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and intricate in the resolutions of learned men, which therefore may not be silently passed over: that is, the question about digamy or second marriage, in what sense it excluded men for some time from the holy communion? The penalty inflicted upon them, is abstinence from the sacrament for one year or two; which I freely own, as it is ordered and worded by the Canons of Neocæsarea,' Laodicea, and St. Basil, is one of the hardest cases we meet with in all the history of the ancient Church. Bishop Beveridge and some others think they mean only second marriages, that are contracted, whilst the first remains undissolved. And if so, there would be no difficulty in the case: for a severer penance might be laid upon such as retain two wives at once. therefore others think, they intended to discourage, though not absolutely to forbid, second marriages made successively, after the obligation of the first was cancelled by death: but then, how to reconcile this with the apostolical rules, is not very easy to determine. Neither can it be excused from inclining to the errors of the Novatians and Montanists, for which Tertullian pleads so stifly against the Church in his book De Monogamia, and other places. I should rather think these canons intended no more but to discountenance marrying after an unlawful divorce, which was a scandalous practice, however allowed by the laws of Jews and Gentiles. And this the rather, because Tertullian's arguments against the Catholics imply, that they allowed of second marriages successively in all except the clergy, and many Churches admitted digamists in that sense even into orders too, as I have shewn out of Tertullian himself, and Chrysostom, and Theodoret more fully in another place. And if these canons intended any thing more, they must be looked upon as private rules, which could not prescribe against the general sense and practice of the Catholic Church.
I Con. Neocæs. can. vii. Basil. can. iv.
Con. Laod. can. i.
SECT. 19. The corrupt Custom of some, who gave the Eucharist to the Dead, censured by the Ancients.
There was one very corrupt and superstitious practice began to creep pretty early into the African Churches and some others, which the Fathers censure very heartily, as it justly deserved: that was, giving the eucharist to the dead. The third Council of Carthage has a canon to this purpose,' "That the eucharist should not be given to the bodies of the dead for the Lord said, Take this and eat.' But dead bodies can neither take nor eat. Caution also is to be used, that the brethren may not, through ignorance, believe, that dead bodies may be baptised, seeing the eucharist may not be given to them." And this with a little variation is repeated in the African Code, where the cause of both errors as well in baptism as the eucharist, is ascribed to the ignorance of the presbyters misguiding the people. A like canon was made in the Council of Auxerre in France, Anno 578, a little before the time of Gregory the Great. Which shews that the same abuse had got some footing there also. St. Chrysostom also speaks against it, though he does not intimate that it was practised by any Catholics, but rather, if by any, by the Marcionite heretics, who as they gave a vicarious baptism to the living for the dead, so perhaps might give the eucharist to the dead themselves: both which absurdities he refutes at once, from the words of our Saviour. To whom did He say, Except ye eat my flesh, and drink my blood, ye have no life in you? Did He speak to the living, or to the dead? And again, Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God." It appears also, that long after St. Chrysostom's time, there were some remains of this error in
Con. Carth. iii. can. vi. Placuit ut corporibus defunctorum eucharistia non detur. Dictum est enim à Domino, Accipite et edite:' cadavera autem nec accipere possunt nec edere. Caveudum est etiam, ne mortuos baptizari posse fratrum infirmitas credat, quibus nec eucharistiam dari licitum est. 3 Con. Autissiodor. can. xii. Non
Cod. Afric. can. xviii.
licet mortuis nec eucharistiam nec osculum tradi, &c. Chrys. Hom. xl. in 1 Cor. p. 688.
the Greek Church: for the Council of Trullo repeats the prohibition in the words of the Council of Carthage: "Let no one impart the eucharist to the bodies of the dead; for it is written, Take, and eat;' but the bodies of the dead can neither take nor eat."
SECT. 20.-Parallel to which is the Abuse of burying the Eucharist with the Dead.
Bona does not undertake to defend this abuse, but he does another, which is no less absurd, because he found it in the practice of St. Benedict, and related with approbation by Gregory the Great: that is, the custom of burying the eucharist with the dead. Bona says, this was done by St. Basil in the Greek Church, as is reported in his Life: but all men know the author of that Life to be both a spurious and a legendary writer. That, which he alleges out of Gregory, is more authentic: for he says, St. Benedict ordered the communion to be laid upon the breast of one of his monks, and to be buried with him. He reckons these things were done either by divine instinct, or by compliance with received custom, which is since abrogated. But he produces no rule of his Church to shew its abrogation. And whatever rules there may be to the contrary, it is certain the practice continued still. For not only Balzamon* and Zonaras speak of it in their time; but Ivo says," when the body of St. Othmar was translated, the sacrament was taken up out of the dormitory with him. And a learned man now living assures us, that he himself and many others have seen the chalice, in which the sacred blood was buried, dug out of the graves of divers bishops buried in the Church of Sarum. So, that whatever the laws might prohibit, the profanation continued under pretence of
'Con. Trull. ean. lxxxiii. cap. xvii. n. 6.
Bona, Rer. Liturg. lib. ii. Greg. Dial. lib. ii. cap. 24. Jussit communionem Dominici corporis in pectus defuncti reponi atque sic tumulari.
Not. in Can. xiii. Con. Trull. e. iii.`ap. Surium, die xvi. Nov. of Host-Worship, chap. i. p. 26.
Ivo. Vita Othmari. lib. ii.
• Dr. Whitby, idolatry
piety among the greatest men, but without any foundation or real example in the practice of the primitive Church.
SECT. 21. The Order of Communicating.
We have hitherto considered what related to the communicants themselves; we are now to examine the manner of their communicating. Where first of all the order of their communicating occurs to our observation: which is thus described in the Constitutions; "First, let the bishop receive, then the presbyters, deacons, subdeacons, readers, singers, and ascetics; among the women, the deaconesses, virgins and widows; after that the children, then all the people in order." In Justin Martyr's time, when the bishop had consecrated, the deacons distributed both the bread and the cup among the communicants: but in after ages the bishop or presbyter commonly ministered the bread, and the deacons the cup after them. And there are some canons,3 that expressly forbid a deacon to minister the body of Christ, when a presbyter is present, and others enjoining them not* to do it without necessity, and a licence from the presbyter to do it. And it was ever accounted so great an absurdity for a presbyter to receive from the hands of a deacon, that the Council of Nice thought fit to make a particular canon to forbid it. But by permission and custom it became their ordinary office to minister the cup, and sometimes both species to the people,' observing the method prescribed to communicate every one in their proper order.
SECT. 22.-Some Rules observed for Distinction of Places.
Another distinction was made in placing the communi
Constit. lib. viii. cap. 13.
Con. Arelat. ii. can. 15. Diaconi corpus tradere non presumant.
aconus, præsente presbytero, eucharistiam cessitas cogat, jussus eroget.
2 Justin. Apol. ii. p. 97.
Con. Nic. can, xviii.
Vid. Cyprian. de Lapsis. p. 132. Constit. lib. viii. c. 13.
cants in their proper stations. For though no distinction was made in this case between rich and poor; they being all called alike to partake together of the same communion as friends of one common Lord; yet some distinction of place for order's sake was generally observed, though not exactly the same in all places, but with some variety according to the different customs of different Churches. In the Spanish Churches it was customary for the presbyters and deacons to communicate at the altar, and the rest of the clergy in the choir, and the people without the rails of the chancel, as is plain from a canon of the fourth Council of Toledo; and to this a reference is made, as to an ancient custom, settled long before by former canons, in the first Council of Braga. Which implies, that there were rules of old about this matter, since the Council of Braga could not mean the Council of Toledo, for that was after it, Anno 633. The reference must be to more ancient canons, such as that of the Council of Laodicea, which orders, that none but the clergy only should come to communicate within the chancel. And this seems to have been the constant practice of the Greek Church, where no layman from that time, besides the Emperor, was allowed to come to the altar, to make his oblations and communicate there; but this privilege was allowed the Emperor by ancient tradition, as the Council of Trullo words it." And yet even this was denied the Emperor in the Italic Church. For St. Ambrose would not permit the Emperor Theodosius himself to communicate in this place, but obliged him to retire as soon as he had made his oblations at the altar. But Valesius has observed out of the Epistles of Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria, that in the third century it was customary, both for men and
Vid. Chrysost. Hom. x. in 1 Thes. p. 1485.
Tolet. iv. can. 17. Sacerdos et Levita ante altare communicent, in choro clerus, extra chorum populus. 3 Con. Bracaren. i. can. 31. Placuit ut intra sanctuarium altaris ingredi ad communicandum non liceat laicis viris vel mulieribus, sicut et antiquis canonibus statutum est. 4 Con. Laodic. can. xix. Μόνοις ἐξὸν εἶναι τοῖς ἱερατικοῖς εἰσιέναι εἰς τὸ θυσιαςήριον και κοινωνεῖν. παράδοσιν. &c.
5 Con. Trull. can. 69. Karà aρxαιTáτηv Vales. Not. in Euseb. lib. vii. cap. 9.