The Shepherd, January 2010
FROM THE FATHERS
“OUR SAVIOUR did not simply command to baptise, but first says, ‘Teach;’ then thus: ‘Baptise into the Name of Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit;’ that thus the right faith might follow upon learning, and together with faith might come the consecration of Baptism. There are many other heresies too [besides the Arians - ed.], which use the words only, but not in the right sense, as I have said, nor with sound faith, and in consequence the water which they administer is unprofitable, as deficient in piety, so that he who is sprinkled by them is rather polluted by irreligion than redeemed.”
Saint Athanasius the Great, of Alexandria, + 373 A.D.
“O STRANGE and inconceivable thing! [In Baptism] We did not really die, we were not really buried, we were not really crucified and raised again; but our imitation was in a figure, and our salvation in reality! Christ was actually crucified, and actually buried, and truly rose again; and all these things He freely bestowed on us, that we, sharing His sufferings by imitation, might gain salvation in reality. O surpassing loving-kindness! Christ received nails in His undefiled hands and feet, and suffered anguish; while on me without pain or toil by the fellowship of His sufferings He freely bestows salvation.”
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, + 386 A.D.
“TOBIAS thus set out and the dog followed him (Tobit 6:2). When the Lord came to save the nations, holy preachers followed in his footsteps to fulfil what He commanded: Go and teach all nations (Matt. 28:19). And so the Lord Himself first filled Cornelius’ household with the Holy Spirit, and Peter duly baptised them with water (Acts 10:44-48). Now teachers are called ‘dogs’ because they defend their Master’s spiritual household, wealth, and sheep from thieves and beasts, that is from unclean spirits and heretical persons.”
Venerable Bede of Jarrow, + 735 A.D.