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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness...: Chapter 65

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 65 [XXXV.]—In Infants There is No Sin of Their Own Commission.

Will this also be questioned, and must we spend time in discussing it, in order to prove and show how that by their own will—without which there can be no sin in their own life—infants could never commit an offence, whom all, for this very reason, are in the habit of calling innocent? Does not their great weakness of mind and body, their great ignorance of things, their utter inability to obey a precept, the absence in them of all perception and impression of law, either natural or written, the complete want of reason to impel them in either direction,—proclaim and demonstrate the point before us by a silent testimony far more expressive than any argument of ours? The very palpableness of the fact must surely go a great way to persuade us of its truth; for there is no place where I do not find traces of what I say, so ubiquitous is the fact of which we are speaking,—clearer, indeed, to perceive than any thing we can say to prove it.


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