Mark 1:8

I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
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Basil the Great

AD 379
The baptism of the Lord, however, surpasses all human powers of comprehension. It contains a glory beyond all that humanity hopes or prays for, a preeminence of grace and power which exceeds the others more than the sun outshines the stars. More than this, if the words of the righteous are recalled to mind, they prove even more conclusively its incomparable superiority. Yet, we must not therefore refrain from speaking of it, but, using the very utterances of our Lord Jesus Christ as our guides,we grope along the way, as with a mirror, or through the maze of an enigma. We must speak, not so as to diminish the greatness of the subject, by an exposition made in weakness of body and with the aid of a form of reasoning that is set at naught. We must speak to magnify the greatness and the longsuffering benevolence of the good God in tolerating our stammering attempts to speak about the prodigies of his love and grace in Christ Jesus. ...

Basil the Great

AD 379
The baptism which was handed down through Moses recognized, first, a distinction among sins, for the grace of pardon was not accorded all transgressions. It also required various sacrifices, laid down precise rules for purification, and segregated for a time those who were in a state of impurity and defilement. It appointed the observance of days and seasons, and only then baptism was received as the seal of purification. The baptism of John was far more excellent: It recognized no distinction of sins, nor did it require a variety of sacrifices, nor did it appoint strict rules for purification or any observance of days or seasons. Indeed, with no delay at all, anyone who had confessed his sins, however numerous or grave, had access at once to the grace of God and his Christ. ...


AD 735
It is evident that John not only preached, but also gave to some the baptism of repentance; but he could not give baptism for the remission of sins . Forthe remission of sins is only given to us by the baptism of Christ. It is therefore only said, “Preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;” for he “preached” a baptism which could remit sins, since he could not give it. An example of confessing their sins and of promising to lead a new life, is held out to those who desire to be baptized, by those words which follow, “confessing their sins.”. It says, clothed in a garment of hair, not in woollen clothes; the former is the mark of an austere garb, the latter of effeminate luxury. But the girdle of skins, with which he was girt, like Elias, is a mark of mortification. And this meat, “locusts and wild honey,” is suited to a dweller in the wilderness, so that his object in eating was not the deliciousness of meats, but the satisfying of the necessity of human flesh. The...

Glossa Ordinaria

AD 1480
He said this to do away with the opinion of the crowd, who thought that he was the Christ; but he announces that Christ is “mightier than he,” he was to remit sins, which he himself could not do.
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Gregory The Dialogist

AD 604
Moral., xxxi, 25: Or, by the kind itself of his food he pointed out the Lord, of whom he was the forerunner; forin that our Lord took to Himself the sweetness of the barren Gentiles, he ate wild honey. In that He in His own person partly converted the Jews, He received locusts for His food, which suddenly leaping up, at once fall to the ground. For the Jews leaped up when they promised to fulfil the precepts of the Lord; but they fell to the ground when, by their evil works, they affirmed that they had not heard them. They made therefore a leap upwards in words, and fell downby their actions. Shoes also are made from the skins of dead animals. The Lord, therefore, coming incarnate, appeared as it were with shoes on His feet, for He assumed in His divinity the dead skins ofour corruption. Or else; it was a custom among the ancients, that if a man refused to take as his wife the woman whom he ought to take, he who offered himself as her husband by right of kindred took off that man’s sho...


AD 420
According to the above-mentioned prophecy of Isaiah, the way of the Lord is prepared by John, through faith, baptism, and penitence; the paths are made straight by the rough marks of the hair-cloth garment, the girdle of skin, the feeding on locusts and wild honey, and the most lowly voice; whence it is said, “John was in the wilderness. "For John and Jesus seek what is lost in the wilderness; where the devil conquered, there he is conquered; where man fell, there he rises up. But the name, John, means the grace of God, and the narrative begins with grace. For it goes on to say, “baptizing.” For by baptism grace is given, seeing that by baptism sins are freely remitted. But what is brought to perfection by the bridegroom is introduced by the friend of the bridegroom. Thus catechumens,(which word means persons instructed,) begin by the ministry of the priest, receive the chrism from the bishop .And to show this, it is subjoined, “And preaching the baptism of repentance”. Now by John as ...


AD 420
No baptism can be called perfect except that which depends on the cross and resurrection of Christ.
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AD 420
He is drawing a comparison, therefore, between the law and the gospel. Farther, he says: “I have baptized you with water,” that is, the law; “but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit,” that is the gospel.
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
” Because indeed John preached repentance, he wore the marks of repentance in his garment and in his food. Wherefore there follow, “And John was clothed in camel’s hair.”. Vict. Ant.e Cat. in Marc.: But lest he should be thought to say this by way of comparing himself to Christ, he subjoins, “Of whom I am not worthy "It is not however the same thing to loose the shoe-latchet, which Mark here says, and to carry his shoes, which Matthew says. And indeed the Evangelists following the order of the narrative, and notable to err in any thing, say that John spoke each of these sayings in adifferent sense. But commentators on this passage have expounded each in adifferent way. For he means by the latchet, the tie of the shoe. He says this therefore to extol the excellence of the power of Christ, and the greatness of His divinity; as if he said, Not even in the station of his servant am I worthy to be reckoned. For it is a great thing to contemplate, asit were stooping down, those things which ...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
The baptism of John had not remission of sins, but only brought men to penitence. He preached therefore the baptism of repentance, that is, he preached that to which the baptism of penitence led, namely, remission of sins, that they who in penitence received Christ, might receive Him to the remission of their sins. Or else; The garment of "camel's hair” was significative of grief, for John pointed out, that he who repented should mourn. For sackcloth signifies grief; but the girdle of skins hews the dead state of the Jewish people. The food also of John not only denotes abstinence, but also shows forth the intellectual food, which the people then were eating, without understanding any thing lofty, but continually raising themselves on high, and again sinking to the earth. For such is the nature of locusts, leaping on high and again falling. In the same way the people ate honey, which had come from bees, that is, from the prophets; it was not however domestic, but wild, for the Jews had...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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