As to the Litany, it is not only a wonderfully comprehensive and satisfying service of prayer, a very model of intercessory worship, it is also a striking monument of the Protestantism of our liturgy. The various stages through which it has passed, from its original form in the Roman service, to its form as now used in the Prayer Book, are trustworthy indexes of the various transition periods of our Church. In its Romish form, it need hardly be said, the Litany was full of error. There were in it no less than sixty-two petitions to angels and archangels, men and women, dead and alive. Invocations for intercession were addressed, not only to Mary, Holy Mother of God, to Michael and Gabriel, to angels and archangels, to all the holy order of blessed spirits, patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, to martyrs and evangelists, innocents and confessors, but also to St. Laurence, St. Vincent, St. Cosmas, and St. Damian, and to all the holy priests and Levites, all the holy monks and widows, all the holy monks and hermits. Kneeling upon their knees, the congregation would listen
in ignorance and superstition, while there rolled forth in an unknown tongue, from the lips of the priest and the choir, such petitions as these —
“Sancta Maria, Ora pro nobis”
“Sancte Abel, Ora pro nobis,”
“Omnes sancti Dei, Orate pro nobis,”—
petitions, it need scarcely be added, as unedifying to the Church, as they were unintelligible to the suppliants.
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