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upon that account the ancient apologists, Origen 26, Minucius Felix 27, Arnobius 28, and Lactantius 29, when the Heathens object to them, that they had no altars,' roundly and freely confess it in the sense that the objection was made; that is, that they had no altars furnished with idol-gods and fitted for idol-worship,' such as the Heathens pleaded for. In like manner they denied that they had any altars in the Jewish sense, for offering bloody sacrifices upon; but for their own mystical unbloody sacrifice, as they called the eucharist, they always owned they had an altar, which they scrupled not to term indifferently Ovotaorpiov, ara, altare, and sometimes βωμός. For though Mr. Mede thinks they never used that name, yet it appears that with the addition of ȧvaíμaктos, they sometimes did; for Synesius 30, speaking of the holy table, expressly styles it àvaluaктov ẞwpòv, the unbloody altar.

holy table,

14. Yet these same authors, to distinguish their notion more of the exactly, commonly use the name table for the altar, with the names, addition of some singular epithet, implying the peculiar use of mystical it in the Christian Church. In Chrysostom 31 it is most usually table, &c. termed τράπεζα μυστική and φρικτή, the mystical and tremendous table; sometimes the spiritual, divine, royal, immortal, heavenly table; of which the reader may find instances enough collected by Suicerus 32 out of that author.

26 Cont. Cels. 1. 8. p. 389. (t. 1. p. 754 b. ult. lin.) . . . . Ἡμᾶς βωμοὺς καὶ ἀγάλματα καὶ νεὼς ἱδρύσθαι φεύγειν.

27 Octav. c. 10. (p.61.) Cur nullas aras habent, templa nulla, nulla nota simulacra?

28 Cont. Gent. 1. 6. (p. 189.) Non altaria fabricemur, non aras. See before, ch. 1. s. 16. p. 33. nn. 59, 60.

29 Instit. 1. 2. c. 2. (t. I. p. 116.) Quid sibi templa, quid aræ volunt,


30 Catastas. p. 303. (p. 304 b. ro.) Οὐ μὴν ὅγε Θεὸς περιόψεται τὸν βωμὸν τὸν ἀναίμακτον ἱερέος αἵματι μαινόμενον. [See Mede on the name Altar or Θυσιαστήριον, &c., 8. 3. (Lond. 1637. p. 31.) But there is one thing yet behind, by no means to be forgotten in this argument. That what I have hitherto spoken

of the name altar is to be under-
stood of θυσιαστήριον, not of βωμός.
Θυσιαστήριον is the altar of the true
God; Buòs, the altar of an idol,
&c., to the end of the section. ED.]

31 Hom. 21. Quod oportet hære-
ses esse, t. 5. p. 313. (t. 3. p. 246 d.)
Eira ènì Tηv μVOTIKην TрÁTEČAν ɧάyeι
τὸν λόγον, μειζόνως αὐτοὺς φοβῆσαι
Bovλóuevos.-Ibid. (d. 10.) Ei yàp ǹ
τράπεζα ἡ φρικώδης κοινὴ πᾶσι πρό-
κειται καὶ πλουσίῳ καὶ πένητι, κ. τ. λ.

It. Hom. 39. [al. 1.] de Pentecost. P. 553. (t. 2. p. 463 b.) "Отаν пaρà τὴν ἱερὰν ταύτην ἑστήκῃ τράπεζαν ὅταν τὴν φρικτὴν ἐκείνην θυσίαν ἀναφέρειν μέλλῃ.

32 Thes. Eccles. voce Tрáreča. (t. 2. p. 1280.) A Chrysostomo vocatur poßepà κaì μVσTIÊη τрÁTEČα.—In Psalm. 140. Πνευματικὴ τράπεζα. In Psalm. 90. Muσtiên tрáñeČα.— Sic etiam a Gregorio Nazienzo, Orat.

St. Austin 33 usually gives it the name of mensa Domini, the Lord's table; whence mensa Cypriani, in that author 34, signifies either the altar or the church erected in the place of St. Cyprian's martyrdom. It were easy to add a thousand other testimonies out of Athanasius, Synesius, Socrates, Sozomen, Paulinus, and the rest of that age, where the altar is called the holy table, to signify to us their notion of the Christian sacrifice and altar at once, that it was mystical and spiritual, and had no relation either to the bloody sacrifices of the Jews, or the more absurd idolatries of the Gentiles, but served only for the service of the eucharist and oblations of the people. 15. If any be desirous to know the matter and form of the ancient altars or tables, St. Austin will inform him that they were of wood, in his time, in the African churches. For, Constan- speaking of a great outrage committed by the Donatists against a Catholic bishop, whilst he stood ministering at the altar, he says 35, they beat him cruelly with clubs and such like weapons, and, at last, with the broken pieces of the timber of the altar.' This is further confirmed by the testimony of Optatus 36, who, objecting to the Donatists their sacrilegious abuse of the Catholic altars, says, they broke them in pieces in such places as would afford them plenty of wood to make new ones of; but in places where there was a scarcity of wood, they contented themselves with scraping or shaving them, by way of pretended expiation.' Nay, the workmen who wrought

Altars generally made of wood till

the time of


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11. p. 660. Aidéσonti tηv μvotikη
τράπεζαν, ᾗ προσῆλθες· τὸν ἄρτον,
οὗ μετείληφας· τὸ ποτήριον, οὗ κατ
κοινώνηκας, τοῦ Χριστοῦ πάθεσι τε-
λειούμενος. — Βασιλικὴ τράπεζα, α
Chrysostomo, Hom. 24. in 1 ad
Corinthios, et Hom. 17. in Epist.
ad Hebræos.-'AlávаTOS трáπeČa, ab
eodem, Hom. 13. in Epist. ad He-
bræos. Iepà Tрánea, ab eodem
Hom. 10. t. 5. p. 40.—Þpiktǹ тpá-
Tea, ab eodem Hom. 21. t. 5. p.
129.-ÞρIKTη Kai beía rрáñeča, Hom.
72. tomi ejusd. p. 518.-Þpikwồns
Tрánea, ab eodem Hom. 21. t. 5.
Edit. Paris. p. 313.

33 Ep. 59. [al. 149.] ad Paulin.
(t.2. p.509c.)... Ut precationes ac-
cipiamus dictas, quas facimus in
celebratione sacramentorum, ante-

quam illud, quod est in Domini mensa, incipiat benedici.

34 Hom. 26. ex editis a Sirmond.

[al. Serm. 305.] (t. 5. p. 1236 e.) Habitus ad Mensam S. Cypriani. See before, ch. 1. s. 9. p. 15. and n. 77. the word preceding.

35 Ep. 50. [al. 185.] ad Bonifac. c. 7. (t. 2. p. 654 f.) .... Stantem [Maximianum episcopum] ad altare ... fustibus et cujuscemodi [al. hujusmodi] telis, lignis denique ejusdem altaris effracti, immaniter ceciderunt.

36 L. 6. p. 94. (p. 112.) Alio loco copia lignorum frangi jussit; alio, ut altaria raderent, lignorum inopia imperavit..... Calida de fragmentis altarium facta est.-Vid. p. 95. (p. 113.) ibid.


in this egregious service, had wine given them, heated with fires made of the fragments of the altars. Athanasius 37 has likewise occasion to tell us, their communion tables were of wood, in a parallel story upon the Arians, who, in one of their mad humours,' as he complains, went into a church, and took the throne and seats of the presbyters, and the table, which was of wood, and the veils, and whatever other combustible matter they could find, and carried them out and burned them.' So that there is no question to be made, but that, about this time, the altars were only tables of wood in Afric and Egypt, as these testimonies plainly imply. Bona 38 thinks they had stone altars before, even in times of persecution; but he offers no proof but his own opinion. Yet it is generally thought, by Hospinian 39 and other learned men, that they began to come in from the time of Constantine, together with the stateliness and magnificence of churches.


The Pontifical speaks of silver altars dedicated by Constantine; and Gerson and others, alleged by Hospinian, make Pope Silvester, who lived in the time of Constantine, to be the author of a decree, that all altars should be of stone. these authorities are of no weight, and the stories contradict one another. What is certain in the case is this, that about the time of Gregory Nyssen, altars in some places began to be of stone; for he, in his Discourse of Baptism 40, speaks of a stone altar. This altar,' says he, whereat we stand, is, by nature, only common stone, nothing different from other stones, whereof our walls are made and our pavements adorned: but after it is consecrated and dedicated to the service of God,

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multis in locis originem sumpsisse, eaque fixa et de lapidibus aut simili materia exstructa fuisse.

40 De Bapt. Christ. (t. 3. p. 369 d.) To Ovotaστηpiov Toûтo To ayιov, ᾧ παρεστήκαμεν, λίθος ἐστὶ κατὰ τὴν φύσιν κοινὸς, οὐδὲν διαφέρων τῶν ἄλλων πλακῶν, αἱ τοὺς τοίχους ἡμῶν οἰκοδομοῦσι, καὶ καλλωπίζουσι τὰ ἐδάφη. Επειδὰν δὲ καθιερώθη τῇ τοῦ Θεοῦ θεραπείᾳ, καὶ τὴν εὐλογίαν ἐδέξατο' ἔστι τράπεζα ἁγία, θυσιαστήριον ἄχραντον, οὐκέτι παρὰ πάντων ψηλαφώμενον, ἀλλὰ μόνων τῶν ἱερέων, καὶ τούτων εὐλαβουμένων.

But one altar anciently in a church.

it becomes an holy table, an immaculate altar, which may not be promiscuously touched by all, but only by the priests, in time of divine service.' In the next age, in France, we find a general decree made in the Council of Epone 41, anno 509, 'that no altars should be consecrated, but such as were made of stone only and this seems to be the first public act of this nature, that we have upon authentic record in ancient history. And from the time of this change in the matter of them, the form or fashion of them changed likewise: for, whereas, before they were in the form of tables, they now began to be erected more like altars, either upon a single foot, or pillar, in the midst, or upon an edifice erected like a tomb, as if it were some monument of a martyr; as Bona 42 tells us there are some such now to be seen in the catacombs of Rome, and other places.

16. It will perhaps be something more material to remark here, that anciently there was never above one altar in a church. One bishop and one altar in a church,' is the known aphorism of Ignatius 43. And Eusebius is supposed upon this account to call the altar in the church of Paulinus, at Tyre, μονογενὲς θυσιαστήριον, the single altar, as Habertus 44 truly

41 C. 26. (t. 4. p. 1579 c.) Altaria, nisi lapidea, infusione chrismatis [al. chrismatis unctione] non sacrentur. 42 Rer. Liturg. l. I. c. 20. n. 1. (p. 223.) Erant autem olim diversæ altarium structuræ. Nam aliquando uni tantum columnæ mensa lapidea superjacebat, quale describitur, Lib. 20. Historiæ Miscellæ, altare Deiparæ Virginis in Blachernis; qualia sunt etiam hodie altaria quædam subterranea Romæ, in Ecclesia S. Cæciliæ. Aliquando quatuor columnis eadem mensa suffulta erat; et de his altaribus loquitur Synesius in fine Catastasis: Sacratas columnas amplectar, quæ puram et incontaminatam a terra mensam sustinent. Interdum duæ solæ columnæ ex utroque latere ipsum altare sustinebant: suntque adhuc Romæ in cryptis et cœmeteriis quædam hujusmodi altaria duabus vel pluribus innixa columnis, quibus Christiani, tempore persecutionis, ibidem latentes utebantur: denique nonnulla quadro

superposita ædificio tumuli formam referebant, tanquam martyrum sepulchra : quæ proprie altaria, quasi altæ aræ, dicebantur.

43 Ep. ad Philadelph. n. 4.-Ep. ad Magnesian. n. 7. See before, s. 12. p. 91. nn. 14, 15.

44 Archierat. ad Rit. Var. Altar. observ. 1. ex Euseb. 1. 10. c. 4. (p. 661.) Unitas altaris ab unitatis Christi analogia: unde eleganter Ovσiaorηptov povoуevès, vocat vetus ecclesiæ Tyriorum orator, in Panegyrico Encæniorum, qui Paulino Tyri episcopo dictus est; quem adeo magni fecit Eusebius Cæsariensis, ut eam Historiæ suæ libro 10. insereret...... Græci ab illo patres, tractatores et historici, unius in una ecclesia altaris meminerunt. S. Athanasius in Apologia ad Constantium, S. Gregor. Nazianz. Orat. 32. in Concilio Cpolitano habita. nesius in Catastasi, Badovμаι пршτον ἐπὶ τὸν νεὼν τοῦ Θεοῦ, κυκλώσομαι τὸ θυσιαστήριον, δάκρυσι βρέξω


observes upon it, who ingenuously confesses, that it has ever been the constant custom of the Greek Churches to have but one altar in a temple; in confirmation of which he cites Athanasius, Nazianzen, Synesius, Socrates, Theodoret, Evagrius, and many others. Cardinal Bona 45 also owns he could find no footsteps of the contrary practice till the time of Gregory the Great, and then only in the Latin Church; for the Greeks have always kept to the ancient custom. He thinks, indeed, the contrary custom was in the Latin Church of old; but he only shews his willingness to believe it without proof: and Schelstrate 46 very justly censures him for it, shewing, out of

τὸ τιμαλφέστατον ἔδαφος, κ. τ. λ. Et postea idem altare ad eum modum, quo in hoc ritu describitur, innuit, Προσφύσομαι τῶν κιόνων τῶν ἱερῶν, αἱ τὴν ἄσυλον ἀπὸ γῆς ἀνέχουσι τράπεζαν, βωμὸν τὸν ἀναίμακτον. . . . Sic unius altaris meminere Socrates, lib. 1. de Alexandro CP., Eis rò Ovoαστήριον εἰσελθὼν, ὑπὸ τὴν ἱερὰν τράπεζαν ἑαυτὸν ἐπὶ στόμα ἐκτείνας, K. T. X. Ita Theodoretus, lib. 4. cap. 20.; Evagrius, lib. 5. cap. 21.; Theophylactus, Histor. Mauric. lib. 5. cap. 14.; Nicephorus, Patr. Constantinus Porphyrogenneta, Zonaras, Cedrenus, Nicetas, et alii passim. Codinus in Originibus ad finem, in descriptione S. Sophiæ.

45 Rer. Liturg. l. 1. c. 14. n. 3. (p. 206.) Non leve tandem indicium missæ peculiariter actæ præbet altarium multitudo in eadem ecclesia, de quibus Veterum Patrum testimonia non desunt. Gregorius Magnus, Libr. 5. Ep. 50., ad Palladium Santonensem episcopum: Veniens, inquit, lator præsentium insinuavit nobis, fraternitatem vestram ecclesiam construxisse, atque illic tredecim altaria collocasse, ex quibus quatuor necdum dedicata comperimus remansisse. Loquitur autem de altaribus ad usum sacrificii... Plura item altaria Romæ fuisse in basilica Principis Apostolorum, non solum ad orientem juxta ritum ecclesiæ, sed et in alias partes distributa scribit Walfridus, c. 4. . . . . Græcorum alia est consuetudo; unicum enim altare in singulis ecclesiis habent;


nec fas esse putant, intra septa ejusdem templi sacrum eadem die iterare. Ideo patres et historici Græci unius tantum altaris in una ecclesia mentionem faciunt, &c.

46 C. Antioch. Restitut. dissert. 3. c. 4. n. 12. de Can. 2. (p. 193.) Cum vero altaris mentio facta est, notandum cum Christiano Lupo, olim in basilicis unicum duntaxat fuisse altare, idque alte clamare antiquas Romanorum basilicas, in quibus altare inverso modo constructum videmus ad initium sacrarii, unde et celebrans non respicit ad tribunal aut synthronum, sed potius ad fideles et populum. Africæ basilicas describit S. Optatus Milevitanus episcopus, libro 1. contra Parmenianum: Conferta, inquit, erat ecclesia populis; plena erat cathedra episcopalis: erat altare loco suo, in quo pacifici episcopi retro temporis obtulerunt, Cyprianus, Lucianus, et cæteri. Sic exitum est foras et altare contra altare erectum est. Ac si diceret, Carthaginensem basilicam, in qua Cyprianus et Lucianus obtulerant, unicum duntaxat habuisse altare loco suo collocatum. Hinc et magnus Hipponensis antistes Augustinus, Tractatu 3. in Epistolam Joannis: Si cum Donatistis in unitate sumus, quid in hac civitate faciunt duo altaria? Altaria pro basilicis sumit Augustinus, ac si diceret, duas basilicas habuisse duo duntaxat altaria, quorum unum alteri esset oppositum; unde scripsit S. Optatus, altare contra altare fu


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