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Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we thine unworthy servants do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and lovingkindness to us, and to all men. We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life ; but above all, for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful, and that we may shew forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives: by giving up ourselves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
Domine Deus omnipotens, Pater Domini Dei et Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi, gratias agimus de omnibus et propter omnia, et in omnibus, quia protexisti nos, adjuvasti nos, conservasti nos, suscepisti nos ad te, et misertus es nostri; auxilium dedisti nobis, et ad hanc horam perduxisti. Ea propter petimus et obsecramus bonitatem tuam, o amator hominum, ut concedas nobis hunc diem sanctum, et omnes dies vitae nostrae in pace cum timore tuo transigere—per gratiam, et misericordiam, amoremdue erga homines Filii tui unigeniti, Domini Dei et Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi, per quem tibi debetur honor, gloria, et imperium, cum ipso et Spiritu Sancto vivificante, tibique consubstantiali, nunc et semper et in omnia sæcula saeculorum. Amen".
The English ritual, I believe, is the only one which contains special thanksgivings for the mercies of God, others having confined themselves to general expressions of gratitude on all such occasions. It has therefore, in the present case, improved on the ancient customs of the Christian church, instead of being in any way inconsistent with them.
* Liturgia Basilii, Coptice, Renaudot, Liturg. Oriental. tom. i. p. 2.
WOL. I. Z
COLLECTS, EPISTLES, AND GOSPELS.
BEFoRE I proceed to ascertain the antiquity of this portion of our ritual, I would observe, that the collects, and the lessons which we now call Epistles and Gospels, were originally recited from two books, the former entitled the Sacramentary, the latter the Lectionary. These two books, with a third called Antiphonary, contained the whole service for the Eucharist. The Sacramentary comprised the collects and the canon or prayers that never varied". The Lectionary consisted of lessons from the Old and New Testaments, corresponding to our Law, Epistles, and Gospels"; and the Antiphonary supplied the anthems or verses for the beginning of the communion, the offertory, &c." About the eleventh or twelfth century it was found convenient generally to unite these three books, and the volume obtained the name of the Complete or Plenary Missal, or Book of Missae". Of this description were almost all the liturgical books of the western churches, and the arrangement is still preserved in our own.
tarium,” or “Evangeliarium.”
* See Zaccaria, Bibliotheca Ritualis, tom. i. p. 39, &c.
* The Lectionary, sometimes called “Comes,” or “Liber Comitis,” often contained the
Gospels as well as the other lessons; but generally the Gospels were read from a separate volume, entitled, “Evangelis
chanted on the steps (Gradus)
of the ambon, or pulpit. Zac
caria, p. 28, &c.
The eastern churches have no sacramentaries, because they do not employ different prefaces and collects for different days, but make use of several liturgies, each of which is appropriated to a particular season of the year. The lessons and anthems are by them recited from distinct lectionaries and anthem books".
The origin of collects, or prayers read before or between the lessons during the celebration of the liturgy, is involved in obscurity. Such prayers have certainly been used in all the western churches from a remote period; for we not only find them in the earliest monuments of the Roman liturgy, and of all which adopted that rite, but even in those of Gaul and Spain. None such occur in the ancient litur'gies of Jerusalem, Antioch, Caesarea, or Constantinople; but they appear in the same position as in the western liturgies in that of the Monophysites of Alexandria"; and we conclude that they must have been used in the Alexandrian liturgy prior to the council of Chalcedon, A.D. 451, because the liturgy of the orthodox of that church gives plain signs of having been altered from one resembling in this respect that of the Monophysites"; and such resemblance must have been caused by the derivation of both from a common original, before their total separation at that time. We have also Cassian's testimony that collects were recited in his time, amongst the psalms and lessons of morning and evening prayer, by the Egyptians": and Athanasius, in more than one place, seems plainly to allude to the existence of the same practice in his time, or early in the fourth century'. There is therefore a high degree of probability that the collects of the Alexandrian liturgy are of great antiquity. The use of collects is certainly very ancient in the west, but they probably cannot be traced so far as those of Alexandria. The latter indeed look much as if they were the models on which those of Rome and other western churches were formed ; and if I were to hazard a conjecture on the origin of collects, I should say that they were introduced from Alexandria. We know certainly that the eastern Christians at an early period devised many improvements in the mode of celebrating divine service, which did not occur to the less lively and inventive imaginations of their brethren in the west; and that the latter were accustomed to imitate the former in their rites and ceremonies'. A time came, however, when
* See Zaccaria, p. 17, 18. * Liturgia Basilii Copt. ReCave's second Dissertation, at naudot, Liturg. Oriental. tom. the end of his “Historia Lite- i. p. 2–8. raria,” contains an account of * Liturgia, Marci, ibid. p.
all the ritual books of the Greek 131—137. church, in alphabetical order.
* Cassian. Instit. lib. ii. c. 5, eastern churches. “Constituit
synodus ut per omnes eccle-
the tide of invention turned, and innumerable additions and alterations began to be originated in the west, while the eastern rites continued with little variation from age to age. It has been thought that the collects originally did not vary with each celebration of the liturgy, but were always the same; and the office for Good Friday, or Parasceve in the ancient Roman sacramentary, where there are several collects for the clergy, people, heretics, Jews, infidels", &c. has been pointed out as a relic of the primitive custom. Augustine seems to allude to some such custom in his epistle to Vitalis of Carthage, who affirmed that we ought not to pray for unbelievers. “Employ thy “disputations against the prayers of the church; and “when thou hearest the priest of God at the altar “exhorting the people to pray for the unbelieving, “that God may convert them to the faith; and for “the catechumens, that he may breathe into them a “desire for regeneration; and for the faithful, that “by his grace they may persevere in that which they
refers to the custom of the east. Concil. ii. Vasens. can. 3. Litanies and processions were also introduced from the east. Gregory the Great certainly imitated the liturgy of Constantinople in placing the Lord's Prayer immediately after the Roman canon ; and the circumstance gave great offence to some who were zealous for the superiority of the see of Rome above that of Constantinople. Gregorii Mag. Epist. lib. ix. Epist. 12, p. 940. tom. ii. oper. edit. Benedictin.
* Menard. Sacram. Gregorii, p. 61, &c.
! “Exerce contra orationes ecclesiae disputationes tuas, et quando audis sacerdotem Dei ad altare exhortantem populum Dei orare pro incredulis, ut eos Deus convertat ad fidem ; et pro catechumenis, ut eis desiderium regenerationis inspiret; et pro fidelibus, ut in eo quod esse coeperunt, ejus munere perseverent, subsanna pias voces.” Aug. Epist, ad Vitalem Carthag.