13 July 2008

Augustine's Baptism

I'm reading Peter Brown's biography of Augustine and finding all sorts of fascinating things, like the account of Augustine's baptism. What if we did something like this today?

Passing behind curtains, Augustine would descend, alone, stark naked, into a deep pool of water. Three times, Ambrose would hold his shoulders beneath the gushing fountain. Later, dressed in a pure white robe, he would enter the main basilica ablaze with candles; and, amid the acclamations of the congregation, he and his fellow neophytes would take their place on a slightly raised floor by the altar, for a first participation in the mysteries of the risen Christ. The theme of 'putting off the old,' of 'putting on the new,' of rebirth and rising again from death, of the consequent ascent of the soul to heaven made possible by the descent of Christ to earth, reverberated in Augustine's imagination.

--Augustine of Hippo: A Biography, p. 124


Anonymous said...

I love that biography. What it lacked, however, in my opinion, was an adequate theological awareness of the Spirit-wrought supernatural realities in authentic Christian experience.

Dane Ortlund said...

I agree. What Philip Gura is to Edwards, Brown is to Aug.