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What Then Are The Characteristics Which We Must Expect In A Collect?





1. It has three simple parts: (a) the Name of God; (b) what we ask;
(c) our appeal to Christ's advocacy.

2. It makes no effort to instruct the congregation, but speaks with
simplicity and directness, to Him who knows all things.

{138}

3. It asks for grace and help for our souls, whereby we may do what is
right.

Other prayers imitate Collects in one or more of these respects; and
may be called Collects, though not satisfying all the conditions.


The Three parts of a Collect.

Our Lord taught us (St John xiv. 13, 14; xv. 16; xvi. 23-26) to ask God
in His name. A Collect is a prayer made on that model. It has three
parts:

(a) God is addressed; and
(b) petition made,
(c) in the Name of Jesus.

(a) God is addressed. This may be expressed in one word, or expanded
into a sentence. It is always the reason for our prayer, that God is
able and willing to hear us: every name of God when named by His
children is an appeal to Him.

When we expand the address, we do so in order to include a claim, to be
heard because some quality in God has a special relation to that which
we are about to ask. Because God loves peace, we can ask Him for
Peace: because He is merciful, we can ask Him for forgiveness: because
He gave at Pentecost, we can ask Him for the same gift on Whitsun Day.
Thus the name of God at the beginning of a Collect often includes some
title upon which we build our hope.

(b) What we ask. This may be simple, or complex: it is Simple when
we ask for something without saying anything of the means, or the
results, {139} of our obtaining it: Complex, when we ask for some thing
in order that we may also have something else.

(c) Appeal to Christ's Advocacy. Our claim upon God is "in the name"
of Jesus Christ. Here again we vary the thought in agreement with the
petition: sometimes it is His mediation, sometimes His might, or His
love, which we mention: but not haphazard--the words are chosen to suit
what has been asked for.

One variety of this part deserves special mention--when we claim the
Saviour's advocacy, by words which recognise Him as One of the Blessed
Trinity. When His Godhead is thus mentioned, an ascription of praise
is often added.





Next: Origin Of The Word 'collect'

Previous: Three Celebrated Sacramentaries



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