SELECTIONS FROM EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITERS: ILLUSTRATIVE OF CHURCH HISTORY TO THE TIME OF CONSTANTINE by Henry Melvill Gwatkin, M.A. First Edition, Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1893. Reprinted with additions and corrections, 1897, 1902, 1905. Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram, 2013.
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XLII. TERTULLIAN, De Baptismo, 18.


Infant Baptism


Itaque pro cuiusque personae conditione ac dispositione, etiam aetate, cunctatio baptismi utilior est, praecipue tamen circa parvulos. Quid enim necesse est, sponsores etiam periculo ingeri, qui et ipsi per mortalitatem destituere promissiones suas possunt et proventu malae indolis falli? Ait quidem dominus: Nolite illos prohibere ad me venire. Veniant ergo, dum adolescunt; veniant, dum discunt, dum quo veniant docentur; fiant Christiani, quum Christum nosse potuerint. Quid festinat innocens aetas ad remissionem peccatorum? Cautius agetur in secularibus, ut cui substantia terrena non creditur, divina credatur.

Therefore according to the circumstances and temper and even age of each is the delay of baptism more profitable, yet especially in the case of little children. For where is the need of involving sponsors also in danger? They too through mortality may fail to perform their promises, or may be deceived by the growth of an evil disposition. The Lord says, indeed, Forbid them not to come unto me. Let them come then when they are grown up; let them come when they have learned, when they are taught where they are coming; let them become Christians when they are able to know Christ. Why does an age which is innocent hasten to the remission of sins? There will be more caution used in worldly matters, so that one who is not trusted with earthly substance is trusted with divine.


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