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PRIEST'S PRAYER BOOK.
A BRIEF PONTIFICAL.
Sixth Edition, enlarged.
J. MASTERS AND CO., 78, NEW BOND STREET.
THIS Volume is designed as an Appendix to the Book of Common Prayer, and to provide the parochial Clergy with Offices and Collects for those occasional ministrations for which no formal or authorized provision has been made. Nearly all matter which may be found in the Prayer Book itself has consequently been omitted, but by a simple method of cross references the Officiant is enabled to utilize such portions of the Book of Common Prayer as are available for the case in hand.
The Offices, and particularly those for the Visitation of the Sick, are based on ancient models, and are constructed so as to allow of the greatest plasticity in their use. In structure these forms consist of two parts : one invariable, designed as a framework; the other, changeable within certain limits, to admit of diversity. A rigid and invariable form, even if appropriate, either causes wearisome repetition, or compels the substitution of one that is inappropriate, for the sake of change ; and this inconvenience makes itself especially felt when the Priest has to pay constant visits to a single case, or else to many cases of the same type.
As all the Offices of the Sick are identical in construction, an analysis of one of them will serve to indicate the method of using each of the others. That for a Blind Person (p. 64) is selected because of its necessarily special character, which might seem to preclude variety of treatment, and either to enforce the use of a stereotyped formula, or else to require the substitution of matter having but little direct bearing on the case.
It begins with the Invocation of the Holy Trinity, the Our FATHER, and the Creed. Then follow three pairs of versicles, the first of which marks the character of the whole Office as especially suitable for the Blind. “Y. Thou also shalt light my candle. R. The LORD my God shall make my darkness to be light.” The same idea is contained in the Antiphon, which strikes the key.note, and indicates the spirit in which the Psalms which follow are to be understood. This Antiphon is, “I believe verily to see the goodness of the LORD.” Four Psalms are then given ; any one or more of which may be used, and each of which has some special reference suitable to the Blind. Thus Ps. 17 in the 3rd verse says,
“Thou hast proved and visited my heart in the night-season.” In the 5th verse, “O hold Thou up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.” And in the 16th verse, “But as for me, I will behold Thy presence in righteousness, and when I awake up after Thy likeness I shall be satisfied with it." The other Psalms, upon examination, will be found to be similarly appropriate. At the close of the Psalms the Antiphon in its fuller form is repeated, and thus serves to fix in the mind of the Patient the special meaning which the Psalms should have for him. Next comes the Scripture Reading, selected upon the same principle. In brackets, at the close of each Reading, are references to several other Scriptures which may be substituted for it, first from the Epistles and Gospels in the Book of Common Prayer, and then from an Appendix of Readings in the Priest's Prayer Book itself. Thus the Epistle for S. Stephen's Day speaks of the foretaste of the Beatific Vision as granted to the martyr in his time of trial : that for the 3rd Sunday in Lent teaches that Christians are " children of light;" the Gospel for Quinquagesima Sunday records the miracle of healing the blind, and so of the others. When the Lection is ended, the Officiant says, “But Thou, O LORD, have mercy upon us,” to which answer is made, “Thanks be to God," and then follow versicles in. tended to bring home the full teaching of the Lection to the mind of the sufferer, and to point its special application to his own case.
Thus the first pair runs, “ť. Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty. Ry. They shall behold the land that is very far off.” Then come the Gloria and its response, followed by another pair of versicles running thus : "Ť. Blessed are the pure in heart. R7. For they shall see God.” With this the hortatory and didactic portion of the Office closes, and it is followed by the precatory part, beginning with—“Ť. The LORD be with you. Ry. And with thy spirit.” Next in order come the Kyrie and the Our FATHEE, to which is subjoined a group of appropriate versicles from the Psalms, in which petitions for light, guidance, and protection are offered up. At the close of these Versicles comes a Collect. Bracketed after this are references to suitable Collects in the Common Prayer Book, and also to others in the Priest's Prayer Book, denoted by black numerals, any of which may be added to or substituted for the one given in the Office. The entire Service closes with an appropriate Benediction. It will be seen that while the fixed portion of the Office prevents any departure from the spirit which pervades it, yet that great diversity is obtainable in the moveable portions. Thus the Psalm can be varied in four ways; the Chapter in ten; the Collect in five : 80 llowing in this, one of the least changeable of the forms given, 4 x 10 x 5 = 200 different combinations. Some of the other Offices can be varied more than ten times as often, and still further variety can be obtained by the employment of one or more Hymns, which may either be used as independent Lections, or be incorporated in the Office. In the latter case, the Hymn should be inserted either just before the Antiphon to the Psalms, or just after the Responses to the Scripture Reading.
Versicles and Responses have been largely employed, instead of a mere unbroken sequence of Psalms and Collects : (1) Because the Church never contemplates the use of an Office, however private, in which the people have no audible part: (2) Because a more fervent and ejaculatory character is thus given to the service: (3) Because they serve to keep the specific character of each Office unchanged, however much its variable portions may be shifted.
Where there is no person present able to make the Responses, the Officiant should recite them together with his own part, exactly as in the private recitation of Matins and Evensong.
It is unnecessary to speak in detail of the other portions of the volume. It may, however, be well to remark that, although some of the Benedic. tions are properly Episcopal, they are so as a matter of order, and not of essential right, and therefore may be pronouncod by a Priest, when the ministration of a Bishop cannot be obtained.
It will be perceived, even upon a cursory examination, that the object of the Priest's Prayer Book is not to supersede the use of the Book of Common Prayer, but to be merely ancillary and subordinate to it, and by Tables and References to assist the Clergy in applying to their more private parochial ministrations the materials already provided for their use in the public ordinances of the Church.
For the sake of brevity, the full Collect endings have not been given in the text, but catch-words have always been introduced, to indicate the proper form with which each Collect should conclude. In reciting its termination, it should be carefully observed to Whom the Collect is addressed. The following examples will, it is hoped, be a sufficient guide. The usual catch-words are printed in Roman type, the words to be added by the Officiant are annexed in italics, though some slight modifications are occasionally required.
Through (the same) Jesus Christ our Lord.
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, One God, world without end,
Who with Thee and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, ever One God, world without end.
Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, One God, world without end.
Where Thou, with the FATHER, and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest One God, world without end.
Where, with the FATHER and the Son, Thou livest and reignest ever One God, world without end.
Through Thy mercy, o our God, Who art blessed, and livest and reignest for ever and ever.
Grant this for the sake of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.