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ANF05. Fathers of the Third Century: Hippolytus, Cyprian, Caius, Novatian, Appendix
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Chapter X.—Elchasai’s Mode of Administering Baptism; Formularies.

To those, then, that have been orally instructed by him, he dispenses baptism in this manner, addressing to his dupes some such words as the following: “If, therefore, (my) children,10201020    Roeper reads τέκνῳ, i.e., if any one is guilty of an unnatural crime. one shall have intercourse with any sort of animal whatsoever, or a male, or a sister, or a daughter, or hath committed adultery, or been guilty of fornication, and is desirous of obtaining remission of sins, from the moment that he hearkens to this book let him be baptized a second time in the name of the Great and Most High God, and in the name of His Son, the Mighty King. And by baptism let him be purified and cleansed, and let him adjure for himself those seven witnesses that have been described in this book—the heaven, and the water, and the holy spirits, and the angels of prayer,10211021    [Concerning angels of repentance, etc., see Hermas, vol. ii. pp. 19, 24, 26.] and the oil, and the salt, and the earth.” These constitute the astonishing mysteries of Elchasai, those ineffable and potent secrets which he delivers to deserving disciples. And with these that lawless one is not satisfied, but in the presence of two and three witnesses he puts the seal to his own wicked practices. Again expressing himself thus: “Again I say, O adulterers and adulteresses, and false prophets, if you are desirous of being converted, that your sins may be forgiven you, as soon as ever you hearken unto this book, and be baptized a second time along with your garments, shall peace be yours, and your portion with the just.” But since we have stated that these resort to incantations for those bitten by dogs and for other mishaps, we shall explain these. Now Elchasai uses the following formulary: “If a dog rabid and furious, in which inheres a spirit of destruction, bite any man, or woman, or youth, or girl, or may worry or touch them, in the same hour let such a one run with all their wearing apparel, and go down to a river or to a fountain wherever there is a deep spot.  Let (him or her) be dipped with all their wearing apparel, and offer supplication to the Great and Most High God in faith of heart, and then let him thus adjure the seven witnesses described in this book: ‘Behold, I call to witness the heaven and the water, and the holy spirits, and the angels of prayer, and the oil, and the salt, and the earth. I testify by these seven witnesses that no more shall I sin, nor commit adultery, nor steal, nor be guilty of injustice, nor be covetous, nor be actuated by hatred, nor be scornful, nor shall I take pleasure in any wicked deeds.’  Having uttered, therefore, these words, let such a one be baptized with the entire of his wearing apparel in the name of the Mighty and Most High God.”


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