I.--HYMNS AND LITURGIES.
1. INTRODUCTORY. --Among the outgrowths of the Christian religion the hymn occupies a place of unique interest and significance. Combining in its idea both music and poetry, it is the congenial medium for expressing the emotional and aesthetic elements which enter into all deep religious experience. It at once satisfies and reveals inward piety. While it has the worth which pertains to artistic products in general, it serves at the same time to mirror the mind from which it issued, and is often an index of the age in which it received its birth. Speaking of the hymns of the early Church, Dorner says: "As in the Psalms of the Old Testament we have the moat instructive monuments of ancient Hebrew piety, and thereby ascertain what passed over from the ancient revelation into joy and life, what filled the heart and burst forth from it in song, so may we regard the old Christian hymnology." 1 History of the Doctrine of the Person of Christ.
The interpreter, it is true, must take due account of the truth that the highest piety of one Christian age in its more essential phases is very closely akin to the highest piety of any other Christian age. He may expect, therefore, to find the nobler hymns of different eras exhibiting something of a family likeness. He may properly take it as a sign of great dearth, either in poetic talent or in religious life, where such traits as lowly reverence before the majesty of God, deep repentance in view of sin, intense joy and gratitude over the amazing facts of redemption, have not received illustration in at least a few worthy specimens of sacred song. Nevertheless, taken in a body the hymns of an age bear its seal and superscription. They show the type of Christian civilization from which they emanated. Greek, mediæval Latin, and Protestant hymnology have each distinguishing characteristics. Greater rhetorical luxuriance belongs on the whole to the first than to the second. Both mix with their pure gold the alloy of saint-worship. Both do less justice to the interior life than does the Protestant hymnology, are less rich in hymns which fitly celebrate tile divine indwelling, the transforming power of grace, the agony and unrest of conscious guilt, the rapture of communion with God.
2. GREEK HYMNS. -- it seems probable that such Greek hymns as came into use in the apostolic age, and the time immediately following, were in measured prose. 1 J. M. Neale, Hymns of the Eastern Church Further on there was an attempt to utilize the measures of the classical poets. Gregory Nazianzen, the first of the Greek fathers to win poetical distinction, used these measures. Sophronius, who wrote in the seventh century, selected among classical models Anacreontics, --a somewhat surprising choice for the serious themes of the Christian religion. In general, this borrowing was not successful. The Greek language was no longer the Greek of the classic era. Many new terms had been brought in to meet the new conditions. To follow the classic measures involved too great a bondage. It was necessary, therefore, to strike out a new path, or else to return toward the most primitive model of the Christian hymn. The latter alternative was the one adopted. The expedient of rhyme to which the Latins resorted was not introduced into the Greek hymns. After the beginning of the eighth century, verse proper was for the most part discarded in the Eastern Church, and the hymns were written in measured prose. The troparia, as the stanzas were called, mere divided for chanting by commas disposed irrespective of the sense. The following may serve as an example. "Israel in ancient times passing on foot with, unbedewed steps the Red Gulf, of the sea, turned to flight by, the cross-typefying arms, of Moses the might of Amelek, in the wilderness." The initial stanza which supplied the model was called the hirmos. A number of troparia (from three to upwards of twenty) constituted an ode; and the complete Greek hymn or canon was understood to contain nine odes. In reality, however, eight odes made a canon.
1 Neale says: The reason for the number nine is this: that there are nine Scriptural canticles employed at Lauds, on the model of which those in every canon are formed. The first, that of Moses after the passage of the Red Sea; the second, that of Moses in Deuteronomy (xxxiii.); the third, that of Hannah; the fourth, that of Habakkuk; the fifth, that of Isaiah (xxvi. 9-20); the sixth, that of Jonah: the seventh, that of the Three Children; the eighth, Benedicite; the ninth, Mignificat and Benedictus. From this arrangement two consequences follow. The first, that as the second canticle is never recited except at Lent, the canons never have any second ode. The second, that there is generally some reference, either direct or indirect, in each ode to the canticle of the same number.
According to Nede, who has rendered excellent service in illustrating the characteristics of the eastern hymns and making some of the best of them available in the worship of the west, three eras are distinctly marked in the history of Greek hymnology: (1) "That of formation, while it was gradually throwing off the bondage of classical metres and inventing and perfecting its various styles. This ends about A.D. 726. (2) That of perfection, which nearly coincides with the period of the iconoclastic controversy, A.D. 126-820. (3) That of decadence, A. D. 820-1400, when the effeteness of an effeminate court and the dissolution of a decaying empire reduced ecclesiastical poetry by slow degrees to a stilted bombast, giving to great words little meaning, tricking out commonplaces in diction more and more gorgeous, till sense and simplicity are alike sought in vain."
The marked decline in the third of these eras is manifest in the choice of themes as well as in lack of taste and inspiration in their treatment. While a large proportion of the earlier productions were on themes of universal interest, -- the great topics of the gospel, -- a multitude of the later ones were in commemoration of martyrs from whose utter obscurity scarcely more than their names and the fact of their suffering have been preserved. This dearth in respect of quality, however, was far from being accompanied by an equal dearth in respect of quantity. In the collection of Greek hymns, which is very extensive, -- greatly in excess of the Latin, -- the largest part was contributed by the dullest era.
From this general review of the subject we may fitly proceed to notice some of the details of Greek hymnology. Referring for more extended information to such works as Daniel's "Thesaurus Hymnologicus," we will mention only a few of the more important
We have clear intimations that the Greek Church produced a number of original hymns within the first three centuries. 1 Euseb., Hist. Eccl. v. 28; Tertul., Ad Uxor. ii. 8; Origen, Cont. Cel. viii. 67. The extent, however, to which these were employed in the public services stands in question. Some of them were ill-suited to the uses of the sanctuary. Moreover, the example of heretics probably caused a measure of doubt with respect to their appropriation and inclined Catholic pastors to a preference for the Biblical hymns.
2 Const. Apost. ii. 57, speaks of chanting the Psalms of David. The Council of Laodicea (can. 59) prohibited the ecclesiastical use of "private hymns." Schaff understands by these terms all extra-biblical hymns. Hefele, on the other hand, seems to favor the conclusion that the prohibition extended only to hymns which had not received the approval of the Church authorities.
Among the very few extant specimens of the early hymnology none is probably older than that which is attributed to Clement of Alexandria. It is little else than a chain of epithets descriptive of the offices of Christ. The following is a literal translation of the first part:--
Bridle of untamed colts,
Wing of unwandering birds,
Sure helm of babes,
Shepherd of royal lambs!
Assemble Thy simple children
To praise holily,
To hymn guilelessly
With innocent mouths
Christ, the guide of children.
O king of saints,
Of the most high Father,
Prince of wisdom,
Support of sorrows,
That rejoicest in the ages,
Of the human race,
Of the all holy flock,
Fisher of men
Who are saved,
Catching the chaste fishes,
With sweet life
From the hateful wave
Of a sea of vices.
Lying much nearer to the requirements of the sanctuary than the hymn of Clement, and destined to a much wider reception, was the morning hymn, the Gloria in Excelsis, in which the advent song of the angels is supplemented by suitable expressions of praise and prayer. Its origin was as early as the third century, perhaps still earlier. The English form of it being so well known, it is most fitly presented here in the original. 1 Found in the Thesaurus of Daniel. Compare Const. Apost vii. 47.
The less celebrated evening hymn is as follows:--
The Greek original on which the Te Deum was based is also to be reckoned among early hymns.
The religious poems of Gregory Nazianzen were not well adapted for use in public worship, and seem not to have been employed for that purpose. Those of his contemporary Ephraem were utilized in the Syrian Church as a means of indoctrination in the Catholic faith.
Before the middle era of genuine poetic inspiration, Anatolius, who wrote in the fifth century, was the brightest name in the list of Greek hymnists. A very pleasing simplicity and vivacity characterize his brief productions. One of them, charmingly adapted to the common people, has been much used as an evening hymn in the Greek Isles. The first stanza will serve to indicate its tone:--
1 The following translation preserves very fairly the sense of the original:--
"Hail! cheerful Light, of His pure glory poured,
Who is th' Immortal Father, Heavenly, Blest,
Holiest of Holies, -- Jesus Christ our Lord !
How are we come to the sun's hour of rest,
The lights of evening round us shine,
We sing the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost Divine!
Worthiest art Thou at all times, to be sung
With undefilèd tongue,
Son of our God, Giver of Life, alone!
Therefore, in all the world, Thy glories, Lord, we own."
The day is past and over;
All thanks, O Lord, to Thee!
I pray Thee now that sinless
The hours of dark may be.
O Jesu! keep me in Thy sight,
And save me through the coming night! 1 This and the following selections from the Greek hymns are given in Neale's version.
The following advent hymn of Anatolius will not be found unworthy of quotation :-
A great and mighty wonder,
The festal makes secure;
The Virgin bears the Infant
With Virgin honor pure.
The Word is made incarnate,
And yet remains on high;
And cherubim sing anthems
To shepherds from the sky.
And we with them triumphant
Repeat the hymn again;
" To God on high be glory,
And peace on earth to men! "
While thus they sing your monarch,
Those bright angelic bands,
Rejoice, ye vales and mountains!
Ye oceans, clap your hands!
Since all He comes to ransom,
By all be He adored,
The Infant born in Bethlehem,
The Saviour and the Lord!
Now idol forms shall perish,
All error shall decay
And Christ shall wield His sceptre,
Our Lord and God for aye.
His hymn on the stilling of the wind and the waves gives a graphic reproduction of the gospel scene:--
Fierce was the wild billow,
Dark was the night;
Oars labored heavily,
Foam glimmer'd white;
Peril was nigh;
Then said the God of God,
"Peace! It is I."
Ridge of the mountain-wave,
Lower thy crest !
Wail of Euroclydon,
Be thou at rest !
Peril can none be,
Sorrow must fly,
Where saith the Light of Light,
"Peace! It is I."
Come Thou to me !
Soothe Thou my voyaging
Over life's sea.
Thou, when the storm of death
Roars sweeping by,
Whisper, O Truth of Truth,
"Peace! It is I."
3. LATIN HYMNS. --In the Latin Church the attempt to utilize the classic verse was scarcely more successful than the parallel attempt in the Greek Church. Hence the first development naturally consisted in a gradual breaking away from the old Latin system of versification. The shackles of quantity were in time unloosed, and accent and rhyme were made the grand elements in sacred verse. This period of the decomposition of old forms and of the preparation for new may be regarded as ending with Gregory the Great.
The above development is thus described by Neale:
"Ecclesiastical Latin Poetry has a language of its own no more to be compared with, or judged by, the dialect of Virgil or Horace than Ariosto or Camoens can be. It has rules, -- subtle, elaborate rules of its own; it has a grammar of its own; its ornaments are original; its diction unborrowed. And we may venture fearlessly to say that in strength and freshness it surpasses the Latin poetry of a more classical age, poetry, whose inspiration, form, metre, and ornaments were essentially Greek. But in like manner as the Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian languages, before they attained to their present status, did necessarily pass through a stage of barbarism in their formation from the old Latin, so it was with mediæval poetry.... It could not at once reject the shackles of metre; it could not at once arrange its own accentual laws, and it took centuries in developing the full power of the new element that it introduced, namely rhyme. ... The church threw herself on the original genius of the Latin language, on the universal recognition of accent, in preference to the arbitrary restrictions of quantity. Her hymns were intended to be sung, and this again developed the musical power of sound, and hence principally rhyme ; and thus a new language sprung up under her hands." Ecclesiastical Latin Poetry of the Middle Ages.
In judging of the Latin hymns due account must be taken not only of their content and their form, but also of their musical associations and adaptations. These are very important elements in their effect.
" As a whole," says Milman, "the hymnology of the Latin Church has a singularly solemn and majestic tone. Much of it, no doubt, like the lyric verse of the Greeks, was twin-born with the music; its cadence is musical rather than metrical. It suggests, as it were, the grave full tones of the chant, the sustained grandeur, the glorious burst, the tender fall, the mysterious dying away of the organ. It must be heard, not read. Decompose it into its elements, coldly examine its thoughts, its images, its words, its versification, and its magic is gone. Listen to it, or even read it with the imagination or the memory full of the accompanying chant; it has an indescribable sympathy with the religious emotions even of those of whose daily service it does not constitute a part." 1 Latin Christianity, Book xiv. Chap. iv.
Though not the first to express Christian truths in verse, Hilary of Poitiers may be regarded as the earliest hymnist of the Latin Church. The specimens of sacred poetry which had been given forth by preceding writers were not designed for the church services. Hilary used the Iambic dimeter, which indeed was the prevailing type till the latter part of the sixth century.
2 The principal kinds of verse found in the Latin hymns have been enumerated as follows: (1) Iambic dimetri,(2) Iambic trimetri, (3) Trochaic dimetri, (4) Sapphici cum Adonico in fine, (5) Trochaici, (6) Asclepiadici cum Glyconico in fine.
Some of the hymns ascribed to Hilary are of doubtful authorship. The following is one with which he is generally credited:--
Lucis largitar splendide,
Cujus sereno lumine
Post lapsa noctis tempora
Dies refusus panditur:
Tu verus mundi Lucifer,
Non is, qui parvi sideris
Venturae lucis nuntius
Angusto fulget lumine,
Sed tote sole clarior,
Lux ipse totus at dies,
Interna nostri pectoris
Damasus, who became Bishop of Rome near the time of Hilary's death, is credited with a considerable list of poems, two of which, in honor of the Apostle Andrew and the martyr Agatha respectively, are of a lyrical cast. If it be concluded that Damasus was certainly the author of the hymn to Saint Agittha, he has the distinction of having anticipated the adoption of rhyme in the Latin Church poetry.
The double service rendered by Ambrose of Milan, in improving the music of the church and enriching the collection of hymns, has assigned him an illustrious place in the records of Latin hymnology.
O glorious Father of the light,
From whose effulgence calm and bright,
Soon as the hours of night are fled,
The brilliance of the dawn is shed;
Thou art the dark world's truer ray.
No radiance of that lesser day,
That heralds, in the morn begun,
The advent of our darker sun;
But brighter than its noontide gleam,
Thyself full daylight's fullest beam,
The inmost mansions of our breast
Thou by thy grace illuminest.
Augustine in his " Confessions " has given testimony to the deep impression made upon himself by the music of the Milan Church. " How greatly did I weep in Thy hymns and canticles, deeply moved by the voices of Thy sweetly-attuned Church! The voices flowed into mine ears, and the truth was poured into my heart, whence the agitation of my piety overflowed, and my tears ran over, and blessed was I therein." 1 Confess. ix. 6. In the same connection Augustine adds this statement: "At this time it was instituted that after the manner of the Eastern Church hymns and psalms should he sung, lest the people should pine away in the tediousness of sorrow."
A great simplicity, one might almost say plainness and ruggedness, characterizes the effusions of Ambrose. This feature, however, impairs rather the first impression than the final estimate.
"It is some little while," says Trench, "before one returns [from the softer and richer strains of some of the later poets] with a hearty consent and liking to the almost austere simplicity which characterizes the hymns of Ambrose. It is felt as though there were a certain coldness in them, an aloofness of the author from his subject, a refusal to blend and fuse himself with it. The absence too of rhyme-- for which the almost uniform use of a metre very far from the richest among the Latin lyric forms, and with singularly few resources for producing variety of pause or cadence, seems a very insufficient compensation -- adds to this feeling of disappointment. The ear and the heart seem alike to be without their due satisfaction. Only after a while does one learn to feel the grandeur of this unadorned metre, and the profound, though it may have been more instinctive than conscious, wisdom of the poet in choosing it; or to appreciate that confidence in the surpassing interest of his theme, which has rendered him indifferent to any but its simplest setting forth. It is as though building an altar to the living God he would observe the levitical precept and rear it of unhewn stones, upon which no tool had been lifted. The great objects of faith in their simplest expression are felt by him so sufficient to stir all the deepest affections of the heart that any attempt to dress them up, to array them in moving language, were simply superfluous. The passion is there, but it is latent and repressed, a fire burning inwardly, the glow of an austere enthusiasm, which reveals itself indeed, But not to every careless beholder." 1 R. C. Trench, Sacred Latin Poetry.
Neale accounts as genuine ten of the many hymns assigned to Ambrose. The following on the Nativity is one of the most celebrated. We give the opening and the last three stanzas:--
Veni, Redemptor gentium, 2
Ostende partum Virginis;
Miretur omne saeculum:
Talis decet partus Deum.
Egressus ejus a Patre,
Regressus ejus ad Patrem,
Excursus usque ad inferos,
Recursus ad sedem Dei.
2 Come, Then Redeemer of the earth, O equal to the Father, Thou!
Come, testify Thy Virgin Birth: Gird on Thy fleshly trophy now,
All lands admire, all times applaud: The weakness of our mortal state
such is the birth that fits a God. With deathless might invigorate.
From God the Father. He proceeds, Thy cradle here shall glitter bright,
To God the Father back He speeds: And darkness breathe a newer light,
Proceeds -- as far as very hell: Where endless faith shall shine serene,
speeds back to light ineffable. And twilight never intervene.
Aequalis aeterno Patri,
Carnis tropaeo accingere,
Infirma nostri corporis
Virtute firmans perpetim.
Praesepe jam fulget tuum
Lumenque nox spirat novum,
Quod nulla nox interpolet
Fideque jugi luceat.
As the Te Deum is sometimes accredited to Ambrose we may fitly, in this connection, subjoin a portion of its text:--
Te deum laudamus,
te dominum confitemur,
te aeternum Patrem
omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes angeli, tibi caeli
et universae potestates,
tibi cherubim et seraphim
incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus
Dominus Deus Sabaoth!
pleni sunt caeli et terra
majestate gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus apostolorum chorus,
te prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
te martyrum candidatus
Te per orbem terrarum
sancta confitetur ecclesia,
Patrem immensae majestatis,
venerandum tuum verum unicum filium
sanctum quoque paracletum spiritum.
In the latter part of the fourth century and the first half of the fifth we have the names of Prudentius and Sedulius,--the former a Spaniard, the latter a native of Scotland or Ireland. Prudentius was a very prodigal versifier. Milman complains that "he is insufferably long, and suffocates all which is noble or touching with his fatal copiousness." He shows, however, a very clever faculty in the management of his verse, and many noble sentiments find an agreeable expression in his poems. As respects ability to command a popular appreciation few of his productions have excelled the burial hymn beginning with these lines:--
Jam moesta quiesce querela,1
Lacrimas suspendite, matres,
Nullus sua pignora plangat,
More haec reparatio vitae est.
Among the productions of Sedulius we have an acrostic hymn, which gives in as many stanzas as there are letters in the alphabet an outline of the whole life of Christ.
A solis ortus cardine
Ad usque terrae limitem
Christum canamus principem,
Natum Maria virgine.
Beatus auctor saeculi
Servile corpus induit,
Ut carne carnem liberans
Ne perderet quod condidit.
1 No more, ah, no more sad complaining;
Resign these fond pledges to earth.
Stay, mothers, the thick-falling tear-drops;
This death is a heavenly birth.
4. LITURGIES. -- In its earlier Christian use the word " Liturgy " () was applied to any sacred service. Ere long the term acquired a restricted sense, and was used pre-eminently to denote the forms which entered into the celebration of the Eucharist.
The liturgical development doubtless proceeded by gradual accretion from simple beginnings. The first three centuries contributed, very likely, a kind of liturgical tradition, or general custom respecting the principal factors and stages in the ceremonial. Some portions of the prayers also may have acquired a currency which caused them to be repeated substantially verbatim in later formularies. As early a writing as Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians contained, in its closing chapters, liturgical phrases which reappeared in the worship of later centuries. But there is little evidence that any considerable number of exact forms were inherited from the first three centuries. Even in the early part of the fifth century, as was learned from the historian Socrates, great liberty was used by individual churches in ordering their worship. Suggestions and general features were the principal contributions which the compilers of liturgies in the fourth and fifth centuries received from the preceding period.
1 See J. M. Neale, "The Liturgies of Saint Mark, Saint James, Saint Clement, Saint Chrysostom, Saint Basil;" H. A. Daniel, " Codex Liturgicus Ecclesiae Universae;" William Palmer, "Origines Liturgicae;" Samuel Cheetham, Article in the Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, by Smith and Cheetham; Philip Schaff, "Church History," Vol. III.; C. W. Bennett, "Christian Archæology;" E. F. K. Fortescue, "The Armenian Church: Its History, Liturgy, Doctrine, and Ceremonies;" A. J. Butler, "The Ancient Coptic Churches of Egypt;" F.E. Warren, "The Liturgy and Ritual of the Celtic Church."
The earliest of the extant liturgies bears the name of Saint Clement, and has been handed down in the eighth book of the Apostolical Constitutions. The probable date of its composition was the early part of the fourth century. Among the marks of its early origin are the absence of all trace of mariolatry, and the commemoration of the saints only in a general way, as opposed to the mention of individuals. In a less degree the strict separation which appears between the catechumens and the general body of believers is also a sign of early origin. An exceptional feature is the omission of the Lord's Prayer. There is no certain indication that this liturgy was ever in actual use.
The liturgy of Saint Clement belongs with the Oriental group. This group is very large, embracing several families with subordinate divisions. Neale gives the families as follows: "(1) That of Saint James, or Jerusalem; (2) That of Saint Mark, or Alexandria; (3) That of Saint Thaddeus, or the East; (4) That of Saint John, or Ephesus."
The most distinguished members of the Jerusalem family are, besides the liturgy of Saint James, which served as the norm, that of Saint Basil, that of Saint Chrysostom, and the Armenian. A special interest pertains to the liturgy of Saint Chrysostom because of its continued and extensive use. It is still read in the orthodox Greek and Russian Churches, except at certain special seasons, when that of Saint Basil is used. The connection with the illustrious bishop whose name it bears is not considered very thoroughly established.
The principal liturgies of the Alexandrine family, affiliating with the liturgy of Saint Mark, are those of Saint Cyril, Saint Gregory, and Saint Basil. The last of these, it should be noticed, is quite distinct from the liturgy of the same name in the preceding family. In the family of Saint Thaddeus are contained several Nestorian liturgies.
The Ephesine family was represented on western soil by the Old Spanish, or Mozarabic, and the Old Gallican. With the latter is associated the Old British liturgy.
The Roman liturgy, which supplanted the three just mentioned, stands (with the long obsolete liturgy of North Africa) for the proper Latin type. It was of gradual formation and cannot be traced satisfactorily beyond the middle of the fifth 'century. With the ascendency of the Roman bishop it was naturally introduced throughout the West. Milan, however, has continued even to the present in the enjoyment of her own liturgy, the Ambrosian, which is distinguished from the Roman by some Oriental features. The province of Acquileia had also, for a long time, a distinct liturgy.
Western custom bore a token of the centralized authority of Rome in that the language of the imperial city was made the one vehicle of the sacred offices. The East, on the other hand, embodied its liturgies in various vernaculars. There is also a tinge of dogmatic difference between the formularies of the two regions. The Eastern pays more attention to the general course of revelation. Moreover somewhat of the Greek predilection for the Christological side of theology, or the doctrine of the incarnation of the Divine Word, is apparent in the Eastern liturgies, whereas in the Roman the main stress is placed upon the sacrificial offering of Christ. A specific distinction as to contents is seen in the omission in the Roman liturgy of that express invocation of the Holy Spirit for the sanctification of the elements, which is contained in the Eastern liturgies. The Roman liturgy has also varying collects and prefaces for different occasions, while in the Eastern generally the collects are wanting and the prefaces are uniform.
The principal subdivisions of the Oriental liturgy are thus indicated by Neale:--
"Every liturgy may be divided into two parts; the Pro-Anaphoral, and the Anaphoral portion. The former extends to the sursum corda the latter from there to the end. The Pro-Anaphoral portion is divided into the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful. The Anaphoral portion has these four divisions: The great eucharistic prayer; the consecration; the intercession for quick and dead; and the communion."
1 This account, it will be observed, does not include the preparatory prayers. Speaking of the Armenian liturgy, Fortescue says: "Like all Oriental liturgies, it may be divided into three parts: (1) The preparatory prayers, which in this rite are partly said in the vestry and partly in the church by the priest; (2) the introduction; (3) the liturgy itself. In the two latter, which are technically called the Pro-Anaphora and Anaphora, the people join also."
The composition of a worthy liturgy, it is obvious, calls for the highest artistic faculty as well as for the deepest devotion. Only the most thorough religious and literary taste can ascend to that union of simplicity and majesty which makes the crowning excellence in forms of public worship. Various passages in these early liturgies exhibit this needful combination. They must accordingly be ever valued as models, though it is but a blind worship of antiquity which prohibits the hope that taste and devotion may still produce equally fitting and beautiful forms of religious expression.
As illustrating the requisites of liturgical excellence, the prayer of oblation from the liturgy of Saint Chrysostom may be cited:--
"Lord, God Almighty, Only Holy, Who receivest the sacrifice of praise from them that call upon Thee with their whole heart, receive also the supplication of us sinners, and cause it to approach to Thy holy altar, and enable us to present gifts to Thee, and spiritual sacrifices for our sins, and for the errors of the people: and cause us to find grace in Thy sight, that this our sacrifice may be acceptable unto Thee, and that the good Spirit of Thy grace may tabernacle upon us, and upon these gifts presented unto Thee, and upon all Thy people."
The following from the liturgy of Saint Mark is not so near the ideal of simplicity, but is nevertheless very beautiful:--
"God of light, Father of life, Author of grace, Framer of the worlds, Founder of knowledge, Giver of wisdom, Treasure of holiness, Teacher of pure prayers, Benefactor of the soul, Who gives to the weak-hearted who trust in Thee those things into which the angels desire to look: Who best raised us from the abyss to light, best given us life from death, best granted us freedom from slavery, best dissolved in us the darkness of sin by the coming of Thine Only-Begotten Son; now also, O Lord, illuminate the eyes of our understanding by the visitation of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may without condemnation partake of this immortal and heavenly food; and sanctify us wholly, soul, body, and spirit, that with Thy holy disciples and apostles we may say to Thee this prayer, Our Father. ... And make us worthy, O Lord and Lover of men, with boldness, without condemnation, with a pure heart, with an enlightened soul, with a countenance that needeth not to be ashamed, with bellowed lips, to dare to call upon Thee our holy God and Father, Which art in heaven." Neale's translation.
Alongside the elaboration of liturgical forms proceeded the enrichment of liturgical vestments. The white garments which constituted the sacerdotal garb for several centuries were gradually supplemented, until place was given to the five ecclesiastical colors. "In every-day life, for the first five or six centuries, the clergy universally wore the ordinary citizens' dress; then gradually, after the precedent of Jewish priests and Christian monks, exchanged it for a suitable official costume, to make manifest their elevation above the laity." 2 Schaff, Church History, Vol. III