Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Works of John Cassian.: Chapter XI. He removes the silent objection of heretics who want to recant the profession of their faith made in childhood.
He removes the silent objection of heretics who want to recant the profession of their faith made in childhood.
But perhaps you say that you were a baby when you were regenerated, and so were not then able to think or to contradict. It is true: that your infancy did prevent you from contradicting, when if you had been a man you would have died for contradicting. For what if when in that most faithful and devout Church of Christ the priest delivered the Creed 2560 to the Catechumen and the attesting people, you had tried to hold your tongue at any point, or to contradict? Perhaps you would have been heard, and not sent forth at once like some new kind of monster or prodigy as a plague to be expelled. Not because that most earnest and religious people of God has any wish to be stained with the blood of even the worst of men: but because especially in great cities the people inflamed with the love of God cannot restrain the ardour of their faith when they see anyone rise up against their God. But be it so. As a baby, if it be so, you could not contradict and deny the Creed. Why did you hold your tongue when you were older and stronger. At any rate you grew up, and became a man, and were placed in the ministry of the Church. Through all these years, through all the steps of office and dignity, did you never understand the faith which you taught so long before? At any rate you knew that you were His deacon and priest. If the rule of salvation was a difficulty to you, why did you undertake the honour of that, of which you disliked the faith? But indeed you were a far sighted and simply devout man, who p. 598 wished so to balance yourself between the two, as to maintain both your wicked blasphemy, and the honour of Catholicity!
The reference is the ceremony known as the Traditio Symboli, which is thus described by Professor Lumby: “The practice of the early church in the admission of converts to baptism seems to have been of this nature. For some period previous to their baptism (the usual seasons for which were Easter and Pentecost) the candidates for admission thereto were trained in the doctrines of the faith by the presbyters. A few days before they were to be baptized (the number of days varying at different periods) the Creed was delivered to them accompanied with a sermon. The ceremony was known as Traditio Symboli, the delivery of the Creed. At the time of Baptism each candidate was interrogated upon the articles of the Creed which he had received, and was to return an answer in the words which had been given to him. This was known as Redditio Symboli, the repetition of the Creed, and Baptism was the only occasion on which the Creed was introduced into any public service of the Church.” History of the Creeds, pp. 11, 12.
Next: Chapter XII. Christ crucified is an offence and foolishness to those who declare that He was a mere man.
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