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every one must be sensible, how easily sloth and negligence would creep into the hearts of the faithful, if in the business of baptizing infants nothing was to be feared from the parents' carelessness, or the mortality of their children.' This author presses the necessity of baptizing infants, as all good Christians do, upon supposition of some benefit which the parents' care may bring to the child; and, contrariwise, an irreparable damage and loss which the child may sustain by the parents' default and negligence. And this is sufficient to quicken the care and watchfulness of parents, though it be allowed, that in cases of extreme necessity children may be saved without baptism. Nor is it improbable, that the Ancients intended any more, though their expressions run in severe and general terms without standing precisely to make exceptions. For it cannot be denied but that infants may be martyrs as well as adult persons; such were the children which Herod slew at Bethlehem. Parents likewise may desire baptism for their children, vowing faith and repentance in their name, when some extreme necessity only, and not any culpable neglect, hinders the obtaining of it. And in such cases, if adult persons may be saved without baptism, as all the Ancients agree, there seems to be a parity of reason to extend the same charity and indulgence to little children. Hincmar, archbishop of Rheims, a man of great reputation and learning in his time, and one well versed in the writings of the Ancients, gives this solution of the whole matter upon a remarkable case that happened in his time. A certain bishop of the same country, Hincmar, bishop of Laon, had for some unjust cause hindered the baptism of infants in his diocese, when their parents or godfathers desired they might be baptized; by which means many children died without baptism. Now the question was concerning the future state of these infants, whether the parents' desire and presenting them to baptism was sufficient for the salvation of their children? This, without any scruple, Hincmar $5 resolves in
85 Opuscul. 55. Capit. c. 48. (t. 2. P. 572.).... Et sicut parvulis naturali, id est, alieno peccato, obnoxiis, aliorum, id est, patronorum fides pro eis respondentium in baptismate sit ad salutem: ita parvulis, quibus baptismum denegari jussisti, paren
tum vel patronorum corde credentium, et pro parvulis suis fideli verbo baptisma expetentium, sed non impetrantium, fides et fidelis postulatio prodesse potuerunt, dono ejus cujus Spiritus, quo regeneratio fit, ubi vult spirat.
the affirmative, that as children, who are subject to original sin, which is the sin of other men, are saved by the faith of others, that is, their godfathers answering for them in baptism; so those infants, who by the command of that perverse bishop were denied baptism, might be saved by the faith and faithful desire of their parents or godfathers, who had required both in heart and words that their children might be baptized; and this by the gift of Him, whose Spirit that is the author of regeneration bloweth where it listeth.' If we thus interpret the sense of the Ancients with Hincmar, then all those passages, which condemn infants dying without baptism, must be understood not of the bare want of baptism, when it could not be had, but of the parents' contempt or neglect in not desiring or procuring baptism for their children, when it was in their power to do it.
I have been the longer in explaining and confirming the truth of these points, concerning the necessity of baptism both for infants and adult persons, because the Ancients are mistaken by some, and accused by others as too severe in urging the necessity of baptism; when yet it appears their sentiments about it were exact enough as to what concerned the case of catechumens, and also capable of a favourable interpretation in the case of infants, if we do not over rigidly force their general expressions beyond the true design and intentions of the authors.
I should here have put an end to this discourse concerning the institution and discipline of the catechumens, but only that there are two things that may seem to require a little more distinct handling than has been allowed them above. First, concerning the original, nature, and use of the ancient Creeds of the Church, which were chiefly drawn up for the institution and service of the catechumens, and therefore are most proper to be considered in this place. Secondly, concerning that part of their discipline which consisted in concealing from them for some time the distinct and full knowledge of some of the higher doctrines and mysterious rites of the Church. The consideration of which things shall be the subject of the following Chapters.
Of the original, nature, and names of the ancient Creeds
of the Church.
Creed is called sym
1. In speaking of the Creed, it will be proper to say some- Why the thing in the first place of its several ancient names, and the reasons of them, because some of them are a little obscure, and bolum. liable to be mistaken.
The most usual name of the Creed was symbolum; but why it was called so, is not agreed among learned men. Baronius 86 assigns three reasons of the name. First, he supposes every Apostle cast in his symbola, his article or part, to the composition of it; and therefore it might be called their symbol or collation but if the foundation of this supposition be uncertain, as we shall see hereafter that it is, this could not be the reason of the name. Secondly, he thinks it might be so called, because it was like the tessera militaris among the Roman soldiers, a sort of mark or badge by which true Christians might be distinguished from infidels or heretics. Thirdly, because it was a collation or epitome of the Christian doctrine. Suicerus 87 adds to these a fourth reason of the name. might be so called, he thinks, not from the military badge, but the military oath or contract which soldiers made with the emperor when they entered into his service: for the Creed is a token of the contract which we make with God at our baptism. For this he alleges the testimony of St. Ambrose 88, who calls the Creed' the oath or bond of our warfare:' and Petrus
86 An. 44. n. 15. (t. 1. p. 315 a.) Tunc etiam catholicæ fidei consulturi [Apostoli] quid singuli essent prædicaturi gentibus, ne ulla ex parte aliqua, vel apparens inter eos in annuntiatione evangelii diversitas esset; quosdam fidei canones, quibus universam Christianam fidem perstringentes firmarent ac stabilirent, constituerunt: quos proprio nomine Dei ecclesia nominare consuevit Symbolum Apostolorum, vel quod singuli ex eis ad eum perficiendum attulerint suum symbolum; .... vel quoniam, qui Christiani essent, eo symbolo, velut tessera mili
tari data, dignosci possent, &c.
87 Thes. Eccles. voce, Euμßoλov. (t. 2. p. 1084.) Dicere possumus, symbolum non a militari, sed a contractuum tessera, nomen id accepisse. Est enim tessera pacti, quod in baptismo inimus cum Deo. Unde Ambrosius, 1. 3. de Velandis Virginibus, (t. 2. p. 179 b. n. 20.) dicit: Symbolum .... cordis signaculum, et nostræ militiæ sacramentum. Quasi dicat, esse quasi tabellam, qua cum Imperatore nostro paciscimur, eique nos obstringimus, ut milites sacramento solent.
88 See the preceding note.
Chrysologus 59, who says, An agreement or covenant is called symbolum both in human and divine contracts.' This last signification is not improbable; but the second is more generally received and approved by modern authors 9o, and has also the countenance of some ancient writers. For Maximus Taurinensis 1 supposes it to be called the symbol, because it is a sign or mark by which believers are distinguished from unbelievers and renegadoes. And Ruffinus 2 allows this significa92 tion, when he says, 'It was therefore called the sign or mark, because at that time, when (according to his opinion) it was made by the Apostles, many of the circumcised Jews, as is related both by St. Paul and in the Acts of the Apostles, did feign themselves to be the Apostles of Christ; and to serve their own lucre or their belly, went forth to preach; naming indeed the name of Christ, but not preaching him according to the true lines of tradition. Therefore the Apostles laid down this mark or test, whereby to discern him who preached Christ truly, according to the apostolical rules. It is further reported
89 Serm. 62. (p. 95.) Placitum vel pactum, quod lucri spem venientis continet, vel futuri, symbolum nuncupari, contractu etiam docemur humano, &c.
90 Forbes, Instruct. Hist. Theol. 1. I. c. I. n. 2. (p. 1.) Symboli hujus institutionem quod attinet: Ruffinus in Expositione Symboli; et Augustinus, 1. 1. de Symbolo ad Catechumenos, c. I., et Serm. 181. de Tempore; et auctor Sermonis 115. de Tempore, inter Sermones illos Augustini; et Isidorus Hispalensis, 1. 6. Originum, c. 9; et Etherius ac Beatus, 1. 1. cont. Elipandum, t. 4. Bibl. Patrum, part. 2. col. 506. edit. 4; et Rabanus Maurus, 1. 2. de Institutione Clericorum, c. 56., scribunt, se a majoribus traditum accepisse, institutum esse hoc symbolum ab Apostolis, ad diversas nationes ad prædicandum evangelium discessuris, ut omnes ubique fideles summam hanc brevem haberent illius doctrinæ, quæ ab omnibus unanimiter prædicaretur, et symbolo hoc, veluti tessera militari, discernerentur fideles ab aliis sectis.
91 Hom. in Traditione Symboli,
&c. p. 239. (ap. Bibl. Max. t. 6. p. 42 g. 2.) Signaculum symboli inter fideles perfidosque discernit.
92 Expos. Symbol. ad calc. Cypr. p. 17. (append. p. 154.) Indicium autem vel signum idcirco dicitur, quia illo tempore, sicut et Paulus Apostolus dicit, et in Actis Apostolorum refertur, multi ex circumcisis Judæis simulabant se esse apostolos Christi, et lucri alicujus vel ventris gratia ad prædicandum proficiscebantur; nominantes quidem Christum, sed non integris traditionum lineis nunciantes. Idcirco ergo istud indicium posuere, per quod agnosceretur is, qui Christum vere secundum apostolicas regulas prædicaret. Denique et in bellis civilibus hoc observari ferunt: quoniam et armorum habitus par, et sonus vocis idem, et mos unus est, atque eadem instituta bellandi, ne qua doli [al. dolo] surreptio fiat, symbola discreta unusquisque dux suis militibus tradit; quæ Latine vel signa vel indicia nominantur: ut si forte occurrerit quis de quo dubitetur, interrogatus symbolum, prodat si sit hostis, an socius.
to be a customary thing in civil wars, that because their arms, language, methods, and manner of fighting are the same, therefore every general, to prevent fraud, should give his soldiers a distinct symbol, which in Latin is called a sign or token; that if one met another, of whom he had reason to doubt, by asking him the symbol he might discover whether he was friend or foe.' But this does not satisfy a late learned writer, [Sir Peter King 93,] who thinks, that this name was not derived from any military custom, but rather to be fetched from the sacra, or religious services of the Heathens, where those who were initiated in their mysteries, and admitted to the knowledge of their peculiar services, which were hidden and concealed from the greatest part of the idolatrous multitude, had certain signs or marks, called symbola, delivered unto them, by which they mutually knew each other, and upon the declaring of them, were without scruple admitted in any temple to the secret worship and rites of that god, whose symbols they had received.' The use of these symbols among the Heathens is abundantly proved by that learned author, both from Heathen and Christian writers; but then he alleges no authority to prove that the Christians called their Creed by the name of symbol, in imitation of that Heathen practice: and it is some prejudice against it, that no such thing is said or hinted by any ancient writer. Neither is it very likely that the Christians would have so nice a regard to the abominable and filthy mysteries of the Heathen, as to choose that signification of the name symbol for their Creed, when with much more decency it might be fetched from the innocent and ordinary customs used in military affairs or civil contracts, from which it is with greater probability derived, both by ancient and modern writers.
2. Another usual name of the Creed was κavov, the rule: so Why called called because it was the known standard or rule of faith, canon, and regula fidei. by which orthodoxy and heresy were examined and judged. As when the Council of Antioch 94 says of Paulus Samosa
93 Critical History of the Creed, Lond. 1702. 8vo. ch. 1. (pp. 10, 11.) Now though this [the military custom of the symbolum] may be in part the sense of the word, yet I do BINGHAM, VOL. III.
not apprehend that it comes to the
94 Ep. ap. Euseb. 1. 7. c. 30. (v.