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author 21, speaking of some new converts, says, they fell down at the bishop's feet, and desired the sign of Christ; upon which, he signed them with the sign of the cross, and made them catechumens, commanding them to attend the church : and so in a short time after, having first instructed them in the catechism, he baptized them.'
4. The circumstance of time here mentioned may lead us in At what the next place to inquire, At what age persons were admitted age persons
were admit catechumens? And how long they continued in that state be-ted to be
catechufore they were baptized ? The first question concerns only heathen converts : for, as for the children of believing parents, it is certain, that as they were baptized in infancy, so they were admitted catechumens as soon as they were capable of learning. But the question is more difficult about Heathens. Yet I find in one of the Resolutions of Timothy, bishop of Alexandria, that children before they were seven years old might be catechumens: for he puts the question thus 22; . Suppose a child of seven years old, or a man that is a catechumen, be present at the oblation, and eat of the eucharist, what shall be done in this case!'—and the answer is, 'Let him be baptized.' By which it is plain, he speaks of Heathen children, and not of Christians, who received not only baptism, but the eucharist in their infancy, by the rule and custom of the Church then prevailing, as will be shewn in their proper place. 5. As to the other point, how long they were to continue How long
they concatechumens? there was no certain general rule fixed about
tinued in that; but the practice varied according to the difference of that state.
21 Vit. Porphyr. (ap. Galland. [c. turis.— Ibid. (p. 136 c.) Infantem 4. n.31.] t.9. p. 265 a.) Prociderunt quoque tradidit ut ipsum signarent. ad ejus pedes petentes Christi signa- Sancti autem episcopi et ipsam (the culum. Beatus vero cum eos signas- mother of Theodosius Minor] et inset, et fecisset catechumenos, dimi- fantem signarunt signo crucis, &c. sit illos in pace, præcipiens eis ut Ep.) vacarent sanctæ ecclesiæ. Et paulo 22 Respons. Canon. quæst. 1. (ap. post, cum eos catechesi instituisset, Bevereg. Pand. t. 2. part. 1. p. 165 a.) baptizavit. [See Baron. an. 401. (t. 'Ερωτήσεις. Εάν παιδίον κατηχούμενον, 5. p. 139 d.) where the passage is ως ετων επτά, ή άνθρωπος τέλειος ευread as follows: Conservate καιρήση που προσφοράς γινομένης, sunt animæ, quæ errabant, et acces- και αγνοών μεταλάβη, τι οφείλει γίserunt gregi Christi. Cum eos vero νεσθαι περί αυτού και Απόκρισις. Φωobsignasset episcopus dimisit in pa- τισθήναι οφείλει παρά θεού γάρ κέce, jubens ut vacarent sanctis Scrip- kintai,
times and places, or the readiness and proficiency of the catechumens themselves. In the apostolical age and the first plantation of the Church, we never read of any long interval between men's first conversion and their baptism. The history of Cornelius, and the Ethiopian eunuch, and Lydia, and the jailor of Philippi in the Acts of the Apostles, to mention no more, are sufficient evidence that in those days catechizing and baptism immediately accompanied one another. And there were good reasons for it: the infant-state of the Church and the zeal of the converts both required it. But in after-ages the Church found it necessary to lengthen this term of probation, lest an overhasty admission of persons to baptism should either fill the Church with vicious men, or make greater numbers of renegadoes and apostates in time of persecution. For this reason the Council of Eliberis 23 appointed two years' trial for new converts, that if in that time they appeared to be men of a good conversation, they might then be allowed the favour of baptism. Justinian, in one of his Novels 24, appointed the same term for Samaritans, because it was found by experience, that they were wont frequently to relapse to their old religion again. The Apostolical Constitutions 25 lengthen the term to three years, but with this limitation, that if men were very diligent and zealous, they might be admitted sooner; because it was not length of time, but men's conversation and behaviour that was to be regarded in this case. The Council of Agde, anno 506, reduced the time for Jewish converts 26 to eight months, giving the same reason why they made the time of probation so long, because they are often found to be perfidious, and returned to their own vomit again. In other places the time is thought by some to be limited to the forty days of Lent; for so some learned men conjecture from a passage or
23 C. 42. (t. Ι. p. 975 b.) Eos, qui μέλλων κατηχείσθαι, τρία έτη κατηad fidem primam credulitatis acce- χείσθω ει δε σπουδαιός τις ή, και εύdunt, si bonæ fuerint conversatio- νοιαν έχει περί το πράγμα, προσδεnis, intra biennium placuit ad bap- χέσθω ότι ουχ ο χρόνος, αλλ' ο τρόtismi gratiam admitti.
πος κρίνεται. 24 Novel. 144. c. 2. (t. 5. p. 619.)
26 C. 25. [al. 34.] (t. 4. p. 1389 a.) Dicimus autem per duos primum Judæi, quorum perfidia frequenter annos in fide instituantur, et pro vi- ad vomitum redit, si ad legem cathoribus Scripturas ediscant, tuncquelicam venire voluerint, octo menses demum sacro redemptionis offeran- [al. mensibus] inter catechumenos tur baptismati, &c.
ecclesiæ limen introeant, et si pura 25 L. 8. c. 32. (t. 1. p. 498 b.) 'o fide venire noscuntur, &c.
two in St. Jerom and Cyril's Catechetic Discourses. St. Jerom says 27, 'It was customary in his time to spend forty days in teaching catechumens the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity.' And St. Cyril seems to imply as much when 28 he asks the catechumens, 'Why they should not think it reasonable to spend forty days upon their souls, who had spent so many years upon their own vanities and the world ?' The time of Lent is not expressly mentioned in either place, but it seems to be intended, because in those ages Easter was the general time of baptizing over all the world. But I understand this only of the strict and concluding part of this exercise. In some cases the term of catechizing was reduced to a yet much shorter compass, as in case of extreme sickness, or the general conversion of whole nations. Socrates 29 observes, that in the conversion of the Burgundians, the French bishop that converted them only took seven days' time to catechize them, and on the eighth day baptized them. So in case of desperate sickness, the catechumens were immediately baptized with clinic baptism; as appears from the forementioned Council of Agde, which though it prescribes eight months' time for the catechizing of Jews, yet in case of extreme danger 30, if their life was despaired of, it allows them to be baptized at any time within the term prescribed. Cyril of Alexandria, in one of his Canonical Epistles 31, gives the same orders concerning catechumens who had lapsed, and were for their crimes expelled the Church, that not withstanding this they should be baptized at the hour of death. St. Basil 32 takes notice, that Arintheus, the Roman consul,
27 Ep. 61. ad Pammach. c. 4. p. éri értà ñuépas rapao Keváoas vn167. [al. Lib. cont. Ioan. Hierosol. otevoa aŭtous, kai tolv Triotiv karnc. 13.] (t. 2. p. 419 e.) Consuetudo χήσας αυτούς, τη ογδόη ημέρα βαπτίautem apud nos istiusmodi est, ut σας απέλυσε. iis, qui baptizandi sunt, per quadra- 30 C. 25. [al. 34.] (t. 4. p. 1389 a.) ginta dies publice tradamus sanctam Quod si casu aliquo periculum inet adorandam Trinitatem.
firmitatis intra præscriptum tempus 28 Catech. 1. n. 5. p. 18. (p. 18 d.) incurrerint, et desperati fuerint, bapΤοσούτους κύκλους ενιαυτών διήλθες, tizentur. περί τον κόσμον μάτην ασχολούμενος, 31 Ep: Canon. ad Episc. Lib. et kai teogapákovta nuépas où oxolá- Pentapol. (ap. Bevereg. Pand. t. 2. ζεις τη προσευχή] διά την σεαυτού part. Ι. p. 178 d.) Εάν δε χωρισμόν ψυχήν;
υπομείνωσί τινες, επιτιμηθέντες πται25 L. 7. c. 30. (ν. 2. p. 379. 17.) σμάτων ένεκα, είτα μέλλωσι τελευταν, Γενόμενοί τε εν πόλει μια της Γαλ- κατηχούμενοι όντες, βαπτιζέσθωσαν. λίας παρακαλούσιν υπό του επισκόπου 32 Ep. 186. [al. 269.] ad Conj. Atugev XplotiaviKOÛ Battiopatos' d dè rinth. Præt. (t. 3. part. 2. p. 603 c.
being converted by his wife, and in danger of death, was im-
tism before their death.'
that time; and partly to instruct them by degrees, first in the
n. 2.) Προς αύταις ταις εξόδους του νούς επίγνωσιν, την περί του Αγίου
τήρια παιδευέσθω, διατί κόσμος γέ-
τον Μελχισεδέκ, και τον Ιώβ, και τον 34 L. 7. c. 39. (Cotel. v. Ι. p. 378.) Μωσέα, Ιησούν τε, και Χαλεβ, και Φι“Ο μέλλων τοίνυν κατηχείσθαι τον λό- νεες τον ιερέα, και τους καθ' εκάστην γον της ευσεβείας, παιδευέσθω πρό γενεάν οσίους όπως τε προνοούμενος του βαπτίσματος την περί του 'Αγεν- ουκ απεστράφη ο θεός τό των ανθρώνήτου γνώσιν, την περί Υιού μονογε- πων γένος αλλά από πλάνης και μα
men be taught before baptism the knowledge of the Father unbegotten, the knowledge of his only begotten Son, and Holy Spirit. Let him learn the order of the world's creation, and series of divine providence, and the different sorts of legislation. Let him be taught why the world, and man, the citizen of the world, were made. Let him be instructed about his own nature, to understand for what end he himself was made. Let him be informed how God punished the wicked with water and fire, and crowned his saints with glory in every generation, viz. Seth, Enos, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and his posterity, Melchisedech, Job, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, and Phineas the priest, and the saints of every age. Let him also be taught how the providence of God never forsook mankind, but called them at sundry times from error and vanity to the knowledge of the truth, reducing them from slavery and impiety to liberty and godliness, from iniquity to righteousness, and from everlasting death to eternal life. After these he must learn the doctrine of Christ's incarnation, his passion, his resurrection and assumption; and what it is to renounce the Devil, and enter into covenant with Christ.'
These were the chief heads of the ancient catechisms before baptism : in which it is observable there is no mention made of the doctrine of the eucharist, or confirmation, because these were not allowed to catechumens till after baptism ; and the instruction upon the former points was not given all at once, but by certain degrees, as the discipline of the Church then required, which divided the catechumens into several distinct orders or classes, and exercised them gradually according to the difference of their stations; of which I shall give a more particular account in the following chapter.
ταιότητος εις επίγνωσιν αληθείας εκά- Κυρίου ενανθρωπήσεως, τά τε περί