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eucharist, Give us this day our daily bread!—ăρтov éπioúσiov, our super-substantial, or super-celestial bread, as many of the Ancients render it. For these reasons they never taught the Lord's Prayer to any of the catechumens but the highest rank of them, the competentes, a few days before their baptism as we learn from those words of St. Austin 67, Now learn the Lord's Prayer, which ye must repeat eight days hence, when ye are to be baptized.' So they received it only on Saturday before Palm Sunday, in order to repeat it on Saturday before Easter, which was the day of their baptism.

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They observed the same discipline in reference to the Creed, which they taught to the catechumens at the same time only, as they did the Lord's Prayer, a little before their baptism. This they did not always commit to writing, but kept it, as St. Jerom 68 words it, in tables of the heart, and delivered it by word of mouth, that it might not come to the knowledge of the uninitiated and unbelievers.' Which is the reason that

Sozomen 69 gives, why he did not insert the words of the Nicene Creed into his History, because probably many uninitiated persons might read his book, who ought not to read or hear the Creed. They were as careful not to communicate to new beginners the profound mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation, till they had first prepared them by proper preceding instructions for the reception of them. Therefore, as St. Jerom 70 observes, it was the custom of the Church to put off this part of the instruction of catechumens to the last, and not acquaint them with these doctrines till about forty days before they were to be baptized, though the catechetical

67 Hom. 42. ex. 5o. t. Io. p. 195. [al. Serm. 58.] (t. 5. p. 337 e.) Tenete ergo et hanc orationem, quam reddituri estis ad octo dies... Ad octo dies autem ab hodierno die reddituri estis hanc orationem, quam hodie accepistis.

68 Ep. 61. ad Pammach. c. 9. p. 173. [al. Lib. cont. Ioan. Hierosol. c. 28.] (t. 2. p. 435 e. In symbolo fidei et spei nostræ, quod, ab Apostolis traditum, non scribitur in charta et atramento, sed in tabulis cordis carnalibus, &c.

69 L. I. c. 20. (v. 2. p. 38. 47.) Ἵνα δὲ καὶ εἰς τὸν ἑξῆς χρόνον βέβαιον

καὶ δῆλον τοῖς ἐσομένοις ὑπάρχῃ τὸ
σúμßohov Tηs Tάte ovvapeσάons niσ-
τεως, ἀναγκαῖον ᾠήθην εἰς ἀπόδειξιν
τῆς ἀληθείας, αὐτὴν τὴν περὶ τούτων
γραφὴν παραθέσθαι· εὐσεβῶν δὲ καὶ
φίλων καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα ἐπιστημόνων,
οἷα δὲ μύσταις καὶ μυσταγωγοῖς μόνοις
δέοντα λέγειν καὶ ἀκούειν ὑφηγουμέ
νων, ἐπῄνεσα τὴν βουλήν· οὐ γὰρ
ἀπεικὸς καὶ τῶν ἀμυήτων τινὰς τῇδε τῇ
βίβλῳ ἐντυχεῖν, ὡς ἕνι δὲ τῶν ἀπορ-
ρήτων, ἃ χρὴ σιωπᾶν ἀποκρυψάμενον·
ὡς μὴ πάμπαν ἀγνοεῖν τὰ δόξαντα τῇ

70 See before, ch. 1. s. 5. p. 445.

n. 27.

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Reasons for

these things from the catechu

that the


might not be con


instruction had continued perhaps for two or three years before.

This was the whole of that discipline, we read so much of among the Ancients, of concealing the sacred mysteries from the catechumens. Among all which we have never the least intimation given that the practice of image-worship, or the adoration of saints and angels, or the doctrine of seven sacraments, were the mysteries they intended to conceal from them. For in those days there were no such mysteries in the Christian Church, and therefore the late invention of Schelstrate is a mere fiction and sophism to cover the nakedness of the present Roman Church. And the pretence of Bona 71, concerning the prohibition of images in churches, made by the Council of Eliberis, that it was only to conceal the secrets of religion from the knowledge of the heathen, is an absurd supposition, which neither Albaspinæus nor Petavius could digest, as I have showed more fully in another place 72, where I speak of the ornaments of the ancient churches.

10. As to those things which they really concealed from the concealing catechumens, the true reasons were, first that the plainness and simplicity of the Christian rites might not be contemned mens. First, by them, or give any occasion of scandal or offence to them, before they were thoroughly instructed about the nature of and simpli- the mysteries. For both Jews and Gentiles, out of whom city of them Christian converts were made catechumens, were apt to deride the nakedness and simplicity of the Christian religion, as void of those pompous ceremonies and sacrifices, with which those other religions abounded. The Christian religion prescribed but one washing in water, and one oblation of bread and wine, instead of that multitude of bloody sacrifices, which the other religions commanded. Therefore, lest the plainness of these few ceremonies should offend the prejudiced minds of catechumens, before they were well instructed about them, the Christian teachers usually adorned these mysteries with great and magnificent titles, such as would convey noble ideas to the minds of men concerning their spiritual effects, but concealing their other names lest the simplicity of the things should offend

71 Rer. Liturg. l. 1. c. 16. n. 2. See before, b. 8. ch. 8. s. 6. p. 159. n. 90.

72 B. 8. ch. 8. s. 6. p. 160. But yet this does not satisfy either Albaspinæus, or Petavius, &c.

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them. When they speak of the eucharist, they never mentioned bread and wine, but the sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ; and styled baptism, illumination, and life, the sacrament of faith and remission of sins, saying little in the mean time of the outward element of water. This was one plain reason, why they denied catechumens the sight of their sacraments, and always spake in mystical terms before them. We shut the doors,' says Chrysostom 73, when we celebrate our mysteries, and keep off all uninitiated persons from them, not because we acknowledge any imperfection in the things themselves, but because many are weakly affected toward them.' And so St. Cyril74, in the place mentioned above, 'We speak not openly of our mysteries before the catechumens, but say many things mystically and obscurely, that they who know them may understand us, and they who know them not may receive no harm.' In like manner the Synod of Alexandria75, charging the Miletians for publishing the mystery of the eucharist before the catechumens, and what was worse, before the heathens, contrary to those rules of Scripture, “It is good to conceal the secrets of a king;" and "Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine;" they add, that it is not lawful to bring mysteries upon the open stage before the uninitiated, lest the heathen through their ignorance should deride them, or the catechumens by their curiosity should be offended.' Therefore there was an ancient rule in the Church, that if any uninitiated person had by any mistake been admitted to partake of the eucharist, he should be immediately instructed and baptized, that he might not go forth a contemner or despiser, as the author of the Apostolical Constitutions 76 words it. And the fourth Council of Toledo 77 gives a like reason why such Jews, as had been baptized by force, should continue in the Christian profession, 'lest the

73 Hom. 23. in Matth. See n. 47, preceding.

74 Catech. 6. n. 16. See n. 34, preceding.

75 Ap. Athanas. Apol. 2. t. 1. p. 131. (t. I. part. I. p. 105 b. n. 11.) Οὐ χρὴ τὰ μυστήρια ἀμυήτοις τραγῳδεῖν, ἵνα μὴ Ἕλληνες μὲν ἀγνοοῦντες γελῶσι, κατηχούμενοι δὲ περίεργοι γενόμενοι σκανδαλίζωνται.

76 L. 7. c. 25. [Labb. c. 26.] (Co

tel. vol. 1. p. 370.) Ei dé Tis KATÀ ἄγνοιαν μεταλάβοι, τοῦτον τάχιον στοιχειώσαντες μυήσατε, ὅπως μὴ καταφρονητὴς ἐξελθοι.

77 C. 56. [al. 57.] (t. 5. p. 1719 c.) Oportet ut fidem etiam, quam vi vel necessitate susceperunt, tenere cogantur, ne nomen Domini [al. nomen divinum] blasphemetur, et fides, quam susceperunt, vilis ac contemptibilis habeatur.


to conciliate

name of God should be blasphemed, and the faith which they had received should be reputed vile and contemptible.' Though they made a severe decree against obliging any Jews to be baptized by force or compulsion for the future.

11. Another reason assigned for this discipline of silence. was to conciliate a reverence in the minds of men for the mysfor them. teries which they kept so concealed from them. For, as St.

a reverence

Thirdly, to make the


mens more

know them.

Basil78 observes, 'the veneration of mysteries is preserved by silence; and as things that are trite and obvious, are easily contemned, so those that are uncommon and reserved are naturally adapted to beget in men an esteem and veneration; and therefore, he thinks, the Apostles and Fathers of the Church, who made laws about these matters, prescribed secresy and silence, to preserve the dignity of the mysteries. St. Austin 79 gives the same reason for this practice, when he says, it was the honour that was due to the mysteries, which made him pass them over in silence, and not explain them.'

12. St. Austin adds to this a third reason, which is, that the mysteries of baptism and the eucharist were therefore chiefly concealed from the catechumens, to excite their curiodesirous to sity, and inflame their zeal, and make them more earnest and solicitous in hastening to partake of them, that they might come to an experimental knowledge of them. Though the sacraments,' says he 80, are not disclosed to the catechumens, it is not always because they cannot bear them, but that they may so much the more ardently desire them, by how much they are the more honourably hidden from them.' And again 81,

78 De Spir. Sanct. c. 27. (t. 3. part. 1. p. 76 b. n. 66.) ... Kaλws ἐκεῖνο δεδιδαγμένοι τῶν μυστηρίων τὸ σεμνὸν σιωπῇ διασώζεσθαι.

79 Serm. 1. inter [post] Quadraginta a Sirmondo editos. [juxt. Ed. Bened., Sermo de eo, quod Neophytis

et oleo sancto aures et nares a sacer

dotibus illiniantur. (t. 6. append. p.
288 d.) juxt. Sirmond., Serm. 1.
append.] Non autem mirari debetis,
fratres carissimi, quod inter ipsa
mysteria de mysteriis nihil diximus,
quod non statim ea quæ tradidimus
interpretati sumus. Adhibuimus
enim tam sanctis rebus atque divinis

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honorem silentii. [The Benedictine Editor informs us that Sirmondus judged both this as well as the other two Sermons he published with it, to be spurious, though attributed to Augustine by the Codex Floriacensis. ED.]

80 Id. Hom.96. ap. [al. Tract. 96.] in Ioan. (t. 3. part. 2. p. 735.) Quid et si non eis [catechumenis] fidelium sacramenta produntur? non ideo fit quod ea ferre non possint, sed ut ab eis tanto ardentius concupiscantur, quanto eis honorabilius occultantur.

81 In Ps. 109. (t. 4. p. 1241 c.) Hæc nec Judæi habent. Vident


The Jews acknowledge not the priesthood according to the order of Melchisedek. I speak to the faithful: if the catechumens understand it not, let them cast away their slowness and hasten to the knowledge of it. They that do not yet eat of this banquet 2, let them hasten upon invitation. The feast of Easter is at hand. Give in your name to baptism. If the festival does not excite you, let curiosity draw you, that you may know that which is said, "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him."'

These were the reasons which engaged the Ancients to conceal their mysteries from the catechumens; which, we plainly see, have no relation to such doctrines as that of transubstantiation, or the number of seven sacraments, or such superstitious practices as the worship of images, and saints, and angels, which are mere novelties, and the modern inventions of the Romish Church.

I have now gone through all things relating to the discipline of the catechumens in their preparation for baptism. We are next to take a view of baptism itself, and inquire into the manner how the Church administered it, and what rites and customs were observed in the celebration of it.

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The end of page 142 of the fourth volume of the original edition,
London, 1715, 8vo.

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