He was a regular observer of religious rites, took great pains to secure decorum in the services of the church, and was generous in almsgiving both within his empire and without.
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.
By a true instinct the early Christian writers called widows and orphans the altar of God on which the sacrifices of almsgiving are offered up. 4 Such works of charity, however, represent only one of the channels by which self-sacrifice is ministered, to which all prayers and thanksgiving and instruction of psalms, prophecy and preaching contribute.
Among practical duties, the stress laid on that of almsgiving is remarkable (see especially xi.
It strongly commends meritorious almsgiving to the church.