Monday, July 12, 2010

A Riposte on Puritans and Puritanism

"The Puritan party from the days of Elizabeth to the present time have never honestly accepted the Prayer Book : its members have been too much of Churchmen to leave the Church, but too little of Churchmen to value its principles: They have remained in a false position, attempting to subvert the system to which they nominally conformed. It has been pointed out how openly the attempt was made in Elizabethan times; and, though it has in God's good Providence failed all along to win any substantial recognition, it has been able at times to establish an evasive and false tradition of Prayer Book interpretation which has practically popularized and sought even to justify a system of disloyalty to the Prayer Book. The party has had its conflicts with more loyal and wholehearted churchmanship, and the issues have hitherto not been finally decisive. The failure of the Elizabethan attempt to puritanize the Church inaugurated the period of loyalty of the early Stuart times: the success of this recovery was too rapid and too injudicious, and so the revenge came speedily; for a while sectarianism and even puritanism had their way, until a short experience of their results under the Commonwealth produced a fresh reaction. The failure of the Puritans at the Savoy inaugurated another period of loyalty under the later Stuarts, but, when Church life was systematically crushed in the 18th century by Whig politicians and Latitudinarian bishops, the reign of the false tradition and the evasive, disloyal or merely torpid attitude to the rules of the Church's worship again set in; and those who tried to be loyal to the Church system, whether early followers of Wesley, Clapham Evangelicals or Oxford Tractarians, were all alike in turn charged with innovation, disloyalty and even with Popery. The contest still survives; the Puritan party still works for a system, which is not the system of the Catholic Church or of the English Prayer Book, and defends its disregard of plain rubrics (e.g., as to fasting or daily services), and its want of sympathy with the system (e.g., as to the frequency and discipline of Communion by appealing to the evasive tradition, which in the dark days of the history it has been able to form, and would like to fasten permanently upon the Church. Thus there is no feature more marked in the history of the Prayer Book than this contest between the Church system of worship expressed in the Prayer Book and the false interpretation which has grown up through a continuous tradition of evasion and rebellion."

This quotation, taken from Proctor and Frere's New History of the Book of Common Prayer, is still as true as the day it was written and published. The Continuum has been repeatedly split by this fight which has been made the worse by those who should have been the best of Churchmen adopting and practicing a tradition equally at varience with the Prayer Book and the Church, i.e., an imitation of the very worse of what even Roman authorities have labeled as "Roman bad taste." The result is that those who know and actually practice the Anglican tradition seem to have become fewer every year. But it is that tradition, the way of the classical Prayer Book Catholic, which this blog has embraced and will continue to do our best to set before all those who call themselves Anglicans and the world at large.

The above was originally posted in my first year and I am putting it back up now because of recent opinions on other Anglican sites, I think this long quotation from Proctor and Frere needs to be revisited. In both the English and American churches men who had no loyalty to the doctrine, discipline and worship to be found and still found in all of the classical prayer books stood for orders and accepted ordination to an office which they didn't accept or believe in precisely for the reason of destroying first the Church of England and now all of Anglicanism. The purpose of this blog is to support Anglicanism according to the one official document of the Church which is the Book of Common Prayer.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Independence Day

Tomorrow is Independence Day and its propers will replace those for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity. on pages xlii and xliii of the American Book of Common Prayer you will find the psalms and lessons for Morning and Evening Prayer. Strangely, it does not rate a first evensong. That may be because it is not entirely a feast of the Church although the Church does give it great importance as well it should.

Why? Because the American struggle for independence, for liberty was a struggle born from the very teaching of the prayer book tradition itself just as the revolt against King John which led to the Magna Carta was likewise a struggle born in the Gospel's vision for all men. Most of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence and who wrote the Constitution of the United States were Churchmen. Consequently it is no wonder that the ideals upon which this nation was founded and built sprang straight from the Old Testament and the New.

As we celebrate our independence tomorrow appropriately in attendance at Morning Prayer and Holy Communion let us remember all those who have given their lives both to make and keep us free. And let us also renew our faith in the Faith which inspired them, the faith which every day reminded them that there is a God in "whose service is perfect freedom."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Feast of the Visitation

This is the first evensong of the feast of the Visitation. It was instituted by Urban VI in 1389 and celebrates the occasion of the Magnificat. It is found in the black letter calendars of the English book of 1662 and the deposited book as well as those of Scotland and Canada. It was also to be found in the calendar of Sarum and the rest of English Uses.

G. H. Palmer's Antiphons upon Magnificat and Nunc Dittis provides antiphons for both the first and second evensong. According to this the tone of the first is solemn version of the sixth and the second the solemn of the fourth with the second ending. The text of the first antiphon is as follows:

To an instrument * of ten strings singeth the Royal maiden, magnifying the Lord her Savior who hath wrought in her so wondrously : Who putteth down the mighty from their seat, in righteousness, and exalteth the humble in his loving kindness.

The Collect in The English Liturgy is as follows:

Almighty God, who for their mutual comfort, didst cause the Blessed Virgin, mother of thine only Son, to visit Saint Elizabeth; Mercifully grant that we, being sheltered by thy defense from all adversaries may ever be comforted by his continual visitation, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.