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8. Audible and Silent Prayer

Antiquities of the Christian Church
CHAPTER X. Of the Prayers and Psalmody of the Church

8. Audible and Silent Prayer

This distinction was first made in the secret discipline of the church. Silent prayer was restricted to the mental recital of the Lord's prayer, which neither the catechumens, nor the profane of any description, were allowed to repeat. Professing Christians repeated it in the presence of such, not audibly, but silently. But at the communion, when withdrawn from such persons, they repeated it aloud, at the call of the deacon.

There was another species of silent prayer which consisted in pious ejaculations offered, by the devout Christian, on entering upon public worship. This commendable custom is still observed in many protestant churches. According to the council of Laodicea, c. 19, prayer was offered immediately after the sermon for catechumens, then for penitents. Then, after the imposition of hands, and the benediction, followed the prayers of the believers, – the first in silence; the second and third, audibly. They then exchanged the kiss of charity, during which time their offerings were brought to the altar. The assembly were then dismissed with the benediction, Iteinpace, go in peace.

The primitive church never chanted their prayers, as was the custom of the Jews, and still is of the Mahommedans; but reverently addressed the throne of grace in an easy, natural, and subdued tone of voice.


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