Morning Service

Morning Service it would appear from the Apostolic Constitutions, was regularly performed in the early Christian Church. The order observed was as follows: "It began with the sixty-third psalm (according to our arrangement), 'O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee.' After this followed the prayers for the several orders of catechumens, energumens, candidates for baptism, and penitents. When these were sent away, there followed the prayers which on the Lord's-day began the communion service. After the prayer for the whole state of the Church was ended, the deacon exhorted the people to pray, thus: 'Let us beg of God his mercies and compassions, that this morning and this day, and all the time of our pilgrimage, may be passed by us in peace and without sin; let us beg of God that he would send us the angel of peace, and give us a Christian end, and be gracious and merciful unto us. Let us commend ourselves, and one another, to the living God, by his only-begotten Son.' Immediately after this common prayer of the deacon and people together, the bishop offered 'the morning thanksgiving,' in the following words: 'O God, the God of spirits and of all flesh, with whom no one can compare, and who art above all need, that givest the sun to govern the day, and the moon and the stars to govern the night, look down now upon us with the eyes of thy favor, and receive our morning thanksgivings, and have mercy upon us. For we have not spread forth our hands to any strange god. We have not chosen unto ourselves any new god among us, but thou, the eternal and immortal God: O God, who hast given to us our being through Christ, and our well-being through him also vouchsafe by him to make us worthy of everlasting life, with whom unto thee be glory, honor, and adoration, in the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.' After this the deacon bade them bow their heads, and receive the bishop's benediction in the following form: 'God, faithful and true, that showest mercy to thousands and ten thousands of them that love thee; who art the friend of the humble and defender of the poor; whose aid all stand in need of, since all things serve thee; look down upon this thy people, who bow their heads unto thee, and bless with thy spiritual benediction; keep them as the apple of an eye; preserve them in piety and righteousness, and make them worthy of everlasting life, through Jesus Christ thy beloved Son, with whom with thee be glory, honor, and adoration, in the Holy Ghost, now and forever, world without end. Amen.' The deacon then dismissed the congregation with the usual form — 'Depart in peace.'

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