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ral articles of the Creed, to which some added the nature and immortality of the soul, and an account of the canonical books of Scripture: which is the substance and method of St. Cyril's eighteen famous Discourses to the Catechumens. The author of the Apostolical Constitutions prescribes these several heads of instruction, “Let the catechumen 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
1 Constit, Apost. lib. vii. c. 39,
Sect. 7.-The Catechumens allowed to read the Holy Scriptures. Here I shall only remark further, that they allowed them to read some portions of the Scripture; for the moral and historical books were thought most proper at first for their instruction; and the chief use of those, which are now called apocryphal books, was then to instil moral precepts into the catechumens. Upon this account Athanasius' says, “though they were not canonical books, as the rest of the books of the Old and New Testament; yet they were such as were appointed to be read by those who were new proselytes and desirous to be instructed in the ways of godliness: such were the Wisdom of Solomon, the Wisdom of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit ; to which he also adds, the book called, the Doctrine of the Apostles, and the Shepherd, that is, Hermes Pastor. The Author of the Synopsis of the Holy Scripture also, under the name of Athanasius, has much the same observation, “that besides the canonical books there were other books of the Old Testament, which were not in the canon, but only read to or by the catechumens.” But this was not allowed in all Churches: for it seems to have been otherwise in the Church of Jerusalem, at the time when Cyrils wrote his Catechetical Discourses. For he forbids his catechumens to read all apocryphal books whatsoever, and charges them to read those books only which were securely read in the Church, viz. those books which the Apostles and ancient bishops, who were wiser than the catechumens, had handed down to them. Then he specifies particularly the canonical books of the Old and New Testament, all the same as are now in our Bibles, except the Revelations, because I presume it was not then read in the Church ; and at last concludes with this charge to the catechumens, “ that they should not read any other books privately by themselves, which were not read publicly in the Church." From whence I conclude, that as the books which we now call apocryphal were not then read in the Church of Jerusalem, so neither were they allowed to be read by the catechumens, though they were read both publicly and privately in many other Churches. I know some learned persons are of a different opinion, and think that Cyril by apocryphal books, means not those which we now call apocryphal, viz. Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, &c. but other pernicious and heretical books, which were absolutely reprobated and forbidden to all Christians. But if that had been his meaning, he would not have said, that the canonical books were the only books that were read in the Church of Jerusalem, but would have distinguished, as other writers in other Churches do, between canonical, ecclesiastical, and apocryphal books, and have intimated that the ecclesiastical books were such as were allowed to be read in the Church, as well as the canonical, for moral instruction, though not to confirm articles of faith. Whereas he says nothing of this, but the express contrary, “ that none but the canonical books were read publicly in the Church, nor were any other to be read privately by the catechumens.” Which, at least, must mean thus much, that in the Church of Jerusalem, there was a different custom from some other Churches; and that, though in some Churches the catechumens were allowed to read both the canonical books and the apocryphal, or as others call them the ecclesiastical, yet in the Church of Jerusalem they were allowed to read only the canonical Scriptures, and no other. However it is observable, that no Church anciently denied any order of Christians the use of the Holy Scriptures in the vulgar tongue, since even the catechumens themselves, who were but an imperfect sort of Christians, were exhorted, and commanded to read the canonical books in all Churches and the apocryphal books in some Churches for moral instruction. Nay, if we may believe Bede, they were obliged to get some of the Holy Scriptures by heart, as a part of their exercise and discipline, before they were baptized. For he commends it as a laudable custom in the ancient Church, that such as were to be catechized ayd baptized, were taught the beginnings of the four Gospels, and the intent and order of them, at the time when the ceremony of opening their ears was solemnly used ; that they might know and remember what and how many those books were, from whence they were to be instructed in the true faith. So far were they from locking up the Scriptures from any order of men in an unknown tongue, that they thought them useful and instructive to the meanest capacities; according to that of the Psalmist, “ Thy word giveth light and understanding to the simple :” and therefore they allowed them to be vulgarly read, not only by the more perfect and complete Christians, but even by the very catechumens, among whom, as St. Austin and others have observed, those were commonly the most tractable and the best proficients, who were the most conversant in the Holy Scriptures. For which reason they made it one part of the catechumens' care to exercise themselves in the knowledge of them, and did not then fear that men should turn heretics by being acquainted with the word of truth.
· Athan. Ep. Heortastic, tom. ii. p. 89. 'Estv kj ëtepa Bubría Tétwv ēEWTEX® και κανονιζόμενα μεν, τετυπωμενα δε παρά των πατέρων αναγινώσκεσθαι τοίς άρτι προσερχομένοις, και βελομένοις κατηχείσθαι τον της ευσεβείας λόγον Σοφία Σολομώνος, &c. και Διδαχή καλεμένη των Αποσόλων, και ο Ποιμην, 2 Athan. Synops. Scriptur. tom. ii. p. 55. 'Ekròs rūv kavovisojevwv Štepa βιβλία της παλαιάς διαθήκης, και κανονιζόμενα μεν, αναγινωσκόμενα δε μόνον τοίς κατηχομένοις. .
8 Cyril. Catech. iv, n. 22. p. 66. IIpòs où απόκρυφα μηδέν έχε κοινόν, &c. Ibid. p. 67. “Όσα εν εκκλησίαις μη αναγινώσκεται, ταύτα μηδέ κατά σαυτόν αναγίνωσκε. .
Of the several Classes or Degrees of Catechumens, and the
gradual Exercises and Discipline of every Order.
Sect. I.-Four Orders or Degrees of Catechumens among the Ancients,
That there were different orders or degrees of catechumens in all such Churches, as kept to the term of catechizing for two or three years together, is acknowledged on all hands by learned men: but what was the precise number of these orders, is not so certainly agreed. The Greek expositors of the ancient canons, usually make but two sorts, the 'Ατελέσεροι and the Tελειώτεροι, the imperfect and the perfect, the beginners and the proficients, who were the immediate candidates of baptism. So Balzamon and Zonaras, ' Alexius Aristenus and Blastares; and in this opinion they are followed by many modern writers. Dr. Cave makes no other distinction but this of the perfect and imperfect, and says of the imperfect “ that they were as yet accounted heathens;" which, for the reasons given in the foregoing Chapter, I cannot subscribe to: for I have showed, that from the time that they received imposition of hands to make them catechumens, they were always both called and accounted Christians, though but in an imperfect state, till they were completed by baptism. Bishop Bevereges makes but two sorts of catechumens likewise, the 'Ακροώμενοι, and the Eυχόμενοι, or Γονυκλίνοντες, that is, the hearers, who only staid to hear the sermon and the Scriptures read, and the kneelers or substrators, who staid to receive the minister's prayers and benediction also. Suicerus and Basnage? go much the same way, dividing them into two classes, the Audientes and Competentes. Maldonate 8 adds to these a third class, which he calls Catechumeni Poenitentes, such catechumens as were under the discipline and censures of the Church. Cardinal Bona augments the number to four kinds, viz. the Audientes, Genuflectentes, Competentes, and Electi. And indeed it appears, that there were four kinds of them ; yet not exactly the same as Bona mentions; for the Competentes and Electi were but one and the same order. But there was another order antecedent to all these, which none of these writers mention, which we may call the 'E&WIŚLevol, that is, such catechumens as were instructed privately, and without doors, before they were allowed to enter the Church.
' Bede, de Tabernac. lib.ii. c. 13. tom. iv. p. 887. Pulcher in ips& ecclesia mos antiquitùs inolevit, ut his, qui catechizandi, et Christianis sunt sacramentis initiandi, quatuor evangeliorum principia recitentur, ac de figuris et ordine eorum in apertione aurium suarum solenniter erudirentur: quo sciant exinde ac meminerint, qui et quot sint libri, quorum verbis maximè in fide veritatis debeant erudiri.
| Balzam. Not. in Con. Neocæsar. c. 5.
2 Zonaras, ibid. • Alex. Aristen, in Con. Ancyr. c. 14.
• Cave, Prim. Christ. lib. i. c. 8. p. 211. Bevereg. Not. in Con. Nicen. c. 14.
6 Suicer. Thesaur. tom. ii. p. 72.
Basnag. Critic. in Baron. p. 484. & Maldonat. de Baptism. c, I. p. 79. • Bona, Rer. Liturg. lib. i. c. 16. n. 4.