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12. Accompanying Rites

Antiquities of the Christian Church
XVI. Of the Lord's Supper

12. Accompanying Rites

  1. Psalmody in connection with the Sacrament. The Apostolical Constitutions prescribe the 34th Psalm to be sung on this occasion; certain parts being supposed peculiarly appropriate. 'I will bless the Lord at all times.' 'O taste and see that the Lord is good.' Certain other psalms were also in use in different churches, particularly the 42d, 43d, 45th, 133d, 139th, and 145th Psalms. These were sung during the distribution. Besides these, it was customary to begin and to conclude the whole ceremony with some solemn form of praise and thanksgiving, in which the whole body of the communicants joined. These were selected, for the most part, from the book of Psalms; but they varied in different times and places.
  2. Of the kiss of charity. This form of salutation, as a token of christian affection, appears to have been an apostolic custom, Rom. 16:16, 1 Cor. 16:20, 2 Cor. 13:12, 1 Thess. 5:26, 1 Pet. 5:14, and was perpetuated for many centuries. It was appropriately one of the rites of the sacramental service. But was observed on common occasions of public worship. It was omitted on Good Friday, in remembrance of the traitorous kiss of Judas Iscariot.

    The different sexes, however, were not permitted to interchange this salutation one with another. Many other precautions were also used to prevent abuses which might be expected to arise out of this practice. It was for the enemies of Christianity the occasion of abundant reproach; but it was still continued through the eighth and ninth centuries, even to the thirteenth, when it appears to have ceased.

    The following passage from the nineteenth canon of the Council of Laodicea is worthy of remark on other accounts, as well as for its prescription concerning this token of christian charity and concord. "After the bishops' sermons (*), let a prayer for the catechumens be first pronounced. When the catechumens have left the church, let the prayer for the penitents (*) be said. After these have received imposition of hands (*), and have retired, let the three prayers of the faithful (*) be offered; the first in silence (*), but the second and third aloud (*) Then let the kiss be given, (*, i.e. the kiss of peace.) When the presbyters have given this kiss to the bishop, let the laity exchange it among themselves. Hereupon let the holy sacrifice be accomplished. But it is permitted to the clergy (*) alone, to approach the altar, and communicate there." All this proceeds upon the system of secret instruction.

  3. Incense and the sign of the cross. The use of incense in connection with the sacrament was unknown in the church until the time of Gregory the Great, in the latter part of the sixth century. After this period it became prevalent in the churches.

    The signing of the cross has a higher antiquity. It is spoken of by Basil, Chrysostom, and Augustine, and is distinctly mentioned in the Apostolical Constitutions as a part of the sacramental service.

    This superstition is abolished in the Protestant churches.

Lib. viii. c. 13. Hieron. Ep. 28: Cyrill. Hieros. Catech. Mystag. 5. §17.

Hieron. Ep. 28. ad Lucin.: Tertull. De Jejun. c. 13: Augustin. Tract, in Ps. 133: Cotel. Ad Const, apost. 8. c. 13: Chrysost. in Ps. 144. torn. iii. p. 516.

Petr. Müller, De osculo sancto. Jen. 1675. 1701. 4: De osculis Christianorum vet. Dissert, in Tob. Pfanneri Observat. eccles. torn. ii. diss. 3: J. Gottfr. Lange, Voin Friedens-Kuss der alten Christen. Leipz. 1747. 4.

Apost. Const, viii. c. 11: Origen, Comment, in Ep. ad Rom. lib. X. c. 33: Tertull. ad Uxor. lib. ii, c. 4: Clemens. Alex. Paedag. lib. iii. c. 1 1: Athenagorag, Legat. c. 32: Amalarii, De eccl. offic. lib. Hi. c. 37.

De Spir. S. ad Amphil. c. 27.

Demenstr. quod Christiis. sit. Deus, c, 9.

Tract. 118, in Joan.

Lib. viii. c. 12.

(* denotes Greek text in Rev. Lyman Coleman's translation.)


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