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AN ACCOUNT OF THE HOLY BAPTISM
OF THE MARTYRS IN THE FIFTH
SUMMARY OF BAPTISM IN THE FIFTH CENTURY
[We have begun this century with the fifth chapter of the Centuria Magdeburgenses, the contents of which may be examined.
Vincent Victor opposes Augustine in the matter of infant baptism.
Synesius Syrenus, baptized on his faith, by Theophilus.
The fourth council of Carthage establishes, that those who desire to be baptized, must first be examined, and sounded relative to their faith.
Sedulius maintains that baptism is a regeneration, and, moreover, exhorts the young to baptism.
Hilarius of Syracuse asserts the salvation of children that die unbaptized.
The edict of Honorius and Theodosius against the Anabaptists.
The council held at Carthage, under Aurelius, against those who denied original sin, infant baptism, and predestination, adopts resolutions entirely different from the decree of the aforementioned fourth council of Carthage.
The edicts of Honorius and Theodosius, in support of said council.
Maximus teaches the baptism of Christ; Cresconius and his adherents are pronounced Anabaptists; Cyril of Alexandria speaks soundly on baptism, and opposes the errors of the Nastorians and Valentinians.
An account, from Socrates, of many persons at Alexandria, who hastened to baptism, and were baptized on confession of their sins; as also, of a sick Jew, who was baptized, and of one who received baptism after much fasting.
Faustus Regiensis teaches that for baptism the will (consent) of him that is baptized is necessary.
Evragius makes mention of the baptism of the candidates, that is, of those who had previously been instructed.
Eucherius maintains that that believer who dies unto sin is rightly baptized.
Carthaginian women who waited for baptism. In the Council of Arausica rules are made respecting the baptism of the dumb, the weak, and catechumens.
Nazarius, the son of Perpetua, a Christian woman, is baptized after previous instruction.
In the margin mention is made of one Montluck, who adduces the resolutions of various councils, against the killing of heretics; as also, the views of Gelasius concerning the holy Supper.
Salvian of Marseilles, on renouncing Satan, confessing the faith in God, which it was customary to do at baptism.
Authymius, Sisinnius, and Sociorus, baptized after having been instructed for seven days.
Nolanus mentions the hymns which it was customary to sing at baptism.
Anabaptism condemned in the fourth council of Rome.
An account of many who separated from the church of Rome, and, though baptized in their infancy, were baptized upon faith; as also, what the Pope (or Bishop of Rome) decreed against this.
Primasius' explanation of I Tim. 6:12; its application to adult candidates for baptism.
Fulgentius calls baptism a sacrament of faith and repentance.
In the margin it is stated how vehemently Leo inveighed against the bishops of Campania, etc., who, according to his judgment, did not administer baptism aright.
The conclusion is from P. J. Twisck, who says that ancient church history, other writers excepted, makes no mention of infant. baptism before A. D. 500. ]
We shall begin the fifth century, concerning baptism, with the fifth chapter of Jacob Mehrn. History of Baptism, who commences his account of baptism at that time thus: "Henceforth we shall not dwell upon quite so many testimonies taken from the ancient fathers and church historians, as had necessarily to be the case in the preceding centuries, in order to prove that during the first four centuries after the birth of Christ, infant baptism had neither in the holy Scriptures nor in the authentic books of the teachers of the,church, a firm foundation; that is, that it had been ordained by Christ, or that it was an apostolic institution or tradition. But we shall in future content ourselves with such testimonies and historical records as best agree with the truth of the ordinance of the baptism of Jesus Christ, in order that we may thereby strengthen ourselves in that truth and in the true faith." Bapt. Hist., page 394.
A. D. 401. About the beginning of this century, opposition was made against infant baptism and its advocates, among which advocates in favor of infant baptism Augustine showed himself none of the least, although he himself had been baptized upon faith, as has previously been mentioned. He was opposed by a certain bishop, by the name of Vincent victor, who, notwithstanding Augustine's authority, attacked infant baptism, and; as it appears, withstood it with conclusive arguments from holy Scripture. But how it finally ended between the two parties, of this I find no account; mention is made, however, of the matter itself, by Vicecomes (ib. 2, coup. 1), who says that Augustine (lib. 3, de anima, et ijus. orig., cap. 14), mentions a bishop called Vincent Victor, who contended with him about infant baptism. Bdpt. Hist., page 448.
NOTE. Vincent taught that in the Supper the figures of the body and the blood of Christ are administered. Also, that the bread and the wine continue in their own subsance. Book of the two natures. Also, Samuel Veltius, in G.eslacht register, page 124.
A. D. 402. About this time, the very old and excellent orator Victorinus was baptized on confession of his faith; of which we find the following in the 2d chapter of the 8th book of Augustine's Confessions: "O Lord God, who hast bowed the heavens under Thy feet; Thou hast come down and touched the mountains, and smoke has issued from them; how wonderfully hast Thou long since come into the heart of this Victorinus!"
"He read the holy Scriptures, as Simplician told me, and most diligently examined and investigated whatever he found written concerning the Christian religion. He then said to Simplician, not openly, but secretly, as friend speaks to friend: `Know that I am now a. Christian.' Simplician answered: `I shall not believe it, I shall not count thee among the Christians, unless I see thee in the Christian church.' (A little further on:) But suddenly and quite unexpectedly he said to Simplician, as the latter told me: `Come, let us go to the church; I will become a Christian.' Simplician, not knowing where he was, for joy accompanied him there.
"Having been instructed in the principles of the faith, Victorinus soon after had his name registered that he might be regenerated through the sacrament of baptism.
"Finally, when the hour had come for him to make his confession (for which confession, at Rome, a customary formula was learned, and then delivered from an elevated place, in the presence of all the Christians, by those who prepared themselves for baptism), the overseers, as Simplician told me, offered to let him make it privately, as was the custom to propose to those who it was feared might, through diffidence, be unable to proceed. But he said that he would rather profess his salvation in the hearing of all the Christians, than otherwise.
"When he had ascended the elevated place to make his confession, all who knew him pronounced his name with secret joy. But who was there that did not know him? For, from the mouths of all that were assembled, in mutual rejoicing with him, there arose the glad shout: Victorinus! Victorinus!"
A brief account of this is also given in Bapt. Hist., page 461.
From the above words quoted by us from Augustine, it certainly appears that at the time when said Victorinus was baptized, there existed even in Rome, where this baptism took place, churches which, notwithstanding antichrist began to lift up his head there in some measure, endeavored with all diligence to observe the true baptism of Jesus Christ, which is administered upon faith. For, the statement, that in Rome, that is, in the church which is. spoken of here, was the custom, that those who prepared themselves for baptism, learned, for their confession, a customary formula, and then delivered it from an elevated place in the presence of all the Christians, incontrovertibly indicates that there the pure doctrine of Jesus Christ was still observed in this respect.
Matt. 10:32: "Whosoever therefore," says Christ, "shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." Again, Rom. 10:10: "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." This faith and this confession are necessary to baptism. Acts 8:37; 22:16.
Bapt. Hist., page 459; Vicecom., lib. 3, cap. 24. At the time of Augustine, that is, at the time of the afore mentioned Victorinus, when virtue and Christian simplicity were still reigning, the examinations of the catechumens were conducted with much strictness, and great frequency, in the night watches of the believers, as is shown by his words. Lib. 2, de Symbola ad Catechum., cap. 1.
A. D. 402. Synesius Syrenus, an upright, pious man, became, from a heathen, a Christian; was baptized by Theophilus, and afterwards appointed by him bishop of Ptolemais. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 5th book, page 138, col. 1, from Evagrius, lib. 1, cap. 15. Mer., fol. 334.
It is true, that it is stated of Synesius Syrenus, that his faith was not perfect with regard to all the parts of the Christian religion, concerning which historians specially mention one particular point; but it is also stated that Bishop Theophilus, who baptized him, was in hopes, that, in the course of time, he would judge better on this point, which, it seems was also the case, since, as it is stated, Theophilus afterwards appointed him bishop of Ptolemais.
However, we would not commend this part of the matter, namely, to baptize any one without perfect faith or confession, especially if an essential point is wanting; but this we commend, that not children, but adult persons, who are commended as pious are baptized, and, from heathen, desire to become Christians, as is stated to have been the case here.
A. D. 406. At this time it was resolved at Carthage, "That the candidates shall give in their names, and after they shall have been examined long, and diligently tried, with the imposition of hands, they shall be baptized." Also: "That a bishop, before he be allowed to minister, shall be well examined in doctrine and life." Also: "That fellowship with the excommunicated shall be avoided, and the penitent received back again." P. J. Twisck, Chron., 5th book, page 139, col. 2, from Grond. Bew., letter B. B. halent. Beyer, fol. 603. Also, Bapt. Hist., page 447. ex Conc. Carth. 4, cap. 88.
Here applies the annotation of P. J. Twisck, in Chron., 5th book, page 153, col. 1: "In the fourth council of Carthage," he writes, "it was decreed that applicants for baptism shall first be examined for a long time, shall abstain for a time from wine and meat, and, having been diligently tried with imposition of hands, shall be baptized." From Chron., Seb. Franck, of the Latin councils held in Africa and Europe, letter C. The time of this council is fixed by P. J. Twisek (from Seb. Fr.) A. D. 436; but he has previously given A. D. 406 as the date, and hence we leave it thus; others, however, give A. D. 416 as the date.
Beloved reader, this is a very different decree from an earlier one, also made at Carthage, in the time of Cyprian, about A. D. 250, by sixty six bishops, in which it was established, Contra Fidunsy that infants should be baptized immediately. This is certainly, we say, a very different decree, since infant baptism is not confirmed, but, much more, annulled by it; and thus we see that in the course of time some had grown wiser. Not, that it is our purpose to prove by councils, our view touching the true baptism, which must be administered upon faith; not at all, for we find in nothing less pleasure, than in the decrees of councils, in so far as they come short of the Word of God. Besides, this point needs not to be proved by councils, as it is expressed in the holy Scriptures; we simply mean to show thereby that also at that time there were persons who, even in the very place where infant baptism had been ratified, confirmed the true baptism of Jesus Christ, which must be administered upon previous examination, and has its foundation in the holy Scriptures. As to this, that the candidates were commanded, first to abstain for a time from wine and meat, we leave that as it is, neither commending nor condemning it, as being a thing which, without sin, may be observed or omitted, provided no superstition is connected therewith.
A. D. 410. Bapt. Hist., page 408. Sedulius writes, on Rom. 5: "No man suffers condemnation, except through Adam; from which men are redeemed through the washing of regeneration."
Again, Sedulius, on Rom. 6, says: "Paul would have baptism so sure and perfect as to make it impossible for the recipient to sin any more. When the grace of God came upon us through Christ, and the spiritual washing reigned in us through faith, we began to live unto God, being dead unto sin, that is, the devil. And thus, baptism is an earnest and figure of the resurrection; and hence it is administered with water, that, as water washes away impurities, and even so we through baptism, we believe, are spiritually cleansed and purified from all sin."
Further: "Know that through baptism you, who have become a member of His body are crucified with Christ. He hung on the cross with an innocent body, that you might hang on the cross the guilty one."
Again, on I Cor. 5: "O that you may be a new leaven; that you may be mixed with the grace of holy baptism, as flour is mixed with water." This he seems to speak to those, who, though they had reached adult years, yet did not make any preparations, but deferred both their baptism and their regeneration.
Again, on II Cor. 5: "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:" that is, he that is renewed through the sacrament of baptism.
We will not detain you, dear reader, with explanations on the above passages of Sedulius, since they, without explanation, are so clear, that even he that has but little understanding in divine things, can manifestly see, yea feel, that the baptism described by Sedulius savors not in the least of infant baptism, since the conditions he mentions in connection with it, as faith, regeneration, crucifying the old man, can not be comprehended, much less fulfilled by infants.
A. D. 411. Bapt. Hist., page 444, ex Cen;turies 5. Magdeburgensis, fol. 664. Augustine writes that Hilarius, a teacher at Syracuse, wrote: "When an unbaptized child dies, it can not justly be damned, since it was born without sin."
A person unacquainted with the condition of things at that time, may perhaps think that with these words Hilarius of Syracuse, contributed but little to the abolishment of infant baptism; but he that is familiar with it, will instantly see that thereby he utterly denied infant baptism, and stripped it of its virtues. It deserves mention, that in those times infant baptism was based upon original sin, so that it was thought that infants, for the removal of said original sin; must necessarily be baptized; from which the conclusion was derived, that infants that were not baptized, and, consequently (in their opinion), not cleansed from original sin, must necessarily be damned, as is still taught at the present day by the Papists.
Whenever then, any one denied original sin, the foundation of infant baptism, he denied infant baptism itself, yea utterly annihilated it. This did Hilarius of Syracuse, who denied original sin in new born infants, and consequently, infant baptism; wherefore he, according to Augustine, frankly said: "When an unbaptized child dies, it cannot justly be damned, since it was born without sin."
A. D. 412. Bapt. Hist., page 407. Theodoretus, in ,chap. 10, says: "In the law they used sprinklings, and frequently washed the body; but they who order their lives according to the New Testament, purify the soul by holy baptism, and free the conscience from previous stains."
Again, in Epist. Dizvin. Decret.: "But instead of those sprinklings, the gift of holy baptism is sufficient for those who believe; for it grants not only remission of old or previous sins, but it also implants (that is, into those who are thus baptized), the hope of promised good things; it makes us partakers of the death and resurrection of the Lord; it imparts the communion and gifts of the Holy Ghost; it makes us children of God, and not only children, but heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ."
Again, quaest. 19 on Levit.: "He that believes in Christ the Saviour, when he is sanctified by the water of holy baptism, is also cleansed from the stains of sin."
Again, quaest. 1 on Jos.: "As the priests who bore the ark, went first into Jordan, whereupon all the people, with Joshua, the princes, and the prophets, passed through; even so, when John began to baptize, Jesus the Saviour hallowed, as it were the nature of the water; and the believing people entered through holy baptism into the kingdom of God."
Who does not see that Theodoretus who wrote A: D. 412, and afterwards, indicates with all the circumstances, that he recognized no baptism, than that which is accompanied with faith and repentance; for when, in the first place, he says "Those who order their lives according to the New Testament, purify the soul by holy baptism," and then says: "Instead of those sprinklings, the gift of holy baptism is sufficient for those who believe," and finally adds: "The believing people entered, through baptism, into the kingdom of God," he certainly indicates that he does not in any wise speak of the baptism of infants, since they have neither the knowledge nor the ability, to order their lives in accordance with the New Testament, or to believe," which are here put down as absolute conditions in the candidates for baptism.
NOTE. Theodoretus taught that the figures of the Supper, namely, the bread and the wine, in no wise change their nature, but remain as they are, after consecration. Dialog. 2, Sam. Velt., in Geslacht register, pages 123, 124.
A. D. 413. As those Christians greatly increased, who valued only the baptism which is administered upon faith, and, consequently rebaptized (as not having been baptized aright) those who had been baptized by unbelievers or in infancy, when they attained to the true faith, the Emperor Theodosius, A. D. 413, issued an edict, against the Anabaptists, commanding that they should be put to death. Introduction, page 47, col. 2, from Chron. Baron., num. 6.
But lest any one should think that the people who, under the name of Anabaptists, were threatened with death by the Emperor Theodosius, held, with regard to this point, views different from those maintained by the Baptists of the present day, who are likewise called Anabaptists, it is expedient to mention what was said about their views by the inquisitor of Leeuwaerden, in opposition to one of our latest martyrs, namely, Jagues d' Auchi. When Jagues wanted the inquisitor, who appealed to the Emperor's edict, to prove that said edict was just or founded on holy Scripture, the inquisitor made this reply to him: "I believe you think that all our fathers were received, and that your sect is saved what do you say? It is now 1200 or 1300 years since the Emperor Theodosius issued an edict, that the heretics should be put to death, namely, those who were rebaptized like your sect." See the year 1558, and, in the index, the name Jagues d' Auchi.
When, therefore, .the inquisitor says that they "were rebaptized like your sect," he certainly indicates thereby, that they were people like Jagues d' Auchi was, and, consequently, like the Anabaptists who at that time, namely, A. D. 1558, gave their lives for the truth.
A. D. 415. Bapt. Hist., page 407, Prosperus, ResQ. 2, ad Object. Gallorum, says: "Every one who, believing on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, is regenerated in baptism, is freed from his own, voluntary and actual, sins, as well as from original sin."
Page 413. Prosperus, in his Epigrams, puts the martyrs and the candidates for baptism on an equal footing, when he. says
"Sanctify, baptism will indeed;
But the martyr's crown doth all complete."
In the first passage of Prosperus we see that faith, regeneration, baptism, forsaking of voluntary sins, etc., are all joined together, even as this is done in the holy Scriptures of the New Testament. Compare Mark 16:16; Eph. 5:26, 27; Tit. 3:5; I Pet. 3:21, with Matt. 3:6; Mark 1:5; Luke 3:3; Acts 2:37, 38; Rom. 6:4. Hence it is a scriptural confession; and there we will let it rest.
In the second passage the martyrs and the candidates for baptism are compared to one another; but who does not know that infants cannot be martyrs, seeing they can neither believe nor confess, much less can they voluntarily confirm said confessed faith with death, which, nevertheless, is the own work of all the orthodox and faithful martyrs. Now then, if infants are not qualified for martyrdom, they are not fit for baptism. Therefore judge whether this is not comprised in the words of Prosperus which we have just mentioned.
A. D. 418. The doctrine of infant baptism having been openly controverted ever since the beginning of this century, its foundation, namely, original sin, being denied and refuted, it occurred, A. D. 418, that those of the Roman church in Africa, through the urgent request of Augustine and his fellow bishops, obtained the convocation of a council or synod under Aurelius, bishop of Carthage, composed of two hundred and fourteen bishops; which council, in the name of the See of Rome, absolutely anathematized or condemned the views of those who did not admit infant baptism or recognize original sin in infants, as well as of those who, opposing predestination, held that the will of man was free. The 112th Canon contains the following resolution respecting original sin and baptism: "It is likewise thought proper, that every one who denies that infants who are baptized from their birth, are baptized for the remission of sins, and that they derive from the sin of the first father, Adam, that from which they must be cleansed through the washing of regeneration, be anathema, that is, accursed."
It is true, this anathema was aimed particularly at Pelagius and Celestius, as being the ones who had shown themselves the principal rejectors of infant baptism, since they positively said (according to Seb. Franck, Chron., letter P.): "There is no original sin; hence, baptism is not needful for children, yea, is useless to them." Again, article 7: "Children are born without original sin; baptism avails them nothing." Again, article 13: "Though children be not baptized, they nevertheless have eternal life."
But nevertheless this council, Canon 112, also anathematized or cursed all those who assented to these views (the rejection of infant baptism and original sin), for this is specially expressed with these words: "Everyone who denies that infants who are baptized from their birth, are baptized for the remission of sins, be Anathema." For, we know that the word everyone does not mean any particular person, but many persons.
It appears therefore, that at that time many people separated from the Roman church, on account of this view respecting original sin and infant baptism. However, we would not defend the views of Pelagius and Celestius, concerning some other points; it suffices us, that there were people in those times, who, notwithstanding the excommunication of the pope, and the persecution of the councils, still opposed the Roman church, especially through the rejection of infant baptism, and even, some of them, sacrificed their lives.
A. D. 419-421.=As the Anabaptists were not yet deterred by the above council, from maintaining their doctrine that baptism ought only to be administered upon true faith, therefore, in order to quench their doctrine, the authority of said council was confirmed A. D. 419, by the edicts of the Emperors Honorius and Theodosius, and A. D. 421, by the additional edict of Constantius; whereby said council forcibly prevailed throughout the entire Roman empire. See concerning this, H. Montdn. Nietigh., page 79.
From this it appears that this doctrine of baptizing only upon true faith, was accepted by very many at that time; for otherwise it would not have been necessary for the Emperors to threaten its defenders with the great power of their edicts, and, as it appears, to persecute them even unto death.
A. D. 425. Bapt. Hist., page 411, Maximus (Homil. 71, de Baptism. Christi) says: "Jesus was baptized, not for Himself, but for us; not that He might be purified with the water, but that He (so to speak), might sanctify the water. The new man was baptized, that He might confirm the mystery of the new baptism.
When, therefore, Maximus introduces here the baptism of Christ, which took place when the latter was about thirty years old, and says that it was not done for Himself, but for us, that is, for an example to be followed, and that He thereby confiirmed the mystery of the new baptism, he certainly indicates thereby, that he is not speaking of the baptism of infants, since Christ, who, through His baptism, confirmed baptism, was not a child when He was baptized, but an adult person. Moreover, as no other contrary testimony concerning him is found in the history of holy baptism, it seems probable, that he was not acquainted with any other baptism, and, consequently, not with infant baptism, or, at least, did not observe it.
A. D. 428. There were many persons accused, through the writings of Augustine, of being Anabaptist, or at least, of defending Anabaptism, inasmuch as they maintained that baptism administered by heretics or unbelievers was not to be regarded as true baptism, and that, therefore, those who had been baptized by such persons, ought to be rebaptized; in short, that there was no true baptism except that administered in the true church, and upon true faith. Among those thus accused Cresconius was not one of the least; in Augustine's writings the following things are laid to his charge
Bapt. Hist., page 416: "That there is but one true baptism; for it is written: One God, one faith, one baptism, one undefiled, true church: those who are not in it, the same cannot have any baptism."
Again: "In baptism, regard is had to the certainty that he who administers it is such a one that does it in a holy manner; but this certainly respecting the one who baptizes, is not judged by the uprightness of his heart, which cannot be seen, but according to his good reputation, and the respect in which he is held."
Again: "It is written: `The oil of the sinner shall not anoint my head': hence it follows it is not the will of God, that an open sinner shall baptize."
Again: "In view of this passage, can anything more absurd be said, than that one polluted person should purify another? that one impure person should wash another? that one unclean person should cleanse another? or that a blasphemer should make any one innocent?"
Again: "You, our gainsayers, do not distinguish between a believer and an unbeliever."
Again: "If it were wrong [what we confess], and baptism may not be annulled [or re administered], no matter who has administered it, then the apostles would not have baptized those who had been baptized by John; but the contrary is seen," Acts 19:5.
Again: "In Acts 2:38, Peter commands every Jew to be baptized upon (or in) the name of Christ, though their forefathers had been baptized in the Red Sea (I Cor. 10:2) hence, the previous baptism (that is, the one which has not been administered rightly), may justly be annulled or changed."
These are the words, or, at least, the meaning, of Cresconius and his companions, as described by Augustine, and quoted in the History of Holy Baptism; from which it may be seen that also at that time but one baptism was recognized, which must be administered in the true church, by blameless teachers, and upon true faith, as stated elsewhere.
Leaving this, we proceed to others, who at that time, and afterwards, confessed the same faith, or, at least, as far as we know, did not oppose it.
A. D. 429. It is recorded that at this time there flourished Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, who, writing, among other things, on baptism, has left some sound testimony concerning it.
In Bapt. Hist., page 443, the Centurintores Magdeburgenses have made some extracts from Cyril of Alexandria, page 613, where they say that he taught as follows, book 6, on John 14: "Through the water of the flood, the sins of the whole world were reconciled (or brought to an end),.and those who were concealed 'in the ark, were preserved through the water (of the flood). This was a type of baptism, by which the impurity of all sin is put off, and the old life taken away."
Again: "A catechumen is anointed (that is, instructed with the Word of God), that he may be taught; for the Greek word catechumenos means, in Latin, one that is being instructed; and he is baptized, that he may know the true light, and receive the remission of all sins; therefore, the virtue or significance of baptism ought not to be esteemed lightly, since it dispels the darkness of the soul, and imparts the light of heaven."
Page 463, Vicecomes, lib. 2, cap. 24, Cyril of Alexandria (lib. 7, Contra Julianum) writes
"When we have put off the darkness of our mind, repelled the legions of Satan, and wisely cast off all their pomp and service, we confess the faith in God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and are baptized thereupon."
This finishes the testimonies respecting baptism which I have been able to find from Cyril of Alexandria. There is certainly nothing contained in them, which in the least resembles infant baptism, nay, everything he says concerning baptism, opposed it. For, when, in the first place, he says that the impurity of all sin is put off, and the old life taken away, it is certainly obvious that he does not speak of the baptism of infants, since they, having no previous impurity of sin, cannot put it off by baptism, and, having never walked in the old life, they cannot forsake it or put it away. When he, secondly, says of the catechumens, that they are baptized, it is certainly also obvious from it, that it does not concern infants, since these have not the qualification of being instructed. The third passage is so clearly opposed to infant baptism, that it requires no explanation, inasmuch as it expressly speaks of confessing the faith on God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and of being baptized thereupon; for this can never be done by infants in the cradle.
TOUCHING SOME OTHER POINTS OF CYRIL'S FAITH,
ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNT OF P. J. TWISCK,
CHRON., 5TH BOOK, PAGE 152, COL. 1
"Cyril, a, celebrated teacher, strenuously opposed the heresy of Nestorius."
Again: "Cyril says: `Antichrist shall come when the time of the Roman Empire shall be fulfilled.' "
"The mysteries of the faith ought not to be taught inconsiderately, without the holy Scriptures. If i shall merely tell you these things, without bringing any proof, do not believe me, unless you receive from me proof from holy Scripture; for the salvation of our faith proceeds not from an eloquent recital, but f rom the demonstration of the divine Scriptures." Joh. Polii, fol. 93.
"It is necessary that we follow the holy Scriptures, departing in no wise from their precepts." Joh. Polii, fol. 93. Talent hanni., fol. 41.
Cyril, in the 7th book against Valentiman, says also, in regard to spiritual eating, "That at the holy table we must not simply gaze on the bread and wine placed there, or be deceived thereby, but that, with uplifted hearts, we must apprehend by faith, that on this holy table there is also the Lamb which taketh away the sins of the world. This must be apprehended and eaten spiritually, by faith, and not with the hands." Chron., Seb. Franck, fol. 65, idem, Chron. Rom. Kett., fol. 77, col. 2.
Thus Cyril wrote soundly, not only on the matter of baptism, but also respecting the authority of the divine Scriptures, as well as, that the substance of the Supper is not the body and blood of Christ, but bread and wine; and that we must not become deluded thereby, that is, esteem it for more than it is; yet that we must eat the Lamb of God, that is, Christ, by faith, or spiritually.
NOTE. At this time Cyril taught that those who have died, can add nothing to what they have done; but that they must remain what they are, and await the day of judgment. Lib. 3, on Isaiah. In the Gesldcht register, page 123.
A. D. 430. In Bapt. Hist., page 392, quoted from Socrates by Vicecomes, lib. 1, cap. 27, Socrates writes, in the 7th book of .the Church History "A Jew, who was very sick, lying almost at the point of death, desired to be baptized. To this end, he was carried into the church, where the teacher instructed him in the articles of faith, and expounded to him the hope on Christ. And having thus been brought' to baptism on his bed, he was baptized."
Paige 393, from Vicecomes, lib. 3, cap. 5, he (Socrates) writes (lib. 9, cap. 29. Tripart): "In the city of Alexandria many hastened to holy baptism, and were baptized upon the confession of their sins.
Again (Vicecom.., cap. 6, from Socrates, lib. 7, cap. 17): "A Jew came to Paul, the bishop, and desired to be baptized by him. The latter commended him for his desire, but refused to baptize him until he should be instructed in the doctrine of the faith, and have fasted many days. But the Jew, compelled to fast contrary to the sentiment of his heart, importuned the more eagerly, and begged to be baptized, which request was finally complied with."
As regards that which, page 393, is related according to the account of Vicecomes, lib. 5, cap. 5. from Socrates, lib. 7, cap. 30, how the Burgundians, having journeyed to a certain city in France, prayed the Bishop of that city, to make them Christians by baptism; and how they, after seven days of fasting, and having been instructed in the faith, were baptized on the eighth day, and dismissed in peace; about this we will not say more at present, because these Burgundians in a certain article in which they should have been taught, were not yet rightiy instructed; we notice, simply, that they were baptized upon their faith, and that baptism upon faith was customary at that place.
Touching the above account from Socrates, respecting the Jew, who was brought to church on his sickbed, and was baptized upon his faith, we would not praise or recommend the baptizing of the sick, when there is more danger of death than hope of life. Oh no I for baptism should and must be received at a time when one can voluntarily forsake the old man, put on the new, and walk thenceforth in newness of life (Rom. 6:4); which no sick person, much less one that is at the point of death, can accomplish. Still, it is commendable in this case, that, according to the doctrine of Christ, faith was required before baptism, as is also stated of the other Jew, who was baptized in health; for he asked for baptism, which, after previous instruction and many days of fasting, was administered to him. We will say nothing about those of Alexandria, who hastened to baptism, and were baptized upon confession of their sins; for the matter speaks so clearly for the views of the Anabaptists, that an explanation of it is wholly unnecessary.
A. D. 434. Faustus Regiensus, a Bishop in France, taught that baptism required willingness on the part of him who comes to it. Lib. 2, de lib. Arb., cap. 8. Jacob Mehrning, Bapt. Hist., page 425.
About the same time Evagrius is mentioned, who, in writing on baptism, (lib. 2), says "that after the water was blessed, the candidates, that is, those who had previously been instructed by the Word of God, in the catechism, and were found enlightened, were baptized." Bapt. Hist., page 421.
These testimonies of Faustus and Evagrius prove that the baptism of which they speak, is entirely different from infant baptism; for, when Faustus says that baptism requires willingness on the part of him who comes to it; and Evagrius dedares that those who had previously been instructed by the Word of God, in the catechism, were baptized, it is certainly very evident that this does not apply to infants, since these cannot come to' baptism with a will of their own, or voluntarily; neither can they, before baptism, be instructed by the Word of God, in the catechism, much less become enlightened.
NOTE. It is recorded that in the time of Honorius A. D. 436, even those of Carthage passed this resolution: "Those who wish to receive baptism, shall previously be tried and examined for a long time." Seb. Fr., Chron. Rom. Cone, fol. 71, col. 4.
A. D. 438. Eucherius (in lib. 3, Reg.), says: "We are all baptized upon confession of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." Bapt. Hist., page 403.
Again (in lib. 3, Coin. in lib. Reg.), Eucherius, in speaking of the imposition of hands, says: "The sacrifice is washed, when the water of baptism is poured upon a believer."
In lib. 4, he says: "In descending to baptism, he that believes on Christ, dies unto original sin and all iniquity." Bapt. Hist., page 428.
Truly, these are excellent testimonies, which very closely approach the form of the holy Scriptures; for here mention is made of a certain confession of the candidates; as also, that the water of baptism is poured upon the believer; and that he who descends to baptism, dies unto original sin and all iniquity; which matters are so frequently mentioned in the holy Scriptures of the New Testament, that it is unnecessary to adduce any proof concerning them, since they are sufficiently known. Compare, among others, Matt. 3:6; Mark 16:16; with Rom. 6:3, 4.
A. D. 446. Notwithstanding those of Carthage swayed to and fro, like a shaking reed, in the matter of baptism, as may be seen by their many councils, there were, nevertheless, as it appears, many pious people there, who kept to the institution of Christ, and the practice of His apostles, inasmuch as they baptized upon faith, of which, among others, Augustine makes mention in the 22d book, 8th chapter, of the City of God, saying, "That when Easter was at hand, and the women (that is, those who had made application for baptism), were waiting for baptism."
But that which he relates in the same place, of the very pious woman Innocentia, namely, that, being afflicted with an incurable cancer, she went to the first woman that was baptized, to be marked by her. with the sign of Christ, in order that she might have her health restored, this we leave as it is, it being sufficient for us, that even in Carthage, where infant baptism had already been adopted, there were people who administered baptism to adults, or, at least, to believers; and that this was done at a stated time, namely, on Easter. This is also mentioned in Bapt. Hist., page 433.
A. D. 450. It appears that about the middle of the fifth century, a departure began to manifest itself even in the Roman church, among those who did not favor infant baptism; inasmuch as many were found, who had not been baptized in their youth. But as to whether these were known, or whether they kept it secret, we have no information; however, it is apparent that, in the course of time, they became manifest, since, with reference to the matter, the Council of Arausica* established certain canons or rules in regard to the manner in which such persons should be treated. Bapt. Hist., p. 440, from Centuriw Magdeburgenses, fol. 510, ex Conch. Arausic.
Canon 12. "A person who has suddenly become dumb, shall have baptism, or repentance, administered to him, if it be proved by his own testimony, or by that of someone else, that he has previously wished it; or if he indicate it by signs."
Canon 14 "The unbaptized weak (members), who are concerned about their purification, and commit themselves to spiritual guardians, following their admonitions, may commune, in order that, through the virtue of the sacrament received, they may be strengthened against the assaults of the devil."
Canon 15. "Weak catechumens shall be provided with baptism, according as necessity and opportunity demand."
There were still other canons or rules, established by said council, from which it appears that at that time many people omitted to have their children baptized, so that the latter, when they had reached adult years, were still unbaptized; as Canons 18, 19, 20. But it suffices us briefly to have shown this, since by our promise we are not bound to prove anything further than that in all the centuries, from the time of Christ, there were persons, few or many, who rejected infant baptism, and observed the true baptism upon faith, according to the institution of Christ and the example of His apostles.
A. D. 454. It is recorded for this year, that Nazarius, the son of Perpetua, a Christian woman, followed the religion of his mother, when he was still very young, and that he was baptized after previous catechization or instruction. Tract, Gantsch Grondig. Bewijs., 1581. Also, Kort verIzael van den loop der Werelt, compared with P. 1. Twisck, Chron., 5th book, page 160, col. 2.
As to the teacher who baptized Nazarius, his name is differently given by different writers; hence, we pass him by, simply noticing the faith of Perpetua, and the baptism of her son; for it appears from the circumstances, that Perpetua was a Christian woman, who herself professed the Christian religion, but who nevertheless let her son remain without baptism in his infancy, apparently regarding infant baptism as unlawful, or at least without benefit; besides this it appears that Nazarius, her son, regarded baptism upon faith as good and necessary, notwithstanding he was born of a Christian mother, else he would not have had himself baptized, upon having come to adult years.
NOTE. A. D. 455. Montluck, Bishop of Valence said before the King of France, it should be borne in mind, that there were 380 bishops in the
* This council, also called "Coacilium Arausione", is stated to have taken place, A.D. 441. In the same it was decreed, by comâ€¢ mend of antichrist, that the Gospel should not be read to the cato chumena, and that they should not be admitted to the place of baptism. See P. J. Twisck, Chron., Sth book, page 155, Col. 1.
council of Nice, 150 in the council of Constantinople, 200 in the council of Ephesus, and 300 in the council of Chalcedon, who would use no other weapons than the Word of God, against the Arians, Macedonians, Nestorians, and others. P. I. Twisck, Chron., 5th book, page 161, col. 1, from Den Stant der Religie, 200.
A. D. 456. Gelasius taught at this time, that in the Supper there are celebrated the figures of the body and blood of Christ, and that, through the Holy Ghost we become partakers of divine things, though the bread and wine continue what they are. In the Book o f the two Natures. See Sam. Veltius, Geslacht register, page 124.
A. D. 458. Salvian of Massilia (Marseilles) lib. 6, de Providentia (Bapt. Hist., page 448), says to the candidates: "You say: `I renounce the devil, his pomp, his adherents, and his works.' And what else? You also say: `I believe on God the Father, and on Jesus Christ His Son.' Thus, one first forsakes the devil, that he may believe on God; but whosoever does not forsake the devil, does not believe on God; and whosoever turns again to the devil, forsakes God." These things, says the annotator, can in no wise be said of infants.
From this formula, which the candidates at that time were obliged to confess publicly, we certainly see without controversy, that it stood altogether differently with the matter of baptism, than is now the case among many so called Christians; for then the candidates had to make confession themselves of their faith, before they were baptized; but now, in many places, when infants are baptized, no confession is demanded, or, if demanded, is not made by the children themselves, since they cannot do it, but by their parents, or godfathers and godmothers, who bring them to baptism; however, if the confession is demanded from the children themselves, they do not make it before baptism (as is required by holy Scripture), but after baptism, so that twenty, thirty, sixty, or even more years, elapse, yea, that their baptism is forgotten by the time they make their confession; and some who are baptized, never make their confession.
What is to be held of such a baptism, may easily be judged; but as it is not our purpose to refute this error, we let this matter rest; in the meantime it suffices us, that in the latter half of the fifth century there were people, yea, distinguished persons, who, notwithstanding the superstitions of popery, especially with regard to infant baptism, kept to the ordinance of Christ, baptizing only upon faith, or after previous instruction.
A, D. 460. About this time, according to the account of the ancients, the God fearing and noted persons, Anthymius, Sisinnius, and Sociorus, betook themselves, by baptism, under the peaceable banner of Jesus Christ, to be champions and servants of His, having confessed the faith and acknowledged Him as their Lord; which took place after they had been instructed for seven days. Reference is had to this, in Bapt. Hist., page 448, from hicecom., lib. 2, cap. 8, where it is related that when they had been learning, for seven days, the mystery of Jesus Christ, that is, the faith, they were baptized.
A. D. 465. D. hicecomes, lib. 5, cap. 48, gives an account, from Nolanus, of the hymns which the Christians at that time used to sing over the newly baptized believers. "Nolanus," he says, "also describes, in a special hymn the extraordinary spiritual joy which the Christians were (then) wont to have over the newly baptized." Bapt. Hist., p. 463.
What the contents of these joyful hymns were, is not stated, only that with them extraordinary spiritual joy was expressed. It undoubtedly was the endeavor, to praise God with them, to edify the church, and to strengthen the newly baptized in the accepted faith, in order that they might pay their vows unto God; always remember the day of their enlightenment; walk in the Lord Jesus Christ, whom they had now accepted, and if necessary, also lay down their life for Him, and thus, having testified to the faith with their blood, obtain the unfading crown of honor.
NOTE. In the meantime, those of the Roman church sought to abolish Christ's true ordinance of baptism; to which tended the canon established in the council held A. D. 469, at Chalcedon, which read as follows: "Those who are not baptized, shall not be baptized by heretics." Seb. Fr., Chron. der Rom. Kett., fol. 71, col. 1.
A. D. 470. It appears that at this time, through the power of the pope and the councils, they began to condemn Anabaptism, and, consequently, to excommunicate and treat as heretics, the so called Anabaptists; which is stated to have been put into effect A. D. 470, ire the fourth council of Rome. To this refers the annotation found in the 5th book of the Chronijk of P. 1. Tzvisck, page 164, col. 1, from Valentinus Beyer, fol. 635: "In the fourth council of Rome Anabaptism was condemned."
But it did not stop here; for, A. D. 487, seventeen years afterwards, Pope Felix III, the fiftieth in the register of the popes, by the aid of a council then held, established different other articles against Anabaptism and the Anabaptists, very evidently, with a view to their suppression.
A. B. 487. Many now, from time to time, separated from the Roman church, rejecting her superstitions and invented ordinances of worship, and desiring to have no fellowship with the mystery of wickedness, which just then began greatly to rise among the Romanists, so that not only many of the common people, but also, it appears, some eminent clerical and learned persons, separated themselves from the Roman religion in such a manner, that they, in token of this, were baptized upon faith, by those who were called heretics or Anabaptists, notwithstanding they had been baptized in their youth by the Romanists. In order:o prevent this, the pope or bishop of Rome, whose name was Felix, made the most strenuous efforts,* convoking for this end, A. D. 487, a synod or council, in the city of Rome; concerning which the following account is given in Bapt. Hist., page 442, from Centuria Magdeburgenses, fol. 538: "In a synod held at Rome, A. D. 487, by Pope Felix, who had learned that in Africa, some eccelesiastics, priests, and bishops had been rebaptized together with numbers of the common people, it was decreed
"1. If those that have been rebaptized are grievously sorry, and desire to do penance, they shall be received kindly, and, as usual, by the priests.
"2. The priests and ecclesiastics that have fallen, and been baptized with the baptism of heretics, shall do penance to the end of their life.
"3. Other ecclesiastics, as monks, nuns, and seculars, who have fallen, and been rebaptized, shall remain three years among the catechumens, and seven years among the penitents; shall not offer for the space of two years, but pray among the seculars; however, if they be overtaken by death during this time, the bishop, or a priest shall absolve them.
"4. Those who have been baptized or rebaptized by heretics, shall not be permitted to receive any ecclesiastical office, but must be content (that is, if they return) with being received into the number of. the Catholics."
All these articles the fourth one we have passed over as irrelevant sufficiently indicate that those who were then called Anabaptists must have increased greatly and commanded no small respect, since not only the common people, but also (as the second and third article declare) priests, ecclesiastics, and other clerical persons, as monks, nuns, etc., though baptized in youth, were rebaptized, that is, baptized upon faith; which is the more evident from the fact that the pope considered the matter of sufficient importance, to convoke, in order to weaken the so called Anabaptists and maintain the Roman church, a public synod or council, and publish laws and rules against them. Also P. J. Twisck makes mention of this, in his Chron., 5th book, page 167, col. 2, fixing, however, the date of this occurrence on the year 483, which is four years earlier than in Bapt. History.
He says: "Felix III, the fiftieth pope of Rome, ordained that the churches should be consecrated by the bishops, and that annual wakes or church masses real bacchanals should be celebrated. In his time it was also decreed in a council, that persons baptized by heretics, or rebaptized, should not be received into any ecclesiastical order. Said council also had under consideration those who had been rebaptized in Africa, and desired to do penance; as well as, what should be done with the bishops, priests, monks, and nuns, who had been
* The pope and the councils had commenced making such efforts, it appears, already A.D. 470, seventeen years earlier; for at that time Anabaptism was condemned at Rome, as has been shown.
rebaptized." From Plating, fol. 91. Fasc. Temp., fol. 112. Hist. Georg., lib. 3.
A. D. 494. At this time flourished Primasius; he explains I Tim. 6:12, where the apostle says
"Thou hast professed a good profession before many witnesses," as having reference to baptism. See Bapt. Hist., page 483, from Joseph Vicecomes, lib. 5, cap. 37.
But, beloved reader, how can this passage apply to baptism, or be interpreted with reference to it, unless we understand that the good profession of which the apostle speaks, is attributed to the candidates for baptism; so that, as Timothy (of whom he says this) professed a good profession before many witnesses, even so must yet at this day all who are to be baptized, profess a good profession before many witnesses. But new born infants cannot do this; hence, the baptism of which Primasius here speaks does not relate to infants.
Afterwards, in his first book on John's Revelation, he says: "He is arrayed in a white robe, who is clothed with Christ, and is strong in the faith which worketh by love; but as many of you as have been baptized, have put on Christ." Gal. 3:27. Bapt. Hist., page 408.
Nowhere in the holy Scriptures, are infants enjoined to put on Christ; but this is throughout and without exception said to believers. See Rom. 13:14; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10. These epistles were written and sent only to believers. But to remove all doubt, Primasius himself explains what he understands by this putting on of Christ, by adding: "and is strong in the faith." This is certainly not anything that children can do; hence the baptism which he applies to such as he speaks of is not the baptism of infants.
NOTE. At this time mention is made, in a certain African council, of certain people, as being agitators with regard to baptism, and how they should be suppressed. Compare Seb. Franck, Chron. Rom., Conc., fol. 48, col. 4, with our remarks in the account of the martyrs of the fifth century, on the year 497.
A. D. 498. It is stated that at this time there lived ynd wrote, the excellent teacher, Fulgentius, who, writing, among other things on baptism says (lib. de fide, ad Petrum, cap. 30): "Rest assured of this, and doubt not in anywise." Continuing he says: "That no man can receive eternal life, who has not previously been converted from his sins through repentance and faith, and through the sacrament of faith and repentance been redeemed, that is, through baptism; this is absolutely necessary for adults, namely that they repent of their sins, understand the common faith, according to the truth, and receive the sacrament of baptism (upon it)."
This is the only testimony of Fulgentius, respecting baptism, which we have been able to find; from which we can draw no other conclusion than that he esteemed baptism upon faith very highly, yea, that this, and no other, was considered true baptism by him; for when he speaks of baptism, he connects it with faith and repentance, and, hence, calls it a sacrament of faith and repentance, adding that it is necessary for adults. How could one speak more clearly and plainly of the true Christian and apostolical baptism, which is peculiar to believers and penitents. We will, therefore, let the matter rest, as having been sufficiently explained by Fulgentius.
NOTE. It appears that the doctrine of baptism upon faith had at this time, A. D. 498, made its way even to the papal chair, which, however, we do not recognize. Bapt. Hist., page 463, Pope Leo I, in his epistle, declaims with great warmth against the Bishops of Sicily, Campania, Samnia, and Picena, because they baptized not only on Easter and Whitsuntide, but also on Epiphany and other holidays. Observe: this is utterly opposed to infant baptism, as we have shown elsewhere. On page 464, Pope Leo (Sean. 1, de natia Dom, cap. 4) thus exhorts those who had been baptized: "Remain steadfast in the faith which you have confessed before many witnesses, and in which you are regenerated." Again, Leo writes (Epist. 4, ad Episcob., in Sicilia, cap. 6): "You plainly see that two reasons must be observed, in which the elect (that is, believers) are to be baptized."
See, beloved reader, such is the power of truth, that even the mouth of the liar, yea, of antichrist, must confess it. But though Pope Leo confessed this, other popes declared those who confessed the same, heretics, yea, cursed, persecuted, and killed them, as shall be shown in the proper place.
At this time Fulgentius taught that the holy Scriptures contained all that was necessary for salvation food for children, as well as for adults. S. Veltius, Geschlacht register, 1649, page 123.
A. D. 500. P. J. Twisck, in the conclusion of his account of the fifth century, complains of the desolation, both in civil and spiritual affairs, occasioned chiefly by the power of the Pope of Rome, saying: "In this time, and still longer, through the desolation caused in the lands by the invasion of many different armies, and by other destroyers, as well as through immorality and heresies, the best people and chiefest authors perished, piety and learning diminished, and whatever of good remained, became for the most part corrupted. For although the baptism of adults was still administered, and church history from the time of Christ up to about this period, does not in the least, as far as I know, mention infant baptism, the latter nevertheless, according to other writers, more .and more lifts up its head, and this with papal pollution, is confirmed by a decree, and considered not necessary to salvation." Chron. 5th book, page 174.
From this we may gather the reason why at times so few orthodox and good writers are found, and, hence, how it comes that in those early days, there was sometimes, for a long period, only one, or a few, who openly maintained baptism upon faith, and other wholesome articles of faith, of which we will not speak further now.
The statement, that church history, from the time of Christ up to about this time (A. D. 500), does not in the least mention infant baptism, gives rise to the grave suspicion, that the authors which appear to have written long before the year 500, were interpolated by some of their descendants who maintained infant baptism. A few instances of this kind we have already given, respecting the writings of Dionysius the Areopagite, Justin, Origen, and others.
But be this as it may, posterity must make the best of the aforesaid writings, as we also must now do; and, according to their account, infant baptism obtained at this time, and long before, in many of the (Roman) churches, though many kept aloof from it, so that even with them, it was not generally adopted until about the year 900, yea, almost to the year 1000, as we hope to show in the proper place, ,and as may be seen in various prominent authors.
In the meantime we have shown (which suffices us) that the fifth century was not without men who, opposing infant baptism, maintained baptism upon faith, according to the teaching of Christ, and confirmed it by doctrine and example.
NOTE. It is stated that about A. D. 500, Clodovius and his people were baptized upon faith, or the confession of the same, by Remigius, Bishop of Rheins. Bapt. Hist., page 435. But he did not show himself a Christian in every respect, which we would not commend. Moreover, his two sons were baptized before his conversion as Blondus writes (lib. 3, decade 1, also Bmpt. Hist., page 436), notwithstanding their mother, Clotildis was a godly, Christian woman, as is stated in Bapt. Hist., page 435. From this it appears that at that time, even among the Romanists, it was not a general custom to baptize infants, but that some permitted their children to attain to the years of understanding, before they were baptized; however in other places, in the Roman dominion, infant baptism was strictly observed. In the meantime the true Christians kept quiet, and practiced baptism upon faith, as has been sufficiently shown.
AN ACCOUNT OF THOSE WHO
IN THE FIFTH CENTURY
SUMMARY OF THE MARTYRS OF THE FIFTH
[First of all, mention is made of the tyrants who in the beginning of this century tyrannized over the defenseless lambs of Christ; among them are mentioned Isdigerdis, and his son Geroranes.
The bloody edict issued by the two Emperors, Honorius and Theodosius, against the so called Anabaptists, is adduced, according to different versions, and explained.
The couplet of Prosperus, which proclaims to the candidates for baptism, that their baptism must be perfected by martyrdom, is explained.
Albanus, a pious teacher at Mentz,* and others, martyred.
The threatenings of the Nestorian Emperor, Theodosius, against the upright teacher, Cyril of Alexandria.
The tyranny of Theodosius, Bishop of Jerusalem, against many upright people, especially towards a pious teacher of the church of Christ, whom he first caused to be scourged, and then beheaded.
Benjamin, a deacon, after suffering many torments, put to death with a knotty stick, in Persia.
The cruelty of Honoricus, the Arian King, towards certain bishops and elders who would not swear an oath, described at large, as also his destruction.
Thereupon it is shown in the margin, that about this time, in different councils held in Africa, there were made five hundred and five laws, some of them relating to infant baptism; the agitation about baptism, suppression of the same, etc.
The bloody oppression of the believers, which, it appears, occurred in the time of Fulgentius.
Two persons who denied infant baptism, condemned in a certain council at Carthage (as is shown in the margin); but we commit them to God. With this we conclude the fifth century.]
We now come to fulfill the promise we repeatedly made in the Account of Baptism in the fifth century, namely, that we would show that of those who were baptized according to the ordinance of Christ, and of those who defended them and their views, a number had to lose their lives on this account; and that others, who escaped death, were severely persecuted or had to suffer corporal punishment. In order to show this properly, we shall first notice the tyrants of this time, and their tyranny; and then the persons who through this tyranny were oppressed and suffered unto blood.
TOUCHING THE TYRANTS OF THIS TIME, AND THEIR
TYRANNY, ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNT CON;
TAINED IN THE FIFTH BOOK OF THE
ONDERGANG DER TYRANNEN, FOR
THE YEAR 401, PAGE 135, COL. 2
Among all the cruel bloodhounds, and persecutors of the Christians may well be counted Isdigerdis and his son, Geroranes, who not only flayed and roasted the Christians alive, but also split reeds, and bound them, with the cut side inwards, tightly around the naked bodies of the martyrs, whom they then drew out by force, thus shockingly lacerating the bodies of the Christians. They also confined the steadfast martyrs, naked, in cells, bound them hand and foot, and then chased in a great number of rats, which, impelled by hunger, gnawed their bodies, and, in the course of time, entirely devoured them. Nevertheless, they could not, through these
* Or Mayance.
and similar cruelties, force many Christians to a denial of their Redeemer. All this is related in order to convey an idea of the cruel tyranny which was at this time practiced against the Christians. Compare with Chron. Leonh., lib. 2. Will Baudart. Denckw., lib. 5. Hist. Joh. Wega, lib. 4, cap. 3. Theodoret., lib. 5, carp. 39.
THE BLOODY EDICT ISSUED, A. D. 413, AGAINST THE
SO CALLED ANABAPTISTS, BY THE TWO EAST;
ERN EMPERORS, THEODOSIUS AND HON;
In order to give a thorough account of this bloody edict, and this in the best possible manner, we shall present the different versions which we have found of it, word for word, and then state our own views in regard to the matter.
FIRST VERSION, ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNT OF
SEBASTIAN FRANCK, IN HIS CHRONIJK, 1563,
FOL. 136, COL. 3
"The most important matter in this transaction" he writes, "is the imperial code, which contains cap. 1, lib. 2, an edict issued by the Emperors Theodosius and Honorius, which reads thus: `If any minister of the Christian church is found guilty of having rebaptized any one, he, together with the person thus rebaptized, provided the latter is proved to be of such an age as to understand the crime, shall be put to death."'
SECOND VERSION, ACCORDING TO THE ANNOTATION
OF MARTIN BELLIUS, IN THE TRACT, VAN DE
KETTERS, EN OF MAN DE SELVE SAL VER;
VOLGEN, DEDICATED TO CHRISTO;
PHER, DUKE OF WURTEMBERG,
"Since we must speak," he writes, "of that imperial code, we will relate the following, namely, about the law contained in the first codex prohibiting rebaptism. Joined to the other, it reads thus
"The Emperors, Honorius and Theodosius, to A. A. Antonius, the magistrate
"If information is obtained that any one has rebaptized a servant of the Catholic [general] religion, he shall be put to death, together with the latter, who has committed a punishable crime, provided he is of an age admitting of the capability, to commit such (and has been instructed concerning the matter)."
THE ABOVE EDICT, ACCORDING TO THE ANNALS OF
CARDINAL CJESAR BARONIUS, IN HIS CHRONI;
CLES, A. D. 413, NUMBER 6
In that year, he writes, the Emperor Theodosius issued an edict against the Anabaptists, commanding that they should be put to death.
This was subsequently also quoted by the inquisitor of Leeuwaerden, in his controversy with Jacques d' Allchi, in the year 1558. See register of the 2d book, on the name Jacques. Also, Inwoduction, fol. 47, col. 2.
These several versions of the edict of Honoriu and Theodosius unanimously indicate three things 1. That at that time, A. D. 413, there were peopl who were called Anabaptists. 2. That on accoun of this matter of rebaptizing, these people were exceedingly hated by the world, especially by the great. 3. it is shown how they were hated, namely, unto death, so that the command was given, that they should be punished with death. However, intelligent people well know, that Christ, our Saviour predicted long before, that such thing would befall His disciples and followers. Matt 10:22; 24:9; Mark 13:9; Luke 21:12; John 15:19; 16:2.
Moreover, that the afore mentioned (people against whom said edict was issued, were no strange, unknown, erring spirits, but such peopl as are also in our day styled Anabaptists; this no only the inquisitor of Leeuwaerden, A. D. 1558 readily admitted, as has been shown in the prope place, but all the particulars of the last mentione authors make it almost as clear as the sun at midday, that this is the general opinion of the Roman ists. Nay, it appears that the edict of Honoriu and Theodosius was carried into execution, no only A. D. 413, and in some of the subsequen years, but that it was no small cause of the last great persecution of the Anabaptists, which began about A. D. 1524, through the strong urging of the Papists, especially of their clergy, who, to all appearance, by it induced the Emperor, Charles V to renew said edict against the Anabaptists of thei time, as being an identical people, and of the same faith, with those who lived in the time of Honoriu and Theodosius. At least, that many papistic magistrates put to death innumerable pious Anabaptis Christians, by virtue of said ancient edict of A. D. 413, appears with such certainty from various authors, that it cannot, with truth, be denied. Compare Seb. Franck, fol. 136, col. 3, with Marti Bellius, page 53.
Now the couplet of Prosperus was verified namely, that baptism did indeed sanctify the true candidate in some measure, but that all this was perfected by the crown of martyrdom. This was afterwards rendered in German, by Jacob Mehrn ing, thus
"Was heylligs bringt die Tmuffe schon
Solchs gants erfuellet der Martrer chron."*
Bapt. Hist., 2d part, Page 413, ex Prosp. in Epigramm.
He means to say that those who were then baptized, had to expect martyrdom. We shall therefore show what persons suffered at this time for the testimony of Jesus Christ, either by virtue of the above mentioned edict, or otherwise.
" English this may be rendered thus:
Sanctify, baptism will indeed
But the martyr's crown doth all complete."
ALBANUS, A PIOUS TEACHER AT MENTZ, WITH
OTHERS, MARTYRED FOR THE FAITH,
A. D. 424
In A. D. 424, eleven years after the Emperors Honorius and Theodosius had issued their bloody edict against the so called Anabaptists, a pious teacher, who, intending to spread abroad the name of Jesus Christ, and promulgate the doctrines of the holy Gospel, had come to Mentz, was lamentably slain; as were also some others. Besides other authors, P. J. Twisck describes this, with these words: "When Albanus preached Christ at Mentz, he was martyred, together with others." Chron., 5th book, page 149, col. 2, from Hist. Andr. 143.
THE SEVERE THREATENINGS OF THE NESTORIAN
EMPEROR THEODOSIUS, AGAINST THE FAITH;
FUL TEACHER, CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA,
BECAUSE THE LATTER WOULD NOT
ACCEPT THE NESTORIAN ERRORS,
A. D. 429
The Emperor Theodosius, not content with havink, together with his co emperor, Honorius, A. D. 413, threatened the aforesaid Anabaptists with death, seems to have finally been seduced so far as to endeavor to compel the orthodox believers to assent to the very absurd errors of the Nestorians. Among others, he intended to compel, as one of the chief opponents of said errors, Cyril of Alexandria, the purity and uprightness of whose faith was very conspicuous. He threatened him with a certain edict (apparently with severe punishment), if he would not desist from his views, or at least accept the doctrine of Nestorius. Of this we find the following account in the Chronijk van den Qndergang der Tyrannen: "Cyril, a celebrated teacher, strenuously opposed the heresy of Nestorius; but as the Emperor Theodosius, who, in many respects is greatly praised, was somewhat infected with the doctrine of Nestorius, he sent Cyril an edict, severely threatening him, if he would not assent to the doctrine of Nestorius."
Fifth book, pag. 151, col. 21, from Merula, fol. 352.
THE TYRANNY OF THEODOSIUS, BISHOP OF JERUSA;
LEM, TOWARD MANY UPRIGHT PEOPLE, BUT IN
PARTICULAR, TOWARD A PIOUS TEACHER
OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, WHO
WAS FIRST SCOURGED AND THEN
BEHEADED, A'. D. 453
Not only the Emperor Theodosius, who was a secular judge, but also one Theodosius, Bishop of Jerusalem, who ought to have been a spiritual judge, yea, a shepherd and leader of the flock of Jesus Christ, caused no small disturbance among the orthodox, well meaning, and beloved friends of God.
Of Theodosius, the secular judge and Emperor, we have already spoken; we now speak of Theodosius of Jerusalem, who, though only the administration of the spiritual law was committed to him, nevertheless, showed himself not less of a tyrant than the former, oppressing on account of their obedience to God, not only the souls and consciences of men, but also their bodies, even unto death. With regard to this, ancient writers furnish us among others, with the following example
That he had a certain pious minister of the church of Christ scourged and beheaded, and after his body had been dragged through the city, he caused it to be thrown before the dogs; simply because the latter, together with other pious Christians, opposed his wickedness. Compare Merulae Tract, fol. 370, with P. J. Twisck, chron. 5th book, pag. 160, col. 1.
BENJAMIN, A DEACON OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST,
AFTER SUFFERING MANY TORMENTS, FOR
THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS, PUT TO
DEATH WITH A KNOTTY STICK IN
PERSIA, A. D. 456
This Benjamin was a deacon of the Christian church in Persia, who, when opportunity offered itself, also proclaimed the doctrines of the holy Gospel to the people, at which Geroranes, the King of Persia, took such offense, that he caused him to be cast into prison, in which he remained without deliverance for two years. After this a certain ambassador came to the King to transact some state business. Having heard of Benjamin and his dreary confinement, he besought the King to set him free. The King consented, yet on the condition, that the prisoner should not speak to any of his magi or priests of the Christian religion or dispute with them. The ambassador promised the King in Benjamin's name that his command should be heeded. But when he came to Benjamin, and admonished him to this, Benjamin answered: "I do not wish to do what you have promised in my name. I can not withhold the doctrine of the light of the Gospel, which I have received from God, from others, not communicating it to them; for I have learned from the Gospel how severely those will be punished, who bury the talent which has been given them to gain something therewith, in the earth."
In the meantime, the King, knowing nothing of the answer which Benjamin had returned to the ambassador gave command to release him from his confinement. Benjamin once more free, ceased not to exhort the people as before, and to set the light of the holy Gospel on the candlestick. When this had continued for about the space of one year after his liberation from prison, new complaints were brought against him before the King, who had him brought before him, and commanded him to renounce the God whom he served, on pain of bodily punishment. Then Benjamin asked the King: "What punishment, beloved King, does he deserve, who deserts and renounces thee and thy government, and submits himself to, and serves another lord?" The King answered: "Such a man deserves punishment on body and property, yea, the severest penalty of death:" Benjamin asked again saying: "What punishment does the man deserve who forsakes his God, the Creator of all things in order to exalt one of his servants as God, and to give to a creature the worship due to God alone?"
These words so incensed the King, that he commanded his guards to sharpen twenty reeds and to thrust them between the flesh and the nails of his fingers and toes. But when the King saw that the pious martyr endured all this with steadfastness, yea, regarded it but very little, he, after other torments, ordered the executioners to prepare a knotty stick, which by cutting away the branches, was made as sharp as a stick of thorns. This he caused to be thrust into the nether part of his body, and then pulled backwards and forwards, until the faithful servant and professor of Christ ended his life under the hands of the executioners, like a defenseless lamb that is led to the slaughter and opens not its mouth. Compare the account of Abr. Mellinus, 2d book, fol. 260, col. 1, 2, taken from Theod., lib. 5, pag. 38, and Merul, Graec., with the annotation of P. J. Twisck, Chron., 5th book, page 191, col. 1, from Hist. Eccl. Tripart, 2d part, lib. 11, cap. 33, Hist. Andr. Hondorff, fol. 20.
THE CRUELTY OF THE ARIAN ICING, HONORICUS,
ALSO CALLED HUNNERICUS, THE SECOND
ICING OF THE VANDALS, TOWARD SOME
BISHOPS AND ELDERS WHO WOULD
NOT SWEAR, AND OTHER
CRUELTIES, A. D. 477
A. D. 477, Honoricus, King of the Vandals, an adherent of the Arian sect, arose with great violence against those who would not assent to his views, cruelly persecuting, and lamentably maltreating them. He had honorable women and maidens suspended naked; their bodies burned with torches; their breasts and arms cut off; hot pitch applied to their back, breasts and sides; he also caused them to be drawn up, and heavy stones tied to their feet, etc.
When he proposed to many that they should swear an oath, some thought it not contrary to God, but the bishops and elders of the church of Christ would not swear, saying that it was prohibited in the Gospel, since Christ says: "Swear not." Thereupon they were martyred, or at least severely punished. Those, however, who had been prevailed upon to swear, did not escape free, for, according to ancient writers, he punished both alike; these, because they had sworn contrary to the command of the Gospel, and those, because they refused to swear.
In the meantime, the distress and misery were so great that scarcely a house could be found that was not filled with wailing and lamentations.
After this terrible tyrant had put to death, by these and similar torments, as well as exiled, a countless number, God, after many plagues had been sent upon that country, awfully punished him: worms and lice so gnawed his flesh that his whole body became putrefied, one member, dropping off after another, so that he was buried piecemeal, thus coming to a horrible and not less ignominious end the evident vengeance of God for his tyranny against the Christians. Compare P. J. Twisck, Chron., 5th book, pag. 166, col. 2, with Chron. Carionis, lib. 3, fol. 29. Eccl. Caspar Hedio 3d part, lib. 2, cap. 18-21, 25, 27, Chronol. Leonh. Krantz., lib. 3, fol. 87, 89. Paul. Merula, fol. 381, 382. Hist. Andr., fol. 180. Jan. Crespin, fol. 139.
NOTE. It is stated that about this time, until the year 495, and afterwards, there were made in different councils held in Africa, five hundred and five laws (called canons or rules), in which among other things it was resolved by the Roman church
1. "That the children of the Donatists, (namely those Donatists who had renounced the doctrine of Donatus) shall not be rebaptized." 2. "That those who say that a child is not to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, etc., are excommunicated." 3. Act. 23. "That the agitation about baptism should be suppressed by military force." Seb. Franck, Chron. der Roomsche Concilien, fol. 48, col. 2-4, etc.
NOTE. From the third article it appears: 1. That at[this time there were people who stirred up agitation about baptism, that is, infant baptism, for this was now practiced by the Roman church. 2. That these people were suppressed by military assistance or force. What views, besides this article, these people held, or in which manner they were suppressed, we have not been able to ascertain; hence we let this suffice.
THE BLOODY OPPRESSION OF THE BELIEVERS,
WHICH IT APPEARS, OCCURRED IN THE TIME
OF THE TEACHER, FULGENTIUS, A. D. 498
It appears that at this time the persecution and martyrization of those who were baptized according to the ordinance of Christ was still in progress; of which the God fearing teacher Fulgentius makes mention to his contemporaries. Bapt. Hist., 2d part, page 464, num. 12, from D. Vicec., lib. 3, cap. 3, from Fulgentius, lib. de fide ad petrum, cap. 30.
"Rest assured of this," he writes, "and doubt not that those who,, for the name of Christ are baptized in their blood, without which no man shall receive eternal life, that is, who has not previously been converted from his sins through repentance and faith, and redeemed through the sacrament of faith and repentance, that is, through baptism."
When Fulgentius here speaks of those who, for the name of Christ are baptized in the blood, etc., he plainly indicates thereby, that blood was shed then inasmuch as people were baptized with it as it were, that is, such people as he speaks of further on, namely, "who are converted through repentance and faith, and redeemed through the sacrament of faith and repentance, that is, through baptism," etc.
However, if to any one the above words of Fulgentius appear rather too obscure for the purpose in view, we leave him to the free and unrestrained enjoyment of his own judgment.
NOTE. At this time, namely about the close of this century, those who opposed infant baptism were so hated by the Roman church, that in a certain council of Carthage, two persons, whose names we for certain reasons omit, were condemned, because they had denied infant baptism. Bapt. Hist. 2d part, page 436, taken from the 9th chapter van de Doop gerbruyken der Roomsche Kerke, fol. 460.
As to the persons themselves that were condemned, we commit them to God, since our only aim is to show how exceedingly the aforementioned doctrines were hated, and those, who defended them, oppressed, yea, condemned at that time. With this we conclude our account of the martyrs of the fifth century.
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