SUMMARY OF BAPTISM IN THE EIGHTH CENTURY
The example of Lutgerus (adduced in the last year of the preceding century) is rehearsed, by way of introduction, in the beginning of this; to which is added an account of Herinigild, who was baptized by Leander, after previous instruction
Germanus, a father at Constantinople, states that it was customary to make confession of sins before baptism.
Bede the presbyter treats of the baptism of the apostles; of the baptism of the Angles who were baptized in the Rhine and Swalbe; of the catechumens, to whom, before baptism, the confession of faith was delivered; of four things which do not apply to infant baptism; of Paulinus, the teacher at York, and how he baptized Eadfrid and Offrid, the sons of Edwin; that there can be no baptism without water and the word; that all believers must be baptized; that the bread of the holy Supper is a figure of the body of Christ; which latter is further explained in the margin.
Amalarius Fortunatus states that the newly planted or, newly baptized, Christians were led to the church for eight days; he admonishes the candidates to fast for several days before baptism; and, in the margin, it is stated that he taught against transubstantiation, etc.
The views of Antharitis, who refused baptism to the infants of the Christians, are presented.
Of some among the Romanists, who held that fasting, reading, and praying must be connected with baptism; that the teachers should first baptize the men, and then the women; what prayer should be spoken over the men and women to be baptized; that the baptized must kneel down and pray to God, etc.
Wittikind becomes a catechumen, is instructed in the faith, and then baptized together with Albion.
The baptism of the son of Carloman, and of his daughter Gisla; what we think of it.
Albinus requires faith at baptism, that is, that baptism must be received with faith; he also says that with baptism there are connected three visible and three invisible things, of which the visible are
1. the body of the candidate; 2. The baptizer; 3. the water; and the invisible are: 1. the soul; 2. faith; 3. the Spirit of God; that baptism without the invocation of the holy Trinity is void; that not only the creed, but also the Lord's Prayer was said at baptism; that examination in the faith took place at baptism; which custom, however, according to Vicecomes, was abolished after infant baptism came into vogue; that the factitious practices of the papists commenced when baptism ceased to be administered to adults. Thereupon follows the opinion of Jacob Mehrning, that about the year 800, infant baptism was doubtful and hung by a thread.
Seb. Franck quotes the statement of Beatus Rhenanus, (from Tertullian), saying that according to the usage of the ancients, the adults were baptized with the washing of regeneration; which is also confirmed by the testimony of Polydorus.
The conclusion taken from P. J. Twisck, is to the effect, that the ancient custom of baptizing adult, believing and penitent persons, seems to have still obtained in some measure, even with the general church. Conclusion for this century.]
As in winter the sun does not always, but only at times, send down his bright beams upon the earth, even though he has risen above the horizon, and even reached the meridian, so it was also in the eighth century, with the true faith, and the baptism which is administered upon faith. For although the light of the holy Gospel had at that time risen in the hearts of many pious persons, so that they apprehended the faith, and, in token of it, were baptized thereupon, yet, there were but few who exhibited to mankind, by their writings, the bright splendor of the evangelical truth; at least this is true, that but very little has come down to the present generation. Nevertheless, we have met with enough to prove that this dark age also was not entirely destitute of persons who shone forth as flaming torches in the midnight of papal error, and shed abroad the radiance of God's truth, especially in the matter of baptism. To prove this will not be difficult for us; hence we begin.
A. D. 701.-For the last year of the preceding century, that is, for A. D. 700, we showed that Lutgerus and Libuga, two Christian parents, left their son Lutgerus unbaptized till he, having accepted
the faith, was baptized of his own accord. This occurred in France, at the time referred to, and it is also stated that the same year, in Spain, Herinigild, having attained to the faith through the instruction of Leander, was baptized; besides various other persons, both before and at that time, as the chronicles show.
From this it clearly follows that the people who held this belief must have existed also in the beginning of this century, since a religion that has once obtained a footing, cannot well be abolished in a year or two, especially if it is spread over different countries, and is zealously advocated, which latter, as has been shown, the true believers did. Hence we shall proceed to the persons who held this belief and whose names are mentioned in this century.
A. D. 716. Bapt. Hist., page 534. D. Vicecomes (lib. 3, cap. 5), quotes from Germanus, a father at Constantinople, who lived in the time of Leo Isauricus, that it was still customary then, to make confession of sins before baptism.
He speaks here of a general custom observed at that time in the East, in the Greek churches; which custom consisted in this, that confession of sins was made before baptism; which, as everyone can judge, could not be done by infants, but only by adult persons.
If any one should object here, that this related only to the intelligent, but that infants were baptized, though they did not make such confession, we reply that this does not appear at all, nay, that the contrary follows clearly, since the custom spoken of was a general one, binding for all who were to be baptized; and as infants could not follow this custom, it is incontrovertible, that they were not admitted to the baptism which required it.
From A. D. 724 to 736.-At this time there was conspicuous in the kingdom of England, Bede,* surnamed the Presbyter, who, having at one time maintained the Roman superstitions, and among these, infant baptism, now openly declared to hold different views in many points. Touching baptism, he is stated to have declared the following (Bapt. Hist., paya 532, on Acts 19), "All who came to the apostts to be baptized, were first instructed and taught by them; and having been instructed and taught concerning baptism, they were baptized, by virtue of the apostolic office." Compare with Mark 16:16.
Page 533, D. Vicecomes (lib. 1, cap: 5) quotes the following testimonies from Bede. He writes, "Bede says that the Angles were baptized in the Rhine and in the Swalbe." Regarding the manner, compare this with Matt. 3:6, "And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins." Again, "And John also was baptizing in Enon, near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came and were baptized" (John 3:23) . This mode of baptism, as we have shown elsewhere,
* Venerable Bede.-Transl. was not administered to infants, but only to adult and intelligent persons; nay, it is shown there, that this could not be otherwise.
Bede, in his exposition on the book of Esdras (D. vicecomes, lib. 2, cap. 3), writes,"To the hearers of the new life (that is, the catechumens) we deliver the confession of faith as laid down by the twelve apostles."
From the circumstance mentioned here, that the confession of faith was delivered to the_ catechumens, namely, that they might learn it, and be baptized thereupon, it appears that at the time and place of which he speaks, no such haste was made to have infants baptized, as had been done previously, and as was also done subsequently, by those of the Roman church. For these catechumens were certainly not baptized in their infancy, or presented for baptism by their parents; but, in order to be truly baptized, they first learned the catechism, which was the instruction in the faith of the Christians in those times; and in order that they might be perfectly instructed therein, the whole confession of faith was delivered to them, before they were baptized.
Bede (lib. 3, cap. 3), on Heb. 6, 'further says, "The separation from the Egyptians signifies the separation from sin, which those who are to be baptized (must) profess . . . as Saint Peter has said, Acts 2: 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord;' as though he would say: Depart from Egypt; go through the Red Sea. Moreover, in the epistle to the Hebrews, there is mentioned before baptism, repentance from dead works; but what else is repentance from dead works, than a being slain unto sin, that we may live unto God in holiness?"
Here four things are mentioned which do not apply to the baptism of infants. 1. The separation from sin, which those who were to be baptized, must confess. 2. Peter's exhortation, Acts 2, "Repent," etc., which was not spoken to infants, but to intelligent, penitent sinners. 3. The passage of Paul, from the epistle to the Hebrews, chap. 6, verse 2, where before baptism repentance from dead works is mentioned. 4. Bede's exposition of said passage, "What is repentance from dead works, but a dying unto sin, that we may live unto God in holiness?"
I feel confident that even our opponents will concur with us in saying that the conditions which Bede here joins to baptism, do not relate to infants, and, hence, cannot be applied to the baptism of infants.
Bede (in lib. 2, Hist. Anglic.) writes of Paulinus, the teacher at York: He preached the Word of God from that time on for six years, and there believed and were baptized as many as were ordained (or destined) to eternal life, etc.; among whom there were Offrid and Eadfrid, the sons of King Edwin, who were both born to him in the misery of his exile, and were both taken out of this life while yet in their white garments."
This is a noble example of Paulinus, who preached the word of God to the people, before he baptized them; nor is it less remarkable, that those who believed were baptized, and that the sons of Edwin, though exiles, yet the scions of a great race, having accepted the faith, humbled themselves to baptism. It was to be lamented, however, that these two youths, who might long have been lights and ensamples in the church, were taken out of this life so suddenly, even while they yet had on their white garments, which it was customary to wear immediately after baptism, as a sign of purity.
In the meantime we must rejoice that even in those benighted times, so much light of the faith shone forth, that not only some of the common people, but also the children of the great were enlightened by it, so that they willingly bowed themselves under the yoke of Christ, through baptism:
Bede, on John 4, says, "Take away the water, and there is no baptism;take away the word of God, and there is also no baptism." Bapt. Hist., p. 505.
By this he indicates that the water cannot be separated from the Word, neither the Word from the water; that is, that the doctrine cannot stand without baptism, and baptism not without the doctrine; thus his meaning is, that both doctrine and baptism must go together. But how this applies to infant baptism, in which the Word is separated from the water, or the doctrine from the baptism, any one that has understanding can judge.
That all believers must be baptized, Bede teaches in his exposition of job 1, "Through the obedience of faith all believers must come to baptism," and on chap. 2 he says, "No one is worthy to enter into the kingdom of God, unless he is born again of water and of the Spirit."
In the first sentence he indicates that the believers must come to baptism; of others he makes no mention; even as Philip said to the Ethiopian, "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest." Acts 8:37.
In the second sentence he speaks of the regeneration of water and of the Spirit; concerning which Christ spoke to Nicodemus, who was not an infant, but a man of years, yea, a master in Israel. John 3:1, 10. Hence, it can or should be sufficiently understood, what kind of baptism it is of which he speaks in said place, namely, such a baptism as belongs not to children, but to the reasonable and regenerated.
That which is adduced, in lib. 4, Cantic., of his belief respecting the faith of children, we do not accept as his work, but as the production of some one who chose to publish it under his name; because, in the first place, its tenor throughout does not accord with the style of his writing; and in the second place, because we know neither the writer nor the authenticity of said work.
We will conclude this subject with the account given by P. J. Twisck, in his Chronijk., 8th book, page 254, col. 2, "Bede, formerly a learned priest* and monk in England, died this year, A. D. 736 (Meruia says A. D. 734), aged 70 years. He wrote .many good books, as history testifies. He says, "All who came to the apostles to be baptized, were instructed and taught by them, and having been instructed and taught concerning the sacrament of baptism, they accepted the holy administration of baptism." On Acts 19, Histor. hinc., lib. 24, Leonh., lib.2, Grond. Bewijs., letter A.
Again: He calls the Lord's bread a sacrament and figure of the body and blood of Christ, and says, "Since bread sustains the body, and wine makes blood, Christ has compared the bread to His body, and the wine to His blood."** From Seb. Franck, fol. 65.
Thus Bede declared against the pope and the Roman church, and, as can be inferred, in favor of the belief of the Anabaptists, not only in the matter of baptism, but also in regard to the holy Supper, and other points, which we have not mentioned.
NOTE.-A. D. 732. Bede taught at this time, that Christ instituted a sacrament as a memorial of redemption. On Luke 22.
Isidore explained the words of Christ, "Thou art Peter," etc., thus, "Upon this rock which thou hast confessed, I will build my church. For that rock," he says,"was Christ, upon which foundation also Peter was built." Lib. 7, Etim., cap. 9, Samuel heltius, Geslacht-register, page 126.
About A. D. 760.-D. Vicecomes (lib. 1, cap. 35, Bapt. Hist., page 523), records that Amalarius Fortunatus,*** a learned man of this period, writes the following concerning the newly-baptized Christians, "Our newly-planted Christians are led to the church for eight days by their leaders."
This, as everyone knows, cannot be done with or by infants. Continuing, Vicecomes (lib. 3, cap. 6 and 7) writes what advice Amalarius Fortunatus gave to those who wished to be baptized, saying, "He that desires to be baptized, must fast for several days previous to it, according to the example of Cornelius, who, in order to receive baptism worthily, prayed at the ninth hour, and fasted in his house."
He does not speak of such candidates as had no knowledge, and to whom baptism was administered without their knowing and wishing it, but of such as had come to knowledge, and desired to be baptized. Hence his words are, "He that desires to be baptized."
* In what Bede's priesthood or monkhood consisted, is not expressed; hence nothing can be concluded regarding it.
* He calls the bread of the Supper a figure, which does not accord well with the priesthood or monkhood.
I The life of Amalarius Fortunatus is described in history shortly after the middle of the eighth century, or about A.D. 760, though P. J. Twisck refers him to the year 836, the time of I,udovicus Pius, which is 76 years later; however, both may be true, if Amalarius wrote from his youth to old age, which may easily ave been the case. As regards his belief, Twisck gives this account, "Amalarius Fortunatus, at this time, in the reign of I,udovicus Pius, wrote several excellent treatises against transubstantiation and the corporeal presence of the body of Christ, of the internal sacrifice of believers, and other fine things, as can be seen in Catal. Test., fol. 161, P. J. Twisck, Chron.. 9th book, page 285, col. 1.
The example of Cornelius, adduced by him in order to teach the candidates to fast and pray before baptism, confirms our preceding view, namely, that he is not treating of infants, but of intelligent persons.
Amalarius (lib. 1, de O'ffic. Eccles., hicecomes; lib. 3, cap. 14, page 524), writes, "The second meeting of the catechumens takes place four weeks from the time of fasting; then, on the fourth day of said week is held the third examination; they are then instructed in the beginning of the four evangelists, and receive on that day the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed, which they recite (or profess) on holy Easter Eve.
Concerning what is related between, and which we have not noticed, namely, how the teacher would touch the ear of the novices with his finger, this we leave as it is, neither commending nor condemning it, seeing it is of small importance. In the meantime, it is gratifying to us, that the novices were then examined in the faith before baptism, which is a proof that the example of the first church, yea, of the holy apostles, was still followed. See Acts 8:35, 36, 37.
Besides the above, D. Vicecomes (lib. 5, cap. 39) quotes the following from Amalarius, ".On holy Easter and Whitsuntide, the church ~of God) has always been wont to gather unto God new members, through baptism, and we justly rejoice over their salvation, since the white garments worn by them indicate the brightness of their purified minds." Bapt. Hist. page 524.
As regards the custom of baptizing on Easter and Whitsuntide, and the white garments then put on the candidates, an explanation has been given elsewhere, namely, that this was done to none but believers. With this we leave the testimony of Amalarius Fortunatus.
NOTE.-It is stated that about the same time there lived an eminent man and defender of the Christian religion, named Antharitis, who, however, was opposed to the Roman church, and particularly to the baptism of infants, holding the opinion that they should not be baptized; on account of which it was reported of him that he rejected baptism entirely; or, at least, that he said, no baptism should be taught; which is to be understood of the baptism administered to infants. Concerning this, .I find this annotation, "Gregory, in the Register of the Longobards, writes that Antharitis refused baptism to the children of Christians." Seb. Franck, Chron., Rom. Kett., fol. 74, col. 2.
About A. D. 768.-We find that at this time even among some of the Romanists, instruction in the faith was practiced before baptism, so that to this end they established certain rules, by which infant baptism was weakened not a little, and baptism upon faith, according to the ordinance of Christ, greatly strengthened. Touching the rules established at said time, the following, among other things, is recorded in Bapt. Hist., page 527, from vicecom., lib. 1, cap. 26: "On the Sabbath (or Sunday) of holy Whitsuntide they shall all fast, and observe all the divine services, with reading and praying as well as with baptism." Cap. 27. Those who desire to be baptized, shall come to church (or to the assembly) with their leaders, after the third hour, on the Sunday before Easter. Cap. 29. Here it is taught, how the teachers are to descend to the baptismal water, and how they are to baptize first the men and then the women.
Having noted these things, D. Vicecomes (cap. 6) writes concerning it the following, "The men and the women were separately admitted to the catechism, that is, to the instruction in the faith; first the men, and then the women. Hence, in the ordination (for this purpose) there occurs the prayer: Almighty, eternal God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, behold with gracious eyes these Thy servants, whom Thou hast made worthy to be called to the first principles of the faith." A like prayer was pronounced over the women.
A little further on he writes, "When this was done, he (the teacher) went among them, and laid his hands upon their heads, saying: Sing with a loud voice, 'I believe in one God the Father.' Turning then to the women, he did the same."
This, the author says, was done for the sake of discipline and virtue, that these might be implanted together with the doctrine of the faith, in the catechumens; for Christ said to His apostles (Matt. 28), "Teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;" adding, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."
Understanding this to be the best course, the apostle Peter (Acts 2) first enlightened the people by preaching, and taught them to repent of their former wicked life; whereupon those who with eager ears heard the Word of God, and had derived profit therefrom, were baptized., "Would to God," says the writer who has quoted this,"that the Roman church had continued in the baptismal ordinance of Christ and His holy apostles; never would there have become of it such an absurd infant baptism, and, thence, such a grossly barbarous and ignorant Christendom in Europe." Bapt. Hist:, page 528.
Those who had been baptized thus (that is, upon faith), were then exhorted several times by a deacon, to pray on their bended knees. Bapt. Hist., page 532, ex Ord. Rom., and Amal. Fort.
Who will believe that these persons, who have thus written on baptism, were members of the Roman church? I say nothing of the many other points which they, as can be inferred, maintained in opposition to the common Romanists. Who would not hold it certain, that these people were entirely separated from the papists, who observed the Roman superstitions? Yea, that at the present day they would be declared heretics by the pope, and, should persecution arise, be placed at stakes and burned alive? as has occurred not long since,
yea, recently, to many of our fellow believers, on account of the same belief, as will appear more fully in the sequel of this history.
We shall, therefore, commit these people to God. Whether they agreed in all other points with the common Anabaptists, we are not able to show; it suffices us that they, though called Romanists, opposed the belief of the common Romanists, and that they approach very near the truth in important points, especially in the article of baptism. With this we will leave them, and proceed to other testimonies.
About A. D. 772.-We quote the following from Bapt. Hist., page 515, "Those who had come to adult years, had to be instructed first in the Christian doctrine, and were then examined before baptism., "Wittikind became a catechumen, was instructed in the faith, and then baptized with Albion., "They had to say the creed and the Lord's Prayer." Syn. Ang., crap. 2., "The teachers had to instruct the people, how to renounce (Satan) at baptism, and what to believe." Syn. Turon., cap. 18.
Page 516, "They had to be tolerably instructed in the doctrine of Christ, and be given to godliness, for (in the council of Arles) it was enjoined' upon the leaders to teach them.", "They used to renounce the devil and his works; which works are-murder, fornication, adultery, drunkenness, and such like; the pomp is pride, presumption, vanity, vainglory, temerity." Syn. Tur.
Certainly, these were all wholesome and good rules, approaching very near the apostolical teachings; hence we accept them as good instruction in this iron and corroded age. It is achieving a good deal, if one who stands at the point where many crooked roads meet, takes the right, or, at least, the best one. That these people who observed said rules, were entirely free from error in other points, it is not our intention to maintain. He that walks amidst the darkness of night, can easily miss the way; so also they, living as they must, in the darkness of popery, could easily be misled in this or that point. We let God judge them, being content with this, that through the darkness we have seen the rays of their knowledge and good practice.
A. D. 781.-This is the year which is mentioned by different writers as the one in which the farfamed Carloman, though he had accepted the Christian faith himself, presented his son, who was then several years old, and whom he had up to this time left unbaptized, for baptism, which was administered to him in the city of Rome, on Easter; likewise his daughter Gisla, of whom it is stated that she was baptized the same year, at Milan, by the Bishop or teacher Thomas. Bapt. Hist., page 523, H. Montan. Nietigh., pages 80, 81, from Centur. 9, Magdeb., cap. 4, Annal. Francor. Regino., lib. 2, Adon. Aetate, 6.
From this manner of proceeding it appears; that at this time no such reasoning obtained, as was afterwards, and had also previously been, resorted to by those of the Roman church, who commanded parents, on peril of their salvation, yea, on pain of damnation, to have their children baptized. But those who took a proper view of the matter, and esteemed the command of Christ more than the decrees and statutes of men, did not allow themselves to be intimidated by these threats, but deferred the baptism of their children, till they, having grown up, accepted .the faith, and themselves desired to be baptized thereupon.
We say nothing respecting Carloman, the father here spoken of, neither of him who baptized his son, and would conclude neither this nor that touching their life and faith; we simply commend .their action in this matter; on the one hand, that the father, though he had professed Christ, and was called a member of the church, left his son and daughter unbaptized, as an evidence .that he considered infant baptism (as a human invention) useless; on the other hand, that those who baptized them, did not censure this course, but rather assented .to and confirmed it with the deed, which is the more evident from the fact that the ordinance was administered with great pleasure, yea, joy, as history tells us.
About A. D. 792.-Albinus teaches on John 1 (Bapt. Hist., page 505), that baptism is to be received with faith. He writes, "It is aptly said that the forerunner of our, Lord baptized in Bethabara; for Bethabara signifis a house of obedience, that they should all through the obedience of faith. come to the baptism of Christ."
This Albinus, surnamed Flaccus, was a remarkably learned and beloved man of that age, but nevertheless called ignorant, and hated, by his adversaries. In his confession he was greatly opposed to the common belief of the Roman church, especially in the matter of baptism. In baptism he required faith, regeneration, and newness of life, declaring that these were the means to receive it worthily; which things, though highly spoken of with the mouth, yet in infant baptism are practically ignored.
In the defense of his belief he was bold, regarding, it seems, neither the hatred nor the favor of the people, so that, besides what we have just mentioned, he left various excellent things concerning the baptism of adults; of which we will present a few instances.
On John 15 (page 509) he says, "Why does not the Lord say: Ye are clean because of the baptism in which ye are washed? but says: Through the word which 1 have spoken unto you. For, taker away the Word, and what is the water, but water? When the Word meets the element, then it becomes a sacrament. Whence derives the water the power, that, though it wets the body, the soul is purified, if the Word does not effect this? But this is not effected, because it is spoken, but because it is believed.
In baptism there are three visible things: 1. the
body (of the one baptized); 2. the water; 3. the teacher; and three invisible things: 1. the soul; 2. faith; 3. the Spirit of God."
We can almost see with our eyes, and feel with our hands, that this man here intended, to oppose the belief of the common Romanists. He makes use of two special arguments, with which he sufficiently denies, yea, refutes, the Roman infant baptism. His first argument opposes the belief of those who were wont to tie salvation to the elementary water of baptism, and, consequently, to save them, as it were, baptized the infants; in opposition to which he averred that the element of water without the Word of God is merely an element, and no sacrament; but that the water becomes a sacrament through the Word of God, not because the latter is spoken, but because it is believed. And thus he removes with his first argument also another error of the Romanists, who imagined that in baptism, through the saying of a few words, the water was consecrated and made a means of salvation; which he refutes, however, by the declaration that the consecration is not effected by the speaking of the Word, but because it is believed.
If then, in baptism, the water is ineffectual without the Word, and the Word has no virtue unless it is believed, as Albinus declares, he flatly opposes infant baptism, since there the water only is used, without the instructing Word, and without the latter being believed by the infants.
His second argument is a sufficient refutation of those who administered baptism to infants, without regard as to whether they had intelligent minds, true faith, and the fruits of God's Spirit, or not; for, this belief he opposes when he says that in baptism there must be not only three visible things: .1. the body; 2. the water; 3. the teacher; but also three invisible things: 1. the soul [mind], (that is, an intelligent soul, for otherwise the soul cannot properly be so called); 2. faith (that is, that which consists in a sure confidence, for this is peculiar to true faith, Heb. 11:1); 3. thp Spirit of God (that is, that which is fruitful in virtues), for the Spirit of God is known by His fruits, Gal. 5:22. But who has ever been found that was able to discover such works of the soul, of faith, and of the spirit, in infants? without which, indeed, baptism has no virtue, as conclusively follows from the arguments of Albinus, which are in accordance with the teachings of the holy Word of God. How this harmonizes with infant baptism, the impartial may judge.
Of regeneration, Albinus, in the 7th penitential psalm (page 510), says, "Thou art my God; Thou hast created me. I can be recreated by no one but Thee, by whom I have been created. Thou hast created me by Thy Word, which, O God, abideth with Thee. Thou createst me again by the Word, which has become flesh for our sakes."
The Romanists were accustomed sometimes to call baptism, by which they meant infant baptism, a regeneration, without respect to newness of life, merely on account of the water, which, with the speaking of a few words, was administered to the infants. But Albinus here declares that as he was created by the Word, even so he is recreated and regenerated by the Word. He says nothing at all about the water; not to depreciate the outward administration of water baptism, but to show that recreation or regeneration does not lie in it; for, that the same must be effected by the Word, whereupon the administration of water baptism follows, as a sign of it, seems to be the burden of his whole argument.
Moreover, it is also deserving of notice, that in the above passage, touching the incarnation of Jesus Christ, he says, that the Word (namely, by which all things were made) became flesh for our sakes, which accords with our confession, and also agrees with John 1:14.
Albinus (lib. 3, de Trin., cap. 17, page 512) says, "We are not to believe that He (Christ) then received the gifts of the Holy Ghost; He who from His birth was always full of the Holy Ghost; but that the mystery of the holy Trinity might be declared unto us in baptism, the Son of God was baptized, being a man; the Holy Spirit descended as a dove; God the Father was heard in a voice, without the invocation of which, no baptism can avail anything. Therefore, the Son of God wished to signify by His own baptism, that the whole Trinity was present; who commanded the stewards of His mysteries (the apostles), "Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
Again: Why did the Lord have Himself baptized? Namely, that no one, though he might possess great gifts and power, should despise to be baptized.
He makes use here of three modes of speaking which are incompatible with infant baptism. First, when he says that without the invocation of the holy Trinity no baptism can avail anything; for, who knows not that infants cannot invoke the holy Trinity? Secondly, when he adduces, as a foundation of baptism, the command of Christ, "Teach all nations, baptizing them," etc.; for there teaching and baptizing are joined together, which, as even some pedobaptists declare, is inapplicable to infants. Thirdly, when he shows why the Lord had Himself baptized? Namely, that no one, though
he might possess great gifts and power, should despise to be baptized. For, that this also cannot be understood of infants, even nature teaches; since they have no great gifts or power, and, consequently, can neither rely upon them nor despise baptism.
D. Vicecomes (lib. 1. cap. 32, page 535) quotes the following from Albinus Flaccus, "At baptism. on holy Easter Day, the catechumens (the novices who have been instructed in the faith), if they de-
sire baptism, recite the Lord's Prayer and the creed from memory."
This is certainly clear testimony of the custom of -the believers of that age, from which it is evident, that their children and novices had to know the Lord's Prayer and the creed, yea, had to recite it from memory, and must themselves desire baptism, before they were baptized. Who would say that new-born infants can do this? Moreover, it was not only required, to recite the Lord's Prayer and the creed from memory, but also to give reason for it, and this not only once, but several times, on different days appointed for this purpose, in the week before Easter and Whitsuntide, as shown above, to which we refer the reader. See also, G. Durand., lib. 6. Ration. Div. Offic. de 4. Feria Hebel. 4. Quadrag, etc.
Vicecomes (lib. 3, cap. 21), says, "He (Albinus) also makes mention of the examination (in the faith) of the elect, that is, those chosen to be baptized, tracing them down from the times of the apostles." Cap. 22, he says, "Then took place the examination (in the faith), in order that it might be ascertained with greater certainty, whether, after the renunciation of Satan, the Word of God and the faith promised to it, had taken deep root in the heart." Cap. 26: "Albinus Flaccus, in the chapter on baptism, writes: 'For the baptism of the elect, who are examined (in the faith), according to the rule of the apostles, consecrated by fasting, and instructed by diligent preaching, two seasons are set apart, Easter and Whitsuntide.'"
To this, D. Vicecomes adds this comment, "If these examinations were held according to the rules of the apostles, they must needs have been observed by all; but subsequently, when infant baptism came into vogue, this necessary practice was abolished (or discontinued) by the church. A. D. 860, in the reign of the Emperors Louis the Pious and Lothaire; of which abundant proof exists."
What do you think, beloved reader, of this last testimony? to say nothing of the testimonies of AIbinus Flaccus. This Vicecomes was a pedobaptist and strenuous maintainer of pedobaptism; yet he states that the necessary (yea, apostolical) practice of examinations (in the faith) was abolished or discontinued when infant baptism came into vogue; he also indicates the time when this occurred, namely, A. D. 860. As to how he came at this, we leave to him to answer.
In the meantime, this is also quite a refutation of .those who fix the origin of infant baptism very early, indeed according to some, in the tune of the apostles. However, that infant baptism, together with many other superstitions, originated soon after the death of the apostles, they can, in some measure substantiate; but that it wavered in the Roman church, for many centuries, till the year 900, yea, almost 1000, being now established, then abolished, adopted in one place, and rejected in another, etc., appears sufficiently from the books in which we have read the same.
We confine ourselves to the time of Albinus Flaccus, who lived about A. D. 792, when this intrusion was already rapidly gaining ground, which also D. Vicecomes has seen, for, when he mentions the chrism in baptism, and some other factitious practices of the papists, he adds that it is his opinion that all this did not begin until after the time of Albinus Flaccus, when they ceased to baptize adults. Lib. 5, cap. 5 and 19.
I cannot forbear adding here the verdict of Jacob Mehrning, who, immediately after noting the preceding passages from D. Vicecomes, writes, "Thus we see from the history of this time, that infant baptism hung yet as by a thread between both, being received by some, and rejected by others, which is a strong proof that it is not apostolical, much less instituted by Christ Himself. But what immeasurable damage to souls, and what grossly barbarous ignorance in Christendom, the introduction of this absurd infant baptism has brought about, many intelligent persons, even in that age, were able to discern. Bapt. Hist., page 537.
A. D. 800.-Various writers state that at this time, the last year of the eighth century, infant baptism, although those of the Roman church in general stoutly adhered to it, was nevertheless not practiced, yea, positively rejected by many, insomuch that they observed the very ancient custom mentioned by us in different preceding centuries, of baptizing only adults, on Easter and Whitsuntide.
Sebastian Franck, writing of this time and custom, and having referred to Tertullian's book, De Corona Militis, says: "Respecting this passage Beatus Rhenanus notes that it was the custom of the ancients, to baptize and wash adults with the washing of regeneration; which custom was observed till the time of Charlemagne and the Emperor Louis, A. D. 800."Chron. Rom. Kett., page 123, col. 2.
P. J. Twisck gives the following account for the year 800, "The ancient custom was, to baptize adults with the washing of regeneration, which was observed till the time of the Emperors Charlemagne and Louis. This is shown by the laws established by them, in which the priests (that is, the teachers) were prohibited from baptizing at any other time than Easter and Whitsuntide, except where death was imminent." Again, "It was the custom of the ancients (Polydorus says), to baptize mostly adults, and to put a white garment on them after baptism. This was done at Easter and Whitsuntide; in the meantime, before these feasts, those to be baptized were instructed in the mystery of the faith, and were calledcatechumens, that is, such as are being instructed; for, when they had apprehended the mystery, they were baptized." Chron., 8th book, page 271, col. 2, from Polydor. de Inrventoribus rerum, lib. 4. Beatus Rhenanus in Annat. super., Tertull., Grond. Bewrijs, letter B., Chron. Seb. Franck., Thorn, 1 mbr., fol. 26.
Although this century, in the beginning, seemed to be doomed to darkness, as regards the true doc
trine, especially with reference to the matter of baptism upon faith, yet the sun of truth rose to a considerable altitude, so that his beams shone out in every direction, illuminating the face, that is, the people, of the earth. For not only the separate Christian communities, but even many of those who still adhered to the Roman church, observed baptism, to say nothing of different other articles, according to the original Christian and apostolical custom.
P. J. Twisck, in the conclusion of the eighth century, though greatly deploring the manifold human inventions which were then increasing in the Roman church, through the power of the pope and of the councils, declared nevertheless that the baptism of adults still obtained in some measure among them; his words are, "The ancient custom of baptizing adult believers and penitents appears still to exist in some measure in the church."* Page 274.
From this we can judge how much more this practice must have flourished among those who entirely free themselves from the Roman superstitions, and who had fled as from Babel,-I mean the members of the true Christian church, who had to hide themselves as doves before the eagle, as shall be shown. With this we will conclude our account of baptism in the eighth century.