862. The Kiss

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The kiss was not only used among men as a token of friendship (see note on Genesis 29:1313And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. (Genesis 29:13), #53) and of homage to a superior (see note on Psa. 2:1212Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psalm 2:12), #427) but as one of the ceremonies connected with divine worship, and intended to express mutual love and equality. As such it is supposed to have been used in the synagogues, and thence transmitted to the Christian Church. There is nothing said in the New Testament in reference to the part of the service where the kiss was introduced, but early Christian writers state that in the apostolic age it was given after prayers and before the communion service. The minister first said, “Peace be unto you,” and the people responded. Then “a deacon goes on to proclaim solemnly that they should salute one another with a holy kiss; and so the clergy salute the bishop, and laymen their fellow-laymen, and women one another” (Bingham, Antiquities, book 15, chap. 3, § 3).