Early Church Fathers
Concerning the Christian Life, and the Eucharist, and the Initiation into Christ.
Concerning the Christian Life, and the Eucharist, and the Initiation into Christ.
Sec. I.-On the Two Ways,1 -The Way of Life and the Way of Death.
I. The lawgiver Moses said to the Israelites, "Behold, I have set before your face the way of life and the way of death; "2 and added, "Choose life, that thou mayest live."3 Elijah the prophet also said to the people: "How long will you halt with both your legs? If the Lord be God, follow Him."4 The Lord Jesus also said justly: "No one can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other."5 We also, following our teacher Christ, "who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe,"6 are obliged to say that there are two ways-the one of life, the other of death;7 which have no comparison one with another, for they are very different,8 or rather entirely separate; and the way of life is that of nature, but that of death was afterwards introduced,-it not being according to the mind of God, but from the snares of the adversary.9
II. The first way, therefore, is that of life; and is this,10 which the law also does appoint: "To love the Lord God with all thy mind, and with all thy soul, who is the one and only God, besides whom there is no other; "11 "and thy neighbour as thyself."12 And whatsoever thou wouldest not should be done to thee, that do not thou to another."13 "Bless them that curse you; pray for them that despitefully use you."14 "Love your enemies; for what thanks is it if ye love those that love you? for even the Gentiles do the same."15 "But do ye love those that hate you, and ye shall have no enemy." For says He, "Thou shalt not hate any man; no, not an Egyptian, nor an Edomite; "16 for they are all the workmanship of God. Avoid not the persons, but the sentiments, of the wicked. "Abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts."17 "If any one gives thee a stroke on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."18 Not that revenge is evil, but that patience is more honourable. For David says, "If I have made returns to them that repaid me evil."19 "If any one compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain."20 And, "He that will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also."21 "And from him that taketh thy goods, require them not again."22 "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee do not shut thy hand."23 For "the righteous man is pitiful, and lendeth."24 For your Father would have you give to all, who Himself "maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth His rain on the just and on the unjust."25 It is therefore reasonable to give to all out of thine own labours; for says He, "Honour the Lord out of thy righteous labours,"26 but so that the saints be preferred.27 "Thou shalt not kill; "28 that is, thou shalt not destroy a man like thyself: for thou dissolvest what was well made. Not as if all killing were wicked, but only that of the innocent: but the killing which is just is reserved to the magistrates alone. "Thou shalt not commit adultery: "for thou dividest one flesh into two. "They two shall be one flesh: "29 for the husband and wife are one in nature, in consent, in union, in disposition, and the conduct of life; but they are separated in sex and number. "Thou shall not corrupt boys: "30 for this wickedness is contrary to nature, and arose from Sodom, which was therefore entirely consumed with fire sent from God.31 "Let such a one be accursed: and all the people shall say, So be it."32 "Thou shall not commit fornication: "for says He, "There shall not be a fornicator among the children of Israel."33 "Thou shalt not steal: "for Achan, whet he had stolen in Israel at Jericho, was stoned to death;34 and Gehazi, who stole, and told a lie, inherited the leprosy of Naaman;35 and Judas, who stole the poor's money, betrayed the Lord of glory to the Jews,36 and repented, and hanged himself, and burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out;37 and Ananias, and Sapphira his wife, who stole their own goods, and "tempted the Spirit of the Lord," were immediately, at the sentence of Peter our fellow-apostle, struck dead.38
III. Thou shalt not use magic.39 Thou shalt not use witchcraft; for He says, "Ye shall not suffer a witch to live."40 Thou shall not slay thy child by causing abortion, nor kill that which is begotten; for "everything that is shaped, and has received a soul from God, if it be slain, shall be avenged, as being unjustly destroyed."41 "Thou shalt not covet the things that belong to thy neighbour, as his wife, or his servant, or his ox, or his field." "Thou shalt not forswear thyself; for it is said, "Thou shalt not swear at all."42 But if that cannot be avoided, thou shalt swear truly; for" every one that swears by Him shall be commended."43 "Thou shalt not bear false witness; "for "he that falsely accuses the needy provokes to anger Him that made him."44
IV. Thou shall not speak evil;45 for says He, "Love not to speak evil, lest thou beest taken away." Nor shalt thou be mindful of injuries; for "the ways of those that remember injuries are unto death."46 Thou shall not be double-minded nor double-tongued; for "a man's own lips are a strong snare to him,"47 and "a talkative person shall not be prospered upon earth."48 Thy words shall not be vain; for "ye shall give an account of every idle word."49 Thou shalt not tell lies: for says He, "Thou shalt destroy all those that speak lies."50 Thou shalt not be covetous nor rapacious: for says He, "Woe to him that is covetous towards his neighbour with an evil covetousness."51
V. Thou shalt not be an hypocrite, lest thy "portion be with them."52 Thou shalt not be ill-natured nor proud: for "God resisteth the proud."53 "Thou shalt not accept persons in judgment; for the judgment is the Lord's." "Thou shalt not hate any man; thou shalt surely reprove thy brother, and not become guilty on his account; "54 and, "Reprove a wise man, and he will love thee."55 Eschew all evil, and all that is like it: for says He, "Abstain from injustice, and trembling shall not come nigh thee."56 Be not soon angry, nor spiteful, nor passionate, nor furious, nor daring, lest thou undergo the fate of Cain, and of Saul, and of Joab: for the first of these slew his brother Abel, because Abel was found to be preferred before him with God, and because Abel's sacrifice was preferred;57 the second persecuted holy David, who had slain Goliah the Philistine, being envious of the praises of the women who danced;58 the third slew two generals of armies-Abner of Israel, and Amasa of Judah.59
VI. Be not a diviner, for that leads to idolatry;60 for says Samuel, "Divination is sin; "61 and, "There shall be no divination in Jacob, nor soothsaying in Israel."62 Thou shalt not use enchantments or purgations for thy child. Thou shall not be a soothsayer nor a diviner by great or little birds. Nor shalt thou learn wicked arts; for all these things has the law forbidden.63 Be not one that wishes for evil, for thou wilt be led into intolerable sins. Thou shalt not speak obscenely, nor use wanton glances, nor be a drunkard; for from such causes arise whoredoms and adulteries. Be not a lover of money, lest thou "serve mammon instead of God."64 Be not vainglorious, nor haughty, nor high-minded. For from all these things arrogance does spring. Remember him who said: "Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: I have not exercised myself in great matters, nor in things too high for me; but I was humble."65
VII. Be not a murmurer, remembering the punishment which those underwent who murmured against Moses. Be not self-willed, be not malicious, be not hard-hearted, be not passionate, be not mean-spirited; for all these things lead to blasphemy. But be meek, as were Moses and David,66 since "the meek shall inherit the earth."67
VIII. Be slow to wrath; for such a one is very prudent, since "he that is hasty of spirit is a very fool."68 Be merciful; for "blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy."69 Be sincere, quiet, good, "trembling at the word of God."70 Thou shalt not exalt thyself, as did the Pharisee; for "every one that exalteth himself shall be abased,"71 and "that which is of high esteem with man is abomination with God."72 Thou shalt not entertain confidence in thy soul; for "a confident man shall fall into mischief."73 Thou shalt not go along with the foolish, but with the wise and righteous; for "he that walketh74 with wise men shall be wise, but he that walketh with the foolish shall be known."75 Receive the afflictions that fall upon thee with an even mind, and the chances of life without over-much sorrow, knowing that a reward shall be given to thee by God, as was given to Job and to Lazarus.76
IX. Thou shalt honour him that speaks to thee the word of God, and be mindful of him day and night; and thou shalt reverence him,77 not as the author of thy birth, but as one that is made the occasion of thy well-being. For where the doctrine concerning God is, there God is present. Thou shalt every day seek the face of the saints, that thou mayest acquiesce in their words.
X. Thou shalt not make schisms among the saints, but be mindful of the followers of Corah.78 Thou shalt make peace between those that are at variance, as Moses did when he persuaded them to be friends.79 Thou shalt judge righteously; for "the judgment is the Lord's."80 Thou shalt not accept persons when thou reprovest for sins; but do as Elijah and Micaiah did to Ahab, and Ebedmelech the Ethiopian to Zedekiah, and Nathan to David, and John to Herod.81
XI. Be not of a doubtful mind in thy prayer, whether it shall be granted or no. For the Lord said to me Peter upon the sea: "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? "82 "Be not thou ready to stretch out thy hand to receive, and to shut it when thou shouldst give."83
XII. If thou hast by the work of thy hands, give, that thou mayest labour for the redemption of thy sins; for "by alms and acts of faith sins are purged away."84 Thou shalt not grudge to give to the poor, nor when thou hast given shalt thou murmur; for thou shalt know who will repay thee thy reward. For says he: "He that hath mercy on the poor man lendeth to the Lord; according to his gift, so shall it be repaid him again."85 Thou shalt not turn away from him that is needy; for says he: "He that stoppeth his ears, that he may not hear the cry of the needy, himself also shall call, and there shall be none to hear him."86 Thou shall communicate in all things to thy brother, and shall not say thy goods are thine own; for the common participation of the necessaries of life is appointed to all men by God. Thou shalt not take off thine hand from thy son or from thy daughter, but shalt teach them the fear of God from their youth; for says he: "Correct thy son, so shall he afford thee good hope."87
XIII. Thou shall not command thy man-servant, or lily maid-servant, who trust in the same God, with bitterness of soul, lest they groan against thee, and wrath be upon thee from God. And, ye servants, "be subject to your masters,"88 as to the representatives of God, with attention and fear, "as to the Lord, and not to men."89
XIV. Thou shalt hate all hypocrisy; and whatsoever is pleasing to the Lord, that shalt thou do. By no means forsake the commands of the Lord. But thou shalt observe what things thou hast received from Him, neither adding to them nor taking away from them. "For thou shalt not add unto His words, lest He convict thee, and thou becomest a liar."90 Thou shalt confess thy sins unto the Lord thy God; and thou shalt not add unto them, that it may be well with thee from the Lord thy God, who willeth not the death of a sinner, but his repentance.
XV. Thou shalt be observant to thy father and mother as the causes of thy being born, that thou mayest live long on the earth which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Do not overlook thy brethren or thy kinsfolk; for "thou shalt not overlook those nearly related to thee."91
XVI. Thou shalt fear the king, knowing that his appointment is of the Lord. His rulers thou shalt honour as the ministers of God, for they are the revengers of all unrighteousness; to whom pay taxes, tribute, and every oblation with a willing mind.
XVII. Thou shalt not proceed to thy prayer in the day of thy wickedness, before thou hast laid aside thy bitterness. This is the way of life, in which may ye be found, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
XVIII. But the way of death92 is known by its wicked practices: for therein is the ignorance of God, and the introduction of many evils, and disorders, and disturbances; whereby come murders, adulteries, fornications, perjuries, unlawful lusts, thefts, idolatries, magic arts, witchcrafts, rapines, false-witnesses, hypocrisies, double-heartedness, deceit, pride, malice, insolence, covetousness, obscene talk, jealousy, confidence, haughtiness, arrogance, impudence, persecution of the good, enmity to truth, love of lies, ignorance of righteousness. For they who do such things do not adhere to goodness, or to righteous judgment: they watch not for good, but for evil; from whom meekness and patience are far off, who love vain things, pursuing after reward, having no pity on the poor, not labouring for him that is in misery, nor knowing Him that made them; murderers of infants, destroyers of the workmanship of God, that turn away from the needy, adding affliction to the afflicted, the flatterers of the rich, the despisers of the poor, full of sin. May you, children, be delivered from all these.
XIX. See that no one seduce thee93 from piety; for says He: "Thou mayst not turn aside from it to the right hand, or to the left, that thou mayst have understanding in all that thou doest."94 For if thou dost not turn out of the right way, thou wilt not be ungodly.
XX. Now concerning the several sorts of food, the Lord says to thee, "Ye shall eat the good things of the earth; "95 and, "All sorts of flesh shall ye eat, as the green herb; "96 but, "Thou shalt pour out the blood."97 For "not those things that go into the mouth, but those that come out of it, defile a man; "98 I mean blasphemies, evil-speaking, and if there be any other thing of the like nature.99 But "do thou eat the fat of the land with righteousness."100 For "if there be anything pleasant, it is His; and if there be anything good, it is His. Wheat for the young men, and wine to cheer the maids." For "who shall eat or who shall drink without Him? "101 Wise Ezra102 does also admonish thee and say: "Go your way, and eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and be not sorrowful."103
XXI. But do ye abstain from things offered to idols;104 for they offer them in honour of demons, that is, to the dishonour of the one God, that ye may not become partners with demons.
XXII. Now concerning baptism,105 O bishop, or presbyter, we have already given direction, and we now say, that thou shalt so baptize as the Lord commanded us, saying: "Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you): "106 of the Father who sent, of Christ who came, of the Comforter who testified. But thou shalt beforehand anoint the person with the holy oil, and afterward baptize him with the water, and in the conclusion shall seal him with the ointment; that the anointing with oil may be the participation of the Holy Spirit, and the water the symbol of the death of Christ, and the ointment the seal of the covenants. But if there be neither oil nor ointment, water is sufficient both for the anointing, and for the seal, and for the confession of Him that is dead, or indeed is dying together with Christ. But before baptism, let him that is to be baptized fast; for even the Lord, when He was first baptized by John, and abode in the wilderness, did afterward fast forty days and forty nights.107 But He was baptized, and then fasted, not having Himself any need of cleansing, or of fasting, or of purgation, who was by nature pure and holy; but that He might testify the truth to John, and afford an example to us. Wherefore our Lord was not baptized into His own passion, or death, or resurrection-for none of those things had then happened-but for another purpose. Wherefore He by His own authority fasted after His baptism, as being the Lord of John. But he who is to be initiated into His death ought first to fast, and then to be baptized. For it is not reasonable that he who has been buried with Christ, and is risen again with Him, should appear dejected at His very resurrection. For man is not lord of our Saviour's constitution, since one is the Master and the other the servant.
XXIII. But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites;108 for they fast on the second and fifth days of the week. But do you either fast the entire five days, or on the fourth day of the week, and on the day of the Preparation, because on the fourth day the condemnation went out against the Lord, Judas then promising to betray Him for money; and you must fast on the day of the Preparation, because on that day the Lord suffered the death of the cross under Pontius Pilate. But keep the Sabbath, and the Lord's day festival; because the former is the memorial of the creation, and the latter of the resurrection. But there is one only Sabbath to be observed by you in the whole year, which is that of our Lord's burial, on which men ought to keep a fast, but not a festival. For inasmuch as the Creator was then under the earth, the sorrow for Him is more forcible than the joy for the creation; for the Creator is more honourable by nature and dignity than His own creatures.
XXIV. Now, "when ye pray, be not ye as the hypocrites; "109 but as the Lord has appointed us in the Gospel, so pray ye: "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth; give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Thine is the kingdom for ever. Amen."110 Pray thus thrice in a day, preparing yourselves beforehand, that ye may be worthy of the adoption of the Father; lest, when you call Him Father unworthily, you be reproached by Him, as Israel once His first-born son was told: "If I be a Father, where is my glory? And if I be a Lord, where is my fear? "111 For the glory of fathers is the holiness of their children, and the honour of masters is the fear of their servants, as the contrary is dishonour and confusion. For says He: "Through you my name is blasphemed among the Gentiles."112
XXXV. Be ye always thankful, as faithful and honest servants; and concerning the eucharistical thanksgiving say thus:113 We thank Thee, our Father, for that life which Thou hast made known to us by Jesus Thy Son, by whom Thou madest all things, and takest care of the whole world; whom Thou hast sent to become man for our salvation; whom Thou hast permitted to suffer and to die; whom Thou hast raised up, and been pleased to glorify, and hast set Him down on Thy right band; by whom Thou hast promised us the resurrection of the dead. Do thou, O Lord Almighty, everlasting God, so gather together Thy Church from the ends of the earth into Thy kingdom, as this corn was once scattered, and is now become one loaf. We also, our Father, thank Thee for the precious blood of Jesus Christ, which was shed for us and for His precious body, whereof we celebrate this representation, as Himself appointed us, "to show forth His death."114 For through Him glory is to be given to Thee for ever. Amen. Let no one eat of these things that is not initiated; but those only who have been baptized into the death of the Lord. But if any one that is not initiated conceal himself, and partake of the same, "he eats eternal damnation; "115 because, being not of the faith of Christ, he has partaken of such things as it is not lawful for him to partake of, to his own punishment. But if any one is a partaker through ignorance, instruct him quickly, and initiate him, that he may not go out and despise you.
XXVI. After the participation,116 give thanks in this manner: We thank thee, O God and Father of Jesus our Saviour, for Thy holy name, which Thou hast made to inhabit among us; and that knowledge, faith, love, and immortality which Thou hast given us through Thy Son Jesus. Thou, O Almighty Lord, the God of the universe, hast created the world, and the things that are therein, by Him; and hast planted a law in our souls, and beforehand didst prepare things for the convenience of men. O God of our holy and blameless fathers, Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, Thy faithful servants; Thou, O God, who art powerful, faithful, and true, and without deceit in Thy promises; who didst send upon earth Jesus Thy Christ to live with men, as a man, when He was God the Word, and man, to take away error by the roots: do Thou even now, through Him, be mindful of this Thy holy Church, which Thou hast purchased with the precious blood of Thy Christ, and deliver it from all evil, and perfect it in Thy love and Thy truth, and gather us all together into Thy kingdom which Thou hast prepared. Let this Thy kingdom come.117 "Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the Lord"118 -God the Lord, who was manifested to us in the flesh. If any one be holy, let him draw near; but if any one be not such, let him become such by repentance.Permit also to your presbyters to give thanks.
XXVII. Concerning the ointment give thanks in this manner: We give Thee thanks, O God, the Creator of the whole world, both for the flagrancy of the ointment, and for the immortality which Thou hast made known to us by Thy Son Jesus. For Thine is the glory and the power for ever. Amen. Whosoever comes to you,119 and gives thanks in this manner, receive him as a disciple of Christ. But if he preach another doctrine, different from that which Christ by us has delivered to you, such a one you must not permit to give thanks; for such a one rather affronts God than glorifies Him.
XXVIII. But whosoever comes to you, let him be first examined, and then received: for ye have understanding, and are able to know the right hand from the left,120 and to distinguish false teachers from true teachers. But when a teacher comes to you, supply him with what he wants with all readiness. And even when a false teacher comes, you shall give him for his necessity, but shall not receive his error. Nor indeed may ye pray together with him, lest ye be polluted as well as he. Every true prophet or teacher121 that comes to you is worthy of his maintenance, as being a labourer in the word of righteousness.122
XXIX. All the first-fruits of the winepress, the threshing-floor, the oxen, and the sheep, shalt thou give to the priests,123 that thy storehouses and garners and the products of thy land may be blessed, and thou mayst be strengthened with corn and wine and oil, and the herds of thy cattle and flocks of thy sheep may be increased. Thou shalt give the tenth of thy increase to the orphan, and to the widow, and to the poor, and to the stranger. All the first-fruits of thy hot bread of thy barrels of wine, or oil, or honey, or nuts, or grapes, or the first-fruits of other things, shalt thou give to the priests; but those of silver, and of garments, and of all sort of possessions, to the orphan and to the widow.
XXX. On the day of the resurrection of the Lord,124 that is, the Lord's day, assemble yourselves together, without fail, giving thanks to God, and praising Him for those mercies God has bestowed upon you through Christ, and has delivered you from ignorance, error, and bondage, that your sacrifice may be unspotted, and acceptable to God, who has said concerning His universal Church: "In every place shall incense and a pure sacrifice be offered unto me; for I am a great King, saith the Lord Almighty, and my name is wonderful among the heathen."125
XXXI. Do you first ordain bishops worthy of the Lord,126 and presbyters and deacons, pious men, righteous, meek, free from the love of money, lovers of truth, approved, holy, not accepters of persons, who are able to teach the word of piety, and rightly dividing the doctrines of the Lord.127 And do ye honour such as your fathers, as your lords, as your benefactors, as the causes of your well-being. Reprove ye one another, not in anger, but in mildness, with kindness and peace. Observe all things that are commanded you by the Lord. Be watchful for your life.128 "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning, and ye like unto men who wait for their Lord, when He will come, at even, or in the morning, or at cock-crowing, or at midnight. For at what hour they think not, the Lord will come; and if they open to Him, blessed are those servants, because they were found watching. For He will gird Himself, and will make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them."129 Watch therefore, and pray, that ye do not sleep unto death. For your former good deeds will not profit you, if at the last part of your life you go astray from the true faith.
XXXII. For in the last days false prophets shall be multiplied, and such as corrupt the word; and the sheep shall be changed into wolves, and love into hatred: for through the abounding of iniquity the love of many shall wax cold. For men shall hate, and persecute, and betray one another. And then shall appear the deceiver of the world, the enemy of the truth, the prince of lies,130 whom the Lord Jesus "shall destroy with the spirit of His mouth, who takes away the wicked with His lips; and many shall be offended at Him. But they that endure to the end, the same shall be saved. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; "131 and afterwards shall be the voice of a trumpet by the archangel;132 and in that interval shall be the revival of those that were asleep. And then shall the Lord come, and all His saints with Him,133 with a great concussion above the clouds, with the angels of His power,134 in the throne of His kingdom, to condemn the devil, the deceiver of the world, and to render to every one according to his deeds. "Then shall the wicked go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous shall go into life eternal,"135 to inherit those things "which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, such things as God hath prepared for them that love Him; "136 and they shall rejoice in the kingdom of God, which is in Christ Jesus. Since we are vouchsafed such great blessings from Him, let us become His suppliants, and call upon Him by continual prayer, and say:-
XXXIII. Our eternal Saviour, the King of gods, who alone art almighty, and the Lord, the God of all beings, and the God of our holy and blameless fathers, and of those before us; the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob; who art merciful and compassionate, long-suffering, and abundant in mercy; to whom every heart is naked, and by whom every heart is seen, and to whom every secret thought is revealed: to Thee do the souls of the righteous cry aloud, upon Thee do the hopes of the godly trust, Thou Father of the blameless, Thou hearer of the supplication of those that call upon Thee with uprightness, and who knowest the supplications that are not uttered: for Thy providence reaches as far as the inmost parts of mankind; and by Thy knowledge Thou searchest the thoughts of every one, and in every region of the whole earth the incense of prayer and supplication is sent up to Thee. O Thou who hast appointed this present world as a place of combat to righteousness, and hast opened to all the gate of mercy, and hast demonstrated to every man by implanted knowledge, and natural judgment, and the admonitions of the law, how the possession of riches is not everlasting, the ornament of beauty is not perpetual, our strength and force are easily dissolved; and that all is vapour and vanity; and that only the good conscience of faith unfeigned passes through the midst of the heavens, and returning with truth, takes hold of the right hand of the joy137 which is to come. And withal, before the promise of the restoration of all things is accomplished, the soul itself exults in hope, and is joyful. For from that truth which was in our forefather Abraham, when he changed his way Thou didst guide him by a vision, and didst teach him what kind of state this world is; and knowledge went before his faith, and faith was the consequence of his knowledge; and the covenant did follow after his faith. For Thou saidst: "I will make thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is by the seashore."138 Moreover, when Thou hadst given him Isaac, and knewest him to be like him in his mode of life, Thou wast then called his God, saying: "I will be a God to thee, and to thy seed after thee."139 And when our father Jacob was sent into Mesopotamia, Thou showedst him Christ, and by him speakest, saying: "Behold, I am with thee, and I will increase thee, and multiply thee exceedingly."140 And so spakest Thou to Moses, Thy faithful and holy servant, at the vision of the bush: "I am He that is; this is my name for ever, and my memorial for generations of generations."141 O Thou great protector of the posterity of Abraham, Thou art blessed for ever.
XXXIV. Thou art blessed, O Lord, the King of ages, who by Christ hast made the whole world, and by Him in the beginning didst reduce into order the disordered parts; who dividedst the waters from the waters by a firmament, and didst put into them a spirit of life; who didst fix the earth, and stretch out the heaven, and didst dispose every creature by an accurate constitution. For by Thy power, O Lord, the world is beautified, the heaven is fixed as an arch over us, and is rendered illustrious with stars for our comfort in the darkness. The light also and the sun were begotten for days and the production of fruit, and the moon for the change of seasons, by its increase and diminutions; and one was called Night, and the other Day. And the firmament was exhibited in the midst of the abyss, and Thou commandedst the waters to be gathered together, and the dry land to appear. But as for the sea itself, who can possibly describe it, which comes with fury from the ocean, yet rims back again, being stopped by the sand at Thy command? For Thou hast said: "Thereby shall her waves be broken."142 Thou hast also made it capable of supporting little and great creatures, and made it navigable for ships. Then did the earth become green, and was planted with all sorts of flowers, and the variety of several trees; and the shining luminaries, the nourishers of those plants, preserve their unchangeable course, and in nothing depart from Thy command. But where Thou biddest them, there do they rise and set for signs of the seasons and of the years, making a constant return of the work of men. Afterwards the kinds of the several animals were created-those belonging to the land, to the water, to the air, and both to air and water; and the artificial wisdom of Thy providence does still impart to every one a suitable providence. For as He was not unable to produce different kinds, so neither has He disdained to exercise a different providence towards every one. And at the conclusion of the creation Thou gavest direction to Thy Wisdom, and formedst a reasonable creature as the citizen of the world, saying, "Let us make man after our image, and after our likeness; "143 and hast exhibited him as the ornament of the world, and formed him a body out of the four elements, those primary bodies, but hadst prepared a soul out of nothing, and bestowedst upon him his five senses, and didst set over his sensations a mind as the conductor of the soul. And besides all these things, O Lord God, who can worthily declare the motion of the rainy clouds, the shining of the lightning, the noise of the thunder, in order to the supply of proper food, and the most agreeable temperature of the air? But when man was disobedient, Thou didst deprive him of the life which should have been his reward. Yet didst Thou not destroy him for ever, but laidst him to sleep for a time; and Thou didst by oath call him to a resurrection, and loosedst the bond of death, O Thou reviver of the dead, through Jesus Christ, who is our hope.
XXXV. Great art thou, O Lord Almighty, and great is Thy power, and of Thy understanding there is no number. Our Creator and Saviour, rich in benefits, long-suffering, and the bestower of mercy, who dost not take away Thy salvation from Thy creatures: for Thou art good by nature, and sparest sinners, and invitest them to repentance; for admonition is the effect of Thy bowels of compassion. For how should we abide if we were required to come to judgment immediately, when, after so much long-suffering, we hardly get clear of our miserable condition? The heavens declare Thy dominion, and the earth shakes with earthquakes, and, hanging upon nothing, declares Thy unshaken stedfastness. The sea raging with waves, and feeding a flock of ten thousand creatures, is bounded with sand, as standing in awe at Thy command, and compels all men to dry out: "How great are Thy works, O Lord! in wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of Thy creation."144 And the bright host of angels and the intellectual spirits say to Palmoni,145 "There is but one holy Being; "146 and the holy seraphim, together with the six-winged cherubim, who sing to Thee their triumphal song, cry out with never-ceasing voices, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts! heaven and earth are full of Thy glory; "147 and the other multitudes of the orders, angels archangels, thrones, dominions, principalities, authorities, and powers cry aloud, and say, "Blessed be the glory of the Lord out of His place."148 But Israel, Thy Church on earth, taken out of the Gentiles, emulating the heavenly powers night and day, with a full heart and a willing soul sings, "The chariot of God is ten thousandfold thousands of them that rejoice: the Lord is among them in Sinai, in the holy place."149 The heaven knows Him who fixed it as a cube of stone, in the form of an arch, upon nothing, who united the land and water to one another, and scattered the vital air all abroad, and conjoined fire therewith for warmth, and the comfort against darkness. The choir of stars strikes us with admiration, declaring Him that numbers them, and showing Him that names them; the animals declare Him that puts life into them; the trees show Him that makes them grow: all which creatures, being made by Thy word, show forth the greatness of Thy power. Wherefore every man ought to send up an hymn from his very soul to Thee, through Christ, in the name of all the rest, since He has power over them all by Thy appointment. For Thou art kind in Thy benefits, and beneficent in Thy bowels of compassion, who alone art almighty: for when Thou willest, to be able is present with Thee; for Thy eternal power both quenches flame, and stops the mouths of lions, and tames whales, and raises up the sick, and overrules the power of all things, and over, turns the host of enemies, and casts down a people numbered in their arrogance. Thou art He who art in heaven, He who art on earth, He who art in the sea, He who art in finite things, Thyself unconfined by anything. For of Thy majesty there is no boundary; for it is not ours, O Lord, but the oracle of Thy servant, who said, "And thou shalt know in thine heart that the Lord thy God He is God in heaven above, and on earth beneath, and there is none other besides Thee: "150 for there is no God besides Thee alone, there is none holy besides Thee, the Lord, the God of knowledge, the God of the saints, holy above all holy beings; for they are sanctified by Thy hands. Thou art glorious, and highly exalted, invisible by nature, and unsearchable in Thy judgments; whose life is without want, whose duration can never alter or fail, whose operation is without toil, whose greatness is unlimited, whose excellency is perpetual, whose habitation is inaccessible, whose dwelling is unchangeable, whose knowledge is without beginning, whose truth is immutable, whose work is without assistants, whose dominion cannot be taken away, whose monarchy is without succession, whose kingdom is without end, whose strength is irresistible, whose army is very numerous: for Thou art the Father of wisdom, the Creator of the creation, by a Mediator, as the cause; the Bestower of providence, the Giver of laws, the Supplier of want, the Punisher of the ungodly, and the Rewarder of the righteous; the God and Father of Christ, and the Lord of those that are pious towards Him, whose promise is infallible, whose judgment without bribes, whose sentiments are immutable, whose piety is incessant, whose thanksgiving is everlasting, through whom151 adoration is worthily due to Thee from every rational and holy nature.
XXXVI. O Lord Almighty Thou hast created the world by Christ, and hast appointed the Sabbath in memory thereof, because that on that day Thou hast made us rest from our works, for the meditation upon Thy laws. Thou hast also appointed festivals for the rejoicing of our souls, that we might come into the remembrance of that wisdom which was created by Thee; how He submitted to be made of a woman on our account;152 He appeared in life, and demonstrated Himself in His baptism; how He that appeared is both God and man; He suffered for us by Thy permission, and died, and rose again by Thy power: on which account we solemnly assemble to celebrate the feast of the resurrection on the Lord's day, and rejoice on account of Him who has conquered death, and has brought life and immortality to light. For by Him Thou hast brought home the Gentiles to Thyself for a peculiar people, the true Israel beloved of God, and seeing God. For Thou O Lord, broughtest our fathers out of the land of Egypt, and didst deliver them out of the iron furnace, from clay and brick-making, and didst redeem them out of the hands of Pharaoh, and of those under him, and didst lead them through the sea as through dry land, and didst bear their manners in the wilderness, and bestow on them all sorts of good things. Thou didst give them the law or decalogue, which was pronounced by Thy voice and written with Thy hand. Thou didst enjoin the observation of the Sabbath, not affording them an occasion of idleness, but an opportunity of piety, for their knowledge of Thy power, and the prohibition of evils; having limited them as within an holy circuit for the sake of doctrine, for the rejoicing upon the seventh period. On this account was there appointed one week, and seven weeks, and the seventh month, and the seventh year, and the revolution of these, the jubilee, which is the fiftieth year for remission, that men might have no occasion to pretend ignorance.153 On this account He permitted men every Sabbath to rest, that so no one might be willing to send one word out of his mouth in anger on the day of the Sabbath. For the Sabbath is the ceasing of the creation, the completion of the world, the inquiry after laws, and the grateful praise to God for the blessings He has bestowed upon men. All which the Lord's day excels,154 and shows the Mediator Himself, the Provider, the Lawgiver, the Cause of the resurrection, the First-born of the whole creation, God the Word, and man, who was born of Mary alone, without a man, who lived holily, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and died, and rose again from the dead. So that the Lord's day commands us to offer unto Thee, O Lord, thanksgiving for all.155 For this is the grace afforded by Thee, which on account of its greatness has obscured all other blessings.
XXXVII. Thou who hast fulfilled Thy promises made by the prophets, and hast had mercy on Zion, and compassion on Jerusalem, by exalting the throne of David, Thy servant, in the midst of her, by the birth of Christ, who was born of his seed according to the flesh, of a virgin alone; do Thou now, O Lord God, accept the prayers which proceed from the lips of Thy people which are of the Gentiles, which call upon Thee in truth, as Thou didst accept of the gifts of the righteous in their generations. In the first place Thou did respect the sacrifice of Abel,156 and accept it as Thou didst accept of the sacrifice of Noah when he went out of the ark;157 of Abraham, when he went out of the land of the Chaldeans;158 of Isaac at the Well of the Oath;159 of Jacob in Bethel;160 of Moses in the desert;161 of Aaron between the dead and the living;162 of Joshua the son of Nun in Gilgal;163 of Gideon at the rock, and the fleeces, before his sin;164 of Manoah and his wife in the field; of Samson in his thirst before the transgression;165 of Jephtha in the war before his rash vow; of Barak and Deborah in the days of Sisera;166 of Samuel in Mizpeh;167 of David in the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite;168 of Solomon in Gibeon and in Jerusalem:169 of Elijah in Mount Carmel;170 of Elisha at the barren fountain;171 of Jehoshaphat in war;172 of Hezekiah in his sickness, and concerning Sennacherib;173 of Manasseh in the land of the Chaldeans, after his transgression;174 of Josiah in Phassa;175 of Ezra at the return;176 of Daniel in the den of lions;177 of Jonah in the whale's belly;178 of the three children in the fiery furnace;179 of Hannah in the tabernacle before the ark;180 of Nehemiah at the rebuilding of the walls;181 of Zerubbabel; of Mattathias and his sons in their zeal;182 of Jael in blessings. Now also do Thou receive the prayers of Thy people which are offered to Thee with knowledge, through Christ in the Spirit.
XXXVIII. We give Thee thanks for all things, O Lord Almighty, that Thou hast not taken away Thy mercies and Thy compassions from us; but in every succeeding generation Thou dost save, and deliver, and assist, and protect for Thou didst assist in the days of Enos and Enoch, in the days of Moses and Joshua, in the days of the judges, in the days of Samuel and of Elijah and of the prophets, in the days of David and of the kings, in the days of Esther and Mordecai, in the days of Judith, in the days of Judas Maccabeus and his brethren, and in our days hast Thou assisted us by Thy great High Priest, Jesus Christ Thy Son.For He has delivered us from the sword, and hath freed us from famine, and sustained us; has delivered us from sickness, has preserved us from an evil tongue. For all which things do we give Thee thanks through Christ, who has given us an articulate voice to confess withal, and added to it a suitable tongue as an instrument to modulate withal, and a proper taste, and a suitable touch, and a sight for contemplation, and the hearing of sounds, and the smelling of vapours, and hands for work, and feet for walking. And all these members dost Thou form from a little drop in the womb; and after the formation dost Thou bestow on it an immortal soul, and producest it into the light as a rational creature, even man. Thou hast instructed him by Thy laws, improved him by Thy statutes; and when Thou bringest on a dissolution for a while, Thou hast promised a resurrection. Wherefore what life is sufficient, what length of ages will be long enough, for men to be thankful? To do it worthily it is impossible, but to do it according to our ability is just and right. For Thou hast delivered us from the impiety of polytheism, and from the heresy of the murderers of Christ; Thou hast delivered us from error and ignorance; Thou hast sent Christ among men as a man, being the only begotten God; Thou hast made the Comforter to inhabit among us; Thou hast set angels over us; Thou hast put the devil to shame; Thou hast brought us into being when we were not. Thou takest care of us when made; Thou measurest out life to us; Thou affordest us food; Thou hast promised repentance. Glory and worship be to Thee for all these things, through Jesus Christ,183 now and ever, and through all ages. Amen. Meditate on these things, brethren; and the Lord be With you upon earth, and in the kingdom of His Father, who both sent Him, and has "delivered us by Him from the bondage of corruption into His glorious liberty; "184 and has promised life to those who through Him have believed in the God of the whole world.
Now, after what manner those ought to live that are initiated into Christ, and what thanksgivings they ought to send up to God through Christ, has been said in the foregoing directions. But it is reasonable not to leave even those who are not yet initiated without assistance.
XXXIX. Let him, therefore, who is to be taught the truth in regard to piety be instructed before his baptism in the knowledge of the unbegotten God, in the understanding of His only begotten Son, in the assured acknowledgment of the Holy Ghost. Let him learn the order of the several parts of the creation, the series of providence, the different dispensations of Thy laws. Let him be instructed why the world was made, and why man was appointed to be a citizen therein; let him also know his own nature, of what sort it is; let him be taught how God punished the wicked with water and fire, and did glorify the saints in every generation-I mean Seth, and Enos, and Enoch, and Noah, and Abraham and his posterity, and Melchizedek, and Job, and Moses, and Joshua, and Caleb, and Phineas the priest, and those that were holy in every generation; and how God still took care of and did not reject mankind, but called them from their error and vanity to the acknowledgment of the truth at various seasons, reducing them from bondage and impiety unto liberty and piety, from injustice to righteousness, from death eternal to everlasting life. Let him that offers himself to baptism learn these and the like things during the time that he is a catechumen; and let him who lays his hands upon him adore God, the Lord of the whole world, and thank Him for His creation, for His sending Christ His only begotten Son, that He might save man by blot-ring out his transgressions, and that He might remit ungodliness and sins, and might "purify him from all filthiness of flesh and spirit,"185 and sanctify man according to the good pleasure of His kindness, that He might inspire him with the knowledge of His will, and enlighten the eyes of his heart to consider of His wonderful works, and make known to him the judgments of righteousness, that so he might hate every way of iniquity, and walk in the way of truth, that he might be thought worthy of the layer of regeneration, to the adoption of sons, which is in Christ, that "being planted together in the likeness of the death of Christ,"186 in hopes of a glorious communication, he may be mortified to sin, and may live to God, as to his mind, and word, and deed, and may be numbered together in the book of the living. And after this thanksgiving, let him instruct him in the doctrines concerning our Lord's incarnation, and in those concerning His passion, and resurrection from the dead, and assumption.
XL. And when it remains that the catechumen is to be baptized, let him learn what concerns the renunciation of the devil, and the joining himself with Christ; for it is fit that he should first abstain from things contrary, and then be admitted to the mysteries. He must beforehand purify his heart from all wickedness of disposition, from all spot and wrinkle, and then partake of the holy things; for as the skilfullest husbandman does first purge his ground of the thorns which are grown up therein, and does then sow his wheat, so ought you also to take away all impiety from them, and then to sow the seeds of piety in them, and vouchsafe them baptism. For even our Lord did in this manner exhort us, saying first, "Make disciples of all nations; "187 and then He adds this, "and baptize them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Let, therefore, the candidate for baptism declare thus in his renunciation:188 -
XLI. I renounce Satan, and his works, and his pomps, and his worships, and his angels, and his inventions, and all things that are under him. And after his renunciation let him in his consociation say: And I associate myself to Christ, and believe, and am baptized into one unbegotten Being, the only true God Almighty, the Father of Christ, the Creator and Maker of all things, from whom are all things; and into the Lord Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, the First-born of the whole creation, who before the ages was begotten by the good pleasure of the Father, by whom all things were made, both those in heaven and those on earth, visible and invisible; who in the last days descended from heaven, and took flesh, and was born of the holy Virgin Mary, and did converse holily according to the laws of His God and Father, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and died for us, and rose again from the dead after His passion the third day, and ascended into the heavens, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father, and again is to come at the end of the world with glory to judge the quick and the dead, of whose kingdom there shall be no end. And I am baptized into the Holy Ghost, that is, the Comforter, who wrought in all the saints from the beginning of the world, but was afterwards sent to the apostles by the Father, according to the promise of our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ; and after the apostles, to all those that believe in the Holy Catholic Church; into the resurrection of the flesh, and into the remission of sins, and into the kingdom of heaven, and into the life of the world to come. And after this vow, he comes in order to the anointing with oil.
XLII. Now this is blessed by the high priest for the remission of sins, and the first preparation for baptism. For he calls thus upon the unbegotten God, the Father of Christ, the King of all sensible and intelligible natures, that He would sanctify the oil in the name of the Lord Jesus, and impart to it spiritual grace and efficacious strength, the remission of sins, and the first preparation for the confession of baptism, that so the candidate for baptism, when he is anointed may be freed from all ungodliness, and may become worthy of initiation, according to the command of the Only-begotten.
XLIII. After this he comes to the water, and blesses and glorifies the Lord God Almighty, the Father of the only begotten God;189 and the priest returns thanks that He has sent His Son to become man on our account, that He might save us; that He has permitted that He should in all things become obedient to the laws of that incarnation, to preach the kingdom of heaven, the remission of sins, and the resurrection of the dead. Moreover, he adores the only begotten God Himself, after His Father, and for Him, giving Him thanks that He undertook to die for all men by the cross, the type of which He has appointed to be the baptism of regeneration. He glorifies Him also, for that God who is the Lord of the whole world, in the name of Christ and by His Holy Spirit, has not cast off mankind but has suited His providence to the difference of seasons: at first giving to Adam himself paradise for an habitation of pleasure, and afterwards giving a command on account of providence, and casting out the offender justly, but through His goodness not utterly casting him off, but instructing his posterity in succeeding ages after various manners; on whose account, in the conclusion of the world, He has sent His Son to become man for man's sake, and to undergo all human passions without sin. Him, therefore, let the priest even now call upon in baptism, and let him say: Look down from heaven, and sanctify this water, and give it grace and power, that so he that is to be baptized, according to the command of Thy Christ, may be crucified with Him, and may die with Him, and may be buried with Him, and may rise with Him to the adoption which is in Him, that he may be dead to sin and live to righteousness. And after this, when he has baptized him in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, he shall anoint him with ointment, and shall add as follows:-
XLIV. O Lord God, who art without generation, and without a superior, the Lord of the whole world, who hast scattered the sweet odour of the knowledge of the Gospel among all nations, do Thou grant at this time that this ointment may be efficacious upon him that is baptized, that so the sweet odour of Thy Christ may continue upon him firm and fixed; and that now he has died with Him, he may arise and live with Him. Let him say these and the like things, for this is the efficacy of the laying on of hands on every one; for unless there be such a recital made by a pious priest over every one of these, the candidate for baptism does only descend into the water as do the Jews, and he only puts off the filth of the body, not the filth of the soul. After this let him stand up, and pray that prayer which the Lord taught us. But, of necessity, he who is risen again ought to stand up and pray, because he that is raised up stands upright. Let him, therefore, who has been dead with Christ, and is raised up with Him, stand up. But let him pray towards the east.190 For this also is written in the second book of the Chronicles, that after the temple of the Lord was finished by King Solomon, in the very feast of dedication the priests and the Levites and the singers stood up towards the east, praising and thanking God with cymbals and psalteries, and saying, "Praise the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever."191
XLV. But let him pray thus after the foregoing prayer, and say: O God Almighty, the Father of Thy Christ, Thy only begotten Son, give me a body undefiled, a heart pure, a mind watchful, an unerring knowledge, the influence of the Holy Ghost for the obtaining and assured enjoying of the truth, through Thy Christ, by whom192 glory be to Thee, in the Holy Spirit, for ever. Amen. We have thought it reasonable to make these constitutions concerning the catechumens.
XLVI. Now concerning those bishops which have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these:-James the bishop of Jerusalem, the brother of our Lord;193 upon whose death the second was Simeon the son of Cleopas; after whom the third was Judas the son of James. Of Caesarea of Palestine, the first was Zacchaeus, who was once a publican; after whom was Cornelius, and the third Theophilus. Of Antioch, Euodius, ordained by me Peter; and Ignatius by Paul. Of Alexandria, Annianus was the first, ordained by Mark the evangelist; the second Avilius by Luke, who was also an evangelist. Of the church of Rome, Linus the son of Claudia was the first, ordained by Paul;194 and Clemens, after Linus' death, the second, ordained by me Peter.195 Of Ephesus, Timotheus, ordained by Paul; and John, by me John. Of Smyrna, Aristo the first; after whom Strataeas the son of Lois;196 and the third Aristo. Of Pergamus, Gains. Of Philadelphia, Demetrius, by me. Of Cenchrea, Lucius, by Paul. Of Crete, Titus. Of Athens, Dionysius. Of Tripoli in Phoenicia, Marathones. Of Laodicea in Phrygia, Archippus.197 Of Colossae, Philemon.198 Of Borea in Macedonia, Onesimus, once the servant of Philemon.199 Of the churches of Galatia, Crescens.200 Of the parishes of Asia, Aquila and Nicetas. Of the church of Aeginae, Crispus. These are the bishops who are entrusted by us with the parishes in the Lord; whose doctrine keep ye always in mind, and observe our words. And may the Lord be with you now, and to endless ages, as Himself said to us when He was about to be taken up to His own God and Father. For says He, "Lo, I am with you all the days, until the end of the world. Amen."201
XLVII. "Glory be to God in the highest, and upon earth peace, good-will among men."202 We praise Thee, we sing hymns to Thee, we bless Thee; we glorify Thee, we worship Thee by Thy great High Priest; Thee who art the true God, who art the One Unbegotten, the only inaccessible Being. For Thy great glory, O Lord and heavenly King, O God the Father Almighty, O Lord God,203 the Father of Christ the immaculate Lamb, who taketh away the sin of the world, receive our prayer, Thou that sittest upon the cherubim. For Thou only art holy, Thou only art the Lord Jesus, the Christ of the God of all created nature, and our King, by whom glory, honour, and worship be to Thee.
XLVIII. "Ye children, praise the Lord: praise the name of the Lord."204 We praise Thee, we sing hymns to Thee, we bless Thee for Thy great glory, O Lord our King, the Father of Christ the immaculate Lamb, who taketh away the sin of the world. Praise becomes Thee, hymns become Thee, glory becomes Thee, the God and Father,205 through the Son, in the most holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen. "Now, O Lord, lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light for the revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel."206
XLIX. Thou art blessed, O Lord, who nourishest me from my youth, who givest food to all flesh. Fill our hearts with joy and gladness, that having always what is sufficient for us, we may abound to every good work, in Christ Jesus our Lord, through whom207 glory, honour, and power be to Thee for ever. Amen.