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Particulars of Christianity:
401 First Eight Writers' Consensus

6: Baptisms

Early Church Confirmation Rubric
Early Church Consensus: Introduction
1: Nature of the Godhead
2: Covenants & O.T. Saints Relationship to the Church
3: Kingdom (Hell), Timing of 2nd Advent and Kingdom
4-5: Age of the World (6000 Years); Communion Meal
6: Baptisms
7-8: Law of Christ; Repentance
9-12: Excommunication; Divorce; Sabbath; Tithing
13: Freewill (A) Against Original Sin and Total Depravity
13: Freewill (B) Against Unconditional Election
13: Freewill (C-D) Against Ltd. Atmt.; Ir. Grace, OSAS
14-15: Church Authority; Roles of Men and Women
16-18: Charismatic Gifts; Civil Gov't., War; Men & Angels
Addendum 1: Eternal Begetting - Irenaeus and Ignatius
Addendum 2: Eternal Begetting - Justin Martyr

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6) View of Baptisms

There were two forms of baptism, not one. They were water baptism and baptism in the Holy Spirit. Water baptism was viewed as associated with the various Old Testament washing rituals, the baptism of John the Baptist, and the forerunner or outward symbol of baptism in the Holy Spirit. Baptism in the Holy Spirit was another term for the rebirth and was seen as the ultimate form of baptism, the baptism brought by Jesus Christ, and the baptism that brought salvation. Baptism in the Holy Spirit literally referred to the internal cleansing that occurred over the lifetime of a believer as they learned to follow the Holy Spirit in obedience to Jesus’ commands. The rebirth was the time when the Holy Spirit first came into a person’s life and began this work, which normally occurred at the time of water baptism. As such, water baptism was seen as the believers’ voluntary commitment to live as a disciple and to cleanse themselves of sin, (at which point he received the Holy Spirit and became born again). Consequently, water baptism was practiced and was seen as normal but not absolutely necessary since it was the inner baptism by the Holy Spirit that performed what was truly needed for salvation.


NOTE: The quote from Barnabas below pertains to the topic of baptisms.

At the most, phrases like “Blessed are they who, placing their trust in the cross, have gone down into the water” and “we indeed descend into the water full of sins and defilement,” record that early Christians carried on the practice of physical water baptism, without making any explicit comments on its absolute necessity in salvation or its relationship to baptism of the Holy Spirit.


However, the examination Barnabas’ comments ultimately seems to reveal that “water” is intended as a metaphor for a life immersed in the Holy Spirit, rather than as a reference to water baptism.


First, Barnabas does not actually mention “water baptism” but instead he simply says “the water and the cross.” The phrase “of baptism” is added in brackets, which indicate that it is spurious and the editor’s interpolation, not Barnabas’ actual words. (See sub-points 1-2 below.)


http://wesley.nnu.edu/biblical_studies/noncanon/fathers/ante-nic/barnabus.htm, 11:1 But let us enquire whether the Lord took care to signify beforehand concerning the water and the cross.


http://www.bibleufo.com/barnabas2.htm, Chapter 11:1 But let us enquire whether the Lord took care to signify before hand concerning the water and the cross.

The fact that “water” here refers to a life immersed in the guidance of God’s Spirit is best seen in Barnabas’ opening quote on the topic, which comes from Jeremiah 2:13.

In the quote, the “broken cisterns” represent the false gods that Israel has turned to. The “other” baptism that the Israelites had tried to “procure for themselves” was baptism in the spirit of the false gods, when instead they should have been seeking the true God, which both Jeremiah and Barnabas refer to as a “living fountain.” (This is seen in verse 11 of Jeremiah 2, just 2 verses earlier. And although Barnabas does not quote the entire verse, we can assume his familiarity with and intent to reference the entire passage.) Since the “other baptism” that the Israelites sought was communion with other gods, the true “baptism which leads to the remission of sins” must, therefore, be communion with the one true God. The passage from Jeremiah simply does not ever refer to any physical type of baptism, but only uses water to represent communion with the divine, whether true or false.


Similarly, Barnabas quotes Psalm 1 but only cites verses 3-6. Verses 1-2 speak of how the godly will not follow the teaching or ways of the wicked but instead will delight in the law of God. Verse 3, which Barnabas uses to begin his citation, implies the inclusion of verses 1-2 by extension, since it begins with “The man who doeth these things.” “These things” are the actions mentioned in verses 1-2. Consequently, Psalm 1:1-6 is a contrast between the attending to God’s teaching and attending to ungodly teaching. This elucidates Barnabas’ illustrative comparison. Barnabas states that in these words, God describes both the water and the cross.


The cross refers to the tree planted by the waters. As Barnabas goes on to indicate, the cross symbolizes death to sin, through which Christians produce much fruit.


However, from the context of the Psalm, it is clear that the water does not symbolize physical water or water baptism. Instead, the water symbolizes the teachings and ways of God, which nourish the godly tree so that the tree bears much fruit. In this sense, the phrases “Blessed are they who, placing their trust in the cross, have gone down into the water” and “we indeed descend into the water full of sins and defilement” are not literal statements. Instead, they are statements made inside the metaphorical language and imagery of the Psalm. Specifically, “going down” or “descending into the water” is a continuation of the imagery of the Psalm, the imagery of the roots of the tree “going down” or “descending” into the nourishing water of God’s law. As you immerse yourself into God’s life-giving law, you are turned away from sin and cleansed by its teaching, and this parallels the cross’ imagery of dying to the desires of one’s own flesh in order to produce life-giving fruit, even everlasting life. This imagery parallels Barnabas’ quote of Jeremiah. In both cases, the godly seek after the communion and ways of the heathen but the righteous seek after the communion and ways of the true God. And in both cases, the true water symbolizes life immersed in the ways of God, never any physical cleansing ritual.


Additional evidence that the “water” here refers to immersion in the Holy Spirit stems from the fact that Barnabas’ imagery on this topic parallels the exact metaphorical imagery of Jesus’ words in John 4:7-14, 7:37-39 and John 14:12-16:13. Throughout these passages, Jesus refers not to water baptism but to Christians living life full of the Holy Spirit, who reminds men of God’s teaching that allows Christians to produce fruit, convicts the world of sin, and is a spring of living water that wells up to eternal life. Given this similarity to Jesus’ imagery concerning life immersed in the Holy Spirit and the fact that Barnabas himself never mentions water baptism by name, never mentions water outside of metaphorical language, and never mentions water a literal way referring to physical immersion, we are forced to the following conclusion. The “water” in Barnabas’ commentary does not refer to water baptism, but instead refers to the work of the Holy Spirit, which gives us “life” every day, just as much as the cross refers to the work of Jesus’ Christ on the cross, which in turn symbolizes the process of Christians “dying” to themselves every day.


Barnabas –



CHAP. XI.  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(4) another for themselves. The prophet therefore declares, "Be astonished, O heaven, and let the earth tremble(5) 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.(6) 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."(7) 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,s hidden, invisible treasures, that they may know that I am the Lord God."(9) And "He shall dwell in a lofty cave of the strong rock."(10) Furthermore, what saith He in reference to the Son? "His water is sure;(11) ye shall see the King in His glory, and your soul shall meditate on the fear of the Lord."(12) 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."(13) 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,(14) "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."(15) 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."(16) This meaneth,(17) 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.



Justin Martyr –



CHAP. LXI. I will also relate the manner in which we dedicated ourselves to God when we had been made new through Christ; lest, 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 undertake to be able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them. Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, "Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.(6) Now, that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter into their mothers' wombs, is manifest to all. And how those who have sinned and repent shall escape their sins, is declared by Esaias the prophet, as I wrote above;(7) he thus speaks: "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from your souls; learn to do well; judge the fatherless, and plead for the widow: and come and let us reason together, saith 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 ye refuse and rebel, the sword shall devour you: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."(8) And for this [rite] we have learned from the apostles this reason. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of 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 to the layer the person that is to be washed calling him by this name alone. For no one can utter the name of the ineffable God; and if any one dare to say that there is a name, he raves with a hopeless madness. And this washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understandings. And in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Ghost, who through the prophets foretold all things about Jesus, he who is illuminated is washed.


CHAP. LXV. But we, after we have thus washed him who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching, bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the baptized [illuminated] person, and for all others in every place, that we may be counted worthy, now that we have learned the truth, by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the commandments, so that we may be saved with an everlasting salvation.


CHAP. LXVI. And this food is called among us Eukaristia (5) [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined.



Dialogue of Justin –



CHAP. XIII. "For Isaiah did not send you to a bath, there to wash away murder and other sins, which not even  all the water of the sea were sufficient to purge; but, as might have been expected, this was that saving bath of the olden time which followed those who repented, and who no longer were purified by the blood of goats and of sheep, or by the ashes of an heifer, or by the offerings of fine flour, but by faith through the blood of Christ, and through His death, who died for this very reason, as Isaiah himself said, when he spake thus: 'The Lord shall make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the nations and the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God. Depart ye, depart ye, depart ye,(6) go ye out from thence, and touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her, be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord, for(7) ye go not with haste. For the Lord shall go before you; and the Lord, the God of Israel, shall gather you together. Behold, my servant shall deal prudently; and He shall be exalted, and be greatly glorified. As many were astonished at Thee, so Thy form and Thy glory shall be marred more than men. So shall many nations be astonished at Him, and the kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them concerning Him shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall they consider. Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have announced Him as a child before Him, as a root in a dry ground. He hath no form or comeliness, and when we saw Him He had no form or beauty; but His form is dishonoured, and fails more than the sons of men. He is a man in affliction, and acquainted with bearing sickness, because His face has been turned away; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. He bears our sins, and is distressed for us; and we esteemed Him to be in toil and in affliction, and in evil treatment. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him. With His stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray. Every man has turned to his own way; and the Lord laid on Him our iniquities, and by reason of His oppression He opens not His mouth. He was brought as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before her shearer is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. In His humiliation His judgment was taken away. And who shall declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth. Because of the transgressions of my people He came unto death.


NOTE: The quote above has, on occasion, been cited to support that Christian water baptism is a requirement for salvation. But upon closer inspection it is clear that Justin is saying no such thing. (As we will see, in subsequent chapters, Justin gets more and more explicit about how water baptism is ultimately not required as long as one has the baptism of the Holy Spirit.)


Initially, there are some problems with suggesting that Justin has Christian water baptism in view at all. First, Justin plainly critiques the utter inadequacy of a physical bath in water when it comes to the need to wash away sins, saying “not even all the water of the sea is sufficient to purge.” Second, Justin identifies the true purifying “bath” by contrasting “the blood of goats and sheep” that “no longer purified” with “faith through the blood of Christ” who died for the very reason of purifying men. Since the term “bath” here is being used to describe the purification of a sinner, by identifying that what purifies is faith in Jesus’ blood, Justin is indeed identifying the “bath.” The “bath” is the purification by the blood of Christ applied by faith in Jesus. Third, Justin states that Isaiah spoke of this “bath” and then he quotes a passage of Isaiah that doesn’t speak at all about water, but instead speaks of purification by two cooperative means, departing from evil deeds and belief in the one God would send to die for sins. If Isaiah spoke of the “bath” in this passage, then we are forced to conclude that the “bath” was repentance and belief in Jesus Christ. Fourth, it is very plain from Justin’s words that faith in Jesus is what purifies. This in turn, indicates that anyone who has this faith is purified by that faith, without necessitating a physical act of immersion.


However, if Justin is referencing Christian water baptism as “that saving bath of olden time” which “follows repentance” and “purification by faith,” it is nevertheless implied that the physical bath is merely an outward symbolism after the fact rather than the cause of or a requirement for purification due to the fact that according to Justin the repentance and purification had already taken and this “bath” merely followed it.


Lastly, in addition to following faith and repentance with water baptism, the early Church, even as exhibited in the book of Acts, also understood that baptism in the Holy Spirit (itself symbolized by water baptism and often spoken of metaphorically as a liquid) would follow those who believed and repented. (It is important to note that in the New Testament baptism in the Holy Spirit was first and foremost a reference to the rebirth and continued sanctifying fellowship with the Holy Spirit.) Consequently, it is entirely possible that Justin meant “bath” with regard to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit experienced by Christians as they believed and acted on the teachings and sacrificial example of Christ. If Justin did mean the Holy Spirit, then his words here would align with those of Barnabas above regarding this topic.


In the very next chapter (cited below), as Justin continues this topic, he plainly confirms the conclusion that the “bath” or “baptism” he has in mind is repentance and belief in (or knowledge of) Jesus Christ (whose words the New Testament itself describe as “cleansing water). Justin states again that washing of the body does nothing to purify, but in contrast states that “baptizing” or “cleansing” oneself from evildoing cleanses the entire person. Justin also identifies the “laver” (i.e. purifying agent) as “repentance and knowledge of God.” And he again says that this chapter of Isaiah “announces” the “baptism which alone is able to purify those who have repented.” As we saw, in that chapter of Isaiah, there was no mention of external washing, simply repentance and the death of the Messiah. And lastly, Justin chastises those who understand such things as relating to physical things, such as requiring the eating of leaven bread (itself a symbol of life without sin), and instead insists that such physical things are symbolically meant to indicate true purification, which comes from repentance. It is not likely that he himself is intends to require another physical act, namely water baptism. Consequently, it would seem that Justin believes continuing in repentance and belief in Jesus Christ is what purifies a sinner and that his words in these chapters are not referring to water baptism.


CHAP. XIV. "By reason, therefore, of this laver of repentance and knowledge of God, which has been ordained on account of the transgression of God's people, as Isaiah cries, we have believed, and testify that that very baptism which he announced is alone able to purify those who have repented; and this is the water of life. But the cisterns which you have dug for yourselves are broken and profitless to you. For what is the use of that baptism which cleanses the flesh and body alone? Baptize the soul from wrath and from covetousness, from envy, and from hatred; and, lo! the body is pure. For this is the symbolic significance of unleavened bread, that you do not commit the old deeds of wicked leaven. But you have understood all things in a carnal sense, and you suppose it to be piety if you do such things, while your souls are filled with deceit, and, in short, with every wickedness. Accordingly, also, after the seven days of eating unleavened bread, God commanded them to mingle new leaven, that is, the performance of other works, and not the imitation of the old and evil works. And because this is what this new Lawgiver demands of you, I shall again refer to the words which have been quoted by me, and to others also which have been passed over. They are related by Isaiah to the following effect: 'Hearken to me, and your soul shall live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the nations. Nations which know not Thee shall call on Thee; and peoples who know not Thee shall escape unto Thee, because of Thy God, the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified Thee. Seek ye God; and when you find Him, call on Him, so long as He may be nigh you. Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will obtain mercy, because He will abundantly pardon your sins.


CHAP. XVIII. "For since you have read, O Trypho, as you yourself admitted, the doctrines taught by our Saviour, I do not think that I have done foolishly in adding some short utterances of His to the prophetic statements. Wash therefore, and be now clean, and put away iniquity from your souls, as God bids you be washed in this laver, and be circumcised with the true circumcision. For we too would observe the fleshly circumcision, and the Sabbaths, and in short all the feasts, if we did not know for what reason they were enjoined you,--namely, on account of your transgressions and the hardness of your hearts.


NOTE: In the quote below, Justin quotes the very same passage from Isaiah as Barnabas concerning baptism and like Barnabas, Justin berate baptism by physical water while saying instead that God is the living fountain. These words from Justin mirror Jesus’ description of baptism of the Holy Spirit in John 4 and 7 and they declare the sufficiency of God as the living fountain, which in turn, makes immersion in water unnecessary. In fact, Justin compares immersion in water to circumcision, saying that we need neither. He specifically says concerning physical circumcision and circumcision of the heart that, “we, having the latter, do not require the former.” Given that he lists water baptism here as similar to circumcision, it is more than implied that external immersion is not a requirement in Justin’s view (although certainly it was practiced as a symbolic expression and the normative time of publicly making one’s commitment to Christ).


CHAP. XIX. "This circumcision is not, however, necessary for all men, but for you alone, in order that, as I have already said, you may suffer these things which you now justly suffer. Nor do we receive that useless baptism of cisterns, for it has nothing to do with this baptism of life. Wherefore also God has announced that you have forsaken  Him, the living fountain, and digged for your selves broken cisterns which can hold no water.  Even you, who are the circumcised according to the flesh, have need of our circumcision; but we, having the latter, do not require the former. For if it were necessary, as you suppose, God would not have made Adam uncircumcised would not have had respect to the gifts of Abel when, being uncircumcised, he offered sacrifice and would not have been pleased with the uncircumcision of Enoch, who was not found, because God had translated him. Lot, being uncircumcised, was saved from Sodom, the angels themselves and the Lord sending him out. Noah was the beginning of our race; yet, uncircumcised, along with his children he went into the ark. Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High, was uncircumcised.


NOTE: In the quote below, Justin does not contrast the unnecessary “other baptism” with Christian water baptism. Instead, he contrasts water baptism as unnecessary with baptism in the Holy Spirit, which he says is the only baptism that is ultimately required.


CHAP. XXIX. "Let us glorify God, all nations gathered together; for He has also visited us. Let us glorify Him by the King of glory, by the Lord of hosts. For He has been gracious towards the Gentiles also; and our sacrifices He esteems more grateful than yours. What need, then, have I of circumcision, who have been witnessed to by God? What need have I of that other baptism, who have been baptized with the Holy Ghost? I think that while I mention this, I would persuade even those who are possessed of scanty intelligence.


CHAP. XLIII. And we, who have approached God through Him, have received not carnal, but spiritual circumcision, which Enoch and those like him observed. And we have received it through baptism, since we were sinners, by God's mercy; and all men may equally obtain it.


CHAP. XLIV. So that it becomes you to eradicate this hope from your souls, and hasten to know in what way forgiveness of sins, and a hope of inheriting the promised good things, shall be yours. But there is no other [way] than this,--to become acquainted with this Christ, to be washed in the fountain(6) spoken of by Isaiah for the remission of sins; and for the rest, to live sinless lives."


NOTE: In the quote below, Irenaeus refers to baptism as “that baptism which is regeneration.” The word “baptism” may often be assumed as referential to water baptism. But since baptism in the Holy Spirit is a New Testament synonym for the rebirth that occurs the first time the Holy Spirit comes into someone’s life, it is most likely that Irenaeus is here referring to baptism of the Holy Spirit when he refers to “that baptism which is regeneration to God.” Consequently, this reference to baptism by Irenaeus does not constitute support for the doctrine that regeneration necessarily results from the practice of water baptism.


Irenaeus –



CHAP. XXI. Thus there are as many schemes of "redemption" as there are teachers of these mystical opinions. And when we come to refute them, we shall show in its fitting-place, that this class of men have been instigated by Satan to a denial of that baptism which is regeneration to God, and thus to a renunciation of the whole [Christian] faith.



Irenaeus –



CHAP. XII. 7. But it is evident from Peter's words that he did indeed still retain the God who was already known to them; but he also bare witness to them that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, the Judge of quick and dead, into whom he did also command them to be baptized for the remission of sins...


NOTE: In the quote below, Irenaeus associates the baptism of all nations discussed in the Great Commission with the apostles being given the power of regeneration and the promise of God to pour out his Holy Spirit upon all flesh. Specifically, Irenaeus believes the phrase “Go and teach all nations, baptizing them” is the phrase that conveys God giving the disciples the power of regeneration. But regeneration is nowhere mentioned in the phrase, unless one assumes that Irenaeus understands the “baptism” of the Great Commission to be the baptism of the Holy Spirit and a synonym for the rebirth (i.e. regeneration) by the Holy Spirit. (He even speaks of the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit in terms of purifying Christians from their old habits.) The rest of Irenaeus’ language here overwhelming speaks not of water baptism at all but associating the baptizing of all nations with them receiving the Holy Spirit. Thus, Irenaeus shows that he understands the baptizing of all nations in the Great Commission to be baptism in the Holy Spirit, not water.


CHAP. XVII. 1. And again, giving to the disciples the power of regeneration into God,(10) He said to them," Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."(11) For [God] promised, that in the last times He would pour Him [the Spirit] upon [His] servants and handmaids, that they might prophesy; wherefore He did also descend upon the Son of God, made the Son of man, becoming accustomed in fellowship with Him to dwell in the human race, to rest with human beings, and to dwell in the workmanship of God, working the will of the Father in them, and renewing them from their old habits into the newness of Christ. 2. This Spirit did David ask for the human race, saying, "And stablish me with Thine all-governing Spirit;"(12) who also, as Luke says, descended at the day of Pentecost upon the disciples after the Lord's ascension, having power to admit all nations to the entrance of life, and to the opening of the new covenant; from whence also, with one accord in all languages, they uttered praise to God, the Spirit bringing distant tribes to unity, and offering to the Father the first-fruits of all nations. Wherefore also the Lord promised to send the Comforter,(13) who should join us to God. For as a compacted lump of dough cannot be formed of dry wheat without fluid matter, nor can a loaf possess unity, so, in like manner, neither could we, being many, be made one in Christ Jesus without the water from heaven. And as dry earth does not bring forth unless it receive moisture, in like manner we also, being originally a dry tree, could never have brought forth fruit unto life without the voluntary rain from above. For our bodies have received unity among themselves by means of that layer which leads to incorruption; but our souls, by means of the Spirit. Wherefore both are necessary, since both contribute towards the life of God, our Lord compassionating that erring Samaritan woman(1)--who did not remain with one husband, but committed fornication by [contracting] many marriages--by pointing out, and promising to her living water, so that she should thirst no more, nor occupy herself in acquiring the refreshing water obtained by labour, having in herself water springing up to eternal life. The Lord, receiving this as a gift from His Father, does Himself also confer it upon those who are partakers of Himself, sending the Holy Spirit upon all the earth. 3. Gideon,(2) that Israelite whom God chose, that he might save the people of Israel from the power of foreigners, foreseeing this gracious gift, changed his request, and prophesied that there would be dryness upon the fleece of wool (a type of the people), on which alone at first there had been dew; thus indicating that they should no longer have the Holy Spirit from God, as saith Esaias, "I will also command the clouds, that they rain no rain upon it,"(3) but that the dew, which is the Spirit of God, who descended upon the Lord, should be diffused throughout all the earth, "the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and piety, the spirit of the fear of God."(4) This Spirit, again, He did confer upon the Church, sending throughout all the world the Comforter from heaven…



Irenaeus –



CHAP. XXIII. 2. And immediately when [Philip] had baptized him, he departed from him. For nothing else [but baptism] was wanting to him who had been already instructed by the prophets... For this reason, too, did the apostles, collecting the sheep which had perished of the house of Israel, and discoursing to them from the Scriptures, prove that this crucified Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God; and they persuaded a great multitude, who, however, [already] possessed the fear of God. And there were, in one day, baptized three, and four, and five thousand men.(1)