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The Characters of Theophrastus


The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

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by Johann Michael Reu


It is thus clear that the elements employed today by the Church in her instruction are rooted in apostolic times.

Baptismal instruction ended, the catechumens were led to baptism. Taking the baptism of John as analogous, and following Acts 2, 38 as guide, we may assume a confession of sin as introductory to the baptismal rite proper. Tit. 2, 12 (dpvj^ra/wvoi) renders the conclusion justifiable that there was also an act of renunciation, while 1 Tim. 6, 12 and Heb. 10, 22, etc., point to a previous confession of faith. If we assume that the latter was pronounced by the person performing the rite, it is probable that the recipient of baptism made the confession his own with the words, "Jesus is Lord" (1 Cor. 12, 3; Rom. 10, 9). Concerning the administration of baptism itself, the Didache writes (ch. 7): "Baptize into (ere) the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in (tv) flowing water (vStm favri). Having no flowing water, use another kind. If cold water is impracticable take warm water. If you have neither, pour upon the head water three times in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". The injunction is added: "Before baptism both the person that baptizes and he that is baptized shall fast, and such others as may be able to do so. The person baptized shall be commanded to fast for one or two days previous". Of the laying on of hands no more mention is made here than, for instance, in Acts 2, 38 ff. The recitation of the Lord's Prayer and the reception of the Holy Communion probably followed Baptism (ch. 8—10).

It is nowhere expressly mentioned by whom baptismal instruction was given. However, it is likely that the apostles and their co-laborers gave it; nor were laymen excluded, provided they were rich in knowledge. We may be sure that the teachers mentioned in 1 Cor. 12, 28 and Eph. 4, 11—12 alongside of the apostles and prophets, performed also other than merely intracongregational tasks (Gal. 6, 6). When Paul taught in Antioch large numbers for a year (Acts 11, 26); when he taught for a year and a half in Corinth (Acts 18, 11); and finally, when he disputed for three months in Ephesus (Acts 19, 8), it is evident that he himself prepared by his testimony those made willing for the step of baptism, no matter how great the number of his colaborers. Of Aquila and Priscilla, too, it is said that they expounded the way of the Lord more accurately to Apollo (Acts 18, 26); nor can we avoid the immediate impression that such exposition preceded his baptism. There is little room for the view that there were no others of the laity that taught, although gradually the "elders", with the "teachers" already mentioned, occupied the foreground. If what follows be used as criterion, also the twelfth chapter of the Didache refers to itinerant teachers.

The writings of the apostolic fathers do not add anything to the information so far gained. In the Epistle of Barnabas we find the "two ways" (Ch. 18— 20). The "Mandata" of Hermas, to judge by the testimony of Eusebius (Hist. eccl. III. 3, 6), were looked upon by some as indispensable to such as were to receive instruction in the rudiments. Even Justin does not bring anything essentially new. He writes CAp. 1, 61): "All those who have been convinced, believing that what we teach and speak is true, and warranting the expectation of leading a life in accordance with it, are prompted to pray and to implore with fasting divine forgiveness of the sins of the past; and we pray and fast with them". Thereupon baptism is administered.

6. The Development of the Graded Catechumenate Between 180 and 325.

G. v. Zezschwitz I, ch. 8—9; II 1, ch. 17. 21. 26—27. 30—32. —E. Sachsse, p. 4—115.—E. Chr.Achelis II. pp. 281—294.—J. H. Holtzmann, pp. 76—85.—F. Cohrs. Katechumenat. RE, 1901.— . O. Moev Die Apostellehre u. d. Dakalog im Unterricht der alten Kirche. 1896—E. v. d. Goltz. Das Gebet i. d. ae'.testen Christenheit. 1901.—Concerning grades in the Catechumenate see also: Fr. Propst, Lehre vom Gebet. pp. 119 ff.; Katechese und Predigt, pp. 39 ff.: Geschichte, pp. 6 ff— F. H. Funk, Die Katechumenatsklassen des christlichen Altertums (Theol. Quartalschrift 1883, pp. 41 ff.; 1886, pp. 355 ff.; 1889, pp. 434 ff.).—F. H. Funk, Kirchengeschichtliche Abhandlungen, 1897, pp. 209—241.—Ed. Schwartz, Bussstufen und Katechumenatsklassen (Schriften der wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft Strassburgs, 7), 1911.—Irenaei opera, ed. by Stieren, 2 vols., 1848—1853.—The five books against heresies, German by E. Klebba, 1912, KB2; English in ANF, vol. 2; Presentation of the Apostolic Message (feSeiftt roi iTTooroXiKoi KTjpvyiiaros), German by Karapet Ter-Mekertschian and Edward Ter-Minassiantz, with notes by A. Harnack, 21908; German also- by S. Weber, Irenaeus II, KB2, 1912.—Clementis Alexandr. opera, ed. by O. Staehlin, 4 vols., 1905 ff. (BGSchr); Selected Writings, German by L. Hopfenmueller and J. Wimmer, 1875 (KB1), Protreptikos, pp. 75—214; Paidagogos, pp. 215—465.—Protreptikos, Paidagogos and Stromata in English in ANF, vol. II.—Bratke, Die Stellung d. Clemens Alex, z. antiken Mysterienwescn (Theol. Studien und Kritiken), 1887. —Tertulliani opera ed. by F. Ochler, 1851—1853; German by H. Kellner, 1882; English in ANF, vol. 3 and 4; Tertullians • katechetische Schriften, by H. Kellner, 1912 (KB2); Catechetical discourses (perhaps enlarged) we have at least in De baptismo, De spcctaculis and in De poenitentia (De bapt. 20; De spect. 1; De poenit. 6; De idol. 24). De poenitentia and de pudicitia, ed. by E. Prcuschen, 21910; De praescript. haereticorum, ed. by E. Preuschen, 21910; Adversus Parxean, ed. by E. Kroymann, 1907 (Krueger's Collection).—Cypriani opera, rec. W. Hartel, 1868—1871 (CSEL). The three books of Testimonia are found in vol. I, pp. 35—-184; De dominica oratione, vol. I, pp. 267—294. Selected Writings, German by U. Uhl, J. Niglutsch, A. Egger, 1879. 1892 (KB1). The three books of Testimonies English in ANF, vol. 5, pp. 507 ff; Treatise on the Lord's Prayer, pp. 447 ff. Concerning the authenticity and purpose of the Testimonia compare Glaue's article in Zeitschrift fuer neutestl. Wisscnschaft, 1907.—Origenis opera, ed. by P. Koetschau, E. Preuschen and E. Klostermann, 1889 ff. (BGSchr). Books against Celsus, vol. I, pp. 52—324; vol. II, pp. 1—293; On Prayer, vol. II, pp. 294—403; De principiis, vol. 5, pp. 1—364. Selected Writings of Origenes, German by Roehm and J. Kohlhofer, 1874—1876 (KB1), On Prayer, vol. I, pp. 21 ff.; Against Celsus, Vol. II and III. De principiis and Against Celsus, English by F. Crombic, ANF IV, pp. 239 ff.; IV, pp. 395 ff.—Canones Hippolyti by H. Achelis (Tcxte u. Untersuchungen 6, 4), 1891.—Didascalia, translated into German from the Syrian by H. Achelis and J Flemming, 1904.—Didascalia et Constitutiones Apostolorum, ed. by Fr. X. Funk, 2 vols., 1905. The So-called Apostolic Constitutions and Canons, German by F. Boxler, 1874 (KB1); English in ANF, vol. 7, pp. 391 ff. The relation of the Canones Hippolyti to the Constitutions and other writings briefly treated by Jordan, pp. 348 ff.—P. Drews, Der littrarische Charakter der neuentdeckten Schrift des Irenaeus (Zeitschrift fuer neutestamentliche Wissenschaft), 1907.—A. Harnack, Ueber den privaten Gebrauch der heiligen Schriften in der alten Kirche, 1912.

With the end of the second century there came a change of great significance for the Church. It was a period of rapid, general growth, but also of general persecutions, the first of which, under Septimius Severus, was directed particularly against the catechumens for their resolution of acquiring membership in the Church. The instinct of self-preservation alive in the Church, more than ever rendered the greatest caution in regard to the admission of new members necessary, and compelled, from the outset, the rejection of those whose character and occupation did not seem to warrant faith in their ability to meet the new demands. Even where such obstacles did not exist, admission to membership necessitated a rather lengthy period of probation and preparation, during which those concerned needed, and rightly required, loving care on the part of the Church. The latter recognized this task and endeavored to do justice to it by the adoption of conditions of membership and the development of a graded catechumenate.

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