the bishops, to whom alone is given in the Church of England this "public authority to call and send ministers. into the Lord's vineyard." And, since the reference of the terms was thus rendered unmistakable, it was probably considered unnecessary to introduce a more formal mention of the Episcopate here.1 It will therefore be more convenient that in this Commentary upon the Articles the discussion of the questions connected with the Episcopate and the threefold ministry should be reserved until they can be treated of in connection with that Article in which they are distinctly mentioned.

1 It must be remembered that the Articles were not designed to be a complete system of theology. Originally they were merely intended to be a practical test, called forth by the exigencies of the times. At the time when they were first drawn up in 1553 there was no practical question at issue in this country between Episcopal orders and Presby terian; and all that was really necessary was to assert against the Anabaptists the need of an external call.


De precibus publicis dicendis in lingua vulgari.

Lingua populo non intellecta publicas in ecclesia preces peragere, aut Sacramenta administrare, verbo Dei et primitivæ Ecclesiæ consuetudini plane repugnat.

Of Speaking in the Congregation, in such a tongue as the people understandeth.

It is a thing plainly repugnant to the word of God, and the custom of the primitive Church, to have public prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments in a tongue not understanded of the people.

THIS Article was rewritten and brought into its present form by Archbishop Parker in 1563. The corresponding Article in the Edwardian Series was this: "Men must speak in the congregation in such tongue as the people understandeth.1 It is most seemly and most agreeable to the word of God, that in the congregation nothing be openly read or spoken in a tongue unknown to the people, the which thing S. Paul did forbid, except some were present that should declare the same." The difference is practically this: Whereas in 1553 the Church of England contented herself with asserting that it was "most seemly and most agreeable to the word of God" that public worship should be held in a tongue familiar to those present, since 1563 she has maintained the position that the contrary is "plainly repugnant to the word of God and the custom of the primitive Church." It is necessary, therefore, to consider separately—

1 This title was allowed to remain in 1563, the present one not being substituted for it till 1571.

1. The evidence of Scripture on this subject. 2. The custom of the primitive Church.

I. The Evidence of Scripture.

The only passage in the Bible which can be thought to bear directly upon the subject is 1 Cor. xiv., where S. Paul is speaking of the gift of tongues, and laying down rules for its exercise. His language implies that the "tongue" was ordinarily not intelligible to those present, and he expresses a strong preference for the gift of prophecy, on the ground that it conduces to the edification, comfort, and consolation of those present (ver. 3), whereas the speaker in a tongue speaketh to God only and not to men, "for no man understandeth" (ver. 2). "He that speaketh in a tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the Church" (ver. 4); and thus, "in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that I might instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue" (ver. 19). For this reason he further charges the man that "speaketh in a tongue to "keep silence in the church, if there be no interpreter" (ver. 28). In all this the general principle is laid down that it is right not only to "pray with the spirit," but to pray with the understanding also," and to "sing with the understanding also," as well as to "sing with the spirit." But it is obviously impossible for this to be done where the service is held "in a tongue not understanded of the people." In such a case "the spirit" may "pray," but "the understanding" will be "unfruitful" (ver. 14).

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It may be admitted that by the aid of a version in the vernacular, which shall be placed in the hands of the laity, the disadvantages of worship conducted in a dead language may be to some extent obviated. But even so

the broad principle laid down by the Apostle remains untouched nor does it appear possible that the bulk of the congregation can really join in intelligently unless the language is one that is familiar to them; and however much the idea that the unity of the Church should be expressed by the unity of the language in which her prayers everywhere ascend to God may appeal to us, this is, after all, a matter of sentiment, and S. Paul's ruling distinctly places edification as the first consideration. We conclude, then, that it is a thing plainly repugnant to the word of God... to have public prayer in the Church or to minister the Sacraments in a tongue not understanded of the people.

II. The Custom of the Primitive Church.

It is also repugnant to the custom of the primitive Church. This assertion is scarcely open to question. The evidence of the ancient Liturgies, as well as of incidental statements in the writings of early Fathers,1 is amply sufficient to prove that as various countries were evangelised, the services of the Church, including the administration of the Sacraments, were held in whatever language was familiar to the people of the country. Thus there still exist Liturgies, not only in Greek, but also in Syriac, Armenian, Coptic, etc.; and it was only in the same way that Latin came to be employed in worship at all, as the general language in use throughout the West.

1 E.g. Origen, Contra Celsum, viii. 37: "The Greeks use Greek in their prayers, the Romans Latin, and so everyone in his own language prays to God, and gives thanks as he is able. And He that is Lord of every tongue hears that which is asked in every tongue." Cf. S. Jerome, Ad Eustoch., Epitaph. Paula. The evidence of the Fathers is set out at length in the Homily on Common Prayer and the Sacraments, a large part of which is devoted to the consideration of the position maintained in this Article. See the Homilies, p. 378 seq. (S.P.C.K.).

Originally the Roman Church was Greek-speaking; and so long as this was the case the Liturgy there used was, not Latin, but Greek.1 But by degrees, as Latin became universal in the West among all classes, so the use of Latin in public worship spread, although it was never adopted in the East. Its retention throughout the Western Church, after the dialects spoken in different quarters had diverged so greatly as to become different languages, as French, Spanish, and Italian, and after the conversion of the Teutonic races and the growth of their several languages, was for a time a real convenience, as Latin was the one language that was generally understood in all parts, and formed the medium of intercourse among educated people. But, as the old order changed, the disadvantages became greater than the advantages, though by a not unnatural conservatism the Church clung tenaciously to what was customary. Then, when the inconveniences were complained of, it was found necessary to justify the existent practice, and arguments were urged in its favour which are clearly afterthoughts, and if seriously pressed would be fatal to the use of Latin, and compel us to revert to the original language in which the Scriptures were written and the Eucharist instituted. But there is no need to enter into these here. Sufficient has been said to justify the position taken up in the Article, and that is all that is required from us.


1 A trace of this still remains in the Kyrie Eleison, which has never been translated into Latin, but is still used in its Greek form.

2 The formal statement of the Roman Church is, "If anyone shall say that... the Mass ought only to be celebrated in the vulgar tongue. let him be anathema."-Decrees of the Council of Trent, Session XXII. canon ix. This session was held in Sept. 1562, shortly before the revision of the Articles in Elizabeth's reign. It is therefore possible that the alteration then made in the terms of the Article was in consequence of the promulgation of this canon.

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