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beginning of that office, and immediately after the Sentence, or short Lesson". The forms of confession and benediction, which are inserted in this place, are not to be found in the more ancient offices of England, but they are much superior to those that occur there. The Lord's Prayer was recited before the office of evensong, according to the English breviaries; and I have already remarked, that this prayer was first used at the beginning of the canonical hours about the thirteenth century. The office of evensong, or evening prayer, is (as I have before observed) a judicious abridgment of the offices of evensong and compline, as formerly used by the English church; and it appears that the revisers of our offices formed the introduction to evening prayer from those parts of both vespers and compline, which seemed best suited to this place, and which preserved uniformity with the introduction of morning prayer.
VERSICLES, GLORIA PATRI, &c.
Of these versicles, the two former do not appear originally to have been used before the evening offices in England, but they have been used before the morning prayer since the time of Benedict, 530°. The two latter versicles were appointed to precede evening prayer, by the offices of Sarum, York, &c. and by the Anglo-Saxon offices'. In the same services we find the Gloria Patri appointed to succeed these latter versicles *.
* Martene, de Antiq. Eccl. Anglo-Sax. ad Vesperas, Apin celebr. Off. c. viii. p. 54. pendix to Hickes's Letters.
* Benedict. Regula, c. 9. & Offic. Anglo-Sax.ut supra. * Brev, Sarisb. fol. 2. Off. Brev. Sar. fol. 2.
We here follow the order of evensong which was anciently used in the English churches. After the versicles and Gloria Patri which I have just been considering, the psalms of the evening were sung". Very different rules prevailed in different places anciently with regard to the number of psalms sung at evening prayer. The Egyptian churches recited twelve psalms always at the evening service'. Benedict appointed four'. The church of Rome used five". In the evening service of the eastern church, contained in the Apostolical Constitutions, we find only one psalm for vespers': and in the Mosarabic breviary there is no psalm at vespers". In the patriarchate of Constantinople they repeat six psalms, besides the cathisma, or twentieth portion of the psalter, which on an average makes more than seven in addition". It appears therefore that the church of England was perfectly at liberty to make what regulation she pleased relative to the number of psalms at evensong.
* Brev. Sarisb. fol. 47, 48. Psalt.
* Cassian. lib. ii. Inst. Coenob. c. 4. “Igitur per universam, ut diximus, AEgyptum et Thebaidem duodenarius psalmorum numerus tam in vespertinis, quam in nocturnis solemnitatibus custoditur, ita dumtaxat ut post hunc dua lectiones, Veteris scilicet ac Novi Testamenti singulae, subsequantur.” It is singular, that after the lapse of fourteen centuries the same number of psalms should still be used in
Bona, Divina Psalmodia, c.
the Egyptian churches. See c. 18, § 13, p. 643.
After the psalms of evening prayer, the English churches formerly appointed a short lesson of Scripture; and this order is still continued. Amalarius, A. D. 820, speaks of the lesson of vespers as following the psalms, and he adds, that he had heard that responsories (or psalms) were formerly sung after this lesson, but that in his time the hymn of the Virgin (Magnificat) followed it". Benedict also, A. D. 530, appointed a lesson after the psalms of vespers, which he directed to be taken from the Epistles P. This lesson is now always taken from the Old Testament, according to the custom of the Egyptian churches described by John Cassian in the beginning of the fifth century.
The lesson of vespers was followed by the hymn of the holy Virgin in the offices of the churches of Salisbury, York, and Hereford". In the last section we have seen this position of Magnificat recognized by Amalarius, A. D. 820. The same is found in the offices of the English church before the Norman Conquest'. And Benedict, A. D. 530, probably refers to it, when he appoints a canticle from the Gospel, to be repeated after the lesson".
* “Post hoc sequitur lectio a pastore prolata . . . Audivi olim responsorios cantari apud quosdam post lectionem vespertinalem ... occurrit mihi ut sicut hymnus Zachariae excludit responsorium post matutinalem lectionem, ita excludat responsorium hymnus Sanctae
Mariae post vespertinalem lec-
CANTATE DOMINO, PSALM XCVIII.
Though Amalarius speaks of the Magnificat as following the lesson of vespers, yet he observes, that it was formerly customary in some places to sing a responsory or psalm after this lesson. The psalm Cantate Domino, when used here, is to be considered as a responsory psalm, since it immediately follows a lesson; and this is in accordance with the seventeenth canon of the council of Laodicea, which appointed lessons and psalms to be read alternately'.
THE SECOND LESSON.
The office of compline followed that of vespers in the ancient English offices, and after some psalms, contained a short lesson", which may have contributed to the establishment of that which we now consider; and the same also occurs in the AngloSaxon offices ". But the use of a second lesson at the evening service is of a much more ancient date than can be assigned to the English offices referred to. The Egyptian church in the time of Cassian, or the beginning of the fifth century, had from time immemorial used two lessons at the evening office, of which the second was always taken from the New Testament "; and the church of England has adopted precisely the same rule.
* Offic. Anglo-Sax. Appendix to Hickes's Letters, ad Vesperas.
* Benedict. Regula, c. 17.
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Can. xvii. Justellus, Bibliotheca Juris Canonici Veteris, t. i. p. 51.
* Brev. Sarisb. fol. 2, et Psalt. fol. 54. Brev. Eborac. fol. 3.
* Appendix to Hickes's Letters, in nocte.
The song of Simeon followed the lesson of compline, which I have noticed in the last section *. However, though Nunc dimittis was contained in the office of compline at the period when our offices were to be revised, yet in the most ancient times this hymn had been sung at vespers. Thus in the Apostolical Constitutions we find Nunc dimittis appointed for the evening prayer, though this may probably have been designed for an office of private devotion"; but even at the present day this hymn is repeated at the end of evening prayer in the patriarchate of Constantinople”. Benedict does not speak of the Nunc dimittis as used at compline, but Amalarius, A. D. 820, mentions it “.
DE US MISERE ATUR. PSALM LXVII,
When this psalm is used in the place of Nunc dimittis, it is as a responsory psalm, according to the practice of many churches, and more especially to that of the churches of Asia and Phrygia, regu
" Cassian. lib. ii. Inst. Coe- * Brev. Sar. fol. 2, et Psalt. nobit. c. 4, quoted in note ", fol. 55. p. 283. Schultingius objects * Apost. Const. lib. vii. c. to the English office of even- 48. song thus : “Apud veteres * Goar, Rituale Graec. p. 43. scriptores divinorum officiorum Bona, Div. Psalmod. c. 18. et in praxi ecclesiae inaudi- $ 13, p. 648. tum, assignari vesperis duas lec- * Amalar. lib. iv. c. 8. tiones.” tom.iv. pars 2, p. 130.