Saturday, December 29, 2007

Holy Water Debate: Part 2b

Here is the second of three Q&A's that make up the second phase of my debate with tfan on the effectiveness of holy water against demonic forces. So far, so good....

Pax Christi,
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Your secondary source’s quotation from the “Apostolic Constitutions” seems to be a corruption of: “vouchsafe them the laver of regeneration, and the garment of incorruption, which is the true life; and deliver them from all ungodliness, and give no place to the adversary against them; “and cleanse them from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and dwell in them, and walk in them, by His Christ; bless their goings out and their comings in, and order their affairs for their good.” (source)
Can you provide any other citation to the Apostolic constitutions themselves?

Well, first off, here is the part in my opening statement where I quote from the Apostolic Constitutions:
  • For example, in the Apostolic Constitutions (400 AD), holy water is called, “a means of warding off diseases, frightening away evil spirits, a medicine for body and soul, and for purification from sins” (see here).

Now, I realize that I was using a secondary source and I apologize for that. But, I don't think that the quotation, as found in the secondary source, is a corruption like you describe it. You say it is from Book VIII, Section II. However, it appears to me that the quotation comes from Book VIII, Section IV, where we read:
  • XXIX. Concerning the water and the oil, I Matthias make a constitution. Let the bishop bless the water, or the oil. But if he be not there, let the presbyter bless it, the deacon standing by. But if the bishop be present, let the presbyter and deacon stand by, and let him say thus: O Lord of hosts, the God of powers, the creator of the waters, and the supplier of oil, who art compassionate, and a lover of mankind, who hast given water for drink and for cleansing, and oil to give man a cheerful and joyful countenance; do Thou now also sanctify this water and this oil through Thy Christ, in the name of him or her that has offered them, and grant them a power to restore health, to drive away diseases, to banish demons, and to disperse all snares through Christ our hope, with whom glory, honour, and worship be to Thee, and to the Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen.

I should have looked that up in the beginning, but I didn't have the time. At any rate, that is the most explicit statement I was able to find in the Apostolic Constitutions. There are two other passages (from Book VII, Section III) that I found interesting, but they aren't as important to me as the more explicit statement. They include the following:
  • "Let him be instructed why the world was made, and why man was appointed to be a citizen therein; let him also know his own nature, of what sort it is; let him be taught how God punished the wicked with water and fire, and did glorify the saints in every generation"
  • "Him, therefore, let the priest even now call upon in baptism, and let him say: Look down from heaven, and sanctify this water, and give it grace and power, that so he that is to be baptized, according to the command of Thy Christ, may be crucified with Him, and may die with Him, and may be buried with Him, and may rise with Him to the adoption which is in Him, that he may be dead to sin and live to righteousness."

I hope that answers your question.

Pax Christi,

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