own and the Christian's only by grace. This general claim is perhaps so basic for the Christian life as a whole that it typically goes unnoticed, but for Eastern and Oriental Christians it is made dramatically clear by the emphasis placed on chrismation. Based on what we have seen, it is no exaggeration to claim that, through chrismation, the Christian receives from God an identity that derives from Christ. From the fourth to the sixth centuries, the numerous themes enfolded into baptism enriched it conceptually, so it is hardly surprising that consideration of sin and salvation in the literature of our period regularly has a baptismal character. But it may be hasty to suppose that, exotic as such a view might seem, it is the distinctive patrimony of Eastern Christianity, or perhaps of the early middle ages. On 15 May 1881, in the course of a sermon preached at Liverpool, Gerard Manley Hopkins advanced a similar claim: 'Christ was himself but one and lived and died but once; but the Holy Ghost makes of every Christian another Christ, an AfterChrist... '102 Or, as he put it even more strikingly in his 'As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame':

I say more: the just man justices;

keeps grace; that keeps all his goings graces;

Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,

Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his,

To the Father, through the features of men's faces.103


In the foregoing pages, we have noted characteristic features of discourse about baptism during the 'golden age' of patristic Christianity, insofar as they illuminate patristic ideas about sin and salvation. In this way, our attention has been drawn to catecheses, letters, treatises and liturgical rubrics. What has emerged from these sources is a regular effort to understand Christian life with reference to Christ's life. Indeed, as we have just observed, many Eastern Christians (and, thanks to Hopkins, not a few Liverpudlian Christians) were positively encouragedtothinkthat baptism made them into 'other Christs'. But here, as elsewhere, this encouragement was framed with articulate principles of Christian orthodoxy.

One major function of the creed - as indeed of the catechetical lectures during which Christians would have had their first exposure to the creed -was precisely to ensure that the deeply personal encounter with God through

102 G. M. Hopkins, Sermons and devotional writings, 100.

103 G. M. Hopkins, Poetical works, 141.

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