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. That There Are Two Ways, - The One Natural, of Life, and the Other Introduced Afterwards, of Death; And that the Former Is from God, and the Latter of Error, from the Snares of the Adversary.
The lawgiver Moses said to the Israelites, “Behold, I have set before your face the way of life and the way of death;” (Deu_30:15) and added, “Choose life, that thou mayest live.” (Deu_30:19) Elijah the prophet also said to the people: “How long will you halt with both your legs? If the Lord be God, follow Him.” (1Ki_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.” (Mat_6:24) We also, following our teacher Christ, “who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe,” (1Ti_4:10) are obliged to say that there are two ways - the one of life, the other of death;2 which have no comparison one with another, for they are very different,2 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.3
II. Moral Exhortations of the Lord’s Constitutions Agreeing with the Ancient Prohibitions of the Divine Laws. The Prohibition of Anger, Spite, Corruption, Adultery, and Every Forbidden Action.
The first way, therefore, is that of life; and is this,4 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;” (Deu_6:5; Mar_12:32) “and thy neighbour as thyself.” (Lev_19:18) And whatsoever thou wouldest not should be done to thee, that do not thou to another.” (Tob. 4:15) “Bless them that curse you; pray for them that despitefully use you.” (Mat_5:44) “Love your enemies; for what thanks is it if ye love those that love you? for even the Gentiles do the same.” (Luk_6:32; Mat_5:46, Mat_5:47) “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;” (Deu_23:7) for they are all the workmanship of God. Avoid not the persons, but the sentiments, of the wicked. “Abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts.” (1Pe_2:11) “If any one gives thee a stroke on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Mat_5:39; Luk_6:29) 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.” (Psa_7:4) “If any one compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” (Mat_5:41) And, “He that will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.” (Mat_5:40; Luk_6:29) “And from him that taketh thy goods, require them not again.” (Luk_6:30) “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee do not shut thy hand.” (Mat_5:42) For “the righteous man is pitiful, and lendeth.” (Psa_112:5) 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.” (Mat_5:45) It is therefore reasonable to give to all out of thine own labours; for says He, “Honour the Lord out of thy righteous 466 labours,” (Pro_3:9) but so that the saints be preferred. (Gal_6:10) “Thou shalt not kill;”5 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:” (Gen_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. “Thou shall not corrupt boys:” (Lev_18:22) for this wickedness is contrary to nature, and arose from Sodom, which was therefore entirely consumed with fire sent from God. (Gen_19:1-38) “Let such a one be accursed: and all the people shall say, So be it.” (Deu_27:1-26) “Thou shall not commit fornication:” for says He, “There shall not be a fornicator among the children of Israel.” (Deu_23:17) “Thou shalt not steal:” for Achan, when he had stolen in Israel at Jericho, was stoned to death; (Jos_7:1-26) and Gehazi, who stole, and told a lie, inherited the leprosy of Naaman; (2Ki_5:1-27) and Judas, who stole the poor’s money, betrayed the Lord of glory to the Jews, (Joh_12:6) and repented, and hanged himself, and burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out; (Mat_27:5; Act_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. (Act_5:1-42)
III. The Prohibition of Conjuring, Murder of Infants, Perjury, and False Witness.
Thou shalt not use magic.6 Thou shalt not use witchcraft; for He says, “Ye shall not suffer a witch to live.” (Exo_22:18) 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.” (Exo_21:23, LXX.) “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.” (Mat_5:34) But if that cannot be avoided, thou shalt swear truly; for “every one that swears by Him shall be commended.” (Psa_63:11) “Thou shalt not bear false witness;” for “he that falsely accuses the needy provokes to anger Him that made him.” (Pro_14:31)
IV. The Prohibition of Evil-Speaking and Passion, of Deceitful Conduct, or Idle Words, Lies, Covetousness, and Hypocrisy.
Thou shall not speak evil;7 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.” (Pro_12:28, LXX.) Thou shall not be double-minded nor double-tongued; for “a man’s own lips are a strong snare to him,” (Pro_6:2) and “a talkative person shall not be prospered upon earth.” (Psa_140:11) Thy words shall not be vain; for “ye shall give an account of every idle word.” (Mat_12:36; Lev_19:11) Thou shalt not tell lies: for says He, “Thou shalt destroy all those that speak lies.” (Psa_5:6) Thou shalt not be covetous nor rapacious: for says He, “Woe to him that is covetous towards his neighbour with an evil covetousness.” (Hab_2:9)
V. The Prohibition of Malignity, Acceptation of Persons, Wrath, Malice, and Envy.
Thou shalt not be an hypocrite, lest thy “portion be with them.” (Mat_24:51) Thou shalt not be ill-natured nor proud: for “God resisteth the proud.” (1Pe_5:5) “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;” (Deu_1:17; Lev_19:17) and, “Reprove a wise man, and he will love thee.” (Pro_9:8) Eschew all evil, and all that is like it: for says He, “Abstain from injustice, and trembling shall not come nigh thee.” (Isa_54:14) 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; (Gen_4:1-26) the second persecuted holy David, who had slain Goliah the Philistine, being envious of the praises of the women who danced; (1Sa_17:1-58, 1Sa_18:1-30) the third slew two generals 467 of armies - Abner of Israel, and Amasa of Judah. (2Sa_3:1-39, 2Sa_20:1-26)
VI. Concerning Augury and Enchantments.
Be not a diviner, for that leads to idolatry;8 for says Samuel, “Divination is sin;” (1Sa_15:23) and, “There shall be no divination in Jacob, nor soothsaying in Israel.” (Num_23:23) 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. (Lev_19:26, Lev_19:31; Deu_18:10, Deu_18:11) 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.” (Mat_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 mine eyes lofty: I have not exercised myself in great matters, nor in things too high for me; but I was humble.” (Psa_131:1)
VII. The Prohibition of Murmuring, Insolence, Pride, and Arrogance.
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, (Num_12:3; Psa_131:1) since “the meek shall inherit the earth.” (Mat_5:5)
VIII. Concerning Long-Suffering, Simplicity, Meekness, and Patience.
Be slow to wrath; for such a one is very prudent, since “he that is hasty of spirit is a very fool.” (Pro_14:29, LXX.) Be merciful; for “blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Mat_5:7) Be sincere, quiet, good, “trembling at the word of God.” (Isa_66:2) Thou shalt not exalt thyself, as did the Pharisee; for “every one that exalteth himself shall be abased,” (Luk_18:14) and “that which is of high esteem with man is abomination with God.” (Luk_16:15) Thou shalt not entertain confidence in thy soul; for “a confident man shall fall into mischief.” (Pro_13:17, LXX.) Thou shalt not go along with the foolish, but with the wise and righteous; for “he that walketh9 with wise men shall be wise, but he that walketh with the foolish shall be known.” (Pro_13:20) 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. (Job_42:1-17; Luk_16:1-31)
IX. That It Is Our Duty to Esteem Our Christian Teachers Above Our Parents - The Former Being the Means of Our Well-Being, the Other Only of Our Being.
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,10 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. That We Ought Not to Divide Ourselves from the Saints, but to Make Peace Between Those That Quarrel, to Judge Righteously, and Not to Accept Persons.
Thou shalt not make schisms among the saints, but be mindful of the followers of Corah. (Num_16:1-50) Thou shalt make peace between those that are at variance, as Moses did when he persuaded them to be friends. (Exo_2:13) Thou shalt judge righteously; for “the judgment is the Lord’s.” (Deu_1:17) 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. (1Ki_18:1-46, 1Ki_21:1-29, 1Ki_22:1-53; 2Sa_12:1-31; Mat_14:1-36)
XI. Concerning Him That Is Double-Minded and Desponding.
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?” (Mat_14:31) “Be not thou ready to stretch out thy hand to receive, and to shut it when thou shouldst give.” (Ecclus. 4:31)
XII. Concerning Doing Good.
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.” (Pro_16:6; Dan_4:27) 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.” (Pro_19:17) 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.” (Pro_21:13) 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.” (Pro_19:18)
XIII. How Masters Ought to Behave Themselves to Their Servants, and How Servants Ought to Be Subject.
Thou shall not command thy man-servant, or thy 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,” (Eph_6:5) as to the representatives of God, with attention and fear, “as to the Lord, and not to men.” (Eph_6:7)
XIV. Concerning Hypocrisy, and Obedience to the Laws, and Confession of Sins.
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.” (Pro_30:6) 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. Concerning the Observance Due to Parents.
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.” (Isa_58:7)
XVI. Concerning the Subjection Due to the King and to Rulers.
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. Concerning The Pure Conscience of Those That Pray.
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. That the Way Which Was Afterward Introduced by the Snares of the Adversary Is Full of Impiety and Wickedness.
But the way of death11 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. That We Must Not Turn from the Way of Piety Either to the Right Hand or to the Left. An Exhortation of the Lawgiver.
See that no one seduce thee12 from piety; for says He: “Thou mayst not turn aside from 469 it to the right hand, or to the left, that thou mayst have understanding in all that thou doest.” (Deu_5:32) For if thou dost not turn out of the right way, thou wilt not be ungodly.
Sec. II. - On the Formation of the Character of Believers, and on Giving of Thanks to God.
XX. That We Ought Not to Despise Any of the Sorts of Food That Are Set Before Us, but Gratefully and Orderly to Partake of Them.
Now concerning the several sorts of food, the Lord says to thee, “Ye shall eat the good things of the earth;” (Isa_1:19) and, “All sorts of flesh shall ye eat, as the green herb;” (Gen_9:3) but, “Thou shalt pour out the blood.” (Deu_15:23) For “not those things that go into the mouth, but those that come out of it, defile a man;” (Mat_15:11) I mean blasphemies, evil-speaking, and if there be any other thing of the like nature. (Mar_7:22) But “do thou eat the fat of the land with righteousness.” (Zec_9:17) 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?” (Ecc_2:25, LXX.) Wise Ezra13 does also admonish thee and say: “Go your way, and eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and be not sorrowful.” (Neh_8:10)
XXI. That We Ought to Avoid the Eating of Things Offered to Idols.
But do ye abstain from things offered to idols; (1Co_10:20) 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. A Constitution of Our Lord, How We Ought to Baptize, and into Whose Death.
Now concerning baptism,14 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):” (Mat_28:19) 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. (Mat_3:1-17, Mat_4:1-25) 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. Which Days of the Week We Are to Fast, and Which Not, and for What Reasons.
But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites;15 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. What Sort of People Ought to Pray That Prayer That Was Given by the Lord.
Now, “when ye pray, be not ye as the hypocrites;” (Mat_6:5) 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.” (Mat_6:9, etc.) 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?” (Mal_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.” (Isa_52:5)
XXV. A Mystical Thanksgiving.
Be ye always thankful, as faithful and honest servants; and concerning the eucharistical thanksgiving say thus:16 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 hand; 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.” (1Co_11:26) 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;”17 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. A Thanksgiving at the Divine Participation.
After the participation,18 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.19 “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the Lord”20 - 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. A Thanksgiving About the Mystical Ointment.
Concerning the ointment give thanks in this manner: We give Thee thanks, O God, the Creator of the whole world, both for the fragrancy 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,21 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. That We Ought Not to Be Indifferent About Communicating.
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,22 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 teacher23 that comes to you is worthy of his maintenance, as being a labourer in the word of righteousness. (Mat_10:41)
XXIX. A Constitution Concerning Oblations.
All the first-fruits of the winepress, the threshing-floor, the oxen, and the sheep, shalt thou give to the priests, (Num_18:1-32) 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. How We Ought to Assemble Together, and to Celebrate the Festival Day of Our Saviour’s Resurrection.
On the day of the resurrection of the Lord,24 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.” (Mal_1:11, Mal_1:14)
XXXI. What Qualifications They Ought to Have Who Are to Be Ordained.
Do you first ordain bishops worthy of the Lord,25 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. (2Ti_2:15) 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.26 “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.” (Luk_12:35, Luk_12:37; Mar_13:35) 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. A Prediction Concerning Futurities.
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, (2Th_2:1-17) 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;” (Isa_11:4; Mat_24:1-51) and afterwards shall be the voice of a trumpet by the archangel; (1Th_4:16) 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, (Zec_14:5. - R.) with a great concussion above the clouds, with the angels of His power, (Mat_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,” (Mat_25:46) to inherit those things “which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor 472 have entered into the heart of man, such things as God hath prepared for them that love Him;” (1Co_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. A Prayer Declarative of God’s Various Providence.
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 joy27 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.” (Gen_13:6, Gen_22:17) 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.” (Gen_26:3) 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.” (Gen_17:7, Gen_28:15, Gen_48:4) 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.” (Exo_3:14, Exo_3:15) O Thou great protector of the posterity of Abraham, Thou art blessed for ever.
XXXIV. A Prayer Declarative of God’s Various Creation.
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 runs back again, being stopped by the sand at Thy command? For Thou hast said: “Thereby shall her waves be broken.” (Job_38:11) 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 473 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;” (Gen_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 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. A Prayer, with Thanksgiving, Declarative of God’s Providence over the Beings He Has Made.
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.” (Psa_104:24) And the bright host of angels and the intellectual spirits say to Palmoni,28 “There is but one holy Being;”29 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;” (Isa_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.” (Eze_3:12) 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.” (Psa_67:1-7:17) 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 overturns 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:” (Deu_4:39) 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 474 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 whom30 adoration is worthily due to Thee from every rational and holy nature.
XXXVI. A Prayer Commemorative of the Incarnation of Christ, and His Various Providence to the Saints.
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; (Pro_8:22, LXX.) 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. (Lev_23:1-44, Lev_25:1-55) 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,31 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.32 For this is the grace afforded by Thee, which on account of its greatness has obscured all other blessings.
XXXVII. A Prayer Containing the Memorial of His Providence, and an Enumeration of the Various Benefits Afforded the Saints by the Providence of God Through Christ.
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, (Gen_4:1-26) and accept it as Thou didst accept of the sacrifice of Noah when he went out of the ark; (Gen_8:1-22) of Abraham, when he went out of the land of the Chaldeans; (Gen_12:1-20) of Isaac at the Well of the Oath; (Gen_26:1-35) of Jacob in Bethel; (Gen_35:1-29) of Moses in the desert; (Exo_3:1-22) of Aaron between the dead and the living; (Num_16:1-50) of Joshua the son of Nun in Gilgal; (Jos_5:1-15) of Gideon at the rock, and the fleeces, before his sin; (Jdg_6:1-40, Jdg_8:1-35) of Manoah and his wife in the field; of Samson in his thirst before the transgression; (Jedg. 13, 15, 16) of Jephtha 475 in the war before his rash vow; of Barak and Deborah in the days of Sisera; (Jdg_11:1-40, Jdg_4:1-24) of Samuel in Mizpeh; (1Sa_7:1-17) of David in the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite; (1Ch_21:1-30) of Solomon in Gibeon and in Jerusalem: (1Ki_3:1-28, 1Ki_8:1-66) of Elijah in Mount Carmel; (1Ki_18:1-46) of Elisha at the barren fountain; (2Ki_11:1-21) of Jehoshaphat in war; (2Ch_18:1-34) of Hezekiah in his sickness, and concerning Sennacherib;33 of Manasseh in the land of the Chaldeans, after his transgression; (2Ch_33:1-25) of Josiah in Phassa;34 of Ezra at the return; (Ezr_8:1-36) of Daniel in the den of lions; (Dan_6:16) of Jonah in the whale’s belly; (Jon_2:1-10) of the three children in the fiery furnace; (Dan_3:1-30) of Hannah in the tabernacle before the ark; (