Scriptures, Use Of, in the Early Church
Scriptures, Use Of, In The Early Church.
We have seen above that great care was taken by the fathers of the Christian Church to secure a speedy translation of the Scriptures into the languages of the several nations as they were converted to Christianity. Eu- sebius (De Praep. Evang. lib. 12:e. 1) says, "They were translated into all languages throughout the world:" while Theodoret (De Curdled. Graecor. Affect. Serm. 5, t. 4, p. 555) declares "that every nation under heaven had the Scripture in its own tongue." This translation was done to encourage its reading by the people, and, still further to secure this end, it was an ancient custom to have Bibles in the vulgar tongues laid in a convenient part of the church for the people at their leisure to employ themselves in reading. Not only men and women were allowed to read, but children also were encouraged and trained from their infancy to the reading of the Holy Scriptures. Catechumens were obliged w learn the Scriptures as part of their discipline and instruction, and they formed the chief part of the studies of the clergy. Both the clergy and monks were accustomed to have them read to them at their meals, and many became so well versed in the Scriptures that they could repeat them by. heart. Nor were the people denied the privilege of reading the Scriptures in their homes, but were rather encouraged to thus prepare themselves for the public services. In these latter the Scripture lessons, which were always two at least, and sometimes three or four, were taken from both the Old and the New Test., except in the Church of Rome, where only epistle and gospel were read. Those who withheld the Scriptures from the people were considered to be guilty of sacrilege; but such an offence was unknown to the ancients. It was considered a crime to yield up the Scriptures to persecutors demanding them, and those thus guilty were styled traditores, or betrayers. See Bingham, Christian Antiq. (see Index)?