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entertained ; and orders, that the custom should be discountenanced as much as possible also in the laity. For though they were forced to tolerate it for some time, yet they did not approve of it, as St. Austin tells Faustus 57 the Manichee, but endeavoured to correct both the excess that many ran into upon such occasions, and the very custom itself of feasting in the church, or at the graves of the martyrs, because two errors crept into the Church by that means,-intolerable excess, and an heathenish superstition therewith. “For men began,' as he complains 88, in these riots to worship pictures and tombstones, and reckoned their feasts a sort of sacrifice to the dead, placing even their voracities and drunkenness to the account of religion: so that it was high time to lay aside all manner of banquetings in the church, that the house of God might not be profaned with such excesses of riot as were not to be endured in private houses. And this was their general rule in all cases, to lay aside all customs that were not absolutely necessary, though innocent and useful in their original, rather than suffer the abuses and corruptions of them to end in the profanation of churches.
2. The like reverence and respect was also shewed to every The like sacred vessel and utensil belonging to the administration of the caution ob
served sacraments and divine service: they might not be employed to about the
sacred vesany other use, but only what was sacred, and answerable to sels and the designation and appointment of them. Upon this account utensils they were kept in the sceuophylacium of the church, and never church. removed thence but when the service of the altar required them. This custom was so nicely observed, that when Athanasius was accused for breaking the mystical cup, he clears himself of the accusation, by saying 89,-that in the place where it was pretended
87 Cont. Faust. 1. 20. C. 21. (t. 8. sepulchrorum et picturarum adorap. 348 a.) Qui autem se in me- tores: novi multos esse, qui luxumoriis martyrum inebriant, quomo- riosissime super mortuos bibant, et, do a nobis approbari possunt, cum epulas cadaveribus exhibentes, super eos, etiam si in domibus suis id fa- sepultos seipsos sepeliant, et voraciant, sana doctrina condemnet? citates ebrietatesque suas deputent Sed aliud est quod docemus, aliud religioni. quod sustinemus, aliud quod præ- 89 Apol. 2. t. 1. p.732.(t. 1. part. I. cipere jubemur, aliud quod emen- p. 105 d. η. ΙΙ.) Και γάρ ο τόπος έκdare præcipimur, et, donec emende- cīvos, év kerdão bai tò tothpióv onmus, tolerare compellimur.
σιν, ουκ ήν εκκλησία πρεσβύτερος 88 De Morib. Eccles. 1. 1. c. 34. ουκ ήν και τον τόπον παροικών ημέρα, (t. 1. p. 713 e.) Novi multos esse καθ' ην Μακάριον τούτο πεποιηκέναι
that he had broken it, there was neither church nor minister, nor was it in the time of celebrating the eucharist: therefore, since the cup was never in the custody of any but the ministers of the church, nor ever used but in the church in time of divine service, he could not be guilty of the crime laid against him, seeing there were none but private men, in whose keeping the cup could not be in that place. The vessels were usually kept by the deacon; and the subdeacons and other inferior orders are by the Councils of Laodicea 90 and Agde 91 forbidden to touch them. There was but one case in which it was lawful to put these things to common use, and that was the case of absolute necessity, when no other method could be found out to redeem captives or relieve the poor, in times of extreme exigence: then it was thought that mercy was to be preferred before sacrifice, and that the living and spiritual temples of God were to be preserved at the expense of the material ones; and they never made any scruple to melt down their communion-plate or part with their ornaments upon such occasions; of which I have given full proof heretofore 92 from the examples of St. Ambrose, St. Austin, Cyril of Jerusalem, Acacius bishop of Amida, Exuperius of Toulouse, and the laws of Justinian, which need not be repeated in this place. But excepting this one extraordinary case, it was esteemed the highest profanation and sacrilege, to divert any thing to any other use, which was given to God's service. And there are some instances of very remarkable judgments that befell such profaners, one or two of which it may
not be amiss to mention. Theodoret 93 tells us, Julian, the apostate, sent two of his officers, Felix and his uncle Julian,
φασίν, ουκ ήν κυριακή. Μήτε τοίνυν που μήτε τόπος κυριακής, μήτε τις εκκλησίας ούσης εκεί, μήτε του ιερουρ- εκεί της εκκλησίας, αλλά μήτε ο καιγούντος, μήτε της ημέρας απαιτούσης, ρός μυστηρίων ήν. ποιον ή που το ποτήριον κέκλασται 90 C. 21. (t. Ι. p. 15oo e.) "Οτι ου μυστικόν; ποτήρια μεν γαρ είναι πολ- δει υπηρέτας έχειν χώραν εν τω διαλά και κατά τας οικίας, και εν αγορά κονικώ, και άπτεσθαι δεσποτικών σκευμέση, δηλον και τούτων ουδέν ο θραύ- ων. ων ασεβεί το δε μυστικών ποτήριον, 91 C. 66. (t. 4. p. 1394 a.) Quoκαι καν θραυσθή παρ' εκόντος, ασεβή niam non oportet insacratos minisποιεί τον επικεχειρηκότα, παρά μόνοις tros licentiam habere in secretaTois vouiuws 7 poeOtwoiv eúpioketai' rium, quod Græci diaconicum apOŮTOS Ó Tpóros Toutov Toù tornpiov pellant, ingredi, et contingere vasa μόνος, άλλος ουδείς....... Και ταυτά dominica. φαμεν, ουχ ότι κάν σχισματικών πο- 92 B. 5. ch. 6. 8. 6. vol. 2. pp. 187 τήριον κέκλασται παρά Μακαρίου, αλλ' -189. nn. 11-17. ότι μηδεν ήν όλως εκεί πως γάρ; ό- 93 L. 3. cc. 13, 14. (v. 1. p. 132.)
to plunder the church of Antioch, called the Golden Church, and bring the rich vessels, which Constantine and Constantius had dedicated, into his own coffers. But they were not content barely to commit sacrilege, unless they could vent their spite also in some unmannerly and profane abuses: therefore Julian pissed upon the holy table, and Felix seeing the holy vessels broke out into this rude expression, Behold what fine vessels Mary's son is served in! But the impious wretches did not long go unpunished; for Julian was immediately seized with an ulcer, which turned all his bowels into putrefaction, and he died voiding his own excrements at his blasphemous mouth; and Felix by the same divine vengeance voided blood at his mouth, without intermission, day and night, till he died. Victor Uticensis 94 gives us a like account of one Proculus, an agent of one of the kings of the Vandals, who having ravaged and plundered the Catholic churches, made himself a shirt and breeches of the palls or coverings of the altar. But not long after he fell into a phrensy, which made him eat off his own tongue, piece by piece, and so he breathed out his last in a most ignominious death. It is no less remarkable, what
, Optatus 95 reports of some Donatist bishops, who in their mad zeal against the Catholics, ordered the eucharist, which the Catholics had consecrated, to be thrown to their dogs; but not without an immediate sign of divine vengeance upon them: for the dogs, instead of devouring the elements, fell upon their masters, as if they had never known them, and tore them to pieces, as robbers and profaners of the holy body of Christ. Which makes Optatus put them in mind of that admonition of our Saviour, (Matth. 7, 6,)“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they
94 De Persecut. Vandal. l. 1. ap. moralia faciebat. Qui tamen ProBibl. Patr. t. 7. p. 593. (ap. Bibl. culus, hujus rei executor, frustatim Max. t. 8. p. 678 f. 1.) (Geisericus] sibi comedens linguam, in brevi turmittit Proculum quendam in pro- pissima consumptus est morte. vinciam Zeugitanam, qui coarctaret, 95 L. 2. p. 55. (p. 49.) Ut omnia ad tradendum mysteria divina vel sacrosancta supra memorati vestri libros, cunctos Domini sacerdotes; episcopi violarent, jusserunt euchaut primo armis nudaret, et ita faci- ristiam canibus fundi: non sine signo lius inermes hostis callidus captivas- divini judicii; nam iidem canes, acset. Quibus se non posse traderecensi rabie, ipsos dominos suos, clamantibus,ipse rapaci manu cuncta quasi latrones, sancti corporis reos, depopulabatur, atque de pallis alta- dente vindice, tanquam ignotos et ris (proh nefas!) camisias sibi et fe- inimicos, laniaverunt.
What dif. ference made between churches
trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Other instances might be added of the same nature, but I choose rather to go on with the account of their reverence, than to dwell any longer upon the punishments of the profaners.
3. Let us next, then, observe the difference that was made between churches and private houses. Some heretics made
very light of this distinction, as the Eustathians, Massalians, and private
and others. Against the Eustathians we have two canons made in the Council of Gangra, from which we may learn their errors, and what were the Catholic tenets in opposition to them. The first is 96, If any one teach, that the house of God, and the assemblies held therein are to be despised, let him be anathema. And the other 97, If any one hold
• assemblies privately out of the church, and despising the church chooses to perform ecclesiastical offices, where there is no presbyter appointed by the bishop, let him be anathema.' These heretics seem to have contemned both a regular ministry and the public churches, and to have made no difference between the house of God, and other houses, but to have taught that ecclesiastical offices might as well be performed at home as in the church. Against which errors this Council rising up so severely, gives us to understand, that according to the sentiments of the Catholic Church, the public offices of the church were to be performed in public, and not in private houses, and that it was a contempt of the house of God to perform them otherwise. At present I do not remember any one allowed instance of the contrary practice in all ancient history, except in cases of necessity, which are above all laws. And therefore I could not but reckon this difference, which was so universally put between the house of God and private houses, among the instances of respect and reverence, which
the Ancients paid to their churches. How some
4. It will deserve here also to be remembered, particularly chose ra
to the praise of St. Ambrose, how he acted with the courage ther to die than deliver and resolution of a martyr in defence of the churches, that
96 C. 5. (t. 2. p. 419 a.) Εί τις εκκλησίαν ιδία εκκλησιάζοι, και, καταδιδάσκοι τον οίκον του θεου ευκατα- φρονών της εκκλησίας, τα της εκφρόνητον είναι, και τας εν αυτώ συν- κλησίας εθέλοι πράττειν, μή συνόντος άξεις, ανάθεμα έστω.
του πρεσβυτέρου κατά γνώμην του 97 Ibid. c. 6. (a.) Εί τις παρά την επισκόπου, ανάθεμα έστω.
they might not be delivered up to the profanation of the up churches
to be proArians. For when the younger Valentinian had, by the in- faned by stigation of his mother Justina, an Arian Empress, first pub- heretics. lished a law, not extant in the Theodosian Code 98, 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 træ 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.