THESE Addresses embody the substance of the Good Friday Meditations given in the Church of the Ascension, Chicago, in 1904. They represent an attempt to draw somewhat away from the more subjective line of thought usual in Good Friday Addresses.
There is perhaps some ground for the question that is beginning to be asked, whether the growing popularity of the Three Hours' Service may not contain in itself the danger of substituting devotions mainly subjective in their character for the Liturgical Offices of the day? One may recognize this danger, and yet feel reluctant to discourage the use of a service which has done so much to impress the lessons of the Passion upon our people. The Three Hours give to the pastor an opportunity which he must feel unwilling indeed to surrender. Not only is it an opportunity of bringing home to his own people the teaching of the Cross, on the day when all must be most disposed to listen to this teaching and to be moved by it; but of reaching many others less at home in the stated services of the Church who are drawn to these devotions and gladly take part in them. It may even be that a deference to this latter class is responsible for the subjective tone and somewhat indefinite character of addresses given in the Three Hours. Yet it would seem that the presence of so many who are unfamiliar with the distinctive teachings of the Church, ought rather to incite one so to preach Christ Crucified as, if possible, to win souls to the love of the Church which He purchased with His Blood.
The line of thought taken in these Addresses, The Temple of Our Lord's Body, seemed to lend itself to the twofold purpose of turning the mind, in the first place, away from self to the Person of our Lord; and secondly, while doing this, of keeping prominent the truth that He is now represented in. the world by the Church which is His Mystical Body.
The Addresses are printed as a humble effort to do, what, when it shall be done successfully, will perhaps turn a threatened danger into a positive help. So far from detracting from the prescribed Offices of the Church, the Three Hours' devotion ought in the end to minister to them. The love and gratitude to the world's Redeemer which such a service fosters should lead to a deeper appreciation of the Church's Liturgical system, as well as to a worthier estimation of her Sacraments which were purchased at so great a Price.