Project Canterbury

Cuddesdon College 1854-1904

A Record and Memorial

London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1904.

Chapter IV. The College Office Books

BESIDES the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, the following office books have been or are being used in the College chapel:--

1. The Cuddesdon College Office Book, entitled "Prayers in Use at Cuddesdon College."

2. The Cuddesdon Manual of Intercession for Missions.

3. Office of Prayers for the Central African Mission.

4. The Night Hours of the Holy Week, containing the Holy Week and Easter Nocturns.

5. Litanies for Embertide Devotions.

6. An Office of Preparation for Holy Communion.

The College Office Book was originally compiled by the first Vice-Principal, the Rev. H. P. Liddon. The first edition was published in 1856, under the title Hours of Prayer for Daily Use throughout the Year. It contained the offices for Prime, Terce, Sext, None, and Compline, taken in the main from the Latin Breviary, with necessary alterations and omissions, and with several additional prayers; the hymn for Embertide, written for the use of the College by Mr. Keble at Mr. Liddon's request (Hymns Ancient and Modern, 581, "Lord of life, Prophetic Spirit"); collects suggested for daily use for a week, taken from the Book of Common Prayer; and three prayers--for a diocesan [96/97] college, for the inward life of Christ, for purity of soul. In the first attack on the College in 1858, objection was made, amongst other things, to this Office Book on the ground that it was "concocted from the seven Canonical Hours of the Romish Church." To this charge the Principal replied, in his letter to the Bishop (February 2nd, 1858): "Besides the ordinary services of the Church, short services are provided in the chapel for those who wish before their ordination for other facilities for united prayer. At these social services passages of Holy Scriptures are read from the Authorised Version; psalms from the Prayer Book are used, and prayers from the same source, as well as some few drawn from the same quarters as those from which the Prayer Book was compiled: the rule of their selection being most strictly their entire agreement with our Reformed Church." He adds in a footnote: "It has been ascertained on a more careful examination that the Book of Devotions . . . consists (with the exception of a few collects) of extracts from the Bible and Prayer Book, of prayers taken from Bishop Cosin, and some few from original sources. It is confidently affirmed that the keenest eye can detect no trace of Romish error in them as they stand." In the Report of the Commission appointed by the Bishop, the Archdeacons say: "We have examined the prayers and hymns and think them not only unexceptionable, but highly valuable. The book . . . has, however, been cast in a form which bears an unfortunate resemblance to the Breviary of the Church of Rome; and we think it would be much improved if the compilers would abandon the title of Antiphon, and the obsolete designation of the Hours, rearrange the order and number of the services, and remodel the whole book."

In response to this finding of the Archdeacons the Office Book underwent certain changes, and a second edition was reprinted in 1858. Three services only were included in the book--a Morning [97/98] Service (based on the Prime of the earlier book), Midday Service (Sext), Evening Service (Compline). The old names for these services were omitted. The Antiphon was called "the Text." Three tables of passages from the Bible to serve for a three months course of meditation were added; and another new feature was the addition of a "Litany of the Holy Ghost to be used by Candidates for Holy Orders, compiled from the Bible and Prayer Book." With the exception of these additions, the alterations in this Office Book were absolutely immaterial. This edition was reprinted in 1865. At some time after the death of Bishop Wilberforce (1873), and before the issue of the third edition in 1880, two further prayers for use at Sext were added on a leaflet pasted inside the cover, viz. a prayer for former officers and a prayer for the departed founder. In 1880 a third and enlarged edition appeared, which was described as being "in fact the first book, but more conveniently arranged, and with a few alterations and additions, which, it is believed, will make it more generally useful.'"

The principal differences between this edition and the first are as follows. The short lessons at Terce, Sext, and None, and the Antiphons for all services, were placed all together at the end of the offices instead of being printed each in the body of the office to which it belonged. In Prime, amongst other alterations, the number of versicles before the General Confession was lessened, the Lection "from Holy Scripture or elsewhere" on the "life or death of some servant of God" was omitted, and a prayer for the College was added. In Terce the prayer commemorating our Lord being led forth to be crucified was altered to its present form. In Sext the prayers for former officers of the College and for the founder of the College were inserted before the prayer for the parish. A prayer "for a Church School or House of Mercy," which appeared in the first edition, was omitted. At None, for the prayer, "O Lord God [98/99] most holy, O Lord most mighty" (from the burial office), was substituted the present prayer, "O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God." At Compline the Lord's Prayer was placed after instead of before the Confession and Absolution: the Short Lesson was altered in position to follow immediately after the Antiphon and before the hymn; the ordinary proper Compline prayers, "Visit, we beseech Thee," and "Lighten our darkness," were placed after the Collect for the day, and the three prayers, "For a Diocesan College," "For the inward life of Jesus Christ," and "For Purity of Soul," which constituted a kind of appendix to the first book, were inserted among the prayers at Compline. All these changes in the office for Compline had been already made in the second edition of 1858. Quite new features in this third edition were the insertion of an appendix containing "Occasional Prayers" (for a Retreat, a Mission, the Church, the Unity of Christendom, for a Right Belief concerning the Holy Eucharist, for Ember Seasons, for the Use of Theological Students, and an Office of Thanksgiving after Communion) and another appendix containing the Prayer Book collects for the holy days throughout the year.

The third edition was twice reprinted, and has been now for some time out of print. A new edition is in preparation, in which the offices of the day hours will be thoroughly revised by an old Cuddesdon student. It was felt that the existing book is so loved and reverenced by those who have used it in the past fifty years that no great change should be made in its composition. Fortunately it has been found on examination that no radical changes were needed. Old students of the College will be glad to hear that the alterations concern only minor points in the order and arrangement of the services. The matter of the present offices will remain almost untouched. [This edition (published by Parker, Oxford) will probably be ready by the time this book is published.]

[100] The prayers in the Office Book are drawn mainly from various Latin Breviaries of the Western Church. Such are, in Prime, the first prayer after the collect for the day, beginning "O Everlasting Jesus" (the middle part of this prayer is found in the Sarum Prime for festivals; the introduction seems to have been added in our Office Book to make the parallel with the corresponding prayers in Terce, Sext, None, Compline), and the other prayers ("O Lord, our Heavenly Father," "O Almighty Lord and Everlasting God," "Assist us mercifully," "Almighty and Everlasting God, Who dost save to the uttermost"), and the Benediction. The prayer "Let Thy merciful ears, O Lord," is from a modern original source (PLiddon). The prayer for the College was added in 1880 in the third edition of the Office Book (? by Willis).

The prayer at Terce, "O Lord Jesu Christ, Son of the Living God, Who at the third hour was led forth to the pain of the Cross" (?written by Willis), was substituted in 1880 for the prayer "Visit us, we beseech Thee, O Lord," in the 1856 book, which was taken (with alterations) from Bishop Cosin's Devotions ("Prayers for the Third Hour": see Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology, Bishop Cosin's works, vol. ii. p. 179). Then follow the collect for Whit-Sunday, the prayer "Almighty and Everlasting God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us" (from the Confirmation Order in the Book of Common Prayer), the collect for the sixth Sunday after Trinity, the second collect for Good Friday, the prayer "O God, Who in a wonderful Sacrament" (the special collect for Corpus Christi Festival in the Western Breviaries), two prayers "For a Diocesan College," beginning "O Thou good Shepherd, Who didst lay down Thy life for Thy sheep," and "O God, who makest Thine angels spirits, and Thy ministers a flame of fire," and a final collect for peace and unity preceded by versicles (from "modern original sources": the first two [100/101] by ?Liddon; the last one of three prayers circulated in 1845 by Keble, Pusey, and Marriott: see Pusey's Life, ii. 135).

The prayers at Sext (after the collect for the day) begin with Bishop Cosin's prayer, "O most gracious Lord Jesus" (see Bishop Cosin," Prayers for the Sixth Hour," loc. cit., p. 189; the prayer is slightly altered in our Office Book), followed by prayers for the Bishop of the diocese (from the Roman Missal: collect for the Anniversary of the consecration of a Bishop), the clergy and people of the diocese (adapted from the prayer for the clergy and people in Morning and Evening Prayer of the Book of Common Prayer), four prayers for the College, from "modern original sources" (? Liddon), viz. two for present students ("Vouchsafe, O merciful Jesus, to direct," and "O Thou true Light, that lightest every man"), one for past students ("Remember, O gracious Lord, for good"), and one for the officers of the College ("And pardon, O Lord, through the virtue of Thy most precious blood"), a prayer for former officers of the College ("We pray Thee also to bless all those whom Thou hast called from bearing office or teaching in this College ":? by Willis), a prayer for the Founder ("We commend unto Thy mercy": from the 1549 Communion Office), a prayer for the parish ("and all parishes in which members of this College are working"), written by Dean Butler for parochial use at Wantage ("Almighty and Everlasting God, Who dost govern all things in heaven and earth"), and a final prayer for the conversion of sinners (one of the three prayers by Keble, Pusey, and Marriott: see above).

In None the first prayer, "Hear us, O merciful Lord Jesus, and remember now the hour in which Thou didst commend Thy Blessed Spirit," is adapted from Bishop Cosin ("Prayers for the Ninth Hour," loc. cit., p. 198). The second prayer, "O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, we pray Thee to set Thy Passion, Cross, and Death between Thy judgment and our souls," [101/102] was inserted in 1880 (?by Willis). The third, "O gracious Lord Jesus, Who didst vouchsafe to die upon the cross for us," and fourth, "Vouchsafe, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to strengthen and confirm," are from "modern original sources" (the last by Keble, Pusey, and Marriott: see above, page 101).

In the Compline office the first prayer, "O Lord Jesus Christ . . . Who at the hour of Compline didst rest in the sepulchre" (? composed by Willis), first appears in the third edition (1880) of the Office Book. It is based on the model of Bishop Cosin's prayers for Sext and None. The second prayer, "Visit us, we beseech Thee," is the prayer for Compline in the Roman Breviary. It is followed by the Sarum Compline prayer, "Lighten our darkness." The fourth prayer, "O God, the Maker and Redeemer of all believers," was probably composed by Liddon. It begins with the address of the prayer, "Fidelium Deus omnium conditor et redemptor," from the office of Vespers for the Departed; the rest is original (cf. 2 Tim. i. 18). The prayer for the peace of the Church, with its preceding psalms and versicles, is taken from the Sarum Breviary. Of the closing prayers, that for the College is from a modern original source (? Liddon); the source of the prayer "For the inward life of Jesus" ("O merciful Jesus, Who when Thou tookest upon Thee to deliver man") is unknown, and the prayer "For purity of soul" ("Grant us, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, so to be clothed with righteousness") is from the Gregorian Sacramentary.

Among the occasional prayers are some taken from S. Thomas Aquinas (prayer before or after study, "Creator ineffabilis"; hymn after Communion, "Adoro te supplex latens Deitas "; and Gratiarum actio post Communionem, "Gratias tibi ago, Domine, Sancte Pater"), two from the ordinal of the Eastern Church, and one from the Leonine Sacramentary (translated in Bright's Ancient Collects) for use at Ember seasons; one by John Keble "for [102/103] a right belief concerning the Holy Eucharist," one from Thomas a Kempis ("Ne sit nobis, Domine Jesu, ad judicium Verbum Tuum"), a second from S. Fulgentius ("Te rogo, Deus meus, ut preveniente et subsequente misericordia Tua") for help in study, and one from Ludolphus "for conformity to the life of Jesus Christ" ("Domine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, concede mihi fragili et misero peccatori"). The sources of the other prayers are not mentioned. This Appendix closes with an office of thanksgiving after Communion, which follows the Sarum Use, containing the Canticle, "O all ye works of the Lord," Psalm cl. and Nunc Dimittis, with Antiphon ("Let us sing the song of the three children"), Lord's Prayer and versicles, the three Sarum prayers ("0 God, Who for Thy three servants," "Lord, burn with the fire of Thy Holy Spirit," and "Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings). The two closing prayers, "We render Thee thanks, O Lord, Holy Father" (a translation of the prayer of S. Thomas Aquinas, mentioned above) and "We beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that Thy passion may be unto us virtue," are from the office of Thanksgiving in the Roman Missal.

A very few words will suffice to describe the other offices in use in the College chapel. The Ancient Mattins for Holy Week and Easter are taken from the Night Hours of the Holy Week, translated and arranged by the Rev. G. Moultrie, M.A. (second edition, Masters, 1866). The late Canon Carter, who wrote a Preface to this book, describes it as "a translation of the Night Hours of the Western Church for Holy Week, in a form adapted to the use of English Churchmen." The book contains also Meditations on the Passion and a Litany. The "Reproaches," sung on Good Friday morning, are in the ordinary form as given, e.g. in Blunt, the Annotated Book of Common Prayer, p. 101 (Rivingtons, 1866). They are expansions of Micah iii. 3,4, followed by verses from the hymn "Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle" [103/104] (Hymns Ancient and Modern, 97). The special intercessions for Embertide are two in number. The "Litany of the Holy Ghost," said publicly each day in Ember week, is taken from the College Office Book, into which it was inserted in the second edition of 1858. It was composed for this edition, and was "compiled from the Bible and the Prayer Book." In the 1880 edition it was considerably altered, so as to contain invocations of the Holy Ghost, deprecations, obsecrations, and petitions in the regular form and order of a Litany. The prayers in the second part are the collects for Whit-Sunday and for Purity (from the Liturgy), the second collect for Good Friday, and the second Ember-week collect from the Book of Common Prayer. For private use in Ember weeks the students are supplied with copies of Embertide Devotions, edited by W. H. C, containing a Litany for each day of the week (third edition, W. Knott, 1884). The Cuddesdon Manual of Intercession for Missions contains a Litany drawn up in 1876 by the Rev. E. F. Willis, when the "Cuddesdon Association in Prayer for Foreign Missions" was constituted (published by Bowden, Oxford). It is said in chapel on Tuesday nights after Compline. The prayers following the Litany are: (1) for Missions, by Bishop Milman ("O Great Lord of the harvest"); (2) for Missionary Societies, by Robert Nelson (in place of this we use now the special prayer for the Oxford Mission to Calcutta, "O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst call Gentiles to Thy light," and the prayer for Colonial and Missionary Bishops and Clergy, into which are inserted the names of Cuddesdon men abroad); (3) for the Jews, by Bishop Wilson; (4) for the Heathen, by S. Francis Xavier; (5) for Catechumens, from the Liturgy of S. Basil; (6) for the perseverance of the baptised, from the Gelasian Sacramentary. The Manual concludes with an Appendix containing other missionary prayers. The intercession for the Universities Mission, said on Thursday nights [104/105] after Compline, is taken from the Office of intercession put forth by the Central African Mission (Form of prayer to be used by those interested in missionary work in Zanzibar: Vincent, Oxford). The Office of Preparation for Holy Communion (said on Saturday nights after Compline) is taken from the Treasury of Devotion. It contains the Office of Preparation according to the Use of Paris (Psalms 27, 84, 130, followed by the Lord's Prayer, versicles, and the prayer "Most gracious God, incline Thy merciful ear to our prayers") with a prayer of S. Thomas Aquinas (taken from the Sarum Office), "Almighty and Everlasting God, behold we approach the Sacrament," and a final prayer, "Joy with peace, amendment of life," from the Paris Office.

Project Canterbury