Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Diocese of New York, 2012
The Christian Covenant
THE BEGINNING OF CHRISTIANITY
ON the day of Pentecost, ten days after Christ ascended into Heaven, the disciples were assembled in an upper room in Jerusalem. The house was shaken by what seemed to be a mighty wind, and all were filled with the Holy Spirit which Christ promised them before his departure from their sight. The apostles at once went out into the street and began to preach Christ, and this was the beginning of the Christian Church. St. Peter was the chief spokesman, and when many were deeply stirred at his preaching and asked what they should do to be saved, he replied, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Three thousand converts were baptized the same day, and from that time unto the present the Church has continued to grow until it has spread over the whole earth, and always by the same process. Men have heard the gospel of salvation in the name of Christ, have repented of [1/2] their sins and been baptized and have received the Spirit of Christ. St. Peter apparently associates this gift of the Spirit directly with the reception of Baptism. In one exceptional case, Acts X, the Spirit is given before Baptism, and again, in Acts VIII we find a further ceremony called the Laying on of Hands, in which the Spirit is given to those who have already been baptized. This latter ceremony or sacrament is now called Confirmation. As Baptism, Confirmation, and the Gift of the Spirit are all closely associated with the beginnings of the Christian life we will consider them in order in this chapter.
Baptism is the sacrament of initiation into the Christian Church and the Christian life. It is the seal of the New Covenant which Christ established when he shed his blood for many for the remission of sins. The baptized person receives a new name and is made a member of Christ, the child of God and an inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven. See the Office of Instruction, page 283 in the Prayer Book. The symbolism is that of death, burial and resurrection. The natural man is buried in the cleansing waters, he is born again out of the water, and rises to a new life. The inward grace is union with Christ. As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put [2/3] on Christ. Because we have put on Christ we are cleansed from sin, we are born to a new life, we become God's children by adoption and grace, we become inheritors of God's Kingdom, with all of its blessings and privileges, in fact we are brought into a state of salvation, and if by the grace of God we continue in the same unto our life's end, we shall certainly enter into life eternal.
As Baptism is a covenant, we for our part promise to do certain things. We make a threefold vow. I. To renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh; 2. To believe all the articles of the Christian Faith; 3. To keep God's holy will and commandments and to walk in the same all the days of our life.
A man sometimes, from a mistaken sense of reverence, hesitates to take these vows. He says, "I regard these matters very seriously; I will not take such obligations lightly, in fact I will not take them at all unless I know I can keep them, and I am not sure that I can, therefore I will not be baptized." At one time in the early Church many postponed their baptism until their deathbeds. While such an attitude seems worthy, it is none the less mistaken. The duties of Baptism are not created by the promise, but the promise is given because the duties already exist. They [3/4] rest not on any vow but on our moral nature. Each man's conscience tells him that he must renounce the devil and all his works, that he must believe what is true, and that he must keep God's commandments. Two foreigners come to this country. One is naturalized and promises to obey the laws of the country, the other is not. They commit a crime and are arrested. The judge says to the one, "What kind of a citizen are you? You came before me and swore to uphold the law of the land, and now you are breaking it; I must sentence you to prison." The other speaks up and says, "I am not a citizen, I never promised to keep the law, you cannot punish me." But the judge says "You go to prison with your companion. Whether you are naturalized or not you are bound by the law of America so long as you live in this land." So with our moral obligations. They are written in the law of our moral nature. The man who is baptized or confirmed simply comes forward in a manly way and acknowledges his obligation. But he does not escape his obligation by refusing to become a member of the Church. On the other hand, union with Christ and the Church give help and incentive and power to keep God's will and commandments. Some think the yoke of Christ is a heavy burden, but it is not a burden at all. A yoke is something that makes it easy for us to carry a burden.
PRINCIPLES OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
 There is a higher aspect of these three promises that we call duties. They are not so much the purchase price of eternal life, but they are eternal life. What is life? It is liberty, truth, and power. The first vow is the vow of freedom. To renounce evil is to proclaim our spiritual independence. The world, the flesh and the devil enslave the souls of men and bind them down with the heavy chains of evil habit. To renounce these things is to be free. That is the first condition of life. It is a glorious freedom which ushers us into eternal life. At the very threshold of life, the shackles of the soul are struck off. We enter into the glorious liberty of the Sons of God.
The second vow dedicates our mind and intelligence to the truth. People have a strange concept of creeds. They say, "Must I believe all of those dogmas? Must I open my mouth and shut my eyes and swallow all the doctrines of the dark ages?" There is much misunderstanding about creeds. Truth is eternal and is neither new nor old. Two and two make four, in any part of the universe; always have and always will. We are not speaking now about men-made creeds, but the creeds of the Catholic Church are like the formula of mathematics, they are like the multiplication tables, which enter into every problem from the weight of a grain of sand, to the distance [5/6] of the fixed stars. So faith in God and our relationship to him enter into every problem of human life. We shall study in our next chapter the articles of the faith, but for a thinking person to say, "I will not enslave my mind with these old dogmas," is as foolish as for a boy in school to say, "I will not enslave my mind with the multiplication table." Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. If we follow Him we shall not walk in darkness.
Again, to walk in the way of God's commandments is to walk in ways of pleasantness and peace. Infinite wisdom and goodness control the stars in their courses, and all things in heaven and earth except the will of man. This alone is free. We have the power to choose, to turn to the right hand or to the left. This makes evil possible, and evil leads to destruction. It also makes virtue possible, and virtue leads to eternal life. His service is perfect freedom, and when we say we will keep God's holy will and commandments and walk in the same all the days of our life, we are choosing the right way. We align our lives with infinite power and wisdom.
BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT
We have now to consider what Christ means by the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is both the Spirit of God, and his own Spirit that he poured out upon his followers.
 Every man has somewhat of the Spirit of God in his heart. From him all holy desires and good thoughts, and all just works proceed.
"Every virtue we possess,
And every victory won,
And every thought of holiness
Are His alone."
The still small voice speaking in every man's heart is the Spirit of God.
He is the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. The worldly man however does not recognize the source of his good desires and proudly takes the credit for them to himself. When however he comes to Christ and confesses his sinfulness and is baptized, then he realizes that he deserves no credit for his goodness, but that it all comes from God, and he surrenders himself to this divine guidance. Then God pours upon him a new and abundant gift of the Spirit, and in surrendering to this new influence in his life, he is born anew of the Spirit, and he walks not after the flesh to fulfil the lusts of the flesh, but he walks after the spirit, and does the work of the Spirit. A spiritual man is one who is conscious of this great truth, that the power of goodness in him is the indwelling Spirit of God, and he has surrendered to it. Read the VIII chapter of St. Paul's epistle to the Romans and see what is the Christian doctrine of [7/8] the Spirit. We have seen that this gift is associated with Baptism. If even unbaptized persons have the Spirit of God in them, certainly baptized Christians have a far greater gift of the Spirit. But this is a growing influence. Confirmation, in which we receive outwardly the touch and blessing of a successor of the apostles, brings us an increase of this Spirit. In Ordination special gifts of the Spirit are given for special offices in the Church. There are divers gifts, but they all come from one and the self-same Spirit.
FORM OF BAPTISM
The word "baptize" is a greek word which means to wash. Some people (the Baptists for example) lay much stress on the necessity for immersion. There is no instance of Baptism recorded in the New Testament, not even the Baptism of Christ, in which it can be proved beyond doubt, that immersion was used. In fact there are a number of instances, as for example, the baptism of the 3000 in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, the baptism of the Ethiopian in the desert, the baptism of the Philippean jailor and his family in the jail in the middle of the night, and the baptism of the household of Cornelius at Caesera when immersion seems improbable, and hence the Church has always recognized the propriety of baptism by pouring, in fulfillment of [8/9] the prophesy quoted by St. Peter on the day of Pentecost, "I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh." Nevertheless the Church in the Baptismal office gives immersion the preference, but recognizes pouring as equally valid.
In case of emergency, baptism may be administered by a lay person according to the rubric of the Prayer Book on page 281.
Confirmation is to be administered when children come to years of discretion, that is, to know the difference between right and wrong, and can answer the questions in the Church Catechism. In the new Baptismal office, page 277, the Sponsors promise to bring the child to Confirmation rather than wait until he is sought out and urged to come by the Rector.
In Acts VIII we have the story of the first Confirmation recorded in the New Testament. There are four things to note in this narrative; the recipients, the ministers, the outward sign, and the inward gift. The recipients are those who had been baptized. An unbaptized person cannot receive Confirmation. The ministers of the sacrament were the Apostles Peter and John. While the Deacon Philip had authority to baptize, preach, and conduct worship, he could not administer Confirmation, so the Apostles came from Jerusalem for this purpose. For this reason [9/10] only the Bishop, as the successor of the Apostles administers confirmation. The outward form was the laying on of hands. While some churches employ other symbols, such as anointing with oil, the Laying on of Hands was the primitive form and is so preserved in the service of the Church today. The inward gift was the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is not to be supposed that all unconfirmed people are destitute of the Spirit of God. We have explained this in another part of this chapter, but on the occasion of a public profession of faith in Christ and a renewal of our pledges of loyalty to Him, God gives us a more abundant gift.
Let us make it a matter of constant prayer. Our Lord gives us the strongest assurance that we may have this gift. If ye being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him!
The Christian Faith
THE second section of the Catechism concerns the articles of the Creed. This faith was once for all delivered to the Saints. It is a tradition handed down from generation to generation. In this it differs from science. Science is a discovery that is always being added to by new discovery. We want to know the last word in science. But in religion we are not interested in the last new religion; we want to know what was the original faith once delivered. We ask not "what does the latest teacher say," but "What does Christ say, what does the Bible say? What did the early Fathers say?"
The Christian Faith was first an oral tradition, taught by word of mouth. The Church was well established, the creed taught, the sacraments administered, the clergy ordained, missionaries sent out before the New Testament was written. Christ did not say, "Go and write", but "Go and teach". Why then a written scripture? For the purpose of preserving the original teaching intact. The weakness of oral tradition is its tendency to grow. This indeed was the case with [11/12] Christian teaching itself, when the scriptures were forgotten. All kinds of legends of Christ and the Saints grew and grew, until the invention of printing restored the original scriptures to the people, and then all the legends disappeared. The original faith once delivered was once more manifest.
SCRIPTURE AND TRADITION
But if we have the Scriptures, why do we need the Tradition? The tradition gives us the true meaning and interpretation of Scripture. Without it, everyone reads his own opinion into the Bible and it has no clear meaning. The true rule of interpretation is stated by St. Vincent of Lerins in the 5th century, "That is the true Christian faith which has been held always in the Church, and everywhere, and by all." In short the faith which is Catholic or universal.
GOD THE OBJECT OF OUR FAITH
1. The Articles of our Faith tell chiefly of our belief in God. Before the Christian revelation, men thought of God in three different ways, sometimes as being very great and high above the world and all earthly things, then as being very human, and often taking the likeness of men and mingling with them, and again as being an all pervading spirit that is the life and substance of all things. These attributes were called transcendence, incarnation, and immanence. All are [12/13] an intimation of the truth, for in the Christian doctrine of the Trinity we have God Transcendent, the Creator of heaven and earth, God incarnate in Christ, sharing human life, and God Immanent, the indwelling Spirit; each personal and distinct, but not three Gods but one. The doctrine of the Trinity while a mystery, is not contrary to reason, but rather quite in accord with what the reason of man has thought out in regard to God through many ages, but harmonized and unified in the Christian faith of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, One God.
FATHERHOOD OF GOD
2. The Fatherhood of God is the foundation of the doctrine of the Trinity, for Fatherhood is an eternal and internal relation, not dependent on the act of creation. God did not become a Father when He created the world. He was forever the Father of the only Begotten Son, and lived in unity with him and the Holy Spirit. The Doctrine of the Trinity makes it possible to understand how God is Love. If God were but one person, then the love of God would be self-love which is repugnant. The eternal Trinity makes it possible for love to unite the three persons in unselfish devotion.
Because God is the eternal Father, He created the world and man in his own image. Evolution is the scientific theory of the method of creation. [13/14] It means a process of growth and development, which is still going on, and will not be complete until the whole creation becomes perfect in the Kingdom of God. Thus Christ represents the climax of human development, and the process will continue until we all come to the perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Only the Christian understands the full implications of the doctrine of evolution.
The expression "Fatherhood of God" has been badly over-worked by every kind of new and strange cult, both Oriental and Western, but a moment's thought will show that it has very definite implications. It is the basis of democracy, for all men have an equal birthright. All men are immortal, and partakers of the divine nature, but chiefly, it implies the closest personal relationship, involving revelation, prayer and providence. If God is our Father, He speaks to His children; in times past through the prophets, and at last by His Son.
JESUS CHRIST THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON
3. We have not "seen" the Father until we have seen Jesus Christ who is the fullness of his glory and the express image of his person. There is no difficulty in believing any article of the creed about Jesus Christ if we believe in Him. For example there is no difficulty about the virgin [14/15] birth of Christ if He is the Creator of all things, that all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. Christ had no human father, because he was not a human person. He was a preexistant, eternal and divine person who could say, "I left my Father and came into the world; again I leave the world and go unto my Father." This coming of the Son into the world is called the Incarnation. It is the second great truth of Christianity. Its purpose was the redemption of humanity. God so loved the world that he gave his only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life, or better, eternal life. Eternal life is not a matter of quantity but of quality. It is not duration, but divine fullness; to them gave He power to become Sons of God. Redemption means much more than the forgiveness of sin. It means fulfillment of our divine sonship.
4. The method of our redemption is sacrifice. Christ saves us by his cross. This is the third great mystery or truth of our religion, the Atonement. Shallow critics have said that this doctrine is immoral and unjust because the innocent suffers for the guilty. The innocent always suffer for the guilty. That is why sin is sin. God suffers most of all from man's sin. This is what [15/16] the cross of Christ shows. It reveals the nature of sin, and the love of God. It makes an irresistible appeal to human hearts that cleanses and transforms them so that their guilt is washed away, and they live anew in the love of Christ. However Christ is not our substitute in the sense that his suffering is a substitute for ours, but rather He shows us how to bear our own cross and to follow Him. For his sake we too are to suffer and be strong. Good Friday is kept by all Christians in commemoration of the great sacrifice of Christ.
5. The Resurrection was as literal a fact as His death, and is as well authenticated. He was seen, heard, handled by His most intimate friends, and if anything in history is certain, it is the fact that the disciples of Christ were convinced of the fact that He rose from the dead. They not only believed it but they made the world believe it, and the Resurrection became the great cornerstone of the Christian Church. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our Faith." However the Resurrection was not a return to a natural physical life, but a transformation to the spiritual plane. Flesh and blood do not inherit the Kingdom of God. Christ's risen body was glorious, impassible and spiritual, the type of our own in the heavenly kingdom. [16/17] "Christ the first fruits, afterwards those that are Christ's, at his appearing."
THE SECOND ADVENT
The "appearing" or second advent means the abiding spiritual presence of Christ in the hearts of the faithful, "Lo, I am with you always"; His growing influence and power in the affairs of men; and finally, either through a growing process of development, or some sudden world crisis, the full and complete manifestation of His power and glory. This will carry with it a judgment on evil and the reward of the righteous. Christians are incurably optimistic. We believe in the coming of the Kingdom. Christ is now at God's right hand which means the highest place of honor and power, yet He is still Emmanuel, God with us.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
6. This is made possible by the sending of the Holy Spirit, another Comforter who will abide with us forever, even the Spirit of Truth.
In the first chapter we explained how the Spirit of God is the source of all goodness, and is in some degree in every human heart, but Christ sent a new Spirit, a new outpouring of His own Spirit and the Spirit of God, so that the Apostles and disciples were filled with the Spirit as men never had been before. This Spirit gave them courage to face every opposition [17/18] and persecution without fear. They were unconquerable. The Spirit was also the Spirit of truth. He brought all things to their remembrance. They were witnesses of Christ. Thus these simple minded men, like any fisher folk or workmen of the present day produced the literature of the New Testament which is the most beautiful and inspiring and powerful writing in existance. It is translated into every tongue, it is read daily by countless millions, and has never been equalled by the keenest human intellect.
The Holy Spirit influences each human heart, and when we surrender to His guidance we are led by the Spirit and are born again. The chief test of true spirituality is our love for Christ for the Spirit does not speak of himself, but as the Master says, "He shall take of mine and shall show it unto you." It is the same inner light that is in the hearts of all Christian people, and its united witness is the faith of the Church.
THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH
7. The Church is the body of Christ, the agency which He organized to carry on His work after His ascension into Heaven. What hands and feet, and voice and eyes and ears are to a man, that is the Church to Christ. It is the body with which he preaches his gospel, performs his works of mercy, and saves the souls and bodies [18/19] of men. The new Offices of Instruction describe the Church as
One; because it is one Body under one head. (Christ).
Holy; because the Holy Spirit dwells in it, and sanctifies its members:
Catholic; because it is universal, holding earnestly the Faith for all time, in all countries, and for all people; and is sent to preach the gospel to the whole world;
Apostolic; because it continues in the Apostles' teaching and fellowship.
The functions of the Church are to honor God in public worship, to educate the young in the Christian Faith, to promote social righteousness among all classes and nations, to minister to the poor and needy, and to preach the Gospel throughout the world.
THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS
8. The Communion of Saints means that all Christian people, both living and departed and all the Saints and Holy Angels form one body and fellowship in Christ. They are bound together by mutual ties and pray for one another, wherever they may be. The Bible nowhere teaches, as is commonly supposed, that people go to Heaven when they die. There is no record in the Bible of anyone going to Heaven immediately after death. The Old Testament tells us that the Patriarchs [19/20] were gathered to their fathers. Christ speaking of the beggar in the story of Lazarus says he was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. Christ when he died said to the penitent thief, "Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise." But afterwards to Mary Magdalene, "I am not yet ascended to my Father." The final reward of the righteous is considered by the New Testament writers, to be deferred until the Day of Judgment, or the Day of the Lord.
St. Paul says, "Henceforth there is laid up for me the Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord shall give me in that Day." So St. John, "We know that when Christ shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." So likewise the Master himself, "The Son of Man shall come and separate the righteous from the wicked as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats. Etc."
THE INTERMEDIATE STATE
The Intermediate State is a place of light and refreshment and growth. The ancient prayer of the Church for the departed is, "Rest eternal grant them O Lord, and let Light perpetual shine upon them." The new Prayer Book contains many beautiful prayers for the departed. The medieval doctrine of the flames of purgatory being ten thousand times hotter than molten iron, is of course an absurdity, invented for [20/21] the commercial benefit of the clergy. Whatever we may think about the material torment of the wicked after their resurrection, no material fire could affect the disembodied spirits in the intermediate state. The Bible tells us that the souls of the righteous are in the hands of God, there shall no torment touch them.
9. The forgiveness of sins we shall discuss in the next Chapter. The Resurrection of the Body, means that we shall all go through the same change that Christ underwent when he rose again on Easter Day. The lesson in the Burial service tells all that can be said about the Resurrection, and anyone who supposes that this doctrine means the reconstruction of our physical bodies out of the identical particles of matter of which they were originally formed, or of any other particles of matter, has never read the Church's teaching. Flesh and blood do not inherit the Kingdom of God neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. On the other hand, life to us is always interpreted in terms of bodily experience, such as seeing, hearing, etc., and an eternal and everlasting life would have all that we have gained here, with none of our physical limitations. The fullness of eternal life is the vision of God; The Beatific Vision.
GOODNESS AND RELIGION
THE third part of the Office of Instruction explains the Christian duty, the Ten Commandments, and their true interpretation. There is often a contrast drawn between morality and religion. People ask the question, "If a man is a good moral person, why does he need religion?" It cannot be too strongly emphasized that good conduct and good character is the essence of religion. Goodness is the only thing that counts. God is good and he is only served by goodness. It is the sole purpose of religion to promote goodness. If anything in religion does not further goodness, it is an impertinence, and if religion as a whole does not make men better it is an abomination unto the Lord.
But what is goodness? It is something more than conforming to certain external rules of conduct. Even the Ten Commandments, as an external rule, will not make a man good. In their literal form they develop at best that negative type of character "that never did any harm to anybody." Christ gives them a spiritual and positive interpretation that makes love the impelling [22/23] power of conduct, and covers all human relationships, both to God and man.
SERMON ON THE MOUNT
It is sometimes said that the Sermon on the Mount contains the whole of Christ's religion. It does, and there is one verse of it that sums up all of Christ's teaching and example. "Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect." The purpose of Christ's religion is to make men perfect by realizing their divine sonship. But if Christ had left it here, it would be like taking a boy into a college library and saying "here is wisdom, master these books, and you will have the sum of all human knowledge." Or take him into Wall street and say, "here is where the money is made, do like these men, and you will be successful and rich." The mountains of character cannot be scaled by a single leap.
GOODNESS IS GODLINESS
Moreover, as we explained in our first chapter, all goodness comes from God. All holy desires, all good councils and all just works, that is all good thoughts, words and deeds are the inspiration of His Holy Spirit, which lighteth every man, and religion is the acknowledgment of this truth and the cultivation of that personal relationship with God, that communion with Christ, that Fellowship with the Holy Spirit that will make us, not simply good moral men as the world [23/24] regards it, but will bring us at last to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, will make us Sons of God and heirs of eternal life. Religion and morality are one and the same thing, but religion upholds an ideal of human perfection that the world never dreams of, and then supplies the spiritual dynamic by which perfection is to be attained.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Let us see what Christ means by a good man. "If thou wilt enter into life keep the commandments." The first four have to do with our duty toward God. First of all we are to believe in God, to fear Him and to Love Him with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. The opposite of this command is atheism, or putting something else, in place of God, generally self. We are prone to love self with all our heart and mind and soul and strength. We are striving constantly to do our own will, think of our own pleasure, and please ourselves. This is what is meant by pride. Not self conceit, or vanity, but putting ourselves before everything else, even God himself.
THE SECOND COMMANDMENT
The second commandment forbids not only graven images but mental images of God that are wrong and distorted. We are not to have wrong thoughts about God. We are not to say that He is [24/25] cruel, and unjust, or to say on the other hand, that he is so good that he does not care what we do, and will not punish our sins. This is called presumption. Casting oneself down from the temple.
THE THIRD COMMANDMENT
The third commandment says that God will not hold us guiltless if we take his Name in vain. Now profane swearing is one of the most offensive and useless of sins. If a man steals, or lies, he does it because he thinks he will get some advantage out of it. But there is no conceivable gain to be derived from profanity. It is an offense to God and man alike. Most men excuse themselves by saying that they do not mean anything by it, but this is the one command that is proclaimed inexcusable. The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his Name in vain.
THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT
The Fourth Commandment enjoins the due observance of the Sabbath Day by a cessation from ordinary labor, and by attending upon public worship. It has always been a matter of conscience with Christians to attend Church worship at least once upon the Lord's Day. This is no longer the seventh day of the week, the Jewish Sabbath, but the Christian Day of rest and worship, the first Day, not by any recorded command of Christ, but by the authority of the [25/26] Church, as inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is a weekly testimony to the great foundation truth of our Lord's Resurrection. People who cannot attend their own Church, nevertheless ought to attend some public worship to witness to the fact that they are Christian believers. It is certainly the height of folly for parents to take their children to some resort in summer for the benefit of their bodies, and at the same time deprive them of all spiritual food. No one can be a devout Christian who is not trained to participate in public worship every Sunday of his life.
THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT
Turning now to the second table, our duty toward our neighbor, we are first enjoined to honor and obey our parents. This is the first obligation that we learn as children and we never outgrow it. There is an inward sense of duty, that our parents begin to train, and which is a part of our inmost being. When we come to years of discretion, we go out from our parents roof, and enter into the larger relationship of life. We take up our duty to the state, to the government, to society, to our fellow men, but we are always bound to respect and honor our parents, and as Christ specifically points out, to support them if necessary in their old age. Although the laws of the state do not require this, the law of Christ does.
 It is the duty of the good citizen to obey the law of the land, so long as it is the law, whether he may personally approve of it or not.
THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT
The sixth commandment forbids murder, cruelty, and violence. It forbids hate and envy. Not only unkind acts but unkind words, and unkind thoughts. This command most of all forbids that sin which is the opposite of love. It forbids national strife and bloodshed, warfare and pillage. Christ tells us to love our enemies and to conquer them by kindness. (Heaping coals of fire on their heads.) It forbids domestic strife, gossip, hazing in schools, and every type of brutality. It forbids prejudice and all injustice.
THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT
The Seventh Commandment enjoins purity of thought, word and deed. It forbids all that is contrary to purity. Christ tells us that the pure in heart shall see God and that without holiness no one shall see him. There is widespread tendency to laugh at unclean jests. Literature and the drama are full of suggestive thoughts. It is necessary to guard our thoughts at all times. If we do this, we shall never be led to evil deeds. It is some times thought that knowledge of evil is necessary as a protection against it. Knowledge of what is right is a protection. Anything that deviates from that is to be shunned. [27/28] A pilot entering a harbor was asked if he knew all the dangerous places. He said, "No. He knew the right channel, that was sufficient." If he would always keep that he need never fear.
THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT
Eighth Commandment forbids all forms of dishonesty and fraud. It forbids cheating at games and in examinations. It enjoins fair play. This means keeping all the rules of the game. Not shirking our responsibilities or duties, but always doing our share of the work to be done, and giving a fair equivalent to others for what they do for us. St. Paul says, "If a man will not work, neither let him eat." Many people are honest from policy, but the Christian is honest because he loves fair dealing, and it is a positive pleasure to him to pay to every man exactly what he owes. There are wide implications in this commandment when applied to large industrial classes in their relation to their employers. Fair play is a mutual thing.
THE NINTH COMMANDMENT
The Ninth Commandment stands for truthfulness in all our words and thoughts. Sincerity of character is a great virtue. Whenever we see it, it stands out, and we are impressed by the man or woman who is sincere. Lying is a vulgar habit which most persons avoid, but there is something that is worse, and that is the misrepresentation [28/29] that is going on. We see this in our newspapers. They do not lie but they continually misrepresent. This is the basis of our personal and partisan prejudices. We do not like a person or a policy and so we twist what he says or does into something that is quite foreign to his purpose. The Devil is said to be the father of lies. The worst form of lying is when we whitewash over evil, and call it good, or call good evil. This receives the strongest condemnation from the prophets of God.
THE TENTH COMMANDMENT
The tenth commandment forbids evil desires, covetous desires, and the envy of others whom we regard as more fortunate than ourselves. Christ says that the man with evil desires has broken the commandments. St. Paul says "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS
When we thus give potency to the commandments of God we feel our own imperfections and say, who is sufficient for these things? We realize that we have fallen short and have in many ways done those things that we ought not to have done, and have left undone those things that we ought to have done. In other ways we sin by omission and commission. How then are we to obtain forgiveness? We are told that the Blood of Christ [29/30] was shed for the remission of sins. That in some deep and sacred way which we cannot understand, Christ has borne the guilt of our sins, and has taken them upon himself. We can not understand this, but we know that when we repent, and come to him, and remember his cross and passion, there is awakened in us a revulsion from sin, and a desire for cleansing, and that if we then confess our sins to him, and ask for his pardon, he is gracious and merciful, and forgives us our sins, and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. It is one of the blessings of Holy Communion that it brings us very near to the cross of Christ, and gives us a sense of cleansing and newness of life.
However, there is a certain technique of preparation to be learned. True repentance is the condition of divine forgiveness and this consists of three parts, confession, contrition and amendment. The first step in confession is self-examination. The heart is prone to deceive itself. If you visit a penitentiary, you will find that every inmate has some excuse. But the frank confession of a sin, the acknowledgment of the fact that we are guilty is a manly thing, and it awakens in us contrition or sorrow. Not sorrow for ourselves, but sorrow because we have sinned against the love of God. This was the difference between [30/31] the sorrow of Judas and of Peter. Nevertheless sorrow for self often leads to true repentance as in the case of the prodigal son. But confession and sorrow are not enough without satisfaction, where it can be made, and firm purpose of amendment.
In case of doubt as to matters of conscience the Prayer Book enjoins us to go to our priest in the same way that we should go to a doctor in case of bodily illness, as he is the physician of the soul, and it is one of his most sacred privileges to help those who are in doubt or difficulty. See the exhortations in the Prayer Book at the end of the Communion Service. Page 87, 88.
Christian Prayer and Worship
WHAT IS PRAYER?
PRAYER is communion with God. It is not only the expression of our desires and petitions to him, but it is also the listening to him as he speaks to us in the still small voice of conscience. God is closer to us than breathing, nearer than hands and feet. If we cultivate the habit of listening to him, he will constantly guide us through his Spirit which he has given us. Thus the life of the Christian is a prayerful life, that is, full of prayer, and wherever he may be, he is always able to establish contact with God; to speak to him and to hear him speak.
TIMES OF PRAYER
But because men ought always to pray, and not to faint, there are special times and seasons that are set apart for prayer. These are the early morning when we arise from sleep, and the evening before we go to sleep, and also if possible, the noonday is a helpful time to pray. "At morning and at evening and at the noonday will I pray unto Thee." The Psalms form the most [32/33] wonderful book of devotion which was ever written. They express joy, sorrow, penitence, adoration, humiliation, petition, and all the rich experiences of religion. Every Christian should read or say a psalm every day. The Church's idea is that he should read the psalter through once a month. In the back of the new Prayer Book there are forms of Family prayer, that are also suitable for private devotion.
It is the purpose of the Church that each Christian household should have a family altar, and that the members of the family should take part each day, usually following breakfast, in the common prayers which are provided. Nothing better preserves the tone and self respect of a family than to have this mutual acknowledgment of faith in God, and a desire to conform to his will.
Next we consider public worship. Although Christ is present with us at all times and in all places, he has promised a special presence when two or three Christians meet together in his Name, for united prayer and worship. Forsake not the gathering of yourselves together as the manner of some is. From the earliest days, Christians have regarded it as the highest expression both of their love for God and their love for the Brotherhood, to meet together in the praise of [33/34] Almighty God. This custom was inherited from the Jewish Church, and Christ himself both by precept and example enjoined participation in the worship of the Synagogue and Temple. There was an interesting contrast between the worship of these two places. The synagogues were numerous places of assembly found in every city and village. The people met in them at an appointed hour morning and evening every Sabbath day, and listened to the reading of the scripture, chanted the psalms, offered forms of prayer and listened to a sermon, or explanation of the scriptures.
MORNING AND EVENING PRAYER
This is very similar to that part of our Christian worship called Morning and Evening Prayer. In fact, Morning and Evening Prayer were derived from the Synagogue services, and if you attend a Jewish Synagogue today, you will at once be struck by the similarity of the ritual. Of course we have added the lessons from the New Testament, we sing the Gloria after the psalms, we say the creed and we offer all our prayers in the name of Christ. None the less, it is evident that this part of our worship is derived from the synagogue, and that it was the custom of Christ to attend it every Sabbath day.
 But what of the Temple? This presented an interesting contrast to the Synagogue. In the first place there was only one temple, and that was at Jerusalem. Secondly, while any Jewish man might take part in the prayers of the synagogue, only the Priests could officiate in the temple. There were places of great sanctity from which the laity were excluded. There was much ceremonial, elaborate vestments, lights, incense, chanting, prostrations, ringing of bells, and blowing of trumpets, but the essential part of it all was the constant offering of sacrifices, upon the altar of burnt offering. Here the fire burnt continuously, and each morning and evening sacrifices were offered upon the altar to Almighty God. The purpose of this was to express the devotion and surrender of the people to God, and also to offer the blood of the victim as an atonement for the sins of the worshipper and of the nation. In fact the idea of Atonement was dominant, for without cleansing and forgiveness, no other worship could be offered or petition heard.
What has become of the Temple worship? In the epistle to the Hebrews and elsewhere in the New Testament, it is explained that all of the [35/36] sacrifices in the Temple were symbolic of the sacrifice of Christ who is the true and spotless Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. Christ's sacrifice on Calvary did away with all the sacrifices of the Temple, and in their place Christ instituted the Last Supper or the sacrifice of the Eucharist for the continual remembrance of his sacrifice and death until his coming again. The various Jewish sacrifices of the Passover, the Atonement, the daily burnt offering, and peace offerings are all symbolic of some aspect of Christ's sacrifice, and so are all fulfilled in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and in Christian Eucharist.
On the night in which he was betrayed, Christ was sitting at the paschal supper with his disciples. After the ceremonies of the Passover were completed, and after he had washed their feet, telling Peter that if he washed him not, he had no part in him, Jesus took the unleavened bread in his hands and brake it saying, "This is my Body which is given for you, do this in remembrance of me." Likewise after supper he took the cup and said, "This is my Blood of the New Covenant which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins, do this as oft as ye shall drink it in remembrance of me." The breaking of the [36/37] Bread and the pouring out of the Wine were symbolic of the bruising of His Body and the shedding of His Blood upon the Cross, so St. Paul explains, "As often as ye break this Bread and drink this Cup, ye do show the Lord's death until he come." From that time to the present the faithful Christians have continued steadfastly in the Breaking of the Bread, as the sacrament was called in the early Church, and it became the chief act of worship among the faithful and will continue to be until the second advent.
THE REAL PRESENCE
Because of Christ's abiding presence in the Church, he is the true priest at every eucharist. It is he who consecrates the Bread. It is he who says, "This is my Body." And because Christ said it, the Church has always taken it to be what he said it was.
"Christ was the one who spake it,
He took the Bread and brake it,
And what His word doth make it,
That I believe and take it."
In the 6th Chapter of St. John's Gospel, He tells us again and again, "Except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood ye have no life in you. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life and I will [37/38] raise him up at the last day, for my flesh is meat indeed and my blood is drink indeed." etc. Now while these words must be interpreted in a spiritual and heavenly meaning, and not in a carnal manner, nevertheless they express great reality and truth, and the Church has always used exactly the same words that Christ did, and in the same sense in which he used them, because it is important that we should realize in the most vivid way the truth and reality of Christ's presence with us in Holy Communion. Although men have taken these expressions in a superstitious manner, Christ was willing to run this risk in order to impress upon his disciples the absolute need of union with himself, there is no time that Christ comes so near to us as in Holy Communion.
Because of the prominent place that the Eucharist assumed in Christian worship, elaborate forms of service were compiled and used which were known as Liturgies. These are of extremely ancient origin, some of them being older than the New Testament. Before the art of printing there was little uniformity in the small details of the service, but all of the Liturgies consisted of certain important elements, with a general similarity of arrangement. For example, they began [38/39] with penitential introductory prayers, litanies, and confessions of sin. Then followed readings from the Old and New Testaments. These afterwards became the Epistles and Gospels. Then was recited or chanted the Nicene Creed, which is still used in the communion service of every branch of the Church today. Then came long prayers for both the living and the departed, in both groups mention being made of many individuals by name. Then followed the "Lift up your hearts, etc.," with the preface introducing the Sanctus, or Angelic Hymn. This was followed by the prayer of consecration, then the communion, the thanksgiving and the blessing and dismissal. The communion was carried from the Church to the sick, and as now in the eastern Church, there was but one celebration of the holy mysteries on one day, and all who were present partook of the sacrament, or gave a public reason for not doing so. The service was held at an early hour in the morning, and fasting communion was the universal custom from these early days.
WORSHIP AND COMMUNION
As time went on and the world was reconciled to the Church, the services were attended by many who were not baptized members, (Constantine himself was not baptized until his death) and people found a deep and impressive appeal in [39/40] the sacrificial and memorial aspect of the service even though they did not receive the sacrament. Since the reformation there has been a gradual restoration of the custom of frequent communion. The Council of Trent decreed that the faithful might receive holy communion at any celebration of the eucharist, and the Pope Pius X has greatly stimulated the custom of daily communion among the laity of the Roman Church. The American Prayer Book provides that opportunity be given for the laity to receive at every celebration. While daily communion may be the spiritual privilege of but a favored few, certainly weekly communion should be the normal devotional habit of Christians generally, who from the beginning assembled on the First Day for the Breaking of the Bread. And the most lax should approach the Altar once a month. Christmas, Easter and Whitsunday should see every communicant at the Altar.
As you go from one parish to another you will notice more or less diversity in the matter of ceremonial. The differences are sometimes called "high" or "low". People often needlessly excite themselves about these external matters. The service of the Church and the Prayer Book is the same in every parish throughout the world, and the good Churchman should be intelligent enough and broad enough to adapt himself to these matters [40/41] and feel at home and take part in any Church that uses the Prayer Book, however novel the ceremonial may be to him. It all means the same thing, and that is to express in a beautiful and symbolic manner the glory and beauty of God.
The priest will be glad to explain the meaning of any symbolism or form employed in his parish that may be unfamiliar to you.
The Sacraments and the Ministry
THE final part of the Office of Instruction deals with the Sacraments and the Ministry. A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. As spoken words, which are vibrations of air, have an intelligent significance and a spiritual influence, so the sacraments which combine both action and words, have a spiritual power and influence attached to them. They are so universally significant that even if the language is not understood, the action is.
Our Lord's first act at the beginning of his public ministry was to be baptized, and his last command was to baptize all nations. His parting command before his death was "Do this" as he instituted the Holy Communion. "If ye love Me keep my commandments." The sacrament is both a means of grace, and a pledge to assure us thereof. If we cannot trust the validity of Christ's ordinance, then we are thrown back upon our own subjective emotions, and this makes our religion as variable and uncertain as our changing temperament. The man who does [42/43] not believe in sacraments will say, "I hope I am a Christian." "I am trying to be a Christian." "I do not know whether I am a Christian or not." But the instructed Churchman will say, "I was made in Baptism a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the Kingdom of heaven, and I thank God for bringing me to this state of salvation, and pray that he will give me his grace that I may continue in the same unto my life's end." The sacrament is the outward pledge and sign of God's favor toward us.
In addition to Baptism and Holy Communion which, we are told, are generally necessary to salvation, there are five other ordinances commonly called sacraments, which also have an outward form and an inward grace. These are Confirmation, Matrimony, Ordination, Absolution, and Unction of the sick.
Confirmation is administered by the Bishop to baptized persons who come to years of discretion. The outward form is the laying on of hands, and the inward grace is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Ordination like confirmation has the same outward form and the same inward gift, but in this case the Holy Spirit is given for a special office in the ministry, namely that of Deacon, Priest or Bishop. Matrimony is outwardly the mutual promise of man and woman to take each other as [43/44] husband and wife, and the inward grace is the union of the two in one flesh, which cannot be dissolved except by death. The priest blesses the union, but the man and wife marry each other. Absolution is the power which Christ has given to his ministers to pronounce to those who are penitent, the pardon and absolution of their sins. Only a priest is permitted to pronounce absolution. Unction of the Sick is an ancient and apostolic custom that is recognized in our New Prayer Book, page 320. It is administered by a priest.
Are sacraments valid if administered by other than the proper minister? Baptism and Matrimony may unquestionably be administered by a layman. Absolution and Holy Communion may only be administered by a priest. We know that such sacraments are valid. We do not know that they are if administered by a layman. Similarly we know that Confirmation and Holy Orders are valid if administered by a Bishop. If someone else administers them we are not sure. It is like the pilot bringing the ship into the harbor. We know that the properly marked channel is safe. That is sufficient.
ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH
From the Apostle's times there have been three kinds of ministers in the Church. 1, Superintending or governing ministers, who had oversight [44/45] over a larger or smaller group of Churches. 2. Local pastors. 3. Assisting ministers. These three kinds eventually became known as Bishops, Priests and Deacons. While these three orders are essential to the Church's life, the further government and organization of the Church have usually followed the lines of the civil government. The early Apostolic Church followed the Jewish government which was vested in a sanhedrin or council of elders. So the Apostles and Elders of the Church, and afterwards the Bishops met together in Councils after the fashion of the Sanhedrin. This method persisted for many centuries, and a General Council is regarded as the final court of appeal in all matters of faith. In Europe the Church became the counterpart of the Empire, with the Bishop of Rome corresponding to the Emperor as its supreme head, in fact for a time he held sway over all the kingdoms of the west. In England, after the Reformation, the Church and state were regarded as one and the same, and both were governed by one parliament. The Bishops still sit in the House of Lords today.
In America, the Church and State were carefully separated, but their constitutions are very much alike. In the Church we have the Dioceses which correspond to the various states. The General Convention which corresponds to Congress is made up of two houses, the House of Bishops [45/46] and the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies, composed of four clergy and four laymen from each diocese. The presiding officer is the Presiding Bishop elected for a term of six years. He is the chief executive and is assisted by a National Council corresponding to the Cabinet. The work is divided into different departments of Missions, Religious Education, Social Service, Publicity and Finance.
Each Diocese is governed by its Diocesan Convention. Here the Bishop is the executive head of the Diocese, and is assisted by a Diocesan Council or executive board. The Diocesan Convention is made up of all the clergy and of elected lay delegates from each parish and mission. In all important matters, both in the General Convention and in the Diocesan Convention, the Laity have an equal vote with the Clergy, and hence a veto upon any action that the Bishop or Clergy might desire to take. The Church is thus democratic in its organization and government.
The Parish or Mission is the local unit of the Church. The Parish is a self supporting body, incorporated by law, governed by a Vestry and Rector. The Vestry is elected according to the law of the state in which the parish is situated, and the Vestry elects the Rector. The office of Rector is permanent and the relationship cannot [46/47] be dissolved without the mutual agreement of Rector and Vestry. The Rector has entire control of the order of worship and the use of the parish buildings.
The Mission is a congregation that is not entirely self supporting and receives assistance from the Diocese. It does not have a Rector, but a Priest in Charge, who is appointed and who can be removed by the Bishop.
Once a year an annual Parish Meeting is held, which all qualified members of the parish should attend, at this meeting reports of the parish are made and a Vestry is elected for the ensuing year. There are two Church wardens included in the Vestry, whose office is one of dignity and importance, and whose special duty is to advise and assist the Rector in carrying on the work of the parish.
The parish is supported usually by the offerings of the people, which according to an apostolic custom are made a part of the worship on each Sunday. Shortly before the end of the year, an every member canvass is held, and each member is solicited for his support of the Church's work. This work includes not only the support of the local parish but also of the Diocese, and of the National Church. In the Diocese, the Bishop and the missionaries have to be supported, [47/48] and the National Council expends over five million dollars annually in its various departments, chiefly that of Missions. The Communicants of the National Church number a million and a quarter, so the average gift of each member is not large. Every member should make a pledge according to his ability, both for parish and for the Church's Program, as it is now called. The Duplex Envelope is often used to distinguish these two forms of offering. Our Lord recognized the value of small gifts in commending the widow's mite, and for this reason every one should give something. While the widow gave all she had, a tithe of one's income is generally regarded as a sufficiently generous proportion.
The most important work in the parish next to the conduct of public worship is the Christian education of our children. One of our Lord's parting commands was, "Feed My Lambs." The children represent the seed corn of the Church. If they are lost, the Church will have no future. While there are some unusually talented priests who feel equal to the task of educating all of the children, single handed, most of them require the active cooperation of a well organized corps of teachers and officers, who carry on the work of the Church school, which usually meets [48/49] on Sunday mornings, though there are now many efforts to carry the program of religious education over to the week days, and in some instances, into the school hours. The Parish as a whole should stand behind the School. Some religious bodies spend large sums in building and supporting parochial schools in order that their children may receive proper religious education. As we are not committed to this kind of a program we should the more willingly support the Sunday School, and make it effective. Adults might well attend the study of the bible and the history of the Church.
The Woman's Auxiliary is a national Missionary society of women, that contributes annually large sums including a United Thank Offering, which is presented triennially at the General Convention, and amounts to about half a million dollars a year.
St. Andrew's Brotherhood is a society of men and boys whose sole purpose is to influence other men and boys toward Christ, through prayer and personal influence.
The Daughters of the King (not to be confused with King's Daughters) is a similar organization for women.
The Girls Friendly Society is an international body of girls and women whose object is to [49/50] uphold high ideals of womanhood and to cultivate friendly relations among its members.
There are many local guilds and societies in each parish.
The Church And Its Furnishings
THE Church is usually built in the form of a cross. We enter through the porch into the nave. Near the door usually stands the baptismal font, as we enter the Church through baptism. The word nave means ship, like the ark of Noah it carries us in safety over the waters of this troubled world. It symbolizes fellowship, for we are "all in the same boat". The Church is no respecter of persons but has the same services for all. The cross part of the church are the transepts and remind us that there can be no fellowship with God or our brethren without sacrifice. Next we come to the chancel divided into the choir and sanctuary; the choir stands for joy in the worship of God, and the sanctuary for the peace of communion. The most conspicuous thing in the Church is the altar; in fact it is the altar that makes the Church. A church is a building that surrounds an altar. Upon the altar is the cross to signify that the sacrifice offered upon it is the same that our Lord offered on Calvary and now presents in Heaven.
The Cross upon the Altar is usually wrought of [51/52] precious metal or wood, engraved or ornamented, sometimes with jewels, which signifies that the suffering and passion of the cross are over, the sacrifice is glorified, and the element of pain has passed away. Upon either side of the Cross stand the candlesticks, two at least. The candles remind us that Christ, the light of the world, is present in the sacrament, and the two lights signify the two natures of Christ, the Divine and the human. Sometimes there are branch lights upon the altar in groups of three, five or seven. The three branches symbolize the Holy Trinity, the five lights the sacred wounds of Christ, the seven branches the seven-fold gift of the Holy Spirit. The sanctuary lamp symbolizes the abiding presence of God in His sanctuary and should remind us of the duty of silence and reverence at all times in God's house. "The Lord is in His Holy Temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him."
Flowers are also placed upon the Altar to beautify it and should remind us of the purity and fragrance of a holy life. There are three linen cloths upon the top of the altar, the upper one is called the fair linen cloth and is embroidered with five crosses, symbolizing the five wounds of our Lord and reminds us of the linen cloth in which his body was wrapped when it was laid in the sepulchre. The cloth of silk or lace [52/53] which hangs from the front of the altar is called the frontal, if it falls to the floor or super-frontal if it falls only part way. It is often made of colored silk and changed with the color of the season.
The altar frontal and other vestments of the altar and of the priest are made in various colors. White or gold is used on the great festivals of the Church, such as Christmas, Easter, Ascension Day, and symbolizes joy and gladness. Red, the color of fire and of blood, is used on Whitsunday, the feast of the Holy Ghost, who descended in tongues of fire upon the apostles, and is also used upon the feasts of the martyrs who shed their blood in testimony of their faith. Purple is the color of penitence and sorrow and is used during the Advent and the Lenten season, and also upon Ember and Rogation Days, and the festival of the Holy Innocents. Green is the ordinary color of nature and is used during the Epiphany and Trinity seasons when there are no special feast days. Black is used on Good Friday and at funerals and services commemorating the departed.
At the celebration of the Eucharist, the Credence table or shelf near the Altar is covered with a white piece of linen and upon it are placed the box containing the wafers or bread. [53/54] Unleavened bread made of pure wheat flour and water is usually used, because it is the purest and most convenient kind of bread that can be made. Unleavened bread was used by our Lord at the institution of the Lord's Supper, which occurred after the Passover or, Feast of Unleavened Bread, when all leaven was put out of the house because leaven or yeast is the type of sin. "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the Feast, not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." Beside the box of bread are two cruets containing wine and water. The water is mingled with the wine in token of the water and the blood which flowed together from the side of Christ upon the cross. There are also a bowl and a towel for the Lavabo; the cleansing of the priest's hands before the consecration.
Upon the altar are placed the sacred vessels which must be made of gold or silver. They consist of the chalice or cup for the consecration of the wine and the paten or plate for the consecration of the bread. When many are to communicate, another vessel called a ciborium is often used for holding a greater number of wafers. These vessels are generally richly carved and ornamented, if possible with jewels or precious [54/55] stones, as no work of art is so worthily employed as in connection with the service of worship which Christ himself ordained. Upon the chalice is placed the purificator, a square piece of linen, for cleansing the Holy Vessels, and a square card covered with linen, called the pall, as a cover for the chalice. The vessels are covered with a large veil of silk called the chalice veil, upon which is laid the burse, a square portfolio containing the corporal, and a fine linen veil for covering the Holy Vessels after Communion. The corporal is a square piece of linen which is laid upon the Altar at the time of Communion, and upon which the holy vessels are placed.
When the priest celebrates the Holy Communion, he puts on first his cassock, a long black coat which is worn by all the ministers and assistants in the sanctuary, and which covers their ordinary attire. Then he puts on the Amice, a white collar which symbolizes the helmet of salvation, it also represents the cloth which blindfolded our Lord. The Alb is a long white vestment falling to the ground and symbolizes purity. It represents the white robe which was put upon our Lord during his passion. It is bound about the priest's waist with the girdle or cord, which symbolizes self control and represents the scourge which was used on our Lord. The Stole is a silk band which [55/56] the priest wears around his neck and falls in front. It symbolizes the yoke of Christ and represents the cords with which he was bound. The Maniple is like a short stole worn upon the left wrist, and represents the cord with which His hands were tied. The Chasuble is the large outer vestment which symbolizes charity and represents our Lord's outer garment. It has a cross both upon the back and upon the front. As Thomas A. Kempis says, "The priest hath both before and behind him the sign of our Lord's cross that he may be continually reminded of the passion of Christ. He hath the cross before him that he may diligently look upon Christ's footsteps and earnestly study to follow them. Behind also, he hath the sign of the cross that he may cheerfully endure for God's sake any evils inflicted on him by others. He beareth the cross before him that he may mourn for his own sins, and behind him that he may, with sympathy and love, lament for the faults of the others also and knoweth that he has been placed in the midst between God and the sinner."
SYMBOLISM OF THE SERVICE
Thus vested, the priest goes to the altar, and after placing upon it the holy vessels, he descends to the lowest step while the Introit is being sung and says his private preparation. The Introit reminds us of the song of the angels at our Lord's Nativity. [56/57] The service begins with the Collect for Purity. Then follow the Commandments, which tell us the law of God, and the people respond with the Kyrie in which they ask God's mercy for their disobedience and for grace to obey in the future. The Epistle which is read on the south side of the Altar represents Christ's offering His gospel to the Jews. Then the priest crosses to the North side of the Altar to read the Gospel which was rejected by the Jews, and then preached to the Gentiles who lay in darkness and in the shadow of death. Then the priest and the people join in the Creed in which they confess their belief in the gospel and their acceptance of the Christian faith. After the Sermon which explains some article of the faith comes the Offertory, or the presentation of the bread and wine upon the Altar, while the people at the same time present their alms which remind us of the gifts of the wise men to our Lord. Then comes the Prayer for the whole state of Christ's Church both living and departed. The Exhortation reminds us of Christ bidding His disciples to watch and pray, lest they enter into temptation. The Confession represents our blessed Lord in agony of the garden, confessing all the sins of the world, which also included our own. The Absolution cleanses us from our sins if we are truly penitent, and the Comfortable words [57/58] give us courage to come near to Christ in this Holy Mystery. While the world exclaims "Crucify him", we join with angels and archangels in singing the triumphant song, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts." At the prayer of Consecration, the priest stretches out his hands as our Lord did upon the cross and breaks the bread in significance of our Lord's pierced body. He lifts up the host and the chalice, as Christ was lifted up on the cross, and we bow in lowly worship of him who said, "I, if I be lifted up shall draw all men unto me." The prayer of Consecration concludes with the Lord's Prayer in which all take part. The priest then says the Prayer of Humble Access and first receives the Communion himself and then administers it to the people. After the Communion which reminds us of our Lord's burial, comes the Thanksgiving; then all rise and sing the Gloria in Excelsis, which reminds us of our Lord's glorious Resurrection, and finally the Benediction recalls our Lord's Ascension, when He lifted up His hands and blessed them as He was carried up into Heaven. Thus in the ceremonies of the Eucharist, we recall not simply the Passion alone but all of the mysteries of our faith. We have in remembrance His Holy Passion and precious death, His mighty resurrection and glorious Ascension rendering thanks unto [58/59] Almighty God for the innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same.
We see that all of the elements of worship, of praise, adoration, are contained in this great service, and there is no way in which we can offer such acceptable worship to God and honor our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, as by being present each Sunday at the celebration of these holy mysteries and taking part with a devout mind in the worship of our Blessed Master who makes himself known unto us in the Breaking of Bread.
The good Churchman should grow in knowledge as well as in grace, and should read a good book on the Church each year. Your Rector will be pleased to recommend one.