Let this incense, blessed by Thee, ascend unto Thee, O Lord; and may Thy Mercy come down upon us. The priest says this as he swirls the incense all over and all round the munera which have been set upon the Altar of the Christian Oblation. The words come from Psalm 140/141.
The incense was offered morning and evening on its own special golden altar in the Holy Place, infront of the veil, at first by the High Priest only, but under the Second Temple, by the inferior priests also, chosen daily by lot for the office, as was Zachariah the father of John Baptist. Besides this separate burning of incense as an independent offering, it was joined to all the other oblations "of a sweet savour", as something which gave them acceptance; and similarly in the Apocalypse the Angel who stands at the altar with a golden censer, offers the incense "with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne". To the Temple sacrifice is added the perpetual intercession of CHRIST, as the Great Angel of the Covenant (compare the prayer Supplices te rogamus), that is, Christ, presents His petition amidst the smoke which rises from off the altar of gold.
I have edited this from the writings of one of our Tractarian Fathers. Another piece follows tomorrow, when I shall invite guesses as to the authorship.