Thursday, April 27, 2006

Cyril on Baptism


After these things, ye were led to the holy pool of Divine Baptism, as Christ was carried from the Cross to the Sepulchre which is before our eyes. And each of you was asked, whether he believed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and ye made that saving confession, and descended three times into the water, and ascended again; here also hinting by a symbol at the three days burial of Christ. For as our Saviour passed three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, so you also in your first ascent out of the water, represented the first day of Christ in the earth, and by your descent, the night; for as he who is in the night, no longer sees, but he who is in the day, remains in the light, so in the descent, as in the night, ye saw nothing, but in ascending again ye were as in the day.

And at the self-same moment ye were both dying and being born; and that Water of salvation was at once your grave and your mother. And what Solomon spoke of others will suit you also; for he said, in that case, There is a time to bear and a time to die; but to you, in the reverse order, there was a time to die and a time to be born; and one and the same time effected both of these, and your birth went hand in hand with your death.

O strange and inconceivable thing! 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 has freely bestowed upon 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 suffering He freely bestows salvation.
Cyril of Jerusalem, Lecture XX (On the Mysteries II), "Of Baptism," circa AD 347

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-mike- said...

You're such a heretic...

I'm trying to make sacraments mix with presbyterianism. I have been met with resistance. Help me now. Damnit.

Harry said...


Quite interesting stuff here.There seems a deep parallel between the Eucharist and baptism as agents of grace. I realize that some may say 'duhh" but my point is, in both areas much of what is taught, written and spoken is concerned only with the symbolic or memorial aspects of these two ordinances. As fitting as that may be (although I'm not at all certain a tiny wafer and sip of grape juice are very appropriate reminders of Christ's passion) I applaud your efforts to re-value these beautiful, appropriate AND grace-filled sacraments.


Kyle said...

Well Mike, you might go poking around the sacramental theology of Calvin. He did have one. :0)

Thanks, Harry. What I think I'm trying to do with these things is to leave symbolism/memorial questions aside just a bit (not that they aren't important!) and ask, "Whatever these 'symbols' are, what are they for? What do they do?"

I think that way we can get somewhere before getting terribly derailed by the other stuff. I wonder if you read my other little theses on the Eucharist here.