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"No more, no more, O never more on mo the form be suffered to pass away as The freshness of the heart can fall like daw."
long as the substance is valued. It is not so with the Christian. All he
What is the true conception of an has enjoyed in this world, being the gift | Altar outwardly—under what form has of his God, whose covenant has been the Church represented this substance, established with him in Christ, is a pledge and what outward form does its nature and an earnest of yet greater blessings seem to require ? in reserve for him. Memory holds up Evidently in its form an Altar ought the mirror to hope, and the retrospect of to be a churchly production. Its features the past discloses to him the boundless ought to be sacred features. Its form vistă of future glory and blessedness.
ought to grow out of, and be peculiar to its own proper antecedents.
It ought THE ALTAR.
to grow out of its own proper sphere, The idea of an Altar belongs to all re- and carry with it whatever is peculiar ligion, good and bad, false and true. to it. Let us illustrate: All religions also centre in the Altar. The wants of social or domestic life This is especially the case in the Chris- have developed certain forms of furnitian religion, in which all prophetic and ture which answer to its wants. At shadowy ideas of religion are fulfilled. first, propriety seemed to require that
As in the Godhead, the MIDDLE person an ordinary meal should be placed upon is the Priest and the Sacrifice-as in the a matt or skin, spread upon the floor, offices of Christ the MIDDLE office is the around which the family leaned while Priestly—and as in the facts of the eating. In time tables were introduced, Saviour's life, he was first a Prophet to changing their forms as fashion dictated teach them, then a Priest to atone, and or convenience suggested. Thus there last a King to reign, so the Altar, which has grown into vogue a certain idea and is the embodiment of the Priestly, occu- form of a domestic table. With all the pies a central position in the Cultus of variety which prevails, there has come the Christian Church,
into use a certain definite form of table As central, the Altar must necessarily which carries with it the peculiarities be PROMINENT. It must appear so in our and associations of a domestic article of ideas of worship, in all our associations, furniture. Wherever we meet this useand in its relations to every other part ful article of furniture, it at once comof worship.
mends itself to our ideas, and to all our As we are embodied beings, needing a associations in its own proper character. worship which will make provision for Should we meet it in a mercantile house what may be called the ministry of the with the books of the clerk upon it, or body, and as we have from the Saviour in a lawyer's ofilce used as a desk such institutions as are tangible to the wherever we should meet it, we would body, we need to have the ideas which at once feel that it is a piece of domestic enter into worship EMBODIED. Without furniture, and is only here used as somethis, worship would be, to EMBODIED thing which will answer the purpose. BEINGS, an abstraction. Hence Christian In the merchant's or the lawyer's office, worship has embodied itself in a way it is not that piece of furniture which which will make the inward outward, the peculiar wants of these offices have and give at the same time a proper re- developed-for that is a DESK, and not presentation of the inward. If the idea a table. Wherever it is, it has its doof the Priestly enters into religion cen- mestic features, peculiarities, and assotrally and prominently, it ought to have ciations; and wlierever it is used out of a central and prominent embodiment. its proper domestic relations, though it
The embodiment thus required is the may answer a good purpose there, we Altar. The Altar, of course, is not the instinctively feel that it is out of place. Priestly-the form is not the substance Now an Altar is an article of sacred, -but it is the form in which the sub-churchly furniture. As such, it has stance is represented to us. For all we grown into existence, as such it has know, this may not be needed in the moulded for itself a certain form, as case of beings that are pure spirit—if such it carries with it certain peculiarsuch created beings exist—but it is ities of shape, appendages and style, necessary for us, as embodied beings. and as such it lives in history as well The need of an outward representation as in all our sacred assocications. It is will demand its preservation; nor will not a domestic, but a church product.
It is neither in place nor at home any Thus we are naturally led still farther where but in the church. Its adapta- to say, that the Altar has also in it an tions are all for the church and its wor- embodiment of the SACRIFICIAL. Not ship. It represents, not social and the idea merely of a feast, as at a table domestic, but ecclesiastical life, and is not a mere taking away of that which a true creation of the life of religious is on it, as from a table, but also the Cultus. Not to feel this, would certain- idea of offering-offering from God to ly betray a deficiency in that finest and us, and from us to God; all of which holiest cultivation which can only re- shows, how different are the two concepceive its true life, beauty, and polish tions of an Altar and a domestic table, from those sacred associations of which and how all history, sense of propriety, a profane and secular nature is not and our deepest associations, as well as capable.
a proper sense of the true substance To describe this peculiar form of the which the Altar embodies, rebel and proAltar as a product of sacred ideas and test against their interchange. It is associations, seems as unnecessary, as perfectly fair, and not a whit too strong, also difficult, as to describe a domestic to say that an Altar, used as a piece of table. The form has varied in some of domestic furniture, would as much out its features in different ages, just in the of place as a full robed bishop walking same way as has the form of the domes- solemnly around the steamings of a tic table; yet under this diversity there kitchen fire; while a table, as a piece is an unity, under all the varieties there of domestic furniture in the Altar of a is the general conception, with its own, church, is as much out of place as would peculiarities, which at once characterize be a harlequin in the midst of a solenn it.
NOTES ON NEW BOOKS.
DEUTSCHES GESANGBUCH. Eine Auswahl, with the work, since the appearance of
geistlicher Lieder aus allen zeiten der the first edition, has only increased our christlichen Kirche fur offentlichen estimate of this rich treasury of noble und hauslichen Gebrauch. Taschen- | German Ilymns. We know of no book ausgabe. Philadelphia, Lindsay & of the kind that can be placed by its Blakiston. Shaefer und Koradi, Cham- side, without being cast in the shade by bersburg, Pa. ; M. Kieffer and Com., its superior excellence. The letter press, 1860, pp. 620.
binding, and general style of the book, Some six months ago we noticed at are all that can be desired. We are glad some length, the large critical edition of to see the favorable notices taken of this Dr. Schaff's excellent German work, by the press generally, both in Hymn Book. Here we have before us a Europe and America. neat pocket edition of the same work. This edition contains all the hymns included in the larger edition; only the hymnological introduction, the list of THE LUTHERAN HOME JOURNAL, which tunes, and the explaratory notices in on account of its character, aims and regard to the authors, contents, value, ends, weal ways regard as near neighhistory and sacred associations of the bor of the Guardian, continues to hymns, are left out, as being of interest make its pleasant Monthly visits to our only to the scholar or in private use of table. We are much pleased with the the book. This edition is designed for June number. This excellent magacongregational use, and is therefore zine is published at $1 per year, by properly gotten up in a convenient and the Lutheran Board of Publication, portable form. A longer familiarity No. 42 North 9th, St., Philadelphia.
At a very early period women are found active in the service of the Church. As St. Paul had directed, the female sex were prohibited from speaking publicly in the congregation : Let
your women keep silence in the churches ; for it is not permitted unto them to speak ; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands, at home ; for it is a shame for women to speak in the church,” (1 Co. 14. 24. 25.) Nevertheless, the Church early knew how to use the gifts entrusted to women for the good of the church. On account of the strict separation of the two sexes which characterized oriental society, woman's services were reqaired in those ministrations among the poor in which it was delicate for the Deacons personally to attend, on account of the ready suspicions of the heathen “In many families,” say the Apostolic Constitutions, “the Deacons cannot be sent to minister to the wants of females, lest there be offence to the unbelieving. Send therefore a woman, as a Deaconess, on account of the evil thoughts of wicked men.”
For this service were chosen widows who had been only once married, were mothers of children, and who had shown themselves patterns of the christian life, and were willing to give themselves up to the general good of the church. These, by their calling, commanded the confidence and respect of the heathen, and were able from the rich fund of their experience to counsel and serve poor and distressed Christian women. At first only such widows as were over sixty years of age were selected; but later the practice was so modified as to take them at fifty, and finally at forty. Sul later, even young virgins were considered eligible. The Church Father, Tertullian, expresses his disapprobation that a bishop had constituted a virgin not yet twenty years of age a Deaconess, that she might be supported from the treasury of the Church.
The Deaconesses, who were originally regarded as standing in a holy ministry, were consecrated by the laying on of hands and prayer. The
prayer used on such solemn occasions, has been preserved for us in the A postolical Constitutions, and is as follows : "Eternal God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of man and woman, who didst fill with Thy Spirit Miriam, Deborah, Hannah and Huldah; who didst suffer Thy Son to be born of a woman, counting her worthy; who didst, in the tabernacle and in the temple, place females as keepers of Thy holy gates ; Look down now also upon this Thy hand-maiden, who has been chosen for the holy service of Thy Church, and bestow upon her the Holy Ghost, cleanse her from all pollution of flesh and spirit, that she may worthily perform the work committed unto her, to the honor and Glory of Thy Christ. Amen.” Later this solemn ordination was omitted, as the synod of Orleans very improperly had decreed : that in foture, on account of the weakness of her sex, no woman should receive the ordination of a Deaconess.
The Deaconesses undertook the care of the poor and sick of their own sex in the congregation, and instructed the female catechumens in the Christian religion, in order that they might rightly answer the questions put to them at their baptism. At the time of baptism they aided in undressing and dressing the catechumens; and in the Greek church where there were separate entrances to the churches for the men and women, they waited at the doors to show places to those who wished to enter, and preserve order before the Lord's house. They had the oversight of the private walk of the female members of the church ; and when any of these had any matter to transact with the bishop, they were present. In the times of persecution it was their duty to visit the captive and imprisoned christians, because they could do it with less danger.
Among such Deaconesses the Bible mentions Phæbe, to whom, when she was about to visit Rome, St. Paul gave a letter of introduction and recommendation to the church in that city. (Rom. xvi. 1. 2.) Also, Tabitha in Joppa, whose good works and alms-deeds were an honor to the church in that place, and whom St. Paul awakened from the slamber of death.
Later we have also mentioned in the annals of the church Olympias. She came from a prominent and wealthy, but still beathen family in Constantinople, and was early married to the chief of the Emperor's body guard. She was not yet quite eighteen years old when she became a widow, and resolved also to remain a widow, as her mind had suddenly taken a very serious turn. The Emperor Theodosius was desirous of uniting the young, beautiful, and very wealthy widow with his uncle ; and when she withstood his wishes in this respect, be took the control of her income, and placed the disbursement of it into the bands of the provost of the city. Whereapon Olympias sent a letter of thanks to the Emperor : “You, O my lord,” she wrote, “have shown towards your humble servant, not only the wisdom and goodness of a sovereign Ruler, but also of a Bishop, in laying the heavy burden of the property which I possess upon your own officer, and thus freeing me from the care and unrest which the responsiblity of applying it in a proper man. ner would otherwise have caused me. Only one thing I beg of you, by which, if you grant it, you will greatly increase my joy : give direction that all be distributed to the churches and to the poor. Long since have I felt the motions toward vanity which generally strive to ac
company the act when I distribute it myself; and I fear, moreover, lest the disturbances of spirit caused by temporal riches might cause me to neglect those which are divine and spiritual."
Deeply moved by these words, the Emperor restored her property to her, and the church and the poor found abundant occasion to rejoice in the charities of Olympias, especially as she at the same time took on herself the office of Deaconess in the church of Constantinople. Yet such was her contempt for riches that she seemed desirous only of getting rid of them; and hence often gave injudiciously. Fortunately the renowned Chrysostom came to her aid, and by judicious advice restrained her too freely liberal spirit and directed her charities into the best channels. “I praise your zeal,” he wrote, “but he who seeks to rise to the heights of a perfect virtue before God must be a wise steward of his property. But you, in giving to such as do not really need it, do nothing better than if you cast your treasures into the sea. Do you forget that you have dedicated your money to the poor, and that it is your duty to manage your wealth as property which is no longer your own, but over which you are set as steward, and for the proper use of which you must give an account? Would you, therefore, follow my advice, regulate your gifts according to the needs of those that ask of you; in this way you will be able to assist more persons, and will receive from God the reward of your wisdom and love."
Olympias had much persecution to endure from her relatives, who would gladly themselves have possessed her wealth. The pure soul had even to endure public scandal, which however by a triumphant defence, she put to shame. Amid all she remained firm in her christian course, sustained Chrysostom in his undertakings for the kingdom of God, and did not forsake the noble-hearted man when he incurred the displeasure of those in high places, though she on account of espousing his cause was subjected to a heavy fine in money. Seeking higher food for her soul, she continued to exchange letters with him, in which correspondence Chrysostom sought to refresh and comfort her spirit which had been depressed through many dark experiences. When at one time she had expressed a longing for death, he wrote to her : “ Have I not often told you, and must I tell you again, that there is only one really sad thing; namely, sin ? All else is dust and smoke. What is there sad in prisons and chains; what sad in being visited by tribulations, when these become the means of such great good? What is there sad in exile and loss of pro. perty ? Words are these which contain in them nothing fearful. Empty words of sorrow! When you mention death you speak of the debt of nature, which is at any rate to be paid even when no one brings it. Do you mention banishment, what else is this than to see another country and many cities ? To be robbed of one's goods is to be freed from a bur. den." About twelve years after the death of her great teacher and friend, in the year 420, God took her up into the kingdom of eternal peace, from whence she looks serenely down upon the harvests of christian love, the seed of which, moved by the spirit of God, she had sown in humility.
A certain Pentadia is also mentioned as Deaconess in Constantinople, who with the church remained true and faithful to Chrysostom. When he had been compelled to flee from that city, and shortly thereafter a fire had broken out in the principal church which wrought great destruction,