Praefice a name for the mourning-women of the ancients. They were hired to make lamentation at Roman funerals, and were so called because they generally preceded the funeral processions in order to lament and sing the praises of the deceased. The early Christians very earnestly condemned the imitation of this custom in their funerals. They deemed immoderate grief unbecoming the character and profession of a Christian whose conversation is in heaven, and whose hope and expectation was a crown of life that fadeth not away. Chrysostom inveighed with great indignation against the introduction of heathenish practices into the Christian Church, and threatened those who should persist in the imitation of the funeral customs of the heathen with the highest ecclesiastical censures.

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