Ritual Conformity - Interpretations of the Rubrics of the Prayer-Book
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[Transcriber's Note: Footnotes have been moved to the end of the document.]








At a Conference of some friends interested in the subject of Ritual, held on January 17, 1880, the following propositions were, amongst others, agreed to:

I. That the evil of unnecessary Diversity in Ritual, as practised in various Churches aiming at the maintenance of Catholic doctrine and usage in the Church of England, is real and great.

II. That an effort to moderate it should be attempted, resting mainly on the united opinion of some of those who have given special attention to the theory and practice of Ritual, in their private capacity of Students or Parish Priests.

III. That the effort should take the form of a body of Comments upon the Rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer, and that these Comments should include cautions against practices which are infractions of the law and usage of the Church of England.

With the view of carrying these propositions into effect, it was arranged that a series of meetings should be held; and the Vicar of All Saints, Margaret-street, kindly provided a room at the clergy-house for the meetings of the Conference.

Those who had met in the first instance were duly summoned, and others were invited to join them. The meetings were held at first on two consecutive days in alternate weeks, (since some of the members came from a considerable distance). Latterly, in order to expedite the work, meetings were held on three consecutive days in alternate weeks. In all, forty-eight meetings were held between January 17, 1880, and July 13, 1881.

It was thought possible that by the co-operation of several minds, information might be collected from sources not commonly accessible, and perhaps hardly within the reach of any one individual. Among the members of the Conference also were those who had had experience of parish-work, as well as those who had devoted time and attention to historical enquiry into the origin and meaning of the Rubrics of the Prayer-Book, or who had made ancient Liturgies their special study: some, it may be added, combined these various qualifications. A hope therefore was entertained, as the second proposition implies, that by considering on very wide grounds (both practical and historical), and not from any one point of view, the various divergencies of ritual practice, some agreement might be arrived at even on the most controverted points.

This hope has been realized. It was found that points which seemed at first to afford no basis on which agreement was at all probable, were settled, after long discussion, almost (if not quite) unanimously; but this involved expenditure of time, and much investigation into matters on which existing text-books were often silent.

With regard to the actual diversities in ritual which came under the attention of the Conference, some appeared to be such direct infractions of the Rubrics that no explanation of the Rubrics could make their irregularity more evident. Others seemed to arise from well-meant attempts to interpret the Rubrics. These last formed the chief subject of the labours of the Conference.

The main line of procedure laid down was a true and loyal adherence to the spirit of the Prayer-Book. A mere literal interpretation of the Rubric was found in many cases to be insufficient. Even if the existing Prayer-Book had been composed for inaugurating some new religious system, it would be scarcely reasonable to depend upon the abstract meaning of the words employed, without any reference to the circumstances under which the book had been written. But when we remember that the Prayer-Book of 1662 was the last of several revisions of the original English Prayer-Book of 1549, which was itself avowedly based upon the Ancient Liturgies, and carried on the existing and ancient worship of the Church of England (with such reformation as was considered needful), no mode of interpretation could be more misleading if rigorously insisted on, or so likely to cause error in practice.

The Prayer-Book, however, in spite of the Revision of 1662, retains many vestiges of the foreign Protestant influence, which affected the Revision of 1552. With these the Conference have attempted to deal in a loyal spirit. However much they may be regretted, Churchmen are bound to accept them. For it must be clearly understood that nothing was further from the intention of the Conference, than to attempt Revision. So far from this, it was hoped by some that a careful series of notes explaining the true character of disputed Rubrics might go some way to allay the present agitation for change.

The Conference cannot be blind to the conviction that they have to face much modern prejudice. On the one hand there is still rife in the Church of England the Puritan spirit, which condemns in one and the same category things essentially Roman, and things which are really primitive, but which have been retained by Rome. On the other hand, there undoubtedly exists an occasional reaction from this Puritan spirit, which has produced a prejudice in favour of things—whether primitive or not—simply because they are Roman. The Conference have felt that to yield either to one or the other prejudice was not the right way of dealing with the Prayer-Book.

They have also been brought face to face with what are called "Legal decisions" on some questions of Ritual. Apart from the fact that the courts have given directly opposite decisions on the same question, and have given reasons in one case inconsistent with the reasons given for their decision in another; apart also from the fact that these are chiefly decisions of secular courts in purely spiritual matters; the Conference have been precluded from entertaining them, as guides or as helps, in consequence of the courts having generally acted upon principles of interpretation entirely different from those which the Conference had adopted.

They have, moreover, found themselves in opposition to much modern practice, originating in carelessness and neglect in the due performance of the Services of the Church during past generations, but alien to the spirit of those Services, though often mistaken for their exponent.

The Conference have had to investigate the origin and to consider the meaning of many practices, which appear either to be enjoined or implied in the existing Rubrics, and have, in the light of these investigations, set down unflinchingly what they believed to be the true interpretation of these Rubrics. At the same time, they have not shut their eyes to ancient customs, which, though less prominently connected with the Rubrics, appear to have held on concurrently with the Prayer-Book; being consistent with its principles, and not authoritatively condemned either by name or by implication.

The Comments, which have been the result of their discussions, the Conference have printed, in the hope that they will be received by others as suggestions towards the solution of difficulties which must press upon all who desire to obey the spirit as well as the letter of the Prayer-Book.

The entire adherence of any one to all the interpretations here offered is not to be expected. Indeed, those members of the Conference who have had experience in parish-work, are well aware that in comparatively few villages it is possible to carry out the fuller Ritual which the Prayer-Book admits: this can only be successfully adopted in large towns, or where endowments are provided, or other resources are available, for sustaining a high Ritual.

It should be said, in conclusion, that amongst the members of the Conference, some have taken part in the work to a greater extent than others, and are consequently more directly responsible for the Comments, and able to give a fuller assent to them. It was impossible to consult every member upon each individual point. All that was done to ensure the expression of the general sense of the Conference, was to determine to insert no comment which was not approved of by two-thirds of the members present. Practically, it was found that in very few cases a formal division was called for, the agreement to the final form of the comments being generally unanimous.


B. COMPTON, Chairman.

Wm. Jno. Blew. H. G. Morse. J. H. Blunt. James Parker. Wm. Cooke. Thos. W. Perry. C. L. Courtenay. James Baden Powell. J. Fuller Russell. R. F. Wilson. R. F. Littledale. Chr. Wordsworth.



1. It hath been the wisdom of the Church of England, &c.

It is important to bear in mind, in interpreting the prefaces and rubrics of the Prayer-Book, that they were written at various times, and that their language is not generally the current language of our own day, but the technical language of the times at which they were respectively written.

The first section, headed "The Preface," was added in 1662 to the second, entitled "Concerning the Service of the Church," which is the original Preface to the Prayer-Book of 1549, with some important additions and slight omissions made in 1552.

The "Order how the Psalter is appointed to be read," dates mainly from 1549.

The "Order how the rest of Holy Scripture is appointed to be read," with the Tables of Proper Psalms, and Lessons, and the Calendar—originally forming part of the book of 1549—was adopted with slight alteration in 1662, but was much varied in 1871.


2. There was never any thing by the wit of man so well devised, &c.

It seems that, having regard to the circumstances under which this rubric was framed, the 'diversity to be appeased,' and the 'doubts to be resolved,' concerned only the manner of saying and singing the Morning and Evening Prayer, not the manner of administration of the Sacraments or other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church. Nor were any 'parties' contemplated as likely to 'doubt, or diversely take anything,' except the clergy. The contemporaneous Latin translation of the English Prayer-Book expressly confines this provision of resort to the Bishop of the diocese to questions arising inter ministros. The Bishop of the Diocese was the proper person to resort to, both on account of his sacred office, which gave him authority, and also as being at that time the person likely to be best informed on questions of this kind, as the Epistle, and Gospel for Quinquagesima Sunday (with the addition of the Collect of Ash Wednesday), but the Scotch Prayer-Book directs the use of the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel for Ash Wednesday only; and Bishop Cosin directed the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel for Quinquagesima Sunday to serve only until Ash Wednesday.

When more than one Collect is appointed for the day, by reason of the coincidence of Holy Days, the question arises which Holy Day should take precedence.

Coincidence includes (a) occurrence (i.e. the falling on the same day of two occasions having special services), and (b) concurrence, when the one falls on the morrow of the other.

By taking precedence is meant, that when two Holy Days occur, the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel, the Proper Psalms and Lessons (if any) of the superior day should be used.

But in certain cases of occurrence, noticed in the following Table, a memorial of the inferior day should be made, by using the Collect appointed for it in addition to, and after, the Collect for the superior day, at all services at which the Collect for the day is to be said.

In other cases, the services of the inferior day must be entirely omitted for that year, or transferred to the morrow, or some subsequent date, in accordance with ancient custom. The Prayer-Book gives no directions for such transference, but the total loss for the year of such Festivals as the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, or of the Dedication and the Title of a Church, would be much to be regretted.

The following Table exhibits the precedence of Holy Days:

First Sunday in Advent takes precedence of St. Andrew's Day.

Fourth Sunday in Advent takes precedence of St. Thomas' Day.

St. Stephen's Day St. John the Evangelist's Day take precedence of First Holy Innocents' Day / Sunday after Christmas. The Circumcision

The Epiphany takes precedence of Second Sunday after Christmas.

The Conversion of St. Paul takes precedence of Third Sunday after Epiphany, but memorial is to be made of the Sunday.

The Purification takes precedence of Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, also of Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima Sundays, of which three Sundays memorial is to be made.

Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima Sundays take precedence of Conversion of St. Paul and St. Matthias' Day.

Ash Wednesday takes precedence of St. Matthias' Day.

Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Sundays in Lent take precedence of the Annunciation.

The services of the season from Evening Prayer on Wednesday in Holy Week till Saturday in Easter Week, both inclusive, take precedence of the Annunciation.

First Sunday after Easter takes precedence of the Annunciation, St. Mark's Day, and SS. Philip and James' Day.

take precedence of Second, St. Mark's Day, / Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sundays SS. Philip and James' Day after Easter.

Ascension Day takes precedence of SS. Philip and James' Day.

The Services of the season from Whitsun Eve till Saturday in Whitsun Week, both inclusive, take precedence of St. Barnabas' Day.

Trinity Sunday takes precedence of St. Barnabas' Day.

St. Barnabas' Day, the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, St. Peter's Day, St. James' Day, St. Bartholomew's Day, St. Matthew's Day, St. Michael and All Angels' Day, St. Luke's Day, SS. Simon and Jude's Day, All Saints' Day, take precedence of all Sundays after Trinity.

The Feasts of the Dedication and Title of a Church rank as principal festivals; but may not be observed on Advent Sunday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Epiphany, between the Fifth Sunday in Lent and Low Sunday inclusive, Ascension Day, or from Whitsun Eve to Trinity Sunday inclusive.

Octaves are not mentioned by name in the Prayer-Book, but are implied in the rubrics preceding the Proper Prefaces of the Communion Office. It has been suggested by the Convocation of Canterbury that the Collects for St. Michael's and All Saints' Days should be repeated on the seven days following those days respectively. Such additions would be in the nature of new Octaves. But the first of these days had no Octave in the Sarum or the Roman Use: the second has an Octave in the Roman Use, but had none in the Sarum Use. If any such additional Octaves are introduced, the Festival of the Epiphany at least should have this distinction. A general permission might also be given to individual churches to keep the Octaves of their title or dedication.


To be read at Morning and Evening Prayer, on the Sundays, and other Holy-days throughout the Year.




The Black-letter days, especially those that commemorate Scriptural persons and events, should be observed if possible. They may be marked by sermons and suitable hymns.


For the Moveable and Immoveable Feasts; together with the Days of Fasting and Abstinence, through the whole Year.

11. RULES to know when the Moveable Feasts and Holy-days begin.

12. A TABLE of all the Feasts that are to be observed in the Church of England throughout the Year.

All Sundays in the Year. The Circumcision of our Lord JESUS CHRIST. The Epiphany. The Conversion of S. Paul. The Purification of the Blessed Virgin. The S. Matthias the Apostle. Days / The Annunciation of the of the Blessed Virgin. Feasts S. Mark the Evangelist. of S. Philip and S. James the Apostles. The Ascension of our Lord JESUS CHRIST. S. Barnabas. The Nativity of S. John Bapt.

S. Peter the Apostle. S. James the Apostle. S. Bartholomew the Apostle. S. Matthew the Apostle. S. Michael and All Angels. S. Luke the Evangelist. The S. Simon and S. Jude, Days / Apostles. of the All Saints. Feasts S. Andrew the Apostle. of S. Thomas the Apostle. The Nativity of our Lord. S. Stephen the Martyr. S. John the Evangelist. The Holy Innocents.

Monday and Tuesday in Easter-week. Monday and Tuesday in Whitsun-week.

13. A TABLE of the Vigils, Fasts, and Days of Abstinence, to be observed in the Year.

The Nativity of our Lord. The Purification of the Blessed The Virgin Mary. Evens / The Annunciation of the or Blessed Virgin. Vigils Easter-Day. before Ascension-Day. Pentecost. S. Matthias.

S. John Baptist. S. Peter. The S. James. Evens / S. Bartholomew. or S. Matthew. Vigils S. Simon and S. Jude. before S. Andrew. S. Thomas. All Saints.

Note, That if any of these Feast-Days fall upon a Monday, then the Vigil or Fast-Day shall be kept upon the Saturday, and not upon the Sunday next before it.

This Table includes several days not anciently observed as Fast-days, and refers to private observance and not to public service.

When a Saint's Day which is preceded by a Vigil falls on a Monday, though the fast of the Vigil is to be kept on the Saturday, yet the Collect for the Saint's Day is not to be said on the Saturday evening, but on the evening of Sunday, in accordance with Rubric (82).

DAYS of Fasting, or Abstinence.

I. The Forty Days of Lent. The First Sunday in Lent. II. The Ember-Days at the Four Seasons, / The Feast of Pentecost. being the Wednesday, Friday, September 14, and and Saturday after December 13. III. The Three Rogation-Days, being Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, before Holy Thursday, or the Ascension of our Lord. IV. All the Fridays in the Year, except Christmas-Day.

The word 'or' implies a distinction in the mode of observing these days: Nos. I. and II. in the 'Table,' viz., the Forty Days of Lent and the Ember-days, are days of Fasting: Nos. III. and IV., viz., the three Rogation-days and Fridays, except Christmas-Day, are days of Abstinence.

14. A CERTAIN SOLEMN DAY, for which a particular Service is appointed.

The Twentieth Day of June, being the Day on which her Majesty began her happy Reign.




15. The Morning and Evening Prayer shall be used in the accustomed Place of the Church, Chapel, or Chancel; except it shall be otherwise determined by the Ordinary of the Place. And the Chancels shall remain as they have done in times past.

The direction given in the first clause of this rubric was introduced in 1559, in correction of the order of 1552, which had enabled the Minister to choose any place in which the people could best hear. It was retained in 1662, and in reading the clause with the second, it appears distinctly to point to the ancient use, when the accustomed place for the minister was within the chancel.

The direction that the Chancels shall remain as in times past, dates from 1552, and must therefore refer to arrangements before that time. It seems also definitely to refer to the retaining the screen, and the steps, as interpreted by the order of 1561. Hence no fixtures may be introduced, such as pews, monuments, &c., nor any alteration made in the furniture or ornaments of the Chancels, which will interfere with the convenience of the Minister and Clerks in the celebration of Holy Communion, or other offices of the Church.

16. And here is to be noted, that such Ornaments of the Church, and of the Ministers thereof, at all Times of their Ministration, shall be retained, and be in use, as were in this Church of England, by the Authority of Parliament, in the Second Year of the Reign of King Edward the Sixth.

This paragraph of the rubric is essentially taken from the Act of Uniformity of 1559. In the ecclesiastical language of that day, the word 'ornaments' technically includes everything which is connected with the purposes of the consecrated building beyond the mere fabric of the building, and with the dress of the officiating Minister beyond his usual dress in secular life.

In the Act of 1559, the intention was to take as the basis of the Prayer-Book then authorized the Book of the fifth and sixth years of Edward VI. (1552); but to adopt the ornaments of another period, viz. of the second, not of the fifth year of Edward VI.[a]

The ornaments of the second year are those which were intended to be, and were actually, used under the Prayer-Book of 1549. Whatever question may arise about other ornaments, there can be no question about those prescribed by that Book, as well as those implied in it. As to those which were not prescribed by, or implied in, that book, they must be determined by the existing usage of the time, subject to such modifications as were implied by the Injunctions, or other authoritative documents, up to the year 1548.

The following ornaments are prescribed by the Book of 1549.

1. Altar. 9. Surplice. 2. Chalice. 10. Hood. 3. Paten. 11. Albe. 4. Corporas. 12. Vestment[b]. 5. Font. 13. Tunicle. 6. Poor Man's Box. 14. Rochet. 7. Bell. 15. Cope. 8. Pulpit. 16. Pastoral Staff.

This rubric, if construed to include only these ornaments, would exclude many things which common sense and custom have sanctioned; and if the doctrine that "omission is prohibition" be insisted on, would actually shut out organs or harmoniums, hangings on doorways, seats for priests, clerks, and people, stoves, hassocks, pulpit-cloths or pulpit-cushions, pews, Christmas decorations, and the use of the pulpit or bell except on Ash Wednesday; it would forbid any bishop to officiate publicly on any occasion without a cope or vestment and pastoral staff. On the other hand, there seems to be a limit to laxity in construing the rubric, and that it cannot, unless this laxity be strained beyond the bounds of reason, be taken to admit the substitution of other ornaments for those which the rubric enjoins; such as the use of a bason in, or instead of the Church font, of a common bottle for the Holy Communion, of a black gown instead of an authorised vesture in the pulpit during the Communion Service, or of foreign forms of surplices and vestments instead of the English ones.

In general, the more nearly the ornaments of the Church and Minister, and the use thereof, are conformed to the English, usage in the early years of the reign of Edward VI., the better; as marking the continuity of the English Church, and avoiding the imputation of adopting at second hand the ornaments and usages of foreign communions, whether Belgian, French, Italian, or Swiss.

Nevertheless, the non-user of any legal ornaments, such as the Eucharistic Vestments, in any old Church, for a long period, seems to be a valid plea against any absolute obligation of sudden restoration in that Church, when the communicants do not desire them to be restored.

With regard to the colours of the Priest's vestments, and of other coloured ornaments of the Church and Minister, there were variations in different Churches.

In the rubric of Sarum, which seems to have been regarded as a standard of English usage up to the beginning of the reign of Edward VI., red was directed to be used on all Sundays in the year, except in the Easter season and the Ascension festival (up to Whitsun Eve), and except on any other festival marked by the use of white, which takes precedence of the particular Sunday. In these cases the colour would be white.

Also on the Circumcision the colour would be White. On the Epiphany " " White. On the Conversion of St. Paul " White. On the Purification " " White. On St. Matthias' Day " " Red. On the Annunciation " " White. On St. Mark's Day " " /White (because in On St. Philip and St. James' Day " Easter Season). On the Ascension " " White. On St. Barnabas' Day " " /Red (White if in Easter Season). On St. John the Baptist's Day " White. On St. Peter's Day " " Red. On St. James' Day " " Red. On St. Bartholomew's Day " " Red. On St. Matthew's Day " " Red. On St. Michael and All Angels' " White. On St. Luke's Day " " Red. On St. Simon and St. Jude's Day " Red. On All Saints' Day " " Red. On St. Andrew's Day " " Red. On St. Thomas' Day " " Red. In the Christmas Season " " White (probably). On St. Stephen's Day " " Red. On St. John the Evangelist's Day " White. On Holy Innocents' Day " " Red. On the Festival of the Dedication of the Church " " / White.

On Week-days the colour generally followed the colour of the Sunday or other day, the Communion Office of which was used.

The inventories, however, of many Churches made in the middle of the sixteenth century shew that numerous colours were in use, such as blue, green, black, and others (many of which it is difficult to reconcile with any known ritual). In their use, regard was probably had rather to their comparative splendour than to their colour.

The rubrics of 1549, 1559, and 1662 did not disturb them. And therefore, although neither law nor custom recognise the modern Roman sequence of colours, still there is precedent for the use of colours not specified in the rubric of Sarum, on days not mentioned therein, especially in Churches which already possess them.


17. Daily throughout the Year.

In coming into Church (as in going out of the same, and in going up to, and coming down from the altar) obeisance is made by the minister as an ancient and devout usage[c].

18. At the beginning of Morning Prayer the Minister shall read with a loud voice some one or more of these Sentences of the Scriptures that follow. And then he shall say that which is written after the said Sentences.

Two terms are here used, viz., 'read with a loud voice,' and 'say.' The words 'a loud voice' have been continued in the opening rubric of the service since 1549, when the Priest was directed to 'begin with a loud voice the Lord's Prayer,' which previously had been said 'secreto.' In 1552, when the office was arranged to begin with the Sentences, they were ordered to be 'read with a loud voice.'

That 'read' may mean a musical recital, whether monotone or inflected, can be inferred from the rubric of the lessons which existed in the Prayer-Book from 1549 to 1604. "Then shall be read two Lessons distinctly with a loud voice, that the people may hear. . . . And, to the end that the people may better hear, in such places where they do sing, there shall the Lessons be sung in a plain tune after the manner of distinct reading, and likewise the Epistle and Gospel." The 'Ministers' in 1661 took 'Exceptions' to this rubric on the ground that this portion of the Service "being for the most part neither Psalms nor Hymns, we know no warrant why they should be sung in any place, and conceive that the distinct reading of them with an audible voice tends more to the edification of the Church." To this the bishops replied, that "the rubric directs only such singing as is after the manner of distinct reading, and we never heard of any inconvenience thereby, and therefore conceive this demand to be needless."

The latter portion of this rubric, explaining the most effectual manner of distinct reading, was indeed omitted in 1662; but, though the Lessons, Epistle, and Gospel are no longer required to be 'sung' anywhere, the word 'read' must have included that manner of reading when directed for the Sentences in 1552.

The word 'say' was applied to the Exhortation, 'Dearly beloved,' &c., when that was introduced in 1552, and has been continued ever since. It occurs in the rubric before the versicles after the first Lord's Prayer (No. 23, below), viz., 'Then likewise shall he say,' dating from 1549, where the word 'likewise' indicated that the word 'begin' in the preceding rubric of that book meant 'say.' And if the word 'likewise' had been used in the latter portion of this rubric, 'read' must have been also interpreted to be identical with 'say.' But it is not used here, and therefore, the word 'read' need not mean the same as the word 'say;' and, consequently, while 'say' strictly means a monotone (as distinct from 'sing,' which implies inflections); 'read' includes some other mode of reciting the Sentences, such as singing.

This rubric does not give any direction as to the posture or position of the Minister at the Sentences and Exhortation. But the next rubric implies standing to be the posture; while his position is indicated in the answer of the Bishops to the Ministers in the Savoy Conference, "The Minister turning to the people is not most convenient throughout the whole ministration. When he speaks to them, as in Lessons, Absolution, and Benediction, it is convenient that he turn to them." The Exhortation falls under this class. Further, the Bishops said, "When he speaks for them to God, it is fit they should all turn another way, as the Ancient Church ever did." But the Sentences are not in the nature of prayer; therefore, the Minister in reading them would seem to be correct if he stood 'stall-wise,' as he would in complying with the order that 'the chancels shall remain as they have done in times past.'

In selecting the particular Sentences for use at certain seasons it seems suitable to use

in Advent, 'Repent ye,' &c. in Lent, 'Rend your hearts,' &c. And the Sentences from Ps. 51. on Sundays and Festivals, 'To the Lord our God,' &c., 'I will arise,' &c. on Week-days, 'Enter not into judgment,' &c.

The other Sentences can be used at any time.

19. A general Confession to be said of the whole Congregation after the Minister, all kneeling. Almighty and most merciful Father, &c.

The epithet 'general' prefixed to the word 'Confession' mainly refers to the generality of its expressions, as being said by the whole congregation, and not being individual or particular. It was ordered to be said not 'with' but 'after' the Minister—i.e. each clause, as marked by an initial capital, should be completely said by the Minister, and then repeated by the congregation. This was probably because the congregation required to be taught it, it being new in 1552.

The phrase 'humble voice,' in the closing Sentence of the preceding Exhortation, seems to have a double force, moral and vocal; and to point to the careful solemnity with which the Confession should be said. A low pitch of voice, therefore, such as is easily within the reach of all, and a moderately slow time, seem absolutely necessary.

In Musical Services it is best to recite on E rather than on G or A, to the end of the Lord's Prayer, dropping a third to C, as customary, at 'O Lord, open Thou our lips,' and rising to G at 'Glory be to the Father,' &c. On this point it should be remembered that the standard musical pitch three centuries ago—i.e. in the time of Marbeck and Tallis—was considerably, lower than the present standard pitch.

20. The Absolution, or Remission of sins, to be pronounced by the Priest alone, standing; the people still kneeling. Almighty God, &c.

Of late years. Bishops, when present at Morning Prayer, have sometimes pronounced this Absolution instead of the Priest who is officiating. But the absence of any such direction as that which is given in the Communion Office appears to shew that this practice was not intended at Morning or Evening Prayer.

A Deacon, officiating in the absence of a Priest, may not use this Absolution as a prayer, nor may he substitute for it either the prayer, 'O God, whose nature,' &c. or any other prayer.

21. The people shall answer here, and at the end of all other prayers, Amen.

Amen is a ratification of what has preceded, sometimes by the speaker himself, as in S. John v. 24, 25, vi. 53, Rom. ix. 5; sometimes by the hearers, as in Deut. xxvii. 15, &c., Psalm cvi. 48, I Cor. xiv. 16. When used at the conclusion of parts of Divine Service in which the Minister and people join aloud, as in Confessions, Creeds, the Lord's Prayer, and Doxologies, it will be said, as part of the devotion itself, by both Minister and people. When used after acts of worship in which the Minister only has spoken, as in Absolutions, Benedictions, and 'other prayers' said by the minister alone, it is an answer of the people, and therefore to be said by the people only.

In the Lord's Prayer at the beginning of the Communion Office, and in the formulae of Baptism, and of reception into the Church, it is a ratification by the speaker himself, not an answer of the people, and should not, as it seems, be said by the people also.

22. Then the Minister shall kneel, and say the Lord's Prayer with an audible voice; the people also kneeling, and repeating it with him, both here, and wheresoever else it is used in Divine Service.

The Lord's Prayer is to be repeated by the people with, not after the Minister, i.e., taking up each clause as he begins it, in the same manner as the Creed. It was ordered in 1549, 1552, and 1604, that the Priest [Minister] should begin the Lord's Prayer. This is a reason for the practice of the Priest saying the first two words alone.

23. Then likewise he shall say, O Lord, open, &c.

24. Here all standing up, the Priest shall say, Glory be, &c.

The posture of standing, here directed, is to be continued through the Venite and Psalms. It is a devout usage to turn to the East at the Gloria Patri. (See ante p. 12, note d.)

It is also an old custom in some places to bow.

25. Then shall be said or sung this Psalm following: except on Easter-Day, upon which another Anthem is appointed; and on the Nineteenth day of every Month it is not to be read here, but in the ordinary Course of the Psalms. O come, let us sing, &c.

With regard to Easter Day, it is to be noticed that the "other anthem" provided for that day is intended to be used on that day only and not during the Octave, in accordance with the ancient precedent, of using on Easter Day only the short Introductory Office in which the central part and foundation of the Anthem (viz., 'Christ being raised,' &c.) occurred. If it be desired, therefore, to use this group of Anthems during the remainder of Easter Week, it must be sung as an Anthem after the third collect, but it should not be substituted for the Venite.

26. Then shall follow the Psalms in order as they are appointed. And at the end of every Psalm throughout the Year, and likewise at the end of Benedicite, Benedictus, Magnificat, and Nunc dimittis, shall be repeated.

This rubric forbids the substitution of any selected Psalms for those of the day, other than those appointed in the Table of Proper Psalms. The only exception to this rule is made by the recent provision, in the Order how the rest of Holy Scripture is appointed to be read, viz. "Upon occasions to be appointed by the Ordinary, other Psalms may, with his consent, be substituted for those appointed in the Psalter."

27. Then shall be read distinctly with an audible voice the First Lesson, taken out of the Old Testament, as is appointed in the Calendar, except there be proper Lessons assigned for that day: He that readeth so standing and turning himself, as he may best be heard of all such as are present. And after that, shall be said or sung, in English the Hymn called Te Deum Laudamus, daily throughout the Year.

The order to 'read distinctly and with an audible voice so as best to be heard of all such as are present,' is an essential part of this rubric, and enjoins that careful attention should be paid to the accurate enunciation of the words and to adequate loudness of voice. It must be remembered that the variety of Scripture lessons makes this the more important, as the people cannot be supposed to be equally familiar with all.

The direction to the reader to turn, indicates a change from the previous position, specially appropriate to prayer and praise, and a transition to a part of the Service intended to teach, and, therefore, directly addressed to the people. The expression, 'and turning himself as he may best be heard,' justifies his going to the chancel entrance, or into the nave of the church, and reading there, with or without the use of a lectern.

The alternative between the use of the Te Deum and Benedicite may be governed by the direction given in the Prayer-Book of 1549, viz. to use Te Deum "daily throughout the year, except in Lent, all which time in place of Te Deum shall be used Benedicite."

28. Note, That before every Lesson the Minister shall say, Here beginneth such a Chapter, or Verse of such a Chapter of such a Book; And after every Lesson, Here endeth the First, or the Second Lesson.

29. Or this Canticle, Benedicite, &c.

30. Then shall be read in like manner the Second Lesson, taken out of the New Testament. And after that, the Hymn following; except when that shall happen to be read in the Chapter for the Day, or for the Gospel on St. John Baptist's Day.

No liberty is here given for the omission of the Benedictus at any other times than those here specified, viz. "when it shall be read in the chapter for the day, or for the Gospel on S. John Baptist's day."

31. Or this Psalm, Jubilate Deo, &c.

32. Then shall be sung or said the Apostles' Creed by the Minister and the people, standing: except only such days as the Creed of Saint Athanasius is appointed to be read. I believe, &c.

When the Name of the Lord JESUS is pronounced, the inclination of the head should not be neglected, nor superseded by any other gesture; it being the ancient English usage, directed by the 18th Canon to be continued as the accustomed form of due and lowly reverence to the Holy Name.

33. And after that, these Prayers following, all devoutly kneeling; the Minister first pronouncing with a loud voice, The Lord, &c.

The mutual salutation is to be said, both Priest and people standing; the people kneeling down while the Priest says, 'Let us pray.'

34. Then the Minister, Clerks, and people, shall say the Lord's Prayer with a loud voice.

35. Then the Priest standing up shall say, O Lord, shew, &c.

36. Then shall follow three Collects; the first of the Day, which shall be the same that is appointed at the Communion; the second for Peace; the third for Grace to live well. And the two last Collects shall never alter, but daily be said at Morning Prayer throughout all the Year, as followeth; all kneeling.

The number of Collects is fixed at three, as a general rule, to which exceptions are made by other rubrics, as in Lent and Advent, &c. If the Minister uses the discretion of saying, after the Collects of Morning or Evening Prayer, one of the six Collects provided at the end of the Order of Holy Communion, it is proper to say it before the two invariable Collects.

A comparison of other rubrics in the Prayer-Book shews that the words 'all kneeling,' often apply to the congregation only, to the exclusion of the Minister; and as the universal rule up to 1662 was that the officiant, if a Priest, should stand for the Versicles and Collects, it is probable that such is the interpretation of this direction, especially as it is absent from the corresponding place at Evening Prayer.

37. In Quires and Places where they sing, here followeth the Anthem. The expression 'Quires and Places where they sing,' does not at the present time exclude village churches; but the anthem (suggesting part-music) may in such churches be replaced by the ordinary hymn.

38. Then these five Prayers following are to be read here, except when the Litany is read; and then only the two last are to be read, as they are there placed.

The 'two last' of these prayers are not to be read at Morning Prayer on Litany days, inasmuch as they are then read the Litany, instead of at Morning Prayer.

39. Here endeth the Order of Morning Prayer throughout the Year.




See notes on the Rubrics of Morning Prayer for the corresponding Rubrics of Evening Prayer.

40. At the beginning of Evening Prayer the Minister shall read with a loud voice some one or more of these Sentences of the Scriptures that follow. And then he shall say that which is written after the said Sentences.

41. A general Confession to be said of the whole Congregation after the Minister, all kneeling.

42. The Absolution, or Remission of sins, to be pronounced by the Priest alone, standing; the people still kneeling.

43. Then the Minister shall kneel, and say the Lord's Prayer; the people also kneeling, and repeating it with him.

44. Then likewise he shall say, O Lord, open, &c.

45. Here all standing up, the Priest shall say, Glory be, &c.

46. Then shall be said or sung the Psalms in order as they are appointed. Then a Lesson of the Old Testament, as is appointed. And after that, Magnificat (or the Song of the blessed Virgin Mary) in English, as followeth.

47. Or else this Psalm; except it be on the Nineteenth Day of the Month, when it is read in the ordinary Course of the Psalms.

48. Then a Lesson of the New Testament, as it is appointed. And after that, Nunc dimittis (or the Song of Symeon) in English, as followeth.

49. Or else this Psalm; except it be on the Twelfth Day of the Month.

When Evening Prayer is said once only in the day, it is better never to drop the Magnificat or Nunc Dimittis. When Evening Prayer is said twice on the same day, it seems proper not to drop the Magnificat at the first service (representing the ancient Evensong or Vespers, of which Magnificat was an invariable part); and, similarly, not to drop the Nunc Dimittis at the second service (representing the other component of Evening Prayer, viz. the ancient Compline, at which that Canticle was invariably used), so that in any case one of the Gospel Canticles should be always used.

50. Then shall be said or sung the Apostles' Creed by the Minister and the people, standing.

51. And after that, these Prayers following, all devoutly kneeling; the Minister first pronouncing with a loud voice. The Lord, &c.

52. Then the Minister, Clerks, and people, shall say the Lord's Prayer with a loud voice.

53. Then the Priest standing up shall say, O Lord, shew, &c.

54. Then shall follow three Collects; the first of the Day; the second for Peace; the third for Aid against all Perils, as hereafter followeth: which two last Collects shall be daily said at Evening Prayer without alteration.

55. In Quires and Places where they sing, here followeth the Anthem.

56. Here endeth the Order of Evening Prayer throughout the Year.


57. Upon these Feasts; Christmas-Day, the Epiphany Saint Matthias, Easter-Day, Ascension-Day, Whit-Sunday, Saint John Baptist, Saint James Saint Bartholomew, Saint Matthew, Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Saint Andrew, and upon Trinity-Sunday, shall be sung or said at Morning Prayer, instead of the Apostles' Creed, this Confession of our Christian Faith, commonly called The Creed of Saint Athanasius, by the Minister and people standing.

The Athanasian Creed being a Psalm or Hymn, as well as a Confession of Faith, may properly be recited antiphonally as a Psalm, and turning eastward as a Creed.


58. Here followeth the LITANY, or General Supplication, to be sung or said after Morning Prayer upon Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and at other times when it shall be commanded by the Ordinary.

There is no direction in this rubric, as to the place where the Litany is sung or said; but it is clear from the rubrics of the Commination Service, that it must be distinct from the 'Reading Pew,' or from the place usually occupied by the Minister during Morning and Evening Prayer. From the old Injunctions we learn that it was to be 'in the midst of the church;' in most churches below the chancel-steps. The Minister may exercise his discretion in using a special desk.

In the Injunctions of 1547 and 1559, and in the Communion Office of the Prayer-Book of 1549, the Litany was enjoined to be sung immediately before the Communion. Our present rubric does not insist upon the connexion with the Communion.

The liberty of using it as a separate service, and of combining it with a sermon, or with other services than Morning Prayer, is recognized and confirmed by the Convocations of Canterbury and York, in their report upon which the Act of Uniformity Amendment Act 1872 was framed, enacting the same.

Each of the four opening invocations should be separately sung or said by the people, after it has been completely sung or said by the person officiating. The same should be done with the concluding invocations, 'Son of God' &c., and with the lesser Litany preceding the Lord's Prayer.

59. Then shall the Priest, and the people with him, say the Lord's Prayer.

60. Here endeth the LITANY.



To be used before the two final Prayers of the Litany, or of Morning and Evening Prayer.


61. For Rain.

62. For fair Weather.

63. In the time of Dearth and Famine.

64. Or this.

65. In the time of War and Tumults.

66. In the time of any common Plague or Sickness.

67. In the Ember Weeks, to be said every day, for those that are to be admitted into Holy Orders.

68. Or this.

69. A Prayer that may be said after any of the former.

This prayer should ordinarily be reserved for occasions of a penitential character.

70. A Prayer for the High Court of Parliament, to be read during their Session.

71. A Collect or Prayer for all Conditions of men, to be used at such times when the Litany is not appointed to be said.

72. This to be said when any desire the Prayers of the Congregation. Especially, &c.

It seems most conformable to the rubric to mention the names of those who desire the prayers of the congregation, in substitution for the word 'those' in the parenthesis. But the names, especially when numerous, are commonly given out either before the five prayers at morning or evening prayer, or immediately before this prayer.


The use of the Thanksgivings in the Litany is permitted, when desirable, but is not enjoined.

73. A General Thanksgiving.

The 'General Thanksgiving' for general use, as well as the occasional thanksgivings for occasional use, is to be said by the Minister alone.

74. This to be said when any that have been prayed for desire to return praise.

It is observable that the words 'return praise,' in contrast with the words 'prayers of the congregation,' in the prayer for all conditions of men, implies the presence of those who desire to return thanks.

75. For Rain.

76. For fair Weather.

77. For Plenty.

78. For Peace and Deliverance from our Enemies.

79. For restoring Publick Peace at Home.

80. For Deliverance from the Plague, or other common Sickness.

81. Or this.



82. Note, that the Collect appointed for every Sunday, or for any Holy-day that hath a Vigil or Eve, shall be said at the Evening Service next before.

The Holy-days which have no vigil or eve, and therefore do not fall under this rule, are Ash-Wednesday and Good Friday. The Circumcision, Epiphany, Conversion of St. Paul, St. Mark, St. Philip and St. James, St. Barnabas, St. Michael, St. Luke, have no vigils, but having eves, the Collect is to be said the evening before.

St. Stephen, St. John the Evangelist, and Holy Innocents, have neither vigil nor eve, but the Collects are generally said the evening before, in addition to the proper collect for the day.


83. This Collect is to be repeated every day, with the other Collects in Advent, until Christmas Eve.


84. Then shall follow the Collect of the Nativity, which shall be said continually unto New-year's Eve.


85. The same Collect, Epistle, and Gospel shall serve for every day after unto the Epiphany.

For the precedence of these Collects, see note on Rubric 6.

The first Day of Lent, commonly called ASH-WEDNESDAY.

86. This Collect is to be read every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the Day.


87. At Morning Prayer, instead of the Psalm, O come let us sing, &c. these Anthems shall be sung or said. Christ our passover, &c.

See note on rubric 25, p. 16.


88. If there be any more Sundays before Advent-Sunday, the Service of some of those Sundays that were omitted after the Epiphany shall be taken in to supply so many as are here wanting. And if there be fewer, the overplus may be omitted: Provided that this last Collect, Epistle, and Gospel shall always be used upon the Sunday next before Advent.

If there be twenty-six Sundays after Trinity, the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel for the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, should be used on the twenty-fifth Sunday. If there be twenty-seven Sundays, the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel for the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany should be used on the twenty-fifth Sunday, and the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel for the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, on the Twenty-sixth Sunday.





89. So many as intend to be partakers of the holy Communion shall signify their names to the Curate, at least some time the day before.

90. And if any of those be an open and notorious evil liver, or have done any wrong to his neighbours by word or deed, so that the Congregation be thereby offended; the Curate, having knowledge thereof, shall call him and advertise him, that in any wise he presume not to come to the Lord's Table, until he hath openly declared himself to have truly repented and amended his former naughty life, that the Congregation may thereby be satisfied, which before were offended; and that he hath recompensed the parties, to whom he hath done wrong; or at least declare himself to be in full purpose so to do, as soon as he conveniently may.

91. The same order shall the Curate use with those betwixt whom he perceiveth malice and hatred to reign; not suffering them to be partakers of the Lord's Table, until he know them to be reconciled. And if one of the parties so at variance be content to forgive from the bottom of his heart all that the other hath trespassed against him, and to make amends for that he himself hath offended; and the other party will not be persuaded to a godly unity, but remain still in his frowardness and malice: the Minister in that case ought to admit the penitent person to the holy Communion, and not him that is obstinate. Provided that every Minister so repelling any, as is specified in this, or the next precedent Paragraph of this Rubrick, shall be obliged to give an account of the same to the Ordinary within fourteen days after at the farthest. And the Ordinary shall proceed against the offending person according to the Canon.

The object of this rubric, when introduced in 1549, was to provide some corrective of the lax practice of the un-reformed Church in admission of unworthy persons to Communion. In this view, the Curate should be informed of the names of intending Communicants, in order that he may deal with the cases of scandal referred to in the second paragraph, and with the cases of enmity referred to in the third. The main reason of the Church's action herein is the danger of profanation of the Lord's Table by the presence of unworthy Communicants. A second reason is the danger of injury to the consciences of the congregation by wounding their sense of corporate responsibility for individual wrong-doing. A third is the spiritual interest of the offenders themselves, viz., in the words quoted with approval by Hooker (Eccl. Pol. vi. 4-15), "not to strike them with the mortal wound of excommunication, but to stay them rather from running desperately headlong into their own harm, and not to sever from Holy Communion any but such as are either found culpable by their own confession, or have been convicted in some public Court." The mode of the Curate's action was intended by the rubric to be admonition previous and private. The first paragraph indicates the duty of the people, not of the Curate, giving him the opportunity of admonition, but throwing upon them the responsibility of the decision whether or no to present themselves.

The rubric does not empower or entitle the Curate to repel any at the time of Communion, on the mere ground of their not having previously signified their names to him. For there is no means provided for receiving their names, or for making any due enquiry; nor is any penalty imposed upon the Curate for communicating people who have not signified their names, nor on the persons who present themselves without having done so. The reference to the Ordinary was added in 1662. The object is to set him in motion as the proper person to take legal proceedings against an offender, and effectually repel one who cannot be repelled by the Curate's weapons of persuasion and admonition.

The precautions of this rubric against communicating unworthily are not very effective, and it must be observed that the 26th, 27th, and 28th Canons extend the Curate's duty in this respect much farther than the rubric, but without giving him any power, which would be recognised by a secular Court, of conscientiously performing his duty therein.

92. The Table, at the Communion-time having a fair white linen cloth upon it, shall stand in the Body of the Church, or in the Chancel, where Morning and Evening Prayer are appointed to be said.

The word 'fair,' applied to the white linen cloth in the fourth paragraph of this rubric, means 'beautiful,' and does not exclude adornment with embroidery.

The words 'upon it' require the cloth to lie upon the Mensa, or upper surface of the Table, but do not require the whole Table to be covered or enveloped therewith. The linen cloth is to be laid upon the covering described in Canon 82 as 'a carpet of silk or other decent stuff.'

Bishop Cosin states that "among the Ornaments of the Church that were then (i.e. in the second year of Edward VI.) in use, the setting of two lights upon the Communion Table or Altar was one appointed by the King's Injunctions, set forth about that time, and mentioned or ratified by the Act of Parliament here named (2 & 3 Edw. VI. cap. I)." If it be contended that Bishop Cosin is wrong in his opinion that the Injunctions were obligatory, we are thrown back upon the universal custom of the Catholic Church, which undoubtedly required lights to be used on the Altar for the office of Holy Communion.

93. And the Priest standing at the North-side of the Table shall say the Lord's Prayer, with the Collect following, the people kneeling.

One Priest only is here spoken of as celebrating: there is no authority for a change of the celebrant in the course of the Service; and only extraordinary contingencies of the gravest kind were anciently regarded as sufficient cause for such a change. Special provision is made for exceptions to this principle, in the pronouncing the Absolution by the Bishop, if officially present, and for the making the General Confession 'by one of the Ministers.' The Epistle and Gospel are also permitted to be read by Assistant Ministers, in accordance with customary usage recognised in the 24th Canon. The assistance of other Clergy may also be required for administration of the Elements.

Lay Assistants are not mentioned in this rubric, but the principle of assistance to the 'principal Minister' being recognized in the twenty-fourth Canon, there can be no objection to the ancient practice of employing clerks or choristers for other purposes than singing.

The term 'north side,' whatever was its origin (possibly the re-arrangements consequent on the transposition of the Gloria in Excelsis), acquired a meaning during the changes made in the substitution of Moveable Tables for fixed Altars about the year 1552, which determines its interpretation to exclude the north end. In those churches where the Table was placed with its long sides north and south, the Priest moved with the table, and stood at the same part of it as he had stood in the use of it as an altar, that is, at the centre of one of the long sides, though he no longer faced the same part of the Church, and now looked to the south instead of the east. But when Archbishop Laud pressed the restoration of the table to its ancient position,—a restoration which has become universal,—the question at once arose as to the position of the celebrant, and some of the High Church clergy placed themselves at the north end of the table placed 'altarwise,' alleging that they were in this manner conforming to the rubric. They were at once met with the reply that 'side' and 'end' were not convertible terms, and it was urged that the rubric could not be complied with at all, unless the table were set with its long sides north and south. It is thus clear that the use of the end was disputed from the first, and treated as an untenable innovation. Now that the altars are universally placed so that only one of the long sides is accessible, the rubric can only be literally complied with by the celebrant standing at the northern portion of that side.

It seems, however, absurd that when the altar is restored to its place, the Priest should not be restored to his. It is further to be noted that the regarding the word 'north' rather than the word 'side,' and the placing the Priest at the north end of the altar, has the disadvantage of making the practice of the English Church unlike that of all the rest of Christendom. For all the ancient historical Churches place the celebrant in front of the altar, while the Protestant sects, even those that seat the communicants round the table, place the Minister at the centre of a side, and not at one end.

There is no direction for the Celebrant to kneel on reaching the altar, and it is contrary to general Catholic usage to do so. Any private prayers he may use then, he should say standing.

It should be remembered that the service is for the congregation, not for the Priest alone, and therefore they ought not to be detained for his personal convenience. He has not the same liberty of private devotion as the individual members of the congregation, and should carefully restrain his private devotions so as to be as short as is consistent with reverence.

It is the clear intention of the Prayer-Book that the Lord's Prayer and the whole office should be said deliberately, and sufficiently loud for the congregation to hear distinctly, so as to follow it readily. Moreover, the words of the Liturgy form an integral part of the whole sacrificial action. They are included in the oblation of praise and thanksgiving; and, consequently, to hurry, or mutter them is, so far, to bring a blemished offering to God.

There is no direction for loudness of voice, but the words of the office should be, as was anciently ordered, "roundly and distinctly pronounced."[d]

94. Then shall the Priest, turning to the people, rehearse distinctly all the TEN COMMANDMENTS; and the people still kneeling shall, after every Commandment, ask God mercy for their transgression thereof for the time past, and grace to keep the same for the time to come, as followeth.

The Commandments were first introduced in 1552, and no rubric can be more express than this against their omission. Such omission involves also the loss of the Kyrie, an ancient and valuable feature of the Liturgy.

The Commandments are to be rehearsed 'turning to the people,' implying that the Priest was not standing so before.

95. Then shall follow one of these two Collects for the Queen, the Priest standing as before, and saying, Let us pray, &c. The words 'standing as before' mean standing in the position in which the Priest was before he turned to the people to rehearse the Commandments, viz. facing eastward.

96. Then shall be said the Collect of the Day.

97. And immediately after the Collect the Priest shall read the Epistle, saying, The Epistle [or, The portion of Scripture appointed for the Epistle] is written in the———Chapter of———beginning at the———Verse. And the Epistle ended, he shall say, Here endeth the Epistle. Then shall he read the Gospel, (the people all standing up) saying, The holy Gospel is written in the———Chapter of———beginning at the———Verse.

98. And the Gospel ended, shall be sung or said the Creed following, the people still standing, as before.

If more collects than the collect or collects of the day be used, they must be taken from the six collects at the end of the Communion Office. If a collect be used in commemoration besides the collect of the day at Morning and Evening Prayer, it should also be used in the Communion Service.

The practice of the people sitting during the reading of the Epistle, though not prescribed in the rubric, may be justified by ancient English custom.

The custom of singing or saying, 'Glory be to Thee, O Lord,' before the Gospel, has been continued from ancient times, and was specially ordered in the First Prayer-Book of Edward VI. Bishop Cosin thinks that it was afterwards left out by the printers' negligence. It seems very doubtful whether ancient authority will support the saying 'Thanks be to Thee, O Lord,' or equivalent words, at the end of the Gospel, though these words were inserted in the Scottish Office.

No directions are given as to the place where the Epistle and Gospel are to be read, but one very ancient usage is, that the former is to be read at the south, the latter at the north, of the sanctuary.

From whatever part of Scripture the Epistle is taken, the words 'here endeth the Epistle' are always to be said at the end of it.

In singing or saying the Creed, it is advisable, when there are clerks, to follow the direction of the Prayer-Book of 1549, and that the Priest should sing or say alone the words 'I believe in one God,' the clerks and congregation taking up the Creed with him after those words. On bowing at the Holy Name of JESUS, the same remark may be made as on the occurrence of the Name in the Apostles' Creed.

The clergy and congregation sometimes incline the head and body at the words 'And was Incarnate.' According to ancient English custom, the inclination should be maintained until the words 'for us.' But such custom furnishes no precedent for prostration, or such exaggerated marks of reverence.

99. Then the Curate shall declare unto the people what Holy-days, or Fasting-days, are in the Week following to be observed.

This direction refers to the table of moveable and immoveable feasts together with days of fasting and abstinence, in the calendar.

And then also (if occasion be) shall notice be given of the Communion; and the Banns of Matrimony published; and Briefs, Citations, and Excommunications read. And nothing shall be proclaimed or published in the Church, during the time of Divine Service, but by the Minister: nor by him any thing, but what is prescribed in the Rules of this Book, or enjoined by the Queen, or by the Ordinary of the place.

This rubric fixes the place in the service at which notice should be given of Holy Communion, when the occasion requires. It does not authorize the use in this place of the exhortations which are directed to be used 'after the sermon or homily ended.'

The object of the Church in the publication of Banns being publicity, it was directed to be made at a time when most people were likely to be in church, such as shortly before the Sermon. There is some divergence between this rubric and that at the beginning of the Service for the Solemnization of Matrimony, where the Banns are directed to be published 'immediately before the sentences for the Offertory,' i.e. after the sermon, instead of before it; and the time of publication of Banns is extended, by Stat. IV. George IV., c. 76, to the time of evening service, immediately after the 2nd lesson, if there shall be no morning service.[e] It may be doubted whether a publication of Banns on Holy-days would now suffice for a legal publication, as this last-mentioned act names Sundays only.

The order for reading briefs, &c., indicates this to be the proper time for reading notices from the Bishop of intended confirmations, &c., and may perhaps be extended to cover and protect from the prohibition which follows, the announcement of dedication, harvest, and other local festivals.

The whole paragraph is connected with the Sermon, with the object of grouping together all such additions to, and interruptions of, the Office of Holy Communion.

100. Then shall follow the Sermon, or one of the Homilies already set forth, or hereafter to be set forth, by authority.

If the sermon be preached from the pulpit (for which there is no rubrical direction), and by the priest who is celebrating Holy Communion, the Chasuble should be laid aside for the function of preaching. If the sermon be preached from the altar-steps by the celebrant the chasuble should be retained. If the preacher be not the celebrant, it seems to be in accordance with the Prayer-Book of 1549, and with old custom, that he should wear a Surplice, as having previously taken his place in the choir, and also a hood, if a graduate.

Although the 55th Canon enjoins the use of some form of bidding the prayers before all sermons, lectures, and homilies, yet the custom may be regarded as fairly established, of beginning the sermon without any introductory form, or with a collect from the Prayer-Book, or with an invocation of the Holy Trinity, in testimony of the preacher's commission to proclaim the Gospel. The last should be announced to the people, turning the face towards them. Custom has also established, from the days at least of St. Chrysostom, the practice of ending the sermon with an ascription of praise, which may properly be pronounced turning to the East.

101. Then shall the Priest return to the Lord's Table, and begin the Offertory, saying one or more of these Sentences following, as he thinketh most convenient in his discretion.

The words 'Return to the Lord's Table' point to the Priest having left the table, either for the purpose of preaching, or to take his seat in the sedilia.

In the impoverished condition of the churches at the time of the last revision, it was well to be content that one or more of the sentences should be said by the Priest, not sung by a choir. But now that clerks and choirs have been restored to many churches, it seems reasonable that the sentences may be sung as of old, and as was prescribed in the Prayer-Book of 1549: "Where there be clerks, they shall sing one or many of the sentences above written, according to the length and shortness of the time that the people be offering."

102. Whilst these Sentences are in reading, the Deacons, Church-wardens, or other fit person appointed for that purpose, shall receive the Alms for the Poor, and other devotions of the people, in a decent bason to be provided by the Parish for that purpose; and reverently bring it to the Priest, who shall humbly present and place it upon the holy Table.

The rubric mentions but one bason, to which originally the people brought their alms, instead of putting them into the poor man's box. This one bason is wholly inefficient for making a collection by several persons, and from a large congregation; and therefore is to be used for receiving alms collected in other receptacles. It is seemly that these should be formally given out to the persons by whom the collection is to be made, and afterwards received from them in the 'decent bason' by the 'deacon, churchwarden, or other fit person appointed for that purpose, who 'shall reverently bring it to the Priest.'

The words 'humbly present' obviously indicate some action beyond the mere placing on the Table, but do not mean a kneeling posture; for neither here nor in any other part of the Service should the Priest kneel, unless when ordered to do so.

103. And when there is a Communion, the Priest shall then place upon the Table so much Bread and Wine, as he shall think sufficient. After which done, the Priest shall say, Let us pray, &c.

The small fair linen cloth, commonly called the Veil, which is to be used after the Communion, should not be spread upon the fair white linen cloth which covers the Table, nor used to cover the Elements before the Communion.

In order to place the Bread and Wine on the Table, which must be done at this time, and not before, the Priest should have them at hand in another place. This is usually the Credence-table, or some shelf near to the altar. He places them as he did the alms, humbly, as an offering, and so much of each as he judges approximately sufficient for the communion of himself and the people. But if he should afterwards find his computation excessive—as the offering the alms and elements together is not directly connected with consecration—he is not under obligation to consecrate all that he has offered. He may, therefore, if he should think the entire contents of the Flagon likely to be required for Communion, offer the Wine in that vessel. The usage, however, of pouring a portion of the Wine into the chalice (as was directed in the Prayer-Book of 1549), and placing the chalice on the table without the flagon, has been generally maintained, though this pouring forms no part of the rubrical directions of our Liturgy, either here or at any other period of the service.

This usage is properly associated also with the primitive custom (prescribed to be used in 1549) of 'putting thereto a little pure and clean water.'

The preparatory action of mixing water with the wine (besides being connected with the original Act of Institution), was undoubtedly the custom of the time when this Church and Realm received the order of ministering the Sacrament, and it has never been prohibited in the Prayer-Book. The practice is, therefore, a performance of the Ordination vow of the English Priesthood, "so to minister the Sacraments as the Lord hath commanded, and as this Church and Realm hath received the same, according to the Commandments of God." A few drops of water are sufficient for compliance with the usage, and in no case should the quantity of water exceed one third of the whole.

If the chalice is not fitted with a cover, some substitute for a cover should be placed upon it; a small, square piece of linen, stiffened with cardboard, is sometimes used for this purpose.

It is desirable that the Priest should, as a general rule, consecrate all the Bread and Wine that he offers. And in judging the quantity, it is to be remembered that on the one hand the consecration of an excessive amount of the elements involves a serious risk of irreverence in the consumption of what remains after Communion; so on the other hand, the error of consecrating too little is to be deprecated, as necessitating a second consecration, and thereby breaking the continuity of the service.

Many such points in the service are left without direction, or with inconsistent directions, in consequence of the old Liturgical order having been so broken and distorted in the revision of 1552, that subsequent revision has been, and probably will be, unsuccessful in removing the inconsistencies.

104. If there be no alms or oblations, then shall the words [of accepting our alms and oblations] be left out unsaid.

105. When the Minister giveth warning for the celebration of the holy Communion, (which he shall always do upon the Sunday, or some Holy-day, immediately preceding), after the Sermon or Homily ended, he shall read this Exhortation following, Dearly beloved, on, &c.

106. Or, in case he shall see the people negligent to come to the holy Communion, instead of the former, he shall use this Exhortation, Dearly beloved brethren, on, &c.

These exhortations are in anticipation of Communions on subsequent occasions, and are clearly distinct from the notice of Communion directed, in the rubric after the creed, to be given before the sermon, since they must come after the sermon. It is very difficult to say whether they should be read before or after the offertory and prayer for the Church Militant. Probably it was intended to group them generally with the sermon, without disturbing the offertory and prayer for the Church Militant.

We have here an example of inconsistency in the rubrics of our Communion Office referred to in the comment on the last rubric, and which is caused by successive attempts at patching (instead of revoking) the alterations made at the revision of 1552.

These two exhortations, with the third, which is appointed for use on the occasion of Communion, form a great feature of the English rite, but are more appropriate when Communions are rare, than when they are frequent. It is, indeed, somewhat inconsistent to use a prospective exhortation on the occasion of the Communion. It is possible that the expression 'warning' may be taken to except cases where the Minister does not consider unusual mention to be imperatively necessary, and at any rate to apply only where notice is given before the sermon.

107. At the time of the celebration of the Communion, the Communicants being conveniently placed for the receiving of the holy Sacrament, the Priest shall say this Exhortation, Dearly beloved in the Lord, &c.

The rubric seems to direct a change of place to be made by the communicants, and indicates, not the general withdrawal of the rest of the congregation, but the separation of the intending communicants into a part of the church by themselves, after the precedent of the Prayer-Book of 1549, which appoints that 'they shall tarry still in the quire, or in some other convenient place nigh to the quire.'

Such a re-disposition of the congregation requires time, and would be the opportunity for the retirement of children, or other persons, who may be unable (especially when a sermon has been preached) to stay for the whole service.

The neglect of this change of place of intending communicants has introduced many difficulties connected with the attendance of those who are not prepared to communicate on the occasion, and with the orderly reception of the Communion.

This exhortation gives opportunity for intending communicants to reconsider their 'mind to come' on that occasion: it throws upon their consciences with accumulated force the individual responsibility of coming to the Lord's Table, which the relaxation of discipline, and the removal of compulsory confession, had rendered doubly important: and it being impossible that a person inadequately prepared can fulfil on the moment the requisites here enumerated for coming duly to the Lord's Table, they have no alternative but to abstain.

108. Then shall the Priest say to them that come to receive the holy Communion, Ye that do truly, &c.

The limitation of this invitation 'to those that come to receive the Holy Communion,' is consistent with the presence of others, and the possible retirement of some of those who (previously to hearing the exhortation) were minded to come, to a part of the church not occupied by communicants.

109. Then shall this general Confession be made, in the name of all those that are minded to receive the holy Communion, by one of the Ministers; both he and all the people kneeling humbly upon their knees, and saying, Almighty God, &c.

This rubric makes it clear that the Confession is primarily intended for those who are about to communicate, though it does not exclude others from joining in it.

With regard to the manner of making the confession, it must be remembered that the direction that it should be made in the name of all those that are minded to come to the Holy Communion, was worded at a time when a considerable proportion of the communicants were too illiterate to follow such a piece of devotion by the use of a book. It was therefore essential that their leader should say it slowly and audibly, if they were to join in it at all. It cannot be said that this reason has wholly disappeared now; while even for persons of high education, so solemn and suggestive a devotion requires all the assistance of ample time, and facility of hearing, that they may join in it devoutly and deliberately.

The retaining the words 'one of the Ministers,' from the older form of the rubric, implies that if the celebrant have assistants one of them may lead the confession. And though it may no longer be read by one of the communicant congregation (as it formerly might) still a lay-clerk at the altar is not absolutely excluded. In any case the celebrant, even though not leading the confession, is to kneel.

110. Then shall the Priest (or the Bishop, being present,) stand up, and turning himself to the people, pronounce this Absolution, Almighty God, &c.

'The Bishop' means the bishop of the diocese, or other bishop acting in his stead. The words 'stand up,' imply that the celebrant has been kneeling for the confession.

111. Then shall the Priest say. Hear what, &c.

112. After which the Priest shall proceed, saying, Lift up, &c.

There is authority of ancient custom (though there is no direction for so doing in the rubric) for the Priest to open his arms, and raise his hands, while pronouncing the words 'Lift up your hearts,' which are to be said facing the people.

113. Then shall the Priest turn to the Lord's Table, and say, It is very, &c.

The Priest up to this point has been 'turning to the people' in accordance with the rubric of the Absolution. He must now turn to the Lord's Table.

114. These words [Holy Father] must be omitted on Trinity-Sunday.

115. Here shall follow the Proper Preface, according to the time, if there be any specially appointed: or else immediately shall follow, Therefore, &c.

116. After each of which Prefaces shall immediately be sung or said. Therefore, &c.

A comparison with the Books of 1549 and 1552 shews that the time at which the people should join in is at the words 'Holy, &c.'

117. Then shall the Priest, kneeling down at the Lord's Table, say in the name of all them that shall receive the Communion this Prayer following, We do not presume, &c.

The Priest is assumed to be at the Lord's Table, to which he had previously turned, and is merely directed to kneel down where he is.

118. When the Priest, standing before the Table, hath so ordered the Bread and Wine, that he may with the more readiness and decency break the Bread before the people, and take the Cup into his hands, he shall say the Prayer of Consecration, as followeth, Almighty God, &c.

The expression 'standing before the Table,' is to be rightly understood by observing that the emphatic word in it is 'standing.' The intention of the framers of this direction was to put an end to the previous posture of kneeling directed in the preceding rubric, and to direct the priest to stand during the consecration. The word 'before' evidently implies a position in front of the Table, and excludes the end, whichever way the Table might be placed.

The ordering the Bread and Wine for the manual acts of consecration, might include the pouring of some of the wine from the flagon into the chalice (if not previously done); also the separation of a part of the bread from the remainder which the Priest does not now intend to consecrate, and pre-eminently the arranging conveniently the individual piece to be broken during the consecration.

The expression 'before the people' in this rubric, means simply in the presence of the people.

It was proposed by Baxter, at the Savoy Conference, to direct the Bread to be broken in the sight of the people. The framers of the rubric seem to have rejected the latter part of this proposal, and to have thought it sufficient to direct it to be done in the presence of the people, irrespective of their being able actually to see it. Any breaking the Bread at this period of the service was then a novelty, and is now peculiar to the English Liturgy. The object of the Puritans probably was to bring the ceremonial acts of the Priest in the Consecration into closer harmony with the order of our Lord's own acts and words in the Institution itself, as recorded in the Synoptic Gospels, and this part of their proposal was conceded by the bishops and the revisers, as not inconsistent with the ancient usage of touching the Bread at this period of the service as if breaking it.

The acts of reverence of the Priest, during and after consecration, according to the old English use (as may be plainly seen in the rubrics of the Sarum Missal) consisted not in bending the knee, but in bowing the head and body.

The custom of elevating the consecrated Elements was probably connected with the Jewish heave-offering, and its idea of heavenward oblation. It was directed by the most ancient Liturgies, but was expressly prohibited in the Prayer-Book of 1549. This prohibition, however, was withdrawn in 1552. The elevation cannot therefore be unlawful, though certainly it is not obligatory. The ancient rubric of Sarum gives, as a first alternative respecting the height of elevation of the chalice, that it should be raised to the height of the breast. And this, therefore, would be a sufficient compliance with ancient custom.

There seems to be no reason for pronouncing the words of Institution in a different voice from the rest of the Prayer. See note e, p. 28.

119. * Here the Priest is to take the Paten into his hands:

120. + And here to break the Bread:

121. + And here to lay his hand upon all the Bread.

122. + Here he is to take the Cup into his hand:

123. + And here to lay his hand upon every vessel (be it Chalice or Flagon) in which there is any Wine to be consecrated.

The direction of the Priest to 'lay his hand upon all the Bread and every vessel,' indicates the extreme care of the Church that none of the Bread and Wine intended for the Communicants should be overlooked in the performance of the manual acts.

It is better not to consecrate wine in the flagon (though the rubric permits it) except in the emergency of having only one chalice, and a very large number of communicants. Even in that case, a second consecration in the chalice would perhaps be preferable.

124. Then shall the Minister first receive the Communion in both kinds himself, and then proceed to deliver the same to the Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, in like manner, (if any be present,) and after that to the people also in order, into their hands, all meekly kneeling. And, when he delivereth the Bread to any one he shall say, The Body, &c.

This rubric, with the Twenty-first Canon, obliges the celebrant to receive the Communion every time that he celebrates, even if he shall do so more than once in the same day. He does so as a part of the sacrificial action, which is not complete unless a portion of the sacrifice is consumed by the offering Priest. For this reason he communicates himself, standing, as distinct from the congregation, and completing the essentials of the Sacrifice in his priestly character.

As he is not ministering to others when communicating himself, he should not speak audibly in so doing.

He is to deliver the Sacrament first of all to the Clergy assisting in the service, beginning with the Gospeller and Epistoler, in accordance with the reason assigned in the rubric of 1549 for so doing, viz. that they may be ready to help the chief minister.

The order of communicating the rest of the Clergy, and the lay congregation, would be as follows:—1. To the Metropolitan of the Province (if present). 2. To the Bishop of the Diocese (if present). 3. To other Metropolitans and Bishops (if present), in the order of their seniority of consecration respectively. 4. Priests or Deacons. 5. Lay choristers, and 6. The rest of the laity.

'In like manner' means 'in both kinds.'

'In order.' These words may refer to the distinction of sexes, as in the Clementine Liturgy,[f] or more generally to the usage of taking the Sacrament to the people in their places in the choir, in contrast with the present usage of coming up to the altar-step. At all events, here is no recognition of the practice of communicating by railsful.

'Into their hands.' It was prescribed in the Prayer-Book of 1549, "that, although it be read in ancient writers that the people, many years past, received at the Priest's hands the Sacrament of the Body of Christ in their own hands, and no commandment of Christ to the contrary: yet for as much as they many times conveyed the same secretly away, kept it with them, and diversely abused it to superstition and wickedness: lest any such thing hereafter should be attempted, and that a uniformity might be used throughout the whole realm, it is thought convenient the people commonly receive the Sacrament of Christ's body in their mouths at the Priest's hand." In 1552, the manner of receiving was again put back to the use of the hands, and this has been continued since, so that the receiving in the mouth is unrubrical now.[g]

Whatever be the manner of holding out the hands for the purpose of reception, the Sacrament should, in order to avoid the possibility of accident, be placed firmly and safely in the hands of the recipient, and not merely offered to be accepted with the fingers.

The words 'meekly kneeling' in this rubric exclude prostration, which is not kneeling.

The expression 'to anyone,' coupled with the use of the singular number in the address to the recipient, obliges the Priest to repeat the words of administration in delivering the Sacrament to each communicant separately.

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