Volumes I-VII.

Published by the Association Pittsburgh, Pa., 1906.

Copyright, 1906,


The Lutheran Liturgical Association.


[These volumes have been scanned and proofread, but may still contain errors. Original pagination has been indicated throughout.]


Volume II

II 1 The Architecture of the Chancel (E. F. Krauss)

II 7 The Significance of the Altar (W. E. Schramm)

II 15 The Swedish Liturgies (N. Forsander)

II 29 Altar Linen (L. D. Reed)

II 35 The Sources of the Minor Services (R. M. Smith)

II 57 The History of the Liturgy of the Lutheran Church in Denmark (E. Belfour)

II 75 Thematic Harmony of Introit, Collect, Epistle, and Gospel (D. H. Geissinger)

II 83 Art in Worship (J. F. Ohl)


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THE Church of Christ may be infallibly recognized by two marks, or characteristics. These are the pure teaching of the Gospel and the right administration of the Sacraments. In order that the Word and the Sacraments may be properly administered, some structure is ordinarily demanded, in which those may gather for whom the Means of Grace are designed. A certain part of this structure, however, must necessarily be reserved as the place from which the Word, read and preached, may sound forth; and in which the Sacraments may be applied to the people. “Order is Heaven’s first law,” and dare not be absent from the arrangement of our earthly temples. The specific place in the churches designed for the administration of the Means of Grace is popularly known as the Chancel. The name now applied to this section of the church is derived from the Cancelli, screens, or barriers, which in the ancient Church separated this part from the Nave, or main body of the church. In this discussion, the term Chancel is used in a general sense, and includes all that is commonly understood by the words, choir, recess, apse, and sanctuary.

The time allotted to the presentation of the architecture of the Chancel and its essential furniture does not admit of an elaborate treatment of the subject. It will not be possible to outline the processes whereby some of the conclusions stated in this paper, have been arrived at. The object is merely to state results, and to furnish in brief and succinct form some of the principles which ought to be observed in the construction and arrangement of the most important and suggestive part of our Houses of Worship. The aim throughout has been to keep in view the practical wants of our churches in this country. If the lynx-eyed critic should feel inclined to carp at some of the suggestions contained in this paper, let him rest assured that it was not prepared with a view to instruct the architects of Protestant cathedrals;

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but, to outline the best and most practical arrangement of the Chancel and its fixed, essential furniture for the House of Worship of an average Evangelical Lutheran congregation.

In treating an important subject like this, we must ever bear in mind that we dare not break abruptly away from the line of our historical development, nor fail to take into account that healthful conservatism which has always marked our beloved Church, where her adherents enjoyed a due appreciation of her Scriptural doctrine, her correct usages and her glorious history. Nor yet, on the other hand, dare we be so bound by the opinions and practices of the ancients as to impair our usefulness and adaptability in view of the age in which we live, in spite of the fact that it manifests a strong tendency to exalt the practical and the utilitarian at the expense of the artistic and refined; and shows an alarming want of reverence for the wholesome usages of the past. The Nineteenth and the Twentieth centuries contribute their quota to the development of cultus and ecclesiastical architecture as well as the Ninth and the Sixteenth. In a consideration like this it is as unpardonable, to put it mildly, to be indifferent to the trend of the present in these matters, as it is to ignore the results of wholesome development in the past, and to refuse to profit by them.

In treating of the architecture of the Chancel, we must in the first place decide upon its proper place in the church. The historical position of the Chancel is toward the East, so that the worshipping congregation always faces in the direction of the rising sun. To the devout mind, a number of beautiful and forcible reasons at once present themselves and make it self-evident that this is the most suitable place for the Chancel. If at all possible, the eastern position should always be selected for this important part of our Houses of Worship, not merely because this is in accord with the historical practice; but because it is eminently beautiful and suggestive. Our churches should be sermons in stone, and every individual part should be vocal with the exalted truths of our holy religion.

The floor-space occupied by the Chancel in proportion to that of the whole church, is a matter worthy of special consideration. Many of our churches are marred by such small-sized Chancels as to give the painful impression that the Word and the Sacraments, instead of being of essential importance, may be suitably disposed of in an insignificant little corner. In begrudging the ample space which ought to be assigned to the Chancel, we, manifest a want of a due appreciation of the importance of what takes place there. While unprepared to lay down

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a hard and fast rule stating the exact proportion which should exist between the Auditorium and the Chancel, one may safely say that there is no tendency manifesting itself anywhere at present in the direction of making the Chancel too large. One-eighth of the floor-space of the whole structure is not too much to devote to its exclusive use.

In the majority of our churches, the Chancel may well extend throughout its whole width a short distance into the Nave. This will make it possible for the Pulpit and Lectern to be stationed near the people. The floor of the Chancel should be raised from that of the Auditorium by three low and wide steps.

The three liturgical stations in our Church, as accepted by all our writers upon this subject, are: the Baptismal Font; the Pulpit, and its coordinate, the Lectern; and the Altar. These liturgical stations are properly considered under the subject before us; for Baptismal Font, Pulpit and Altar dare not be regarded as mere portable articles of furniture; but as fixed parts of the Church in which they are placed. They are more essential to a proper conception of a Christian church than the walls.

Let us take up the liturgical stations in their order, and begin naturally with the consideration of the Baptismal Font. In the great majority of our churches, a special Baptistry, like in ancient times, would be out of the question. The placing of the Font at the West end of the church, on the North side, is not practical in most of our churches; and no amount of emphasis laid upon the historic and symbolic significance of this place will ever make it general. There is only one other proper place left, and that is, at, or within, the Chancel. The center of the church, immediately in front of the Chancel steps, suggests itself as the best and most significant place for the Font. Here it will not intercept the view of the Altar, yet it will be in line with it in the centre of the church. Resting on the floor of the auditorium, it suggests that Baptism meets us on the level of our natural life, bestows upon us God’s grace, passes us on to the ministry of the audible Word from Pulpit and Lectern, until we finally, in proper order, attain to the Altar, with its holy mysteries and its celestial blessings, marking the most exalted point of worship this side of the glories of Heaven.

The Pulpit has been subjected to many and devious wanderings in the course of the Christian centuries. In the beginning the Bishop used to preach from his cathedra, in the Apse, back of the Altar. Whenever the Bishop did not preach, the Deacon read a homily from


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the South, or Epistle, Ambo. Owing to the distance of the Cathedra of the Bishop from the people, it early became customary for the Bishop as well to preach from this Ambo. Of these Ambos there were usually two in the ancient Church, placed respectively to the North and South of the Choir where it joined the Nave. From these Ambos the Scriptures were read, the Gospel on the North and the Epistle on the South; and from them the Cantores intoned the Psalms. The early practice of preaching from the South Ambo is no doubt responsible for the southern position of the pulpit in many of our important churches. The growing practice of placing the pulpit on the North side has no historical warrant, although we may well bear in mind what Meurer says in his “Kirchenbau,” page 214:—“The question whether the pulpit should be placed on the North or South side, in respect to which there has been no established usage, becomes for us simply a matter of expediency; for the distinction between the women’s and men’s side of the Nave, or between the Gospel and the Epistle side, has for us no longer any significance. The South side might be preferred simply for this reason, because the preacher facing the North, is at no time in danger of having the sun shine in his eyes. Certainly this might also be avoided by means of curtains.”

It is safe to say that the practice will never become general among us in this country of placing the Pulpit in the Nave at one of the pillars. Yet the Pulpit should be fixed as far out into the Auditorium as practically possible. Its most approved place doubtless is on the south side of the Chancel as near as possible to the people. The great mistake is to be avoided of building the Pulpit so inordinately high as to defy a simple law of acoustics, and do violence to the neck-muscles of the audience in looking at the preacher.

The Lectern, or Reading Desk, is not universally used in our churches. With respect to it, our most distinctive practice follows the later development, according to which the lessons are read from the Altar. There are a number of reasons which show this practice to be an objectionable one; and warrant a return to the more ancient practice according to which the lessons were read from Ambos from the north and the south sides of the Chancel where it joins the Nave. Having concluded that the Pulpit properly occupies the place of the south Ambo, from which in the ancient Church, the Deacon, as already explained, used to read a homily when the Bishop did not preach, the Lectern may properly take the place of the north Ambo; and thus afford greater balance and symmetry to the arrangements of our Chancels.

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Here the Word of God will be more audible to the people than if read from the Altar. The Word is not anything offered to God but, God’s message and gift of Grace to the people. It is a cheering sign to note that the trend in the development of the arrangement of our Chancels has of late been in this sensible and practical direction.

Having now, in our consideration of the ideal Chancel Architecture, placed the Baptismal Font in the center immediately before the three low steps which ascend to the Chancel, and having placed the Pulpit and the Lectern on this elevated platform, as far into the Nave as possible, we now proceed to a consideration of the Altar. The recess, in which the Altar stands, call it Sanctuary if you will, is reached by a low step from the elevation on which are fixed the Pulpit and Lectern. This step will serve the purpose of a prie-dieu, or kneeling-stool, for the communicants. A slight and inconspicuous railing, always open in front of the Altar, except at the times when persons kneel thereat, may be placed at a proper distance from the edge of this step; so as to serve, not as a chancel, or barrier, to the Altar, but merely as a support for the body. The Altar itself, which should be of generous proportions, may be raised from this elevation by three low and wide steps, thus elevating it on seven steps, all told, from the level of the auditorium, and bringing it within plain view of every worshipper, the center and most conspicuous object in the church.

The Reredos, or, in lieu of that, Dossal hangings, are becoming quite popular. These are doubtless what remains of the Reliquaries, as we see them in the Medieval churches. They are not essential to the architecture of the Altar, but are permitted; and submit to great artistic treatment. As in the Mediaeval Church, so in those of to-day, the Reredos is the Place where the canons of good taste and of pure ecclesiastical art are most frequently transgressed. The Reredos must correspond with the architecture of the church in which it is placed. The round, semi-circular arches of the Byzantine style are decidedly out of place upon the Reredos in a Gothic church. It must not surpass in costliness and elaborateness of design, the Altar itself, as if the Altar existed for the sake of the Reredos, and not the Reredos for the Altar. The Reredos may so powerfully overshadow the Altar as to give the impression conveyed by the attachment of a $1500.00 portico to a $300.00 cottage. Again all statuary and painting on the Reredos must refer distinctively to the redemptive work of Christ. Unity and harmony must exist throughout the whole of the sacred edifice. From its foundation-stone to the cross upon its spire, a church ought to produce


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the impression of a grand symphony proclaiming the great, central truths connected with the redemption of man.

In conclusion, let the prospective builders of churches be urged to recognize the fact that the organic centre of the church is the Chancel, and especially the Altar within the Chancel; and that here is the place to give character to the whole structure. If the building must be stinted in any place, let it not be the Chancel and the Altar. Here the wealth and the affection of the worshipper may well find their exalted expression in forms of chaste beauty and of simple elegance. Just as in the human body, the condition and activity of the heart determine the general health of the individual, so the architecture and arrangement of the Chancel express, in no uncertain characters, not only the general character of the whole structure; but, the taste and intelligence of the worshippers as well.

Although we dare not tolerate for a moment the far-fetched symbolism which some claim to see in the Chancel and its arrangements; yet it is cheerfully admitted that, as the Gospel sounds from it,, and in it the Holy Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ is administered, it should remind us, by its architecture and symbolisms, of that more glorious temple not made with hands, in which dwells the inapproachable glory of God. The earthly tabernacle should be a pattern of the heavenly.



Leichhurg, Pa.



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Of all visible accessories to worship, either of God’s ordering or of devising, the altar is the most ancient. The very first divine service of which we have any record was an altar service. True, it is not stated explicitly that Cain and Abel erected altars, but the fact that they brought offerings unto the Lord implies some form of altar. Whether these sons of Adam were instructed of God as to how they were to worship is a question. It seems very probable that they were; certain it is that ,the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering.” The altar which Noah builded unto the Lord and upon which I he offered burnt offerings, likewise met with divine favor. In the time of the patriarchs, a number of altars were erected; some at God’s express command, others were voluntary expressions of a desire to worship, on the part of godly souls. These altars of early times were often built in places where the Lord had appeared, or in spots hallowed by other religious associations. The usual purpose for which they were erected was naturally that of offering sacrifice; although in some instances, they served simply as memorials. These rudely constructed altars of the patriarchal age gave way to the portable altar in the court of the Tabernacle; and this in turn was superseded by the larger and more beautiful altar of the Temple. To trace in detail the development of the altar of burnt offerings, to study its construction and to notice its rela-


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tion to the altar of incense would doubtless prove interesting in this connection, but all this would be manifestly foreign to our purpose here.

To God’s people of the old dispensation the altar was wholly sacrificial in its significance. The most devout and thoughtful of the patriarchs and prophets seem to have had no knowledge of the symbolical meaning of the sacrifices which they offend. There is no record, either in Holy Writ or in the ancient profane writings, to indicate that these men had even an inkling of the truth that their sacrifices were but a type of the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. They expected a redemption through a Redeemer, but they did not understand that this meant the remission of sins through a crucified Savior. They understood and believed the divinely given laws concerning sacrifices without grasping the truth that those sacrifices were efficacious before God only in as far as the merits of the Messiah gave them efficacy. Their altars were to them a constant reminder of man’s duty to bring his gifts to God; but concerning God’s Gift to man, their altars were silent. While the light of fuller revelation makes manifest in the Old Testament altar a sacramental character, to the believers under the Law the altar was entirely sacrificial in its significance.

In the coming of Christ Jesus, Who, as our great High Priest, offered Himself as a spotless sacrifice to God for the propitiation of our sins, we have the substance of that which was foreshadowed by the types and ceremonies of the Old Testament. In Him all types found their anti-type and all ceremonies found their fulfillment. These glorious shadow-pictures by which the Jews were taught spiritual truths were therefore done away when the superior glory of that which was portrayed in the pictures was made manifest. From this it becomes obvious that the Jewish altar has no place or part under the present dispensation. Calvary’s cross, upon which our blessed Savior suffered and died is the only altar of sacrifice in the Church of the New Testament. Sin without a sacrifice now, as in times past, clamors for vengeance, but the Sacrifice of the cross is amply sufficient to silence the clamoring of all the world’s transgressions.

However it does not follow from this that that which we designate as an “altar,” in our churches at the present time, is a misnomer. On the other hand, the term “altar” as applied to the Christian communion table has an appropriateness which is readily apparent to the thoughtful Christian. This use of the word is of ecclesiastical rather than of scriptural origin. The New Testament speaks of “the Table of the


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Lord,” but does not refer to it as an “altar,” unless Hebrews xiii.10 is such a reference, a matter which cannot be proven. Certain it is that the word was used in this sense very early in the history of the Christian Church. We find it so used already in the writings of Ignatius, who was the contemporary of some of the apostles. Therefore the expression “Christian Altar” has been sanctioned—yes, hallowed—by not less than eighteen centuries of use.

The celebration of the Holy Eucharist demanded some form of table, upon which the elements might be placed during their consecration, and from which they might be distributed. As long as the little bands of believers meet for worship in private houses, the ordinary table of the home was utilized for this purpose. But the external development of the Church required changes in the arrangements for the assembling of the believers; and, just as naturally, the internal development brought about changes in the ceremonies and customs of the Service. The spiritual life of the believers gave birth to very beautiful and edifying forms, already in the early years of Christianity. It was during these years of the Church’s pristine purity that the Table of the Lord began to develop in form and to grow in meaning. The result of this development and growth is the Christian Altar as found in the true visible Church of Christ at the present time. It must therefore, be conceded that the altar as such is a human arrangement; yet we do not concede that it is a human invention. It is a legitimate growth of the same nature as are the Church Year and the Liturgy.

The prime purpose of the altar is, and always has been, for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Without this Sacrament, the altar would in all probability, never have been introduced into any branch of the Christian Church. The dispensation of the blessed Body and Blood of our Lord from it, is what gives the altar its right to exist. Not that the altar adds to the essence or validity of this feast of grace. The Sacrament is in every way complete and perfect, as instituted by the Lord Jesus. When in times of persecution, Christians celebrated the Lord’s Supper on the trunks of trees, on the stones of graves and on elevations in the fields, the absence of an altar detracted absolutely nothing from the efficacy of the Sacrament. Notwithstanding this, he, who under normal conditions, would not prefer to receive the Lord’s Supper from an altar, rather than from the trunk of a tree or the stone of a grave, either does not grasp the idea of this Sacrament, or else is sadly lacking in his sense of churchly order and propriety. The Christian who has a correct conception of the Eucharist and any appreciation


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whatever of that which is churchly, would show a decided preference for an altar. To us as Lutherans the Lord’s Supper is so intimately associated with an altar that we commonly designate it as “the Sacrament of the Altar.” To us the altar has a meaning. To us it stands for one of God’s precious means of grace. As the pulpit stands for the Word and the font for Baptism, so the altar stands for the Holy Supper of our Lord. Even at a minor service the altar is eloquent with meaning. It speaks. It proclaims a rich feast of grace. It tells of gracious pardon for the sinful; it tells of nourishment and strength for the weak and faltering; it tells of sweetest heavenly comfort for the afflicted and distressed. It tells, in short, of a blessed communion in which sinful men may be drawn nearer to Heaven than is possible for them to approach in any other way on earth. These are the fundamental truths for which our altar stands. It is, therefore, primarily sacramental in its significance.

But our altar’s significance is not restricted to the sacramental. The Holy Supper is so suggestive of the atoning work of our Savior that we can hardly think of this Sacrament without being reminded of Christ’s agony and death. It is this atoning work that we plead in all our supplications and prayers at the throne of grace. When we petition our Heavenly Father for mercy, our reliance is solely upon the blood and righteousness of Jesus our Redeemer. The altars in our churches are, in a certain sense at least, symbolical of Golgotha’s altar upon which our Sacrifice expiated our sins. Therefore while the altar speaks of one of the means through which God comes to us with His grace, it also proclaims the ground of our acceptableness when we approach our God. This gives the altar also a certain sacrificial meaning.

There is yet another idea which augments this sacrificial significance of our altar, though not in a co-ordinate manner. In the ancient Church it was customary at the services, for each communicant to offer some gift upon the altar. Of these offerings, such as were necessary for the, celebration of the Holy Supper were set apart for that purpose; the remainder were used for the support of the ministry and for the benefit of the poor. Practically this same custom still obtains in our churches. The justification of this custom lies on the very surface of the matter. The offering is an integral part of a divine service. It is a blessed privilege as well as an imperative duty devolving upon every Christian to bring regularly a gift unto the Lord. When a congregation of Christians meets for worship, these gifts of the people are collected. What disposition shall now be made of them? The Chris-

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tian Church has always regarded the altar as the most appropriate place upon which to lay these offerings. Nor does this in any way militate against the primary purpose of the altar. Our altar stands, and ever must stand, primarily for God’s gift of grace to us, bestowed in the Holy Eucharist. Now upon this same altar from which we receive this rich and gracious feast, we lay our humble offerings, in token of our appreciation of God’s manifold mercies, and of our gratitude to their beneficent Giver.

But perhaps we may be enabled to discern more clearly the scripturalness and beauty of our altar’s significance by contrasting it with the altars, real and so-called, of other Christian denominations. Let us make comparisons, first with the altar as found in the Church of Rome, and then with the altars of the various Reformed bodies, and briefly note the points of contrast.

The altar of the Romish Church differs very materially from the Lutheran altar, just as the Romish conception of the Eucharist differs essentially from our own doctrine. According to papistical teaching, there is in the Romish Mass a sacrifice; not simply a commemoration of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, but a true propitiatory sacrifice whereby God is pacified. The celebrant in this ordinance is said to offer an unbloody sacrifice to God, by which atonement is made for the mortal and venial sins both of the living and of the dead. By this unscriptural view of the Eucharist, the Table of the Lord becomes, in the Church of Rome, an altar of sacrifice. This makes obvious a very important point of difference between the Lutheran and the Romish altars. While to the Lutheran the altar speaks primarily of divine grace bestowed upon men, to the Romanist it speaks of a sacrifice which men endeavor to bring unto God.

Again, the Romish Church makes a consecrated altar absolutely essential to the celebration of the Eucharist. According to this view, the use of an altar in the Lord’s Supper is not merely a matter of churchly order and propriety, but the altar is a part of the essence of the Sacrament. To the Lutheran, the Sacrament makes the altar; to the Romanist, the altar makes the Sacrament.

There is yet another point of difference. The Church of Rome has for many centuries made use of her altar in her idolatrous martyr worship. Every altar used for the celebration of Mass must, according to Roman Catholic rule, contain some authorized relics. These are preserved in a cavity prepared for their reception, called “the tomb.” At the consecration of an altar, the bishop of the diocese in-


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serts the relics, and seals up “the tomb” with the Episcopal seal. These relics are regarded with a veneration which amounts to worship. A Romish altar is, therefore, also a shrine, considered as sanctified by the presence of some martyr’s bone or other relic. The Lutheran Church has always regarded the veneration of relics, and all kindred practices, with horror. There is not even a semblance of saint adoration or martyr worship in the significance of the Lutheran altar.

To make a comparison with the altar as found in the various Reformed churches is by no means an easy task. We might dismiss the whole matter by saying that these churches have no altars; for, while it is true that in nearly all Christian churches there is a table of some sort, it is very doubtful if that article of furniture should be dignified by the name of “altar.” Some of the sects apply this word to their communion tables; others repudiate it. Even the Anglican or Episcopal Church has, since the year 1552, designedly eliminated the word “altar” from her Prayer Book.

Concerning the Episcopalians we can hardly do more than say that there is among them a very wide diversity of views on this subject. On the one hand, there are clergymen of this Church who have ascribed a significance to their altar which can barely be distinguished from that of the Romish altar; some, on the other hand, declare that their Church has no altar, contending that it is misleading to designate the Table of the Lord by this term. These are the two extreme views. The majority of those who have written on the subject take positions somewhere between these extremes. This great lack of unity in the teaching of the Episcopal Church renders her altar practically nondescript. Therefore no satisfactory comparison with our own altar can be made.

As regards the altars of the other Reformed, bodies, if we ascribe any significance at all to them, it is, strange to say, more like that of the Romish than of the Lutheran altar. It is sacrificial rather than sacramental. Among the various sects the Eucharist has, to a large extent, degenerated into a means whereby the participants proclaim their faith in the fact that Christ died for them. It is more a token of faith and of brotherly love than a true means of grace. Such a conception of the Eucharist naturally deprives an altar of any real sacramental significance, and leaves it but a meager sacrificial aspect. To the average sectarian congregation, the altar is simply a table placed in the church for the convenience of the pastor, deacons and committee on decorations, having no significance whatever.


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The difference, therefore, between the Lutheran altar and the altars of other Christian bodies is not merely one of degree but of kind. The difference is identical with that between truth and error. Would that all Lutherans had a better understanding of these matters! Then would all appreciate and love this beautiful heritage of former ages, the altar of our Church.



Allegheny, Pa

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IN the Middle Ages the Latin language was the language of the Catholic Mass, and the Divine Service was then, in all essentials, conducted according to the Ordo Romanus. The liturgical forms used in Sweden deviated, however, in several details from the Missale Romanum of the beginning of the sixteenth century. The reason probably was that the forms used in Sweden were older by one or two centuries, the later Roman innovations having not yet been incorporated into the same, perhaps because Sweden was such a remote ecclesiastical province and not so often visited by papal legates.

The five printed missals of the mediaeval Church of Sweden are: Missale Upsalense vetus (printed between 1475 and 1484); Missale Stregnense (1487); Missale Aboense or Missale secundum ordinem fratrum predicatorum (1488); Missale Upsalense novum (1513); and Missale Lundense (1514). The Manuals of that time are two: Manuale Lincopense (1525) and Manuale Aboense (1522). To these may also be added Breviarium Scarense (1498), also containing Actus Sacerdotales. The missals differ from the general Latin ritual in some details and these even from each other. Thus the Missale Stregnense and M. Lundense differ from the three others and from M. Romanum in the order of the Collects read before the Epistle; especially is this


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the case for the Sundays following upon the Third Sunday after the Festival of the Trinity. This difference and its results in the Swedish Service ever since 1553 will be remarked upon later.

Olavus Petri, the Swedish Church reformer, not only translated into Swedish the New Testament and some of Luther’s Sermons, but he also wrote an original Collection of Sermons, a Catechism, a Manual, a Service Book and other smaller works for edification or polemics. And it is with great pleasure that we attempt to make his liturgical works known to American friends of Lutheran Liturgiology. The first work of Olavus Petri was: A Manual in Swedish, wherein Baptism and Other Things are to be Found. Concerning this book Dr. O. Quensel, Professor in Upsala, says: “Olavus Petri has here hardly had access to more than one Lutheran manual, namely Das Taufbuechlein of 1523; Luther’s Traubuechlein appeared first in 1534. The oldest Lutheran Ritual of Burial mentioned by Daniel dates from 1540. Neither Daniel nor Bodemann seem to know any Ritual earlier than 1539 for The Pastor’s Visitation of the Sick. Thus everything signifies that Olavus Petri independently, with the exception of what is mentioned, composed the handbook of 1529, without the guidance of any existing foreign Ritual, and that consequently this handbook is to be regarded as the ‘first Church Manual not only in Sweden, but in the whole Lutheran church.”

I may be permitted to state here, in passing, that we still have many precious jewels from this handbook in the Swedish Lutheran Church Books. Among others may be mentioned the following beautiful prayer, composed by Olavus Petri and read at the burial of the dead: “Almighty, Merciful and Eternal God, Who on account of sin etc.—.” This prayer has been translated from the Swedish Church Book of 1811 and inserted in Die Preus. Hofkirchen-Agende, as follows: “Allmaechtiger, barmherziger, ewiger Gott! Der Du um der Suende willen etc.—.” The same is true of the Swedish custom that the minister shall throw earth into the grave three times, while he says, “Dust thou art; and unto dust shalt thou return; Jesus Christ, our Saviour, shall raise thee on the last day.” This form has been transferred from the handbook of Olavus Petri to the Danish ritual of 1680 and to the Prussian “Agende.” Kliefoth (Liturg. Abhandlungen I: 291) says: “Die alten Agenden der deutschen lutherischen Kirchen kennen nicht diesen Ritus.” And from Nitzch’s Theologisches Votum ueber die Neue Hofkirchen-Agende, Dr. Quensel quotes these words: “Gewiss ist, dass die Schwedische Agende vorgelegen, denn z. B. das

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Hauptgebet fuer die Beerdigung und mehreres zur Ordinations-handlung gehoerig, ist woertlich aus derselben entlehnt.” Six more or less changed editions of this Manual were printed before 1614.

But we shall direct our attention to the Church Services. Olavus Petri published in 1531: The Swedish Mass, as it is Celebrated in Stockholm, With Reasons for Conducting it in Such Manner. This Service Book has as an introduction a little treatise: Reason why the mass ought to be conducted in such language that the common people may understand. In a following special preface: Olavus Petri to the Christian Reader, he gives an account of what had to be changed or not changed in the Mass. In the first mentioned introduction O. Petri says, among other things, “We Swedes as well as other people belong to God, and God has given us the language we have.” These words have been inscribed on the statue of O. Petri, erected in 1898 in the front of Storkyrkan in Stockholm, in which church he served as pastor from 1543 until his death in 1552.

This Swedish Liturgy must, however, have been composed by Olavus Petri some years previous to 1531. According to the historian Messenius, the Swedish Mass was celebrated for the first time in 1525 at the marriage of O. Petri; and in the beginning of 1529 certain conspirators against king Gustavus Vasa, accused the king for allowing the Mass to be celebrated in the Swedish language. The title of O. Petri’s Service Book confirms this statement; and in the first lines of the book the author also says that in many places of the country it was known that the Swedish and Evangelical Mass was administered in Stockholm and at sundry places in the kingdom.

The Swedish Service of 1531 contains, in order, the following parts.

1.) Allocution to the Congregation. Originally written by O. Petri, it has been abbreviated and changed in later Service Books.

2.) Confession of Sins. “We poor miserable sinners, conceived and born in sin, with all our heart confess unto Thee, holy and righteous God, merciful Father, that we in manifold ways during all our life, have offended against Thee. We have not loved Thee above all things, not our neighbor as ourselves. Against Thee and Thy holy commandments have we sinned by thought, word, and deed, and we acknowledge that, if Thou shouldst judge according to Thy justice and our sins, we have deserved eternal condemnation, But Thou, Heavenly Father, hast promised to receive with tender mercy all penitent sinners, who return unto Thee and with living faith flee for refuge to Thy fatherly compassion and to the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Their trans-


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gressions Thou wilt not regard, nor impute unto them their sins. Relying upon Thy promise, we poor sinners confidently beseech Thee to be merciful and gracious unto us and forgive us all our sins to the praise and glory of Thy holy name. May the Almighty, Everlasting God, in His infinite mercy and for the sake of our Saviour Jesus Christ, forgive all our sins, and grant us grace that we may amend our lives, and finally with Him obtain eternal life. Amen.” (Church Book of Augustana Synod, Church Services with Music, Page 3). This confession, also a composition of O. Petri, is still, with a few alterations, read in all Swedish Lutheran churches. It contains several expressions from an old prayer book in the Swedish vernacular and is written in good evangelical and liturgical style; its last sentence, a prayer for absolution, is a free translation from the Latin Missal.

3) Introitus. a) A Psalm of David or any other song from Holy Scriptures.

         b) Lord, have mercy upon us! Christ, have mercy upon us! Lord, have mercy upon us!

         c) Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, good will toward men. We praise Thee, we bless Thee, etc.

4.) Salutation. The minister says (not sings as he does in the Introitus): “The Lord be with you!” The congregation sings: “And with thy spirit!”

5.) Collecta. The General Collect: “Grant us, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, Heavenly Father, a steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, a cheerful hope in Thy mercy and a sincere love to Thee and to all our fellowmen; through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Or any other, “according to the time.”

6.) The Epistle. A chapter or a half from St. Paul or any other Apostle.

7.) Gradual. The Hymn on the Ten Commandments, or any other Hymn.

8.) The Gospel. A chapter or a half from any of the four Gospels. In an Appendix to his Service Book O. Petri has added, that if this reading of the Scriptures gives offence to anybody, then the Epistles and Gospels in the Latin Mass may be read, until the people have been better instructed.

9.) Either the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene is to be read.

     N. B. The usual place is not here given to the Sermon. According to the Latin Mass and Luther’s Formula Missae of 1523, the Sermon very likely had its independent place before the Mass began.

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O. Petri says in his first Introduction to the Service Book: “No Mass is to be held, if there has not first been preaching.” He had already in 1530 published a collection of his own sermons as a help for ignorant preachers. This Postil also gives instructions how to begin and finish a sermon, and the sermons are from the old Gospel Pericopes.

10.) Preface to the Communion. No Offertorium, but the following parts.

     a) The Salutation: “The Lord be with you, etc.”

     b) “Lift up your hearts to God!” “We lift up our hearts.”

     c) “Let us give thanks to God our Lord!” “It is meet and right.”

     d) “It is truly meet and right, becoming and salutary, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord; Who is our Paschal Lamb offered for us, the innocent Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sin of the world; Who has conquered death, is risen again, and liveth forever more. Therefore, we who trust in Him shall also through Him be victorious over sin and death, and inherit eternal life. And in order that we may keep in remembrance His unspeakable mercy, He hath instituted His Holy Supper.” (Ch. Book of Aug. Synod. Services with Music, Page 18). This form of the Vere dignum was written by O. Petri, and, having been omitted in the Swedish Church Book of 1811, has been again restored in the Church Books of 1894 and 1895.

11.) Consecration. The elements are consecrated by reading from the Holy Scriptures the Institution of the Lord’s Supper, not the paraphrase in the Roman Mass.

12.) Sanctus (to be read or sung). The Lord’s Prayer, Pax, Agnus Dei. (All in Swedish).

N. B. This order of the Consecration and Sanctus has been preserved in all Swedish Services, although in the present Service Books the Lord’s Prayer precedes the Sanctus. Luther’s Formula Missae of 1523 and the Brandenburg-Nuernberg Service of 1533 also place the Act of Consecration between the Vere dignum and the singing of the Sanctus. The proper place for the Sanctus in the Service seems to us to be after the Consecration of the Bread and Wine and not before, as is the case in the Gregorian Mass, Missale Romanum and some Lutheran Church Books. The Church as the bride of the Lamb, greets her Bridegroom and King, and we Lutherans believe this sacramental advent of our Lord to the communicants to take place, not at the Con-


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secration but at the Distribution and reception of the consecrated Bread and Wine. The tenth article of the unaltered Augsburg Confession reads: “Of the Lord’s Supper they teach, that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present and are communicated to those that eat in the Lord’s Supper” (vescentibus in Coena Domini). Compare with this also the answer given to the first question in the Fifth Part of Luther’s Small Catechism.

13.) The Communion. To this belong, a) An Admonition to the Communicants. This Admonition was written by O. Petri himself and is wholly independent of the Exhortation that in Die Deutsche Messe follows on the paraphrased Lord’s Prayer. Although abbreviated and put in another connection, the Admonition of O. Petri was used in the Swedish Service until 1894.

     b) The Distribution of the Bread and afterwards of the Wine to the communicants. The minister says to those who receive the holy elements: “The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your soul unto everlasting life!” And: “The Blood of our Lord, etc.”

14.) a) A Swedish Hymn or the Nunc Dimittis in Swedish.

     b) Salutation. “The Lord be with you, etc.”

     c) Collect of Thanksgiving. “O Lord, Almighty God, etc.”

     d) Benedicamus. “Let us thank and praise the Lord, etc.”

15.) Benediction. “Bow your hearts to God and receive the benediction. The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make His face shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. *The Lord lift up His countenance upon us, and give us peace. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”



As an Appendix to his Service Book, Olavus Petri has also translated the seven penitential Psalms of David, to be used “pro introitu.” Thereupon follow sixteen Collects, all translated from the Latin Missal, and twelve of them belonging to the latter half of the Church Year. These Collects are ordered to be read by the minister before the reading of the Epistle at his own pleasure, no direction being given for the selection of the Collects.

It may suffice here to note, as a general remark on this first Swedish Service, that in the main it follows that classic Liturgy, Luther’s Formula Missae of 1523. Olavus Petri is however sometimes quite independent of Luther, as he had already shown himself to be when translating the New Testament into Swedish in 1526. He had the courage and the evangelical spirit of Luther and was his true disciple in

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faith, but at the same time searched the Scripture himself for truth and life. Special characteristic traits in all the works of O. Petri are his faithful conservatism, deep humility and holy earnestness. The natural result of this has been, that the old Swedish Service has always been dear to Swedish Lutherans, even though it may be acknowledged, that the allocutions of O. Petri sometimes fall from the pure liturgical style into a certain manner of preaching.

Olavus Petri published, with a few but important changes, new editions of his Service Book in 1535 and 1537. The last increased the number of Collects to thirty,—of which fifteen were referred to certain named Festival Days. The Bible texts to be used as Introits are limited to “at most six verses,” and the Graduale is allowed to be sung in Latin, provided that it is taken from the Holy Scriptures. All these editions of the Service Book were semi-official, the king Gustavus Vasa, for political reasons, keeping himself neutral as yet in such matters. He had, however, tried to abrogate the Latin Mass in Stockholm as early as 1528.

In 1541 the Swedish Church Service received further changes under the editorship, as it seems, of a certain German nobleman, Georg Norman, a disciple of Melanchthon, and from 1539 the king’s adviser in church government. This new edition has the title: The Mass in Swedish, Upsala 1541, and its most important changes are the following. The minister is allowed to read his Confession of Sins in Latin; both the Introitus and the Graduale may be sung in Latin; and the old pericopes may be used as the Epistle and Gospel for the Sunday. Between the reading of the Gospel and the Creed is now inserted a rubric indicating this as the place for the Sermon. This rubric was taken from Die Deutsche Messe of 1526, where the Sermon, however, has its correct place, that is to say, after the Creed. The Nunc Dimittis in Swedish after the Communion has also been exchanged for a Swedish hymn.

The archbishop Laurentius Petri, a brother of Olavus Petri, had probably assisted Norman in the editing of the Service Book of 1541, and it is quite certain that Laurentius Petri himself executed the new edition of 1548. This edition has no changes in the text, only adding four new Collects after the Communion and introducing indications as to the manner of singing the responses in the Service. The singing of hymns in the Service was very deficient and in that respect still far below the use in Germany. Olavus Petri had, however, published a collection of 15 Swedish hymns in 1530, and another of 45 hymns in 1536,


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and Laurentius Petri published in 1567 The Swedish Hymn Book, containing 99 hymns, of which many are still sung in Swedish Churches.

The Mass in Swedish. Improved, Stockholm 1557. This is the title of the following Service Book of Laurentius Petri. Its two good improvements are, that the Gospel follows immediately upon the Graduale, and that the Collects for the whole Church Year are printed in an Appendix. These Collects are all translated from the Roman ritual; but Laurentius Petri, following here his Missale Stregnense, has all the Collects from the Third Sunday after Trinity Sunday, one Sunday ahead of the Roman ritual and the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer. This Swedish order of the Collects for the latter half of the Church Year is also followed in the Common Service and in the Church Book of the Augustana Synod.

Liturgia Svecana, Ecclesiæ catholicæ et orthodoxcæ conformis. 1576. This Liturgy, having king John III for its author, was in reality a kind of restoration of the Roman Mass, although with some Lutheran features, as that the Sacrament was to be administered in both kinds to the laity. A new edition was published in 1588. Both editions were written partly in Latin and partly in Swedish and pretended to restore the ritual of the old Apostolic Church. Enforced with violence by the king until his death, this liturgy, commonly called the Red Book, was in the following year, 1593, rejected at the Church Diet of Upsala as superstitious and conformable to the papal Mass. Not a single person caring to defend the Red Book, it was then resolved, that the Church should return to the use of its old evangelical models of liturgy.

After the Church Diet of Upsala a long and hard strife began between the Swedish clergy, who preferred to use the liturgy of Laurentius Petri, and Charles IX, who had Calvinistic tendencies and presented two different Calvinistic draughts of a liturgy of his own. These were not adopted by the clergy, and the Swedish Church in defending its Lutheran faith against Calvinism grew more conservative in doctrine and liturgical customs than it otherwise might have been.

During the reign of the illustrious Lutheran king and hero Gustavus Adolphus, a new Swedish Liturgy was published in 1614 by a committee of seventeen learned divines, the sources and rule for their work being “the Church Law of 1571 and other pure and blameless liturgies.” This Service Book is called: Church Book, Containing, the Manners in Which Public Worship with Christian Ceremonies and Rituals shall be Conducted in our Swedish Congregations. The title is nearly the same as that of the Pennsylvania Agenda of 1748, and the


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word Mass is no longer used. The Church Book of 1614 contains also Forms for the Ministerial Acts; but here we confine ourselves to the first part: The Manners for Public Worship on Sundays and Festival Days. The contents are as follows:

1.) An Allocution. This now pertains not only, as in the former Services, to the Communion, but to the whole Divine Service.

2.) The Confession of Sins. The same as that of 1531. The only change is in the beginning:—“that we with our fathers in manifold ways.” The words “with our fathers,” having been very properly inserted here, are however omitted in the Service Book of 1811 and later editions.

3.) Kyrie and Gloria. As from 1531. The Introitus proper is omitted and has been omitted in Swedish services ever since. And instead of the Laudamus the first hymn of Decius (Church Book, No. 9 All glory be to God on High, etc.) is given as an alternative,

4.) Salutations. As from 1531. The Collects. As in the Service of 1557.

5.) The Epistles and Gospels are now definitely fixed to be the old pericopes of the Church Year. The Graduale between the Epistle and the Gospel is a Swedish Hymn, which in the Church Book was named for each Sunday. After the Gospel follows the Apostles’ Creed, with either the Nicene Creed or Luther’s Credo Hymn as alternatives.

6.) The Sermon, preceded by a Swedish Hymn, is closed with Prayers, and a new Confession of Sins is here given to be read at the minister’s pleasure. This confession is a translation from the Brandenburg-Nuernberg ritual: “O most merciful God and Father, Whose grace endureth from generation to generation! Thou art patient and long-suffering, and forgivest all who are truly penitent, their sins and transgressions. Look with compassion upon Thy people and hear their supplications. We poor sinners confess unto Thee that we are by nature sinful and unworthy of Thy goodness and love. Against Thee have we sinned and done wickedness in Thy sight. Remember not our transgressions; have mercy upon us; help us, O God, our Savior! For Thy Name’s sake, grant us remission of all our sins and save us. Give us the grace of Thy Holy Spirit that we may amend our sinful lives and obtain with Thee everlasting life; through Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved. Grant us, O Lord, this Salvation.” (Augustana Church Book with Music. Page 39.) These


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prayers in the pulpit close with the Lord’s Prayer and a Swedish Hymn sung by the congregation.

7.) As from 1557. a) Salutations. b) Both the Prefaces. c) The Consecration. d) Sanctus (to be read or sung). e) The Lord’s Prayer (to be sung by the minister). f) The Admonition to the Communicants. g) Pax.

8.) The Distribution, during which the Agnus Dei is sung by the congregation. The words said by the minister at the distribution are here changed to: “The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your body and soul unto everlasting life.” And: “The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your body and soul unto everlasting life.” These anti-Calvinistic words are taken from the already mentioned Missale Stregnense, which has this unique reading.

9.) a) Salutation. b) Collect of Thanksgiving. c) Salutation with response. d) Benedicamus. e) Benediction, as in 1531, but the word “us” is now changed to “you.”

10.) A Swedish Hymn is added in the Service of 1614 “pro exitu.”

A new edition of this Church Book appeared in 1693 with the ratification of king Charles XI, who positively prohibited the ministers from making any alteration in the Service. And the Church Book of 1614 continued thus to be used in all Swedish Churches until 1811, when a new Church Book was adopted, which was not an improvement but indeed a deterioration from the former pure and noble liturgy.

During the reign of Gustavus III, when the Church was more or less under the baneful influence of rationalism and neology, there was a proposition in 1789 to modernize the language of the Divine Service, although keeping the Lutheran faith unaltered. And in 1793 at the centennial jubilee of the Upsala Church Diet a new Church Book appeared, which however was not adopted in its proposed form. But the proposed Book was afterwards examined and modified by the clergy of the realm. In such amended form the new Church Book was ratified in 1810 by the king, and in the following year it was ordered by a royal proclamation to be generally used in all the Churches.

It is really a wonderful thing, that the Church Book of 1811 was as good as it turned out to be; it could have been worse in those times. All the churches seemed to acquiesce in the change of Church Books. Several believing Christians in the southern part of Sweden however murmured, but made no opposition, and some of those in the northern part, commonly called Luther readers, made some opposition and were


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at last allowed to choose between the old and the new Church Book. This Church Book of 1811 was used in the Established Church until 1894, when the new and far better Church Book, adopted the previous year by the Church Diet, was authorized by the king and ordered to be exclusively used in the Lutheran Church of Sweden.

The most characteristic trait of the Church Book of it 1811 is its rhetorical style. We will here render, as an example, the very peculiar beginning of the Morning Service. It begins with a short hymn, and the Pastor, having in the meantime entered and advanced to the altar, turns toward the congregation, and continues the Service thus: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty! Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory! We praise and honor Thee, we worship Thee, we thank Thee for Thy wonders. O Lord, God, heavenly King, God, the Father Almighty! O Lord, the only begotten Son of the Most High, Jesus Christ! O Holy Ghost, Spirit of peace, truth and grace!

All Thy works, O eternal God, praise Thee; eternal as Thou art, is Thy power, unchangeable is Thy goodness. Behold, eternal Father, with mercy, Thy people, assembled in Thy sanctuary to worship Thee, to thank Thee for Thy goodness, and to implore Thy grace for their spiritual and bodily welfare. Enlighten our understanding to know Thee, and teach our hearts to make unto Thee holy offerings of a true obedience. Bowed down under the burden of our sins, we humble ourselves in the dust before Thee and pray for grace and deliverance of Thee, O God, our Saviour! Merciful and good art Thou; great in mercy and compassion. Hear graciously the united supplications which now ascend to Thy throne.”

Thereupon follows the Confession of Sin, Kyrie and Gloria in Excelsis, as from 1531. In the Salutations, the Response of the congregation has been changed to “The Lord be with thee also.” The same Response is given in the Service of 1894 and in the Augustana Synod’s Swedish Church Book, but its English Church Book has: “And with thy spirit.” The Graduale (a Swedish Hymn) is taken away after the Epistle, and the Gospel is to be read in the pulpit. In the Apostles’ Creed, the third article has the change of “The Resurrection of the body” to “The Resurrection of the dead.” The Service of 1894 haste same phrase; but both the Augustana Church Books have the old sentence: “The Resurrection of the body.” In the Augustana Synod the congregation reads aloud the Creed and in like manner, after the Sermon is ended, and at its proper place, the Lord’s Prayer. This is not done in Sweden.


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Among other alterations in 1811 we observe that the old exhortation of O. Petri to the communicants has gained a more rhetorical style, and that the same has been entirely omitted by the Swedish Service of 1894 and both the Augustana Church Books. The Church Book of 1811 had omitted, the Vere dignum, but this, in its old form as given by O. Petri, was restored again in these three Church Books. The Agnus Dei in the Swedish Services of 1811 and 1894 and in the Swedish Augustana Church Book reads thus: “O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, save us merciful Lord God! O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, hear us merciful Lord God! O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, give us Thy peace and blessing!” Instead of this the English Augustana Church Book has the old form of Agnus Dei found in Missale Romanum, the Swedish Services of 1531 and 1614, and in the Common Service. When distributing the consecrated elements the minister says to each communicant, according to the Service of 1811: “Jesus Christ, Whose Body thou receivest, preserve thee unto everlasting life. Amen!” And again: “Jesus Christ, Whose Blood thou receivest, preserve thee unto everlasting life. Amen.” In the Service of 1894, and the Swedish Augustana Church Book, there is a shorter form given as alternative: “The Body of Christ, given for thee!”—“The Blood of Christ, given for thee!” And when this form is used, the minister says when dismissing the communicants: “The Lord Jesus Christ, Whose Body and Blood you have received, preserve you unto everlasting life! Amen.” The English Augustana Church Book says: When the minister giveth the Bread, he shall say: “Take and eat; this is the Body of Christ, given for thee.” When he giveth the Cup, he shall say: “Take and drink; this is the Blood of Christ, shed for thee.” In dismissing the Communicants, the Minister shall say: “The Lord Jesus Christ, Whose true Body and Blood you have now received, strengthen and preserve you unto everlasting life. Amen.”

In 1860 a change was made in the Service of 1811. After the Epistle follows now as Graduale a Swedish Hymn and the old Gospel text, which is to be preached upon only every third year. And two new series of texts for Morning and Evening Services are to be read in the pulpit and preached upon in each of the two succeeding years. The same order is still kept in the Church of Sweden and in the Augustana Synod. In the year 1874 the third article of the Apostles’ Creed was again altered. The sentence: “The holy Christian Church” has since been given as: “The holy universal Church.” And still again in


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1894 another change was made in the second article. The words: “He descended into hell” are changed to: “He descended into Hades.” The Swedish Augustana Church Book has the same changes, but the English translation uses the old common form in English.

There remains now to notice only the beginning and the close of the ritual of the Swedish Service of 1894 and of the Augustana Synod’s Morning Service. In all three Church Books the Minister turns to the Congregation and proceeds thus: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. The Lord is in His holy temple; His throne is in heaven. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a humble and broken spirit. He heareth the supplications of those who truly repent and inclineth to their prayers. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace and confess our sins.”

The Morning as well as the Evening Services in the Church Book of Sweden close, as from 1614, with the Aaronic Benediction and a Swedish Hymn. According to the Church Books of the Augustana Synod, the same Services close with that Benediction and silent prayer.


Literature on the History of the Swedish Liturgies.


Baelter. S. Historiska Anmerkningar om Kyrko Ceremonierna. (Historical Remarks on Church Ceremonies.) Oerebro, 1830.

This book is however antiquated and superseded by the following works.

Kleberg. O. Den Svenska hoegmessan fran Reformationen till narvarande tid. I. (The Swedish Morning Service from the Reformation to the Present Time.) Lund. 1882.

Klemming. G. E. Sveriges aeldre liturgiska literatur. (The Oldest Liturgical Literature of Sweden.) Stockholm, 1879.

Quensel. O. Svenska Liturgiens historia. (History of the Swedish Liturgy). Upsala, 1890.

Ullman. U. L. Evangelisk Luthersk Liturgik. (Ev. Luth. Liturgics.) Lund. 1885.

Articles of Bishop Ullman and Prof. Quensel in The Church Review. Upsala, 1896-99.



Rock Island, Ill.


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THE mind that accords to the Holy Sacrament the supreme dignity and importance which the Word of God and the Church have ever given it, cannot regard any detail pertaining to its administration as unimportant. Here, on this summit peak of our earthly worship, we come to receive a Divine gift. But, as in other spheres, we “have this treasure in earthen vessels.” Earthly elements become the media for the heavenly impartation, and these must be kept in material vessels and spent by human hands. And while realizing that the word and will of its Founder alone give the Sacrament its virtue, and well knowing that they can add nothing to it, yet believing hearts delight to employ reverent hands in fashioning and disposing everything needful for its administration, and give loving thought to each detail. Hence it is not strange that the Linens which are required for the Table of the Lord should receive very particular attention from those who rightly value its Sacrament. Woman, ever anxious to engage in thoughtful service for her Saviour or His Church, has found here a most congenial field for her labor. While the hands of man wrought the story of his faith in sculptured arch and pillar, massive tower or tinted glass, woman’s deft fingers have plied swift needles through fine linens and bright silks and in “needle paintings” for the Altar have told their belief in language no less sublime. The Empress Helena, Etheldreda, queen of the Anglo Saxons, and many others, even to our own day, have thus employed royal hands. Nuns and princesses and devout women in every age and every station have thus concerned themselves with this part of “the King’s business.”

It is true that at times the Church has forgotten her privileges and neglected her treasures. Rationalism, scepticism, and materialistic indifference, no less than sectarian iconoclasm, were the open and subtle foes that exhausted her vitality and dimmed her vision. With the denial of the simple Word, came the depreciation of the Sacrament


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and the mutilation or total loss of the Liturgy in which both were enshrined. Every detail of the Divine Service felt the poisonous breath of doctrinal error. Hence minds that thought much of the relation of man to his brother, thought little of man’s relation to his God, as expressed in his worship of Him; and women, scrupulous in their concern for correct details of the napery of their own well-appointed dining rooms, failed to think of the Linens requisite for the Table of the Lord. But we rejoice to know that our generation has returned to the “Rock from which we are hewn;” the old paths have been sought, the old faith found, and the old practices revived. Not only do our church buildings, with their towers and windows, again proclaim the distinctive faith of Christianity, but the very walls and chancel furniture are vocal with sacramental suggestion in color and ornament of vestment. Altar Societies in many congregations emulate the pious zeal displayed by the Deaconesses of Kaiserswerth, and Church Needlework has again laid many a noble offering of time and toil upon our altars.

Let us understand clearly that this renewed interest in the appointments of the Lord’s House is not to be viewed simply in the light of an aesthetic or artistic revival. The Art that has been awakened has but responded again to the call of the Faith and Devotion that once inspired her greatest efforts. This Faith labored for centuries upon the structure which Christian Art, in its several departments, reared. Generation after generation of believing artists laid down chisel and brush and needle or pen when the sun of their day set, and passed on their work to their children in the faith. And so we have a distinctively Christian and a distinctively “churchly” type of Art, whether it be in Architecture, Painting, Music or Embroidery, that is not the product of any one man or any single age, but in its conventional and symbolical forms has gathered and treasured the sacrificial offerings of the Communion of Saints in every age of its earthly experience. In her Art no less than her Faith, can the Church of one generation cut herself loose from the achievements of her past. In our consideration of the subject of ALTAR LINEN, therefore, it will be necessary for us to learn the principles of utility and art which determined the development of the past, and endeavor to build our future efforts upon these established and significant forms.

The Altar Vestments, with their succession of color and ornament, illustrate and emphasize the particular thought of the various parts of the Church Year. The Altar Linens are essentially unchangeable, and ever voice the single thought of the Lord’s Supper. It is certainly not

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necessary to say that the Season Vestments are never removed when the Linens are placed on the Altar for an administration of the Sacrament, but are simply covered by the Linens. In this manner the thought suggested by the Church Year and the idea of the Sacrament are always linked together and presented to the worshipper by a properly draped Altar. For not only at the time of an Administration, but at all times, the Altar should have upon it the white Altar Cloth, which ever marks it as the “Table of the Lord.” For while the place of Prayer and Benediction, and suggestive of our offerings to God, the Altar’s highest significance is in representing the sacramental gift which our Lord offers His Church in His Supper.



The Altar Cloth is not placed immediately upon the Season Vestments, but the latter are first covered with a heavier cloth, frequently of unbleached linen, and cut exactly the size of the top of the Altar. Upon this is spread the Altar Cloth proper, of fine, white linen, never damask. The best usage requires this to be simply the width of the Altar, but about a yard longer, so that it may hang down eighteen inches at each end. It is also correct to have it hang but a handbreadth at the ends, while good German and High Anglican usage even allows it to fall as far as the floor at either end. These ends may be trimmed with a knotted linen fringe. Lace is not regarded as so pure or churchly an ornament, though quite generally employed on Roman Altars. The Cloth may be hemstitched or double hemstitched all around, and if any ornament is desired, a simple cross may be embroidered in each corner, or five crosses, symbolical of the five wounds in the Body of our Saviour, may be worked upon it in such manner that one comes in the very centre and the others at each corner of the Altar when the Cloth is spread upon it.

As we have already said, it is proper to have this Altar Cloth upon the Altar at all times. We now proceed to consider the Linens peculiar to the Administration of the Sacrament—the Corporal, Pall, Purificators and Veil.



The Corporal is a square cloth of very fine smooth linen, and is placed on the centre of the Altar Cloth. The Sacred Vessels are disposed upon it. It should, come almost to the front of the Altar, and its size will vary according to the depth of the latter. It is usually


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made twenty or twenty-one inches square, with a very narrow hem or else hemstitching. When laundered it is folded in three folds lengthwise and three crosswise, thus making a perfect square consisting of nine equal squares. In this form it is carried to the Altar in the Burse, if one be used, and there unfolded, not shaken out. The Corporal has from very early times been regarded as representing the linen in which our Lord’s Body was wrapped before burial, and Durandus, the great mediaeval symbolist, finds a reason for the unfolding of it upon the Altar in the fact that the winding sheet of our Lord was found unrolled in the tomb. The only ornamentation permitted on the Corporal is a small cross, placed in the centre of the fore-part near the hem, thus indicating the side which is to be turned towards the Minister.



The Pall is a square of heavy cardboard, covered tightly with a piece of linen sewed like a bag over it. This is used to cover the top of the Chalice at all times except in the act of Consecration or Administration. Its usual size is six inches square, though it may be slightly larger. Apart from any symbolical significance, the practical demands of absolute purity make it indispensable. Perhaps one who serves at the Altar alone realizes how frequently, especially in warm weather, foreign substances are apt to find their way into the Chalice. Upon the upper side of the Pall is embroidered or chain-stitched the cross or monogram I N R I surrounded by a crown of thorns, or the latter alone. Upon the under side is tacked, by a stitch at each corner, another square of plain linen with narrow hem. This lining may be readily removed for laundering, while it will then not be necessary to take the Pall itself to pieces for washing so frequently.



The Purificators, of which there should be several, are squares or napkins of moderately heavy linen, more usually of diaper weave than plain, and twelve or thirteen inches square in size. They are made with a plain, narrow hem, and may have a simple cross in one corner. They are brought to the Altar folded in three folds like the Corporal, and axe used by the Minister to cleanse the rim of the Chalice during the Administration. This is done either after each individual reception, or after each table has partaken, and before a fresh supply of wine is poured into the Chalice. This practice is rightly regarded as an abso-


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lute requirement in the interest of cleanliness, and its careful observance will do much to diminish the feeling of aversion which some entertain toward the common cup. It is interesting to note that for this purpose the Greeks employ a sponge, in memory of the one filled with gall and given to our Lord upon the Cross.



The Veil is not regarded by strict liturgiologists as belonging to the number of Sacred Linens, though in general use. In the Roman Church, Chalice and Paten, when borne to the Altar, are covered by the Chalice Veil, originally made of linen but now of silk in the color of the Mass Vestments. This Veil is removed at the Offertorium and replaced at the Ablutio, and its removal, according to their symbolists, recalls the “stupidity and ignorance veiling the great mystery of the Eucharist from the eyes of the Apostles.” The Anglican Church employs a Chalice Veil of about twelve inches square of finest linen cambric, and also uses a larger Veil of silk or satin, lined with linen, made in the color of the Season, and of sufficient size to cover all the Sacred Vessels. Inasmuch as they never employ a Flagon on the Altar, but keep the wine in Cruets on the Credence Table, this Veil rarely exceeds twenty-two or twenty-four inches in size. In the Church in Germany many congregations do not use the Veil at all; others employ it, and fashion it out of finest linen, or silk lined with linen, of sufficient size to cover all the vessels, and never of any other color than white, while using the richest embroidery in gold, silver and silk. The Veil has been universally adopted by us, and the best usage would seem to require the finest of white linen or mull, made sufficiently large to cover all the communion vessels. This will determine the size as at least a yard square. It may be hemstitched and richly embroidered with white linen or marking thread, always remembering that the designs chosen must bear the closest reference to the sacrificial death of Christ and the sacramental significance of the Supper itself. When removed from the vessels it should be carefully FOLDED, and placed on the Altar until required for recovering.



The Burse was not known to the Early Church, and is not now used by the Church in Germany, though generally employed by the Roman and Anglican Churches. It is a cover or case in which the


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Corporal and small Chalice Veil are enclosed and carried to and from the Altar. Two pieces of cardboard, nine inches square, lined with linen and covered with silk the color of the Season, are sewed together at the bottom. A gore or pleat of linen, made to fold in like a pocket, is set in at each side, leaving the top open. The upper side may be embroidered. The Burse seems to be used but rarely by our congregations, and is always, we believe, covered entirely with white linen, and never made with colored silk.

To briefly recapitulate—

A heavy cloth of unbleached linen, and the Altar Cloth are spread over the Season Vestments at all times.

The Altar Cloth, of fine white linen, comes just to the front of the Altar, but may overhang at the ends five, eighteen or thirty inches.

Upon these, at Communion seasons, is placed the Corporal, 21 by 21 inches; the Pall, 6 by 6 inches, is provided to cover the Chalice; Purificators are prepared for cleansing; and over all the Vessels the Veil, of fine white linen or mull, is spread.

Linen, not damask, is to be used.

No color but pure white is permitted. In Germany, the embroidery is usually in red, but best usage here seems to demand even the embroidery in white.

The finest white cotton floss is employed for the embroidery, as silk will yellow in the washing.

Lace is not used for trimming-knotted fringe is permitted on the ends of the Altar Cloth.

All designs for embroidery must be symbolically pure and refer, directly to the Sacrament.

The highest ornament of the Linens is their absolute immaculateness. No starch or blueing, however, is used in laundering.



Allegheny, Pa.

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THE custom of observing appointed hours for devotion was transplanted from the Old into the New Testament Church. The third, sixth, and ninth hours were distinguished as hours of prayer, and Talmudists ascribe the appointment of morning devotion to Abraham, noon to Isaac, and evening to Jacob. Daniel (vi. 10) “kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and gave thanks before his God.” That the apostles remained faithful to this Jewish custom is clearly shown in the N. T. In Acts ii. 15 we read that at “the third hour of the day” the apostles were assembled presumably for prayer, and the outpouring of the Holy Ghost took place. Again in Acts x. 9 we find that “Peter went upon the house-top to pray about the sixth hour;” and again in Acts iii. 1 we read that “Peter and John went up together into the temple, at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.”

Just at what exact period of time other “hours of prayer” began to be added cannot be definitely ascertained, though we approximate very closely in saying that it was about the middle of the third century. Evidently Clement of Alexandria († about 217) and Tertullian († some time after 220) knew only of the three appointed hours, for the former in Stromata (Book 7. ch. 7), says, “If some assign definite hours for prayer—as for example the third, sixth and ninth—yet the Gnostic prays throughout his whole life, endeavoring by prayer to have fellowship with God;”* and the latter in his work “On Fasting” (ch. 10) argues thus,—“Since the third hour is demonstrated as an hour of prayer, about which hour it was that they who had received the initia-Footnote: *Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II. p. 534.


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tory gift of the Holy Spirit were held for drunkards; and the sixth, at which Peter went up on the roof; and the ninth, at which they entered the temple; why should we not understand that with absolutely perfect indifference, we must pray always, and everywhere, and at every time, yet still that these three hours, as being more marked in things human—(hours) which divide the day, which distinguish businesses, which re-echo in the public ear—have likewise ever been of special solemnity in divine prayers.”* But Cyprian (t 258) either as originator or approver, adds three other hours as “hours of prayer.” In his treatise “On the Lord’s Prayer” (Secs. 34, 35, 36) he desires that the Christian observe not only the already established Old and New Testament hours, but also that he pray in the morning, evening and at midnight. In the third, sixth and ninth hours he sees the mystery of the Holy Trinity indicated. The morning hour should be observed so that “the Lord’s resurrection may be celebrated;” the evening hour, “for since Christ is the true Sun and the true day, as the worldly sun and the worldly day depart, when we pray and ask that light may return to us again, we pray for the advent of Christ;” the night hour, “since in the kingdom we shall possess day alone, without the intervention of night, let us so watch in the night as if in the daylight.”†

Footnote: * Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV. p, 108.

Footnote: † Ibid. Vol. V. p. 457.


Still more decidedly speak the Apostolic Constitutions (Bk. VIII. 34) which apparently appeared toward the end of the third century,— “Offer up your prayers in the morning, at the third hour, the sixth, the ninth, the evening, and at cock-crowing; in the morning, returning thanks that the Lord has sent you light, that He has brought you past the night, and brought on the day; at the third hour, because at that hour the Lord received the sentence of condemnation from Pilate; at the sixth because at that hour He was crucified; at the ninth, because all things were in commotion at the crucifixion of the Lord, as trembling at the bold attempt of the impious Jews, and not bearing the injury offered to their Lord; in the evening, giving thanks that He has given you the night to rest from the daily labours; at cock crowing, because that hour brings the good news of the coming on of the day for the operations proper for the light.”:‡

Footnote: ‡ Ibid. Vol. VII. p. 496.


Thus far, then, we have presented to our notice six special hours at which devotions were offered to God. That all these hours were not to be observed in the Church is very evident from the Apostolic


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Constitutions, where (Bk. 11. 36) we read,—“Moreover, do not leave the Church of Christ; but go thither in the morning before all thy work, and again meet there in the evening, to return thanks to God that He has preserved thy life;”* and again (Bk. VII. 59), “When thou instructest the people, O bishop, command and exhort them to come constantly to Church, morning and evening every day, and by no means to forsake it on any account but assemble yourselves together every day, morning and evening, singing Psalms and praying in the Lord’s house; in the morning saying the sixty-second Psalm (A. V. LXIII) and in the evening the hundred and fortieth (A. V. CXLI), but principally on the Sabbath Day.”†

Footnote: * Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VII. p. 413.

Footnote: † Ibid. Vol. VII. pp. 427-423.


To be noted here is the fact that, while the Apostolic Constitutions retain with Cyprian six stated hours, the midnight hour has been transferred to that of dawn.

Later, however, to fulfil with literal exactness the words of Ps. cxix. 164, “Seven times a day do I praise Thee,” a seventh hour was added and the midnight hour, reference being made to Ps. cxix. 62 and Acts xvi. 25, was again restored.

When the cloisters arose, the observance of the Canonical Hours or Horae with special devotions was one of their daily features and Benedict of Nursia († 543) added an eighth. He appointed seven day hours and one night. Beginning with the latter they were Vigils (2 o’clock at night), Matins (dawn), Prime (6 o’clock), Terce (9 o’clock), Sext ( 12 o’clock), Nones (3 o’clock), Vespers (6 o’clock), and Compline (9 o’clock). For each of these hours he prescribed a special order of Psalms, Lections, Hymns and Prayers. These hours were especially observed in cloisters and educational institutions. With but a slightly different arrangement the Roman Church, both before and since the Reformation, observed and observes these Horae,—the customary ones being Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, Nones, Vespers and Compline.

The question naturally occurs,—What effect had the Reformation upon these different Hours? Both in the “Ordnung Gottesdienst” and “Formula Missae” Luther bore testimony to the significance and appropriateness of the Horae and declared himself in favor of their retention; but he recognized the fact that great changes bad to be made in order to make them serviceable to our Church. There was much in the Responsories, Antiphons and Collects that savored of saint-worship,


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Mariolatry and other papistical errors. All this had to be expunged. But revision could not stop there. Eight daily Horae were decidedly too many to be of any service to the congregation. He consequently dropped Prime, Terce, Sext and Nones and combined Lauds with Matins and Compline with Vespers. Thus resulted only two daily Horae, Matins and Vespers.

To trace the origin and give a partial history of the various parts of these Services is our purpose.



The Versicles are found in Psalms li. 15; lxx, 1.

The Gloria Patri has its origin in Rom. xvi. 27; Eph. iii. 21; Phil. iv. 20; Rev. i. 6.

The general Invitatory is taken from Ps. xcv. 6.

The Venite consists in the use of Ps. xcv. 1-7.

The festival Invitatories, Antiphons, Responsories and Versicles are found as follows,—

Advent. Invitatory,—Zech. ix. 9; Matt. xxi. 5. Antiphons,—1. Is. xxx- 27, Ps. lxxii. 19. 2. Ps. xl. 17, lxx. 5, Is. lii. 2. 3. Zech. ix 9. 4. Zech. xiv. 5. Responsory,—Jer. xxiii. 5-6, Versicles,—I. Ps 1. 2-3. 2. Luke iii. 4. 3. Is. xlv, 8.

Christmas. Invitatory,—Luke ii. 11. Antiphons,—1. Ps. ii. 7. 2. Ps. cxi. 9. 3. Ps. cxxxii. 11. Responsory,—John i. 14. 1. Versicles,—1. Ex. xvi. 6-7. 2. Ps. xix. 5. 3. John i. 14. 4. Ps. cxviii 26-27. 5. Is. ix. 6. 6. Luke ii. 11.

Epiphany. Invitatory,—. Antiphons,—1. Ps. xxix. 1-2. 2. Ps. xcviii. 2. 3. Luke ii. 32. 4. Matt. ii. 2. Responsory,—Is. lx. 1, Versicles,—1. Ps. lxxii. 10. 2. Is. lx. 6. 3. Ps. cxvii. 1.

Passion-Season. Antiphons,—1. Matt. iv. 4. 2. II Cor. vi. 2. 3. Ps. ii. 2. 4. Is. liii. 7. Responsory,—Is. liii. 7. PS. lxxvi. 2. Versicle,—1. Ps. xxii. 21. 2. Phil. ii. 8. 3. Is. liii. 5.

Easter. Invitatory,—Luke xxiv. 34. Antiphons,—i. Ps. cxiii-cxvii. 2. Ps. iii. 5. 3. Matt. xxviii. 6. 4. Luke xxiv. 29. Responsory,—Rom. vi. 9, 10; iv. 25. Versicles,—1. 2. John xx. 20. 3. Ps. cxviii. 24. 4. Luke xxiv. 34.

Ascension. Invitatory,—. Antiphons,—1. John xvi. 7. 2. Ps. lxviii. 18; Eph. iv. 8. 3. John xx. 17. Responsory,—Mark xvi. I5, 16; Matt. xxviii. 19. Versicles,—1. John xiv. 18, 28. 2. Ps. xlvii. 5.


Whitsuntide. Invitatory,—. Antiphons,—1.—. 2. Ps. civ. 30, 3. John xiv. 18; xvi. 22. Responsory,—Acts. ii. 3, 4, 11. Versicles,—1. John xiv. 26. 2. Acts ii. 4. 3. Ps. li- 10.

Trinity Sunday. Invitatory,—. Antiphons,—1.—. 2.—. 3. Rev. iv. 8. Responsory,—. Versicle,—.

Reformation. Invitatory,— Antiphon,—Ps. cxix. 46. Versicles,—1. Ps. cxix. 105. 2. 1 Kings viii. 57. 3. Ps. li. 18. 4. Gal. v. 1.

Humiliation and Prayer. Antiphon,—Ps. lxxxvi. 3, 1. Versicles,—1. Ps. li. 1. 2. Ps. cxliii. 2. 3. Ps. ciii. 10. 4. Ps. li. 10. 5. Ps. cvi. 6.

Church Dedication. Antiphon,—Ps. xi. 4. Versicle,—Ps. xciii.

Commemoration of the Dead. Antiphons,—1. Rev. xxi. 4. 2.—. Versicles,—1. Heb. xiii. 14. 2. Rev. xiv. 13.

For other times. Antiphons,—1. Ps. cxxx. 1. 2. Ps. l. 2. 3. Ps. xxxvii. 5. 4. Ps. lxiv. 1. 5. Ps. cxlvii. 1. 6. Ps. cxxxviii. 8. 7. Ps. xxvii. 1. 8. Ps. cx. 1. 9. Ps. lxxii. 18. 10. Ps. cxxxv. 21. 11. Ps. lxxii. 19. 12. Ps. cxxii. 1. 13. Ps. lxxxvi. 7. 14. Ps. cxlv. 2. 15. Ps. xvi. 11. 16.—. 17. Ps. cxii, 1. Responsories,—1. Ps. cxix. 89, 105; xxvi. 8; Luke xi. 28. Versicles,—1. Ps. cxiv. 15. 2. Ps. ciii. 8. 3. Luke x. 2. 4. John xvi. 24. 5. Ps. cxxxvi. 1. 6. Ps. xcii. 1. 7. Ps. x. 17. 8. Ps. xxix. 11. 9. Dan. xii. 3. 10. Prov. viii. 15, 16. 11. Ps. xci. 11. 12. Px. lxxxiv. 11. 13. John xvii. 11. 14. Ps. cxliii. 10. 15. Ps. xxv. 4. 16. Ps. xxviii. 9. 17. Ps. lxxix. 9. 18. Ps. xiii. 5. 19. Mark x. 14. 20. Ps. ciii. 1, 2. 21. Ps. l. 15. 22. Ps. cxix. 27, 28.

The Versicle (Vespers) is found in Ps. cxli. 2.

The Canticles may be found as follows,—Matins, 1. Te Deum. Though ecclesiastical, its contents are scriptural even to direct quotations. 2. Benedictus, Luke, i. 68-79. Vespers, I. Magnificat, Luke i, 46-55. 2. Nunc Dimittis, Luke ii. 29-32.

The Kyrie occurs in Ps. li. I; cxxiii. 3; Matt. ix. 27; xv. 22 xx. 30; Mark x. 47.

The Lord’s Prayer is given in Matt. vi. 9-13.

The Salutation and Response are found in Ruth ii. 4; Tim. iv. 22.

The Versicle (Vespers) is from Ps. xxix. 11.

The Collects, both for Matins and Vespers, like the Chief Service Collects, are pre-eminently scriptural.

The Benedicamus—(?)

The Benediction is found in II Cor. xiii. 14.


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The first Versicle, “O Lord, open Thou my lips,” with the response, “And my mouth shall shew forth Thy praise,” is, in all probability, of Eastern origin, occurring in the Office of Lauds and prefacing the Hexapsalmus (Psalms 3, 28, 63, 88, 103, 143). The Versicle had this form, “Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall shew forth Thy praise,” and was said twice.

Whether the Western Church derived this Versicle from the Eastern Office or adopted it independently is a questionable point. It occurs, however, in the Horae Order of Benedict of Nursia (529). Properly it should only occur in Matins.

The second, “Make haste, O God, to deliver me,” with the response, “Make haste to help me, O Lord,” is likewise found in the Rule of Benedict. Its origin, however, is earlier though not probably as a fixed liturgical form. John Cassian (350-433) in his “Collationes Patrum” (an account of the teachings of some hermits in the desert of Scete), mentions the fact that the monks before his time often used this Versicle.

In the monastic Breviaries, of which the Benedictine is the type, this Versicle precedes the first. Both passed over into the Breviary of Gregory the Great (†604).

The Lutheran Orders of the 16th century present quite a diversity with reference to the use of these historical Versicles. Many discarded them. Some of the principal Orders that retained either one or both were,—Prussia 1526; Schwaebisch-Hall 1526; Calenberg-Goettingen 1542; Prussia 1544; Braunschweig- Lueneberg 1544; Prussia 1558.



For the origin and history of this part, see “Sources of the Morning Service of the Common Service,” p. 45. Its use at this place is distinguished from that in connection with the Introit by the addition of the Hallelujah.



The Invitatory, or invitation to praise God, occurs only in Matins, and is a characteristic and distinguishing part of this Office. It is unquestionably of Eastern origin, though its form and use differ vastly


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from those of the West. In the Eastern Church it assumed from most primitive times the following threefold form,

“O come, let us worship and fall down before God, our King.

O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ, our King and God.

O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and God.”

In this invariable form it prefaced all the daily Offices of the Eastern Church.

In the Western Church it found a place only in the Office of Matins, and its form varied, conforming to the Church Year, and the various festivals.

Its use and form in our Church follow those of the West, in so far as its variable aspect is concerned. The different seasons have their particular Invitatories with the exception of the Passion Season. Why it should have been omitted from the Church Book for this season seems strange, especially in view of the fact that the Committee on Common Service had prepared one for it. Connected with the Invitatory is



The use of the 95th Psalm (Venite exultemus), or “Invitatory psalm”, is in some respects peculiar to the West. The Eastern Church did not use the Psalm as a whole, but only took from it the Invitatory as above), based upon the first, third, and sixth verses. The Western Church invariably used the entire Psalm. Palmer says,*—“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 time for the clergy and people to collect, before the office 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 Psalm. 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 assemble; and of these two Psalms, the second was the 95th, or Venite Exultemus.”

Footnote: * “Origines Liturgicae,” Vol. I. p. 249.


Its introduction into the Office of Matins is often attributed to Pope Damasus (†384). It is not improbable that the daily service


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of the Temple began with this Psalm, or at least a portion of it. In Matins it is customary to omit the last four verses.



The use of Psalms was transplanted from the Old into the New Testament Church. Their use in Apostolic times is expressly attested in Eph. v. 19; Col. iii. 16; 1 Cor xiv. 26; James v. 13. The Church Fathers also bear testimony to the love manifested by the primitive Christians for them. They were then sung at various parts of the service. They introduced the Missa Catechumenorum, were sung between the Lections, and were even used during the Distribution in the Missa Fidelium. Matins began with Ps. 63 and Vespers with Ps. 141. Special festivals had specially assigned Psalms. The rise of Monasticism in the 4th century gave the Psalms a more general use. A divisional arrangement was made as early as the time of St. Jerome (†420); but it was not until the time of the Monastic Reformer, Benedict of Nursia (529), that the custom-of singing the whole Psalter weekly came into vogue.

The Greek Church also said the whole Psalter weekly except from Tyrophagus Sunday (corresponding to our Quinquagesima) to Palmarum, when it was sung twice a week.

We need not enter here into a minute analysis of the weekly arrangement of the Psalter in different periods of the Church’s development. The following tables, however, show such arrangement of the Benedictine and Gregorian Psalters,—


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3, 95 (introductory) daily. 1 Noct. 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26.
2 Noct. 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32.

67, 51, daily. 118, 63, 148, 149, 150. The last 3 are said daily

119 Parts 1-4.

119 Parts 5-7.

119 Parts 11-13.

119 Parts 17-19.

110, 111, 112, 113.

4, 91, 134.


1 Noct, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38.
2 Noct. 39, 40, 41, 42, 44, 45.

5, 36.

1, 2, 6.

119, Parts 8-10.

119, Parts 14-16.

119, Parts 20-22.

114, 115, 116, 117, 129.



1 Noct. 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 52
2 Noct. 53, 54, 55, 56, 58, 59.

43, 57.

7, 8, 9.

120, 121, 122.

123, 124, 125.

126, 127, 128.

130, 131, 132, 133.



1 Noct. 60, 61, 62, 66, 68.
2 Noct. .69, 70, 71, 72, 73.

64, 65.

10, 11, 12.




135, 136, 137, 138.



1 Noct. 74, 75, 77, 78, 79,
2 Noct. 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85.

88, 90.

13, 14, 15.




139, 140, 141.



1 Noct. 86, 87, 89, 93, 94.
2 Noct.96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101.

76. 92.

16, 17, part of 18




142, 144, part of 145.



1 Noct. 102, 103, 104, 105
2 Noct.106, 107, 108, 109.


18 (remainder) 19, 20.




145 (remainder) 146, 147.


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95 (Venite) daily,
1 Noct. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.
2 Noct. 16, 17, 18. 3 Noct. 19, 20, 21.

93, 100, 63, 67, 148, 159, 150. The last five are said daily.

22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 544, 118, 119 (Parts 1-4)

119 (Parts 5-10)

119 (Parts 11-16)

119 (Parts 17-22)

110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115.

4, 31 (vv. 1-6), 91, 134.


27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38.

51, 5, Ps. 51 is said on every week day

54, 119 (as on Sunday).




116, 117, 120, 121.



39, 40, 41, 42, 44, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 52.






122, 123, 124, 125, 126.



53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 64, 66, 68.






127, 128, 129, 130, 131.



69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80.






132, 133, 135, 136, 137.



81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 94, 96, 97.






138, 139, 140, 141, 142.



98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109.






144, 145, 146, 147.



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From these tables it will be seen that the general scheme is the same, and only in minor details are changes noticeable.

The present Roman use is that of the Gregorian Psalter except that Pss. 22-26 are no longer said on Sunday at Prime, but are distributed as follows,—Monday, 24; Tuesday, 25; Wednesday, 26;, Thursday, 23; Friday, 22. It will also be noticed that with few exceptions Pss. 1-108 were assigned to Matins and Pss. 110-150 to Vespers.

The Reformation necessitated changes in the use of Psalmody. The retention of Matins and Vespers only required a complete revision of the historical arrangement of the Psalter. A reduction in the number of Psalms at a service was likewise regarded essential,—three being the rule. The essential characteristics of the old arrangement were, however, retained and thus Pss. 1-108 were assigned to Matins and Pss. 110-150 to Vespers, with the exception of Ps. 118. This Psalm was divided into 22 parts of 8 verses each and one part sung at every Matin Service.

Wherever this arrangement could rot be carried out, on account of daily Matins and Vespers not being held, Pss. 110, 4, 113, 121, were usually selected for Saturday, and Pss. 111, 112, 114 for Sunday and festival Vespers. In general Pss. 110-114, 4, 25, 91, 134 were the Vesper and Pss. 1, 2, 3, 93, 100, 43, 47, 148 the Matin Psalms.

The Church Book embodies 91 Psalms, of which number 89 only have received assignment,—the 77th and 150th, being included but not assigned. The Books of Worship (G. S. and United Synod of the South) include 70 Psalms in their selection.

As far as the Method of rendering the Psalms is concerned we would respectfully refer to the Preface to the “Psalter and Canticles” (Archer and Reed, 1897), and to the article, “Psalmody,” in the collection of “Essays on Church Music.”



The Antiphonal method of singing is beyond question of Jewish origin. The parallelism of the Psalms is peculiarly adapted to this method. Its introduction into Christian worship is commonly ascribed to Ignatius (†115), bishop of Antioch, who, tradition says, saw in a vision two heavenly choirs singing alternately. Theoderet, however, attributes its introduction to Flavian and Diodorus, two monks of Antioch, about the year 250, and this supposition has its supporters. *

Footnote: * See Kurtz’s “Church History,” Vol. 1. 34:4.


The Western Church derived it from the East. The honor of its


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introduction into the Latin Churches has been variously ascribed to Damasus (†384), Ambrose, bishop of Milan (†397), and Celestine I. (†432). St. Ambrose, however, is usually accorded the honor, though Celestine was probably the first to divide the antiphonies into verses and to prescribe rules governing the same. The Antiphons were embodied in the Rule of Benedict of Nursia, although Gregory the Great (604) probably gave them their present form.

The 16th century Orders generally retained them. “An Antiphon should precede and conclude the Psalmody, and on Sundays and other Festivals may precede and follow every Psalm. Announcing the thought of the Season, it should be given out by a solo voice, Tenor preferably, or by several of the Choir, before the Psalm and repeated by the entire Choir after the Psalm.”*

Footnote: * Preface to “Psalter and Canticles,” p. xiv.



In the Monastic Rule of St. Benedict (chs. 8-20) there is no divisional arrangement of the Lections such as we have of the Psalter. He only specifies in a general way how many lessons from the Old and New Testament were to be read, and that on Festival days the assigned Pericopes were to be used. The necessity for a more definite division of the Scriptures soon began to be felt and thus “Breviaries” arose. One of the oldest of these is the “Breviarum St. Blasianum.” This has been edited by Gerbert from a Codex used in the monastery of St. Blasius and has been reprinted by Ranke in his “Perikopensystem,” p. 22. Its characteristic features are,—1. It begins the Church Year with Easter; 2. Is the first to speak of a Sexagesima Sunday; 3. Calls the non-festival half of the Church Year tempus aestatis; 4. Has only an Advent Season of 14 days. It evidently belongs to a period no later than the 7th century. In the table below we designate it as the I. St. Blasian. The next are the two St. Gallen, also edited by Gerbert from two accordant Mss. in the monastery of St. Gall and agreeing essentially with the above. Their characteristic feature is that they know of no Sexagesima Sunday, but begin the Church Year with Quinquagesima. They belong to about the same period as the I. St. Blasian. The third is the II. St. Blasian, also edited by Gerbert and reprinted in an epitomized form by Ranke, P. 24. Its feature is that it begins the Church Year with Christmas. Its date is later than the others above mentioned.

A fourth, which in the table below we designate as the Muratorian, was edited by Muratori from two Vatican Mss. Its features are


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that it knows—1. A Septuagesima Sunday; 2. Has no liturgical arrangement of the Sundays between Pentecost and Advent; 3. Begins the Church Year with Advent. It belongs to the 9th century. The following table shows how each of these four Breviaries assigned the different books of the Bible,—


I St. Blasian

St. Gallen

II St. Blasian


Sexagesima to Holy Week.

Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Ruth




Quinquagesima to Holy Week.


Same as I. St. Blasian.



Sexagesima to Judica.



Same as I. St. Blasian.

Same as I. St. Blasian.

Judica to Easter.



Passion History, Lamentations, Hosea, Zechariah.


Holy Week.





Easter to Pentecost.

Acts, Revelation, General Epistles.




Pentecost to 2 weeks before Christmas.

Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Proverbs, Ecclessiastes, Canticles, Wisdom, Sirach, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Maccabees, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Minor Prophets (partly).




Pentecost to Advent.




Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Proverbs, Ecclessiastes, Canticles, Wisdom, Sirach, Job, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Maccabees.

2 weeks before Christmas to Epiphany.





During Advent.





Christmas to Sexagesima




Jeremiah, Ezekiel Daniel, Minor Prophets.

Epiphany to Sexagesima.

Continuation of Minor Prophets.





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If it be remembered that the Gospels and Pauline Epistles were reserved for the Mass, and that the Psalms had their, particular places in the Divine Office, it will be seen that the whole Bible was thus read in the course of a year.

The Breviaries from the 10th to the 12th centuries show that the Lections during this period remained essentially the same as those above. But when we penetrate a little deeper into the Middle Ages and examine those of the 13th and 14th centuries, e. g. those of the Prebendaries of Friaul and of the Malta Order, a difference at once becomes evident. The lengthy Lections of former periods were successively shortened until the whole Scriptures were no longer read and the significance of the original arrangement was lost. The Church of the Reformation sought to re-establish the old idea of reading the whole Bible in the course of a year. Luther’s advice in Formula Missae was,—“universa Scriptura in lectiones partite perseveret in auribus ecclesiae” (let the whole Scripture, divided into lessons, remain in the ears of the Church). While there was to be a lectio continua, the Old and New Testaments were still separately assigned. Luther, writing in his “Order of Divine Service” on Vespers, says,—“At this time the books of the O. T., one after another, should be taken up, viz., the prophets, just as in the morning the books of Moses and the histories. But since the N. T. is also a book of the Bible, I use the O. T. in the morning, and the New in the evening, or vice versa.” In his Formula Missae he allowed the choice between N. or O. T. for Matins, but designated the Old for Vespers. In his German Mass, however, he assigned the New to Matins and the Old to Vespers. A large majority of the 16th century Orders followed, in this respect, his German Mass. A few, like Prussia 1525, Herzog Heinrich 1539, and Austria 1571 reversed the order.

The Common Service assigns the New to Matins and the Old to Vespers. The arrangement of the Lections follows the Mecklenberg Cantionale, to which work (Part II. Div. I.), we would respectfully refer all interested for the reasons governing the selections. How ancient the custom is of closing all the Lections with the words, “Tu autem, Domine, miserere nobis” (But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us), Response, “Deo Gratias” (Thanks be to God), we cannot definitely determine. Schoeberlein,* citing Binterim as authority, says that this form of concluding the Lessons was added since the 12th century. By whom we cannot tell. Not all of the 16th century Orders used it.

Footnote: * Schatz etc., p. 612.


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The Common Service rubric is,—“After each Lesson may be sung or said”

But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.

Thanks be to God.



When and by whom the Responsory was first introduced is difficult to determine. Gregory of Tours (†595) and Isidore of Seville (†636) mention it. Isidore relates that the Spanish Church long before his time adopted the Responsory from Italy. His exact words are, Responsoria ab Italis longo ante tempore sunt reperta.” Originally it was a lengthy portion of Scripture, consisting of a whole Psalm or Canticle, but later was reduced to a few verses. The natural position of the Responsory was between the Epistle and Gospel in the Liturgy, and between the Lections in the Horae. Sung on the step from which the Epistle had been read it was also called the Gradual. It was usually followed by the Gloria Patri except when it comprised the penitential Psalms.


VERSICLE (Vespers).

The Versicle preceding the Vespers Canticles was used by the Western Church from very early times. The exact time of its introduction and by whom we have not been able to discover. The pre-Reformation use of this Versicle, as also the present Roman, was, Dirigatur, Domine, oratio mea. (Let my prayer be set forth, O Lord). Sicut incensum in conspectu tuo. (As incense in Thy sight).

To whom we are indebted for the second part of our form we are not able to state.



A. TE DEUM. The origin of this most beautiful hymn is obscure. No reliance can be placed upon the tradition that it was composed by Ss. Ambrose and Augustine at the baptism of the latter by the former (387). Neither is certainty attached to the view that St. Ambrose alone was the author. In fact its authorship cannot be definitely determined. The time of its composition seems to be about the 5th century. The earliest traces we have of it are that it was incorporated in the Divine Office of Benedict of Nursia (529) and also in that of Caesarius of Arles (542). However, it is almost certain that the germ of this noble composition is found in the East. The Eucharistic Hymn of the Liturgy of Jerusalem and the morning Alexandrine Hymn show decided traces of its contents. It is possible that its essence is Eastern and its present form Western.


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The mediaeval Church used it regularly in the Horae, but in the Mass it was used only on festival occasions.

On account of the dogmatic purity of its contents and its strong Trinitarian acknowledgment our Church has always accorded the Te Deum high honor. On extraordinary occasions it was sung in the Chief Service as a General Prayer. It was also used at marriages, opening of Synods, ordinations, seldom, however, at Vespers. From old its assigned place was in Matins. The Orders of Hoya and Pommern permitted it to be sung in their Chief Service before the Introit.

B. BENEDICTUS. This Canticle was used in the Office of Lauds in both the Eastern and Western Churches. Its introduction into the Latin Church is attributed to St. Benedict. In the Greek Church, in connection with the Magnificat, it is the last of the nine odes used at Lauds.

The combination of Matins and Lauds into one Office has given us the Benedictus as a Matin Canticle. It is readily distinguished from that in connection with the Sanctus in the Communion.

C. MAGNIFICAT. Already in the first centuries was this PraiseHymn of Mary’s used in Divine Service. The Greek Church assigned it a place in the Office of Sunday Lauds in connection with the Benedictus. The Latin Church, on the other hand, placed it in Sunday Vespers. Caesarius of Arles is supposed to have introduced it into the Western Church. In the time of Gregory the Great it became a part of daily Vespers,—a position it still occupies. Recognizing the highly liturgical and edifying character of this Canticle the 16th century Orders retained it and thus the Common Service.

D. NUNC DIMITTIS. The Apostolic Constitutions (Bk. VII. 48) already mention the Nunc Dimittis, or Song of Simeon, as an Evening Prayer. The Eastern Church gave it a place in Vespers and the Western in Compline. The Rule of Benedict does not mention it as used at Compline, but Amalarius (820) speaks of it. The combination of Vespers and Compline gave us the Nunc Dimittis as a Vesper Canticle.



Inasmuch as the SUFFRAGES and LITANY are permitted to be used as substitutes for the prayers ordinarily employed, it is within our province to trace these as far as possible. And here we must give expression to our thorough disappointment at not being able to state definitely the origin of

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Whether these are a development from the ECTENE of the Eastern Church, or from the numerous LITANIES of the Western, or whether they have an origin independent of both the above, we have not been able to determine. PRECES, the name by which the Suffrages were anciently known, were in the earliest centuries of the Christian era, distinguished from the more specific ORATIONES or Collects. But whether the Preces in The Divine Office of the later mediaeval era preserved the form of the Preces in the earlier Gallican, Mozarabic and Ambrosian Missals is a question we cannot answer. If such should be the case, then, a very early origin must be given the Suffrages. Here is a most interesting and fascinating field for liturgical investigation, and if plans do not miscarry, we may have something more definite to say upon this point somewhat later. If, however, we are not able to state the origin of the Suffrages, we, at least, know their use in the Church immediately preceding the Reformation. As given in The Common Service, The Suffrages (No. ii.) under General Prayers, cleansed of all unscriptural doctrine, were the week-day PRECES of the old Lauds and Vespers. The Morning Suffrages (No. iii.) were the PRECES of Sunday Prime. The Evening Suffrages (No. iv.) were the PRECES of Compline. The Collects of the Suffrages, however, are not translations of the old Collects, but are the Morning and Evening prayers familiar to those who use Luther’s Catechism at Morning and Evening Worship.



The origin of the Litany lies in the Bidding Prayer of the Primitive Church. It was customary for the Deacon to announce the subject to be prayed for, then offer the prayer, to which the people responded Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy).

When in the 4th century Processions became usual, the Litany was connected with them. In opposition to the Processions of the heretical Arians, the form of the Litany became more elaborate and well-defined and the alternate responses, Miserere nobis (Have mercy upon us), Libera nos (Deliver us), Audi nos (Hear us,) were added. There were special Processions on the three days preceding Ascension Day. These days were known as Rogation Days. They were instituted by Claudius Mamercus, Bishop of Vienne, about 450, A. D. During his time as Bishop, the city of Vienne was visited and partially destroyed by earthquakes and floods. It was hoped that the approaching Easter


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festival would bring an alleviation of the calamity; but while celebrating Mass on Easter Eve the royal palace was struck by lightning and destroyed. The people rushed out of Church and Mamercus alone remained at the Altar, praying. He conceived the idea of appointing the three days before Ascension as Litany Days. Other dioceses adopted the rite and the Council of Orleans (511) decreed,—“Rogationes i. e. litanias ante ascensionem Domini ab omnibus ecclesiis placuit celebrari.” (Rogations i. e. litanies were to be celebrated by all churches before the Lord’s Ascension). These, then, became general in the Gallican Church. If not earlier than, at least contemporaneous with, the Gallican Processions, were the litanical Processions in Rome. The full form of these Litanies has not been preserved to us, although it is almost certain that their structure was similar to our present forms and this is about equal to saying that as far as contents and form were concerned they were modelled after the General Prayer found in the Apostolic Constitutions.

Among the most important processional Litanies was the Litania Septiformis (Seven-fold Litany) of Gregory the Great. After his elevation to the Bishopric in Jan. 590,—a severe pestilence following an overflow of the Tiber, raged in Rome. Gregory delivered a sermon and at its close requested the people to render a Litania Septiformis, i. e. the people were to be divided into seven choirs or groups (Clergy, Men, Monks, Virgins, Married Women, Widows, the Poor and Children). Each of these seven groups was to start from a different Church, singing Litanies on their way till they all met in the Church of St. Mary the Great. This was on St. Mark’s Day, April 25th, though it is beyond doubt incorrect to ascribe the institution of the solemn fast on this day to Gregory.

Litanies rapidly multiplied in the Roman Church and the product of this multiplication included a number of unscriptural doctrines. The response Ora pro nobis (Pray for us) at once suggests the unscripturalness. Under Clement VIII., 1601, the many Litanies of the Roman Church were reduced to three,—“The Great Litany of the Saints;” “The Lauretanian;” “The Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus.” In 1529 Luther, using “The Great Litany of the Saints” as a basis, prepared and published a Litania Latina correcta (corrected Latin Litany) and also a German version. Luther’s Latin form was the basis of the Litany in The Common Service.*

Footnote: * Kliefoth, “Liturgische Abhandlungen” V., 301, 373, 398. VI. 155. Horn, “Liturgics,” 68-69. The Lutheran Cyclopaedia,” 277-278.


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From the Apostolic Constitutions we learn that the primitive Church had fixed forms of Prayer in her Morning and Evening Services. The former began with Ps. lxiii and was followed by the Gloria in Excelsis with Laudamus as Morning Prayer. The latter began with Ps. cxli, was followed by the Agnus Dei and Nunc Dimittis, and this by the Evening Prayer,—“Praise the Lord, O ye, His servants.” Towards the end of the 5th century the Agnus Dei disappeared and the Kyrie Eleison was embodied as introductory to the Lord’s Prayer. At the end of the Mass, Benedict of Nursia had prescribed this prayer to be said by the abbot, the congregation, however, joining in with the 5th petition; but in the Horae the congregation only joined in with the 7th petition. Later it became customary for the priest to sing the words “Pater noster,” then proceed silently until reaching the 6th petition which, together with the 7th and Amen, were again sung aloud.

The 16th century Orders present quite a variety of usage of these parts. To detail this variety is beyond our scope.



According to historic practice the Salutation and Response introduced every integral part of the Service. Hence its position here. (See further “Sources of the Morning Service of the Common Service,” p. 47).



The germ of this Collect is found in the Sacramentary of Gelasius (†492).* It occurs there as the, first of eleven. “Prayers at Matins” and is as follows,

Footnote: * See Wilson, The Gelasian Sacramentary, p. 291.


Gratias tibi agimus, Domine Sancte, Pater Omnipotens, aeterne Deus, qui nos transacto noctis spatio ad matutinas horas perducere, dignatus es; quaesumus, ut dones nobis diem hunc sine peccato transire, quatenus ad vesperum gratias referamus. Per.

We give Thee thanks, holy Lord, Almighty Father, everlasting God, who hast vouchsafed to bring us, after passing through the period of the night to the hours of the morning; Grant us, we beseech Thee, to pass this day without sin, so that at eventide we may return thanks. Through.


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In the Sacramentary of Gregory (590) it has been amplified as follows,

Deus, qui nos ad principium hujus diei pervenire fecisti, da nobis hunc them sine peccato transire, ut in nullo a tuis bemitis declinemus, sed ad tuam justitiam faciendam nostra semper procedaut eloquia. Per.

O God, who hast brought us to the beginning of this day, grant us to pass through it without sin, that in nothing we may turn aside out of Thy paths, but that the words which go forth from us may be always directed to do that which is righteous in Thy sight. Through.


The Roman version expanding the latter clause and using the characteristic ending is as follows,—

Domine Deus Omnipotens, qui ad principium hujus diei nos pervenire fecisti; tua nos hodie salva virtute; ut in hac die ad nullum declinemus peccatum, sed semper ad tuam justitiam faciendam nostra procedant eloquis, dirigantur cogitationes et opera. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.

O Lord God Almighty, who hast brought us to the beginning of this day, defend us today by Thy mighty power, that in this day we may turn aside to no sin, but that our words may go forth and our thoughts and actions be directed to do that which is righteous in Thy sight. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God forever and ever.


The Sarum Breviary has the following, version,—

Domine Sancte Pater Onmipotens, aeterne Deus, qui nos ad principium hujus diei pervenire fecisti; tua nos hodie salva virtute; et concede ut in hac die ad nullum declinemus peccatum; nec nullum incurramus periculum; sed semper ad tuam justitiam faciendam omnis nostra actio tuo moderamine dirigatur. Per.

O Lord, our Heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day; defend us in the same with Thy mighty power; and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all our doings may be ordered by Thy governance, to do always that is righteous in Thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


I. Edward VI. (1549) has “everliving” instead of “everlasting” before God in the Invocation. II. Edward VI. (1552) and present Anglican have the translation above given.

It appears very evident that the Common Service followed the Sarum Breviary, adding, however, the full ending.

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THE VERSICLE. (Vespers)*

Strange as it may appear we have not been able, to find any use whatever of the Versicle

The Lord will give strength unto His people.

The Lord will bless His people with peace,

except in the old Church Book and in the Common Service. Immediately preceding the Collect for Peace one would naturally suppose that it had formed the standing Versicle for this Collect for many centuries; but such seems not to have been the case. The pre-Reformation Vespers embodied what were known as “Commemorationes.” These consisted of Antiphon, Versicle, Response, Collect. These commemorations were usually de S. Maria, de Apostolis, de Patrono, and de Pace. The last, de Pace, was as follows,—

Antiphon. Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris, quia non est alius, qui pugnet pro nobis, nisi tu, Deus noster.

Versicle. Fiat pax in virtute tua,

Et abundantia in turribus tuis.

Collect. Oratio pro pace.


We have carefully examined Herold’s “Vesperale,” and nowhere have we found, among the many Versicles of the different Vespers given, the Versicle of The Common Service.

The Da Pacem with which some of the 16th century Orders closed their Vespers is a versification of the Antiphon, Versicle and Response above given. Its full form is as follows,

Verleih uns Frieden gnaediglich,

Herr Gott, zu unsern Zeiten;

Es ist ja doch kein andrer nicht,

Der fuer uns koennte streiten,

Denn Du, unser Gott, alleine.

Gott, gieb Fried in Deinem Lande,

Glueck und Heil zu allern Stande.


This was followed by the “Collect for Peace” as given in the Common Service. It will be observed here that the last two lines are but a versified reproduction of the old Versicle and Response:

Fiat pax in virtute tua.

Et abundantia in turribus tuis,

and this seems to have been the usual Versicle for the Collect.



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Whence our Versicle is derived, or how it made its way into The Common Service, we are not able to state. No one, however, will question its beauty and appropriateness, and the end of our search for a historic usage is not yet.



This most beautiful of all Collects is found first in the Gelasian Sacramentary. It occurs there twice, though in slightly different forms. This difference at once becomes apparent by comparing the following originals,—

1. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus a quo sola sancta desideria, recta consilia, et justa sunt opera, da servis tuis illam, quam mundus dare non potest, pacem; ut et corda nostra mandatis tuis dedita, et tempora sint tua protectione tranquilla. Per.*

2. Deus, a quo sancta desideria, et recta consilia, et justa sunt opera, da servis tuis illam, quam mundus dare non potest, pacem; ut et corda mandatis tuis dedita, et, hostium sublata, formidine, tempora sint tua protectione tranquilla. Per.†

Footnote: * Wilson, The Gelasian Sacramentary, p. 228.

Footnote: † Ibid, p. 271


The first form is the second of two Collects (the first of which is that of The Common Service for the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity), .and occurs in a Missa assigned by Gerbert to the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost.

The second form is the first of three Collects that occur in the Missa Pro Pace. The translation of our Collect follows this form.



For the source and use of the Benedicamus see “Sources of the Morning Service of the Common Service,” p. 62.



Inasmuch as at Matins and Vespers the presence of a pastor was not necessary, it became customary to close the Services with the N. T. Benedfcfion instead of the Aaronic as in the Chief Service.


Baden, Pa.




Born in 1503 in Ribe; died in 1560.

He was a student under Luther and Melanchthon, and was the Bugenhagen of Denmark.

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Almost immediately after the ushering in of the great Reformation in Germany in 1517, the revived apostolic doctrines found their way into Denmark, and were preached with intense enthusiasm, especially by several men, who had sat at the feet of Luther and Melanchthon In Wittenberg. And it is one of the marvels of history, that in less than twenty years, 1536, the Roman Catholic ecclesiastical establishment had been abolished and the Evangelical Lutheran order had risen in its place. This wonderful revolution was not the result of the labors of any one great leader, but was a spontaneous movement throughout the whole country, reaching all classes of people. And the leading feature was the historical characteristic of Protestantism—the earnest preaching of the Gospel, which had for ages been obscured and kept in the background by the blinding and misleading errors and ceremonies of the papacy.

In some of the cities well arranged orders of public worship were used, but in the smaller communities and in the rural districts the ministers conducted the services according to their own judgment, but in harmony with the fundamental teachings of the Word of God. When a minister was appointed to the charge of a parish he was enjoined “to teach and preach to the people of the parish God’s pure, clear Word and Gospel, which he can prove by Holy Scripture, and to teach them their souls’ salvation, as he will answer before God and be known before the king. He shall conduct divine service for them in Danish, if they require it, without any human additions or ungodly ceremonies


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and give them the Holy Sacrament, the Body and Blood of the Lord, in both kinds, as Christ Himself instituted and commanded it; and he shall lead a good, honest life, and give his people a good example. And, if he have not the grace of continence, then he shall take unto himself a worthy woman to wife, and live with her in good, honorable, Christian wedlock, and not have a concubine (as the custom had been) nor any other person with him, of whom any may have suspicion.”

The people were happy in the possession of an excellent Danish translation of the New Testament, made by Christian Pederson in 1529, which superceded those previously published. It ranked with the Danes as Luther’s did with the Germans. A collection of hymns was also composed by Claus Mortensen in Danish. And intense religious fervor characterized the services and was long maintained, as we learn from a letter addressed by Bugenhagen to his Elector on his return from Denmark to Wittenberg in 1539. He used the following strong language: “The Gospel is preached purely and powerfully in Denmark. May God grant progress as He has begun. I have been nowhere where the people so gladly and so diligently hear preaching as in Denmark, even on week days, in winter, and before daylight, throughout the whole day at the Festivals; and they pray diligently.”

But, in 1536, it was felt by the clergy and the pious king, Christian III, that an authorized and uniform Church law, governing the whole sphere of the ministerial and pastoral activity, ought to be prepared and promulgated. And, with this object in view, the king requested the Elector of Saxony to send John Bugenhagen to Denmark to aid in the great work of reorganization. But the answer was given that he could not be spared at that time; and he did not arrive until the summer of 1537.

In the meanwhile the new Church law was drawn up by a commission of 29 ministers and theologians, among whom were Peder Laurensen, Frants Vormordsen, Oluf Chrysostomus (Gyldenmund), Hans Tausen, Joergen Jensen Sadolin, and members of the Cathedral Chapters, and prominent ministers from Sleswig, as Herman Tast, Gert Slewert and John Vandal. When this document, which is known in history as the Ordinance of Christian III, was completed, the king amended it and then sent it, as he expressed himself in his later letter of confirmation, to “worthy Father Doctor Martin Luther, by whom God in His mercy and kindness, in these last times, has again sent Christ’s holy and pure Gospel; thus he, with several other men highly learned in Scripture, in Wittenberg, examined the same Ordinance and


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adjudged it to be good and right.” And, when Bugenhagen arrived in Denmark, he still farther revised it, after which, in the same year, it was published in Latin, but did not, in the fullest sense, become the law of the Church until 1539, when it was translated into Danish by Peder Palladius and duly adopted by the Diet in Odense, June 14, 1539.

This Ordinance, directing, how the Church service shall be held in the kingdom of Denmark and the Duchies of Sleswig and Holsten,” thus became the established law of the Danish Lutheran Church. The Diet did not change it, but advised prudence and gentleness in introducing it. This Ordinance is very comprehensive. It confirms the true doctrines of the Church; gives suggestions for their presentation in the sermons; designates the festival days and their proper pericopes; the mode of procedure in calling Pastors, Provosts and Bishops and defines their duties and rights sets forth the proper church usages; gives rules for the religious instruction of the children, the management of the church property, the care of the poor, and provision for the education of men for the ministry.

And, in order to carry out the provisions of the Ordinance under proper supervision, the king appointed the first Bishops, seven in number, who were ordained to their high office by Bugenhagen, September 2, 1537. The ceremony took place in Copenhagen in Frue Kirke, which is still standing. The names of the Bishops are Peder Palladius, Frants Vormordsen, Joergen Jensen Sadolin, Jakob Skoenning, Peder Thomesen, Mads Lang, and Johan Vandal, the last named being a German appointed to the diocese of Ribe. The ministers desired the appointment of an archbishop, but such was not made; yet the bishop of Zealand has always practically occupied that position, being regarded as primus inter pares.

In regard to the order of public service, the Ordinance, like the older German Kirchen Ordnungen, confined itself to the general outlines of the evangelical service, and, as a rule, did not give the full formulas, which had long been in use, but with the opening words indicated what the minister should say. But this did not imply the minister’s liberty to fill out the formulas according to his own judgment; for when such was contemplated it was specifically so stated. These formulas were, however, given in full in later “law books” of the church. The Ordinance remained in force until 1640. But it became necessary to prepare books giving more specific directions for the conduct of public service, and these took their place by the side of the Ordinance. And

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the first of these “Hand Books” or “Altar Books,” as they were called, and the only ones now extant, are the Enchiridion of Palladius, 1538, and the Hand Book of Vormordsen, 1539. The latter of these aimed especially to explain and facilitate the use of the directions of the Ordinance. Neither of these contained the text of the Pericopes, but, from Palladius’ introduction to the edition of the Altar Books of 1555, we learn that there were smaller books in use containing the Gospel and Epistle lessons and the Collects. From this state of things, as we might expect, there arose a want of uniformity in the order of service, and, to remedy this, Palladius by order of the Synod of Copenhagen issued a new edition of the Altar Book in 1556, giving fuller directions and forms. (Pontoppidan’s Annales Danicæ Ecclesiæ, 3, 335.)

But, as the right to make changes in the Liturgy was accorded to the Bishops, and as many matters needed to be cleared up, a Synod was convened in Copenhagen in 1540, which enacted 27 Statuta bearing on the Liturgy, church discipline, and the jurisdiction of ministers. This marks the second great act in ecclesiastical legislation in Denmark.

But the Bishops often gave special directions in liturgical matters and hence arose again considerable confusion; and to overcome this it was ordered that the practice in Frue Kirke in Copenhagen should be followed as the norm. It will thus be seen that the church, as such and as a whole, had no direct voice in framing the liturgical orders; still it was held that the pastors were, in an important sense, the representatives of the congregations in the Synod. And the people did exercise a marked influence in regard to forms and usages in the churchcs, for the ministers were very largely governed by their wishes and demands, as in the questions raised about the elevation in the Lord’s Supper and the exorcism in Baptism. But, in 1685, the king assumed the right to regulate all liturgical matters, though he claimed that he exercised it with the advice of the Bishops and other learned men. He made the Altar Book binding on all, and prescribed penalties for disobedience, but arbitrarily granted special privileges and made exceptions in favor of some of the clergy and parishes.

In the Duchies the Synodical authority given by Christian IV in 1646, continued in force, and in 1681 Christian V restored that order throughout the kingdom. The Synods effected many changes in the cultus and in other matters. In 1730 they began the preparation of a new Ritual, and in 1737 they determined to abolish the order of exorcism.

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Strenous efforts were made to bring about the desired uniformity in the service, and at the Synod in Roeskilde, 1585, a Bishop complained that some of the pastors omitted the exhortation and the prescribed Benediction in the Communion service, and several were removed from their parishes for failing to follow the approved order. (Pont., 3, 501)

The importance of uniformity was affirmed already in the Synod of Copenhagen, in 1540, in very emphatic language. And Palladius, in the appendix to his Enchiridion, says to the clergy,—“it is my humble prayer and request to you, each and all, chiefly first for the honor of God and farther for the edification of the holy church, that you win all unitedly keep these ceremonies in force,” and the Synod of Antvorskov in 1546, closed with these words,—“we wish and ask in love, according to the authority given ns by God, that the servants of God’s Word throughout this Danish kingdom, all as one man, will govern themselves by these rules.” (Pont., 3, 296.) And these admonitions and requests were very generally respected.

The legislation of the Danish Church, in regard to the order of worship, was in close accord with Luther’s instructions and the example of the German Churches. Luther’s order of 1523 was more closely followed than that of 1526 out of regard for the prejudices and weaknesses of the people and because it retained some old features which were viewed with favor. Several parts of the service were intoned by the minister, guided by musical notes provided in the Hand Book of 1539. This practice still prevails in the Scandinavian Church even in this country.

The singing of Danish hymns became a very prominent part of the public service and more and more forced out several anthems and set aside some of the old formulas, even versifying the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments. The great and praiseworthy aim was to have much congregational singing and less praise by proxy.

After these general observations on the subject before us, we may now proceed to note more minutely the several parts of the service, and first



The original conception of the chief service, as that of the Holy Communion, is recognized in the first section of the instructions of the Ordinance. “On the outward order and the minister’s prayer.”

1. The Ordinance directs that the minister shall appear before the Altar in the appropriate vestments and, kneeling, say the Confiteor


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in Danish or Latin, as stated in the Hand Book. And it was ordered that at this point a prayer should be offered for the king and the kingdom, but this was later omitted, and in its stead was inserted an “oratio concionatoris ante missam,” and this in Danish translation in the XVI century. Hence the service began with a silent prayer by the minister, the people also praying, kneeling. In the XVII century two forms of prayer were provided, the one for the beginning and the other for the close of the service, to be offered audibly by the Deacon standing at the, door of the chancel or in the middle aisle. But in the Hymn Book of 1553 there are indications that the minister made confession for the people and used a form, in which they participated in the prayer. In that Book there are three parts before the Introitus,” adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini,” “Confiteor” in Danish, and an “evangelical absolution over the congregation” in the precatory form. The adjutorium is given in a stanza of four lines, as follows,

Our help is in the Name of the Lord,

Who made heaven and earth.

Acknowledge the Lord, for He is good,

And His mercy endureth forever.

These words were doubtless said by the minister, who then read the confession of sin and expressed the wish for the pardon of the people. And we have here an instance of the transformation of the Catholic Ritus which the Lutherans were wont to make, for these same three parts occur in the priest’s personal preparation for the Mass in the Catholic cultus, as is fully explained in Siegel’s Handbuch der Christ. kirch. Alterthuemer, 3. 376.

2. The Ordinance prescribed, that, after the prayer, there shall be said or sung the Introitus, or, in its stead, some Danish hymn, especially in the country. And, in the Hymn Book of 1569, the rule is laid down that the hymn shall be in harmony with the Gospel lesson or the special occasion.

3. Immediately after the hymn, the Kyrie was sung by the Deacon in the original form, Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison, or in the corresponding Danish words. This form was sung by the Catholic priest nine times, but the Synod of Copenhagen, in 1540, limited it to three times. (Pont., 3, 350.) By assigning this to the Deacon the way was paved for making it a hymn by the choir or congregation, and hence we find that it appears as such in the Hymn Book of 1539. The first line is “Kyrie Gud Fader alsomhoeiste Troest.” And in the Hymn Book from 1453 to 1778 there were three hymns,


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which versified the Kyrie. The Synod of 1546 prescribed that the Kyrie should be sung three times in the cities, but in the form of a hymn in ruralibus.

4. After this it is ordered that the minister shall intone the angelic song of praise,—‘Gloria in excelsis Deo,’ in Latin or Danish and then the church shall follow it.” The meaning here is made clearer when we note, that, in the Danish translation, the order is that the minister shall sing,—“Glory to God in the highest” and the choir and congregation shall join in the rest. In later years this was modified and it was used only on special occasions and was then sung by the minister in Latin; and at the regular services a hymn took its place.

5. The minister then turns and faces the congregation, and, after the Responsory, there follows the prescribed Collect. After the Psalm, the Deacon and congregation respond—Amen.

6. After this the minister again turns to the altar and intones the Epistle “slowly, clearly, so that the people can well understand and mark him.” In the Hymn-Book of 1569 careful provision is made for correct intoning, the musical notes being given, but especially for the Epistle and Gospel. There a musical division in five parts is made,—comma et colon, periodus, periodus alia, questio, et finale.

7. The ordinance next directs,—“The Hallelujah, which is a perpetual sound in the holy church, shall be sung by two children, and also the long Halle after it. After this, in the place where it is customary to sing the gradual, a Danish hymn shall be sung, or a gradual alone with two verses. All Sequences shall be left out except at the three great Christian Festivals.” But later the strong desire for congregational singing led to the substitution of a hymn for the Hallelujah. This hymn was in harmony with the Epistle. Still the Hallelujah is found in the Hymn Book of 1690.

8. The Sequences were retained in the Lutheran Church, though for several years they were used only on festival days. But, in the Hymn Book of 1553, they were provided for the whole year and verses of a hymn were combined with the Psalm, and there were several other minor variations, which were modified in the Hymn Book of 1569, that follows the Ordinance and makes only this addition, that, after the Hallelujah, from Pentecost to Candlemas Day, there shall be sung the hymn to the Holy Ghost—“Nu bede vi den hellig Aand,” in four stanzas. And here the Ritual farther specifies some changes for the several great sections of the church year.

9. Then the minister turns and faces the people and reads the


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Gospel. The Ordinance does not speak of the repetition of the Responsory—“The Lord be with you,” nor that with which the choir greeted the Gospel—“God be praised for His joyful message;” but the Hand Book of 1539 has both and the Synod of 1540 ordered that they should be retained. (Pont., 3, 250.) And the Hymn Book of 1569 contains musical notes for both the minister’s words and the response of the Deacon and the congregation. The Ritual keeps the Responsory as it presents two forms,—“God be praised for His joyful message” and “Praise and honor be to Thee, O Lord.”

10. After the Gospel the minister turns to the altar and intones “Credo” and the choir joins in with “Patrem oninipotentem etc.,” and immediately after this the congregation sings the hymn “Vi troe allesammen,” that is, We all do believe. But the Hand Book of 1539 directs that the Latin Credo shall be sung only where there are Latin schools, and this became the general custom. But later a hymn took the place of the Creed, which was always that of Nicea.

11. The Ordinance directs that the Creed—always the Nicene—shall be followed by the sermon, but the Hand Book of 1539 says that a hymn shall be sung between the Creed and the sermon.

12. The sermon was preceded and followed by prayer, minister and people kneeling. Near the close of the sermon the minister, according to the Hand Book of 1539, must “exhort the people, that, each in his or her place, should humbly make confession before the face of God, and repeat the holy catechism, word for word, without comment, in that form, which the worthy Father Martinus has set before us out of the Holy Scripture, which the Danish catechism book contains.” This was the preparation for the Lord’s Supper, but it was discontinued later, as such, when private confession was introduced, as ordered by the Synod of 1540. But in some localities the public confession was practiced. Yet the recitation of the catechism was continued as a means of instruction. This change disturbed the close connection of the sermon with the Holy Communion, and the direction was given, that, at the close of the sermon and before leaving the pulpit, the minister should begin the singing of a prescribed hymn.

13. At this point the Holy Communion was administered, of whose order we will treat separately farther on. The Catholic office of the Offertorium with its unscriptural representation of the sacrifice was excluded. The service of the communion was short, the Ordinance giving this rule,—“after a hymn or two there shall be read a collect or two and the pronouncing of the Benediction.” But later this was shortened by the limitation to one hymn and one collect, and between 1556 and 1564, the particular collect to be used, when there was no Communion was designated. This and the Benediction with the Responsorium, by which they were preceded, constituted the altar service after the sermon.

14. A hymn pro pace or pro exitu closed the whole service. For this purpose the Hand Book of 1539 provides the Decalogue versified and the Hymn Book of 1553 has it in four forms, and the Hymn Book of 1569 recommends the singing of the Decalogue so that thus the whole of Luther’s Catechism may be used at the service; but in 1573 this was prescribed for the country parishes only and that during the Trinity season. Then the minister and congregation kneeling, offered silent prayer.



The Danish term for Matins is Ottesang, that is, eight o’clock song, as the service is held from 8 to 9 A. M., and, for Vespers, Aftensang, evening song, from 2 to 3 P. M. The daily services at those hours closely followed Luther’s Deutsche Messe, where there were Latin schools, and were especially intended to train the young in religious knowledge and worship. The Latin was used to a considerable extent, but the Danish was also used for the benefit of those who did not understand the former. Antiphons, Kyrie eleison, and hymns were sung and lessons read from the Old and the New Testament. Sermons were not always preached, but, when they were, they treated chiefly of penitence and good works, so that the Law as well as the Gospel might be put before the people. The Holy Communion was sometimes administered, but only in very special cases; but, after the time of Christian V, it became the rule rather than the exception in the larger places. Two services were held on Wednesdays and Fridays which conformed to the Sunday service, and the forenoon service followed the full order of the Hoeimesse or chief service and included the Communion. At the Matin and Vesper service on Sunday and Festivals the whole Catechism was recited.



Much might here be written about the history and use of the collects in the Danish church, but I will not enter fully into this extensive subject, but merely state, that, immediately after the introduction of the Reformation, the Collects or, Orationes of the Catholic church, were used, with some exceptions, in accordance with Luther’s practice.


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The first collection of these short prayers in the Danish church is found in the Hand Book of 1539, and a revised edition is given in the Hymn Book of 1553. The collection now in use is very full for all Sundays, Festivals, and all special services and subjects, and sacramental acts. And we note that the Collects are from two to three times as long as those in our Church Book. They are very devout in spirit and expression, and are given in pure Danish.



In passing from the consideration of the more general services of the church, we naturally direct our attention to the Sacraments, and, first, to that of Baptism.

It is not known who was the first to administer Baptism in Danish, but the eminent reformer, Hans Tausen, published the first baptismal formula in that language. And whilst that form is in harmony with the original Taufbuechlein of Luther, it was not copied from it; and internal evidence shows that the author did not have it before him although he must have been acquainted with it, as he had been with Luther in Wittenberg. He retained all the symbolical features, as he deemed it unwise to hasten radical changes in things immaterial, but be stated that the use of these minor forms was not compulsory. And the Liturgy of Malmoe in 1535 indicates that these forms had been abandoned previous to that date. Thus it is evident that the ritual varied before the full establishment of the Reformation. The Ordinance of 1536 does not give the full form for Baptism, but simply says, “Thus shall he begin: Depart, thou unclean spirit.” And there is good reason for believing that Luther’s form, of 1523, was closely followed, of which Palladius provided an accurate translation in his Enchiridion of 1538, and declared that there should be no variation from Luther’s words, though he made an exception, namely, in the long prayer at the exorcism, “O Almighty, eternal God, Who in the Flood,” etc. Here Luther says,—“dass durch these heilsame Suendfluth an ihm ersauffe und untergehe Alles, was ihm von Adam angebohren ist und was er selbst dazu gethan hat;” but Palladius has,—“All that which is born in him from Adam, that is, that sin which Adam committed,” which has a dogmatic significance. This book was used by the side of the Ordinance, which designates some additional particulars. But some variations were practiced, especially in the Provinces, and the Synod of 1540 gave strict directions to observe the prescribed order, (Pont., 3, 252,) as also that of 1556.


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In the oldest orders, in the Ordinance and the Hand Book of 1539, the act begins with the questions whose child it is and whether it had been baptized at home, but later the former of these was omitted as casting a shadow on the baptismal scene in the case of illegitimate children. The minister was then directed “to declare to the company standing around [the font], in few but forcible words, the exalted nature of Baptism;” and the outline given indicates that the address was intended for the whole congregation as well as for the sponsors. And this direction was emphasized by the Diet at Aarhuus in 1631, in the words: “Caveant Pastores, ne omittatur adhortatio, quae ad patrinos necessario fieri solet.” But this very proper direction was stricken out at the Diet at Viborg in 1699.

The act of Baptism began with Exorcism. This part of the Catholic ritual had been abolished by the Reformation and was excluded by Luther in his first “Unterrecht wie man einen Menschen zum christlichen Glauben taufen lassen solle, 1521.” And the Danish Lutherans also began to omit Exorcism, but the early Liturgies show that it was re-adopted with Luther’s modifications. Vigorous efforts were soon made to abolish it altogether but failed for the time being.

The Exorcism was followed by the Gospel, and that by the Lord’s Prayer. In the older books the doxology of the prayer is wanting, after the example of Luther, but in all the later ones it is inserted. During this prayer the minister and the people kneeled, with the thought, that, as the prayer was offered over the child, the Lord Himself was blessing it. But in the later Altar Books this beautiful practice was omitted.

Then the minister calls the sponsors to the Font and says,—“The, Lord preserve thy coming in and thy going out.” This was followed by the renunciation of the devil and by the Creed, each of which is respectively uttered in three parts. The questions were addressed to the child. Then come the baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the last prayer, and the Pax, admonition to the sponsors to teach the child the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments.

No change was made in this part of the Liturgy until 1783, when the act of Exorcism, even in its modified form, was strongly opposed as weakening the thought of the daily conflict with the devil. And, after some controversy, it was abolished, but the signing with the cross was retained with the addition,—“for a witness that thou shalt believe on the crucified Lord Jesus Christ.”


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The order, as revised in 1895, is as follows: Address to the sponsors; signing with the cross; prayer; Gospel, Mark 10:13-16; Lord’s Prayer; praise to God who will now regenerate the child; “God preserve thy coming,” etc.; renunciation and Creed in singularis with questions to the child; “Wilt thou be baptized?”; Baptism; child commended to God; Pax; admonition to sponsors; Collect.



As infant baptism was practically universal at the opening of the Reformation, Luther did not provide a special form for the Baptism of adults, and in Denmark there was no such form for 150 years. The first case, of which we have knowledge, occurred in 1620. The form finally given was that for infants, with some omissions rather than alterations, namely, the Exorcism, signing with the cross, and the Gospel, a hymn taking the place of the last of these parts. But, in the revised form of 1895, part of the Gospel is read,—Matt. 28: 18-20, and the signing with the cross is restored. On the preceding Sunday the intended Baptism is announced, and on the day of its occurrence, the service had special reference to this Sacrament. The candidate occupied a seat specially set apart for him, was examined and commended to the love and care of the congregation. The person baptized assumed a new or additional name, at his pleasure. And, at the close of the service, the minister briefly addressed the sponsors or witnesses, who stood at either side of the altar. The presence of such sponsors at adult Baptism was no new thing. They appeared in the ante Christic period at the Baptism of adult proselytes to Judaism as well as of “exposed children” or foundlings. The Babylonian Talmud says that the number was two, but the Jerusalem Talmud and Maimonides say three.



In the Catholic Church, Confirmation was and is still held to be a Sacrament, and to supplement and complete Baptism. (Conc. Trident. De Confirmatione.) And hence it was entirely abandoned by the Protestants for a long time. The latter held that the rite was related to the Lord’s Supper and connected with the proper preparation for that Sacrament. As it was necessary that all who come to the Communion should be prepared in head and heart for the sacred act and were examined before they were admitted, it was felt that the young, who presented themselves for the first time, should be carefully questioned as to their fitness, and when they gave satisfactory evidence


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of this, they should be approved. Bugenhagen, in his introduction to Palladius’ Enchiridion, without a word about vows or Baptism combines the examination of children and other communicants in that he declares the words of Luther’s Small Catechism to be the confession upon which the child of eight years and the centenarian are alike admitted to the Communion. Through the labors of Melanchthon and Chemnitz (Exam. Conc. Trid. De Confirmatione) Confirmation, divested of papal errors, was reintroduced in Germany, and still farther in the movement under Spener in the XVII century; but it did not reach the Danish Church. The Danish Ordinance gave directions for the examination of all communicants, though in practice there were some special features in that of the young admitted for the first time, but nothing that would justify the application to it of the term confirmation, as we now use it to designate a distinct act. Niels Hemmingssn, in the middle of the XVI century, is the first to use the word “confirm,” but without any reference to Baptism. “Episcopi in visitatiorlibus publice examinant juventutern in articulis fidei et in doctrina db Sacramentis. Deinde eam doctrina et exhortationibus confirmant. Idem fit quoque privatim a pastoribus, antequam admittantur praesertim rudiores ad participationem Coenæ Dominicæ.” The children were often admitted to the Communion when they were only from six to seven years of age. Under the influence of Spener catechetical instruction received the most earnest attention. And, as the chief aim was that the minister should be assured of the fitness of the young, the examination sometimes took place privately in his house. In Resenius’ book of 1627 “De executione visitationis catecheticae,” it is said that the examination in Luther’s Catechism occurred in the Church. “If then any are found to have learned well, with explanation and pious feeling, they shall not only be commended, but shall be confirmed with the imposition of hands either by the Bishop or the Pastor, And then be admitted to the Communion.”

In Iceland, which belongs to Denmark, Bishop Gudbrand Thorlakson, in 1596, ordered that the young, who had learned the Catechism, should meet for examination on the first or second Sunday after Easter and Pentecost; that the minister should announce to the congregation that these young Christians desired to come into closer union with the Lord through the Sacrament of the altar; and that he should ask the prayers of the congregation for their spiritual welfare. Then the young people declared their faith by reciting the Catechism, after which the minister read a promise which they repeated after him,


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but which made no reference to Baptism. Then followed the imposition of the right hand, and the young accompanied their parents to the altar and communed.

In view of this presentation of the subject we are not surprised at the statement of Pontoppidan (Annales, 4. 518) that, during the XVII and well into the XVIII century, Confirmation was not known in Denmark, although in 1706, Bishop Mueller proposed its restoration according to the “primitivæ ecclesiæ ritum,” an attempt which failed. But individual ministers, and especially the German pastors in Copenhagen, began to practice the public examination, and, in 1734, Bishop Hersleb introduced it in Christiania. And on the 13th of January, 1736, King Christian VI, by the advice of Bishop Bluhme enacted a law bearing on the subject. The principal changes made in the general practice were: the solemn repetition of the baptismal vows, and the statement that the aim is to prepare the young for the Communion. In one Section it is declared that “the nature, quality and importance of Confirmation consist in this, that the catechumens shall repeat and confirm that covenant, which their sponsors, at their Baptism, made for them, and that they shall be reminded that now in these days they must examine themselves before the Lord as to how they have kept their baptismal covenant, and whether they find themselves in the state in which Baptism placed them, as otherwise they would not be worthy to appear before the face of the Lord and the Christian congregation.

It was also ordered that a prescribed course of study must be pursued, and that then the pastor must meet them in his house twice in each week for at least three months, and not simply go over the course but labor for their salvation. And it was farther ordered that the Confirmation should take place publicly in the church on appointed days; that these requirements were binding on all; and that the service should be conducted with the greatest solemnity. This new order met with some opposition at first, but that soon ceased, and very few changes have been made down to the present time.

This order is also observed in the Lutheran Churches in the Danish West India Islands. Their “Liturgy and Prayers,” in the English language printed in Copenhagen, is in the hands of the writer.



In the order for the administration of the Lord’s Supper, the Danish Church departed from the canon of the Catholic Church and limited it to the Lord’s Prayer, the words of the Institution, Collect


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and Benediction, as Luther had done, but added an eminently practical address to the communicants. This address was given immediately after the consecration and before the distribution, as seen in the Liturgy of Malmoe of 1529, but, in 1535, it was placed before the consecration. The Lord’s Prayer has been generally used at the consecration, but not always in connection with the words of the Institution as now. In 1529 it appears coupled with the Admonition, and the Ordinance directed that the Prayer should be intoned according to the prescribed musical notes.

The words of the Institution, which in the Catholic Church were repeated by the priest inaudibly, were in all the evangelical churches sung aloud, and the Danish Ritual directed that it should be done “alta voce.” And at this point the question of the elevation of the elements received attention. The Catholic practice of elevating the elements for adoration was, of course, abandoned at once, but the first instruction on the subject was given in 1529 when the minister was directed to “lift up” (loefte) the plate and cup, but the Ordinance left this to the judgment of the minister. But in the Hand Book of 1539 Vormordsen directly forbade it, and yet the proceedings of the Synod of Antvorskov show that it was still practiced in many places, and hence, in the spirit of compromise, the Synod of Copenhagen ordered, that, during the consecration and near its close, the minister should make a “decens elevatio.” (Pont. Annal., 3, 250.) But the elevation as a separate act was forbidden, and before the Norwegian Ordinance was published, the “lifting up” gave place to the later practice of merely taking the plate and cup in the hand.

Another question also arose, namely, whether there should be another consecration if the consecrated bread and wine were exhausted. An affirmative answer is given by the Ordinance and the Synod of 1540; and the Hand Books of 1535 and 1539 both direct that such consecration shall take place without interrupting the singing of the hymn, and that the words of the Institution shall be said and not sung,

In accord with the example of Luther, the Hand Book of 1535, and Bugenhagen’s instructions for the monasteries, the words of the Institution were divided and the bread distributed as soon as consecrated, and then the wine consecrated and distributed. But the Syanod of Copenhagen, 1540, ordered the simultaneous consecration of both elements. (Pont. Annal., 3, 251, De distributione.) And the distribution took place immediately after the consecration.

In connection with the distribution the question arose whether


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the minister should partake of the Communion at his own hands. He was authorized by the Synod of Antvorskov to do so at the public service and also when administering the Sacrament to the sick. And the practice was, of course, approved by Bugenhagen, who gives the following rubric in his German “Ordnung der evangelische Messe” of 1524—a copy of which lies before me—“Nach diesem gebet speyst der priester sich selbs, darnach das Volck.” But in 1640 the practice was allowed only in exceptional cases. In 1886 the practice was officially and without limitations authorized, and so the matter stands now.

At the distribution, according to the Liturgy of 1529, the minister said,—“the receiving of the body of Jesus Christ strengthen thee unto eternal life; the partaking of the blood of Jesus Christ be unto thee for help and comfort. Amen.” But the Ordinance, 1536, directed that the distribution should take place in silence, as follows: “the minister shall say nothing to those who commune, since it was audibly said to all the people when it was consecrated.” But the Synod of Copenhagen modified this by allowing “that something might be said, but as briefly as possible, as “receive the body of Jesus Christ; receive the blood of Jesus Christ.” For a time the word “true” was prefixed to the words “body” and “blood,” but later it was omitted as implied and therefore unnecessary, At the close of each Communion, where the Catholic Church offered a prayer called the “Communio,” there the Danish church used a hymn, as noted in the Liturgy of 1529, and in that of 1553 this hymn is designated, which begins as follows:—“God be praised and blest, who Himself has fed us with His body and blood; may God turn this to our good. Kyrie eleison.”

A hymn was always sung during the distribution. Sometimes the Sanctus and Agnus Dei were sung as hymns, the former before the consecration and the latter either before or after the distribution. But the Synod of Antvorskov limited the use of these to the great Festivals. When the singing ceased a prescribed Collect was offered. Then followed the Responsory—“the peace of the Lord be with you,” and then the Aaronic Benediction sung in the same tone as the Collect. In 1554, Palladius urged that it should be said in singularis.

The revised order of 1895 is as follows:

1. Address to the Communicants.

2. Lords Prayer.

3. Words of the Institution.

4. Distribution. “This is Jesus! true body. This is Jesus’ true blood.”


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5. At the close of each Communion: “The crucified and risen Christ Jesus, Who has now fed you with His holy body and blood, wherewith He made fullest satisfaction for all your sins, strengthen and uphold you therewith in a true faith unto life everlasting.”

6. Collect.

7. Aaronic Benediction.

The remaining parts of the Liturgy are full of interest, but for want of space, cannot be treated in this paper.


Pittsburgh, Pa.


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THE Church Year moves about Christ as the natural year moves about the sun. In the sphere of redeemed time Christ is the Sun. In the kingdom of God, on earth as in heaven, “the Lamb is the light thereof.”

The light of the natural sun and all that his shining does for the material world, reach their highest significance as the parable of the light that shines forth from the Person of Christ and of what that light works in the world of the spirit.

Thus it comes that the great theme of the entire Church Year is Jesus Christ, the “Light of the World.” All the lessons, prayers, hymns, sermons and services of every form, time and place, however varied in outward features, have their inner, living harmony in Christ.

Directly or indirectly, Christ is the essential element in all true worship, public and private. “Without Me, ye can do nothing.” “I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ.” “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus.”

The sacrificial element in our worship is all in the Name of Christ and is rendered possible by the sacrifice He has made for us. Prayer, praise, thanksgiving, almsgiving, all spring out of the love that His love has kindled in our hearts. The sacramental element in our worship is Christ. It is Christ giving Himself to us in all the fulness of His truth, love and life, in and through the means that He Himself has ordained.

Since, therefore, Christ is the great, central Theme of the whole ecclesiastical cycle it must follow that the particular Theme of each


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season and service will be a presentation of some specific truth of the doctrine of Christ, or phase of His life, or feature of His mission, or fact of His ministry.

In carrying out this general harmony, the Introit, Collect, Epistle and Gospel for each Festival and Sunday of the Church Year have their particular thematic harmony. These chief parts of the service move about a central, fundamental thought. They are all intended to concentrate the attention of the worshipper upon a particular phase or fact of salvation, so that while he is always edified, more or less, from the whole counsel of God, yet that instruction and the grace of the word that conveys it, come to him at each service through some single view of the Lord, or of His work, or of His teaching.

The mind of man is so constituted that it can only give its full and effectual attention to one thing at a time. So the heart can go out with the full current of its emotion to only one object at a time. Our service takes this important fact into account. It is arranged to meet a human necessity. It is designed to make the deepest impression upon the mind and heart; to minister the highest measure of edification to the whole being of the worshipper.

From these considerations it ought to be obvious that, in order to secure the most salutary results; in order to accomplish the most effectual edification we should, at both services, ordinarily at least, confine ourselves to the specific Theme presented in the leading parts of the service for the day, or to some cognate subject. The secondary lessons present such regulated themes, and many others may be found outside of the appointed pericopes.

The theme for each Season, Festival and particular Day is announced in the Introit. This is the principal purpose of the Introit. It combines both the sacramental and the sacrificial elements of worship. It is the Word of God bearing grace to us, and it is the sanctified channel through which we offer praise to God.

The Introit is properly the beginning, the entrance to the sanctuary of worship. After the worshipper has been prepared by the confession of his sins, and has received the gracious declaration of forgiveness, he now “draws near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith.” He now comes “boldly unto the throne of grace.” He now approaches God with filial confidence, that he may commune with Him and be built up in the knowledge of His truth and love.

At this entrance to the heavenly place of true worship it is very proper that the keynote of the service should be sounded; the keynote


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of a clear harmony that is developed, elaborated and intensified in the Collect, Epistle and Gospel, and which should then be consistently carried out and, as far as possible, completed in the sermon, hymns, anthems, and in everything pertaining to that particular service.

The Theme for the particular Season is usually indicated by the name given to it. Advent thus designates the Theme for the Advent Season. This Theme is, The Coming of Christ. All the services during Advent harmonize in that one central thought or truth. The several services may each center in a single phase of His coming, as His birth in the flesh or His coming in glory, but the greater Theme of the entire Season is, His perpetual coming, from the creation of the world to its ultimate glorification.

The Theme for the first Sunday in Advent is, Preparation, in view of the Coming of the Lord. In the Introit the worshipper lifts up his soul to God; puts his trust in God; prays for protection and divine guidance. The Collect prays for the coming of the Lord in power; for deliverance and defense. The Epistle is an admonition to awake and be prepared. The Gospel is the account of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is the same as the Gospel for Palm Sunday. It is used here by anticipation. Its purpose here is preparation. The event which this Gospel relates is not only a historical incident, it is a parable of all the comings of Christ. Its devout contemplation stirs up the soul to prepare for any and for every coming of the Lord.

In the Festival services the Theme is most prominently announced.

Take,—for example, the Chief Service for Christmas Day.

Introit: UNTO us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder.

And His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God: the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Ps. O sing unto the Lord a new song: for He hath done marvellous things.

Nothing could be clearer than the Theme of that adoring outburst. It is, The Incarnation, at that point where it becomes a historical fact in our human world; the birth of Christ in the flesh. The birth of the Son of God as the Son of man. It fixes the whole attention of the worshipper upon that one stupendous fact. Fills him with that one overwhelming truth.

The Collect grasps this glorious fact and makes it the ground of a


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confident petition for deliverance from sin, as it is in itself the most blessed assurance of the reality of such release from the bonds of iniquity.

GRANT, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that the new birth of Thine Only-Begotten Son in the flesh may set us free who are held in the old bondage under the yoke of sin.

The Epistle, Titus 2:11-14, Isa. 9:2-7, takes up the Theme. In the first part Paul tells us what the Incarnation means for us, and makes practical application of its glorious lesson. In the second part we have the very words of the Introit with their immediate context, thus elaborating the Theme and pouring additional light upon it.

The intelligent worshipper here begins to feel his fellowship with the whole Church from the beginning of time; his oneness with the redeemed in heaven and on earth, and with all the holy angels who fall down in adoration before the Babe of Bethlehem.

The Gospel, Luke 2:1-14, is the account which this Evangelist gives of the birth of Christ. The Theme announced in the Introit meets us again in the message of the angels to the shepherds: “Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, Which is Christ the Lord.”

In a service where the Theme is so very prominent; where the harmony of the several parts is so clearly evident, it is impossible to sound a discordant note anywhere in the whole order, or during the entire day, without offending the feeling of congruity and the sense of propriety in the intelligent worshipper. Even those who have not been particularly instructed but who have been accustomed to such an order, resent the bringing in of anything that does not bear upon the one great Theme, especially the importing of secular subjects and spectacular exercises.

The Epiphany Theme is, The Manifestation of Christ as the Royal Redeemer.

Introit: BEHOLD the Lord, the Ruler hath come: and the Kingdom, and the power and the glory are in His hand.

Ps. Give the King Thy judgments, O God: and Thy righteousness unto the King’s Son.

The Collect refers to the manifestation of Christ as King of the Jews to the wise men who are the representatives of the Gentile world,


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and thus He is acknowledged as the King of the whole world. The petition recognizes the Godhead as it is revealed in Christ, and by anticipation apprehends the eternal sovereignty of Christ with the Father and the Holy Ghost.

The Epistle, Isa. 60:1-5, is a thrilling call to the nations of the earth to rise and welcome the coming of the true light, and to behold the gathering of all the ends of the world to the standard of the King of kings.

The Gospel, Matt. 2: 1-12, is the account of the visit of the wise men to the Holy Family, in which the Kingly character of Jesus is acknowledged and honored.

The order for Quinquagesima furnishes an example of a profound thematic harmony, which, however, is not at once apparent.

Theme: God is our Refuge; a present help in trouble.

Introit: BE Thou my strong Rock: for an house of defence to save me.

Thon art my Rock and my Fortress: therefore for Thy Name’s sake lead me and guide me.

Ps. In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in Thy righteousness.

Collect: O LORD, we beseech Thee, mercifully hear our prayers, and having set us free from the bonds of sin, defend us from all evil.

The Theme is plain in the Collect, which recognizes the presence of the Lord, the deliverance He has already wrought, and the further defence He will surely vouchsafe.

The Epistle is I Cor. 13:1-13. This is the chapter in which Paul sets forth the essential and all-inclusive character of love. Love in the believer. God is not mentioned. There is no reference to a refuge, or to a Divine presence. Where then is the note in this Epistle that accords with the plain Theme of the Introit?

Upon examination we find that the truth, God is our Refuge, is the underlying truth of the Epistle. The sum of its teaching is, that no matter what we may have in the way of attainments, endowments, works or possessions, if we have not love we have nothing and are nothing. Also that the greatest of God’s gifts is love. It is only a short step from this to the reflection that God Himself is love. That He is our Refuge because He is love. That the pavilion in which He hides


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His children, the secret place of His tabernacle in which He keeps them in everlasting security is His love. Thus the thought of Introit and Collect here finds a harmonious response.

The Gospel is Luke 18:31-43. It treats of two distinct incidents, which appear to have been sequent in their occurrence but which have no obvious thematic relation to the Introit and Collect, or even to each other.

The first incident is the announcement of Jesus to His disciples that they are about to go up to Jerusalem; His sufferings, death and resurrection. “Then He took unto Him the twelve and said unto them, behold, we go up to Jerusalem.”

The second incident is the miracle wrought on the blind beggar near Jericho.

The Theme—God is our Refuge—is not at once obvious. But the instant we think of it we perceive that it is here. It is strikingly illustrated in each part of the Gospel. Each of these incidents is a powerful exemplification of the truth that God is our Refuge; that He is our strong Rock of defence and safety.

The case of the blind beggar shows how God comes to us in our darkness and helplessness, and is ever present for our deliverance and protection.

The sufferings, death and resurrection of Christ portray the same truth as no other incident in the life of any man or in the history of the whole world does or can exhibit and authenticate it.

The Lenten Theme has an objective and a subjective side. The objective is, the sufferings and death of Christ; the subjective, our own sorrow for sin and our penitent cry for forgiveness.

In the order for Ash-Wednesday it is the subjective side that is prominent. The Introit is the cry of a penitent sufferer to God. A cry of sorrow yet of perfect trust.

Introit: I WILL cry unto God Most High: unto God that performeth all things for me.

Yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge: until these calamities be overpast.

Ps. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in Thee.

The Collect, Epistle and Gospel are all in the closest and most obvious harmony with the thought and feeling of the Introit.

The Theme for Easter is, of course, the Resurrection. It is clear-


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ly and impressively announced in the alternative Introit, which seems to me much preferable to the first Introit given. It is plain also in the Collect and in the Gospel, which is St. Mark’s account of the Resurrection. But it is not plain, to me it is indeed very obscure, in the Epistle. The Epistle, I Cor. 5:6-8, is taken from a passage in which Paul is treating a case of discipline. There is no mention of the Resurrection. Christ is declared to be our Passover, and we are exhorted to keep the feast, assumably the Easter Festival, “with sincerity and truth.” But why should we not have an Epistle for Easter Sunday in which the thematic harmony is more pronounced? The lection in the Episcopal Prayer Book, Col. 3:1-7 is more in harmony with the Easter Theme, yet it too is predominantly subjective. We are tempted to wonder how this lection got its place in our order, and to venture the suggestion that the Epistle in the secondary table for Easter Monday, I Cor. 15:12-20, would be more appropriate as the Epistle for the Festival Day.

We have an example of prominent thematic harmony in the Introit, Collect, Epistle and Gospel for Misericordias.

Theme: The Divine Providence; the abundant goodness of the Lord in the creation and preservation of the world.

Introit: THE earth is full of the goodness of the Lord:

By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made.

Ps. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.

Collect: GOD, Who, by the humiliation of Thy Son, didst raise up the fallen world: Grant unto Thy faithful ones perpetual gladness, and those whom Thou hast delivered from the danger of everlasting death, do Thou make partakers of eternal Joys.

The Epistle, I Peter 2:21-35, follows the very lines of the Collect, setting forth the fact and the manner of the sufferings of Christ, and placing by the side of the petition the ground upon which it is made, and adding the precious assurance which certifies that the petition cannot fail to be granted. “Ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”

In the Gospel, John 10: 11-16, the Theme is fully and most beautifully illustrated in the parable of the Good Shepherd.

So prominent in all these parts of the service for Misericordias is


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the Good Shepherd idea, that this Sunday has come to be recognized and observed with us as Good Shepherd Sunday.

This imperfect study will serve to show that it was the design of those who arranged and developed our Order of Service that each day and each service should have its proper unity and harmony. And further, that this object has been to a very large extent attained. We believe that it would be exceedingly helpful and suggestive to our pastors, especially to the younger brethren, if some competent hand would elaborate a work, something in the nature of a full and comprehensive analysis, or a homiletical commentary upon this material. It seems to us that such a work would not only be helpful to pastors, but that it would be instructive to the laity as well, and that it would promote a better understanding and a deeper grasp of the genius of our Service.



Pittsburgh, Pa.


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OUR subject brings together two terms that may seem to some to involve a contradiction. Art is a product of the natural human intellect; worship, in the Christian sense, a devotional act of the sanctified heart. Art has to a very considerable extent nature for its teacher and mistress; worship rests upon the person and work of the Divine-human Redeemer. Art knows only beauty as its law; worship must also be truthful and holy. Art serves only aesthetic purposes and is often illusive; worship is rooted in faith, deals with eternal verities, and has edification for its aim.

In truth, however, there is as little antagonism between religion and art as there is between revelation, rightly interpreted, and a correct science. The material and spiritual both emanate from the same God as their Creator. “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” He is the Maker and preserver of the soul as well as of the body. The Giver of all the noble faculties of the mind as well as of food and raiment. He is the Author of beauty and of our capacity to enjoy beauty, as well as the Source of all truth and goodness. He is as truly the God of the natural world as of the spiritual; and excepting where the harmony between these is disturbed by sin there can be no conflict between the two.

In speaking of art we mean the use in the Cultus of the Church of the so-called fine arts, to wit, architecture, painting, sculpture, poetry and music. These are the arts that minister not to man’s material necessities or conveniences like the so-called useful arts,


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but to his love for the beautiful. Man is so constituted that he needs the beautiful as well as the useful. This principle the Church recognizes. The complete and perfect actualization of the true, the holy, and the good in the Son of Man, was also the first perfect realization of the beautiful; and as He is the Source of all real spiritual life, that life is at once holy and beautiful, and loves the beautiful in accordance with the apostolic injunction: “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; … think on these things.” (Phil. 4: 8). Hence it is said: “Christianity is akin to the beautiful. He who would work out all that the Christian life involves, cannot but work out the aesthetic element which is inherent in it. The good can never be deformed. In Christianity beauty entered into the service of truth. Therefore the Church also, the vehicle of Christianity, has enlisted the service of art in all its branches, of architecture in sacred buildings, of sound in sacred music, of poetry in sacred song, of painting and sculpture in sacred decoration. An attitude of antagonism between them never takes place till art sinks below the Christian level, till she seeks to disseminate within the province of Christianity what she has derived from merely natural religion, till she debases herself to the vulgar, or ministers to sensual gratification. Otherwise, it is the part of Christianity and the Church to act as the guardians of the healthiness, purity and truth of art.”*

Footnote: * Brueckner: The Church.


But as the handmaid of religion art serves still another purpose. “Every religion,” says Luthardt, “has an inward need externally to represent under a symbolical form those truths and notions which it proclaims, a form in which the mind finds that sensible manifestation which man’s nature demands.”† As man is essentially a religious being, art and religion have had an almost simultaneous development. Much of the history of art is also the history of religion. Says Luthardt again: “It was in the service of religion that architecture was chiefly fostered. The mighty rock temples and pagodas of India, the magnificent pillared structures of Greece, the lofty cathedrals of Christendom, what are they but speaking witnesses to this relation of service? And the same is the case with the other plastic arts. The sculpture of Greece took the gods and their sublime forms for its subjects, before it passed over to the representation of profane life. The best and richest

Footnote: † The Moral Truths of Christianity. p. 228.


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produce of painting is found within the Christian Church, in religious painting, whence all other branches, and especially that highest branch of the art, historical painting, have arisen. Music was first employed in the service of the gods, and poetry in their praise, and not till afterwards in honor of heroes; while even the drama was at first a kind of worship, both among the Greeks and in Christian Germany.”*

Footnote: * The Fundamental Truths of Christianity. p. 168.


Again it is not only to satisfy the demands of man’s nature as a physico-spiritual being that religion instinctively takes art into its service, but it does so in entire accord with Divine authority. The prohibition contained in the First Commandment is not directed against every species of art-representation in the service of religion, but against the making of graven images and pictures to be used for purposes of worship. That this is the correct interpretation is evident from the Cultus of the Jewish Church itself. The Tabernacle and Temple, where dwelt the glory of the Lord, and where the nation gathered for worship; their pattern and furnishings; their wealth of vegetable, animal, and celestial forms, of costly wood and precious metals, of fine linen and purple and embroideries; together with the garments worn by the priests when ministering in holy things:—all these were of Divine appointment. Nor are we justified in assuming much less regarding the vocal arts, poetry and music. The Psalms were the songs of inspiration; and the account given concerning the musical arrangements for the public service leaves the impression that these were likewise by Divine sanction. It was in the time of David and Solomon that the twin arts of poetry and music began to be systematically cultivated and reached their highest development, first in the schools of the prophets and afterward in connection with the Temple Service. For the latter David made most elaborate preparation. Of the 38,000 Levites he set apart 4,000, divided into 24 courses or choirs, corresponding to the 24 courses of priests, to be singers and players on instruments of various kinds, whose duty it was “to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at even,” in connection with the daily morning and evening sacrifice (I Chron. 23:5,30). These choirs had their own leaders, received special instruction, and were under the general direction of the three chief leaders, Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun. We are furthermore told that at the dedication of the Temple the members of this great choir were “arrayed in white linen” (2 Chron. 5:12), i. e. the choir was vested; and again we read that when Hezekiah restored the perfect Temple Service


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after the wicked and idolatrous reign of his father Ahaz, “he set the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with psalteries and with harps according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the Lord by His prophets (2 Chron. 29:25.) According to this it would seem that even the musical arrangements of the Temple Service were Divinely authorized.

It is therefore not strange that in the teachings of Christ and in the writings of His inspired Apostles we find nothing inimical to art. Christianity does not recognize a hostile dualism between spirit and matter, between the super-natural and natural. It disallows only what is sinful, but makes use of every thing that has a Divine right to exist (I Tim. 4:4,5). In the person of the Redeemer Himself we have the most perfect union of the super-natural and the natural—the Divine made human and the human taken up into the Divine. Hence this union of the divine and human, of the heavenly and earthly, of the internal and external, of spirit and body, is also throughout characteristic of the Redeemer’s Kingdom. That Kingdom is both visible and invisible; it is at once earthly and heavenly. The spiritual and life-giving medium whereby its members are called, gathered, enlightened, sanctified and preserved in union with Jesus Christ in the true faith, is the Divine Word preached by human lips, heard by human ears, and received into human hearts. And the Lord Himself connected worship with nature when He united the heavenly and the earthly in the Sacraments, and made use of parables drawn from nature to symbolize Divine truth. Even the new Jerusalem and its worship are described in terms borrowed from things with which we are familiar in the natural world. We read of a wall adorned with precious stones; of a street of pure gold; of golden candlesticks; of a golden altar before the throne; of golden vials full of odors; of a pure river of water of life clear as crystal proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb; of the tree of life whose leaves are for the healing of the nations; of angels clothed in pure white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles; of harpers bearing the harps of God and to their accompaniment singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Surely when the Church that was, that is, and that is to come, sets before us such an example, we have full warrant for giving art its appropriate place in worship. The soul of true religion needs a body, the spirit of devotion a visible cultus. “We are never so spiritual as to be out of the body. The more spiritual the soul of religion is, the more glorious and heav-


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enly, but not the less real is the body with which it is invested, for that soul also desires not to be unclothed but clothed upon.”* It is only where falsehood takes the place of truth, and where faith has never been begotten or has ceased to live, that everything is made of the outward, and that the Cultus of the Church degenerates into a mere opus operatum.

Footnote: * Krauth.


When Christianity took art into its service it gave it a new meaning, and opened to it a new world. Heathen art, which had reached its highest development among the Greeks, was purely aesthetic. Christian art is not merely aesthetic, but pre-eminently ethic. The former served a religion of external representation and ceremonies; the latter serves the religion of the Word. The one idealized the finite, and saw in it the perfect manifestation of the infinite; the other proceeds upon the principle that even the most ideal form is incapable of manifesting the infinite, but can only point to it. Hence our Lord’s mode of instruction by parables has been called “the starting point of Christian art,” containing “the germ of the new principle, that the sensible is a parable of the super-sensible.”

This principle found expression in the symbolical art of the Early Church as revealed by the burial monuments and the catacombs. Among the symbols were the lamb, the fish, the cross, the Chi-Rho monogram, the Alpha and Omega, and the vine, all of which symbolized Christ and His work and office; the door, the sheep and lambs, and the ship, as representative of the relation of believers and the Church to Christ; the anchor, the palm and palm branches, the crown, the lyre, and other symbols, suggestive of the Christian’s confidence and blessed hope.

Early Christian painting served both a decorative and a symbolic purpose, and, when the latter, was evidently intended to be a means of religious teaching. The subjects treated embraced Old Testament characters and events, and scenes from the life and work of Christ. The frescos found in the catacombs, says Bennett, “become invaluable indexes of the belief and life of the infant Church. They prove that the aesthetic feeling, common to all men, is struggling for expression amidst the adverse influence of the times, and that the new religion, so far from being hostile to art, is seeking to purify and inspire it by its own richer spiritual truths.” The “seeming hostility of a few of the Christian fathers,” says the same writer, “was chiefly occasioned by the corrupting associations of the prevalent art,” and was not a hostility to


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art per se. They “clearly discerned the threat to the purity of Christian life and doctrine coming from the indiscriminate use of heathen art,” and yet “assumed that to represent to the eye what the Scriptures teach by word-symbol was not idolatrous.”

Sculpture as the most materializing of the arts, and because of its very extensive employment in the pagan cultus, received the least attention in the Early Church. Only a few free statues of Christ have been found, and these represent Him as the Good Shepherd. Much more numerous are the carvings in relief on the burial caskets (sarcophagi). These, as a rule, follow the same cycle of Biblical subjects treated in the frescos, and, like the statues of Christ, are strikingly symbolical.—That neither painting nor sculpture reached a very high degree of excellence in the Early Church does not surprise us when we consider the conditions under which these first Christian art works were produced.

Protestantism does not give painting and sculpture the same place in its Cultus that was and is accorded these arts in the Cultus of the Roman and Greek Churches, for it knows no picture and image worship. Zwingli and others for the sake of saving the Word rejected all plastic art; Luther, with an equal concern for the Word, but far more conservative, would have all the arts to be the servants of the Gospel. “I am not of the opinion” said he, “that through the Gospel all the arts should be banished and driven away, as some zealots want to make us believe; but I wish to see them all, especially music, in the service of Him Who gave and created them.” Again he says: “I have myself heard those who oppose pictures, read from my German Bible. … But this contains many pictures of God, of the angels, of men, and of animals, especially in the Revelation of St. John, in the books of Moses, and in the book of Joshua. We therefore kindly beg these fanatics to permit us also to paint these pictures on the wall that they may be remembered and better understood, inasmuch as they can harm as little on the walls as in books. Would to God that I could persuade those who can afford it to paint the whole Bible on their houses, inside and outside, so that all might see; this would indeed be a Christian work. For I am convinced that it is God’s will that we should hear and learn what He has done, especially what Christ suffered. But when I hear these things and meditate upon them, I find it impossible not to picture them in my heart. Whether I want to or not, when I hear, of Christ, a human form hanging upon a cross rises up in my heart: just as I see my natural face reflected when I look into water. Now if it is not


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sinful for me to have Christ’s picture in my heart, why should it be sinful to have it before my eyes?” The Lutheran Cultus has therefore never excluded painting and sculpture, but it assigns these arts the last place. It recognizes on the one hand the fact that many of their noblest examples have been produced in the service of the Church; and on the other that “in Christianity pictorial or sculptured representations are language made visible, symbolized thought.” Whether it then be the Bible scenes and the suggestive symbols portrayed in rich colors on the walls and windows of our churches, or the beautiful carvings on their columns and furniture, or the exquisite productions of the needle on their altar and pulpit hangings, or even the free statuary of a Thorwaldsen, so long as it is a holy and chaste art, that, by the scenes and objects it sets forth, awakens and stimulates devotion, its use is not to be enjoined.

Though God may be worshiped anywhere and “dwelleth not in temples made with hands,” yet “man has need of setting apart from all that is worldly and unholy the place in which he bows in adoration, and of so ordering the same that the spirit of devotion is awakened and called forth by his surroundings.” We read of sacred places in the time of the Patriarchs. We have seen how by Divine precept Israel had its Tabernacle and its Temple, and how in all their appointments these were calculated not only to furnish instruction, but also to excite and express devotion. And though Christian worship is no longer typical as was the Jewish, but the celebration and appropriation of a completed atonement, yet it needs for this an appropriate place. Luther says: “We build churches for this one purpose, that Christians may meet together to pray, hear God’s Word, and receive the Sacrament; and when they cease to be built for this purpose they had better be torn down like any other building that has become useless.”

The first Christians assembled for worship in private houses (Acts 1: 13; 12:12; Rom. 16:23; 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15); but as their number increased and the Churches began to take form, the need of special and suitable buildings made itself increasingly manifest. The first of these, erected during the third century, were unpretentious and frail structures; and not until the time of Constantine and the cessation of persecution did Christian architecture become an art. Two styles were simultaneously developed—the Basilican and the Byzantine, the one representative of the Western Church and civilization, the other of the Eastern. The former was derived from the Roman basilica—a style of rectangular building that, with its large vestibule (narthex),


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its long nave and side aisles, and its semi-circular recess (tribune) in the rear, required but few changes in its general plan to make it serve as a model for Christian churches. The vestibule was made to answer as the gathering place of the catechumens; the long interior hall for the assembly of the baptized or faithful; and the recess became the apse or sanctuarium of the church, raised a few steps above the nave, and containing the altar, the bishop’s throne, and seats for the clergy. Somewhat in front of the sanctuarium was the space reserved for the singers and the minor clergy. On the north side of this space stood the reading-desk (ambo) for the Gospel; on the south side, that for the Epistle. The exterior of the Christian basilica was plain; but the interior, with its splendid columns, rich mosaics, and costly hangings and furniture, was most beautiful. “The early Christian basilica,” says Bennett, following out a thought expressed by Messmer, “impresses by its chaste yet noble simplicity; in it the student of delicate art-sensibility may discover the germs of that richer and fuller development which was afterward realized in the Gothic cathedral. Here is seen the solution of the most important problem of sacred architecture; namely, to develop the form through the influence of the religion whose rites were therein to be celebrated; in other words, to effect a harmony between the containing material and the contained and inspiring spirit. This significant victory was achieved by the Christian religion. Herein is noticed the difference between the Greek and the Christian idea of architecture. The spiritual significance of the interior of the Christian basilica is in strong contrast with the imposing grandeur of the exterior of the Greek temple. Subjective truth and beauty are here shown to be of more worth than material splendor. Instead of passing from a perfect exterior to an unmeaning interior, the basilica obeys the law of all true development and growth in first invigorating and purifying the subjective spirit, and then, by virtue of the transforming power of truth, subordinating to this the exterior form.”

The introduction of the transept-giving the ground-plan the form of a Latin cross, and the vaulted roof in place of the horizontal rafter ceiling, marks the transition of the earlier form of the Christian basilica to the Romanesque or round-vaulted style of church architecture; and in the intersection of the vaulted roof of the transept with that of the main nave, and the cross-vaulting introduced to support the roof of the latter, we find the germs of the later Gothic in all its glorious forms. This style above every other is most distinctively Christian, having grown to its perfection of beauty under the fostering care of


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the Church, expressing most completely the heavenward aspirations of believers, and symbolizing most fully that spiritual edifice “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth into a holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Eph. 2:20-22).

The furniture of God’s house, no less than its form and arrangement, must give expression to the fundamental ideas underlying the Cultus. The church is designed to be “the house of prayer,” where God meets His people to communicate to them, through Word and Sacrament, all the treasures of grace in Christ Jesus; and where they meet Him with the eucharistic sacrifices of prayer, praise and thanksgiving. For the performance of these acts not only must proper provision be made, but the significance of the acts themselves must be kept in view. A true Cultus recognizes the distinction between the two elements in worship—the sacramental and the sacrificial, and yet avoids the error of separating the clergy, as though it were an order, from the universal priesthood of believers. All this must silently appear in the internal arrangement and furnishing of the place of worship. A correctly developed Cultus therefore provides a sanctuarium for those acts in which the Lord more especially draws nigh to His people, as He does above all in the Holy Supper: and a nave as the gathering place of the worshiping congregation, drawing nigh to God; but it puts no screen between the two. It places an altar in the sanctuary, not as a place of sacrifice in the Romish sense, but as the “table of the Lord,” and as the place where the acts of benediction are performed, and the prayers of the congregation are offered. It gives the altar the most prominent place because in the Sacrament of the Altar Christian worship reaches its culmination, and that by its very position it may at all times remind us of this glorious mystery of our faith. It adorns the altar and its covering with a suitable symbolism that this may silently speak to us of redemption. It puts a crucifix upon the altar that the eye may see what the heart feels when it sings: “O sacred Head now wounded;” or, if not a crucifix, at least a cross, as the symbol of the Christian’s faith. And for the administration of the Holy Supper it provides vessels of appropriate design and precious metal.—To the audible Word as the means whereby faith cometh (Rom. 10:17) a true Cultus assigns the central place, and therefore both for practical and symbolical reasons stations the pulpit towards the central part of the church,


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near the people, where all can hear and understand. For the same reason the lecturn must occupy a forward position.—Nor does a true Cultus fail to recognize the Sacrament whereby we are made members of the body of Christ. It has a permanent place for the baptismal font. Sometimes near the main entrance of the church, sometimes toward the side in close connection with the sanctuarium, but never so as to obstruct the view to the altar.—Font, Pulpit, Altar-these three give expression to the liturgical principle that Baptism is the beginning, the Sermon the center, and the Holy Supper the culmination of Christian worship.

But before any of the arts already mentioned began to receive Christian development, the vocal arts, poetry and music were already in use in the Church. Christianity is pre-eminently the religion of the Word. Its whole Cultus rests on the “Word made flesh,” on the Divine-human Redeemer, as He and His work are set forth and His grace is offered and communicated in the Gospel. Hence the faith begotten and nurtured by Word and Sacrament expresses itself first of all in devout adoration, and finds in this, when it is common Service, one of the most powerful means of edification. That sacred song formed an important part of the worship of the early Christians is evident from numerous passages of the New Testament (Matt. 26:30; Mark 14:26; Luke 24:53; Acts 2:47; 16:25; I Cor. 14:26; Eph. 5:19 Col. 3:16). Nor do we lack testimony from other sources. The Christian writers Justin Martyr, Clement, Tertullian, and Eusebius all bear witness to the custom; and even the heathen Pliny, in his letter to Trajan, A. D. 110 mentions the Christians as meeting “on a certain day before sunrise, and singing by turns (i. e. antiphonally) a hymn to Christ as to God.”

The hymn-book of the first Christians was beyond doubt the Psalter; but when Paul, in addition, speaks of “hymns and spiritual songs,” it seems more than probable that other portions of the Old Testament like Ex. 15:1-18; Deut. 32:1-43; I Sam. 2:1-10; Isaiah 6:3, etc., also passed into use in the Christian services. At a very early period such inspired and distinctively Christian hymns as the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), the Benedictus (Luke 1:68-79), and the Nunc Dimittis (Luke 2:29-32), were likewise added. These, with the Gloria in Excelsis, developed from Luke 2:14, and the Te Deum Laudamus still furnish the norm of the perfect hymn. By some it is supposed that the following additional passages of the New Testament are likewise fragments of hymns: Acts 4:24-30; Eph. 5:14;


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I Tim. 3:16; 6:15,16; James 1:17; Rev. 1:4-8; 5:9,10,12-14; 11:15,17,18; 21:10-14; 22 17.

Christian hymnology had its first bloom in the Eastern Church, but reached its highest development before the Reformation in the Church of the West and in the Latin language. In its strict sense however, as a popular religious song of the worshiping congregation, the Church hymn was a product of the Reformation; and German hymnody, in the wealth of its treasures, surpasses that of every other land and tongue. Pre-Reformation Church song was not congregational. The whole Service was sung by the priests and choristers in a language to which the people were strangers. But as the Reformation again gave the people the Bible in their own language, so it gave them hymns they could understand and sing. Luther himself heads the long list of German hymn-writers: with thirty-seven hymns to his credit. Julian calls him “the Ambrose of German Hymnody,” and says: “His hymns are characterized by simplicity and strength, and a popular churchly tone. They breathe the bold, confident joyful spirit of justifying faith which was the beating heart of his theology and piety.” Next to Luther the most gifted and popular hymn-writer of the Lutheran Church was Paul Gerhardt.

The first English hymns in Coverdale’s Goostly Psalmes and Spiritual Songs can most of them be traced to Lutheran sources; but when Calvinistic conceptions gained the ascendency in England, these also made their influence felt in the hymnody of the English Church. The rage for metrical versions of the Psalms, the vast majority of which were most wretched, for a long time paralyzed original productiveness. Not until the time of Isaac Watts, who has been called “the father of English Hymnody,” did original hymns begin to meet with favor. Watts was followed by numerous writers down to the present to whom the Church is indebted for many hymns that will continue to be sung as long as the English language endures.

Here it may be well to pause for a moment to consider what must be the characteristics of a true hymn, whether metrical or unmetrical, A genuine hymn must deal with the great objective facts of religion. It must be addressed to the Triune God, or to one of the three Persons in the Trinity. It must be inspired by the perfections, attributes, offices and works that we connect with each of the three Persons in the Godhead. Its contents must take the form chiefly of supplication, prayer, praise and thanksgiving. It must be lyrical, i. e. singable, and must at all times serve the purposes of common worship, or, in other


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words, be true people’s song. These rubrics therefore exclude all so-called hymns that contain false doctrine or that are mere dry statements of correct doctrine; hymns that are purely subjective, reflective or sentimental; hortatory hymns; the so-called “narrative hymns;” hymns that moralize about certain virtues and graces or sing the praises of objects that cannot be worshiped; hymns expressive of morbid sentiment; and hymns that however excellent as to contents possess no lyrical character. Many of these may answer admirably for private reading and devotion, but they are not Church hymns, i. e. hymns suitable for common worship. Still far beneath all such are the rhymes lacking even the qualities of respectable poetry, that with their equally insipid tunes have in recent years, through the publications of a certain type, helped to degrade the song of church and school.

The devotional sentiments begotten by the great objective facts of religion find their appropriate expression in the music of public worship, which, when of the right kind, is also a most powerful promoter of devotion. It is as it were the censer in which the worshiping congregation offers its incense of prayer, praise and thanksgiving to the Most High, and which by the fragrance of its odors directs mind and heart to the great realities of the unseen world. What the music of the early Christians was like we hardly know. Perhaps some of it was derived from the Hebrew Temple Service. Probably Aug. Wilh. Ambros is right in surmising that “from the Musica Sacra of the Hebrews, the music of Christianity derived its sacredness, from the musical art of the Greeks, its form, shape, and beauty.” It reached its first stage of development under Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, who introduced the so-called Ambrosian Chant; another stage began with Gregory the Great, the father of the Gregorian Chant; in the works of Palestrina pure Church music attained its greatest perfection in the Roman Catholic Church, and in those of Eccard, Hassler and others of the same school in the Lutheran Church; whilst sacred music as distinguished from pure Church music came to its most glorious unfolding in the works of Bach and Haendel.

The music of the Church, if it is to serve its right function, must be inspired by the Church’s Liturgy in its completeness for all seasons and occasions. Starting with this fundamental conception the Lutheran Church gives place to three forms of music in her Cultus, to wit, the recitative or liturgical, for which the ancient Plain Song is best adapted; the melodic as it appears in the unisonous congregational hymn-tune; and the polyphonic for the choir. All three must serve to transfigure


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the text, and must be of such a character and so related as not to do violence to a correct devotional feeling or disturb the unity of the Service as an act of reverent worship. The latter is done, however, and the text assigned a secondary place, when the liturgical song degenerates into the sensuously sweet and languid from which every trace of the virile and dignified Plain Song has disappeared; when hymn-tunes are chosen that say nothing either musically or devotionally, and that too often remind of the street or the play-house; and when choirs, unmindful of their proper functions, arrogate to themselves an independent place, and sing what is neither fitting for the house of God nor related in any organic way to the Service itself. These altogether too prevalent sins both against a correct artistic taste and a reverent devotional feeling, will not be corrected until pastors and organists, choirs and congregations come to a better understanding of the purpose that music is designed to serve in public worship; and until the Church is prepared to accept a musical setting of her Service that in every part sets forth the deep spiritual meaning of that Service.

The congregational hymn-tune is a distinct product of the Reformation. Upon its history we cannot here enter. Its noblest form is found in the Protestant Choral in its original, fresh, rhythmical form, which should always serve as the standard whereby all hymn-tunes admitted into our Services are to be judged. When these incomparable melodies are beginning to meet with merited appreciation in other church bodies, it is not to our credit that they are so rarely heard in our own English congregations whose lawful heritage they are. It seems that in this as in many other things we are quite willing to give up our own treasures in exchange for the rubbish that a totally different type of church-life has produced.

The artistic element in Church song finds expression chiefly through the choir and the organ. Both however must subordinate the purely artistic to the devotional. The purpose of every thing that is sung or played must be worship. Hence it is important that the choir (in the Lutheran Cultus always a chorus) be composed of persons who are themselves devout Christians and “who will sing with the spirit, and with the understanding also” (I Cor. 14:15). Hence what they sing is also a matter of the gravest importance. On the one hand the vulgar and mean must be excluded; on the other the intensely subjective and dramatic is rarely in place. Because of the latter quality the oratorio and cantata style cannot, strictly speaking, be called Church music, however greatly we reverence the genius of Bach


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and Haendel, the two greatest masters in this style. Neither the vulgar nor the intensely dramatic is profitable for worship. The one offends, the other ministers to purely intellectual and aesthetic enjoyment.

As regards the use of the organ I repeat what I have said elsewhere, that, as some of the old Church Orders direct, it should not be used during service for the performance of flippant and vulgar music, nor for mere artistic display. The strict, pure style of the great masters in organ music should determine the character of the voluntaries. In accompanying voices the function of the organ is to encourage and support, but it must never obscure the words or attract attention to itself by striving after unusual effects. He only is well qualified as an organist in whom musical and liturgical understanding, pure taste, technical ability, and sincere piety are found combined.

Having now to an extent sketched the historical development of Christian Art, and having seen how Christian Worship takes Art into its service not merely to gratify the aesthetic sense, but as a means of edification, let us yet briefly see what must be its characteristics, in order to serve its proper purpose. Harnack mentions four: veracity, fidelity to history, intelligibility, and simplicity and dignity.

Christian Art must set forth the Christian Faith according to its objective and subjective truth. Nothing must therefore be admitted as an art-form into the Cultus of the Church that does not correctly set forth or symbolize an objective truth of God’s Word, and call forth that reverence and devotion which only the Word, rightly received and believed, can beget. Hence many pictures found in Roman Catholic churches as also much of the hymnology and music both of Romish and Protestant churches should have no place in the house of God.

As the Church has an unbroken history, and in all her pure arts in all ages knows but “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in all” (Eph. 4: 5,6), she should therefore also reflect this in her art today. By degrees, the Church developed her own art, representing in all its departments a distinct and recognizable type: and from this there should be no wider departure than the principle of truth and present-day requirements demand.

Again her art must be intelligible, i. e. of a kind that readily commends itself to the understanding of the people. Pictures must not be so allegorical, nor symbols so mysterious, nor hymns so stilted, nor the music so intricate as to become meaningless and unprofitable to the


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average worshiper. But this does not mean that the art of the Church may ever descend to the vulgar. For God and His people only the best and most beautiful is good enough. Hence a reverent devotional feeling combined with a pure artistic taste will not allow a quack architect to build a church, nor, permit a quack artist, a quack poet, or a quack musician to desecrate the house of God and offend eye and ear of devout worshipers by their rude productions.

Above all must the art of the Church be simple and dignified. The beauty of all ecclesiastical art must be the beauty of holiness; and it is only then most beautiful when by its chaste simplicity and noble dignity it most readily awakens holy thoughts and attunes the heart to holy service. Hence art that pleases only by its technical perfection, and ministers only to the aesthetic sense, but does not at the same time serve the holy purpose which all ecclesiastical art is meant to serve, can have no place in a pure Cultus. This principle excludes many beautiful conceptions in poetry, music, painting and sculpture, that as artworks are deserving of the highest appreciation, but that in the worshiping congregation are altogether useless as aids to devotion and edification.

And now let me summarize this presentation by asking and answering the question: How does the ideal Lutheran congregation, rooted in sound doctrine, vitalized by the Holy Spirit, permeated by a true spirituality, and having a pure Liturgy, treat the arts we have considered, in its worship? It uses all of them to magnify Christ and His grace. It has a Cultus that sets forth the great objective facts of redemption on the one hand, and expresses the heart’s faith and gratitude, its love, its aspirations, and its hopes on the other. It assigns to the audible and visible Word the chief place in that Cultus. It gathers for worship both to receive and to give. It sees in it a sacramental and a sacrificial side. Its place of worship is therefore neither a mere preaching place, nor an opera house, nor an art gallery, but the “house of the Lord,” a “house of prayer,” which in all its appointments speaks only of holy things and holy service, of a gracious Giver and of sanctified givers. Whether it build a cathedral or a modest chapel, it permits no profane pattern in its form, no shams in its construction, no bizarre effects and gaudy show in its decorations and adornments, no caricature of sacred things on painted wall or in stained glass and sculptured stone. It guards with equal care the vocal arts. It adapts its hymns and music to the place, purpose, and season. It does not offend against reverence and propriety by singing doggerel and jingles,


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nor allow the use of hymns so unintelligible and of tunes so difficult as to profit no one. It will not shout Alleluia on Good Friday and chant De Profundis on Easter. It cannot tolerate an organist and choir whose principal object is the display of virtuosity, and will dismiss both as soon as they rob it of one jot or tittle of its Divine right to worship God in sacred song. In a word, the art of the ideal Lutheran congregation is Christian art, dignified, noble, and pure; never coarse and vulgar; refined and beautiful, yet always simple and holy, serving at once to arouse and to express devotion.

It is sometimes said, even among us, that all these things tend only to externalize devotion. But there is no such danger so long as the Divine Word remains the center of our worship, and we allow that Word to do its saving and sanctifying work in our hearts and lives. Then these will themselves become beautiful; and the soul that has the beauty of the Lord upon it will also find pleasure in clothing its devotions in a beautiful form. Like the woman with the box of precious ointment, it will, in sincerest love and gratitude, honor the Lord with the costliest and best that it has. “The highest and best” says even a Reformed writer, “must express itself in no other than the noblest forms, and nowhere is the tasteless and misshapen less appropriate, than where God is to be worshiped in spirit and in truth.”*

Footnote: * Van Oosterzee.


When a Lutheran calls this “Ritualism” and “High Churchism,” or an arrogant “churchman” sets up the extraordinary claim that whatever of pure art and worship we have is only copied from the Anglican communion, both are to be commiserated for their dense but by no means excusable ignorance. The Church of the pure faith and the pure worship knows no such terms and acknowledges no such indebtedness. Our Cultus is our own, and is but the outgrowth and expression of our spiritual life, and not a sign of spiritual death. In its evangelical form it came and developed with the Reformation itself; and surely no one would accuse the Church of the Sixteenth Century of dead orthodoxy and formalism! Even the so-called “non-liturgical” Churches are coming to realize that the spirit which prompted a large part of Protestantism to be hostile to sacred art, is also in the long run fatal to reverent common worship. It is this very spirit that has in so many places transformed the modern church into an amphitheatre, the chancel into a lecture platform, the minister into a moral instructor, and the song of the people into a sacred concert by the choir! To guard against such tendencies among us we need increasingly to study


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and faithfully to follow the principles upon which our Cultus is based, Then will our churches be churches indeed; and those who regularly gather in them will come both to receive from the Lord, and to worship Him “in the beauty of holiness.”




Among the authorities consulted in the preparation of this paper are the following: Th. Harnack: Praktische Theologie; Rietschel: Lehrbuch der Liturgik; Meurer: Der Kirchenbau vom Standpunkt und nach dem Brauche der lutherischen Kirche; Schoeberlein u. Riegel: Schatz des liturg. Chor u. Gemeindegesangs; Schoeberlein: Die Musik im Cultus der evang. Kirche; Koch: Geschichte des Kirchenlieds u. Kirchengesangs; Julian: Dictionary of Hymnology; Van Oosterzee: Practical Theology; Bennett: Christian Archaeology; Luthardt: The Moral Truths of Christianity; Schaff-Herzog: Encyclopaedia of Religious Knowledge.


J. F. OHL.

Philadelphia, Pa.