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Infant Baptism

"He came to save all persons by means of Himself - all, I say, who through Him are born again to God - infants, children, boys, youth, and old men."  St. Irenaeus, "Against All Heresies," c. 180 A.D.

"Baptize first the children; and if they can speak for themselves, let them do so.  Otherwise, let their parents or other relatives speak for them."  Hippolytus 215 A.D.

"In respect of the case of infants, you say that they should not be baptized within the second or third day after their birth - that the law of circumcision should be regarded.  So you think that one who has just been born should not be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day.  However, we all thought very differently in our council....  Rather, we all believe that the mercy and grace of God is not to be refused to anyone born of man....  As far as we can, we must strive that no soul be lost, if at all possible.  For what is lacking to him who has once been formed in the womb by the hand of God?"  St. Cyprian of Carthage, "Epistle 58," c. 250 A.D.

"Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. No one is excepted, not [even] the infant."  St. Ambrose, "Concerning Repentance," c. 387 A.D. 

"Do you have an infant child? Allow sin no opportunity; rather, let the infant be sanctified from childhood. From his most tender age let him be consecrated by the Spirit. Do you fear the seal [of baptism] because of the weakness of nature? Oh, what a pusillanimous mother and of how little faith! `Well enough,' some will say, `for those who ask for baptism, but what do you have to say about those who are still children, and aware neither of loss nor of grace? Shall we baptize them too?' Certainly [I respond], if there is any pressing danger. Better that they be sanctified unaware, than that they depart unsealed and uninitiated."  St. Gregory Nazianzus, "Oration On Holy Baptism," c. 388 A.D.

Printed with permission from Catholic Defense.

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