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salute each other with a kiss. Then bread, and a cup of wine and water mixed, is brought to the president (bishop*) of the brethren, and he, taking them, offers praise and glory to the Father of all, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and maketh a very long thanksgiving, because He hath thought us worthy of these gifts; and when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgiving, all the people present approve it with acclamation, saying, Amen. Now amen' in the Hebrew tongue signifies .so be it.'
“ When the president has offered thanksgiving, and all the people responded, those who are called deacons amongst us give to every one present a portion of the bread, and of the wine and water which has been blessed, and carry it to those who are not present. And this food we call the eucharist, of which no one is permitted to partake except he believes in the truth of our doctrine, and has been baptised in the laver for the remission of sins and regeneration, and lives so as Christ has taught: for we do not receive it as common bread or common drink; but as, by the word of God, our Saviour Jesus Christ was incarnate, and had flesh and blood for our -salvation, so also we have been instructed, that the food, blessed by the word of prayer which is from him, through which our flesh and blood by a change are nourished, is (spiritually) the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus. For the apostles, in the commentaries written by them, which are called Gospels, have informed us that they were commanded to do so by Jesus, who took bread and gave thanks, and after giving thanks said, “Do this in remembrance of me ; this is my body ;' and in the same manner took the cup, and hav. ing given thanks, said, “This is my blood,' and distributed it to them only” (i. e. only to believers.)
“ After this;" he continues, " we always continually re-mind each other of these things; and the rich assist the -poor, and we are continually with each other. In all our of.
* [Orsafficiating presbyter'.-Am. ED]
ferings, we bless the Creator of all things, through his Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Spirit. And on the day called Sunday, all who dwell in the city or the country assemble in one place, and the memorials of the apostles, and the writings of the prophets, are read as the time permits. Then, when the reader ceases, the president in a discourse exhorts and admonishes to the imitation of these excellent precepts. We then all rise together, and send up prayers; and, as we have said, when the prayers cease, bread is offered, and wine and water."
“But those who are wealthy and so disposed contribute each as he pleases; and the collection is deposited with the president, who assists the orphans and widows, and those who are in want, through sickness or some other cause, also those who are in prison, and guests who are foreigners; and, in short, he is the guardian of all who are in distress. And on the Sunday we all assemble together, because it is the first day, on which God, changing darkness and matter, created the world, and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead."
In those early times the creed was used, as it still is, as a confession of faith preparatory to receiving the sacrament of baptism. When the Ethiopian eunuch desired to be baptised, Philip said to him, “ If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Here is an instance of a creed, or profession of faith, even in the time of the apostles. Indeed, as our Lord had required faith in his doctrines, as well as baptism, in order to salvation, the Church was bound to ascertain as far as possible that those who desired baptism were believers, and therefore to require from them a profession of their faith. Creeds in this point of view, as summaries of the Gospel, are as old as the time of the apostles ; their length and fulness varied in different Churches, and sometimes new articles were added, in order to assert the truth in opposition to prevalent heresies. The apostles' creed was the ancient baptismal creed of the Roman and Italian Churches; the Nicene creed was founded on the ancient creeds of the Eastern Churches by the holy synod of 318 bishops at Nice, and was adopted as the rule of
A.D 325. faith by the universal Church in all subsequent times. This creed was introduced into the liturgy or service of the eucharist in the fifth and sixth centuries.
What has been said of the apostolical antiquity of creeds applies also to liturgies. It appears that, in the fourth century, there were four forms of administering the eucharist in existence, which had continued in different parts of the uni. versal Church from the remotest antiquity. These forms agreed in all their principal parts: their variety consisted chiefly in the different order in which those parts were arranged. One form prevailed in Judæa, Syria, Asia Minor, Macedonia, Greece; and, in the fifth century, was ascribed by the Church of Jerusalem to James the apostle. Another, which was established by St. Mark, prevailed in Egypt and Ethiopia. A third, which has been attributed, with some probability, to St. John the apostle, was used in Ephesus, and afterwards in France, Spain, and probably Britain. A fourth apostolical form existed in Rome, Italy, and Africa. Every Church had and exercised the power of improving its liturgy by the addition of new rites and prayers; but all adhered to the general order and substance delivered from the beginning The liturgy or service for the holy communion now used in England,* resembles the ancient Gallican in the most essential points.
Penitence was regarded as the remedy for sin committed after baptism. It was generally taught that confession of secret sins to God, with a truly contrite heart and changed life, were sufficient to obtain remission of sins. In the case of sins, however, which were public and caused scandal, a dif
* [And in the Protestant Episcopal Churches of Ireland, Scotland and America. The forms of the last two are more full and primitive than the English.-AM. ED.]
ferent method was pursued. St. Paul had commanded the Corinthian Church to expel from its communion a person who had committed a grievous and scandalous sin, and had en. joined them to receive him again on his sincere repentance. The Church, acting on this principle, excommunicated any of its members who fell into grievous sin, unless they voluntarily submitted to a lengthened course of penitence. Penitence for seven, ten, fifteen, or even twenty years, was required for some sins, in proportion to their enormity or scandal. During this period, the penitent first stood outside the Church while divine service was proceeding; then, in process of time, was admitted into the Church, but obliged to assume the humblest attitude, and forbidden to partake of the eucharist. During all this time, he was obliged further to manifest his grief by fasting, weeping, mourning, wearing sack-cloth, and imploring the prayers of the brethren for his soul. Such was the severity of the ancient discipline ; but the bishop had the power of diminishing the time, in cases where repentance was deep and manifest. The Church was at length fully satisfied, and the penitent was then solemnly absolved and blessed, and admitted to the full privileges of Christian fellowship. The same sort of penitence was required from those who had been excommunicated for their sins, and desired to return to the Church.
Those who committed great sins in secret were recommended to disclose their guilt to discreet and judicious ministers of God, and receive from them directions for the course of private penitence which they ought to pursue. In the latter part of the third century, a penitentiary was appointed in most churches, whose duty it was to hear such voluntary confessions, and to offer spiritual advice to penitents. About a century afterwards, this office was discontinued by Nectarius, bishop of Constantinople, on occasion of the scandal caused by an imprudent publication of a crime, through the indiscretion of the penitentiary of that Church; and from
this time, private penitents in the Eastern Churches approach. ed the Lord's table at their own discretion.
The ministry of the Church instituted by the apostles con. sisted of bishops, priests, and deacons. The apostles retained the government of all Churches in their own hands at first, only appointing deacons and bishops, or presbyters (for these two names are indiscriminately used in holy Scripture;) but when about to depart from this world, they constituted bishops or chief presbyters “in their own place,” as we learn from St. Irenæus. Thus Timothy was placed at Ephesus, Titus at Crete, Dionysius the Areopagite at Athens, Linus at Rome, Anianus at Alexandria, as James had been long be. fore appointed bishop at Jerusalem. Even the opponents of episcopacy admit, that by the middle of the second century all Churches were governed by bishops; and, in fact, no instance of any Church not under episcopal superintendence has ever been pointed out in the course of fifteen centuries after Christ. Amongst Churches, some had pre-eminent dis. tinction from their opulence and magnitude, or the civil distinctions which their cities enjoyed ; and thus, in the second and third centuries, the Churches of the principal cities, such as Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Carthage, were much honoured. All bishops and Churches, however, were regarded as perfectly equal in the sight of God; and all regulated their own affairs, and exercised discipline with perfect freedom.
The rules for the appointment of bishops and clergy were various. In some Churches, the people united with the cler. gy in electing their bishop; in others, the clergy alone appointed him. Ordination followed, in which a priest received imposition of hands from one bishop, while a bishop was ordained by several. Each bishop was aided in his ministry by presbyters, or priests, and deacons, whom he generally consulted in important matters. The administration of the re, venues of the Church was under his direction, and the dea. cons were his almoners.