Saint Gregory the Theologian on Baptism

From an Oration on Holy Baptism, by Saint Gregory the Theologian: Jan. 6, 381 AD

If I still worshiped a creature, or were baptized into a creature, then I would not be made divine, nor would have changed my first birth…

I will baptize you and make you a disciple in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; and these three have one common name – the Godhead.  

  1. Believe that all that is in the world, both all that is seen and all that is unseen, was made out of nothing by God, and is governed by the providence of its Creator, and will receive a change to a better state.  
  2. Believe that evil has no substance or kingdom, either unoriginate or self-existent or created by God; but that evil is our work, and the evil one’s, and it came upon us through our heedlessness, but not from our Creator.  
  3. Believe that the Son of God, the eternal Word, who was begotten of the Father before all time and without body, was in these latter days for your sake made also Son of Man – born of the Virgin Mary inexpressibly and without stain, for nothing can be stained where God is, and by which salvation comes.
  4. He is in his own person at once entire Man and perfect God, for the sake of the entire human person who suffers, so that he may bestow salvation on your whole being, having destroyed the whole condemnation of your sins. According to his divinity, not subject to suffering; made capable of suffering according to that human nature which he assumed. He is as much Man for your sake as you are made divine for his sake.  
  5. Believe that for us sinners he was led to death; he was crucified and buried, so far as to actually taste of death.
  6. He rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven, that he might take you with him when you were lying low.
  7. Believe that he will come again with his glorious presence to judge the living and the dead; no longer merely flesh, nor yet without a body, according to the laws which he alone knows of a more godlike body – so that he may be seen by those who pierced him, and on the other hand may remain as God without carnality.  
  8. Receive besides this the resurrection, the judgment and the reward according to the righteous scales of God.
  9. Believe that this will be light to those whose mind is purified (that is, God – seen and known) proportionate to their degree of purity, which we call the kingdom of heaven. But to those who suffer from blindness of their ruling faculty, this will be darkness, that is estrangement from God, proportionate to their blindness here.  
  10. Then, in the tenth place, do that which is good upon this foundation of dogma; for faith without works is dead, even as are works apart from faith.  

This is all that may be divulged of the sacrament, and that is not forbidden to the ear of the many.  

The rest you shall learn within the Church by the grace of the holy Trinity; and those matters you shall conceal within yourself, sealed and secure.