« ForrigeFortsett »
OF THE INSTITUTION OF THE CATECHUMENS, AND THE
FIRST USE OF THE CREEDS OF THE CHURCH.
was used in admitting them to that state in the Church.
that exercise. The reason
1. HAVING hitherto discoursed of the several orders of
come now to consider the service of the Church, or its public
1 B. 1. ch. 4. 5. 5. v. 1. p.: 33.
2 B. 3. ch. 10. V. 1. p. 343. B. 8. ch. 7. s. 12. V. 3. p. 133.
They were called catechumens from the Greek words katnyér and katńxnous, which signify in general the instruction that is given in the first elements or rudiments of any art or science; but in a more restrained ecclesiastical sense, the instruction of men in the first principles of the Christian religion. Hence they had also the names of novitioli and tyrones Dei, new soldiers of God, as we find in Tertullian+ and St. Austin), because they were just entering upon that state which made them soldiers of God and candidates of eternal life. They are sometimes also called audientes, hearers, from their instruction; though that name more commonly denotes one particular sort of them, such as were allowed to hear sermons only, but not to partake in any of the prayers of the Church : of which more hereafter in the following chapter. 2. I have already observed in another place 6 that the cate- Imposition
of hands chumens, by virtue of their admission into that state, had some used in the title to the common name of Christians also; being a degree tion of reas
first admis. higher than either heathens or heretics, though noc yet con- techumens. summated by the waters of baptism. And upon this account they were admitted to this state, not without some ceremony and solemnity of imposition of hands and prayer. Which appears evidently from what Sulpicius Severus 7 says of St. Martin,' that passing through a town where they were all Gentiles, and preaching Christ unto them, and working some miracles, the whole multitude professed to believe in Christ, and desired him to make them Christians : upon which he immediately, as he was in the field, laid his hands upon them, and made them catechumens; saying to those that were about him that it was
4 De Pænitent. c. 6. (p. 124 a.) sti, dum arma sacramentorum susQuicquid ergo mediocritas nostra cipitis, &c. ad pænitentiam semel capessendam 6 B. i. ch. 3. s. 3. V. I. p. 29. et perpetuo continendam suggerere 7 Dialog. 2. c. 5. p. 294. (p. 550.) conata est, omnes quidem deditos ... Cuncti catervatim ad genua Domino spectat, ut omnis salutis in B. Viri ruere cæperunt, fideliter promerendo Deo petitores; sed præ- postulantes, ut eos faceret Christiacipue novitiolis istis imminet, qui, nos. Nec cunctatus, in medio ut quum maxime incipiunt divinis ser
erat campo, cunctos, imposita unimonibus aures rigare, quique catuli versis manu, catechumenos fecit ; infantiæ adhuc recentis, nec perfec. cum quidem ad nos conversus ditis luminibus incerta reptant, &c. ceret, non irrationabiliter in campo
5 De Symb. Fid. ad Čatechumen. catechumenos fieri, ubi solerent mar1. 2. c. 1. (t. 6. p. 556 d.) Optimi tyres consecrari. jam tyrones Dei, fortes milites Chri
not unreasonable to make catechumens in the open field, where martyrs were used to be consecrated unto God. Where we may observe, that to make Christians, and to make catechumens, is the same thing; and that this was done by imposition of hands and prayer. Which observation will help us to the right understanding of some obscure canons and difficult passages in ancient writers, which many learned men have mistaken.
In the first Council of Arles7 there is a canon which orders imposition of hands to be given to such Gentiles as in time of sickness express an inclination to receive the Christian faith.' And in the Council of Eliberis & there is another canon to the same purpose, which says, 'that if any Gentiles, who have led a tolerably moral life, desire imposition of hands, they should have it allowed them, and be made Christians. Now the question is, What is here meant by imposition of hands, and being made Christians ? Mendoza 9 and Vossius 10 take it for imposition of hands in baptism ; and Albaspiny 11 for imposition of hands in confirmation. But the true sense is no more than this imposition of hands used in making catechumens, which in some sort gave Gentile converts an immediate title to be called
7 C. 6. (t. 1. p. 1427 e.) De his mum consequatur. qui in infirmitate credere volunt, 11 Not. in C. Eliber. c. 39. (t. I. placuit eis debere manum imponi. P: 999 d.) Gentilibus, qui in mortis
8 C. 39. (ibid. p. 975 a.) Gentiles discrimine baptizati essent, manus si in infirmitate desideraverint sibi ab episcopis imponendæ; et confirmanum imponi, si fuerit eorum ex mationis sacramento signandi, si aliqua parte vita honesta, placuit eis probi fuerint, moresque consimiles manum imponi et fieri Christianos. fidei Christianæ habuerint. Nam si
9 Not. in C. Eliber. c. 39. (ibid. ex more turpissimorum hominum p. 1252 d.) In favorem enim Gen- anteactam vitam duxerint, non sunt tilium editus hic canon est, ut vide- confirmatione perficiendi, quantumlicet non exspectetur tempus bap- vis omnibus vitiis et flagitiis caretismo recipiendo præscriptum, si rent, et omnem extra noxam censeforte illi morbi necessitate adstrin- rentur. Hunc ego sensum et expligantur; ut si casu ante lucis usura cationem confido patres ipsos Elipriventur, præteritorum delictorum beritanos agnituros pro legitima et culpa et pæna remissa, ad æterna pro nata; contra vero quam de bappossint conscendere tabernacula. tismo nonnulli asserunt, tanquam
10 De Bapt. disput. 12. thes. 5. p. supposititiam repudiaturos, si utram164. (t. 6. p. 302.) Quanquam au- que aspiciunt. Quis unquam docuit, tem baptismi in eo [Can. 39. C. Eli- baptismum iis in morte deneganber.] aperte mentio non fiat, tamen, dum esse, quorum vita non fuisset uti ad eum observat Ferdinandus honesta ? Porro ubinam reperient Mendoza, ex eo, quod de imposi- baptismum manus impositionem tione manus dicitur, baptismus si- nominari, et isto nomine a patribus mul intelligitur; cum hæc baptis- appellari ?
Christians. And so I find Valesius 12, and Basnage 13, and Cotelerius 14, understand it. And this must be the meaning of that passage in Eusebius 15, where, speaking of Constantine's prayers in the Church of Helenopolis a little before his death, he says, . it was the same church where he had first been admitted to imposition of hands and prayer,' that is, had been made a catechumen with those ceremonies; for no other imposition of hands can here be meant, since it is now agreed on all hands that Constantine was not baptized until he had left Helenopolis, and was come to Nicomedia, a little before his death. By this also we may understand the meaning of those canons of the first general Council of Constantinople16, and the Council of Trullo 17, where, speaking of the reception of such heretics as the Eunomians and Montanists and Sabellians, who had not been truly baptized, they say, 'they should be received only as heathens, viz. the first day be made Christians, the second day catechumens, the third day be exorcized, then instructed for a considerable time in the church, and at last
12 Not. in Euseb. de Vit. Con- erit, necesse est. stant. l. 4. c. 61. (v. I. p. 661. n. 3.) 14 In Constit. Apost. 1. 7. c. 39. Ait igitur Eusebius, Constantinum (v. I. p. 378. n. 8.) Manus imponeimperatorem tunc primum manuum bant catechumenis, quando eos faciimpositionem cum solemni preca. ebant catechumenos. ... . Ac si metione in ecclesia suscepisse : id est, cum sentire vis, hunc ritum intellige uno verbo, tunc primum factum expressum in Conciliis Arelatensi et esse catechumenum. Nam catechu- Eliberitano, ubi frustra digladiantur meni per manus impositionem fie- interpretes, alii accipientes de bapbant ab episcopo, ut docet canon 6. tismo, alii de confirmatione. Concilii Arelatensis.... Idem sanci. 15 De Vit. Constant. l. 4. c. 61. tum est cap. 39. Concilii Eliberitani: (ibid. 661. 7.) "Evda di kal mpôrov Gentiles, &c. Qui quidem canon των διά χειροθεσίας αρχών ηξιούτο. Eliberitanus, ut id obiter moneam, 16 C. 7. (t. 2. p. 951 c.) 'Qs "EXnihil aliud esse videtur, quam expo- ληνας δεχόμεθα, και την πρώτην ημέsitio canonis Arelatensis.
ραν ποιούμεν αυτούς Χριστιανούς, την 13 Exercit. in Baron. an. 44. (p. 6: 66UTépat karxoluetoos, eira 482.) Ρlurime quidem χειροθεσίας τρίτη εξορκίζομεν αυτούς... και ούτως species fuere : sed illa, qua Con- KaTnxojuev aŭrojs, kai poloûuev avstantinus in templo Helenopolitano τους χρονίζειν εις την εκκλησίαν, και donatus est, ad solam catechumeno- Tóte autoùs Bantišojev. rum manus impositionem revocari 17 C. 95. (t. 6. p. 1182 e.) The potest, non ad curatoriam; impe- same words.- Vid. etiam Anonym. rator tum non ægrotabat: non ad Ep. ad Martyrium Antiochenum, confirmatoriam ; nondum regenera- ap. Bevereg. Ånnot. in Can. 7. C. tionis lavacrum consequutus fuerat: Constant. 2. (t. 2. append. p. 100.) non ad reconciliatoriam; inter pe- ...Πάντας τους απ' αυτών θέλοντας nitentes non agebat. Ergo ad cate- προστίθεσθαι τη αληθεία, ως Ελλήchumenorum impositionem pertinu- vas dexóueda.
baptized.' Here, being made Christians, evidently signifies no more than their being admitted to the lowest degree of catechumens by imposition of hands and prayer; after which came many intermediate ceremonies of exorcizing, catechizing, &c., before they were made complete Christians by baptism. So that, as Theodosius observes in one of his laws 18, there were two sorts of men that went by the name of Christians, one called Christiani ac fideles, Christians and believers, and the other Christiani et catechumeni tantum, Christians and catechumens only; the former whereof were made so by baptisin, and the other by imposition of hands and prayer. Which was a ceremony used in most of the offices of religion, in baptism, confirmation, ordination, reconciling of penitents, consecration of virgins, curing the sick, and, as we have now seen, particularly in the first admission of new converts to the state of
catechumens. And con- 3. Ilere also, as in most other offices of the Church, they signation
used the sign of the cross. St. Austin 19 joins all these ceremowith the sign of the nies together, when he says, “that catechumens were in some
sort sanctified by the sign of Christ and imposition of hands and prayer;' meaning, that these ceremonies were used as indications of their forsaking the Gentile state, and becoming retainers to the Christian Church. The same rite is mentioned also by St. Austin in his Confessions 20 as used upon himself during his being a catechumen; but whether he means there his first admission, or his continuance in that state, is not certain. But in the Life of Porphyrius, bishop of Gaza, written by his disciple Marcus, it is more plainly expressed : for that
18 Cod. Theod. 1. 16. tit. 7. de 19 De Peccator. Merit. 1. 2. c. 26. Apostat. leg. 2. (t. 6. p. 204.) Chri- (t. 10. p.62 e.) Nam et catechumenos stianis ac fidelibus, qui ad paganos secundum quendam modum suum ritus cultusque migrarunt, omnem per signum Christi et orationem, in quamcumque personam testa- manus impositione puto sanctifimenti condendi interdicimus potes- cari. tatem, ut sint absque jure Romano. 20 Confess. 1. 1. C.11.(t. 1. p.75 f.) His vero, qui Christiani et catechu Audieram enim ego
de meni tantum, venerabili religione vita æterna, nobis promissa per huneglecta, ad aras et templa transie- militatem [Filii tui] Domini Dei rant, si filios vel fratres germanos nostri, descendentis ad superbiam habebunt, hoc est, suam aut legiti- nostram : et signabar jam signæ mam successionem; testandi arbi- crucis ejus, et condiebar ejus sale, tratu proprio in quaslibet alias per- jam inde ab utero matris meæ, quæ sonas jus adimatur.
multum speravit in te.