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N apology may seem to be needed for another manual
on Church Worship. It is evident, however, to any one who takes up the serious study of the Prayer Book, which, next to the English Bible, is the greatest classic in the language, that in almost every volume on the subject the rationale, and the authority of Holy Scripture and the Primitive Church have been assumed, or else almost wholly overlooked. Nevertheless, in the vast majority of cases, not only among converts to the Church's ways, but among intelligent laymen, Churchmen by tradition, the first and most important things to know are why we use a book of worship at all, and on what fundamental principles, apart from mere ästhetic or personal preference, the volume which we call the Book of Common Prayer, and “our incomparable Liturgy,” is based.
It is greatly to the honor of the English Church that she has had so many and so able liturgical scholars who, for the last three centuries, have created a new field of theological study. The object of the present volume is to utilize this vast store of buried learning, so that the general reader, as well as teacher and candidate for Holy Orders, may have a book of modest dimensions that will give a bird's-eye view of the subject. To the student it may serve as an introduction to a more exact study later on of those treasures of devotion which, in all ages of the Church, and in many tongues, have been the censers on which have been laid the heart thoughts and petitions of martyrs and saints, and those myriads of unnamed servants of our Lord who are now with Him in Paradise.
In addition to tracing the origin and development of Christian worship to its present form for English-speaking people, the author has had one other object in view in the preparation of this volume. The Book of Common Prayer represents from age to age the living voice of the Church, the Ecclesia docens, as interpreting and witnessing to us “the mind of Christ," and the doctrine and practice of His Apostolic master builders. And so it is continually asked, What does the Prayer Book teach? or rather, What does the Church teach by means of her Prayer Book? Nevertheless it is true today, as it was true in 1823, when Bishop Brownell of Connecticut in the Preface to his “Family Prayer Book, with Commentary,” etc., declared his “persuasion that many who habitually use the Book of Common Prayer have a very imperfect appreciation of the full import of its several Offices.”
To make plain, then, what the Church teaches, from the words of her own formularies, from her traditional customs and ways, and her interpretation of Holy Scripture, is a most necessary object when discordant voices in diverse directions are claiming authority for their own ideas as to what the Church stands for, and is, or should be. "To the law and the testimony” in this authoritative volume, therefore, let our appeal be, in accordance with our Lord's command to “Hear the Church.” Lex orandi, lex credendi is still her wise rule, and happily the teaching of her manual of devotion is so unmistakable, that it only needs a little painstaking examination to learn what this is on every matter of fundamental importance. “Church Doctrine Bible Truth” was the pithy title of a small but great book by Prebendary Sadler some fifty years ago, and the Church speaks here so clearly that a thoughtful writer can well say: "The honest and careful study of the Book has invariably led either to the adoption of its teaching, or to a desire
that the Book itself should be changed; a sufficiently plain admission by both parties that its meaning is clear, if men will only take the trouble to discover it.”ı
The preparation of the present book has grown out of circumstances similar to those which occasioned the writing of the companion volume on The Christian Year: Its Purpose and its History. The author was asked to teach the subject of Church Worship in the Newark Diocesan Training School, and he could find no manual adapted to the needs of his pupils. Of learned treatises there were abundance, and also of elementary books dealing in a very cursory way with the subject. But the learned treatises were dry and unattractive to all but liturgical students, and the others were lacking in fulness and breadth of treatment. The author can only appeal to the judgment of those for whom the book is primarily intended, and of that larger class of general readers to whom the subject may prove of interest, as to whether he has succeeded in his aim or not.
For the benefit of those who may desire to pursue their studies further, or to verify the positions taken in the book, he gives here the following list of helpful works in English:
Barry, Bp., Teacher's Prayer Book; Benton, Catalogue of Prayer Books in the Collection of the Author (Boston, U.S., 1910); Bingham, Antiq., Books X-XV; Blunt, Ann. Prayer Bk.; Bright, Ancient Collects; Brightman, The English Rite; o Burbidge, Liturgies and Offices of the Church; Cardwell,
History of Conferences; Cyril, Saint, Catechetical Lectures, XXII, XXIII (Oxford, 1838); Daniel, The Prayer Book, its History, etc.; Dearmer, Parson's Hand Book; Dowden, Studies in the Prayer Book, and The Workmanship of the Prayer Book; Duchesne, Christian Worship, its Origin and Evolution (trans. of Origines du culte chrétien, London, S. P.C.K. 1912);• Ffoulkes, Prim. Consecration of Euch. Oblation; o Freeman, Prin. Dio. Ser.; Frere, Principles of Religious Ceremonial, and Some Principles of Lit. Reform (see also Procter and Frere); Gasquet and Bishop, Edward VI and the Book of Comm. Pr.; Gummey, The Consecration of the Eucharist; Hammond, Liturgies Eastern and Western; Hart, Book of Comm. Pr. (American); Heurtley, Harmonia Symbolica; Hooker, Ecc. Pol., Book V, chapters xxiii-lxxv; Legg, Cranmer's Liturgical Projects; L'Estrange, Alliance of Divine Offices; o Linklater, True Limits of Ritual in the Church; Luckock, Studies in the Pr. Bk., and The Divine Liturgy; McGarvey, Liturgiae Americanae; Maclean, Early Christian Worship; Maskell, Ancient Liturgy of the Ch. of Eng., and Monumenta Rit. Ecc. Anglicanae; Moberly, Ministerial Priesthood; Neale, Essays on Liturgiology; Neale and Littledale,Commentary on the Psalms (Liturgical, Mystical, and Messianic), and Translations of the Prim. Liturgies; Palmer, Origines Lit.; Prayer Books, First and Second of Edward VI. (Everyman's Lib.);o Prayer Book Commentary (S.P.C.K.); Procter and Frere, New His. Bk. Comm. Pr., 1907; Pullan, His. Bk. Com. Pr.; Scudamore, Notitia Euch.;o Staley, Liturgical Studies; Warren, Lit. Ante-Nicene Church, Lit. of Celtic Church, and The Sarum Missal in English; Wheatly, Rational Illustration of Bk. Comm. Pr.; Wordsworth and Littlehales, The Old Service Books of the English Church (1904).
1 J. S. B. Monsell, Preface to Our New Vicar.
The author would record his appreciation of helpful suggestions given him by the Right Rev. A. C. A. Hall, D.D., Bishop of Vermont, and of valuable assistance in the article
“Music in the Church” by the Rev. Charles Winfred Douglas, though without committing either of these friends to all that he has written. To Mr. H. H. Wheeler, Member of the American Institute of Architects, he is deeply indebted for his most painstaking work in drawing the ground-plan of a typical church of the early fourth century, based on the descriptions of the Church historian, Eusebius (A.D. 266-340), and other primitive writers.
SUMMIT, N.J., Lent, 1917.