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To Xystus (Sixtus) II, Bishop of Rome
(Eus., H. E. vii. 9)
(The fifth about Baptism)

I truly desire counsel, brother, and ask an opinion from you, being afraid lest after all I am wrong in my treatment of a case that has come before me as follows—

One who is reckoned faithful among the brethren who meet together, of old standing, having been a member even before my ordination (as Bishop), and I fancy even before the appointment of the blessed Heraclas, had been present at a recent baptism and heard the questions and answers (in that service). He came to me weeping and bemoaning himself and falling at my feet, confessing and protesting that the baptism he had received among the heretics was not this, nor had anything in common with it: for that was full of impiety and blasphemies:101101It is strange that so old a believer should never have noticed the difference before, but baptism was almost entirely confined at that time to Easter and Whitsuntide, and he may have always been absent. and he said that he was now sore pricked in the soul and had no courage even to lift up his eyes to God, 60 because he had started with such unholy words and rites, and so he begged to obtain this thorough means of purification and acceptance and grace. But this I did not venture to do, saying that his so long being in communion with us was sufficient for the purpose. For as he had heard the Giving of Thanks (Eucharist) and joined in saying the Amen,102102Cp. 1 Cor. xiv. 16. The Amen is either that after the Consecration of the Elements or at the Reception of them. and stood103103“Standing” was, and is still, the posture in the East: Scudamore, Not. Euch., p. 637. at the Table104104A somewhat rare word for “Altar” without some descriptive epithet like “holy” or “mystic.” and stretched forth his hands to receive the holy Food and had taken it and partaken of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ for a considerable period, I should not venture to put him back to the beginning once more. So I bade him take courage and approach for the receiving of the Holy Things with sure faith and good hope. But he ceases not to grieve, and shrinks from approaching the Table and can with difficulty be persuaded to stand with (the Consistentes)105105The Consistentes were the last order of penitents, who were allowed to remain after the dismissal of the catechumens and other penitents, but did not join in the oblation or communion itself: cf. Canons of Nicæa, No. xi. for the Prayers.

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