Obrazy na stronie


[ocr errors]


“the third hour of the day";” of St. Peter, who, at the sixth hour “went up upon the house top to prayų;" of Peter and John, who at the ninth hour,

being the hour of prayer, went up together unto the temple';" of Paul and Silas, who at midnight

v "prayed and sung praises unto God";” of the Psalmist, who “seven times a day praised God”;" of the disciples, who after our Lord's ascension "all continued with one accord in



supplication y:"—such examples prove, that the true worshippers of God in all ages have felt it their duty and their privilege to offer their supplications to God very frequently in the course of each day of their lives, in order that no long interval of time should be permitted to elapse without seeking for new supplies of Divine grace. And such doubtless was the origin of the canonical hours of prayer: they arose from the feeling of the necessity of frequent supplication; and the examples which have been above referred to, are rightly adduced by Cardinal Bona in illustration of this general principle, and St. Jerome and St. Augustine connect with it the canonical hours of prayer“. But as each hour in the day may be associated with the memory of some event in holy writ, or may be made to admonish us of some religious truth or obligation, the Fathers assigned various mystical and moral applications to the appointed hours of prayer". Thus the Apostolical Constitutions (written at the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth century) prescribe prayers at different hours in these terms : “ye shall “make prayers .... In the morning, giving thanks, “ because the Lord hath enlightened you, removing “the night, and bringing the day: at the third hour, “ because the Lord, at that time, received sentence “ from Pilate: at the sixth, because in it he was cru“cified : at the ninth, because all things were shaken “when the Lord was crucified, trembling at the auda

t Acts ii. i. 15.

nos ad officium tempus admou Acts x. 9.

neat. Horam tertiam, sextam, V Acts iii. 1.

nonam, diluculum quoque et W Acts xvi. 25.

vesperam nemo est qui nesciat. * Ps. cxix. 164.

Nec cibi sumantur, nisi oray Acts i. 14.

tione præmissa : nec recedatur z Bona, De Divina Psalmo- a mensa, nisi referatur Creatori dia, cap. i.

gratia. Noctibus terque sura St. Jerome speaks thus : gendum, revolvenda quæ de "Quanquam Apostolus orare scripturis memoriter retinenos semper jubeat et sanctis mus." Hieron. Epist. xviii. etiam ipse sit somnus oratio, ad Eustoch. Oper. t. iv. pars ii. tamen divisas orandi horas de- p. 46. Augustine employs the bemus habere, ut si forte aliquo same sort of reasons: “Quod fuerimus opere detenti, ipsum ait Apostolus sine intermissione

city of the impious Jews, not enduring that their “Lord should be insulted: at evening giving thanks, “ because He hath given the night as a rest from our “ daily labours : at cock-crowing, because that hour

gives the glad tidings of the arrival of day to work “ the works of light.”


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

orate, quid est aliud quam August. Epist. cxxx. ad Pro'beatam vitam, quæ nulla nisi bam. t. i. Oper. p. 389. æterna est, ab eo qui eam solus b See Bona, ubi supra.

Thodare potest sine intermissione massimus De Vet. et Nova desiderate ?' Semper ergo hanc Ecclesiæ Disciplina, t. i. p. 71, a Domino Deo desideremus, et &c. These mystical applicaoramus semper.

Sed ideo ab tions are noticed in the Tracts aliis curis atque negotiis quibus for the Times, No. 75 (On the ipsum desiderium quodam mo- Roman Breviary), p. 4, 5. do tepescit, certis horis ad ne- • Ευχάς επιτελείτε... όρgotium orandi mentem revoca- θρου μεν, ευχαριστούντες, ότι mus, verbis orationis nos ipsos έφώτισεν υμίν ο Κύριος, παραadmonentes in id quod deside- γαγών την νύκτα, και επαγαγών ramus intendere, ne quod te- την ημέραν" τρίτη δε, ότι απόpescere coperat omnino fri- φασιν εν αυτή υπό Πιλάτου gescat et penitus extinguatur έλαβεν ο Κύριος έκτη δε, ότι nisi crebrius inflammetur.” εν αυτή εσταυρώθη» εννάτη δε,


The observance of these seasons of prayer by night and day was not recommended merely to the clergy, but to Christians in general d : though it did not in all cases involve attendance on public worship at each of these particular hours.

Previously to the Reformation, however, the practice of the church had become very different in many respects, and the formal and prescribed recitation of the canonical hours from the Breviary did not realize the original theory or design of their institution. In earlier ages it had been the practice of the church to offer up prayers at seven or eight different hours in the course of each day and night; but in later times the offices of several hours of prayer were grouped together and read continuously. Thus the matin office was read some time in the

ότι πάντα κεκίνητο του δεσπότου In Ps. cxviii. Sermo viii. t. i. εσταυρωμένου, φρίττοντα τον Oper. p. 1072, ed. Benedict. τολμάν των δυσσεβών Ιουδαίων, In the same way, St. John μη φέροντα του Κυρίου την ύβριν Chrysostom : Ου διά τούτο γέεσπέρα δε, ευχαριστούντες ότι γονεν η νυξ ίνα διαπαντός καθυμίν ανάπαυσιν έδωκε των μεθ- είδωμεν και αργώμεν, και τούτο ημερινών κόπων, την νύκτα μαρτυρούσιν οι χειροτέχναι οι άλεκτρυόνων δε κραυγή, διά το όνηλάται οι έμποροι" η εκκλητην ώραν ευαγγελίζεσθαι την σία του θεού εκ μέσων ανισταπαρουσίας της ημέρας είς έργα- μένη νυκτών. ανάστηθι και συ, σίαν τών του φωτός έργων. και ίδε των άστρων την χωρείαν" Apostol. Constitut. 1. viii. c. 34. την βαθείαν σιγήν την ησυχίαν

4 Vide Thomassimus, Vet. την πολλήν εκπλάγηθι του δεet Nov. Eccl. Discipl. pt. 1. σπότου σου την οικονομίαν ..

. i. 1. ii. c. 71. 73, 74. 79. 87, 88. ούτος δή μοι και πρός άνδρας The language of the Fathers, και προς γυναίκας ο λόγος. in urging the duty of continual κάμψον τα γόνατα, στέναξον, prayer, is general, and address- παρακάλεσόν σου τον δεσπότην ed to all Christians. Thus St. ίλεων γενέσθαι. μάλλον επιAmbrose: “ Non satis est dies κάμπτεται εν νυκτεριναΐς ευχαίς ad deprecandum ; surgendum κ. τ. λ. Chrysost. Ηom. XXvi. ;

. est et nocte, et media nocte. Oper. t. ix. p. 212, 213. ed. Ipse Dominus pernoctavit in Benedict. See also Orat. i. de oratione, ut te proprio ad de- Precat. Oper. t. ii. precandum invitaret exemplo.” VOL. I.


p. 783.

course of the preceding evening, or was combined with all the offices for the hours before Vespers, and with them was read in the course of the morning. In the afternoon the offices of Vespers and Compline were read continuously. So that in practice, there were not more than two distinct offices or hours of prayer except in the stricter monasteries; and it is plain that the offices were not read at the hours which the church had prescribed. Thus the canonical hours of prayer were only nominally in use even by the clergy. The obligation of attending to these seasons of prayer had indeed long been considered as restricted to the sacred orders of the ministry, the clergy in minor orders and the laity being considered exempt from any duty in connexion with the canonical hours. Those clergy who were obliged to recite the canonical hours felt the duty very burdensome, in consequence of the change of discipline, more especially in reference to the nocturnal offices; for it must be remembered that the office of Matins, which comprised, on an average, nearly twenty psalms daily, together with several hymns, canticles, anthems, prayers, and lessons,

e As an example, we may occupati estis, ut studio aut cite the Constitution of Stephen processionibus, vel peregrinaPoncher, Bishop of Paris, A.D. tionibus; sed si ex sor 1503. “Vos, qui religiosi non aut deliciis facitis, sine peccato estis, non omittatis loco mediæ facere non potestis."

Synonoctis de mane circa quartam dicon Ecclesiæ Parisiensis, Aucaut quintam, nocturnum per- torit. F. de Harlay, Paris. Arsolvere officium Permit- chiepisc. p. 155. Paris, 1674. timus necessitatis causâ, ut Van Espen, in his Dissertatio Matutinas diei sequentis pos- de Horis Canonicis, Oper. t. iv. sitis dicere sero præcedente; p. 202, 203, complains of the aut mane totum officium suc- prevalent practice of repeating cessivè dicere usque ad Ves- the offices for the canonical peras, et sic Vesperas cum hours consecutively and conCompetorio, si utilibus negotiis jointly.


was originally intended to have been celebrated in the night, and to occupy a considerable part of it; and when this office was added to the diurnal office (as it had been for a long time before the Reformation), it could not but cause much inconvenience, and be felt as burdensome. In fact, the clergy did feel the length of the daily offices a burden, and they resorted to expedients for abbreviating the service, especially by substituting the offices for saints' days in place of those for ordinary days, which was generally possible'.

Such being the state of things, it may be alleged, that the true principle of reformation would have been to revive the ancient discipline, and to insist, as the Fathers had done, on the practice of the nocturnal vigils, and on the observance of all the hours of prayer at their proper intervals. But to have accomplished so great a reformation would have involved something beyond the range of ecclesiastical regulations—a revival of the primitive spirit of devotion and zeal, without which it would have been impossible to have revived those ancient observances. The Roman church herself has never, even to this day, been able to restore the ancient system of the canonical hours or the nocturnal vigils. The offices are recited continuously, without any intervals, and without regard to the hours for which they are prescribed. The nocturnal office is not read at night. The abuses and inconveniences which prevailed before the Reformation are still prevalent. If, then, the Roman church has not been able to revert to her original practice, though her best writers have often, though fruitlessly, urged f Breviarium Cardinalis Quignonii, Præfatio.

« PoprzedniaDalej »