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names, and they are selected from all classes of persons, to teach us that salvation is within the reach of all. John the Baptist, the precursor of Christ, the last of the prophets, Stephen, a deacon, the first Christian martyr, Matthias, an apostle, Barnabas, one of the disciples, Ignatius, a bishop, Alexander, a pope, Marcellinus, a priest, Peter, an exorcist, Felicitas, and Perpetua, matrons, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecelia, and Anastatia, virgins. This is the blessed - company into which he beseeches admittance" for him and for his people, " not of their own merit,” for they are sinners, but of God's own gratuitous pardon," and this still besought and expected, “ through Christ our Lord,” « by whom, O Lord, thou dost always create, sanctify, quicken, bless and give us all these good things. By him, and with him, and in him, is to thee, God the Father Almighty, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory, for ever and ever. Amen."
This prayer is the concluding part of the canon properly so called, and preceded and accompanied what was called the small elevation, now the second elevation, and at one time indeed the only elevation of the sacrament. The celebrant looking upon the altar, and contemplating Jesus Christ hidden under the sacramental appearances, and reflecting also upon what had been originally placed upon that altar, bread and wine, those gifts which the Lord bestows upon us for ur sustenance, is desirous of thanking the Giver of every good, for all those good things," granted for the nourishment of our bodies and the foed of our souls. He considers that all things were "created” by the 6 word of God:” for “ All thing. were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made.” (John i. 3.) “ By him” then was our hread and wine • created,” by the eternal father. but after this creation, they were placed upon the altar
nd there " sanctified” by the word of God, and by prayer "quickened” by the change that took place wben the body and blood of the living Christ, who having risen from the dead, dieth now no more, (Rom. vi. 9.) was placed where they had been, and under their appearance blessed” by the efficacy of that divine sacrament to communicate grace to our souls, and now "given" to those who prepare to receive the same.
We are then desirous of paying the homage of our praise and thanks to the great Author of our benefit, and we give to him “all honour and glory hy” that beloved Son who is our great mediator, and who reigns co-equal God “ with him;" and being in him,” by his consubstantiality, forms but one nature with him and the other divine person of the blessed Trinity, “in the unity of the Holy Ghost for ever and ever, amen."
At the words sanctify," " quicken,” and “ bless," the celebrant makes the sign of the cross over the victim, to signify from what source all these effects are derived : and uncovering the chalice, after having paid his adoration, he signs the cross with the host within the circumference of the chalice, at the words ut by himn and with him and in him," to signify the perfect union of the body and blood of Christ, thoug!ı apparently separated : and at the words “ Father Almighty," and " Holy Ghost,” outside the chalice, to signify the separation of persons, but the unity of their act of blessing through the efficacy of the sacrifice of the cross: and then holding the host and cha. lice together he elevates them a little, at the words - all honour and glory," to signify that it is through Christ our victim we are able to pay our debt of gratitude and praise. Hence by many this is called the oblation of the victim which had been produced, and the small elevation. In many places it is customary to ring the bell on this occasion. The celebrant having paid his adoration after having covered th: chalice rises, and concludes this prayer in a love! voj. i: to nuity its clove to the congregation; and he ice
enters upon the next part, which is the preparation for and receiving the communion.
Optatus.of Milevi informs us,* that in his time in the African churches it was usual after the canon and before the preparation for communion, for the Bishop or a priest to impose hands for the remission of sins upon those who sought reconciliation, and then turn to the altar to say the Lord's prayer. But this custom, whether it was that of administering the sacrament of penance, or of absolving publicly, before communion, those who had been guilty of public sins, was not general, and even in those places where it prevailed, seems not to have continued long, except on Maundy Thursday, when the public penitents were publicly reconciled. But the Lord's prayer was from the beginning said at this part of the office, as every liturgy shows; and St. Jerom statest that it was our blessed Lord himself who taught his apostles that the faithful should daily at the sacrifice of his body, presume to say Our Father. Hence the church shows the foundation on which she rests her authority for bringing her children thus familiarly to address their Creator: 6. Let us pray." “ Being instructed by thy saving precepts, and following thy divine directions, we presume to say: Our Father,” &c. (Matt. vi. 9.)
To enter into an explanation of this divine prayer in this place would for most of the readers of this dis. sertation be unnecessary, and would be straying from the great object of the compiler, which was mere); to explain what could not otherwise be so easily discovered, and in doing which he has already gone far beyond the limits which he originally prescribed for himself: he shall only say with Tertullian, † " That it is a compendium of the whole gospel; and with l'ope Innocent III.S - For a variety of reasons this prayer excels all others, from the authority of him who taught it, for it came from the very mouth of the
* Lib. 2, Contra. Parmen. Lib. 3, Contra. Pelag. 1D$ Orat. Myst. Miss. iii. 17.
Saviour; from the brevity of its expressions, for it is easily learned, and spoken; from the sufficiency of its petition, for it contains all that is necessary for this world and the next; from the richness of its mysteries, for it contains wonderful hidden treasures."
The celebrant says it in a loud voice or sings it, to impress the meaning and object of the petition upon his hearers, and at the end they answer him by repeating the last petition, " But deliver us from evil.”
The deacon goes up to the right hand side of the celebrant, before the conclusion of this prayer, during which he has stood behind ; and the sub-deacon now also carries up the Patten which he gives to the dea con, and then returns to his place below; the deacon having wiped the Patten, places it in the right hand of the celebrant, who continues in a low voice the next prayer, after having answered “ amen” to the Lord's prayer.
He desires to be delivered from all evils, entering fully into the spirit of the divine prayer which has been just concluded, “ past" evils, which are the consequence of the sins we have committed, bad habits, disturbed imaginations, and evil propensities, "present” evils, temporal calamities and temptations inacr which we labour; and “future” evils, which we trust nay be averted by the power of the most high. We are taught to seek farther protection, and to specify more particularly what we most desire; and we implore those blessings through the intercession of the blessed and ever-glorious virgin, “ Mary mother of God." This phrase, “ Mother of God," shows clearly that either the entire of this prayes must have been formed subsequently to the year 439, or at least this expression added after that year. We find the prayer in many old liturgies, but in none so far back as the year 500; and not being in the canon, it was not so brought into review and under observation as that portion was until about the year 600. It was only after the condemnation of Nestorius at the
council of Ephesus in 431, that the faithful were ir: the habit of styling the blessed virgin “ Mother of God;" but Nestorius having denied her being the • Mother of God," though he acknowledged her to be the mother of Jesus Christ, in consequence of his heresy in asserting the double personality of the Saviour; to evince their adherence to the ancient doctrine, and the condemnation of his error, thenceforth they addressed the blessed virgin, saying “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us,” &c. The prayer continues, and through the intercesssion “ of the holy apostles, Peter and Paul, and of Andrew, and of all the Saints.” The special mention of those three apostles is almost distinct evidence of this prayer having been originally drawn up in the city of Rome, for we have St. Peter who founded the church in that city, St. Paul who aided him during many years in its administration, and who there suffered martyrdom with St. Peter; and St. Andrew, the brother of Prter, who on that account was specially honoured in that city, so much so, that his festival was kept with almost equal solemnity, and on the festival of St. Andrew, it was marked in one of the most ancient copies of the Ordo, that the Pope should commence the office at the church of St. Andrew, and conclude it at that of his brother Peter. However some very old copies of this prayer have been found with the names of other Sainis after that of Andrew,
The great object of the prayer was, “ peace, that we may always be free from sin and secure from all disturbance," which are both concomitants of war. The celebrant in repeating this prayer signed himself with the Patten which he held in his hand, and kissed it as the emblem of peace and charity; for upon it that oblation had been made, which exhibited the union and peace of the congregation ; and now it was to be placed under the holy sacrament, whence we expect that peace which the world cannot give. The prayer concluded in the usual way; “ Through