Translation. By Alphonse Mingana
He who is desirous of drawing near to the gift of the holy baptism comes to the Church of God where he is received by a duly appointed person óas there is a habit to register those who draw near to baptismówho will question him about his mode of life. This rite is performed for those who are baptised by the person called godfather. The duly appointed person writes your name in the Church register together with that of the one who is acting as your sponsor or guide in the town. The services of the persons called exorcists have also been found indispensable, as it is necessary that when a case is being heard in the judgment hall the litigant should remain silent. You stand with outstretched arms in the posture of one who prays, and you look downwards. This is the reason why you take off your outer garment and stand barefooted, ands you stand also on sackcloth. You are ordered in those days to meditate on the words of the faith.
I think that in past days I spoke sufficiently to your love about the profession of faith which our blessed Fathers wrote according to the teaching of our Lord, who through it wished us to be taught and baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (I spoke) in those days to you, who draw near to the gift of baptism, in order that you might learn what to believe, and in the name of whom you are baptised so that you might see that you are receiving instruction according to the teaching of our Lord, and that you are being baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. I added to the above a discourse on prayer in order that you might rightly know the teaching of good works consonant with the way in which those who receive this great gift of baptism have to live. As, however, the time of the sacrament has drawn near, and you are by the grace of God about to participate in the holy baptism, it is right and necessary that we should explain before you the power of the sacrament and of the ceremonies which are accomplished in it, and the reason for which each of them is accomplished, in order that when you have learnt what is the reason for all of them you may receive the things that take place with great love.
Every sacrament consists in the representation of unseen and unspeakable things through signs and emblems. Such things require explanation and interpretation, for the sake of the person who draws near to the sacrament, so that he might know its power. If it only consisted of the (visible) elements themselves, words would have been useless, as sight itself would have been able to show us one by one all the happenings that take place, but since a sacrament contains the signs of things that take place or have already taken place, words are needed to explain the power of signs and mysteries. The Jews performed their service for the heavenly things as in signs and shadows, because the law only contained the shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, as the blessed Paul said. A shadow implies the proximity of a body, as it cannot exist without a body, but it does not represent the body which it reflects in the same way as it happens in an image. When we look at an image we recognise the person who is represented in itóif we knew that person beforehandóon account of the accurately drawn picture, but we are never able to recognise a man represented only by his shadow, as this shadow has no likeness whatever to the real body from which it emanates. All things of the law were similar to this. They were only a shadow of the heavenly things, as the Apostle said. You must now learn the nature of this shadow:
According to what he had learnt in a Divine vision the blessed Moses made two tabernacles, one of which they named holy, and the other holy of holies. The first was the likeness of the life and sojourn on the earth on which we now dwell, and the second, which they called holy of holies, was the likeness of the regions which are above the visible heaven, to which our Lord Christ, who was assumed for our salvation, ascended, in which He now is, and to which He granted us to go in order to be there and dwell with Him, as the blessed Paul said: “Whither the forerunner is for us entered, Christ, who became a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec.” He said of Him that He became after the order of high priests because He was the first to enter there, and through Him the favour of entering was promised to us. The work of a high priest is indeed that he should draw near to God first, and then after him and through him the rest should draw near; but because all these things have not yet taken place but will take place at the end, the priests of the law did not perform a single one of them through their service according to the law, in the place called holy of holies, which indeed was never entered by any one, as the high priest entered it once a year alone, and offered a sacrifice before entering it, and had no right to enter it at all times. He entered it once a year so that it might be made manifest that all those acts of the law only embraced the mortal life on this earth, and had no relation of any kind with the heavenly things; in the same way as we ourselves cannot enter heaven as long as we remain mortal in our nature. Men would only have entered heavenly places after a man from us had been assumed, and had died according to the natural law of men, and risen in glory from the dead, and become immortal and incorruptible by nature, and had ascended into heaven, and been constituted a high priest to the rest of mankind and an earnest of the ascension into heaven.
Thus the law contained the shadow of the good things to come, as those who lived under it had only a figure of the future things. In this way they only performed their service as a sign and a shadow of the heavenly things, because that service gave, by means of the tabernacle and the things that took place in it, a kind of revelation, in figure, of the life which is going to be in heaven, and which our Lord Christ showed to us by His ascension into it, while He granted all of us to participate in an event which was so much hidden from those who lived in that time that the Jews, in their expectation of the resurrection, had only a base conception of it. They did not think, as we do, that we shall be changed into an immortal life, but they thought of it as a place in which we shall continue to eat, drink and marry. This we consider a great shame if we are to believe the words of our Lord to the effect that: “You do err, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God, for in the resurrection from the dead they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels,” and “they are the children of God because they are the children of the resurrection.” In this He both reprimanded their error concerning the resurrection and taught that we ought to believe that something like a Divine life will come to those who will rise, as He clearly said that they will be like angels.
The things that the ancients held as figures and shadows came now into reality when our Lord Jesus Christ, who was assumed from us and for us died according to the human law, and through His resurrection became immortal, incorruptible and for ever immutable, and as such ascended into heaven, as by His union with our nature He became to us an earnest of our own participation in the event. In saying: “If Christ rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead,” (the Apostle) clearly showed that it was necessary for all to believe that there is a resurrection, and in believing in it we had also to believe that we will equally clearly participate in it. As we have a firm belief that things that have already happened will happen to us, so [the things that happened at the resurrection of our Lord] 4 we believe that they will happen to us. We perform, therefore, this ineffable sacrament which contains the incomprehensible signs of the Economy of Christ our Lord, as we believe that the things implied in it will happen to us.
It is indeed evident to us, according to the words of the Apostle, that when we perform either baptism or the Eucharist we perform them in remembrance of the death and resurrection of Christ, in order that the hope of the latter may be strengthened in us. So far as the resurrection is concerned he said: “So many of us as were baptised into Christ Jesus, were buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also shall walk in newness of life.” He clearly taught here that we are baptised so that we might imitate in ourselves the death and the resurrection of our Lord, and that we might receive from our remembrance of the happenings that took place the confirmation of our hope in future things. As for the communion of the holy Sacrament he said: “As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till He come.” Our Lord also said: “This is my body which is broken for you, and this is my blood which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” From all this it is clear that both the service and the Communion are in remembrance of the death and the resurrection of Christ, from which arose our hope that we all expect communion with Him. And we sacramentally perform the events that took place in connection with Christ our Lord, in order thatóas we have learnt by experience óour communion with Him may strengthen our hope. It would be useful, therefore, to discuss before you the reason for all the mysteries and signs.
Our Lord God made man from dust in His image and honoured him with many other things. He especially honoured him by calling him His image, from which man alone became worthy to be called God and Son of God; and if he had been wise he would have remained with the One who was to him the source of all good things, which he truly possessed, but he accepted and completed the image of the Devil, who like a rebel had risen against God and wished to usurp for himself the glory that was due to Him, and had striven to detach man from God by all sorts of stratagems and appropriate God’s honour, so that he might insult Him by rivalry. He (the Rebel) assumed, therefore, the attributes and the glory of a helper, and because man yielded to his words and rejected the injunctions which God had imposed upon him and followed the Rebel as his true helper, God inflicted upon him the punishment of reverting to the dust from which he had been taken.
And from the above sin death entered, and this death weakened (human) nature and generated in it a great inclination towards sin. Both of these grew side by side, while the inexorable death strengthened and multiplied sin, as the condition of mortality by weakening (human nature) caused the perpetration of many sins. Even the commandments which God gave in order to check them tended to multiply them, and those who infringed the commandments strengthened the punishment by the frequency of the sins. From these grew the ill will of the Rebel, who jubilated and rejoiced at the great injury that he was inflicting on us, and at the state of our affairs which was becoming daily more corrupt and iniquitous.
When this state of our affairs became desperate, our Lord God willed in His mercy to rectify it. With this end in view He assumed a man from us, who was a faithful keeper of the Divine commandments, and was found to be free from all sin with the exception of the punishment of death. The Tyrant, however, who could do nothing else, brought an unjust death upon Him at the hand of the Jews, his servants, but He willingly accepted it and sat in judgment with him before God, the just judge, who pronounced Him not liable to the punishment of death which had been wickedly and unjustly brought upon Him. And He became for ever immune from death, and immortal and incorruptible by nature. And as such He ascended into heaven and became for ever beyond the reach of the harm and injury of Satan, who was thus unable to do any harm to a man who was immortal, incorruptible and immutable, and who dwelt in heaven and possessed a close union with the Divine nature. From the fact that the man who was assumed from us had such a confidence (with God), He became a messenger on behalf of all the (human) race so that the rest of mankind might participate with Him in His great change, as the blessed Paul said: “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God who justifies; who is he that condemns? It is Christ who died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” He shows here that the benefits accruing to us are immutable and unchangeable, since Christ who died for us, and who rose from the dead and received close union with Divine nature, draws us, by His intercession for us, to the participation in resurrection and in the good things that emanate from it.
We draw near to the sacrament because we perform in it the symbols of the freedom from calamities from which we were unexpectedly delivered, and of our participation in these new and great benefits which had their beginning in Christ our Lord. Indeed we expect to be partakers of these benefits which are higher than our nature, while even the possibility of their coming to us we had never expected.
We have spoken in this way so that our words might be better understood; and it is time now to show you the reason for every act (performed in the sacrament).
He who wishes to draw near to the gift of the holy baptism comes to the Church of God, which Christ our Lord showed to be a symbol of the heavenly things to the faithful in this world, when He said: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” He showed in this that He granted to the Church the power that any one who becomes related to it should also be related to the heavenly things, and any one who becomes a stranger to it should also be clearly a stranger to the heavenly things.
Owing to the fact that to those who are at the head of the Church is allotted the task of governing it, it is to them that He referred in His saying to the blessed Peter that they have the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and things that are bound by them on earth shall be bound in heaven, and things that are loosed by them on earth shall be loosed in heaven; not in the sense that they are masters of men in it, but in the sense that the Church received power from God that those who are related to it and under the care of those who are at its head, acquire by necessity a relationship with heaven, inasmuch as those who are outside this have no association of any kind with heavenly things.
Christ our Lord established a kingdom in heaven, and established it there as a city in which He has His kingdom, which the blessed Paul calls “Jerusalem which is above, free, and mother of us all,” since it is in it that we are expecting to dwell and abide. That city is full of innumerable companies of angels and men who are all immortal and immutable. Indeed the blessed Paul said: “You are come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, and to the Church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven.” He calls the firstborn those who are immortal and immutable, like those who are worthy of the adoption of sons of whom our Lord said that “they are the children of God because they are the children of the resurrection”; and they are enrolled in heaven as its inhabitants.
These things will be seen so in reality in the world to come, when, according to the words of the Apostle, “we are caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, so that we may be ever with Him.” He will take us up and ascend into heaven where His Kingdom is seen and where all of us shall be with Him, free and exempt from all troubles, in happiness and pleasure, and enjoying to the full the benefits of that kingdom. Those who draw near to Him in this world He wished them to be, through religion and faith, as in the symbol of the heavenly things, and He so constituted the Church as to be a symbol of the heavenly things; and He wished that those who believe in Him should live in it. This is the reason why the blessed Paul also said: “that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” Church “of the living God” means that His name is for ever and ever, and this demonstrates that the believers will enjoy life eternally, while the expression “pillar and ground of the truth” denotes that life firm, solid, unshakeable and unchangeable in which (the believer) will be seen and from which he will also receive his power.
He, therefore, who is desirous of drawing near to baptism comes to the Church of God through which he expects to reach that life of the heavenly abode. He ought to think that he is coming to be the citizen of a new and great city, and he should, therefore, show great care in everything that is required of him before his enrolment in it. He comes to the Church of God |25 where he is received by a duly appointed person 5óas there is a habit to register those who draw near to baptismówho will question him about his mode of life in order to find out whether it possesses all the requisites of the citizenship of that great city. After he has abjured all the evil found in this world and cast it completely out of his mind, he has to show that he is worthy of the citizenship of the city and of his enrolment in it. This is the reason why, as if he were a stranger to the city and to its citizenship, a specially appointed person,6 who is from the city in which he is going to be enrolled and who is well versed in its mode of life, conducts him to the registrar and testifies for him to the effect that he is worthy of the city and of its citizenship and that, as he is not versed in the life of the city or in the knowledge of how to behave in it, he himself would be willing to act as a guide to his inexperience.
This rite is performed for those who are baptised by the person called godfather, who, however, does not make himself responsible for them in connection with future sins, as each one of us answers for his own sins before God. He only bears witness to what the catechumen has done and to the fact that he has prepared himself in the past to be worthy of the city and of its citizenship. He is justly called a sponsor because by his words (the catechumen) is deemed worthy to receive baptism. When in this world there is an order of the Government for a census of countries and of people who are in them, it is right for those who are registered in particular countries to obtain a title which would assure for them the cultivation of the fields which are registered in their name, and to pay readily the land taxes to the king. The same thing is required of the one who is enrolled in the heavenly city and in its citizenship, as “our conversation is in heaven.” Indeed he ought to reject all earthly things, as is suitable to the one who is inscribed in heaven, and to do only the things that fit the life and conversation in heaven. He will also, if he is wise, pay perpetual taxes to the king and live a life which is consonant with baptism.
As the Romansówhen they held Judea under their dominationóordered that every one should be enrolled in his own city, and as Joseph with the blessed Mary went to Bethlehem to be enrolled in it, because he was from the house and the tribe of David, so also we, who believe in Christ, have to do. Indeed He conquered, by right of war, all the enemies, delivered the human race from the power of the demons, freed us from the servitude of the captivity, and brought us under His dominion, as it is said: “He has ascended on high and has led captivity captive.” He showed the new world to come and the wonderful dispensation of that which is called the heavenly Jerusalem, in which Christ established His imperishable Kingdom. It is, therefore, incumbent on us all, who are under the power of His Kingdom, to pray and desire that through faith we might draw near to baptism and be worthy of being enrolled in heaven.
It is for this reason that as regards you also who draw near to the gift of baptism, a duly appointed person 7 inscribes your name in the Church book, together with that of your godfather, who answers for you and becomes your guide in the city and the leader of your citizenship therein. This is done in order that you may know that you are, long before the time and while still on the earth, enrolled in heaven, and that your godfather who is in it is possessed of great diligence to teach you, who are a stranger and a newcomer to that great city, all the things that pertain to it and to its citizenship, so that you should be conversant with its life without any trouble and anxiety.
You should learn now the reason for the remaining events, as your enrolment is not effected to no purpose and accidentally only, but after a great judgment had taken place on your behalf. It was necessary for you, who have drawn near to Divine Providence, to have been first delivered from the Tyrant who had attacked you so that, after having been enabled to flee from all the harm of the enemies and avoid another servitude, you might be in a position to enjoy to the full the happiness of this enrolment. When by order of the Government a census is taken in this world, and one comes to establish his legal title to a land fertile in corn and rich in good things, in which there is much happiness to those who are registered for itóif a person who was previously his enemy learns this, and envying him for this happiness which he was himself previously enjoying, because (the land) for a long time belonged to him, goes and tells the one who is about to be registered that the land belonged to him by right of succession and that he ought not to be dispossessed of his right of ownership and be given the ownership of another landóit is right for the one who is about to be registered, if he is endowed with great zeal, to go to a magistrate and make use of the title which he possesses, and show the supposed owner of the land, for which he wishes to be registered, that he is desirous of bringing the matter before a judge.
In this same way God placed the kingdom of heaven before men, and willed that all of them should be in it in an immortal and immutable state, as is suitable to the dwellers in heaven, and granted to the Church to be the symbol of heavenly things in this world, and we pray and implore Him to draw us near through baptism to that heavenly city, and to make us participate in its life; but it is necessary that a judgment should be given for us against the Tyrant, who is fighting the case against us, that is to say Satan, who is always envious of our deliverance and salvation. He shows here also the same ill will towards us, and tries and endeavours to bring us to the judgment hall as if we had no right to be outside his ownership. He pleads that from ancient times and from the creation of the head of our race we belong to him by right; he narrates the story of Adam, of how he listened to his words and by his will rejected his Maker and preferred to serve him; of how this kindled the wrath of God, who drove him out of Paradise, pronounced the death sentence upon him and bound him to this world in saying: “In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread,” and: “Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you, for dust you are and to dust shall you return.” From these words which condemned him to the servitude of this world, and from the fact that by his will he chose my lordship he clearly appears to belong to me, as I am “the prince of the power of the air, and work in the children of disobedience.” How, then, is it possible that this man, who from the beginning and from the time of his forefathers belongs to meóas a just judgment was pronounced against him in this mortal world, in which as long as he is I hold sway over himóshould be taken away from this world and from its life, and consequently from my lordship also, which he himself chose willingly, and should become immortal, a thing which is higher than his nature, and be seen in the life and citizenship of the abode of heaven, a thing which does not pertain to men or to beings who have this (human) nature, from which those who are endowed with a higher nature are different?
As, in our supposition, such things are now pleaded and said by Satan, who was seen from the very beginning to fight inimically against us, and at present envies us all the more because we expect to receive this ineffable enrolment, which is high above all words and all human mind, as: “eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that love him” ówe must run with all diligence to the judge and show and establish the title which we possess: that we did not belong to Satan from the beginning and from the time of our forefathers, but to God who created us while we were not and made us in His own image, and that it was through the iniquity and wickedness of the Tyrant and through our own negligence that we were driven towards evil, from which we lost also the honour and greatness of our image, and because of our sinfulness we further received the punishment of death. And the long time that intervened strengthened the hold of Satan on us, and we on our part, owing to the fact that we lived for a great length of time in this cruel and dire servitude, the wrong and fearful acts of sin became sweet and pleasing to us, and with them we strengthened the power of Satan over us.
While things were proceeding in this way, He who is truly our Creator and our Lord, He who created us while we were not, and formed our body of dust with His hands and breathed into it a soul which did not previously exist, was pleased to make manifest a providence consonant with the works which He himself had made and which were now perishing through the wickedness of the Tyrant, in order that He might not permit him to harm us till the end. He also abolished our sins and our transgression against Him, and wished by His grace to straighten our affairs. For this He took one of us, and in Him made the beginning of all our good things, and permitted Him to receive the impact of all the trials of the wickedness of Satan, but showed Him also to be high above his wickedness and his harm, and although He had allowed Him to be even in His Death the victim of his stratagems, through which He had been drawn to combat, He now receives, on our behalf and against Satan, the intercession of the One who was assumed.
He (Satan) brought forward all his subtle arguments (against Him) and did not cease from inflicting injuries, from beginning to end, and finally, in spite of the fact that he found not a single just cause against Him, brought an unjust death upon Him. He further added (in his brief) how he had cruelly harmed all our race from the beginning. God, however, who was listening to all the story, after having heard the things that were said by both sides, condemned the Tyrant for the ill will of which he had made use against Christ and against all our race, and pronounced judgment against him, while He raised Christ our Lord from the dead, and made Him immortal and immutable, and took Him up to heaven. And He promised to all the (human) race, while still on the earth, the joy of (His) gifts so that no room might be left to Satan from which to inflict injuries on us. We are thus in a virtuous nature and in a high dwelling, which is higher than all the trials arising out of the wickedness of Satan, and absent and remote from all sin. Have we not learnt also all this from the words of our Lord who said: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out, and I when I am lifted up from the earth will draw all men to Me?”
We must believe now that all these things have happened and taken place, and that in nothing shall we appear henceforth to belong to the Devil. We have rightly reverted to our Lord to whom we belonged before the wickedness of Satan, and we are, as we were at the beginning, in the image of God. We had lost the honour of this image through our carelessness, but by the grace of God we have retaken this honour, and because of this we have become immortal and we will dwell in heaven. Indeed it is in this way that the image of God ought to rejoice and acquire the honour that is due to the One who by promise was to be called, and was to be, in His image. By His grace we rightly left for ever the mortal world, moved to the heavenly abode and citizenship, recognised our Lord, and are now hastening to go to our firstfruits (i.e. Christ) which were picked on our behalf and through which the Maker and the Lord of all gave us immortal life and a heavenly abode and conversation. We rightly draw near now to the Church of God because of our deliverance from tribulations and our delight in good things, and because we expect to be enrolled in heaven through the gift of the holy baptism.
It is you who furnish the reason for this question and for this examination as you clearly show that through the gift of the holy baptism you are separating yourselves from the servitude of the Tyrant, which all our fathers from the time of Adam downwards received, and in which they lived. This, however, goads Satan to fight fiercely against us, so much so that he did not even desist from fighting against our Lord because he believed Him to be a mere man on account of His resemblance (to men), and thought that by his stratagems and temptations he might detach Him from the love of God.
Because you are unable by yourselves to plead against Satan and to fight against him, the services of the persons called exorcists have been found indispensable, as they act as your surety for Divine help. They ask in a loud and prolonged voice that our enemy should be punished and by a verdict from the judge be ordered to retire and stand far, so that no room and no entry of any kind might be left to him from which to inflict harm on us, and so that we might be delivered for ever from his servitude, and allowed to live in perfect freedom, and enjoy the happiness of our present enrolment. You are doubtless aware of the fact that when a case is being judged before a judge and when a litigant shouts that he is innocent, and complains of a dire and cruel servitude in which he had lived, and contends that a powerful man had forcibly and unjustly brought him under his rule, it is necessary that when the case is being judged this same litigant should remain silent, so that he might by his demeanour and behaviour induce the judge to have mercy upon him. Another man, in the person of the advocate, will demonstrate to the judge the truth of the complaint of those who contend that they are ill-treated, and will invoke also the laws of the kingdom in order that through them he may redress the wrong that was done.
In this same way when the words called the words of exorcism are pronounced you stand perfectly quiet, as if you had no voice and as if you were still in fear and dread of the Tyrant, not being in a position even to look at him on account of the great injustice which he did to you and to your fathers, in the fact that he led you into captivity, brought you into a dire and cruel servitude, and inflicted upon you wounds that leave indelible scars, through the punishment of death which he placed in your midst; and in the fact that he has been for a long time the master of the servitude which you, with your own hands, brought upon yourselves. You stand, therefore, with outstretched arms in the posture of one who prays, and look downwards and remain in that state in order to move the judge to mercy. And you take off your outer garment and stand barefooted in order to show in yourself the state of the cruel servitude in which you served the Devil for a long time, according to the rules of captivity, and in which you did all his work for him according to his requirements. Your aim in this posture is also to move the judge to mercy, and it is this picture of captivity that is implied in the words of God who spoke thus through the prophet Isaiah: “Like as my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years in order that he might become a sign for the Egyptians and Ethiopians, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians and Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot.”
You stand also on garments of sackcloth so that from the fact that your feet are pricked and stung by the roughness of the cloth you may remember your old sins and show penitence and repentance of the sins of your fathers, because of which we have been driven to all this wretchedness of iniquities, and so that you may call for mercy on the part of the judge and rightly say: “You has put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness.”
As to the words of exorcism they have the power to induce you, after having made up your mind to acquire such a great gain, not to remain idle and without work. You are, therefore, ordered in those intermediary days to meditate on the words of the profession of faith in order that you may learn it, and they are put in your mouth in order that through a continuous meditation you may strive to be in a position to recite them by heart. It would indeed be strange that the Jews should have the law written in a book hanging from their hands so that they might always remember the commandments, and we did not impress indelibly in our memory the words of a faith which is so much higher. Owing to the fact that immediately after having received the Divine order Adam met the Demon and was easily overcome by him because of his lack of meditation and contemplation of that order, it is imperative that in all this time you should continually meditate on the words of the Creed so that it may be strengthened in you and deeply fixed in your mind, and so that you may love your religion without which you cannot receive the Divine gift, or if you receive it, you cannot keep it and hold fast to it.
When the time for (the reception of) the sacrament draws near and the judgment and fight with the Demonófor the sake of which the words of exorcism have been usedóare at an end; and when by God’s decision the Tyrant has submitted and yielded to the shouts of the exorcist and been condemned, so that he is in nothing near to you and you are completely free from any disturbance from him; and when you have possessed the happiness of this enrolment without any hindrance óyou are brought by duly appointed persons to the priest, as it is before him that you have to make your engagements and promises to God. These deal with the faith and the Creed, which by a solemn asseveration you declare that you will keep steadfastly, and that you will not, like Adam, the father of our race, reject the cause of all good things, but that you will remain till the end in the doctrine of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, while thinking of the same Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one Divine nature which is eternal and cause of everything, and to the discipleship of which you have been admitted by faith. It is in their names that you receive the happiness of this enrolment which consists in the participation in heavenly benefits.
When a person wishes to enter the house of a man of power in this world, with the intention of doing some work in it, he does not go direct to the master of the house and make his engagement and his contract with himóas it is unbecoming to the master of the house to condescend to such a conversation óbut goes to the majordomo and agrees with him about his work, and through him agrees with the master of the house, to whom the house and all its contents belong. In this same way you act, you who draw near to the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, as the blessed Paul says, because God is as much greater than we are as He is higher in His nature than we are, and is for ever invisible, and dwells in a light which is ineffable, according to the words of the blessed Paul. We approach, therefore, the majordomo of this house, that is to say, of the Church, and this majordomo is the priest, who has been found worthy to preside over the Church; and after we have recited our profession of faith before him, we make with God, through him, our contract and our engagements concerning the faith, and we solemnly declare that we will be His servants, that we will work for Him and remain with Him till the end, and that we will keep His love always and without a change. After we have, by our profession of faith, made our contracts and engagements with God our Lord, through the intermediary of the priest, we become worthy to enter His house and enjoy its sight, its knowledge and its habitation, and to be also enrolled in the city and its citizenship. We then become the owners of a great confidence.
As all this happens to us through the Sacrament, to which we draw near after our profession of faith, it is necessary to say what it is and how it is performed. It would indeed be strange to explain the reasons for the ceremonies that precede the Sacrament and neglect the teaching of the Sacrament itself. As, however, we have exceeded our usual time limits, and as the things that have been, said are difficult to remember, we shall postpone what we have to say to another day, and we shall put here an end to our speech while glorifying God the Father, and His Only Begotten Son, and His Holy Spirit, now, always and for ever and ever. Amen.