Palmer: Origines Liturgicæ 13.
Vol. I: Antiq. of the English Rit. Ch. I, Pt.I, Sect. I-X.






| Sect. I |




I enter on the consideration of those particular formularies which the church of England has appointed for morning and evening prayers, it will be advisable, as an elucidation of what is to follow, to consider most briefly the original of the canonical hours of prayer, or of those seasons of every day which were appointed for the worship of God, the services which were anciently performed at those hours, and the books in which the services were contained.

FIRST, let us consider the antiquity of the hours of prayer. To direct our attention to that which more immediately concerns the church of England, I will only treat upon those hours of prayer which were formerly received in that and other western churches. They were seven in number. Matins, the first, third, sixth, and ninth hours, vespers, and [202] compline. Matins were divided into two parts, which were originally distinct offices and hours; namely, the nocturn, and matin lauds.

The nocturns

or vigils were derived from the earliest periods of Christianity. We learn from Pliny, as well as from Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and various writers of the three first centuries, that the Christians in those times of persecution held their assemblies in the night, in order to avoid detection. On these occasions they celebrated the memory of Christ’s death in the holy mysteries. When persecution had intermitted and finally ceased, although the Christians were able to celebrate all their rites, and did administer the sacrament in the day-time, yet a custom which had commenced from necessity was retained from devotion and choice; and nocturnal assemblies for the worship of God in psalmody and reading still continued1. The monastic orders, who in the fourth century arose under Pachomius, Anthony, Basil, and others, in Egypt, Pontus, and Syria, tended to preserve this custom of nocturnal vigils: and in the following centuries we find from the testimony of Cassian, Augustine, Sidonius, Apollinaris, Sozomen2, &c. that the same custom remained in most parts of the East and West. In the sixth century Benedict, the great founder of monastic societies in the West, prescribed the same in his Rule3; and doubtless the nocturnal assemblies were common about that time, especially in monasteries4.


The lauds, or more properly matin lauds, followed next after the nocturns5, and were supposed to begin with day-break. We find allusions in the writings of Cyprian, and all the subsequent Fathers, to the morning as an hour of prayer6: but whether there was in the third century any assembly of the church for the purpose of public morning worship, I cannot determine. However, about the end of the third, or beginning of the fourth century, there was public worship at this hour, as we learn from the Apostolical Constitutions, where we have the order of the service7.

In later times, when the discipline of the clergy and of monastic societies relaxed, the custom of rising in the night for the purpose of celebrating public worship became obsolete in most places; so that the nocturnal service was joined in practice to the matin lauds, and both were repeated at the same time early in the morning, hence the united office obtained the name of matins; and afterwards this name was applied more especially to the nocturns, while the ancient matins were distinguished by the name of lauds.


or the first hour, followed lauds. This was first appointed as an hour of prayer in the Monastery of Bethlehem, about the time of Cassian, or the beginning of the fifth century8.


The third, sixth, and ninth hours of prayer, are spoken of by the early Fathers of the second and third centuries; but it does not appear that there was any particular service or assembly at those hours until the fifth century, when the monasteries of Mesopotamia and Palestine introduced public worship adapted to them9.


or evensong, is mentioned by the most ancient Fathers10, and it is probable that the custom of holding an assembly for public worship at this time is of the most primitive antiquity. Certainly in the fourth century, and perhaps in the third, there was public evening service in the eastern churches, as we learn from the Apostolical Constitutions11: and Cassian, in the beginning of the fifth century, appears to refer the evening and nocturnal assemblies of the Egyptians to the time of St. Mark the Evangelist12.


or completorium, was the last service of the day. This hour of prayer was first. appointed by the celebrated abbot Benedict in the sixth century13.

The church of England, at the revision of our offices in the reign of Edward the Sixth, only prescribed public worship in the morning and the evening; and in making this regulation she was perfectly justified: for though it is the duty of Christians to pray continually, yet the precise times and seasons of prayer, termed canonical hours, do not rest on any divine command; nor have they [205] ever been pronounced binding on all churches by any general council: neither has there been any uniformity in the practice of the Christian church in this respect. Besides this, the churches of the Alexandrian patriarchate, which were founded by the holy evangelist Mark, only appointed two public assemblies in the day; and no more were customary, even in the monasteries of Egypt, the rest of the day being left for private and voluntary prayer and meditation. Thus also the church of England left her clergy and people to follow in private the injunction of the Apostle, to "pray without ceasing;" for, as John Cassian observes, a voluntary gift of praise and prayer is even more acceptable to God than those duties which are compelled by the canons14: and certainly the church of England did not intend that her children should offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving only in the morning and evening when she appointed those seasons for public worship. Indeed, we find that a book of private devotion, containing offices for six several hours of prayer, including Compline, and entitled the "Orarium," was published by royal authority A.D. 1560, from which Dr. Cosins, bishop of Durham, chiefly derived his "Collection of Private Devotion," &c. The Primer, which was a translation of the "Orarium," contained psalms, hymns in verse, and lessons for six hours of prayer; viz. matins, lauds, prime, third, sixth, and ninth hours, and the evening.15


SECONDLY, I proceed to consider the service which was originally appointed for the hours of prayer, or canonical hours, as they were sometimes called.

As the nocturnal assemblies were first held for the purpose of administering the eucharist, so when that sacrament was celebrated at another time, the nocturnal service still retained the psalmody and reading of scripture, which was always the commencement of the liturgy or eucharist. In different churches different customs of reading and singing prevailed. In one place the psalms were read, in another they were sung, in another they were expounded; here they were very numerous, there very few: sometimes they were separated by lessons, sometimes by prayers: in different places they were read or sung without intermission, and were followed by one or by many lessons. Psalmody, generally without lessons, formed the substance of the services for the other hours of prayer. In the English and many other western churches, these services generally terminated with prayers, which were longest at Prime and Vespers.

The office of Matins, or Morning Prayer, according to the church of England, is a judicious abridgment of her ancient services for Matins, Lauds, and Prime; and the office of Evensong, or Evening Prayer, in like manner, is an abridgment of the ancient service for Vespers and Compline. Both these offices have however received several improvements, [207] in imitation of the ancient discipline of the churches of Egypt, Gaul, and Spain, as will appear in the sequel.

THIRDLY, I will briefly notice the books in which the offices for the canonical hours, according to the western church, were formerly contained.

The Psalter of David was used in two Latin versions. First the Roman, which was in fact the ancient Italic slightly corrected by Jerome; and was in primitive times used by all the western churches. Secondly, the Gallican, which was a correct version made by Jerome from the Septuagint, and from being first received into public use in Gaul (towards the end of the sixth century) was called Gallican. This version was used in the English church immediately after it was received in Gaul, and is nearly the same which, in an English translation, we still use. The Gallican Psalter in the end completely supplanted the Roman all over Europe, except at Milan, and in one or two other places.

The Psalter used in the celebration of divine service generally contained, at the end, several hymns taken from the Old and New Testament, such as Benedictus, &c. and the Te Deum, and Athanasian Creed, all of which were appointed for the service of the canonical hours16.

The Bible contained the lessons of Scripture, which were not formerly selected and placed in a distinct volume, but were read at the nocturns from the Bible itself.


The Antiphonarium contained the anthems and responsories, which were sung in the course of divine service.

The Hymnarium comprised the hymns in verse, which from the time of Ambrose were chanted in the canonical hours.

The Collectarium included the collects to be said at the end of the services, and the capitula or short lessons, which were also sometimes recited in the offices.

The Homilarium, Passionarium, and Martyrologium, contained the comments of the Fathers on the Gospel of the day, and the account of the martyrdom of the saints for each distinct festival17.

About the eleventh century, the Breviary was formed out of all these books; the lessons, anthems, responsories, hymns, &c. for the different days of the year, being all placed in the same volume with the Psalter, Prayers18, &c.: and in latter times the Breviary was divided into two parts, one for the summer, and the other for the winter half of the year19, and sometimes it was divided into four parts; so that it was more portable and convenient for the use of those clergy and monks who were accustomed to recite the offices for the canonical hours at some [209] time in the day. From this cause also it was some-times entitled Portiforium.

With regard to the canonical hours and Offices of the church of Constantinople, and of the oriental churches of the Jacobites, &c. which differed in some respects from those I have noticed, it is sufficient to refer the reader to Bona, de Divina Psalmodia, c. 18. §. 13, &c.; Zaccaria, Bibliotheca Ritualis, liber i. c. 4. art. 1 and 2; and Cave, Dissertatio Libris et Officiis ecclesiasticis Græcorum, at the end of his Historia Literaria, where abundant information on this subject will be found.

| Intro | Sect II |



The office of Matins, or Morning Prayer, according to the English ritual, may be divided into three principal parts. First the Introduction, which extends from the beginning of the office to the end of the Lord’s Prayer. Secondly, the Psalmody and reading, which extends to the end of the Apostles’ Creed: and, thirdly, the prayers and collects, which occupy the remainder of the service. It is not, however, my intention to consider the Morning Prayer solely under these heads, which would be too few; but we shall find them useful in assisting the memory to retain distinct ideas of the antiquity and importance of each part of the office. The Introduction of the Morning Prayer consists of the sentences of Scripture, the Address, Confession, Absolution, and Lord’s Prayer. On each of these subjects I shall speak as briefly as is consistent with a detail of its antiquity or a defence of its use.


| Sect I | Sect III |



The introduction commences with one or more verses of Scripture. Whoever is familiar with the ancient offices of the western churches, will admit that nothing has been more common for many ages, than the use of verses or small portions of Scripture in various parts of the public service of the church. Whether in the form of antiphony, verses, responsories, or capitula, we meet them continually in all the ancient offices. According to the rites of many western churches, a verse or capitulum was read before the office of compline, or the latest evening service; a custom which is at least as ancient as the time of Amalarius, A.D. 820, for he mentions it20. The nocturnal office in the ancient Gallican church also began with a lesson21, and the matins and nocturns have for many ages been accounted one office. These things are sufficient to shew that the commencement of Morning Prayer does not merit the reproof of Schultingius, who says that such a mode of beginning the prayers is novel, and unknown to the ancient ecclesiastical writers22. In [211] this he is evidently mistaken, as he is also in saying that the office always began with the Lord’s Prayer; for it is now generally agreed, that the Roman Introduction, consisting of the Lord’s Prayer, Ave Maria, and Apostles’ Creed, is itself very modern; that there is no trace of it before the thirteenth century, and that it was not used by public authority in the Roman church until the revision of their Breviary in the time of Pius the Fifth, bishop of Rome, A.D. 156823.

| Sect II | Sect IV |



It does not appear that an address was repeated before the office of Morning Prayer in early times. Neither in the ancient offices of the English church, nor in those of any other western church, have I been able to discover such a form in this place. Omitting, however, all consideration of the utility of this exhortation, of its judicious position immediately before the Confession, and of the right which the church of England possessed to establish any such formulary, even if no other church had ever done the same, we can shew that in address to the people at the beginning of the offices, is by no means unwarranted by the ancient customs of the church.

The liturgies of the churches of Gaul and Spain always prescribed an address to the people after the [212] catechumens had been dismissed, and before the more important part of the Communion-service24: and we have placed this address in the same relative position in our offices, namely, before the Psalmody and reading of Scripture. The earlier part of the exhortation bears a considerable resemblance to a passage in a sermon of Avitus, bishop of Vienne in Gaul in the fifth century. Avitus was speaking of the solemn season of Rogation, instituted, by Mamertus; and amongst other things spoke as follows:

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, &c. Dearly beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us in sundry places to acknowledge and confess our manifold sins and wickedness—And although we ought at all times humbly to acknowledge our sins before God; yet ought we most chiefly so to do when we assemble and meet together, to render thanks, &c.

Si dixerimus

inquit Apostolus, quia peccatum non habemus, nos ipsos seducimus. Et si confiteri debemus assidue nos peccare, opus est confit-endi officio, humilitate poenitendi, praesertim cum plebis adunatæ com-punctio sic ad incitamentum boni operis possit aptari, ut rebellis magis convenientius erubescat, si cunctæ multitudini propriæ mentis solitudine contradicens, peccata—non defleat, &c.25



| Sect III | Sect V |



A Confession was formerly recited in the office for the first hour of the morning, according to the rites of the English churches26. It occurred in the course [213] of prayers which came at the end of the service: and had this arrangement been regarded by the reformers of the offices for Matins, or the Morning Prayer, the Confession and Absolution would now be placed immediately before the Collect for the day. There were, however, good reasons for placing the Confession at the beginning of the office. Christian humility would naturally induce us to approach the infinitely holy God with a confession of our sinfulness and unworthiness; and this position of the Confession is justified by the practice of the eastern church in the time of Basil, who observes that the people all confessed their sins with great contrition, at the beginning of the nocturnal service, and before the Psalmody and Lessons commenced27. We find also that some churches of the west recited a Confession after the short Lesson, or Capitulum of Compline, which custom appears as old as the tenth century28. Formerly also the liturgies of the English church prescribed a Confession at the beginning of the Communion-service29, and the same custom prevails in many western churches to the present day.

I have observed that the English offices for prime, or the first hour of the morning, contained a confession. I cannot, however, assign to it any very great antiquity in the west. Benedict, who lived in the sixth century, gives no hint of any Confession [213] and Absolution in the daily offices, although he minutely detailed the service for the direction of those Coenobites who adopted his discipline30. Amalarius, who wrote in the ninth century, is also silent on the subject, though he describes accurately the prayers at prime, which were evidently the same as those used by the church of England in after-times31. The first mention of a Confession in this place occurs in the book of Honorius, entitled, Gemma Animæ, and written in the eleventh century, and it is there spoken of, as following the Creed in the prayers at prime32. Durandus, in the thirteenth century, also mentioned it33. A Confession in the morning prayers, though of great antiquity in the East, is probably not more ancient in the West than the time when it was first placed at the beginning of the Liturgy or Communion-service, according to the Roman rite; and that was not much prior to the time of Micrologus, who lived in the eleventh and twelfth centuries34.

| Sect IV | Sect VI |



An Absolution followed the Confession formerly in the offices of the English churches, for prime, or [215] the first hour of the day35. We may perhaps assign to the Absolution thus placed an antiquity equal to that of the Confession, though Gemma Animæ and Durandus do not appear expressly to mention it. The sacerdotal benediction of penitents was in the earliest times conveyed in the form of a prayer to God for their absolution; but in after-ages different forms of benediction were used, both in the East and West. With regard to these varieties of forms, it does not appears that they were formerly considered of any importance. A benediction seems to have been regarded as equally valid, whether it was conveyed in the form of a petition or a declaration, whether in the optative or the indicative mood, whether in the active or the passive voice, whether in the first, second, or third person36. It is true that a direct prayer to God is a most ancient form of blessing; but the use of a precatory, or an optative form, by no means warrants the inference, that the person who uses it is devoid of any divinely instituted authority to bless and absolve in the congregation of God. Neither does the use of a direct indicative form of blessing or absolution imply any thing but the exercise of an authority which God has given, to such an extent, and under such limitations, as Divine Revelation has declared.

| Sect V | Sect VII |



The Lord’s Prayer was used in the English [216] church at the beginning of matins, and the other canonical hours, some time before the reign of Edward the Sixth, when the offices were brought to their present form37. In the primitive ages, however, it is totally improbable that the Lord’s Prayer was ever repeated at the beginning of any public office; for it was a part of ecclesiastical discipline to keep this prayer from the knowledge of all who were not baptized38; and during the earlier part of divine service, the heathen were commonly permitted to be present. Tertullian has been often cited to prove that the primitive Christians prefixed the Lord’s Prayer to their offices39, but there is not the least proof that, in the place cited, he is speaking of public devotions. That Tertullian does not speak of public service in that place, is satisfactorily proved to me by the subsequent practice of all churches, who never recited the Lord’s Prayer while the heathen were present; and still further by the, silence of all the contemporary and subsequent Fathers, who never allude to the repetition of the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of the canonical hours, or of any other public service. It is not mentioned by Isidore Hispalensis, by Benedict, by Amalarius, or by any other writer on ecclesiastical offices who lived before. the thirteenth century. In fact, the custom of prefixing the Lord’s Prayer to the offices of the day and night, seems to have commenced amongst the monastic orders of the West. It would appear that the first allusion to the Lord’s Prayer, [217] as used at the beginning of the hours, is found in the Book of the Customs of the Cistercian Order, where it is prescribed, that after the sign for beginning the office was given, the brethren should all pray upon the Misericordiæ (seats), repeating the Lord’s Prayer and Creed, before they began to chant the commencement of the service, "O Lord, make speed to save us"40. Durandus, who wrote at the end of the thirteenth century, says, that the Lord’s Prayer was repeated three times on entering the church before matins, and once before the other hours41. So that formerly the Lord’s Prayer was not considered part of the office, but was preparatory to it; and accordingly we find in the Breviary of the church of Salisbury, that after the Lord’s Prayer was repeated, the priest was to begin the service, "Postea sacerdos incipiat servitium hoc modo, Domine labia mea aperies,"42 &c. Various monastic orders imitated the Cistercian after that time, and the clergy of the west in many places gradually adopted the same custom. The churches of England generally used the Lord’s Prayer before the offices, as we may see by the breviaries of Salisbury, York, Hereford, &c. It does not seem to have been used in the Roman church until the publication of the Roman breviary revised by cardinal Quignon, A.D. 1536; and it was not received by public authority into that breviary until the revision made by Pius the Fifth of Rome, A.D. 156843.


At the same time that the Lord’s Prayer began to be used before the offices, the Creed was repeated after it. In later ages the Ave Maria was inserted between them, and thus the introduction to the hours, according to the Roman breviary, was formed. The form beginning Ave Maria was not used before the hours until the sixteenth century, in the Roman offices. It was then first introduced into the breviary by cardinal Quignon44. Cardinal Bona admits that it is modern45.

| Sect VI | Sect VIII |



I have been considering thus far the Introduction to Morning Prayer; and it appears that no part of it can be justly said to be inconsistent with the customs of the Christian church before the reform of our offices. I now proceed to the second part of this office, namely, the Psalmody and Lessons of Scripture, which is generally of much greater antiquity; and in the present section I will notice the Versicles, Gloria Patri, &c. which may be regarded as the ancient introduction to the psalms.

The first versicle, and response, "O Lord, open thou our lips," &c. are spoken of by Benedict in the sixth century46, by Amalaritis A. D. 82047, and by Walafridus Strabo, who lived in the same century48, [219]  as occurring at the beginning of the matins and other offices: and they have been thus used from time immemorial by the English church49.

The second versicle, and response, "O God, make speed," &c. are mentioned by Benedict, and have also been long used by the church of England, since they appear in the Anglo-Saxon offices50. Though Benedict only appoints the versicle and response which we use, yet it appears that other persons repeated not only these, which form the first verse of the 70th psalm, but the whole psalm after them, with Gloria Patri. An anonymous rule for the use of regular canons written after the year 816, directed the clergy, when they awoke in order to perform the office of matins, to repeat immediately Domine labia mea, ("O Lord, open thou our lips," &c.) and then the whole psalm, Deus in adjutorium, ("O God, make speed," &c.) ending with Gloria Patri; and then to go to the church51. From this it appears, that these versicles were not, perhaps, originally repeated in church, but at home, as a preparation for divine service.

The primitive and apostolical hymn, Gloria Patri, was probably first used in this place as a [220] proper termination for the psalm Deus in adjutorium, or some other introductory psalm. Benedict, in his Rule, speaks of the Gloria Patri, as used at the beginning of the offices52. Amalarius, and Walafridus, who lived in the ninth century, also refer to it53, and we find it prescribed in the Anglo-Saxon offices54. We may probably conjecture that the Gloria Patri began to be used here at some time before the age of Benedict, as a termination to some introductory psalms, which were then repeated entirely. The versicle, "Praise ye the Lord," is a translation of the Hebrew word Alleluia, which was from a very remote period much used by the Christian churches in divine service; and more especially during the season of Easter55.

Durandus in the thirteenth century mentions Alleluia as occurring in this place56, and Ivo Carnotensis also probably alludes to it57. The churches of England formerly used Alleluia here, except for a certain part of the year58. We may perhaps refer the introduction of Alleluia into this part of the offices to the same cause which placed the Gloria Patri here.

The response of the people, "The Lord’s name [221] be praised," did not originally occur in the offices of the church of England, having been first placed here in A.D. 1661; however, it had been introduced many years before, into those of the church of Scotland.

¶ Then likewise he shall say,

O Lord open thou our lips.


And our mouth shall shew forth thy praise.


O God, make speed to save us.


O Lord make haste to help us.

¶ Here all standing up, the priest shall say,

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.


As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


Praise ye the Lord.


The Lord’s name be praised.

Postea sacerdos incipiat servitium hoc modo:

Domine labia mea aperies.


Et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.

Sacerdos statim.

Deus in adjutorium meum intende.


Domine ad adjuvandum me festina.



Gloria Patri, et Filio, et, Spiritui Sancto.


Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum59. Amen.




| Sect VII | Sect IX |



This psalm has from a very remote period been placed before the psalms of the nocturn, in the western churches. It is probable that the custom of prefixing one or two psalms to the nocturnal office, arose from a desire to allow some little tirne for the clergy and people to collect, before the office [222] began. In the time of Cassian, or early in the fifth century, it was lawful for the brethren to enter the church at any time before the end of the second psalm61. In the following century, this custom was probably thought inconvenient, so that Benedict appointed two psalms to be chanted before the nocturns began, in order to afford sufficient time for the brethren to assemble62: and of these two Psalms, the second was the 95th, or Venite exultemus. Amalarius also speaks of this psalm as occurring at the beginning of nocturns63, and he says that it was only sung on Sundays in his time, (A.D. 820,) because the people, who were engaged in labour, did not ordinarily attend this service on the week-days, but only on Sundays; and therefore there was no need of singing the invitatory psalm to call them to church64.

In the ancient offices of the English churches this was generally termed the invitatory psalm; it followed the versicles, which were the subject of the last section, and preceded the psalms of the nocturn or matins, which will be the subject of the next65. An anthem called invitatory was prefixed to this, and was repeated in part, or entirely, after each verse.


| Sect VIII | Sect X |



In the position of the psalms we follow the ancient order of matins according to the English church; in which the psalms of the day followed the invitatory psalm66. In the breviaries or common prayers of the churches of Sarum, York, and Hereford, the psalms at matins, together with the lessons which followed, were called nocturn. I have already spoken of the nocturn or nocturnal office of the primitive Christians, and observed that the persecutions which they suffered, obliged them to meet for public worship in the night-time; and that this custom was afterwards continued from choice, especially by the ancient ascetics and monks. I have also remarked that there was much variety in the service for the nocturnal assembly in different churches. Thus in Egypt, at first, in some places they read sixty psalms, in others fifty, and afterwards all agreed to recite twelve only67. According to Cassian, other churches were accustomed to repeat twenty or thirty psalms, some still more, and some only eighteen68; so that he says there were as many rules and appointments as there were monasteries69. Again, Columbanus in his rule appointed the number of psalms to vary according to the seasons of the year, and the length of the nights; so [224] that sometimes seventy-five were sung70. In the monasteries of Armenia they repeat ninety-nine psalms at the present day71. On the other hand, in Spain, according to Isidore, three psalms only were sung in the nocturnal office72, a number which is still preserved in the Mosarabic or Spanish breviary73. Previously to the reform of our offices, the English church prescribed twelve psalms for the nocturn; but at that period the number was reduced on an average to three, by the division of the 119th, and by reckoning some other long psalms as each more than one74. This number of three is independent of the responsorial psalms and canticles, which follow the lessons; and, as I have observed, the same number is mentioned by Isidore Hispalensis; and cardinal Quignon, in his revision of the Roman [225] breviary, also reduced the number of Psalms at matins from twelve to three

| Sect IX | Sect XI |



The council of Laodicea in Phrygia, held in the fourth century, directed the Psalms and lessons to be read alternately75; and we find that the psalms of the nocturnal vigils were interspersed with lessons in the Gallican church76. It does not appear certain that lessons were read in the nocturne, by the Roman church, before the time of Gregory the Great77. In Egypt, after the twelve psalms of the nocturn, two lessons, one from the Old Testament, the other from the New, were read78; and this rule has been adopted by the church of England. Benedict appointed only one lesson at the nocturnal office during the summer79; but for the rest of the year several lessons were recited. In after-times, many churches of the West read sometimes three, sometimes [226] times five, seven, or nine lessons80. So it was formerly in the church of England, where there were either three or nine lessons at nocturns or matins; but these lessons were generally so short, that one chapter of Scripture often contained more than nine of them. For instance, the three first lessons for the first Sunday in Advent contained altogether six verses of the first chapter of Isaiah81. Besides this, the lessons were followed by anthems and responsories, which greatly interrupted the reading of Scripture; for which reason they were removed by us, as they had been some time before by cardinal Quignon82, whose edition of the Roman breviary has been much applauded by learned men, and was recommended by Paul the third, patriarch of Rome.

The ancient English offices, and Benedict, prescribed the same position for this lesson as we do, namely, after the psalms of the nocturn or matins, and before Te Deum.


| Sect X | Contents | Top | Sect XI |

Project Canterbury


1 Bingham, Antiquities, &c. book xiii. ch. 10. &c. Bona, de Divin. Psalmodia, c. 1. §. 3. No. 3. §. 4. No. 2, 3.

2 Bingham, book xiii. c. 10. §. 12. Bona, Div. Psalmodia, cap. i. 4. No. 5.

3 Regula Benedicti, c. 8, 9, 10, &c.

4 Regula Columbani, c. 7. De Cursu. B. Isidorus Hispal. de Eccl. Off. c. 22. Bona, Div. Psalmodia, c. 1. §. 4. No 6.

5 See the nocturns, called Matutini, for first Sunday in Advent. Breviarium Sarisb. pars hyemalis, fol. 2. p. 1, &c.; fol. 5. p. 1. Lauds, fol. 5. p. 1.

6 Cyprianus de Oratione Dominica. v. Bona, Div. Psalm. c. 1. §. 4. No. 3, &c. Francolinus de Tempore Hor. Canon. c. 12, &c.

7 Apost. Const. 1. viii. c. 38.

8 Cassian. de institut. Coenob. lib. iii. c. 4. Bingham, Antiquities, lib. xiii. c. 9. §. 10.

9 Bingham, book xiii. c. 9. § 8, &c. Bona, c. i. §. 4.

10 Tertullian. Liber de Jejuniis, p. 549, &c. Concil. Laodicen. can. 18.

11 Apost. Const. 1. viii. c. 36.

12 Cassian. Institut. Coenob. lib. ii. c. 5.

13 Bona, de Div. Psalmodia, c. xi.

14 Cassian. Institut. Cœnob. lib. iii. c. 2. "Gratius est voluntarium munus, quam functiones quae canonica compulsione redduntur: pro hoc quoque David gloriosius aliquid exultainte, cum dicit: Voluntarie sacrificabo tibi: et Voluntaria oris mei beneplacita sinl tibi, Domine."

15 See the "Orarium seu libellus precationum per Regiam Majestatem Latinè æditus." 1560, Londini, Wilhelmi Seres, &c. "The Primer" appeared in the same year, and was afterwards reprinted under the following title: "The Primer and Catechisme, set forth at large, wyth many godly Praiers necessarie for all faithfull Christians to reade." London, Willyam Seres. Anno 1566.

16 For much information on this subject, see Dr. Waterland’s history of the Athanasian Creed, ch. iv. p. 59, &c. ed. Cambridge, 1724. See also Zaccaria, Bibliotheca Ritualis, lib. i. c. 4. art. 3. p. 96, &c. tom. i.

17 See Zaccaria, as quoted above.

18 Micrologus, A.D. 1080, is supposed to have been the first writer who takes notice of the Breviarium, lib. de Eccl. Observ. c. 28. A MS. containing the whole of the offices with rubrics, &c. and written about A.D. 1100. for the monastery of Casino, bears the title of Breviarium. See Ducange, voce Breviariurn, Zaccaria, Bibliotheca Ritualis, lib. i. c. 4. art. 4. p. 107.

19 This is the case with the Breviaries of the churches of Sarum, York, and Hereford, which were formerly used in England.

20 "Solent religiosi viri ante præsens officium (Completorium) lectionem legere." Amalarius de Eccl. Offic. lib. iv. c. 8.

21 "Evenit autem ut ea nocte, cum lector secundum morem inciperet lectionem a Moyse, incidit in illa verba Domini, Sed ego indurabo cor eius, &c. Deinde cum post Psalmos decantatos recitaret ex Prophetis, occurrerunt verba, &c.—Cumque adhuc Psalmi fuissent decantati et legeret ex Evangelio, &c." Collatio Episcoporum, A.D. 499. Mabillon, Liturgia Gall. p. 399.

22 "Novus hic modus exordiendi preces a sententiis, incogititus est Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis veteribus, olim enim ut et hodie ab oratione Dominica, Domine labia, &c. Deus in adjutorium, semper incipiebant, ut notatum est in Floribus ex Durando collectis, et recte quoque in hoc libro precum iste modus postea observatur." Schultingii Bibliothec. Ecclesiast. tom. iv. pars 2. p. 132.

23 Gavanti Thesaurus a Merati, tom. ii, p. 103, 104.

24 Le Brun, Explication, &c. vol. iii. p. 255. Isidorus Hispalensis, de Officiis, c. 15.

25 Avitus, Sermo de Rogationibus, p. 138. tom. ii. Oper. Sirmondi, A.D. 1696.

26 Breviarium Sarisburiense, Psalter. fol. xiii. et lvii. Breviar. Eboracense, fol. 252. et fol. 3. Breviar. Herefordens. Dominica ad primam.

27 Ek nuktos gar orthrizei par’ êmin ho laos epi ton oikon tês proseuchês, kai en ponô, kai thlipsei, kai sunochê dakruôn, exomologoumenoi tô Theô, teleutaion exanastantes tôn proseuchôn, eis tên psalmôdian kathistantai, k. t. l. S. Basil. Epist. 207. ad Clericos Neocæsarienses, (alias 63.) tom. iii. Operum, p. 311. ed. Benedict.

28 Martene de Antiq. Discipl. in Div. Officiis, &c. c. viii. p. 54.

29 Missale Sarisbur. fol. lxxi. Miss. Eboracens. Modus præparandi ad Missam. Miss. Hereford. ibid.

30 S. Benedict. Regula, c. 17.

31 Amalarius de Eccles. Offic. lib. iv. c. 2.

32 Honorius, GemmaAnimæ, lib. ii. c. 61.

33 Durandi Rationale, lib. v. c. 5. fol. 242. de prima.

34 Micrologus, de Eccl. Observat. c. 23, appears to be the first person who speaks of this confession made at the beginning of the Liturgy. Although a confession was very customary in the western churches during the most primitive ages, yet it appears to have been made after the dismissal of the catechumens, and before the oblations of the faithful were received. See Dissertation on primitive Liturgies, sections vi. and vii. p. 122, 129. where this subject is more particularly considered.

35 See Breviar. Sarisb. Ebor. Hereford. as referred to at the beginning of last section.

36 For much information connected with this subject, see Bingham’s Antiquities, book xix. c. 2. and letter ii. to the bishop of Winchester. Morinus de Pœnitentia, lib. viii. c. 16. 21, &c. Smith’s Account of the Greek Church, p. 180.

37 Breviar. Sarisb. fol. 2.

38 Bingham’s Antiquities, book X. C. 5. §. 9.

39 "Præmissa legitima et ordinaria oratione, quasi fundamento, accidentium jus est desideriorum, jus est superstruendi extrinsecus petitiones." Tertullian. de Oratione, c. ix. p. 133. ed. Rigalt.

40 "Dimisso officii signo, orationem super misericordias faciunt, id est, Pater Noster, et Credo in Deum, antequam versum Deus in adjutorium decantent." Liber Consuetudin. Cisterciensis, c. 68.

41 Durandi Rationale, lib. v. c. 3. fol. 226.

42 Breviar. Sarisbur. fol. 2.

43 Gavanti Thesaurus a Merati, tom. ii. p. 104.

44 Gavanti, ibid.

45 Bona, de Div. Psalmodia, c. xvi. §. 2. p. 417.

46 "Præmisso in primis versu Deus in adjutorium, &c. in secundo dicendum est, Domine labia mea," &c. S. Benedict. Regula, c. 9. Quot Psalmi dicendi sint in nocturnis horis.

47 "In nocturnali officio dicimus primo, Domine labia mea aperies, et os meum annunciabit laudem tuam, deinde sequitur Gloria." Amalar. de Eccl. Off. lib. iv. c. 9. de Nocturnali Officio.

48 Walafridus Strabo de Rebus Eccl. c. 25.

49 Breviar. Sarisbur. fol. 2.

50 See Benedict, quoted above, and Anglo-Saxon Office of Prime, in the Appendix to Dr. Hickes’s Letters to a Popish Priest.

51 "Nocturnis horis cum ad opus divinum de lecto surrexerit clericus, primum signum sibi S. crucis imprimat per invocationem S. Trinitatis, deinde dicat versum Domine labia mea aperies, et os meum annunciabit laudent tuam. Deinde psalmum, Deus in adjutorium meum intende, totum cum Gloria. Et tunc provideat sibi corpoream necessitatem naturæ, et sic ad oratorium festinet, psallendo psalmum, Ad te levavi animam, cum summa reverentia et cautela intrans, ut aliis orantibus non impediat. Et tunc prostratus in loco congruo effundat preces in conspectu Domini magis corde quam ore." Canonicorum Regula, &c. Labbe, Concilia, tom. vii. p. 1465.

52 "In primis semper diurnis horis dicantur versus: Deus in adjutorium, &c. Domine ad adjuvandum, &c. et Gloria." S. Benedict. Regula, c.18.

53 Amalar. de Eccl. Off. lib. iv. cap. 9. Walafrid. Strabo, de Reb. Eccl. c. 25.

54 Appendix to Hickes’s Letters.

55 Benedict. Regula, c. 15. Bona, Divina Psalmodia, cap. 16. §. 7.

56 Durandi Rationale, lib. vi. c. 24. no. 19. fol. 292.

57 Ivo Carnotensis Sermo de Sacramentis dedicationis, inter Sermones de Rebus Eccl. p. 786. 787. apud Melchior. Hittorp.

58 "Dominica in Septuagesima ad vesperas, et abhinc usque ad Miss. in vigilia Pasche non dicitur Alleluia, scilicet in principio vesperarum et horarum loco Alleluia dicitur hoc modo, Laus tibi Domime, Rex æternæ gloriæ." Breviarium Sarisb. fol. lvii.

59 Breviarium, Sarisb. fol. 2.

60 Breviar. Sarisb. fol. lvii. ut supra.

61 Cassian. Instit. Cœnob. lib. iii. c. 7. " In nocturnis vero conventiculis usque ad secundum Psalmum præbetur tardanti dilatio, ita dumtaxat, ut antequam finito eodem Psalmo fratres in oratione procumbant, semetipsum congregationi inserere atque admiscere festinet."

62 Benedict. Regula, c. 9.

63 "Dein sequitur invitatorium: in eo communis cœtus fratrum convocat omnes degentes undique ut excitentur et veniant ad confitendum Domino." Amalar. de Eccl. Off. lib. 4. c. 9.

64 In Supplemento, c. 4, cited by Merati in Gavanti Thesaur. p. 110.

65 Breviar. Sarisb. fol. 2, 3. Breviar. Eborac. fol. 3.

66 Breviar. Sarisb. fol. 3. Breviar. Eborac. fol. 3.

67 Cassian. institut cœnob. lib. ii. c. "Cum—alii quinquagenos, alii sexagenos psalmos, nonnulli vero ne hoc quidem numero contenti, excedi eum debere censerent."

68 Cassian. lib. ii. c. 2.

69 "Totque propemodum typos et regulas vidimus usurpatas, quot etiam monasteria cellasque conspeximus,." Cassian. lib. ii. c. 2.

70 "Ita ut totum Psalterium inter duas supradictas noctes—cantent." Columbani Regula, c. 7.

71 Bona, de Div. Psalmodia, c.18. §. 15. p. 649, 650.

72 "In quotidianis officiis Vigiliarum, primum tres psalmi canonici recitandi sunt." Regula S. Isidori Hispalensis, c. 7.

73 Bona, de Div. Psalmod. c. xviii. §. 11. p. 635. Schultingius in vain objects to the English office, that sometimes five psalms are recited at matins and vespers, sometimes two, sometimes only one, and at other times four; which he says is new and unheard of, tom. iv. pars 2. p. 128. For it appears that every church, and even monastery, arranged all things relating to the number of Psalms, as it pleased. Schultingius also blames us because we do not regulate the office according to the decree of Gregory the seventh, bishop of Rome; but this decree, except it be confirmed by the British church, neither is, nor ever was, binding on us; since the Roman patriarchate did not extend to these countries, and whatever authority was at any time conceded to the Roman patriarch by the church of England, might at any time have been resumed again, as in fact it was. The decree is null and void in these countries, another constitution having been made by the catholic church within this realm.

74 The same method of dividing long Psalms is pre scribed in Regula S. Benedicti, c. 18.

75 En tais sunazesin anagnôseis tous psalmous perokoptetôsan. Concil. Laodicen. can. 17.

76 See Collatio Episcoporum, A.D. 499. referred to in section ii. p. 210.

77 "Necdum eo tempore (sc, S. Benedicti) in Romana ecclesia, sicut nunc leguntur, Sacras Scripturas legi mos fuit: sed post aliquot tempora hoc institutum sive a beato papa Gregorio, sive, ut ab aliis affirmatur, ab Honorio." Epist. Theodemari Abbatis ad Carolum M. Imperat. cited b Mabillon, Liturgia Gall. p. 385.

78 Cassian. Inst. Cœnob. lib. ii. c. 6.

79 Benedict. Regula, c. 10. Schultingius objects to the English office thus: "Præter consuetudinem, praxin et traditionem omnium veterum auctorum de divinis officiis est; quod in Dominicis diebus tantum una legatur lectio, vel saltem addatur secunda; cum ecclesia catholica, a mille annis et amplius, novem lectiones semper ad minimum, et raro tres in Dominicis adhibuerit," Tom. iv. pars 2. p. 129. This objection is sufficiently met by the practice of the catholic church of Egypt, and the Rule of Benedict, just cited.

80 Merati in Gavanti Thesaur. tom. ii. p. 141.

81 Breviarium Sarisbur. fol. 3.

82 "Versiculos, Responsoria, et capitula, omittere idcirco visum est, non quod hæc supervacea aut inutilia viderentur—sed quoniam cum introducta sint ad cantus potissimum modulandos et legentes sæpe morentur cum molestia quæritandi; locum relinqui voluimus continenti lectioni Scripturæ Sacræ." Præf. ad Breviar. p. 3. edit. Lugduni, 1546.

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