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laying on of hands in Ordination, the use of water and certain words in Holy Baptism, and the manual ceremonies at the Holy Communion.
At a later period, when the Temple service had altogether ceased, when the temporary dispensation of a miraculous Apostolate was drawing to a close, and when the Church was settling into its permanent form and habits, St. John (the last and most comprehensive of the Apostolic guides of the Church) wrote the book of the Revelation; and several portions of it seem intended to set forth in mystical language the principles of such ceremonial worship as was to be used in the Divine Service of Christian churches. In the fourth chapter, the Apostle is taken up to be shown, as Moses had been shown, a “pattern in the Mount;" and as that revelation to Moses began to be made on the Sabbath of the old Dispensation, so it was “the Lord's Day” on which St. John was “in the Spirit,” that he might have this new revelation made to him. As, moreover, the revelation made to Moses was one respecting the ritual of the Jewish system, so there is an unmistakeable ritual character about the vision first seen by St. John; the whole of the fourth and fifth chapters describing a scene which bears a close resemblance to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, as it was celebrated in the early ages of the Church, and as it is still celebrated in the East.
The form and arrangement of churches in primitive times was derived, in its main features, from the Temple at Jerusalem. Beyond the porch was the narthex, answering to the court of the Gentiles, and appropriated to the unbaptized and to penitents. Beyond the narthex was the nave, answering to the court of the Jews, and appropriated to the body of worshippers. At the upper end of the nave was the choir, answering to the Holy Place, for all who were ministerially engaged in Divine Service. Beyond the choir was the Bema or Chancel, answering to the Holy of Holies, used only for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, and separated from the choir by a closed screen, resembling the organ screen of our cathedrals, which was called the Iconostasis. As early as the time of Gregory Nazianzen, in the fourth century, this screen is compared to the division between the present and the eternal world [Carm. xi.], and the sanctuary behind it was ever regarded with the greatest reverence as the most sacred place to which man could have access while in the body; the veiled door which formed the only direct exit from it into the choir and nave being only opened at the time when the Blessed Sacrament was administered to the people there assembled. The opening of this door, then, brought into view the Altar and the Divine mysteries which were being celebrated there. And when St. John looked through the door that had been opened in Heaven, what he saw is thus described : “And behold a Throne was set in Heaven .... and round about the Throne were four and twenty seats; and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold : . . . . and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the Throne . . . . and before the Throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal.” Here is exactly represented an arrangement of the altar familiar to the whole Eastern Church and to the early Church of England, in which it occupies the centre of an apse in front of the seats of the Bishop and Clergy, which are placed in the curved part of the wall. And, although there is no reason to think that the font ever stood near the altar, yet nothing appears more likely than that the “sea of glass like unto crystal” mystically represents that laver of regeneration through which alone the altar can be spiritually approached. Another striking characteristic of the ancient Church was the extreme reverence which was shown to the book of the Gospels, which was always placed upon the altar and surmounted by a cross. So “in the midst of the Throne, and round about the Throne,” St. John saw those four living creatures which have been universally interpreted to represent the four Evangelists or the four Gospels; their position seeming to signify that the Gospel is ever attendant upon the altar, penetrating, pervading, and embracing the highest mystery of Divine Worship, giving “glory and honour and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever.” In the succeeding chapter St. John beholds Him for whom this altar is prepared. “I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the Throne, and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as It had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” It cannot be doubted that this is our Blessed Lord in that Human Nature on which the septiformis gratia was poured without measure; and that His appearance in the form of “the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing," represents the mystery of His prevailing Sacrifice and continual Intercession. But around this living Sacrifice there is gathered all the homage of an elaborate ritual. They who worship Him have “ every one of them harps,” to offer Him the praise of instrumental music; they have “golden vials full of incense, which are the prayers of
saints," even as the angel afterwards had “given unto him much incense that he should offer it with the prayers of the saints upon the golden altar which was before the Throne":"they sing a new song, mingling the praises of "the best member that they have ” with that of their instrumental music; and they fall down before the Lamb with the lowliest gesture of their bodies in humble adoration. Let it also be remembered that one of the Anthems here sung by the choirs of Heaven is that sacred song, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come;" the Eucharistic use of which is traceable in every age of the Church.
These striking coincidences between the worship of Heaven revealed to St. John and that which was and is offered at the altars of the Church on earth, warrant us in considering this portion of the Revelation as a Divine treasury wherefrom we may draw the principles upon which the worship of earth ought to be organized and conducted. And the central point of the principles thus revealed is that there is a Person to be adored in every act of Divine Worship now, as there was a Person to be adored in the system which culminated in the Temple Service. This Person is moreover revealed to us as present before the worshippers. And He is further represented as our Redeeming Lord, the “ Lamb that was slain," He who said respecting Himself to St. John at the opening of the Apocalyptic Vision, “I am He that liveth and was dead, and am alive for evermore.”
This Presence was promised by our Blessed Lord in words which the daily prayer of the Church interprets to have been spoken with reference not only to Apostolic or Episcopal councils, but also to Divine Service : “Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt. xviii. 20.] It is quite impossible to view this promise in the light of Holy Scripture, and especially of that part of the Revelation which has been referred to above, without seeing that its fullest and most essential meaning connects it with the Eucharistic Presence of Christ, the “ Lamb as it had been slain.” This truth so pervaded the mind of the ancient Church that in its primitive ages Divine Service consisted of the Holy Eucharist only'; and the early Liturgies speak to Christ in such terms as indicate the most simple and untroubled Faith in the actual Presence of our “ Master” and Lord'. Hence the Ceremonial Worship of the early Church was essentially connected with this Divine Service; and to those who were so imbued with a belief in the Eucharistic Presence of their Lord the object of such ceremonial was self-evident. The idea of reflex action upon the worshipper probably never occurred to Christians in those times. Their one idea was that of doing honour to Christ, after the pattern of the four living creatures, the four and twenty elders, the angels, and the ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands who said “Worthy is the Lamb:” after the pattern of those who, even in Heaven, accompanied their anthems with the music of harps, and their prayers with the sweet odour of incense.
The mystery of our Lord's Presence as the Object of Divine Worship lies at the root of all the ceremonial practices of the Church : and a conviction that this Presence is vouchsafed chiefly through the Holy Eucharist causes the latter to become the visible centre from which all ritual forms and ceremonies radiate. It is true that there are some ceremonies which may be said to belong to the organization of Divine Service; but even that organization is linked on to acts of worship, since it is in the service of God, who enjoins order, and exhibits it in all His works. But this latter class of ceremonies is not large, and scarcely affects the general principle which has been previously stated. There are, again, some ceremonies which may be called educational or emotional in their purpose, but they are so only in a secondary degree; and such a character may be considered as accidentally rather than essentially belonging to them.
The principles of Ceremonial Worship thus deduced from Holy Scripture may be shortly applied to some of the more prominent particulars of the ritual of the Church of England, leaving exact details for the two subsequent sections of this Introduction.
1. The local habitation provided for the welcome of our Lord's mystical Presence is provided of a character becoming the great honour and blessing which is to be vouchsafed. It is the House of God, not man's house; a place wherein to meet Him with the closest approach which can be made in this life. Hence, if Jacob consecrated with the ceremony of unction the place where God made His covenant with him, and said of it, “This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven;" so should our churches be set apart and consecrated with sacred ceremonies making them holy to the Lord. So also, because they are to be in reality, and not by a mere stretch of language, the Presence chambers of our Lord, we must regard them as the nearest to heaven in holiness of all places on earth by the virtue of that Presence. And, lavishing all costly material, and all earnest skill upon their first erection and decoration, we shall ever after frequent them with a consciousness that “the Lord is in His holy Temple," and that all which is done there should be done under a sense of the greatest reverence towards Him.
1 It is observable that the incense is not a symbolical figure for prayer, but is said to be offered in combination with prayer. [Rev. viii. 3, 4.]
2 The Holy Eucharist was the only distinctively Christian part of Christian worship. The "hours of prayer," now represented
by our Mattins and Evensong, were derived from the Jewish ritual; and the Christians of Jerusalem evidently “went up to those of the Temple Service while it lasted.
3 See a prayer at p. 27, from the Liturgy of St. Mark, but addressed to the First Person of the Blessed Trinity.
2. Hence too, the furniture of the House of God, the utensils or instrumenta necessary for Divine Service, should all be constructed with a reverent regard to the Person in whose service they are to be used. Costly wood or marble, precious metals and jewels, used for such an object, do not minister to luxury, and have no direct and primary reference at all to those who will use them or look upon them. But as ministering to the honour of Christ our Lord they cannot be too freely used : nor need we ever fear of expending wealth or skill too abundantly when we read of the manner in which God accepted all that Solomon had done for His holy Temple at Jerusalem, and all the beauty and splendour with which He is worshipped in Heaven. The same principle applies with equal force to the apparel in which the ministers of God carry on His Divine Worship; surplice and albe, cope and vestment, all being used in His honour and for no other primary object whatever. If they are not necessary for the honour of God, the greater part of them are not needed at all.
3. The use of instrumental music, of singing, and of musical intonation, instead of colloquial modes of speech, are all to be explained on the same ground. Universal instinct teaches that the praises of God ought to be sung, and that singing is the highest mode of using in His service the organs of speech which He has given us. An orderly musical intonation is used by priest and people in their prayers, that they may speak to their Maker otherwise than they would speak to their fellow-men, acknowledging even by their tone of voice that He is to be served with reverence, ceremony, and awe.
4. And, lastly, the gestures used in Divine Service are used on similar principles. Kneeling in prayer, standing to sing praise, turning towards the East or the Altar when saying the Creeds, humbly bowing the head at the Name of Jesus or of the Blessed Trinity,—these are all significant gestures of reverence towards One who is really and truly present to accept the worship which they offer ; One who accepts such reverence from the holy Angels and the glorified Saints, and who will not be otherwise than willing to receive it from His ministers and members in the Church on earth.
These, then, are the principles of Ceremonial Worship which pervade the Book of Common Prayer ; and for the practical expression of which provision is made in the rubrics and in the ritual tradition to which the rubrics directly or indirectly point. They are principles which were originally laid down with the most awful solemnity by God Himself; which were not abrogated by any act or word of our Lord when He was upon earth; which were illustrated afresh on the first formation of the Christian Church in as solemn a manner as that in which they were originally enunciated; which were practically adopted by those Christians who lived nearest to the time of our Lord's ministry and teaching; and which have been followed out in our own Church from the most ancient days. The particular manner in which these Divinely revealed principles of Ceremonial Worship are practically applied to Divine Service as regulated by the present rules of the Church of England will be shown in the following sections.
THE MANNER OF PERFORMING DIVINE SERVICE.
The performance of Divine Service may be regarded in a twofold relation; as it affects the eye, and as it affects the ear. In other words, it may be considered as coming within the province, and under the superintendence of, one or other of the two representative Church officers, the Sacrist and the Precentor. In the present section some remarks will be offered upon it under its latter aspect, as it bears upon the subject of Church Music. In looking, then, from the Precentor's point of view, at the question of the manner of performing Divine Service in the Church of England, the first thing which strikes us is this, that the directions in our Prayer Book, although scanty, are yet full of significance, implying much more than they seem actually to express. They carry us back to former times for their elucidation, and obviously assume a certain amount of familiarity with pre-Reformation usage. Thus the very brevity of our musical rubrics is one of their most interesting features, as necessarily presupposing a former history, and as referring us to that history for the completion and explanation of their concise verbal injunctions.
There is a world of meaning in the simple little word “Evensong," as applied to our daily Evening Office. So again, such brief notices as, “here followeth the anthem;" “then shall be said, or sung;” “here shall follow;" “then shall be read ;” “here the Priest and Clerks shall say;" “these Anthems shall be sung or said;" with many others, all seem to demand some additional explanation over and above what their words actually express.
But before directing attention to the musical notices of our Prayer Book, and their immediate history, it will be necessary to carry our thoughts further back, and see what is the ultimate basis on which they rest. And this will compel us to touch, though very briefly, on the subject of the Divine authority for the employment of music in the worship of Almighty God.
No lengthened remarks will be needed on this head. For the fact of music forming a recognized and Divinely ordained element in the public worship of God, and of the Almighty having herein given His deliberate sanction and approval to that which the instinctive piety of all nations has taught them, is familiar to all careful readers of Holy Scripture. Still it is well that Christians should have this truth, of the Divine origin and authority of Church music, firmly impressed on their minds; that they should be perfectly settled on this point, that it is not only not wrong to employ music freely in Divine Service, but a direct contravention of God's revealed Will not to employ it, where it can be had; that Church music, therefore, should not be regarded with indifference, as a mere “non-essential,” but as a matter demanding earnest and reverent consideration.
We pass over the Antediluvian and Patriarchal times, as the notices of a definite and settled Ritual, and consequently of sacred music, are but slight. We pass over, also, the sojourn of the Chosen People in Egypt, and their wanderings in the desert. So long as God's Church was in poverty, and under persecution, struggling for existence, and unable, through sheer necessity, to “put on her garments of praise,” God (in Jewish, as afterwards in Christian times) waived her becoming tribute and “Service of Song.” We must not look for our example to a state of things confessedly abnormal and transitory. We must refer to a period when the Church was able, through her outward circumstances, to give that full ritualistic form and expression to her worship which God deemed consistent with the duty she owed to Him'. Let us at once pass on, then, to the period of King David.
The first great religious celebrations in his reign took place in connexion with the removal of the Ark from its place of banishment (after it had been captured by the Philistines in the time of Eli) to its resting-place on Mount Sion. There were two grand Choral Processional Services in connexion with this removal. The former of these, in consequence of certain ritual irregularities which offended God, came to a sad and untimely close. [1 Chron, xiii. 8–12; xv. 11–16.] The latter is the one which, as meeting with God's express approbation, especially demands our notice. It is in reference, then, to this second and successful ceremonial, that we read of David, by God's appointment, “speaking to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.” “Thus all Israel ”the narrative proceeds—"brought up the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps” [1 Chron. xv. 28].
Nor was the work of Praise at an end. So soon as the solemn business of the Translation of the Ark is over, there must still be a special festival of Thanksgiving in commemoration of the auspicious event, as well as provision made for a continuous service of Praise. Hence David “appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the Ark of the Lord, and to record, and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel ;” some “with psalteries and harps ;" some to make “a sound with cymbals ;” besides “the priests with trumpets continually before the Ark of the Covenant of God.”
1 “In Egypt," writes Hooker, “it may be God's people were right glad to take some corner of a poor cottage, and there serve God upon their knees; peradventure, covered with dust and straw sometimes. .... In the Desert, they are no sooner possessed of some little thing of their own, but a Tabernacle is required at their hands. Being planted in the land of Canaan, and having David to be their King, when the Lord had given
him rest, it grieved his righteous mind to consider the growth of his own estate and dignity, the affairs of Religion continuing still in the former manner. What he did propose it was the pleasure of God that Solomon his son should perform; and perform in a manner suitable to their present, not to their ancient state and condition," &c. [Eccl. Pol. IV. Ü. 4.7
Then it was, that “David delivered first this Psalm to thank the Lord [Ps. cv.] into the hand of Asaph and his brethren : 'Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His Name .... sing unto Him, sing Psalms unto Him .... Sing unto the Lord, all the earth : show forth from day to day His salvation.”
And that the words of this Song should be practically realized, and the offering of Praise not cease with the festive occasion which had drawn forth the Psalm, we read of “ Asaph and his brethren” being “ left before the Ark of the Covenant to minister continually;” of “ Heman and Jeduthun,” and others, “ who were expressed by name," “ being chosen to give thanks to the Lord, with trumpets and cymbals .... and with musical instruments of God” [1 Chron. xvi. 37. 41, 42]; of a great company of Levites being set by David “over the Service of Song in the House of the Lord, after the Ark had rest ;" who “ministered before the dwelling-place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation with singing ” [ib. vi. 31, 32); and of “the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites .... who were employed in that work day and night” [ib. ix. 33). And so highly developed did the musical department of the Divine Service become, that we see David, later in life, enumerating no fewer than “four thousand, who praised the Lord with the instruments which I made to praise therewith” [ib. xxiii. 5). And lest we should deem these and kindred ritual arrangements of “the Man after God's own heart,” “the Sweet Psalmist of Israel," mere private unauthorized exhibitions of strong musical and ästhetic taste on the part of an individual monarch, we are expressly told in one place, that “all these things were done according to .... the commandment of the Lord by His Prophets.” [2 Chron. xxix. 25.] Solomon carefully perpetuated all the musical arrangements of his father, and after the completion of his glorious Temple, according to the pattern shown him by God Himself, he transferred thither all the “instruments " which David had made for God's service.
On the magnificent ceremonial of the Temple Dedication, with its gorgeous musical and ritual accessories [2 Chron. v.; vii, 1–6], we need not dwell, since it is familiar to all; but it may be as well to remark that it is not for nothing that the Holy Ghost has thought fit to give us such an example of a Consecration Service. Surely if the ordinary bald Consecration and other Festal Services of modern times, with which we ourselves are familiar, are according to the Divine Mind, are suitable to the Dignity of Him to Whom they are offered, and are adequate expressions before Angels and Men of His awful and “excellent Majesty,” this soul-stirring description would seem somewhat unnecessary, and hardly to have been “given for our learning.”
In proportion as subsequent monarchs neglected God, in that proportion did they cease to care for the Ritual of His House, and suffered the music of His Sanctuary to decline. And conversely, as any monarch was mindful of the Lord of Hosts, and zealous for His Honour, so do we ever see one token of his zeal and devotion in his reverent attention to the Ritual and the Music of God's Holy Temple. Of Joash, of Hezekiah, of Josiah, the Holy Ghost recounts with special approbation their efforts for the restoration and encouragement of Church Music. But times grew darker. God's people fell away from Him. They forgat that “God was their strength, and the High God their Redeemer.” The sad era of the Captivity ensued. The harps of Sion were hung on Babel's willows. On the return from the Captivity we read of laudable and energetic attempts on the part of Ezra and Nehemiah to restore the ancient choral worship, and with a certain amount of success. But Israel's glory was departed.
Thus we learn, even from this brief and incomplete survey, that God's Church is emphatically “a singing Church ;” that music, vocal and instrumental, is designed, by His express appointment, to constitute one essential element, one necessary feature, one integral part, of His public Ritual; that the absence of music and suitable ceremonial in the history of His ancient Church, is, in every case, not the result of His Will, but of man's sinful disregard of that Will; an infallible sign, not of the faithfulness, but of the unfaithfulness of His people.
But has not Christianity introduced a change ? At no time and in no manner has God ever given a hint that He has altered His will on this subject. Our Blessed Lord did not utter one single word in disparagement of the general principle of ceremonial worship, or of the ancient ritual, or music, of God's Church. It was one of His chief earthly delights to take part in that worship Himself : and an elaborately ceremonial worship was the only public worship which He attended while sojourning here below. He was first discovered in His youth in His Father's Temple. His first recorded words are, “Wist ye not that I must be ev Tols ToŮ latpós uov;" words which“ remind the earthly mother