SUMMARY OF BAPTISM IN THE FOURTH CENTURY
At the close of the third century the eminent Arnobius was introduced, and inasmuch as his life extended from one century into the other we refer to him again here in the beginning of the fourth century. He speaks of the virtue and benefit of baptism, as may be seen in the proper place.
Fusca and the handmaid Maura were baptized after previous instruction.
At this time (in the time of Sylvester) there existed such sects as were afterwards called Waldenses, Anabaptists, etc.
One Donates was called an Anabaptist, and his followers, Anabaptists.
Athanasius, while yet a child, indicated, with other children, that at Alexandria they baptized upon confession of faith.
In Canon 12, 13, 15, of the Council of Nice several good things are established with regard to baptism.
Athanasius, having become a man, teaches wholesome doctrine, not only with respect to baptism, but also in regard to other matters of religion.
Soon after him comes Marius Victorinus, who joins together faith, confession, and baptism.
Then appears Hilarius, who wrote very appropriately on baptism, and also opposes antichrist, images, and traditions.
Monica, the mother of Augustine, was baptized in adult years, though she was born of Christian parents.
In the Council of Neocesarea, the candidates for baptism, the baptizing of pregnant women, Christ's baptism, etc., were discussed.
Again sects appear, who were like the Baptists.
St. Martin was instructed from his twelfth to his eighteenth year, and then baptized. He strongly opposed war.
Ambrose was baptized in adult years, at Milan. though his parents were Christians. He advanced sound views on baptism, against war, of the sacraments, etc.
Ephrem, Gregory of Nyssa, the Councils of Laodicea and Elibertum, and also Optatus Milevitanus, give correct views on baptism.
Gregory of Nazianzus, born of Christian parents, was already in his twentieth year when he was baptized. Nectarius was baptized in adult years. Basil, the son of a Christian, and Eubulus, consulted together, and were baptized on their faith, at Jerusalem. Posthumanius made a glorious confession at his baptism. John Chrysostom was suffered by his parents, though they were Christians, to remain unbaptized, not receiving baptism until he was twenty-one years old. Also, his views respecting baptism; his teaching against war, confession, etc.
Jerome, also born of Christian parents, was baptized at Syridon, when he was thirty years old.
Augustine, Adeolatus, Alipius, Euodius, Epiphanies, with his sister, all baptized upon faith. Conclusion of baptism. in the fourth century.
That the holy order of the baptism of Jesus Christ was practiced also in the fourth century, appears from various teachings and examples of the fathers, from which, we shall present only a few, but such as are certain and genuine testimonies.
A. D. 301.-At the close of the preceding century, for A. D. 300, we introduced the eminent Arnobius, and showed that, speaking of baptism, he says, "That the candidates for baptism, when they are baptized, state before the minister their perfect willingness, and make their confession with their own lips."
This Arnobius follows us also in the beginning of this century, namely through the years 301, 302, 303, 304; and having not abandoned his previous views regarding this matter, he confirms them with the following testimonies.
Speaking against the tenets of the Romanists, who ordain consecrated, or, properly speaking, exorcised water for baptism, he writes thus (in Psalm 74), "It is written: Thou breakest the heads of the dragons in the waters; that is," says he,"the heads of the dragons in baptism;" but by saying, in the 'waters, he means to signify that the same baptism can be administered in all kinds of waters, as, in rivers, lakes, wells, baths, seas, etc. In these the head of the dragon, that is Satan, is broken in all waters. Jacob Mehrn. Ba:˘t. Hist., page 323.
Of the virtue and benefit of baptism be teaches as follows, Psalm 32, where the Psalmist says, "In the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him," upon which he remarks, "that men, by the true water of baptism, draw nigh to God, who is a refuge from- the fear of Satan that encompasses us." Jacob Mehrn., page 324.
Again, Psalm 32, he says, "Man is redeemed; no angel, nor any other creature, but man alone praises his mercy, says the Lord, whose sins He forgives in baptism." Jacob Mehrn., page 325.
Although these words of Arnobius are somewhat obscure, yet they contain light- enough, to emit rays of divine truth concerning the matter of baptism. For when in the first place he says, that the head of the dragon is broken in baptism. (by dragon meaning Satan), he certainly indicates thereby, that he speaks of persons who, having attained maturer years, become subject to the as-, saults of Satan, and that these, in baptism, break the head of the dragon, that is, Satan, by means of the true faith, through Christ; hence he does not speak of children-who are ignorant of the assaults of Satan-and, consequently, not of infant baptism.
Secondly, when he says that men, by the true waiter of baptism, draw nigh to God, he certainly indicates that he speaks of men who have departed from God through disobedience,. consequently; of persons who have arrived at the years .of discretion; and not of infants; for how can. any one draw nigh to God by baptism, who has not departed from Him? Infants have not departed from God through disobedience; hence they cannot draw nigh to Him by baptism.
Thirdly, when he speaks of man, who praises the mercy of the Lord, and whose sins the Lord forgives in baptism, he certainly indicates .that he, speaks of men who are capable of praising the mercy of the Lord, namely, men possessing under standing, and who have sinned; for only he that has sinned can have his sins forgiven; but with infants, who have never sinned, no forgiveness can. take place, and consequently, no baptism for the remission of sins. By this the obscure words of Arnobius became clear.
NOTE.-P. J. Twisck records, for .the year 306, that Constantine the Great, the son of the believing Helena, was baptized in Jordan, .in the sixtyfifth year of his age, after having been, instructed (Chron. 4th book, page 89, col.,1); from which it is apparent, that at that time Christians left their children unbaptized, in order that they themselves might believe and be baptized.
A. D. 308.-Fusca, the pious maiden, conceived a desire for the Christian faith when she was quite young, and, having manifested this desire to the servant maid, Mauro, who also felt an inward drawing toward Christ, they were thoroughly instructed in the Christian f aith at Ravenna, . by the teacher Hermola, and baptized. P. J. Tzerisck, Chron. 4th book, page 90, eol. 1, from Grond. Bew. letter B, Leonh., lib. 2.
A. D. 315.-It is stated that already in the time of Sylvester, there was taught and maintained the same doctrine which was afterwards maintained by countless numbers of the baptistic Waldenses, yea, that those churches which in the 11th, 12th; 13th, and in subsequent centuries were styled Waldenses Albigenses, and lastly, Mennonites, or Anabaptists, had existed already at that time, and indeed, long before. Of this a certain celebrated author among the Romanists bitterly complains, in a very old book, saying, "These heretics (the people mentioned above) have always had many sects among them; but of all that ever existed, none was more pernicious to the church of God (understand the Roman church) than the Poor of Lyons (the Waldenses.orAnabaptists), and this for three reasons: In the.first place, because of their antiquity; some asserting that they existed already in the days of Sylvester, others referring them even to the time of the apostles." Jac.. Mehrn., page 615.
In another place Jacob Mehrning writes thus about the above-mentioned people, "This is not a new sect that originated only at that time (that is, in the time of Waldus); for the papistic writers themselves confess that they existed already in the time of Pope Sylvester, nay, long before him, even in the time of the apostles." B. H., page 670. ,
In another place he writes that Flaccius has also recorded the salve, ,from an ancient papistic book, namely, that they existed from the time of Sylvester, yea, from the time of the apostles; and that Thuanus, though he compares them to another people, states that their doctrine has continued through many centuries." Page 682.
The time of the reign of Sylvester, who was the first pope of this name, and on the register of the Roman bishops the 34th, is fixed in the year 315. See P. J. Tze4sck, Chron., 4th book, p. 93, col. l , from Platina, fol. 63. Fasc. Temp., fol. 99, Hist. Georg., lib. 1, Fr. Ala., fol. 22, Chron. Seb. Fr., fol. 13.
A. D. 317.-Donatus, an overlearned bishop at Carthage,* who had many adherents in Africa, taught among other things, "That the preaching of the divine Word and the administration of the sacraments by an ungodly minister, were of no avail. They (his followers) held that the church of Christ existed only among them, and hence, they rebaptized all who wished to adopt their religion, saying that the heretics, or the Pope, had no Christian church, and consequently, no baptism, inasmuch as there was only one God, one faith, one Gospel, one church, and one baptism. 'They, like the Anabaptists, also held,' says Franck, 'that no children, even in the extremity of death, should be baptized, but only believing adults who desired it."
When he was imprisoned he upbraided Augustine, saying that no one ought to be imprisoned on account of his faith, God had given man his free will, to believe as he chose. Concerning all this, see, P. J. Tzvisck, Chron., 4th book, p. 93, c'ol. 2, and page 94, col. 1, from Mertda, fol. 255. Zeg.,
* Seb. Franck notes as the time of the propagation of the doctrine of Donatus the year 334, under the Emperor Constantine, ' He taught," says Franck,"that the Son is less than the Father, and the Holy Spirit less than the Son. This is considered heresy by the Roman church, but when rightly expounded, it may be correct. For Christ Himself with regard to His humanity says, "My Father is greater than I" (John 14:28). And of the Holy Ghost He says: If I depart, I will send him unto you" (John 16:7); as though the Holy Ghost were less than Himself. Franck further says; that Donatus was an overlearned bishop of Carthage, who had come there from Numidia and maintained that the true and only baptism existed exclusively in his church and faith.-Chron. Rom. Kett., letter D.
fol. 79. Seb. Franck, Chron. van de Rooansche' Ketters, letter D., fol. 76, printed A. D. 1563.
As regards Donatus, if it be true that he erred in some things, or failed in some matter of faith, we will not defend him therein; however, this much is certain, that owing to the absence of his writings, we have no other information concerning him, than that which comes to us through the mouth and hand of his adversaries.
Concerning this, P. J. Twisck, in a certain place, expresses his regret, saying, that in his Chronijk, for the year 410, he wrote something derogatory to his followers, before he had been properly informed regarding it; which he afterwards, for the year 417, refutes and explains more clearly by quoting from Bullinger, "That the followers of Donatus were simular to the Anabaptists (whom he calls Baptists); that they taught, that no one ought to be compelled to do good or to accept the faith." Again, "that every heretic should be left to follow his particular faith without restraint or compulsion."
On this account, P. J. Twisck, in the same place, relates from another author, that it is quite probable that these people were burdened with many unjust accusations."It would be desirable," writes he,"to have in our possession their writings, teachings, and deeds; for if it be the case, that they were in all respects like the Anabaptists, and would compel no one in matters of faith, then it is sufficiently apparent, that they are unjustly charged by other writers, with tyranny. I have given this a place here, because the year 410 was already arranged when this reached me." Thus far, P. J. Tzerisck, Chron., 5th book, page 147, col. 2, from H. Bulling. Contra Anbapt., lib. 5, fol. 216, 222.
NOTE.-We accept of the writings of Donatus only that which is good and true; for the rest we assume no responsibility.
About A. D. 318.-It appears that when Athanasius was yet a boy, at Alexandria also, baptism was not administered otherwise than upon confession of faith; at least, that it was not customary to baptize infants, is evident from the following circumstances of a certain occurrence related by Ruffinus and Zozomenus, "When the day of the martyr Peter was celebrated at Alexandria, by the Bishop Alexander, and he, after the solemn service was over, was awaiting his assistants, or pupils to dine with him, he observed in the distance some children playing on the seashore, who, very probably, not for the first time were imitating the bishop and those things which are generally done in church. But when he observed the children more attentively, he noticed that they were performing some mysterious things. Astonished at this, he summoned his assistants to him, and showed them what he had seen from a distance. Then he commanded them to seize the children and bring them to him. When they came, he asked them, what they had been playing, and what and how they had been doing? They, as was natural for their years, at first were frightened, and denied the matter, but afterwards related it just as it had taken place, and confessed that they, through Athanasius, who- in this game had imitated the Bishop, had baptized some catechumens, that is, boys who had not been baptized. Alexander then inquired of those who they said had been baptized, what questions had been put to them, and what they had answered; likewise interrogating him who had put the questions; and found that all was in accordance with the manner of our religion. Jac. Mehrn., 2d part, pp. 356, 357, front Nicephor., lib. 8, cap. 44. Also, H. Montan. Nietigh., pp. 64, 65, from Rufin. Eccl. Hist. 1, cap. 14. Zozom. Eccl. Hist., lib. 3, cap. 16.
From these circumstances it is evident that infant baptism was not customary there. First, when we take into consideration the conduct of these boys, we see that in the Christian church at Alexandria the usual mode of baptizing at that time was this, namely, that the Bishop, or whoever administered baptism, first interrogated the candidates for baptism, and then, after they had answered him, they were baptized.
Secondly, if we consider the boys themselves, who apparently were ten or twelve years old, which probability is increased by the fact that Ruffinus (as H. Montanus shows), calls them catechumens, that is, such as were being instructed in the faith, which is plainly indicated by their performance, since they were able to imitate in every particular such important services. These boys are nevertheless called unbaptized, wherefore Athanasius, though by way of play, baptized them.
Moreover, that these boys were born of Christian parents, appears in various ways, as, for instance, in this, that they diligently attended the Christian assemblies, for without this they could never have represented so completely in all its particulars, the baptism practiced in the church. Likewise, in the fact that Alexander and his assistants (as the account further sets forth), enjoined the parents of these boys, who before were unbaptized, but had now been thus baptized, to bring them up in that vocation, namely, in the Christian religion, which certainly would not have been done, had their parents been heathen and not Christians. It is also stated that this was done with invocation and confession of God's holy name, which certainly would not have been the case with heathen, who worshiped either no god, or many gods.
As to what Alexander held of this performance,' we leave it to its own merits; it suffices us to have shown that at that time the Christians at Alexandria suffered their children to remain unbaptized; inasmuch as they were first instructed, and then baptized upon confession of their faith, which, as has been shown, is clearly indicated by the course of the afore-mentioned boys.
A. D. 333.-It is recorded that in the first great council at Nice, held against Arius, and various
innovations in the church, it was resolved among other things:
"Canon 21. The Paulianists and Photinians shall be rebaptized."
"Canon 12. If any apostatize under persecution, without having been tormented, and sincerely repent, they shall be put among the catechumens for five years, and after two more years, shall be reinstated among the faithful, with prayer."
Canon 13. But they who, for the sake of the confession of the faith, have relinquished the military profession and again return to it, shall do penance for thirteen years, and then be received again; however, if they truly repent, the bishop is authorized to mitigate the term of penance, provided he sees that their repentance is fruitful and devout."
"Canor. 15. Concerning the catechumens who have apostatized, it is decided, that they shall be excluded from the prayers of the catechumens who have not apostatized, for three years, and at the
end of that time be received back again." Jac. Mehrn., pages 352, 353, ex Conch. Nicer. Secund. Ruin.
This is the great Council which is extolled as orthodox and Christian by nearly all so-called Christians. Be this as it may, we see no reason to praise it so highly, seeing that we must honor the precepts of God's holy Word alone, whereas the rules of that council were made by fallible men. Yet, so far as these men have laid down precepts that accord with the precepts of God's holy Word, or, at least, do not militate against them, so far we accept, or, at least, do not oppose them.*
When it is said, in Canon 21, that the Paulianist and Photinians shall be rebaptized, it establishes, that, according to the Holy Scriptures, not every baptism is a genuine or true baptism, and that consequently there is but one baptism which can in truth be called genuine, namely, that baptism which is administered by the true church, and upon the true faith. This is also established at this day b~ the Anabaptists, and regarded as a precept from t'he holy Word of God.
It is also said in the 15th Canon concerning the catechumens, that if they have fallen, they shall be excluded three years from the prayers of those catechumens who have not fallen. This is an indication of the carefulness exercised by that assembly, to admit to baptism, according to the doctrine of the holy Gospel, no unprepared catechumens before they had truly repented after their fall.
The 12th Canon, speaking of the penance to be performed by those who, under persecution, had apostatized without having been tormented; and the 13th Canon, treating of the very great and long
* In Canon 2,"Concil. Nicer.," we have the following, "No one who has recently been received from heathendom and baptized, shall become an ecclesiastic (that is, a teacher or bishop). unless he have been very carefully examined previously."-Bapt. Histor., p. 352, from"Ruffinus"; which quite agrees with Paul's words, I Tim. 3:6, that no novice shall be ordained to the office of a bishop. penance to be endured by those, who, after having become Christians, had resumed the military profession, and thus become apostates; these precepts we say, militate neither against the holy Scriptures, nor against the views of the Anabaptists, but sufficiently confirm them both.
NOTE.-It is recorded that at this time pseudoapostles taught that the church of Rome was rejected of God, and that it was not His church, but Babylon, and the whore mentioned in the Apocalypse, who rides the beast with the seven heads; and that we therefore do not owe obedience to the Pope; that under the New Testament we are in no wise bound to give tithes to the priests; that all manner of swearing is unlawful; that a consecrated church is not better to pray in than a pigsty. Seb. Fr. Chron., fol. 120, col. 3.
A. D. 335.-At this time, Athanasius vigorously maintained the cause of such as had been baptized according to order of Christ, against those who, it seems, asserted that baptism might take place without previous instruction, or confession of faith. He says (Sean. 3., Contra Arian.), "Our Saviour did not simply command to baptize, but first said, teach, and thenbaptize; so that true faith may proceed from the doctrine, and then baptism be perfected with faith." P. J. Twisck, Ch~ron. 4th book, page 99, col. 2; from Grond. Bew., Letter A. Jac. Mehrn., BaQt. Hist., 2d Part, page 370.
NOTE.-At this time Athanasius taught that it is the duty of every Christian, to read the holy Scriptures, on the 6th chap. Eph. Again, he prohibited the practice of making a likeness of God for the purpose of worshiping Him thereby, etc., as being an unlawful thing. Contr. Gent. Sam. heltius, in the Geslacht-register, page 118.
Notice concerning several writings attributed to Athanairius.-The pedobaptists, prone to bring forward everything that seems in anywise to favor their views, were wont to adduce the 114th and the 124th question of a certain book called, Various Questions of Holy Scripture, attributed to Athanasius. But in answer to this we say: that said book is not the work of Athanasius, but of some other author who wrote subsequently to him; as in his 23d question he cites Athanasius as one having lived before him, saying, "This is the testimony of the great Athanasius, a man who was mighty in the divine Scriptures; but we, who are enlightened by him." Moreover, that book contains many opinions foreign to Athanasius, as shown by the Centuriatores Magdenburgenses, Cent. 4, cap. 10, p. 1032. See also, H. Montan. Nietigh., p. 69, and J. M., Bapt. Hist., pages 360, 361.
NOTE. A. D. 320.-Lactantius Firmianus taught at this time: 1."That the sacrifices of the Christian are, a good life, purity, and good works. 2. That there is no religion in a place where there are images. Lib. 2, of the Divine Instruction. Also, Sam, Velti.us, in the Geslacht-register., ˘p. 116;
117. 3. He taught against compulsion of conscience, and revenge, as appears from the following. He writes to the Emperor Constantine (5th book, chap. 20), "The more, the religion. of God is suppressed, the more it breaks forth and grows; hence they should employ reasoning and admonition; it is not necessary to proceed with violence. For religion admits of no compulsion; persuasive words can do more to promote the cause than blows." Again (5th book, chap. 21) he writes, "We Christians do not desire that any one should serve God, the Creator of all, against his will; neither are we angry if he does not serve Him; for we trust His Majesty, who can as easily avenge Himself against those who- despise Him, as He does the vexations and injuries inflicted upon His servants. Therefore, when we suffer such shameful things, we say not one word against it, but commit all vengeance to God; not doing as those who would be regarded protectors of their gods, and very cruelly assail those who do not worship them." Korte ontschuldiging, by P. V. K., edition o f 1643, page 47, frontReligions Vryheydt, 22 part, Q. 10.
About A. D. 340. Marius Victorius writes in the fifth book against Arius, "Everyone that is baptized, and says he believes, and accepts the faith, receives the Spirit of truth, that is, the holy Ghost, and is made holier by him." J. Mehrv., Bdpt. Hist., page 325. I find in authentic writers, no other account of baptism by this Marius, so that this seems to be the only thing he has written about baptism, and from this, too, it is obvious that he must have been a stranger to infant baptism, seeing he joins together confession, faith, and baptism, in the one that is to be baptized.
A. D. 350.-About this time Hilarius attained, to the faith in Jesus Christ, and having been baptized upon this faith, he proceeded to defend the truth which he had received and accepted, and, for the strengthening of the faith he had ,adopted, and that he might live according to the same, he prayed to God (lib. 12 de Trinit.) as follows, "Dear God, preserve my faith and the testimony of my conscience, that I may ever keep that which I confessed in the sacrament of my regeneration, when I was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; namely, that I worship Thee, O God our Father, and Thy Son with Thee, and that the Holy Spirit, that proceeds from Thee, may be awakened."
Again Vicecomes (lib. 2, cap. 27.) quotes from Hilarius, on the 15th chapter of Matt: the following, "They that come to baptism confess first, that they believe in the Son of God, and in His suffering and resurrection; and this confession is made or pronounced at the sacrament of baptism, "
Again, Hilarius writes (vol. 2, de Trinitate), "The Lord has commanded -to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; that is, upon the confession of the Author (that is, Him who in the beginning created all things), and the First-born, and the Free Gift (that is, the Son and--the Holy Ghost)." Jac. Ylehrn. Bapt., Histor., 2d part, pages 371, 372.
HILARIUS ON BAPTISM AND SEVERAL OTHER ARTICLES OF HIS FAITH, ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNT OF P. J. TWISCK
Hilarius, originally a heathen, who subsequently became a Christian, and was baptized at Rome, A. D. 350, was a very learned and eloquent man. He writes (lib. 2), "The Lord has commanded 'to baptize on, or in, the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that is," etc.
He also defended the truth against the Arians, on account of which he was exiled: and he likewise vigorously opposed the arrogance of the see of Rome, and its dominion over other churches, and said that antichrist would devastate the earth through wars and murder.
To those who concerned themselves more in wondering at the building of the temple, than in the' consideration of the doctrine he says, "You are indeed, unwise, to look with wonder upon these things; for, you must know that antichrist shall once, .set, his throne there., "The nature of the name antichrist is opposition to Christ, which he effects under a specious semblance of the Gospel. He transforms himself into an angel of light, that he may alienate the Christian mind. He has already, to some extent, commenced his progress, pretending to be Christ, though he is departed very far from Christ., "They (that is, the Antichristians) ambitiously desire the aid of the secular power, which they draw,to themselves in order to advance their name and honor, and to protect their church; thus working with a worldly ambition, notwithstanding it is folly to employ secular power in defense of the Christian church.
'.'Let me ask you, ye bishops, what aid did the apostles employ in proclaiming the Gospel? by the assistance of what magistracy did they preach Christ, and convert the heathen from idolatry to God?, "Now the church counts the favor of the world, and boasts that the world loves her, who could at no time have been the church of Christ, without being hated by the world."
Again, on the 68th Psalm, he says, "God is now preached, honored, and worshiped in stone, wood, and metal, and the Master-builder of the world, the Father of us all, is fashioned in perishable matter, to which they have been brought by the, enticing words of philosophy. With these and like words he greatly censures the abuse practiced by the church of Rome." P. J. Tzvisck, Chron., 4th book, page 104, col. 1, 2, from Socrat., lib. 3. Casp. Swine, epist. 1, fol. 877. Seb. Fr.
Since the above passages from Hilarius are not only excellent, but also plain, so that they require
no explanation, we leave them and proceed to others who confessed the same faith.
NOTE.-At this time, Hilarius taught that all human traditions, on account of which God's commandments are transgressed, must be rooted out. On Matt. 15, Canon 14. Sam. heltius,Geslnchtregister, page 122. He also writes, "The Father revealed to Peter, who said: 'Thou art the Son of God,' that the church should be built upon this rock of confession.""This faith," he says,"is the foundation of the church; this faith has the keys of heaven." In the same place, as well as in the 6th book of the Trinity.
A. D. 350.-In the meantime we find that the parents of Augustine's mother, though they were Christians, did not have their daughter Monica baptized in her infancy; inasmuch as she was not baptized until she had reached the years of understanding, and this at the time when the followers of Cyprian practiced infant baptism to a very great extent. With regard to this, I find the following account, "Moreover, even in Africa, where Cyprian had held the aforesaid council-to determine on the precise time for baptizing infants-and resolved that baptism should be administered to infants as soon as they were born, it was, about the year 350, not observed by all Christian believers. Of this, we have an example in Monica, Augustine's mother, a very pious woman, born of Christian parents, who also was baptized when she had reached the years of understanding, as Augustine himself testifies." H. Montan. Nietigh., page 71, from Augustine, lib. 2. Confess., cap. 3, and lib. 9, cap. 8 and 13.
A. D. 351.-It is recorded that the Christians at Neocesarea declared themselves openly against infant baptism, in a convention or assembly of the ministers, called the council of Neocesarea; so that infant baptism, which then began to prevail in different places, could gain no support there, as appears from the various rules adopted by this body.
In Canon 5, we read, "If a catechumen who is not yet baptized, and has his place among the catechumens in the church, has been seen in a sin, he shall hear the preaching on his bended knees; that he may refrain from the sin he committed; but if he persists in it, he shall be expelled."
In Canon 6, we read, "Pregnant women may be baptized, whenever they desire it; for in this sacrament there is no communication between the mother and the child which is born of her; but everyone must in this confession himself declare his free will and good intention."
Canon 11, after some other words declares, "The Lord was not baptized until He was thirty years old, and thereupon He preached." Jacob Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., 2d part, pages 351, 352.
First, when in Canon 5, mention is made of the catechumens, it certainly indicates that it was customary to instruct the young before baptism, in the articles of the faith, upon which followed the con fession of the same, and baptism. This cannot be contradicted.
Secondly, when in Canon 6 it is established that pregnant women may be baptized whenever they desire it, because there is no communication between the mother and the child which is born of her, it clearly confirms that infant baptism had no place whatsoever among them, but, that they were indeed inimical to it. It appears that a difficulty was raised at that time, as to whether pregnant women might be baptized or not; for it was thought or feared that the fruit had such communion with the mother, that the child, too, would become a partaker of the baptism received by the mother; which would have been contrary to the views held by the church, that no one should be baptized except upon his own confession of faith, and consequently, no infants, much less unborn children. But this apprehension or difficulty was removed, when it was declared that in the reception of baptism there is no communication between the mother and the child, and that for this reason the child does not participate in the baptism received by the mother. This is too clear to be refuted.
Thirdly, when in Canon 11, mention is made of Christ being baptized when He was thirty years old, notwithstanding that preaching is here spoken of, and that the same ought .not to be undertaken by one before he is thirty years old, the baptism which is administered upon faith or in adult years, is nevertheless also recommended and deemed necessary. For, as Christ was baptized in adult years, and forthwith began to preach, so that the time of His baptism was also the time of His preaching; even so (the Canon apparently means to say), baptizing, like preaching, may only take place in adult years; for as the one requires understanding, so does the other, according to the example of Christ.
A. D. 360.-P. J. Twisck writes, "Notwithstanding that at this time, much bloody cruelty was practiced against the bishop who sided with Arius, so that this party was almost wholly crushed, still, according to history, there remained sects like the Anabaptists, etc. If their books were extant, we might give an account of what they taught concerning all these matters; but as it is, we let it suffice with what others have written." P. J. Twisch, Chron., 4th book, page 106, col. 2, from Jac. P. perm. Onsch., lib. 4, fol. 131.
It is exceedingly to be regretted that so few of the writings of the Anabaptists who lived at that time, are extant; for thereby we are compelled to receive information concerning them from the mouths of their enemies; which information, as we may readily judge, was not dictated by love, but by animosity. However, we owe thanks to God, that even this much has come down to us respecting their history; since Satan, through the instrumentality of his adherents, has always aimed to exterminate, not only their books, but also their lives, yea, their bodies and souls, if possible.
A. D. 362.-Saint Martin, born of heathen parents, when he was ten years old, went, contrary to the will of his parents, to the meetings of the Christians, embraced Christianity and was baptized when he was eighteen years old. Being now a Christian, he desired to be discharged from the military profession into which he had been brought by his parents; hence he said to the apostate Emperor, Julian, that it was not lawful for him to fight, because he was a Christian.
But as the Minorite, Thomas van. Heerentaals, in his Mirror of the Ten Commandments and Seven Sacraments, gives a somewhat fuller account concerning St. Martin, and especially of baptism as practiced at that time, we shall make a short extract from it. He says, "In former times it was customary to administer holy baptism but twice a year, namely, on Easter eve and on Pentecost eve; except in cases of necessity, which was fourfold: 1. In a siege. 2. In danger of martyrdom. 3. In peril at sea. 4. In dangerous sickness. In such cases they baptized all, and at all times, that no one might die without baptism. But when these four reasons did not exist, baptism was administered only on the two above-mentioned days, and that with great solemnity and dignity, and all who were admitted to baptism, had attained the years of understanding; even St. Martin, that holy man, was a catechumen for six years-from the time he was twelve, until he was eighteen years old-before he received baptism." P. J. Twisek, Chron., 4th book, page 110, col. 4, 2.
A. D. 363 and 364.-In the time of Julian the apostates there lived and shone as bright lights; various excellent men, whose learning and piety it is not necessary to extol, since it is sufficiently known. They gave expression to their orthodox convictions by word and by deed, especially with regard to the matter of baptism, that it ought to be administered after previous instruction, upon faith and repentance.
At the same time, A. D. 363, there lived Ambrose, who is stated to have been born of Christian parents. His father's name was also Ambrose, while that of his mother was Marcellina. He, too, was not baptized until the day on which he was chosen bishop of Milan, after having been instructed in the catechism, that is, in the doctrines of the faith.* See concerning this,Tract van den loop der wereld, by F. H. H., printed 1611, page 47, 48, from Paul. de vita Ambrosii. Naucler. Chron. Generat. 13.
Such a procedure, namely, thus precipitately to elect any one bishop or teacher, as is stated here concerning Ambrose, we do not commend; but we notice here, that Christians at that time had not
* Bullinger says that before the days of Ambrose (A.D. 363), Aurentius rejected infant baptism. See, P. J. Twisck, Chron., page 114, col. 2, in the annotation.
D. Vicecomes (lib. 2, cap. 6) records, from Nolanus, concerning Ambrose that in his time, Frigitil, Queen of the Marcomans, having heard from a Christian man, what good things were said of Ambrose, believed in Christ, and recognized him (Ambrose) as his minister. To her, Ambrose wrote an excellent epistle. See, ' Bapt. Hist.," page 462. generally adopted infant baptism; nay, that some, notwithstanding the papal power, purposely did not have their children baptized; causing them, when they had reached maturer years, to be instructed first, and then baptized, upon their own confession.
Ambrose (Sean. 61) makes the statement, "It was customary for all people to be baptized at Easter." In Lib. de Jejunio, cap. 10, he says, "Now comes the day of the resurrection; now the elect are baptized." Yet on I Tim. 4, he says that the sick were baptized on any day. Jac. 117ehrn., Bapt. Hist., 2d part, page 334.
These words of Ambrose confirm our preceding assertion; for when he says that at Easter it was customary to baptize all people, he sufficiently declares that at that time infant baptism was not a custom. For not only at Easter, but throughout the whole year, children are born, the baptism of which, because of the danger that they might die, could never have been postponed until Easter, had infant baptism been deemed necessary for salvation. But Ambrose removes all doubt when he says what persons were baptized then, namely, all people; for by the word people there are generally understood adult or rational persons, and not infants in the cradle.
Moreover; when he writes that the sick were baptized on any day, he proves thereby, that infant baptism was not practiced in the church of which he speaks. For, if it had been customary there, to baptize infants, it would not have been necessary to baptize the sick on any day, since they would have been baptized already in their infancy; or our opponents must show that the sick, who were baptized any day, were also baptized in their infancy; which they dare not maintain, seeing these churches would then have to be regarded anabaptists. Nevertheless, one of two things must follow. Either that the sick who were baptized in their infancy were rebaptized, or that the adults baptized had not been baptized in their infancy. If the former is true, then the Anabaptists, as they are called, flourished already in those early times. But if the latter is true, then there were at that time whole churches who rejected infant baptism, or, at least, suffered their children to remain unbaptized. This is so clear that it cannot -be refuted.
OF SEVERAL OTHER ARTICLES OF FAITH TAUGHT BY AMBROSE, ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNT OF P. J. TWISCK
"Ambrose (on Rom. 1) ridicules those who say: 'We cannot come before God except through the mediation of the saints, just as we come before a king through the mediation of counts.' 'Well then,' says he, 'is not he guilty of contempt of majesty, who ascribes to counts the honor due to the king? Certainly. Why then, will not they consider themselves sinners, who give God's name and honor to creatures, and, setting aside the Lord, worship His servants? Because kings are not acquainted with
the individual wants of every one, interpreters and advocates appear before them; but God, to whom nothing is hid, needs no advocates or informants, but simply an humble heart.', "Again: 'They now bestow such names and honor upon the images,-as they would never have dared to give to the living person, namely, divine honor; and this, when they are dead.' Thus Ambrose reproves the image worship of the Roman church, and (on Col. 1) positively asserts that 'neither elements, nor saints, nor angels should be honored or worshiped, but Christ alone.', " 'It seems,' says he, 'that Ambrose, too, would seek antichrist at Rome;' for he says that 'antichrist shall restore to the Romans their freedom, under his name,' and calls the city of antichrist 'the city of the devil.' He says further, that 'antichrist shall be revealed after the downfall of the Roman Empire, or when the Emperors shall have lost their power;' and history shows that the decline of the Roman Emperors was the augmentation of the power and dominion of the Popes or antichrists., "Ambrose says , further: 'The violence of worldly opponents must not be overcome with worldly, but with spiritual weapons; and heretics must be punished only by exclusion from the church, for the champions of Christ seek neither weapons nor iron balls:, "Again, in regard to marriage he says: 'Purity of the body is something to be desired by us, and I commend it by way of advice, but do not enjoin it as a command; for the virgin state may be advised, but not commanded.' Hist. Tripart., lib. 7, cap. 8. Adolphus Tectander Apol., fol. 163. Casp. Swinch, Epist. 1, fol. 877. Hier. Zanc., fol.65. D. Anth. 1., fol. 116., "Again: The words of Ambrose clearly indicate that he means that the sacrament (the Lord's Supper), should be received under both forms, that is, with bread and wine. Lib. 9, cap. 30. Seb. Fr., fol. 50., "Again: 'The body of Christ is not material or earthly food, or bread, but a spiritual, eternal bread, which feeds believing souls. Regenerated men belong to this table, of which the ungodly cannot partake.' Chron. Seb. Fr. on Ambrose., "Again: Ambrose says also: ' We are in duty bound to examine the churches, and if there is one which,rejects the faith, and does not hold to the foundation of the apostolical doctrine, we must leave it."' In Lucam, lib. 6, cap. 9. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, page 114, col. 2 and 115, col. 1, 2.
A. D. 364.-It is recorded that in or about the second year of Julian, the Apostate, there lived and wrote the very learned, yet humble, Ephrem, surnamed Syrus, who, in writing of baptism, relates that in his time it was customary for people, when they were baptized, to renounce with express words the devil and all his works. Jac. Mehrn. in Ba˘t. Hist., 2d part, page 328. Ephrem (Lib. de Poenit., cap. 5) also enumerates the works of Satan which we renounce in baptism, as fornication, adultery, uncleanness, lying, stealing, envy, etc.
Page 336. He also states (Orat. 3, de S. Lavacro) that it is customary for the candidates for baptism to confess their sins. And from his book on Repentance, chap. 5, it appears that those who were thus baptized confessed their faith before many witnesses, and said, "I renounce thee, O Satan, and all thy works."
Page 324. hicecome (Lib. 1, cap. 20) quotes the following from Ephrem Syrus, "This declaration of renunciation, as it is called, which we make in baptism, seems to be a small matter, but it has a deeper meaning, and he that observes it rightly is truly blessed; for with these few words, namely those spoken in baptism, we let go all that is called evil, and is hated of God, and renounce the same; and these things are not one, two, or ten, but everything that can be called evil, for you say: 'I renounce Satan and all his works."'"This," writes Jac. Mehrn.,"is certainly not a meaningless or frivolous performance that can be imposed on infants."
A. D. 365,-About the beginning of this year, Gregory of Nyssa is mentioned, who, observing, it seems, how some came to baptism, unprepared and with an ungodly mind, wrote the following for their instruction, "When we pass through the sacramental water of baptism, we must mortify in the water all that is evil and vicious, such as unchastity, rapacity, luxury, frivolity, pride, vanity of the mind, envy, and the like. We must also drown and forsake in the water, as much as is possible, not only the gross vices, with their operations, but also the emotions and pollutions of the mind which, in some measure, cleave to human nature." Grey. Nyss., lib. de vita Mosis. Also, Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., page 328.
When at this time some thought it was needful to be baptized in consecrated water, he declared in a certain sermon, that this was not necessary, but that faith and the blessing of the minister were all that a person needed for baptism; for every place is the Lord's, and all kinds of water may be used for baptism, if God only finds faith, for this He accepts, and the blessing of the minister, which sanctifies. Bapt. Hist., 2d part, page 376, from hicecom., lib. 1, cap. 14, from Greg. Nyss.
In another place he very earnestly admonishes some persons who deferred their baptism, that they should have their names registered among the catechumens, in order that, having been truly examined and instructed in the faith, they might receive baptism. Concerning this, I find the following annotation (Bapt. Hist., page 476, from hicecom., lib. 2, cap. 12), "Gregory of Nyssa says in a sermon, to those who had long deferred their baptism: 'Come, ye who are burdened to your sanctification; give me your names, that I may write them with ink in
earthly books; but may God record them on tablets that never perish.'"
Thus, also Gregory of Nyssa, as has been shown, wrote sound and correct doctrine respecting baptism. Besides this we have not been able to find any other testimony from him relative to this subject.
A. D. 366.-Infant baptism, as it appears, beginning to gain a foothold in some places, the teachers at Laodicea, in Phrygia Pacatiana, declared themselves decidedly against it, in a public convention or assembly, in which, among other things, it was resolved, "That those whom it was the intention to baptize, should previously be instructed in the faith, and be examined concerning it, on Thursday of the last week of Lent." Compare Seb. Franck, Cons. Laod., with P. 1. Twisck, Chron., p. 112, col. 1, 2.*
It is recorded that about this time, in another convention of ministers, called the Elibertine Council, it was resolved among other things, "That persons who embrace the Christian faith shall, if they lead a pious life, be admitted to baptism, in eighteen months or two years." hicecont., lib. 2, coup. 8, from the 42d Canon of the Elibertine Council, as noted by Jac.Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., pace 372.
Here we cannot but see the uprightness and carefulness of the afore-mentioned ministers, who, so as not to act contrary to the command of Christ, and baptize .any without true faith and repentance, deemed it preferable to defer for eighteen months or two years, the baptism of even those catechumens, whose life was well spoken of; in order that, having in the meantime well counted the cost, they might erect a good building, and be built up by baptism as living stones in the Christian temple of the church.
In the meantime, it appears that an abuse obtained in the administration of baptism, namely, that a plate was presented to the candidates, that they might put some money on, it (either for the minister, or for the poor). But this was also abolished at that time, with these words, "It has also seemed proper to us, to ordain that hereafter the candidates for baptism shall not put any money on the plate, as has been the custom." Bapt. Hist., page 372, ex Concilio Elibertino hicecom., lib. 4, cap. 2.
From this custom of presenting a plate to the candidates, that they might put money on it, and from its abolishment, the plain inference is, that the candidates were not little children, and that the decree enacted concerning them, did not concern little children, for these have neither the knowledge nor the ability to do it, or voluntarily to omit it.
About A. D. 370.-We are informed that about this time there taught and wrote Opatatus Milevitanus, a. catechist, who, it is stated, by virtue of
* P. J. Twisck fixes this council of 1.aodicea in the year 364, while Seb. Franck states that it occurred in the year 368, but we follow a middle course, and assign the year 366 as its date. his office instructed the young in the articles of the faith, in order that after previous instruction, they might be baptized upon their own confession. Speaking of the things that are to be observed in and about baptism, he says, "We know that in the observance of holy baptism there are three essentials. The first relates to the Holy Trinity, the second to the believer, and the third to the baptizer; but they must not all be weighed in the same balance." Bapt. Hist., page 327, from Opt. Mil., lib. 3.
Although these words seem somewhat obscure, they nevertheless contain enough light for us to perceive clearly, of what baptism, and of what matter he speaks. As regards the matter of which he here treats, it apparently is the dignity of baptism, in order to prove which, he alleges that in baptism there are three very worthy things. Mentioning the most worthy first, he says that it is God or the Holy Trinity. As the second, he mentions the believer, namely, him who stands ready to be baptized; for he is very worthy in the sight of God, since Christ says, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). As the third, he mentions the baptizer, namely, him who has received so worthy an office from God. From these three worthy circumstances he justly concludes the dignity of baptism.
From this it is clear as sunlight, of what baptism he speaks, for in mentioning the believer, in connection with baptism, and speaking of him as the one to be baptized, he certainly indicates that he does not speak of children, or of infant baptism, but of the baptism bf believers. Moreover, a little after the preceding words, he says concerning the candidate for baptism, of whom he speaks, "He follows the faith of the believers."
Vicecomes (lib. 2, cap. 4), cites Optatus Milevitanus, and says that in the 5th book against Parmes he expounds the words of St. Paul, I Cor. 3:6, on this wise, " 'I have planted, Apollos watered,' that is: O ye heathen, I have made you disciples of Christ; Apollos has baptized these disciples."
Likewise in the 2nd book, 7th chapter, Vicecomes writes, "Optatus was a catechist at Carthage." Also, Bapt. Hist., page 375.
These things confirm our. previous declaration; for, when he calls unbelieving and unbaptized persons heathen, and, on the other hand, pronounces those who had been instructed in the faith, and baptized upon it, disciples of Christ, without remarking whether they were born of Christian, or of heathen parents, he declares thereby, that it is not birth, but unbelief and absence of baptism, which constitutes one a heathen, and that not Christian parentage, but faith and baptism, make one a Christian; which well accords with the words of Paul, Gal. 3:26-28, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is
neither bond nor free, there is 'neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
Again, the fact that Opa.tatus, as Vicecomes writes, was a catechist, indicates that at the place where he was teacher it was the custom, to teach the candidates for baptism the catechism, that is, to instruct them in the faith, before they were baptized; hence these candidates were called catechumens.
NOTE.-Damascenus writes that"at this time, A. D. 370, the Gospel was preached in all the world, not by the force of arms, nor by subjugating its adversaries through war, but by a handful of poor, naked, and martyred people, that is, by patience and faith. For, how could the church have martyrs, if she made martyrs?" Damusc., 3 Cent., cap. 33. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, Page 116, cal. 2.
A. D. 380.-Gregory of Nazianzus, in Cappadocia, born of Christian parents, was not baptized until he was in his twentieth year; concerning which, Jacob Mehrning gives the following account, "His father, Bishop at Nazianzus, and also called Gregory, and his mother Nonna, a pious woman of Christian parentage, knew nothing of infant baptism, for they did not have their son (Gregory) baptized in his infancy. His baptism, according to history, did not take place until he was in his twentieth year. Bapt. Hist., Page 354. Also, H. Mont. Nietigh., page 62.
In order to show still further, how vain and useless infant baptism was deemed at that time, by various pious and learned men, and how baptism was even deferred till late in life, we will adduce one or two brief examples.*
A. D. 381.-It is stated that in this year there was baptized at. Constantinople, Nectarius, after he had attained his full understanding, yea, such an advanced age and penetrating knowledge, that he was at the same time elected bishop or teacher of that place, the like of which occurred previously, as stated concerning Ambrose, in the year 363. See P. J.Twisck,:Chron. 4th book, page 122, from Histor. Tripart., lib. 9, cap. 13. Adolph. Apol., fol. 163. Leonh., lib. 2. Merula, fol. 312.
As regards the statement how precipitately and unexpectedly Nectarius was elected bishop or teacher of that place, even as was related of Ambrose, it is not our purpose to defend or advocate it; but simply to show that he deferred baptism in his youth, and was not baptized until he had attained to quite an advanced age.
NOTE.-In A. D. 382, Theodosius, born and bred by Christian parents, was baptized at Thessalonica, by Bishop Ascholius. Hist. Eccl., lib. 5, cap. 6, Socrates. Also, H. Montan., page70.
A. D. 383.-Basilius* and Eubulus, said to each
* About this time (A.D. 380), Ambrose taught that the heathen worshiped wood, because they judged it to be the image of God; but, says he, 'God's image is invisible."-Tom. 4 in Psal. 118, Sex. 10. Stamuel Veltius, in Geslacht-register, page 119. other, "Let us sell all our goods, and distribute to the poor, and then journey to the holy city, that we may behold for ourselves the wonderful works of God, and thereby awaken within us a confidence towards God." Having done this, and taken with them the clothes necessary for baptism, they journeyed to Jerusalem. Vicecom., lib. 3, cap. 4, from Amphilochius. Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., 2d part, page 389.
Amphilochius writes of a baptized Jewish physician, who distributed the money he had gained by his profession, among the hospitals, and gave the rest to other poor people.Vicecom., lib. 5, cap. 46. Bapt. Hist., see above.
We mentioned Basilius and Eubulus, who journeyed to Jerusalem, taking with them the clothes necessary for baptism, in order to be baptized. From this it appears that it was the custom at that time in Jerusalem and one that remained in use long afterwards in many warm countries-to baptize the candidates in or at rivers, and that they went partly or with the whole body down into the water, and then came up again; to which end they divested themselves of their own clothes, usually had on a white or linen garment. This is the kind of clothes that Basilius and Eubulus appear to have taken with them, in order to be baptized therein.
Now, compare this with the baptism of infants in the cradle, and you will at once see that this mode of baptism cannot take place with infants, since they have neither the ability nor the understanding necessary for the observance of such a mode of baptism.
We will now proceed to .the views of Basilius with regard to baptism, and what he, according to the testimony of ancient writiers, has taught and written concerning it. First, it is stated of him, that in writing of baptism, he in no wise mentions infant baptism but, on the other hand, the baptism of catechumens, ,that is, persons receiving instruction in the faith.
Concerning this, H. Montanus and Jacob Mehrning unanimously give the following testimony, "The afore-mentioned Basilius who was bishop of Caesarea, in Cappadocia, A. D. 386, exhorts only the catechumens to baptism, without once mentioning infants, yea, he sufficiently indicates that infant baptism was not the custom there at his time, saying: 'Ye who haye been evangelized by the apostles, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."'
True, he exhorts also the young to baptism, yet not such as are altogether destitute of understanding, but those who can hear the words by which he admonishes them to baptism, that is, adults, and not infants. He uses such expressions throughout this entire exhortation, and also in
' That this Basilius was the son of Christian parents, appears from"Bapt. Hist." page 365. Instances of this kind, it is stated there, occurred at that time also in other places; we mention Basilius, Jerome, Ambrose, etc., all of whom were born of Christian parents, and baptized upon confession of their faith.
some of his other writings, as in the book of the"Holy Spirit," chap. 12, 14, and 27; but nowhere does he mention infant baptism. H. Montan. Nietigh, page 73. Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., .page 365.
Moreover, the words of Basilius, whenever he treats of baptism, clearly express that they cannot be applied to infants. For, showing the nature of baptism, and what it is, he says (Lib.3, Contra Eunom.), "Baptism is a seal of faith." Again (Exhort. ad Baapt.), "Baptism is the mark of the Christian champion." Again (de Instr. ad Bapt. hen.), "Baptism is a likeness of death, burial, and the resurrection of the dead." Bapt. Hist., p. 322.
These things are so clear that they require no explanation, and we shall therefore proceed to what he says further. As regards the form of baptism, according to the institution of Christ, he writes (Lib. 3, Contra Eunom.), "Our baptism is administered according to the institution of the Lord, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."
Again, concerning the faith which must accompany such baptism, he says (Lib. de Sp. S., cap. 12), "When we believe on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, we are also baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." Bapt. Hist., page 323.
Respecting the words of the candidates, and what manner of conduct they observed at baptism, he says, in the last named book, that the candidates for baptism renounced Satan and all his angels. Again (Exhort. ad Bapt.) he states that they lifted up their hands towards heaven; that they kneeled down in prayer. Bapt. Hist., page 336.
He makes mention, moreover, in many places, of various other circumstances and matters pertaining to baptism; of which we will present the following to the reader.
Basilius the Great writes (Contra Eunom., lib. 3), "Faith must precede, if the believer is to be sealed by baptism."
D. Vicecomes adduces from Basilius, book 1, chap. 23, of his Exhortation to Baptism the following, "When wilt thou become a Christian? When shall we recognize thee as one of our number? Last year thou deferredst it till the present Easter; and now thou wilt wait till the next. Take heed, lest thou be deceived in thy expectation of a long life."
Again, chap. 31, Basilius, in the 128th epistle, commends C. Posthumanius, and wishes that he had been his godfather, since the same had made such a glorious confession at his baptism; and this with great contrition, pain, and anguish of spirit; and had evinced in his life and conversation the moderation which the confession of the Christian name demands.
Again, chap. 33, Vicecomes writes, "Basilius is greatly astonished (in the 23d epistle to Boniface), at infant baptism and godfathership, saying 'Since you cannot promise anything certain, either with regard to the child's future faith, or its present thoughts, I pray thee, beloved, what then does it signify that, when the children are brought to
baptism, the parents, as sureties, answer in their stead, and say that the children do that which at that age they cannot even think, or, which if they can, is hid from us? But those who bring the child are asked: Does it believe in God? and, for this age, which knows not whether there is a God, the parents answer: It believes. Thus also the other questions are responded to. I am astonished that in such matters the parents answer so presumptuously for the child: " Bapt. Hist., pages 390, 391.
This can certainly be called a candid rejection of infant baptism, and not only of infant baptism, but of all the absurd questions and answers which
customarily occurred at the baptism of children, and upon which infant baptism was founded. He accuses the children of ignorance, saying that they do not know whether there is a God; the parents he accuses of presumption because they thus boldly dare answer in their stead, and say, "The child believes." The priests who baptize such children, he accuses of folly, because they presented such improper and unfounded questions respecting the ignorant infants, and demanded that they should be answered in the child's name. Infant baptism itself he charges with worthlessness and falsity, seeing, as Vicecomes says, he, in his 23d epistle to Boniface, is greatly astonished at infant baptism.
Basilius, in order to still more fully state his views concerning this matter, adduces various passages, which effectually overthrow infant baptism, and establish baptism upon faith.
D. Vicecomes (Lib. 2, cap. 3) writes thus, "Basilius calls the catechumens nurtured ones, since they were fed and nurtured with instruction in the Christian faith."
Again (cap. 4, Basilius Serm. 1, de Bapt.) he says, "We must know that we must first teach and instruct, and ultimately administer holy baptism to those thus rightly instructed." And, a little after this, "Instruction must precede baptism, and first of all everything which stands in the way of teaching and instruction, must be removed."
Again, in book 3, chapter 4, of the Exhortation to Baptism, he writes, "Examine thy conscience; go into the secret chamber of thy heart; awaken within thee for a time the remembrance of former things."
Again, chapter 5, "As soon as any one came to John, and confessed his sins, however great and heinous they were, he was baptized in Jordan's floods, and immediately received remission of sins." Bapt. Hist., page 392.
All these passages of Basilius as cited by D. Vicecomes, himself a pedobaptist, and noted by J. M. in Bapt. Hist., are so clearly opposed to infant baptism, that further comment is unnecessary. We will therefore let this suffice, and proceed to the
testimony of several other persons in the fourth century.
A. D. 390.-John Chrysostom, born of Christian parents, was at this time baptized upon his faith by Bishop Melitius being twenty-one years old. Episcopii. Antew. op de proeve des Remonstr. Catechism., page 359.
CHRYSOSTOM'S VIEWS RESPECTING BAPTISM
Chrysostom, though he lived in and under the Roman church, and was not fully enlightened in all respects, nevertheless wrote soundly and correctly on the subject of baptism, as is shown by the following extracts from his writings.
Jacob Mehrning, in Bapt. Hist., following the Centurice Magdeburgenses, says, page 403: "How baptism must be received, St. Chrysostom reminds us (Hom. 14, in Marc.): 'Thus ye who desire to receive baptism, since we are all under the dominion of sin, lay hold first of the feet of your Saviour; wash them with your tears; dry them with your hair; and, this done, you may approach His head. When you then descend with your Saviour into the fountain of life, that is, the water of baptism, you may learn how the head of your Redeemer was anointed.'"
Moreover, he explains still further; how one must prepare himself for baptism, and this with such affectionate words as should move every soul.
In Bapt. Hist., page 445, Homil. 13, Mare., Chrysostom says, "Will you come to baptism? Oh how happy are you when you shall be regenerated in Christ! when you shall put on Christ; when you are buried with Christ, that you may also rise with Him. At another day you shall be made acquainted in proper order with the things that are expedient for this mystery. In the meantime I tell you this, that you may know it, and may prepare yourselves for the coming day (namely, for baptism). But may the Almighty God strengthen your hearts, and make you worthy of His baptism. May He Himself come into you, at baptism. May He Himself hallow the water wherewith you are sanctified. Let no one go there with a doubting heart. Let no one say: Do you indeed think that my sins will be forgiven? He that goeth there thus, his sins shall not be forgiven. It is better, not to go there at all, than in this manner. Remember this, especially you who thus receive baptism, that you may serve God."
I beg you, dear reader, to observe attentively these words of Chrysostom. Does he say anything at all different from what the Anabaptist teachers of the present day say? O no! he follows the same course. For, first he says, "Will you come to baptism?" He does not say: Will you carry your infants to baptism? How could he speak more plainly? For, to come oneself, and to desire to come, is certainly no child's work.
Then he says, "Oh, how happy are you, when you shall be regenerated in Christ? when you shall put on Christ?" (namely, in or through baptism). But what else is there said by this, than what the apostle Paul declares of believers, namely, that they are saved. by the washing of regeneration, that is, baptism, Tit. 3:3; and that they put on Christ by baptism, Gal.3:27.
Then he says, "At ,another day you shall be made acquainted in proper order with the things that are expedient for this mystery" (that is, baptism). In like manner, Christ teaches to instruct the candidates for baptism before they axe baptized. Matt. 28.:19; Mark 16:15, 16. John likewise first instructed those whom he baptized. Matt. 3:7, 8. Peter first instructed the Jews. Acts 2:38. Philip first instructed the Ethiopian. Acts 8:34, 35. Ananias first.taught Saul the faith: Acts 9:17, 18.
He further ,adds this wish, "May the Almighty God strengthen your hearts, and make you worthy of His baptism." But who knows not, that newborn infants can not be strengthened in their hearts before baptism? and that, consequently, they cannot receive baptism worthily (that is, with a holy purpose and believing hearts), since they know neither good nor evil. Deut. 1:39; nor their right hand from their left, Jonah 4:11; .and do as children do, I Cor. .13:11. Hence, this wish of Chrysostom, respecting baptism, cannot apply to them.
Finally, having declared, with what heart and purpose we must go to baptism, namely not with a doubting heart, he says, "You who thus receive baptism that you may serve God." These are certainly plain words, which prove manifestly, that the baptism of which he speaks is far different from the baptism of infants, since these are incapable, not only of going to baptism with an undoubting or assured heart, but also of going there at all; not less incapable are they of receiving baptism with the purpose of serving God. Compare this with the words of Chrysostom, and you will find that they are as different from infant baptism as heaven is from the earth.
Bdpt. Hist., page 461. Palladius, in the Life of Chrysostom, speaks of an uproar which the Emperor Theophilus* raised against bishop Chrysostom, persecuting him; which occurred shortly before Easter. There was no other alternative for those who sided with the bishop, and fasted with him, than to go to the Emperor and the Empress, in the week of confession, and to entreat them with tears, that they would spare the church of Christ, especially on account of the feast, and for the sake of those who were to be baptized, having received sufficient instruction for this purpose; therefore, they should release their bishop.
Here again are several items from which we may perceive that in the church of which Chrysos-
It is evident here that either the author is mistaken in the name, or that a typographical error occurred. Theophilus was the name of the Patriarch of Alexandria, through whose instigation, with that of the Empress Eudoria, the Emperor in question, whose name was Arcadius, was induced to persecute Chrysostom.Translator.
tom was bishop or teacher, baptism was administered after previous instruction, and upon faith. For, in the first place, mention is made of the time in which this took place, namely, shortly before Easter, in the week of confession. Any one who has but a little experience, will find that that was the time and week in which it was customary to instruct the candidates before baptism, hear the confession of their faith, and properly examine them, in order to baptize them on the following Easter day. In the second place, mention is made of those who were to be baptized, and had received sufficient instruction for it; which so plainly illustrates what we have aimed to show, namely, that baptism at that time was administered after previous instruction, that we deem it unnecessary to add anything further with regard to it, and, hence, let it suffice.
OF THE BENEFIT, VIRTUE, AND OPERATION OF BAPTISM
Chrysostom on Phil., chap. 3, page 405, says, "Christ has given or ordained baptism as a purgative, and thus we have spewed out all wickedness, and by it have been made free from all our sins. The heat has abated, the fever is checked, all impurities have departed, and through the Spirit all other evil things have been purged out-those springing from fornication as well as those having their origin in the vanity of the mind."
Again, on Heb. 7, "Therefore God gives baptism, that it may wash away sin, and not increase it.
Again, on Col. 3: "Truly, before baptism we were very impure, but after it we become golden."*
Again, on Heb. 11, "What then constitutes brotherhood, if not the washing of regeneration (that is, baptism)?"
Who does not perceive by these passages of Chrysostom, that the baptism of which he speaks, applies in no wise to infants, but only and exclusively to rational persons; for, when he first says to those who wished to receive baptism, that they should (spiritually) take hold of the feet of Christ, and wash them with their tears, and then say that Christ has given or ordained baptism for a purgative, and that they had thus spewed out all wickedness (that is, sin), he sufficiently indicates thereby that he is not speaking of the baptism of infants, since, these cannot do the things which he describes as being connected with baptism.
All these things are still more clearly established by the following passages from his writings, as we shall show.
In Bdpt. Hist., page 406, Chrysostom, on I Cor. 10, says, "The passage of the Jews through the Red Sea was a type of the future baptism." A little further on, he explains this, saying, "For there it was water, here it is also water; yea, here it is the washing, and there it was the sea; here they
* Pure as precious metal.-Pub. all go into the water, there they did likewise. But would you know the truth of the matter? There they were delivered from Egypt, but here from idolatry; there Pharaoh was drowned, but here the devil; there Egyptians perished, but here the old man of sin is buried."
Again, on John 3, Hom. 27, "We have committed many and grievous sins, and, from youth to old age, have not refrained from staining our souls therewith; yet God does not require an account from us, but absolves us therefrom, through the washing of regeneration (that is, baptism), and has freely given us righteousness and holiness, "
How could any one speak more plainly and clearly of the true baptism of believers? For, when in the first passage he says that in being baptized we are delivered from idolatry, and that in or through baptism the old man of sin is buried; and in the second passage declares that they, having committed many and grievous sins, from youth to old age, are absolved therefrom through the washing of regeneration, that is, baptism, it again is very evident that this does not at all apply to children, since they, never having lived in idolatry, cannot forsake idolatry; neither can they, who, being yet in their infancy, have never lived according to the old man, much less have died unto it, bury the old man of sin in or through baptism; finally, they who being still infants, have not attained to old age, cannot or need not be absolved through the washing of regeneration (that is, by baptism), from the sins which they have not committed in this life.
Bapt. Hist., page 410. That baptism ought not to be deferred, Chrysostom (Hom. 1, on Acts) expounds with these words, "If any one say: I am afraid, I answer: If thou art afraid, thou shouldst have received and observed baptism. But thou wilt say: Even therefore I do not receive it, because I am afraid. But art thou not afraid to die in this condition? Thou sayest: Ahl God is gracious. Well then, therefore receive baptism, seeing He is so gracious, and helps thee." He says finally, "It is impossible. I say impossible, that he, who on such a hope defers baptism, can do anything good or commendable."
Bapt. Hist., page 420. The teachers of the church sometimes call baptism a consecration; regarding this Chrysostom says (Hom. 1, on Acts), "Who will fully believe me, how it pains me to the heart, when someone dies, who has not been consecrated," that is, baptized. And, a little further on he writes, "What anguish of soul I experience, when I see how others do not hasten to baptism till their breath is about to leave them," that is, when they must die.
These passages of Chrysostom indicate how exceedingly sorry he was, that some deferred their baptism to the end of life, who ought to have received it in time; yet not before the time of faith or repentance, much less in infancy, since he speaks only of those persons who had voluntarily, and
not less presumptuously, neglected their baptism. Hence it sometimes occurred that persons desired to be baptized in their sickness, yea, on their deathbed, which this good man opposed with conclusive arguments. Bapt. Hist, page 412, Chrysostom says, "The mysteries are glorious and greatly to be desired, but let no soul that is about to die, receive the washing; for that is not the time for the mysteries (baptism), but to make a will; the time for the mysteries (baptism) is when the mind is sound, and the soul purified."
Finally, Chrysostom here again produces two things which do not apply to infant baptism. First, his saying that"the mysteries" (namely, of baptism),"are glorious and greatly to be desired;" for such a desire cannot exist in infants. Secondly, his declaration, that"the time for the mysteries (or, for baptism), is when the mind is sound, and the soul purified;" for infants neither have nor know unsoundness of mind or impurity of soul. Hence neither the soundness of their minds nor the purification of their souls can be promoted or had in view, and baptism can, for this very reason, have no place with them.