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Elizabeth was then fifty-five years old, a considerable age for a lady in those days, yet she clad herself in a corselet of armour and rode among her troops cheering and inspiring them with speeches and expectation of victory, and camping with them as near to the coast as her Generals would permit. “I am come amongst you as you see at this time," she declared, “not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all—to lay down for my God, and for my Kingdoms, and for my people, my honour and my blood even in the dust! . . but by your obedience to my General, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over these enemies of my God, of my Kingdoms, and of my people."
It were well to read once more how, as in ancient Bible days, “the stars in their courses fought for Sisera,” the great winds of heaven and the waves of the sea fought for England: how in the midst of a tempest, which, in the words of the chronicle “shook heaven and earth,” Frobisher, Howard and Drake, with scarcely any powder or shot to fight with, chased the Spaniards and never lost a single English ship, while the Spanish galleons, which they could not sink or destroy, were driven helpless wrecks in the teeth of the flying gales to shatter themselves against the rocks of the Orkneys in the far North.
“And ever the storm
Above him on the huge o'erhanging billows,
'Not unto us'
Elizabeth would never name her successor. Even when she was dying she gave no really definite intimation that she was willing that James Stuart, the son of her Catholic enemy, Mary, Queen of Scots, should reign in her stead. She did not realize to what an extent the reformed religion was leavening the whole of Scotland, and in some ways making strides in advance of English reform. Yet she knew divine Providence was working, and that the deliverance vouchsafed to her people from the yoke of Rome could not be reversed. From the human viewpoint it was problematical. There was no evidence at hand to point the way. And so the mighty Queen passed into the life beyond, returning no answer to those who so persistently questioned her, but in the silent wrestling of her soul, committed her beloved people unto God.
Elizabeth's heir was not to be a child after the flesh. It was to be a book--the great Authorized Version of the Bible.
ECHOES FROM AN EARLY PRAYER BOOK
VIDE by side with the translation of the Bible came
an event of secondary, but none the less tremendous,
importance for religion in England, and that was the establishment of the English Prayer Book. It was first brought into use in 1548, the reign of Edward VI, and revised by Elizabeth. Severe Acts of Uniformity obliged all clergy to adhere to its phraseology. For beauty of diction it rivals the verse of Shakespeare and the Epistles of St. Paul, while its sincerity of feeling and incomparable dignity has caused it to live century after century an integral part of English national life.
While Christ Jesus came to fulfil the old covenant and blessing of Jacob, He also instituted a new and progressive covenant by which He makes all who faithfully serve Him “Kings and priests unto God” (Rev. I : 6), and this revelation of man's relation to God in a broad and universal sense rises above the national standpoint to the spiritual and divine. Men with the New Testament in their hands soon began to make this discovery for themselves, and to feel that beyond the benefit of being able to pray to God in their own mother tongue, they wished to give utterance to prayers in their own words, that their supplications might spring from their own hearts and consciences, and not from the minds of others, however beautiful and appropriate the thoughts of others might be.
Furthermore, while the English Prayer Book was a wonderful reaction from the bondage of Rome, it was not entirely free from the materialism of the middle ages with regard to the commemoration of the Lord's Supper, and it was on this vexed question that the martyrs had, in the words of Latimer, lit "such a candle in England as by the Grace of God shall never be put out.” It is therefore of supreme interest, in the face of fifteenth and sixteenth century controversies over the form of prayer to be used at the Communion Service and indeed in the face of the present day discussions over proposed changes), to go back to a very early collection of Christian prayers by an Egyptian Bishop, made about 350 A.D., and see in what a far more anti-sensual spirit he has expressed his formula for the Church Sacrament. This collection, discovered in the Greek Monastery of Mount Athos and translated by Bishop Wordsworth (London 1899), is called Bishop Serapion's Prayer Book, and is the earliest known Anaphora or Canon. In it the narrative of the Institution of the Eucharist reads thuswise:
“This bread is the likeness of the Holy Body, for the Lord Jesus Christ in the night in which He was betrayed took bread and brake and give to His disciples saying “Take and eat, this is my Body which is being broken for you for the remission of sins.' Wherefore we also making the likeness of the death have offered the bread, and we beseech Thee through this sacrifice be reconciled to all of us and be merciful, O God of truth; and as this bread had been scattered on the top of the mountains and gathered together, came to be one, so also gather Thy Holy Church out of every nation and every country and every village and house, and make one living Catholic Church.
“We have offered also the cup, the likeness of the Blood, for the Lord Jesus Christ taking a cup after Supper said to His own disciples 'Take, drink, this is the New Covenant which is my Blood which is being shed for you for remission of sin.' Wherefore we have also offered the cup, presenting a likeness of the Blood.
“The Consecration. O God of truth, let Thy Holy Word come to sojourn on this bread that the bread may become Body of the Word, and on this cup that the cup may become Blood of the Truth. And make all who communicate to receive a medicine of life for the healing of every sickness, and for the enabling of all advancement and virtue, not for condemnation, O God of Truth, and not for censure and reproach. For we have invoked Thee, the uncreated, through the Only-begotten in the Holy Spirit.
“Receive also the thanksgiving of the people and bless those who offered the oblations and the thanksgivings, and grant health and soundness and cheerfulness, and all advancement of soul and body to this whole people through the Only-begotten Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit; as it was and is and shall be to generations of generations, and to all the ages of the ages. Amen."
We see by this early canon that good Bishop Serapion used the illustration of bread and wine as symbols of a higher hope. He was not trying to turn Divinity into matter in order to convince Christian congregations of their Saviour's love and the Ever-presence of Christ. Mrs. Eddy sums up the joyous worship of the early centuries when she writes this passage on True Philosophy and Communion:
“Really, Christianity turned men away from the thought of fleshly sacrifice, and directed them to spiritual attainments. Life, not death, was and is the very centre of its faith. Christian Science carries