« AnteriorContinuar »
preserves a singular coherency and force, and a no less remarkable fervour and spirituality of tone. It is, first, (a) a declaration of the sure and searching cha. racter of God's judgments, falling suddenly on the wilfully blind and impenitent, and vainly deprecated in remorse, when the hour of repentance has passed away. (See Mat. iii. 8, 10; Ps. xi. 7; Mal. iii. 2; Mat. iii. 12; 1 Thes. V.3; Prov, i. 28-30; Mat. xxv. 10, 11, 31). (6) Next a call to timely penitence, while the day of salvation lasts, enforced by the most gracious promises of forgiveness from Old Testament prophecy (see 2 Cor. vi. 2; John ix. 4, 5; xii. 36; Is. i. 18; Ezek. xviii. 30-32). (c) Lastly, the Gospel call to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, our Advocate, as ready to receive and willing to pardon, calling us to take His yoke upon us and find rest, promising us a place on His right hand and His blessing at the Great Day (1 John ii. 1, 2; Is. liii. 5, 6; Matt. xi. 29, 30; xxv. 33, 34). Nothing can more fully express
the threefola “conviction of Sin, Righteousness, and Judgment” given by the Holy Spirit (John xvi. 711).
the other six being now used as Proper Psalms for Ash Wednesday. It is the Psalm of David's penitence after his great sin, and has been for centuries the deepest and most fervent expression of the godly sorrow which worketh repentance unto salvation." For, while it is full of profound humility, of sense of sin, and of the most intense supplication for the cleansing and renewing grace of the Holy Spirit, it still cherishes an unshaken faith in God's unfailing mercy, a sure hope of restoration through that mercy to purity and gladness, and a confidence that He will accept the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart. In these lies the distinction between true repentance and remorse, and to us these convictions should be even more vivid than to David, because we know the perfect Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The SERVICE OF PRAYER then opens, as usual, with the Kyrie and the Lord's Prayer.
The VERSICLES are again like those of the other Occasional Services, with, however, the insertion of the fifth and sixth, which are especially penitential (from Ps. lxxix. 9).
Of the COLLECTS, the former (a) is a simple prayer for God's absolution to those who feel and confess their sins; the latter (0) is a fuller and more fervent expression of the same prayer, opening (like that of the Ash Wednesday and Good Friday Collects) with a preamble of confidence in God's mercy to all that He has made, and crying to Him to forgive, to receive and comfort, to spare our weakness and misery even in chastisement, and to prepare us for commu. nion with Him in the world to come.
anto themselves ; which despised the diction of his Father, commanding us goodness, patience, and long-sufferance to take possession of his glorious kingof God, when he calleth them continu- dom : Unto which he vouchsafe to bring ally to repentance. Then shall they call us all, for his infinite mercy. Amen. upon me, (saith the Lord,) but I will Dot hear ; they shall seek me early, but Then shall they all kneel upon their they shall not find me; and that, be- knees, and the Priests and Clerks cause they hated knowledge, and re- kneeling (in the place where they are ceived not the fear of the Lord, but accustomed to say the Litany) shall abhorred my counsel, and despised my say this Psalm. correction. Then shall it be too late to knock when the door shall be shut; and
Miserere mei, Deus. Psalm 51. it is H4
AVE mercy upon me, O God, after time of justice. O terrible voice of most thy great goodness : according to just judgment, which shall be pro- the multitude of thy mercies do away nounced upon them, when it shall be mine offences. said unto them, Go, ye cursed, into the Wash me throughly from my wickedfire everlasting, which is prepared for ness : and cleanse me from my sin. the devil and his angels. Therefore, For I acknowledge my faults : and brethren, take we heed betime, while my sin is ever before me. the day of salvation lasteth; for the Against thee only have I sinned, and night cometh, when none can work. done this evil in thy sight : that thou But let us, while we have the light, be- mightest be justified in thy saying, and lieve in the light, and walk as chil- clear when thou art judged. dren of the light; that we be not cast Behold, I was shapen in wickedness : into utter darkness, where is weeping and in sin hath my mother conceived and gnashing of teeth. Let us not abuse the goodness of God, who calleth But lo, thou requirest truth in the us mercifully to amendment, and of his inward parts: and shalt make me to endless pity promiseth us forgiveness of understand wisdom secretly. that which is past, if with a perfect and Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, true heart we return unto him. For and I shall be clean : thou shalt wash though our sins be as red as scarlet, me, and I shall be whiter than snow. they shall be made white as snow; and Thou shalt make me hear of joy and though they be like purple, yet they gladness : that the bones which thou shall be made white as wool. Turn ye hast broken may rejoice. (saith the Lord) from all your wicked- Turn thy face away from my sins : ness, and your sin shall not be your and put out all my misdeeds. destruction : Cast away from you all Make me a clean heart, O God : and your ungodliness that ye have done : renew a right spirit within me. Make you new hearts, and a new spirit: Cast me not away from thy preWherefore will ye die, O ye house of sence : and take not thy Holy Spirit Israel, seeing that I have no pleasure in
from me. the death of him that dieth, saith the O give me the comfort of thy help Lord God ? Turn ye then, and ye shall again : and stablish me with thy free live. Although we have sinned, yet Spirit. have we an Advocate with the Father, Then shall I teach thy ways unto the Jesus Christ the righteous ; and he is wicked ; and sinners shall be converted the propitiation for our sins. For he unto thee. was wounded for our offences, and Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O smitten for our wickedness. Let us God, thou that art the God of my therefore return unto him, who is the health : and my tongue shall sing of merciful receiver of all true penitent thy righteousness. sinners ; assuring ourselves that he is Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord : ready to receive us, and most willing and my mouth shall shew thy praise. to pardon us, if we come unto him with For thou desirest no sacritice, else faithful repentance ; if we submit our- would I give it thee : but thou delightselves unto him, and from henceforth est not in burnt-offerings. walk in his ways; if we will take his The sacrifice of God is a troubled easy yoke, and light burden upon us, spirit : a broken and contrite heart, O to follow him in lowliness, patience, God, shalt thou not despise. and charity, and be ordered by the o be favourable and gracious unto governance of his Holy Spirit ; seeking Sion : build thou the walls of Jerusaalways his glory, and serving him duly lem. in our vocation with thanksgiving : Then shalt thou be pleased with This if we do, Christ will deliver us the sacrifice of righteousness, with the from the curse of the law, and from the burnt-offerings and oblations: then shall extreme malediction which shall light they offer young bullocks upon thine upon them that shall be set on the left altar. hand ; and he will set us on his right Glory be to the Father, and to the hand,' and give us the gracious bene- Son : and to the Holy Ghost
The CONFESSION, called an comparison with those of the “ Anthem” (or Antiphon) in Morning and Communion Ser1549, is drawn almost entirely vices, it is perhaps of even from the expressions of peni- greater intensity, but of less tence in the Old Testament (see comprehensiveness of idea. Lam. v. 21 ; Joel ii. 12, 13, 17, &c.) The BLESSING, added in 1662, It is one of great fervour in con- is a shortened form of the old fession of sin, expression of sor- Jewish Blessing (Num. vi. 24row, and cry for pardon. In 26).
Ans. As it was in the beginning, is cifully forgive us our trespasses ; renow, and ever shall be : world without ceive and comfort us, who are grieved end. Amen.
and wearied with the burden of our Lord, have mercy upon us.
sins. Thy property is always to have Christ, have mercy upon us.
mercy ; to thee only it appertaineth to Lord, have mercy upon us.
forgive sins. Sparë us therefore, good UR Father, which art in heaven,
Lord, spare thy people, whom thou Hallowed be thy Name. Thy king
hast redeemed; enter not into judgment
with thy servants, who are vile earth, dom come. Thy will be done in earth, and miserable sinners ; but so turn As it is in heaven. Give us this day our
thine anger from us, who meekly acdaily bread. And forgive us our tres
knowledge our vileness, and truly repasses, As we forgive them that tres
pent us of our faults, and so make haste pass against us. And lead us not into
to help us in this world, that we may iemptation ; But deliver us from evil.
ever live with thee in the world to Amen. Min. O Lord, save thy servants ;
come; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen. Ans. That put their trust in thee. Min. Send unto them help from above. Then shall the people say this that Ans. And evermore mightily defend followeth, after the Minister. them. Min. Help us, O God our Saviour.
shall we be turned. Be favourable, Ans. And for the glory of thy Name O Lord, Be favourable to thy people, deliver us ; be merciful to us sinners,
Who turn to thee in weeping, fasting, for thy Name's sake.
and praying. For thou art a merciful Min. O Lord, hear our prayer. Ans. And let our cry come unto thee. ing, and of great pity. Thou sparest
God, Full of compassion, Long-sufferMinister Let us pray.
when we deserve punishment, And in
thy wrath thinkest upon mercy. Spare O LORD, we beseech thee, mercifully thy people, good Lord, spare them, And hear our prayers, and spare all
let not thine heritage be brought to those who confess their sins unto thee;
confusion. Hear us, o Lord, for thy that they, whose consciences by sin are
merey is great, And after the multitude accused, by thy merciful pardon may of thy mercies look upon us ; Through be absolved; through Christ our Lord.
the merits and mediation of thy blessed Amen.
Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 0
MOST mighty God, and merciful
1 Then the Minister alone shall say, all men, and hatest nothing that thou THE Lord bless us, and keep us ; the hast made; who wouldest not the death Lord lift up the light of his counof a sinner, but that he should rather tenance upon us, and give us peace, turn from his sin, and be saved ; Mer- now and for evermore. Amen.
INTRODUCTION TO THE PSALTER.
THE detailed examination of the contents of the Psalms is the work of Commentary, not on the Prayer Book, but on the Bible. It will be here sufficient to examine the general character of the Psalms, as connected with, and indeed as justifying, their un. ceasing use in the Service of the Church in all ages.
(I.) THE PECULIAR CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PSALMs. - The Psalms occupy a peculiar position in Holy Scripture. This peculiarity was indicated by the ancient Jewish division of the Old Testament (see Luke xxiv. 44) into “the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms." For in “the Law and the Prophets” we have the Word of God to man; in the History reciting for man's knowledge and admonition the record of His creation and government of the world; in the Law and Prophecy, revealing to man His Will, and through His Will something of His Nature. But in " the Psalms"-primarily in the Psalter itself, and to some extent in the other Books (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles) included with it in the Jewish division--we have the answer of the human soul under the inspiration of God to the Divine Message. Most often that answer is of the nature of simple Adoration, whether in Confession and Prayer, or in Praise and Thanksgiving; sometimes of medita. tion and reflection on God's Word, or on His works in Nature and History; sometimes even of enquiry and remonstrance, when such meditation has brought home to the soul the sense of perplexity and mystery in God's dealings with man. In form this answer of the soul clothes itself in the language of poetry, but a poetry of a singularly free and unartificial type, unlike that of modern literatures in this-that it is marked not by formal arrangement of words in rhyme or rhythm, but by a simple correspondence of ideas, so repeated in successive clauses as, by parallelism or by antithesis, to illustrate each other, to enforce the thought conveyed, and to impress it on the memory. The Psalm thus resembles the Lyric Poetry found in all literatures, embodying the expression of inward thought and emotion, as distinct from the epic recital, or the dramatic representation, of things without. But it is notable that, whereas in many literatures the lyric element, being most deeply coloured by the special characteristics of age and nation, is apt to be the most evanescent in its vitality, the Psalms have proved to be the most enduring of all parts, even of the Old Testament, as an expression of thought and emotion in all ages. The reason of this is obvious. It is that they deal with that relation of the soul to God, which, except in degree, cannot change, and which (although in all points transfigured by our higher consciousness of God through the light and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ) has been realized in all the ages