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treats of and their Latin service, viz. that in the former the people are obliged to join, but not in the latter; which supposes that they must understand the service they are obliged to join in; and consequently, that they cannot join in the Latin service, because they do not understand it; for could they join in the latter, as well as the former, this disparity could be no reason why the one should not be in a known tongue, as well as the other. In short, we argue that there is the same necessity that the people should understand the stated prayers of the Church, as that they should understand those inspired prayers which St. Paul treats of, because they are obliged to join in one as well as the other. And we confess, say our adversaries, were this reason good, there would be the same necessity ; but therefore we assert, that there is not the same necessity, because, though we allow they were obliged to join in those inspired prayers, yet we utterly deny that they are obliged to join in the stated prayers of the Church; this must be their sense, or this pretence of disparity between these two sorts of prayer, must be nonsense : and therefore seeing the whole of their service is worded in Latin, which is an unknown tongue to most of their people, it necessarily follows that the most of their people are not obliged to join in any part of it, and consequently in those congregations where neither the priest nor any of the people understand Latin ; their prayers are read, and nobody is obliged to pray them ; and their worship is performed, and nobody obliged to worship by it; which is a plain confession, that that which they call their public worship, is no worship; or, which is the same thing, a worship that nobody is concerned in, or obliged to.
Thirdly, That the public prayers of the Church have been always looked upon as prayers that were common to the people with the priests ; for so it is plain that the public prayers of the temple were common to all the people, and that they joined in them; not only from their responding Amen, at the close of them (as was observed before), but also from several passages of Scripture ; such as,* “In his temple doth every one speak of his glory.” And,+ “I went with the multitude to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise." And again, I “Exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.” All which do shew that the people were to join in those public
* Psal. xxix. 9.
† Psal. xlii. 4.
* Psal. cvii. 32.
prayers and praises that were offered in the service of the temple. And indeed it was an ancient canon of the Jewish Church (as their own doctors tell us), that “He who prays, ought always, when he prays, to join with the Church and they tell us particularly of eighteen prayers in their public service, which the people were every day obliged to pray ; or at least, if they were hindered by business, or indisposition of mind, to pray one prayer, which was the summary of them all ; and these prayers they were obliged (if they had time) to repeat after the minister of the congregation; as appears by that rule of theirs,* “When a man goes into the synagogue,
and finds the assembly praying the additional prayer (that is, a prayer which the minister added to the eighteen, as the close of all) if he is sure he shall begin and end, so that he may answer Amen, after the angel of the Church, let him say
his prayers,” i. e. his eighteen prayers, or at least the summary. And that the Christian, as well as the Jewish people, did always join in the public prayers, might be demonstrated, if it were needful, from innumerable authorities of the Fathers : of which it will be sufficient at present to cite three or four : Justin Martyrt tells us, that in their administration of baptism, “the whole assembly being gathered together, did put up common prayers for themselves, for the baptized person, and for all others throughout the world, with an attentive mind;" and that in their Sunday's service, after they had heard the Scriptures and exhortations, “they rose up together and poured forth their supplications.” And that they all joined in the same prayers, is evident, not only from the Apostolic Constitutions, I where the substance of the prayer_they used in baptism is recorded, under the title of, « The Prayer for the Faithful ;" but also from that account which Clemens Alexandrinus gives us of their public worship :$ “The terrestrial altar of the Christians is the assembly of such as join together in prayers, plav ώσπερ έχων φωνήν την κοινήν και μίαν γνώμην, having as it were, one voice or sentence; so that there may be properly said to be in the Church, oýun vola, a breathing together the same breath;
for the sacrifice of the Church is the word that ascends as incense from the holy souls, their whole minds together, with their sacrifice, being made known to God.” Origen, in answer to Celsus, who charges Christians with using barbarous words
* Vid. Lightfoot, vol. 2. 156, 158. + Apolog. 2. p. 97, 98. [p. 82, 83. Par. 1742.] # Lib. 8. c. 10. (Labbe, Concil. vol. 1. p. 469. Lut. Par. 1671.] Ś Strom. 7. p. 717. (p. 848. Venet. 1757.]
in their worship, tells him that it is utterly false, that "the Greeks, in their prayers, used the Greek, the Romans the Latin; and that every one prayed to God, and praised him in his own dialect ; and so the Lord of all dialects hears them praying to him in every dialect, expressing, with one voice, in divers tongues, the things which those divers tongues signify; for he prefers not one ngue before another, whether it be Greek or barbarous, as being either ignorant of, or not regarding what is spoken in other languages."* By which it is evident that Christian assemblies did then, not only pray the same prayers (for otherwise, how could they be said to pray with one voice ?) but also that their
prayers were all expressed in their own vulgar. St. Cyprian expressly tells us, that “in their assemblies with the brethren, they celebrated the divine sacrifices of prayer and eucharist, together with the priest of God.”+ And to name no more, St. Basil in his apologetic epistle for his monks, tells the clergy of Neocæsarea that "at break of day we all in common, as from one mouth and heart, offer a psalm of confession to God, every one making the penitential words his own; and if you shun us for these things, you must shun the Egyptians also, both the Libyas, those of Thebes, Palestine, Arabia, Phoenicia, Syria, and the inhabitants near Euphrates; and in a word, all those that have any esteem for prayers, and vigils, and psalmodies.”I Which plainly shews, that it was then the manner of all Christian assemblies, to join together in the same prayer; and that they did not only pray them, but vocally repeat them after the priests, is evident from what he elsewhere tells us ; and St. Ambrose from him, viz. “That from the prayers of men, women, and children to God, a mixed sound was heard in the Church, as it were of a wave dashing against the shore.” A great many more authorities might be produced to this purpose ; || but these I think are sufficient to satisfy any modest man, that in the public prayers both of the Jewish and Christian Church, the people were always looked upon as obliged to join and bear their parts : and if in this the Church of Rome be singular from all other Churches (as our authors will have her) the more is her shame ; and though this be bad enough, I wish to God it were the only criminal singularity she is guilty of. But,
* Cont. Cels. p. 402. [vol. 1. p. 769. Par. 1733.]
Hexam. Hom. 4. To. 1. p. 46. [vol. 1. p. 55. Par. 1839.) || See a Treatise in Confutation of the Latin Service.
Fourthly, and lastly, The Church of Rome herself must be forced to own, that the people are obliged to join in her public prayers with the priests, or to confess herself guilty of the highest absurdity; for both in her Mass and Breviary, the priest is ordered to preface a great part of the prayers with Oremus, i. e. “Let us pray.” Now I beseech you, who doth the priest mean by us ?' I cannot think he means himself only, for then he must split himself in twain to make an us ; and divide himself by his Christian name, from himself in his surname; and so Joseph must call to Mumford, “Let us pray ;” and if he means not this (as sure it is not imaginable he should mean so wild an absurdity in such a serious matter) he must mean himself and the people : but then, why should he call upon the people to pray, if they are not obliged to pray with him ? If it be said that he only calls upon the people to pray, but not to join with him in the same prayer ; besides that there can be no reason assigned, why the people should not join in the same prayers ; and a great deal why they should, these prayers containing nothing in them but what is as proper for the people as the priests : besides this, I say, it is evident that the intention of this Oremus is, to excite both priests and people to join together in the same prayer; for the priest speaks to himself, conjunctly with the people,
and I pray ;” and therefore his meaning must be the same to both, but to himself his meaning is to excite himself to pray the following prayer, and therefore it must be the same to the people: as for instance, when in the office of the Vigils of Pentecost, the priest saith, “Let us pray: 0 God, who hast commanded us, by the mouths of the prophets, to forsake temporal things, and pursue eternal,” &c. it is plain that he admonishes himself to pray this
very prayer ; because immediately after he is to read a portion of Scripture ; and therefore he must either read one prayer, and pray another, or pray
that prayer, or none : and if the meaning of his Oremus be to excite himself to pray that prayer, it must be to excite the people to do the same ; which necessarily supposes the people to be obliged to join with the priest in the same prayers, otherwise the Oremus signifies nothing ; and indeed, take it at best, it signifies nothing to the generality of the people, few of whom understand the signification of it; and suppose they all understand that it signifies “Let us pray, yet are they never the wiser for it: for what must they pray? Why they must pray, Deus qui nobis per prophetarum ora, &c. But, good sir, what is that? Why it is Latin. Is it so?
Truly had it been Welsh or Arabic, it had been all one ; we understand neither the one nor the other. Understand! what is that to the purpose ? I tell you, you must pray it, whether you understand it or no. That is a very hard case indeed, for a company of silly souls as we are, to be required to pray we know not what; or, which is the same thing, to desire and hope for good things in nubibus, where we know neither what they are, nor of what importance they are to us; and the truth of it is, it is not only hard, but impossible ; for seeing it is the knowledge of good things that renders them desirable, how is it possible for men to pray for, or desire of God the good things contained in a prayer, of which they have no knowledge, and which, for all they know, may be a charm instead of a prayer, or an imprecation of mischief, instead of a supplication for mercies. But let this be as it will, it is a plain case, that whenever the priest pronounces his Oremus (which he is very frequently obliged to do), he calls upon the people to join with him in the same prayer, which supposes them obliged so to do : and if they are so, it is evident our disparitymakers depart as far from the sense of their own Church, as from the truth, when they tell us that the people were obliged to join in those inspired prayers which St. Paul treats of, but not in the stated liturgy of the Church; and that therefore there is not the same necessity why the latter should be in a known tongue, as the former.
3rdly, and lastly, Another disparity they make between these two sorts of prayer, is in respect of the languages in which they were expressed. “The Apostle,” saith Bellarmine, “speaks of that sort of prayer and giving of thanks, which was performed by the gift of tongues, in some language that was utterly extraneous, which nobody understood, as Arabic or Persic; and which he who spoke it, many times did not understand ; but he doth not speak of the divine offices, which being composed in Greek, were understood of many;"'* and to the same purpose Fisher, † Vane, I and the Rhemists, $ who tell us, “The Apostle condemns a barbarous tongue, but not that which is understood by learned and civil people in every great city, as Hebrew, Greek, and Latin :" and to the same note cants our Scripturist, who is sure never to boggle at an absurdity wherever his master Bellarmine leads the way: “St. Paul,” saith he, “ doth not so much as mean here to ex
* De Verb. Dei, lib. 2. c. 16. [ut supra, col. 1.] + Ibid. p. 372.
# Page 358.
§ Annotat. p. 461.