« ElőzőTovább »
On a few points of interest connected with the
On the Origin of the name Collect.—This is a point which it is difficult to decide. Some say that these prayers of the Church are so called, because the matters prayed for therein are collected out of the Epistles and Gospels with which they are respectively connected. Others say that they are so called because they are for the most part such comprehensive prayers, that, though brief, they may each be regarded as comprising the substance of many prayers collected into one short form. Others, again, suppose them to be so called, because they are to be used by the people when collected together in the church for their public services and worship. Of these opinions the first would seem to be the most probable, although the connexion between the Collect and the Epistle and Gospel does not in all cases appear so clear and decided as such an opinion may seem to demand. There is, however, a clear connexion in the majority of cases ; and the rule may have given the name, though there be exceptions to that rule.
On the Origin of the Collects themselves.—These are most of them very ancient forms of prayer, which have been used for ages in the Assemblies of the Saints. The Epistles and Gospels, i.e. the portions of Scripture which form the Epistles and Gospels, were, for the most part, selected by St. Jerome, a presbyter of the Church who lived in the fourth century after Christ (born about A.D. 340, died A.D. 420), and have consequently been used in the Church for nearly 1500 years. The clear connexion which we see in so many cases between the Collects and these portions of Scripture, would seem to demonstrate that the former were composed by St. Jerome at the same time that the latter were selected; and such is the idea most generally entertained by those who have studied the subject. Several revisions of these prayers have, however, taken place at different intervals since that time. Two especially are recorded: one under Gelasius, bishop of Rome, A.D. 492, and another under Gregory the Great, bishop of Rome, A.D. 600, or thereabouts. In the Service-book compiled by the latter, called “Gregory's Sacramentary,” very many of the Collects now in use in our Church are to be found. Those of more recent date were introduced into our Service-book at the time of the Reformation; when a complete revision of the old breviaries and mass-books took place, under the supervision of a Commission appointed for that purpose. At that revision all the corruptions by which the pure doctrines of the ancient Church had been overlaid were removed; such Collects as contained statements obnoxious to the truth of the Gospel were either altered, or taken away, and others more in accordance therewith substituted in their stead; and such new ones added as were necessary to make our collection complete. The book so compiled was set forth by royal authority, and ordered to be used in all churches, on the feast of Whitsuntide, in the year 1549, and it has continued in use from that time downwards to our own day. Thus has the very latest portion of these prayers reached the tercentenary of its birth, and been in daily use for a period of three hundred years ; whilst in the older portions we are breathing forth our desires to God, in language hallowed by use during a period ranging from 1200 to 1500 years.