Churches used for private me

prayer, as

well as

to each other in the communion-service, as a testimony of their
cordial love and affection for one another. And therefore it
cannot be supposed that such salutations of the church or altar
were intended as acts of religious worship, but only as civil
indications of their love and respect for them. And by this
rule we are to interpret all other places of ancient authors,
which frequently speak of this custom, as Sidonius Apollina-
ris 12, Paulinus 13, Prudentius 14, Chrysostom 15, Athanasius 16,
Cassiodore 17, and the author of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy 18,
under the name of Dionysius the Areopagite, and several
others, who wrote before the superstitious adoration of images
had gained any credit in the church: the like respect to this
having been also shewed to the book of the Gospels, without
any suspicion of adoring the materials of it.

10. I think it not improper also to observe under this head, that churches were many times chosen as the properest places ditation and for private devotion and prayer upon extraordinary occasions. Theodoret 19 observes of Theodosius the Emperor, 'that the night before he was to engage Eugenius the Tyrant, was by him wholly spent in an oratory, which happened to be in the place where he had pitched his camp.' And in like manner both Athanasius 20 and Socrates 21, and the other historians,


12 L. 1. Ep. 5. (p. 28.) Triumphalibus Apostolorum liminibus affusus, &c.

13 Natal. 6. Felic. (p. 569.)
Sternitur ante fores, et postibus os-
cula figit,

Et lachrymis rigat omne solum, pro
limine sancto

Fusus humi.

14 Peristeph. Hymn. 2. in Lau-
rent. (v. J. p. 210.)

Apostolorum ac martyrum
Exosculantur limina.

15 Hom. 29. [corrige, Hom. 30.]
in 2 Cor. (t. 1o. p. 650 d.) Tà Toí-
νυν πρόθυρα φιλοῦμεν τοῦ ναοῦ, καὶ
τὴν εἴσοδον. κ. τ. λ. [Conf. Hom. 26.
in 2 Cor. (ibid. p. 625 h.) where he
speaks of the Emperor himself as
kissing the tombs of the martyrs-
Καὶ γὰρ αὐτὸς, ὁ τὴν ἁλουργίδα περι-
κείμενος, ἀπέρχεται τὰ σήματα ἐκεῖνα
περιπτυξόμενος, κ. τ. λ. ED.]

16 Hom. Adv. eos, qui in homine spem figunt. t. 2. p. 304. (t. 2. p.

499 b. sub fin.).... ПpoσióvтES TO
ἁγίῳ θυσιαστηρίῳ, καὶ μετὰ φόβου
καὶ χαρᾶς ἀσπαζόμενοι.

17 Hist. Tripart. 1. 9. c. 30. (t. I.
p. 309.) Imperator [Theodosius], in-
gredi limina præsumens, non stans
Domino supplicavit, neque genua
flexit, sed, pronus in pavimento ja-
cens, Davidicam proclamavit vo-
cem, Adhesit pavimento anima mea,

18 Eccles. Hierarch. c. 2. part. 2. n. 4. p. 252. (t. 1. p. 168 d.).... Kai μerà TOUTO, Tηv iepàv doñaσáμeνος τράπεζαν, πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα παρόντα πρόεισι, κ.τ.λ.

19 L. 5. c. 24. (v. 3. p. 227. 11.)


Εὐρὼν οἰκίσκον εὐκτήριον ἐν τῇ τοῦ ὄρους ἀκρωνυχίᾳ, ἐν ᾧ τὸ στρατό πεδον ἦν, πάννυχος διετέλεσε τὸν τῶν ὅλων Δεσπότην ἀντιβολῶν.

20 Ep. ad Serapion. p. 671. (t. 1. part. I. p. 270 b. n. 3.) 'O TOívv ἐπίσκοπος ̓Αλέξανδρος ἀκούσας ταῦ τα, καὶ πάνυ λυπηθεὶς, εἰσελθὼν εἰς

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tell us of Alexander, bishop of Constantinople, that when the faction of Eusebius had threatened to oblige him upon a certain day to receive Arius into communion, he betook himself the night before to the church, and there prostrating himself before the altar, continued all night in prayer, begging of God that, if the faith which he held was truth, and the opinion of Arius false, he would punish Arius as his impiety justly deserved. Which was accordingly fulfilled: for the next day Arius, as he was going triumphantly to church, having occasion to turn aside to go to stool, voided his entrails with his excrements, and so perished by a most ignominious death.' I mention these things only to shew that the ancients paid such a respect to their churches, that upon special occasions they thought them the properest places as well for private devotion as for public. And I have already noted 22, that many of their churches were so framed, as to have private cells or recesses for men to retire to, and exercise themselves at leisure times in private reading of the Scriptures, and meditation, and prayer.


11. As to their public behaviour in the church, it was gene- Their rally such as expressed great reverence for it, as the sanctuary haviour in of God, and the place of his immediate presence. They en- the church tered it as the palace of the Great King, where the angels of great attended, and heaven opened itself, and Christ sat upon his reverence. throne, and all was filled with incorporeal powers,' as Chrysostom 23 words it in some of his elegant descriptions. It is

τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, τάς τε χεῖρας ἐκτείνας πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν, ἀπωδύρετο, καὶ ῥίψας ἑαυτὸν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον ἐν τῷ ἱερατείῳ, κείμενος ἐπὶ τοῦ ἐδάφους, ηὔχετο.

21 L. I. c. 37. (v. 2. p. 73. 47.) Ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, ᾗ ἐπώνυμον Εἰρήνη, μόνον ἑαυτὸν κατακλειστὸν ποιήσας, καὶ εἰς τὸ θυσιαστήριον εἰσελθὼν, ὑπὸ τὴν ἱερὰν τράπεζαν ἑαυτὸν ἐπὶ στόμα ἐκτείνας, εὔχεται δακρύων νύκτας τε πολλὰς ἐφεξῆς καὶ ἡμέρας τοῦτο ποιὢν διετέλει.—Conf. Ruffin. 1. r. [al. 10.] c. 12. (p. 229 a. 18.) Ad ultimum, certam ei [Alexandro] diem statuentes, denuntiant, ut aut ipse Arium susciperet, aut si reniteretur, se ecclesia pulso et in exilium truso, ab alio eum recipiendum sciret. Cum ille nocte, quæ ad constitutam

intererat diem, sub altari jacens, at-
que in oratione et lacrimis totam
pervigilem ducens, ecclesiæ causam
Domino commendabat.

22 See ch. 5. s. 8. p. 74.

23 Hom. 15. in Hebr. (t. 11. p. 156 a.) Εἰς μὲν βασίλεια εἰσιὼν, καὶ σχήματι, καὶ βλέμματι, καὶ βαδίσματι, καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς ἄλλοις κοσμεῖς σαυτόν· ἐνταῦθα δὲ, ἔνθα τὰ ὄντως ἐστὶ βασίλεια, καὶ τοιαῦτα οἷα τὰ οὐράνια, καὶ γελᾶς; σὺ μὲν οὖν, οἶδα, ὅτι οὐχ ὁρᾷς ἄκουε δὲ ὅτι ἄγγελοι πάρεισι πανταχοῦ, καὶ μάλιστα ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ τοῦ Θεοῦ παρεστήκασι τῷ Βασιλεῖ, καὶ πάντα ἐμπέπλησται τῶν ἀσωμάτ των ἐκείνων δυνάμεων. [Conf. Ηom. 3. in Eph. (t. 11. p. 23 b.) Tрánea πάρεστι βασιλικὴ, ἄγγελοι διακονού


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particularly remarked by Gregory Nazianzen 23 of his own mother Nonna, that the zeal of her devotion was always so flaming and fervent, that she never spake a word in the church, but what was necessary to be done in joining in the sacred service; she never turned her back upon the altar, nor ever allowed herself to spit upon the pavement of the church.' But I cannot say these were necessary laws for all to observe; for Nazianzen intimates she did something above the common pitch, and consequently that it was choice and zeal, and not any binding rules of the Church that obliged her to it.

We might here have considered further their reverent postures of devotion, standing, kneeling, and prostration; and have exposed the practice of sitting at prayers and at the communionservice, which Perron 2 and some others for different reasons contend for, as a posture of devotion used in the ancient Church; but I shall have a more proper occasion to speak of these things hereafter, when we come to the particular offices and services of the Church.


12. The last instance of their reverence for churches which shall take notice of, is, that the sacredness of them made for things them commonly the safest repository for things of value, and the best security and retreat in times of common calamity and distress. The church had not only her own private archives, her treasury, and her ceimeliarchium, for preserving her own writings, her utensils, and her treasures, but was a place of common tuition and defence, both for things and persons, in many other cases. Thus it is noted by Ruffin25, and Socrates 26, and Sozomen 27, that the cubit wherewith they were used to

retreat in times of distress.

μενοι τῇ τραπέζη, αὐτὸς πάρεστιν ὁ
Βασιλεὺς, καὶ σὺ ἕστηκας χασμώμε-

23 Orat. 19. in Funer. Patr. (t. I.
p. 292 a.) Τὸ μήποτε φωνὴν αὐτῆς ἐν
ἱεροῖς ἀκουσθῆναι συλλόγοις, ἢ τόποις,
ἔξω τῶν ἀναγκαίων καὶ μυστικῶν'...
τὸ σιωπῇ τιμᾶσθαι τὰ ἅγια, τὸ μήποτε
νῶτα δοθῆναι τῇ σεβασμίῳ τραπέζῃ,
μηδὲ καταπτυσθῆναι θεῖον ἔδαφος.

24 [See afterwards, b. 13. ch. 8. s. 7. and b. 15. ch.5. s. 3. As to sitting, there is no example, &c. Cardinal Perron indeed, &c. ED.]

25 L. 2. [al. 11.] c. 30. (p. 259 a. 3.) .... Moris erat in Ægypto, ut

mensura ascendentis Nili fluminis ad templum Serapis deferretur, velut ad incrementi aquarum et inundationis auctorem..... Ulna ipsa, id est, aquæ mensura, quam πήχυν νοcant, ad aquarum Dominum in ecclesiam capta deferri.

26 L. 1. c. 18. (v. 2. p. 47. 37.) Λεγόντων τῶν Ἑλλήνων ὡς ἄρα ὁ Σέραπις εἴη ὁ τὸν Νεῖλον ἀνάγων ἐπὶ ἀρδείᾳ τῆς Αἰγύπτου, τῷ τὸν πήχυν eis Tov vaòv Toû Zepáñidos Koμíteσdai, αὐτὸς εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τὸν πήχυν ̓Αλέξανδρον μετατιθέναι ἐκέλευσε.

27 L. I. c. 8. (ibid. p. 18. 31.) Αμέλει τοι, παρὰ μὲν Αἰγυπτίοις,

measure the increase of the waters of the Nile, when it overflowed, having been before usually kept in the temple of Serapis, was by the order of Constantine laid up in the Christian church, where it continued till Julian, the apostate, caused it to be removed to the temple of Serapis again.

But persons, as well as things, found a safe retreat and security in the sacredness of churches, when many times in barbarous invasions no other places would protect them against the insolence and fury of a conquering enemy. Nay, the very Heathens themselves often found their account in flying to the Christian churches, as St. Austin glories over them, beginning his famous book against the Pagans, De Civitate Dei, with this observation. There 28 he tells them what ungrateful wretches they were to the religion of Christ, to clamour and inveigh so bitterly against it, when yet, had it not been for the protection of their lives in places dedicated to Christ, whither they fled from the swords of their enemies, they had never been able at that day to have moved their tongues against it.' For when Alaric, the Goth, took and sacked Rome, he gave orders that all the churches should be inviolable, and whoever fled thither should be spared; the sanctity of the place should be their protection. By which means the Heathens escaped as well as the Christians: for the soldiers inviolably observed their general's commands, and when they had barbarously plundered and murdered in all other places, they did not pretend to meddle with churches, or offer the least violence to any who betook themselves thither for safety

οὐκέτι εἰς τοὺς εἰωθότας Ελληνικούς ναούς, εἰς δὲ τὰς ἐκκλησίας ἐξ ἐκείνου φέρεται ὁ πῆχυς, ᾧ σημαίνεται τῶν τοῦ Νείλου ὑδάτων ἡ ἐπίδοσις.

28 L. I. c. I. (t. 7. p. 3 a.) Ex hac namque existunt inimici, adversus quos defendenda est Dei civitas: quorum tamen multi, correcto impietatis errore, cives in ea fiunt satis idonei: multi vero in eam tantis exardescunt ignibus odiorum, tamque manifestis beneficiis Redemptoris ejus ingrati sunt, ut hodie contra eam linguas non moverent, nisi ferrum hostile fugientes, in sacratis ejus locis vitam, de qua superbiunt,

invenirent. Annon etiam illi Romani Christi nomini infesti sunt, quibus propter Christum barbari pepercerunt? Testantur hoc Martyrum loca et basilicæ Apostolorum, quæ, in illa vastatione urbis, ad se confugientes suos alienosque receperunt. Huc usque cruentus sæviebat inimicus; ibi accipiebat limitem trucidatoris furor; illo ducebantur a miserantibus hostibus, quibus etiam extra ipsa loca pepercerant, ne in eos incurrerent, qui similem misericordiam non habebant, &c.

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and protection. Nay, they carried some into churches themselves, whom they intended to spare, and so secured them from the violence of others that might have assaulted them.' So great a veneration had even the barbarous Arian Goths for churches, in the midst of all their anger and fury against the Romans, as not only St. Austin, but Orosius 29, and St. Jerom 30, and Cassiodore 31, and Sozomen 32, with other ancient writers, relate the story. And it can hardly be doubted, then, but that the Catholics had the same veneration for churches; especially when it is considered also, how both by general custom and law, under the Christian Emperors, every church was invested with the privilege of an asylum, or place of sanctuary and refuge in certain cases of the original of which, and the ancient laws relating to it, because some abuses have been added in after-ages by the canon law, I will give a particular account in the following Chapter.


Of the first original of asylums, or places of sanctuary and refuge, with the laws relating to them, in Christian churches.

1. ALL that is necessary to be known of this privilege, so ginal of this far as concerns the use of it in the ancient Church, either privilege to be deduced relates to the original of the custom; or the place itself where sanctuary might be had; or the persons who were entitled to the benefit; or lastly, the conditions they were to observe in

from the

time of Constantine.

29 L. 7. c. 39. (ap. Galland. t. 9. p. 153 c.) Adest Alaricus, trepidam Romam obsidet, turbat, irrumpit. Dato tamen præcepto prius, ut si qui in sancta loca, præcipueque in sanctorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli basilicas, confugissent, hos in primis inviolatos securosque esse sinerent.

30 Ep. 16. [al. 127.] ad Principiam. (t. I. p. 954 b.) Quum et illam et te ad beati Apostoli Pauli basilicam barbari deduxissent, ut vel salutem vobis ostenderent, vel sepulchrum, &c.

31 Variar. 1. 12. c. [al. ep.] 20. (t.

1. p. 183.).... Quum rex Alaricus, urbis Romæ deprædatione satiatus, Apostoli Petri vasa suis deferentibus excepisset, mox ut rei causam, habita interrogatione, cognovit, sacris liminibus deportari diripientium manibus imperavit.

32 L. 9. c. 10. (v. 2. p. 376. 21.) Ἐπεὶ δὲ πάλιν ὁ βάρβαρος, καὶ φοβερώτερον ἐπιὼν, οὐδὲν πλέον ἤνυε, Oavpáσas autηs Tηv σwppoσívny, ἤγαγεν εἰς τὸ Πέτρου ἀποστολεῖον· καὶ παραδοὺς τοῖς φύλαξι τῆς ἐκκλησίας, καὶ χρυσοὺς ἐξ εἰς ἀποτροφὴν αὐτῆς, ἐκέλευσε τῷ ἀνδρὶ φυλάτTELV.

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