THE CASE FOR INCENSE
SUBMITTED TO HIS GRACE
THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
ON BEHALF OF
THE REV. H. WESTALL
ON MONDAY, MAY 8, 1899
A LEGAL ARGUMENT
THE APPENDICES OF THE EXPERTS
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. 39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON,
NEW YORK AND BOMBAY,
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
GENERAL HISTORICAL AND THEOLOGICAL STATEMENT 3
OUTLINE OF LEGAL ARGUMENTS 22
A. NOTES ON THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE USE
OF INCENSE. W. H. FRERE 29
B. ON THE USE OF INCENSE IN THE ORTHODOX
EASTERN CHURCH. W. J. BIRKBECK 60
C. THE THEOLOGICAL VALUE OF INCENSE –
1. H. R. PERCIVAL 62
2. D. STONE 67
D. THE RUBRICS COMPARED AND THEIR EVIDENTIAL
VALUE CONSIDERED. E. GELDART 71
E. TWO CASES ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE PERMANENCE
OF ACCUSTOMED USAGES. W. H. FRERE 91
F. THE USE OF THE CENSER AFTER THE ACCUSTOMED
MANNER. T. A. LACEY 94
G. ON THE EDWARDIAN INVENTORIES OF CHURCH
GOODS. W. H. ST. J. HOPE . 99
H. THE POST-REFORMATION USES OF INCENSE.
W. H. FRERE 104
J. INCENSE UNDER THE PRAYER BOOK OF 1549.
T. A. LACEY 114
OF THE CASE OF
THE REV. H. WESTALL
ON BEHALF OF
The Use of Incense & Processional Lights
N obedience to the Bishop of London, I submit to your Grace the following
Statement in justification of two points of ceremonial practice observed in my
I church in the performance of the Holy Eucharist and Divine Worship for the last twelve years.
In doing so, I desire to state at the outset, as was done by the Bishop of Lincoln when formally cited to appear before the late Archbishop of Canterbury in reference to certain points of ceremonial observance, (1) that the only authority which I can recognize as competent finally to determine and settle such matters is the Synod of the Province, and (2) that in thus appearing before your Grace I base my conduct, not on a particular clause in the Preface of the Prayer Book which I believe can be shown to refer to a totally different class of matters, but on the obedience due to the inherent authority of my Bishop, and to that of your Grace, in so far as your Grace represents the authority of the Synod of the Province.
The ceremonial practices referred by the Bishop of London to your Grace are two: the use of Incense as it has been accustomed to be used in the Church of England from early times, and the carrying of Lights in procession and at other accustomed times in the performance of Divine Worship.
In regard to the use of Incense, I have to state that Incense is burnt in the accus-tomed manner at processions; during the celebration of Holy Communion, at the Ap-proach to the Altar, at the Gospel, at the Offertory, and at the Consecration; and at Even-song on Festivals at the Magnificat.
I respectfully submit that the use of Incense in the accustomed manner is not con-trary to the laws and customs ecclesiastical of this Church and Realm, and I humbly crave the protection of your Grace and that of the Synod of the Province for myself and my people.
I. The use of Incense in the solemn celebration of Divine Worship is universal, and that from very early times, throughout the whole Church, East and West alike.
It had previously formed part of the Temple worship, where it was enjoined by Almighty God Himself. The offering of Incense was part of the daily morning and even-ing services in the Temple, and also of the ceremonial of the Day of Atonement. It was included as a regular part of the sacrificial system, especially in connexion with the un-bloody Sacrifice. The censing was among the most solemn privileges of the Levitical
Priesthood. Other Levitical ceremonies passed away, but this, as an accompaniment of the unbloody Sacrifice, has been retained and become one of the signs of the Universal Christian Church.
It can claim our Lord‟s sanction, not only from His connexion with the Temple worship, but also from the facts (1) that the moment of the offering of Incense by Zacha-riah was chosen as the moment for the opening of the new dispensation; (2) that it was among the gifts offered to Himself by the Wise Men.
Further sanction is to be found in the Apocalypse, where it is twice mentioned as forming part of heavenly worship, and as being ceremonially used. In fact, it is not too much to say that on Biblical grounds there is no ceremonial custom so well established as the use of Incense in Divine Worship.
The Christian Church has carried on the precedent thus set, and has for centuries used Incense as part of Divine Worship. The use may not have been continuous, for in the earliest days there were many circumstances which militated against it and forced the Church to deny herself for the time the privilege of this beautiful piece of Biblical sym-bolism. In the days of persecution Christian worship was necessarily cramped, and, moreover, such things as savoured of Paganism were necessarily abjured; nothing was more crucial in this connexion than the burning of Incense, for it soon became the test of Paganism versus Christianity. But when the Church emerged victorious from the conflict, the burning of Incense ceased to be a dangerous seduction of heathenism, Christian wor-ship began to claim the external dignity which till then it had foregone, and the liturgical use of Incense was one of the first evidences of the new state of things which had come about. When once it was restored it was steadily taken up, and spread till it became uni-versal. And such it has continued: it is neither Roman nor Mediaeval nor Eastern; it has won a permanent place in all the great Christian liturgies; orthodox and heretic, Eastern 1 and Western, all unite in using it as a solemn part of their devotions. 2In the East Divine worship is never celebrated without Incense, and it is one of
the reproaches which the East makes against the West that it allows the Holy Communion to be celebrated without an adjunct which the Orthodox Church holds to be of Ecumeni-cal obligation; in this connexion constant reference is made to the Seventh General Council, on the ground that the censing of persons and things is a witness to the change which the Incarnation has produced in the relation of the whole material creation to God.
The symbolism is transparently clear, and needs no explanation to any devout and intelligent mind, least of all to one that is familiar with the Bible. Various interpretations have at times been put forth of the censings in detail, but the broad reference that under- lies all these is to the power of intercessory prayer and the mediation of our Blessed Lord.3
II. In the West, and in England as part of the Western Church, Incense has conti-nuously been used at processions; in the solemn celebration of Holy Communion, at the Approach to the Altar, the Gospel, and the Offertory; and in honour of the Incarnation at the singing of the Evangelical Canticles Magnificat and Benedictus on Sundays and Fes- 4tivals; it has only dropped out of general use during these later years in England, when the celebration of Holy Communion itself on Sundays and Saints‟ Days, together with so much else of primitive practice and obligation, has been allowed by the negligence of the ecclesiastical authorities to fall to so large an extent into abeyance.
The manner of its use is prescribed in all the old Service Books in greater or less detail, nor is there, in any of the later Service Books of the Church of England beginning with the Order for Communion put out in 1548, and the First English Prayer Book put out in 1549, any rubric forbidding its use.
In regard to Mattins and Evensong it cannot be said, with any semblance of truth, that the changes made by the Church of England, when those responsible for the spiritual government of the Church put out a translation and abridgment of such of the Breviary Services as were then in common parochial use, involve any prohibition of the accus-tomed use of Incense at the Magnificat and Benedictus.
In regard to the Holy Communion it cannot be maintained that when the same au-thorities, including men of the old learning such as Thirlby, Bishop of Westminster, and Day, Bishop of Chichester, put out an Order for “The Supper of the Lord and the Holy
Communion, commonly called the Masse,” in English, they forbad and made illegal what for generations had been an accustomed adjunct of the service; in all the changes, which they then made, there is no indication of such a prohibition; and failing any express direc-tion to that effect, it cannot be held that such was intended; especially when it is borne in mind that these changes were designed to restore the services to that model which should be most in harmony with the teaching and practice of the ancient fathers and doctors of the Church.
III. Such an opinion, it is most respectfully submitted cannot be maintained, and that for the following amongst other reasons: –
(1) The Church of England, throughout all the changes of the Reformation period, steadily, and without flinching, has declared her intention and wish to retain all that was Catholic and primitive, and merely to get rid of what was superstitious, or had been abused to superstitious practice. She disclaimed any intention of separating herself from the Churches of Italy, France, Spain, and Germany; she “doth with reverence retain those ceremonies which do neither endamage the Church of God nor offend the minds of sober men: and only departed from them in those particular points wherein they were fallen both from themselves in their ancient integrity, and from the Apostolical Churches which 5 She repudiated all changes that struck at any “laudable prac-were their first founders.”6 tice of . . . . the whole Catholick Church of Christ.”
In a Declaration put out by Elizabeth in 1569, and ordered to be read in churches, it was denied that any claim was made “to change any ancient ceremony of the Church 7 from the Forme before received and observed by the Catholick and Apostolick Church.”
This principle is not only expressed in a passage here and there in the formularies of the Church of England, but pervades her entire Prayer Book, Articles, and Canons. It is interwoven into and inseparable from Acts of Parliament, Injunctions, Royal Proclama-tions, and the like, and it was reasserted emphatically in 1661 by the Bishops, from whose hands the Church of England received the Prayer Book in its present form. In their reply to the Exceptions of the Presbyterian Brethren against some passages in the present Liturgy (1661), they condemn in every variety of form a “departure” from the “custom of the Churches of God,” or, as they otherwise express it, a “crossing upon the practice of former ages”; they intend to “observe that golden rule of the venerable Council of Nice,
Let ancient customs prevail, till reason plainly requires the contrary”; they refuse to “di-
vide from the Church Catholick” or to “give offence to sober Christians by a causeless 8 departure from Catholick usage.”
It is not claimed that no alteration of ceremonial took place at the Reformation; but that such alterations as were made were made on conservative lines, and only in view of certain specific and well-defined abuses; and, further, it is claimed that clear proof of such alteration is to be required before any innocent portion of the old ceremonial is held to be abrogated. There is no such proof of any abrogation of Incense in the Rubrics of the Prayer Book, which are, however, very explicit wherever a definite alteration was in- 9 tended.
The principle, then, of appeal to Primitive and Catholic usage being a fundamen-tal one of the Church of England, I submit that the Prayer Book must of necessity be so interpreted as to be made to harmonize with, and by no means to contradict, that principle.
It is not denied that the use of Incense at the celebration of the Holy Communion is a custom of the whole Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, and is in widespread use in parts of the Anglican communion outside the Province of Canterbury.
No one has ventured to say that it is a custom which is open to the charge of hav-ing “been turned to vanity and superstition” (Preface to Prayer Book).
Neither is it one involving “a burden which is intolerable” (Preface to Prayer
Book). Rather it is one well calculated “to stir up the dull mind of man to the remem-
brance of his duty to God by” . . . . its . . . . “signification” (Preface to Prayer Book), since there is no symbol throughout the whole of the Old and New Testament so often used to symbolize the prayers of the Church as that of Incense. As such it was not objected to, even by those who, in the sixteenth century, found most to complain of in other practices and ceremonial customs of the Church.
(2) It is true that neither the rubrics in the Prayer Book of 1549, nor in that of 1559, nor in the existing Book of Common Prayer prescribe where Incense is to be used, as was done by the rubrics in some of the later forms of the Latin Service Books; but in determining the question of what the Church of England intended to prescribe or permit, the fact of such omission cannot be held to involve a prohibition, unless it can be proved that the rubrics of the various editions of the Book of Common Prayer either are, or were intended to be, in any sense an exhaustive and complete set of directions for the perfor-mance of Divine Service.
The rubrics in the Missal and Breviary made no pretension to such completeness; much was assumed to be a matter of general custom or local regulation, for which no special directions were given. For example, in the Hereford Missal no mention is made of Incense except at the Gospel, and in no English Missal are the lights on the Altar pre-scribed, any more than they are in the Prayer Book. But it would be very perilous to ar-gue in consequence that Incense was not used at the Offertory according to the use of He-reford; or that no lights were accustomed to be burnt in England on the Altar at Mass.
The same thing may be asserted of the Prayer Book, only to a still greater extent, in view of the fact that the Book of Common Prayer was primarily intended for popular use; it therefore assumes knowledge on the part of the clergy, and largely concerns itself with directions for the behaviour of the people; presenting in this respect a marked con-
trast to the Latin books, which, while they contain fuller directions for the clergy, are al-most silent as to the congregation. As a rule traditional usages are taken for granted, and slightly, if at all, alluded to, and only such rubrics are full and explicit as were concerned with the definite alteration of the accustomed use or with arrangements which were novel 10 altogether.
It is notorious that this incompleteness and scantiness of rubrical direction was a marked feature of the Prayer Book of 1549, and this was also the case in regard to Eliza-beth‟s Prayer Book of 1559.
(1) For example, the rubrics in the Book of 1549 make no mention of the fair li-nen cloth or of any covering for the Altar. The vesture of the priest that “shal execute the
holy ministery” is referred to shortly as “the vesture appoincted for that ministracion,” 11which is explained to be “a white albe plain with a vestement or cope.” It is admitted
that by the “vestment” the chasuble is unquestionably meant, and that the term is wide
enough to cover the use of the amice, stole, and other vestments worn by the priest. In the same way the ministers who are to help in the ministration are to wear “the vestures ap-
pointed for their ministery, that is to saye, Albes with tunacles.” It is no new order which
is given, but the existing order which is shortly referred to; and that this was what was understood at the time is certain from contemporaneous history.
Hooper, writing to Bullinger on December 27, 1549, says, although “the Altars
are here [in London] in many churches changed into tables” [by order of the Council in defiance of the then law of the Church], “the public Celebration of the Lord‟s Supper is very far from the order and institution of our Lord. Although it is administered in both kinds, yet in some places the Supper is administered three times a day. Where they used heretofore to celebrate in the morning the Mass of the Apostles, they now have the Communion of the Apostles. Where they had the Mass of the Blessed Virgin they now have the Communion which they call the Communion of the Virgin. Where they had the principal or High Mass they now have, as they call it, the High Communion.” [These were all sung Masses. Incense would probably have been used at the High Mass, and possibly at the others.] “They still retain their vestments and the candles before the Altars. In the Churches they always chant the hours and other hymns relating to the Lord‟s Sup- 12per, but in our own language.” And again, in a letter to Bullinger of March 27, 1550,
Hooper says, “ It is no small hindrance to our exertions that the form which our Senate and Parliament as we commonly call it has prescribed for the whole realm is so very de-fective and of doubtful construction, and in some respects indeed manifestly impious. . . . I am so much offended with that book, and that not without abundant reason, that if it be not corrected, I neither can nor will communicate with the Church in the administration 13 of the Supper.”
In 1550 the celebration of the Communion Office of the English Prayer Book, with the old ceremonial hitherto used in the Mass, was continued in St. Paul‟s. The Re-
port to the Council in October, 1550, the fourth year of Edward VI., in regard to “the 14 usage of the Communion in Paul‟s,” was “that it, was used as the Very Mass.”
Bucer, writing in 1551, says, “I may add, on ceremonies that in many of your churches there is still found a studied representation of the execrated Mass, in vestures, lights, bowings, crossings, washings of the cup, carrying the book from left to right, lift-15 ing the paten, cup, etc., etc. All these should be expressly forbidden.”
It is to be observed here how things definitely prescribed by the rubrics of the First Prayer Book, then in use, and things not mentioned in the rubrics, are all put on the 16 same level.
In the face of such facts it is impossible to say that Incense was not used under the Communion Office of the First Book of Edward, or that the action of Bishop Ridley and the Council, or the opinions and wishes of Hooper and Bucer, can be held to be a true in-dication of the mind of the Church of England, or of what is covered by the very scanty rubrics of the Prayer Book of 1549.
(ii.) In regard to the Prayer Book of 1559, one crucial case will be sufficient to prove the point. The provision for an additional Consecration of the Eucharistic Elements, when necessary, was omitted in that Prayer Book, though it had been included in the Or-
der of Communion of 1548. Nevertheless, a priest in Elizabeth‟s reign, who pleaded on
trial this omission in justification of his practice of not reciting the words of consecration again over such additional bread and wine as might be required, was condemned, with the additional censure of having brought forward an entirely unjustifiable plea in his defence. 17
The case was heard on Feb. 20, 1573-4, before Queen Elizabeth‟s High Commis-
sioners. The Commissioners were Sandys, Bishop of London; the Lord Chief Justice Cat-lin; Gabriel Goodman, Dean of Westminster; and others. The party accused was Robert 18Johnson, “of late Preacher at Northampton.” One of the charges laid against him was
the omitting “to repeat the words of Institution” when in the Administration of the Sa-
crament more wine was required than had been previously consecrated.
Johnson‟s defence was as follows, as he himself recorded in prison shortly after-
wards: – “I answer under protestation that at no time in the celebrating of the Commu-
nion have I omitted any prayer or words of Institution which the order of the Book pre-scribeth, but have used them in as full and ample manner as they are appointed; but sometimes upon occasion, when wine failed, I sent for more, which I delivered to the people with the words appointed in the Book to be said at the delivery of the Sacrament, not again repeating the words of Institution, partly for that, it being one entire action and one Supper, the words of Institution afore spoken were sufficient, as I do take it; and part-ly for that in the Book of Common Prayer there is no such order appointed, unto the
which in this case I do refer myself.”
After his reply to the charge of omitting the ring in marriage and the cross in bapt-ism, “Then the Bishop rose up and spake: Those last two be but trifles and matters of no weight; but the chiefest is the Consecration of the Sacrament; for, in that it had not the word, it was no Sacrament, and so the people were mocked. – Robert Johnson: My Lord,
I did not mock the people, for it was a Sacrament. – Dean of Westminster: Saint Augus-
tine saith, „Accedat verbum ad elementum et fit sacramentum.‟ Now you lacked the word, therefore it was no Sacrament. – Robert Johnson: I had the word. – Bishop of London:
How had you the word, when you confess that, you recited not the Institution? – Robert
Johnson: I had recited the Institution afore, and that was sufficient. – Dean of Westmin-
ster: Yea, for that bread and wine that was present, but when you did send for more bread and wine you should again have rehearsed the words of Institution. – Robert Johnson:
The Book appointed no such order. – Bishop of London: Yes, Sir, the Book sayeth you
shall have there sufficient bread and wine, and then the prayer of the Institution must be
recited. Now forasmuch as you had not sufficient, therefore you should have repeated the Institution. – Robert Johnson: There is no such caveat nor proviso appointed in the Book.
– Bishop of London: But that is the meaning of the Book. – Robert Johnson: Men may
make what meaning they list, but I refer myself to the Book whether it be so appointed or no. – Dean of W.: You are not forbidden in any place to use the repetition. – Johnson:
Neither yet am I commanded . . . . I pray you tell me one thing, whether be the wordes of Institution spoken for the bread or for the receivers? – Dean of W.: For both.” Robert
Johnson was condemned by the Court of Commissioners and sent to the Gatehouse, 19 where, after a short interval he died.
This and some other omissions were supplied in 1662, but the rubrical directions 20 still remain very incomplete.
It is submitted that on this showing alone it is impossible to hold that the omission of any rubric in the Prayer Books of 1549, 1559, and 1662 prescribing the use of Incense, in the accustomed manner, at the celebration of Holy Communion, and at the Magnificat
and Benedictus on Sundays and Holy Days, can be cited as proof that such use is forbid-den.
IV. A careful consideration of the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer will supply indirect but positive proof that such use is in fact enjoined by them. The Orna-ments Rubric prefixed to all the other rubrical directions of the Prayer Book, and govern-ing their intention, after prescribing that the Chancels shall remain as they have done in times past, and Mattins and Evensong shall be said in the accustomed place (no uncertain
indication of what was intended by the rubric), goes on to direct that “such ornaments of the Church and of the ministers thereof at all times of their ministration shall be retained and be in use as were in this Church of England by the authority of Parliament in the
second year of the reign of King Edward the Sixth.”
(i) The second year of Edward VI. is fixed as, the date which in the first place de-
termines what ornaments are to be retained, and the ministrations imposed upon the cler-
gy by the Prayer Book are fixed upon in the second place, as the limit for determining which of those ornaments are to be in use.
With regard to the disputed interpretation of this rubric I cannot do better than 21 quote Mr. Micklethwaite.
Reference is made to the authority of Parliament, and it is important to bear this
in mind because the matter has been much obscured by the frequent quotation of other authorities whose orders, apart from the question of date, were not constitutionally bind-ing upon the Church when they were issued, and have not been accepted by the Church and lawfully enacted afterwards, as, in this matter, the ruling of Parliament has been. King Henry VIII. died on the 28th day of January, 1547, and consequently the first regnal year of his son and successor began on 28th January, 1547, and ended on 27th January,, 1548, and his second year on the corresponding days in 1548 and 1549. We have there-fore to enquire what ornaments of the Church and of the Ministers thereof were retained and used by authority of Parliament in the year which began on 28th January, 1548, and ended on 27th January, 1549.”
“It has generally been assumed that the rubric refers to the First Prayer Book of 22Edward VI. But an examination of the dates proves that this is not so. That Book re-
ceived the authority of Parliament on January 21st, 1549, which is indeed just within the second year of the King. But the time when it was to come into use is named in the Act itself, which orders that it shall be used on the Whitsun Day following (June 9th, 1549), or, if it might be had sooner, then three weeks after a copy had been procured. So that, even if the Book could have been obtained within the remaining week of the second year, which is unlikely, it could not have been used by authority of Parliament before the third year of King Edward, and we must seek for something earlier. Now, late in 1547 an Act (1st Edward VI., cap. 1) had been passed ordering the restoration of Communion in both kinds. No form was included in the Act, but on the 8th of March following a form was put forth by proclamation. It is known as the Order of Communion, and perhaps it may be
disputed whether technically it has the authority of Parliament. But the Order was ap- 23proved by the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury, and it was considered at the
time to receive its Parliamentary authority from the Act 31st Henry VIII., cap. 8.”
“The Order of Communion was to come into use on Easter Day, 1548, and it con-
tinued until it was superseded by the English Book of 1549. It was not an order for the Celebration, but only for the Communion, and it was to be inserted into the old Latin ser-
vice, which, was to go on as before „without varying of any other rite or ceremony of the Mass.‟ This at least is evidence of the continuance, all through the second year of King Edward, of the old Latin Mass and, by consequence, of the ornaments used in that service. As a matter of fact the same ornaments, or at least all of them which have been the sub-ject of controversy in late times, were also used with the English Service of 1549.”
But it is not difficult to find the “reason why first in 1559 (so soon afterwards that the supposition of mistake or accident is impossible), and again in 1662, it was thought better to refer back to the time before the introduction of the English Service rather than
to that in which it was used.”
From the moment of the publication of the English Book irregular “changes began to be made, and as the innovators became stronger . . . . . they arbitrarily put down the use of ornaments even whilst the book ordering them was still in force.” In 1559, in prescrib-
ing the ancient accustomed ornaments, it was thus far safer to refer to the second year and the period before the publication of the English Book than to that Book or its date. The rule at least was a definite one; but the earlier Bishops of Queen Elizabeth‟s time never honestly accepted it, and the reign of lawlessness was fitly opened by the following pas-sage in a letter from Sandys, afterwards Archbishop of York, to Parker, afterwards Arch-bishop of Canterbury.
Speaking of the provision in the Elizabethan Act of Uniformity (sec. 13), he says: “The last Book of Service is gone through with a proviso to retain the ornaments which were used in the first and second year of King Edward VI., until it please the Queen to take other order for them: our gloss upon this text is that we shall not be forced to use them; but that others in the meantime shall not convey them away, but that they may re-24 main for the Queen.”
Here it must be noticed that, Sandys does not say second year, but first and
second year, thereby making the reference unequivocally to the time of the use of the Lat-in service. His object was to explain away the proviso, and his impudent gloss shows that he was not scrupulous as to the means he used. If he could have lessened its comprehen-