Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1949. First edition. Octavo, original black cloth, original dust jacket. Front corner gently bumped, dust jacket with minor wear to top of the spine and front corner, short closed tear to upper rear panel. A near-fine copy. Item #738
"THE DEEPEST ASPIRATIONS OF THE ENGLISH SOUL"
First edition of this Catholic perspective on the Anglican liturgy obscured by the "mists of Puritanism." An excellent example of the original illustrated dust jacket.
The Church of England, as Father Rust notes in his short Preface, is bound together with its Prayer Book: "In 1949 when the First Book of Common Prayer celebrated its quadricentennial anniversary, the Church of England was 400 years old." Rust describes the gradual development and "practically undisputed sway" of "the Puritanical Book of 1552, in its 1662 cover." The text is bookended with two dramatic 1846 passages by John Henry Newman. A brief Foreword describes the liturgical destruction of the sixteenth century: "A ritual dashed upon the ground, trodden on and broken piecemeal...vestments chucked off, lights quenched, jewels stolen, the pomp and circumstance of worship annihilated." Newman concludes of Mother Church: "Her very being is poetry, every psalm, every petition, every collect every versicle, the cross, the mitre, the thurible, is a fulfillment of some dream of childhood, or aspiration of youth." The final chapter, Light will Come, rests its hopes with the Oxford Movement and its legacy of Catholic Revival: "The Oxford Movement bore rich fruit. It invited men to look back to the years when the pre- Reformation liturgy expressed the deepest aspirations of the English soul." The preface concludes with a note on the illustrated dust jacket and title page, "a reproduction of the woodcut border which adorned the title pages of the Whitechurch editions of the Books of Common Prayer of 1549 and 1552." Bound with a chart—Genealogy of the Books of Common Prayer—opposite the opening of the first chapter and two additional plates in the text. An extensive series of 23 Appendices and a valuable Bibliography follow the text. Approbations.