublesome folk keep aloof from our pleasant symposium.
As to the Service for the Solemnization of Holy Matrimony, it would be, in my opinion. of g:reat advantage to suggest, by rubric, the propriety of a Communion on that occasion. In view of the growth of loose notions on the subject of marriage, the increased facility for obtaining divorces, and the recent decision of the Court of Appeals, which substantially puts us at the mercy of the laxest state regulation; in view of the systematic practice of ante-natal infanticide, the want of proper control of such children as are permitted to exist, and the slow fading out of the Christian pattern of the family and the home; the question maybe asked whether we, as a Church, are doing all that we might to set up barriers against the flood.
The Marriage Service in our Book of Prayer admits, more than any other Office (unless that of Confirmation), of enriching, amplifying, and lengthening. It is quite too short for dignity: the minister, reading very deliberately, can hardly make it longer than six or seven minutes; almost as soon as the bridal party have reached the chancel, they recede to the Mendelssohnian music. The English service, of which ours is a sad deterioration in nearly every particular, takes from twenty minutes to half an hour to perform; surely none too much time for a ceremony so affecting and so sacred. And then there is no mention of the purposes for which marriage was instituted, and no suggestion of its sacramental character, its historical significance, its symbolical meaning as the beautiful type of the union of Christ with His Church, or the sanctity of that domestic life to which it forms the introduction. In all these particulars our service appears to me to need filling up. There is another difficulty in connection with this subject, which others no doubt have felt as well as I, Marriage is a civil contract; our clergy, in performing it, act in the relation of civil magistrates; they are under State regulation in certain particulars, in the exercise that part of their office. They may be called on to join persons together who are not of their spiritual cure, nor members of the Church, and perhaps not baptized. Now, I have always felt that, unless in extreme cases, it was unfair for us to refuse our services when asked to give them. But we have only one Office; and in the State of New York, the minister of any religious body is required to use that service (if there be any) which is established by the body to which he belongs, and no other: so that we have no choice. But I have sometimes felt it a sore trial, to perform that service, when one of the parties. before me was a free-thinker, or unbaptized. or a Unitarian, or when, as often happens, they were personally unknown to me, and merely sought my services as those of one authorized by the State law to unite them. The invocation of the Blessed Trinity may sometimes be shocking to hear; while to pronounce the benediction goes against the grain. "Be ye not unequally yoked together" said the apostle; and in some cases a man's conscience is not quite easy, in recalling those words. Now, what we desire is an alternate form, to be used when the minister acts rather in the part of civil magistrate than in that of spiritual pastor; a form sufficient for legal purposes, and proper to be used in cases when it might be dangerous to repel, while yet there is no claim to the solemn benediction of the Church. In this State, the clergyman is authorized by law to administer the oath to principals and witnesses, and take their deposition, if he deem it advisable: in cases of that kind, why should he not have, by ritual law, the right to elect in what terms he shall join persons together? Was not her Marriage Service intended by the Church only for the use of her children? If we are permitted and expected to join together persons who are not of her fold, and if it would be impossible to decline doing so without the chance of great inconvenience and mischief, might we not also have a form for the alien and the stranger other than that which was designed for the children of the house? I submit this view, with deference to the judgment of men versed in ecclesiastical and secular law. I should be glad of an opinion from such eminent jurists as Judge Emott, Mr. Burgwin, Judge Sheffey, and others whose names will readily occur to the reader, or from canonists such as Prof. Seabury, of the General Theological Seminary, whose advice on kindred questions I have often had occasion to seek, and never in vain.
It seems to be generally admitted that we need a special Office to be used for the burial of children. I remember the astonishment of a distinguished foreigner present at the funeral of an infant, on finding that the service was precisely the same which he had recently heard on an occasion of the burial of an adult. Beyond this suggestion, I shall add no more than what has been elsewhere said, by way of regret at the omission of prayers for the departed, and wish for the restoration of the practice of the celebration. Queen Elizabeth's order, "Celebratio Coenae Domini in Funebribus, si Amici et Vicini defuncti communicare velint" (Anno 2, Eliz. Regni, 1560), certainly contains nothing superstitious or contrary to sound doctrine. It is unnecessary to answer the challenge to explain the especial significance of such a service, though I might do so, satisfactorily, by reference to those Ancient Doctors of the Catholic Church, whom we are commanded expressly to take as guides in our teaching, and by whom the eucharistic commemoration of the faithful departed and the oblation for them were matters as simple, and as much a thing of course, as the saying the Lord's Prayer: but I will only suggest. that attendance at such a celebration would most quickly remove objections to it; for of all sweet, comfortable, and touching services in which I ever took part, none seemed to me so marvellously impressive, so wondrously soothing, as those. The sting of death seemed to have been taken away, and the faith in the continued life, and the unbroken love of the dead in Christ, moved the soul with irresistible force. Nowhere else have I realized so fully the meaning of those words,
"Angels, and living saints, and dead
But one communion make:
All join in Christ their vital head.
And of His life partake."
In the celebration of the Holy Communion at the burial of the dead there are already many precedents, notably in the case of the obsequies of bishops of our Church; the practice is growing, and will no doubt ultimately be recognized in some official way: there is no need of haste in a matter which will settle itself.
To come to things not already in the Prayer Book, such as offices for divers occasions. The following will naturally suggest themselves under this head.
1. A Form of laying the corner-stone of a Church or Chapel.
2. A Form of consecration of a Church cemetery.
3. A Form of re-opening a Church after it has been closed for extensive repairs, alterations, or additions.
4. A Form of benediction of an altar.
5. A Form of benediction of a Church tower.
6. A Form of benediction of a chime of bells.
7. A Form of benediction of any considerable gift to a Church.
8. A Form of admitting members of Church Choirs, male or female, especially such as are to have their place in the Chancel near the Clergy and to wear a garb appropriate to their duty.
9. A Form of setting apart lay workers in the guilds or charitable associations of a parish.
10. A Form of admitting to membership in religious communities, whether of men or women.
11. A Form of reception of converts to our fold, from "false doctrine, heresy, or schism."
12. Additional Collects, for occasional use, and Litanies, such as may be found in most of our popular books of devotion, as, e.g.,
a. A Litany of the Passion.
b. A Litany of the Resurrection.
c. A Litany of Penitence.
d. A Litany of Christian Virtues.
e. A Litany of the Most Precious Name of Jesus.
f. A Litany of the Holy Spirit.
13. A Formulary of Family Worship, adapted to the Christian Year.
14. Brief Offices for the Seven Hours of Prayer. These Canonical Hours are already formally recognized among us, the proper hymns for them being given in our Hymnal, (353-359 inclusive). It were well to give us next the remainder of the Breviary Offices, from which the Hymns were taken, with such revision, and condensation, as to adapt them for use where there are the ability and the will to praise the Lord "seven times a day."
Of the value and necessity of such Offices as I have mentioned, it would seem that there could be no difference of opinion among us. In the Diocese of New York we have an old form for laying a corner-stone; it might be greatly improved. The Office set forth by the Bishop of Long Island, for use at Garden City, when he laid the corner-stone of his Cathedral, was a noble one, most impressive and effective; far superior to any that I ever heard on such an occasion. The Bishop of Albany has made another valuable contribution to our liturgical store, in an office used for the consecration of the tower of S. Peter's Church, at Albany, which was built long after the rest of the edifice had been consecrated. Of Offices for the Benediction of an Altar, we have three at least, and perhaps more; one, which I arranged at the request of the Bishop of New York, for use in Trinity Church, when the Altar and Reredos erected in memory of Mr. William B. Astor, were solemnly dedicated to Almighty God; another, which was authorized by the Bishop of Western Pennsylvania for the Reredos in the Church at Mauch Chunk, a memorial to Judge Packer; and a third, used with the consent of the Bishop of Tennessee, in S. Mary's Church in Memphis, where an Altar commemorates the martyrs who died during the pestilence in 1878. A proper form for re-opening a Church after it has undergone extensive alteration and repair, is most desirable; for something should be done by way of reparation for the temporary use of the holy place by common workmen, or by persons coming and going about their secular business, and perhaps eating, drinking, and smoking within the walls, or otherwise affronting the sanctity of the place. The service to which I have just referred as used in Trinity Church had three distinct objects in view: it served as an act of reparation and re-consecration. as an oblation of the noble gifts then made to the Church, and as a benediction of the Altar.
While suggesting the need of a Manual of Family Devotion, let me mention something which occurred not long ago under my own observation, and made a deep impression on all present. A parishioner whom God had blessed during many years, in his business relations and domestic life, having bought a new house with every prospect of occupying it for many years, asked me to come and hold a service of benediction. An office was prepared for that purpose, including psalms from the Psalter, hymns, selections from the Scriptures, and prayers taken from ancient sources. On the appointed evening, the parlors being filled with guests, I said the service, assisted by a volunteer choir of the good man's kinsfolk and friends; and I have rarely been more forcibly struck by anything than by the beauty, simplicity, and sincerity of the entire proceeding. It was a scene never to be forgotten; it brought back the all but lost ideal. of the household priesthood and the patriarchal religion; it seemed to dedicate in advance the whole life of the family, their going out and their coming in, from that day forth forevermore; and it then occurred to me that such sweet and impressive scenes would be much more frequently witnessed if the idea could be suggested to our devout people. A Manual of Family Prayer might properly begin with an Office for the dedication of the house and household to the loving service of the Lord; such an Office would constantly remind those who had used it of duties undertaken and responsibilities incurred. I do not know where a thoroughly satisfactory Manual of this class can be found. Among the latest is that which was compiled by direction of the Upper House of the Convocation of Canterbury; but whatever its merits, there is much to be done before we shall have what we need.
A few words as to the shape in which these additions to the Book of Common Prayer should come to the hands of the people. I am reluctantly compelled to differ on this point with the Rev. Dr. Huntington, whose judgment, on so many matters, is excellent, and to whom we are indebted for first moving in the direction in which so many are following him. It is obvious that these additional forms, offices, and services could not go into the Book of Common Prayer without enormously increasing its bulk, even if it were imaginable that an order to that effect should be given. But that is not to be thought of; no doubt the Book of Common Prayer will remain, in size and general appearance, and as regards its contents, very much as it is at present, for many years, nor are we likely to live long enough to see any very extensive additions to it in the way of new material. If, therefore, it be desirable to enrich the Church with numerous Offices for various occasions, with a great store of Collects applicable to innumerable "chances and changes of this mortal life" and the thousand necessities of "all sorts and conditions of men," and with forms of devotion adapted to the domestic life of persons immersed in the cares and toils of professions or business, and to that of persons whose privilege it is to serve God with less distraction in communities instituted for entire self-consecration to Him: I say, if we are to have these, or even a considerable part of these, then I see not how it can be accomplished, unless by publishing a separate volume or volumes, as the "Primers" were published in the early stage of the English Reformation. If the outcome of the labors of our Joint Committee on the Book of Common Prayer should be so small that it could be added to the Book or inserted in it, without material increase in size, I should feel that what we had accomplished was hardly worth the time, thought, and study expended. But if it be not so, and if, like scribes instructed unto the Kingdom of Heaven, we are to bring forth out of the treasures of the Holy Catholic Church things new and old, in rich abundance, for the help and edification of the people, then I see that these must appear, at first, and for some time remain, in separate volumes. For nothing will be done or ought to be done in this line in a hurry. Whatever is proposed, will be proposed, as it were, for trial only, and for approval after due use; and years must elapse before we shall know what has been assimilated and what rejected, what is worth keeping by way of permanent addition to our formularies, and what does not stand the fiery test of constant use among us. For two reasons, then, I advocate the idea of the "Primer," or "Manual," or "Little Prayer Book," or whatever it may be called; first, because no extensive additions can be made to the number of our Services and Offices without making our Book of Common Prayer too bulky, and, secondly, because we propose to add nothing to the Book which has not first been tried and approved. I cannot altogether agree with those who think it a great advantage to have everything compressed into a single volume: I rather envy the Roman Catholic his Breviary, in four parts. for Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter; and the Greek Catholic his great number and variety of liturgical Manuals. High authorities on these questions have taken the view, that it is a great advantage to the Anglican Communion to have its Breviary, its Missal, its Sacramentary, and its Pontifical all crowded together in one small volume; and no doubt there is some truth in this, so far as the education of the people is considered; for they are thus kept informed on all the subjects included; and, as I said before, next to the honor done to Almighty God, the Book serves no higher purpose than that of teaching the common people what the faith is, and forcing them. to keep up to it. But may not this condensation be carried too far? Has it not actually been carried too far? May we not have gained in compactness at the expense or other matters which also had their value, and whose loss we now begin to feel? There is a medium between the bewildering profusion of the Oriental Communions, and the wonderful straitness of our own branch of the Church; perhaps we should be the happier, as we certainly should be the richer, if we could strike that medium, without compromising the clearness and simplicity which mark our present Offices, or making them less intelligible to the common folk than they are now.
It is high time to draw these remarks to a close, and to take leave of mine host, and of those, If any such remain, who are still listening politely, though, perchance, with impatience. Let me therefore end by deprecating severe criticism of what was no more than a hurried talk, and by appealing to all churchmen, of whatever school they may be, to lay aside prepossessions and prejudices in considering the subject now before us. On one point I would that we were all agreed; that the work which we have undertaken can bring with it no good and happy result, unless carried forward in a broad Catholic spirit. The older I grow, the less I love what bears the sect name and breathes of the sect spirit; and "Protestant Episcopalianism" has no more grace or charm for me than Presbyterianism. or Methodism, or Congregationalism, or what-soever other "ism" there be. The learned and devout Dr. Mahan, whose soul is with the saints we trust, once said. touchingly, in an hour which was to him particularly dark, "So far as our own Church is concerned, I avow myself her dutiful though unworthy son; and so far as the Catholic Church is concerned.. "I believe" in her though I see less of her than my poor heart craves." The feeling grows with years, that it were a blessed thing to have done forever with the negations, the queries, the objections, the oppositions, which mark the Sect-temper, and to enjoy a fuller measure of Catholic teaching and Catholic devotion.-Now God forbid that we should be further handicapped with modern inventions and novelties. As there is but One Gospel, which not even an angel from heaven could improve, and to which neither Pope nor philosopher can legitimately add by process of development, so the living voice of that Gospel, as uttered in Creed, Liturgy, and devotional offices, must be, from age to age, in harmony with itself. The true faith cannot change, however the world changes; and therefore it could not be taught or kept by a Liturgy reflecting the thoughts of men, or the particular views of the day. Such a production, revised and corrected from time to time to meet alleged demands of the age, might perhaps gratify the aesthetic and the transcendentalist, — it certainly would, if it had plenty of gush and little or no dogma, but were like the shimmer of moonbeams and red-fire on a fog, — but to us poor souls who wish to know and keep that truth which is the same yesterday and to-day and forever, it would be of no more use than a compass which varied from bell to bell with the motion of the ship, instead of always pointing one way.
I know well the "contumely" which is heaped by our "proud men" on those who hold such views; that we are styled "mole-ministers," fossils, impracticables; that we are regarded as faithless to the movements of the day, and unable to keep pace with the progress of the age. Well. gentlemen, say all this and more at your will; but give us credit for having a reasonable basis for our position; "let no man think us fools; if otherwise yet as fools receive us." Whatever may be in front, we cannot mistake what is behind The Anglican Communion is free as yet from the taint of development, whether of the papal or rationalistic order. The Church at whose altars we serve has a well understood position: she claims to be as truly the Church of the past as the Church of the future. Her appeal is to Antiquity, to Holy Scripture as interpreted by Ancient Authors, to the General Councils, to authentic standards of faith and worship having the mark of Catholic consent and approval; her charge to her priests was, and is still, that they teach no other doctrine to their people than such as the old Catholic Fathers and Doctors taught. Holding this ground, we trust that she has a great part to play by and by in the Reunion of Christendom, on the basis of the Nicene Creed, the Apostolic Order, the Priesthood, and the Sacramental System.
Her position can hardly be misunderstood; it cannot be changed except by processes which would wholly change her character, and build a structure of a different design in her place, Why are we so bitterly reproached, by the advocates of progress in religion, when we are but honest men, loyal to the principle at the root of the whole system, revering our genealogical record, and keeping to the law of our existence? Religion has nothing to do with secular progress or political change; lucifer matches, express trains, telegraphs, electric lights, telephones world's fairs, congresses of the nations, war drums of the world, trades' unions, socialism, scientific discoveries, cannot possibly be brought in as elements of the old Gospel though a new one might no doubt be invented more to the taste of those who seem to think that, somehow or other human nature has changed since the Fall, and that the diseases of our souls need a different treatment now, and new medicines, and a new Physician. From such positions we dissent; and, for my own part, I cannot see, looking unto the Rock whence we were hewn and to the hole of the pit whence we were digged, how or where we are wrong. Now then, what finally we ask is this: that as the Faith is One, and the Church Catholic and Apostolic, and the Religion old; so her Liturgical forms, her rites and ceremonies, her forms and offices may ever be in harmony with herself, and that in trying to amend, improve, and embellish, we shall most sedulously avoid the modern and the novel, adhere to the family traditions, and keep up the honor of the name. "Nemo bibens vetus statim vult novum; dicit denim, Vetus melius est."
Fourteen years ago a great scholar of the Church of England, writing on the subject of Revision, used these weighty words, which, in conclusion, I commend to the consideration of thoughtful men: — "When it is borne in mind that the old Evangelical party is, by the confession of its own organs and leaders, perishing before our very eyes, and that one large section of the Broad Church school (with no protest from the other) is in active revolt against the whole supernatural side of Christianity, the practical impolicy of altering the Prayer Book m their interest will be even more obvious than even its theological peril, When, on the other hand, it is remembered that not only is there a wide spread feeling that the disunion of Christendom has lasted long enough, and that the English Church appears to be the only possible link by which Greece, Rome, and Germany (using these terms to their widest theological meaning) can be joined again, but that the hundreds of Dissenters who are constantly conforming do so almost always because attracted by the Catholic element amongst us, it seems to be true wisdom to revert to the doctrinal and ritual system which prevailed centuries before modern innovations and corruptions in belief and practice arose. We cannot do so absolutely, without so much alteration as to amount to actual reconstruction, but we may fairly endeavor to do so relatively, and to make all changes in this direction, and in no other." I take leave of our good company, with apologies for having occupied so much of their time, and with no doubt that if the "Symposium" is to proceed, he who, comes next will be much more worthy of a hearing, and likely to tell us things to more purpose.
Return to the 1892 U. S. Book of Common Prayer
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