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our fathers. Let us go forth to it, with strong hands and pure hearts. So may we hope to make a chapter in the history of the land and the world which will be a fitting climax to theirs. It is surely a crisis with us. Let it be gloriously met for ourselves and the world.
“Forever ours ! for good or ill, on us the burden lies;
By all for which the martyrs bore their agony and shame;
ARTICLE VI.—THE ANCIENT CHRISTIAN LITURGIES
AMERICAN Congregationalism, though sprung from a liturgical church, has been itself unliturgical. It would not have been strange if Presbyterianism had appeared on this conti. nent with a ritual. To have done so, would have required nothing more than adherence to what that Church had learned from Calvin at Geneva, and been trained to practice by Claude in France, Bucer in Germany, Knox in Scotland, and Baxter in England. But Congregationalism never had a book of Common Prayer. Such a thing did not agree with the free and individual spirit of Independency from which it was derived; and it was to be expected that, on the soil of America, the Reformer would be lost in the Separatist, the Puritan in the Pilgrim. This is what actually happened, and it is not strange that the church, derived from such fathers, has cared more for the inward substance of faith and practice than for outward forms of worship. However the fact may be explained, it is certainly true that matters of merely ritualistic importance have not received much attention from our divines, and still less from the mass of our congregations. Even the somewhat freshened interest of the present time in such questions has not taken a historical direction, or brought out any satisfactory account of the ancient Christian liturgies. A writer on this subject appears before the American public somewhat as a pioneer, and has both the advantages and the disadvantages of such a position. He enters the field under circumstances which compel him to pursue an introductory method, and present a sketch of the subject rather than treat any part of it with an exhaustive thoroughness. He must traverse larger areas than he can describe, and will be successful, not as he leaves no unsettled questions behind him, but as he sets up the subject in strong outlines, and gives his readers correct VOL. XIX
and distinct conceptions of the rise and character of the ancient Christian worship. This, at least, is the general plan we propose to follow; and in pursuance of such a design we enter our subject at once by the nearest door, and begin with the question, “What primitive liturgies were there?"
Our answer will, for the present, at least, avoid discussions that lead into immemorial antiquity and refer only to codices now in existence, and preserved from the earliest times of the Church. These monuments of Christian antiquity are very numerous, but fortunately admit of a classification which simplifies the matter very much, and relieves us of the embarrassments of their multitudinous diversity. This classification apportions all ancient liturgies among four families, each of which has its own type, and thus far has maintained its own distinctness, in spite of studious efforts to discover one earlier and common parent for them all. It has been the custom to assume that they had such an origin (could it only be found) in that continent of mystery, the apostolic age. But while we do not deny that there may have been a common practice of the apostles which developed in a later age into an established order, and while we neither deny nor admit that these liturgies preserve words, sentences, or even customs of the apostles—a point at which our complete ignorance requires a “suspense of faith”-still it is well enough known that the four families above mentioned originated in independence of each other, and were the product of the countries where they were used. This independence of origin, in connection with the peculiarities of the regions which gave them birth, accounts for their differences ; while a common faith, common Scriptures, common apostolic foundations, practices and traditions, and common religious wants, kept them in substantial agreement.
The first of these four great liturgical families was the Oriental, whibh held sway from the Hellespont to the Euphrates, and southward to the extremity of Greece.
The second was the Alexandrian, which in the earlier time prevailed in Egypt, Abyssinia, and along the African shore of the Mediterranean.
The third was the Roman, which was received in Italy, Sicily, and the African diocese of Augustine.
The fourth and last was the Gallican, which there is reason to believe originated at Ephesus, and was brought thence by the missionaries who in the latter part of the second century founded the first Gallican church at Lyons. Thence its use extended till it became the office of Spain, where it is supposed to have been the foundation of the national or Mozarabic Ritual. It was carried also into Britain, as appears from fragments of it still preserved in the Sarum Breviary.
Each of these four must be viewed as a parent stock, branching into others which maintained the family resemblance, and were used in limited districts of the larger field assigned to the great liturgy to which it belonged. In those times of liberty, and of vigorous and expanding religious life, there was no authority in existence which could impose a uniform liturgy even upon districts of moderate extent, to say nothing of the church catholic. A Breviarium Romanum, for all Christians, was not among the ideas of men, and every national church adapted the ritual, into the use of which it had fallen, to its own wants. The result was the multiplication of lesser liturgies, and variations upon the original without number. To follow these ramifications would be an endless task, from which a sketch like the present would emerge in profitless confusion. We shall, therefore, leave them each standing in its own family and proceed to speak of the liturgies themselves.
In their present form they strike the student as exceedingly elaborate, and presume a state of ecclesiastical affairs which could not have existed before the fourth century. For instance, they suppose a somewhat advanced church architecture, with altars, choirs, and other arrangements of the same nature. But, with the exception of the church at Edessa, where the first edifice is said to have been constructed, and, perhaps, with a very few other exceptions, churches were not built till the time of Constantine. In addition to this, the use of the Nicene symbol [ouoouoios] in the liturgy of St. James, brings down the date of that liturgy in its present form to a period as late as the fourth century. From an early period there has been a disposition to carry back all liturgies, or at least, the elements of which they were composed, to the remotest time. Thus a uniform tradition claims St. James for the author of the Oriental liturgies; while St. Thaddeus is said to have given one to the far East; St. Mark to have composed that of Alexandria ; St. Peter, the Roman; and the Ethiopic Church had one whose authorship was assigned to St. John. Those churches acknowledged that Basil, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Gelasius, and Gregory, exerted a very considerable influence on the formation of the liturgies of their respective communities. But they ignored their work as far as possible, and carrying back everything to apostolic times made it reappear under that venerable sanction. We are far from denying a very ancient basis to these rituals, and should not be surprised to find that fragments of them have an apostolic authenticity. But nothing is more certain than that they were not published under such authority, nor in their present form, but took shape gradually as they emanated from the common views, the general feeling and the wants of the churches.
Justin Martyr is a sufficient witness to the simplicity of the service up to the end of the second century. But at the close of the next and the beginning of the fourth everything is changed. Jewish and even heathen forms appear in the Christian ceremonies. The simple President of Justin Martyr is transformed to High Priest. Christian nocturns are said by the light of candles, imitated from the temples of Greece, and the Archiepiscopal Chrysostom offers the verbal oblations of the unbloody sacrifice amid incense whose odors and use suggest the placation of Diana.
It is the concurrent testimony of many credible witnesses that Basil produced a written liturgy (and probably the first) about the year 380. But the ancients, among whom such products of thought and feeling were able to maintain themselves in oral tradition far more securely than we should be disposed to believe, never doubted that what he produced of his own was far less than what he compiled from the ancient