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to be rebuilt, it was done with great pomp, and before they were used, the ceremony of consecration was performed, which at first consisted of the usual forms of public worship, and in some cases was repeated on the same day annually. Afterwards, they were sprinkled with holy water, relics were deposited in them, images of the tutelary saints were painted on the walls, also crosses and other figures were traced on the walls and pavement, as the Greek and Latin alphabet in the form of a cross, and the litany of the virgin Mary and other saints. Even the bells were consecrated, or, as the common people said, baptized. Vessels of holy water were placed at the entrances of churches, into which those entering dipped their finger, and marked their foreheads with the sign of the cross. A fondness for this sign was an early superstition. Wax lights were used in the churches in the day time. Altars, incense, and processions, copied from the pagans, were also introduced into the worship of Christians.
In the course of time, the public services were more and more burdened with pagan and Jewish additions, and domestic inventions. Each church of note had its peculiar ritual. Augustine complained that the ceremonial observances were so numerous, that the condition of the Jews under the Law was more tolerable. The Western church was loaded with ceremonies chiefly by Gregory the Great, in the sixth century. The Roman ritual was the one generally used. But the greatest perversion was the performance of religious services in a foreign tongue, which the hearers could not understand. The Latin language was at first generally understood by Christians in the West, but was gradually superseded by the modern tongues of Europe. Yet it still continues to be used in all the Roman Catholic churches to audiences totally ignorant of it. The object of this was to keep the people in ignorance, and dependent upon the priests. This is not peculiar to the Catholics, however, for a veneration for antiquity leads the Syrian, Egyptian, and Abyssinian christians to adopt a like custom. The dress of the clergy was distinguished from that of other persons. The council of Carthage prescribed the cope, and Gregory the Great drew new fashions from the old ceremonial law of the Jews.
METHOD OF, CONDUCTING PUBLIC WORSHIP.
Originally Christians met to read the scriptures, to explain them, or to preach, to sing psalms, to pray, and to administer the Lord's supper. Then it became fashionable to repeat a creed; at first it was done only by the priest at: baptism, or on the supper, or the day preceding Good Friday, but afterwards by the whole assembly constantly. The posture of priest and people during public worship became a matter of great consequence. The customs of standing, kneeling, prostration, turning the face towards the East, during prayer; of standing, whilst the gospel was read; and of bowing, when the name of Jesus was repeated in the creed, prevailed at different times. Singing was always employed in public worship. They used the Psalms of David, or hymns of their own composing. The method of singing by antiphony or anthem arose in the East in the fourth century, and was adopted in the West in the fifth. Gregory the Great composed an Antiphoniary for the whole year, with responses for every day of it. Musical instruments were not introduced into churches till the thirteenth or fourteenth century. Thomas Aquinas said, the church does not use them in praising God, lest she should seem to Judaize. In 1312, Marinus Sanutus introduced organs into churches. At first, preaching was only an exposition of scripture. Origen indulged in a more copious manner, and sermons gradually acquired the style of harangues to the populace, or pleas at the bar. Of such a nature in form were the compositions of Chrysostom, and other eloquent preachers of antiquity. In the ninth century, bishops and priests ceased to instruct the people in this way, and in the Roman Catholic church few sermons are preached at the present day, the audience, except on particular occasions and festivals, meeting only to hear prayers, and to celebrate
In order to remedy the ignorance of the priesthood, Charlemagne ordered Homilies or discourses upon the epistles and gospels, to be compiled from the works of the ancient doctors of the church, and to be committed to memory by the clergy, and recited to the people. In imitation of this scheme, a book of homilies was compiled and appointed to be read in the church of England. Prayers were in. the primitive church delivered without book, and were such as the bishop, or the priest, who officiated, could prepare himself. But the custoin was introduced of composing prayers beforehand, and submitting them to competent per
sons for approbation. Thence came liturgies, or forms of celebrating public worship, which are first mentioned in the fourth century. In early times, though the officiating minister delivered the prayers, the people were not entirely silent, for they made short responses, as Lift up your hearts -we lift them up urto the Lord; and the Lord be with you -and with thy spirit. At the close of the services, there was a custom of reciting a roll, in which the names of the more eminent saints of the Catholic church, and of the holy bishops, martyrs, or confessors of every partieular church, were registered.
The early Christians had no festivals besides Sunday, on which they always met for public worship, and abstair ed from labor. In imitation of the Jews or heathen, they soon had many annual festivals. The first was Easter, or the anniversary of Christ's death and resurrection ; and a fast kept forty days previously (a superstitious imitation of our Savior's fasting in the desert) is called Lent. A fast on the anniversary of Christ's crucifixion, or what we call Good Friday, is of great antiquity. As the time that our Lord lay in the tomb was about forty hours, a fast kept in commemoration of that event was called Quadragesima. Pentecost was a Jewish festival, celebrated fifty days after the Passover. The Christian festival at the same time is called Whitsuntide. Christmas, in commemoration of the nativity of Jesus, was at first held on the sixth of January, but was changed to the twenty-fifth of December in consequence of the institution of the Epiphany, kept in honor of our Savior's baptism, on that day. The feast of Ascension was observed about the time of Augustine, those of Cir. cumcision, Purification, and Advent in the fifth, ninth, and thirteenth centuries respectively. Various other fasts, festivals, and vigils, too many to detail, were established in the cumbrous ritual of the churches, both in the East and the West. Many of these are still retained in the reformed churches; the church of England appropriates thirtyone days to festivals, ninety-five to fasts, and twenty-nine to the saints. In so little esteem, however, are these obu servances held by the more enlightened members of the established church, that there can be no doubt but that when
any reformation takes place, a great retrenchment will be made in this article.
THE HISTORY OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE.
THE INTRODUCTION. The changes which the discipline of the Christian church underwent from the time of the apostles to the reformation, were as great, and of as much importance in practice, as the changes in any other article relating to Christianity. From being highly favorable to good conduct, the established maxims of it came at length to be a cover for every kind of immorality, to those who chose to avail themselves of them.
To many persons, I doubt not, this will be as interesting an object as any thing in the history of Christianity, and to introduce it in this place will make the easiest connection between the two great divisions of my work, I mean the corruptions of doctrine, and the abuses of power in the Christian church. It will also serve to show in what manner these departures from the Christian system promoted each other.
THE HISTORY OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE TILL THE REFORMATION.
In the purer ages of the church, the offences which gave public scandal were few; but when they did occur, they were rigorously punished. The circumstances of their situation required great circumspection. Subsequently the chief offence to which they were liable, was denying their faith in times of persecution. Hence it became a matter of consequence on what terms they should re-admit the lapsed into their fellowship, and it was the principal business of the councils in the fourth and fifth centuries to determine concerning the degrees of penance and the method of receiving penitents into the church. Four orders of penitents were recognized in those times, who were required to make different kinds of expiation for their sins. A repetition of the offence for which they had been once excom. municated, precluded a second re-admission, except in the article of death. But in the seventh century, the old discipline was relaxed, and persons were admitted to communion after a second offence. However, there were some inexpiable crimes as murder, adultery, and apostacy, that did not admit of an atonement, and a reunion with the church. At the entreaty of confessors, the penalties imposed upon penitents were sometimes relaxed ; this was called indulgence the
germ of a monstrous abuse in later times. It was also the custom of the primitive church to require those who had been excommunicated, to confess their sins before re-admission to its privileges. In the course of time, conscientious persons voluntarily confessed their private sins to priests, possessing their confidence. Thence it was soon imposed as a duty, and the practice of confession, so simple and innocent in its beginning, afterwards reached the high pitch, which it now holds in the Catholic church.
But the very rigor of discipline and the heavy penances imposed for sins, were one great cause eventually of the relaxation of all discipline. The council of Nice ordained that those who apostatized, being unbaptized, should pass three years,
and those who had been of the faithful, seven years of penance. Various periods were assigned for different crimes, according to their enormity, by different bishops and churches. Private confession, and private penance gradually succeeded the public acknowledgment and expiation of sins; thus the restraints upon vice were diminished, and the priests became gainers in several respects.
Had christians contented themselves with admonishing and finally excommunicating those who were guilty of notorious crimes, and with requiring public confession, with restitution in case of injustice, and left all private offences to every man's own conscience, no inconvenience would have arisen from their discipline. But by urging too much the importance of confession, and by introducing corporeal austerities, as fasting, &c. as a proper mode of penance, and then changing these for alms, and in fact for money, in a future period, paved the way for the utter ruin of all good discipline; and at length brought it to be much worse than a state of no discipline at all.
The discipline of the church continued to decay. Lest