3. Infant Baptism
Antiquities of the Christian Church
XIV. Of Baptism
3. Infant Baptism.
The general introduction of the rite of infant baptism, has so far changed the regulations of the church concerning the qualifications of candidates, and their admission, that what was formerly the rule in this respect, has become the exception. The institutions of the church during the first five centuries, concerning the requisite preparations for baptism, and all the laws and rules that existed during that period, relating to the acceptance or rejection of candidates, necessarily fell into disuse when the baptism of infants began not only to be permitted, but enjoined as a duty; and almost universally observed. The old rule which prescribed caution in the admission of candidates, and a careful preparation for the rite, was, after the sixth century, applicable, for the most part, only to Jewish, heathen and other proselytes. The discipline which was formerly requisite, preparatory to baptism, now followed this rite as a needful qualification for communion.
Christian baptism has from the beginning been characterized for the universality of its application. Proselyte baptism was administered only to pagan nations. John's baptism was restricted solely to the Jews; but christian baptism is open alike to all. Proselyte baptism included the children with the parents; John's baptism excluded both children and the female sex. Christian baptism excludes no nation, or sex, or age. Comp. Matt. 28:19, 20, Gal. 3:28, 1 Cor. 12:13, together with the authorities of Irenaeus, Cyprian, and Tertullian, quoted below. From all which, it appears evident beyond a doubt, that the ancient church understood that christian baptism was designed for all, * in the fullest sense of the term, – that no nation, or class, or sex, or age was excluded. Of course it was understood to be universal in the highest degree.
In his views respecting infant baptism as above expressed, Augusti, it is well known, differs from many of his learned contemporaries in Germany. In common with all who observe this rite, and maintain the doctrine of infant baptism, the learned in Germany generally admit, indeed, the authenticity of the historical testimony on which our author relies. They admit that infant baptism was an usage of the primitive church as early as the time of Cyprian, Tertullian, or even of Irenaeus; but they refuse to follow us in the conclusion that this ordinance must have been instituted by the authority, and supported by the example of the apostles. They either deny that the baptism of infant children was authorized by Christ and his apostles, or they content themselves with stating the historical facts in relation to the subject – giving the earliest evidence of the rite in question, without advancing any theory whatever respecting the origin of this ordinance.
For the gratification of the common reader, the views of some of the learned German scholars on this vexed question in theology are given below.
Baumgarten-Crusius supposes that infant baptism was not inconsistent with the views of the primitive church. But he finds no satisfactory evidence of the practice of the rite in the first two centuries. He admits that it was practised in the time of Cyprian, and of Terlullian, and that in the fourth century it had become general. – Dogmengeschichte II. Th. III. Abschn. S. 1208–9.
Hahn contents himself with the "assertion that there is no clear example of infant baptism to be found either in the Scriptures or during the first hundred and fifty years of the christian era." He makes no comment upon the examples on record, nor does he inform us what he receives as a clear example. But he justifies infant baptism as a useful institution, which ought to be retained. – Christlichen Glaubens, § 123. S. 557.
De Wette, in commenting upon 1 Cor. 7:14, allows that in the time of the apostles children were not baptized, but alleges this same passage as scriptural authority for receiving them to this ordinance. – Geschichte der Kindertaufe. Th. Stud. u. Kr. 1830. S. 671.
Neander also agrees with De Wette on this point, Geschichte des Pflantzung, p. 141.
According to Rheinwald, p. 41, "traces of infant baptism appear in the Western church after the middle of the second century, i.e. within about fifty years of the apostolic age; and, towards the end of this century, it becomes the subject of controversy in Proconsular Africa. Though its necessity was asserted in Africa and Egypt, in the beginning of the third, it was, even to the end of the fourth century, by no means universally observed – least of all in the Eastern church; and finally became a general ecclesiastical institution in the age of Augustine." – Archaeologie, § lll.S. 313. vgl. Tafel I. Kirkliche Sitte.
Gieseler simply says that in the first period of his history, from A. D. 117 to 193, "the baptism of infants was not a universal custom; and was sometimes expressly discountenanced." For his authority he quotes Tertullian, De Baptismo, c. 18, as given in the sequel. Kirchengeschichte, § 52. S. 175.
Siegel maintains that infant baptism is of apostolical authority.– Handbuch der Christlich-Kirchen Alterthiimen, Bd. IV. 476.
Neander concludes, from the late appearance of any express mention of infant baptism, and the long continued opposition to it, that it: was not of apostolical origin, Geschichte der ch. Kirche durch. die Apostel. I. Bd. 140. Again he says, "the ordinance was not established by Christ, and cannot be proved to have been instituted by the apostles." – K. Gesch. B. 11. Abth. 11. S. 549.
Such, then, are the views of some of the most distinguished German scholars of the present day. But enough. Authority is not argument, nor is an ostentatious parade of names of any avail either to establish truth or refute error. These authors themselves generally admit the validity of the testimony of the early fathers; nor does it appear that, with all their research directed even by German diligence and scholarship, they have essentially varied the historical argument drawn from original sources in favor of infant baptism. Those authorities have long been familiar to the public, and they are very briefly brought together in this place as a concise exhibition of the historical evidence in favor of the theory that this ordinance was instituted by divine authority, and as such was observed by the primitive and apostolic church.
We will begin with Augustine, born A. D. 354, at which time the general prevalence of infant baptism is conceded by all. Passages without number might be cited from this father to show that the observance of this ordinance was an established usage of the church. The rite itself he declares to be an apostolical tradition, and by no means to be lightly esteemed. "The custom of our mother-church, in baptizing little children, is by no means to be disregarded, nor accounted as in any measure superfluous. Neither, indeed, is it to be regarded as any other than an apostolical tradition." This he also declares to be the practice of the whole church, not instituted by councils, but always observed, "quod universa tenet ecclesia nee conciliis institutum, sed semper retentum."
Omitting other authorities, we go back into the third century. In the time of Cyprian there arose in Africa a question whether a child might be baptized before the eighth day, or not. Fid us, a country bishop, referred the inquiry to a council of sixty-six bishops, convened under Cyprian, A. D. 253, for their opinion. To this inquiry they reply at length, delivering it as their unanimous opinion that baptism may, with propriety, be administered at any time previous to the eighth day. No question was raised on the point whether children ought to be baptized at all or not. In this they were unanimously agreed. This passage is quoted by Rheinwald, to show that the church in Africa, in the third century, maintained the absolute necessity of infant baptism. It is given in the note below.
The authority of Origen brings us still nearer to the age of the apostles. This eminent father was born in Egypt of christian parents, A. D. 185, and was himself baptized at an early age, if not in childhood, or in infancy, as many suppose. He resided in Alexandria, in Cappadocia, and in Palestine. He travelled in Italy, Greece, and Arabia, and must have been in correspondence with the churches in every country. He is equally distinguished for his great learning, his piety, and his love of truth. He is therefore an unexceptionable and competent witness in this matter. What is his testimony? It is, "that little children are baptized agreeably to the usage of the church; that the church received it as a tradition from the apostles, that baptism should be administered to children." Origen lived within a century of the apostolic age, and, according to Eusebius, lib. 6. c. 19, received this tradition from his own pious ancestry, who, of the second or third generation from him, must have been contemporary with the apostles themselves. This explicit testimony of Origen, in connection with that of Augustine of the universal practice of the church, is, in the opinion of the paedo-baptists, strong evidence that infant baptism is an ordinance established by the authority of the apostles.
We come next to Tertullian. He objects strongly to the hasty administration of baptism to children, and inveighs against the superstition of the age in this respect in such a manner as to show, beyond dispute, the prevalence of the custom in his days. "According to the condition, disposition, and age of each, the delay of baptism is peculiarly advantageous, especially in the case of little children, parvulos. Why should the godfathers [of these baptized children] be brought into danger? For they may fail by death to fulfil their promises, or through the perverseness of the child. Our Lord indeed says, 'Forbid them not to come unto me.' Let them come then when of adult age. Let them come when they can learn; when they are taught why they come. Let them become Christians when they shall have learned Christ. Why hastens that innocent age to the forgiveness of sins [by baptism]? In worldly things men observe greater caution, so that he is intrusted with divine things, to whom those of earth are not confided."
Whatever were the particular views of Tertullian on other religious subjects, he is sufficiently explicit in opposing infant baptism as a prevailing custom. He flourished some years before Origen, and in less than one hundred years of the apostolic age. Within this brief period it appears, therefore, that the rite of infant baptism is observed with such superstitious care as to call forth from him these severe animadversions – and that too, without any intimation that his own church is peculiar in their observance of this rite, or that there was any example in favor of the correction for which he pleads. Indeed, it deserves particular notice that Tertullian neither refers to the authority of Scripture, nor to the usage of the church in opposition to the baptism of infant children. Is it possible that this father of tradition could have overlooked so important a point had there been any authority, usage, or tradition, in favor of his own peculiar views?
Next in order, and at an age still nearer to the apostles lived Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons. By some he is believed to have been born before the death of John the Evangelist, others, perhaps with greater probability, assign this event to a period somewhat later. It is however agreed that he lived, in early life, in Asia Minor, and enjoyed the friendship, and received the instructions of Polycarp, the disciple of John. He therefore received apostolical instructions through the tradition of a single individual, the venerable martyr, Polycarp. What then does he say in relation to the subject before us.? – That Christ "came to save all persons through himself – all, I say, who through him are regenerated unto God; infants, and little ones, and children, and youth, and the aged. Therefore, he passed through the several stages of life, being made an infant for infants, that he might sanctify infants; and for little ones a little one, to sanctify them of that age."
The relevancy of this celebrated passage turns wholly on the meaning of the phrase – regenerated unto God. If in this expression, the author has reference to baptism, nothing can be plainer than that the passage relates to infant baptism. It is indeed a vexed passage. But it has been shown by writers on this subject, that this form of expression, renascuniur in Deum, regenerated unto God, was familiar to Irenaeus, and to the fathers generally, as denoting baptism, Irenaeus himself, in referring to our Lord's commission to his disciples, says: "When he gave his disciples this commission of regenerating unto God, he said unto them,' Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost," Lib. 3. c. 19. Here the commission of regenerating unto God, is supposed to relate to the act of baptizing. Baptism, according to the usus loquendi of the age, was regeneration. This Neander himself admits in commenting on the above passage from Irenaeus, which he receives as valid and incontrovertible proof of the practice of infant baptism at this early age. Rheinwald also concurs with him in opinion. Neander's opinion, as already staled, is, that the ordinance was not instituted by Christ; neither can it be proved to have been instituted by the apostles. Not proved indeed by positive testimony. And yet, within the space of one century, it is, for aught that appears to the contrary, in general practice as an authorized usage of the church. When was it introduced if not by the apostles? And by whose authority, if not by theirs? To these important inquiries all history is silent, assigning no time for its first introduction, nor revealing the least excitement, controversy, or opposition to an innovation so remarkable as this must have been if it was obtruded upon the churches without the authority of the apostles. How, especially, could this have been effected in that age which adhered so strictly, even in the smallest things, to ancient usage, (see p. 230, § 2), and which was so near to the apostles that their usages and instructions must have been distinctly known by tradition? Or how could the change have been effected in so short a space of time? Hath a nation changed their gods in a day? Have they in a day changed any cherished institution? Far from it. Their traditionary usages are a fair record of their former institutions. We have received by tradition and usage, aside from all historical records, the sentiments and practice of our pilgrim forefathers, in relation to baptism; whilst the dissent of Roger Williams is recorded in the institutions of another church, in lineaments more lasting than the perishable records of the historian, and yet Tertullian, Origen, and Irenaeus were removed from the apostolic age but about half the distance at which we stand from that of our forefathers.
There is yet one argument that is strictly historical, and may, with propriety, be mentioned in this place. It is drawn from the practice of household-baptism, as related in the Scriptures. This argument rests not merely upon the inquiry whether, in the instances recorded in the New Testament, there were children belonging to those particular households. But upon these examples which evidently authorize the administration of the ordinance to families collectively. The repealed and familiar mention of household-baptism, implies that it was a common usage to administer the ordinance to whole families, or households collectively. Now if this is an usage authorized by the example of the apostle, it is a valid argument for infant baptism. Children usually constitute a part of a household; and baptism by households, of necessity, implies infant baptism.
The authority of Justin Martyr is relied on by many. In his second apology, written about A. D. 160, he says, "There are many persons of both sexes, some sixty, some seventy, and some eighty years old, who were made disciples to Christ in their childhood, *. Some, or all of these, were baptized in the age of the apostles, and several considerations are urged from this author himself, to show that the phrase * relates strictly to children in their infancy. It would, indeed, be the appropriate and natural expression if such were his meaning, but it is also applicable to children and youth of a greater age.
Other authorities are sometimes drawn from the Shepherd of Hermas, and Clemens Romanus; but these are too equivocal, and involved in too much uncertainty, to be relied on in an argument of this kind. Tenehris nigrescunt omnia circum.
The foregoing are the most important historical authorities in favor of infant baptism, as an usage of the primitive church. They have long been before the public. They have been a thousand times summoned and marshalled for the onset, and a thousand times contested, and still the conflict continues as undecided as ever. There they are, however, on the records of history, unchallenged, unimpeached, and there they will be forever – the unhappy subject of controversy and division to kindred in Christ who, else, had been one in sentiment and in name, as they still are in all other essential points of faith and practice.
From a very early period, extravagant notions were entertained of the supernatural power and efficacy of baptism. It was supposed to be a virtual regeneration – the death of sin, and the imprinting of an indelible character upon the soul. Still its moral tendency was not forgotten; but it was regarded by the church as an important means of moral discipline. Accordingly the general rule of baptizing all applicants was practically subject to certain limitations and exceptions. Such as the following:
- It was enacted that none but the living should be baptized – a law which intimates that this ordinance was sometimes administered to the dead. Such indeed was the custom of the church in Africa in the fourth century, as appears from the decrees of their councils in which it is forbidden. It appears also to have been the practice of some of the Cataphrygiaus or Montanists.
- The vicarious baptism of the living for the dead may also be mentioned in this place. Several religious sects, particularly the Marcionites, practised this rite, alleging for their authority a misconstruction of the apostle's language in 1 Cor. 15:29. But the custom is severely censured by Tertullian, and by Chrysostom, who describes the ceremony as a ridiculous theatrical farce. Epiphanius, Theodoret, and others understand the passage in question from 1 Cor. 15:29, to relate to the practice of baptizing catechumens who might be near to death, before the completion of their term of probation and preparation.
- The offspring of untimely and monstrous births appear not to have been the subjects of baptism in the ancient church. Such baptisms began in the thirteenth century to be the subject of discussion in ecclesiastical councils.
- It was a disputed point in the ancient church, whether or not demoniacs and maniacs were proper subjects of baptism. The rule in these cases seems to have been that such persons should not receive baptism until they were healed of their malady, although they were permitted, in the meantime, to attend at the preaching of the word, and at public prayers under the superintendence of the exorcists; and were ranked in the first class of catechumens. Cyprian supposed that evil spirits were expelled by baptism; but he appears not to have authorized the administration of the ordinance to such, except in case of sickness, or of great bodily weakness. Persons in the near approach of death were, in almost all cases, permitted to receive this ordinance. These energumens were, however, in some instances permitted to partake of the Lord's supper. And this circumstance affords the strongest proof that they were sometimes baptized.
- Baptism administered in cases of extreme sickness, without the consent or consciousness of the patient, was considered valid; and yet such persons, as a rebuke to them for delaying their duty in this respect, if they recovered, were not usually eligible to the highest offices of the church.
- The deaf and dumb were received to this ordinance, provided they gave credible evidence of their faith.
- In the sixth and seventh centuries it became customary to compel many Jews and pagans to receive baptism; and some instances occur of compulsory baptism of a date still earlier; but such instances of violence were not authorized by the church. In general, the free will and consent of the individual was required as a condition of his baptism. In the case of infants the request of their parents was regarded as their own until they arrived to years of discretion, when they were expected to acknowledge it as their own by confirmation.
- Baptism was administered whenever a reasonable doubt existed as to its having been administered.
- Not only were the openly immoral excluded from baptism, but generally all who were engaged in any immoral and unlawful pursuits, such as those who ministered to idolatry by manufacturing images or other articles for purposes of superstition, stage-players, gladiators, wrestlers, and all who were addicted to theatrical exhibitions; astrologers, diviners, conjurers, fortune-tellers, dancing-masters, strolling minstrels, etc.
The reason for all these prohibitions lay in the immoral and idolatrous tendency of the practices to which these persons were addicted. Many of these practices were immoral and scandalous even among the heathen. Tertullian observes, "that they who professed these arts were noted with infamy, degraded and denied many privileges, driven from court, from pleading, from the senate, from the order of knighthood, and all other honors in the Roman city and commonwealth. (Be Spectac. c. 22.) Which is also confirmed by St. Austin, who says, that no actor was ever allowed to enjoy the freedom, or any other honorable privilege of a citizen of Rome. (De Civ. Dei. lib. ii. c. 14.) Therefore since this was so infamous and scandalous a trade even among the heathen, it is no wonder that the church would admit none of this calling to baptism, without obliging them first to bid adieu to so ignominious a profession. To have done otherwise, would have been to expose herself to reproach, and to have given occasion to the adversary to blaspheme; if men of such lewd and profligate practices had been admitted to the privileges of the church, who were excluded from the liberties of the city and the honors of the commonwealth. The learned Hieronymus Mercurialis, in his discourse De Arte Gymnaslica, (lib. i. cap. 3. p. 12,) observes, that 'the several sorts of heathen games and plays were instituted upon a religious account, in honor of the gods; and men thought they were doing a grateful thing to them, whilst they were engaged in such exercises.' "
With good reason, therefore, the church refused to admit any of this calling to baptism, unless they first bade adieu to their ignominious pursuits. To have done otherwise would have exposed her to reproach, and given occasion to the adversary to blaspheme. The ancient fathers were particularly severe in their invectives against theatrical exhibitions. They declared it incompatible with the piety and the purity of christian life, either to engage in them as an actor, or to attend them as a spectator. Tertullian in speaking of a christian woman who returned from the theatre possessed with a devil, makes the unclean spirit, on being asked how he dared presume to make such an attempt upon a believer, reply – "that he had a good right to her, because he found her upon his own ground.
The profane custom of baptizing bells, etc, is a superstition that was unknown to the primitive church. It is first mentioned with censure in the Capitulars of Charlemagne in the eighth century, and became prevalent in the latter centuries.
W. Wail: The history of Infant-Baptism. In two Parts. Edit. III. London 1720. 8. P. I. P. II. (als P. III. ist zu betrachlen: Will. Wall, Defence of the History of Infant-Baptism, against the reflections of Gale and others. Lond. 1720. 8:) Dasselbe Werk lateinisch. Historia baptisrni infantum Guil. Wallii. Ex Anglico latine vertit noiiniillis etiam ohservationibus et vindiciis auxit I. L. Schlosser. Bremae 1748. 4: Jo. Ge. Walch. Historia Paedobaptisini quatuor prionmi saeculorum. Jenae 1739. 4. S. Ejusd. Miscellnn. sacr. Amstelod. 1744. 4. p. 487–509: Marq. Gddii de Clinicis, seu Grabatariis vet. eccl.: Mich. Screiber. de dilaiione baptisrni. Regiom. 1706. 4: A. F. Biisching de procrasiinatione baptisrni apud vet. eji'sque causis. Hal. 1747. 4.
Apol. 2. pp. 62, 94. Dial. c. Try ph. pp. 315, 262.
Lib. i. vision. 3. c. 3. lib. iii. Simil. 9. n. 16.
Ep. 1. ad Corinth, n. 17.
Concil. Carthag. 3. c. 5. Decret. cod. eccl. Afric. c. 18.
Gregor. Naz. Orat. 40. De Bapt.
Adv. Maricon lib. v. c. 10.
Concil. Colon. A. D. 1281. c. 4: Cone. Laod. A. D. 1287. c. 2: Cone. Turin. A. D. 1310, c. 114.
Const, apost. lib. viii. c. 32: Cone. Illiber. c. 37, 29: Araus. 1. c, 15, etc.
Timoth. Alex. Respons. c. 3: Cassian. Collat. lib. vii. c. 30.
Cyprian Ep. 76. Augiistin. De adult.: Conj, lib. i. Confess, lib. iv. C.4: CyriLof Alexandria in Joann. 11: Fulgentius, De Bapt. Aeth. c. 8: Euseb. eccl. hist. lib. vi. c. 43: Concil. Neo. Caesar. c. 12.
Bingham, bk. ii. c. 5. § 2.
S. Gregor. Turon. Hist. Franc, lib. vi. c. 17: S. Caroli. M. Capi tul. iii. A. D. 769: Concil. Toletan. 4. c. 56.
Concil. Carthag. 4. c. 6. Leo. M. Ep. 90, 92: ad Rustic. Gregor. IL Ep. 1. ad Bonif.
Constapost. lib. riii. c. 32. Tertull. De Idolat. c. 2: De Spectac. c. 22: adv. Hermog. c. 7.
Cone. Illiber. c. 62: Cone. Carthag. 3. c. 35: Cyprian Ep. 61: Augustin De Civ. Dei. II. 14.
Cone. Arelat. 1. c. 4: Hieron. Vit. Hilar, c. 13.
Cone. Laodic. c. 36: Cone. Trull! c. 61: Chrysost. Horn. 13, in Ep. ad Eph.: Hom. 8 in Ep. ad Coloss.: Horn 6 adv. Jud.: Cone. Tolet. 1, c. 17.
Bingham, bk. ii. c. 5. § 6. 9.
Consuetudo tamen matris ecclesiae, in baptizandis parvulis nequaquam spernenda est, neque ullo modo superflua disputanda; nee oranino credenda, nisi apostolica esse traditio. – De Genesi ad LiUram, lib. 10.
Quantum vero ad causam infantium pertinet, quos dixisti intra secundum vel tertium diem, quo nati sint, constitutes baptizari non oportere et considerandam esse legem circumcisionis antiquae, ut intra octavum diem eum, qui natus est, baptizandum et sanctificandum non putares ) longe aliud in concilio nostro omnibus visum est. – Universi judicavimus, nulli homini nato misericordiam Dei et gratiam denegandam. Nam cum Dominus in evangelic suo dicat: filius hominis non venit animas hominum perdere, sed salvare, quantum in nobis est, si fieri potest, nulla anima perdenda est. – Nam Deus ut personam non accipit, sic nee aetatem, cum se omnibus ad coelestis gratiae consecutionem aequalitate librata praebeat patrem. Nam et quod vestigium infantis in primis partus sui diebus constituti, mundum non esse dixisti, quod unusquisque nostrum adhuc horreat exosculari, nee hoc putamus ad coelestern gratiam dandam impedimento esse oportere. Scriptum est enim: omnia munda sunt mundis. Nee aliquis nostrum id debet horrere, quod Deus dignatus est facere. Nam etsi adhuc infans a partu novus est, non ita est tamen, ut quisquam ilium in gratia danda atque in pace facienda horrere debeat osculari; quando in osculo infiintis unusquisque nostrum pro sua religione ipsas adhuc recentes Dei raanus debeat cogitare, quas in homine modo formato et recens nato quodammodo exosculamur, quando id, quod Deus fecit, amplectimur. – Ceterum si homines impedire aliquid ad consecutionem gratiae posset, magis adultos et provectos,et majores natu possent impedire peccata graviora. Porro autem si etiam gravissimis delictoribus et in Deum multum ante peccantibus, cum postea crediderint, remissa peccatorum datur, et a baptismo atque a gratia nemo prohibetur, quanto magis prohiberi non debet infans, qui recens natus nihil peccavit, nisi quod secundum Adam carnaliter natus contagium mortis antiquae prima nativitate contraxit, qui ad remissam peccatorum accipiendam hoc ipso facilius accedit, quod illi remittuntur, non propria, sed aliena peccata.@– Cyprian ep. 59 ad Fidum.
Addi his etiam potest, ut requiratur quid causae sit, cum baptisma ecclesiae pro reniissione peccatorum detur secundum ecclesiae observantiam etiam parvulis dari baptismum. Homil. 8. in Levit. Opp. T. VI. p. 137. ed. Olerth.
Ecclesia ab apostolis traditionem suscepit, etiam parvulis baptismum dare. Sciebant enim illi, quibus mysteriorum secreta commissa sunt divinorum, quia essent in omnibus genuinae sordes peccati, quae per aquam et spiritum ablui deberent: propter quas etiam corpus ipsum corpus peccati nominatur. –In Rom. L. V. c. 9.
Pro cujusque personae conditione ac dispositione, etiam aetate, cunctatio baptismi utilior est; praecipue taraen circa parvulos. Quid enim necesse est, sponsores etiam periculo ingeri? Quia et ipsi, per mortalitatem destituere promissiones suas possunt, et proventu malae indolis, falli. Ait quidem Dominus, "Nolite illos prohibere ad me venire." Veniant ergo, dum adolescant. Veniant, dum discunt; dum, quo veniant, docentur. Fiant christiani quum Christum nosse potuerint. Quid festinat innocens aetas ad remissionem peccatorum? Cautius agitur in secularibus; ut cui substantia terrena non creditur, divina credatur. – De Baptismo, c. 18.
Oranes venit per semetipsum salvare, omnes inquam, qui, per eum, rcnascuntur in Deum ; infantes, et parvulos, et pueros, et juvenes, et seniores. Ideo per omnem venit aetatem ; et infantibus, infans factus, sanctificans infantes; in parvulis, parvulus; sanctificans hanc ipsam habentes aetatem. – Lib. 2. c. 39. (Lib. 2. c. 22. § 4.)
(* denotes Greek text in Rev. Lyman Coleman's translation.)