Rubrics





Before the invention of printing (15th century), the directions in Law

Manuscripts had been written in red, in order to distinguish them from

the Statutes. This distinction had been made also in Service Books and

it has been continued to our own time. But every sheet which contains

both black and red letters requires to be twice passed over a printing

press. Hence, for cheap books, italics are used instead of red letters

to distinguish the directions from the prayers, &c. The directions are

called Rubrics (from Lat. ruber=red) whether the distinction is made

by the colour or the type.



The rubrics about the Confession and the Absolution were in 1662 made

more clear. The habit had grown up in some churches for the Priest to

say the Absolution kneeling. The word all was therefore inserted in

the rubric about Confession, and the words standing, the people still

kneeling were added to the rubric about Absolution. Thus all

kneeling includes the minister.



This Introductory Part of the Service was composed for the Revision of

1552, and was then printed only in the Morning Service, with a rubric

ordering it to be used at the beginning of Morning Prayer, and

likewise of Evening Prayer. In 1662 it was first printed out in full

in the Evening Service, and the rubric was altered to agree therewith.



Simplification of rubrics. One aim of the Revisers was simplicity of

rules. As they sought Variety of worship without excess, so they

desired Order of {33} worship without complexity of regulations.

Anyone, looking casually over the Prayer Books of the Sarum and other

Uses before 1549, will be struck at once by the redness of many of the

pages. This redness indicates rubrics, and helps us to realise what is

meant in the Prayer Book Preface (Concerning the Service of the Church,

Section 2) by the number and hardness of the rules called the Pie, and

the manifold changings of the Service[2].



In order to provide for the many occasions when a difference was to be

made, rubrics had been multiplied and inserted at the places to which

they applied. The Revisers (1) collected as many as possible at the

beginning of each Service, or at the end; and (2) reduced the number of

rubrics thus collected together, by reducing the number of variations

which were to be provided for.





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