The article marks the quin-centenary of this collegiate church, founded in 1429, one of 41 such foundations with a constitution similar to that of a cathedral. It was much altered in 1646, 'restored' by William Burn in 1828 and something of its original state recovered in 1905. The author's description of the building includes reference to the services laid down for the college of clergy, an early example of Arabic numerals, and the lamp which guided pilgrims from the east.
Volume 03 1930-31
Traces of Eastern cults may be found on stone slabs, perhaps brought through oriental units in the Roman occupying army. Mithraism very nearly mastered the country. Christianity probably entered Britain through the Roman army and through trade. The British Church is often referred to in Latin writings. Its support of Athanasius of Alexandria against Arianism increased links with Egypt, and this latter connection was developed after the Romans left. Through it came the monastic system, by way of Gaul and Ireland. Its success was in part due to its compatibility with the clan system. The differences between this system and later Roman monastic systems are discussed, including details of Celtic monastic life and liturgy.
Maxwell develops the contention in the previous Annual that Calvin's main diet of worship does not have its source in the daily offices or choir offices but in the Eucharist. After summarising the immediate history of the forms in the Scottish Book of Common Order at the Reformation, the writer offers a detailed account of the ancestry of the Book of Geneva from which it is derived, including the laying out in tabular form how the various sources were used. He discusses Calvin's preference for weekly Communion, and the obstacles in his way. Maxwell shows that the resulting form of service was a modification of the eucharistic order rather than the result of adopting another model. This leads to the contention that the true Reformed tradition is the conduct of worship from the Table. There is a final note on the “Reader's Service” in the early Reformed Church in Scotland.
There is an increasing demand for a place of worship which is aesthetically satisfying. Reformation principles plus the frugality of heritors led to simple buildings with unadorned interiors, although there are exceptions. Floor plans and furnishings are discussed but, while simple, many buildings possessed a pleasing dignity and harmonised with their surroundings. The Gothic and Romanesque styles, while appealing, are ill suited for hearing in. The writer argues for a new Scottish style which involves an apse for the Table, the pulpit to one side, stained-glass and other features such as mosaic, 'opus sectile' panels, and paintings - not just to enhance the buildings but to educate and inspire. These suggestions are supported by ample quotation of examples in the churches of Europe.
Native people have a great capacity for spiritual things. Primitive worship consists in thanksgiving and propitiation, involving sacrifice and prayer; examples are given. In Blantyre Church there is common prayer twice daily, based on the seven days of Creation (from Professor Cooper's Prayers for Family Worship), using the local language in the morning and English in the evening. The orders are given in detail; litanies and collects are used. Communion is monthly. Baptism is approached through two and a half years instruction, six month's as a Hearer, and two years as a Catechumen. The same pattern precedes the Confirmation of those baptised as infants. There is a natural reverence among the people.
The article addresses a perceived confusion among clergy about the meaning and value of Baptism, and a perfunctory approach to its celebration. The doctrine of the Church is outlined. Revelation is from Person to person, issuing in regeneration and rebirth. The sacraments take their place alongside general revelation and through the hearing of the Word, through which the same gift is offered, namely all the benefits obtained through Christ. They are not absolutely indispensable but they are exceedingly valuable and never to be despised. They are equal to the Word, the one unconditional means of grace, to those who receive them in faith. They are not a representation, but are themselves the message. They do not work ex opere operato but rely on faith, not to create the gift given but as a condition of the giving. In this understanding we do not need to attribute any special potency to the symbols. It is not merely a human way of making the divine promise vivid. There is no authority for Infant Baptism in the New Testament but the Church has been guided by the Spirit towards this. God acts on every person the same way, even as a child. Baptism guarantees the possibility of gaining faith in the future. The role of the Church in bringing this consummation is discussed, and Baptism should take place in the face of the members. In the Book of Common Order the so-called warrant for Infant Baptism should be removed.
The different practices of Psalm singing, in Scotland, England and in the Roman Catholic Church are contrasted. Gregorian chanting does not seem to have had popular appeal. Anglican chant is discussed and its limitations in practice noted. However, new publications have appeared with revised pointing. In Scotland, prose versions of the Psalms, using the Authorised Version, have now been provided. This is based on trials over two years in St. Giles' Cathedral. Anglican chant has become familiar through broadcast services and gramophone records. The writer argues for more widespread use of chanting, by choirs in place of the anthem, by congregations, in schools and in family worship.
Although language, ceremony and theology differ in the various parts of the Church, one form survives. The order in Knox's liturgy is meagre and inadequate, its deficiencies made good in the Westminster Directory. The use of individual cups and of unfermented wine is attacked. Communion is a ministerial not a sessional act, and therefore the Kirk Session should not be adjourned following the reception of new communicants, but closed. The Minister should partake himself, not be ministered to by Elders. A Communion Table should not be given in memory of any person or group of persons; it cannot be a memorial of anyone save our Lord. An outline order is offered (in this the prayers of intercession come before the sermon, and there is no Old Testament lesson).
This is not a prayer meeting nor a meeting for instruction; its intention is to maintain continous corporate worship. They relate to the Lord's Day but are offered by a representative group (“the act of the hand is the act of the body”). It is suggested its origin is in the Easter Vigil. The rationale offered is based on the ordinances of the Tabernacle enunciated in the Epistle to the Hebrews (chapters 8-10). A very detailed discussion of each step in this order, how it is to be expressed and how it might be understood, is offered.
The United Presbyterian Church led the way in the introduction of hymns, the Relief Church having collected 231 Sacred Songs and Hymns in 1798. The UPs established the “Devotional Service Association” in 1883, leading to Presbyterian Forms of Service in 1890. The “Public Worship Association” was formed in the Free Church in 1891, issuing in 1898 in A New Directory for the Public Worship of God. After the union of the UP and Free Churches in 1900, these were amalgamated as the “Church Worship Association” which, in 1928, published a Book of Common Order, which was authorised as the official manual of public worship for the Church. A union with the Church Service Society is imminent.
Henry J Wotherspoon, DD
David Miller Kay, DSO, DD
David Bruce Nicol, MC, BD
The Union Assembly of 1929
The forthcoming union of the Church Service Society and the Public Worship Association
A new service of Licensing of Probationers
A new order for Ordination
What constitutes a proper Benediction
Some features of the new Scottish Psalter
The multiplicity of themes covered in the Paraphrases and a plea for their greater use.
Collegiate Church of St John the Baptist, Corstorphine - Frontispiece
Collegiate Church of St John the Baptist, Corstorphine, Interior (before Restoration) - Facing page 6
Collegiate Church of St John the Baptist, Corstorphine, Interior (after Restoration) - Facing page 7
A Native Shrine, British Central Africa - Facing page 44
Interior of Blantyre Church - Facing page 45