« VorigeDoorgaan »
Pelagians, that infants could not attain éternal life without baptism, because without baptism they were incapable of the eucharist, and without the eucharist could not have eternal life. His words are: “But that which your fraternity affirms them to preach, that infants without the grace of baptism may have the rewards of eternal life, is certainly most foolish; for unless they eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, they shall have no life in them.”
Now that this sense, which I have given his words, is indeed the true sense of them, and that his judgment upon the point was as I have said, it is acknowledged by Maldonate in Joan. vi. ver. 54. by Binnius upon the Councils, tom. i. p. 624; by
. Sanctesius, Repet. vi. c. 7; and it is affirmed by St. Augustine, who was his contemporary, held correspondence by letters with him, and therefore in all probability could not be ignorant of his meaning. I say, he affirms it as a matter out of question, Ep. 106. and contr. Julian. 1. i. c. 4. where he tells us, that Pelagius, in denying this, did dispute contra sedis apostolicæ authoritatem, against the authority of the see apostolic. And after: “But if they yield to the see apostolic, or rather to the Master himself and Lord of the
apostles, who says, that they shall not have life in them, unless they eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, which none may do but those that are baptized; then at length they will confess, that infants not baptized cannot have life.”
Now I suppose no man will doubt, but the belief of the apostolic see was then (as St. Augustine assures us, 1. i. cont. Jul. c. 4.) the belief of the church of Rome, taking it for a particular church; and then it will presently follow, that either other churches do not think themselves bound to conformity of belief with the Roman church, notwithstanding Irenæus's necesse est ad hanc ecclesiam omnem convenire ecclesiam ; or that this was then the doctrine of the catholic church. For Eusebius Emissenus, I cannot quote any particular proof out of him : but his belief in this point is acknowledged by Sanctes. Repet. vi. c. 7. likewise for St. Augustine, the same Sanctesius, and Binnius, and Maldonate, either not mindful or not regardful of the anathema of the council of Trent, acknowledge in the places above quoted) that he was also of the same belief: and, indeed, he professeth it so plainly and so frequently, that he must be a mere stranger to him, that knows it not, and very impudent that denies it. Eucharistiam infantibus putat necessariam Augustinus, say also the divines of Louvaine, in their index to their edition of St. Augustine ; and they refer us in their index only to tom. ii: p. 185; that is, to the 106th Epist. (the words whereof I have already quoted, to shew the meaning of Innocentius) and to tom. vii. p. 282; that is, 1. i. De pec. mor. et remis. c. 20. where his words are: “Let then all doubt be taken away: let us hear our Lord, (I say) saying, not of the sacrament of holy baptism, but of the sacrament of his table (to which none may lawfully come, but he which has been baptized) Unless you eat the flesh of the Son, and drink his blood, you shall have no life in you. What seek we any farther? What can be answered hereunto? What, will, any man dare to say, that this appertains not to little children; and that without the participation of his
body and blood, they may have life?” &c. with much more to the same effect. Which places are indeed so plain and pregnant for that purpose, that I believe they thought it needless to add more; otherwise, had they pleased, they might have furnished their index with many more references to this point; as, De pec. mor. et rem. 1. i. c. 24; where of baptism and the eucharist he tells us, that Salus et vita æterna sine his frustra promittitur parvulis. The same he has Cont. 2. Epist. Pelag. ad Bonifacium, 1. i. c. 22. (which yet by Gracian, De confec. D. 3. c. Nulli, and by T. Aquinas, p. 3. q.3. art. 9. ad tertiam, is strangely 3
. corrupted, and made to say the contrary) and 1. iv. c. 4. the same Cont. Julian. 1. i. c. 4. and 1. iii. c. 11, 12. Cont. Pelag. et Celest. 1. ii. c. 8. de Prædest. Sanctorum ad Prosp. et Hilar. 1. i. c. 14. Neither doth he retract or contradict this opinion any where, or mitigate any one of his sentences touching this matter, in his book of Retractations. Sanctesius indeed tells us, that he seems to have departed from his opinion, in his works against the Donatists; but I would he had shewed some probable reason to make it seem so to others; which seeing he does not, we have reason to take time to believe him. For as touching the place mentioned by Beda in 1 ad Corinth. x. as taken out of a sermon of St. Augustine's ad infantes ad altare ; besides that it is very strange St. Augustine should make a sermon to infants, and that there is no such sermon extant in his works, nor any memory of any such in Possidius, St. Augustine's scholar's catalogue of his works, nor in his book of Retractations; setting aside all this, I say, first, that it is no way certain that he speaks there of infants, seeing in propriety of speech (aš St. Augustine himself teacheth us, Ep. xxiii.) infants were not fideles, of whom St. Augustine in that supposed sermon speaks. Secondly, admit he does speak of infants, where he assures us, that in baptism every faithful man is made partaker of Christ's body and blood, and that he shall not be alienated from the benefit of the bread and cup, although he depart this life before he eat of that bread and drink of that cup: all this concludes no more, but that the actual participation of the eucharist is not a means simply necessary to attain salvation, so that no impossibility shall excuse the failing of it; whereas all that I aim at is but this—that in the judgment of the ancient church it was believed necessary, in case of possibility; necessary, not in actu, but in voto ecclesiæ; not necessary to salvation simply, but necessary for the increase of grace and glory: and therefore, lastly, though not necessary by necessity of means, for infants to receive it; yet necessary by necessity of precepts, for the church to give it.
The last witness I promised, was the author of the work against the Pelagians, called Hypognostica, who (l. v. c. 5.) asks the Pelagians, “Seeing he himself hath said, Unless you eat the flesh, &c. how dare you promise eternal life to little children, not regenerate of water and the Holy Ghost; not having eaten his flesh, nor drunk his blood ?" And, a little after: “Behold then, he that is not baptized, and he that is destitute of the bread and
cup of life, is separated from the kingdom of heaven.”
To the same purpose he speaks, 1. vi. c. 6. But
it is superfluous to recite his words; for either this is enough, or nothing.
The third kind of proof, whereby I undertook to. shew the belief of the ancient church in this point, was the confession of the learnedest writers and best versed in the church of Rome; who, what the counsel of Trent forbids under anathema, that any man should say of any ancient father, are not yet afraid, nor make any scruple to say it in plain . terms of the whole church for many ages together, viz. that she believed the eucharist necessary for infants. So doth Maldonate in Joan. vi. Mitto Augustini et Innocentii sententiam (quæ etiam viguit in ecclesia per sercentos annos') eucharistiam etiam infantibus necessarium. “ I say nothing (says he) of St. Augustine's and Innocentius's opinion, that the eucharist was necessary even for infants ; which doctrine flourished in the church for six hundred years."
The same almost in terms hath Binnius, in his Notes on the Councils, p. 624. Hinc constat Innocentii sententia (que sercentos circiter annos viguit in ecclesia, quam Augustinus sectatus est) eucharistiam etiam infantibus necessariam fuisse.
Lastly, That treasury of antiquity, Cardinal Perron, though he speaks not so home as the rest do, yet he says enough for my purpose. Des Passages de S. Aug. c. 10. p. 101. “The custom of giving the eucharist to infants the church' then observed as profitable.” This, I say, is enough for my purpose: for what more contradictious, than that the eucharist, being the same without alteration, to infants should then be profitable, and now unprofitable ? Then, all things considered, expedient to be used, if not necessary, and therefore commanded; and