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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part III: Types of the Red Sea, and the Water from the Rock.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter IX.—Types of the Red Sea, and the Water from the Rock.

How many, therefore, are the pleas 8617 of nature, how many the privileges of grace, how many the solemnities of discipline, the figures, the preparations, the prayers, which have ordained the sanctity of water? First, indeed, when the people, set unconditionally free, 8618 escaped the violence of the Egyptian king by crossing over through water, it was water that extinguished 8619 the king himself, with his entire forces. 8620 What figure more manifestly fulfilled in the sacrament of baptism? The nations are set free from the world 8621 by means of water, to wit: and the devil, their old tyrant, they leave quite behind, overwhelmed in the water. Again, water is restored from its defect of “bitterness” to its native grace of “sweetness” by the tree 8622 of Moses. That tree was Christ, 8623 restoring, to wit, of Himself, the veins of sometime envenomed and bitter nature into the all-salutary waters of baptism. This is the water which flowed continuously down for the people from the “accompanying rock;” for if Christ is “the Rock,” without doubt we see baptism blest by the water in Christ. How mighty is the grace of water, in the sight of God and His Christ, for the confirmation of baptism!  Never is Christ without water: if, that is, He is Himself baptized in water8624 inaugurates in water the first rudimentary displays of His power, when invited to the nuptials; 8625 invites the thirsty, when He makes a discourse, to His own sempiternal water8626 approves, when teaching concerning love, 8627 among works of charity, 8628 the cup of water offered to a poor (child); 8629 recruits His strength at a well8630 walks over the water8631 willingly crosses the sea8632 ministers water to His disciples. 8633 Onward even to the passion does the witness of baptism last: while He is being surrendered to the cross, water intervenes; witness Pilate’s hands: 8634 when He is wounded, forth from His side bursts water; witness the soldier’s lance! 8635



Patrocinia—“pleas in defence.”


“Libere expeditus,” set free, and that without any conditions, such as Pharaoh had from time to time tried to impose. See Exod. 8:25, 28, Exod. 10:10, 11, 24.


“Extinxit,” as it does fire.


Ex. xiv. 27-30.




See Exod. 15:24, 25.


“The Tree of Life,” “the True Vine,” etc.


Matt. iii. 13-17.


John ii. 1-11.


John 7:37, 38.


Agape. See de Orat. c. 28, ad fin.


Dilectionis. See de Patien. c. xii.


Matt. x. 42.


John iv. 6.


Matt. xiv. 25.


Mark iv. 36.


John xiii. 1-12.


Matt. xxvii. 24. Comp. de Orat. c. xiii.


John xix. 34. See c. xviii. sub fin.

Next: Of John's Baptism.

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