Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume I/Confessions/Book XIII/Chapter 12

Chapter XII.—Allegorical Explanation of Genesis, Chap. I., Concerning the Origin of the Church and Its Worship.

13. Proceed in thy confession, say to the Lord thy God, O my faith, Holy, Holy, Holy, O Lord my God, in Thy name have we been baptized, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in Thy name do we baptize, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,[1] because among us also in His Christ did God make heaven and earth, namely, the spiritual and carnal people of His Church.[2] Yea, and our earth, before it received the “form of doctrine,”[3] was invisible and formless, and we were covered with the darkness of ignorance. For Thou correctest man for iniquity,[4] and “Thy judgments are a great deep.”[5] But because Thy Spirit was “borne over the waters,”[6] Thy mercy forsook not our misery,[7] and Thou saidst, “Let there be light,” “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”[8] Repent ye, let there be light.[9] And because our soul was troubled within us,[10] we remembered Thee, O Lord, from the land of Jordan, and that mountain[11] equal unto Thyself, but little for our sakes; and upon our being displeased with our darkness, we turned unto Thee, “and there was light.” And, behold, we were sometimes darkness, but now light in the Lord.[12]


  1. Matt. xxviii. 19.
  2. He similarly interprets “heaven and earth” in his De Gen. ad Lit. ii. 4. With this compare Chrysostom’s illustration in his De Pænit. hom. 8. The Church is like the ark of Noah, yet different from it. Into that ark as the animals entered, so they came forth. The fox remained a fox, the hawk a hawk, and the serpent a serpent. But with the spiritual ark it is not so, for in it evil dispositions are changed. This illustration of Chrysostom is used with an effective but rough eloquence by the Italian preacher Segneri, in his Quaresimale, serm. iv. sec.
  3. Rom. vi. 17.
  4. Ps. xxxix. 11.
  5. Ps. xxxvi. 6.
  6. Gen. i. 3.
  7. See p. 47, note 10, above.
  8. Matt. iii. 2.
  9. “His putting repentance and light together is, for that baptism was anciently called illumination, as Heb. vi. 4, Ps. xlii. 2.”—W. W. See also p. 118, note 4, part 1, above, for the meaning of “illumination.”
  10. Ps. xlii. 6.
  11. That is, Christ. See p. 130, note 8, part 2, above; and compare the De Div. Quæst., lxxxiii. 6.
  12. Eph. v. 8.