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and reciprocally pray for each other, all which being performed in a proper spirit by the minister and the people, will assuredly obtain a blessing from God.
But again to revert to the history. In the heathen rite of sacrificing there was always one to cry, Hoc agite, or to bid them mind what they were about; so the exhortation, LET US PRAY, so often repeated in the ancient liturgies, may be considered as an invitation to prayer in general, and to ardent and intense prayer in particular. In the ancient liturgies the assistant deacon is directed frequently to call upon the people to pray, to pray earnestly, and to pray still more earnestly. Now our church also breathes the same spirit of devotion, by the frequent repetition of the emphatical words, Let us pray.
It should not be forgotten, that in this solemn injunction the people are reminded that as they are now entering upon the grand duty of supplication and prayer, they should not suffer their thoughts to wander, nor their attention to abate, but pray with ferrency, and with holy importunity besiege the throne of Heaven. In this spirit, we are told in Scripture that “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”
But in other parts of the service, the words, Let us pray, denote a transition from one form of prayer to another. In the litany, for instance, where they are prefixed to the prayers, “0 God, merciful -Father,” and “ We humbly besecch thee," they signify, let us here change our supplications by versicles, alternately recited, into collects and prayers, and at the same time are intended to excite the fervour of the congregation.
· UPON THE ENERGETICAL VERSICLES, Lord have Mercy upon us,
Christ have Mercy upon us, &c.
These, we are told, were sometimes called the lesser litany [litania minor) sometimes the more ardent or vehement supplication (ExleyNS OXETIQ) -being a most pathetic address to each person of the Trinity. When these versicles were used alone, as a short form of supplication, they had the nature and the name of a litany. The first and third of them are literal translations of the ancient Kyrie Elecson, i. e. Lord have pity, or mercy. But in the second versicle, the word, Lord, was changed by the Latin church, into Christ, to show that it was addressed to the second person of the Blessed Trinity, and to denote his divine and human nature.
The Latins likewise repeated the versicles, alternately, as we do; but among the Greeks, the supplication was made by the common voice of the minister and people. In the Romish church these versicles were repeated nine times. The reason for this practice may be seen in Durandus, and other ritualists. Kyrie Eleeson, though a Greek expression, was superstitiously retained untranslated, by the Latin churches. This arose from a strong partiality, which induced them to suppose, that in these words there existed a peculiar efficacy, so far that it became traditionary, that in consequence of a recitation of them by certain holy persons, and with a strong degree of faith, extraordinary miracles had been performed.
But when we thus consider the superstitious abuse of this valuable · form, both among the Greek and Latin christians, we cannot but admire
the wisdom and moderation of our first Reformers ; namely, their mode'ration in not expunging from the liturgy what had been so grossly abused, and their wisdom' in retaining this ancient form of supplication, translated into English, so that any imputation of superstitious attachment to the original words, should be rendered of no effect. In our daily service, even the disposition of these versicles ought to be marked, as being placed before the repetition of the Lord's prayer, to which they forin a proper introduction. And it has been judiciously observed, that “ no prayer requires greater preparation than that divine form, which proceeded from the lips of our Lord.” Sometimes it is preceded by contession and absolution, but more generally by this shorter litany of “Lord have mercy upon us,” which instructs us to acknowlodge our unworthiness, bewail our misery, and supplicate the mercy of God, after which we may look up to him with humble confidence, and otser him our petitions for further blessings.
CONCERNING THE REPETITIONS OF TIIE Lord's PRAYER.
· Once for all it may be observed, that the practice of the church in this "particular is sanctioned by its Head, the author of this prayer. Christ himself prayed three times, saying the same words. And when it was repeated in the beginning of the service, it was more particularly applied for the confirmation of our pardon and absolution; but here it has respect to the following prayers. Again, if any were absent from, or not particularly attentive to the first part of the service, here they have an oppors tunity of compensating for the omission, by asking with greater fervency, what was omitted, or too slightly passed over in the first instance,
INTERLOCUTORY SENTENCES FROM THE PSALMS.
The minister now being upon the point of praying alone for the people, they are first to join with him in the primitive way of praying in the versicles that follow, and which, though not said to be so from design, are nevertheless an epitome of the collects that regularly follow. The duty of the congregation, therefore, is to join in the one, and to listen with attention to the other.
The two first, O Lord, show thy mercy upon us, and grant us thy saltation, answer the Sunday and yearly collects generally, containing petitions for mercy and salvation. The two next correspond with the prayer for the King's Majesty, and the royal family. The two following, - from Psalm cxxxii. 9, appear to have been part of the Jewish liturgy, used by Solomon at the dedication of the temple; which, with the two succeeding versicles from Psalm xxviii. 9, answer the collect for clergy and people; and so of the rest, as corresponding to the daily collects for grace and peace.
But notwithstanding these sentences have been thought by some writers to stand in need of no particular explication, many of the Dissenters have objected, that the church enjoining us to pray that God would give peace - in our time, because there is none other that fightcth for us, &c. is an odd reason. But to this it is answered, that the truc sense of the phrase is this, “We would not wish to be engaged in war, were there any other to
fight for us, as objected; but it is the sense of our own forlorn condition we would express, not being able to help ourselves, nor willing to depend upon man, · And thus the Psalmist cried out, Be not far from me, for trouble is near ; for there is none to help.”
The officiating minister is directed to stand during the repetition of the versicles; but though standing is reckoned a very proper attitude, kneeling is certainly more convenient to him.
Op Tile Collects. Collect is a term of great antiquity, and notwithstanding the abuse of the occasion which gave rise to it, seems to have been admirably calculated to excite and esalt the devotion of the sincero christian. Of the various opinions of the origin of the term collect, that of Cassander seems most probable. This short prayer, be observes, was so called from being publicly repeated “in the stutions, or religious assemblies of the church," which meeting was called collecta, and the act of the meeting colligere dies collecta, was the day of meeting. The stations, or the place first mentioned, was at the tombs of martyrs; but afterwards they assembled in other places for the purpose of performing public worship, so that in pro, cess of time, Wednesdays and Fridays became stationary days. Stations, therefore, in the first instance, were appointed at certain churches, at which the people met, and from thence proceeded to another. On the meeting, and during the procession, collects were recited. Some writers, it must be allowed, have thought that the ancient church called these prayers collects, from being, as they generally are, collected from the Holy Scriptures; but this opinion, it has been observed, is rather "a definition of the present sense of the word, than an explication of the origin of the name.”
Relative to the known antiquity of the collects used in our church service, the greater part of them were certainly taken from very ancient models, particularly from St. Gregory's Sacramentary, which was composed before the year 600. All of these, therefore, are at least 1200 years old, and many of them much older. For Gregory did not originally form the offices; he only collected and improved them, compiling them from liturgies which, in his time, were esteemed ancient. . But as it is for the benefit of the devout, and to reclaim those pre
judiced persons who are apt to deem our excellent service, a deviation 'from apostolic simplicity, that this New Illustration, &c. is undertaker, we would have them to observe the suitableness and conformity of these collects to the days to which they belong, and also their utility in turning a part of the Scripture history into a prayer, for impressing both kņowledge and devotion at once upon the mind.
Agreeably to the precept of Christ, the collects are generally addressed “to the Father,” and always concluded “through our Lord Jesus Christ."
THE COMMUNION SERVICE. THE administration of the Lord's Supper having been the subject of
much discussion between us and the Dissenters, particularly with respect to the posture of sitting or kneeling, it ought to be considered,
that that as nothing positive is said by the Evangelists upon the manner in which the disciples received the bread and wine of the sacrament from our Lord, various conjectures have been formed upon it. But though the Jews were used to a reclining posture in their meals, it does not follow that the supper was taken in the same way. It is rather to be inferred, as that our Saviour blessed and gave thanks for the bread and wine, this must naturally be supposed to have been performed in a posture of adoration. But granting the table gesture to have been otherwise, it is very reasonable, since circumstances are now altered, that our demeanour should also vary. As an argument in favour of this hypothesis, it may be observed, that at first the passover was commanded to be eaten standing and in haste, to coinmemorate the circumstances under which it was instituted; but when the Israelites were settled in Canaan, they ate it sitting, as at a feast, with which alteration, it is probable, our Saviour himself complied; however, it is certain that the practice of kneeling in the western church continued for 1200 years. In the east, Eusebius acknowledges the sacrament was received standing; though kneeling is now the custom of the Greek, Roman, and Lutheran churches, the pope alone and Presbyterian church receive it sitting; but this negligent posture was introduced by the Arians, who first denying the divinity of Christ, thought it no robbery to sit down with him at his table.
ON THE PRAYER FOR Tue King's MAJESTY, FOR THE CLERGY,
I AND PEOPLE. In the preceding collects, the supplications of the congregation have been confined to the request for blessings upon ourselves. The Church, in the next place, proceeds to make prayers and intercessions for all men, that we may lead quiet and peaceable lives, having our conversation in all godliness and honesty. But the Christian church, in all ages and places, has uniformly made prayers and supplications for the rulers and governors of the state ; and this even when they were enemies to the faith, and persecutors of its professors. After the Christian religion had been adopted by various sovereigns, they were mentioned by name in the public prayers; not only the names, but even the titles of Christian kings were inserted in the ancient liturgies, where they were never spoken of but in terms expressive of affection, and most honourable respect. Loyalty to her king, as it is observed by the Rev. J. Shepherd, in his Critical and Practical Elucidation, is the boast, and the glory of the Church of England. The spirit of Christian loyalty breathes in her devotional offices, and has ever been diplayed in the lives of her sons. .
This prayer consists principally of two parts; the introduction and the petition. --The introduction, expressed in sublime and appropriate titles, is a noble confession of our faith, that God is the supreme governor of the world, and that his providence extends over all the inhabitants of the earth. It is at the same time an argument for confidence, that we shall obtain our requests. We address God, as “our Lord and heavenly Father, high and mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only ruler of princes, who from his throne beholds all the dwellers upon earth ;” and beseech him so behold with the eyes of his favour our lawful monarch and most gracious sovereign lord King George : more particularly requesting God to grant him spiritual grace, heavenly gifts, temporal prosperity, , and everlasting felicity.
Under temporal prosperity the prayer includes victory over his enemies; “that he may vanquish and subdue all his enemies.” By the enemies of the established church, this and similar passages in our liturgy, have been misrepresented, as recommending aggrandisement and conquest. On Christian principles, the Church must presuppose, that Christian princes will engage in no wars, which are not undertaken in just and necessary defence.-She knows, that all war, excepting in cases of unjust aggression froin abroad, or unnecessary resistance to the measures of government at homo, is equally repugnant both to the letter and spirit of the religion taught by Jesus Christ. In her offices, day by day, she prays for peace. In her litany, or general supplication, thrice a week, she deprecates war, and from “ battle and murder' entreats deliverance. Whenever she prays for a blessing on the arms of hçr sovereign, and for victory over all his enemics, she must be understood to pray for the ends of victory: the preservation of the lawful and just rights of his Majesty, and of these realms, deliverance from the power of onemies, and the restoration of quietness and peace.
PRAYER FOR THE ROYAL FAMILY. Intercessions for the Royal Family are authorised by the practice of the ancient Christians, who prayed for the welfare of the palace and the imperial house. This prayer was added to our liturgy under James I. before whom no Protestant sovereign had issue. At its first appearance it began “ Almighty God, which hast promised to be a father to thine elect and their seed." These words were perhaps thought too favourable to Calvinistic, opinions, for they were afterwards expunged. The present introduction, “Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness," was borrowed from an ancient Saxon prayer, which is said to have been composed for the coronation of a queen.
In the compositions of this, as well as of the preceding prayer, the coinpilers seem to have had an eye to that in Gregory's Sacramentary, quoted in a preceding page. Though the prayers for “the, King's Majesty,” and “the Royal family," differ in expression, the petitions of both are nearly the same. The blessings we here implore for our gracious Qucen Charlotte, their Royal Highnesses George Prince of Wales, and the Princess of Wales, and all the Royal family, are, divine grace, happiness upon earth, and everlasting glory in the kingdom of heaven.
PRAYER FOR THE CLERGY AND PEOPLE. After praying for the king, and, the different branches of the Royal Family, the Church now proceeds to pray for all men, for the whole Christian world, described here by “bishops, curates, and all congres gations coinmitted to their charge.". This division corresponds with that of the most ancient church, in which these degrees are 'enumerated and prayed for. In the ancient liturgies, patriarchs, metropolitans, arch