Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
A Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness...: Chapter 62
Chapter 62 [XXXIII.]—No One Can Be Reconciled to God, Except by Christ.
He then proceeds thus, saying: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 431 Every infant, therefore, was destined to perish, and to lose everlasting life, if through the sacrament of baptism he believed not in the only-begotten Son of God; while nevertheless, He comes not so that he may judge the world, but that the world through Him may be saved. This especially appears in the following clause, wherein He says, “He that believeth in Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.” 432 In what class, then, do we place baptized infants but amongst believers, as the authority of the catholic Church everywhere asserts? They belong, therefore, among those who have believed; for this is obtained for them by virtue of the sacrament and the answer of their sponsors. And from this it follows that such as are not baptized are reckoned among those who have not believed. Now if they who are baptized are not condemned, these last, as not being baptized, are condemned. He adds, indeed: “But this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light. 433 Of what does He say, “Light is come into the world,” if not of His own advent? and without the sacrament of His advent, how are infants said to be in the light? And why should we not include this fact also in “mens love of darkness,” that as they do not themselves believe, so they refuse to think that their infants ought to be baptized, although they are afraid of their incurring the death of the body? “In God,” however, he declares are the “works of him wrought, who cometh to the light,” 434 because he is quite aware that his justification results from no merits of his own, but from the grace of God. “For it is God,” says the apostle, “who worketh in you both to will and to do of His own good pleasure.” 435 This then is the way in which spiritual regeneration is effected in all who come to Christ from their carnal generation. He explained it Himself, and pointed it out, when He was asked, How these things could be? He left it open to no man to settle such a question by human reasoning, lest infants should be deprived of the grace of the remission of sins. There is no other passage leading to Christ; no man can be reconciled to God, or can come to God otherwise, than through Christ.
John iii. 16.40:432
John iii. 18.40:433
John iii. 19.40:434
John iii. 21.40:435
Phil. ii. 13.
Next: Chapter 63
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