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with a panegyrical oration or sermon, chiefly of praise and thanksgiving to God, and sometimes in commendation of the founder, or glory of the new built church, as the oration in Eufebius, lib. 10. c. 4. and others in Gaudentius and St. Ambrose. Sometimes there was more than one discourse upon it (see Euseb. lib. to. c. 3. *) These consecrations being generally performed in a synod of bishops, the bishops were the ministers always employed in this service; and if only one bishop was present, it was His business, some antient canons not allozcing presbyters to perform it. The first council of Bracara+, an. 563, makes it deprivation, and adds, the canons of old forbad it, and in our British councils, collected by Sir H. SpeJman, there is one under St. Patrick, an. 450, where he fays, a presbyter, though he builds a church, Jliall not offer the oblation in it, before he brings his Bishop to Consecrate it, because this was regular and decent : and antient history affords no approved example to the contrary \. A bishop might not exceed his own bounds (or diocese) unless called to assist another, or minister in the vacancy of another bishopric. The Council of Orange forbidding a bishop to consecrate a church built by himself in another diocese,§ but leave it to the bishop of the diocese. All which shew the bishop of every diocese was the proper minister of this service. It was a Jchifmatic act in a presbyter, to be punished; and a bishop offending in another diocese, was suspended a year from his office. Binghatn adds, that the bishop of Rome had no privilege in the consecration of churches, though insisted on by some, who would have every thing flow from the plenitude of power in the bishops of Rome !! [j and that churches

* Bisgham's Works, Vol. I. p. 324.

t Cons. Bracar. i. c. 37. Si quis presbyter post hoc interdictum ausus fuerit Chrisma benedicere, aut Ecclesiam aut altarium consecrare, a suo officio deponatur. Nam et antiqui canones hoc vetuerunt.

{Ibid. p. 325. •

§ Cons. Arausican. can, 10. Si quis episcoporum in alien* civitatis territorio Ecclesiam ædificare disponit—permissa licentia ædiflcandi non presumat dedicationem, quæ illi omnimodo reservatur in cujus territorio Ecclesia assurgit..

I).Ibid. f. 326. Sec. 7.

O o 2 were •were always dedicated to God, and not to saints, though sometimes distinguished by their names tor a memorial ot them; and that churches were sometimes named from their founders, or other circumstances in their building. * That no man was to begin to build a church (by the laws of Justinian) before he gave security to the bishop for maintaining the ministry,+ repairing the church, &c.| and a Spanish council ordered no bishop to consecrate a church before the donation of its maintenance was delivered to him in writing; beyond this the bishop was not to exact or demand, it being a part of his office to consecrate, unless, the founder made him a voluntary oblation. Consecration was performed on any day, indifferently; and the day was solemnly kept by many churches among their festivals, and from this it is more than probable, came our Wakes, still observed in some places, as the remains of those feasts of dedication of particular churches §.

Hooker J| fays, "distinct and proper places ought to be appointed for the solemnizing those religious duties we owe to God. Adam had one in Paradise, his sons a place out of it. The patriarchs had altars, mountains, and groves for that purpose. The people of God a moving tabernacle in the wilderness. God appointed a temple to be built at Jerusalem, and David's sorrow was as great, that he might not have the honour of erecting it, as their anger is implacable, who would have power to demoiijh the temples they never built? After the second temple, there were many synagogues in Jerusalem, which our Saviour and his Apostles frequented, though privately, and when the church was persecuted, they chose the most secure, if not commodious places; afterwards they erected oratories by leave,

• Cons. Arausican. p. 327. Sect. 8, 9.

+ Ibid. p. 328. Sec. 11.

J Justin. Novel. 672. Non aliter quempiam Eeclesiam de novo exædificare, precisquam loquatur ad Deo amabilem, episcopum, & definiat mensuram quam deputat ad luminaria, & ad sacrum ministerium, & ad domus custodiam, & ad aliena ministrantium,

$ Ibid. p. 32S. Sec. 13, 14. :i..m

|| See Hooker's Eccles. Polity, Book 5. Sec. 12, or the abridgment, p. 75. . . ..'. . .„j*I'


suitable to the poverty of the church, and when the rulers embraced Christianity, their zeal built magnificent temples, adorning and endowing them proportionably. What they piously designed, is now called idolatry, and our churches are called synagogues of Satan, polluted styes, &c. The first thing they except against is ercQing of churches, where they might have spared their pains, for if it be a crime, few now are guilty of it, nor are our churches the worse for their ill names. But as we do not favour what is amiss, they should not scandalise the piety of our Christian progenitors, such as Constantine, who built a house of Cod in JerusaLem, and in the dedication of it required the astistance oj most of the bishops in Christendom. (Euseb. de vit. Const. 1. i. c. 41-8-3-4} who performed it by offering up Prayers and Praises to Godjor all his mercies, and inclining the Emperor's heart to love Christianity, and build the Christians a CHURCH to worjhip God in. Every thing should suit the dignity of the person they are to be employed for, and how can any think, that in building a house tor God, no greater solemnity was proper than in building a kitchen or a parlour for common use. Solomon knew men's proneness to. contemn holy things, and guarded the temple with laws and solemnities; and our Saviour employs them as arguments against the prophaners, Matt. xxi. 13, and Jer. xvii. 2f, proving that we should distinguish between our own houses and those dedicated to God. He forbad the temple being an exchange, as the apostle did its being an eating house. All that is meant by sanctifying or hallowing churches is, that they are set apart for the public worship of God, and if any indecent ceremonies have been used, they are disapproved by the Church of England.

Bishop Sparrow, in his Rationale, thus expresses himself. "Almighty God always had both Persons and Places SET APART for his public service and worship, a temple and a priest. The light ot nature taught heathens thus much, and they obeyed, and Dedicated, and set apart to the worship of their gods, prujts and temples. The

fitriarchs, by the fame light, and the guidance of God s >Jy spirit, when they could not set apart houses, being erpselves in a slitting condition, dedicated altars, * for

* See Bingham's Works, Sec. 10, p. 328.

God's service, (see Gen. xxii. 9. 28. 2 fe, &c.) Under the law God called lor a Tabernacle, Exod. 25. within which was an altar, upon which was to be offered the morning and evening sacrifice daily, Exod. xxix. 38. David, by the same light, and without any express command (see 2 Sam. vii. 7. as God did not suffer him to build it] designed an house for God's seivice, and God blest his intention to many generations, 2 Samuel vii. But Solomon built it, God accepted it, and Christ owns it as his house of prayer, where the apostles went to pray, Acts iii. 1. - Afterwards Christians/£/ apart and Consecrated, with great solemnity of religious rites, and holy prayers, Churches and oratories for the fame solemn service. Nor can this be thought needless or superstitious. Did not the light of nature teach it? The patriarchs, and Moses, Solomon, did so

teaching, that the house given up to God, should be so

.LEMNLY Surrendered into his possession, and.by ReliGious Rites, guarded and defended from sacrilegious usurpation.

Nature thus teaches, that the house thus consecrated, is to be no more employed in common uses, but set apart for holy services, like those with which it was consecrated. Primitive Christians accounted not these things superstitious '. they knew profanation was easy, and that bold men take even from God; how hard to preserve such houses, and therefore wisely strove to impress men's minds, and thus restrain their boldness, by nourishing a reverend affection; building and Setting Apart for God's service, churches and oratories, called Dominicas, the Lord's houses, and Basilicas, royal and kingly houses, because sacrifice and worship were therein offered to the king of the world. And when persecutors destroyed these places, those blessed souls immediately rebuilt and beautified them, (Euseb. 1. 10. c. ii.) to worship God, in the beauty of holiness. Thus to serve God in dedicated churches, is most fit for God's honour and our profit, where flesh and blood has no right, or prophane thing may be done; it nourishes in us an awe of God; and our services are best accepted, ai Chron. vii. 15. Mat. xii. 13. his eyes are open, and ears attentive to the prayers made there. See the promise, Exod. xx. 24. In all places dedicated to me, Gen. xxviii. 22.1 will come and bless thee; and such are ail Consecrated churches and chapels, and therefore our holy church wisely orders that the prayers and public services of God shalt be offered up there,

in. —-in the accustomed place *f tie church, chapel, or chau


Mr. Nelson, in his admirable work on toe Feasts and Fasts (at p. 465-6) remarks that " it is plain, even in the times of the Apojiles, theTe were places Set Apart for divine worship. The Christians at Corinth had a place jet apart tor holy purposes: every private bouse was different from the church, their houses being ofpojed to Sacred Places, set apart for religious uses—a certain place Jet apart for divine worship."

From these testimonies we ascertain the importance os consecrating churches, and identify that order of perbns who are alone invested with the proper authority to do it. This is the more essential to be impressed now, when many chapels, (intended as chapels of ease) are not consecrated at all; and the sectarian meeting houses burlesque the ceremony a,*ogether, by the usurpation of mere laymen, who ignorantly aid impudently presume to invade, not only the priestly office. but the episcopal character, in open defiance of, and in direct contradiction to the commands of Christ, and that gospel which they pretend to obey; and the teaching of which they begin by an open violation of its most sacred injunctions.

On the necessity of dedicating churches, a very orthodox divine thus expresses himself, in a sermon to his country parishioners, "if it be necessary to set apart churches, yet why need they be consecrated?" There is reason and universal practice on our side for doing it; for if it be right to follow the nature of things, and the general practice of the worshippers of God, in setting apart solemnly, and appropriating places to his service, it is scarcely conceivable how this is to be done without the use of some ceremonies, and it is very hard that they should be thought the worse, merely for being customary or appointed. Shall the palaces of kings be entered with respedt, and shall we enter into the courts of the Lord, withoutyow* token of reverence* Is His hauj'e alone to be treated without ceremony ?—not to prepossess men's minds with an holy awe, and a regard for that place, whither, in all their future devotions, they are

* Bishop Sparrow's Rationale of the Book of Com. Prayer, p. 318, of the dedication of churches,


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