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known, especially his construction of the Gregorian chants, on the basis of the earlier Ambrosian chant.
Thus much about psalmody. We proceed, next, to remark upon the second department of worship, mentioned by Augustine, the reading of scripture.
Rome used only the gospel and epistle, but the usual way was to read, also, from the law and the prophets. These scriptural readings were mingled with psalms and hymns, and enlivened by congregational responses. At the sign for reading, the people rose, saying, "Glory be to Thee, O, Lord!” and remained standing during the lesson. The readers prefaced the portion of scripture with, "Thus saith the Lord," while at the naming of the passage, the people said, (Deo gratias), "Thanks be to God," and, at the end, added the solemn "Amen." These readings were made from the old Latin version. When Jerome undertook his translation, he met with as much opposition as our modern reformers of " King James " have; and Augustine forbade its use in his diocese, much in the spirit of the Bible House treatment, a few years since, of their late committee.
The preaching, which comes next in order, was, in general, confined to the Bishop's church, and the country districts were thus deprived of this means of grace. Bingham quotes Chrysostom as saying, that what they lacked in this respect, was made up to them by the abundance of martyrs whose tombs preached constant sermons, and to which whole cities were accustomed to resort, to celebrate on them the holy rites of their religion. This destitution was first provided for by the Council of Vaison, in France, which, in the year 529, set up preaching in all the rural districts of that country. It was the custom for the preacher to offer a short prayer, before sermon, for himself, and for the aid of the Spirit, in behalf of the hearers. In like manner he added a few words, at the close, imploring the divine blessing on what had been said. A dox ology to the Trinity was the invariable ending. The sermons generally, opened with one verse, as a text, sometimes with more, and sometimes there was none. As to length, some of
Augustine's sermons could not have exceeded eight minutes, while the golden-mouthed preacher at Constantinople is known to have taken his seat after four minutes. In general, they occupied an half hour, and sometimes exceeded twice that duration. The English book of homilies might find its precedent in the second-hand sermons which were sometimes read by the deacon, or even by the bishop himself. Wesley would find his extemporaneous method justified by the custom of some approved preachers of that day; while the advocates of a manuscript could point to others who prepared themselves, pen in hand.
The ancient custom was for the preacher to deliver the sermon in a sitting posture. Augustine, Chrysostom, and Gregory Nyssa, all speak of themselves as seated on those occasions. This habit was the rule of the synagogue, and has scripture for it. For our Saviour, on entering the synagogue, is said to have stood up to read; but he sat down to teach; and many other passages confirm the opinion that this was the custom of the times. (Matt. v, 1; xxiii, 2; xxvi, 55; Luke ii, 46; iv, 20; v, 3; John viii, 2). Augustine, in his African diocese, required every one to hear him standing. The church of France permitted the old and the infirm to sit; while in Italy, all who could find a seat were allowed to take it.
The African church had a custom in which they were trained by Augustine, that as soon as the preacher in his discourse hit upon a text, they took it up aloud, and finished it in uniFor example, if he should say "The end of the commandment," before he could finish the verse, the congregation would cry out, "is charity out of a pure heart?" This custom did not extend beyond the diocese of that faithful and devoted bishop, who seems to have invented it to quicken attention, and stimulate his people to study the scriptures. He would sometimes stop in the sermon, for them to learn an unfamiliar verse, by repeating it, and if the congregation were slack in performing their part, he would not proceed till he had heard the verse pronounced in the full chorus of voices. Paul, of Samosata, was not the only divine of that period, whose sermons were greeted with applause. Augustine, and
many others, were received in this way. Bingham's repertory contains an account which illustrates so well this father's views of the subject, and is, moreover, so eminently characteristic of the times, that we cannot forbear to repeat it. It is related that the people of Mauritania had a barbarous custom of dividing without regard to kindred, and fighting with stones, for amusement. In these sportive encounters, a father sometimes killed his child, or was himself killed by him. Augustine preached against the savage sport, and says that he was not satisfied with applause, but kept on till they were melted to tears. Acting in this spirit, he admonished his clergy not to thirst for such honors, pointing out the danger of such a course both to preacher and people, charging them to care more to excite their hearers to tears and groans, and to speak usefully and truthfully, without which their preaching would be like that of the prophet complained of in Ezekiel, (xxxiii, 32). "For lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument; for they hear thy words, but they do them not." And yet he never found it in his heart either to rebuke the noisy Africans, who expressed aloud their joy and admiration at hearing him preach, or to enjoin his clergy to suppress such demonstrations, as unbecoming the house of God. Indeed, the ancients did not regard such deportment at church as wrong but as barbarous. It did not indicate to them less piety, but less civilization.
The sermons of the distinguished preachers were written down as spoken, by a class of notaries, who are said to have been able to reproduce them, word for word. And we gather from what we know of the times, that ministerial flattery is not a plant of distinctively modern growth. Extravagant laudation, and religious sensation, have followed and assailed the inspired preacher of the gospel, since the men of Lystra called Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.
But it was not all admiration that the pastors of that age received. They encountered obstacles too which some might think have not yet disappeared. For instance, they were
troubled with negligent and profane hearers, against whom Chrysostom quotes the example of the despised Jews, and seeks to shame them, by showing how much more faithful and selfdenying those mistaken outcasts of society were. Ambrose, also, reproached those who spent their time at church in talking and whispering, with the meritorious example of the heathen, who reverenced their idols by silence.
Some pastors were plagued with zealots who placed all relig ion in hearing a sermon, could think of no other reason for going to church, and were never satisfied to have the preacher done. The ever ready Chrysostom appeared against such hearers with the declaration that the believer is under no absolute necessity of being preached to at all, that the Spirit of God acts as well on the hearer in private as in the congregation, and that they should give thanks for what they had received, and make the most of it. Others complained that the sermons were too long and would go out of church during service. The fourth council of Carthage ordered such persons to be excommunicated. Other preachers used gentler means, admonished the congregation of their duty, invented stratagems to detain them, or, in some cases adopted the plan of locking the doors. The ingenious Chrysostom hit upon a course which is said to have been effective. Appearing before the people, he referred briefly to the grievance, and proceeded to divide all hearers into a strong and a weak class. "The first," said he, "can sit ont the services, and always do, without complaint, deriving both pleasure and profit from them to the end. The others are weak and should not be expected to remain to the dismission. Their minds are too feeble to endure so much application. They will succeed better with a part of the sermon than with the whole. Such persons he would not only permit, but advise to go out as soon as they begin to be weary, but he wished it to be understood that whoever went out did so as belonging to that class."
Let no one think, however, that the fault was always with the hearers, for, acccording to Sozomen, as quoted by the author to whom frequent reference has been made above, when
Atticus became Bishop of Constantinople, his sermons were so poor that the notaries would not report them.
Returning again to the account given by Augustine of the liturgies of his time, the next matter with respect to the church is the prayers.
The same vigorous spirit and rich variety which have been observed in other parts of the service are to be seen here also. For even in public, prayer was by no means always offered in one way, while private devotion was provided with an endless variety and freedom of expression. In the assembly they sometimes repeated in unison the Bishop's or the Deacon's words of intercession, which were always prefaced with the invitation oremus, let us pray, and ended with the congregational Amen. The ancient New England custom, which is now known as the lining out of the hymns, is the descendant of the bidding prayers of the ancients. They have this name because the deacon gave the object of intercession and bade the people pray for it in silence; and when time had been given for such a petition on their part, he proceeded to name other objects in the same manner. When he made the prayer in his own words, as he often did, the people responded at the close of each petition, "O, Lord, hear us." The ancient communion service began with what was called the six did was, the prayer in silence, in which, however, the suppliant may have formed his petition into inaudible words. This was followed in some places by the εὐχὴ κατὰ διάνοιαν or mental prayer, which was a sort of meditative and unworded supplication of the heart. These were succeeded by the suxai dia pospwvoews prayers aloud; and last of all, the collects were repeated as the summation of the various objects of petition. The postures in which this part of the service was performed anciently, were standing, kneeling, bowing, or prostration. A still more ancient custom was to stand on the Lord's Day and in all the services which fell between Easter and Pentecost, but to kneel on other occasions. In that day no one seems to have regarded a sitting or crouching posture as suitable for devotion.
The liturgical spirit affected private devotion as well as