Page images
[ocr errors]

affection," the ingrafted Word which is able to save our souls.' Let us bless God for giving us the light of Revelation; let us bless him for putting it into the heart of the Church to read God's Word in the congregation; and let us pray for the prosperity of the Church, which has obeyed, to our everlasting benefit, the motions of the Holy Spirit. O pray for the peace of our spiritual Jerusalem!Peace be within thy walls, and plenteousness within thy palaces! For our brethren and companions' sakes, we will wish thee prosperity; yea, because of the House of the Lord our God, we will seek to do thee good; bless her victuals with increase, O Lord, and satisfy her poor with bread; deck her Priests with health, and cause her saints to rejoice and sing!



With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

THE Lessons appointed to be read in the service of the Church having lately occupied our attention, the next important part of the Liturgy which succeeds, is the Creed; and this very properly follows the reading of the Scriptures, because it shews the effect of them upon our mind,—namely, a true faith; so that believing with our hearts the Word of God just read to us, unto righteousness, (which is ever the fruit and produce of sound

belief,) with our mouths we make public confession of our faith unto salvationfor "by grace are we saved, through faith."

Previously, however, to our entering upon this subject, it will be necessary to notice the Hymns which are ordered to be repeated (or sung where there is a choir) after each of the Lessons. As to the general use of hymns of this nature, all that need be said is already anticipated in my observations on the ninety-fifth Psalm, which follows the confessional office at Morning Prayer, and on the Psalms themselves. Three out of the eight hymns in question, are, in fact, Psalms of David;-the hundredth in the Morning Service; the ninety-eighth, and the sixty-seventh in the Evening Service. Of the remaining five, three are taken from the New Testament-the Benedictus, the Magnificat, and the Nunc Dimittis; and

as to the remaining two, one is taken from the Apocrypha, (the Benedicite,) and the other (the Te Deum) is the composition of one of the Fathers, who flourished in the year of our Lord 374.These Latin words, which now give their names to these hymns, formed the beginning of each of them in the ancient Service-Book, whilst the Liturgy was yet performed in the Latin tongue. Each of the Psalms has a prefix of the same kind; and I suppose this was done to prove to the partizans of the old form of worship, at the Reformation, that although all corruptions were thrown out of the new Common Prayer-Book, yet many of the ancient component parts of the Liturgy were retained; and to teach them that they might still join in the praises of God in their mother tongue, to the same purpose as they had been used to join in

[blocks in formation]

the Latin language, though certainly with more perfect intelligence. All hymns addressed to the saints were then discarded; and none were retained except those to the Persons of the blessed Trinity, and to God himself, the sole objects of adoration.

The Te Deum, which has been recited by the Church, in her daily service, for more than thirteen hundred years, is, perhaps, of all uninspired compositions, (if it may be deemed uninspired) best fitted for the tongues of men praising God. It is rational and sublime; it is admirably conceived and beautifully expressed.-May I request you to turn to it in your Common Prayer-Books, whilst I give you a brief analysis of it, and point out the distribution of its parts; which are three,

-an act of praise; a confession of faith; and a form of supplication. It opens with

« PreviousContinue »