4, HENRIETTA STREET, COVENT GARDEN.
"God grant that this appeal to Holy Scripture may tend to convince some, who profess to care for no other authority, that the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence forms part of the Faith which was once delivered unto the Saints"--PREFACE.
A.--Divine Service means Divine Worship.--
Divine Worship means principally and especially paying honour and glory to Almighty God. It is man's first and highest duty. It is the unceasing occupation of the Angels in Heaven. The Worship of the Church means that God holds a Levee from time to time to receive His faithful subjects, and those subjects assemble themselves to do Him homage.
When this, the true theory of Divine Service, is once grasped, it is felt at once that no amount of care bestowed upon the ornamentation of Churches, or upon the careful rendering, in the minutest points, of the services of the Church, is ill bestowed. On the contrary, it is felt that it is our bounden duty and service to Almighty God to bestow such care, and that if we wilfully neglect to do so, we cannot expect the same blessing from Him.
When we desire to do honour to an earthly friend or benefactor, is it our aim to do so with stinginess and meanness, or in the best way in our power? Shall all that is beautiful and lovely, whether in painting, or music, or bright lights, or costly garments, or flowers, or sweet odours--be spent upon our earthly friends, and benefactors, or upon ourselves; but denied to God? Such is not the revealed will of God.
Almighty God has in all ages clearly shown it to be His will that He should be worshipped, where His worshippers possess the means, with costliness and splendour, as the loving expression of thankful and adoring hearts, and not with a niggard meanness and a beggarly absence of that "glory and beauty" which men are only too ready to bestow upon their own houses, their own honour, and their own comfort. (Ex. xxv-xxxi; 2 Chron. v, 11-14; Psalms xlv, 8-16; cxlviii-cl; Isaiah lx-lxi, 4 [a prophecy of the Christian Church]; Haggai, i, 3-11; Mal. i, 6-14 [a prophecy of the Christian Church]; iii, 6; Matt. v, 17-20; 1 Cor. xiv, 40; Rev. i, 10-18; viii, 3, 4; xv; xxi, 9-27.) This is a matter, therefore, of Divine principle, not an indifferent matter which may be changed.
Our Lord has plainly declared that in this and other matters "He came not to destroy the Law" of Moses "but to fufil" it,--that is to fill it full, to pour into it its full, evangelical, gospel meaning--to turn the shadow into the substance, to fill the sign with the thing signified.
If the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles of S. Paul to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, and Colossians, be carefully read, it will be found that the subject of Festivals and Fasts, Rites, Ceremonies, and Religious observances in general, is brought before us from three different points of view.
1.--A point of view from which Jewish ceremonies and observances were condemned. Namely, when sought to be imposed upon the Gentiles by certain Judaizing professors of Christianity--who, in this and other matters, were setting up their private judgments against the authoritative, public, Divine teaching of the Apostles. Such have many followers in the present day, sharers in their sin--persons who openly proclaim their contempt for the Catholic Church's teaching, customs, and observances; and, at the same time, assert the infallibility of their own various and conflicting private crotchets respecting these matters. Such persons, in the Apostles' days, declared that unless such things as Circumcision, the keeping of the Jewish Sabbath, and other things were observed by the Gentiles; believing in Christ would not avail for salvation. This was to put "salvation in other" things than Christ--to deny that His is the one "Name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." It was to exalt Circumcision and other things into the place of saviours in addition to, and equally necessary with, the one Saviour. This view is consequently denounced in the New Testament in the severest terms. Had such an opinion been allowed to prevail, men would have been led to trust to observances and ordinances for salvation, in addition to Christ, instead of looking upon them only as means of honouring Christ, and as channels by which He conveys to us His saving power and grace. (Acts iv. 12; xv, 1, 2, 5, 10, 19-29; Roms. xvi, 17-20; II Cor. xi, 3, 4, 12-15; Gal. i, 6-9; ii, 9-16; iii, 1-3; iv, 9-11, 30, 31; v, 1-4; Col. ii, 16, 17, 19-23.)
It is this same tendency, the trusting in the letter rather than in the Spirit of Ordinances, which our Lord so strongly condemns in the Gospels.
II.--A point of view from which ceremonies and observances were permitted.
1.--Jewish ceremonies and observances permitted to the Jewish converts, who were "zealous of the Law" of Moses for themselves, without wanting to impose their private views of that Law upon others. (Acts xxi, 17-26; xvi, 1-3.)
2.--Ceremonies and observances of an indifferent character , permitted to anyone who might think them no harm, or for his own personal edification; provided he did not thereby "offend the weak brethren," or seek to impose them upon others as necessary for salvation. (Rom. xiv; 1 Cor. viii; x, 27-33.)
III.--A point of view from which ceremonies and observances are solemnly enjoined under penalty of Church censures for non-compliance.
That is, those which had been ordained by the Catholic Church, and which were even in those days the "custom of the Church," as tending--not to draw men away from Christ, but--to the honour of God through Jesus Christ;--adapted to preach Christ crucified or Christ glorified to the eye, as well as to the ear;--tending to the "doing all things decently and in order," and so to "the edifying" of the Church. This is the sole end of Church Rites and Ceremonies. (Mat. xviii, 15-20; 1 Cor. x, 31; xi, 1-19; xiv, 26-40; Roms. xvi, 17-20; 2 Cor. xi, 13-15; 1 Thess. v, 11-14; 1 Tim. iii, 15; Titus iii, 10, 11; Heb. viii, 5; ix, 23, 24; xiii, 7, 17; Jude 8-13, 19, 20.)
General principles only are laid down upon this subject in the New Testament. We should not have expected anything more in matters so well understood. The Catholic Church from the beginning moulded her Ritual and her religious observances upon those general principles. She found a certain Divinely appointed ritual and a certain round of religious observances declared to be "patterns of things in the Heavens," "the very image of Heavenly things," and "figures of the true;" (the Greek word translated "figure" means the impression upon earth from the Heavenly Die.) See Heb. ix, 23, 24; x, 1; Compare the Revelation passim. The Church, consequently, under the guidance of the Spirit of truth (John xiv, 26) was led to continue, either exactly as she found them, or after modification and adaptation, certain Ritual and Ceremonial observances which Almighty God Himself had originally ordained and "patterned" after His own "true," "Heavenly" Worship; and which there was no reason to abolish, as there was in the case of Circumcision, the Passover, the Jewish Sabbath, and certain other matters. The outcome of such a line of proceeding was the Rites and Ceremonies of Primitive Christian Worship.
If it be asked whether we are to suppose that S. Paul's or S. Peter's ideas of Divine Worship were such as we have been describing? We answer--certainly. They had been accustomed all their lives to the magnificent Worship of the Temple. That Worship their Master had more than once defended from irreverence, and had regularly attended when at Jerusalem, and that Worship they attended when at Jerusalem, so long as the Temple stood. They knew no other kind of Worship (John ii., 13-17; Matt. xxi., 10-13; Mark xi., 15-17; Luke xxiv. 53; Acts ii., 46; iii., 1.)
Let no one, then, say of those who "Worship God in spirit and in truth"--that is in the one "true" way set up in the holy Catholic Church by the holy "Spirit" of "Truth"--that they are unspiritual, or superstitious, or not possessed of true religion in the heart. If persons so speak, they are not only uncharitable, and guilty of "judging their brethren;" but they shew their want of acquaintance with Holy Scripture, and are guilty of the irreverence of charging with want of spirituality and superstition that which Almighty God has appointed. When man has "truly" learnt to "worship God with his spirit," he will be found to worship and glorify his God with "his body" also, (Roms. xii, 1, 2; Phil. ii, 10, 11,) and with everything he possesses, or can bring to the Service of the God he adores. (Phil. iv, 16-18; Heb. xiii, 15, 16.)
Ritual of some kind we must have. The services of the Church must be celebrated in some way. Shall we choose the slovenly, irreverent ritual of man's own divising, or the careful, reverent Ritual which God has appointed?
B.--Some particulars briefly explained.
1.--It is the custom of the Church to reverently bow, or genuflect (that is bend the right knee) towards the Altar on entering and leaving Church, when passing the Altar, and at other times. This pious custom is recommended in the 7th English Canon of 1640. A genuflection is made when the Holy Sacrament is present. When people attend the Queen's Levee, they bend the knee before her; and when the Peers in the House of Lords pass the Queen's throne, they genuflect if the Queen is present, they bow towards the throne if she is not. Shall we treat the "King of Kings" with less reverence? It is also the custom to bow at the Glorias. "Due and lowly reverence when in time of Divine Service the Lord Jesus shall be mentioned," is commanded in the 18th English Canon of 1603.
2.--Processions of Clergy and Choir, &c. (Psalm 1xviii, 24-26), with the Holy Standard of the Cross carried before, are (1) for "decency and order." We must enter and leave Church somehow, either in an orderly or disorderly manner. They also (2) represent the passage of the Church through the wilderness of this World to the Heavenly Canaan. And, upon a Festival, it is only reasonable that the Procession should commence and close Divine Service by singing to God's praise and glory. It is the custom of the Church for the congregation to pay respect to the entrance and departure of the Ambassadors of Christ by standing up. This is no more than the ordinary courtesy we pay to one another in daily life.
3.--Divine Service has been celebrated chorally from the earliest days of Christianity, throughout the whole of Eastern as well as Western Christendom. It was the method ordained by Almighty God Himself for the Jewish Church, and for this reason, that it is the natural method--the method which we find used by all Nations in all ages of all religions. If we ask a number of children to repeat together the Apostles' Creed or the Lord's Prayer, they will begin and say it upon one note, with a number of crude inflections--and this without having been taught to do so. If it be not absolutely wrong for the priest or people to say a prayer or a psalm upon five or seven different and jarring notes, who will be so foolish as to say it is wrong for them to agree together that for "decency and order" (1 Cor. xiv., 40), and unanimity they will say their Service to God, using the same note, or various notes in harmony? In this latter way alone can they worship God "with one accord" and "with one voice." (2 Chron. v., 13; Acts i., 14; iv., 24). Will any one say that it tends to "decency and order," or seems like worship offered "with one accord," to hear a number of persons saying the well-known Lord's Prayer in such a discordant, jarring fashion, that a listener cannot distinguish a word they are saying? It is only by the choral method of celebrating Divine Service that this unreasonable result can be avoided. If you would like to see what Almighty God thinks of Choral Service, read 2 Chron. v., 11-14; Ezra iii., 10-11; Psalms 1xxxi., 1-5; cxlix.; cl.; Rev. v., 6-14; vii., 9-15; xv., 3-4; xix., 1-9.
4.--We recite the Creeds and pray towards the East "as the ancient Church ever did." This, the Bench of English Bishops explained to the Puritans at the Savoy Conference in 1662. This custom arose from the fact of the "Son of Righteousness" having arisen in the East, even as His type, the natural Sun does. (Compare 1 Kings, viii, 44, 48; Psalm v, 7; Dan. vi., 10; Jonah ii, 4.)
5.--The Altar is in the most prominent part of the Church, and upon it we bestow most care, because it commemorates Christ crucified, the sum and centre of our Faith, Hope, and Love. (Heb. xiii, 10; Matt. v, 23, 24; 1Cor., ii, 2.)
6.--The Altar Cross, and two Candlesticks signify that Jesus Christ, in His two Natures, the Light of the World, died on the Cross for our salvation. They signify what the Holy Eucharist was instituted to perpetually commemorate. The candlesticks also signify the Christian Church. (Rev. i, 20; ii, 5.) The lighted candles in them signify Jesus Christ, the Light, dwelling in His Church. Some 600 Churches in England have Altar Lights, and very many others have the candles though unlit. Most of the Cathedrals have Altar candlesticks and candles. Lights before the Sacrament date from the remotest antiquity.
7.--Many lights are used at Evensong (there is no limit to their number) and at other times, to signify the Church's joy for Redemption through Christ, and for the priceless Gift of the Holy Eucharist which commemorates it, and which she received at early morning. (Ex. xxv, 31, 32, 37; Acts xx, 8; Rev. iv, 5.) Light, in the Bible, is the symbol of holiness and joy; darkness the sign of sin and misery. (John iii, 19-21; Eph. v, 8; Luke xvi, 8; Heb. vi, 4; x, 32.)
8.--The Altar Frontals, and Hangings are changed from time to time to mark the Church Seasons and Festivals. White is the usual colour in the Western Church for Christmas, the Circumcision, the Epiphany, Easter, the Ascension, Trinity Sunday, and the Festivals of Saints not Martyrs; Red for Whitsuntide and Martyrs; Violet for Advent, Lent, the Rogation and Ember Days and Vigils; Black for Passion-tide and Funerals; and Green for ordinary seasons and days. Thus the colours in the Church "preach Christ," His Life, and His Gospel.
9.--The Congregation should kneel or stand throughout the Communion Service, the only customary exceptions being during the Epistle and the Sermon. They should not leave the Church after any Service until the Clergy and Choir have reached the vestry. The Communion Service is properly not over until the remains of the Sacrament have been "reverently" consumed, (see the Rubric), and the vessels duly cleansed by the priest with wine and water. The time taken up by this is the very least which should be devoted to private prayer after such a service.
10.--The Lord's Body should be received "into the hands," not into the fingers (see the Rubric)--that is, into the palm of the right hand resting on the left, and thus raised to the mouth in the palm of the right hand, not taken at all into the fingers, lest particles of the Sacraments should be dropped. This was the ancient way of receiving.
The mouth should on no account be wiped with a handkerchief after receiving the Chalice.
11.--A little water is mixed with the wine in the Holy Communion, because the wine the Lord consecrated was mixed with water; the Jews never drinking unmixed wine. The mixed Chalice is also commemorative of the "blood and water" which flowed from our Lord's side on the cross. (John xix, 34.) All parts of the Christian Church have, from the beginning, used the mixed Chalice, except the Church of Armenia.
12.--The Font is placed near the chief entrance of the church, because it is by Baptism we enter into the Christian Church and into covenant relation with God, by being united to our Saviour Jesus Christ. (Gal. iii, 26, 27; Eph. v, 25-32.) This is "the ancient usual place." (81st English Canon of 1603).
13.--The Litany Desk is placed "between the Porch and the Altar" in accordance with Joel ii., 17.
14.--Of the sign of the Cross the 30th English Canon of 1603 thus speaks:--"The honour and dignity of the name of the Cross begat a reverend estimation even in the Apostles' times (for ought that is known to the contrary) of the sign of the Cross, which the Christians shortly after used in all their actions; thereby making an outward shew and profession, even to the astonishment of the Jews and Ethnicks..that they were not ashamed to acknowledge Him for their Lord and Saviour, Who died for them upon the Cross..At what time, if any had opposed themselves against it, they would certainly have been censured as enemies of the name of the Cross, and consequently of Christ's merits, the sign whereof they could no better endure." (Matt. xxiv, 30.) Speaking generally, the Canon proceeds:--"So far was it from the purpose of the Church of England to forsake and reject the Churches of Italy, France, Spain, Germany, or any such like Churches, in all things which they held and practised, that, as the Apology of the Church of England confesseth, it doth with reverence retain those ceremonies, which do neither endamage the Church of God, nor offend the minds of sober men; and only departed from them in those particular points, wherein they were fallen both from themselves in their ancient integrity, and from the Apostolical Churches, which were their first founders."
The Preface to the Prayer Book--"Of Ceremonies"--reminds us that ceremonies which are of holy and pious significance, "do serve to a decent order and godly discipline, and be apt to stir up the dull mind of man to the remembrance of his duty to God, by some notable and special signification, whereby he might be edified."
If the English Church be a true portion of the one Catholic Church of Christ, is it not only reasonable that her Church buildings and Services should resemble, at least in their main features, those of the other portions of the Church Catholic. (John xvii, 21; Acts i, 42, 44, 46; iv, 24; 1 Cor. i, 10; xi, 16-19; Phil. i, 27; ii, 2.)
15.--Incense has been used by the Church from the earliest times as symbolical of the merits of Christ--and in accordance with Almighty God's express declaration by the mouth of His prophet Malachi that the Gentiles (the Christian Church) would shew their reverence for Him by "in every place offering Incense unto His Name, with the pure Offering" of the Holy Eucharist. (Mal. i., 2; Rev. viii., 3-4).
16.--"Holy Garments for glory and for beauty" have been used at the Holy Eucharist from the earliest times--for the glory of God, and to distinguish and honour Our Lord's own especial Service above all others. (Ex. xxviii., 1-4; Rev. i., 13). The Catholic "ornaments of the Church and of the Ministers thereof" (the "Ornaments of the Ministers" being their sacred Vestments) at the Holy Eucharist, are ordered in the Rubric placed before "the Order for Morning Prayer." The Bishops who last placed that Rubric there in 1662 tell us so. Apart from this and other testimony to the same effect, it is obvious that "Ornaments of the Ministers" must include Vestments somewhat more ornamental than a black cassock, a surplice, or a black stole. Even a surplice, strictly speaking, is scarcely an "Ornament." The colour of the Vestments of the Ministers follows that of the Altar.