Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Early Christian Quotes on Baptism

Early Christian Quotes on Baptism


(1st Century)



This is how to baptize. Give public instruction on all these points, and then baptize in running water, "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." If you do not have running water, baptize in some other. If you cannot baptize in cold water, then baptize in warm water. If you have no large body of water, then pour water on the head three times "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." Before the baptism, the one who baptizes and the one being baptized must fast, along with any others who can. And you must tell the one being baptized to fast for one or two days beforehand.



The Shepherd of Hermas

(1st or 2nd Century)

Similitude 9, Chapter 16:


The angel said, “People were obliged to ascend through water in order that they might be made alive; for, unless they laid aside the deadness of their life, they could not in any other way enter into the kingdom of God. Accordingly, those also who fell asleep received the seal of the Son of God. For before a man bears the name of the Son of God, he is dead; but when he receives the seal, he lays aside his deadness and receives life. The seal, then, is the water: they descend into the water dead, and they come out alive. And this seal was preached to them, and they made use of it so they might enter into the kingdom of God.”



Justin Martyr’s Dialog with Trypho

(Mid-2nd Century)

Chapter 29:


Why do I need to be baptized if I have been baptized with the Holy Spirit?



Justin Martyr’s Dialog with Trypho

(Mid-2nd Century)

Chapter 33:


We, who have approached God through Christ, have received not physical, but spiritual circumcision, which Enoch and those like him observed. And we have received it through baptism because of God’s grace, since we were sinners; and all men may equally obtain it.



Justin Martyr’s First Apology

(Mid-2nd Century)

Chapter 61:


I will tell how we dedicated ourselves to God when we had been made new through Christ. If we omit this, we seem to be unfair in the explanation we are making. As many as are persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true, and strive to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and ask God with fasting for the remission of their past sins, and we pray and fast with them. Then we take them where there is water, and they are revived in the same way we were revived. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, "Unless you are born again, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Since it is impossible for those who have already been born to enter into their mothers' wombs, this is an example to all. And how those who have sinned and repent will escape their sins is declared by Isaiah the prophet; he says: "Wash youself, make yourself clean; put away the evil doings of your souls; learn to do well; judge the fatherless and plead for the widow: and come and let us reason together, says the Lord. And though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white like wool; and though they be as crimson, I will make them white as snow. But if you refuse and rebel, the sword will devour you: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it."


And for this rite, we have learned from the apostles this reason. At our birth, we were born without our own knowledge or choice when our parents joined together, and we were brought up in bad habits and wicked training. Now, so that we may not remain the children of necessity and ignorance but may become the children of choice and knowledge and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again and has repented of his sins the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe. He who leads the person to the water to be washed calls God by thiss name alone, for no one can utter the name of the transcendent and holy God; if anyone dares to say that there is a name, he babbles with a hopeless madness. And this washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understandings. And he who is illuminated is washed in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Spirit, who through the prophets foretold all things about Jesus.


Cyprian’s Letter to Donatus

(Mid-3rd Century)

Paragraph 4:


I was held in bonds by the numerous errors of my previous life. I did not believe that I could be delivered, so I was willing to submit to my remaining sins; and because I gave up on better things, I used to indulge my sins as if they were actually parts of me, and natural to me.


But after that, by the help of the water of new birth, the stain of former years was washed away, and a light from above, serene and pure, became infused into my reconciled heart. After that, by the agency of the Spirit breathed from heaven, a second birth restored me to a new man. Then, in a wondrous manner, doubtful things suddenly began to make sense to me, hidden things to be revealed, dark things to be enlightened, what before had seemed difficult began to seem doable, what had been thought impossible became capable of being achieved.


It was possible to acknowledge that being born of the flesh and earthly, I had been living in the practice of sins, but I had now begun to be of God and was animated by the Spirit of holiness…


Only let fear guard our innocence so that the Lord, who because of His mercy has flowed into our hearts in the access of heavenly grace, may be righteously submit to living in the home of our grateful mind, that the assurance we have gained may not bring about carelessness, and so the old enemy cannot creep up on us again.



Cyprian’s Letter to Fidus

(Mid-3rd Century)

Paragraph 5:


[Regarding how early infants should be baptized]…If remission of sins is granted even to the greatest sinners who had sinned much against God—and nobody is turned away from baptism and from grace—then, how much more should we avoid turning away an infant, who, recently born, has not sinned, except for being born according to the flesh of Adam. He has contracted the contagion of the ancient death at his earliest birth but approaches the more easily to the forgiveness of sins—those sins that are transferred to him, not his own sins, but the sins of another through Adam.



Cyprian’s Letter to Januarius and the Bishops in Numidia

(Mid-3rd Century)

Paragraphs 1-3:


No one can be baptized outside the Church, since there is one baptism appointed in the holy Church…It is required that the water should first be cleansed and blessed by the priest, that it may wash away the sins of the man who is baptized…But how can he cleanse and sanctify the water if he is unclean, and the Holy Spirit is not within him?...Or how can he who baptizes give the remission of sins to another if he is outside the Church and cannot put away his own sins?...


It is also necessary that he who baptizes is anointed; having received the blessing, that is, the anointing, he may be anointed of God and have the grace of Christ in him…


The Church, founded by Christ the Lord upon Peter, by a source and principle of unity, is one.



Cyprian’s Letter to Stephen

(Mid-3rd Century)

Paragraph 1:


“Lay hands on them that they may receive the Holy Spirit,” unless they also receive the baptism of the Church. For then finally, they can be fully sanctified and made holy and be the sons of God, if they are born of each sacrament, since it is written, “Except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”



Cyprian’s Letter to Pompey

(Mid-3rd Century)

Paragraph 5:


He who has been sanctified and made holy has his sins put away in baptism and is spiritually reformed into a new man, fit for receiving the Holy Spirit.



Cyprian’s Letter to Pompey

(Mid-3rd Century)

Paragraph 7:


The birth of Christians is in baptism.



Cyprian’s Letter to Magnus

(Mid-3rd Century)

Paragraphs 15-16:


The determined wickedness of the devil succeeds even up to the saving water, but in baptism, it loses all the poison of his wickedness…The devil is scourged and burned and tortured by exorcists, by the human voice, and by divine power; and although he often says that he is going out and will leave the men of God, he deceives…When, however, they come to the water of salvation and to the sanctification of baptism, we ought to know and to trust that there the devil is beaten down, and the man dedicated to God is set free by the divine mercy...


On the other hand, some of those who are baptized in health are shaken by the return of the unclean spirit if they later begin to sin, so that it is obvious that the devil is driven out in baptism by the faith of the believer, but returns if the faith afterward fails.


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