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selves, for the baptized person, and for all men. After the prayers we kiss each other. Then there is brought to the presiding brother a loaf of bread, and a cup of water, and mixed wine: he takes it, and offers praise and glory to the Father of all, through the name of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and returns thanks to him at great length for having vouchsafed to give us these things. When he has made an end both of the prayers and the thanksgiving, the people answer Amen, which in Hebrew signifies, So be it. Then those whom we call deacons give to each person present a portion of the bread, wine and water, over which the thanksgiving has been said, and they also carry away to the absent. This food we call the Eucharist (evxapioría), which no one may receive, except those who believe in the truth of our doctrines, and who have also been baptized for the remission of sins, and who live according to the commandments of Christ. Soon afterwards he speaks of the food over which thanks are given in the words of his prayer,' thus shewing that the repetition of the Lord's Prayer was part of the eucharistic service, and a little further on he says: 'On Sunday, as the day is called, the inhabitants of town and country assemble together,
and the memoirs of the apostles and writings of the prophets are read as long as time permits. When the reader has finished, the presiding brother makes a discourse, exhorting us to the imitation of these worthies. Then we stand up and pray, and when the prayers are done, bread and wine are brought, as I have just described, and he who presides sends up thanksgivings and prayers as well as he is able, (ὅση δύναμις αὐτῷ) and the people answer Amen,' &c.
The phrase ὅση δύναμις αὐτῷ, to the best of his ability,' in the latter passage, has by some been understood as referring not to the delivery, but to the composition, of the prayers, and has been claimed as an authority for leaving the expression of the church's devotions to the ability and discretion of the individual minister. The phrase is too ambiguous to be quoted with any force in this behalf; at the same time we must admit, that there is no direct proof on the other side. It may be, that the public devotions of the early Christians were all prescribed and fixed by the authorities of the Church, so as to leave the minister no power of varying them, or of introducing his own compositions: but we have no conclusive evidence that this was the case.
In the year 325, St Cyril, archbishop of Jerusalem, delivered a series of catechetical lectures, in one of which he described and explained the Communion-service, as it was celebrated in his own times. In many respects it agrees exactly with our own service, as will be seen from the following summary of his discourse:
'The deacon gives water to the priest to wash. This washing of the hands is a symbol that ye ought to be pure from all sinful and Ps. xxvi. 6. unlawful deeds; as David says, "I will wash my hands in innocency, O Lord, and so will I go to thine altar."
Then the deacon cries aloud, "Receive ye one another; and let us kiss one another." The kiss is a sign that our souls are mingled together, and have banished all remembrance of wrong; according to the commandment of Matt. v. 23. Christ, "If thou bring thy gift to the altar,” 1 Cor. xvi. &c. And St Paul says, "Greet ye one another with a holy kiss." See also 1 Pet. v. 14.
After this the priest cries aloud, "Lift up your hearts." For indeed we ought at that solemn season to have our heart on high with God, and not below, thinking of earth and earthly things. Then ye answer, "We lift them up unto the Lord." Then the priest says, "Let
us give thanks to the Lord." Then ye say, “It is meet and right."
After this we make mention of heaven and earth, &c.; of angels, archangels, &c., and of the seraphim whom Isaiah saw encircling the throne of God, and who cried, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth." And we repeat this confession of the seraphim, that we may join our hymns with those of the heavenly hosts.
Then having sanctified ourselves with these spiritual hymns, we call upon God to send his Holy Spirit upon the gifts of bread and wine lying before him.
Then we intreat God for the peace of the Church and world, for kings, for soldiers, for the sick and afflicted, and all who stand in need of help.
Then we commemorate those who have fallen asleep before us; first, patriarchs, prophets, apostles and martyrs, that at their prayers God may receive our petitions; afterwards all holy fathers, bishops, and the rest of the departed, believing that our supplication will be of advantage to their souls.
Then we say the Lord's Prayer.
After this the priest says, "Holy things to holy men." Then ye say, "One only is holy,
one only is the Lord, Jesus Christ." For he alone is holy by nature; we are holy by participation, and discipline, and prayer.
After this the chanter, with a holy melody, invites you to the communion of the holy mysteries, saying, "O taste and see that the Lord is good."
Then ye receive, not common bread and wine, but the sign or antitype (avτíτUTOV) of the body and blood of Christ.
Then follows a prayer and thanksgiving.'
The ancient Greek liturgies adverted to above (at p. 3), those namely of St James, St Mark, &c., probably include the liturgy or Communion-service as it was celebrated in different parts of the Eastern Church at the beginning of the third century. They contain, however, interpolations of the fourth and fifth centuries, which cannot easily be distinguished and separated from the older portions; and as the separation of the earlier from the later parts, and the origin and date of the former, are still questions for critical speculation, it is not within the scope of the present treatise to ascertain what light these venerable monuments throw upon the devotional forms of the primitive Church. They do, however, clearly testify to the practice of the fifth century; for