Page images

lummoned by the Deacon, in this form . Let us pray 10 the Lord in Peace, To the Petitions whcrcof they answer sometimes, Lord have Mercy: Elsewhere, Grant it to us. O Lord: And these are frequently enjoyned in the Liturgies of St. James, St. Chrysostom, St. Basil,&c. only under other Titles for from their Performer,they are called the Diaconick Prayers (1), from their Matter, the (1) Td Alaróversla Pacificks (m), from their Form,the (m) 'Eeghúng. Collects (n), and Supplications (0) (n) Eunára. being still no other than what the (0) Adiges. Western Church knew by the name of Litanjes, so that whereas it is alledged out of St. Basil, that'he faith Litanies were not known in the dayes of Gregory Thaumaturgus, his sence must be, they were not known by that Name, or else that Procellions (called Litanies foinetimes) were not then in use.


S.IV. IN the Latin Church' we frave yery early Proofs

of these kind of Supplications ; in the Dayes of Tertullian the Christians had their Assemblies on Wednesday and Friday,which they called Stations (p); Upon which cp) Tertut ad uxor.. (faith Albaspineus (9)), they

2. Item de Coron.mili. met early in the Morning's conti- (99 Albas, ina. I. 3

tis, do adverfi fych. nuing till three in the afternoon. Objero16. in Prayer, Fasting , Humiliation and Tears--for the defence of the Church, and to abtain the Mercy and the Favour of God: And then they prayed for the Removal of Judgments ( as We now do ) as may ap- tionibus do jejunatio

(r) Quando genicula. pear from Tertullians affuring nibus noftris, 'derulle us, that by this mcans Drought non funt ficcitates. was removed (r), yea St. Cyprian Scapul,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


hath reckoned up many of the Particulars of those

primitive Litanies, viz. for de

liverance from Enemies for (s) Pro arcendis hoe Jiibus,& imbribus im. the obtaining Rain, &c. (6) St. petrandis, Gvelano Ambrose hath left us a compleat ferendis vel temperan Form, of his own Composing (as dis adverfis, rogamus is believed which we shall have femper, das preces fundimus, Cypr, ed De occafion to cite frequently, becaufe

of its Harmony with this of ours;

We might give more Proofs of the Antiquity of Litanies, but this may suffice to convince us that we must not fix their Original fo late as the time of Mamertus Bishop of Vienne, anno Christi 460, for he was not the first Inventor of them, much less Gregory the great, who flourished 140 years after: But the occafion of theOpinion concerning Mamertus was thisjas both

Mantuan (t), and Gregorius Turon (t)Urbs sedet ad Rho- relate it. Many Prodigies appea

danum, Galli dixere ring and much evil being felt, and Viennam, Que tulit adversos ca.

feared in his Country, He a litfros pastore' Ms- tle before the Feaft of our Lords

Ascension, injoyned a Fast to the Et paulo poft

People, and appointed an Order of cafibus his percule


-whereby the ter arali

rors ceasing, the fame of being difQuerere subsidia , d persed through all Provinces, ad

Dives excire pre- monished all other Priests to follow

cando , Hinc traxit Litancia

his Example (u): And truly it

was not twenty years after, when Mantuan. Fauft. 4. we find Sidonius Bishop of Averna (u) Gregor. Turonens,

in imitation of him, enjoyning hist.lib.2.cap 34. such a Litany in time of Fa(w) Sidonius Epift.l.

mine ( 0 ), and within another 7. Epiftor.

twenty years a Council appoin- [ed, that they should be yearly ob




Divina Coc


farved (*): But the truth is, (N) Quod Rogatione, there were fuch Supplications i.e. Litanie ante As

cenfionem Domini cio before ; only this Mamertus was the

lebrentur, Concil.Aufirst, who used them in Procession rel.Can. 12, abroad, here in the Western Church, and yet so also Litanies had been used in the Eastern Church fifty years before the time of Mamertus, for Nicepborus informs us, That in a time of scarcity and on occasion of a terrible Earthquake &t Constantinople, a Li. tany was inftituted, and they went about the City Supe plicating the whole City being made one Church, Theodotius the Emperour bimself going foremost in private babit, (y) Nicephorus hift. Mor were their Expectations de 1.14. cap. 2. Idem ceived, for the Tempefte ceased,

Theodofius do Proand instead of scarcity, there fole neias do Supplicatio,

clus Patriarcha,Lita. lowed great plenty and abun nes fælicitèr indixedance, and others agree with

runt ob terre molum. him. Now when this way of Cedrenus hist. publick saying Litanies in Procellion had been so available to avert Judgments, both in the East and Welt, no wonder if Gregory the Great,anno 6oo. living in a time of universal Calamity, by fickness,inundation and the sword, did review all the antient Forms, and compose that so famous sevenfold Litany out of them all (2): Which all the Western Churches have (2) Paulus Discon.

lib.18. Bilæus in vit, principally imitated ever since, as Gregore doc. being the most full and regular Office of this kind, that had been compiled ; and it is affirmed, that our Litany comes nearer to this, than that of the present Roman Church, to which Pope Honorius hath added the Invocation of all the Saints, which was rot in that of St. Gregories, and is expunged by our Reformers: Yet ftill it appears that it was not the Prayers,

B 4


but the Name, the certain time,viz.In Rogation week, the manner (of going about the fields in reciting them,

doc.) which were instituted by the (a) Concil. Aurelian. latter Councels (a), but the earnest Concil. Supplications were truly primitive, Vt Litanie bis diebus having been used in the Church,be? à Clero omnique Popr. fore the Processions and Preambulo cum magnd reveren. lations were joyned to them, and tiâ aguntur. Synod. remaining when those were taken Cloveshov. in Anglia c. 16. an. 747. Concil. away ; for there being much scanMogunt. Cino33. an.

dal at length in those processional Litanies, it was decreed, That the

Litany should for the future only be used within the Walls of the Church.Concil.Colonient Concil. Tom. 2. pag.513. And so it is used arnong us to


this day.


[Aving thus asserted the Antiquity of Li

tanies in general ; it remains that we say fomewhat of this particular Litany of the Church of England, concerning which it may be noted, that it hath a resemblance of most of the Antient Forms, but is not the same with any One, having so extracted the Marrow of them all, that we may justly esteem it to be the best in this kind that ever was: It is larger than those of the Greek Church, and shorter than that of the Latin, having cut off those impious and impertinent Addresses to the Saints, whose Names are one half of the Roman Litany, and yet adding some useful Petitions instead of those , and putting every thing into a molt admirable Method : The time when it is appointed to be used is upon Wednesda, s and Fridays, the Antient Fasting days of the Primitive


Church (b),who thought not fit to (b) Nnscie tūs ir Thew less Devotion than the Phari- tpádo xj tagord fees, who fafted twice in the Week ñsClem. Alex. (c),viz.on Mundays and Thursdays Strom.7. A quo vero (d), for which cause some think non eft affenfum in om. the Christians chose the Fourth and quod quartå og pro

nibus orbis regionibus, Sixth, or rather, as Petrus Alexan- Subbatho jejunium eft drinus faith (e), because the Death in Ecclesia decretum: of Christ was designed on the Epiphan.advers. Aer:

Cür Stationibus quurFourth, and accomplished on the

tam do sextam feriam Sixth day: The Litany is also to be dicamus ? Tertul. said on Sunday, not so much be (c) Luke xviii.12. cause Agapetus did so order it, an.

(d) Buxto Synag. c.

23. because there is then the

(e) Apud Albafpine. greatest Assembly to joyn in this lib.1.068.16. vigorous Supplication, and that no day might seem to have a solemner Service then the Lords day, whose first design was by God, and its Confirmation by Apoftolick Practice; three times a week therefore the Litany is read ordinarily, and if we consider, that affliction is the Portion of the Church Militant, and that there is no time, when some part of it or other , is not distressed by Persecution or the Sword, by Famine or Peltilence, Schism or Herely, we shall easily believe it can never be said unseasonably, with respect to the Common Calamities of all Mankind; but when any of these Judgments lye upon us, it is left to the Discretion of our spiritual Fathers to injoyn it more frequently, if they fee occasion : F/nally, as to the Composure it self, the Method 'is clear and comprehenlive, the Form primitive and proper for afflicted Supplyants, the phrase is earnett and affectionate, so that he must be extreme obdurate, who is not moved by it to an extraordinary firvency of Devotion; The first Christians used to make


« PreviousContinue »