SUMMARY OF BAPTISM IN THE SEVENTH CENTURY
Adrian is mentioned as the first one who, in this century, declared himself, not so much in words as in deed, against infant baptism; as to the manner, however, in which the Romanists proceeded against him, shall be more fully spoken of elsewhere.
The Bracerensian papists, to prevent the decline of infant baptism, confirm it in a certain council.
The pious adhere to the true ordinance of the baptism of Christ, notwithstanding the power of the pope and the decree of the afore-mentioned council.
In the meantime there were baptized (that is, in adult age), Anastasius, the Persian; Theodorus or Theodus; many hundred Jews; some in Upper and Lower Saxony; some in England.
Probation or examination in the faith, was at his time practiced by the orthodox, as did, among other's, Amandus, Birinus, another teacher.
Those of the Jewish nation now became members of the Christian church; some of whom, after confessing the faith, asked for baptism.
How Zeno of Verona was wont to address the candidates; explanation of his address.
The example of the Egyptian divines, who preached the doctrine of faith, before baptism, to the candidates, is followed by others at this time.
The time for baptism, which was fixed on Easter and Whitsuntide, is ordained to everyday, on account of infant baptism. The pope also decrees that during the mass the kiss of peace be offered to the people, in order that the mass, which, it appears, was esteemed but little by many, might be regarded the more highly.
The believers were not turned away from their faith, by said papal decree; nay, it appears that even some of the Roman church declared themselves against the papal superstitions; as, 1. Isidorus, 2. Cesarius, 3. Adelheymius, 4. Agatho, 5. Julian Pomorius. In the meantime, mention is also made of Isidorus of Spain, and what he has written on baptism, namely of the applicants for baptism, and fellow prayers.
The Christian parents, Lutgerus and Libuga, left their son Lutgerus unbaptized, till he, having accepted the faith in France, was baptized thereupon.
Finally, the difference between those of the Roman church and those who administered baptism upon faith.
Conclusion of the account for this century
Notwithstanding in this century the seat of antichrist was exalted to its highest altitude, inasmuch as the Emperor Phocas, A. D. 606, conferred upon the Roman Bishop the title of Papa, that is, pope or supreme father, which name was first assumed by Boniface III, writing, in the decrees emitted by him to enjoin obedience, "We will, we ordain, we decree, we command, etc.; thus I will, thus I ordain, thus I decree, thus I command;" whereby many superstitions and human inventions were presented to the people as the Word of God; such as image worship, salutation of the sacrament, observance of infant baptism as necessary to salvation, etc.; yet many pious people not only refused to obey all these things which the pope prescribed, but some even flatly opposed it, daring to censure, reject, and contume, some in this and some in that respect, the papal and Roman superstitions, as among other points, was done with regard to infant baptism and all that pertains to it, with which not only some of the common people, but also some eminent and learned men were dissatisfied, so that they abandoned it altogether, yea, indicated by words and actions, that they were opposed to it; which became manifest even in Rome, as will be shown in the proper place.*
* A.D. 605.-At this time, Gregory the Great wrote, "If a bishop, whoever he be, is called a general bishop (that is, pope), the whole church decays." In Regist., lib. 8, cap. 188. Again: ' I candidly say that any one who calls himself a general bishop, or
A. D. 606.-In this very year, in which the pope was accepted, by Phocas, as the head of the general Latin church, the celebrated teacher and Bishop Adrian publicly opposed infant baptism, wishing neither to baptize the children himself, nor to have them baptized, but utterly refusing them baptism; on account of which he was accused by Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, to John, Bishop of Larissa, as appears from a certain letter sent by Gregory to John, in which, among other things, the following is contained, "The second article of the accusation against Bishop Adrian is this: that he refused baptism to infants, thus letting them die." Centur. Magd., Cent. 9, cap. 4, page 141, according to the account in Bapt. Hist., page 496, and H. Mont. Nietigh., page 80.
It appears, indeed, that this said Adrian was criminally punished for his views against infant baptism, and because he let the infants die unbaptized, as is stated by the ancients, and shall appear more fully in our account of the martyrs.*
A. D. 610.-Infant baptism, it appears, being at this time, held in very little esteem by many, whether in consequence of the teaching of the above mentioned Adrian, or for some other reason, so that it was considered useless and not necessary to salvation, those of the Roman church publicly opposed this sentiment, in order either to eradicate it, or, at least, to excommunicate it by the anathema of the pope; wherefore, A. D. 610, in the second Bracerensian Council, among other articles, it was established, decreed, and published, "That infants must be baptized, as necessary to their salvation." Seb. Franck, Chron., Rom., Kett., fol. 74, cot. 2. P. .l. Twisck, Chron., 7th book page 213, cot. 2.
But how the true Christians, who rightly observed Christ's ordinance of baptism, conducted themselves with reference to this matter, and whether they suffered any persecution on account of it, is not clearly expressed, but, if necessary, shall be explained more fully in its proper place.
About A. D. 620.-Although, through the authority of the Roman Pope, who had been chosen the supreme head of the church, and through the decree of said Bracerensian council, infant baptism was now so firmly established, that no one who wished to remain a member of the Roman church, dared utter a word against it; yet, among those who loved Christ more than the pope, and esteemed the Gospel more highly than the decrees of popes and councils, the true faith and the true ordinances of Christ, especially the article of baptism, were nevertheless maintained aright; concerning which very much might be stated, had not the books and writings of the pious been so lamentably and tyrannously destroyed by those of the Roman church.
desires to be called such, is, in his exaltation, the forerunner of antichrist." Lib. 4, Epist. 30, Sam. Velt., Geslacht Register, page 125.
A.D. 608.-Theophilactus taught at this time, that everyone must and may read the holy Scriptures, if he would rightly instruct his children in the words of the I,prd, On $ph, 6, Sam. Velt., page 152, However, we are in possession of as much testimony from authentic writers, as is necessary to establish said matter.
As regards this, that baptism was at that time administered to adult persons, by those who were opposed to the decree of the Roman church in the matter of infant baptism, appears from three circumstances: 1. from the time of baptizing; 2. from the place of baptizing; 3. from the persons baptized.
As to the time of baptizing, Easter was expressly specified in the Anti-idiorensian council, where it was established, in opposition to those who baptized new-born infants everyday: That no one should be baptized at any other time than Easter, except in case of imminent death. In Decr. Antis.; until which time instruction in the faith was usually given to the candidates, as is sufficiently shown above.
As regards the place of baptizing, it was not in a font or basin, but in the wilderness, here and there at the rivers, whither, as every one can easily judge, new-born infants cannot go; neither can they observe the manner then customary at baptism, namely, to kneel during baptism, and go in or under the water; of which there were many instances at this time in warm countries. Among others, Bede (lib. 2, cap. 16), writes, "That Paulianus baptized many persons at noon, close by the city of Trovulsinga, in the river Trehenda."
This manner of baptizing, by the ancients called immersion or submersion, has long been observed, even up to the present time, especially by the eastern and southern nations, who understood the Greek word bdptisma (baptism), or baptizo (to baptize), to signify a total immersion or submersion in water; however, it is found that, according to the idiom of the Greek language, said words do not only signify an immersion or submersion in, but also a washing or sprinkling with, water. For instance, baptisma, ba˘tismos, is translated sprinkling, washing, dipping, etc. See Dictionar. Tetraglott., in quo voces Latine omnes cum Graca, Gallica and Belgiccu interpretatione. Amsterodami ex Typographic Ravesteniana, A. D. 1634.
However, we leave the above mode of baptism to its own merits; it sufl°irces us to have shown that it could not be administered to infants, and that those who were baptized after this manner, must have been adult and intelligent persons.
As to the third point, namely, what persons were then baptized, has been made sufficiently clear from the two preceding circumstances of time and place; but over and above this, we will mention some persons. At this time there was baptized at Jerusalem, Anastasius the Persian; at Constantinople, the celebrated Persian woman, Caesarea, with her husband and many of her followers were baptized; in Bavaria, Theodorus, also called Theodo or Theodus, with much people received baptism; in Spain, many hundreds of Jews were baptized upon faith, the number of which are reckoned by some writers
to have been several thousands, which number, however, in order not to overstep the bounds of truth, we have not dared to give or,follow; the same, occurred in Upper and Lower Saxony, in England, and other countries, where at this time, it is stated, countless numbers attained to the faith, and were baptized upon it. This is stated in Bapt. HisE., page 491,from John Magnus, Paul Diaconus, Bede, Hist. Gath, etc., which should be compared together.
About A. D. 632.-At this time, probation and examination in the faith were practiced by the orthodox teachers. Those who presented themselves for baptism, whether of Jewish, heathen, or Christian parentage, were first proved and . examined in the faith, which examination generally took place six or seven times in the week before Easter or Whitsuntide; to the end, that the candidates, having made a good confession, and having been confirmed in the faith, might be baptized at the approaching holiday. This custom is noticed by many writers; we will, however, present only this brief extract from Bapt. Hist., page 492: "The Bishop or teacher Amandus made the son of Dagobert a catechumen, before he baptized him." Regina, lib. 1. In Lower Saxony, Birinus observed it as a rule not to baptize people before he had catechized, that is, instructed, them. Bede, lib. 4, cap. 16. Another teacher, according to Metaphrastes, instructed a certain Jewish virgin, before he baptized her. Vincent states of Arnulph, that he baptized (that is, after previous instruction), a sick person, who shortly afterwards got well. Lib. 23, carp. 76, by which we would not indicate that baptism possesses any virtue to heal the body; but that it is administered to intelligent persons; and that upon faith, according to the ordinance of the Lord, Mark 16:15, 16.
About A. D. 646.-As the doctrine of faith in Jesus Christ was now greatly spreading, and the believers increased in many places, so that the church, which at times, on account of persecution, had been wont to. hide in dens,and caverns, began to arise here and there, as herbs spring up from the earth in spring-time, her growth was seen to proceed not only four those who, born of Christian parents, accepted the faith, nor only from heathen who became converted to the faith, but principally from the Jews, who had previously been very bitter against the Christians, but who now came in multidudes, as occurred not long since, to be baptized in the name of Christ, upon faith; an example of which is given by Gregory of Turon(lib. 5" Chron. Franc., cap. 11). Some Jews who desired baptism, said with one accord to the teacher, "We believe that Jesus is the Son of the living God, promised unto us for a Prophet and Messiah; therefore we pray to be washed by baptism, that we may not abide in our sins." The teacher rejoiced at this confession, and, in the night before Whitsuntide, when it was customary to watch and to pray, he went to the place of baptism, situated without the city walls; where the whole multitude fell down before him and prayed to be baptized.Bapt. Hist., page 499.
About A. D. 658.-D. Joseph Vicecomes quotes from Zeno of -Verona, a certain address which the latter was accustomed to direct to the candidates, saying, when they were about to be baptized, "Rejoice (beloved friends); it is true, in baptism you are divested of your clothes, but adorned in the heavenly robe, you shall soon ascend again, white as snow; whosoever will not defile it, shall, inherit the kingdom of heaven." Bapt. Hist., page 501, from Vicecom., lib. 4, cap. 10, from Zeno's second homily on baptism.
All these are certainly expressions that relate to intelligent persons, and not in the least applicable to infants; for, when, in the first place, it is, said here, "Rejoice," this is the opposite of sorrIow, which sorrow the candidates previously were wont to feel on account of their manifold sins, over which they wept and mourned; but now, being washed in baptism, through faith and the blood of Christ, they had reason to rejoice, even as the jailer, who, having been baptized, rejoiced with all his house, Acts 16; and as the Ethiopian, who, after baptism, went on his way rejoicing, Acts 8:39.
The putting off of the bodily clothes before baptism;and the putting, on of the snow-white robe of righteousness in baptism, as well as the solicitude not to defile it with sin after baptism, referred to in the above address'to the candidates, is no work for infants, but only for adult persons; hence, the baptism spoken of there, is not infant baptism, but a baptism peculiar solely to the adult and those of reasonable minds.
About A. D. 670.-At this time, the holy baptismal ordinance of Christ was still rightly observed in Egypt; namely, the doctrines of the faith were preached to the candidates before baptism; yea, this practice was so highly regarded there, that some in other countries, separating from the Roman church in this article resolved to restore the Christian religion according to the example of the Egyptian Christians, hence they were styled beginners in the Christian religion. In allusion to this, quotation of Vicecomes (lib. 2, cap. 3), from Jacob Pamelius' book on Tertullian, is no doubt made, saying that the beginners in the Christian religion (that is, those who, separating from the Roman church, established the Christian religion upon the original apostolical foundation), adopted
the practice of catechization (that is, teaching the doctrines of the faith), before baptism from the Egyptian divines. Bap. Hist., page 501.
About A. D. 682.-As the believers who strictly observed the baptismal ordinance of Jesus Christ, increased in no small degree, as can be inferred, in many countries, yea, even in the Roman church, so that, in regard to the time when baptism should be administered, they had, here and there, settled on
a fixed time; namely, that it should take place on one of the two feasts, Easter or Whitsuntide, and that to this end, the catechumens should previously be notified and, in the weeks preceding said feasts, instructed in the faith; those of the Roman church, as may easily be judged, were not well satisfied with this, seeing it was a means to completely set aside infant baptism; and not only this, but to abolish entirely all other superstitions and human inventions, which, with so great labor and costs, by councils and otherwise, had been introduced into the Roman church, ostensibly for the best. It was therefore-in order to prevent this, it seemsdeemed expedient to renew and republish the import of what had previously, A. D. 610, been decreed in the second Bracerensian council, namely, "That infants should be baptized, as necessary to their salvation," that is, on pain of damnation. But what was really done in this matter, is not expressed in all its particulars; however, it has not been passed by unnoticed, seeing Pope Leo II, according to the Roman notation, the 82d, who then occupied the chair, ordained: That during mass the kiss of peace should be offered to the people, and that baptism might be administered any day. P. J. Twisck, Chron., page 233, col. 1, from Hist. Georg., lib. 4. Chron., S. F., fol. 19.
From this it can be seen that the pope's principal concern was, not to lose the mass and infant baptism, both of which were chief points upon which rested the Roman church, as the temple of Dagon upon two pillars, which were threatened, now by this Samson and now by another, by the arms of the Spirit and the Word of God, yea, were in danger of being utterly pulled out and broken. Now, what does the pope to prevent this? As regards the mass, he ordains that during mass the kiss of peace should be offered to the people. But how could he more insinuatingly and affably bind the common people to the superstition of the mass, than by offering to them the kiss of peace? But when the lion's skin will not reach, that of the fox is brought into requisition.
As to infant baptism, what does he ordain to preserve it? This: that baptism might be administered any day. But someone may think: This does not concern infant baptism; consequently the latter is not confirmed by this decree. We answer, that the pope certainly sought to establish it thereby; for, inasmuch as infant baptism was weakened in no small degree by the practice of the believers who baptized their candidates only on Easter and Whitsuntide, as already stated, there was hardly another remedy to maintain infant baptism, than to ordain all times and days for baptism, for thus it could be administered to new born infants, who are born not only on Easter and Whitsuntide, but throughout the whole year, and who, according to his view, must then also be baptized.
A. D. 699.-The decree of Pope Leo II, for the confirmation of infant baptism and the mass, as mentioned for the year 682, did not have the effect of causing the believers who had separated from the Roman church, and maintained the baptism upon faith, to swerve in the least from their faith and the practice of the same; on the contrary, it appears that still more, yea, even learned men, separated from the Roman church in this said article and joined the little flock of Christ, so that some of them who formerly had maintained infant baptism, the mass, the traditions, the meritoriousness of good works, and the seven sacraments, now taught differently, and opposed the pope in these points. Of these, five persons are mentioned in the Chronicles, whom P. J. Twisck, in his seventh book, for the year 699, notes, saying, "Isidorus, Cesarius, Adelheymius, Agatho, and Julian Pomorius taught in opposition to the pope concerning the holy Scriptures, justification, good works, that there are but two sacraments, and concerning the name of the church, which was not built upon Peter, but on Christ." Page 238, col. 4, from Joh. Munst., fol. 121.
But pre-eminently is mentioned by other writers, Isidorus of Spain, who, having at one time been a strenuous advocate of infant baptism, now taught and wrote such things as could, with reason and judgment, in no wise be applied thereto. For, commenting on John's baptism, which even our opponents admit to have been administered only to adult, penitent sinners, he compares it to the baptism of his own time, saying, "I hold that all who were baptized by John unto repentance, were patterns of the catechumens." Bapt. Hist., page 498,from hicecom, lib. 2, cap. 4, from Isidorus of Spain, in lib. de Div. Oficiis.
What kind of persons these catechumens were, and how they were instructed before baptism in the doctrine of the faith, called the catechism, has already been sufficiently explained, and it is not necessary to repeat it here: yet, over and above this, we will adduce the man's own words, as I have found them translated in Bapt. Hist., page 499."After the catechumens," he says,"there is the second grade-the applicants for baptism or fellow prayers, that is, those who are striving for the doctrine of the faith, and sobriety of life, in order to receive the grace of Christ in baptism, and, hence, are called fellow prayers, that is, such as pray for the grace of Christ." Lib. 2, de Div. Oficiis, cap. 21.
What took place ultimately with these applicants for baptism, in his time, he indicates with these words, "On Palm Sunday (that is, the Sunday before Easter), the Symbolium (that is, the twelve articles of faith) is delivered to the applicants for baptism, on account of the approaching glorious Easter feast, in order that they, as striving to receive the grace of God (that is, baptism) should first learn the faith which we confess." Bap. Hist., page 499, from Isid., lib. 2, de Div. 0,f., cap. 27.
These words, compared with the preceding ones, clearly show, what custom as regards baptism, pre-
vailed at that time in the church of which he speaks; namely, that the catechumens, or, at least, the novices, were first instructed in the catechism, that is, in the doctrine of the faith, until they were meet to be baptized; and that from that time on, they were called applicants for baptism, and fellow prayers, because they desired baptism and prayed for it. This could certainly not be done by new-born infants.
As regards that which is noted elsewhere from Isidorus (ex lib. de summo bono ), with reference to other views on baptism which he is said to have entertained, we do not accept it as having been written by him, and this for good reasons, which, however, it would require too much time to relate; unless it be said that he wrote it before he was converted, and had obtained light on the matter; and here we would let the matter rest.
A. D. 700.-We come now to the last year of this century, in which we perceive that at that time not only those of Jewish or heathen parentage, but also those born of Christian parents, were instructed in the faith before they were admitted to baptism; so that the Christians who sought the salvation of their children, left them unbaptized, till they were able themselves to confess their sins, profess the faith, and thereupon desire baptism as a sign of the same. Among these, the two pious Christians, Lutgerus and his wife Libuga, are not considered of the least. It is stated of them, that they left their son Lutgerus unbaptized, till he, having learned and accepted the faith in Jesus Christ, in France, was baptized thereupon, A. D. 700. P. J. Tzerisck, Chron., 7th book, page 239, col. 1, from Grondig. Bezvijs., letter B.
We now leave this account of baptism in the seventh century; in which, on the one side, the oppressed believers. practiced the true ordinance of the baptism of Christ upon faith; while, on the other side, the oppressing Roman church deviated the longer the more from it, so that they not only forsook, but also opposed the command of Christ to baptize only upon faith.
On the other hand, infant baptism and many other superstitions were so firmly established, that almost no one except those who did not fear the anathema of the pope, and death, dared oppose these things. It is truly astonishing, what P. J. Twisck writes, and truthfully, concerning this, in his conclusion to the seventh century, with which we will also conclude this, "The Pope of Rome, having been declared head of all the churches by the Emperor Phocas, gradually established the boundaries of his power, authority and jurisdiction, not only in. but also beyond, Italy, yea, beyond Europe, and this with exceeding haughtiness. The pomp and greatness became unendurable; yea, the avarice of the clergy generally was so great that they obtained ecclesiastical offices through presents, in order to derive temporal gain therefrom, and would scarcely baptize an infant, unless money was given them for it."
Herewith enough has been said regarding this matter, and we will therefore turn to the martyrs who suffered at this time for the truth of Christ their Saviour.