Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Notwithstanding these decisions, it was insisted by those who defended the revival of the ceremonial use of incense that it was a legal custom of the Church of England. The question was once more elaborately argued in May 1899 before an informal tribunal consisting of the archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Temple) and the archbishop of York (Dr. Maclagan), at Lambeth Palace. On the 31st of July 1899 the archbishops decided that the liturgical use of incense was illegal. The Lambeth “opinion,” as it was called, failed to convince the clergy against whom it was directed any better than the judgments of the ecclesiastical courts, but at first a considerable degree of obedience to the archbishops’ view was shown. Various expedients were adopted, as, e.g., the use of incense just before the beginning of service, by which it was sought to retain incense without infringing the law as laid down by the archbishops. There remained, nevertheless, a tendency on the part of the clergy who used incense, or desired to do so, to revert to the position they occupied before the Lambeth hearing—that is, to insist on the ceremonial use of incense as a part of the Catholic practice of the Church of England which it is the duty of the clergy to maintain, notwithstanding the decisions of ecclesiastical judges or the opinions or archbishops to the contrary.  (L. T. D.) 

Manufacture.—For the manufacture of the incense now used in the Christian churches of Europe there is no fixed rule. The books of ritual are agreed that Ex. xxx. 34 should be taken as a guide as much as possible. It is recommended that frankincense should enter as largely as possible into its composition, and that if inferior materials be employed at all they should not be allowed to preponderate. In Rome olibanum alone is employed; in other places benzoin, storax, lign, aloes, cascarilla bark, cinnamon, cloves and musk are all said to be occasionally used. In the Russian Church, benzoin is chiefly employed. The Armenian liturgy, in its benediction of the incense, speaks of “this perfume prepared from myrrh and cinnamon.”

The preparation of pastils of incense has probably come down in a continuous tradition from ancient Egypt, Babylonia and Phoenicia. Cyprus was for centuries famous for their manufacture, and they were still known in the middle ages by the names of pastils or osselets of Cyprus.

Maimonides, in his More Nevochim, states that the use of incense in the worship of the Jews originated as a corrective of the disagreeable odours arising from the slaughter and burning of the animals offered in sacrifice. There can be no doubt that its use throughout the East is based on sanitary considerations; and in Europe even, in the time when the dead were buried in the churches, it was recognized that the burning of incense served essentially to preserve their salubrity. But evidently the idea that the odour of a burnt-offering (cf. the κνίσης ἡδὺς ἀυτμή of Odyss. xii. 369) is grateful to the deity, being indeed the most essential part of the sacrifice, or at least the vehicle by which alone it can successfully be conveyed to its destination, is also a very early one, if not absolutely primitive; and survivals of it are possibly to be met with even among the most highly cultured peoples where the purely symbolical nature of all religious ritual is most clearly understood and maintained. Some such idea plainly underlies the familiar phrase “a sweet savour,” more literally “a savour of satisfaction,” whereby an acceptable offering by fire is so often denoted in the Bible (Gen. viii. 21; Lev. i. 9, et passim; cf. Eph. v. 2). It is easy to imagine how, as men grew in sensuous appreciation of pleasant perfumes, and in empirical knowledge of the sources from which these could be derived, this advance would naturally express itself, not only in their domestic habits, but also in the details of their religious ceremonial, so that the custom of adding some kind of incense to their animal sacrifices, and at length that of offering it pure and simple, would inevitably arise. Ultimately, with the development of the spiritual discernment of men, the “offering of incense” became a mere symbolical phrase for prayer (see Rev. v. 8, viii. 3, 4). Clement of Alexandria expresses this in his well-known words: “The true altar of incense is the just soul, and the perfume from it is holy prayer.” (So also Origen, Cont. Cels. viii. 17, 20.) The ancients were familiar with the sanitary efficacy of fumigations. The energy with which Ulysses, after the slaughter of the suitors, calls to Euryclea for “fire and sulphur” to purge (literally “fumigate”) the dining-hall from the pollution of their blood (Od. xxii. 481, 482) would startle those who imagine that sanitation is a peculiarly modern science. There is not the slightest doubt that the censing of things and persons was first practised as an act of purification, and thus became symbolical of consecration, and finally of the sanctification of the soul. The Egyptians understood the use of incense as symbolical of the purification of the soul by prayer. Catholic writers generally treat it as typifying contrition, the preaching of the Gospel, the prayers of the faithful and the virtues of the saints.  (G. B.) 

INCEST (Lat. incestus, unchaste), sexual intercourse between persons so related by kindred or affinity that legal marriage cannot take place between them (see Marriage, especially the section Canon Law). In England incest formerly was not generally treated as a crime, although, along with other offences against morals, it was made punishable by death in 1650. Since the Restoration it had, to use Blackstone’s phrase, been left to the “feeble coercion of the spiritual courts,” but bills to make it a criminal offence have at various times been unsuccessfully introduced in Parliament. In 1908 however, an act (The Punishment of Incest Act 1908) was passed, under which sexual intercourse of a male with his grand-daughter, daughter, sister or mother is made punishable with penal servitude for not less than 3 or more than 7 years, or with imprisonment for not more than two years with or without hard labour. It is immaterial that the sexual intercourse was had with the consent of the female; indeed, by s. 2 a female who consents is on conviction liable to the same punishment as the male. The act also makes an attempt to commit the offence of incest a misdemeanour, punishable by imprisonment for not more than two years with or without hard labour. The terms “brother” and “sister” include half-brother and half-sister, whether the relationship is or is not traced through lawful wedlock. All proceedings under the act are held in camera (s. 5). The act does not apply to Scotland, incest being punishable in Scots law. Under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857, s. 27, incestuous adultery is per se sufficient ground to entitle a wife to divorce her husband. The Deceased Wife’s Sister’s Marriage Act 1907, s. 3, retained wives’ sisters in the class of persons with whom adultery is incestuous. In the law of Scotland, it was, until the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1887, a crime nominally punishable with death, but the penalty usually inflicted was penal servitude for life. This sentence was actually pronounced on a man in 1855. In the United States incest is not an indictable offence at common law, but, generally speaking, it has been made punishable by fine and imprisonment by state legislation. It is also a punishable offence in some European countries, notably Germany, Austria and Italy.

INCH (O. Eng. ynce from Lat. uncia, a twelfth part; cf. “ounce,” and see As), the twelfth part of a linear foot. As a measure of rainfall an “inch of rain” is equivalent to a fall of a gallon of water spread over a surface of about 2 sq. ft., or 100 tons to an acre.

INCHBALD, MRS ELIZABETH (1753–1821), English novelist, playwright and actress, was born on the 15th of October 1753 at Standingfield, Suffolk, the daughter of John Simpson, a farmer. Her father died when she was eight years old. She and her sisters never enjoyed the advantages of school or of any regular supervision in their studies, but they seem to have acquired refined and literary tastes at an early age. Ambitious to become an actress, a career for which an impediment in her speech hardly seemed to qualify her, she applied in vain for an engagement; and finally, in 1772, she abruptly left home to seek her fortune in London. Here she married Joseph Inchbald (d. 1779), an actor, and on the 4th of September made her début in Bristol as Cordelia, to his Lear. For several years she continued to act with him in the provinces. Her rôles included Anne Boleyn, Jane Shore, Calista, Calpurnia, Lady Anne in Richard III., Lady Percy, Lady Elizabeth Grey, Fanny in