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LITURGY OF INDIA.
CHRISTIANITY appears to have penetrated to India at an early period, as the name of a bishop of the church in “ Persia and India” occurs amongst the acts of the general council of Nice, A.D. 325. (Gelasii Hist. Syn. Niceni, pars ii. c. 35. Labbe, Concilia, tom. ii. p. 267.) Cosmas, who, about the year 547, wrote a treatise on Christian topography, states that in Taprobana or Ceylon, and Male or Malabar, there were Christian churches, and in Calliana or Calianapore, a bishop who was ordained in Persia. The Nestorians must by this time have been established in India, as they had for nearly a century been in possession of the churches in Persia ; and, of course, the bishops of India ordained by Nestorian prelates were themselves Nestorian. The liturgy of the Christians of Malabar, or St. Thomas, has not come down to us free from interpolations and alterations. Menezes, who in the sixteenth century was appointed archbishop of Goa by the Portuguese some time after their discovery of India, took care to reform the Nestorian liturgy of Malabar. (See an account of bis alterations in Le Brun, Cérémonies de la Messe, &c. tome vi. p. 451, &c.) This liturgy was translated from Syriac into Latin, and is found in the Bibliotheca Patrum. Le Brun has endeavoured to restore it, as extant before the time of Menezes, (tom. vi. p. 468, &c.) When the dominion of the Portuguese in India was shaken by the Dutch, and a portion of the native Christians in Malabar recovered their independence in the latter part of the seventeenth century, they received bishops from the Jacobite patriarchs of Antioch, and have ever since continued in the Jacobite communion. Of course they use the liturgy of St. James in Syriac, of which I have already spoken, section i. p. 16. 20, &c. and probably other liturgies of the Jacobites, many of which have been printed by Renaudot in the second volume of his Oriental Liturgies.
CHAPTER 1.-PART I.
THE MORNING PRAYER.
BEFORE I enter on the consideration of those particular formularies which the church of England has appointed for morning and evening prayers, it will be advisable, as an elucidation of what is to follow, to consider most briefly the original of the canonical hours of prayer, or of those seasons of every day which were appointed for the worship of God, the services which were anciently performed at those hours, and the books in which the services were contained.
FIRST, let us consider the antiquity of the hours of prayer.
To direct our attention to that which more immediately concerns the church of England, I will first treat upon those hours of prayer which were received in that and other western churches previously to the Reformation. They were seven in number. Matins, the first, third, sixth, and