Abbildungen der Seite

National Versions of the Prayer Book.

The English system of Divine Service was adopted by the Church of Scotland in the seventeenth century, and by that of the United States of America in the eighteenth: and although the Churches of both countries are but small bodies, when compared with the numbers of the population, the versions of the Book of Common Prayer adopted by them have an historical claim to be called national versions,—that of Scotland having been adopted under royal and ecclesiastical authority, while that of America was adopted under the most authoritative sanction of the ecclesiastical body to which the original English colonists of the continent belonged.

The Scottish The Reformation was not carried forward in Scotland with the same calm, disPrayer Book. passionate, and humble reverence for the old foundations which was so conspicuous in that of the Church of England. For many years no uniform system of devotion took the place of the ancient offices, and it was not until the reign of James I. that any endeavour was made to put an end to that ecclesiastical anarchy which was thinly veiled by Knox's miserable Book of Common Order. The General Assembly of 1616 agreed to the proposal that a national Liturgy should be framed: but King James wished to introduce the English Prayer Book, and it was used in his presence at Holyrood on May 17th, 1617. Three years afterwards an Ordinal was published for the use of the Scottish Church; and the draft of a Liturgy was submitted to the King by Archbishop Spottiswoode. This was revived on the accession of Charles I., and in 1629 official measures were taken for obtaining its reconsideration and adoption by the Church of Scotland; although both the King and Laud were anxious to have the English Prayer Book introduced without alteration. Eventually the King gave way to the wish of the Scottish Bishops that a national form of Divine Service should be adopted: an episcopal committee was appointed (of whom Maxwell, Bishop of Ross, and Wedderburn, Bishop of Dumblane, appear to have been the most active), and they were engaged on the work for many months, some delay being caused, apparently, by the necessity of communicating with the King and the Archbishop of Canterbury, which had arisen from the altered relations of the two countries. The Scottish Prayer Book of 1637 was the result of these labours. It has been popularly connected with the name of Archbishop Laud, but it was the compilation of Scottish Bishops; and all the English Archbishop did was (as one of a commission of which Wren and Juxon were the other two members) to offer suggestions, prevent rash changes, communicate between the Crown and the Scottish Bishops respecting alterations, and facilitate the progress of the book through the press.

The Book of Common Prayer so prepared was not submitted to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. As the preceding pages have shown, the English book was, from first to last, the work of Convocation ; and no doubt the Scottish book ought also to have had the sanction at least of the whole Scottish Church by representation, and not only of the Crown and the Bishops. In the year 1637 it was imposed upon the Church of Scotland by letters patent and the authority of the Bishops : but, as is well known, its introduction was vigorously opposed by a fanatical faction which in the end became supreme, and both the Church and the Prayer Book of Scotland were suppressed. That now in use in the Scottish Church was introduced in later times; but the book of 1637 is so much connected with the history of the period, and has, besides, so much liturgical interest, that a fuller notice of it has been inserted in the Appendix at the end of this volume.

The American

Until the separation of the North American colonies from England, the English Prayer Book.

Book of Common Prayer was used without any alteration in the American Church. After they became independent, as the United States, it was thought expedient for the Church to make some changes, especially as alterations were being introduced without authority, and there seemed danger of much disorder in Divine worship if a form were not adopted which could have some claim to be called national. The first step towards this was taken at the General Convention of the American Church held at Philadelphia in 1785: during the next four years the various Offices were gradually remodelled until they took the form in which they are now used, and which was authorized by the General Convention of 1789. Committees had been appointed to prepare an entirely new book : but in the end the English Prayer Book was taken as the basis to be adopted. The language was in many parts modernized, the Communion Office was restored to a form similar to that of 1549, a selection of Psalms was appointed instead of our daily order, the use of the Athanasian Creed was discontinued, and some other less

important alterations were made. But the Preface declares that the American Church " is far from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline, or worship, or farther than local circumstances require.”

§ Translations of the Prayer Book. The Book of Common Prayer arose, in no small degree, from a conviction, on the part of the Clergy and Laity of England, that Divine Service should be offered to God in the vernacular tongue of those on whose behalf and by whom it is being offered. The principle thus adopted in respect to themselves has been carried out as far as possible in all the missionary operations of the Church of England; and the establishment of her forms of Divine Service in countries where the English language is not freely spoken, has generally been accompanied by the translation of the Book of Common Prayer into the language of those who are being won over to the Church of Christ. A necessity has also arisen for translations into some European languages: while provision was made for rendering it into Welsh and Irish at the time of its first issue. An account of the Latin translation will be found under the rubric relating to the use of Divine Service in other languages than the English.

The following list contains the names of forty languages and dialects, into which the Book of
Common Prayer has been translated, but the number is constantly increasing as the missionary work of
the Church is developed :-






Modern Greek




Maori Most of these translations have been produced under the auspices of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and of the Prayer Book and Homily Society; and some guarantee is thus given for accuracy. It should also be mentioned as a fact of interest and importance that the Hawaiian version was made in 1863 by the native king, Kamehameha IV., who also annexed to it a Preface which shows a thorough knowledge of the principles of the Prayer Book.







Forms and ceremonies in Divine Service are bodily manifestations of spiritual worship, and the ordinary means by which that worship is expressed to God.

The whole scheme of Redemption is based on a principle which shows that God establishes communion between Himself and mankind chiefly through the body and bodily acts, and not through purely mental ones, as the exercise of thought or will. For when a perfect and unimpeded spiritual intercourse was to be renewed between the Creator and His fallen creatures, God, Who “is a Spirit," took upon Him a bodily nature, and by means of it became a Mediator, through Whom that intercourse could be originated and maintained. For the particular application, also, of the benefits of His mediation, Christ ordained Sacraments, which are outward and visible signs endowed with the capacity of conveying inward and spiritual grace to the soul through the organs of the body.

In analogy with this principle, Ceremonial worship, or Ritual, may be defined as the external body of words and actions by which worship is expressed and exhibited before God and man. As it is ordained that men shall tell their wants to God in prayer, although He knows better than they know themselves what each one's necessities are, so it is also ordained that spiritual worship shall be communicated to Him by words and actions, although His Omniscience would be perfectly cognizant of it without their intervention.

The Divine Will on this subject has been revealed very clearly and fully in the Holy Bible; from its earliest pages, which record the sacrifices of Cain, Abel, and Noah, to its latest, in which the worship of Heaven is set forth as it will be offered by the saints of God when the worship of Earth will have passed away.

Before the origination of the Jewish system of ceremonial, we find customs which indicate the use of certain definite forms in acts of Divine worship. The chief of these is Sacrifice, in which the fruits of the earth were offered to God, or the body of some slain animal consumed by fire on His altar. Such acts of sacrifice were purely ceremonial, even supposing them to have been unaccompanied by any words; and the account of Abraham's sacrifice, in Genesis xv. 9–17, illustrates very remarkably the minute character of the ritual injunctions given by God even before the time of the Mosaic system. The Divine institution of the outward ceremony of Circumcision is another instance of the same kind, and one of even greater force, from the general and lasting nature of the rite as at first ordained; a rite binding on the Jewish nation for nearly two thousand years. Another ceremonial custom to be observed in the Patriarchal times, is that of “ bowing down the head” when worshipping the Lord [Gen. xxiv. 26. 48]; another, that of giving solemn benedictions, accompanied by laying on of hands [Gen. xxvii. 27–29; xxviii. 1–4; xlvii. 10; xlvii. 9–20]; another, that of setting up a pillar, and pouring oil upon it [Gen. xxviii. 18; xxxv. 14] ; another, purification before sacrifice (Gen. xxxv. 2]; and, to name no more, one other, the reverent burial of the dead (Gen. xxiii. 19; xxxv. 19; 1. 10], which even then was an act of reverence towards God, as well as of respect and affection towards the departed.

The introduction of a higher form of corporate worship was accompanied by a great development of ceremony or ritual. Of what was previously in use, we can only infer that it was divinely instituted; but the divine institution of the Jewish system of ritual is told us in the most unmistakeable terms in the Holy Bible, and the narration of it occupies more than seven long chapters of the Book of Exodus (xxiv.-xxxi.], together with the greater part of the twenty-seven chapters of Leviticus.

This system of ritual (sometimes called “Mosaic," but in reality Divine) was revealed with circumstances of the utmost solemnity. After a preparation of sacrifices, Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders, went up into the lower part of Mount Sinai, and from thence “ they saw the God of Israel: and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of Heaven in clearness.” Moses was then commanded to go up to the summit of the mountain, “and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the Lord abode upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days : and the seventh day He called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights” [Exod. xxiv. 9—18]. During this awful time of converse between God and His servant Moses, it' appears that the one subject of revelation and command was that of ceremonial worship: the revelation of the moral law being recorded in the single verse, “ And He gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God” [Exod. xxxi. 18].

The revelation of God's will respecting forms and ceremonies, which was thus awfully given to Moses, went into very minute particulars, which were chiefly respecting the construction of the Tabernacle, the dress of those who were to minister in it, the instrumenta of Divine Service, and the ceremonies with which that service was to be carried on. The architecture of the structure itself, the design of its utensils, and of the priestly vestments, and that kind of laws for the regulation of Divine Service which we now know as rubrics, were thus communicated to Moses by God Himself, and in the most solemn manner in which any revelation was ever given from Heaven. And when the revelation was completed, “the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah : and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship. . . . . And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan : and in the hearts of all that are wise-hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee” [Exod. xxxi. 1–6). Thus Divine Inspiration was given to the principal architects and superintendents of the external fabric by means of which Divine Service was to be carried on, as well as a Revelation of its structure, and of the cerenionial itself; and no words can heighten the importance and value which Almighty God thus indicated as belonging to ceremonial worship.

Nor did this importance and value belong to ceremonial worship only in the early period of the Jewish nation's life. It was not given to them as a means of spiritual education, by which they should be gradually trained to a kind of worship in which externals should hold a less conspicuous position. Nothing whatever appears, in the revelation itself, of such an idea as this; but the ceremonial is throughout regarded as having reference to Him in Whose service it was used, looking to the Object of worship, and not to the worshippers. And accordingly, when the Jewish nation attained its highest pitch of prosperity, and probably of intellectual as well as spiritual progress, in the latter years of David and in the reign of Solomon, this elaborate system of ceremonial worship was developed instead of being narrowed. The magnificent preparations which David made for building the Temple are recorded in 1 Chron. xxii., xxviii., and xxix.; and those which he made for establishing the service there, in 1 Chron. xvi., xxii.—xxvi. : the descriptions of the structure and of the utensils being almost as minute and detailed as in the commandments of God on Sinai respecting the Tabernacle. In this more intellectual age of the Jewish nation, and for this development of ceremonial worship, God vouchsafed to give inspiration to His servants for their work, as He had done to Bezaleel and Aholiab. When the Holy Bible gives the account of David furnishing Solomon with the designs for the Temple and its furniture, these significant words are added, “And the pattern of all that he had by the Spirit.” Even more striking are David's own words: “All this the Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern. .... The Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord” (1 Chron. xxviii. 12. 19]. The fulfilment of this prophetic promise is indicated in a subsequent place by the words, “Now these are the things wherein Solomon was instructed for the building of the house of God” [2 Chron. iii. 3] : and the Divine approval of all that was done is strikingly shown in 1 Kings ix. 3. 2 Chron. v. 11–14; and vii. 1, 2. Nor should the fact be overlooked that the most costly and beautiful house of God which the world ever saw was built, the most elaborate and gor. geous form of Divine Service established, by one who was no imaginative enthusiast, but by one whose comprehensive knowledge and astute wisdom exceeded those of any man who had ever before existed, and were perhaps greater than any learning or wisdom, merely human, which have since been known. Solomon was a man of science, an ethical philosopher, and a statesman, yet a ritualist.

Thus the use of Ceremonial Worship in some form is shown to have existed even in the simple Patriarchal ages; and to have been ordained in its most extreme form by God Himself in the times of Moses, David, and Solomon. Let it be reverently added, that it was this extreme form of Ceremonial Worship which our Lord recognized and took part in when He went up to Jerusalem to celebrate the great Festivals, and the restoration of which in its purity He enforced both at the beginning and end of His ministry by His “cleansing the Temple” from the presence of those who bought and sold there. The vain and empty private ceremonies which the Pharisees had invented met with the severe condemnation of our Lord; but there is not one act or word of His recorded which tends in the least towards depreciation of the Temple service; or which can lead to the supposition that the worship of God " in spirit and in truth” is to be less associated with forms and ceremonies when carried on by Christians, than when it was offered by Moses, David, Solomon, and the Old Testament saints of many centuries.

The ritual practices of the Apostolic age are to some extent indicated in the New Testament, but as the Temple service was still carried on, and Jerusalem formed the religious centre of the Apostolic Church, it is clear that an elaborate ceremonial was not likely to be established during the first quarter of a century of the Church's existence. Yet this earliest age of the Church witnesses to the principle of ceremonial worship, as the Patriarchal age had done; and each foreshadowed a higher development of it. A learned German ritualist has written thus on this subject :-“On mature reflection, I am satisfied that the Apostles by no means performed the Divine Liturgy with such brevity, at least as a general rule, as some have confidently asserted. The faithful, whether converts among the Jews or Gentiles, were accustomed to ceremonies and prayers in their sacrifices; and can we suppose that the Apostles would neglect to employ the like, tending so greatly as these must do to the dignity of the service, and to promote the reverence and fervour of the worshipper? Who can believe that the Apostles were content to use the bare words of consecration and no more? Is it not reasonable to suppose that they would also pour forth some prayers to God, especially the most perfect of all prayers which they had learned from the mouth of their Divine Master, for grace to perform that mystery aright; others preparatory to communion, and again, others of thanksgiving for so inestimable a benefit ?” [Krazer de Liturgiis, i. 1–3.]

But there are distinct traces of actual forms of service in the Acts of the Apostles, and in some of the Epistles. In the second chapter of the former, at the forty-second verse, it is said of the first Christians that they continued stedfastly in the doctrine (Tôn Sidaxn] and in the fellowship [Tŷ kolvwvia] of the Apostles; and in the breaking of the Bread [TÑ kláoel toll åptou], and in the prayers [Tais Trpooevzais] ; the two latter expressions clearly indicating settled and definite ceremonial usages with which the writer knew his readers to be acquainted. St. Paul's reference to a Sunday offertory [1 Cor. xvi. 1]; to the observance of decency and order in the celebration of Divine Service [1 Cor. xiv. 40]; to the ordinances, or traditions, which he had delivered to the Corinthians, and which he had received from the Lord Himself (1 Cor. xi. 2]; and to the divisions of Divine Service in his words, “I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications [deño els], prayers [zTpogeuxàs], intercessions (évteúčELS], and Eucharists [evxapiotlas], be made for all men” [1 Tim. ii. 1],—these show that an orderly and formal system was already in existence; while his allusion to “the traditions” [ràs tapadóoels] seems to point to a system derived from some source the authority of which was binding upon the Church. Such an authority would attach to every word of our Blessed Lord; and when we know that He remained on earth for forty days after His Resurrection, and that during that period He was instructing His Apostles in "the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” [Acts i. 3], it is most natural to suppose that the main points of Christian ritual were ordained by Him, as those of the Jewish ritual had been ordained during the forty days' sojourn of Moses on Sinai. It is to be remembered also that there

forms and ceremonies in use by the Church which were undoubtedly ordained by Christ, such as the

« ZurückWeiter »