endeavoured on a lower plane and in a less perfect way to realize the common ideal, and by means of penance to atone for the deficiencies in their performance. The existence of monasticism made it possible at once to hold up a high moral standard before the world and to permit the ordinary Christian to be content with something lower. With the growth of clerical sacerdotalism the higher standard was demanded also of the clergy, and the principle came to be generally recognized that they should live the monastic life so far as was consistent with their active duties in the world. The chief manifestation of this was clerical celibacy, which had become widespread already in the 4th century. Among the laity, on the other hand, the ideal of holiness found realization in the observance of the ordinary principles of morality recognized by the world at large, in attendance upon the means of grace provided by the Church, in fasting at stated intervals, in eschewing various popular employments and amusements, and in almsgiving and prayer. Christ’s principle of love was widely interpreted to mean chiefly love for the Christian brotherhood, and within that circle the virtues of hospitality, charity and helpfulness were widely exercised; and if the salvation of his own soul was regarded as the most important affair of every man, the service of the brethren was recognized as an imperative Christian duty. The fulfilling of that duty was one of the most beautiful features of the life of the early Church, and it did perhaps more than anything else to make the Christian circle attractive.
3. Worship.—The primitive belief in the immediate presence of the Spirit affected the religious services of the Church. They were regarded in early days as occasions for the free exercise of spiritual gifts. As a consequence the completest liberty was accorded to all Christians to take such part as they chose, it being assumed that they did so only under the Spirit’s prompting. But the result of this freedom was confusion and discord, as is indicated by Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians (see chapters xi., xiv.). This led to the erection of safeguards, which should prevent the continuance of the unseemly conditions (on Paul’s action in the matter, see McGiffert’s Apostolic Age, p. 523). Particular Christians were designated to take charge of the services, and orders of worship were framed out of which grew ultimately elaborate liturgies (see Liturgy). The Lord’s Supper first took on a more stereotyped character, and prayers to be used in connexion with it are found already in the Didachē (chapters ix. and x.). The development cannot here be traced in detail. It may simply be said that the general tendency was on the one hand toward the elaboration and growing magnificence of the services, especially after the Church had become a state institution and had taken the place of the older pagan cults, and on the other hand toward the increasing solemnity and mystery of certain parts, particularly the eucharist, the sacred character of which was such as to make it sacrilegious to admit to it the unholy, that is, outsiders or Christians under discipline (cf. Didachē, ix.). It was, in fact, from the Lord’s table that offending disciples were first excluded. Out of this grew up in the 3rd or 4th century what is known as the arcani disciplina, or secret discipline of the Church, involving the concealment from the uninitiated and unholy of the more sacred parts of the Christian cult, such as baptism and the eucharist, with their various accompaniments, including the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. The same interest led to the division of the services into two general parts, which became known ultimately as the missa catechumenorum and the missa fidelium,—that is, the more public service of prayer, praise and preaching open to all, including the catechumens or candidates for Church membership, and the private service for the administration of the eucharist, open only to full members of the Church in good and regular standing. Meanwhile, as the general service tended to grow more elaborate, the missa fidelium tended to take on the character of the current Greek mysteries (see Eucharist; Hatch, Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages upon the Christian Church, 1890; Anrich, Das antike Mysterienwesen in seinem Einfluss auf das Christentum, 1894; Wobbermin, Religionsgeschichtliche Studien zur Frage der Beeinflussung des Urchristentums durch das antike Mysterienwesen, 1896). Many of the terms in common use in them were employed in connexion with the Christian rites, and many of the conceptions, particularly that of sharing in immortality by communion with deity, became an essential part of Christian doctrine. Thus the early idea of the services, as occasions for mutual edification through the interchange of spiritual gifts, gave way in course of time to the theory that they consisted of sacred and mysterious rites by means of which communion with God is promoted. The emphasis accordingly came to be laid increasingly upon the formal side of worship, and a value was given to the ceremonies as such, and their proper and correct performance by duly qualified persons, i.e. ordained priests, was made the all-important thing.
4. The Church and the Sacraments.—According to Paul, man is flesh and so subject to death. Only as he becomes a spiritual being through mystical union with Christ can he escape death and enjoy eternal life in the spiritual realm. In the Epistle to the Ephesians the Christian Church is spoken of as the body of Christ (iv. 12 ff., v. 30); and Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, early in the 2nd century, combined the two ideas of union with Christ, as the necessary condition of salvation, and of the Church as the body of Christ, teaching that no one could be saved unless he were a member of the Church (cf. his Epistle to the Ephesians 4, 5, 15; Trall. 7; Phil. 3, 8; Smyr. 8; Magn. 2, 7). Traces of the same idea are found in Irenaeus (cf. Adv. Haer. iii. 24, 1, iv. 26, 2), but it is first clearly set forth by Cyprian, and receives from him its classical expression in the famous sentence “Salus extra ecclesiam non est” (Ep. 73, 21; cf. also Ep. 4, 4; 74, 7; and De unitate ecclesiae, 6: “habere non potest Deum patrem qui ecclesiam non habet matrem”). The Church thus became the sole ark of salvation, outside of which no one could be saved.
Intimately connected with the idea of the Church as an ark of salvation are the sacraments or means of grace. Already as early as the 2nd century the rite of baptism had come to be thought of as the sacrament of regeneration, by means of which a new divine nature is born within a man (cf. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. i. 21, 1, iii. 17, 1; and his newly discovered Demonstration of the Apostolic Teaching, chap. 3), and the eucharist as the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, feeding upon which one is endowed with immortality (cf. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. iv. 18, 5, v. 2, 2). In the early days the Church was thought of as a community of saints, all of whose members were holy, and as a consequence discipline was strict, and offenders excluded from the Church were commonly not readmitted to membership but left to the mercy of God. The idea thus became general that baptism, which had been almost from the beginning the rite of entrance into the Church, and which was regarded as securing the forgiveness of all pre-baptismal sins, should be given but once to any individual. Meanwhile, however, discipline grew less strict (cf. the Shepherd of Hermas, Vis. v. 3; M. iv. 7; Sim. viii. 6, ix. 19, 26, &c.); until finally, under the influence of the idea of the Church as the sole ark of salvation, it became the custom to readmit all penitent offenders on condition that they did adequate penance. Thus there grew up the sacrament of penance, which secured for those already baptized the forgiveness of post-baptismal sins. This sacrament, unlike baptism, might be continually repeated (see Penance). In connexion with the sacraments grew up also the theory of clerical sacerdotalism. Ignatius had denied the validity of a eucharist administered independently of the bishop, and the principle finally established itself that the sacraments, with an exception in cases of emergency in favour of baptism, could be performed only by men regularly ordained and so endowed with the requisite divine grace for their due administration (cf. Tertullian, De Exhort. cast. 7; De Bapt. 7, 17; De Praescriptione Haer. 41; and Cyprian, Ep. 67. For the later influence of the Donatist controversy upon the sacramental development see Donatists). Thus the clergy as distinguished from the laity became true priests, and the latter were made wholly dependent upon the former for sacramental grace, without which there is ordinarily no salvation (see Order, Holy).
5. Christian Doctrine.—Two tendencies appeared in the thought