« PředchozíPokračovat »
be proclaimed and published in the Church during divine service but by the minister,' forbids the clerk to give out the psalm !
We really cannot conceive any grounds for this opinion. We think we shall be able to show that it is founded on a misinterpretation of the Rubric, and, though it seems in itself trifling, involves ulterior considerations of some importance. Who that will look closely into the terms, the position, and the context of this Rubric, and will apply to them the ordinary rules of interpretation, can doubt that the prohibition as to proclamations and publications has relation only to extraneous or secular matters, and not to such a point of ritual routine as the giving out the psalm, which cannot in common sense be called either proclaiming or publishing ? Then see the practical consequences; the minister assumes the duty hitherto performed by the clerk, which clerk the canon directs to be chosen for his competent skill in singing'
-so that when the minister shall say · Let us sing to the praise and glory of God,' it might be expected that he would indeed sing out the psalm as the clerk used to do. But no such thing at least in the few churches in which we have seen this new practice—the minister says • let us sing, but never attempts to sing, he reads out the first verse, and leaves the clerk and the congregation to do the rest. Now if it be proper that the minister shall proclaim or publish the first verse of the psalm before the congregation shall presume to sing it--why not the second, why not the third verses ?—with which, however, we have never heard him meddle ; for, alas! after having exclaimed from the altar • let us sing,' and given out the first verse, he forthwith retires into the vestry to put on his gown for the sermon, and does not reappear until the psalm is nearly done, in which, even then, he does not pretend to join, but kneels down in the pulpit in private prayer. Here is a tissue of contradictions, whereas in the old practice there was consistency, and, what is still better, good sense. When the altarservice was over, and the minister was about to retire to the vestry, the clerk, 'chosen for his competence in singing,' filled up the interval of the minister's absence by inviting the congregation to sing to the praise and glory of God, and this they did and continued to do till the minister was ready to resume his duty in the pulpit. It may be said that this rationale of ours only applies to the psalm in this one part of the service-just so; but, according to the new practice, this is the only place where a psalm can be properly sung, because as, ex hypothesi, the giving out the psalm is a proclamation or publication, and as there is no other place appointed for proclamation or publication than between the Nicene Creed and the sermon, no psalm ought to be given out except
in that interval ; and lo! in that interval there is no rubrical authority for singing at all! Nor indeed is there any authority for any extraneous singing, except as to the anthem, in places where they sing; that is, not the minister nor even the congregation, but choristers and persons appointed to sing. But this is not all. If the minister is bound to give out the psalm and repeat the first verse, why is he not equally bound to give out and repeat the anthem? This would be if the point be worth reasoning -much more necessary, because the psalm is an authorized form of words—the anthem is anything that the chief of the choir chooses to sing :-to be sure he acts under orders—but so does the clerk; but if the one may not give out the psalm, how can the other give utterance to the anthem? But again: we would respectfully observe to those who countenance this practice (which is certainly not a tractarianism) that by this over-strict interpretation of the Rubric they are establishing, in this trifle, a serious departure from the Rubric. Can they show us by what Rubric the metrical psalms are sung in churches at all; by what Rubrical authority the minister can announce them ?-We believe there is none. The metrical psalms are not recognised by any rubric, unless introduced in quires and places where they sing'as an anthem, and therefore the wise and prudent usage has been—not that the minister shall make the metrical version part of the Liturgy, but that, at certain intervals of the minister's duty, the clerk should invite the rest of the congregation to sing to the praise and glory of God one of the metrical psalms, which, although no part of the Liturgical office, and therefore not to be given out by the minister, are allowed by royal authority, and may be voluntarily sung in the intervals we have stated by the congregation, of whom the clerk is the coryphæus. We might add much more on this subject, but we have said enough to awaken the attention of our clerical readers; and we have confident hopes that this practice, which in the London diocese has been expressly sanctioned and in some others individually imitated, will be on better consideration abandoned—that the minister may be relieved from an embarrassing and almost ridiculous position, and that the metrical psalms may not be treated as if they formed (which they do not) an integral part of the Liturgy.*
The consideration of this same Rubric leads us to another instance of remedies proposed for difficulties which are either imaginary or very inconsiderable. There is, we are told, an incon
* Those hypercritics who fancy they can find in the Rubric a prohibition to the clerk's giving out the psalm would find it much more difficult to find any Rubrical authority for having a clerk at all. Clerks are only authorized by custom and by the Canon.
sistency between the Rubric before the sermon and a subsequent one relative to the giving notice of the Sacrament."
Mr. Haverfield, who, though a sensible and well-judging man and no Tractarian, is sometimes rather too much disposed to defer to the authority which countenances some of what he no doubt thinks Rubrical restorations, but which we think unnecessary innovations (such as the minister's giving out the psalm)-Mr. Haverfield, we say, suggests
that it might be well if the time for giving notice of the Holy Sacrament were distinctly stated; since at present one Rubric requires it to be done after the Nicene Creed, and another after the sermon. The way in which Wheatly gets over this difficulty is by no means satisfactoryLetter, p. 35.
And Mr. Scobell—who, in general, takes enlarged and judicious views of all these subjects in defence of the existing usages of the Church against the ultra-Rubricians-says,
'What but Church usage causes the two notices of the Communion not to be given one before and one after the sermon ? Is not this equity correcting law? For although it may be a mistake, as Wheatly calls it, yet it stands on the legal letter.'-Scobell, p. 10.
We think that it is these gentlemen, as well as others who have insisted on this supposed discrepancy, that are under the mistake ; and neither of them, but particularly Mr. Scobell, does justice to Wheatly, whose explanation appears to us good as far as it goes, and who certainly does not call it “a mistake,' but says that he at first thought it a mistake of the printers, but was afterwards, on reconsideration, inclined to suppose that the double notice was purposely provided; and this, though Wheatly does not give any detailed reasons for his opinion, is, we think, a probable if not a satisfactory construction.
The first of these two Rubrics says that then also [before the sermon), if occasion be, shall notice be given of the Communion ;' while the subsequent Rubric directs that ' when the minister giveth warning for the celebration of the holy Communion (which he shall always do on the Sunday, or some Holiday immediately preceding), after the sermon or homily he shall read the e.chortation following.'
• Here,' says one party, is your Rubric obliging the minister to do one thing at two different times—before and after the sermon—which is impossible:' and the ultra-Rubricians hang their heads, and admit hat is but too true. Now we doubt whether, there is really any inconsistency. Before the sermon, at the usual and appointed time for ‘proclaiming and publishing, and giving
notices,' the minister is desired, amongst the rest, to give notice of his intention to celebrate the Communion; but the second Rubric does not apply to notices—but to an exhortation—that is, a spiritual invitation to attend the sacrament of which the secular notice or warning had been already given.
But whether this distinction be sufficient to justify the theoretic consistency of the Rubrics or no, we must add that, in point of fact, the two warnings are seldom if ever given, and that the most usual practice is to deliver the exhortation from the communion-table before the sermon; but this, like other apparent deviations from the letter of the Rubric, is consistent with its spirit, and is an instance in which we think the usage of the Church may be safely followed. In truth it is hardly a deviation; for the Rubric which directs the notice does not say in what form of words the notice shall be given, and the exhortation is itself a notice; witness the opening words—Dearly beloved, on
-day next I purpose, through God's assistance, to administer, &c.; and therefore in cases in which the minister does not intend to return to the table after the sermon, we think he may not improperly read the exhortation by way of notice, and so substantially satisfy both Rubrics. This we say on the supposition that the exhortation is meant to be read from the table-which however we think there is some reason to doubt; in fact, we think we could show that it was meant to be read from the place where the homily or sermon is delivered—but our object is to reconcile, and not make difficulties: we are perfectly satisfied with the present practice, and we only notice the doubt as hint to those who deny the authority of usage, that they will have more cases to deal with than they at first imagine. But there is still another difficulty, which it is proper to state-the Rubric, we see, directs the notice to be given in the Communion-service, but the Canon (xxii.) directs that it shall be done at Morning Prayer. Now, certainly, no part of the Communion-service can be legally entitled Morning Prayer, even when it follows Morning Prayer; and so those who insist on a strict and inexorable execution of both the Canons and Rubrics would here have another contradiction to reconcile. This additional circumstance, therefore, only corroborates what we before said, that it is safer to abide by the established usages of the Church than attempt that worst of innovations, the rigid execution of obsolete and ambiguous laws.
We have now noticed the most prominent of the innovations *
* We had intended to have offered some observations on the subject of pews, but as it does not properly belong to the ritual, and as we have already trespassed we fear too far on our readers' patience, we must defer that, as we think, much misrepresented question to another occasion.
recently attempted on the usages of the Church, and we think we may confidently appeal to our readers whether we have not proved them, or at least the majority of them, to have been not, merely innovations—of itself a most serious objection—but for the most part unwarranted, either in law or reason, and some of them absolutely contrary to both. At least we feel assured that, after our observations shall have been duly weighed, it will be doubted whether any of the alleged difficulties were of such vital importance and urgency—with reference either to the conscience of the ministry or to the edification of the people—as to justify such strange proceedings as we have recently witnessed ; and which, as we have before said, but can never too often repeat, however individually unimportant or venial they may seem, are rendered formidable by their collective tendency to Popery, and by the effect which they have notoriously produced of familiarising, and even of reconciling, men's minds to superstitious rites and formulas, and the doctrines connected with them—of which it used to be our boast that the Reformation has delivered us. It is in vain-even when they are perfectly sincere—that persons who have adopted these practices may tell us that they have no leaning to Popery, and are in fact what they profess to be, zealous members of the Anglican Church : granted: their private convictions
be untainted—we cannot search their consciences, and we will give credit to their assertions; but then, on the other hand, we must insist that their private feelings cannot, in any forum, either of law or conscience, justify their countenance of practices which are but too generally understood, and have been by their original promoters avowedly adopted and recommended, as a solemn and continuous protest against the Reformation - the odious Reformation !' - and which have, in some notorious instances, led to downright apostacy. But open defection, even when we suspect it to be the result of an irregular intellect or a morbid vanity, is less deplorable and infinitely less dangerous than the masquerade orthodoxy whose heart is already reconciled to Rome, though its hands are still willing to carry
the bag and to take the sop, and to participate in the communion of the Anglican Church, as Judas did at the Last Supper.
Again we beg that we may not be misunderstood: we do not mean to insinuate that all those, nor even the majority of those, who adopt even the most popish of these ceremonies are at heart deserters from the Church of England; we mean no such thing —we know that many of them are zealous and orthodox antagonists of Rome, and adopt these practices in the sincere feeling that they are comfortable to themselves and likely to edify