صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

SECT. 10.-Proper Psalms for the Occasion usually sung while the People were communicating.

During the time of communicating, while the elements were distributed to the people, it was usual, in most places, for the singers or all the people to sing some psalm suitable to the occasion. The Author of the Constitutions' prescribes the thirty-third psalm, which in our division is the thirtyfourth, for this purpose: "I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall be always in my mouth." Which was chiefly sung upon the account of those words relating to the sacrament," O taste and see that the Lord is gracious, &c." For so St. Cyril more plainly declares, when he says, after this you hear one singing with a divine melody, and exhorting you to partake of the holy mysteries, and saying, “O taste and see that the Lord is gracious." St. Jerom3 seems also to intimate, that they sung both this and the forty-fifth psalm, when he says, "they received the eucharist always with a good conscience, hearing the psalmist sing, 'O taste and see that the Lord is gracious:' and singing with him, My heart is inditing of a good matter, I speak of the things, which I have made unto the king.' This being a psalm peculiarly setting forth the praises of Christ, and the affection of the Church toward him: Hearken, O daughter, and consider, incline thine ear, forget also thine own people and thy father's house: so shall the king have pleasure in thy beauty; for He is thy Lord God, and worship thou Him.' In Africa they seem to have delighted much in this custom, in so much, that, when one Hilarius, a tribune, railed against it and all other singing of psalms at the altar, St. Austin wrote a book particularly in vindication of it, which is now lost, but he mentions it in his Retractions. And both he and Tertullian seem to intimate, that among other psalms

[ocr errors]

I Const. lib. viii. cap. 13.

Cyril. Mist. Catech. v. n. 17.

4 Aug. Retract. lib. ii.

3 Hieron. Ep. xxviii. ad Lucin. Bæticum. cap. 11. Morem, qui tunc esse apud Carthaginem cœperat, ut hymni ad altare dicerentur de Psalmorum libro, sive ante oblationem, sive cùm distribueretur populo quod fuisset oblatum, maledicâ reprehensione ubicunque poterat lacerabat, &c. Huic respondi, et vocatur Liber contra Hilarium.

"Behold how

they sung the one hundred and thirty-third. good and joyful a thing it is, brethren to dwell together in unity." For Tertullian' says, they were used to sing this psalm when they supped together; by which most probably he means the Lord's supper. And St. Austin says, it was a psalm so noted and well known by its constant use, that they, who knew nothing of the psalter, could repeat that psalm, as having often heard it sung, probably at the altar. And he seems to say,3 that they sung the thirty-third Psalm upon the same occasion. For he says expressly, they sung it daily, " I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall ever be in my mouth." Which, considering how many writers before speak of it, as sung at the distribution of the elements, it is probable St. Austin means the same, that it was sung daily at the altar. St. Chrysostom says, they sung the hundred and forty-fifth psalm upon this occasion, chiefly upon the account of those words in it, "The eyes of all wait upon Thee, and Thou givest them their meat in due season." For he interprets this of their spiritual meat at the Lord's table. "This psalm," says he," is diligently to be noted: for this is the psalm, which has these words, which they that are initiated in the holy mysteries sing continually in concert, saying, The eyes of all wait upon Thee, and Thou givest them their meat in due season.' For he that is made a son, and partaker of the spiritual table; does justly give glory to his father. Thou art a Son, and partaker of the spiritual table; thou feedest upon that flesh and blood, which regenerated thee: therefore give thanks to Him, that vouchsafes thee so great a blessing, glorify Him, who grants thee these favours: when thou readest the words, compose and tune thy soul to what is said, and when thou sayest, I will exalt Thee, my God, my King,' which are the first words of this psalm, shew thy great

[ocr errors]

1 Tertul. de Jejun. cap. xiii. Vide quàm bonum et quàm jucundum habitare fratres in unum. Hoc tu psallere non facile nôsti, nisi quo tempore cum compluribus cœnas. Aug. in Psal. cxxxii. p. 629. Psalmus brevis est, sed valdè notus et nominatus. Ecce quàm bonum et quàm jucundum, &c. Ita sonus iste dulcis est, ut et qui psalterium nesciunt, ipsum versum cantent. 3 Ibid. p. 630. Impletum est in eo quod quotidiè cantamus, si et moribus consonemus: Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore, semper laus ejus in ore meo. Chrys. in Psal. cxliv. tom. iii. p. 594.

[ocr errors]

love and affection to Him, that He may say to thee, as He said to Abraham, I am Thy God." In the Liturgy, which goes under St. Chrysostom's name,' there is mention of the people's singing at this time, but no psalm specified, as here in his genuine works. In the Liturgy called St. James's of Jerusalem, the words of the thirty-fourth psalm, "O taste and see that the Lord is gracious," are appointed to be sung by the singers. St. Mark's Liturgy appoints the forty-second psalm, "As the hart desireth the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God." And Cotelerius* has observed, that in some ancient rituals at the end of Gregory's Sacramentarium the hundred and thirty-ninth psalm is appointed : "O Lord, Thou hast searched me out, and known me, &c." So that, though the custom of singing psalms, in this part of the service, was universal, the particular psalms varied, according to the wisdom and choice of the precentor, or the different rules and usages of different Churches. I have now stated and resolved the several questions and cases that may be put concerning the manner of communicating in the ancient Church: and there remains but one thing more to be considered, which was the solemn thanksgiving and prayers after receiving, which may be included with some other concomitant rites in the general name of their postcommunion-service; of which we will discourse in the following chapter.

Chrys. Liturg. tom. iv. p. 618. Gr. Lat. tom. ii. p. 20.

2 Jacob. Liturg. Bibl. Patr. Marci Liturg. ibid. p. 40.

Coteler. in Constit. lib. viii. cap. 13.

CHAP. VI.

Of their Post-Communion-Service.

SECT. 1.-The Communion-Service closed with several Sorts of Thanksgiving. First, the Deacon's Bidding Prayer and Thanksgiving.

WHEN all the people had communicated, and the deacons had removed the remainder of the elements into the Pastophoria, or place appointed for their reception; it was usual first for a deacon to admonish the people to return thanks for the benefits, which they had received. The form of this exhortation in the Constitutions1 runs thus: "Now that we have received the precious body and the precious blood of Christ, let us give thanks to Him, that hath vouchsafed to make us partakers of his holy mysteries; and let us beseech Him, that they may not be to our condemnation, but salvation, for the benefit of our soul and body, for the preservation of us in piety, for the remission of our sins, and obtaining of the life of the world to come." Then he bids them rise up, and commend themselves to God by Christ. Upon which the bishop makes a prayer of thanksgiving and commendation of the people to God in the following words:

SECT. 2.-The Bishop's Thanksgiving, or Commendation of the People to God.

"O Lord God Almighty, the Father of thy Christ, thy blessed Son; who hearest those, that with an upright heart call upon Thee, who knowest the supplications of those, that in silence pray unto Thee; we give Thee thanks for that Thou hast vouchsafed to make us partakers of thy

' Constit. lib. viii. cap. 14. it is called Пpoopwvnois μetà rijv μetádnýɩv

holy mysteries, which Thou hast given us for the confirmation or full assurance of those things, which we stedfastly believe and know, for the preservation of our piety, for the remission of our sins; because the name of thy Christ is called upon us, and we are united unto Thee. Thou, that hast separated us from the communion of the ungodly, unite us with them that are sanctified unto Thee; confirm us in Thy truth by the coming of Thy Holy Spirit and his resting upon us; reveal unto us what things we are ignorant of, supply what we are deficient in, and strengthen us in what we know. Preserve thy priests unblameable in thy service, keep our princes in peace, our governors in righteousness, the air in good temperature, the fruits of the earth in plenty, and the whole world by thy almighty providence. Pacify the nations that are inclined to war; convert those that go astray; sanctify Thy people; preserve those that are in virginity; keep those that are married in thy faith; strengthen those that are in chastity; bring infants to mature age; confirm those that are newly baptised; instruct the catechumens, and make them fit and worthy of baptism: and gather us all into the kingdom of heaven, through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom unto Thee and the Holy Spirit be glory, honour, and adoration, world without end. Amen."

SECT. 3.-The Bishop's Benediction.

After this the deacon bids the people bow their heads to God in Christ, and receive the benediction. Then the bishop pronounces the benediction in this following prayer: "Almighty God, and True, with whom no one can compare, who art every where, and present unto all, yet not in them as things of which they consist, who art circumscribed by no place, not grown old with time, nor bounded by ages; who art without generation, and needest no preserver; who art above all corruption, incapable of change, and unalterable by nature; that dwellest in light which no one can approach unto, and art invisible by nature; that art known to all rational natures, that seek Thee with an upright heart, and art apprehended by those that search after

« السابقةمتابعة »