Published by the Association Pittsburgh, Pa., 1906.
Copyright, 1906, by The Lutheran Liturgical Association.
[These volumes have been scanned and proofread, but may still contain errors. Original pagination has been indicated throughout.]
V 1 The Liturgical Influence of Gregory the Great (A. L. Ramer)
V 9 The Function of the Minister in Divine Worship (E. F. Krauss)
V 21 A Laity Liturgically Well-Informed (A. B. Markley)
V 31 The Significance of Symbolism and Its Employment in the Service of the Church (G. J. Gongaware)
V 41 The Collects (S. A Bridges Stopp)
V 53 The Fundamental Principles of Divine Service (G. W. Mechling)
V 69 Regulations and Customs Pertaining to the Use of the Sacraments (I. M. Wallace)
V 85 Liturgical Accuracy and Spirituality (H. D. Spaeth)
THE LITURGICAL INFLUENCE OF GREGORY THE GREAT.
GREGORY the Great stands unique in his work on the Roman Mass and liturgical development in general. It would be a mistake to regard him as the author of the Mass or even any large portion of it. A rich and varied material had accumulated prior to his time. He took the liturgical material of his age and with a masterly skill recast it, giving it a fulness and stability which it has not lost unto this day. In order to estimate correctly his influence in the liturgical development, two facts must be born in mind; first, the stage to which Liturgies had developed at about the time that he was elected Pope, (590); and the development subsequent to his death during the seventh and eighth centuries until we come into possession of the earliest MSS of his Sacramentary and a century later until we find his Antiphonary.
There are extant three depositories, Sacramentaries, of the purely Roman Liturgy; the Leonine, (440-461); Gelasian, (496); Gregorian, (590-604). Pope Gelasius edited the Leonine Sacramentary and this suffered minor changes under the influence of the old Gallic Liturgy in France and Spain. Gregory took again the material of the Leonine and reduced the confusion of the variable formulae to a small and invariable number, as well as transposing, and adding material. We do not have the exact form in which it came from Gregory’s hand. The oldest MSS date only from the eighth century and hail not from Italian but from Western territory. This is accounted for by the troublesome times in Italy during this period. The interval from Gregory’s death to the close of the eighth century was fertile in liturgical development especially in the completion of the Church Year. There is a strong presumption that certain changes and modifications under Western influences, found their way into the Gregorian Sacramentary during this plastic stage. There are now five
MSS of this Sacramentary extant dating from the eighth to the eleventh century edited by Pamel, Rocca, Menard, Gerbert and Muratori. These MSS agree in the main parts but differ in minor points as might be supposed allowing for the interval of time and the still present leaven of development. It is supposed that the oldest of these MSS is that published by Muratori and it is assigned to the second half of the eighth century. The Sacramentary as first published by Gregory contained no rubrics, only the prayers and the sequences of the Mass; no lessons, no antiphons. The editor of the Muratori MS added a breviary to the canon of the Mass by the aid of which we can have a correct knowledge of how the parts were rendered, at least at that time.
The forty homilies published by Gregory the Great give considerable information on the liturgical development of his age. The Church Year was then not yet developed, especially the second half, the period without festivals. A curious circumstance comes to light in the superscription of these homilies assigning them to those Sundays which in subsequent times had the lesson which the homily treated as its text. These superscriptions are the work of a later editor who failed to inform himself of the contents of the homily. Thus the nineteenth homily is assigned to Septuagesima Sunday as it treats the text Matt. 20:1-16. In point of fact this Sunday was not yet assigned in the Church Year in the time of Gregory. These homilies are, however, valuable in determining the Church Year as many of them mention in the text the time when they were preached. These lessons of Gregory are among the earliest that have come to us from this period.
The Antiphonary of Gregory contained the invitatories, responses, collects, all that was said or sung by the choir. But here again our earliest MS dates only from the ninth century. The Antiphonary comes to us a completed work. We have no means of tracing its development during its constructive stages such as we possess for the Sacramentary covering a period from the fifth to the ninth century. The Church Year is now completed. The Sundays after Epiphany and Whitsunday all have their appointments. Just how much of the Antiphonary is original with Gregory is hard to determine. That there was singing in the Mass before his time is self-evident; what was added after his time and ascribed to him we cannot determine. Berno Augi-
ensis, (1045), calls Gregory the Great the ordinator libri Sacramentarium et Antiphonarium. His biographer John calls him “wiser than Solomon because of his antiphons.” Gregory is particularly known for his service in developing Plain Song (cantus firmus, choralis,) or the so-called Gregorian Chant. The singing that prevailed in the Church in his day was the Ambrosian Song, consisting of Greek melodies and ancient psalmody. In course of time the emotional element in the Greek melody developed into unsanctified worldly sentimentality. To counteract this tendency, Gregory introduced what is known as Plain Song
The characteristics of this “Gregorian Music” are such as to adapt it most fittingly to sacred purposes. It held its place all through the Middle Ages, was preserved in the Lutheran Service, and is now again becoming more and more popular in the Church. Gregory’s service to the cause of Church Music was commemorated during the Middle Ages by singing a hymn of praise in his honor before Mass on the first Sunday in Advent. Gregory established a singing school in Rome and this became a centre for antiphonal singing. The choir composed largely of clerical members became a necessary adjunct to the rendition of the Mass. It was arranged in two parts, one on each side of the altar. One side under the direction of a leader intoned while the other side sang the response.
Upon an examination of the Sacramentary of Gregory, we find that the old threefold division of the Mass with respect to the attendants is abolished. But the Mass divides itself into three separate acts. First, the acts of the Lessons; second, the Offertory; and third, the Canon of the Mass proper. The sermon is no longer an integral part of the Mass. The General Prayer following the sermon in the Apostolic Constitution is either lost or as some think finds expression in the Kyrie. There are only two Lessons, the Gospel and Epistle, and one Collect. The Ite, missa est, formerly at the close of the homiletical service is now transposed as the closing formula at the end of the Mass. With these general remarks we will now examine the several parts of the Mass.
The Mass began with the Introit, which set forth a particular grace for the Season. The Introit was followed by the Kyrie which was sung nine times, after which followed the Gloria in Excelsis, intoned by the priest and responded to by the choir from
et in terra. This introductory Service is of special interest as it is of purely Roman origin. We have no Antiphonary which gives us the text of the Introits of this period. The position which the Kyrie occupies and its interchange with the Litany is worthy of note. The Kyrie Eleison was the response which the people made to the intercessory petitions in the Litany. Kliefoth advances the theory (III, 226), that the Litany was the later form of the General Prayer in the Apostolic Constitution following the sermon. During the sixth century the Litany was transposed to follow the singing of the Psalm in the Introit. It was, however, contrary to the proper liturgical conception to have a General Prayer at this place. Gregory took out of the Litany the Kyrie Eleison responses and assigned them to their present place in the Introit. This seems plausible, for on fast and vigil days the Litany is appointed instead of the Kyrie, when this and the Gloria in Excelsis are to be omitted. The Kyrie was intoned by the choir and the congregation responded with the Eleison. The Kyrie was repeated nine times. In the Apostolic Constitution and in the Greek Church the two words go together and are both spoken by the congregation. Gregory calls the Kyrie Vox deprecationis. He says after the congregation heard the word of grace announced in the Introit, the people cry for mercy. Upon this follows the Gloria in Excelsis, the hymn of praise of the angels. Before the time of Gregory it was not in common use. He appointed it for all Sunday and festival day masses when the bishop was celebrant and allowed it for the priests on Easter and the day of their consecration. When the Litany was used then the Gloria in Excelsis was to be omitted. Other hymns are not found in the Mass; these find their place in the Horae. Nine hymns are ascribed to Gregory. The best known among these is Rex Christe, factor omnium. After this introductory part follow the Act of the Lessons, the Offertory and the Canon of the Mass in the narrower sense. In the conclusion of the Canon of the Mass, the priest is directed to put a little of the bread in the chalice and then to slightly elevate it. This marks the beginning of the elevation of the chalice. The consecrated bread is broken before distribution in order to deal with the sacrifice of the Mass in imitation of a Lamb that was slain.
Although Gregory encouraged the practice of preaching, yet in his Sacramentary the sermon is not an integral part of the
Mass. The Lessons have no longer a purpose and object of their own. The Word is offered to God in prayer and He is thanked for it, but the congregation no longer receives the Word and its explanation in the sermon. A similar displacement of the significance of the elements of the Lord’s Supper has taken place. The early Christian Church regarded the distribution and the reception of the elements as the chief thing in the sacrament. All the other acts were really only preparatory to the reception. Gregory’s sacrificial theory of the Mass placed the chief importance upon the offering up unto God the Body of Christ. It was immaterial whether there were communicants present to partake of the Body thus offered.
Gregory clearly teaches the doctrine of transubstantiation. He says: Bonus pastor pro ovibus suis animam suam posuit, ut in sacramento nostro corpus suum et sanguinem verteret et oves, quas redemerat, carnis suae alimento satiaret.* “The Good Shepherd offered His life for the sheep, that He might change His Body and Blood in our sacrament and might satisfy the sheep whom He had redeemed, with the food of His flesh.” The offerings brought by the congregation were changed through the operation of the Mass into the Body and Blood of Christ. Another passage: Debemus quotidianas carnis et sanguinis hostias immolare. Haec namque illam nobis mortem unigeniti per mysterium reparat, qui pro nobis iterum in hoc mysterio sacrae oblationis immolatur.† “We ought to offer the daily sacrifice of His flesh and blood. This sacrifice indeed alone saves the soul from eternal destruction which procures for us that death of the Only-begotten through the divine mystery who is offered for us anew (iterum) in this mystery of the sacred oblations.”
Footnote: * Kliefoth III, 195.
Footnote: † Ibid. III, 196.
Gregory’s doctrine of Purgatory found a practical support and mighty instrument in his theory of the Lord’s Supper. He says: Si culpae post mortem insolubiles non sunt, multum solet animas etiam post mortem sacra oblatio hostia salutaris ut hanc nonnumquam ipsae defunctorum animae expetere videantur.‡ “If sins are not atoned for after death it is wont that souls are greatly profited even after death by the sacred oblations of the saving sacrifice so that these souls
Footnote: ‡ Ibid. III, 196.
of the dead sometimes appear to beg for this sacrifice.” Gregory had much to say of the miraculous power of the consecrated bread and even recounted cases where the dead appeared as phantoms begging that Mass might be said for the repose of their souls.
Assuming the figment of purgatory and forcing the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper to suit its exigencies, Gregory laid the foundation of one of the most gigantic errors with which mankind has ever been burdened. The steps in this ruinous system are easily taken. The chief importance in the Mass is its “imitation of a Lamb that was slain,” i. e. being offered up. If the reception is not essential then the presence of the congregation or the individuals for whom it is offered is not necessary. This was so advocated. This then made the third step possible,—the Mass is efficacious for the absent ones whether living or dead. All this was in accord with the hierarchical tendency rapidly developing under the master exponent of that system, Gregory the Great.
The immediate effect of these principles of worship was the withdrawal of the congregation from the active part of the responses which had become more difficult under the new system of antiphonal rendering. The choir supplanted the congregation. The Latin language was the universal language for the Mass but the Germanic people did not understand this foreign tongue and in course of time this became a dead language even in Rome, but still there was no change, nor was the need for one felt, because the congregation had really no share or part in its rendering. The Word of God had lost its intrinsic value in the esteem of the hierarchical system, it was now only of value as a contributing element in the sacrifice of the Mass.
The age of Gregory was particularly propitious for the development of Saints’ days, and the ora pro nobis among the people. Processions (Litanies) were common in the time of Gregory. April the 25th, St. Mark’s Day was called Litania Major. On this day processions were made out into the fields. After Gregory was elected Pope, a pestilence broke out in Rome. He preached a sermon on the theme de mortalitate, at the conclusion of which he called the people to form in a sevenfold procession, classified according to their station in life.
The influence of Gregory has been that of a strong deter-
mined personality. He certainly did a remarkable work in editing and establishing the Roman Mass. He manifested in many parts good liturgical taste and judgment, but no doubt has done an irreparable injury to the cause of pure doctrine of the Word of God by distorting sacred truths from their foundation for the selfish purpose of building up the hierarchical power of the Roman Bishop.
A. L. RAMER.
THE FUNCTION OF THE MINISTER IN DIVINE WORSHIP.
EVERY good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17). According to this text we are indebted for every blessing, material and spiritual, to the grace of God. However, God does not directly and immediately minister unto us His bounties; but, indirectly and mediately through means and instruments. The refreshment and the energy which we secure through the medium of bread might in the exercise of the Divine power, have been transmitted directly to our bodies without means of bread, but this is not God’s ordained method. Doubtless if He saw fit, He might immediately and directly bring to our souls the higher blessings we enjoy in the Bread of Life; however, He in His Wisdom has seen fit to connect them with the Means of Grace—the Word and the Sacraments. These Means are simply Means of Grace, and can not administer themselves, in like manner as a piece of the finest and most skillful mechanism can not run of itself without the intervention of a human agent. For the administration of these Means of Grace, whereby God communicates His blessings to a people, He has called a ministry. God’s Word is always efficacious and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, whether meditated upon, or read; yet its solemn and authoritative use is associated with public worship, and its proper administration in such a service demands the services of a minister. Baptism can not ordinarily be administered without the intervention of a minister, and the Lord’s Supper always demands the presence of the administering agent. A proper conception of the Means of Grace involves the recognition of the necessity of
public worship and of a ministry, even if this necessity were not plainly taught in the Sacred Scriptures.
It is evident that in Divine worship there are three elements, or factors:—God’s people, who are to be fed with Heavenly blessings in Christ; the minister, who is to administer these blessings in God’s appointed way; and the Means of Grace through and by which these blessings are brought near to the people and appropriated by them by faith. The function of the minister, then, is a very important and essential one, and worthy of our reverent consideration. Christ says:—(John 6:44) No man can come to Me, except the Father Which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. By means of the Sacrament of Baptism, administered ordinarily by the Pastor, and by the preaching of the Word, the worshiping congregation has been called into being and been made possible by the drawing power of the Holy Spirit exerted through the Means of Grace. In the Sacrament of the Altar Christ, through the agency of the minister, comes to every communicant and imparts to him His Body and Blood—a savor of life unto life to them that believe, but a savor of death unto death to the unbelieving and the impenitent. Through the Word of the minister, which is God’s Word, the precious blessing of Absolution is secured as surely as if God Himself spake it from Heaven. In the reading of the Word, God’s Will and Grace are authoritatively declared through the mouth of the minister, and in the sermon the Gospel is applied to the present needs and wants of God’s people.
This is, however, only one side of the minister’s function. God gives in the Means of Grace, and He gives through the agency and mediation of the minister, as shown above. However, where God’s grace is imparted, there a response always manifests itself. When God in the spring of the year gently caresses the seemingly dead earth with His zephyrs and softens it with His showers, it forthwith responds in a carpet of green and in a glory of bloom on shrub and tree. Likewise when God by His Means wakens a dead soul into life and makes it the recipient of Heavenly bounty, there naturally and necessarily follows a response in a service of prayer, praise and thanksgiving. These two elements, then, are found in every properly ordered Service. In certain parts of the Service God gives and bestows through the Means of Grace mediated by the minister. At these
times the believing congregation is devoutly silent and receptive. Here the minister, as God’s agent and ambassador, speaks in the name of God and addresses the congregation. At other times in the Service, again, he is the representative and the mouth-piece of the congregation and directs his addresses not to the congregation, but to God. Here he in a measure fulfills the function of the Sheliach Tsibbur of the ancient synagogue service. We see, then, that the minister in attending to his specific functions in the worship of the Church stands in a representative capacity.—he is either the representative of God, speaking to His people, or the representative of the people speaking for them and in their name to God. In the singing of hymns he properly joins in the worship of the congregation as a member thereof. These two essential parts of the Service, called the sacramental and the sacrificial, dare not follow abruptly one after the other, but the good taste of the early Church has supplied us with chaste and Scriptural transitional passages by means of which there is an easy and natural progression from one part of the Service to the other. Naturally the minister, as the leader of the worship of the congregation, accords these parts of the Service their proper use, so that, like in nature, there may be no startling breaks in the worship of the Most High; but that there may be an agreeable and natural progression from the beginning of the Divine Service to its end.
With this statement of the function of the minister in public worship, this paper might end; yet we would all feel that a very important part of the discussion of this subject had been omitted. Just as in taking observations of the heavenly bodies the astronomer is compelled to take account of the “personal equation,” so in the consideration of the minister’s function in public worship, the bearing and the deportment of the minister demand a consideration, calling for more time than a positive statement of his function in Divine Service. Christ teaches us (Matt. 23:2):—The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do. We are not held by any Donatistic views of the ministry, and we have learned long ago that God’s Means of Grace are always efficacious. Water is water, and refreshes, whether it comes through a pipe of lead or of gold. God’s Word, even if preached without any accompaniment of rhetorical grace, or to the detriment of the
King’s English, is efficacious and powerful; yet who would not prefer to have the grace of the Gospel come to him with the embellishments of the graces of polite speech? The Sacrament of the Altar rightly administered is valid and efficacious, even if the nails of the administrator are in mourning and the proximity of his hands in presenting the sacred wafer brings unmistakable suggestions of the reeking atmosphere of the tobacconist’s shop or the environment of the livery-stable, as has been the experience of more than one patient sufferer; yet who would not rather have the Means of Grace administered to him by one who does not shock refined sensibilities and who does not accompany the presentation of the pure Word of God with the exhibition of an utter lack of good taste? The minister’s bearing and deportment, his “personal equation,” if you please, in every part of the Service may be so offensive as to detract from the usefulness of his functions in worship and demands a more detailed consideration.
It must be acknowledged that it is rather a delicate task to present this phase of the subject. To a person who does not possess the genuine liturgical spirit, some of the things that must be said in this connection would seem trifling and perhaps ridiculous. It were folly to discuss colors with one born blind, or to risk incurring the enmity of the deaf by entering upon a controversy with them upon the merits of a musical opus by one of the masters. Being sure, however, of a sympathetic hearer, and in the conviction that I am addressing only those of refined liturgical taste, I address myself to the congenial task of delineating, in as practical a way as possible, the manner in which a minister’s deportment and bearing in the conduct of Divine Service may detrimentally affect its usefulness, and the pleasure and profit derived from it.
The minister who is desirous of making the highest possible use of the Service of the Church for his people, must see to it that a number of things are attended to before he steps into the chancel to begin the sacred offices. The lessons must be hunted and clearly marked in the Bible on the Lectern so that there may be no awkward pause during the Service while the Pastor is searching for the place of the Lections. The pulpit Bible should be open at the proper place and all manuscripts and notes conveniently arranged. The service books, and everything else required should be so placed as to be at hand when needed. To
defer this work until after the minister has come before his people to begin the Service, leaves the impression that he is not possessed with a sense of the importance of the Services of the House of God. To see a minister rush precipitately from one side of the chancel to the other, to be subjected to the ordeal of seeing him handle nervously the pages of Sacred Scripture, hunting the Lections, we know by frequent experience, is not edifying.
Not only need the attention of the officiating minister be directed to the chancel and what he needs in the sacred ministrations, but to his personal appearance as well. Anything striking and diverting in his appearance must be studiously avoided. We all know that a distinctive robe for the minister is adiaphoristic, a liturgy itself, in fact, yet we are all agreed that a chaste liturgical taste demands a distinctive badge of office. This fact is recognized even in the practice of congregations of culture and refinement in unliturgical denominations. It is not the province of this paper to define what are the strictly Lutheran vestments. Practices differ indifferent places, and we cheerfully accord to each one what he prefers. But having chosen a vestment, let him see that it is properly put on, and secured so as to run no risk of falling off, as has happened in more than one instance. Regard must also be had to proper fit. In a church near Philadelphia not many years ago a clergyman, approximating the stature of the son of Kish, preached a trial sermon in a robe, the property of the congregation, which had been made to fit the proportions of their former pastor who in size suggested Zacchaeus the publican. The effect was too ludicrous for even that devout congregation, a good sermon made no impression and an estimable man waited in vain for a call to a desirable congregation.
Let us suppose, then, that all necessary arrangements have been made, and the minister is ready to begin the Service. Precisely at the time appointed let him enter the chancel. His way entering into the presence of the congregation and the manner in which he moves from place to place in the chancel, are not without their effect upon the Service, and demand some consideration. Two extremes must be guarded against. He will not enter the chancel with swinging arms and in a rapid stride, nor will he make a cross-cut, and approach the altar from the side. On the other hand he will not by the painful slowness of his move-
ments and his precise posturings give the suggestion of an automaton. Good taste demands a devout and reverent bearing in keeping with the character of the place. Any suggestion of affectation on the one hand or of levity on the other is detrimental.
The consideration of the minister’s walk naturally suggests other bodily movements which must not be passed over. Involuntary movements, which betoken nervousness, and are a waste of vitality, like fidgeting, are extremely exasperating to a person of refined sensibilities, and produce a detrimental effect upon even the uncultured, although they may not be able to tell the cause of their unfavorable impressions. Such movements plainly show a lack of self-control, and are fatal to personal magnetism. He who can not control himself cuts a sorry figure in trying to hold and influence a congregation in public discourse. Among such vicious involuntary movements we would enumerate thrashing the handkerchief, playing with the mustache, with a button, or a watch-charm, or walking up and down during the sermon. We have read the praises of peripatetic philosophers, but we can give our testimony as the result of more than one painful experience as a victim, that we never saw anything to recommend in a peripatetic minister.
Here, too, we must record our conviction that it is offensive to correct liturgical taste and conducive to the marring of a Service to have the minister move about in the chancel when the congregation is worshiping. When he is not addressing the congregation in the sacramental parts of the Services, or speaking to God in the sacrificial acts, let him join in the worship with the congregation of which he is a part. We have frequently seen ministers move from the center of the chancel to the Lectern while the congregation was singing the Amen after the Collect. It is a common thing to see a minister use the time during which the congregation sings the closing stanzas of the hymn before the sermon, in going into the pulpit and in getting into adjustment for the sermon. Let the minister retain his seat and let him worship to the end of the hymn and then let him deliberately proceed to the pulpit. If he needs private prayer before the sermon, let him teach his people that they need prayer as well to receive it properly.
Here, too, is the place to pillorize the trousers-pocket brigade. It is a sad commentary upon the condition of the litur-
taste in our English Church to be compelled to treat a subject like this in a paper of this character. We should have spared you this if a Service had not been spoiled for us not many months ago by a performance of this character. One naturally associates the trousers-pocket gesture with the racy anecdotes of the mountebank and the hawker of cheap jewelry. When this attitude is assumed by a minister in Divine Worship, the effect is worse than that of the proverbial fly in the ointment. The only way to be sure that one’s hand will not furtively glide to its favorite repose in the trousers-pocket when ministering in the chancel, is never to let it rest there outside of that sacred place.
A vicious fault on the part of the ministering clergyman is practice of looking over the congregation during the singing the hymns and at other times when the minister is not speaking. It always makes the impression upon us that the pastor is taking a mental note of absentees or trying to feed his vanity in endeavoring to estimate the number of people to whom he is ministering. If he must ascertain who is present, and cannot do so unconsciously during the sermon, when he ought to look his people in the eyes; or if he must count noses, let him delegate this unbecoming work to some one else. Only let him bear in mind the disastrous experience of a greater than he who indulged a penchant for numbering the people. It is to be hoped that the progress of sound liturgical teaching will soon bring it to pass that our cultured congregations at least will insist that they see the pastor’s face only when he is addressing them.
Having passed in review some of the more flagrant faults of the officiating minister as far as they concern his bodily movements which always mar a Service more or less, let us pass to a consideration of the utterances of his mouth. In passing let us emphasize the fact for the purpose of vindicating the use of so much space in discussing this phase of the subject that what a person says with his body may cry out so loud that what he says with his lips may make no impression.
One of the most common faults of the minister in performing his functions in the chancel is the injection of the dramatic element, and the bringing in of the thread-bare devices of the cheap teacher of dramatic and elocutionary reading. Scripture is to be read intelligibly and with proper decorum and reverence. The fact must always be kept in mind that it is God’s Word, and that
the officiating minister is simply the agent through whom this Word is mediated to the people. He is not to read it in such a way as to show off obtrusively his elocutionary skill. The highest art is to conceal art. It is not considered good liturgical taste to look up from the page in reading Scripture. Let the Book be so adjusted as to afford an unobstructed view of the face of the reader, and let him read reverently and devoutly, with proper emphasis to bring out the meaning. Let him not fall into the unliturgical practice of commenting while he is reading Scripture. Let nothing but God’s Word be heard at this time, and let not man’s word and God’s be indiscriminately mixed up in such a way as to lead to an unpleasant perplexity on the part of the hearer as to what Scripture says or what is the extempore effusion of the reader. All explanation of Scripture comes properly in the sermon. Here a minister may comment to his heart’s content, if he has the ability to do it well; if not, the less the better.
Many of our ministers in reading the sacrificial parts of the Service have the ghastly habit of turning up their eyes toward the ceiling, doubtless to indicate to the people that what is said is intended for Him Who inhabiteth the Heavens. This trick we are justified in qualifying as ghastly, for we all know by experience that the spectacle of a person exposing the whites of his eyes is not a pleasing one. Since there is a desire manifested in this disagreeable practice to indicate the sacrificial parts of the Service, when God and not the people are addressed, why not in accordance with the pure practice of our Church where she has not been adversely influenced by coming in contact with other denominations, reintroduce the practice of indicating the sacrificial part of the Service by the minister’s attitude with reference to the altar, the center of the church? During prayer, the people face the altar. The minister is a member of the congregation as well as its minister. He is not praying at them, but they are praying through him as their mouth-piece and spokesman. He is not praying his private prayers, which are properly reserved for the privacy of his own room, but he is making audible their petitions at the throne of grace. His posture ought to emphasize this fact in a liturgical Service conducted with due regard to taste and the eternal fitness of things. True, there are but few of our English congregations far enough advanced in their ap-
preciation of correct liturgical principles to adopt this eminently beautiful practice with edification. Then, too, it is reprehensible a congregation, and perhaps do violence to the welfare of immortal souls by throwing a stumbling-block in their way in the reintroduction of a practice, right and good in itself, but naturally regarded as strange and foreign to the genius of the Church by one whose horizon is bounded by the limits of the parish. Our people must be patiently taught to appreciate correct practices, and then they will demand their observance. To reintroduce them before they are ready to appreciate and enjoy them is not wise. A pastor stultifies himself by unnecessarily creating a disturbance by the introduction of an adiaphoron. Here as elsewhere patience must do her perfect work. The same may also be said of the eminently beautiful and church practice of intoning the Service. There is no more reason for a congregation to sing its responses than for a pastor to sing his parts of the Service. It seems one-sided and unnatural the minister to speak and the congregation to sing. Let both either speak or sing, but let each do the same thing. Only let it be done well. Only the best dare be tolerated in the House of God. Unless a minister is possessed of a sweet and flexible voice and understands music, let him not attempt the intonations. I would say the same of the congregation. If they are not willing to learn to sing the responses well, let them not sing them at all. One who is acquainted with the condition of our English Church knows full well that the general practice of intoning is impracticable on account of the wretched liturgical taste prevalent among us, and the lack of musical training among the overwhelming majority of our clergymen. The reintroduction into our churches of the beautiful practice of intoning, which is recommended by all the authorities on Liturgics who are entitled to a hearing, would solve many of the problems suggested in a consideration of the use by the minister of his voice in the Service of the Church, either to its making or marring.
Again, many a minister sins egregiously against good liturgical taste and feeling in conducting the prayers of the congregation. In many quarters the impression of many pious souls seems to be that the public prayers of the congregation are the minister’s prayers; and they, in their innocence of the first principles of congregational prayer, demand that the minister make
“his own prayers.” They usually are his own prayers, too—his very, very own, considered from the standpoint of grammar, diction and arrangement. He prays at the people, preaches to them under the pretense of prayer, sometimes flatters them, interjects “Ohs,” and “Would thats” ad nauseam, often transgresses the second commandment by his battological repetitions of the Name Of God, introduced for the purpose of saying something while he is thinking of something else to say; and usually makes such an exhibition of wretched taste as almost to turn a person against extempore prayer. Then good, pious souls whom Satan uses to flatter their dear pastor, assure him with tears in their eyes, that his prayer was “so touching,” and did them so much good. We believe in extempore prayer properly conducted, and employed it when in the active ministry, but we always felt like turning to sack-cloth and ashes when assured that our prayer was touching and did good. A prayer that touches the people and treats them to the luxury of tears is no prayer, but an exhortation masquerading as an address to the throne of grace. It is a sham and an impertinence. The reason why there is so little genuine, public prayer in our English Churches, is because in the first place our people do not more generally practice private prayer. Private communion with God is a conditio sine qua non of public prayer. If people prayed more assiduously in private they would not be so eager to hear some one else make his private prayer in public, but they would come together to offer up at the throne of grace their common supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings. In order to do this in accordance with the proprieties which ought to obtain recognition in the House of God, they would make themselves familiar with the chaste and Scriptural forms of public prayer which have come down to us, hallowed and redolent with the worship of the saints of all ages. When there is occasion for extempore prayer their good taste and devotion would absolutely refuse to tolerate the crudity, the individualism, the gush, which characterize so much of what is called public prayer and disgrace our worship. They would demand that they be informed beforehand what is to be prayed for, and then they would insist that the petitions be formed in accordance with that which characterizes the pure prayers of the Church. They would demand what Schoeberlein loves to call the “lapidarstyl.”
The last fault of the minister in public Service upon which we desire to dwell for a moment is the practice of changing arbitrarily the hallowed responses and formularies which have come down to us with so many precious associations, that the slightest change in their wording startles one, and mars the enjoyment and the profit which might otherwise be gotten out of the Service. A pertinent illustration is the unwarranted dilution of the Apostolic benediction from the simple and chaste form as it occurs on the sacred pages to something like the following: “The grace of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, the infinite love of God, our Heavenly Father, and the communion and fellowship of the Holy Ghost be with you all now and forevermore.” When a man quotes Scripture, he ought, in due respect to the inspired Word, quote it correctly. Such arbitrary conduct which characterizes much of the Service as administered by some minters is inexplicable. We have heard the simple, direct, Scriptural sentences provided for the administration of the elements and dismissal of the communicants distorted beyond recognition. A man is not compelled to use the Service in its entirety, nor indeed any part of it. In fact, in some places, we would deem it advisable not to use any liturgy at all until the people had learned to appreciate the use of a common Service over against an individualistic one. However, what is used, let it be used as given in our formularies, or do not use it at all. A garbled use of a formula or of a Service is apt to be exasperating.
What surprises us still more is the fact that these brethren change these formulas, to change which lays one of open to the charge of vandalism, are often vehemently vociferous in their insistence not to make the slightest change in the rubrics, which have by no means the authority of the text of the Service itself, not having been agreed upon by the joint Committee entrusted with the preparation of the Service itself, and some of which, we fear, received their present form about thirty-five years ago in the attempt to adapt a liturgical form of Service to liturgical conditions existing at that time in certain parts of the Church.
In conclusion, what must be done to bring about such a condition of things in our English Churches, with which alone the writer claims an intimate acquaintance, and of the liturgical condition of which he is not in any ways proud, in order that our
ministers may perform their functions in such a way as to contribute to the edification of our people? Our people love beautiful things and can be led to an appreciation of beautiful art-forms in worship as well as elsewhere. Our congregations are to be congratulated upon the patient endurance of much that is positively ugly and repulsive in worship. Where the ministry has no knowledge of the principles of worship, there you look in vain for an appreciation of beautiful art-forms among the people. Like priest, like people. Water cannot rise above its source. It rests with our theological seminaries to furnish the answer to this question. The principles of pure Liturgics must be thoroughly taught. But this is not all that is required. We learn far more through the eye than through the ear. The theoretical teaching of a Seminary upon the subject of Liturgics may be above the suspicion of a reproach, but if the daily Services of the students and the example of their professors constantly transgress these principles, nothing but disappointment can result. There must be here as elsewhere a beautiful and consistent union of theory and practice. Let it be our part, whether as teachers and pastors, or churchmen in the pew, to study that in all our ministrations and Services we so conduct ourselves that the injunction of the Apostle be honored:—(1 Cor. 14:40). Pavnta de; eujschmovnw" kai; kata; tavxin ginevsqw.
ELMER F. KRAUSS.
A LAITY LITURGICALLY WELL-INFORMED.
THE primary object of a Christian congregation, from the human side, is the worship of God and the edification and salvation of souls. Everything that pertains to and can assist in this object is relatively important. It is well that we have the most expressive form of architecture in church building, the most suggestive arrangement of nave and chancel, the most helpful fixtures for Sunday School work, and strive after the best style of Church Music and the most devout utterance of our public devotions.
There is, no doubt, a great awakening along this line in the Christian Church in general. This is especially true of our Evangelical Lutheran Church. Our ministers and pastors have taken up with loving hearts and devout souls the study of matters pertaining to the best expression of the devotions of the Church toward God and have given us many learned writings on the subject. We are grateful. But what benefit to our congregations if our pastors can learnedly discuss the influence of Gregory the Great on the ancient Liturgy, or tell what the Margrave of Brandenburg had to do with the placing of the Confession of Sin in our Lutheran Liturgies, unless there is some way of sharing both the enthusiasm and information with our congregations. What we need now, is not less information for our Pastors, but more enlightenment for our Laity. The present paper is written was the result of the experience of the writer or of other pastors and partly on the basis of all pedagogical principles.
I. METHODS OF INSTRUCTION
There are two main methods of instruction—the abstract and the concrete.
The abstract is that in which the theory precedes the practice. This method, as applied to Liturgics, would first explain
the beauty, propriety, Scripturalness, and all the qualities and history of the purest and best forms of worship. It would show that all these things are to be found in our Common Service for Evangelical Lutheran congregations. Then should follow the practice. This is certainly the ideal method. Know a thing—then do it. While this method may be very applicable to younger pupils in school, where mind is still plastic and open to new impressions it has rarely been found best for older persons whose opinions are set like the cast steel in its mold and whose practice is in a rut as deep as the valleys of a river. A person may be informed but not enlightened. A questioner may be silenced yet not convinced. The abstract method seldom enlightens and convinces a congregation.
The concrete method is that in which practice precedes the theory. This method would introduce, use, enjoy that which is best and when it has been tasted then to bring the explanation and theory and all the history of the Liturgy in order that the users may be ready always to give a reason for the practice in which they engage as well as for the faith which is in them. This is perhaps the easier, and for the many, the more usual method. More things are learned and done by imitation and example than as the result of ratiocination. To be sure we meet here also the inertia of old practice, but we need not immediately answer the prejudices of a mistaken or ignorant mind. Wisely used, for young and for old this method would be the more likely to succeed in enlightening a congregation as to the best in worship.
The ideal method would be that in which the abstract and concrete, theory and practice, go hand in hand. That would require the ideal congregation, as well as the ideal pastor. Perhaps there are but few such. We must then endeavor to see how we may best enlighten our people as we find them.
II. THE PURPOSE OF SUCH AN EFFORT.
The purpose of enlightening our laity on liturgical matters is a very important and practical one. Ignorance is not the mother of devotion. Ignorance has quite another brood following her chief among which is prejudice. If our Lutheran Church and people are ever to occupy the position which God seems to indicate it is absolutely necessary that we cultivate a laity well-informed on all matters concerning the Church.
Worship originates indeed as a wholly spiritual act. But to express itself it must use sight, sound, gesture, which are presented in words and music, building and furniture, posture and actions. This brings us immediately into the province of art, for art is the expression of spirit or principles. Now if worship is worth expression it is worthy of the best expression, i. e., of the most artistic. What is the best and truest expression, i. e., the most artistic, of the worshipful idea? What is true and what is false expression or art in worship? The question here is not the question of worship or no worship, but the liturgical question is altogether a question of the expression or art-form of public worship. That expression is not confined to what is called Liturgy in the narrower sense, as the form of an Order of Worship, but it embraces everything which conduces to the expression of the spirit of a Church, as architecture, music, methods of working and propagating itself, in short the whole method of realizing its life.
There may be three ways of arriving at the expression of worship. There are three clear types of worship, which have each had their time and place in our land and our Lutheran churches as there have been three distinct types of Church buildings expressive of the forms of liturgical worship. Each of these may still be seen, especially in the eastern part of Pennsylvania.
The first way we might designate as the congregational style. Each congregation is a law and a judge unto itself. When the minister comes the word is “we are accustomed to have our services conducted in such a way.” The people that can determine such a matter must necessarily be well-taught. They must know much of the mind of Christ, of biblical practice, of Church History and the most perfect expressions of art. Of all congregations such an one should be the most willing to receive fullest instruction on worship. They are generally the least willing. To this class belongs the first style of our church buildings, the high pulpit on its slender pillar, the altar almost in the middle of the church, with the pews arranged on three sides and often the high galleries. The minister stands behind the altar, speaking over the altar, the sacramental part very prominent.
Then follows the way of the “other denominations” and “sister churches.” The minister officiating for the day is the
sole judge of what shall be the expression of the worshipping congregation. His feeling or indisposition shall, or in fact must, condition the whole form and matter of worship. The minister that is willing to do that must needs have great confidence in his own ability and the congregation much more. He must have exceeding personal information and ability always at the moment to be able to find both the most Scriptural and the most suitable art-form for the occasion, and the congregation should have even more, under such circumstances, that they may know that they are not misled. This form of liturgical worship exalts the personal and individualistic over the public and congregational. It has its architectural expression in the second style of church building found in our churches. The pulpit remains, but the altar is gone. A table takes its place. Or if something representing an altar remains, it is given the only space left for it,—the space immediately below and against the pulpit. The congregation has lost the sacramental in the exaltation of the sacrificial.
A third way is this, that the pastors and Church leaders who have both the ability to judge and the learning to comprehend as well as the sensibility to appreciate what should be the most Scriptural, most churchly and most artistic expression of public worship should present the same to the Church and its congregations. This from every point of view would be the most practical and common sense method of procedure. And that is exactly what our Lutheran Church has always done, from the first book of Luther down to the Common Service adopted by three of the general bodies in the United States. Such a method brings into co-ordination all the elements of the Church, the wisdom of the general bodies in preparing, the practical leadership of the pastor in introducing, and the intelligent participation of the congregation in using, the best possible form of worship. This restores again the two necessarily essential parts of every public worship, to wit, the sacramental and the sacrificial. This restored congregational worship has also again brought back a churchly, in many things also a restored, architecture. It is generally gothic. On entering the eye falls on, and the mind gratefully recognizes both a pulpit and an altar, a Church both of Word and Sacrament, in which both the subjective and objective have their place.
Such a history of our Church shows both what losses and ills
came upon us because of a want of proper information, and again what advancement will follow when both clergy and laity are enlightened liturgically.
But we plead for a laity liturgically well-informed for the continued defense and upbuilding of our Church. If it was needed in years gone by and we suffered because we had it not, let us remember that in these intense and strenuous times we need it much more if we even expect to hold our own, and if we hope to advance, it is one of the absolute imperatives.
On what ground do we gather in and hold the allegiance of our members?
Once the chief argument and reason was “the Church of our fathers.” With most of us the reason we came into the Church is, we were born into it by our natural as well as by our spiritual birth. With many the only reason why they remain members is because their parents were such. There may come a time when some will forget the “fathers” or indeed become ashamed of them. Then the result will be they will forget and be ashamed of the “fathers’ ” Church. Of course on such a ground no Church could ever hope to become a missionary Church or expect to exert any influence beyond its own borders. Such are the arguments which are still being used in great measure when we ask an offering for Home Missions to gather in the thousands of “Lutherans” instead of the millions of “sinners.” Such are the reasons given when there is a question as to the Order of Services. What wonder that such arguments and reasons convinced no one except the person that used them, and that under them the Church continually declined. The lack was information.
Then the ground on which Church-allegiance, was asked advanced a large measure. It was then the “Church of the pure doctrine.” This claim was also preeminently true. Only, too the true doctrine was buried too deep in the heart. It never came forth. The world never saw it or heard it. Why it was true or how, could be shown by but few. Many never even knew the doctrine which they claimed to be true. Naturally came the conclusion that there is “no difference,” that we are “all the same.” Such a conclusion could only result from a want of information. But on these questions there was often no means of information to the laity, and when there was, the questions seemed too abstract to interest them very much. There was no
concrete point on which our members could lay hold. The Baptists could rally around the fact of immersion, the Methodists around a mode of conversion, and all their members could grasp the practical point and give their reasons for it; but the Lutherans could only claim the abstract of “pure doctrine” without, as far as the laity was concerned, being able to give example or proof of their claim.
There is, however, one all-pervading, ever-obvious activity of the Church,—that is, its worship, its modes of working, its form of life. The very building in which it meets preaches. The manner of working declares a difference. The Order of Services bears constant testimony of our faith. Why such a style of church-building, why a chancel, why a pulpit, altar, lectern, baptismal font, why a clerical gown and liturgy, why infant baptism, catechetical instruction, confirmation? These are all questions that belong to the liturgical disciplines. They are practical, concrete questions. This includes the “fathers” and is based on “pure doctrine.”
It is along this line that we must seek to bring to our people the most permanent and all-pervasive instruction. When they shall have and use the best that Scripture, history and a consecrated art can give and when they can give the reason for such faith and use, then may we indeed expect to have our beloved Church enter upon her heritage and exert her influence far beyond her own borders.
III. WHAT THE PASTOR MAY DO.
The task and duty of informing the members of our congregations in this, as in most other Church affairs, devolves on the Pastor. Our people have often neither the time, nor the inclination, nor even the opportunity to inform themselves. The work is one which should be undertaken with zeal and in which there must be constant perseverance, for it can never be completed.
Permit the writer to indicate a few lines along which he has endeavored to work.
There is no more fruitful field for liturgical work in most congregations than that of Church music. The best place to begin is with the children of the Sunday School. It does very little good simply to declaim against the modern abomination of jingle-music for Church and Sunday School. Then again how often we are pained by the choir-music which is introduced simply and on-
ly for the sake of entertaining and pleasing. Both Methodist layman and Papal head of the Roman Church declaim against the abuse of music in the sanctuary. The first writes in the New York Independent, “The greatest handicap of the Church is the false and harmful conceptions of the function of music in public worship. Music is appropriate and helpful in a service in so far as it is used by the members of the congregation to express their religious emotions. … As a means of entertainment it has no place at all in the distinctly religious meetings of the Church. … The concert room and the Christian sanctuary cannot be successfully combined under one management.”
The Pope of Rome has undertaken lately to inaugurate, certain reforms in ecclesiastical music in France by prohibiting exactly the same class of music, namely, the sentimental and operatic, of which the Methodist layman complains. Experience has shown that the only way to drive out the worse is to use the better. A child, and a person of unvitiated taste, will just as readily learn and sing a chorale as a waltz or two-step time, except that the latter, being the flippant repetition of a few-note theme and often of meaningless words, will not require as much mind or soul. Learn the worthy and noble and there will not be so much danger of the unworthy. The theoretical and practical may well be united for the congregation by the Pastor taking an augmented choir and using five or six hymns for a Vesper Choral Service. Let him precede the singing of each hymn and tune with a brief history and a few incidents and he will find that a new interest is connected with such a hymn. Four or five such services a year may very profitably be continued for years and afford the opportunity of saying many necessary things. The first and great commandment is to love God, so the highest object of Church music is to praise God. Dr. Stainer, who himself wrote much excellent Church music, says, “After all, the best tunes, and the ones we learn to love the most, are the ones our grandmothers loved.”
In the matter of congregational liturgical worship we come to the very heart of the subject before us. The writer believes that ordinarily, the practical use of the Liturgy must precede any extended theoretical instruction. The congregation must use, and use well, before it is in a condition to judge. Not knowing the better how is it in a condition to decide anything in regard to
it? Here lies the difficulty. The congregation cannot judge rightly until it has used, and the Pastor cannot introduce a better Service until the congregation knows. Here again the Sunday School as the more malleable material is the better element to begin with. At the many and beloved festival seasons of our Church, the Sunday School can give the congregation a taste of a well-rendered liturgical Service. Often a temporary use may create a permanent love. As in one case the writer suggested that in a series of special sermons where sermon outlines and the Vesper Services were printed on the same sheet the congregation try the Vesper Service for three months and then if not satisfactory it would be possible to go back to the old (no) order. But when the three months were past, every one having found it possible to unite in the Service from the printed services, no one was willing to go back to the old. At the same place the Sunday School has been using for the last two years the music of the Gregorian Plain Song, and rendered it before the congregation at every festival occasion. It would be entirely feasible, if it were desirable, to introduce its use to the congregation.
Undoubtedly the introduction of liturgical worship should, when the congregation is fully settled in the use of it, and it is no longer a matter of dispute, be followed by full information on the principles, reasons, Scripturalness, etc., of such a Service. They should know the why and wherefore, not that they may necessarily enjoy it any more themselves, but that they may be able to give such reasons and arguments to others. Such information can only be given by the Pastor, either in his pastoral visitations or publicly in sermons, for it would seem almost impossible to reach the heart of the congregation through the printed page. He also is most interested in doing so. We may all feel the beauty of melody as it is carried by a single voice, touching our heart, but there is something in a harmonized chord that we can never get from a succession of notes, a melody. There is beauty, grace, blessing, in private devotion and prayer. In the worship of the congregation, where all states and conditions of men join there is not only an intensification of the individual’s devotion. It has a new quality. It has become the Communion of Saints.
In the matter of Church Architecture theory must precede practice; for when once a thought is put in stone and iron it is more apt to be permanent for at least fifty years. As we have
already indicated, the doctrinal and liturgical history of our Church in America may be read in the three eras or general styles of church buildings. If Ruskin has defined architecture as frozen music, we may certainly be right when we say that Church Architecture is faith and life done in stone. Every church building expresses something. Some time ago in going through a church that cost almost a hundred thousand dollars, built in the Byzantine style of the round arch, after going through ladies’ parlor and gentlemen’s parlor, and kitchen and dining room and stage with curtains, coming at last to the amphitheater “auditorium” the long-suffering visitor exclaimed, “O, Church of the Holy Bake-oven!”. And it was no slander. The writer knows of a congregation which put a twenty thousand dollar addition to its old church building. A true churchly floor-plan was suggested by the Pastor and adopted by the congregation. Then that the prejudices of certain parties might be carried out the Pastor was excluded from the building committee and a committee appointed of which at least three members confessed that they had never been inside of any other Lutheran Church than their own old one. Those who know better have been compelled to apologize for conditions ever since. How can we expect our Church to have its proper influence until our members know what style of architecture is expressive of our faith and worship and why it is so? Why and where do we have an altar? Why we place baptismal fonts in our churches? What is the proper order of font, pulpit and altar, and why? These are the simplest and most fundamental questions, yet to many of our members are enigmas.
How much there is to learn by our laity concerning our methods of working? How many or rather, how few, can give the reasons why we do not, and cannot join the denominations in their methods and ways of working? Is it only narrowness, bigotry and arbitrary selfishness which moves our Pastors to occupy the position which they assume? If there is no reason, or if the reason is not known, which amounts to the same thing for the ignorant then it must be all that it seems. Pastors have good reasons for what they do. The people must know them if Pastors expect to hold them. How are our people to learn that the whole method and spirit of the popular revival meeting and system is foreign to our Lutheran Church? By pointing out that
the revival system is based on an altogether different view from the Church system. The revival system at least belittles, if it does not directly contradict, the grace which the child receives in baptism, the ordinary blessings of God’s Word, the regular and orderly worship of God’s House, the sufficiency of the regularly called pastorate. In short, it is the direct opposite, not only in practice but much more in spirit, of our Lutheran faith and worship and the Lutheran pastor or layman who would take part in them thereby denies everything he once confessed. What member of the Church that is well-informed can fail to see that the whole Y. M. C. A. movement with its disparagement of sacrament and ministry is a movement on the same principles and lines as the monasticism of the Middle Ages and will surely at last undermine the Church and teachings of Christ.
Nor can we forget that the demand for special weeks of prayer and the numerous requests for sermons on special subjects are all directly opposed to the Church Year which lies at the very center of our worship. All these things lead directly away from the Church with its pure faith and holy practice. And our people instead of standing in the attitude of apology should know how to propose something better. Until they do we shall not be able to occupy our rightful position. We cannot unite with other bodies, but if we had knowledge enough of our own position, our faith, our practice we might easily be leaders. We need above all things intelligence, clear perceptions along these lines. There are individuals and congregations who are in the clear in regard to these things. They are to be congratulated. They are our leaders. But there are many who are yet only moving toward the light. Let us help them all we can.
The ideal Church or congregation is that in which God is worshipped in spirit and in truth, which expresses that spirit and truth in the purest art forms, and which does it intelligently.
A. B. MARKLEY.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SYMBOLISM AND ITS EMPLOYMENT IN THE SERVICE OF THE CHURCH.
“THE invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made.” This is symbolism. A symbol is something that, not being a portrait, stands for something else and serves either to represent it or to bring to mind one or more of its qualities; especially something so used to represent or suggest that which is not: capable of portraiture; as an idea, state, quality or action. The oak is the symbol of strength, the sword of slaughter, the trident of Neptune, white of purity.
That symbolism is very beautiful, useful and scriptural is freely admitted by most scholars. This subject, therefore, needs neither formal introduction nor any apology. It is in the front among present-day questions of churchliness and artistic beauty. It must be considered. A new conscience concerning the arrangement and ornamentation of churches is making its voice heard among thoughtful Christians. There is also a manifest awakening on the subject of the relation of Art, in its diversified forms, to the Church and her Services. This is a very significant tendency and should be encouraged by every lover of devout worship and true Art.
Symbolism is both a science and an art. As an historical science, it has a special field for investigation, which field has been indicated in the definition of the term, symbol. As an art, its province is to make practical application of these historical facts and principles to the Service and life of the Church. The origin of symbolism is very remote. Evidences of its existence are found in the earliest records of India and China, of Chaldaea, Assyria and Babylonia. In these ancient nations symbolism was always associated with the religious life of the people. We also
find that symbolism was one of the most striking features of the Jewish religion. The Passover, The Cleansing of the Temple, The Feast of Tabernacles, The Morning and Evening Sacrifice, The Sabbatical Year, The Jubilee were, all, in the highest degree, figurative. The stones in the breastplate of the high priest have each a special signification. And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row. And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings. And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes. (Exodus 28:17-21.) Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua and David are most remarkable types of Christ.
In like manner do we find in the New Testament authority for the principle and for the practice of symbolism. From the beginning the chief doctrines of Christianity were set forth in type and symbol. The Flood is used to typify Regeneration. The Ark is a type of the Church. The Manna and the Smitten Rock are emblematic of the Bread and the Wine in the Holy Eucharist. St. Paul symbolizes the enactments of the Law by the ox forbidden, while treading out the corn, to be muzzled. The Revelation of St. John the Divine is one long-continued symbolic poem of marvellous beauty and impressiveness.
But the strongest argument in behalf of the principle and practice contended for in this paper is found in the fact that Christ Himself employed the symbolic method in teaching the great truths concerning His spiritual kingdom. The phenomena of nature was the fruitful source from which He drew the most striking spiritual likenesses. When He said, “I am the Door,” “I am the Vine,” “I am the Way” He used the purest symbolism and thus is involved the well-known principle of pedagogic science, from the known to the unknown. It is to be noted also, that the train of thought, the every-day observances, and, above all, the religious ceremonies of the early Christians were highly figurative. Almost every great doctrine of the Christian system had been symbolized at a very early period. The Resurrection
was set forth by the Phoenix rising renewed and purified from its ashes. The meritorious Passion of our Saviour was typified by the Pelican piercing her breast and feeding her young with her own life-blood. The blessed sacrament of the Lord’s Supper vas beautifully symbolized by the Grapes and the Wheatears. The Dove was the emblem of purity and innocence. The Hand was the symbol of the First Person of the Trinity. But the most favored of all symbols, the one best-understood and most-beloved was the Cross, the symbol of Christ, while the triangle and the trefoil were emblematic of the Godhead. The four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were represented respectively by a human figure, a lion, an ox and an eagle.
This symbolic material was introduced into the early patristic literature and it passed very rapidly from rhetorical decoration in Christian homilies to artistic decoration in architecture and painting. As a result we have in use to-day many beautiful and helpful symbols that were found originally in early Christian edifices, and places of worship, and, though the originals lack accuracy of drawing and artistic proportion when measured by present day standards, they set forth divine truth in a clear and impressive manner.
The Bible is an explicit revelation of God. There is also an implicit revelation of Him. It is found in Nature. “To Him who in love of Nature holds communion with her visible forms, She speaks a various language.” There is a symbolism in Nature. The doctrine of the Resurrection is powerfully set forth by the season of Spring. Winter and night typify sin and death. Among the flowers named from some extraordinary property or peculiarity of form which they possess we find the Herb Trinity, the Passion Flower, and the Lacrima Christi, while the phrases, Lily of the Valley and the Rose of Sharon, are suggestive rather of “Him Who was altogether lovely” than of particular species of flowers.
The Holy Sacraments are examples, in the highest degree, of this principle of symbolic teaching. Whilst it is true that divine grace is imparted with the earthly elements yet these elements are the visible symbols of that very precious spiritual gift. It is not to be concluded from these facts that Christianity and the Church are any the less real, visible and practical but rather they are the more real and practical because their teachings
are not merely objective and material but subjective and anticipative of that which is eternal.
Three great doctrines of the Christian system, namely, The Holy Trinity, Regeneration and The Atonement, have been, symbolized in a most effective way. The first, by the architectural design and interior arrangement of churches as seen in the triple tower, triplicate windows, three-fold arches and the three-part arrangement and furnishing of the chancel. The doctrine of Regeneration is typified particularly by the octagonal form of the baptismal font for the reason given by Ambrose, namely, “as the old creation was completed in seven days, so the number next ensuing may well be significative of the new.” On some of the fonts of the early churches are sculptured three fishes intertwined in an equilateral triangle, typifying our regeneration in the three persons of the adorable Trinity. The fish is the emblem of the Christian from the fact that the letters of the Greek form of the name I-C-Q-U-S are interpreted “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, the Saviour.”
The doctrine of the Atonement by Christ is symbolized by the cruciform, plan of churches as found even in the early Romanesque period and reaching its clearest expression in the glorious Gothic cathedrals. Thus in the very ground-plan of the buildings consecrated to Divine worship, “Christ and Him crucified” is preached to every thoughtful beholder. That which was once the by-word of pagans, the instrument of scorn and suffering, has become the symbol of hope, of glory, of joy and of eternal felicity for all who were embraced by the Saviour’s outstretched arms upon it.
It is not only Christianity that is symbolized, every religion is. Symbolism is thus shown to be an expression of a natural impulse in man, quite as innate as the religious idea itself. The religion of the Greeks and Romans, though pagan and false, was symbolic. The philosophers of the time of these nations’ highest intellectual development introduced symbolism into their philosophic systems in order to increase their efficiency. The Hindu religion is full of symbolism and many of the Hindu religious fables, derived from whatever source—whether from unwritten tradition or from contact with the Jews—possess this feature in large measure. One example will suffice, viz., Krishna suffering—Krishna triumphant. This divinity is represented by a human
figure bound in the coils of a venomous serpent which fastened its teeth in its victim’s heel. The representation of Krishna triumphant shows the same figure crushing with his heel the head of the monster. Though the doctrine here symbolized has long been forgotten by those among whom the legend is sacred, it is founded, very evidently, upon the promise concerning the Seed of the woman and the serpent’s head. This is a striking instance of the fact that truth will live in symbols long after it has perished in other and more generally used forms. When the time shall have come for the conversion of all India to Christianity thousands will receive the truth the more willingly because they have had a representation of it, distorted, it is true, set before their eyes for so many centuries.
Symbolism is thus the true sign of the cross, hallowing the unholy. It is a good salt which, cast in, purifies the spring. Origen recognized in the Scriptures a three-fold sense,—the literal, the moral, the mystical and to this latter sense symbolism is closely related.
Among the many symbolic passages of Old Testament and of New Testament Scriptures the following are notable:
Isaiah 54:12, And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.
Psalm 23:1, The Lord is my Shepherd. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside the still waters.
John 10:11, I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.
Matthew 26:39, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.
The Book of the Revelation of St. John the Divine is rich in symbolism but it is a remarkable fact that scarcely a single symbol is new. The figurative ideas of the Old Testament are borrowed and transfigured. They are intensified, massed and associated with new applications. The writer of this Apocalypse seems to feel that no symbol can be sacred enough for his use unless it has been hallowed by associations with the ancient prophecies. Here is a seven-fold vision, made up of visible emblems which are echoes from the prophecies of the past. There is reference here to the golden candlestick, seen by Zechariah; to the wheel within wheel, seen by Ezekiel; to the Slain Lamb, seen by Isaiah; to the burning mountain, seen by Jeremiah; to the
sickle, seen by Joel. There is in this Revelation frequent use of the symbolism of numbers. While we must be careful not to read meanings where they were never meant the significance of the number seven is clearly indicated in many parts of the Bible, particularly in the last book of the New Testament, e. g., the seven golden candlesticks, the seven seals, the seven churches, the seven apocalyptic angels, the seven stars, the seven trumpets and the seven spirits before the throne of God.
Further reference to the symbolism of number will be made at the close of this paper.
With symbolic writings, enactments, events, personages, observances, buildings, and vestments for her guidance, how can the Church of to-day be true to her history and to her evident instructions if she fail to adopt and follow symbolism as a divine and an historical principle? Symbolism uses real personages, real actions and real things as emblems of the truth. The only real objection that can be urged against it is that there is danger of giving reverence to the symbol rather than to the truth symbolized, and the same objection may be made against Art in every form—against architecture, music, painting and poetry—but that is the misuse and not the right use of that which in itself is altogether good. It is one thing to adore a picture and it is quite another thing, by means of a picture, historically to learn what should be adored. Rightly understood and used symbolism is a powerful aid to devotion. It may require courage and a venture of faith in ministers and churches to break away from the popular and puritanic system in Art and forms of worship and accept a system without the prestige of present and local popularity, but if the new is in the way of historic Christianity it ought to be accepted at once.
The mind clings tenaciously to ideas made familiar by the usages of a life time or of generations. We look at truth through surrounding conditions. Our prejudices are often mistaken for principles, but we must come up to the level of our religion or we shall bring our religion down to a level with ourselves.
“The invisible things of Him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.”
The use of symbolism, by the churchly communions, for the purpose of teaching Christian history and impressing Christian truth, is but a practical application to the life of the Church of
one phase of Christian Art. It is but the adaptation of an efficient means to an end not otherwise attainable. But the purpose and the possibilities of symbolism in the Service of the Church cannot be attained without an understanding and appreciation of the historic symbols themselves. It is earnestly hoped the following list of most frequently used symbols may prove interesting and useful to many readers.
SYMBOLS AND THEIR SIGNIFICATION.
Symbols of God the Father.
1. The Hand Issuing from the Clouds,—Omnipotence.
2. The Eye,—Omniscience.
3. The Flood of Light, Ezekiel 8:2,—Omnipresence.
Symbols of God the Son,
1. The Fish, I-C-Q-U-S.
2. The Cross,—Christ’s Suffering—His Humanity.
3. The Lion.
4. The Lamb.
5. The Vine.
Symbols of God the Holy Ghost.
1. The Dove.
2. The Tongue of Flame.
Symbols of the Trinity.
1. The Triangle, sometimes within the Circle, the symbol of Eternity.
2. The Three Triangles, interlaced.
3. The Three Circles, interlaced.
4. The Three Fishes.
5. The Two Human Figures with a Dove between them.
6. The Father holding by its cross-beam, a Cross with the Figure of Christ upon it, and a Dove proceeding downward from the Lips of the Father.
Symbols of the Passion and Crucifixion of Christ.
1 . The Cock,
2. The Purse.
3. The Sword (of Peter).
4. The Ear (of Malchus).
5. The Scourge.
6. The Spear.
7. The Nails.
8. The Sponge.
9. The Crown of Thorns.
10. The Heart, the Hands and the Feet, each pierced.
1. The Cross, in general,—Christianity.
In particular,—The Sufferings of Christ.
The Cross is sometimes shown with precious stones at the extremities and at the intersection, typifying the five wounds in the body of the crucified Christ. There are various forms of the Cross: the Roman, most used; the Greek, four arms of equal length; St. Andrews, like the letter X; St. Anthony’s, like the letter T; the Labarum, i. e., the Roman Cross with X P (Chi Rho) interlaced.
2. The Lamb—Christ our Sacrifice.
3. The Lion—Christ the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
4. The Pelican—Christ shedding His Blood for the Life of His People.
5. The Serpent, trampled under foot, or twined around a globe—Sin.
6. The Hart, (Psalm 42:1)—Religious Aspiration.
7. The Olive Branch—Peace.
8. The Palm Branch, (Revelation 7:9)—Martyrdom.
The Sword, Flame, Arrows, Cauldrons, Wheels, Poniards,—Martyrdom.
9. The Lily—Purity.
10. The Apple—Original Sin.
11. A Lamp, Taper, Book—The Holy Scriptures.
12. The Crown and Banner—Victory over Sin and Death.
13. Wheat Ears, Grapes, Wafer and Cup—The Lord’s Supper.
14. The Ark—The Church.
The Symbolism of Numbers.
One—The Unity of the Godhead.
Two—The Dual Nature of Christ.
Three—The Holy Trinity.
Four—The Evangelists: Sts. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Five—The Wounds in the Body of the Crucified One.
Six—The Attributes of Deity—power, majesty, love, wisdom, mercy, justice.
It is interesting to notice how often this idea is involved in s use, e. g.,
Balaam built seven altars and prepared seven oxen and seven rams for sacrifice to test the will of God.
Job referring to the effectual protection of Providence, says, “In seven troubles there shall no evil touch thee,” and again, “Wisdom hath hewn her seven pillars.”
As a sign of perfect submission Jacob bowed himself seven tines before his brother.
Jericho was circled seven times before it fell.
Naaman was commanded to bathe seven times in the Jordan.
Samson was bound with seven bonds.
The Jewish Church has seven great holy days in each year.
The first board of Deacons in the early Church consisted of seven men of honest report.
“How oft shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him. Till seven times?”
The seventh year was to be observed as a Sabbath and at the end of the seven times seven came the great year of Jubilee.
The seventh period marks the completion of God’s creative acts.
There are seven penitential Psalms, viz., vi, xxxii, xxxviii, li, cii, cxxx, cxliii. Many other examples of the significant use of the number seven might be cited.
Forty—The Period of Probation or Trial.
The Israelites wandered forty years in the wilderness.
They were forty years in bondage under the Philistines.
Moses was forty days on Mount Sinai.
Elijah was in hiding forty days.
The rain descended for forty days when the earth was destroyed.
The Ninevites had Jonah’s warnings for forty days.
Our Master fasted in the wilderness forty days.
Symbolism of Color.
White—Innocence, Purity, Holiness.
Red—Ardent Love and Burning Zeal, Divine Love.
Green—Life, Hope, Fruitfulness, Victory.
Purple Royal Majesty, Imperial Power, won by Humiliation and Suffering.
Black—Deep Grief, “The Wages of Sin.”
Blue—Heaven, Truth, Constancy.
Yellow—Goodness of God, Richness of God’s Mercy.
GEORGE J. GONGAWARE.
PROBABLY there is no other subject in the whole liturgical domain so fascinating and so richly capable of repaying study as the Collects. In the pericopes we have parts of the Word of God used from of old by the Church to give expression to the central truths of Christ’s redemptive work and its application to the life of the Church. In the Introits, the Psalter, the Antiphons, the Invitatories, the Responsories, the Canticles, with a few exceptions, and almost every other part of the Service we have the choicest outbursts of saintly devotion transferred from the written Word to the Church’s Liturgy. To the writer one of the greatest charms as well as one of the chief sources of helpfulness of the beautiful Lutheran Services has always been its large infusion of the very words of Holy Scripture resulting in a quickened zeal for the closer study of God’s Word and a heightened appreciation of its inestimable treasures. In the reverent use of our Service we are indeed translating God’s revealed truth terms of our own devotion and so making it part of our Christian experience. The sacramental element predominates in the Lutheran Service because the Lutheran Church always magnifies the gifts of God’s grace, especially the gift of His love in the Incarnation. Therefore, as her theology is Christocentric, her Service ever keeps close to the cardinal truths of God’s coming to man to save him and God’s working in man to will and to do of His own good pleasure. No other liturgy makes so much of the Divine element in worship as in life. None other so exalts our God and His Christ. We cannot do otherwise without losing our heritage of truth and betraying the Lord of our lives. Our Service stands first and supremely for the declaration of God’s will and God’s love, for the impartation of God’s life to human needs for the promotion of God’s Kingdom and the doing
of His will among men according to the divinely-revealed standard, for the praise of the glory of His grace. Whether the act be liturgically classified as sacramental or sacrificial, the words, as far as possible, are the words of the record of revelation, the words of the Holy Spirit penned by prophet and psalmist and evangelist and apostle. The lover of the Word cannot help admiring the Lutheran Service reverently rendered. The devoted Lutheran worshipper must become a student of the Word whose atmosphere he breathes throughout the Service. This is the glory of our Service, that we seek to give Christ His rightful place and to hear the Holy Spirit speak in Word and Sacrament, that we cultivate therein the fellowship of the Spirit of God.
Not that the human element is either crowded out or crowded into a corner in the Service. Taught by the Spirit Himself to speak the language of God, the believer is trained in Christ’s school of prayer to respond to His overtures of grace and to accept His gifts of mercy. In confession and creed, in hymn and prayer, we approach God with our own words as we offer to Him those sacrifices which it becomes His spiritual priests to render. And yet not really with our own poor, feeble, lifeless words but rather with His own rich, life-giving words which we have translated into the language of our desires and our praises. Prayer is pleading God’s promises with God or since all the Divine promises to man are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, it is pleading Christ’s merits with our reconciled Father. Keeping this truth in mind, we can never go very far from God’s Word in our prayer life and yet keep very close to our God. If we have been with Jesus, we must reflect Him to the world and if we have been students of God’s truth, we must show the results of our study when entering the presence of the Divine Teacher. To examine ourselves whether we be in the faith is to test ourselves by God’s Word and to enjoy the blessings of the life of fellowship we must pray as did the disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray.” The Divine standard cannot be lowered. As Moses was commanded to build the tabernacle according to the plan showed him in the holy mount, so must our prayers and our praises be the personal, believing, loving, hopeful appropriation of God’s truth in Jesus Christ.
The lover of the liturgy must be an apologist. The Lutheran teaching concerning Church Services and ceremonies is so
catholic and so harmonious with the spiritual worship of the God Who is spirit that great care must always be taken not to offend weak brethren nor to cause a schism among the, members of the Body of Christ by even unduly urging the preeminent claims of our wondrously beautiful Service. Our own people uninstructed and often prejudiced against what is churchly because of outside influences are often found speaking of “our denomination” and so really losing sight of the fact that ours is the Catholic and Apostolic Church continued in unbroken succession from the earliest times even to the present. Let the pastor teach his catechumens that they are in the Church of Christ by virtue of their Baptism and are to receive His Body and Blood in His Church. We need not be rude nor uncharitable to our neighbors but we ought to realize that, as Dr. Philip Schaff said of the Augsburg Confession, so may we say of our Service, “It is the most Christian, the most catholic, the most conservative in Christendom.”
Particularly in reference to our set forms of prayer, forms of sound words, are we assailed by many within our own Communion. Formal, mechanical, cold, lifeless, perfunctory, our prayers are said to be. Often, perhaps, justly so characterized because of the slipshod, slovenly manner in which they are read. Often likewise so described simply because the book is used and the minister’s own words are considered superior to the words which have helped and comforted saintly souls for many ages. To exercise the wisdom of serpents with the harmlessness of doves is necessary here as elsewhere. We may use free prayers in our Services but if substituted for the set Collects de tempore which is hardly conceivable where there is any Lutheran consciousness whatsoever, or for the General Prayer after the sermon which is quite frequent, we must be careful to let the prayers not be the expression of individual but of congregational needs, of the needs of Christ’s universal Church. The free prayer, according to Lutheran usage, is properly used in connection with the sermon which is quite frequent, we must be careful to let the prayers not be the expression of individual but of congregations needs, of the needs of Christ’s universal Church. The free prayer, according to Lutheran usage, is properly used in connection with the sermon. Correct teaching concerning the nature of prayer and the difference between Church prayers and private prayers will help to do away with the complaints often made of the cold and prayerless, life of the Lutheran Church. Never was the Church of Christ so richly fitted for an ardent devotional life as when with purified teachings, her Services were likewise purified. God help us to
realize the wealth of blessings left to us in the Collects and to use them to His glory.
The prayers of the Lutheran Liturgy properly consist of the Litany which stands by itself, the General Prayers and the Collects. The Lord’s Prayer of course occupies a unique position. The value of the Litany only those will learn to know who use it all the year round and not only in Lent. Responsive prayer is surely as helpful as the antiphonal use of the Psalter. The General Prayer is really a series of amplified Collects. The Collect usually has one central thought while the short prayers, which joined together constitute the General Prayer, elaborate the main petition and, like the Litany, enumerate those for whom we pray. It would perhaps be a good thing were our General Prayer to be so arranged with the proper invocations and conclusions that the people might respond Amen. Its real structure would then be more easily apparent.
The meaning of the word Collect is surrounded by considerable doubt. Various significations are suggested according to the varying points of view which are taken. “The Latin word is Collecta, which may mean a gathering of any sort—of money, as at a collection in church for some charitable object; or of people, as when two or three are ‘gathered together’ for common prayer; or of subjects of thought or study, as when an author at the end of a chapter gathers up in a short summary or recapitulates what he has said.”* The idea of a gathering is contained in the word. What is gathered together in this prayer? Is it the prayers of the people which the minister, in using the Collect, presents in the briefest possible collected form before God? Is it the teaching of the Gospel and the Epistle for the day, whose central truth and promise become the basis of our plea before God? Is it that collectedness of mind required in all true worship, and without doubt so admirably expressed by the Collects? Or did the word originally mean only a gathering of people in the church and was it an abbreviated form of the fuller expression, oratio ad collectam, a prayer to be used at an assemblage for Divine worship? Each of these meanings is suggestive and each may be applied to the Collects as we have them. Beginning with the last, we may say that the Collect is a public rather than a
Footnote: * The Collects of the Day by Edward Meyrick Goulburn, D. D., D. C. L., sometime Dean of Norwich, Vol. I, p. 11.
private prayer, intended for the Service of God’s house though not inappropriate to the privacy of individual prayer. It does denote the concentration of mind and singleness of purpose which ought to characterize true worship in that its very brevity requires careful attention and thought to be helpfully appropriated. It is always in harmony with the Gospel and Epistle and often throws much light upon their central teachings. And without doubt the testimony of our own experience in the use of the Collects leads us to acknowledge that they gather up the throbs and the desires of many hearts and present them in one overwhelming desire, resting upon a Divine promise before the mercy-seat. The Collect then is a brief congregational prayer resting upon a particular promise of God’s Word and uttering the need of the Church in her weakness and sorrow. Note its marks. It is brief and concise in form, Scriptural in content, pleading God’s promises, congregational in use and application, voicing human needs and specially the needs of God’s Kingdom among men.
The structure of the Collect is very interesting. In its full form it has five parts thus stated by Neale:—I. The Invocation. II. The Antecedent Reason. III. The Petition. IV. The Benefit Desired. V. The Conclusion. The Collects are usually addressed to the Father, sometimes to the Son, occasionally to the Holy Spirit. The antecedent reason deals with some attribute of God which is made the basis of the special petition offered, or lays hold upon a special promise which faith desires to realize. The petition proper is contained in a single sentence. The benefit or blessing to be obtained from this petition is then stated. The conclusions are uniform even when not so designated. If the Collect be addressed to the Father, the words are: “Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.” If to the Son: “Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.”
To show these five parts take for example that incomparably beautiful Collect, the Collect for Purity (No. 66 of the Collects and Prayers in the Liturgy) which is called the Constant Collect in the Communion Office of the Book of Common Prayer. The Latin and its English rendition are here presented side by side:
Deus, cui omne cor patet et omnis voluntas loquitur et quem nullum latet secretum; purifica per infusionem Sancti Spiritus cogitationis cordis nostri; ut Te perfecte diligere et digne laudare mereamur.* Per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
O God, unto Whom all hearts are open, all desires known and
from, Whom no secrets are hid; cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love Thee, and worthily magnify Thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Footnote: * Merear in mediaeval Latin is used in a lower than its original sense, to deserve. Even in classical Latin the verb merro has hardly any thought of merit connected with it, meaning simply to win, gain, attain unto. Mr. Maitland in his Dark Ages, p. 387, Note 4, thinks there is very little of the popish doctrine of merit in this word in ecclesiastical Latin.
I. THE INVOCATION: “O God.”
II. THE ANTECEDENT REASON: “Unto Whom all hearts are open, all desires are known and from Whom no secrets are hid.” All things are open unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do. He reads the human heart like an open book. Every desire finds a voice when it wings itself to the throne of grace. Nothing lies hidden from Him. Compare these words with Psalm 139.
III. THE PETITION PROPER: “Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit.” “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,” said the wise man, and a wiser than Solomon said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” The prayer of the Miserere recurs to our minds: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.” The Holy Spirit must lead us to think God’s thoughts after Him that we may attain the blessing.
IV. THE BENEFIT TO BE OBTAINED: “That we may perfectly love Thee and worthily magnify Thy holy Name.” Perfect love toward God and perfect praise of His Name can result only from perfect heart harmony with His blessed will, from purified thoughts inspired by the Holy Spirit.
V. THE CONCLUSION: “Through Jesus Christ our Lord.” in this exquisite Collect the fatherly care and providence of God, the sanctifying work of the Spirit and the mediation of Christ are beautifully recognized. It has been, thus fully treated simply to show the wonderful mines of hidden spiritual treasures in the Collects of the Church.
Though the writer desires to make this paper appreciative rather than historical, realizing that volumes have already been written on the subject of the Collects, yet it is necessary here briefly to refer to the origin of these admirable prayers.
The Collects for the Sundays and chief festivals are almost entirely of pre-Reformation origin. They are taken from the Leonine, the Gelasian and the Gregorian Sacramentaries. A Sacramentary was a book containing the Collects and the unchangeable part of the Service called the Canon of the Mass just as the Lectionary contained the Epistles, the Evangelistary the Gospels and the Antiphonary the Anthems. The earliest in date of the Sacramentaries is known by the name of Leo 1, Bishop of Rome, A. D., 440 to A. D. 461. The following Collects* in our Service are Leonine, i. e., assignable to that Sacramentary but in use probably very much earlier: III Sunday after Easter (Jubilate), the XII and the XIII after Trinity. They are here appended in order to show that they were prayers that Christ’s people might be kept faithful in that period of storm and stress.
III Easter: “Almighty God, Who showest to them that be in error the light of Thy truth to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness: Grant unto all them that are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s religion that they may eschew those things that are contrary to their profession and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
IV Trinity: “Grant, O Lord, we beseech Thee, that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by Thy governance that Thy Church may joyfully serve Thee in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.”
IV Trinity: “Almighty and merciful God, of Whose only gift it cometh that Thy faithful people do unto Thee true and laudable service: Grant, we beseech Thee, that we may so faithfully serve Thee in this life that we fail not finally to attain Thy Heavenly promises, through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.”
XIII Trinity: “Almighty and everlasting God, Give unto us the increase of faith, hope and charity; and that we may obtain that which Thou dost promise, make us to love that which
Footnote: * Taken from The Lutheran Movement in England by the Rev. H. E. Jacobs, D. D., p. 297.
Thou dost command; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.”
In writing of the Collect for IV Trinity Goulburn beautifully says: “When the Goths, the Huns and the Vandals were hovering over the moribund Roman Empire like a flight of vultures preparing to pounce upon a dying camel in the desert as soon as the breath is out of his body, there was certainly some point and there was likely to be some sincerity in such a prayer.” And to-day when Mormonism is rampant and Dowieism about to swoop down upon New York with thousands of its fanatical followers and Christian Science spreading among cultured people because of its attractive way of putting away sin and promising rest, surely Christ’s people need to eschew those things that are contrary to their profession and to follow all such things as are agreeable to the same. With the Goths and Vandals of destructive criticism and iconoclasm and moral laxity due, to a great extent, to religious indifference threatening us on every side, we need to purify our prayer life and pray earnestly that Christ’s Church may joyfully serve Him in all godly quietness. There is, indeed, food for thought in these beautiful prayers.
Gelasius was raised to the Bishopric of Rome A. D. 492. In the very next year Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, at the head of his army of barbarians, assassinated Odoacer and succeeded him as king of Italy. Rome was no longer the seat of the imperial government. The emperors had withdrawn to Ravenna, a great naval and military station on the Adriatic, and the barbarian kings who succeeded them made Ravenna their capital. The power of the popes was rapidly increasing and political changes and religious controversies made the time one of great unrest. The Collects of this period bear unmistakable traces of the prevailing unquietness. To-day of course we give a spiritual interpretation to these frequently-repeated petitions for peace and quietness, but it is very interesting to note the times which gave rise to prayers such as these. And amid our distress and in the restlessness of modern life we find these Collects wonderfully helpful. The following Collects are traceable to the Gelasian Sacramentary: II, III, IV Advent, Christmas Eve, Christmas, the First of the Other Collects for Advent, Palmarum, Easter Eve, Easter Day, II, IV, V Sundays after Easter, the Sunday after Ascension, I, III, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XIV,
XV, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX after Trinity.* A few of these Collects are here given.
For Advent: “Mercifully hear, O Lord, the prayers of Thy people; that as they rejoice in the Advent of Thine Only-Begotten Son according to the flesh, so when He cometh a second time in His Majesty they may receive the reward of eternal life.”
For Christmas Night: “O God, Who hast made this most holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light: Grant, we beseech Thee, that as we have known on earth the mysteries of that Light, we may also come to the fulness of its joys in Heaven.”
For Christmas Day: “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.”
Palmarum: “Almighty and everlasting God, Who hast sent by Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon Him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of His great humility: Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of His patience and also be made takers of His Resurrection.”
Easter Eve: “O God, Who didst enlighten this most holy night with the glory of the Lord’s Resurrection: Preserve in all Thy people the Spirit of adoption which Thou hast given, so that renewed in body and soul they may perform unto Thee a pure service.
Easter Day: “Almighty God, Who through Thine Only-Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, hast overcome death and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life:† We humbly beseech Thee, that, as Thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by Thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect.”
IV Easter (Cantate): “O God, Who makest the minds of the faithful to be of one will: Grant unto Thy people that they may love what Thou commandest and desire what Thou dost promise; that, among the manifold changes of this world, our hearts may there be fixed where true joys are to be found.”
III Trinity: “O God, the Protector of all that trust in
Footnote: * The Lutheran Movement in England, p. 298, taken from Gerbert’s Monumenta veteris Liturgiae Alemannicae, supplemented by Muratori’s Liturgia Romana.
Footnote: † The following put of the Collect is Gregorian.
Thee, without Whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us Thy mercy; that Thou being our Ruler and Guide, we may so pass through things temporal that we finally lose not the things eternal.”
V Trinity: “O God, Who hast prepared for them that love Thee such good things as pass man’s understanding; Pour into our hearts such love toward Thee, that we, loving Thee above all things, may obtain Thy promises which exceed all that we can desire.”
VI Trinity: “Lord of all power and might, Who art the Author and Giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of Thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of Thy great mercy keep us in the same.”
XI Trinity: “Almighty and Everlasting God, Who art always more ready to hear than we to pray and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve: Pour down upon us the abundance of Thy mercy, forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.”
XX Trinity: “Grant, we beseech Thee, merciful Lord, to Thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins and serve Thee with a quiet mind.”
But perhaps the most beautiful as it is probably the best known of the Gelasian Collects is the Collect for Peace printed three times in our Liturgy, as the fixed Collect for Vespers, at the close of the Litany and at the close of the Suffrages. “O God, from Whom all holy desires, all good counsels and all just works do proceed: Give unto Thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that our hearts may be set to obey Thy commandments, and also that by Thee, we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour.”
“One has seen at the root of a decaying tree tufts of wild hyacinths or primroses, the seeds of which, wafted by winds or carried by birds or insects, have found in this friable, corrupting soil a congenial habitat. And there are correspondences in the moral world with this natural phenomenon. When the old Roman Empire was in its last stage of decay, when all old landmarks were being removed and old institutions were going to pieces,
then appeared for the first time these bunches of fragrant beautiful prayers, giving token of a spiritual vitality below the surface of society, a sure evidence that all was not corrupt, that the antiseptic salt of God’s grace in the hearts of His elect still endured and had not lost its save.” *
Footnote: * The Collects, Goulburn, Vol. I, p. 38.
Gregory the Great became Bishop of Rome A. D. 590. The following Collects are taken from his Sacramentary: I Advent, Sunday after Christmas, II Other Collect for Advent, Epiphany, I, II, III, IV, V after Epiphany, Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima, II, III, IV, V Sundays in Lent, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Holy Week, Other Easter Collects, I after Easter, I for Ascension, Whitsunday, Monday in Whitsun-Week, XVI, XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV after Trinity. In comparing them with the Anglican Collects we must remember that the Third Sunday after Trinity, the Anglican Collects fall one Sunday behind, and that elsewhere, as in the first three Sunday in Advent, the Anglicans have composed new Collects while we retain the ancient Collect.” †
Footnote: † The Lutheran Movement in England, p. 298.
Besides the Collects de tempore our Book contains a number of beautiful Collects and Prayers classified as follows: For the Holy Spirit, For the Church, For the Civil Authorities, In Time of Affliction and Distress, Thanksgiving, For Special Gifts and Graces, For Answer to Prayer, and Litany Collects. All of these would well repay special study but it is not within the scope of this paper to take them up in detail. We are immeasurably indebted to the compliers of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer for the beautiful versions of the Collects which we use in common with that branch of the Church. One of the four variable parts of the Service, like the Introits, the Gospels and the Epistles, the Collects, always tell us of the great fact and truth commemorated by the Church. They are our response to the Heavenly gifts of life and godliness.
Brief but comprehensive, Churchly, catholic, Scriptural, the Collects, like the hymns unite us with the Church of Christ in every age and in every land. As a common confession of faith is made, as common praises ascend from many sanctuaries, so in the Collects do we have real common prayer. Let us study them ourselves and teach them to our people. As the Salutation
and the Oremus always precede the Collects, they should indeed be made the prayers of the worshipping congregation. They are congregational prayers, fit offerings for the priesthood of believers. God help our people to learn more of this precious manual of prayer and to use these glorious petitions to His glory and our eternal welfare.
SAMUEL A. BRIDGES STOPP.
THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF DIVINE SERVICE.
DIVINE Service or, which is the same, Public Worship, consists in the drawing near to God of His people with the offerings of humble, contrite and thankful hearts, prayer, praise and thanksgiving that God may also draw near to them to impart His grace.
II. ITS ORIGIN.
Before the Exodus the worship of God was patriarchal, each head of a family conducting the same when, where and as he saw fit. But after the people had been united into a congregation, God Himself laid the foundation of Divine Service in the command and promise: (Ex. 20:24) “An altar of earth thou shalt make unto Me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep and thine oxen. In all places where I record My name I will come unto thee and I will bless thee.”
For the execution of the principle here laid down the tabernacle, and afterwards the Temple, was constructed from God-given plans, and an order of Service was established by Divine law. In this order the people approached God and He approached them; but, as redemption was not yet accomplished, it could be conducted only through the mediation of a special priesthood.—Trough the priest the people drew near to God and through the priest God also drew near to them. He did not dwell in the court among the people nor yet in the Holy Place among the priests, but in thick darkness, on the mercy seat between the cherubim in the Holy of Holies, which was separated from the priests’ and the people’s place by a thick vail. Only the High
Priest, enveloped in a cloud of incense and with the blood of the atoning sacrifice, might go behind the vail, and that only once a year. Whatever the people offered to God must be presented through the priest and whatever grace God bestowed upon them was conveyed to them by the priest.—The offerings were largely propitiatory, symbolizing the one sacrifice yet to be offered once for all sin by the Great High Priest—-For the time being God agreed to accept the symbolic sacrifice,—but, as it only foreshadowed the atonement, it had to be repeated year by year. This worship, consisting in types and shadows of good things to come, was only “a figure for the time then present.” “The way into the Holiest was not yet made manifest.” (Heb. 9:8). “But Christ being come a High Priest of good things to come … entered once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption, for us.” He fully accomplished, by the sacrifice of Himself, all that was symbolized by the Aaronic priesthood. Through the rending of His body the vail of separation was rent asunder, and the way to God was fully opened and made manifest. He no longer dwells in thick darkness behind the vail, but in the midst of His people. Hence in Christ the fundamental principles of Divine Service, as expressed in founding the Old Testament worship, are fully realized. From this the Apostle draws the conclusion: (Heb. 10:19-22) “Having therefore boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let, us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
Thus the symbolic worship of the Old Testament has had its fulfilment in Christ, in Whom God’s “covenant of peace” is established with us, and “His tabernacle is with us,” so that what was only foreshadowed in the Temple Service has become a reality. The Word has become flesh, and dwells, not at a distance from us, but among us.
The hour has come, when, not only in Jerusalem, but in’ all places, where believers meet in His name, they may worship Him in spirit and in truth. The Temple Service, with its priesthood, has passed away, but the principles upon which it was based, realized in Christian worship, abide forever. Jesus Himself made
them the foundation principle of the Divine Service of His Church, when He said: (Matt. 18:20) “Where two or three are gathered together in My name there am I in the midst of them.” (See also Matt. 28: 19-20). The conditions for the fulfilment of this promise were present for the first time on Easter Sunday evening, when ten disciples of Christ and the two Emmaus believers were assembled in Jerusalem. Then He stood in their midst, imparted peace to them, communicated the Holy Spirit, confirmed their faith and filled them with gladness. This assembly may be taken as the type of all future assemblies for Divine Service.
It demonstrates the truth that the principle underlying the public worship of God in both Testaments is the same, viz., That
God has a Church, a congregation of believers, which draws near Him to seek His grace and present its offerings, and to which He also draws near to impart His grace. Hence in the tabernacle there were certain symbolic representations, appearing to the eye. The images of the cherubim, always connected with God’s throne, on the vail in front of the Holy of Holies, reminded of God’s presence to bless His people; and the altar of burnt offerings in the outer court and the altar of incense in the Holy Place reminded the people that they must also bring something to Him, i. e., their offerings. By the death of Christ the outer court with its altar for propitiatory sacrifices was abolished and the Holy of Holies was united with the Holy Place, to which, with its altar of incense representing the prayers of the people, all believers, now become a royal priesthood in Christ, were advanced. The three parts of the tabernacle have now become one, in which God dwells in the midst of a congregation of priests. The fundamental principle of the worship in this tabernacle is this: The people assemble in the name of Jesus, and He, in Whom the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily, is in their midst. They are to worship Him with prayer, praise and thanksgiving; He is here to, accept their offerings and to bestow His grace.
III. TWO KINDS OF ACTS.
From the above it must be evident that true worship consists of acts, sacramental acts and sacrificial acts—acts of God and acts of believers.
By sacramental acts we mean those acts of God, by which He
imparts His grace. For this purpose He draws near to the congregation: “There will I come unto thee and I will bless thee.” These acts of God are represented to the eye in the house of God by the pulpit, the font and the altar. God bestows His grace by the Holy Spirit through the Word and the Sacraments. The preaching of the Word and the administration of Baptism and the Holy Supper are all sacramental acts, wrought by Almighty God, through the minister as His instrument. By these acts He imparts the grace sought by His people. There can be no true worship without them. The people cannot draw near to God, unless He first draws near to them; nor can they give anything to Him, unless He has first given to them, as Paul writes to the Romans: (Rom. 11:35) “Who hath first given to Him and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” Therefore these sacramental acts are not only an essential part of Divine Service, they are its most prominent parts, yea, without them the other parts are not conceivable. Yet they alone are not public worship; the sacrificial acts must be conjoined with them.
By sacrificial acts we mean the acts of the people,—what they bring to God. He has given something to them; they must also give something to Him. This part of the Service is represented by the altar. Whatever is given to God is called a sacrifice, and its presentation is called an offering. But this is a priestly act, and it implies that those who perform it are priests, who have the right and duty of ministering at the altar.
The Church of Rome has a sacerdotal order, to which alone slid accords public priestly functions. Hence she fences the altar off from the people; and they have no access to it except through the priest. But this does not accord with the teaching of the Divine Word. It does not warrant the distinction between priest and laymen. Christ instituted a ministry but no special priesthood; and the functions of the ministry are sacramental, not sacrificial. As our High Priest He has offered Himself once for all sin, and has obtained eternal redemption for us. Not even He can repeat that offering. But as our High Priest He still prays for us and with us. He is the Head of the only priesthood recognized by the New Testament. He dwells in the hearts of believers by faith; and they are all equally priests in Him. Hence Peter writes: (I Pet. 2:9) “But ye are a royal priesthood
… that ye should show forth the praises of Him, Who hath led you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” This being true, the functions of each and every believer in the house of God are priestly, i. e., to offer sacrifices. What kind of sacrifices? Surely not of a propitiatory sort, such as the Jewish priests very properly offered as types of the one sacrifice offered on Golgotha, much less of the Romish sort, to make satisfaction for the sins of the living and the dead, by the bloodless repetition of the offering on Calvary.
The altar of burnt offering no longer stands, but the altar of incense, i. e., of prayer does. The New Testament requires that all believers shall offer eucharistic sacrifices, i. e., thankofferings, first of themselves, as Paul writes (Rom. 12:1) “I beseech you therefore by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” To this must be added prayer, praise, thanksgiving and of our substance, the offerings of humble, contrite, and grateful hearts. These sacrificial acts were so prominent in connection with the sacrament of the altar, in the early Church, that the latter was called the Eucharist. Here we have the most intimate communion with God: He gives Himself to us we give ourselves, with all that we have and are, to Him.
It is the privilege and duty of every believer to engage in all these sacrificial acts, with heart and voice and hand. They must not be idle spectators, or a mere audience, to witness what is said and done in the house of God, but active worshippers. In this sense also they must be “doers of the Word.” Each and every one of them must bring something to God as well as receive something from Him. To obtain the blessing of God’s sacramental acts, we must draw near to Him with sacrificial acts.
IV. THE OBJECT.
The object of this Service, or worship, is to secure the growth, in grace and the spiritual development of all who participate therein. Hence our fathers called it the cultus, from the Latin colo, to cultivate. The Church is a vineyard, planted with precious vines, each one of which should grow continually and bring forth fruit. This end is accomplished in a natural vineyard when the vines are pruned, watered and nurtured, when the husbandman does his part and the vines render the befitting response.
The sunshine and the rains descend upon the plant, then in, response it lifts up its head towards its benefactor, buds’ blooms and brings forth fruit, This is successful culture. So in the Church the object of the cultus is attained when God bestows His grace through the Word and the Sacraments and the believing people respond to this grace and render the ripe fruits thereof to its Author in the sacrifices that proceed from humble, contrite and thankful hearts.
That the above purpose may be accomplished,
V. AN ORDER OF DIVINE SERVICE.
that makes provision for all of these twofold acts, sacramental and sacrificial, is necessary. Where a number of people are to unite in doing the same thing—as in “glorifying God with one mind and one mouth”—there must be a place, time and manner of, doing it, which all understand and approve. Private worship may be rendered by the individual at any place and time and in any manner that he may choose. It concerns only himself and his God. But to worship God collectively as a congregation, we must first have a suitable place. This should be a house of God, constructed in such style and furnished in such manner as to bespeak its purpose. God instructs us through the eye as well as the ear; and every thing that strikes the eye as well as the ear should be of such character as to direct our thoughts Heavenward and to-God-ward. Not only should there be a pulpit to represent the preaching of the Word, by which the Holy Spirit works faith, a font to remind us of Baptism and our covenant relations with God, and an altar to set forth our priestly functions and the Holy Supper, in which the sacramental and the sacrificial are beautifully combined and which establishes our most intimate Communion with God and each other,—God bestowing the living meat and drink and believers responding with heartfelt thanksgiving. But, in addition to this, works of sacred art, that suggest devout thoughts, are very useful and much more helpful than blank walls. The decorations of the Temple, planned by God Himself, teach us that such works are pleasing to Him.
But the most suitable places of worship would fail of their purpose without fixed seasons and times for the assembly of the congregation. Under the Old Testament both place and time were fixed by law.
The Temple was ordinarily the place, and the Sacred Year provided the seasons and the days of public worship. From this we observe that it is the mind of God that there should be such fixed seasons and times. But under the New Testament it is left to the liberty of the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, to arrange all such matters. In the exercise of this liberty, in the light of the revelation of the mind of God, the Church very early ordained the Christian Year, with its seasons and holy days, for the systematic “learning” of God’s Word.
On the same principle the Church has also developed an Order of Service, which provides for the practical application of the New Testament principles of Divine worship. The Lord Himself pointed and led the way to such an order. In His public life He conformed strictly to the forms in use under the Old Testament dispensation. The sectarian idea of spirit without form has no place in either His teaching or His example. The Psalms, the inspired prayer book of the Hebrews, were very dear to His heart, and He prayed from them even when He was dying on the cross. His “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me,” was from a written prayer, the twenty-second Psalm; and His last prayer, “into Thy hands I commend My spirit,” was from the thirty-first Psalm. With this practice accords His teaching. When He taught the individual how to pray alone He gave no form, but said, “When Thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and, when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father Which is in secret.” But when He taught the disciples how to pray collectively, as a congregation, He, inculcated both the spirit and the form, or “manner,” saying: “After this manner therefore pray ye: “Our Father,” etc. Thus we have it from Him that the spirit of Divine Service should be clothed in an appropriate form.
VI. LITURGICAL FORMS.
Of all existing liturgical forms, i. e., forms for the people’s Worship, the Order of Service of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, as contained in the “Common Service,” most fully embodies all the fundamental principles of Divine Service.
The Church of Rome pushes aside and obscures the sacramental acts by the sacrificial, leaving little or nothing for God to do. With her the arrangement of the Jewish Temple still seems to stand,—God is still removed from His people, behind the vail,
and the people are still in the outer court, with no way of communication with Him, except through a spurious priesthood, which usurps the rights and privileges of the “royal priesthood,” which, with Christ’s high priesthood and based upon it, is the only priestly order known to the New Testament. The Sacrament of the Altar is perverted into the sacrifice of the Mass, offered by the priest for the living and the dead, so that, to be benefited by it, it is not necessary to be present at its celebration. The beneficiary may not even be upon earth; he may be in “purgatory.” Altars, dedicated to the saints, supposed mediators between God and men, are multiplied; the pulpit is made subordinate and placed in an obscure position; the preached Word becomes a matter of indifference; and the direct application of the Word to the individual in the absolution is made nugatory by the penances upon which it is conditioned. It is therefore not a matter of surprise that the worship is conducted in an unknown tongue and that the active participation of the people in the Service is not encouraged. The priest and the choir can do all that is to be done, and it is not necessary that those, for whose benefit the Service is rendered, should witness it, much less participate in it. The worship consists principally in what the priest offers to God for the people, and there is little place for God in the entire Service. It makes the impression that the vail in the Temple is still unbroken and the way to God still closed; that He is still unreconciled to His people; that He has no Gospel for them, nothing but law, the threatenings of which must be silenced by the propitiatory sacrifice offered by the priest and the intercession of the saints.
The Reformed Churches and the sects have fallen into the same error, although from a different standpoint. Whilst they have banished the altar, which represents the sacrificial part of the Service, they make nearly the whole worship sacrificial, and retain very little that is sacramental. Dr. Kliefoth, quoted by, Dr. Jacobs, has well said: “Antagonizing the Romish propitiatory sacrifice, they make the Service almost entirely eucharistic sacrificial. In the Lord’s Supper He really gives nothing to them, but they memorialize His death. The application of grace is conceived as occurring immediately, from spirit to spirit. The constant presence of the Holy Spirit with the Word and Sacrament is denied. All liturgical acts are expressions of faith al-
ready wrought. The sacraments offer nothing from the Lord. … The Word does not bring the Spirit but the Spirit brings the Word. Through the exposition of the Word the preacher simply gives testimony to his faith. Believers come together chiefly for common prayers, confession, praise, thanksgiving, etc., to exercise their faith.” Thus it will be seen that the Order of Service of the Reformed Church and the sects fails to combine properly and to harmonize the two fundamental principles of Christian worship. It is only in the Lutheran Church that the two essentials of a complete Christian cultus are accorded their relative importance and their proper place. This will become apparent when we notice briefly
VII. HOW THESE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES FIND EXPRESSION IN THE “COMMON SERVICE.”
Here we have:
a. A Preparation for the Service, which consists in the solemn announcement by the pastor, sealed by the “Amen” of the people, that we are assembled in the Name of the Triune God, and that in this Name we begin, continue and end the worship. This reminds us of the promise (Matt. 18:20) upon which the Christian assembly is based, and we are here to claim its fulfilment. We are gathered around the Lord, Who is present to impart the blessing, which we seek. This is a holy presence; and the first thing we ought to do is to put away our sins. What God commanded Moses to do in a symbolical manner (Ex. 3:5) we are to do in reality: “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”
This is done in the confiteor and the Declaration of Grace that follows it, to which we are invited by the minister; and the source of the ability and the manner of so doing is expressed in the words: “Our help is in the Name of the Lord, Who made Heaven and earth.” “I said I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” The confession of sins, original and actual follows, as also the cry for “mercy” and “forgiveness” and the “increase” in us of the “true knowledge of God” and His will and “true obedience” to His Word by the Holy Spirit, indicating the purpose for which we draw near to God. Then comes the Declaration of Divine Grace,
pledged to us in Baptism and about to be communicated to us more fully by, the Word and Sacrament.
This preparation having been made, the Service proper for the day begins with
b. The Introit, a sacramental act, in which God expresses the leading thought for the day,—a communication of the Word.
The names of the Sundays are largely derived from the Introit. It is usually taken from the Psalms, consisting of an Antiphon and a Psalm. The Gloria Patri, (sacrificial) which follows, is the believer’s joyful response to the Antiphon. Then follows:
c. The Kyrie. God is present, according to His promise, and He has spoken in the Declaration of Grace and in the Introit. Hence the people, feeling the misery that has come of sin and realizing that the Healer is in their midst, cry to Him for mercy which heals, as grace pardons. The Kyrie is not a confession of sin, but, as in the case of blind Bartimaeus, a plea for the removal of the misery and suffering that remains as a consequence of sin, as spiritual blindness or weakness or any kind of spiritual or bodily want or wretchedness. Then follows
d. The Gloria in Excelsis, in which the minister calls upon the congregation to unite, as it assures them that grace and mercy have fully come in the Person, Whose presence God announces through the angels. This, their song over Bethlehem’s manger, has this purpose: “That faith is aroused and takes the Word from God’s lips.” (Jacobs). Faith being thus enkindled and awakened, we prepare to enter more fully upon the sacrificial parts of the Service, viz.)
e. The Salutation and Collect. In the Salutation, “The Lord be with you,” the minister prays for the people, imploring, not the general presence of God, according to which He is present everywhere by His omnipotence, but His special, gracious presence, to impart His blessing through the means of grace. The people also, in the same spirit comfort and pray for the pastor in the response, “And with thy spirit.”
Having prayed thus separately for each other the pastor now invites the people to pray with him unitedly (collectively) for the special grace to be sought this day. This is done in the Collect, spoken by the pastor and approved and sealed by the
Amen of the people. It consists in an address to God, usually the Father, a ground of expectation and a petition based upon it, and a doxology, or ascription of praise to the Trinity. This prayer God now answers in
f. The Scripture Lessons. First an Epistle is announced and read, usually, but not always, from the New Testament. This corresponds with the reading of the Law in the Synagogue Service. The Epistles are the New Testament Law, now a delight to Christians, because it has been fulfilled by Christ, and is written, as a rule of life in their hearts. Hence they joyfully respond to it by singing the “Hallelujah!” which proclaims the Lamb victorious in the fulfilment of the Law, according to Psalm 118.
Then the Lamb draws nearer to them in the announcement of the Gospel, by which He speaks to them more directly. At this the congregation, realizing more fully that He stands in their midst and is about to speak to them in His own words, joyfully greets Him with the words: “Glory be to Thee, O Lord!” Then rising in profound reverence for His gracious presence and for the truth He is about to utter, the people devoutly hear Him, standing upon their feet as good soldiers of the Cross, ready to execute His will. The precious Gospel of peace having been heard, what could more suitably follow than the response, sung with heart and voice, “Praise be to Thee, O Christ!”? The Lord having now spoken in both forms of His Word, and that having been thankfully, acknowledged, they, that believe with their hearts “unto righteousness,” also confess their faith “with the mouth” “unto salvation,” by the use of
g. The Creed. Here, not the Apostles’ Creed, which is confession at baptismal Services, but the Nicene, which is the Communion, is used. In the Lutheran Church it is not hurried over, as if it were a mere form or a task to be ended as quickly as possible; but spoken distinctly, with a loud voice it being a precious privilege to confess our faith in the Triune God, Who created, redeemed and sanctified us, Then after a hymn follows
h. The Sermon, the explanation and application of the precious message, which the Lord has delivered to us in the Gospel, which is intended to impart the special grace announced in the Introit and asked in the Collect. The selection of themes
not contained in the Gospel mars the Service and measurably defeats the purpose of the systematic arrangement of the Lessons for the Church Year: that the people may receive “grace for grace,” each grace in its proper season and in the right relation to all others. The sermon closed, with “the peace of God,” which the Gospel conveys, pronounced upon the congregation, it is followed by
i. The Offertory and General Prayer. God having richly bestowed His grace through the sacramental act of the Word, there should be some sacrificial return for His goodness. This is devoutly and thankfully acknowledged in the Offertory, which tells whence the sacrifice should proceed, from “a broken and a contrite heart,” and looks to God to cleanse its source—“a clean heart.” The General Prayer immediately follows, in which thanksgivings and praises are offered and all sorts and conditions of men are remembered before the throne of grace and all the wants of all mankind, especially of the sick and suffering, widows and orphans and of all in authority, are laid before God. It ends with the Lord’s Prayer, spoken by all the people, the best and highest of all prayers, certain to be acceptable to God and heard of Him, because Jesus, Who prays with us, has commanded us to say these words and promised that the Father will surely grant our petitions offered in His Name, as God’s dear children.
The prayer ended, thank-offerings, gifts of our substance,—alms, are laid upon the altar, the place for everything sacrificial.
Then follows the culmination of the cultus:
THE HOLY COMMUNION.
Here we have the most profound mystery and, at the same time, the highest privilege of Christian worship: a fore-pledge of the final consummation, when the saints shall be the table guests of the Lord in glory; here we enter the sanctuary of the sanctuary, beyond which there is nothing but Heaven itself, the summit of our liturgical cultus. Hence all parts thereof are so arranged as to enable the believer to realize a repetition of the act of the night of our Lord’s betrayal in breaking the bread and blessing the cup, and imparting His own broken Body and His shed Blood to each of His guests. It has these several parts:
I. THE INTRODUCTION. This part of the Service, which is partly eucharistic sacrificial and partly sacramental, begins with
1. The Salutation. Here, as before the Collect and introductory to the sacramental act of God in imparting the grace of His Word, the pastor prays for the special presence with the people of the WORD as the Lamb of God, as the Host communicating the Sacrament and also as the “Passover sacrificed for us.” But there the reference is to His presence through the Holy Ghost, His representative, as our Prophet, about to speak to us through the Word; here, however, it is His presence as our Priest and King, in a glorified, personal and bodily manner, “so that we may, in this transaction, call the Lord Himself to us in a peculiar manner of personal presence, such as is accorded alone in the institutional promise.” (Zeschwitz). In the same manner the people also comfort the pastor, as the instrument of the Lord, in the response: “And with thy spirit.” Then comes
2. The Sursum Corda: “Lift up your hearts,” i. e., raise them from all things earthly, above the desires, cares, ambitions and treasures of the world;—this because they now stand at the very vestibule of Heaven. Realizing the solemnity of the Service upon which they are entering, the people reply: “We lift them up unto the Lord.” Raising their hearts to Him, what are they now to do? The minister answers with
3. The Gratias: “Let us give thanks unto the Lord,” which St. Augustine thus explains: “That we lift up our hearts to the Lord is God’s gift, for which then we are bidden to give thanks to our Lord God.” (Dr. Jacobs). And the people devoutly answer with
4. The Dignum: “It is meet and right so to do.” Then the minister, taking this acknowledgment out of the mouth of the people, raises it to Heaven in the words: “It is truly meet (because He has redeemed us), right and salutary (because He is about to seal His grace to us), that we should give thanks to Thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God.”
Then having acknowledged the special grace of the season or day, as imparted through the Gospel, in the “Proper Preface,” the pastor and people, realizing the sacramental presence of the Lord and the fellowship of the Heavenly spirits, unite in the seraphic song, (Isa. 6) “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth, Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory.” Thus God is praised by the Church on earth and in Heaven for the Lord’s sacramental presence. Then realizing that He is drawing near to us as
the Lamb that was slain for us, to impart Himself to us as our Passover, we greet His approach with the great Passover Hallelujah (Psalm 118), which was sung at His entrance into Jerusalem as the Chosen Lamb and again at the Last Supper: “Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.” The people now consecrate themselves to the Lamb by saying the prayer He taught them to say: The Lord’s Prayer, and He proceeds to answer their prayer, first in
II. THE CONSECRATION. The Lord Jesus Christ now takes the bread and the cup, through the hands of His servant, and, by his mouth, He speaks the consecrating words:
1. The Words of the Institution. He makes the Sacrament by adding His Word to the element. The people, now believing that He is present at His table, humbly cry, not to the bread, but to Him, in the words of the
2. Agnus Dei, first for His mercy, to remove their misery, and then for His peace,—the crowning grace, that flows from the complete pardon of sin. This is what He promised His people: “My peace I give you.” He answers their prayer with
3. The Pax, spoken through the minister: “The Peace of the Lord be with you,” a pledge that the peace prayed for in the Agnus Dei is about to be imparted. The people accept this pledge with a trusting “Amen.” Then He proceeds to impart this peace in
III. THE ADMINISTRATION. Here He approaches and deals with each individual, saying to every communicant: “Take and eat, this is the Body of Christ, which is given for thee.” “Take and drink, this is the Blood of the New Testament, shed for thy sins.” Then, assuming that the communicants have believed these sacramental words, they are dismissed with the blessing: “The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ and His precious Blood strengthen and preserve you in true faith unto everlasting life.” Having now reached the summit of Divine Service, beyond which there is nothing but Heaven, there is nothing left but
IV. THE POST COMMUNION, which must needs be brief, and consists almost exclusively in devout thanksgiving, Christ having imparted to us forgiveness of sins and, therefore, life and salvation; the peace prayed for in the Agnus Dei and proclaimed in the Pax, has been communicated by the Sacrament. We need nothing more. The Lord has nothing more to give us. There-
fore we sing with Simeon, whose most devout longing had been satisfied:
V. THE NUNC DIMITTIS: “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace,” etc. Then calling upon each other “to give thanks unto the Lord,” we repeat the Thanksgiving Collect. Pastor and people once more comfortingly salute each other, blessing and thanking the Lord; and the whole Service is closed h the Benediction, which consists in a threefold putting of the Name of the Lord upon His people for their blessing, keeping and their peace. How otherwise should this last sacramental act be received than with the threefold “Amen?”
It will thus be seen, that the Lutheran Order of Service most perfectly embodies and applies all the fundamental principles pertaining to Divine Service contained in the Holy Scriptures, and that each part is in its proper place. And whoever intelligently and devoutly joins in every part of this Service will experience that it contains everything necessary to our edification and growth in grace. Any man that cannot profitably unite in such worship must be sadly wanting either in Christian intelligence or devotion, or both. By its diligent and faithful use all may “come to the fullness of the stature of new men in Christ Jesus.”
G. W. MECHLING.
REGULATIONS AND CUSTOMS PERTAINING TO THE USE OF THE SACRAMENTS.
IT is well known that the Protestant denominations, generally, recognize two Sacraments—Baptism and the Lord’s Supper,—as the Roman and Greek Catholic Churches recognize seven. It might be supposed that where there are only the two Sacraments, the Protestant wing of the Church would be able to agree on those two in the matter of doctrine, and practice; but or impossible, the fact is they do not. Each has some distinctive practice respecting the divergences on the doctrinal acceptation.
It is almost a truism in the Lutheran Church that the practices grow out of the doctrine; and hence, the practices conform to the essentials of the doctrine in such a way that the didactic result of the practice ought not, and should not, vitiate the doctrinal position of the Church. We are well aware that the define her doctrines with exactness and clearness of language; so too, it is, that the practices are expressive of the content of the doctrine.—One might almost say that the practices are to the content of the doctrine as the adjectives and adverbs are to the definition of the doctrine.
When it happens, and it does happen, that a doctrine is ill-defined according to Scripture, or that the content of the word is minified or magnified, we way see this reflected in the rubrics and regulations of the Church or Christian body. Take for instance the doctrine of the Word, as held by the Friends, respecting the Sacraments.. Here we see a low conception of the Word. Its authority, per se, is very limited, when compared with the authority of the Spirit. As a consequence the Sacraments are set aside. Such a doctrine practically gives us a Spiritless Word, and a Wordless Spirit; and supersedes Christ by the Spirit.
A somewhat different phase is suggested by the combination of necessary immersion with the absolute requirement of definite and personal faith, in order to constitute Baptism. This insistence accords to Christ scarcely more than the establishment of the Sacrament; while the essence of it, if there is an essence, comes from human faith, judging by the practice. It involves a confusion between the essence and the benefits of the rite. Another phase may be seen in the Reformed doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, compared with the Lutheran, as a type or system. Here is seen a species of emptying the Word of its content and laying the stress upon the Spirit beyond the Word, upon human faith, and the spiritual participation of the communicant, in the Communion. This not only eliminates Christ from the Sacrament, and goes entirely outside the rite; but makes the Sacrament depend upon a human condition, and in fact makes the Sacrament little more than a pious action on the part of the participant.
Take this instance:—*The distribution is to be made with these words—“The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy soul and body unto everlasting life. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on Him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving.” “The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee, preserve thy soul and body unto everlasting life. Drink this in remembrance that Christ’s Blood was shed for thee, and be thankful.” Italics in the text.
Footnote: * The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1880, New York, p. 291.
We find something very similar to this conception concerning the commemoration and the human faith in the Westminster Confession† and Common Prayer.‡
Footnote: † Westminster Confession of Faith, Presbyterian, Phila., 1896, pp. 150-153.
Footnote: * Book of Common Prayer, Episcopal, 1891, p. 244.
Jesus says, “Take, eat; This is;” but these forms virtually say, “This was,” for a remembrance has to do with that which is past and it is specifically stated “Which was given for thee” and “Drink this in remembrance that Christ’s Blood was shed for thee.” The practice in the distribution is all the more strangely contrasted by the practice in the consecration, which uses these words§ “…According to Thy Son our Saviour
Footnote: § The Doctrines and Discipline of M. E. Church, 1880, N. Y., p. 290.
Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of His death and passion, may be partakers of His most blessed Body and Blood; Who, in the same night that He was betrayed, took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and gave to His disciples, saying, Take, eat; this is My Body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me. Likewise after supper He took the cup; and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this; for this is My Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you, and for many, for the remission of sins; do this, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of Me.” The administration is made to ministers first if present, then to the congregation, kneeling, being given into the uncovered hands.
Why the consecration should be in the present tense while the distribution is in the past, we understand from the doctrine: but why they ought so to be, we cannot understand as a matter of truth. Nor do we understand why the participants in the consecratory prayer have a present Christ, and in the distribution a few moments afterward have to make a memory leap over 1800 years, a feat which is impossible to any present living individual, except historically.
According to Scripture, the memory leap which one class of people has to make is not much greater than the mental leap which another class has to make in order to compass transubstantiation, as set forth in practice. The more so when the transubstantiation is so applied that one element comprises the two. It would seem that sacerdotal transubstantiation of the elements almost requires the transubstantiation of the priest into Christ.* We find the priest is the deputy of Christ and through this deputy, in the Mass to the Catholic believer there is given “to each of us in particular: 1st. To join our Lord and Priest in offering the Divine Victim of Calvary, present on our altars, to the Eternal Father.”
Footnote: * Catholic Belief, Joseph Faa di Bruno, D. D., Benziger Bros., N. Y., p. 104.
But concerning the ceremonies etc., of the Catholic Church m Dr. several quotations from Dr. Bruno may speak for themselves.† “Ceremonies do not form an essential part of the institution of Christ, most of them having been added by the Church in the time of the Apostles or in subsequent ages. Consequently they
Footnote: † Ibid. p. 105.
may, by the direction of authority, be changed or omitted (as in fact in cases of necessity they are omitted), without affecting the validity of the Sacrament. But as they are prescribed by the Church, acting under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, in order the better to show forth the dignity and the effects of the Sacraments, and to dispose us to receive them in a more devout manner, it would be wrong to omit them, except in case of necessity.” * “If solemn ceremonies were not used in the celebration of the Mass, Catholic belief in the real presence of Christ upon our altars would not be fitly expressed. If the faithful saw the altar stripped of ornaments, and the officiating priests without distinctive vestments, not bending the knee, and not giving any outward token of worship before the consecrated elements, their Catholic instinct would be shocked. On the other hand, when they see the great pains taken and the great cost often incurred for the becoming adornment of the house of God, for making the Altar, the Tabernacle, and the Throne gleam with rich ornaments; when they see that the priests and their assistants are robed with distinctive emblematic vestments, and especially when they see them bend their knees in humble adoration before the consecrated Host and the consecrated Chalice, their faith and devotion are strengthened, and the practical lesson they receive is likely to do them more good than any sermon on the subject.”
Footnote: * Catholic Belief, Dr. Bruno, p. 106.
Concerning the Mass the Doctor says: † “Let us consider these externals, first, with regard to the officiating priest, and afterwards with respect to the people.” … “The Mass ordinarily consists of the following things:—The Forty-second Psalm, beginning, Judica me Deus, the Confiteor, the Introit, Kyrie Eleison, repeated nine times, Gloria in Excelsis, Collect, the Epistle for the Day, the Prayer, Munda cor meum, the Gospel for the Day, the Nicene Creed, the Offertory, part of the Twenty-fifth Psalm, Oblation Prayer, the Prayer called Secret, the Preface, the Sanctus, the Canon, or prayers according to solemn, unvarying rule, the Consecration of the Host, the Consecration of the Wine, Prayers after Consecration, the Lord’s Prayer, Agnus Dei, three prayers before Communion, Communion of the Priests, Prayers after Communion, the Blessing of the People, the last Gospel, most frequently from the first chapter of St. John.”
Footnote: † Ibid. p. 107.
*Continuing he says:—“Now, it appears that all this is thoroughly spiritual, and without any ceremonial formality, especially when we consider that the greatest part of this is said or done by the priest in secret, that is, in a low tone of voice.” “What is less important in the Mass, and what may strictly be called ceremonial, consists in the priest changing his position; in reverently bowing the head and kneeling; in kissing the altar and paten; in joining or raising his hands; in looking up towards Heaven, or to the crucifix on the altar; in making repeatedly the sign of the Cross; and in turning towards the people when addressing them, as when he says, Dominus vobiscum and Orate fratres.”
*“Men are struck at the reflection that many of these things did, and that, therefore, they cannot be called valueless, formalities, unless indeed we were to say that the priest does these things without the proper interior spirit, which would be an accusation our Lord forbids us to make under pain of sin: “Judge not, that you may not be judged.”
“In the Mass there is no set form of prayers required to be repeated, after the priest in a formal way by the people, as there invariably is in Protestant churches and chapels, but the people are left free to follow the Mass in spirit, either meditating on the Passion of our Lord, or making some acts of repentance, love, praise, adoration, and other acts of devotion; or reciting prayers, each in his own way, in keeping with each one’s capacity, needs and desires; or following the Mass according to the direction of the book of devotion which each worshipper may have chosen own use.”
Footnote: * Catholic Belief, Dr. Bruno, p. 108.
There may not be very much formality about this outline of worship and ceremonial principles as stated by Dr. Bruno; but there is undoubtedly a goodly quantity of fixity in their use. Here is regulation in detail, and a little margin for personal liberty. The principle might be stated:—That formality is to be used which the Church prescribes, subject to cases of necessity.—The Church here practically becomes the priesthood, inasmuch as the highest act of worship, the Mass, can be and is conducted while the people are absent, as shown by the “Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament,”† and the way the people who are present as quoted previously.
Footnote: † Ibid. p. 115.
In comparison with this ceremonial fixity and regulation we may cite Dr. Jacobs, for the Lutheran Church, as to the fundamental basis of Lutheran doctrine—the doctrine involves the Word and the minister must subscribe to it:* “It is well to notice that it is not the acceptance of the Augsburg Confession, but the acceptance of its doctrines which determines the Lutheran character of a teacher or Church body.” This subscription to the doctrine underlies the whole regulative portion of the Lutheran practice, and carries with it the weight of consentient opinion in regard to the uniformity which the Church general deems desirable in her forms of worship; such opinion being set forth in her authorized Liturgy, subject to a certain liberty in things unessential, as circumstances may dictate.
Footnote: *The Doctrines and Usages of the Lutheran Church, p. 96.
With Lutherans, therefore, regulation is according to doctrine, and it is so far the practical expression of the Church’s life, working out the requirements of doctrine.
Custom may be called the unregulated portion of practice, that is, unregulated by doctrinal necessity; and it derives its privilege from the doctrinally unessential features of the Church’s life, and the exigencies of the occasion or age, according to the principle that “What is not contrary to the Word of God may be accepted.” Under this principle, which at once affirms Gospel liberty and excludes legalism, iconoclasm and fanaticism, various adiaphoristic customs are permissible, which the Reformed dictum, that whatever is not expressed in the Word of God is forbidden, affords no place. The Lutheran spirit does not foster anarchy in practice, nor can it countenance “authority” not allowed in the Word of God.
The Lutheran Church does not reside in the priesthood, but is found in the “communion of saints;” and the authority of the Church resides in that communion, that is, the primary and residuary source of Lutheran authority is the congregation, the earthly side of the communion of saints.† “The true Lutheran principle of congregational right and authority demands the cooperation of the congregation in the Service;” and Dr. Jacobs,‡ “The congregations are the primary bodies through which this power (of Christ) is normally exercised.” This cooperation is
Footnote: † Lectures on Liturgics, DR. SPAETH.
Footnote: ‡ The Doctrines and Usages of the Lutheran Church, p. 106.
seen in the representative production called “The Order of Service” in our Church Book, wherein, notwithstanding Dr. Bruno’s restriction, the congregation has its place. If Lutheran doctrines are measurably correct, Lutheran members cannot be excluded. Nevertheless the Church is not made up of externals alone, either in practice or organization; but is the compact, consentient body of believers, Forms are made for man and not man for the forms.
In order to simplify the further consideration of this topic, and to eliminate some items which will need no extended referit may be well to state that the concensus of opinion of the fathers of the Lutheran Church is that neither the time nor the place of the administration of the Sacraments, nor the and quantity and quality of the elements* with exceptions to be noted later, nor the personal character of the minister† affect the validity of the Sacrament. The prayers, the exhortations, the general Scripture lessons, the laying on of hands, the exorcisms, signs of the cross, standing, kneeling, etc., are not essentials. The pastor is the organ of the congregation, of which himself is a part, so that his character and his intention are not elements of validity. Of course, the character of the minister as a moral example and shining light are of consequence to the life of the Church, and should be above reproach. So too, the prayers, Scripture lessons, the laying on of hands are edifying, and fitting for the instrucion of the congregation, calling to mind the, vows which have been made by the members; and are helpful in preserving and impressing upon the candidate and congregation the serious importance of the Christian life and duty. They are not, however, essentials, though they are not to be trifled with to suit the of the person.
In regard to baptism, there are three instances of administeration to be noted, viz:—Infant, adult and emergency baptism, or Noth Taufe. In each instance the Sacrament is the same. It never varies, as the human portions or practices may. That is, the essentials of the Sacrament never change, however much the circumstances accompanying the administration may.
Footnote: * Baptist System Examined, Seiss, p. 185 sq.
Footnote: †Schmidt’s Doctrinal Theology of the Ev. Lutheran Church, ed.. 1876, pp. 562-5. Catholic Belief, Dr. Bruno, p. 108 supra, intention.
The primary regulation, effective both for pastor and congregation, is to see to the validity of the rite.
Validity. The insistence upon the validity of the Sacrament is absolutely fundamental, for without this the administration is useless, if not culpable contempt of the Lord’s command.*
Footnote: * Schmidt’s Doct. Theol. of the Ev. Luth. Church, ed. 1876. pp. 540-4, 554 sq.
Without going into the doctrinal side of the Sacrament, it is to be observed that the Sacrament is the institution of Jesus Christ, and as such, comes to us with all the power and authority of His Divine personality. No man has the self-assumed privilege of doing or refraining from doing what He has commanded.
However, it is not appointed in every case what details shall be fulfilled. In such case it falls to the duty of the Church general to appoint such undetermined portions, so far as occasion and circumstances warrant; and also to see that such appointments, are respected. God is not the God of anarchy but of order; and His Church should be likeminded.
The validity of the Sacrament of Baptism rests upon three points, none of which are subject to personal human liberty.
One essential for validity is that there shall be an earthly element used. This element, according to Scripture, is water† It may be noted that some persons, in cases of necessity, do not consider water to be the sole possible element, where water is not obtainable; but this is not allowed by others,‡ and so far as we are concerned, water would seem to be the only element. The real question to be decided is whether the element is superior to the Sacrament as commanded; or whether, without water there can be a Sacrament.
Footnote: † Ibid. pp. 543-6. Book of Concord, Jacobs, p. 468.
Footnote: ‡ Dr. Spaeth’s Lectures on Catechetics. Book of Concord, Jacobs, p. 82. The Catholic Christian Instructed, Dr. Challoner, N. Y., p. 24. Westminster Conf. of Faith, Phila., 1896, p. 146. The Doctrines and Discipline of M. E. Church, 1800, N. Y., p.265. Book of Common Prayer, 1891, pp. 261, 247. Conservative Reformation, Krauth, p. 519. Church Book, p. 347.
As before mentioned, the quality of the water is not essential; but decency would insist that it be clean, as well as the vessel and the minister.
While the Lutheran Church does not deny that immersion is baptism, providing other essentials are present, yet the practice is sprinkling or pouring.§
Footnote: § Elements of Religion, Dr. Jacobs, p. 173. Bap. Sys. Exam., Seiss, p. 189. Bk. of Com. Prayer, Episcopal, 1891, p. 257. Conservative Ref., Krauth, p. 519. Schmidt’s Dect. Theol. of the Ev. Luth. Church, ed. 1876, p. 560.
The second essential to the validity of baptism is to use the words of institution, viz.:—“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” in other words, the trinitarian formula. The minister has not the privilege of making a formula to suit himself, for it is Christ’s institution.
The third essential of validity is that the element shall be applied to the person (or head) of the candidate; preferably at the pronunciation of the personal names of the Trinity.*
Footnote: * Lutheran Cyclopedia.
A distinction is made between the validity of the Sacrament and the benefits derived therefrom. The validity depends upon the intention and purpose of Christ, and the act of the congregation, administered through the administrator, according to Christ’s Word, and not the intent of the administrator, as set forth by the Catholic Church,† but the benefits depend upon the faith or state of the recipient.
Footnote: † Schmidt’s Doct. Theol. of Luth. Church, ed. 1876, pp. 472, 550, 546. The Cath. Chris. Instr., Dr. Challoner, N. Y., p. 24, Cath. Bel., Dr. Bruno, p. 82.
The general rule for baptism is that it should be administered in the presence of the congregation, in church, except cases of necessity, and by the pastor, or ordained minister. The Westminster Confession (p. 145) allows only the minister.
Infant Baptism. It may not be admitted that infant baptism is a regulation; but it is the purpose just now to take it in that sense. Among Lutherans there is no question that infants are to be baptized; but the practices going on around us in other denominations or the failure to practice, is very prevalent. Not only so, but some are hostile to the rite, and we feel the reflex of the hostility in a tendency to let such matters pass without concern. It is well known that the Catholic Church demands infant baptism as “absolutely necessary”‡ while the Lutheran Church demands it as necessary, or rather the Word of Christ and His provision demand it. It has been a struggle ever since the Reformation to keep this truth before the Church, because the lax sacramental views of many, and the hostile views of others lead into carelessness and denial.§
Footnote: ‡ Cath. Bel., Dr. Bruno, p. 81. Conservative Ref., Krauth, pp. 430, 444. Schmidt’s Doct. Theol. of Luth. Church, ed. 1876, p. 554-3. Book of Concord, Jacobs, p. 471.
Footnote: § Westminster Conf. of Faith, p. 185. Book of Concord, Jacobs, p. 174. Conservative Ref.., Krauth, pp. 430, 574.
The Lutheran Church holds that the infant is planted into Christ, and is made a member of the Church of Christ by Baptism.* The indifference and hostility of others persistently resist the manifest intention of Christ; and by so doing, they virtually cast off the babes like waifs on the street. They, indeed, believe, in a way, that the adult is made an heir of Christ and His merits by adoption, through baptism outwardly, and faith inwardly; but their babes are made spiritual orphans and foundlings. Parents are the natural guardians of their own children, they have brought them into the world through no Divine necessity, but of their own action; yet they ignore their spiritual responsibility to the spiritual nature of their child, which is just as real as the physical. They affect to cast the helpless little one upon the all-embracing love of God, and thus evade their responsibility to the whole nature of their offspring. Christian parents esteem fellowship in the Church; but practically exclude their little ones from the same privilege.†
Footnote: * El. of Relig., Jacobs, pp. 165, 179. Biblical Psychology, Delitzsch, p. 413.
Footnote: † Bap. Sys. Exam., Seiss, pp. 322, 368.
We do not say that the Lord will not take up the children of those who forsake them, but we do say they forsake them and throw off on God their own responsibility, which should be as inalienable as physical or moral care. ‡
Footnote: ‡ Conservative Ref., Krauth, p. 438
Of course, there is a doctrine at the root of the irresponsibility, but the doctrine is man-made, while the responsibility is God-made. The Lord gave the Sacrament, and the Lord gave the child, and the Lord gave to us the duty to obey. It is not a wild guess that the Lord will also adjust the Sacrament to the child if any adjustment is called for.
It is a Lutheran principle that the adiaphoron becomes fundamental under certain conditions, much more then, in this age of biased interpretation, devitalized sacraments and creed discrediting, infant baptism becomes a regulation.
Instruction. With this regulation goes another, scarcely less important, and scarcely less ignored. This is instruction in the catechism.
The child is in profound need of knowing the will of God, so that he may do it. It is also a profound need that the child know what to believe, not alone for the knowledge sake, but for
his soul’s sake, that he may apprehend Christ aright, make a good confession, and be thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Communion through prayer, comfort in trial, strength in adversity are certain needs, which are provided for in wise instruction; to say nothing of the duties and responsibilities of his own adult life which need a solid foundation, and a vital realization.
Sponsors. Dependent upon infant baptism, is the custom of sponsors to stand for and with the infant; to take vows in its behalf assuring its proper up-bringing and training in Christian truth, until the child assumes responsibility for itself.
The Lutheran Church, as do the Catholic and Episcopal, recognizes this institution; and endeavors to have sponsors fulfil their whole duty under the serious import of the assumed vows. t it is not to be supposed, that the Christian parents lessen their obligations thereby. They are the natural sponsors always, and without choice; but other persons whether relatives or friends are also admitted to the function, by their voluntary assumption of the required vows.
Sponsors must be believers, in good standing in the Church, preferably members of the Church in which baptism occurs (Catholic Church admits only Catholics, and sponsorship is an impediment to marriage;* Episcopal Church asks two male and a female sponsor for a male child, two female and one male for a female child†). The sponsorial vows are such that a member of another denomination could not very consistently take them, and really ought not, unless their own belief accords sufficiently with the baptizing Church so as to permit such care as is involved. Honor dictates that the vows be kept inviolate.
Footnote: * The Cath. Chris. Instr., Dr. Challoner, p. 29.
Footnote: † Book Common Prayer, 1891, p. 247.
Persons unbaptized, persons not in good standing, and those who have made a breach of wedlock, whether parents or others, members or not, are not fit subjects for sponsorship. Sin lieth at the door.
Personally, it would seem to be wise if this custom were to go the way of all the world. For—If the Church is the earthly source of authority, it ought also to be spiritually responsible for its own, as the parents are naturally and spiritually. 2. If the
Church prays for them at baptism, she ought to work for them afterward. 3. The shifting of the population at this day is inimical to care. “Out of sight, out of mind..” 4. In the event of the parents’ death, the laws of the land give the control of minors into the hands of guardians, which does not legally call for spiritual oversight, and may indeed install a guardian hostile to all religion. 5. Christenings, which are misnomers to-day, thanks to laxity, may often be spelled carousals; but even when they are not so spelled, the parents of the child often have sponsors more for the sake of the possible temporal advantage to the child than anything else.
Here it is well to note that infant baptism is not to be repeated, if reasonable assurance is given of a former correct baptism, baptismal hallucinations, notwithstanding. This is not because of a “character indelibilis”* but because of the Divine origin of the Sacrament.†
Footnote: * Cath. Bel., Dr. Bruno, p. 82.
Footnote: † Book of Concord, Jacobs, p. 472. Schmidt’s Doct. Theol. of Luth. Church, ed. 1876, pp. 569-13. Westminster Conf. of Faith, Phila., 1896, p 149
Adult Baptism. Adult baptism differs from infant baptism in respect to the candidate, and not in respect to the Sacrament. The latter is fixed by the Word. In respect to the person the difference is in age, and the requirement is that he have faith, personal and publicly confessed. In order that he may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in him, he is to be instructed before baptism, in like manner as the one baptized in infancy is instructed for confirmation. He has no sponsors, for he is self-responsible. ‡
He is baptized upon the confession of the Lutheran faith whereas the infant is baptized upon the general faith, or Apostle’s Creed.
By baptism, the adult is made a member of the Church, all the prerequisites being present. Confirmation of the adult is a subdivision of adult baptism, but is not the actual admissionary rite. Where congregational charters require confirmation, that is legal, and belongs to Caesar; but confirmation is purely human, though desirable for the adult. Nevertheless, it is scarcely consistent to debar from the Lord’s Supper because the Bishop has
Footnote: ‡ Schmidt’s Doct. Theol. of Luth. Ch., pp. 564-9. Bap. Sys. Exam., Seiss, p. 321. Dr. Fry’s Seminary Dictation on Pastoral Theology.
not laid his hands upon the baptized adult,* for that supersedes the Divine institution by a human one. The Episcopal Church excludes from the Lord’s Supper until confirmation. A similar objection lies against the probationary system, which follows upon adult baptism;† besides this, there is suggested the tacit fear of defection, the tacit questioning of the power of the Holy Spirit to keep one, and the virtual separation of the visible from the invisible Church.
Footnote: * Book of Common Prayer, 1891, p. 257.
Footnote: † The Doctrines and Discipline of M. E. Church, 1880, N. Y., pp. 272-279.
However, stringency upon adult baptism is necessary, because the candidate thus enters the very life of the Church, as well as its activity in and before the world. All the privileges of Church membership are his when once he becomes a member, and he cannot be deprived of them for insufficient causes; and more than this the male candidate, or member, is a potential officer of the congregation, with full power to influence and affect the Church’s life to the extent of his capacity;‡ wherefore care is necessary. It is hardly necessary to mention that adult baptism should occur in the presence of the congregation, at a regular Service and be administered by the minister.
Footnote: ‡ Theol. of Luth. Church, 1876: pp. 552-14, 555.
Emergency Baplism. In this instance, as in the preceding instances, there is no difference in the Sacrament, per se. The variations are due to circumstances, and are in unessentials.
Whether the candidate be infant or adult the degree of necessity, the immanence of death, for it is only in such cases we have emergency baptism, controls the externals. The essentials are reducible to a few moments of time, being the element, the application and the use of the institutional words. Upon the occasion of less seriousness more of the prescribed forms are to be used. This applies to infants only, however,
Upon very pressing circumstances, the pastor should officiate, but if he cannot be gotten promptly enough, then a Christian, or failing a Christian, another person may administer, but always in the proper manner. The baptism should then be reported to the pastor, with the evidence of proper baptism, and he shall make proper record and public statement in confirmation of the act. If the person lives and the baptism be valid, it shall not be repeated; if of doubtful validity, it should be properly administered.
The adult person, near to death, may be baptized if he is sufficiently conscious to understand the act, and to make true and proper confession, however abbreviated it may be. This virtually requires the pastor to officiate.
Dr. Fry* would withhold baptism from a candidate who refused to receive the Lord’s Supper, on the ground that he does not apprehend the purpose of the Sacrament; in-as-much as the Lord’s Supper should follow adult baptism.
Footnote: * Sem. Dict. on Pastoral Theol.
The Catholic Church admits the baptism of blood, for those martyred, and the baptism of desire, or by desire, when the exigencies of the occasion prevent formal baptism, and the person desire it;† it is possible in this Church to receive three indelible characters, through baptism, confirmation and ordination.
Footnote: †. Cath. Bel., Bruno, p. 82.
THE LORD’S SUPPER.
As with baptism, so with the Lord’s Supper, there are essentials and unessentials. The essentials are not subject to Christian liberty, but the unessentials may be so. There are also some practices which for the sake of truth and doctrine are to be rejected.
Among the rejected items we place that practice, which depends upon the purely memorial conception, and makes a distinction between the consecration and distribution, previously mentioned. The practice which withholds one element, which carries the Host around,‡ the practice which considers one consecration a permanent one,§ that offers the Sacrament for the dead, or during the absence of the worshippers, or if present not distributing to them; also that the priest makes the Sacrament.
Footnote: ‡ Ibid. 117. Footnote: § Ibid. 115, 116.
It is not a sacrifice which the priest offers up; it is not medicinal;¶ it is not magical;** it is not to be used to cure diseases, it cannot be partaken spiritually while the Host is offered up.††
Footnote: †† Ibid. 122. Footnote: ‡Schmidt’s Doct. Theol. of Luth. Ch., 547, 591.
Footnote: ¶ Ibid. 594. Footnote: **Ibid. 547.
Footnote: ¶The Cath. Chris. Instr., Challoner, p. 76.
Among the non-essentials are the language, English, German; the kind of grain, wheat, rye, barley, rice flour; the shape of the loaf, wafer or loaf, round or square; leavened or unleavened; broken or unbroken; how much is received; genuflections at reception; as to the wine, whether red or white, mixed with water or not; if the bread may be leavened or unleavened, wine
may be fermented or unfermented.* But each element should be genuine. Whether the reception be in the hand or directly in the mouth is not essential; but the mouth is to actually receive it one way or the other.† Standing or kneeling is immaterial; though standing seems to imply a feast rather than a fast.‡
In cases of private or sick communion, the Service may be abbreviated to the confession, which also may be abbreviated, and the essentials.§
A rule is given that only the minister may administer this Sacrament¶ but some take exceptions to this rule. The character or intention of the administrator is not an impediment to validity;** but of course this does not mean that the minister may be anything he pleases.
It is a standing rule that preparatory or confessional Services shall precede the Communion,†† so that members, by proper meditation and preparation may approach the table worthily. ‡‡
This Service gives opportunity for self-examination and also for the Church examination through the Council, where this followed, of those who purpose to commune. Gerhard would exclude those who do not examine themselves, those who cannot, or do not discern the Lord’s body, among which are those unconscious, those who do not show forth the Lord’s death, persistent heretics, notorious sinners, the excommunicated, the possessed, maniacs, demented and infamous persons.§§
The Westminster Confession (p. 152) says that after the consecration the minister is to “take and brake the bread, to take the cup, and to give both to the communicants; but to none who are not then present in the congregation.” Also (p. 154) “Wherefore all ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy Communion with Him (the Lord), so they are un-
Footnote: *The Doctrines and Discipline of M. E. Church, 1880, N. Y., p. 284. prescribes
unfermented. Footnote: † Ibid. p. 291.
Footnote: ‡ Schmidt’s Doct. Theol. of Luth. Church, ed. 1876, p. 582.
Footnote: ¶ Ibid. pp. 548, 593, 594. Footnote: ** Ibid. pp. 548-10.
Footnote: §§Ibid. p. 592. Footnote: *Dr. Fry’s Sem. Dict. on Pastoral Theol.
Footnote: § In The Doctrines and Discipline of M. E. Ch., p. 295, the Elder may omit the consecratory prayer, the invitation and the confession, when time is short.
Footnote: ¶ Liturgics, Horn, p. 41.
Footnote: ** Book of Concord, Jacobs, p. 477. Footnote: §§ Ibid. p. 614.
Footnote: †† Church Book.
Footnote: ‡‡ In The Doctrines and Discipline of M. E. Church, p. 287, the pastor confesses for the people.
worthy of the Lord’s Table, and cannot, without great sin against Christ, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted thereto.” The Doctrines and Discipline of the M. E. Church, (p. 287) admits those who are penitent, are charitable and in love with neighbors, and purpose to live a new life, following the commandments of God.
The faith of the recipient does not constitute the Sacrament but affects his benefits,* nor does it invalidate it.
The validity of the Communion rests upon the two elements of bread and wine being present and being distributed and received by the participant and the use of the words of institution as given by Christ.†
It follows, then, that only baptized and confirmed or received members, and those in good standing, those who have the mind of Christ respecting the Sacrament, and the worthy, are eligible to it.
The appointed place is the church, the appointed time is a regular meeting, without a general invitation, the preparatory Service is the occasion to settle such matters; and the appointed recipients are those who are worthily prepared.‡
The act of consecration seems to lie in the distribution and reception of the elements in connection with the words of institution.§ The Methodist Episcopal consecration would appear to be found in the consecratory prayer;¶ the Westminster Confession gives no formula direct.**
IRA M. WALLACE.
Morgantown, W. Va.
Footnote: * Schmidt’s Doct. Theol. of the Ev. Luth. Church, ed. 1876, p. 549.
Footnote: † Ibid. pp. 547-8, 587-11.
Footnote: § Ibid- pp. 547-8.
Footnote: † Biblical Psychology, Delitzsch, p. 412. The Cath. Chris. Insir., Dr. Challoner, N. Y., p. 87. Cath. Bel., Dr. Bruno, pp. 100-105.
Footnote: § Ibid. p. 116.
Footnote: * Liturgics, HORN, p. 118. Footnote: † Ibid. pp. 41-44, 118.
Footnote: § Elements of Religion, Dr. Jacobs, p. 171.
Footnote: ‡ Ibid. p. 166.
Footnote: ¶ The Doctrines and Discipline of M. E. Church, p. 289.
Footnote: ** Westminster Conf. of Faith, p. 152.
LITURGICAL ACCURACY AND SPIRITUALITY.
Before treating of our theme itself it will be profitable, if indeed not absolutely necessary, to consider a few questions which certainly are germane to it, and though the ground suggested by these questions has already been covered by previous papers published in the MEMOIRS of this Association certain phases which have to do directly with the subject in hand must be, if only briefly, touched on.
I. WHY WE HAVE A LITURGY.
The question why we have a Liturgy is not now nearly so pressing as it was a generation ago; for this we are profoundly thankful. The Lutheran Church is a liturgical Church. To quote the striking and eloquent words of one of her sons: “During the last fifty years the Lutheran Church of this country may be said to have been in a steady process of recovery, finding herself again with all the treasures that had been her inheritance since the days of the great Reformation. “She had, indeed, wandered away from her Father’s house where there was bread enough and to spare. She was begging for bread at the door of strangers, and perishing with hanger. But at last the time came when she: ‘I will arise and go to my Father,—to the ROCK from which I was hewn.’ And so she returned to the same experience which the reckless and deluded son in the parable made when he came home to the fatted calf, the best robe, the ring and the shoes, the feast and the music. Thus our dear Church, in the time of her gracious revival, returned to the sound, substantial Gospel doctrine of the fathers and to the beautiful robe of her glorious Service.” It is true there are still a few prodigals who claim their right to do with the portion of goods that falleth to them as they please, who have no Liturgy or their own substitute for a Liturgy, or a crippled and stunted Liturgy, but their number is surely
growing less, and even aliens no longer class the Lutheran Church with the non-liturgical denominations.
The practical unanimity with which, at least the English portion of our Church, has accepted the Common Service, is the strongest argument for the use of a Liturgy in congregational worship. Much more than in the Anglican denomination our use of a common form of Divine Worship is a proof of the fact that our congregations themselves need and want a Liturgy, for the Episcopalian must have his Liturgy because his Church proclaims its universal use as one of her fundamental and irrefragable laws, while the Lutheran must have his Liturgy only because his heart cries out for it; with him it is a matter of personal conviction more than Church-loyalty.
At least this should be so. And yet we can hardly ignore the fact that in some of our congregations the Liturgy owes its place and use more to the sense of loyalty to the Church which has provided it and urges its use than to a real desire and love for it on the part of the congregation. Here then the question “Why have a Liturgy?” is still important and an answer very necessary, and we venture to give an answer though the answer has been given, one would think, often enough.
1. We need and have a Liturgy because we need and must have congregational worship. “The authority of Christ as distinctly requires common prayer as it requires prayer in secret. If He said: ‘Thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet,’ He also said: ‘After this manner pray ye, Our Father Who art in Heaven.’ The last as clearly implies a social act as the first implies a solitary act; and, in enjoining the duty, He also gave the form of words to be made use of. The first devotional utterance, therefore, of the disciples, was common prayer.” It should be clear to every one that there can be no true congregational worship without words and forms which express not private and personal but public and universal needs, which convey universal gifts.
2. We need and have this particular Liturgy, because it is rooted in the fundamentals of congregational worship found in the true Church of Christ from the days of the Apostles and is an expression of faith as well as of devotion, an assurance of Divine blessing (reception of Divine gifts) as well as an offering of Divine honor in words of praise, prayer and confession.
In a series of lectures on “The Prayer Book and the Christian Life” Archdeacon Tiffany says: [In it] “the worshipper voices his prayers and praises in the language of other men and other times. No objection need lie against such worship as archaic and artificial, as a crass conservatism which cramps worship by restricting its expression to an ancient formula, and by depreciating the utterance of present wants in the language of the present hour, for the fundamental wants of human nature and the essential adoration of the heart are the same in all ages. What has once expressed them well has capacity still to utter them. Common worship can only voice the fundamental and, because fundamental, the common wants of men. The special exigency of each individual must find its expression in the closet. ‘The heart knoweth its own bitterness, and the stranger intermeddleth not with its joy.’ In the congregation we must express what we share in common, one with another. If ours is to be common worship, not individualistic, a common form must fashion it. It cannot depend upon any man’s mood, nor express itself through any one man’s interpretation. The demand of common worship is for common utterance. Now what common utterance can promise so much completeness as that which is common, not merely to one community or to one age, but which is replete with the aspiration and supplication of all the ages; is not a modern manufacture but an ancient growth; which condenses into itself the sighing and singing of hearts long since at rest, together with the exaltations and the plaints of those still assed about with the trials and the joys of this present time? …
“There was temptation enough at the time of its [the Prayer Book’s] formation to cut off altogether from past usages which has been so overladen with abuse. But the liturgical instinct was keen and subtle enough to respond to the vibrant touch and living association of the old forms of devotion. The Reformers did not think they were cutting themselves off from the true life of the past. They were reaffirming it rather by their excision of so much cumbrous and illegitimate overgrowth, which hid the form and perverted the spirit of that past. They felt the more drawn to the heroes of the age of primitive simplicity, in that they were striving to restore that primitive simplicity. They would not make or declare themselves ecclesiastical orphans by
rejection of the fathers. The fires of devotion which burned anew in them leaped in response to the enkindling devotions of the olden time. Thus out of that past they drew those matchless forms and set them to our lips, so that, with hearts attuned to the same sanctity of desire, the mouth might speak with the same melody of utterance.”
The closing paragraph of this eloquent defense of and tribute to the Liturgy leads us directly to the third point we wish to make and this is really the point of our whole subject:
3. We need and have our Liturgy because its proper use is the surest method of begetting and developing a deep spirituality in the congregation.
If this cannot be demonstrated then every use of liturgical forms, whether accurate or inaccurate, is vain,. It will not help the Liturgy to prove that it satisfies the aesthetic sense, that it is art, a thing of beauty and a joy forever. Some men have no aesthetic sense and even its perfect gratification may leave the soul empty and starving. Nor are men saved by art. True we are bidden to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; but it is the beauty of HOLINESS. Holiness is the one supreme desideratum of worship. It is the one great object of God’s work for man, of God’s revelation to man. The Church of Jesus Christ is the Holy Christian Church, its members are the Communion of Saints. To save men not merely from final destruction, from eternal doom, from hell-fire, but to save men from present destruction, from the world and the flesh and the devil, from the bondage of sin and the service of Satan, to convert and regenerate and sanctify them, for this Christ gave His life, for this the Holy Ghost now works in His Church with Word and Sacraments. Only the true faith can make truly holy, but only true holiness proves the faith true. “Sanctify them in Thy Truth”—the Truth must everywhere and always sanctify. Where prayer and preaching and sacraments do not make for holiness there they are perfectly useless, nay even harmful, giving souls a false security as though salvation came ex opere operatum.
Now this is precisely the charge which the opponents of a liturgical form of worship have ever made against it. They were satisfied that it hampered the Christian life, they were sure that it made of human hearts the dry, down-trodden ground by the way-side into which no seed could fall where the fragrant flowers
and precious fruits of the Spirit could not possibly grow. To them every form, every set order, was a spirit of darkness, to beguile human souls and build up a wall between them and their God. And even among those who whether merely for the sake of conformity and loyalty or because they really desire some form of worship are using the prescribed order of the Common Service, there are not wanting critics who now and again raise a cry of warning against the tendency to emphasize the Liturgy and especially liturgical accuracy in our congregations. Some go so far as to see a positive danger to the pure doctrine of our Church in this liturgical revival, while others deplore the fact that so much zeal and energy, so many words and such a vast quantity, of printer’s ink should be wasted on a matter which seems to them so insignificant. There might be some truth in this criticism could it be proved that the pure faith once delivered to the saints had ever suffered in a period of liturgical revival and reformation, or that faithful study of and accurate use of true forms of worship had ever produced indifference to the commandments of God, had ever quenched the fire of personal love of and devotion to the Master. But both history and personal experience prove the very opposite. The faithful use of a pure and catholic Liturgy in the Church has ever been the sign of her adherence to the pure and catholic faith, and when her faith was pure her life was pure and the liturgical age was the age of spiritual experience and spiritual growth. In whatever manner we test this statement we will find it true. The departure from pure, Scriptural, Apostolic and catholic forms of worship, the introduction into the Church’s Liturgy of impure elements, marked the age of doctrinal error and spiritual decay, while the total abandonment of all liturgical forms marked the age of rationalism. A pure Liturgy could not live in the atmosphere of superstition, nor could it live in the atmosphere of rationalism. These facts are significant. If we make much of our Liturgy, if we form associations for liturgical study and for the propagation of right knowledge in matters liturgical we do it because we know that “thereby the Church universal, with all its pastors and ministers and members, will be preserved in the pure doctrine of God’s saving Word, that thereby faith toward God will be strengthened, and charity increased in us toward all mankind.” To us the Liturgy is anything but an end in itself, anything but an opus operatum, it is
and must ever be a means, though withal a holy and mighty one, to the one end we all desire, a. firmer hold on the faith once delivered to the saints, life more abounding in the beautiful fruits of the Spirit.
II. WHY INSIST ON LITURGICAL ACCURACY?
Of course the mere arrangement of a Service in the form of responses by pastor and people will not produce these great effects. Where liturgical forms have no meaning, or where their meaning is not intelligible there we have no right to expect spiritual results. St. Paul rightly insists that prayer should be made “with the understanding.” It were indeed far better to have no forms at all than mere formality, since the letter killeth while the spirit alone giveth life. Surely it ought not to be necessary at this time to enter again on an exhaustive explanation of the plan and meaning of our Liturgy, of the two fundamental ideas of all true worship, the sacrificial and the sacramental which it so beautifully combines. Yet when one considers the barbarous manner in which the Liturgy is still treated in many quarters, when one witnesses the emasculation it frequently suffers, the way in which its veins are opened and its blood is let and its limbs are amputated, a protest in behalf of a perfect Liturgy, a plea for liturgical accuracy is surely not out of place.
1. Liturgical accuracy is necessary because without it liturgical worship is irrational.
That the form of worship embraced in our Liturgy has little or no meaning to many who hear it and participate in it even where it is perfectly and accurately used is no doubt true. We will refer to the remedy necessary here later on. But where inexcusable ignorance, let us say, of the officiating minister, perpetrates such outrages on the Liturgy as those hinted at above, it is no wonder that the Liturgy has lost all its meaning and is looked upon by the average worshipper as an unmitigated evil, for some reason, inexplicable to his lay-mind, necessary, to be endured as patiently as possible, to be gotten over as quickly as possible, to be heartily hated were the truth known. In such a case forms of worship not only are powerless to touch the heart and sanctify the will but they are dangerously powerful in producing just the opposite—they invite and encourage inattention, and irreverence, they help to chill and harden the heart—they
simply kill the spirit of devotion. But how different the effect when the perfect Liturgy is perfectly used and where its plan and purpose is perfectly understood. There the worshipper has an experience of God’s love, an assurance of his salvation in Christ Jesus. He comes with a heart oppressed by the sense of guilt. He confesses his transgressions to Him Who alone can forgive and Who has solemnly promised to forgive sin. He hears God’s own declaration of forgiveness pronounced by God’s own representative, His minister of whom God says: He that heareth you heareth Me. Now he can praise God in the beautiful old songs of the Church, now he can ask God for the particular blessing of this particular Service in the Collect for the Day, now he listen to God’s Word read and preached, confess the faith that is in him, join in the petitions of the General Prayer for all sorts and conditions of men, now he can gladly offer his gifts, now, above all, he is ready to enter the holy of holies and come to the altar to receive the personal pledge of God’s love and mercy to him in the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is surely now no idle song, that grateful Nunc Dimittis, he has indeed seen God’s Salvation and can depart in peace with the blessing of the Triune God. Is he not a better man than when he came? Has his spiritual life not been quickened? Was it the sermon only which did it? Was it the Sacrament? Was it the music heard and sung? Was it not the entire perfect and beautiful Service, his petitions and God’s gracious gifts, his praise and God’s loving benediction which contributed to this great result? Truly the very accuracy with which every provision of the Liturgy was carried out was necessary in its achievement.
2. Liturgical accuracy demands liturgical knowledge. Not merely knowledge of the right forms of a truly liturgical Service, but knowledge of their history and knowledge of their meaning. One of the most suggestive titles of the papers published by this Association is “A Laity Liturgically Well-informed.” Where the Liturgy is not understood we doubt if there will be any strong inclination for its accurate use, and even if there were, its value must certainly be greatly impaired, if not altogether lost.
We cannot blame our people for their lack of interest in the Service, for their listless participation in it when they have but the vaguest idea what it all means. The treasurer of Queen Candace was indeed reading the Scriptures, perhaps merely from
a sense of loyalty, perhaps also because he admired their literary style and poetic finish, but he received very little, if any spiritual benefit from that occupation, until Philip came and explained that wonderful revelation to him, and he was very glad too to receive that instruction; he was very frank in the confession of his ignorance. “Understandest thou what thou readest?” said Philip. “How can I, except some man should guide me?” said the honest eunuch. We have no right to blame our congregations for their apathy in matters liturgical when we have never taken the least pains to guide them into their meaning and show them their spiritual significance. There is a text in the Old Testament on which any of our congregations might have a sermon or a series of sermons with great profit and it is this “What mean ye by this Service?” The Service has a meaning; this meaning is lost when the Service is not used accurately, but even liturgical accuracy must be supplemented by liturgical instruction, and if we expect spiritual results from our liturgical worship we must see to it that this instruction be given. This is our reasonable Service.
III. WHAT DO WE MEAN BY LITURGICAL ACCURACY?
Perhaps this question ought to have been met and answered first of all. Though it may seem to answer itself yet the answer is after all not so simple. Opinions may indeed differ widely on this very point. One thing of course is plain: liturgical accuracy demands a perfect and consistent following of the rubrics. Of this we have already spoken. But are the rubrics always so clear that he who runs may read? Is not the spirit and soul of the Service frequently rather quenched than made to live and glow by a mere formal use of the rubrics? Do the rubrics indeed give that complete information which will insure perfect liturgical accuracy? I open my Church Book and find the following instruction given for the beginning of the Main Service: “The Minister, standing before the Altar, shall begin the Service as here followeth, the Congregation all standing.” The rubric of the German Book is a little more explicit; it says: “Zu Aufang des Gottesdienstes kann die Gemeinde: ‘O heilger Geist kehr bei uns ein,’ oder ein ähnliches lied singen. Darauf tritt der Pfarrer vor den Altar. Die Gemeinde erhebt sich und bleibt bis zum Schluss der Collecte stehen.” But how is the minister to get to the Altar?
Shall he enter the chancel during an organ prelude or choir anthem? Shall he enter alone or with the choir? Shall he announce the hymn which the German rubric says may be sung, or shall it be announced simply by the hymn-board? These may seem small matters, insignificant details. We would not unduly exalt them, yet if liturgical accuracy is important, these things have a certain importance. Again, what shall be the posture of the minister in the purely sacrificial parts of the Service? The rubric states that he shall be at the altar, but shall he face the congregation or shall he face the altar? Is there any law which settles this question which has, as it seems to us, quite needlessly agitated the minds and hearts of many of us in these days? Certainly there cannot well be two sorts of accuracy. If our method is accurate any other method that differs from it in any way is by reason of that very difference in the point wherein it differs inaccurate. Now we hold that a careful and intelligent study of the Liturgy, even where the rubrics are not as clear as they might be, will result in a uniform practice, in the one form of liturgical accuracy. As the rubrics say nothing of the opening hymn and the manner in which the minister is to enter the chancel we must concede perfect liberty in this point. The Service may begin without a hymn, simply with the Invocation. And yet experience has proved that an opening hymn is of great value in tuning the hearts of the congregation to one melodious harmony, n joining the various individuals of which it is com posed into one harmonious whole. Again the solemn entrance of pastor and choir while this hymn is being sung, suggesting as it does the onward march of the Church of Christ, has a symbolical significance which, if properly understood, must prove to be spiritually uplifting. When Christ entered Jerusalem in triumph there was a processional and a recessional. There were the people who went before and the people who followed after, and as they went, before and after, Christ went with them; He was the center of their songs of prayer and praise. No criticism can be properly made, from the liturgical point of view, against this beautiful and salutary practice. It has been weighed in the balance and not found wanting. It is not forbidden by the rubric, it is moreover in entire harmony with the heart and soul of the Liturgy, it has worked and is working a deepening of the spiritual experience of worshippers.
But while this particular form of opening and closing the Service is one of those things of which St. Paul says they must be proved and held fast only if they are good, we cannot so judge of the posture of the minister during the Service. It ought to be evident that the very form of the Liturgy has decided that question. Liturgical accuracy demands that the minister should distinguish by his very posture between the sacrificial and the sacramental parts of the Service. “Does the rubric say so?” cries one. “Is it so nominated in the bond? I desire above all to be liturgically accurate, but I must have a plain command to do this thing, else I will never do it.” The rubric does clearly intimate that this is the proper and liturgically accurate posture. What does it say? Before the Versicles which introduce the confession of sins it says: “Then, all kneeling or standing, shall be sung or said.” Very few of our churches make use of the first form prescribed here; we do not kneel during confession. But if we did, and the rubric says we may, how would the minister kneel?—for they must all kneel. Evidently if the minister at this part of the Service is to kneel at the altar, he can only kneel facing the altar. Any other posture would not merely be preposterous, but almost if not quite impossible. Now if the minister, when he kneels in confession, must turn to the Altar, we conclude that the same is meant when he stands. Not only do the very words of the Liturgy here demand it, but the rubric takes it as a matter of course. This, if not a direct command, is at least a broad hint, as to accuracy in posture, which the rubrics give, for every part of the Service, and we claim that the most intelligent use of the Liturgy demands this form, and that spiritual results will follow where it is devoutly and intelligently so used.
It is not our purpose to elaborate here on this question. It has been exhaustively treated before, all objections to the posture here advocated as demanded by the Liturgy have been met and answered. We do not mean to say that no spiritual, good call follow where this plain purpose of the Liturgy is ignored, but we must declare that the greatest spiritual good does here attend perfect liturgical accuracy. The writer cannot speak for all, but he can and will speak for himself. He must declare that the Liturgy has meant infinitely more to him, that he has received far greater spiritual uplifting since he understood how it was to be used and used it in that manner. What a comfort it is to the
minister that he may become part of the congregation, identified with them during the sacrificial part of the Service. How thankful, is he that he may turn his eyes for a moment away from the many eyes that are always watching him and look to Christ and to His Cross. If there is one individual who needs to confess his sins, surely it is the minister. If there is one who needs pardon and peace and strength he is the one. . And it is an unspeakably, precious time to him when he may shut out the world, shut out the sight even of his congregation with all its distractions and be for a moment the humblest of sinners who dares not even lift up his eyes but smites upon his breast with the confession: Lord have mercy upon me. If the posture of the minister at the Altar shall never help the spirit of devotion in the congregation, yet is it of very great spiritual benefit to their minister. It is the one time in all the Service when he also truly worships. Let him make the most of it. Quench not that fountain whence he turns to lave his guilty soul and slack his spirit’s thirst.
It should not be necessary to state that liturgical accuracy demands the most precise and exact fidelity to the very words of the Service. And yet even in so simple a matter the Liturgy is sinned against, and the sin is most frequently committed where one would least expect to find it, in that golden crown of the Liturgy, the Communion Service. Here especially is liturgical accuracy necessary, because the validity of the Sacrament de accurate administration. Here, as elsewhere, but depends on it here above all, the Liturgy has a great doctrinal significance, and liturgical accuracy here means doctrinal accuracy. What right or excuse has any one to use his own form of consecrating the elements, or variae lectiones, in administering the Communion? Yet men who are accurate liturgists in every other place are frequently most inaccurate here. The only explanation of this glaring inconsistency seems to be the fact that in certain parts of the Communion Service it is difficult, if indeed not impossible to hold in hand and read from the Order of Service the very woids presented. Would it be taxing the brains of some of us too much to spend a half hour in committing to memory those portions of the Service? Liturgical inaccuracy here has indeed no excuse; it is an act of disloyalty to the Church; it always disturbs some one’s devotion: it may inadvertently lead to the commission of doctrinal error.
But the Service of our Church is a Service of song; the Liturgy is set to music. Can any one doubt that the benefits of the Liturgy are affected by the music in which it is rendered? Surely liturgical accuracy to produce deep and lasting spiritual results must be musically accurate. Again and again the whole effect of our Liturgy has been spoilt because though the words were accurate enough the music to which they were sung was most lamentably inaccurate. We have neither the time, nor the space, nor the ability to discuss here the spiritual power that God has put into music. No one will deny that there is such a power. Music is the atmosphere of the spirit-world, and song the language of Heaven. When the Triune God established the foundations of the world, and laid the cornerstone thereof, the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy, and when John saw the New Jerusalem he heard one constant strain of Heavenly music, the song of Heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of great thunder, and as the voice of harpers harping with their harps, and as the voice of millions of angels and redeemed, singing the song of Moses and the Lamb, swelling the great chorus of triumph in praise of Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords. The Liturgy of Heaven is set to Heaven’s own music and of course it must be perfect. Perfect our music on earth can never be, but shall it not be worthy of Him Whose mercy we implore, Whose pardon we receive, Whose praise we utter in our Church Service? The music must fit the Service else it kills all devotion. Not what some godless organist or unspiritual chorister may deem the most fetching musical setting for the Service, but what devout souls with the gift of David have composed and set to these great words is their proper musical garb. May God speed the time when we shall all have the same Church Service with music, as we all have the same Church Service without music now. Perhaps in nothing is liturgical knowledge and accuracy more needed than in the sphere of music. If we have no gift of music, not even an ear for music, let us all the more loyally accept from those who have, their judgment, the results of their efforts, and have and worship with a Liturgy as accurate in its devotional music, as it is in its devotional thoughts and words.
We have tried to show the spiritual power of a Liturgy rightly used. We firmly believe that every minister and every con-
gregation who strives for liturgical accuracy is thereby striving for and attaining a deeper spiritual experience. The Holy Spirit in this too, is guiding them into all truth, teaching them how to pray, blessing them with answer to the prayers He has put into their hearts and upon their lips; thus are they made “lively stones, built up into a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that show forth the praise of Him Who hath called them out of darkness into His marvellous light.”
H. DOUGLAS SPAETH.
Albany, N. Y.