« 上一頁繼續 »
the Church, attend to and guard against those frailties of her adopted children, to which the condition of human nature subjects them; and, therefore, whensoever those peculiar offices occur, let us lay aside every plea of weariness, and “ that weight” of languor “ which doth so easily” oppress us, and that “ sin” of inattention which we fall into so frequently; let us run, with eager pleasure, the race of piety which she sets before us ;-in a word, let us « continue entirely occupied in prayer, and let us be actively vigilant in the same, with thanksgiving.”
The Litany, which calls for our principal attention at this time, is one of those services which is replete with the most impassioned spirit of prayer, and which is ordered to be used only at stated times that is, as the Rubric prefixed to it tells us, upon Sundays Wednesdays, and Fridays,
and at other times when it shall be commanded by the Ordinary ;—that is, the established authority which prescribes order in all ecclesiastical matters ; this word, which means 'sometimes the Bishop of the Diocese,' means at others, as it must do here, the Parliament, or even the King himself, who assembles the Parliament, and who prorogues or dissolves it at will. For the Litany is ordered to be read on certain days by act of Parliament, and on others by Royal Proclamation.' Sunday, which is the Lord's Day, so called because on that day our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ arose from the dead, may be styled the Christian Sabbath. This day, which the Jews denominated the first day of the week,' superseded, amongst Christians, the ancient solemnization of the seventh. St. John calls it “ the Lord's Day,” in the first chapter of Revelation ; and we find in the Acts of the Apostles, that the first day of the week was the day upon which the disciples and primitive Christians came together to hear the Word; to break bread; that is, to solemnize the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and to join in prayer. We have the practice of the Apostles themselves to sąnction the hallowing of the Lord's Day; upon what authority they passed from the keeping holy the seventh, to hallowing the first day of the week, we know not; but it is highly probable that this was done on the authority of Christ himself, which possibly is one of those great acts of his which are not written in the Books of the Evangelist ; for that there are many things which Jesus did that are not recorded, one of the Evangelists twice informs us.—The use of the Litany on the Lord's Day is of high antiquity. On a Wednesday our Lord was. betrayed, and on a Friday he was crucified; on those days, which on that account have ever been observed with peculiar solemnity by Christians, the Litany is apointed to be read. The other days when it is read are the State Holidays, as they are called,-the Fifth of November, the Thirtieth of January, the Twenty-ninth of May, and the Twentyfifth of October, together with any days of general thanksgiving, or fasting and humiliation, which the King, by his royal prerogative, may think fit to order in the course of the year.
The word “ Litany,” is sufficiently explained in the Rubric under consideration, where it is called “ a general supplication.” This office consists of several parts, which I shall distinctly enumerate. It opens
with a solemn Invocation of each person of the blessed Trinity, first singly, and then conjointly; first of the Trinity in Unity, then
of the Unity in Trinity; of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the whole three persons who are co-eternal together, and co-equal ;-—which is the God of the Scriptures, the God of Christians, the true God of whom, and through whom, and by whom, is eternal life, who alone can forgive sin, and who is the source and the dispenser of all blessings, temporal and eternal. We call
We call upon him to have mercy upon us; first, because we are miserable, and in want of the divine aid; and next, because we are sinners ;-we are the heirs of Adam's guilt, and we are also each of us transgressors after the example of Adam. Both minister and people repeat these earnest invocations alternately, in the same words ;--for brevity's sake, the minister alone enumerates the several petitions which follow --the people from time to time uttering those short responses which