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forgiven, through baptism, and by which the devil is ex. SECT. pelled from them. They are, therefore, blown upon and
II. exorcised, and likewise renounce him. The grace of God is imparted to them in baptism in a mysterious
The exhibition of his doctrine on infant baptism, is one chief object of Augustine's first piece against the Pelagians. • As children,' says he, are subject to De Pec.
Mer. I. 19. no sins of their own life, the hereditary disease in them is healed by his grace who makes them well by the laver of regeneration.' • Whosoever is carnally born of this I. 16. disobedience of the flesh, this law of sin and death, must be spiritually born again, that he may not only be introduced into the kingdom of God, but also be freed from the condemnation of sin. They are, therefore, as truly born in the flesh, subject to the sin and death of the first man, as they are regenerated in baptism to a connection with the righteousness and eternal life of the other man.'
By baptism, the chain of guilt (reatus) is broken, by I. 39. which the devil held the soul; and the partition is broken down by which he separated man from his Maker.'
“ In other works, Augustine frequently recurs to his Expulsion theory of the object of infant baptism. But it is only his of the doctrine of the power of the devil, as dispelled by bap- the devil tism, that is more fully developed and presented in them. fants. He speaks thus : • The power of the devil is really exor- De Nupt. et
Conc. I. 20. cised from infants, and they also renounce it by the heart and mouth of those who carry them to baptism, since they cannot by their own, by which they, delivered from the power of darkness, may be transferred into the kingdom of their Lord. Now what is it in them by which they are held in the devil's power until delivered by Christ's baptism ? what, but sin? For the devil finds nothing else by which he can subject human nature to his sway, which the good Author had instituted right.
CHAP. But infants have committed no sin of their own in their VIII.
life. Hence there remains original sin, by which-they are captive under the power of the devil, if they are not delivered by the laver of regeneration and the blood of Christ, and pass into the kingdom of their redeemer, the power of their jailer being frustrated, and ability being given them of becoming the children of God, who were the children of this world.'"b
According to Augustine, therefore, the doctrine of infant baptism has a necessary effect to purify from sin; and upon this he builds his belief, that every child dying after baptism, but before the use of reason, and so before pollution by wilful sins, must inherit salvation.
DOCTRINE OF THE DAMNATION OF UNBAPTIZED INFANTS.
Augustine We now arrive at the main doctrine advanced to promaintains the damna
mote the spread of infant baptism—the doctrine of the tion of un- eternal damnation of unbaptized infants; and very effecbaptized infants. tual it was to this end; wherever this doctrine was
received, infant baptism followed as a necessary consequence. The baptism of babes, and others, at the point of death, by pædobaptist ministers, indicates clearly that the doctrine and the practice, having been lawfully joined together by Augustine, cannot be divorced.
b Historical Presentation of Augustinism and Pelagianism, from the original sources; by G. F. Wiggers, D. D., Professor of Theology in the University of Rostock. Translated from the German. With notes and additions by Rev. Ralph Emmerson, Professor of Eccl. Hist. in the Theological Seminary, Andover, Mass.
With the exception of Origen, (who believed all men SECT.
III. sinned in a previous state of existence,) it is true, indeed, that the Fathers before Augustine, while they believed Fathers baptism necessary and effectual to the regeneration of Augustine
did not fully infants, say nothing with respect to their perishing on
maintain account of Adam's sin.
“ Now, as the Fathers before Augustine held to no guilt of the Adamitic sin, they could not allow the forgiveness of a sin originating from Adam, or original sin, as an object of infant baptism, just as, on the same ground, they could not admit the condemnation of unbaptized children. They therefore differed from Augustine on this latter point also.
“ We cannot here appeal to the old church formula baptism is for the remission of sins '—in order to prove original sin the object of infant baptism. It comes from that early period when only adults were baptized.' But
a " Our author does not tell us exactly when that period was, nor does he refer us to any authority for the asssumption that there ever was such a period in the Christian church. I cannot help thinking, from the uncommonly loose manner in which he has spoken on the topic, that he has never made the early history of infant baptism a subject of much investigation.”— Wiggers on Augustinism and Pelagianism, translated by Prof. Emerson.
On this note of Professor Emerson the editor of the Christian Review very pungently remarks: “We hardly know which most to admire, the modesty of the translator, or his logic. Does Dr. Wig. gers, who, with the greatest facilities, and with German scholarship and diligence, has spent his life in examining the original documents pertaining to the history of the early church, need to be instructed by his translator on the whole subject of the origin of infant baptism? What is probably the comparative amount of original investigation on the point made by the two men ? Does Dr. Wiggers find himself, in this particular, among those who have • never made the early history of infant baptism a subject of much investigation ?' The names of Neander and Gieseler stand con. fessedly at the very head of investigating ecclesiastical historians.
CHAP. in every adult actual sins might be presumed; and so VIII.
the formula had its full import.” b Augustine Augustine professes to believe, in one place, the salplaces the salvation of vation of infants depends on the parents' faith : his alluinfants on the parents'
sion to the case of the widow's son, is an instance at faith. once of the ingenuity and superficiality of this celebrated
“ On which head men are wont to ask this question
• Wiggers's Augustinism and Pelagianism, p. 344, 345.
*In the following passage he denies himself; and inti- SECT. mates the parents' faith to be of no consequence :
II. “Let not that disturb you, that some people do not
Yet in the
following bring their infants to baptism, with that faith (or pur- passage
denies it. pose) that they may by spiritual grace be regenerated to eternal life, but, because they think that they do pro. cure or preserve their bodily health by this remedy; for the children do not, therefore, fail of being regenerated, because they are not brought by the others with that intention." The following extract affords a striking exhibition of Singular
reasoning the specious sophistry of Augustine :“ As in the case of the thief, who, by necessity, went pardon of
on without baptism corporeally, salvation was obtained, be- the cross. cause he was spiritually a partaker of it by his godly desire; so when that (baptism) is had, salvation is likewise obtained, though the party go without that (faith) which the thief had.”_
Because the faith of the dying thief was advantageous to him without baptism, since baptism was impossible ; so the baptism of an infant without faith is advantageous to him because faith is impossible !-Because it may save one man from starving, to have food without a dish, it may save another man to have the dish without the food ! St. Augustine thou art worthy of thy fame! While, however, the Fathers of the fourth century dif- Ambrose is
in doubt fered respecting the exact condition of infants dying un
about the baptized; they generally agreed that they missed of fate of in
fants. heaven. Augustine frequently asserts this doctrine.
Ambrose, in stating his sentiments, appears scarcely to dare to consign a person to eternal woe who is "hindered by unavoidable accident;" but feels it is not clear,” and
d Augustini Epistola ad Bunifaciem Episcopum, Epist. xxiii.