126 There is probably here a reference to a generous custom of antiquity, whereby if any one were visited by calamity and loss of goods, his friends contributed according to their power to present him with a gift which should help to re-establish him. St. Ambrose seems to apply this to the bearing one another's burdens by mourning, fasting, and praying with the penitent, that God might be moved by the entreaties of all, offered with great energy, and forgive what might be lacking in the individual. It is an instructive commentary on the doctrine of the communion of saints.
9 Heb. vi. 4-6. The use made by the Montanists and Novatians of this passage in support of their heresy seems to have been one of the reasons why the Epistle to the Hebrews was so late in being received as canonical. This is stated by one authority in so many words: "Epistola ad Hebroeos non legitur propter Navatianos." Philastrius, de Hoer. 41.