The case of

opinion of

the ancients


or fourthly, by a constant partaking of the eucharist, in the
bosom of the Church.

24. But it is to be observed that these allowances were
infants dy chiefly made to adult persons, who could exhibit faith and re-
ing unbap-
tized. The pentance, the essential parts of religion, to make some compen-
sation for the want of the external ceremony of baptism; but
concerning as to infants the case was thought more difficult, because there
was no personal faith or repentance to be pleaded in their
behalf; so that they were destitute both of the outward visible
sign, and of the inward spiritual grace of baptism. Upon this
account, they, who spoke the most favourably of them, would
only venture to assign them a middle state, neither in heaven
nor hell. As Gregory Nazianzen 76, who says, 'that such chil-
dren as die unbaptized, without their own fault, shall neither
be glorified nor punished by the righteous Judge, as having
done no wickedness, though they die unbaptized, and as rather
suffering loss than being the authors of it.' Severus, bishop of
Antioch, follows Nazianzen in this opinion; for first he says77,
'that if children die unbaptized, without partaking of the laver
of regeneration, they are certainly excluded from the kingdom
of heaven' but then he adds, that, forasmuch as they have
committed no sin, they shall not undergo any punishment, or
torment, but be consigned to a sort of middle state,' which he
describes as a state betwixt the glory of the saints and the
punishment of the damned. But this opinion of a middle state
never found any acceptance among the Latins. For they
make but two places to receive men after the day of judgment,
heaven and hell, and concluded, that since children, for want
of washing away original sin, could not be admitted into
heaven, they must of necessity be in hell, there being no third
place between them. St. Austin frequently insists upon this

76 Orat. 40. (t. I. p. 653 b.) Tous δὲ μήτε δοξασθήσεσθαι μήτε κολασθήσεσθαι παρὰ τοῦ δικαίου Κριτοῦ, ὡς ἀσφραγίστους μὲν, ἀπονήρους δὲ, ἀλλὰ, παθόντας μᾶλλον τὴν ζημίαν, ή δράσαντας.

77 Catena in Ioan. 3. (p. 83.) Ζητεῖται δὲ λοιπὸν, εἰ καὶ τὰ παιδία, τὰ ἀώρῳ τῇ ἡλικίᾳ τετελευτηκότα, τῆς βασιλείας μετάσχειεν τῶν οὐρανῶν· καὶ πρὸς τοῦτο λεκτέον· Ως εἰ ἀφώ

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δήλως ἔξω τῆς τῶν οὐρανῶν βασιλείας
καθίσταται, διὰ τὸ τὸν Κύριον ἐν Εὐ-
αγγελίοις ἀποφήνασθαι προς Νικόδη
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σοι, ἐὰν μή, κ. τ. λ. Ἐπειδὴ δὲ οὐδὲν
ἐπλημμέλησαν τὰ ἐν ἀώρῳ τῇ ἡλικίᾳ
τετελευτηκότα, οὔτε κολάσεσιν ἤ τισι
βασάνοις ὑπάγονται, μέσην δέ τινα
τάξιν ὑφέξουσι.

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against the Pelagians, who distinguish between the kingdom of God and eternal life, asserting, that children dying unbaptized, might be admitted to eternal life and salvation, though not to the kingdom of God:' whom he opposes after this manner in his books about the Merits and Remission of Sin77 : 'Though,' he says, the condemnation of those shall be greater, who to original sin add actual sins of their own; and every man's condemnation so much the greater, by how much greater sin he commits; yet original sin alone does not only separate from the kingdom of God, whither children, dying without the grace of Christ, cannot enter, as the Pelagians themselves confess; but also it excludes them from eternal life and salvation, which can be no other than the kingdom of God, into which our communion with Christ alone can introduce us.' A little after 78 he says plainly, that children dying without baptism are under condemnation, though theirs be the mildest of any other. But he is very much deceived and deceives others, who teaches that they are in no condemnation at all, whilst the Apostle declares, "that judgment was by one offence to condemnation." And again, "that by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation." He tells us79, upon this account the Punic Christians were used to call baptism by the name of salvation, and the sacrament of the body of Christ, life. And therefore, since no one could hope for salvation and eternal life without baptism and the body and blood of the Lord, it was in vain to promise children salvation without them.' In the same Book so he declares peremptorily against

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77 De Peccat. Merit. 1. 1. c. 12. (t. 10. p. 9 g.) Quamvis enim condemnatio gravior sit eorum, qui originali delicto etiam propria conjunxerunt, et tanto singulis gravior, quanto gravius quisque peccavit; tamen etiam illud solum, quod originaliter tractum est, non tantum a regno Dei separat, quo parvulos sine accepta gratia Christi intrare non posse, ipsi etiam confitentur; verum et a salute ac vita æterna facit alienos, quæ nulla alia esse potest præter regnum Dei, quo sola Christi societas introducit.

78 Ibid. c. 16. (p. 12 c.) Potest proinde recte dici, parvulos sine baptismo de corpore exeuntes in dam

natione omnium mitissima futuros. Multum autem et fallit et fallitur, qui eos in damnatione prædicat non futuros, dicente Apostolo, Judicium ex uno delicto in condemnationem. Et paulo post, Per unius delictum in omnes homines ad condemnati


79 Ibid. c. 24. (p. 19 e.) Optime Punici Christiani baptismum ipsum nihil aliud quam vitam vocant.-It. (g. et p. 20 d.) Si ergo... nec salus, nec vita æterna sine baptismo, et corpore et sanguine Domini cuiquam speranda est, frustra sine his promittitur parvulis.

80 Ibid. c. 28 (p. 30 d.) Nec est ullus ulli medius locus, ut possit esse,

the doctrine of a middle state for infants or any other.



is no middle place for any,' says he, he must be with the Devil, who is not with Christ. For our Lord himself, intending to take away this opinion of a middle state, which some erroneously endeavour to assign to children dying unbaptized, as if by virtue of their innocence they might be in eternal life, though not with Christ in his kingdom so long as they wanted baptism, pronounced this definitive sentence to stop the mouths of these men, saying, "He that is not with me is against me." He argues against this middle state in many other places 81, against the Pelagians, and urges the necessity of baptism to take away original sin in children, and bring them by regeneration to eternal life: therefore, he says, men ran with their children to be baptized, because they verily believed they could not otherwise be made alive in Christ.' Fulgentius 82 is

nisi cum Diabolo, qui non est cum Christo. Hinc et ipse Dominus volens auferre de cordibus male credentium istam nescio quam medietatem, quam conantur quidam parvulis non baptizatis tribuere, ut quasi merito innocentiæ sint in vita æterna, sed quia non sunt baptizati, non sint cum Christo in regno ejus, definitivam protulit ad hæc ora obstruenda sententiam, ubi ait, Qui mecum non est, adversum me est.


81 Serm. 14. de Verb. Apost. t. 10. p. 122. [al. Serm. 294. de Bapt. Parvul.] (t. 5. p. 1184 c.) Nullus relictus est medius locus, ubi ponere queas infantes. De vivis et mortuis judicabitur alii erunt ad dextram, alii ad sinistram: non novi aliud. Qui inducis medium, &c. Anim. 1. 1. c. 9. (t. 10. p. 343 a.) Verum hæc ut volet quisque accipiat, dum tamen de baptismo non prescribatur Salvatoris præcepto, hujus latronis exemplo: et non baptizatis parvulis nemo promittat, inter damnationem regnumque cœlorum, quietis vel felicitatis cujuslibet atque ubilibet quasi medium locum. Hoc enim eis etiam hæresis Pelagiana promisit, quia nec damnationem metuit parvulis, quos nullum putat habere originale peccatum, nec sperat eis regnum cœlorum, si non perveniunt ad baptismatis sacramentum.

Ibid. 1. 2. c. 12.(p. 367 a.) Novellos hæreticos Pelagianos justissime conciliorum Catholicorum et sedis apostolicæ damnavit auctoritas, eo quod ausi fuerint non baptizatis parvulis dare quietis et salutis locum, etiam præter regnum cœlorum. Quod ausi non fuissent, nisi negarent, eos habere originale peccatum, quod opus esset absolvi per baptismatis sacramentum.-Ibid. 1. 3. c. 13. tot. (p. 382 e.) Noli credere, nec dicere, nec docere, &c.-Ep. 28. ad Hieron. [al. Lib. ad Hieron. s. Ep. 167. c. 7.] (t. 2. p. 592 b.)... Et totam condemnat ecclesiam, ubi propterea, cum baptizandis parvulis festinatur et curritur, quia sine dubio creditur, aliter eos in Christo vivificari omnino non posse.

82 De Petr. c. 27. See before, s. 20. n. 53, preceding.-De Bapt. Ethiop. c. 8. (ap. Bibl. Max. c. 9. p. 176 d.) Neque enim ab hac sententia nostrum animum revocare debet ulla suspicio, ne quis dicat, quod ille salvus esset, si nec ad ipsam tinctionem corporis pervenisset, cum utique non dicamus, illum sine baptismi sacramento, sola confessione, potuisse salvari. Qui enim crediderit, et baptizatus fuerit, salvus erit. Illum utique adolescentem, quia credidisse, et confessum fuisse novimus, ideo per sacramentum baptismatis

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rather more peremptory and severe than St. Austin: he says, It is to be believed without all doubt, that not only men, who are come to the use of reason, but infants, whether they die in their mother's womb, or after they are born, without baptism, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are punished with everlasting punishment in eternal fire, because though they have no actual sin of their own, yet they carry along with them the condemnation of original sin from their first conception and birth.'


The author under the name of Justin Martyr 83, also speaking of infants, says, there is this difference between those that die baptized, and those that die unbaptized, that the one obtain the benefits that come by baptism, which the other do not obtain.' And the author of the Hypognostics 84, under the name of St. Austin, who is supposed by learned men to be either Marius Mercator, or Sixtus, bishop of Rome, disputing against the Pelagians, treads exactly in the steps of St. Austin; for he says, there is no middle state between heaven and hell; a third place for unbaptized infants is no where mentioned in Scripture. This was only an invention forged in the shop of the Pelagians, to find out a place where infants might have rest and glory without the grace of Christ.' These are pretty

salvum fuisse firmamus. Qui si non baptizaretur, non solum nesciens, sed etiam sciens, nullatenus salvaretur. Via enim salutis fuit in confessione, salus in baptismate. Nam, in illa ætate, non solum ei confessio sine baptismate nihil prodesset, sed nec ipsum baptisma non credenti neque confitenti ullatenus proficeret ad salutem. Ideo ergo illi Deus confessionem prodesse voluit, quia eum usque ad sanctam regenerationem in hac vita servavit. Donum itaque sanctæ regenerationis sicut ille, quia voluit, petivit; sic Deus, quia voluit, dedit.

83 Quæst. et Respons. ad Orthodox. q. 56. (p. 424 a.) Aŭtn éσtìv διαφορὰ τῶν βαπτισθέντων πρὸς τὰ μὴ βαπτισθέντα· τοῦ τυχεῖν μὲν τὰ βαπτισθέντα τῶν διὰ τοῦ βαπτίσματος ἀγαθῶν· τὰ δὲ μὴ βαπτισθέντα, μή τυχεῖν.

84 Lib. 5. c. 5. (t. 10. append. part. 1. p. 40 a.) Si quis non renatus

fuerit ex aqua et Spiritu Sancto, non potest introire [al. non introibit] in regnum cœlorum. Intrare quippe in regnum coelorum non aliud est, quam [in] vita beata vivere, quæ permanet in sæcula sæculorum. Ecce non baptizatus, vitali etiam cibo poculoque privatus, dividitur a regno cœlorum, ubi fons viventium permanet Christus. Da mihi præter hunc alterum locum, ubi vita possit requies esse perennis. Primum enim locum fides catholicorum divina auctoritate regnum credit esse cœlorum, unde, ut dixi, non baptizatus excipitur secundum gehennam, ubi omnis apostata vel a Christi fide alienus, æterna supplicia experietur: tertium penitus ignoramus, immo nec esse in Scripturis sanctis invenimus. Finge, Pelagiane, locum ex officina perversi dogmatis tui, ubi alieni a Christi gratia vitam requiei et gloriæ possidere parvuli possint.


severe expressions, and yet, considering the state of the controversy between the Catholics and Pelagians, there seems to have been pretty good reason for them. For Pelagius said, 'there was no original sin nor any need of baptism to wash away the guilt of it, but children might obtain salvation and eternal life, distinct from the kingdom of God, without it.' In opposition to this, the Catholics maintained the necessity of baptism for infants, as well as adult persons, to purge away original sin, and procure eternal life for them. But they have not so plainly told us, whether there be any excepted cases as to what concerns infants, as they have concerning adult persons; whether a bare want of baptism in the child, when there was no contempt or neglect of baptism in the parent, but an unavoidable necessity and sudden death intervening, debars the child from the kingdom of heaven?

Among all the Ancients, only Fulgentius, [as cited just before,] has declared absolutely against the salvation of infants dying before the birth in the mother's womb. But others seem to speak more favourably, except where the parents were guilty of a contempt or neglect of baptism, in not bringing their children to be baptized when they had time and opportunity to do it, in which case the child might fail of salvation for the parents' fault, and there be no impeachment of God's justice or mercy in the punishment. This seems to have been the judgment of that excellent author, who wrote the book De Vocatione Gentium, which goes under the name of Prosper or St. Ambrose. For he gives this reason, why this doctrine about the necessity of baptism for the salvation of infants was so earnestly pressed upon men; that parents might not be remiss or negligent in bringing their children to baptism; which they certainly would be, if they were once possessed with an opinion that there was no necessity of baptism to salvation. We ought not to believe,' says he 84, in general terms, that they, who obtain not the sacrament of regeneration, can appertain to the society of the blessed for

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84 De Vocat. Gent. 1. 2. c. 8. [al. 20.] (p. 909 a. 1.) Neque enim credi fas est, eos, qui regenerationis non adepti sunt sacramentum, ad ullum beatorum pertinere consortium.Ibid. [al. c. 24.] (p. 912 b. 7.) Non

autem latet quantum cordibus fidelium desidiæ gigneretur, si in baptizandis parvulis nihil de cujusquam negligentia, nihil de ipsorum esset mortalitate metuendum.

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