Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

they might not be delivered up to the profanation of the up churches Arians. For when the younger Valentinian had, by the in- faned by

to be prostigation of his mother Justina, an Arian Empress, first pub- heretics. lished a law, not extant in the Theodosian Code 95, allowing the Arians liberty to hold assemblies; and afterwards sent his commands to Ambrose to deliver up to them one of the churches of Milan, he returned him this brave and generous answer 99;— • If the Emperor asks of me any thing that is my own, my estate, my money, I shall freely recede from my right, though all that I have belongs to the poor. But those things, which are God's, are not subject to the Emperor's power. If my patrimony is demanded, you may invade it; if my body, I will offer it of my own accord. Will you carry me into prison, or unto death? I will voluntarily submit to it. I will not guard myself with an army of my people about me, I will not lay hold of the altar, and supplicate for life, but more joyfully be sacrificed myself for the altar. He thought it absolutely unlawful for the Emperor to grant to the Arians, the enemies of Christ, those temples which had been dedicated to the service of Christ;; and that it did much less become a bishop, the minister of Christ, to be accessary to so foul a dishonour to his Lord : and therefore he rather resolved to die at the altar, if it must be so, than give his consent to so great a profanation. By this one instance we may easily judge, what opinion the Ancients had of the sacredness of churches, as God's propriety; and that they would as soon deliver up their Bibles to be burnt by the Heathen, as their churches to

98 L. 16. tit. 1. de Fid. Cathol. etiam majestatis, capite ac sanguine leg. 4. (t. 6. p. 13.) Damus copiam sunt supplicia luituri. Manente nicolligendi his, qui secundum ea sen- hilo minus eos supplicio, qui contra tiunt, quæ temporibus divæ memo- hanc dispositionem nostram obrepriæ Constantii, sacerdotibus convo- tive aut clanculo supplicare temptacatis ex omni orbe Romano, expo- verint. sitaque fide, ab his ipsis, qui dis- 99 Ep. 33. [al. 20.) ad Marcellin. sentire noscuntur, Ariminensi Con- de Tradendis Basilicis. (t. 2. p. 854 cilio Constantinopol. etiam confir- b. n. 8.) Si a me peteret, quod meum mata, in æternum mansura decreta esset, id est, fundum meum, argensunt. Conveniendi etiam, quibus tum meum, jus quidvis hujusmodi jussimus, patescat arbitrium. Scitu- meum me non refragaturum, quanris his, qui sibi tantum existimant quam omnia, quæ mea [al. "mei] colligendi copiam contributam, quod, sunt, essent pauperum. Verum ea, si turbulentum quippiam contra nos- quæ divina, imperatoriæ potestati tiæ tranquillitatis præceptum facien- non esse subjecta. Si patrimonium, dum esse temptaverint, ut seditionis &c. See afterwards, p. 204. n. 38. auctores, pacisque turbatæ ecclesiæ,

BINGHAM, VOL. III.

[ocr errors]

mony of

church.

[ocr errors]

be profaned by heretical assemblies, where impiety would be
taught for true religion, and blasphemy offered to God instead

of adoration.
The cere- 5. As to the ceremonies of respect used by them when they
washing

entered into the church, we find one of pretty general obser-
their hands, vation, which was the custom of washing their hands and their
when they
went into face, in token of innocency and purity, when they went to

worship God at the holy altar. Which seems to be taken
from that of the Psalmist, [26, 6,] “ I will wash my hands
in innocency, and so will I compass thine altar.” This custom
is frequently mentioned by Chrysostom, Eusebius, Tertullian,
Synesius, Paulinus, and others, whose testimonies have been
already alleged in the former part of this Book !, where I had
also occasion to shew, that fountains and cisterns of water were
commonly set in the atrium, or court before the church, for
this very purpose.

6. Another ceremony used by some few, for it was no
putting off general custom, was putting off their shoes, when they went
their shoes into the house of God. Cassian observes of the Egyptian
used by
some; but monks, that they always wore sandals instead of shoes, and

those they also put off whenever they went to celebrate or general

receive the holy mysteries 2, thinking themselves obliged to do
so, by interpreting literally that intimation of reverence, which
was given to Moses and Joshua, “ Put off thy shoes from off
thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”
But others did not understand this as an absolute command,
obliging all men precisely to use this ceremony of respect, but
only where the custom of any nation had made it an indi-
cation of reverence, as it was among the eastern nations in the
time of Moses and Joshua. Whence we do not find it men-
tioned as any general custom prevailing among the primitive
Christians : unless perhaps it may be thought to have been so in
the Ethiopian or Abyssinian Churches; because, as Mr. Mede 3

The cere

this no

custom.

:

3

1

1 Ch. 3. s. 6. p. 56.

ad Jesum, filium Nave: Solve cor-
2 Instit. 1. 1. c. 10. (p. 12.) Nequa- rigiam calceamenti tui, locus enim, in
quam tamen eas (caligas] pedibus quo stas, terra sancta est.
inhærere permittunt, cum accedunt 3 Discourse on Eccles. 5, 1. (p.
ad celebranda vel percipienda sacro- 348.) Prohibitum est apud nos ne
sancta mysteria, illud æstimantes aut gentes aut canes aut alia hujus-
etiam secundum literam custodiri modi aniinalia in templa nostra in-
debere, quod dicitur ad Moysen vel trent. Ita non datur potestas nobis

1

has observed out of Zaga Zabo's account of them in Damianus à Goes, the same custom continues still among them at this day. Which whether it be derived from ancient tradition of their churches, or be a practice lately taken up among them, is not now very easy to be determined. 7. And I think the same resolution must be given to the Whether

the ancients question about bowing toward the altar at their first entrance used the into churches. Mr. Mede thinks there is no plain demonstra- ceremony tion of it in the ancient writers, but some probability of such a toward the

of bowing custom derived from the Jews. For he says 4, • What reveren

altar at

their ential guise, ceremony, or worship they used at their ingress into trance into God's house in the ages next to the Apostles, and some I be- the church. lieve they did, is wholly buried in silence and oblivion. The Jews before them, from whom the Christian religion sprang, used to bow themselves down towards the mercy-seat. The Christians after them, in the Greek and Oriental Churches, have, time out of mind, and without any known beginning thereof, used to bow in like manner, with their posture toward the altar, or holy table, saying that of the publican in the Gospel, God be merciful to me a sinner! as appears by the Liturgies of St. Chrysostom and St. Basil, and as they are still known to do at this day. Which custom of theirs, not being found to have been ordained or established by any decree or canon of any Council, and being so agreeable to the use of God's people of the Old Testament, may therefore seem to have been derived to them from very remote and ancient tradition. Nothing, therefore, can be known of the use of those first ages of the Church, further than it shall seem probable

[ocr errors]

adeundi templum, nisi nudis pedi- God commanded thein to eat with bus: neque licet nobis in ipso tem- their shoes on, and with their loins plo ridere, ambulare, aut de rebus girt, because of the pollution of the profanis loqui, &c. [Conf. Gedde's land. But they are like the Mount Ch. Hist. (p. 91.) It is likewise for- Sinai, where the Lord spoke to Mobidden among us to suffer heathens, ses, saying, “Moses, Moses, put off or dogs, or any other such creatures, thy shoes, for the ground whereon to come within our churches ; nei- thou treadest is holy.” Now this ther is it lawful for us to go into Mount Sinai was the mother of our them otherwise than barefoot; or to churches, from which they derive laugh, walk, or spit, or speak of their original, as the Apostles did secular things, in them. For the from the Prophets, and the New churches of Ethiopia are not like Testament from the Old. Grischov.] the land wherein the people of Israel

4 Discourse on Ps. 132, 7. (p. did eat the paschal lamb, as they 397.) were going out of Egypt, where

6

they might imitate the Jews. This is spoken according to the wonted ingenuity of that learned person, who never advances a probability into a demonstration. I shall only add one thing out of Chrysostom, to make his opinion seem the more probable, which I note from the observation of Mr. Aubertin 5, who, among some other instances of reverence paid to God at the reading of the Gospel and reception of baptism, takes notice of this,—that when the candidates of baptism came near the baptistery, which in Chrysostom's 6 language is the bridechamber of the Spirit and the port of grace,' they were then as captives to fall down before their king, and all to cast themselves together upon their knees. Now if such an act of reverence was performed to God at their entrance into the baptistery, it is not improbable but that some such reverence might also be used at their entrance into the temple. But in matters which have not a clear light and proof, it is not prudent to be

over-bold in our determinations. Kings laid 8. It is more certain, that when kings and emperors went aside their into the house of God, they paid this respect to the place, that guards, they left not only their arms and their guards, but also their when they went into crowns behind them; as thinking it indecent to appear in their the house regalia in the presence of the King of kings, or to seem to of the King of kings. want arms and guards when they were under the peaceable

roof of the Prince of peace. St. Chrysostom7 often spends his eloquence upon this custom, and uses it as an argument to persuade all inferiors to a profound reverence, humility, and

5 De Eucharist. 1. 2. (p. 432. ad šuoû kai todelvñs koduußnopas, ás calc. et p. 433.) Idem enim Chry- aixuál wrou T pooméonte to Baoilei, sostomus fieri debere observat in ρίψατε πάντες ομοίως επί γόνατα. auditione Verbi Dei : Rex ipse, in- [Grischovius gave up this passage quit, incurvat se propter Deum in as an erroneous citation : but I have Sanctis Evangeliis loquentem. Immo found it, as above, in the Benedicet in susceptione baptismi : Post- tine edition, under the title Oratio quam ad thalamum Spiritus perve- Catechetica in dicta Evangelii, 8c., neritis, postquam ad porticum gra- as also in Hom. 110, according to tiæ accurreritis, ... et tanquam cap- Savil, t. 5. p.714. 30. Ed.] tivi procideritis coram Rege, omnes 7 Orat. post Redit. ab Exil. t. 4. similiter in genua vos projicite. Ρ: 971. (t. 3. p. 428 c.) Βασιλεύς

6 Ιn illud, Simile est Regnum εισέρχεται και ρίπτει ασπίδα και διάColor. &c. (t. 8. int. Spuria, p. 104 δημα συ εισήλθες, και ρόπαλα ήρe.) 'Επειδάν δε καταλάβετε τον νυμ- πασας. Εκείνος και τα συνθήματα της φώνα του Πνεύματος, επειδάν είσδρά- βασιλείας έξω αφίησι συ τα συνθήμητε την παστάδα της χάριτος, έπει- ματα του πολέμου ενταύθα εισήνεγκας. δαν πλησίον γένησθε της φοβεράς

[ocr errors]

peace, when they came into the courts of God, because they had such examples of their kings before them. The Emperor Theodosius Junior also makes use of the same topic in one of his laws 8, which was made to regulate the abuses of some, who fled for sanctuary in the church with their arms about them; which profanation was not to be endured in any, since he himself always left his arms without doors, and first laid aside his diadem, the badge of imperial majesty, before he went into the church. Nay, Julian himself had regard to this custom, as Sozomen 9 truly observes out of his Epistle to Arsacius, highpriest of Galatia, where one of the things he would have them imitate the Christians in, was this,—that when they went into the temples of their gods, no man of arms should appear among them. And I have already noted out of Leo Grammaticus 10, how Michael, the Greek emperor, in latter ages was censured for presuming to pass the beautiful or royal gates crowned, at which gates it had ever been customary for his predecessors to lay aside their crowns, when they went into the church. 9. Another very usual piece of respect paid to the altar The doors

and pillars and the church, was men's embracing, saluting, and kissing of the them, or any part of them, the doors, threshold, pillars, in church and token of their great love and affection for them. St. Ambrose kissed and takes notice of this in the account he gives of the great con

embraced in sternation they were in at Milan, when the Emperor's orders love and came for delivering up the churches to the Arians. The sol-respect to diers were the men who first brought the welcome news into the church, that the Emperor had revoked his fatal sentence; and they strove who should first get to the altar and kiss it 11, to signify, that all things now were in peace and safety. He alludes, no doubt, to the osculum pacis, the solemn kiss of peace, which the faithful anciently were used to give mutually

[ocr errors]

altar often

token of

them.

8 Edict. Theod. ad calc. C. Ephes. "Orav eis rà iepà polt@ol Tŵr De@v, (CC. t. 3. p. 1238 d.) Και γάρ ημείς, είσω των προθύρων ηγείσθω δε μηούς αεί το δικαίω της ηγεμονίας πε- δείς αυτών είσω στρατιώτης" επέσθω ριστοιχίζει τα όπλα, και ούς ου πρέ- δε ο βουλόμενος. πει δίχα δορυφόρων είναι, τω του 10 See ch. 5. 8. 1. p. 64. n. 85. θεού ναώ προσιόντες, έξω τα όπλα 11 Ep. 33. Cal. 20.) ad Marcellin. καταλιμπάνομεν, αποτιθέμενοι το διά- (t. 2. p. 859 c. η. 26.) Certatim hoc :nua.-Conf. ap. Cod. Theod. l. 9. nunciare milites, irruentes in altaria, tit. 45. leg. 4.

osculis significare pacis insigne. 9 L. 5. c. 16. (v. 2. p. 204. 37.)

« ForrigeFortsett »