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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness...: Chapter 8

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 8.—Jesus is the Saviour Even of Infants.

And therefore, if there is an ambiguity in the apostle’s words when he says, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so it passed upon all men;” 663 and if it is possible for them to be drawn aside, and applied to some other sense,—is there anything ambiguous in this statement: “Except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God?” 664 Is this, again, ambiguous: “Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins?” 665 Is there any doubt of what this means: “The whole need not a physician, but they that are sick?” 666 —that is, Jesus is not needed by those who have no sin, but by those who are to be saved from sin. Is there anything, again, ambiguous in this: “Except men eat the flesh of the Son of man,” that is, become partakers of His body, “they shall not have life?” 667 By these and similar statements, which I now pass over, —absolutely clear in the light of God, and absolutely certain by His authority,—does not truth proclaim without ambiguity, that unbaptized infants not only cannot enter into the kingdom of God, but cannot have everlasting life, except in the body of Christ, in order that they may be incorporated into which they are washed p. 72 in the sacrament of baptism? Does not truth, without any dubiety, testify that for no other reason are they carried by pious hands to Jesus (that is, to Christ, the Saviour and Physician), than that they may be healed of the plague of their sin by the medicine of His sacraments? Why then do we delay so to understand the apostle’s very words, of which we perhaps used to have some doubt, that they may agree with these statements of which we can have no manner of doubt?



Rom. v. 12.


John iii. 5.


Matt. i. 21.


Matt. ix. 12.


See John vi. 53.

Next: Chapter 9

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