Apostolic Constitutions, Book Seven
38 min read
38 min read
I. The lawgiver Moses said to the Israelites, Behold, I have set before your face the way of life and the way of death; and added, Choose life, that you may live. Elijah the prophet also said to the people: How long will you halt with both your legs? If the Lord be God, follow Him. 1 Kings 18:21 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. Matthew 6:24 We also, following our teacher Christ, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe, 1 Timothy 4:10 are obliged to say that there are two ways — the one of life, the other of death; which have no comparison one with another, for they are very different, 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.
II. The first way, therefore, is that of life; and is this, which the law also does appoint: To love the Lord God with all your mind, and with all your soul, who is the one and only God, besides whom there is no other; and your neighbour as yourself. And whatsoever you would not should be done to you, do not do to another. Tobit 4:15 Bless them that curse you; pray for them that despitefully use you. Matthew 5:44 Love your enemies; for what thanks is it if you love those that love you? For even the Gentiles do the same. Luke 6:32; Matthew 5:46-47 But love those that hate you, and you shall have no enemy. For says He, You shall not hate any man; no, not an Egyptian, nor an Edomite; for they are all the workmanship of God. Avoid not the persons, but the sentiments, of the wicked. Abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts. If any one gives you a stroke on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. 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. If anyone compels you to go one mile, go with him two. And, He that will sue you at the law, and take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. Matthew 5:40; Luke 6:29 And from him that takes your goods, require them not again. Luke 6:30 Give to him that asks you, and from him that would borrow of you do not shut your hand. Matthew 5:42 For the righteous man is pitiful, and lends. For your Father would have you give to all, who Himself makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends His rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45 It is therefore reasonable to give to all out of your own labours; for says He, Honour the Lord out of your righteous labours, but so that the saints be preferred. You shall not kill; that is, you shall not destroy a man like yourself: for you dissolve 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. You shall not commit adultery: for you divide one flesh into two. They two shall be one flesh: Genesis 2:24 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. You shall not corrupt boys: Leviticus 18:22 for this wickedness is contrary to nature, and arose from Sodom, which was therefore entirely consumed with fire sent from God. Genesis 19 Let such a one be accursed: and all the people shall say, So be it. Deuteronomy xxvii You shall not commit fornication: for says He, There shall not be a fornicator among the children of Israel. Deuteronomy 23:17 You shall not steal: for Achan, when he had stolen in Israel at Jericho, was stoned to death; Joshua vii and Gehazi, who stole, and told a lie, inherited the leprosy of Naaman; 2 Kings v and Judas, who stole the poor’s money, betrayed the Lord of glory to the Jews, John 12:6 and repented, and hanged himself, and burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out; Matthew 27:5; Acts 1:18 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. Acts v
III. You shall not use magic. You shall not use witchcraft; for He says, You shall not suffer a witch to live. You shall not slay your 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. You shall not covet the things that belong to your neighbour, as his wife, or his servant, or his ox, or his field. You shall not forswear yourself; for it is said, You shall not swear at all. Matthew 5:34 But if that cannot be avoided, you shall swear truly; for every one that swears by Him shall be commended. You shall not bear false witness; for he that falsely accuses the needy provokes to anger Him that made him. Proverbs 14:31
IV. You shall not speak evil; for says He, Love not to speak evil, lest you beest taken away. Nor shall you be mindful of injuries; for the ways of those that remember injuries are unto death. You shall not be double-minded nor double-tongued; for a man’s own lips are a strong snare to him, Proverbs 6:2 and a talkative person shall not be prospered upon earth. Your words shall not be vain; for you shall give an account of every idle word. Matthew 12:36; Leviticus 19:11 You shall not tell lies: for says He, You shall destroy all those that speak lies. You shall not be covetous nor rapacious: for says He, Woe to him that is covetous towards his neighbour with an evil covetousness. Habakkuk 2:9
V. You shall not be an hypocrite, lest your portion be with them. You shall not be ill-natured nor proud: for God resists the proud. You shall not accept persons in judgment; for the judgment is the Lord’s. You shall not hate any man; you shall surely reprove your brother, and not become guilty on his account; and, Reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Eschew all evil, and all that is like it: for says He, Abstain from injustice, and trembling shall not come near you. Be not soon angry, nor spiteful, nor passionate, nor furious, nor daring, lest you 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; the second persecuted holy David, who had slain Goliah the Philistine, being envious of the praises of the women who danced; the third slew two generals of armies — Abner of Israel, and Amasa of Judah.
VI. Be not a diviner, for that leads to idolatry; for says Samuel, Divination is sin; 1 Samuel 15:23 and, There shall be no divination in Jacob, nor soothsaying in Israel. Numbers 23:23 You shall not use enchantments or purgations for your child. You shall not be a soothsayer nor a diviner by great or little birds. Nor shall you learn wicked arts; for all these things has the law forbidden. Be not one that wishes for evil, for you will be led into intolerable sins. You shall 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 you serve mammon instead of God. Matthew 6:24 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 my eyes lofty: I have not exercised myself in great matters, nor in things too high for me; but I was humble.
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, since the meek shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5
VIII. Be slow to wrath; for such a one is very prudent, since he that is hasty of spirit is a very fool. Be merciful; for blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7 Be sincere, quiet, good, trembling at the word of God. Isaiah 66:2 You shall not exalt yourself, as did the Pharisee; for every one that exalts himself shall be abased, Luke 18:14 and that which is of high esteem with man is abomination with God. Luke 16:15 You shall not entertain confidence in your soul; for a confident man shall fall into mischief. You shall not go along with the foolish, but with the wise and righteous; for he that walks with wise men shall be wise, but he that walks with the foolish shall be known. Proverbs 13:20 Receive the afflictions that fall upon you with an even mind, and the chances of life without over-much sorrow, knowing that a reward shall be given to you by God, as was given to Job and to Lazarus.
IX . You shall honour him that speaks to you the word of God, and be mindful of him day and night; and you shall reverence him, not as the author of your birth, but as one that is made the occasion of your well-being. For where the doctrine concerning God is, there God is present. You shall every day seek the face of the saints, that you may acquiesce in their words.
X . You shall not make schisms among the saints, but be mindful of the followers of Corah. You shall make peace between those that are at variance, as Moses did when he persuaded them to be friends. You shall judge righteously; for the judgment is the Lord’s. You shall not accept persons when you reprove 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.
XI. Be not of a doubtful mind in your prayer, whether it shall be granted or no. For the Lord said to me Peter upon the sea: O you of little faith, wherefore did you doubt? Matthew 14:31 Be not ready to stretch out your hand to receive, and to shut it when you should give. Sirach 4:31
XII. If you have by the work of your hands, give, that you may labour for the redemption of your sins; for by alms and acts of faith sins are purged away. Proverbs 16:6; Daniel 4:27 You shall not grudge to give to the poor, nor when you have given shall you murmur; for you shall know who will repay you your reward. For says he: He that has mercy on the poor man lends to the Lord; according to his gift, so shall it be repaid him again. Proverbs 19:17 You shall not turn away from him that is needy; for says he: He that stops his ears, that he may not hear the cry of the needy, himself also shall call, and there shall be none to hear him. Proverbs 21:13 You shall communicate in all things to your brother, and shall not say your goods are your own; for the common participation of the necessaries of life is appointed to all men by God. You shall not take off your hand from your son or from your daughter, but shall teach them the fear of God from their youth; for says he: Correct your son, so shall he afford you good hope. Proverbs 19:18
XIII. You shall not command your man-servant, or your maid-servant, who trust in the same God, with bitterness of soul, lest they groan against you, and wrath be upon you from God. And, you servants, be subject to your masters, Ephesians 6:5 as to the representatives of God, with attention and fear, as to the Lord, and not to men. Ephesians 6:7
XIV. You shall hate all hypocrisy; and whatsoever is pleasing to the Lord, that shall you do. By no means forsake the commands of the Lord. But you shall observe what things you have received from Him, neither adding to them nor taking away from them. For you shall not add unto His words, lest He convict you, and you become a liar. Proverbs 30:6 You shall confess your sins unto the Lord your God; and you shall not add unto them, that it may be well with you from the Lord your God, who wills not the death of a sinner, but his repentance.
XV. You shall be observant to your father and mother as the causes of your being born, that you may live long on the earth which the Lord your God gives you. Do not overlook your brethren or your kinsfolk; for you shall not overlook those nearly related to you. Isaiah 58:7
XVI. You shall fear the king, knowing that his appointment is of the Lord. His rulers you shall 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. You shall not proceed to your prayer in the day of your wickedness, before you have laid aside your bitterness. This is the way of life, in which may you be found, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
XVIII. But the way of death 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 you from piety; for says He: You may not turn aside from it to the right hand, or to the left, that you may have understanding in all that you do. For if you do not turn out of the right way, you will not be ungodly.
XX . Now concerning the several sorts of food, the Lord says to you, You shall eat the good things of the earth; and, All sorts of flesh shall you eat, as the green herb; but, You shall pour out the blood. For not those things that go into the mouth, but those that come out of it, defile a man; I mean blasphemies, evil-speaking, and if there be any other thing of the like nature. But eat the fat of the land with righteousness. 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? Wise Ezra does also admonish you and say: Go your way, and eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and be not sorrowful. Nehemiah 8:10
XXI. But abstain from things offered to idols; 1 Corinthians 10:20 for they offer them in honour of demons, that is, to the dishonour of the one God, that you may not become partners with demons.
XXII. Now concerning baptism, O bishop, or presbyter, we have already given direction, and we now say, that you shall so baptize as the Lord commanded us, saying: Go, 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): Matthew 28:19 of the Father who sent, of Christ who came, of the Comforter who testified. But you shall 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. 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; 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 you pray, be not as the hypocrites; but as the Lord has appointed us in the Gospel, so pray: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Your name; Your kingdom come; Your 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 Yours is the kingdom forever. Amen. Pray thus thrice in a day, preparing yourselves beforehand, that you 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? Malachi 1:6 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. Isaiah 52:5
XXXV. Be always thankful, as faithful and honest servants; and concerning the eucharistical thanksgiving say thus: We thank You, our Father, for that life which You have made known to us by Jesus Your Son, by whom You made all things, and takest care of the whole world; whom You have sent to become man for our salvation; whom You have permitted to suffer and to die; whom You have raised up, and been pleased to glorify, and hast set Him down on Your right hand; by whom You have promised us the resurrection of the dead. O Lord Almighty, everlasting God, gather together Your Church from the ends of the earth into Your kingdom, as this grain was once scattered, and is now become one loaf. We also, our Father, thank You 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. 1 Corinthians 11:26 For through Him glory is to be given to You forever. 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; 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, give thanks in this manner: We thank you, O God and Father of Jesus our Saviour, for Your holy name, which You have made to inhabit among us; and that knowledge, faith, love, and immortality which You have given us through Your Son Jesus. You, 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 prepared things for the convenience of men. O God of our holy and blameless fathers, Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, Your faithful servants; You, O God, who art powerful, faithful, and true, and without deceit in Your promises; who sent upon earth Jesus Your Christ to live with men, as a man, when He was God the Word, and man, to take away error by the roots: even now, through Him, be mindful of this Your holy Church, which You have purchased with the precious blood of Your Christ, and deliver it from all evil, and perfect it in Your love and Your truth, and gather us all together into Your kingdom which You have prepared. Let this Your kingdom come. Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed be He that comes in the name of the Lord — 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 You thanks, O God, the Creator of the whole world, both for the flagrancy of the ointment, and for the immortality which You have made known to us by Your Son Jesus. For Yours is the glory and the power forever. Amen. Whosoever comes to you, 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 you have understanding, and are able to know the right hand from the left, 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 you pray together with him, lest you be polluted as well as he. Every true prophet or teacher that comes to you is worthy of his maintenance, as being a labourer in the word of righteousness. Matthew 10:41
XXIX . All the first-fruits of the winepress, the threshing-floor, the oxen, and the sheep, shall you give to the priests, Numbers 18 that your storehouses and garners and the products of your land may be blessed, and you may be strengthened with grain and wine and oil, and the herds of your cattle and flocks of your sheep may be increased. You shall give the tenth of your increase to the orphan, and to the widow, and to the poor, and to the stranger. All the first-fruits of your hot bread, of your barrels of wine, or oil, or honey, or nuts, or grapes, or the first-fruits of other things, shall you 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, 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, says the Lord Almighty, and my name is wonderful among the heathen.
XXXI. Do you first ordain bishops worthy of the Lord, 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. 2 Timothy 2:15 And honour such as your fathers, as your lords, as your benefactors, as the causes of your well-being. Reprove 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. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning, and you like 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. Luke 12:35, 37; Mark 13:35 Watch therefore, and pray, that you 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, 2 Thessalonians ii 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; Isaiah 11:4; Matthew xxiv and afterwards shall be the voice of a trumpet by the archangel; 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, with a great concussion above the clouds, with the angels of His power, Matthew 16:27 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, Matthew 25:46 to inherit those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, such things as God has prepared for them that love Him; 1 Corinthians 2:9 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 You do the souls of the righteous cry aloud, upon You do the hopes of the godly trust, You Father of the blameless, You hearer of the supplication of those that call upon You with uprightness, and who know the supplications that are not uttered: for Your providence reaches as far as the inmost parts of mankind; and by Your knowledge You search the thoughts of every one, and in every region of the whole earth the incense of prayer and supplication is sent up to You. O You 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 joy 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 You guided him by a vision, and taught 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 You said: I will make your seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is by the seashore. Moreover, when You had given him Isaac, and knew him to be like him in his mode of life, You were then called his God, saying: I will be a God to you, and to your seed after you. Genesis 26:3 And when our father Jacob was sent into Mesopotamia, You showed him Christ, and by him speak, saying: Behold, I am with you, and I will increase you, and multiply you exceedingly. And so You spoke to Moses, Your 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. Exodus 3:14-15 O You great protector of the posterity of Abraham, You are blessed forever.
XXXIV. You are blessed, O Lord, the King of ages, who by Christ hast made the whole world, and by Him in the beginning reduced into order the disordered parts; who divided the waters from the waters by a firmament, and put into them a spirit of life; who fixed the earth, and stretch out the heaven, and disposed every creature by an accurate constitution. For by Your 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 You commanded 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 runs back again, being stopped by the sand at Your command? For You have said: Thereby shall her waves be broken. Job 38:11 You have 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 Your command. But where You bid 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 Your 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 You gave direction to Your Wisdom, and formed a reasonable creature as the citizen of the world, saying, Let us make man after our image, and after our likeness; Genesis 1:26 and hast exhibited him as the ornament of the world, and formed him a body out of the four elements, those primary bodies, but had prepared a soul out of nothing, and bestowed upon him his five senses, and 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 rain 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, You deprived him of the life which should have been his reward. Yet You did not destroy him for ever, but laid him to sleep for a time; and You by oath called him to a resurrection, and loosened the bond of death, O You reviver of the dead, through Jesus Christ, who is our hope.
XXXV. Great are you, O Lord Almighty, and great is Your power, and of Your understanding there is no number. Our Creator and Saviour, rich in benefits, long-suffering, and the bestower of mercy, who does not take away Your salvation from Your creatures: for You are good by nature, and sparest sinners, and invitest them to repentance; for admonition is the effect of Your 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 Your dominion, and the earth shakes with earthquakes, and, hanging upon nothing, declares Your unshaken steadfastness. The sea raging with waves, and feeding a flock of ten thousand creatures, is bounded with sand, as standing in awe at Your command, and compels all men to cry out: How great are Your works, O Lord! In wisdom have You made them all: the earth is full of Your creation. And the bright host of angels and the intellectual spirits say to Palmoni, There is but one holy Being; and the holy seraphim, together with the six-winged cherubim, who sing to You their triumphal song, cry out with never-ceasing voices, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts! heaven and earth are full of Your glory; Isaiah 6:3 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. Ezekiel 3:12 But Israel, Your 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. 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 Your word, show forth the greatness of Your power. Wherefore every man ought to send up an hymn from his very soul to You, through Christ, in the name of all the rest, since He has power over them all by Your appointment. For You are kind in Your benefits, and beneficent in Your bowels of compassion, who alone art almighty: for when You will, to be able is present with You; for Your 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 overturns the host of enemies, and casts down a people numbered in their arrogance. You are He who art in heaven, He who art on earth, He who art in the sea, He who art in finite things, Yourself unconfined by anything. For of Your majesty there is no boundary; for it is not ours, O Lord, but the oracle of Your servant, who said, And you shall know in your heart that the Lord your God He is God in heaven above, and on earth beneath, and there is none other besides You: Deuteronomy 4:39 for there is no God besides You alone, there is none holy besides You, the Lord, the God of knowledge, the God of the saints, holy above all holy beings; for they are sanctified by Your hands. You are glorious, and highly exalted, invisible by nature, and unsearchable in Your 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 You are 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 whom adoration is worthily due to You from every rational and holy nature.
XXXVI. O Lord Almighty You have created the world by Christ, and hast appointed the Sabbath in memory thereof, because that on that day You have made us rest from our works, for the meditation upon Your laws. You have also appointed festivals for the rejoicing of our souls, that we might come into the remembrance of that wisdom which was created by You; how He submitted to be made of a woman on our account; He appeared in life, and demonstrated Himself in His baptism; how He that appeared is both God and man; He suffered for us by Your permission, and died, and rose again by Your 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 You have brought home the Gentiles to Yourself for a peculiar people, the true Israel beloved of God, and seeing God. For You O Lord, brought our fathers out of the land of Egypt, and delivered them out of the iron furnace, from clay and brick-making, and redeemed them out of the hands of Pharaoh, and of those under him, and led them through the sea as through dry land, and bore their manners in the wilderness, and bestowed on them all sorts of good things. You gave them the law or decalogue, which was pronounced by Your voice and written with Your hand. You enjoined the observation of the Sabbath, not affording them an occasion of idleness, but an opportunity of piety, for their knowledge of Your 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. 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, 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 You, O Lord, thanksgiving for all. For this is the grace afforded by You, which on account of its greatness has obscured all other blessings.
XXXVII. You who has fulfilled Your promises made by the prophets, and has had mercy on Zion, and compassion on Jerusalem, by exalting the throne of David, Your 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 You now, O Lord God, accept the prayers which proceed from the lips of Your people which are of the Gentiles, which call upon You in truth, as You accepted of the gifts of the righteous in their generations. In the first place You respected the sacrifice of Abel, Genesis iv and accept it as You accepted of the sacrifice of Noah when he went out of the ark; Genesis viii of Abraham, when he went out of the land of the Chaldeans; Genesis 12 of Isaac at the Well of the Oath; of Jacob in Bethel; of Moses in the desert; of Aaron between the dead and the living; Numbers xvi of Joshua the Son of Nun in Gilgal; Joshua v of Gideon at the rock, and the fleeces, before his sin; of Manoah and his wife in the field; of Samson in his thirst before the transgression; of Jephtha in the war before his rash vow; of Barak and Deborah in the days of Sisera; of Samuel in Mizpeh; 1 Samuel vii of David in the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite; of Solomon in Gibeon and in Jerusalem: of Elijah in Mount Carmel; 1 Kings xviii of Elisha at the barren fountain; 2 Kings ii of Jehoshaphat in war; of Hezekiah in his sickness, and concerning Sennacherib; of Manasseh in the land of the Chaldeans, after his transgression; 2 Chronicles xxxiii of Josiah in Phassa; of Ezra at the return; Ezra viii of Daniel in the den of lions; of Jonah in the whale’s belly; Jonah ii of the three children in the fiery furnace; Daniel iii of Hannah in the tabernacle before the ark; 1 Samuel i of Nehemiah at the rebuilding of the walls; of Zerubbabel; of Mattathias and his sons in their zeal; of Jael in blessings. Now also do You receive the prayers of Your people which are offered to You with knowledge, through Christ in the Spirit.
XXXVIII. We give You thanks for all things, O Lord Almighty, that You have not taken away Your mercies and Your compassions from us; but in every succeeding generation You save, and deliver, and assist, and protect: for You assisted 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 have You assisted us by Your great High Priest, Jesus Christ Your Son. For He has delivered us from the sword, and has 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 You 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 You form all these members from a little drop in the womb; and after the formation You bestow on it an immortal soul, and produce it into the light as a rational creature, even man. You have instructed him by Your laws, improved him by Your statutes; and when You bring on a dissolution for a while, You have 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 You have delivered us from the impiety of polytheism, and from the heresy of the murderers of Christ; You have delivered us from error and ignorance; You have sent Christ among men as a man, being the only begotten God; You have made the Comforter to inhabit among us; You have set angels over us; You have put the devil to shame; You have brought us into being when we were not. You take care of us when made; You measure out life to us; You afford us food; You have promised repentance. Glory and worship be to You for all these things, through Jesus Christ, 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; Romans 8:21 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 Your 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 blotting out his transgressions, and that He might remit ungodliness and sins, and might purify him from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, 2 Corinthians 7:1 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 laver of regeneration, to the adoption of sons, which is in Christ, that being planted together in the likeness of the death of Christ, Romans 6:5 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; Matthew 28:19 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: —
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 sits 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; 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 Your 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 is without generation, and without a superior, the Lord of the whole world, who has scattered the sweet odour of the knowledge of the Gospel among all nations, grant at this time that this ointment may be efficacious upon him that is baptized, that so the sweet odour of Your 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. 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 endures forever. 2 Chronicles 5:13
XLV. But let him pray thus after the foregoing prayer, and say: O God Almighty, the Father of Your Christ, Your 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 Your Christ, by whom glory be to You, in the Holy Spirit, forever. 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; upon whose death the second was Simeon the son of Cleopas; after whom the third was Judas the son of James. Of Cæsarea of Palestine, the first was Zacchæus, 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; 2 Timothy 4:21 and Clemens, after Linus’ death, the second, ordained by me Peter. Of Ephesus, Timotheus, ordained by Paul; and John, by me John. Of Smyrna, Aristo the first; after whom Stratæas the son of Lois; 2 Timothy 1:5 and the third Aristo. Of Pergamus, Gaius. Of Philadelphia, Demetrius, by me. Of Cenchrea, Lucius, by Paul. Of Crete, Titus. Of Athens, Dionysius. Of Tripoli in Phœnicia, Marathones. Of Laodicea in Phrygia, Archippus. Of Colossæ, Philemon. Of Borea in Macedonia, Onesimus, once the servant of Philemon. Of the churches of Galatia, Crescens. Of the parishes of Asia, Aquila and Nicetas. Of the church of Æginæ, Crispus. These are the bishops who are entrusted by us with the parishes in the Lord; whose doctrine keep 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. Matthew 28:20
XLVII. Glory be to God in the highest, and upon earth peace, good-will among men. Luke 2:14 We praise You, we sing hymns to You, we bless You; we glorify You, we worship You by Your great High Priest; You who art the true God, who art the One Unbegotten, the only inaccessible Being. For Your great glory, O Lord and heavenly King, O God the Father Almighty, O Lord God, takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. Thou who sittest at the right hand of the Father, have mercy upon us, for Thou only art holy; Thou only art Christ, Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.”}–> the Father of Christ the immaculate Lamb, who takes away the sin of the world, receive our prayer, You that sits upon the cherubim. For You alone are holy, You alone are the Lord Jesus, the Christ of the God of all created nature, and our King, by whom glory, honour, and worship be to You.
XLVIII. You children, praise the Lord: praise the name of the Lord. We praise You, we sing hymns to You, we bless You for Your great glory, O Lord our King, the Father of Christ the immaculate Lamb, who takes away the sin of the world. Praise becomes You, hymns become You, glory becomes You, the God and Father, through the Son, in the most holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen. Now, O Lord, let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all people, a light for the revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.
XLIX . You are 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 whom glory, honour, and power be to You forever. Amen.
Translated by James Donaldson. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.