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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
BARNABAS: Chapter XI.—Baptism and the cross...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XI.—Baptism and the cross prefigured in the Old Testament.

Let us further inquire whether the Lord took any care to foreshadow the water [of baptism] and the cross. Concerning the water, indeed, it is written, in reference to the Israelites, that they should not receive that baptism which leads to the remission of sins, but should procure 1591 another for themselves. The prophet therefore declares, “Be astonished, O heaven, and let the earth tremble 1592 at this, because this people hath committed two great evils: they have forsaken Me, a living fountain, and have hewn out for themselves broken cisterns. 1593 Is my holy hill Zion a desolate rock? For ye shall be as the fledglings of a bird, which fly away when the nest is removed.” 1594 And again saith the prophet, “I will go before thee and make level the mountains, and will break the brazen gates, and bruise in pieces the iron bars; and I will give thee the secret, 1595 hidden, invisible treasures, that they may know that I am the Lord God.” 1596 And “He shall dwell in a lofty cave of the strong rock.” 1597 Furthermore, what saith He in reference to the Son? “His water is sure; 1598 ye shall see the King in His glory, and your soul shall meditate on the fear of the Lord.” 1599 And again He saith in another prophet, “The man who doeth these things shall be like a tree planted by the courses of waters, which shall yield its fruit in due season; and his leaf shall not fade, and all that he doeth shall prosper. Not so are the ungodly, not so, but even as chaff, which the wind sweeps away from the face of the earth. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in judgment, nor sinners in the counsel of the just; for the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” 1600 Mark how He has described at once both the water and the cross. For these words imply, Blessed are they who, placing their trust in the cross, have gone down into the water; for, says He, they shall receive their reward in due time: then He declares, I will recompense them. But now He saith, 1601 “Their leaves shall not fade.” This meaneth, that every word which proceedeth out of your mouth in faith and love shall tend to bring conversion and hope to many. Again, another prophet saith, “And the land of Jacob shall be extolled above every land.” 1602 This meaneth the vessel of His Spirit, which He shall glorify. Further, what says He? “And there was a river flowing on the right, and from it arose beautiful trees; and whosoever shall eat of them shall live for ever.” 1603 This meaneth, 1604 that we indeed descend into the water full of sins and defilement, but come up, bearing fruit in our heart, having the fear [of God] and trust in Jesus in our spirit. “And whosoever shall eat of these shall live for ever,” This meaneth: Whosoever, He declares, shall hear thee speaking, and believe, shall live for ever.


Footnotes

144:1591

Literally, “should build.”

144:1592

Cod. Sin. has, “confine still more,” corrected to “tremble still more.”

144:1593

Cod. Sin. has, “have dug a pit of death.” See Jer. 2:12, 13.

144:1594

Comp. Isa. 16:1, 2.

144:1595

Literally, “dark.” Cod. Sin. has, “of darkness.”

144:1596

Isa. 45:2, 3.

144:1597

Isa. xxxiii. 16. Cod. Sin. has, “thou that dwell.”

144:1598

Cod. Sin. entirely omits the question given above, and joins “the water is sure” to the former sentence.

144:1599

Isa. xxxiii. 16-18.

144:1600

Ps. i. 3-6.

144:1601

Cod. Sin. has, “what meaneth?”

144:1602

Zeph. iii. 19.

144:1603

Ezek. xlvii. 12.

144:1604

Omitted in Cod. Sin.


Next: Chapter XII.—The cross of Christ...

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