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appointed, in which thanks are returned to God for the particular mercy of redemption that day commemorated. These prefaces are to be repeated seven days; in imitation, probably, of the Jewish feasts, which continued, some for seven, and one for eight days.z
Q. What follows the lauds and anthems?
A. The nearer we approach these holy mysteries, the greater reverence we ought to express: the priest accordingly allays the foregoing exultations, by an act of humiliation highly expressive and affecting, taken from the most ancient liturgies.
Q. Explain the prayer of consecration.
A. The prayer of Consecration is the most ancient and essential part of the whole communion. This prayer, as it now stands in the office of communion prescribed by our Church, is agreeable to the primitive model, and to the prayer of consecration in the first liturgy of king Edward VI. which was afterwards materially altered. The priest first returns solemn thanks to God for the sacrifice of the death of Christ, the solemn memorial of which is now to be celebrated. He then solemnly consecrates the bread and wine to be symbols of the borly and blood of Christ, repeating the words of Christ at the institution of them. They are then offered to God, as a solemn memorial of the passion and death, the resurrection and ascension of Christ, whereby our redemption is effected. The blessing of God, through his word and Holy Spirit, is then invoked on the consecrated elements, that they may be to every worthy receiver, in power and efficacy, the body and blood of Christ. And in conclusion, the faithful, as a just return to God for the inestimable blessings of redemption, devote themselves, their souls and bodies, to his service; humbly imploring his mercy and grace. This prayer of consecration, formed on the model of the prayer of consecration in the primitive Church, is venerable for its antiquity; it presents the most just and impressive views of the efficacy and importance of the holy Eucharist, and it is calculated to awaken the most solemn and tender affections of the soul.*
Q. What follows after the consecration?
A. After the mercy and goodness of God are celebrated
z Levit. xxiii.
The prayer of consecration, in the communion office of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America, more nearly resembles the primitive model, than the prayer of consecration used by the Church of England.
in a hymn, the minister proceeds to administer the conse crated elements to the communicants, who devoutly kneel at the chancel. The Church of Rome administers the bread aloné to the laity; but such a partial sacrament, unauthorized by Scripture, was unknown for a thousand years after Christ.
Q. What is the conclusion of the service?
A. When the communicants have received these solemn pledges of the mercy of God, they are considered as restored to his favour, and then address him in the Lord's Prayer, as their reconciled Father. The prayer which follows, is a solemn and devout acknowledgment of the goodness of God in this holy sacrament, and a humble supplication of his grace, to preserve his people in their fellowship with him, through Jesus Christ. After which, the faithful proceed to praise God, in the exulting and animating strains of the Gloria in excelsis; and they are then dismissed by the bishop or priest, with the solemn form of benediction. An office for the communion, more solemn, appropriate, sublime, and affecting, could not be devised.
Q. Whence arises the obligation of Christians to participate, at every opportunity, of the holy communion?
A. Christians are called to participate of the holy communion by the command of their blessed Lord, to whom they are bound by the dearest ties of gratitude. This holy ordinance is the instituted mean by which they are to derive from the Redeemer, the consoling and strengthening succours of his grace and mercy. It is admirably calculated to excite and cherish every holy disposition in the soul. To abstain from it, discovers the highest folly, and the most criminal insensibility to the exalted displays of divine love. It should, therefore, be the business of every Christian to partake of this divine ordinance, at every opportunity, with that sincere penitence and faith, love and devotion to God, which will ensure to him the inestimable blessings it is designed to convey.
Q. WHAT fast doth the Church this day celebrate?
A. The Church celebrates on Good-Friday, the fast which commemorates the sufferings and death of Christ.
Q. Why is this day called Good-Friday?
A. This day is called Good-Friday, from the exalted good which we derive from the sufferings of Christ; who," by the shedding of his own blood, obtained eternal redemption for us."
Q. Has not this day been observed as a day of fasting and humiliation, from the earliest ages of the Church?
A. This day, sacred to the commemoration of our Saviour's sufferings, has been observed, from the very first age of Christianity, as a day of the strictest fasting and humiliation. The grief and affliction which Christians on this day express, arise from a sense of the evil and guilt of their sins, which drew upon their blessed Redeemer the painful and shameful death of the cross.
Q. In what manner should we now observe this day? A. On this day, all the pursuits of business should be suspended, the service of the Church devoutly attended, and the intervals of public worship devoted to holy meditation on the sufferings of Christ, and to other pious exercises. By abstinence, self-denial, and humiliation, we should seek to testify our sympathy in the sufferings of our Lord, and our lively sorrow for our sins, which occasioned his sufferings. There can be no greater evidence of insensibility and ingratitude, than to spend the day sacred to the sufferings of Christ, in the usual pursuits of business or pleasure. Those who profess to observe the day, and yet refuse to suspend on it their usual business, display the greatest inconsistency of conduct, and are guilty of a flagrant contempt of the authority of the Church. Openly avowing that they will make no sacrifices of worldly interest to testify their gratitude to that divine Saviour who shed for them his blood, surely when
a Euseb. Hist. Eccle, lib. i. c. 17.
they appear at his tribunal, they can lay no claim to the exercise of his mercy.
Q. What have you to remark concerning the psalms and lessons for the day?
A. The psalms for the dayb were composed by David, in times of the greatest calamity and distress, and do all mysti cally refer to the sufferings and death of Christ; the 22d psalm, particularly, was, in several passages, literally fulfilled in the sufferings of Christ. The first lesson for the morning (Gen. xxii.) contains, in the history of the intended sacrifice of Isaac, a striking type of the perfect oblation made this day by the Son of God, and a lively illustration of the infinite love of God in the redemption. The second lesson for the morning (John xviii.) recounts some of the circumstances which attended the betraying of Christ by Judas, and his trial before the bar of Pilate. The first lesson for the evening (Isa. lii. ver. 13. and chap. liii.) contains a striking and affecting prophecy of the passion of Christ, and of the benefits which the Church thereby receives; and the second lesson (Philip. ii.) contains an affecting exhortation to the virtues. of humility and unity, from the example of Christ, in humbling himself for us to the death upon the cross.
Q. What do you observe concerning the collects, epistle, and gospel for the day?
A. The collects for the day, implore the mercy and blessing of God upon the Church which the Son of God redeemed, and humbly beseech him to bring all mankind into this spiritual fold. The epistle proves, from the insufficiency of the Jewish sacrifices, that they only typified a more sufficient one, which the Son of God did as on this day offer up, and, by one oblation of himself then made upon the cross, complete all the other sacrifices, which were only shadows of this, and make full satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. The gospel for this day is very properly taken out of St. John, because he was the only one who was present at the passion, and stood by the cross while others fled: the passion is thus represented to us by one who saw it, and from whose example we may learn not to be ashamed or afraid of the cross of Christ.
Q. Who was it that this day suffered?
A. Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, begotten of his Father before all the worlds, as the promised Messiah, took
b Morning, Ps. 22, 40, 54. Everfing, Ps. 64, 88.
our nature upon him, and in that nature this day suffered for our salvation.
Q. What are the predictions which lead us to believe that the promised Messiah was to suffer?
A. The prophet Isaiah represents the Messiah who was to come, as "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, oppressed and afflicted, wounded and bruised, brought to the slaughter, and cut off from the land of the living." The prophet Zechariah foretels the price for which he was to be betrayed" thirty pieces of silver," and declares, in reference to the Messiah, that "they should look on him whom they pierced." The holy psalmist, speaking of the Messiah, says, that "they should pierce his hands and his feet."f These predictions agree with the history of the sufferings of Christ, as recorded by the evangelists. The Saviour constantly instructed his apostles in this truth, both before his death, that they might expect it, and after his death, that they might be confirmed by it: and St. Paul makes it part of his preaching, that "Christ must needs have suffered."h
Q. How were the sufferings and sacrifice of Christ typified under the law?
A. The paschal lamb, slain at the celebration of the passover, was a type of the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. The brazen serpent set up in the wilderness, was a type of the Son of man lifted up upon the cross. All the sacrifices for sin proclaimed, that, "without shedding of blood, there was no remission." But the most eminent type of the sacrifice of Christ, was the annual sin-offering made for the whole nation of the Jews, on the great day of atonement and expiation. The high priest, on this day, made a solemn atonement for the sins of the people. Two kids of the goats were presented before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle: one of these was offered, and with the blood the high priest entered by himself into the holy of holies, and sprinkled the mercy-seat; on the head of the other he laid both his hands, and confessing over him the sins of the people, sent him away into the wilderness. The apostle, in allusion to this ceremony, represents Christ to have been our High Priest, and on his passion-day to have offered the sacrifice of himself, to have borne our sins in his own body,
c Isa. liii.
f Psal. xxii. 16.
i Heb. ii. 17; ix. 24, 25, 26.
d Zech. xi. 12.
g Mark ix. 12; Luke xxiv. 26, 46.
e Zech, xii. 10.
h Acts xvii. 3.